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History  of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

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Geo. PetersonGEORGE PRESCOTT PETERSON, a prominent and well known merchant of Providence, where he is engaged in business as a dealer in hardware and wall paper, is a native of Marshfield, Mass., born March 28, 1861.  Mr. Peterson is a member on both the paternal and maternal side of exceedingly old and distinguished New England families, and is a lineal descendant of John Alden and Miles Standish, who were members of the band of Pilgrims that landed in Plymouth, Mass., from the 'Mayflower', on December 11 (old style), December 21 (new style), 1620, and of Peregrine White, the first white child born on American soil, and the son of William and Susanna (Fuller) White, she being a sister of Dr. Edward Fuller, also a member of the historic 'Mayflower' band.  Mrs. William White had the unique distinction of being the mother of the first white child born in the colony, the first widow, the first bride (becoming the wife of Governor Edward Winslow), and the mother of the first native born governor of Plymouth Colony, Governor Josiah Winslow.  Among other ancestors of his should be mentioned Benjamin White, who sat as a member of the Continental Congress with Adams, Hancock and other great men, who moulded the early destinies of our country. Benjamin White was also a companion of Jeremiah Lowe, who confiscated the tea stored in Marshfield, and took it to a place of of prominence in the town, now known as Tea Rock, where it was burnt publicly, simultaneously with the burning of the tea in Providence, R. I., and the famous Boston Tea Pary.  They also took powder which had been stored in the town and hid it in Benjamin White's barn, and under the bed in his home, where it lay undiscovered during the time of a visit to the place by General Balfour of the King's guards.

Mr. Peterson is a son of George J. and Betsy (White)  Peterson, old and highly respected residents of Marshfield, Mass.  The elder Mr. Peterson was born in December, 1823, at Duxbury, Mass., and for many years followed the occupation of farming.  He was a prominent man in the community and served on the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture.  He was one of the active anti-slavery men of his time.  He was directly associated with Emerson, Garrison and Frederick Douglas.  He died in 1893.  He married Betsy White, a native of Marshfield, born February 3, 1843, and died in 1913.  They were the parents of the following children:  Charles, now engaged in the shipbuilding industry at San Francisco, Cal.;  Alice, who became the wife of Moses Thayer, of Kingston, N. Y.;  Irving G., who resides at Marshfield, Mass., where he is engaged in farming on the old homestead, originally a part of the Daniel Webster estate;  George Prescott, with whose career we are here especially concerned.

George Prescott Peterson received his education in the schools of Marshfield, and later attended the Richards Business Academy at Marshfield Heights.  He went to Attleboro, Mass., where he entered the employ of a jewerly establishment and remained there three years, learning that business.  From there he came to the city of Providence and here established himself in independent business at his present location at No. 188 Charles street.  Mr. Peterson was first engaged only in the hardware line, and in a small way, but his enterprise has rapidly and consistently developed until it is now one of the larger of its kind in the city, including paints, oils, and decorative paper hangings.  Mr. Peterson had also established a branch store on Westminster street, opposite the office of the 'Journal', but later sold out this store.  In politics Mr. Peterson is an Independent and has not identified himself with any political party, preferring to remain free from all partisan influences in the exercise of his own judgment on public issues.  In spite of this fact, however, so great is the respect and esteem in which he is held by his fellow citizens, that he had been elected to a number of public offices as a Progressive and Independent, and has served as a member of the Common Council for seven years and the Board of Aldermen for two years, and in 1912 and 1913 represented the Fourth District of Providence in the State Legislature, defeating his opponent in one of the strongest Republican districts in the State.  Mr. Peterson is a member of the Rotary Club, a member of the John Alden Association, and although not actually affiliated, is eligible for membership in the 'Mayflower' Society and the Massachusetts Society, Sons of the American Revolution.  He is a member of the old South School Association of Marshfield, Mass., the old South School being the first free public school established in the Plymouth Colony and dating from 1640.  This school was contemporary with the Dorchester Free Public School established in 1639 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  From these small beginnings has grown the present public school system of our country.

George Prescott Peterson was united in marriage, December 21, 1882, at Attleboro, Mass., with Hannah J. Carpenter, a daughter of Henry and Mary J. (Holbrook) Carpenter.  Mr. Carpenter was a successful farmer at Attleboro and a highly respected resident there.  Mr. and Mrs. Peterson are the parents of two children:  Ethel Prescott, born April 10, 1884, and now the widow of William E. Waite, of Providence;  Earl Carpenter, born July 23, 1895, a salesman prior to the war, when he secured an appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, and is now an ensign in the United States Navy. Mr. Peterson and his family make their home at No. 43 Doyle avenue, Providence, and spend their summers at Green Harbor, Mass.  Mr. Peterson finds his chief recreation in motoring and reading, being especially interested in biographical and historical subjects, and he is also very active in church work.

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GEORGE H. COOK  --  A prominent figure in business life in Narragansett Pier for a quarter century prior to his death in 1918, was the late George H. Cook.  Active also in political and public affairs, he was for several terms a member of the Town Council.  The welfare and advancement of the Pier was always uppermost in his mind, and he was one of the prime movers in the organization of the Narragansett Pier Chamber of Commerce.  From the time of his coming to the Pier until his death he espoused and gave his earnest support to all movements calculated to advance business development.  He was a business man of keen ability, and in the closing decades of his life attained a high degree of success.

George H. Cook was born in Charlton, Mass., February 14, 1865, the son of Walter Scott and Pauline (Dockham) Cook, and the descendant of a family long established and prominent in Massachusetts.  He was educated in the public schools of Worcester county, Mass., and on completing his studies, chose a business rather than a professional career.  He learned the trade of shoe making, and for several years was employed in important capacities in shoe factories at Worcester, Lynn, and Webster, Mass., and at Philadelphia.  In 1893 Mr. Cook came to Rhode Island, settling at Narragansett Pier, where he shortly afterward established himself in business.  He was highly successful in this venture, and within a short period rose to a place of prominence in business circles at the Pier.  Unswerving honesty and fairness won for him not only the respect but the admiration of competitors.  His success was in every sense of the word self made - the result of his own indefatigable effort, and his own unfailing belief in his ability to succeed.  He became a member of the town council, and served ably and disinterestedly for several terms.  He had a genius for politics and for public service; he was a Democrat in national issues but voted independently at local elections.  He was active in the organizing of the Chamber of Commerce in 1917, and was one of its charter members.  Mr. Cook was well known in social and fraternal circles, and was a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and a generous donor to its charities.

In 1896, Mr. Cook married, at Narragansett Pier, R. I., Mary Elizabeth Holran, daughter of John and Eliza (Sheridan) Holran, both of whom were natives of Ireland, married at Wakefield on the Rock Brook homestead, coming to America shortly before their marriage.  Mr. Holran subsequently became prominent in business life in Narragansett Pier, where he was the owner of extensive bath house and bathing beach property for several years, prior to his retirement from active business affairs.  He died in November, 1917, at the age of seventy-nine years, survived by his widow, who died March 2, 1919.  They were the parents of four children, all of whom are living:  1. Mary E., who became the wife of the late George H. Cook.  2.  Francis P., of Englewood, N. H.  3.  John, of New York City.  4.  Anna Sheridan, of Narragansett Pier. She is widely known and eminently respected.  For more than twenty years, she has been in charge of the office of the Postal Telegraph at the Pier, as manager.

George H. Cook died at his home at Narragansett Pier, on March 13, 1918. His death was sincerely mourned by a large circle of friends.

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Allan A. CampbellALLAN ALDRICH CAMPBELL  --  The records of Scotland in peace and war are filled with the achievements of the members of  the clan of Campbell, and it is a heritage of immeasurable value in point of sentiment to have membership in a line tracing to such illustrious beginnings.  The branch of which Allan Aldrich Campbell, of Phenix, R. I., is a member, is of six generations residence in this country, the immigrant ancestor having founded his line in Connecticut upon coming from his Scotland home. James Campbell, son of the founder, was born about 1725, and throughtout his entire life was a farmer of Voluntown, Windham county, Conn.  He was a communicant of the Presbyterian church, a man of simple, industrious habits, who passed a long life in the favor of his fellows.  His death occurred in 1810, his wife, Dinal (Mc Main) Campbell, surviving him and attaining the advanced age of eighty-five years. They were the parents of Allen, James, and John, and several daughters.

Allen, son of James and Dinal (Mc Main) Campbell, was born in 1749, and died March 6, 1829.  He studied medicine under the preceptorship of Dr. Perkins, the widely renowned physician of Plainfield, and during the War of the Revolution he served as a surgeon in the Colonial army. He was in the army of General Sullivan during the Rhode Island campaign, and at the close of the conflict continued general practice in Voluntown, Conn.  His practice was large and lucrative and he was a man of such eminent capacities that he was called from his professional labors to represent his fellow citizens in numerous official positions, including those of justice of the peace and member of the State Legislature.  Like his father, he belonged to the Presbyterian church, and during a life of four score years achieved greatly in service to his State and community, and in the regard of his associates. Dr. Allen Campbell married Sarah, daughter of Ezra Kinne, of Preston, now Griswold, Conn.  Sarah (Kinne) Campbell was born in 1759, and died in 1834. They were the parents of John, Sarah, Rowena, Lucinda, Harvey, Ezra, Daniel Lee, Bonaparte, of whom further, and Alpha R.

Bonaparte, son of Dr. Allen and Sarah (Kinne) Campbell, was born in Voluntown, Windham county, Conn. September 15, 1801, and died in 1892. With the exception of twenty years spent in Oneida county, N. Y., he was a life long resident of the locality of his birth, where he engaged in successful farming operations.  He was a Whig in politics, later a Republican, and for many years he was first selectman of his town, also representing Griswold in the State Legislature.  He was a member of the Baptist church.  Bonaparte Cambell married, November 11, 1819, Susan, daughter of Captain Nathan Brown, a sea captain of North Kingston, R. I.  The following of their children attained mature years:  Allen B., John L., Sarah C., James H., of whom further, and Napoleon B.

James H., son of Bonaparte and Susan (Brown) Campbell, was born in Oneida county, N. Y., in 1827, and died in Griswold, Conn., in 1894.  Going West prior to the Civil War he was for a time a resident of Illinois, and upon his return to the East he located in Washington, R. I., where he was for a time employed as overseer in a mill.  In 1863 he took up residence in Clayville, R. I., remaining there for two years, after which he purchased a farm in Griswold, Conn., where his last years were passed.  He married Amy M. Cozzens, who survived him until 1906 (?).  Children of James H. and Amy M. (Cozzens) Campbell:  Goerge M., born in 1850, and died in 1910;  Evelyn, born in 1852, and died in 1907; and Allan Aldrich, of whom further.

Allan Aldrich Campbell was born in Washington, R. I., March 20, 1862, and spent his early life on his father's farm at Griswold, Conn., attending the schools of the vicinity.  The lesson of hard labor was learned early in life from the many tasks that fall to a boy and young man on a farm, a lesson that he applied profitably in the later years.  In 1884 he began work for Caleb Congdon on the latter's farm at Cranston, R. I., and after one year in this employ he assumed the operation of the farm on shares, an arrangement that existed with mutual profit and satisfaction until 1891.  In February of this year he purchased the teaming business of William H. Snell, of Phenix, R. I., a long established enterprise.  To this he added coal and wood dealings, at the same time leasing the Snell property for a period of five years.  In 1894 his interests expanded still further and he included the sale of hay, grain, and feed in his business, devoting himself industriously to the founding and development of an establishment that should lead in its line.  To this end he leased for ten years the property of A. B. McCrillis, of Phenix, and by 1903 his enterprise had assumed such large dimensions that he bought his present location and erected a modern grist mill and grain elevator, with excellent trackage facilities.  This addition to his interests made it advisable for him to relinguish his teaming activities, which he accordingly did. That is the only one of his many connections that he has been compelled to abandon in the course of his busy career which has been passed in the acquisition of new interests, rather than in the abandonment of any department of his dealing.

Everything of concern to the welfare or progress of his town has Mr. Campbell's active support and he has proven himself unselfish in his service. Since 1891 he has been a member of the Phenix Fire Department, filling the office of assistant chief for many years, and in 1915 and 1916 he was a member of the police commission of West Warwick, serving as chairman of the commission in the latter year.  During the years of his business life he has achieved success and standing in his community through the most diligent application to the work at hand and through adherence to the strictest and soundest principles of commercial dealing.  He early gained and has ever held the confidence of his business associates and the business that he has fostered is a strong and vigorous concern. Mr. Campbell is a member of the Boston Chamber of Commerce and belongs to the Flat River Club.

Allan Aldrich Campbell married, June 27, 1895, Emma, daughter of Robert and Fanny (Irwin) Henry, of Fiskville, R. I., and they are the parents of: Harold A., born Sept. 20, 1896, a student in Brown University, class of 1920;  and Fannie I., a student in the Women's College in Brown University, class of 1921.

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FREDERICK L. CASSIDY, who is succesfully engaged in the practice of dentistry in the city of Pawtucket, R. I., has been very actively identified with the life of this community since his early manhood.  He is a son of Patrick and Margaret (McManus) Cassidy, both of whom were born in Massachusetts, but came to Rhode Island and passed the major part of their lives here.  They are now deceased.  Frederick L. Cassidy was born May 6, 1886, at East Providence, but at an early age came to Pawtucket where he gained the preliminary portion of his education.  He attended the public schools and the Pawtucket High School, and was prepared for college at the latter institution.  Some time prior to his graduation he had made a decision to take up dentistry as a profession and with this objective, entered the Philadelphia Dental College, at Philadelphia, Pa., from which college he was graduated, D. D. S., with the class of 1908. Returning immediately to Pawtucket, he combined with a fellow practitioner, Dr. J. F. Clark, in opening an office in the Miller block here.  This remains his headquarters to the present time, and Dr. Cassidy, in the ten years that have elapsed, has built up a large clientele, so that he is now one of the most popular and largely patronized dentists in the neighborhood. He is a member of the Rhode Island Dental Society and the National Dental Society, and has interested himself in the general advancement of his profession. In his religious belief Dr. Cassidy is a Roman Catholic, and is a member of St. Joseph's Church at Pawtucket.  He is also a member of Council No. 412, Knights of Columbus, and of the Psi Omega fraternity.  Dr. Cassidy is unmarried.

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Richard Henry WoffendenRICHARD HENRY WOFFENDEN, Episcopal clergyman, pastor of St. Boniface Parish, Apponaug, R. I., who for so many years has been prominently identified with the more vital of the public affairs of the State of Rhode Island, and particularly with those things that have bearing on the moral uplift of the people and the maintenance of their strong ecclesiastical interest, was born in North Adams, Mass., September 2, 1870.

His father, Joseph Fisher Woffenden, a native of England, was by vocation a calico dyer, one of the staple trades of that time, and generally followed by men who were upright, worthy citizens, unafraid of the long hours of labor and intense application necessary to make successful way in that industry.  It is therefore more than probable that the strength of character and integrity of purpose so clearly manifested in the actions of the Rev. Richard Henry Woffenden were builded in him in his early years by the daily life of his father.  Example builds stronger than precept; and the guidance in love and noble throughts instilled in him by his fond mother, who followed his steps with zealous care, brought into his character a softening influence which has had important bearing on his interpretation of many of the apparently hard, practical questions of life.  His mother, Mary Ann (Illingworth) Woffenden, also was a native of England. She was the mother of six children, the youngest of whom was Richard Henry. Joseph Fisher Woffenden died in 1893, and Mary Ann (Illingworth) Woffenden followed in 1897.

Rev. Richard Henry Woffenden was fortunately able to secure a good education, which, in academic form, was acquired at the Drury Academy, North Adams, the place of his birth.  He was graduated from that institution in 1889, and subsequently attended Trinity College, Hartford, Conn., graduating therefrom in 1893 with the degree of A. B., and three years later was awarded the A. M. degree.  He then taught school for one year at Salisbury, Conn., after which he pursued collegiate study of theology until 1897, in which year he was graduated from the General Theological Seminary of New York City.  He was immediately assigned as deacon of St. Boniface Church, Apponaug, and on March 25, 1898, was ordained as priest by the late Bishop McVicar.  In the meantime he did very effective work in his parish.  Through General Francis Greene, the Greene homestead was given to the church for a rectory, and through the efforts of Rev. Woffenden the parish house was erected.

Rev. Woffenden has for many years actively interested himself in civic government, using his influence and talent as a public speaker to support and place properly before the people such changes in city and State administration as he saw would tend to benefit them.  In 1912 he served as chairman of the State convention of the Progressive party.  His early public interest brought its return in appreciation by the electorate, for in 1913-14 he was placed in the General Assembly, as representative from the second representative district of Warwick.  Since that time he has accepted no legislative office, his hours and thoughts having been for the past few years almost wholly absorbed by ecclesiastical matters and the world calamity threatened by the strife started in Europe in 1914.  In the spring of 1917 when this country also was drawn into the struggle, it became the bounden and preeminent duty of Mr. Woffenden and other church leaders to keep the moral issues of the struggle ever and clearly before the people. That the morale of this country has been maintained at so high a level through all the sacrifices and self denial of 1917-18, the country must be thankful; there were many contributing causes, but in great measure the result came through the indefatigable labors of the clergy.  In many other ways Mr. Woffenden in full measure earned the respect in which he is held in the State of Rhode Island.  He has served for many years as treasurer of the Apponaug Fire District.

Mr. Woffenden is not identified prominently with fraternal society activities, though he belongs to the collegiate fraternities, Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Alpha Epsilon.  But in the social life and community activities of this city and State Mr. Woffenden has for many years keenly interested himself, taking good, unselfish, and unostentatious part therein, assisted enthusiastically by his wife, Anna Louise (Reynolds) Hanaford, widow of the late Dr. Hanaford.  They were married, October 10, 1905, at Apponaug, and have no children.  Mrs. Woffenden is the daughter of Dawley and Harriet Tillinghast (Spink) Reynolds, of Exeter and Natick, respectively.


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project. Transcription and pictures 2001-2 by Beth Hurd

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