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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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George Hamilton CahooneGEORGE HAMILTON CAHOONE  --  For many years Rhode Island has been justly regarded as the center of the jewelry manufacturing industry of America, its many plants being an important factor in the industrial development of the State.  There have been a number of men whose names are closely associated with the upbuilding of this important business, but none more closely than that of George Hamilton Cahoone, president and treasurer of the George H. Cahoone Company, of Providence.

Mr. Cahoone is a native of this city, born August 6, 1860, a son of George Hamilton and Charlotte Stieb (Clark) Cahoone, and a grandson of Isaac Tuckerman and Ann Eliza (Stieb) Clark, the latter being a native of Providence.  He is a member of old and distinguished New England families which were founded here in early Colonial times, and has long been associated with the affairs of this region.  The childhood of Mr. Cahoone was passed in his native city, and as a lad he attended the local public schools.  His educational advantages, however, were very meagre, and at the age of twelve years he was obliged to abandon his studies and begin earning his own living.  In the year 1873 he secured his first position with the well known drug firm of George L. Claflin & Company, remaining with that concern for some three years.  He then was given a position as clerk in the drug store of Dr. Albert L. Calder, with whom he spent four years, and in the meantime took up the study of pharmacy.   He pursued these studies to such good purpose that at the end of four years he was a graduated and registered pharmacist. Being of an exceedingly ambitious nature and desiring to supplement his early education, Mr. Cahoone took a course in the Bryant & Stratton Commercial College at Providence, and after completing his studies at this institution spent about eighteen months in the employ of Benjamin G. Chase & Son, wholesale grocers of Providence.  His next employment was as cashier of the firm of Day, Sons & Company, where he remained about two and one-half years, and then, in 1884, he accepted a position as western traveling representative for the firm of Foster & Bailey, manufacturing jewelers, which is now known as T. W. Foster & Brother.

In the month of April, 1886, when twenty-six years of age, Mr. Cahoone entered into his first business enterprise, and in partnership with his father-in-law, William Blakeley, and John C. Schott, purchased the plant and machinery of Hunt & Owen, one of the oldest jewelry manufacturers of Providence.  The plant was originally located at No. 111 Broad street, and here they began their operations which soon grew to large proportions. Shortly afterward, Mr. Schott retired from the firm, which then became known as George H. Cahoone & Company.  They were engaged in the manufacture of a general line of gold filled jewelry.  As the business grew and prospered it became necessary to find larger quarters for their operations, and in December, 1894, they removed to the Manufacturers' building, being one of the first tenants in this new and up-to-date industrial structure. On April 1, 1906, the firm was incorporated as the George H. Cahoone Company, with Mr. Cahoone as president and treasurer.  For nearly thirty-five years this house has specialized in the manufacture of reproductions of the finest lines of platinum diamond set jewelry.  The George H. Cahoone Company maintains New York offices in the Fifth Avenue building at No. 200 Fifth avenue, and western offices in the Heyworth building, Chicago. It is due to the untiring efforts of Mr. Cahoone that the great success of the business of which he is the head has been achieved.  A third of a century ago the concern had a most modest beginning, and it is to-day one of the leading jewelry manufacturing firms in New England.  Of a quiet, unassuming nature, Mr. Cahoone has never sought for any conspicuous place in public life although, like a public-spirited citizen, he is keenly interested in all that pertains to the growth and development of the city. He is a staunch Republican in politics, and was elected a commissioner of sinking funds of the city of Providence, June 21, 1918, succeeding in that capacity Dutee Wilcox, who died in that year.  Mr. Cahoone is also vice-president and a director of the U. S. Ring Traveler Company, a director of the National Exchange Bank, and for more than twenty years has been a director of the National Jewelers' Board of Trade.  Mr. Cahoone has also been prominent in the social and fraternal life of Providence, and is affiliated with Adelphoi Lodge, No. 33, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.  His clubs are the Wannamoisett Country, the Turk's head, the Pomham, the Economic, the Providence Athenaeum, and Commercial. He is also a member of the Providence Chamber of Commerce.  In his religious belief Mr. Cahoone is a Congregationalist, and attends with his family the Central Church of that denomination at Providence.

George Hamilton Cahoone was united in marriage, October 25, 1885, with Eugena Blakeley, daughter of William and Sarah (Tinkham) Blakeley, her father being well known in the textile industry as a member of the firm of Walton & Blakeley, woolen manufacturers.  Mr. and Mrs. Cahoone have one daughter, Edna Hamilton.  The family home is situated at No. 360 Olney street, Providence.

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HENRY ALDEN CARPENTER  --  Son of one of the prominent industrial leaders of Providence in the past generation, Mr. Carpenter from 1889 to 1905 was identified with his father, Alva Crpenter, in the direction of the foundry interests of the A. Carpenter and Sons Foundry Company. Since 1905 he has been engaged in managerial capacity with the General Fire Extinguisher Company, by which his former connection was absorbed, and is now (1919) manager of the Auburn plant of the company and a member of its board of directors.  The family of which he is a member, of honorable record in Providence over a long period of years, is one of early founding in the American colonies, tracing to William Carpenter, who in 1638 came from his English home, where his line is of connected record to John Carpenter, 1303, to Weymouth, Mass.  Soon afterward he came to Providence, where he was one of the founders of the First Baptist Church. He was an early settler in Pawtucket, represented his town in the General Court many times, was an assistant in 1672, and during King Philip's War his house was attacked and burned by the Indians, one of his sons killed, and his stock ran off.  He married Elizabeth Arnold and left sons, Joseph, Ephraim, Timothy, William, Silas, and Benjamin, from whom spring the numerous Carpenter families of New England claiming early Colonial ancestry.

Mr. Carpenter is a grandson of Jonathan and Leafy (Bourne) Carpenter, and son of Alva Carpenter.  Alva Carpenter was born in Seekonk, Mass., March 2, 1829, and died June 28, 1905.  He attended the public schools of his birthplace until he was fifteen years of age, at which early period he began his lifelong association with the industrial world.  For two years he was employed in a cotton mill, then in 1846 became apprenticed to the moulder's trade under Thomas J. Hill, of the Providence Machine Company.  A journeyman in this trade, he followed it for three years in a foundry at Matteawan, N. Y., in 1850 returning to Rhode Island and working in a Newport foundry for two years.  From 1852 until 1865 he was employed by the old Corliss Steam Engine Company, in September of the latter year forming a partnership in the foundry business with Amos D. Smith as Smith & Carpenter.  The firm's plant was located on Dyer street, between Peck and Orange streets, and in 1872 a branch of the business was opened on Aborn street, which subsequently became the main foundry.  In 1873 the Dyer street plant was sold and the partnership of Smith & Carpenter dissolved, Mr. Carpenter continuing as sole proprietor of the Aborn street foundry for ten years.  There followed a six years' partnership with Henry C. Bowen in the same line, which was dissolved in 1889, when Mr. Carpenter admitted his two sons, William H. and Henry A., into partnership, forming the firm of A. Carpenter & Sons.  A new foundry was erected on West Exchange street.  This was destroyed by fire, November 11, 1892, was rebuilt, and in 1896 the business was incorporated under the title of A. Carpenter & Sons Foundry Company, Alva Carpenter filling the office of president until his death in 1905.  The standing of the business he founded was closely similar to his reputation in private life, and as he was known as a citizen of solid, substantial parts, so his firm was rated as one dependable and strongly founded.  For almost sixty years he gave of the best of his effort to industrial work, for forty years of that time as a foundry owner, and his untiring labor and capable administrative ability had their reward in the prosperous business that bore his name.

Called from his close application to business affairs by his election to the State Legislature, he represented Providence in the sessions of 1892-93, and was elected for a sccond term in 1897.  His public service was of the type confidently expected of him by his fellows, a sturdy championship of beneficial legislation and unyielding opposition to any favoring of special privileged interests, his entire activity summarized as devotion to high ideals.  He was an interested member of Roger Williams Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, from 1874 to 1886, and after filling every office in the gift of that lodge became one of the charter members of Mt. Pleasant Lodge, No. 45.  In 1904 he was elected grand chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, this high honor of Odd Fellowship coming the year before his death.  He was a member of the West Side and Pomham clubs, of Providence.

Mr. Carpenter married, in 1854, Mary E. Allen, of Attleboro, Mass., and they were the parents of:  Rev. Alva E., rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, of Manton, R. I.;  Mary E., married William A. O'Brien, of Providence; William H., died in 1900, the associate of his father and brother in the A. Carpenter & Sons Foundry Company;  Henry A., of whom further;  Mable L. C., married Albert J. Niebels, of Providence.

Henry Alden Carpenter was born in Providence, July 7, 1867.  He attended the public schools of his birthplace until commencing business life as a clerk in the office of the National Worsted Mills, of Providence, a position he held for four years, then entering the firm of A. Carpenter & Sons as the partner of his father and brother.  With the incorporation of the A. Carpenter & Sons Foundry in 1896, capitalized at one hundred thousand dollars, Mr. Carpenter became secretary and treasurer of the company. This concern pursued a highly successful independent existence until 1905, employing one hundred and twenty-five men in its foundry on West Exchange street, in this year being absorbed by the General Fire Extinguisher Company. Mr. Carpenter became foundry manager of the General Fire Extinguisher Company, a five million dollar corporation, incorporated under the laws of the State of New York, manufacturing the widely known Grinnell Automatic Sprinklers and controlling, through its constituent and subsidiary companies, a large volume of foundry and factory products.

Until 1913 Mr. Carpenter discharged the duties of foundry manager of this large company, when he was elected to the board of directors of the the General Fire Extingusiher Company and appointed manager of the company's plant at Auburn.  Since that date he has filled both offices. His managerial responsibilities have rested easily upon him, for in foundry management his active years have been passed, while as a sharer in the policy shaping activity of the company his counsel has been relied upon heavily by his fellow directors.  He is a practical manufacturer with capacity for large affairs, and in addition to his association with the General Fire Extinguisher Company serves the Union Trust Company, of Providence, and the Rhode Island Insurance Company as director.  Mr. Carpenter has been active in the New England Foundrymen's Association and the National Founders' Association, having been president of the Providence Chamber of Commerce.

He is a Republican in political belief, and in 1905 represented the Fifth Ward of his city in Common Council, his work including for a part of that time the chairmanship of the committee on city property. His tastes do not incline toward public life and office has never attracted him, although few men in Providence have more effectively used their influence for the advancement of the public welfare and civic progress than he. He fraternizes with the Masonic order and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, belonging in the latter to Providence Lodge No. 14, and in the former to St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Free and Accepted Masons, Providence Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Providence Council, Royal and Select Masters, St. John's Commandery, No. 1, Knights Templar, of which he is a past eminent commander.  He is also past illustrious potentate of Palestine Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.  In the social and club life of Providence his acquaintance is wide, and he is a member of the West Side, Edgewood Yacht, Edgewood Casino, Wannamoisett Country, Rhode Island Country, Turk's Head, and Commercial clubs, an ex-president of the last named, and the Squantum Association.  His out-of-town club is the Engineers', of New York City.

Mr. Carpenter married, in Providence, September 2, 1891, Fannie May Wheeler, and they are the parents of Sarah Adeline, Earl Wheeler, and Doris May.

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JOHN MORGAN DEAN  --  Member of the third generation of his family in New England, Mr. Dean is the second of his line to achieve notable business position, his father, John Dean, son of Benjamin Dean, who came to Rhode Island from his English home, having been a successful pioneer in the manufacturing of photographic supplies when the art of photographic reproduction was in its infancy.  Mr. Dean is the active head of the John M. Dean Company, a corporation dating in Providence from 1892, a development of the firm of Cady & Dean, founded in 1876, and one of the leading furniture houses of the locality.  Mr. Dean has other and extensive business interests in furniture and real estate, is prominent in the Masonic order, and is well known in Providence, his business home, Cranston, where his home, Tupelo Hill Farm, is located, and Fort Myers, Fla., his winter residence.

Benjamin Dean, of Simmonstone, England, married, at Gornaigh Church, October 29, 1815, Alice Lofthouse.  He was an engraver by trade, and in 1829, came to the United States, worked for a time, and then returned to England to bring his family to his new home.  They located in Providence, R. I., where he pursued the occupation of engraver until his death, November 18, 1866. Among their children was a son, John, of whom further.

John Dean, son of Benjamin and Alice (Lofthouse) Dean, was born in Clitheroe, England, August 30, 1822, died in Worcester, Mass., in 1882.  He attended the public schools of Providence, grew to manhood in that city, learned the engraver's trade under his father's instruction, and followed that occupation until his twenty-seventh year.  In 1849 he was one of the party of one hundred men who purchased a schooner and made the long and perilous voyage around Cape Horn to the California gold fields.  He remained in the West for two years, and upon his return was associated with his father in engraving for a time, then entered the manufacture of photographic supplies, whose use was then confined to the making of the daguerreotype, the forerunner of the tintype and the photograph. With the increasing popularity of the daguerreotype his business grew largely, and when the tintype surpassed it in popular favor there was additional demand for supplies.  Mr. Dean located his plant in Worcester and he was long the dominant figure in his line, absorbing competitors through purchase, if their size warranted, or, it they operated on a small scale, employing them in his service.  A japaning department became a profitable branch of his plant, and he prospered in large measure.  He represented Worcester in the Lower House of the Massachusetts Legislature.  He was active in Masonry, holding the thirty-second degree, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, and a past grand commander of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. John Dean married Hannah Allen Morgan, six of their nine children reaching mature years:  Alice P., died in 1906, married Christopher A. Cady; Isabella Stewart, married (first) George A. Holden, (second) George W. Middlebrook, of Providence, whom she survives;  John Morgan, of whom further;  Annie L., married Frederick L. Coes, of Worcester, Mass., and she died Aug. 10, 1919;  Amy Florence, married Professor H. Austin Aikins, of Cleveland, Ohio; and Robert W., of the firm of Brown & Dean, gold refiners, who died in April, 1910.

John Morgan Dean, son of John and Hannah Allen (Morgan) Dean, was born on Dean street, Providence, R. I., May 11, 1856.  Worcester became the family home when he was two years of age, and there he attended the public schools, graduating from high school, and residing in the handsome suburban home of his family until he was nineteen years of age.  In 1876 he joined his brother-in-law, Christopher A. Cady, in Providence, R. I., and became his partner, the firm being known as Cady & Dean, later reorganizing as John M. Dean & Company.  Their operations continued under this style until June 3, 1892, when the business was incorporated as the John M. Dean Company, with Mr. Dean as president, a position he fills to the present time (1919). Furniture has become the principal line of the company, and the company is of high standing among the largest dealers in New England.  Mr. Dean has other important interests in the Dean Realty Company, of which he is president and director, the Dean Development Company, of Fort Myers, Fla., of which he is president and treasurer, and the Household Furniture Company, of Providence, R. I., which he serves as director.

Mr. Dean's greatest pleasure and recreation is found in his beautiful estate, Tupelo Hill Farm, in Cranston, where he takes great pride in his beautiful and finely cared for orchards, fields, and tastefully planted lawns.  The village of Meshanticut is built upon the Dean estate and he had taken a leading part in its growth and development.  His winter home is on the Caloosa Hatchee river in Fort Myers, Fla., in the middle of a hundred acre orange grove, and he has been very active in the upbuilding and settlement of that district.

He is a Republican in politics, but has never aspired to public office except to serve his town, Cranston, as councilman, having been annually elected to the Town Council until Cranston became a city in 1910.  He has steadily and with good result advocated the causes of good schools and good roads since 1892, and the high standard of highways and schools in his locality is due in no small measure to his intelligently applied effort.  He is a member of the Pomham Club; Providence Lodge, No. 14, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; and holds the thirty-second degree in the Masonic order, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, as did his father, his membership being in What Cheer Lodge, No. 21, Free and Accepted Masons; Providence Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Providence Council, Royal and Select Masters; Calvary Commandery, Knights Templar; Rhode Island Consistory, Sovereign Princes of the Royal Secret; and also to Palestine Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.

Mr. Dean married (first) Mabel F. Gardiner, (second) Louise Barrigar, of Kansas City, Mo., who died April 14, 1913.  By his first marriage he was the father of a daughter, Bertha Mabel, who died in November, 1918, wife of Walter P. Suesman, of Providence.  Walter P. and Bertha Mabel (Dean) Suesman were the parents of two sons, John Morgan Dean and Walter P. Suesman.

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Edward Mowrey HarrisEDWARD MOWREY HARRIS, M. D.  --  This name is not an introduction. It is simply an announcement.  To introduce Dr. Harris to the readers of this work would be wholly superfluous, for his high standing both as a physician and a citizen is matter of common knowledge far beyond the limits of his home town of Providence.  Edward Mowrey Harris was born September 4, 1841, at North Killingly, Conn., and is a son of William and Zilpah (Torrey) Harris, the former a farmer and justice of the peace. Edward Mowrey Harris attended various public schools and academies, also receiving instruction from private tutors and eventually entering Yale Medical College.  In 1866 he graduated from the Medical School of Harvard University.  During the long period that has since elapsed Dr. Harris has been actively engaged in the successful practice of his chosen profession, also engaging in farming and taking an interest in real estate.  He was president of the Providence Medical Association, and recording and corresponding secretary of the Rhode Island Medical Society. Public spirit has always been one of Dr. Harris's distinguishing characteristics both  as regards community affairs and matters of national importance. In 1912 he was presidential elector on the Progressive ticket, and at the convention held in Chicago served as delegate and national chairman of the Rhode Island delegates.  He was president of the Progressive League of Rhode Island, of the Franklin Lyceum (Providence), and the Providence Chess Club.  The fraternal relations of Dr. Harris are limited to affiliation with the Masonic order.  He holds membership in the West Side Club of Providence, and he and his family are members of the Bell Street Independent Chapel.

Dr. Harris married, in 1887, in Providence, Amy, daughter of James and Elizabeth Frances (Jackson) Eddy,  and they are the parents of two sons: James Eddy, born Feb. 21, 1891, and Edward Mowrey, Jr., born May 24, 1892, both now deceased.

As a citizen Dr. Harris has a record of disintirerested public service; was for many years a contributor on the Providence 'Journal', and for fifty years has been an active, public-spirited person.

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THEODORE HAMMETT COLVIN  --  As a young man of twenty-six years, a molder by trade, an experienced journeyman and foundryworker, Theodore Hammett Colvin came to the city of Providence in 1872.  The business he then started caught the full force of the panic of 1872-77, and those five years were such as try man's ability to the limit. But he prevailed, and it is his pride that The Colvin Foundry Company has weathered every financial storm and has never failed to meet every obligation. Another record to be proud of is the fact that for twenty-seven years he never had labor trouble, that record then being broken by a strike to unionize the plant.  Mr. Colvin resisted, and in time the men voluntarily agreed to work, rejoicing to find their jobs open, as they had found they were the best paid men in the business, taking conditions into consideration. He always kept in close personal touch with every transaction occurring throughout the works, and to that fact much of his success may be attributed. From 1872 until January, 1916, he was supreme at the plant, then having brought up his sons in the business and thoroughly trained them for their responsibilities, he sold his interest to them and retired, leaving Clarence H. Colvin president of the company, and Charles T. Colvin, treasurer.

Theodore H. Colvin is of the seventh American generation of the family founded in New England by John Colvin, of Dartmouth, Mass., and Providence, where he died, November 28, 1729.  The line of descent is through the founder's son, Rev. James Colvin, of Providence and Coventry, R. I.; his son, Caleb Colvin, of Coventry;  his son, George Colvin, of Coventry, a Revolutionary sailor, his widow Mary drawing a United States pension; their son, George (2) Colvin; his son, Henry Colvin, of Plainfield, Conn.; his son, Theodore H. Colvin, of Providence, R. I.  Henry Colvin, born December 20, 1813, died December 14, 1869, married Mary Ann Bennett, born May 11, 1808, died August 26, 1892, surviving her husband twenty-three years.  Their children were:  Henry G., deceased;  Huldah M., deceased;  Mary P.;  Frances S.;  Elizabeth, deceased; Theodore Hammett, of further mention;  Elisha H., deceased, and Emily.

Theodore Hammett Colvin was born in Plainfield, Conn., April 26, 1846, now (1918) living in Providence, R. I., retired.  After school days were ended he began learning the molder's trade at now Danielson, Conn., finishing his apprenticeship in the foundry owned by his kinsmen, Caleb and James Colvin, entering their employ in 1864 and continuing until 1865. He worked as a journeyman in Whitinsville, Mass., for a few months, then in December, 1865, went to Worcester, Mass., where his old employer had opened a foundry.  He continued a molder at Worcester until 1872, then came to Providence, where the years which have since elapsed have been spent.

The first Providence venture in business was also his last, forty-four years having been spent in the same business.  The beginning was in 1872, when with his uncle, George Colvin, he formed the firm, G. and T. H. Colvin, and began a foundry business on Dyer street, moving to their own plant on now West Exchange street, in 1873.  The original firm continued until 1876, when George Colvin sold his interest to his nephew and retired.  Theodore H. Colvin continued the business under his own name until 1896, then incorporated as The Colvin Foundry Company, capital $100,000.  The business of the company constantly increased, and in October, 1897, the company erected a new plant on Globe street, a large and modernly-equipped foundry, one of the best of its kind in New England. The business of the company is the casting of engine and machine parts, an extensive business having been developed through the energy and ability of Mr. Colvin during the forty-four years he was the responsible head.  He conceived an idea of fusing imperfect castings which would otherwise have been thrown out, this resulting in a great saving and led to the development of a large repair business.

Hand in hand with the development of a large and profitable business, Mr. Colvin carried along plans for its perpetuation, and two sons were trained in its every detail, each being in time elected to official position. Came the time when the founder, proud of his work, felt that the time had come to retire, the son, Clarence H., succeeded his father as president, the other son, Charles T., continued as treasurer, the change being made so quietly that no friction developed, so well had the work of the founder been done in anticipation of the event.  He retired at the age of seventy, having been 'in the harness' from the age of eighteen, when he began learning the molder's trade.  The success which came to him was fairly earned and achieved through his own force of character, perseverance, indomitable spirit and business genius.  He has long been a member of the New England Foundryman's Association, and he carried with him into retirement the respect and esteem of every man with whom he came into personal contact. Independent in political thought, he has no fixed affiliations. In Free Masonry he holds the degrees of the York Rite, belonging to St. John's Lodge, No. 1, of Providence, Royal Arch Chapter, and St. John's Commandery, Knights Templar.  He is a member of the Pomham Club.

Mr. Colvin married (first), in April, 1868, Hannah Brown, they the parents of Charles T., whose sketch follows.  He married (second), in October, 1876, Augusta L. Hammett, they the parents of two sons:  Clarence H., whose sketch follows; and Earl, born May 23, 1887, drowned at Hunt's Mills, April 9, 1903.


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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