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William Guarzia BENNETT. -- Mr. Bennett is a son of Thomas Bennett, who resided in Newport during the revolutionary war, and on the bombarment of that town made Old Warwick his residence. He married Lydia Guarzia, daughter of Captain John Guarzia, and had five children: Esther, who died at an early age; Esther, wife of Isaac Nichols; Benjamin, William G. and Elizabeth, wife of William Burden. All are now deceased.
Captain Guarzia, a Portuguese, was a brave and intrepid officer. The English ship 'St. James' left Jamaica with 600 tons of sugar, bound, in company with five other vessels, for England, under the protection of two convoys. They became separated in a gale off Cape Hatteras, and speedily encountered Captain Guarzia's gunboat, manned by its commander and five men, and carrying two six-pounders. Aware of the rich prize that awaited them, they determined to capture the English vessel, and consequently aimed all their shots at the sails and rigging. After a continuous assault of five days, on the sixth day she surrendered with thirty men, the captain remarking, as he observed the swarthy complexion of Captain Guarzia, that it was very 'humiliating to surrender to a nigger in a hog trough'. This remark so enraged the captain that he threatened to cut off the offender's head with his sword if it were repeated. The 'St. James' was brought to the dock in East Greenwich, and the cargo divided as prize money among the crew.
William Guarzia Bennett was born September 11th, 1794, in East Greenwich, where he remained for many years. Very little time was afforded for acquiring even a modest education, his early life having been devoted to hard labor. His industry was rewarded with ninepence a day until greater devotion to his task brought the increased sum of twenty-five cents per day. On attaining the years of manhood he became a sailor, and for six years followed the sea, his objective points being East Greenwich and the coast of South America. On retiring from this somewhat wandering life he became an apprentice under Stutkley Williams to the trade of carpenter, and for a period of thirty years pursued this trade in the vicinity of his home. He was for many years employed as head carpenter at Natick by Messrs. A. & W. Sprague, meanwhile residing upon the farm he purchased in Warwick, now the home of his son William H. Bennett. Here in the agreeable pursuits pertaining to the life of a farmer his advancing years were passed.
Mr. Bennett was in 1827 married to Cyrena, daughter of Jabez Williams, and a descendant in the seventh generation from Roger Williams, as follows: Roger1, Joseph2, Thomas3, Thomas4, John5, Jabez6, Cerena7. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett were: Leorra W. (Mrs. Job R. Card), born July 27th, 1827; Mary Ann, January 7th, 1829; William H., December 27th, 1838; and Emma, who died December 12th, 1842. Mr. Bennett devoted the later portion of his life to farming, and engaged in no other business. He was in politics first a whig, and afterward a republican, strong in his convictions, and true to his party affiliations. He was particularly pronounced in his opposition to the Dorr rebellion, and ready with influence and personal effort to aid in suppressing the insurrection. He was reared in the Quaker faith, which he revered, though not a constant attendant upon its services. The death of Mr. Bennett occurred on the 8th of August, 1870, and that of his wife September 14th, 1867.
Their son, William H., who now cultivates the farm, married April 27th, 1865, Anna M., daughter of Deacon James S. Gardner, of North Kingstown, who died May 21st, 1884. Mr. Bennett, while devoting much time to the farm, has also found opportunity for the development of his mechanical tastes. He is a skillful carpenter and an adept in the construction of machinery, his ingenuity and knowledge being of practical use in his daily avocations. He was first in the township to apply steam for agricultural purposes, and to adapt its use to cider mills.
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John C. ELLIS. -- Gideon Ellis, the grandfather of the subject of this biography, who resided in West Greenwich, was born in October, 1724, and died September 30th, 1793. He was thrice married, his third wife being Elizabeth Manchester, to whom he was united on the 21st of March, 1762. Among their seven children was a son Arnold, born September 6th, 1763, in West Greenwich, whose death occurred February 23d, 1844. He was on the 31st of July, 1791, married to Mary Crandall. Their children were: Alsey, Lydia, Elizabeth, Polly, Ruth, Gideon, Robert C., Caleb G. Atlucy, Arnold and John C.
The last named and youngest of this number, John Crandall, was born March 1st, 1814, in West Greenwich, and spent his youth on the homestead farm. His education was confined to the rudiments of English acquired at the district school. He, however, possessed a retentive memory and excellent judgment, which made amends in a large degree for the lack of thorough scholastic training, and greatly aided in establishing his success as a practical business man. Mr. Ellis continued to interest himself in matters pertaining to the farm, of which he assumed control some years before the death of his father. In 1849, by special bequest he came into possession of the property, upon which he resided until the spring of 1855, the date of his removal to East Greenwich. Here he a few months later entered upon the duties of steward of the Greenwich Academy, and continued thus employed until the spring of 1857, which he devoted to travel. In 1858 he purchased property within the village limits, and until 1863 filled the office of postmaster, subsequently holding that of town clerk fo the year 1867. He was also made secretary and treasurer of the Rhode Island Insurance company. Mr. Ellis, with his active energetic spirit, found it difficult to remain idle, and on his retirement from these responsibilities held the position of town auctioneer for twelve years, and also that of collecting agent. In 1882, having effected an exchange of property, he settled in Cranston, and two years later, on his removal to East Greenwich, became possessor of his present attractive home on the boundary line in Warwick.
A democrat in his political convictions, he has ever been a close observer of political events, and participated in most of the movements which affected his immediate locality. His election to a seat in the state legislature in 1844 was contested, but his claims were strongly vindicated by re-election during the years 1845, 1846, 1849, 1850 and 1852. In 1854 he was elected to the state senate. In 1864 he filled the same office as representative for East Greenwich, his former constituency having been in the district of West Greenwich. He has since devoted his time chiefly to the duties of collecting agent, real estate broker, and auctioneer.
Mr. Ellis was on the 31st of May, 1846, married to Miss Huldah, daughter of Peleg Ellis, of Dryden, N.Y. He united with the Baptist church in 1858, has since been zealous in the furtherance of its interests, a devout student of the Bible as the best of all books, and an earnest worker in the Sunday school.
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John R. GODFREY. -- Joshua Godfrey, the grandfather of the subject of this biography, resided in East Greenwich, prior to the war of the revolution, for which he was drafted, but not finding it convenient to enter the service, secured a substitute. He married Mary Cooper and settled in East Greenwich, where his children, three sons and three daughters, were born. His son Slocum Godfrey, who spent the greater part of his life on the homestead farm, married Sarah Reynolds, a daughter of John Reynolds of Warwick, and his wife Mary, daughter of William Hall, a representative of one of the oldest families in Warwick. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey were as follows: Mary H., wife of Daniel Briggs; Ruth, married to James Place; Abby, John R., Catherine, wife of Albert Greene; Joshua S., Sarah, and Elizabeth, wife of John Madison. But two of this number, John R. and Mrs. Greene, survive.
John R. Godfrey was born March 7th, 1821, on the farm which wsa the home of his maternal grandfather, and at the age of four years, removed with his parents to East Greenwich. After a rudimentary education, the best the district at that time afforded, he devoted his energies to the improvement of the farm, and continued an invaluable aid to his father until his twenty-sixth year, assuming full charge of the various departments of labor, and exercising much judgment in the management of affairs. In 1848 he removed to his present home in Warwick, previously purchased by his father, the land of which he cultivated for some years and finally received as his paternal inheritance. Although an estate of fair proportions, it did not satisfy the ambition of its owner, who has since added largely to its dimensions. His life has been that of an enterprising and successful farmer. Mr. Godfrey has found his time fully occupied with his varied business interests, and has therefore avoided the busy arena of politics. A democrat in his convistions, he has filled no offices other than such comparatively unimportant ones as pertain to his immediate locality. He was reared in the Quaker faith and worships with the Friends' meeting at East Greenwich, though Mrs. Godffrey is a member of the Baptist church of Apponaug.
Mr. Godfrey was on the 8th of February, 1847, married to Eliza G., daughter of Daniel Williams, of Coventry, and a descendant in the direct line from Roger Williams. They have four children, a daughter and three sons, as follows: Anna C., the wife of George Storrs; Charles S., who assists his father on the farm; William H., engaged in business in Providence, and George W., who cultivates the homestead farm. Charles S. is married to Isora Locke of Warwick; the wife of William H. was formerly Carrie Williams of Apponaug; and George W. is married to Ida Briggs, of East Greenwich.
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Simon Henry GREENE was born in Centreville, in the town of Warwick, R.I., March 31st, 1799, and died at his own village of Clyde, in the same town, April 26th, 1885, being a little over 86 years old. His parents were Job and Abigail (Rhodes) Greene. His father was the eldest son of Colonel Christopher Greene, of the First Rhode Island Continental Regiment, and was in the right of Colonel Greene, who was killed in the revolutionary war prior to its formation, one of the members of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati. On the reorganization of this society some years ago, Simon Henry Greene was admitted a member in the right of his father, and was elected its vice-president, in which office he continued until his death.
The subject of this sketch was educated in the school of his native village, at an excellent private school in Stonington, and finally by Mr. David Aldrich, at Woonsocket, R.I. In 1813-14 he was employed by his brother-in-law, Abner M. Warriner, who was then manufacturing cotton checks in Hartford, Conn., and on his employer's death, returned home. In 1815 he took up a permanent residence in Providence, remaining there until 1838, when he removed to Clyde, in Kent county. His first business training was in the house of Aborn & Jackson, who were merchants as well as manufacturers, being eventually associated with them as agents of the Lippitt Manufacturing Company, under the firm name of Aborn, Jackson & Greene. In 1828 he formed a copartnership with Edward Pike, under the style of Greene & Pike, for the purpose of bleaching and finishing cotton goods, afterward adding printing machinery, which business he enlarged after the death of Mr. Pike in 1842, having acquired, by purchase from the latter's heirs, the sole ownership of the property now known as the Clyde Works.
Mr. Greene was a member of the Providence city council from 1835 to the time of his removal to Warwick, in July, 1838. While a member of that body he was one of the City Audit, and was prominent in remodeling the public school system and in creating the office of superintendent, a system and office which were afterward adopted, first by Boston and then throughout the country. He was elected by the voters of his native town and final residence, a representative in the general assembly in 1840 and 1842. On the death of his partner, Edward Pike, in the latter year, he declined a re-election, but subsequently represented the town four years in succession, from 1851 to 1854, when he again declined a re-election. In 1857, however, his fellow-citizens chose him to represent them as a senator in the general assembly, and successively until 1859 he filled that honorable office. In 1860 he was elected a delegate to the chicago Republican Convention, and voted first for Salmon P. Chase, and then for Abraham Lincoln as the nominee for president of the United States. He was also chosen for a presidential elector in 1864, and with his colleagues, voted for the re-election of Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Greene also served as a member and as secretary for a part of the time on the school committee of Warwick for fifteen years. He was deeply interested in the cause of popular education, as evinced by his long service in its behalf.
Besides the public offices enumerated above, there were many others bestowed upon him by his friends and fellow-townsmen, such as director in financial institutions, member of the town's committee on finance, the latter especially during the trying times of the civil war, moderator of town meetings, chairman of conventions acting in the transaction of public and political affairs; and in all these his name was ever known as a synonym of honor, uprightness and fidelity. It was through his sagacity, strict sence of justice, and inflexible determination, that an act was passed by the general assembly, while he was a member of one of its committees on finance, that a tax was levied upon the deposits in savings institutions, which had been hitherto exempt, and a handsome addition was made to the revenue of the state, without doing injustice to the depositors in those institutions. It is a somewhat remarkable fact, that Mr. Greene never sought a public office and was never ambitious for political preferment, but believing that it was the duty of every good and loyal citizen to serve his fellowmen to the best of his ability whenever called by them to perform public duties, he cheerfully, though at times reluctantly, particularly when he thought his private interests might suffer in consequence, gave his time and talents for the public good.
He was the last of the pioneers of the manufacturing industry of the north valley of the Pawtuxet river, among whom were Colonel Ephraim Talbot, Ex-Governors Charles Jackson and Elisha Harris, James De Wolf, Doctor Caleb Fiske, Benjamin C. Harris, Charles, Colonel Christopher and William Lippitt, Benjamin Aborn, George Jackson, Amasa and William H. Mason.
His father, Colonel Job Greene, was connected with a company for manufacturing cotton in 1794, and transferred to the company land and water power by a deed bearing the date October 3d, of that year. This was at Centreville, on the southwest branch of the Pawtuxet. It is therefore seen that the family of Simon H. Greene has been identified with cotton manufacturing, by means of water power, almost from its very beginning.
Studious from early life, his mind was well stored with useful learning, and his acquirements in general literature enabled him to write with both clearness and vigor of expression. In reading his preference was for religious philosophy and while yet a young man he received the religious truths taught by the eminent and learned Emanuel Swedenborg, and finally became a member of the the Providence Society of the New Jerusalem church, commonly called Swedenborgians. His religious belief, founded as it was on the plain teachings of the Holy Scripture, was in him the controlling cause of all his acts. It had relation to his whole life, and its life in him resulted in beneficient acts, in whatever position he was placed, whether in his own home where he presided with gentle firmness, dignity, urbanity and grace, mingled with the most affectionate care of his family and dependents, or in the refinement, geniality and pleasures of social life, or in public office, or in the affairs of his extensive business.
He was married March 13th, 1822, to Caroline Cornelia, eldest daughter of Edward Aborn, of Providence. Their children wre: Edward Aborn, Henry Lehre, Christopher Rhodes, William Rogers, John Waterman Aborn, Caroline Cornelia, George Frederick (died in infancy), george Frederick (2d), Charles, Francis Clinton and Abby Susan.
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Henry Lehre GREENE , the second son of Simon Henry and Caroline Cornelia Greene, was born March 31st, 1825, at the Aborn homestead in Providence, and at the early age of three years entered a private school in that city. His studies were continued until the age of fourteen, when with his parents he removed to Clyde. He at once entered the Greene & Pike Bleachery located at this point, as a common hand at regular wages and continued thus employed until 1842, meanwhile becoming thoroughly familiar with the business in all its details, and rendering himself competent to manage each individual department. On the death of the junior partner in the year above mentioned, he entered the office with a view to acquiring a knowledge of the company's books, at the same time assisting in the general management of the business. Leaving the office in 1845 his attention was mainly given to the practical working of the establishment, now under his immediate supervision. Mr. Greene acted in this capacity until 1868, when much of the responsibility was relegated to other hands, and the mechanical department of the works received his more especial oversight. His connection with the business from early youth, his practical acquaintance with its details, acquired by a thorough apprenticeship, and his taste for mechanics, have made his services invaluable and place him without doubt at the head of this great industry. He drew the plans and specifications, located the machinery and made the estimates for the spacious buildings now occupied by the Clyde Bleachery and Print Works. Under his immediate supervision the works were almost entirely rebuilt and enlarged, and are now as thoroughly equipped as any establishment of its character in the country.
The business which in 1842 was conducted in the name of S. H. Greene, became, on a reorganization in 1865, S. H. Greene & Sons, Mr. Greene, however, previous to this date participating in the profits. A more adequate conception of the growth of the enterprise may be afforded by a comparison of the past with the present. In the original establishment were employed thirty hands. The list now numbers seven hundred. In 1838 one printing machine was used, about 14,000 yards of cloth were bleached per day, and 2,000 or more yards of indigo blue material was printed and dyed. They have now in their bleachery a capacity for 125 tons or 1,500,000 yards per week, and have nine printing machines, whose aggregate production is 1,250,000 yards per week. For this vast material the United States affords a ready market.
Mr. Greene, aside from the personal attention he gives to the details of this extensive manufacturing interest, has found leisure for other projects. He is president of the Phenix Savings Bank, and in his early life was politically united with the whig party, to whose candidates and measures he gave his cordial and generous support. He found it easy to transfer his allegiance to the republican party on its formation, and in 1883 represented his constituency in the state senate. To this office he was again elected in 1888 and assigned to the important committees on finance and the judiciary. He has been since 1884 a member of the Board of Stae Charities and Corrections, having been appointed first for the unexpired term, and afterward for the full period of six years. He has been largely identified with local affairs, was early elected to serve in the town council and later made its president. He has also been an earnest sympathizer with every measure tending to elevate the standard of education in the town. Mr. Greene, although at an early age taken from the school room to the workshop and counting room, continued to discipline his mind and cultivate a refined taste, by judicious reading, under the kindly direction and criticism of his father and one or more wise counselors. He thus made amends in a large degree for the lack of early scholastic training and not only enlarged his range of thought, but became familiar with a wide field in miscellaneous literature. He has occasionally responded to demands for his presence on the rostrum, and delivered several lectures and addresses on various subjects, in his own and other localities. He is a member of the Swedenborgian church, president of the society and leader of the services.
He was on the 13th of August, 1849, married to Marcy Gooding, daughter of Oliver C. Wilbur, of Providence, who died June 22, 1879. Their children are: Susan Aborn, Lucy Anna, wife of Benjamin Aborn Jackson of Providence; Caroline Cornelia and Francis Whittier. Mrs. Jackson has two sons, Henry Greene and Donald.
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Henry Whitman GREENE. -- Mr. Greene's remote ancestor was John Greene, a surgeon, son of Peter Greene, of Aukley Hall, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. He died in Warwick in 1658 (O.S.), having been three times married. His first wife, Joan Tattersall, whom he married in 1619, was the mother of his six children. John Greene landed in Boston in 1635, and at a later date settled in Providence, where he became one of the proprietors, and ultimately located in Warwick. His second son, James, was born in 1626 and died in 1698. He married, first, Deliverance Potter, of Warwick, and a second time to Elizabeth Anthony, of Portsmouth. He built the original stone dwelling on the homestead land, now owned by the subject of this sketch, the cellar walls of which are still standing. The house was demolished more than seventy years ago, and the present residence, erected in 1687 by his son James, stands but a few feet from the primitive structure occupied by his father. Within this building are various evidences of strength and antiquity. the mammoth fireplace, six by ten feet in dimensions, the heavy oaken beams and solid stairways, all indicate the ancient and indestructible character of the work of that early day. The present owner is justly proud of the fact that this ancestral property is still his own, and has never passed from the Greene family.
James Greene, the second, died March 12th, 1712, at the age of fifty-two. He was a man of much influence in his locality, the first member of the Masonic fraternity in the county, and in 1702 captain of the militia. His descendant, Henry W., has in his possession a cane of which he is justly proud, brought from England by his ancestor, and suitably inscribed, with the date 1687. He has also preserved many deeds, records and parchments bearing the signatures of the early members of the family. Fones Greene, one of the eight children of James Greene, died July 29th, 1758, at the age of sixty-seven. His oldest son, Captain James Greene, the great-grandfather of Henry W., and oldest of the six children of Fones Greene, was born in 1713, and married Patience, daughter of Captain John Waterman, in 1740. He died in 1802, having been for more than sixty years a member of the Baptist society. His son, James Green (sic), was born on the homestead, a portion of which he inherited. He married twice, his first wife being Phebe Warner, who had five children. His second wife was Deborah, daughter of John Gorton. His son, Warner James Greene, was born on the homestead, inherited from his father and grandfather. He married Harriet, daughter of Henry Whitman, of Warwick, whose two children are Henry Whitman and Roby H., wife of Benjamin Budlong.
The former of these, Henry Whitman Greene, was born on the ancestral estate March 1st, 1814. The opportunities afforded at home for an ordinary English education not being promising, he pursued his studies in Providence, and on returning, began at once the business of his life, that of a farmer. He has since been known familiarly amond his friends as "Farmer Greene of the Buttonwoods". On the death of his father in 1849, the estate was divided between the son and daughter, Mr. Greene receiving the dwelling known as the homestead, with land immediately adjacent, which he has greatly improved. He has gratified his inclination in cultivating the paternal acres, and given time and attention to this, to the exclusion of other business pursuits, perhaps more attractive and less laborious. He was formerly a trustee of the Centreville Savings Bank, and has been for forty years a member of Coventry Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.
He has been since the casting of his first ballot a firm believer in the principles of the whig party, and is now equally strong in his defense of the republican platform. He has been a delegate to state conventions, but always declined office other than that of member of the school board of his town. He was made a major during the days when the militia was a power in the state, and shouldered a musket when the Dorr rebellion inspired the patriotism of Rhode Island citizens. On the election of William Henry Harrison to the presidency in 1840, Mr. Greene gave a gigantic clambake on the homestead farm, when 10,000 good whigs cheered for 'Tippecanoe and Tyler too'. He celebrated the election of his grandson, General Benjamin Harrison, in the same hospitable manner in 1888. He is doubtless one of the best informed men on matters of historical and antiquarian interest in the town of Warwick. He adheres in religion to the faith of his ancestors, that of the Baptist church.
Mr. Greene was married in 1842 to Emeline, daughter of Jeremiah Dexter, of Warwick, and granddaughter of Benjamin Dexter, of Centreville, Warwick.
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Richard GREENE. -- Richard Greene was born the 2d of April, 1827, on Warwick Neck in Kent county. The schools of the neighborhood afforded him opportunities for a rudimentary education, and careful reading during the later years of his life did fully as much as a more thorough course of study in the development of a thoughtful habit of mind. He at an early age gave considerable attention to the work of the farm and aided his father greatly in his varied pursuits, meanwhile for five winters assuming the charge of a district school. In 1854 he rented a farm in the same town and found this venture so satisfactory as to warrant a continuance of the arrangement for eleven years. On the death of his mother Mr. Greene returned to the homestead farm, which he cultivated until 1871, when on the disposal of his interest in the paternal estate, he purchased his present home at Old Warwick. Here he erected a commodious dwelling, and otherwise improved the property, upon which he has since resided.
He is one of the most representative republicans in his portion of the town and exceptionally well informed on all matters pertaining to its interests. He was prominent in measures having for their end a division of the town of Warwick in 1873-75, which for the time being were defeated. He was for six years an influential member of the town council and has held other less important offices. He was one of the originators of the Old Warwick Library Association, has been its devoted champion through many vicissitudes, and is its present treasurer, his daughter being the librarian. He is a supporter of the Baptist church of Old Warwick with which some of the family are connected by membership.
Mr. Greene was on the 28th of September, 1852, married to Miss Sarah Malvina Atwood, daughter of Jeremiah Atwood of Pawtuxet. Their only daughter, Alice D., is married to Robert W. Greene, of Warwick, whose two children are Bessie A., now living, and Marion, deceased.
The progenitor of the Greene family was Peter Greene, who resided on his estate in Wiltshire, England. His son John, who married Joan Tattersall, emigrated to America in 1635. Their fourth son Thomas was born in England in 1629 and admitted a freeman in Warwick in 1647. His death occurred in 1717. His son Richard was born in 1667 and died in 1724, leaving a son Richard, whose birth occurred in 1702 and his death in 1778. Thomas, a son of the latter, was born in 1729 and died in 1813. His son Thomas Wickes was born in 1769 and died in 1854. He married Barbara Low, who was born in 1770 and died in 1854. Their son Richard Wickes, whose birth occurred in 1791 and his death in 1867, married Betsey Wells Anthony, born in 1796, died in 1866. Mr. Greene, who was captain of a vessel engaged in the East India trade, in 1826 purchased and afterward resided upon the Wickes farm on Warwick Neck. His son Richard, one of seven children (three of whom are deceased) is the subject of this biography.
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Henry D. HEYDON. -- Mr. Heydon traces his descent in the direct line from William Heydon, who was born in England, and probably emigrated to America in 1630. He was twice married, his children by the first union being: Daniel, born in 1640; Nathaniel, in 1642; and Mary, in 1648. Lieutenant Daniel Hayden married, in 1664, Hannah Wilcockson, of Stratford, Conn., who died in 1722. Their children were: Daniel, born in 1666; Hannah, in 1668; Nathaniel, in 1671; William, in 1673; William, 2d, in 1676; Samuel, in 1678; Ebenezer, in 1681; and Mary, in 1688. Ebenezer Hayden, of Haydens, married, in 1708, Mindwell Griswold, whose children were: Ebenezer, born December 9th, 1709; Mindwell, April 4th, 1713; and David, January 21st, 1715. The last named of these children married, March 11th, 1761, Jemima Ellsworth, who died February 13th, 1828. Their children were: David, born in 1761; Jemimah, in 1764; Newell, in 1766; Peletiah, in 1768; Oliver, in 1770; Abijah, in 1772; Lyman, and Olive. Among these sons was David, grandfather of the subject of this biography, a native of Harwinton, Conn., who removed to Greenbush, N.Y., and died in 1835. He was three times married, and had children: Manta, Miles Lester, born in 1794; Bateman Ellsworth, in 1809; Julia, William Henry, Ann Jemima, in 1820; and David*, on the 2d of March, 1822, in Greenbush.
David married, in 1849, Remima C. Johnson, whose only son, Henry D. Heydon, was born December 25th, 1851, in Coventry, R.I., and in childhood became a resident of Woonsocket, where he remained until his tenth year. He then removed to Providence and supplemented his course of study in the English branches of the public schools by a period at the Mt. Pleasant Academy, in the latter city. He early begam his business career as clerk in a store in Providence, some years later embarked in the sale of groceries and dry goods at Olneyville, and subsequently undertook for three years the management of an established business at the same point. In 1874 Mr. Heydon removed to Crompton, and in behalf of creditors, assumed charge of a general store located in that village. The promising outlook at this point induced him six months after to form a copartnership with Daniel W. Batchelder, which relation has continued until the present time.
Mr. Heydon has given some attention to public affairs, and manifested much interest in matters connected with the town. He has since 1883 been a member of the school board, for three years filled the office of town auditor, and was for three and a half years postmaster of Crompton. He was for the years 1879-80 elected to the general assembly, and again the successful candidate for that office in 1888. He served as chairman of the finance committee, considered the most important in the house. He is a member and secretary of the board of examinors of the State Normal School, and aide-de-camp, with the rank of colonel, on the staff of Governor Royal C. Taft. Mr. Heydon is a member and past master of Manchester Lodge, No. 12, of Free and Accepted Masons, of Coventry; also member of Landmark R.A. Chapter, No. 10, of Warwick, and has been for three years its high priest. He is identified with Manufacturers' Lodge, No. 15, I.O.O.F., of Olneyville, and a member of the Franklin Lyceum, of Providence.
Mr. Heydon in 1881 married Lottie A. Booth, daughter of Wright Booth and Jane G. Bradley, of Crompton, R.I. Mr. Booth built, and for more than twenty-nine years was landlord of the Crompton Hotel. The only child of Mr. and Mrs. Heydon is a son, Howard Raymond, born January 23d, 1882.
*the orthography was in this generation changed to Heydon.
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Thomas J. HILL. -- The long and successful business career of Thomas Jefferson Hill as a manufacturer in New England sustains an important relation to the development of a portion of Kent county, and although his enterprises have been carried on and his fortune secured chiefly outside the county, yet, in this record of growth of manufacturing villages, among the people here who have known him and respect him for his masterly qualities of head and heart, something more than a passing mention should be made.
The state of Rhode Island has produced but few men in this century who will go down to history as his peer. The son of a Pawtucket mechanic in humble life, he found his school days ended when he was but fourteen years of age, and in the blacksmith shop of his father, at Cromwell Hill, his next two years were passed. The next nine years probably determined the general channel in which his life work was to be done. Pitcher & Gay (afterward Pitcher & Brown) were manufacturers of mill machinery, and Mr. Hill became their apprentice, mastered the business, and within the nine years he was with them he was employing men and taking contracts on his own risk.
He went to Providence April 19th, 1830, and took charge of a machine shop connected with a cotton manufactory on Eddy street for Samuel Slater. Four years later the business of the machine shop was reorganized as the Providence Machine Company, in which Mr. Hill had an interest of forty per cent. In 1837, two years after Mr. Slater's death, the business having rapidly improved, Mr. Hill bought at Willimantic, Conn., the Lee mill, intending to remove there the machine manufacturing business. He, however, repaired the property at Willimantic, and making his own machinery, started a thread mill in 1840, which in 1845 he sold to A. D. & J. Y. Smith. Within the two succeeding years Mr. Hill built a new machine schop, and purchased the balance of the stock of the Providence Machine Company. The company was reorganized under a charter in 1874, with T. J. Hill as president and treasurer. The business, largely owned by Mr. Hill, includes one of the best equipped plants in the country for the manufacture of cotton and worsted mill machinery. His fly-frames, now in general use, were first put on the market in 1847.
In 1850 Mr. Hill, with some Boston capitalists, organized the Bates & Hill Manufacturing company at Lewiston, Me., and built four cotton mills on the Androscoggin river. Mr. Hill built a foundry and rented a machine shop at Lewiston, where he put up a large portion of the machinery for the flour mills, associating with him in this enterprise his former foreman, Samuel W. Kilvert. In 1864 Amos D. Lockwood and others purchased part of Mr. Hill's stock and formed the Lewiston Machine Company, and two years later Mr. Hill sold his remaining interest.
In 1859 he purchased the Peckham Mills on the bay at East Greenwich, manufactured part of the required machinery and started a cotton mill, which he named Bay Mill, and later gave it to his two sons. He now owns several hundred acres at Hill's Grove, in the town of Warwick, where he erected in 1875 one of his cotton thread mills, now under the management of William G. James. This mill, with a capacity of 20,000 spindles, he named the Elizabeth Mill, in honor of Mrs. Hill. The Bay Mill, located at East Greenwich, is now known as the Elizabeth Mill No. 2. His splendid farm property at Hill's Grove is one of the finest on the line of the Stonington railroad, and in his various enterprises to build up a village here of pleasant homes, he has endeared himself to the hearts of all by his broad sympathies for the humble and the poor.
In 1867 he became president and treasurer of the Rhode Island Malleable Iron Works, then erected at Hill's Grove, of which Smith Quimby is superintendent. Mr. Hill paid half the cost of the fine depot building there, and in 1869 erected and furnished, at a cost of over $4,000, a village school house, containing also a hall for religious meetings.
His sturdy good sense and keen business perceptions, as well as his large private means, have made him a desirable adviser among capitalists, and to-day we find him, besides directing the manufacturing enterprises mentioned, completing a third of a century as president of the Lime Rock Bank of Providence, and he has served over twenty-six years as vice-president and trustee of the City Savings Bank. In 1866 he organized the Providence Dredging Company, and in 1874 the Providence Pile Driving and Bridge Building Company, and other combinations of labor and capital for the development of the material resources of his native state.
He has given a little attention to politics, having been seven years in the Providence city council and once in the state general assembly.
Mr. Hill's first wife, Betsey, who died in May, 1859, was a daughter of Sylvanius and Ruth Brown of Pawtucket. All the lines of descent from the subject of this sketch will be traced from this marriage. The second Mrs. Hill, who died in November, 1866, was Olive L., daughter of Stephen and Hannah Farnham of Canterbury, Conn. In 1869, after completing his second European trip, Mr. Hill was married on the 9th of August to a Warwick lady - Elizabeth C. Kenyon, daughter of John H. and Ruth Kenyon - who shares with him their elegant home in Providence, where he is passing his serene and hale old age in the enjoyment of that vigor of mind and body which would class him with the men of sixty years.
His life has been long and eventful and cast in a remarkable period of the country's growth. His native village, now a city - his adopted city, a great manufacturing center -- the plains of Warwick, which he found almost useless, he has lived to see teeming with life and enterprise; and himself transformed from the unknown blacksmith's boy to the millionaire whose career will be made the model of many another who aims at honors and position to be fairly won.
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Benedict and Enos LAPHAM. -- the Lapham Family are of English lineage, their progenitor being John Lapham, a weaver, born in 1635, who settled in Providence, where he married Mary Mann, daughter of William Mann. John Lapham's son Thomas was a deputy in the general assembly in 1747 and 1749, and a judge in 1760. Reverend Richard Lapham, the father of Benedict and Enos Lapham, married Phebe Arnold. He was a farmer, and a minister in the Wesleyan Methodist church, though not settled as a pastor. His father, Levi Lapham, and his grandfather, Jethro Lapham, were members of the Society of Friends, the former a minister, and both were prosperous farmers and influential citizens. Phebe Arnold Lapham was the daughter of Noah Arnold, a prominent citizen of Burrillville, Rhode Island.
Benedict Lapham, born June 26th, 1816, was in early life employed on a farm, and in manufacturing establishments in Burrillville, Rhode Island, and Palmer and Douglass, Massachusetts. He also for a time had charge of the farming interests of the Albion Manufacturing Company at Smithfield, Rhode Island. In 1837 he attended Bushee's Academy at Bank Village, Rhode Island, where he paid special attention to the study of mechanics. He then worked several years as a carpenter and wheelwright. In 1839 he hired the Tillinghast factory in East Greenwich, and engaged successfully in the manufacture of cotton goods until the fall of 1840, when the factory was sold and the stock disposed of to the purchasers of the property. He then resumed farming, his father having conveyed to him the old homestead. Mr. Lapham afterward carried on the manufacturing business in North Scituate, Wallum Pond, and Pascoag, Rhode Island. In the summer of 1852 he bought of the executors of the will of the late John Greene of Warwick, the estate in Centreville, embracing two-thirds of the water power, and all the machinery of the old mills which were built in 1794 and 1807, with later additions. Here Mr. Lapham and his brother Enos engaged in the manufacture of cotton cloth with about 5,000 spindles. In 1861 he made a large addition to the mill, and in 1871 removed the old building, erecting on the site a new structure three hundred and three feet long, one of the finest mills in the state, and probably one of the largest. It has a capacity for 40,000 spindles and employs both steam and water power. He was his own architect, making the plans and supervising the work of building. Mr. Lapham was also engaged in the cotton and grain trade, visiting the South and West in the interest of this branch of his business.
During the 'Dorr Rebellion' he was captain of a militia company. In 1849 he was a member of the Rhode Island house of representatives from Scituate. In 1863 he was elected to the state senate from Warwick to fill a vacancy, and re-elected the following year. He was appointed by Governor Smith, state commissioner of the Antietam Cemetery, and reappointed by Governor Padelford. He was president of the town council for five years, justice of the peace, and the imcumbent of other offices. In 1863 he purchased the Smithville Seminary and gave it to the Free Will Baptist Association. He afterward carried on that institution for five years at his own expense. He married in November, 1849, Ann Eliza, daughter of the late Russell and Catherine (Essex) Austin, of North Kingstown.
Mr. Lapham's business career extended over a period of more than forty years, and was characterized by strict integrity and ceaseless energy. He was a man of iron constitution, indomitable perseverance, and great executive ability. He possessed a thoroughly disciplined mind, and was master of his business, comprehending all its details, from the buying of cotton in the fields, through all the processes of manufacturing, to the sale of all the products of his mills. His liberal spirit and interest in the public welfare led him to devote much of his wealth to the cause of education and to benevolent purposes. His career was one of great usefulness until his death, which occurred June 16th, 1883.
Enos Lapham, also the son of Richard and Phebe (Arnold) Lapham, was born in Burrillville, R.I., September 13th, 1821. When a lad, with only the educational opportunities afforded at a district school, he entered a cotton mill as a mill hand. But he was bright and promising. At an age when the boys of today are still in high school, he was running a little mill in his native town, which he had leased. In 1839 he joined his older brother, Benedict Lapham, in operating a small factory in East Greenwich, and although the business was conducted in the name of the older brother, they continued together until the latter's death. Enos was the practical man and superintendent, while Benedict devoted his time to the business management of the concern. Their venture having prospered, they removed to Centreville and greatly extended their manufacturing interests, as has been before stated. On the death of his brother, in 1883, Mr. Lapham became sole owner of this valuable property. He thus stands as a conspicuous example of the possibilities of a poor boy under the American system of industries and government.
The life of Enos Lapham has been one of keen and persistent toil, devoted, with his brother, to the building up of a great business. He is emphatically a man of the people, great-hearted, wholesouled, and cordially esteemed by those who understand him. He is well known for hard common sense, often more valuable in legislative halls than college education or polished manners. Reared in a Methodist family, he has been a member of that denomination nearly all his life, is a trustee of the church in Centreville, and a director of the Providence Conference Seminary in East Greenwich. The temperance question, which is one of vital importance in Rhode Island, finds him no lukewarm defender. He is one of the strongest temperance advocates in the state. In his school district no intoxicating liquors are sold, and none have for years past been allowed. He is identified with the interests of the town as president of the Centreville National Bank and the Centreville Savings Bank.
In politics Mr. Lapham has been a republican since the life of that party, is active in affairs connected with his locality, and has been for three years president of the Warwick town council. In 1886 he was elected to the Rhode Island senate, and in 1888 was the unanimous choice of his party for the office of lieutenant-governor, which distinguished position he now fills. A man of progressive ideas, of much executive ability, evincing a deep interest in public affairs, and of genial nature, he has won a deservedly honored place in the regard of his fellow citizens.
Mr. Lapham was married April 23d, 1843, to Abby B., daughter of the late Russell and Catherine (Essex) Austin, of North Kingstown, who died March 18th, 1885. Their only child, Elizabeth S., is the widow of Franklin Treat, and has one son, Robert Byron Treat. Mr. Lapham was a second time married, December 30th, 1885, to his present wife, Lydia Harriet, daughter of the late Henry and Maria (Pierce) Hamilton, of Centreville, R.I.
p. 1045 - 1047.
The LOCKWOOD Family. -- Abraham Lockwood, one of the earliest if not the earliest representative of this family in this country, was born in the year 1670. He settled in that part of Warwick known as old Warwick. His first wife was Sarah, daughter of Amos and Deborah (Stafford) Westcott, by whom he had five children: Abraham, Amos, Adam, Deborah and Sarah. His second wife was Priscilla, daughter of John and Ann (Gorton) Crandall and by whom he had no issue. He was possessed of extensive real estate both in Warwick and Providence. He died in the year 1747, his will being admitted to probate in Warwick June 7th, 1747, in which he devises by far the greater portion of his estate, both real and personal, to his son Adam, who is appointed executor.
Abraham2, son of Abraham1, must have been at one time a resident of that part of Providence which is now Scituate, as a deed from his father is in existence conveying to him real estate in Providence (now Scituate) which tends to prove this fact. He died in1762. His issue was five children: Abraham, Joseph, Jacob, William and Desmaris.
Amos2, second son of Abraham1, was born in Warwick in 1695. December 23d, 1725, he married Sarah, daughter of William and Ann (Stone) Utter. Twelve children were born to them: Amos, Sarah, Ann, Benoni, Alice, Mercy, Ruth, Wait, Phebe, Barbara, Abraham and Millicent.
Adam2, the third son of Abraham1, was married December 24th, 1734, to Sarah, daughter of Henry Straight. Their issue was as follows: Ann, Sarah, Abraham, Hannah, Adam, Deborah, Almy, Patience, Adam, Abraham and Benajah. The date of his death is not certain.
Deborah2, daughter of Abraham1, was married in December, 1724, to Nathaniel Stone. Their children were three in number - Sarah, Nathaniel and Deborah.
Sarah2, daughter of Abraham1, was married June 16th, 1728, to Abel Potter. Seven children were born to them: Phebe, Phebe, Prudence, Margaret, Mercy, Dinah and Abel.
Benajah3, the youngest child of Adam2, married Abbie Webb, by whom he had nine children: Mary, married John Mackenzie; Sallie, married John Mackenzie after the death of his first wife; Russell, married Amey Arnold; Amey, married Chauncey Andros; Celia, married Russell Fiske; Freelove, married John Humphrey; Thomas, married his cousin Lucy Ann Lockwood; Henry, died in infancy, and Eliza, married James Titus of New Jersey.
The children of Thomas4 and Lucy Ann Lockwood were fifteen in number, four of whom died in infancy. Eleven reached maturity, vis.: Mary M., married Albert Phillips; Thomas H., married Adaline A. Titus, daughter of James and Eliza4 (Lockwood) Titus; Benoni T., married Margaret J. Seaman; Abby F., married (1) John Weaver (2) John Searle; Abraham, married Sarah A. Carr**; Lewis, married Anna K. Knapp; Lucy Ann, married George T. Searle; Nancy, married Willard M. Briggs; Russell, unmarried; Elisha P., married Amey Austin, and Lyida C., married George Eukers. Six only survive, vis.: Thomas H., Abby F., Abraham, Nancy, Lucy Ann and Lydia.
Thomas H.5, son of Thomas4 and Lucy Ann Lockwood, was born in Warwick, March 9th, 1827. April 14th, 1850, he married Adaline A., daughter of James and Eliza (Lockwood4) Titus of Tappan, New Jersey. Their children are: Amanda Augusta, born at Warwick January 28th, 1851 (she was married December 25th, 1872, to John Waterman, grandson of John R. Waterman and now resides in Providence, R.I.); James T., and Eliza Evelyn, born at Tappan, New Jersey, July 5th, 1856, unmarried.
James T. Lockwood6, son of Thomas H.5 and Adaline A. Lockwood, was born at Providence, R.I., May 20th, 1853. He attended the public schools of Providence, R.I., New Jersey and Warwick until his seventeen year; entered Mount Pleasant Academy in the spring of 1869, graduated from that institution in June, 1872, and in September of that year entered Brown University in the class of 1876, graduated in June, 1876. During the period from this time to 1881 he entered as a student in the law office of Colwell & Colt, two of the leading attorneys of Providence, R.I., and was admitted to the Bar in the summer of 1883. From that time till June, 1887, he filled the position of clerk at Attorney General Samuel P. Colt, as well as being engaged in the practice of his profession. October 21st, 1886, he married Alice K., daughter of Andrew J. and Mary K. Smith of Warwick, and granddaughter of ex-Mayor Edward P. Knowles of Providence. In June, 1887, he ws elected to the office of town clerk of the town of Warwick, which office he now holds, removing from Old Warwick in November, 1887, to Apponaug, R.I., where he now resides.
[facing page: portrait of James T. Lockwood]
[**added by transcriber: CARR, Sarah Ann m. Abraham Lockwood, April 21, 1850 in Warwick]
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David PIKE. -- The subject of this sketch is the grandson of Jonas Pike, and the son of Ephraim and Lucy Pitman Pike. He was born on the 13th of March, 1807, in Sterling, Conn., and there spent his boyhood days. His father carried on the trade of a hatter and his son, until the age of sixteen, divided the time between the school room and the shop, making himself in various ways useful in the latter place. In 1820 he removed to Lippitt, Kent county, R.I., and entered a store as clerk, but finding this employment yielded but little profit, he sought an engagement in the cotton mills at that place. His first experience was in connection with what is known as the dresser, after which he was placed in the weaving department, and ere long became overseer of that branch of the mill industry. He found this labor somewhat circumscribed and on the death of his father began the manufacture of acids, then largely used in the printing of fabrics.
Mr. Pike next embarked in teaming, which prior to the construction of railroads was an important industry, and soon secured a large patronage, employing many horses for the purpose. He began at a later date the manufacture of packing boxes, and in conjunction with this conducted a large lumber business at River Point, the material being shipped to Coweset (sic), from whence it was drawn by horses to its destination. Mr. Pike's versatile mind enabled him to master more than one enterprise, and soon a grist mill was erected on the site of the present planing mill. This was successfully operated until 1873, when a disastrous fire laid it in ruins. Not discouraged by this loss, its owner, who had also been a considerable buyer of grain, erected an extensive building on the old site, which was devoted to the manufacture of sash, moulding and blinds, as also to planing on a large scale. The firm, by the admission of his son as partner, became in 1875 David Pike and Son. With the exception of a farm owned and cultivated by him, this business absorbed most of his attention.
Mr. Pike was a striking example of the results accomplished by industry, thrift and solidity of character. He began without aid, in youth was self-reliant and persevering, and from the commencement maintained that firm adherence to principle, which made his name a synonym for honesty and probity. His judgment was excellent, his business habits methodical, and his word as good as his bond.
Mr. Pike was twice married, his first wife being Martha, daughter of Ephraim Coville, to whom he was united on the 1st of April, 1827. They had one daughter, Susan, now deceased. He was again married September 12th, 1830, to Orlanda, daughter of Ahira Hall, of Providence, one of the founders of the Philadelphia line of packets running from that city. The children of this union are: Henry, David, Emily and Lucy, deceased, and Edward who succeeded to the business. Mr. Pike was in his religious faith a Swedenborgian, and exemplified in daily life the principles of his belief. His death occurred January 27th, 1887.
Edward Pike married on the 25th of January, 1878, Jessie, daughter of William Hunter, of Glasgow, Scotland. Their children are: David, Lucy P., Jessie H., Edward H., William H. and Donald H.
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Horatio W. POTTER. -- Mr. Potter, one of the most energetic and progressive business men of River Point, in Warwick, is the grandson of Adam Potter, who was born in Scituate, Providence county, where he spent his life in the employments of a farmer. His children were: Hiram W., Gordon, Sheldon, Richmond, David T., Miranda, Isabella, Cindarilla, wife of Charles Mordack, and Mary Ann, married to William Mordack.
Hiram W. Potter was born in Scituate November 6th, 1804, and in early life found employment on a farm. In 1843 he removed to River Point, and until advancing years compelled a cessation from labor, was one of the most industrious men in his immediate locality. He married Matilda, daughter of Elihu Burgess, of New York state. Their children are: Hiram W. Jr., Mary Jane, Horatio W., Henry W., Harrison W., Harley W., Harley W. 2d, and Mary Jane 2d, all of whom, with the exception of Harley W., 2d, Harrison W., and the subject of this sketch, are deceased.
Horatio W. Potter was born November 10th, 1833, in Scituate, and removed with his parents to River Point in 1843. His industrious habits at an early age left little opportunity for study, and rendered his education limited. He entered the cotton mills at River Point, and continued for several years thus employed. The restless spirit of the man chafed under the restraint imposed in the service of others, and sought a more extended and independent sphere of action. He then embarked in various enterprises that proved profitable, and in 1861 removed to Foster, Providence county, in the same state, where he engaged in general trafficking.
In 1866 Mr. Potter returned to River Point and established a general supply depot for the sale of masons' materials, coal, wood, land plaster, fertilizers of all kinds, hay, grain, harness, etc. His business has so increased in proportions, as to necessitate offices and warehouses at both River Point and Coweset, to which may be added a valuable farm of Mt. Vernon, in Providence county. Mr. Potter has supplied a liberal share of the building material used in his locality, and finds that attention to business, honorable dealing, and a quick perception of the wants of the public, have brought a large and growing trade. He gives his time chiefly to his several interests, and has not entered the political field. His public spirit has, however, prompted him to accept office on the town committee as a representative of the republican party. Though not a member, he is an attendant upon the services of the Congregational church at River Point, and a willing contributor to its needs.
Mr. Potter married, in 1855, Hannah M., daughter of Doctor William N. Clark, of Warwick. Their children are: Charles E., Emma M., Frank E, and Frederick H., the only survivor being Frank E.
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Robert REOCH. -- Mr. Reoch is of Scotch parentage, and the grandson of Robert Reoch, who resided in Renfrewshire, Scotland, where he was well known as a skillful calico printer. His services were later in demand in Denny, a famous center for calico prints, in Sterlingshire, from which point he moved to Barrhead, in Renfrewshire, where his death occurred. He married Bethia Tennant, of Sterlingshire. Their children were: Archibald, Abraham, Robert, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Bethia. Robert, the the third son in order of birth, was a native of Denny, where the greater part of his active life was spent. Under the instruction of his father he became proficient in the art of calico printing, and was employed both at Denny and Paisley, a large manufacturing point not far distant. He married Ann, daughter of Daniel McNeal, who resided in the suburbs of Paisley. Their children were: Robert (the subject of this biography), Mary (Mrs. Faulds), and Archibald.
Robert, the only surviving child, was born October 9th, 1840, in Renfrewshire, and in early childhood became an inmate of his paternal grandfather's home. He pursued the ordinary branches at the common schools until fifteen, the age of his apprenticeship to the firm of Thomas Boyd & Sons, at the Fereneze Print Works at Barrhead, Renfrewshire. Here he remained for seven years, and meanwhile, desiring to become thoroughly conversant with the science of chemistry as applied to colors, took a special course under Professor Penny at the Andersonian University in Glasgow. On the conclusion of his apprenticeship he remained three years with the Fereneze Print Works as assistant manager of the coloring department, and then accepted an engagement to act in the same capacity with Muir, Brown & Co., of Glasgow. While here, Mr. Reoch received from Messrs. S. H. Greene & Sons, in 1867, a flattering offer to assume the management of the Clyde Bleachery and Print Works, located at River Point in Kent county, Rhode Island, which, after much deliberation, he accepted.
Under his able management these extensive works have attained a high degree of prosperity. In the conduct of the business skill and ability have been displayed conspicuously at critical times. Thus in 1872-3, when calico printing was greatly depressed and most concerns were either running on very short time or closed, the Clyde Print Works were being operated much of the time both night and day on a new style of black and green prints, then deservedly popular. As the green was a new coloring matter, which few printers were able to make fast, the Clyde works reaped a golden harvest. Again in 1876 (the Centennial year) the calico printing interests suffered severely, prices being low and business extremely dull. S. H. Greene & sons embarked in the manufacture of printed flags, which proved a signal success, and enable them to run almost their entire establishment for several months on this article alone. These included United States flags, British, French, German, and one or more copyrighted international flags, the latter including the flags of all nations. In 1877 the Clyde Print Works gave their attention to a branch of industry never before introduced into the United States, the manufacture of Turkey red handkerchiefs. This also for several years proved a lucrative business, and indicates the influence of home industries in reducing rather than enhancing the price of goods. Previous to this achievement these handkerchiefs retailed for twenty-five cents each, and three years later an article equal in every respect could be purchased for seven cents. The present price is five cents. The Messrs. Greene & Sons are therefore, through their manager, the pioneers in this branch of industry, and have laid the foundation for a large Turkey red trade, both in plain and printed goods. These facts will illustrate the progress and development of their extensive works under skillful and energetic management.
Mr. Reoch is vice-president of the Pawtuxet Valley Water Works, of which he was one of the foremost projectors. He has happily adapted himself to his surroundings, and is identified with many enterprises in Phenix, his residence, and its immediate vicinity. As a republican he has been president of one or more local clubs and given his influence to the success of his party. He is more especially interested in the advancement of the musical taste of the community, and was president and conductor of the Choral Union. Mr. Reoch is a member of the Congregational church of River Point, president of the society, and has for sixteen years acted as its chorister. He is a member of the Congregational Association of Providence, and has frequently been a delegate to ecclesiastical conventions. He is also president of the British-American Club of Phenix.
Mr. Reoch was married March 31st, 1865, to Helen, daughter of William Stewart, of Barrhead, above mentioned. Their children are: Lillias Stewart, born in Scotland, and Robert A. S., William S., Helen M., Archibald T., Mary E., Norman G., and John S., born in Kent county. All, with the exception of the youngest, are living.
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Christopher SPENCER. -- The name of Spencer has been one of prominence in both Washington and Kent counties for more than a century. Thomas Spencer, the grandfather of the subject of this biography, was a resident of North Kingstown. His son, William Spencer, a firm patiot during the period of the revoluntionary war, was, in June, 1779, taken prisoner by an armed force from the British ships lying near Hope Island, his stock grazing in the field captured, and his farm produce appropriated, leaving his family destitute of the means of subsistence. William Spencer married Waite Spenter, daughter of Walter Spencer, of East Greenwich, January 21st, 1770. They were the parents of Christopher Spencer.
The latter was born in North Kingstown, May 17th, 1783, on the farm of the late Governor Greene. The opportunities for acquiring a thorough education were at that time exceedingly limited, and he may therefore with propriety be regarded as self educated. He was reared on his father's farm, and much of the time resided with his parents, occasionally teaching school in winter, and meanwhile improving his leisure time in study. He remained at home until 1797, then accompanied his parents to East Greenwich, where he resided one year, when Cranston became his home. Here he was actively employed in farming for six years, and later resided upon various farms in the town of Warwick.
In 1816 Old Warwick became his home, his father having leased a farm at Conimicut Point, which he assisted in cultivating until 1821, and where the death of both his parents occurred. Here he for several years was the genial landlord of a country inn, the property purchased by him having formerly belonged to his wife's father. He also kept a country store and dealt in yarn which was woven by hand until it ceased to be profitable. Mr. Spencer was in 1822 elected to the house of representatives, in which he served for four years. He was afterward elected to the state senate under the 'old charter' and continued in office for the same period. In 1856 he again represented Warwick in the house of representatives for one year. He held various local offices, was for fifteen years a member of the Warwick town council and part of that time its president.
In 1866 he sold the store that had witnessed him coming and going for a period of forty-five years, and retired from active business life. He was a man of great activity and always occupied, either with his store, farm, or public duties, occasionally adding surveying to his other pursuits. Mr. Spencer was much esteemed in the community for his sound judgment, his enterprise, and his marked integrity of character.
He was a member of the Rhode Island Society for the Encouragement of Domestic Industry, in which he ws much interested. His death occurred May 11th, 1870, in his eighty-seventh year, on the farm which had been his home for nearly half a century. His remains were interred in the family burying ground on the farm.
Mr. Spencer was thrice marred. He was in 1813 united to Celia Westcott, daughter of Captain Nathan Westcott, by whom he had six children: William, Arnold W., Thomas, Edwin, George W., and John Q.A. Mrs. Spencer died in 1827, and the following year he married Sarah C. Spencer of Ira, Vermont, by whom he had two sons, Charles A. and John. Mrs. Spencer died in 1831 and in 1833 he married Welthan Tiffany of Warwick, who survives him. The sons now living are William, who resides in Providence, and George W. on the homestead farm.
William, the son of Christopher Spencer, was born in 1817, and in 1831 began his merantile career in Providence as a clerk. Six years later he became proprietor of a business which he still continues in that city. He is unquestionably the oldest merchant in point of service in Providence. Mr. Spencer married Penelope S., daughter of John Tiffany of Crompton. He still resides much of the year at Old Warwick.
George W. Spencer, of Old Warwick, is also a son of Christopher Spencer. His son George W., Jr., is the principal of the Spencerian Business College located in Providence, having graduated first at the Rhode Island State Normal School in 1884 and at Eastman's Business College, Poughkeepsie, in 1885. He is an active Odd Fellow and presiding officer of Perseverance Lodge of that order, located at Apponaug.
Thomas Spencer, of Old Warwick, grandson of Christopher Spencer, was born in 1851. He has been actively engaged in business since 1872, and has devoted some attention to public affairs. He was for two years a member of the town council, and one year represented his district in the general assembly. For two years he was president of the Warwick League, and in 1888 a delegate to the democratic national convention held in St. Louis.
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Benjamin P. WATERHOUSE. -- Thomas Waterhouse, the grandfather of the subject of this biography, resided in Meltham, Yorkshire, England, where he followed his trade as a weaver of woolen fabrics. He had four sons - Samuel, Richard, James and Matthew, and three daughters - Mary, Ruth and Martha. Richard Waterhouse, a native of Meltham, emigrated to America in 1846, and was at once employed in the weaving department of the mill owned by Messrs. Waterhouse & Allen at Centreville. He remained with this establishment in the same capacity until his death on the 2d of January, 1864. He married Mary, daughter of John Hurst, of Meltham. Their children were: Maria, Benjamin F., Walker, Richard, Martha, Mary, Hannah, John, Sarah, Maggie and Emma, seven of whom are still living.
Benjamin F. Waterhouse was born in Meltham on the 15th of September, 1830. Unlike the youth of the present day, his opportunities for education were exceedingly neager, being limited to instruction in the Sunday school and study at his home. At the age of nine years he entered a woolen mill and began winding bobbins, three years later having control of a hand loom which he operated until 1846, the date of his emigration with his parents to America. He at once entered the weaving room of the mill at Centreville, where his father was employed, and continued with the firm until he had become thoroughly proficient in the business of a woolen manufacturer. Mr. Waterhouse then accepted an engagement as foreman of the weaving department of a mill owned by Ezra Pollard at East Greenwich, and remained until 1857, when a mill in the city of Philadelphia offered superior attractions and kept him profitably employed for six years. In 1863 he returned to East Greenwich and for the same length of time superintended a woolen mill for his uncle, James Waterhouse. He next acted in the same capacity at Burrillville, R.I., and in 1872 returned to Centreville. Here with other partners he organized the Kent Woolen Company, became owner of one quarter of the stock, and its manager. In July, 1888, he purchased the property, of which he is now sole owner, thus by industry and application becoming proprietor of the mill which he first entered as a common hand. Of this organization he is president, George B. Waterhouse, treasurer, and Richard E. Waterhouse, superintendent. Elsewhere in the work this mill and its operation are more fully discussed, though it may be pertinent here to mention its capacity as recently doubled, and the working force largely increased.
Mr. Waterhouse is much absorbed in business and has little time for interests not immediately connected with his daily pursuits. He is a republican in politics, a firm believer in protection to home industries, and has participated in the administration of local affairs. He is a member and senior warden of the Protestant Episcopal church of Crompton.
Mr. Waterhouse was on November 13th, 1853, married to Margaret, daughter of Joseph and Mary Liddle, who is of Scottish descent. Their children are: Benjamin W., Henry A., Richard Edgar, George B., Fanny F., Maggie M. and Charles L. Henry A. married Genie Read and has two children; Benjamin W. is married to Sarah Adams and has one daughter; Richard E. married Dora Arnold. Henry A. is a successful mill superintendent as Pascoag, R.I. The remaining sons are associated with their father as manufacturers.