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Providence County Biographies

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BALLOU, Colonel Daniel R., attorney-at-law, was born at Smithfield, R. I, August 6, 1837, eldest son of the late Arnold and Roxa (Ross) Ballou.  He is a lineal descendant of Maturin Ballou, who settled in Providence about the year 1646. According to the best authenticated information Maturin Ballou was a native of England and a descendant of the famous Norman chieftain, Guine-bond Belleau, a field marshal of William the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings, in 1066. Descendants of this ancestor are found in the different counties of England and Ireland, where they have long enjoyed distinguished heritage and honors.  He received his early education in the public and private schools of his native state and completed his student life at Brown University. Upon leaving college he at once entered on the study of the law at Providence and was admitted to the bar in May 1864. He was largely dependent upon his own re-sources, and passed through the usual experiences incident to a young man striving for an education.  Among the most valuable experiences of his earlier days were those incurred during the eight winters spent in teaching school in the country and “ boarding round “ the district. He commenced the practice of the law in Greenville and North Scituate, in 1864, and continued in business there until 1867, when he was elected Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, for Providence county, which office he filled until the spring of 1875, when he retired, declining a re-election. He then resumed the practice of law in Providence, and has continued in active practice ever since. His son-in-law, Clifford S.  Tower, is associated with him in professional business, under the firm name of Ballou & Tower.  Colonel Ballou served as a Representative in the General Assembly from his native town of Smith-field, to which office he was elected in 1865 and was returned in 1866 and 1867. He represented the city of Providence in the General Assembly in 1882, and was defeated at the next election, but was returned again in 1884. He resigned in the fall of that year in consequence of increasing professional business. During this term in the General Assembly he was Chairman of the Committee on Corporations. He represented the Seventh Ward in the City Council of Providence during the year 1886, but the next year he declined a re-election.  He has also served on the School Committee of the city of Providence. He was elected Alderman from the Ninth Ward in the fall of 1891, and occupied a seat in the Board during the years 1892-93-94, and was honored by his associates who elevated him to the position of President of the Board, in which capacity he served during the years 1893 and 1894. In 1890 he was nominated for the office of Attorney-General by the Republican State Convention; he reluctantly and with grateful appreciation of the distinguished honor, declined to accept, on account of the pressure of professional business.  In 1862, during the Civil War, he enlisted as a private in the Twelfth Rhode Island Volunteers, a nine-months regiment, and was promoted to a Lieutenancy. He was engaged with the regiment, which was in General Nagle’s brigade, General Sturgis’ Division of the Ninth Corps, in the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 12th and 13th, 1862, in which battle the regiment suffered a loss of 109 men, killed and wounded. He accompanied his regiment when it was transferred to the Depart-ment of Ohio, under General Burnside, in 1863, where it performed arduous and valuable service in holding Morgan and his guerrillas in check in Kentucky. On his return home from the army, he was commissioned by Governor James Y. Smith, Colonel of the Seventh Regiment Rhode Island Militia, which had been armed and equipped in anticipation of active service. Colonel Ballou has been prominent in the Grand Army of the Republic, having filled nearly every position in the gift of the Department of Rhode Island, and during the past year, 1895, he held the position of Department Commander. He is a member of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and is also a member of the Providence Athletic Club and the Providence Bar Club.  In politics he has been a life-long Republican and has taken an active part in every national campaign from the nomination of General Fremont, in 1856, to the late Presidential election. He married Miss Ellen R. Owen of Scituate, Rhode Island, daughter of Benj. and Betsey Owen; this union has been blessed with two daughters: Leonora L., who is the wife of Dr. Jacob Chase Rutherford, a prosperous physician of Providence, and Fannie R., the wife of Clifford Sayles Tower, the associate of Colonel Ballou in professional business. [Rhode Island Men of Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]



BALLOU, Hon. Latimer Whipple, LL. D., Woonsocket, was born in Cumberland, R.I., March 1, 1812, son of Levi and Hepzibah (Metcalf) Ballou. He is a member of the numerous and long distinguished family of Ballous that are descended from Maturin Ballou, who was one of the earliest emigrants to America from England, and who in 1745 was a co-proprietor of the Providence Plantations in the Colony of Rhode Island. Latimer W. Ballou attended the district schools, and at the age of sixteen was given by his father the option of a collegiate education or a mechanical trade. He chose the latter and became apprentice to a printing firm in Cambridge, Mass., near Harvard University, in which his maternal uncle, Eliab Metcalf, was a partner. After serving his apprenticeship, his next two years were spent as assistant foreman in the University printing office, Cambridge, following which he united in partnership with two others and started the Cambridge Press with which he remained seven years. At this time impaired health admonished him to leave the printing business, and in 1842 he entered into mercantile partnership with his brother-in-law, William O. Bisbee, at Woonsocket, R. I. Here a few years’ experience convinced him that merchandise was not his element, and in 1850 he became Cashier of the Woonsocket Falls Bank, and Treasurer of the Woonsocket Institution for Savings, where he proved to be the right man in the right place, having retained these responsible positions ever since, and to the great prosperity of both institutions. In politics, as in finance, his life has been a useful and successful one. Belonging to the progressive wing of the old Whig party, he naturally advanced into the Republican ranks, and was a prudent counselor, eloquent speaker and popular leader. He was a Presidential Elector in 1860, Delegate to the Republican National Convention of 1872, and Representative in Congress three successive terms, from 1875 to 1884. All these offices he filled with honor to himself, satisfaction to his constituents and benefit to his country. He was a model Congressman, not only as a legislator, but as an exemplary moralist, being an active Vice-President of the Congressional Temperance Society, and in other ways an earnest worker and a shining example.  In all matters relating to the education of youth, moral and philanthropic reforms, and the common charities of the general community, Latimer W.  Ballou is a practical devotee to human welfare.  In religion he is a Universalism, and an emphatic worker and upbuilder of his denomination and all its internal institutions. He has been a model Sunday School teacher, first in Cambridge, and later in Woonsocket where he has led the school of the Universalist Society as Superintendent with great success for over fifty years. In the colleges, academies, conventions, conferences and various organizations of the denomination, he has held and adorned many dignified offices, to the pleasure and profit of all concerned. Mr. Ballou was married, October 20, 1836, to Miss Sarah A. Hunnewell of Cambridge, Mass. They had four children:  Mary Frances, born August 3,  1837; Sarah Jane, born March 20, 1839; Marie Louise, born August 15, 1846, and Henry Latimer Ballou, born October 14, 1841, now Assistant Treasurer of the Woonsocket Institution for Savings, and Treasurer and Trustee of several societies, estates and institutions.

Rhode Island Men of Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller



BARNEFIELD, Thomas Pierce, City Solicitor of Pawtucket, was born in Boston, Mass., March 25, 1844, son of John and Eliza Ann (Thayer) Barnefield. He is descended in the ninth generation on his mother’s side from John Alden who came to America in the Mayflower in 1620. and is a son of John Barnefield, formerly of Gloucestershire, England, a descendant of John of Barneveld, who was the Grand Pensionary of Holland in the beginning of the seventeenth century. His father died when he was eight years of age, and in 1854, upon the subsequent marriage of his mother with Martin Snow of North Bridgewater (now Brockton), Mass., he removed to the latter place and was educated in the public schools of Massachusetts. In 1862 he enlisted as a private soldier in the Thirty-fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, served with his regiment in the battles of South Mountain, Anttetam, Fredericksburg, Vicksburg and Jackson, and was mustered out of the service at the close of the war with the rank of First Lieutenant. He removed to Pawtucket in 1865, and entered as a student in the law office of Hon. Pardon E. Tillinghast, one of the judges of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. He was admitted to the bar October 8, 1870, and has since practiced his profession in Pawtucket. He was elected by the Legislature a Judge of the Magistrates’ Court for Pawtucket and vicinity in 1871 and 1872, and was appointed Judge of the Probate Court of Pawtucket for the years 1879-80-81. He was elected to the General Assembly as a member of the House of Representatives for the sessions of 1880-81, 1884-85 and 1886-87. In 1884 he was appointed Town Solicitor of Pawtucket, and upon the organization of the city government, in 1886, was elected City Solicitor and has continued to hold the office by annual election until the present time. In 1880 he was appointed Assistant Judge Advocate General of the State with the rank of Captain. He is, by appointment of the Supreme Court, one of the standing Masters in Chancery for the county of Providence.   He is a member of the Congregational Church, and for the last seventeen years has been Superintendent of the Sunday school. In 1899 he made a tour of Europe, Egypt and Palestine, and visited Europe again in 1891 and in 1894. In 1888 he was elected one of the trustees of the Franklin Savings Bank and continues in the same relation to this institution. He was President of the Congregational Club of Rhode Island from October 1892 to October 1894, and in 1895 was chosen a Director of the Rhode Island Home Missionary Society. In 1871 he married Miss Clara Josephine Paine, and has one daughter, Florence May, and two sons, Harold Chester and Ralph Tlllinghast Barnefield.  [Rhode Island Men of Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]



BARNEY, Mrs. Susan Hammond, evangelist, was born in Massachusetts. Her father, Dr. John A. Hammond, was a prominent physician. She was a contributor to the local press when thirteen years old. It was her desire to become a foreign missionary, but, owing to ill-health and the strong opposition of friends, she reluctantly gave over her purpose. She was married to Joseph K. Barney, of Providence, R. I., in 1854, and has ever since resided in that city, with the exception of several years spent on the Pacific Coast. Her first public speaking was done in the interest of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She was one of the founders of the Prisoners' Aid Society of Rhode Island, and has always been interested in prison and jail work. She was the first president of the Rhode Island Woman's Christian Temperance Union, a position she held for several years. She is now a national evangelist. The enactment of constitutional prohibition in Rhode Island in 1886 was largely due to her executive ability. She has had much to do with securing police matrons for the station-houses of large cities, her work in that direction being second to none. She is an able platform speaker. Mrs. Barney contributed a chapter on the "Care of the Criminal" to 'Woman's Work in America" (New York, 1891).

Source: American Women Fifteen Hundred Biographies, Volume 1, Publ. 1897.  Submitted by Marla Snow



BARROWS, Edwin, President of Insurance Companies, was born in Norton, Mass., January 24, 1834, son of Albert and Harriet (Ide) Barrows.  He received his early education in the common schools and at Peirce Academy, Middleboro, Mass.  He entered Yale College and graduated in the class of 1857. After leaving college he taught a private school in Norton, and was a bookkeeper for several years for Taylor, Symonds & Co., wholesale dry-goods, of Providence. Under President Lincoln’s call for nine months’ men he enlisted as a private in the Fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, and on going into Camp Joe Hooker, at Middle-boor, was appointed Quartermaster-Sergeant. He served under Gen. Banks in Louisiana until honorably discharged after about a year’s service. In December 1868, he was elected Secretary and Treasurer of the Firemen’s Mutual Insurance Company, and of the Union Mutual Fire Insurance Company. In 1880, he was elected President and Treasurer of the two companies, and has held those offices since that time. The business has steadily increased from year to year until at the present time more than eighty million dollars’ worth of property is protected by the policies of the two companies. He is a Director of the First National Bank, Providence, and Treasurer of The Rhode Island Bible Society. He has not taken any part in public affairs, but in politics he is a Republican.  He married, August 20, 1868, Miss Harriet E.  Annington, daughter of Dr. George B. Armington, of Pitisford, Vt; they have children; Edwin Armington, Mary Tornlinson, Anne Ide and Albert Armington Barrows.   [Rhode Island Men of Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]



BARRY, William Francis, M. D., of Woonsocket, was born in Woonsocket, November II, 1872, son of Michael and Catherine (Ryan) Barry. His early education was acquired in the public schools, and after attending the Woonsocket high school for a year he entered the high school at Franklin, Mass., from which he graduated in 1887. He adopted the profession of medicine, and graduated with honors from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore in 1893. Dr. Barry was appointed and served for one year as Resident Physician at St.  Joseph’s Hospital, Providence, and in 1896 was elected Consulting Physician to that institution. He is a fellow of the Rhode Island Medical Society, having been elected in 1895, and is a member and local examiner of the society of Knights of Columbus. [Source: Rhode Island Men in Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]



BARSTOW, Amos Chafee, iron founder, Providence, was born in Providence, November 2, 1848, the son of Amos Chafee and Emeline Mumford (Eames) Barstow. He is a descendant of William Barstow, who came from Yorkshire, England, and settled in Massachusetts in 1636. His grandfather, Nathaniel Barstow, came from Hanover to Providence early in life, and his father, Hon. Amos C.  Barstow, was born in Providence in 1813, and was for many years identified with the growth of his native city, having been one of the early Mayors of Providence, and prominent in temperance, in poli-tics and in religious work. Mr. Barstow received his early education in the public grammar schools, and in Ladd & Mowry’s, afterwards Mowry & Goff’s English and Classical High School. He lacked about a year of completing preparation for college, when on account of illness a college course was abandoned, and after two years’ training in office work he made a voyage to California, before the completion of the first through railroad, spending a few months in travel, after which his business life was begun in earnest. He began his business career in February 1866, with the Barstow Stove Company, iron founders. This business had been started by his father in 1836 and was incorporated in 1859. He was elected Treasurer in 1869, and has since continued in that office, having been manager of the business the greater part of the time.  He was elected President in February 1895, succeeding his father in this office a few months after the latter’s death, which occurred in September 1894. He served as a Director in the Commercial National Bank of Providence for twelve years, commencing January 6, 1879, representing a family interest on his wife’s side. (Mrs. Barstow’s grand-father, Nathan Mason, had been for many years a Director in this bank.) He has been a Director of the City National Bank of Providence since January 9, 1877, and in the Slater Cotton Company of Pawtucket since 1889. He was Vice-President of the Providence & Springfield Railroad several years and arranged the sale of that property to the New York &:New England Railroad in 1890, and has been connected with other railroad corporations. In 1873 and 1874 he was a Colonel on Governor Howard’s personal staff. He was elected a Representative to the General Assembly on the Republican ticket in 1883, and shared in the general defeat of that ticket the two succeeding years.   On returning from a journey in France, Italy, Austria and Germany, he married, June 27, 1876, Miss Grace Mason Palmer, daughter of the late John Barstow Palmer, a well-known and successful manufacturing jeweler of Providence, whose mother was a Barstow from a Connecticut family, but the relationship is too remote to trace ; they have had four children : Amos Chafee, Jr., who died in June 1879, aged two years, Mary Mason, John Palmer and Grace Emeline Barstow. [Rhode Island Men of Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]



BARSTOW, George Eames, manufacturer, was born in Providence, November 19,1849, son of Amos Chafee and Emeline Mumford (Eames) Barstow.  The Barstow family came from the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, and settled in Hanover, Mass., in 1636. His father, Amos C. Barstow, was one of the most prominent men in the city, in business, religious and public affairs, an ex-Mayor, and the holder of many important positions of trust. He received his education in the public schools and in Mowry & Goff’s Classical School. He began his business career at seventeen years of age, acquiring a thorough knowledge of textile manufacturing, and receiving a complete training in business affairs.  Besides his successful business career, he has taken an active part in municipal, state and church affairs, and in public education. He was fourteen years a member of the School Committee, and for one year its President. He was for four years a member of the Common Council, and was elected a Representative in the General Assembly in 1894-95, and 1895-96. He took an active part in the formation of the Fourth Ward Republican Club, and for the past four years has been its President.   He is a member of the Rhode Island Historical Society Sons of the American Revolution, the Philadelphia Society for University Extension, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Hartford Theological Seminary. He married, October 19, 1871, Miss Drew Symonds; they have nine children: Caroline Hartwell, George Eames, Jr., Herbert Symonds, Helen Louise, Harold Carleton, Marguerite, Paris, Putnam and Donald Barstow.

[Rhode Island Men of Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]



BAXTER, John James, physician and surgeon, Woonsocket, son of Charles and Elizabeth (Mc-Queeney) Baxter, and grandson of Michael Baxter, was born in Providence, June 23, 1860. After graduating from Lasalle Academy, Providence, in 1876, he entered the mercantile office of B. B. & R.  Knight, as a clerk, and remained in their employ until 1881. Having accumulated sufficient money for a professional education, he began to read medicine in 1831, at Providence, under William F.  Hutchinson, M. D. He attended two winter and one summer courses of lectures at the University Medical College, New York City, and was graduated in March 1885, being president of the class and among the honor men in the final examinations.  He has practiced medicine at Woonsocket since April 1885. Dr. Baxter is a member of the Rhode Island Medical Society, the Rhode Island Medico-Legal Society, the Woonsocket Medical Society, the Ancient Order of Foresters and the Catholic Knights of America. He has been secretary of the board of pension examining surgeons at Woonsocket since 1891, a member of the staff of the Woonsocket Hospital since 1888, Medical Examiner of District 6, State of Rhode Island, and is medical examiner and physician to the secret societies of which he is a member. He is a tenor vocalist of considerable reputation. He married, June 2, 1886, Miss Jennie C. Furlong, of Providence, R. L; they have three children: Thomas Furlong, Rosa and John C. Baxter. [Rhode Island Men of Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]



BEANE, George Frederick Aldrich, general teaming, coal, and wood business, was born in North Scituate, R. I., October 24, 1849, the son of Constant Cook and Olive L. (Aldrich) Beane. His ancestor, William Pitt Beane of Meredith, N. H , married Annie Cook of Scituate, daughter of Constant Cook, a descendant of the brother of Governor Cook, one of the first governors of Rhode Island.  His father Constant C. Beane was born in Pomfret, Conn., and married Olive L. Aldrich, born in Scituate, a descendant of David Aldrich of South Kingston on the father’s side and on the mother’s of Thomas Angel!, one of the five settlers who came with Roger Williams  to Providence.  She is a cousin of Hon. James B. Angell, ex-Minister to China.   He received his early education in the district schools, at Lapham Institute, North Scituate, and at Schofield’s Commercial College, Providence.  He entered the office of the Franklin Manufacturing Company, Merino village, October 16, 1865, as clerk, and Horace Beane’s market, Fall River, in the same capacity in 1868.   He returned to the Franklin Company in 1871, and in 1872 entered the employ of Rice & Hayward, bakers, Providence.  In 1873 he engaged in the real estate business in Providence under the firm name of Peirce & Beane.  In 1874 he started in the egg business, and is now engaged in the general teaming and coal and wood business in his present location in Olneyville. He has been a highway surveyor, member and President of the Town Council, State Senator from 1890 and 1892, Town Moderator in 1894 and 1896, and was Chairman of the State Highway Commission, appointed by Governor H. W. Ladd, in 1892. He was Chairman of the Republican Committee of the town of Johnston from 1887 to 1890, and a member of the State Central Committee in 1891-92. He is ex-foreman of the Rough and Ready Fire Company of Johnston. He has been President of the Olneyville Business Men’s Association, and of the Fruit Hill Detecting Society.   He is a member of Nestell Lodge A. F. & A. M. of Providence, and of Scituate Royal Arch Chapter, P. G. of Manufacturers’ Lodge and P. C. P. of Woonasquatucket Encampment, and is a Past Grand High Priest of the Grand Encamp-ment of Rhode Island, I. O. O. F. He married, June 14, 1870, Miss Abby Louisa Angell, who died in August, 1887 ; they had children: Louisa A, Josephine A., William Henry and George Frederick. He married, January 1. 1893, Mrs. Ida Louise McAllister, nee Marshall, of Bear River, Nova Scotia.   [Rhode Island Men of Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]


BLISS, Zenos Randall, soldier, was born April 17, 1835, in Johnston, R.I. During the last year of the civil war Colonel Bliss commanded a brigade in Grant's Virginia campaign. He became a brigadier-general in 1895; and in 1897 he was advanced to major-general and retired after more than forty years of continuous and faithful service. He died Jan. 2, 1900, in Washington, D.C.
[Source: "Herringshaw’s National Library of American Biography: Contains Thirty-five Thousand Biographies of the Acknowledged Leaders of Life and Thought of the United States", by William Herringshaw, 1909 – TK - Sub by FoFG]


BOSS, Cyrus, cashier Detroit Savings Bank; born, Scituate, R.I.; (Providence Co) son of Samuel and Lucinda (Joslin) Boss, and grandson of Captain Benjamin Boss, a soldier of the Revolutionary War; educated in public schools of Rhode Island; married at Detroit in 1893, Genevieve M. Shear. Came to Detroit, 1880, and studied law in office of Sidney D. Miller; entered employ of The Detroit Savings Bank, 1887, was elected cashier, 1905, and still continues in that position. Republican. Office: Detroit Savings Bank. Residence: 66 Hazelwood Av. [Source: "The Book of Detroiters". Edited by Albert Nelson Marquis, 1908 - CW - Sub by FoFG]



BOWEN, William Henry, M. D., Providence, was born in Scituate, R. April 13, 1840, son of Lyman and Phebe Ann (Burgess) Bowen. His father, born in the same town July 16, 1815, still survives; his mother, who was born in Johnston, R. L, May 8, 1822, died August 29, 1856. The Bowen ancestors in America were of English origin and date back to 1640, when Richard and Griffith Bowen came to this country from Glamorganshire, Wales, and settled, the former in Rehoboth, and the latter in Weymouth, Mass.   From these progenitors the Bowen families now living in Rhode Island are probably descended.   William Henry is a direct descendant of Richard Bowen, who lived and died in Rehoboth.   He was born and reared on a farm in the western part of the town of Scituate, the eldest of eight children, three of whom were girls.   At an early age he was put to work on the farm, and sent to school only winters.   Despite these disadvantages he early developed a taste for books and study, and when not more than twelve years old he had decided to become a doctor.   But the family was large and money was scarce, and not much help could be expected from his father: so at the age of fourteen he went to work for a neighboring farmer, in order to earn money for his education.   As soon as he had saved enough for the purpose, he entered Smithville Seminary, walking daily to and from the school, a distance of four miles.   In this way, by working out, and after a time by teaching school, he was able in five years, through hard work, rigid economy and close application, to prepare for college, and also to take extra courses in chemistry and the French language.   Three of the five years were spent at East Greenwich Academy.   At the age of nineteen he entered the office of Dr. Charles H. Fisher, in North Scituate, and commenced the study of medicine.  Alter the necessary preliminary study he entered Dartmouth College, graduating from that institution as Doctor of Medicine, October 30, 1863, at that time being but twenty-three years of age.   He immediately commenced practice in the village of Clayville, and after remaining there four years removed to Rockland in the town of Scituate, where he lived for twenty-one years.   After practicing in the country twenty-five years, he removed in November 1888 to the city of Providence, where he is now actively engaged in an extensive medical practice.   Dr. Bowen is a member of the Providence Medical Association and the Rhode Island Medical Society.   He is a Mason and a member of St. John’s Commandery Knights Templar, and has been Master of Hamilton Lodge and High Priest of Scituate Royal Arch Chapter.   In politics he has always been an Independent; but notwithstanding his independence, he was elected to the School Committee of the town of Scituate for ten successive years, and was nine years Superintendent of Schools.   Dr. Bowen is quiet and reserved in manner, but decided and fearless when assailed, and always prompt, active, straightforward and self-reliant.   He labors hard to keep abreast with the best scientific thought and the improvement of the times and whatever measure of success in life he may have achieved has been due to his own exertion, perseverance and hard work.  He was married, February 22, 1865, to Miss Phebe Smith Aldrich, daughter of Arthur Fenner Aldrich, who for many years was a leading citizen of Scituate ; two daughters and five sons were born to this union, four of whom are living : Cora Aldrich, Harry Lyman, William Henry and Frank Aldrich Bowen [Source: Rhode Island Men in Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]



BROWELL, WALTER S. - born in Little Compton, R.I., in 1820, was a son of Jonathan and grandson of Sylvester, he a son of Jonathan, he a son of George, he a son of Thomas, who came over with his father, Thomas, from Derbyshire, England, to this country not far from 1660. Thomas Jr., was a deputy to the general assembly under the royal charter in 1664. The mother of Walter S. was Elizabeth Hall Simmons, sister of the Honorable James F. Simmons of Johnston, R.I. The grandmother of Walter S. was Mercy Church, who was great-granddaughter of Captain Benjamin Church. Walter S. Brownell married Delana A. Pierce in 1846. They had ten children, seven of whom are living: Walter S., Jr., Willie P., Samuel F.M., Delia, Abbie E., Hattie L., and Harry. Walter S. came to Johnston in 1837. He was appointed the first postmaster of Johnston, at Simmonsville, in 1847, and held the office two years; was elected town clerk in 1861, served two months, and then went to Washington and was clerk in the Interior Department two years, and in the War Department a part of a year, under Quartermaster General Meigs, then returned to Johnston and was appointed assistant assessor in the internal revenue of the 2d District, R.I., and served ten years. He was appointed postmaster at Olneyville by President Arthur and served four years. He was elected town clerk about six years, and was elected president of the town council for about 13 or 14 years, and also was elected an assessor of taxes for many years in the town of Johnston, and held many other offices, such as justice of the peace, notary public, trustee of school district No. 15, and treasurer for many years of the First Free Baptist Society of Olneyville. He is now deputy sheriff of Providence County, and assessor of town taxes for Johnston. [Source: "Town of Johnston" Rhode Island - Sub. by J. Scott]



BROWN, GIDEON - born April 9th, 1833, is a son of Cyrus and Sarah Brown, the former born in 1791. They had seven sons and four daughters. Cyrus was a son of Gideon, Sr. They were all born in Johnston, R.I. Cyrus Brown, soon after the war of 1812, was colonel of state militia, and in 1843 was state senator. Gideon, Jr. was married in 1862 to Ada E., daughter of Benedict Aldrich. They have one daughter, Sarah A., born in 1867. The father of Mrs. Brown, Benedict Aldrich, is living with his son-in-law, Gideon Brown. He is 97 years old, and the oldest Mason in New England. He was made a Mason in 1814, in Friendship Lodge, No. 7, of Chepachet, and has taken the past master degree. [Source: "Town of Johnston" Rhode Island - Sub. by J. Scott]


BROWN, James S., was born in Pawtucket, December 23d, 1802. His paternal ancestor was a Welshman, who, with three other brothers, emigrated from Wales and settled in what is now Cumberland. Here the brothers engaged in mining coal and iron ore, using both in the manufacture of iron. Their furnace was situated at Valley Falls, on the Abbot Run. This business was inherited by Philip, the grandfather of James S.Brown, and carried on by him till his death. After that event one blast was made, and the working of the furnace was given up. Philip's son, Sylvanus, father of James S., was only ten years old at his father's death, and was placed under the care of his great-uncle, a millwright. He worked at this trade till he was 21 years of age, and then engaged in business on his own account until the revolution. He then enlisted in the colonial navy, and served on board the "Alfred" as master of arms, the ship being commanded by William Jones; Ezekiel Hopkins, of North Providence, R. I., being the first commander-in-chief of the colonial navy. Jones was governor of the state of Rhode Island from 1810 to 1817. Upon closing his naval career Sylvanus Brown went to Providence, and worked at stocking guns in a shop operated by the state. He was next engaged by the governor of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to superintend the making and putting up of sets of machinery for seven saw mills, and machinery for two grist mills, and he employed on the iron work all the men connected with Stephen Jenks & Sons' shop. He remained at St. John, N. B., a year and a half. He then went to Europe, but soon returned to Pawtucket, where he built a house aod shop. In 1790 he constructed machinery, under Mr. Slater's superintendence, for Brown & Almy, and this achievement encouraged the parties to build the Old Slater Mill. In 1792 he invented and used the first slide lathes for turning rolls, by which they were made straight and of uniform size. He also built machines for fluting rolls, which were of great advantage to the business, enabling one man to do the work formerly requiring the labor of six. He was next employed by John Brown, a manufacturer of cannon, to superintend furnaces and boring mills at Scituate, R. I., and Easton, Mass. In 1801 he engaged in his own business as a wheelwright, and continued it until his death in 1824.James S. Brown attended school until his loth year, when he was employed by David Wilkinson, manufacturer of cotton machinery at Pawtucket, in pattern making, having, during his school vacation of the previous year, assisted his father in this department of his business. In 1819 he went to work in the shop of Pitcher & Gay, which was started in 1813 on Main street, and when Mr. Brown entered it, was the largest manufactory of machinery in Pawtucket. Mr. Brown took Mr. Gay's place in the firm in 1824, and in 1842 purchased his partner's interest, and from that time he carried on a large and successful business in the manufacture of cotton machinery.In 1820, when he was only 18 years of age, Mr. Brown invented the slide rest used in turning lathes, by which the height of the tool can be adjusted while the lathe is in motion. In 1830 he invented his gear cutter for cutting bevel gears, and in 1838 he patented a machine for boring the passage for the roving through the arm of the long flyer roving machine, and in 1842 his lathe for longitudinally turning bodies of irregular forms. He also devised an improvement in planing machines, so that sixteen rolls, instead of four, may be used. He applied the turning-lathe to the cutting of large screws, six to eight inches long, for clothing, and in 1874 he patented a new machine for spindle grinding. He also made improvements in other machines not used in his own business. He simplified and perfected Sharpe & Roberts' self-acting mule, sent to Pitcher & Brown by Bradford Durfee,of Fall River, and afterward eno-ao;ed in the manufacture of these mules. In 1857 he took out a patent for his improvements on the American Speeder, and also manufactured that machine. The demand for these machines was so great that he was compelled to devote the whole force of his shop to them, and to employ for the same purpose nearly the whole force of another large machine shop in the vicinity. In 1862 he built nine of Bennet's machines, with some modifications, for cutting files, for some capitalists of Baltimore, who had bought the right of manufacture and use of them. He put these machines into successful operation. He also invented a machine for grinding file blanks and a furnace for hardening files. During the civil war his improved lathe, originally designed for the turning of rolls for cotton machinery, was employed in turning gun barrels. This, for a time, to a large extent superseded all other work in the shops. Mr. Brown engaged in these various enterprises and inventions for nearly 60 years, and his improvements in machinery have been of great value to the industries to which they have been applied. He died in 1879, aged 77 years. His son, James Brown, succeeded to the business. [Source: History of Providence County Rhode Island, Edited by Richard M. Bayles, 1891. Transcribed by C. Anthony]



BROWN, WILLIAM M.V.B. - born in 1834, is a son of Cyrus and Sarah Brown. He was married to Ellen M. Davol in 1877, and they have four children. [Source: "Town of Johnston" Rhode Island - Sub. by J. Scott]



BROWN, PHEBE - born in 1809 in Johnston, is a daughter of Nathan and Susan Brown, who had ten children. Phebe was the youngest daughter. Nathan brown died in 1831, and Phebe has since lived on the farm she now operates. [Source: "Town of Johnston" Rhode Island - Sub. by J. Scott]




BRUCE, Henry Jewett, M. I., Pascoag, was born in Webster, Worcester county, Mass., November 8, 1849, son of Winsor and Huldah (Webster) Bruce. His father was a native of Dover, Vt, and his grandfather was Abijah Bruce, formerly of Mil-ford, Mass. His mother was born in Woodstock, Conn., of the same stock as Noah Webster of dictionary and spelling-book fame. Henry’s early-education was obtained in the public schools of his native town. Having gone through the college preparatory course, he afterward took up the scientific course, and graduated in 1869. Following graduation he engaged in surveying and civil engineering, having an office with the Town Clerk of Webster, and devoted his spare time to reading law. In the spring of 1871 he began the study of medicine, under the tutorship of Dr. E. G. Burnett, of Webster, and attended the following winter term of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (the Medical Department of Columbia College), New York, after which he took the two following courses at the Long Island Hospital College, from which he received his diploma in June 1S74. In company with an old schoolmate, Albert Howard, he opened a drug store in Webster, and also engaged in practice in his native town: but after a time, as the business did not pay very well, he sold out and went to Olneyville, R. L, where he spent the winter, and in the spring of 1877 ‘he took up his residence in Pascoag, about twenty miles from Providence. He had been a resident of Pascoag about a year when his father, mother and sister, who were all in poor health, came to live with him. They took a house and lived very comfortably, considering their condition of health, but in December 1879, his mother, who had been an invalid for more than twenty years, died; in June following, his father, who had been suffering from a spinal disease for about six years passed away, and a week later occurred the death of his sister. During all the family sickness Dr. Bruce had personally taken upon him most of the care of the sufferers, besides attending to quite a busy practice, and when it was all over he succumbed to the long continued strain and was compelled to lay aside the most of his practice for over two years on account of nervous prostration.  Dr. Bruce has always been a Republican but has never held political office. He has been many times importuned to serve as a candidate for election to the Town Council but has always refused. In 1878 he was appointed Superintendent of Schools, and filled the position two years, when he resigned. He has devoted much time and earnest work to influencing the public mind in favor of good roads, and is happily beginning to see some of the results of his labors in this direction. He is a member of the Masonic order of Knights Templar. In 1881 Dr. Bruce married Mrs. Lydia Bailey, a widow with three children mostly grown up, the youngest about fourteen years, with whom he is still living : he has no children.   [Rhode Island Men of Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]




BURBANK, Robert Willard, Attorney-at-Law, Providence, was born at Koloa, island of Kauai, Hawaiian Islands, September 14, 1856, son of Samuel and Mary A. (Morse) Burbank. He is descended from New England ancestry, the family having been residents of the state of Maine. He prepared  for college  at   the Friends’ Boarding School in Providence and entered Brown University, from which he graduated in the class of 1878.  After graduation he commenced the study of the law in the office of Mowry & Comstock, and was admitted to the bar November 29, 1880. He established a successful practice in Providence and in 1888 was appointed Assistant Attorney General, holding the office for one year. In 1891 he was unanimously nominated for Attorney General of the State by the Republican Convention and held that office for three successive terms. Since that time he has continued in general law practice in Providence. In the municipal elect on of the city of Providence in November 1895, he was elected Alderman from the Second Ward on the Good Government Ticket, and now represents that Ward in the Board of Aldermen. Jn politics he is a Republican. He married, April 12, 1883, Miss Martha Anna Taylor; they have three children: Robert Taylor, Philip and Elizabeth Burbank.   [Rhode Island Men of Progress - Submitted by Marie Miller]


BURLINGAME, Mrs. Emeline S., editor and evangelist, born in Smithfield, R.I., 22nd September, 1836. Her maiden name was Emeline Stanley Aldrich. Her father was a public speaker of ability, and her mother was a woman of much energy. After graduating in the Providence high school at the age of fifteen, she pursued a course of study in the Rhode Island Normal School, and then taught for five years. In November, 1859, she was married to Luther R. Burlingame and subsequently lived in Wellsboro, Pa., and Whitesboro, N. Y., afterward removing to Dover, N.H., and then back to her home in Providence. She early became active in Christian work and, while living in Dover, became a regular contributor to the "Morning Star" and "Little Star," published by the Free Baptists. About the same time she became editor of the "Myrtle," a paper for children. On her removal to Providence she assisted her husband in editing "Town and Country," a temperance paper. In 1873 she was elected president of the Free Baptist Woman's Missionary Society, which position she held for thirteen years, resigning when elected editor of the "Missionary Helper," the organ of the socity. She introduced into the magazine features which made it a helper to missionary workers. In 1879 she was elected corresponding secretary and organizer for the rhode Island Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and began at once to address audiences and to organize unions in different parts of the State. In 1884, she was elected president of the Union and devoted the next seven years to speaking and planning in its interest. In the securing of a prohibitory amendment to the constitution of Rhode Island, the Woman's Chirstian Temperance Union was the acknowledged leader, and to that work Mrs. Burlingame bent the energy of her life. In 1889, whe was a delegate to the General Conference from the Rhode Island Free Baptist Association, that being the first year when women were sent as delegates to that body. In 1890, being seriously worn by her prolonged labors for temperance, she resigned the presidency of the Rhode Island Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and was elected National Woman's Christian Temperance Union evangelist. She soon after accepted the position of general agent of the Free Baptist Woman's Missionary Society, and since that time has been traveling, visiting quarterly and yearly conferences and churches, and addressing them on the broadest phases of missionary work, including the important reforms of the day. [Source: A Woman of the Century, by Frances Elizabeth Willary, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, 1893, Transcribed by C. Anthony.]


BURRILL, James, lawyer, jurist, United States senator, was born April 25, 1778, in Providence, R.I. He was attorney-general of Rhode Island in 1797-1813. He was a member of the Rhode Island state legislature in 1813; was speaker in 1814; and chief justice of the state supreme court in 1816-17. In 1817-20 he was United States senator. He died Dec. 25, 1820, in Washington, D.C.
[Herringshaw’s National Library of American Biography: Contains Thirty-five Thousand Biographies of the Acknowledged Leaders of Life and Thought of the United States, by William Herringshaw, 1909 – TK - Sub by FoFG]


BURRITT, James, lawyer, jurist, United States senator, was born April 25, 1772, in Providence. R.I. He was attorney-general of the state of Rhode Island in 1797-1813; and was a member and speaker of the assembly in 1814. He was chief justice of the state in 1816; and was elected to the United States senate in 1816. He died Dec. 25, 1820, in Washington, D.C.
["Herringshaw’s National Library of American Biography: Contains Thirty-five Thousand Biographies of the Acknowledged Leaders of Life and Thought of the United States", by William Herringshaw, 1909 – TK - Sub by FoFG]

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