Rhode Island Reading Room
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This section contains articles of genealogical and historic interest on Rhode Island in general, from old Rhode Island books and newspapers. If you would like to contribute please e-mail me with information.

  William Grosvenor of Providence, R. I.

  James Monroe Pendleton of Westerly, R. I.

  Colonel Eugene B. Pendleton

  Ellen Fitz Pendleton, president in 1911 of Wellesley College

  The Cranston-Johnston branch of the Spragues Family


The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations:Biographical, by the American Historical Society, Inc., 1920. For anunknown reason there are two copies of the book with the same title page,but with different contents. Articles will be added from these books regularly. 

The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical
Pages 25 - 27 

WILLIAM GROSVENOR, eldest son of Dr. William Grosvenor and Rosa Anne Mason Grosvenor, was born in Providence, R. I., August 4,1838. On his father's side he was a descendant of John Grosvenor, who came from England in 1640 and settled in Massachusetts; while through his mother he was a descendant of John Brown, of Revolutionary fame, who led the expedition which ended in the burning of the British ship of war "Gaspee."

William Grosvenor went to a Providence day school and then to Brown University, where he was graduated in the class of 1860. At both school and college he did well with his studies. He early won a reputation for being a hard and conscientious worker, and the great trait of his character which stood out very prominently was that of "perseverance" and ability to ultimately achieve his purpose.

In 1861 he entered the Grosvenor-Dale Company, at the head of which was his father, and in 1883, when the company was incorporated, he was elected treasurer and served in this capacity until 1905, when he also became president. From 1883 until his death in 1906, he was the controlling factor in the company. His policy was always progressive along the most modern lines. Backed from the first by the strong financial condition of the company, he always bought for it the most up-to-date machinery, regardless of the cost. He believed that the, best was the cheapest in the end, and thus the equipment of the Grosvenor-Dale Company plant was ever kept up to a high standard.

William Grosvenor was a distinct force in his community, and was widely known as a man of sound business judgment ,and remarkable ability. He was a director of several large corporations, and was a trustee under his father's will. for his sister, Rosa Anne Grosvenor.

In 1882, Mr. Grosvenor married Rose Dimond Phinney. They had seven children, three sons and four daughters: Alice Mason, wife of Dudley Davis, Harvard '05, of New York; Caroline Rose, wife of Gilbert Maurice Congdon, Yale '09, of Providence; William, Harvard '09, president of the Grosvenor-Dale Company, of Providence; Rose, wife of George Peabody Gardner, Jr., Harvard '10, of Boston; Robert, married Aerielle Frost, of Chicago, May 23, 1918; he died October 27, 1918; Anita Deidamia, wife of Richard Curtis, Harvard '16, of Boston; Theodore Phinney, Harvard '20. His wife and these children all survived him when he died, June 20, 1906. During the last few years of his life, Mr. Grosvenor spent a great deal of his time in taking care of the immediate interests of his family, to all of whom he was most devoted.

These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project.

The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical,
Pages 227-29

JAMES MONROE PENDLETON-- A New England family for almost three centuries, with members representative in Westerly, R. I., for the past hundred years, the Pendleton line of which James Monroe Pendleton is a member has acquired distinguished reputation and has given to the local and national service men of strong abilities. Descendant in the eighth American generation from James Brian Pendleton, of English birth, a freeman of Sudbury, Mass., in 1634, James M. Pendleton, manager of the Westerly branch of the Industrial Trust Company of Rhode Island, is a son of Enoch B. Pendleton, and grandson of General Nathan Pendleton.

Enoch B. Pendleton was born in North Stonington, Conn., September 5, 1808, and died November 11, 1875. His youthful years were spent in his Connecticut birthplace, and as a young man he began a mercantile career that continued through many years. For a time he was a clerk in a store and then was engaged in business in New York, in 1847 forming an association in Westerly, R. I., with his brother, James M. Pendleton. The latter retired in 1854, and from that date until 1861 Mr. Pendleton was the partner of James f. Pendleton, under the firm name of Pendleton & Company, a prosperous commercial house of Westerly.

Mr. Pendleton, always a loyal supporter of the Republican party, was a delegate to the first convention of that party, and in 1856 made his entry into public life as member of the State Senate from Westerly. He also served as assistant United States assessor, and in 1861 he was appointed postmaster of Westerly. He filled this office until his death with efficiency and satisfaction, and throughout the years of his official life enjoyed the esteem and confidence of his associates in unlimited degree. He was a member of the First Baptist Church, and a charter member of Calvary Baptist Church.

Enoch B. Pendleton married, October 30, 1843, Mary E. Chapman, daughter of Andrew and Welthy (Palmer) Chapman, who was born May 13, 1821, and died in Westerly, R. I., April 5, 1901. They were the parents of: Mary E., died in 1901; Josephine A., died in 1910; Eugene B. (q. V.); Charles H., married Harriet E. Noyes, and has children; Edwin Palmer, married Anna Kate Eaton, and has children; Annie C., died aged twenty-one years; James Monroe, of whom further; Ellen Fitz (q. v.).

James Monroe Pendleton, son of Enoch B. and Mary e. (Chapman) Pendleton, was born in Westerly, R. I., and there attended public schools. After graduation from the high school, in 1880, he entered Brown University, receiving his Ph. B. degree in 1885, and M. A. in 1890. His social fraternity at college was the Delta Kappa Epsilon, and high scholarship won him the coveted Phi Beta Kappa election. In August of the year of his graduation from Brown University, he became a clerk in the National Niantic Bank of Westerly, and in 1887 became assistant cashier. In April, 1889, he entered upon the duties of secretary and treasurer of the Niantic Savings Bank, offices he held until the National Niantic Bank came under the direction of the Industrial Trust Company as its Westerly branch, when he was appointed manager under the new regime in December, 1904. He was elected a director in January, 1912, and since the first date has been in charge of this substantial, prosperous branch, which has become an important factor in the banking system of the locality. He is widely known in financial circles, in which his entire active life has been passed, and has served his community in many capacities.

Since 1892, with the exception of one year, Mr. Pendleton has been town treasurer of Westerly, was for three years on the school committee, on year superintendent of health, was a member of the building committee for the public library, the high school, the town hall and court house, and has served as trustee and treasurer of the public library since its organization in 1892. His church is the Calvary Baptist, of which his is a trustee and president of the board of corporation. Mr. Pendleton has been president of the Westerly Board of Trade, and has been closely identified with progress and civic improvement in Westerly. His cooperation and support have been granted every enterprise looking toward municipal development in any line, and in most local affairs of public interest he has taken leading part. Particularly during the World War was his public spirit in evidence, when he worked in and out of season in the drives of the government and relief and social service organizations. He was chairman of the Rhode Island "four-minute men" for Westerly district, a member of the executive committee of the United War Work drive in Westerly, and, filling the office of treasurer of the Westerly Chapter of the American Red Cross, directed, as chairman, the campaigns held by that organization. He was called upon to handle the finances of numerous other war activities, and as final service in connection with the war, served as a member of the Sate Committee to welcome home returning service men in 1919. Conspicuous as this work was, it was only the performance under pressure of the duties of good citizenship, as he had done them in many capacities long before. His clubs are the University, of Providence, and the Misquamicut Golf, of Watch Hill, of which he was president for many years, and the Colonial, of Westerly.

Mr. Pendleton married, May 21, 1901, Beatrice N. Nicol, of Newark, N. J., and they are the parents of: James Monroe, Jr., born April 11, 1902, died July 26, 1916; Stuart Nicol, born Sept. 24, 1905.


COLONEL EUGENE B. PENDLETON, son of Enoch B. Pendleton, and nephew of the Hon. James M. Pendleton, was born in Westerly, R. I., June 18, 1849, and received his education in the public and private schools of his native town. The conditions and circumstances of his childhood developed in him reliance and independence. His fatherís family was quite large, and he early felt it incumbent upon him to take his support upon himself and also contribute his share towards the family finances.

He therefore practically saw himself through school, and was graduated in 1866 from Scholfieldís Commercial School at Providence. After his graduation he became a clerk in the postoffice at Westerly, in which position his habits and qualities were recognized, and this led to his promotion to the assistant postmastership in 1872. In that position he soon found much of the management of the affairs of the office left to him. He received the appointment of postmaster in 1875, and from that time until April 1, 1887, he most successfully and satisfactorily performed the duties of that office, being an efficient and popular public servant. It was during his incumbency of the office that the delivery system was projected. From the time of his retiring from the postmastership of Westerly, Mr. Pendleton has been successfully and extensively engaged in a kind of miscellaneous business. He is an auctioneer, master-in-chancery, notary public, and commissioner of deeds for New York, New Jersey and Iowa. He also deals in real estate.

Colonel Pendleton, it is needless to say, is a Republican. He has been town moderator of Westerly since 1909, moderator of Westerly Fire district since 1912. He has given considerable attention to military affairs, and is prominent in Masonry. As early as 1866 he became a member of the Westerly Rifles, and in 1884 was chosen captain of Company E. It was largely through his efforts that an appropriation was obtained in 1877, by which the Armory was remodeled and enlarged. In 1888 he was appointed aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor Royal C. Taft, with the rank of colonel. He is now a member of the Home Guards of Rhode Island and very active. He is a member of Franklin Lodge, No. 20, Free and Accepted Masons; Palmer Chapter, No. 28, Royal Arch Masons; and Narragansett Commandery, Knights Templar, all of Westerly, and received the degrees of Heller Shrine, of Dallas, Texas. He was one of the organizers of the Westerly Business Menís Association, the prosperity of which he did much to advance. He was for many years a trustee of Niantic Savings Bank. Colonel Pendletonís religious connections are with the Calvary Baptist Church at Westerly, of which he has been an active and useful member, as well as a generous contributor to its support. He has served as church treasurer for thirty-five years, and as secretary and treasurer of its Sunday school for fifty years.


ELLEN FITZ PENDLETON-- Since 1911, after a career in educational pursuits extending from 186., Miss Pendleton has been president of Wellesley College. She is a member of an old and distinguished Colonial New England family, daughter of Enoch Burrows and Mary Ette (Chapman) Pendleton, and was born in Westerly, R. I., August 7, 1864.

She received an A. B., from Wellesley College in 1886, and an A. M. in 1891, having during 1889-1890 pursued studies in Newnham College, in Cambridge, England. From 1886 to 1888 she was a tutor in mathematics at Wellesley, in this capacity beginning her long association with the college. From 1888 to 1897 she was instructor; from 1891 to 1901 secretary; and from 1901 to 1911, when she became president, she was dean and associate professor of mathematics.

As Wellesleyís head, Miss Pendletonís position in the educational world, particularly in its relation to the higher education of women, is one of eminence in this field, and is a worthy chapter in the history of the family that has contributed in substantial manner to the upbuilding and progress of New England. Miss Pendleton, in 1911, was honored with the degree of Doctor of Literature from Brown University, and in 1912 Mount Holyoke College conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws. 

These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project.

The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical,
Pages  400 - 402 

SPRAGUE FAMILY The Cranston-Johnston branch of the Spragues formed one of the mast notable and historically prominent of Rhode Island families since the beginning of the seventeenth century. Members of this family have been leaders in practically every department of the life of the State throughout two centuries. Three generations of the Cranston Spragues, William Sprague, his sons, Governor William and Amasa, and the latterís sons, Amasa, Governor William (2), and Byron, together and in turn founded and developed one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of the cotton cloth
manufacturing industries of the day in the world. William Sprague, Governor of the State of Rhode Island, during the Rebellion, a gallant soldier and citizen whose name occupies a brilliant page in the history of the State, was of this branch. Closely allied by bonds of kinship to this illustrious branch of the family are the Johnston Spragues, and it is with this family, in the line of the late William Anson Sprague, that this article is to deal. The Sprague coat-of-arms is as follows:

Arms Gules, a fesse chequy or and azure between three fleurs-de-lis of the second.
Crest A talbot passant argent resting the foot on a fleur-de-lis gules.

(I) William Sprague, immigrant ancestor and progenitor, was a son of Edward Sprague, of Upway, Dorsetshire, England. Edward Sprague lived at Fordington, Dorsetshire, in early life, and was a fuller by trade. He married Christina, and died in 1614. His will was proved June 6, 1614, in the prerogative court at Canterbury, and copies of the document made at this time are still in possession of the family. Three of his sons, Ralph, Richard, and William, came to America. In Princeís "Chronology" we find the following mention of the brothers:

Among those who arrived at Naumkeag are Ralph Sprague, with his brothers Richard and William, who, with three or four more, were employed by Governor Endicott to explore and take possession of the country westward. They traveled through the woods to Charlestown, on a neck of land called Michawum, between Mystic and Charles rivers,. full of Indians named Aborginians, with whom they made peace." Ralph Sprague was about twenty-five years of age when he came to New England In 1631. Captain Richard Sprague commanded a company of the train band. On February 10, 1634, the order creating a Board of Selectmen was passed, and Richard and William Sprague signed it. Richard Sprague left no posterity. His sword, which is named in his brother William's will, was extant in 1828.

William Sprague settled first in Charlestown, Mass., where he lived until 1636. He then removed to Hingham, landing on the side of the cove, on a tract of land afterward granted him by the town, and he was one of the first planters there. His house lot is said to have been the best situated in the town. Many grants were made him from time to time. He was active in public affairs, and was constable, fence-viewer, etc. William Sprague died October 6, 1675; his will bequeaths to his wife, Millicent, and children, Anthony, Samuel, William, Joan, Jonathan, Persis, Johanna, and Mary. He married, in Charlestown, in 1635, Millicent Eames, daughter of Anthony Eames, who died February 8, 1695-96.

(II) John Sprague, son of William and Millicent (Eames) Sprague, was born in Hingham, Mass., and baptized there in April, 1638. He married, December 13, 1666, Elizabeth Holbrook, and settled in the town of Mendon, Mass., where he died.

(III) Ebenezer Sprague, son of John and Elizabeth (Holbrook) Sprague, was born about 1672. He was a resident of Rehoboth, Mass., for a short time, and from there removed to Providence, where four of his children are recorded. On January 12, 1706, he married, in Providence, Mary Mann,
daughter of Thomas and Mary (Wheaton) Mann, of Rehoboth.

(IV) Daniel Sprague, son of Ebenezer and Mary (Mann) Sprague, was born in Providence, R. I., March 28, 1712-13. He was a prominent resident and leading citizen of Johnston, R. I., and for many years held the office of justice of the peace. Daniel Sprague married (first) about 1730, Sarah
Ballou, and (second) about 1736, Hannah Brown.

(V) Rufus Sprague, son of Daniel and Sarah (Ballou) Sprague, was born in Johnston, June 7, 1735. Like his father he was active in public affairs during the greater part of his life, He was deputy sheriff and later high sheriff of Providence county. He was a farmer on a large scale in Johnston, where he died. Rufus Sprague is buried in a private yard on his own farm.

(VI) Welcome Sprague, son of Rufus Sprague, was a resident at different times of Warwick, Cranston, and Johnston, and followed the trade of carpenter successfully until his death. He married (first) ---- Peck, and they were the parents of one son, Jenckes Sprague, who removed to the eastern part of Pennsylvania, where his descendants still reside. Welcome Sprague married (second) Ruth Collins, member of a prominent old Rhode Island family. Their children were: Colinda, Sylvia, and Rufus, mentioned below. He died at his home in Johnston. His widow, who survived him many years, died at the home of her son, Rufus, in Providence.

(VII) Rufus (2) Sprague, son of Welcome and Ruth (Collins) Sprague, was born during the residence of the family in Cranston, and removed during boyhood to Johnston, where he grew up on his fatherís farm. He learned the trade of carpenter under his father, and plied his trade in Johnston
until 1852. In the latter year he removed to Providence, established himself in the building and contracting business on a large scale, and engaged successfully in the building and selling of houses and the development of real estate until his death. Mr. Sprague was a well known figure in the business circles of Providence in the sixties, and was eminently respected. He was a member of the Six Principle Baptist Church.

Rufus Sprague married Lavina V. Lovell, of Scituate. Their children were: 1. George W., a farmer, of Johnston and Providence. 2. A child, who died in infancy. 3. William A., mentioned below. 4. John L. 5. Sheldon P., who was engaged in the grocery business in East Providence. 6. Arnold P., a
mechanic, resided in Pawtucket. 7. Abby, widow of Henry A. Barnes, of Providence. 8. Celinda, who became the wife of Frank Barrows. 9. Mary E., who married Professor James K. Allen, of Providence. 10. Lavina, first wife of Frank Barrows. 11. Albert, of Johnston. 12 Rufus, of Providence.

(VIII) William Anson Sprague, son of Ruins and Lavina V. (Lovell) Sprague, was born in Johnston, R. I., June 9, 1832. He was educated in the public schools of Johnston, and completed his studies in the Smithfield Seminary of North Scituate, under Principals Quimby and Coburn. After completing his education, he taught school for nine sessions in Coventry and Cranston, but gave up this profession to engage in business as a carpenter. Having gained a satisfactory working knowledge of the business, he established himself independently as a builder and contractor.

Mr. Sprague was very successful in business, confining his operations largely to building houses and disposing of them or renting them. From time to time, however, he accepted contracts for other work. He was widely known in business circles in Providence and eminently respected. He was also a prominent figure in Masonic and fraternal circles. He was a member of Crescent Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and held all the offices in that body. In religious faith he was a Baptist and a member of the Auburn Free Baptist Church, of which he was a deacon for many years.

Mr. Sprague married (first) Katharine A. Wood, daughter of Jonathan Wood, and member of a prominent old Rhode Island family. Mrs. Sprague died in Providence, the mother of one son, Walter E., who married Julia Upham, of Boston; he had the care of his fatherís estate until his death, in December, 1914; he was a member of. Harmony Lodge, Pawtucket, attaining the thirty-second degree in Scottish Rite Masonry. Mr. Sprague married (second) Bessie A. Wood, sister of his first wife, and they were the parents of a daughter, M. Alice. Miss Sprague resides at No. 472 Cranston street, in the Sprague home, which was built by her father, in 1872. William Anson Sprague died at his home in Providence, May 19, 1912, in his eightieth year. The Wood coat-of-arms is as follows:

Arms Argent, an oak tree vert, fructed or.
Crest A demi-wild man, on the shoulder a club proper
holding in the dexter hand an oak branch of the last, wreathed about the middle vert.

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