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

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

p. 53 - 54:

LE ROY FALES -- The Fales name has long been connected with manufacturing in Rhode Island, the first important man of the name to engage in that business being David Gilmore Fales, who in the eighteen-twenties was classed as one of the principal men of the village of Central Falls.  He was the founder of the firm, Fales & Jenks, the forerunner of The Fales & Jenks Machine Company, a business with which his son, John Richmond Fales, was connected all his active years, and with which Le Roy Fales, son of John Richmond Fales, is now connected as vice-president and director.

David Gilmore Fales was a man of great mechanical talent, and an expert machinist, but was able to set a broken limb or heal a dislocated joint with equal skill.  He laid the foundation for a great business, and when he and his partners passed away, able sons, well-trained in the business, were at hand to develop what is now the well-equipped and prosperous Fales & Jenks Machine Company.  John Richmond Fales, son of the founder, was a man of strong character, self-reliant and resourceful, quiet and reserved in manner, but of high personal worth, leaving his impress upon his times both as a business man of unimpeachable integrity and a citizen of just life and good example.  Le Roy Fales is the third in direct line to have a voice in the management of the Fales & Jenks Machine Company, he also being prominent in the affairs of other corporations, both in Pawtucket and Central Falls, Rhode Island, while he has also become well-known in public life and in both fraternity and club.  He is of the eighth generation of the family founded in New England by James Fales, whose name also occurs in the early records as 'Vales'.

James Fales came from Chester, England, and on September 10, 1636, signed the original Dedham Plantation Covenant.  He was an early settler of Dedham, the name being then Contentment; was admitted a freeman there in 1653, and in 1675 was a soldier in King Philip's War.  His home in Dedham was on what is now Sprague street, opposite Greenlodge street.  He married there, Anna Brock, sister of Rev. John Brock, of the Isle of Shoals, they the parents of Rev. Henry Brock.  From James Fales the line descends through his third son, Peter Fales, born in 1668, and his wife, Abigail (Robbins) Fales; their son, Peter (2) Fales, and his wife, Sarah (Allen) Fales; their son, Peter (3) Fales, and his wife, Avis (Bicknell) Fales; their son, John Fales, and his wife, Roby (Gilmore) Fales; their son, David Gilmore Fales, and his wife, Parthenis C. (Sprague) Fales; their son, John Richmond Fales, and his wife, Harriet B. (Lee) Fales; their son, Le Roy Fales.

David Gilmore Fales, of the sixth generation, was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, June 4, 1806, came to Central Falls, Rhode Island, a young man of eighteen, and there learned the machinist's trade in the shops of David Jenks & Company.  In 1830 he formed a partnership with Alvin F. Jenks, and in a rented shop in Central Falls, began to manufacture cotton machinery.  In 1833 the firm of Fales and Jenks bought the Rhode Island State right to manufacture the Hubbard Patented Rotary Pump, this, with their other lines of manufacture, placing the young men on a firm basis. The first machine ever turned out by Fales & Jenks was a 'spooler' which went to a Virginia factory, the price paid $60.  Spinning frames were first made by the firm in 1845; ring twisters in 1846; these machines, made for Benjamin Greene, being among the first of their kind made in the United States for thread, worsted and silk.  In 1859-60 Fales & Jenks erected a furnace in a foundry for making their own castings; a brick shop, three stories high, with large ground area, was built in 1861-62; and in 1866 the plant was removed from Central Falls to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and there located on Dexter street, David G. Fales with Alvin F. Jenks and Stephen A. Jenks constituting the firm, Fales & Jenks retired finally, and were succeeded by their sons, John R. Fales, Alvin F. Jenks and Stephen A. Jenks. David G. Fales died in 1875, and in 1876 the firm, Fales & Jenks, became the corporation, The Fales & Jenks Machine Company, Alvin F. Jenks, president, John R. Fales, vice-president; and Stephen A. Jenks, treasurer. The large, well-equipped plant of the company in Pawtucket is a fitting monument to the business ability of these men, while the reputation the company holds in the trade and in the business world is competent evidence that the trust committed to them was sacredly observed.

John Richmond Fales was born at Central Falls, Rhode Island, March 5, 1833, the house in which he was born standing on the corner of Central and High streets, his sister, Elizabeth K. (Fales) Austin, later residing in a beautiful house built upon the site of the old home in which she was born. He was educated in the Belden school at Fruit Hill, a noted school of that day, and began his business career with his father in the firm, Fales & Jenks.  He inherited his father's mechanical genius as well as his business ability, and became one of the strong men of The Fales & Jenks Machine Company, and its vice-president.  He was widely-known as a most capable and skilled machine builder, and became interested in a variety of manufacturing enterprises, his interest extending to the making machinery for cotton mills, hydrants, water meters, water wheels, cotton goods, balls, and other standard articles.  He was vice-president of the United States Cotton Company, incorporated in 1885; vice-president of the Lily Pond Land Company; a part owner in the E. Jenks Manufacturing Company, the Hope Thread Mill, the Pawtucket Manufacturing Company, was a director of the Pacific National Bank, and a trustee of the Franklin Savings Bank.  He was also interested in mills at Fall River and New Bedford, he being rated one of the most substantial men of the Blackstone Valley.

Mr. Fales passed his entire life near the place of his birth, and no man was more highly esteemed.  He was an able business man, and his time was fully occupied, but he was not a slave to money or its accumulation. He loved out-of-door recreations, particularly yachting, his third fine yacht 'Harriet' being in the builder's hands at the time of his death.  He contributed generously to the support of the church, and was a member of the Masonic order, affiliated with Union Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Pawtucket Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Pawtucket Council, Royal and Select Masters; Holy Sepulchre Commandery, Knights Templar.  He would never accept political office, although his fellow townsmen would gladly have given him any office within their gift.  At an early day he served Central Falls as a member of the board of fire wardens, that being his nearest approach to a public office.  He accomplished a vast amount of work, through his trait of concentration, he never allowing himself to be diverted to another task until that in hand was completed.  Quiet and reserved always, this trait deepened and intensified after the death of his wife.  He gave generously to those in distress, but so quickly and secretly were his benefactions bestowed that they were known to but few.  He was stricken with a fever while on a journey to Mexico, and soon after his return passed away, on August 15, 1892, leaving a record of honor and usefulness.

John R. Fales married Harriet B. Lee, of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, their chilren, three sons, Le Roy, of further mention; Jerome Atherton, died in infancy; Warren R., now an extensive poultry farmer, his farm the old Whitcomb homestead in East Providence; he is a world-wide traveler, and a great reader, possessing perhaps the finest private library in the State of Rhode Island; he married Carrie B. Hopkins.

Le Roy Fales, eldest son of John Richmond and Harriet B. (Lee) Fales, was born at Central Falls, August 30, 1859, and until sixteen years of age attended the public schools there and Deane Academy, Franklin, Massachusetts. He entered the employ of Fales & Jenks in 1875, continuing after the incorporation as The Fales & Jenks Machine Company, in 1876, mastering the details of factory and office management during sixteen years which elapsed between his entrance and his succeeding to the secretaryship of the company in 1892.  From secretary he advanced to the vice-president's office, which he now fills.  He is also a director of The Fales & Jenks Machine Company; president of the Jenks Spinning Company; president of the Pawtucket Manufacturing Company; president of the United States Cotton Company; director of the Pawtucket branch of the Industrial Trust Company; and has other interests of importance.  A Republican in politics, Mr. Fales represented Central Falls in the State General Assembly four years, 1896 - 1900, and yet retains a deep interest in party concerns and public affairs. In 1900 Mr. Fales moved his residence from Central Falls to Barrington, which is now his home.  He is a member of the Masonic order, holding the thirty-second degree, Rhode Island Consistory, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.  He is also a noble of Palestine Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.  His clubs are the Ponham and Squantum.

Mr. Fales married Emma G. Kelley, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and they are the parents of a son, Jerome Richmond, born November 3, 1889.

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George ChattertonCHARLES O. CHATTERTON is the son of George Chatterton, the first file maker in the United States.  George Chatterton was born in Sheffield, England, in 1816, and died January 18, 1908, at the age of ninety-two years. He was the first to manufacture files out of steel, and came of a long line of file makers, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, having been in the same business in England.  He served his apprenticeship in the celebrated manufactory of W. & S. Butcher, Sheffield, England, and learned all that could be acquired by him of that art in the best English shops.  Mr. Chatterton incurred the enmity of certain persons in power in 1839 by a strenuous advocacy of reform in regard to the question of suffrage as it affected 'younger sons'.  He was placed in stocks at one time, but finally came to America in 1839, settling in Providence, where his first attempt in business was converting a dozen old files into mercantile high grade goods, performing the work by his own skilled hand labor.  This was the beginning of the file industry in Providence and to George Chatterton, father of Charles O. Chatterton, file manufacturer, of Providence, the honor is due.

George Chatterton located in Providence, Rhode Island, the same year of his arrival in the United States, and there formed the acquaintance of Obadiah Mason, a descendant of a commander in the United States Navy in 1776.  Mr. Mason owned a tannery and a shoe shop on North Main street at Jenkins street and with him Mr. Chatterton arranged for the use of the small shed and forge in the rear.  There he restored old files to a better condition then ever, doing the work by hand and soon gaining local acquaintance and trade.  The business grew and became one of the prosperous ones of the city, the forerunner of the present plant now engaged in file manufacture in Providence.  Mr. Chatterton soon made a place for himself in the industrial and commercial life of the city, and at various times was director of the Liberty Bank, president of the Hope Iron Foundry, treasurer of Rhode Island Manufacturing Company, which office he held ten years.  At the time of the Dow troubles he was an active and ardent sypathizer of Governor Dow, and at one time during the height of the controversy was hunted unsuccessfully in the woods, where he had found it wise to escape temporarily.

George Chatterton married Phoebe Mason, daughter of Obadiah and Phoebe (Hopkins) Mason, and a sister of Owen Mason, the well known Providence historian, whose portrait adorns the walls of the Rhode Island Historical Society buildings, that portrait being the gift of his nephew, Charles O. Chatterton, whose boyish love and respect Mr. Mason gained never to lose.

Charles O. Chatterton, son of George and Phoebe (Mason) Chatterton, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, April 5, 1848, and was educated in the public schools of the city, and in the Moses Brown School.  After leaving school, he entered his father's file factory, there learning the business in its every detail in the factory department, mastering the practical side of the business and becoming a skilled file worker, then advancing to office and executive positions.  As his father had advanced in years he withdrew more and more from the business, the son gradually assuming greater responsibility, until the burden of management rested upon him.  This was preparatory to full control, and fitted him for the management of the business he was soon to assume.  In 1908 George Chatterton, the founder and pioneer file manufacturer, died, and since that time Charles O. Chatterton has been principal owner and manager of the Chatterton File Works. Hand-made files are still the product of this plant, and the reputation and quality of these files are still maintained and in greater demand than ever. The superiority of handmade files over machine-cut files is due to uniformity in size and sharpness of teeth.  In the machine-made file whenever the chisel comes to a hard spot, a shallower cut is made, and when it comes to a softer spot the cut is deeper and the tooth sharper. In cutting a file by hand, however, the skilled workman can follow the effect of his chisel, striking it harder in the hard spots and lighter where the metal is soft.  With these conditions understood it is evident that uniform annealing is the prime requirement for producing a first-class file of the high grade required by tool and watch makers.  One of the men yet in action in the factory and a foreman is James Chatterton, a brother of George Chatterton, who came from England and joined his brother in Providence in 1843.  Mr. Chatterton resides in Pawtucket.

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SAMUEL PENNY COOK -- When a youth of eighteen years, just out of high school, Samuel P. Cook entered the service of the Producers National Bank of Woonsocket.  That was nearly half a century ago, and from the year of his admission, 1870, until the present, 1918, he has known no other business home nor a greater business interest.  This long term of service, eleven years of which has been as president of the bank, coupled with the fact that for a quarter of a century he was city treasurer, has given him a grasp of matters financial and brought him so prominently before the people that his opinions on finance carry the weight of authority. The radical changes made in the banking laws during the past few years, although not at first cheerfully accepted by the financiers of the country, and the problems presented were approached by bankers with characteristic caution, but as their value became apparent and their ability to meet national and international demands was proven, all doubt vanished and the splendid response made by national banks and bankers to the enormous demands made upon their financial resources and upon their patriotism is the best answer to any criticism of either American banking laws or upon the patriotism and good faith of American bankers.  No business has been called upon for greater sacrifice during these years of national stress and storm, and the best thought of the financial world has lent itself to the solution of the war's financial problems.  As executive head of Woonsocket's leading bank, Mr. Cook has borne his part in carrying the financial burden imposed upon this city and has as well ably fulfilled his obligations to those who look to the Producers Bank as their source of financial supply.  Mr. Cook is a son of Ariel Lindsey Cook, son of Ariel (2) Cook, son of Ariel (1) Cook, son of Deacon Nathaniel Cook, son of Nicholas (2) Cook, son of Deacon Nicholas (1) Cook, son of Walter Cook, founder of the branch of the Cook family in New England.

Walter Cook was of Weymouth, Massachusetts, as early as 1642, married, was the father of a family of eight, and died January 5, 1685, an old man. His son, Deacon Nicholas (1) Cook, born February 9, 1660, married (first) Johanna Rockett, (second) Mehitable Staples, and was succeeded by a son, Nicholas (2) Cook, born June 10, 1687.  This Nicholas (2) Cook, married, in 1715, Elizabeth Staples, who died in Bellingham, Massachusetts, March 3, 1788, aged eighty-nine, the mother of twelve sons and daughters.

Nathaniel Cook, the eldest of these children, was born September 15, 1718, and resided in Wrentham, Massachusetts, in that part of the town which later became Cumberland, Rhode Island.  He was a deacon of the Six Principle Church, and a man of influence.  He married, January 27, 1741, Margaret Ballou, born October 6, 1720, daughter of James Ballou, and a descendant of Maturin Ballou, founder of the family in Rhode Island.

Ariel Cook, son of Nathaniel and Margaret (Ballou) Cook, was born October 15, 1749, and died June 18, 1803.  He resided at the homestead in the town of Cumberland, not far from the Ballou Meeting House; he was a farmer, and a deacon of the Baptist church.  He married, February 20, 1772, Dorcas Whipple, familiarly and lovingly known to the entire neighborhood as 'Aunt Dorcas'.  She died December 24, 1839, aged ninety, the mother of nine sons and daughters.

Ariel (2) Cook, son of Ariel (1) and Dorcas (Whipple) Cook, was born in the town of Cumberland, Rhode Island, and there resided all his life, a prosperous farmer and prominent citizen.  He married, September 10, 1809, Eliza G. Sabin, daughter of John Sabin, of Newport.  They were the parents of sons and daughters, namely:  George, who was cashier of the Cumberland Bank, at Cumberland Hill, for forty-seven years, serving until two weeks prior to his death; Albert, John, Edmund L., Charles, Ann Eliza, Horace, Ariel Lindsey, of further mention; Rebecca, Maria, Ellen F. and Joshua S. Cook.

Ariel Lindsey Cook, seventh son of Ariel (2) and Eliza G. (Sabin) Cook, was born at the homestead in Cumberland, Rhode Island, December 11, 1823, and died in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, December 23, 1886.  He grew to manhood at the homestead farm, later settling at Albion, Rhode Island, where he became a prominent merchant dealing in general merchandise. He married Mary Harris Phillips, who died February 26, 1917.  They were the parents of Samuel P., of further mention; Herbert L.; Ida F., married Charles H. Pond; Sophia E., married Dwight Clarence Lord.

Samuel P. Cook, son of Ariel Lindsey and Mary Harris (Phillips) Cook, was born in Albion, Rhode Island, July 20, 1852.  He attended graded and high schools of Woonsocket until 1870, then entered the employ of the Producers' National Bank of Woonsocket, that bank having a savings department bearing the same name.  He developed unusual banking ability, and in 1885 was elected cashier of the Producers National Bank and treasurer of the Producers Savings Bank.  He held that office until January 14, 1907, when he was elected president of the Producers National Bank, his present high and responsible office.  He is a thoroughly capable financier, learned in the law of national finance as applied to banking, conservative yet not timid, ready at all times to trust his judgment  in financial matters.  For twenty-five years he was treasurer of the city of Woonsocket and his business interests in the city are not inconsiderable. Mr. Cook is a member of the State Banking Association and of other societies, financial in their scope, is a Republican in politics, and an attendant at the First Universalist Church, his club the Squantum Association.  He holds all degrees of York Rite Masonry, belonging to Morning Star Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Union Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, and Woonsocket Commandery, Knights Templar.  He is interested in the welfare of his adopted city and is generous in his support of all worthy aims.

Mr. Cook married, in 1883, Lucia G. Moses, and they are the parents of Theodore Phillips, born in Woonsocket, August 7, 1884, now receiving teller of the Producers National Bank, and a daughter, Gertrude Nourse, born April 15, 1886.


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

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