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

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

p. 120 - 121:

FRANK D. SIMMONS, president of the Eastern Coal Company, and for a quarter of a century a prominent figure in business circles in the City of Providence, was born on February 17, 1857, son of the late Stephen and Fannie E. (Allen) Simmons, and member of a well-known Rhode Island family of early Colonial date.  Stephen Simmons was born in Little Compton, son of Henry Brightman and Sally (Seabury) Simmons, and a lineal descendant of Moses Simonson, founder of the family in America.  The surname is of Dutch origin, and the progenitor, a Dutch gentleman of Leyden, settled among the Pilgrims at Plymouth prior to 1634.  As early as the second generation, the family name had become Simmons, and as such it has figured in Massachusetts and Rhode Island annals since the middle of the seventeenth century, Stephen Simmons was for many years a member of the firm of Brown & Keach, jewelry manufacturers; on disposing of his interests in this enterprise, he entered the field of real estate, in which he engaged successfully until his death, April 13, 1886.

Frank D. Simmons was educated in the public schools of Providence, and later attended Bryant & Stratton's Business College.  In 1877, after two years experience with a manufacturing jewelry firm, as bookkeeper, Mr. Simmons accepted a position with the Tucker & Little Coal Company as clerk and collecting agent.  In 1879 he established himself independently in the coal business, under the name of the F. D. Simmons Coal Company, locating his coal yards on Pearl street.  After conducting this business successfully alone for a short period, Mr. Simmons formed a partnership with Robert B. Little, under the firm name of R. B. Little & Company. The business was conducted under this name, with yards at Point street, until 1890, when the firm consolidated with three other companies of Providence, and incorporated under the name of the Eastern Coal Company.  Frank D. Simmons became a director and assistant to the president of the new company.  In 1910 he was elected president and general manager, which offices he holds at the time of writing (1919).  Mr. Simmons is active in numerous other mercantile enterprises of Providence, and ranks prominently among the most successful business leaders of the city.  He is treasurer and director of the Fidelity Mercantile Agency, of the Loose Leaf Manufacturing Company, and of the Economy Faucet Company.

Mr. Simmons is well known in Masonic circles, and is a member of St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Free and Accepted Masons; Providence Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Calvary Commandery, Knights Templar; and Palestine Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.  His clubs are the Turk's Head, Pomham, Anawan and Central, of Providence.  In political affiliation he is a Republican.

On April 20, 1882, Mr. Simmons married Mary E. Little, daughter of Robert B. Little, his former partner.  Mr. and Mrs. Simmons were the parents of a daughter, Rachel, wife of Alan C. Blanding, of Providence; and a son, the late Captain F. Ronald Simmons, of whom a narrative follows.

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CAPTAIN F. RONALD SIMMONS  --  The Great War has taken its grim toll in lives from every walk of life; every profession, every vocation, every science, every art has given of its best to the end that civilization might survive the menacing onslaught of the Hun.  When the stormcloud of war broke over Europe in August, 1914, Paris harbored a colony of artists and cosmopolitan famed the world over as 'The American Colony', and composed of Americans who sought in Paris the training and inspiration which only her schools and ateliers can give.  Carefree, thoughless [sic] beyond the needs of the day, they lived in a fever of excitement, varying earnest study with pleasure seeking.

At the outbreak of the war, Ronald Simmons was a well-known member of the inner circle of American artists in Paris, a student at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and already an artist of recognized powers.  In the course of four years' residence in Paris he had acquired an exceptional understanding of French character and French point of view, and an acquaintance in many circles of Parisian life which subsequently was of the utmost value to him in his work as an officer of the Intelligence Section of the American Expeditionary Force.

F. Ronald Simmons was born in Providence, R. I., in 1885, the son of Frank D. and Mary E. (Little) Simmons.  After preparation in private schools and at Phillip's Andover Academy, he matriculated at Yale, where he took a Bachelor's degree in 1907.  He then completed a course in architecture in the Boston Institute of Technology, and after a short office experience in Providence, went to Paris to continue his studies.  Art gripped him strongly, however, and by 1914 he had definitely abandoned architecture, had long been a student at the Beaux Arts, and was working with water colors, and later oils, in a famous Paris atelier.  Then came July and August, 1914, and all was forgotten except the dire predicament of Paris.  Many left the city, but F. Ronald Simmons was one of those who stayed, and was among the first American to begin relief work among the stricken French.  He was one of the organizers of the American Committee of the Ecole des Beaux Arts, through which American students of the school aided former French students who had gone to the front and their families.  In the winter of 1916-17 he resigned from this committee to devote his entire time to work in the convalescent homes under the direction of Mrs. Edith Wharton, the American novelist, who, in a tribute to his memory says:  'As a member of the committee of the Tuberculeux de la Guerre he collaborated with me till that charity was absorbed by the American Red Cross, and again and again I had occasion to profit by his wise advise, his tact and patience and discernment.'

When, in March, 1917, the American Military Commission, headed by Major Churchill, arrived in Paris, Mr. Simmons was asked to become one of its civilian members, because of his extensive knowledge of the French people, of their language and their customs, and his seemingly instinctive ability to create an atmosphere of harmony and cordial intimacy between the French and Americans.  With America's entry into the war, Mr. Churchill was established at General Pershing's headquarters in Paris, and with him was Mr. Simmons, who rendered a service which cannot be overestimated in the trying six months of adjustment which ensued.  He played no mean part in the evolving of the American system intelligence, and by August, 1917, it was decided that he could work more effectively as a member of the Expeditionary Forces than as a civilian.  He was commissioned a lieutenant, and soon afterward was put in charge of the American mission of the Inter-Allied Bureau at Paris.  In February, 1918, he was given the rank of captain, and a few months later was assigned to a responsible mission in the Intelligence Section of the Servie of Supply (the familiar S. O. S.) and went to Southern France, taking  up headquarters at Bordeaux.  He was in line for further promotion when stricken with double pneumonia; his strength had been undermined by his constant and tireless devotion to duty, and the disease proved fatal within three days.

His death at the outset of what many predicted would have been a brilliant career is one of the tragedies of the war.  But he died a hero, as much so as it he had died on the field of battle.  His death was mourned as a personal loss by the highest officials of the American Expeditionary Forces, who paid eloquent tribute to his services to our army - services rendered at a time when few were qualified to perform them.  Of his measure as a man, and a friend, Mrs. Edith Wharton, the novelist, says:

'His friends would like to dwell on qualities more deeply concealed under the incurable modesty; on the responsive warmth of his sympathies, his joyous sense of humor, his sensitiveness to all things fine and rare, and the strange maturity of his judgments. He was always ready; every call found him, every distress appealed to him.  If he had faults, his friends never discovered them; if he had lived long enough to give his full measure many more would have mourned him as we are mourning him to-day.'  --  Taken from the Paris Edition of 'The New York Herald', of August 14, 1918.

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Philip H. WilbourPHILIP HERBERT WILBOUR  --  From the time Samuel Wilbore fled from Taunton, Mass., to Providence, driven by the persecutions of his religious opponents, the family has been prominent in the public and business life of the Colony and State of Rhode Island.  Without an exception the heads of each of the nine generations of the branch herein recorded have been land owners and substantial farmers, the family possessions lying mainly in the town of Little Compton.

Isaac Wilbour, of the sixth generation, although a member of Congress, 1807-09, lieutenant-governor of Rhode Island in 1810, and from May, 1819, to May, 1827, chief justice of the Supreme Court, Rhode Island, ever made his home at his farm, following in that regard the example of his father, and was likewise emulated by his son Philip, his grandson, Isaac Champlin, and his great-grandson, Philip Herbert Wilbour, who inherited from his father the distinction of owning and operating the most extensive poultry farming business in the United States.  He has made the continuation of that farm the aim of his business career, but since 1900 has figured prominently in public life.  He is of the ninth American generation of the family founded by Samuel Wilbore, of Boston, who was admitted to the church there, December 1, 1633, that being the first recorded mention of the founder of the family in New England.  The name Wildbore became Wilbore in the second generation, was so spelled by the third, but in the fourth generation William changed it to Wilbour, which since prevails in this branch, although many of the same family line spell it both Wilbour and Wilbur as well.  Samuel Wildbore was one of the founders of the iron industry at Taunton, Mass., building with his associates a furnace at what is now Raynham, the first built in New England.  He became wealthy for his day, but his standing in the community could not preserve him from religious persecutions, and for embracing the 'dangerous doctrines' of Cotton and Wheelwright he was banished from Massachusetts with seventeen others.  Although he owned a house in Boston, and one in Taunton, he abandoned both, and on the advice of Roger Williams he, with seventeen fellow exiles, purchased from the Indians the Island of Aquidneck, he moving there with his family in 1638, these eighteen persons forming a colony under a solemn compact, March 7, 1638.  The founder died September 29, 1656, twenty-two years after having been made a freeman at Boston.  His first wife Ann was a daughter of Thomas Bradford, of Dorchester, Yorkshire, England.  Two of their sons, Samuel and William, settled in Portsmouth, R. I.; another, Joseph, located at Taunton, Mass.; the fourth, Shadrach, in that part of the same town now known as Raynham. Prior to November 29, 1645, Samuel Wildbore married a second wife, Elizabeth.

The line of descent from the pioneer settler, Samuel Wilbore, to Philip Herbert Wilbour is through William Wilbor, of Portsmouth, deputy in 1678; his son, Samuel Wilbor, a farmer of Little Compton, R. I., and his wife, Elizabeth (Potter) Wilbor; their son, William Wilbour, also a farmer of Little Compton, and his wife, Esther (Burgess) Wilbour; their son, Charles Wilbour, who owned and cultivated a large tract of land near Sakonnet river in the town of Little Compton, and his first wife, Hannah (Borden) Wilbour; their son, Isaac Wilbour, a farmer of the old homestead, member of Congress, lieutenant-governor, and his wife, Hannah, daughter of Captain Philip Taber; their son, Philip Wilbour, a farmer of one hundred and twenty-five acres yet owned in the family, and his wife, Eliza Penelope (Champlin) Wilbour; their son, Isaac Champlin Wilbour, of further mention, and his wife, Deborah Josephine Wilbour; their son, Philip Herbert Wilbour, of further mention.

Isaac Champlin Wilbour, born at the homestead in Little Compton, R. I., May 11, 1831, died September, 1899. He became owner of the home farm of one hundred and twenty-five acres, added to it by purchase until he had increased its area to two hundred and sixty acres.  He was the pioneer poultry farmer of his district and developed that business to enormous proportions, having five thousand hens, his yearly shipments of eggs to all parts of the United States, Canada and Europe averaging 150,000 dozen. His energy and progressive ideas won him great success, and he ranked with the leading business men of his section.  A work of love which was carried to completion with the aid of his cousin, Charles Edwin Wilbour, was the building of Sakonnet Cemetery, the beautiful chapel therein having a chime of bells imported from Belgium.  Within are marble tablets commemorative of many members of the family beginning with Lieutenant-Governor Isaac Wilbour, and there the donor rests.

Isaac Champlin Wilbour married (first), Deborah Josephine Wilbour, born July 13, 1834, died, 1865, daughter of Benjamin and Abby M. (Taylor) Wilbour, and granddaughter of Daniel Wilbour and of Samuel Taylor.  Mr. and Mrs. Wilbour were the parents of Philip Herbert, of further mention; Caroline Corey, died aged seven; Elizabeth Champlin; Deborah Josephine, married Frederick Marcy Patten, of Brookline, Mass.  Mr. Wilbour married (second), Amelia French, of Nantucket, who survived him.  They were the parents of a son, William French, a lawyer of New York City.

Philip Herbert Wilbour, only son of Isaac Champlin Wilbour and his first wife, Deborah Josephine (Wilbour) Wilbour, was born at the homestead at Little Compton, which he now owns, August 27, 1856.  He was educated in the public schools and Friends’ School, Providence, and grew to manhood at the homestead, his father’s chief assistant and later partner in the poultry raising business for which the farm was famous.  After the death of the founder of the business in 1899, the son assumed entire control and has continued to successfully manage it along the same lines, improved and added to as experience dictated.  The house which sheltered several generations has been remodeled and added to until, with its beautiful grounds, conservatory and location, it is most attractive to the eye of the beholder, and a source of deep pride and satisfaction to its owner.

Inheriting the public spirit of his forbears, Mr. Wilbour has taken an active part in public affairs, and given much time to the service of the people of his State.  He had been a member of the Town Council prior to the year 1900, and in that year was elected representative from Little Compton to the State Legislature.  He served three years in the House, being chairman of the committee on special legislation, and a member of other committees.  His work in the House pleased his constituents, and in 1903 he was elected State Senator, and in 1907 reelected.  He was chairman of the committees on corporations and finance, and other committees, also upon the floor of the Senate proved one of the able, influential and valuable members of that body.  In 1912 Senator Wilbour was elected president pro tempore of the Senate, holding until March 15, 1917.  During that period, in the absence of the governor and lieutenant-governor, he officiated several times as acting governor.  On November 30, 1897, he was appointed a member of the Shell Fish Commission by Governor Dyer, and after five years on the commission was chosen its president, holding that office twenty years, until January 19, 1917.  In 1917 he was elected to his present post, state auditor and insurance commissioner.  In politics he is a Republican, influential in the party and potent in council.

His farm responsibilities and State public service have not caused him to neglect local duties, and for fifteen years he served Little Compton as town treasurer, was a director of the Tiverton & Little Compton Mutual Fire Insurance Company, a charter member of Pomona Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, and with his wife has continued that membership until the present.  He is also a member of the State Grange and the National Grange, and keeps in close touch with the efforts made through these bodies to improve farming conditions.  He is a member of Eureka Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Portsmouth, R. I., and Sekonnet Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. There is no interest of his State but what appeals to him and commands his loyal support.  As a public official his record is one of efficiency, every office being regarded as a trust to be faithfully administered as though it were his own private business.  A genial, pleasing personality adds to his popularity, and he has never yet received an adverse decision at the polls.

Mr. Wilbour married, in Brooklyn, N. Y., May 28, 1885, Grace Frances Ropes, born in Salem, Mass., daughter of Ripley Ropes.  Mr. and Mrs. Wilbour are the parents of a son, Lincoln, born March 6, 1886, now enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve Force, District No. 2, Station, New London, Conn., in business in Providence, R. I.; and two daughters: Elizabeth Champlin, who died young, and Dorothy.

There is a portion of the old farm, however, which is held sacred to the preservation of a historical spot, and a story which dates back to the early Indian occupation.  This part of the farm bears the name Awashonks Park, and was once the home of the Saugkonnates tribe of Indians, it being known in an earlier day as the Tompee Swamps.  Over this tribe reigned Queen Awashonks, a Queen who was gifted with a keener insight and greater wisdom than even the powerful King Philip, and stood firm in her insistence upon the white man’s right to live among them in peace.  When King Philip sent his chiefs to her inviting her to join him and them in a war of extermination against the Whites, she flatly refused her aid and tried to dissuade the King from attempting war.  She failed and one of the adornments of Awashonks Park is a monument to the good Queen’s memory.  This monument is in the form of a great boulder of slate through which runs a gleam of white flint quartz. The face of the rock bears this inscription:  'To the memory of Awashonks, Queen of the Saugkonnates, and friend of the white man.'  This inscription is deeply engraved in the face of the rock, and by chance curiously enough the words 'White Man' are cut into the strata of white flint in the boulder. Another large boulder serves as a monument to both King Philip and the Queen, commemorating her refusal to join the King in his war against the Whites, a war which resulted in his death.  The inscription on this monument is as follows: 'Pometocum – August 12, 1616 (Philip) King of the Wampanoags.'

This part of the old farm Mr. Wilbour has converted into a park, which he has improved and traversed with roads and paths, making all parts of its beautiful area accessible to the public to whom he has opened it, free of charge or expense.  He has devoted much time and money to preserve this historic spot for future generations.  The beautiful drives reach the spots preserved by tablet or inscription, and no part of the farm, no matter how important it may be to the business thereon conducted, receives the care and attention bestowed upon Awashonks Park, which commemorates the worthy deeds of this so-called 'Savage Queen.  The development of its beauty and the preservation of its historical value has given him deep satisfaction, and it is with an honest pride that he regards this chapter in his life’s history. No trees are allowed to be moved until they mar the landscape, and forestry is combined with skillful landscape gardening to produce the best results. To the natural timber Mr. Wilbour has added different varieties with especial regard to their autumn coloring, selecting those whose colors will form with the native trees a beautiful landscape view full of warm color when the frosts of the autumn have developed their richest tints.  For the later winter landscape he has caused to be planted the choicest evergreens, and thus in spring, summer, autumn and winter, some particular form of sylvan beauty is presented in Awashonks Park.

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MARSDEN J. PERRY  --  At the age of twenty-one, Mr. Perry cast his lot with the business interests of the city of Providence.  In 1881, he became a director of the Bank of America, now the Union Trust Company, and during the thirty-eight years which have since elapsed, 1881-1919, that relation has remained unchanged further than advancement to chairman of the board of directors, a responsible position which he resigned from in January, 1919. He is a man of wide and varied activities in business, heavily interested in public utilities, manufacturing and finance; in social life a well-known clubman and member of many organizations of varied nature; in literature a disciple of Shakespeare, his collection of Shakespeareana noted for its rare editions and manuscript.  He is not only a man of large business affairs, but is big mentally, broadminded, public-spirited, a type we love to classify as 'American'.  He runs true to the type, and is a worthy twentieth century representative of the ancient New England family which gave the hero of Lake Erie to his country, and in every generation has produced men of similar merit.

Marsden J. Perry, son of Horatio Nelson and Malvina (Wilson) Perry, was born in Rehoboth, Mass., November 2, 1850.  He was educated in the public school, and under private instructors, his business life beginning in 1871, with his removal to Providence, R. I.  He at once took a part in the business affairs of importance, and in 1881 was elected a member of the Bank of America, a strong financial institution of Providence, known to the present day investors as the Union Trust Company.  From that time Mr. Perry has been a potent factor in the business world, and is one of the strong men of his day upon whose shoulders are laid heavy burdens of development and management. These burdens, however he carries lightly, and gives them only their proper place in his scheme of life.  He served as chairman of the board of directors of the Union Trust Company, the Electric Bond & Share Company, the Norfolk Southern Railroad Company, and the John L. Roper Lumber Company, of Norfolk, Va.  He is a director of the American-La France Fire Engine Company, American Screw Company, Eastern Carolina Home & Farms Association, Electric Securities, General Electric Company, Intertype Corporation, Nicholson File Company, Pawtucket Street Railway Company, and vice-president of the Providence Cable Tramway Company, holding the same office with the Rhode Island Suburban Railway Company, Union Railroad of Providence, United Traction & Electric Company, Denver & Northwestern Railway Company, and the Holding Company of New York.  He has long been interested in the development of Massachusetts and Rhode Island electric lighting and street railway properties, his investments being extensive beyond those named.

A man of public spirit and interested in all that interests his fellow-men, Mr. Perry has affiliated with many societies and organizations of varied importance, including the Chamber of Commerce of Providence, the famous Burgess Corps of Albany, N. Y., the Civic League of Newport, R. I., the Rhode Island Historical Society, and the Newport Historical Society.  His clubs are 'The Brook', of New York City, the Squantum Association, Turk's Head, Art, and Rhode Island Country of Providence; Yacht and Golf, of Newport; Sleepy Hollow Country, and Westchester Country.

Mr. Perry married Marian Lincoln, of Worcester, Mass., daughter of Edward Winslow and Katharine Von Weber (Marston) Lincoln.  They are the parents of a son, Marsden J. (2).  The family summer home is 'Bleak House', at Newport, the city residence No. 52 Power street, Providence.

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JOHN SIMMONS PALMER, 2nd --  Descending from William Palmer, who came from England in the ship 'Fortune', in direct paternal line, and from John Alden, of the 'Mayflower', 1620, John S. Palmer, of Providence, R. I., is of pure New England stock, and in his own life exemplifies the energies and virtues of a worthy ancestry.

He is a native son and the second John Simmons Palmer who has been identified with jewelry manufacture in Providence, his grandfather, John Simmons Palmer, who was born in Newport, R. I., March 22, 1824, and died in Providence, July 8, 1908, having established the firm of Palmer & Stave in July, 1845, a firm which in September, 1852, became as at present Palmer & Capron.  The founder was succeeded by his son, Julius Palmer, who had long been his assistant and partner and who retired from partnership on January 1, 1916.  John Simmons Palmer, 2nd, of the third generation in the business, has been connected herewith since 1905, and since 1906 has been a member of the firm. The company plant is located at No. 167 Dorrance street, Providence, its longtime home, that has sheltered grandfather, father and son, the three generations at one time contemporary, the founder continuing active in the business for more than fifty-five years, his son Julius, since 1877, and his grandson, John S., since 1905.

John Simmons Palmer, 1st, was apprenticed in September, 1840, with the firm of G. and S. Owen, George Owen of that firm being his brother-in-law, and after acquiring expert knowledge of the jewelry business formed a partnership in July, 1843, with a Norwegian toolmaker, Christian Stave, who later removed to Winsconsin and the firm was dissolved.  Lucien P. Lamson then became a partner of Mr. Palmer and continued until the former's death on November 15, 1852, when the firm was again changed by Charles S. Capron joining with Mr. Palmer.  The firm was then organized as Palmer & Capron and continued until 1891, when Mr. Capron withdrew on account of ill health and advanced age.  The firm name was, however, retained, and Julius Palmer and Fenelon A. Peirce were admitted to partnership.  The firm has been noted for the manufacture of rolled plate and sterling silver rings from the beginning, and one of the most successful firms in the field.  They were one of the first to establish a New York office.  In 1854 they located at No. 20 Maiden Lane and remained at that address sixty years, and are now at No. 9 Maiden Lane, while the factory at Dorrance and Clifford streets, Providence, has been their home since 1864.

Julius Palmer was born in Providence, R. I., July 20, 1854, son of John Simmons and Frances M. (Prentice) Palmer.  He attended the public schools of Providence, after which he entered Brown University, from which he received his degree of A. B. in 1877.  Upon completing his years of educational preparation he became associated with his father in the jewelry manufacturing firm, Palmer & Capron, and from 1877 until the present has been one of the active men of the jewelry manufacturing business. Julius Palmer was his father's close friend and valued partner until death claimed the veteran manufacturer, Julius then becoming and continuing sole head of the business until 1908, when John S., of the third generation, was admitted, the firm name, however, continuing since 1852, as Palmer & Capron. He has other business engagements, was director of the old National Bank of Providence from 1866 until 1912, and from 1896 until 1902 was president of the bank and highly regarded as a financier.  He has been director of the Equitable Marine Insurance Company since 1884, and has rendered valued aid in founding and developing many Providence enterprises.  He is a member of the University and the Squantum clubs of Providence.  He retired from partnership in the firm, January 1, 1916.  He married, October 16, 1878, Jessie F. Richmond, and they are the parents of a son, John Simmons Palmer, 2nd, of whom further; and two daughters, Laura Richmond and Jessie F.

John Simmons Palmer, 2nd, only son of Julius and Jessie F. (Richmond) Palmer, was born in Providence, R. I., February 14, 1881, and was there educated, completing grade and high school courses and entering Brown University in 1901, and leaving in his junior years.  He began his business career with Palmer & Capron, and passed through all grades of promotion, and since 1908 has been a partner in the firm which for nearly three-quarters of a century has been prominent in jewelry manufacture and in the Palmer name. He has business interests of importance beyond the sphere of Palmer & Capron, and is one of the highly esteemed, substantial young business men of Providence.  He is a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants, Sons of the Revolution, Zeta Psi, Barrington and Bristol Yacht clubs, being commodore of the latter (1919), yachting being his favored form of recreation.  In religious faith he is a Congregationalist, and his library of well-stocked books is a source of great enjoyment.

Mr. Palmer married, June 14, 1911, Abbie Easton Green, of Barrington, R. I. They are the parents of a son, Julius (2), and Elizabeth, Frances and Jane Easton.

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Lewis A. WatermanLEWIS ANTHONY WATERMAN  --  When Mr. Waterman, now an eminent member of the Rhode Island bar, appeared for entrance examinations before Brown University authorities, he brought with him his diploma showing graduation from the Providence High School, and the only special honor the school could confer 'honorable mention'.  This in a measure prepared the board for an excellent examination record, but when the same young man in a class of one hundred and eight, seeking entrance to the University, took the third prize in mathematics, the second prize in Greek, and the second prize in French, they were truly surprised.  In the years that followed he compiled an exceedingly honorable record, and was one of eight chosen in his junior year for the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the honor being conferred for scholarship.  His career at the bar has borne out the promise of his college years, and he is one of the leaders at a bar of strong men.  He was awarded the honor of carrying Democracy's banner in the gubernatorial battles of 1910-11, the fact that it was a 'forlorn hope', not in any way detracting but rather adding to the honor.  He is a son of that sterling soldier, Lieutenant Franklin Alonzo Waterman, of the First Regiment, Rhode Island Light Infantry, of whom his colonel wrote:  'I recall no one who earned more faithfully the reputation of a brave, modest, and exemplary officer than did Lieutenant Franklin A. Waterman.'  Lieutenant Franklin was a son of George Waterman, who, after a life spent in manufacturing, sailed for California with the 'Forty-Niners', and consumed nine months in reaching that place via Cape Horn.  His second wife, and the mother of Lieutenant Franklin A. Waterman, was a daughter of Franklin Baxter, who was a quartermaster in the United States Navy for thirty years.

The American ancestor of this Waterman family was Colonel Richard Waterman, born in England, in 1590, died in Rhode Island, 1673, whose great-great-grandson was Captain John Waterman, a sea captain, who 'went on China voyages', and who was also known as 'Paper Mill John', he erecting one of the first paper mills in America.  Captain John Waterman married Mary Olney, eldest daughter of Captain Olney, founder of Olneyville, R. I. Captain Olney was a son of James and Hallelujah (Brown) Olney, she a daughter of Daniel Brown, son of Chad Brown.  Their son, John Olney Waterman, married Sally Franklin, a beauty and a belle, daughter of Captain Asa Franklin, a captain in the French and Indian War, and an officer of the Revolution.  They were the parents of George Waterman, the martyr 'Forty Niner', father of Lieutenant Franklin A. Waterman, and grandfather of Lewis Anthony Waterman, of Providence.  Lieutenant Franklin A. Waterman, after the war, gained an enviable reputation as an art connoisseur, conducting a fine art business on Westminster street, Providence, his patrons coming even from Boston and New York.  He married Hannah Waterman Eddy, born July 26, 1847, died August 22, 1890.  Lieutenant Waterman was born in Johnston, R. I., February 16, 1844, and died April 6, 1886.

Lewis Anthony Waterman, of the ninth American generation, son of Lieutenant Franklin A. and Hannah Waterman (Eddy) Waterman, was born in Providence, R. I., March 24, 1871.  He obtained his grammar and high school education in the city public schools, graduating with the class of 1890, winning an 'honorable mention'.  He then entered Brown University, whence he was graduated Bachelor of Arts, class of 1894, going thence to the law department of Boston University, there accomplishing a two-year course in one year with the exception of one study.  His legal preparation continued under the preceptorship of David S. Baker, of Providence, and during the last years of his life he was a member of the firm, Baker, McDonnell & Waterman.  In 1896 he was admitted to the Rhode Island bar, and as the years brought experience to reinforce learning and skill, he acquired an important clientele.  In 1906 he became senior member of the firm, Waterman, Curran & Hunt, and six years later (1912) senior member of the law firm, Waterman & Greenlaw.  His practice has always been general in character, and for several years one of his clients was the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, he acting as associate counsel.  He is a member of the city, State and National bar associations, and is held in high esteem by his brethren of the profession.  He has given the strength of his manhood and his talents to his profession, seeking no gain or place save the legitimate reward of legal service.  In 1906 he consented to accept a legislative nomination, and was elected, serving two terms in the House of Representatives during 1907-08. This, with his candidacy for governor in 1910-11, are the only occasions he has consented to become a candidate.  His clubs are the University, and Providence Central; his religious home, Roger Williams Baptist Church, on Cranston street.  His fraternities are Phi Beta Kappa (won for scholarship at Brown) and Beta Theta Pi.  He is a member of St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Free and Accepted Masons; Providence Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Providence Council, Royal and Select Masters; St. John's Commandery, Knights Templar.

Mr. Waterman married, August 24, 1896, Katharine Minerva Utter, daughter of John and Anna Whitmarsh (Spencer) Utter, a descendant of the Revolutionary officer, Micah Whitmarsh.  Mr. and Mrs. Waterman are the parents of:  Lewis Anthony (2), Katharine, Anna, John Franklin, Margaret, and Nicholas Utter, they of the tenth American generation of the family founded by Colonel Richard Waterman.


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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