Clemence Family of Rhode Island

From History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

pp. 242-243:

STEPHEN HENRY CLEMENCE, JR. -  The Clemence family in Rhode Island dates from the middle of the seventeenth century, and while not large has been prominent in the history of Providence county since that date.  Thomas Clemence, the founder, rose to a place of importance in the official life of the early settlement at Providence.  His descendants have made their home for the greater part in the vicinity of Providence, and in the towns which from time to time have been created out of it.  The name appears on Revolutionary rosters, and is well represented in the annals of business and finance.  The late Stephen Henry Clemence, Jr., for many years one of the foremost residents of Johnston, and a man well known in business circles in the city of Providence, was a lineal descendant of the founder, Thomas Clemence.

(I) Thomas Clemence, immigrant ancestor, was in all probability an Englishman.  He is first of record in Providence, R. I., on November 3, 1649, when he was granted twenty-five acres of land, and all former grants made him were annulled.  This indicates the fact that he was in Providence before 1649.  On April 20, 1653, he endorsed the interesting document entitled 'Salus Populi'.  On January 9, 1654 he purchased of Wissawamake, an Indian, living at Sekescute, near Providence, eight acres of meadow.  Thomas Clemence became a freeman in 1655, and subsequently became active in public affairs.  On February 19, 1665, in a division of lands he drew lot 90.  On June 12 of the same year he and his wife sold John Scott twenty acres.  From 1666 to 1672 he held the office of deputy to the Rhode Island General Assembly, and in 1667 was town treasurer for Providence.  He was one of those 'who staid and went not away' in King Philip's War, and consequently had a share in the Indian captives whose services were sold for a term of years following the cessation of hostilities.  Thomas Clemence married Elizabeth -------, who died after 1721.  He died in 1698.

(II) Richard Clemence, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Clemence, was a resident of Providence, where he was a prosperous land owner and farmer.  His name appears with considerable frequency in the land records.  Richard Clemence married Sarah Smith, who died October 14, 1725, daughter of John and Sarah (Whipple) Smith.  He died Oct. 11, 1723, and his will, dated January 2, 1721, was proved December 9, 1723.  Richard and Sarah (Smith) Clemence were the parents of six children, of whom two were named Thomas and Richard.  The descendants of Thomas Clemence, the immigrant, trace their ancestry through these two.

(III)  Thomas or Richard Clemence forms the next link in the chain.  Paucity of data and lack of early records make it impossible to establish which of the two sons of Richard and Sarah (Smith) Clemence carried on the line herein under consideration.

(IV)  Richard Clemence

(V)  Richard (2) Clemence, known in the records as 'Richard Clemence, Jr.', married, according to Johnston records, on October 16, 1760, Alney (Olney) Wright, daughter of Stephen Wright.  They were the parents of Wright, mentioned below.

(VI)  Wright Clemence, son of Richard (2) and Alney (Olney) (Wright) Clemence,  was a resident of the town of Burrillville, R. I., where he died. He was a prosperous farmer and a large land owner.  He married, November 1, 1788, Sarah Crossman, daughter of Elam Crossman, of Glocester, R. I.

(VII)  Richard Wright Clemence, son of Wright and Sarah (Crossman) Clemence, was born in Burrillville, R. I., February 8, 1791.  At an early age he learned the carpenter's trade, and subsequently established himself in business as a carpenter and contractor.  He was highly successful, and developed his business to a considerable size, employing many workmen.  He furnished, and drew with oxen, the lumber for the old Red Bridge at Providence.  He also built a house, still standing on Broadway, which is regarded as a landmark.  After his retirement from active business life, he devoted his time to the management of his farm at Glocester.  Mr. Clemence was a Democrat in political affiliation, punctilious in the performance of his duties as a citizen, but in no sense of the word an office seeker.  He was an able business man, and ranked prominently in his trade.  Richard Wright Clemence married Mary Place, who died May 16, 1866, aged seventy-one years; she was the daughter of Reuben Place.  Richard Wright Clemence died at his home at Glocester, R. I., November 28, 1873.

(VIII)  Stephen Henry Clemence, son of Richard Wright and Mary (Place) Clemence, was born in Glocester, January 13, 1834.  He was given excellent educational advantages, completing his studies in the Smithfield Seminary at North Scituate, then under the preceptorship of the noted educator, Hosea Quimby.  For a short period he taught a select school at Glocester, but abandoned this profession to engage in farming.  In 1864 he removed to Johnston, R. I., and settled on the Pardon Sweet homestead, which he had previously purchased.  On this property, which is located on Greenville avenue, about one mile west of Manton village, Mr. Clemence has since been engaged in farming and scientific dairying.  After his removal to Greenville, he became actively interested in local affairs, and has since been one of the most valued members of the community.  For many years he has been a director of the National Exchange Bank at Greenville.  He is a member of the Democratic party.

On January 11, 1860, Mr. Clemence married in Smithfield, R. I., Elsie A. Paine, daughter of Mathewson and FiDelia (Darling) Paine, who was descended both paternally and maternally from Rhode Island families of early Colonial date.  Mr. and Mrs. Clemence were the parents of the following children: Mary A., born April 4, 1862; Ida M., born Feb. 18, 1864; Stephen Henry, mentioned below; Richard R., born March 24, 1870.

(IX)  Stephen Henry (2) Clemence, son of Stephen Henry (1) and Elsie A. (Paine) Clemence, was born at Glocester, R. I., June 24, 1867.  He was educated in the local district schools and attended the private school of Mowry & Goffs, and on completing his studies became his father's assistant in the management of the farm and dairy, succeeding the elder man on his retirement from active business life.  Mr. Clemence was successful in building up the large dairy product business of which he was the head until his death.  He was a business man of the most progressive type, and was an able organizer.  Mr. Clemence was widely known in business circles, and was active in the public affairs of Greenville, although he remained strictly outside the field of politics.  In 1893 he purchased property within a short distance of the old Clemence homestead on the Greenville pike, and there erected a home.

On March 16, 1893, Mr. Clemence married Susan Alice Cary Flint, daughter of William H. and Frances J. (Brown) Flint, and a lineal descendant of several notable old Rhode Island families, among them the Brown family.  Mrs. Clemence, who survives her husband, conducted his business for nearly two years following his death.  She is prominent in social life in Greenville, and has been active for many years in charitable efforts.  She is a member of the Rhode Island Society of Daughters of the American Revolution by virtue of descent from John Flint, who served in the Revolutionary War. Noadiah Flint, grandfather of Mrs. Clemence, marry Sarah Cary, a native of Johnston, R. I., and desendant of Cary, Viscount of Falkland, of the counties of Divon and Somerset.  William H. Flint, father of Mrs. Clemence, was a native of Windham county, Conn., and in early life taught school in the town of Thompson.  He later settled in Smithfield, R. I., with his wife, Frances Janette (Brown) Flint, who was a native of Smithfield, R. I.  They were the parents of three children:  Edith M., Mrs. G. O. Ross, of Putnam, Conn.;  Mary F., Mrs. J. M. Anthony, of Providence, R. I.; Susan Alice Cary, Mrs. Clemence.  Mr. and Mrs. Clemence were the parents of the following children:  1.  Elsie Frances, born April 25, 1895, a graduate of Bryant & Stratton's Business College of Providence, and a member of the Daughter of the American Revolution.  2.  Alice May, born March 25, 1900.  3.  Bernice Emily, born June 20, 1906.  Stephen Henry Clemence died October 4, 1916.

From the Johnston Town Hall Records

Johnston Births index: CLEMENCE

Name                    Date               bk/pg     Parents
 --- (died)              3/20/1946       5/181    Stephen H./Bertha Bates
Alice Gertrude       6/03/1949       5/383    Stephen H./Bertha Bates
Alice May             3/25/1900       1/24      Stephen Jr./Alice Flint
Andrew Benson     9/10/1959       7/154    Thodore/Beverly Denson
Andrew Donald     4/17/1984      10/210   Austin Barlow/Karen Lynne Catley
Austin Barlow       6/22/1951       5/521     Stephen/Bertha Bates
Bernice Emily        6/20/1906       1/32       Stephen H., Jr./Susan A. Flint
David Bruce         3/06/1954       6/170     Kennedy/Irene Heywood
Deborah Muriel    8/16/1954       6/204     Gerald Vail/Barbara Wight
Earl Place             6/24/1867       old/442   Stephen H./Elsie A.
Elizabeth Amy      4/03/1959        7/110     Stephen H./Bertha Bates
Elmer E.               10/04/1861     old/416   Warren F./Martha F.
Elsie F.                 4/25/1895       old/724   Stephen H./S. Alice
Estella M.             1/05/1858       old/384   Warren F./Martha
Herbert                 9/10/1859       old/390   Jason S./Zilpha I.
Kenneth Edward   2/26/1907       1/34       George/Lucy I. Angell
Lisa Marie             5/17/1960      7/220     Kenneth Edward, Jr./Theresa Marie Fetta
Malvin Richard      11/28/1944    5/112     Stephen H./Bertha Bates
Mark Bates           1/05/1955      6/228     Stephen/Bertha Bates
Rachel Edith Mary 2/28/1957      6/394     Stephen/Bertha Bates
Richard R.             3/24/1870      old/460   Stephen H./Elsie
Shiloh Violet          4/19/1981      10/15      Stephen Henry, Jr./Martha Evelyn Mountfort
Stephen Henry, Jr. 10/29/1952     6/61       Stephen/Bertha Bates

Johnston Marriages Index: CLEMENCE

Name                      Spouse                             Date              book/page
Austin                      Karen Lynne Catley          5/17/1975     17/105
Bernice E.               Arthur Goosetrey              7/05/1941     10/48
Darlene Mae           Steven Joseph Arthurs       6/16/1974    16/564
Deborah Muriel       Donald Lawrence Viola     4/05/1975    17/69
Edward Kenneth     Kathleen Marie Short        6/12/1982    18/589
Edward Kenneth     Elisa Rethorn (Caicedo)     8/08/1998    32/151
Ethel Mahala           Otto George Newman       11/19/1903   2/20
George W.              Lucy Isabelle Angell          1900            1/61
Gerald Vail              Barbara Caroline Wight    7/01/1950    11/427
Kennedy A.             Grace Irene Heywood      7/05/1943    10/244
Kenneth Edward, Jr. Theresa Marie Fetta        9/5/1955      12/396
Lisa Marie               Eric Peter Benson             7/21/1984    19/296
Otis                         Lydia King                       11/18/1840  old/100?
Richard, Jun'r          Amey Wright                    10/16/1760  old/1,15
Ruth                        Benjamin Atwood             1/01/1789    old/57
Stephen Henry        Bertha Mae Bates             9/04/1943    10/261
Stephen Henry, Jr.  Susan Alice Cary Flint       3/16/1893    old/308
Thodore Grinnell     Beverly Edith Benson         9/01/1956    12/505
Theresa Marie        Walter Adams Crocker, Jr. 8/01/1975  17/134

Johnston Deaths Index: CLEMENCE

Name                    Date            book/page    d/o/b        status/spouse
(baby)                    3/20/1946      3/417       3/20/1946
Aujenett                 1/21/1861      old/810
Edith Melvina         10/05/1980    6/232                            widowed
Elsie Ann                1/06/1923      2/4          9/26/1832     widowed
Gerald Maurice      11/22/1974    5/488       8/16/1908     sp: Edith M. Vail
Ida May                 5/17/1927      2/16         2/18/1864     single
James                     3/16/1893     old/996
Kennedy Austin      7/09/1998      20/43                           sp:Grace Irene Heywood
Lora Eliza               1/16/1964     5/1            3/15/1876     widowed
Lora/Lori Rachel     2/12/2001     23/199
Malvin Richard       11/28/1944    3/383       11/28/1944
Martha                   1868              old/832
Mary Abbie            4/23/1961      4/291       4/04/1862     never married
Otis                        10/28/1863    old/818
Richard                  1/05/1946       3/415       3/24/1870     sp: Lois Oatley
Richard Vernon      11/08/1982    6/380                             sp: Eleanor Pescott
Stephen Henry       12/27/1922    2/3            1/13/1834     married
Stephen Henry, Jr. 10/1916         1/39           age 49          married
Susan Alice            2/19/1953      4/36           10/03/1872   widowed

Image of pages from the Johnston Town Hall Records:
One: marriage of Richard Clemence, Jr., 1760
Two: marriage of Otis Clemence, 1840
Three: marriage of Stephen Henry Clemence, 1893 (left page)
Four: marriage of Stephen Henry Clemence, 1893 (rt. page)

From the Glocester Town Hall Records

Glocester Births, 1850 - 1901:

3/18/1879  George W. Clemence, male, white, 1st child
                 father: Daniel M., farmer, b. Glocester
                 mother: Ruth A. Phillips, b. N. Smithfield

July, 1881  Mabel Irene Clemence, female, white, 2nd child
                 father: Daniel M., farmer, b. Glocester
                 mother: Ruth A. Phillips, b. N. Smithfield

11/19/1883  Ethel Clemence, female, white, 3rd child
                   father: Daniel M., farmer, b. Glocester
                   mother: Ruth A. Phillips, b. N. Smithfield

3/07/1893:  Mildred Patience Clemence, female, white, 1st child
                 father: George B. Clemence, Jr., farmer, b. Burrillville
                 mother: Cora E. Sweet, b. Glocester

Glocester Deaths, 1850 - 1927:
5/25/1855:  Stephen Clemence, age 66 of Glocester
                 male, white, single, farmer
                 parents: Wright & Sarah C. Clemence
                 cause of death: cancer of the lips and face

5/16/1866:  Mary Clemence, age 21-1-13
                  female, white, married, "domestic"
                  b. Glocester
                  parents: Reuben & Sally Place

11/28/1873: Richard R. Clemence, age 82-9-21
                   of Glocester, male, white, widowed
                   occupation: carpenter
                   b. Glocester, no parents listed
                   cause of death: old age

5/17/1883:  Harris Clemence, age 74-7-0
                  of Glocester, male, white, married
                  b. Burrillville, occupation: farmer
                  parents: James & Ruth Clemence
                  cause of death: chronic diarhea

10/20/1889:  Louisa Clemence, age 79
                   female, white, single
                   b. Glocester
                   parents: Nehemiah & Naomi Clemence
                   cause of death:  paralysis

12/31/1889:  Laura Clemence, age 72
                   female, white, single, no occupation listed
                   b. Glocester
                   parents: Nehemiah & Naomi Clemence
                   cause of death:  old age

2/24/1888:   Mahala Clemence, age 74
                   female, white, single
                   b. Glocester
                   parents: James & Ruth Clemence
                   cause of death: paralysis

5/31/1893:   Jason Clemence, age 88-1-7
                   male, white, married, farmer
                   b. Glocester
                   parents: Nehemiah & --- Clemence
                   cause of death: old age/heart disease

3/28/1895:   Elsa Clemence, age 71
                  female, white, married
                  b. Smithfield
                  parents: Daniel & Anna Mann
                  cause of death: vascular insufficiency

8/14/1901:   Reuben Almy Clemence, age 79-2-13
                  male, white, widowed, farmer
                  b. Glocester
                  parents: Richard R. and Mary Clemence
                  cause of death: lumbo-abdominal neuralgia

2/25/1911   Kate E. Clemence, age 56-11-X
                 died in Charlotte, N.C.
                 female, white, married
                 b. Norfolk, VA
                 father: John P. Warmesley, "Eng."
                 mother: Martha Cox "Am"
                 buried in Chepachet
                 cause of death: pneumonia

3/01/1916:  Julia Elizabeth Clemence, age 70-1-22
                 died in So. Glocester
                 female, white, widowed
                 b. Burrillville, RI
                 father: Benjamin C. Mitchell
                 mother: Adeline Wood
                 buried in Chepachet
                 cause of death: cancer

Glocester marriages (1853 - 1901):

April 22, 1855  Amey S. Clemence, of N. Foster, age 18 b. Glocester
                        parents: Anthony & Deborah Clemence (Clemons??)
                        to Allomando McBride, of Glocester, age 22
                        occupation:  shaftser b. Bolton, Mass.
                        parents: John & Sarah McBride

                        first marriage for each
Other References:

Part of an obituary published 2/9/1997 by the Providence Journal:

Glocester, Rhode Island
KENNETH E. CLEMENCE SR., 89, of Tarkiln Road, a banker at Citizens Bank for 40 years before retiring in 1972, died Friday at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital. He was the husband of Louise N. (Newman) Clemence, and the late Sadie E. (Eldridge) Clemence. ...

Foster Town Vital Records

Rhode Island Genealogical Society, Vol. 6, Spring, 1980
"R. I. Roots" quarterly "Thomas Clemence Descendants, Providence Co., RI"
1870 maps showing the area:

Owners and Occupants Providence, Rhode Island, in 1798; plate XI showing Clemence property 4B (650 kb)

More on the Clemence Family

Clemence Family Graves in Rhode Island

 Images, information & transcription by Beth Hurd, 2001

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