History of Washington and Kent Counties,
Rhode Island

by J. R. Cole W.W.Preston & Co., New York, 1889


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF RICHMOND.


CHAPTER XVII.

p. 742:

THE CLARK FAMILY. --- Perry Clark, a successful merchant at Clark’s Mills, in Richmond, married Penelope Perry. The children of this union were: Perry, Charles, Simeon P., Mary and Penelope. Charles, the second son in order of birth, was a native of Richmond, where he was born January 22d, 1818. He received such an education as was obtainable in the schools of the town at that early day, and when a youth entered the store kept by his father at Clark’s Mills. He very soon acquainted himself with the methods of business, and became so useful in the [p. 742] purchase and sale of goods that the management of the store was left almost entirely in his hands. On the death of his father, he with his younger brother Simeon, succeeded to the interest, and continued without interruption until a short time previous to his death.

Desiring a wider field for his energies and capital than was afforded in the keeping of a country store, he in 1849, in company with his brother Simeon, built the cotton mill at this point, operated by them from the year 1856 until his death. He also owned a grist mill, and was the proprietor of an extensive farm, which he cultivated. Mr. Clark with these varied business connections was much occupied, and the successful and profitable manner in which they were conducted but emphasizes the judgement and quick perception of the senior partner, who is the subject of this biography. Mr. Clark was in his political associations a strong republican, and while believing in the principles of his party and lending his influence and means to promote their success, cared little for honors of office. He was interested in matters pertaining to the town, and occasionally permitted his name to be used as a candidate for membership to the town council. Both Mr. and Mrs. Clark were members of the Second Baptist Church of Richmond. In his business relations Mr. Clark was upright, honorable and just. His opinions, formed not hastily, but with calmness and reflection, were generally correct and received with respect. He was fond of his home, where the genial and kindly nature of the man found an ample field for development.

He was on the 9th of January, 1839, married to Miss Mary, daughter of Bradford Clark, of Richmond. Their children were: Charles P., born November 17th, 1839; and Martha E., born June 29th, 1843, and married to Charles D. Chase. Both of these children are now deceased. Charles P. died December 25th, 1870, and Mrs. Chase September 24th, 1886. The death of Mr. Clark occurred on the 9th of May, 1870.

[Portrait of Charles Clark]

SIMEON P. CLARK, the third son of Perry Clark, and his wife, Penelope Perry, was born at Clark’s Mills on the 19th of February, 1820. His education was received at the Colchester Academy, located at Colchester, Conn., and at the age of sixteen he, with his brother Charles, succeeded to the business of his father at Clark’s Mills, the latter having established and for many years conducted a country store at that place. Simeon P. also filled [p. 743] the office of bookkeeper and managed the store for R. G. Hazard, who operated the mills at that date. In 1849, in company with his brother, he built a mill, and in 1856 embarked with him in the manufacture of cotton yarn, which partnership was continued until 1870. He then secured the entire interest and was owner of the mill until 1885, when his son, George H., purchased and succeeded in the business.

Mr. Clark also did much to build and improve the hamlet of Clark’s Mills, which was in large degree dependent upon the manufacturing interest he conducted. Though possessing strong anti-slavery convictions, he took no part in the political discussions of the day, and felt a decided aversion to politics, his time and attention being chiefly given to business. He was early drawn to habits of reflection on religious subjects, and was for a brief period a member of the Baptist church. His views underwent a change and caused him later to affiliate with the Advent Christians, whose belief he adopted and with whom he worshipped until his death, December4th, 1887. Mr. Clark possessed equally with his brother rare business talent, and a character for integrity and virtue that commanded respect and made him a consistent and energetic advocate of all measures for the advancement of morality in the community.

Simeon P. Clark was married November 8th, 1843, to Miss Catherine, daughter of Walter Perry of South Kingstown. They had eleven children, five of whom grew to mature years. Of this number Hattie S. and Katie P. have since died. George H. Clark, the only surviving son, was married December 26th, 1877, to Miss Celia E., daughter of Peleg C. Carr of Jamestown, R.I. Their children are: George Perry, Hattie Sumner, Henry Garfield and Florence, all of whom are living.

[Portrait of S. P. Clark]

CHARLES PERRY CLARK, the dates of whose birth and death are above given, was the grandson of Perry and Penelope Clark, and the son of Charles and Mary Bradford Clark. He was born at Clark’s Mills in Richmond, and after a study of the elementary branches in the school nearest his home, became a student of the East Greenwich Academy. Here he acquired a thorough academic education, and prepared more thoroughly for Business by a course at Schofield’s Commercial College in Providence. Desiring a less circumscribed field than was open to him at his home, he chose Providence as a business center and became a member of the firm of James A. Potter & Co., lumber dealers.

p. 744

Here he soon identified himself with the progressive business element of the city, and established a reputation for industry, ability and the most absolute integrity. He was much respected in commercial circles, though younger than many with whom he came in daily contact, and was in 1868 made a member of the Providence Board of Trade.

While in the midst of prosperity and usefulness his career was suddenly ended by death. He was not active in the area of politics, but advocated with earnestness and vigor the principles of the republican party. Mr. Clark worshipped with the congregation of the Baptist church, and although not connected with it by membership, was in all essentials a devout Christian. One of his friends thus speaks of him: "The writer of this paragraph has known Mr. Clark for many years, and found him a noble and genial-hearted man, to know whom is conducive not only of pleasure but of the great benefits that accrue from association with men of intelligence and culture. His early death is a loss which will be felt by the community at large, quite as much as by his family and personal friends, and those who read this will recall his pleasant voice and words, with their accompanying smile, and feel aggrieved that his earthly mission is ended."

GEORGE N. ENNIS. --- Paul Ennis, the grandfather of the subject of this biography, resided in Charlestown, though a native of the town of Richmond. He married a Miss Webster, whose children were six sons---John, Paul, Dennis, Thomas, Varnum and Joseph---and three daughters. Dennis of this number was born in Charlestown, and spent much of his life on farms in various parts of the county and vicinity, either leased or cultivated on shares. He was located successively in North Stonington, Hopkinton, South Kingstown and his native town, where his death occurred. He married Mary, daughter of Oliver Crandall, of Charlestown, and had eleven children: Albert, George N., Varnum, Dennis, Oliver, Frank, Samuel P., Mary, Sally, Jane E. and Martha E.; of whom Albert, Dennis, Oliver, Mary and Sally are deceased.

George N. Ennis was born November 21st, 1821, in the town of Charlestown, on a farm situated one mile from his present home. Here his boyhood was passed, the district school affording him a common English education, and the work of the farm absorbing all his time when released from study, until 1839. He then, in his nineteenth year, entered the Cranston Print Works at [p. 745] Cranston, R.I., and remained two years in the employ of this company. In 1843 he removed to Richmond Switch and opened a general store for the sale of country supplies. Mr. Ennis has since resided at this point and gradually extended his business interests. In 1848, having purchased a tract of land embracing two hundred acres, he engaged in farming. In 1855 two hundred acres were added to this, and a tract of three hundred acres finely timbered, and lying in the same town, was secured with a view to supplying the Providence and Stonington Railroad with wood. In 1858 another wooded farm was purchased and devoted to the same uses.

He continued proprietor of the store until 1887, when the stock was sold to R. F. Hoxie, the present owner, who is also postmaster of the hamlet. Mr. Ennis did not, however, relinquish his hold on the active business of the locality. In 1858 he built a dam, grist mill, shingle mill and bone mill. All these he still manages, as also the farm to which he gives his personal attention. The purchase of a wood farm largely stocked with cedar in 1886, affords a supply of timber fully equal to the demands of the shingle mill. Mr. Ennis has taken an active part in the political movements of his locality, and has been for three years a member of the town council. He served for two years in the state senate, and was elected for one term to the house of representatives. His vote and influence are given to the democracy.

George N. Ennis was married April 3d, 1846, to Louisa, daughter of Arnold Clark, of Charlestown. Their children are: Mary Frances, widow of Jessie Hoxie; Josephine, wife of Giles P. Kenyon, and George Byron, deceased.

[Portrait of George N. Ennis]

ANSON GREENE. --- Judge Benjamin Greene, the grandfather of Anson Greene, was a farmer in the town of Coventry. He was twice married, his first wife having been a Miss Brayton, whose children were two sons, Caleb and Isaac, and one daughter, Hannah. Isaac Greene, born in Coventry September 24th, 1796, settled in Exeter, Washington county, as a farmer and merchant. He was prominently connected with local affairs as a member of the state legislature, justice of the peace, and as the incumbent of many lesser offices in the town. His death occurred October 4th, 1864. Mr. Greene married Eliza, daughter of Job Kenyon, of Exeter, and had three children: Phebe (Mrs. Christopher P. Lillibridge, deceased), Anson and Benjamin, a leading physician of Portsmouth, R.I.

p.746

Anson Greene was born in Exeter on the 17th of March, 1829, and until his twenty first year, remained with his parents on the farm, receiving meanwhile a public school education, with a period at the Smithville Seminary at Scituate. Continuing his studies, he also for three years engaged in teaching, and in 1853 entered the counting room of the Allen Print Works in Providence. For eight years he was employed in the office of this establishment, until failing health , as a result of the sedentary life he led, compelled a retirement from active business. Mr. Greene spent two years on the farm, derived great benefit from this period of rest, and in 1863 located in Arcadia, where he assumed charge of the store and accounts of Messrs. A. & W. Sprague, who were large mill owners at this point. In 1866 he became proprietor of the store to which he has since given his attention, in connection with the accounts of Mr. D. L. Aldrich, the present owner of the mills. He also for many years held the commission as postmaster of the hamlet.

Mr. Greene has as a republican taken an active part in the political movements in his county, and for five years represented his district in the Rhode Island senate, serving as chairman of the committee on accounts, and on other important committees. He has recently given his support to the prohibition party, and is a form believer in temperance as one of the leading political issues of the day. He was a delegate to the national prohibition convention convened at Indianapolis in 1888, and has been the party nominee for congressional honors, as well as for presidential elector. He is a director of the First National Bank of Hopkinton, as also of the Hopkinton Savings Bank, and has been for many years vice-president of the former institution. He is also a director of the Wood River Branch railroad. Mr. Greene is an active mason, and member of Charity Lodge, No. 23, of Hope Valley, of Franklin Chapter, No. 7, of Providence Council, and of Calvary Commandery, No. 13, of Providence. He is past master of the lodge, high priest of the chapter, and has held various important offices in the grand lodge and grand chapter of the state.

[Portrait of Anson Greene]

CHARLES J. GREENE. --- Amos Greene, the great-grandfather of Charles J. Greene, was a prosperous farmer in the town of Charlestown. To his wife, formerly Miss Amy Knowles, were born several children. Their son, Jefferey Greene, continued the [p. 747] pursuits of his father in the same town and in South Kingstown. He married Frances Congdon, whose children were: Sarah, born in 1793; John C., in 1794; Nathaniel, in 1796; Catherine, in 1798; Mary, in 1800; James C., March 22d, 1803; Eliza, in 1805; Martha, in 1809; and Frances, in 1818. James C. spent the greater part of his life as a farmer in South Kingstown. He married Susan, daughter of Benjamin and Sarah (Nichols) Hull, of the same town. Their children are a son, Charles J., the subject of this biography, born December 16th, 1848, and a daughter, S. Fannie, wife of George R, Clarke. Benjamin Hull, the father of Mrs. Greene, won some reputation in his day as a successful teacher of the English branches, navigation and surveying.

Charles J. Greene, whose birth occurred in South Kingstown, received his early education at the district school near his home, and completed his studies at the East Greenwich Academy. Returning to the farm his services were given to his father, with such variety as was afforded by teaching during the winter months. In the spring of 1870 James C. Green purchased the farm in Richmond which is the present home of his son. Here he continued to reside, and was actively employed in the varied duties pertaining to a farmer’s life until his death, when the property passed into the hands of his only son.

Charles J. Greene, though much interested in the cultivation of his land, retains his early love for teaching, and has been for years engaged in the work of instruction. His legislative duties, have, however, absorbed much of his time for several years. As a republican he was the representative from Richmond to the Rhode Island house of representatives from 1881 to 1884, and since that date has filled the office of senator from his town. In both houses he has been identified with the committees on education. With the exception of an interval of two years he has held the position of superintendent of public schools since 1881, and was for twelve years a member of the school committee. He is one of the directors of the National Landholders’ Bank, and a member of the board of managers of the State Agricultural School and Experimental Station. In 1884 he was elected treasurer of the town, and is the present incumbent of that office. Mr. Greene as a legislator, by his clear comprehension of questions daily arising, and conservative course, has won a creditable record, while his knowledge of educational matters especially fits him for service in that direction.

[Portrait of Chas. J. Greene]

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JOHN W. HOXIE. --- Lodowick Hawksie, as the name was early spelled, was the first member of the family to emigrate to this country, and came either from Scotland or Wales. He at once engaged to work for one John Dexter, of Sandwich, Mass., his object being to repay by his earnings the money advanced for his passage to this country. He learned the trade of a hatter, and afterward established himself in business in the same town. In October, 1664, he married Mary Presbary, to whom were born the following children: Bathsheba, in 1665; Joseph, in 1667; Gideon, in 1672; Hezekiah, in 1675; John, in 1677; Solomon, in 1679; and Content, in 1681. Joseph and John came to Rhode Island about the year 1700, the former locating in North Kingstown, and John in Westerly. From one of these brothers is descended Stephen Hoxie, of Hopkinton, whose son Thomas W. Hoxie, the father of the subject of this biography, was born September 18th, 1793, and followed his trade of blacksmith in the town of Richmond. He was a man of great industry and of the strictest integrity and honor, fully exemplifying in his daily life the high moral qualities and simplicity of character of the Quaker faith, to which he belonged. He was twice married, his second wife being Tabitha, daughter of Jonathan Tucker. Their children were fourteen in number, of whom Lydia T., Mary N., John W., Thomas C., Charles A., Martha A., and George T. are the survivors.

John W. Hoxie was born February 16th, 1828, in the town of Richmond, and received at the schools in his neighborhood such an education that enabled him to master the English branches and transact business understandingly. At the age of eighteen, having developed a decided mechanical taste, he removed to Providence for the purpose of learning a trade, and chose that of a machinist. He followed this trade successfully in Providence, New York and Newark, N. J., and some years later accepted and continued for five years superintendent of the Florence Sewing Machine Works located in Florence, Mass. He then for two years operated a foundry in Illinois, and on returning to the East located in his native town.

Here Mr. Hoxie determined to engage on an extensive scale in the propagation of brook trout, and for the purpose leased of the Hon. Rowland Hazard for a period of ten years, the property since favorably known to lovers of piscatorial sport as the "Clearwater Trout Farm." He had from early youth been familiar [p. 749] with the crystal stream of pure water running through this land and could readily measure the possibilities of success, while thus embarking in a novel and somewhat doubtful enterprise. Mr. Hoxie made a thorough study of the nature and habits of brook trout, and of the most successful methods of propagation. He then began the erection of the various buildings necessary to the hatching and subsequent care of the fish, stocking ponds the first year with 40,000 eggs, which number has since been increased to 2,000,000 annually produced by him. Ten thousand pounds of trout are each season shipped to the New York Markets, while the eggs are sold to propagators of fish in all parts of the country. With the exception of a farm requiring more or less attention his time is chiefly given to this enterprise, in which he is greatly aided by his son. Mr. Hoxie is an ardent republican and actively interested in the local work of the party, but has always refused office.

He was married October 7th, 1849, to Joanna T., daughter of Archibald Barber, of Charlestown. Their children are: Emily J., deceased; Anna A., deceased; Thomas J., Emma A., deceased; John B., deceased; and Dexter W. Thomas J., who was born January 5th, 1856, married December 20th, 1888, Fannie, daughter of Beriah C. Kenyon, of North Kingstown. The birth of Dexter W. occurred October 23d, 1864, in Providence.

[Portrait of John W. Hoxie]

ELIJAH KENYON, born in Hopkinton, R. I., February 24th, 1815, was the son of Lewis and Ann Kenyon, and the grandson of Elijah and Penelope Kenyon. He had four brothers: Abial S., Charles H., Thomas R., and Isaac D.; and five sisters: Lucy S., Parmelia C., Mary A., Hannah G., Sarah P. and Susan E. The subject of this biography attended the school connected with the district in which he lived until 1832, when he became a pupil of the academy at Kingstown. Obtaining thus a substantial education, he was prepared for the active duties of life, and began as an assistant to his father in the dressing of cloth.

This he continued until the death of the latter, on the 17th of February, 1839, when a copartnership was formed with his brother, Abial S. Kenyon, and the old mill so long devoted to cloth finishing was used for carding and spinning. They first introduced six looms, and began the weaving of cloth in this mill. Meeting with much success, they erected in 1844 a new mill near the site of the old structure, larger, more complete in its appointments, [p. 750] and with increased facilities for manufacturing. Mr. Kenyon continued the interest with his brother, and meanwhile built in North Stonington the Laurel Glenn mill, which he operated for five years. Charles H. Kenyon, his brother, was then admitted as a partner, and in 1863 purchased the property, thus becoming sole owner of the Laurel Glenn mill, which he later sold to Francis Burdick.

In 1857 Elijah Kenyon returned to Richmond and purchased the interest of his brother, Abial S., in the mill owned jointly by them, which he operated until 1863, when C. B. Coon was admitted as a partner. In 1862 a spacious store was opened for the convenience of the mill operatives, in 1866 a cotton mill was erected for the manufacture of yarns, and in 1872 Mr. Kenyon designed and had constructed one of the most attractive residences in the town, equipped with modern and luxurious appliances, which his family now occupy. In 1881 the partnership existing between Messrs. Kenyon & Coon was dissolved, and John S. Kenyon was admitted to an interest in the business, under the firm name of Messrs. E. Kenyon & Son. On the death of Mr. Kenyon, on the 3d of December, 1881, his son succeeded to the business and has since operated the mills.

Elijah Kenyon, on the 25th of April, 1859, married Mary A., daughter of General Arnold Lewis, of Exeter. They had five children, as follows: John S., Isaac D., Fred E., Mary L. and Leonora P. Isaac D. died December 12th, 1870, in his fourth year and Fred E. February 9th, 1876, in his infancy. The following tribute to the memory of Mr. Kenyon is taken from a county journal:

"As a citizen he was universally esteemed. He was noble, generous hearted and truthful in all his dealings, and withal exceedingly modest, never aspiring to any public honor. Gifted with rare business qualifications, his advice was frequently sought on matters of business import, and always willingly given. His social and open hearted nature won many friends, who will deeply feel his loss. Not being fond of travel, his pleasures were found chiefly within the compass of his attractive home, and the affairs pertaining to his office. We shall miss his genial countenance and friendly greeting, and mourn with his family over the grave of him whom in life we have loved and honored, and who in death will not be forgotten."

[Portrait of Elijah Kenyon]

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FRANCIS BRAYTON and WILLIAM FRANCIS SEGAR. --- The Segar family are of Dutch origin and distinguished English descent, arms having been granted in 1612 to William Segar, time of Charles I., and to Thomas Segar, "Blue Mantle," time of Charles II. William died in 1633 and Thomas in 1670, in England. The progenitor of the branch of the family now resident in Washington county was John of Newport, who is first spoken of as a taxpayer in 1680, and whose death occurred in 1737 in South Kingstown. He bought of the "Pettaquamscutt Purchasers" a large tract of land adjoining Point Judith pond on the west, which for four generations remained in the family. Among his children was a son, John, born in Newport May 3d, 1684, who died in South Kingstown in October, 1753, on the homestead farm. He married in 1708, Alice, daughter of Joseph Hull and his wife, Experience Harper. Their children were three sons and eleven daughters, among whom was Joseph, born September 6th, 1723, in South Kingstown, who died March 3d, 1788. He Married in 1750 Mary, daughter of Joseph and Mary Taylor, of the same town, to whom were born six sons and five daughters. Their son John, whose birth occurred in South Kingstown May 28th, 1757, was a prosperous farmer, justice of the peace, and sheriff of the county. He died February 18th, 1819. In 1785 he married Abigail, daughter of Francis Brayton, of Portsmouth, R. I. Their children were four sons and five daughters.

Their son, Francis Brayton, was born February 24th, 1794, at South Kingstown. His early years were passed on the farm, his education having been acquired at the public and private schools of the town. He learned the then lucrative trade of a tanner and currier, and for twenty years conducted the business in Charlestown and Hopkinton, finally selling the tannery and farm owned by him in the latter town, and removing to the Segar homestead in South Kingstown. Here he resided until 1850, when Wyoming, in Richmond, became his home. In company with his son, William F. Segar, he here embarked in mercantile pursuits, and continued this business relation until his death, October 15th, 1862.

Mr. Segar was prominently identified with the affairs of his town and county. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, captain of the Washington artillery company in 1823, colonel of militia from 1824 to 1829, justice of the peace for seven years, postmaster, and sheriff of the county. He affiliated at an early day with [p. 752] the whig party in politics, and later endorsed the republican platform, while his avowed temperance sentiments led to active sympathy with the cause of prohibition. From the date of its organization until his death, Mr. Segar was president of the Richmond Bank. He possessed strong common sense, good judgement, a tenacious memory, and a versatile mind. Of Quaker antecedents, he naturally inclined to that faith, and desired his children to worship with the Friends’ meeting. He was a student of the scriptures, and held their Christian teachings in the most profound respect. This in a great degree promoted the genial, kindly and benevolent nature which won the affectionate regard of his friends.

Mr. Segar married October 11th, 1821, Susan Stanton, daughter of Judge William Peckham, of South Kingstown, whose virtues still live in the memory of the older residents of the county. Their children were: Mary Peckham, Jane Ann, William Francis, John Dockrey, Abigail Brayton, Abby Brayton, Charles Victor, Susan Elizabeth and David Anthony.

[Portrait of F. B. Segar]

William Francis, the eldest son, was born October 4th, 1826, in Hopkinton, and after a preliminary education in the public schools of Hopkinton and South Kingstown, became a pupil of the East Greenwich Academy. The earliest years of his active life were spent on the farm, and varied by the role of teacher, which he filled successfully in the public schools near his home. Then engaging in the business of a merchant in Hope Valley, two years later he moved to Wyoming, and has since conducted at this point a mercantile interest that, in its steady growth and magnitude, is among the most important of its character in the county. With the exception of an interval of seven years spent in Providence for the better education of his children, he has resided at Wyoming. Mr. Segar has, since the casting of his first ballot, been either a whig or republican, and, although not an aspirant for office, has manifested a lively interest in political matters affecting his town, the state and the nation. His strong sympathy with the cause of temperance has borne good fruit, and the republican party in Richmond, through his efforts, aided by others holding similar views, has been placed, as a result, on a platform of temperance and prohibition. He has filled the position of town treasurer for several years, and held for twenty-three years the commission as postmaster of Wyoming. He is an earnest advocate of temperance in all [p. 753] things, and total abstinence from the use of all intoxicants. In this course he is actuated not by policy but principle, and the rigid line drawn with reference to the sale of such merchandise, proves him to be a man who has the courage of his convictions. Possessing a well-balanced mind, excellent judgement and a self-reliant nature, these qualities have formed the basis of his business success. His well-known integrity commanded in no less a degree the confidence and the respect of the public, and in a large measure contributed to his commercial prosperity.

Mr. Segar, on the 20thof August, 1848, Married Mary A., daughter of Hon. William Tripp Browning, of South Kingstown. Their children are: Martha Jane, born May 5th, 1851, who died September 22nd, 1851; Helen Browning, whose birth occurred September 2d, 1852, wife of George O. Lathrop, of Fall River, Mass.; William Tripp, born March 8th, 1855, who died March 2d, 1856; Jessie Fremont, born December 2d, 1856, wife of Walter H. Durfee, of Providence; and Francis Brayton, whose birth occurred January 22d, 1859, and his death, in Providence May, 1879, while a student at Brown University.

[Portrait of Wm. F. Segar]

WILLIAM A. WALTON. --- John Walton, the grandfather of William A. Walton, with his wife, Mary Marsden, resided in Yorkshire, England. Their son, John Walton, married Nancy Bracewell, and settled in the same county. Their children were: William A., Mary, Jane, Hannah, Bracewell, Hartley, Thomas and Samuel. William A. Walton was born September 20th, 1831, in Salterforth, Yorkshire, England, and in early youth removed to Bingley in the same shire. His parents were weavers and early trained their son to become a skillful worker at the same trade, his first task having been the making of bobbins. He was taught to read in the Sabbath school and received more through instruction between the age of eight and eleven years., when the half of each day on being released from his work, was spent in school. At the age of eleven years he entered a cotton mill in Bingley, and was placed in charge of a loom.

Three years later he removed to Bradford and labored assiduously for one year with the purpose in view of earning sufficient money to pay his passage to America. This he accomplished in 1853, and was soon after his arrival employed as a spinner in Lawrence, Mass. From that point he removed to Moosup, Conn., and was first engaged in weaving. His services were ere long required in adjusting the looms of which he had a thorough [p. 754] understanding, and later given to the supervision of a section of looms. Mr. Walton next accepted an offer from the Merrimac Woolen Mills at Lowell, Mass., to act as assistant overseer in the weaving shop. Two years later he assumed charge of the weaving department of a woolen mill in Brookdale in the same state, from there he was tendered an engagement as assistant overseer of a mill at Millville, Mass., and later spent two and a half years as weaver and designer at Blackstone, Mass.

In 1865 Mr. Walton assumed charge of the Weybosset Mills in Providence, where his successful management very soon secured for him an interest and brought a corresponding share of the profits. This inspired a desire to become the owner of a woolen mill and lead in 1879 to the purchase of the Wood River Mills located at Richmond Switch, in connection with Mr. William Blakely. The latter gentleman four years later retired from the firm, having sold his interest to Mr. Walton, who has greatly improved the property, increased its capacity, erected comfortable homes for the operatives and inspired a spirit of thrift and ambition throughout the hamlet. The general atmosphere of refinement and contentment that pervades the locality is largely due to his generosity, and his personal interest in the welfare of his employees. One hundred and eighty men and women are employed, and cassimeres valued at $325,000 annually produced at this mill.

Mr. Walton is a firm republican in his political views and a strong advocate of a tariff which affords protection to home industry. He has never held, nor desired to hold office. He is a director of the Hope Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Providence, and identified with Adelphi Lodge and St. John’s Chapter of Free and Accepted Masons of Providence. He is a member of the Society of the Pilgrim Congregational church of Providence.

Mr. Walton was in 1860 married to Mary, daughter of Isaac and Sarah Wynn, of Pascoag, R.I. Their children are: Clara W., wife of Clinton P. Brown, of Providence; William H., who is interested with his father in the business, and John Mortimer, who is pursuing his studies in Providence.

[Portrait of William A. Walton]


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Transcribed by Bob Tefft, <Rjtefft@aol.com>, 2000.


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