History of Washington and Kent Counties,
Rhode Island

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



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF WESTERLY


CHAPTER X.

p. 327

Rowse Babcock. -- The Chapman Family. -- Peleg Clarke. -- Benjamin F. Clark. -- Charles B. Coon. -- Calvert B.   Cottrell. -- Amos Cross. -- Daniel F. Larkin. -- Azro N. Lewis. -- Jonathan Maxson. -- Charles Maxson. -- Charles Perry. -- James Monroe Pendleton. -- Eugene B. Pendleton. -- Thomas Wells Potter. -- Joseph H. Potter. -- William D. Potter. -- Thomas Wanton Segar. -- Orlando  Smith. -- Orlando R. Smith. -- Thomas V. Stillman. -- Thomas Vincent. -- Wager Weeden. -- John E. Weeden.
ROWSE BABCOCK was born in May, 1803. He was the eldest son of Rowse and Hannah Babcock. He was educated in the local schools of Westerly. In the early part of his business life he was engaged in miscellaneous retail trade, but fortunately for himself and for his country his ambition soon outgrew that limited sphere, and of more than forth years the industrial history of Westerly, without the conspicuous name of Rowse Babcock, would be the play of Hamlet with the part of Hamlet left out. He commenced the manufacture of woolen goods at Niantic, in Westerly, in 1830, and accordingly was one of the pioneers in that business. He was by no means a timid man, but exceedingly cautious. He began in a very small way, so small that he was himself afterward much amused at the anxiety he had over the few looms he was running. But when he boldly started up a few more at Ashaway his father told him his "failure was only a question of time." But Mr. Babcock's business, as well as personal, character had one solid foundation to rest on and that was his clear headed and strong common sense. There was nothing imaginative or visionary about him.

In 1834 the White Rock Company was formed, Mr. Babcock taking two-thirds of the stock, which was before owned by parties in Providence. It was the purchase of a part of this property before which led to the formation of the partnership between Rowse Babcock and Jesse L. Moss, which continued with the [328] happiest results during Mr. Babcock's life. They were both of them preparing to purchase the property, but wisely decided to unite in the purchase and avoid competition. This became one of the most distinguished firms in the state, doing a large business, with a credit as undoubted as the Bank of England. The property at Stillmanville on the east side of the river belonged to Babcock & Moss, and these two establishments constituted all the manufacturing property in the village of Westerly at that time. They turned out between two and three million yards of plaid linseys a year. In 1849 the White Rock cotton mill was built by this firm. It was and is now one of the finest mill estates in New England. It will be seen that Mr. Babcock not only furnished the largest part of the capital which sustained the business of Westerly, but was himself an active worker in the business, for which he was by nature admirably fitted. Always cool, deliberate and self-possessed, no man could ever tell by his appearance whether he was making or losing money.

Being always absorbed in his business and a favorite in his father's family, he did not marry early in life. But when he came to it, he did it as he did everything else, judiciously. In 1852 he married Miss Mary Townsend, of Newport, daughter of Solomon and Ann Pearce Townsend; a lady of superior culture and refinement, who made him an attractive and happy home during the last twenty years of his laborious and useful life. Notwithstanding his large and constant business cares, Mr. Babcock devoted a reasonable part of his time and money to the improvement of the village, especially the churches and schools. In regard to Mr. Babcock's Christian character, I am happy to be able to quote a much better and competent authority than my own. In an address delivered at the funeral of Mr. Rowse Babcock by Bishop Clark, of Rhode Island, he said:

"The relation which Mr. Babcock sustained to this community as a citizen was very peculiar. No man living, no man who has ever lived, is so identified with the welfare and prosperity of the town of Westerly, and has done so much to advance its best interests as he. Blessed by a kind Providence in his temporal affairs, he has not, as so many rich men have done, sought only for those investments which would yield him the largest pecuniary profit, but he has used his means to advance the general good of society, and contributed generously to every object which commended [329] itself to his judgment and consideration. Singularly kind to those who were in his employ, and always ready to promote their best good, he has attached them to himself by the strongest bonds of respect and affection; and to-day they mourn the loss of their best friend. At an age when such an example is sorely needed, he has stood forth as a conspicuous illustration of the loftiest integrity and honor; no man ever suspected him of questionable practices; no man ever doubted his integrity. The heaviest blow that could have fallen upon the business prosperity of Westerly has come upon it in the loss of his worth, and the sweetness and evenness of his temper was such as to disarm opposition. You who have lived with him here day by day are more competent to express his goodness than I am, and I feel that it is not possible for me to do justice to his merits. The Christian character of our departed friend has been equally conspicuous and pure. The loss which the church in this place and the whole diocese has sustained by his death is irreparable. Prompt in the discharge of every duty, liberal in his benefactions, an example to believers in every good word and work, consistent in his walk and conversation, reproducing -- as far as a frail mortal may -- the life of Christ, he was invaluable to us in his relation to the church, of which he was a member. He was not of an excitable temperament, and his religion was not of an emotional type, but it was symmetrical, well balanced, genuine and earnest. You knew that it could be trusted, and that in any emergency his faith would not fail him. His trust in the Lord Jesus was absolute and firm. While his doctrinal views were generous and broad, they were also clearly defined and scriptural. He made no parade of his piety, and talked little of his inward experiences; but he lived the Sermon on the Mount."
During the late war Mr. Babcock was requested by some of our leading citizens to represent his town in the legislature; to which he consented, "provided there should be no political squabble about it." He was elected by the unanimous vote of all parties. He was the colleague of the writer of this notice. He was diffident and unobtrusive, and spoke but little. But his views and opinions were always conservative and sound. He had great influence in the house, especially in financial affairs. Mr. Babcock had no children, but no man in town took a greater interest in our schools, and no other man did or perhaps was able [330] to do as much for the general education of the people as he did. Fifty years ago the state and towns did not appropriate money enough to run the common schools the year through. Mr. Babcock suggested that the schools in the village be continued through the year, and the tuition of those whose parents might be supposed to feel it inconvenient to pay, he paid by a private subscription, himself leading with a very liberal contribution. This made the schools practically free, and was continued for several years.

To give a detailed account of all the acts of Mr. Babcock's active life would be incompatible with the limits of the work for which this sketch is written. But the facts given will enable us to grasp the character of the man. Mr. Babcock's mind was not distorted by the preternatural development of any one faculty, and the consequent deficiency of others. He had a strong mind, and it was equally strong in its component parts, in its reasoning powers.  It was the source of his unerring judgment in his own business, and the affairs of the state and the community. In short, he had as much of the wisdom derived from the gifts of nature as any man in the state.

Mr. Babcock died in March, 1872, and no man in this or any other country has left a more honorable and unsullied record than Rowse Babcock.

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THE CHAPMAN FAMILY. -- Sumner Chapman was a prosperous farmer in the town of Westerly. To his wife, whose family name was Herrick, was born five sons: Timothy, Joseph, Sumner, Israel and Case, and one daughter, Betsey. Israel Chapman was born at Burden's Pond, now known as Chapman's Pond, in Westerly, on the 28th of June, 1770, and remained with his parents until his twenty-first year, when having reached his majority, he started alone to seek employment in Newport, R.I. Here he remained four years, and though not adding materially to his worldly possessions, was regularly employed by the month at fair wages. For several years, he leased farms in Connecticut and at Watch Hill, until 1812, when the property now the residence of his son, Sumner, was purchased. Here he settled and remained until 1840, the date of his removal to the farm owned by his son, Harris P. Chapman, where his death occurred in October, 1852.

Mr. Chapman was a man of affairs, diligent in business, which enabled him to become the largest landholder in his town, and [331] influential and public spirited as a citizen, keeping fully abreast with all leading questions of the day. He was honored by his fellow citizens with many important trusts, being town sergeant, tax collector for twenty years, deputy sheriff, sheriff, and judge of the court of common pleas. As an evidence of his clear-headedness and vigor of mind, it may be mentioned that he filled the office of tax collector after he had attained his eightieth year. In politics a Jeffersonian democrat of the most unswerving type, his convictions were shaken neither by prejudice nor the hope of reward. His judgment, which was sound and almost unerring, rendered his opinion invaluable as arbitrator and referee in disputed land questions, as well as many controversies involving a knowledge of law.

Mr. Chapman was twice married. His first wife, to whom he was united October 20th, 1796, was Mary Kenyon, born February 5th, 1781, died November 4th, 1810. Their children were Joshua, born January 8th, 1798; John, September 30th, 1801; Amos, February 9th, 1804; Sumner, April 28th, 1806; Martha, May 25th, 1808; and Mary October 14th, 1810. Mr. Chapman married, March 17th, 1811, Nancy Kenyon, sister of his first wife. She was born February 25th, 1787. The children of this union were: George Nelson, born April 26th, 1812; Israel, February 12th, 1814; Israel, 2d, February 10th, 1816; Harris P., August 16th, 1817. Otis P., December 5th, 1820, and a daughter, Ann Elizabeth, whose birth occurred March 17th, 1824.

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SUMNER CHAPMAN, was born in Westerly, his life-long residence being also the scene of his birth. He began in early youth to assist in the cultivation of the farm, not, however, neglecting to avail himself of the advantages offered for obtaining a thorough common English education. This enabled him to transact business with success, and aided greatly in the skillful management of the homestead farm, of which he assumed control in 1836. He continued a lessee of the property until 1852, when, by the death of his father, it became his by inheritance.

Mr. Chapman was, on the 19th of November, 1837, married to Sarah, daughter of Thomas Brightman, of Westerly. Their children are: Sumner F., Thomas B., Amos P., Martha A. (Mrs. Courtland Chapman), Otis P., Harris P., James P., Everett J., Edgar W. and Edward E. Sumner F. married Sarah Sisson, of Westerly. Thomas B. married Bella Brewer, of Hartford. Amos P. was first married to Achsah Mayne, of North Stonington, [332] Conn., and a second time to Sarah Johnson Brewster, of Westerly. The wife of Harris P. was Susan Carpenter, of Westerly, James P. married Mary A. Gavitt, of Westerly, and Edgar W. is married to Blanche Brockway, of Hadlyme, Conn. Mr. Sumner Chapman has been since the casting of his first vote a democrat, but not a candidate for office, the excitement and responsibility attending public life being little to his taste. He was, however, in the days of the militia somewhat prominent as an officer. His support is given to the Protestant Episcopal Church. The death of Mrs. Chapman occurred November 23d, 1886.

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JOHN CHAPMAN, the second son of Israel and Mary Chapman, was born in Westerly, where his life was spent in the varied labors pertaining to a farmer's career. He in youth devoted three months of the year to the elementary branches of study, and thus gained a knowledge of mathematics, which enabled him to transact business with success. His services were given to his father until 1833, when the farm, now the home of Courtland Chapman, was bestowed jointly upon Mr. Chapman and his brother Palmer by their father. On this farm the remainder of his life was spent, cultivating and improving the land, and adding steadily by industry and judicious care of his accumulations, to his possessions. In this he was aided greatly by his brother and partner, who resided with him, and with whom the most cordial business and social relations existed during his life time. Mr. Chapman was in politics a strong democrat, but aside from the exercise of his privilege as a voter, never gave time or attention to matters of political import. His interests centered in his home, and the domain of his farm was to him the center of business life and activity. He was connected by member ship with the First Baptist church of Westerly.

Mr. Chapman was married in 1833 to Sarah Fenton, of Hartford, born in 1801. He was married a second time to Rhoda Ann, daughter of Thomas Sisson, of Westerly, whose children were Israel and Courtland P. The former, born January 2d, 1839, devoted his life to the work of the farm. He in 1864 married Harriet E. Stillman, and left one child, a son, Wayland. After a brief life of much promise and usefulness he died November 19th, 1873. John Chapman was a third time married to Louisa Chapman. His death occurred in January, 1877.

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COURTLAND PENDLETON CHAPMAN was born November 15th, 1841 on the farm which he inherited from his father and uncle in [333] the town of Westerly. The district school afforded him a rudimentary education, which was supplemented by later advantages in Westerly. For several years he remained at home, became familiar with the work of the farm, and acquired habits of industry, which have since made his life one of ceaseless activity. Desiring to enjoy a wider experience than the boundaries of the farm afforded, and also to familiarize himself with the resources of the great West he started for Nevada, and entered the service of a company interested in mining enterprises. Here he remained three years with varying success, and on his return was married November 19th, 1868, to Martha, daughter of Sumner Chapman, of the town of Westerly. Their children are: Carrie L., born April 27th, 1871; John Hobart, April 8th, 1875, and Courtland Palmer, October 28th, 1877.

Since his return from the West Mr. Chapman's time has been given almost exclusively to the management of his estate. A republican in politics, though not an active man in the party ranks, he was actuated by public spirit to enter the town council in 1888. Realizing the importance of concerted action with reference to the farming interests of his town, he has been a leading spirit in the organization of the Westerly Grange, of which he is the present master. His adherence and support are given to the Protestant Episcopal church, of which Mrs. Chapman is a member.

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HARRIS P. CHAPMAN was born on the homestead farm in Westerly, and when a lad attended private schools held at the various homes in the vicinity and in Westerly. He subsequently enjoyed additional advantages in Stonington, Conn., where he remained two years. The two succeeding winters were spent in teaching, after which the farm for a succession of years engaged his attention. On the death of his father, and a division of the estate, Mr. Chapman came into possession of that portion of the property embracing his present home, where he has since resided and cultivated the land which constitutes the farm. To this his life has been devoted, to the exclusion of other business projects, perhaps more alluring in character but wanting in the stability that attaches to the life of an agriculturist.

He was married July 3d, 1856, to Bridget A., daughter of Jacob Kenyon of Westerly. Their children are: Otis H., married to Isabella Nash; Ann Elizabeth, wife of Frederick P. Babcock, who has one child, grace Elizabeth; Mary F., Martha B., Harris P., Jr., Arthur and Israel H. Mr. Chapman adheres to the traditions [334] of his family and supports the principles of the democracy, though neither town nor country has had offices within its gift sufficiently attractive to tempt him from the seclusion of his home into the perplexing arena of politics. He is a supporter of the Baptist church with which the family worship. Three of his sons are at present assisting in the work of the farm. Otis H., the eldest, is a mechanic and a resident of Westerly. Frederick P. Babcock is also a mechanic.

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PELEG CLARKE. -- John Clarke, the earliest representative of the Clarke family in America, came with Roger Williams from the county of Suffolk, England. His son, John Clarke, married Catherine Cook. Their son, Thomas Clarke, married Rose Perigo, whose son, Joseph, was the father of Joseph Clarke. Reverend Thomas Clarke, a son of the latter, was the father of Reverend Joseph Clarke. Reverend Joseph Clarke, the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was the father of Thomas Clarke, whose son, Peleg Clarke, was born in 1794 in Newport, R.I., and at the age of twenty-four removed to Hopkinton, and Stonington, Conn., later became his home. He married Fanny, daughter of Captain Joseph Spicer, a popular landlord of Hopkinton City on the line of the New London and Providence turnpike. Their children were: Alfred, Peleg, Joseph, Fanny (Mrs. David Langworthy), Mary (Mrs. Jason P.W. Brown) and George, of whom one brother and two sisters survive.

Peleg Clarke, of Westerly, was born December 25th, 1819, in Hopkinton, and in infancy removed to Stonington, his home for the succeeding thirteen years. He, until the age of sixteen, devoted the winter months to school and the remainder of the year to labor, his father being one of the most extensive farmers in the town. In 1835 the young man came to Westerly determined to master a trade. He was apprenticed to a carpenter and joiner, and such was his aptness at the work in hand that the end of the second year found him in charge of a gang of workmen. On completing his apprenticeship he began the business of contracting, his earliest order being the erection of the first church built by white residents in Charlestown. From this date his success as a skillful and reliable artisan was established and brought many large and important contracts. A great proportion of the buildings, both public and private, in the town are among his achievements, including the Stone mill at Potter Hill, built in 1847, the White Rock mill and village in 1849, the Dixon House in 1866, [335] many hotels at Watch Hill, and churches, banks, public schools and private residences in the town and vicinity. In 1843 he embarked in the lumber business, erecting for that purpose a planing mill and sash and blind factory. Mr. Clarke continued thus engaged until 1854, when he removed to Virginia as representative of the Melville Gold mining Company of New York, and continued this relation five years, meanwhile establishing a lucrative trade in lumber in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The years 1862 and 1863 were spent in Philadelphia, after which he returned to Westerly, resumed his vocation as a builder, and embarked in profitable speculations. He became identified with the interests of Messrs. Babcock & Moss, and also engaged in engineering and surveying. In 1869 Mr. Clarke was made a director of the Pawcatuck National Bank and a year later its president. He was one of the original stockholders, and is a director of the Westerly Gas Light Company, and one of the incorporators of the River Cemetery. In politics he affiliates with the republican party, but has never been an aspirant for office. His business ability, accurate methods and integrity have rendered his services much in demand as receiver, administrator and trustee, and made his advice invaluable with reference to investments.

Mr. Clarke was in 1839 married to Mary T., daughter of Russell and Elizabeth Clarke of Newport. She died May 9th, 1888. Their children are: Mary Estelle (deceased, wife of Henry S. Mowry), Maria Arabella (Mrs. Perry R. Dellinger of Omaha), Frances Virginia (Mrs. William S. Briggs of Groton, Conn.) And Martha B. (Mrs. William S Eaton of Westerly).

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BENJAMIN F. CLARK is the grandson of Luke Clark, who cultivated a farm and operated a saw mill in the town of Richmond, in Washington county. By his marriage to Sarah Tefft, were born ten children, Sally, Luke, John T., Mary, Ruth, Lucinda, Elizabeth, Joshua, Reynolds and Harriet. The birth of John T. Clark occurred in Richmond in 1810, and his death in July 1845, in Westerly, where he resided during the latter part of his life. He married Susan D., daughter of Benjamin P. Bentley, of Westerly. Their only child, a son, Benjamin F., was born September 16th, 1838, in the above town and having been left fatherless when but little more than six years of age, with his mother sought a home under the roof of his maternal grandfather on the farm which is now his property. Such advantages as the neighboring school afforded the lad eagerly sought, but finding the demands of the [336] farm more imperative than any personal consideration, he soon fell into the routine of labor. He displayed so much aptness and judgment in his daily duties that at the age of fourteen its management was largely relegated to him.

In his nineteenth year on the 15th of December, 1856, he was married to Emily F., daughter of Stephen S. Kenyon, of Hopkinton. Their children are: Albert F., Joshua P., Susan E. (Mrs. Gurdon Hiscock) John S. and Edwin  H. Three of the sons are married as follows: Albert F to Annie L. Langworthy, of Hopkinton; Joshua P. to Mabel V. Lanphear, of Westerly, and John S. to Hattie M. Langworthy. Benjamin F. Clark on his marriage, together with his mother, leased the farm for a period of three years, and at the end of that time, assumed the sole management of the property which in 1869 became his by inheritance from his grandfather. Since that date new buildings have been erected, the land enriched, and the estate, which bears in its improved condition evidence of the thrift and energy of the master spirit at its head, much enhanced in value. Mr. Clark has been content as a republican to cast his ballot without desiring public position. He has served his town with fidelity in the capacity of assessor but held no other office, his time being chiefly absorbed in the successful management of his own business. In religion he adheres to the faith of the Seventh Day Baptists.

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CHARLES B. COON is of Scotch extraction. His grandfather Caleb Coon, who was a farmer in Hopkinton, married Dorcas Barber. Their children were: Elias, Moses B., William, Mary (Mrs. Coon), Martha (Mrs. Sanders) and Phebe (Mrs. Larking), Moses B., of this number, was born in the town of Hopkinton February 9th, 1801, and died January 20th, 1840. He pursued during his brief life the trade of a blacksmith in his native town, and married Martha, daughter of Joshua Boss, of Exeter, who was born in Richmond May 8th, 1803, and died September 25th, 1829. Their children were: Ann D. (Mrs. Horace Brightman), born September 27th, 1823; James Monroe, May 21st, 1825, deceased; Charles Barber, April 16th, 1827, and Elias, July 16th, 1829, deceased.

Charles Barber Coon is a native of Griswold, Conn., from whence he removed in childhood to Hopkinton. On the death of his father he found a home with Abiel S. Kenyon, of Richmond, having entered into an agreement with his patron by which he was to learn the trade of a woolen manufacturer in his mills, and [337] receiver until twenty-one years of age three months instruction in the schools of the neighborhood. He was also for a brief time a pupil of the Smithville Seminary. The firm which existed at this time as A.S. & E. Kenyon, was changed in 1857, by the retirement of the senior partner, when the mills became the property of Elijah Kenyon. Mr. Coon made his presence necessary to the success of the business, and passed through the various stages of advancement, first being made superintendent, then manager, and in 1863 admitted to a partnership under the firm name of Kenyon & Coon. He resided at Kenyon's Mills in Richmond until 1879, when Westerly became his home. In 1881 having devoted his life to the successful management of the mills he entered when a lad, he retired from business. Mr. Coon is a director in the National Niantic Bank, and in the Westerly and Watch Hill Ferry Company. He has been somewhat active as a republican in the political movements of his country, was elected to the state legislature for the years 1877 and 1878, and served on the committees on accounts and education. He was also in early life prominent in the Odd Fellows fraternity. He is a supporter of the First Baptist church of Westerly.

Mr. Coon was on the 20th of August, 1857, married to Miss Hattie N. Gardiner, daughter of Henry Gardiner and Mahala Briggs, of South Kingstown, and granddaughter of Oliver Gardiner.

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CALVERT B. COTTRELL, son of Lebbeus Cottrell and Lydia Maxson, was born in Westerly, R.I., August 20th, 1821. In 1840, at the age of nineteen, he went to learn the machine business of Messrs. Lavalley, Lanphear & Co., of Phenix, R.I., manufacturers of cotton machinery, and was employed by them for fifteen years, most of the time as a contractor. During this period he made many improvements in labor saving tools and machinery, and by the careful management of his contracts he was able to save a sufficient sum of money to enable him to start in the machine business at his old home in Westerly, R.I., in July, 1855, associating with him Mr. Nathan Babcock, under the firm name of Cottrell & Babcock. The new firm commenced the manufacture of cotton and wood working machinery, also printing presses, and in 1861 began also to manufacture woolen machinery, building all the machinery necessary for the production of fancy cassimeres [sic] and woolen goods. During the war they made gun appendages, supplying largely those used by the Springfield Armory [338] and private armories. In the year 1868, when they began to make a speciality of printing presses, Mr. Cottrell commenced the series of patented improvements which brought the Cottrell press immediately to the front. Among the first of these was the improvement on the air spring, for reversing the bed, with its patent, yielding plunger, vacuum valve, and governor attachment. This invention increasing, as it did, the capacity of the printing press for fine as well as fast work, was so far-reaching in its effects that it immediately brought Mr. Cottrell to the notice of the printing and mechanical world as one of the leading inventors of the day. At first this revolution was denounced as impracticable, but, as it soon received the indorsement of the imitation by those who had opposed it the most, it was finally accepted on its merits, and the claims made for it then are no longer disputed by any one. Mr. Cottrell was the first to apply the tapeless delivery to the drum cylinder press, also the first to introduce a positive slider motion, hinged roller frames, and numerous other improvements, which are covered by more than seventy American and foreign patents, one of the latest of which is the new front sheet delivery for two revolution, stop cylinder and lithograph presses. This invention is deserving of more than passing notice, as it marks an era in the progress of the "art preservative" more pronounced, even than the introduction of the fly, which for generations has been accepted as the only reliable method of carrying the printed sheets to the pile table. By means of this improvement the printed sheets are delivered at the front end of the press, and laid printed side up
without the use of a fly, strings, or tapes, a result never before accomplished on a printing press. The Cottrell Rotary Chromatic Press, for printing in several colors, is also an invention which stands without a rival, being the only press that takes the paper to be printed from a roll through a series of type impression cylinders in perfect register, cutting and delivering them for removal. This press consists of two or more type and impression cylinders, according to the number of colors used, operated in pairs, with a separate inking apparatus for each pair, and is capable of printing 300,000 labels in ten hours.

Mr. Cottrell has led an exceedingly busy life, having always had the general management of the business. He disposed of the productions of the factory, in addition to which he also attended to the minutest details of the development of his mechanical [339] ideas, improving the tools for the manufacture of the machinery, and carefully scrutinizing the work in its different stages of development. In July, 1880, twenty-five years from the beginning of the eco-partnership, Mr. Cottrell purchased Mr. Babcock's entire interest in the concern, and associated with him his three sons, under the name of C.B. Cottrell & Sons, since which time they have more than doubled the capacity of their works, adding the latest and most improved labor saving machinery to be found in the market, and building many tools of their own design specially adapted to the requirements of their own business, until it is safe to say they now have the largest and most complete establishment devoted exclusively to the manufacture of stop cylinder, two revolution, drum cylinder and lithograph presses in the country. The reputation of these presses extends not only throughout the United States, but to Canada, Mexico, South America and Europe as well.

Their works, represented in this volume, cover some three acres of ground, with a floor space of about 150,000 square feet, and a dock frontage of 900 feet. They are admirably located on the Pawcatuck river, about five miles from Long Island Sound, whence coal, iron and heavy freight can be brought at small cost. They are also on the Shore Line railroad, between Boston and New York, which makes it a convenient point for shipping in any direction.

Mr. Cottrell was married May 4th, 1849, to Lydia W. Perkins, daughter of Elisha Perkins and Nancy Russell. They have six children - Edgar H., Hattie E., Charles P., C.B., Jr., L. Anngenett and Arthur M. In politics Mr. Cottrell was a whig until the republican party was organized, in 1856, when he joined that party, and has since been one of its staunch supporters. At an early age he identified himself with the temperance movement, and has been all his life a total abstainer from intoxicating beverages. He is a man of great force of character, quick perception and of a genial disposition, prudent but very liberal toward all charitable institutions, a member of the Seventy Day Baptist church, and a leading citizen of the community.

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AMOS CROSS, a  merchant in Westerly and judge of the county court, was prominent in the business of that town and in that of the whole country in the early years of this century. He was born at South Kingstown August 12th, 1769, and was educated in the local schools there. His father, John Cross, was a tanner and [340] currier. The subject of this sketch very early showed talent for as well as inclination toward trade. He began to buy and sell produce among the farmers, creating his capital from his own industry and thrift. Soon after his majority he removed to Westerly, whence he could send agricultural products to New York and other ports. At the age of thirty he had accumulated $1,800 through this trade.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Captain Nathaniel Barns of Westerly, in 1799. John Hancock Cross and Eliza Cross, wife of Doctor John E. Weeden, were their children. As his capital increased his field of operations extended, and he became a true merchant. Riding over eastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island, he contracted for the grains, especially barley, the cheese and other products of the farms. This merchandise he shipped to New York, Baltimore, Charleston and other ports. He spent one winter in Charleston in pursuit of his business. He brought back West India goods and other supplies for the country about Westerly. But this return trade made but a small part of his mercantile operations.

About the time of the war with England he contracted with the United States to furnish gun boats. These  vessels were built under the superintendence of Captain Oliver H. Perry, afterward the hero of Lake Erie. Mr. Cross' credit was such that he borrowed money from his neighbors at four per cent, and loaned it to the United States at six per cent. He was one of the founders of the Phenix Bank, being president from its organization in 1818 until his death. The judges of the county court were appointed then, not from the bar, but from among leading citizens. Accordingly he was appointed to the first position on the bench. In this place he created the same trust, and confidence that followed him in all the relations of his life. When his chaise appeared at the corner of the Kingston street the by-word ran in the village "the court has come." In the business of pensions at Washington, in the management of town affairs at home, he was often employed and always trusted.

He died December 15th, 1823, in his fifty-fifth year, having accumulated a handsome fortune. His opportunities for business and for usefulness to his fellow men had only begun. Judge Cross was a good example of that type of New England men which has contributed so much toward the building of this republic. Without capital or the ordinary connections of business, [341] he created a business out of his own enterprise. With scanty knowledge of books, he made himself master of the affairs of men. Without professional standing, he commanded the confidence of bench, bar and the freemen who reared such plain but solid judges. Native sagacity that was almost unerring, joined to energy and integrity, filled out the measure of his successful and honorable career.

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DANIEL F. LARKIN. -- Abel Larkin, a native of Westerly, married Sarah Foster of the same town. Their children were: Abel, Jonathan, Daniel, John, Sarah (Mrs. Gavitt), and Nancy, who died in early womanhood. Daniel Larkin, also born in Westerly, settled as a farmer in his native town, and married Rhoda, daughter of Samuel Sheffield of the same county and town. Their children were: Daniel F., Samuel S., Charles A., Jonathan, George F., Elthan P., Stanton, Susan E. (wife of Joseph T. Ross), Sophia (married to Joseph C. Crandall), and Jane (wife of William H. Cottrell).

The eldest of these children, Daniel F. Larkin, was born on the 10th of June, 1817, and passed his early years in the town of Westerly, with which the family have for generations been identified. Receiving a common school education, he was, on attaining a suitable age, apprenticed to the trade of a ship carpenter, which, with intervals devoted to other pursuits, he followed until 1860. The year 1838 found him in Middlesex county, Va., engaged in the construction of a brig, which was on completion brought north. The following year again proved a favorable one for the pursuit of his trade at this point. The winters from 1840 to 1854 inclusive were spent in marketing and fish dealing in Savannah, Ga., after which he settled at Watch Hill, resumed his trade, and received the appointment as keeper of the Watch Hill light house.

Mr. Larkin determined, in 1868, to fill the role of a popular landlord, and began the erection of what is now the most important summer hotel at Watch Hill, the Larkin House, which has since that time been enlarged, greatly improved, and is now double the capacity of the original structure. With this house and its success his name has been chiefly identified. Mr. Larkin in 1876 again transferred his business relations to the South, and erected a winter hotel at Palatka, Florida, which he managed successfully until its destruction by fire, in 1884, since which time his interest has centered at Watch Hill. A republican in his [342] political convictions, he has for several years served in the town council, and was in 1857 elected to the state legislature, to which office he was re-elected for successive terms, and again for the year 1873. In 1884 he received the important appointment as one of the commissioners to effect a settlement of the questions involved in the boundary line between Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Daniel F. Larkin was [sic] on the 19th of October, 1840, married to Martha, daughter of Clark Hiscox, of Westerly. Their children are: Frank, married to Jessie Cheesbro; Daniel W., whose wife was Josephine Cary; Martha J., wife of Amos D. Allen; and Sarah E., wife of F.S. Aldrich. Both Mr. and Mrs. Larkin are members of the Seventh Day Baptist church of Westerly.


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Washington County, Rhode Island USGenWeb Project.
Transcribed by Tricia Autry, <PJAutry@aol.com>, 1999.

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