Year Inducted: 1999

Aram J. Pothier - The late Aram J. Pothier, 1854-1928, formerly of Woonsocket, who died in 1928 while serving his seventh term as governor. Among his many accomplishments were establishing the Department of the State Police and the Public Utilities Commission and starting commercial development of Narragansett Bay. A prominent banker, he was also a Mayor of Woonsocket and…
Beatrice O. “Happy” Chace - The late Beatrice O. "Happy" Chace, formerly of Providence, a co-founder of the Providence Preservation Society who provided, on her own initiative, the impetus to restore an important part of Providence's historic College Hill neighborhood. Her generosity and commitment helped make the Benefit Street section in particular, and the preservation movement nationwide the successes they…
Brian W. Dickinson - Brian W. Dickinson of Warwick was a prominent editorial columnist for The Providence Journal and continued to write meaningful columns while battling the debilitating disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly associated with Lou Gherig. Dickinson's courage and perseverance to maintain his outstanding writing in the face of nearly insurmountable obstacles, have been an inspiration to all…
Burton L. “Buster” Bonoff - Burton "Buster" Bonoff of Phoenix, Arizona and West Warwick was a legendary entertainment entrepreneur who founded the famed Warwick Musical Theatre (WMT), in Warwick, R.I. in 1955. He also served as its general manager and as a promoter of major entertainment talent in Rhode Island and elsewhere for over forty years. Nationally prominent in his…
Captain Silas Talbot - Silas Talbot (1751-1813) was born in Dighton, Massachusetts, into a poor farm family, the son of Benjamin Talbot and Rebecca Allen. His mother died when he was four. In his early teens, Silas worked on a coasting vessel and then learned the stonemason’s craft. In 1769 or 1770, he moved to Providence to ply his…
Colonel Christopher Greene - Christopher Greene (1737-1781) of Warwick, a direct descendant of Roger Williams and the second son of Judge Phillip and Elizabeth Wickes Greene, was one of Rhode Island’s most illustrious military figures of the American Revolution. Prior to the outbreak of war, Greene married Ann Lippitt, by whom he had nine children, and he engaged in…
Colonel Stephen Olney - Stephen Olney (1756-1832), of North Providence, was one of Rhode Island's most distinguished and longest-serving officers during the War for Independence. He was a fifth-generation descendant of Thomas Olney, a joint proprietor with Roger Williams in the settlement of Providence. In 1774, at the age of eighteen, Stephen Olney became a private in a newly…
Colonel William Barton - William Barton (1748-1831), of Warren and Providence, was a Revolutionary army colonel whose most notable exploit was leading a daring raid in July 1777 to seize General Richard Prescott, the commander of the British forces occupying Aquidneck Island. Born in the town of Warren, the son of Benjamin and Lydia Barton, William Barton received a…
Congressman Jonathan Hazard - Jonathan Hazard (1744-1825) was born to a Newport Quaker family in 1744. As a young man, he moved to rural Charlestown, became a small farmer, and worked as an itinerant tailor. He was passionately involved in the independence movement. During the Revolution, he served for a time as the paymaster of the Rhode Island regiment…
Haig Varadian - Haig Varadain of Cranston was an educational, athletic and civic leader who served his city's school system as teacher, coach and administrator for 50 years. His expertise in the sport of wrestling is legendary and Varadain was the Director Emeritus of the R.I. Interscholastic Wrestling League and recognized internationally in the sport. He is a…
Halsey C. Herreshoff - Halsey C. Herreshoff of Bristol, is an internationally renowned yachtsman, acclaimed America's Cup competitor, and successful Naval Architect. He is the founder and former president of Herreshoff Marine Museum, which includes the America's Cup Hall of Fame. He is also a prominent designer, widely recognized civic leader, author, lecturer, businessman, and longtime promoter of maritime…
Joseph Brown - Joseph Brown (1733-1785), the son of Captain James Brown and Hope Power, was a noted businessman, scientist, professor, and architect, and one of the famous Brown brothers who dominated civic life in Providence during the second half of the eighteenth century. Although he was a successful merchant and the manager of his family’s spermaceti candle…
Judge Henry Marchant - Henry Marchant (1741-1796), of Newport and South Kingstown, was a well-educated intellectual and a protégé of Ezra Stiles. Marchant was born on Martha’s Vineyard, the son of Hexford Marchant, a sea captain. His mother, whose maiden name was Butler, died when he was four, shortly after the family moved to Newport. His father’s second bride…
Major General James Mitchell Varnum - James Mitchell Varnum (1748-1789), lawyer, Revolutionary War general, and judge, was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, the eldest son of affluent farmer Major Samuel Varnum and his second wife, Hannah Mitchell. He attended Harvard for a year, but his involvement in a student protest prompted him to enroll at Rhode Island College (Brown), where he earned…
Mayor Thomas P. McCoy - The late Thomas P. McCoy,1883-1945, formerly of Pawtucket was a lifelong Mayor of that city whose colorful political career dominated the area's political scene for many years. Undisputed leader of the city's Democratic Party, he compiled a distinguished ten-year record in the Rhode Island House of Representatives during the 1920s. Dubbed "the Prince of Pawtucket,"…
Moses Brown - Moses Brown (1738-1836), a prominent Providence merchant, reformer, and philanthropist, was one of the five Brown brothers, a group that included John, Joseph, Nicholas, and James, the eldest, a twenty-six-year-old ship captain when he died at sea in 1751. They were the children of Captain James Brown and Hope Power, the great-granddaughter of Nicholas Power,…
Reverend James Manning - Reverend James Manning (1738-1791), Baptist clergyman and founding president of Rhode Island College (now Brown University), was born in Elizabeth Township, New Jersey, to parents who were probably of Irish origin. He attended Hopewell Academy, a Baptist grammar school, and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), a school that operated under Presbyterian auspices. In…
Reverend Joseph L. Lennon, O.P. - Reverend Joseph L. Lennon has been called the “ubiquitous Father Lennon,” the versatile Father Lennon, and “Mister Providence College.” Joseph Luke Lennon was a native Rhode Islander and maintained a lifelong connection with the Elmhurst section of Providence. He was born on September 21, 1919, the son of John J. Lennon and Marjorie (McCabe) Lennon.…
Reverend Samuel Hopkins - Samuel Hopkins (1721-1803) was a Congregational theologian and reformer. He was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, the son of Timothy Hopkins, a successful farmer with the financial means to send young Samuel to Yale, from which he graduated in 1741. During his senior year at Yale, then operating under Congregational auspices, Hopkins became caught up in…
Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci, Jr. - The late Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci of Providence was a popular six-term mayor of Providence brought the capital city nationwide recognition as a Renaissance City. An outspoken champion of the all-encompassing revitalization of downton Providence, he received widespread credit for his support of the arts, urban revitalization, public safety, educational, employment and housing needs.
William Ellery - William Ellery (1727-1820), merchant, congressman, chief justice, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the son of prominent Newport merchant William Ellery and Elizabeth Almy. His well-to-do father sent him to Harvard, from which young William graduated in 1747. He then embarked upon a mercantile career, but when his father’s death in 1764 left…
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