Sophia Little was born in Newport in 1799, the daughter of Asher Robbins. Her father was a prominent Rhode Island politician who served as U.S. Attorney General for Rhode Island and then in the state legislature before serving as U.S. Senator from 1825 to 1839. Not much is known about Sophia’s early education other than
Tag: Government & Politics
Former Rhode Island Representative from South Kingstown. Leona A. Kelley was born in Providence on August 15, 1919. She attended Classical High School and the University of Rhode Island graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1941. Her political career began in the 1950s as a social worker. After taking time off to raise
Patrick Henry Quinn was born in 1869 in the Warwick mill village of Phenix. He followed the successful path of many ambitious Irish-Catholics by interlacing labor union activity with legal training and Democratic Party activism within the even larger framework of his ethnicity and religion. He was a masterful speaker and seemed to belong to
Michaelson, Julius C., 1922-2011 A champion for human, civil and labor rights, Julius C. Michaelson spent a decades-long long career of public service, fighting for social justice. He was best known for the “Michaelson Act," requiring school districts to bargain in good faith with teachers, ending the long-standing practice of ignoring teachers to put force
Benjamin Ide Wheeler (1854-1927), joins James Burrill Angell as a significant contribution from the Ocean State to the world of university administration. Angell, born in Foster, Rhode Island, was the editor of the Providence Journal before becoming president of the University of Vermont and serving thirty-eight years as the president of the University of Michigan
Governor, Senator, U.S. Solicitor General, and Attorney General, J. Howard McGrath had compiled an impressive resume by the time he reached his fiftieth year. Born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island on November 28, 1903, he was the second son of Irish mill worker James J. and his wife Ida (May) McGrath. Leaving the Blackstone Valley area
Robert O. Tiernan was an attorney, member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, member of the United States House of Representatives and a high-ranking federal government official during his career of public service. Born in Providence on February 24, 1929 to Joseph and Mary (nee McConnell), Tiernan attended LaSalle Academy where he achieved All State
Allen, Philip, 1785-1865 Senator Philip Allen (1785-1865) of Providence was a merchant, a textile magnate, a reform governor (1851-53), and a one-term United States Senator (1853-1859). The brother of Zachariah Allen, noted inventor and industrialist, and the uncle of Thomas Wilson Dorr, Allen was also prominent in banking and insurance. A graduate of Brown
George Ramsbottom, 1888-1979, was a Pawtucket industrialist who was President-Treasurer of the Seekonk Lace Company. An angel to the Pawtucket Boys Club, he gave them Camp Ramsbottom for summer recreation. He was also active in Red Cross and Community Chest drives. Ramsbottom is also credited with helping to write the Pawtucket City Charter.
Ames, Samuel, 1806-1865 Chief Justice Samuel Ames (1806-1865) of Providence served in many public capacities including state legislator, speaker of the house, and quartermaster general of the state militia. His most significant service was as chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court (1856-1865). Ames studied at Phillips-Andover Academy and graduated from Brown University in
Major General Morphis Albert Jamiel, 1922-2013, truly exemplified the very best of America. Born into the well-known Jamiel family of Warren in 1922, his parents were the late Albert and Mary Jamiel. He had twelve brothers and sisters. From this humble origin in the small town of Warren, he eventually carved out a notable career as
John Nicholas Brown, 1900-1979, was a former assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, senior fellow at Brown University and a director of the Smithsonian Institution. He directed the search and recovery of the works of art stolen by the Nazis for which he was decorated by the French and Belgian governments.
Congressman Elisha Reynolds Potter, Jr. (1811-1882) of South Kingstown was the son and namesake of a U.S. congressman, Elisha Reynolds Potter, Sr. (1764-1835) and Mary (Mawney) Potter. The remarkably varied career of this Harvard graduate included such occupations and positions as attorney, historian, adjutant general, state legislator, congressman, state commissioner of public schools (succeeding Henry
Chief Justice William Read Staples of Providence was a prominent lawyer, jurist, and civil servant. With the possible exception of Samuel Greene Arnold, who eulogized him, Staples was also the premier Rhode Island historian of the nineteenth century. In the 1820s, Staples became a leader of the Rhode Island bar and then a prosecutor for
Lila Sapinsley, a trailblazer for women in Rhode Island politics and beloved wife of John Sapinsley. She was a state Senator for Rhode Island and rose to Senate minority leader. In 1972, Lila Sapinsley was elected to the state Senate and became Senate Majority Leader, the first woman to hold a leadership post in the
Frank J. Williams is a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, a notable Abraham Lincoln scholar and author, and a Justice on the Military Commission Review Panel. He has written and edited fourteen books; contributed chapters to several others; and lectured on Abraham Lincoln throughout the country. He has amassed an
Legal mind, industrialist, and investment banker, Charles C. Tillinghast served as the chairman of Trans World Airlines (T.W.A.). Born in 1911 in Saxtons River, Vermont, he was the son of Charles C. and Adelaide (Shaw) Tillinghast. He graduated from the Horace Mann School in the Riverdale section of Bronx, New York in 1928, and then
Zecharian Chafee was born in Providence to a political family descended from Roger Williams. Chafee attended Brown, where he was a fellow. After graduating fron Brown in 1907, he went on to study law at Harvard University. While attending Harvard, he became influenced by the theories of sociological Jurisprudence presented by Roscoe Pound and others at
Gov. William S. Flynn, (1885-1966) was a member of the Rhode Island State Senate from 1912 – 1914 and again from 1917 – 1922. He was Governor of Rhode Island from 1923 to 1925, and brother of Chief Justice Edmund Flynn and Coach John A. “Jack” Flynn. Flynn, a native of South Providence and the
Chief Justice Edmund W. Flynn, 1890-1957, Rhode Island’s longest-serving chief justice, graduate of Georgetown Law School, state representative from South Providence, legal scholar, architect of the “Bloodless Revolution,” and a draftsman of the two most recent digests of Rhode Island’s general laws (1938 and 1956). After graduation from Holy Cross College and Georgetown Law School,
Lederberg, Victoria, — 1937- Lederberg was a psychology professor and state legislator before becoming a state Supreme Court judge in 1993. Lederberg earned her bachelors and masters at doctoral degrees Brown University. She served as Providence Municipal Court judge and was professor of psychology at Rhode Island College. She served as state representative from 1975-1983
Mayor Joseph Henry Gainer, 1878-1945, attorney, city councilman, alderman, and Providence mayor from 1913 to 1927, presided over development of city’s outer harbor, creation of its water supply, and other projects. Joseph Henry Gainer was born in Providence, January 18, 1878, the son of John and Margaret (Keogh) Gainer, immigrants from Ireland. One of the
Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill, 1880-1975, stage and silent-film actress and suffragette. She was the state’s first female legislator, elected to the House in 1922. She also served as deputy Democratic floor leader in the Senate. Isabelle Florence Ahearn O’Neill, 1880-1975, stage and silent-film actress and suffragette. She was the state’s first female legislator, elected to
Elisha Hunt Rhodes, eldest son of ship captain Elisha Hunt Rhodes and Eliza Ann (Chace) Rhodes, was born in Pawtuxet Village on March 21, 1842. This lineal descendant of Roger Williams attended schools in Cranston and Providence including Potter & Hammond’s Commercial College. His father’s death at sea when Elisha was only sixteen left him
Thomas Wilson Dorr, 1806-1854, was known as Rhode Island’s greatest political and constitional reformer, and the principle draftsman of the People’s Constitution in 1841. He became Governor of Rhode Island in 1842 on the People’s Party ticket, and was the leader of the famous Dorr Rebellion.
The marvelous story of Rhode Island’s own John Joseph McLaughlin leads one through more twists and turns than a Rocky Point roller coaster. Born on March 29, 1927 to Augustus and Eva (Turcotte) McLaughlin, he grew up in the neighborhoods of Edgewood and Mount Pleasant. His earliest run at greatness included stints as a pharmacy
Stephen Hopkins, 1707-1785, was Governor of Rhode Island for ten years and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Historians rate him as “one of the most illustrious citizens Rhode Island has ever produced. Stephen Hopkins.John Hagen, 1999, Brown University Portrait Collection.
Samuel Greene Arnold (1821-1880) is one of the two foremost historians of colonial Rhode Island. He was born into a prominent merchant family and was descended from Thomas Arnold, one of Providence’s earliest settlers. Arnold was educated by private tutors, attended private schools, graduated from Brown University in 1841, and earned a law degree from
Mayor Amos Chafee Barstow (1813-1892) was one of the most accomplished and versatile men in the history of Rhode Island. A Providence native, Barstow made his fortune by the manufacture of stoves. His firm, the Barstow Stove Company, located at Point and Richmond Streets covered two and one-half acres and employed 200 workers. Barstow won
Bartlett, John Russell, 1805-1886 John Russell Bartlett (1805-1886) is generally regarded as Rhode Island’s greatest secretary of state. Although a Providence native, he was educated in Canada and New York and operated a bookstore in New York City during the late 1830s and 1840s. Surrounded by books, he turned to writing. In 1847 Bartlett published
Thomas Gardiner Corcoran, formerly of Pawtucket, was a brilliant attorney nicknamed "Tommy the Cork", and a close companion to Oliver Wendell Holmes. He born in Pawtucket and educated at Brown (where he was class valedictorian). He later became one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s most trusted advisors, and a high level official for the powerful
Doyle, Thomas Arthur, 1827-1886 Mayor Thomas A. Doyle, an independent-minded Republican of Irish Protestant stock, is regarded by historians as Providence’s greatest mayor. He was born in Providence as one of seven children, including a sister, Sarah, who became a noted educator and advocate for women’s rights. After attending public school, Doyle gained employment as
Greene, George Washington, 1811-1883 George Washington Greene, prominent educator and author, was born in East Greenwich and was the grandson of Nathanael Greene, the great Revolutionary War general. As a young man, Greene traveled extensively in Europe gaining proficiency in the Italian and French languages. His first wife was Italian and he served as
Margaret Ackroyd was a native Rhode Islander who served in the State Labor Department for thirty years before her retirement. She served as Chief in the Division of Women and Children and Commissioner of Minimum Wage. She became known as the “architect of non-discriminatory employment standards for women”. Born in Providence, she was a daughter of Timothy
Jenckes, Thomas A. (Thomas Allen), 1818-1875 Congressman Thomas Allen Jenckes (1818-1875) is regarded nationally as “the father of civil service reform.” He was born in Cumberland, was educated in the public schools of that town, and graduated from Brown University in 1838 where he distinguished himself in mathematics and the physical sciences. Jenckes studied law
Dr. Edwin M. Snow (1820-1888) was Providence’s first superintendent of health and chief statistician from 1856 to 1884. Dr. Snow was born in Pomfret, Vermont where he received his early education. He came to Rhode Island to study at Brown University and remained here after his graduation in 1845, except for his medical studies in
Charles Celeste Baldelli was born on August 4, 1933 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He and his brother, Dan, were the sons of Alesandro and Marina Baldelli. True to his native city, Charlie lives in the same house in which he was born. After attending public schools in Woonsocket, Charlie served in the army during the
John Orlando Pastore was born in the Federal Hill section of Providence on March 17, 1907 to Michele and Erminia (Asprinio) Pastore. He married Elena Caito in 1941, and the couple had three children, Dr. John O., Jr., Frances Elizabeth, and Louise Marie. John attended Providence public schools and received his Bachelor of Law degree
Admiral William Sowden Sims, 1858-1936, was two-time President of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport (1917, 1919-1922) who served as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Naval Forces in Europe during World War I. He was instrumental in bringing about drastic changes in gunnery training, and the handling of military personnel and military education.
Judge Luigi DePasquale 1892-1958, exemplifies the rapid political, social, and economic rise of Rhode Island’s first generation Italian-Americans. Born on December 13, 1892 in Providence to Italian immigrant parents, Antonio and Maria (Vitale) DePasquale, Luigi was raised in Milford, Massachusetts, where his father became an undertaker. He graduated from Boston University Law School in 1913
Mr. Licht, formerly of Providence, was Governor of the State of Rhode Island from 1969 to 1973, and served as an Associate Justice of the Superior Court from 1956 to 1968. He was also a member of the State Senate for seven years, and was the only Rhode Island Governor to serve in all three
John H. Chafee,1922-1999, was a Providence native who entered government service as Secretary of the Navy. Then, in 1963, when he was forty years old, he took office as Governor of Rhode Island. He was one of the youngest men to become Governor in Rhode Island’s history. He had also served in the Rhode Island
U.S. Rep. Ambrose Kennedy, 1875-1967, Congressman Ambrose Kennedy was a rarity in early twentieth century Rhode Island politics–a devout Irish Catholic Republican politician of high standing. Kennedy was not only a five-term Republican congressman, he was a lawyer, an educator, an accomplished orator, speaker of the Rhode Island House, and a biographer. Ambrose Kennedy, a
Ms. Violet of Barrington was the first woman in the United Stated to be elected to State Attorney General, as well as a popular radio talk-show host. She was a practicing attorney and former Roman Catholic nun. She was RI’s Attorney General in the mid 1980’s, and is widely recognized for her community service and
Long-time senator, Theodore Francis Green bequeathed a lasting legacy of reform and economic growth to the state. Born in 1867 in Providence to an old Brahmin family, which counted among its lineage Rhode Island’s first governor under the Royal Charter of 1663, Benedict Arnold, and Revolutionary War general Nathanial Greene, Theodore Francis Green attended schools
Alexander Meiklejohn, 1872-1964, Alexander Meiklejohn was a most unusual man, a dissenter in the mode of Roger Williams! He came to Rhode Island in 1880, when he was eight years old, the youngest son of a Scottish working class family. After a brief stay in Warwick, Alexander moved with his family to Pawtucket where he
The late Reverend Robert C. Newbold, 1920-2008, of Providence was a former Professor, Dean, Vice-Rector and Rector of Our Lady of Providence Preparatory Seminary and was former Executive Secretary of the Committee on Athletics for the Rhode Island Secondary School’s Principals association, retiring after 26 years in the profession. He guided the State’s Interscholastic League
Aime Joseph Forand was born on May 23, 1895 in Fall River, Massachusetts to Francois Xavier and MeliLuce Ruest Forand. Forand studied at public and Catholic schools in the state, and also attended the Magnus Commercial School in Providence, and Columbia University in New York. At the age of twenty- three, he enlisted in the
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.
James J. Taricani of North Kingstown, is the WJAR-TV (Channel 10), WPRI-TV (Channel 12), and local radio multi-award winning investigative reporter who became Director of Communications for RI Governor Lincoln Almond. He earned four coveted, regional Emmy Awards, television’s highest honor, and ten Emmy nominations, in addition to several other prestigious journalism awards for outstanding
A native of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Raymond Farrell was born on February 6, 1903 to James and Jennie (Moran) Farrell. After he graduated from Pawtucket High School he entered Georgetown University and later its La School in Washington, D.C., where he graduated in 1931. He subsequently served as a federal investigator in a variety of
Dennis J. Roberts, 1903-1994, served as Rhode Island’s Governor for four terms from 1951 to 1959. This following a long stint as Mayor of the City of Providence for ten years, from 1941 to 1951. He also served an additional four years as a Rhode Island State Senator.
Edward Peter Gallogly enjoyed a career that saw him occupy many seats onthe public stage. He is one of the few Rhode Island citizens who served inall three branches of state government as well as an arm of the Federalgovernment. Gallogly was born in Providence on August 28, 1919 one of nine children ofLawrence and
T. Dawson Brown was former President and Chairman of the Board at the Industrial National Bank. One of the states most active leaders in promoting brotherhood, the betterment of youth, and civic renewal. He served for many years as President of the Narragansett Council of Boy Scouts. He was also one of the pioneers in
Senator William Sprague, Jr. (1799-1856) was one of the most prominent members of a family that ranked as one of Rhode Island’s richest and most powerful during the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century. He was the son and namesake of William Sprague, founder of the great textile empire, the younger brother of Amasa, whose
>b>Major John T. Godfrey, USAF, a Candian native raised in Woonsocket, was a highly decorated and widely recognized World War II flying ace credited with shooting down or destroying on the ground, 36 German planes. He later became prominent in public affairs as a State Senator. He also operated a successful Lace manufacturing business in
John Whipple (1784-1866) of Providence was a leader of the early 19th century Rhode Island Bar, the state’s foremost trial attorney, and Rhode Island’s most prominent constitutional lawyer. Daniel Webster,Whipple’s co-counsel in the landmark Rhode Island case of Luther v. Borden (1849) regarded Whipple and Jeremiah Mason of New Hampshire as the two most formidable
Governor Augustus O. Bourn (1834-1925) was born in Providence in 1834 to a distinguished old-line Rhode Island family whose earliest ancestor Jared Bourn served as a Portsmouth representative to the colonial assembly in 1654-55. After graduation from Brown University in 1855, Bourn joined his father in the business of manufacturing India-rubber goods. In 1864, Bourn
Dr. Robert J. McKenna, 1931-2012, a native of Providence, was Mayor of the City of Newport, as well as having been a Professor of Politics and Assistant to the President of Salve Regina University. He engaged in more than three decades of public service as both a State Senator and Representative, aide to the late
Dr. Mary C. Mulvey, a nationally recognized expert in the problems of the elderly and concerns of gerontology who now makes Rhode Island her home, has been a pioneer advocate for older adults and successful in enacting legislation to establish a State Agency on Aging. She served as its’ administrator until returning to the Providence
Reverend Mahlon Van Horne (1840-1910) had a career that ranged from minister of the Gospel at the black Union Congregational Church at Newport to minister of diplomacy as United States Consul to St. Thomas in the West Indies. He was at heart always a teacher. Bom in Princeton New Jersey in 1840, Van Horne was
Lloyd Griffin died on November 24, 1999, at the age of fifty nine. His memorial Mass on December 1 at Holy Rosary Church in his native Fox Point was well attended for an ordinary man; but Lloyd was not an ordinary man, and the church was far from over flowing. A few black community leaders
Governor J. Joseph Garrahy, 1930-2012, was a native of Narragansett, who served four terms as Governor of the state following a distinguished career in public service which began in 1962. One of Rhode Island’s most popular leaders, Governor Garrahy returned to the private sector in 1985, serving as a highly successful business executive and well
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II was born in Brighton, Massachusetts on July 14, 1967, the son of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and Joan Bennett Kennedy. After graduation from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in 1986, he began a quarter-century of residence in Rhode Island bringing with him both the benefits and the burdens of the Kennedy
Senator William Bradford (1729-1808) was a fifth-generation descendant and namesake of the famous governor of Plymouth Colony. He began his career as a surgeon, but after his arrival in Bristol in the late 1750s, Bradford left medicine and turned to a new profession in the law, and was admitted to the bar in 1767. He
Congressman Ronald Machtley , president of Bryant University, is not a native Rhode Islander, but he has enriched his adopted state through his leadership for nearly four decades. Ron was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on July 13, 1948, but like Hall of Fame inductees, Admirals Stephen Luce, Alfred Thayer Mahan, and William S. Sims, the
Edward V. Healey, Jr., 1923-2011, of Cranston was a Senior Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Family Court and an internationally recognized authority on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. He served on several advisory commissions for Presidents of the United States, and is a prominent jurist, professor, and consultant to various nations and states.
Jeremiah O’Connell was born in Wakefield, Massachusetts on July 8, 1883 to Irish immigrant parents and financed his own education at Boston University, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1906, a law degree cum laude in 1908, and an LL.M in 1908. Thereafter he moved to Providence where he served on the common council from 1913
Congressman John E. Fogarty, 1913-1967, was one of Rhode Island’s longest serving congressmen. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representative’s in 1940 as a New Deal Democrat, and died in office in January of 1967. During his long career he earned the nickname “Mr. Public Health” for his support of federal funding for
Governor William Sprague, 1830-1915, was a member of the Sprague family of industrial and political prominence. William became the “Boy Governor” of Rhode Island at age 30 on a Unionist-Republican-Fusion ticket and shortly thereafter led the first Rhode Island Regiment into combat at the First Battle of Bull Run. He became a U.S. Senator in
Dr. Norman J. Oliver, formerly of Woonsocket, RI, was a brilliant research scientist who, as a world-famous physicist was one of the foremost experts on Antarctica and the Auroras. Born in Fall River, he lived the greater part of his life in Rhode Island, and was an adviser to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. He was
Dyer, Elisha, 1811-1890 Governor Elisha Dyer (1811-1890) and Governor Elisher Dyer, Jr. (1839-1909) traced their illustrious ancestry to William and Mary Dyer of Boston who settled Portsmouth in 1638 as exiled disciples of Anne Hutchinson. They eventually embraced Quakerism, and Mary repeatedly returned to Boston to preach the new doctrine in defiance of the Puritan
Judge Francis McCabe was the First Chief Judge of Rhode Island Family Court. Born in Providence, he attended Hope High School and Providence College. He later became Providence City Solicitor, a probate judge, and Chief Judge of the former Juvenile Court. He was an acknowledged expert on the rehabilitation and understanding of the juvenile offender
Robert Emmett Quinn, 1884-1975, a prominent Democratic politician who served successively as state senator, lieutenant governor, governor, associate Justice of the Superior Court, and Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Military Appeals. Quinn was the principle architect of the Bloodless Revolution of 1935 and a major protagonist in the Race Track War of 1937.
Eddie Dowling, 1889-1976, was born in Woonsocket as Joseph Nelson Goucher. As the fourteenth of seventeen children, he used his Irish mother Bridgette’s maiden name of Dowling during a brilliant Broadway career as actor, composer, producer and Pulitizer Prize-winning playwright. Dowling’s work helped to bring the American stage to a new level of aesthetic maturity
McGuinness, Edwin Daniel, 1856-1901 Mayor Edwin D. McGuinness (1856-1901), a native of Providence, was the son of Irish immigrants who settled in Rhode Island after fleeing the Potato Famine in the 1840s. His father, Bernard McGuinness, was a successful real estate agent who encouraged his son’s educational pursuits. Edwin attended local public schools and graduated from
Henry Lippitt was a native Rhode Islander who died in 1891, after becoming one of the state’s industrial and financial leaders of his time, serving two terms as governor. Henry F. Lippitt, Henry’s son, died in 1933, after following in his father’s footsteps as an industrialist, a statesman, and a United States Senator. A renowned
James P. Riley was born in New Britain, Connecticut in 1950. He began his long career in the labor movement as a butcher for Stop & Shop in the 1970s. In 1984, Jim left his meat cutting career for a position as an organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). This
Lester Frank Ward, 1841-1913, had such a powerful intellect and such wide-ranging knowledge that some contemporaries referred to him as “the American Aristotle.” The legendary Brown University professor was born on the Illinois frontier, lived a nomadic life as a youth, and received only fragments of formal schooling, though he read voraciously. Ward fought in
Ira Magaziner grew up in New York and first came to Rhode Island as a student at Brown University. He graduated in 1969 as valedictorian of his class. As an undergraduate student activist, Ira was instrumental in changing the curriculum at the Ivy League school. He subsequently attended Oxford University in England as a Rhodes
Edwin Brown, 1910-2010, was one of the foremost proponents of organized labor in the State. He was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the RI AFL, and later was a key negotiator in the merger of the AFL with CIO. He served on the State Board of Education and later the Board of Regents for twenty-eight years, being
U.S. Senator Jack Reed was born in 1949 and raised in Cranston. His father, Joe, was a Cranston school janitor who worked his way up through the ranks to become the custodial supervisor of the city’s school system. Jack credits his parents, Joe and Mary Reed, for his values and for the work-ethic that helped
Dr. John Clarke (1609–1676) was the son of Thomas and Rose (Kerrich) Clarke. He was born in Westhorpe, Suffolk, in 1609, the fifth of seven children (according to a listing in the family’s Geneva Bible) and the third of five sons, four of whom ultimately settled in Newport. He was probably married to his first
Jesse Metcalf and his wife Louisa Sharpe Metcalf were the dynamic duo of Rhode Island philanthropy in the early 20th century. Jesse was the son and namesake of the founder of Providence’s Wanskuck Mills, one of America’s largest woolen manufacturers, and his mother, Helen, a Hall of Fame inductee, co-founded the Rhode Island School of
After an apprenticeship to Nehemiah Dodge, Jabez Gorham became the foremost Rhode Island producer of jewelry and silverware. While in his twenties, Gorham established a shop at North Main and Steeple Streets, the first of several buildings that formed his original factory complex. By the end of the century, the company he founded was a
William Coddington (1601–1678), principal founder of Portsmouth and Newport and governor of Rhode Island, was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England. By his thirtieth year, he had achieved substance and position. In 1630, at about the same time as John Winthrop’s arrival, he came to America as an assistant (director) in the Massachusetts Bay Company as
Henry Marchant1741-1796 from Newport and South Kingstown, was a well-educated intellectual and a protege of Ezra Stiles. Marchant, a prominent attorney, was an ardent Son of Liberty, a delegate to the Continental Congress, a leading Federalist and Rhode Island’s first federal district judge.
John E. Moran, 1913-1997, served as President and Co-founder of McLaughin & Moran Distributors, which was a recognized leader in its’ field for over fifty years. An outstanding all-state athlete out of LaSalle Academy, he starred for Manhattan College in football and baseball. For the next fifty years, with time out for U.S. Naval service,
Gregory Dexter, 1610-1700, was one of London’s finest printers who became the printer for Roger Williams. He served Rhode Island during several crises and was elected President of the colony. He established a lime quarry in Lincoln that is one of the oldest continuous businesses in America.
William H. Matthews was the former First Deputy City Clerk of Providence, and considered by many as the finest athlete the state has produced. “Dixie”, as he was known to all, was considered by leaders of the city’s African-American community as their “first but unofficial” City Councilman. Born in Providence, he retired after thirty-eight years
Mayor Walter Reynolds, 1901-1987, known as “Barney”, served seven consecutive terms as Mayor of Providence, totaling fourteen years of service.He was the City’s Chief Executive during times of great accomplishment and growth. A public servant for more than thirty-five years, beginning in 1935, he received numerous national, regional, and local awards for excellence in various
Henry J. Tasca, 1912-1979, was U.S. Ambassador to Greece and Morocco, and several other European countries as a career diplomat and key foreign service official. A native of Providence who spent most of his childhood in Philadelphia, he studied at both Temple and Pennsylvania Universities. A specialist in economic and financial affairs, he retired and
On a crisp January morning in 1915, a thirty-year-old freshman representative from the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Providence strode into the Rhode Island state capitol. This novice legislator was James Henry Kiernan. For nearly fifty-one years thereafter Jim Kiernan would serve with distinction in the Rhode Island House, and for thirty-five years, until the opening
Massasoit Metacomet, 1639-1676, was also known as King Phillip. He was the Sachem of all Sachems from the Royal House of the Pokanokets of the Wampanoags. A native patriot who tried to preserve his own civilization and his people’s autonomy in the face of overwhelming odds. He died during the King Phillip War on the
Lionel Benjamin was second in command of the RI State Police as Major and Executive Officer. Enlisted in 1958, he moved to the detective division in 1965 and four years later, transferred to intelligence, where he was a member of N.E. State Police Crime Intelligence System as a senior officer. Promoted from Corporal to Captain
The Honorable Joseph R. Paolino, Jr. assumes a unique place in the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. He is now the only inductee whose father, developer Joseph R. Paolino, Sr. and grandfather, Judge Luigi DePasquale, for whom the noted Federal Hill Plaza is named, are also members of the Hall of Fame. His mother,
Captain Thomas Willett,1605-1674, was the principal early settler of Wannamoisett (present-day Riverside and northern Barrington). As a trusted friend of the natives he bought large tracts of land from them. He later became the first Mayor of New York City after helping to wrest it from the Dutch.
Goddard, Robert H. I. (Robert Hale Ives), 1837-1916 Colonel Robert Goddard (1837-1916) was a son of Professor William G. Goddard, newspaperman and first Chancellor of Brown University, and Charlotte Rhoda Ives Goddard. Through his mother’s line of descent, Goddard was related to the Ives family, who partnered with the Brown family in shipping, manufacturing, real
LeBaron Bradford Colt was born in Dedham, Massachusetts to Christopher and Theodora (DeWolf) Colt. He and his equally famous brother, Samuel, had very influential forebears. On their maternal side, they were the grandsons of General George DeWolf of Bristol and the grandnephews of U.S. Senator James DeWolf, a wealthy merchant and notorious slave trader. Other
Fitzgerald, John J., 1871-1926 John J. Fitzgerald was born in Pawtucket where he attended local public schools. A brilliant student, he was one of the state’s first Irish-Catholics to graduate from Brown University (Class of 1893). Fitzgerald earned a law degree at Georgetown University, established a hometown law practice, and in 1899 ran successfully
Samuel Cranston, 1659-1727, of Newport, was a statesman and governor of Rhode Island for almost twenty-nine years–1698-1727–a tenure not only longer than any Rhode Island governor but also exceeding the tenure of any other chief executive of an American colony or state. Cranston presided over the transformation of Rhode Island from a beleaguered cluster of
Garvin, Lucius F. C. (Lucius Fayette Clark), 1841-1922 Lucius Fayette Clark Garvin’s life was one of compassion, political struggle, tragedy and service to all. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee on November 21, 1841 to educated parents, his father, James, died when Lucius was only four and his mother, Sarah, a school teacher moved to Greensboro, North
Silas Downer, 1729-1785, was a prominent Providence attorney and civic leader, author, scrivener, and leader of the patriot cause. He has been called Rhode Island’s “Penman of the Revolution.” Downer’s most patriotic treatise was a 1768 Discourse delivered in Providence repudiating Parliament’s Declaratory Act. This essay has been cited as the first significant challenge to
Hay, John, 1838-1905 John Milton Hay was an Illinois native with deep Rhode Island roots that prompted him to select Brown as his college. Providence was the early home of his mother, Helen Leonard, whose father, Rev. David Leonard was in the Brown Class of 1792. At Brown, Hay was described as having “a retentive
McCarthy, Patrick Joseph, 1848-1921 Mayor Patrick J. McCarthy was the only immigrant ever to serve as mayor of Providence. Born in County Sligo, Ireland in 1848, his family fled the Potato Famine in 1850 only to be quarantined on Deer Island in Boston Harbor. Both his parents died there. “PJ”, as he liked to be
The late Allen Chatterton was a former president of the R.I. Golf Association. He founded the R.I. Senior Golf Association and John P. Burk Memorial Fund, the second caddy scholarship in the country. He also served as President of the New England Golf Association and as Director of Pawtucket Boys Club for more than thirty
Eleanor Slater, 1909-2006, served as both a State Representative and a State Senator. She lead the way to the passage of Rhode Island’s Fair Housing Bill. She was appointed director of the Division of Aging, now the State Department of Elderly Affairs. She served as vice-chairman of the Democratic Committee and was a National Committeewoman.
The late Walter Stone was superintendent of Rhode Island State Police. Serving as Chief in Providence, he was one of two men to serve as head of Rhode Island’s two largest police forces. He also played football for the Providence Steamrollers, and was a boxer on the police team.
Dr. Jay Goodman was a brilliant scholar, an inspiring teacher, a meticulous attorney, and the intellectual power behind the throne for two generations of Rhode Island Democratic political leaders. Jay was born in St. Louis, Missouri on January 16, 1940, the son of attorneys Harold and Minnie Goodman. Jay earned his bachelors degree in 1961
Albert Tavani was a Director of Division of Airports of the State Department of Transportation. He retired in 1977, after serving as a fighter pilot in World War II and as state aeronautics chief for thirty-one years. He was instrumental in the upgrading of Greene airport into a prime regional terminal and the establishment of
Samuel Ward,1725-1776, of Westerly, co-founder of America’s first party system, governor, chief justice, and Revolutionary War leader. He was the son of Rhode Island governor and gentleman farmer Richard Ward (1740-1742). He joined his great political rival Stephen Hopkins as the two Rhode Island delegates to the Continental Congress in the movement toward independence. Only
Alfred Hahn Joslin, 1914-1977, was Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and past Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Bar Association for Rhode Island. He became Trustee, Vice Chancellor, and fellow of the Brown Corporation. He wrote more than 600 opinions and served as the chair of Capital Center Commission (1980-1991).
Christopher Del Sesto was a loyal and dedicated public servant throughout his adult life. Born in Providence on March 10, 1907 to Eraclio and Rosa (Geremia) Del Sesto, he graduated with honors from Providence’s Commercial High School and with cum laude honors from both Boston University and Georgetown University Law School. For many years he
Higgins, Edward J., 1894-1979 Edward “Rip” Higgins was born November 16, 1894 to Irish immigrant parents in Warren. During WW I, Rip served in the U.S. Navy as a pharmacist’s mate. Immediately after the war, he worked at Smith’s Drug Store, a Warren Democratic bastion, even into the 1980s, and there got his entree into politics.
Senator Claiborne Pell, 1918-2009, became a Senior U.S. Senator from Rhode Island. He served in the Diplomatic Service for eight years after duty in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. Senator Pell created a college grant program and wrote the legislation that established the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment
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,”
Richard J. Walton was a versatile man with a variety of activities and achievements. Among his many roles were journalist, radio talk show host, historian of American foreign policy, professor of political science, union leader, social activist, and one-time third party candidate for vice president. Richard was born on May 28, 1928 in Saratoga Springs,
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
Phil Noel worked his way through Georgetown University Law School, first running an elevator, then in the U.S. Senate mailroom and eventually taking charge of the Senate’s committee notice system, all under the patronage of Senator John O. Pastore. When he graduated, the young lawyer asked the senator how he could repay him. “Get involved
Frederick C. Williamson, Sr.,1915-2010, was State Director of the RI Department of Community Affairs and Rhode Island’s Historic Preservation Officer. He was instrumental in many of the state’s historic buildings and sites accepted for the National Historic Register. At the time of his death, in 2010, Frederick Williamson was the longest serving state historic preservation
Bicknell, Thomas Williams, 1834-1925 Thomas W. Bicknell (1834-1925) of Barrington was one of the two outstanding historians of Rhode Island during the first half of the 20th century (Dr. Charles Carroll was the other). In 1920 he published a three-volume narrative history of the state, supplemented by three biographical volumes. This work is still of great value
Bradford P. Boss, whose career at A.T. Cross was primarily in sales and marketing, served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Costa Inc (Formerly Known As A.T. Cross Company) from 1960 until April 1993. He continued to serve as Chairman of the Board until November 14,1999, then becoming Chairman Emeritus. He
Higgins, James H. (James Henry), 1876-1927 James H. Higgins was the first Irish-Catholic governor of Rhode Island, serving from 1907 to 1909. Although orphaned at a young age, Higgins pursued a high school degree in Pawtucket and was accepted at Brown University in 1894 at a time when few Irish-Catholics matriculated at the Ivy League
Luther, William H. (William Henry),1844-1914 William Henry Luther was born in Dover, New Hampshire on April 24, 1844. The Luther family moved to Providence four years later where young Henry attended public school with some additional instruction at a local private school. Luther and his brother became interested in the lapidary trade, and after learning
Some individuals ” very few in number ” stand out from all others because of their outstanding talents and abilities. In this respect one thinks of athletes or entertainers. It is more rare, however, that a person stands above the crowd because of such qualities as integrity, earnestness, and demeanor. Brad Gorham was such a
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 on a mercantile career, but when his father’s death in 1764 left
O’Shaunessy, George Francis, 1868- George Francis O’Shaunessy was born in Galway, Ireland on May 1, 1868. His parents came to America when he was a child and settled in New Jersey. George was educated in New York City parochial schools and received a law degree from Columbia University in 1889. Thereafter he acquired a reputation as an able
Jonathan Hazard, 1744-1825, of Charlestown, was the driving force behind the creation of the Country Party in 1785, a protest movement designed to safeguard the interests of Rhode Island farmers. Hazard, a noted orator, served in the General Assembly and the Confederation Congress and led the AntiFederaliist opposition to the Constitution while defending states rights.
Susan L. Farmer joins her forebears, Bishop Alexander Griswold and Anne Hutchinson as an inductee into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. Like Hutchinson, a pioneer in many areas, including the advancement of women, Susan was a “first” as well. When elected Secretary of State in 1982, she became the first woman elected in Rhode Island
G. William Miller, 1925-2006, served as United States Secretary of the Treasury and former Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, and President of Textron. President Carter nominated him as Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Board prior to his appointment as Secretary of the Treasury. Everett Raymond Kinstler, Sec. G. William Miller, 1981. Oil on canvas,
Chief Justice Joseph Weisberger, 1920-2012, spent 56 years in the Rhode Island Judiciary and at the time of his retirement, was Supreme Court Justice of Rhode Island. He previously served the state as a Presiding Justice of the Superior Court and as a Senator and Minority Leader. Chief Justice Weisberger was instrumental in establishing am
The late Roger Wheeler was State Recreational Supervisor and Director of Water Safety for more than 20 years. During World War II he designed a life jacket that became standard Air Force equipment and received an Army Commendation for invaluable developments of air-sea rescue procedures.
Kathleen Sullivan Connell was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the only daughter of Lawrence and Margaret Sullivan. She attended St. Mary’s School and St. Catherine Academy, graduated magna cum laude from Salve Regina University with a BS in Nursing, and then earned a master’s degree in International Relations from Salve. Kathleen has been connected with health care for most
Silas Talbot, 1751-1813, of Providence, was versatile and courageous military hero who distinguished himself as both an army colonel and as a highly successful naval captain and privateersman during the American Revolution. Later in life he served as a Congressman from New York and as a Commander of the frigate Constitution during the Quasi-war with
James Mitchell Varnum, 1748-1789, of Warwick was a distinguished Revolutionary War General, a founder of the Kentish Guards, and a prominent attorney who was an early expounder of the doctrine of judicial review. He died at age 41 in Marietta, Ohio while serving as one of the first judges in the Northwest Territory.
Alexander Dimartino, 1907-2001, served as Chairman of the Rhode Island Water Resources Board and President of the Narragansett Preservation and Improvement Association. He was responsible for the construction of many bridges over Route 95 and for the Washington Bridge. He actively engaged in Brown University alumni activities for many years, and was a native of
U.S. Minister and Congressman Jonathan Russell (February 27, 1771 – February 17, 1832) was born in Providence and graduated in 1791 from Brown University. After several years in the mercantile business, he was appointed by President James Madison as American diplomatic chargé d’affairs in Paris in 1811 and then the chargé in London, a position
Two-term governor of Rhode Island, Bruce Sundlun was a complex, forthright servant of the people. Federal prosecutor, B-17 bomber pilot, CEO of the Outlet Company, to name just a few of his many accomplishments, Governor Sundlun was the quintessential Renaissance man. Bruce Sundlun was born on January 19, 1920, the first child of Jan Zelda
Tristam Burges, 1770-1853, was chief justice, leading member of the bar, U.S. Congressman (1825-1835), leader of the Whig Party and professor of oratory at Brown University. After a distinguished career in law, politics, and education, Burges retired to his estate “Watchemoket Farm,” then in Seekonk, Massachusetts, but since 1862 within the bounds of East Providence.
Eileen Gillespie Slocum was born in Manhattan on December 21 1915, and during her ninety-two years of life left an indelible mark on Newport society and the world of Republican politics. Educated at Miss Hewitt’s Classes now the Hewitt School in New York City, Eileen became precise in vocabulary and diction. She made her debut at
William Healy Sullivan was an American foreign service career officer who held ambassadorships to Laos, the Philippines, and Iran as well as serving in numerous important advisory posts dealing with major foreign policy issues throughout his lengthy career. Born in Cranston, Rhode Island to Joseph and Sabina (nee Foley) Sullivan on October 12, 1922, Sullivan
Joe Walsh is a leader, a public servant, and a humanitarian with a thoughtful manner and a big heart. His passion for people, desire to serve his community, and popularity in his days in government led The Providence Sunday Journal Magazine to ask: “Doesn’t Anyone Out There Hate this Man”? (Sept. 9, 1979). The newspaper
Theodore Foster, 1752-1828, a lawyer and long-time state legislator, served as town clerk (1775-1787) and supported the movement for independence. He was a prominent advocate of the federal Constitution. His efforts in support of ratification, together with his advantageous marriage to the sister of Governor Arthur Fenner, gained him election as one of Rhode Island’s
William E. Powers was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island on December 18, 1907. He attended St. Patrick Parochial School, Perkins Institute for the Blind, and Boston University Law School. His blindness, the result of an accident at his home in 1927, did not deter him from active service to his state as Cumberland probate judge,
Kevin K. Coleman was born in Woonsocket to Louis and Mary (McDonnell) Coleman. Mr. Coleman devoted his career to serving the needs of Rhode Islanders. He had a long political career and was best known for being elected as Mayor of the City of Woonsocket for six terms between January 1953 and April 1963. Coleman’s political