Tag: Historians/Historical Accounts/Preservation

Catherine R. (Arnold) Williams

Catharine R. (Arnold) Williams (1790-1872) of Providence was one of Rhode Island’s major literary figures of the nineteenth century. She was the daughter of Alfred Arnold, a sea captain, and Amey Read. Her mother died when Catharine was a child, so the oft-absent father entrusted her education and upbringing to two of her aunts. Catharine

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Zachariah Allen

Zacharian Allen, 1795-1882, was a lawyer, inventor, and civic leader of the nineteenth century. One of his most notable inventions was the home hot-air furnace. He also originated the Providence Water Works and is credited with introducing the first vehicles to the Providence Fire Company. Allen was also instrumental in setting up the mutal fire

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William G. Angell

Angell, William Gorham, 1811-1870 William G. Angell (1811-1870) was a native of Providence and a descendant of Thomas Angell, one of Providence’s first settlers. Despite his lineage, William’s family was one of modest means. He acquired only a basic common school education and took up his father’s trade as a carpenter. However, Angell possessed what

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James Burrill Angell

James Burrill Angell had a remarkably diverse career– Brown University graduate, professor of languages, newspaper editor, university president, and diplomat. He is best known as the longest-serving president of the University of Michigan where he aspired to provide an ‘uncommon education for the common man.’ Born on January 7, 1829, in Scituate, Rhode Island, Angell

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Samuel Greene Arnold

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

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James Newall Arnold

Arnold, James N. (James Newell), 1844-1927 James N. Arnold (1844-1927) whose contributions to the study of Rhode Island history are as fresh and useful today as they were when first transcribed, dealt in data  of family life: official town documents and records; newspaper accounts; birth, marriage, and death records in church archives; and history on

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Ben-Hur “Ben” Baddikian

Ben Bagdikian, a major American journalist, had long and significant ties to Rhode Island. As a young man he worked for the Pro^^’ide’nce Journal for 15 years from 1947 to 1962. As an “on-the-spot” reporter he rode on an Israeli tank during the Suez Crisis, covered the civil rights struggle including the Little Rock, Arkansas

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Dr. Robert D. Ballard

Best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic, Dr. Robert Ballard has succeeded in tracking down numerous other significant shipwrecks, including the Lusitania, the German battleship Bismarck, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier Yorktown (sunk in the World War II Battle of Midway), and John F. Kennedy’s boat, PT-109. While those

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Joseph Banigan

Joseph Banigan (1839-1898) and his parents were part of a wave of Irish Catholic refugees who fled the Potato Famine in Ireland. Arriving in Rhode Island in 1847, he attended school for one year before becoming a full-time worker at age nine. Over the next fifty years he employed the “pluck and luck” characteristics of

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Christiana Carteaux Bannister

Bannister, Christiana Carteaux, 1822-1903 Christiana Carteaux Bannister was born Christiana Babcock in Rhode Island’s South County sometime between 1820 and 1822. Details concerning her birth and background are obscure, but she appears to have been of mixed native American and African-American parentage and was undoubtedly descended from slaves that worked the plantations of South County

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Amos Chafee Barstow

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

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John Russell Bartlett

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

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Thomas Williams Bicknell

    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

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Major General George Newman Bliss

Bliss, George Newman, 1837-1928 George Newman Bliss was born in Tiverton, Rhode Island on July 22, 1837, the son of James and Sarah (Stafford) Bliss. He attended Brown University, secured a bachelor’s degree from Union College, and earned a law degree from Albany Law School in 1861. Enlisting in the Civil War as a private,

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Major General Zenas Randall Bliss

Major General Zenas Randall Bliss was born in the Johnston village of Simmonsville on April 17, 1835. He passed a comfortable youth in a middle class family until he won a direct appointment to the United States Military Academy in 1850, at the age of fifteen. At West Point Bliss graduated near the bottom of

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Governor Augustus Osborn Bourn

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

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Gladys Williams Brayton

The late Gladys Brayton was a direct descendant of Roger Williams and a lifelong resident of Rhode Island. She became one of the State’s most prominent historians, teachers, and authors. She was a former curator of Cranston Historical Society, and an honorary member of the Warwick Historical Society. She was also a member of the

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John Nicholas Brown

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.

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John Carter Brown

Born in 1797, the youngest of the three surviving children of Nicholas Brown II and Ann Carter, daughter of John Carter, the noted Providence printer, John Carter Brown was raised in a family tradition of public leadership and philanthropy. While at Brown University, he joined an undergraduate society to provide needy students with free books.

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Harold W. Browning

Harold W. Browning, 1893-1987, graduated from Rhode Island State College in 1914, and received his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. He was Director of Graduate Studies, Dean of Men, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Vice President, and Vice President Emeritus of the University at the University of Rhode Island. During his

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James C. Bucklin

Records say that architect James C. Bucklin was a native of Pawtucket, but in view of his family’s Rehoboth origins, the place of his birth on July 26, 1801, was probably on the east side of the Blackstone, an area not acquired by Rhode Island until 1862. His parents were James and Lorania (Pearce) Bucklin.

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Justice Walter Snow Burges

  Burges, Walter S. (Walter Snow), 1808-1892 Justice Walter Snow Burges (1808-1892) was a native of Rochester, Massachusetts.  His uncle, Congressman Tristam Burges, a former chief justice, oriented Walter toward Rhode Island and Brown University, where Tristam was a professor of oratory. Walter Burges graduated from Brown with honors in 1831, and then taught school

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Major General Ambrose Everett Burnside

Ambrose Everett Burnside was born in Liberty, Indiana on May 23, 1824, one of nine children of Irish and Scottish ancestry born to Edghill and Pamela (Brown) Burnside. His father had been a South Carolina slaveholder who moved to Indiana after freeing his slaves. Edghill Burnside became a legislator in his adopted state–a position that

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Edward Carrington

Edward Carrington was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on November 2, 1775, the son of physician Edward Carrington and the former Susan Whittlesey. His family moved to Providence after the Revolution, and here Edward embarked upon a career in maritime commerce. Carrington zealously embraced the commercial opportunity to engage in the exotic China and East

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Dr. Charles Carroll

    Carroll, Charles, 1876-1936 Dr. Charles Carroll, Rhode Island’s foremost historian of his era, was born in Providence to newspaper printer William Carroll and Mary (Sheehan) Carroll. He was educated in the Providence public schools and at Brown University where he excelled in mathematics, edited the Brown Daily Herald, captained the debate team, and served as

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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

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George Byron Champlin

George Byron Champlin (1851-1946) was born in Providence on September 11, 1851, just after his old-line family had left their farm in southern Rhode Island to pursue new opportunities in the state’s expanding capital city. George’s father, Stanton B. Champlin, opened a produce business on Pine Street in the Downtown, but soon his interest turned

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Dr. Walter Channing

Dr. Walter Channing (April 15, 1786 – July 27, 1876) was born in Newport, the younger brother of the Reverend William Ellery Channing. Like his brother he studied at Harvard and made his career in Boston, but as a noted physician and professor of medicine. After graduating from the medical school of the University of

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Reverend William Ellery Channing

Reverend William Ellery Channing (April 7, 1780 – October 2, 1842) was born in Newport, a grandson of William Ellery, a Rhode Island signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was also raised in Newport prior to graduating from Harvard in 1798. Thereafter he often visited Rhode Island, but he made his career in Boston

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Bowen R. Church

Bowen R. Church 1860-1923, founder of The American Band of Providence, one of the great symphonic brass bands of the late 19th century. Compared often with the U.S. Marine Band of John Philip Sousa, it was led by one of America’s foremost conductors, David Wallis Reeves. The band was accorded even more acclaim for its

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LeBaron Bradford Colt

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

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Samuel Pomeroy Colt

Samuel Pomeroy Colt, a brother of U.S. Senator LeBaron Colt, shared his sibling’s impressive lineage. Born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1852 as the youngest of six children, he received his early education in Hartford, graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1873, and from Columbia Law School in 1876. Samuel (or “Pom” as

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Dr. Patrick T. Conley

Dr. Patrick Thomas “Pat” Conley of Bristol is universally considered as Rhode Island’s most prolific historian and leading disseminator of historical of knowledge concerning the state’s heritage., earning distinction through his pursuit of several different careers as an educator, author, attorney, civic leader, government official, and real estate developer as well as historian. He has

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Dr. Manuel da Silva

Dr. Manuel da Silva was born on September 5, 1926 in the village of Caviâo, Vale de Cambra in continental Portugal. After completing high school in Portugal, he emigrated to Brooklyn, New York with his mother and brother in January, 1946 to join his father, who was an American citizen. Young Manuel studied the English language intensively, and in 1948

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Monsignor Charles Dauray

Dauray, Charles, 1838-1931 Monsignor Charles Dauray, regarded by his contemporaries as the Dean of Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Providence, was born in Marieveille, Quebec on March 15, 1838. At the age of thirty-two he was ordained a priest and assigned to teach at a local college. Dogged by ill-health and overwork, Dauray was

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Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis

Davis, Paulina W. (Paulina Wright), 1813-1876 Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis was born in Bloomfield, New York on August 7, 1813, the daughter of Captain Ebenezer Kellogg and Polly Saxon. After the death of both parents, Paulina was raised by a strict orthodox Presbyterian aunt. After a brief immersion with religion, Paulina married Francis Wright, a

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Congressman Thomas Davis

Davis, Thomas, 1806-1895 Thomas Davis was born in Dublin, Ireland on December 18, 1806, attended private schools in Ireland, and migrated to America in 1817, settling in Providence. Davis became a pioneer in Rhode Island’s jewelry industry and amassed sufficient wealth to enable him to finance a variety of political, civic, and reform endeavors. Davis

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Brigadier Gen. Herbert R. Dean

Herbert R. Dean, 1882-1941, spent most of his long life in the military including duty in the cavalry during World War I, service as Adjutant General of the Rhode Island National Guard under four governors, and Director of the Selective Service Board for Rhode Island at the beginning of World War II. He was also

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Judge Luigi DePasquale

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

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Reverend John Byron Diman

Diman, John Byron, 1863-1949 Reverend John Byron Diman was born in Brookline, Massachusetts to a prominent Rhode Island family of French-Huguenot origin, a branch of which settled in Bristol. The family’s surname has been spelled in several ways including “Diamont” and “Diamond”. John’s grandfather Byron was the Law and Order governor of Rhode Island in

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Kenneth R Dooley

Kenneth R. Dooley was born in Providence in 1931. He graduated from LaSalle Academy and Providence College (Class of 1959). He spent a career in publishing and film production with the media giant Prentice Hall in New Jersey as an executive vice president of the Bureau of Business Practice (1960-1977). He oversaw 600 employees and

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George T. Downing

George T. Downing, abolitionist, businessman, and civil rights advocate, was born in New York City on December 30, 1819 into a prominent, well-to-do African-American family. His father Thomas Downing was a restauranteur, whose Oyster House was a gathering place for New York’s aristocracy and politicians. Under his father’s guidance, young George participated in the Underground

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Antoinette F. Downing

Antoinette F. Downing, 1904-2001, was the preservationist who was Chairwoman of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission and the Providence Historic District Commission. Her tireless efforts on behalf of the buildings of Rhode Island have made her name synonymous with historic preservation in the state.

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Mayor Thomas A. Doyle

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

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Sarah Elizabeth Doyle

Doyle, Sarah Elizabeth, 1830-1922 Sarah Elizabeth Doyle (1830-1922) was a lifelong resident of Rhode Island who participated in the social reform ferment that engulfed the state during the Gilded Age. Despite the conservative political nature of local thinking, she successfully pioneered educational opportunities for women at the highest level. She entered Providence High School during

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Doris Duke

  Duke, Doris, 1912-1993 The late Doris Duke formerly of Newport, famed tobacco heiress who is one of Rhode Island’s greatest philanthropists. In 1968, she helped to launch the Newport Restoration Foundation to preserve that historic city’s 18th and early 19th century domestic architecture. Later, Ms. Duke made a major gift to the nature Conservancy to preserve

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Wilfred I. Duphiney

Wilfred I. Duphiney, 1884-1960, Rhode Island’s most prolific and most viewed portraitist of the Twentieth Century, was born in the mill village Central Falls in 1884. His public school education led to his enrollment in the Rhode Island School of Design where he eventually graduated to the faculty and taught at this prestigious art school

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Chief Justice Thomas Durfee

Durfee, Thomas, 1826-1901 Thomas Durfee was the eldest son of Job Durfee, who was chief justice of Rhode Island from 1828 to 1849, was marked from the outset for a career in law. His mother was Judith Borden, member of a prominent Fall River Family. Thomas completed his preparatory education at the East Greenwich Academy

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Amasa Eaton

  Eaton, Amasa M. (Amasa Mason), 1841-1914   Amasa Eaton  was a prominent Providence attorney who might be described as the quintessential Progressive reformer. His distinguished lineage included Providence’s Brown family and the Herreshoffs of Bristol.    He was an outspoken advocate of home rule for Providence and a member of the Metropolitan Park Commission, the

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Maud Howe Elliott

Elliott, Maud Howe, 1854-1948 Maud Howe Elliott lived a very long life and certainly made the most of it. She was born at the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston on November 9, 1854. Her father, Samuel Gridley Howe, a noted physician and social reformer, directed the institution, but most people became familiar with

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Alan Shawn Feinstein

Raising an Army to Fight Hunger Have you ever been really hungry? Not just “when’s dinner”? hungry but weak and in pain and desperate–not knowing when or how you could find food? On any given day, that’s the condition of millions of people in this count alone, and 20 years ago Alan Shawn Feinstein set

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Theodore Foster

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

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Governor Lucius F. C. Garvin M.D.

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

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Colonel Robert Hale Ives Goddard

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

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John Gorham

Gorham, John, 1820-1898 John Gorham was born in Providence on November 18, 1820. He was the eldest son of Jabez Gorham who had established himself as a leading manufacturer of silverware and jewelry in Providence in the 1830s. John began his apprenticeship in 1837 and in 1841, at the age of 21, he became a

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Charles E. Gorman

Gorman, Charles Edmund, 1844-1917 Charles E. Gorman was Rhode Island’s foremost constitutional reformer of the late 19th century. He was born in Boston in 1844 to an Irish immigrant father for whom he was named and a Yankee mother, Sarah Woodbury, who traced her Massachusetts ancestry to the Cape Ann colony of the early 1620s.

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Major General George Sears Greene

Greene, George Sears, 1801-1899 George Sears Greene, distinguished military leader and civil engineer, was born in Warwick’s central village of Apponaug on May 6, 1801, the son of Caleb Greene, a shipowner and relative of General Nathanael Greene and Sarah Robinson. The family’s military heritage influenced George to attend West Point where his great skill

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George Washington Greene

  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

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Dr. Ramon Guiteras

Guiteras, Ramon, 1858-1917 Certainly the most prominent person of Latin American heritage at the turn of the 20th century was Ramon Guiteras, a native of Bristol. He was the son of a prominent Cuban banker with financial ties to Bristol’s DeWolf family. Because the DeWolf’s maintained substantial investments in Cuba, family connections followed those of

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Rudolph Frederick Haffenreffer Jr.

 Haffenreffer, Rudolph Frederick, 1874-1954 Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer, Jr. (1874-1954), a native of Boston and a first generation German-American, became a successful Fall River brewer and purchased several hundred acres in Bristol from 1903 to 1912 for use as a summer retreat. His acquisitions included Mount Hope and the Bradford House.  After completing his basic education

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John Milton Hay

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

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Rowland Gibson Hazard

Rowland Gibson Hazard was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island on October 9, 1801, the fourth of nine children of Rowland Hazard and Mary Peace of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1819, with his brother Isaac, he assumed control of his father’s small woolen mill in the village of Peace Dale, which had been named for

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Julia Ward Howe

Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910 Julia Ward Howe, born in New York City on May 27, 1819, had deep Rhode Island roots. Two of her ancestors–Richard Ward and Samuel Ward–were prominent colonial governors of Rhode Island and her grandfather Samuel Ward commanded the Black Regiment in the Battle of Rhode Island. Her father, Samuel Jr. was

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Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe

Mark Antony Dewolfe Howe, 1864-1960, was born on August 23, 1864 into one of Bristol’s leading families. Mark was his father’s seventeenth of eighteen children by three wives. After his prolific father and namesake became Episcopal bishop of central Pennsylvania, Mark enrolled at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where his father was chairman of the

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Judge David Howell

Howell, David, 1747-1824 David Howell had a distinguished legal and academic career that extended from the Confederation Era through the Early National Period. He was born in Morristown, New Jersey, on January 1, 1747, the son of Aaron and Sarah Howell. He received his early education at Hopewell Academy in Hopewell, New Jersey, a Baptist

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John Howland

John Howland, 1757-1854,a public-spirited businessman who began his career as an apprentice hairdresser, is often cited as the father of the Providence public school system. In 1799, the Newport-born civic leader organized an educational lobby which induced the General Assembly to pass a “free school act” on March 13, 1800. Pursuant to that act, Howland

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Dr. John Franklin Jameson

Jameson, J. Franklin (John Franklin), 1859-1937 J. Franklin Jameson (1859-1937) was a history professor at Brown University from 1888 to 1901, a vice president of the Rhode Island Historical Society, first secretary of the American Historical Association and long-time editor of its journal, The American Historical Review, Director of Historical Research at the Carnegie Institution

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Congressman Thomas Allen Jenckes

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

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Gertrude I. Johnson

Gertrude I. Johnson, 1876-1961, and Mary Tiffany Wales, 1874-1952, founding mothers of Johnson & Wales University. Mary Tiffany Wales was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1874 and graduated from the Pennsylvania State Normal School at Millersville in 1893. Following graduation, Mary taught school, first in Pennsylvania and later in Massachusetts. In 1911 she moved to

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Dr. John William Keefe

Dr. John William Keefe (1863-1935) was a surgeon of great skill and compassion who founded the John W. Keefe Surgery at 262 Blackstone Boulevard in Providence. Although a successful physician in both private practice and as a consulting surgeon at several hospitals, it was his dream to build and operate a small institution where the

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Dr. William W. Keen

Keen, William W. (William Williams), 1837-1932 Dr. William W. Keen (1837-1932) of Swedish and Dutch extraction, was a man of stern principles and unwavering convictions and a diligent worker in the Calvinist tradition. He was born on the last day of Andrew Jackson’s tenure as president; and he died in the waning months of Herbert

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Leona McElroy Kelly

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

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U.S. Rep. Ambrose Kennedy

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

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Charles Bird King

King, Charles Bird, 1785-1862 Charles Bird King (September 26, 1785 – March 18, 1862) was born in Newport, the only child of Deborah Bird and Revolutionary War veteran Captain Zebulon King, who moved the family to Ohio in 1789 and was killed there by Indians. When Charles King was fifteen, he went to New York

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Dr. Maury Klein

  Professor Maury Klein, a resident of Saunderstown, has published sixteen major books in a legendary forty-four year career at the University of Rhode Island. His works, almost all national in scope, examined the industrialization of America and the Captains of Industry who spearheaded that technological revolution. Among his output are several publications that dissect the

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Albert T. Klyberg

Albert T. Klyberg, a native of New Jersey, came to Rhode Island in 1968 after completing his doctoral courses at the University of Michigan. His purpose was to assume the directorship of the staid Rhode Island Historical Society–a position he held with distinction for three decades. Upon arrival Al immediately recognized a deficit in the

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Idawally “Ida” Lewis

Lewis, Ida, 1842-1911 Idawalley “Ida” Lewis  is considered the most famous person ever to serve in the U.S. Lighthouse Service, an agency that evolved into the U. S. Coast Guard.  She was born in Newport on February 25, 1842.  When she was eleven years old, her father Hosea was appointed keeper of the Lime Rock

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James Sullivan Lincoln

Lincoln, James Sullivan, 1811-1888 James Sullivan Lincoln was Rhode Island’s premier artist of the mid-nineteenth century and has been acclaimed by his peers as “Father of Rhode Island Art.” The Massachusetts-born Lincoln was orphaned in his teens and left his Bay State farm to become an apprentice to a firm of Providence engravers and then

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Charles I. D. Looff

Charles I.D. Looff (1852-1918) is considered the first of the great American carousel builders having created 17 of them during his long career–some of which was spent living and working in Riverside, Rhode Island. Charles I.D. Looff was born in the Danish province of Schleswig-Holstein in 1870, but by age 18 he was living in

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Robert B. Lynch

Bob "Chief" Lynch was known for his volunteer contributions to the preservation and promotion of Rhode Island’s heritage over the last four decades.  Lynch graduated from Cranston High School and Brown University (Class of 1944). He was a Navy veteran of World War II. He served  on the Harry F. Bauer in the Pacific, and participated

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Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan

Mahan, A. T. (Alfred Thayer), 1840-1914 Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), the best known and most influential naval officer of the late 19th century, ironically was born at West Point, the son of Dennis Hart Mahan, a professor of military engineering and dean of faculty at the U.S. Military Academy. Admiral Mahan was a

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Captain Albert Martin

Martin, Albert, 1808-1836 Captain Albert Martin (January 6, 1808 – March 6, 1836) was born in Providence, the son of prominent merchant Joseph S. Martin and his wife Abby. He received a good education, including a short stay at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point). His father’s economic reverses prompted Albert, his brother, and their parents to start

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George Champlin Mason Sr.

Mason, George C. (George Champlin), 1820-1894 George Champlin Mason, Sr. was a noted Newport architect, real estate developer, editor of the Newport Mercury, prolific historian of Newport, and a founder of the Newport Historical Society. Among his significant architectural designs are Chepstow, the 1860-61 Italianate villa just off Bellevue Avenue, Newpor; Eisenhower House, at 1

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Mayor Patrick J. McCarthy

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

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Dr. Robert J. McKenna

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

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Alexander Meiklejohn

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

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William Dewitt Metz Dr

William DeWitt Metz was born in Buffalo, New York on June 13, 1914 to William J. and Minerva (Lamphear) Metz and was raised in the village of Perry, New York, about 50 miles east of Buffalo. Metz prepared for college at Dexter High School in Maine and graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in

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Dr. D. Scott Molloy Jr.

Scott was born on August 17, 1946 into an Irish-Catholic, blue-collar family from the Reservoir Triangle neighborhood of Providence that had close ties to organized labor. His working-class background and his Irish ethnicity exerted profound influences upon his career and his achievements. Scott eventually became a labor leader and Rhode Island’s foremost labor historian as

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Clement Clarke Moore

Moore, Clement Clarke, 1779-1863 Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) was a long-time summer resident of Newport who wrote America’s best known poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Moore was born in New York City, the son of Benjamin Moore, a clergyman. Although Clement prepared to follow in his father’s footsteps, he was never ordained, preferring instead

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William T. Nicholson

Nicholson, William Thomas, 1834-1893 William T. Nicholson was the founder of the Nicholson File Company of Providence, the originator of machine-made files in America, the largest company of its kind in the world, and one of Providence’s “five industrial wonders” of the nineteenth century. Nicholson was born on March 22, 1834 in the village of

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Leonard J Pannaggio

Leonard J. Panaggio of Newport was one of Rhode Islands all-time leaders in the promotion of tourism to the Ocean State. Few, if any, before or since, have done as much to promote Rhode Island, and especially Newport, as a tourist destination. Len worked so diligently in the tourism field not only because of his

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Dr. Usher Parsons

  Parsons, Usher, 1788-1868 Dr. Usher Parsons of Providence was Rhode Island’s foremost physician of the early 19th century. Born in Alfred, Maine, the youngest of nine children, Parsons had little formal schooling, but began the study of medicine as an apprentice to physicians in Alfred and Boston. Parsons was licensed to practice by the Massachusetts Medical

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Sam Patch

Patch, Sam, 1807-1829 Sam Patch was born in North Reading, Massachusetts, one of six children produced by the stormy union of Samuel Greenleaf Patch and Abigail McIntire Patch. Following several family moves to northeastern Massachusetts towns, the Patches arrived in the mill village of Pawtucket at the falls of the Blackstone in 1807. Shortly after

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James T. Patterson

James T. Patterson is one of the most distinguished historians of modern America. He was born in 1935 and attended the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, graduating in 1952. Following a year at Christ’s Hospital School in England, he attended Williams College where he majored in history, graduating in 1957. He spent six months of active

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Annie Smith Peck

Peck, Annie S. (Annie Smith), 1850-1935 Annie Smith Peck was born on October 19, 1850 in a two story house at 865 North Main Street in Providence. She lived with her parents and three brothers in a home that her grandfather had built. Her mother traced the family’s roots to Roger Williams the founder of

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John Red Pollard

John “Red” Pollard, 1909-1981: Although he was the grandson of Irish immigrants, John “Red” Pollard was born into affluence. Unfortunately a flood in 1915 devastated the family business–a brickyard–and left the six-year old impoverished. As a teenager, he decided to become a professional jockey. Though considered too tall at a “towering” 5 feet, 6 inches,

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Congressman Elisha Reynolds Potter Jr.

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

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Dr. Isaac Ray

>Dr. Isaac Ray (1807-1881) is one of the fathers of American psychiatry. A native of Beverly, Massachusetts, Ray graduated from Phillips-Andover Academy and attended Bowdoin College in Maine, but left prior to graduation. Returning to Beverly, Ray served a medical apprenticeship to a local doctor, then enrolled at Harvard Medical School, and eventually concluded his studies at

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Elisha Hunt Rhodes

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

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Sidney S. Rider

Sidney S. Rider (1833-1917) was born in Brainard’s Bridge, Nassau County, New York in 1833 and died in Providence in 1917. He attended schools in New York and Pomfret, Connecticut. Coming to Providence as a boy, he went into the book business, eventually taking over the store of Charles Burnett. After the Civil War, Rider

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Abigail Aldrich Rockefeller

Abigail Aldrich Rockefeller, 1874-1948, was the daughter of U.S. Sen. Nelson Aldrich, patron of the arts, and advocate for women’s rights. She worked with her husband, John D. Rockefeller Jr., in restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. Through her marriage to financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., she was a prominent member of the Rockefeller family

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Brigadier General Isaac Peace Rodman

Isaac Peace Rodman was born in South Kingstown on August 18, 1822 to Samuel Rodman, a woolen manufacturer, and Mary (Peckham) Rodman. His ancestors included members of South Kingstown’s most prominent clans–the Hazards and the Perrys. After attending local public schools Isaac entered his father’s business, but his love of learning and avid reading habits

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Johnathan Russell

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

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Walter K. Schroder

Although he was born in Pawtucket, Walter Schroder, the son of German immigrants, spent his early years in Germany where he was drafted in 1944 at age fifteen to serve with an antiaircraft battery. Captured by the British in 1945, he served as a P.O.W. interpreter. Following his release, he enlisted in the U.S. Army

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Walter Scott

The steps leading to the invention of an American cultural original, the diner eatery, began in Providence through the initiative of Walter Scott. He was born on November 28, 1841 in Cumberland, the son of lawyer Joseph A. Scott and Juliet Howland Scott. By age eleven Scott was peddling candy, fruit, and newspapers on the streets of

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George L. Sisson

Born in Portsmouth, R.I. 1919, Resident of Bristol since 1963 Fall River Public Schools, Durfee High, 1938 William & Mary College, A.B., 1942 U.S. Navy, 1942-1946 Radio Station WALE, Fall River,1947-1963 – Founder/Owner WTEV-Channel 6, 1963-65 – Public Affairs/Marketing Westerly Cable Television, 1965 – Owner – Rhode Island’s first cable TV system President, Fall River/New

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Dr. Edwin M. Snow

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

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Bishop William Stang

William Stang (1854-1907) was born in Langenbucken, Germany, studied for the Catholic priesthood at Louvain in Belgium, and was ordained in June 1878. Little else is known of his early life. Irish-born bishop Thomas F. Hendricken (whose surname indicates his German ancestor) sought a German-speaking priest for the small but growing German community in the

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Chief Justice William Read Staples

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

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Rev. Ezra Stiles

Reverend Ezra Stiles, 1727-1795, of Newport was a Congregational clergyman, scholar, diarist, author, civic leader and president of Yale University from 1778-1795. Stiles was one of the foremost intellectuals of colonial Rhode Island. During his tenure in Newport (1755-1776), he served as librarian of Redwood Library, pastor of the Second Congregational Church, and a spokesman

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Chief Justice John Henry Stiness

John Henry Stiness (1840-1913) was born to a family with strong New England civic and military roots.  His great grandfather, Samuel, served in Colonel John Glover’s famous maritime regiment during the American Revolution, and his grandfather was sailing master aboard the schooner Growler on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. In August, 1861, after

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Theodore Barrows Stowell

Theodore Barrows Stowell (1847-1916), a prominent Rhode Island educator, served as president of Bryant & Stratton Commercial College (now Bryant University) for nearly four decades. A native of Connecticut and descended from one of New England’s earliest settlers, Stowell was drawn to the profession of teaching, and upon graduation from the Connecticut State Normal School,

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George R. “Birdie” Tebbets

George R. “Birdie” Tebbetts, 1912″1999: Raised in New Hampshire, “Birdie” Tebbetts was a precocious, intelligent, and athletic youngster who served as the team mascot for the “Nashua Millionaires,” an independent semi-professional team owned by the future New Hampshire Governor, Francis Parnell Murphy. Murphy encouraged young Tebbetts to aim high. Tebbetts did just that, becoming an

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Thomas Alexander Tefft

Thomas Alexander Tefft (1826-1859) was a major nineteenth century American architect. He was born in Richmond, Rhode Island in humble surroundings. The names of his parents are unknown, and details of his early years are obscure. Yet he is probably the town of Richmond’s most famous native son. His talent for drawing was discovered by

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Lucy Rawlings Tootell

For nearly a century of public life, Lucy R. Tootell was a force of energy promoting heritage education, celebrating the “South County mystique,” and preserving the architecture and memory of the past. Born in Jacksonville, Illinois on November 27, 1911, Lucy moved to South Kingstown, Rhode Island, with her family in 1913 before she was

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William Tripp

William Tripp (1824-91) of Little Compton was the man most responsible for the development of a breed of hens known as “the Rhode Island Red,” a fowl that has been designated the state bird. Tripp operated a farm on Long Highway in Little Compton where he conducted breeding experiments with various kinds of poultry in

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Wilkins Updike

Wilkins Updike (1784-1867), a member of the noted Cocumscussoc family of North Kingstown, was the youngest of eleven children of Lodowick and Abigail Updike and himself the father of twelve. Wilkins moved to the village of Kingston as a young man after the Updikes lost Cocumscussoc through business reverses, and for many years he represented South Kingstown

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Reverend Mahlon Van Horne

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

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Harold Stirling Vanderbilt

Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, 1884-1970, great-grandson of shipping and railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. He was a railroad executive, America’s Cup yachtsman with three Cup defenses, commodore of the New York Yacht Club, and originator of contract bridge. The third child and second son of William Kissam Vanderbilt and Alva Erskine Smith and great-grandson of the shipping

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William Michael Vareika

Historian and philan- thropist, William Vareika exemplifies the art of giving. Raised in Brockton, Massachusetts, Vareika had every intention of becoming a lawyer. In the Fall of 1971, the political science major took a class in 19th-century art mainly to fulfill a school requirement. One day, he slipped into Bostons Trinity Church to reject on

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Mary T. Wales

Gertrude I. Johnson, 1876-1961, and Mary Tiffany Wales, 1874-1952, founding mothers of Johnson & Wales University. Mary Tiffany Wales was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1874 and graduated from the Pennsylvania State Normal School at Millersville in 1893. Following graduation, Mary taught school, first in Pennsylvania and later in Massachusetts. In 1911 she moved to

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Richard J Walton

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,

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John Montgomery Ward

John Montgomery “Monte” Ward, 1860-1925, a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame, was a native of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania who attended Pennsylvania State College before embarking upon a career as a professional ballplayer. He reached the major leagues in 1878 as a pitcher for the Providence Grays of the National League, just two years after the

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Lester Frank Ward

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

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Mother Mary Frances Xavier Warde

Mother Mary Frances Xavier Warde, 1840-1884, was the American founder of the Sisters of Mercy (R.S.M.). Born in Ireland to fairly prosperous parents, she was orphaned in her teens. At age sixteen she moved to Dublin where she met Catherine McAuley, a social service worker, who established the Sisters of Mercy in 1831 to provide for the

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Simon Willard Wardwell

Simon Wardwell, 1849-1921, was a 19th-century visionary industrialist, patenting numerous machines for improving the manufacture of textiles and clothing items. The manufacture of textile machines in the Blackstone Valley was a crowded field, not for the faint of heart; it was like making cars in Detroit or steel in Pittsburgh. However, for Simon Willard Wardwell,

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Katherine U. Warren

Katherine U. Warren, 1897-1976, was the founder of the Preservation Society of Newport County and served as president for over 20 years. Her leadership resulted in the acquisition of “The Breakers” and six other mansions for the Preservation Society. She received the French Legion d’Honneur for the Washington-Lafayette celebration held in Newport.

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Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse

Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, March 4, 1754 – October 2, 1846, was born in Newport to Timothy Waterhouse, a chair maker, and his wife Hannah.  At age twenty-one he left Newport to study medicine in Europe. After his return to the United States in 1782, he joined the faculty of the new Harvard Medical School as one of

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Reverend Francis Wayland

Reverend Francis Wayland, 1796-1856, was a prominent Baptist minister, the president of Brown University (1826-1855), pastor of Providence’s First Baptist Church, and an influential moral philosopher.  Wayland, the son and namesake of a Baptist minister, was born in New York City and graduated from Union College. Then, after two years of medical study, he attended Andover

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Henry Wheaton

Henry Wheaton, 1785-1848 , persevered, despite Rhode Island’s disapproval of the War of 1812, to be one of Rhode Island’s most persuasive legal defenders during that time. He stands alongside the foremost naval hero of the War of 1812, Oliver Hazard Perry, and Rhode Island’s most successful privateer, James D’Wolf. This jurist, diplomat, and expounder

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Mary C. Wheeler

Mary Colman Wheeler (1846-1920) the founder of Providence’s Wheeler School, was born on the family farm in Concord, Massachusetts, May 15, 1846. The Wheeler family, direct descendants of one of the first families of Massachusetts, was friends and neighbors of the Transcendentalists and literary leaders of their times; the Alcotts, Thoreaus, Hawthornes, Peabodys and Emersons.

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Frances H. Whipple Green McDougall

Frances Whipple Green McDougall (1805-1878)was one of Rhode Island’s most significant mid-nineteenth century writers and reformers. She was born in Smithfield where she spent her childhood in modest circumstances despite her membership in two of Rhode Island’s pioneering families. Frances began her writing career by publishing her poems in local newspapers and by editing, in

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Stanford White

Stanford White (1853-1906) found in Rhode Island the perfect social and natural setting for his artistic talents. In Stanford White, Rhode Island found the architectural genius that perfectly captured the spirit of its “Gilded Age”. While one without the other would have been noteworthy, the combination truly exemplified one of the greatest epochs in American

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Sarah Helen Whitman

Sarah Helen Whitman, 1803-1878, was born Sarah Helen Power. Her father was a prosperous Providence merchant. As a child, Sarah lived with an aunt in Jamaica, Long Island while she attended a Quaker school there. On returning to Providence she was placed in a private school where she learned to read French, German, and Italian

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Catherine R. (Arnold) Williams

Catharine Read (Arnold) Williams (1790-1872) of Providence was one of Rhode Island’s major literary figures of the nineteenth century. She was the daughter of Alfred Arnold, a sea captain, and Amey Read. Her mother died when Catherine was a child, so the oft-absent father entrusted her education and upbringing to two of her aunts. Catharine

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Alfred Mason Williams

Alfred Mason Williams (1840-1896), was born in Taunton, Massachusetts in 1840 and entered Brown University in 1856. Trouble with eyesight made him drop out after a couple of semesters. His eyesight did not keep him from volunteering in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment. He sent Civil War reports to his hometown paper and to Horace Greeley’s

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Frederick C. Williamson Sr.

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

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Dr. Gordon S. Wood

Gordon S. Wood of Providence is the Pulitzer Prize-winning Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University. As historian and scholar of international renown, he taught for 31 years and is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost historians of the American founding and has held numerous fellowships and has

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Dr. Carl R. Woodward

Born in Tennent, Monmouth County, New Jersey on July 20, 1890, Carl Raymond Woodward graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science in 1914 and a Master of Arts in 1919. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1926 in agricultural economics, rural education, and rural sociology, and served in various capacities at

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