Tag: Government & Politics

Reverend John Callender

The Reverend John Callender (1706-1748) became the first historian of Rhode Island in 1738 when he wrote a work to commemorate the colony’s centennial. Not surprisingly, he viewed his topic through a religious prism; surprisingly, he thought the arrival of William Coddington, Anne Hutchinson, Dr. John Clarke, and other Aquidneck settlers in 1638 truly launched

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Major General James Mitchell Varnum

James Mitchell Varnum (1748-1789), lawyer, Revolutionary War general, and judge, was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, the eldest son of affluent farmer Major Samuel Varnum and his second wife, Hannah Mitchell. He attended Harvard for a year, but his involvement in a student protest prompted him to enroll at Rhode Island College (Brown), where he earned

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Wilkins Updike

Wilkins Updike, a member of the noted Updike family of North Kingstown, was the youngest of eleven children of Lodowick and Abigail Updike, and he was the father of twelve. He was born on January 8, 1784, to a paternal line originating in Prussia and including Richard Smith, the first white settler in the Narragansett

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Catherine R. (Arnold) Williams

In early nineteenth-century Rhode Island, a woman’s role was sharply circumscribed by tradition. A woman—even one of high social station—was thought of mainly as a wife and a mother. Those who ventured beyond the home (religious nuns excepted) might find work from the 1830s onward as a teacher in a primary school, as a school

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John Russell Bartlett

The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame has developed a tradition of listing its inductees by the title of their highest public office or by the title “Dr.” if they have earned that distinction in their chosen field of endeavor. John Russell Bartlett’s title, though prestigious, only begins to embrace his many notable achievements. Clearly,

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Henry Barnard

Henry Barnard was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on January 24, 1811, the son of Betsy Andrews and Chauncey Barnard, a sea captain and farmer. He graduated from Yale in 1830, taught school for a year in Pennsylvania and then returned to Connecticut to study law. Although he gained admission to the bar in 1834, he

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Owen Wister

There is some irony in the character creation of the quintessential cowboy hero in the fictional literature of the American West. The John Wayne image of the strong, silent, chivalrous Western hero was created by a Harvard graduate who once wrote operas and poetry. Novelist, playwright, screenwriter, composer, and poet Owen Wister was born in

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Joseph Samuels

To those who grew up in Rhode Island, the Outlet Department Store was as familiar and as dominant in the downtown area as were such familiar establishments as the Albee Theater, Gibson’s, the Boston Store, Gladdings, Shepard’s, and Tilden-Thurber. When Joseph and Leon Samuels opened a small store on Westminster Street in 1894, every possible

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Moses Brown

Moses Brown (1738-1836), a prominent Providence merchant, reformer, and philanthropist, was one of the five Brown brothers, a group that included John, Joseph, Nicholas, and James, the eldest, a twenty-six-year-old ship captain when he died at sea in 1751. They were the children of Captain James Brown and Hope Power, the great-granddaughter of Nicholas Power,

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Congressman Jonathan Hazard

Jonathan Hazard (1744-1825) was born to a Newport Quaker family in 1744. As a young man, he moved to rural Charlestown, became a small farmer, and worked as an itinerant tailor. He was passionately involved in the independence movement. During the Revolution, he served for a time as the paymaster of the Rhode Island regiment

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