WILLIAM P. WHITMAN, president and treasurer of the well-known shoe manufacturing concern of the Whitman & Keith Company, of Brockton, and one of that city’s successful and progressive business men, as was his father before him, is a descendant of distinguished and historic New England ancestry. Mr. Whitman is a direct descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, of the “Mayflower,” 1620; of Rev. James Keith, the first ordained minister of Bridgewater; and of John Whitman, who settled in Weymouth, Mass., as early as 1638, from whom descended many persons eminent in professional life and otherwise, among them Dr. Marcus Whitman, who saved the vast territory of Oregon to the United States; Hon. Ezekiel Whitman, for many years chief justice of the Superior and Supreme courts of the State of Maine; and Hon. William E. Russell, twice governor of Massachusetts.
For an hundred years and more the Swift family in and about New Bedford has been one of prominence, wealthy and influential not only in their several local communities but out through the Commonwealth and into the nation, where their extensive enterprises have extended. These Acushnet-New Bedford Swifts, a branch of the Cape Cod family, brought to their new field of effort that activity, industry, ability and honesty that had for generations characterized their forefathers and also the line of business that had enriched earlier generations in the old home section – the dealing in live oak timber and its manufacture into water craft, in shipbuilding for not only the United States government, but for those across the water. Reference is here made especially to some of the sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of William Swift, of the town of Falmouth, this Commonwealth, among whose sons were Hon. Elijah, Thomas, William, John and Reuben E.; and among the sons of the latter Rodolphus Nye and William Cole Nye Swift, who with their sons together and in turn figured most prominently in and about New Bedford and abroad, as intimated; and some of their sons are yet active here and in the Massachusetts metropolis.
The Washburn name in this country is a distinguished one. Perhaps it is as yet only a tradition that John Washburn, the ancestor of the Washburns here considered, was he who first served as secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Several governors of our States have borne the Washburn name and at one and the same time four of the name occupied seats in the United States Congress. And the branch of the Massachusetts Washburns seated in Middleboro and vicinity have borne no small part in the annals of the Old Colony and later Commonwealth. Capt. Amos Washburn was in command of a company in the American Revolution; one of his sons, a graduate of Harvard, was a talented lawyer at Middleboro; Edward Washburn, brother of Capt. Amos, was another patriot in the Continental army; and his son, Gen. Abiel Washburn, was one of the leading men of his time in Middleboro, the acknowledged leader of the Federal party, and for thirty-six years held commissions through the different grades of office in the State militia; while Luther, Cyrus and the late Bradford Sumner Washburn, in turn, were substantial citizens of the town, and the latter’s son, Judge Nathan Washburn, lawyer and present Justice of the Courts of Plymouth county, is giving a good account of himself.