CHACE (Fall River family). In and about Fall River for generations the Chace (earlier generations using the orthography Chase) family has been conspicuous in the affairs of that section and especially for a century past in its industrial life. In the particular line of Joseph Chase, who settled in Swansea, the family becoming a Swansea-Somerset one, such names as Oliver, Harvey, James H., Hon. Jonathan and George Albert Chace – the latter of whom planned and built a number of the large cotton mills of Fall River, was long treasurer and manager of the Bourne Mill, in Tiverton, R. I., and as well was a most active and useful citizen of Fall River – will long endure in the annals of this great industrial section. There follows from the first American ancestor of the Chaces named to the present in chronological order the genealogy and family history of the children of the late George Albert Chace of Fall River.
William Chase, born about 1595, in England, with wife Mary and son William came to America in the fleet with Governor Winthrop and his colony in 1630, settling first at Roxbury. He soon became a member of the church of which Rev. John Eliot, the “apostle to the Indians,” was pastor. On Oct. 19, 1630, he applied for freemanship and was admitted a freeman May 14, 1634. In 1637 or there-about he became one of the company who made a new settlement at Yarmouth, of which town he was made constable in 1639. He resided at Yarmouth the rest of his life, dying in May, 1659. His widow died the following October. Their children were:
- William, born about 1622 in England
- Mary, born in May, 1637, in Roxbury
- Benjamin, born in 1639 in Yarmouth
William Chase (2), son of William and Mary, born about 1622 in England, came to America with his parents, married, and was a resident of Yarmouth. He died Feb. 27, 1685. His children were:
Joseph Chase, son of William (2), became a resident of Swansea, Mass. He married Feb. 28, 1694, Sarah, daughter of Sampson and Isabel (Tripp) Shearman. His will was proved Jan. 19, 1725. His children were:
- Abigail, born July 6, 1695
- Lydia, Oct. 18, 1696
- Job, Jan. 21, 1698
- Alice, Nov. 16, 1700
- Ruth, April 15, 1702
- Sampson, April 1, 1704
- Isabel, Oct. 6, 1705
- Joseph, July 11, 1707
- Stephen, May 2, 1709
George Chase, son of Joseph and Sarah (Shearman) Chase, married (first) 8th of 2d month, 1737, Lydia Shove and (second) Sarah Cornell. His children were:
- George, married Sept. 2, 1759, Elizabeth Gibbs Weaver
- Edward married 17th of 4th month, 1766, Mrs. Joanna Maxwell, a widow
- Benjamin is mentioned below
- Micajah married Sept. 9, 1779, Hannah Shove
- Paul married Mary Kelly
- Sarah married George Bowen
- Huldah married 26th of 3d month, 1779, Nathaniel Shove
Benjamin Chase, son of George, married (first) 12th of 12th month, 1770, Rhode Upton and (second) 11th of 8th month, 1777, Sarah Cornell. His children were:
- Enos, born 14th of 8th month, 1771, married Catherine Palmer
- Edward married Patty Chase
- Benjamin, born in 1773, married Betsey Strange
- Theophilus, born in 1777, married Ruth Shove
- Elkanah, born in 1778, died unmarried
- Richard, born in 1781, married Sarah Brown
- Palmer, born 20th of 9th month, 1783, married Mehetabel Briggs, (second) Sarah Chase and (third) Lydia Skinner (Lincoln)
- Miller, born 2d of 2d month, 1786, married Mary-Chase
- Rhoda married John Earle
- Robert was born 27th of 4th month, 1790
- Sarah, born in 1792, married Sanford Chaffee
Robert Chase (or Chace), son of Benjamin and Sarah, born 27th of 4th month, 1790, married (first) Dec. 3, 1812, Deborah, daughter of Antipas Chace, and (second) Ann Gardner. His children, all by the first union, were:
- Isaac, born Nov. 22, 1813, who married Betheny C. Brown
- Albert G., born Sept. 3, 1815, mentioned below
- Baylies, born Oct. 10, 1823, who died in 1845
- Robert W., born Oct. 15, 1828, who died in 1857
- Richard, born Sept. 7, 1831, who died in 1858
- Daniel, born May 31, 1835
Albert Gordon Chace, son of Robert and Deborah (Chace) Chace, born Sept. 3, 1815, was a ship carpenter and resided in Somerset. He married Feb. 9, 1842, Sarah Shearman Purinton, and their child was George Albert, born Sept. 16, 1844. Mr. Chace died Dec. 21, 1883, his wife April 23, 1891.
George Albert Chace, son of Albert Gordon and Sarah Shearman (Purinton) Chace, was born in Somerset, Mass., Sept. 16, 1844. He passed his boyhood in Somerset and was educated in the common schools of that town. At the age of seventeen he enlisted in the 2d Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, commanded by Col. Silas P. Richmond, of Freetown. He joined the command of General Foster in North Carolina, went through the campaign and was mustered out in July, 1863. Returning from the war Mr. Chace entered in May, 1864, the office of Charles O. Shove, the proprietor and first treasurer of the Granite Mills, and acquired a thorough understanding of the cotton manufacturing business then conducted in Fall River. In 1874 he was elected treasurer and manager of the Shove Mills and he built and equipped Shove Mill No. 1, under the direction and plans of Mr. Shove, and in 1880 planned, built and equipped Shove Mill No. 2. These two mills contained about 60,000 spindles and about 1,500 looms. In 1881 Mr. Chace was elected treasurer and manager of the Bourne Mills in North Tiverton and remained as such until his death. He planned, built and equipped these mills, with about 43,000 spindles and 1,260 looms. In 1889 he introduced a system of profit sharing by which the operatives, – in proportion to their wages, shared with the owners in the profits of the Bourne Mills. Meantime, in 1884, Mr. Chace resigned the management of the Shove Mills, but remained as director and one of the large stockholders. He was for ten years a director of the Massasoit National Bank, re-signing in 1892.
Mr. Chace’s activity as a practical advocate of the profit sharing plan brought him much prominence and attracted much attention in the ranks of both capital and labor. The fact that he had the courage of his convictions to such an extent that he was willing to make an experiment of this kind made him and his plans the object of their earnest consideration. He was a member of the Association for Promoting Profit Sharing, and as such made an address, on Feb. 10, 1903, before the Economic Club of Boston which aroused much interest among students of labor problems. In view of the remarkable success which attended the plan he had put into execution at his own mills in Fall River his remarks were received with special favor and attention. Under the headings “Problems and Progress,” “Legislation and Invention,” “Increase of Energy,” “Standard of Living,” “Industrial Remuneration,” “Profit Sharing,” “Fourteen Years of Profit Sharing,” “The Plan Explained,” “Dividends,” “Employers’ Standpoint,” “Profit Sharing Profitable,” “Motive,” he discussed the subject exhaustively, setting forth the principal features of profit sharing or cooperative industry in such a learned and masterly manner as to show that he had studied the question in all its phases and with results’ of the highest practical value. The address was published in full in the “Lend A Hand Record,” edited by Edward Everett Hale and William M. F. Round.
Mr. Chace was a projector of the Fall River Boys’ Club, and the president of the corporation. He was at one time a vice president of the Y. M. C. A. He was one of the leading members of the First Christian Church and had served as one of its deacons for several years, and was during his last twelve years the superintendent of its Sunday school. In his relations with the First Christian Church he was very earnest, the church receiving from time to. time his liberal support financially and having much of his thought with reference to all its interests.
Mr. Chace was fond of reading and he devoted much of his spare time to language study. There are seven tongues of which he had acquired some knowledge, although he was not commonly known as other than a man of business.
In 1870 Mr. Chace married Sarah A. Brownell, who was born June 22, 1843, daughter of the late Fenner Brownell, of Fall River. They had two children:
- Eleanor Sarah, born March 31, 1872, graduated from Wellesley College, 1894, and from Johns Hopkins Medical School, 1901. On Jan. 23, 1907, she married Dr. Edward Herbert, of Fall River, and they have had one son, Edward, Jr., born Sept. 19, 1908.
- Fenner Albert, born Jan. 9, 1875, is a graduate of Harvard College, 1897, and Harvard Medical School, 1905. He married Feb. 19, 1907, Mary Deane Buffinton, daughter of Charles Darius and Sabrina M. Buffinton, of Fall River, and they have had one son, Fenner A., Jr., born Oct. 5, 1908. Dr. Fenner A. Chace is a director of the Bourne Mills, director of the Boys’ Club, member of the First Christian Church, and succeeded his father as superintendent of the Sunday school.
George Albert Chace died Oct. 23, 1907. The following letter from Edward Everett Hale appeared in the Boston Transcript of Oct. 28th, the succeeding Monday, a tribute such as few have merited or received:
“Mr. George A. Chace, who died suddenly last week, was one of the most valuable men in our community. I suppose his name is much less known than those of many noisy men. But he was an unselfish man, of wide and intelligent views, who had rendered, and would have rendered, very great service to the Commonwealth.
“Mr. Chace was the chief manager of the Bourne Mills in Fall River. I suppose he had a large pecuniary interest in them. From the time, many years ago, when his suggestions were recognized as valuable, he had urged the introduction of ‘profit sharing’ in the management of those mills – and he had urged it so intelligently that it had been adopted there.
“This was the largest enterprise of that sort – with such fundamental purposes – in New England. And not only was it a large enterprise – it was a successful one. Whoever really cares for the great improvement in our social order which will come in with profit-sharing will have to study the methods of the Bourne Mills now and for many years past. And it is one thing to say glibly of profit-sharing, ‘Oh, of course you know that has been tried – and has failed,’ and quite another thing to know the details of success and to work out, in practice, the possibilities of the future.
“The death of a great leader in such an enterprise is a public calamity.
“Edward E. Hale.”