The Anthony name has been a conspicuous and prominent one in the New England States for the last two and a half centuries. Many members of the family have held prominent positions in the business, social and political circles of their various communities. The first known of the family was one William Anthony; who was born in 1495, in Cologne, Germany. He had three sons, the youngest, Francis, being goldsmith and jeweler to Queen Elizabeth of England, and several of his descendants became noted physicians of Europe. The first of the name to come to America was:
(I) John Anthony (or Antonie, as he wrote it), who was born in 1607. He became the founder of the name in New England, coming to America in the barque “Hercules,” John Kiddey, master, April 16, 1634. He had, says Savage, previously resided in the beautiful village of Hampstead, near London. He married Susanna Potter. The first mention we find of John Anthony is in the Colonial records of Rhode Island, July 14, 1640, when he was admitted a freeman of Portsmouth, R. I., and soon after chosen corporal in a military company. On Sept. 14, 1644, his land was assigned to him at a place called “Wading River.” On May 25, 1655, he was chosen by the General Court one of the two persons authorized by law to keep houses of entertainment in Portsmouth, and was also deputy and commissioner. He died July 28, 1675, aged sixty-eight years, and left five children:
- John Anthony
- Joseph Anthony
- Abraham Anthony
- Susannah Anthony
- Elizabeth Anthony
(II) Abraham Anthony, son of John, married Dec. 26, 1671, Alice Wodell, born Feb. 10, 1650, daughter of William and Mary Wodell, and they were residents of Portsmouth, R. I., where he was made a freeman in 1672. He was deputy from 1703 to 1711, and was speaker of the House of Deputies in 1709 and 1710. He died Oct. 10, 1727, and his widow passed away in 1734. Their children were:
- John Anthony
- Susanna Anthony
- Mary Anthony
- William Anthony
- Susanna Anthony
- Abraham Anthony
- Thomas Anthony
- Alice Anthony
- James Anthony
- Almy Anthony
- Isaac Anthony
- Jacob Anthony
(III) William Anthony, son of Abraham and Alice (Wodell) Anthony, born Oct. 31, 1675, married March 16, 1694, Mary Cogeshall, daughter of John, the first president of the Colony of Rhode Island. They had fourteen children all born between the years 1695 and 1720:
- William Anthony, died in infancy
- Abraham Anthony
- Elizabeth Anthony
- Mary Anthony
- John Anthony, died in infancy
- Alice Anthony
- Anne Anthony
- John Anthony
- Amey Anthony
- William Anthony
- James Anthony
- Job Anthony, born April 10, 1714
- Benjamin Anthony
- Daniel Anthony
(IV) Benjamin Anthony, son of William and Mary (Cogeshall) Anthony, born June 10, 1716, died Jan. 8, 1800. He married Martha Luther of Swanzey and settled there upon a farm in that part of the town now called Somerset, and died there. Martha Luther was born Nov. 28, 1721, and died Nov. 7, 1796. She was a direct descendant of Martin Luther. Their children were:
- Abner Anthony, born Dec. 11, 1739, died Oct. 16, 1823
- Peleg Anthony, born Aug. 30, 1741, died Nov. 4, 1820
- Rufus Anthony, born Aug. 3, 1743, died Nov. 4, 1820
- Reuben Anthony, born Nov. 3, 1745, died May 13, 1748
- Hezekiah Anthony, born April 21, 1747, died in September, 1781
- James Anthony, born May 22, 1749, died March 4, 1799
- Benjamin Anthony, born June 24, 1751, died Aug. 29, 1827
- Luther Anthony, born Sept. 11, 1753, died Sept. 24, 1771
- Caleb Anthony, born Oct. 4, 1756, died in 1830
- Nathan Anthony, born July 21, 1758, died young
- David Anthony was born Aug. 3, 1760
(V) David Anthony, son of Benjamin and Martha (Luther) Anthony, born Aug. 3, 1760, married Submit Wheeler, and died Jan. 20, 1842. Their children were:
- Elizabeth Anthony, born Nov. 20, 1779, died Dec. 29, 1818
- Nathan Anthony, born Aug. 27, 1781, married Sarah Anthony, and died Sept. 1, 1817
- Jeremiah Anthony, born Dec. 25, 1783, died March 11, 1865
- David Anthony, born Jan. 9, 1786, died July 6, 1867
- Hezekiah Anthony, born April 3, 1788, died Jan. 29, 1883
- Elisha Anthony, born Aug. 5, 1790, died June 2, 1842
- Keziah Anthony, born July 29, 1792, died Oct. 24, 1880
- Submit Anthony, born Dec. 17, 1794, died June 18, 1821
- Benjamin Anthony, born Oct. 23, 1797, died June 21, 1806
- Mary B. Anthony, born Nov. 1, 1803, died Aug. 26, 1863
- Elizabeth Anthony
(VI) Nathan Anthony, son of David and Submit (Wheeler) Anthony, born Aug. 27, 1781, married Sarah Anthony, daughter of John, Jr. She was born May 3, 1784, and died May 14, 1830. Their children were:
- Lydia Anthony, born June 3, 1804, died Dec. 29, 1822
- Ann Anthony, born April 13, 1806, died Sept. 13, 1822
- Edmund Anthony, born Aug. 2, 1808, died Jan. 24, 1876
- Charles Anthony, born Nov. 16, 1810, died Aug. 23, 1861
- Sarah Anthony, born April 10, 1814, died Oct. 23, 1814
- Mary B. Anthony was born Nov. 10, 1815
(VII) Edmund Anthony, son of Nathan and Sarah (Anthony) Anthony, was born Aug. 2, 1808, at Somerset, Mass. His educational opportunities were limited. He entered a printing office in Taunton when but sixteen years of age. Being ambitious to progress he took advantage of all opportunities to broaden his mind and improve his education, and so far succeeded that he soon became proprietor of the Bristol County Democrat, thus early taking an advanced position in his well-chosen life work. In 1842 he founded and made successful the Taunton Daily Gazette. Later he went to New Bedford, bought out a job printing office and started as his new enterprise the daily and weekly called, respectively, The Evening Standard and The Republican Standard. His papers were soon noted for the progressive character and fearless editorials on political topics, and he not only made a position for his paper, but soon it took an advanced position in its territory.
Originally a Democrat, Mr. Anthony was one of the earliest of the Free-Soil advocates and became prominent among the organizers and leaders of the Republican party, giving it substantial assistance by his outspoken editorials.
In company with his son-in-law, Benjamin Weaver, in January, 1864, he founded the Springfield (Mass.) Union, but sold that business a few years later after firmly establishing it. Mr. Anthony held many offices of trust and responsibility. He was town clerk in Taunton ten years, town treasurer six years, and later on for some time county treasurer. During the war period he was United States deputy collector of internal revenue, also a member of the common council during 1856 to 1857 and 1859 to 1860, and a special justice of the police court for about twelve years, resigning in 1870, having been appointed postmaster by General Grant, an office he was holding at the time of his death in 1876. He was a stanch Methodist. He was a rare man of the pure New England type.
Mr. Anthony was married three times, (first) April 21, 1827, to Ruth Adaline Soper (daughter of Oliver Soper, of Taunton), who died Sept. 27, 1837. She was a descendant of Capt. Miles Standish and John Alden and Priscilla Mullens, all of the “Mayflower,” 1620. On July 4, 1838, Mr. Anthony married (second) Nancy Jane Hodges, of Norton, Mass., who died Aug. 8, 1870; and (third) Mrs. Rebecca Helen Woodward. The children by the marriage of Edmund and Ruth Adaline (Soper) Anthony were:
- Nathan Anthony Anthony, born Feb. 11, 1832, married Clara Reed (he was a member of the firm of Bradford & Anthony, Boston)
- Edmund Anthony, born Oct. 19, 1833
- Oliver Anthony, born Aug. 15, 1835, died April 26, 1844
- Benjamin Anthony, born Oct. 10, 1836
To the marriage of Edmund and Nancy Jane (Hodges) Anthony were born six children, namely:
- Marcus Morton Anthony
- Adaline Anthony, who married Benjamin Weaver
- Sarah Anthony, who married Charles S. Kelley
- Elizabeth Anthony, deceased
- William Anthony, who married Ruhamah Hinkley, of New Bedford
- Arthur C. Anthony, who married Mary Ella Loren Ellis
(VIII) Edmund Anthony, Jr., second son of Edmund Anthony, founder of the Standard, was born in Taunton Oct. 19, 1833, and attended the Old Bristol Academy. He spent his leisure in the printing office of his father, who was publishing the Bristol County Democrat at that time, so he graduated as a printer at the same time he completed his school days. When his father commenced the publication of the Standard Edmund Anthony, Jr., was seventeen years old, and he was a valuable assistant in all the departments. He appreciated the peculiar value of shipping news, a feature which he developed and which helped the paper to early success. When the elder Mr. Anthony established the Springfield Union in 1865 the management of the Standard devolved upon the sons Edmund and Benjamin Anthony. Edmund Anthony, Jr., was the managing editor of the Standard for many years and his devoted interest contributed largely to the newspaper’s success. Mr. Anthony was prominent in public affairs and political honors were conferred upon him in the presidential elections of 1896 and 1900, when he was the choice of the district for presidential elector. He was at one time president of the Fairhaven Improvement Association, a member and chairman of the Fairhaven school committee and a trustee of the Millicent Library. Socially he at one time belonged to the Middlesex Club, of Boston.
Mr. Anthony was twice married. His first wife was Frances Willard, of Taunton, Mass. In 1880 he married (second) Sarah Cox, daughter of Capt. Arthur and Julia M. (Pierce) Cox, of Fairhaven, and soon after he removed to that place, where he made his home.
Although Mr. Anthony was always an active business man he was not indifferent to life’s fair and pleasant things. He was neither a stoic nor an ascetic, being persuaded, as some one has said, that if God made us he meant us to enjoy the excellence and glory of present life with constant good cheer, a cheerfulness which shone like sunlight and did not desert him in the most trying hours. He believed that humor is as helpful a constituent of life as gloom, and his strong social sentiment and amiable views of human life made him many friends who were brightened by his constitutional gaiety of heart. The excellence of his heart inspired “that touch of charity” which Christians praise so much and often know so little, a benevolence which was more active than sentimental. He made those who knew him happier, which is, perhaps, the best which can be said of any man.
(VIII) Benjamin Anthony, son of Edmund and Ruth A. (Soper) Anthony, was born Oct. 10, 1836, in Taunton, Mass. His father came to New Bedford in 1850 and commenced the publication of The Standard. Benjamin Anthony entered the office in youth, immediately after leaving the high school taking his place in the business department, where he remained up to the time of his death. As a clerk in the office he soon became the guiding hand in the financial management, and, by the force of his ability for the work, speedily its head. Of painstaking, methodical, diligent disposition, he was peculiarly adapted for the difficult duties that were imposed upon him, and it was largely due to his carefulness and foresight that the business was placed in the sound financial position which it soon came to occupy and which it has always maintained. When the firm was reorganized and made a corporation, Mr. Anthony was elected its treasurer, and held that office until the death of his brother, Edmund Anthony, Jr., some five years previous to his own death, when he was chosen president. With his increasing years and the increasing business of the establishment, he had gradually given up much of the detail of the work to which he had formerly devoted himself, but there was no part of the business to which he did not pay close attention. He had a minute knowledge of affairs in every department, and his advice and assistance were always invaluable. While The Standard was established before the Republican party came into being, it was in the very beginning an advocate of the ideas which the Republican party was formed to champion, and was one of the first of the newspapers in the country to give adhesion and support to that party, and it became one of the strongest Republican journals in the State. Mr. Anthony himself ardently espoused the party ideas, and never failed in his loyalty to them. But his tastes and desires all led him away from active participation in political work, and he steadfastly resisted all temptations to become a candidate for office, except in one instance, when, in 1904, he was chosen a Republican presidential elector, an honor to which his faithfulness to the party and his zeal in its behalf had richly entitled him. He would have made a model public servant; but he served his fellows perhaps better by his diligence in the work of his everyday life. Something of the characteristics of Mr. Anthony may be surmised by the record of the fact that for twenty-five years he acted as the librarian of the Sunday school connected with the County Street Methodist Church, and for thirty years was a member of its board of trustees and treasurer of the board. No man ever gives so many years of work such as was involved in these places who does not combine faithfulness and perseverance in a high degree. The same qualities were observable in his service from their organization as director of the New Bedford Cooperative Bank and the Acushnet Cooperative Bank, he giving patient and intelligent attention to the affairs of those institutions. He was also a director of the New Bedford Port Society for a long period.
In 1896 Mr. Anthony was chosen president of the Massachusetts Press Association and served in that capacity two years. He had been a delegate of the association to the national convention in California, and at Buffalo and St. Louis.
Mr. Anthony died on the morning of Nov. 6, 1906, at his home on Madison street, aged seventy years. The Evening Standard of the day following said of him editorially over the initials W. L. S. (William L. Sayer, editor of the Evening Standard):
“With the death of Benjamin Anthony, there departs from this world the last of the three men — father and sons — whose foresight, whose energy, and whose patient industry transformed this newspaper from the creature of a struggling and uncertain enterprise into a well-rounded and strongly established success. The process was slow, sometimes painful and discouraging, but through it all these three determined men did not waver, and it is pleasant today to be able to record that each one lived to see how richly the labor and thought and self-sacrifice they had expended were rewarded in the assured position which the Standard had secured at home and in the honor and respect which were accorded to it abroad. Men who work diligently do not always have the opportunity of seeing while they live that they have succeeded well; these men were fortunate to have had that experience — and they were no less worthy than they were fortunate.
“Benjamin Anthony was of a type different in many respects from that of his father and his brother, but he most admirably supplemented them in his conduct of a department in which his individual characteristics were important to the degree of being essential. He was highly methodical, painstaking, persevering, and industrious. The prosy details of the counting room may have sometimes become drudgery to his soul; but, if that was ever the case, his conscientiousness in seeing that they were all mastered to the minutest point never failed him. It was not so inspiriting, perhaps, to add up long columns in the ledger or to make out all the bills for subscriptions or advertising or printing, as it was to score beats on rival newspapers, or to direct the policy to be observed toward a candidate or a political issue; but the newspapers could not have lived if somebody had not done that work. It was his work and that was enough for him. Long hours, and wearisomeness of body and mind, and the hateful monotony of it all, never caused him to abate a jot of his faithfulness. Many of the things which he did over and over, year after year, were in themselves small, and such as men of other natures would have slurred as being of trivial importance. That was not his way. If the thing was worth doing at all, it was worth doing well; and so by his faithfulness in doing the little things well, he did the large things well also, and thus established a standard of excellence in his department which has never been lost sight of, and that will remain for years to come the monument of his patient devotion and his spirit of loyalty to his duty. He saw the business department of this newspaper grow to a degree where the work of a day often exceeded the work of a month in those early years; and, if he had not been the most modest of men, he would have said that were it not for his laying so solid a foundation in the day of small and obscure things, then many busy workers of this hour would have had harder tasks. He did not say that; those who remain are glad to say it for him.
“And this spirit of loyalty to his duty which never became with him the burden of a slave, was manifested everywhere. We know of no more striking manifestation of that quality than his service of twenty-five years as a Sunday school librarian — a position in which there is little glory or satisfaction or reward except such as may come from the individual’s own knowledge that he has tried to do his work well. That Mr. Anthony, with his busy and taxing life of every day, should have carried on this work in addition for a quarter of a century, is a most remarkable fact, and is a complete demonstration of his persevering constancy. This is only an illustration. This characteristic was as conspicuous in all other things which he undertook. For those of us in the service of this newspaper who were accustomed each morning to receive his quiet greeting and his word of interested inquiry if all were well, and who had learned to respect this associate and friend of ours for his sterling manliness, and to love him for his kindly good will, a word of parting personal tribute may be permitted in this place. We had in him the ex-ample of an always living honor and integrity; of a temper which was equable and serene; of a nature which was benign, and a sympathy in which deeds spoke far louder than words; of a wise and thoughtful counselor; and of a never failing friend. He did not court notice; he rather shunned it. He would not put himself forward; sometimes he seemed reserved and afar off. But under that sedate and controlled exterior beat a warm and true heart which was loyal to its highest promptings. In an hour like this, when brain and pen refuse to say in adequate phrase all that the emotion prompts, the words of the ancient Hebrew poet come to voice in a simple sentence that which we would write but cannot: ‘The memory of the just is blessed.’ This is the solace and the inspiration of us who remain to continue the work he began so well.”
Benjamin Anthony was twice married, first to Eliza Le Dieu Coggeshall, born Oct. 23, 1839, daughter of Henry W. and Emma (Brown) Coggeshall, he a direct descendant of John Coggeshall, a silk merchant who came from the County of Essex, England, to Boston, going thence to Newport, R. I., arriving at the former place in the ship “Lion,” in September, 1632; became president of the Rhode Island Colony, 1647.
After the death of Mrs. Anthony, which occurred April 9, 1881, Mr. Anthony married (second) Celia L. Chase, who survives him. Two children were born to the first marriage, namely:
- Benjamin Harris Anthony, born Aug. 1, 1863
- Ruth Emma Anthony, born April 19, 1869, who married Abiel P. E. Gilmore. She died April 17, 1910, at Long Plain, in the town of Acushnet, Massachusetts
(IX) Benjamin Harris Anthony, son of Benjamin and Eliza Le Dieu (Coggeshall) Anthony, was born in New Bedford and attended the Friends’ Academy in his native city, afterward entering Yale, from which institution he was graduated A. B. with the class of 1886; in college he was a Greek letter man, a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and of the Skull and Bones Society. Thus thoroughly equipped young Anthony in September following his graduation entered the office of the Standard in his native city, in the conduct of which had wrought so well his grandfather in establishing the paper and building it up and where later likewise were brought to the business the younger blood and enthusiasm of his sons, Edmund and Benjamin, who at the period of Benjamin Jr.’s initiation into the establishment were figuring so conspicuously in bringing affairs to the most modern state, and to the then young clerk’s credit be it said that aside from the natural inheritance of the forceful traits of character which had, as the years had come and gone, not only established a great newspaper and business, but made their influence felt in society, in the church and in the public affairs of the community, he brought to the enterprise the prestige of distinguished ancestry and a liberal education that foreshadowed the able, wise and judicious conduct of affairs that his accession to the establishment brought to it when fell upon his shoulders the mantle of uncle and father. On the death of Edmund Anthony, Jr., in 1902, Benjamin Anthony became president, and Benjamin Anthony, Jr. succeeded the latter as treasurer and business manager, when became manifested his enterprise and public spirit in keeping abreast of the times in installing new machinery and equipment. On the death of his father, in the year 1906, he succeeded him as president of the corporation, and continued in the treasurership, both of which offices he has since continued to most admirably fill. A man of fine executive ability and of that type of forceful, progressive business man that is so often seen in these twentieth century days, Mr. Anthony is keeping pace in the conduct of the Standard with the best journalism of the day, and in the most rapidly growing city in New England.
In the year 1894 Mr. Anthony purchased an interest in the New Bedford Morning Mercury, and in January, 1903, he was instrumental in having the business of the concern incorporated. On the death, in 1906, of Mr. George S. Fox, the then treasurer of the Mercury Publishing Corporation, Mr. Anthony became his successor.
Mr. Anthony is a member of the American Newspaper Publishing Association, and for a number of years served on important committees of the association. He is a member of numerous clubs in New Bedford and Boston, among them the Wamsutta and Dartmouth of the former city. “While at Yale he was commodore of the Yale Yacht Club in his junior year, and business manager of the “Yale Record” in his senior year. He spent some seven months abroad in travel in Europe in the year 1900, mainly in a business venture.
In his political affiliations Mr. Anthony is a Republican. In 1908 he was honored by his party, being chosen to serve as presidential elector, the third successive member of the family to receive such honor, uncle, father and son, the first named serving two terms and the others one term each, making four consecutive terms for the family.
On Sept. 25, 1888, Mr. Anthony married, at New Bedford, Mass., Harriet D., born March 17, 1866, daughter of Charles H. Peirce and Charlotte Hinckley (Smith) Peirce, of New Bedford, and to them have come children:
- Edmund Anthony was educated in the Friends’ Academy, New Bedford, Hotchkiss School for Boys at Lakeville, Conn., Sanford School, Redding Ridge, Conn., and St. Paul’s Cathedral School, at Garden City, Long Island. He is now a clerk in the office of the Standard, at New Bedford.
- Margaret Anthony
- Catharine Chandler Anthony
Mrs. Anthony is a direct descendant of Michael Peirce, who came from England not far from 1645 and located in the following year in Hingham, thence going to Scituate, from whom her line is through Ephraim, Ephraim (2), David, Jonathan, John, Asa and Charles H. Peirce.