The Macy family of New Bedford is among the oldest and most prominent families of Nantucket, the name having been identified with the business interests of New Bedford for the past seventy years. The first American ancestor of the family was
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Thomas Macy, clothier merchant, who came, it is said, from the county of Wilts, England, and was in Newbury, Mass., a proprietor; he was a freeman of Sept. 6, 1639. He removed to Salisbury and was town officer and deputy. He removed about 1659 from there to Chilmark; his was the first family on Nantucket island. He was a friend of the Quakers. His death occurred June 19, 1682. Thomas Macy married Sarah Hopcott, who died in 1706, aged ninety-four years. Their children were:
- Sarah, born July 9, 1644, who died in 1645 or 1646
- Sarah (2), born Aug. 1, 1646, who married William Worth
- Mary, born Dec. 4, 1648, who married William Bunker
- Bethiah, who married Joseph Gardner
- Thomas, born Sept. 2, 1653
- John, born July 14, 1655
- Francis, born in 1657, who died in 1658
John Macy, son of Thomas, born July 14, 1655, married Deborah Gardner, born Feb. 12, 1668, daughter of Richard and Sarah (Shattuck) Gardner. Mrs. Macy died in 1712. Children:
- John, born in 1675, died Nov. 27, 1751
- Sarah, April 3, 1677, died March 18, 1748
- Deborah, March 3, 1679, died Aug. 16, 1742
- Bethiah, April 8, 1681, died June 6, 1738
- Jabez, 1683, died Aug. 7, 1776
- Mary, 1685, died June 27, 1717
- Thomas, 1687, died March 16, 1759
- Richard, Sept. 22, 1689, died Dec. 25, 1779
John Macy, son of John, born on the island of Nantucket in 1675, married April 25, 1707, Judith Worth (daughter of John Worth), who was born Dec. 22, 1689, in Nantucket, Mass., and died Nov. 8, 1767. He died Nov. 27, 1751. Children:
- Miriam, born Feb. 16, 1708, died Aug. 2, 1736
- Sylvanus, Aug.-16, 1709, died Sept. 6, 1719
- Seth, Aug. 22, 1710, died July 6, 1790
- Eliab, Dec. 20, 1712, died in April, 1723
- David, Sept. 12, 1714, died in New Garden, N. C.
- Ann, Dec. 17, 1716, died Dec. 3, 1756
- Bethiah, July 16, 1719, died in 1729
- John, Dec. 11, 1721, died in New Garden, N. C, after 1795
- Judith, March 20, 1723, died June 23, 1795
- Jonathan, April 8, 1725, died June 17, 1798
- William, Jan. 23, 1727, died Feb. 6, 1753
- Sarah, June 26, 1729
- Abigail, May 26, 1731, died Nov. 25, 1763.
The father of the above family made his home in Nantucket and was the first of the family to join the Society of Friends,
Jonathan Macy, son of John, born April 8, 1725, on the island of Nantucket, was married in July, 1744, to Lois Gorham, who was born in Barnstable, Mass., Nov. 5, 1727, daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth (Gardner) Gorham. She died in Nantucket March 10, 1804, and Mr. Macy passed away June 17, 1798. He was a tanner by occupation, which he followed all his active life, until a few years before his death, when he became totally blind. He was an elder of the Society of Friends, and always attended the meetings. Children:
- Elizabeth, born April 18, 1745
- Jonathan, Jan. 15, 1750 (died June 18, 1816)
- Barnabas, April 16, 1752 (lost at sea in June, 1802)
- Solomon, June 25, 1754 (died in July, 1755)
- Susanna, May 27, 1756 (died May 15, 1757)
- Samuel, Oct. 3, 1758 (died Aug. 16, 1761)
- Peleg, Nov. 11, 1760 (died Oct. 7, 1838)
- Judith, March 18, 1763 (died Dec. It, 1799)
- Samuel, Feb. 19, 1765 (died Feb. 13, 1838)
- Seth, September, 1767 (died in 1768)
Peleg Macy, son of Jonathan, born Nov. 11, 1760, in Nantucket, married Sarah Starbuck, born May 14, 1762, daughter of John Hunt and Sarah (Tilden) Wendell; she was the widow of Zaccheus Starbuck. Her death occurred May 3, 1842, and Mr. Macy died Oct. 7, 1838, at Nantucket. Children:
- Eunice, born Oct. 25, 1785 (died in Petersham, Mass., Dec. 3, 1861)
- Peleg, March 9, 1787
- Sarah, Jan. 29, 1789
- John W., Dec. 6, 1790 (died at Santiago, Cuba, Jan. 12, 1831)
- Gorham, Jan. 9, 1793 (died March 14, 1857)
- Edward, March 11, 1795
- Rebecca, April 13, 1797 (died Dec. 7, 1831)
- Mary, April 15, 1799
- Seth, Aug. 29, 1801 (died at sea Nov. 23, 1837)
- Charles, Jan. 25, 1804 (died in New Bedford, Mass.)
- Josiah, Oct. 29, 1805
Josiah Macy, son of Peleg, was born Oct. 29, 1805, at Nantucket, and there grew to manhood, learning the trade of blacksmith. He married in Nantucket, Mass., in September, 1825, Eliza Swain, born Aug. 1, 1805, daughter of Peleg and Priscilla (Barrett) Swain. She died in New Bedford Jan. 15, 1864, and he married (second) Oct. 7, 1866, Caroline Meader, born Dec. 2, 1823, daughter of Thomas and Deborah (Burnell) Burnell. She was a widow. In 1843 Mr. Macy with his family moved to New Bedford from his island home and purchased from William Carsley the blacksmith shop, there establishing himself in the blacksmithing business. He continued here with his sons until 1857, when he retired from the business, which his sons, Josiah, Jr., Frederick and Edwin B., continued. Mr. Macy after several years in New Bedford returned to Nantucket, Mass., and there died and was buried. He was a most respected and highly esteemed citizen of his community. Children:
- Peleg, born Jan. 11, 1827
- Josiah, Jr., July 8, 1828
- Eliza S., Oct. 13, 1830 (married Ambrose Hardy, and died at Dedham, Mass., Dec. 24, 1864)
- Edwin B., Nov. 4, 1832. See below.
- Frederick, Oct. 28, 1835
- Rebecca K., Jan. 10, 1837 (married William A. Hafford, of New Bedford)
- Poland, Jan. 20, 1840
- Mary S., Aug. 8, 1842 (married Ambrose Hardy, husband of sister Eliza)
- Wendell, Oct. 17, 1845
Frederick Macy, son of Josiah, was born at Nantucket Oct. 28, 1835, and was but eight years old when the family came to New Bedford, where he grew to manhood and learned the blacksmith’s trade in the shop of his father, as did also his brothers Josiah and Edwin B. In 1857, when the father withdrew from the business, the three brothers formed a partnership under the firm name of J. Macy, Jr., & Co., and the business continued until 1861, during which time the brothers built up an extensive trade, which made it necessary for them to enlarge the shop building and make extensive improvements. In 1861 Josiah (Jr.) withdrew from the business and the two brothers, Edwin B. and Frederick, continued it under the firm name of E. B. & F. Macy, and they met with complete success as before. The Macy shop stands on Front street between Commercial and School streets and was used as a blacksmith shop for upward of a century in all. The principal business was conducted by the Macy family, their work covering ship blacksmithing, jobbing and the building of mills and coal pockets. Mr. Macy continued in active work at his shop up to his death, which event took place at his home on Acushnet avenue, New Bedford, June 22, 1904. He was buried in the Rural cemetery at New Bedford. He belonged to the I. O. O. F. Besides attending to his extensive business Mr. Macy took an active part in building up the fire department of New Bedford. His connection with it began in 1856, in the days of the hand engines, when he was elected third assistant of Young Mechanic, No. 6, a tub that was famous in the old days. His quickness at grasping the situation at a fire soon made it evident to his companions that a position confined to duties on a hand engine could be well filled by another, for such men as Mr. Macy were worth more in other capacities. Accordingly, in 1865, he was promoted to fourth assistant on the board of fire engineers. The change was a good one, and Mr. Macy’s increased duties were cared for intelligently and competently at every fire. He proved a valuable assistant to his chief, and retained the position for five consecutive years. Although Mr. Macy was never a man to push himself before the public, in 1876, when it became necessary to elect a new chief of the fire department, he was chosen, and from that time on until his death filled the position continuously.
At the time Mr. Macy took charge of the fire department the city’s equipment consisted of four steam fire engines and one hand engine, and the apparatus of one hose company and one hook and ladder company, and the protecting society. At the time of his death there were seven engine companies, two hose companies, three hook and ladder companies, the hand engine and the protecting society, and a new company soon to be established in the west end. During Mr. Macy’s incumbency in office the city attained an enviable position in the matter of fire losses and enjoyed a good reputation among the fire underwriters in that respect. The per capita loss in 1903 was a trifle over eighteen cents, and for several years before New Bedford stood first in the matter of small fire losses among the larger cities of the United States. Chief Macy possessed to a remarkable degree the regard of every man who ever served under him, and the appreciation which the city at large had for his services was attested by the fact that in 1882, when a new engine was purchased, it was named Frederick Macy No. 6.
Mr. Macy was twice married, his first wife being Helen M. Duffey, of New Bedford, to whom he was married in Bridgewater, Jan. 1, 1856. She was born in New Bedford Feb. 17, 1834, daughter of John and Jane (Taber) Duffey. Her death occurred in June, 1870, in New Bedford, and she was buried in the Rural cemetery. She left two children, George I., born March 8, 1860, and Frederick B., March 23, 1864. Mr. Macy’s second wife was Maria Potter, born at Nantucket, daughter of Nicholas Potter, and to this union was born one child, Alice, who makes her home with her mother at New Bedford.
George Irving Macy, son of Frederick and Helen M., superintendent of the spinning, spooling and warping department of the Grinnell mills at New Bedford, was born in the city of New Bedford March 8, 1860. He received his educational training in the public and high schools of New Bedford, and while still in his teens he entered the Wamsutta mills, starting in the spinning department. Here he worked at different branches of the cotton business, rising to the position of over-seer of the room, where he continued until 1895. At this time he went to Taunton and there became superintendent of the North Dighton Cotton Company’s mills, continuing with them until 1897, when he returned again to New Bedford and entered the Grinnell mills as superintendent of the spinning, spooling and warping and twisting departments, for the past thirteen years filling that responsible position with ability and credit, having under his supervision over three hundred hands. He has a thorough knowledge of every detail of the business and is a man who is popular with those under him, holding their respect and good will. Fraternally he is a member of Star in the East Lodge, A. F. & A. M., Adoniram Chapter, New Bedford Council, E. & S. M., and Sutton Commandery, K. T.; he is also a member of the Brooks Club, the Protecting Society, and the Veteran Firemen’s Association. He is not a politician, but is a Republican in principle. On Oct. 4, 1892, Mr. Macy married Eliza L. Luce, born in New Bedford, daughter of Capt. Thomas Luce, of New Bedford, who died April 27, 1908, and is buried in the Oak Grove cemetery. They had no children. On Oct. 18, 1910, Mr. Macy married Helen C. Hervey. He attends the M. E. Church.
Frederick B. Macy, youngest son of Frederick and Helen M., was born March 23, 1864, in New Bedford, Mass. He received his education in the public and high schools of New Bedford, and at the Comers Commercial College, at Boston. In 1882 he became clerk in the office of the Wamsutta mills, where at the end of nine industrious years he was raised to the position of head bookkeeper and paymaster. In 1901 he became associated with the Soule mill, in which he came to be a director and finally was elected treasurer, which responsible position he has filled with ability and satisfaction to all for the past eleven years. Mr. Macy is a member of the board of trade of New Bedford, having been elected its president in 1909, and is also a member of the State Board of Trade, of Boston. He is a member of the New England Cotton Manufacturing Association and director of the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, a member of Star in the East Lodge, A. F. & A. M., New Bedford, Adoniram Chapter, E. A. M., New Bedford Council of Royal and Select Masters, Sutton Commandery, No. 16, Knights Templar, and Aleppo Temple of the Mystic Shrine, Boston. Socially he belongs to the Wamsutta Club, New Bedford, New Bedford Yacht Club and the Country Club. Mr. Macy, while a stanch Republican, is no politician. During the time of his father’s service as chief of the fire department he was clerk under him. He attends the St. James Episcopal Church of New Bedford, of which he is warden.
Mr. Macy has been twice married, first on Sept. 4, 1885, to Hattie M. Bannister, of Dighton, Mass., daughter of Andrew Bannister. Three children were born to this union:
- Andrew Warren, a clerk in the Soule mill
- Herbert Frederick
- Florence Helen
The mother died in March, 1893, in New Bedford, and was buried in Rural cemetery. Mr. Macy married (second) in 1895 Lydia W. Turner, of Lonsdale, E. L, and they have one child, Priscilla Swain.
Edwin B. Macy, son of Josiah Macy, is now living retired after more than a half century of active business life. He was born on the island of Nantucket Nov. 4, 1832, and came with the family to New Bedford in 1843, there attending the public and high schools, from which he was graduated in 1848. He learned the blacksmith’s trade and iron working under his father, with whom he worked until 1853, when he went to California, staying there two years, and returning then to New Bedford. He took up the trade in 1857, entering the firm of J. Macy, Jr., & Co., which was comprised of Josiah, Jr., Frederick and himself, and which business was continued by this firm until 1861, when Josiah withdrew from the business. Mr. Macy then formed a partnership with his brother Frederick, and the business was conducted successfully under the name of E. B. & F. Macy until the death of his brother Frederick, in June, 1904. Mr. Macy continued the business alone from that time until Dec. 31st of that year, when he closed the doors of the shop and retired from active business after sixty years of faithful performance of his duty. By his honesty and strict adherence to business he earned for himself a reputation for honorable dealing and is known as a stanch and true citizen. He is now living retired, enjoying the fruits of his labor, surrounded by his devoted family. In politics he is a Republican, and served one term as member of the city council, elected from Ward Five in 1872.
Mr. Macy married (first) April 17, 1857, Eliza Johnson, born at St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, daughter of Philip and Bridget (Morris) Johnson. Their children were:
- Lucy, born Jan. 16, 1858, married Samuel Watson, of New Bedford
- Mary, born in 1860, married Charles S. Sherman, of New Bedford
- James Rowland was born Feb. 9, 1862
The mother died in 1863, and Mr. Macy married (second) Feb. 9, 1864, Sarah Hillman, daughter of Alexander and Mary (Lewis) Hillman. Their children were:
- Thomas W., born Oct. 15, 1865
- Philip E., July 18, 1867
- Ella M., March 22, 1869 (died Feb. 14, 1882)
- Frank H., March 7, 1876
James Rowland Macy, the eldest son of Edwin B. Macy, was born in New Bedford Feb. 9, 1862. Educated in the public and high schools of New Bedford, Mr. Macy started in as a clerk with D. B. Folger, grocer of New Bedford, where he spent seven years, learning the details of the business, so that at the end of that time he was ready to start out for himself, which he did, establishing himself on Union street between Purchase and Pleasant streets, where he successfully conducted his grocery store for eight years. He sold out and in 1898 entered the employ of J. C. Rhodes, manufacturer of shoe eyelets, in 1905 becoming factory superintendent, and he has filled this position up to the present time. On May 10, 1887, Mr. Macy married, in Barrington, R. I., Louise R. Peck, born in Barrington. Mr. Macy is not affiliated with any lodge.
Thomas W. Macy, son of Edwin B. and Sarah (Hillman) Macy, was born in New Bedford Oct. 15, 1865. He attended the public and high schools of New Bedford and in 1882 entered the firm of Wood and Brightman, of New Bedford, as bookkeeper, and here for the past twenty-eight years he has been employed. He is well known and holds the respect of all who know him. On June 4, 1888, he married Ella F. Macomber, a native of New Bedford, and one child has been born to them, Helen Lewis, who graduated from the high school of New Bedford in 1910. The family home is on Hawthorne street, New Bedford. In politics Mr. Macy is a Republican.
Philip E. Macy, son of Edwin B. and Sarah (Hillman) Macy, was born in New Bedford July 18, 1867, and attended the public and high schools, graduating from the latter institution in 1886. He did clerical work for a time and in 1889 became clerk in the the New Bedford Institution for Savings, where he continued until 1908. At this time, upon the death of the late Mr. F. A. Washburn, who was assistant treasurer of the institution, Mr. Macy was appointed to succeed him, and he fills this position at the present time, with trust and great efficiency. He is a man of keen intellect and ability, and much devoted to his parents, with whom he makes his home. He is a member of the Dartmouth Club.
Frank Haffords Macy, youngest son of Edwin B. Macy, was born in New Bedford March 7, 1876. He was educated in the public and high schools of New Bedford, graduating from the latter in the class of 1894. After leaving school he became a clerk in the hardware and iron business of the late Jonathan Handy, and here he spent one year. At this time he accepted a position as clerk with the Pierce Manufacturing Company, where for a period of fifteen years he filled the position of clerk and paymaster of the mill. In 1910 he became assistant treasurer of the Pierce Brothers, Limited, Mill, which office he now fills. A man of ability and integrity he has won the confidence of his business associates, his strict attention to business and his genial manner making him a valuable employee. Not a politician, he is Republican in his views. Socially he is a member of the Dartmouth Club of New Bedford, of which he is a director; and he is also a member of the New Bedford Yacht Club. He and his family attend the Universalist Church. On Oct. 10, 1900, he married Jessie A. McFarlane, born in New Bedford, daughter of the late Capt. Seth J. McFarlane, who was a well known whaling captain of New Bedford. They have one child, Edwin H., born June 4, 1901.