The Stetson family of Bridgewater is one of the oldest and most prominent in that section of the State, and it has for upward of two centuries been identified with the manufacturing interests of the town, its representatives being the founders of the iron industry of Bridgewater. Especial reference is made to Capt. Abisha Stetson, who was one of the first to engage in the iron business; his son, Nahum Stetson, whose name was a household word in his native town, and who by his great foresight, enterprise and progressive ideas built up the great Bridgewater Iron Works; and the latter’s sons and grandsons, all men of substance and good citizenship.
The Sumner family, to which the late Mrs. George Barstow Stetson belonged, is an old and prominent family of New England, descended from one William Sumner, who was born at Bicester, England, in 1605, son of Roger Sumner, of Bicester, Oxfordshire, and his wife Joane (Franklin).
William Sumner, the only child of Roger and Joane, married Oct. 22, 1625, Mary West, and they came to America with their four children in 1636, locating at Dorchester, Mass. He was made a freeman of the Colony May 17, 1637, and held many offices of importance, being selectman for nearly a quarter of a century. He was deputy from Dorchester to the General Court for eight years. He died Dec. 9. 1688, surviving his wife, who died June 7, 1676. Both are buried at Dorchester.
Horace Alden Keith, founder of the Brockton Webbing Company, one of the successful and thriving industries of Brockton, and one of that city’s enterprising and progressive business men, is a descendant on both his paternal and maternal sides of historic old New England ancestry. Mr. Keith was born in West Bridgewater May 25, 1862, eldest son of the late Henry Snell and Thalia (Alden) Keith. The ancestral line of the branch of the Keith family in this country to which Horace Alden Keith belongs, and which follows, is given in chronological order from the first American ancestor. Rev. James Keith, born in 1644, was educated in Aberdeen, Scotland (as tradition says at the expense of a maiden aunt), where he was graduated likely from Marischal College, his name appearing on the roll of 1657, said college having been founded by George, the fifth Earl of Keith Marischal, in 1593. At the age of eighteen years he emigrated to this country, arriving at Boston in 1662. He was introduced to the church at Bridgewater by Dr. Increase Mather, and became settled as the minister of the Bridgewater Church Feb. 18, 1664. Rev. James Keith passed away in West Bridgewater July 23, 1719, aged seventy-six years, having labored in the ministry of the town for fifty-six years.
IVERS (New Bedford family). The name Ivers seems one uncommon in New England annals and the family by no means numerous. At Dedham are fragmentary records of the Ivers family name, but nothing of an early date.
William and Gregory Ivers, brothers, appear in Boston in the early part of the eighteenth century. They are said to have come about 1720 with the pioneer Scotch settlers from the North of Ireland. William Ivers married in Boston April 28, 1724, Jane Barber, the ceremony being performed by a Presbyterian minister. Jane Ivers died at Boston in 1789; her will, made April 29, 1776, proved April 13, 1789, Capt. Job Prince, executor, mentions sons James and Thomas, probably the only ones living at the date of making the will.
The earliest record of a Toby or Tobey in our American annals is that of one Francis of Boston, who was in court on July 7, 1635.
The first known and credited ancestor of this family was Thomas Tobey, of Scituate, Mass. He removed to Sandwich, Mass., and was a member of church there in 1694. He married at Sandwich Nov. 18, 1650, Martha Knott, daughter of George Knott, deceased
KELLEY (New Bedford family Haverhill branch). At New Bedford for several generations have lived what for designation may be termed the Haverhill-New Bedford Kelleys. Reference is made to some of the descendants of William Kelley and his wife Abigail (Cannon) Kelley, both natives of the town of Haverhill, one of whose sons, the late Henry C. Kelley, was in the earlier half of the nineteenth century a merchant in New Bedford, and his son, the present Charles Sampson Kelley, since young manhood has been one of the most active and useful citizens of the city, having coupled his name with most if not all of the projects which have tended to the developing and modernizing of the city, one whose efforts in this direction have been especially conspicuous; and who, as a business man, banker and broker, is the architect of his own successful career.
The name Kelley, which was originally spelled Kelleigh, can be traced back to a period prior to the Norman conquest, and its barons are undoubtedly descended from the ancient Britons. The principal manorial seat of the family in England has been for many centuries located in the small parish of Kelly (or Kelley) in Devonshire. Burke and Shirley both agree as to its great antiquity, and the latter asserts that the Kellys have been lords of the manor from the reign of Henry II. (1154-1189). All the Kelleys in New England prior to 1690, with the exception of David Kelley of Yarmouth, Mass., freeman, 1657, and possibly one other family, appear to have been of English origin, and in all probability were of the Devonshire stock.
Ellis Brett, president of the Plymouth County Trust Company, of Brockton, and one of that city’s honored and respected citizens, is a worthy representative of historic New England ancestry, the Brett family having resided in this community since the first settlement of the mother town of Bridgewater, from which the town of North Bridgewater (now Brockton) was set off. Mr. Brett was born in the latter town Oct. 23, 1840, only son of Ephraim and Ruth (Copeland) Brett. The early history of the Brett family in America begins with William Brett, who came to Duxbury, Mass., in 1645, from Kent, England, and later became one of the fifty-four original proprietors and first settlers of the town of ancient Bridgewater, settling in the West parish of the town. He was an elder in the church, and often when the Rev. James Keith, the first ordained pastor of the church there, was ill, Mr. Brett preached to the people. He was a leading man in both church and town affairs, and was deputy to the General Court from the date of the in-corporation of ancient Bridgewater in 1656 to 1661. That he was well educated and intelligent is manifest from a letter to Governor Winslow, still extant, and he was much esteemed by his brethren and often employed in their secular affairs. He died Dec. 17, 1681, aged sixty-three years
At New Bedford, this Commonwealth, a point so long famous the world round for its whaling industry, a business carried on to an extent and success that made it the wealthiest place in proportion to its population of any point in New England, and a city that has since been hardly less conspicuous as a cotton manufacturing point, there still reside representatives of the Rotch family; here where, since the middle of the eighteenth century, have lived seven or eight generations of Rotches, than whom as a family perhaps no other has had greater influence in developing New Bedford’s character and prosperity and shaping its history.
For nearly fifty years the name of Whipple has been one of Brockton citizenship, representing a family here of substance and exceptional prominence in the community. Reference is made to the late Ferdinand Whipple and his son, the present Hon. John Jay Whipple, who together and in turn have been among Brockton’s successful business men, the son having figured conspicuously in public affairs, filling most of the offices within the gift of his fellow citizens, among other honors having been four times elected to the mayoralty of the city of Brockton. The Whipple family is one long prominent in the country, the earlier generations having been conspicuous in Rhode Island’s Colonial period, it being a Rhode Island family.
For generations, since the early Colonial period, the Hawes family has been resident in Wrentham, Mass. The line is traced back to Edward Hawes, of Dedham, Mass., born probably about 1620, who died in 1686. He married April 15, 1648, Eliony Lombard. This genealogy discusses the line from Edward through Oliver Snow Hawes who removed to Fall River Mass. It then discusses the family and descendants of Olvier Snow Hawes who resided in the vicinity of Fall River.