For nearly a century there have lived in North Bridgewater and Brockton representatives of an earlier family of the name in and about Boston. Reference is made to some of the descendants of Charles Little Hauthaway, who, coming from Roxbury in youth, in 1828, cast his lot with the people of North Bridgewater, where have figured most successfully three generations of the family. From members of this family it seems that the English spelling of the name is Haughtweight or Hautweight, which may be the same as the old County Suffolk English spelling Hautwat, a name still extant there. The records of a century and more ago in Boston reveal the spelling Hauthwait, one Francis Hauthwait being the owner and occupier of a dwelling “North on West street; east by John Ballard; West by Frothingham.”
Since the early settlement of Newport and Portsmouth, R. I., shortly after 1638, the Grinnells have been identified with Rhode Island and Massachusetts history, the earlier generations living largely in the towns of Newport county, R. I., and for the past hundred and more years branches of this southern Rhode Island family have been representative of the best citizenship in the old Massachusetts town of New Bedford. At New Bedford lived Capt. Cornelius Grinnell, a patriot of the Revolution, and long engaged in the merchant service, who married into the old historic Howland family, and one of whose sons, Joseph Grinnell, for almost a decade represented the New Bedford district in the United States Congress, and was long prominent as a merchant and manufacturer and banker of the town; and there lived the late Lawrence Grinnell, father of the late Frederick Grinnell, who so long was at the head of the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company and the General Eire Extinguisher Company, a man of genius in mechanical lines, whose inventions gave him distinction, and one of whose sons, Russell Grinnell, is at this time vice president of the General Fire Extinguisher Company. It is with this New Bedford branch of the Grinnell family this article deals.