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.
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.
Albert Cranston Thompson, a resident of Brockton, Plymouth county, for over forty years, was a citizen of proved worth in business and public life. His influence in both is a permanent factor in the city’s development, a force which dominates the policy of at least one phase of its civil administration, and his memory is cherished by the many with whom he had long sustained commercial and social relations. As the head of an important industrial concern for a period of over thirty years, as chairman for nearly ten years, up to the time of his death, of the sewerage commissioners of Brockton, as president of the Commercial Club, as an active worker in church and social organizations, he had a diversity of interests which brought him into contact with all sorts and conditions of men and broadened his life to an unusual degree. Good will and sympathy characterized his intercourse with all his fellows. As may be judged from his numerous interests and his activity in all he was a man of many accomplishments, of unusual ability, of attractive personality and un-questionable integrity. He was earnest in everything which commanded his attention and zealous in promoting the welfare of any object which appealed to him, and his executive ability and untiring energy made him an ideal worker in the different organizations of every kind with which he was connected. Mr. Thompson was a native of the county in which he passed all his life, having been born Dec. 19, 1843, in Halifax, a descendant of one of the oldest and best known families of that town. The families of Thompson and Fuller were very numerous and prominent in that region, so much so that according to tradition a public speaker once, in opening his address, instead of beginning with the customary “Ladies and Gentlemen” said “Fullers and Thompsons.” So much for their numbers. The line of descent is traced back to early Colonial days.
WILLIAM P. WHITMAN, president and treasurer of the well-known shoe manufacturing concern of the Whitman & Keith Company, of Brockton, and one of that city’s successful and progressive business men, as was his father before him, is a descendant of distinguished and historic New England ancestry. Mr. Whitman is a direct descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, of the “Mayflower,” 1620; of Rev. James Keith, the first ordained minister of Bridgewater; and of John Whitman, who settled in Weymouth, Mass., as early as 1638, from whom descended many persons eminent in professional life and otherwise, among them Dr. Marcus Whitman, who saved the vast territory of Oregon to the United States; Hon. Ezekiel Whitman, for many years chief justice of the Superior and Supreme courts of the State of Maine; and Hon. William E. Russell, twice governor of Massachusetts.
Benjamin S. Atwood, the well-known box manufacturer of Whitman, Mass., was one of the best known men in Plymouth county, and as a business man and as a soldier stood high in the estimation of all who know him. He was born in the town of Carver, Plymouth county, June 25, 1840. The Atwood family of which Benjamin S. Atwood is a descendant is an old and prominent family of Plymouth Colony. The founder was John Wood, who came to Plymouth in 1643, and was later known as John Atwood – a spelling of the name that has been retained to the present time.
The Rounsville or Rounseville family of ancient Freetown is believed to be of French origin, and a family tradition has it that they left France on account of religious persecution. It is the purpose here to refer to a branch of the Freetown Rounseville family which in time found its way into the busy manufacturing center of southeastern Massachusetts – Fall River – and soon became a part of the great activity there. Reference is made to the family of the late Capt. Cyrus Cole Rounseville, a master mariner of Freetown, who sailed from New Bedford in the whaling service, whose son and namesake Cyrus Cole Rounseville has long been one of the leading manufacturers of Fall River as treasurer of the Shove Mills, prominent in public life and identified with the banking interests of the city.
For perhaps fifty years there has lived in what is now Acushnet and figured largely in the industrial life of the locality a branch of the ancient and historic Cushman family of the Old Colony, in the immediate family of the late Emery Cushman, whose early life was passed in Duxbury; himself the founder of an enterprise here in which he was succeeded by his son and the latter by his sons, all of whom contributed through the manufacturing plant to the material progress and welfare of their locality.
It will be remembered that Robert Cushman was one of the most active and influential men in all of the preliminary movements of the Pilgrims in going to Leyden and thence to New England, he the ancestor of the Cushman family here in question, the marriage of whose son into the Howland family further identifies it with the “Mayflower” party.
There follows the history and genealogy of this Acushnet Cushman family in chronological order from this first American ancestor.
The family bearing this name in New Bedford, where it is one of nearly one hundred years’ standing one, too, of prominence and wealth, is a branch of the ancient Knowles family of the town of Eastham, Barnstable county, this Commonwealth. Reference is made to some of the descendants of the brothers Thomas and James H. Knowles of Eastham, several of whose sons – at least two of the former and one of the latter – in their earlier manhood cast their lot with the people of New Bedford. The firm of Thomas Knowles & Co. for many years was one of the greatest engaged in the whale fishery business in New Bedford; and its members in turn have been succeeded in business by younger generations who have most worthily worn the family name and sustained its reputation; and today the name continues of record in and about the city of their birth connected prominently with many of the most extensive commercial establishments and banking institutions of the locality.
The Washburn name in this country is a distinguished one. Perhaps it is as yet only a tradition that John Washburn, the ancestor of the Washburns here considered, was he who first served as secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Several governors of our States have borne the Washburn name and at one and the same time four of the name occupied seats in the United States Congress. And the branch of the Massachusetts Washburns seated in Middleboro and vicinity have borne no small part in the annals of the Old Colony and later Commonwealth. Capt. Amos Washburn was in command of a company in the American Revolution; one of his sons, a graduate of Harvard, was a talented lawyer at Middleboro; Edward Washburn, brother of Capt. Amos, was another patriot in the Continental army; and his son, Gen. Abiel Washburn, was one of the leading men of his time in Middleboro, the acknowledged leader of the Federal party, and for thirty-six years held commissions through the different grades of office in the State militia; while Luther, Cyrus and the late Bradford Sumner Washburn, in turn, were substantial citizens of the town, and the latter’s son, Judge Nathan Washburn, lawyer and present Justice of the Courts of Plymouth county, is giving a good account of himself.
Here in this article it is the purpose to treat of but one branch or family of the Massachusetts Jacksons – the family of John Jackson, who was a descendant of the Middleboro settler of the name, one John Jackson, and who in time removed to the State of Maine, the home State for several generations of the Fall River Jacksons in question. The first John Jackson came from England to New England and settled in Middleboro, where in May, 1714, he was married to Mary Smith. They had two children (if not more), John and Cornelius, the latter of whom was born in Middleboro Sept. 11, 1716. The father died in 1731.