Probably no name in the history of New Bedford brings more clearly or forcibly to mind a man of large affairs, of broad charity and generous impulse, of high purpose and of exemplary citizenship, than does that of the late William Watkins, whose long life in commercial and financial circles made him a part of the progress and development of this community. William Watkins, son of Capt. Thomas and Mary (Davis) Watkins, was born in the village of Westport Point, Mass., June 22, 1814. He attended the country schools until he reached the age of fourteen 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.
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.
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.
The Barker family of Tiverton, R. I., and vicinity, represented in that section by many prominent citizens, is one of the earliest settled families of New England. The first of the name of whom there is authentic record was Robert Barker, born in 1616, who came to New England at a very early day with John Thorp. In 1641, with others, he bought from Jonathan Brewster, son of Elder Brewster, a ferry and 100 acres of land at Marshfield. Later he located at Duxbury, where for several years he was a surveyor. His death occurred about 1691. He married Lucy Williams, who died March 7, 1681 or 1682.
As early as 1661 John Remington and his wife Abigail were at Haverhill, where their children, Daniel and Hannah, were born. John Remington is credited by one writer as being the emigrant ancestor from Wales of the Rhode Island Remingtons. He appears of record as early as 1669 at Jamestown, R. I., where Aug. 28th of that year he and two others were ordered to assemble inhabitants of Conanicut Island to consider what might be most suitable for defense and preservation against any invasion or insurrection of the Indians. He had been earlier at Haverhill, Mass. (1661), and Andover. He was one of the grantees in 1677 of what became East Greenwich, R. I. He and his sons were taxed in 1680. In 1695 he gave his son Thomas Remington, of Warwick, a deed for his Haverhill interests, and redeeded to him the same in 1709, he then being apparently of Warwick, R. I., the former deed having become “damnified through disaster.”
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.
Final List of the Members of the Narragansett Tribe Entitled to a Share of the Purchase Money 1881.