Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Biographical, 197
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History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

p. 393:

Arthur Moulton AllenARTHUR MOULTON ALLEN  --  Since 1900 Mr. Allen has practiced his profession in his native city, Providence, R. I., and there has won honorable position as a lawyer of training and skill.  He is a son of Marvin E. and Sarah A. (Moulton) Allen, both of New England ancestry.

Arthur M. Allen was born in Providence, R. I., March 3, 1876, and there has ever made his home.  He passed the grade and high school courses of study, then entered Brown University, whence he was graduated A. B., class of 1897.  He chose the law as his life work, prepared at Harvard Law School, and after receiving his LL. B. with the class of 1900, located in Providence in general practice and so continues with offices in the Turk's Head building.  In 1906 he, with Theodore F. Green and Frank L. Hinckley, formed the law firm of Green, Hinckley & Allen, of which he has ever since been a member.  He is a member of the board of directors of the Providence Athenaeum, and of the committee on economics, Brown University, and is the author of 'Criminal Conspiracies in Restraint of Trade at Common Law', published in the 'Harvard Law Review', of May, 1908, and 'The Opinions of Mr. Justice Hughes', published in the 'Columbia Law Review', November, 1916.

Mr. Allen is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, the American Bar Association, the Rhode Island Bar Association, and the Providence Bar, the Hope, University, Providence Art, Agawam Hunt, Turk's Head, and the Rhode Island Country clubs, the Harvard Club of Rhode Island, and the Harvard Club of New York. In politics he is a Republican, and in his recreations cleaves to the out-of-door sports, tennis and golf.

Mr. Allen married, June 1, 1904, Margaret Pinckney Jackson, of Providence."

p. 393 - 394:

Capt. Walter Allen ReadCAPTAIN WALTER ALLEN READ  --  In the year 1898, Senator Walter Allen Read, who for ten years had represented Glocester in the Senate of the Rhode Island Legislature, was chosen general treasurer of the State of Rhode Island, and from that time until 1918 he was the custodian of the State funds.  He practically gave his life to the military and public service of his State, his military career covering almost the entire period of the Civil War, his public service, beginning in 1866 as postmaster at Chepachet, continued until his death, which covered a period of over half a century. His term of twenty years as State treasurer has rarely been equalled in length of service, and never exceeded in value of service rendered.

Captain Walter A. Read was a son of Thomas Jencks Read, of Blackstone, Mass., who in 1849 sailed from Warren, R. I., for California, in the ship 'Hopewell', and never returned, dying in Sacramento, Cal., in 1851. Thomas Jencks Read, son of Rev. Ahab Read, a Baptist minister, married Sarah Burton, born in Glocester, R. I., daughter of Raymond and Deborah (Sayles) Burton.  They were the parents of a son, Walter Allen, and a daughter, Minnie, who married Charles F. Morse, of Haverhill, Mass. Mrs. Read died at the home of her daughter, in 1894.

Walter Allen Read was born in Blackstone, Mass., July 6, 1842, and there and at Glocester, R. I., attended school until eleven years of age. At that time he and his sister went to Chepachet, a village sixteen miles from Providence, to live, and there worked at a boy's job until securing employment in the cotton mills owned by Otis Sayles & Sons.  There he was employed until August 17, 1861, the date of his enlistment in Company D, Fourth Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry.  He was advanced to the rank of second lieutenant the following October 2, his friends in Glocester, to which town his mother took him in infancy, presenting him with a sword. On November 20, 1861, he was promoted to first lieutenant, and on August 2, 1862, was commissioned captain.  He saw hard service under General Burnside in North Carolina, with General McClellan and the Army of the Potomac in the Peninsula campaign and at Antietam, fought at Fredericksburg under General Burnside, under General Peck at the siege of Suffolk, and finally under General Grant until the battle of the Crater before Petersburg, where the Fourth Rhode Island lost nearly one-half of its soldiers.  Captain Read was the senior captain of the regiment, and its commander until mustered out at Providence, R. I., October 15, 1864, at the expiration of three years of service.  Although with his regiment Captain Read saw hard fighting and spared not himself, he came through all the perils of war unharmed, his only wound being 'a mere scratch'.

Even after returning from three years' military service he was but little more than of legal age.  The year following his return he formed a partnership with Augustus F. Wade, and started a general store at Glocester, R. I., they continuing until 1871, when the firm dissolved, Captain Read continuing the business alone until 1899, when the pressure of State duties became so great that he sold out after having been in business thirty-four years.  In June, 1867, he was appointed postmaster at Glocester by President Johnson, and was successively reappointed until he had served eighteen years.  There was no Republican organization in Glocester prior to 1876, Captain Read being chairman of the first Republican town committee in that year.  There were six hundred and fifty votes cast in the town in 1876, the Republican ticket polling thirty-six of them. But the number grew with each succeeding election, and in 1888 Captain Read, the Republican candidate for State senator from Glocester, was elected, but by a majority of only one vote.  This was sufficient, however, and he has the distinction of being the first Republican senator elected from Glocester on a straight party issue. He served continuously as State senator for ten years, 1888-98, with the exception of one year, 1892. During his entire term of service he was a member of the committee on finance, and with the exception of the first year was also a member of the committee on judiciary during his entire period of senatorial service.  From 1885 until 1890 he was a member of the State Board of Commissioners for Soldiers Relief, and until 1895 the board agent.  He was appointed a member of the State Board of Charities and Correction in 1893, for a term of six years, was reappointed in 1899, and again in 1905, 1911 and 1917.  For about eight years of this long period he served as chairman.

Until the year 1899 Captain Read continued his general mercantile business at Glocester, and also administered the public trusts with the same earnestness and fidelity he gave to his private concerns.  But in 1898 he was elected general treasurer of the State of Rhode Island, and the following year, finding the burdens too heavy even for his veteran shoulders, he disposed of his private business that he might the better serve the Commonwealth. From 1898 to his death he continuously filled the treasurer's office, a period of twenty years.  No further comment upon the value of his service to the State is necessary than the simple statement that at the expiration of each term he was returned for another.

Since the organization of Charles E. Guild Post, Grand Army of the Republic, in 1891, he was a member of that post.  He held every office, including commander, and in 1900 was elected commander of the Rhode Island department. He was also a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States; Friendship Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, a past master; the Central and West Side clubs of Providence.  Captain Read died December 14, 1918, at Chepachet, R. I.

He married, September 19, 1866, Charlotte Owen, daughter of Captain George L. Owen, of Glocester.  Their only daughter, Maude Louise, married Howard W. Farnum, now State Senator of Glocester, R. I.

This record of a useful life of seventy-six years reveals its author as a man of great energy and public spirit, with a high conception of the obligations of citizenship.  He offered his life when his president called, and when his State called, sacrificed a business he had brought to a profitable condition.  Personal preference never stood between him and his duty, and while he never shirked responsibility nor evaded any call made upon him, he never sought office in an objectional sense. He won public confidence to a most unusual degree, and in Rhode Island his name is a synonym for official integrity."

illustration on facing page: photo, Walter A. Read

p. 394 - 395:

Charles W. FarnumCHARLES W. FARNUM  --  The American Farnums and Farnhams comprise the progeny of Ralph Farnum, who was one of the original settlers of Andover, Mass., whence his progeny has spread throughout the country.  The family is of ancient English ancestry, and is traced by Burke to the reign of Edward I.  By deeds without dates there appear to have been two Lords of Querndon, the ancient seat of the Farnums in Leicestershire even prior to this date.

Ralph Farnum, founder of the American family of the name, was born in England, probably in Leicestershire, in 1603.  His descendants, while not confined entirely to this section, have been seated principally in Southeastern Massachusetts and that part of Rhode Island which adjoins. The Smithfield branch of this family, an offshoot of the Uxbridge Farnums, have been prominent in Rhode Island for over a century and a half. The late Charles W. Farnum, long a well known figure in public life in Glocester and surrounding towns, was a lineal descendant of Ralph Farnum, through the Uxbridge line.

(I)  John Farnum, the first of the family in Rhode Island, came from Uxbridge, Mass., about 1755, and settled at what is now Georgiaville, where he purchased of Thomas Owen his house and land and commenced the business of blacksmithing.  He had a forge just below the present mill of the Bernon Manufacturing Company.  The iron ore was brought from Cranston and Cumberland, and charcoal was used for smelting it. The house in which John Farnum resided is the one now occupied by John E. Whipple, a descendant. John Farnum was twice married, and by his first wife he was the father of two sons, Joseph and Noah.  His second wife, whom he married in Smithfield, was Mrs. Martha Comstock, and she bore him a son, Stephen.  John Farnum and his sons became large landholders, and Joseph Farnum was associated with his father in the blacksmithing and iron business, while Stephen and Noah devoted their attention to agricultural pursuits, the home place of the latter being located about a half mile north of the village on the east side of the Farnum Turnpike.  Noah Farnum had a son Winsor, who erected the tavern at Georgiaville and conducted it for many years.  These men were all Quakers in their religious belief.

(II)  Joseph Farnum, son of John Farnum, built the pike road from Centredale to a short distance beyond the 'Yellow Tavern' which stands on the four corners near Smithfield station.  This road remained in the possession of the family, who collected the tools and kept it in repair until about 1855, when it was disposed of to the town.  Joseph Farnum married Hannah Congdon, and resided in the house now occupied by Mrs. Edwin Farnum.  He built this house in 1770, before his marriage, and while yet a very young man.  He died March 27, 1832, in his eighty-first year, and his widow died December 24, 1838, in her eighty-fourth year.

(III)  Caleb Farnum, eldest son of Joseph Farnum, was born in the house his father built at Georgiaville, and engaged in farming.  After the construction in 1813 of the mill of the Georgia Cotton Manufacturing Company, to which the village owes its origin and name, he was employed in the teaming business for the mill, and became quite well-to-do for the time, being able to give each of his children at the time of their marriage $1,500 in cash, or its equivalent.  He resided for many years previous to his death in what is now the John L. Smith house, which Mr. Farnum erected, on the turnpike between Georgiaville and Enfield.  He was a very upright man, and a Quaker in his religious belief.  He died May 25, 1857, aged seventy-two years.  Caleb Farnum married Phebe Harris, of Smithfield, daughter of Robert Harris.  She died December 17, 1881, in her ninetieth year.  She was a very industrious and energetic woman, and attended to her household duties until her last sickness, which preceded her death but a very short time.  Caleb and Phebe (Harris) Farnum were the parents of seven children:  Cyrus, Joseph, Phebe, Caleb, Edwin, Ann Eliza, John A.

(IV)  Cyrus Farnum, son of Caleb and Phebe (Harris) Farnum, was born at Georgiaville.  He settled in Glocester, and there married Maria Aldrich. Cyrus Farnum was a prosperous farmer and well known resident of Glocester. Among his children was Charles W., mentioned below.

(V)  Charles W. Farnum, son of Cyrus and Maria (Aldrich) Farnum, was born October 13, 1837.  As a lad he learned farm work, assisting the elder man about the place, and gained a strong taste for a rural way of life that throughout his life he never lost.  During the winter months he attended the local district school and later the Lapham Institute at North Scituate, where he displayed unusual qualities of scholarship and was especially brilliant in mathematical studies, in which he became highly proficient. Upon completing his schooling he entered the well known engineering firm of Cushing & Farnum and there took up the study of civil engineering under the direction of his uncle, the junior member of the firm.  The young man became intensely interested in the sea about this time and enlisted in the crew of a whaling ship upon which he spent four years, visiting many parts of the world and among others the coast of Greenland in search of gigantic prey. Upon his return he found the country on the verge of civil war, and when the storm had burst he promptly enlisted (June 1, 1861) in Company I, Second Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry. His first experience in action proved also to be his last, for at the battle of Bull Run he was severely wounded and taken prisoner.  After confinement for about seven months in Libby prison he was finally exchanged, but his condition was such that on July 16, 1862, he was honorably discharged from service.  Returning to the North he took up surveying as a profession and was employed in that work in the vicinity of Boston for some years, in the task of laying out suburban property.  He was also engaged in work of a similar nature in Maine for a considerable period.  The last years of his life were spent by Mr. Farnum in his native town of Glocester and in the occupation with which he began life, for once more he took up farming and thus continued until his death.

It was more in connection with his participation in public affairs than as a business man that Mr. Farnum was well known, however, for in that department of the community's life he was very prominent.  He was a staunch Democrat in politics and, although the region in which he resided was normally strongly Republican, such was his personal popularity and the esteem in which he was held that he was elected to a number of offices. In June, 1875, he was elected town clerk of Glocester, and took up his residence at Chepachet.  He succeeded in this office the late Ziba O. Slocum, a prominent lawyer of Glocester, who was afterwards the Attorney-General of the State.  Mr. Farnum continued to hold the office of town clerk for about a quarter of a century, and in that time won for himself the reputation of a most capable and disinterested public servant.  His discharge of the responsible and complicated duties of his office was a kind to satisfy political friends and foes alike and brought him into contact with great numbers of people throughout the region.  During his occupancy he made use of his official capacity to aid in every way possible his fellows, and thus gained their gratitude and good will in a measure enjoyed by but very few.  Towards the close of his life Mr. Farnum was in poor health, and this fact compelled him to resign from his post as town clerk in 1901 and thus ended an official career which had brought him nothing but honor and the community only good. He had also held a number of other posts of importance, among which was that of tax assessor, his membership on the board being of long standing.  When the District Court system was established in this region he was appointed assistant justice, and had already served as trial judge for a number of years.  He was for twenty-five years justice of the peace, and for a long period was coroner.  In 1888 he was elected by a safe majority to represent the community in the State Senate and showed himself  in all these capacities to be possessed of unusual foresight and good judgment and fully capable of handling the affairs of his constituents and the community-at-large.  Mr. Farnum was also a conspicuous figure in the social and fraternal life of Glocester, and was a member of a number of important organizations here and was particularly active in Charles E. Guild Post, Grand Army of the Republic, with which he was affiliated.  For several years he conducted a successful insurance business and, indeed, there were few aspects of the community's life with which he was not connected in a prominent manner.

Mr. Farnum's many sterling qualities made him a splendid type of the useful citizen who places public interests before private ones.  A gentleman of the old school, with inflexible ideals of a past generation where questions of ethics and practical conduct were concerned, he was singularly free from the corresponding prejudices.  A man of the day, a progressive business man in all matters where the methods of the present did not cross swords with his convictions of the right, his influence was a most potent one and, what is even rarer, always exerted in the cause of right and justice.  In the end, indeed, it was not in any of his concrete achievements, noteworthy as these were, that his real power lay, and it might truly be said of him that until one knew him personally he could not form a judgment  of his actual worth. Behind the things that a man does lies the still more important thing that he is, and it was from this final and most fundamental term most of all that his virtues went forth to affect the world about him.  He did much, but he was more, and it was in him as an example of good citizenship and worthy and virtuous manhood that the chief virtue lay.

Charles W. Farnum was united in marriage, May 10, 1874, with Mary S. Steere, born August 25, 1839, daughter of Harris and Adah (Tucker) Steere, who survived him, her death occurring August 12, 1906.  Mr. and Mrs. Farnum were the parents of two children:  Howard Wayland, mentioned below, and Ernest L., born Dec. 16, 1876, and died Aug. 11, 1878.

(VI)  Howard Wayland Farnum, son of Charles W. and Mary S. (Steere) Farnum, was born February 4, 1875, in Chepachet.  He received his early education in the district schools and at the English and Classical High School at Providence, from which he was graduated in 1894, and in the same year he entered Brown University, from which he was graduated with the class of 1898.  After leaving the university Mr. Farnum engaged in the insurance business with much success, and later added the mortgage and real estate business, and these and the management of his private interests, which are extensive, take much of his time.  Mr. Farnum is a staunch Democrat, and in 1899 and 1900, and since 1915 to the present time (1918), he has served as Senator from Gloceseter.  During the latter part of his father's term of office, he served some years as deputy town clerk. Under the old system he was moderator of school districts Nos. 3, 4, and 5, in Glocester, for a number of years.  He succeeded his father as a trustee of the Chepachet Cemetery Association, and has since been elected president and trustee. When Colonel George H. Brown Camp, No. 20, Sons of Veterans, was organized at Chepachet, Mr. Farnum was one of the charter members, and he took an important part in the work of that organization, having been elected lieutenant and later captain of the same.

On November 22, 1899, Mr. Farnum married Maud Louise Read, born March 9, 1874, the only daughter of the late Hon. Walter A. Read, general treasurer of Rhode Island, and Charlotte (Owen) Read.  Mr. and Mrs. Farnum reside on the old homestead of his father, which is one of the most attractive homes in Chepachet."

Farnum gravestones in Smithfield Historical Cemetery #35.


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project. Transcription and pictures 2001-2 by Beth Hurd

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