Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Biographical, 95
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History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

p. 423 - 424:

H. Anthony DyerCOLONEL HEZEKIAH ANTHONY DYER  --  In Rhode Island, Colonel H. Anthony Dyer, placed by the leading critical authorities among the ablest exponents of landscape art, is known and appreciated not only for eminence among American artists but for a type of citizenship of constant service for the public good.  Colonel Dyer is a member of the family of proud place in Rhode Island and New England history, and the chapter written in his day and generation, adding achievement in a new field, is well added to the family record.

Colonel H. Anthony Dyer, son of Governor Elisha and Nancy Anthony (Viall) Dyer, was born in Providence, R. I., October 28, 1872.  He obtained his general education in St. Paul's School and Brown University, leaving the former institution in 1890, and graduating from the latter in 1894, with the degree of Bachelor of Science.  He followed art study in France, Italy, and Holland, and has made landscape painting his field of endeavor.  From 1897 to 1900 he was executive secretary to his father, then governor of Rhode Island, and was aide-de-camp on his staff, with the rank of colonel, during the same period, throughout the Spanish War.

Numerous pictures by Mr. Dyer are on permanent exhibition in the Corcoran Gallery, of Washington, D. C., the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Providence Art Club, while many of his paintings are in private collections. He is universally regarded as a representative American painter in water color of landscape subjects, a talented artist whose work has attracted wide attention and strongly favorable comment.  He is a member and ex-president of the Providence Water Color Club, member and from 1904 to 1914 president of the Providence Art Club, and a former member of the Boston Water Color Society, and the Boston Art Club.  He is well known as a lecturer on art and travel topics, and fills many engagements of this nature throughout the East.  In 1919 he was honored with the degree of A. M. from Brown University, and he was also made an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa.

An inherited love for political activity and party affairs has given him keen interest in the political situation in his native State.  He has never entered public life as an office holder, but from 1916 to 1919 was president of the Republican Club of Rhode Island, a loyal supporter of his party, and highly regarded in party councils.  Colonel Dyer was chairman of the speakers' bureau for the Food Administration of Rhode Island early in the United States' participation in the war, and was afterwards made, by the Council of Defense, chairman of the speakers' bureau for the State of Rhode Island, the two later being merged.  He was appointed by Governor Beeckman a director of the Community Councils of Defense for Rhode Island and became a member of the Council for Rhode Island of the 'four-minute men', working in cooperation with the Bureau of Public Information.  He was also director of speakers of the United War Work Activities campaign, and during the war he gave without limit of his services and ability in the publicity campaigns for the various agencies of victory, the government, social service, and welfare organzations.  His previous experience as a lecturer stood him in good stead and he was particularly effective in addressing large audiences. Throughout all of his war work he enjoyed the confidence of the people of his State to a marked degree, and his leadership met with a ready response in every relation of the war.  His work, since the victory of the allied cause, continues in his chairmanship for Rhode Island of the Fatherless Children of France, a philanthropic organization whose name bespeaks its purpose.

Colonel Dyer is a junior warden of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, and is an active worker in his denomination, a member of the standing committee of the Episcopal church of Rhode Island, and in 1919 a deputy from Rhode Island to the general convention of the Episcopal church at Detroit.  By that body he was appointed to the Army and Navy Commission.  He is a member of the Society of Colonial Wars, the Hope Club, and the Rotary Club.  His fraternity, to which he was elected during his college years, is the Sigma Chapter of Psi Upsilon.

Colonel Dyer married, in 1899, Charlotte Osgood Tilden, daughter of the late Henry and Isabel (Congdon) Tilden, and they are the parents of one daughter, Nancy Anthony, who is studying art to keep up the family tradition.

p. 424 - 425:

Richard B. ComstockRICHARD BORDEN COMSTOCK  --  For forty years a practitioner at the Rhode Island bar, located in Providence, Mr. Comstock has as persistently and ably fought the peaceful battles of the courts as his father, Captain Joseph Jesse Comstock, fought the elements while in command of coastwise and ocean steamships.  In the seventh American generation the Comstocks developed their nautical strain, Jesse Comstock, son of Benjamin Comstock, being captain of a packet running between Providence and New York, while his brother, Captain William Comstock, was one of the noted navigators and builders of his day.  Captain William Comstock first followed the sea as cabin boy, was captain of the 'Fulton', and built the 'Massachusetts', a side-wheeler of which he was very proud, it being said that every stick of timber in her bore his initials, W. C.  He was in command of the 'Massachusetts' and also built the 'Mohegan' and the 'Rhode Island', all of these running between Providence and New York.  He was captain of the packets 'Juno' and 'Venus', and after retiring from active life on the sea was for many years agent at Providence for the New York and New Jersey Steam Navigation Company, and for a time president of both the Merchants' Insurance Company and the Commercial National Bank.  His brother, Captain Jesse Comstock, was less widely known, but Captain Joseph Jesse Comstock, son of Captain Jesse Comstock, bore general reputation as one of the most able masters and navigators of his day.  One of his sons, Captain Charles Cook Comstock, was captain of the steamer, 'Golden Gate', and died in Panama in 1873.  Richard Borden Comstock, brother of Captain Charles Comstock, is the only one of his family to have embraced a profession, no other lawyer appearing in the records of this branch.

The line of descent to Richard Borden Comstock, of the ninth generation, is traced to William Comstock, who, going from Watertown, Mass., is first of record at Wethersfield, Conn., in 1641.  The line of descent is through his son, Samuel Comstock, of Hartford, Conn., and Providence, R. I.; his son, Captain Samuel Comstock, of Providence, R. I. his son, Captain John Comstock, of Providence; his son, Samuel Comstock, of Providence, who married a great-granddaughter of Chad Brown; his son, Benjamin Comstock, of Providence; his son, Captain Jesse Comstock, whose youngest son, Jesse Comstock, was lost in the burning of the ship 'Lexington', January 13, 1840; his son, Captain Joseph Jesse Comstock, of further mention, father of Richard Borden Comstock, of Providence.

Captain Joseph Jesse Comstock was born in Providence, February 12, 1811, and died in New York City, August 16, 1868.  He early emulated the example of his father and uncle, both masters of vessels, and while yet a young man was captain of a Sound steamer running between Providence and New York.  Later he was in command of the 'Baltic' and 'Adriatic', transatlantic steamships, the 'Adriatic' being the second largest steamship afloat at the time of her launching.  Captain Comstock commanded the 'Baltic' during the Civil War, his ship being used as a government transport. While carrying troops the 'Baltic' was often in the war zone, and from her decks, Richard Borden Comstock, who accompanied his father on all his southern trips witnessed the fall of Port Royal, New Orleans, and Charleston. Captain Comstock married (first) Ellen Cowin, born in Liverpool, England, December 21, 1815, died in Providence, February 23, 1837.  He married (second) Maria S. Taber, born April 21, 1814, daughter of Captain John R. Taber, of Fairhaven, Mass.  Children:  Joseph, born in 1836, died in 1837; Joseph Jesse, major in the Fourteenth Regiment, Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, during the Civil War, died March 14, 1903;  Charles Cook, captain of the 'Golden Gate', died in Panama in 1873;  Ellen, born in 1842, died Aug. 22, 1863, married Admiral J. N. Miller, of the United States Navy, now deceased;  Adelaide H., died in Feb., 1918; Emma Russell, deceased;  Frank, deceased;  Frederick Hunter, deceased;  Amelia Townsend, deceased;  Richard Borden, of further mention.

Richard Borden Comstock, youngest child of Captain Joseph Jesse Comstock and his second wife, Maria S. (Taber) Comstock, was born in Jersey City, N. J., February 15, 1854.  During his early life, prior to the death of his father in 1868, he made many voyages on the 'Baltic' and other steamships his father commanded, but later devoted his time to school work, several years being spent in boarding schools at Ridgefield, Conn., Yonkers, N. Y., and Lawrenceville, N. H.  His preparation for college was completed at Mowry and Goff's English and Classical School, of Providence, and in 1872 he entered Brown University.  He was graduated A. B., class of 1876, and immediately began the study of law under the preceptorship of Elisha C. Mowry, an eminent lawyer of Providence.  He was admitted to the Rhode Island bar in 1878, his practice having been continuous since that date.  In 1881 he was admitted to practice in the Federal Courts of the district, and in 1892 formed a partnership with Rathbone Gardner. Comstock & Gardner ranked among the most important legal firms of the State until April 1, 1905, when he formed his present association, Comstock & Canning, with offices at No. 926 Grosvenor building.  Mr. Comstock is a member of the various bar associations of his city and State, is a Democrat in politics, and in 1892-93 represented the city of Providence in the State Senate.  During 1915 and 1916 he served as president of the Rhode Island Bar Association, and is now filling his second term as head of that association, his term expiring in 1920.  In social as well as professional circles he is widely acquainted, being a member of the Hope, University, Turk's Head, Providence Art, Wannamoisett Country, and Rhode Island Country clubs.  While a student at Brown University, he was elected to membership in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, and the Phi Beta Kappa.  Notwithstanding the engrossing nature of his professional work, Mr. Comstock found time for outside activities, and upon the entry of the United States into the World War he became a member of the partnership for victory formed by the citizens of the county.  His response to every need, whether of the government or organizations working among the soldiers and sailors, was immediate and effective.  His enthusiastic, confident leadership was felt in all of the splendid work that stands lastingly to Rhode Island's credit, and particularly in the five Liberty Loans was his work valuable.  The record of his patriotic service throughout the war is a worthy supplement to a lifetime of distinguished professional work.

Mr. Comstock married, July 19, 1883, Alice Green, daughter of Samuel S. Green, until his retirement professor of languages at Brown University and author of 'Green's Grammar'.  Mr. and Mrs. Comstock are the parents of three daughters:  Marjorie Stuart, a graduate of Smith College, class of 1907, married Henry C. Hart, a lawyer of Providence;  Louise Howard, a graduate of Smith College, 1909, married Langford T. Alden, of Little Compton, R. I.;  Alice May, a graduate of Smith College, 1912, now (1919) in Young Men's Christian Association work in France."

p. 425:

F. S. StranahanFARRAND STEWART STRANAHAN  --  As head of the firm of Stranahan & Company, Mr. Stranahan holds notable position in financial circles in Providence, where he has been in business since 1906, since 1910 operating in stocks and bonds under the present style.  In addition to his own successful enterprise, which prior to the war maintained offices in Providence, New York City, Boston, and Worcester, Mr. Stranahan has extensive private interests, financial and business, and is associated with the social and civic life of his city in many organizations.  His support of progressive movements for the advancement of Providence is assured, and during the World War he was a leader in the activities of the government and relief organizations, his services particularly useful and effective in the five Liberty Loan drives.  Mr. Stranahan, through devoted and high-minded service, contributed largely to the splendid showing made by his adopted State in its subscriptions to each issue.

Farrand Stewart Stranahan is the son of Farrand Stewart and Miranda Aldis (Brainerd) Stranahan, a direct descendant of Roger Williams in maternal line, and was born in St. Albans, Vt., May 20, 1869.  He attended public and private schools, also Harvard Law School, but after legal preparation chose a business rather than a professional career, and was first employed as a clerk in the Walden National Bank of St. Albans, Vt., which had been an interest in his family for considerable time.  After several years in this employ, he became a salesman for a well-known bond house of New York, and with a year of successful experience, established, with Joseph Balch, a New England branch of the firm of O'Connor & Kahler. In 1906, Mr. Balch and Mr. Stranahan formed a partnership and began independent dealings in stocks and bonds, their association lasting until 1910, when Mr. Stranahan continued the businesss alone under the corporate title of Stranahan & Company.  Under Mr. Stranahan's direction the field of the company was so widened that the establishment of branches in New York, Boston, and Worcester became necessary, and continued prosperity has resulted from his wise and careful management.  Stranahan & Company, during the nine years of its existence, has grown into the confidence of a numerous clientele of high standing, confidence gained and justified by the adherence of Mr. Stranahan and his associates to the fairest principles of strict business dealings.

In his private operations Mr. Stranahan has always been interested in public utilities as a profitable field of investment and he holds official connection with many such enterprises.  In addition to the executive control of Stranahan & Company, he is president of the Public Light & Power Company of Tennessee, treasurer of Purity Cross, of Orange, N. J., the Tennessee Water Company, the Usave Stores Corporation, of Boston, Mass., and several others.

While a resident of Vermont, 1898-1900, he was prominent in State military affairs and served as a member of the staff of Governor E. C. Smith, with the rank of colonel.  He has met the many demands of good citizenship in his new as in his old home, and served with particular distinction as chairman of the speakers' bureau for the State of Rhode Island in all of the Liberty Loan and War Savings Stamps drives.  His long financial experience gave him eminent qualifications for this important post and his wide acquaintance among men expertly versed in the sale of securities was a valuable aid in securing the speakers best fitted to present the government's proposition  to the people of the State.  Mr. Stranahan is a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, second class, is vice-president of 'The Players', and his clubs are: the Harvard, of New York, Providence, and Boston; the Turk's Head, Art, and Wannamoissett Country, of Providence.

Mr. Stanahan married, June 6, 1894, Florence Gertrude Bruce, of St. Albans, Vt., and the family home is at No. 133 Hope street, Providence. They have one son, Farrand Stewart, Jr., a student in Harvard University."


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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