Zeph. W. (Zephaniah Walter) Pease.

History of New Bedford (Volume III) online

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fourteen 3'ears. At the age of twenty-one he was captain of a merchant-
man, and for twenty-two years he trod his own quarterdeck, but always
in the merchant serv'ice. When tiring of the sea and craving the com-
forts of land and home. Captain Gibbs entered business life in New
Bedford ; he was as successful as a merchant and lumber dealer as he had
been as a navigator and master mariner. He came rightly by the love for
the sea, his father. George Crocker Gibbs, being a sea captain, five of his
sons also being master mariners, and back of Captain George C. and
his five sea captain sons was his father, Caleb Gibbs, born in Sandwich,
Massachusetts, but whose home and business were on the sea. These
three generations of seafaring men made the name one of the best known
in marine annals, and one of the heads, Captain George C. Gibbs, died



NEW BEDFORD 469

at sea off Charleston, South Carolina, on his own vessel, the "Paugasset."
He was brought to New Bedford and there buried in Rural Cemetery;
his fourth son, Captain Lot H. Gibbs, is also buried there.

Caleb Gibbs, grandfather of Captain Lot Gibbs, was a resident of
Sandwich, a sailor engaged in the coasting trade, and there died Feb-
ruary 27, 1847, at the age of eighty-two. He was head of a large family,
most of his sons becoming captains of vessels, engaged in whaling. This
review follows the career of his son, Captain George C. Gibbs, and his
grandson. Captain Lot H. Gibbs, both of whom were captains in the
merchant service. George C. Gibbs was born in what was then a part
of the town of Sandwich, in the village of Monument, but later the town
of Bourne. He followed the sea all his life, became a master mariner,
and met his death at sea, on his own vessel, May 22, 1849. He married
Mary Cotton Haskell, daughter of Lot and Elizabeth (Cotton) Haskell,
and a descendant of Rev. John Cotton, one of the early settlers of
Halifax, Massachusetts. Captain George C. and Mary (Haskell) Gibbs
were the parents of six sons, five of whom became sea captains, and a
daughter, Mary Lucretia, who married Charles T. Bonney. This review
continues with the life story of the fourth son, Captain Lot Haskell
Gibbs.

Captain Lot Haskell Gibbs was born at Rochester, Massachusetts,
February 17, 1830, died in New Bedford, Massachusetts, September 2,
1904. He attended the town school until fourteen years of age, then
made his first sea voyage, sailing with his father. Captain George C.
Gibbs, making his first voyage in 1844. For seven years he sailed con-
tinuously before the mast and as mate, receiving his master's papers and
first command in 1851. He continued a master of coasting vessels for
twenty-two years, 1851-1873, then retired from sea service, covering a
period of twenty-nine years.

With honors fairly earned, with a fine record and the good will of
his owners and of the men who had sailed with him, some of them from
boyhood. Captain Gibbs retired at the age of forty-three years, and for
eight years thereafter engaged as grocer and ship chandler in New Bed-
ford, the family home since 1846. At the end of that period he became a
ship broker, and in addition dealt heavily in lumber, principally box
board, buying in large quantities and shipping to New York and Phila-
delphia. He continued in that business until his death, winning as
notable success in the last quarter century of his life as in the first.
While taking no part in political affairs beyond exercising his privileges
and responsibilities as a citizen, he was interested in all that pertained to
the public welfare, and in his political preference was a Republican.
He was a member of the Masonic order, affiliated with Star in the East
Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons ; while his religious association was
with the Trinitarian church. New Bedford. Quiet and unassuming,
upright and honorable, he was highly esteemed for his sterling attributes
of character, and left a substantial record.



470 NEW BEDFORD

Captain Gibbs married, in Rochester, Massachusetts, December 5,
1867, Jennie W. Leonard, daughter of Theodore Washburn and Sarah
(Cathein Leonard, her father a descendant of James Leonard, the early
ironmaster of Taunton, Massachusetts. Mrs. Gibbs survives her hus-
band, a resident of New Bedford, a member of the Trinitarian church,
and interested in other good works. Captain and Mrs. Gibbs are the
parents of a daughter and son : Elizabeth Leonard, bom December 16,
1S6S, died November 28, 1902, wife of Rolland N. Van Buskirk, of New
York, and the mother of Elizabeth and Eleanor Van Buskirk ; George
Crocker Gibbs. born in New Bedford, Massachusetts December 16,
1S72, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technolog}% C. E., and
of Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an or-
dained priest of the Protestant Episcopal church, and is now stationed
at the Royal Palace Hotel, Paris, France, as a representative of the
American Lniversit}- Union in Europe.

The line of descent from James Leonard, the founder, to Mrs. Jennie
W". Gibbs, is through his son, Benjamin Leonard, his son Joseph Leonard,
his son Captain Philip Leonard, his son George Leonard, his son George
(2) Leonard, his son Theodore Washburn Leonard, his daughter,
Jennie W.. widow of Captain Lot H. Gibbs. The first six genera-
tions named were ironmasters without interruption, hut in the seventh
generation Theodore W. Leonard broke the line of ironmasters by be-
coming a merchant in that part of the town of Rochester which later
became Marion, but still later returned to Rochester, succeeding to the
mercantile business of his father, George (2) Leonard. Theodore W.
Leonard was born at Middleboro, Massachusetts, August i, 1812, died
in Rochester, Massachusetts. February 28, 1881. His parents moved to
Rochester in 1822, and there he was educated. He made a whaling
voyage prior to his marriage, and one after that happy event, but there-
after was engaged as a merchant until his death. He was a good busi-
ness man. successful in his undertakings, and highly esteemed as an
honorable, upright citizen. He married Sarah Cathell, born in Rochester,
who survived him, daughter of James and Jane (Dexter> Cathell. Both
Theodore and Sarah Leonard are buried in the cemetery at Rochester
Centre. They were the parents of two daughters and a son : Emily F.,
deceased ; Jennie W.. married Captain Lot H. Gibbs ; Charles T.. de-
ceased.



ALONZO E. COVIL.

When a lad of sixteen, Alonzo E. Covil came to New Bedford, and
the same year (1852) shipped on board a whaling vessel. The sea did
not prove to his liking, and in the course of time he became a hotel
proprietor, being engaged in the hotel business in Chicago at the time
of the g^eat fire in 1S71. Finally, New Bedford again attracted him.




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NEW BEDFORD 471

and as manager of the Parker House Livery Stable and later in the
livery business under his own name, he was well and favorably known.

Alonzo E. Covil was born in Pontiac, Rhode Island, in 1836, and
died in New Bedford, Massachusetts, June 3, 1893. He was educated in
the public schools and Pierce Academy in Middleboro, but at the age of
sixteen he left school to ship on a New Bedford whaler. The work on
the whaler was distasteful to him, and he left as quickly as possible,
and for the following three years he was purser on a steamship running
between New York and Savannah. He next took an interest in the
Planters Hotel, in Richmond, Virginia, and for four years was proprietor
of that hostelry, running it in partnership with a Mr. Smith. From
Richmond he went to Chicago, Illinois, was for a time a wholesale junk
dealer, but soon became interested in the hotel business, continuing
until driven out by the fire of 1871. After the fire he returned to New
Bedford, there managing the Parker House Livery Stable until its sale
to Kirby & Hicks. He then represented the Kirby interest until 1892,
when he bought the John Snow stable, located at the corner of Elm street
and Acushnet avenue, and until his death operated it under his own
name. He was greatly interested in politics, but never sought office for
himself.

Mr. Covil married, July 3, 1858, Harriet H. Manchester, of Little
Compton, Rhode Island, who survived him with a son and daughter,
who continued their residence at No. 48 High street.

Orion E. Covil, only son of Alonzo E. and Harriet H. (Manchester)
Covil, was bom in New Bedford, Massachusetts, February 17, i860, and
died at Waverly, January i, 1913. He completed a course in graded
school and then attended the Nancy Burr private school. He conducted
a store at the corner of Second and School streets. He was a member of
the firm of Covil & Pease, fruit and produce business, for a number of
years, and had a branch store in the summer season at Cottage City and
afterward at Nantucket. He also conducted a large livery business
during the summer months at Nantucket, and after the death of his
father he succeeded him in the livery business, located at the corner of
Elm street and Acushnet avenue. He then sold his interests in Nan-
tucket to his partner, confining himself to his New Bedford business.
For a number of years Mr. Covil was one of Mayor Ashley's closest
political advisers, and at the same time there existed a strong intimacy
between Mr. Covil and David L. Parker, and at dififerent times during his
career Mr. Covil was an active supporter of both men, when their in-
terests were not opposed. In the last successful campaign of Mr. Parker,
prior to the death of Mr. Covil, for the Republican State Committee, Mr.
Covil gave freely of his waning strength to advance his friend's interests.
At Nantucket, where Mr. Covil spent a part of the summer seasons, he
was an important factor in swinging the greater part of the island vote to
William S. Greene, in the memorable Slade-Greene controversy, one of
the most hotly contested of any in the veteran congressman's long career.



472 NEW BEDFORD

Always possessed of a keen sense of humor, Mr. Covil went to Nantucket
and there raised the battle cry, "Remember what Slade did to the fisher-
men," and before the campaign had ended, the fisherman of that place
polled one of the heaviest votes in years, all of which were for William
S. Greene. After the campaign was over, one of Mr. Covil's intimate
friends approached him and asked : "What was it that Slade did to the
fishermen?" "I don't know," was Mr. Covil's answer, with a keen sense
of the humor of the situation. Mr. Covil was one of the charter members
of the New Bedford Driving Club, and up to the time when his health
failed him, had always taken a deep interest in the affairs of the organ-
ization. Twenty years prior to his death he owned a number of fast
horses, and was an enthusiastic follower of track events. He was also
a member of the local lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of
Elks.

Mr. Covil married, December 26, 1900, Clara P. Brown, who survives
him.

Annella W. Covil, only daughter of Alonzo E. and Harriet H.
(Manchester) Covil, was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. She
was educated in the schools of New Bedford, later was her father's and
brother's assistant, and since the death of her brother has managed the
livery business very successfully. She is one of the well known and
highly esteemed residents of New Bedford.



RUFUS ALBERTSON SOULE.

Rufus Albertson Soule, the son of Thomas Howard Soule and Mar-
garet Albertson Dunham, was born in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts,
March 16, 1839, and died in New Bedford, Massachusetts, January 9,
1913. He was a direct descendant of George Soule, a Mayflower pas-
senger and signer of the Immortal Compact. On his mother's side he
was a descendant of John Dunham, the founder of the Dunham family
in America.

His father, Thomas H. Soule, was long identified with the business
and civic life of New Bedford. Although born in Enfield, Massachusetts,
his home was in Duxbury, where he learned the trade of ship building.
He came to New Bedford in 1841, and in 1856 founded the firm of
Edwards & Soule, shipbuilders, continuing actively in this business until
his retirement in 1872. Mr. Soule took a deep interest in public affairs.
He was a member of the Republican party from its formation. He was
one of the first Republicans to be elected to the legislature from New
Bedford, serving in 1857-58, and supported Charles Sumner for United
States Senator. He was a member of the Common Council of New
Bedford, and took an active part in the establishment of the Free Public
Library. He was also active in and long identified with the Old Fire




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Cl.




NEW BEDFORD 473

Department. He died in 1900, at the age of ninety, a man beloved and
respected by all who knew him.

Of his five children, four were sons. These four sons enlisted and
took their part in the Civil War. The eldest, William T., was a member
of the First and Fourth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry ;
Rufus A. enlisted in Company E, Third Regiment Massachusetts Volun-
teer Infantry; Henry W. served with the famous Third Battery, Massa-
chusetts Light Artillery, and was killed in the second day's fight at
Gettysburg; Thomas H., Jr., served in the navy, and was with Admiral
Farragut at Mobile Bay.

Rufus A. Soule was born in Mattapoisett. When he was a small
child his parents moved to New Bedford. He received his education in
the public schools of New Bedford and lived all his life in that city. In
the spring of 1858 he became a clerk in the employ of the Union Boot and
Shoe Company. This was his introduction to a business with which he
was destined to become intimately connected in later years with another
New Bedford man, Savory C. Hathaway. They enlisted and served in
the same company, and their friendship begun in the army continued
during their lives.

The large and prosperous business of Hathaway, Soule & Harring-
ton, Inc., was begun by Savory C. Hathaway in July, 1865. Very soon
Mr. Soule became silent partner, and the name of the firm was changed
to S. C. Hathaway & Co. Two years later, Mr. Soule gave up his clerk-
ship and became an active partner in the firm of Hathaway & Soule.
Later, Herbert Harrington, of Boston, was admitted to the firm, and the
firm became Hathaway, Soule & Harrington. Still later, a stock com-
pany was organized under the title of Hathaway, Soule & Harrington,
Inc. In 1905 Mr. Soule retired from the shoe business. This business
grew and prospered for forty years. From its small beginning, the com-
pany became one of the largest concerns in the trade, selling dirct to
the retail dealers.

In 1905 Mr. Soule was appointed Collector of the Port of New Bed-
ford. From that time until his death, Mr Soule devoted his time to the
duties of the collector's office and to his many corporate interests. He
was the first president of the Dartmouth, Soule and Neild Mills, and
president of the City Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of cotton
goods. He was vice-president of the New Bedford Safe Deposit and
Trust Company, president of the Acushnet Cooperative Bank, and
director of the New Bedford Cooperative Bank. He also served his city's
business interests as president of the Board of Trade. In the business
world of his city his judgment was deferred to, and he was rated one of
the leaders among men of affairs.

Mr. Soule always took an active interest in public affairs. He was
a member of the New Bedford Common Council for several years. In
1874 he was unanimously chosen president of that body. For a number



474 NEW BEDFORD

of years he was a member of the City Republican Committee. In 1878-79
he served as a member of the lower house of the Massachusetts Legis-
lature. He was returned to the House of Representatives by the largest
plurality ever given by the Legislature up to that time. For eight years,
from 1896 to 1904 inclusive, he served his State as State Senator. For
two years he was president of the Senate. He was a man of zeal, judg-
ment and ability, his record as a legislator being one of faithful, efficient
service. Alert and clear-minded, enthusiastic, with an earnest desire to
be of genuine service to his State, he was an ideal senator. He gained
the reputation in the Senate of being a tireless worker, while his energy,
persistency and initiative made him a valuable worker in committee and
routine work. His success in politics w'as well earned, his remarkable
personal magnetism winning him his first legislative victory, while his
honesty, fearlessness and ability won the continued support of his dis-
trict and the respect of his party opponents.

He was a member of the Wamsutta Club, New Bedford, and of the
^lassachusetts Chapter of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. In
the Masonic order, he held the degrees of Star of the East Lodge, Adoni-
ram Chapter and Sutton Commandery, his membership in these bodies
being of long standing.

Mr. Soule was a devoted Grand Army man. Of all the organizations
with which he was connected he loved best the Grand Army of the
Republic. He served his own Post, the R. A. Pierce Post of Xew Bed-
ford, twice as commander, in 1893 and 1906. He was commander of the
Bristol County Association of the Grand Army of the Republic, and
served several terms on the staff of the commander-in-chief of the
National Grand Army of the Republic.

On August 28, i860, Mr. Soule married Susan C. Nesmith, of Bucks-
port, Maine. They were the parents of three children: ^Margaret H.
(Mrs. Garry de N. Hough) ; Lois M. (Mrs. Alexander T. Smith) ; and
Rufus A. Soule, Jr.

To whatever cause needed his assistance, Mr. Soule gave his intelli-
gent and loyal service, and his influence and example in temperate and
upright living have been an inspiration to those who have been blessed
with his acquaintance. His interest in children and all young people,
especially the boys who came so frequently to him for advice and assist-
ance, endeared him to a host of friends who cherish and honor his
memory. Mr. Soule possessed the best traits of the good old New
England gentleman. His aims were high and he attained them. Loyal
to town, to State and country, and all the worthy interests within his
reach, he lived a grand and beautiful life, and his name will be cherished
always by all who had the honor of his friendship. In the death of Mr.
Soule the Commonwealth lost one of its most useful and valued citizens.
His long and honorable career left the memory of incorruptible integrity,
which is the best heritage a man can leave.



NEW BEDFORD 475

FREDERIC TABER.

A native son of New Bedford, a city in which his life has been
passed, Frederic Taber, banker and manufacturer, has interests of great
importance in the city of his birth, and others of perhaps less importance
in outside cities. He left college in 1877 to become his father's business
associate. The company with which he was first identified, indelibly con-
nected the Taber name with the business of mechanical art, and lives
to-day in the Taber Prang Art Company of Springfield, Massachusetts,
but in New .Bedford was long known as Charles Taber & Company, and
when incorporated, as the Taber Art Company. William C. Taber,
grandfather of Frederic Taber, was proprietor of a book store on Union
street in the early days of New Bedford. Nearly a century has elapsed
since William C. Taber began his book business in New Bedford ; his
son, Charles Taber, with his brothers expanded and gave it a national
reputation, three hundred persons at one time finding employment in the
several buildings in which the Taber Art Company conducted their
enterprise. This business was brought to so high a state of development
that the product of their art plant could be found literally everywhere.
With its removal from New Bedford, Mr. Taber's interest lessened, but
as director and vice-president of the Taber Prang Art Company, he
retains an interest acquired in his early manhood.

The Tabers of New Bedford spring from Philip Taber, the Pilgrim,
who was of Watertown, Massachusetts, as early as 1634. He is found in
the records of Watertown, Plymouth, Yarmouth, and Martha's Vine3'ard,
of New London, Connecticut, Portsmouth, Providence and Tiverton,
Rhode Island, and was a man of prominence. His son, Thomas Taber,
was equally prominent in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, his home being in
that part now Fairhaven. There his house was burned by Indians in
1675. His first wife was Esther (Cook) Taber, a granddaughter of Rich-
ard Warren, of the "Mayflower;" his second wife, Mary (Thompson)
Taber, was a granddaughter of Francis Cook, the "Pilgrim." The line
of descent is through Joseph Taber, son of Thomas and Man,' (Thomp-
son) Taber; their son, Benjamin Taber, and his wife, Susannah (Lewis)
Taber; their son, Benjamin (2) Taber, and his second wife, Eunice
(Worth-Gardner) Taber ; their son, Barnabas Taber, and his wife, Mary
(Congdon) Taber; their son, William C. Taber, and his wife, Hannah T.
(Sherman) Taber; their son, Charles Taber, and his wife, Sarah Jane
(Howland) Taber; their son, Frederic Taber, and his wife, Elizabeth
Delano (Howland) Taber; their son, Frederic Howland Taber, of the
tenth American generation, founded in New England by Philip Taber.
It is particularly with Charles Taber and his son Frederic that this re-
view will deal.

Charles Taber was born in New Bedford, April 20, 1822, died No-
vember 17, 1887, son of William C. and Hannah T. (Sherman) Taber.
His father was also born in New Bedford, and in addition to the book



476 NEW BEDFORD

store, of which he was proprietor, and prominent in other business affairs,
he was for sixty-three years connected with the New Bedford Institu-
tion for Savings in an official capacity, part of that time being its presi-
dent. He also represented the Xew Bedford district in the State Senate,
and left to his son both an example and an inspiration.

Charles Taber prepared at Friends' Boarding School, Providence,
Rhode Island, and completed his classical education at Haverford Col-
lege, near Philadelphia. He began business life as his father's clerk in
the Union street book store, becoming a partner in 1S43. This business
was knowTi as : William C. Taber & Son, William C. Taber & Sons, C.
& A. Taber. and Charles Taber & Company. During the years Charles
Taber was connected with it, the store on Union street was enlarged by
taking in the comer store and starting a branch on Purchase street. In
connection with the book store, the company conducted a publishing busi-
ness, and among their more important publications were several numbers
of the New Bedford Directory. They also operated a bindery, and a store
for the sale of nautical instruments which the company manufactured.
About 1859 Charles Taber became interested in the manufacture of am-
brot>-pe copies of steel engravings, and that became his chief interest,
the book department being moved to the Purchase street stores. In 1862
he sold his interest to his brothers, Abraham and ^^"illiam C, and to his
art business he added photogfraphs, artotj-pes, medallions, frames, cards
and fancy cabinets. Later his brother. William C. (2), became identified
\\-ith this branch, and when, in 1893, the firm of Charles Taber & Com-
pany was succeeded by the incorporated Taber Art Company, he became
its first president. Charles Taber continued the head of the business he
founded, and to his enterprise and business ability its prosperous condi-
tion was largely due. He was a birthright member of the Society of
Friends, maintained a Sunday School in the Union street store, was super-
intendent of Friends' Sunday School on Spring street, and was a leading
member of the Xew England Yearly Meeting. He married Sarah J.
Howland, they the parents of Charles M., Frederic. Elizabeth K., and
Emma C.

Frederic Taber, second son of Charles and Sarah J. (Howland)
Taber, was born in Xew Bedford, Februan.- 26, 1S56, and yet resides in
his native city, one of her foremost sons. After graduation from Friends'
School in 1872, he entered Brown University-, class of '76, but after com-
pleting his freshman year, left to become his father's business assistant.
In 1882 he was admitted a partner in the firm, Charles Taber & Com-
pany, his father, himself, and brother, Charles M., with William C. Taber
composing the firm. The business built up by the firm was incorporated
in 1893 as The Taber Art Company, Frederic Taber, secretary-. In Au-
gust, 1897, a merger was arranged with the Prang Company, the merger
being the Taber Prang Art Company, of which Frederic Taber is vice-
president, the headquarters of the company being as Springfield, Massa-



Online LibraryZeph. W. (Zephaniah Walter) PeaseHistory of New Bedford (Volume III) → online text (page 21 of 33)