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designer, filling that position five years, until 1916, when he was pro-
moted to his present position, superintendent. While engaged at the
Whitman Mill he was assistant instructor at the New Bedford Textile
School, from which he had graduated not many years before, an institu-
tion whose usefulness he appreciated and was willing to extend.

Mr. Buckley married, July i, 1908, Ruth Whalley, born in New
Bedford, daughter of John and Ann Whalley, her father an overseer of
spinning at the Whitman Mills. Charles E. and Ruth Buckley are the
parents of three sons and a daughter: Norman C, born April 29, 1909;
Edward W., born April 28, 1910; Ruth, born August 23, 1912, and James
M., born March 24, 1915.



NEW BEDFORD 353

CLARENCE E. BENSON.

Although born in Biddeford, Maine, Mr. Benson was brought to the
State of Massachusetts by his parents at so early an age that he is to all
intents and purposes a native son. His mill career began at Fall River,
the foundation there being laid upon which he has since built wisely and
well, being now superintendent of the Booth Manufacturing Company,
a corporation of New Bedford operating two mills and employing six
hundred hands in the manufacture of plain and fancy silk goods and
novelties. He is a son of Luther J. Benson, born February 12, 1840, a
loom harness manufacturer at Fall River, now living there retired. Lu-
ther J. Benson married Harriet E. Davis, born in 1842, she and her hus-
band both born in Biddeford, Maine.

Clarence E. Benson was born in Biddeford, Maine, August 8, 1867.
At the age of five years he was brought to Lawrence, Massachusetts, and
there completed his public school course in high school. He began mill
work at Fall River. Massachusetts, with the Richard Borden Manufac-
turing Company, there remaining two and a half years. His next engage-
ment was with the Centerville Cotton Manufacturing Company at Cen-
terville, Rhode Island, and continued two and one-half years, his posi-
tion, overseer of spinning. From Centerville he went to the Berkshire
Cotton Manufacturing Company at Adams, Massachusetts, remaining
there seven years as overseer and eight years as assistant superintendent.
He was next on duty as superintendent of the spinning department of the
Arlington Mills at the home of his boyhood, Lawrence, Massachusetts,
and there he was until October, 1914, when he resigned to accept his
present post, superintendent of the Booth Manufacturing Company, New
Bedford. He is a capable official, well liked, and highly regarded by
those over whom he has authority and holds the confidence of those in
authority over him. He is a Republican in politics, a member of the
Masonic order, being past master of Berkshire Lodge of Adams, and a
member of St. Paul Commandery of North Adams, Massachusetts, also
a member of the Congregational church.

Mr. Benson married, at Fall River, Massachusetts, July 23, 1893,
Agnes G. Musson, born June 5, 1867. Mr. and Mrs. Benson are the par-
ents of Edith Irene, born January 6, 1896, Colby Hamilton, February 2,
1897.



JOHN CARLOS da SILVA PITTA, M. D.

Of ancient family, both paternal and maternal, which is duly
recorded and preserved in the Library of Angra, Terceiva Island, Azores
group, Portugal, Dr. Pitta brought to New Bedford the medical and
surgical lore gained in the schools of Lisbon and here has demonstrated
the depth of his learning and skill. Not only has he ministered to the
physical woes of his countrymen, but as their vice-consul, representing

N B-i3



354 NEW BEDFORD

the government of Portugal for over ten years, he was to them much
more than the physician. He is the only child of John Augusto Betten-
court Pitta, a lawyer, and a grandson of Nicolau Bettencourt Pitta, a
physician, born on the island of Madeira, Portugal, who later was
physician at Holy Ghost Hospital in Angra, Azores, Portugal. He had
children: Nicolau Bettencourt Pitta; Theotanio Bettencourt Pitta;
Manuel Nicolau Bettencourt Pitta, a physician ; John Augusto Betten-
court Pitta, of further m.ention ; Gregorio Bettencourt Pitta ; Helena
Bettencourt Pitta ; Adelaide Bettencourt Pitta ; Sampaio and Carlota
Bettencourt Vasconcellos Pitta.

John Augusto Bettencourt Pitta was a lawyer and district attorney,
first in Fayal, Horta, later in Angra, Terceiva, Azores. He married
Maria da Gloria da Silva, of Angra, they the parents of an only child,
whose career follows :

John Carlos da Silva Pitta was born at Horta, Fayal, Azores, Por-
tugal, May 26, i860. Later his parents moved to Angra where his father
was eminent in the law, his grandfather in medicine. He obtained his
primary education in Angra, then was sent to Lisbon, capital of Por-
tugal, and a city of fine educational institutions, there completing
academic and professional study. From the Academic School he passed
to the Polytechnic School, thence to the schools of medicine and sur-
gery, finally receiving his degree and authority to practice in 1884. He
visited Paris at three different periods where he was in receipt of
instruction in the leading hospitals. He also spent a short time in
Charing Cross Hospital, London, and his work in the United States has
been supplemented by attendance in various cities at hospitals and
clinics. For a season he practiced in Angra. and then was physician and
surgeon to Holy Ghost Hospital in addition to a private practice. In 1895
he came to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he is firmly established
as a physician and surgeon of learning, skill and integrity. He is a
member of the emergency staff of New Bedford ; Bristol County Medical
Society ; Massachusetts State Medical Society ; New Bedford Medical
Society; the International Surgeons Club, Rochester, Minnesota; Ameri-
can Medical Association; Monte Pio Society, a beneficial society; The
Portuguese Fraternity of the United States, America ; the Portuguese
Catholic Beneficial Society ; St. Anthony Portuguese Beneficial Society ;
life member of the American Red Cross and of the Loyal Order of
Moose. He is a member of the Dartmouth Club, the New Bedford
Country, the Portuguese Masonic Club, and in religious faith is a Roman
Catholic. For ten years preceding the overthrow of Portugal's mon-
archial form of government, he represented the interests of his fellow
countrymen in New Bedford as vice-consul, duly accredited by the
government of Portugal to the government of the United States.

Dr. Pitta married, in Boston, Massachusetts, January 31, 1900, Anna
Mac Kay de Almeida, born in the Island of Flores, Azores, Portugal,
April 26, 1876, daughter of Manuel Pedro Fustado de Almeida, a lawyer,



NEW BEDFORD 355

who served as judge substitute and district attorney in Flores, Azores,
then was sent by the Portuguese government to Boston, Massachusetts,
as consul. He filled that post until the overthrow of the monarchial
government and the proclamation of the Republic of Portugal. His
wife was Jessie Mac Kay de Almeida. Dr. and Mrs. Pitta are the parents
of Carl Almeida Pitta, born September 27, 1900; Mercedes Almeida
Pitta, born February 21, 1902; Clarice Almeida Pitta, April 6, 1910; the
two eldest are students in New Bedford High School. Dr. Pitta's
residence is No. 57 Allen street, and office is No. 43 Allen street, New
Bedford.



WILLIAM JAMES KERWIN.

Born in far away Melbourne, Australia, of Irish parents, Mr. Kerwin
has tasted life on the Island Continent, the Mother Country. Great
Britain, and her daughter, the United States, all three now locking arms
for the great struggle which shall decide forever the question, "Shall
Democracy live or shall it be strangled by self elected forces, claiming
to rule by Divine right." For more than a quarter of a century Mr.
Kerwin has been a resident of Massachusetts, his New Bedford coming
dating from 1904. He has been for many years engaged in cotton
manufacture in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Providence, Rhode Island, and
New Bedford, his position, superintendent of the Beacon Manufacturing
Company, a corporation capitalized at $800,000, operating three mills,
employing twelve hundred and fifty hands in the manufacture of blankets
and napped goods. The position of superintendent of the Beacon Com-
pany carries with it grave responsibilities, and these Mr. Kerwin meets
by having men who perform the work to the satisfaction of all who are
aflfected by his rulings and official action.

William James Kerwin was born in Melbourne, Australia, No-
vember 20, 1868, but educated in the public schools and Smart's Academy
of Bradford, England. He is a son of William James and Mary E.
(Brennan) Kerwin, born in Ireland, his father an engineer. After the
family came from Melbourne to Bradford, the boy completed his edu-
cation and there remained until 1890, becoming an expert in the manu-
facture of worsted goods. In 1890 he came to the United States, made
settlement at Lawrence, Massachusetts, and became an employee of the
Pacific Mills of that city, in the worsted department, remaining one year.
He then went to the Atlantic Mill in Providence, Rhode Island, there
continuing until 1904, reaching the position of assistant-superintendant
after several minor promotions. In that year he came to the super-
intendency of the Beacon Manufacturing Company of New Bedford, has
won high reputation as a cotton mill official, and there yet continues.
Mr. Kerwin is a Republican in politics, and during the years 1909-10
represented his ward on the New Bedford Board of Aldermen. He is
a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Benevolent and Protective



356 NEW BEDFORD

Order of Elks, the Wamsutta Club, and of St. Anthony's Roman
Catholic Church.

Mr. Kerwin married in Providence, October, 1893, Anna Elizabeth
Warren, born there, daughter of James and Mary E. (Burke) Warren.
Mr. and Mrs. Kerwin are the parents of three sons and a daughter, all
born in Providence: William James (3), born in 1895; Harold Edward,
1896, now a student in the Baltimore School of Dental Surgery; Ernest
Warren, 1897 ; all graduates of New Bedford High School. William J.
and Ernest W. now in training for mill officials, specializing in chemi-
cals and dyes. Gladys May, the only daughter, born in 1900, is yet a
high school student.



ROBERT LINDSAY.



Through a long course of technical study and experimental
laboratory work, Mr. Lindsay has come to his present position, super-
intendent of the gas department of the New Bedford Gas and Edison
Light Company. Chemistry, ever a favorite study, has been caused to
yield to him important secrets, but they were diligently and intelligently
sought for and came as the result of painstaking labor and study. He is
an authority on the chemist's view of gas manufacture and distribution, a
branch of scientific study and practical business that he has been con-
nected with from his nineteenth year when he first entered the employ
of his present company as their chemist.

Robert Lindsay was born in Glasgow, Scotland, November 22,
1871, son of William Archibald Lindsay, an engineer, and his wife, Mary
(Hynd) Lindsay, the Lindsays an ancient Scottish Clan of high standing.
Robert Lindsay attended Glasgow public schools, the College of Science
and Arts and Technical School before coming to this country, and in
New Bedford attended both the Swain Free School of Design and the
Textile School, taking the mechanical engineering course at the latter
institution and graduating from both. In August, 1890, he entered the
employ of the New Bedford Gas and Edison Light Company, as
chemist ; not that his studies were over for they had but begun, and
during the quarter of a century which has since elapsed his work has
been one long series of problems submitted and many of them solved,
and many still in the course of solution but the answer still afar oflF.
His library of works pertaining to chemistry and chemical research is
very large, and his spirit of investigation carries him deep into their
contents. In 1910 he became superintendent of the gas department, an
immense business in itself, when it is recalled that the company in New
Bedford, Acushnet and Fairhaven has a total of one hundred and fifty-
five miles of main pipe ; that in New Bedford alone there are twenty-one
thousand five hundred and eighty-two gas meters ; that they supply gas
to twenty-one thousand two hundred and fifty-five gas stoves, and that




Q-^itif-aV'Ci -T/leyi^-aT)/, ^ 1^ C/



NEW BEDFORD 357

for the financial year ending July i, 1916, their sales of gas increased
$15,976.13.

Mr. Lindsay is a member of the National Commercial Gas Asso-
ciation, member of the American Gas Institute, member of the New
England Association of Gas Engineers, member of the Order of Scottish
Clans, the Caledonian Club, Abraham H. Howland Lodge, Free and
Accepted Masons. In addition to his weighty duties and responsibilities,
he took the course of military training at Plattsburg, New York, and is
qualified for service as an officer if called. In religious faith he is a
Presbyterian.

]Mr. Lindsay married, in New Bedford, December 23, 1889, Elnora
Elizabeth Leuchsenring, her parents born in Germany. They are the
parents of a son, Robert Bruce, born January i, 1900, now a student at
Brown University, class of 1920.



EDWARD STETSON, D. D. S.

Among the dentists of by-gone days in New Bedford, Dr. Edward
Stetson occupies a prominent position. His life in New Bedford covered
a half century of most startling change and progress, a city springing
into existence and becoming the seat of a prosperous manufacturing
business, the whaling industry breathing its last after bringing to New
Bedford wealth and prestige such as no other New England city enjoyed.
During those years, 1826-84, Dr. Stetson, as business and professional
man, had a share in the upbuilding of the town and city, was long a
dental practitioner with an office in his residence on Purchase street, and
was one of the strong men of the Masonic order, holding high degree,
and taking active part in the work of the bodies of the order to which he
belonged. He lived to advance far into the rank of octogenarian, lack-
ing little of reaching his eighty-fifth year. He was a man of kindly,
happy disposition, always cheerful and helpful, and even after passing
his eightieth year gave little indication of the great weight of years he
was carrying. He had many friends and was everywhere welcome. He
left no son to bear his name, but a daughter and a granddaughter sur-
vived him. This daughter, Charlotte M. A. C, married William Spauld-
ing, their only daughter, Mary Clarke Spaulding, still being a resident of
New Bedford, widow of John Stirrett, and mother of Chester Spaulding
Stirrett, D. V. S., now a member of the Veterinary Corps, United States
Army, enlisting from New Bedford.

Dr. Edward Stetson, a descendant of Cornet Robert Stetson, who
came to New England from England, in 1634, was born at Hanover,
Massachusetts, November 3. 1800, and died in New Bedford, Massachu-
setts, June 12. 1884. He was educated in the Hanover schools and learned
the locksmith's trade, remaining in Hanover until 1826, when he moved
to New Bedford. Here he opened a locksmith shop and continued in



358 NEW BEDFORD

that business for a time, but soon began the study of dentistry, and in
due season was qualified and authorized to practice that profession.
While the dentist of the middle nineteenth century period can only be
compared with his brother of the early twentieth century period in name,
yet he was a very important man in his community, and with the aids to
dentistry limited to little more than a pair of forceps did very creditable
work. Dr. Stetson kept his office abreast of all modern dental discovery,
and was skilled in his profession as it was then practiced. He maintained
an office in his residence and practiced until well along in years. Out-
side his profession. Dr. Stetson was best known as a leading member of
the Masonic order, holding all degrees of the York Rite, and in the Scot-
tish Rite held the thirty-second degree. For more than twenty years
immediately preceding his death he was treasurer of Star in the East
Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, holding that position at the time of
his death, and was also for a number of years treasurer of Adoniram
Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, both of New Bedford. He was a sir knight
of De Molay Commandery, Knights Templar, of Boston.

Dr. Stetson married, September i8, 1827, Mary Clarke, born in Sep-
tember, 1800, a well educated lady, daughter of Joseph Clarke, of Middle-
boro, Massachusetts. Dr. and Mrs. Stetson were the parents of a daugh-
ter, Charlotte M. A. C. of further mention.

Charlotte M. A. C. Stetson was born in New Bedford, Massachu-
setts, August 31, 1831, and died there February 4, 1907. She married,
October 11, 1857, \\'illiam Spaulding, they the parents of a daughter,
Mary Clarke Spaulding, born in New Bedford, October 28, 1858, and is
yet a resident of her native city. She married, in January, 1885, John
Stirrett. Mrs. Stirrett is a Daughter of the American Revolution.

Chester Spaulding Stirrett, son of John and Mary Clarke (Spauld-
ing) Stirrett, was born in New Bedford, December 9, 1885. He was edu-
cated in the city public schools, Taber Academy at Marion. Friends
Academy of Providence, and the University of Pennsylvania. His term
at the last named institution was short, ending with the first year, Mr.
Stirrett leaving to take up the study of veterinary surgery at McKillip's
Veterinary College, Chicago, Illinois, whence he was graduated Doctor
Veterinary Surgeon. .A.fter graduation Dr. Stirrett located in Durham,
South Carolina, where he practiced until 1916, then returned to his native
New Bedford, being there a resident at the time of his enlistment in the
Veterinary Corps, United States Army. He is a member of the Benevo-
lent and Protective Order of Elks.



ARTHUR WHITTON FORBES.



In 1862, Henry H. Forbes, grandfather of Arthur W. Forbes, began
the manufacture of carriages at No. 33 Elm street. New Bedford, being
.senior member of the firm, Forbes & Sears. In 1872 his partner with-



NEW BEDFORD 359

drew and Mr. Forbes continued the business until 1877, when Charles H.
Forbes, his son, became interested in the business which was operated
under the firm name, Henry H. Forbes & Son. Later J. H. Forbes
bought the business, which he conducted until February, 1891, when he
sold out to H. C. Hathaway. This plant was on Elm street, which was
then Third street, now- Acushnet avenue. The carriages were then built
entire, iron work, woodwork, upholstering and painting, the Forbes car-
riage having a fine reputation. Charles H. Forbes married Emmeline H.
Whitton, they the parents of Arthur Whitton Forbes. His mother's
father, Levi H. Whitton, was a son of William Whitton, who came from
England to New Bedford, was a whaler, and with Francis Whitton be-
came the largest rigging and ship chandlery firm of New Bedford, rig-
ging many whale ships and having their place of business where John
McCullough (2nd) is now located, his father being one of their employees
in youth, and succeeding them in the ship chandlery business. But the
glory of the rigger and the carriage builder has departed from New Bed-
ford, and this twentieth century descendant is the superintending head of
a business then unheard of, shoe eyelet manufacture, also unheard of by
his grandfathers, busy rigging ships and building carriages.

Arthur Whitton Forbes, son of Charles H. and Emmeline H. (Whit-
ton) Forbes, was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, March 23, 1868,
and is yet a resident of the city. He attended public school until twelve
years of age, then left to become part of the office force of Hiram Van
Campen. insurance, he and Mr. Van Campen composing the employing
and the employed staff. Two years were spent thus, then he went to
the Union Shoe Store as clerk, the store being then located on William
street, under the old Mechanics Hall, which for a time was used as an
armory by Company E, of the Massachusetts National Guard. For nine-
teen years Mr. Forbes was connected with the shoe business in New
Bedford, continuing in that line of merchandise until 1901, when he
entered the employ of the J. C. Rhodes & Company, Inc., manufacturers
of shoe eyelets, on Front street. New Bedford. He began as a machine
operator, advancing through several promotions until he was appointed
to his present position, superintendent and assistant-general manager.

Mr. Forbes has reached a responsible position in life, but it is not
at all the life he craved for. When a boy, fired by the tales of his whaler
grandfather, he determined that he too would be a whaler, and at four-
teen he cruised in Buzzard's Bay in a ten-foot skiff and camped at many
points on its shores and islands. It is doubtful whether that love of the
sea and its life of adventure has ever died, although his ambitions were
never to be realized. He still thinks a power boat for pleasure is an
abomination, spoiling all the good corinthian yachtsmen, turning them
into "monkey wrench sailors." For twenty years he has stuck to his
sailing skiflf, feeling that gasoline takes away all the true life and
romance which should be gained by contact with the sea. He is a mem-



36o NEW BEDFORD

ber of John H. Clifford Camp, No. 150, Sons of Veterans, which he
served as captain ; was councilman from Ward 4 during the mayoralty
terms of David L. Parker ; was secretary of the New Bedford Yacht
Club ; member of the Country Club, and politically a Republican.

Mr. Forbes married, in the old Fairhaven Congregational Church,
October 5, 1892, Minerva L. Westgate, of Fairhaven, Massachusetts,
daughter of Stephen and Laura Westgate, her father a master mechanic
of the Old Colony and the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad
Company. They were the parents of a daughter, Elizabeth Claire Forbes,
born in 1895. She is a pianist of note, making her professional debut in
New Bedford, at the age of seventeen, as .soloist with the Boston Sym-
phony Orchestra, Dr. Muck conducting. She married, in 1917, Charles
De Malley, of Boston, also a member of this orchestra.



CHARLES MASON HOLMES.



Charles Mason Holmes, organizer, treasurer and agent of the Holmes
Manufacturing Company, is one of the men who contributed to that era
of New Bedford's industry in which New Bedford won first place among
the cotton manufacturing cities of the United States. Mr. Holmes's
achievement was unusual in several particulars. The manufacture of
cloths and yarns was a well established industry at the time he built his
mills, but there had been no local development of the mercerizing and
dyeing of the yarns produced, these processes having been left to outside
plants. Mr. Holmes undertook to add these processes to that of the
manufacture of fine combed yarns, and within a short time secured an
identity through the trade marking of his goods which gave the Holmes
product a reputation and enviable name throughout the country.

The Holmes mill made handsome earnings from the start, which was
an unusual thing at this period, because, while the building of the mill
was started when the cotton industry was on the top of the wave, a
depression intervened in the interval between the commencement and
completion of the mill, and many of the new enterprises which were
inspired by the earlier prosperity which led to the multiplication of new
enterprises, were put to their shifts to finance them over the lean years
which followed. It is therefore a personal tribute to Mr. Holmes's per-
ception and sagacity, exceptional training and experience, and business
ability, that he produced a special type of yarns which appealed to buyers
in a market surfeited with conventional product. So it happened that
whereas some other of the new mill enterprises were compelled to run
at a loss until business revived, the Holmes mill earned dividends
throughout these unpropitious times.

Mr. Holmes crjme of a race of cotton manufacturers and his experi-
ence was wide and thorough. His career brings credit to New Bedford,
inasmuch as most of his earlier training was in the mills of New Bedford.





^2^w4^-.-^^.



NEW BEDFORD 361

Mr. Holmes was born in Providence, March 23, 1864, the son of Denison
Baldwin Holmes and Catherine Elizabeth (Whitman) Holmes. His
great-grandfather, Olney Angel, of Centerdale, Rhode Island, built and
operated the old Graystone mill, which was the second cotton mill in the
United States. His maternal grandfather, William Whitman, of Center-
dale, was also a cotton manufacturer. His uncle, Gilbert P. Whitman,
built the Armory mills of Manchester, New Hamp.shire ; and another



Online LibraryZeph. W. (Zephaniah Walter) PeaseHistory of New Bedford (Volume III) → online text (page 7 of 33)