The old and knightly family of Trafford, seated at Trafford in the county palatine of Lancashire from a period antecedent to the Norman Conquest, has preserved from time immemorial an unbroken male descent. From Randolphus de Trafford, who flourished in the time of King Canute, the Dane, about the year 1030, sprang the great house of Trafford which has since uninterruptedly held a most distinguished place among the first families of Lancashire, England.
For two hundred and more years in the ancient town of Dartmouth in this Commonwealth there has lived and flourished a family of Traffords whose antecedents perhaps are traceable to the ancient English Traffords just alluded to. The progenitor of the Dartmouth family was Thomas Trafford, whose father (as tradition goes) was a wealthy gentleman who lived near London, England, and who was selected as a victim for death during the Catholic persecution in England, he belonging to a prominent Protestant family; he left his home and chartered a vessel to remove himself and family to America. Here he passes out of the family knowledge. The vessel, however, is said to have landed at Dartmouth about 1690, bringing his two sons, with one of whom, Thomas, this article has to deal. Thomas Trafford married, lived in Dartmouth, and left posterity, although the vital records of the town are silent as to the surname of his wife and the names of his children, save one son, Philip. The Christian name of the wife of Thomas was Mary.
Now for well on to a century the Trafford name in Dartmouth and Fall River has been closely identified with the industrial life of that section, successive generations of the family having been manufacturers of cotton goods – the late William Bradford Trafford, long actively engaged in manufacturing in Fall River, and the founder of what became the Westport Manufacturing Company, and his sons, the present William C, Andrew E., Charles A., Allison W., Henry Lester, Perry Davis, and Bernard Walton Trafford, and it goes without saying, all have been substantial men and influential citizens of their community.
From the settler Thomas Trafford and his wife Mary, the lineage of the present Trafford brothers – William C. and Andrew R. – of the Westport Manufacturing Company is through Philip, Joseph, William Bradford and William Bradford (2). These generations in such detail and family history as is obtainable and in the order given follow.
Philip Trafford, son of Thomas and Mary, born May 7, 1719, married March 27, 17– Naomi, born Sept. 24, 1725, in Dartmouth, daughter of Jedediah and Penelope (Tripp) Allen. To. this couple came children according to, Dartmouth public records:
- Joseph Trafford, born 17th of 5th month, 1750
- Mercy Trafford, born 2d of 10th month, 1751
- Daniel Trafford, born 22d of 2d month, 1753
- Penelope Trafford, born 25th of 8th month, 1754
- Samuel Trafford, born 12th of 9th month, 1755
- Mary Trafford, born 9th of 11th month, 1757
- Elizabeth Trafford, born 11th of 3d month, 1760
- Mehetabel Trafford, born 11th of 4th month, 1761
- Naomy Trafford, born 14th of 11th month, 1763
- Susannah Trafford, born 30th of 3d month, 1766
- Sarah Trafford, born 15th of 3d month, 1769
Joseph Trafford, son of Philip and Naomi (Allen) Trafford, born 17th of 5th month, 1750, in Dartmouth, married Sept. 22 (or 29), 1777, Ruth, born Dec. 19, 1754, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Tripp) Macomber, of Dartmouth, Mass. Mr. Trafford is said to have been a man of considerable force of character. He lived and died in Dartmouth, a worthy citizen. During the Revolutionary war he was out in the service; is reported as having enlisted May 10, 1775, in Capt. Thomas Kempton’s company, in the regiment commanded by Col. Timothy Danielson, in which organization he is credited with having served two months and twenty-six days. He was again out in October of that same year. He left children
- William Bradford Trafford
- Philip Trafford
- Phoebe Trafford
- Ruth Trafford
- Naomi Trafford
William Bradford Trafford, son of Joseph and Ruth (Macomber) Trafford, married Nov. 1, 1810, Sarah Castino, daughter of Raymond Castino and his wife Phoebe (Salisbury), he being a Frenchman by birth who came to America and settled in Westport, Mass. Mr. Trafford was a mariner and is supposed to have been lost at sea, as after one of his voyages no tidings were heard of him. Among the children of Mr. and Mrs. Trafford were:
- Nancy A. Trafford
- Ruth Trafford
- William Bradford Trafford, born Dec. 15, 1819
William Bradford Trafford (2), son of William Bradford and Sarah (Castino) Trafford, was born Dec. 15, 1819, in Dartmouth, Mass. With practically no school advantages, having at the early age of ten years begun the battle of life as an employee in one of the mills in Fall River, he began what in time proved to be a successful career. His father was lost at sea when the son was but an infant and in time the latter became the main support of his mother and family. When but fifteen years old Mr. Trafford began doing business on his own account and from that time on through his long life he was a man of industry and thrift and accomplished much. At first he rented machinery for manufacturing purposes. In 1846, associated with one Augustus Chace in the spring of the year, Mr. Trafford purchased a lot with water privileges at what is known as Globe Village and erected a small mill for the purpose of spinning coarse yarn. This for the want of means they equipped with second-hand machinery; thus they began and under difficulties, for with poor machinery it was hard for them to secure operatives, and in consequence they had much of the work to do themselves, and much of the time it meant long hours, they often working half the night; but they were young, brave and ambitious and in the end won out. In time Chace & Trafford, for this was the firm name, enlarged the capacity of their mill and had prospered to the extent that they purchased what was styled the Westport mill. At this juncture of proceedings Mr. Trafford came into the management of the Westport mill and removed thither; this was in the month of June, 1854. In the early sixties the interests of the two men were divided, and with Mr. Trafford became associated his two half brothers, George and Elijah Lewis, who had been previously connected with the business, these gentlemen taking the Westport mill and organizing the Westport Manufacturing Company. Of the concern Mr. Trafford was manager up to the time of his death, in 1880.
In September, 1876, Mr. Trafford again took up his residence, in Fall River, where he continued to reside up to the time of his death. He was for many years a director of the Fall River National bank. In his earlier life, in the year 1857, he was a State senator from the Tiverton (R. I.) district. He was a member of the Franklin Street Christian Church at Fall River. In his political affiliations he was a Republican.
Mr. Trafford was twice married, marrying (first) May 15, 1842, Abby W. Borden, who died Nov. 2, 1856. To them came children:
- William C. Trafford
- Andrew E. Trafford
- Charles A. Trafford
- Orrin F. Trafford, the latter of whom was thrown from a buggy Nov. 18, 1880, and instantly killed.
On April 19, 1858, Mr. Trafford married (second) Rachel M., daughter of Perry and Ruth (Macomber) Davis, and to them came children:
- Allison W. Trafford
- Henry Lester Trafford
- Perry Davis Trafford
- Bernard Walton Trafford
Mr. Trafford died Feb. 4, 1880, at his home in Fall River, Mass., and there in the beautiful Oak Grove cemetery rest his remains beneath a costly shaft erected by a loving family.
Mrs. Rachel M. (Davis) Trafford, widow of William Bradford Trafford, was born in North Westport, Mass., July 31, 1839, daughter of Perry and Ruth (Macomber) Davis, and died at her home, No. 762 President avenue, Fall River, on July 16, 1910. She was a woman of a pleasant and social nature, displaying excellent judgment in everything she did. She was much interested in the Day Nursery and in the Woman’s Union, and attended the Central Congregational Church. Mrs. Trafford built the large house on Rock street now occupied by Dr. A. J. Abbe and lived there until about 1902, when she erected the house on President avenue where she resided during the winter months, as she spent her summers at her home at Horseneck Beach. Mrs. Trafford is survived by one sister, Mrs. A. D. Borden, and one brother, Jonathan Davis, of Swansea.
William Chapin Trafford, son of William B. and Abby W. (Borden) Trafford, was born in Globe Village, Fall River, Jan. 5, 1846. He attended school in Dartmouth and Westport and Middleboro Academy, and at the early age of ten years began working in the mill of the Westport Manufacturing Company, later for a time in the company store. For some years he was bookkeeper in the office of the Westport Manufacturing Company, and in July, 1872, became treasurer of that concern, a position he fills at the present time. On Nov. 17, 1869, he married Amy Genevieve Hardenbergh, and they have one daughter, Leone Lester. Mr. Trafford has a beautiful home at Westport factory, and a summer home at Horseneck Beach, but spends his winters in Florida or California. He is a Mason, belonging to Noquochoke Lodge, A. F. & A. M.
Andrew R. Trafford, born May 22, 1848, son of William B. and Abby W. (Borden) Trafford, like his elder brother was educated in the schools of Dartmouth and Westport and Middleboro Academy. His business life has been spent with the Westport Manufacturing Company, and he makes his home at Westport Factory, residing in California in the winter. He married Clara Reed, of Dartmouth, and to them were born four children:
- Abby Warren Trafford
- Orrin I. Trafford
- Edith Trafford
- Wenona Trafford (who died Jan. 30, 1908, in California)
Charles A. Trafford, third son of William Bradford and Abby W. (Borden) Trafford, was born in Globe Village, Fall River, Mass., Feb. 22, 1851. He attended Bryant & Stratton’s business college in Boston, after which he was for some years manager of the Westport Factory store. In 1878 he engaged in the wholesale shoe business in Providence, R. I., later becoming interested in the insurance business. In 1895 he went to Worcester, Mass., where he represents the New York Life Insurance Company. He married (first) May 15, 1872, Sarah L. Gifford, who was born Oct. 14, 1853, and died July 16, 1890, daughter of Abraham E. and Meribah Gifford. They had two children:
- Minerva Trafford, born Nov. 8, 1873
- William Bradford Trafford, born Dec. 1, 1880 (who died May 6, 1901)
Mr. Trafford married (second) Oct. 14, 1891, Emily Gifford (sister of his first wife), and they have two children:
- Charles A. Trafford, Jr., born Dec. 28, 1893
- Katherine N. Trafford, born March 13, 1900
Fraternally Mr. Trafford is a Mason.
Orrin F. Trafford, fourth son of William Bradford and Abby W. (Borden) Trafford, married Ellen A. Lapham, and they had two children:
- Rachel B. Trafford
- Orina I. Trafford
Mr. Trafford was thrown from a buggy Nov. 18, 1880, and was instantly killed.
Allison W. Trafford, son of William B. and Rachel M. (Davis) Trafford, was born at Westport Factory, Nov. 1, 1858, and was educated in the schools of Dartmouth, Westport and Fall River. From 1878 to 1892 he was engaged with the firm of Braman & Trafford in the wholesale shoe trade in Providence, R. I., and from 1892 to 1897 was in the insurance business in that city. In 1897 he and his brother Bernard W. established the Sterling Manufacturing Company in Fall River, Mass., for the manufacture of ring travelers, and in 1908 the Sterling Ring Traveler Company was incorporated, with A. W. Trafford as president and treasurer. In 1882 Mr. Trafford was married to Harriett E. Lewis, daughter of Levi Lewis, in Providence, R. I. They had children: Inez, who married Hugh W. Clarke, has a son Hugh, Jr., and resides at Coldwater, Mich.; and Grace Bernard, deceased. Mr. Trafford was a member for nine years of the First Light Infantry of Providence, and is a member of the Veteran Association.
Henry Lester Trafford, son of William, after graduating from the Fall River high school in 1882, took a business course at the Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, N. Y. From 1883 to 1887 he was engaged with the Westport Manufacturing Company. In the latter year he associated himself with Mr. E. A. Dunham under the firm name of Dunham & Trafford as general agents of the Equitable Life Assurance Society in Providence, R. I. In 1894 he went to Worcester, Mass., for the New York Life Insurance Company, and since that date has acted as general agent for that section. Mr. Trafford married Amy Molton.
Perry Davis Trafford, son of William Bradford and Rachel M. (Davis) Trafford, was born at Dartmouth, Mass., Nov. 6, 1866, and in 1876 came with his parents to Fall River. He graduated from the Fall River high school in 1883, and from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1885. Four years later, in 1889, he was graduated from Harvard, and in 1891 from the Harvard Law School. In the fall of 1891 he went to New York and has since been engaged continuously in the practice of law, doing a good deal of trial work. He is a member of the firm of Miller, King, Lane & Trafford, with offices at No. 80 Broadway, New York City. Mr. Trafford makes his home at Short Hills, New Jersey.
On Nov. 26, 1898, he married Grace Elizabeth Meeker, and they have four children:
- Melinda Trafford, born Nov. 28, 1901
- Perry Davis Trafford, born Aug. 3, 1903
- Ruth Trafford, born Aug. 13, 1906
- William Bradford Trafford, born March 22, 1910
Mr. Trafford is a Republican, a member of the Association of the Bar, of the Harvard Club, the University Club of New York City and of the Baltusrol Golf Club.
Bernard Walton Trafford, son of William Bradford and Rachel M. (Davis) Trafford, was born at Dartmouth, Mass., July 2, 1871. He prepared for college at the Fall River high school, and at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N. H., and graduated from Harvard University, where he was very prominent in athletics. All his business life has been with the American Telephone & Telegraph Company, or its associated companies, which make up the so-called Bell system. He was first with the parent company in Boston, and moved from there to Philadelphia, thence to Washington, D. C, and from there to Detroit, Mich., and since May 1, 1911, has had his headquarters in Chicago.
In the Middle West five of the former associated Bell companies are being operated as one unit. These companies are: Wisconsin Telephone Company, Michigan State Telephone Company, Chicago Telephone Company, Cleveland Telephone Company and Central Union Telephone Company. Their territory embraces the States of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and while not actually consolidated, the same set of officers act for each of the above named companies. Mr. Trafford is vice president of these companies and has charge of the commercial or business side of the enterprise.
Mr. Trafford resides at Lake Forest, IL, about thirty miles north of Chicago. He married June 5, 1901, Leonora, daughter of Hon. Spencer Borden, and a descendant of one of the oldest and most prominent families of Fall River, Mass. Mr. and Mrs. Trafford have four children:
- Leonora Trafford, born June 14, 1902
- Rachel Trafford, July 19, 1903
- Bernard W. Trafford, Jr., April 30, 1905
- Annette Trafford, Oct. 9, 1908