SOULE (New Bedford family). The family bearing this name at New Bedford, Mass., is a branch of the Old Plymouth family, descending from George Soule, one of the “Mayflower” Pilgrims and a signer of the compact in 1620. The present head of the family is the Hon. Rufus Albertson Soule, citizen soldier, now collector of the port of New Bedford, who for many years has been a conspicuous figure in the business and political life of that place, a public servant of high and honorable service, one who as man, citizen and neighbor enjoys that popularity that comes to but few.
The name Keith has been a conspicuous one in the history of this Commonwealth since the first interior settlement was made, and the descendants of this time-honored family have been prominently identified with the development and growth of this community from the time of the ordination of the first minister of the settlement – Rev. James Keith, in 1664 – down to the present time, covering a period of nearly 250 years. This article is to treat particularly of the branch of descendants of Rev. James Keith to which belonged the late Simeon Cary Keith, who was an honored citizen of West Bridgewater, and his three sons, Warren R. Keith, who is president of the Independent Oil Company, of Brockton; Edward H. Keith, who is ex-mayor of the city of Brockton, and general inspector of the George E. Keith Company’s shoe factories; and S. Elliott Keith, who was a foreman in the extensive shoe manufacturing plant of the George E. Keith Company for a number of years and is now secretary of the Independent Oil Company. The ancestry of this branch of the family follows in chronological order.