The Stetson family of Bridgewater is one of the oldest and most prominent in that section of the State, and it has for upward of two centuries been identified with the manufacturing interests of the town, its representatives being the founders of the iron industry of Bridgewater. Especial reference is made to Capt. Abisha Stetson, who was one of the first to engage in the iron business; his son, Nahum Stetson, whose name was a household word in his native town, and who by his great foresight, enterprise and progressive ideas built up the great Bridgewater Iron Works; and the latter’s sons and grandsons, all men of substance and good citizenship.
Cumberland Rhode Island
William Sturdy, as he was thenceforth known, then shipped on an American schooner lying at Leghorn, and bound for the United States. He finally landed at Beverly, Mass., June 9, 1809. From the port of Beverly he made several voyages as mate of American schooners, but finally abandoned the seas. He married in Beverly Clarissa Whittemore, who was born in that town Jan. 28, 1794. After their marriage they settled in Attleboro, Bristol county, where Mr. Sturdy bought land lying on the west shore of the Falls pond and engaged in farming until 1827. Here ten of his fourteen children were born. About that time, 1827, “the initial efforts in cotton manufacturing on the Blackstone had opened the way for the employment of minors,” and Mr. Sturdy availed himself of this opportunity because it had become impossible for him to procure a proper subsistence for his large family from his farm. In that year he sold out and removed to the Blackstone Valley, locating at Slatersville, town of North Smithfield, R. I., where he and his children found employment in the cotton mills. He later settled in Blackstone, Mass., where he died Oct. 16, 1834. He was a hardworking man, honest and upright in his dealings, and his large family of fourteen children reflected great credit on their home training. The wife and mother died Feb. 13, 1856.
The Baylies family of America is descended from Nicholas Baylies, who appears on June 5, 1706, as a witness to the marriage of his son Thomas, and is described as “of the parish of Aloe-Church, County of Worcester.” He was a Quaker in his religious belief.Thomas Baylies, born in England in 1687, married June 5, 1706, Esther Sargeant, daughter of Thomas Sargeant, of Ffullford-Heath, in the parish of Soby-Hull, County of Warwick. He carried on iron-works in England, first at Colebrookdale, and afterward at some place on the Thames. With his son Nicholas and daughter Esther he came to Boston from London in June, 1737, then returned, and the year after brought over his wife and four daughters, two married daughters remaining in London. After living a short time in Cumberland, R. I., he “leased the industrial establishment on the Mumford river, where Whitinsville is now located, for twenty-one years at £34 a year. They produced or dealt in ‘pigg’ and ‘barr’ iron, nails, ‘ankonys’ and other merchandise; owned cattle and much other property. Their establishment was widely known as Baylies’ Refinery or Finery. The older son, Thomas, Jr., did not appear in this undertaking, but located at Taunton, Mass.” Thomas Baylies died at Uxbridge March 5, 1756. Both he and his wife were Quakers.
Lawrence Wilkinson, the first of the race here in New England, was born in Lanchester, County of Durham, England, a son of William Wilkinson by his wife Mary, sister of Sir John Conyers, Bart., and the grandson of Lawrence Wilkinson, of Harpley House, Durham. He was a loyalist, and at the surrender of Newcastle, 1644, was taken prisoner by the Parliamentary and Scotch troops. At this time he held a lieutenant’s commission. He was deprived of his property, and his estates sequestered by order of Parliament. After having obtained special permission from Lord Fairfax, chief commander of the Parliamentary army, he embarked with his wife and child for New England, leaving, according to Somerby, in 1652. Arriving at Providence he signed the civil compact and received a gift of twenty-five acres of land and commenced his pioneer life. He was admitted as one of the original “Proprietors of Providence.” He soon acquired a large real estate, and held a prominent position among his fellow citizens. He was frequently chosen to fill offices of trust in the infant colony; was elected a member of the Legislature in 1659 and subsequently. He was an active business man. He participated in the Indian wars. He lived in his adopted country nearly half a century. His death occurred in 1692.
Walter Ballou, one of the representative citizens and well-known jewelry manufacturers of North Attleboro, where for upward of a half century he has been a member of the jewelry manufacturing firm of R. Blackinton & Co., is a native of the State of Rhode Island, born in the town of Cumberland Feb. 20, 1835, son of Preston and Harriet M. (Brown) Ballou. The Ballou family is among the oldest and most distinguished of Rhode Island. Of Norman-French origin, it is descended from Gunebored Ballou, who was probably a marshal in the army of William the Conqueror and took part in the memorable battle of Hastings, 1066.