ROBERT KNIGHT REMINGTON, philanthropist, reformer, successful businessman and Christian gentleman, was born in Grafton, Mass., July 12, 1826, son of Jeremiah Remington, and died at his home in Fall River Nov. 25, 1886.
As early as 1661 John Remington and his wife Abigail were at Haverhill, where their children, Daniel and Hannah, were born. John Remington is credited by one writer as being the emigrant ancestor from Wales of the Rhode Island Remingtons. He appears of record as early as 1669 at Jamestown, R. I., where Aug. 28th of that year he and two others were ordered to assemble inhabitants of Conanicut Island to consider what might be most suitable for defense and preservation against any invasion or insurrection of the Indians. He had been earlier at Haverhill, Mass. (1661), and Andover. He was one of the grantees in 1677 of what became East Greenwich, R. I. He and his sons were taxed in 1680. In 1695 he gave his son Thomas Remington, of Warwick, a deed for his Haverhill interests, and redeeded to him the same in 1709, he then being apparently of Warwick, R. I., the former deed having become “damnified through disaster.” His children were:
- John, who married Abigail Richmond, and was a resident of Newport and Kingstown, R. I.
- Joseph, of Jamestown
- Daniel, born at Haverhill Oct. 18, 1661, who lived in Jamestown
- Hannah, born at Haverhill July 3, 1664, of Jamestown, R. I.
- Stephen, who married Penelope and lived in Jamestown
- Thomas, who married Mary, daughter of William Allen, of Prudence Island, and lived there (at Portsmouth) and at Warwick, Rhode Island
From the foregoing source have come the Rhode Island and vicinity Remingtons. And so far as traceable from the village records the following is the line of the branch of the family which settled in Fall River nearly a century ago and which has since been active and prominent in the business and social life of that town and city. Reference is especially made to the brothers Hale and Robert Knight Remington, both now deceased, whose sons and grandsons have followed in their footsteps and are now active and prominent in citizenship.
Thomas Remington, the ancestor of the present Fall River family in question, is referred to when married as of Providence, this event taking place at Scituate in November, 1740. His wife Mary (Collins) is designated as of Scituate, R. I. Their children of Scituate town record were:
- Margaret, born May 18, 1742
- Jonathan, born Dec. 21, 1743
- Prudence, born March 16, 1749
- Joseph Lippitt, born June 15, 1751
- Mary, born June 29, 1757
Joseph Lippitt Remington, son of Thomas and Mary (Collins) Remington, born June 15, 1751, in Scituate, R. I., married Alcey or Alice and among their children was Jeremiah, born Sept. 14, 1787, in Scituate.
Jeremiah Remington, son of Joseph L. and Alcey Remington, born Sept. 14, 1787, in Scituate, R. I., married Dorcas Knight, born May 16, 1791, died March 29, 1877. For a time Mr. Remington lived in Cranston, R. I., and at Grafton, Mass., where “Captain” Remington built a house in the year 1806-07. He died, however, in the town of Rehoboth, Mass., Sept. 22, 1845, aged fifty-eight years, eight days, and was buried in Fall River. The children of Jeremiah and Dorcas were:
- Joseph, born June 17, 1812, who married Alcy Wilkinson
- Hale, born Aug. 17, 1814
- Robert K.
Robert Knight Remington, son of Jeremiah and Dorcas (Knight) Remington, received his early school training in the town of Monson, and his education was completed at Fall River, Mass., whither the family removed. His first business venture was with his brother. Hale Remington, a business pioneer of Fall River, the two engaging in a grocery business. Later he entered the grocery and drug business with Charles M. Shove. For many years he controlled a large and important trade, furnishing mill supplies. Success and misfortune followed each other in his ventures, and twice he suffered severe reverses, but he paid every claim in full, and his integrity was unquestioned, his commercial rating first-class.
Mr. Remington was always interested in the development of his home town, and a gentleman who had long known him said of him:
“Mr. Remington was president of the local board of Mutual Reserve Fund Association and a director in the Fall River and Crystal Spring Bleacheries. He was a very able business man and had a most extensive acquaintance. He had a large influence from the fact that his honesty was everywhere recognized. As a salesman he had few equals, and was gifted with great tact in meeting men, besides being a close student of human nature. There are very few business men in this section of the State who had a larger number of acquaintances.”
Mr. Remington was a man of strong and independent character and was fearless in his convictions. For many years he was active in Central Congregational Church, being closely identified with both church and Sabbath school as well as its various missions, especially the Pleasant Street Mission. For many years he was superintendent of the Sabbath school, and his voice was always heard in conference meetings. His time, his influence, his money, his counsel were always at the service of the society. He thoroughly enjoyed church work; especially was he interested in the conversion of young men, and he led a life that was in itself practical Christianity. His interest in the cause of religion carried him to all parts of New England, and he was active in the missions at St. Johnsbury, Vt., and Keene, N. H, and was a familiar figure at Y. M. C. A. meetings. Remington Hall, the auditorium annex to the Y. M. C. A. building at Fall River, was the gift, in his memory, of Mrs. Remington. He was an easy and fluent speaker, and of fine personal presence, and was so thoroughly in earnest that young men delighted in hearing him. On the occasion of a visit to Colby University, in Maine, he addressed the students on “Temperance,” the boys turning out en masse to hear him, and passing him a vote of thanks at the close. He was the friend of young men, and many a young man he helped toward his education, and in the days of his prosperity his generosity was extraordinary, many owing their entire success to his generosity, while many a fallen man found in him a prop in the hour of trouble. Wherever the evangelization of young men was to be presented he loved to be. Mr. Remington was practical and sincere in his advocacy of temperance, and he abandoned smoking because it impaired his influence. He viewed with great alarm the growth of intemperance among young men, and was earnest in advocating total abstinence. The clergy of all denominations found a hearty welcome in his home, which was always open, especially to strangers. He was often heard to say that the happiest hours he passed were those in the entertainment of poor people in his home. Mr. Remington was outspoken in his condemnation of the indifference of the wealthy toward the demands of religion and intemperance. His method of speech was plain and blunt, and though radical in his ideas he enjoyed the respect even of those who did not sympathize with him.
Mr. Remington was twice married, his first union being with Harriet M. Hill, daughter of Ebenezer Hill, a native of Slatersville, R. I. She died Dec. 12, 1848. His second wife, Elizabeth Allen Thatcher, of Middleboro, was a daughter of Allen C. and Elizabeth Rounsville (Peirce) Thatcher. Mr. Remington was survived by his wife and six children, five daughters and one son, all born to the second marriage, namely:
- Mary Elizabeth (now deceased), wife of William E. Dunham
- Harriet Thatcher (now deceased), wife of George H. Hills (see sketch elsewhere)
- Annie Lincoln (who died July 2, 1895), wife of Charles F. Borden (who has sketch elsewhere)
- Alice Knight, Mrs. Warren S. Barker, who has two children, Harold R., who married Edith K. Hawes, and Edith R., who married E. Gordon Thatcher
- Agnes Carleton, who died unmarried at the age of twenty-one
- Edward Borden, president and general manager of the Borden & Remington Company, who married Jeanette Milne, daughter of John C. Milne
One writer concerning Mr. Remington said:
“We are but recalling the lesson of a life which among the people of this city [Fall River] and elsewhere was ‘known and read of all men,’ of a Christian and churchly character which had a deepening influence in this community. The individuality and the personality of the gentleman herein commemorated were so striking and so distinguishing that he occupied a peculiar place in the regard and esteem of those who knew him. Although of strong convictions based on faith, he held them with charity; his influence was for the common good, and his thoughtfulness was always active. Mr. Remington was a man who had faith in and unfailing kindness for people. He believed in men. He counted them worth while, and therefore he felt it a thing worth doing to give time, money, counsel and strength for their moral, physical and mental welfare. He was ever ready to give his hand to every cause which meant the moral uplift of the city; his voice in championship of every enterprise of worth, and his cheer to noble enthusiasm.”
A Fall River paper said editorially at the time of his death:
“The death of Mr. Robert K. Remington will be a matter of general and deep regret. No citizen of Fall River stood higher in the estimation of the people than Mr. Remington, and none in whom were all the best characteristics of the gentleman, the philanthropist and the blameless citizen stood higher, and he had the rare sense to perceive that as a man is his own worst enemy, so, reforming the man, leading him to a better and more moral life, was the best way in which to improve him and place him on a higher plane of intelligence and happiness. Mr. Remington was no politician as politicians go, but he was always active in promoting the best interests of the city, in helping its growth and prosperity, in encouraging temperance, and in furthering the cause of education and, having the courage of opinions which were extreme in their boldness as against intemperance, improvidence and immorality, there was no missionary or reform work in the city in which he was not a prominent worker, and an enthusiastic participator.”
Hale Remington , son of Jeremiah and Dorcas (Knight) Remington, was born Aug. 17, 1814, in the town of Cranston, R. I. He located in Fall River, Mass., in 1833 and became one of the prominent business men of the town and city. On his removal to Fall River he entered the employ of Mr. Nathan Durfee, a druggist, and it was not long until he was the proprietor of the business, which he greatly increased by the addition of a stock of chemicals and dye stuffs. In time he also engaged in the insurance business, and was successful in all these lines.
Mr. Remington became largely interested in cotton manufacturing, was one of the chief promoters of the Union Mills in 1859, and for a time he was agent for the Globe Print Works. He was one of the incorporators and first directors of the Wamsutta Bank, June 4, 1856. In 1855 he was one of the incorporators of the Fall River Five Cents Savings Bank, and was chosen secretary of the institution. He died at his home in Fall River Aug. 4, 1870.
Mr. Remington married Catherine Groosebeck Van Santvoort, of Swansea, Mass., born Nov. 29, 1817, in Albany, N. Y., daughter of Peleg and Sarah (Van Santvoort) Barney, and they had ten children, born as follows:
- Clinton V. S., Oct. 15, 1839
- Winfield Scott, May 5, 1841 (died Dec. 15, 1841)
- Henry Hale, Oct. 30, 1842 (died April 21, 1895)
- Joseph Augustus, July 10, 1845 (died Jan. 15, 1884)
- Laura Minerva, May 26, 1847 (died Aug. 14, 184-)
- Catharine Hale, July 13, 1849 (married Owen Reynard)
- Sarah Wheaton, Aug. 18, 1851
- Laura Minerva (2), Dec. 14, 1855 (married William D. Merrill)
- Ella Chapin, Aug. 20, 1860 (died Oct. 27, 1884)
- Clara Dorcas, Nov. 26, 1863 (married John H. Hambley)
Mrs. Hale Remington died Oct. 2, 1884.
Clinton V. S. Remington, son of Hale and Catherine G. Van Santvoort Remington, was born Oct. 15, 1839, in Fall River, Mass. He was educated in the public schools of his native city and began his business career as a cotton and cotton cloth broker in Providence, R. I. After an experience there of a couple of years he returned in September, 1864, to Fall River and engaged in the same business there, in which he has continued, and that intelligently and successfully. His first place of business in Fall River was on Pocasset street. Two years later he removed to the Mount Hope block, on North Main street. Here he continued until the year 1883, in the meantime associating himself in a co-partnership with William C. Davol, Jr., and they did an extensive business together, as dealers in cotton and cotton goods on Bedford street, until the dissolution of the partnership in 1895. Mr. Remington is still active in business and enjoys the distinction of being the pioneer print cloth broker in this section of New England. He was for several years a director of the Fall River Board of Trade.
Mr. Remington is a most active business man and useful citizen, a leader in everything he is connected with. In 1873 and 1874 he was a member of the common council, and was again a member, as well as president of that body, in 1876. For a period in the early years of the Civil war Mr. Remington was in the service of the government, being in 1861-62 quartermaster’s clerk, under General Rucker, and in the field during the winter of 1862. But owing to illness incident to his duties in the army he was obliged to return to his home. He has been active and prominent in church work, for many years serving as the efficient superintendent of the Sunday school of the Central Congregational Church. In 1897 and 1898 he was chosen vice president of the Massachusetts Sunday School Association, was president in 1899, and for twelve years was chairman of the finance committee of that body, resigning in 1908. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, affiliating with King Philip Lodge and Godfrey de Bouillon Commandery, Knights Templar, and belongs to the Society of the Sons of the Revolution.
On May 18 1864, Mr. Remington was married to Mary A., daughter of Charles C. and Mary (Montgomery) Waterman, of Boston, the former a native of New Bedford, Mass., born Oct. 19, 1807, the later born Sept. 10, 1810, in Andover, Mass. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Remnington as follows:
- Clinton V. S., Jr
- Hale, who in 1899 married Lillian C. Reed, and died Nov. 9, 1905, aged thirty-nine years
- Robert K., who married June 8, 1898, Mona Plum Tobin
- Berthold M, who married June 3, 1891, Helen A. Francis
- Mary Waterman, born Feb. 15, 1872, who dies April 12, 1877
Mr. and Mrs. Remington have and adopted daughter, Marion A., who is the wife of Edward H. Davol, of Fall River.