Rounseville Family of Fall River, MA

ROUNSEVILLE (Fall River family). The Rounsville or Rounseville family of ancient Freetown is believed to be of French origin, and a family tradition has it that they left France on account of religious persecution. It is the purpose here to refer to a branch of the Freetown Rounseville family which in time found its way into the busy manufacturing center of southeastern Massachusetts – Fall River – and soon became a part of the great activity there. Reference is made to the family of the late Capt. Cyrus Cole Rounseville, a master mariner of Freetown, who sailed from New Bedford in the whaling service, whose son and namesake Cyrus Cole Rounseville has long been one of the leading manufacturers of Fall River as treasurer of the Shove Mills, prominent in public life and identified with the banking interests of the city, etc.

From his first American ancestor, Philip Rounseville, Cyrus Cole Rounseville’s descent is through Philip (2), Philip (3), Abial and Capt. Cyrus Cole Rounseville. These generations in the order named and in detail follow.

Philip Rounsevill, or Rounseville, a native of England, born in Honiton, Devonshire, son of William, and a “clothier” or cloth dresser by occupation, came to New England prior to Dec. 25, 1704, the date of a letter from Philip to his father. He settled in Freetown and near Assonet village he was employed in the cloth dressing establishment of Capt. Josiah Winslow. He later, it is said, removed to the site of the later Malachi Howland house to go into business for himself and built the dam of the “Howland mill.” He removed from Freetown about 1721 to near Hunting House Brook in Middleboro and thence to that part of Tiverton which later became East Freetown. He purchased there a large tract of land and built the mill dam at Freetown village, where on the site of the old cloth mill his children erected a blast furnace, a sawmill and gristmill and still later a sash, door and blind factory. Mr. Rounseville married, about 1705, Mary, born in 1673, daughter of Samuel and Mary Howland, and granddaughter of Henry Howland, who is of record at Plymouth as early as 1624, when he shared in the allotment of cattle, and thought by some to have been a brother of Arthur Howland and of John Howland, of the “Mayflower,” 1620. Mr. Rounseville died Nov. 6, 1763. His wife Mary died May 8, 1744. Their children were:

  1. William, born Oct. 10, 1705, married Elizabeth Macomber, of Taunton
  2. John, born in 1706, married (first) Sarah Holloway, and (second) Sarah Spooner
  3. Philip married Jenney, of Freetown
  4. Mary, born March 3, 1711, married Henry Hoskins, Jr., of Taunton.

Philip Rounseville (2), son of Philip and Mary (Howland), married Hannah Jenney, and their children were:

  1. Hannah, born May 2, 1749
  2. Philip, born July 2, 1750

Philip Rounseville (3), son of Philip (2) and Hannah (Jenney), born July 2, 1750, married in 1775 Mercy, daughter of Abial and Anna (Peirce) Cole, granddaughter of Ebenezer Peirce and wife Mary (Hoskins), and great-granddaughter of Isaac Peirce, Jr., and wife Judith (Booth). Their children were:

  1. Gamaliel, born Oct. 12, 1776
  2. Philip, born Feb. 7, 1779, who never married
  3. Abial, born Sept. 6, 1780
  4. Hannah, born April 12, 1783, who married April 13, 1806, Bradford Rounseville, of Freetown
  5. Ebenezer, born Sept. 21, 1785, who married in 1808 Sally Rounseville
  6. Lydia, born Dec. 3, 1787, who never married
  7. Phebe
  8. Benjamin, born Nov. 28, 1789, who married in 1815 Ann Gifford, of Rochester
  9. Joseph, born March 25, 1792, who married Delia Lawrence
  10. Phylena, born Aug. 12, 1794, who married June 10, 1814, Jonathan Washburn, of Dartmouth
  11. Alden, born Oct. 26, 1797, who married in 1822 Cornelia Ashley, of Freetown
  12. Robert G., who married in 1827 Mrs. Delia, widow of Joseph Rounseville

Abial Rounseville, son of Philip (3) and Mercy (Cole), was born Sept. 6, 1780, was a farmer by occupation, and resided in the town of Freetown. On July 20, 1803, he married Betsey Ashley, of Freetown, and to them were born children as follows:

  1. Amos
  2. Clarinda, who married Pardon Gifford, and died in Mattapoisett
  3. Macomber, born in 1804, who died Oct. 5, 1854
  4. Mercy, who married Stephen Nye, a ship calker, and resided in Fall River, where she died in 1875 Her children were:
    1. Henry A., who is residing in Fall River
    2. Betsey R., widow of Alex Dexter, residing in Brooklyn, N. Y.
    3. Cynthia A., widow of Alfred F. Swan, residing in Fall River
  5. Abial, who went West when a young man, and all trace of him has been lost
  6. Sophronia, who married Hosea Presho, a shoemaker of Raynham, and died there
  7. Betsey, who married Elbridge Werden, and died in Providence
  8. Cyrus Cole
  9. Ebenezer, a seafaring man, engaged in the whaling industry, who died in the Sandwich islands

Cyrus Cole Rounseville, son of Abial and Betsey (Ashley), was born in Freetown, March 6, 1820, and followed the sea, engaging in the whaling business. He sailed from New Bedford. He rose to the position of first officer, and was taken ill while on a voyage and placed in a hospital on the island of Mauritius, in the Indian ocean, where he died Oct. 18, 1853; he was buried there. On Sept. 1, 1844, he married Irene P. Ashley, a native of Lakeville, Mass., born March 18, 1828, daughter of James Emerson and Orinda (Haffards) Ashley, the former of whom, a farmer of Freetown, was born Jan. 31, 1806, and died Aug. 4, 1883; the latter, born July 14, 1802, died Oct. 22, 1868. Mr. and Mrs. Rounseville had one child, Cyrus Cole, Jr. After the death 6i her husband Mrs. Rounseville continued to reside in Acushnet for a few years, thence removing to East Freetown, the home of her parents. She subsequently married Aaron S. Drake, of Stoughton, Mass., by whom she had one daughter, Carrie W., who became the wife of Josiah Brown of Fall River. Mrs. Drake spent the later years of her life with her son, at whose home she died April 24, 1909.

Cyrus Cole Rounseville, only child of his parents, was born Dec. 8, 1852, in Acushnet, and was a small child when he removed with his widowed mother to East Freetown. He received his early education in the district schools, and when older attended the Bryant & Stratton commercial school at Boston, from which he was graduated. In 1869, in his seventeenth year, he came to Fall River, where he became a clerk in the freight office of the Narragansett Steamship Company, then owned by James Fisk, of New York. He remained there until January, 1872, at which time he became a clerk in the office of the Granite Mills, where he was employed for over twelve years, until August, 1884, when he was chosen treasurer of the Shove Mills, succeeding George Albert Chace. This responsible position he has held ever since, and for a number of years he has also been a director of the corporation. A man who has risen from humble beginnings to a high position in the business world, Mr. Rounseville has the confidence and respect of his associates in all the relations of life, and he is regarded as one of the leading and substantial citizens of Fall River, where his efforts and achievements are known to all. He has not only been an important factor in the development and management of the Shove Mills, but has also been interested in other Fall River enterprises, being vice president of the Union Savings Bank and vice president (since 1887) of the Troy Cooperative Bank, which was organized in 1880, and of which he was one of the organizers and the first secretary, serving in that incumbency from 1880 until his promotion to the vice presidency in 1887. He has served his city as member of the common council, to which he was elected for three years, 1883-84-85, and was president of that body in the latter year. He is a Republican in political faith. Mr. Rounseville has also been active in religious circles, being a leading member of the Unitarian Church, has been superintendent of the Sunday school and has been chairman of the standing committee.

On Nov. 9, 1893, Mr. Rounseville was married in Fall River to Mary O. Pitman, a native of the city, daughter of John H. Pitman and granddaughter of Charles Pitman, the first postmaster of Fall River. They have had two children, born as follows:

  1. Marion Pitman, born Aug. 31, 1894
  2. Cyrus Cole, Jr., born Jan. 28, 1898

Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts: containing historical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families. 3 Volumes. Beers & Chicago. 1912.

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