Lawton Slade

Slade Family of Somerset-Fall River, Massachusetts

Slade (Somerset-Fall River family). For the past hundred years – during almost the lifetime, as it were, of Fall River and its entire industrial life – the name Slade has been continually identified with that industrial life and also prominent in other lines of effort in that great city of spindles. In 1812-13, when the real substantial pioneer establishments in the cloth making industry of Fall River were projected and completed – the Troy Cotton and Woolen Manufactory and the Fall River Manufactory – began the Slade name in this connection, Eber Slade of Somerset being one of the most prominent promoters of one of the corporations; he became its first treasurer and filled the position until in the middle twenties. William Slade of Somerset was one of the owners of the site of these first establishments, and was himself an original proprietor of the Pocasset and Watuppa Manufacturing Companies. The brothers Jonathan and William Lawton Slade were among the founders of the celebrated cotton mills of Fall River, both becoming presidents of the corporation. John Palmer Slade, another of Somerset’s sons, figured largely not only in the industrial life of the city but in other lines, becoming president of both the Shove and Laurel Lake Mills. George W. Slade, one of the “forty-niners” of the Pacific coast, was for full fifty years one of the extensive and wholesale merchants of Fall River and his name, too, is coupled with the city’s industrial life. And of younger generations one or more of the sons of some of these are at this time officially and otherwise connected with this industrial life and in other lines, notably Leonard N. and Everett N. Slade, of the firm of John P. Slade & Son, insurance and real estate; David F. Slade, member of the law firm of Slade & Borden; and Abbott E. Slade, now treasurer of the Laurel Lake Mills.

This southeastern Massachusetts Slade family, while for a brief period at Newport, is a full-fledged Massachusetts one, a Swansea-Somerset family there prominent and influential for two hundred and more years. There follows in detail from the earliest known American ancestor some family history and genealogy of these Slades.

William Slade, the first of the line in this country, is said to have been born in Wales, Great Britain, the son of Edward, of whom nothing seems to be known more than that he died. This family is said to have come from Somersetshire, England, probably being of Wales only a short time. William appears of record at Newport, R. I., in 1659, when admitted a freeman of the Colony. He became an early settler in the Shawomet Purchase or Shawomet Lands, which included that part of Swansea which, in 1790, became the town of Somerset. Mr. Slade located in Swansea as early as 1680, the year of the beginning of the first record book, and the meetings of the proprietors were held at his house after their discontinuance at Plymouth, in 1677. Mr. Slade was a large landholder, his possessions including the ferry across Taunton river which took his name, Slade’s ferry, and which remained in the family until the river was bridged in 1876, and it was last operated by William L. and Jonathan Slade. Mr. Slade married Sarah, daughter of Rev. Obadiah Holmes, of Rehoboth. He died March 30, 1729, at the age of sixty-seven years; Sarah, his widow, died Sept. 10, 1761, aged ninety-seven, and her descendants numbered 435 at that time. Of their ten children three were sons – Jonathan, Edward and William. Children:

  1. Mary Slade, born in May, 1689
  2. William Slade, born in 1692
  3. Edward Slade, born June 14, 1694
  4. Elizabeth Slade, born Dec. 2, 1695
  5. Hannah Slade, born July 15, 1697
  6. Martha Slade, born Feb. 27, 1699
  7. Sarah Slade
  8. Phebe Slade, born Sept. 25, 1701
  9. Jonathan Slade, born Aug. 3, 1703 (died aged about eighteen)
  10. Lydia Slade, born Oct. 8, 1706

Edward Slade, son of William, born June 14, 1694, married (first) in 1717 Elizabeth-Anthony, (second) Dec. 6, 1720, Phebe, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Sherman) Chase, and (third) Deborah Buffum. They were members of the Society of Friends. There was one child by the first marriage

  1. William Slade, born Sept. 25, 1718

By the second there were:

  1. Samuel Slade, born Sept. 26, 1721
  2. Elizabeth Slade, born April 29, 1723
  3. Joseph Slade, born Nov. 16, 1724
  4. Sarah Slade, born in February, 1726

And by the third:

  1. Edward Slade, Jr., born Nov. 11, 1728
  2. Philip Slade, born April 19, 1730
  3. Phebe Slade, born July 4, 1737
  4. Mercy Slade, born in 1744

Samuel Slade, son of Edward and Phebe, born 26th of 9th month, 1721, married Mercy, born 3d of 5th month, 1723, in Salem, Mass., daughter of Jonathan and Mercy Buffum. Their children, all born in Swansea, were:

  1. Jonathan Slade, born 13th of 6th month, 1744
  2. Robert Slade, born 7th of 8th month, 1746
  3. Henry Slade, born 20th of 6th month, 1748
  4. Edward Slade, born 27th of 7th month, 1749
  5. Samuel Slade, born 20th, of 11th month, 1752
  6. Caleb Slade, born 24th of 4th month, 1755
  7. Buffum Slade, born 31st of 3d month, 1757
  8. William Slade, born 18th of 8th month, 1759
  9. Benjamin Slade, born 14th of 1st month, 1762

The father of these received from his uncle, Capt. Jonathan Slade, who died without issue, the ferry alluded to in the foregoing. This he operated and also was engaged in agricultural pursuits and blacksmithing. Mrs. Slade died 18th of 9th month, 1797.

Jonathan Slade, son of Samuel and Mercy, born 13th of 6th month, 1744, in Swansea, Mass., married Mary, born 15th of 12th month, 1746, in Swansea, daughter of Daniel Chase and his wife Mary. They lived in Swansea, where their children were born. Mr. Slade died 16th of 11th month, 1811; Mrs. Slade died 7th of 9th month, 1814. Their children were:

  1. Jonathan Slade, born 10th of 2d month, 1768 (died 8th of 12th month, 1797)
  2. Mercy Slade, born 31st of 6th month, 1770
  3. Mary Slade, born 15th of 4th month, 1772
  4. Anna Slade, born 20th of 1st month, 1775 (died 19th of 5th month, 1805)
  5. Patience Slade, born 5th of 5th month, 1777 (died 26th of 10th month, 1798)
  6. William Slade, born 4th of 6th month, 1780
  7. Nathan Slade, born 10th of 2d month, 1783
  8. Phebe Slade, born 15th of 5th month, 1785
  9. Hannah Slade, born 18th of 1st month, 1788 (died 23d of 5th month, 1805)
  10. Lydia Slade, born 3d of 4th month, 1791 (died 26th of 10th month, 1804)

William Slade, son of Jonathan and Mary, born 4th of 6th month, 1780, in Swansea, Mass., married Phebe, born 21st of 8th month, 1781, in Swansea, daughter of William Lawton and his wife Abigail. They lived in Somerset, Mass., where all of their children were born. Mr. Slade was an active, energetic man, influential and prominent in his community. He held several offices of trust and responsibility. In the year 1826 he began to operate a horseboat across the ferry, and in 1846 a steamboat. He was one of the purchasers in 1812 of the land upon which was built the Pocasset Company’s mill, one of the first two mills in the then town of Troy (now the city of Fall River), which were the substantial pioneers in the cloth making industry there, established in 1813. He was one of the first stockholders in the Fall River Manufactory. He was one of the eight incorporators, in 1822, of the Pocasset Manufacturing Company, which was a great stimulant to the cotton industry of Fall River. He was also an original proprietor of the Watuppa Manufacturing Company. He died Sept. 7, 1852, and Mrs. Slade passed away 18th of 3d month, 1874, in the ninety-third year of her age. Their children, all born in Somerset, were:

  1. Abigail L. Slade, born 22d of 1st month, 1809
  2. Lydia Ann Slade, born 17th of 9th month, 1811
  3. Amanda Slade, born 2d of 12th month, 1813
  4. Jonathan Slade, born 23d of 9th month, 1815
  5. William L. Slade, born 6th of 9th month, 1817
  6. David Slade, born 4th of 9th month, 1819
  7. Mary Slade, born 30th of 9th month, 1821

Jonathan Slade, son of William and Phebe, born 23d of 9th month, 1815, in Somerset, Mass., married (first) July 13, 1841, Caroline B., born Nov. 24, 1811, daughter of Dr. John Winslow, of Swansea. She died Feb. 1, 1845, and he married (second) May 29, 1851, Emaline, born Feb. 23, 1820, in Walpole, daughter of Salmon and Rebecca Hooper, of Walpole, N. H. Mr. Slade in youth attended the common schools of his neighborhood and for a time furthered his studies at the Friends’ school in Providence, R. I. He was reared a farmer and continued in that vocation through life. After the death of his father, in 1852, he became possessed of the old ferry and operated it until it was succeeded by the bridge in 1876. Following his father both he and his brother William L. became largely interested in and identified with the industrial life of Fall River; he owned stock in several of the mills there and served for years as one of the directors of the Slade and Davol Mills; was one of the founders of the Slade Mill, and on the death of his brother William L., in 1895, succeeded him as president.

Mr. Slade was one of the prominent and influential men of his town, and was often honored by his fellow townsmen as their choice for positions of trust and responsibility. He represented Somerset in the General Assembly of Massachusetts in 1849 and 1850. He also served as selectman. A Republican in politics, he often was a member of conventions. He was a director of the Metacomet Bank at Fall River. Mr. Slade died Dec. 11, 1900, and Mrs. Slade died Feb. 7, 1905.

One son, William W. Slade, was born to the first marriage of Mr. Slade, and one to the second, David F. Slade. The former is engaged in farming in Swansea.

Lawton SladeWilliam Lawton Slade, son of William and Phebe, was born Sept. 6, 1817, in Somerset, Mass., and like his ancestors was reared a farmer and ferryman. He attended in boyhood the common schools of his locality, and furthered his studies at the Friends’ School in Providence, R. I. He followed in main through life the vocation of farming, and in time became possessed of several fine farms. In 1871 he purchased the ferry property on the east side of the Brightman family, and was the last, if we mistake not, to operate the old Slade ferry which had been carried on by his family for two hundred and more years, and which the building of the bridge in 1876 did away with.

Mr. Slade became somewhat largely interested in and prominently identified with the manufacturing concerns of Fall River. He was one of the first board of directors and likely later president of the Montaup Mills Company which was organized in 1871 for the manufacture of seamless bags, duck and cotton bags, then a new industry in Fall River. He was one of the promoters of the Slade mill, the first to be erected of the group of factories located in the southern district of Fall River, the company being organized in 1871; Mr. Slade was a director and president. He was also a member of the board of directors of the Stafford Mills. He owned stock in various other manufacturing concerns of Fall River. In 1860 he was chosen a director of what became the Fall River National Bank.

The political affiliations of Mr. Slade were with the Republican party, and while never a seeker of political office his fellow townsmen frequently brought him into public service. For many years he was an efficient selectman of his town. In 1859, and again in 1864, he represented Somerset in the General Court of Massachusetts. He served during the first term on the committee on Agriculture and during the second was a member of the committee on Public Charitable Institutions, and was one of the committee of arrangements for the burial of Senator Charles Sumner. In 1863 he was a member of the Massachusetts Senate, and in that body was a member of the committee on Agriculture. He was ever a stanch supporter of the cause of temperance. He had large experience in the settlement of estates and. served as commissioner for dividing estates.

On Oct. 5, 1842, Mr. Slade was married to Mary, born Sept. 16, 1815, in Portsmouth, R, I., daughter of Asa and Elizabeth (Mitchell) Sherman. Their five children were:

  1. Caroline E. Slade married Hezekiah A. Brayton and resides in Fall River.
  2. Abigail L. Slade, now deceased, married James T. Milne, of Fall River.
  3. Mary Slade married Velona W. Haughwout, and died leaving three children, Mary, Alice and Elizabeth. Of these, Mary and Elizabeth died in young womanhood, and Alice is the wife of Preston C. West, and resides in Saskatchewan, Canada.
  4. Sarah Sherman Slade died young.
  5. Anna Mitchell Slade died young.

William Lawton Slade died July 29, 1895. At a meeting of the board of directors of the Slade Mill, July 31, 1895, the following testimonial to his character and services was ordered entered upon their records:

William Lawton Slade, president of the Slade Mills, died at his home in Somerset, Mass., on Monday, July 29, 1895. He was one of the originators of this company; and has been its president since the date of its incorporation in 1871. He has always identified himself with its interests, and its welfare has been his constant care. He gave freely of his time and thought to the business of the corporation. Every subject presented to his attention received from him calm consideration, and mature deliberation, and his judgment was universally respected. He was broad in his views, farseeing in his suggestions and looked not alone to the present, but to the future.

He was a man of noble presence, high character, sound judgment and unswerving integrity. He was pleasant in his manner, and was universally esteemed and respected.

This corporation has lost in him a firm friend, a wise counselor and a sagacious adviser, and its directors, each and every one, feel a keen sense of personal bereavement.

It is resolved that we attend his funeral in a body and that copies of this record be furnished to his family and for publication.

Henry S. Fenner,

William Walter Slade was born at the old ferry house at Slade’s ferry, Somerset, April 26, 1843, son of Jonathan and Caroline B. (Winslow) Slade, and a representative of the seventh generation of the family in America.

Mr. Slade was educated in the schools of his native town, and at the Friends’ School, Providence, R. I. For several years he engaged in the wholesale grocery business in Providence. But the last forty years of his life have been spent for the most part as a farmer. For eighteen years he lived at Touisset. Since 1900 Mr. Slade has made his home in Brayton avenue, Somerset.

On Feb. 20, 1872, Mr. Slade was married in Providence to Ida Alcey Wilbur, daughter of Albert Leonard Wilbur, and they have become the parents of children as follows:

  1. Caroline Winslow Slade, born Dec. 22, 1872
  2. Susan Wilbur Slade, born Dec. 2, 1874, who married Harry F. Hardy, of Providence, R. I.
  3. Emeline Hooper Slade, born Nov. 9, 1876, who married Roy G. Lewis, of Fall River, Mass., and has a son John Bowker, born Jan. 1, 1904
  4. Jonathan Slade, born Oct. 5, 1878, who died May 18, 1883
  5. Lydia Ann Slade, born Dec. 1, 1884
  6. Albert Leonard Slade, born July 14, 1887

David F. Slade, son of Jonathan and Emaline (Hooper) Slade, was born in Somerset Nov. 5, 1855. He was educated in the district schools of his native town and in the Fall River high school, graduating from the latter in 1876. He entered Brown University in the fall of that same year, having as one of his classmates President Faunce of that institution, graduated therefrom in 1880, and graduated from the Boston University Law School in June, 1883. He was immediately admitted to practice at the Bristol county bar, and formally took up the practice of his profession in Fall River in August of the same year, at the outset forming a partnership with James F. Jackson which lasted until 1905. In 1891 Richard P. Borden became associated with the firm and two years later the style became Jackson, Slade & Borden;’ it is now Slade & Borden. Mr. Slade has given his attention to the general practice of his profession. The firm does a particularly large business in “negligence” cases, and its standing, especially in the profession, is one that could be gained only by high merit and the most honorable practices.

Mr. Slade has been active in matters not altogether associated with his legal interests. He is vice president and a trustee of the Five Cents Savings Bank. As a Republican he has been prominent in the party organization in his city and county, has been treasurer of both, organizations and has been a member of the Republican State Central Committee. In 1894, 1895 and 1896 he was a member of the State Legislature, and during all three years was a member of the Judiciary committee, during 1896 also serving on the committee on Rules. In 1900, 1901, 1902 and 1903 he was a member of the governor’s council, being’ with Governor Crane during three years of his governorship and for one year with Governor Bates. While in college he was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, and at present he holds membership in the Quequechan Club and the Randall Club of the Church of the Ascension, of which church he is a member and vestry-man.

Mr. Slade married Annie Marvel Durfee, daughter of Walter C. and Jane Alden Durfee. They have no children.

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.

1 thought on “Slade Family of Somerset-Fall River, Massachusetts”

  1. I have pictures that I purchased at a flea market with the names Emeline Hooper Slade Lewis and John Bowler Lewis also Susan Wilbur and Mary Susan Cooley, another that says Annie M Slade wife of David Slade. Please contact me if these are your ancestors I would like for you to have these photos. Sincerely, Tara C. Garrett 919-691-7954

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