Rufus A. Soule

Soule Family of New Bedford Massachusetts

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.

George Soule came to Plymouth under the protection of Edward Winslow. In the general allotment of 1623 he had one acre of land and afterward two more at “the watering place,” all of which he sold in 1639. He subsequently removed to Duxbury; was representative in 1645; and some years later became an original proprietor of Bridgewater, the first interior settlement of the Old Colony; he also was among the purchasers of Dartmouth. The Bridgewater proprietary rights he sold. He and his wife Mary (Beckett) had children as follows:

  1. Zachariah Soule, born before 1627
  2. John Soule, born in 1632
  3. Nathaniel Soule
  4. George Soule
  5. Benjamin Soule
  6. Patience Soule
  7. Elizabeth Soule, married to Francis Walker, of Middleboro
  8. Susanna Soule
  9. Mary Soule

The mother of these died in 1677, and the father in 1680. To his sons Nathaniel and George he gave his Dartmouth lands.

One branch of the family moved to Maine; another to Connecticut; and still another found its way to the Empire State. The branch here considered was the one which settled in Duxbury, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts.

John Soule, son of George, born in 1632, died at Duxbury in 1707, aged seventy-five years. By his wife Esther (Nash) he had children:

  1. John Soule, who lived in Middleboro, and had children
      1. Martha Soule (born 1702)
      2. Sarah Soule (1703)
      3. John Soule (1705)
    1. Esther Soule (1707)
  2. Joseph Soule, born July 31, 1679
  3. Joshua Soule, born Oct. 12, 1681
  4. Josiah Soule, born in 1682
  5. Benjamin Soule, who married Sarah Standish
  6. And two daughters.

Josiah Soule, son of John and Esther, born in 1682, was of Duxbury. On May 25, 1704, he married Lydia Delano, born in 1680, died Nov. 24, 1763, aged eighty-three. He died June 25, 1764, aged eighty-two years. Their children were:

  1. Jonathan Soule, born June 23, 1705, who died April 4, 1776
  2. Mary Soule, born Dec. 5, 1706, who married Jan. 2, 1733, Joshua Cushman, of Lebanon, Conn.
  3. Abisha Soule, born Nov. 25, 1708
  4. Micah Soule, born April 12, 1711
  5. Nathaniel Soule, born Nov. 4, 1714
  6. Lydia Soule, born Oct. 2, 1719

Micah Soule, son of Josiah and Lydia, born April 12, 1711, was of Duxbury, where he was one of the selectmen in 1777. On May 30, 1740, he married Mercy Southworth, daughter of Edward and Mary (Pabodie) Southworth, of Duxbury. Mary Pabodie was a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Alden) Pabodie, and Elizabeth Alden was a daughter of John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden. Mercy (Southworth) Soule died in 1797, surviving her husband, who died Nov. 4, 1778, aged sixty-seven years. Their children were:

  1. Aphela Soule, born about 1740
  2. Josiah Soule, born about 1742
  3. Constant S. Soule, born about 1744, who was drowned in a brook July 10, 1790
  4. Rebecca Soule, born about 1750, who died Oct. 14, 1778
  5. Asa Soule, born about 1752, who married Olive Southworth April 15, 1773
  6. Esther Soule, born about 1753
  7. Lydia Soule, born about 1756, who died Oct. 19, 1778

Constant S. Soule, son of Micah and Mercy, was born about 1744. His widow, Jemima, for her second husband married (intentions published) Oct. 30, 1801, William Adams, of Enfield, Connecticut.

Thomas Soule, son of Constant S. and Jemima, born July 1, 1783, in Duxbury, Mass., married Lois Howard, of Pomfret, Conn., who died May 4, 1842. He died July 23, 1819. Their children were:

  1. William Soule
  2. Thomas Howard Soule
  3. Elvira Soule
  4. Stephen Soule

Thomass H. Soule Jr.Thomas Howard Soule, son of Thomas and Lois, was born Feb. 22, 1810, at Belchertown, Mass., during the short residence of the family there; his father was toll-gate keeper for a few years. They soon returned to Duxbury, where he lived until he was twenty-one years old. There he learned his trade of ship carpenter. After completing his apprenticeship he came to New Bedford, where he resided a short time, later removing to Fairhaven and from there to Mattapoisett. In 1841 he returned to New Bedford and for a time was foreman for Stephen Andrews, who was a well known builder of whaling vessels. In 1856 Mr. Soule formed a partnership with William L. Edwards under the name of Edwards & Soule, ship-builders, and was so engaged until he retired from active business in 1872. Mr. Soule early took a deep interest in public affairs and was ever ready to assist in any worthy movement tending toward the advancement of the city. He was a member of the Republican party from its earliest organization, was one of the first Republicans to be elected from New Bedford to the General Court, serving as representative in 1857-58, and supported Charles Sumner for United States senator. In 1856 he was a member of the common council from Ward Four and took an active part in the establishment of the Free Public Library. He was always active in and long identified with the old fire department and was an officer of Engine No. 5. He represented a high type of citizenship and was a man esteemed and respected by all. He died April 17, 1900. On May 5, 1833, he was married at Nantucket to Margaret Albertson Dunham, born at Mattapoisett April 10, 1810, daughter of George and Mary (Albertson) Dunham. Mrs. Soule died in New Bedford July 16, 1879. She descended from several of the old settled families of this section. Her paternal lineage is traced to John Dunham, the founder of the Dunham family in the United States, who came from England, Lancashire it is said, in the vessel “Hope” in 1630-31. He settled at New Plymouth, where he became a landholder in 1632, and was made a freeman of Plymouth Colony in 1633. Shortly thereafter he identified himself with the Pilgrim Church, and in 1638 was elected deacon of the religious society. He was one of the four deputies elected to represent the Plymouth settlement in 1638, the first year of the adoption of a representative system among the Pilgrims in place of the “mass meeting government.” During the next twenty years for each successive council he was chosen to this responsible duty in the legislative assembly. John Dunham was born in 1589 in England, and after immigrating to the New World lived at Plymouth till eighty years old. The public records make mention of his upright character as law-maker, and of his pious life as a faithful deacon of the Plymouth Church. At his death in 1668-69 it was publicly stated on the town records that “he was an approved servant of God and useful man in his place.” His wife’s name was Abigail.

From (I) John Dunham and his wife Abigail the lineage of Hon. Rufus A. Soule is through (II) Joseph Dunham and his wife Mercy (Morton); (III) Eleazer Dunham and his wife Bathsheba (Pratt); (IV) Israel Dunham and his wife Joanna (Rickard), of Plympton, Mass.; (V) Cornelius Dunham, of Plympton; (VI) George Dunham and Ann (Dunham), the latter a cousin; (VII) George Dunham (2) and his wife Polly (Albertson); and (VIII) Margaret Albertson Dunham, who married Thomas Howard Soule.

George Dunham, son of Cornelius, was born in 1750, and was a patriot of the Revolution. On Jan. 31, 1771, he married Ann (Anne or Nancy) Dunham, a cousin, her line from (I) John and Abigail being through (II) Joseph and Mercy (Morton), (III) Eleazer and Bathsheba (Pratt), (IV) Josiah and Ruth (Kempton), (V) Amos and Ann (McLeroy).

George Dunham (2), son of George and Ann, born in 1785, died April 11, 1845. He was a soldier in the war of 1812. On May 11, 1806, he married Mary Albertson (sometimes called Polly), and their children were:

  1. Margaret Albertson Dunham, born April 10, 1810
  2. Sophronia Dunham
  3. Martha Dunham
  4. Rufus Albertson Dunham
  5. Sarah Dunham

Mary (Polly) Albertson was born in 1787, and died in 1867. She was a daughter of Rufus Albertson, of Providence, R. I., who was born in 1766, died July 11, 1842, and married in Rehoboth, Martha Anthony (1767-1826). Rufus Albertson was a son of Jacob Albertson, who was born in North Carolina, the latter a son of David, a son of John of Yarmouth, a son of Nicholas of Scituate. This line is of Swedish origin. Martha Anthony was a daughter of Abner Anthony and his wife Sybil (Chase), the latter a daughter of Hezekiah and Jael (Pierce) Chase, and the latter a daughter of John, son of Michael Pierce, the Indian fighter.

Abner Anthony, born Dec. 11, 1739, died Oct. 16, 1823, was a son of Benjamin and Martha (Luther) Anthony, of Swansea. Martha (Luther) Anthony, born Nov. 28, 1721, and died Nov. 7, 1796, is said to be a direct descendant of Martin Luther, through John Luther, the American ancestor of the family, and one of the original proprietors of Taunton. Benjamin Anthony, born June 10, 1716, died Jan. 8, 1800, was the son of William and Mary (Coggeshall) Anthony, and grandson of John Coggeshall, the first president of the Colony of Rhode Island. William Anthony, born Oct. 31, 1675, was a son of Abraham and Alice (Wodell) Anthony, and Abraham Anthony, who was born in 1650, was a son of John and Susanna (Potter) Anthony or Anthonie, the former the American ancestor of the Anthony family.

Five children were born to Thomas H. and Margaret A. (Dunham) Soule, as follows:

  1. William T. Soule, who was mayor of New Bedford in 1879-80, and died May 30, 1888
  2. Rufus A. Soule
  3. Henry W. Soule, who was killed in the battle of Gettysburg
  4. Thomas H. Soule, Jr., who resides at Hyannis, Mass.
  5. Mary E. Soule, wife of Anthony D. Hall, of Boston.

During the Civil war New Bedford placed a larger quota of troops in the field for her population than any other city in the Commonwealth, and there were many remarkable instances of family patriotism. Probably none can surpass, and few can equal, the record of the Soule family, in which were four sons, all of whom enlisted. The eldest son, William T., was a member of the 1st and later of the 4th Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry, and before the close of the war was brevetted captain. The second son, Rufus A., was a member of Company E, 3d Mass. V. I. The third son, Henry W., in the noted 5th Battery, Massachusetts Light Artillery, was killed in action on the second day of the battle of Gettysburg. The youngest son, Thomas H., served in the navy, and was with Farragut at the capture of Fort Morgan at the entrance of Mobile bay.

Rufus A. SouleRufus Albertson Soule, son of Thomas Howard and Margaret Albertson (Dunham) Soule, was born March 16, 1839, in Mattapoisett, Plymouth Co., Mass. At an early age he came to New Bedford with his parents and was educated in the public schools. His first employment was as a carrier boy of the New Bedford Standard, and later he became a clerk in Samuel Bennett’s crockery store, leaving in the spring of 1857 to go to Attleboro, with an idea of learning the jeweler’s trade. He had been there but a few months when the business was completely prostrated by the panic of that year. Returning to New Bedford he was for a time employed on Paulding’s Boston express. In the spring of 1858 Mr. Soule entered the employ of the Union Boot and Shoe Company of New Bedford, and there gained his first experience in the shoe trade.

As previously stated Mr. Soule was a member of Company E, 3d Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, in the Civil war. In the same command with him was one of the highest types of business men that New Bedford has produced – the late Savory C. Hathaway. The two were warm friends and destined to become associated in a long and honorable business career. After the war, in July, 1865, Mr. Hathaway began the manufacture of shoes in a small building on Hillman street, where he made use of a room which had a floor space of 14×20 feet, all of the work being done by hand, except what could be accomplished with one sewing machine run by foot power. He was joined Sept. 1st of the same year by Mr. Soule, and the firm name became S. C. Hathaway & Co., Mr. Soule remaining in the employ of the Union Boot & Shoe Company until the following year, when he became an active partner, and the firm name was changed to Hathaway & Soule.

In December, 1865, they moved to the brick building on Pleasant street, corner of Mechanics’ Lane. Only one floor was occupied at first, but soon after the whole building was leased, and finally a wooden addition at the north was built and occupied. In 1872 Herbert A. Harrington, of Boston, was admitted, and the firm became Hathaway, Soule & Harrington. From this time on additions were frequently found indispensable, and the working force and output were proportionately increased. In 1885 a factory was built at Middleboro, and the firm was for some years a joint owner in a factory at Campello. A stock company was organized in June, 1890, under the title of Hathaway, Soule & Harrington, Incorporated, with Mr. Hathaway as president; Mr. Soule, vice president; and Mr. Harrington, treasurer, the three constituting the board of directors.

From that modest beginning the company became one of the largest concerns in the trade, selling direct to the retail dealers. They had factories in New Bedford and Middleboro, Mass., and about 550 hands were employed, making an average of 400,000 pairs of shoes annually, the sales of the corporation each year being over $1,000,000. In 1905 Mr. Soule retired from active business.

Very early in his career Mr. Soule began to take an active interest in politics, and was a member of the Republican committee for several years. Personally he is energetic; a true American, full of life and vigor, and possessed of a remarkable personal magnetism, which wins for him many friends and devoted followers, while his honesty and fearlessness command the respect of his opponents. He is a man of zeal, judgment and executive ability, and has a long record of faithful and efficient public service. He was a member of the New Bedford common council in 1869-70-71-74-75, and in 1874 was unanimously elected president of the council. In 1878 and 1879 he represented his district in the Legislature, serving both terms on the committee on Railroads. At the time of his first election the district went Democratic by 75 plurality for almost the only time in its history, and his election was a marked tribute to his popularity. The following year his plurality was the largest ever given in New Bedford up to that time to a candidate for representative honors. In 1894 he was appointed chairman of the board of License Commissioners of New Bedford, his appointment meeting the approbation of both parties, and only being accepted by him on the platform that politics should not enter into matters relating to the conduct of the board. He resigned early in the following year.

In 1895 he was nominated unanimously as the Republican candidate for senator in the Third district, and was elected by a plurality of 3,156 and he served in the Senate for eight years from 1896 to 1903, inclusive, two years of which he served as president of the body. He received the nomination in each year without an opposing vote, this being also true on the occasion of his nomination to the Legislature – a high tribute, not only to his worth, but to his popularity in the Republican party of his district. During his term in the Senate he served on various committees, serving for four years as chairman of the committee on Railroads. He is universally conceded to have made a good senator; alert and clear headed, he carried into his work a genuine enthusiasm, manifesting an earnest desire to serve well his district and the Commonwealth. Upon the death of Congressman Simpkins his name was urged from many quarters, both by the press and the public, as a man well fitted to fill the vacancy, the New Bedford Standard paying him the following tribute in an editorial: “We suggest the selection of Rufus A. Soule as the man who of all other men in this district appears as the best fitted to discharge the important duties of the hour. He is a successful business man. He has served this community admirably in many places of trust. He is now one of the most influential members of the State Senate. He has a wide acquaintance with men. He is indefatigable in any work which he undertakes. He has energy, persistency and push, while his ability no one can dispute. If this district wants a man who will take up the work of caring for its interests with an undivided zeal, forgetful of himself, and mindful only of the task which is imposed upon him, it will find such a man in Rufus A. Soule.” Mr. Soule declined to allow the use of his name. In July, 1905, he was appointed collector of the port of New Bedford, by President Roosevelt, and in April, 1910, was reappointed by President Taft.

Mr. Soule has many varied and important business trusts and interests; he is a director and an expresident of the New Bedford Board of Trade; vice president of the New Bedford Safe Deposit and Trust Company; president of the Neild Manufacturing Corporation; president of the City Manufacturing Corporation; president of the Soule Mill; director of the Butler and Taber Mills; director of the Blackmer Cut Glass Company; president of the Acushnet Cooperative Bank; and director of the New Bedford Cooperative Bank. He is a companion of the Loyal Legion, Massachusetts Commandery; is past commander of E. A. Pierce Post, No. 190, G. A. E.; has been commander of the Bristol County Association of G. A. E., 1897-98; has served several terms as aide-de-camp on the staff of the commander-in-chief of the National G. A. E.; a member of long standing of Sutton Commandery, K. T.; a member of Adoniram Chapter, E. A. M., and of Star in the East Lodge, A. F. & A. M.; a member of the Wamsutta Club, of New Bedford, and a member of the Mayflower Society.

On Aug. 28, 1860, Mr. Soule married Susan C. Nesmith, daughter of Carver and Eleanor (Williams) Nesmith, of Brooks, Maine, and descendant of the Nesmith and McClure families conspicuous in the early settlement of Londonderry, N. H. They have three children

  1. Margaret H. Soule
  2. Lois M. Soule
  3. Rufus A. Soule, Jr.

Margaret H. Soule married Garry N. Hough, M. D., of New Bedford, and has four children

  1. Dorris Soule Hough (born July 27, 1889, B. A. Wellesley College, 1909)
  2. Hilda Hough (Aug. 31, 1890, Simmons College, class of 1912)
  3. Katharine Taber Hough (April 26, 1894)
  4. Garry N. Hough, Jr. (July 27, 1897)

Lois M. Soule married Alexander T. Smith, of New Bedford, and has two children

  1. Katharine Watson Smith (born April 26, 1896)
  2. William Thompson Smith (born April 22, 1898)

Rufus A. Soule, Jr., Ph. B., Brown University, 1899, is now engaged as a cotton goods broker in New York. He married Florence M. Renne, of Pittsfield, Mass., and they have three children

  1. Laura Foster Soule (born May 12, 1906)
  2. Helen Nesmith Soule (born May 1, 1908)
  3. Rufus Albertson Soule 3d (born Dec. 15, 1909)

Thomas Howard Soule, proprietor of the “Iyanough House” at Hyannis, Barnstable county, county commissioner, and also well known in other connections, was born Nov. 15, 1844, in New Bedford, Mass., youngest son of Thomas Howard Soule. There he received his education in the public schools, graduating from high school in 1861. He soon after began his career in the merchant marine service, making a trip to San Francisco in the merchant ship “Mary Robinson,” owned by Edward Mott Robinson, of New Bedford. On his return he entered the navy for service in the Civil war, in April, 1864, becoming acting master’s mate on the “Bienville,” which for a year was part of Farragut’s fleet, and he took part under Farragut in the battle of Mobile Bay, at the capture of Fort Morgan, receiving his share of the prize money awarded for the taking of the ram “Tennessee.” Leaving the navy in May, 1865, he resumed seafaring life in the merchant service, but did not continue in it long, making his last voyage in March, 1867; he held the position of third officer. From that time to the present hotel-keeping has been his principal business. His first hotel was the “Sherborne House” of Nantucket, where for several years he was also successfully engaged as a dry goods merchant. He has devoted considerable time to outside interests. In 1888 he came to Hyannis, Barnstable county, and purchased the “Iyanough Hotel,” which he is still conducting. The place has been enlarged under his management, having now about forty guest rooms, and has been undergoing constant improvement, being modern in equipment and well deserving of the high reputation it enjoys. Mr. Soule has proved himself well fitted for the business, in which he has made a decided success.

In 1903 Mr. Soule was elected commissioner of Barnstable county, was reelected in 1906, and is still holding the office. He is a Republican in political sentiment. He is widely known in G. A. R. circles, being commander of the Theodore Parkman Post, No. 204, an honor he has held for several years; he is also a Mason, holding membership in Fraternal Lodge, A. F. & A. M., of Hyannis, and belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the New England Order of Protection at Hyannis.

In March, 1867, Mr. Soule married Martha M. Nesmith, of Bucksport, Maine, daughter of Carver and Eleanor (Williams) Nesmith and sister of Susan C, wife of Rufus A. Soule, of New Bedford, brother of Thomas H. Soule. Mr. and Mrs. Soule have one daughter, Martha N., who was educated in Hyannis, graduating from the high school, and is now secretary at the State normal school at Hyannis, a position she has held since the organization of that institution.

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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