The branch of the Lawton family so long resident in New Bedford, and in each generation active in public affairs, but recently represented by the late Charles H. and Horace A. Lawton, well known druggists, the former long prominent in the government of the town and an important factor in the financial and commercial life, is descended from George Lawton, a brother of Thomas and possibly of John also, all of Newport as early as 1638 or 1639. George and Thomas were among the twenty-eight signers of the Compact, April 30, 1639, for the formation of a “civil body politicke.” George Lawton was made a freeman in 1655; member of the Court of Trials, 1648; deputy, 1665-72-75-76-79-80; assistant, 1680-81-82-83-84-85-86-89-90. He and five other assistants, with the deputy governor, wrote a letter to their Majesties, William and Mary, congratulating them on their accession to the Crown, and informing them that since the deposition of Governor Andros the former government under the charter had been resumed. He seems to have been prominent in all the Colonial affairs of his time. He died Oct. 5, 1693, and was buried in his orchard at Portsmouth. He married Elizabeth Hazard, daughter of Thomas and Martha Hazard.
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.
Since the early settlement of Newport and Portsmouth, R. I., shortly after 1638, the Grinnells have been identified with Rhode Island and Massachusetts history, the earlier generations living largely in the towns of Newport county, R. I., and for the past hundred and more years branches of this southern Rhode Island family have been representative of the best citizenship in the old Massachusetts town of New Bedford. At New Bedford lived Capt. Cornelius Grinnell, a patriot of the Revolution, and long engaged in the merchant service, who married into the old historic Howland family, and one of whose sons, Joseph Grinnell, for almost a decade represented the New Bedford district in the United States Congress, and was long prominent as a merchant and manufacturer and banker of the town; and there lived the late Lawrence Grinnell, father of the late Frederick Grinnell, who so long was at the head of the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company and the General Eire Extinguisher Company, a man of genius in mechanical lines, whose inventions gave him distinction, and one of whose sons, Russell Grinnell, is at this time vice president of the General Fire Extinguisher Company. It is with this New Bedford branch of the Grinnell family this article deals.
BRAYTON. The first in America by this name, one Francis Brayton, came from England to Portsmouth, Rhode Island, where, in 1643, he was received as an inhabitant, in 1655, became a freeman, and to him nearly if not all the Braytons of New England trace their origin. He early entered into the political life of the country, serving as a member of the General Court of Commissioners for the Colony, for many years as member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, and frequently during the later generations his descendants have held positions of responsibility and trust in the public offices
The Anthony family of Bristol County Massachusetts descend from one John Anthony of Hampstead England who travelled in the Hercules to New England and settled in Rhode Island in 1634. This family, under the entrepreneurship of Edmund Anthony, became prominent publishers of many early Massachusetts papers, some of which were prominent in the establishment of the Republican Party and it’s causes.