Biography of Robert Hale Ives Goddard

A leading figure in Rhode Island life for many years, Robert Hale Ives Goddard continues the tradition of prominence long associated with his family. He is president of the Lonsdale Company and a director of many important corporations in this State.

Mr. Goddard was born at Providence, Rhode Island, on February 12, 1880, a son of Colonel Robert Hale Ives Goddard and Rebekah Burnet (Groesbeck) Goddard.

The American progenitor of the family, whose name is not known, was an early settler in New England. His son, Ebenezer, was born in Rhode Island, although the family had originally settled near Plymouth, and it is known that another Ebenezer, in the third generation of descent, was born at Newport, Rhode Island, although living in later years at New London, Connecticut. From him the line is traced through Ebenezer in the fourth generation, John, in the fifth, Dr. Giles Goddard, postmaster for a time at New London, Connecticut, William, his son, a well-known printer and publisher, William Giles Goddard, professor at Brown University, and Colonel Robert Hale Ives Goddard, father of the subject of this record.

Colonel Goddard was one of the most distinguished of all Rhode Island residents. He was born at Providence on September 21, 1837, and after the completion of his preliminary education was graduated from Brown University. In 1858 he began his business career with the firm of Goddard Brothers, but at the outbreak of the Civil War, he answered President Lincoln’s first call for volunteers, and served in various capacities until the conclusion of hostilities. Enlisting at first as a private, he was later commissioned lieutenant, and served as volunteer aide-de-camp on the staff of Major-General Burnside, commanding the 9th Army Corps. Later he was commissioned captain and aide-de-camp, and still later was brevetted major of volunteers for gallant and meritorious services during the campaign in East Tennessee and at the siege of Knoxville. On April, 2, 1865, he was brevetted lieutenant-colonel of volunteers for gallant and meritorious service at Fort Stedman, and in the assault before Fort Sedgwick, Virginia. Although he resigned from the service when the war was ended, he continued active in military affairs for some time. He was commissioned colonel and aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor Burnside, and later served as colonel of the 1st Rhode Island Light Infantry Regiment, and lieutenant-colonel of the 1st Infantry Battalion, serving as such until his final resignation on November 9 , 1883.

Taking up again the pursuits of peace, Colonel Goddard returned to his native city and there entered actively into business affairs, being prominently identified with the well-known firms of Goddard Brothers and Brown and Ives, both of which were chiefly engaged in cotton manufacture. In many other phases of Rhode Island life, however, Colonel Goddard was equally active, and he was widely known for his public-spirited interests in the advancement of the State’s welfare. He was elected to the State Senate as an Independent, although a Republican in politics, and he served as a member of that body during the session of 1907-08. During this period he was a member of the committee on finance, and chairman of the committee on education. Meanwhile his independence and sterling worth had attracted attention and in the campaigns for United States Senator in 1906 and 1907, he was the candidate of the Democratic and Lincoln parties. Although he lost his campaign, this defeat was in itself a victory. “The influence of his leadership cannot be overestimated,” wrote the “Providence Journal.” “Thousands of voters in the community have learned in the past year from his example the meaning of a true and virile citizenship.”

On January 26, 1870, Colonel Goddard married Rebekah Burnet Groesbeck, daughter of the Hon. William S. Groesbeck, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Three children were born of their marriage:

  1. William Groesbeck, born November 21, 1870, died on April 25, 1882.
  2. Madeleine Ives, born on June 30, 1874; married Marquis d’Andigne, of Anjou, France, on December 29, 1906.
  3. Robert Hale Ives, of this record.

Robert Hale Ives Goddard received his early education in Rhode Island schools, and later entered Yale University, from which he was graduated in 1902 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. After the completion of his academic training he began his business career at Providence. For many vears now he has been one of the financial and industrial leaders of the State. Mr. Goddard is president of the Lonsdale Company, and a director of the following enterprises: the American Mutual Fire Insurance Company; the Boston Manufacturers Mutual Fire Insurance Company; the Cotton-Textile Institute; the Enterprise Mutual Fire Insurance Company; the Manufacturers Mutual Fire Insurance Company; the Mechanics Mutual Fire Insurance Company; the Providence and Worcester Railroad Company; the Puritan Life Insurance Company; the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company; and the State Mutual Fire Insurance Company. He is a trustee of Butler Hospital and the Providence Institution for Savings, while since March 1, 1920, he has been a member of the Board of Commissioners of Providence City Hospital.

At Providence, Mr. Goddard has been a member of the City Council, serving with distinction in that body from 1913 to 1925. He is now a member of the Rhode Island State House Commission, and has long been known for his liberal support of all worthy movements for advance and progress.

On July 15, 1908, at Peace Dale, Rhode Island, Robert Hale Ives Goddard married Margaret Hazard, daughter of Rowland Gibson and Mary Pierrepont (Bushnell) Hazard. There is one son of this marriage: Robert Hale Ives, Jr., born on December 9, 1909. Mr. Goddard worships with his family in the faith of the Protestant Episcopal Church. His residence is at No. 66 Power Street, Providence, while he maintains offices in this city at No. 50 South Main Street.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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