Biography of Winfield Scott Solomon

Colonial ancestry and military traditions are seemingly paramount in the actuating forces that have operated toward the rise in the activities of life in which Winfield Scott Solomon, of Providence, has been engaged since his school days. This is an instance of ability passing down by inheritance from generation to generation, prominent examples of which occur in the Adams family of Massachusetts, the Harrison of Indiana, the Choates of New York, and that of Oliver Wendell Holmes, whose son sits on the Supreme Bench of the United States. The Solomons are of pre-Revolutionary origin in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as are his ancestors on the maternal side, the Neiferts; and many of them took active part in the Colonial wars preceding the Revolution. The present representative of the family in Rhode island has been actively engaged in business of this State since he was twenty years of age, for the stock is industrious and filled with commercial and professional ambition. Mr. Solomon has not only been active in business, but has been called to public office, in addition to an extensive military career, in which he acquitted himself with credit and to the benefit of the electorate that was responsible for the position he held.

Born in Delano, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, April 25, 1876, he is a son of Winfield Scott and Sarah Ann (Neifert) Solomon, and was educated in the public schools of Wilkes-Barre, later supplementing this educational training by courses in the Signal Corps School of the army at Fort Myer, Virginia. His father was a coal mining engineer and a veteran of the Civil War, as was his grandfather, Sergeant Silas Solomon, who was wounded six times during the progress of that conflict. Winfield Scott, the first, had the unusual distinction of having enlisted five times in the Union army; the first four times he was sent home on request of his mother, for the reason that he was under sixteen years of age when he entered the service, and had run away from home to enlist. On the fifth attempt he obtained the consent of his parents and was accepted in the 202d Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. His son, Winfield Scott, began life as a paper boy when he was ten years of age, and at the age of twenty was manager of the F. W. Woolworth store in Woonsocket. At twenty-seven he removed to Providence and became assistant superintendent of the Outlet Company, one of the most important organizations of its kind in New England. He administered this position satisfactorily until 1911, when he accepted the position of superintendent of the R. A. McWhirr Company of Fall River. He remained in that position until 1914 and then came to Providence and assumed a similar office in the employ of the Diamond Company, continuing until 1917, when he entered the military service and was thus engaged until 1919. He is treasurer and manager of the Wayland Manor, a director in the John A. Gammons Insurance Company, Incorporated, and business manager of the Providence Magazine. He is also financially interested in the Blackstone Canal National Bank and in the People’s Savings Bank.

In 1921 Mr. Solomon was elected to the General Assembly from the Second District of the city of Providence, and served through 1922. He is a member of the Providence Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Club of Rhode Island, the Acacia Club of Washington, District of Columbia, Bonnet Shores Country Club, and the Palestine Shrine Club. He attends St. Martin’s Protestant Episcopal Church. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the Morning Star Lodge, No. 13, Free and Accepted Masons, of Woonsocket, of which he is Past Master; is a member and Past Master of Overseas Lodge, No. 40, Free and Accepted Masons, of Providence, and a member of Thomas Smith Webb Lodge, No. 43, Free and Accepted Masons, of Providence; also belongs to Thomas Smith Webb Chapter, No. 16, Royal Arch Masons, of Providence, of which he is Excellent High Priest, and is Past Commander of Thomas Smith Webb Commandery, No. 51, Knights Templar, of Providence; Past Sovereign Prince, Rhode Island Council, Princes of Jerusalem; Rhode Island Consistory, thirty-second degree, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Masons; Past Grand Master of Masons of Rhode Island; Past Grand Master of the Grand Council, Royal and Select Masters, of Rhode Island; Past Potentate, Palestine Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; Past Patron, Weetamoe Chapter, No. 57 , Order of the Eastern Star, of Fall River, Massachusetts; Past President of the Masonic Club of the Third American Army, Coblenz, Germany; Past Masters Association of Rhode Island; Masonic Veterans’ Association of Rhode Island; honorary member of Rising Sun Lodge, No. 30, Free and Accepted Masons, of East Providence, Rhode Island; honorary member of Rhodes Lodge, No. 44, of Cranston, Rhode Island, Free and Accepted Masons; honorary member of Nathanael Greene Lodge, No. 45, Free and Accepted Masons, of Warwick, Rhode Island; honorary member of Major-General Henry Knox Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Boston, Massachusetts.

In the military service he was a private and corporal in Company F., 9th Pennsylvania Infantry, at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1894-96; private, corporal, sergeant and sergeant first-class, United States Signal Corps, 1899-1902, serving with that contingent in the Third District, Department of Northern Luzon, for two and one-half years during the Philippine Insurrection. Additional service during the World War and since: First lieutenant, captain, major, 1917-19; commanding officer, 417th Telegraph Battalion Signal Corps, serving at the front lines in France and after the Armistice with the Army of Occupation at Coblenz, Germany; lieutenant-colonel, Signal Section, Officers’ Reserve Corps, 1919-24; colonel, Signal Section, Officers’ Reserve Corps, 1924-25; lieutenant-colonel and signal officer, 43d Division, Rhode Island National Guard, since 1925.

Other organizations to which Colonel Solomon belongs include the following memberships and offices: Providence Post, No. 1, American Legion; Spanish-American War Veterans; William J. Byers Council, No. 282, Junior Order of United American Mechanics, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; past president of Narragansett Bay Chapter, National Sojourners; Rhode Island Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution.

Colonel Solomon takes a keen interest in all outdoor athletic sports and has been a member of a number of prominent baseball, football and bowling teams. He is also an ardent advocate of golf and tennis.

He married, in St. James’ Protestant Episcopal Church, Providence, June 25, 1921, Susan Helen Kenyon, daughter of Charles Segar and Nellie May (Campbell) Kenyon. Their children are:

  1. Winfield Scott, Jr., born April 3, 1922.
  2. Marjory Campbell, born November 19, 1923.

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

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