Biography of Charles Stephen Davol

Charles Stephen Davol
Charles Stephen Davol

In the textile trade of this State and Massachusetts, the late Charles Stephen Davol was known as one of the most expert and highly trusted financial executives. As treasurer for many years of the Standard Braid Company, he made his official headquarters at Attleboro, Massachusetts, advancing the interests of that great concern, which was a merger of several mill properties. From early manhood he made his home in Warren, where he was regarded with feelings akin to affection by the people of whom he had been a neighbor for many years. A thoughtful man and a student always, Mr. Davol was unusually well informed and a ready and entertaining conversationalist. His exemplary citizenship and sustained interest in the civic life of his home city made him a useful member of the community.

Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, August 5, 1859, Charles Stephen Davol was the son of Stephen and Sarah (Thompson-Cole) Davol. He attended the public schools of his native city, and then pursued higher studies in the schools of Providence, among them the Mowry and Goff English and Classical School.

Fond of travel, he made a number of extended trips in the West and South, following his graduation. His travels in the Southland, while arranged chiefly for pleasure, had a tinge of business, since he devoted some of the time as a representative of the Standard Mill Supply Company.

For seven years of his service as treasurer of the Standard Braid Company he made his home at North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Returning to Warren, he continued to make that city the place of his residence until his death. He was a valued official of that corporation, and his fellow-members of the staff prized their association while he held the office. At the time of his passing he was attached to the office of the Staples Coal Company in Warren, and here, too, he had pleasant relations with the principals of that concern and the members of its staff.

Mr. Davol was an enthusiast on the bicycle and he was the first to own and ride a vehicle of that kind in Warren. His fondness for bicycling never waned and he was also much devoted to the game of tennis. In both of these recreations he was often joined by congenial friends who had been brought to the enjoyment of them through his own contagious enthusiasm. He was an attendant of the Baptist Church in Warren and a friend of all good works, supporting them by his influence and from his means.

Devoted to the companion who brought to his home the womanly virtues and the strength of character and social qualities from a desirable family background, Mr. Davol spent most of his leisure time in that charmed environment. Among his books and surrounded by kindred spirits, he rejoiced in these endowments, the one for the promotion of culture and the other for the happy contact with congenial friends. Those whom he met from day to day in his touch with the people at many points, and those who enjoyed the privilege of his home on numerous pleasing occasions, recall his unusual ability as a conversationalist. He was often the center of a company of admirers who were regaled by his charming rehearsal of this or that event, and was always able to impart something for the edification of his hearers.

Charles Stephen Davol married, April 11, 1883, Carrie Elizabeth Drown, daughter of former State Senator Benjamin Drown, of whom see further.

Senator Drown was born in Warren, December 19, 1826, a son of Benjamin and Eliza (Champlin) Drown, died there August 26, 1900. His personal occupation was that of contracting and teaming, which he followed with signal financial success throughout his life. He early exhibited qualifications for public service, and he was often besought by his fellow-citizens to accept town offices. The positions of State Commissioner for Warren and membership on the School Committee he filled for a number of years. In 1872 he was elected assessor of taxes of the town and held that office until his death. To various important committees he was appointed, among them the committee to rebuild what is known as Kelly’s Bridge on Warren River.

On November 7, 1882, Mr. Drown was elected State Senator and served continuously in the upper branch of the Legislature except the years 1887-88 and 1889. In 1895 he was made a member of the Shell Fish Commission of Rhode Island for a term of five years, and at about the beginning of his term he was appointed a member and became chairman of the Senate committees on finance and fisheries. He served as a member of the Republican town committee of Warren, and for ten years was on the Republican State Central Committee. He was one of the original members of the Narragansett Fire Company, and was foreman of Mechanics No. 2 Fire Company. He was a director of the Warren Trust Company, president of the Union Club, a member of the Philanthropic Society and the George Hail Free Library.

Senator Drown married (first), in April, 1850, Man 1 W. Bowen, born November 14, 1829, died June 3, 1882. She was a descendant of (I) Richard Bowen, who came to America in 1640, and died in February, 1674; his wife’s name was Ann. (II) Obadiah Bowen, son of Richard, was born in 1628, died in 1710. He married Mary Clifton. (III) Thomas Bowen, son of Obadiah, was born August 3, 1664, died about 1730. He married Thankful Mason. (IV) Josiah Bowen, son of Thomas, born October 1, 1692, died February 11, 1748. He married Margaret Child. (V) Josiah (2) Bowen, son of Josiah, born July 29, 1734, married Huldah Easterbrooks. (VI) James E. Bowen, son of Josiah (2), was born February 14, 1765, and married Lydia Jolls. (VII) George Bowen, son of James E., was born July 29, 1800, died July 10, 1833. He married Betsey Martin, who was born September 22, 1810, died January 13, 1894, and their daughter, Mary W., became the wife of Benjamin Drown.

By the marriage of Benjamin and Mary W. (Bowen) Drown there were four children:

  1. William B., married Joanna G. Simmons.
  2. Mary A., married Walter H. Rose.
  3. Maria Newell, died young.
  4. Carrie Elizabeth, born January 6, 1860, married Charles Stephen Davol, of this review.

Senator Drown married (second), in October, 1884, Mary J. Walker, who died, and he married (third), January 12, 1887, Susan Mary Merritt, who died April 3, 1907, daughter of Stephen D. and Mary (McGoodwin) Merritt, of Stonington, Connecticut.

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

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