Biography of James Monroe Pendleton

James Monroe Pendleton
James Monroe Pendleton

A distinguished family, of financial and social prominence, and an enviable civic career characterize James Monroe Pendleton and make him a significant factor in the development of Westerly, Rhode Island, where he makes his home. He is manager and director of what was formerly known as the National Niantic Bank and is now the Westerly branch of the Industrial Trust Company. His active and significant business career has not precluded his holding many important town offices and assuming the leadership in every progressive movement.

The American progenitor of the Pendleton family was Major Brian Pendleton, of English birth, a freeman of Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1634. Seventh in direct line of descent was the father of the subject of this record, Enoch B. Pendleton, born in North Stonington, Connecticut, September 5, 1808, who died November 11, 1875. He was a prosperous merchant, a partner in the firm of Pendleton & Company, a Republican who served the State as State Senator from Westerly in 1856. He was a delegate to the first convention of the Republican party in Rhode Island, and later he was assistant United States assessor, and still later postmaster of Westerly. A charter member of the Calvary Baptist Church, he also belonged to the First Baptist. Enoch B. Pendleton married, October 30, 1843, Mary E. Chapman, daughter of Andrew and Welthv (Palmer) Chapman, and they were the parents of nine children, of whom the eighth was the subject of this record, James Monroe Pendleton.

James Monroe Pendleton, son of Enoch B. and Mary E. (Chapman) Pendleton, was born in Westerly, Rhode Island, where he attended the public schools. After graduating from high school in 1880, he entered Brown University, from which he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in 1885 and Master of Arts in 1890. His scholarship was of so high an order that he was made a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, while his social fraternity was the Delta Kappa Epsilon. He served three terms as a member of the corporation of Brown University.

His business career began with his employment as clerk in the National Niantic Bank of Westerly, of which in 1887 he became assistant cashier. Within two years he had so proven his ability that he was advanced to the office of secretary and treasurer of the Niantic Savings Bank, remaining in that capacity until 1904. He was then appointed manager of the institution which was reorganized as a branch of the Industrial Company, and in 1912 was elected a director. His financial reputation is sound and widespread. Meantime, his business activities have been paralleled by his participation in civic affairs. Since 1892, except for one year, Mr. Pendleton has been town treasurer of Westerly; was for three years on the school committee; for one year superintendent of health; was a member of the building committee for the public library, the high school, the town hall and courthouse, and served as trustee and treasurer of the library from its organization in 1892 to the time of the present writing. His church is Calvary Baptist, of which he is a trustee and president of the board of corporation. He has been president of the Westerly Board of Trade and identified with civic improvement in the town. His cooperation has been granted to every enterprise looking toward municipal development in every line, and in most local public affairs he has taken a leading part. Particularly during the World War was his public spirit manifest, when he worked in season and out of season in the government financial and humanitarian drives. He was chairman of the Rhode Island “four-minute men” for the Westerly district, a member of the Executive Committee of the United War Work drive in Westerly, and treasurer of the local chapter of the Red Cross, serving as chairman of the fund campaigns. In 1919 he was a member of the State Committee appointed to welcome home-returning service men. His clubs are the University, of Providence, the Misquamicut Golf, of which he was president for many years, and the Colonial of Westerly.

James Monroe Pendleton married, May 21, 1901, Beatrice N. Nicol of Newark, New Jersey. Children:

  1. James Monroe, Jr., born April 11, 1902, died July 26, 1916.
  2. Stuart Nicol, born September 24, 1905.

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

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