A History of Swan Point Cemetery
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David Aldrich

1907 – 2002

David Aldrich’s love of art begins in Providence with his painter parents who are influential in creating the Providence Art Club. The family takes "painting vacations" to Little Compton, Gloucester, Europe, and the Caribbean. Aldrich graduates from the Gordon School, the Moses Brown School, Brown University, and Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. During World War II he serves in the Army Air Corps in North Africa and Iran, using his architectural training. Aldrich's career begins as an architect in New York City, New York in 1933 with his uncle, Chester Holmes Aldrich, at Delano & Aldrich. He also spends two years in Washington DC at the United States Treasury Department. In 1937 he becomes a partner at Kent, Cruise & Aldrich in Providence, Rhode Island. He later opens a private architectural firm and is head city planner for the City of Providence, Rhode Island. In the 1960s he owns and directs Art Unlimited, a gallery on Thayer Street in Providence that exhibits artists such as Hazel Belvo, Lawrence Kupferman, and Baburao Sadwelkar. Mr. Aldrich has numerous exhibitions, notably at the Providence Art Club, the Rhode Island Watercolor Society, and the Gallery on the Commons in Little Compton, Rhode Island. He exhibits in many group shows as well at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Rhode Island Arts Festival, DeCordova Museum, Virginia Lynch Gallery, Wheeler Gallery, and others. See a larger image of "Sail's Ready."

Sails Ready by David Aldrich

Louise Arnold

1923 - 2010

Louise Veronica Arnold (nicknamed Lou) is a female pitcher for the South Bend Blue Sox of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League for four seasons. Listed at 5' 5", 145 lb., she bats and throws right-handed. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is a circuit that begins in 1943 when the league officials creates a game that has elements of both fast-pitch softball and baseball. A native of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Arnold is the youngest of 13 children in the family of George and Mary Ann Arnold. In 1948 she attends a league tryout with no baseball experience, but the league is desperate for overhand pitchers. 1951 is her most productive season; she posts a 10-2 record for a league-high .833 winning percentage. She hurls a no-hitter, tosses 32 consecutive scoreless innings, and completes nine of her twelve starts. Arnold is a member of two Blue Sox clubs to win consecutive titles in 1951 and 1952. Following her baseball career, Arnold lives in South Bend, Indiana and takes a job at Bendix Corporation, where she works on the brake line for thirty years. After retirement in 1982, she focuses her time traveling to reunions of the AAGPBL Players Association where she and other former players sing "Victory Song," the official theme of the AAGPBL co-written by Pepper Paire and Nalda Bird, which is popularized in the 1992 film A League of Their Own. A devoted fan of University of Notre Dame women's basketball, she maintains a season ticket location just behind the Irish bench. Arnold is inducted into the South Bend Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005, and she is part of the AAGPBL permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at Cooperstown, New York. Hear members sing the "Victory Song." See the Blue Sox team photo. Read the lyrics to "The Victory Song."

Louise Arnold

Sullivan Ballou

1829 – 1861

Sullivan Ballou is born in Smithfield, Rhode Island in 1829 and attends boarding school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts due to his parents' early deaths. He attends Brown University, where he is a member of Delta Phi. Later, he studies law at the National Law School in Ballston, New York and is admitted to the Rhode Island bar in 1853. He is elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives, where he serves as a clerk, and later as the speaker as a staunch Republican and supporter of Abraham Lincoln. When war erupts, Ballou volunteers with the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry. In addition to combat duties, he serves as the Rhode Island militia's judge advocate. Ballou and 93 of his men are mortally wounded at Bull Run. A 6-pounder solid shot from Confederate artillery tears off his right leg and simultaneously kills his horse; Ballou dies from his wound a week after that Union defeat and is buried at nearby Sudley Church. According to witness testimony, Ballou's corpse is exhumed, decapitated, and desecrated by Confederate soldiers possibly belonging to the 21st Georgia regiment, and his body is never recovered; the incident launches a congressional investigation and remains a controversy shrouded in mystery. According to the magazine America's Civil War:

Under the direction of Walter Coleman, Sprague's secretary, the assemblage commenced with the exhumation of Slocum and Ballou. Just then a young black girl, full of curiosity, made her way from a nearby cabin to investigate. She approached the diggers and inquired if they were looking for 'Kunnel Slogun'? If so, she said, they were too late and would not find him.

She went on to recite a chilling tale, claiming that a number of men from the 21st Georgia Regiment had robbed the grave several weeks prior. They had dug up Slocum, severed his head from his body and burned the mutilated corpse in an attempt the remove the flesh and procure the bones and skull as trophies. His coffin had been thrown into the creek, only to be later used in another burial.

Horrified, Sprague demanded to see evidence of such an atrocity. Followed by most of the anxious but skeptical group, he accompanied the girl as she led them to a nearby hollow, where they found a heap of charred embers along the bank of the creek. The ash was still gray, denoting that it was only a few weeks old. There they found what appeared to be bones. Upon closer inspection, Surgeon James B. Greeley of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry identified a human femur, vertebrae and portions of pelvic bones. Nearby they found a soiled blanket with large tufts of human hair folded inside.

As the troopers carefully collected the terrible evidence, one noticed a white object in the branches of a tree along the creek bank. A horse soldier waded into the stream and recovered two shirts, one a silk and the other a striped calico, both buttoned at the collar and unbuttoned at the sleeves. The circumstantial evidence seemed to concur with what the little girl had told Sprague, and it seemed even more plausible when Greeley did not locate a human skull or teeth with the other remains.

To add to an already confused, strange situation, Sprague insisted that he recognized both shirts as having belonged to Major Ballou — not to Slocum. Private Richardson, who had nursed Ballou in his last moments a week after the battle, concurred. With the identity of the beheaded body now in question, the anxious group rushed back to the gravesite. The troopers still had not found anything in the first grave. To probe for a solid object, Greeley suggested running a saber blade deeper into the ground. One was handed forward and thrust into the soft, mud-soaked soil. Driven almost to the hilt, it met with no resistance. The grave was empty.

The same tactic was applied to the other grave, but with different results, as a hard object was soon struck. Several cavalrymen began to dig, and they uncovered a rectangular box buried no more than 3 feet deep. The box was pulled from the grave, and the lid was pried off to reveal the body of 37-year-old John Slocum, rolled up in a blanket. Easily identifiable by his distinctive red, bushy mustache, Slocum's remains were surprisingly intact. It now appeared that the missing body was that of Ballou.

To gather further evidence, Sprague, in company with his aide and Lt. Col. Willard Sayles of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry, went to the homes of nearby residents. In the process they met a 14-year-old boy who claimed to have witnessed the awful deed, and verified that it was soldiers from the 21st Georgia Infantry who had carried it out. The boy went on to reveal that the plot was premeditated, and that the Georgians had planned it for several days. He also claimed that the Rebels tried to burn the corpse, but had to prematurely dowse the fire because of the horrible stench it emitted. A farmer by the name of Newman confirmed the boy's story, contending that no Virginian would have done such a thing and that those responsible were from a Georgia regiment.

Sprague also talked to a woman who had nursed the wounded at Sudley Church after the battle. She claimed that she had pleaded with the Georgians to leave the dead at peace. Unable to persuade them, she had saved a lock of hair cut from Ballou's head, in the hopes that someday someone might come to claim the body. Colonel Coleman took the lock of hair, promising he would return it to Ballou's wife.

After his death, a letter for his wife Sarah is discovered in Ballou's trunk and delivered to her by Governor William Sprague. In place of his body, charred ash and bone believed to be his remains are buried in Swan Point Cemetery. His wife, Sarah, never remarries and moves to New Jersey to live out her life with a son, William. She dies in 1917 and is buried next to her husband at Swan Point Cemetery.It is rumored that she is buried with the letter in her hands. Read his letter to Sarah.


Isaac Comstock Bates
1843 - 1913

Isaac Comstock Bates is a wealthy meat provider and benefactor to Providence's art communities. He is a Director and President for the Providence Art Club and the Rhode Island School of Design. Much of his collection is donated to the Rhode Island School of Design upon his death. The Bates family plot contains monuments in the Colonia Revival style, organized by Bates himself. According to the Cemetery's history: "Bates's highly developed taste is probably central to his understanding for the grouping, which includes markers for his wife, parents, sister and brother-in-law, and nephew and his wife. Bates's own angular, dark-grey stone, by far the most severe, becomes the focal point of the group, with other stones playing off blue, tan, and green variations of grey slate and granite, modulations of early eighteenth century tombstone shapes, and the best quality carved decoration, distinguished by depth and elaboration."


Carlos Mauran
Harry Bloodgood

? - 1886

Harry Bloodgood (born Carlos Mauran) is a performer and songwriter, who leads the Harry Bloodgood Minstrel Troupe, and writes popular blackface songs. He is married to dancer Helene Smith from 1864 to 1868. Read his deathbed autobiography published in the New York Times here.



Edward B. Bohuszewicz

1813 - 1848

Edward B. Bohuszewicz is listed as a Polish Revolutionist of 1830 -31 who immigrates to the United States. His time in Providence is one dedicated to music. He is the conductor for the Beethoven Society in 1846, a group of vocalists and musicians. The New England Historical Genealogical Register lists him as a music teacher in relationship to Henry Thayer Drowne. He is the composer for several pieces including "Andalusian Cachucha," Aquila Waltz," "Beautiful Spring Waltz," "Boston Grand March,"Vinton's Quickstep," "Yankee Polka," "The Polish Pilgrim," and others in his short but prolific career. His memorial is designed by Thomas A. Tefft and the inscription reads: "Born at Podolia in Poland. Died at Providence. Banished, in poverty, from the country where he was born in affluence, he found, with us, a home; and with manly fortitude made the accomplishments of his youth not only a source of honest independence, but of generous aid to his exiled countrymen. Gentle, just and virtuous, he won the love of many and respect of all. This stone is a tribute to his memory from the community who mourn for him as an adopted son." Listen to "Boswell's Waltz" by Bohuszewicz.

Andrew John Branigan

1922 - 1995

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Andrew John Branigan plays Defense for the National Hockey League's New York Americans from 1940 to 1942. 5'11" and 190lbs, Branigan plays for the East Kildonan Bisons, Winnipeg RCAF (while serving in World War II), Springfield Indians, Indianapolis Capitals, Hershey Bears, Providence Reds, Washington Redskins, and the Eastern Hockey's League's New York Rovers. A longtime resident of Lincoln, Rhode Island, Branigan is a very popular local sportsman and successful businessman. He is the subject of artist Frank Lanning's popular sports caricatures that are printed in the Providence Journal. Branigan is awarded the "Words Unlimited Award" for special service to his community, the Rhode Island Reds Booster Club Award, and is inducted into the Rhode Island Reds Hall of Fame in 1970.


Charles R. Brayton

1840 - 1910

Charles R. Brayton, a native of Warwick, is born in 1840 into a family that has been in Rhode Island since 1643 and one that is well-known in politics and business. Brayton’s grandfather is the Honorable Charles Brayton, a justice of the Supreme Court from 1814-17 and 1827-30. Brayton’s father, William Daniel Brayton, is a member of Congress from Rhode Island from 1859-61, and his uncle, George Arnold Brayton, is chief justice of the R.I. Supreme Court in 1868. Brayton enters Brown University in 1859, and at the end of his sophomore year he volunteers to serve in the Civil War. He recruits a company of the Third Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers (Heavy Artillery) and is appointed a lieutenant of the Third Regiment on in 1863. At the close of the war, Brayton, at age 25, is made Brigadier General of Volunteers. He builds his political organization using the votes of the rural and small town Yankees who fear the foreign populations in the cities. Brayton ensures that committee chairmen are all from the country and ultimately becomes the political “boss” of the state's Republican Party.

Charles Brayton

Joseph R. Brown
1810 - 1876

Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Company is one of the oldest and most important machine tool and precision tool builders in the United States. The firm is founded in 1833 by David Brown and his son Joseph R. Brown. In 1853 the company adds Lucian Sharpe as a partner and becomes J. R. Brown & Sharpe. Initial work consists of clock repair and they begin developing machinery; the first is a dividing engine in 1850, which automatically lays out the graduations to make a rule. Improved machines are built in 1854 and 1859 and are  in use as late as 1916. Brown and Sharpe is credited with many inventions including Standard Wire Gages, the B & S taper, 20 degree pressure angle gearing, the formed milling cutter, vernier caliper, and the universal milling machine. They primarily build turret lathes, automatic screw machines, grinders, and milling machines. The firm produces a line of precision machinist tools, and the company's history represents an arc in American industrial history. It was sold to a Swedish company in 2000. Joseph Brown's memorial is a pyramid and alludes to Egyptian burial practices, a theme popularized in the late 19th century.

Ambrose Everett Burnside

1824 - 1881

Ambrose Everett Burnside is born in Liberty, Indiana on May 23, 1824, one of nine children of Edghill and Pamela Burnside. His father Edghill, a former South Carolina slaveholder who moves to Indiana after freeing his slaves, is a legislator in his adopted state and secures a West Point scholarship for his son Ambrose. After graduation in 1847, young Lieutenant Burnside is assigned to an artillery unit but arrives in Mexico City too late to see actual combat in the Mexican American War. In spring 1848, Burnside is stationed to Fort Adams in Newport. In 1853 he resigns his army commission to open a company in Bristol for the manufacture of carbines. The original company is reorganized in 1860 as the Burnside Arms Company and manufactures breech-loading carbines and sells over 55,000 Burnside carbines to the United States government during the Civil War. He is appointed a major general of the Rhode Island militia in 1855, and upon the outbreak of Civil War, becomes colonel of the first Rhode Island Regiment. He fights at the First Battle of Bull Run. In October 1861, after becoming friendly with President Lincoln, Burnside is given an independent command as brigadier general of volunteers. He serves in several fronts of the war. In post-war civilian life Burnside prospers as a railroad executive and engineer and is elected governor of Rhode Island three times--in 1866, 1867, and 1868 as a Republican (despite his prewar Democratic leanings). As chief executive, he unsuccessfully supports a state constitutional amendment that would allow Civil War soldiers who are naturalized citizens to vote without the requirement of owning real estate. In 1874, General Burnside, whose unusual facial whiskers gave “sideburns” to the language, becomes a United States Senator. During his tenure, Burnside chairs the Committee on Education and Labor and the Committee on Foreign Relations. Notably, he supports a bill that allows African American applicants special admissions privileges at West Point.


Arnold Buffum Chace

1845 - 1932

Arnold Buffum Chace is born in Valley Falls, Rhode Island, on November 10, 1845 to Samuel B. Chace and Elizabeth Buffum Chace. He graduates from Brown in 1866. He spends two years in scientific study at Harvard and at the École de Médecin in Paris, specializing in chemistry. He is an instructor in chemistry at Brown in 1868-69. A family death leaves him in charge of the family's Valley Falls Company and he becomes a cotton manufacturer. He continues his scientific interests and he visits Benjamin Pierce of Harvard once a week for nearly a year. In 1910 Chace and his wife Lite visit Egypt and begin a lifelong passion for its history and culture. In 1912 they purchase the British Museum copies of the Book of the Dead and the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. They study hieratic and hieroglyphic writing, and Mrs. Chace turns her artistic talent to the work of copying the hieratic from the British Museum copy of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus and drawing the corresponding hieroglyphic transcription under each sign. A transliteration is written from right to left, below the hieroglyphs and on a facing page the transliteration is repeated from left to right with an English translation below. When Chace is 77 years old, he enlists the aid of Ludlow Bull of the Egyptian department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Professor Henry Parker Manning. The British Museum gives Chace permission to publish a photographic copy, to which is added a mathematical commentary. A Rhode Island School of Design student makes 109 plates in black and red. The first volume of his Rhind Mathematical Papyrus is printed in 1927, the second in 1929 when he is 87 years old. His response to congratulations on the publication: “How useful the work will be, I do not know, but it has interested me, and I think that life is full in which one uses all of his faculties all the time.” He dies in Providence on February 28, 1932.


Elizabeth Buffum Chace

1806 - 1899

Elizabeth Buffum Chace is a lifelong public activist. Elizabeth is raised a Quaker in the Quaker enclave of Smithfield, Rhode Island. She is converted to radical antislavery activism after her 1828 marriage to manufacturer Samuel B. Chace of Fall River. Her first five children die during childhood, and she gives birth to five more; Elizabeth's youngest child, Mary, is born in 1852 when Elizabeth is forty-five years old. Elizabeth moves back to Rhode Island in 1839, when her husband takes over management of the Valley Falls Mills on the Blackstone River. In 1858 she moves to a spacious home in what is now Central Falls and uses her home to host events related to public antislavery activism. She shelters fugitive slaves; hosts speakers like Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth, and Wendell Phillips; and writes letters encouraging others, including her own children, to be activists in the cause of abolitionism. Chace becomes a social outcast and finds comfort among a small band of radical abolitionists like her. At the conclusion of the Civil War, Elizabeth Buffum Chace turns her energies to securing political rights for women, championing the cause of women prisoners, establishing a model state home and school for destitute children in Rhode Island, protecting prostitutes, and providing advocacy for women and exploited child laborers. She supports young women who are denied a college education because of their sex, and a plethora of other reforms. In her incisive letters to the editor, her appearances at legislative hearings, her organization of protests and conventions, she is the most prominent woman reformer in nineteenth century Rhode Island. She is a founder and board member of national women's organizations, like the prestigious think tank the Association for the Advancement of Women and the American Woman Suffrage Association. When she dies in 1899, Elizabeth Buffum Chace is called "the conscience of Rhode Island."

Elizabeth Chace

George Henry Corliss

1817 - 1888

George Henry Corliss works as a shoemaker and invents a boot-stitching machine in 1841. He later patents improvements to steam engines, most notably the Corliss valve, a device that controls steam flow in engines and greatly reduces the waste of steam. In 1856 he purchases a factory and renames it the Corliss Engine Company, ultimately a world leader in the manufacture of steam engines. He gains his greatest fame at Philadelphia's Centennial Exhibition in 1876, where a 1600-horsepower, 700-ton steam engine of Corliss's design provided all the power for the fair's entire six-month run -- including power for the 8,000 smaller machines on display. During the fair's run Atlantic Monthly describes the machine as "the true evidence of man's creative powers. Here is Prometheus Unbound." In daily manufacturing use, the Corliss steam engine is an extremely efficient design, and the last of his company's machines remain in industrial service for nearly a century after the inventor's death.


Thomas Wilson Dorr
1805 - 1854

Thomas Wilson Dorr is born in Providence in 1805 into a wealthy family whose money is made from China-trade and textile manufacturing. He studies at Harvard University and later, after studying law under Chancellor Kent in New York, he practices in Providence. Dorr leads Rhode Island towards universal manhood suffrage with the "Suffrage Party." Rhode Island is led by a 1663 colonial charter that restricts the vote to men owning at least $134 in land. The ruling conservatives are not supportive of reform, and Dorr's party calls for a constitutional convention in 1841. The existing legislature has a rival convention, which drafts the Freemen's Constitution, making some concession to democratic demands, but it is defeated in a state referendum led by the opposition Dorrites; their own convention drafts the "People's Constitution," which is overwhelmingly approved in another referendum. In 1842 both Dorr's followers and the charter government forces elect governments, Dorr heading one and Samuel H. King the other. The federal government declines to interfere. In May, Dorr resorts to an unsuccesssful assault on the Providence armory where his government collapses. He flees the state, and King declares his own victory.  Dorr is arrested and indicted for treason. Clashes continue and the conservatives, finally convinced of the strength of Dorr's cause, call another convention to adopt a new constitution-- one that liberalizes voting requirements and is accepted by both parties in 1843. Dorr returns, is found guilt,y and is sentenced in 1844 to solitary confinement at hard labor for life. The harshness of the sentence is widely condemned, and in 1845 Dorr, broken in health, is released. He is restored his civil rights in 1851, and in 1854 the court judgment against him is set aside.


Sarah Elizabeth Doyle
1830 - 1922

According to the Cemetery: "The modest stone of Sarah Elizabeth Doyle, similar to those of adjacent family members, including long-time Providence mayor Thomas A. Doyle, doesn't even begin to hint at the significant contributions she made to women's education and suffrage. Long-time teacher and principal in Providence schools, she is a charter member of the corporation of Rhode Island School of Design; the leader of the Rhode Island Society for the Collegiate Education of Women, which sponsored the establishment of Pembroke College a Brown University; and an early, ardent supporter of women's suffrage. Upon return from her only Grand Tour of Europe, at the age of seventy six, she offered the opinion: "I believe more than ever in the power of women to elevate this country if they would feel their responsibility and exert their influence." Following her death at 92, L. Earl Rowe, Director of the Rhode Island School of Design recalled her: "as a leader in the higher education of women ... one of the five or six most prominent women in the country."


CM Eddy Jr

1896 - 1967

A close friend to H.P. Lovecraft and Harry Houdini and a lifelong Rhode Islander, C.M. Eddy Jr. is perhaps a writer best known for his stories in Weird Tales. Eddy's tales of horror, the supernatural, and mystery appear in pulp magazines in the early 20th century. Eddy writes detective mysteries such as "Sign of the Dragon," published in Mystery Magazine in 1919. Other stories describe mad scientists, Neanderthals, phantoms, and ancient curses that Eddy calls his "brainchildren." Eddy also composes lyrics and melodies and songs include "Dearest of All," "When We Met by the Blue Lagoon," "Underneath the Whispering Pine," "Sunset Hour" and "Hello, Mister Sunshine (Goodbye, Mister Rain)."  He is  perhaps most famous for the lurid and masterful story, "The Loved Dead," which causes a minor scandal upon its publication in the May 1924, issue of Weird Tales. The story of necrophilia generates enough publicity to save Weird Tales from bankruptcy. The Richmond (Indiana) Parent Teachers Association files an injunction to ban further publication of Weird Tales Magazine. Eddy is a theatrical booking agent in Providence, where he befriends vaudevillians and performers, including the great Houdini, one of the most popular entertainers of his time. According to his grandson, he also works as a ghostwriter and an investigator for Houdini: "Houdini paid writers to write stories that had his name on them in popular magazines. He also used to go around the country breaking up seances and exposing mediums as fakes. My grandfather would travel to a town ahead of him and find out everything he could. He'd figure out how the voices were coming from the walls, how the table might be moving. Then he'd type up a report for Houdini, who would show up with all of the newspapers and expose the act as if he was doing it on the spot." See the cover of the 2008 re-issue of "The Loved Dead."


the Grosvenor Plot

According to the Cemetery, the Grosvenor family plot represents a beautiful ensemble of white marble memorials: "Two sarcophagi, larger than the symbolic ones created by Tefft, recall Roman and Italian Renaissance sources. That for William Grosvenor represents the former, but here overlaid with nineteenth-century symbolism, a cross atop it swathed in ivy (symbolic of eternity). Adjacent is that of his wife, Rosa Ann, no doubt prescribed by her husband, who survived her; created by Casoni & Isola of New York, it is more Italian Renaissance in form, but its urn top filled with ivy and roses, the most powerful floral symbol of love, places it firmly in the late nineteenth century. Adjacent are tributes to several of their children who died young ... West of the parents is the grave of Robert Grosvenor, marked by a broken column, symbol of life cut short, engirdled with eternal ivy."

Anna Carpenter Garlin Spencer


Anna Garlin is born in Attleboro, Massachusetts in 1851 and grows up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Her mother is abolitionist Nancy Carpenter Garlin, and her aunt Sarah Carpenter is a missionary who works with homeless women. She is the first woman in Rhode Island to be ordained and to serve as the minister of the Bell Street Chapel from 1891 to 1902. In 1869 she writes for the Providence Journal until 1878 when she marries the Reverend William H. Spencer, a Unitarian minister. She serves as a religious leader in the Bell Street Chapel in Providence, a liberal, nondenominational ethical church, beginning in 1889. From 1902 until her death, Spencer teaches at institutions as the University of Wisconsin, the University of Chicago, and Teacher's College, Columbia University on issues of religion, aspects of marriage and the family, the role of women, sexuality, and philanthropy. She fights for women's rights for more than forty years and is friends with Susan B. Anthony, Ednah Cheney, Lucy Stone, and Valeria H. Parker. In the 1890s she serves as the president of the Rhode Island Equal Suffrage Association. An early participant in the National Council of Women, Anna Garlin Spencer is president of that organization in 1920. Spencer's interest in pacifism also leads her to prominent positions in the cause of peace. She is on the executive committee of the National Peace and Arbitration Congress in 1907 and is a founding member of the Woman's Peace Party in 1915, serving as vice chairman. She is the first chairman of the national board of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919. Spencer dies at home in New York in 1931. Read the 1919 report she authors for the National Women's Council and Peace.


Thomas Coles Hartshorn
1800 - 1854

Thomas Coles Hartshorn is responsible for founding Swan Point Cemetery. Hartshorn is a former public school teacher and after founding the Cemetery in 1847, spends the rest of his life working here as a clerk. He is also a poet. An excerpt of one poem entitled "Time" (1851) reads as follows:

"Even they who led the vanguard
have missed the fame which they contended for,
Obscured and buried in the lapse of years."

Benedict Lapham

1816 - 1883

Benedict Lapham is an industrialist who grows up on a farm and later spends time in manufacturing establishments in Burrillville, Rhode Island, and Palmer and Douglass, Massachusetts. He develops farming interests of the Albion Manufacturing Company at Smithfield, Rhode Island. In 1837 he attends Bushee's Academy at Bank Village, Rhode Island and studies mechanics. He works several years as a carpenter and wheelwright. In 1839 he purchases the Tillinghast factory in East Greenwich and successfully manufactures of cotton goods until 1840. He expands the business to North Scituate, Wallum Pond, and Pascoag, Rhode Island. In 1849 he marries Ann Eliza, daughter of the late Russell and Catherine (Essex) Austin, of North Kingstown. In the summer of 1852 he buys from the estate of the late John Greene of Warwick, an estate in Centreville, embracing two-thirds of the waterpower, and all the machinery of the old mills, built in 1794 and 1807, with later additions. During the 'Dorr Rebellion' he is captain of a militia company. In 1849 he is a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives from Scituate. In 1863 he is elected to the state senate from Warwick to fill a vacancy, and re-elected the following year. He is appointed by Governor Smith, State Commissioner of the Antietam Cemetery, and reappointed by Governor Padelford. He is president of the Warwick town council for five years, justice of the peace, and the incumbent of other offices. Mr. Lapham is characterized by: "strict integrity and ceaseless energy. He was a man of iron constitution, indomitable perseverance, and great executive ability. He possessed a thoroughly disciplined mind, and was master of his business, comprehending all its details, from the buying of cotton in the fields, through all the processes of manufacturing, to the sale of all the products of his mills. His liberal spirit and interest in the public welfare led him to devote much of his wealth to the cause of education and to benevolent purposes. His career was one of great usefulness until his death, which occurred June 16th, 1883."


Mary Ann Balch Lippitt
1823 - 1889

Mary Ann Balch marries Henry Lippitt in 1845. The Lippitts are a family of wealthy cotton manufacturers and politicians. Mr. Lippitt becomes governor of Rhode Island in 1875 and 1876. The Lippitts have eleven children including daughter Jeanie, who loses her hearing at the age of four after contracting scarlet fever in 1856. She loses three children to scarlet fever. Mary Ann does not conform to then contemporary belief that deaf and mute children could learn to communicate only by signing. She, with two other families with deaf children, teaches their children how to lip read and speak. Alexander Graham Bell serves as a voice teacher to Jeanie and helps to refine her speech. Her success helps lead to the establishment of the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts; the Boston School for Deaf Mutes; and ultimately the Rhode Island School for the Deaf in 1876.  According to the Cemetery: "the Lippitt triangle was long the cemetery's most prominent and immediately distinguishable plot, highly visible from the original entrance when it was located less than a quarter of a mile to the northwest. Dominating the granite coping walled plot is an elaborate and beautifully site-specific plinth supporting an allegorical mourning figure."


HP Lovecraft

1890 – 1937

Born in Providence, Howard Philips Lovecraft is described as a sickly child whose parents die deaths complicated by mental struggle when he is young. He is raised by aunts, and at 16, he authors the astronomy column in the Providence Tribune. Howard Phillips Lovecraft, often credited as HP Lovecraft, is writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction. Lovecraft's guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle is his idea "cosmicism" or "cosmic horror," the idea of life as "incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally inimical to the interests of humankind." He is best known for his Cthulhu Mythos story cycle and the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. Although Lovecraft's readership is limited during his lifetime, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. Between 1908 and 1923, he writes short stories for Weird Tales Magazine, among others. His most famous novel is At the Mountains of Madness, about an expedition to the South Pole, which discovers strange creatures beneath a mountain. According to Joyce Carol Oates, Lovecraft—as with Edgar Allan Poe in the 19th century—has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction." Stephen King calls Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." King reveals in his semi-autobiographical non-fiction book Danse Macabre that Lovecraft is responsible for King's fascination with horror.


Edgar Lownes

1870 - 1924

Edgar Lownes is born Edgar Lowenstein but Anglicizes his name due to anti-German sentiment during WWI. He founds the American Silk Spinning Company in 1908, and is known as a local philanthropist.  He volunteers at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Edgar Lowenstein's portrait hangs in the Brown Faculty Club. He supports the Providence Music League, a source of concerts for workers at a nominal cost. In his will, Lownes asks that a casting of Konti's "Genius of Immortality" be placed over his grave.  At the request of Lownes' wife Teresa, Konti adds wings to his original design, and two relief plaques of angels. The monument is a bronze sculpture on a marble base located along a path that dips down to the river right around the corner. It is created in 1924 by Vienna-born Isodore Konti, who emigrates to the United States in the 1890s to work on sculptural decorations for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.


Robert Nisbet

1879 - 1961

Robert Nisbet is born in Providence, Rhode Island, on August 25 1879 to William Douglas Nisbet and Isabella Hogg.  As a young boy, he attends the Rhode Island School of Design and goes on to study at the Art Students League of New York.  After study and travel in Europe, he settles in Manhattan in 1907.  In the 1900s he meets Marguerite Metcalfe, then the wife of the painter, Willard Metcalf, with whom Nisbet had studied. In July of 1907, Nisbet and Marguerite run away together, causing considerable scandal in the art world. During 1910-11, Nisbet serves on the Board of Control at the Art Students League of New York.  He lives in Manhattan until 1911, when he moves permanently to South Kent, Connecticut.  Nisbet plays a big role in local and regional art life, emerging as "the dean of the group at Kent." He paints the Connecticut landscape throughout the seasons, favoring compositions with distinctive groupings of trees.  His work is inspired by Impressionism's emphasis on light and color, as well as by the decorative aspects of Post-Impressionism. In 1928 he is elected an academician at the National Academy of Design in New York and has memberships in the National Arts Club, New York (artist life member); the Salmagundi Club, New York; the New York Water Color Club; the Philadelphia Society of Etchers; the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Hartford; and the Providence Art Club; among many others.  He is also a member of the Kent Art Association, serving at one time as its president. Nisbet wins the Dunham Prize at the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts (1913); the third Hallgarten Prize at National Academy of Design (1915); a silver medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco (1915); the Ranger Fund Purchase Prize at the National Academy of Design (1923); the Bryan Prize at the Los Angeles Museum (1925); and a prize and medal at the National Arts Club (1927), among many others. He dies in South Kent in 1961. His work can be found in the National Arts Club, New York; the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; the Telfair Academy of Arts, Savannah, Georgia; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Academy of Design, New York; the Brooklyn Museum; and the Milwaukee Art Institute.  His etchings can be found in the print collections of many institutions in both the United States and abroad, including New York Public Library and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. See one of Nisbet's pieces "Apple Blossoms."


Erastus Dow Palmer

WB Welden Urn by Erastus D. Palmer. Erastus Dow Palmer is born in Albany in 1817 and begins his career as a carpenter. In 1845 he makes a cameo portrait of his wife and is encouraged to continue on "carving portraits." He carves 200 cameos out of shell and makes plaster replicas of them until a friend suggests he carve from clay. His first piece is the "Infant Ceres," modeled from one of his own children, which he reproduces in marble and exhibits in 1850, beginning a successful public career. His 1862 "Peace in Bondage" reflects its period and shows "a winged female figure leaning wearily against a tree-trunk, and gazing hopelessly into space. It is carved in high relief, with great skill and insight. In fact, nothing finer had been produced in America." According to Palmer's records, the Weldens pay him $1,000 for this monument on October 4, 1860.

Dudley Richards

1932 - 1961

Dudley Richards is born in 1932, the second child of Byron and Ruth Richards. Raised with older brother Ross and younger sister Susan in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Dudley begins skating with the Providence Figure Skating Club at age nine. Beginning in 1943, Dudley wins every Eastern singles title. After he wins the 1946 United States novice men’s title, he breaks his neck in a diving accident, which prevents him from skating for a year and a half, but he wins the United States junior men’s title in 1951; he is a then member of the three World Teams in singles, placing fifth in 1951 and 1952 and sixth in 1953. After he graduates from Harvard in 1954, he temporarily retires from skating when the United States Army drafts him. He serves in the Special Services, performing in the Casa Carioca ice show in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. When Dudley returns to civilian life in 1956, he begins a career in commercial real estate and he returns to competitive skating in pairs. Dudley and Maribel Y. Owen (Maribel Jr.) become a team in 1957 and are coached by his partner’s mother, Maribel Vinson Owen. They compete at the 1960 Olympic Winter Games, are the 1961 United States pairs champions, and win the silver medal at the 1961 North Americans. The oldest team member at twenty-nine, he is chosen as the first official World Team captain. Richards is en route to the World Championships in 1961 when his plane crashes near Brussels, Belgium, killing all on board. See Richards and Owen perform.

Dudley Richards

William Clark Sayles
1855 - 1876

According to the Cemetery: "Dramatically located in the middle of a triangulated intersection, the Sayles Lot features a wonderful small temple like structure at its south end, but most remarkable is the bronze sculpture created as a memorial for William Clark Sayles, who died while a student at Brown University. His parents employed German-born sculptor Henry Baerer, who exhibited at the National Academy of Design and whose works fill New York City's parks, to design a pensive monument highly reminiscent of that by Michelangelo for the tomb of Lorenzo de Medici in the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo in Florence. Like Lorenzo, Sayles died young, and his mortuary monument is undoubtedly the most sublime of those to the many young women and men who died far too young and far too often."

Walter Scott

1841 - 1924

Walter Scott is born on November 28, 1841 in Cumberland, the son of lawyer Joseph A. Scott and Juliet Howland Scott. By age eleven Scott peddles candy, fruit, and newspapers on the streets of Providence to supplement his widowed mother’s small income. In 1858 Scott starts an after hours business selling sandwiches and coffee to men’s clubs and to night workers in Providence. He applies to serve in the in the Civil War but is rejected due to poor eyesight and he briefly moves to Vineland, New Jersey to try farming. However, he returns to Providence to work as a pressman for the Providence Evening Press and, later, with the Morning Star. He also resumes providing workers with light snacks and coffee.  In 1872 he uses his savings to open a mobile food business full time, selling his sandwiches and coffee from a horse-drawn light freight wagon located in front of the Barton Block at the corner of Westminster and Weybosset streets in downtown Providence. Providence has street peddlers hawking pastries and foods at the beginning of the 19th century, but Scott is alone in selling his snacks at night. Also, the other street vendors worked out of stalls in the first floor of the Market House who consider themselves “caterers.” Scott offers his wares from the back of a wagon and moves from work place to work place; his innovation marks the birth of the lunch cart and precursor to the classic American diner. The lunch cart concept goes from Providence to Worcester in 1887 when Thomas Buckley is one of many that manufacture lunch wagons and eventually stationary dining cars.  In fact, stationary diners are popularized because cities experience traffic congestion caused by the mobile wagons, known as ‘Night Owls.’ Scott dies on October 26, 1924. Today the American Diner Museum honors his memory.

Walter Scott

Oliver Shaw

1779 – 1848

Oliver Shaw is born at Newport, Rhode Island and is blinded by yellow fever during his childhood. He studies with organist John Berkenhead and later Shaw studies in Boston with Gottlieb Graupner. In 1805, he teaches in Dedham, Massachusetts. In 1807 he moves to Providence where he marries Sarah Jenckes in 1812 and moves into a spacious house in downtown Providence on Westminster St. between Dorrance and Eddy.  The couple has seven children and the family household is a conservatory that hosts up to a dozen students at a time. There is a piano in every room and an organ in the center hall and he gives as many as forty music classes a week. Shaw sells music from "The Music Repository" at 70 Westminster Street, which is also headquarters to his publishing company, Oliver Shaw Music. Shaw helps establish the Providence based Psallonian Society "for the purpose of improving themselves in the knowledge and practice of sacred music and inculcating a more correct taste in the choice and performance of it." The Society offers concerts in and around Providence for 16 years featuring music from such European masters a Beethoven, Handel, Haydn, and Mozart. Shaw composes Mary's Tears in 1817, a parlor song, and ultimately publishes five volumes of his own music (often based on the poetry of Thomas Moore). “There’s Nothing True but Heaven,” composed in 1816 and published in 1829, is his biggest hit and features music composed to a poem by Thomas Moore. According to Russell Sanjek in his “American Popular Music and its Business” Volume II, “Mary’s Tears” and “There’s Nothing True but Heaven” bring Shaw fame far beyond his native Rhode Island and make him the most popular American songwriter of the 1820s. ("Big" Al Pavlow) Read the lyrics to "There's Nothing True But Heaven." Listen to "Trip to Pawtucket."

Oliver Shaw

Amasa Sprague

1798 - 1843

Amasa Sprague is a member of the ruling class. The Sprague family is made wealthy by cotton manufacturing at the Cranston Print Works. Together with his brother William—who in 1844 is a United States Senator—Amasa Sprague owns a textile business started by his father William Sprague, Sr. The Spragues own several cotton mills in Rhode Island, but their most profitable factory is the print works in Spragueville which prints calico patterns on cloth. The A & W Sprague Company employs most of Spraguesville and owns the tenements they rent and the company store where they shop.  Sprague actively opposes the Dorrites and is instrumental in Dorr’s arrest. When Sprague's body is found shot and beaten, the murder is thought to be a political assassination by Dorr’s followers, but the Dorrites are in disarray without a leader. Six months before his murder, Amasa Sprague uses his influence to have Nicholas Gordon's liquor license removed by the city council, stating that Sprague's employees are habitually getting drunk at Gordon's premises. Nicholas Gordon and his brother John are Roman Catholic immigrants from Ireland. Nicholas, John, and William Gordon (another brother) are all tried for murder, but only John is convicted, a conviction based on contradictory circumstantial evidence. William is found not guilty and in Nicholas's case, held after John's execution, the jury is hung. John Gordon is executed by hanging in the state jail in Providence. The court justices are involved in all three trials, act as trial judges, and are the court of final appeal. The prosecutor "told the jurors to give greater weight to Yankee witnesses than Irish witnesses." Seven years after Gordon's execution, Rhode Island abolishes the death penalty. Although it is reintroduced in 1872, no executions take place before capital punishment is abolished again by the state in 1984. In the 1990s the Rhode Island General Assembly considers reinstating the death penalty, and Gordon's case is used by those against reinstatement to demonstrate the dangers of capital punishment. Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee pardons Gordon on June 29, 2011, following passage of legislation by the state's General Assembly urging such action. Chafee signs the proclamation of pardon at the Old State House, where Gordon's trial took place more than 150 years prior. According to the Cemetery, the Sprague Family Plot is among the most interesting:

This circular lot at one of the cemetery's most eminent promontories ... marvelously exploits circular organization to crown the site. Holding the center is a marble monument based on the Greek fourth-century BCE Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, designed by James Bucklin (who used the same source for the lantern atop Downtown Providence's Beneficent Congregational Church.).... The predominance of white marble reinforces the lot's presence. By far the most engaging monument here, however, is the sarcophagus with gisant figures memorializing the two elder children of Byron & Harriet Sprague, Mary (1850 - 1860) and William Comstock (1857 - 1860), by Charles Hemenway, which reminds of the pervasive incidence of infant mortality in the nineteenth century.

Amasa Sprague

Alfred Stone
1834 - 1908

Alfred E. Stone is born in 1834 in E. Machias, Maine to Reverend Thomas Treadwell Stone and Laura Poor Stone. After graduating high school in 1850 he works for several architectural firms in Boston. In 1859 Stone joins the Providence firm of Alpheus C. Morse, where he remains until the Civil War. Stone marries Ellen Maria Putnam in Salem in 1864 and founds his own architecture firm in Providence. Stone serves as the beloved Director of the Swan Point Cemetery from 1876 - 1908. The Cemetery has a monument to Stone that is designed by Norman M. Sham, one of Stone's protegees. Stone plans his final resting place on a gentle slop with a view of the Seekonk River. According to the Cemetery: "Stone's stone is just that, a large stone, embellished only with a bronze ribbon bearing his and his wife's name and dates."


Thomas Alexander Tefft

1826 - 1859

Tefft is a major nineteenth century American architect. He is born in Richmond, Rhode Island into humble surroundings. His talent for drawing is discovered by Henry Barnard and on Barnard’s advice, the young Tefft leaves home in 1845, and enrolls in Brown University in 1847. While a freshman, Tefft designs (under the supervision of James C. Bucklin) the Union Depot in Providence. Built for the Providence and Worcester Railroad, this massive structure embodies the two principal architectural interests that occupy Tefft until his death--the introduction of ornamental brick architecture to the United States and the employment of a style based upon the tenth-and eleventh-century Romanesque architecture of Italy and Germany. Tefft works on a wide range of building types--railroad stations, churches, schools, libraries, banks, commercial structures, mills, and residences. His most notable surviving works are Central Congregational Church, Providence (1850-52) and Lawrence Hall at Williams College (1847). In December 1856, Tefft leaves for Europe to study the buildings and learn European methods of architectural education. After visiting several countries and meeting their leading architects (and even devising an international gold-based monetary theory of uniform currency) he contracts fever in Florence, Italy and dies at the home of his friend, neoclassical sculptor Hiram Powers, on December 12, 1859. He is thirty-three years old.

John Rogers Vinton
1827 - 1848

May 12: Major John Rogers Vinton is interred. It is the first military funeral at the cemetery. Vinton is killed in action in Vera Cruz on March 22, 1847. Those participating in the ceremony include the Horse Guards, the Newport Artillery, the Marine Artillery, the Warren Artillery, the First Light Infantry, and the Woonsocket Guards. In attendance are the Governor of Rhode Island, officers of the United States Army and the Providence Fire Department. Reverend Nathan B. Crooker conducts the services, which conclude with the firing of minute guns by a detachment of Sea Fencibles. Atop Vinton's memorial is the unexploded shell which killed him in battle.


Blackstone Boulevard

Blackstone Boulevard is proposed by the Proprietors of Swan Point Cemetery in order to provide better public access to the facility. The Cemetery commissions preliminary designs drawn by Chicago landscape architect Horace W. S. Cleveland in 1886 which provides for two roadways and a central parkway. The General Assembly authorizes construction in 1890, the roads are built by 1894. The Butler Avenue trolley line is added down the median in 1902. The Olmstead Brothers oversee the landscaping and Stone, Carpenter & Willson design the boulder trolley stop opposite the entry to Swan Point Cemetery. The thoroughfare becomes "a popular spot for drives and promenades and, in the early days, occasional horse races." (RIHS)

Butler Hospital

Butler Hospital is a private psychiatric hospital on 114 acres of landscaped grounds and woodland, adjacent to Swan Point Cemetery. It is created in 1844 by the organizers of the Rhode Island Asylum for the Insane. Butler Hospital is one of the oldest private psychiatric hospitals in the country and reflects " the humanitarian reform in treatment of the insane and 19th century health theories regarding the therapeutic and restorative value of peaceful and secluded rural environments." Butler Hospital is created to provide treatment for insanity. Patients, depending on their ability to pay and degree of illness, are placed in different rooms. The rich are in private rooms and their fees help to subsidize the treatment of poorer patients who are known as "Charity patients" and live in dormitories. Its first superintendent is Dr. Isaac Ray. It is founded and heavily supported by local patrons--including Nicholas Brown III, Moses B. Ives, and Cyrus Butler.

The Forty Steps

The Dell is improved by the introduction of water that allows for a cascade to descend from it. The Forty Steps are built-- it is a stone path bordered with ferns and rhododendrons from Forest Avenue to Ridgeway Avenue.

The Hope Memorial

This mixed-medium sculpture by Richard Fishman consists of two triangular pink-granite monolights as a backdrop for an anchor. This stone sculpture is originally installed in 1972 at an outdoor chapel on Killingly Street and is moved to Swan Point in 1976. This area of the Cemetery represents an area for burial plots that are arranged "in gentle arcs facing the sculpture, an outdoor and nondenominational space."

Pastor's Rest

"Pastors Rest" is erected to dedicate where the remains of Reverend Enos Hitchcock and his family who are buried here. He is the pastor of the First Congregational Society from 1783 - 1803. A large circular monument marks the middle of a slight rise, around which are ringed the burial sites.

Receiving Tomb

Thomas A. Tefft designs the brownstone-faced Romanesque style receiving tomb or vault where the dead may be held until a final burial place is prepared. According to the Cemetery: "Emerging from a hillock above Cedar Avenue, the original receiving tomb ... Lombard Romanesque style that Tefft favored and used for the original building at Butler Hospital, immediately south of the cemetery, and in his landmark Union Station complex (1848), formerly in the middle of today's Kennedy Plaza in Downtown Providence. Receiving tombs were far more often used in the nineteenth century, before the development of powered earth-moving tools that now make possible the year-round preparation of burial plots."

The Rock Pond


Stone, Carpenter and Willson design a "rustic shelter" northwest of the rock pond that is accessed by a flight of steps near a bronze tablet with the inscription: "Benjamin Anthony Memorial, erected by his wife Sara W. Anthony, Stranger, rest." According to the Cemetery: "The Rock Pond was established by the late nineteenth century and offered a much desirable water feature on the inland side of these riverside grounds. In the twentieth century, it became the venue for the cemetery's most significant collection of mausoleums, a form rarely seen elsewhere in Swan Point but found here in rare abundance. Private family mausoleums became fashionable shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, no doubt a phenomenon related to the privatization of almost every activity at that time that affected the country's upper-income population."

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