FRANCIS XAVIER RIVERS

& JOHN F. RIVERS

BIOGRAPHY

AS RECORDED IN:

COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF 
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND REPRESENTATIVE  CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  936

FRANCIS XAVIER RIVERS,  one of Woodstock’s substantial and time-honored citizens, who after years of toil, is now enjoying a well earned competence, was born Dec. 22, 1827, in St. Ours, Canada, of thrifty and highly respected parents, whose son has done honor to the name he bears.

Francis Rivers was born in Normandy, France, from which country he emigrated to Canada.  The children born to his marriage with Mary Lonswee were:  Henry, John, Leblanche, Katie, Joseph, Francis, and Mary Ann.

John Rivers, the father of Francis X. Rivers, was born Jan. 3, 1793, in St. Ours, Canada, and died Aug. 18, 1867, at Holden, Mass., aged seventy-four years.  During his early life he was a farmer, and was successful, accumulating ample means.  He was a man of great height and weight, being six feet, three inches tall, and weighing 240 pounds.  Two years prior to his death he was afflicted with loss of sight.  At this time he was making his home with his son Edward, in Massachusetts, where the remainder of his days were spent.  John Rivers first married Margaret Duherrmeel, who was born in St. Ours, Canada, where she died in 1834.  The children by this union were:  John died in St. Mark, Canada, where he conducted a successful bakery business until he was fifty years of age (he married Agnes Gregore, but had no children);  Peter, who was a stonemason in Manville, R.I., married Eliza Duherrmeel, had a family of ten children, and lived to the age of sixty-nine;  Francis Xavier is mentioned below;  Margaret married Ethan Guyot, a mill operative at St. Annis Ayers, Canada, and died in Holden, Mass., leaving six children.  The second marriage of John Rivers was to Mary Leclair, of Canada, who died in 1872, at the age of seventy-three years.  The children of this marriage were as follows:  Baptiste, a farmer who resides at Holden, Mass., married Eliza Pappinnon, and they have five living children;  Edward, a resident of Holden, an engineer by trade, married Eliza Hoyle, and they have four children;  Henry, who was employed in the cotton mills, died in Holden, when thirty-six years of age (he married Mary Duherrmeel, and they have four children);  Mary, who is the widow of Andrew Duherrmeel, resides with her four children in Holden;  Katie died at the age of eighteen years.

Francis Xavier Rivers attended the winter schools of St. Ours, Canada, his birthplace, until he was seventeen years old, spending the summers in work on the farm.  Wishing to see something of the world, the young man then left home and located in Providence, R.I., where he found work at the tailoring trade, which he had partially learned in Canada.  Later in the year he went to Woonsocket Falls, where he remained until the following December, and from there to Uxbridge, Mass.  In this pleasant locality he worked with Michael Manley and George Gunn for five years.  On March 18, 1850, he went to East Woodstock with the idea of embarking in business for himself, if the location pleased him.  He soon opened up a tailoring establishment which prospered so well that in 1853 he built his shop, and in 1858 erected his present comfortable home.  Mr. Rivers continued active in this business until 1889, at which time he laid aside business cares, and now employs his time in looking after his snug little farm of eighteen acres.  In politics he is an ardent Republican, but has never sought any political favor.  With his wife he attends the Congregational Church, of which she is a devoted member.  Mr. Rivers is a generous supporter of the same and is interested in its benevolent enterprises.

Mr. Rivers was married (first) Sept. 9, 1851, to Martha Knight Hibbard, of Woodstock, daughter of Joseph F. and Parmelia (Burdick) Hibbard; she died Oct. 19, 1860, in East Woodstock.  They had children as follows:  Martha Adele, born Aug. 14, 1852, in East Woodstock, married Walter E. Cobleigh, a piano finisher, of Leominster, Mass., and has had three children, Florence Mabel, Grace Lillian (who died at the age of ten years) and Harriet Adele (who died in infancy).  Esther Parmelia, born Oct. 18, 1859, in East Woodstock, died there Aug. 10, 1860.

The second marriage of Mr. Rivers, on Feb. 5, 1861, was to Esther Pamelia (** see footnote) Hibbard, sister of his first wife.  She passed away Feb. 8, 1894, in East Woodstock.  Her four children were as follows:  John F., born Jan. 19, 1864;  Harriet Elizabeth, born July 27, 1866, in East Woodstock, who died Dec. 1, 1878;  Edward Fenton, born Oct. 21, 1867, who died in East Woodstock Dec. 8, 1893, unmarried; and Charles Edgar (unmarried) born Aug. 27, 1870, who is connected with the Great Western Railroad Co., of Chicago.

The third marriage of Mr. Rivers was on April 10, 1895, to Miss Susan Ellen Child, daughter of Charles and Almira (Holmes) Child, of Woodstock, the latter a daughter of Leonard Holmes, and a cousin of the celebrated Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes.  Mrs. Rivers is a lady of beautiful character, and is widely known through the community for her gentle beneficences and charitable impulses.  Mr. Rivers is of genial, social disposition, and as a result is passing the evening of his life surrounded with the comforts acquired by his early industry, and enjoys the universal esteem of his fellow-citizens.

JOHN FRANK RIVERS  was born Jan. 19, 1864, in East Woodstock, where he was reared, and acquired his education in the district schools.  When about seventeen years old he went to farming for his father, but two years later decided to learn the blacksmith’s trade, and with that end in view entered the shop of Francoise Foisey, at Putnam, remaining in that excellent place for ten years.  Opening a place of business of his own in Putnam, Mr. Rivers successfully conducted it for three years, selling out then to Mr. Foisey.  Coming to South Woodstock, he built a commodious shop, and a comfortable residence and convenient barn, building up a most excellent trade in this locality, which he carried on until Aug. 5, 1901, when his buildings were all destroyed by fire.  After this disaster Mr. Rivers, with renewed courage, located in West Woodstock, and started in business again.  In March, 1901, he purchased the old Wilkinson homestead, comprising 208 acres of land, and he has since been paying particular attention to the breeding of blooded stock and the finest grades of cattle.  Endowed with energy and ability, there is every reason to predict a prosperous future in this line for him.  He is more interested in business than politics, although he upholds the principles of the Republican party.

On Aug. 16, 1885, Mr. Rivers was united in marriage with Hattie Alice Willard, and they have one son, Charles Frank, born July 4, 1887, in Ellicott, town of Pomfret, Connecticut.

**footnote:  this middle name might be Parmelia, but the publisher has printed it as Pamelia. 

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel

 

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