The Hazard family of
Peace Dale Rhode Island were among the original settlers in Rhode
Island. The first Hazard in America was Thomas Hazard
who emigrated from Wales around 1630. He originally
settled in the colony of New Jersey
and then moved to Boston, Massachusetts
in 1636. Sometime in between 1636 and 1638 he founded
Newtown on Long Island, New York and then moved to Rhode Island
in the spring of 1639. The Hazard Family motto is "Be Just
and Fear Not."
Thomas had 7 sons; Robert,
George, Jeremiah, Benjamin, Stephen, Jonathan and Thomas.
A Great-Grandson of Thomas
known as "College Tom,"
(born 1719 - died 1795) was the first of the Hazard Family to
attend college. Thomas married Elizabeth Robinson and was the
father of Roland Hazard who originally established the mills at
Peace Dale. Thomas was also Quaker preacher for over 40 years and
was noted for his speaking ability.
Roland Hazard was born on
April 4, 1763 in Peace Dale, Rhode Island. He was married to Mary
and was the father of Isaac P. Hazard,
"Shepherd Tom," Elizabeth, Rowland G. Hazard,
William, Joseph P. Hazard, Isabella, Mary,
and Anna. Roland originally was engaged in the shipping business,
but after 7 of his ships were confiscated during the Napoleonic Wars,
he returned to Peace Dale and entered the textile manufacturing
Three of Roland's sons; Isaac Peace
Hazard, Roland Gibson Hazard, and Joseph Peace
Hazard continued in the family textile business. Around 1810
Isaac began assisting in his father Roland's mill and in 1819
Roland turned over the business to his sons Roland Gibson and
who operated the firm as I. P. & R. G. Hazard. In
1828 a third brother, Joseph Peace joined the firm and the
partnership assumed the name R. G. Hazard & Company.
Isaac P. Hazard
never married, however Roland Gibson Hazard
married Caroline Newbold on September 25, 1828 and
it is for his wife that the town of Carolina Mills is named.
Joseph Peace Hazard was the builder of
Hazard's Castle in Narragansett, Rhode
Island. He was among the first to see the
potential of Narragansett Pier as a Popular Resort.
During the years 1833 to 1843, as
indicated in several of the letters and correspondences in this collection;
Roland Gibson Hazard made annual trips to New Orleans.
Roland was a member of the Society of Friends (Quaker) as
were most of the Hazard family and was adamantly against the institution
of slavery. Roland took on an active role in the efforts to
release the Free Blacks who were unjustly imprisoned in
Louisiana chain gangs and many of them were freed through his efforts.
His speech concerning the Fugitive Slave Law
before the Rhode Island legislature
in 1850 was a powerful denunciation
of the institution of slavery.
In 1848 Roland and
Isaac incorporated the business as the Peace Dale Manufacturing
Company with Isaac
acting as president and Roland
as Secretary/Treasurer. John N. Hazard
became president in 1864
upon the retirement of Isaac. Roland Hazard II
was president from 1892 to 1898 and Roland G. Hazard II
was president from 1898 to 1918. After the death
of Roland G. II in 1918 the company was sold to M. T.
Stevens & Sons
who continued to manufacture textiles until 1930. They closed the
doors to the mill for the final time in 1947
and moved the firm to North Carolina.
The Hazard family were ahead of their
times in employer/employee relationships and in 1878
they began what was one of the very first plans to share a percentage of the
company's profits with their employees. In 1876, the family also
constructed the railroad line
that served Narragansett Pier. The 8 mile long line
began at the New York, Providence and Boston Railroad's
- Kingstown Station and ended at Narragansett Pier. The family
sold the line in 1946 and passenger service ended in 1952.
One final note that I found of interest,
is that the son of Roland Gibson II and Mary Bushnell
Roland III, born in 1881 was a recovering alcoholic
who underwent treatment by the noted psychiatrist Dr. Jung in
Zurich, Switzerland in 1931 and was instrumental in the
founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. Roland joined the Oxford
Group in the latter part of 1931, which was a
forerunner to AA. It was through this association that he
"Ebby" Thatcher in 1934.
Ebby was facing a six
month prison term in Bennington, Vermont for drunkenness and
alcoholic insanity. Roland
and Cebra Graves, another member of the Oxford Group attended
Ebby's sentencing and asked the Judge to release Ebby to their custody. Ebby
began attending the meetings with Roland and after being
sober for two months, he met with his old friend Bill
Wilson and related the message of Recovery from Alcoholism
in Bill's kitchen at 182 Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, NY. This would
lead to the founding, seven months later of Alcoholics Anonymous
by Bill Wilson and
Robert "Dr. Bob" Smith.