Note: I am not researching this family - this is part of a transcription project for the RIGenWeb Rootsweb maillist.
Beth Hurd, Johnston, RI
History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
NY: The American Historical Society, Inc.
pp. 151 - 152:
"CHARLES EDMUND LONGLEY -- Barely a half century of life was allotted to Charles Edmund Longley, but they were years gloriously spent, full of business success and honorable effort as a citizen. Thrown upon his own resources in his youth, he rapidly developed a remarkable business ability, and while yet a minor held important managerial positions. He climbed the ladder of success swiftly and for many years he viewed life from an assured and eminent position. But there was more of honorable achievement in his life than his rise in the business world. He solved in his own circle the problems arising between employer and employee, and in all the ramifications of his large business the welfare of his employees was scrupuously regarded, and he was looked upon by them as their friend as well as their employer. This friendly, personal relation broke down all barriers, banished suspicion and distrust, and established a true spirit of cooperation which worked for the good of all.
A sucessful business man, very popular with all classes, genial, generous and open-hearted, thoroughly alive to his responsibilities as a citizen, Mr. Longley was the ideal candidate, and as such attracted the envious eyes of the politicians who would have used his manly, personal qualities to further their own ends. Party leaders often importuned him to allow his name to be used as a candidate, the Governorhsip at one time being vigorously urged upon him. But never for an instant did he waver in his refusal to became a candidate for any public office, great or small, not that he lacked either patriotism or confidence in his own ability, but from a pure dislike for public office with its attendant obligation to surrender so much of his personal independence and thought to conform to party needs. For he was not an opportunist, but held firmly to that which was right and as firmly opposed that which was wrong, party ties never binding his conscience. Hence he lived and died a private citizen, honored, respected, and loved by all who knew him, his name a synonym for integrity in the business world, and for loyalty in his social and home circle.
Paternally Mr. Longley was of the Maine branch of the Longley family, founded in Lynn, Mass., by Richard Longley, in 1635. His maternal relationship was with the Swift family, another of New England's old and honored families. The coat-of-arms of the Longley family is as follows:
Arms - Quarterly - First and fourth, parti per fesse or and azure. Second and third, parti per pale argent and gules. The former on a chevron sable, three bezants, or. The latter two chevronels.
Crest - A lion sejant argent.
Motto - Esse quam videri.
Charles Edmund Longley was born in Sidney, Maine, in 1850, and died at his home, No. 87 Walcott street, Pawtucket, R. I., November 29, 1899. He was educated in the public schools of Sidney and at Maine Wesleyan Seminary at Kents Hill. In youth he was left an orphan, dependent upon his own exertions, this condition, however, but stimulating his ambitions and nerving him for life's battle. After completing his studies at Wesleyan Seminary, he left the home of his youth, and in pursuit of his ambition to become a factor in the business world, located in Boston, Mass. He found employment in a clothing store as clerk, and in the years that followed until 1876 he was engaged with several of the leading retail clothing firms of the city in more than ordinary capacity. He not only became thoroughly familiar with every detail of the clothing business, but he developed a method of salesmanship and a deportment toward customers that won him a standing with his employers and a popularity with the trade. He was devoted to the interests of his employers, and his change of firms was not that his services were not satisfactory, but were part of his plan of preparation, for the time he was resolved should come when he would be a proprietor. He was often promoted in rank and compensation, but the varied experiences of this period of his life were more valuable to him.
In 1876 he collected his savings and decided the time was ripe to make his start in business for himself. He chose Providence, R. I., as a location, and there in association with George Talbot, of Brookline, Mass., he opened a retail clothing store, trading as the Boston and Providence Clothing Company. His Boston experience had admirably fitted him for his new responsibilities, and the new venture won instant public favor. But the store in Providence, successful as it was, did but pave the way to greater effort. His ambition was for a chain of stores and soon branches began to appear in other New England cities, until the company's sign appeared over stores in Pawtucket, Woonsocket, R. I., Fall River and Worcester, Mass., New Haven, Hartford and New Britain, Conn. These were not small stores in obscure localities, but in the best locations and finest buildings obtainable. The store at Pawtucket was in the Music Hall building, the store in Woonsocket in the Longley building, one of the finest in the city. This chain of stores formed an immense outlet for goods, and naturally Mr. Longley was attracted by the wholesale and manufacturing possibilities, eventually becoming a member of the Standard Clothing Company of Boston, operating stores in New York State and in New England. Later the Boston and Providence Clothing Company and the Standard Clothing Company consolidated, bringing under one management the huge business of both companies.
It would now seem as though Mr. Longley had fully realized the ambitions of his youth and had found suficient outlet for even his immense energy. But not so; on February 15, 1893, the J. B. Barnaby Company of Providence was absorbed by purchase from the heirs of J. B. Barnaby and the business continued as a corporation, The J. B. Barnaby Company, Mr. Longley being elected president and general manager. From that time forward Mr. Longley gradually disposed of his stores and interests outside New England and several of the branches in New England, retaining, however, the New Haven and Woonsocket stores and increasing his holdings of the stock of that highly successful company. He continued the active head of the business for six years, then succumbed to the inevitable, his years of excessive effort bringing about a weakened physical condition unable to resist the attack of disease. From that time he failed rapidly, and on November 29, 1899, died, not yet having reached his fiftieth year. But the record of those years is one of honor, the brilliancy of his life achievement atoning in a measure for his early demise.
Essentially the business man and entirely devoted to his business interests, allowing nothing, not even his own health, to interfere with its vigorous prosecution, Mr. Longley yet took an active interest in the affairs of his city, and he was keenly alive to his social obligations. After his married in 1879 he made Providence his home until 1882, then moved his residence to Pawtucket, his home ever afterward. He was a member of the Squantum, Pomham, To-Kalon clubs, a charter member of the Providence Athletic Association, a trustee of the Pawtucket Congregational Church, a member of the Congregational Club of Rhode Island, the Pawtucket Business Men's Association, Massachusetts Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, and St. Paul's Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, of Boston, in which he had attained the thirty-second degree.
He had the public welfare deeply at heart, was most solicitious for the well being of his employees, was most genial and approachable, holding their respect and confidence. He was very popular with patrons of his stores, and a favorite in any gathering he graced with his presence. Integrity and courtesy may be said to have been the prime articles of his faith, certainly no more upright nor courteous man ever lived. Generosity and charity marked his life, but so unostentatious was his giving that none knew how freely he drew upon his purse for the relief of others. By every test Mr. Longley proved himself a man, and he passed from earthly view with an untarnished name.
Mr. Longley married, in Providence, in 1879, Henrietta A. Swinney, born in Savannah, Ga., daughter of Captain John L. Swinney, of a prominent family of the South, valiant in war, leaders in public life, hospitable, gentle, gracious in the home. Mrs. Longley's great-grandfather, Richard Swinney, was a soldier in the Revolution, and a slave and plantation owner; her father, Captain John L. Swinney, was an officer of cavalry in the Seminole War, serving as captain of the Hancock Troop of Cavalry of Georgia, under General Winfield Scott. He married Eliza A. Robinson, of Massachusetts, a granddaughter of Elijah Robinson, a Revolutionary soldier, and a descendant of Rev. John Robinson, the noted Puritan minister. The coat-of-arms of the Swinney family is as follows:
Arms - Or, on a fess vert, between three bears passant sable, a lizard passant proper.
Crest - Two turtle doves cooing, proper.
Mrs. Longley survives her husband and continues her residence in Pawtucket, with her four children: Charles Edmund, Jr., Vawter Clifford, Rosalind, and Ronald Swift. A son, Harold Robinson, died in childhood. Mrs. Longley is a most gracious lady, blending the virtues of North and South. The family residence, formerly the Dexter homestead, purchased in 1882, has been so added to that it is one of the architectural beauties of the city; Mrs. Longley's summer home, formerly the Phillips Homestead, is at Phillips Beach, Swampscott, Mass. She is also prominent in club and social life, is past regent of Pawtucket Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and for a number of years was Rhode Island State director of the Society of Children of the American Revolution, and was for two years State regent for Rhode Island of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and is now vice-president general of this National Society."
from the RI Historical Cemeteries Database Index:
LONGLEY, CHARLES E. 1850 - 29 NOV 1899 PV003
LONGLEY, HENRIETTA AUGUS (SWINNEY*)1849 - 27 APR 1931 PV003
LONGLEY, CHARLES EDMUND 1883 - 29 MAR 1932 PV003
LONGLEY, VAWTER CLIFFORD 1885 - 5 JUN 1926 PV003
LONGLEY, RONALD SWIFT 1890 - 22 JAN 1975 PV003
LONGLEY, HAROLD ROBINSON 1891 - 10 JUL 1896 PV003
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