Babsons come from all walks of life and many have often left their mark on our family, their community, their profession, even their country.  The following profiles highlight just a few of the remarkable Babsons who made an impact.

NOTE:  The reference to generation and number are keyed to The Babson Genealogy 1606-2017Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson by Alicia Crane Williams, FASG.   Click here to order the genealogy.

Isabel Babson

1577/1580-1661 (first generation #1)

Isabel (1577/1580-1661) is the first known Babson in the United States and is the forebear of sixteen generations of Babsons in this country. She was a remarkable woman not only for the family she and her husband, Thomas Babson, produced but for the courage she exhibited in leaving her country to find a new home and establish herself in the New World. 

Isabel, born about 1577-1580, married Thomas Babson about 1604. They had 9 children, two of whom died in infancy. Once widowed, she left England at age 60 and made the long voyage to America with her two sons, Richard and James, and arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637.  Shortly thereafter, she moved to Gloucester where she remained for the rest of her life.  She was a midwife, a profession highly respected and much needed for the medical experience and skill in assisting with the delivering of children in an era when childbirth could be fatal to both mother and child. She also was literate at a time when most women were not. For more on Isabel Babson and midwifery in the mid-seventeenth century, see here.

The Isabel Babson Memorial Library on the site or, or near to, Isabel’s Gloucester home was established by Roger Ward Babson in 1961 in her memory.

Although the exact location of her grave is unknown, a simple stone has been placed in the First Parish Burial Ground located at 122 Centennial Avenue in Gloucester.

Isabel Babson

Arthur Lawrence Babson

1927-2016 (eleventh generation #306)

Arthur Lawrence “Art” Babson (1927-2016) (eleventh generation #306) was born in Orange, New Jersey, to Rea Edwin and Julia Bulkens (Norton) Babson.  He was an acclaimed scientist, inventor and entrepreneur and he was an ardent conservationist.

Art married Doris Marcia Lelong and they had two children. He and Doris were divorced. He then married Susan A. Radar who shared Art’s focus on biochemistry, having received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in biochemistry.

Art served a year in occupation of Japan in World War II.  He then graduated from Cornell and received both a Master’s degree and a PhD in Biochemistry from Rutgers in 1953.  He did a post doctorate at the University of Iowa.  He worked in research and development at Warner-Lambert for twenty-five years where he became Vice President of Research and Development. Art started his own company, Babson Research Laboratories that produced medical diagnostic tests and devices used in clinical labs. He then founded Cirrus Diagnostics, acquired by Diagnostic Products Corporation and ultimately acquired in 2006 by Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics where Art became its chief scientist.

Art was awarded the first Siemens Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 for his contributions to the science of in vitro diagnostics.  He retired in 2014 at age 87.  He held 46 patents and published 65 papers during his distinguished career.He was named New Jersey Inventor of the year in 1997 by the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame. Art’s inventions of biochemical procedures and immunoassay technology revolutionized the field of diagnostic blood testing in the 20th century. His inventions played a central role in the industrialization and standardization of diagnostic methods that paved the way for today’s highly automated and rigorous clinical laboratories.

Art was also a life-long nature lover and a supporter of many conservation organizations.

Arther Lawrence Babson

Arther Lawrence Babson

Arthur Lawrence Babson

Camilla Rikert Bittle

1923-1999 (twelfth generation #453iii.)

Camilla Rikert Bittle (1923-1999) was born December 4, 1923 to Carroll Rikert and Dorothy Babson Rikert.  The Rikert family lived in the North Farmhouse on the campus of the Mt. Hermon School for Boys.  The school was founded by Protestant evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody as the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in 1879 (later called the Northfield School for Girls) and the Mount Hermon School for Boys in 1881. Moody built the girls’ school in Northfield, Massachusetts, the town of his birth, and the boys’ school a few miles away in the town of Gill.  Carroll Rikert was employed by the school as Head of Buildings and Grounds.

Growing up on the campus of Mt. Hermon during the Depression, the Rikert children (Carroll Jr., Naomi, Camilla and Catherine) were fortunate to be a part of the Mt. Hermon community which included a working farm, supplying the family and students with food.

Camilla was the only child to leave her beloved New England to venture South to attend Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  There she met her husband-to-be, Claude Bittle, who was also a student at Duke.  The couple remembered the day they sang The Messiah at the Duke Chapel and came out from the service to hear the news of the Pearl Harbor Bombing.  Camilla was a wartime bride and returned home to Massachusetts while Claude served as a “flying tiger” under Claire Chennault in China.  When he returned after the War, Claude entered Duke Law School, and the couple settled in Durham.

Camilla had, since childhood, a great passion for writing, and exercised her talent during the years to come.  Inspired by her aunt, Naomi Lane Babson, Camilla began writing stories for magazines such as McCalls, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, The Ladies Home Journal and others.  Her first novel, The Boy in the Pool, was published in 1960, followed by A Change of Plea, A Sunday World, Dear Family and Friends of the Family.  She was invited to attend the McDowell Colony for artists in New Hampshire and often received requests to give talks to clubs and organizations.

Camilla’s article, The Day the World Changed, appeared in the December 1980 issue of Good Housekeeping about an ubiquitous “Grandmother Babson” is found here.

Camilla was a loving and supportive parent to her four children, Claude, Elizabeth, Robert and Rebecca.  She introduced them to the beauty of western Massachusetts as well as the wonders of Cape Ann, where they vacationed in Rockport every summer for many years.  She and Claude attended several Babson reunions and always enjoyed connecting with Babsons from far and wide. 

Her published works are archived at Boston University in the Twentieth Century Collection.

Camilla Bittle


Camilla R. Bittle


Capt. Charles Babson

1777-1859 (seventh generation #50)

The first Babson genealogy published in 1934 had only three short paragraphs devoted to Capt. Charles Babson (1777-1859) (seventh generation #50). The first listed his birth in Gloucester, Oct 10, 1777, his marriage in June 1800 to Susanna Howell and his profession, sea captain. The second covers a probate record from March 13, 1818 in which his children were assigned a guardian since Capt. Charles Babson had been declared deceased. The third paragraph lists the child that Susan Howell bore him in Gloucester, MA.Since that first genealogy much has been revealed about Capt.Charles Babson’s second life in North Carolina (NC), and yet questions remain.

Capt. Charles Babson was an experienced ship’s master, having taken charge of his father’s schooner “Astrea” in 1802 at the age of 25, transporting supplies and fish to southern ports and returning with cargo for commercial profit. During the busy hurricane season of 1815 it is possible that his ship was wrecked off the coast of NC perhaps in the area of Cape Fear and the Frying Pan Shoals. It can only be hypothesized why a 38 year old experienced sea captain would not communicate with his wife or family after being ship wrecked. Perhaps the recognition that he had lost a ship, its cargo and possibly its crew members was suddenly too much to bear for someone whose family/forebears were key participants in Gloucester’s economic growth and importance during the 17th, through 19th centuries.Since he did not communicate with anyone in Gloucester for a number of years after last leaving port, at the probate session in Massachusetts on March 13, 1818 Capt. Charles Babson was declared legally dead, thus allowing for the legal settlement of his affairs by his existing family in Gloucester.

How and why Capt. Charles Babson ended up in Boardman, NC remains a mystery with some romantic embellishments.Boardman is approximately 83 miles (according to Google a 26 hour walk) Northwest from the area of Cape Fear where Capt. Babson’s schooner may have gone down in a storm.Somehow he made his way inland over a period of time ending up in Boardman, NC (a rural community of only 152 population even now), meetingSmitha Kinney and marrying her in the spring or early summer of 1816; two years before he would be declared legally dead in Massachusetts. Charles Babson’s new family in NC began when Smitha Kinney Babson gave birth to their first child, Henry H. Babson, born on April 8, 1817. Several children followed. Capt. Charles Babson’s son George from Gloucester also settled in a town not far from his father in 1846. The descendants of these individuals who live in the Carolinas now represent the greatest concentration of Babsons anywhere in the world. While the genealogy listing for Capt. Charles Babson now includes four pages of text and listings of his children and other descendants, how and why he ended up in Boardman, NC still remains a mystery.


Frying Pan Shoals

An underwater labyrinth of sandbars

Charles Leroy Babson

1841-1922 (tenth generation #283)

Charles Leroy Babson (1841-1922) was born at Brooklin, Maine, to William and Clarissa (Freethy Babson).  His involvement in the Civil War was a tragedy for him and his family. He was the long-time Keeper of the Pumpkin Island Light House in Penobscot Bay, Maine.

The Civil War interrupted Charles’ preparations to become a teacher.  At age 21 he enlisted in the Maine Infantry and was wounded in the Union’s disastrous defeat at the  Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862.  His leg was eventually amputated.  Army Headquarters notified Charles’ family that he was dead.  Charles’ brother, William, travelled to Rhode Island to bring the body home.  In the meantime, a nurse noticed small movement in one of Charles’ fingers. They “worked him over and finally brought him back to life.”  William then returned home alone, caught pneumonia on the way back and died within a few weeks.

Charles married Georgianna A. Herrick after the war.  They had three children.  Charles served as Town Clerk, Selectman, and Treasurer for the Town of Brooklin over several years.  He then became the Keeper of the Pumpkin Island Lighthouse located between Deer Island and Little Deer Island in Penobscot Bay from 1870 to 1902.  The youngest of his three children was born while he was Keeper and one of his grandchildren was born on the Island.  The Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1934.

Charles and his wife bought land on Little Deer Island opposite the Lighthouse and created the Eggemoggin Summer Colony, consisting of small cottages and a dining hall. Charles sold the property to his son the day before his death in 1922.

Pumpkin Island Lighthouse c. 1859 (National Archives)

Captain Edward and Amanda Stanwood Babson

Captain Edward Babson (1811-1879) (eighth generation #78) and his first wife, Amanda Stanwood Babson (1811-1857), were married in 1833. Captain Edward was a wealthy merchant and ship owner. Amanda stayed at home, managed the household and raised their 5 children. Edward captained the brig, the Cadet, which he co-owned with his brothers. His ship’s log covers 12 trips he made to the port of Paramaribo in Surinam, South America. He traded salt fish and other commodities for molasses, sugar and coffee.

A glimpse of their lives is found in the permanent exhibit, Strong Breezes & Passing Clouds, located at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester by Diane KW. The exhibit consists of excerpts from Captain William’s 1838 ship’s log of the Cadet and the 1838 diary of Amanda. A detailed description of their lives is found in the essay by the librarian/archivist of the Cape Ann Museum, Stephanie Buck, in the catalogue which accompanies the exhibit.

Edward and Amanda Babson

Emma and Elmer Babson

Hard to imagine, but for a minute take yourself back in time.You’re a 14 year old from Viken, a small fishing village on the west coast of Sweden, in the 1890s.  Your uncle invites you or one of your seven sisters to join him and his family in America. You and your family take a gamble believing that you, the youngest daughter, will be better off taking your uncle up on his offer and you sail to America, never to see your loved ones in Sweden again.No Facetime, no Facebook, no email.

This was the situation Emma (1873-1954) found herself in when she arrived on the shores of Gloucester, Massachusetts, a place not dissimilar to Viken. You might wonder how her adventure unfolded.

Emma goes to Gloucester High School. Two of her classmates were Roger Ward Babson and her future husband, Elmer Warren Babson (1874-1944) (tenth generation #220). When she and Elmer marry, she had already obtained her college degree and had been teaching and he had obtained his veterinary degree from Harvard and was an instructor there. They move to the family farm in the Riverdale section of Gloucester where they start a family and have three boys.Warren and David graduate from Harvard College and Osman from the Agriculture School (now Boston University).

Her oldest son, William Warren (1905-1987), went to Harvard College and on to Harvard Medical School. He became the head of the medical staff at Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester and the 85th president of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

At Cornell, the middle son, Osman (1908-1973), became a veterinarian like his dad. If you are on Cape Ann, GPS “Dr. Osman Babson Road” and you can drive through what was once Elmer and Emma’s family homestead.

Her youngest son, David Leveau (1911-1998) , chose to explore a different career path. He founded “David L. Babson & Company, Inc.” and was a pioneer in the field of “investment counseling”. He has been featured in numerous publications and television shows as a visionary in his discipline.

As the story is told, David arrived home on break from Harvard to present his father a report card with very good grades. After a seemingly lackluster reply, David asked his dad if anything was wrong.Elmer replied that nothing was wrong and said “but you have been home for ten minutes, and you still do not have your overalls on”.Elmer’s integrity and Yankee work ethic would lead to him being elected the mayor of Gloucester in 1937.

For the past 50 years, the Babson Historical Society has been led by three of Elmer and Emma’s grandchildren: David Elmer Babson, Marcia Babson Rogers, and Katherine L. Babson Jr. Quite a legacy for Emma and Elmer.


Elmer and Emma’s Three Boys



Dr. Warren W. Babson


Dr. Osman Babson


David L. Babson

Frederick Augustus Babson, Jr.

1930-1999 (tenth generation #250)

Frederick Augustus Babson, Jr. (1930-1999), the son of Frederick Augustus and Clifford Mae (Griffin) Babson was born in Savannah, Georgia and grew up in Wilmington, N.C.  He was an attorney and held numerous elected and appointed positions in local and county government in Virginia. He was also a candidate for election to the U.S. Congress.

Frederick served in the Korean War as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. He then went on to college and law school and practiced law. He was president of the Fairfax County (Virginia) Young Democrats and served six years as an elected member and then the first-ever elected chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors.   He served as chairman/president of several commissions, including the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority; the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments; the National Organization of Councils of Governments; and the Northern Virginia Transportation Committee. He also served as a member of other commissions, among them the Virginia Democratic Central Committee.

He made an unsuccessful bid as an Independent for the U.S. House of Representatives and in 1978 for the U.S. Senate.

Frederick was married and divorced three times.  He had seven children. 

Helen Corliss Babson

1881-1970 (tenth generation #182i.)

Helen Corliss Babson (1881-1970) was the daughter of Fitz James Babson Jr. and Carrie A. Burnham and one of many educators in the Babson family.  She may have been the first, though, in a high-level administrative position.

Born in Gloucester, Helen was in the Class of 1905 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York where she graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors.  There she held both the college and U.S. women’s high jump record.  She moved to California in 1909, received her MA from University of Southern California in 1918, and held important positions with the Y.W.C.A. until 1921.

Helen transitioned to the academic world and became the first principal of Eagle Rock High School in 1927 in Los Angeles.  Then a school of 750 students, it was described as a “progressive school”.  She remained as its principal until 1945.  (Today the school is a magnet for the “gifted and highly gifted” and provides the International Baccalaureate curricula.)  She was a published author of two books including The Finns in Lanesville, Massachusetts (Lanesville being a part of Gloucester) and a book of poems titled Tide Rhythms.

Helen died in 1970 and was buried in the tomb at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, with Sarah E. Bunty, with whom she had worked and lived.

Helen Babson

Helen Corliss Babson

John Walker Babson

1835-1906 (eighth generation #123)

John Walker Babson (1835-1906) (eighth generation #123), born in Brooksville, Maine, was the son of Samuel Brown and Nancy (Tapley) Babson. He was involved in politics from an early age.

John’s first wife, Louise Ann Tibbetts, died 8 years after their marriage in 1855.  They had three children, one of whom died in infancy. One of their granddaughters, Anne Rainsford French Bush, was the first official woman licensed to drive an automobile in the United States. John married a second time in 1868 to his wife’s first cousin, Eliza Ann Tibbetts. They had five children, only two of whom reached adulthood.

John graduated from Maine Wesleyan Seminary and taught there and in public schools. When he turned 21, he was elected chairman of the Republican Town Committee in Brooksville and was involved in every campaign since then. In 1856 when accompanying U.S. Senator Hannibal Hamlin (a fellow Maine resident and also an alumnus of Maine Wesleyan Seminary), an incident occurred which endangered the life of Hamlin. A life-long friendship ensued. In 1861, under the Lincoln administration, John was appointed Postmaster of Brooksville, but resigned to join Hamlin in Washington, D.C. from 1861-1865 as his secretary during Hamlin’s tenure as U.S. Vice-president to President Abraham Lincoln. 

John held a series of political appointments as an officer in the United State Senate, a position in the U.S. Pension Bureau where he became chief of the finance division, then Deputy Commissioner appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant, and then on to the Bureau of Patents. He was also a director of the U.S. Board of Trade.

John and Eliza were heavily invested in charitable and civic work. John was chairman of the committee appointed for the purpose of the selection of Washington D.C. as the location of the World’s Exposition in 1892. He also served on the executive committee to make preparations for the Welcome by Washington D.C. to Admiral George Dewey upon his triumphal return from Manila in 1899.

John, Eliza and several of their children are buried in the Congressional Cemetery in D.C.

John Walker Babson

Brooksville, Maine Post Office

Marian Babson

1929-2017 (twelfth generation #169iii.1.i.)

Marian Babson is the pen name for Ruth Marian Stenstreem (1929-2017), an internationally known  mystery writer based in London.  Born in Salem, Massachusetts to Alphonsa Marian Babson and Charles Stenstreem, Marian spent her adult life in London.  There she wrote close to fifty mystery books, most often involving cats, including three series.   Her publisher’s tagline for Marian is “Murder Most British”.

Marian was the recipient of numerous awards, including an Agatha Award and “Dagger in the Library” award in 1996 for her body of work.  The 1991 movie Bejewelled was based on one of her novels. Her last published book was in 2012.

Ailurophiles loved her!

Marian Babson

Marian Babson

Naomi Lane Babson

1895-1985 (eleventh generation #454)

Naomi Lane Babson (1895-1985), the daughter of Frederick and Ella Maria (Bailey)  Babson, was born in Pigeon Cove in Rockport, Massachusetts on land owned for generations by her family.  She was a teacher, a gifted novelist, wife and mother.

After graduation from Rockport High School in 1913, Naomi taught in the local schools until 1920 when she went on to Radcliffe College.  She worked her way through two years at Radcliffe, partly by selling her short stories, when her money ran out and her “simple faith in a college education gave out”.  She then left for China where she was a teacher in a school for the children of American and English staff at Lingnan University in Canton, a private university started by American missionaries in 1888. There she met her husband, Paul A. Grieder.   They had two sons in Canton and returned to the United States  after the death of their older son in 1933.  They moved to Bozeman, Montana where her husband taught at Montana State University. 

Naomi’s first novel, The Yankee Bodleys, was published in 1936, set in what was has been described as Halibut Point in Rockport and what might also be described as semi-autobiographical. 

Naomi went on to write five more novels set variously in New England, China and Montana.  She also authored about 100 short stories and novella that appeared in a number of magazines, including Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, McCall’s, Redbook, The Saturday Evening Post, and The Writer

Naomi bequeathed her literary estate to the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.

Naomi Babson

Naomi Lane Babson

Roger Ward Babson

1875-1967 (tenth generation #230)

From humble New England roots, Roger Ward Babson (1875-1967) crafted a legacy of innovation, philanthropy, and entrepreneurial leadership that has endured for a century.

A Gloucester, Massachusetts native, Babson graduated from MIT, and subsequently made his fortune by founding Babson’s Statistical Organization (later known as Babson Reports), one of the first publishers of economic analysis. Babson pioneered the concept of using data for economic forecasting and famously predicted the 1929 stock market crash.

A philanthropist and author of more than 50 books, he founded the Babson Institute in 1919. In later life, he was a candidate for president of the United States in 1940, became a leading Newtonia collector, and established Webber College in Florida and Utopia College in Kansas. Today, Babson College is the global leader in entrepreneurship education, imbued with its namesake’s zeal for learning, serving humanity, and unparalleled global vision.

Do you want to read more about Roger?

Note: This profile is from the statue of Roger Ward Babson located at Babson College.

Watch Roger Babson in this video (starting around 1 min 06 sec). 

Seth Paris Babson

1826-1907 (eighth generation #116)

Seth Paris Babson (1826-1907) was one of the most prominent Victorian architects on the west coast in the mid-eighteenth century.

Seth was born in Sedgwick, Maine in 1826 and wanted to join the gold rush in California. He rounded Cape Horn and arrived in San Francisco in 1850 at age 24. After a while, he became disillusioned with life of a gold seeker and settled in Sacramento where he developed his native skill as a carpenter. Ultimately he became an architect and designed and erected many of the most notable buildings in California’s capitol city, including the residence of Governor Leland Stanford.  He was hired to renovate the home of Judge Edwin Crocker into a grander, Italianate mansion with a gallery building adjacent to the mansion to display the family’s art collection.   Completed in 1872, the mansion and gallery is now the Crocker Art Museum. The Stanford and Crocker buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are extant today.

Seth left Sacramento for the larger city of San Francisco around 1875 perhaps because of the depressed economic situation after the Panic of 1873. He maintained his practice there until his death in 1907.

Seth married in 1873 and he and his wife, Juanita, had three children.

Crocker Art Museum

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California

Sydney Gorham and Grace Campbell Babson

Brothers Sydney Gorham (1882-1975) (tenth generation #213) and Rea Edwin Babson (1885-1959) (tenth generation #214),  Ivy League educated and in their 20’s, left the comfort of their South Orange, New Jersey home in 1907 in search of a suitable environment for growing fruit trees.  Their search ended in the upper Hood River Valley of Oregon where they purchased 60 acres of shrub and forest and named it “Babson Brothers’ Ranch” where they planted the first commercial apple orchard in the upper valley.

By the spring of 1908, the brothers cleared the land, planted the 60 acres with apple tree seedlings and built a two- story structure with a front porch view of Mt. Hood.

Sydney Gorham Babson,Jr. and Rea Edwin Babson

Sydney Gorham Babson, Jr., left, and Rea Edwin Babson, right

That fall, Sydney married his sweetheart, Grace Bowditch Campbell (1877-1970). Grace also grew up in Orange, New Jersey and graduated from Bryn Mawr College. It is unlikely she fully appreciated the simplicity of life in the Upper Hood River Valley at that time, but would become a key supporter of education for all the valley children and the Parkdale Community Church.

In 1909, Grace gave birth to Arthur Clifford (1909-1999), followed thereafter by Sydney Gorham, Jr.(1912-2010) and Mary Hague (1915-1998).   Rural Oregon at the turn of the century did not offer many modern- day comforts: for years there was no electricity and no central heating and the closest store was five miles away by horse and buggy. Their gardens fed the family spring to fall.  Arthur and Gorham attended a one room school housing eight grades two miles from their orchard, while Mary would be able to attend the more expansive four room schoolhouse in the center of Parkdale.

During the first few years before the apple trees started bearing productive fruit, strawberries were a key early crop which brought income to the household. Eventually electricity became available for the warehousing, grading, sorting and packing of the fruit.  Rea left the orchard in 1917 to serve with the YMCA in France until the end of World War I, after which he returned to the East Coast. 

The long economic depression beginning in 1930 lasted until the start of World War II.   Sydney eventually became the sole owner of the orchard renamed “Avalon Orchard” which produced apples and pears .  Sydney was recognized in 1960 as “Orchardist of the Year”.  He was also an author of several books and one of his poems, Verdun, was published in the New York Times in 1917. Grace served their community by serving on welfare and library boards in Hood River County.

After more than 60 years in the orchard business, Sydney and Grace’s granddaughter,  Sydney Gorham, and her husband, Rick Blaine, purchased the orchard in 1974 and slowly expanded their operations to include four other orchards in Oregon and Washington state.  Their daughter, Heather Blaine, a fourth generation fruit grower, is now manager of Avalon Orchards.

Grace and Sydney Babson c.1908

Grace and Sydney Babson c.1908

Arthur Clifford Sydney

Mary Hague, left; Arthur Clifford, center; and Sydney Gorham, Jr., right

Thomas E. Babson

1897-1977 (eleventh generation #311)

Thomas Everett Babson (1897-1977) was born in Baltimore, Maryland to Albert Duley and Annie Lockwood (Rich) Babson.  He was a founding member of the Babson Historical Association and by avocation, a genealogist, fascinated by history and his Babson family.

Thomas Babson was graduated from Princeton University in 1918 and worked for General Electric Company. He married Catherine Eleanor Caithness in 1921 and they had three daughters.  Thomas joined his first cousin, David Leveau Babson, at David L. Babson & Co., Inc., an investment couseling firm, from 1944 to 1966.  Thomas and David co-authored the book, Investing for a Successful Future, published in 1959.

Thomas’ strong interests lay in family history. His seminal paper for the Cape Ann Scientific, Literary and Historical Association (now the Cape Ann Museum) on “Cape Ann Books and their Authors” became a three- part series in 1942 in the Gloucester Daily Times upon the 300th anniversary of the grant of a charter to the Town of Gloucester. His Riverdale Story, privately printed in 1950, was the history of his branch of the Babson family.  It was handsomely illustrated by his daughter, Marcia Lee Meyer, and himself. In 1951, Thomas joined Roger Ward Babson in the founding of the Babson Historical Association and served as its first President until 1956 when he continued as a trustee for many years.  He also joined with Roger in the founding of the Open Church Society, a non-profit organization, in 1942 whose founding principle was that everyone needs a quiet place to communicate with God.

Thomas E Babson

Thomas E. Babson

William Babson

1721-1775 (fifth generation #19)

William Babson (1721-1775) was born in Gloucester and was the son of John and Hannah (Hodgkins) Babson.  He was apparently the unfortunate soul who led the Royal Navy Captain into Gloucester Harbor soon after the declaration of war with England in the American Revolutionary War.

The British had laid siege to Boston Harbor and went on numerous forays to the coast to raid farms for provisions. The British had worked their way up to Ipswich and Cape Ann. In August 1775, Royal Navy Captain John Linzee, in command of the three hundred ton square-rigged sloop-of-war, HMS Falcon, chased a schooner into the outer harbor of Gloucester in what was to become known as the “Battle of Gloucester”.  Uncertain of the shoals, ledges and currents that had brought grief to many unsuspecting,seamen, Captain Linzee spotted two fishermen in a dory nearby and ordered the older of the two, William Babson,  to be brought to him. Under threat of death if William ran the Falcon aground, William piloted the Falcon to safe anchorage within Gloucester Harbor.

A battle ensued. The townspeople rallied, responded aggressively to the attack by the British and by day’s end, the British departed, the proverbial tail between their legs. Thirty-five British were taken as prisoners and three small boats, a quantity of small arms, ammunition and powder were all confiscated.  Gloucester lost two men and suffered some damage to homes and the First Parish Church but it was a victory for the town!

It was not a victory for William Babson, though.  It has been speculated that William, already of infirm health, died shortly thereafter of a “shock to his nervous system” resulting from the sorrow of his unwitting participation in the events of the day. He was survived by four children and possibly by his wife.

The sketch of The Battle of Gloucester by Margaret Garland Tucker in The Fish and the Falcon, by Joseph E. Garland, 2006, page 112.

Willie Babson

1882-1960 (tenth generation #233)

Willie Babson (1882-1960) (tenth generation #233) was born in Ash, North Carolina to George Warren and  Jo Anna (Gore) Babson.  Willie was a manager of a sawmill in the Ash area. He was one of many Babsons who have lived in Brunswick County in the southeast corner of North Carolina and like many of them, he was a farmer. It is said that a majority of the adults in Ash, North Carolina are Babsons or are related to the Babson family.

Willie married Georgia Anna Smith when she was 15 years old and they had 9 children.   At Georgia’s death in 1976 at age 85, she was survived by 7 children, 43 grandchildren, 72 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren. See information on other large Babson families

Willie was buried in the New Britton Cemetery in Ash where 60 other Babsons are buried.

Willie Babson

Willie Babson burial site.

Babsons Lost at Sea

Isabel Babson and her two sons were the first Babsons to arrive in America, sailing from Weymouth, England and arriving in Salem in 1637.  The sea continued to play a major part in the lives of generations of Babsons.   Many sailed the world for trade in far lands, while others fished or participated in the fight for American independence.  Some were crewmen, while other built and mastered their own ships. They sailed out of the ports of Gloucester, Rockport and Newburyport in Massachusetts and Wiscasset and Deer Isle in Maine.  They have been variously described as “seaman, fisherman, coaster, purser, privateer, ship owner, merchant, sea captain and sailor”.   While many of these Babsons survived, many did not.  They have been described as being “lost at sea, captured by pirates, washed overboard, and drowned while fishing in a storm.”

The list below of the BABSONS LOST AT SEA is based on research by Jean Allen Babson for the 1997 Babson Family reunion and edited and expanded by Babson Historical Association trustee, Katherine Babson, working from the two volume 1606-1997 Babson Genealogy by Alicia Crane Williams. (The genealogy continues to be available for sale here.)

NOTE:  The reference to generation and number are keyed to The Babson Genealogy 1606-2017, Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson by Alicia Crane Williams, FASG.   

ISABEL BABSON (first generation #1)) is the forebear of all those who listed here.  Although Isabel had experience on the seas, having survived the trip from Weymouth, England to Salem, Massachusetts in 1637, the son of her daughter, Joan Collins, died at sea.

JAMES COLLINS (third generation #1iii.5) died in 1685 on a voyage to the Barbadoes. He was 42.

THOMAS BABSON (third generation #6), who had served in King Philip’s War,  apparently died at sea between January 1677/78 and May 23, 1679 at age 21.

EBENEZER BABSON (third generation #9), famous for killing the bear in Rockport, was presumably lost at sea before 1696, approximately 30 years old.  For the story of Ebenezer killing the bear, see here.

JOHN BABSON  (third generation #7), whose boat carried cords of wood to Boston, lost three of his sons, presumably to the sea, over a three week period  in 1720:

    • ELIAS BABSON (fourth generation #7i) at age 32
    • JOHN BABSON (fourth generation #11) at age 29, leaving a widow and two children
    • JOSIAH BABSON (fourth generation #7x) at age 17

The Fisherman’s Memorial, known as “Man at the Wheel”, located on the waterfront in Gloucester is a memorial to Gloucester fishermen lost at sea.

Babsons At Sea

The first Babson names engraved on the granite tablets beside the statue are brothers Elias, John and Josiah who died in 1720:

Babsons Engraved

ISAAC BABSON (fifth generation #13), died at Point Petre,  Gaudeloupe, West Indies, of small pox, while a mate on a vessel in 1760, at age 33, survived by his wife and five children.

CAPTAIN WILLIAM BABSON (fifth generation #15), washed overboard on a voyage to the Grand Banks after May 27, 1749, at approximately age 30, leaving behind a pregnant wife and four children.

SOLOMON BABSON (fifth generation #17 **), perhaps lost at sea as he was a mariner. He died shortly before 4/13/1763 at age 48. He left a widow and nine children. Solomon and others with a double asterisk are descendants of Richard Babson (third generation #8) who was one of Isabel Babson’s grandsons. There are number of Babsons in this descendant’s line who were lost at sea.

JAMES BABSON  (sixth generation #21) sailed from Salem, Massachusetts for Wilmington, North Carolina and he took on a load of naval stores for the West Indies.  Six days out, he was taken by an English privateer and carried to Liverpool.  From there he took passage for New York and died of smallpox en route on  7/13/1777 at age 29. He left a widow and three young children.

CAPTAIN JAMES BABSON (sixth generation #23), a privateer during the Revolutionary War, had a daughter, Mary Jackson Babson Babbitt, whose son died at sea:

    • FITZ HENRY BABBITT (eighth generation #23ii.2) died aboard the frigate, the President, on 1/6/1815, during the War of 1812.  He was buried in Bermuda. His mother received a letter of condolence from Stephen Decatur.  Fitz Henry was 25.

JOHN BABSON III (sixth generation #27**) had been a gunner’s mate in the Revolutionary War.   He probably died at sea about 1791, as his name disappears from the records, including from the ship registers at that time.  He was approximately 45 years old. He left a wife and possibly one child.

CAPTAIN SOLOMON BABSON  (sixth generation #30**) was a privateer during the Revolutionary War and  owned and commanded several vessels in his lifetime.  He was lost at sea as his ship was said “to have floundered on his passage from the West Indies.” His brothers, Captains John (sixth generation #31**) and Zebulon (sixth generation #32**) co-owned several vessels with him. Captain Solomon died before 4/6/1796 at age 56 with a wife and perhaps as many as nine children surviving him.

CAPTAIN JOHN BABSON (sixth generation #31) was a ship’s captain and active in privateering during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  He and his brothers, Captains Solomon (sixth generation #30**) and Zebulon (sixth generation 32**), co-owned several vessels with him.  Although Captain John  was not lost at sea, two of his sons were:

    • GEORGE BABSON (seventh generation #31vii**) lost at sea, age unknown.
    • SOLOMON BABSON(seventh generation #31x**) lost at sea, age unknown.

CAPTAIN ZEBULON BABSON (sixth generation #32**) was captured during the Revolutionary War and was exchanged for a British prisoner of war.  He commanded a privateer and co-owned vessels with his brothers, Captains Solomon (sixth generation #30**) and John (sixth generation #31**).  He had sailed from Newburyport in 1784 in command of the privateer Diamond owned by his brother, Captain John.   He was “washed overboard on the third day out”. He was 34. He left a widow and four children.

WILLIAM BABSON (sixth generation #33**), left from Gloucester about 7/1/1777 on a new vessel, the privateer, Gloucester.  She had captured the brig Two Friends off the banks of Newfoundland which had a cargo or wine and salt. She also took a fishing brig Spark which also was carrying a fare of fish and salt. No further communications were ever received, so it is assumed that William, along with a crew of 130 other men, was lost at sea sometime in 1777.  William was age 28 and left a wife and five young children.

CAPTAIN NATHANIEL BABSON (seventh generation #46) was a sea captain who made voyages to places such as Scotland, Gibraltar and Russia. He also owned various vessels. His oldest daughter, Ann Rogers Babson, was married to Stephen Low Davis.  Their oldest child was lost at sea:

    • CHARLES E. DAVIS (ninth generation #46iii.1.) was lost at sea in 1856.  He was 18.

CAPTAIN CHARLES BABSON JR. (seventh generation #47) died suddenly at Guadeloupe, West Indies, while skipper of the 101 ton schooner Equity on 8/24/1816 at age 28. He left a pregnant wife and infant child.

CAPTAIN CHARLES BABSON (seventh generation #50**) possibly was shipwrecked off the coast of North Carolina where he remained.  He remarried and had 7 more children.   The first of his 12 children died at sea:

    • CHARLES BABSON (eighth generation #50.i** )died aboard the brig New Packet in Miragoane on the coast of Haiti sometime before 1823.  He was a twin and 20 years old.

WILLIAM BABSON (seventh generation #54**), like his father, William Babson (sixth generation #33**), before him, was lost at sea.  He died as a mate aboard the Franklin on a voyage to India sometime  before July 1800. He had not yet turned age 30. 

JAMES BABSON (seventh generation #59**) drowned on the homeward passage from St. Michaels, Newfoundland on 4/6/1815.  He was a seaman on the 45 ton schooner Marion which was skippered by his first cousin, Captain Charles Babson, Jr. (seventh generation #47). He was 31 years old and left a pregnant wife and three year old son.

HENRY BABSON (seventh generation #61**) died in Calcutta, India in 1820, age 41, leaving his wife, Lucy Bray Babson, and two young children.  Henry was the earliest Babson to be mentioned in a Boston City Directory.  Lucy died in 1864, age 74, in the Boston Insane Asylum, “the stress of worrying about her missing seaman husband as well as making her own living may have been too much for her”.

HENRY S. BABSON (eighth generation #67(iv)**), a twin, grew up on the sea at Eggemoggin Reach in Brooklin, Maine. He was lost at sea in October 1886, age 43.

WILLIAM ROGERS BABSON (eighth generation #80) was a merchant in Boston and Brooklyn, New York.  Two of his three sons were lost at sea:

    • WILLIAM EDWIN BABSON (ninth generation #80ii) of San Francisco, was a purser on the Pacific Mail line on the mail steamer, Constitution.  He died at sea in 1870 at age 32.  He was buried near Acapulco, Mexico.  His nephew, Stanley Mason Babson, came upon the grave marker in 1970.
    • MASON GREENWOOD BABSON (ninth generation #142) enlisted on a merchant vessel bound for the Orient, despite parental objections.  He wrote his parents saying he was “completely disillusioned about the sea” and was returning home via Liverpool.  Mason was among the passengers of the packet ship,Ocean Queen, all on board lost at sea on passage from London to New York sometime after 2/15/1856. He was 19.

EDWIN BABSON (eighth generation #87) was captain of a full-rigged barque, the Lizzie H, which made voyages to the Orient and around the Cape of Good Hope.  On a voyage to Calcutta, he took his wife and two of their children.  He died on the voyage in 1879 at age 47 and was buried in Cardiff, Wales.  The ship was brought back by the mate and the family returned to Newburyport, their home port, by passenger ship. Their son, Edwin Merrill Babson (eighth generation #87iii), had predeceased his parents as result of a drowning in a river in Newburyport in 1873, age 6.

REBECCA INGERSOLL FOSTER NELSON (ninth generation #57(ii i)(2)), the granddaughter of Captain Joseph Babson (seventh generation #57**), was lost at sea somewhere between Hong Kong and San Francisco, with her husband, Captain Charles Nelson, and their son sometime after 11/30/1862.  They were wrecked 11/30/1862 in the bark, Lucky Star, and taken prisoner by the Chinese.  They were ransomed and were taken to Hong Kong where they took passage on the ship, Romance of the Seas, and never heard from again. Rebecca was 33.

WILLIAM EDWIN BABSON (ninth generation #80(ii)) was a purser for the old Pacific Mail Line.  He died at sea on board the Pacific mail steamer, the Constitution, on 1/19/1870, age 32.  He was buried near Acapulco, Mexico. 

JOSEPH W. BABSON (ninth generation #106(iii)**) was mackerel fishing and lost with the schooner, Levi Woodbury, near Boon Island off the coast of Maine with 9 others on 10/6/1849.  He was 18.

ALPHONSO M. BABSON (ninth generation #169) was a dory fisherman.  He was coming in with a load of fish when his dory was swamped by heavy seas off Folly Cove in Gloucester.  He was drowned on 3/13/1877, age 37, leaving a wife and a young child.

JAMES BABSON Jr. (ninth generation #183**) was drowned, along with 7 other crewmen, on the schooner, Rolla, while fishing on 5/23/1861.  He was 33 and left a wife and six children, one of whom, James (tenth generation #269**), apparently died at sea.

JAMES BABSON (tenth generation #269**), a son of James Jr. (ninth generation #183**) who also died at sea, was a mariner and died “perhaps at sea, apparently before 20 March 1875”, leaving a wife and infant child.

Life for the male Babson on the sea and for his wife left at home to raise children, run the household and worry about the return of her husband have been memorialized in an extraordinary permanent exhibit, Strong Breezes & Passing Clouds, at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester.  The exhibit is based on excerpts from the 1838 ship’s log of Captain Edward Babson (eighth generation #78) on the brig Cadet and the 1838 diary of his wife, Amanda Babson.  See more here.

The poignant lives of the many women who were left widows  by the ravages of the sea have been depicted in this hauntingly beautiful statue also located on the Gloucester waterfront:

Widows Statue