We Honor Your Memory On This Day….


HON. LUCIUS FAYETTE CLARK GARVIN, M. D. — Twice elected Governor of the State of Rhode Island, thirteen times elected to the General Assembly as representative, and three times as State Senator, such is the record to date of Dr. Lucius Fayette Clark Garvin. Although born in the State of Tennessee, he is of New England family, his father, a college professor, being in the South temporarily filling a chair in the East Tennessee University.

Dr. Garvin is a son of James and Sarah Ann (Gunn) Garvin, his father born in Bethel, Ct., in 1809, a graduate of Amherst College in 1831, died in Knoxville, Tenn., June 25, 1846. His wife, Sarah Ann (Gunn) Garvin, born in Pittsfield, Mass, in 1812, was the daughter of a physician. She died June 27, 1890.

Lucius F. C. Garvin was born in Knoxville, Tenn., November 13, 1841, his father, an educator of note, being then a professor in East Tennessee University. Soon after the death of her husband Mrs. Garvin came from Eastern Tennessee to Sunderland, Mass., remaining for a brief time, the journey then taking three weeks to accomplish by wagon, boat and train. Later Mrs. Garvin and her son, Lucius F. C., located in Greensboro, N. C., where he attended private school in Greensboro. He completed his college preparation at New Gordon, now Guilford College, near Greensboro, and in 1858, at the age of sixteen, entered Amherst College. He was graduated in 1862, a short time prior to attaining his twenty-first year, and during his last college year taught a winter school at Sunderland, Mass. After graduation he taught a full school term at Ware, Mass. He served in 1862 and 1863 as a private in Company E, Fifty-first Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Colonel A. B. R. Sprague, of Worcester, and saw service under General Foster, mainly in Eastern North Carolina, very near the locality in which he had formerly lived.

After the war Dr. Garvin returned to Massachusetts, and taught a select school at Leverett, and at the same time privately studied medicine. Early in the year 1864 he came to Pawtucket, as a student of medicine under Dr. Sylvanus Clapp, and from there entered Harvard Medical College, whence he was graduated M. D. with the class of 1867. During the last year in medical college he was an interne at Boston City Hospital, ten months in the surgical and two months in the medical departments. After graduation he at once began practice in Pawtucket, starting with a debt of $300, which he had borrowed to enable him to complete his last year at medical school. He did not long remain in Pawtucket, but soon moved to Lonsdale, R. I., remaining in his first location nine years, until 1876, then moving to his present location in Lonsdale, which he built. There he has rounded out more than a half century of medical practice, 1867 – 1918, nearly the entire fifty-one years having been spent in Lonsdale. He is a member of the Providence and Rhode Island State Medical societies, is a physician of skill and devotion, deeply-beloved by a large clientele and highly esteemed.

A Democrat in politics, Dr. Garvin soon forged to the front as a leader of his party in his town, and finally became a State leader of the Democracy. His first political office was town moderator, which office he held in Cumberland in 1881. In 1883 he was elected to the lower body of the Legislature, and has served under thirteen reelections and three times has been elected State Senator. He was the Democratic candidate for Congress from the Second Rhode Island district, in 1894, 1896, 1898, 1900 and 1906, defeated each time, but always polling a large vote in excess of the normal Democratic number. He was elected governor of Rhode Island in November, 1902, reelected in 1903, 1904, 1905 , each time the standard bearer of the Democracy advocating proportional representation and the single tax also the Constitutional initiative as a means to those ends. He is a member of the religious society of Bell Street Chapel, member of Ballou Post, Grand Army of the Republic, of Central Falls, his fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Amherst Chapter.

Dr. Garvin married (first), December 23, 1869, Lucy Waterman Southmayd, of Middletown, Conn., who died January 20, 1892. They were the parents of three daughters: Ethel, Norma, and Florence. He married (second), April 2, 1907, Sarah Emma Tomlinson, of Lonsdale, R. I. They are the parents of two sons: Lucius, born February 2, 1908; and Sumner, August 6, 1909. The family home is at No. 572 Broad street, Lonsdale.

Florence Garvin (February 27, 1876—July 10, 1968) was a women’s rights activist, the daughter of former Rhode Island Governor Lucius F. C. Garvin, the author of several books including Land Rent, Arden Charm and Americanism and a candidate for United States Vice President in the 1932 and 1936 presidential elections. She was a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the head of the Rhode Island College Equal Suffrage League and Third Vice-President of the Women’s National Single Tax League, a group supporting the ideas of Henry George. In 1932 she was the running mate of presidential candidate John Zahnd of the National Party, also known as the Independent Party; Zahnd has been called “one of the more intriguing fringe candidates in American history.” She was the third woman to have run for vice-president in the United States.


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