Dr. Joshua Babcock, Maj. Gen.

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Joshua Babcock

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
Death: April 1, 1783 (75)
Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
Place of Burial: Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt. James Babcock, Sr. and Elizabeth Babcock
Husband of Hannah Babcock and Anna Babcock (Maxson)
Father of Col. Henry Babcock; Rev. Luke Babcock; Adam Babcock; Hannah Bours; Frances Babcock and 4 others
Brother of James Babcock, Jr.; Mary Elizabeth Clarke (Babcock); Samuel Babcock, Sr.; Daniel Babcock; Anna Greenman and 1 other
Half brother of Anna Rhodes; Lt. Col. James Babcock and Jonathan Babcock

Occupation: Doctor, Military Comander During American Rev
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Dr. Joshua Babcock, Maj. Gen.

  • Dr Joshua Babcock Find A Grave Memorial# 31814330
  • James Babcock Ground, Westerly, Washington County, Rhode Island, USA
  • Birth: May 17 1707, Westerly, Washington Co, RI, USA
  • Parents: James Babcock (1663-1736) & Elizabeth Saunders Babcock (1662-1730)
  • Spouses: Hannah Stanton Bacock (?-1778) Anna Maxson Babcock Babcock (?-1812)
  • Children: Frances Nancy Babcock Saltonstall
  • Death: Apr 1 1783, Westerly, Washington Co, RI, USA
  • Burial: James Babcock Ground, Westerly, Washington Co, RI, USA
    • Inscription:
      • This stone covers the mortal part of the Hon. Joshua Babcock Esq. of Westerly, who died April 1st 1783, aged 75 years. His abilities and integrity as a statesman in the discharge of several important offices of trust & the public records of his country, testify, as do all who knew him. That as a physician he was eminent in his profession. As a Christian, exemplary. As a gentleman, polite and engaging & as a husband & father, and master & friend, a worthy imitation.
  • Dr Babcock was a friend of Benjamin Franklin,
  • served as RI's 1st postmaster,
  • helped found Brown Univ & built Babcock-Smith House in Westerly.
  • He served as a General in the American Revolution.
  • Joshua married Hannah Stanton in 1735. They had children:
  1. Henry
  2. Luke
  3. Adam
  4. Hannah
  5. Frances
  6. Paul
  7. Amelia
  8. Sally
  9. Harriet
  10. Hannah died in 1778.
  • Joshua married Anna Maxson in 1780.
    • They did not have children. Joshua died in 1783. Anna died in 1812.


   He graduated at Yale College in the class of 1724, ,and was the first from R.I. to graduate this College completed his medical education in Boston and in England. Notwithstanding his extensive practice he opened at Westerly one of the largest retail stores.
   In 1747 he was an associate justice in the Superior Court of Rhode
   Island, and for three or more years, between 1749 and 1764, he was chief justice.2
   He represented his native town in the General Assembly for more than forty years.
   Knowing many prominent men from New London to Boston, especially Doctor Franklin (Benjamin Franklin), he entertained them in the old mansion, where the box-trees still line the approach to the hospitable door.
   Being Major General of the militia in 1776, he entertained General Washington. He was an ardent patriot in that stirring time, pushing the cause of his country in every way.

December, 1776 he was appointed as a member of the Council of War. He was reappointed to this position in the years 1778 and 1779.

Dr. Babcock was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence passed by the Legislature of Rhode Island more than two months prior to July 4, 1776 (Arnold’s History of Rhode Island).

   Colonel Babcock—“Handsome Harry,” his eldest son—born in 1736, took his graduating degree at Yale College at the age of sixteen.22 At eighteen he was made Captain of a company in the Rhode Island contingent against the French in 1756. In the campaign against Ticonderoga, 1758, he was promoted to be colonel of our regiment. Leading 500 men, he had 110 killed and wounded, and received a musket ball in his knee. Altogether he served five campaign was appointed to the command at Newport in 1776.
   He had learned artillery at Woolwich in England, and drove off the British man-of-war Rose with an eighteen-pounder, fired by his own hand from the open beach. A severe illness in the winter incapacitated him from further service. A practicing lawyer, he was most eloquent when he spoke before the General Assembly. Some fifteen years earlier he had spent a year in England and was most hospitably received. Tradition commonly ran that, when presented at Court, instead of kissing the Queen’s hand, he saluted the royal cheek, and “the liberty was not resented.” This myth at least shows how popular the handsome Colonel was.


  1. GRAD: 1724 Yale University
  2. Event: Public office Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Colony of Rhode Island
  3. Event: Military Service Rhode Island Militia as Major General in American Revolutionary War

JOSHUA BABCOCK was born in Westerly, Rhode Island, May 17, 1707, and died there April 1, 1783. He was graduated from Yale College in the class of 1724, and was the earliest graduate who held a commission for services during the Revolution. In May, 1776, he was elected Major-General of the Colony Brigade, which consisted of ten regiments for the Colony of Rhode Island. He was also a member of the State Cunsel of War and appointed one of the committee of those who proceeded to New York to consult with General Washington respecting the defense of Rhode Island.

Register of the California Society of the Sons of the American Revolution : instituted at San Francisco, California, October 22d, 1875 as Sons of Revolutionary Sires. San Francisco, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Co., 1901, 326 pgs. Page 185 _____

Dr. Joshua Babcock, already mentioned as a major-general of militia, was also a member of the State's council of war. His abilities mid character gave him great prominence. Benjamin Franklin, while postmaster-general, in his official tours through the country, made Mr. Babcock's house his resting-place ; and it is stated that he attached lightning rods to the doctor's residence. He established the first post-office in town in 1776, and appointed Mr. Babcock postmaster. The receipts of the oflice for this year were one pound, three shillings, and eight pence. Prior to the Revolution, the nearest post- office was at New London, Conn.

The large and elegant mansion of Doctor Babcock is still standing, at present owned and occupied by the widow of Orlando Smith, Esq. Even now the edifice is admired for its strength and beauty. The Dutch tiles around the fire-places, the elaborate cupboards and ceilings, the carved and costly staircase, the secret closets, and the deep wine-cellar, attract the attention of visitors.

Dr. Joshua Babcock was enrolled among the Baptists. As Mtdt, he was elected one of the first corporators of Brown University in 1764, and was one of the Board of Fellows in 1770, and is recorded in the History of the University as a Seventh Day Baptist.

" Dr. Joshua Babcock was born in Westerly, in the year 1707. He was graduated at Yale College, and soon after commenced the study of physic and surgery in Boston, and afterwards went to England to complete his education. He settled in his native town, where he soon obtained an extensive practice. He soon after opened it origin and power. The underlying principle was that representation ought to accompany taxation. The burden of tuxes must have the check and the safeguard of assured representation. This was a fruit, indeed, of old English law, and was supported by man's moral sense. Christianity first gave the idea to the world, and finally wrought it into a national force. Around this principle mainly the devolution rallied its forces. _____

Babcock-Smith House 124 Granite St. Westerly, Rhode Island 02891 Voice: 401-596-5704 Website: www.babcock-smithhouse.com E-mail: info@babcock-smithhouse.com

This early Georgian-styled mansion was built circa 1734 for Dr. Joshua Babcock, who was Westerly's first physician and a Chief Justice of Rhode Island. It was Westerly's first Post Office, and later became the home of Orlando Smith, discoverer of Westerly Granite in 1846.

Since the middle of the eighteenth century the Babcock-Smith House has stood amid an ever-changing area atop Granite Street in Westerly. One of Rhode Island's important architectural and historical landmarks, the house as it now stands clearly reflects the modes of life of the several generations who continuously occupied the house until 1972.

The Babcock-Smith House is a two-and-a-half story, wooden-framed house of 18th-century Georgian design. The prominent gambrel roof slopes in the rear to cover a one-story addition; the six fireplaces feed into the large central chimney which dominates the roof line. The ell to the north is of later date and now serves as caretaker's quarters.

The main facade is distinguished by tall, narrow windows capped with heavy moldings, and an impressive front entrance with fluted Doric pilasters and a broken-scroll pediment. Originally flush with the front of the house, the entrance was later extended to allow more room in the interior hall. Here the emphasis is on the stair balustrade with its spirally-turned balusters in three alternating designs and the corkscrew turnings of the extraordinary newel post. The outline of the paneling in the stairwell repeats the graceful curves of the molded handrail.

To the right of the hall is the parlor with its fine woodwork and corner cupboard, one of the chief glories of the house. The tapered, fluted pilasters are capped with a series of three Doric capitals that lead into the scalloped outline of the shell top. The design of these pilasters is repeated an a larger scale on the paneled fireplace wall. The interior window shutters fold into the recesses of the surrounding frames above the window seats. The dark blue of the woodwork duplicates the original paint color found under many layers paint.

The old kitchen at the rear was extended sometime in the late 18th century, allowing for the addition of a "borning room" and another small bedroom. The eight-foot open fireplace with Dutch oven and fieldstone hearth is the focal point, and is fitted with an assortment of early cooking utensils.

In the two upstairs bedrooms, Delft tiles illustrating Biblical stories surround the fireplaces; although the woodwork in these rooms is plainer than that downstairs, it is nonetheless of consistent quality. In the south bedroom next to the chimney is a small closet where Dr. Babcock supposedly kept a skeleton for anatomical reference.

Fine examples of both primitive and sophisticated 18th-century furniture, including a Queen Anne daybed, a Connecticut highboy, a Federal sideboard, and several tall-case clocks, share space with 19th-century pieces. Furnishing on loan from local collections in addition to items generously donated add further interest to many of the rooms. Part of a large collection of textiles is also on display from time to time.


From http://www.babcock-smithhouse.com/MuseumHistory/Families/JoshuaBabcock.htm

Dr Joshua Babcock

  • Born in 1707,
  • son of Capt James Babcock,
  • son of 1 of 1st permanent settlers of Westerly, &
  • 1st Rhode Islander to graduate from Yale College in 1724 at age 17.
  • Returning to Westerly in 1734 aft studying medicine in Boston & London,
  • he bought Babcock-Smith House property & married Hannah Stanton.
  • He practiced medicine locally as physician & surgeon 25 yrs.
  • Dr Babcock, thru appt by RI Assembly, & possibly thru friendship w/Benjamin Franklin, became Westerly's 1st Postmaster in 1775 & established post office at his home.
  • He also maintained extensive gen'l store at same location.
  • As politician Dr Babcock represented Westerly in RI Gen'l Assembly for 9 yrs &
  • presided as Chief Justice of Supreme Court of RI for 16 yrs.
  • When Colony repealed act of allegiance to King of Great Britain May 4 1776-2 mo bef issuing of Declaration of Independence-Dr Babcock was 1 of mbrs of that Assembly.
    • RI declared its independence from Crown bef any of other colonies.
    • Besides being appointed Maj Gen'l of RI Militia, he was also mbr of Colony's War Council, procured equipment for Westerly's troops, & served as paymaster.
    • It's said George Washington, when passing between NY & Boston, frequently stayed w/Babcocks.
  • Dr Babcock continued being active in community affairs until his death in 1783, & his family occupied house until 1817.
  • When his 2nd wife, Anna Maxson Babcock, d 1812, property was passed to Dudley Babcock.
    • Dudley, having lost some ships in War of 1812 & unable to pay some debts, sold house to his distant cousin, Oliver Wells, in 1817. Mr Wells used it as prosperous tenant farm, however house was allowed to fall into disrepair.
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Dr. Joshua Babcock, Maj. Gen.'s Timeline

May 17, 1707
Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
April 26, 1736
Age 28
Westerly, Kings County, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
July 6, 1738
Age 31
Westerly, Kings County, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
September 27, 1740
Age 33
Westerly, Kings County, RI, USA
Age 34
Rhode Island, USA
Age 37
Age 40
Age 42
Age 45