Rowland Gibson Hazard

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Rowland Gibson Hazard

Birthdate: (86)
Birthplace: South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
Death: June 24, 1888 (86)
Peace Dale, Rhode Island, United States
Place of Burial: South Kingstown, Washington, RI, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Rowland Hazard and Mary Hazard (Peace)
Husband of Caroline Hazard
Father of Mary Hazard; Rowland Hazard, II; Ann Hazard and John Hazard
Brother of Isaac Peace Hazard; “Shepherd Tom” Hazard; Elizabeth Gibson Hazard; William Robinson Hazard; Isabella Wakefield Hazard and 3 others

Occupation: Textile Manufacturer (Peace Dale Manufacturing Company)
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rowland Gibson Hazard

Rowland Gibson Hazard was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island on October 9, 1801, the fourth of nine children of Rowland Hazard and Mary Peace of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1819, with his brother Isaac, he assumed control of his father's small woolen mill in the village of Peace Dale, which had been named for his mother's family. He had primary responsibility for marketing products to Southern plantation owners in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Hazard wintered in New Orleans from about 1833 to 1842. His experience in the South and his Quaker faith led him to work on behalf of kidnaped free blacks in Louisiana. He secured the liberation of several unfortunate captives, a feat he regarded as the greatest of his many accomplishments.

In 1828, he married Caroline Newbold (1807-1868) of Bloomsdale, Pennsylvania. They had two sons: Rowland Hazard II (1829-1898), father of noted American educator, Caroline Hazard, and John Newbold Hazard (1836-1900). The family's woolen mill partnership, incorporated as the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company in 1848, became one of the largest businesses in the southern part of the state. Hazard eventually expanded his operations to another factory, naming it Carolina Mills in honor of his wife.

Hazard also authored a variety of books and articles, mostly on philosophical subjects. In 1849, he became a leading advocate of the regulation of railroad trusts, which led to a tumultuous series of state legislative hearings. He served intermittently in the state legislature, was a Rhode Island delegate for the founding convention of the Republican Party in 1856, drafted the economic planks of several national Republican campaign platforms, and played an important role in planning the Union economy during the Civil War. Hazard did much to sustain our national credit at home and abroad, especially when the Union cause looked bleak His newspaper articles on public finance were collected and published in pamphlet form, mainly by bankers in New York for foreign readers. These essays induced European bankers to overcome their skepticism about the war's outcome and hold or increase their investments in United States war bonds. In this endeavor Hazard worked in concert with President Lincoln and treasury secretary Salmon P. Chace, the father of Kate Chase Sprague.

In 1866, Hazard retired from the textile business and invested heavily in the Union Pacific Railroad, with the understanding that his involvement would be purely financial and would not interfere with his retirement. After the company fell into financial disarray and became embroiled in the Credit Mobilier scandal, Hazard spent much of his final years in setting its affairs straight.

As a philanthropist and humanitarian, Hazard was a prominent supporter of Butler Hospital in Providence and Brown University. To his native South Kingstown, Hazard donated money for schools, churches, the town house, the library, and other civic improvements. He also provided steady financial support to Rhode Island's temperance, free religion, and woman's suffrage movements until his death at Peace Dale on June 24, 1888. Rowland Gibson Hazard was significant on the national scene for both his financial activities and his writings on philosophical subjects. He also played an important role in state politics and was a dominant force in the industrialization of the southern part of Rhode Island. He was a vocal critic of slavery, political corruption, and railroad monopolies, and was one of the few investors to emerge from the Credit Mobilier railroad scandal with his reputation unscathed.


Rowland Gibson Hazard (October 9, 1801 – June 24, 1888) was an American industrialist, politician, and social reformer.


Rowland Gibson Hazard

Rhode Island Manufacturer, Politician, and Philosopher

Rowland Gibson Hazard was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island on October 9, 1801, the son of Rowland and Mary (Peace) Hazard. He was raised in the home of his maternal grandfather, Isaac Peace, in Bristol, Pennsylvania and attended school in Burlington, New Jersey. He returned to Rhode Island in 1819 to manage the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company established by his father in 1802.

Hazard was involved in a number of public activities, participating in both social reform activities and in Free Soil and Republican Party politics. He served both as a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives and as a member of the Rhode Island Senate.

Hazard was also a prolific writer who produced a long list of works on philosophy, economics, and politics, including Language (1835), Causes of Decline of Political Morality (1841), Freedom of Mind in Willing (1866), and Causation and Freedom in Willing (1869).

In 1845, he was awarded an honorary L.L.D. degree by Brown University. He married Caroline Newbold in 1828, and had two sons, Rowland and John. Rowland Gibson Hazard died in Peace Dale, Rhode Island on June 24, 1888.

In the winter of 1841, while on a business trip to New Orleans, Rowland Gibson Hazard received word that an African-American man from Newport, R.I. was being held in Louisiana as a slave. Hazard spent several weeks investigating, and found that many other free African-Americans were on chain gangs and in jails under the assumption they were escaped slaves. With the help of Jacob Barker, a New Orleans lawyer and later United States Senator from Louisiana, Hazard spent several months trying to obtain legal judgments freeing the people being held. Amid repeated threats to his life, Hazard's efforts ultimately gained the freedom of nearly one hundred people being held as slaves, and the following year a New Orleans grand jury instructed prosecutors to charge several officials who had been holding the people. Hazard's granddaughter Caroline claimed that he regarded his actions gaining the freedom of these men as the greatest effort of his life.

Rowland Gibson Hazard

Birth: 9 OCT 1801 in South Kingston, Rhode Island

Death: 24 JUN 1888 in Peacedale, Rhode Island

Father: Rowland Hazard, b: 4 APR 1763 in South Kingston, RI; d. 1835, Washington Hollow, Pleasant Valley, Dutchess, New York

Mother: Mary Peace, b: March 6, 1775; d. Newport, RI, 1858

Married: 28 SEP 1828

Wife: Caroline NEWBOLD b: 28 NOV 1807 in Of Bloomsdale, Pennsylvania; d.Jun. 24, 1869 South Kingstown, R.I.


  1. Rowland HAZARD b: 16 AUG 1829 in Newport, Rhode Island; d. Aug. 16, 1898, Watkins Glen, Schuyler County, New York
  2. John Newbold HAZARD b: 11 SEP 1836 in Peacedale, RI; d. Jun. 7, 1900, South Kingstown, RI


Oak Dell Cemetery, Oakdell Street, South Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island; Also known as: Rhode Island Hist. Cemetery South Kingstown #37


Recollections of olden times: Rowland Robinson of Narangansett and his unfortunate daughter with genealogies of the Robinson Hazard, and Sweet families of Rhode Island, by Thomas R. Hazard

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Rowland Gibson Hazard's Timeline

October 9, 1801
South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States
Age 25
August 16, 1829
Age 27
Newport, Newport, RI
Age 32
Age 33
June 24, 1888
Age 86
Peace Dale, Rhode Island, United States
South Kingstown, Washington, RI, United States