Marlborough st

The William G. Browning House

 

In 1879 William G. Browning purchased a lot of land 104 ft. deep and 84 ft. wide along the west side of the street and built the house at 41 Marlborough Street. This large house measures 38 x 24 ft. and is 3 stories high, with an impressive row or bay of 6 windows across the front. The building was originally a 2-family house, but after 1910 the Sanborn atlases show it simply as a dwelling. Today it is an apartment house and has 18 rooms and 1,884 sq. ft. of living space.

William Greene Browning (1840-1894), was the son of Samuel Kenyon & Mary (Greene) Browning of Richmond, RI. He was named after his grandfather William W. Greene. He married Phebe Arnold (Fitts) Browning (1848-1901) daughter of Levi Nathaniel & Phebe (Arnold) Fitts. William & Phebe had four sons who lived to adulthood: William Arnold Browning (1872-1929), Walter Greene Browning (1874-1957), Howard Fitts Browning (1878-1926), and Frederick M. Browning (1888-1971). Frederick served in World War I and II, as a captain in the Infantry. The Browning family is probably best known in EG history as the owners of “Brownings” an upscale home furnishings store, first at 112 Main St. (in a building they erected), at the corner of King St., and later at 50 Main Street. My wife and I still have an end table which we bought there in the 1970s. William died in 1894, and in 1906 his widow Phebe sold the Marlborough St. house to their 2 older sons William and Walter and their wives.

William A. Browning married Isabel (Sprague) Browning (1869-1950) daughter of Ethan Russell & Ann (Redfern) Sprague. Walter G. Browning married Abby Peora (Taber) Browning, daughter of Amasa Peleg & Peora T. (Jencks) Taber. In 1910 William is the proprietor of a hardware business. The same year Walter was a buyer at a department store in Denver, CO. The two brothers and their wives sold the house in 1906 to Clarissa D. Kenyon.

Clarissa Danford (Nichols) Kenyon (1832-1916) was born in East Greenwich, the daughter Charles S. & Eunice (Spencer) Nichols. The Spencer and Nichols families were both among the original settlers of East Greenwich in 1677. She married John Russell Kenyon (1834-1899), born in Richmond, RI, son of Thomas E. & Elizabeth N. (Austin) Kenyon. John was a farmer in 1870 and 1875. Clarissa died in 1916 but left no will. Her heirs-at-law were her surviving children: John H. Kenyon (1858-1937), Frank Thomas Kenyon (1860-1931), Eunice N. (Kenyon) Walton (1862-1930) and Solomon Hoxie Kenyon (1866-1932). These heirs sold the property in 1923 to Frank L. & Margaret Stanton.

Frank Leonard Stanton was born at Clarksville, NH in 1880, the son of Charles Hiram & Lunviva (Smith) Stanton, (sometimes called Luna). He and his sister Frances were twins. They had a brother 2-years-older named Fred, which must have caused some confusion with 3 such similar names. Frank married Margaret Stanton (1883-1957) who was born in England and emigrated in 1888. They had no children. Frank worked in East Greenwich as a pressman at a color factory in 1910, and a laborer at the chemical factory in 1920. The Stantons owned the property from 1923 until 1962, nearly 40 years. In the 1951-52 school census Arthur W. & Beatrice S. Plumley, both born in 1921, were the only residents in this large house, no doubt renting an apartment. Arthur was a World War II veteran and served in the Pacific on the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12). 

Frank Stanton survived his wife Margaret and sold the property in 1962. The owners since 1962 have been: Peter J. & Patricia R. Sutherland, 1962-1971; David F. & Merle L. Giuliano, 1971-76; Bruce Ahmadjian, 1976-84 (Bruce also purchased and remodeled the old Main Street Garage at 333 Main Street); Novius Associates (Deborah Ann Malachowski and Richard A. Iannazzi, General partners), 1984-95 (Novius Associates also was involved in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the initial remodeling the old Elms Tavern Building at 378 Main St.); East Greenwich Academy Foundation, 1995-2003); Westbay Community Action, Inc., 2003-17, and the current owner, the East Greenwich Housing Authority since 2017.

Bruce MacGunnigle is the East Greenwich Town Historian. He can be reached at greenwich1677@gmail.com. His book “Strolling in Historic East Greenwich” is available at the Green Door, 130 Main Street.

 

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