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Part III in BoP’s Summer Project: A Charlestown Story for Our First Annual Charity Auction

Map found in Captain Taber’s home;  a Civil War officer for the Union Army. Town Dock Road, Charlestown, RI. Date unknown.


Note: If you are joining our story now – BoP’s First Charity Auction this year focused on the Hoxsie-Browning Estate and story.

We were entrusted by a generous donor with the 18-20th century furniture and decorative objects belonging to one of Charlestown’s first families. When we found a picture of our subject, Ruth Hoxsie-Browning sitting with her violin on the selfsame settee we were bringing to auction (estimated date of photograph, c 1900s), we had to find out more. 

While the auction is finished and the furniture and decorative objects found new homes, we are left with quite a remarkable story about the unique features of early Americans.

Words that come to mind to describe the Hoxsie-Browning Family (dating back to 1723). Strong. Innovative. In love with freedom and individuality. Most of all, resilient.



Hoxsie’s become Browning’s and Retailers and Teachers…


Gideon Perry Green Hoxsie (1829-1909), grandson of Gideon, arrives in Charlestown from Richmond to marry Rosina Burdick Potter (1836-1913).

A September marriage in 1852 leads to the October birth of their son,  Perry Greene Hoxsie, Jr.  (A woman gets married at eight months pregnant…see below to see what books her granddaughter reads and perhaps we can understand her attempt at understanding.)

Farm life turns out to be much more dangerous than the wars his descendants fought in as G.P.G. Hoxsie gets disfigured in a farming accident. He does not join the Rhode Island rolls of the Union Army.

His son Perry marries Emeline MacDonald (1850-1887).

Emeline dies at aged 37, but not before giving birth to three children; her two daughters figure prominently in our story, Grace Belle Hoxsie (1875-1942) and Ruth Emma Hoxsie (1881-1964).

Charlestown has a population of 2,000. It holds onto an agrarian economy as the cities around it are quickly turning industrial. Nearby innovators like mill owner Gilbert Stuart were joining the industrial age in North Kingstown. Electricity had arrived to the quiet town. Steam trains were running in and out of nearby Westerly and South Kingston.


John Denison Browning (1830-1906) buys an operating food store and farm from Welcome Hoxie (We are fairly certain that Welcome Hoxie also owned and operated a hotel at the turn of the century at 289 Narrow Lane; currently Books on the Pond, LLC). His son, Robert, born two years after the Emancipation Proclamation is announced by President Lincoln, marries Grace Belle Hoxsie (1875-1942) in 1903. The Browning’s and Hoxsie’s are joined, and as Simon & Garfunkel sing, further marry their fortunes together.


Six years apart, and a mother who died of breast cancer while they were only children,  Grace and Ruth are symbols of American innovation, resilience and perseverance. The women’s right to vote is still twenty years away as they come of age. They will become valuable resources to the Charlestown and Matunuck communities by making their own paths as a shopkeeper and school teacher. Not unlike their ancestors, the British Esquire, Joseph Hoxsey (Hoxsie) and his son, Gideon, the Sheriff, they forge their own destinies.

Grace shepherds her family – she had four children – through the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. Many infants died in Charlestown and its surrounding areas during this time and we are presuming from this flu. Later at aged 59, Grace tackles the Great Depression by establishing and maintaining the Browning store. Grace even makes a deal with Standard Oil.


Grace Belle Hoxsie-Browning, nation-wide grocer during the Great Depression; near the modern day Mini-Super

In 1910, Ruth chooses a different course of action and attends Providence’s Normal School to train as a teacher. One of the first educational preparatory schools of its kind in the nation, Ruth shuttles back and forth between Providence and Kingston on the new train.

Hoxsie-Browning books; Ruth Hoxsie’s glasses circa 1930s prescribed by Dr. E. Berkander, Wakefield, R.I.

She teaches herself violin; reads women’s studies books like the Scarlet Letter (remember her grandmother Rosina Burdick Potter’s predicament) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein



Ruth does not bear children as she helps hundreds of young minds as a teacher at the Matunuck School House.

Her students who still live today, attest to her kindness and incredible teaching skills.


“A History of Charlestown, RI through the Hoxsie-Browning Family’s Furniture and Decorative Objects”

Auction benefiting CHS ends October 15, 2020.

Any proceeds to CHS will be announced later this year.

BoP had a very good time curating these colonial and mid century furniture and objects and researching and composing this three part story. Stay tuned for more information on the publication of “A History of These Places through the Hoxsie Browning Family: Richmond, Charlestown and South Kingstown;” it will contain, among other facts and narrative nonfiction, our donor’s turn of the 19th century’s photographs.

Ivory Candle Made from Paraffin 4 x 8 inches

SKU 00279
In stock
Product Details

We use these candles for our dinner table. (Why use overhead lighting, ever?) No scents or colors, please.

Paraffin wax can also be used for at home beauty treatments.


Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft, solid wax.

It’s often used in skin-softening salon and spa treatments on the hands, cuticles, and feet because it’s colorless, tasteless, and odorless. It can also be used to provide pain relief to sore joints and muscles.

Paraffin wax has many other uses, too. It’s often used as lubrication, electrical insulation, and to make candles and crayons.

Read on to learn more about the uses, benefits, and side effects of paraffin wax.

Paraffin has cosmetic and therapeutic benefits.

Cosmetic benefits

Cosmetically, paraffin wax is often applied to the hands and feet. The wax is a natural emollient, helping make skin supple and soft. When applied to the skin, it adds moisture and continues to boost the moisture levels of the skin after the treatment is complete.

It can also help open pores and remove dead skin cells. That may help make the skin look fresher and feel smoother.

Therapeutic benefits

Paraffin wax may be used to help relieve pain in the hands of people with:

It acts like a form of heat therapy and can help increase blood flow, relax muscles, and decrease joint stiffness. Paraffin wax can also minimize muscle spasms and inflammation as well as treat sprains.

You should not use paraffin wax if you have:

  • poor blood circulation
  • numbness in your hands or feet
  • diabetes
  • any rashes or open sores

If you have a chemical sensitivity, you may develop minor swelling or breakouts from the wax treatment. That’s because paraffin comes from petroleum products.

If you’re doing a paraffin wax treatment at home, take care not to heat the wax too much, as it may catch fire. It should be no more than 125°F (51.7°C) when you start your treatment.

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