RIGENWEB-L ArchivesArchiver > RIGENWEB > 2002-02 > 1013566274
From: Beth Hurd <>
Subject: [RIGENWEB] Emery J. SAN SOUCI
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 21:11:14 -0500
History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
NY: The American Historical Society, Inc.
pp. 117 - 119:
"EMERY J. SAN SOUCI -- While Lieutenant-Governor San Souci has gone far in
political life and received high endorsement from his fellow-citizens, his
career as a merchant is equally notable, and the San Souci Department Store
has developed from a modest beginning to one of great volume and importance.
He reviews a life of earnest effort, and has developed a strong character in
which love of justice, upright dealing, and regard for the rights of others
are pervading traits. To these he adds energy, industry, ambition, and a
sincere desire to be useful.
The family is of French ancestry, early settlers in Canada, in the Province
of Quebec, from whence came Euzebe and Marie Louise (Couett) San Souci, the
former so thoroughly imbibing the spirit of our institutions that he
enlisted in the Union Army, although he had been a resident of the United
States but six years. His loyalty to his adopted land stood the supreme
test, and he sleeps in an honored soldier's grave, meeting his death on the
battlefield at Salem Church, Va. Nor was this the only sacrifice the family
made that 'a government for the people and by the people' should not perish.
A son, Francis Euzebe San Souci enlisted in the same regiment, and served
until the war closed, was twice wounded, death finally resulting from these
wounds ten years later. Such were the antecedents of Lieutenant-Governor
San Souci who, left fatherless at the age of seven years, inspired by such
family traditions, has so well fought the battle of life that he has placed
himself at the head of a large retail mercantile house, and so impressed
himself upon the public life of Rhode Island that he is serving his second
term as lieutenant-governor of the State, and in the absence of the governor
has, on numerous occasions, exercised all the right duties and prerogatives
of a governor.
Emery J. San Souci was born in Saco, Me., July 24, 1857, son of Euzebe and
Marie Louise (Couett) San Souci, who came from their native Province of
Quebec, Canada, to the United States in 1856, settling in Saco, Me. In 1860
the family removed to St. Albans, Vt., where they were residing in 1861,
when the father, Euzebe San Souci, enlisted in the First Regiment, Vermont
Cavalry. He fought with his regiment and the glorious Army of the Potomac
until June 4, 1864, when he fell during the battle of Salem Church, fatally
wounded, death resulting June 10. He left his widow with nine children,
some of them young, and she, like the strong resolute woman she was, became
both father and mother to them, taught them they way of honor and
uprightness, so impressing her lessons upon those children that to-day 'they
rise up and call her blessed'. She died in Greenfield, Mass., June 17,
1892, at the home of a daughter. Mr. and Mrs. Euzebe San Souci were the
parents of five sons and five daughters, the order of birth not here
observed: Francis E., died in 1874 from wounds received in the Civil War,
he serving in the First Regiment, Vermont Cavalry, with his father;
Euphemia, Phoebe, Philomena, Martha, Victoria, Joseph O., Emery J., George
H., and Alfred C.
The family left Saco, Me., while Emery J. was yet under school age, and he
attended public school at St. Albans, Vt. The death of his father in 1864,
and the necessity of adding his earnings to the family purse, cut short his
school years, but nevertheless he finished the grammar school course with
graduation. His first work was in a Biddeford, Me., cotton mill, where he
resided a few years prior to removing to Greenfield, Mass. There Emery J.
was employed as a clerk in a shoe store until 1876, when he entered the
service of Eben J. Beane, a shoe merchant at No. 1094 High street,
Providence, R. I. One year later he transferred his services to the Clark &
Holbrook Manufacturing Company, makers of ladies' shoes, at Hartford, Conn.
He remained with that company eleven years, 1877-88, then opened a retail
shoe store in Hartford, successfully conducting business there until 1890.
He then, in association with his brothers, Joseph O. and Alfred C. San
Souci, purchased the Boston Shoe Store, at No. 125 Westminster street,
Providence, which they maintained until 1900. In the meantime the San Souci
Brothers had opened a small department store in Olneyville, on Olney square,
Providence, also established a shoe store in the same neighborhood, they
having at one time four stores in successful operation. Alfred C. San
Souci, broken in health, retired from the firm, removed to California, and
there died in 1916. In the year 1900, the four stores were consolidated in
one, and the business centered in the department store on Olney square, No.
1957 Westminster street, Providence. The building there was enlarged, and
is now one of the largest in the city devoted to retail merchandising, its
three stories constituting the home of a modern department store, with the
omission of a grocery department only. On November 16, 1909, the business
was incorporated as the J. O. San Souci Company, Joseph O. San Souci,
president; J. San Souci, secretary and treasurer. The business is a large
one, sixty to one hundred and twenty-five clerks being employed. The
patrons of the store being largely mill operatives and workers, the store is
busiest evenings and on Saturdays, when every department is taxed to its
capacity. Mr. San Souci, the treasurer, is one of the inspiring heads of
this great business, who have brought it to a condition of successful
operation, which is a guarantee of the ability and business genius of its
managing head. He is also a director of the Union Trust Company of
Providence, and a director of St. Vincent de Paul Infant Asylum.
A Republican in politics, Mr. San Souci began his public career early upon
making his permanent location in Providence. He was a member of the
annexation committee, which in 1898 accomplished the annexation of a part of
the town of Johnston to the city of Providence, and at the city election
held in 1900 he was chosen to represent the eighth ward (Olneyville), in
Providence City Council, and served continuously until 1907. In all
improvements looking to municipal or civic progress, he took a
public-spirited part, and it is to his energy and enterprise that much
improvement is due. He was a trustee of the Olneyville Library Association,
but when Olneyville came in by annexation, Providence councils made no
appropriation for the support of the Olneyville Library. As councilman, Mr.
San Souci presented the matter to the governing body, argued its injustice,
and secured the first appropriation, $500, which the library received from
Providence. In the year 1908, Mr. San Souci was appointed a member of
Governor Pothier's staff with the rank of colonel, an honor he held six
years. He was nominated and elected on the Republican ticket for
lieutenant-governor in 1914, and in 1916 was re-nominated and re-elected to
succeed himself in that high office. Perhaps nothing could better
illustrate the lieutenant-governor's versatility and genius for adapting
himself to the work in hand than his career as lieutenant-governor,
particularly in his fulfillment of that part of his duty requiring him to
preside over the Senate. He was not a parliamentarian when elected, but he
quickly mastered the rules as laid down in Reed, and no man presides over a
legislative body with greater fairness, dignity and ease than he. He is
highly popular both as official and civilian, being a man of most democratic
nature and practice, the friend of every man who is willing to be his
friend. He has risen above the arts of the demagogue or office seeker, has
preserved his high character and glories in the fact that every success
which has come to him has been won honorably and fairly. He is strong in
his party allegiance, a tower of strength to the party, and is so recognized
in party councils.
He is the oldest member of the Knights of Columbus in the city, in point of
years of membership, and is a past grand knight; he is an ex-president of
the Providence Catholic Club, a member of the Benevolent and Protective
Order of Elks, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Sons of Veterans, and once
held the second highest office in the National body of that order. He is an
honorary member of Slocum Post, Grand Army of the Republic; honorary member
of of Connell Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars; member of the West Side and
Sunset clubs. In religious faith he is a Roman Catholic, being a member of
St. Anthony's Parish, Providence.
Lieutenant-Governor San Souci married Minnie A. Duffy, and they are the
parents of two daughters: Mary Louisa and Euphemia Maybelle San Souci. The
family home is No. 176 Webster avenue, Providence."
illustration on facing page:
photo, Emery J. San Souci
see also pp. 102 - 103, biographical sketch for his brother, Joseph Octavius
> * Emery John San Souci (1857-1936) -- also known as Emery J. San Souci --
Born in Saco, York County, Maine, July 24, 1857. Lieutenant Governor of
Rhode Island, 1915-20; Governor of Rhode Island, 1921-23. Member, Eagles;
Elks; Knights of Columbus. Died August 10, 1936. Interment at Mt. St.
Benedict's Cemetery, Hartford, Conn.
Johnston, RI USA
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