SKETCH OF “NAILER TOM.”
BY THE EDITOR.
THOMAS BENJAMIN HAZARD was born in South Kingstown Jan. 23, 1756, and died in Westerly Sept. 28, 1845. He married, Oct. 2, 1783, Hannah Knowles, the daughter of Joseph and Eathsheba, his wife, by whom he had four sons and one daughter. Of these children the two youngest sons died in early infancy.
Benjamin, born November 4, 1784, died March 10, 1859. Thomas Benjamin, Jr., born May 8, 1787, died April 18, 1856. Hannah, born Nov. 14, 1791, never married, died in her 76th year. Of this family Benjamin married twice; had two daughters by his first marriage, one of whom married and died soon after the birth of a daughter, who also followed the mother in death. The second daughter died unmarried. By his second marriage he had no family, and so this line is utterly extinct.
Thomas B., Jr., married and had a very numerous family, who have left a numerous posterity.
Thomas B. Hazard’s (Nailer Tom) father was Benjamin, who married Mehitable Redwood, daughter of Abraliam and Mehitable (Langford) Redwood, of Newport. Thomas B. inherited from his parents rare gifts. He had a great fund of anecdote and was a pleasing and entertaining conversationalist.
He was highly esteemed in his native town and held numerous places of trust. For two years he was Assistant. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and was a valued and esteemed member. He was considered a successful peacemaker and often had it in his power to exercise this rare gift, which he did in a very successful manner. He was a very singular man some ways, and impressed his singularities strongly upon his associates. His features were sharply defined and so marked that people now living can describe him even to-day with singular fidelity to nature. The portrait we present at the head of this article was taken by Dr. Mann, of Newport, about the year 1807, and was the only profile, or picture, he ever had taken of himself. His journal was highly esteemed by his townsmen and was considered authority upon matters noted. It is told of Wilkins Updike, a noted lawyer of Kingston, that he said he’d just as leave see the devil come into the Court room, as to see “Nailer Tom” with his diary (or journal). “Shepard Tom” writes that the people of South Kingstown used to swear by “Nailer Tom’s” book. In order to gratify the universal wish of our South Kingstown patrons we give in this number of our magazine a generous installment of this work.
SOURCE: Page(s): 7-8; The Narragansett, Volume 1. July, 1882 Number 1