2017RIHHOFGALA.cfm 2017.12.09RIHHOFConvocation.cfm News and Events from the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame: Recognizing remarkable and famous Rhode Islanders since 1965.


2017.12.09 RIHHOF Convocation

December 11, 2017


The 21st annual Historical Convocation of the Hall of Fame, wherein 13 prominent early 20th century Rhode Islands were inducted, was held in the Bristol Statehouse and Courthouse on Bristol Common. This historical structure - one of the five surviving Rhode Island county courthouses (one for each of the state’s 5 counties) was renovated and saved from further deterioration from 1997 to 2006 by the Bristol Statehouse Foundation, an organization created in 1995 by Hall of Fame president Pat Conley and Advisory Council member, Gail Conley.

Through the efforts of the 2005 Hall of Fame inductee George Sisson, the Foundation received grants totaling over $800,000 to restore and enlarge the 1817 structure. The Foundation made the facility available to the Hall of Fame, free of charge. Over 90 persons attended the event at which the recipients for the inductees included many prominent Rhode Islanders and descendants of inductees.

After the two-hour ceremony, guests partook of drinks and fine hors d’oeuvres prepared by Bristol’s DeWolf Tavern. Copies of two books - The State Houses of Rhode Island and Rhode Island in Rhetoric and Reflection - both written by Pat Conley, were presented to recipients with thanks for their participation in the convocation.

The new inductees are as follows:

Secretary of State, Lt. Governor, and Judge Louis Cappelli , a leader of Rhode Island’s Italian-American community and the first Italian American elected to general office in Rhode Island.

Sarah J. Eddy, Portsmouth philanthropist and humanitarian, artist, author, photographer, suffragette, and pioneering animal rights activist.

Marie Rose Ferron of Woonsocket, known as “Little Rose.” She was a Catholic spiritual figure who exhibited the stigmata (the wounds of the crucified Christ) and has devotees worldwide.

William J. And Thomas F. Gilbane , Brothers of Irish Immigrant stock who founded Rhode Island’s major construction company, builders of many local landmarks, and major benefactors of the Catholic Church and Brown University.

Christopher La Farge , accomplished architect and prolific author who wrote several novels in verse, some of which chronicled life in Rhode Island.

Archbishop Francis Patrick Keough , leader of the Catholic Church in Rhode Island from 1934 to 1947, Archbishop of the primal see of Baltimore 1947-1961, and Chairman of the National Catholic Welfare Conference.

James Henry Kiernan, fifty-one year member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, (1915-1965) longtime House Majority leader, and an architect of the “Bloodless Revolution.” He was widely referred to as “Mr. Democrat.”

Henry F. Leland , eighteen-year technician and precision machinist at Brown and Sharpe in Providence who used skills honed to move to Detroit where he founded the Cadillac Automotive Corporation and then the Lincoln Motor Company.

U.S. Senator Jesse Metcalf and Louisa Sharpe Metcalf, husband and wife, were generous Rhode Island philanthropists. They were the first major donors to what has become the Rhode Island Foundation. Jesse was U.S. Senator from 1924-1937, prominent textile manufacturer, and co-owner of the Providence Journal.

Congressman and Justice Jeremiah Edward O’Connell, Democratic leader who was thrice elected to the U.S. Congress, served as presiding justice of the Superior Court (1936-48), and associate justice of the Supreme Court. (1848-1956).

Dr. Marcus Wheatland of Newport was a pioneering Afro-American physician, a nationally-recognized expert on the use of x-rays to diagnose and treat patients, and president of the national Medical Association, the leading professional organization for African-American physicians.

November 29, 2017

2017 Hall of Fame Gala Event Gallery

The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, Heritage Harbor Foundation and the Rhode Island Publications Society sponsored a gala entitled Honoring the past, Celebrating the Present that was held at Ochre Court, Salve Reginia University on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

2017 RIHHOF Gala Event
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