Biography of Charles H. Gifford
Bristol County, MA Biographies

Gifford, Charles H., a prominent and well known citizen of New Bedford, having been its postmaster and at present is a member of the State Board of Gas and Electric Light Commission, was a son of that enterprising whaling merchant, William Gifford, and of Rhoda (Tucker) Gifford, a member of one of the oldest families that settled in southern Massachusetts. The Gifford family likewise enjoys the same distinction as to early settlement in the same part of the State, Mr. Gifford being a direct descendant and the seventh of the line of William Gifford, who came to this country previous to 1650, for it is recorded that he was a member of the Grand Inquest at Plymouth in that year; he then lived at Sandwich; in religious belief was a Quaker and as such suffered much persecution. Mr. Gifford's father, who died in New Bedford on March 24, 1866, in the sixty eighth year of his age, was born in Dartmouth, a birthright member of the Society of Friends, a quiet, unobtrusive, benevolent citizen who attached many friends. He was for some seven years engaged in mercantile business at Savannah, Georgia, ahd then located in New Bedford and became extensively engaged in tbe whaling business in which he continued to the time of his death, William Gifford is still held in remembrance as the typification of the upright, rugged and withal kindly merchant so common in that period. Charles H. Gifford was born in New Bedford, July 18, 1833. During his boyhood he attended private schools and the Friends Academy in New Bedford and later Haverford College, an institution of the Friends, at Philadelphia, Pa. After the completion of his education he entered his father's office and there gained a knowledge of business methods. Not long after his majority he was admitted to partnership and continued the business for some years after his father's death. Mr. Gifford has always been an ardent Republican, having cast a vote for every Republican president from John C. Fremont to William McKinley. He has represented the Sixth ward of his city several terms in the city government; was a member of the first city committee on the introduction of pure water, also at one time on the board of trustees of the Free Public Library. He was appointed postmaster of New Bedford by President Harrison, which office he held about five years; he gave the city an excellent office service, instituting many needed reforms and placed the office on the plan of a well ordered first class post office. In 1894 Mr. Gifford was appointed by Governor Greenhalge a member of the State Board of Gas and Electric Light Commission and is still serving in that capacity. His experience as a business man, and director of the New Bedford Gas and Electric Light Company had made him well adapted to serve intelligently as a member of this board. Like his father, Mr. Gifford is possessed of those pleasing qualities which gain friends. He has been connected with many business enterprises in the city, and is one of the oldest (in appointment) trustees of the New Bedford Institution for Savings, and has been twice nominated for the office of mayor of New Bedford. Mr. Gifford married, in 1858, Elizabeth P. Cummings, daughter of John Cummings of Dartmouth, and two children have been born to them: Frank H. Gifford, treasurer of the New Bedford Spinning Company, and Helen C. Gifford.

Our county and its people
A descriptive and biographical history of
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Prepaired and published under the auspices of
The Fall River News and The Taunton Gasette
With assistance of Hon. Alanson Borden
The Boston History Company, Publishers, 1899.

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