Lippitt was the son of Warren Lippitt and Eliza (Seamans) Lippitt, married to Mary Ann Balch.
Lippitt was the president of the Lippitt Woolen Company and owned various textile mills, including Lippitt Mill in West Warwick and the Hanora Mills and Social Mill in Woonsocket. He was also a vice president of the Rhode Island Institution for Savings and the president of the Rhode Island National Bank.
Lippitt was a Republican and succeeded fellow Republican Henry Howard as governor of Rhode Island on May 25, 1875. He was governor for two years and was then succeeded by another Republican, Charles C. Van Zandt, on May 29, 1877.
Lippitt House in 1886
The Governor Henry Lippitt House is located on the East Side of Providence. Completed in 1865, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and in 1981 was donated by the Lippitt family to Preserve Rhode Island.
Marriage and Family
Henry married Mary Ann Balch (1823-1889), daughter of Dr. Joseph Balch, in 1845. He was also governor of Rhode Island in 1875 and 1876. He and his wife Mary Ann had eleven children, including:
- Jeanie (Lippitt) Weeden lost her hearing at the age of four after contracting scarlet fever. Her mother rebelled against the contemporary belief that deaf and mute children could learn to communicate only by signing. She set about teaching Jeanie to lip read and speak so that she would not be isolated from general society, engaging household servants in the process. Jeanie’s speech was refined by the instruction of Alexander Graham Bell, who prior to his invention of the telephone taught voice physiology in Boston. Jeanie’s demonstrated success in lip reading and speaking ultimately led to the establishment of the Rhode Island School for the Deaf in 1876. That year, her father Henry Lippitt, at that time governor of Rhode Island, successfully presented a bill to the General Assembly requesting approval for the creation of the school. Jeanie married William Babcock Weeden in 1893.
- Charles Warren Lippitt (1846-1924) - RI Governor
- Henry Merriman Lippitt (1848-1856)
- Joseph Ralph Lippitt (1850-1851)
- Joseph Balch Lippitt (1850-1851)
- Jeannie Lippitt (1852-1940) - Deaf at age 4 from Scarlett Feaver, Helped establish RI School for the Deaf in 1876.
- George Ernest Lippitt (1853-1856)
- Frederick Lippitt (1855-1856)
- Henry Frederick Lippitt (1856-1933) - US Senator
- Mary Balch Lippitt (1858-1938)
- Robert Lincoln Lippitt (1860-1910)
- Abby Frances Lippitt (1861-1945)
- Alfred Lippitt (1863-1863)
|Offspring of Warren Lippitt and Eliza Seamans (1790-1881)|
|Eliza Lippitt (1812-1856)|| |
|Mary S Lippitt (1813-1815)|| |
|George W Lippitt (1816-1891)|| |
|Henry Frederick Lippitt (1818-1891)||9 October 1818 Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States||5 January 1891 Rhode Island, United States|| Mary Ann Balch (1823-1889)|
|Charles Clinton Lippitt (1820-1823)|| |
|Robert Lincoln Lippitt (1823-1858)|| |
|Maria L Lippitt (1826-1911)|| |
|Clara Cowling Lippitt (1828-1879)|| |
|Helen S Lippitt (1830-1833)|| |
|Josephine Lippitt (1832-1833)|
Lippitt is a descendant of Frances Latham (1609-1677), AKA: Mother of Governors, and is related to a number of historical figures. Lippitt was the father of Charles Warren Lippitt, another Rhode Island Governor, and the father of Henry F. Lippitt, a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, the grandfather of Rhode Island House Minority Leader Frederick Lippitt, the great-grandfather of John Hubbard Chafee (1922-1999), another Rhode Island Governor, U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Navy, and the great-great-grandfather of Lincoln Davenport Chafee (1953), the former U.S. Senator and governor of Rhode Island.