by Laurel | November 7th, 2014
The Hon. Thomas Blanchard Stockwell, son of Amos W. and Susan Le Baron (March) Stockwell, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, July 6, 1839. The family removed to Chicopee when Thomas was two years old, and his early education was received in the public schools of that place. He fitted for college in the Chicopee High School, where George D. Robinson, after- wards governor of Massachusetts, was principal; the success of Mr. Stockwell’s career was, to a great extent, attributable to his early associations with Gov. Robinson. Mr. Stockwell entered Brown University in 1858, was graduated in 1862 and received the degree Master of Arts, three years later.
After graduation, he served a short time as sub-master of the Eaton Grammar School in New Haven, Conn., and then was appointed principal of the Holyoke High School. In March, 1864, he became a teacher in the Boys’ Department of the Providence High School, and continued to serve in that capacity for eleven years. From 1867 to 1875 he was also associate editor and manager of the “Rhode Island Schoolmaster.”
In 1875 the monthly teachers’ publications of the New England states were merged in the weekly New England Journal of Education, published in Boston. Hon. Thomas W. Bicknell, then Commissioner of Public Schools for Rhode Island, resigned his position and became editor of the new periodical. Mr. Stockwell, already familiar with the duties of the commissioner’s office, was appointed Commissioner of Public Schools for Rhode Island, and continued to fill that position till August, 1905, a period longer than that of any other official occupying a similar state position in this country. He was also secretary of the State Board of Education and Board of Trustees of the State Normal School.
He was author of “A History of Public Education in the State of Rhode Island from 1636 to 1876,” a volume highly valued by educators.
He was for many years an active member of the American Institute of Instruction, and from 1891, of the National Educational Association.
Mr. Stockwell married Harriet E. Davis, daughter of Reverend Mr. Davis of Westfield, an associate teacher with him in the Holyoke High School. They had three sons. After a long illness Mr. Stockwell died February 9, 1906.