The New Century

Detail, Steamer Pioneer on the Pawtucket River

The steamer Pioneer

In his last decade Ben Cotton seemed to have a greater interest in the full arc of his life. He had a very good memory. In the summer of 1900 he visited Pawtucket. One of the local newspapers wrote a brief account:

He Returns To-Night

Ben Cotton will return to New York to-night.  His relatives and old friends have given him a royal welcome to the home of his youth. Yesterday, on invitation, he sampled one of Col. Atwell's grand dinners at Field's Point. It was his first shore dinner in ten years. He appreciated it and enjoyed it.  He nearly caused a famine in the supply of clams. It did him good to pay his undivided attention to the bivalves, and it did his old friends good to see him shower the shells all about him. Col. Atwell heard of his coming, and had two waiters at Ben's elbow to see that the clam supply was kept up.

On invitation of the Pawtucket Steamboat Company Ben has enjoyed a number of trips down the Pawtucket River on the steamer Pioneer. Captain Pond pointed out the various points of interest and Ben in turn pointed to a number of places where he used to go in swimming when a factory boy, and told how he used to run, leaving the clothing behind, when pursued by his anxious father. On every trip that Ben took on the Pioneer she seemed to run much faster than usual, and the extra speed, the captain said, was caused by Ben's hearty laugh after telling some of his experiences on the road.

This morning the Pawtucket boy boarded the steamer Petrel and had a chat with his old friend Captain S. B. Rhodes. This afternoon at 5 o'clock he will be tendered a dinner by his brother Charles, and in the evening will take the New York boat at Providence for New York.