Joshua Himes has got to be one of our fair town’s most intriguing native sons. Born almost exactly 216 years ago, on May 19, 1805, to Stukely and Elizabeth (Vaughn) Himes, he spent his early years living in the finest house in Wickford and receiving his Christian education at the knee of St. Paul’s of Wickford’s rector Rev. Lemuel Burge and a prominent Wickford summer resident Episcopal Bishop Griswold. Joshua’s father Stukely, whose roots extended back to the first Himeses — who had settled Swamptown nearly a century earlier — was a very successful local merchant and West Indies Trader who, through his marriage to the prominent Vaughn family and his own astute business acumen, had become one of the region’s wealthiest individuals. Stukely had planned to send his boy Joshua (named after Joshua Vaughn, Elizabeth’s father) to Brown University to study theology for an eventual calling as an Episcopal priest. However, all that changed in 1817, when Stukely’s two business partners in the three-masted schooner Ocean, which was built and sailed out of Wickford, betrayed him. Ship’s Captain Samuel Carter and Supercargo (the officer in charge of the ship’s cargo) Alexander Stuart, when they arrived at their first Caribbean port, sold the cargo and the vessel and fled with the proceeds. This had to be doubly painful for Stukely Himes, as he was close enough to Stuart to have named his other son Alexander Stuart Himes. With the Himes family reeling financially from this extraordinary loss, Joshua’s future plans were changed. Instead of a Brown education and career as an Episcopal priest, he was apprenticed to a New Bedford cabinetmaker to learn a trade. The grand home on Pleasant Street in the village of Wickford was sold, and Stukely and his family relocated to a Vaughn farm out on the North Kingstown-Exeter border.