THE BRAINERD FAMILY.
THE FIELD FAMILY.
MAJOR GENERAL ALEXANDER SHALER.
THOMAS J. CLARK.
GEORGE MARSHALL CLARK.
SAMUEL BENJAMIN BAILEY, M. D.
The History of Middlesex County 1635-1885
J. H. Beers & Co., 36 Vesey Street, New York
[transcribed by Janece Streig]
HADDAM - PROMINENT MEN.
Pages 404 - 416.
The BRAINERDS in America are descended from Daniel BRAINERD, on the proprietors of Haddam. No attempt is known to be have been made to connect him to any family line in England. Undoubtedly he came, as a child, with some relatives who were emigrating from Essex or Warwick county, to Massachusetts Bay. Very complete records of emigration were kept for the period which embraces the time of the boy's arrival in America. When about eight years old, in 1649, he was brought to Hartford, and lived in the family of Governor George WYLLYS, who had in 1636, purchased a property which included the land on which the Charter Oak grew, and had occupied it in 1639. WYLLYS became governor of Connecticut in 1642, and die din 1644.
The BRAINERD boy grew into manhood in his family, and when 21, in 1662, became one of the twenty-eight original proprietors of the old town of Haddam. He is described by Dr. FIELD, as a prosperous, influential, and very respectful man; a justice of the peace, and a deacon in the church, and the largest landholder in the town. He married Hannah SPENCER, a daughter of Gerrard SPENCER, of Lynn, Massachusetts, who afterward removed to Haddam, and subsequently married one Hannah SEXTON. Seven sons and one daughter were the fruit of the first marriage, and the only children of Daniel BRAINERD. He died April 11th 1715, and is buried at the old burying ground in the centre village of Haddam. The children of Daniel BRAINERD were Daniel, Hannah, James, Joshua, William, Caleb, Elijah, and Hezekiah.
Daniel and Joshua located in what is now East Haddam; William, in what is known as Haddam Neck; James, Caleb, Hezekiah, and Elijah, remained on the west side of the Connecticut river, in the present town of Haddam. The only daughter, Hannah, married George GATES, one of the proprietors, and also dwelt on the west side of the river.
The descendants of Daniel BRAINERD settled in Vermont, in Central and Western New Your, and in various parts of Connecticut, but many of them remained in Haddam; so that Dr. FIELD, in his genealogy, says, that when he settled in that town the descendants bearing the family name "were more numerous in the congregation and in the schools than any other settler."
The BRAINERDS of Haddam are almost all thrifty, industrious, sober landholders, holding to the Calvinistic doctrines and Congregational church order of their ancestor.
The most eminent of these descendants was David BRAINERD, the Indian missionary, who died October 9th 1747, aged 29 years and 6 months. His qualities of head and heart won the regard, admiration, and affection of so great a man as Jonathan EDWARDS. Miss YONGE in her book, "Pioneers and Founders," calls him the "Enthusiast." Dr. SHERWOOD, in his edition of the life BRAINERD, just published says:
"No eulogy can exalt such a man. The simple story of his life proves him to be the one of the most illustrious characters of modern times, as well as the foremost missionary whom God has raised up in the American church-one whose example of zeal, self-denial, and Christian heroism has probably done more to develop and mould the spirit of modern missions, and to fire the heart of the Christian church in these latter days, than that of any other man since the apostolic age. One such personage, one such character, is a great power in human history than a finite mind can calculate."
John BRAINERD, David's younger brother, took his place in the Indian Mission, and carried on the work he began, and was hardly inferior to his elder brother in the great qualities which go to make up the missionary character.
Many of Daniel BRAINERD's descendant's have attained to considerable position in the land.
Jeremiah Gates BRAINERD was for twenty-three years a justice of the Superior Court of Connecticut, dying the 7th of January 1836. His eldest son, William F. BRAINERD, of New London, was a prominent lawyer, and quite famous as a wit and an orator. He died April 27th 1844. His second son, Dyar THROOP, was an eminent physician, and lived to a very advanced age. His third son, John G. C., is of fame as a poet, occupying, it is said by critics, a very high rank in the second class of American poets. He died in 1828, at the age of 32. Mary, a daughter of William F., and now living in New London, seems to possess much of the poetical talents which her uncle exhibited.
Many of these people served in the Revolutionary war, both in the army and on board privateers, but it does not appear that any one rose above the rank of captain.
Daniel BRAINERD was an eminent medical professor and surgeon in St. Louis, and subsequently in Chicago, where he held high appointments in surgical institutions. He died quite recently.
Thomas BRAINERD was a foremost clergyman of the Presbyterian Church, long settled in Philadelphia, famous as a faithful preacher and pastor, eminent as a platform speaker, and a leader in patriotic effort during the war of the Rebellion.
Lawrence BRAINERD was well known as a thriving farmer and merchant at St. Albans, Vermont, where he accumulated a large estate. He was prominent as a leader in the anti-slavery movement, and at one time represented his State in the United States Senate. He died shortly after the close of the late Civil war.
Silas and Erastus BRAINERD, brothers, acquired both prominence and wealth as the owners of one of the larges sandstone quarries in the country, at Portland, Connecticut.
Other members of this large family were known as jewelers in New York, and are now represented in that business by Amasa BRAINERD.
Jeremiah BRAINERD, of Rome, New York, had great reputation in the days of the building of the Erie Canal, as a builder of bridges, an inventor, and a natural civil engineer.
Rev. John BRAINERD, D. D., now a comparatively young man, is a prominent minister in the Episcopal Church.
In local fame Ezra BRAINERD, who resided in Haddam Neck, is entitled to the first place. Born 17th of April 1744, in early manhood he became manager of the quarrying interests near him, which some became large and important. He was a deacon in the Middle Haddam church for 66 years, a justice of the peace for very many years, and for a long series of years represented the town in the General Assembly, and acquired to a universal degree the confidence of this associates.
Perhaps the best known member of this family, who still retains an active interest and home in Haddam, is Cephas BRAINERD, of New York, the sixth in direct descent from Daniel BRAINERD, and the son of Cephas BRAINERD, of Haddam, Connecticut. He was born in that place, September 8th 1831. His education was obtained at the schools in his native town, which he attended each winter until his 18th year, spending the summers in labor on the farm.
At the age of 19, he entered upon a course of historical and general reading tending toward the line of specific study which was necessary for entering the profession of the law. The year following he began a thorough study of Blackstone. By a rigorous method, he made himself master of the elementary books placed in the hands of law students. After two years' practical training in New York, in the office of the late Chief Justice CURTIS, he was admitted to the bar in September 1855, and shortly after became managing clerk in the office of the Hon. Truman SMITH and Mr. Ebenezer SEELEY, and soon acquired an interest in their business. In 1860, he engaged in business alone, though retaining offices with Mr. SEELEY until his death in 1867. He won at first, and held until the last the confidence and warm personal interest of those two men, one perfect in his mastery of the law and the other inexhaustible in the personal resources of the advocate and debater, and to his association with them is due in great measure his own professional character. While holding for a short time the office of arbitrator of the Mixed Court under the slave trade treaty with Great Britain, his attention was turned to international law, for the study of which he acquired and has always since had a strong liking.
His success and position in the legal profession is best determined by the nature and importance of the interests entrusted to his care. Some of the matters in which he has been professionally concerned may be noted here. In September 1864, with Mr. James S. STEARNS, a former fellow student, acting as counsel of the Merchants' Relief Committee of the city of New York, and representing the claims of one thousand Negroes whose property had been destroyed by the rioters in July 1863, they submitted an argument which was the basis of the opinion of the court sustaining the constitutionality of the law imposing upon cities the responsibility for damages occasioned by rioters. He was associated with Hon. Lyman TREMAIN and Mr. John R. DOS PASSOS in the second trail of Edward S. STOKES for the murder of James FISK jr., and in the appeals which were subsequently taken, and in the third trial which followed.
His first appearance before the United States Supreme Court was as junior counsel with Truman SMITH. The case involved very important questions of law, and success was the gratifying result of the first efforts of the young man, and the last of the old before that high tribunal.
He appeared before a committee of the State Legislature to advocate a reorganization of the public school system in New York city, which, though rejected then, has since been in substance adopted. He has also appeared in behalf of grave interests before committees of Congress. Once in the efforts made by the merchants of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore, to abolish the system of informers in connection with the custom houses, he was one of the counsel for the committee of the Chamber of Commerce of New York. He made an argument, subsequently printed and entitled "Book Seizures, Moieties and Informers Indefensible." Congress adopted the recommendations made by the merchant committees.
After a ten years' struggle, in which he has borne a prominent part, making five oral arguments and printing six, Congress decided that the claims of those for whom he appeared-upon the Geneva award-uninsured ship owners, whose vessels were destroyed, rebel cruisers not found culpable by the Geneva Tribunal, were superior to those of non-premium payers, while the claims of the insurance companies, who received large premiums to cover war risks, were rejected.
While thus attending to professional duties, Mr. BRAINERD found time for philanthropic labor. He was for 27 years superintendent of the Sunday school of the Seventh Presbyterian Church in New York. For ten years he was connected with the New York Prison Association, as one of its managers and its recording secretary.
The best service he has rendered n this connection has been in the Young Men's Christian Association. Joining the society in the second year of its existence, and receiving through its agency the divine impulse which made him an active and pronounced Christian man, he has rendered to it in return a service, the value and extent of which can hardly be over estimated. He has been one of the most active, efficient, and self-denying of the directors of the New York Association since 1857, when he became a member of the board. But he has rendered a far wider service to this Christian work for young men. In 1865, he was chosen president, for that year, of the International Convention of Young Men's Christian Associations. In 1866, he was elected a member of the executive committee of that convention, becoming, in 1868, its chairman, a position of high responsibility he has held ever since. At that time, the committee, consisting of five members, all residing in New York, was the agent of some sixty-five societies, which were spending but a few thousand dollars annually. It now has thirty-three members distributed throughout the leading cities of the continent, and is the agent of 850 societies, which require in their work over $600,000 per year. Then the committee expended a few hundred dollars yearly; in 1884, the convention entrusted it with a many-sided work involving the expenditure of over $35,000. In all this growth, the work of the committee, under Mr. BRAINERD's leadership, has been a most important factor.
From the most comprehensive sketch yet made of the history of the Young Men's Christian Association, we quote the following:
"No account of the international work would be complete without mention of its chairman for the last 15 years, Mr. Cephas BRAINERD. He, in the beginning, and when it was unpopular, grasped the basal idea of the work by young men, and he has clung to it tenaciously throughout."
Every report of the committee to the conventions has been written by him.
Till 1872, the entire correspondence was conducted by him, and has since that time been under his careful supervision. The various secretaries of the committee have prosecuted their work under his direction.
This remarkable unsalaried service for so many years by one thoroughly qualified leader has been of incalculable service to the work for Christ among young men in this and other lands.
Mr. BRAINERD has lived to see his correct conception and understanding of the associations, unpopular at first, gain at last general approval and ascendancy.
Mr. BRAINERD was married, January 12th 1859, to Eveline, daughter of Dr. Ira HUTCHINSON, of Cromwell, who had spent 25 years of his professional life in Haddam. Three children born to them are all living: Cephas BRAINERD jr., Ira. H. BRAINERD, and Eva W. BRAINERD.
No history of Middlesex county, and especially no history of Haddam would be complete without some account of Rev. David D. FIELD, D. D., who, though not born in that town or county, has inseparably connected his name with both by his contribution to their early history. Dr. field was the son of Timothy FIELD, a captain in the Revolutionary war, from the town of Guilford, or that portion of it which subsequently became the town of Madison, and was born on the 20th of May 1781. After the usual preparatory studies he entered Yale College in the class of 1798, and graduated in due course in 1802, in a class which embraced Isaac C. BATES, United States Senator from Massachusetts, Jeremiah EVARTS, Governors TOMLINSON and POND, of Connecticut, and others of equal eminence. He studied theology with Dr. BACKUS, at Somers, and while there made the acquaintance of Submit DICKINSON, a daughter of Capt. Noah DICKINSON, a soldier under PUTNAM in the French war, and afterward in the Revolutionary war, whom he married, and who was the mother of his ten children.
Dr. FIELD was settled over the Congregational church in Haddam on the 11th of April 1804; here he remained in charge of this church until the 11th day of April 1818. After his dismission he made he made a missionary tour, on horse back, into what was then a wilderness, as far as Buffalo, and returning passed through the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, which he reached on Saturday night.
At the request of the people he remained there and preached the next day. Subsequently receiving a call from that church on the 25th of August 1818, he settled as its pastor and remained there for 18 years. While in Haddam, Dr. FIELD, in addition to the faithful performance of his duties in a very large parish, embracing the whole of the town lying west of the Connecticut River, became much interested in historical investigations, especially in gathering up local histories of towns and churches and in studying the memorials of the worthies of New England. He became an active member, and at one time vice-president of the Historical Society of Connecticut, and the corresponding member of the Historical Societies of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and made many valuable contributions to the stock of local historical knowledge. In 1819, he published a very important history of Middlesex county, and about the same time a history of the town of Haddam, which are the foundations for the histories which have been subsequently written of that county and that town.
Upon the termination of Mr. FIELD's pastorate in Stockbridge, he was again called to the pastorate of the church in Haddam where he was installed over the people of his early care on the 11th of April 1836. In 1844, a division in the large church took place and a new church was organized at Higganum, and over this Dr. FIELD was settled, and continued pastor of that church until July 1850; making a service over a Congregational church in the one town for more than 28 years.
Doctor FIELD also prepared an elaborate historical discourse for the town and city of Middletown which was delivered on the 13th day of November 1850. Doctor FIELD also prepared, as a labor of love, a genealogy of the BRAINERD family, of something more than 300 pages, which was published after he had ceased statedly to occupy any pulpit. He gives his reasons for this work in the preface, as follows: "The Rev. Israel BRAINERD, from Haddam, a class-mate of my only brother, in Yale College, was for some years the pastor of the first church in Guilford. One of the prominent members of my own class was William Fowler BRAINERD, who for many years was an able and eloquent lawyer in Connecticut. * * * Soon after I began to preach, I was settled as pastor of the church in Haddam, where Daniel BRAINERD lived, the ancestor of all the BRAINERDS in the United States. * * * In my walks I often passed the spot where his youngest son, the Hon. Hezekiah BRAINERD, lived and reared a large and very remarkable family of children; among these were missionaries David and John BRAINERD. * * * * * * * In passing the spot I could hardly refrain from pausing and meditating on the piety which existed there a hundred years before, and especially upon the extraordinary lives and characters of the two missionaries."
Doctor FIELD was famous the country round as a hard working and faithful pastor, and was called by the hard-headed people of his early time, whose chief enjoyment was the reading of the sermons of Jonathan EDWARDS, Nathaniel EMMONS, and Doctor BELLAMY, "a great sermonizer." He often, like all the preachers of those days, delivered what were called "all day discourses"-that is, a consecutive and logical discussion of the topic, quite too long for a single church service.
Few of the people of to-day have very much conception of the kind of service which the New England pastor performed seventy-five years ago. It was preaching in the morning, preaching in the afternoon, the meeting in the evening-which was called the "third service"-and then the evening prayer meeting, held night after night in one or the other of the outlying school districts of the town, so that those who remember the announcements for the week in the old Haddam church, can recall the study physique of Dr. FIELD in the pulpit, stuck like the nest of the barn swallow far up on the side of the church, appointing a meeting for every evening of the week in one or the other of these far-off school districts, to begin, as the phrase was, "by early candle light."
Two brothers, members of the BRAINERD family, were, during Dr. FIELD's last pastorate in Haddam, led by him to erect an academy in the town, and for those times to endow it handsomely.
The last days of Dr. field were spent in Stockbridge, and there he died April 15th 1867, almost 87 years old.
Of Dr. FIELD's ten children, seven were born in Haddam, one of whom died in infancy.
The eldest, David Dudley FIELD, was born February 13th 1805, at Haddam, in what is known as the old PARMELEE House, now standing. At the age of nine he was taken from the village school into his father's study and there taught Latin, Greek, and mathematics. At fourteen he entered an academy at Stockbridge, under a famous teacher, Jared CURTIS; in 1821, he entered Williams College, where he distinguished himself as a scholar; graduated in 1825, and went to Albany to study law. When he left home his father took him into his study, gave him a Bible to be his guide through life-a book which he keeps to this day-and kneeling down commended his first born son to the care and protection of Almighty God. He remained a few months at Albany, in the office of Harmanus BLEEKER, and then removed to New York and entered the office of the SEDGWICK Brothers, who were also from Stockbridge; lawyers of distinction, culture, and liberal practice. Upon the death of one of them Mr. FIELD became the partner of the survivor. He was admitted an attorney and solicitor in 1828, and counselor in 1830, and he is at this writing, November 1884, still in full practice at the bars of the State and Federal Courts. Mr. FIELD has never held office, except for a few months in 1877, when he was elected to Congress to fill a vacancy. His practice as a lawyer has been various, extensive, and of the most important character. Litigations involving large sums of money, large personal interests, and great and disputed legal principles have occupied his office, almost from the commencement of his practice. Four years he has stood in the front rank of the lawyers of the United States, and has probably argued more causes involving questions of Constitutional law in the highest court of his own State, and of the United States, than any living lawyer. His services in the cause of law reform beginning with pamphlets written in 1839, have been continuous and important, resulting in the general agitation of that subject in this country, and finally in the adoption of Codes, either framed by himself, or modeled upon those framed substantially by him, in the State of New York, and in various other States of the Union. The Code of Civil Procedure was adopted in at least 24 States and Territories, and the code of Criminal Procedure in some nineteen States and Territories; while in one, California, the five codes which Mr. FIELD was so largely instrumental in preparing, were adopted. In the efforts to secure a codification of international law, Mr. FIELD has borne a foremost part. This topic was presented by him to the British Association for the promotion of Social Science, held at Manchester in 1866. In 1877, he prepared and published "Draft Outlines of an International Code," which attracted great attention and discussion, and has been translated into French, Italian and Chinese. Mr. FIELD is, and always was a democrat, but he belonged to the free soil wing of that party. He supported Mr. VAN BUREN as candidate for the presidency against General CASS, and occupied a leading position in the republican party during the whole period of the Civil war, taking the strongest stand in favor of an indissoluble union and of its maintenance by all the means at the command of the nation. He dissented from some of the reconstruction measurers, but voted for Mr. HAYES for the presidency; he, however, believed that he was not elected, and took part with the democratic party in the struggle which followed that election. Mr. FIELD, in the controversies of the profession, is a formidable, unrelenting antagonist, and presses with the utmost earnestness upon the court, all the considerations properly available upon the court, all the considerations properly available for his client. But to those who know him as a friend, he is genial, kindly, and beloved. Perhaps to see him at his best, is to see him walking or driving over the hills and along the pathways with which he was familiar in his boyhood, in the old town where he was born. Quite recently there has been published a selection from the writings and forensic arguments of Mr. FIELD, in two volumes, which bring quite within the reach of all some of the best specimens of his remarkable power.
Dr. FIELD's second child, Emilia, married Josiah BREWER, who became a missionary to Smyrna, and his history is well known. Her eldest son, Fisk P., is an eminent Greek scholar; here second son, David J., after having been a justice of the Supreme Court of Kansas, is now the circuit judge of the United States for the district which embraces that State.
Timothy, Dr. FIELD's third child, entered the United States navy, and died at an early age.
Matthew D., the fourth child, born in Haddam, June 26th 1811, became a railroad engineer, and the latter part of his life dwelt in Southwick, Massachusetts, where he died, March 1870. He was the means of bringing to the attention of his brother, Cyrus, the project of a telegraph across Newfoundland, and spent two years in its construction, and may be said to have suggested to his energetic and successful brother, Cyrus, the great enterprise with which his name is connected.
Jonathan E., the fifth child, was born in Haddam, July 11th 1813, graduated at Williams College in 1831; studied law with his brother, David Dudley, in New York. He was a successful and prosperous lawyer in Stockbridge, and held an honorable place at Berkshire bar. He was a democrat in politics, but united with the republicans on the breaking out of the Civil war. He was elected to the State Senate of Massachusetts, and became and remained its president during three successive terms, and so long as he continued a member of the body. He died on the 23d of April 1868.
Stephen J. FIELD was born in Haddam on the 4th of November 1816. In 1829, he went with his sister Emilia to the East, where he remained for two years and half visiting Ephesus, Scio, and indeed all places of interest in the Levant. He returned from the East in 1832, and in the fall of 1833, entered Williams College, where he graduated in 1837, taking the highest honors of his class. He spent some time as a student at law in the office of John VAN BUREN, at Albany; subsequently entered his brother's office in New York, and being admitted to the bar in 1841, became his partner, a connection which was continued for seven years. In 1848, he sailed for San Francisco via Panama, and landed in San Francisco on the 28th of December 1849, with $10 in his pocket.
He was fortunate in his movements in California, and his capacity and powers were speedily recognized. He possessed that firmness of character, that determination, and that moral and physical courage, which were essential to the holding of a position of real influence among the class of people who then occupied California, and the position which of right belonged to him was speedily recognized. In a volume of reminiscences, printed by Mr. FIELD for his friends, he gives a most interesting account of his career in that new State, but the limits prescribed to us do not allow of quotations. In 1851, Mr. FIELD became a member of the Legislature of California, and took the most active part in the framing of laws for that State; and he probably did more toward laying the foundations for the legislation and legal system of California than any other one person. The mining laws of that State came largely from his hands. It is said, he was seldom absent from his seat; he carefully watched all measurers proposed, and there were few debates in which he did not participate. At the close of the session, Mr. FIELD resumed his practice as a lawyer, and devoted the next six years unremittingly to it; so that his practice became, perhaps, the largest and most remunerative of any lawyer in that State, and he was recognized by all as among the leaders of the bar. In 1857, he was elected a judge of the Supreme Court, and on a vote of 93,000 he received a majority of 17,000 over both his opponents. In September 1859, he became chief justice, and occupied that position as long as he remained upon that bench. With great industry and patience he addressed himself to his judicial duties, and established a reputation as a judge second to that of none occupying a State bench; so that when, in 1853, Congress decided to create a judicial district on the west coast, and have a judge represent it on the Supreme bench, the whole Pacific delegation, senators and representatives, democrats and republicans, went in a body to President LINCOLN and urged the appointment of Judge FIELD. No other name was presented by the bar of California in opposition. He was at once nominated by the president and unanimously confirmed. His commission was dated on the 10th of March, but Judge FIELD did not take the oath of office until the 20th of May, and the reason the judge gave was, that the 20th of May was his father's birthday, and that he would be delighted that his son should on that day assume such an exalted position. Judge FIELD has now been 21 years on the bench of the Supreme Court, and is the senior justice, with the single exception of Mr. Justice MILLER, who took his seat 10 months later. Space does not permit a mention of the important opinions written by Mr. Justice FIELD; opinions by the court, and opinions dissenting from the judgment of the court; all of which are of great importance, all well reasoned and demanding from the student careful consideration. An appreciative review of Mr. FIELD's career as a jurist was published some years ago by Prof. John Norton POMEROY, to which those desiring familiarity with his official career must be referred. This summary is well worth study, but far more worth the study is his judicial history as exhibited in the causes he has heard and decided, to be found in the reports of the Supreme Court of California, of the Circuit to which he is assigned on the west coast, and in the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1880, Mr. Justice FIELD was prominently before the country as a candidate for the presidency-he was not nominated. The delegates from his own State, California, voted against him, and probably on the ground that he had rendered a decision-a most righteous decision-holding a city ordinance of San Francisco, aimed against the Chinese, unconstitutional. Many republicans regretted that Mr. Justice FIELD did not receive the nomination, knowing the patriotic position which he held during our Civil war, and his belief that law, while it remains law, should be reverenced and obeyed, and they would gladly have trusted him with the presidency, even though elected under the name democrat.
The remaining children of Dr. field, Cyrus W., Henry M., and Mary E., were born in Stockbridge.
The State of Connecticut cannot be held amenable to the charge that "Republics are ungrateful," for her people point with pride to the long list of military heroes who have distinguished themselves on every battle field from the Pequot war in 1637 down to the war of the Rebellion, and not only are the names of these men enshrined in the hearts of the people, but the record of most of them has been carefully preserved so that future generations may recall the deeds of these illustrious heroes, and thus enkindle anew the fires of patriotism, which for the last two hundred years have been kept brightly burning.
Among those who distinguished themselves in the war of the Rebellion was General Alexander SHALER, who, though he enlisted under the banner of the Empire State, is a native of Middlesex county, and is justly entitled to a place in her annals, by the side of such men as Generals James WADSWORTH, Samuel Holden PARSONS, Return Jonathan MEIGS, Comfort SAGE, and Epaphroditus CHAMPION, of the Revolution, and General Joseph K. MANSFIELD, of the last war.
The paternal ancestor of General SHALER, came from Stratford-on-Avon (the home of Shakespeare) about 1662, and settled in the town of Haddam. Among his descendants was Captain Ira, the father of General Alexander SHALER, a seafaring man, who for some years commanded a vessel sailing between New York and the West Indies. In 1835, he removed his family to New York, and commenced the business of buying and selling stone, principally the North river blue stone.
He married Jerusha, daughter of Josiah ARNOLD, of Haddam, by whom he had 10 children. Alexander, the eighth child, was born in the town of Haddam, March 19th 1827, and remained there until he was seven years of age, when his father removed to New York. He studied in the private schools of the city, and finished his education in BRAINERD Academy in the town of Haddam. At the age of 17 he was taken into his father's employ, and on his father's retirement, three years subsequently, he took charge of the business and continued it until 1861. He was then at the head of three business firms, viz.: A. SHALER & Co., blue stone dealers, New York; A. SHALER, blue stone and building materials, Hoboken, N. J.; and SHALER, GARDNER & Co., general contractors, Hudson county, N. J.
At an early age he manifested a great desire to become conversant with military matters, and in 1845, being but 18 years old, commenced his military career by enrolling in the Fifth company, Washington Grays, subsequently the English regiment, New York State Militia. During his connection with this company he was well known for his prompt attention to drills, and his military deportment soon won for him the admiration of all his associates and promotion in the ranks. In 1848, he was transferred to the Second company, National Guard, Seventh regiment. Immediately after uniting himself with this company he was elected a sergeant, and before the close of the year was elected first lieutenant.
While holding the latter position he was acknowledged to be one of the best commissioned officers in the regiment, and in 1850, was chosen captain of the company. Through his untiring efforts he acquired for his company the reputation of being the best drilled in the regiment. His drill room became the center of attraction on drill evenings, and among other distinguished visitors who were attracted thither in 1860 was Lady FRANKLIN, who was at the time on a visit to this country.
Being a resident of New Jersey during a part of this period, he identified himself with the military of that State, and for five years was colonel of the First Regiment, Hudson Brigade. This command afforded him an opportunity to familiarize himself with the details of the different arms of the service, as the regiment consisted of a batter of artillery, a cavalry corps, one rifle, and three infantry corps.
He held the position as captain of the Seventh Regiment, National Guard, New York, for nearly 11 years. During that time he instructed all the recruits, brought the company to a high state of efficiency, and increased the membership to its maximum number. Col. Emmons CLARK, now commanding the Seventh regiment, was a member of the last class of recruits instructed by him.
In 1860, he resigned his command in New Jersey and was commissioned major of the Seventh regiment, National Guard of New York.
As a drill officer Captain SHALER had no superior. He was distinguished for activity, promptness, and correctness. His popularity as an officer was military, not personal. He was at times severe, almost to rudeness, and sometimes petulant and morose, but these were constitutional failings, and generally confined to the drill room. When not in uniform he was a gay, social, and pleasant companion. He possessed a strong and discriminating mind, was an able executive officer, and possessed the firmness and resolution which secured the adoption of his plans and ideas.
Colonel CARK says in his history of the "Second Company:" "In person he was remarkably commanding, and in his appearance as an officer always attracted attention and admiration. Tall, straight, and well-proportioned, with an active and athletic figure, and an easy and confident carriage, he was the beau ideal of a soldier. His face was not handsome nor expressive, nor was he particularly prepossessing in manner, but a brief acquaintance soon developed his many excellent and brilliant traits of character."
When the American flag was fired upon in Charleston Harbor in 1861, he offered his services to the government and immediately thereafter his regiment was encamped in Washington. Major SHALER was charged with the superintendence of all the drills and camp regulations. He succeeded while there in getting adopted a new manual of arms prepared by himself for the use of light infantry troops using the Minnie musket. So perfect and at the same time so simple was the manual that in two days after the first drill of the officers the regiment was exercised in it at dress parade.
He continued with the regiment during its term of service of about six weeks, and soon after his return to New York was commissioned, by the president, lieutenant colonel 1st United States Chasseurs (afterward 65th New York Volunteers). The selection of officers, the organization of the regiment, its drill and instructions, devolved upon him. In July 1862, after the Peninsula campaign, he was promoted to the colonelcy. His regiment was attached to the 6th Corps, and took part in all the battles of the Army of the Potomac. It maintained throughout the war a reputation for discipline, proficiency, and reliability in all the duties pertaining to field service, enjoyed by very few other regiments, and was about the last of the Army of the Potomac which was mustered out of service.
After the assault on Marye's Heights, at Fredericksburgh, Virginia, in May 1863, he was appointed brigadier general United States Volunteers, and assigned to the command of the 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 6th Corps, the brigade to which his regiment was attached, and which he had commanded, by virtue of seniority, after the resignation of General John COCHRANE, March 1st 1863. He executed that memorable march with the 6th Corps, of 34 miles in 19 hours, to reach the battle field of Gettysburg.
In the winter of 1863-4, the brigade was sent to Johnson's Island, Sandusky Bay, to guard against the anticipated effort from Canada to release about two thousand Confederate prisoners of war. For three months General SHALER was in command of the prison, and in the spring returned to the Army of the Potomac, with three regiments, leaving the two largest at Sandusky.
He was captured by the enemy in the battle of the Wilderness, May 6th 1864, and confined at Macon, Ga., for a few weeks, where many changes in the management and in the treatment of the prisoners were brought about as a result of the experience had at Johnson's Island.
He was subsequently removed to Charleston, S. C., with the fifty general and field officers ordered by the Rebel government to be placed under fire of the Union batteries on Morris Island. After six weeks of imprisonment and exposure he was exchanged in Charleston Harbor with a number of other officers, and reported to the War Department. Upon application of General CANBY, then commanding the military division of West Mississippi, General SHALER was ordered to New Orleans to take command of some western troops, and was assigned by General J. J. REYNOLDS to the command of the 3d Brigade, 2d Division, 19th Corps, and by Gen. Sol. MEREDITH, commanding the Department of Kentucky to the Post of Columbus, Kentucky, where headquarters were established in November 1864.
In December following, General SHALER was placed in command of the 2d Division, 7th Army Corps, and of the White River District in the Department of Arkansas, with headquarters at Duvall's Bluff. While in the 7th Corps he was appointed by the president to be Major-General of U. S. Volunteers by brevet. He was not mustered out of service until four months after the close of the war. He frequently received verbal and written acknowledgments from superior officers for gallant conduct on the battle field.
During his term of service he participated in the following engagements: Lewinsville, Va., September 11th 1861; Siege of Yorktown, Va., April 5th to May 4th 1862; Williamsburg, Va., May 5th 1862; Fair Oaks, Va., May 31st to June 1st 1862; Malvern Hill, Va., July 1st 1862; Antietam, Md., September 17th and 18th 1862; Williamsport, Md., September 19th 1862; Fredericksburgh, Va., December 11th and 13th 1862; Marye's Heights, Va., May 3d 1863; Salem Church, Va., May 3d and 4th 1863; Gettysburg, Pa., July 2d and 3d 1863; Rappahannock Station, Va., November 7th 1863; Wilderness, Va., May 3d and 6th 1864; was a prisoner of war from May 6th 1864 to August 3d 1864.
In July 1865, he was brevetted major-general for "continuous, faithful and meritorious services throughout the war, and especially for gallantry in the assault upon Marye's Heights, Fredericksburgh, and the battles of Gettysburg and Wilderness."
In 1866, soon after his return home, General SHALER was elected a member of the New York Board of Supervisors.
Early in 1867, he was appointed by Gov. FENTON, major-general of the First Division, National Guard, New York, which position he still holds. In the same year, he was appointed fire commissioner, and made president of the department. He held the position until legislated out by office by the charter of 1873. His great ability as an organizer was here displayed in a marked degree, and his long experience in military discipline soon made him master of the position. He introduced many features of drill and routine that tended greatly to promote the efficiency of the department, and the city of New York is greatly indebted to him for the best drilled and most efficient fire department in the world. All the important rules and regulations now in force in this department were adopted during his administration, from 1867 and 1870, inclusive. Within this period the losses by fire in the city of New York were reduced from $6,000,000 per annum to $1,500,000.
Gen. SHALER's great ability as an organizer was recognized in a marked degree by his being invited by the municipal authorities of Chicago, shortly after the great fire in that city in 1871, to reorganize its fire department. He was appointed consulting engineer to the Board of Police and Fire of that city, and spent three months in reorganizing and instructing the officers and members of the fire department.
He has taken part in the suppression of every riot in New York and its vicinity since, and including the Astor Place riot in 1849, except the draft riots of 1863, at which time he was in command of troops in the field.
He was one of the organizers, and for four years was vice-president and president of the National Rifle Association; was an incorporator of the Army and Navy Club, commander of the military order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, a member o the Union League Club, the New York Historical Society, the American Geographical Society, the American Museum of Natural History, the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, and other charitable, benevolent, and social organizations. By an act of the Legislature, in 1884, he was appointed a member of a board created to provide armories for the organizations of his military command.
General SHALER has held many positions of trust and responsibility, but the greatest compliment every paid him was his appointment, in 1883, of president of the New York Board of Health.
The population of New York numbers upwards of 1,250,000, and is rapidly increasing. It is also one of the most cosmopolitan as wells as one of the largest cities in the world. Thus it will be seen that when the health, comfort, and well-being of so many people are taken into account, the office of the president of the Board of Health becomes one of the most important in the system of municipal government, requiring experience in dealing with large bodies of people as well as a thorough knowledge of their sanitary requirements.
General SHALER assumed the duties of this position at a period when great dissatisfaction existed in regard to the sanitary condition of the city, and urgent appeals had been made, from time to time, by her citizens, to the State Legislature, to aid in the removal of legal obstructions that hindered the efficiency of this department. His political opponents viewed with jealousy the appointment, and determined to hold him to a strict account of his stewardship. He went quietly to work, however, without fear or favor, reorganizing the department, classifying and prescribing the duties of officers and employees, and in his selection of subordinates he had but one end in view, viz,: the efficiency of the department. His efforts to secure clean streets and the prompt removal of garbage, a renovation of the filthy tenement house districts, and cleanliness of the public markets, have resulted in a marked decrease in the death rate of the city.
But few men have had so active and eventful a life. He was neither born nor reared in affluence, but, entering business, and taking upon himself the obligations of a husband at the age of 20, he has, by his industry and frugality, secured a reasonable competency. In all his undertakings he has been eminently successful. The issue of his marriage with Miss Mary MCMURRAY, of New York city, has been four daughters and one son; the latter having recently graduated, with high honors, at Cornell University, is about entering a life of usefulness which promises to be no less distinguished than that of his honored sire.
William CLARK was one of the 28 men who, in the summer of 1662, settled on what was then known as "the lands at thirty mile island," subsequently (in 1668) called Haddam. He came from Hartford, and settled, with a few others, on the rising ground, back from the town meadow, beginning at the eastern point of WALKLEY Hill and extending down to the grave yard.
While the BRAINERDs and SHALERs left a numerous progeny, there are but few of the CLARKs now remaining. These, however, are fitting representatives of their worthy ancestor-tough, hardy, hones, enterprising men, with strong individuality, but modest and unassuming in their manners.
Thomas J., the subject of this sketch, was the eldest son of George W. CLARK and Cynthia SELDEN, being a direct descendant of William CLARK, one of the original proprietors of the town of Haddam. He was born at Haddam on the 21st day of September 1830. His childhood was spent in "roughing it" amid the rocks and hills of his native town. He received a few months' instruction in the rudimentary branches at the public school. When he was but 15 years of age, he commenced working in the quarries and doing odd jobs of mason work. The strong spirit of self-reliance and independence were manifested at this early age, and thee years later he started for Apalachicola, landing there in the fall of the year an entire stranger. He didn't sit down, Micawber like, "waiting for something to turn up," but soon after engaged as an assistant in the engineer's department of a cotton pressing establishment. He soon learned to run an engine and earned good wages as an engineer. For two or three years he spent his winters at Apalachicola, and his summers at the north working at his trade as a stone mason. For several years after this he was engaged in the construction of important works at different places, among which was the Asylum Street Depot in Hartford, erected in 1848. He subsequently entered into partnership with his brother, George M., taking large contracts for the erection of bridges, mill works, factories, etc., the stone and mason work being entirely under his supervision. He was engaged with his brother in the erection of the Russell Manufacturing Company's building at Higganum, and soon after this started with his brother the extensive manufacturing business now carried on by the Higganum Manufacturing Company.
Mr. CLARK is modest and retiring in his habits, but possesses those sterling qualities which go to make up the solid men of our country. He has never sought political honors, but attended quietly to his business affairs, and has aided materially in the development of one of the most prominent branches of industry in this country. In this he is now, and has been from the commencement of the business, and important factor. He is vice-president and has the general management of the mechanical department of the Higganum Manufacturing Company.
On the 7th of December 1854 he married Elizabeth QUICK, of Masthope, Pa., by whom he has had four children: Arthur, born August 2d 1858; Effie Elizabeth, born December 21st 1860; Alvan Thomas, born October 14th 1862; and Ada Selden, born February 24th 1871.
The death of the his first wife occurred on the 13th of July 1873, and on the 4th of November 1874 he married Sophia M. WARNER, of Montrose, Pa. One child, Nina Gertrude, is the issue of this marriage.
Until quite recently Mr. CLARK has taken no active part in public affairs, but during the fall of 1884 the people of his native town insisted on his accepting the position of selectman, which his long experience and thorough knowledge of the duties incident thereto fully qualify him to fill.
George Marshall CLARK is a thorough specimen of what Yankee pluck, perseverance, energy, and determination can accomplish. Inheriting nothing from his ancestors but his undaunted courage and indomitable will, he has left his impress not only upon the history of his own town and country, but his individuality is stamped on everything he has been connected with since his entrance upon the stage of life. He has cut and carved his way inch by inch through his own unaided efforts. It is said by his friends that the secret of his success in everything he undertakes is his bull-dog tenacity-"he never lets go except to get a better hold." For boldness of conception, originality of thought and ability to execute, he has few equals.
His ancestor, William CLARK, was one of the twenty-eight men who settled in Haddam in the summer of 1662. His father was George W. CLARK, who was a farmer, contractor, and stone cutter. His mother was Cynthia, daughter of Thomas SELDEN, of Haddam Neck, a descendant of Colonel SELDEN, of the Revolution. Four children were born to them: Thomas J., George M., Henry L., and Mary.
George M., the second child, was born at Haddam, on the 11th of June 1833. While, like most boys of his age, his opportunities for acquiring an education were limited to the winter months, his whole course of study did not exceed fifteen months. He attended a private school during a portion of this time, and surprised his teacher by his progress in mathematics, for which he had an especial fondness. His father died when he was but twelve years of age, and the support of the family devolved on him and his elder brother. He commenced by getting jobs at farm work away from home, sending all his earnings to his mother. This he continued for three years, working a portion of the time at cloth dressing and wool carding. He subsequently worked about eighteen months at blacksmithing and making edge tools. He next took up ship and house carpentering, which he followed for about ten years, taking jobs from Bangor, Me., to New Orleans, La. When he was but 17 years of age he started for Savannah, G., with $14 in his pocket; took steerage passage, and when he arrived he had just "four-pence-half-penny" left. He soon obtained a job, however, and that winter he sent home $200 in gold coin to his mother, and when he returned in the spring, brought back $250 more. He was already a "jack-at-all-trades," and proficient in all, and he took contracts to build houses and engaged largely in ship building, put up saw mills, etc.: he could also repair a boiler or weld a shaft equally as well. Whatever he undertook to do he accomplished. His motto was "what I will to do I can do." During 10 years he worked at the North during the summer months, and his winters were spent mostly in South Carolina and Georgia. In 1855, he was foreman for Stanton & Pendleton, of Stonington, who were engaged in fitting out whale ships. In 1856, he was foreman for Tom BROWN, of Sag Harbor, who was engaged in the same business.
In the fall of 1959, he engaged with the Meriden Cutlery Company as a journeyman carpenter for two weeks at $1.75 per day. The company was at this time engaged in reconstructing and enlarging their whole works. At odd hours during this period, and without the knowledge of the company, Mr. CLARK went over the ground, made his examinations and drew plans of all the works that were to be constructed. These were submitted to the company and at the next meeting of the directors were adopted. Mr. CLARK was at once place in charge of all their outstanding mechanical operations at a salary of $10 per day. His brother, Thomas J., was an equal partner with him, and they were engaged for some years as contractors and jobbers, and until quite recently they divided equally their profits. They not only constructed dams, bridges, building, &c., for the Meriden Cutlery Company, but took other contracts for the same class of work, the magnitude of which is shown in the fact that they employ at time upwards of 300 men. They constructed all the works of the Russel Manufacturing Company, located at Haddam. Mr. George M. CLARK was the chief engineer in the construction of the Leesville bridge across the Salmon River, said to be one of the best country bridge in New England. He also makes plans and gives estimates for parties in and out of the State for the construction of dwellings, factories, bridges, dams, &c., devoting to these operations only such time as is not required by his other duties.
In the fall of 1867, he and his brother commenced the erection of a factory at Higganum. On its completion, they went into the manufacture of mowing machines, George M., having, in the mean time, invented a new mechanical movement for these machines, but after continuing their manufacture for a short time, they discovered that they were infringing on other machines, and rather than pay the extravagant royalty required they abandoned the business and commenced the manufacture of agricultural implements. At the beginning of their operations a stock company was organized, of which George M. CLARK was president and his brother vice-president. Mr. George M. CLARK invented and patented a number of improvements on agricultural implements, all of which were turned in to the company. He frequently took contacts for work outside of his manufacturing business. In 1871, while engaged in the construction of a reservoir dam, the derrick fell, killing one man and seriously injuring Mr. CLARK. He was picked up senseless and conveyed to his home, and though almost a helpless cripple for several weeks, he attended to all the essentials of his business, giving minute directions for everything connected with it. This almost fatal accident suggested the invention of a wire rope clamp, which he soon after patented, being the first and only device ever used for this purpose. It effectually prevents the slipping of the rope, and has doubtless been the means of saving many lives thereby. The magnanimity of Mr. CLARK was displayed soon after this when another firm commenced the manufacture of a similar device, thereby infringing on his patent. Instead of commencing an action against them, as most men would do under the circumstances, he went quietly to the members of the firm and explained the circumstances which led to the invention, and offered to let them dispose of all the goods they had manufactured, making no charge for the damage he had sustained. This is only one of the many incidents that illustrate the great generous-heartedness and tender sympathy of the man. Often his workmen have become involved in trouble through sickness or other causes. They had only to make their wants known to receive immediate assistance. It would be a matter of interest of the people of Higganum to read the record of many of these little acts of kindness; but while a man is living these must remain untold.
Mr. CLARK has taken an active part in politics, is the leader of the republican party in this section, and for the last 18 years has been one of the town committee of the party. He is the Warwick of his party, and has invariably refused to accept any office himself. He has however, recently been elected a representative to the Legislature by a majority of 73, while 20 years ago the town gave a democratic majority of 175.
As an evidence of his far-sightedness and good judgment, it is said of him that though he has often taken contracts for work of which he had no personal knowledge, yet he never made a mistake in his calculations, or lost a dollar on a job.
He is an earnest and faithful patron of all objects of benevolence. He was a member of Columbia Lodge, F. & A. M., of East Haddam, and a charter member of Granite Lodge, of Haddam; is a member of Burning Bush Chapter, R. A. M., of Essex, Connecticut, and of Cyrene Commandery of Middletown.
On the 26th of August 1860, he married Clementina, daughter of Edwin B. BONFOEY, of Haddam, by whom he has had four children: Estelle Eugenia, born September 17th 1864; Harriet Cynthia, born January 3d 1869, died February 25th 1873; Clementina and Isabel, twins, born August 26th 1871, Isabel died June 25th 1872.
Mr. CLARK has expended some $30,000 in the improvement of the old homestead, where his brother, Henry L., resides, on Haddam Neck. This brother met with an accident when quite a young man which rendered him a partial cripple for life.
John BAYLIE, the ancestor of Samuel B., was among the 28 proprietors who obtained permission from the General Court to establish a plantation at Thirty Mile Island, subsequently known as the town of Haddam, and who commenced the settlement in 1662. He came from Hartford, where, in 1656, he was a constable. He located above Mill Creek, between the lands of Thomas SMITH and Daniel BRAINERD. He had three sons, viz.: John, Benjamin, and Nathaniel.
Christopher, the grandfather of Dr. BAILEY, was a soldier of the Revolution, who enlisted in the Seventh Connecticut regiment, made up of troops from Saybrook, Killingworth, Guilford, and Haddam. He served his country faithfully for six years, and many years after the close of the Revolution, being asked by some one whether he was drafted, he became very indignant, and replied: "Drafted? No! When my country called for me I went. I didn't wait to be drafted."
Benjamin, the father of Dr. BAILEY, was born at Haddam on the 20th of May 1791, and died on the 13th of December 1872. On the 23d of January 1817, he married Lauranna, daughter of Capt. Charles TRYON, of Middletown, by whom he had nine children.
Samuel B., the fifth child, the subject of this sketch, was born at Haddam on the 26th of January 1826. As a youth he evinced a great fondness for study, and availed himself of every opportunity for the acquisition of knowledge. Long before he arrived at the age of maturity he commenced the study of medicine, which he pursued with great assiduousness and zeal. He subsequently attended lectures in Philadelphia, and after receiving his diploma in 1859, he commenced practice in his native town. He still continued his studies, and in 1864, he went to New York and took a course of lectures in Bellevue Medical College. He was a private pupil of Dr. Austin FLINT, in ausculation and percussion. He also took a course with Dr. Frank HAMILTON in operative surgery. In 1865, he returned to Haddam and resumed his practice where he has since continued.
His professional duties take him from one end of the town to the other, and he is often compelled to ride long distances, exposed to the blinding storms of winter, and the intense heat of summer, frequently with no other hope of reward than the simple "God bless you," from some poor afflicted, helpless patient.
The experience, education, and natural ability of Dr. BAILEY would have won him distinction and fame in a larger field, but his strong attachment to the town that gave him birth, and to the home of his childhood, proved more potent than the desire for wealth or fame.
Dr. BAILEY is greatly beloved by his friends and neighbors, and he commands the same respect and affection of the children, that distinguished the old doctors of long ago.
His success as a physician ca only be measured by the implicit confidence which his patients have in him, and, in his extensive practice, he has to deal with many serious and complicated cases, which, owing to the long distance between his residence and those of his professional brethren, compel him to rely on his own judgment.
During his long professional career he has found time to engage in genealogical and historical research, and he has become thoroughly familiar with the history of the early settlers and the old landmarks of his native town. The people of Haddam, as well as the compilers of the history of Middlesex county, are largely indebted to him for valuable aid in compiling a history of the town.
On the 19th of March 1862, he married Sarah S. PRICE, daughter of Patrick PRICE, a native of Georgia, by whom he had one son and three daughters.
Samuel ARNOLD was born in Haddam, Middlesex county, Connecticut, June 1st 1806. He received his education at Plainfield Academy, in Connecticut, and Westfield Academy, Massachusetts. He has devoted the most of his life to agricultural pursuits, and to various interests of commerce; having also for many years carried on one of the most extensive stone quarries in the Union. He was, also, for a number of years, president of the bank of East Haddam. He served his native county in the Legislature during the years 1839, 1842, 1844, and 1851, and was elected to the Thirty-fifth Congress as a representative from Connecticut, serving as a member of the committee on claims
THE BRAINERD FAMILY.
THE FIELD FAMILY.
MAJOR GENERAL ALEXANDER SHALER.
THOMAS J. CLARK.
GEORGE MARSHALL CLARK.
SAMUEL BENJAMIN BAILEY, M. D.