The History of Middlesex County 1635-1885
J. H. Beers & Co., 36 Vesey Street, New York
[Transcribed by Janece Streig]
GENERAL HISTORY OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY.
MIDDLETOWN - PROMINENT MEN.
It is the boast of Virginia that she has produced more presidents than any State in the Union, but the State of Connecticut has a nobler, grander record than this. In war she has given the ablest generals and the best soldiers; in peace she has given the ablest jurists, statesmen, and divines, and, what is of equal if not of greater importance, she is the parent of those industries and inventions that have added more to the wealth of the country than those of any State in the Union. The first manufacture of woolen goods by machinery, the first practical application of steam as a motive power, were conceived and developed by Connecticut men; and the first successful manufacture of metal pumps in this country was by William DOUGLAS, of Middletown.
He was the eldest son of William DOUGLAS, of Northford, Conn., and was born in Branford, Conn., April 19th 1812. As a child he evinced a taste for mechanical inventions, and he left home when quite young to join his brother John, who was carrying on a brass foundry and machine works at New Haven. He soon acquired a knowledge of the business, and subsequently went to Hartford where he remained for about a year. In 1832, he came to Middletown and commenced the manufacture of steam engines and other machinery in connection with W. H. GUILD, under the firm name of GUILD & DOUGLAS. This firm built all the brass and iron work for Fort Pulaski, at Savannah. He continued in this business for about six years, and during this period he received the first patent for pumps, which was granted on the 20th of August 1835, signed by Andrew JACKSON, president of the United States.
In connection with his brother Benjamin, he commenced, in 1839, the manufacture of pumps and hydraulic rams, and soon after this invented the celebrated revolving stand premium pump. One invention and improvement followed another, the active brain of William DOUGLAS being continually at work, never tiring, never resting. As soon as the brain conceived an invention it was immediately brought forth by the mechanical genius of the man and put to a practical test. The productions of his genius are know known in every part of the habitable globe, and though he has long sinced passed to his rest he has left an enduring monument to his name.
He was quiet and unostentatious in his demeanor, modest and retiring in his habits, devoted to his family, kind and charitable to his neighbors, and his purse string were ever open to relieve the wants of the suffering and the unfortunate.
On the 12th of April 1835, he married Grace, daughter of Elias and Grace Totten MANSFIELD PARKER, and niece of Major-General Joseph K. MANSFIELD, by whom he had two children: William, born May 19th 1836, died September 1st 1836; Joseph W., born January 29th 1838.
His first wife died on the 19th of February 1840; and on the 12th day of May 1845, he married Catharine C., daughter of Capt. Allen RILEY, of Wethersfield, by whom he had five children; George Totten, born February 14th 1846; Grace C., born May 18th 1848; Mary A., born August 9th 1850; Ellen, born October 22d 1852; Sarah Kirtland, born May 20th 1857.
George Totten DOUGLAS was for many years connected with the mechanical department of W. & B. DOUGLAS, and one of the most valuable assistants. He was a prominent mason, an earnest and active temperance man, constantly seeking some means of doing good, and contributing to the happiness of others. He died on the 30th of May 1874, mourned by a large circle of friends.
Ellen was married on the 2d of October 1872, to S. Clarence, son of Dr. P. M. HASTINGS, of Hartford.
Mary A. was married to Jonathan B., son of Jonathan KILBOURN of Middletown, September 2d 1873.
Sarah Kirtland was married, on the 6th of June 1877, to George P. RAYMOND, of Lockport, N. Y.
Grace C. was married to Charles B., son of J. E. BIDWELL, of Middletown, on the 6th of June 1872.
HON. BENJAMIN DOUGLAS.
A young man one inquired of Daniel WEBSTER whether he thought it advisable for him to adopt the law as a profession. Webster replied: "There's always room in the upper story." In the great race of life there are few who ever climb to the upper story, and where one outstrips his thousands of competitors we naturally inquire whether the elements that have conduced to his success are hereditary or acquired. Hon Benjamin DOUGLAS inherited those remarkable traits of character which may be traced back through several generations to his Scotch ancestry. The DOUGLAS coat of arms is: "Argent, a man's heart; Gules, ensigned with an imperial crown proper; on a chief Auzer, three stars of the first." The motto "Jamais Arriere" (never behind). This is the secret of Mr. DOUGLAS' success. The distinguishing elements of his character are an indomitable will, perseverance, and a firm trust in an all wise Providence that
"Shapes our ends Rough how them as we will."
Mr. DOUGLAS was born at Northford, Conn., April 3d 1816. His father was a farmer whose ancestors were among the earliest settlers of New England. His grandfather was Colonel William DOUGLAS of a New Haven regiment, an officer in the Revolution. The only educational advantages enjoyed by the younger DOUGLAS were a few months' attendance at the district school during winter, the remainder of the time being spent on the farm. In 1832, when he was but 16 years of age, he apprenticed himself to a machinist in Middletown. In 1839, he joined his brother William, who was previously one of the firm of GUILD & DOUGLAS. For three years they carried on the business of an ordinary foundry and machine shop. In 1842, they invented the celebrated revolving stand pump, which proved a great success, and the business of manufacturing pumps increased from year to year, the trade extending throughout the United States, South America, the Sandwich Islands, the West Indies, Australia, Europe, and Asia.
While Mr. Benjamin DOUGLAS attended strictly to his business, he found time to devote to public enterprises and works of benevolence. He has been a faithful and earnest friend of the colored people, and when the irrepressible conflict was brought to a final issue by force of arms, he was foremost among his fellow citizens in proving the means for crushing the rebellion. He has filled many positions of honor and trust. He was mayor of the city from 185- to 1855; he was a member of the General Assembly in 1854, and again in 1872. He was elected presidential elector in 1860, casting one of the six electoral voted for the State for Abraham LINCOLN; was lieutenant governor of Connecticut in 1861 and 1862. It is as a Christina, however, in the humble walks of life, that the brighter and more beautiful phases of his character appear. He first united with the Congregational Church at Northford, Connecticut, in 1831. He united by letter with the South Congregational church of Middletown in 1832, and from that period to the present time has been one of the main pillars of the church.
For nearly 30 years he has filled the office of deacon, and was for many years superintendent of the Sabbath school.
On his 22d birthday, April 3d 1838, he married Mary Adeline, daughter of Elias and Grace Totten MANSFIELD PARKER, and a niece of Major General Joseph K. MANSFIELD. By her he has had six children:
John Mansfield, born in Norwich, Connecticut, February 6th 1839; Sarah Kirtland, born March 21st 1841, died September 21st 1841; Benjamin, born November 17th 1843, died December 18th 1843; William born August 5th 1845; Benjamin 2d, born August 8th 1849; Edward, born June 17th 1854, married, on the 16th of December 1875, to S. Emma, daughter of Daniel H. CHASE, LL. D.
JOSEPH W. DOUGLAS.
The second son of William, inherited from his father distinguishing traits of character that have ever been the pride of his DOUGLAS ancestors, while from his mother's side he inherits the strong love of country and self sacrificing devotion to principle that have always characterized the MANSFIELDs. He was born at Middletown on the 29th of January 1838. His early education was received at the public school, and subsequently at Professor CHASE's school. At the age of 14, he entered his father's factory in the pattern maker's department, at the same time continuing his studies at night under a private tutor. He was quick to learn and displayed great executive ability. When he was but 18 years of age he was made foreman of the factory, acting under his father's supervision. At the age of 22, when President LINCOLN issued his proclamation calling for volunteers to defend the Union, he was among the first to offer his services, and was foremost in organizing Company A. of the Mansfield Guards, of which he was elected first lieutenant. He was in the first battle of Bull Run, and continued with his company till it was mustered out of service with the other three months' troops. He would gladly have continued to serve his country to the end of the war, but the death of his father necessitated his taking charge of the mechanical department of the extensive works of W. & B. DOUGLAS, there being no one else in his father's family who was qualified to fill that position. Felling the great responsibility resting upon him, he devoted all his energies to the further development of the business, and proved himself a worthy son of his honored sire. He continued to make further improvements in the manufacture of the almost endless variety of pumps, several of which were covered by letters of patent, the result of his own inventions.
In 1878, he was elected mayor of the city on the republican ticket. His wise and judicious administration of public affairs receiving the approval of his fellow citizens without regard to party affiliations, he was nominated by his friends for a second term, but his other duties compelled him to decline the nomination. He was for six years a member of the Common Council, and was senior alderman for two years. He has been treasurer of MCDONOUGH Lodge, Knights of Honor, since its organization, is president of the Century Club, trustee of the Farmers' and Mechanics' Savings Bank, director of the People's Insurance Company, and of the corporation of W. & B. DOUGLAS, and is also an active member of Mansfield Post, G. A. R.
He is a man of fine physique, quiet and dignified in his manner, and a perfect specimen of the bon homme.
On the 1st of June 1859, he married Julia W., daughter of William DABNEY, and a granddaughter of Captain Robert JOHNSON, a prominent manufacturer of fire arms during the war of 1812. By her he has had three children: Kate, born March 19th 1860; William B., born September 19th 1863; Grace, born February 15th 1872.
Kate, the eldest, was married on the 13th of October 1881, to William C. WALLACE, member of the well-known law firm of ARNOUX, RICH, & WOODFORD, New York city. William, the second child, is at the present time completing his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mr. Douglas resides in the elegant brick mansion on Broad street, the internal arrangements of which indicate a refined taste and a just appreciation of the beautiful.
GEN. E. W. N. STARR.
Elihu William Nathan STARR was the oldest son of Nathan and Grace (TOWNSEND) STARR, and was born at the residence of his maternal grandfather, Ebenezer TOWNSEND, at New Haven, August 10th 1812. His parents removed to Middletown when he was but a few months old. He attended private schools till he was 12 years of age, and was then placed in Captain PARTRIDGE's Military Academy in that city. On completing his education he entered his father's office as a bookkeeper and subsequently became a partner in the business. His tastes and education inclined him to a military life. At the age of 18 he was appointed seargent major, and, subsequently, quartermaster and adjutant of the 2d Artillery Regiment of Connecticut. In 1836, he was elected captain of the 1st Rifle Company, 6th Regiment of Infantry, and in 1839, was promoted to be lieutenant-colonel, and in 1841, was made colonel of the regiment, resigning in 1844. In 1847, he was elected captain of the 7th Light Infantry Company (which he organized as the Mansfield Guards) of the same regiment, and in 1853, was again elected colonel.
During the administration of Gov. Thomas H. SEYMOUR, he was adjutant general of the State. In 1860, he was elected brigadier general of the 2d Brigade, Connecticut Militia. The reorganization and concentration of the militia system into one division, in 1861, relieved him of this position. On the appointment by the Legislature of James T. PRATT as major general of the State militia, he appointed General STARR as division inspector; both, however, resigned the same year, in October, in consequence of the refusal of the State Legislature to so amend the militia laws as to render them efficient.
Soon after the breaking out of the Civil war, the command of the 4th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers was offered to General STARR by Governor BUCKINGHAM, but his delicate health prevented his acceptance of this position; but, nevertheless, he was well represented, inasmuch as, during the first year of the war, there were over 30 commissioned officers in the field, all considered efficient men, who owned their knowledge of military tactics to his gratuitous tuition. He was subsequently appointed by Governor BUCKINGHAM to the command of the military post at Middletown, during the organization of the 24th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers.
This was the last of his military services to the State, which covered a period of about 30 years. He was postmaster at Middletown during a portion of President VAN BUREN's administration, and was the one to remove the office to its present position in the government building. With the exception of one year, he has held the position of town clerk and registrar from 1852 to the present time, and excepting one year, was judge of the Probate District of Middletown from July 1866 to 1872. While acting in this position, although have no legal education, his decisions were invariably confirmed by the higher courts. From January 1856, to January 1864, he held the position of city clerk and treasurer.
In person, General STARR is tall and erect, of spare build, but of fine military bearing. In his private life, he is "sans peur et sand reproache."
Most of the representative men of this country are born and educated in the school of adversity, and their success in life is achieved by hones, hard work and persevering effort. To this class belongs William W. WILCOX. Two brothers, viz., Thomas and John, one of whom was his American ancestor, came from Hartford to Middletown in 1650, and settled in the second and third ecclesiastical parishes, viz., Middletown Upper Houses and Westfield Parish. William was the only child of William W. and Mary WILCOX. The death of his father occurred before he was born, and his mother died before he was two years old. He was placed in the care of his grandmother until he was six years of age, when he was taken into the family of his aunt, the wife of Ira K. PENFIELD, of Portland, Connecticut, where he remained until he was nineteen years of age, attending school a portion of the time, the remainder working in his uncle's shop. Being in delicate health he went to New York and engaged himself to a book concern, as traveling agent. He visited different parts of the South and finally recovered his health. In 1848, he returned to Middletown and engaged himself for seventy-five cents a day to Eldridge H. PENFIELD, who had just commenced the manufacture of grommets for sails. Here he learned the mechanical operations connected with the manufacture of grommets. PENFIELD having insufficient capital to continue the business, through the influence of Mr. WILCOX, his uncle, Ira K. PENFIELD, sold out his business in Portland, and buying a half interest, the new form of E. H. & I. K. PENFIELD continued the manufacture of grommets. Consigning goods to agents brought small returns, and at the end of two years E. H. PENFIELD became discouraged and sold his interest to Ira K. PENFIELD. By strict economy young WILCOX had saved $250 while in the employ of E. H. & I. K. PENFIELD. This was his capital in the new form of PENFIELD & WILCOX, which, with his services, gave him one-quarter interest in a business which had thus far not proved a success. An impetus was given the business at once by closing the agencies, and dealing directly with consumers. With trunks full of grommets, and tools to insert them, Mr. WILCOX started out with the determination to visit all the sail lofts along the coast to Halifax, Nova Scotia, showing the use and utility of the new metallic grommet, presenting a gross or two to those who could not be induced to buy. In this way the business became a success, not withstanding the opposition of journeymen sail makers, who opposed their use for several years, as lessening the amount of labor in making sails.
The new round edge sail thimble was soon after invented by Mr. WILCOX. Cast of malleable iron and galvanized, they soon came into general use, and entirely superseded the wrought sharp edge thimble, which cut and wore the ship's ropes. He was the first in this country to introduce galvanized iron work for ship's use.
At the end of ten years, having accumulated a capital of $4,500, he dissolved partnership with his uncle and started in business for himself, having hired a building on the Pameacha River, at the present location, for $75 a year. About this time he invented an improved grommet, made in three parts, which he patented. He also added to his stock a variety of sailmakers' and ship chandlery goods. The increase of business that followed necessitated an increase of capital, and he subsequently took in Joseph HALL jr., of Portland, as partner. At the end of the next ten years he purchased Mr. HALL's interest, and a new copartnership was formed, consisting of W. W. WILCOX, E. Bound CHAFFEE, A. R. CRITTENDEN, and Homer CHURCHILL; who now comprise the firm of WILCOX, CRITTENDEN & Co. The house is now one of the largest in this line of business in the United States. Mr. WILCOX has recently invented a new grommet for which he received a patent, August 26th 1884.
He has always confined himself strictly to his business, at the same time manifesting a deep interest in the affairs of his native town, and, in 1877, he was solicited by his friends to accept the republican nomination for the Legislature, and was elected by a considerable majority. As an evidence of his personal popularity, it may be stated that for thirteen years previous to this time Middletown was represented in the Legislature by democrats. In 1879, Mr. WILCOX received the nomination and was again elected. He has held other public positions of trust and responsibility. In 1880, he was nominated for State Senator, but was defeated by a small majority, his opponent being Dr. J. W. ALSOP. He has also served as a member of the Common Council.
His investments have been confined strictly to his legitimate business. In 1883, he was solicited to become a director in the Middletown National Bank, and was elected to the position.
There are few men who have lived in Middletown during the last century who have borne a more enviable reputation or have held in higher esteem by their fellow citizens. His life presents a worthy example to the rising generation, affording a practical demonstration of the self made man.
On the 17th of November 1853, he married Elizabeth, daughter of George and A. E. CRITTENDEN, of Portland, by whom he had three children, two of whom, William Walter, born April 11th 1862, and Mary C., born August 8th 1866, are now living.
CAPTAIN JOSEPH J. HENDLEY.
The records of the paternal and maternal ancestors of Captain HENDLEY form an interesting contribution to American history. His great-grandfather, William HENDLEY, married a German lady. They came from England about 1745, and settled in Boston, and bought land on Wheeler's Point, now South Boston, where they kept a dairy farm. They had four children. William, the eldest, the grandfather of Captain HENDLEY, was born in Boston, in 1747. He was an ardent patriot in the war of the Revolution, and composed one of the famous "Boston Tea Party." He fought in the battles of Concord and Bunker Hill, enlisted in the rebel army, and continued in the service of his country to the close of the war.
The maternal ancestor of Captain HENDLEY was Thomas MILLER, who came from England in 1643, and settled in Rowley, Massachusetts, in 1644. In 1653, he removed with his family to Middletown, where, in 1655, he erected a grist mill on the South Pameacha River, then called MILLER's brook, and now the Sanseer River, the town of Middletown furnishing most of the material for the same in consideration of his grinding the town's corn. This was probably the first mill erected in Middlesex county.
Henry, the father of Captain HENDLEY, was born in Boston, on the 18th of January 1770, and came to Middletown in 1791. He was a tanner by trade and worked for Samuel FROTHINGHAM during the summer and followed the sea in the winter. He was lost at sea in 1807. He formed one of the crew of the brig Marlboro, of Glastonbury, WADSWORTH, master. On her passage from ST. Croix to Middletown, she foundered at sea and all on board perished.
On the 27th of December 1795, he married Esther MILLER, a descendant of the fourth generation from Thomas MILLER. Her father was Joshua MILLER and her mother was Anna STARR, daughter of Captain Daniel and Esther STARR. They had six children: Anna, the eldest, was born September 26th 1796, married Joseph J. BADGER; William, born January 25th 1798, never married; Mary, born January 20th 1800, married Caleb MILLER; Esther, born August 4th 1802, married Elisha SEARS; Henry, born June 22d 1804, never married; Joseph J., born June 25th 1807.
Captain Joseph J. HENDLEY, the subject of this sketch, has had quite an eventful life. He was born at South Farms, in the town of Middletown. He was only six months old when his father died, and was thus compelled in early life to "paddle his own canoe." On the 23d of August 1810, his mother married the Rev. Benjamin GRAVES, then pastor of the South Church, Middletown. They had one daughter. In 1813, they moved to East Haddam, Millington Society, and resided there until after the war of 1812-15, when they returned to South Farms, and soon after settled at Bow Lane, where Joseph received his education at the district school. At the age of fifteen he went to work in a woolen mill at Wolcottville, where he remained for two years, when he returned home and spent one year at the Pameacha woolen mill. In 1825, when he was eighteen years of age, he shouldered his pack, bade his feeble mother good bye, and started on foot for New Haven, where he shipped on a vessel bound for New York, receiving two dollars wages for the round trip. This, with three dollars received from his mother, and two suits of clothes, was all his worldly wealth. After his return to New Haven, he shipped on board a schooner bound for Guadaloupe, W. I., at which place the captain and one man died of yellow fever.
He was in the European, South American, and West India trades until 1830, after which he was in the New Orleans and Florida trade, and was first officer with Captain William H. PRATT, of Deep River, Conn., until 1833. He then took charge of the schooner Helen Mar, of New Orleans. He made several voyages to Apalachicola, Fla., and one voyage to the Brazos River, Texas. On one of these voyages, Henry BROOKS, of Middletown, his mate, fell overboard in the night, while reefing the mainsail, and was drowned. BROOKS was a young man of excellent moral character and a good seaman.
At that time (1833) there was but one house on Galveston Island, and Texas was a State of the Republic of Mexico, at war with the mother country.
In the fall of 1834, Captain HENDLEY took command of the schooner Louisiana, in which he made regular trips to the Brazos River. Active hostilities had then commenced, and the vessel was loaded principally with troops and munitions of war. He was twice chased into the river by the Mexican man-of-war, Montezuma, commanded by Captain DAVIS, then blockading the coast of Texas, and the terror of all blockade runners.
In 1836, Captain HENDLEY, in connection with his brother, William HENDLEY, Sylvester GILDERSLEEVE, and Alexander KEATH, built the schooner William Bryan for the Brazos River trade. She was a successful vessel in that trade and was commanded by him until 1839, when he, with his brother William, and Sylvester GILDERSLEEVE, of Portland, built the schooner Robert Mills, for the same trade, and in 1842, they built they built the ship Star Republic. This ship was commanded by Captain HENDLEY and sailed by him between Galveston and New York up to 1845. On the voyage from New York to Galveston in 1843, on the 6th of October, he encountered a hurricane off the northeast point of Abaco, one of the Bahama Islands. The whole coast of Florida was desolated and Sand Key light house blown down, in which the keeper and his whole family perished. Great damage was also done at Key West, but the little ship came safely through, losing part of her spars and most of her sails.
In 1845, before the annexation of Texas, Captain HENDLEY and his brother William, together with Philip GILDERSLEEVE and John L. SLEIGHT, formed the commercial house of William HENDLEY & Co.;, at Galveston, and, in connection with John H. BROWER, of New York, established the New York and Texas line of packets. The Star Republic was the pioneer ship, and, with other vessels owned principally by the WAKEMANS of Southport, Conn., at that time constituted the Texas and New York line of packets. In 1848, these vessels were disposed of, the line reorganized, and eight vessels of larger capacity were built from time to time, and placed in the line, viz.: the ships S. F. Austin, B. R. Milam, William B. Travis, J. W. Fannin, Wm. H. Wharton, S. Gildersleeve, National Guard, and J. C. Huhn. These vessels were built by S. GILDERSLEEVE, Portland, Conn., and owned principally by J. J. HENDLEY, William HENDLEY, S. GILDERSLEEVE, H. GILDERSLEEVE, P. GILDERSLEEVE, J. H. WATKINSON, William JARVIS, and John H. BROWER, of New York.
The corresponding and financial partner of the firm of William HENDLEY & Co., Phillip GILDERSLEEVE, died in 1853. He was a competent, clear-headed man, and had but few equals. His loss was seriously felt by all the other members, and through his death the business of the firm for a time suffered, but on a reduced scale it again prospered. The line was successfully conducted until the breaking out of the war. During the intermediate time, the Austin was wreck on the northeast point of Abaco; the B. R. Milam was stranded on Galveston Bar, and abandoned to the underwriters; the William B. Travis and William H. Wharton were sold for a foreign trade; and the J. W. Fannin, loaded with grain for Ireland, foundered at sea; the National Guard and J. C. Kuhn were sold to the United States government, and the S. Gildersleeve was burned at sea by the rebel steamer, Alabama. This closed the Texas and New York line of packets. After the war the house was successfully conducted until 1874, making a total period from its commencement, of twenty-eight years. William HENDLEY and John L. SLEIGHT died in 1873, and in July 1874, Captain HENDLEY closed up the old business of William HENDLEY & Co., and retired from commercial life.
Captain HENDLEY never married, but lives in the quiet enjoyment of bachelorhood. He makes his home with his half sister, Mrs. A. D. BUTTON, at Plainfield, N. J., but spends most of his time traveling, and at the residence of his nephew, Mr. H. F. BOARDMAN, of Middletown, where he is surrounded with the familiar scenes of his early days. He is now in his seventy-eighth year, but is still quite strong and hearty, and in the full possession of his mental faculties.
His brother, Henry, also a mariner by profession, and an officer of the ship Emblem, of Portland, Me., which was wrecked in Cadiz Bay, in 1855, was on the wreck three days and died at Cadiz after being taken off.
Captain HENDLEY and Mrs. Esther S. SEARS, widow of Elisha S. SEARS, still survive.
LEONARD BAILEY, M. D.
"Nothing succeeds like success," is a trite saying, more forcible than elegant, but to no profession in life does it apply with greater force than to that of the medical, and whatever educational advantages or previous experience a man may have had, his ability is measured by his success.
Dr. BAILEY commenced practice in this city unaided and alone, with neither friends nor influence, and whatever success he has achieved in his profession is due to his own efforts.
His paternal ancestor was John BAYLIE, one of the 28 proprietors who settled the town of Haddam in 1662. His grandfather was a soldier of the Revolution, a member of the 10th Connecticut regiment, commanded by Colonel-afterwards General-James WADSWORTH.
Leonard was the youngest son of Benjamin and Laurana BAILEY, and was born in that part of the town of Haddam now known as Higganum, on the 1st of January 1836. He was sent first to the district school, and then to the BRAINERD Academy. He commenced the study of medicine in Philadelphia, and graduated in 1857, standing fifth in a class of forty. At the age of 22 he spent one year in the office of Dr. BURR of this city (Middletown), where he commenced his practice. He subsequently went to East Haddam, where he practiced for three years. In 1861, he returned to Middletown, where he has since remained. In 1862, he again visited Philadelphia, where he attended a course of medical lectures during the winter of 1862-63. During this period he was frequently associated with and received instructions from Professors S. D. GROSS, PANCOAST, WOOD, and DUNGLISON, and other eminent physicians and surgeons of Philadelphia.
When re resumed his practice in Middletown, and determined on making this his permanent home, the prospect was not very flattering. There were at that time ten physicians in the city, most of whom were old residents, and there appeared to be no room for another; but he went quietly to work, devoting every leisure moment to the acquisition of knowledge, and availing himself of very means in his power to achieve success. His first efforts with his patients proving successful, his business gradually increased, and he has probably at the present time a more lucrative, if not a larger practice than any other physician in Middletown.
He carefully diagnoses every case and makes each a special study, clinging to no stereotyped or obsolete theories; assuming that each case of even the same disease requires a special, if not a different method of treatment.
To his intense love and devotion to his profession, he unites a genial, happy disposition that carries joy and comfort to the sick room and inspires the patient with courage and confidence.
His personal popularity would naturally draw him into public life, but for this he has neither the taste nor inclination. His purse strings are ever loose to relieve the needy and unfortunate, and many a bill for professional services will be canceled only at the day of final reckoning, when the "Judge of all the earth" shall say: "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, ye did it unto me."
On the 3d of February 1863, he married Sarah J., daughter of Burriage ROBINSON of Portland.
HON. SAMUEL L. WARNER.
Edmund BURKE once said to a friend: "Men give me credit for genius. If an intense and ardent desire for the acquisition of knowledge and persevering efforts in the use of the means for accomplishing that end is genius, then I have genius."
Those who have listened to the earnest and eloquent appeals of Samuel L. WARNER in behalf of his clients, give him credit for genius, as well as great legal ability; but if any young man of ordinary ability is willing to use the same means and make the same sacrifices to attain the ends, the prize is within his grasp.
Mr. WARNER had the same trials, struggles, and hardships as those of most men who succeed in life. Levi WARNER, his father, was a prosperous and enterprising farmer, born in the town of Wethersfield, and was descended from one of the original settlers who came there from Boston about 1635. He married Sarah, daughter of John LARKIN, of Wethersfield, by whom he had eight children: Mary, William, Samuel L., Levi, Sarah A., John, George Francis, and Albert, all living.
Samuel L. was born at Wethersfield on the 14th of June 1828. He attended the common schools of his native village, and subsequently went through a preparatory course at the academy. After teaching school for four years, he commenced the study of law with Judge MATSON, of Hartford, and soon after entered a law school at New Haven. He completed his course at Harvard Law School, where he spent two years; and in 1854 was admitted to the Suffolk county (Massachusetts) bar. He returned to Hartford, intending to commence practice in that city, but, through the influence of Governor SEYMOUR, who took a deep interest in his welfare, he obtained the appointment of the executive secretary to Governor POND. Owing to the illness of the latter the duties of the office devolved to a large extend on young WARNER. These he discharged with great credit to himself, and the executive ability displayed by him at that early age showed that the confidence of his friends had not been misplaced, and the experience thus acquired proved a great advantage to him in after years.
In the spring of 1854, he removed to Portland and commenced the practice of law in that town, where he soon obtained a lucrative practice, and the success attending his efforts brought him into prominence in all courts in the State; and his business increased to such an extend that he found it necessary to open an office in Middletown. The judicial history of the period before and after the time when Mr. WARNER commenced practice shows that the courts of Middlesex county presented a field for the best legal talent of this State; and at each session of the court were represented men who have since become distinguished as jurists and statesmen, whose reputation is almost world wide. Among these may be mentioned Hon. Charles J. MCCURDY, Hon. William D. SHIPMAN, Hon. Lafayette S. FOSTER, Hon. Isaac TOUCEY R. G. BALDWIN, Henry DUTTON, Charles CHAPMAN, Thomas C. PERKINS, and others; all of whom were engaged in the trial of important causes in the Middlesex county courts. To be brought into immediate contact in the trial of causes with these legal giants would intimidate most young men, but Mr. WARNER had confidence in himself. He had been a close student not only when preparing for admission to the bar, but had availed himself of every leisure moment to familiarize himself with the requirements of his profession. He was, moreover, a close student of human nature, and was familiar with the ways of the world, and of the general principles of business; was careful and observing, allowing nothing to escape his attention, so that when he was subsequently called to the trial of important causes he realized the fruits of this course of study and was prepared to successfully contend with men who enjoyed the advantages of a large experience and a longer established reputation. His intense application to, and study of his cases soon made him proficient and successful in his practice. His continued success at the bar rendered him popular with the people, and in 1862, he was elected mayor of the city, and continued in office for four years, during which period he labored hard and finally succeeded in establishing the present system of water works and securing the necessary legislation to place it on a substantial basis. To him, in a great measure, is due the credit of having established the finest system of water supply in our State, which affords equal, if not the best protection against fire of that of any city in the Union. In 1858, he represented the town of Portland in the State Legislature.
At the breaking out of the Rebellion, he was an active and earnest supporter of all measures for a vigorous prosecution of the war, and in 1862, he was nominated for Congress, but was defeated by his opponent, Governor ENGLISH. The following term he was again nominated by the republican party, and elected by 1,700 majority, in a district strongly democratic, receiving the support of many prominent democrats. In 1865, he was again nominated, but declined to accept the nomination. He was a member, and one of the secretaries of the convention that nominated Abraham LINCOLN for the second term.
In 1861, he purchased the Nehemiah HUBBARD homestead, on Main street, to which place he removed his office and where he has since continued. He enjoys a large and lucrative practice, and stands at the head of the bar in Middlesex county.
The success on the trial of causes to the jury has caused his retainer in nearly all such cases of importance in the county during his practice. The records of the Supreme Court of Errors show his mastery of his cases in that forum. It is said by the judges of that court that no briefs or presentment of causes in their court show more or better preparation or conception of the case than do his.
In his jury trials he makes no mistakes and if any are made by his adversary, he is quick to take advantage of them. He makes his clients' case his own, and enters into it with intense earnestness and enthusiasm. It is said of him that in the examination of witnesses in the trial of a cause, if he becomes convinced of the untruthfulness or prevarication of the witness, his examinations are almost merciless, and no sagacity could escape his detection.
Socially he is a man of large hearted, generous impulses, and will make any sacrifice to serve a friend. He delivered the addresses at both the LINCOLN and GARFIELD memorial services held in the North Church.
He was the unanimous choice of the committee to deliver the oration at the centennial celebration of Middletown, held on the 14th of July 1884. This was one of the most carefully prepared, and best historical addresses ever delivered before a Middlesex county audience, and was listened to by a large and intelligent concourse of people.
On the 30th of April 1855, he married Mary E., daughter of John HARRIS, of Norwich, by whom he has had two children: Harris, born October 26th 1858, and Charles W., born November 20th 1863.
His brother Levi, next younger than himself, who studied with him, is one of the leading lawyers in Fairfield county, and was twice elected to Congress from the Fourth Congressional District.
His mother, who is still living, is now 83 years of age and in full enjoyment of health and all of her mental faculties.
THE RUSSELL FAMILY.
The RUSSELLs have been identified with the history of Middletown for nearly two hundred years, and each generation has left its impress on the community by the noble deeds and Christian virtues of its several members. The family is a branch of the English line so well known, and William RUSSELL, the emigrant, is said to have accompanied Colonel FENWICK, Robert GREVILLE, second Lord BROOKE, being connected by marriage with the latter.
William, the American ancestor of the RUSSELL family, was born in England in 1612, came to America in 1638-9, and settled in the colony of New Haven. His will, dated October 24th 1664, is found among the New Haven records. He left two children: Anna, born June 29th 1660, and Noadiah, born at New Haven, July 22d 1659.
Of Rev. Noadiah RUSSELL, the youngest son, Dr. FIELD says:
"He was left an orphan, with an elder sister when about a year old, but through the friendship and benevolence of Mrs. Elin GLOVER he was publicly educated. He was graduated at Harvard College in 1681, where he was for a time tutor. He subsequently taught an academy in Ipswich, Mass., and became a member of the church in that place, and was thence recommended to the church in Middletown, to which place he came in 1687, and was settled as pastor of the First Congregational Church. He was one of the twelve ministers who founded Yale College, at Saybrook, in 1700, and was one of the framers of the Saybrook Platform.
On the 28th of February 1689, he married Mary, daughter of Giles HAMLIN, one of the first settlers of Middletown. By her he had nine children, viz: William, Noadiah, Giles, Mary, John, Esther, Daniel, Mehitable, and Hannah.
Two of his sons, viz.: William and Daniel, were educated at the seminary which he had assisted in founding and governing. With this, William was connected for a time as tutor, and afterward as trustee. Both became ministers of the Gospel. Daniel settled in the parish of Stepney, in Wethersfield, and William succeeded his father in the congregation in Middletown, June 1st 1715.
Rev. Noadiah RUSSELL labored in the ministry just forty-six years-dying in the same month, and on the same day of the month on which he was ordained. "He was a gentleman," says Dr. TRUMBULL, "of great respectability for knowledge, experience, moderation, and for pacific measurers on all occasions."
Samuel RUSSELL, eldest son of Capt. John and Abigail RUSSELL, was born at Middletown, Conn., August 25th 1789. His father having deceased when he was but twelve years of age, he was placed under guardianship, and after receiving an ordinary education was placed in the store of Messrs. WHITTLESEY & ALSOP, Washington street, Middletown, and afterward with Mr. Samuel WETMORE, where he remained until he arrived at majority; he then went to New York city, and entered the house of Messrs. HALL, HULL & Co., foreign shipping merchants, and was sent by them as supercargo to Spain; after which he was invited to enter the house of B. & T. C. HOPPIN & co., Providence, R. I., who were engaged in the Calcutta and China trade, where he remained until he became a partner of Messrs. E. CARRINGTON & Co., Cyrus BUTLER, and B. & T. C. HOPPIN. On the 26th of December 1818, articles of co-partnership were signed for the transaction of business in China for a term of five years, which at the expiration of that time eventuated in the establishment of the house of RUSSELL & Co., at Canton-one of the most celebrated firms in China, doing business under the same name up to the present time; having numbered among its partners such men as Phillip AMIDON, Augustine HEARD, William Henry LOW, John C. GREEN, John Murray FORBES, Joseph COOLIDGE, A. A. LOW, W. C. HUNTER, Edward KING, Robert Bennett FORBES, Warren DELANO jr., and Russell STURGIS.
Mr. RUSSELL's life in China is thus briefly described by one who knew him intimately and enjoyed his lifelong friendship.
"While he lived no friend of his would venture to mention his name in print. While in China, he lived for about twenty-five years almost an hermit, hardly known outside of his factory except by the chosen few who enjoyed his intimacy, and by his good friend, Hoqua, but studying commerce in its broadest sense, as well as it minutest details. Returning home with well earned wealth he lived hospitably in the midst of his family, and a small circle of inmates. Scorning words and pretensions from the very bottom of his heart, he was the truest and staunchest of friends; hating notoriety, he could always be absolutely counted upon for every good work which did not involve publicity."
The house of which he was a member had a world-wide reputation, and the name of Samuel RUSSELL was potent wherever commerce reached. It is said of him, personally, that his word was as good as his bond.
In 1837, he returned to Middletown, where he had made previous arrangements for the erection of the elegant mansion on the corner of Washington and High streets. This was done under the supervision of Hon. Samuel D. HUBBARD. He did not sit down, on his return, simply to enjoy his wealth, but entered heartily into public and private enterprises. He founded the RUSSELL Manufacturing Company, and was his first president. He was president of the Middlesex County Bank nearly ten years, and was a large stockholder. During the panic of 1857, he advanced $75,000 of his private fortune to sustain the bank through the crisis. He was constantly assisting private individuals who were in financial trouble, and while he frequently lost large sums in this matter, it never occasioned him any regret. His motto was "Duties are ours; events are God's."
He was a man of broad and liberal views, and gave freely to the support of all religious denominations. He gave liberally toward the building of the Roman Catholic church, and induces the quarry companies of Portland to contribute the stone. He assisted nearly all the other churches by large contributions. He made judicious investments of his money, which yielded large returns, but it is said of him that he gave away, and lost by assisting others, a sum fully equal to all he made in China.
In his business he was very methodical and painstaking; in his private life was frugal and economical, avoiding all display or ostentation, but very hospitable. His friends always found a hearty welcome under his roof. In his private charities no one but himself and the recipients ever knew the extent of his gifts.
Mr. RUSSELL was twice married; first, on the 6th of October 1815, to Marry Cotton OSBORNE, in New York city, daughter of David and Mary COTTON OSBORNE, of Stratford, Connecticut, an orphan (both parents having died in the West Indies), by whom he had two sons: George Osborne, and John Augustus RUSSELL. During Mr. RUSSEL's first absence, in China, his young wife died suddenly at the early age of twenty-three, leaving his two little children in charge of his sister, Frances. After having completed the five years' engagement with the Providence house, Mr. RUSSELL returned from Canton for a brief stay, during which time he married Francis A., the sister of his first wife, and again returned to the East. George and John, his sons, did not inherit strong constitutions, and although sent to Europe for travel and treatment, and living much in the West Indies, neither of them attained far beyond the age of early manhood. George Osborne, the eldest, married Amelia C., daughter of Thomas MATHER, and left two sons: Samuel and Greg Osborne. John A. married Helena E. WEBSTER, of Cuba, and left one son, Frank W., who died while a youth.
Mr. RUSSELL had one son by his second wife, Samuel Wadsworth RUSSELL, who married Clara A. CASEY, daughter of Dr. William CASEY, of Middletown, by whom he had three children: William Wadsworth, Mary Alice, and Cornelia Augusta. This third son of Mr. RUSSELL was much younger than his half brothers, and survived his father some year, but died at the early age of 31.
Samuel RUSSELL, son of George Osborne, and grandson of Samuel RUSSELL, the East India merchant, lost his father when but three years of age, and was brought up by his grandfather. He represents the family in Middletown, and is in possession of the fine old residence, built by his grandfather, and maintains with pride the characteristics of the old mansion.
He married for his first wife, Lucy MCDONOUGH, second daughter of Hon. Henry G. HUBBARD, and granddaughter of Commodore MCDONOUGH, by whom he has three children: Samuel, Thomas McDonough, and Lucy Hubbard. He married, for his second wife, Sarah Chaplin CLARK, daughter of John CLARK jr., and Caroline Madison PICKERING, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, by whom he had one daughter, Helen Pickering. Mr. RUSSELL has been, for some years, the vice-president and director of the RUSSELL Manufacturing Company, and also hold several directorships elsewhere.
Edward Augustus RUSSELL was born in Middletown, Connecticut, on the 16th day of June 1797. He was the second son of John RUSSELL and Abigal WARNER, his wife, and was born in the old family homestead, which had been owned and occupied by four generations before him, among whom were the Rev. Noadiah RUSSELL, and the Rev. William RUSSELL, who were consecutively together pastors of the North Congregational Church in this city for seventy-three years-from 1688 to 1761.
At an early age he was apprenticed to Mr. Samuel WETMORE, merchant, with whom he remained as long as Mr. W. continued in business in Middletown. Mr. RUSSELL then went to Providence, R. I., as clerk to Edward CARRINGTON & Co., in the East India trade.
On the 12th of September 1820, he married Miss Elizabeth Brown HALL, daughter of William Clark HALL, a native of Boston, but more recently of Middletown, and moved to Petersburg, Va., where he was engaged in business for about two years, when he returned North to enter the office of Mr. George DOUGLAS in New York. He has not been there long, however, when offers of strong inducement caused him to sever his connections with Mr. DOUGLAS and to seek a home from which he then supposed he might not return for many years. In the spring of 1825, he sailed from New York for China, to take part in the house of RUSSELL & Co., in Canton, which had been formed the year before by his elder brother, Samuel, in partnership with Mr. Philip AMIDON, of New York. He was, however, within two years from the time of his arrival there, stricken down with that dread scourge of the East-liver complaint-and after a long and protracted illness was obliged to return to his native country.
Again entering the office, in New York, of Mr. DOUGLAS-this time as partner-he continued for some years, and until this connection was severed by his being called to the presidency of the Royal Insurance Company in that city, which position he held until he retired from active business, and returned to Middletown in 1838.
During the remainder of his life, he was interested in the affairs of his native town, and held many trusts outside as well as at home. He was mayor of the city form May 1857 to January 1861, was representative to the Legislature, delegate to National Convention, president of the Charles River Railroad, as well as director in other roads, and was also interested in the development of the manufacture of silk in the State of Massachusetts.
By his marriage he had seven children, three of whom, with one grandson, now occupy the old homestead.
He died in Middletown, April 4th 1874, on the same spot where he was born, and which has now been owned and occupied by seven generations of the same family.
ABRAM M. SHEW, M. D.
When it is considered that one out of every 300 inhabitants of this country is hopelessly insane, it becomes a matter of the deepest importance to every citizen to know what means are provided for the care of these poor unfortunates, and to learn something of the character of the individual who is intrusted with their care and protection. Most of the people of Middlesex county are somewhat familiar with the condition and general management of the State Hospital for the Insane (located at Middletown), either from personal observation or from published reports; but of that great motive power and creative genius that moves, guides, controls, and regulates that ponderous piece of human machinery, made up of hundreds of helpless human beings, they know but little.
To manage successfully such an institution requires the genius, the sagacity, the wisdom, the tact, and the iron will of a Napoleon, combined with the gentleness, the thoroughly sympathetic nature, and tenderness of feeling peculiar to the weaker sex.
To what extend the present incumbent fulfills these requirements must be determined by his eighteen years' experience as manager of that institution.
Abram M. SHEW, M. D., the subject referred to, was born in LeRay, Jefferson county, New York, on the 18th of September 1841. He was the youngest child of Godfrey J. SHEW and Betsey, daughter of Abram BEECHER, of Kent, Connecticut.
At the age of 11, he removed with his parents to Watertown, New York, where he received his academic education at the Jefferson County Institute. He had intended to enter Union College, Schenectady, but the breaking out of the war, in 1861, aroused in him the spirit of patriotism, and caused him to forego his cherished plans. He had already spent one year in preparatory studies; he therefore decided to enter at once upon collegiate preparation for medical duty. He entered Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, where he was enrolled among the pupils of Professor W. H. PANCOAST. He received great encouragement and aid from the late Professor DAUGLISON.
In 1862, Dr. BATES, who was then Inspector of Prisons, offered to Dr. SHEW the office of assistant physician of the New York Asylum for Insane Convicts, at Auburn. On the expiration of his services at Auburn, he returned to Philadelphia, prosecuted his studies with diligence, and graduated with honor.
Immediately after the receipt of his diploma, Dr. SHEW presented himself before the army examining board, and was appointed assistant surgeon of the United States Volunteers. Three days later he was ordered to report to the medical director of the Department of the South, and was by him assigned to duty as post surgeon and health officer at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Six months after this he was ordered to Beaufort to assume the charge of the post hospital. This position he held till the close of the war.
On his return to Philadelphia he was appointed one of the resident physicians of the Philadelphia (Blockley) Hospital. While there his early interest in mental disorders was re-awakened, and led to the decision to make mental pathology the specialty of his professional life. In the spring of 1866, he received the appointment of assistant to Dr. BUTTOLPH, superintendent of the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Trenton. In that relation he gave special attention to plans of hospital buildings and methods of construction, and the best modes of providing for the wants of different classes of patents. The results of his studies were then embodied in plans for an ideal hospital, which attracted the notice of specialists, and were finally adopted by the board of trustees of the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane.
In September 1866, Dr. SHEW was appointed to superintend the construction and organization of this institution, and entered upon the performance of his functions on the 15th of the following month.
On the 27th of January 1869, Dr. SHEW married Elizabeth Collins PALMER, eldest daughter of Hon. Lewis PALMER, of Watertown, N. Y. Her death occurred on the 19th of January 1874. On the 12th of June 1878, he married Clara, only daughter of S. L. BRADLEY, of Auburn, N. Y. She died on the 22d of September 1879.
Two children were the issue of his first marriage, viz: Lewis Palmer, born February 26th 1870; Alma Elizabeth, born December 27th 1873.
William WILCOX comes from the old hardy stock of pioneers who were the original proprietors of the plantation at Hammonassett, subsequently called Kenilworth and finally Killingworth. In October 1663, the General Court of Connecticut resolved that there should be a plantation at Hammonassett. Joseph WILCOX the progenitor of William WILCOX, was one of the 27 proprietors who established their claim under this act. The first marriage and birth recorded in the town are as follows:
"John MEIGS and Sarah WILCOX were married the 7th day of March 1665."
"Hannah, the daughter of Joseph WILCOX, was born the 19th day of January 1665."
There is no family name more thoroughly identified with the history of Killingworth than that of WILCOX. From 1790 to 1805, Joseph WILCOX, Joseph WILCOX 2d, and Nathan WILCOX represented their town in the State Legislature.
Thomas C. WILCOX, the father of William, was born in Killingworth and followed the occupation of his ancestors, viz., farming. About 1815, he married Eunice, daughter of Jonathan SMITH, of Haddam, by whom he had ten children: Philander S., Thomas C., William, Jonathan E., Carlos, Samuel B., Charles W., Saphronia, Eunice J., and Rebecca M.; all except the first son and daughter are now living.
William, the subject of this sketch, was born in Killingworth, October 10th 1819. His childhood was spent like that of most boys of the period, working on the farm during the summer and attending the district school in the winter. At the age of 18 he left home and came to Middletown and entered the gun manufactory of SMITH & COOLEY, successors of the JOHNSONS, where he remained for three or four years. Under the then existing laws, the father was entitled to the services of his children until they became of age, and William paid his father $130 out of his hard earning for the three years time. In January 1842, he commenced the manufacture of locks with William H. LEWIS, and continued for about two years. In 1845, he removed to Zoar, the present location, and formed a copartnership with Lot D. VANSANDS for the manufacture of locks, principally plate or stock locks for the Southern trade. He subsequently commenced the manufacture of padlocks. For forty years he has continued in the same place. His uniform success in business indicates good judgment, honesty, and fair dealing, and those who know him best speak in the highest terms of his social qualities as well as of his business qualifications. Mr. WILCOX in his matter is modest and retiring, avoiding all means that would tend to draw him into public life. He has been for a number of years a member of St. John's Lodge, F. & A. M., and was at one time junior warden; but declined further advancement to which he was justly entitled.
On the 27th of August 1847, he married Sarah G., daughter of Horace Edwards, of Middletown. She died on the 4th of June 1883, leaving no children. Mr. WILCOX occupies a large and beautiful residence on South Main street, where he has surrounded himself with all that can conduce to his comfort and happiness.
The grandmother of Mr. WILCOX, who was a VENTRES from Haddam, lived to the extraordinary age of 106 years, lacking a few days.
NORMAN C. STILES.
The centennial celebration of the incorporation of the city of Middletown, held on the 13th of July 1884, at which time the leading industries and manufactures were represented in the procession, awakened a desire on the part of the citizens of Middletown not only to learn the history of the rise and growth of these great industries, that have contributed so much to the wealth and prosperity of the city, but to know something of the individuals connected with them.
Among the most prominent of those represented in the procession was the STILES & PARKER Press Company; and several of the other manufactories represented on that occasion, as well as some of the largest manufactories in the country, are dependent to a great extent on the goods made by this company, the founder of which was Norman C. STILES, who commenced life as a poor boy, and, by his own efforts, pushed his way from the lowest to the top round of the ladder, and succeeded in establishing one of the most important industries in the country.
Mr. STILES was born at Feeding Hills, a village of Agawam, Mass., on the 18th of June 1834. His father was an industrious farmer, a raiser of tobacco, and also engaged in the manufacture and sale of whip lashes, an important article of manufacture at that period. When Norman was but five years of age, his father lost his property, and the son was thus deprived of the educational facilities and other opportunities enjoyed by most boys his age. The inventive genius and mechanical taste were early developed in the lad, and when but ten years of age he had thoroughly investigates the "true inwardness" of a clock, by taking it apart and putting it together again, leaving it in good running order. When he was but 12 years of age he built an ell to his father's house, doing all the work alone, including the painting. He constructed various other devices about this time, displaying remarkable mechanical ability as well as inventive genius. He made a miniature steam engine and fire engine, and constructed a violin.
At the age of 16, he removed to Meriden, and engaged with his brother in the manufacture of tin ware; but this gave him no opportunity to develop his mechanical tastes, and he soon after became connected with the American Machine Works, at Springfield, Massachusetts, where he remained until he was of age. He subsequently engaged himself to a Mr. OSGOOD, who was a contractor for the Holyoke Machine Company. He soon after returned to Meriden, Connecticut, and entered the employ of SNOW, BROOKS & Company, now known as PARKER Brothers & Company. He was employed in making dies, and other small work requiring great skill and ingenuity. This experience proved of great value to him. He subsequently entered the employ of Edward MILLER & Company, Meriden, where he remained until 1857, when he concluded to "paddle his own canoe." He at first hired bench room of B. S. STEDMAN, and soon after bought out the stock and tools of his landlord. In 1860, he invented a toe and instep stretcher, which proved quite a success. In 1862, his factory was destroyed by fire, involving a heavy loss. He soon started again, taking in, as special partner, Alden CLARK, who soon after retired in favor of George CLARK, a nephew. In 1867, the partnership was dissolved. The business having increased to such an extent as to require additional facilities, Mr. STILES removed to Middletown, where he has since remained. Previous to this, he made several improvements in his stamping press, among others an eccentric adjustment, which was a great improvement on other punching presses then in use, and far superior to what was known as the Fowler press. This device he patented in 1864. PARKER Brothers, of Meriden, who were engaged in manufacturing the Fowler press, adopted Mr. STILES' eccentric adjustment, which involved a long and expensive litigation, resulting finally in a compromise and the organization of the STILES & PARKER Press Company, in which Mr. STILES held a controlling interest. His pluck and perseverance were finally rewarded with success, and he has built up a large and extensive business, involving the necessity of opening a branch factory and office in New York city.
In 1873, he attended the Vienna Exposition, through which means he obtained a foreign market for his goods. The presses are now in use in the armories and navy yards of the United States, as well as those of Germany, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, Turkey, Egypt, and Mexico. Among the various classes of manufacturers using these presses, may be mentioned the manufacturers of fire arms, agricultural implements, builders' hardware, locks, brass goods, clocks, sewing machines, and their attachments, tin ware, silver-plated and Britannia ware, pocket cutlery, etc.: and in fact nearly every class of metal workers are compelled to use these goods.
During his residence abroad, Mr. STILES became prominently connected with the manager of the Vienna Exposition, and was nominated as one of the Advisory Committee, but his position as exhibitor precluded his acceptance. He was a member of the Advisory Committee at the Centennial exposition held at Philadelphia in 1876. He is one of seven directors of the United States Patent Association, which includes examiners of the Patent Office, solicitors of patents, and inventors.
He has interested himself to some extent in the public affairs of Middletown, and served two years as a member of the Board of Aldermen. He is a member of Cyrene Commandery, Knight Templars, and is also a member of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity.
On the 23d of March 1864, he married Sarah M., daughter of Henry SMITH, of Middletown, by whom he has had three children, Viz.: Henry R., Edmund E., and Millie B.
FRANCIS D. EDGERTON, M. D.
Francis D. EDGERTON was born in East Hampton on the 26th of August 1838. His early education was at the public and select schools of his native town. Early in life he evinced a taste for the profession his father had for so many years successfully followed, and was afforded for so many years successfully followed, and was afforded every opportunity to acquire a thorough education. At the age of 13 he entered the preparatory school at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, where he remained for two years. He then went to East Greenwich, Rhode Island, where, in 1857, he delivered the salutatory address before the graduating class at the anniversary exercises.
In 1857, he entered Wesleyan University and graduated in 1861. He subsequently studied medicine with his father, and in 1862 attended a course of lectures at Berkshire (Massachusetts) Medical college. In 1863, he attended a course of medical lectures at the University of Vermont, receiving from that institution his diploma of M. D. Soon after this he passed an examination for assistant surgeon of the 21st Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, and received his commission, but was prevented by circumstances from entering the service. In 1863 and 1864, he attended a course of lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, connected with Columbia College, New York, where he graduated in 1864, and received a second diploma. In April of the same year he passed a competitive examination, under the Commissioners of Charities and Corrections, and spent 18 months in Bellevue Hospital and six months in the hospitals on Blackwell's Island.
On the 6th of July 1866, he came to Middletown and commenced practice as the successor of Dr. John Ellis BLAKE.
He was secretary and treasurer of the Middlesex County Medical Society from 1873 to 1877; was treasurer of the Connecticut Medical Society from 1876 to 1882; and has been the attending physician at the State Industrial School from the date of its organization.
As a representative of the State Medical Society, he delivered the annual address before the graduating class of Yale Medical School, in 1878.
In 1868, he married Amelia Dupont, who was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, daughter of the late Henry C. CRUGER.
To Dr. EDGERTON and his wife were born three children: Henry Cruger, born May 21st 1870; Francis Cruger, born July 11th 1873; and John Warren, born February 20th 1875.