Genealogical and Family History
of the

Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.

New York

[Please see Index page for full citation.]

[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]

[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]


The coat-of-arms of this ancient and distinguished family presents "two hands holding a battle-axe," indicative of strength, and valor in deeds of arms, but not necessarily warlike propensities of ferocity. The surname Tolman originally was le Tolles, signifying that he who bore the name was collector of the king's tool or tax. Afterward it assumed its present form, although the exact date when the chnage was made is not know. Tradition has it that this family is of German origin and that its ancestors settled in England at some very early period. So far as is known the name first appears in English records in a reference to Sir Thomas Tolman, almoner to Egbert I, kind of the United Saxons, A. D. 825. There also was a Sir Thomas Tolman, commander of a regiment of Saxons in Great Britain; and this earnest patriotism which is thus found in these and other early members of the Tolman family has been wonderfully preserved throughout the long generations of centuries in the mother country and by them transmitted to those who have borne the name on this side of the Atlantic ocean. One of them writes somewhat enthusiastically, and with truth: "In our Tolman records this strong flower of loyalty has ever grown more sturdily by transplanting."
The first and very early records of the Tolmans in Maine inform us that they had sought out no nooks as far as possible removed from where their country might need their services; but that they were located where the faintest calls for help might be at once responded to.
Samuel Tolman and Mary his wife were of "the Kennebeck river, near Fort Western, so called." The patriotism of the New Hampshire branch of the Tolman family is well set forth in the records that follow. Other states give their testimony to the strong worth of this family. Some of these families have also borne evidence through many generations of a true poetic cast of mind, which, while not giving gems to literature, has made the homes of the people more tasteful, with gardens of beauty about them, and a liking for literary refinements which life in forests could not quench. These people read with commendable pride of Hendrick Carl Caroluszoon, of whom it has been truly written, "he is perhaps the most generally popular of all the Dutch poets of the nineteenth century." "Here is our name in another old form," many a Tolman has said. There is also a decided musical talent running through the family, and one of the members of the older generations, with others, was instrumental in organizing the first musical society of Boston.

(I) Benjamin Tolman was born in the town of Troy, New Hampshire, which town then bore the name of Monadnock. He was one of the earliest and bravest of revolutionary soldiers and took part in the battles of Bunker Hill, Bennington, Stillwater, Saratoga and in other decisive engagements. He was a very industrious farmer, and all his life aside from his army service was spent in Mondanock. Before the revolution he had taken part in the French and Indian wars, so that he well carried out the brave and patriotic spirit of his ancestors in lands beyond the seas. It is said of him that when he had become very old and his mind was somewhat enfeebled that he would march briskly away over the hills when the thought that his country had need of him to come to him; and when he was found and brought back he would cling to his old flintlock gun and beg of his friends to let him march under Stark once more.

(II) Henry, son of Benjamin Tolman, the revolutionary soldier and patriot, was born in Monadnock, Troy, New Hampshire, and was the second son in a family of fourteen children. Although he devoted some time to profitable work on a N. H. farm, he was a potter by trade and made that occupation a flourishing business. He was a man of great patriotism and much enthusiasm in giving help in all which pertained to the welfare of his native town and its people; and he held all of the town offices and discharged their duties faithfully and to the satisfaction of his fellow townsmen.
The latter part of his life was spent in Sterling, Mass., and he died there March 6, 1851.
In 1805 he married Mary Harris, of Fitzwilliam, N. H., who died in Sterling Aug. 5, 1857.
Charles M., (born Richmond, N. H. 1807), Nancy, Henry Jr., Elisha, Daniel, Mary, Jacob, James, Philander, Sarah, A. Malvina (born Troy, May 11, 1828.)

(III) Philander, son and ninth child of Henry and Mary (Harris) Tolman, was born in Troy, N. H. June 13, 1819, died Aug. 30, 1897. He was given a good early education in the public schools in his native town and afterward was a student at Wilbraham Academy, Wilbraham, Mass. When only a boy he worked industriously in his fahter's pottery, and when seventeen years old was captain of a military organization known as the Washington Artillery Company. At seventeen he began an apprenticeship in the works of the Washburne Wire Company, at Worcester, Mass., lived there several years, and in 1848 went to Harrison, Maine, and became a partner in a mercantile business under the firm name of Farley & Tolman. After five years he purchased his partner's interest and became sole propritor, and from 1857 to 1877 he was senior member of the firm of P. Tolman & Co. In the year last mentioned his partner died and soon afterward Mr. Tolman left mercantile pursuits and became interested in the manufacture of brick. He was a capable, straightforward and successful business man, a strong Republican and one of the most influential men of that party in the region, and for many years an earnest and consistent worker in promoting the usefulness and influence of the church of which he was a member. He represented the towns of Bridgeton and Harrison in the lower house of the state legislature in 1860, and in 1878-79 he occupied a seat in the state senate. For ninteen years he was the efficient treasurer of the board of trustees of Bridgeton Academy and was unanimously elected for a twentieth term, but declined to serve because of his advanced years.
In 1837 Mr. Tolman became a member of the Baptist church in Worcester and ever afterward to the day of his death was earnestly devoted to the work of the church; and he carried his religion into his everyday life, walked orderly and honestly, held fast to that which he believed to be right, was just and temperate in all things. On one occasion when one of his sons left home to be absent for some time, the parting was accompanied with this paternal admonition: "Be sure and come home and see us as often as you can, but be careful to come home on Saturday and stay until Monday, or as much longer as you can; but you know that I cannot look favorably on any kind of visiting done on the Sabbath."
Mr. Tolman helped to organize the first musical society of Worcester, Mass.
Mr. Tolman married Laura, born 1819, daughter of James Kelton, of Warwick, Mass.
1. Frank W., born 1842-43; graduated from Colby College; entered the ministry; married Harriet Morton, and their daughter, Annie Laura, is a violincellist of some note and organizer of the Tolmanina Trio of Boston; she spent much time in Europe, and was the pupil of Professor Julius Klengel, of Leipsic, Alwyn Schroeder and Leo Schulz; she has appeared in more than eight hundred concerts and recitals since 1890, when she made her Boston debut; she is technically proficient, and her musical instincts, and her excellent training made her an interpreter of vastly more than ordinary limitations. Frank W. died in July, 1877.
2. George, died young.
3. Georgianna, died young.
4. Theodore M., born 1847, married Augusta Hazelton; lives in Portland, Maine.
5. Charles E., born 1849, lives in Paris, Maine; he was a fine singer and music teacher; married Martha Richardson, and their son, Carl Jean, a graduate from New England University of Music in Boston, is a fine piano teacher, and taught in a southern musical college last year.
6. Emma F., born 1851, married Professor Albert F. Richardson, principal of State Normal school at Castine, Maine.
7. James Henry, see forward.
8. Anna M., born 1856, married Walter S. Dudley, of Harrison, Maine.

(IV) James Henry, son of Philander and Laura (Kelton) Tolman, was born in Harrison, Maine, Oct. 22, 1853, and lives now in the city of Westbrook. His earlier education was received in the public schools of Harrison, the Bridgeton Academy and Hebron Academy, from the latter of which he graduated in 1876. After leaving school he took up the study of law in the office of and under the direction of Hon. Caleb A. Chaplin, whose daughter he afterward married, and in 1879 was admitted to practice in the courts of this state. He began his professional career in Casco in 1880, remained there until 1886, when he was elected county commissioner for Cumberland county and removed to Portland, although he maintained his legal residence in Casco until 1891. In the year last mentioned Mr. Tolman removed to Westbrook, and in Dec., 1893, just previous to the expiration of his term of office as county commissioner, he was appointed judge of the municipal court of the city of Westbrook, which office he still (1908) holds. For many years Mr. Tolman has been an active figure in the political history of Cumberland county and during all of that time has held a prominent place in the councils of the Republican party, and it is no idle compliment to say of him that for years he has been looked upon as a perfectly straight and reliable man, whether as a lawyer at the bar, or as public official, or as a citizen in the private walks of life. Many years ago, while living in Harrison, he held and most acceptably filled the office of school agent of that town, and in 1882 he was elected town clerk of Casco. For several years he was city solicitor of Westbrook, and for more than four years he has been a member of the board of trade of that city.
He is a member of the Sons of Temperance, a charter member of the Order of United American Mechanics, and is a Master Mason.
In 1877 Mr. Tolman married Ella E., daughter of Caleb A. and Abigial M. (Chaplin) Chaplin.
1. Ella M., born Oct. 20, 1877, a teacher in the Portland high school.
2. George E., born July 17, 1880, a graduate of Colby College, and also of the electrical engineering course of the Mass. Institute of Technology.
3. Abbie Laura, born Sept. 27, 1883, a student of music.

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