HISTORY OF NEW LONDON COUNTY, CONNECTICUT,
WITH BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF MANY OF ITS PIONEERS AND PROMINENT MEN.
COMPILED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF D. HAMILTON HURD
J. W. LEWIS & CO., PHILADELPHIA, 1882
PRESS OF J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., PHILADELPHIA
[transcribed by Janece Streig]
Lodowick BILL.-The honored subject of this sketch was known in that part of the town of Groton, Conn., now known as Ledyard, Oct. 8, 1784. He remained in his native town until about the year 1805, when he removed to the town of Lyme, where the remainder of his life was passed.
He located on a pleasant elevation near the central part of the town, and as his family grew up they left the parental roof only to find homes within easy call, and at this day, and mayhap through all time, the place that he selected for his home is and will be known as "BILL Hill." Judge BILL was in personal appearance a man that we at this day would turn and gaze upon after he had passed; tall, straight, with square-cut features, and chin which denoted firmness of purpose, pleasing address, yet commanding in its very tone, notable hospitality,--these are some of the more prominent traits of his character; in fact, our recollections of him are those of admiration, amounting almost to awe, so beautifully were kindness and firmness blended.
His pre-eminent qualifications as a man of executive ability and superior judgment, untied with marked energy and uprightness of character, early won for him an enviable place in the hearts of his fellow-citizens, and he was called to occupy many positions of honor, trust, and responsibility. He was judge of probate for many years and until constitutionally disqualified by age, and it is a noteworthy fact that during the long period he held this position none of his decisions were ever reversed by the higher courts.
In the extensive and ordinary transactions of business life, such was the high since of honor and integrity which characterized his uniform dealings that he succeeded in binding to himself, as with hooks of steel, all who had intercourse with him.
By nature and culture there were developed in the character of Judge BILL that happy and observable combination of qualities which tend to lift one into prominence, and to give the world assurance of a man.
In politics he was a true and steadfast Democrat, and it was his proud boast he voted for every Democratic President from the great Jefferson down.
In religion he maintained that a divine government, like that of a republic, was instituted and ordered for the sole food of the governed, and the end of such could not fail to secure the righteous obedience of all created intelligence. In confidence that the end would be in harmony with the design and commensurate with the means put into operation, he hopefully cast in his lot with that of a common humanity, and departed this life firm in the faith that he should be gathered to the rapt embrace of his kindred and friends in the spirit's native skies.
For sixty years he lived in calm fellowship with the venerable order of Freemasons. His amiable and greatly beloved consort, who toiled with him up the hill of life, and with whom he passed by far the largest portion of his prosperous and happy years, went down the opposite declivity only a little in advance, rich in all the gathered treasures of the home and heart.
By frugality and industry he accumulated a competence, which enabled him to idle through the "Indian summer" days of his life, taking no thought for the morrow, knowing his harvest had been abundant, his granary full,--aye, and to spare. The home of Judge BILL is not noticeably different from many other dwellings of the nineteenth century: it is a square two and a half story frame house, standing very near the road, the house having been built first, simple in its construction, yet invitingly home-like in its simplicity.
No wonder that he, being a lover of domestic happiness, should select this delightful place for a home. Hearing the wind as it goes whispering through the grand old stately elms that stand by this familiar homestead, placed there when mere saplings by his hands, I am reminded of two lines by a gifted author,--
"Among the leaves the wind-harp weaves
A requiem for thee."
Judge BILL died Aug. 17, 1781, leaving three sons and two daughters. The sons, John W., Benajah P., and James A., are all residents of Lyme, and are classed among the enterprising and influential citizens and agriculturists of the county, all having represented their native town in the Legislature.