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John Baldwin, one of the first thirty-five settlers of Norwich in 1659, Was the ancestor of that branch of the family to which the subject of this notice belongs. John Baldwin, 2nd, grandson of. John, settled in New Concord, then a part of Norwich, but incorporated into the town of Bozrah in 1775, his son Eliphalet succeeding him in the occupancy of the homestead where the father of the subject of this notice was born in 1787. Upon attaining his majority, having qualified himself for his business, Eliphalet, Jr., removed to Norwich, and was extensively engaged in the manufacture of carriages up to the time of his death, November, 1819.
The subject of this sketch was born in Norwich April 13th, 1810, attended the common schools from four to ten years of age, from ten to sixteen attending the common county district schools from three to four months each year. His father’s death occurring when the lad was nine years old, and his mother’s four years later, threw him upon his own resources. At the age of sixteen years he commenced to learn the trade of carpenter and joiner in all its branches. After serving an apprenticeship of five years, in May, 1831, he commenced business in Willimantic as a contractor and builder, for more than forty years being more .or less extensively engaged in building contracts, embracing large factories, churches and dwellings, in various parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts. He married, December, 1833, Miss Lora Ann Sessions, of Mansfield, whose death occurred October, 1864. Of their children, five in number, three are living, engaged ,in active business. In 1866 he married his second wife, Miss Ellen E. Parmele, of Guilford, who is still living.
In politics the subject of this sketch is an out and out democrat, and enjoys the confidence of his party, having three times been their candidate for state comptroller, also for senator and presidential elector. He has been a representative to the state legislature, postmaster at Willimantic, warden of its borough, a delegate to the national convention, and held various local offices from time to time. He was instrumental in establishing the Willimantic Savings Institute, holding various positions in the same. His connection with the Masonic and Odd Fellows’ organizations extends over a period of forty-five years, having held the position of grand master of the Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows of the state of Connecticut and grand representative to the Grand Lodge of the United States, being at .this time the oldest grand master in this state. For the last sixty years he has been connected with the various military organizations of this state, holding many responsible “positions therein, including the offices of captain, lieutenant-colonel and colonel, and general of the Fifth Brigade, holding the last position 1844-47. He is now an active member of the Veteran Corps of the famous Putnam Phalanx. He has always taken an active interest in the local churches and public schools, and done much to promote their progress. In brief, General Baldwin has been one of * the most active and influential factors in the growth and development of Willimantic, is a prominent citizen of the state, and is known as the staunch friend of all that is good and true in society. Just now rounding out his four score years, and still hale and hearty, he is enjoying the just fruits of an honest and honorable life, universally esteemed.