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Samuel Todd of North Haven CT
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Samuel Todd7, (Josiah6, Dan5, Christopher4, Samuel3, Samuel2, Christopher1) born Aug. 22, 1817, in North Haven, Conn., died Dec. 1898, in South Manchester, Conn., married first, Jan. 7, 1851, Emily, daughter of Harvey and Nancy (Johnson) Rich, of Owego, N. Y., who was born Dec. 10, 1825, died Dec. 26, 1868, in Newark Valley, N. Y. He married second, Jennie Button, who lives in South Manchester, Conn.
Samuel Todd went to Newark Valley, N. Y., with his father in 1834, and a year later, when the tannery, which was to have given employment to Samuels father, Josiah Todd, went into bankruptcy, Samuel, who was then about eighteen years of age, and very ambitious, took the brunt of the struggle to stem the tide of misfortune and hardships. In the winters he taught school, while in the summers and autumns, he worked at clearing off the big hemlocks, some of which were monsters, some of them being about 100 feet tall and four feet in diameter at the stump. After the huge trees were cut, they were rolled into large piles and burned. People of the present day would consider this method a very wasteful way to prepare land for agricultural purposes. In the spring time, they devoted their time to the manufacture of maple sugar and syrup. Samuel was the leading spirit in all this work. At last a comfortable home was provided for the family.
Not long after the family arrived at Newark Valley, N. Y., Samuel, with other members of the family, united with the Congregational Church. The society, learning that Samuel was a flute player, invited him to play in the church choir, which he did for several years, and at a later date became its leader. He taught a Sunday school class, and later became superintendent. When he was about twenty years of age, the church society offered to give him a college and theological education on condition that he become a missionary of the American Board of Foreign Missions.
In 1865, he was chosen deacon, and held the office until his return to North Haven, Conn., where he united with the church in his native town.
The church society at Newark Valley, N. Y., had, for some years previous to the arrival of the Todd family, settled a Presbyterian minister. Congregational ministers were not as numerous in New York State in those days as they are now. The town was settled mostly by people from Massachusetts and Connecticut and the church was organized strictly on Congregational principles. Rev. Marcus Ford, continued to preach as a settled pastor of this society, from his first settlement at the age of 22 until he was 70 years of age, when his health failed him. Mr. Todd, being one of the leading members of the church, thought it a wise thing to secure a congregational minister. The church at that time was connected with the Presbytery through the influence of Mr. Ford, who was a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, therefore, a Presbyterian “dyed in the wool.” The church had been so long under Presbyterian influence (nearly fifty years) that many of the members were half inclined that way, and were quite indifferent as to the Congregational plan. Through the tact and influence of Mr. Todd, a Congregational minister was secured with little opposition and has so remained to the present time with satisfactory results.
While Mr. Todd was superintendent, many new books were added to the Sunday school library, new singing books suitable for Sunday school use were obtained, and a good cabinet organ was purchased.
In those days, there was occasionally organized, independent companies of militia. Mr. Todd became a member of such a company of riflemen, passing from one grade to another until he received a Captains commission which he held about five years, at the end of which service, he was exempt from further military duty, according to a State law.
He was always very active in temperance work. When he was about twelve years of age, he became a member of the Total Abstinence Society in North Haven, Conn. After moving to Newark Valley, N. Y., he continued to do all he could to forward the temperance cause. He was instrumental in obtaining a charter for organizing a division of the order of the Sons of Temperance, and was chosen its first Worthy Patriarch. This division became very large and prosperous, and continued so for many years. He was secretary of the Union Total Abstinence Society for several years, holding the office until his return to North Haven, Conn.
He was often chosen as delegate to the meetings of the Presbytery, and later, to the Congregational Association conventions, and to the State Sabbath School conventions.
Through the influence of W. S. Lincoln a near neighbor, and later a member of Congress, at the time of the civil war, Mr. Todd was appointed as one of the watchmen in the Quartermasters department then stationed at Hagerstown, Maryland. Soon afterwards, he was transfered to Washington, D. C., where he held an office in the department from November 1863 to April 1864. He was present at the inaugural address of Abraham Lincoln’s second term, only a few weeks before his assassination, and at the reception day ceremonies, he shook the hand of the distinguished man whose wife was Mary Todd, a descendant of Robert Todd who settled in Pennsylvania.
While he was living in Washington, his first wife, Emily Rich, began to show alarming symptoms of consumption, which dread disease eventually was the cause of her death two years later.
Afterwards, while visiting relatives in his native town of North Haven, Conn., he met Miss Jennie Button, who later became his second wife. In the latter part of his life he returned to North Haven, Conn., to live.
Children by Jennie Button:
1385. Jennie, m. Oct. 15, 1913, James Caleb Bidwell.
1386. Clarence, unmarried, lives in South Manchester, Conn.
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