The Chaffee family have for several generations resided in the town of Mansfield, Tolland county, Conn. Frederick Chaffee, the grandfather of J. Dwight Chaffee, a prosperous farmer in that town, married Elizabeth Knowlton. Their son, Orwell S., was born in Ashford, Windham county, Conn., and for some years resided in Northampton, Mass., where he was engaged in the manufacture -of silk thread. Later he was similarly interested in Mansfield, and was a man of prominence in that locality, serving his constituents in the state legislature and filling other important offices. He married Lucinda A., daughter of Joseph Conant of Mansfield, one of the earliest silk manufacturers in that town. Their children are a daughter, Maria A., deceased, and two sons, J. Dwight and Olon S.
The eldest of these, J. Dwight Chaffee, was born August 9th, 1847, in Mansfield. He pursued a common English course at the public schools, and at the age of sixteen entered his father’s mill in Mansfield. He thoroughly learned the process of silk manufacturing, passing in succession through all the departments and becoming master of the business, the management of which gradually passed into his hands. In the year 1872, under the firm name of O. S. Chaffee & Son, the business was removed to Willimantic, where, under superior advantages of location, it greatly increased in proportions, and has enjoyed a career of much prosperity.. Two hundred hands are employed and a market for the products, consisting of silk thread and silk braid, is found in all parts of the United States through agents as direct representatives of the mills. Mr. Chaffee, as a republican, was, in 1874, elected to the state .legislature, and in 1885 was the choice of his constituents for state senator. In January, 1887, he was appointed aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor Lounsbury. He is president of the Natchaug Silk Company and director of the W. G. & A. R. Morrison Machine Company.
Mr. Chaffee was married to Martha, daughter of George B. Armstrong, of Mansfield. Their children are two sons, Arthur D. and Howard S., and a daughter, Gertie.