Three brothers of the Babcock family came from England in colonial days-probably James, Jesse and Nathaniel-and settled in Newport, Rhode Island. Nathaniel afterward located in Stonington, Connecticut, and became the progenitor of the branch of the family represented by the subject of this biography. His descendant, Nathaniel, the grandfather of William Stuart Babcock, had two sons, Jonas and Stephen, and one daughter, Mary. Jonas served under Washington in the war of the revolution, and lost his life in the battle of White Plains in 1776. Stephen, born June 15th, 1765, was thrice married. The first wife, Mercy Hinckley, left four children-Eunice, Stephen, Samuel and Henry. Elizabeth Stuart, his second wife, left one daughter, Elizabeth. By a third union, with Mercy Davis, were born children: Charles D., Nathaniel S., Mercy A., John D., Jonas L. and William S.
The youngest of this number, and the eleventh child, William Stuart, was born March 20th, 1822, in North Stonington, Connecticut. The district and select schools of the neighborhood afforded him an elementary education, after which the summers were spent in work on the farm and the winters in teaching. He had been accustomed from boyhood to labor and naturally preferred the healthful employments of a farmer to a more sedentary life. In 1865, having previously purchased a productive farm in Plainfield, he removed from Stonington to that town, where he has since been numbered among its most industrious and enterprising citizens.
Mr. Babcock possesses an inventive genius. He has secured five patents for improvements on wagons, plows and farm imple ments, that, owing to the reluctance with which new machines are adopted, have not proved remunerative. He was for some years treasurer and a director of the Robinson & Fowler Foundry Company, and is now president of the Plainfield Cemetery Association. He has given some attention to matters of a public nature, and served as selectman, member of the board of relief, justice of the peace, and representative in the Connecticut legislature. His, services are also much in demand as trustee, arbitrator, and in similar offices of trust. In religion he is liberal in his views, as in contradistinction to orthodoxy. He early joined the state militia, was at the age of nineteen made a lieutenant, and later promoted to the rank of captain.
Mr. Babcock on the 4th of October, 1859, married Miss Frances E. (born June 15th, 1840), daughter of Richard H. Main, of North Stonington, Connecticut. They have three sons and three daughters, as follows: William P., born February 5th, 1862; Nella F., July 28th, 1865; Anna E., January 16th, 1867; Stephen R., February 6th, 1870; Callia M., November 16th, 1871; and Telley E., October 22d..1876.
Mr. Babcock has always sought for light, his object being to find a reason, a fact on which to build. He has the manhood and courage to investigate and to express his honest convictions, following the light of his own investigations and the impulse of his heart, and not building his character on the opinions of others.