Windham County occupies the northeastern corner of the state of Connecticut, bordering Worcester county, Massachusetts, tying on the north, and Providence and Kent counties in Rhode Island on the east. New London county bounds it on the south and Tolland on the west. Its greatest length, from north to south, is twenty-seven miles, and its greatest width, from east to west, is twenty-three miles. Its north, east and south sides are nearly straight lines, while on the west side its territory interchanges offsets with Tolland. The greatest variation in the line made by these offsets, however, does not exceed six miles. This occurs on the northwest corner, where the town of Union makes an advance of about the distance mentioned. We may explain that the longest north and south line would be drawn from the northwest corner of Thompson to the southwest corner of Plainfield, and the longest east and west line would be drawn from the northwest corner of Windham to the Rhode Island line, about the middle of Sterling. Aldrich, David L Aldrich, Edward Arnold, William S Atwood, James S Atwood, William A Babcock, William Stuart Baldwin, L. E. Bartholomew, William Irving Bates, Ambrose H. Bates, Gustavus Davis Bates, Jerome E Beebe, William Sully Bishop, Ebenezer Bowen, Stephen Oliver Briggs, Lucius Buck, George Bugbee, Edwin H Carpenter, John A Chaffee, J Dwight Child, Abel Clemons, Henry N...Read More
Collection: Windham County Connecticut Biographies
Thomas J. Evans, who was born May 17th, 1826, in Brooklyn, Connecticut, is the son of Elijah Evans, and the grandson of Elisha Evans. His active career was begun at the age of seventeen, as a teacher in Killingly, where he continued for ten successive years, his last term at Dayville having closed with an interesting exhibition, the proceeds of which aided greatly in the purchase of a library and other school supplies. For five years he was engaged in the clothing business in the above village, and his capital was afterward invested in a livery stable which he successfully managed for nine years at the same point. In the year 1878 Mr. Evans erected a substantial brick block in Danielsonville, and the following year made that place his residence. His political connections were with the republican party, which he frequently represented in the various county and town offices. He was for sixteen years a member of the board of education, for five years assessor, three years town clerk, and judge of probate from 1872 to 1886. He was also warden of the borough and a member of the court of burgesses. For two years he was president of the Windham County Agricultural Society and four years its treasurer. Mr. Evans was married in 1850 to Miss Eliza Kennedy. His death occurred in...Read More
The grandparents of Mr. Hopkins were Timothy Hopkins, born in 1751, and Sarah Carver, daughter of Captain Joseph Carver. His father was Carver Hopkins, born October 26th, 1799, who married Abby K. Manchester. Their children, seven in number, were: Israel M., Florinda A., Sarah C., Abby E., Ann E., Timothy E. and Lillian P., of whom all but the eldest son are still living. Timothy Earle Hopkins was born in Burrillville, R. I., December 5th, 1835, of which place he continued a resident until 1562: His education was received in the public schools and at New Hampton, N. H., where a year was spent in study, after which he served an apprenticeship as a spindle maker in his native town. He then engaged for two years in mercantile business, and at the expiration of this time removed to Providence, where three years were spent as a merchant. In 1865 Mr. Hopkins removed to Thompson and embarked in the manufacture of cotton goods, remaining at this point until 1870, when Burrillville again became his home. Here he continued the business of a manufacturer, the product of his mills being woolen fabrics. In 1876 he suffered disaster and loss as a consequence of the severe flood of that year, and soon after removed to Fitchburg, Mass., where until 1880 he continued the manufacture of woolens. Mr. Hopkins then became a: resident...Read More
Benjamin Paine, the grandfather of Judge Almond M. Paine, was a successful farmer in Glocester, R. I. By his marriage to Phebe Aldrich were born a numerous family of children. The birth of his son, Ransom Paine, occurred December 13th, 1787, and his death on the 15th of January, 1854, in Glocester, where he followed the trade of a wheelwright, and spent the latter years of his life as a farmer. He married Phebe, daughter of Thomas Smith, of the same town, who was born June 12th, 1794, and died March 12th, 1860. Their children are: Almond M., Mary Ann, wife of James M. Adams; Emily, married to Elijah Mann; Adaline M., who died in infancy, and James A. The eldest son, and subject of this biography, was born September 15th, 1820, in Glocester, and received an academic education. At the early age of fifteen he engaged in teaching, and for nine successive years the winters found him at the teacher’s desk, while the healthful employments of the farm engaged his attention during the summer months. In 1846 he removed to Sterling, and four years later made East Killingly his home. Here he embarked in trade as a country merchant, and continued a successful business until his retirement, since which date his time has been largely devoted to the management of his private interests, and to the public service....Read More
James Westcott, the grandfather of Henry Westcott, familiarly known as the ” Captain,” was born March 5th, 1740, and married Martha Tillinghast. Their son Joseph, whose birth occurred April 9th, 1779, in Glocester, Rhode Island, married Esther Richmond of the same town. The children of this union were: Henry; Almira, wife of Jude Sabin; Elizabeth, married to James Wood; and David. Henry, the eldest son, was born April 18th, 1801, in Glocester, and in early childhood removed to East Killingly, where the primitive schools of the day afforded him a beginning for that practical education which was chiefly the growth of experience and observation. In early years a farmer, he afterward identified himself with the commercial interests of East Killingly, and was associated with Thomas Pray as a manufacturer, under the firm name of Westcott & Pray. They built the Ross mill and the Whitestone mill, conducted an extensive business, and were regarded as among the most prosperous owners of mill property in the county. Mr. Westcott’s marked ability, keen discrimination and indomitable perseverance won for him an enviable reputation in financial circles, and carried him safely through many a crisis where a less resolute man would have faltered. In his business relations he enjoyed a record for integrity and generous dealing, while his genial nature made all transactions a matter of pleasure to others. On’ disposing of his...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
The first ancestor of the Jillson family is said to have come over from Normandy with William the Conqueror in 1066. The earliest member of the family to sail for New England was William Gilson, who came from Kent county, England, and settled in Scituate, Massachusetts, in 1631. The next on the list to emigrate are Joseph and James Gilson, the latter of whom settled in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, about the year 1666. He is the progenitor of the branch of the family represented by the subject of this biography. James and his wife Mary died about 1712. Their son, Nathaniel, was born in 1675, and died in 1751. To his wife, Elizabeth, were born five children, of whom Nathaniel was the eldest. His death only is recorded as having occurred in 1782. He married first Ruth Boyce in 1728, and second Sarah, daughter of William Arnold, in 1741. He was the father of two children by the-first and seven by the second union, of whom Luke, the fourth son by the last marriage, was born in 1754 and died in 1823. He was both a farmer and mechanic, and the first person in the country to adapt and apply satinet looms to water power. He married, in Cumberland, Rhode Island, Anna, daughter of Nehemiah and Experience Sherman, and made Cumberland his residence. He .had seven children, among whom was...Read More
Son of Doctor William Witter and Emily Bingham, his wife, was born at Willimantic, Conn., November 13th, 1842, in the substantial brick house now standing at the corner of Main and Witter (now called High) streets. His ancestry, both on the father’s and the mother’s side, is given with some detail in the sketch of Doctor William Witter at pages 201203 of this volume, where it is seen that he comes from some of the best and oldest New England families, the Witter, the Waldo and the Bingham. The mother of Mr. Witter died when he was five years old and the father when he was eight, leaving the family in the care of a step-mother, who subsequently became the wife of Rev. Samuel G. Willard, the village pastor at Willimantic. For some years the subject of this sketch lived in the family of this educated, wise and good man. It was under the personal instruction and training of Mr. Willard, now recognized as one of the most admirable characters of modern Connecticut, that the early student years of Mr. Witter were spent-the years when good habits, good breeding and high aims are most readily implanted in the character. After leaving the family of Mr. Willard, he enjoyed for a time the advantages of classical study under Reverend Daniel Dorchester, a New England educator of high repute. He completed...Read More
Judge Perry’s ancestors first settled in Massachusetts, his grandfather, Daniel Perry, having removed when a young man from Rehoboth, in that state, to Woodstock, where he became the owner of a valuable farm and the breeder of choice stock, which he shipped to the West Indies. He married Judith Hunt, of Rehoboth, whose children were John, Otis, Daniel, Judith, Sally and Nancy. Otis, of this number, was a native of West Woodstock, where, with the exception of a brief period in Greenfield, he engaged in the varied pursuits of miller and farmer. He married Polly, daughter of Chester Carpenter, of the same town. Two of their children died in youth. A daughter, Mary W., first married to Chester A. Paine and now the wife of Waldo Phillips, and a son, Oliver H., are the survivors. The latter was born July 7th, 1821, in Greenfield, Mass., and removed at the age of two years, with his parents, to Woodstock. The district school and an academy at Wilbraham, Mass., afforded the opportunity for a common English education, after which he began work on the farm, and with the exception of two years spent as clerk, continued thus occupied until 1854. His father, in 1844, on retiring from active labor, gave him a deed of the homestead farm, in consideration of the filial care bestowed upon his parents in their declining years....Read More
Mr. Atwood was one of the most prominent figures in the industrial interests of Killingly. His grandparents were Kimball and Selinda Colgrove Atwood. His father was John Atwood, who married Julia A. Battey. Their son, William Allen, was born August 4th, 1833, in Williamsville, in the town of Killingly, and received more than an elementary education. First entering the Danielsonville High School, he continued his studies at the Scituate Seminary in Rhode Island, and at Wilbraham, Mass., completing his academic education at Middleboro, Mass. He early entered the Williamsville mills, then under the superintendence of his father, and having made himself familiar with their practical workings, soon bore a conspicuous part in the management of the business. The failing health of his father threw much of the responsibility upon his son, and on the death of the former in 1865, the entire direction of this important manufacturing interest was placed in his hands. Under his watchful eye the business made rapid advancement, and at the date of his death, on the 26th of June, 1881, in New York city, had attained a high degree of prosperity. Mr. Atwood was married October 4th, 1855, to Caroline A., daughter of Robert K. and Helen Brown Hargraves. Their four children are: Henry Clinton; Bradford Allen, who died in infancy; Mary Elizabeth, deceased, wife of G. W. Lynn, and William Edwin. Both the...Read More
The subject of this sketch was born in Thompson, April 26th, 1820. His father was James Bugbee, who was born at Woodstock April 11th, 1788, a descendant, through Hezekiah, James, Samuel and Joseph, from Edward Bugby, who came over in the ” Francis ” from Ipswich, England, in 1634, and settled in Roxbury, Mass. His mother was Elizabeth Dorrance, a descendant of George Dorrance, who came from the North of Ireland with that large Scotch emigration about the year 1715. He received his education in the public schools of his native town, and was early a clerk in his father’s store, devoting his leisure hours to reading and study. In 1839 he was engaged by a manufacturing firm, located at the Lyman village, North Providence, R. I., as clerk and bookkeeper. The year proving a disastrous one for cotton manufacturers, the firm felt obliged to suspend operations before its close. In the spring of 1840, operations were again resumed at the mill by its owner, Governor Lemuel H. Arnold, and Mr. Bugbee was continued as clerk. At the close of 1842 business was again suspended by the failure of Governor Arnold. The summer following, Mr. Bugbee obtained a lease of the factory property, and associating with him Mr. Henry Weaver, a practical operator, and receiving abundant financial aid from his friends, the well known firm of S. & W....Read More
Henry N. Clemons, cashier of the First National Bank of Killingly, was born in Granby, Conn., son of Allen and Catharine Clemons. He was educated in the district school, the Granby Academy, the Suffield Literary Institution and the Williston Seminary, East Hampton, Mass. He began teaching at sixteen years of age, and taught in Hartland, Granby and Hartford. Conn., and Woonsocket and Central Falls, R. I. He was for a while in the office of the commissioner of the school fund in Hartford, Conn. In 1844 he commenced railroading on the New Haven & Northampton road, with the engineer corps. He served as station agent at Farmington and Collinsville, Conn., and was assistant postmaster at the latter place; then ticket agent of the Providence & Worcester road at Providence. In 1855 he commenced banking, as clerk in the Arcade Bank, at Providence, and in 1856 became teller of the Merchants’ Bank, then the redeeming bank for Rhode Island, in the old Suffolk system. In June, 1864, he was elected cashier of the First National Bank of Killingly, Conn., then just organized, which office he now holds, after more than twenty-five years’ service, a period longer than any other cashier in eastern Connecticut. The capital of the bank is $110,000. With its July dividend, 1889, it had paid back to its stockholders $226,600 in dividends. In August, 1864, he was...Read More
John and Dacy Thayer were the grandparents of the subject of this biography. Their son John married Ruth Mowery and settled in East Douglas. The children of this marriage were: Mowery, born April 27th, 1811; Charles D., December 26th, 1813; Arrilla, August 9th, 1815. Charles D., the second son, is a native of Douglas, Massachusetts, where he enjoyed the advantages of the public schools, and afterward continued his studies at the Oxford and Uxbridge high schools. He then taught for several terms, and afterward began his business career as a clerk, first at Oxford and then at New Boston. This sedentary life, however, was not to his taste, and he resolved to make farming the vocation of his .life. He assumed charge of his father’s farm in New Boston, managed it with success during the latter’s lifetime, and on his death received a deed of the property, the elder son also enjoying a like inheritance. Mr. Thayer remained on this farm from 1838 until 1869, when his present home near New Boston was purchased. Here he has .since continued the employments of an agriculturist. His business life has been one of integrity and principle. This fact, together with experience and judgment, have rendered his services much sought as trustee and executor. He was formerly a director of the Thompson National Bank. A democrat in his. political views, he has...Read More
Oliver Morse, the father of Milton Stratton Morse, and a native of Sharon, Massachusetts, was first a carpenter, then a farmer. He married Waitstill Stratton, of Foxboro, where their son, Milton Stratton, was born, December 25th, 1799. When very young his father removed to Wrentham, Massachusetts, the scene of Milton’s earliest connection with cotton manufacturing. He began work in a small factory, his first task being that of picking cotton and placing it on the cards, which labor was continued for two years. He was then apprenticed to the blacksmith’s trade, but the terms of the contract not being complied with, he returned home at the age of thirteen, his father having removed his family to Attleboro, while he sought employment at Pawtucket. The lad remained at home about a year, engaged in braiding straw and picking cotton by hand for firms in Pawtucket. He next worked for Zeba Kent, in his mill at Seekonk and on his farm, often going to the woods with two yoke of oxen and a horse to load ship timber destined for the shipyards at Warwick, Rhode Island. Early in 1815 his father removed to a farm. in East Providence, where his son assisted him for a year, subsequently living with his uncle at Foxboro. At the end of a year he entered a cotton mill at Attleboro, and was speedily made overseer...Read More
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