JOHN RICHARDSON BRONSON, M. D., who for over half a century was one of the best known practitioners of medicine in southern Massachusetts and part of Rhode Island, and who for upward of fifty years was a resident of Attleboro, was a native of Connecticut, born in the town of Middlebury, New Haven county, June 5, 1829, son of Garry and Maria (Richardson) Bronson.
The Bronson family was early planted in the New World. John Bronson (early of record as Brownson and Brunson) was early at Hartford. He is believed, though not certainly known, to have been one of the company who came in 1636 with Mr. Hooker, of whose church he was a member. He was a soldier in the Pequot battle of 1637. He is not named among the proprietors of Hartford in the land division of 1639; but is mentioned in the same year in the list of settlers, who by the “towne’s courtesie” had liberty “to fetch woods and keepe swine or cowes on the common.” His house lot was in the “soldiers’ field,” so called, in the north part of the old village of Hartford, on the “Neck Road” (supposed to have been given for service in the Pequot war), where he lived in 1640. He moved, about 1641 to Tunxis (Farmington) He was deputy from Farmington in May, 1651, and at several subsequent sessions, and the “constable of Farmington” in 1652. He was one of the seven pillars at the organization of the Farmington Church in 1652. His name is on the list of freemen of Farmington in 1669. He died Nov. 28, 1680.
Since the early settlement of Newport and Portsmouth, R. I., shortly after 1638, the Grinnells have been identified with Rhode Island and Massachusetts history, the earlier generations living largely in the towns of Newport county, R. I., and for the past hundred and more years branches of this southern Rhode Island family have been representative of the best citizenship in the old Massachusetts town of New Bedford. At New Bedford lived Capt. Cornelius Grinnell, a patriot of the Revolution, and long engaged in the merchant service, who married into the old historic Howland family, and one of whose sons, Joseph Grinnell, for almost a decade represented the New Bedford district in the United States Congress, and was long prominent as a merchant and manufacturer and banker of the town; and there lived the late Lawrence Grinnell, father of the late Frederick Grinnell, who so long was at the head of the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company and the General Eire Extinguisher Company, a man of genius in mechanical lines, whose inventions gave him distinction, and one of whose sons, Russell Grinnell, is at this time vice president of the General Fire Extinguisher Company. It is with this New Bedford branch of the Grinnell family this article deals.
DAVID E. HARDING, deceased, who for more than a half century was a leading business man and manufacturer of Mansfield, Mass., was born there May 6, 1826. He was a descendant of an old Cape Ann family, the founder of the family in America being Edward Haraden, who came from Ipswich, England, to Gloucester. The name is found variously spelled, appearing as Haraden, Hardon and Harding, etc.