HENRY JOSEPH DAY – Taking into full consideration the varied and incessant activities of his long and useful life, it would not be an easy task to discover an experience similar to that of Mr. Day who at his Montague home, in his advancing age is remarkably well preserved, and still a man of business activity. Soldier of the Civil War, and participant in many of its leading battles, veteran in the tanning industry in this part of the State, practical farmer, dairyman and store-keeper, he possesses exemplary characteristics of physical endurance and perseverance, while his keen mentality continues to be an unfailing asset to his later days. A citizen of worth and honor, he shares the industrious heritage of a rugged ancestry. The following constitutes the leadership of the three generations of the branch name in this country.
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(I) Michael Day, who was born in England, came to America in the English army, and died of camp fever in the War of 1812. He married Salisbury, and they were the parents of 1. Joseph, of whom further. 2. Ellen.
(II) Joseph Day was born in Claverack, near Hudson, New York State, in 1809, and it was a prideful statement of his that he was born in the same year with President Abraham Lincoln. He died in Montague in 1895. Mr. Day went to Connecticut in his early years, and residing at Lyme, he grew up in that district, and went thence on whaling voyages to the Indian Ocean. He went to Montague in 1840, and remained in that town to the time of his death. He was employed in boating up and down the Connecticut River until the advent of the railroads; he was well known, too, as a pedestrian, and when engaged in boating upon the river, he remained behind to perform other work after having loaded the boats, when he proceeded to walk to Hartford, Connecticut, a distance of sixty-five miles. He had also been a farmer, and was a hard-working industrious man.
Mr. Day had not held any political office, though his interest in all civic matters was thorough. He was a Republican in political adherence. He married Hannah Heflin, who was born in 1821, and died in 1900, a daughter of James and Mary (Shepard) Heflin. Their children: 1. Mary. 2. Henry J., of whom further. 3. James, who died in Andersonville Prison during the Civil War. 4. Charles, who lives in Hartford, Connecticut. 5. George, who lives in South Manchester, Connecticut. 6. Hattie, who married Heman Heflin.
(III) Henry Joseph Day was born at Montague, January 8, 1843, and after receiving his preliminary education at the public schools of his birthplace, he took the course at Deerfield. Academy, at Deerfield, walking to and from the Academy and his home daily, in 1860 and 1861, at the time when V. M. Howard was principal of the institution. He completed his academical work at the age of eighteen years, and enlisted for the Union in the Civil War, August 18, 1862, in Company F, 52d Massachusetts Regiment, under General Banks in Louisiana and at Port Hudson, and was mustered out of the service August 13, 1863. He was at the battle of Baton Rouge, and at the taking of Port Hudson was largely engaged in skirmish duty with his company. Just before the war, he had been employed at the tannery for awhile, and he returned to that employ after the War, having charge of a stationary engine, and becoming apprenticed to the tanners’ trade. He had previously had charge of an engine at Greenfield, and later worked at the tanning vats four years. In 1868, Mr. Day began his farming activities, and for fifty-two years carried on those interests, retiring in 1920. Starting with a farm of some seventy acres, he continued to add thereto until eventually he was the owner of more than three hundred acres of tillage and woodland. He originally raised tobacco, but he sold milk in Montague for a half century, and he furnished the colony at Lake Pleasant with milk when that resort was first started. Having worked continuously upon his farm from his twenty-fifth to his seventy-eighth year, he sold his farm in 1920. Having been eminently successful, he is one of the largest tax-payers in Montague, having recently purchased a store in the village. Among the fifteen buildings he has constructed, are a garage and a blacksmith shop; and he states that as part of the unlooked-for round of his experience he has had to combat three fires upon his property. He has spent winters both in Florida and at Lynn, and has had the pleasure of motoring with his family over the Mohawk Trail and Jacob’s Ladder, a ride of one hundred and sixty-five miles. He was road commissioner at Montague for two years. His fraternal affiliations are those of Bay State Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, at Montague, of which he has been a member fifty-one years. When sixteen years of age, he joined the Sons of Temperance, and later, the International Order of Good Templars. He is a member of Armstrong Post, Grand Army of the Republic, and has served as its secretary; and he has attended the reunions of his regiment in Washington, District of Columbia; at Saratoga, New York; -at Portland, Maine; and at Boston. He is a generous supporter of the work of the church.
Mr. Day married (first) Grace Collins; (second), October 12, 1907, Abbie C. Homan, of Marblehead. There is one child by the second marriage, Helen Louise, born February 6, 1914.