Biography of Stephen Alden Tracy
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Stephen Alden Tracy, a well-known resident of Cornish, was born here, October 31, 1833, son of Stephen and Sarah (Alden) Tracy. The family is one of the oldest in this country, and traces its descent to Lieutenant Thomas Tracy, who came from England in 1636 and settled in Connecticut. Lieutenant Tracy was son of Nathaniel and grandson of Richard Tracy, of Stanway, England. Nathaniel’s eldest brother was made a baronet by King James I. on June 29, 1611, being the thirteenth of the order created by James. The Tracy coat of arms, in the possession of the family, shows the scallop shell (indicating that some ancestor was a Crusader) between two narrow red bands, and a crest surmounted by a shell between two wings of gold, with the motto, “Memoria Pii Æterna.” The line of descent from Lieutenant Tracy is through Thomas, Jr., father of Jeremiah Tracy. Andrew, the next in descent, lived in Lisbon, Conn. He married Ruth Smith, daughter of Captain Elijah Smith, of Barnstable, Mass., and had eleven children. His son Andrew, Jr., born March 17, 1750, who died December 28, 1819, was the first to come to Cornish. This Andrew married Annie Bingham, of Windham, Conn., whose children by him were: Lemuel, Ruth, Lucy, Elias, Stephen, Anna, Andrew, and Jesse. Lemuel, born July 29, 1773, who married Phœbe Parker, had moved to Cornish with his father in 1783; and they were the first settlers of the family in this section. The Tracy homestead, which is one of the oldest houses in the town, was built in 1793. It has since been remodelled; but the solid, oaken timbers are still intact, and strong enough to last another century. Lemuel died in Claremont. Ruth, born March 30, 1775, died unmarried, October 17, 1856. Lucy, born November 4, 1777, died unmarried, April 20, 1824. Elias, born in Lisbon, Conn., January 22, 1780, was a cripple, and supported himself by making gloves. He died June 20, 1850. Anna, the first of the family born in Cornish, died March 1, 1830, aged forty-six years. Andrew, born January 21, 1789, died in Vermont, January 8, 1864. He was a farmer and had quite a family of children. Jesse, born March 21, 1792, died August 30, 1857. He was married and had several children.
Stephen Tracy, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born July 2, 1782, and died at Cornish, October 23, 1865. He was a cabinet-maker, and worked at his trade in Plainfield and in Connecticut. After the death of his father he returned to the homestead, and managed the farm for the remainder of his life. He was a Deacon of the Congregational church. Though interested in public affairs, he never cared for political honors and never held a town office. He first married Rebecca Tracy, of Lisbon; and she bore him three children-Virginia, Eliza, and Very Ann, all of whom are deceased. His second wife, Betsey Boardman Tracy, who came from Vermont, gave birth to five children-Rebecca, William N., Sabra S., George B., and Jonas B. Rebecca, born August 25, 1818, married Ebenezer Cole, a farmer, and had one child. She died November 16, 1893. William, born May 30, 1820, died in California, August 12, 1894. He married Harriet T. Kelley, a widow, and was a watchman in the office of the State Treasurer at Sacramento for some years. Sabra, born May 23, 1822, died February 6, 1885. She married the Rev. J. B. Ramsey, of Virginia, and was the mother of three children. George B., born March 15, 1826, a soldier in the Civil War, was wounded in the ankle at the battle of the Wilderness, and died at Washington, June 6, 1864, just a month after that. It is related of him, concerning that occasion, that he lay for twenty hours between the battle lines of the two armies, where he was almost covered with the earth ploughed up by cannon balls, and that some Southern soldiers, who held the ground for a space, took away his ammunition. He married Sarah Hibbard, of Cornish. Jonas B., born March 25, 1828, was twice married. His first wife, Ruth M. Wood Tracy, had no children. His second marriage was made with Mrs. Laura A. Stevens, of Wisconsin, who bore him three children. He is Town Treasurer of Milton, Wis., and a popular school teacher of that town. Stephen Tracy’s third marriage was contracted with Sarah Alden, a descendant in the seventh generation of John and Priscilla Alden, who came over in the “Mayflower.” Born in Lebanon, N.H., November 1, 1790, she died October 14, 1867. Her three children were: Sarah E., born October 10, 1831; Stephen Alden, the subject of this sketch; and Caroline S., born October 8, 1835. Caroline married Charles S. Cahill, a prominent cigar manufacturer of Lowell, Mass., who died in the spring of 1894.
Stephen Alden Tracy received his education in the public schools of Cornish and at Thetford Academy, Vt. After finishing school, he went West and was three years in the lumber districts of Wisconsin. He then returned to Cornish to care for his parents in their old age and to manage the farm. He has always been a prominent figure in the social and political life of the town. In 1875-76 he was a Representative to the legislature; and he was Selectman for five years, being Chairman of the Board for three years. He has also served on the School Board for some years. While in the legislature he was a member of the Committee on Insurance, and he is well informed on all matters pertaining to that subject. He attends the Baptist church of Plainfield, and is a Mason and a prominent member of the grange. Mr. Tracy has been twice married. He first married Emily E. Norris, of Cornish, who died June 19, 1862. His second marriage, which took place August 31, 1865, united him to Agnes Bailey, daughter of John and Eliza Ann Bailey, of Enfield, N.H. She has been the mother of seven children; namely, Franklin B., Emily, Evelyn A., Charles A., Ellen N., William B., and Sarah E. Franklin, born October 15, 1866, and educated at Kimball Academy, is a member of the firm of Stone, Tracy & Co., of Windsor, Vt. He married Ida Stone, daughter of Samuel N. Stone, who is a partner in the business. They have one son-Gordon S., born April 2, 1895. Emily Tracy, born September 12, 1868, who was educated at Kimball Academy, is a teacher at Gorham, this State. Evelyn A., born October 2, 1870, who was educated at Kimball Academy New London, N.H., is also a graduate of the business college at Worcester, Mass. Charles A., born November 16, 1872, is in the Senior class at Dartmouth College. Ellen N., born May 8, 1875, is a teacher of marked ability and success. William B., born October 24, 1877, who was educated at Windsor, Vt., is at home with his father and mother. Sarah E., born April 20, 1881, is a student in the high school at Windsor.