Collection: Biography and Genealogy of Western Massachusetts

Biography of Charles S. Browning

CHARLES S. BROWNING-A successful druggist of Ludlow for nearly a half century, Charles S. Browning is also treasurer of that town and one of its prominent citizens. He is a banker, and active in all important public affairs. Charles S. Browning was born in Chicopee, July 7, 1854 the son of John C. and Joanna (Peck) Browning, both natives of Colerain, Franklin County, Massachusetts. Charles S. Browning was educated in the public schools of Chicopee. When he was sixteen years old he entered the employ of his brothers, A. W. and L. C. Browning, druggists, at Windsor Locks, Hartford County, Connecticut, where he remained two years. For another two years he was employed as a druggist in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and in October, 1880, he purchased an interest of C. F. Grosvenor, forming a partnership, and they conducted a drug store in Ludlow. They operated this store together with success for about ten months and then Mr. Browning bought out his partner. He has since continued as proprietor and operator of the Browning drug store and is now accounted one of the successful pharmacists in Hampden County, having been in business forty-five years in all. Mr. Browning is a trustee in the Ludlow Savings Bank. He was town auditor for three years and in 1905 he was elected town treasurer of Ludlow and has held this position since, a period...

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Biography of John W. Simons

JOHN W. SIMONS, treasurer of the investment house of William C. Simons, Inc., of Springfield, Massachusetts, is well known in the business and social spheres of Springfield. He is the son of William C. and Mary E. (Gunn) Simons, the father the president and senior member of the afore-mentioned concern. (See Simons, William C. biography.) John W. Simons was born in Springfield, in June, 1886. His education was received in the public schools of Springfield, in Groton School, from which he graduated in 1905, and in Harvard University, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in the class of 1909. Immediately after leaving college he entered the security department of Stone & Webster, in Boston, holding this position for about two years. He then became associated with his father as Springfield correspondent and representative of Lee, Higginson & Company, Bankers and Brokers, of Boston. Although maintaining connections with the Boston firm, the Springfield business has always been a private enterprise, owing its substantial growth and prosperity to the initiative and sound business judgment of its local officials, and in 1921 it was incorporated under the name of William C. Simons, Inc., the elder Mr. Simons becoming president and his son treasurer of the reorganized concern. During the World War Mr. Simons interrupted his business career to enlist in the Ordnance Department of the United States Army. He...

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Biographical Sketch of William C. Simons

WILLIAM C. SIMONS, pioneer investment broker of Springfield, Massachusetts, and for the past forty or fifty years intimately associated with the business life of the city, is well known in Springfield, where his reputation both as a man of business integrity and a public-spirited, progressive citizen is of the highest order. He is the son of Cicero Simons, of Springfield. William C. Simons was born at Springfield on September 5, 1849 He received his education in the public schools and Williston Academy, Easthampton. His first position was with the Dean Steam Pump Company, of Holyoke, Massachusetts, but after a few years spent in the employ of this concern, he launched out in business for himself as the first broker in Springfield. Since then he has had a long and honorable business career in this field, in which he is still engaged, the firm now being conducted under the name of William C. Simons, Inc., of which Mr. Simons is president, and his son, John W. Simons, treasurer. Mr. Simons served for a number of years as a member of the Springfield School Board, and has otherwise been active in local affairs. He is a member of the Nayasset Club, the Colony Club, and the Springfield Country Club. By religious conviction he is an Episcopalian, and serves as senior warden in the Springfield Episcopal Church. Mr. Simons married Mary E....

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Biography of Gracia Maria Peirce

GRACIA MARIA PEIRCE-The Peirce family, at least that branch of it which has been indigenous to New England soil for nearly three centuries, is believed to have descended from John Pers, who came from Norwich, Norfolk County, England, to New England in 1637, being accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth and their four children. They made the voyage either on the “John and Dorothy” of Norwich or the “Rose” of Yarmouth. A register of certain emigrants to New England has the following item: “April the 8th, 1637. The examination of John Pers, of Norwich, weaver, aged 49 years, and his wife, Elizabeth, aged thirty-six years, and four children-John, Barbre, Elizabeth and Judith, and one servant, John Gedney, aged 19 years, are desirous to passe to Boston, New England, to inhabitt.” This John Pers is identified by Bond and Savage with the John Peirce, of Watertown, Massachusetts, who was a weaver and appears to have arrived in America in 1637, and whose wife was Elizabeth, and had children John,. Elizabeth and Judith. If this identification is thus established some of his children must have preceded him to New England, and the four named above were probably the youngest of the family. Elizabeth, without doubt, was ten years older than she here is represented. She is said in the county records to have been “aged about 79” at the time of her...

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Biographical Sketch of William P. Hayes

WILLIAM P. HAYES, practicing lawyer in Springfield, Massachusetts, was born in Springfield March 27, 1866, the son of John and Margaret A. (Hayes) Hayes. He was educated in Springfield, attending the primary, grammar and high schools. He was graduated from Boston University Law School in 1889 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, magna cum laude. In 1890 he engaged in the practice of law for himself, and never has had a partner in business in the thirty-five years which have followed, since he opened an office in Springfield in July of that year. His recognition was immediate, and success came at an early day. He was a member of the Springfield Common Council in 1893 and 1894; was mayor of Springfield in 1900 and 1901; was a State Senator in the Massachusetts Legislature in 1907; district delegate to the Democratic National Convention held at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904, and delegate-at-large to the Democratic National Convention held at Baltimore in 1912, representing the State-at-large, as one of its “Big Eight.” Mr. Hayes attends the Holy Family Church in Springfield, of the Roman Catholic faith. Mr. Hayes was married, in Springfield, June 5, 1894, to Mary L. Curtis, and they are the parents of the following children: Gertrude M., William D., Anna Margaret, Ruth E. and John C., all born in Springfield. Another daughter, Marie C. (Hayes) Sampson, died...

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Biography of Albert Henry Warren Stimson

ALBERT HENRY WARREN STIMSON – After a rich experience in the business world, Albert Henry Warren Stimson, of Northampton Massachusetts, since 1909 has followed farming and become not only one of the prosperous farmers of the vicinity but a man active in community affairs and highly regarded by all his fellow citizens. He is the descendant of a very old New England family, which traces back to early Colonial days. (I) The surname Stimson is in its origin identical with Stephenson, Stevenson and Stimpson, and in its various forms is common in England and Scotland and of very ancient usage. The first members of the family of whom there is record in America are James and Naomi Stimson who werd to be found in Reading, Massachusetts, in 1638. (II) Dr. James Stimson, son of James and Naomi Stimson, was a resident of Reading. He married, in 1661, Mary Liffingwell, and they were the parents of twelve children. James Stimson was a physician. (III) Dr. James Stimson, son of Dr. James and Mary (Liffingwell) Stimson, and like his father a physician,, was born in 1669. There is proof that he moved from Lynn, Massachusetts, to Tolland County, Connecticut, prior to 1716, and on June 21, 1720, he received a grant of county land from the General Assembly. He was the first resident physician of that vicinity. He married (first) Sarah...

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Biography of James Wilson

JAMES WILSON – Representing one of the extensive woolen manufactories in the United States is James Wilson, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. As president of this organization which today is doing business under the title of James & E. H. Wilson, Inc., he is handling large responsibilities. The location of this factory is on the Housatonic River below Pontoosuc Lake, and in the early settlement of the town this same site was occupied by an iron forge. In 1856 this property was purchased by the Taconic Manufacturing Company, who built a mill and began the manufacture of union cassimeres. This business continued until 1873, when operations suspended and the factory remained idle for a number of years or until 1880. At this time it was leased and operated by James Wilson, of Pittsfield, and Michael Glennon, of Dalton, who began the manufacture of union cassimeres, employing in their plant at that time about one hundred and twenty-five hands. Mr. Glennon later retired from the firm and his successor was Arthur Horton, who was admitted to the firm in 1886, the firm name then becoming Wilson & Horton. This partnership continued until 1900, when Mr. Wilson bought out the interest of Mr. Horton, and the firm continued its operations until 1917 under the title of James & E. H. Wilson. In this year Mr. Charles H. Wilson was admitted to partnership, and...

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Biography of Edward Heath Wilson

EDWARD HEATH WILSON, business man of exceptionally high qualities, passed out of this life November 23, 1923, thus breaking the partnership in the firm James & E. H. Wilson, Inc., which had existed since 1902. At the time of his death he was holding the office of vice-president, this position now having been taken over by his nephew, Charles H. Wilson, a biography of whom appears elsewhere. Mr. Wilson was born in Pittsfield, December 9, 1846, the son of Solomon and Mary Elizabeth (Dunham) Wilson. His father, Solomon Wilson, was superintendent of I- Pomeroys’ Sons Company, woolen manufacturers, also of Pittsfield. The education of Edward H. Wilson was obtained in the public and high schools of Pittsfield, in which city he grew to manhood. At the age of eighteen he entered upon his business career by becoming an employee of the Pittsfield Woolen Company, acting in the capacity of clerk and later becoming bookkeeper. This was the mill that in 1904 was purchased by the James & E. H. Wilson Company and which is now being operated as an auxiliary to their original mill at Taconia. Mr. Wilson remained with this firm for about five years, then opportunity of a better position presenting itself, he left Pittsfield and entered the employ of Walter Brown, wool commission merchant of New York City. This was about the year 1869 and from...

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Biography of Charles P. La Riviere

CHARLES P. LA RIVIERE, city clerk of Chicopee since 1922, was born in St. Albans, Vermont, April 20, 1877, the son of Henry and Felanice (Perrins) La Riviere. His father was a machinist by trade, and was employed in the Overman Wheel Company in Chicopee and Chicopee Falls. The family moved to Chicopee when Charles P. was fourteen years old, and he was educated in the public schools of Chicopee, while he attended night school in Chicopee Falls after he had begun to work for himself. He was for three years in the draughting department of the Overman Wheel Company; then with Spaulding & Pepper, manufacturers of bicycle tires for a year and a half, and was one year and a half in the Chicopee Falls Machine Shop. He again returned to the draughting department of the Overman Wheel Company, and continued in that connection until the business was closed up, about a year and a half. His next employment was as draughtsman for the J. T. Stevens Arm and Tool Company. He also acted as accountant and did general office work. He is a trustee of the Chicopee Falls Savings Bank, and represents Ward No. 5 on the Chicopee School Board. After ten years with the Stevens Arms and Tool Company he became timekeeper for the Fisk Rubber Company, and continued for one and a half years. He...

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Biography of Thomas Sawyer, Jr.

Thomas Sawyer, Jr., son of Thomas Sawyer, was born July 2, 1649, died September 5, 1736, at Lancaster. His will bequeathed to four sons and two daughters, and twelve pounds to purchase a communion vessel for the Lancaster Church. He was the first white child born in Lancaster. His capture by the Indians forms one of the most familiar stories of the Colonial period in Massachusetts. At the time of his capture he was living in the garrison with his father’s family. Queen Anne’s War was making the lives of the colonists unsafe, especially on the frontier. Indians made frequent attacks, and massacred men, women and children. On October 1695, Thomas Sawyer, Jr., his son Elias, and John Bigelow, of Marlboro, were at work in his saw mill where they were surprised and captured by the Indians. They were taken to Canada and Bigelow and young Sawyer were turned over to the French to ransom but they kept Thomas Sawyer to put to death by torture. Sawyer proposed to the French Governor that he should build a saw mill on the Chamblay River in consideration of saving his life from the Indians and giving the three captives their freedom. The French needed the mill and were glad of the opportunity. But the Indians had to be reckoned with. They insisted on burning Thomas Sawyer at the stake. They knew...

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Biography of Thomas Sawyer

Tradition says that three brothers emigrated to America from Lincolnshire, England, sailing in a ship commanded by Captain Parker, and that their names were William, Edmund and Thomas Sawyer. They arrived in 1636, although Savage does not find William and Thomas until 1643. The fact that the Rowley records show that a tract of land was set off to Thomas Sawyer and another to Edward Sawyer in 1643, one of the boundaries of each lot being upon the ocean side, shows that the three brothers were William, Edward and Thomas, and that they came early in 1643 or just previous. Edmund came over seven years earlier and whether he was a brother of the others cannot be ascertained, but all agree that Thomas Sawyer was in Lancaster a few years after living at Rowley, and his descendants multiplied by the thousands. Thomas Sawyer was born in England in 1616 and died in 1706. The line of descent is through: (II) Thomas, Jr.; (III) William; (IV) Deacon Josiah; (V) Josiah, Jr.; (VI) Rufus; (VII) Addison; and (VIII) Eugene N. Sawyer. The biography of the first two ancestors follow. Thomas Sawyer was among the first emigrants to Lancaster. Richard Linton, Lawrence Waters and Thomas Bell had gifts of land in what was afterwards Lancaster as an inducement to settle there, Thomas Sawyer coming later. He was one of the nine persons...

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Biography of Albert Parsons

ALBERT PARSONS, expert in agriculture, cattle raiser, and dairy farmer of North Amherst, Massachusetts, was born June 1, 1883, in North Amherst, the son ‘ of Howard Albert Parsons. The family name of Parsons is derived from the Latin word persona, a mask. In early times actors wore a mask of wood to project their voices, a suggestion of the speaking-trumpet and telephone of later years. The actor came to be called after the mask he wore dramatis personae. The word had a two-fold meaning. In ecclesiastical language it was referable to a man of dignity, and bestowed upon one who had a benefice or living, who committed the cure of souls to a vicar. Thus actors and parsons derived their names from the same root. The early form, the parson’s son, or the parson’s John, was finally abbreviated to Parsons. The heraldic designs of this family were: Arms-Gules, two chevronels ermine between three eagles displayed or. Crest-An eagle’s leg erased at the thigh or, standing on a leopard’s face, gules. Among those of the family in America most conspicuous for their attainments have been the learned Theophilus Parsons, Chief Justice of Massachusetts; Andrew Parsons, Governor of Michigan; Lewis P. Parsons, Governor of Alabama; and General Lewis B. Parsons. The oldest known Parsons of record, under the herald’s visitations, was John of Cuddington, A. D. 1284. In the roll...

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Biography of Henry Joseph Day

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. (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,...

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Biography of George Edward Reed

GEORGE EDWARD REED – Laundry interests in Western Massachusetts have a most satisfactory representative in the Amherst Laundry Company, of which George Edward Reed is the president, and whose prominent place in Amherst industry he was the means of securing, through a far-sighted and successful endeavor to establish an up-to-date plant. Mr. Reed is an expert man in his calling; he has spent practically all his career in the one line of business; and he is highly regarded by his associates and by the general public. He is of Vermont parentage and ancestry, his grandfather, David Swan Reed, a farmer, having spent his entire life in that State, and who had children: Frank; Fred; Clark; and Edward D., of whom further. Edward D. Reed, father of George Edward Reed, who was born in Dummerston, Vermont, kept a hotel for some time in West Gardner, Massachusetts, but he disappeared while Mr. Reed was a small boy, and his whereabouts had not since been reported. He married Ida S. Norcross, who was born in West Dummerston, Vermont; she married (second) Lorenzo McCrillis. Edward D. and Ida S. (Norcross) Reed had one son, George Edward, of whom further. George Edward Reed was born January 10, 1880, in Brattleboro, Vermont, and with the removal , of his parents to Massachusetts, he attended the public schools in West Gardner. For awhile he was employed...

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Biography of Lieutenant Joseph Kellogg

(I) Lieutenant Joseph Kellogg was born in Great Leigh, England, April 1, 1626, and died in 1707. The immigrant ancestor of the family, he at first settled at Farmington, Connecticut, where he was living in 1651. He removed to Boston in 1675, and thence to Hadley, where he had charge of the ferry between Hadley and Northampton, and kept a tavern, and he and his sons had land grants in Hadley. He was a sergeant of militia and was in command of the Hadley troops in the famous Turners Falls Fight at the time of the King Philip War, May 18, 1676. He married (first), in England, Joanna (surname unknown), who died in Hadley September 14, 1666; he married (second) Abigail Terry, who was born in Windsor, Connecticut, September 16, 1646, daughter of Stephen Terry; and there were nine children of the first marriage, and eleven of the second. One of his sons was Nathaniel, of whom further. (II) Nathaniel Kellogg, son of Lieutenant Joseph and Abigail (Terry) Kellogg, was born October 8, 1669, in Hadley. He was a lieutenant of the militia, and one of the largest tax-payers of the town. He married, June 28, 1692, Sarah Boltwood, born in Hadley October 1, 1672, daughter of Sergeant Samuel and Sarah (Lewis) Boltwood; her father was slain by Indians at Deerfield; her mother was a daughter of William Lewis,...

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