Francis Bacon Trowbridge.

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majority and held the ground for nine successive years.

His record during the Civil War is an enviable one. He was a friend of the
soldiers and of the soldiers' families, always ready to respond to the constant calls
upon his ]3urse and sympathies. He tlu-ew- his whole soul into the cause of
liberty, and although too far advanced in life to actively enter the field he aided
in sustaining the government in everj' possible way by his influence and wealth.
Before a company was yet formed, he offered five hundred dollars for the
support of the families of volunteers; thus beginning a course of unstinted
liberality, which he continued throughout the struggle, and initiating that great
patriotic charity, which, eontiniied by private individuals and finall.y adoi)ted by
towns and the state, extended a hand to all the families of absent soldiers. It
was at his suggestion that the Mechanics Bank (of which he had been a valued
director for many years) tendered the use of fifty thousand dollars to Governor
Buckingham when the days were dark and the Union in danger. When the 10th
Connecticut Regiment broke camp, with orders to proceed to the rendezvous,
a beautiful state flag was presented to them by Mr. Trowbridge, made expressly
for the regiment by his wife and daughter. He afterwards presentefl flags to
several Connecticut regiments and swords to numerous officers, and was the first
to provide a flag which was raised and kept flying on the steeple of Center
Church on the Green.

Mr. Trowbridge was one of the most active citizens in New Haven in forming
the Sanitary Commission, and contributed greatly to its success by ]iecnniary
assistance as well as personal service. When the time arrived in that great
struggle to maintain the life of the nation that rendered a draft necessary to


furnish soldiers for the army, on the very day of the draft, when a crowd number-
ing from three to five thousand assembled at the north portico of the State House
in New Haven, a citizens' meeting was organized with Mr. Trowbridge for chair-
man. Prominent citizens immediatel.v aune forward with oifers of money for
the encouragement of volunteers. Different individuals offered fifteen dollars
each for a volunteer, some pledging that amount apiece for several men. Mr.
Trowbridge stood at the head of that noble list, which contributed sutKcient to
raise the requisite number of men without a draft, he offering fifteen dollars
apiece for thirty' men, and at half -past 4 p. m. it was annoiuiced that the quota
for New Haven was filled, when nine tremendous cheers from the assembly burst
forth and the crowd separated for their homes. Directly and indirectly, he spent
about seventy thousand dollars in the cause of freedom. Mr. Trowbridge mani-
fested the same unfaltering zeal in tlie cause of liberty until victory crowned
the Union arms.

As head of his family and l)usiness finu, it was natural that Mr. Trowbridge
should be selected to serve as a member of the boards of direction in many cor-
porations, but, with a few exceptions, he declined to accept, in order that such
honors might be offered to his brothers. He was elected a director of the Mechan-
ics Banli Jidy 5, 1847, and at the time of his death was its oldest director, having
served on its board for forty years, and as an able and prudent officer he contrib-
uted greatly to the prosperity of that institution. He was chosen a directin- of
the New Haven Bank July 7, 1859, but resigned this office a few months later.
He was a director of the Hartford and New Haven Railroad Company uj) to the
time of its consolidation with the New York and New Haven Railroad Company
August 6, 1872. He was also for twelve years, and at his death, a director in the
Security Insurance Company of New Haven. For many years, and until his
death, he was treasurer and secretary of the Company to Build and Maintain
Long Wharf, and was also secretary and a director of the Tomliuson Bridge
Company. He had also been for many years a member of the New Haven
Proprietors Committee. He became a member of the New Haven Chamber of
Commerce in 1835, and from 1872 to 1883 was successively elected its president.

Mr. Trowbridge alV'ays manifested a taste for historical researches. He took
an honest and wliolesome pride in the history of his commonwealth and especially
in that of liis beloved city. His name headed the list of signers iipon the original
memorial presented to the New Haven Court of Common Council in 1862, which
resulted in the organization of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, and he
was from that date one of its directors and for many years its vice-president,
taking an active and influential part in its proceedings; He contributed an
importajit paper. "The History of Long Wharf in New Haven," to the first
volume of the society's "Papers." He was also the projector of "The History of
the Trowbridge Family." published in 1872, and defrayed the expenses of com-
piling and printing that volume; and this Genealogy of his family has been
dedicated to his memory in recognition of his services to Trowbridge history.

Mr. Trowbridge through his life was one of the most efficient supporters of the
First Ecclesiastical Society of New Haven and a valued member of the First
Church, with which he and his wife united on May 31, 1840. He was a member
of the standing committee of the church from 184f) until his death. He was also
an active member of the society's committee for many years, and a free contribu-
tor to the charities conducted under its supervision. He was chairman of the
building committee having in charge the erection of the Dixwell Avenue Congre-
gational Church, and contributed generously to its building fund and support.
Anything that touched the honor or interest of his state or city warmed his heart
and brought a quick response, but h(> never gave with publicity.


"In the offices of religion and benevolence, in the sweet and sunny relations of
domestic life, and in that crystalline integrity which crowns the character of the
honorable man of business he was one of our foremost exemplars. There seems
something peculiarly fitting that such a life shoidd have spanned its long arc of
years without a touch of disease or sickness until the last shadows came and the
full-ripened sheaf drooped to the ground. He was one, who in all departments
of life exemislified the highest ideal of a successful merchant, an honest
and upright Christian man, and an affectionate, syxupathetic friend, ever ready
to extend a helping hand to those in need of aid or advice."

In his memory his son Eutherford has placed in Center Church an historical
window, illustrating the arrival of the first settlers at New Haven in 1638 and
the successive houses of worship of the First Ecclesiastical Society, a picture of
which has been inserted among the earlier pages of this volume.

One of the many newspaper notices published at the time of Mr. Trowbridge's
death was as follows:

"In the death of Sir. Thomas R. Trowbridge, which occurred at his residence yesterday
morning at 9 o'clock, the city loses one of its foremost and most esteemed citizens. He
was one who will be greatly missed and whose death will be sincerely regretted in all
ranks of life in the community. The news of his critical illness was spoken of with
sorrow by rich and poor, in the business house, the shop, the store and the factory, and
in the family circle, the deceased having so long been one of our leading citizens and
one who, from his native worth, his unfailing urbanity, his sterling qualities of head and
he-art, his prominent business and commercial position, had held a place of honor and
influence in our community which few have the privilege to attain. His name was a_
synonym for honor, integrity, sound business judgment and acknowledged high social
position. His New England ancestry dates back to the settlement of New Haven colony
and our Historical Society interests have ever been near to his heart. He was, though
so near seventy-seven years of age, of erect carriage and eyes undimmed, with a handsome
face and figure which well bespoke the surroundings of wealth and opulence and a station
of influence, while his face bespoke also an honorable career and a life well spent. Digni-
fied in appearance, affable with all men, considerate of others, he was liked by all with
whom he came in contact. He was a merchant of a type which honors the community,
the city and the state, and his record adds another link to the long line of Connecticut
commercial leaders whose names have reflected lustre on our little commonwealth. The
Center Church will miss him. In the sanctuary worship he deligljted, and his time and
services, especially in his younger days, were freely at the disposal of the church and its
interests. His name will long be cherished in our midst."

An account of the funeral services over Mr. Trowbridge was printed in a news-
I'aper of that day as follows :

"As the hour approached for the funeral service to begin, hundreds of people assembled
in the vicinity of the late residence of Mr. Trowbridge, on Elm street, facing the Green,
noticeable among whom were working people to whom the deceased had been a benefactor.
Their expressions of regret and sorrow at the loss of the man they honored could be
heard in the conversations carried on in the little groups. At 3 o'clock the spacious
parlors reserved for friends were densely packed. Fully three hundred people were in
the different rooms at the commencement of the services. There were many prominent
citizens and officials present, men whom the deceased has associated with and taken by the
hand during life. At the hour set for the service to begin the Rev. Dr. Newman Smyth,
of the First Congregational Church, where Mr. Trowbridge had worshipped for years,
stepped from an adjoining room, and standing in the hall facing the mourning friends of
the decea-sed, began the services. The funeral eulogy was beautiful in its touching pathos.

" 'I cannot in this house.' said he. 'speak of the life and character of him who lies
yonder and whom we have loved so much. The life of a good man teaches human life.
In an atmosphere of home-felt pleasures and gentle scenes rather than in one heavy with
the shock of war and politics have we contemplated him. The closing years of a well
spent life were in the bosom of his family, where he loved to bind himself in the exercise
of congenial tastes, never obtruding himself by aught that could suggest arrogance or the
pride of birth or high achievements ; reserved, rather, in general conversation until some
word kindled his imagination or stirred his recollection. He was the representative of
a generation faithful to duty and to friendships in all associations of human interests and
activity. No more high-minded and honorable man ever lived : no man was more
actuated always by the great idea of duty. He was equally delightful and attractive as
a companion and friend, faithful in small things as well as great, when they came within
the sphere of what he had undertaken to do. It is with infinite pain that I have seen

'vii^ (y/m/i'Tit/^L


this uoble life passing away. I have missed tlie Idndly IodIj of his eye from the accus-
tomed pew at church. A regular and devout attendant, a follower "of Christ was he.
One who knew him well in life, the Rev. Dr. Leonard Bacou, often spoke in touching
words of the character of our frieud and his determination to figiit the battle of truth
and honor to the end.

" 'A detailed historical narrative will not answer the purpose of these solemnities. I
wish to bring together in one view his high iiualities, his magnanimity, his gentleness,
and all of the other traits of his noble nature which have commanded our love and honor.
Our existence, like a stream, flows smoothly on, and then suddenly dashes itself in a dark
abyss where all worldly honor and power are gone forever, swallowed up as rivers are by
oceans. The angel of death draws our thoughts away from the mortal to the immortal.
Whether awake or asleep we live together in Christ. In this faith we shall greet him in
a happier clime. His life had its full quota of usefulness in this world. He had the
good old puritanical character from his ancestors, which in him and the remainder of his
generation has lost its harshness, mellowed and ripened in the character of later ages.
He came of a lineage of simple, honest men who loved God ; who loved God as he is, the
Father of national and rational liberty, the liberty of obedience to law and subordination
to natural and social dut.v. But he has gone from our midst, and the mystery of life is
such that we ask where he has gone. His faith failed him not ; it rested on one mighty
truth — that God is love. He was not tainted with any philosophical pretensions. He
had no affinity with the hostile opinions of unl)elievers. He was visited with no such
intellectual conceit. He was trained in a home of religious teaching. Office had no
charm for him except it were connected with duty, and to shirk duty was as foreign to
his nature as flattery and as odious as hypocrisy. Overcome as I am, standing in the
presence of these memories, which endeared him to us all, I feel I can say no more.' "


70. i. Henry, b. Aug. 1-i, l.Sofj.

71. ii. TuoMAS RuTHEHFOKD, b. Mar. 3, ]830.

72. ill. William Rutuerfoud Hayes, b. May 7, 1842.

• iv. Caroline Hoadley, b. July 24, 1844 ; resides in Florence. Italy ; uum.
~.i. V. RUTHERl'ORD, b. Dec. 1, 18.51.

vi. Emilie Eliza, b. Sept. 1, lS.o7 : m. .Tan. 2(5. 18SG, George Bliss Rogers of Bos-
ton, Mass., and resides in Florence,
vii. Francis, b. July 24, 18G1 ; d. July 2G, 18G1.

50. Henry Trowbridge {Henry^'', Ridherford'^'', Daniel", ThomusK Thomas-,
Thomas^), born April 22, ISIG, in New Haven, Conn.; died May 28, 1883, in New
Haven; married, first, July 24, 1838, in New Haven, Mary Webster Southgate,
daughter of Horatio and Marj' (Webster) Soiitbgate, born February 5. 1819, in
Portland, Mo. ; died May 2, 18G0, in Paris, France. He married, second, Aug-ust
8, 1S61, in Brooklyn, N. Y., Sarah Coles Hull, daughter of Edward and Edwina
(Coles) Hull, born in New York City. She resides in New Haven.

Heni-y Trowbridge was educated at Hopkins Grammar School, New Haven,
being graduated in 1828. During his minority he entered his fathers counting-
house, and on becoming of age was admitted as a partner in the house of H.
Trowbridge, Son & Dwight, a house largely and prosperously engaged in the
West India trade. On the dissolution of that firm, by tlie withdrawal of Mr.
Dwight in 1847, he became a member of the house of H. Trowbridge & Sons,
who succeeded to the business of the older firm, and in 1849, on the death of his
father, he and his three brothers established the firm of PI. Trowbridge's Sons.
He continued an active partner in this firm until his death.

His well-earned reputation for sagacity, integrity and practical efficiency led
him to various positions of trust and distinction in social life. For forty-five
years he was a director (fifteen of which he was vice-president) of the New Haven
Bank, and both in the town and city of New Haven he was called, from time to
time, to places of active and more or less responsible service.

Mr. Trowbridge united liimself with the First Church in New Haven in
1840, by a public profession of his religious faith. He continued a loyal and
active member of this cliurch until his death. In more private life he was
gentle and quiet in manners, sympathetic and genial in his companionship, and
eminently domestic in his preferences and liabits.


In memory of his sou Henry Stuart Irowbridge he founded the Trowbridge
Kefcrenee Library in tlie tJieologieal department of Yale University.* This trib-
ute of parental affection well illustrates the general tone and tenor of his life,
and attests his habits of quiek and appreciative observation, his practical fore-
casting judgment, his elevated taste, and his Christian beneficence. It has thus
most undesignedly, yet most fitly, become a lasting monument of his personal
character and worth. f

By first marriage:
i. Mary Webster, b. May 33, 1839; m., 1st, May 13, 18.57, Frederick Hall of

I'ortl.Tnd, Conn. ;t m., 2d, Feb. 21, 18G0. Silas Enos Burrows and resides in

New Haven,
ii. Harriet Emily, b. Apr. S, 1841; iii. O.'t. T.I, ]sr.."i, Willinni Henry Allen of

New Haven,
iii. Henrietta King, b. .Tuly 10, 18-1:5 ; ra. .Tune 15, 1871. Stephen Cainbreling

Powell, M.D., and resides in Newpoi-t. R. I.
iv. .Iane Louisa Fitch, b. Nov. IG. 18.50; m. Feb, 25, 187.5. Henry Lucius Hotcli-

kiss of New Haven.
V. Henry Webster, b. Aug. 0. 18.52; d. .\pr. 18. 1857. in New Haven,
vi. Ei-LEN Eugenia, b. Apr. 10, l,S.5r); m. Apr. 17. 1878, Huntington Denton and

resides in Paris. France.

Ii If second tnarriaoe:
vii. Henry Stuart, b. Nov. 15, 1802; d. Deo. 3. 1800, in New Haven.S
viii. ViE!(iiNiA Hull. b. .Tan. 23. 18(>4: d. .Tuly 28. 1875, in Saratoga Spring.s, N. Y.
74. ix. CouRTLANDT Henry'. b. A]ir. 21. 1870.

51. EzEKiEL Haves Trowbridge {Henry"^, Rutherford^'^, Daniel", Thomas*.
Thomas-, Thomas^), born April 21, 1818, in Xew Haven, Conn.; died November
24, 1893, in New Haven; married June 23, 1840, in New Haven, Sarah Ann Day.
daughter of Zelotes and Eliza (Atwater) Day, born June 12, 1818, in New Haven;
died January 28, 1907, in New Haven.

Ezekiel II. Trowbridge at an early age entered the counting-house of his father,
who was engaged in the West India trade, and there received his first ideas of
business, and was by him instructed in those high principles of integrity, honor,
and thoroughness of execution, which ever characterized him. He learned that to
be successful as a merchant, it was necessary to master thoroughly the details, as
well as the general principles of business, and always had before him the motto
that, "Wliatever is worth doing is worth doing well," and acted up to this prin-
ciple. At the age of nineteen he was sent to the West Indies to familiarize him-
self with that part of the business, taking with him a full power-of-attorney from
the house to transact important matters intrusted to liim. On arriving at his
majority he was admitted as a partner into the firm of H. Trowbridge, Sons &
Dwight, afterwards H. Trowbridge i' Sons, and, on the death of his father in
1S49, the firm of H. Trowbridge's Sons was formed b.y his three brothers and him-
self. He was an active member of the firm, and pursued the business, an emi-
nently successful one, with all the ardor and energy which a man of strong
constitution, great determination, hopeful temperament, and a mature judgment

* "In founding such .1 lihrary Mr. Trowhridge has rendered a service to the interests of the
Theological Departnient which cannot fail to add largely to its working power, and which its
alumni and friends througliout the country now. and for a long time to come, will he sure to
rememher." lYale Cfmrnni.^

"It contains about 4, .500 carefully selected volumes, in every department of theological
literature, and additions are constantly being made." ["Yale University Catalogue."!

t This sketch was written for Atwater's "History of the City of New Haven." puhlish'^d in

t See Nos. ;3.'). ix. and .".". xiii

§ In his memory his father in 1870 founded the Trowbridge Reference Library in the Yale
Divinity School.



ti!()\vi!i;id(;e genealogy 93

could do. He remained an active partner until May 1, 18S5, wlien, owing to the
multiplicity of his private allairs requiring his personal attention, he with his
eldest and only surviving son retired from the business.

Mr. Trowbridge, although devoting himself with untiring energy and ability to
the best interests of his firm, was called into many positions of trust, being largely
interested in railroads, banks and corporations. In 1S5.5 he with others organized
the Elm City Banlc of New Haven, now the Second National, and was until his
death an active and influential director of that successful institution. He was
for over twenty-five years a director of the New York, New Haven and Hartford
Railroad Company, and by his far-sighted .judgment was of great service to that
large corporation, as well as to the other organizations comprising its system, in
each of which he was also a director, and was vice-president of the Shore Line
Railroad Company until its merger in the former company. His business saga-
city and wise counsel were beneficial to the sticcessful advancement of other
corporations in which he was largely financially interested. He was also for
many years, and up to his death, a director of the Fair Haven and Westville
Railroad Company (a corporation owning 'the street railroad system of New
Haven) and the National New Haven Bank. In the execution of all these
important and private trusts, his ardent zeal for success was always regulated and
controlled by his most scrupulous regard for honest and honorable management.

Mr. Trowbridge was a loyal member of the First Church, with which he united
in 1842, and was a liberal contributor to charitable objects. In politics he was
a Wliig and Republican, never seeking or holding political office, and was a
.'itanch supporter of the government by act and pecuniary aid during the Civil
War. He was a man of domestic tastes, social in his disposition, positive in his
character, warm in his friendships, careful and considerate in his dealings, and
highly successful financially.*

In the memorial sermon preached in Center Church on November 11, 1S94, at
the presentation of the historical window given by Mr. E. Hayes Trowbridge in
memory of his father, Ezekiel H. Trowbridge, Rev. Dr. Newman Smyth said in
part :

"The memorial winJow. whicli lias been pre.sented to this church as an act of filial
liiety iu memory of a father who i.s numbered among our dead, and which is gratefully
accepted by us, the living, on this Sabbath day, for generations to come shall prove richly
suggestive of the best elements of the historic life of this church and this community.
To us. and to our children and children's children, it will offer visible sign and repre-
sentation of those higher powers of faith and character, which in past times have lifted
up into nobleness, and rendered prosperous in righteousness, the simple and sincere life
of a New England town. This .'Sabbath day, therefore, as we look tor the first time at
this historical window, this pulpit can have but one task to fulfil ; — its word must be as
the living voice of those who being dead, yet speak ; and the message to which you listen,
should catch the spirit of the whole history, upon the first memorable scene of which
your eyes now rest.

"Happily this historic task is rendered less difficult because the window itself, in its
general design, and in the grouping of its characters, ju'esents at once to our thoughts the
grand elements of our highest and best life as a church and a community,

'"In its general conception the window represents the founding alike of church and state
in a high comradeship of men, and iu the fear of God, . . . The memorial base of
this historical window, with its seven firm pillars of the state, and the seven-fold candle-
stick of truth in the luminous centre of them all, shall serve perpetually to remind us
not to forsake the example of the founders by suffering corruption to be elected to rule
over us, and ignorance to enlighten us,

"Let us listen next to the voices of the several representatii'C characters which are por-
trayed in this rich memorial Central in the group is the puritan preacher of
righteousness. Prom the day when the Scripture concerning the temptation in the wil-
derness was taken for the first sermon on this shore, the preacher of the eternal right ha.s
never failed in the pulpit of this church. . . . Just behind the preacher who had come

• This sketch was in greater part prepared for Atwater's "History of the City of New
Haven." published in 1S85.


to the new world with the learning of the old, the face may bo seen of the student intent
upon his words. . . . We plaoe the quiet scholar by the famous teacher in our
memorial window, because we would commemorate the alliance between religion and all
reverent science, and remember that the college and sound learning have found just recog-

Online LibraryFrancis Bacon TrowbridgeThe Trowbridge genealogy. History of the Trowbridge family in America (Volume 3) → online text (page 13 of 115)