Francis Bacon Trowbridge.

The Trowbridge genealogy. History of the Trowbridge family in America (Volume 3) online

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town. He used to relate in an amusing way his experience as school-teacher,
involving the manner in which he quelled— what was then quite common —
rebellion against the teacher.

After the usual course of study, he was licensed to practice. This was in 1808
or 1809. His first professional efforts were put forth in Wethersfield, Vt., where
he remained for a brief time. In company with a young lawyer, an intimate
friend, by the name of Walker, in the spring of 1811 he came to Buffalo, N. Y.,

• A sketch of his life was prepared by his son Dr. John S. Trowbridge and published
by request of the Erie County (N. Y.) Medical Society in 18G9, from which the following
sketch has been extracted.



on horseback. Buffalo not offering sufficient encouragement to Doctor Trow-
bridge, he took up his residence at Fort Erie. At this time that place and Black
Kock were the entrepots of the then limited commerce of the lakes; Buffalo Creek
being blockaded by sand bars. Doctor Trowbridge remained in Canada until
the declaration of war, when he returned to Buffalo. During his residence in
Canada he formed the attaclnnent which resulted in his marriage. Before and
during the war he was associated with Dr. Cyrenus Chapin, who had preceded
him in his location, their partnership being dissolved at its close. His next
business connection was with a most estimable man and physician, Dr. John E.
]\rarsl)all, the co-partnership being formed September 8, 1823, under the name
of Marshall & Trowbridge. In 1829 the fii-m was dissolved, in consequence of the
ill health of Doctor Marshall, he retiring from practice, when the co-partnership
of Trowbridge & Sprague was formed on October IC, 18.30. Doctor Marshall
renewed practice, and the firm of Trowbridge & Iilarshall was established, and
continued until December 2, 1831. In 1833 the honorary degree of Doctor of
Medicine was conferred upon him by the regents of New York University.
Doctor Trowbridge was also associated with Doctors Bela H. Colgrove, Thomas
B. Clark and Alden S. Sprague, and at a much later period with Dr. Charles
Winnc. All these gentlemen obtained eminence in their profession and chal-
lenged respect as citizens. A letter from Doctor Colgrove to Dr. John S. Trow-
bridge after his father's decease shows the estimate in which he was lield by one
who had been an associate in practice. "Among the departed, I remember no one
in whose character was blended high professional attainments, with a nice
appreciation and practice of those courtesies and amenities, personal and pro-
fessional, which made the green oasis in human life, more than your father.
While you, my dear Doctor, with a filial affection, in the highest degree com-
mendable, are weaving a desei-ved garland for the brow of your late father, permit
me to add my humble chaplet to the wreath; which, though the product of an
obscure mountain town, is no exotic; and while the younger members of our
profession are seeking models to emulate and imitate, sure I am, they will seek
in vain for a better than the late Josiah Trowbridge."

During the War of 1812 Doctor Trowbridge gave the government his hearty
support, although, in common with a large political party, not recognizing its
absolute necessity. He was not in the regular service, but was attached to^ a
volunteer company of artillery, and was always ready to respond when humanity
or the interests of his country made a demand upon him. After the close of the
war he received a grant of land, for his sei-vices, in the state of Indiana. He
was fond of the gun, and on one occasion, in company with Frederick B. Merril,
Lieutenant Dudley, of Perry's fleet, and one or two more boatmen, while shooting
ducks on Strawberry island, was sui-prised and captured by the British, and taken
to Fort George. While there, the Indians in the service of the government broke
into their quarters, and for a time their safety seemed quite precarious. The
intervention of officers and chiefs prevented a massacre. The doctor, with his
comrades, was detained a few days, and then discharged, arriving in Buffalo after
a most tedious journey on foot. During the war he, with most of the early
settlers, had many adventures. At the burning of the village of Buffalo, which
was a surprise, although it had been threatened, he. with others, remained
engaged in securing the safety of the women and children, and was among the
last to leave. As he passed up Main street he was fired upon by the Indians
ambushed in the vicinity. With other refugees he spent the winter and part of
the spring at various localities east of Buffalo.

Doctor Trowbridge was absent one winter in Washington on private business
and business connected with the interests of the village. He continued to prac-
tice his profession until 1830, when he had accumulated a handsome property.
He tlien sold his office property to Doctor Wimie, and gave his time to the man-
agement of his private affairs— attending to the improvement of his property.


erecting the United States Hotel, and otliei- buildings, and loaning his money
among supposed friends. In 1837, when all wont by the board, he was, unfor-
tunately, included among them, losing his all. He made an assignment, and was
left penniless. This year he was elected mayor of Buffalo. The Patriot War
occurring shortly after he was installed, law and order being put at defiance, and
he being unable to maintain the supremacy of the former, resigned. During the
years detailed in the foregoing account Doctor Trowbridge held many minor
places of usefulness. He was for a time judge of the court of common pleas.
Several times he was supervisor, was associated with Major John G. Camp, as
commissioners, for finishing the building now known as "The Old Court House."
He was president of the high school, aftei-wards kno\vn as The Buffalo Military
Scientific and Literary Academy. He was secretary of the meeting held at the
house of Elias Ransom for the purpose of organizing the Episcopal Society of
Saint Paul's Church, February 10, 1817, He was one of its first vestrymen, held
the position for eleven years, and was warden for six. The original church
edifice was enlarged in 1828, under a contract entered into by him, at an expense
of $2,500, he depending upon the increased sale of sittings to make good the out-
lay. It proved to be a remunerative experiment for the parish. He was the
last survivor of the original members, and was always greatly interested in the
prosperity of the church, giving his services to its members, and contributing
frequently beyond his means to its treasury.

Doctor Trowbridge was actively engaged in his profession in this locality about
fifty- years, with only one interruiJtion. His rides extended over long distances,
without reference to day or night, the weather, or circumstances, as against per-
sonal comfort. Their bounds included Cattaraugus Creek, Olean, Batavia,
Lockport, Tonawanda, Lewiston and Canada ; late in life he was called as far
as Detroit. In 1838, after his failure, he resumed his profession with Dr.
(Charles Winne, and continued imtil 1842. During a portion of this time his son
John was a student in their office and after completing his studies he was asso-
ciated with his father, continuing until the fall of 1852. Doctor Trowbridge did
a large private and consultation practice until 185(5, when increasing infinnities
compelled him to relinquish it entirely. He was elected president of the Erie
County Medical Society in 1839 and was elected the first president of the Buffalo
Medical Association, organized in 1845.

These are the incidents connected with a long and unpretending, but eminently
practical and useful life. His excellencies were appreciated and most intimately
known among suffering humanity, or in quiet association with his fellow-men.
He never aspired, by means practiced by many, to be known as a popular man.
Those who committed themselves to his care were not subject to doubtful experi-
ments with a view to his personal aggrandisement. He exhibited all those
qualities which are needful to constitute the true gentleman, and his amenities
were extended to all without distinction. He was never known, by word or act,
to depart from strict honor and decorum. His life was that of one who, in his
intercourse with men, exhibited all personal virtues and generous sentiments,
founded on an intelligent Christian faith, which is necessary to the good citizen
and true physician. In his associations with his medical brethren it was his
highest aim to merit their confidence, and. without reservation, to give them such
aid and comfort as the necessities of the case would seem to requii'e. The
younger members of the profession with whom he came in contact were always
treated with the most careful consideration ; errors were quietly indicated and
the proper method for their ratification pointed out.

Doctor Trowbridge, not entirely unaccustomed to the practices of the day,
ignored the use of alcohol, and to this rule he most religiously and steadily
adhered. It was only near the close of his life, and upon the recommendation of
a medical friend, that he consented to use a certain and exact quantity of stimu-
lus daily. This occurred long before the temperance movement was attemiitcd


or had obtained any influence on the popular mind, when any endeavor to prac-
tice temperance was rather a cause of reproach than merit. In his business
habits Doctor Trowbridge was negligent in securing his just dues, though punc-
tilious in the discharge of his personal liabilities. He was never exorbitant in
his charges; seldom, if ever, employing the law in the enforcement of his
claims, and often malting liberal deductions or donating his services. The con-
sequence was that, notwithstauding a large practice, he was often pressed for
means. With his friends he always erred on the side of liberality. His purse
was never closed to the demands of religion and charity. He had many pupils —
among them were Doctors Frank B. Eansom, Charles C. Haddock, O. S. St.
John, Badger Dunn and James P. White. Their nimiber, and the positions
obtained in their profession and society, indicate his ability as a teacher. He
always endeavored to influence them with high and honorable sentiments, not
only by his teaching, but by his example. It is not to the discredit of his asso-
ciates to say tliat he was a courageous, safe and judicious practitioner. He was
constitutionally, and otherwise, eminently calculated for the practice of his
chosen profession. In the exercise of its high, and often unexpected and
exhausting responsibilities, and in all the varying circumstances and vicissitudes
incident thereto, there was no one, with the lights then at command, better
schooled or fitted to meet them all than he. In the obstetrical science no one of
his time, or perhaps since, in this locality was, or is, his superior. He always
appreciated the grave responsibilities suiTounding him, possessed an intelligence
that was equal to any emergency, and professional boldness that was ready for
every necessity, the want of which is a serious detriment to the success of the
most timid, but equally intelligent and conscientious practitioner.

In conversation he was peculiarly ha]5py, entertaining and instructive, and in
whatever principle was not concerned he yielded ready obedience to social usage
and custom. He had a faculty of satisfying his pride — for at heart he was a
proud man — by honoring the avocation through which he had achieved the right
to be what he was. His leisure time was either employed in general literature,
or in keeping pace witli the progress of his profassion. Politically he always
had the best interests of the country at heart, although rarely if ever taking an
active part in politics. Early in life he was a Federalist, later a Whig, and
lastly a Eepublican. The government, in its earlier efforts to maintain itself as
against England, always had his best efforts, and in its recent and successful
attempt to maintain the supremacy of the Union and the Constitution was the
recipient of his devoutest wishes. Two of his sons were in the service; one of
them, the youngest, Capt. Henry W. Trowbridge, died while his regiment was in
front of Yorktown. Doctor Trowbridge often expressed a desire to live to see the
government recover its control over the rebellious states, and to assert and
successfully maintain its supremacy; but this was not allowed him.

Doctor Trowbridge's parents were Puritans, and it is fair to suppose there were
no opportunities neglected in attempting to impress on his youthful mind their
religious belief. While serving his clerkship as a youth he attended the only
Episcopal church in Boston, King's Chapel, and, as his wife was educated in the
Eiiiseopal faith, he was thus influenced and confirmed in his early predilections.
His belief was earnest, simple, honest, founded in the exercise of the high pre-
rogative of reason. It was neither \ineharit4:vble nor sectarian, rebelling most
stoutly against pretense and cant, whether it had an existence in religion, morals,
or the medical profession. The Eilile and the Book of Common Prayer for many
years had a place on his table and every day were the subject of his study.

In active life his labors on the Sabbath were always arranged, when possible,
so that those portions of the day devoted to public worship might not be subject
to interruption. Jiidging him by what makes up the actualities of life, one
is safe in claiming for him a reasonable effort to live acceptably to God and


uiau. Towards the close of his life, and after he was incapacitated for the duties
of his profession, the subject of religion was a matter of serious consideration
and frequent conversation. In liis expressions he never made place for doubt.
The near and certain approach of death was calmly awaited, although he
expressed himself as having in an imperfect manner, and perhaps not according
to the talents committed to him, completed his usefulness.

Fearing that he might be regarded as a burden, he was ready and prepared to
give place to others physically and otherwise better prejiared to accomi^lish the
never ending duties of life, only expressing a desire to be exempted from that
intense physical suffering which is often attendant upon the final departure of
the soul. In this not unreasonable request he was providentially gratified. The
public, by private manifestations, the press, the medical profession, each in their
own proper way, gave ex-pression to the loss that society had been called on to
sustain. This was the last of a long and useful life. If there is purity here
below, then it was pure.


1159. i. .ToHN Siirra, b. Aug. 18. 1816.
1100. ii. William, b. June 29. 1818.

iii. .TosiAii, b. Aug. 2G, 1820 ; d. aged 5 years.

iv. Bexjami.x, b. Sept. 14, 1822; a shipmaster: J. Sept. 1.5, 1857, iu Brooklyn,

X. T. ; unin.
T. Mary Jame. b. Aug. 24, 1824; d. aged 1 year,
vi. JosiAH, b. Sept. 8, 1S2G ; d. aged ID months.

vii. James Monroe, b. Mar. 10, 1828 : drowned Nov. 20, 184.5, in Lake Erie,
viii. Warren, b. Oct. 16. 1830 ; d. aged 8 montli.s.

ix. Walter, b. Sept. 30. 1833 ; a clerk ; d. Mar. 18. 18.50, in Buffalo ; unm.
X. Louis LuKETER, b. Jan. 5, 1836; a clerk in San Francisco, Cal., and unm.

in 1878.*
xi. Henry Warren, b. Dec. 9, 18.38; a lawyer; served in the Civil War as

captain of Company F, 5th Michigan Infantry, and d. May 9, 1862, in

Fortress Monroe, Va. ; unm.

1069. WiLLL\w [TROWBRiDGEf] Bext (/o^^!"=^ Jolin'">'^\ John^""', Thomas'-'"'-,
James^"^". Thomas'), born June 20, 1791, in Framingham, Mass.; died July 6,
1853, in Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia; married April 20, 1821, in Glenelgh, Nova
Scotia, Mary Eliza Jordain, daughter of Peter and Margaret (Crawford) Jor-
dain. born August 12, 1800, in Chesincoock, Nova Scotia; died August 10, 1869,
in Sherbrooke.

William Trowbridge took the name of his mother's family. Bent, and was
known as William Bent. He went in early manhood to Nova Scotia, and lived
a short time in Halifax, then going to St. Mary's. He married and for years
thereafter taught school there. Pie then removed to Sherbrooke, where he
opened a store and engaged in mercantile business. He moved to a farm on the
outskirts of the village five years before his death. He was magistrate and held
several other offices. Ho was an elder of the Presbyterian Church for many
years before his death. He was a man that was much beloved and respected for
his kindly disposition.

[Bcnt^ children:*

i. Mary. b. Apr. 10. 1822 ; m. Jan. 2, 1841. .John McDaniel of Sherbrooke, X. S.

ii. Sarah, b. Sept. 1, 1823 : d. , 18.34.

iii. Margaret, b. Apr. 2. 1825 ; m. Jan. 10, 1,S45. Joseph JIoLane of Sherbrooke.
iv. Eliza, b. July 1. 1827: m.. 1st. Dec. 27, 1847. .John Mcintosh of Sherbrooke;

m., 2d, Dec. 15, 1861. William Cruicksbank of Caledonia, N. S.
V. Elizabeth Jane. b. Aug. 14, 1831 : m. Nov. 26, 1848, Christopher Whitman

and resides in Sherbrooke.

* Since which time his relatives have not heard of him.

t Changed his name to Bent.

t i-lii born in GlenelgU, Nova Scotia : the others in Sherbrooke. Nova Scotia.


vi. Sakah, b. Oct. 27, 1834; m. Deo. 22, 1853, George Mcintosh of Sherbrooke.

vii. .John, b. June 27, 1837; d. July 3, ISGO, in Sherbrooke; unm.

viii. IIakriet, b. Sept. 1, 1841; m. Jan. 24, 1867, Robert Kennedy of Port Hilford,

N. S.
ix. C.vnoLiNE, b. Mar. 1, 1843 ; m. Jan. 24, ISGii. Alexander Wier of Sherbrooke.

1070. Windsor Stone Trowbridge (DanieP"'", John''"'"', John^'>''\ Thomas^""',
James''"'"', Thoma^^). born January 1, 1789, in Frainingliani, Mass.; died May
30, 1844, in Og-den, K Y.; married August 27, 1810, in Westmoreland, N. Y.,
Kebecca Willey, daughter of Alfred and Olive (Cone) Willey, bom October 2,
1791, in East Haddam, Conn.; died March 1, 1882, in Loclq)ort, N. Y.

Windsor S. Trowbridge was brought in infancy by his parents to Westmore-
land, N. Y. His mother died when he was five years old and he went to live
witli Mr. John Townsend of that town. He was to have three months of school-
ing in the winters, but his home was near the schoolhouse and his studies were
almost daily interrupted by a call from Mr. To'misend, "to just come out and
help awhile," at loading logs o;r wood upon the sled. He married in the summer
following his majority and in 1812 removed to what was then called the "Genesee
Country," and settled as a farmer in what is now Ogden, Monroe county, N. Y.*
He was engaged in farming there the remainder of his life.

He served in the militia in the War of 1812 when it was called out to repel
an anticipated landing of British troojas at the mouth of the Genesee river.f He
saw no general service, but was in at least one skirmish, on which occasion a
bullet passed through his hat.:j: He was an honest, upright man in all his busi-
ness dealing's and was looked up to in town matters. He was collector of taxes in
Ogden for sixteen years and also held the ofRce of constable for about the same
Ijeriod. He was a man of great energy of character, passionately fond of music,
genial, and possessing a great fund of anecdote, by which qualities he drew
round him a large circle of favorites. He was a regular attendant at church,
although not a oonununicant in any religious body. His wife and daughter were
members of the Presbyterian church in Ogden.


i. Ogden Willey. b. July 29, 1812 ; d. Aug. 1, 1813.

ii. Elizabeth Venilia, b. Oct. 9, 1814 ; m. Nov. 30, 1834, Daniel Moon Greene

of Lisle, 111.
iii. William IIenuy, b. May 19, 18]«; d. Dec. 30. 1818.
iv. JIahcia Fideoa. b. Aug 8, 1818; m. Dec. 19, 1838, Edmund PhelpsS of

Ijockport, N. Y.
V. Olive Cornelia, b. Feb. 2.j. 1S21 ; m. 'Siay 14, 1842, Henry Kelsev of

Churchville, N. Y.
vi. Maiith.^. Aurelia, b. June 10. 1823 ; m. Sept. 29, 1846, Chauncey Mancelliou

Goodrich and resides in Lisle.

1161. vii. Windsor, b. May 29. 1825.

1162. viii. John Town.send, b. Sept. 18, 1827.

ix. Edward West. b. Feb. 17, 1833: was always fond of study, and after
leaving school he tauglit the distinct .school for one or two winters. He
entered Knox College, Galesburg, 111., in 18.52, but did not remain for
graduation. He began to fit himself for a professorship of geology, and
was collecting geological specimens for the Smithsonian Institute, when
he died of cholera at Fort Riley, Kan., .July 31, 1855 ; unm.

1071. STEriiEN Van Rev.sselaer Trowbridge (Luther'^'"'-, Thomas''"'"'.
John''-""'', Thomas''""-, James'"'"". Thomas''-), bom July 4, 1794, in Albany, N. Y.;
died March 1, 1859, in Troy, Mich. ; married January 25, 1815, in Horseheads,
'N. Y., Elizabeth Conkling, daughter of Stoddard and Juliana (Sayre) Conkling,
bom May 22, 1797, in Horseheads ; died November 28, 1873, in Troy.

* Ogden was taken from Parma in 1817 and was a part of Genesee county until 1821.
t Letter from his son Mr. ,T. T. Trowbridge.
J Letter from his daughter Mrs. Goodrich.
§ See No. 30. vi.



Stephen Van Rensselaer Trowbridge* was so named by his father out of
respect for the jiatroon, Stephen Van Renssehier, who was a friend and neighbor.
^\'hen seven years old, he lost his father. His father had a very warm friend
in Gen. Vincent Matthews, a distinguished lawyer of Elmira, who was frequently
at Albany on public business. Through this friendship General Matthews was
led to adopt Stephen and take him into his own family. In due time he entered
him in his office as a law clerk and started him in his preparation for the bar.
Subsequently the general embarked in trade as a merchant and Stephen became
his clerk, lie also had some fields adjoining the village and there Stephen had an
opportunity to gratify his natural taste for farming. He soon became an expert
with the cradle and scythe, and could hold his own with the best.

At the commencement of the war with England, when he was not quite
eighteen years old, the patriotic spirit of his father showed itself, and he enlisted
in the cavalry service on the Niagara frontier. Pie enlisted at Elmira in May,
1812, in Capt. James Matthews' company of light horse, New York state militia.
He was ordered to Trumansburgh, N. Y., and from there went on to the lines
in Captain Camp's company. He went to Lewiston and was on service on that
frontier, and volunteered to go over to the battle. He was honorably discharged
at Lewiston in December, 1812. f This sort of education, while irregular and
apparently unsatisfactory, nevertheless had its advantages. It has been said of
him by one most competent to judge and who knew him well : "He knew enough
of law to keep out of it, of accounts to state them handsomely and in a beautiful
hand, which he retained until the day of his death, and of fanning to make him-
self independent of fraud in its practice." Later these qualities were of great
value in a new country and often enabled him to render valuable service to his
neighbors and to the public in official stations he was destined to occupy.

Not long after his marriage, which took place in Januaiy, 1815, he gave up
mercantile business and went to live at Horseheads, near Ehnira, on a farm
which had been given to his wife by her father. In 1S20 he received a letter
from his brother who had gone to Michigan the year previous, describing the
opportunities that were offered in that new coimtry, and he at once decided to
make a trip to Michigan and take a look for himself. With just one hundred
dollars sewed in a belt around his waist and a valise filled with pins, needles,
tapes and other small articles to exchange for his meals and lodging, he started.
He walked the five hundred miles through the dense foresits of Canada and
reached Detroit in safety. He went out twenty miles, and as he walked over
the land there, he afterwards said, he thrust his feet to the instep in the rich
black soil and decided that that should be his farm. He had saved money enough
to buy of the government 80 acres of land and also to buy the improvements of a
squatter, who was in possession. The "improvements" consisted of a log house,
12 by 14 feet, and a small patch of clearing, which furnished soil for immediate
cultivation sufficient to provide for the more pressing needs of his family after
they came there. He returned to Detroit and secured his 80 acres at the govern-
ment land office.

He returned to New York for his family, and in October, 1821, they left their

Online LibraryFrancis Bacon TrowbridgeThe Trowbridge genealogy. History of the Trowbridge family in America (Volume 3) → online text (page 77 of 115)