age of fourteen was set to learn the painter's trade,
at which he was apprenticed for four years. His
cash income for these four years was ten dollars
annually, paid him in addition to his board. For
I'onr years he worked as a journeyman painter, and
in 1878 came to the United States. For a year and
a half following his arrival in this country he
worked in New York City for the Manhattan Ele-
vated Co. In 1880 he came to Branford, on ac-
count of ill health, and worked on a farm. After
about a year his health so imjirovcd that he was
able to take up his trade again, and in 1886 to em-
bark in business for himself as a painter contractor.
Here he has accomplished a large success, and in
i8t)o, in addition to his painting trade, engaged in
])apcr hanging and dealing in supplies. To-day Air.
Hamre has the cream of the trade in Branford, and
in the surrounding regions as well.
Mr. Hamre was married Jan. i, 1884, to Estella
E., a daughter of John B. and Mary Elizabeth
( Richards) Beach, of Branford, and by her has
two children : Mary Christianna and John Raahr-
lapper. Mrs. Hamre's paternal grandfather, Tim-
othy Beach, was born Jan. 22, 1796, and mar-
ried Esther Cook. Timothv Beach was the son
of Andrew Beach, born in 1769, whose wife
was Elizabeth Bradley. Andrew Beach was a
son of Ephraim, born Jan. 13, 1742, who mar-
ried Sarah Stone, of Guilford. Ephraim Beach
was a son of Andrew Beach, born Nov. 14,
713, the pioneer Beach of Branford. His wife
was Lucy Tully Smith, of Haddam. He was a son
of Ephraim Beach, who was born in 1G87, a grand-
son of Nathaniel Beach, who was born in 1662, an.l
a great-grandson of John Beach, the Pilgrim, who
was in New luigland as early as 1643.
Mr. Hamre is a Lutheran in his religious views,
ihe church of his ancestral faith, and in politics he
is a Republican. He is a memOer of Widows Sons
Lodge, No. 66, F. & A. AL, Woodlawn Lodge, No.
39, K. of P., and Putnam Lodge, No. 31, A. O. U.
\V. He is foreman of the Branford Hook & Lad-
der Co., No. I, and is a ])opular character in this
city, where he has achieve
cess in life.
ERVIS ELGIN WRIGHT, a well-known paint
manufacturer and prominent business man of
Waterbury, is a native of this State, born in the
town of West Hartland, Hartford county, Jan. 19,
1 85 1. His parents, Henry and Rachel E. (French)
Wright, were also born in Hartland, and died in
Waterbury. He is a descendant of Abel Wright,
one of the first settlers of Springfield, Mass., and
a large land owner there.
On the maternal side our subject is descended
from an old Massachusetts family of English
origin. His great-grandfather, William French,
was born June 20, 1768, in Taunton, Bristol Co.,
.Mass., and there grew to manhood. On July 18,
1788, at Raynham, Mass., he was married, by Jo-
siah Dean, Esq., to Mary (or Rachel) Hewitt, who
was born March 27, 1769. In 1790 he removed to
Hartland, Hartford Co., Conn., and took up his
residence in the western part of the town, where
he purchased 120 acres of land from Sanniel Beach
and s])ent the remainder of his life. He made many
nnprovements upon the place, and successfully en-
gaged in general farming and stock raising. He
was a stanch Jeflfersonian Democrat in politics, and
an active worker in and prominent member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church. He died at a rlpt
old age, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Elijah
Cannon, and was buried in Pleasant X'alley ceme-
tery. In his family were twelve children, namely:
.Sally, born Nov. 8, 1789, married Lyman Slaid;
Rachel, born Aug. 31, 1791, married Erastus Egel-
ston; Hannah, born July 6, 1793, married Asher
Tiflfney; Clarissa, born March 27, 1795, married
Joel Slaid; William was born Feb. 27, 1797; Rufus,
born March 20, 1799, is mentioned below; Julia,
born Nov. 29, 1800, married John Waird; Lyilia,
born May 25, 1803, married Anson Tiffney; Lent
was born Feb. 17, 1805: Harriet, born March 25,
1806, married Samuel Banning; a daughter, born
Feb. 7, 1810, died in infancy; and Lucia, born June
24, 181 1, married Elijah Cannon.
Rufus French, the grandfather of our subject,
was Ixjrn on a farm in West Hartland, and re-
ceived a limited education in the district schools of
the town, being almost wholly a self-educated man.
COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.
He remained with liis parents until reaching man-
hood, and in early life eng,?.ged in the manufacture
of spinning-wheels, one of which is now in the pos-
session of our subject. Later in life Mr. French
turned his attention to farming, purchasing a tract
of 100 acres of land (near the homestead), which
at that time was all wild and unimproved, lie
cleared away the timber and broke the land, erected
good buildings thereon, and devoted the remainder
af his life to general farming and stock raising.
He was very industrious and energetic, and became
one of the successful men of Hartland. In 1861 he
ri moved to Akron, Ohio, where he engaged in agri-
cultural pursuits for fifteen years, and then returned
to Connecticut, spending his last days with his
daughter, Mrs. Wright, in Waterbury, where he
died in lH)So, at a ripe old age; his remains were
interred in Pleasant Valley cemetery. Originally
he was a Democrat in politics, but in 1856, on its
organization he joined the Republican party, and re-
mained one of its stanch supporters until his death.
He was an active member of the Methodist Episco-
pal Church, in which he served as class-leader and
leader of tlie choir. On Feb. 29, 1820, he married
Clarissa Titi'ney, who was bora Feb. 11, 1799, and
they became the parents of five children : Watson
E., born Dec. 7, 1821, was the eldest; Rachel E.,
born Dec. i, 1823, was the mother of our subject;
Sarah, born Sept. 18, 1830, is the widow of
Eugene Gugon ; Carl T. was born Oct. 5, 1832 ;
and Orton, born Oct. 29, 1837, is a resident of Hart-
Henry Wright, father of our subject, was born
Aug. 14, 181 1, in Hartland, Conn., and died Jan.
30, 1892, in \\'aterbury. He was engaged in lumber
dealing and farming for over fifty years. He was
married April 18, 1841, to Rachel E. French, and
to them were born five children, whose names and
dates of birth are as follows : Lozien F., Nov. 6,
1842: Elscn E., March 26, 1848; Ervis Elgin, Jan.
19, 1851 ; Embert E., Nov. 16, 1853; and Eva E.
(widow of J. I. Byani), Jan. 26, 1856.
Ervis E. Wright came from Hartland to Water-
bury in 1867, at the age of sixteen years, and en-
tered the employ of Lewis Beardsley, as bookkeeper,
remaining with him until 1880. He then started in
business for himself, manufacturing and applying
the Ideal Roof Paint, in which line he has continued
to tile present time, giving his whole time and at-
tention strictly to business. Politically he is a Re-
publican, but he never sought for office.
On Nov. 26, 1885, Mr. Wright was united in
marriage with Miss Ella Frances Reed, who was
born Nov. 11, 1858. They have one son, Franklin
Ervis, born Nov. 22, 1886. Mrs. Wright is a re-
fined and cultured lady, of high literary attain-
ments, and possesses exceptional talent as an artist.
She is a prominent member of the Woman's Club
of Waterbury, and also of the Daughters of the
American Revolution. Mr. Wright is a member of
the Sons of the American Revolution, through his
greatgrandfather, Ephraim Wright, of Hartland.
Mr. and Mrs. Wright have one of the most beau-
tiful liomes in Waterbury. It is located on an emi-
nence commanding an entire view of the town, and
is fitted up with electric lights run by our subject's
own plant. He is a man of progressive ideas, en-
terprising, energetic, industrious and far-sighted,
and to these characteristics may be attributed his
excellent success in life.
Mrs. Wright also belongs to an old New Eng-
land family. John Reed, the first of the name in
Fairfield county. Conn., was born in Cornwall,
England, in 1633, and was a stanch supporter of
Oliver Cromwell, serving in his army from the age
of sixteen years until the restoration of Charles II
to the throne of England. The followers of Crom-
well, known as Roundheads, then fled to all parts
of the world. John Reed came to America, and
first settled in Providence, R. I., where he married
a Miss Derby. In 1684 he moved to Rye, West-
chester Co., N. Y., where he remained three years,
and then came to Norwalk, Fairfield Co., Conn.,
locating on the Five Mile river, at a place called
Reed's farms, where he spent the remainder of his
life. Fie died in 1730, in his ninety-eighth year,
and was buried on his farm. He was a man of high
moral character and unswerving integrity, and his
home was often used as a house of worship before
the erection of a church in his community. His
children were John ; Thomas ; William ; Mary, wife
of David Tuttle ; and Abigail.
John Reed, Jr., son of John, was born in Nor-
walk, where he spent his entire life engaged as a
farmer. He married a Miss Tuttle, and they had
eight children : John, Daniel, Eleazer, Samuel,
William, Mary, Experience and Mehitable.
Daniel Reed, son of John, Jr., was born in 1697.
He erected a mansion on the old paternal estate in
Norwalk, where he always made his home, dying
there in 1775. He married Elizabeth Kellogg, and
they had ten children : Daniel, Abraham, Eliakim,
James, Benjamin, Ezra, Elijah (who settled in
Amenia, N. Y.), Elizabeth, Lydia and Joanna.
James Reed, son of Daniel, was born on the old
homestead in Norwalk, March 2/, 1736, and died
July 20, 1814, in Amenia, Dutchess Co., N. Y., of
which place he was one of the most prominent and
distinguished business men, engaged in fanning,
manufacturing and milling. The site of his home
is now occupied by the residence of James H. Swift.
In 1759 he was one of the Connecticut soldiers who
passed through .â€¢\mcnia on their way to Canada to
aid Gen. Wolfe in the conquest of Quebec. Receiv-
ing news of the capture of the city, they were or-
dered to return. Mr. Reed was so pleased with the
oblong valley through which they passed .on their
leisurely return that he induced his father to pur-
chase some of the land, upon which he located and
spent the remainder of his life. He became the
owner of a large estate in Dutchess county, and
was extensively engaged in business at .A.menia,
COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.
manufacturing iron and steel, and conducting a
store and mill at that place. He was also one of
the first to establish a religious society there. He
ser\'ed as captain in the Revolutionary war, and
was one of the mo.^t influential men of his com-
munity. On April 17, 1760, he married Joanna
Castle, who was born in 1743. a daughter of Dan-
iel Castle. To this union were born thirteen chil-
dren, whose names .ind dates of birth are as fol-
lows: Daniel, .April 15, 1761 ; Reuben, Sept. 2,
1763; Elijah, March 12, 1766; Jesse, July 16, 1768;
Stephen, Sept. 14, 1770; .Amos, Dec. 28, 1772; Gil-
bert, Sept. 25, 1775; Jacob and Joanna, twins. Feb.
15, 1778; Betsey, April 21, 1780: Robert and
Rhoda, twins, June 27, 1784; and Phila, April 3,
Reuben Reed, son of Capt. James, died in
Amenia, N. Y., in 1846. He married Hannah Rose,
who was born in ijGC), and died in 1839, and they
had five children : Leonard, Myron, Jesse, Lester
Myron Reed, son of Reuben, and the grand-
father of Mrs. Wright, was lx>rn July 7, 1797, and
died June 2, 1849. On Jan. 3, 1826, he married
Belinda Swift, and to them came five children:
Maria, born Aug. 15. 1827, married John SmitJi ;
Henry, born March 12, 1829, died in California;
James was born March 19, 1831 ; Isaac, born Aug.
27, 1833, is the father of Mrs. Wright : and Frances,
born May 11, 1840, married Dewitt Crosb\-.
Isaac Reed was born in Amenia. \. Y., and
married Louise Clark, daughter of Richard Clark
(son of Daniel), of Sharon, Conn., a representative
of the Clark family of Milford, this State. To that
union were born two daughters. The elder, Cora
Belle, first married Franklin Phillips, of White
Plains, N. Y., and for her second husband married
Olin Dibble, of Seymour. Ella Frances, the
younger child, is the wife of Mr. Wright, whose
name introduces this sketch.
CHAUNCEY SEELEY, who was long at the
head of the Seeley & Upham Building Co., of Wa-
terbury, was born in 1845, in Southbury, New Ha-
ven county. His father, George Seeley, and grand-
father, Elijah Seeley, were born in Wilton, Fairfield
county. Elijah Seeley was a farmer by calling, and
passed his life in Wilton. He was a patriot of the
war of 18 1 2.
George Seeley was a shoemaker in early life,
but later lx;came a farmer. He married, in New
Milford, Conn., Phebc Ann Buckingham, a native
of that town, and their children were ten in num-
ber, viz. : Sarah Ann is deceased ; Levina is the
wife of John Scpiires, of Southlniry, Conn.; Eliza-
beth married George Robertson, a merchant of \'ew
Milford; Harriet is the widow of William Oliver,
of Bethel, Conn.; Chauncey is the subject of this
sketch ; John is a resident of Waterbury ; Charles
is deceased ; Henriette is now Mrs. William Wor-
rington, of Watertown, Conn. ; Miss Georgiana is
a resident of New Haven ; Frank is a fanner in
Southbury. Both parents are deceased.
Chauncey Seeley grew to young manhood on
his father's farm, and umil seventeen years of age
attended the district school antl the high school at
South Britain. The Civil war having broken out,
he made affidavit that he wa* eighteen years of age,
and thus succeeded in enlisting, Sept. 11, 1862, at
Woodbury, in Company I, 19th Conn. V. L He
served until mustered out. at Fort Ethan Allen, \'a.,
July 7, 1865, and during this period participated in
all the Ijattles, skirmishes, sieges, engagements and
marches in which the regiment took part.
At the termination of the war Mr. Seeley re-
turned to Southbury, where he learned the car-
penter ".s trade, and remained until the spring of
1869. at which time he came to Waterbury. Here
he followed his trade as a journeyman until the
spring of 1888, when he engaged in contracting and
building on his own account, for about five years,
after which he formed a co-partnership with George
A. Upham, under the style of Seeley & Upham.
This firm had an existence of about five years, at
the end of which period was formed a cor])oration
known as the Seeley & Upham Building Co., which
conducted a lumberyard, steam planingmill, etc., and
did a very extensive business in the building line.
Early in 1902 Mr. Seeley sold his interest and with-
drew from the presidency.
Mr. Seeley was married, in 1872, to Miss Sa-
mantha A. Nash, who died without issue May 15,
1875. In May, 1879, he married Sarah S. Osborn,
daughter of Noah Osborn, of Seymour, Conn., and
this union has been graced with three children,
Arthur O., Wilbur C. and Raymond C. Our sub-
ject and his family attend the First Congregational
Church and their social relations are with the most
refined residents of Waterbury.
In politics Mr. Seeley is a stanch Republican.
He has been elected to the city council several
times, and in that body â– served on the Law com-
mittee and the committee on Lamps and Gas. He
is a prominent memlicr of the .American Mechanics,
with whom he has been identified since 1875. and
in which body he is an ardent worker. He has also
been a member of the G. .A. R. about twenty years,
and is now commander of Wadhams Post, No. 49.
Mr. Seeley fraternizes with several other societies,
in which he holds offices exalted and responsible,
such as treasurer, etc. As a business man he is
classed with the most progressive and enterpris-
ing in the city. His integrity has never been im-
peached, and his transactions have always been
characterized by perfect candor and openness.
REDFIELI) 1!. Wl':sr. M. I)., of Guilford, is
a native of that town, born Oct. 28, 1857, the only
son of Benjamin C. and Cornelia E. West, the
former of whom is a native of northern New York
Slate, but for many years has resided in Guilford,
COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.
The Doctor's ancestors on the maternal side
were old residents of (iuilford, and can be traced
as far hack as his great-jj^rand father, Russell Fris-
bic, who was horn near liranford, Conn., and mar-
ried Eunice Redlield, of Ciuilford. h"or many years
he resided in Georgetown, S. C, where he was a
successful merchant until the declining years of his
life, which were passed at his home on Fair street,
Guilford. His family consisted of one son, John,
and five daughters, Julia, Sarah, Amanda, Mary
Aim and iiunice. 'I'he last named died in infancy.
.Sarah married George C llradley, of tiuilford, and
their children were: Richard, who dictl when quite
young; and Cornelia Elizabeth, who married lienja-
niin C. West.
Dr. West received his degree of Doctor of
^ledicine from the I'niversity of the City of Xew
York, in h'ebruary, 1879, after a thorough course of
study at that institution. He then for several years
practiced medicine at Xo. 7 Abingdon square, Xew
York City ; later at Xo. 222 Shawnnit avenue, Bos-
Ion, Mass.; and still later at Xo. 163 York street,
Xew Haven, Conn., from there removing, in 1892,
to his native town, Guilford, where he has since
continued in the practice of medicine. In 1894 Dr.
West was appointed, by Gov. Morris, State chem-
ist ; reappointed by Cjov. Coffin in 189C); again by
Ciov. Cooke, in i8(j8; and by (jov. Lounsbury, in
1900. In 1897 he was appointed town health officer
for Guilford, and also medical examiner same year.
He has been successful in chemical researches, hav-
ing in 1899 and 1900 been granted letters patent
for im])rovements in photographic printing.
While a resident of Boston, Mass., Dr. Redfield
B. West was united in marriage with Edith May
Goudey, of that city, daughter of Flenry T. and
Lois A. Goudey.
GEORGE ROBBIXS, a gallant ex-soldier of
the Civil war and at present a well-known real-
estate and fire insurance agent in Waterbury, was
born Sept. 12, 1844, in the village of Plain ville,
town of Farmington, Hartford Co., Conn. Jehiel
Robbins, his father, w-as born in Rocky Hill, same
county, and was baptized Aug. i, 1793. Zebulon
RoI)bins, father of Jehiel, was born in the same
place Oct. 14, 1744, and was a son of Zebulon, who
was also a native of Connecticut.
The name Robbins w'as originally â€” tiiat is, prior
to iTxx) â€” spelled Ro-Byncs, then was changed to
Robins, and finally to its present form, Robluns.
The progenitor of the family in .-\merica was John
Robbins, wdio came from England and settled in the
Connecticut valley about 1638. He married Mary
Wells, a daughter of Thomas Wells, governor of
the Colony, and from him the present Robbins fam-
ily are lineally descended.
Zebulon Robbins. grandfather of the subject of
this sketch, was a farmer. He married Hannaii
Holmes, settled on a farm at Rocky Hill, and there
reared two children, Roderick and Jehiel. Roder-
ick became a physician, and practiced in Rocky Hill,
(dastonbury and Waterbury.
Jehiel Rt)bi)ins, father of our subject, was
reared on the home farm in Rocky Hill. In early-
manhood he was a school teacher, and then took up
farming permanently, in 1842 removing to I'lain-
ville, where he died in 1873. He married Mrs.
Dorothy (Edgecomb) Tucker, a widow, who was
Dorn in South Glastonbury, daughter of Joshua and
Lydia (Hough) Williams, natives of the same
place. Joshua Williams was a ship carpenter. His
lather, Joshua Williams, was born July 18, 1749,
enlisted in the patriot army May 8, 1775, and re-
enlisted, becoming corporal, in 1777. He was at
Danbury, Conn., was under Gen. Israel Putnam up
the Hudson river, served also in New Jersey, and
was promoted to sergeant in 1780. Robert Will-
iams, the founder of this family in America, was
born in England in 1593, and came from \armouth
to Roxl)ury, Mass., in 1635. He was a member of
the Ancient & Honorable Artillery of England,
and was al.-o a member in America. The family
drifted into Connecticut, where its members became
quite prominent in social and religious afTairs. The
founder of Williams College, in Massachusetts,
was a descendant of Robert Williams, as was also
William Williams, a signer of the Declaration of
Inde])endence, and Gen. Warren, of Bunker Hill
fame ; many others took part in the war of the
Revolution; many also were prominent in the
church, as bishop, preachers, etc.
After their marriage Jehiel Rol)hins and his
wife settled on a farm in Plainville, Conn., wiiere
were born their two children, Lewis W. and
(]eorge, the latter the suljjcct of this sketch. The
former is a plumber in Marsiialltown, Iowa. The
father was a Republican in politics, but never an
office seeker. He was deacon in the Congregational
Church, in the faith of which he and his wife passed
George Robbins, the subject proper of this
sketch, passed his yor.thful days on his father's
farm, and attended the district school until si.xteen
years of age, w'hen he went to Hartford to learn
the machinist's trade. However, about this time
the Civil war broke out, and Mr. Robbins joined
the gallant boys in blue, enlisting Aug. 11, 1862, in
Company. K, i6th Conn. \'. I., and serving until
mustered out, June i, 1865. He took part in many
severely fought battles during his term of service,
including those of Antietam, Fredericksburg, two
engageiuents (including siegej at Suffolk, Va., and
several others of lesser note. At the siege of Ply-
mouth, X. C, he was taken prisoner, and was con-
fined in the prisons at Ander.sonville, Ga., and Flor-
ence, S. C, about ten months.
After the close of the war Mr. Robbins took a
course in Bryant & Stratton's Business College,
at Hartford. Later he clerked two years in a hotel
in Xew York City, and then became bookkeeper for
the Plainville Manufacturing Co., with which he
COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD.
remained several years ; for the next three years he
was assistant superintendent for the Bristol Manu-
facturing Co., and then changed to Waterville,
where he was superintendent for the Welch Hosiery
Co. for a considerahle length of time. In 1879 Mr.
Rohbins came to Waterbury, and for four years was
in the employ of the Waterbury Clock Co. He then
engaged in the crockery and glassware trade about
ten years, and in 1893 embarked in his present
business, real estate and fire insurance, in which he
has met with unqualified success.
Mr. Robbins was united in marriage, Xov. 10,
1869. with Miss Lucy J. Botsford, of Plainville, a
daughter of Orrin L. and Fannie L. Botsford.
This marriage has been graced with two children:
Catherine, now a teacher in New Britain ; and Ar-
thur W., in the employ of the Connecticut Light &
Power Co., of Waterbury.
-Mr. Robbins is in politics a Republican. Fra-
ternally he is a Freemason and a member of the
Grand Army of the Republic, in which latter he
has served as commanuer of his post two years.
Socially he and his family mingle with the best
circles, and as a business man his name stands
DANIEL W. BURKE was born June 12. 1857.
in New Haven, son of Daniel Burke, who was born
in Providence, R. I., and died in New Haven, where
he was engaged in the teaming business. Daniel
Burke married Catherine Hayes, who was born in
New Haven, daughter of Richard Hayes, and they
had three children: Anna, who married C. B.
Squires, a clerk in the railway mail service; Mar-
garet, who married Willis E. Piatt, of South Brit-
ain, now engaged in farming; and Daniel W.
Daniel W. Burke was reared in New Haven,
and attended school there until he was fourteen,
when he went to Southbury to spend the ensuing
three years on a farm, and also attended a select
school. While still in his teens he entered the em-
ploy of Bradley, Hoyt & Co., in the woolen mill, and
remained with them five years, at the end of which
time he bought out a general store ni company with
W. H. Summers, under the firm name of Summers
& Burke. Under the administration of President
Garfield Mr. Summers was made postmaster, and
Mr. I')urke his assistant. At the expiration of the
term Mr. Burke sold out to Mr. Summers and re-
moved to Wallingford, taking a position as ship-
j)ing clerk with the Maltby, Stevens & Curtiss Co.,
with whom he remained three years. At the ex-
piration of this period he was made assistant super-
intendent for G. M. Hallenbeck, in his German
silver Hatware factory, and for ten years remained
with that gentleman, only giving up his connection
with the business when it was absorbed by the
"combine." In January, 1900, he was made super-