Norris Galpin Osborn.

Men of mark in Connecticut; ideals of American life told in biographies and autobiographies of eminent living Americans (Volume 1) online

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Revolutionary times. Abel Clark was one of the signers of the
famous document of September 3rd, 1775, agreeing to go to the
relief of the besieged inhabitants of Boston. Another ancestor, his
paternal grandfather, served in the War of 1812.

Mr. Clark's father, Abel N. Clark, was for many years editor
and proprietor of the Hartford Courant, and was recognized as a
man of great industry, intelligence, and fidelity, and his compara-
tively premature death was a keen loss, not only to his family, but
to the State and city. The son, William B., inherited many of
the estimable traits of the father and, being an indefatigable worker
and organizer, he has more than doubled his ten talents.

His early education was acquired at the old North School in Hart-
ford. This was supplemented by a year at the New Britain High
School and a course at Gallup's "College Green" school in Trinity


Street. As a boy Mr, Clark had rather a marked taste for mechanics,
but as he lived in a literary, rather than a mechanical, atmosphere
these tastes were never materially developed, and when he left school
it was to enter his father's newspaper office. Showing no especial
aptitude for this business, he decided, after a year's trial, that his
father's profession need not necessarily become his own, and he severed
his connection with the Courant. Mr. Clark then accepted a position
in the office of the Phoenix Insurance Company, of Hartford, and
entered on a business career, which has always gone steadily onward
and upward. Here he continued in a subordinate position for six
years. At the end of that time his unflagging interest and zeal for
his work were recognized and he was elected to the secretaryship of
the company, a high honor for a man in his twenty-third year. A
little later, having been tendered the office of assistant secretary of the
^tna Insurance Company, he left the Phoenix to enter a larger field
of activity. He soon made himself a power in the new company by
his splendid work, unfailing good nature, and courteous manners.
In 1888, Mr. Clark was chosen by unanimous vote to fill the position
of vice-president. His thirty years of training in all branches of the
work was soon felt, and the fortunes of the company took an imme-
diate leap forward. It was only a matter of time when a career so
piarked by high ability, integrity, and judgment would be given the
crowning honor. This came in 1892, on his unanimous election to the
office of president of the -^tna Insurance Company, oddly enough on
the twenty-fifth anniversary of his connection with the company, Mr.
Clark's course as president of this great organization is well known.
He is extremely popular with the large number of agents which the ,
company has in nearly every state in the Union, and his success, com-
ing as it has from continual application to the details of his business ;
and a resolution to let each promotion be only the means to gain ;
another, has been of real encouragement and inspiration to them.
While Mr. Clark is next to the youngest president among those of the
various Hartford companies, he is the oldest fire underwriter in point
of years of service in Hartford. He is now in his forty-ninth year of
active work in the insurance business.

He married Caroline H, Robbins, daughter of Philemon E. Eob-
bins of Hartford, in May, 1863, who died in June, 1902. Five
children were born to them, two sons and three daughters, but only


the daughters have survived. Mr. Clark has traveled extensively in
this country, but his tastes are domestic, he is essentially a home
body, and the pleasures of his family circle have always been para-
mount to those of club life. He has a fine library in his beautiful
home on Farmington Avenue, and is a close student of affairs of the

He is an active member of the Connecticut Historical Society and
of the New England Society; a director of the Travelers Insurance
Company, the City Bank, the First National Bank, the Fidelity
Company, and several other organizations of the kind. He is a
trustee of the Society for Savings, the Mechanics Savings Bank, and
of the Holland Trust Company of New York City ; he is one of the
corporation of the Hartford Hospital and a trustee of the Eetreat for
the Insane. He was president of the National Board of Fire Under-
writers for 1896 and 1897, but declined reelection after most urgent
requests to serve again.

Mr. Clark served as an alderman from the old third ward from
1880 to 1882, and was chairman of the ordinance and printing com-
mittees. In 1882 he was appointed one of the board of water com-
missioners and served there for nine years, being re-appointed for
two terms. In 1890 he was one of the famous committee on Outdoor
Alms which brought about important reforms in city affairs.

With the same interest which he manifests in everything he
undertakes Mr. Clark has gone into politics. He is a staunch
Republican and a member of the Eepublican Club of Hartford. He
was a member of the noted "Wide Awakes" and took an active
interest in the doings of the organization in 1861, just before he
attained his majority. He is treasurer of the civil organization of
the *^ide Awakes" and paymaster on Major Rathbun's staff. He
was one of the presidents and vice-presidents of the Veteran Corps
of the Governor's Foot Guard, in which command his father was
also much interested.

Mr. Clark is connected with the First Baptist Church, being a
working member of the same, and is a generous supporter of all its
benevolent and charitable works.

His recreation is taken out of doors, gaining the muscle power
necessary for work in these times of competition. He is an enthusias-
tic oarsman and has been interested in rowing for many years, serving


as one of the fleet captains of the old Hartford navy before the war.
Most of his vacation hours are spent in this sport in his summer home
near Fenwick.

Through his whole life William Braddock Clark has been domi-
nated by the resolution to achieve success through work. All that he
has gained has been by honesty to himself and his employer. He is
rounding out his life in a manner that should be a working example
to every young man. Beginning at the lowest rung of the ladder
he has gained the topmost, testing and being tested. Probably if his
life were to be lived over again there would be found few things which
could have been done more painstakingly or with more thought as to
consequences. A man of real worth to community and country is Mr.
Clark, the character of man who has vindicated the spirit of the
handful of men from whom he came, who blazed the trail through the
wilderness and opened up the promised land for us. He is essentiaUy
an American gentleman in all that the term implies.

On August 30th, 1905, Mr. Clark married Mrs. Rachel W. Ewing,
at New Hartford, Connecticut.


ROBEETSON, ABEAM HEATON, lawyer and public man, was
born in New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, Sep-
tember 25th, 1850. He traces his ancestry to Deputy-Governor
Stephen Goodyear of Connecticut, who came from England sometime
between 1660 and 1670, and to Samuel Eobertson, who came from
Scotland in 1780 and was a merchant in Charleston, South Caro-
lina. Mr. Eobertson's father was John Brownlee Eobertson, by pro-
fession a physician, a man beloved for his courtesy and kindness of
heart. He was alderman of the city of New Haven, a member of the
General Assembly from New Haven, secretary of state of Connecti-
cut and postmaster and mayor of New Haven, Mr. Eobertson's
mother was Mabel Maria Heaton, a woman of strong character and
uplifting influence.

Brought up in a city and in an intellectual home atmosphere and
blessed with good health Mr. Eobertson had no difficulty in acquiring
the education he naturally desired. His chief interests as a boy were
in athletics and reading. His favorite books were those on history
and travel, and he has continued through his later life to find these
subjects the most helpful and interesting ones, outside of his pro-
fessional studies as a lawyer. He attended the Eussell Military
Academy in New Haven and then attended the Hopkins Grammar
School there. He was graduated from the Yale Academic Depart-
ment in 1872 and from the Columbia Law School in 1874 with the
degree of LL.B. Twenty years later, in 1894, Trinity College con-
ferred upon him the honorary degree of A.M.

In 1875 Mr. Eobertson began the practice of law in New Haven
and the following year he married Graziella Eidgway, by whom he has
had three children. He has continued steadily in the practice of
law and his rise in his profession has been proportionally constant.
Both in connection with his profession and outside of it he has held
many public offices. From 1878 to 1882 he was alderman of New
Haven. From 1880 to 1882 he was a member of the General Assem-


bly and during that time he served on the committees on railroad,
contested elections, and the judiciary. He was State senator in 1885
and 1886, judge of probate court for district of New Haven from
1887 to 1895, corporation counsel for New Haven from 1899 to 1901,
Democratic candidate for governor of Connecticut in 1904 and Demo-
cratic nominee for United States senator in 1905. Judge Eobertson
was an aide on Governor Ingersoll's staff from 1873 to 1877 with the
rank of colonel.

Added to his public services and his professional work Judge
Eobertson has many business, social, and church interests. He is a
director in the Southern New England Telephone Company, in the
New Haven Gas Light Company, the New Haven County National
Bank, the New Haven Ice Company, the Naugatuck Eailroad Com-
pany, the Meriden, Middletown and Waterbury Eailroad Company,
the Northampton Eailroad Company, and the Young Men's Institute
of New Haven. He is a member of the Graduates Club of New
Haven, of the University Club of New York, the Psi Upilson College
Fraternity, the Sons of the American Eevolution, the Society of
Colonial Wars, and the Yale secret society of Wolf's Head. In creed
he is an Episcopalian and he is a warden of Trinity Church, New
Haven. His favorite recreation is horseback riding. Mr. Eobertson
has written several treatises on municipal government and various
opinions on questions of municipal law in the Municipal Year Book,
which embody his great public spirit and clear insight into legal and
municipal affairs.


BKASTOW, LEWIS ORSMOND, D.D., professor of practical
theology at Yale University, is a native of Maine. He was
born in Brewer, Penobscot County, on March 23rd, 1834,
the son of Deodat Brastow and Eliza Blake Brastow. His father's
ancestors were English, his mother's maternal ancestors French,
and representatives of both sides were among the settlers in Massachu-
setts in the eighteenth century. Also they were to be found among
the fighters for independence in the Eevolutionary War, one paternal
ancestor on the staff of General Washington. Deodat Brastow was
a generous, frank man, of intellectual vivacity and of much forceful-
ness. Following the business of a merchant, he was also deeply inter-
ested in all that pertained to education and held various offices con-
nected with the public school system.

Lewis Orsmond Brastow was blessed with a strong constitution —
healthy, robust, and active. As a boy he was fond of boating, of
natural scenery, and of mountain climbing. During his village life
his work at gardening, caring for the live stock, handling carpenter's
tools and the like gave him appreciation of the training of the hand
and eye and of the value of attention, trustworthiness, and sentiment,
whatever the task. Over his moral and spiritual upbringing, his
father and mother exerted a powerful influence. While a lover of
books and having a predilection for the study of foreign languages,
he believes that the lines of reading which have had most effect
upon his career are classical and English literature, history, philos-
ophy, and standard works in theology.

Fitting himself for college under private tutors, he entered
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Me., and received his degree of B.A.
in 1857. His high stand won him membership in Phi Beta Kappa
and he also was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. Such had been the
religious bent of his life that he went at once to Bangor Theological
Seminary, where, after a full course in divinity, he was graduated in
1860. His Alma Mater conferred upon him the degree of D.D. and
in 1885 Yale gave him the degree of M.A.


His first pastorate was with the South Congregational Church at
Saint Johnsbury, Vt., 1861 to 1873. During part of this time, from
September, 1862, to July, 1863, he was serving in the field as chaplain
of the Twelfth Eegiment of Vermont Volunteer Infantry, in the
Civil War. From September, 1873, to May, 1884, he was pastor
of the First Congregational Church of Burlington, Vt. Then he was
appointed professor of practical theology in the Yale Divinity School,
a position which he has held since 1885.

His regard for the general public welfare has led him to give of
his services in the interests of good civil government, and in addition
to his lectures on theological topics he has delivered occasional ad-
dresses on educational and political subjects. In 1880 he was chosen
a member of the Vermont Constitutional Convention. In politics
he is an Independent, but has voted the Democratic national ticket
since James G. Blaine was nominated for the presidency by the Ee-
publicans in 1884. In ecclesiastical affiliations he is a Congrega-
tionalist. In 1904 he published a work entitled, "Eepresentative
Modern Preachers."

For exercise the professor has indulged in long rambles, horse-
back riding and boating. He is a member of a literary club in New

He married Miss Martha Brewster Ladd on May 15th, 1872.
They have had three children, all of whom are living. The pro-
fessor's home is at No. 146 Cottage Street, New Haven.

Asked what suggestions he would offer to young Americans as to
principles, methods, and habits which he believed would contribute
most to the strengthening of sound ideals in our American life and
would most help young people to attain true success in life, the doctor
replied : "A high conception of the value of individual manhood, con-
scientious fidelity to trusts, strong moral convictions, courageous de-
votion to principles, freedom from bondage to any man or set of


SMITH, HERBERT KNOX, lawyer, deputy commissioner of
corporations, former member of legislature and many times
a public officer, whose home is in Hartford, Connecticut, was
born in Chester, Hampden County, Massachusetts, November 17th,
1869. His early ancestors in this country were Robert Smith, born
in 1700 and a member of the Long Island family of St. George's
Manor, and Judith Fountain, his wife, born in Greenwich, Connecti-
cut, 1724. Mr. Smith's father was Edward Alfred Smith, a Con-
gregational clergyman and fellow of the Yale University Corporation,
a man of high character and of great modesty and unselfishness.
Mr. Smith's mother was Melissa E. Knox Smith. He was brought
up in the country and the love of nature and rural life was one
of his strongest boyhood traits. History, law, and economics were
his favorite fields of study and reading. He attended private school
and then entered the Lawrenceville Preparatory School. He was
an ardent devotee of baseball, tennis, shooting, camping, and aU
out-of-door sports, and while at Lawrenceville he played on the
school nine. He entered Yale Academic Department with the class
of 1891 and after his graduation entered the Yale Law School,
where he received his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1895.

In October, 1895, the fall following his completion of the law
course, Mr. Smith began legal practice in Hartford and he con-
tinued in the general practice of law in that city until 1903, when
he went to Washington to take his present government position. In
addition to his practice Mr. Smith has had many business and public
positions. Since 1899 he has been a director of the American School
for the Deaf; from 1900 to 1903 he was chairman of the First
Ecclesiastical Society (Congregational) of Hartford; from 1900 to
1903 he was chairman of the Sixth Ward Republican Committee;
he served two terms, 1900-1902, on the Hartford Common
Council; he represented Hartford in the State Legislature in
the term 1903-1905 and was a member of the judiciary com-



mittee of that legislature; he was chairman of the Eepublican Town
Committee in 1903, acting solicitor of the Department of Com-
merce and Labor in 1903, a member of the United States Commis-
sion of Investigation upon the Slocum Disaster in 1904, and he has
been a delegate to various city and state political conventions.

At present Mr. Smith is Deputy Commissioner of Corporations
at Washington, to which position he was appointed in August, 1903;
he is a trustee of the Hartford Theological Seminary and of the
Wadsworth Atheneum, a member of the Park Board of Hartford,
and a director in the Farmington Savings Bank. He is an active Yale
alumnus and was for three years secretary and treasurer of the Yale
Alumni Association of Hartford. He is a member of the scholarly
college society of Phi Beta Kappa, of the Elihu Club of Yale, of the
Yale Club of New York, the Metropolitan Club of Washington, and
the Hartford Club of his home city.

Though Herbert Knox Smith is still a young man he has accom-
plished a great deal more than many a man of much riper years and
his advice is as forceful and adequate as though it had the weight of
a long life's experience behind it. He believes that "the best and
most necessary form of patriotism is active attention to civic duties,
and that the basis for the most lasting success in life is honesty, the
maintenance of unselfish ideals of service, and the thorough per-
formance of all work, no matter how unimportant."


MAESH, FRANCIS WANZER, banker, of Bridgeport, Con-
necticut, was born near New Milford, Litchfield County,
Connecticut, December 18th, 1846. He is descended from
William Marsh of Boston, a commissary in the Indian War in 1636
who was wounded in the Narragansett fight. This William was a
brother of James Marsh of Kent, England, a captain in the royal
army who was beheaded by Charles I. at Hedgehill, which tragedy
was the cause of William leaving college and coming to America. On
his mother's side Mr. Marsh is descended from Daniel and Mary
Brownson Hine of Waterbury, founders of the Hine family in Amer-
ica. His parents were Laura Hine and John Buckley Marsh, a far-
mer, whose most pronounced characteristics were love of home and
family, strict integrity, and hard, strenuous industry. The home life
of this family was ideal in its simplicity, in its Christian atmosphere,
and in the devotion of each member to the others. There were nine
other children beside Mr, Marsh and, as the family means were most
moderate, he had plenty of hard work to do in his boyhood and his
education was confined to that of country schools. He helped on the
farm at home and attended school until he was seventeen, when he
went to work in a country store. In 1866, when he was twenty years
old, Mr. Marsh took a position in a dry goods store in Bridgeport, re-
maining there one year, and going from that position into the
insurance business and savings bank, where he remained until
1886. Commencing as office boy he was promoted from time to time
until he became treasurer of the bank.

In 1886 a partnership was formed. Marsh, Merwin & Lemmon,
combining private banking with insurance and real estate. The busi-
ness grew steadily along all three lines until about 1901 when the
firm organized two companies, the Bridgeport Trust Company, with
a charter from the State of Connecticut, which has now a
capital of $200,000 with a fine surplus, and the Bridgeport
Land and Title Company, also with a State charter, which
has now a capital of $100,000. The building up of these com-
panies has been Mr. Marsh's life work, and as president of the


trust company he has a position of well merited prominence in the
banking world. The forces which he has brought to bear in the
attainment of his success have been a constant determination to
labor honorably for a position in life, and pride in doing well every-
thing he had to do.

Outside of his business life, and by no means secondary to it,
Mr. Marsh's greatest interest has been in his church life. He is a
Presbyterian in his religious affiliations, and his activity in the work
of that church has taken much of his time. He has been an elder of
the First Presbyterian Church, Sunday school superintendent,
director and treasurer of the Young Men's Christian Association,
and a member of both local and state committees on Christian
Endeavor work. His church work, business interests, and home life
have so fully occupied Mr. Marsh that he has never held or wished
public office, though he is a consistent and loyal Eepublican.

On May 17th, 1871, Mr. Marsh married Emma Clifford Wilson,
who is a daughter of the late Isaac Wilson, a highly respected citizen
of early Bridgeport and at one time a member of the city council;
he was descended from the old Wilson family of Leeds, England,
upon whose land the city was built, Mrs. Marsh's mother was Miss
Elizabeth Shepard, a direct descendant in the eighth generation from
William Bradford, Colonial Governor of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
A daughter of his son. Major William Bradford, married Samuel
Shepard of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mrs. Marsh is an active
member in various literary, social, and musical clubs; a director in
the Y. W. C. A., the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Y, M, C, A,, and a
daughter of the Mary Silliman Chapter D, A. E. and former record-
ing secretary. She is an active member of the First Presbyterian
Church, a teacher in the Sunday school, and a leader in philanthropic
church work. Four children have been bom to Mr. and Mrs. Marsh,
Egbert Shepard, Violet Shepard, Clifford Wanzer and Mabel Ehoades.
Their home is at 852 Park Avenue, Bridgeport.

Mr. Marsh's success as a man and as a banker is plainly accounted
for in the precepts he gives to others and which have undoubtedly
guided his career. He advocates first of all 'Tiigh ideals of purity,
honesty, and industry," and says, "Abide your time while hard at
work; think more of how you are doing than what you are getting.
Help the other fellow. Make him work hard to get ahead of you, but
if he does, tell him you are glad."


TYLER, MOEEIS FRANKLIN", lawyer, president of the
Southern New England Telephone Company, was born in
New Haven, Connecticut, August 12th. 1848. His father,
Morris Tyler, was a wholesale manufacturer of boots and shoes in
New Haven, Connecticut, a man of uprightness and directness, who
served his native city as councilman, as alderman, and as mayor, and
his state as lieutenant governor in 1871 and 1872. He married Mary
Frisbie, daughter of Ezekiel and Elizabeth (Frisbie) Butler of West-
port, New York State.

Morris Franklin Tyler was a strong and hearty child, and early
showed his interest in books and study. He was brought up in the
city and was afforded every advantage that could serve to train his
mind and, after leaving the public grammar school, was graduated at
the Hillhouse High School and at once matriculated at Y^ale
University, where he was graduated A.B. 1870, A.M. 1873, and LL.B.
1873. Adopting the profession of law was the result of circumstances
which seemed to lead up to it and he was admitted to the bar im-
mediately after taking his bachelor degree at Yale University Law
School. He opened a law oflSce in New Haven, Connecticut, July 1st,

His early political affiliation was with the Republican party, but
the incidents attending the campaign between the Republican candi-
date for president, James G. Blaine, and Grover Cleveland, the
candidate of the Democratic party, compelled him to vote with the
Democrats and from that time he has remained independent in
politics. His church affiliation is with the Congregational denomi-
nation. In March, 1883, he was elected president of the Southern
New England Telephone Company, and the growth of this
enterprise has occurred under his management. He served as execu-
tive secretary to Governor Hobart B. Bigelow of Connecticut in 1881

Online LibraryNorris Galpin OsbornMen of mark in Connecticut; ideals of American life told in biographies and autobiographies of eminent living Americans (Volume 1) → online text (page 12 of 30)