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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and he has held many public offices. He was a member of the old
Borough Board, city councilman for two years, and president of the
Stamford Board of Trade for five years. His prominence in public
affairs is further proved by his being a hospital director, a bank
director, secretary of the Gas and Electric Company, and president
of the Stamford Savings Bank. Mr. Lounsbury is a Mason and a
member of the Union Lodge, F. and A. M. He is a trustee of the
Presbyterian Church of which he is a member.


Mr. Lounsbury's greatest enjoyment in life is found in his business
and in his home interests. In 1863 he married Anna Perry Samuel,
and, of the four children born to them, there are three now living.
Home influence and a strong desire for success have been the
dominant forces in Mr. Lounsbur/s profitable life. He attributes
his success to the principles of industry, integrity, determination, and
ambition inculcated when he was a boy on the farm by his father and ■


BANKS, ELMOKE SHEKWOOD, lawyer, Judge of Probate of
Fairfield, Connecticut, and for several terms a representative
in the General Assembly, who was born in Fairfield, Connecti-
cut, May 24th, 1866, is a descendant of John Banks, who came from
England and settled in Fairfield about 1640 and was lieutenant,
boundary commissioner, and in many ways a prominent public man
of his day. Mr. Banks is the son of Simon Banks, a merchant and
farmer, who was assessor and a member of the school board and a
man whose most conspicuous traits were industry, persistence, and
honesty. Hannah Dwyer Banks, his mother, died when he was but
two years old, but his stepmother filled her place in his life and
exerted the best of influences upon his character.

Elmore Banks was a strong, robust, country boy, who delighted
in athletics and particularly inclined to baseball. He was fond of
reading and found the translations of Cicero and Virgil and the
study of orations and oratory his most helpful literature. He was
able to secure a thorough education, though obliged to work during
vacations in his father's store and on the farm. This early work
inculcated habits of industry and economy that have been of lasting
value. He attended the Hopkins Grammar School at New Haven
and entered the academic department of Yale University with the
class of 1888, but left during his sophomore year. He afterwards
entered Yale Law School, where he was graduated in 1895. In 1890
he taught school in Kentucky, where he met Beulah May Galloway,
whom he married in April, 1898. From 1890 to 1893 he conducted
a store, in 1894 he became town clerk of Fairfield, and in 1895 he
was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law. In 1896,
the year after the opening of his legal career, Mr. Banks became
Judge of Probate of Fairfield and he still holds this oflBce. He has
continued in the practice of law with success in the firm of Davenport
& Banks of Bridgeport. He has been attorney for the town of Fair-
field since 1896 and was attorney for the County Commissioners in


In politics Judge Banks is a Kepublican of great activity and promi-
nence. He represented Fairfield in the General Assembly in 1901,
1903, and 1905, and was leader of the House in 1903. During the
session of 1901 he was chairman of the committee on insurance and
in 1903 and 1904 was chairman of the committee on judiciary
and rules. He was also a member of the committee on the revision
of Statutes. His favorite relaxation from business is in out-of-door
sports such as baseball, horseback riding, rowing, hunting, and

The law was Mr. Banks' own choice of a profession and he con-
siders that the strongest encouragement and incentive in attaining
success in that profession has been the influence of his wife. Of that
success, which has been true success in every sense of the word, he
says: "I have had to work hard for all 1 have accomplished and,
while that has been but little, I am reasonably well satisfied with the
results thus far achieved. Three things only are necessary to success —
honesty, work, and fair ability. With these anyone in good health
can succeed."


IN" 1861, Willie Olcott Burr was supplementing his common school
education with a course in the Harris Private School for Boys,
which was situated on Main Street in Hartford, about where
the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company's building now
stands. His intention, promoted by his father, was to continue his
education through college and round it out with a trip abroad. But
education of a sterner kind and such as few young men are privileged
to receive was to come to him. He would have preferred to have the
academic course first, and he himself never considers his life well
rounded because of lack of it, but the grim events at the outbreak
of the Civil War claimed his faculties and shaped a life career for
which Connecticut history is grateful. On May 13th, 1861, following
the attack on Fort Sumter, Mr. Burr was at his father's side in the
editorial rooms of the Hartford Times.

It was a small establishment compared with its present splendid
proportions, on the very same corner of Grove and Main streets now
occupied by it. The post ofiice was on the ground floor of the corner,
where the business office of the paper now is; the Times had rooms
above and a small building to the rear where the mechanical depart-
ment's plant stands to-day. Mr. Burr's father, Alfred Edmond Burr,
— the stalwart man who had been editor of the paper for twenty years
already and who long since had been recognized as a tremendous
force in the affairs of the Democratic party and in what makes for
civic welfare, — and Mr. Burr's uncle, Franklin L. Burr, the sole
partner, had few men around them then to handle and pass on to the
eager public the news which those feverish days so quickly began
to make as never before. An opportunity even greater than could then
be estimated, it was more than that; it was Mr. Burr's call of duty
to go into the newspaper office.

As the paper grew and the work was systematized, he became head
of the city department and occupied other responsible positions in
turn. In 1890, when old age began to make the cares of management



onerous for the father, the son relieved him of the most of his
burden, and in 1894 the father made over the whole great property
and entrusted it to the son. Mr. Burr, the elder, died on January
8th, 1900, serene in the consciousness of the success of his paper and
of the maintenance of its sixty years' standard by his son.

To be the head of a large newspaper precludes the possibility of
his mingling in other affairs, however strong the call from his
fellow citizens. Such a career is known and felt by the people, but
rather in an impersonal way; it is the paper they see and not the
"man behind" it, outside of the immediate circle of home. One
appointment he did accept, and from a Republican governor, and
that was to a position on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut
State Prison. Governor Lorrin A. Cooke appointed him in 1897,
when important work was to be done.

Mr. Burr was born September 37th, 1843. May, 1906, saw the
completion of forty-five years of effective but impersonal public work
on his paper. He comes of a family that has held high place since
Hartford's beginning. Three of his ancestors were among the
original proprietors of the town. Benjamin, the progenitor of the
Hartford branch of the family, was one of the founders in 1635
and an original proprietor in 1639. From him Willie Olcott Burr
is descended through Thomas, Thomas (2), James and Alfred Ed-
mond Burr, whose wife was Sarah A., wife of Abner Booth of
Meriden. On his grandmother's side he is descended from Thomas
Olcott, also an original proprietor in Hartford in 1639, a merchant,
and one of the founders of the trade and commerce of the Colony
of Connecticut. The line of descent is through Samuel, Thomas
(2), Joseph, Joseph (2), and Lucretia (Olcott) Burr, wife of James.

Mr. Burr was married May 21st, 1874, to Miss Angle L. Lincoln
of Upton, Massachusetts. They have one daughter, Florence Lin-
coln Burr.


KEELER, EDWIN OLMSTEAD, president of the Fairfield
County National Bank, of the Southern New England Whole-
sale Groeer}'^ Association, of the Norwalk Club Company, and
otherwise prominent in business and finance, was born at Ridgefield,
Fairfield County, Connecticut, January 12th, 1846. He is of English
descent, his first ancestor in America being Ralph Keeler, who came
from tlie mother country to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1640. Mr.
Keeler's grandmother, Anne Belden Olmstead, was the daughter
of Azar Belden, born 1749, who was an officer in the Revolutionary
War. His father was Jonah Charles Keeler, a prosperous farmer.
His mother, Henrietta Keeler, died when he was but seven years old.

Unlike most country boys Mr. Keeler had a delicate constitution,
but the judicious use of physical culture and the determination to
make the most of his strength partially overcame the obstacle of ill
health, and Mr. Keeler's life has been an unusually full and active
one. His early home life was simple and wholesome, for the Bible
was the dominant influence and the principal field of study in the
Keeler homestead. Mr. Keeler was educated at William 0. Sey-
mours private school in Ridgefield, and, after an eight years' course
there, attended the New Haven Business College, where he was
graduated in 1865. Shortly after his graduation Mr. Keeler went to
New York to work as a bookkeeper. Three years later, in May, 1868,
he married Sarah Velina Whiting, by whom he has had two children,
Inez Rosaline and Rutherford Ballau.

Returning from New York Mr. Keeler settled in Norwalk and
engaged in the wholesale grocery business, and was gradually pro-
moted from bookkeeper to president of the company. Besides his
responsible positions as president of the Norwalk Club Company, the
Southern New England Wholesale Grocery. Association, and the
Fairfield National Bank, Mr. Keeler is also president of the Norwalk
Steamboat Company, vice-president of the South Norwalk Trust
Company, and director in several other corporations.


Mr. Keeler, who is a devoted Republican, has been as active and as
prominent in politics as he has in business. He was the first mayor
of the city of Norwalk, serving from 1894 to 1895. He represented
the town of Norwalk in the State Legislature during 1893 and 1895,
and was senator from the thirteenth district in 1897 and 1899 and
lieutenant governor from 1901 to 1903.

Business and politics have by no means been the only interests in
Mr. Keeler's life. He is an active worker in the Congregational
Church and has been chairman of the committee of the First Con-
gregational Church of Norwalk for twenty-five years. He is both a
Mason and an Odd Fellow and in the latter order he has held the
chair of Koble Grand. Mr. Keeler is also a member of the Norwalk


M ELLEN, CHARLES SANGER, president of the New York,
New Haven and Hartford Railroad, was born in Lowell,
Massachusetts, August 16th, 1851, the son of George K.
and Hannah M. (Sanger) Mellen. His father was a country mer-
chant. His ancestors emigrated from England in 1630 and settled in
Watertown, Massachusetts.

President Mellen passed the early years of his life in the city of
Concord, New Hampshire, where he attended the grammar and high
schools, and was graduated from the latter in 1869. After leav-
ing the high school, he was forced to earn a living for himself and
those dependent upon him, and at the age of eighteen he entered
railway service as a clerk in the cashier's office of the Northern New
Hampshire Railroad, at Concord. Thus by mere chance, or from
circumstances over which he had no control, he entered a field of
work in which he was destined to win for himself wealth, influence,
and a national reputation. It might also he said that be gained his
health in the railway service, for until after he had been in this
occupation for several years he had always had a frail constitution.
To-day he declares that railroad affairs are his sport, his amusement,
his chief form of exercise, and his best method of relaxation from the
cares of life. His marked success in the railroad world is no doubt
due in a large measure to the fact that he has always thrown his
entire heart and soul into his work.

After remaining in the Concord office for nearly three years, he
went to St. Albans, Vermont, to become clerk to the chief engineer
of the Central Vermont Railroad. After several months in this posi-
tion he returned to the employ of the Northern New Hampshire
Railroad, serving for seven years respectively as clerk, cashier, chief
clerk, and assistant treasurer. By this time he commenced to have
an intelligent grasp of many phases of railroad management. In
1880 he became assistant to the manager of the Boston and Lowell
Railroad. Although he retained this position but one year, even in


that short time he worked out a plan for abolishing the grade crossings
north of Boston and for consolidating the terminals of all the
northern railroads. His next position was that of auditor for the
Boston and Lowell and the Concord railroads. In 1888 he resigned
this position to enter the service of the Union Pacific System as pur-
chasing agent. Several months later he was promoted to assistant
general manager; and in several months more he was appointed
general traffic manager. The four years during which he managed the
traffic of the Union Pacific earned for him a national reputation as
an able "traffic man." In 1892 he was offered and accepted the
position of general manager of the New York and New England Rail-
road. He served here only a few months when he was induced
to accept the second vice-presidency of the New York, New Haven
and Hartford Railroad. For five years he remained in this position,
gaining in experience and adding to his reputation. When
in 1897 he became president of the Northern Pacific Railroad, the
people of New England were as sorry to lose his valuable services
as the Northern Pacific was anxious to gain them. Commenting on '
his election as president of the Northern Pacific, the New Haven
Register of August 22nd, said: "It is due reward to a man who has !
worked his way up from the bottom of the ladder and has met with :
success by hard and conscientious work." Said the Boston Herald !
of about the same date : "The selection of Mr. Mellen is pleasing ■
to the people of New England, where he had been long and favorably ■'
known. Mr. Mellen has not the easiest task to manage a property
with a history like that of the Northen Pacific road, but his dis- :
interestedness may harmonize all factions." According to the New
York Times: "Mr. Mellen is one of the best equipped and most ex- ■
perienced railroad men in the United States." The New York World
declared that his retirement from the New York, New Haven and
Hartford Road was almost "an official calamity." "C. S. Mellen," de-
clared the Hartford Post^ "will fill the office of president of the !
Northern Pacific Railroad acceptably, being a railroad man of great
ability and wide experience. The "Consolidated" will miss his ser-
vices, which have contributed materially to the improvements made '
in the Connecticut railroad during the past few years." President
E. B. Thomas of the Erie Railroad, and director in the Northern
Pacific, declared : "I can heartily indorse the selection of Mr. Mellen.


He is a strong, capable man of long experience in every way and
thoroughly equipped for the position."

For six years Mr. Mellen remained president of the Northern
Pacific and, during this time, he fulfilled the most extravagant expec-
tations of his friends. He converted a poorly built road into one
of the best constructed systems of the country, and made its net
earnings almost equal to its gross earnings at the time he took charge
of the road. In 1903 he resigned from the presidency of the
Northern Pacific and became president of the New York, New
Haven and Hartford Eailroad. This time it was the West that was
sorry to lose, and New England that was proud to gain his services.
"The Northern Pacific loses the best president it ever had;" and
"The New Haven but honors herself in securing his services," seemed
to be the consensus of opinion expressed at that time by the press
throughout the country.

Natural ability, energy, determination, wide experience, and an
entire devotion to his work are the chief factors in President Mel-
len's success. He is faithful to his friends, easily approachable, and
absolutely independent. He had the courage to tell J. Pierpont Mor-
gan that he would support President Eoosevelt for renomination,
and that he .had great respect for the President for doing his duty
in attacking the Northern Securities' Merger in the courts. He
recognizes worth, and despises sham, whether either quality be found
in the smallest clerk or a railroad president.

President Mellen has been twice married ; first in 1875 to Marion
Beardsley Foster, and again in 1893 to Katharine Lloyd Livingston,
He has had eight children, six of whom are living. His home in
New Haven is at No. 389 Whitney Avenue. He is not a member of
any religious denomination. In politics he has always voted the
Eepublican ticket. Ambitious young men who wish to imitate his
successful career should heed his laconic advice: "Work harder;
Bpend less."


A LLING, JOHN" WESLEY, one of the ablest and most promi-
/-% nent lawyers in his State, was born in the town of Orange,
New Haven County, Connecticut, October 24th, 1841. His
father was Charles Wyllys Ailing, a New England farmer, and his
mother was Lucy Booth, a women whose strong character had pow-
erful influence in training her son. Charles Ailing was at times
selectman and grand juror, and was also a sergeant of militia in
the War of 1812. He was a man of thrift, energy, and independence,
a man who owed no one a debt. Roger Ailing, who came from Eng-
land, and was one of the first settlers of the colony of New Haven in
1638, ib another and earlier ancestor; in fact the ancestor, in this
country, of all who spell the name "Ailing" and of some who spell
the name "Allen."

Mr. Alling's boyhood was spent on a country farm, where he
led the life of a typical New England farmer's son. In the summers,
"the working season," he toiled on the farm from sunrise till dark.
In the winter he attended the district school. Endowed with perfect
health the boy, Jolin Ailing, was diligent in his farming and in read-
ing all the books that came within his reach. He learned in these
early days of his life the lesson of hard work and its blessings, and it
is to the labor and companionship of the vigorous, healthy farm life
that Mr. Ailing owes his gratitude for the strongest formative influ-
ences of his life. These early influences instilled principles of per-
severance and self-dependence that insured his success in his future
work. He loved the busy, active farm life, but reading was his favor-
ite pursuit.

After outgrowing the district school, Mr. Ailing prepared at
Wilbraham Academy for Yale University, and was graduated from
that university with the class of 1862, of which class he was the salu-
tatorian. From 1862 till 1864, he attended the Yale law school,
earning the degree of Master of Arts in addition to his Bachelor
degree. At the close of these two years of professional study, Mr.


Ailing entered immediately upon the practice of law, beginning his
life work as a lawyer in New Haven in September, 1864. This choice
of a career was solely personal preference.

On October 10, 1867, Mr. Ailing married Constance Adelaide
Parker. To them three children have been born, of whom two are
now living. From 1870-73, Mr. Ailing was prosecuting officer of New
Haven, and this has been liis only public office. He has held the
responsible positions of director and counsel for the Southern New
England Telephone Co., of the Security Insurance Co., of the United
Illuminating Co. and of the Merchants' National Bank of New Haven
for the last fifteen or twenty years, and has been counsel for many
other important corporations. For fifteen years he was a vestryman of
Trinity Church, New Haven, being a communicant and active mem-
ber of the Prostestant Episcopal Church. In political faith Mr. Ailing
is a Eepublican, though he voted for Mr. Cleveland the last time he
was elected, as he, with many others, agreed with the Democratic
platform on the tariff issue.

Mr. Ailing bestows advice upon young men with reluctance bom
of a fear of its uselessness, but it is sound and weighty, giving, as it
does, the keynote of his own success. "Whatever you undertake to
do, that do with all the power there is in you, and never give up until
you have to. Don't mind partial failure or mistakes or blunders.
Everybody makes them. But get up and go at it again. I don't be-
lieve that many persons with this spirit fail."


HOOKER, THOMAS, the president of the New Haven Trust
Company, was born in Macon, Georgia, September 3rd, 1849,
the son of Richard Hooker, a clergyman, and Aurelia Dwight
Hooker. He is a lineal descendant of the historic Thomas Hooker,
whose part in early American history as a divine and as a Colonial
settler and the founder of Connecticut is well known to every
American. On the maternal side Mr, Hooker is descended from
Jonathan Edwards, the famous early theologian, metaphysician, and
philosopher, and also from John Dwight, who came from England
to Dedham, Massachusetts, in Colonial days, and from Timothy
Dwight, the honored president of Yale College from 1795 to 1817.

The Thomas Hooker of to-day, although he was born in Georgia,
came to New Haven at an early age, and has made his home in that
city ever since. He prepared for college at the Hopkins Grammar
School, and from there entered Yale University. He was graduated
in 1869, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and has ever since
kept in close touch with the venerable institution. He became con-
nected with the banking interests of the city in 1895, and in 1903 was
made vice-president of the First National Bank of New Haven.
Later in the same year he became president of the New Haven Trust
Company. For ten years from 1894 to 1904 he served on the board
of education of the city of New Haven.

On the 30th of June, 1874, Mr. Hooker married Sarah A. Bowles,
the oldest daughter of the distinguished Samuel Bowles, the former
editor of the Springfield Republican. Three children have been born
to Mr. and Mrs. Hooker, two of whom are now living; the oldest,
Richard, is connected with the Springfield Republican^ and is now
acting as its special correspondent in Washington, while the younger,
Thomas, Jr., is just completing his law studies. Mr. Hooker has
devoted himself to business, and has no social or fraternal ties beyond
the various clubs to which a man of his position would naturally
belong. In religious views he unites with the Congregational Church.


He has refrained from public honors and his only public service has
been his membership of the school board.

Mr. Hooker was a Varsity baseball player in college, when that
sport was in its infancy, and has ever since retained his love for
wholesome outdoor recreation. This has kept him young in his
feelings, and as keen as formerly in his sense of humor.


WHITE, HENEY CHAELES, lawyer and former lecturer at
Yale University, of New Haven, Connecticut, was born in
Utica, New York, September 1st, 1856. His father, Thomas
Broughton White, was a merchant and his mother was Catharine
Lydia Stewart White, a daughter of Samuel and Catharine Barton
Stewart of Utica. Henry Charles White prepared for college at
Phillips Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire, and then entered Yale
University. He took his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1881 and then
entered the Yale Law School, where he took his Bachelor of Laws
degree in 1883 and his Master of Laws in 1884. He chose New
Haven for the field of his professional work and opened a law office
there in 1883, immediately after taking his law degree. From 1886
to 1893 he lectured at Yale on political science. In 1892 he formed
a partnership with Leonard M. Daggett for the practice of law and in

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 15 of 30)