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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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1901 John Q. Tilson became a member of the firm, which is known
as White, Daggett & Tilson.

Although his practice has occupied him closely Mr, White has
made a place for business and public interests and service. He
served on legislative commissions in 1889, 1894-95 and from 1899
to 1902. He was a member of the Board of Finance of the city of
New Haven in 1897 and he is now a director in the First National
Bank and in the New Haven Trust Company. In politics he is
affiliated with the Eepublican party. His chief social and fraternal
ties are membership in the Graduates Club of New Haven and in
the Yale secret society of Skull and Bones. His religious convictions
attach him to the Congregational Church. On the fifth of May,
1903, Mr. White married Lucy Schwab, daughter of Gustav and
Eliza von Post Schwab of New York.

Henry Charles White has been described and is generally known as
"a sound lawyer, a public spirited citizen, a close reader of serious
literature, and a trusted adviser and counselor.'*





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ORANGE MERWIN

MEEWIN, ORANGE, president of the Bridgeport Land and
Title Company and vice-president of the Bridgeport Trust
Company, was born in New Milford, Litchfield County,
Connecticut, on August 21st, 1854. He is descended from good
Colonial stock. Miles Merwin came to America from Wales in 1645
and settled in Milford. John Peet, the first of his maternal ancestors
to emigrate to America, reached Connecticut in 1635. His father,
Horace, and his grandfather. Orange, were public spirited citizens.
The former was a representative in the State House of Representatives
for several terms and the latter was a member of Congress from Con-
necticut from 1831 to 1825.

Young Merwin's early life was spent on a farm where, under
the direction of his parents, he developed those habits of industry
and attention to detail that to-day characterize his business and social
life. His school training was received in the public schools in New
Milford and at the Golden Hill Institute in Bridgeport. At the age
9f sixteen he began to earn his own livelihood as a shipping clerk
in Dabney Carr's Shirt Factory in Bridgeport. Later he became
clerk in the People's Savings Bank, a position which he held for
thirteen years, after which he became a member of the old banking
firm of Marsh, Merwin & Lemmon. Since 1897 he has been presi-
dent of the Bridgeport Land and Title Company and vice-president
of the Bridgeport Trust Company since its organization, in 1901.
He has been fire commissioner of the city for five years and is
treasurer of the local Y. M. C. A. and of the Boys' Club. In politics
he has always been a Republican; in the Masonic Order he has
reached the thirty-second degree ; he is a member of the Congregational
Church. He was president of the Bridgeport Republican Club for
three years and is a member also of the Contemporary, of the Sea-
side, and of the Rooftree and Seaside Outing clubs, and also of the
Sons of Colonial Wars. Driving, fishing, and hunting are his
favorite sports.

In 1877 Mr. Merwin was married to Mary Clifford Beach. They
have one child, Horace Beach Merwin.



EUGENE LAMB RICHARDS

PROFESSOE of Mathematics in Yale University" is the formal
title of Eugene Lamb Eichards. Equations with x and y,
unknown and variable quantities, are worked out of books and
attested by mathematical apparatus, but there is a "personal
equation" where x and y reveal themselves and are constant, attested
by daily life. Such an equation is expressed when Yale students or
graduates of the past thirty years and more say affectionately "Dickie
Eichards/' The title they would give him would be "professor of
physical development and manliness."

Eugene Lamb Eichards comes of a sturdy race. Samuel Eichards
settled in Norwalk, Connecticut, during the time of Queen Anne's War,
which ended in 1713. His home had been in Staffordshire, England.
Anthony Lamb of London came over and took up his residence in
New York City where, it is particularly worthy of note in this sketch,
he was the first maker of mathematical instruments in America.
Another ancestor was Eobert Treat, the valiant captain whose vic-
tories over the Indians at last won security for the colonists of Hart-
ford and New Haven — the man who first established a military
organization in Connecticut and who was made governor by the grate-
ful citizens. For he was wise in council as in war. General John
Lamb, a descendant of Anthony, brought honor to his name in the
Eevolutionary period. He was one of the founders of the Sons of
Liberty in Few York City. He was wounded and taken prisoner
while with Montgomery in the attack on Quebec. Later he was
appointed to the command of West Point after Arnold's traitorous
conduct and when special care was requisite in the selection of his
successor.

The professor, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, December
27th, 1838, is the son of Timothy Pickering Eichards, a broker, and
Agnes Treat Lamb. As a child he gave small promise of becoming the
bronzed, vigorous man of to-day. Early in his "teens," the story
was read to him of some great man who had mastered physical



EUGENE LAMB RICHARDS 283

weakness and had become strong. The man's name vanished from
memory, but the precept of his life remains through the years. The
youth adopted regular hours of sleep and exercise, rose at half-past
five, took a cold bath, and began at once upon his studies. Though
he was decidedly of literary and scholarly tastes, like his father before
him, also like his father he was fond of athletic exercises, and the
*'sana mens'' soon began to find itself "in sano corpore"
Most unfortunately, however, in his junior year at Yale he received
an injury to his spine. With characteristic fortitude, he not only
went on with his studies but in his senior year took a seat in the
Yale crew that rowed Harvard at Lake Quinsigamond in 1860. Such
mental and physical persistency after the injury carried its penalty,
however, and on leaving college with the class of 1860 he was unable
to take what he would deem any active part in life until the spring
of 1868. With that year his career as instructor at Yale begins.

His fortitude was strengthened by the influence and teaching
of his mother as well as by the counsel of his father. Mrs. Eichards
was a woman of intellectual tastes, of strong moral and religious sense,
eminently practical, and uncommonly shrewd in her estimates of char-
acter — sincere and direct. The young man also was, and always has
been, a constant reader of the Bible, and he often has said that he
attributes such success as he has had in life as much to the influence of
that Book on his conduct and character as to heredity and environ-
ment. He also drew aid from Stanley's "Thomas Arnold's Life and
Correspondence" ; indeed, as is evident, that volume has had a marked
effect on his relations with the student world. In relative strength of
influence on his life he places home first, then private study, and
finally school. He prepared for college at Dwight School, in Brook-
lyn.

He had been instructor in mathematics at Yale only three years
when he was appointed assistant professor and then full professor in
1892. What his labors in these capacities through these years meant
for the university the students and faculty know ; what they meant for
him himself only his most intimate friends can know. The results
of his injury in his junior year have never passed away and it has
been only through his resolute will that he has risen superior to
bodily pain and accomplished so successfully the tasks he set for him-
self. In his intercourse with the students, honor is the only and



284 EUGENE LAMB RICHAEDS

highest court he knows. It may be permissible to introduce an
illustration of which he himself is ignorant to-day: A sophomore
in his division had committed an offense which showed gross lack
of respect for himself, to say nothing of his college. The professor
rebuked him strongly. Immediately the young man assumed an
air of injured innocence, resented the professor's alleged "imputa-
tions," declared that he took the rebuke as an insult to his mother
and to his name and proclaimed himself a man of honor. Before that
word the professor bowed and retracted what he had said in a most
chivalric manner. The sophomore went forth to boast to his com-
panions of his success in clearing his record. The companions knew
"Dickie" Eichards. Their friend's laughter fell on unresponsive
ears. Doubtless he never knew, any more than the professor, why
his popularity waned from that day and why, when he was graduated,
he found he had missed most of what is best in the associations of
college life. He had played the hypocrite to Professor Eichards.

But, as has been said, the professor's real boon to the student world
has been his espousal of physical training. He can't be partial;
neither can he endure to see others unjust. It is related that on
one occasion some years ago he discovered that a good athlete was do-
ing well in all his studies except one. For a reason which the professor
suspected, his standing in that one branch was falling lower and lower
as the football season progressed. The instructor in that branch
was a particular friend of the professor's — as are most of the instruct-
ors. Also he was a good deal of a recluse. The professor went to
him to get him to attend a football game. The tutor respectfully
declined, saying he could not waste the time. The morning of the
game the professor appeared again, showed the tickets he had pro-
cured and said in an irresistible manner that he would come around
and go out to Yale Field with the tutor. They went. Before
the close of the first half the tutor was one of the most enthusiastic
men on the bleachers, and if his marking of an athlete had been
unconsciously biased in the past, it never was again.

It was through the professor's influence that students began
to organize long walking expeditions. They were almost a fad with
the professor. By experience he knew exactly how a man should
equip himself and where were the best routes, even before the days
of bicycle guide-books; and he himself could out-tramp anybody.



EUGENE LAMB RICHARDS 285

Moreover he studied into the finer points of intercollegiate athletics.
His well known articles in the Popular Science Monthly in 1884
were the result of almost two years' investigation and thought. They
were widely quoted and in large part were embodied in the federal
government's report on Physical Culture in the United States.
Similar articles from his pen appeared in the same magazine in 1888
and 1894, and in other magazines, doing much to elevate the stand-
ard of athletics and to disabuse certain critics of their prejudices.

One valuable contribution to the discussion was the plotting of
the disciplinary records of the college by which it is demonstrated
that breaches of college discipline have grown steadily less with the
advance of athletics.

From the old rope-walk gymnasium of the last century, Yale to-
day has one of the finest and best equipped gymnasiums in the
land. This important fact is due in no small measure to Professor
Eichards, who started the movement and who consented to serve as the
first director (not active, but possessing initiative and veto power),
from 1892 to 1901, or until the associate directors could conduct
affairs alone.

Professor Eichards has written two important mathematical
books, "Plane and Spherical Trigonometry with Applications," in
1879, and "Elementary Navigation and Nautical Astronomy," in
1902. He received the degree of M.A. from his Alma Mater in 1887.
He married Julia L. Bacon of New Haven on November 27th, 1861,
and has four children: Eugene Lamb Eichards, Jr., a lawyer; Wil-
liam Martin Eichards, a physician ; Anna Eichards, married to Pro-
fessor James Locke, and Elizabeth Vernon H. Eichards. His sons
have emulated their father in athletics and to-day are making names
for themselves. In religion the professor is affiliated with the Con-
gregational Church of Yale University. He is a member of the Grad-
uates Club of New Haven, but never has given much time from his
study and athletic regime for social pleasures.

It is natural that the suggestions of such a leader and promoter
should be of special value to young men. He says : "For true success,
character comes first. Therefore, I say to a young man, cultivate
character by right conduct, and by companionship with the highest
ideals, whether in real life or in books. Next, I say, cultivate
physical strength, not for exploits, but to acquire vitality; take daily



286 EUGENE LAMB RICHARDS

some form of regular body-developing exercise. In these days of
fierce competition, no man can obtain or retain success without a
basis of physical toughness of fiber, either inherited or acquired. If
a young man has tastes, they will generally guide him in his prepara-
tion for his life work. If he has no decided bent toward a particular
line of life, then, I say, take the first opening that presents itself and
having gone into it, keep steadily at work in it. Do not rely on 'pulls.'
Success depends on effort. If a man's work is good and worth a pull,
the man will get the pull, or, if no pull comes, he will attain success
without the pull. Pull or no pull, he never will obtain success with-
out faithful, continuous effort. "Be steadfast. This saying, made
thousands of years ago, is true to-day : 'Seest thou a man diligent in
his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before
mean men.' "



GEORGE BARKER STEVENS

STEVENS, PROF. GEORGE BARKER, one of the most
widely known of Yale's theological writers and teachers, was
born in Spencer, Tioga County, New York, on July 13th,
1854, the son of Thomas Jackson Stevens and Weltha Barker
Stevens. His father, who was of Dutch descent, was a persevering,
energetic, thrifty farmer. His mother, whose ancestors came from
England, was a devoted helpmeet and parent, the power of whose
influence on his moral life and his ambitions is gladly acknowledged
by her son to-day.

The professor's early life was of the kind to stimulate physical
activity and right thinking. The family lived on a farm during his
school days, and, when he was not busy with his books, he employed his
time in helping his father at the work. The reader of these volumes
must be impressed with the great number of Men of Mark whose early
experience was like this and must feel again the debt of gratitude the
country owes to the "old farms." It is also notable, in speaking with
these men, whatever their position in life or whatever part of America
they may be living in, that, hard as the farm life might have seemed
during the living of it, few of them regret it, and many of them, when
it is too late, wish their sons could have had the same.

Sound, vigorous health, with a taste for outdoor life and sports,
was what Professor Stevens brought from country and village to the
life he was to lead in the quiet of the study. He had stored up energy
against the future, and the results of it are apparent in the virility of
his writings and the broad-mindedness of his teachings. He did not
allow ambition to devour him in his youth ; he did whatever his hand
found to do as he had done his father's chores, in cheerful spirit, with
zeal and with fidelity, and already he can look back upon a career rich
in its products for his fellow men and not without its share of honors
for himself.

When a pupil in the Ithaca (N. Y.) Academy, he displayed a
fondness for the classics, for history and for philosophy, and found



288 GEORGE BARKER STEVENS

inspiration in biography. His scholarly bent attracted the attention
of the principal, who immediately encouraged him to press on with his
studies, and to-day the professor believes that that encouragement,
along with the influence of his mother, was what led him into the
successful paths he has followed since. He was graduated from the
University of Rochester in 1877 and went the following year to Yale
University, where he took the regular course at the Divinity School,
being graduated in 1880 with the degree of B.D. His high scholarship
at Rochester was evidenced by his gaining membership in Phi Beta
Kappa. Also he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon.

On November 23rd, of the year of his graduation in New Haven,
he was married to Kate Abell Mattison of Oswego. They live now at
No. 388 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, and have two children, Mar-
garet and Mary.

Immediately upon his graduation, in July, 1880, he entered upon
the pastorate of the First Congregational Church in Buffalo, whence
he went, after two years of service and of hard study, to the First
Presbyterian Church in Watertown, New York. In 1885, he went
abroad for a year of study and research in the German universities,
obtaining the degree of S.T.D. at Jena in 1886. At Syracuse Uni-
versity, where he had pursued a post-graduate course in 1882-1883, he
had earned the degree of Ph.D. The Illinois College gave him the degree
of D.D. in 1902 and the University of Rochester that of LL.D. the
same year.

On his return from Germany, he was called to the position of
professor of New Testament criticism at Yale Divinity School, which
position he held from 1886 to 1895, when he was chosen to fill the
chair of systematic theology, which he still holds. His capacity for
business affairs is attested to by his membership in the directorates
of the Yale National Bank, New Haven, and the E. H. H. Smith
Silver Company of Bridgeport.

When we come to a consideration of the professor's writings, we
find that they are marked by ripe scholarship, and new books from
his pen are eagerly welcomed by the theological world. His first
book doubtless prompted by his class-room work, was "An Exposition
of the Epistle to the Galatians," published in 1890. Since then
the volumes have followed each other in rapid succession. They in-
clude : "The Pauline Theology," 1892 ; "The Johannine Theology/'



GEORGE BARKER STEVENS 289

1894; 'T)octrme and Life," 1895; "The Life of Peter Parker," 1896;
"The Epistles of Paul in Modern English," 1898; "The Theology of
the New Testament," 1899; "The Messages of Paul," 1900; "The
Messages of the Apostles," 1900; "The Teaching of Jesus,"' 1901,
and "The Christian Doctrine of Salvation," 1905. Other works are
in contemplation.

In politics the professor is a Eepublican. His advice to the young
is to labor diligently, have high aims, take wholesome exercise, and
keep calm and cheerful. The points in his own life, governed by these
principles, can be written briefly, but the good he has done, the
position he has won in the esteem of his neighbors, and the influence
he has had upon the trend of high religious thought cannot be
measured by pages. Eetaining his physical strength by riding and
driving and by country life when he can, he has still many years
of activity before him and it is far too early to take the measure of
his works.



JOHN MARSHALL HOLCOMBE

HOLCOMBE, JOHN MARSHALL, president of the Phoenix
Mutual Life Insurance Company and of the Fidelity Com-
pany, both of Hartford, lecturer at Yale University, bank
director, and a prominent factor in the city government of Hartford,
was born in that city on the eighth of June, 1848. The Holcombe
ancestry is very interesting and distinguished and embraces men of
note in every walk of life. John Marshall Holcombe is a descendant
of Thomas Holcombe, who settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in
1635 and was later a settler and deputy in Windsor, Connecticut. He
is in the same line of descent as Amasa Holcombe, the distinguished
scientist, and Eev. Frederick Holcombe, the eminent divine and
founder of Trinity College. Among Mr. Holcombe's ancestors were
three Eevolutionary soldiers and many other men prominent in early
American history, including John Webster, one of the early Colonial
governors of Connecticut; William Phelps, magistrate and deputy to
the General Court for many sessions; Edward Griswold, also magis-
trate and deputy for thirty-five years; Captain Joseph Wadsworth,
who hid the charter in the oak, and Gen. Nathan Johnson, an
officer in the War of 1812, who was also State senator. These and
many other ancestors came from England and were early settlers
and proprietors in Colonial and later times. Mr. Holcombe's father
was James Huggins Holcombe, a lawyer, who was clerk of court and
of the House and Senate of Connecticut. He was characterized by
the usual New England traits of rectitude, fidelity, and thrift. Mr,
Holcombe's mother was Emily Merrill Holcombe.

The city of Hartford has been Mr. Holcombe's home and the
center of all his interests from his earliest days and he is now living
there in the house in which he was born. He attended the Hartford
Public High School and then entered Yale College, where he
received his B.A. degree in 1869 and his M.A. degree three years •
later. In 1869 he began his career as an insurance man in the office
of the actuary of the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, ■



JOHN MAESHALL HOLOOMBE 293

and in 1871 he became actuary of the insurance department of the
State of Connecticut, which office he held for three years. In 1874
he became assistant secretary of the Phoenix Mutual Life, the fol-
lowing year he was made secretary and, in 1889, vice-president of the
company of which he is now the president. He is also president of
the Fidelity Company, a director in the American National Bank,
in the Connecticut Fire Insurance Company, in the Mechanics Sav-
ings Bank of Hartford, and in the National Surety Company of New
York. In addition to these interests he has been a lecturer at Yale
University, in the insurance course. This last named position shows,
even more than his many other business positions, what a capable
authority he is on the important subject of life insurance. He has
also written valuable articles on life insurance for the North American
Review.

In the municipal affairs of Hartford Mr. Holcombe has taken
as important a part as he has in the business life. He brought
about the organization of the board of health and served on it for
many years. In 1883 he was a member of the common council and,
in 1885, he was a member of the board of aldermen, and he was
president of both of these branches of city government. He is a
director of the board of trade and of the Retreat for the Insane. In
politics he is a Eepublican and in creed a Congregationalist, being
a member of the Center Church of Hartford. He has been president
of the Yale Alumni Association of Hartford, is a member of the
University Club of New York, of the Sons of the American Eevolu-
tion, of the Society of Colonial Wars, the Society of the War of 1812,
of the Hartford Club, and a fellow of the Actuarial Society of
America, another evidence of his high place among the life insurance
"captains" of to-day. Mrs. Holcombe was Emily Seymour Goodwin,
whom he married January 29th, 1873, and by whom he has had three
children, a daughter and two sons: Harold Goodwin Holcombe,
Emily Marguerite Holcombe, and John Marshall Holcombe, Jr. Mrs,
Holcombe is as much a leader in social, intellectual, and patriotic
circles as her husband is in business and public affairs.



HENRY WALCOTT FARNAM

AMONG the descendants of John Howland, who came from
England in the "Mayflower," in 1620, is Professor Henry
Walcott Farnam of New Haven. His parents were Henry Far-
nam and Ann Sophia Whitman. He was born in New Haven, Novem-
ber 6th, 1853.

His father was a man of prominence in engineering and railroad
circles, in the days when the foundations of the country's great
commercial prosperity were being laid. A civil engineer by profes-
sion, he was with the Erie Canal when he was called to Connecticut to
engineer the Farmington Canal. He was one of those far-sighted men
who subsequently planned the railroad from New Haven to New York,
— the beginning of what was to be one of the most important and
valuable systems in America. The West, however, seemed to offer still
greater opportunities. Eemoving thither he put through to com-
pletion into Chicago the Michigan Southern Eailroad, with Joseph
E. Sheffield, and built the Chicago and Rock Island, the first road
to give Chicago access to the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Mississippi.
He was a man of indomitable energy and force of character, and
at the same time kindly and liberal. He rose to the position of
president of the Chicago and Rock Island, and retired from active



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 16 of 30)