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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ship in the American Machine Works, at the end of which he came
to Hartford and entered the employ of the New York, New Haven
and Hartford Eailroad. His early resolution to be a master workman
bore good fruit rapidly and he became mechanic, engineer, conductor,
supervisor of construction, assistant superintendent and finally, in
1872, superintendent of the Hartford Division of the railroad. He
held this last highly responsible position with conspicuous capability
and success until his retirement in December, 1903. The road is
one of the largest, most important, and best managed in the country


and the Hartford Division is one of its most important ones. Mr.
Davidson's rare judgment, skill, faithfulness, and popularity have
been great factors in promoting both public convenience and the
financial standing of the road.

Mr. Davidson was identified with the Democratic party until the
nomination of Bryan, when he voted with the Republicans on the
"Sound Money Issue." He has held several civil offices — in 1878 he
was fire commissioner, in 1890 he became street commissioner, and in
1893 he was a member of the police commission. He experienced a
year's military service in the Second Company, Governor's Foot Guard,
and is a veteran associate of that military organization now. He is
a prominent thirty-second degree Mason, a member of the Knights
Templars, the Pyramid Temple, the Knights of Honor, the Order of
Red Men, and the Order of The Mystic Shrine. He is past eminent
commander of the Washington Commandery, Knights Templars, and
past dictator of Pioneer Lodge, Knights of Honor. He is also a
member of the Hartford Club, of the Republican Club, and of the
Franklin Gun Club. Home pleasures, automobiling, and club life
are his favorite relaxations from business. His religious connections^
are with the Park Congregational Church, Hartford. S

On December 17th, 1857, Mr. Davidson married Catharine Anne
Bartholomew, by whom he has had three children. One son, William
Bartholomew, the only child still living, is cashier in the United
States Bank, Hartford. Mr. Davidson believes that "young people
will meet with success by living an honest, temperate, and upright
life, with strict integrity in all business matters."


PECK, MILES LEWIS, of Bristol was born in that town July
24th, 1849. He is a descendant of Paul Peck, who came from
England to Boston in 1635. In 1636 he moved to Hartford,
where he owned a farm on Washington Street, near the present State
Capitol, and was a deacon in the First Church of Hartford. William
Lewis, another ancestor, emigrated from England in 1633. His
great-grandson, Josiah Lewis, and Zebulon Peck, the great-grand-
son of Paul Peck, moved to Bristol in 1748, mainly to receive the
benefit of the ministrations of Rev. Samuel Newell, first pastor of
the church in Bristol. Their descendants have always been prominent
citizens of Bristol. Other ancestors of Mr. Peck are Josiah Wins-
low, a brother of Governor Winslow of Massachusetts ; Henry Adams,
of Braintree, Massachusetts, whose descendants include John Adams
and John Quincy Adams, presidents of the United States; Gov-
ernor William Bradford, who came over in the "Mayflower" in 1620;
Governor John Webster, who was governor of Connecticut in 1656;
John Marsh, who was one of the original proprietors of Hartford;
Deacon John Buell, one of the original proprietors of Litchfield, and
Lieutenant Thomas Tracy, who was one of the original proprietors of

Mr. Peck's parents were Josiah Tracy Peck and Ellen Lewis
Barnard. His father was an insurance agent in Bristol, and a man
who was much interested in public affairs. He was deputy collector
of internal revenue during the Civil War, and was conspicuous in
all matters connected with the prosecution of the War. He was
later judge of probate for the District of Bristol. He was a man
who took a warm interest in his town and country, and in everything
that pertained to their welfare.

Miles was not a strong boy, and spent much of his time on his
father's farm, going to the local schools about six months every year.
He attended Williston Seminary in Easthampton, Massachusetts, for
a short time, and later the Episcopal Academy of Connecticut at


Cheshire. He was a good scholar, being very fond of mathematics,
and while in school took most of the higher mathematical courses,
with a view to fitting himself for an engineer. In 1868 and 1869
he spent a year in Europe in study and travel. On returning from
Europe he began his life work, assisting his father in the insurance
business. He was appointed a county surveyor, and for about three
years did much local surveying in Bristol.

In 1870, the Bristol Savings Bank was organized, mainly through
the efforts of Mr. Peck and his father. His father was treasurer of
the bank for the first year, but the son did most of the work. In
1871 Mr. Peck, then twenty-one years of age, became treasurer of the
Bristol Savings Bank, a position which he has held up to the present
time. Mr. Peck's main work in life has been the building up and
management of the Bristol Savings Bank, and the great success of
the bank has been chiefly due to his efforts.

In 1877, on the death of his father, Mr. Peck succeeded to the
insurance agency which he has conducted ever since. In 1905 he was
elected president of the Bristol and Plainville Tramway Company,
of which he had been a director for some years. This company has
a railway and electric lighting plant, and, in 1905, under Mr. Peck's
direction, built a gas plant and laid gas mains in about twelve miles
of streets in Bristol. The company also owns a public heating service
with mains in about one mile of streets, supplying heat to stores
and houses. He is also president of the Liberty Bell Company, manu-
facturing bells, reels, trolley harps, and other small hardware. He
is a director in the Bristol National Bank.

Mr. Peck was married October 18th, 1871, to Mary Harriet
Seymour. They have had five children, all of whom are now living.

Mr. Peck has always been a Eepublican. He has been much
interested in town matters and local polities, and was chair-
man of the Republican Town Committee for a short time. In 1889
he was chairman of a special committee appointed by the town of
Bristol to procure a site for the High School, and he has been a
member of the High School Committee for many years. He has
been a town assessor, and was a member of a special committee which
appraised all the property in Bristol in 1897, as a basis for assessing
all real estate at its full value for taxing purposes. He was
warden of the borough of Bristol in 1895 and 1896, and


rendered the borough valuable service. Prior to that time
Bristol had had no sewer system. In view of the growth of the
town, a sewer system had become a necessity, and, under Mr. Peck's
lead, the present system was installed. The borough issued bonds
to an amount sufficient to defray the cost, and these were floated by
Mr. Peck. Sewers were built through all the principal streets of the
borough, and to a large tract of sandy land about one and one-
half miles from the center, where large filtration beds were con-
structed. These beds were among the earliest built in this State.
The procuring of the land and the rights of way, the building of the
beds and laying of the pipes, and the assessment of sewer benefits
on most of the property of the borough were, in the main, his work,
and done under his direction. The difficult task of assessment of
benefits and purchasing of rights of way was accomplished by Mr.
Peck without involving the borough in any lawsuits, and with
results satisfactory to the borough and the property holders. It has
proved an excellent system, and of great value to the borough.

Mr. Peck is a Mason and was chairman of the committee which
erected the Masonic Temple in Bristol in 1893. He is a member of
the Congregational Church. He is very fond of music, and from 1872
to 1887 he played the organ and directed the music in the Congre-
gational Church in Bristol. As a young man he played the cornet in
the local band and the cello in the local orchestra. He has always
been much interested in outdoor sports, playing baseball as a young
man, and being fond of seeing games in later years. He has been
for many years captain of the Bristol Wicket Team, an organization
of much local fame. He is also an enthusiastic tennis player, and he
is especially fond of a game of whist of an evening.

To young men Mr. Peck says: "Stick faithfully and constantly
to your business, but do not neglect your duties to your church and
country. Every citizen should do his part in caucuses, in voting and
in promoting good government and righteousness in the community
where he lives."


REED, STEPHEN EBENEZER, bank official and manufac-
turer, was born in Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut,
December 12th, 1845. His father, John Bowden Reed, was
a carriage manufacturer, burgess of the town of Stamford and
treasurer of the school board. He was a strong churchman and
prominent in the councils of St. Andrew's Protestant Episcopal
Church. He married Almira Ann, daughter of Benjamin and
Laura Terpening Many of Newburgh, New York. Stephen Ebenezer
Reed is of the seventh generation from John Reed, who was born
in Cornwall, England, was a soldier in the army under Cromwell,
and upon the restoration to the throne of Charles II., in 1660, he
emigrated to New England and settled in Norwalk, Connecticut Col-
ony, which was known as the New Haven Colony after 1664.

Stephen Ebenezer Reed was brought up in the village of Stam-
ford, where he attended the public school and when fifteen years of
age engaged as a clerk in the Stamford Bank, afterward the Stam-
ford National Bank, taking the position at the request of Francis
R. Leeds, at the time cashier of the bank. He served the bank as
clerk and teller from July, 1860, to January, 1865, when he resigned
to accept a clerkship in the office of the Stamford Manufacturing
Company, where he remained from January, 1865, to January, 1887,
as clerk, and since that date as a director and secretary of the
corporation. He was a charter member of the Stamford Savings
Bank and served as a member of its board of directors since 1880.

On October 17th, 1871, Mr, Reed was married to Jennie, daughter
of Frederick J. and Mary A. Calhoun and the three children born
of this marriage are Frank Calhoun, who died in infancy ; the second
son, Herbert Calhoun Reed, was graduated at Sheffield Scientific
School, Yale University, in the class of 1895, with honors in
chemistry, and he became the chemist of the Stamford Manufacturing
Company. He is recognized as one of the leading tanning chemists
of the United States, and was elected president of the American


Leather Chemists' Association in November, 1905. He was a member
of the Board of Couneilmen during the years 1903 and 1904 and
ran for mayor of the city of Stamford in November, 1904, on the
Kepublican ticket, but was defeated by Homer S. Cummings, the
Democratic candidate. The third son, Clarence Marsh Reed, was
graduated at Yale University, A.B., 1897, with the highest honors,
and while at Yale he belonged to the university baseball nine. He
studied law in the New York University Law School and was
graduated with honors, LL.B., in 1899, after which he held a position
with the law firm of Alexander & Greene, New York City, up to the
time of his death. He died at his home in Stamford, May 34th, 1902,
in the twenty-sixth year of his age.

From his eighteenth year (1863) Mr. S. E. Reed has been a mem-
ber of St. Andrew's Protestant Episcopal Church, a vestryman
since 1868, junior warden since 1891, and senior warden since 1901.
His political affiliation was with the Democratic party up to 1896,
when he joined the Republican party on the issue of gold as a
standard of value. His early manhood days found him an earnest
worker in the gymnasium and to this physical culture he credits his
vigorous physique.


S KIDDY, WILLIAM WHEELWEIGHT, a leading manufac-
turer of Stamford, was born in New York City, April 26th,
1845. He is of English ancestry and his forefathers came to
this country before the Eevolutionary War and settled in New York
and Virginia. His father, a man of firm character and remarkable
energy, was a naval architect, who, as such, did great service to his
country in the War of 1812.

Mr. Skiddy was brought up in New York City and his parents
were so situated as to be able to give him a good education before
he started his business career. After attending the local public
schools he was sent to the celebrated Russell Military School at New
Haven. Later he went to Yale where he was graduated with the
class of 1865, receiving the degree of Ph.B. After graduation he
became a clerk in the Wall Street office of his uncle, Francis Skiddy,
where he remained two years and became interested in the coal
mining business, in which he was subsequently engaged for eight
years. In 1875 he became connected with the Stamford Manufac-
turing Company and, in 1887, he was made its president. He is
also a director of the Stamford National Bank, of the Stamford
Savings Bank, and of the Stamford Trust Company. These enter-
prises have derived the benefit of his executive genius, his untiring
energy, and his determination to overcome every obstacle to progress.
It is a well known fact that Mr. Skiddy's fruitful activities
have not been confined to business life. He has been promi-
nent in politics, in the state militia, and in church affairs.
In 1884 and again in 1892 he was sent by the Democrats
as a state delegate to the national convention. After a highly
creditable service in the militia, he was made state commis-
sary general during the administration of Governor Waller. Since
1875 he has been vestryman of St. John's Protestant Episcopal
Church, and has several times been sent as a lay delegate from Con-
necticut to the general convention and to the diocesan convention of


his church, and has been for many years treasursr of the Protestant
Episcopal Church of the United States of America. He is a member
of several prominent clubs, among them the Church Club and the
University Club of New York, and he is one of Yale's most active
alumni. Although his business affairs take up a great portion of
his time, he is fond of all outdoor athletic sports and finds them
helpful as a relaxation from his daily work.

In 1867 Mr. Skiddy was married to Eleanor M. Gay. He has
had three children, two of whom are living. William died in 1901;
Lillie is now Mrs. Willard Parker, Jr., and Adele is now Mrs. K. W.

Honesty, truthfulness, courage, and, above all, character — these
have been his ideals in life. They were traits well marked in his
father, and ones which he himself inherited and has conscientiously
cultivated. The early moral and spiritual teachings of his father
and mother left a lasting impression on his life, and to their influence
he attributes all the good he has accomplished in life. He is an
ardent reader and has drawn many helpful inspirations from the
lives of prominent men and from novels descriptive of character.
He was fortunate in starting his active career equipped with a
thorough education and under the guidance of his uncle; and, when
he was thrown on his own resources, he soon displayed that high
executive ability which has brought prosperity to himself and to all
institutions with which he has been connected.


and military man, was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Decem-
ber 23rd, 1859. His early ancestors were prominent in the
Revolution and were especially active in the affairs at Saybrook
Point. In later times members of the family have taken important
parts in the manufacturing history of Waterbury. Colonel Dick-
inson's father was Charles Dickinson, a manufacturer and president
of the Benedict & Burnham Company, Waterbury's largest manu-
facturing concern, of which Colonel Dickinson is now secretary.
Charles Dickinson was a man of great business ability, public spirit,
and geniality. He was alderman and police commissioner and
president of the Middletown, Meriden and Waterbury Railroad. Col-
onel Dickinson's mother was Sarah (Lynde) Dickinson.

A perfectly healthy boy, the Colonel in his youth was greatly
interested in athletics and outdoor sports, was devoted to music and
in later years has developed considerable musical ability. He was
brought up in Waterbury and educated at the Episcopal Academy of
Cheshire, the Waterbury English and Classical School and entered
Yale with the class of '82.

In 1880 he left college and entered the employ of the Benedict &
Burnham Manufacturing Company and ten years later he was its
secretary. In addition to this position he holds that of assistant
treasurer of the Holmes, Booth & Hayden Company of Waterbury.
For twelve years Colonel Dickinson served in the Connecticut National
Guard. In 1889 he was adjutant with the rank of captain on Colonel
Doherty's staff in the Second Regiment, C. N. G. In 1893 he became
Major of the Second Regiment and was afterwards promoted to
the rank of lieutenant-colonel, which he held until his resignation
in July, 1900.

Colonel Dickinson is a member of many fraternal orders and
social organizations, including Continental Lodge No. 76 F. and A.
M., Eureka Chapter No. 22 R. A. M., Waterbury Council No. 21 R


and S. M., Clark Commandery No. 7 Knights Templar, Lafayette
Sovereign Consistory A. A. S. R., in which he has taken the thirty-
second degree, the Waterbury Club and the Quinnipiack Club of New
Haven. In politics he has always been loyal to the Republican
party. His religious connections are with the Protestant Episcopal
Church. Colonel Dickinson has never married.


PECK, HENEY HART, retired merchant. State senator, and
the president of the Dime Savings Bank of Waterbury, New
Haven County, Connecticut, was born in Berlin, Hartford
County, Connecticut, December 25th, 1838. His father was Selden
Peck, a farmer, who held numerous town offices, and his mother was
Lucy Hart Peck, through whom he is a descendant of many dis-
tinguished ancestors. One of the most distinguished of his maternal
ancestors was Deacon Stephen Hart, who came from Braintree, Eng-
land, and settled in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1633. He became
later a deacon in the Eev. Thomas Hooker's Church at Cambridge,
Massachusetts, and came with his band to Hartford, was a proprietor
of Hartford in 1639 and of Farmington in 1672. He was twice a
prominent member of the General Court. Mr. Peck may also trace
his ancestry to the noted divine. Rev. Thomas Hooker, so famous for
his part in Colonial history. Another ancestor. Gen. Selah Heart,
was an officer in the Revolutionary army and served throughout the
War, except for a two years' imprisonment in New York. Another
ancestor. Deacon Powel Peck, came from England to America in
1635 and was another member of Hooker's band. He was one of the
leading men of the colony and held many important public offices.
The first seventeen years of Mr. Peck's life were spent in the
country on his father's farm. After a country school education he
attended the Kellogg Academy of Meriden and began his mercantile
career as a clerk in a dry goods store in New Britain in 1857, and
three years later he formed a partnership with Charles Miller in Water-
bury, the firm being Miller & Peck, dealers in dry goods and carpets.
Mr. Peck continued in this business until his retirement in 1887,
when he withdrew from the firm and gave up active business. Next
to dry goods his chief business interest has been in the Dime Savings
Bank of Waterbury, of which he is and has been for many j'cars the


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 19 of 30)