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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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Guard, was born in Roxbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut, Feb-
ruary 20th, 1845. Like all the Leavenworths in America he is a
descendant of Thomas Leavenworth, who came from England to
Woodbury, Connecticut, about 1665, and of his son. Dr. Thomas
Leavenworth, a prominent and wealthy physician. Another of Mr.
Leavenworth's ancestors, John Leavenworth, born 1739, served in the
Revolution. Another, Lemuel, born 1743, was one of those who resisted
Burgoyne's invasion and also participated in the battle of Bennington.
James M. Leavenworth, the Colonel's father, was a millwright and
carpenter for the Wallace Manufacturing Company. He was greatly
interested in educational matters and was a devoted lover of books.
His wife, the Colonel's mother, Avas Julia Leavenworth, a woman of
strong character and influence, who was undoubtedly the source of her
son's determination to succeed in life.

Endowed with excellent health and brought up in the country
Mr. Leavenworth spent a boyhood full of vigorous activity. His
education was confined to that of the district schools and terminated
when he was seventeen. He worked at odd times during his school-
ing on the farm and at carpentering. He inherited his father's
fondness for books and his reading was broad and extensive. The
books that made the greatest impression on his mind were Rollin's
Ancient History and Abbott's Napoleon Bonaparte.

After leaving school Mr. Leavenworth started to be a Joiner, as
has been said, but soon gave it up to enter the office of Hall, Elton
& Company of Wallingford, Connecticut, in which firm he was rapidly
promoted to the position of secretary.

In 1877 Mr. Leavenworth was made treasurer of the R. Wallace
& Son's Manufacturing Company, his present responsible office. He



WALTER JAMES LEAVENWORTH 343

has charge of placing their products on the market, and has done
much toward the development of the business to its present vast
proportions. He is also a director in the Wallingford Gas Light
Company, president of the First National Bank and he has been
president of the Wallingford Board of Trade, and chairman of the
Board of Water Commissioners. In political faith he has always been
a Eepublican. In 1897 he represented Wallingford in the State
Legislature and he was burgess of the borough of Wallingford for
four years.

For nearly fifteen years Mr. Leavenworth experienced active
military service and his rapid promotions show better than anything
else his excellent military work. In September, 1871, he was lieuten-
ant in Company K, Second Regiment, Connecticut National Guard.
In 1874 he was made captain, in 1883 lieutenant-colonel, and in 1885
colonel of his regiment, and he held the rank of colonel until he
resigned in 1889.

In 1867 Mr. Leavenworth married Jeannette Wallace, who was a
daughter of Robert Wallace, president of the R. Wallace & Son's
Manufacturing Company. Of the four children born of this marriage
three are now living : C. W. Leavenworth, Mrs. Bessie L. Leach, and
John W. Leavenworth. The family are members of the Congrega-
tional Church. The Colonel is a member of the Wallingford Club, of
which he is a former president, and of the Union League Club of
New Haven. His favorite out-of-door amusement is automobiling.

Colonel Leavenworth believes failures in life to be due to not com-
mencing to be earnest sufficiently early in life. He thinks that "a
young man of even moderate ability can, in this country, achieve
almost any success in life he may desire; the price is study and
attention to business."



MOSES AVERILL PENDLETON

PENDLETON, MOSES AVERILL, vice-president of the First
National Bank of Stonington and of the Stonington Savings
Bank, was born in the borough of Stonington, February 19th,
1844. His father, Moses Pendleton, was a banker and merchant
who held many minor offices in his town. From early Colonial times
the Pendleton family has been associated with the history of New
England. The first member of the family to come to America was
Brian Pendleton, who settled in Massachusetts in 1634. Major
Brian Pendleton was president of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in
1681. Captain James Pendleton served in King Philip's War. Col.
William Pendleton was prominent in the Rhode Island militia, and
several members of the family served in the Revolutionary War.

After attending the public schools Mr. Pendleton, at the age of
seventeen, became a clerk in a grocery store. Urged on by an ambition
to succeed he determined to do his best in this position which he held
for several years. In 1873 he became town and probate clerk, serv-
ing for over twenty years. Later he became interested in the bank-
ing business and he is now director and vice-president of the First
National Bank of Stonington and of the Stonington Savings Bank.
For twenty years he has been a justice of the peace. In politics he
has always been a Republican. He is a Baptist, and since 1897 he has
been clerk and treasurer of the First Baptist Church.

In 1866 Mr. Pendleton was married to Amelia Barker Sheffield.
Of their two children, one is now living. Their home in Stonington
is at No. 45 Main Street.

Advising young men how to succeed in life, Mr. Pendleton gives
as the principles which he himself has followed : "Success can be
best obtained by establishing early in life good habits and a fixed
purpose to do always one's best in whatever field one may select."



I



DEWITT CLINTON SKILTON

SKILTON, DEWITT CLINTON, president of the Phccnix
Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut, and one of the
most competent insurance underwriters in the United States,
was born in Thomaston, Litchfield County, Connecticut, on the 11th
of January, 1839. His first American ancestor, Dr. Henry Skilton,
was born in Coventry, England, in 1718, and sailed for America in a
"gun ship" in 1735, in his seventeenth year. After arriving in
Boston he lived first in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and then in Preston,
Connecticut, where he married the daughter of Joseph Avery of
Norwich. He moved several times, and, finally in his old age, to
Watertown, where he died in 1802. He was the first physician
to practice medicine in Southington, Connecticut. Other ancestors
of Mr, Skilton were among the most prominent settlers of
Hartford County. The list includes such historical names as
Hon. John Steel (who came to Hartford with Rev. Thomas
Hooker in 1636) ; Hon. John Wadsworth, the half brother of
Captain Wadsworth, to whom is attributed the fame of concealing
the Connecticut Charter in the old charter oak; Sir William South-
mayd; Hon. Matthew Allyn, one of the original parties to the royal
charter, and Hon. John Allyn, called "the great secretary" in the
"History of Connecticut" ; Captain William Judd and Timothy Judd,
who represented Waterbury in the Colonial government for forty
years, and many others distinguished for their part in Colonial and
State history.

Mr. Skilton's education was the brief and simple one afforded by
a "district school," for at the age of fourteen his father's death made
it necessary for him to begin his work in life. He worked in a
manufacturing establishment in Thomaston until 1855, when he
moved to Hartford to become a bookkeeper in a dry goods store.
Inherent business ability and ambition made him capable of earning
his living when still a boy, and his purpose to succeed was of early
formation and speedy fulfillment. In 1861 he became a clerk



348 DEWITT CLINTON SKILTON

in the office of the Hartford Fire Insurance Company, the
business in which he was later to make his mark. In 1862,
in response to a call for volunteers to preserve the Union, Mr.
Skilton enlisted in the Twenty-second Regiment, Connecticut
Volunteers, in which he was elected second lieutenant. His
service in the army was very creditable, and he was mustered out as
first lieutenant. He then resumed his clerkship in the insurance
company. In 1865 he married Ann Jeanette Andrews. They have
had two children, neither of whom is now living.

In 1867, Mr. Skilton was elected secretary, in 1888, vice-president,
and in 1891 president of the Phoenix Insurance Company of Hart-
ford; the last position he still retains. He has identified himself
with many progressive and important reforms in the insurance busi-
ness. He was a member of the "Committee of Twenty" that pre-
pared the standard form of fire insurance policy blanks, as ordered
by the State of New York, and later adopted by other states. He is
deservedly regarded as one of the most able insurance underwriters of
our day. He is a director of the Hartford National Bank, a corpora-
tor and trustee of the State Savings Bank, and was for three years the
president of the National Board of Fire Underwriters. Mr. Skilton is
a member of the Army and Navy Club of New York and of Connecti-
cut, of the Hartford Club, Golf Club, and Country Club, of the
Grand Army of the Republic and the Military Order of the Loyal
Legion of the United States. In politics he is a Republican. His
religious connections are with the Congregational Church.

Mr. Skilton's advice to young Americans is worthy their careful
regard. He advocates "sound reading for self-education in addition
to school or college education ; early fixing the mind upon a purpose
to accomplish and 'everlastingly keeping at it,' determined to be
firmly planted on the front line; striving to be a leader, keeping in
mind the virtue of correct living and a high standard of business
methods." He is himself a striking example of a self-educated man,
whose purpose was "early fixed" and whose determination to be
"firmly planted on the front line" has met with signal success.



JOHN JOSEPH PHELAN

PHELAN, JOHN JOSEPH, lawyer, city official in Bridgeport,
State legislator, was born in Wexford, County of Wexford,
Ireland, June 24th, 1851. His father, Michael Phelan, was
a marble and granite dealer, a man of high intellectuality and
integrity, who married Catharine, daughter of Patrick and Catharine
White of Wexford.

As a child John J. Phelan was fond of home, books, and music
and in 1865 he was graduated at the Christian Brothers School in
Wexford, Ireland. As his parents were poor, he went to work with
his father at the age of fourteen, having just lost his mother
by death, and when sixteen his father died, leaving him the
oldest of six children. He determined to try for success
in the United States and he arrived in Bridgeport, Con-
necticut, in April, 1870, and obtained work in the marble and granite
works of Eugene Silliman. The next year he worked in Brooklyn,
New York, then in Middletown, Connecticut, returning to Bridge-
port, where in 1874 he became a partner with M. G. Keane in the
same line of business and the partnership continued until May, 1878.
In 1875 he determined to study law at the University of the City of
New York and arranged with his partner to work one-half of each
day. While going to and from New York he studied on the train
and late every night, and he was graduated with the degree of LL.B. in
1878. His great ambition on becoming a lawyer was not only to win
approval in his profession, but to obtain such worthy prominence in
social and political life as would by example allay race and religious
prejudice and tend to prove the loyalty and integrity of Koman
Catholics as American citizens. He read besides the law, history,
biography, and many books of ancient and modern authors to better
fit him for his life work.

He began the practice of law in Bridgeport in 1878, was a member
of the board of aldermen in the city of Bridgeport 1880-84, town
attorney for the town of Bridgeport 1884-85, city attorney for Bridge-



350 JOHN JOSEPH PHELAN

port 1889-90, secretary of state of Connecticut 1893-94, having been
elected in 1890, but kept out of office through the contest of the
election of the head of the ticket. Gov. Luzon B, Morris, and he was
reelected in 1893. He was chairman of the Connecticut delegation
to the Catholic Congress held at Chicago, Illinois, during the period
of the Columbian Exposition in 1893. He was a member of the board
of trade of Bridgeport. His legislative service to Connecticut was as
a representative in 1885 and 1886. He was the choice of the Demo-
cratic minority for speaker of the House in 1886 and was a member
of the judiciary committee during his legislative service. He was
president of the Irish Land League of Bridgeport in 1881-82, ehiei
officer of Park City Council, Knights of Columbus, in 1885, and
Supreme Knight of the national organization. Knights of Columbus,
from 1886 to 1897. His political faith he finds exemplified in the
platform of the Democratic party and his religious faith in the
Roman Catholic Church. His recreation he finds in travel, the
theater, music, and reading. He was married December 25th, 1879, to
Annie E., daughter of David and Mary Fitzgerald of Stratford.

His work in professional and political life and in behalf of bis
race and creed brings him prominently before the public as an
eloquent and forceful speaker and in a retrospect of the latter he says :
"I am satisfied in having fairly though crudely attempted to blaze
the path of tolerance and confidence for Catholics in this state and
elsewhere, but regret that means beyond my control have prevented the
fulfillment of my desires, thus leaving to others of my faith and race
the duty of rounding out our virtues to the better understanding and
appreciation of state and nation." To young men he says: "Be
honorable, courageous, and just, endeavor to be virtuous, industrious,
and persevering, be humble, charitable, truthful, and patriotic, observe
the Golden Eule."



ALBERT HAMILTON EMERY

EMERY, ALBERT HAMILTON, civil and mechanical engineer
and inventor, was born in Mexico, Oswego County, New York,
June 21st, 1834. His father, Samuel Emery, was a farmer in
the town of Mexico, Oswego County, and married Catharine Shepard.
His first American ancestor, John Emery, was bom in England,
September 29th, 1598, son of John and Agnes Emery of Romsey,
Hampshire County, familiarly known as Hants, England. He sailed
from Southampton, April 3rd, 1635, with his brother Anthony,
landed in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, June 3rd, 1635, became
one of the original proprietors of the plantation of Contocook, Massa-
chusetts Bay, and subsequently located in Newbury.

Albert Hamilton Emery was a delicate child up to his tenth year
when he began to gain strength through manual labor on his father's
farm. This farm work proved useful and beneficial. His mother
early taught him that whatever he did he should do well. She also
directed his reading and he became familiar with the Bible, Bunyan's
Pilgrim's Progress, and Dick's philosophical works. Aside from his
training in the district school, he paid his own tuition while attending
the Mexico _^cademy during two terms, after he was eighteen years
old. He was a land surveyor in his native town, then taught school,
then took up railroad surveying, and in this way helped to pay his
expenses through the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New
York, from which he was graduated as a civil engineer in 1858. His
chief inspiration to acquire a thorough knowledge of his chosen pro-
fession came through the talks, advice, and example of an elder sister.
He credits home life as the strongest influence on his own success,
and his school life as second. He began his professional career in
the fall of 1S61, as draughtsman and mechanical engineer for General
Richard Delafield, of the United States Corps of Engineers, who had
charge of the fortifications of the state and harbor of New York, 1861-
62, and after 1862 he devoted himself to experimenting with and
working out his own inventions, including a testing machine for
determining the strength and tension of iron and steel, which became
recognized as "one of the greatest pieces of engineering that
has ever been done." At the annual fair of the Massachusetts



352 ALBERT HAMILTON EMERY

Charitable Mechanics Association held in 1881, the Boston Society of
Arts and Sciences exhibited a number of specimens of wood and metal
which had been tested on this machine; and the machine, though
not at the Fair, was open to the inspection of visitors of the Fair. It
happened that year that a grand medal of honor had been provided, to
be awarded to that "exhibit most conducive to human welfare," which
was the highest requirement that any exhibit could be called upon to
sustain, and to insure its proper award. The American Academy of
Arts and Sciences was asked to appoint from its members a committee
to visit the exhibition and award this medal. The jury so selected
awarded this medal to Mr. Emery. In the judges' report the machine
is referred to as "the greatest invention in mechanism of the present
century." The machine came into constant use and its determinations
are invaluable to the engineering, mechanical, and scientific world.
In 1905 the United States and foreign patents issued to Mr. Emery
numbered one hundred and forty.

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science and a member of the American Society of Mechanical
Engineers. In national politics Mr. Emery has always been a
Eepublican, never having occasion to change his political faith. He
was brought up from childhood in the Presbyterian Sunday School
and joined the Presbyterian Church when sixteen years of age. In
1881 he came into sympathy with the teachings of Swedenborg, in
which he fully believes.

To young men he says: "If I had tried to do only one-tenth
as much as I have tried to do, I might have done ten times more
than I have done." His advice to them is: "Do nothing but
what you try to do well, and ever remember that we all owe constant
service to Him who is our very best friend and who can only give
us true happiness and true success."

Mr. Emery was married March 3rd, 1875, to Mrs. Fanny B.
Myers, daughter of Frederick A. King and Amanda (Howard) King
of Sharon, Connecticut, and they make their home in Stamford,
Connecticut. She had one daughter and they have one son,
Albert H., Jr., who was graduated at Cornell University in the class
of 1898 as a mechanical engineer, receiving one of the two prizes
which were given to the graduating class in mechanical engineering.
Since graduation he has been engaged with his father in engineering
work. The daughter, Maggie, is now Mrs. G. A. Clyde of Rome, New-
York.




(G-TOAjt^




EVERETT JOHN LAKE

LAKE, EVERETT JOHiSr, of Hartford, senator from the first
district and prominent in the business life of the State Capi-
tal, is a native of Woodstock, Windham County, Connecti-
cut, of which town his ancestors on his mother's side, sturdy Scotch-
men, were among the first settlers. He was born February 8th, 1871,
the son of Thomas A. and Martha A. (Cockings) Lake. His father,
whose ancestors coming from England were early settlers in Concord,
New Hampshire, was for many years a lumber merchant in Rockville,
Connecticut, and subsequently in Hartford, and was prominent in
public life. He was representative from the town of Woodstock, in the
legislature of 1885, was a member of the Republican State Central
Committee and State senator in the session of 1897. He also served
with much credit as collector of internal revenue, in Hartford.

The son's education was begun in the country school at South
Woodstock, Connecticut, and when the family had removed from
Woodstock to the West was continued there until he was graduated
at the age of sixteen, from the Stromsburg High School of Stroms-
burg, Nebraska, in the class of 1887. Thence he went to the Wor-
cester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he
was graduated with the degree of S.B., in the class of 1890. After
that he went to Harvard University, where he received the degree of
B.A., in 1892.

Of powerful build and inheriting a splendid constitution, he
attained prominence as an athlete in his college days, and such was
his success in supporting the Crimson's standard on the football field
that his services are still in demand there each year, to help coach other
men into "good shape." For a year after his graduation from the
college he studied at the Harvard Law School, but did not com-
plete the course. Instead, in June, 1893, he went directly from
the law school into business life as a clerk in his father's company,
the Hartford Lumber Company, which was enjoying a prosperous



356 EVERETT JOHN LAKE

career and which, in its rapid development, seemed to offer a good
opportunity for a young man of force and energy.

The following year he was advanced to the responsible position
of secretary of the company and in 1896 the duties of treasurer were
added, to be followed in 1901 with his promotion to the presidency,
in addition to the treasurership. In 1903 he was chosen also president
and treasurer of the Tunnel Coal Company, and all of these posi-
tions in both of these eminently successful corporations he holds to-
day.

Always with a deep interest in public affairs, his first public office
was that of member of the Hartford Board of School Visitors, which
he held from 1900 to 1903. The latter year he was sent from Hart-
ford to the House of Eepresentatives and at the following session
of the Legislature he was in attendance as senator (and one of the
youngest of that body) from the first district. In both sessions
he had important duties to perform, during the first session as
chairman of the committee on appropriations, and during the latter
session as chairman of the committee on incorporations. Senator
Lake is first, last, and always a Republican. He is a lieutenant on
the staff of the major commanding the First Company, Governor's
Foot Guard, and is a member of the Hartford Club, and of the Hart-
ford Golf Club, though his time for recreation is limited.

He married Miss Eva Louise Sykes, daughter of the late George
Sykes of Rockville, and they have two children, Harold S. and
Marjorie S. Their residence at No. 553 Farmingtou Avenue is one
of the most attractive on that delightful thoroughfare.

Mr. Lake was nominated for lieutenant-governor at the Republican
State Convention in New Haven, September 20th, 1906. He wae
elected by a plurality of 19,781.



CHARLES FREDERIC CHAPIN

CHAPIN, CHARLES FREDERIC, editor of the Waterlury
American, was born in South Hadley, Hampohire County,
Massachusetts, on the third of August, 1852. He is descended
from Samuel Chapin, who settled in Springfield, Massachusetts,
about 1636, and he is the son of Enoch Cooley Chapin and Harriet
Jenks Abbe Chapin. His early education was obtained in the public
schools of South Hadley and the academy at Lowville, New York,
where he lived for a few years. He prepared for college at Wilbraham
Academy, and then entered Yale University with the class of 187T.
While in college he received the highest literary honor that can be
bestowed upon a Yale man, for he was made chairman of the board
of editors of the Yale Literary Magazine.

In 1877, soon after his graduation, he went to Waterbury to
work in the office of the Waterbury American. The following year,
1878, he was made editor of the paper, which is one of the leading
newspapers in Connecticut and of which he has been editor continu-
ously ever since. The paper has a wide reputation for its independ-
ence and breadth of view. Mr. Chapin has been greatly responsible
in shaping the character and securing the position of his paper. He
is a keen observer and writer, and a diligent, conscientious worker.
Modesty and honesty are equally characteristic of the man and of his

writings.

Mr. Chapin vows allegiance to no political party and is an inde-
pendent voter. He attends the Congregational Church and is a mem-
ber of the Patriotic Society of Colonial Wars. He is a lover of out-
door sports, though lameness prevents his indulging in them to any
great extent. He married on October 12th, 1877, Katharine A.
Mattison, who died July 10th, 1905. Three children, a son and twin
daughters, Carl M. Chapin, Barbara, and Marjorie Chapin, have been
born to Mr. and Mrs. Chapin, all of whom are now Hving. Mr.
Chapin's home is at 35 Fairview Street, Waterbury.



HOWARD J. CURTIS

CURTIS, HOWARD J., lawyer and Judge of the Civil Court of
Common Pleas for Fairfield County, Connecticut, was born
in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut, June 29th, 1857,
the son of Freeman L. Curtis, a farmer, and Georgiana Howard
Curtis.

He traces his ancestry to Widow Elizabeth Curtis, who, with her
three sons, made one of the seventeen families that settled Stratford



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 20 of 30)