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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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in 1639. His boyhood was spent in Stratford under the advantages
and disadvantages enjoyed by all boys who spend their impressionable
years amid the activities of farm life in a thickly settled community,
where companionship is abundant, and where outdoor work and out-
door play are fairly combined. These circumstances tended to pro-
duce health of body and an optimistic spirit. In 1874 he entered
the employ of the Housatonic Railroad Company at Pittsfield, Mas-
sachusetts, as shipping clerk in the freight office and remained there
one year, when he decided to take a college course. He returned to
Stratford in the fall of 1875 and entered the preparatory school of
Frederick Sedgwick. Here he enjoyed for two years the instruction of
Mr. Sedgwick, a teacher of unique power and a personality of marked
originality and force. In 1877 Mr. Curtis entered Yale University and
took his academic degree in 1881. He spent the next year at Chatham,
Virginia, teaching and incidentally studying law. In the fall of
1882 he entered the senior class of the Yale Law School and
received his degree of LL.B. in June, 1883. His choice of the pro-
fession of law was determined by his own preference and because
"law looms large in the horizon of a country boy."

After a short experience in reading law in the office of Amos L.
Treat of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Mr. Curtis settled down to the
practice of law in Bridgeport, in 1883, with George W. Wheeler, now
Judge of the Superior Court, as Wheeler & Curtis. This partnership
lasted for ten years until, in 1893, Mr. Curtis became Judge of the
Civil Court of Common Pleas for Fairfield County, which position



HOWARD J. CURTIS 359

he still fills. In addition to his practice and his duties on the bench
Judge Curtis has been a member of the Stratford Board of Education
since 1884 and has been active in many town affairs. He is a member
of the society's committee of the First Ecclesiastical Society of Strat-
ford, which is Congregational in denomination. In politics he is a
"Gold Wing Democrat." He is a member of the Seaside Club, the
Contemporary Club, The University Club of Bridgeport, and The
University Club of New York City. On June 5th, 1888, Judge Curtis
married Ellen V. Talbot, by whom he has had three children, all of
whom are now living.



JAMES DUDLEY DEWELL

DlilWELL, JAMES DUDLEY, merchant and ex-lieutenant-
governor, a resident of New Haven, Connecticut, was born in
Norfolk, Litchfield County, Connecticut, September 3rd, 1837.
He is descended from William Deville, who came from England to
Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1640 and removed to Newport in 1653.
On his mother's side he traces his descent from Michael Humphrey,
who came from England to Windsor, Connecticut, in 1645. His
maternal ancestors were related to the ancestors of Gen. U. S. Grant.
Mr. Dewell's father was John Dewell, a manufacturer, esteemed for
the sterling integrity of his character and who served his fellow men as
postmaster, judge of probate, and State senator. Mr. Dewell's mother
was Mary Humphrey.

A healthy, ambitious boy living in the country, James Dewell
worked hard from his earliest boyhood at farming, in a factory, a
country store, and as a peddler on the road. A common school educa-
tion was the only one he was able to obtain and he began work at a very
early age. After clerking for some time in a country store he left
home in 1858 to become a salesman for the grocery firm of Bushnell
& Company in New Haven. In 1860 he was admitted to the firm
which became Bushnell & Dewell, and later, in 1879, Dewell & Com-
pany. The wholesale grocery business was his own choice and he has
continued in it since 1858 with great success.

Outside of his own business interests most of Mr. Dewell's time
has been spent in public services of various kinds. From 1865 to
18G7 he was lieutenant of the New Haven Grays. In 1890 he was
one of the prime movers in organizing the State Board of Trade, he
was its first president and held that office twelve years. He was presi-
dent of the Chamber of Commerce for many years and he did
important work as chief of the movement for building first-class
state roads. He has held many other offices, among which are a
twenty years' directorship in the Young Men's Institute of New
Haven, directorship in the Evergreen Cemetery Association, the vice-



JAMES DUDLEY DEWELL 361

presidency of the Security Insurance Company, and of the National Sav-
ings Bank, and he is one of the oldest directors of the City Bank and a
director in the New Haven Trust Company. He owned and managed
the "Sutton Fleet," which carried on trade between New England and
the South. In 1897 he was made lieutenant-governor of Connecticut
by the Republican party with which he has always been identified.

Ex-lieutenant-governor Dewell is a member of the New Haven
Colony Historical Society, the Sons of the American Revolution, the
Founders and Patriots Society, of Hiram Lodge No. 1, F. & A. M.,
and of the Union League Club of New Haven. His religious affilia-
tions are with the Congregational Church. July 2nd, 18G0, he
married Mary Elizabeth Keyes. Six children have been born of this
union, five of whom are still living.



MARCUS HENSEY HOLCOMB

HOLCOMB, MARCUS HENSEY, attorney at law, judge of
probate. Speaker of the House, and president of the South-
ington Savings Bank, was born in New Hartford, Litchfield
County, Connecticut, on November 28th, 1844, the son of Carlos
Holcomb and Adah Bushnell Holcomb. His father was a farmer
who held many public offices including those of selectman, assessor,
and member of the board of relief. He was the executor and adminis-
trator of many estates, being particularly fitted for this work by his
great executive ability and his highly judicial temperament. He
was a man of strong individuality, devoted to public matters, and
of high place in the esteem of his fellow men.

Marcus Hensey Holcomb spent his early days in a country village
and worked out his education on a Litchfield County farm. He
attended public and private schools and Wesleyan Academy and would
have gone through college, but for a sunstroke which impaired his
health at the time he would have entered college. He studied law
with Judge Jared B. Foster of New Hartford and was admitted to
the Bar at Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1871. In the meantime he had
been supporting himself by teaching school for a number of years. In
1872 he went to Southington and commenced to practice law and
he has remained there ever since. He is recognized as one of the
leading lawyers of his county and he has been as prominent in public
as in legal affairs. For thirty years he has been judge of probate
for the district of Southington and he is also judge of the town
court of Southington. Since 1893 he has been treasurer of Hartford
County and in 1893 he was senator from the second district. In
1902 he was a member of the Constitutional Convention and in 1905
he was Speaker of the House. He is at present a member of the
commissioners of State police and chairman of the Lewis High
School committee. He is president of the Southington Savings Bank,
a director in the Southington National Bank, in the Peck, Stow &
Wilcox Company, the Southington Cutlery Company, the ^tna Nut




S'2^ iifS- S-. Tt^/uxms 3 S




MARCUS HENSEY HOLCOMB 365

Company, and the Atwater Manufacturing Company, and the receiver
of the Cooperative Savings Society of Connecticut.

Judge Holcomb left the Democratic party, in 1888, on the tarifl'
issue and has since cast his vote with the Eepublican party. In
religious views he is a Baptist and he has been superintendent of the
Sunday school of the First Baptist Church of Southington for
several years and chairman of the board of trustees of that church.
He has many fraternal ties, being a thirty-second degree Mason, a
member of the Order of the Mystic Shrine, of the Knights of
Pythias, of the Order of Elks, the Order of Red Men, the 0. U. A. M.,
and the Foresters. In 1871-3 he was worshipful master of Northern
Star Lodge, No. 58, F. and A. M. He finds hunting and fishing
in the Maine woods the most beneficial and pleasurable relaxation
from professional and business cares.

In 1872, the year after his admission to the Bar, Judge Holcomb
married Sarah Carpenter Bennett, who died in 1901. One child
was born of this union, who died some years ago. Judge Holcomb
states very concisely and forcibly the practical advice he gives to
others when he says that the three essentials of success are "honesty,
industry, and sobriety."

Mr. Holcomb was nominated for attorney-general at the Eepublican
State Convention in New Haven, September 20th, 1906, and wa^s
elected by 21,000 plurality.



CHARLES NOEL FLAGG

FLAGG, CHARLES NOEL, artist and art teacher, founder and
director of the Connecticut League of Art Students, a member
of the Connecticut State Capitol Commission of Sculpture, first
president of the Municipal Art Societ}^ of Hartford organized 1904, ex-
president and, at present, chairman of the Committee on Civic Cen-
ters and Public Buildings, and one of the foremost New England por-
trait painters, was born in Brooklyn, New York, December 25th, 1848,
and is now a resident of Hartford, Connecticut. He is the son of Jared
Bradley Flagg, an artist of great skill, a clergyman and an author
and a man of great gentleness of disposition, who loved everything
beautiful in art and nature. His mother was Louisa Hart Flagg, a
woman whose influence upon his life was strong and good in every
way. The family traces its ancestry in this country to John Flagg
who came from England and settled in Rhode Island early in the
seventeenth century. Mr. Charles Noel Flagg's great-grandfather,
Henry Collins Flagg, was surgeon general in Washington's army.
From another branch of the family he is descended from Gen.
Francis Marion and he is also a grandnephew of Washington Allston.
Henry Collins Flagg, son of Dr. H. C. Flagg, was mayor of New
Haven several terms and was a member of the Society of Cincinnati.
Painting and books were the chief interests in the early life of
Charles Noel Flagg, just as they have been in his mature life. The
Bible, Shakespeare's plays, and Don Quixote were his favorite books
and his greatest help in after life. He was a delicate youth and did
not have much work to do outside of his school work. He did, how-
ever, partly learn the trade of carpenter and the experience thus
gained has proved a constant source of pleasure and intellectual bene-
fit. His youth was spent partly in New York, where he attended
the public schools, and partly in New Haven, where he took the
course at the Hopkins Grammar School. In 1864, when he was but
sixteen years old, he began the active work of portrait painting in
New Haven. In 1872 he went abroad and spent ten years in Paris
studying drawing and painting under Louis Jacquesson de la



CHARLES NOEL FLAGQ 367

Chevreuse and he also attended lectures at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts
in Paris.

Upon his return to America Mr. Flagg settled in Hartford and
worked both as an artist and as an art teacher. In 1888 he founded
the Connecticut League of Art Students, a free night school for men
wishing to become professional artists, and he is still director of and
teacher in the League. This organization has been very influential
in developing and advancing art study in Connecticut and in raising
the standards of art in the state as well as an immense practical
help to deserving students. In 1889 Mr. Flagg was appointed by
the governor to complete the unexpired term of the late A. E. Burr as
member of the Connecticut State Capitol Commission of Sculpture
and in 1901 he was reappointed for six years. Mr. Flagg has painted
several hundred portraits, many of which are of distinguished men
and women of the day. He has also been an occasional contributor to
the Atlantic Montlily and to many art magazines and papers. He is
president of the Municipal Art Society of Hartford, chainnan of the
Committee on Civic Centers and Public Buildings, secretary of the
Society of Connecticut Artists, chairman of the Art Committee of the
Hartford Club, of the admission committee of the Hartford Yacht
Club, and was elected vice-commodore at the last annual meeting of the
Hartford Yacht Club. He is also a member of the Cercle Frangais
of Hartford, of the Hartford Siingerbund, and the American Civic
Club. He is a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church. In
politics he is and always has been a Republican. Yachting is his most
enjoyable sport and for indoor exercise he follows the Saint Cyr
system of physical culture which has cured him of asthma, from
which he was a sufferer for twenty years. In 1874 Mr. Flagg married
Ellen Fanny Earle of New York City. Five children have been born
to Mr. and Mrs. Flagg and four are now living. Their home is in
Hartford. Mr. Flagg considers the strongest influence upon his
success in life to have been exerted at home by his father and mother
and by his friend, Dr. Horace Bushnell. Next to home influence he
values his private study. For a watchword for others he says : "Be
prompt to do the thing to be done yourself. Let the other person do
the talking. Laziness is the curse of artists and art students. Above
all — for success — 'To thine own self be true — thou canst not then be
false to any man.^ "



HENRY A. PERKINS

PROFESSOE PERKINS comes from old Connecticut stock, his
father, Edward Perkins, being the son of Henry Perkins, for
80 many years the president of the old Hartford Bank in the
early part of the nineteenth century and his mother, Mary Dwight,
being a representative of a family distinguished in many parts of the
country for culture and scholarship. He was born in 1873 in the
city of Hartford and was educated in the orthodox Congregational
manner at the Hartford High School and Yale University, where he
was graduated in 1896. His first graduate course he took at Columbia
University, receiving the degrees of M.A. and Electrical Engineer
in 1899. After two years' graduate work at Yale and a yearns prac-
tical experience with the Hartford Electric Light Company, he was
made professor of physics at Trinity College in 1903. Although so
young a man he is recognized as a very careful experimenter, a
thoroughly competent theoretical electrician, and an expert in pho-
tometry. Ho has contributed several articles to the American Journal
of Science and is a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers
and of the American Physical Society. He has traveled extensively
and visited the interior of Iceland. His lectures on what he saw
there, the people and the physiographical character of the country,
are full of novelty and interest. He is also much interested in
exploration and mountain climbing and is a member of the Alpine
Club and the Arctic Club.

In 1903 he married Miss Olga Flinch. One son has been born to
them.



ELI WHITNEY

WHITNEY, ELI, a prominent citizen with many important
business interests, was born in New Haven, Connecticut,
January 22nd, 1847. He is the son of Eli Whitney and
Sarah Perkins (Dalliba) Whitney. He comes from a long line of dis-
tinguished ancestors, and men who have played prominent parts in the
events of their time. His earliest ancestor in this country was John
Whitney, who came from England in 1635 and settled in Watertown,
Massachusetts. Among those ancestors who have distinguished them-
selves first comes the great Eli Whitney, who was the inventor of the
cotton gin. There are also Jonathan Edwards, theologian, who was
president of Princeton College; Thomas Hooker, the founder of the
city of Hartford and one of the most prominent figures in the making
of the early history of the State of Connecticut ; Eev. James Pierpont,
who was one of the little band of men who were the founders of Yale
University; Benjamin Huntington, and Pierpont Edwards, who was
one of the original members of the famous Connecticut Governor's
Foot Guards (still in existence), who fought in the Revolution. His
father was a graduate of Princeton, class of 1841, and his life's work
was that of a manufacturer,

Mr. Whitney spent the early days of his youth on the estate of
his father in New Haven, and prepared for college at the famous
boys' military school of Gen. Wm. H. Ptussell in New Haven, Con-
necticut, and also at Josiah Clark's School at Northampton, Massa-
chusetts, and entered Yale University in 1865, graduating with the
degree of B.A. in the class of 1869. Later the degree of M.A. was
conferred upon him. Upon leaving Yale he took a post-graduate
course at the Boston Institute of Technology and in the Sheffield
Scientific School of Yale.

Acting upon the wish of his father he entered the employ of the

Whitney Arms Company in 1871, and gradually rose to the position

of vice-president. The business was sold in 1888. Two years after

i going into business he was married to Sarah Sheffield Farnam of



372 ELI WHITNEY

New Haven, on October 32nd, 1873. Seven daughters are the
result of this union and all but one are now living.

For a number of years Mr, Whitney has been prominent in public
life, and is intimately associated with the business interests of his
city. He has been president of the New Haven Water Company since
1894, president of the West Haven Water Company since 1900,
director of the New Haven Gas Light Company, the City Bank of
New Haven, and trustee in the Connecticut Savings Bank and the
New Haven Trust Company. He has also held a number of political
positions, among them alderman, member of the Park Commission,
Board of Public Works, and for twelve years a member of the Board
of Education in New Haven and for nearly eight years its president,
and president of the General Hospital of Connecticut. November,
1904, he was elected State senator, and during the session was promi-
nent as the introducer of a number of important bills. He is a fellow
on the Corporation of Yale University, to which position he was
elected by the alumni in 1902, vice-president of the New Haven
Colony Historical Society, member of the Connecticut Society of the
Sons of the American Eevolution and a member of several clubs
in the city of New Haven. He is also a member of the Century.
University, Yale, and Engineers clubs in New York City and of the
societies of the Colonial Wars and of the War of 1812.

In politics Mr. Whitney is a consistent Eepublican, though inclined
to be independent in local affairs when circumstances seem to demand
it. He is one of the most prominent men socially in New Haven,
and has won for himself the respect of all with whom he has come in
contact in the business world. He owns one of the most beautiful
residences in the city of New Haven, situated on the avenue named
after his family. Mr. Whitney takes a keen enjoyment in fishing and
hunting, having a love for the woods, but takes no active part in
athletics. He is a member of the Congregational Church and his
name is associated with a great many of the beneficial gifts that have
been made both in religious and other fields in New Haven. As a
man he is very unostentatious, being noted for his quiet and unassum-
ing manners.



JOHN DAY JACKSON

ACKSON, JOHN DAY, publisher of the New Haven Register,
president of the Worcester Gazette Company and a well known

newspaper man of Connecticut, was born in Hartford, Con-
necticut, September 23rd, 1868, the son of General Joseph Cooke
Jackson and Katharine Perkins Day Jackson. His father was a
lawyer and Assistant United States District Attorney of New York,
but best known for his military service in the Civil War, when he was
brigadier general of volunteers and Commissioner of the Naval Credits
for the State of New Jersey, in which the Jackson family have long
been prominent. The study of Mr. Jackson's ancestry opens up an
■unusually large and interesting list of names, names of public men
who have been real history makers in America and have been promi-
nent and important in the civil, military, and political history of
the United States since earliest times. Three early ancestors of
especial distinction are the "Pilgrim Fathers," Gov. William Brad-
ford, John Howl and, and John Tilley, all of whom came to Plymouth
in the "Mayflower" in 1620 and from all of whom Mr. Jackson is a
direct lineal descendant. He is also a direct descendant of Gov. John
Haynes, the first governor of Connecticut; Gov. Thomas Dudley, of
Massachusetts; Gov. Thomas Welles, of Connecticut; Gov. John
Webster, of Connecticut; Gov. George Wyllys; Gov. Koger Wolcott;
Gov. William Pitkin; Gov. Oliver Wolcott, all governors of Con-
necticut, and the last named, Mr. Jackson's great-great-great-grand-
father, was also major general in the Continental Army and a signer
of the Declaration of Independence. Another great-great-great-
grandfather, General Huntington, of Norwich, was a major general
in the British Army and aided in the capture of Louisburg in the
French and Indian War. Nor is this distinguished catalogue com-
plete by half, for Mr. Jackson also traces his ancestry to Gov. William
Pynchon, governing magistrate of Connecticut and one of the his-
toric founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ; to Philip Schuyler,
vice-governor at Fort Orange in 1655; Brandt Van Slichtenhorst,



374 JOHN DAY JACKSON

chief magistrate of Kensselaerwych, 1645-1655; Henry Woleott,
magistrate of Connecticut, 1643; Nathaniel Turner, magistrate of
New Haven Colony; Captain Miles Morgan, who fought against the
Indians at the sacking of Springfield in 1675; Lieutenant Thomas
Cooper, another Indian fighter; the Rev. John Whiting, chaplain of
the Connecticut troops in King Philip's War, and several other
divines of the Perkins and Pitkin families who were fellows of Yale
and Harvard and preachers of the state election sermons.

John Day Jackson spent his youth in the city of New York. He
attended the public schools in New York City, the School of Lan-
guages in New York, and then entered Yale University, where he took
his A.B. degree in 1890. In college he was chairman of the Yale
Daily News^ a Junior exhibition, Townsend, and commencement speak-
er, and was graduated with special honors in two groups, history and
economics and modern languages. He was also a member and secretary
of the General Athletic Committee appointed to confer with Harvard
on the Dual League. His scholarly tastes were not yet satisfied and he
went abroad to complete his education. He studied at the University
of Berlin, at the Sorbonne in Paris, and the Eeole Politique in Paris.
In 1901 he returned to America and spent a year in further study
at Harvard University. He began his journalistic career as a reporter
in New York and became later the Washington correspondent for
the New York Evening Post, the Newark News, the Journal of Com-
merce, and other papers; also managing editor of the Washington
News. He is now publisher of the New Haven Register and president
of the Worcester Gazette Company, besides being a director in a
number of other companies. For seven years he has been an in-
fluential member of the New Haven Board of Education and in 1898
he held the office of police commissioner. He is an adherent to the
Republican party in politics and in 1904 declined a nomination to
the State senate.

Mr. Jackson is a member of the Graduates Club, the Lawn Club,
the Union League Club, and the Young Men's Republican Club, all
of New Haven, and of the University Club of New York, the Yale
Club, the Sons of the Revolution, the Society of Colonial Wara, the
college fraternities Psi Upsilon and Chi Delta Theta, the Yale
Literary Magazine Society. He is an enthusiastic devotee of out-
of-door life and finds the keenest delight in riding, mountaineering.



JOHN DAY JACKSON 375

canoeing, skating, and tennis. He has been an extensive traveler in
Europe, Africa, and the East.

In estimating the results of what he has accomplished Mr. Jack-
son feels that hard work, perseverance, and courage are the real
essentials. He says: "Be sure you are quite right and then go
ahead without fear. Every one should take some interest in politics
and in public philanthropy, especially of an organized kind. If every
one did this the results of reform would last longer and general
conditions be much improved. The great mistake of American life
is to stop after something has been accomplished, expecting that
something to live without eternal vigilance. That is the only road
to growth."



CHARLES ALLEN DINSMORE

D INSHORE, EEV. CHAELES ALLEN, clergyman and author,
at present pastor of the First Congregational Church of Water-



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 21 of 30)