Norris Galpin Osborn.

Men of mark in Connecticut; ideals of American life told in biographies and autobiographies of eminent living Americans (Volume 1) online

. (page 24 of 30)
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 24 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

North Branford, and Meriden, and then in the Meriden Institute.
When, in 1850, the State Normal School was established, he was
appointed teacher of mathematics, moral philosophy, and geography.
He was appointed associate principal in 1855, and in 1857 became its
principal. Ill health forced him to resign after several years, and
he went to Europe to visit educational institutions. While there
he was appointed professor in the Maryland State College, which was
just being reopened after the Civil War. Upon the establishment
of the Bureau of Education at Washington, Mr. Camp was asked
to enter its service with Dr. Henry Barnard, commissioner, which



he did. In 1868 his father died and he returned to Connecticut,
where he engaged in literary work for some years. Among the books
he has written are "The Globe Manual," "Primary," "Intermediate,"
and "Higher" Geographies, "American Year Book and National Regis-
ter," and the "History of New Britain, Farmington, and Berlin."
He took up teaching again in the New Britain Seminary, but failing
health compelled him to discontinue it in 1880. Since then he has
been engaged in literary work and active business. He is president
of the Adkins Printing Company, president of the Skinner Chuck
Company, director and vice-president of the New Britain National
Bank, and director of the Cooperative Savings Society.

In the political world Mr. Camp has been an active Republican,
holding in turn the office of state superintendent of schools, alder-
man, mayor, member of the General Assembly, and chairman of the
committee on education. For ten years he was president of the Con-
necticut Temperance Union, and for twenty-five years he has been
auditor and chairman of the finance committee of the Missionary
Society of Connecticut, and since 1900 its president. As an educator,
he has held the office of secretary and president of the Connecticut
Teachers' Association, and secretary of the National Educational
Association, and for several years was president and is now vice-
president of the New Britain Institute, and has been chairman of its
library committee for fifty years.

In 1844 David N. Camp married Sarah Adaline Howd. He
became the father of two children, one of whom is still living. In
his own words, Mr. Camp's philosophy of life is : "Abstain from aU
intoxicants, have faith in God and man, and live to make others
happy and the world better." His long career shows that he has
follow(>d these teachings. He has always been an advocate of tem-
perance, and, as president of the Connecticut Temperance Society,
he has for years done much to aid its cause. Unable to be a mis-
sionary, he has been active and helpful in church work and in the
State Missionary Society. Forty years of his life have been spent
in imparting knowledge to others, and this was in spite of the fact
that his delicate health suffered in consequence. His name is found
on the rolls of a dozen or more societies or organizations which have
for their object something which tends toward the betterment of
humanity. In his long life he has done much to win the respect and
the gratitude of all those with whom he has come in contact.


ROOT, JUDSON" Hi\.LL, merchant, was born in Hartford, Hart-
ford County, Connecticut, May 29th, 1840, the son of Eliza-
beth Taylor Eoot and Samuel Root, a graduate of Yale, a
lawyer in training, but who never practiced. Mr. Root is a descend-
ant from Thomas Root who came from England and settled in Hart-
ford in 1637. Jesse Root, one of Thomas Root's descendants, and the
great-grandfather of Mr. Judson H. Root, was born in Coventry in
1736, and was one of the early settlers of Hartford. He was a Prince-
ton graduate and a successful lawyer. In 1763 he was made a
lieutenant of a company of militia in his native town and soon rose to
the rank of colonel. He served as a captain of volunteers in 1777 and
in many important civil capacities during the Revolution. He was
state's attorney and was a member of the General Assembly and of
Congress several times. He was appointed a judge of the Superior
Court in 1789 and chief judge in 1798. He was presidential elector
in 1808, and on Washington's visit to Hartford he made the address
of welcome. In 1800 he received the degree of LL.D. from Yale
College. The father of General Grant was named after him, and
Tapping Reeve and Oliver Ellsworth were among his pupils in legal

Judson H. Root spent his youth in Hartford and was educated at
the Hartford Public High School. At sixteen he began work in a
dry goods store and was thrown upon his own resources from that
time on. He chose for himself the career of a merchant and has per-
sisted in it ever since. His mother's encouragement and the success of
others have been his greatest incentives in his work. From the
humble position of clerk he has risen to that of partner in the firm of
H. C. Judd & Root, which stands in the front rank of wool dealers
in the country.

In addition to his mercantile interests Mr. Root has seen five
years of service in the State militia. In politics he has always been a
Republican, and in creed a Congregationalist. He has always been


devoted to out-of-door sports and to physical culture. Golf, fishing,
automobiling, and driving are his favorite amusements. On May
10th, 1865, Mr. Root married Catherine S. Waterman. One child,
a daughter, has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Root.

The advice of one of the most conservative and successful mer-
chants of Hartford should have great weight for those seeking the
secret of his success. He gives the following simple but adequate list
of the qualifications for a truly successful business life: "Honesty,
sobriety, stability, and perseverance."


WHITCOMB, WALTER OSGOOD, president of the Whit-
comb Metallic Bedstead Company of Shelton, Connecticut,
and well known for his many other business connections,
was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, August 11th, 1855. His
earliest paternal ancestor in this country was William Wadsworth,
who came to Virginia in 1620, in Captain Daniel Gookin's company,
and afterwards, in 1636, settled in Hartford, Connecticut, and became
one of the wealthiest and most influential proprietors of that town.
His brother was a direct ancestor of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
and his son, Joseph Wadsworth, was the man who seized the famous
Connecticut charter and secreted it in its historic hiding place. The
Wadsworths have been prominent citizens of Connecticut since the
earliest Colonial days. Fern Wadsworth, of the Farmington branch
of the family, was commissary under General Washington, and also
for the French Army under Count De Rochambeau. His son, Daniel
Wadsworth, married the eldest daughter of the second Governor
Trumbull. Mr. Whitcomb's maternal ancestry is no less distinguished,
being traceable to Dolar Davis who came from England, and settled in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1634, and from whom were descended
Chief Justice Custis of Louisiana, Chief Justice Isaac Parker of
Massachusetts, and James Davis of Holden, Massachusetts, the com-
mander of a company of men who fought at Lexington. George Ban-
croft, the historian, had Davis blood in his veins, as did L. Gardner,
the man who built and held Fort Saybrook during the Pequot dis-
turbance in 1639.

Mr. Whitcomb's father was Charles Wadsworth Whitcomb, a
physician of great skill and gentleness of manner. He was a member
of the school board, examining surgeon of the United States Gov-
ernment, and State medical examiner. Mr. Whitcomb's mother was
Marion Estabrook, a remarkable woman whose moral and spiritual
influence on her son was intense and lasting.

At the age of twenty-one, Mr. Whitcomb took a clerical position


with the Boston and Albany Railroad at East Boston, Massachusetts,
and this step was his real "start in life." From early boyhood, Mr.
Whitcomb had been actuated by a definite desire to control a business
of a manufacturing nature, and the environment of a manufacturing
community fostered this desire. In 1881 he left the Boston and
Albany Company to take a similar position with the Bell Telephone
Company, and was concerned with their financial interests in New
York until 1883. In 1884 he became a partner in the manufacturing
and importing firm of Charles P. Rogers & Company of New York,
and remained with them six years. In 1890 Mr. Whitcomb became
president of the Whitcomb Metallic Bedstead Company of Shelton,
Connecticut, which position he still holds, and which brought the
realization of his youthful ambition.

On January 15th, 1885, Mr. Whitcomb was married to Anna R.
Washburn, eldest daughter of Governor and United States Senator
William B. Washburn of Massachusetts. They have had no children.
Their home is in New Haven, where, to use Mr. Whitcomb's own
words, they lead a "quiet and contented existence." Mr. Whitcomb
is a member of the Quinnipiack Club, the Country Club, Historical
Society, and the Congregational Club, all of New Haven. He is
fond of travel and all out-of-door sports. In politics he is a Repub-
lican, and has never changed his allegiance except on local or state

Achieving, as he has, success, even beyond his early ambitions, Mr.
Whitcomb's career may well be a model to young men starting in life.
To them he says : "Practice the Golden Rule. Be uniformly courte-
ous and considerate of all. Whatever your hand findeth to do, do it
with all your might. Give the best and most conscientious service to
your employer, regardless of compensation. Respect all forms of
honest labor and perform your share of it."




SWAN", JAMES, the widely known manufacturer of mechanics'
tools, son of William and Mary (Beck) Swan, was born in Dum-
fries, Scotland, December 18th, 1833. For many genera-
tions the Swan families lived in the same beautiful valley in Southern
Scotland, in the midst of the religious persecutions of the time,
through which were developed so many noble sons of Scotland for
service in the advance of civilization throughout the world.
There is recorded in the book of the Covenanters the service of
William Swan in behalf of a company of Covenanters whom he had
concealed in his barn at Dalswinton, north of Dumfries. The report
of this fact reached the ears of the soldiers who were soon approaching
the scene. But being discovered in time, Mr. Swan devised a plan of
dispute between himself and wife, whereby the barn was locked in the
face of the soldiers, giving them the impression that there was nothing
in the barn but a quantity of wool locked up for safe keeping. The
plan was so successful that the Covenanters were saved. Reared
among these historic associations, it is no more than natural that
James Swan inherited the excellent spirit and traits of his
parents and the race of great destiny. He was first cousin to Senator
James B. Beck who represented Kentucky twelve years in Congress,
from the 40th to the 43rd Congress, and was the only senator from
the South who remained loyal to the Union throughout the Civil
War. The friendship between Senator Beck and James Swan con-
tinued from their school days in Dumfries until the death of the

Receiving a common school education, James Swan was early
apprenticed to learn the millwright trade, including work in both
wood and iron, having for a master one of the most skilled in the
guild. His close application to his trade and thoroughness in work
qualified him for important and responsible positions.

Thinking that America offered the largest opportunities to am-
bitious young men, he resolved to seek his fortune across the sea.


It was near the close of 1853 when he arrived in New York, being
then only twenty years of age. He first went to the home of his
uncle, Ebenezer Beck, in Wyoming, New York. Not satisfied with
the outlook there and desiring to see more of the country, James
went to Birmingham, now Derby, Connecticut, where he secured
employment with the Bassett Iron Works. Soon after, a better
position was offered him with the Farrel Foundry and Machine Com-
pany in Ansonia. His ability was here recognized and he was promoted
to serve as superintendent of the works from 1858 to 1865. During
this period he closely applied himself to become master of all depart-
ments of his trade, thus qualifying himself for independent action
when the opportunity came.

In 1865 Mr. Swan went to Sej-mour as superintendent of the
Douglass Manufacturing Company, which was engaged in the manu-
facture of augers and bits, an industry then peculiar to this locality,
the first tools of this kind having been made in Seymour (then
Humphreysville) early in the century.

The increase in the business soon demanded the enlargement of
the works. Mr. Swan became a director in the company and an active
factor in its management. In 1874 the business was purchased by
James Flint and the Kussell & Erwin Manufacturing Company of
New York, who consolidated with it, in 1876, the Edged Tool Works
which they had hitherto operated in Arlington, Vermont. The fol-
lowing year, 1877, seeing the possibilities of a large and prosperous
business, Mr. Swan purchased the whole plant, together with the real
estate, and entered upon a new period of prosperity. The Eussell &
Erwin Company was retained as his sales agents in New York and

Long experience had qualified Mr. Swan for new undertakings
in the line of inventions and patents, which have probably sur-
passed in both number and excellence those of all other persons
engaged in similar manufacturing. He has taken out nearly eighty
patents for inventions and improvements in mechanics' tools, and his
shops turn out more than one hundred varieties of tools, some of
which are unsurpassed in any country. All these show the magni-
tude of his work and unceasing industry. He has likewise simplified
the process of manufacturing, with labor saving devices. Among the
great variety of his tools there are to be seen all kinds of chisels.


gouges, drawing knives, screw-drivers, augers and bits, gimlets, hol-
low augers, boring machines. Cook's and Jennings' bits, also the pat-
ent expansion bits, and many others. As to quality, only first class
goods are placed upon the market. His twisted augers and bits
have been looked upon by mechanics of the Old World as marvels of
genius and skill.

In 1895 the James Swan Company was organized, with a capi-
tal of $125,000, with James Swan as president and treasurer, and
his three sons occupying positions at the head of the several depart-
ments: William B. Swan as superintendent of the auger and l)it
works; John Swan as superintendent of the Edged Tool Works, and
Albert Swan as office manager.

The company has now in its employ one hundred and twenty-
five skilled mechanics who turn out superior work in their several
departments. This superiority of work is accounted for in part by
the spirit of cooperation existing between the workmen and the officers
of the company, for all their needs are met with consideration and
justice. And it is a noteworthy fact that some of the workmen have
served from thirty to thirty-five years.

Mr. Swan has developed a large export trade with South America,
the European countries, and Australia. His numerous exhibits have
brought him premiums; in 1865 at the American Institute Fair; in
1867 at the Paris Exposition; in 1876 at the Centennial Exhibition,
Philadelphia; in 1878 at the Paris Exhibition; in 1879 at the Ex-
position in Sydney, Australia (first prize) ; in 1885 at the New
Orleans Exposition (first prize) ; in 1893 at the World's Fair,

Mr. Swan has held many responsible positions: president of the
James Swan Company, the H. A. Matthews Manufacturing Company,
and the Seymour Electric Light Company; director of the Ansonia
National Bank; president of the Sejnnour Board of Education and
of the Board of Directors of the Public Library; chief engineer of
Citizens Engine Company. As chief of Citizens Engine Company
he has served since 1885, a period of twenty years. He served on
the buildinp- committee for the erection of a handsome engine house,
and his personal oversight was given during the construction of a
first class fire engine. For the encouragement of the department
Mr. Swan has been a generous contributor, and much of its success


has been due to him. Mr. Swan also served as chairman of the
soldiers' monument committee in 1904 and the beautiful memorial
erected in the public park of Seymour is in large measure due to his

Being the president of the Seymour Board of Education, he was
instrumental in securing the erection of a fine high school building
with seating capacity for 450 pupils. For the encouragement of
scholarship he has regularly given prizes to the three graduates of
the highest standing.

In 1873 he had the honor of representing the town in the legis-
lature by being the first Republican representative, his reputation and
firm principles winning for him the place above the former large
Democratic majority.

Nowhere does he find greater pleasure than serving as president
of the Board of Directors of the Public Library. In cooperation with
the late Hon. Carlos French he has done everything possible in the
way of helpfulness for enlarging the usefulness of both library and
reading room.

Since 1866 Mr. Swan has been a member of Morning Star
Lodge, F. & A. M. He is also a charter member of the Nonnawauk
Tribe, Improved Order of Red Men.

Mr. Swan is a member of the Congregational Church and served
as superintendent of the Sunday School from 1872 to 1883. The
"Parish Library" connected with the church was founded by Mr.
Swan, as there was no public library at the time, and during the years
since he has been a liberal contributor in both money and books for
its maintenance. Likewise in times of need the church has received his
generous support, in the spirit of a true benefactor.

His recreation he takes in travel, spending some months of every
year in Europe or in the more remote parts of this country.

James Swan, son of William and Mary (Beck) Swan married
Agnes, daughter of William and Margaret (Caird) Bell of Dum-
frieshire, Scotland, in New York City, N. Y., 1857. Of the seven
children born to them, there are now living William Beck Swan,
Mary Jessie, John, and Albert.

No greater joy of earth can come to a self-made man than that
of being useful to his fellow men all along life's journey.


MARLIN, MAHLON HENRY, manufacturer, president and
treasurer of the Marlin Fire Arras Company of New Haven,
was born in Windsor Locks, Hartford County, Connecticut,
July 23rd, 1864. On his father's side he is descended from Mahlon
Marlin, who came from England, and from his wife, Janet Brad-
foot, who came from Scotland, On his mother's side he is descended
from Henry Bacon Moore and Susan Adams Barnard. His father,
John Mahlon Marlin, was a manufacturer and a man of great
perseverance, self-reliance, and industry. Mr. Marlin's mother was
Martha Susan Moore Marlin, and of her he says: "I owe much to
my mother for whatever success I may have in life."

There were no obstacles in the way of Mr. Marlin's acquisition of
an education. He had excellent health and spent his youth as well
as his later life in the city of New Haven. He read a great deal and
was particularly interested in history, biography, and books of travel.
Shakespeare, Dickens, and Thackeray were his favorite authors. He
prepared for college at the Hillhouse High School and then entered
the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, where he was
graduated in 1886. That same summer he entered business in the fac-
tory of the Marlin Fire Arms Company. In the fall of the fol-
lowing year, 1887, he married Mary Moore Aldrich, by whom he has
had one child. Mr. Marlin has continued steadily in the manufactur-
ing business and his success has been equally steady. He has been
secretary and vice-president, and is now president and treasurer of the
Marlin Fire Arms Company, one of the largest concerns of the kind
in New England.

An active and enthusiastic Yale alumnus, Mr. Marlin is a member
of the Graduates Club and the Yale Club. He is also a member of the
New Haven Country Club and the Lawn Club. As a young man he
was greatly interested in football and baseball, being full back on
the Yale 'Varsity Eleven in 1884. He is still a great believer in
systematic exercise and finds great pleasure in golf. His home is
at 312 Temple Street, New Haven.


Yale University was born in Ovid, Seneca County, New York,
on New Year's day, 1838, the son of Thomas and Mary
Janette Woodward Lounsbury. His father was a clergyman, and from
earliest childhood, save when on the firing line in the Civil War,
Professor Lounsbury has lived in a literary atmosphere. The
records may not show that he is a direct descendant of Geoffrey
Chaucer, but any who have sat at his feet to hear him expound the
great pcet, or who have read the professor's books and essays, must
have been impressed with certain points of similarity in the fourteenth
century master and his twentieth century disciple; he who knows his
Chaucer aright is drawn most by his kindly nature, his abundant
humor, and his sterling good sense, and he who has come under the
spell of Professor Lounsbury's learning gladly testifies that these
same qualities abound in him.

If anything were needed to confirm the theory of descent from
the author of "Canterbury Tales," it is to be found in the professor's
answer recently to a question put to him in the interests of general
helpful information gathered from leading men. The question was,
"Did you have any difficulties to overcome in acquiring an education ?"
His prompt reply was, "Learning to read." By some that would
be taken as a spark of his delicious humor, but considered solemnly,
as it was uttered, it resolves itself into this: The man who can
read Chaucer as glibly as he can Eugene Field must have come by it
through inheritance; and to such an one, the reading of the West-
minster Assembly Catechism — which the professor says was one of his
most helpful books — may have proved in reality a most serious diffi-

His catechism mastered then, he completed his preparatory course
at Ovid Academy and was graduated from Yale with the degree of
Bachelor of Arts in 1859. When he says, "I never earned a degree;
they were given to me," he includes this first one perhaps uncon-


sciously ; if to earn a thing means to work for it, he did not earn oven
tiiis, for the college curriculum meant pleasure, not labor, for him.

From the college whose fame he was one day to increase, he wcnit
to New York, where he was engaged as an assistant in preparing
Appleton's American Cyclopedia. But student that he is and always
has been, he never was a recluse, and Lincoln's call for troops in 18G1
stirred the good red blood in his veins. When the first few months
did not "settle" the strife, as so many had prophesied, he was one of
those who believed it was their duty to go to the front. In 18(52 he
went out as a lieutenant with the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth
New York Volunteers, but was speedily detached on staff duty in
some form of which he continued till the end of the war. Immediately
upon the declaration of peace he devoted himself to his books.

It was at the beginning of the second term of the academic year
1869-70, that Yale claimed him for her own. He came humbly,
as a tutor in English in the Sheffield Scientific School. One year
later he was advanced to the full professorship, the position he still
holds, together with that of librarian of the school — the beloved dean
of the Yale literary teachers, an authority throughout the land. And
when we say "authority," we mean it in its broadest, most popular
sense, an authority whom the masses can laud. For it is he who has
had the courage to stand up and say, against the "Six Oracles" :
"Until the time comes when our language approaches the phonetic
excellence of the Italian, Spanish, or German, no small share of our
time will be spent in the profitable and exciting occupation of con-
sulting dictionaries, or the equally profitable and exciting discussion of
the pronunciation of particular words and in airing our opinions and
delivering our decisions upon points about which one thoroughly

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 24 of 30)