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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pins, while the liability is ignored. Serious complications are likplv
to arise over the disposition of the marginal funds ^

great'tshXe^ bT^^ ^r ll^S T T^^^^ "^ ^^^^
uy more or less of adversity. The ^tna stands


forth a sMning exception to the rule. Its growth has been continu-
ous, solid, unbroken by reverses. Luck, so-called, has played small
part in the drama. The explanation is to be found in the mental
grasp, sound judgment, and far-sightedness of the management.

The stately home of the company was bought in 1888 from the
estate of the defunct Charter Oak at a trifle over one-fourth of the
original cost. Within its walls the ^tna, with its subsidiary acci-
dent, health, and liability departments, finds ample accommoda-

In Governor Bulkeley an inherited taste for politics has not been
suffered to wither from disuse. After serving as councilman and
alderman he was elected mayor of Hartford in 1880 and held the
chair till 1888. His was essentially a "business" administration,
conducted as a careful man would manage his own affairs. Inciden-
tally, he disbursed more than his salary in providing pleasure or com-
fort for the poor of the city. Among the means of entertainment are
remembered free excursions on the river, free picnics for children, etc.,

In the fall of 1888 the Eepublican Convention of the State
nominated Mr. Bulkeley by acclamation for governor. He was elected
by a large majority though at the time the Democratic ticket for
presidential electors was successful. In the executive chair he con-
tinued to exercise the same vigilance and care that had made mem-
orable his long term in the mayoralty.

Following the custom a new ticket was presented in 1890. The
only person on either side having a clear majority over all was the
Democratic candidate for comptroller. The election of the remainder
of the State officers was thrown into the General Assembly. As the
two Houses belonged to opposite parties there arose under the pro-
visions of our constitution a deadlock. Accordingly, Governor Bulke-
ley and his associates, with the exception of the comptroller, held
over for two years. During the period the legislation remained in
abeyance. No appropriations were voted for the maintenance of the
institutions of the State or for meeting the imperative requirements
of the treasury. At this crisis the ^tna Life Insurance Company,
through its president. Governor Bulkeley, volunteered to furnish all
the money needed to meet every legitimate bill. Instructions were
issued in regard to the method of making disbursements and keep-


ing the accounts. The next General Assembly by public act repaid
the company in full without disallowance of an item.

Having twice thrown the votes pledged to him in the General
Assembly, to secure the reelection of General Hawley to the United
States Senate, in the fall of 1904 Governor Bulkeley, on the with-
drawal of General Hawley, entered the field with the view of holding
his strength to the end. In nominations, and later in the election,
attention was centered on the senatorship, all other issues being for
the moment submerged. When the caucus met the following January,
Governor Bulkeley had about two-thirds of the votes, and the action
of the caucus was ratified in the General Assembly. In executive
ability no man in the United States Senate will excel the new member
from Connecticut. Corporate abuses have provoked a dangerous dis-
position to assail the bad and good indiscriminately. The friends of
Senator Bulkeley believe that he will penetrate to the marrow of
questions affecting the business of the country, and prove a bulwark
against injustice to legitimate interests.

A bit of local history, if ever written in full, will bring into view
the grasp and resourcefulness of Mr. Bulkeley. May 17, 1895, the
obsolete and inadequate bridge across the Connecticut river at Hart-
ford was burned. Instinctively the community turned to the ex-
mayor for relief and guidance. A ferry and, later, a temporary struc-
ture were provided to meet the immediate needs of the public. By
act of the legislature a commission was created with Mr. Bulkeley as
chairman, empowered to build, A bridge district was also created, em-
bracing Hartford and several towns east of the river, not without oppo-
sition, for the procedure was new in Connecticut. Time was taken to
elaborate a comprehensive scheme, not for the hour merely, but for
a distant future also. Much patient study was given to the subject.
The plans as slowly developed were supported by the well-nigh
unanimous approval of the citizens of Hartford — a striking proof of
the confidence of the public in the wisdom of the commission. As
a result there is in process of construction a magnificent stone bridge,
that will endure for ages. Eastward, across the meadows, a broad
boulevard has taken the place of a narrow driveway. On the west
side land has been secured by purchase or condemnation to open
parallel to the river a broad avenue, artistically combining park and;


Though the expense will be great, no serious obstruction has
been thrown in the way, except from a distance. For reasons in-
scrutable to an onlooker burdened with an old-fashioned notion that
utilities ought to bear some recognizable proportion to cost, powerful
influences up the river insisted upon a draw — possibly with a view to
the development of a harbor on Mount Washington. So well organized
was the movement, that it long threatened to mutilate the structure.
However, by patient, persistent, and tactful efforts. Governor Bulkeley
finally silenced opposition. When that was withdrawn the United
States Government consented to the execution of the work as designed.

In 1885 Governor Bulkeley married Miss Fannie Briggs Hough-
ton. They have three children : Morgan Gardner, Jr. ; Elinor Hough-
ton, and Houghton Bulkeley. He belongs to many clubs and fra-
ternities, and has been specially active in patriotic societies. The
spacious and beautiful building of the Hartford Club was made pos-
sible through his support. He is president of the Commission on
Improvements of the State Capitol.

Although the life of Governor Bulkeley has abounded in activi-
ties, he has done everything with thoroughness.


senator, lawyer, and one of the most prominent Eepublicans in
Connecticut, was born in New London, Connecticut, July 8th,
1864. He is a descendant of Jacob Brandegee, a native of Nine
Points, New York, who settled New Britain in the middle of the
eighteenth century and founded the Connecticut branch of the family.
John Brandegee, his grandfather, was a prosperous cotton broker of
New Orleans, who came to New London and engaged in the whaling
industry, and in many public enterprises. On the maternal side.
Senator Brandegee is descended from Daniel Deschamps, a Huguenot
refugee at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and
from Captain Daniel Deshon, who commanded an armed vessel dur-
ing the War of the Eevolution. The other two Huguenot ancestors,
John and Eichard Deshon, served with conspicuous credit
as captains of companies of Connecticut militia in the Eevolu-
tion. Puritan as well as Huguenot blood flows in the Bran-
degee veins, for their family ancestry is also traceable to the historic
Elder Brewster. Senator Brandegee's father, Hon. Augustus Brande-
gee, one of the most distinguished lawyers and politicians Connecticut
has ever produced, was four times a member of Congress, an able
speaker, and a popular political leader. His wife, the present senator's
mother, was Nancy Bosworth Brandegee.

After the usual public school experience Frank Brandegee pre-
pared for college at the Bulkeley High School in New London, where
he graduated in 1881. He then entered Yale University, where he
won honors both for excellent scholarship and for prowess in athletics.
After taking his degree in 1885 he went abroad, visiting Great Brit-
ain and Continental Europe, and later Alaska, Canada, and the
Hawaiian Islands. Eeturning home, he was admitted to the New
London County Bar in 1888 and, following in his father's worthy
steps, he began the practice of law and became a member of the well
known law firm of Brandegee, Noyes & Brandegee. Like his father,



he was singled out for political honors very early in his career, and in
1888, the first year of his legal practice, he represented New London
in the General Assembly, and was chairman of the committee on
cities and boroughs during his term of office. In 1889 he was elected
corporation counsel of the city of New London, and held this office
continuously, with the exception of two years when his party was
not in power, until he resigned it upon his election as representa-
tive in Congress in 1902. His consistent party loyalty, rare executive
ability, and marked capacity for leadership gained him rapidly grow-
ing prominence among the Republicans of the State, and he was
their delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1888, 1892,
1900, and 1904, and in the last named year he was chairman of the
delegation. Since 1898 he has been a member of the Republican State
Central Cormnittee. In 1898 he was again elected State representa-
tive, and was Speaker of the Connecticut House in 1899. In 1902
he was elected to the 57th Congress at its second session to fill a
vacancy left by the death of Charles A. Russell, and was reelected
representative to the 57th and 58th Congresses by large majorities in
both instances. He served with great success on the committee of
naval affairs, and has been a most prominent and active Congress-
man. In 1905 he was elected to fill the senatorial vacancy caused by
the death of Orville H. Piatt. His term of office as United States
senator will expire March 4th, 1909.

As a speaker Senator Brandegee is forceful, just, persuasive,
and eloquent, and he is as able a writer as he is orator. His
fine mind, his ability to understand men and conditions, his public
spirit and personal integrity have won him high places in politics and
in his profession, and he is truly "the distinguished son of a dis-
tinguished father.**


SPEKRY, NEHEMIAH D., member of Congress, builder and
contractor, former postmaster of New Haven, former Secretary
of State of Connecticut, and one of the foremost politicians and
best known citizens of Connecticut, was bom in Woodbridge, New
Haven County, Connecticut, July 10th, 1827. He is a descendant of
Eichard Sparry, an early Colonial settler of Woodbridge, who supplied
shelter and provisions for the regicides of Charles the First after the
Restoration in England and achieved fame for his courage in so doing.
Sperry's Farm, opposite West Rock and near the Judge's cave which
hid the fugitives, was acquired by this Richard Sperry and has been in
the Sperry family for two hundred and fifty years. Mr. Sperry's
intermediate ancestors left him a substantial legacy of good, firm
Puritan character, honesty, prudence, and industry and vigorous con-
stitution and sound moral principles. His father was Enoch Sperry,
a farmer and manufacturer, who held many local offices and was gen-
erally honored for his integrity and sobriety and for his strict upright-
ness in all his dealings. He was gifted with a most logical mind of
especial capability in the mastering of mathematics. He lived a con-
scientious Christian life and the Sperry home was beautiful in its
gentle, consistent Christian atmosphere. Mr. Sperry's mother was
Atlanta (Sperry) Sperry, a woman whose character and influence
were of strength and beauty comparable to that of her husband.

Brought up on his father's farm, healthy in body and alert in
mind, Nehemiah Sperry was a busy, vigorous, and active lad, who
formed habits of industry at an early age and made the most of
meager educational advantages. He loved nature and books, espe-
cially historical works, and when not at work or school he usually
employed his time in fishing or reading. He evinced unusual mental
powers and was qualified to teach school and did so with success at such
an early age that he had contemporaries for pupils. After a few years
at the district school he went to New Haven and studied for one year
at Professor Smith's private school, earning his board by working nights
and betimes in the morning. He taught school several terms and



received the highest salary of any district school teacher in the State.
From the time he was fourteen Mr, Sperry lived in New Haven, which
is still his home, and when not studying or teaching he worked at learn-
ing the trade of mason and builder. When he was still a very young
man he entered into partnersliip with his brother-in-law, forming the
firm of Sperry & Smith, which is in existence to-day and is the old-
est and one of the largest and finest firms of its kind in the State.
They have built many of the leading factories and most handsome
public buildings and residences in New Haven and vicinity. The
firm is now Smith, Sperry & Treat, masons, builders, and con-

When Nehemiah Sperry as a young boy first became a resident of
New Haven he began at once to be identified with all the best interests
of that city. He joined the Congregational Church of which he is still
an active member and as soon as he could vote he became a staunch
and prominent member of the Whig party. Throughout his life he
has taken serious and active interest in the religious, political, educa-
tional, and social affairs of his city and has been prominent and influ-
ential in all these spheres of life. As a politician Mr. Sperry has
had a most useful and distinguished career, for his great loyalty,
patriotism, shrewdness, and organizing ability, as well as his eloquence
and popularity, have made him a favorite recipient of public honors.
In 1853 he was a member of the common council, and he was select-
man in the same year; in 1854 he was an alderman and in 1855 his
party wished to make him governor, but he was not old enough to meet
the requirements and he was made Secretary of State instead. He was
a member of the National American Convention which met at Phila-
delphia in June, 1855, to formulate the platform of the American
party. He was a zealous anti-slavery worker and became a strong
Eepublican. He was chairman of the Eepublican State Committee for
many years before and during the Civil War and one of the most
influential politicians in the campaigns of the war period. He did
valuable service in helping the Government and the soldiers and en-
joyed personal intimacy with President Lincoln. He was secretary
of the National Republican Convention which nominated and re-nomi-
nated Lincoln, he was chairman of the New Haven Eecruiting Com-
mittee, and when the "Monitor" was built he was a bondsman for the
builders and later on he was president of the State Republican Con-
vention, which nominated Grant electors. Upon Lincoln's accession he


was made postmaster at New Haven and held this office from 1861 to
1885. The New Haven post office is one of the most important and effi-
cient offices in the country and Mr. Sperry was one of the most capable
and progressive postmasters. He was re-appointed in 1889 and served
till 1893 and upon his final retirement from the office he had held so
successfully under different presidents he was given a banquet in the
largest theater in New Haven, at which four hundred prominent men
were present. In 1895 Mr. Sperry became a member of Congress and
he still serves his party in that capacity. In political faith he is a
strong Protectionist and his article on the "Advantages of Protection"
was considered such a valuable and able treatise on that subject that
four hundred thousand copies of it were demanded. As a public
speaker and debater Mr. Sperry is eloquent, fair minded, and im-
pressive, and he has often been chosen to voice public and party senti-
ment. In municipal affairs as well as in politics Mr. Sperry has been
an influential leader and no one has done more than he to promote the
general interests of his home city. He organized the first street rail-
road in New Haven, which was likewise the first in the State, and was
a promoter of the New Haven and Derby Eailroad. His interest in
education and religion bore great fruit in 1878, when he brought
about the re-establishment of reading the Bible in the public schools,
which had previously been abolished. He has been several times a
delegate to the National Board of Trade.

Fraternally and socially Mr. Sperry has many interests and
honors. He is a thirty-third degree Mason and was Master of Wooster
Lodge for many years. He is a member of the Order of Odd Fellows
and of other societies and orders, including the Quinnipiack Club, of
which he was president for many years. He has been twice married.
His first wife, Eliza H. Sperry, died in 1847, and in 1875 he married
Minnie B. Newton of Lockport, New York.

Mr. Sperry is widely recognized as a man of great influence,
nobility of character, business ability and public spirit. He is
above everything else characterized by fidelity to principle and faithful-
ness to duty and these qualities added to his rare mental powers and
executive ability have made his success as deserved as it is great and

Mr. Sperry was unanimously re-nominated for Congressman,
October 2nd, 1906.


HENEY, EDWAED STEVENS, prominent in the financial and
political affairs of Eockville, Connecticut, public man, ex-
congressman and extensive real estate owner, was bom in
Gill, Massachusetts, February 10th, 1836. The Henry family is of
Scotch-Irish descent and traces its ancestry to Hugh Henry, a sturdy
yeoman of northern England who fought under William of Orange in
the Battle of the Boyne and whose son, Hugh Henry, came from Cole-
raine, Ireland, to Colerain, Massachusetts, in 1738 and founded the
American branch of the family. Benjamin Henry, son of Hugh, was
a soldier in the French and Indian Wars under General Putnam, was
for seventeen years a member of Legislature and also participated in
the Eevolution. The present Mr. Henry's father was Edward Fish
Henry, a teacher and farmer. Mr, Henry's mother was Eliza A.
Stevens, and through her he is descended from early English

Edward Stevens Henry was the oldest of six children and began
to take personal responsibilities at an early age. He was educated in
the public schools of Eockville, Connecticut, and went into the dry
goods business at the age of nineteen. At a very early age he became
actively interested in the organization and management of the leading
financial institutions of Eockville and in this work, in public service
and the care of his large estate and cattle farms he has spent his life.
He was an organizer and is the present treasurer of the People's Sav-
ings Bank of Eockville.

The public positions which Mr. Henry has held have been many
and important. For fifteen years he was active trial justice at Eock-
ville, in 1883 he was a member of the General Assembly, from 1887 to
1888 he was state senator, from 1889 to 1893 he was treasurer of state,
in 1894 he was mayor of Eockville and in 1894 he was elected a mem-
ber of Congress and re-elected in 1896. He then served in Con-
gress until 1901 and his long term of office makes him justly
deserve the title of "veteran Congressman." In 1888 he was dele-


gate at large to the Republican National Committee at Chicago,
As treasurer of state his services were especially efficient and commend-
able, for he took the office during a transition period under new laws
and his management was most prosperous and prudent. During his
term of office he abolished the state tax, thereby benefiting the poorer
classes very greatly. While in the Legislature he did much for the
advancement of agriculture and he is a director of the American
Jersey Cattle Club. Some of Mr. Henr/s greatest public services
are embodied in the public building in Rockville known as the
Henry Block and the Henry Opera House, which adds much to the
appearance of the town and to the convenience of its people.

In 1860 Mr. Henry married Lucina Dewey, by whom he has had
one child, a daughter. Mr. Henry is a member of the Sons of the
American Revolution, the fraternal order of Masons, the Connecticut
Historical Society and he has been a loyal member of the Republican
party ever since he attained the voting age. As a business man, a
politician, and a citizen, Mr. Henry has been truly useful and suc-

On September 22nd, 1906, Mr. Henry was unanimously re-nomi-
nated for Congress.



HILL, HOX. EBENEZER J., manufacturer, banker and
financier, politician and Congressman, of Norwalk, Connecti-
cut, was born in Eedding, Fairfield County, Connecticut,
August 4th, 1845. He is of Scotch-English descent, coming in direct
line from Hugh and Brice McLellan, two cousins, whose son and
daughter were his maternal grandparents and who came from Scot-
land and settled in York, Maine, in 1730. His other ancestors came
from England to America before 1650 and settled in various parts
of New England. Among them were William Hill, who came from
Exeter, England, to Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1633, and to
Windsor, Connecticut, in 1635, and settled in Fairfield, Connec-
ticut, in 1644; Rev. John Jones, who came from London to Con-
cord, Massachusetts, 1635; John Burr, who came with Winthrop in
1630; Francis Bradley, who came to JSTew Haven with Eaton; Wil-
liam Ilsley, who came from Wiltshire, England, to Ipswich, Massa-
chusetts, in 1634, and Capt. Thomas Bradbury, who came from
Essex County, England, to York, Maine, in 1634. All these men and
many others who were Mr. Hill's ancestors were leaders in Colonial
affairs, social, civil, and military and served their country with honor.
Another, Tristram Coffin, was the first chief magistrate of Nantucket,
and another, Andrew Ward, was a member of the General Assembly
and of the two important commissions to organize the government
and the church in the new Colony of Connecticut. Indeed there
were few if any sessions of the General Court from its first to the
time of the Revolution of which his ancestors were not members.
There were also among his progenitors those who fought the Indians
in New England, the French in Canada and Cape Breton and the
English during the Revolution.

Rev. Moses Hill, Mr. Hill's father, was a Methodist clergyman,
who was several times a member of the General Conference of the
Methodist-Episcopal Church, a member of the Connecticut General
Assembly and of the Norwalk Board of School Visitors. He was a


man of unswerving integrity, keen mental powers of analysis,
marked independence of thought and action, a strong advocate of
anti-slavery and of temperance. Mr. Hill's mother was Charlotte
Ilsley McLellan, who died when he was but eight years of age.

Most of Mr. Hill's boyhood was spent in Norwalk, where he
attended the public schools. He was naturally very studious and was
fully prepared for college at the age of fourteen, when he spent two
years as clerk in the lumber business before entering Yale, the college
of his choice. The classical books used in his college preparation were
helpful and enjoyable reading, but the study of the Bible in both
English and Latin proved to be to him more useful than any other
book. He has always continued a wide course of reading and has been
greatly interested in the study of political economy. He entered
Yale College with the class of 1865 and remained two years, when
in 1863, he left college and entered the army in civilian capacity
and remained in service throughout the War as clerk in the Com-
missary Department, TJ. S. A. In 1867 he became secretary and
treasurer of the Norwalk Iron Works and in 1871 he became con-
nected with the lumber business, from which he retired twenty-three
years later. He is now vice-president of the Norwalk Woolen Mills,
vice-president of the National Bank of Norwalk, and was for several
years president of the Norwalk Gas Company and president of the
Norwalk Street Eailway Company.

As a politician and public servant, Mr. Hill has been as prominent
and as useful as he has been in business life. He was chairman of the
Norwalk Board of School Visitors for two terms, state senator from

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 3 of 30)