William Richard Cutter.

Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of the state of Massachusetts; (Volume 3) online

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road, and he also built eighteen or more houses
on his land at l.rightwood, a suburb of Spring-
field. The latest years of his business life
were very pleasant and successful, yielding
good returns, and his career was unusually
varied and extensive. He owned two farms
and a Main street block, besides considerable
city real estate on Spring, Byers and Liberty

Mr. Birnie had neither the leisure nor the
inclination to take a conspicuous part in public
affairs, but he was naturalized in time to vote
for William Henry Harrison in 1840. After-
ward he served the Republican party, and his
last vote was cast for Benjamin Harrison. In
1857 and again in i860 he was a member of the
common council. In 1875 ne was vice-president
of the Springfield ec New London railroad. He
gave generously to the Public Library, and dur-
ing the war was active in his efforts for soldiers.
When the Tenth and Thirty-seventh regiments
at the front in November, 1862, were suffering
for food and clothing, he made a memorable
journey to the south, overcoming many obsta-
cles in order to supply the men with a genuine
Thanksgiving dinner, and they always held
him in grateful remembrance for what he did
at that time. Mr. Birnie had many interest-
ing reminiscences of early days to relate, and
always took pleasure in joking with Sidney
Dillon about once giving security for a bag of
meal, when they were building the Stonington
road. Mr. Birnie was an attendant of the
First Congregational Church for many years,
but latterly went to the South Church, which
he also attended during the early part of his
residence in Springfield. Although a man of
strong religious convictions, he never united
with any church. His late home in Springfield
adjoins the property of his father-in-law, Mar-
vin Chapin. For years the families were prac-
tically one. and many a happy reunion has been
held 011 the lawn between the two residence.

William Birnie married (first) February 4,
1841, Sarah L. Perkins, born in Becket, Sep-
tember 8, 1822, daughter of Origen Augustus
Perkins, of Becket. She died January 12,
1850. The first house owned by Mr. Birnie
was in Becket, where his two sons, Charles


1 641

Augustus and William Perkins, were born.
February n, 1852, Mr. Birnie married (sec-
ond ) Martha Noyes Perkins, born in Salem,
Connecticut, December 22, 1825, daughter of
Henry Perkins, of Lyme, Connecticut. She
died October 15, 1871. A few months after
this marriage he removed to Springfield, hav-
ing previously bought of Daniel L. Harris a
lot of land on the southwest corner of Chest-
nut and Pearl streets. November 28, 1872,
, Mr. Birnie married (third) Harriet Stowe
Chapin, born February 8, 1838, daughter of
Marvin and Rebecca (Stowe) Chapin (see
Chapin VIII), who survived him. William
Rirnie had fourteen children — four by wife
Sarah L. ; seven by wife Martha N. ; and by
third wife, Harriet S., three; children were as
follows: 1. Ceorge Augustus, born October 5,
1841, died young. 2. Henry Champlin, March
19, 1843, died young. 3. Charles Alexander,
March 13, 1844, married Susan G. Wright, of
Newburg, Xew York, December 25, 1872, and
lives in Virginia. 4. William Perkins, Decem-
ber 24, 1849, married Mary W. Matthews, of
New Bedford, August, 1875, and resides in
Springfield, Massachusetts. 5. Henry Per-
kins, November 8, 1852, died young. 6.
Thomas Noyes (twin), September 19. 1854,
died at Orlando, Florida, February 26, 1906.
7. Sarah Perkins (twin), September 19, 1854,
resides in Springfield, Massachusetts. 8.
Douglas Putnam, September 3, 1856, married,
January 21, 1890, Lucia L. Meigs, of New
York, and resides in Rye, New York. 9.
Alfred, March 13, 1858; see forward. 10.
Donald, October 24, 1869, married, June 2,
1892, Minnie I. Jobson, of Springfield; re-
sides in Springfield. 11. Walter, October 5,
1871, married, April 18, 1900, Loraine F.
Harte, of Albion, New York, and resides in
Springfield. 12. Grace Chapin, September 12,
1873, married. April 16, 1901, Carl L. Steb-
bins, and lives in Tacoma, Washington. 13.
Rebecca, July 4, 1878, resides at home. 14.
Marvin Chapin, January 10, 1881, married,
April 15, 1903, Mabel F. Galacar, of Spring-
field, and resides in Springfield.

(II) Alfred, son of William and Martha
( Noyes ) ( Perkins ) Birnie, was born in Spring-
field, March 13, 1858, and died January 26,
1909. He lived all his life in the city of his
birth, attended its public schools, and gradu-
ated from its high school. A shqrt time after
graduating he entered the Massasoit Paper
Company of Holyoke, where he worked sev-
eral years and learned manufacturing in all its
branches. He then organized the Springfield

City Paper Company, with a plant on Alain
street, in the old Birnie block. After several
years he sold his interest in the company, and
in 1882 associated with his brother, William
J 1 . Birnie, in the Birnie Paper Company. This
concern continued in business in the Birnie
block for several years until the block was
burned, about 1892. At that time the present
plant of the Birnie Paper Company was built
in Brightwood. About 1905 the concern was
made a stock company, in which Alfred Birnie
was treasurer and general manager. Mr.
Birnie maintained a summer home at Bonny-
rigg farm in Becket until about two years
ago, when he sold the place. There he farmed
for diversion, raised blooded cattle and Angora
goats, and had a private fish pond and also a
sugar orchard. In the social life of the town
he filled a place as important as he did in busi-
ness, for his companionship was eagerly sought
and willingly given. At Bonnyrigg he was
at his best, and as host to many a gay house
part>' he was the center of the merrymaking
and the spirit of hospitality. Mr. Birnie had
a slight attack of heart trouble about two
months before his death, followed by several
more slight attacks, but had not been' confined
to his house at all. January 25, he seemed to
have his usual strength of the last two months,
and was attending to business until nearly six
o'clock. In the evening, however, he had a
serious attack from which he did not rally,
and death came very unexpectedly. He was
a member of the South Congregational Church,
the Nayasset Club, and the Springfield Country
Club. He was a well known Mason, being a
member of Springfield Lodge, Free and
Accepted Masons; Morning Star Royal Arch
Chapter; Springfield Council, Royal and Select
Masters ; Springfield Commandery, Knights
Templars ; Massachusetts Consistory, Sublime
Princes of the Royal Secret; and Melha
Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles
of the Mystic Shrine. He married, January
16, 1907, Louise E. Burke, of Springfield,
daughter of Patrick E. and Dora (McGoff)
Burke, of Springfield, Massachusetts.

In speaking of Mr. Birnie, the Springfield
Republican said: "His loss will be sadly felt,
not only by his family but by those who have
known him and respected this jovial and whole-
souled, kindly hearted man who passed his life
in Springfield and added no little dole of happi-
ness to many of her citizens. Alfred Birnie
was fifty in years, but a boy in heart and
enthusiasm — an optimist, genial, hearty, and
wholesome, a man who inspired confidence



and gave back even more than he received.
If he was a faithful friend, he was also a faith-
ful workman, a business man of ability and
integrity. As a youth he mastered his calling
with a genuine ardor, learning paper making
in the Massasoit Mills under the instruction
of the late Calvin Whiting, when he was sup-
erintendent, and was valued by that master of
the craft in his apprenticeship."

"In speaking of Mr. Birnie editorially the
Daily 'News said: "In the death of Alfred
i'.irnie it seems to us Springfield has lost a
man who comes, perhaps, nearest to represent-
ing what is best in the type of time honored
Springfield representative citizenship. He was
honorable to the core, virtuous beyond suspic-
ion, conservative, trustworthy, genial to all,
yet showing his very best to those nearest.
His traditions were the safe and honorable
ones of the pioneers of Springfield. His
standards of conduct, of principle, of manner,
were those of the men who laid the founda-
tions of this community. Mr. Birnie was a
young man as years are counted nowadays,
not quite fifty, but he was one of the last of
the genuine type of our old citizenship. One
can count on the fingers of a hand those who
are left in the category. Yet there was noth-
ing old fashioned about him. Few of the new
era could compare with him in heartiness of
manner, cheeriness of greeting, quickness of
interest in all that concerned the community,
impulsive response to merit wherever he saw
it. Such men as he have been standards for
the wavering to measure themselves by. Unam-
bitious of political distinction, modest and retir-
ing by nature, he and men like him have ever
been more potent in Springfield than those who
have held office. Springfield is what she is
today, through the fact that such men as
Alfred Birnie have lived among us to some
purpose. Not the least in the service which
Alfred Birnie gave this community was that
of his warm and genial manners. Few men
have died here leaving so many acquaintances
as he has done, and perhaps none the remem-
brances of whom will be without exception
pleasant and heart warming. His unfailing
smile of good cheer, his hearty greeting, will
continue to brighten the memory of thousands
of us who have been helped so often by even
the most casual meeting with the man."

(The Chapin Line).

Harriet Stowe (Chapin) Birnie, wife of
William Birnie (see above), was a descend-
ant of Samuel Chapin (I), written of on

another page, through Japhet (II), Ebenezer
(III), Seth (IV), Samuel (V), Samuel (VI),

(VII) Marvin Chapin, son of Samuel and
Mary (Pease) Chapin, was born in Somers,
Connecticut, July 5, 1806. He worked on his
father's farm until he had attained the age of
seventeen, when he left home to begin his
business life. Having but a few cents in his
pockets, but endowed with a goodly amount
of self reliance and ambition he went to West-
field, Massachusetts, where the next three
years were spent with his uncle, Samuel Smith,
who conducted a tanning business. Here
young Chapin applied himself diligently until
he became familiar with the tanning of leather
and the making of shoes and other footwear.
The compensation received by our apprentice
was twenty-five dollars a year, board and
clothing, and he was also allowed four days
vacation each year, which was generally spent
in the harvest field. The proceeds derived
from such labor were added to his own bank
account. At the end of three years he had
managed to save about fifty dollars. He later
went to Roxbury, Massachusetts, where he
found employment in a tannery. He remained
there about six months when he went to Ran-
dolph and still later returned to Westfield and
entered the employ of his uncle, where he re-
mained about three years, receiving about fifty
cents a day for his labor. He later was em-
ployed in a hotel receiving about the same pay,
and continued until 1835, when he went to
Worcester, Massachusetts, and joined a party
of surveyors who were going to Florida to
survey a line of railroad from Jacksonville to
St. Marks. Here Mr. Chapin served as "rod
man." receiving as pay twenty dollars a month
and board. Previous to this Mr. Chapin had
not enjoyed the best of health, but the sea
voyage and the out-of-door life and coarse
food completely restored his health. Return-
ing to his home in 1836, he soon found employ-
ment as clerk in the Cabot House, Chicopee
(then Cabotville). Soon after Mr. Chapin
puchased the property and he became pro-
prietor of that well known hostelry, remain-
ing as such about one year when he placed it
in the hands of his brothers, Ethan S. and
Albert P. Chapin, while he went to Westfield
and engaged in the manufacture of paper.
This was not to his liking and about a year
later he returned to Chicopee and again
assumed management of the Cabot House.
Five years later he moved to Springfield and
there for the next forty years he was one of



y/i^^T^i u^/m^a)



the best known hotel men in New England, as
one of the owners and proprietors of the Mass-
asoit House, with his brother, Ethan S. Chapin.
He continued this business until about 1886
when the property was leased to a nephew,
W. H. Chapin. Mr. Chapin was not only
successful as a hotel man but also in other
business ventures. He was one of the original
promoters of the Springfield Fire & Marine
Insurance Company, was one of the original
stockholders and directors of the company and
remained so until his death, and was the last
of the original board of directors to pass away.
He was a stockholder of the Springfield Gas
Light Company and a director from 1861 to
1870 and from 1884 to 1889. He was one of
the directors of the Agawam Bank and its
president from 1862 to 1870. In 1858 he was
a representative to the general court of Mass-
achusetts, but was in no way interested in
political affairs. He was a liberal contributor
to religious and educational institutions and
was much interested in the growth and develop-
ment of Springfield. No man was ever held
in higher esteem than was Marvin Chapin.
He died in 1899. He married, October 12,
1836, Rebecca Stowe, of Westfield, who died
in 1874. Children: Harriet S., Mary D.,
John M. and Gratia R.

(VIII) Harriet Stowe, eldest child of Mar-
vin and Rebecca (Stowe) Chapin, was born in
Springfield, February 8, 1838, and married,
November 28, 1872, William Birnie (see Birnie

The principal subject of this
JOBSON sketch was one of those men of

intelligence energy and integrity
who have come from foreign lands and used
their power to build up his country. Edmund,
son of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Spires) Job-
son, was born in Shuckburgh, Warwickshire,
England, April 5. 1822, and died in Spring-
field, Massachusetts, January 8, 1908, in the
eighty-seventh year of his age. He was one
of a family of fourteen children. He came to
the United States at the age of twenty-two,
and settled in Springfield, where the remainder
of his life was passed. Two months after
settling in Springfield he engaged in the sash,
door and blind business, being one of the
founders of the firm of Day & Jobson, one of
the largest lumber firms in the city. This firm
later bought out the lumber business of Decret,
Boynton & Company, and the business was
continued with success. The lumber yard had
the same location during all the years, at the

corner of Liberty and Chestnut streets. After
the firm of Day & Jobson had been in business
many years it was made a stock company, and
E. A. Blodgett was admitted as one of its
members. Besides dealing in lumber this firm
also did a large business as builders, and was
interested in the construction of many of
Springfield"s blocks and buildings. For thirty-
six years preceding his death Mr. Jobson lived
with his family in the house at 329 Chestnut
street, which was built under his direction.
About ten years before his death he retired
from active work and busied himself with the
control of his property. There was probably
not another man in Springfield who was better
informed on the lumber and building business
than was Mr. Jobson, and his opinion with
regard to real estate was often asked on
account of his extensive knowledge of all
details concerning city property. In the death
of Mr. Jobson, Springfield lost one of its most
prominent and respected citizens. He was a
very retiring and diffident man, and was inter-
ested in absolutely nothing outside his own
family and business, with the exception of a
few close friends. His acquaintance was
large, and because of his many years in busi-
ness his name was one of the most prominent
in business circles up to the time of his retire-
ment, and he had a wide reputation for hon-
esty and fair dealing. He read much, and was
never happier than when occupied with his
books. Fie attributed his good health and long
life to regular habits and out-of-door exercise.
He was survived by one sister, Miss Emma
Jobson, in England, of whom he was very
fond, and to see whom he crossed the ocean
many times. His last voyage across the Atlan-
tic was made in July, 1898, which was his
twenty-second voyage between the two conti-

Edmund Jobson married, in Springfield, Au-
gust 19, 1852, Harriet Lavinia Lay, who was
born in Agawam, September 15, 1829, daugh-
ter of William and Juliette (Hubbard) Lay,
She taught school in 1846 at the "old brick
school house" in Feeding Hills, where she is
still particularly remembered as a good teacher,
greatly beloved by her pupils, and always held
in the highest esteem. Mrs. Jobson died No-
vember 29, 1907, but six weeks before her
husband. All of his wedded life he had de-
pended on her aid and counsel in all his affairs,
both business and personal, and the sudden
deprivation of this aid caused the impairment
of his general health and made him easily
susceptible to an attack of grippe, which re-

1 644


suited in his death in nine days from its incep-
tion. They lived together far beyond the usual
period allotted to mankind, and celebrated the
fifty-fifth anniversary of their wedding. Chil-
dren : Infant, not named ; Harry E., died aged
four years: Janet Mabel, died at the age of
ten years ; and Minnie Isabel, born in Spring-
field, October 22, 1868, married, June 2, 1892,
Donald Birnie, son of William and Martha
( Perkins ) Birnie of Springfield. (See Birnie).

Among the pioneer settlers of New
WEST England were a disproportionately

large number of Wests, the men of
that name seeming to be of an unusually bold
and energetic spirit. Edward is mentioned as
of Lynn. 1637; Francis' of Duxbury, 1643;
John of Saybrook, 1635; John of Saco, 1640;
Nathaniel of Newport, 1644; Robert of Provi-
dence, 1641 ; Thomas of Salem, 1634; and
Twyford of Boston, 1635.

1 I 1 Francis West, ancestor of this family,
came from Salisbury, England, and settled in
Duxbury, Massachusetts. He was in Marsh-
field in 1641. but returned to Duxbury, where
he was admitted freeman in 1655. He was a
carpenter by occupation. He bought land at
Millbrook in 1642, also in 1661, and in 1670
received a grant. He died January 2. 1692,
leaving a small estate. He married Margery
Reeves, February 27, 1639. She died Novem-
ber 1, 1701. They had four sons: Samuel,
Peter, Pelatiah and Richard.

(II) Samuel, eldest son of Francis and
Margery (Reeves) West, was born in 1643,
and died May 8, 1680, aged forty-six. Sep-
tember 26. 1668. he married Triphosa Part-
ridge, who died November 1. 1 701. She was
the daughter of George and Sarah (Tracy)
Partridge, first settlers of Duxbury. The chil-
dren of this marriage were: Francis, Teuen,
Samuel, Pelatiah. Ebenezer, John and Abigail.

(III) John, sixth son of Samuel and Tri-
phosa (Partridge) West, was born March 6,
1679. and settled in Lebanon. Connecticut. He
married Deborah (surname unknown), who
died November 17. 1741.

(IV) Solomon, evidently a son of John and
Deborah West, was born in Lebanon, March
15, 1723. and died August 21, 1790. aged forty-
eight. He lived for some years in Lebanon,
whence he removed to Tolland. He married
Abigail Strong, of West Lebanon, October 10,
1743. Their children were: Solomon, Ruby,
Abigail. Lydia, Esther. Chloe, Stephen and

(V) Deacon Stephen, second son of Solo-

mon and Abigail (Strong) West, was born
August 19. 1769, and died April 17, 1814. He
settled in Hampden (now Wilbraham), Mass-
achusetts, and started one of the earliest tan-
neries in the vicinity. He became an exten-
sive land-owner, and erected the first brick
house in the town. He was treasurer of the
parish in 1793, and succeeded John Hitchcock
as deacon of the Congregational church. He
married, in Wilbraham, Bathsheba, daughter
of Comfort Chaffee. November 27, 1783. She
died at Tolland, Connecticut, April 22, 185 1,
aged eighty-nine. Their children were : Ste-
phen Strong, Bathsheba, Solomon (died
young), Solomon (died young), John, Ralph
(died young), Solomon Ralph (died young),
and a son.

(VI) Stephen Strong, eldest child of Deacon
Stephen and Bathsheba (Chaffee) West, was
born in Hampden, September 22, 1784, and died
March 25, 1844. He was a tanner, like his
father, but also made boots, shoes and harness,
and dealt in leather as long as he lived. He
married Lucinda Humiston, born November
4, 1790, at Litchfield, Connecticut, daughter
of Joel Humiston. She died August 4, 1870,
aged eighty. They had ten children, nine of
whom reached mature years: 1. Lucinda
Humiston, married David F. Pease, of Mon-
son. 2. Strong, succeeded to his father*s busi-
ness. 3. Solomon, died in Hampden. 4. Anna
Humiston, died 1889, aged seventy- four. 5.
Stephen Otis, died in Springfield. 6. George
Spencer, resided in Rushmore, Minnesota. 7.
John, receives extended mention below. 8.
Nancy Flynt, married Reuben Whittemore. of
Sherwood, Tennessee. 9. Joel, became master
railway mechanic at Burlington. Iowa.

(VII) John, sixth son of Stephen S. and
Lucinda (Humiston) West, was born . at
Hampden, September 6. 1828, and died August
30, 1908, aged eighty years. After attending
the common schools at Hampden he went to
Springfield, where he studied with Rev. Sand-
ford Lawton. who kept a good private school.
He entered Samuel Frizzell's store as a clerk
at the age of twelve, and remained two years.
He was next employed by F. M. Carew &
Company, and their successors, Bowdoin &
Bond, until 1847. Then he went to Mount
Savage. Maryland, in the employ of the Mary-
land & New York Iron and Coal Company.
After he had served there a year the company
suspended, and he returned to his old position,
which he retained until 1850. His next move
was to Columbus, Georgia, where he worked
in a varietv store; but unfavorable climatic



conditions caused his return to Springfield.
With Levi J. Holt he now bought out Mr.
I'.ond, of the old firm, and they began business
under the title of Holt & West. This firm con-
tinued till 1854, when Mr. West sold out; and
in 1858 he entered the grocery firm of James
W. Hale & Company, on the corner of Main
and Court streets. Mr. Hale died in 1863,
and the new firm of Bemis & Company was
formed, and continued for two years, Mr.
Bemis then retiring. After this time, under
West, Stone & Company, the traffic was ex-
clusively wholesale, but in 1867 the store was
moved to Hampden street. Mr. West was one
of the earliest wholesale dealers in the city,
and among the first to employ traveling agents.
The success of the firm enabled it to build a
fine warehouse on Fort street, and a branch
store at Holyoke, which they managed ten
vears. Mr. West also owned at one time the store
at the corner of Main and East Court streets,
and the building on Market street, afterward
occupied by T. M. Walker, was erected by the
firm. In 1890, on account of the death of his
son, Mr. West retired from the firm, and was
no longer active in business, but the firm name
was not given up. He was a director in the
First National Bank, and the Springfield
Mutual Fire Insurance Company. He was a
Republican in politics, and was of a quiet retir-
ing disposition and never sought office. The
only public position he filled was that of mem-
ber of the city council from Ward Two, in
which he served in 1862. Mr. West traveled
extensively in this country, but never went
abroad. He was the oldest member of Hamp-
den Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons.

Mr. West married, November 12, 1851, Jane,
daughter of Colonel John McCray, a promi-
nent militia officer, farmer and hotel pro-
prietor. They had one child, John McCray,
who was born April 6. 1853, and died January
18, 1890. He became one of the leading men
of the firm, and was an extensive traveler in
both America and Europe. Mr. West was a
member of the North Congregational Church,
as is Mrs. West, who survives him. In speak-
ing of Mr. West after nis death, his partner,
H. P. Stone, said : "During my thirty years
of business and social association with John
West. I never heard him speak an unkind or
hasty word, or saw him in a fretful mood ; uni-
formly kind and courteous to all. whether of
low or high degree, he stood for the epitome
of a thorough Christian gentleman in the high-

Online LibraryWilliam Richard CutterGenealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of the state of Massachusetts; (Volume 3) → online text (page 55 of 145)