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Encyclopedia of Connecticut biography, genealogical-memorial; representative citizens; (Volume 1) online

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Compiled with assistance of the following



Dean of Berkeley Divinity School; President of
Connecticut Historical Society.


Superintendent of City Schools, Hartford;
Journalist, former Editor Willimantic Jour-
nal, and associated with New Haven Register,
Boston Globe, Hartford Post and Hartford
Courant. Member of Library Committee Con-
necticut Historical Society.


President of Mattatuck Historical Society;
forty years pastor of First Congregational
Church, Waterbury; Editor Anderson's His-
tory of Waterbury.


Member of State Historical Society; Member
of State Medical Society; Fellow of American
Medical Association; Secretary Congress of
American Physicians and Surgeons; Librarian
Hartford Medical Society.


Attorney, New London; Major in Spanish-
American War.


President of Litchfleld Historical Society;
President of Wolcott and Litchfield Library
Association; Rector Emeritus of St. Michael's
(P. E.) Church, Litchfield (23 years active


Pastor Emeritus Second Church of Waterbury
(30 years active); Member of Connecticut His-
torical Society; Member of Mattatuck Histori-
cal Society; ex-Governor and Chaplain of Con-
necticut Society, Sons of Founders and Pa-
triots; ex-Deputy Governor National Society,
same order.


Editor of Bridgeport Standard 49 years; one
of Founders of Bridgeport Scientific Society;
ex-Vice-President of Fairfield County Histori-
cal Society; Author of History of Bridgeport.


Librarian New Haven Colony Historical Soci-
ety; Register S. A. R., Connecticut ; Honorary
Member of National Genealogical Society;
Member of Connecticut Historical Society,
Connecticut Library Association, Mississippi
Valley Historical Association; Associate Edi-
tor Genealogical History of Connecticut; ex-
President New Haven-Chautauqua Union.


President of Windham National Bank; Mem-
ber of Connecticut Society, Mayflower De-


(Yale, 1855). Member of American Bar Asso-
ciation and State Bar Association; Assistant
United States Attorney 1870-1885; United
States Attorney District of Connecticut 1885-
1888 (resigned); Representative Hartford, 1880.





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EACH one of us is "the heir of all the
ages, in the foremost files of time."
\Ve build upon the solid foundations
laid by the strenuous efforts of the fathers
who have gone before us. Nothing is
more fitting, and indeed more important,
than that we should familiarize ourselves
with their work and personality ; for it is
they who have lifted us up to the lofty
positions from which we are working out
our separate careers. "Lest we forget,"
it is important that we gather up the
fleeting memories of the past and give
them permanent record in well-chosen
words of biography, and in such repro-
duction of the long lost faces as modern
science makes possible.


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HE historic spirit, faithful to the record, the discerning judgment,
unmoved by prejudice and uncolored by undue enthusiasm, are as
essential in giving the life of the individual person as in writing
the history of a people. The world to-day is what the leading men
of the last generation have made it. From the past has come the
legacy of the present. Art, science, statesmanship, government,
as well as advanced industrial and commercial prosperity, are accumulations. They
constitute an inheritance upon which the present generation has entered, and the
advantages secured from so vast a bequeathment depend entirely upon the fidelity
with which is conducted the study of the lives of those who have transmitted the

In every community there have been found men who were leaders in thought
and action, and who have marked the passing years with large and worthy achieve-
ment. They have left definite impress in public, professional, industrial, commer-
cial, and other lines of endeavor that touch the general welfare. They have
wrought well and have left a valuable heritage to posterity.

The men and women who are making history to-day are also entitled to specific
mention in a work whose province is to perpetuate for later generations the record
of the present. History is constantly making, and that of yesterday and to-day is as
important in its place as that of centuries past.

The State of Connecticut affords a peculiarly interesting field for such research.
Her soil has been the scene of events of importance and the home of some of the
most illustrious men of the nation. Her sons have shed luster upon her name in
every profession, and wherever they have dispersed they have been a power for ideal
citizenship and good government. The province of the present publication is that of
according due recognition to these leading and representative citizens, both living
and dead, who have thus honored their State or community. Its preparation has
enlisted the active interest and earnest effort of some of the most capable men of the
State clerics, educators, litterateurs familiar with the history of the Common-
wealth, and intimately familiar with its people. Among these are two of lofty
character and high attainments who passed away, their labors upon this work prac-
tically completed, but who did not live to see the results in the perfected form pre-
sented in these volumes the Rev. Samuel Hart, D. D., D. C. L., Dean of the
Berkeley Divinity School, and President of the Connecticut Historical Society; and
Lewis Eliot Stanton, A. B.. of Hartford, accomplished scholar and lawyer. Others

who have given valuable assistance are: Thomas Snell Weaver, journalist and edu-
cator, of Hartford; Rev. Joseph Anderson, D. D., clergyman and author, of Water-
bury; Dr. Walter Ralph Steiner, of Hartford, of high standing in the medical pro-
fession; Hadlai Austin Hull, of New London, lawyer and Spanish-American War
veteran; Rev. Storrs Ozias Seymour, D. D., clergyman and litterateur, of Litch-
field; Rev. John Gaylord Davenport, D. D., of Waterbury, clergyman, member of
various historical societies; George Curtis Waldo, A. M., Litt. D., of Bridgeport,
journalist and author; Frederick Bostwick, historian, member of various historical
societies, of New Haven; Guilford Smith, of Windham, member of leading patri-
otic and historical bodies.

It is believed that the present work will prove a real addition to the mass of
annals concerning the historic families of Connecticut, and that, without it, much
valuable information would be inaccessible to the general reader, or irretrievably
lost, owing to the passing away of custodians of family records, and the consequent
disappearance of material in their possession.




PUTNAM, General Israel,

Distinguished Revolutionary Officer.

General Israel Putnam, who excelled
both in war and peace, will ever live in
the history of this nation, and his memory
is especially dear to the people of Con-
necticut, where his active life was passed.
From a multitude of New England ances-
tors he inherited those qualities which
made him preeminent, qualities which
have made the New Englander preemi-
nent in the settlement and development
of the United States, qualities which have
established everywhere the school, the
church and the printing press, the leading
instruments in the progress of civiliza-

The ancestry of the American family of
Putnam has been traced to a very remote
period in England, the first being Simon
de Puttenham, who lived in 1199 and was
probably a lineal descendant of Roger,
who held the manor of Puttenham under
the Bishop of Baieux. The parish of Put-
tenham is in Hertfordshire, close to the
border of Bedfordshire and Buckingham-
shire. The first American ancestor, John
Putnam, of the seventeenth generation
was baptized at Wingrove, County Bucks,
England, January 17, 1579. He was an
early settler at Salem, Massachusetts,
and in that vicinity the family has been
conspicuous down to the present day.
His son, Lieutenant Thomas Putnam,
baptized in England, 1615, resided in
Salem Village, now Danvers, and was
father of Joseph Putnam, born there.
The sound sense of the latter is indicated
by his opposition to the witchcraft trials
of Salem. This was a source of peril to
"him, and for six months one of his fleetest

horses was kept saddled, ready at a
moment's notice to bear him from the
wrath of his contemporaries. He married
Elizabeth Porter, and Israel Putnam was
their fourth son, born January 7, 1718, in
Danvers. He died after an illness of two
days in Brooklyn, Connecticut, May 29,
1790. The house in which he was born
was built by his grandfather, and is still

Israel Putnam had a rather meagre
education in the common schools of his
native town, and he was very early ac-
customed to the arduous labors of the
farm. When he attained his majority, a
portion of the paternal farm was set off
to him, and on it he built a small house,
but soon after removed to Pomfret, Con-
necticut, where, in association with his
brother-in-law, John Pope, he purchased
a tract of five hundred acres of land. He
became sole owner of this in 1741, and
there he built as his second residence a
large frame house, which is still stand-
ing, and one of the points of interest to
all tourists and patriotic Americans. This
was in the district known as Mortlake
Manor, which was incorporated as the
town of Brooklyn in 1786. He cleared
his farm of the native forest and planted
fine orchards ; the great shade trees of
Brooklyn were planted largely through
his initiative and influence. He was not
only a thrifty and prosperous farmer, but
from first to last an earnest and helpful
friend of the town and colony in which
he lived. The story of his killing of the
wolf which had annoyed the neighbor-
hood is well known to every schoolboy,
and the cave into which he crawled on his
hands and knees to shoot the wolf is
sought by many visitors.


His military career began in the French
and Indian War. He was commissioned
captain in Colonel Lyman's regiment of
General Johnson's command, and partici-
pated in the engagements at Fort Edward
and Lake George in 1755. In the cam-
paign of the following year he again
served with distinction in the same regi-
ment. At Fort Edward, in 1757, he was
commissioned major, and in the following
year he and Major Rogers, the famous
ranger, were taken prisoners. He was
tied to a tree and a fire lighted at his feet,
but before it had inflicted any serious in-
jury upon the intended victim, he was
released by the timely arrival of a chief
of the tribe whom he had previously
treated with kindness while a prisoner.
The wounds inflicted upon him during
the torture before the burning left scars
that time never erased. He was taken to
Montreal, suffering further indignities
and torture on the way, and was relieved
through the intercession of General Peter
Schuyler, who was also a prisioner.
Major Putnam was promoted to lieuten-
ant-colonel in 1759, and served that year
under General Amherst at Ticonderoga
and Crown Point, and in the following
year in the expedition against Montreal,
which capitulated without resistance. He
commanded a regiment in the West
Indies afterward, and in 1764 under Colo-
nel Bradstreet marched against the In-
dians with a Connecticut regiment to
Detroit. Before the close of that year he
returned to the farm, and for a period of
years following this, his spacious dwelling
served as an inn. He was honored with
various civil offices of trust and responsi-
bility, served on important committees,
and was often moderator ; was thrice
selectman of Pomfret, and served as
deputy to the General Assembly. In the
winter of 1772-73, he went with General
Lyman and others to examine a tract of

land on the Mississippi river, near Nat-
chez, given by the British government
to the soldiers who fought in the West
Indies. A diary kept by him on this trip,
during which he visited Jamaica and the
harbor of Pensacola, has been preserved.
In the trying days before the Revolu-
tion, Colonel Putnam was among the
most active in resisting the obnoxious
measures of the home government. In
1774 an exaggerated rumor concerning
depredations of the British in the neigh-
borhood of Boston came to the ears of
Putnam, and he immediately addressed
the citizens of his State and aroused
a determination to avenge the imposi-
tions. Thousands were recruited and
immediately started for Massachusetts,
but it was learned that the rumor had
little foundation and they returned. The
news of the battle of Lexington reached
Pomfret April 20, 1775, the day succeed-
ing the engagement. With his sixteen-
year-old son, Daniel, Putnam was en-
gaged in plowing when the news arrived.
The son afterward wrote: "He loitered
not, but left me, the driver of his team,
to unyoke it in the furrow, and not many
days after to follow him to camp." On
the afternoon of April 20, Putnam was on
his way on horseback, and arrived in
Cambridge on the following morning. On
that day he wrote at Concord a report of
the situation to Colonel Ebenezer Wil-
liams, calling for six thousand troops
from his State, and he soon returned to
recruit and organize this force. The
provincial congress of Connecticut ap-
pointed him brigadier-general, and in one
week he was again on his way to the
scene of action. During the temporary
absence of General Ward, he served some
time as commander-in-chief. and on an-
other occasion led a force of twenty-two
hundred men from Massachusetts and
New Hampshire on a reconnoissance to


Charlestown. He commanded a party of
provincials sent to Chelsea on May 27,
1775, and captured a British schooner,
which attacked his force, with American
loss of one killed and four wounded,
while of the British force twenty were
killed and iifty wounded. With Dr.
Joseph Warren, Putnam represented the
Americans in an exchange of prisoners
on June 6, and on the ipth of that month,
the Continental Congress raised him to
the rank of major-general. This was two
days after the battle of Bunker Hill, but
the news had not yet reached the Congress.
General Putnam was the officer in com-
mand at the battle of Bunker Hill, whose
story is so well known to every patriotic
American. General Putnam's commis-
sion was brought by Washington, when
he came to Cambridge to take command,
and by him Putnam was given command
of the centre at Cambridge. When Bos-
ton was evacuated, Putnam's command
was sent to New York, and he took part
in the battle of Long Island After the
retreat, Washington assigned Putnam to
the command of the city of New York
north of Fifteenth street, and he partici-
pated in the battles of Harlem Heights
and White Plains, taking a prominent
part. In 1777 he commanded at Philadel-
phia, and was later stationed on the Hud-
son river. In 1778 he was at West Point,
and in the following winter was posted
at Danbury, Connecticut, with three bri-
gades. In this region he made his famous
dash on horseback down a precipice to
escape capture by a superior force of the
British under General Tryon. In the
campaign of 1779, General Putnam was
active and superintended the completion
of the defences at West Point. During
the following winter he visited his family,
and on his return to the front he suffered
a stroke of paralysis, which closed his
military career. Though he lived ten
years afterward, and witnessed the birth

of the new nation, he was never able to
return to the army.

He was buried with military and Ma-
sonic honors, and his epitaph written by
Rev. Dr. Timothy Dwight, president of
Yale College, says: "He dared to lead
where any dared to follow," and "his
generosity was singular and his honesty
was proverbial. * * * He raised him-
self to universal esteem and offices of
eminent distinction by personal worth
and a useful life." He is described in
person as of middle height, "very erect,
muscular and firm in body. His coun-
tenance was open, strong and animated ;
the features of his face large, well-propor-
tioned to each other and to his whole
frame; his teeth fair and sound till death.
His hearing was quick, his sight strong
and of long range. Though facetious and
dispassionate in private, when animated
in the heat of battle his countenance was
fierce and terrible, and his voice like
thunder. His whole manner was admir-
ably adapted to inspire his soldiers with
courage and confidence, and his enemies
with terror. The faculties of his mind
were not inferior to those of his body;
his penetration was acute ; decision rapid,
yet remarkably correct ; and the more
desperate the situation the more col-
lected and undaunted. With the cour-
age of a lion, he had a heart that melted
at the sight of distress ; he could never
witness suffering in any human being
without becoming a sufferer himself.
Martial music roused him to the highest
pitch, while solemn, sacred music rent
him into tears. In his disposition he was
open and generous almost to a fault, and
in his social relations he was never ex-

He married (first) at Danvers, July 19,
1739, Hannah Pope, who died September
6, 1765, and (second) June 3, 1767, Mrs.
Deborah (Lothrop) Gardner, daughter of
Samuel Lothrop, of Norwich. She died



at his headquarters on the Hudson in
1777. The first wife was the mother of
ten children. He died May 29, 1790.


Signer of Declaration of Independence.

Roger Sherman was born in Newton,
Massachusetts, April 19, 1721, son of Wil-
liam and Mehetabel (Wellington) Sher-
man, grandson of Joseph and Elizabeth
(Winship) Sherman and of Benjamin and
Elizabeth Wellington, and great-grand-
son of Captain John and Martha (Pal-
mer) Sherman (or Shearman), who emi-
grated from Dedham, Essex county, Eng-
land, and settled in Watertown, Massa-
chusetts, about 1634.

The parents of Roger Sherman re-
moved to Stoughton (now Canton), Mas-
sachusetts, in 1723, and he worked on the
farm and learned the shoemaker's trade
under his father. He gained a fair knowl-
edge in various branches of science by
studying while at work, doubtless being
assisted by the Rev. Samuel Dunbar,
pastor of the church at Stoughton. His
father died in 1741, leaving him the sole
support of his mother and the younger
children, and in 1743 they removed to
New Milford, Connecticut, where he fol-
lowed his trade and conducted a store
with his brothers. The General Assem-
bly appointed him surveyor of lands for
the County of New Haven in 1745, and
of Litchfield county in 1752, and was also
employed in surveying land for private
individuals in New Milford. In 1752,
when the New England colonies were
flooded with irredeemable currency, he
wrote and issued a pamphlet in which he
pointed out the dangers attending this
issue of paper money, and subsequently,
when a member of the Constitutional
Convention, he introduced and moved the
adoption of the clause that "no State can
make anything but gold and silver a legal

tender." He became one of the largest
investors in real estate in his town, filled
various town offices, and was admitted
to the Litchfield county bar in February,
1754. He represented New Milford in
the General Assembly in 1755 and 1758-
61, was justice of the peace, 1755-59. an ^
a justice of the quorum and of the Court
of Common Pleas, 1759-61.

Roger Sherman removed to New
Haven, Connecticut, in June, 1761, from
whence he was a representative in the
Legislature, 1764-66, a member of the
Senate, 1766-85, justice of the peace and
of the quorum, and judge of the Superior
Court, 1766-89. His activity as a patriot
began with the efforts of the crown to
enforce the Stamp Act. He was a mem-
ber of the committee to consider the
claims of the settlers near the Susque-
hanna river in 1774. He was a delegate
from Connecticut to the Continental Con-
gress, 1774-81, and 1783-84, serving on
the most important committees, including
that of June n, 1776, to draft the Declara-
tion of Independence, of which he was a
signer; that of June 12, 1776, to prepare
the Articles of Confederation ; that of the
Connecticut Council of Safety, 1777-79
and 1782, and that of the convention of
1787 that reported the Connecticut Com-
promise. In the controversy that arose
in the Continental Congress regarding
the rights of States to vote irrespective
of population, Mr. Sherman proposed that
the vote should be taken once in propor-
tion to population, and once by States,
and that every measure should have a ma-
jority. This principle, eleven years after-
ward, Mr. Sherman, then a member of
the Constitutional Convention, presented
to that body, and it was framed into the
Federal Constitution, and was known as
the Connecticut Compromise. It was not
until he had made several speeches in its
favor that he gained any attention, when
a long and bitter debate followed, and it


was finally referred to a committee of
which he was made a member. After the
adoption of the compromise, he moved
the provision that no amendment be made
that would deprive any State of its equal
vote without its consent. It is agreed by
all historians that this compromise, for
which Mr. Sherman is solely responsible,
saved the Constitutional Convention from
breaking up without accomplishing any-
thing, and made possible a union of the
States and a national government. Roger
Sherman was the only delegate in the
Continental Congress who signed all four
of the great State papers which were
signed by all the delegates of all the colo-
nies, namely : The Declaration of 1774, the
Articles of Confederation, the Declara-
tion of Independence, and the Federal
Constitution. He revised the statute laws
of Connecticut with Judge Richard Law
in 1783. He was chosen the first mayor
of New Haven in 1784, to prevent a Tory
from being chosen, and the Legislature
then provided that the mayor should hold
his office during the pleasure of the Gen-
eral Assembly, and under this act Mr.
Sherman remained mayor until his death.
He was a delegate from Connecticut to
the Constitutional Convention at Phila-
delphia in May, 1787. He was also active
in the State Convention in procuring the
ratification of the constitution, and wrote
a series of papers on that subject which
materially influenced the public mind in
its favor, signed "A Citizen of New
Haven." He was a representative in the
First Congress, 1789-91, where he favored
an address introduced by the Quakers
against the slave trade. He was elected
to the United States Senate to fill the
vacancy caused by the resignation of Wil-
liam S. Johnson and served from October
24, 1791, until his death. He was treas-
urer of Yale College, 1765-76, and re-
ceived the honorary degree of Master of

Arts from that college in 1768. He fur-
nished the astronomical calculations for
a series of almanacs, published in New
York and New England, which bore his

He was married, November 17, 1749,
to Elizabeth, daughter of Deacon Joseph
Hartwell, of Stoughton, and (second)
May 12, 1763, at Danvers, to Rebecca,
daughter of Benjamin Prescott, of Salem,
Massachusetts. He died in New Haven,
Connecticut, July 23, 1793.


Signer of Declaration of Independence.

Samuel Huntington was born in Wind-
ham, Scotland county, Connecticut, July
3, 1731, son of Nathaniel and Mehetabel
(Thurston) Huntington, grandson of
Deacon Joseph and Rebecca (Adgate)
Huntington, great-grandson of Deacon
Simon and Sarah (Clark) Huntington,

Online LibraryAmerican Historical SocietyEncyclopedia of Connecticut biography, genealogical-memorial; representative citizens; (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 60)