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Commemorative biographical record of New Haven county, Connecticut, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and of many of the early settled families .. (Volume 1, pt.3) online

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Judson. daughter of Wells Judson, a leading resi-
dent of Quaker Farms, and his wife Ruth (Wil-
cox ) . who was born in Scuthbury, and died at
Quaker Farms, at the age of forty years. George
A. Tomlinson was one of a family of three chil-
dren : his sister. Marietta A., wife of Smith B.
Glover, now resides in Newtown. As a boy George
A. Tomlinson became familiar with farm work,
but finding it uncongenial he studied dentistry in
Hartford. Deciding finally to engage in mercantile
business, he located at Ansonia in 1870. and opened
a news and toy store, which he conducted success-
fully for a few years. He was highly respected
in the community. In 1891 he built the handsome
residence at No. 301 Wakelee avenue. Ansonia, oc-
cupied by Mrs. Wirth until her death, and he died
that vear, at the age of fifty-nine. He was a man
of literarv tastes. For a number of years he served
as secretarv of George Washington Lodge, F.
& A. M.

In April, 1896. Mrs. Tomlinson married Henry
P. Wirth, who was born at Frankfort-on-the-Mam,
Germany, the son of Louis and Mary Ann (}klenck )
Wirth, who owned a large hotel there. Before
coming to this country Mr. Wirth was a salesman
for wholesale mercantile houses, and was engaged
several years in that line in Russia. He was em-
ployed for a long time in the Farrell foundry, and
later proved himself a successful salesman by dis-
posing of 2.000 copies of "Grant's Memoirs
selling many other publications.



: >i



Mrs. Wirth was an able business woman, tak-
ing- keen interest in the manasjement of her estate,
and not long before her death she purchased a large
tract of land with five houses near her home, in
order to protect her beautiful grounds from in-
trusion. In the house are to be found many in-
teresting and valuable relics of the past, one room,
which she called her "Curiosity Shop," being en-
tirely devoted to heirlooms. Among a large num-
ber received from lier motlierare rare spwons and
pieces of valuable plate, from fifty to one hundred
and fifty years old, and a gold and silver tea set
presented the mother on her wedding day. Excel-
lent portraits of both her mother and father occupy
places of honor in the house, testifying to her filial
reverence and devotion. She contributed liberally
to the support of Christ Church, Quaker Farms,
and left in her will $2,000 for the same purpose as
her father's bequest; also 83,200 to St. Peters
Church, in Oxford, and $3,200 to the Congregation-
al Church in Oxford, the interest to be used to put
the cemeteries in the best of order and keep them
so at all times. She made many other bequests
for the benefit of the public. r^Irs. Wirth was prom-
inent in many lines of social activity, including the
work of the D. A. R.. in which she held membership
by right of descent from John Riggs. She passed
away Xov. 6, 1900, and her death was sincerely
mourned among a wide circle of friends and ac-

ERASMUS D. KETCHAM is one of the older
citizens of \\'aterbury, and holds a responsible posi-
tion in the industrial life of that city. He is a
plain, straightforward man of good habits, and pos-
sessing an intimate knowledge of his business,
commanding at once the confidence of his employers
and the respect of the community.

Mr. Ketcham was born in the town of Perinton,
Monroe Co., X. Y., Jan. 23, 1838, son of John V. N.
Ketcham. a native of Rensselaer county, that state.
Joseph Ketcliam, the grandfather of Erasmus D.,
came from the eastern part of the State, and was a
farmer in Rensselaer county. He married a ^Miss
Van Xess, and they had twelve children : Morgan,
a farmer in St. Joseph county. Mich. ; Daniel, a
farmer in ^lonroe county ; John V. X"., already men-
tioned ; Cornelius, a farmer of Oswego county, X.
Y. ; William, a fanner and an influential politician
in Ontario county, X. Y. ; Joseph, a farmer in Alon-
roe county, where he is yet living; ^lelvin, a miner
and speculator in California; ^larvin, a IMonroc
county farmer ; Elidie, who married Jacob Van
Ness, a farmer of !ilonroe county : Phoebe, wdio
married a ^Nlr. Porter, and later a ]\Ir. Washburn,
a farmer of Ontario county ; Sally, wife of Mr.
Mosher, a mechanic ; and Angeline, wife of John
Aldrich, a farmer in ^vlonroe county.

John v. X. Ketcham was a farmer by occupation.
He married ^liss Alma J. Tedman. a native of
Wayne county, X'. Y., and a daughter of Robert

Tedman, a farmer, and a native of Connecticut.
After marriage Mr. Ketcham and his wife settled
on a farm in Monroe county, where they reared a
family of five children : Erasmus D. ; ]\Iary S., de-
ceased, who married Joseph Xellest, a farmer in
Niagara county, X. Y. ; Charlotte A., who married
Burt Rowley, a farmer in Ontario county, N. Y. ;
Arabella, who married Homer Foote, a farmer in
Xiagara county, X'. Y. ; and Franklin I., a farmer,
who lives on the old homestead. Mr. Ketcham
passed away in 1886. Airs. Ketcham is still living
at the advanced age of eighty-three.

Erasmus D. Ketcham spent his boyhood and
youth on the farm in Alonroe county, N. Y., at-
tending the old district school, and also enjoying
the advantages of a year at an academy and a term
at a business college. In 1872. then in the prime
of life, he came to Waterbury to take the position
he holds to-day, and which he has filled so accept-
ably in all the intervening years, that of foreman
of the yard, or outdoor foreman for the Scovili
Alanufacturing Co. As foreman of the outdoor
work of this company- he is reliable and attentive
to the interests of his employers, and careful and

, considerate of the needs of the men under his

Mr. Ketcham and Miss Caroline B. Webster
were married Jan. 10, 1881. Airs. Ketcham is a
native of Waterbury, daughter of Truman Web-

j ster, a mason of that city. Two children have been
bom to this union, Truman J. and Earl D. Mr.

. Ketcham is a Republican, and a reliable and hon-

j ored citizen. His face is a familiar sight in the
assembly halls of Xosahogan Lodge, Xo. 21,

. I. O. O. F., and he is much interested in
the workings of that noble order. The Ketcham
family attend the Congregational Church.

LEOXIDAS W. ALLIXG (deceased) was born
I in Orange, Xew Haven county, Feb. 23, 1840, the
sixth child in the family of Charles W. and Lucy
(Booth) Ailing, who are mentioned elsewhere.

Mr. Ailing spent his boyhood, after attendance
at the district school (and during that time as well),
assisting his father in the latter's woolen mill, a
moderate business and large family necessitating
contribution to the general fund on the part of the
sons as well as of the father. Yet his intuitive in-
clination was toward a higher education, and his
father was willing to gratify the boy's natural trend.
Accordingly young Leonidas received a course of
instructions at Wilbraham Academy, and later ma-
triculated at Yale. Ill-health prevented the com-
pletion of his college course, and returning to
Orange in 1868 he engaged in the manufacture of
woolen yarns. In this he was reasonably successful
until 1891, in which year his plant was destroyed
by fire. In that year, not caring to resume business
in Orange, he removed to Derby, where he as-
sumed a responsible position in connection with the
management of the extensive factory owned by his



brothers, A. H. and C. B. Ailing-. This post he
filled, with an ability born of native talent and ripe
experience, until his death, May 12, 1896.

On Dec. 28, 1870, Mr. Ailing married Marion
Merwin, a daughter of Alphcus and Mary ( Ailing)
Merwin, the latter a daughter of Bela Ailing, who
was the great-uncle of Leonidas W. The earliest
American progenitor of the ]\Ierwin family, of
whom any authentic record is preserved, came from
Scotland nearly two centuries ago. His baptismal
name was John, and following down the line we
find John, born in Milford ; John, a native of
Orange ; Nathan ; and Alpheus, who was ^Irs. All-
ing's father. Nathan }ilerwin, the father of Al-
pheus, was born in Orange, as were also his father
and his children. He married Esther Clark, born
in the same town in 1791, a daughter of Elias
Clark, and their nine children were: Elias, Esther,
Nathan, Sarah. Alpheus, John, Mary, Susan and
Sheldon. Elias removed from Connecticut to Oak-
land, Cal., where he lived and died ; he was a landed
proprietor. Esther (deceased) became Mrs. Fred-
erick Durand, of Seymour. Nathan was a pros-
perous dealer in grain and flour at New Haven,
where he died. Sarah married Joseph Treat, of
Milford, and died in Iowa. John engaged in the
manufacture of cutlery at Lakeville. Conn., and
died there. !Mary is the widow of Harvey Seward,
a merchant in Leadville, Colo., where she yet lives.
Susan died unmarried. Sheldon died in early

Alpheus Merwin was reared in Orange, where
he learned the trade of a carpenter under the in-
struction of his father and Elias Clark, of Derby; he
followed same until his death, July 13, 1880. In
1848 he married Miss ^lary Ailing, and they had
two children, Marion and John. Marion, as has
been said, became Mrs. Leonidas W. Ailing: John
is a farmer in Orange. Bela Ailing, father of ]\Irs.
Mary Merwin, married Julia Rogers, of Orange,
and three children wer^ born to them : ^^lary, ^Nlrs.
Merwin; Sheldon, a farmer in Orange; and Julia,
who died in childhood. Julia Rogers was the
daughter of Jonathan Rogers, who was born in
Orange in 1780, and w .s a farmer. In 1803 he
married Polly Treat, whose father, Joseph Treat,
was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. The chil-
dren of this marriage were four in number: Julia,
Jonathan, Jonah and Mary. The youngest daugh-
ter (Mrs. Merwin) is yet living.

Leonidas W. Ailing was a man of kindly dis-
position and affectionate heart. His blameless life,
joined to keen mental power and a genuinely un-
selfish interest in public attairs. gained for him the
warm respect of his friends t.nd neighbors. Po-
litically he was a Republican, and he was a success-
ful candidate on that ticket fcr the offices of town
treasurer and representative in the Legislature. Pie
was a deacon in the Congregational Church for
many years, and in his daily life exemplified the
sincerity of his belief in the religious faith which


he professed ; yet his virtues were of the unas-
suming rather than of the assertive sort.

To Mr. and Mrs. Ailing were born four chil-
dren: Mary, Walter, Wilbur M. and Leon. Mary
is married and lives in Philadelphia. Walter died
in boyhood, and Wilbur is a manufacturer of
hosierv, with mills in New York and Philadelphia.
Leon is assistant superintendent of the New York
City mill.

REUBEN H. COE. New- Haven county has
many well-to-do and successful farmers who have
accumulated what they have of this world's goods
through individual effort. Among this class the
name of the subject of this notice is entitled to a
place. For forty years he has Ijeen a resident of
East Haven, where he is industriously engaged in
the prosecution of his noble calling, and is meeting
with far more than ordinary success.

Mr. Coe was born in the town of Durham, Mii!-
dlesex Co., Conn.. Alay 26, 1837, a son of Merrick
R. Coe and grandson of Abram Coe, also natives
of Durham. The latter was a soldier of the war of
1812, and was living at that time in East Haven;
he helped to build the old Tomlinson bridge. His
death occurred when he was about the age of seven-
ty-two years. By his marriage with Rebecca El-
well, he had three children : Hannah, wife of Will-
iam Peck ; Phebe, wife of Samuel Peck ; and ^ler-
rick R.

In early life Merrick R. Coe served a four years'
apprenticeship to the shoemaker's trade, which he
■ followed for a time in East Haven, but the greater
part of his life was spent upon a farm in Durham.
He married ^liss Asenath Harrison, of Northford,
Conn., a daughter of Amos Harrison, and to them
were bom two children, Reuben H., our subject,
being the youngest; Mary, born in 183 1, became
the wife of Enoch Camp, and died in 1849. The
father died in the fall of 1888 in his eighty-fourth
vear; the mother Dec. 29, 1874, at the age of sixty-
seven years. Both were consistent and' faithful
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Reuben H. Coe remained under the parental
roof until twenty years of age, and then went to
Plymouth, Conn., where he was variously employed,
working on a road and also on a farm. In i860
he came to East Haven, and for two years operated
what is known as the Richard Woodward place. He
then purchased his present farm in the same town,,
and here he has made his home since April, 1862.
His first purchase consisted of but twenty-seven
acres, but as he has prospered in his undertakings
he has added to his landed possessions from time
to time, and is now the owner of about 200 acres
in Branford and East Haven. He has made all of
the improvements upon his place, which is now one
of the most attractive and desirable farms in the
locality. In connection with general farming, he
has also engaged in the wood and dairy business,,
and for the past ten years has given special attea-


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tion to the raising of hogs. He has been eminently
.successful, and is now one of the most substantial
and prosperous farmers of the community.

On June 25, 1857, Mr. Coe was united in mar-
riage with Miss Marietta Sanford, of Plymouth,
Conn., a daughter of William Sanford, and to them
were Iwrn two children; Hattie R.. who died m
her twelfth year: and Herbert W'.. who is engaged
in the milk business in East Haven. He married
Imogene Hall and has three children, Herbert E.,
Ethel M. and Bertha H. Both Mr. and Mrs. Coe
hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal
Church, and are highl\-« respected and esteemed by
:all who know them. He is quite prominent in
agricultural circles and has served three years as
master of East Haven Grange, Xo. 106, and treas-
urer of the New Haven County Pomona Grange
for five years. He is a stanch supporter of the
Democratic party and its principles, and has been
elected to official positions of honor and trust, hav-
ing served as assessor of his town for seven years,
and first selectman for two terms, first with Henry
Smith and Ruel Thompson, and second with John
S. Tyler and Ruel Thompson. Over his life record
there falls no shadow of wrong; his public service
was most exemplary ; and his private life has been
marked by the utmost fidelity to duty. He is pub-
lic-spirited and progressive, and gives his support to
■all measures for the public good.

JOHN E. :MAR, a citizen of West Haven, is
one of New Haven county's succes-ful business
men. His family is of Scotch extraction and noble
■descent, his great-great-great-grandfather. John
Mar, having been the eldest son of the Earl of
Mar. He came to America from Scotland in 171 5,
settled in Kitter}-, Maine, and married Catherine
Surplus, of that place. They were members of
the Congregational Church, in which faith their
four sons were baptized. Some years later, wishinji
to visit Scotland, John Mar took passage in a vessel
which was wrecked ofT Cape Cod, and he was
drowned. His youngest son. Surplus, passed his
life as a farmer in Kittery.

James Mar, the grandfather of John Mar. was
iDorn in the town of Kittery. Maine, and removed
to Lincoln county, that State, settling in the town
of Alna, where he became a citizen of substance
and influence. He was a mason by trade, and was
also a surveyor and civil engineer. He served as
lieutenant in the war of 1812, and was conspicuous
for his gallantry and daring. He passed the eighty-
seventh milestone on life's journey, and died full
■of years and honors. He married Susannah, daugh-
ter of Lieut. Richard Bailey, who served in the
French and Indian war.

James Mar. son of James, learned the trade of
a mason, which he followed through the greater
portion of his life, which ended at the age of eighty-
four. He married Susan Averill. who was born
in the town of Alna, a daughter of Ezekiel Averill,

who enjoyed the proud distinction of having been
a member of Washingtoi>'s body guard. After he
had seen independence an accomplished fact, he re-
turned—as flid most of New England's patriot sol-
diers — to the farm, to resume the pursuits of peace,
and to do his part toward the building up of the
infant Republic. He attained the extraordinary age
of ninety-eight years. His family consisted of four
daughters and three sons, and ^Irs. ]\Iar was the
fifth in order of birth. She died in her eighty-fifth
year. Mr. and Mrs. Mar had four children, three
of whom are yet living: Frederick, whose home
is in Kent. \'a. ; John E. ; and \\'illiam H., who
is still a resident of Maine.

John E. :\Iar was born March 15, 1834, in Alna,
where his parents settled. As a boy his mind was
quick and his memory retentive, and before he was
twenty-two years old he had learned the two trades
of mason and carpenter. From the little hamlet
in Maine where he was born he went to pKiston,
and thence after some years to Fair Haven, Conn.
This was in 1862. when the government was a
constant buyer of steam vessels at a high price.
Mr. Mar, in company with others, built several
steamers, and in 1865 went to West Haven, which
lown has since been his home. His father-in-law
was at that time engaged in shipbuilding there, and
be became associated with him. the business rela-
tions continuing for many years. The business of
the yards grew apace, and at present includes both
steam and sail vessels, of many grades and large
burden. ^I'lr. Mar's name is a pledge of probity and
a synonym for skill. In the two elements in his
character, capability and integrity, may be found
the keynote of his success. He has built manv four-
masted schooners, barges and grain elevators.

On Nov. II. 1863. Mr. Mar married Helen
Gesner, whose father. William Nicholas Gesner,
was a shipbuilder in New York City, and thence
removed to Connecticut. Four sons and one daugh-
ter have blessed their home: (i) Frederic W. at-
tended the West Haven schools, graduated from
Hillhouse high school of New Haven, and from
Yale University with the degree of B. A., in 1888;
he spent three years in post-graduate work, and is
now principal of a school in Brooklvn. N. Y. He
married, at Sirampscott, Mass.. Carlotta Lotsch,
and they have one child. Frank. (2) James C.
graduated from Eastman's Business College,
Poughkeepsie. N. Y. .and is now engaged in the
lumber business. He married Kate Smith, of
Brooklyn, N. Y., and they have one child, Frederick
Eugene. (3) Margaret G. married Eugene F.
Perry, of Nyack, N. Y.. secretary of the Wholesale
Lumbermen's .Association. They have three chil-
dren, Dorothy, Helen and Eugene F., Jr. (4) John
E., Jr., now of Bayonne. N. J., is a joiner by
trade. He married Amy Dillion. of New Haven.
( 5 ) Charles Edgar is in Bridgeport, Conn., where
he is engaged as mechanical draughtsman ; he is un-

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For more than a century Mr. Mar's family has
been prominently identified with the growth and
development of the Congregational Church in the
localities in which its various members have resided.
Men and women of rugged character and sterling
worth, they have never lost sight of their bounden
duty to the cause of Christ, for which all the mem-
bers of Mr. Mar's immediate family are active
workers. While our subject has not departed from
the family tradition, he is a man to whom the ad-
vanced ideas of the latter half of the nineteenth
century have not appealed in vain. Social by in-
stinct and genial by temperament, his popularity
has been assumed without any concession to lower
impulse. He is a Republican in politics, but has
never had any desire to hold oflice. He is prominent
in the Masonic fraternity, having been senior war-
den and twice master of Anna wan Lodge, No. 115,
F. & A. M. ; treasurer of Joseph Andrew Chapter,
No. 46, R. A. M. ; and a member of Crawford
Council. He takes a deep interest in the cause of
temperance, being ever ready to co-operate in every
well-directed effort for its advancement.

EDWIN ALONZO LEETE. a well-known
business man and resident of Guilford, now en-
gaged in undertaking and embalming, is a de-
scendant in the eighth generation from ^\'illiam
. Leete, the founder of the family in America. The
first three generations of the ancestral line are:
(I) Gov. William Leete. 1612-1683; (II) John
Leete, 1639-1692: (III) Pelatiah Leete, 1681-1768.

(IV) Pelatiah Leete. son of Pelatiah, noted in
the foregoing, was born ^^larch 7, 171 3, married
Lydia Crittenden, a daughter of Deacon Samuel
and Mindwell (Meigs) Crittenden, and had the
following family: Pelatiah, Pelatiah (2), Lydia
(Mrs. John Leete) and Noah (twins), Eber,
Simeon (who married Zerviah Norton,), Amos
(who married Hannah Ward) and Nathan.

(V) Pelatiah Leete, born Aug. 22, 1744, mar-
ried Bethia Norton, a daughter of Thomas and
Bethia Norton, of Guilford. She died June 30,
1793. and for his second wife he married ]\Iary
Frisbie, at North Branford. He was the father of
four children: Joel, Noah, who married Huldah
Ward; Pelatiah, who married Betsy Ramy; and
Mary, who married John Ludington.

(VI) Joel Leete, born April 15, 1768, died
Jan. 28. 1842. He married Mollie Crittenden, a
daughter of Noah and Naomi (Atwell) Crittenden,
who lived at Leete Island. Mrs. Leete died Nov.
24, 1843. Their children were: Alvin, mentioned
below; Polly 3ilaria; Morris Atwell; and Frederick
vVilliam, who married Sarah Jane Fowler.

(VII) Capt. Alvin Leete, son of Joel and Mollie
Leete, was born on Leete Island Aug. 24, 1791, and
was married Jan. 15, 1816, to Mrs. Rebecca Butler,
widow of William Butler. She was born Feb. 14,
1798, a daughter of Isaac and Abigail (Tyler)
Palmer, and died Jan. 16, 1862. Capt. Leete' died

July fi, 18S2. His children were: (i) Abigail
Maria, born Nov. 18, i8i6, married A. W. Leete;
(2) Eliza Ann, born March 3, 1818, married C.
Robbins; (3) Isaac Palmer, Ixirn March 9, 1S21,
married L'larissa Foote ; (4) Edwin Alonzo is mcn-
tionetl below; (5) Marietta, borni July 20, 1S27,
died Jan. 18. 1877. Capt. Leete earned his title in
the militia service. He was a Whig and a Republi-
can, and belonged to the Congregational Churcii.
He was deeply interested in all educational matters,
and for more than thirty years was a teacher in the
public schools.

Edwin A. Leete was born Dec. 21, 1822, and
married Ellen Hotchkiss, who was born Nov. 10,
1825. daughter of Eber S. and Fannie (Norton)
Hotchkiss. To this union came two children :
Fannie Rebecca, born Oct. 23, 1848, married Ezra
S. Kelsey; and James Spencer, born Sept. 8, 1850,
died ]\Iarch 23, 1857. Islrs. Leete died July 5, 1854.
On Jan. i, 1855, Air. Leete married Mary Ann
Leete, who was born Sept. 20, 1827. a daughter
! of Albert A. and Betsy A. (Parmelee) Leete, and
i granddaughter of Ambrose Leete. To them came
I children as follows : ( i ) Edward Morris, born
j Aug. 18, 1858, is mentioned below. (2) Cather-
! ine Ward, born Nov. 28, i860, married Fred W.
i Seward. (3) Elizabeth Morris, born Feb. 10, 1867,.
was graduated from the State Normal School it
New Britain, and for the past five years has been
! a teacher in the William Penn Charter school, in
Philadelphia. (4) William Henry, born Dec. 3,.
I 1868, in ("ruilford, married Caroline Hopkin!>
I Barnes, of Binghamton, N. Y. He has been en-
gaged in the railroad service for ten years, having
been on the New York, New Haven & Hartford
Railroad, and assistant to the general superintend-
ent of the Los Angeles Terminal Railroad. He is
now cashier and paymaster on the San Pedro, Los
Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad.

Edward Morris Leete married Eva Bishop, who
was born April 19, 1859, daughter of Elisha Chap-
man Bishop, and they have three children — Frank
Chapman, born Aug. 16, 1881, who is quite profi-
cient in music ; Earl Bishop, born in November,
1888; and Charlotte Elizabeth, born Aug. 14, 1890.
Edward Alorris Leete is a partner in business with
his father, and at present represents his district in
the State Legislature, to which he was elected in
1900. In religion he unites with the Congregational
Church, and socially he is a member of the Ma-

Online LibraryChicago Beers (J.H.) & Co.Commemorative biographical record of New Haven county, Connecticut, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and of many of the early settled families .. (Volume 1, pt.3) → online text (page 39 of 94)