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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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to the Bar of the State of Connecticut in DanBury,
m 1848. In December of the same year he opened
an office in Birmingham, Conn., and began the
practice of his profession, continuing therein until
1863, when he relinquished it and succeeded the late
Dr. Howe, his father-in-law, in the management of
the business of the Howe !>.Ianufacturins: Co., of
Birmingham, and remained in its active manage-
ment until 1875. when the burden of the work was
turned over to other hands. As a lawyer Mr.
Downes gained and kept the confidence, respect and
esteem of the community in which he lived, as well
as that of his brethren at the Bar. His business
surelv and steadilv increased as his worth and abil-

ity became known, and when he relinquished his
practice, it was a source of sincere regret to a nu-
merous clientage.

Since the retirement of Mr. Downes from the
active management of the Howe Manufacturing
Co. he has given his time to the management of his
own affairs, and in the performance of the duties
of the many positions of trust and responsibility
which he has filled. For a decade or more he was
president of the Derby Savings Bank. He is a
director and member of the executive committee of
the Ousatonic Water Co., and a director and valued
counsellor and adviser in many other corporations
in Derbv and elsewhere. With the Ousatonic Water
Co. he has been prominently identified from the be-
ginning, having been employed as one of the coun-
sel to obtain a charter for the company from the
Legislature of Connecticut. As early as 1855 he
was sent to the State Legislature from the town of
Derbv. He again represented that town in the same
body in 1882." and for the third time in 1883. He
took a prominent part in the establishment of the
"Board of Pardons." and was chiefly instrumental
in procuring the passage of the "Act Concerning
Insane Persons," in the year 1889, and modestly
savs that such satisfaction as he has derived from
his legislative experience arises from his connectioit
with these two acts. For several years Mr. Downes,
at some sacrifice, filled the office of justice of the
peace in the town of Derbv.

In referring to his make-up, a writer has said:

Mr. Downes is possessed of certain qualities rarely found,
as in him. in harmonious combination. While a lover of books,
and of reading and with the instincts and tastes of a scholar, he
is at the same time a practical man of affairs, with an aptitude
for business born of a thorough legal and business training, and
of a large and %-aried experience. In the manv corporations
with which he is connected, his opinion carries much weight,
and his counsel is rarely disregarded. While modest and
retiring in disposition, and willing to yield to the judgment of
others in matters of minor importance, he is steadfast in matters
of principle and loval to his convictions at all times, without
regard to consequence. His conclusions are generally reached
only after mature reflection and although they are held with
firmness, the lirmness never degenerates into obstinacy. He
has an instinct for justice and a sense of honor " that feels a
stain like a wound." His keen perception of the humorous side
of human nature and conduct, coupled with a genial, kindly
disposition, makes him a delightful companion, and relieves the
"prosiness" of many a business meeting.

Politically Mr. Downes has generally acted with
the Republican party. His religious faith is that of
the Congregational Church.

In 1851 Mr. Downes was married to Jane M.,
only child of Dr. John I. Howe, of Birminc:ham,
Conn., and their children are: >Irs. Helen G. At-
water. of Xew Haven, Conn. ; William Howe, of
Boston, Mass.: and Mrs. Catherine T. Whiting and
John I. H., of Xew Haven. Since 1887 Mr. Downes
has made his home in X^ew Haven.

The late Dr. Johx I. Howe, father of Mrs.
Downes, was born in 1703. i" Ridsreficld, Conn., and
was graduated from the Medical L'niversity of Xew
York. He was married to Cornelia Ann. daughter

I'-' \



of George Ireland, of New York, and for many
years practiced liis profession with skill and success
in that city. As early as 18.28 he obtained a patent
on rubber comijounds. In 1832 and 1833 he devised
a machine for making- pins, and in 1835 the Howe
Manufacturing Co. was organized in Xew York for
the manufacturing of that article. For thirty years
Dr. Howe had the sole management of the manu-
facturing department of the company. In 1838 the
concern was removed to Birmingham, Connecticut.
Dr. Howe was in the lead as the first practical
and successful pin manufacturer by means of auto-
matic machinery, one of the most useful inventions
of the country. His death occurred in 1876, when
aged eighty-four years.

D.\NIEL HUMISTOX. Only those lives are
worthy of record that have been potential factors in
the public progress, in promoting the general wel-
fare, or advancing the educational or moral in-
terests of the community. Daniel Humiston, of
Cheshire, was ever faithful to his duties of citi-
zenship, and by the successful conduct of his busi-
ness interests not only promoted his individual suc-
cess, but also advanced the general prosperity. In
his life span of seventy-seven years he accomplished
much, and left behind him an honorable record, well
worthy of perpetuation. He was born in the town
of Cheshire, Sept. 23, 1788, and died Oct. 22, 1865.

The Humiston family is one of the oldest and
most respected in New Haven countv. where it was
founded about 1650 by Henry Humiston, who spent
the remainder of his life in W'allingford, dying Jan.
16, 1663. He was married Aug. 28, 165 1, to Joanna
Walker, and they had four children, namely: Sam-
uel, born Aug. 7. 1652; Nathaniel, Jan. 13, 1654;
Thomas, Oct. 19, 1656; and Abigail, May 17, 1661.

James Humiston, grandson of the progenitor of
the family in this countn,-, was born in New Haven,
and from there removed to Wallingford, where he
died Aug. 17, 1747. On Jan. 7, 1719, he married
Sarah Atwater, and in their family were six chil-
dren : Daniel, born Nov. 16, 1721 ; Stephen, born
Nov. 9, 1723; Noah, born 3,Iarch i. 1729, died Sept.
3, 1729; James, born Oct. 28, 1734 (married Abiah
Ives) ; Hannah; and Noah, born June 13, 1745.

Daniel Humiston, a son of James, and the grand-
father of our subject, was born in Wallingford, and
when a young man came to Cheshire, where he
owned land and engaged in farming throughout his
active business life. There he died July 27, 1767,
and was buried in Cheshire cemetery. His wife,
who bore the maiden name of Abigail Doolittle,
died Jan. i, 1809, at the age of eighty-three years.
In their family were eight children, whose names
and dates of birth were as follows: Sarah, Dec.
14, 1744; Hannah. March 2. 1747; Stephen, July
17, 1751 ; L>'lia, March 17, 1754; Patience, Nov.
28, 1756; Daniel, .\pril 10, 1759; John, June 30,
1761 ; and Jesse, March 12, 1764.

Jesse Humiston, just mentioned, was born and

reared- on his father's farm in Cheshire, and after
his marriage located on a farm in West Cheshire,
where he spent the remainder of his life, devoting
his time and attention to agricultural pursuits. He
was well known and highly respected. He died
]^iarch 12, 1832, and was laid to rest in the family
cemetery, in Cheshire. He married Lois Doolittle,
a daughter of Amos Doolittle, and she departed this
life Feb. 8, 1847, at the age of eighty-four years.
Politically he was a W hig, and religiously a mem-
ber of the Episcopal Church. His children were
Daniel, our subject; Lois, who died at the age of
twenty ; Jesse A., who married Eliza Preston,
daughter of Reuben Preston; Alma, who married
Samuel FIull, of Cheshire; and John, who married
Rhoda Nichols, of Wolcott, Connecticut.

At the age of three years Daniel Humiston re-
ceived a physical injury which it was thought
would unfit him for the active work of farm life,.
hence it was determined to prepare him for a pro-
fession. He pursued a thorough course in the
Episcopal Academy of his native town, from which
he graduated at the age of seventeen, his scholar-
, ship being highly commended by his teachers and
classmates. His ailment having, meantime, been
much alleviated, he resolved to engage in farming,
to which occupation he was always partial. He in-
dustriously pursued that vocation as his life work,
and was rewarded with a fair measure of success,
owning and successfully operating a tract of 165
acres of land in the western part of Cheshire, upon
which he made extensive improvements. He died
upon his farm and was laid to rest in the Cheshire
cemetery. He was an active and prominent mem-
ber of St. Peter's Episcopal parish, served as vestn, -
man of the church for some years and for many
years previous and up to his death -vvas parish clerk.

Politically Daniel Humiston was first a Whig and
later a Republican. He was a modest, unobtrusive
man, with no inclination for public life, but his
' townsmen, appreciating his good qualities, called
him to serve in various offices, and in 1840 elected
him as one of their representatives in the State
Legislature. He also filled the office of selectman
in Cheshire. Those who were most intimately as-
\ sociated with him speak in unqualified terms of his
sterling integrity, his honor in business and his
fidelity to all the duties of public and private life.
He was faithful to his church, to his country and
■ to his friends, and in his home was a most ex-
emplary husband and father. His death occasioned
deep regret throughout the community, and Che-
j shire thereby lost one of its most valued citizens.
! On June 16, 1816, Daniel Humiston wedded Juli-
I ana Ives, a native of Cheshire, and a daughter of
Jared and Achsah (Doolittle) Ives. She was a
ladv- of culture and refinement, an excellent wife
and mother, and a consistent member of the Epis-
copal Church. She died Dec. 23, 1833, and was laid
' to rest in St. Peter's Church cemetery. In the
familv were three children : Chauncey Ives, who re-



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<^ a^i^^^t^-^^-nd-^^^




sidi-il on the home farm until his death, Nov. ii,
"1884 ; John D., who was engaged in business in New
York', and there died Jan. 19, 1867; and JuHa _A.,
the onlv survivor. Miss Julia resides in West
Chcsliire, and is beloved and respected by all who
know her. With a charity that knuws no limit, she
seems to find her greatest happiness in doing good
to those around her. Even the dumb animals have
received her attention, and for them she placed a
watering tank in West Cheshire; she gave to the vil-
lage the town clock; a receiving vault in Cheshire
cemetery ; and many other things. She takes a deep
interest in educational affairs, is highly intellectual
and cultured, and is quite popular with the public.

one of the leading citizens and successful agricul-
turists of Waterbury, where he was bom Dec. 17,
1824. The Nichols family is one of the oldest in
Connecticut. Sergt. Francis Niciiols, the first of
the name in New England, was a native of England,
and one of the first settlers of Stratford, FairtTeld
Co., Conn., where he located in 1639. He is sup-
posed to have been closely related to Sir Richard
Nichols, the first English governor of New York,
r.cforc coming to this country he was a member of
the I lorse Guards of London. He owned property
in Stratford, Conn., and Southland, Long Island,
and siH-'Ut his last days in the former place, where he
died and was buried. For his second wife he mar-
ried r.arnahas Wines, who after his death wedded
Jolin Elton, of Southland, Long Island. By his
first marriage he had four children : Isaac. Caleb
and John, who were all born in England; and ^Irs.
Richard Mills. The only child of the second union
was Ann, wife of Christopher Young.

Isaac Nichols, son of Francis, came with his par-
ents to the New World and spent the remainder of
his life in Stratford. Conn., where he owned and
operated a farm. He died in 1695, and was buried
there. By his wife, Margaret, he had the following
children : Mary, who was born Feb. 2. 1648, and
married Rev. Israel Channev : Sarah, who was born
Nov. I, 1649, arid married Stephen Burrett ; Josiah,
born Jan. 29, 1652 ; Isaac, March 12, 1654 : Jonathan,
Dec. 10, 1655: Ephraim, Dec. 15, 1657; Patience,
Feb. 2, 1660; Temperance, ^lay 17, 1662: Marg-ery,
Nov. 30, 1663; Benjamin, Feb. 2, 1666; and Eliza-
beth, who was born April 2, 1668, and was married
Jiilv 9, 1601, to Rev. Joseph Webb.

Isaac Nichols. Jr., a son of Isaac, was also a life-
long resident of Stratford, a farmer and land owner.
Ttierc he died in 1690. Bv his wife, Mary, he had
three children: Francis, Tune 3. 1^176; Richard,
Nov. 26. 1678: and Joseph. "Nov. "i, 1680.

Joseph Nichols, a son of Isaac, Jr,, was born and
reared in Stratford, whence he removed to Long
Island, and in 1728 came to Waterburv, where he
owned propertv. Here he died March 10, 1733,
and was buried in Waterburv cemetery. He mar-
ried Elizabeth Wood, of Stratford, and they had a

family of eight children : James, born on Long
Island June 27, 1712; George, born at the same
place July 14, 1714; Elizabeth, who was married in
1740 to Ebenezer Waklee ; Richard; Joseph, born
in 1724: I\Iaria; Isaac, who was born May 4, 1729,
and died in the British army in 1776; and Benja-
min, born May 14, 1731.

Joseph Nichols, Jr., son of Joseph, was born on
Long Island, and came with his parents to Water-
bury, where he subsequently owned and operated a
farrn until called from this life, Jan. 24, 1773, On
Sept. 6, 1750, in Waterbury, he married Tamar
Bronson, daughter of Lieut. John Bronson, and to
them were born two children : Seymour, mentioned
below; and Eunice, who was born.Sept. 6, 1753, and
married Michael Bronson. The mother of these
children died Nov. 14, I7S5- and on Dec. 15, 1757,
the father married Annie Webster, by whom he had
one child, Lucy, who was born Dec. 5, 1758, and
married Luke Adams.

Sevmour Nichols, son of Joseph. Jr., was born
April '20, 1751, in Waterbury, where -he spent his
entire life as a farmer, land owner and highly re-
spected citizen. On Jime 15. 1775' lie married Mar-
tha Hotchkiss, and to them were born ten children,
whose names and dates of birth were as follows:
Joseph, April 21, 1776; Tamar (wife of James Chat-
field), Dec. 25, 1778: Humphrey, Nov. 23, 1781 ;
Abigail, March 2. 1784: Chloe, July 30, 1786; Amy,
Nov. 23, 1788: William, August, 1791 : Chauncey,
Februai-v, 1794: Simon, 1796; and Philo, June,

Humphrey Nichols, son of Seymour, and the
father of our subiect. made his home throughout
life in Waterbury, where he owned a farm, and like
his ancestors he engaged in agricultural pursuits.
His remains were interred in the old cemetery where
the Bronson Librarv now stands. He married Esther
Hotchkiss. also a native of Waterburv, and a daugh-
ter of Stephen Hotchkiss. In their family were the
following children: Harriet, born Feb. 3. t^^o.
married'G. A. Hall: Emeline, born May 20, t8ii,
m.arried David Terrell: Stephen H. was born April
23. 1813: Isaac, born Sept. 27, 1814. married Lydia
Frisbee: William, born Jan. 27, 1817, married into
the well-known .Atwood familv; Ann, born Feb. 8,
1819, died May 12, 183:;: Nancy, born June 15,

1821, married INIarvin Hills: Eli, born Sept. 15,

1822, married Jane INIann : Jioseph N., our subject,
aiTid David complete the family.

Joseph N. Nichols grew to manhood in "Water-
burv, and became a prosperous farmer and land
owner of that town. He owned the homestead farm
at Simonville, and also the large Hill farm en Town
Plot, Waterbury, upon which he made many im-
provements. It' was the Garrv Hull tract of eightv
acres, and has since been divided into lots for build-
ing purposes. He was united in marriage with Miss
Lucena Clark, of New Milford, a daughter of Daniel
and Lucy fHanes") Clark, and by this union were
born seven children: (i) Daniel Humphrey, who


.'I I



died in 1890, first married Mary C. Gladding, by '
whom he liad two sons, Frank Bacon anfl Arthur
W., both members of St. John's Church choir. For I
his second wife he married Albertha Lobdell, by |
whom he had one child, Harvey Humphrey. (2) j
Clark Holmes is mentioned below. (3) Joseph
Hayden married first Xellie Jackson, by whom he
had two children, Louis Hayden and Carl Hum-
phrey, and for his second wife married Alice F'al- ,
nier, bv whom he had one child. Xellie Alice. (4) !
Lucy 'Esther resides on the old homestead. ( 5 )
Emma C. died in April, 1885. (6) Anna L. died
Feb. 28, 18S7. (7) William Francis, who is con-
nected with the L'nited States mail service and re-
sides in Waterbury, married Annie O'Rourke, and
they have three children, Gertrude E.. Charles and
William. Our subject died April 21, 1878, his wife
Sept. 14, 1887, and both were laid to rest in River-
side cemetery. They were faithful members of St.
John's Episcopal Church, and were highly respected
and esteemed bv all who knew them. In his politi-
cal affiliations Mr. Nichols was a Democrat, and he
ever took a commendable interest in those enter-
prises calculated to advance the moral, social or ma-
terial welfare of his town and county. He was a
kind father, a loving husband and true friend.

Cl.\rk H. Xichols. son o^ Joseph X., was bnrn
on the home farm in ^^'aterbury April 29, 1859,
and was educated in the public schools of Town
Plot. Fie remained under the parental roof until
he attained his majoritv, and then learned the trade
ot a brass caster, which he followed in Ansonia
for nine years. .\t the end of that period he re-
turned to Waterburv, and was employed as a caster
in the Scovill foundrv for eight years. He then
purchased the David Blodgett place, where he has
since m?de his home, and now gives his entire time
and attention to dealing in and training horses, trav-
eling in Canada and other sections of the countr\'.
He is a wide-awake, progressive business man, and
is meeting with success in his business ventures.
He is independent in politics, and a member of the
Knights of Pythias fraternitv. In Providence, R. I.,
Oct. 4, 1883, he 'married ^liss Annie Wilson, of
Bristol, Conn., who died ^lay 22, 1895.

EDWIN YALE P.ULL. one of tlie highlv re-
spected and well-known citizens of Yalesville, has
been a resident of this community for more than
half a century, and he is known as one of the most
widely read and thoroughly posted men of Walling-
ford. ^[r. r.ull ^\as Ix^rn in the town of ^leriden.
Feb. 19, 182^, a son of William Bidl, also a native of
Meriden. Williain Bull was a well-known citizen
of ^leridcn, where he worked at his trade and cul-
tivated his farm. In politics he was a Democrat,
and in religion a Universalist. Ruth Hall, his wife,
was born .\ng. 2;, 1780, a daughter of Benaiah
and Ruth (Francis) Hall, and she died in Meriden.

Edwin Yale Bull was educated in the common
schools of Meriden, and in the Connecticut Literary

Institute of Suffield. He started life for himself
at an early age, his first work being the burnishing
of spoons at tlie munificent salary of forty-five cents
per gross. When not employed in the shop he
worked at home on the farm. After a time he
was taken into the German-silver shop at Meriden
as a butfer, and then was made a forger of fine
wares. For some years he was employed in a
Britannia spoon factory, and for three and a half
vears worked for Steadman & Clark, with whom he
thoroughly learned the tin and sheet iron trade.
For ten years he was a journeyman worker at this
trade, and in 1S53 came to Yalesville to take a
place as a die sinker, a trade he mastered for him-
self, and one in which he takes a high standing.
The following year he secured a similar position
with Garry I. Mi.x, at $2.00 per day, which was
gradually increased to $2,000 per year. In i860
Mr. Bull entered the employ of R. Wallace & Co.,
where he remained for two years, and he was two
vears with Hall, Elton & Co., when he resumed his
work with G. I. Mix. For twenty-five years he was
steadily at work as die sinker, but for the last twelve
vears he has lived a retired life, spending his leisure
hours in the making of violins, in which he seems
to have the touch of a genius. Violins that come
from his hands give forth the sweetest tones, and
his name is familiar to all who love this king of
musical instruments.

Mr. Bull is a ripe scholar, and is a man of wide
reading. Latin, French and other languages have
been mastered by him, and he is familiar with clas-
sical lore. In politics he is a Republican, and was
a member of the "Wide Awakes" in the first Lincoln
campaign. Mr. Bull has been assessor of the town,
and holds the unstinted confidence of his fellow
citizens. He began life as a poor boy, and by in-
dustry, economy and forethought has become
well-to-do. Mr. Bull has never married, and has
lived a life of kindly deeds, finding delight and
companionship, not only in the world of books, but
in the great open world of nature around him.

citizen of Guilford, is a representative of one of the
oldest New England families. ^Ir. Bishop is a de-
scendant in the eighth generation from John Bishop,
a native of England, who founded the family in
America, and who was one of the original settlers
of Guilford. Conn. He was the second person of
the twenty-five who signed the Plantation Cove-
nant. June I, 1639, on the voyage from England,
and was one of the four persons who had at first
the sole direction of the aiTairs of the Colonv until
the formation of the church. He was married in
: England, but the family name of his wife Anne has
not been ascertained. After his migration to
America Tohn Bishop remained permanently in Cnul-
ford. where he died in Februarv. 1661. His wife
died in Hartford in 1676. To John and Anne Bish-
op were born three children: John, who died m


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, .C iL *-*-



:■■* -H






Uciubor, 1683; Stephen, who died in June, 1690;
and I'lCtliya, who married James Steel. The hne
oi descent to our subject is through John.

I 11 ) John Bishop, son of (Ij John, married Dec.
1 1, 1C150, Susanna Goldham, who died Xov. i, 1703.
■riicir children were as follows: (i) ^lary, born
Sc])t. 28, 1652, married John Hodgkin; {2) John,
sketch of whom follows; (3) Susanna, born in
1O57, married Moses Blatchley, and died in Octo-
ber, 17.29; (4) Ehzabeth, born in 1660, married
John Scranton, and died in August, 1727; (5J
Daniel, born in 1665, married Hannah Bradley, and
died April 17, 1751 ; (6j Nathaniel, born in 1666,
married Mary Hughes, and died Alay i, 1714; (7)
Sanuiel, born (Jet. 28, 1670, married Abigail Wit-
more, and died Feb. 17, 1753; (8) Sarah, born
Jan. 22, 1674, died :\Iay 12, 1712; (9) Abigail,
born Jan. 26, 1681, married Samuel Lee, and died

June 5, 175'-

(HI) John Bishop, born in 1655, died Nov. 25,
1751. He married July 3, 1689, Elizabeth Hitcli-
cock, who died March 14, 1712, and for his second
wife he wedded Alarch 8, 1713, May Johnson. His
children were as follows: (i) Elizabeth, born Oct.
14, 1690, married Samuel Scranton; (2) John, bom
Aug. 12, 1692, married Abigail Spinning, and died
Jan. 28, 1752; (3) Ann. born Feb. 15, 1695, mar-
ried David I-'ield. and died in 1731 : (4) David,
sketch of wliom follows; (5) Jonathan, born Nov.
8, \f^, married Hannali Chittenden; (6) Mary,
liom in December, 1700, married Caleb Jones, and
died June 23, 1724; (7) Deborah was born Feb.

19, 1702; (8) Nathaniel, born May 6, 1704. mar-
ried ^[argaret Blinn. and died April 11. 1778; (9)
Timothy, born in 1708. married Hannah Blinn, and
died in 1794; (10) William was bom Oct. 18. 1714;
di) Enos, born May 27, 1717. married Abigail
Rurgis. and died in April, 1802; {12) Esther was
bom Feb. 24. 1719; (13) Mercy, born May 7,
1722, married Abraham Dowd, and died Dec. 3,


(IV) David Bishop, born Jan. 6, 1697, died Aug.

20, 1773. He married INIay 17, 1724. Deborah Stan-
ley, and their, children were: (il Deborah, born
Jan. 17, 1725, married Jehiel Evarts : (2) Hulda
was born Aug. 5;. 1726: (3) David, sketch of whom
follows; (4) Chloe, born Julv 15, 1733, married
Handv Eushnell : (5) Sarah, born Aug. 18, 1736,
married Miles Hall, and died April 8. 1792.

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 4 of 94)