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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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while his work was in an unwritten and unknown
language, which he was first obliged to learn ; and,
after his Bible was published, he had to establish
schools and prepare a grammar and other books for
instructing the savages to read it. In all these ar-
duous duties he had no assistant but an Indian boy.
Thus a humble and modest, yet faithful and zealous,
pastor of a small Christian community, on tlie
shores of a vast continent which was then almost a
wilderness, alone achieved a work which excited the
wonder and admiration of both continents, and has
rendered his name memorable forever in the annals
of literature and piety. With such holy ardor and un-
tiring perseverance did he prosecute his great and
commendable labors as to richly deserve his exalted
title of "apostle to the Indians." His manner of
preaching was very plain, yet powerful ; his de-
livery graceful. The old oak at South Natick be-
neath which he preached to the Indians in i6go is
still standing. Mr. Eliot's death occurred May 20,
1690, in the eighty-sixth year of his age, and he was
laid to rest in what was called the minister's tomb.
in the First burying ground. His wife died March
22, 1687. Their children were: Ann, born Sept.
17, 1633. was a daughter of excellent character, and
remained with her parents as long as they lived;


97 S

she was the wife of Habakkuk Glover. John, born
Aug. 31, 1636, died Oct. 11, 1G68. Joseph, born ,
Dec. 20, 1638, is mentioned below. Samuel, born
lune 22, 1641, died in 1664. Aaron, born Feb. 19, i
"1644, died Nov. 18, 1655. Benjamin, born Jan. 29, j
1647, died Oct. 15. 1687. I

(II) Joseph Eliot, first of the name in Guilford, '
born Dec. 20, 1638, died ]\Iay 24, 1694. at Guilford,
where he was settled as a minister. He owned the
home and ground occupied all his lifetime by the
subject of this sketch, and which is now the resi- '■
dence of Mrs. Eliot and her son Edward. He was
graduated from Harvard in 1658. On Xov. 23,
1662, the people of Northampton tinanimously ex-
pressed their desire to settle Mr. Eliot as a teacher,
and fixed his salary at fifty pounds. In 1664 he
was settled at Guilford receiving ordination Dec.
23, of that year. It is said that he delivered an
annual sermon before the General Assembly, and
he received a grant of land from that body, prob-
ably in acknowledgment of these sendees. He
continued to discharge his pastoral duties at Guil-
ford until his death. Joseph Eliot first married :
Sarah, daughter of Hon. William Brenton. gov-
ernor of Rhode Island, and after her death he mar-
ried Mary, daughter of Hon. Samuel Wyllys, of
Hartford. She died Oct. 11, 1729, at the age of
seventy-three years. His children, four by each
wife, were as follows: ( i) Mehitable, born Oct.
4, 1676, married William Wilson, of Guilford, and
died April 14, 1723, without issue. (2) Ann, born
Dec. 12, 1677, married Dec. 20, 1698. Hon. Jona-
than Law. of ^lilford, governor of Connecticut,
and died Xov. 16. 1703. (3 I Jemima, born in 1678,
married Rev. John Woodbridge, of West Spring-
field, Mass., and died June 10. 1718. (4) Barshua,
married Augustus Lucas, of Fairfield, a French
refugee. (5) Jared, born Xov. 7, 1685, died April
22, 1763. (6) Abiel is mentioned below. ( 7)
Mary, born in 1688, married in 1734. Hawkins Hart,
of \\'allingford, and had a large family. (8) Re-
becca, born in 1690, married John Trowbridge,
sheriff of X'ew Haven, and after his death became
the wife of Ebenezer Fisk; for her third husband
she married Capt. William Dudley.

(III) Abiel Eliot, son of Rev. Joseph, was a
farmer in Guilford, and died Oct. 28, 1776. He mar
ried Alary Leete. daughter of John Leete. of Guil-
ford, and great-granddaughter of William Leete,
governor of Connecticut. Their children were : ( i )
Xathaniel, mentioned below: (2) Wyllys. bom Feb.
9, 1731, who died Sept. 20, 1777; (3) Rebecca,
bom Sept. 8, 1733. who married X'athaniel Graves,
of Guilford, and died July 7. 1820: (4) Timothy,
born Oct. 23, 1736, who died April 17, 1809: (5)
Levi, born Nov. i, 1739, who died March 21. 1765:
(6) Margery, born March 19, 1742. who married
Theophilus Merriman, of Wallingford, and died
May 15, 1823.

(IV) X''athaniel Eliot, son of Abiel. was born
Aug. 15, 1728, and died April 24, 1804. He was a

farmer and land owner in Guilford. On Jan. 3,
1754, he married Beulah Parmelee, born in (juil-
ford Aug. 30, 1732, a daughter of Joseph Parmelee;
she died Sept. 16. 1818. Their children were:
William (sketch of whom follows) ; and Mary.
The daughter, born May i, 1762, died Sept. 10,
1819. On Sept. 30, 1787, she married Israel Halleck,'
of Dutchess county, X. Y., who died March 7, 1839.
They had three children : Maria, born July 19,
1788, resided in Guilford; Fritz Greene, poet and
writer, bom July 8. 1790, was also a resident of
Guilford; Xathaniel E., born in 1792, died Sept. 29,


(,V) William Eliot (grandfather of Lewis R.)
was born Feb. 10, 1755, in Guilford, where he was
a lifetime farmer, dying there Feb. 14, 1833 ; he was
buried in Alderbrook cemetery. He married Nov.
26, 1780, Ruth Rossiter, born in Xorth Guilford
April 17, 1757, daughter of Nathaniel and Deborah
(Fowler) Rossiter. She died July 19, 1814, the
mother of three children: (i) William Horace,
Sept. 13, 1781, married to Mary Law; (2) Charles,
sketch of whom follows; and (3) George Augustus,
born June 6, 1792, married Sarah Brown, and set-
tled in Erie, Pennsylvania.

(VI) Charles Eliot (father of Lewis R.), born
July 29. 1787, in Guilford, spent all his life there
in farming pursuits, dying in 1870. In Guilford,
Oct. 15, 181 5, he married Chloe Pardee, born April
5, 1785, a daughter of James Pardee, of East Haven,
and six children were born to them: (i) Adeline,
bom June 28, 1816, married Alay 12, 1839, Josiah
Griswold, of Guilford : he died Dec. 22, 1842, and
she married (second) Leveret C. Stone; (2) Lewis
Rossiter, sketch of whom follows; (3) Edward,
born March 25, 1820, became a merchant in Detroit,
Alich. ; (4) Sarah Ann, bom Nov. 3, 1821, married
Dec. 31, 1843. Henry Reeves Spencer, of Guilford;
(5) Charles Alorgan, born Dec. 8. 1824, resident in
JNIeriden ; (6) Ruth, born Nov. 23, 1829, married
April 23, 1848, Samuel Augustus Wilcox, of Guil-

(VII) Lewis Rossiter Eliot, the subject proper
of this memoir, was born Jan. 23, 1819, in Guilford,
where he followed agricultural pursuits all his life,
being a large land owner, and successful in all his
operations. As a Democrat, he took a lively inter-
est in the affairs of his party, of which he was one
of the leaders in his town. For several years he
served as assessor, and filled other offices of trust
with marked ability and characteristic fidelity ; was
a director, and at one time president, of the Guilford
, Savings Bank. In church matters he always took a
livelv interest as member of the Episcopal Church,
of which he was a vestryman for several years ;
taken all in all, he was a good, loyal citizen, re-
spected and esteemed. In his domestic relations he
was especially happy as a loving husband and kind,
indulgent father. Well-read, and possessed of
good executive ability, he was often appealed to in
intricate matters of business, and at various times



called upon to settle estates. He died June 0. 1893,
and was laid to rest in Alderbrook cemetery.

The late Lewis R. \L\\oi was twice married, first
time Dec. 5, 1847, to Fanny Griswold, born in
Guilford, Oct. 27, 1823, died Dec. 24, 1856, and
one child, Fanny Alaria. born March 26, 1853,
graced this union. For his second wife ^Ir. Eliot
wedded Nov. 17, 1858, Catherine Graves, a native
of Guilford and daughter of Sherman and Ann
(Griswold) Graves, to which union came two chil-
dren: Miss Elizabeth, who was educated in part
in Guilfonl, in part at Mount Holyoke Seminar}-.
Mass. ; and Edward, sketch of whom follows. The
mother of these, a lady of culture and refinement, is
yet living in Guilford.

(VTII) Edw.xrd Eliot, only son of the late
Lewis R. Eliot, was Ixsrn in Guilford, Oct. 14. 18G1.
and received a liberal education at the public and
high schools of the locality. He was reared on the
home farm of 150 acres, and has ever since operated
same, raising tomatoes chiefly, and conducting a

On Oct. 16, 1889, Edward Eliot married Maud
A. Lee, born in Berlin, ^Vis., a daughter of \\'illiam
W. and Elizabeth ( \"edder) Lee, both of whom
died in Guilford. Three children have been born
to this union, viz.: Elizabeth ]Maud, July 14. 1890;
Lewis R.. April 2, 1892: and Catherine Graves.
Sept. 5, 1894.

In politics Mr. Eliot is a Democrat; for five
years served on the board of burgesses of Guilford :
in 1898 was elected warden of the borough; is a
member of the school committee ; and a director
of the Guilford Savings Bank. Sociallv. he is
affiliated with the Xew England Order of Protec-
tion. In religious faith he is a member and vestrv-
man of the Episcopal Church in Guilford.

Gr-wes Family, (i) George Graves, the an-
cestor of Mrs. L. R. Eliot, and the first of the name
in Connecticut, was a native of England, whence he
came to this cotjntry, settling in Hartford. Conn.,
where he died in 1673. He had three children:
George, sketch of whom follows ; John, and a

(II) George Graves, died in Hartford, Dec. 3.
1692. He married, April 2, 1651, Elizalieth Vent-
nor, and had six children : George ; Elizabeth ;
John, sketch of whom follows ; Ruth, wife of John
Webb; Mehitabel, wife of James Harrison; and

(III) John Graves, born in Hartford, married
in 1680, Susannah Webster, bom Oct. 26, 1658, and
died in 1680, a daughter of Robert ^\'ebster, of
Middletown; he married (second) Harriet, daugh-
ter of Philip Davis. Children: Elizabeth, wife
of Ebenezcr Dudley ; John, sketch of whom follows ;
Sarah, born Sept. 25, 1698, wife of James Munger ;
and four other daughters.

(IV) John Graves, born ^larch 3, 1695, in Hart-
ford, moved to East Guilford, and died there April,
1759. He married (first) Phebe Hand March 19,

1 7 19, and (second) Keziah Norton, Aug. i, 1723.
She was born Dec. 21, 1700, and died Oct. 8, 1771.
Children : George, born May 30, 1724; Phebe, Jan.
29, 1726, married Enos Hall; Samuel, born Aug.
3, 1728, died Xov. 25, 1736; Joanna, born Oct. 8,
1730; Sarah, born Jan. 23, 1733; John, sketch of
whom follows; Submit, Jan. 13, 1738: Keziah, born
June 2y, 1743, died Oct. 8, 1775; Samuel (2), June
II, 1746; and Rufus, born Sept. 27, 1749, married
Elizabeth Benton.

(V) John Graves, born Oct. 9, 1735, in East
Guilford, died April 13, 1791. He married Dec.
20, 1760, Elizabeth Graves, born Sept. 24. 1736.
died April 17, 1767, a daughter of Ebenezer and
Mary (Isbell) Graves. He married (second) Sarah
Dudley, born ^larch 14, 1744, and died Nov. 17,
1797. Children: John, sketch of whom follows;
!Merriman, wife of Joseph Bartlett. died Sept. 2:^,
1 79 1 ; Titus, married to Rachel Dudley,, died in 1814;
George died without issue.

(VI) John Graves, born at East Guilford Oct.
16, 1761, died Sept. 28, 1819; married Januarv.
1787, Hannah Crane, bom 1764, died Jan. 16, 1852.
Children: Henry Crane, born June 12. 1788, mar-
ried Clarissa Crompton, and died in 1846; EIizal)eth
Amelia, born Feb. 17, 1791, married Phineas Dud-
ley; Nancy Merriam, born Sept. 10, 1793, died
]\Iarch 16, 1849; Sherman, sketch of whom follows;
Rebecca, born March 4, 1798, married W. \\'.
Dowd. and died Oct. 28, 1873; and John Adams,
born Sept. i, 1805, married Amelia Bailey, and died
in 1837.

(VII) Sherman Graves, born Sept. 20, 1795,
died Sept. 12, 1875; married Nov. 4, 1819, Ann
Griswold, daughter of John and Hannah (Dudley)
Griswold. Children: Elizabeth, bom Sept. iS,
1820, died Sept. 20, 1849; John, born Feb. 17, 1822,
married Nancy Landon, and died Nov. 4, 1883:
Catherine born ]\Iay 16, 1824, now the widow of
Lewis R. Eliot: and Harriet, born Sept. 26, 1825,
died May 18, 1849.

probate and clerk of the town of Milford, was
born in Milford May 23, 1847, son of Richard and
Maria Hepburn, and comes of an excellent line.
The Hepburr.s were of the family famous in Scot-
tish historv. Judge Hepburn is a great-grandson
of Capt. Peter ( born in Stratford) and Mary
(Cobb) Hepburn, of Taunton, Mass. Peter was
a sea captain previous to the American Revolution,
and sailed between the Colonies and Europe. After-
ward he had extensive rope walks reaching from
River to High street, and his homestead was on the
corner of Broad and River streets, where the Taylor
Library now stands. In winter he taught naviga-
tion, and his nephew, who afterward became cele-
brated as Commodore Isaac Hull, was among his

Richard Hepburn ( i ) , youngest son of Capt.
Peter, and grandfather of Hon. Richard R., was a

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sea-faring man in early manhood, but afterward
engaged in the draying Imsiness in New York City.
He died in Brooklyn in the year 1865, at the age of
eightv-eight, and was liuried in Alilford. This
worth%" citizen married Harriet ]^Iiles, of Milford,
and had seven children, as follows: (i) Thomas
was connected with the ix)lice force in New York
City, and also with the custom house in the same
place for a time. He was prominent in the Masonic
fraternity. He died in New York, but was buried
in Milford. (2) Richard, our subject's father, is
mentioned more fully below. (3) Henry, who died
in San Francisco, was a shipmaster and commanded
vessels running between New York, Liverpool and
China. He, too. was identified with the Masonic
fraternity. (4) Jane (deceased) married Nathaniel
C. L'Hommedieu. who in early life was in the
United States navy, and for many years in the em-
ploy of the government at the Brooklyn navy yard.
(5) Elizabeth (deceased) married John C. O'Con-
nor, who entered the United States navy early in
life, and later became a merchant and ship owner,
and the possessor of valuable realty in New York
City. (6) Harriet married Samuel Bryan, a cop-
per-plate printer in New York, afterward a trusted
employe of the government at the Bureau of En-
graving and Printing, at Washington, D. C. {/)
Sarah resides in Milford, Connecticut.

Richard Hepburn (2), our subject's father, was
reared in New York City, spending some years of
his boyhood as a clerk in a ship chandler's store
on South street. He afterward followed the sea.
and at the age of twenty-one years was placed in
command of a vessel. Much of his time in later
years was passed in Milford. During the trouble
between this country and Mexico he commanded a
troop ship carrying a New York regiment to Mata-
nioras, with our subject on board. When the Re-
bellion broke out he enlisted in the navy, with the
rank of acting ensign, and served as such on, board
the monitor "Passaic." and other vessels, until the
close of the war. .A. notable incident in his career
was the successful voyage to the Canary Islands
in the bark "Grapeshot," for the caoture of Lu
Baker, the man who shot Bill Poole in, a theatre in
New York City, which event gave Capt. Hepburn
a National reputation for rapid passages. He died
at Staten Island Jan. 2, 1891. He married Alaria
J. Curry, who died Sept. 17, 1873. She was a na-
tive of Peekskill. N. Y., and her father was a
farmer of that town. Two children were born
of this union : Richard R. and Fannie, of whom the
latter died Aug. 26, 1877, unmarried.

Richard R. Hepburn, the third of the name and
the subject of this sketch, attended the schools of
Milford when a boy, and completed his course of
study in Brooklyn, but he did not go to school
after he reached the age of twelve years, the best
part of his eilucation having come from contact
with the world. During boyhood he made several
trips across the Atlantic with his father. For eight-


een or twenty years he was emi)loyed by Nathan .\.
Baldwin, of Milforil. the manufacturer of straw
hats, but his public duties have since occupied much
of his time.

On July 17, 1884, Judge Hepburn married Miss
Ella \'. Clements, a native of Milford, and an
adopted daughter of John F. Clements. One child,
Far.nv, has blessed this union.

In politics Judge He])burn is a Republican, and
his popularity is shown by the fact that he now
holds several public offices, within the gift of his
fellow citizens, having served as Town (^lerk and
Registrar of \'ital Statistics since January, i8g5.
Judge of Probate since January, 1897, and Judge
of the Milford Town Court since July, 1901 ; he
is vice-president of the Milford Savings Bank. So-
cially he is prominent and belongs to the following
fraternal organizations : ^\'illiam Fowler Council,
No. 64, (Jrder United American Mechanics, of
which lodge he has been recording secretary since
its organization ; Wepowage Lodge, No. 14. I. O.
O. F., with which he united in 1881 ; and \'olun-
teer Council, No. 8u), Royal Arcanum, of which
he became a member in 1897. He has recently ac-
cepted the secretaryship of the Milford Cemetery-
Association, and is at the present time clerk and
treasurer of the Plymouth Congregational Church
of Milford, and a member of the Society's com-

the well-known and most highly esteemed citizens,
of Wallingford, where during his long residence he
has won a high place in the regard of the commu-
nity. His talent and skill as a violinist have brought
him considerable renown.

Prof. Williams was born June 18, 1849, on the
old Williams homestead, and was reared on the
farm. He early displayed remarkable talent for
music, and at the age of nine years had mastered
the principles of violin playing. His teachers have
been among the most distinguished of the world,
one the celebrated Prof. Frantz r^Iilcke. For a
number of years he has played violin solos in pub-
lic, charming his audiences, and receiving manv ex-
pressions of pleasure from them. For several years
he conducted the Williams Orchestra, which, dur-
ing its existence, was one of the best in the State,
and he has figured in almost all the prominent con-
certs and musical gatherings of his section, at one
time playing with the well-known Theodore
Fleisher. He has written a number of orchestral
compositions. Some of the pupils of Prof. Will-
iams have become celebrated, and his name is known
far beyond local boundaries. He owns one of the
finest old violins in existence. Prof. Williams is in-
terested in several enterprises in the locality ot
Wallingford. He is the owner of the race track
and fair ground site, very valuable land, which he
has leased to the Agricultural Society, and to the
Wallingford Cycling & Trotting Association. As a.

1 • - 1 ■ ] ! n 11



lover and fine judge of e^ood horses, Prof. Williams
has become the owner of some tine specimens, and
Jiis trotting- stock rs well known through the State.
Prof. \\'i!liams was marrieil. in Januarv, 1878,
in Wallingford. to Miss Mary E. Jones, daughter
of Charles N. Jones, a merchant of \\"allingford, a
lady of refinement and culture, who holds an en-
viable position in the social circles of the city.
Seven children have come to this union : Charles
Leslie, born in 1878; Robert Cook, in 1881 ; Sarah
Emma, in 1883 (a graduate of the high school,
now a bookkeeper) ; Elsie L., in 1886; Florence, in
1888; Herman, in 1890; and William, in 1895.
Prof. Williams is a member and supporter of the
Republican party, but is no office seeker. The re-
ligious connection of the family is with the Epis-
copal Church, and they are highly esteemed in
Church circles.

Charles Nicholas Jones, fathe'r of ]\Irs. Williams,
was born on the old Jones homestead, Sept. 18, 1830,
son of Street Jones and a grandson of Nicholas
Jones, old settlers of New Haven county. Street
Jones was a man of education, became a large land
owner, at one time owning 10,000 acres, dealt ex-
tensively in cattle and raised many horses. He
died at the age of eighty-four. He took an active
interest in the welfare of the Democratic party, and
served as a member of the State Legislature, as
selectman, and in other local offices, taking also an
active interest in educational matters. Through his
influence school houses were built, charitable insti-
tutions were planned, and religious work in the Con-
gregational Church carried on. Street Jones was
married in North Haven to Mary Pierpont East-
man, a daughter of F.enjamin Eastman, and to this
union were born ten children, of whom we have rec-
ord of the following: Benjamin Trumbull. Peter
Eastman, Charles N., Mary P. f who njarried
Charles D. Childs. of Wallingford. \"t.). Sarah, one
that died in infancy, Julia (who married and re-
moved to Albany, N. Y.), and Samuel (who be-
came a stock dealer in Kansas).

Charles N. Jones received excellent educational
advantages, attending the district school m youth,
and later the Connecticut Literary Institute, at Suf-
field. His home continued to be on the farm until
1870, and he engaged in farming a part of the
Cook homestead. In the year mentioned he re-
moved to Wallingford, where he started a grain
and feed business, in connection with a grocery,
and has been thus engaged for over thirty years.
Mr. Jones also owns and operates a farm at Cook's
Hill, on which he has a productive peach orchard.
Mr. Jones married Ellen Cook, of Cook's Hill, a
daughter of John and Mary (Munson) Cook, and
a member of an old and representative family.
Four children were bom to ^Ir. and Mrs. Jones :
Mary E., the wife of Prof. Williams : Emma, who
married William Hodgkinson, of \Vallingford ;
Sarah Cook, who married William Talcott, of Wall-
ingford; and Florence Bertha, now Mrs. Samuel

Clulee. Mrs. Jones died in 1879. In 1889. Mr.
Jones married Abbie Bristol, daughter of Uriah
Bristol, of Cheshire. Mr. Jones is a prominent
member of the Congregational Church. He has
served his fellow citizens as selectman, and for six
years has been chairman of the board, and is treas-
urer of the borough. The family is held in high
esteem in Wallingford, where Mr. Jones has long
been regarded as one of the representative citizens.

EDWARD PAYSON BRETT, one of the old-
est builders in New Haven, and a man of .stabilitv
of character, who possesses the esteem of the com-
munity, is a descendant, in the seventh generation,
of one of the pioneer settlers of ^Massachusetts.

William Brett and Margaret, his wife, came
from England, in 1645, and with Miles Standish
and others, became early settlers of the town of
Bridgewater, Mass. He was an elder in the church,
and often took the pastor's place.

Nathaniel Brett, son of William and Margaret,
married Sarah, daughter of John Hayward.

Seth Brett, son of Nathaniel and Sarah, mar-
ried Sarah Alden, daughter of Isaac Alden.

Samuel Brett, son of Seth and Sarah, married
Hannah, daughter of David Packard.

William Brett, son of Samuel and Hannah,
married Molly, daughter of Ezra Allen.

Cyrus Brett, son of William and Molly, the
father of the subject of this sketch, was born Oct.
18, 1789, in North Bridgewater, :\Iass. He mar-
ried Mary \Vinchester, who was born in 1802 in
Boston. Mass. From 1836 to 1856, Mr. Brett was
a successful dealer, in Baltimore, Md., in the line of
gents' furnishing goods, but coming troubles warned
him of business disturbance, and he wisely closed
out his interests, and returned North, dying in New
Haven, Dec. 30, 1864, his wife having passed away
but little more than one month previously, on
Nov. 9.

Edward Payson Brett was born Sept. 12, 1837,
at Baltimore, Md., where he spent his early school
days. In March, 1855, he came to New Ha'ven and
began work, as an apprentice, with Bristol & Mer-
win. builders, on Artisian street, working for them
until 1863, when he formed a partnership with
Horace Hubbell. They continued in business to-
gether until 1867, when the partnership was dis-
solved. In 1869 Mr. Brett entered into partnership
with Charles E. Brown, and they continued to-
gether until 1880. From 1882 to 1884 Mr. Brett
had as a partner C. ;\I. Manning, but for the past
seventeen years has been alone. Mr. Brett has
built many of the dwelling houses in New Haven,
and was entrusted with the work for the Winchester

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 48 of 94)