Chicago 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

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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 59 of 94)
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Minerva P. is the wife of Isaac S. Dickerman, of
Westville, Conn. ; Silas E. married Emily Talmage,
of Xew York, and is now a homeopathic physician
of Pomona, Fla. ; Henry died in Woodbridge, Dec.
25, 1856, at the ago of twenty-one years; and Ste-
phen M., our subject, completes the family. Eph-
raim R. Peck, the eldest of this family, wedded
Mary C. Hine, and followed farming in Wood-
bridge, where he died -\ug. 15, 1898; he left no chil-
dren. He received a common-school education, and
taking up farming, made a decided success in that
line, being also a fine judge of stock. With the ex-
ception of seven years, during which he was engaged
as a farm hand' in one place, he always lived in
Woodbridge, where he was respected as one of the
most estimable self-made men of his day. He was
a Republican, but took no active part in politics, and
never held any office.

Stephen ^f. Peck was born in Woodbridge Sept.
18, 1837, and began his education in the district
school one mile from his boyhood home, while dur-
ing the winter of 1857-58 he attended the Connecti-
cut Literary Institute, under Prof. Pratt. .At that
time the teacher of mathematics was Henry Smith,
who later became principal of the Institute. On at-
taining his majority Mr. Peck came into possession
of the old homestead and began farming for himself,
which occupation he has since followed, with marked
success. He resided there until 18^97, when he re-
moved to his present farm, in the same town, a place
of 134 acres willed him by a deceased brother, and •
he is now one of the most extensive farmers in
Woodbridge. He is interested in the dairy busi-
ness, keeping for that purpose from twenty-five to
thirty cows, and raises fruit and vegetables on a
large scale, finding a splendid market for his produce
in Xew Haven, -\nsonia and Seymour. In the fall
of 1899 he gathered 600 barrels of apples from his
orchards, from not more than one-half of the trees
that were formerly bearing. Mr. Peck is also en-
gaged in the milling business, owning and operating
saw, cider and grist mills, and grinding feed, bone
for fertilizing, etc. Although he has always lived
in Woodbridge. he has not confined his business in-
terests to his native town. He is the owner of an
orange grove of fifty acres in Florida, which was
almost destro\ed by the severe frosts, but with care
he hopes to build it up again.

On Dec. 10, i8'>8, in Bethany. Conn., Mr. Peck
married Ida Frances Xeal. a dau.cfhter of Martin H.
and ^lartha M. ( Hitchcock) Xeal, of Southington,
Conn., where her father was encraged in th;:> black-
smith and cooperage liusiness. She was born in
Plainville, Conn., Jan.. 15, 1849, the second in order

'' '■^^^■?^wiegg?y , ^ ' W>ff^i !'^ ^




"'"■ .. JtljiftllA

-1^ >







,if hirtli in a familv of four chililruii : ( i) Eleanor
M. (deceased) became tlie wife of Henry Buckinj^-
liani, of Seymour, and they had six children, Ida
(tleceased), Minnie, Albert, William, Roy and
Lewis. (3) Eva A., bcirn July 26, 1S53, '= ^^'^ ^^■'''-'
of Jesse Russell, and they have one son, Carlton
Martin, of Plainville. (4) Henry ^lartin. a physi-
cian of Upper Lehigh, Pa., married Ada Leisenriui::,
and has four children, Maylon. Cameron. Joseph
Hawley and Gertrude. Mr. and ]\Irs. Peck have
had four children : ( i ) Ermon X., born July 26,
1870, a civil enq;ineer, resides in West Hartford,
where he is in the employ of the Hartford Water
Co. ; he graduated from the Connecticut Literary
Institute in iSqi. and entered the Scientific Depart-
ment of Yale, but owing to ill health was unable to
continue his studies. He married Emma Xewton,
of Westville, Conn., and they have one son, Ermon
X'ewton. (2) Irving B.. born June 19, 1872, mar-
ried Hattie Clark, of Southington, and is now a
mechanic of Forestville. (3) Elizabeth I. and (4)
Lewis E., twins, were lx)rn May 27, 1875. Lewis
E. died Aug. 31, 1875. Elizabeth taught school for
one year in Bethany, Connecticut.

■ Politically Mr. Peck classes himself with the Re-
publicans, but believes that something should be
done to stop the liquor traffic. Although he has
never been an office seeker, he has accepted local
positions of honor and trust, serving as member of
the school board, grand juror, assessor, member of
the board of relief, etc. He is a member of the
Woodbridge Grange, of which he is treasurer, and
was worthy chief of the Good Templars Society
when that organization was in a flourishing condi-
tion. As a business man and citizen he is widely
and favorably known, and no one in the town is
more honored or highly respected.

WILLIS BRADLEY, a well-known citizen of
Branford; was born there Oct. 20, 1848, son of
Gurdon-and Anna Maria ( Spinks) Bradley'. Tim-
othy Bradley, his paternal grandfather, married
Irene, a daughter of Capt. Alexander Gordon, of
Branford. The great-grandfather. Timothy Brad-
ley, an early settler of Branford, married Sarah
Goodsell. The maternal grandfather of Willis
Bradlev was Samuel Spinks. of Branford, who mar-
ried Esther Tyler.

Willis Bradley passed his boyhood and youth
in Branford. where he attended the public school,
and when he was "older grown" served an apH
prenttceship of three years to the blacksmith trade,
which he followed ten years in Branford and Meri-
(len. In maturer life he was made superintendent
of the Cherry Hill farm of J. W. Nichols, and filled
that position four years in a perfectly satisfactory
manner to his emplover. In 1883 Mr. Bradley be-
gan work as a carpenter for his brother Richard,
•^nd this has been his occupation to the present time.
He has had some very extensive dealings in the
building line in the past years, and has established

an enviable character for business ability, fair deal-
ing and upright treatment of his patrons.

Willis Bradley was united in marriage Aug. 20,
1872. with Isabelle Eliza, a daughter of Charles R.
and Frances Louise (Dudley) Lane, of Guilford.
Her paternal grandparents were Noah and Betsey
(Stevens) Lane, and her maternal grandparents
were Jonathan and Eliza ( Holmes) Dudley, of
Guilford. Mr. and Mrs. Willis Bradley are the
parents of three daughters: Maria Louise; Hattie
Isabel, who is deceased; and Helen Elizabeth. Mr.
Bradley and his family are members of Trinity
Episcopal Church, where they are much respected
for their sterling worth and genuine character. Mr.
Bradley is a member of Widows' Sons Lodge. Xo.

[ 66, F. & A. M., and of the New England Order of
Protection, where he is a welcome presence. In
politics he is a Democrat, and in all things an honor-

! able and reliable citizen.

' Mrs. Bradley has two brothers, Charles Holmes
Lane, of Branford, and Herbert Eugene Lane, of
New Haven, both of whom stand well in their re- '
spective communities, and are widely known as hon-

: orable and trustworthy men in all their dealings.

: GEORGE PREBBEL ROLF is ranked among
I the successful and well-established business citi-
zens of Guilford. Since 1881 he has conducted a
livery business in that locality, also dealing in

Mr. Rolf was born in Folster, County of Kent,
: England, June 12, 1849, a son of Henry Rolf, who
was born in 1823 in Folster, which is eightv miles
' from London. Henry Rolf married Sarah Jane
Co.x, a native of F.lhain, England, and they came
! to this country with their family in the spring of
' 1850, landing in Xew York. From that city they
came to Xew Haven. Conn., and thence by stage
coach to Aladison, where they located for a time.
Several years later they removed to Guilford, where
Mr. Rolf still resides, highly respected by his friends
and neighbors in the community. He was a skilled
workman at his trade, that of mason, which he fol-
lowed until his retirement.

Our subject was scarcely one year old when he
was brought to this country, and he attended the
public schools of Madison. Adopting his father's
trade, he pursued that both in Madison and Guil-
ford, and in 188 r started in his present line, pur-
chasing the interest of (jeorge S. Davis, who, in
partnership with E. B. Redfield, conducted a livery
business. In 1891 our subject bought the interest
of ^Ir. Redfield, and since that time has most suc-
cessfully managed a constantly growing business.
He has secured the contract for the carrying of
the mails, greatly increasing his responsibilities.
Mr. Rolf knows a good horse when he sees it, and
is one of the largest dealers along the shore line,
having stables in Xew London as well as in (niil-
ford. Seeking to please his patrcjns. Mr. Rolf is
popular with every one, and is well and favorably



known to a large class of citizens. His honesty in
dealing has gained for him the confidence of those
who wish to purchase, and many excellent speci-
mens of the best breeds of horses have passed
through his hands to the public.

On March 21, 1872. Mr. Rolf married Mary
Storer, a dr. lighter of \\'iHiam Storcr, and one child
has blessed, this union, Fred, born in January, 1877,
who received his education in Guilford, and is one
of the progressuTg and rising young men of the
town. As a pioneer in the canning of corn and
tomatoes in Guilford young Mr. Rolf is the head of
what is known as the Sachem's Head Canning Co.,
and also deals largely in feed, grain and fertilizers.
Both Mr. Rolf and his son are Republicans, and our
subject has served as warden of the borough three
years ; burgess several times ; selectman, one terrn ;
and chairman of the town committee. Frederick
Rolf is recognized as one of the progressive and ris-
ing young men of the commimity, and will prob-
ably make his mark in both commercial and po-
litical life. The family attend the Third Congrega-
tional Church. George P. Rolf is a member of the
I. O. O. F.. Mennuntuck Lodge. Xo. 62. Guilford,
and of the X. E. O. P., Sachem Lodge, Guilford.

cott's most prosperous and highly esteemed citizens,
was born in Wolcott Centre, March 27, 1854, and is
a worthy representative of one of the best and old-
est families of the State. In 1639, Thomas Xorton
emigrated from Ockley, County of Surrey, England,
to the New World, and took up his residence in
Guilford, Xew Haven Co., Conn. About 1625 he
married Grace Wells, and to them were born the
following children: Anne, born in 1625, married
John Warner, of Saybrook, Conn. ; Grace, born in
1627, was married April 2, 1651, to William
Seward, of Xew Haven and Guilford, and died
May 29, 1687: 3>Iary B., born in 1635, was married,
April 9, 1660, to Samuel Rockman, a son of William
Rockman, of Windsor, Conn.; John, born in 1640,
is mentioned below ; Abigail, born in 1642, was mar-
ried, Aug. 6, 1667, to Ananias Tryon, of Killing-
worth ; and Thomas, born in 1646, was married May
8, 1671, to Elizabeth ^lason.

John X'orton, son of Thomas, spent his entire
life in Guilford, where he followed the miller's
trade, and died May 5, 1704. He first married
Hannah Stone, and for his second wife married
Elizabeth Hubbard. In his family were six chil-
dren : John, who was born Nov. 18, 1666, and died
Jan. 10, 1667; John, who is mentioned below;
Susannah, who was born Oct. 4, 1672; Thomas,
who was born Ma\- 4, 1675 ; Hannah, who was born
Feb. 4, 1677, and was married, Jan. 16. 1702, to
Ebenezer Stone; and Mary, who was born in 1680.

John Xorton (2nd), a son of John, was born
!May 29, iC/'i8, and was a land nu'iK-r and farmer
of Guilford. He was married, Xuv. 14. i'j<)4, to
Hannah Buck, of Wethersfield, Conn., daughter of

Emanuel Buck, the first df that name in Wethers-
field. Mr. Xorton died March 15, 1711, his wife,
Oct. 22, 1739. Their children were Anna, who was
born Oct. 16, 1695, and died in October, 1721 ;
Mary, born Dec. 6, 1697; John, born Dec. 2^,, 1699;
Sarah, born Feb. 26, 1702; Joseph, born Oct. 10,
1704; Elizabeth, who was born Oct. 6, 1706, was
married, Aug. 8, 1728, to David Benton, and died
Aug. 25, 1756; and Hannah, who was born March
4, 1710, and died in 1724.

Joseph Xorton, son of John (2nd), spent his en-
tire life as a farmer in Guilford, where he died
May 9, 1781. On April 11, 1728, he wedded IMary
Champion, of Lyme, Conn., who lived for a time
in Wolcott, but died in Guilford, July 13, 1800, at
the extreme old age of no years. She was a good
Christian woman and the mother of the following
children : Simeon, born May 3, 1729, died Dec. 22,
1772; David, born Oct. 21, 1730, is mentioned be-
low; William, born Jan. 22. 1732, died June 17,
1760; Hannah, born Oct. 1, 1734, died in 1736;
Philemon, born. June 24, 1736. died in October of
.the same year; Xoah, born Jan. 27, 1740, died May
31, 1763; and Beniah, born in 1742, died Xov. 10,


David Xorton, son of Joseph, came to \\ olcott
at an early dav and purchased land near Wolcott
Centre, upon which he spent the remainder of his
life. He was a well-known citizen of that locality,
was a consistent Christian, and highly respected.
On Nov. II, 1752, he married Submit Benton, who
died in 1755, and for his second wife he married
Suza Bishop. He was the father of the following
children: Ozias, who was born Feb. 10, 1754. and
is mentioned below ; Cyrus, wdio was born Jan. 14,
1755, married Jerusha Johnson, of Wolcott, and
lived in Xew York; Ziba, who was born in 1757,
and was married, Xov. 26, 1778, to Ruth Hopkins;
Suza, who was baptized June 12, 1759; Zebul, who
was baptized Sept. 22, 1761, and married Rhoda
Xorton; and Xoah U., who was baptized July 3.
1764, was married April 18, 1784, to Rachel Gillet,
of Wolcott, and lived in X'ew York.

Ozias Xorton, son of David, made his home in
Wolcott, where he owned property and engaged in
farming until his death, which occurred Feb. 6, 1840,
his remains being interred there. He married
Maria Frisbie, and to them were born nine children,
namely: David; Keziah, wife of Daniel Lane, of
Wolcott ; Susan and Elizabeth, twins, the former
the wife, of Daniel Byington, the latter the wife of
Thomas Cook, of Ohio; Moses Frisbie married
Percy Barber and lived in Ohio ; Jonathan Frisbie,
who married Polly Smith and died in Wolcott;
Ziba, grandfather of our subject; Jedediah Har-
mon, born May 11, 1788; and Simeon Xewton, born
March 28, 1791.

Ziba X'orton was born in Wolcott, and followed
the trade of shoemaker. About 1830 he removed
to Truxton, X. Y.. wdiere he died. He married
Abigail xAtkins, of Wolcott, and the children born




t '-r.




,.. thciu were as follows: Ada. horn June 23, 1803,
tirst married a Mr. Doolittle, and second George
W. Royce; Talcott. born Sept. 19, 1807, married
I'.clinda Hall, of Plymouth, Conn.; Lenora, born |
March 12, 1805. married Harley Downs; Phoebe,
liorn in December, 1809, married George W. '
Winchell: Alitierva. horn in March, 1812, married
I'.verett Norton; tiendrick, born in December, 1817;
Rufus, father of our subject, was next in order of
birth; Alanville, born June 8, 1821 ; and Rufinus,
born in Septemlicr, 1824.

Rufus Norton was born Feb, 18. 1819, and re-
ceived a common school education, wliich was later
in life greatly supplemented by extensive reading,
giving particular attention to the study of the Bible,
Shakespeare, historical and political works. He
was a tanner and currier by trade, and followed
that occupation for a number of years, but later
engaged in farming first on the Hall farm, later on
the Beecher farm, and then, after operating several
different places in W'olcott. he returned to the
Beecher farm, where he passed the remainder of his
life, dying there Dec. i, 1897. His remains were
interred in the \\'oIcott Centre cemetery. He was
an excellent judge of horses and cattle, and in con-
nection with farming, also dealt in stock and wood.
He first married Harriet Smith, and for his second
wife wedded her half sister, Ellen Beecher, a
daughter of John and Vina Beecher. She is a most
estimable lady, a member of the Congregational
Church, and is still living on the old homestead. '
In politics the father was first a ^^'hig and later a
Democrat, and he took quite an active interest in
local affairs, filling several town offices, including
those of selectman and assessor, holding the latter
position for ten years. Although not a member of
any church, he endeavored to follow the Golden
Rule, and was widely and favorably known.

John W. Norton, whose name introduces this
review, received only a district school education,
and at the early age of fourteen years started out
in life for himself, working in the shops at Bristol,
Conn., for one year, at Si. 50 per day. After that he
spent about two years on a farm in Bethany, and
then returned to Bristol, where he was employed for
two years at $1.75 per day. At the end of that time
he bought a tract of uoodland and an ox team, and
commenced cutting the timber and selling the wood.
This he continued until locating on the old Leonard
Beecher homestead in Wolcott, where he is now
e.xtensively engaged in general farming, the wood
and dairy business. He is one of the largest land
■ iwners in the town, and besides his farm here, he
had property in Bristol and Soutnington, Conn.,
aggregating 575 acres.

In Harwinton, Litchfield Co., Conn.. Mr. Norton
married Miss Nettie M. Coy, of that place, a
daughter of Silas and- Lorinda Coy. Of the two
children born to, them, one died in infancy, and
Ji'hn F. is at home. Political!)' he is a Rcnul)lican,
and since 1893 Mr. Norton has served as ta.x col-

lector of Wolcott, and he also filled the office of as-
sessor for two years. He is liberal in his religious
views. Since the age of fourteen years he has been
dependent upon his own resources, and to-day he
enjoys the reward of his painstaking and con-
scientious work. By his energy, perseverance and
fine business ability he has been enabled to secure
a handsome competence. Systematic and method-
ical, his sagacity, keen discrimination and sound
judgment have made him one of the most pros-
perous citizens of W'olcott.

tive farmer and highly esteemed citiz-in of Cheshire,
was born in that town Aug. 10, 1851, and belongs
to an old and prominent Connecticut family. His
paternal great-grandparents, David and Abigail
(Lewis) Smith, were natives of Southington, Conn.,
and the former was a son of David Smith, Sr.,
and a grandson of Gideon Smith. Our subject's
grandparents, Gideon Lewis and Lois (Barnes)
Smith, were also natives of Southington, and in
1823 moved to Cheshire, where he followed farming
throughout the remainder of his life, dying there
in 1850. His wife died in 1846. Their children
were Elizabeth, wife of Sherman Hart, of Berlin,
Conn.; Rhoda, wife of lohn Hall, of Kensington;
Abigail, wife of Seth Pratt, of Southington; Sylva,
wife of David Beach, of Southington ; Loyal, father
of oqr subject; Rollin. who died in Cheshire; Lois,
wdio married Asahel Warner, and died in Auburn,
N. Y. ; and Lola, wife of Burritt Parker, of South-

Loyal Smith, our subject's father, was born in
July, 1807, and was sixteen years of age when the
family removed to Cheshire, where he afterward
engaged in farming to the close of his life. He
was quite a prominent and influential citizen of his
community, and was a member of the State Legis-
lature from Cheshire in 1856 and again in 1867.
In that town he was married, Oct. 29, 1829, to Miss
Henrietta Dickerman, who was born in Hamden
Nov. 26, 1807, a daughter of Samuel and Lois
(Peck) Dickerman, also natives of Hamden, where
her mother died. Her father died in Cheshire, in
1839. To Mr. and Mrs. Smith were born eight
children, as follows : Sereno D., a resident of
Meriden ; Lois, who died at the age of six years ;
Eliza, who died in Cheshire in 1848, at the age of
eleven years ; Lois Lucelia, widow of Edward Ives,
and a resident of Cheshire; Rhoda, wife of Amos
Ives, of Merfilen : Loyal Barnes, of Cheshire ; Sam-
uel D. ; and Franklin Pierce, our subject.

Franklin P. Smith was reared and educated in
much the usual manner of farmers' sons of his day,
attending the local schools and aiding in the labors
of the farm, and since attaining to man's estate has
successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits. In
1882 he was united in marriage with Miss Emma E.
Miles, a native of Meriden. and a daughter of John
and Abigail (Sanderson) Miles, who were born in



Cheshire. Her father died in 1SQ4, iier mother in
.1890. iNIr. and Mr?. Smith have one son, Eugene
C. The Demoeratic party finds in our subject a
stanch supporter of its principles, and he takes quite
an active interest in pubHc affairs. He was one of
the selectmen of Clieshire in 1883, and has been a
member of the grand jury.

FREDERICK E. COLBURX, one of Ansonia's
leading citizens, is a worthy representative of an old
and honored pioneer family, being a descendant of
Daniel Collnirn, who settled in Stafford and passed
his remaining years there as a farmer, dying at a
good old age.

Daniel Colbnrn, our subject's grandfather, was
a native of Stafford, and followed agricultural pur-
suits there for many years. His wife. Elizabeth
Moulton. who died at the age of seventy, was born
in Staft'ord, daughter of Bounds Moulton, a prom-
inent farmer. They had twelve children, none of
whom are now living, and of their nine grandchil-
dren only five are living. Among the deceased
grandchildren was Col. Colburn of the Union army.
Sylvester Colburn. our subject's father, was born
in Staft'ord Dec. 7. 1806. and was reared upon the
farm, obtaining his education in the district schools.
At sixteen he went to New Haven with his twin
brother, Sullivan M., to work in the store of an elder
brother, John Colburn. and later they started a
small foundry, which they operated a few years.
Their next venture was the founding of the Bassett
foundry, and on disposing of it. in- 1847, they locat-
ed in Ansonia, our subject's father taking the pres-
ent homestead, at Xo. 121 Howard avenue. "They
became interested to some extent in the Farrell
foundry and the Wallace factory, and operated a
cotton-mill in the building now occupied by Arthur
H. Bartholomew, while for some time they were \
connected with Robert Bassett's enterprise in Derby. |
They owned valuable real estate, and built two
houses on the lots adjoining the present homestead.
They also held stock in the Birmingham Pin Co.,
which is retained by the family, and they purchased
the first improved machine used by that company ,
for the manufacture of pins. In fact. they, were
more or less closely identified with every enterprise 1
started in their locality, and both continued their j
active interest in puiilic aft'airs until tlieir retirement '•
from business. All the shade trees in West An- |
sonia were set out by them, and they assisted gen-
erously in building and maintaining Christ Church j
in Ansonia, one-fourth of the running expenses hav- j
ing been paid by them for many years. Sylvester :
Colburn died July 23, 1870, aged sixty-four years, I
and his brother Sullivan died May i. 1876, aged j
seventy. Another brother. Dr. Josiah Colburn, who i
was born in 1709, was closely associated with them
in business for some time. He practiceil rriedicine I
in Orange anrl Derby for a number of years, but re-
tired in 1852 and joined in the management of the
Bassett foundry, then known as the Birmingham

fnundry. (in selling his interest he located in An-
, sonia and started an axe factory, but a few years-
I later he sold this and invested in a foundrv iu
' Bridgeport, continuing, however, to reside in 'An-
sonia, where he died March 11, 1882, aged eighty-
three years.

Sylvester Colburn married Elizabeth Hull, a
native of Xew Haven, and a daughter of Thomas
Hull, one of the wealthiest citizens of \\'estville,
, where he owned a farm a mile square and h;id a resi-
dence upon one of the finest streets. I'"or manv
I years he was interested in butchering and farmin.g,
and as a citizen he was much esteemed for his ster-
ling qualities cif character. His wife. Annah
(Thomas), who died in 1826, a.ged forty-six years,
was born in West Haven, and they had six children,
of whom none are living. Our subject's mother was
j the last to pass away, dying Xov. 30, 1900. aged
ninety years. She was a devout Episcopalian, and

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 59 of 94)