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 7 of 94)
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nial proprietor of "The Ark" at Indian Neck, town
of Branford, was born in that town Oct. 12, 1838,
a son of John and Almira (Hemingway) Averill,
and grandson of David Averill (a seafaring man
of Branford) and his wife, Polly Morris.

John Averill made his home in Branford and
followed the sea. He was a coaster speculator and
captain of vessels for several years, and built several
vessels. He was a native of Branford, in which
town he ever made his home. He married Almira
Hemingway, daughter of Stephen and Polly (An-
drews ) Hemingway ,of East Haven, and his chil-
dren were; George M., Harriet J. (Mrs. Lewis
Frisbie), Roland G., Asahel, Frank and Alvira
( Mrs. Adrian Ely).

George M. Averill was educated in the com-
mon schools and Branford Academy, and for a
number of years followed the coast, holding all pos-
sible positions from cook to captain. For twenty-
two years he has been proprietor of ''The Ark." a
most popular resort on Indian Neck, famous for
its shore dinners. The cheery welcome of the
T)roprietor and the excellency of the entertainment
have won the good will of the public.

On March 20, 1864, Mr. Averill was united in


C'KVli: !;irij; Jf;



marriage with Miss Harriet E., daiigliter of Russell
Babcock, of Xorth Lyme, Conn., and this union has
been blessed with five children : Fred L., an at-
torney by profession, and the present clerk of the
Court of Common Pleas; George Walter, John R.,
Louis S. and Ernest L. In ix)litics Air. Averill is
a stanch Republican, and fraternally is identified
with Widows Sons Lodge, Xo. 66, F. & A. M.

HEXRY WATSOX FREXCH, the subject of
this sketch, was born in the town of Chicopee,
Mass., July 23, 1837, son of Arasmus French, who
was born in Wendell, Mass., in March, 1813, and
died in Xew Haven, Conn., in June, 1S90.

Samuel French, grandfather of Henry W.. was
born in Wendell, Mass., where he lived all his days
and died at a good old age. He married Lucy X'or-
cross, and a family of seven children was born to
them: Allen, who died young: Arasmus, father of
Henry W. ; Arad, of whom little is known, as he
was of a roving disposition, and after reaching man-
'hood wandered away and was never heard from;
Adaline, who was blind, and died unmarried ; El-
mira, now deceased, who married a Mr. Armstrong
and lived in Montague, Mass. ; ThankfuU. who mar-
ried Milton Sawyer and removed to Glens Falls,
N. Y. (both are deceased); and Lucy, a school
teacher in her younger days, who married a Mr.
Upham and lived in Royalston. Mass., and now a
resident of Athol, that State ( she ie now about
eighty years of age). Samuel French was the "vil-
lage blacksmith" of his town. He served in the
war of the Revolution and in the war of 1812. His
ancestry served in the French and Indian war.
; Arasmus French, the father of Henry W., spent
ihis boyhood days in his native town, Wendell, work-
ing with his father, the village blacksmith. It is
said of him that at the age of twelve he could shoe
horses. At the age of sixteen he walked to the
town of Lowell, Alass., where he learned the trade
of machinist with the Lowell [Machine Co. From
Lowell he_ moved to the town of Chicopee, ]\Iass.,
and at the age of twenty-one married Lydia Mor-
ton, daughter of Dr. Joshua Morton, of Athol,
Mass., where she was born in March, 181 1. She
died in September, 1892. in Xew Haven, Conn. Six
children were born to this union : Lucy Jane mar-
jTied J. L. Hungerford, of Xew Haven, and died in
that city ; Henry Watson is the subject proper of
these lines ; "Ellen Maria died in infancy ; Carrie Ar-
Idelia died in Ravenswood, L. I., at the age of three
years ; William Arasmus is a machinist and lives
in Ansonia, Conn. : Emma Morton married Charles
L. Derrting, and lives in Xew Haven.

Arasmus French was connected with the Ames
Manufacturing Co. of Chicopee for over ten years,
and while there conceived the idea of knitting stock-
ings by machinery and invented the necessary ap-
paratus. The machine was considered a great won-
,der at the time, and was on exhibition in Boston
land later in Barr urn's Museum, Xew York. The

patents covering the invention were first secured
Ijy IMiiladelphia parties, and later by a company in
\\'aterbury. Conn., and it was the foundation of
tile American Hosiery Co., one of the industries of
the latter city. About 1856 INIr. French removed
to X'ew Haven and became connected with the Win-
chester Arms Co. He was one of the early
inventors of what is now known as the ^^ i"-
Chester Repeating Rifle, and he had much to do with
selecting the necessary ammunition therefor. He was
connected with this company at different periods
for nearly forty years. He was also the inventor
of the process of making paper bo.xes from paper
and other pulp, and of many other devices of value
now in use. In politics Mr. French was a Whig
and later a Republican. In religion he was first a
Congregationalist, and later in life a free-thinker
and spiritualist. Both the French and Morton fam-
ilies were of the old Xew England type, and were
associated with the history and development of that
part of Massachusetts to which they were native.
Arasmus French and his wife are buried in the
Xew Haven cemetery, Xew Haven, Connecticut.

Henry W. French, son of Arasmus, spent his ear-

Iv boyhood days in the town of Chicopee. Mass.,

where he was born, and at the age of six removed

with his parents to Boston, [Mass., and later to Xew

York, wdiere he attended the public schools of the

I city up to the age of twelve. It then became nec-

] essary for him to begin to do for himself. He

; worked in various offices and stores until, at about

; the age of fifteen, he went to the town of Ravens-

; wood, L. I., where his father was engaged in the

i manufacture of ammunition. In 1852 the entire

; factoni- was destroyed by an explosion of powder,

i and twenty-eight people were killed. Upon this

i disaster the father gave up that dangerous business

and removed to Waterbury, ConiT. At this time —

' at the age of sixteen — Henry W. took up an unfin-

i ished order for a million cartridges for the use of

I the insurgents in Cuba, and completed the same

i in West Trov, X. Y. On the completion of this

■ work he took a position w^ith an uncle in Xew Bed-

i ford, Mass., who was a merchant. In 1854 he went
; to Waterbury and was with his father's family
I again, and here he learned the trade of machinist
; with the Blake & Johnson Co.. by whom he was
emploved for about ten years. He then accepted a
position as toolmaker with the Waterbury Button
Co., with whom he remained two years. The man-
ufacture of cloth buttons was then in its infancy in
this country, and IMr. French made some valuable
improvements in the manufacture. After leaving
i the last named concern he engaged with the Lane
' Manufacturing Co., taking charge of their tool de-
I partment, and later advanced to the position of su-

■ perintendent, which he held for twelve years. In
' 1S91 he was placed in charge of the claim depart-
ment of his city. In i8q2 he became connected with
the Waterbury Horse Railway Co. and had consid-

i erable to do with the amendment of their charter.



wiiich cliangetl the name to "Electric Co." and per-
niittcil tlicni to extend the Hne to Xaugatuck. After
this work was tinished Mr. French accepted a po-
sition with the Connecticnt Indemnity Association
and had charge of their renewal department in New
York City, retaining his residence, however, in
\\'aterbur\-. After four years with this company he
engaged with the Monarch Alanufacturing Co., of
W'aterburv, which later changed its name to the
Consolidated Engine Stop Co., and has for severa;
vears been representative and salesman of this con-
cern in the United States.

Mr. French in politics has always been a Re-
publican, and he has taken an active part in the work
of the party in his city. He represented his wart'
for twelve consecutive terms (twelve years) as
councilman and alderman in the city government.
In 1892 he was elected tax collector, and he has
filled other positions of honor and trust in Water-
bury. In i860 he entered the military service, join-
irg the Connecticut Xational Cuar<l. and served
continuously until his honorable discharge, in 1871.
He is a past noble grand in the I. O. O. F., a mem-
ber of the Grand Lodge, also of the Royal Arcanum
and other lodges and societies.

On Oct. 28, 1857, Mr. French married Anna
Maria Taylor, wdio was born in Waterbury March
13, 1838, and has always lived on Cherr\- street, in
that city. Samuel Taylor, her father, was born in
181 2 in Birmingham, England, and came to this
country at the age of nineteen to assist in the manu-
facture of gilt buttons, his work lieing the Inirnish-
ing or polishing. He was first employed in Attle-
boro, Mass., but in 1835 removed to Waterbury,
and was almost continuously employed by the Sco-
vill Manufacturing Co. for over fifty years, until
his death, in 1893. 'Sir. Taylor married Harriet H.
Price, daughter of Edward Price, of Attleboro,
Mass., who came from England to engajje in the
manufacture of jewelry. Both Mr. and Mrs. Tay-
lor were life-long members of the Methodist Church,
and were much respected.

Four children have blessed the union of Mr.
and Mrs. French: (i) Charles Henrv, born Jan.
29, 1859; (2) George Taylor, born Jan. i, 1865,
who died March 25, 1870; (3) Edward Rutledge,.
born Feb. 8, 1871 : and (4) Cherrie Morton, born
April 8, 1876.

Charles Henry French commenced his education
in the schools of Waterbury, and continued his
studies at the Wesleyan Academy, Wilbraham.
Alass., Yale !\Iedical College, Xew Haven, and
Bellevue Hospital Medical College, Xew York City,
where he grafluated in the class of 1880. After two
years of service on the medical staff of the Charity
Hospital, Blackwell';? Island, he commenced the
practice of medicine in his native city, Waterburv,
and three years later located in Pawtucket, R. I.,
where he now resides. He is a prominent citizen
of that city, is president of the Rhode Island Medi-
cal Socictv, State medical director, on the brigade

stalT of the Rhode Island Xational Guard (with the
rank of lieutenant colonel ) , an associate member
of the United States Military Association of Siu -
geons, trustee of the Providence County Savings
Bank, director in the X'ational Bank, a vestryman
of St. Paul's Church, and a member of various
lodges and clubs. In 1884 Dr. French married l-'lor-
ence S. Wells, daughter of Horace and Lydia Ann
Wells, of Waterbury, and three children have been
born to them, Horace Wells, ]\lorton Taylor ami

Edward Rutledge French attended the local
schools and graduated from the Waterbury high
school, class of 1888, receiving the highest honors,
at the age of seventeen. Two months later he pre-
sented himself as candidate for admission to the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston,
Mass., and entered that institution the same year,
graduating four years later, in the class of 1892,
course of Electrical Engineering, receiving the de-
gree of B. S. He at once accepted the position of
assistant manager of the Suburban Electric Co.,
Elizabeth, X'. J., and on the death of the manager
was advanced to his position. After five years'
service with this company he accepted a positioni
with the American Electric Heating Corporation at|
their Xew York office, and later at the main office,,
Cambridge, Mass., where he now resides. In 1895
he married Aliss Josephene W. Xelson, of Stam-'
ford. Conn., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John C.
Xelson, of that city. They have had one child,
Reba, born X'ov. 28, 1898. !

Cherrie ^Morton French attended the public
schools of her native city, Waterbury, up to the age
of fifteen, and continued her education at the Wes-
leyan Academy, Wilbraham, Mass., St. [Margaret's
School, Waterbury, and graduated valedictorian of
the class of i8g6 from the Drew Ladies College,
Carmel, X. Y., at the age of twenty, receiving the
degree of A. M. She took a post-graduate course!
at the same college the year following, winning a|
scholarship for the Woman's College of Baltimore,!
and is a member of Pi Beta Phi sororitv. At thel
breaking out. of the Spanish- American war, having
had previous experience at hospitals, she vohm-
teered her services to the American Xational Red I
Cross Society. She was accepted, and went im-l
mediately on duty at the Red Cross Hospital, Xew
York, and on July 4, 1898, with others, left Xew
York to join Clara Barton in Cuba, entering the
harbor of Santiago the .day after its capitulation.
Later on she sailed with Gen. Miles on his expedi-
tion to Porto Rico, and was present at the shell-
inar and caiiture of the forts in Guanica harbor, by ;
Lieut. Wainwright. of the "Glocester." She was j
one of the first ladies to accompany a fleet of war
vessels in actual duty and service. She returned
to the United States on the U. S. transport "Lam-
passes," with about one hundred and fiftv sick and
wounded soldiers of the armv bound for the govern-
ment hospital at Old Point Comfort, Va., and later



was detailed to duty at Camp Wikoff, Montauk
Point, L. I. Here she was stricken with Spanish
malarial fever and taken to Bellevue Hospital, New
York, and later to her home in Waterbury, Conn.
She recovered from this illness, and is now on the
staf? of nurses at the Presbvterian Hospital, New
York City.

Miss French received much praise and honor
for her heroic work during the war. She was pre-
sented with a valuable token by the ladies of Auxil-
iary No. 3, New York Red Cross Society, accom-
panied by a letter from ?vlrs. Whitelaw Reid, which

New York, Jan. 14, 1899.
Dear Miss French:

I have been instructed by the ladies of the board of
managers of Auxiliary Xo. 3 to send you the enclosed ring
as a token of their appreciation of the faithful and most
satisfactory work you have accomplished for the said Auxil-
iary this summer. The ladies also herewith tender you their
thanks and feel they are much indebted to you for your aid
in so worthily fulfilling the purpose for which this .Auxiliary
was formed. I am yours very sincerely,

[Signed] Elizabeth .Mills Reid,
Secretary Auxiliary No. 3, New York.

Upon the return of Miss French to her home in
Waterbury the citizens, through the mayor and
board of aldermen, presented her with a very beau-
tiful and valuable gold and diamond-studded badge
of honor especially prepared for her. She is a mem-
ber of the Daughters of the .American Revolution,
and distributed many articles of comfort sent her
by that society during her stay in Porto Rico.

PLINY HITCHCOCK r deceased) was one of
the honored citizens and leading farmers of Chesh-
ire, and a representative of one of the pioneer
families of New Haven county.

The first to settle here was John Hitchcock, who
took up his residence in the town of Wailingford
about 1675. To him and his wife Abigail came nine
children, namely: Mary, born Dec. 10, 1676: Na-
thaniel, born .April 18, 1670, who died May 12. 1710:
Marger\% born Sept. 9, 1681 ; Elizabeth, born April
8, 1684; John, born Oct. 18, 1685, who was married
Nov. 21, 1712, to Marlon ]\Iunson : ilathias, bom
May 26, 1688. who is mentioned below ; Hannah,
born Jan. 9, 1690: Damaris, born June 11. 1693;
and Benjamin, born }^Iarch 24, 1696, who married
Elizabeth Ives.

Mathias Hitchcock, son of John, spent his entire
life in \Vallingford, and his remains were interred
there. He was married in. the year 1710 to Thank-
ful Andrews, and thev had thirteen children, whose
names and dates of birth were as follows : Mathias,
June 19, 171 1 (who died April 7, 1726) : Nathan-
iel, Oct. 15, 1712 (who died young) : \"alentine.
Feb. 14, 1715: Oliver, Nov. 14, 1716: Jason. Aug.
16, 1718; William, Oct. 16, 1720; Thankful, March
29, 1725; Mathias. Feb. 11, 1727; Ebenezer. Sept.
14, 1728; Tabitha, Feb. 26, 1730: Nathaniel. May
7. 1733 ; ^'^'l Enos and Hannah, twins, April 27,


Jason Hitchcock, son of Mathias, was also a life
\orfg resident of \\'allingford and a farmer by oc-
cupation. He married Lydia Cook, Sept. 20, 1743,
and to them were born seven children : William,
June 26, 1744; Thomas, Dec. 20, 1746: Lemuel,
Dec. 20, 1749; Jason, July 12. 1752 (died in in-
fancy) ; Jason (2), Oct. 10, 1755; Ichalx)d, Dec.
18, 1756; and Thankful, March 20, 1761.

Ichabod Hitchcock, son of Jason, and father of
our subject, was born in Wailingford, and from
there removed to Cheshire, where he spent his last
days. During his entire life he engaged in agricul-
tural pursuits. He was twice married, his first
wife being Lurinda Cook, by whom he had five chil-
dren, namely: Pliny, our subject; Sarilla, wife of
George Stevens, of Burton, Ohio; Jason; Hannah,
wife of T. L. Gaylord ; and Lucinda. wife of Rich-
ard Beach, of Burton, Ohio. By the second mar-
riage there was one child, Abigail, who married and
went South.

During his boyhood Pliny Hitchcock pursued
his studies in the public schools of Cheshire and the
Cheshire Academy, and also learned the stonema-
son's trade, which he followed during the greater
part of his life. He was born June 30, 1791, and
always made his home in Cheshire, where he owned
two farms near Cheshire Centre, in the southern
part of the town, aggregating 100 acres. To the
improvement and cultivation of these he devoted
a part of his time. He was a worthy member of
the Congregational Church . and in politics
was a supporter of the \\'hig and Republi-
can parties. He was domestic in his tastes,
temperate in his habits and a good Chris-
I '_ian man, one who commanded the respect and con-
I fidence of all with whom he came in contact, in
i either business or social life. He died upon his
farm March 13, 1864, and was buried in Cheshire

Mr. Hitchcock married Miss Sally Bradley, a
native of Cheshire, born Jan. 18. 1793, a daughter
of Reuben and Roxanna (Frisbie) Bradley. She,
'. too, was a member of the Congregational Church,
and a most estimable lady. She died on the home
farm. Jan. 13, 1874, and was laid to rest by the side
of her husband. In their family were the follow-
ing children: (i) Jason Cook, the eldest, is de-
ceased. (2) Lydia (deceased) engaged in school
teaching and later married Levi ^lunson, by vv"hom
she had one child, Mary, now deceased. (3) Rox-
anna is one of the best-known woinen in Cheshire,
where she was successfully engaged in dressmaking
and the millinery business for a number of years.
She is well-read and refined, and presides with
gracious dignity over a beautiful home in Cheshire,
planned by herself. (4) Sarah was also a school
teacher, and is now the widow of Norman Steele, of
Waterbury. (5) Lucinda married Samuel Cook,
and both are now deceased. (6) Jason died in in-
fancy. (7) John .\ugustus is engaged in niercan-
I tile business in Liverpool. England. (8) Ann

1. '. jr.-f. <^rr'.'



\inelia, wlio in early life engaged in school teach-
iiii;, ntul (9) Cornelia A. both reside with their sis-
ter Koxanna, in Cheshire. The family is well-
known and very highly respected in the community
where its members have so long made their

cessful farmer of Pond Hill, W'allingford, was born
on the old family homestead on Pond Hill Xov. 15,


Abraham Doolittle, our subject's emigrant an-
cestor, was the progenitor of all who bear the name
in this country. He and his brother John were in
Massachusetts at a very early day. John died child-
less. Abraham Doolittle was in New Haven before
1642, and was the owner of a house. In 1644 he
took the freeman's oath, and was made the chief
executive officer (or sheritt) of the county. He
was chosen by the people of Xew Haven as one
of the committee to superintend the affairs of the
new settlement, then (1669) just commenced at the
village. The name of the village was changed to
W'allingford, and it was incorporated 'Sla.y 12, 1670,
by an act of the General Court, then sitting at Hart-
ford. Abraham Doolittle was one of the tirst to set-
tle in the place, and was there some two or three
years before the incorporation. He died Aug. 11,
1690, aged seventy.

Abraham Doolittle (2), son of Abraham, was
l)orn Feb. 12, 1649, and died in 1732, aged eighty-
three years.

Samuel Doolittle (i), son of Abraham (2), was
born March 14, 1698.

Samuel Doolittle (2), son of Samuel (i), was
born Feb. 28, 1725.

Samuel Doolittle (3), son of Samuel (2), was
born April 11, 1749.

Chauncey Doolittle, Sr.. son of Samuel (3), was
born in 1777 in W'allingford, and died May 17, 1833,
in his fifty-sixth year. He was a wagon-maker by
trade, had a shop at Pond Hill, and supplied the
surrounding country for a wide extent with his
wares. His trade included joiner work, and he also
farmed his estate, continuing in the active perform-
ance of his duties until his death. Mr. Doolittle
was well known, and no man was more highly re-
spected. His political convictions made him a Dem-
ocrat, and he was one of the pillars of the M. E.
Church in W'allingford.

Chauncey Doolittle, Jr., son of Chauncey, Sr.,
was born July 2. 1810. at Pond Hill, and lived out
his exemplary life in this quiet village, dying Feb.
15. 1854. Like his father, he was a member of the
Democratic party. He worked as an apprentice un-
til he became of age (1831). and was subsequently
employed at his trade by Jared Mansfield, in North
Haven, until about the time of his marriage, when
lie returned to the old homestead. On Dec. 28, 1834.
he married Betsey Bassett, of North Haven, daugh-
ter of Joel and Betsey Bassett, and they became the

parents of three children: Jannette, born Oct. 17,
1836, died Jan. I, 1837. Stillman Bassett is our
subject. Sophronia, born July 2, 1844, died July 1 1.
1S60. Mrs. Doolittle made her home with her only
son until her death, on June i, 1894, when she was
aged eighty years, eleven days.

As a loving and unselfish mother, as a Christian
woman and a kind sympathizing friend, she set
an example worthy of record. Her religious con-
; nection was with the Congregational Church.
i Stillman Bassett Doolittle was educated in the
; common schools, and grew to manhood on the
' farm, to which he has devoted the greater portion
! of his time during many years. Agriculture inter-
ests him, and he has found a general line of farming
quite profitable. He has also been quite successful
in breeding good cattle from poor stock.

The death of his mother was a severe blow to
'. Mr. Doolittle. as, beyond everything, he was a de-
voted son. Fler last vears were made comfortable
through his loving care. Probably there is no more
highly esteemed citizen in his part of W'allingford
! than Stillman Bassett Doolittle.

honorable and meritorious citizens of the town of
! Guilford, where he has long conducted a fine farm,
, was born in Zvleriden, New Haven county, June 26,
j 1827, and is a descendant of one of the oldest famil-
ies in the State. Benjamin Bishop, his grandfather.
] was a native of North Haven, where he lived and
I died. He owned a gristmill and was engaged in

1 Martin Bishop, father of Walter G., was born in
North Haven. He was very largely self-educated.
and became a good mathematician. At the age
of fourteen Mr. Bishop entered a factory in
Meriden, and was employed by 'Squire Yale,
learning the tinner's trade, at which he worked for
a number of years, being for many years employed
as a journevman tinner. He made pocket lanterns,
1 and was the first in this country to manufacture lan-
terns for policemen's use. Later in life he moved
' to Stony Creek, where he kept a boarding house
' and continued the manufacture of lanterns. There
he died and was buried. He was a man of active
spirit and progressive ideas. He contracted for
I and built one mile of the New Haven & Hartford
j Railroad. In religion he was a member of the Bap-
I tist Church, and in politics a Democrat. In INIeri-
den he married Salvina E. Bradley, a daughter of
James Bradlev. and a native of ?\Ieriden. Their chil-
dren were: Walter G. ; Sarah H., who died young:
Nathaniel H.. a resident of Stony Creek: and Fran-
ces, who died in early womanhood. Mrs. Salvina
I E. Bishop died at Stony Creek. She had been a
member of the Baptist Church at Meriden for many

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 7 of 94)