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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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Joseph Hand, eldest son of Joseph, was born in
Guilford, in that part known as East Guilford (now
Madison), April 2, 1671. In 1692 he was married
to Hester Wilcox, who was born in 1673. a daugh-
ter of John and Esther (Cornwall) \Mlcox, and
died in 1696.

Janna Hand, son of Joseph, was born Feb. 17,
1693, and died Dec. 9, 1767. He was married Feb.
14, 1723. to Dorathy Griswold, who was born Sept.
23, 1692, and died Feb. 12, 1775. She was a daugh- ;
ter of John and Mary (Bevis) Griswold. ;

Capt. Daniel Hand, sen of Janna, was born in
East Guilford, February, 1732, and died Oct. 16,
1816. His first wife was Siba Smith, whom he
married Oct. 28. 1759. in Killingworth : she died
Sept. 20, 1772. Capt. Daniel Hand served in the
war of the Revolution in the regiment commanded
by Col. Talcott. recLiving hi* appi^intment in 1776.

Daniel Hand, a soii nf La))t. IDanicI Hanit. was
born in East Guilford, April 24, 1762, and died Jan.

15, 1S21. He married Artemisia Meigs, who was horn
Feb. 25, 1770, and was a daughter of Daniel and
Chloe (Scranton) Meigs, and diet! Oct. 11, 1812.

Daniel Hand, son of Daniel and Artemisia
(Meigs) Hand, was born July 14, 1801, and died in
December, 1890; George Edward Hand, another
son of Daniel and Artemisia (Meigs) Hand, was
born Aug. 16, 1809, died Aug. 30, 1889.

DR. JA:\IES W. sweet. Probably no one is
more ready to admit that mental characteristics are
inherited just as surely as physical ones, than our
subject. Dr. James W. Sweet, who comes from a
line of natural bone-setters. For several generations,
almost everv family circle of his name pro-
duced several who most naturally followed that

Dr. James Sweet, the father of our subject, was
born in Guilford, Conn,, June 15, 1828, a son of Dr.
Benoni Sweet, born in New Bedford, ]Mass., a son
of Dr. James, who descended from one of three
brother surgeons who came to America from Eng-
land, the sign used by the oldest. Dr. James, being
in the possession of our subject, reading, "Dr.
Sweet, Bone-setter.'' At the present time the fam-
ily is scattered through New England, and one Dr.
Sweet is located at Lebanon, Mass., another at
Hartford, Conn., and one can he found at Spring-
field. Mass., our subject enjoying a wide and ex-
tended practice up the Naugatuck \"alley, through
the State, and even to New York and Brooklyn.

Dr. Benoni Sweet, the grandfather of our sub-
ject, practiced bone-setting all his life in Guilford.
Conn., and of his three sons, Benoni, Gideon and
James, Gideon became a surgeon, or bone-setter, in
Middletown, Conn., where he died; and James
settled in Milford, Connecticut.

Dr. James Sweet practiced in ]\Iilford, Conn.,
until his death in April, 1877. He married Cather-
ine E. Walker, who was born May 7, 1830, in Guil-
ford, and died June 17, 1853, daughter of Walter
Walkley, who met his death in the Indian war, about
1830. The Walkley family was of English descent

The early life of Dr. James W. Sweet was that
of any healthy, high spirited boy of his time, play
and school alternating until he was placed under
stricter rules in an excellent private educational in-
stitution located in Milford, leaving there to engage
in the study of surgery, or bone-setting, under the
capable instruction of his father. L'pon the death
of this parent, in 1877, our subject took entire
charge of the extended practice, and since that time
has lived a very busy life, the fame of his wonderful
skill having gone far and wide, and he has patients
come to consult him from almost every State in the

On May 18, 1878, Dr. Sweet was married to
Miss Emmeline S. Barber, of Elkhart. Ind., a
daughter cf James M. Barber, and three children
have been born of this union : James W. Jr., Grov-



er C, and Minnie E., the last named dyinc^ at the
age of six years. Dr. Sweet is a Democrat in his
political affiliations, and is prominent in the various
fraternal organizations, being a Thirty-second De-
gree- Mason ; Knight Templar; a Shriner ; and a
Knight of Pythias. He is also a member of the
Order of Red Men ; the Patriot Sons of America ;
the Sons of Temperance : the Knights of the Golden
Eagle ; and several other organizations. For manv
years the family has been connected with the Epis-
copal Church, and Dr. Sweet is one of the most
generous supporters of the benevolent and charit-
able enterprises of that church.

MRS. .MARTHA G. DOWNS, member of the
Woman's Club of Ansonia. Derby and Shelton, a
charter member of Elizabeth Clark Hull Chapter,
D. A. R., of Ansonia ( having served as a member
of the Board of Managers since its organization,
and for two years its recording secretary), and an
active member of Christ's Episcopal Clnirch, and
president of the Ladies' Aid Society, was born at
Great Hill, Seymour, then Derby, and belongs to a
well known pioneer family.

John Holbrook, her paternal great-great-grand-
father, was among the first settlers in the vicinity
of Seymour, then Derby, and owned a large tract
of land, upon which he built a dwelling house that
is still standing. He donated the land for the first
Episcopal Church and burying-ground in Derby,
and his death occurred in that village.

Capt. John Holbrook, great-grandfather of Mrs.
Downs, was born in Derby, and probably lived
at Great Hill, where a house built for him, in 1745.
is yet standing. He owned 1,000 acres of land
and devoted much attention to its cultivation, while
as a citizen he was active and influential, serving in
various town offices. For years he was an officer
in the local militia, and he had three sons, John,
Nathaniel and Abel, who fought in the Revolution-
ary army,

Richard Holbrook, grandfather of our subject,
was born in the house mentioned above, and there
lived and died. He became a farmer on a portion
of the homestead, and was prominent in local af-
fairs, holding various offices. He assisted in or-
ganizing the Episcopal Church at Seymour, of
which he was afterward a leading supporter. His
death occurred in 1823, at the age of forty-seven.
He .was married three times, and had seven chil-
dren of whom none are now living. His first wife,
Sarah Lum, was bOrn in Derby, the daughter of
Reuben Lum, a well known citizen. She died aged
twenty-two, leaving one son, Daniel L.

Col. Daniel L. Holbrook was born Xov. 7, 1798,
in the old family residence, and passed his life at
the homestead. Politicallv he was a Democrat, and
he became a leader in local politics, serving as select-
man, and in other offices in the towns of Derby and
Seymour. His sound judgment and unusual execu-
tive ability were widely recognized, and few men

of his day cninmanded the respect accorded him bv
those who knew him best. His title of colonel was
gained by able service in the Connecticut National
Guard, in which he held the rank of captain for
some time previous to his promotion. He was also
active in the work of the Episcopal Church, serving
as warden for a number of years. His wife, Lucy
Nichols, was one of the three children of Russell
Nichols and his wife, Nancy Riggs, the latter a
descendant of Edward Riggs, who settled in Derby
in 1645. Russell Nichols was a native of Quaker
Farms, and was for many years a leading citizen
of that locality, his death occurring at the age of
seventy-four. The Nichols family is of prominent
pioneer stock, tracing descent from Francis Nichols,
who purchased a large tract of land in Oxford in
1743, and made his permafient home there. A more
complete account of the family is given elsewhere
in this volume. Col. Daniel L. Holbrook died in
185S. and his wife in 1880, when she was aged
seventy-eight. They had three children, of whom
our subject was the youngest, (i) Sarah, de-
ceased, married Stephen Russell and had two chil-
dren : Lucy and Frank. Lucy Russell married
Gustavus Lewis, a farmer near Plainville, Conn.,
now deceased, and had two children, Josephine
(who married W. R. Sparks, of New Britain, and
had two children, Edith and William) and Jere-
miah. Frank Russell married Lillian Northrop and
has two children, Luella and Beulah. (2) Mary
A., sister of Mrs. Downs, married William Church,
deceased, and resides in New Haven : she has three
children : George L., who married Jeannette
Styles, of Seymour ; Daniel L., who married Anna
; Hall, of New York, the latter now deceased ; and
] Addie L., wife of David Curry, of New Haven.

Mrs. Downs passed her early life in Seymour,
and on Oct. Q, 1870, was married there to the late
: Thomas ]\L Downs, who was born in July. 1824, in
Southbury, the son of Henry and Sally (Botsford)
Downs. His father, who was a prom.inent agricul-
turist of Southbury, died in early manhood, and his
m.other, a native of Newtown, died aged eighty.
Of their eight children, five are still living. 'Mr.
Downs located in Ansonia about 1864, engaging in
general mercantile business, and his death occurred
there in 1874, at the age of fifty. Mrs. Downs has
resided in Ansonia since 1869, and in 1889 she
built her present dwelling house, at No. 119 South
Cliff street. There were then but few houses on the
street, and during her residence in the place she has
seen it develop from a population of 5,000 to 13,000.

spected and honored citizen of the town of Nauga-
tuck, was born in County Kildare, Ireland, Oct.
10, 1848, a son of William and Mary ( Lahey)
Brennan. In the spring of 1864 he sailed for the
United States, and on landing in this country took
up his residence in Naugatuck, New Haven Co.,
Conn., where he soon found employment in the




molding depiartmcnt of the Tuttle & ^^■hittcnlOl•c
iron foundry. Later he was transferred to the an-
neanng department, of which he has been the effi-
cient and popular foreman for several }ear;.

On May 31, 1869, ^Ir. Brennan was united in
marriage with 2^Iiss j\lary E. Martin, of Nauga-
tuck, and they have six children, namely: Nellie
A., who is a school teacher; William F., a grocer
of Xaugatuck; Edward P., a druggist of the same
place; Mary, at home; Charles M., also a drug-
gist; and Irine R., who is attending school. The
family is one of considerable prominence in the
community, and the sons are now leading business
men of Xaugatuck. They have a beautiful home
at Xo. 305 Church street.

In his political views Mr. Brennan is inde-
pendent. For several years he has been promi-
nently identified with public affairs ; has served as
selectman and justice of the peace; was a member
of the board of education fourteen years ; and lire-
commissioner four years. He is an intelligent,
well-informed man, keeps well posted on the lead-
ing questions and issues of the day, and faithfully
discharge any duty that devolves upon him. He
is a member of St. Francis Catholic Church, and
of the Young Men's Catholic Institute of Xauga-

There are in every conmiunity men whose broad
characters touch all vital interests, and who by
their capable and disinterested devotion to aflairs
acquire, without apparent effort, a position of in-
fluence and importance to the communal life about
them. \\'ashington E. Cjriswold has been a life-
long resident of Connecticut. In a business way his
career has been most fortunate and successful. The
capacity for business, which he has admirably dem-
onstrated, he has freelv placed at the disposal of
his townsmen. Liberal and kind in disposition, with
the "Golden Rule" as his motto in life, he' has kept
close to the people about him, and in every sense has
identified himself with causes for the common good.

Mr. Griswold is a descendant ( in the seventh
generation) from (I) Edward Griswold, one of the
■early settlers of X^ew England. Edward Griswold
was bom in Warwickshire, England, in 1607, one
of a family of five brothers : Edward ; Thomas,
who remained in England ; Francis, who settled at
Cambridge, Mass. ; Michael, who settled at Wethers-
field, Conn. ; and Matthew, who settled at Windsor
and later at Lyme. Conn. Of these, Edward lo-
cated first in Massachusetts, and later at Windsor,
where he was one of the first settlers and a land
owner. Thence he removed to what is now Kil-
hngworth, Middlesex Co.. Conn., where he spent the
remainder of his days. His first wife was named
Ann, and his second, Elizabeth. His ten childi-en-
were as follov.-s: Francis, born in 1620; Sarah, in
1630; George.' in I'^i^^; John, in 1635; .\nn. Aug.
19, 1642; Mary, Oct. 5, 1644; Deborah, June 28,

164'; (mariic'l Samuel Buel) ; Joseph, March 22,
> 1648; Samuel, Xov. 18, 1649; and John, Aug. i,
^ 1652. The line of descent from the founder of the
! Griswold family in America to our subject is as fol-
'■ lows :

! (II) John Griswold, youngest son of Edward,

born Aug. i, 1652, in Killing\vorth, Middlesex Co.,

' Conn., was a lifelong resident of that town. He died

Aug.' 7, 1717, and was buried at Killingworth. He

was twice married, on X^ov. 18, 1672, to Mary

Bavis, who died Dec. 29, 1679. For his second wife

he wedded Barshua Xorth, daughter of Thomas

Gideon Walter Price. She died March 19, 1736.

: The sixteen children of John Griswold were as fol-

I lows : Mary, born Feb. 2, 1674 ; Margaret, Dec. 10,

! 1675; Hannah, Oct. 25, 1677; John, Sept. 22, 1679

' (died Dec. 14, 1679) ; Dorothy, March 4, 1681

(died March, 1690) ; Bethshula. Dec. 5, 1682 (mar-

: ried Daniel Clark); John, Sept. 4, i(^2'- Samuel,

April 4, 1685 (married Sarah Wright, died Dec.

29, 1736); Lucy, July 21, 1G86 (married Allen

Ball) ; Martha, June i, 1689 (died X''ov. 17, 1690) ;

Joseph and Benjamin (twins), Sept. 20, 1690 (the

latter married Abigail Norton) ; Dorothy, Sept. 3,

i6<j2; Martha, June 16, 1694 (married Samuel

Pratt) ; Daniel, Oct. 25, 1696 (died Sept. 10, 1737,

j married Jerusha Stevens) ; Walter, March 7, 1700

I (died Oct,, 1745, married Sarah Wright).

(III) Joseph Griswold, son of John, born Sept.
20. 1(390 (a twin of Benjamin), in Killingworth,
spent his life there. He was a land owner and far-

i mer in Killingworth, and died there April 8, 1771.

I On Dec. 29. 1714, he married Temperance Lay, who
died Sept. 18, 1773. Their children were as follows :
John, was born Oct. 10, 1715; Joseph, born Oct. 22,
1 716, married Rebecca Rutley, and died in June,
1771 ; Nathan, born April 28. 1719, married Sarah
Hull ; Giles, born June 3, 1723, married Mercy Chat-
field, and died April 2T,. 1804; John, born March 6,
172(5, married Mary Ward; Daniel, bom Aug, 10,
1728, married Lydia Hull: Jedidiah, born Dec, 13,
1730, married Patience Bates.

(IV) Xathan Griswold, the creat-grandfather
of W'ashington E., was born in Killingworth April
28, 1719. son of Joseph. Like his father and grand-
father, he was a farmer and land owner and prom-
inent citizen of Killingworth, where he spent his
life, and where he died and is buried. He married
r^Iay 2, 1743, Sarah Hull, daughter of Peter Hull,
and their eight children were as follows: Xatlian,
born Sept, 27, 1746. married Jemima Pierson, Tem-
perance was born Dec. 14, 1748." George, born Nov.

5, 1752, married Artemisia Stevens, and died Nov.

6, 1834. Joel was born May 21, 1757. Sarah, bom
April 10, 1760, died Oct. 5, 1763. Jared, born Aug.
ID, 1764, died Oct. 20, 1784. Sarah, born Feb. 20,
1766. died Oct. 26, 1784. Martha, born Feb. 14,
1770, died Oct, 5, 1784.

(V) Joel Griswold (grandfather of our sub-
ject), born on the old homestead in Killingworth
May 21, 1757, became a farmer and a large land



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■»^.^ -.j.^ j.^;-...i:iiat^-^-.-!iJ.i-. - .';r^^ .^- .-..-.■;- iiM t t> i ig'lin'''h i t^ i ri iJrBiiMiitS ^'^~"''''^~





owner, and there spent his life, dying- April 12, 1834;
he was buried in the Killingworth cemetery. He
was a member of the Congregational Church, and
in politics a Federalist. On Sept. i, 1796, he mar-
ried Sarah Kelsey, born Nov. 9, 1770, who died Feb.
25, 1842, and was btiried in Killingworth cemetery.
She was a member of the Congregational Church.
The six children of Joel and Sarah Griswold were:
Martin Heman, born Oct. 19, 1797, died Jan. 31,
1810 (he was accidetitally scalded) ; Xathan was
born July 3, 1799 ; Polly ISIinerva. born May 3, 1801,
married John Farnham, and died Dec. 31, 1872; Dr.
George Washington, bom July 26, 1S04, graduated
from Yale College, went West and died Sept, 22,
1834; Sarah Louise, born Aug. 30, 1807, married
Henry Scanton, and died in February. 1884; and
Joel Pinckney, born ]March 4, 1809, died in 1865,
out West. Of these,

(V'l) Nathan Griswold (father of our subject)
was born on the old homestead in Killing\vorth July
3, 1799. He attended the district schools of Killing-
worth, but was mainly a self-educated man. He
was a school teacher for several years, later settling
down to farming and stock raising, becoming one
of the largest land owners in the town of Killing-
worth, and a prominent citizen. He represented the
town in the State Legislature at New Haven and
at Hartford ; was selectman of the town ; and held
other local offices, being quite active in political life.
In political sentiment he was a stanch Jacksonian
Democrat ; in religious faith a member of the Con-
gregational Church. He died on his farm in Kil-
lingworth April 21, 1872, and was buried in the
family cemeter}- in Killingworth. On Nov. 25, 1827,
he married Rachel Hull, daughter of John Hull, a
well-knowii citizen of KillingAvorth, and their chil-
dren were as follows : Alvira L., bom Oct. 27,
1828, married Isaac Kelsey, of Killingworth, who
died Aug. 10, 1901. Washington Edwards, our sub-
ject, sketch of whom follows. Sarah }.Iehitabel.
bom Dec. 27, 1832, died May 26, 1893; she married
William H. Stevens, of Killingworth. Sherman E.,
'born Aug. 7, 1835, married Adeline Parmelee, and
resides on the old homestead. Alabel R. married
Alfred Goodyear, of Hamden. Charles Nathan,
bom in April. 1840, died Oct. 22, 1844. Harriet
Lemira, bom Nov. 21, 1843, niarried Ralph Edward
Barnum, of Killingworth. The mother of these
died June 23, 1873, on the old homestead, aged sixty-
nine ycTrs, and was buried in the family cemetery.
She was a member of the Congregational Church,
and a woman of noble Christian character.

(VII) Washington E. Griswold, whose name in-
troduces this sketch, was bom Dec. 24, 1830, and
was reared upon the old homestead. He attended
the district schools of his native town, later pursu-
ing his studies at the Madison high school, and at
the State Normal School, New Britain, Hartford
countv, and for some years he taught school during
the winter months, working on the farm in summer.
In Killingworth, lie married, Oct. 4, 1854, 2iliss Cor-

delia Earnum, \\ho was born there July 13. 1833,
daughter of Nathaniel E. and Juliett (Evarts")
Barnum, granddaughter of Luther and Mabel
(Stephens) Barnum, and great-granddaughter of
Capt. Aaron Stephens, who was an officer in the
Revolutionary war. After his marriage Air. Gris-
wold obtained from his father a tract of land, and

I there began his successful career as a farmer. From

'■ time to time he made notable improvements, erected
a handsome dwelling and other buildings, the total
improvements costing more than $6,000. Through

: his thrift and business ability he prospered, and fi-
nally acquired over 250 acres of fine farming land,

. which he devoted to stock raising and general farm-

To our subject and wife two children were born ;

, Charles Edwards died in infancy. Edith I., bom

j Sept. 5, i860, graduated from the Morgan high
school in the English Classics, and for a number
of years taught school in KillingAvorth. She mar-
ried Albert H. Phelps, of Guilford, and lived in the
beautiful home in that town (purchased for her by
her father) until her death, Dec. 20, 1894, at the
birth of her daughter, Edith Griswold. She was a

■ member of the Congregational Church, a young lady
of beauty and many accomplishments, well-educated,

^ cultured and refined, a loving wife and afi'ectionate
daughter. Her death was a sad blow to her parents,
and a shock to her wide circle of friends. Between
parents and child the attachment was unusuallv
strong and close, and in their declining years her
sweet and winning personality is sadly niissed.
In 1894, after the death of his daughter, Air.

i (jriswold removed, to Guilford, and sold most of
his farming lands, retaining only 100 acres. He still
manages his property, but since his residence at
Guilford he has practically lived a retired life. In
public life Mr. Griswold has been notably prominent.
He represented the town of Killingworth in the
State Legislature in 1866-67 and in 1885, serving
in the old State Houses at Hartford and New
Haven, and in the new State House at Hartford. In
politics he is a stanch Democrat, and he has held

, nearly all the offices within the gift of his fell9w
townsmen. For eight years he was judge of pro-
bate for the district of Killing-worth. For fourteen
years he filled the office of selectman, serving as
chairnian of the board most of the time, and he held

, that office during the Civil war, when the duties
were more exacting than they ever were before or

' have been since. He has been assessor and tax col-
lector of Killingworth, served on the board of relief,
and for twenty years was a justice of the peace. Air.

I Griswold has ever taken a deep interest in the pub-
lic schools, and has served as chairman of the school

; board most of the time for twenty years. Since

I his removal to Guilford he has declined many of-

I fices, consenting, however, in 1897, to his noniina-

I tion as first selectman, and serving the term. In
1809 he was elected a member of the school board,

, and is still serving.



In r-»Iigious

■t Mr. (iriswold is a member

of the Church Society at Guilford and a liberal sup-
porter of same. A living exponent of the Golden
Rule, his personal habits have always been above
reproach, and he is opposed to the use of strong
drink or tobacco in any form. Mrs. Griswold is a
member of the Congregational Church, a lady of
refinement, modesty and intelligence, devoted to her
husband and to her home. Both were members of
the Grange in Killing-worth, and both are well in-
■ formed upon the leading events and subjects of the
dav. Thev are most highly esteemed and respected
by all who know them, and now, in the afternoon of
their life, thev are enjoying the fruits of their earlier
labor, and dispensing with generous and discrim-
inating care the material blessings which it is theirs
to command.

to-do and much respected farmer and stock raiser
in the North Farms district of the town of Walling-
ford, was born on the farm of his father, Feb. 13,
1841, a son of Lyman Francis, who was born on the
old Francis homestead in North Farms, March 21,
1806. Lyman Francis was a brother of the late
William Francis, and a son of Jacob and Content
(Hall) Francis. A student in the district school
of the North Farms, he grew up under the paternal
roof, and remained with his parents until his mar-
riage, when he settled on the Hall Farm, where
George Blakeslee now lives. Devoting much at-
tention to the advanced and progressive farming of
the day, he was one of the pioneers in that field that
has proved so profitable to Connecticut farmers, and
has made a record as a tobacco grower. His was
a busy but brief life, as he died when but forty-
three years old. In politics he was a Democrat,
but independent in his voting. Of domestic habits
he was a good and kind-hearted man, of whom
it is said that he lived very close to the Golden
Rule. On Oct. 10, 1832, Lyman Francis was mar-
ried to Mary Blakeslee, who was born in North
Farms, Sept. 6, 1803, a daughter of Joseph and
Mary (Andrews) Blakeslee. and died April 19,
1875. Both Mr. and Mrs. Francis were buried in
Center Street Cemetery in Wallingford. To them
were born four children : Olive E., born Oct. 10,
1833, married Edwin Crocker, and is now deceased;
Lucretia E., born June 26, 1835, is now deceased;
George B., born July 31, 1838, died Aug. 26, 1839;
and George B. (2) born Feb. 13, 1841. The
mother was a member of the Congregational

George Blakeslee Francis was only eight years
old when he lost his father. A district school edu-

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 70 of 94)