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 78 of 94)
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' was reared in Woodbridge. He inherited a consid-
erable property, and followed farming extensively,
but discontinued the store. He died at the age of
eighty-five years. He was a member of an inde-
pendent military company and was very active on
"training day." In early manhood he married Abi-
gail Baldwin, and to them were born children as
follows: Tlie eldest died in infancy; Charles X.,
father of our subject, was next in order of birth:
I Abigail married Charles Baldwin, of New Haven;

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Aloiizo E. is a fanner of Woodbridsje : Gcorc^e E.
(deceased) was twice married, his second wife
being Martha Baldwin, and resided in Wood-
bridge ; Franklin A. married Augusta Doolittle,
and died in Milford: Elizabeth is deceased; and
Jane is the wife of Alarcus M. Baldwin, of Wood-

Charles N. Beecher, father of our subject, was
born in Woodbridge, Nov. 26. 1821, and died Aug.
9, 1897. He was a lifelong farmer, and though not
engaged in agricultural pursuits on a large scale
was very successful, inving to the fact that he paid
particular attention to small matters and aimed
always to reach the best results, was always anx-
ious to learn the methods of others in order to un-
prove his own, anil attended town fairs and horti-
cultural gatherings for that purpose. He raised
principally small fruits and vegetables. Owing to
ill health he retired from active labor some years
prior to his death, and the management of alTairs
fell upon our subject. In Mt. Carmel, Xew Haven
county, the father was united in marriage with
^liss Alary Angelina Warner, a native of that place,
and a daughter of Zenith Warner. Our subject
was their only child.

Leroy C. Beecher was born June 4, 1859, in the
house where he now lives, and was educated in
public and private schools, one of his teachers being
William H. Warner, who is still a resident of
Woodbridffe. Our subject heijan to provide for
himself as a school teacher and continued to follow
that profession for five years, four in the Middle
School of Woodbridge and one in Hamden. Since
that time his energies have been devoted to agri-
cultural pursuits with marked success.

On July 26, 1885, Mr. Beecher married Miss
.Gertrude A. Ladd, who was born in Straitsville,
New Haven county, May 5, 1861, a daughter of
Theodore S. and Sarah A. (Johnson) Ladd. They
have no children of their own, but Mrs. Beecher's
nephew lives with them and enjoys the same ad-
vantages as if he were their own child. They are
active and prominent members of the Congrega-
tional Church of Woodbridge, in which his father
collected the pew rents for sixteen years, and our
subject is now a member of the society committee.
The Republican party finds in him a stanch sup-
porter of its principles, and he has been a member
of the Republican township committee for the past
sixteen years, and has been delegate to several
:5tate conventions. He was also register of voters
thirteen years and town auditor several terms, and
is still filling the latter position. He is a member
of the school board, of which he was secretary five
years, and chairman an equal length of time. In
i8c)o and 1900 he took the census. Mr. Beecher
is one of the most {xjpular citizens of his com-
munity, and, as has already been said, he takes a
very prominent and influential part in public affairs
and local politics. The advancement of agricultural
matters has also occupied a large share of his at-

icntion and he is a correspondent of several papers,
furnishing the crop reports to the Department of
Agriculture. He and his wife are both members
of Woodbridge Grange, No. 108, P. O. H., of
which he was secretary for the first two years, and
his wife was lecturer. They are also members of
the New Haven County Pomona, No. 5, and of the
State Grange, as well as of the New England Order
of Protection, Charter Oak Lodge, No. 88, of New

MICHAEL FLAHERTY, one of the solid citi-
zens of New Haven county, is essentially a self-
educated and self-made man, and yet without that
ever-present self-assertion so common among men
who have been the architects of their own fortunes.
Both by nationality and by lineage he comes of rug-
ged, hardy stock, and his life has reflected credit
alike upon his ancestry and the land of his birth.

Born in County Galway, Ireland, March 29,
1834, the son of a tenant farmer, it mav be imag-
ined that in the years of his boyhood Air. Flaherty
underwent many privations. Yet it can scarcely be
doubted that this part of his life was for him a
fruitful school of experience, in which he learned
the rudiments of those qualities of industry, patience
and fortitude which have characterized him
throughout life. His parents, Hugh and Mary
(Farraher) Flaherty, were both natives of County
(jalway, as were also his forefathers for many
generations. He was one of a family of three chil-
dren. His educational advantages were of the
most meager sort, and at the age of fourteen, see-
ing how impossible the practice of "abfenteeism"
had made it for the hard-working Irish peasant to
do more than earn a bare subsistence, he resolved
to go into the world himself, breast its billows while
}et a boy, and conquer success through his own
resolute will. The tale of his struggles and tri-
umphs is told below.

Leaving Galway, he went to Wolverhampton,
England, where he found employment in an inferior
capacity with Richard Dean & Son, then a well
known firm of railroad builders and contractors.
A green Irish lad, with nothing to aid him but
a willingness to work and a firm resolve to do his
best, it would not have been surprising had he
found, the road to advancement slow and toilsome.
But he was animated by a courage that laughed
at obstacles and a resolute purpose that could not
be discouraged. For seventeen vears he remained
in the employ of Richard Dean & Son, rising from
one position of trust to another. Yet he could see
scant chance for further advancement, and little
prospect for the fruition of his ambitious hopes.
His announcement of his intention to emigrate was
received with an outcry of dis.-ent and protest on
the part of his employers. Every effort was made
to dissuade him : pound notes were stitched into his
wearing apparel : and. when it was perceived that
his determinaticn was inflexible, a request to return

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was accompanied by a promise that the po?itiim
which he was vacating would be open to .him in
that event. It was in June, 1866, that he set sail
from Englisii shores to seek a new home and better
fortune in the land where so many of his fellow-
countrymen had become affluent, while not a few
had risen to posts of high honor in the service of
the State. After reaching America he first went to
Girardville, Pa., where he entered the employ of
James Connor, an extensive mine owner, as fore-
man. Here his previous experience stood him in
good stead, and he soon became one of the most
valued and trusted men about the mines. Yet he
did not find his surroundings wholly to his liking,
and after a short time he removed to Birmingham,
Conn., where he first found work in the Ailing mill,
and later in and about the building of the dam
across the Housatonic river, then in process of con-
stnaction. An opportunity presenting itself to en-
gage in the retail liquor business, Mr. Flaherty
embraced it, and was at once made local agent for
the Albany Brewing Co. and given control of all
the territory lying within the Housatonic \'alley.
This agency he still holds, and the energetic, up-
right, business-like way in which he has discharged
the duties of the trust has rendered the same a
source of mutual profit to himself and the well-
known corporation which he represents.

Mr. Flaherty is a man of rare native intelligence,
sound business sense and tireless energy. Indus-
try, perseverance and honesty have raised him from
a contractor's employe to the po.sition of a wealthy
land owner and the heaviest individual tax payer in
the locality in \yhich he lives. His assessment is
$122,000 in Sheldon, Ansonia and Derby. 'the fifth
highest on the tax list. Generally speaking, his
policy has been to buy real estate and hold it, and
time has abundantly justified his judgment. Yet,
while watchfully caring for his own interests, he
has never for a moment forgotten his obligations
as a citizen. Broad-minded and public-spirited, he
has ever been quick to recognize the fact that public
and private interests, in the highest and truest sense,
must go hand in hand, and advance or retrograde
together. He has been intimately identified with the
building up of Derby, and no history of that city
would be complete which failed to chronicle his
early struggles and ultimate success. In politics
Mr. Flaherty is a Democrat. Yet, while acting with
his party on National and State issues, in local elec-
tions he is able to rise above partisanship, holding
the best interests of the community as higher than
any mere claim of political managers to blind party
fealty. His religious faith is that of his forefa-
thers, and he is a most generous contributor to St.
Mary's Catholic Church.

On Aug. 5, 1865, Mr. Flaherty was married, in
England, to Margaret Garrity, who, like her hus-
band, is a native of Ireland. Their union has been
blessed with seven chiMrei; ; ]\larv married George
H. Ennis, an attorney of Derby, and has four

children, (ieorgc, Margaret. Madelina and Adri-
enne. William is deceased. Elizabeth is unmar-
ried, and lives at home. Michael. Jr., is a grad-
uate of Yale, and an attorney in Derby. Hugh F.
is attending school at Mount St. ]\Iar}''s College,
.Maryland. Margaret and John are deceased.

FRANK S. NICHOLS, a well-known grocer
and prominent citizen of Millville, is a native of
New Haven county, born in Naugatuck, Oct. 28,
1842, and is a representative of one of its old and
highly respected families. Isaac Nichols, Sr., his
grandfather, made his home throughout life in
Naugatuck, and followed the occupation of farm-
ing. He married Esther Sperry, a native of Beth-
any, Conn., and to them were born thirteen chil-
dren : Mary, Clara, Maria, Esther, Joseph, Will-
iam, Jerome, Horace, Isaac, Nathan, Joel, Noys
and George. The sons were either farmers or
mechanics, and all made their home in this State.
Isaac Nichols, Jr., father of our subject, was
born in Naugatuck, June 14, 1820, and in that town
grew to manhood Learning the joiner's and wheel-
wright's trades, he built many houses and water-
wheels in early life, and later erected the store
building now occupied by our subject, where he en-
gaged in the grocery business for six or eight years.
He served one year as a member of Company H,
23d Conn. V. I. He was a Republican in politics.
Isaac Nichols wedded Mary E. Hotchkiss, of Pros-
pect, Conn., a daughter of Avery Hotchkiss, who
was a farmer by occupation. Mr. Nichols died in
October, 1882, and his wife in 1888. In their fam-
ily were five children, namely: Frank S., our sub-
ject; Frederick O., agent for the Armour Beef Co.
at Troy, N. Y. ; Charles B., a traveling salesman
j residing in Bridgeport, Conn. ; Deetle A., who mar-
I ried George Myers, of Pennsylvania, and resides in
Naugatuck, where he is a master mechanic ; and
I Ida E., who married Henry Richards, and subse-
quently became the wife of Frederick Clark, of
I -Naugatuck.

I Our subject passed his boyhood and youth in
1 his native town, and his education was receiv(^ in
1 its public schools. He was one of the boys in blue
j during the dark days of the Rebellion, serving
I three years as a member of Company K, 6th Conn..
j V. I., and taking part in thirteen pitched battles,
besides many skirmishes. He enlisted Sept. 12,
I 1861 and was discharged at New Haven, Sept. 16,
I 1864. On his return to Naugatuck he worked for
I the Goodyear Glove Co. for six years, and then
I went to Titusville, Pa., where he spent two years in
i the oil regions. The following year he was em-
j ployed at Miller Brothers cutlery establishment, in
Meriden, Conn., and was next a member of the
I f>olice force of that place for about two years.' Re-
I signing his position, he returned to Naugatuck,
I Sept. TO. 1877, and purchased the grocery store in
: Millville which he has since successfully conilucted,
1 receiving a liberal share of the public patronage.

I lo:


On Sept. 12, iS66. }ilr. Xichuls was united in
marriage with Miss Maria Camp, a native of Terry-
ville, Conn., and a daughter of Jerome Camp, who
was also born in that place. Our subject and his
wife have two children : Lewis F., superintendent
of the making department of the Goodyear Aletal-
lic Shoe Co.; and Emma J., wife of Walter Brown,
a meat dealer of Xaugatuck.

.Mr. Nicnols is a member of the Board of Trade
and is quite prominent in business circles. Politi-
cally he afttliates with the Republican party, and has
been called u]K>n to serve as assessor of his town
for five consecutive years and as a member of the
board of charities three years. ' He attends the
Episcopal Church, and is a prominent member of
the followino; societies : P; C. Isbell Post, No. 43,
G. A. R.; Shephard Lodge, No. 78, F. & A. M.;
Allerton Chapter, No. 39, R. A. I\L; Evergreen
Chapter, No. 22, O. E. S. ; Hancock Lodge, No.
28, L O. O. F. ; Columbia R. D. Lodge, No. 30,
L O. O. F.; Mattatuck Tribe, No. 25, I. O. R. M.;
and Salem Lodge, No. 36, A. O. U. \V.

JOSEPH \\. ZWIEBEL, the well-known and
popular proprietor of the Belleview Lake summer
resort of W'aterbury, was born in Tapfheim, Ba-
varia, Germany, July 7, 1847, a son of John and
Walburga (^Koettelj Zwiebel, also natives of Ba-
.varia, where they continued to make their home
throughout life. Both were members of the Cath-
olic Church, and the father was a brewer by occu-
pation. In their family were nine children, namely:
Josepha, who is living at the old home in Germany ;
Victoria, deceased; John, a resident of New Eng-
land; George, of Germany; Joseph W., our sub-
ject; Anthony, of Germany; Ulrich, of Germany;
John N., in London, England; and Kreszenz, at
home in Germany.

Joseph \V. Zwiebel received a good education in
his native tongue, and in early life learned the ma-
chinist's trade, which he followed for several years.
He was married in Bavaria to ^liss Kreszenz Dirr,
a native of the, same county as her husband and a
daughter of Joseph Dirr. She is a well-educated
woman of good business ability. To Mr. and Mrs.
Zwiebel were born seven children, as follows :
Adolph, at home; Otto, Walburga and Eugen,
who all died young; Grace and Otto (2), both at
home ; and Joseph, who died young.

In 1881 Mr. Zwiebel and his family emigrated
to America, sailing from Antwerp, and landing in
New York City. They first located in Torrington,
Conn., where he worked at his trade. After spend-
ing two years and a half at that place, he came to
W'aterbury and found emplo}ment in Benedict &
Burnham's factory, where he remained until 1893.
Having saved some money, he purchased the
grounds called Belleview Lake Grove, and has since
made extensive improvements upon the place. He
has erected a dance hall, built pleasure boats, and
added manv other attractions, so that it is now one

of the most beautiful and popular sinnmer resorts
of the locality. In carrying on this place Air. Zwie-
bel has met with most txcellent success. He is of a
genial disposition, courteous and obliging, and
caters to the wants of his patrons. He is also in-
dustrious and possesses good business ability and
sound judgment. In his political views he is lib-
eral, and in religious faith he and his family are

AIARTIN BURKE, one of Branford's well-
respected citizens, and foreman of the carpenter
department of the Branford Lock Works, Bran-
ford, is a native of that city, born July 12, 1855, a
son of John and Bridget (Gibbs) Burke, who were
natives of County Galway, Ireland. In 1847
John Burke came to America, and here in Con-
necticut, was employed for a time as a laborer on
the Shore Line railroad, and later found work as
a polisher in the Lock Works at Branford, where
he has since remained. He married Bridget Gibbs,
and thirteen children were born to them, seven of
whom grew to maturity: Alary (Mrs. William H.
Farrell), Bridget (Mrs. Richard O'Neil), Martin,
John (now deceased), Patrick, Alichael, and Nel-
lie (now deceased).

Martin Burke, whose name introduces these
lines, received a limited education at the public
schools of Branford, and at the age of fourteen en-
tered the Branford Lock Works as a helper in the
japanning room. Later he was promoted to the
spindle room, and since 1882 has been foreman of
the carpenter department.

Mr. Burke has been twice married, first time
in 18S0, to Joanna Welch, who was a daughter of
John Welch, and died in 1881. leaving one son
jonn P. In 1892 our subject wedded Kate Hurley,
who has borne him six children: Ellen, Martin,
Jr., Edward F., Thomas J., Alary and Catherine.
The family attend services at St. Alary 's Catholic
Church of Branford; socially Air. Burke is affili-
ated with the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the
Knights of Columbus : in politics he is a stanch
Democrat, and he has been chairman of the Town
Democratic Committee nine years, and through his
push and energy the party has been victorious on
many close elections. In municipal aftairs he has
ser\-ed on the board of relief nine years, and as as-
sessor four years. He was captain of the Yale &
Towne fire department from its organization in
189S; and he organized the Branford fire depart-
ment in September, 1899, becoming its chief, and
served until January, 1901.

AAIITY A. HOLSER, a dairy farmer and
fruit grower of the East Farms section of the town
of Wallingford, was born in New York City, Aug.
29, 1847. Ignate Holser, his father, was born in
Baden, Germanv, son of Anthony Holser, a farmer,
whose entire life was spent in Baden.

Ignate Holser was educated in the German


1 103

-cliools, and learned the trade of shoemaking.
While stdl young lie came to this coiiniry, on
a sailing vessel, and landed in New York, poor in
overv'thing save the strengfth and courage of youth.
Finding employment at his trade, he worked as a
Journeyman for a time, and then started up a shop
of his own, doing custom work. In 1874 he left
Xew York and came to Wallingford, buying the
farm on which his son Amity now resides. It con-
tains 108 acres, and under his industrious labors
was greatly improved. Here Mr. Holser died in
1894, and he was buried in Westheld, ?ilass. In
politics he was a Democrat, and in religion a mem-
ber of the Catholic Church. Igi;ate Holser was
married in July, 1841, in the city of New York, to
Miss Susan Wolff, a native of Worms, Germany,
and daughter of John Wolff, a carpenter, who died
in Chicago. Mrs. Holser is still living with her
son, Amity A. To their union were born the fol-
lowing children: Onrine married John Snyder, of
Westheld, ]\Iass., and is now deceased ; Amity A.
is our subject; ^lartin is a resident of Northford,
Conn.; Emma married John Welsh; Susan died
young; Susan (2) died unmarried; two children
died in infancy.

Amity A. Holser attended the public schools of
the city of Xew York and Westheld, Mass. Learn-
ing the trade of a carpenter, he worked at same for
nine years in New York, and then came to the farm
to help his father. After the death of the latter the
farm passed into his possession, and he has become
deeply interested in dairying and in peach culture.
A hard-working and industrious man, he has made
many substantial improvements in the farm and its
management, and has become quite prosperous. In
lX)litics he is independent, and believes in a business
administration of local and general aft'airs. Domes-
tic in his habits, he devotes himself to a tender and
beautiful care for his mother in her old age. He
has never married.

WILLIAM G. HARD, a prominent merchant
and honored citizen of Naugatuck, was born in
Watertown, Litchfield Co., Conn., August 31, 1858.
He is a representative of old and highly respected
/amilies of Connecticut, hi; ancestors for over
two hundred years having been residents of this
State. On the' paternal side he is a descendant in
the eighth generation of James Hard, who settled
in Derby about 1680, and married Elizabeth Tom-
linson, daughter of William Tom'inson. in 1603.
So far as is known no other progenitor by the name
of Hard ever came to this country until after 1800.
The descendants of James Hard are now legion;
besides the hundreds in this State there are a great
many in northern \'ermont, and as is the case with
the posterity of many of our early settlers, they are
now scattered throucrhcut the L'nited States.'

Andrew C. Hard, our subject's father, was also
•'i native of Litchfield county, born July 3, 182S,
and grew to manhood in Watertown. Before the

days of railroads he drove a stage from that place
to New Haven, and is still engaged in the trucking
business. His home is in Watertown. He mar-
ried Miss Mary Ann Russell, who was born in
Waterbury June 30, 183 1, and they became the
parents of seven children, as follows : Charles G.,
born Sept. 19, 1856, died Jan. 18, 1889; William
G., our subject, is next in order of birth; Myron
R., born Feb. 11, 1S61, is a resident of Waterbury;
Lottie B., born Sept. 14, 1867, is assistant post-
master at Watertown; Andrew AL, born March
7, 1869, Russell IL, born Dec. 15, 1870, and John
M., born April 15, 1874, are all at home.

Chester Russell, the maternal grandfather of
our subject, was a native of Waterbury, and a
farmer by occupation. He died Dec. 5, 1841, at
the early age of thirty-one years. His father
Stephen Russell, was also a farmer and a resident
of Waterbury. The latter married Sabria Hotch-
kiss, who was born July 19, 1773, a daiighter of
Amos and Abigail Hotchkiss; her father was the
sixth son of Gideon Hotchkiss, a very prominent
man of his time and a property owner in New
Flaven county, who was born in Prospect Dec. 5,
1716, and died Sept. 3, 1807. Gideon liotchkiss
was deacon of the church, and served as selectman
and representative from the town of Prospect (then
called Columbia) to the State Legislature. He
was a soldier of the French and Indian war, and
also aided the Colonies in achieving their in-
dependence as a soldier of the Revolution, and had
several sons in the latter conflict. He was the fa-
ther of nineteen children, by two marriages, his
second wife being Mabel Stiles, a daughter of Isaac
Stiles, of Southbury. To this union were born
most of his children. At his death two hundred
and sixtv-five of his descendants were living around
him in New Haven county. He was the seventh
child of Stephen Hotchkiss, a native of New
Haven, who was born Aug. 12, 1681, and married
Elizabeth Sperry, daughter of John Sperry, of New
Haven. Stephen Hotchkiss was an extensive
farmer, and made his home in the parish of
Cheshire, in the town of Wallingford. His father,
Joshua Hotchkiss, was born in New Haven Sept.
16, 1651, and became a leading citizen of the place.
He was a son of Samuel Hotchkiss, a native of
Essex, England.

William G. Hard, whose name introduces this
sketch, passed his boyhood and youth in Water-
town, and received his education there. He began
his business career as clerk in a general store at
that place, working for his board and- clothes, and
during the seven years that were thus passed thor-
oughly mastered the business in all its details. In
1880 he went to Waterbury, where he clerked for
two years, and then came to Naugatuck as head
clerk for the E. H. Carrington Co.. with
which he was connected for five vears. In 18S6
he opened a general store of his own in Nauga-
tuck, and now enJ0}S a large and lucrative trade.

1 104


< )n Any:. 24. iSSt, Mr. Hard married Miss
Eudora E. Holt, of W'aterbury, a daughter of Nel-
son Holt, who was a soldier of the Civil war and
died in one of the Southern prisons during that
struggle. To this union have been born four chil-
dren, namely: Frank N. : Eva M.. who died Jan.
12, 1893; Irma E. ; and Mildred H.

PoHtically Mr. Hard is independent, and so-

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 78 of 94)