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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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been denied him.

retired from active life, was, during his business
career, ranked among the skillful mechanics of the
town of Guilford, his industrious habits and un-
swerving integrity winning him a large circle of
friends and patrons, and securing for him the last-
ing respect and esteem of the community. Mr.
Stevens was born in Guilford Oct. 22. 1846, and
the family of which he is a worthy member has long
been known in ^liddlesex county.

Capt. David Stevens, his grandfather, was a
native of Saybrook, and spent his life in the com-
munity where he was born. By occupation a ship-
wright, he built a large number of vessels. He was
a captain in the militia. He died in Saybrook,
where he was buried.

Alexander Stevens, father of Marshall D., was
born Aug. 17. 1808, in Savbrook, where he learned
the shipwright's trade, working with his father.
He remained in his native place until 183S, when




^ ] ._




Ik removed to Guilford, foUowine his trade there
with Mr. Graves and for several years with Mr.
Blatchley. Later he worked in other sections of
the country, and finally became a carpenter and
joiner, settling in Guilford, wliere he died Sept. 25,
1880. He was buried in the Guilford cemetery.
JSIr. Stevens was a member of the M. E. Church,
and in politics a Democrat. An honorable and up-
right man, he was well regarded in the community
in which his honorable and useful life was

In 1832 Mr. Stevens was married, in West-
brook, to Rachel A. Dennison, who was born Aug.
8, 1815, at Silver Lake, Pa., a daughter of Edward
Dennison ; the last named married the daughter of
a Revolutionary soldier, Cornelius Chittenden, who
died Dec. 24, 1858, aged ninety-four years. To Mr.
and Mrs. Stevens came seven children, viz.: (i)
Wellington S., bom in 1834, is deceased. (2)
Hart W., born in 1837, died at the age of seventeen.
(3) Marcellus, born in 1839, died in Havana in
1862, of yellow fever. (4) Eckford T., born Jan.
II, 1845, is a carpenter and builder in Guilford.
(5) Marshall Dennison is mentioned below. (6)
Emma R., born Feb. 27, 1850, married Henry
Hart, of Guilford, and is deceased. (7I Ella C,
born Dec. 22, 1853, married Charles O. Hotchkiss,
of Higganum, Conn. Airs. Alexander Stevens died
Oct. 18, 1891, and was buried in the Guilford cem-
etery. She was a member of the M. E. Church, a
lady of fine character and good Christian life.

Marshall Dennison Stevens attended the Guil-
ford schools, and struck out in life for himself at
the early age of eleven years, when he became a
cook on a sloop engaged in the coasting trade. For
eleven years he followed the sea, rising to the po-
sition of mate, and was engaged in the coast trade,
for the greater part of the eleven years on the
"Sarah L. Thompson" and the "Ann J. Russell,"
and other well-known vessels of a former genera-
tion. When he gave up a sailor's life Mr. Stevens
returned to Guilford and became a carpenter and
joiner. He is still very active, although at the pres-
ent time not engageil in business. He is known
as one of the crack shots in the county.

Mr. Stevens is a member of the Knights of
Pythias, and is a valued member of that organiza-
tion, where his genial ways and friendly spirit are
much appreciated. He is not a member of anv
church, but his clean life has shown high moral
principle. He is a Democrat in political faith, and,
though no seeker after position, has been chairman
of the town committee and registrar of voters.

Mr. Stevens and Julia A. Splann, a native of
Ireland, were married in Portchester, X. Y. ; she
has proved a devoted wife, and is kind and neigh-
borly in her relations with all.

31, 1844, in New York, son of John Rogers Row-
land, a native of the same State. The father was a
house and ship carpenter^ engaged in contracting,


and did considerable Imsiness in Branford, where
he died. He was a Whig, and held strong Abolition
i sentiments ; he was a member of the Baptist Church.
In 1850 Mr. Rowland married Aliss Mary Ann Lan-
fair, of Branford, who died in her native town,
where her father, Oliver Lanfair, had long lived.
To John Rogers Rowland and his wife Alary .\nn
were born : ( i) Louise, now living in New Haven,
married George Bradley. (2) Alartha Jane mar-
' ried George Calkins, and is now dead. (3) George
; H. died in 1S98, in New Haven, where he had been
engaged in the meat business, (s) John Oliver is
the subject of these lines. (S) Alary Frances mar-
ried Dr. William Beebe, of Bridgeport. (6) Emma
O. married Henry Blackley, of Guilford. (7)
Charles F. is in the painting and' paper business at
New Haven. (8) Luther Lee is a dry-goods mer-
chant at Guilford. (9) Moletta married Edward
Florence, of Birmingham, Conn., and is now dead.
( 10) Alvira G. is the widow of Se\7nour F. Benton^
of Guilford. Three children died in infancy. John
Rowland, the grandfather of John O., was born in
Scotland at an early day, and removed to this coun-
i try while still a young man.

John Oliver Rowland was born in New Dur-
! ham, N. Y., and received his schooling in Branford
and North Haven, Conn. When he was fourteen
I he worked on a farm in North Haven for alwut a
, year, and then worked for F. Alansfield & Co.,
oyster dealers at Fair Haven, for some six months.
At Rome, N. Y., he had charge of the shipping of
oysters for Thompson & Rowe, for about a year
and a half, and at the expiration of this period came
back to New Haven to take a position as conductor
on the street-car line. After a time he went back
, to Rome to manage a new hotel which his old em-
; ployers had put up during his absence, and for a
' year or more was thus engaged. At Fair Haven
; he became interested in a large grocery house and
was its general manager for some fourteen years,
and then became a member of the ovster-growing
firm of H. C. Rowe & Co., the largest oyster-grow-
i ers in the world. This was in 1878, and in iqoo
he left the firm on account of continued ill health
I to take a position as manager and superintendent
of the Alasonic Home of Connecticut. This insti-
tution is in a very picturesque locality, and is one
of the most admirably managed of its kind in the
world. All the comforts of a home are provided
for the inmate?, and Air. Rowland and his estimable
wife are peculiarly fitted for the discharge of the
varied and onerous duties of such a place.

Air. Rowdand- is a Alason of high degree, and his
■ affiliations are with Adelphi Lodge, No. 63, F. &
A. AL: Pulaski Chapter, No. 26, R. A. AI. ; Craw-
ford Council, No. 19, R. & S. AL; and New Haven
Commandery, No. 2, K. T. He is president of the
Past Alasters Association of New Haven county,
and is a member of the Alasonic \'eterans Associa-
tion of Connecticut. Air. Rowland is past master
of his .home lodge, past most excellent high priest
of the chapter, and past thrice illustrious master

I 122


of Crawford Council, Xo. ly. R. & S. M. At
present he is most worshipful grand master of the
.Grand Lodge of Masons, most excellent past grand
high priest of the Most Excellent Grand koval
Arch Chapter of Connecticut, and P. M. P. G. M.
of the :M. p. G. C. of Royal Select Grand Masters
of the State. He is also enrolled with the A. O.
U. \V. and the Heptasophs. Mr. Rowland has
served as a director of the Masonic Mutual Benefit
Association for nineteen years, and is a director of
the Fair Haven Union Cemetery Association. He
is a Republican, but would never become a candi-
date for any office. In religion he is a member of
the Second Congregational Church, and has been
president of the Second Congregational Club.

Mr. Rowland was married. May 29, 1866, to
. Miss Nancy Maria Russell, of East Haven, a daugh-
ter of John Russell. They have one daughter,
Mary Etta, who is at home : another daughter,
Edith Maria, died at the age of si.Kteen years.

HAMRE, who occupies an important position in
the commercial world of Branford, as a paint con-
tractor and dealer in wall paper, was born in Chris-
tiansand, Norway, April 29, 1S56. and is a son of
G. A. and Christiana (Christiansen) Raahrlapper.
Like many other natives of Norway, Mr. Hamre
takes his surname from the town in which he was

Mr. Hamre was reared in Norway and at the
age of fourteen was set to learn the painter's trade,
at which he was apprenticed for four years. His
cash income for these four years was ten dollars
annually, paid him in addition to his board. For
lour years he worked as a journeyman painter, and
jn 1878 came to the United States. For a year and
a half following his arrival in this country he
worked in New York City for the Manhattan Ele-
vated Co. In 1880 he came to Branford, on ac-
count of ill health, and worked on a farm. After
about a year his health so improved that he was
able to take up his trade again, and in 18S6 to em-
bark in business for himself as a painter contractor.
Here he has accomplished a large success, and in
1890, in addition to his painting trade, engaged in
paper hanging and dealing in supplies. To-day Mr.
Hamre has the cream of the trade in Branford, and
jn the surrounding regions as well.

Mr. Hamre was married Jan. i. 1884, to Estella
E.. a daughter of John B. and Aviary Elizabeth
(Richards) Beach, of Branford. and by her has
two children : Mary Christianna and John Raahr-
lapper. Mrs. Hamre's paternal grandfather, Tim-
othy Beach, was born Jan. 22, 1796, and mar-
ried Esther Cook. Timothv Beach was the son
of Andrew Beach, born in 1769, whose wife
was Elizabeth Bradley. Andrew Beach was a
son of Ephr.iiiu. i)orn Jai'. i :;. i7-;2, who mar-
ried Sarah Stone, of (^iuiit'.jrd. Eiihraim Beach
was a son of Andrew Beach, born Nov. 14,

1713, the pioneer Beach of Branford. His wife
was Lucy Tally Smith, of Haddam. He was a son
of Ephraim Beach, who was born in 1687, a grand-
son of Nathaniel Beacli, who was born m 1662, anrl
a great-grandson of John Beach, the Pilgrim, who
was in New England as early as 1643.

Mr. Flamre is a Lutheran in his religious views,
the church of his ancestral faith, and in politics he
is a Republican. He is a member of Widows Sons
Lodge, No. 66, F. & A. ]M., Woodlawn Lodge, No.
39, K. of P., and Putnam Lodge, No. 31, A. O. U.
W. He is foreman of the Branford Hook & Lad-
der Co., No. I, and is a popular character in this
city, where he has achieved such a substantial suc-
cess in life.

ERVIS ELGIN WRIGHT, a well-known paint
manufacturer and prominent business man of
Waterbury, is a native of this State, born in the
town of West Hartland, Hartford county, Jan. 19,
1851. His parents, Henry and Rachel E. (French)
Wright, were also born in Hartland, and died in
Waterbury. He is a descendant of Abel Wright,
one of the first settlers of Springfield, Alass., and
a large land owner there.

On the maternal side our subject is descended
from an old Alassachusetts family of English
origin. His great-grandfather, William French,
was born June 20, 1768, in Taunton, Bristol Co.,
Mass., and there grew to manhood. On July 18,
1788, at Raynham, Mass., he was married, by Jo-
siah Dean, Esq., to }ilary (or Rachel) Hewitt, who
was born ^larch 27, 1769. In 1790 he removed to
Hartland, Hartford Co., Conn., and took up his
residence in the western part of the town, where
he purchased 120 acres of land from Samuel Beach
and spent the remainder of his life. He made many
nnprovements upon the place, and successfully en-
gaged in general farming and stock raising. He
was a stanch Jeffersonian Democrat in politics, and
an active worker in and prominent member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church. He died at a ripe
old age, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Elijah
Cannon, and was buried in Pleasant Valley ceme-
tery. In his family were twelve children, namely:
Sally, born Nov. 8, 1789, married Lyman Slaid ;
Rachel, born Aug. 31, 1791, married Erastus Egel-
ston ; Hannah, born July 6, 1793, married Asher
Tiff ney ; Clarissa, born March 27, 1795, married
Joel Slaid; William was born Feb. 27, 1797; Rufus,
born March 20, 1799, is mentioned below; Julia,
born Nov. 29, 1800, married John Waird ; Lydia,
born May 25, 1803, married Anson Tiffney ; Lent
was born Feb. 17, 1805; Harriet, born March 25,
1806, married Samuel Banning; a daughter, born
Feb. 7, 1810, died in infancy; and Lucia, born June
24, 181 1, married Elijah Cannon.

Rufus French, the grandfather of our subject,
was born on a farm in West Hartland, and re-
ceived a lin;;ted education in the district schools of
the town, being almost wholly a self-educated man.

.' ,7



He remained with hu parents until reaching nian-
liood, and in early life eng,?.g-ed in the manufacture
of spinning-wheels, one of which is now in the pos-
session of our subject. Later in life i\Ir. French
turned his attention to farming, purchasing a tract
of 100 acres of land (^near the homestead), which
at that time was all wild and unimproved. He
cleared away the timber and broke the land, erected
good buildings thereon, and devoted the remainder
of his life to general farming and stock raising.
He was very industrious and energetic, and became
one of the successful men of Hartland. In 1861 he
removed to Akron, Ohio, where he engaged in agri-
cultural pursuits for fifteen years, and then returned
to Connecticut, spending his last days with his
daughter, Airs. Wright, in W'aterbury, where he
died in 1885, at a ripe old age: his remains were
interred in Pleasant \"alley cemetery. Originally
he was a Democrat in politics, but in 1856, on its
organization he joined the Republican party, and re-
mained one of its stanch supporters until his death.
He was an active member of the r^Iethodist Episco-
pal Church, in which he served as class-leader and
leader of the choir. On Feb. 29, 1820, he married
Clarissa Tififney, who was born Feb. 11, 1799, and
they became the parents of five children : \Vatson
E., born Dec. 7, 1821, was the eldest; Rachel E.,
born Dec. i, 1S23, was the mother of our subject;
Sarah, born Sept. iS, 1830, is the widow of
Eugene Gugon ; Carl T. was born Oct. 5, 1832 ;
and Orton, born Oct. 29, 1837, is a resident of Hart-

Henry Wright, father of our subject, was born
Aug. 14, 181 1, in Hartland, Conn., and died Jan.
30, 1892, in Waterbury. He was engaged in lumber
dealing and farming for over fifty years. He was
married April iS, 1841, to Rachel E. French, and
to them were born five children, whose names and
dates of birth are as follows : Lozien F., Nov. 6,
i842rElsen E., March 26, 1848; Ervis Elgin, Jan.
19, 1851 ; Embert E., Xov. 16, 1853; and Eva E.
(widow of J. I. Byam), Jan. 26, 1856.

Ervis E. Wright came from Hartland to Water-
bury in 1867, at the age of sixteen years, and en-
tered the employ of Lewis Beardsley, as bookkeeper,
remaining with him until 1880. He then started in
business for himself, manufacturing and applying
the Ideal Roof Paint, in which line he has continued
to the present time, giving his whole time and at-
tention strictlv to business. Politically he is a Re-
publican, but he never sought for office.

On Nov. 26, 18S5, Air. Wright was united in
marriage with Aliss Ella Frances Reed, who was
born Nov. 11, 1858. They have one son, Franklin
Ervis, borh Nov. 22, 1S86. Mrs. Wright is a re-
fined and cultured lady, of high literary attain-
ments, and possesses exceptional talent as an artist.
She is a prominent member of the Woman's Club
of Waterbun,-, and a!;-o of the Daughters of the
American Revolution. Air. Wright is a member of
the Sons of the American Revolution, through his

greatgrandfather, Ephraim Wright, of Hartk.nd.
Air. and Airs. Wright have one of the most beau-
tiful liomes in Waterbury. It is located on an emi-
nence commanding an entire view of the town, and
is fitted up with electric lights run by our subject's
own plant. He is a man of progressive ideas, en-
terprising, energetic, industrious and far-sighted,
and to these characteristics may be attributed his
excellent success in life.

Mrs. Wrig-ht also belongs to an old New Eng-
land family. John Reed, the first of the name in
Fairfield county. Conn., was born in Cornwall,
England, in 1633, and was a stanch supporter of
Oliver Cromwell,' serving in his army from the age
of sixteen years until the restoration of Charles II
to the throne of England. The followers of Crom-
well, known as Roundheads, then fled to all parts
of the world. John Reed came to America, and
first settled in Providence, R. I., where he married
a Aliss Derby. In 1684 he moved to Rye, West-
chester Co., N. Y., where he remained three years,
and then came to Norwalk, Fairfield Co., Conn.,
locating on the Five Alile river, at a place called
Reed's farms, where he spent the remainder of his
life. He died in 1730, in his ninety-eighth year,
and was buried on his farm. He was a man of high
moral character and unswerving integrity, and his
home was often used as a house of worship before
the erection of a church in his community. His
children were John ; Thomas ; William ; Alary, wife
of David Tuttle; and Abigail.

John Reed, Jr., son of John, was born in Nor-
walk, where he spent his entire life engaged as a
farmer. He married a Aliss Tuttle, and they had
eight children : John, Daniel, Eleazer, Samuel,
William, Alary, Experience and Alehitable.

Daniel Reed, son of John, Jr., was born in 1697.
He erected a mansion on the old paternal estate in
Norwalk, where he always made his home, dying
there in 1775. He married Elizabeth Kellogg, and
they had ten children : Daniel, Abraham, Eliakim,
James, Benjamin, Ezra, Elijah (who settled in
Amenia, N. Y.), Elizabeth, Lydia and Joanna.

James Reed, son of Daniel, was born on the old
homestead in Norwalk, Alarch 27, 1736, and died
July 20, 1814, in Amenia, Dutchess Co., N. Y., of
which place he was one of the most prominent and
distinguished business men, engaged in farming,
manufacturing and milling. The site of his home
is now occupied by the residence of James H. Swift.
In 1759 he was one of the Connecticut soldiers who
passed through Amenia on their way to Canada to
aid Gen. Wolfe in the conquest of Quebec. Receiv-
ing news of the capture of the city, they were or-
dered to return. Air. Reed was so pleased with the
oblong .valley through which they passed on their
leisurely return that he induced his father to pur-
chase some of the land, upon which he located and
spent the remainder of his life. He became the
owner of a large estate in Dutchess county, and
was e.xtensively engaged in business at Amenia,

■jU • , .-1 I'. . ■■'U,: . //



manufacturing iron and steel, and conducting a
store and mill at that place. He was also one of
the first to establish a religious society there. He
served as captain in the Revolutionary war, and
was one of the most influential men of his com-
munity. On April 17, 1760, he married Joanna
Castle, who was born in 1743, a daughter of Dan-
iel Castle. To this union were born thirteen chil-
dren, whose names .ind dates of birth are as fol-
lows: Daniel, April 15, 1761 ; Reuben, Sept. 2,
1763; Elijah, March 12, 1766; Jesse. July 16, 1768;
Stephen, Sept. 14, 1770; Amos, Dec. 28, 1772; Gil-
bert, Sept. 25, 1775 ; Jacob and Joaiina. twins, Feb.
15. ^77S> Betsey, April 21, 1780: Robert and
Rhoda, twins, Tune 2~, 1784; and Phila, April 3,

Reuben Reed, son of Capt. James, died in
Amenia, N. Y., in 1846. He married Hannah Rose,
who was born in 1766, and died in 1839, and they
had five children : Leonard, Myron, Jesse, Lester
and Daniel.

Myron Reed, son of Reuben, and the grand-
father of Mrs. Wright, was born July 7, 1797, and
died June 2, 1849. On Jan. 3, 1826. he married
Belinda Swift, and to them came five children:
Maria, born Aug. 15, 1827, married John Smith;
Henry, born March 12, 1829, died in California;
James was born March 19, 183 1 ; Isaac, born Aug.
27, 1833, is the father of Mrs. Wright; and Frances,
born May 11, 1840, married Dewitt Crosby.

Isaac Reed was born in Amenia, X. Y., and
married Louise Clark, daughter of Richard Clark
(son of Daniel), of Sharon, Conn., a representative
of the Clark family of Milford, this State. To that
union were born two daughters. The elder, Cora
Belle, first married Franklin Phillips, of White
Plains, N. Y., and for her second husband married
Olin Dibble, of Seymour. Ella Frances, the
younger child, is the wife of Mr. \\'right, whose
name introduces this sketch.

CHAUNCEY SEELEY, who was long at the
head of the Seeley & Upham Building Co.. of Wa-
terbury, was born in 1845, iii Southbury, Xew Ha-
ven county. His father, George Seeley, and grand-
father, Elijah Seeley, were born in Wilton, Fairfield
county. Elijah Seeley was a farmer by calling, and
passed his life in Wilton. He was a patriot of the
war of 1812.

George Seeley was a shoemaker in early life,
but later became a farmer. He married, in Xew
Milford, Conn., Phebe Ann Buckingham, a native
of that town, and their children were ten in num-
ber, viz. : Sarah Ann is deceased ; Levina is the
wife of John Squires, of SouthDury. Conn.; Eliza-
beth married George Robertson, a- merchant of Xew
Milford; Harriet is the widow of William Oliver,
of Bethel, Conn.; Chauncey is the subject of this
sketch; John is a resident of Watcrbiiry ; Charles
is deceased; Henriette is now ^Irs. William Wor-
rington, of Watertown, Conn.; Miss Gcorgiana is

a resident of X'ew Haven; I'ranL is a farmer in
Southbury. Both parents arc deceased.

Chauncey Seeley grew to young manhood on
his father's farm, and until seventeen years of age
attended the district school and the high school at
South Britain. The Civil war, having broken out,
he made affidavit that he was eighteen years of age,
and thus succeeded in enlisting, Sept. 11, 1862, at
Woodbury, in Company I, 19th Conn. V. I. He
served until mustered out, at Fort Ethan Allen, \'a.,
July 7, 1865, and during this period participated in
all the battles, skirmishes, sieges, engagements and
marches in which the regiment took part.

x\t the termination of the war Mr. Seeley re-
turned to Southbury, where he learned the car-
I penter's trade, and remained until the spring of
1869, at which time he came to Waterbury. Here
j he followed his trade as a journeyman until the
I spring of 1888, when he engaged in contracting and
! building on his own account for about five years,
j after %vhich he formed a co-partnership with George
A. Upham, under the style of Seeley & Upham.
: This firm had an existence of about five years, at
I the end of which period was formed a corporation
! known as the Seeley & Upham Building Co., which
conducted a lumberyard, steam planingmill, etc., and
. did a very extensive business in the building line.
I E^rly in 1902 Mr. Seeley sold his interest and with-
j drew from the presidency.

I Mr. Seeley was married, in 1872, to ^^liss Sa-
mantha A. Nash, who died without issue May 15,
1875. In May, 1879, he married Sarah S. Osborn,
daughter of Xoah Osborn, of Seymour, Conn., and
! this union has been graced with three children,
Arthur O., Wilbur C. and Raymond C. Our sub-.
' ject and his family attend the First Congregational
Church and their social relations are with the most
refined residents of Waterburv.

In politics ]\Ir. Seeley is a stanch Republican.
He has been elected to the city council several
times, and in that body served on the Law com-
' mittee and the committee on Lamps and Gas. He
; is a prominent member of the American Mechanics,
! with whom he has been identified since 1875-, ''"'^
i in which body he is an ardent worker. He has also
been a member of the G. A. R. about twenty years,
■ and is now commander of Wadhams Post, Xo. 49.
I Mr. Seeley fraternizes with several other societies,
j in which he holds offices exalted and responsible,
i such as treasurer, etc. .\s a business man he is
classed with the most progressive and enterpris-
I ing in the city. His integrity has never been im-
peached, and his transactions have always been
i characterized by perfect candor and openness.

j REDFIELD B. WEST, M. D., of Guilford, is
a native of that town, born Oct. 28, 1857, the only
son of Benjamin C. and Cornelia E. West, the
former of whom is a native of northern Xew York
State, but f'jr many year? has resided in Guilford,

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 83 of 94)