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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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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 87 of 94)
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Napoleon Bonaparte, and he took part in the famous
Moscow campaign, serving fourteen years in the
army, and receiving a gold medal for his service-
He was a prominent citizen of Augmesingen, Wur-
tembcrg, Germany. After retiring from the armv
he held the position of burgomaster of the city of
Augmesingen until his death, the office passing
down to the eldest male child, next in line, living
in that craintry ; it is held at the present time by a
cousin of our subject.

\"alton Wirtemburg. our subject's father, was
born in Augmesingen. Germany, Feb. 12. 1832, was-
graduated from the theological seminary at Obern-
dorf. Germany, and came to America soon after-
ward, settling' in New Milford. Conn. In 1861 he
moved to Derby, Conn., where he had charge of the
furniture factory of Summers & Lewis. In 1S65
he formed a partnership with O. B. Coles, of New
Milford, for the manufacture of furniture, irr
Bridgeport. Conn. In 1876 he moved back to Derbv
and 'took a position with the Sterling Piano &
Organ Co.. but finallv located in Ansonia. In i8qc>
he ""retired from active business. Mr. Wirtemburg
was the first senior warden elected in Emmanuel
P. E. Church, and has held that position continu-
ouslv ever since : he has been superintendent of the
Sundav-school from its incorporation. He is a
member of Housatonic Lodge. No. 6. I. O. a F..
of Derbv. He married Elizabeth Hampson SRaw,
who wa> born in Ripenden. near Halifax, \ork-
.hire Fno-land. a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth
Shaw and granddaughter of. Sir John Hampson.
o Hampson Court. Yorkshire. Her father was art
officer n the British dragoons, and fought under
the Duke of Wellington at the battle ot Water^
He died at the age of eighty-nine 2;ear. O";^"^-
Sect's mother died m the year 18/8. at_ the age 01
iony-^^e vears. She was the mother ot seven chd-
W of whom four are living: Ed^n Han^jsoi.
our subject; Emma E wite ^^ Davul S.^Ii e
sunerintendent of the Seymour Mtg. Co George
ir fo eman of the Mathews Mfg. Co., of Seymou .
and J 'q'h P.. chief engineer of the Seymour

^''Oi^'subjecfs early years were spent in Bridge-


,C ■■■I -11.'

I '■-< I



port. Conn., where lie rt./.ived a jmblic-scliool al-
■ ucation. In 187J he nKi\cJ i" Licrby to take a po-
sition with the SterHng Piano & Organ Co., and on
leaving there, five years later, lie spent five years
engaged in the manufacture oi cigars at Southing-
ton, Conn. In 18S8 he located at Columbus, Ohio,
whence he removed to Ansonia. In 1&J4 he went
to California, where he took charge pf the Eagle
Milling & Gold 2^Iining Co., located at Placerville,
Eldorado county, as manager and part owner. Re-
turning later to Ansonia, he started the grocery
Lusiness, which was very successful. In the early
part of 1901 he retired from the grncery business
in Ansonia, and has since divided his time between
his property in Ansonia and at 'Cedar Beach, Mil-
ford, Conn. He is also interested in a large prop-
erty in Virginia.

On Jan. 10, 1877, Mr. Wirtemburg married
Miss Susan Jackson, a daughter of John and Eliza-
"beth Jackson, and they had one daughter, Jessie
Norma Wirtcmburg, who was married, April 20.
1897, to Jerome D. Perkins. She was a member of
the local musical circle, and organist of the Em-
inanuel Church for several years ; she died Xov. 24,

Politically our subject is a Republican. He
also takes active interest in church work, having
been clerk of Emmanuel Church oarish since it was
incorporated, and took charge of the musical part
of the service for a number of years. Fraternally
he is a merjiber of Eureka Lodge, Xo. 75, I. O. O.
F., of Plantsville, in which he has held various of-
fices. He is one of the oldest living members of the
Hotchkiss Hose Company, of Derby, and a charter
member of the Southington Hook & Ladder Co.,
No. I.

SAMUEL N. OVIATT, a leading merchant of
Milford, was born in that town Sept. 17, 1840, son
of Samuel and Abigail (Ford) Oviatt. ;

The Oviatt family is probably of Welsh origin, '
and our subject traces nis descent from Thomas
Oviatt, one of, the first settlers in Milford. Samuel :
Oviatt (i), his great-great-grandfather, and Sam-
uel Oviatt (2), his great-grandfather, were both
born in Milford. Abel Oviatt, our subject's grand-
father, was also a native of Milford, and for many
years followed the sea. While on his trips he made
a practice of purchasing molasses for his sons to -
sell in Milford, and it may be said that their grocery ■
business was established there in that way in 1820.
He died in 1850, aged eighty-one years. He and
his wife, whose maiden name was Margaret Mal-
lory, became the parents of two children : Samuel,
our subject's father; and Curtis, who was in part-
nership in the grocery business with his brother for ;
a short time, and also in a tannery and lumber yard, ■
and on selling his interest to his brother engaged j
in teaching school. j

Samuel Oviatt. our subject's father, was born '
and reared in Milford, and died there Sept. 4,

1876. He was an indeperdi.nt in politics and a
Congregationalist in religion. He continued the
grocery business until 1850. when he retired to his
farm to spend his declining years. He married
, Abigail Ford, of Milford, whose mother, Eunice
(Treat) Ford, was a granddaughter of Gov. Treat.
Mrs. Oviatt died leaving a family of three children:
Juliette, wife of Charles Tuttle. a shoemaker and
tailor in IMilford : Mary, wife of Lewis B. Malett,
a butcher of Stratford; and Samuel N., our subject.
The father iserved for some time in the local gren-

During boyhood Samuel X. Oviatt attended the
schools of Milford, and later Williston Seminary,
where lie was graduated in 1867. He then entered
Yale College, but sickness compelled him to give
up his course, although he afterward tutored for a
time and studied theology in LTnion Theological
Seminary, Xew York. While there he sang in one
of the churches, and was in W. H. Dana's orchestra,
playing the 'cello. In 1872 he engaged in his
present business, as a dealer in dry goods and gro-
ceries, feed, hardware and similar commodities, in
which he has been very successful, his store on
West Main street being well patronized.

On July 16, 187.^, Mr. Oviatt married IMiss
Mary Furman, of Milford, a daughter of Flenry
Furman, of western X'ew York. Two children
have blessed this union : Lorenzo Pratt and Abbie,
both at home. Lorenzo is now (1902) in his sec-
ond year as a student in the music department of
Yale, and is musical director for the Y. M. C. A,
of his county. His instrument is the organ. ^Ir.
Oviatt, like others of his family, is independent in
politics. He is connected with various organiza-
tions, including uie National Provident Union and
the Masonic fraternity, in which latter he was made
master in 1866. As a member of the First Congre-
gational Church he has been active in religious
work, serving as superintendent of the Sunday-
school, and as deacon.

WILLIAM H. JOHXSTON, a leading agri-
culturist and highly esteemed citizen of Waterburv,
Xew Haven county, residing on the Bradleyville
road, was born in Newark, N. J., Nov. 15, 1857,
and is of Scotch-Irish descent.

Archibald Johnston, his father, was born in
County Fermanagh, Ireland, and came to America
when a young man. He first located in X^'ewark,
X. J., where for some years he served as foreman
for his father-in-law, William Beard, a contractor
and dealer in coal, and later had charge of his busi-
ness in Brooklyn, making his home there. There ■
he was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Ann
Beard, a native of Brooklyn, and to them were bom
three children: Mary and Edith, who died young;
and William H., our subject. The parents both died
in Brooklyn, the father in 1884. the mother in 1862,
and their remains were interred in Greenwood cem-
etery. Tiiey were members of the Episcopal Church



and w crc heUI in high rcs:^arcl by all who knew them.
J IV his political views the father was a Democrat.
Vor his second wife he married Delia Norton, who
died in Brooklyn in 1886, and was also buried in
Cirecuwcod cemetery. l!y that union there was one
son, Charles Francis, who is a resident of Water-
bury, Connecticut.

William H. Johnston attended the public schools
of Brooklyn, and also a polytechnic school, from
which he was graduated. He began his business life
in the otifice of J. P. and G. C. Robinson, of Xew
York, with whom he remained seven years, and in
1878 came to Waterburv, Xew Haven Co., Conn.,
and purchased the Wheaton farm of 108 acres, on
the Bradley ville road, upon which he has made
many useful and valuable improvements that add
greatly to its attractive appearance. As an agricult-
urist he has met with success, becoming quite well-

On Aug. 3, 1881, in Waterbury. Mr. Johnston
married Aliss Fanny Tracy, a native of [Morris,
Conn., and a sister of George Tracy, a contractor
of Waterbury, in whose sketch will be found a
history of her family. Mrs. Johnston received a
good high-school education, and for seventeen years
successfully engaged in teaching in W'atertown,
Litchfield, Wolcott, Thomaston and ^^liddlebury.
Conn. Mr. and [Mrs. Johnston have four children,
whose names and dates of birth are as follows:
Daisv Edith, March 28, 1884: Bella M., Julv 31,
1886; William F., April 30, i88g: and Archibald
L., May 11, 1892. The family attend the Episcopal
Church, and are quite prominent sociall)- in the
community where they reside.

Politically Mr. Johnston is not identified with
any particular party, but casts his ballot for the
men whom he believes best qualified to fill the of-
fices. Fraternally he is a member of the I. O. O. F. ;
the Knights of Pythias ; the Benevolent and Pro-
tective Order of Elks : the Independent Order of
Foresters; and the Improved Order of Red Men.
He has traveled extensively in Europe and Amer-
ica, and has become, as every traveler should, a
man of broad mind and liberal views. He is gen-
erous, progressive and charitable, and is very pop-
ular with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.

TIMOTHY O'ROURKE, proprietor of a pop-
ular grocery and grain and feed business in Water-
bury, is a native of Ireland, born in 1850 in County
Kerry, son of John and Honora (McEllegott)
O'Rourke, both also natives of County Kerry.

John O'Rourke came with his family to the
United States, settling in Waterbury, where he was
employed in a button shop; he died in iSt>5. His
wife passed away in i8g8. They were the parents
of six children: Timothy is the eldest; Joanna is
the wife of John McCarty. of Waterbury; Eliza-
beth, the wife of Eugene Lynch, died in Water-
bury; Flonora is the wife oi Michael Sheeliar., '.n ■
Waterbury; John lives in Erid.geport, where he


follows the busin^'ss of collector; and William died
in Xew York.

Timothy O'Rourke received his education in his
native land, and at the age of seventeen came to
America, settling in Waterbury, where he has ever
since made his home. For a time he worked for
Brown Bros., also for Benedict & Burnham, and
later in the clock-case shops. In 1875 he embarked
in his present grocery and liquor business on Sco-
vill street, to which he in 1892 added grain and
feed, and has been most deservedly successful. He
is wholesale agent for the Xew England Brewing
Co. for the Xaugatuck valley, and has been one
of the directors of same since April i, 1901. In
1878 he built a brick block on Scovill street, and
in 1888 another brick block on that street. He has
made all he possesses by hard work, coupled with
sound judgment and good management.

In 1871 Mr. O'Rourke married Ellen AUman,
a native of Ireland, and ten children have been born
to them, five of whom are yet living: James,
Xorean, Timothy, Ellen and Josephine. The family
attend the services of the Church of the Immaculate
Conception, Waterbury. Socially Mr. O'Rourke is
a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Hepta-
sophs, the Foresters of America and the Ancient
Order of Hibernians. In politics he is a Democrat,
and has served as councilman, also as alderman
of the Fifth ward, and at the present time is a mem-
ber of the town committee.

NICHOLAS JEXKIN-S. former assistant su-
perintendent and designer for the Holmes, Booth
& Hay dens Mfg. Co., Waterbury, was born on the
Atlantic ocean between the years 1835 and 1840,
while his parents were on their way to this country.

Richard Jenkins, his father, born in England,
was a blacksmith by trade, al,so a veterinary sur-
geon. On arriving in the United States, he came
to Butifalo, X'. Y.. and was there employed by the
Ohio Stage Co., and then went to Ontario to work
for the same company. He died about 1850, the
father of seven children : Mary, the eldest, is the
widow of Jacob Johnson, who was a tailor by trade,
and she lives in Hamilton, Ontario ; Jane, Joseph
and William are deceased; two died in infancy;
Xicholas, our subject, is the youngest, and the
mother died about the time of his birth.

Xicholas Jenkins received his education in part
in Buffalo, X. Y., in part in Xiagara Falls, X. Y.,
and he also attended school in Hamilton, Ont.,
while with his sister. At the age of fifteen he com-
menced learning the cabinet-making trade, paint-
ing and decoratin,g, etc., serving his apprenticeship
in Hamilton and Buft'alo. For two years he fol-
lowed painting and decorating in Wattsburg, Pa.,
and then returned to Buffalo, and after considerable
time passed in that city in his line of work he re-
moved to Xew York City, where he was similarly
Linployed for some lime. He was also in Boston,
[\Iass., and Xew Haven, Conn., where Ik- exhibited

; r. r-

: t!




a niacliin'e he had invriiUil icr sinkiii'::;- iiioMs in
solid wood, for the making ct door panels. This
machine was known as the Jenkins Paneling Ma-
chine. He also invented tools to sink molds in
marble; and invented a substitute for whale bone,
which was made of braided wire. His paneling
machine was exhibited at the Centennial Exposi-
tion in 1S76 at Philadelphia, but unf-ortunately for
Mr. Jenkins the invention did not prove a financial
success to him. In 1879, while in Xew Haven,
working at his inventions, the Holmes, Booth &
Haydens Mfg. Co., sought liis services and the right
to manufacture his goods. Of the latter they made
a failure, but Mr. Jenkins remained m their em-
ploy until January, iQOi.

While living in Euftalo ^Nlr. Jenkins married
Miss M. J. Tucker, who died in Xew York City.
Three children were bom of this marriage, of whom
two died in infancy; the other, L. B., married H.
E. Brunt, had two children, and died in 1880. In
1870 Mr. Jenkins married Fannie C. Doane. of Bos-
ton, Mass. They attend the services of the Con-
gregational Church. Socially he is a member of
the Ancient Order of United Workmen, of the
New England Order of Protection, and other bene-
ficiary societies ; in politics he is independent.

JOHN MERRTA^^I PAGE comes of a family
of English descent. His grandfather, Benjamin
Page, was born in Xorth Branford, Xew Haven
county, and was a farmer by occupation. His fam-
ily consisted of four children, Esther, Lois, Benja-
min (father of John M.) and Daniel. Esther mar-
ried Augustus Rogers, a young farmer of the town
■ in which she had been born and grown to woman-
hood, and after her death he married her sister
Lois. Daniel, who was also a farmer, died while
yet a young man.

Benjamin Page (2), the father of John M., was
also born in North Branford. He m.arried Sarah E.
Merriam, of Meriden, and they became the parents
of five children: ( i) John M. is mentioned below.
(2)Charles is a Congregational minister, residing
in North Branford, wlure he wields a strong po-
litical influence. ( 3 ) Benjamin is one of the promi-
nent and influential citizens of Meriden, where he
carries on an insurance business. He has been
mayor of the city, and has represented his district
in the Legislature. (4) Martha married T. A.
Smith, a successful merchant and farmer of Xorth-
ford. (5) Robert, who has never married, lives
in the old homestead. Benjamin Page 12), the
father, inherited the old homestead and engaged in
farming. He was a man who commanded re-
spect alike by the force of his intellect and the
sturdy integrity of his character. He was a Dem-
ocrat in politics, and for many years filled various
local offices, among them those of town clerk, town
treasurer and justice of the peace.

John M. Page was ln'rn Ic!). 14. i.'^^S. in Xort'i
Branford. His attendance at the district school

was supplemented bv a year's training in r\Ieriden.
and at tlie age of seventeen he was apprenticed to
the tinner's trade, at Xorth ford. After becoming a
joumeyman he worked there, as well as at Clin-
ton and at Xewark. X. J. In 1874 he settled at
X'augatuck, where he purchased a general hardware
and tinware business. To its management he brought
keen perception and deep penetration, untiring in-
dustry and practical knowledge, a laudable ambition
and the faeult}' of giving close attention to every
detail. He has prospered greatly, his success being
the natural outcome of his own efforts. The busi-
ness, now conducted by the firm of John AL Page &
Co., is located in the building in Church street,
and in addition to the general hardware business
they do plumldng, besides contracting for the in-
stallation of steam, hot-air and hot-water heating
apparatus and plants.. They also manufacture tin,
sheet iron, brass and copper ware.

Forty-one years ago Mr. Page married Miss
Carrie C. Cook, a daughter of Leverett Cook, of
W'allingford. The only child born of the union died
in infancy. After the death of his first wife ^Ir.
Page married Rebecca, daughter of Harry Will-
iams, also of Wallingford. They had four daugh-
ters : Carrie C. who married Horace E. Baldwin,
of X'augatuck ; Xellie ^L, who became the wife of
W. P. Clark, formerly of Prospect, but now of
Xaugatuck ; Leafie B.. now iNIrs. W. H. ]\Iiner, of
the same town ; and ]\Iattie R., who was united to
Frank Squires, of Xaugatuck. After the death of
Mrs. Rebecca Page our subject married Miss Sarah
C. Williams, of Meriden, whose father, Henry Will-
iams, was a citizen of Wallingford.

Air. Page is a Democrat, and has been repeatedls-
[ the successful candidate of his partv for various
I important offices. For more than a decade he was
j town treasurer, in 1898 he was chosen a member of
I the Legislature, to which he was re-elected in 1900.
i For nearly twenty years he has been senior warden
j of St. Michael's Episcopal parish. He is a thirty-
! second-degree Mason, affiliating with Corinthian
' Lodge, Xo. 103. A. F. & A. ^NL; Allerton Chapter.
Xo. 39. R. A. M.; Waterbury Council, Xo. 21, R.
j & S. AI. ; Clark Conmiandery, No. 7, K. T. ; Doric
; Lodge of Perfection, Xo. 14, A. & A. S. R. ; Ionic
; Council, Xo. 16, P. of J., A. & A. S. R. : Lafayette
[ Sovereign Consistory (32d degree), A. & A. S'. R. ;
j Pyramid Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.; Evergreen
I Chapter, Xo. 22. O. E. S. ; and Court Xo. 2. Or-
i der of the Amaranth.

the history of the good and great comes down to us
through the ages. The true religion has been the
' strongest influence known to man through all time.
, while the many false doctrines that have sprung up
! have flourished only for a day and then vanished.
i More potent at the present time than at any period
i in the wnrld's history are the work and influence
I of Chriitianiiy, and among those who are devoting







^^ (f^4^ ry<^


1 141

thiir live? to its incu'.catioi! aiiU'nt;- men is. Mr.
Coiintrynian, the honored pastor of the Congrega-
tional Church of North Branford.

The Countryman (or Landniann) family was
founded in America liv three hrothers, who emi-
grated from Gcrmanv in 1710 or 1711. and took up
land in tlie Mohawk \'a!Iey, Xew York. From
Conrad, one of. these hrothers. our subject traces
his descent. He secured a tract of land near that
of hisi brothers, and while clearing the same for
farm purposes, he also engaged in hunting. His
son, Jacob Countryman, born, probal)ly, 1732, was
a soldier of the Revolutionary war in Col. Clyde's
regiment of the line, under the immediate command
of Capt. Diefendorf. and took part in various en-
gagements. The next in direct descent was Nich-
olas Countryman, who was born in 1762 or 1763,
and died in 1837. He first married Christina
Outhout, who died in 1824, aged sixty years. His
second wife, Charity Petten, survived him several
years. One son by the first union, Nicholas Coun-
tryman (2), was born in Stark, Herkimer Co., N.
Y., in 1800, and was the youngest of the family.
He resided in his native county for many years and
followed stone cutting or the mason's trade. He
tlied in Montgomery county, N. Y., in 1S73. His
wife, who bore the maiden name of Betsy Ann C.
I-Ickler, was also born in Stark, Herkimer Co.,
N. Y., in 1799, and died in 1881. Her grandfa-
ther, Capt. Henry Eckler, served as a soldier in the
Revolutionary war, and attained considerable local
distinction as an Indian fighter. Her father, Jacob
Eckler, was once carried awav bv the red men, and
had his ears pierced by them. In Minden, N. Y.,
he married a ^liss Fetterly, and died in 1800, at
about the age of ninety-five }ears. The children
born to Nicholas and Betsy Ann (Eckler) Coun-
tryman were as follows: Jacob, deceased: Mary,
widow of Dewitt C. Richardson, of Michigan;
Lydia, who died at the age of twenty years; Caro-
line, who married John Cronkhite, deceased; Nich-
olas, father of our subject: Asa, a retired minister,
who has had charges in Massachusetts, Connecti-
cut, Iowa, Illinois and New Me.xico ; Levi, who went
to California in the early 'fifties, and has not since
been heard from; Alfred, a resident of Brooklyn,
N. Y. ; Paul, a resident of Michigan ; Elizabeth, who
married G. P. Cummings, and resides in Iowa ; and
Eliza, who married Alonzo Saunders.

Nicholas Countryman (3), the father of our
subject, was born in the towii of Stark, Herkimer
Co., N. Y., Oct. 25, 1825, and is now a resident
. of New Haven. Throughout his active business life
he was a contractor and builder, and erected many
of the finest buildings in that city, including the city
ball, St. Thomas' Church, St. John's Roman Cath-
olic Church and the Church of the Sacred Heart.
He was also part owner of a planing mill for many
years, but is now living retired from active labor.
In his political views he is a Dc:;i'.crat, and has
served as alderman from hii ward and as a mem-

ber of the board of selectmen. For many years he
has been an active and prominent member of the
Howard Avenue Congregational Church, and is a
man highly respected by all who know him. In
1848 he was married, in this State, to Louisa Hine,
who was born May 30, 1825. a daughter of Heze-
kiah and Abigail (Talmadge) Hine. By this union
were born seven children, namely: Franklin, our
subject; W. A., who was employed on the Hartford
Ez'oiiiig Post, and was president of the board of
councilmen of that city, and now has a position in
the Census Bureau at Washington, D. C. : Charles,
a carpenter and joiner of New Haven ; Edwin, who
is engaged in the same business in that citv ; Louisa,
wife oi" E. H. Wight, of New Rochelle, N. Y. ;
Robert E., also a carpenter of New Haven; and
Stella, who died in infancy.

Franklin Countryman, whose name introduces
this review, was born in New Haven Sept. 23. 1849,
and betvveen the ages of nine and thirteen years at-
tended the Lovell school of that cit\-, after which
he was a student in the Hopkins Grammar school
for four years. In 1866 he entered Yale L'niversity,
from which he was graduated in 1870. Among his
associates there who have attained particular prom-
inence may be named : J. G. K. McClure, formerly
president of Lake Forest L'niversity ; Roderick Ter-
ry, D. D., pastor of the Madison Avenue Reformed
Church, New York City: E. S. Dana, a professor
at Yale : and Dr. W. H. Welch, of Johns Hopkins
L'niversity. The vear following his graduation Mr.
Countr}"man taught in the academy at Clinton,
Conn., and then entered the Yale Divinity School,
completing the course in 1874. His first charge
was at Prospect, Conn., where he remained three
years. The following two vtars were spent at

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 87 of 94)