Ellery Bicknell Crane.

Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester county, Massachusetts, with a history of Worcester society of antiquity (Volume 2) online

. (page 127 of 133)
Online LibraryEllery Bicknell CraneHistoric homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester county, Massachusetts, with a history of Worcester society of antiquity (Volume 2) → online text (page 127 of 133)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


November 21, 1887; married, 1828, Betsey C. Glazier,
daughter of Lewis and Lucy (Keyes) Glazier, and
removed to Ashburnham. Smyrna W., born Decem-
ber 13, 1804, died March 9, 1SS0: married Lucy
Jackson, daughter of Elisha and Relief (Beard)
Jackson, and resided in Gardner, where they had
seven children. Mary Elmira. born November 5,
1807. died November 5. 1855. Sally Whitney, born
April 13, 1810. married Ephraim Wright. Amasa,

forward. Viola, born August 26. 1815. died
\n i 1S60; married Charles W. Bush and had
on, Charles W., married Mary Bancroft,
daughter of Smyrna W. Bancroft.

(VIII) Vmasa Bancroft, fifth child of Smyrna
Bancroft (7), was born in Gardner, Massachusetts,
March 16, [812, on the homestead, situated three-
fourth of a mile northwest of the Common, first

pied and improved by his grandfather some
the incorporation of the town. His



boyhood and youth were spent in the manner that
was usual with farmers' sons in New England at
that time. In the routine of his daily tasks, and
under the responsibilities laid upon him, there were
developed in him those habits of industry, prudence
a,nd general thriftiness, and that self-reliant spirit
so essential to a strong and reliable character, which
in after years served him so well in the various
positions and relations of life. Arriving at mature
age, he did not go to seek his fortune in larger
communities where w-as greater promise of pro-
motion and worldly success, but remained in his.
native town, content to enter upon whatever career
of usefulness might be open to him there. The
business of chairmaking had already gained a foot-
hold in Gardner, and promised to become an in-
dustry of importance. He entered a chair factory
and spent three years in learning the trade. Then
he formed a partnership with Frederick Parker,,
and they manufactured chairs for a year in a small
shop which stands near the residence of Henry
Lawrence. They then associated with themselves-
Messrs. Jared Taylor and Joel Baker, the firm be-
ing Taylor, Bancroft & Company. They bought
the pail factory of Sawin & Damon, in the south
part of the town. Sawin & Damon had begun the
manufacture of pails, buckets, and similar wooden
ware by machinery a short time before. The new
firm continued to make the same line of goods for
four years. In 1840 Mr. Bancroft bought out his
partners and continued alone, under the name of
A. Bancroft & Company. In 1865 he took his son-
in-law, John C. Bryant, into partnership, and he
continued in the business until his death in 1882.
At that time the firm was producing ten thousand
nests of tubs of from two to eight each, valued at
$25,000. Some 30.000 pails were made annually
making the total product worth $25,000. The firm
had a saw mill and dealt in lumber also, owning
large tracts of timberland. In 1S83 his stepson,
Alfred Wyman, was admitted to partnership. When
Mr. Bancroft died, January 26, 1S88, he was the
oldest pail and tub manufacturer in the United
States. After his death the business "was sold to
Henry Hadley & Company, and a few years later
the firm lost heavily by fire and gave up business.
Mr. Bancroft was in every sense a self-made
man. He rose by his own efforts from comparative
poverty to modest wealth, and became a leader in
the town and church. He was called upon to fill
many positions of honor and trust, served the town
for five years as selectman, was the first president
of the First National Bank of Gardner, a position
he held for seven years, and was one of the founders
of the savings bank, and a trustee from the date of
its establishment in 1S65 to his death. He was a
Republican in politics, always sought to do his
whole duty to the state as well as the town, and
was interested in public questions and in shaping
public sentiment. Mr. Bancroft was endowed with
unusual musical gifts. He had an excellent voice
and a good ear. together with a great love for
music. He was for many years an efficient and suc-
cessful teacher of singing schools in the vicinity.
For forty years he was the leader of the choir in
the church to which he belonged. His voice was
well trained and exceedingly effective in religious
music, to which he devoted his attention chiefly.
A friend, writing of him soon after his death, said:
" \ man of cheerful disposition, humane feelings,
tender sympathies and generous impulses, every

g 1 work found in Mr. Bancroft a helper, and

every philanthropic cause a friend." He was con-
siderate of the men in his employ, of the unfor-
tunate and worthy poor, and his benefactions to




cf^^2£^/ M^-.^^y



WORCESTER COUNTY



433



such were many, but scrupulously kept from the
public eye. He shrank from whatever might seem
like notoriety or love of display, and many of his
donations to objects he held most dear, were not
only unknown to the world, but to those nearest to
him in life. In his home he was genial, affectionate,
kind and helpful, making life there sunny and glad
by his presence. Mr. Bancroft was a man of strong
religious convictions, and was an active member of
the Congregational Church (Trinitarian).

He married, April 5, 1836, Caroline Abiel Shum-
way, daughter of Nehemiah and Matilda (.Bolton)
Shumway. She died September 12, 1858. Her
parents had six children born in Westminster. Mr.
Bancroft married (.second) Jane Whitney (Wilder)
Wyman, widow, who had two sons: Henry Har-
rison and Alfred Wyman. The children of Amasa
and Caroline A. (Shumway) Bancroft were: Caro-
line Matilda, born June 2, 1837 (see above in Bryant
sketch), married John C. Bryant; Mary Almira,
August I, 1844, died September 12, 1862. Mr. Ban-
croft's step-sons: Rev. Henry H. Wyman, Paulist
Father, is connected with St. Mary's Roman Catholic
Church of San Francisco, California. Alfred Wy-
man, traveling salesman, resides in Gardner.

EDWARD M. BLISS. The ancestry of Edward
M. Bliss, of Worcester, is the same as that of Will-
iam H. Bliss, a sketch of whom is to be found else-
where in this work, down to their grandfathers.
The ancestors of Edward M. Bliss in the male line
arc: Thomas (1), Jonathan (2), Thomas (3),
Jonathan (4), Ephraim (5), Jonathan (6). John
(7), Nathan (8), Nathan (9), Abel (10), Nathan
in). Edward M. (12).

(X) Abel Bliss, son of Nathan Bliss (9), was
born August 23, 1785, died July 4, 1852. He mar-
ried Nicena Ballon, born March 6, 1788, died April
7. 1S47. Their children were : Nathan, born Sep-
tember, [808. Abel Ballou, born February 21, 1811,
died August 4, 1852. Harrison, born October 9,
1812. Russell, born December 5. 1815, died June

15, 1852. James, born July 16, 181S, died January

16. 1842 ; he kept a restaurant at Troy, New York :
he married Julia Drury, daughter of Ephraim and
Betsey Drury; she was born October 24. 1S20, and
died "October iS, 1844; left no issue. Nicena J.,
born December 12, 1823, died January 7, 1S45. un-
married. Olive Lucina, born July 3, 1825, married,
May 9, 1847, Charles C. Balch, carpenter, resided at
Shirley Village, Massachusetts ; he was born in
1821, a son of Francis and Sally Balch.

(XI) Nathan Bliss, son of Abel Bliss (10),
born September, 1808. married, 1832, Emily, daugh-
ter of James and Freelove Lovett, born Shutesbury,
Massachusetts, January, 1806, died March 16. 1865.
Their children were: Amelia J., born October 7,
1833. Helen J., born April 9, 1S36. died November
g, 1838. Julia L., born January 4, 1838, married.
July 2. 1856, William F. Gordon, and died March
21. i860; they had no children. Nicena J., born at
Royalston, May 1. 1840. married. December 17. 1861,
Azro K. Greene, postoffice clerk, born at Bernards-
ton, Massachusetts, September 29, 1831, and died
at Orange. Massachusetts : his widow resides at
Orange. Massachusetts. They were the parents
of one child, Cora Allie Greene, born at Bernards-
ton. December 25. 1864. Alfreda M.. born at Win-
hall. Vermont, May 7. 1842, married. October 5,
1865. Charles S. Hopping, of Worcester, Massachu-
setts, born in Templeton, Massachusetts, 1831

of Asa and Betsey Hopping. Frederick J., born at
Winhall, Vermont, June 21. 1S44: he. like his I
is a farmer, and resides on the old homestead in
ii— 28



Royalston, Massachusetts; he married, December 19,
1870, Maria L. Cook, of Worcester, and their chil-
dren were: Florence Julia; Rolland Nathan; Amy
May. and Alta. Edward M, see forward.

(XII) Edward M. Bliss, son of Nathan Bliss
( 11 ). was born at Winhall, Vermont, November 25,
[846 lie wa- reared 111 the same manner as the
majority of sons of farmers in those days, working
on the farm during the summer months and attend-
ing the common and high schools at Winhall and
Royalston during the winter months. He com-
pleted his studies in the Powers Institute, Bernards-
ton, Massachusetts, which he attended for a short
period of time. When ten years of age his parents
removed to the old Bliss homestead in Royalston
township, Worcester, where his father and grand-
father were born, the same still being in the pos-
session of the Bliss family. In early manhood he
devoted his attention to teaching school, but, pos-
sessing a natural taste for- mechanics, he abandoned
tin- vocation and learned the trade of cabinetmaker,
which he followed for a number of years. For al-
most three years has was connected with the Estey
Organ Company, at Brattleboro, Vermont. In 1876
he engaged in canvassing for books, in which line
of work he met with signal success, and he fre-
quently mentioned this vocation with considerable
pride, claiming that it was of considerable benefit
to him along educational lines, thus coming in con-
tact with men of business and learning. Later he
turned his attention to the life insurance business,
and throughout this entire period laid the founda-
tion of his later success in business life by depend-
ing on his own resources. January 14, 18S2, he set-
tled in Worcester, and in 188.5 entered into partner-
ship with John C. Bickford in the manufacture of
lambsw'ool soles and hand crocheted slippers, their
shop being located at No. 13 Mechanic street, Wor-
cester. The business was successful from the start,
and the firm of Bickford & Bliss acquired an en-
viable reputation in the trade on these lines of
goods. Mr. Bliss purchased the interest of his
partner, February 1, 1894, and continued the business
alone under his own name until his death. He occu-
pied commodious quarters at the original location
until March 17, 1905, when the plant was destroyed
by fire. He then moved to No. 18 Salem street, a
new building of very' substantial construction. His.
plant was a model one, thoroughly equipped
with special machinery devised for the production
of these goods. Mr. Bliss did not wait for the
invention of machines to meet his needs, but con-
stantly experimented in order to improve those
already in use, and took out several patents on
specialties which he manufactured. The success of
this industry has been in great measure due to the
machines invented by Mr. Bliss and his associates
for the class of work produced in his factory. A
few specialties are made beside the slippers" and
soles, but they received only secondary attention at
the hands of Mr. Bliss. The slippers and soles
are made in all sizes and patterns. Some thirty
hands are employed on the machines in the shop,,
and some one hundred and fifty at their homes. Mr.
Bliss made a specialty of this hand work on his
goods for many years, and was the first to intro-
duce the hand crocheted worsted slippers on the
market in this country. Mr. Bli-s died November
24, 1906, after an illness of only a few days. His
comparatively early death was a distinct lo the

community, and a crushing blow to his family. His
strongest characteristic was his devotion to his
borne and his affection for his wife and children,
lie had no desire for club companionship, or social



434



WORCESTER COUNTY



life outside In- family circle, and the friends clo
connected with it, and all his hours of rest and
recreation were passed with his loved ones.

Mr. Bliss attended the Central Church. He was
a member of the Board of Trade of Worcester and
bore a full share in the promotion of community af-
fairs, and was a foremost agent in forwarding every
material and moral interest, tie was a member of
the Worcester Congregational Club, and the Eco-
nomic Chili, in politics he was a Republican. Begin-
ning life humbly, without capital, and unaided by
influential friends, Mr. Bliss attained to a posi-
tion of honor and usefulness solely through his own
ability and the exercise of energy and unconquerable
determination. At every stage he faithfully met
every requirement with loyalty and devotion, and
his advancement from time to time came to
him as the direct result of his own effort. He was
a man of pleasing personality, unassuming in man-
ner, and was honored and respected by all who en-
joyed his acquaintance.

Mr. Bliss married (first), at Royalston, Massa-
chusetts, January I, 1870, Sarah A. Buffum, daugh-
ter of Benjamin and Sarah Buffum. born in Royals-
ton, Massachusetts, 1840, died September, 1878. He
married February 1, 1882, Elizabeth A. Heywood, of
Indianapolis. Indiana, who died March 17, 1884.
He married July 14, 1886, Louise M. Lawrence,
daughter of Charles S. and Maria (Hervey) Law-
rence, of Oxford, Massachusetts. Mrs. Bliss re-
sides in the new home on Massachusetts avenue,
in Worcester, which is thoroughly furnished with
everything need ml fur the health and comfort of
its inmate?.

BRIGHAM FAMILY. Thomas Brigham (1).
the immigrant ancestor of the Brigham family of
Grafton, Massachusetts, was born in England. The
Brigham family there is one of the oldest. The name
is derived from two Saxon words, brigg or bridge
and ham (house). Brigham is the name of a manor
in Cumberland county, adjoining Scotland, to which
at times it belonged in the early days. The ruins
of the old castle of the Barony are to be seen there.
It was built of old Roman material centuries ago.
As late as 1648, however, it stood a siege of a
month. The family historian, Rev. Abner Morse,
finds the origin of Thomas Brigham in this manor
and his ancestry among the lords of Brigham.

Thomas Brigham embarked from London. Eng-
land, for America, April 18, 1635, 111 the ship "Susan
and Ellen-." He resided first at Cambridge, then at
Watertown. lie had a fourteen acre lot at Water-
town, bought of John Dogget, in that part annexed
to Cambridge, and he built a house in Cambridge
on the road to Watertown on Charles river. He
fed there until 1648. He was admitted a freeman
in [639. lie was selectman in 1640-42-47, constable
-from 16,59 to 1642. He owned a wind mill. In 1647
the how that he owned a third of all the

swine in the town. He died at Cambridge, Decem-
ber X, [653. His will was dated December 7, 1653-
54, : I >ctober 3, 1654. He bequeathed to

wife Mercj ; to children: Thomas, John, Mary,
mall and Samuel.

lie married Mercy Hurd, who is said to have
•emigrated with her sister on account of religious
diffi 1 England. She married (second), March

1. io.s.s. Edmund Rice, bv whom he bad two daugh-
ters. (See Rice Family sketch). She married
(third), 1664, William limit, of Marlborough. She
I December 23, [693. Children of Thomas and
Mercy Brigham wire: Thomas, born 1640-41. died
November J.s, 1717. aged seventy-six years: John,
born March 9, 1044 45, died September 16, 1728,



aged eighty-four years ; Hannah, born May 9, 1649,
married Samuel Wells; Samuel, born January 12,
I 65-'-53, see forward.

(,11) Samuel Brigham, son of Thomas. Brigham
(1), was born January 12, 1652-53, died July 24,
1713. He married Elizabeth How, who died July
26, T 739. aged seventy-nine years. She was a daugh-
ter of Abraham and Hannah (Ward) Howe. They
lived a mile and a quarter east of the old meeting
house common, near the Daniel Brigham place in
Marlborough, where until lately his descendants
lived and conducted the tannery that he established.
He became a large landholder. The children: Eliza-
beth, born March 24. 1085. married, October 16,
171 1, Samuel Robinson; Hepsibah, born January

25, 1686, married, 1719, John Maynard ; Samuel,
born January 25, 1689, married Abigail Moore ;
Jedediah, born June 8, 1693, married Bethiah Howe ;
Jotham, born December 23, 1695, died November
2 3, 1759; Timothy, born October 10, 1690, married
Martha Johnson ; Charles, born December 30, 1700,
see forward; Persis, born July 10, 1703; Antipas,
born October 16, 1706, died April 23, 1746, un-
married.

(III) Charles Brigham, son of Captain Samuel
Brigham (2), was born December 30, 1700. He
married Mary Peters, of Newport, Rhode Island,
born 1716, died February 19, 1797. He removed
from Marlborough and made his home at Grafton, of
which he was one of the forty proprietors in 1727.
He was the founder of the Grafton family of Brig-
ham. He was one of the most able and distinguished
citizens ; he held the various town offices and was
deputy to the general court. He was appointed a
magistrate by the royal governor. His homestead
was on Brigham hill, lately the country home of
William Brigham, his lineal descendant, and the
magnificent elms planted by the first settler in 1745
are still living. Charles Brigham died in 1781. The
children : Charles, born October 29, 1732, died Jan-
uary 20, 1755; Daniel, born April 28, 1735, soldier,
died in 1759 in Crown Point expedition; William,
born March 26, 1739, see forward ; Mary, born De-
cember 12, 1740, married Moses Parks; Sarah, born
April 19, 1743, married Moses Leland ; Anna, born
March 18. 1745. married Samuel Harrington and
(second) Henry Prentice; Timothy, born November
23, 1747, died February 9, 1748; Persis, born January
4. 1755. married Noah B. Kimball; Elizabeth, mar-
ried Nahum Warren.

(IV) William Brigham, son of Charles Brig-
ham (3), was born in Grafton, Massachusetts, March

26, 1739. He married, July 21, 1768, Sarah Pren-
tice, born 1744, died February 2. 1834. He died of
old age in his ninety-fifth year, August I, 1833. He
was an active patriot during the revolution and
served on the committee of safety and correspond-
ence. He inherited the Brigham homestead at
Grafton, then comprising nearly all the land on
Brigham bill. He was well educated for his day
and was offered a commission as justice of the
peace, but declined it. In person he was tall, straight,
and very athletic. It is said of him that he was wont
"to jump over fences five and six feet high with-
out touching hand or foot and when ninety years
old had rather walk than ride one or two miles."

Sarah Prentice was the daughter of Rev. Solomon
and Sarah (Sartell) Prentice, and she was also very
active and energetic. It is related that when her
sister Mary's husband died at Hull, Sarah started
alone from Grafton to visit her, making the trip
alone through the forests with one stop over night
at Easton. The children : Charles, born July 27,

1769, see forward; Susannah, born November 27,

1770. married Ephraim Goulding; Solomon, born



WORCESTER COUNTY



435



"November 26, 1772. married Lucy Adams; Sally,
born September 12, 1780, married Benjamin Kings-
bury and Jeremiah Flagg; Persis, born August 4,
1786, married Leonard Wheelock.

(V) Captain Charles Brigham, son of William
Brigham (4), was born at Grafton, Massachusetts,
July 27, 1769; married, October 20, 179", Susannah

Baylies, daughter of Deacon Nicholas arid Abigail
( Wood) Baylies, and sister of Hon. Nicholas Bay-
lies, Jr., judge of the supreme court .of Vermont.
She was born 1778 and died June 10, 1837. He died
in 1847. He inherited the Brigham homestead. He
was an officer in the militia, fourth sergeant in Cap-
tain Jonathan Wheeler's company of foot; second
regiment of the second brigade. He was promoted
captain. He resigned his commission as captain
January 20, 1809. Their children : Colonel Charles,
born May 22, 1799, see forward; Susannah B., born
February 13, 1802, died March 5, 1804; Susan B.,
born May 24, 1804, married Dr. Josiah Kittridge;
resided at Nashua, New Hampshire, died at Geneseo,
New York, without issue; William, born September
26, 1806, married Margaret A. Brooks ; Nicholas H.,
born October 2, 1808, married, December 20, 1838,
Sarah E. Wood ; Solomon, born November 19,
1810, died October 8, 1841, unmarried; Hannah,
born March 11, 1813, married Rev. Stillman Pratt;
Sarah, born May 7, 1815, married Rev. Charles B.
Kittridge, died 1S71 ; Lucy A., born July 25, 1817,
died March, 1893; married Francis Merrirield ; Maria
C, born June 26, 1820, married W. T. Merrirield,
i see sketch Merrirield Family — Hon. W. T.
Forbes ) ; Cornelia, born November 17, 1823, mar-
ried Calvin Taft, see forward.

(VI) Colonel Charles Brigham, son of Charles
Brigham (5), was born in Grafton. Massachusetts.
May 22, 1799, married, April 17, 1826, Anna Eliza
Brigham, born November 4, 1806, daughter of Cap-
tain Pierpont Brigham, of Westboro, Massachusetts.
He was a farmer and had a section of the original
Brigham place. He was often employed to survey
land, to draw wills, deeds and conduct town busi-
ness. He attained the rank of colonel of his regi-
ment in the state militia. He was highly respected
by his townsmen. He died September 22, 1871 ; his
widow died June 15, 1895. His children: Josephine
Maria, born August 1, 1827, died November 16,
1853 ; Ellen Augusta, born June 25, 1829, died Feb-
ruary 4, 1832; Charles Pierpont. born July 10, 1831,
died February 13, 1832; Sarah Prentice, January 22,
1833, devoted herself largely to charity and mission
work; has charge of a book mission in the South,
in which Andrew Carnegie is interested; Anna
Eliza, born March 6, 1835, died February 4, 1862,
married, June I, 1859, Hon. Jonathan H. Wood;
had one daughter Anna Eliza Wood, born January
21. 1862, lives in Boston; Susannah Baylies, born
May 24, 1837. married, September 20, i860, William
Frederick Merrirield ; resides in Brookline, has no
•children ; Augusta Louisa, born February 7, 1841,
unmarried, teaches art in Miss Chamberlain's school,
Boston, resides in Grafton with her sister : Mary
Ellen, born October 31, 1844, unmarried, resides in
Grafton with her sisters, Augusta L. and Sarah P.

1 VI 1 William Brigham, son of Charles Brig-
ham (5), was born in Grafton, Massachusetts, Sep-
tember" 26, 1806, married. June 11. 1840. Margaret
A. Brooks, born July 6. 1817. He attended the
public schools, fitting for college at Leicester Acad-
emy, from which he walked once a week to his
home, a distance of twelve miles. He entered
Harvard College, where he was a diligent student of
good rank and won various appointments at exhi-
bitions and commencement. He graduated in the
class of 1829 and began to read law with Hon.



George Morey, of Boston. He was admitted to the
bar in 1832 and soon hail a sufficient amount of
professional practice. He was admitted to practice
m the United States supreme court on motion of
Daniel Webster. He was active in public affairs.
He was representative to thf genera) court in 1834-
35-36:41-49, a state senator in 1866. He delii
the Centennial address at Grafton, April 29, 1835.
He was appointed by Governor Everett in 1836 to
compile and edit the laws of Plymouth colony,
which were published that year. He was against
slavery when anti-slavery men were unpopular. He
was one of the founders of the Republican party.
He resided on the homestead in Grafton in sum-
mer, was fond of nature and agriculture, and fre-
quently addressed agricultural societies. He had a
high reputation in the literary world. He con-
tributed book reviews and other articles to the
North American Review and the Christian Ex-
aminer. His knowdedge of the early history of
Massachusetts was extensive and accurate. He was
a useful and valuable member of the Massachu-
setts Historical Society. One notable lecture of his
was delivered January 19, 1869, on "New Plymouth
and its Relations to Massachusetts," one of a course
delivered before the Lowell Institute by members
of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and pub-
lished in a volume called "Massachusetts and Its
Early History," a highly creditable work of re-
search and insight.

As a lawyer, his practice was large. He was a
safe adviser anel enjoyed in a high degree the con-
fidence and attachment of his clients. Often was he
able by his kind, honest, yet plain talk, to dissuade
his clients from long and expensive litigation, and
he always, when possible, strove to prevent aggra-
vating law suits; but when this could not be done,
he gave the whole power of his legal knowdedge to



Online LibraryEllery Bicknell CraneHistoric homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester county, Massachusetts, with a history of Worcester society of antiquity (Volume 2) → online text (page 127 of 133)