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

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February, 1826, and a lot to his son Benoni in 1827,
evidently for a building lot. He married Lois Aid-
rich. Their children: Abijah; Joseph; Benoni;
Welcome, mentioned below ; Calista.

(VII) Welcome Staples, son of George Staples
(6), was born at Mendon, October 4, 1798, and died
there September 13, 1868. He was a farmer with
little love ii'i" his vocation. He had a common
school education, but was fond of history, and
throughout his life he devoted much of his spare
time to its study. He was, withal what New Eng-
land calls a well read man, an encyclopedia of gen-
eral information, and an authority of history. He
was active in town affairs and in town, state and
natii 'iial politics. He frequently spoke in the town
meetings. He married Susan Staples, of Mendon, a
distant relative, a woman of strong and orthodox
religious convictions and elevated Christian char-
acter. She was a typical American Puritan ; she
read the Bible constantly and sought to implant ex-
alted ethical and religious precepts in the minds
and hearts of her children. "If there be any truth
in the law of heredity," said Judge Aldrich, "it can-
not be difficult with knowledge of these traits in the
character of parents, to trace to their true source
the distinguishing qualities of mind and character
of men." Children of Welcome and Susan Staples:
1. Hamilton B., mentioned below. 2. Gustavus, born
183 1, died young. 3. Gustavus A., born 1833, died
1896. 4. Edward L., born 1835, died young. 5.
Thomas B., born 1836. 6. Sarah L., born 1839, lives
at present on the old homestead in Mendon ; she
formerly resided in winter with Judge Staples in

(VIII) Judge Hamilton B. Staples, son of Wel-
come Staples (7), was born in Mendon, Massachu-
setts, February 14, 1829. His boyhood was passed
like that of the typical Worcester county boy of
his generation, working on his father's farm and
during the short winter terms attending the district
school. He early evinced a taste for books, and lost
no opportunity for study and reading. As he grew
older he became anxious to secure a liberal educa-
tion, subsequently fitting for college at the Worcester
Academy, and was graduated from Brown Uni-
versity in 1851 at the age of twenty-two years, the
Latin salutatorian of his class. He immediately be-
gan the study of law in the office of Chief Justice
Ames, in Providence, Rhode Island, and continued
that study in the office of Hon. Peter C. Bacon of
Worcester, .Massachusetts, He was admitted to the
bar in 1852. and began at once the practice of his
profession, establishing an office in Milford, where
he was associated in business with several well
known lawyers during the fifteen years that he mad»
Milford his business center. Among his partners
were Gen. A. B. Underwood, Judge Charles A.
Dewey and W. F. Slocum. During those fifteen
years, Judge Staples's industry, fidelity, skill and
learning were amply demonstrated by the success at-
tained in the management of his cases, and he rose
rapidly in his profession. In 1869 he came to
Worcester and formed a law partnership with Frank
P. Goulding, and the firm took rank among the lead-
ing lawyers of the state. In 1873 Judge Staples was
elected district attorney of the Middle District, one
of the largest and most important in the state. This
responsible position he held for eight years. Judge




Aldrich gave it as his opinion that Mr. Staples had
no superior as a prosecuting officer, even among
those who held the office of attorney general during
that period.

Mr. Staples was a member of the Worcester city
council in 1874 and 1875. He was trustee of the
City Hospital and held various other positions of
trust and honor. In 1881 he was appointed associate
justice of the superior court of Massachusetts to fill
the vacancy caused by the resignation of his kinsman,
judge Francis H. Dewey, and occupied this position
at the time of his death August 2, 1891. The honor-
ary degree of LL. D. was conferred upon him by
Brown "University in 1884. In early life he was a
member of All Saints Episcopal Church of _ Wor-
cester, but during the latter years of his life he
attended Central (Congregational) Church, of which
his wife was a member. He was a Free Mason;
a member of the Worcester Club ; an active member
and former president of the Brown Alumni Associa-
tion. Judge Staples made two visits to Europe and
traveled extensively on the continent and through
England and Scotland. He was a member of the
American Antiquarian Society, elected in 1878. He
regarded his election as an honor and gratifying
recognition of his merits and reputation as a scholar.
He took a deep interest in the work and proceed-
ings of that society. Original papers from his facile
pen, published in 1879, 1882, 1884 and 1888 in the so-
ciety proceedings, were entitled: "A Day at Mount
Vernon in 1707," "Origin of the Names and States
of the Union ;" "The Province Laws of Massachu-
setts ;" a brief but interesting paper on "The Sword
of Fitz-John Winthrop, some time captain in Monk's
Army ;" Lasalle's Monument at Rouen," etc. Judge
P. Emory Aldrich, in his biography of Judge Sta-
ples, wrote: "All these papers show careful re-
search, and a clear and classic style in the statements
of facts and opinions." We quote further from Judge
Aldrich's memorial : "He loved knowledge and he
loved the pursuit of it. He was a diligent reader
of good books, and was especially fond of historical
and metaphysical writings. His mind was eminently
analytical, and he sometimes carried the process of
analysis into such remote and refined distinctions as
to endanger if not impair the soundness of his

"He was ambitious. He loved distinction, and bore
his Tionors with a conscious pride and becoming dig-
nity. But the objects of his ambition were worthy,
and he sought their attainment ever and only by
honorable means. He highly prized the good opinion
of his fellow men and was keenly sensitive to ad-
verse criticism. There was something, however, that
he valued more than the opinions of others and that
was his own self-approving conscience. * * * By
his severe struggles with limited pecuniary resources
during the entire period of his college life, he ac-
quired habits of self-reliance and independent action.
His character and will were tested and strengthened
early in the school of privation and self-dependence."
The Worcester bar paid this tribute to Judge Sta-
ples : "As a lawyer he was, in the preparation of
his cases for trial, quick of apprehension, industrious,
minute and critical, patient and untiring. In actual
trial he was alert, sagacious, and possessing an un-
failing memory, courage and powerful advocacy ; he
was a tower of strength to his clients and a for-
midable opponent. He brought to the bench a thor-
ough knowledge of common and chancery law and
its application in practice. As a judge he was dig-
nified, patient, painstaking, discriminating and al-
ways just. His judicial life was upright and un-
stained." Judge Aldrich said : "It may well be
doubted whether there is any court in any of the

states whose jurisdiction is at once so extensive and
varied ,as that of the superior court of which Judge
Staples was a part. It was thought that at times his
kind and sensitive nature led him to treat convicted
offenders with too much leniency; that his reluct-
ance to inflict pain, even upon the violators of the
law, made him for the moment forget the larger
purposes of penal statutes to prevent crime and se-
cure public order and safety. But if this were a
fault in his judicial character, was it not one of
those 'Whose faults lean to virtue's side?' He was
in private life an accomplished scholar, whose tastes
and scholarship had been assiduously cultivated and
improved by study and association with earnest and
refined men at home and by the larger opportuni-
ties of foreign travel. He was an agreeable and in-
structive companion with a warm heart and capa-
ble of the most genuine and permanent friendships,
a lawyer of wide and varied learning."

He married first, June 15, 1858, Elizabeth A.
(Carshore) Godfrey, widow of David Stearns God-
frey, and daughter of Mrs. Benjamin Davenport.
She died in Milford July I, 1867. Judge Staples
married (second), October 8, 1868, Mary Clinton
Dewey, daughter of Hon. Charles A. Dewey, of
Northampton, Massachusetts, for thirty years judge
of the supreme judicial court, and Caroline H.
(Clinton) Dewey, a sister of Hon. DeWitt Clinton.
His children were: I. Charles A., died young. 2.
Francis Hamilton, born April 22, 1872; graduate of
the Worcester High School and Brown University ;
at present associated with the Baker Lumber Com-
pany, 82 Foster street, Worcester, as treasurer of the

RANSOM C. TAYLOR. John Taylor (1), the
immigrant ancestor of Ransom C. Taylor, of Wor-
cester, was in Windsor, Connecticut, in 1640, and
probably went there with Rev. Ephraim Hewett,
who sailed from England, August 17, 1639. He was
a juror in Windsor in 1641-44. His residence in
this country was of short duration. He prepared
for a journey to England by making his will No-
vember 24, 1645, and he sailed in the famous
"Phantom Ship" of New Haven. This ship was
built in Rhode Island, was of one hundred and
fifty tons burden, Captain Lamberton, master. Rev.
Mr. Davenport was also a passenger. The ice in
the harbor had to be cut in order to allow the
vessel to sail in January, 1645-46. In the follow-
ing June the ship was seen apparently coming
to anchor in the harbor, when, before the eyes of
a crowd of spectators, she mysteriously vanished
into the air. The story is told in Cotton Mather's
"Magnalia" in his inimitable way. John Taylor was
lost on the ill-fated ship, and his young wife mar-
ried Hoyt, of Norwalk, Connecticut. In 1694

the will of the missing man was presented for
probate by his son. As far as known he left but
two children: John, see forward; Thomas, born

(Ill John Taylor, son of John Taylor (i),
was born in Windsor, Connecticut, 1641. He was
a captain in the military forces of the colony.
He received a grant of land at Northfield in 1683,
and settled in Northampton, Massachusetts, where
he was killed May 13, 1704, while in pursuit of a
partv of Indians which had destroyed the hamlet
of Pascomuck. He married. December 18, 1662,
Thankful Woodward, daughter of Henry Wood-
ward. Their children : Thankful, born October 27,
1663 : Johanna, September 27, 1665 ; John, Octo-
ber 10, 1667; Rhoda, September 26, 1669; Eliza-
beth, July 13. 1672 ; Mary, October 13, 1673 ; Jona-
than, September 19, 1675 ; Mindwell, August 19,

2 3 6


1677; Lydia, May 18, 1678; Thomas, November 4,
1680, father of Captain Thomas Taylor, the famous
Indian fighter in the French and Indian wars;
Elizabeth, September 17, 1682; Experience, Octo-
ber, 1684, died young; Samuel, August 30, 1688,
see forward.

(Ill) Samuel Taylor, youngest child of John
Taylor (2), was born in Northampton, Massachu-
setts, in 1688. He was a sergeant in the Deerfield
company, and was an active and distinguished citi-
zen. He died March 5, 1734. He married (first),
August 17, 1715, Sarah Munn, of Springfield, Mas-
sachusetts, who died December 26, 1716. Married
' (second), July 15, 1718, Mary Hitchcock, daugh-
ter of Luke Hitchcock, of Springfield. She mar-
ried (second), September 2, 1737, Daniel Arms,
of Deerfield, Massachusetts. His only child by
the first wife was: Samuel, see forward. The
children of Samuel and Sarah were: Captain Othniel,
born April 16, 1719; Mary, January 20, 1721 ; John.
January 17, 1722, at Deerfield, removed to Charle-
mont, Massachusetts: Jonathan, February 7, 1724,
one of the early settlers of Charlemont.

( IV) Samuel Taylor, eldest son of Sergeant
Samuel Taylor (3), was born 1716, in Deerfield,
Massachusetts. He was an ensign in the militia
there. In 1743 he was a soldier at Fort Mass. He
was one of the first settled of Winchester, New
Hampshire, where he settled at the time of his
marriage in 1738. In 1739 he was the hogreeve
of the town, an honor formerly bestowed by vote
of the town on popular young men, usually the
year after their marriage. He was in Winchester
in 1743. From 1746 to 1757 he resided in Charle-
mont. April 8, 1758, he was in Northfield, an
adjacent town. Late in life he removed to Hart-
ford, Vermont, and he and his wife were dis-
missed from the Northfield church to the church
at Hartford, March 5, 1780. He married, Septem-
ber 20, 1738, Anne Alexander, daughter of Ebenezer
Alexander. Their children: Sarah, born- Septem-
ber 30, 1739, at Winchester; Anne, October 15, 1741,
at Winchester ; Mary, November 19. 1743 ; Ebenezer,
see forward; Asa. June 18. 1746; Oliver, October
22. 1748, settled in Northfield; Solomon, July 10,
1751, was at Fort Mass; Susanna, June 27, 1754;
Elias. June 27, 1756, settled in Hoosac ; Joanna, Jan-
uary 31, 1760.

( V 1 Ebenezer Taylor, son of Samuel Taylor
(4), was born probably in Winchester, 1745 to 175.5.
He inherited part of his father's property in Win-
chester and settled there. He married about 1775
and had eight children, of whom six were sons,
viz. : Ebenezer, settled on the farm in Winchester
and had no children ; Elias, born 1778. settled in
Richmond. New Hampshire, near the Winchester
line and had: George, Ebenezer, Lucius, Calvin,
Delia and other children. Cyrus, was a farmer at
Winchester; John, removed to Pennsylvania and
died there ; Lemuel, settled in Winchester and has
descendants living there ; Charles, see forward.

(VI) Charles Taylor, son of Ebenezer Taylor
(5), was born on the old homestead in Winchester,
New Hampshire. March 9, 1787. He was raised
on the farm, receiving a fair education for his time,
and was a teacher of the district schools in Ver-
mont and New York, both before and after mar-
riage. According to the custom of the times he
carried on a farm in the summer and taught only
in the winter months. He came to Uxbridge in
1S33 and soon afterward settled at Northbridge,
where for many years he carried on the manufacture
and sale of meat and meat products. He died at
Northbridge. Massachusetts. March 23, i860. He
married, March 11. 1818, at Winchester, New Hamp-
shire. Susan Butler. She was of an old Winchester

family, born at Winchester, November 20, 1793. and
died at Taunton, Massachusetts, June, 1866. Chil-
dren of Charles and Susan (Butler) Taylor were:
Elvira Augusta, born at Winchester, July 10, 1819,
died unmarried May 20, 1836, at Uxbridge, Massa-
chusetts ; Charles Wesley, born January 14, 1821,
at Winchester, died unmarried, December 1, 1848,
at Northbridge, Massachusetts ; Lucy Holton, born
at Winchester, November 19, 1822, married Francis
H. Hewett, 1847; Mr. Hewett resided in Pennsyl-
vania ; she died December 16, 1894, at Scranton,
Pennsylvania, where they then lived; Addison, born
at Winch' stir, November 28, 1824, married, May
5. 1845, Caroline Elizabeth Taft, daughter of Ben-
jamin Taft, of Grafton, Massachusetts; Addison
died June, 1S97, at Taunton : he married (second)
Martha Dudley, of Millbury, Massachusetts, and had
one child, Charles Taylor, who died young; Aurelia
C, born at Winchester, April 17, 1S27, died at
Worcester, January 17, 1903, unmarried: Ransom
Clarke, born at Winchester, February 24, 1829;
Mary Parker, born at Winchester, March 5, 1S31,
married Dr. Franklin Gilman, February. 1859, at
Northbridge, Massachusetts ; Caroline Rich, born at
Winchester, May 7, 1833, died unmarried at Worces-
ter, July 30, 1892 ; Snsan Maria, born at Uxbridge,
October 9, 1S35, married R. James Tatman, Decem-
ber 31, 1863.

(VII) Ransom Clarke Taylor, son of Charles
(6) and Susan (Butler) Taylor, was born at Win-
chester. New Hampshire, February 24, 1829. His
ancestors on the maternal side as well as the pa-
ternal were for several generations residents of
the town of Winchester, in southern New Hampshire.
The old homestead is located in the easterly part
of the town. Winchester is near Swanzey, Keene
and Richmond, New Hampshire. In 1833, when
Ransom was only four years old, his father came
to Northbridge, Massachusetts, to engage in the meat
business there. Mr. Taylor's education was ob-
tained in the district schools of Northbridge. In
the thirties the towns of Worcester county gave
meagre school opportunities, and in many cases the
sons of the farmers had to forego even the little
that was available. When very young Mr. Taylor
worked at home on the farm and learned to help
his father in his business. At the age of twelve
he drove the butcher's cart on various routes served
in his father's business. His early business ex-
perience gave him a training that was invaluable
in later life. When he was seventeen he left home
to begin for his father the business of manufac-
turing neats-foot oil, glue stock and tallow and
dressing tripe for the market.

Instead of remaining in his father's employment
he made an agreement by which he bought "his
time" for $300. The present generation has almost
forgotten the ancient customs and laws that were
in force a generation ago, and few parents of the
present day would expect their sons to be more
than self-supporting at the age of eighteen. Mr.
Taylor started in the meat business for himself in
the town of Sutton. Massachusetts. Four years
later he transferred his business to Worcester, where
he has lived since. He not only carried on the
manufacture of meat products in Worcester, but
soon extended his business to other cities. He es-
tablished branches in New York city, Albany and
Troy, New York ; Hartford and New Haven. Con-
necticut, Springfield, Taunton. Randolph, Milford
and other points in Massachusetts. When he began
business he employed only two men and two horses,
but when his business was developed a few years
later he kept a hundred men and a hundred horses
employed. When a very young man he became one
of the most important and influential merchants of


2 37

the city. He was in the meat business for twenty
years and made a fortune in it. Most men would
have rested content with the wealth and success
of a score of years such as Mr. Taylor had won,
but in his case his greatest success and most im-
portant labors came after he left the provision busi-
ness and devoted his attention solely to buying and
developing real estate.

Early in his career he began to invest his money
in Worcester real estate. Soon the population of
the city and the value of his investments had
doubled. He kept buying more all the time until
he became one of the largest holders of real estate
in the city. His first purchase was a piece of prop-
erty for $9,000, on which he was able to pay only
half the cost price. He was never afraid of mort-
gages. Many of his deals have been very profit-
able where he made only a part payment, and the
property has grown in value enormously. He has
preferred property rented for stores and factories,
although he holds all kinds of real estate. Mr.
Taylor owns more than a half of the business build-
ings on Front street, which is about half a mile
in length. He owns some of the choicest blocks
on Main street, especially that on the corner of
Pleasant street, and the First National Bank build-
ing. He built the first five-story, the first six-story
and the first seven-story buildings in Worcester.
Nobody questions the sagacity and shrewdness that
has made Mr. Taylor so successful in developing
good rentable property. He has kept up to the times
in furnishing quarters for all kinds of stores in
Worcester. In later years his sons, Forrest and Ran-
som F. Taylor, who have been associated with him
in attending to his real estate, have also invested
heavily in real estate. Mr. Taylor is and for years
has been the largest taxpayer in Worcester. He has
not confined his investments to this city, however,
having large holdings in Providence and Pawtucket,
Rhode Island, and Newton and Taunton, Massa-

When Mr. Taylor settled in Worcester the popu-
lation was 17,000. He has seen it increase to
135,000 and was far-sighted enough to plan for the
growth beforehand. He has always advocated im-
provements and has often helped to gain for the
city advantages that had to be won against the
opposition of men who resist anything that tends
to increase taxes. He has set a good example to
other taxpayers who often fail to see that a well
ordered city and a progressive city government is a
blessing to the taxpayers and real estate owners.
Municipal enterprise Mr. Taylor believed always
tends to stimulate growth and prosperity. Mr. Tay-
lor served the city two terms in the board of alder-
men and was once the Democratic candidate for the
governor's council.

Mr. Taylor has affiliated with the Democratic
party, although not usually active in politics. His in-
terest in the city government has not been that
of a partisan. He was interested in the contest
over the postoffice location a few years ago and
contributed $10,000 to the fund to secure the present
location, and his influence was largely instrumental
in getting that site.

One who is close to Mr. Taylor has written of
him: "Mr. Taylor is a conspicuous example of
what may be accomplished in New England by
energy, industry, economy and perseverance. Start-
ing in life without the advantages of an education,
except such as he obtained in the ordinary public
schools in the small village where he was reared,
he early manifested that aptness for business which
gave assurance of success. He early acquired con-
fidence in his own judgment as to business enter-

prises, and he possessed the courage to enlarge his
business and extend his field of operations and thus
greatly increase his profits. His operations in real
estate have been large and equally successful. His
purchases were followed by an advance in the market
value of the estate purchased. These continued suc-
cesses of his various branches of business have
raised him from a poor boy to be one of the most
wealthy men in the city. Popular rumor classes him
among the millionaires. His success under diffi-
culties is proof of his sagacity and the soundness
of his judgment. Possessing an accurate and re-
tentive memory, he has been able to carry in mind
his numerous business transactions without much
trouble of making entries on books — an advantage
easily appreciated. He is eminently a self-made
man. It may be said of him in the words of Shakes-
peare : 'Not propt by ancestry, neither allied to
eminent a.-sistants, by the force of his own merits
he makes his way.' "

Mr. Taylor was formerly an attendant and lib-
eral supporter of Plymouth Congregational Church.
He has also aided the Whitinsville Methodist Epis-
copal church in the town of Northbridge, Massa-
chusetts. His father was a Methodist and con-
tributed largely, according to his means, to the
building of the Methodist church in Mr. Taylor's
native town, Winchester, New Hampshire. Mr. Tay-
lor was one of the founders of the First National
Bank of Worcester, which was absorbed by the
Worcester Trust Company in 1903. For about twenty
years he was one of the directors. He was also one
of the original stockholders of the First National
Fire Insurance Company, of which he was a director
until its affairs were wound up a few years ago.
Mr. Taylor built a large and handsome residence
at Quinsigamond, where he lived until 1883. Then
he removed to his present home, the Dr. Kelley
mansion on Main street. Mr. Taylor is a lover
of fine horses and indulges this taste freely. He has
in his stud the best horses in the city and enjoys
a spin on the race track as much now as ever.

In 1850 he married Mary Louisa Chase, daugh-
ter of Captain Abraham Chase, of Sutton, Massa-
chusetts. She was an excellent and accomplished
woman and aided her husband materially in his
career. She died in 1878. The Chase building was
so named as a memorial to her. He married (sec-
ond), in 1880, Mary S. Stevens, daughter of Mer-
rick R. Stevens, a flour merchant of Newton, Mas-
sachusetts. He had four children by his first wife,
two sons and two daughters, and he had by his sec-
ond wife one son and one daughter. Children of
Ransom C. Taylor are : Emma S., unmarried, lives
at home : Ransom Frederick, see forward ; Agnes
L., married Harry P. Davis, engineer for the West-
inghouse Electric Company, and resides at Pitts-
burg, Pennsylvania ; they have two children — Louise
and Harry Ransom ; Forrest W., mentioned below.

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 69 of 133)