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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largest and best grain stores in this section, and
stands well in the business world. In politics he
is a Republican, and earnest in support of all tem-
perance and reform legislation. He is a member of
the Old South (Congregational) Church, and was

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deacon there for eight years. He was formerly an
Odd Fellow.

He married, March 6, 1855, Almira.W. Knight,
of Leicester. She was the daughter of Horace
Knight, a lumber dealer and shoe manufacturer of
Leicester, where she was born December 16, 1831.
She died in Worcester, April 10, 1905. Her brother,
Joseph A. Knight, of the leather linn of Graton &
Knight, was burn .March 3, 1830, married Sarah E.
Trowbridge in 1854. Horace Knight was born June
23, 1/99, died May 2, 1855. He married Sally Part-
ridge, who was born June 9, 1801, died September
6, 1833. He was a lumber dealer, bank director,
selectman. His father was Jonathan Knight, Jr.,
and his grandfather Jonathan Knight, Sr., of Leices-
ter and Paxton. Another son is Charles Brown
Knight, of Worcester, by his second wife Hannah
Brown. The children of George Paine and Almira
W. (Knight) Rogers were: I. Charles Elmer, born
September 24, 1856, married Anna Nourse, of
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, 1882, and had Walter
M., born June 3, 1887; he is a dealer in meats and
provisions in Worcester. 2. Sarah Elizabeth, born
May 28, 1859, graduate of State Normal School,
teacher, married Edwin W. Sanderson, April 17,
1887, and had: Helen M., born January 12, 1890;
Sibyl, born June 12, 1891 ; Katharine, born 1895;
Sarah E., died June 8, 1903. in Brooklyn, New
York. 3. Frank Knight, born in Worcester, Jan-
uary 23, 1864, married, April 7, 1887, Jennie A.
Houghton, of Worcester; he is a professor in the
Hampton Normal Institute, Virginia, and one of the
principal members of the faculty; their children
are: Frances Houghton, born March 17, 1S89; Helen
Knight, born March 12, 1892; Mary Elizabeth, born
February, 1894. 4. Josephine Almira, born August
14, 1865, married William E. Little, October 12,
1887, and had : Ruth McLeish, born October 3,
1889. Mr. Little has for the past fifteen -years been
in business with Mr. Rogers. He was formerly di-
rector of the choir at the Old South Church and
other churches. He is a member of the Schumann
Quartette, which is well known throughout the

CURTIS FAMILY. Henry Curtis, father of
Ephraim Curtis, of Worcester, and the ancestor of
those bearing this family name in the eighth and
ninth generations now residing here, set sail from
the port of London for New England, May 6,
1635, in the "Elizabeth and Ann," Roger Cooper,
master. Through "Hotten's List of Emigrants to
America" we learn that the age of Henry Curtis
was given at twenty-seven years, and it is also
stated that Mr. Curtis and his fellow passengers
brought certificates from the ministers of their sev-
eral parishes and from the justices of the peace of
their conformity to the orders and disciplines of the
Church of England, that they were no subsidy men,
but had taken the oath of allegiance and supremacy,
showing that Henry Curtis was not strictly of the
Pilgrim or Puritan type. We have no complete
picture as to his traits and characteristics, but
certain facts in his life are matters of record. He
settled at Watertown, becoming a proprietor there
in 1636, and also in Sudbury in 1641. May 2, 1649,
he sold his house and lot in Watertown to Jeremiah

He married Mary, daughter of Nicholas Guy,
who with wife Jane and daughter Mary and two
servants embarked in the ship "Confidence" of Lon-
don, John Jobson, master, April 24, 1638. Deacon
Nicholas Guy was admitted freeman May 22, 1639,
and was a proprietor of Watertown, 1644, and died
there July 6, 1649, and his widow, Jane Guy, lived

in Sudbury with her daughter, Mrs. Henry Curtis,
where she died. Her will, dated August 16, 1666,
and proved December 22, 1669, gave her estate to
her grandchildren, the homestead going to her eldest
grandson, Ephraim. Henry Curtis died in Sudbury,
May 8, 1678, aged seventy years. Ephraim Curtis,
the eldest child, was born in Watertown, March 31,
1O42; John, born 1644; Joseph, born July 17, 1647.
(II) Ephraim Curtis was the eldest child of
Henry and Mary (Guy) Curtis. In the spring of
1673, axe in hand, and with a long, Spanish rifle
on his shoulder, started for Quinsigamond, as
Won :ster was then called, where he arrived after
two days travel, and located on the spot still owned
and occupied by the Curtis family. Of the early life
of this Ephraim much of interest may be found, but
of the later portion the record seems to be incom-
plete. Previous to his coming to Quinsigamond, he
had purchased of the widow of Thomas Noyes, for
the sum of forty-three pounds lawful money,
a title to two parcels of land, one of two hundred
and fifty acres originally granted to Thomas Noyes,

The Estate has been in the Curtis Family since 1672

of Sudbury, one of the committee appointed by the
general court, and directed October II, 1665, to ex-
plore the country and report concerning the ad-
vantages for a settlement at Quinsigamond Ponds,
and two hundred and fifty acres originally granted
to Mr. Norton, but assigned respectively to John
Payne and the said Thomas Noyes, who died before
the committee of which he was a member took
action. Supplied with this title, executed by the
heirs of Lieutenant Thomas Noyes, who died De-
cember 7, 1666, Mr. Curtis repaired to the site of
the present city of Worcester and located his claim
to five hundred acres on the right of Lieutenant
Thomas Noyes, and in the fall of 1673 began the
erection of a house on that portion of his claim
originally granted to Noyes. October 8, 1673, Major
Daniel Gookin, chairman of a new committee ap-
pointed to settle the town, on learning of the action
of Mr. Curtis, wrote him that the committee could
not allow him to locate his claim of five hundred
acres there, and the case was settled in the courts,
the committee allowing Mr. Curtis to retain but
fifty acres of the claim he had located. This fifty
acre lot was in April, 1675, surveyed and located
by order of the general court at a session held May
27, 1674, by the town's surveyor, David Fiske, and
contained the house above referred to.

Here Mr. Curtis lived for a time, engaged in
trading with the Indians. Other settlers came and



the spring of [675 found a half dozen or more
houses marking the settlement of "Quinsigamond."
But in the month of July the Indians began their
movement of destruction planned against the white
settlers throughout the colony, and the families who
had established homes here removed to the larger
settlements mar the coast, leaving their buildings
to become fuel for the torch of the hostile savages,
it is recorded that when he was thirty-three, be-
cause he was "noted for his intimate knowledge of
the country, his quickness of comprehension and
cool courage, and his large acquaintance with the
Indians, whose language he spoke fluently," he was
sent by the court as interpreter with an embassy
from Cambridge and twenty men under Captain Ed-
ward Hutchinson and Captain Thomas Whe
On December 2, 1675, tne heroic services of Mr.
Curtis during this Indian war, more especially in
connection with the attack on Brookfield, gained for
him the honorable title of lieutenant, and tli story
as told by Captain Thomas Wheeler, who being de-
sirous of getting word to Boston of the great dis-
tress the little garrison was in at Brookfield, sfates
how on the third attempt, at the solicitation of Cap-
tain Wheeler, Curtis succeeded in making his way
through the lines of the company of savages be-
sieging the town by crawling on his hands and knees
for a considerable distance, and proceeding to Bos-
ton to deliver the message.

Before leaving Ephraim Curtis it might be well
to quote a paragraph upon him by Senator Hoar;
from a note to the address delivered by Mr. Hoar at
the celebration of the town hundredth anniversary in
1884 of the naming of Worcester. This note is of
interest not only as showing Senator Hoar's opinion
as to the rights of Ephraim Curtis in his controversy
with General Gookin, but also for the high tribute
which he pays to his energy, daring and courage.
The note is as follows :

"The limited time allowed for the preparation
of this address makes it necessarily extremely im-
perfect. One defect, of which the author is espe-
cially sensible, is the omission of any mention of
Ephraim Curtis. He is entitled to be honored as the
first settler of Worcester, notwithstanding the late
discovery that a rude house had been built here prior
to his settlement. It is clear that the owner of the
house did not occupy it. What sort of a house it
was, whether it was built for the surveyor- or for
the committee wdio inspected the place to determine

its fitness for habitation, or as a shelter for trav-
ellers on their way to Connecticut, does not appear.
But it is unlikely that any permanent settler would
have dwelt there without leaving some trace of him-
self in the contemporary record. Curtis represented
an element which has not received full justice from
New England history, the brave and adventurous
frontiersman. His exploit in saving the besieged
garrison of Brookfield equals* anything Cooper has
imagined of the Leatherstocking. His descendant-,
a highly respected family, bearing his name, still
dwell on the spot where he settled. He was the
ancestor also of the famous and eloquent orator,
George William Curtis."

(II) Joseph Curtis, youngest son of Henry
and Mary (Guy) Curtis, born July 17. 1647, married
Abigail, daughter of John Grout, of Sudbury, wdiere
he resided, Their children wue: Abigail, born
March 2. 107N-70; Ephraim, September 4. 1680;
Mary, December -'5. 1080; Joseph. July 15, 1689.

Ill) Ephraim Curtis, eldest son of Joseph, mar-
ried, May 10, 1705, Mary Stone, in Sudbury, wdiere
he died November 17. 1759. She died February
22, 17(11. Their children were: Ephraim. born July

15. 170*1: John, September 10, 1707, see forward;

Mary, December 29, 1710; Susannah, September 9,
1714; Joseph, December 22, 1721 ; Samuel, June 1,

1 I \ ) Captain John Curtis, born September 10,
1707, son of Ephraim Curtis, passed his youthful
days in Sudbury. December 10, 1735, his father,
Ephraim Curtis, of Sudbury, for love, good will and
affection toward his dutiful son, John Curtis, of
Worcester, deeded to him a "certain parcel of up-
land and swamp ground in Worcester." consisting
of one hundred and forty acres, part of a farm of
two hundred and fifty acres formerly granted to
Thomas Noyes. Mr. Curtis married, June 4, 1729,
Rebeckah Waite, in Sudbury. She was the mother
of his children. She died March 24, 1755. He mar-
ried (second), November 13, 1755, Elizabeth Rob-
bins, widow of Daniel Robbins and daughter of
Rev, J' hn Prentice, of Lancaster. This John Curtis
appears to have been the first of the Curtis family
to become a permanent settler in Worcester, and
there is no doubt but that he came at a compara-
tively early age to care for his father's property and
interest in the settlement. The first John Curtis
mentioned in the proprietors' records of Worcester
was the brother of the first Ephraim, who sold half
of his Xoyes claim to this brother John, but not
being able to confirm the title was obliged to pay
his brother John forty pounds lawful money for
damages, and also pay the costs of a suit brought
to recover the same. The date under which this
John Curtis first appears in the town records of
\\ rcester is March 15. 1730-31, when at a town
meeting he was elected to serve as one of the sur-
veyors o'f highways. He was living in Worcester
before his marriage, as the record of that event in
Sudbury states. His first child was born in Sud-
bury and the second in Worcester.

Mr. Curtis was an active and influential citizen
of the town, occupying various public offices. He
uTts a captain and commanded a company in the
French and Indian war. He was for many years
a popular hotel keeper, and a leading member of
the church, his house being a favorite stopping place
for ministers as they passed to and fro, no charge
being made to that class of citizens. Mr. Caleb
Wall says of him: "He is described as a small,
short man, very proud, always on his dignity, and,
as his memory is preserved a splendid horseman,
in which capacity he shone to advantage mounted
on a spirited steed. He married Elizabeth Prentice,
daughter of Rev. John Prentice, minister at Lan-
caster from 1708 to 1748, and with her on a pillion
behind him, dressed in a bright scarlet cloak, with
her arm around him, we have the picture of Cap-
tain John Curtis." He says also: "lb- was -adly
missed from the pew wdiich he had so long and so
punctually occupied in the Old South (pew Xo. 61
on the plan), the floor of which had to be raised
six inches by planks in order to bring his head on
a level with the rest of the congregation." Mr.
Curtis died June 29, 1797, in his ninetieth year, and
In widow Elizabeth died November 14, 1802.

Their children were : Jonathan, born August 9,
1720, dud January 4, 1732-33; John, May 13 or 19,
1731; Jonathan, May 15, 1733; Sarah, January 27,
1730-37; Elizabeth, December 28, 1738; William,
February S, 1740, died April 16, 1740: Rebekah,
November 5, 1742. died October 4, 1745; Joseph,
October 31, 1744, died September 20, 1745; James,
September 8, 174'n Mary. October 3, 1747; Sarah,
August 28. 1749; William. January 29. 1750: Joseph,
March 21. 1752; Tyler, April 28, 1753. William and
Joseph served ill the revolutionary war.

( Y 1 John Curtis, Jr., born May 19. 1731, mar-
ried Elizabeth Heywood, May 15, 1755. He died




December 13, 1768, leaving the following children:
Rebecca, born February [3, 1756, wife of T. A.
Merrick; Elizabeth, February 20, 175S, wife of Sam-
uel Jamison; John, November 14. 1760; David, Jan-
uary 30, 1763, married Susannah Stone, December
5, 1791, and his son George was father of George
William Curtis, the distinguished orator and scholar ;
Nathaniel, August iS, 1705; Dorothy. July 26, 1707,
married David Craige, of Wethersfield, Connecticut.

(V) Tyler Curtis, youngest son of Captain John
Curtis, born April 28, 1753, married, September 5,
1776, Lydia Chamberlain, and resided on the Curtis
homestead in Worcester, where he died April lb,
1807. His widow died October 5, 1841, aged eighty-
six years. Their children were: Tyler, born Feb
ruary 15. 1777. died .May 23, 1777; Rebecca, July
20, 1778; John, April 5. i;S(, died September 14,
1783; John, December 23. 1783; Sally, April 2,
1786, died July 24, 17S8; Dolly, August 25, 1788,
died January 20, 1791 ; Elizabeth, .May 17. 1791; Na-
thaniel, August 29, 1793; Samuel, June 12. 1796,
died May 17. loll; Tyler. February 29, 180I, died
March 17, 1842.

(VI) John Curtis, born December 23, 17S3. mar-
ried, March 16, 1807, Nancy Stowell, daughter of
Captain Thomas Stowell, the clothier of Worces-
ter, and • granddaughter of Cornelius Stowell, who
came from Watertown, also a clothier. John Curtis
died August 3, 1826. Their children were : George
Thomas Stowell, born September 22, 1808; Tyler
Prentice, June 16, 1810; Sarah Ann, June 7, 1812;
Harriet Newell, September 4. 1814, died June 24,
1818; John Edwin, October 11, 1S16.

(ATI) Tyler Prentice Curtis, eldest son of John
and Nancy (Stowell) Curtis, born June 16, 1810,
married Amelia Riley, daughter of Calvin and
Eunice (Miller) Riley, of Alton, Illinois, and a
lineal descendant of John Riley, who came with wife
Grace to Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1645, being an
early settler in that town, where he died in 1674,
and where Grace, his widow, died November 28,
1703. The Riley name is given among the names
of Planters of Colonies of Connecticut and New
Haven previous to the Union, 1665. The line to
Amelia is continued through the son, Lieutenant
Isaac Riley, born 1670, Nathaniel, Asher, Calvin, the
father of Amelia. Mr. Curtis lived on the old Curtis
farm all his life. He died June 16, 1896. Their
childen were: Kate, born December 9, 184S, died
at the age of two years; John D., June 12, 1850, mar-
ried Clara Nash ; Kate, September 29, 1852, married
William T. Brown ; William C, December 14, 1854,
who now lives on the original farm.

(VII) John Edwin Curtis, youngest son of John
and Nancy (Stowell) Curtis, was born October II,
1816, on the old Curtis estate which has been held
by the family from one generation to another suc-
cessively since 1670, and is at present (1906) owned
and occupied by the family. John E. Curtis, when a
young man, went west and became engaged in the
mercantile trade. He married, May 26, 1841, Amelia
Riley, born in Middletown, Connecticut, 1822. John
Edwin Curtis died in St. Louis, Missouri, October
14, 1843, at the age of twenty-seven years, leaving
two children : Elnora, born March 14, 1842, married
Jared Whitman, and died June 6, 1889; Edwin P.,
February 18, 1844. The widow, Amelia (Riley)
Curtis, married, February 18, 1846, Tyler Prentice
Curtis, brother of John Edwin Curtis.

(VIII) Edwin P. Curtis, only son of John Ed-
win and Amelia Curtis, was born February 18, 1844,
in St. Louis, Missouri. He was educated in the
Worcester public schools and the Worcester Acad-
emy. For two years he remained at home, after
which he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and .during the

civil war served in the quartermaster's department.
Returning to Worcester 111 [864, he entered the
business of A. P. Richardson, manufacturer of agri-
cultural implements; afterwards the A. P. Richard-
son Company, then incorporated later under the-
name of Richardson Manufacturing Company, in
which business he has since continued, becoming,
secretary, director, and afterwards president and
treasurer, the latter offices he holds at the presnit.

Mr. Curtis married, January I, 1868, Harriet,,
daughter of Walter and Mary (Hyde) Bigelow, 1 I
Worcester, a lineal descendant of David Bigcl
who took a prominent part in Worcester affairs
during the revolutionary war, and a brother of
Colonel Timothy Bigelow, the town's most noted
patriot of that period. She also traces a line of
descent from Jonas Rice, the earliest permanent
settler of Worcester, and to Phynias Hey\\<
Deacon William Trowbridge, early settlers of the
town, and to Samuel Hyde, of Newton, who was.
a lineal descendant in the fourth generation from
I leacon Samuel Hyde, born 1610, and embarked in
iii. sbip "Jonathan" at London, England, for Boston,.
April, 1639. He was the second settler in Cam-
bridge Village about 1640. He died September
12, 1689, leaving a will stating that he owned a farm
of one hundred and twenty-four acres in Water-
town, Massachusetts. Mr. and Mrs. Curtis have
one daughter, Elnora Whitman Curtis, who after
attending the schools in Worcester, and the Burn-
ham school, Northampton, entered Smith College,,
from which institution she graduated in the class.
of 1892.

HANSON FAMILY. John Hanson, father of
Charles F. Hanson and Seen F. Hanson, of Wor-
cester, was a native of Uddevalla, Sweden, where
he lived all his life. He married Anna C. Hanson.
Their children, all born at Uddevalla, were : 1.
Dana M., born 1840, married James Sargent, of Bel-
mont, Massachusetts, and they have — Edith Sar-
gent, Mabel Sargent, Nellie Sargent, Frank Sar-
gent. 2. Johanna E-. died when fifteen years old..

3. Charles F., born September 9, 1849. s;e forward.

4. John A., born December 9, 1852. married Anna
H. Astrom and they have four children — Adolph,
Godfrid, Annie, Jacob. 5. Sven E., born September
16, 1855, see forward. 6. Richard, born September
4. 1S59, died September 4, i860. 7. Fredrika E.„
born June 12, 1865. married Eric Forsstedt and they
had two sons, Herbert and Stanislaus Forsstedt ;
she died 1901.

Charles F. Hanson was born in L T ddevalla„
Sweden, September 9. 1849. He came to this coun-
try in 1865 and was first employed in the piano busi-
ness by Paul N. Humphrey, of Boston. After work-
ing in Boston three years he came to Worcester,,
and from 1868 to 1870 was with the firm of S. R.
Leland & Son. He started in business for himself
after leaving Mr. Leland's employ and opened a
store in 1878. He removed to the store in Mechai
Hall building in 18S5. He built up a large trade
in pianos, organs and music and became one of the
leading dealers of the city. In April, 1906. he re-
moved to his present location in the Thule building.
Main street. He was one of the prime movers in
the organization which built this magnificent build-
ing for the Swedish societies and interests of Wor-
cester. He is a member of Thule Lodge, Independ-
ent Order of Odd Fellows. He is a member of the
First Universalist Church. Svea Gille and Royi
Arcanum. Mr. Hanson is the composer of a num-
ber of successful operas and selections. He re-
ceived the permission of the King of Sweden to>



dedicate to him the opera "Fridjof and Ingeborg,"
•which was successfully produced in Chicago and
in which his daughter, Lillian Hanson Gray, took
the title role. It was also presented one week at the
Worcester Theatre. It received the favorable notice
of the musical critics and attracted the attention of
the musical world.

Mr. Hanson married, November 27, 1867, Eliza
Ann Hazall, daughter of Charles and Ann (Palmer)
Hazall, of English birth. Their children: 1. Lillian,
born November 8, 1868, married, June 28, 1898, C.
Albert Gray and has one child, Carl Albert Gray,
born December 12, 1900; she is a prominent teacher
of vocal music in Worcester. 2. Charles Arthur,
born March 9, 1873. 3- Flora May, born 1875, died
March 8, 1888. 4. Frederick Theodore, born June
12, 1876, died November 8, 1904.

Sven E. Hanson, brother of Charles F. Hanson,
was born in Uddevalla, Sweden, September 16, 1855,
and received his education in the public schools of
his native town. He came to America August 9,
1881, and located in the city of Worcester. In 1882
be opened an office in Worcester for the sale of
steamship tickets. Many Swedish people had already
made their homes in that city and many thousands
have come since. His place of business has been
for many years at 241 Main street. He represents
all the principal trans-Atlantic lines. He is a Re-
publican in politics and a Swedish Lutheran in re-
ligion. He is a member of Thule Lodge, Odd Fel-
lows, in which he has held all the offices in suc-
cession and is now a past grand. He is a member
also of the Conquest Council, Royal Arcanum, and
of the Svea Gille and Massasoit Tribe, Improved
Order of Red Men.

He married, July 19, 1861, Clara W. Anderson.
Their children: I. Edward, born March 5, 1888. at-
tended Worcester high school one year, draughts-
man at the works of the Standard Plunger Elevator
Company. 2. Axel, born March 29. 1890, class of
1907 in Worcester high school. 3. Rudolph, born
April 16, 1892. 4. Martha, born October 5, 1896.
5. Ragnhild, born April 8, 1900.

nell (1) and Agnes his wife sailed from England
in the spring of 1635. He was forty-five years of
age, and his wife thirty-seven. The entire family
at this time consisted of Zachary, his wife Agnes,
their son John (eleven years of age) and John
Kitchen, a servant, aged twenty-three years. This
family group formed a part of the company of Eng-
lish emigrants that came with the Rev. Joseph Hull,
and were permitted to settle at Weymouth, Massa-
chusetts. Zachary Bicknell died within about a year
after his arrival at Weymouth, not, however, until
he had built a house and established a home, embrac-
ing twenty acres of unfenced land. His widow soon
married Richard Rockett (or Rockwood), and the
home of the Bicknells was sold to William Reade.

(II) John, born in 1 624, the only son of Zachary
Bicknell, married (first) Mary, who bore him Mary,
John and Naomi. She died March 25, 1657-8, and
he married (second) Mary Porter. They had Ruth,
Joanna, Experience, Zachary, Elizabeth, Thomas,
Hannah, and Mary.

(III) Zachary, born February 7, 1667-8, in Wey-
mouth, married Hannah Smith, November 14, 1692.
Their children ' were : Zachary, Hannah, James,
Mary, Peter, and Joshua.

(IV) Peter, born in Barrington, Rhode Island,
1706; married Rachel and had: Peter, born Jan-
uary 11, 1736; died young: Rachel, born December
9. 1737. died 1752; Peter, born July 24, 1745: Asa,
born April 13, 1747; Amey, born 1752; and Amos.

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 8 of 133)