Copyright
Emily C. (Emily Carrie) Hawley.

Historical sketch of the First Congregational Church of Brookfield, Connecticut, and of the town of Brookfield online

. (page 7 of 8)
Online LibraryEmily C. (Emily Carrie) HawleyHistorical sketch of the First Congregational Church of Brookfield, Connecticut, and of the town of Brookfield → online text (page 7 of 8)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


outside world by railroad, as during this year the
Housatonic Railroad was constructed from Bridgeport
to New Milford, largely through the enterprise of
Alfred M. Bishop, Esq. In 1842 this road was con-
tinued to the state line. The Housatonic was one of the
first railroads constructed in the country. At Bridge-
port passengers took boat to New York City. The
writer's father has often related his first ride by rail
from this town to Bridgeport in 1840, he being a lad of
thirteen years was accompanied by his older sister
(afterward Mrs. L. A. Weed). The trip was made in
open cars and fraught with more or less excitement,
inasmuch as the iron strap which was used as a rail
would occasionally become loose and the car leave the



130 Historical Sketch

track. The journey, however, was made without se-
rious disaster. In the year 1869 Brookfield was con-
nected by rail with Danbury, the road being long
known as "The Dummy" road; very amusing are the
experiences related by those who first became the
patrons of this road, as the dummy engine sometimes
refused to work. Seventeen years later this branch
railroad was leased by the Housatonic. The Danbury
& Norwalk Railroad, constructed in 1852, was also
leased by the Housatonic road in 1886. The entire
Housatonic system passed into possession of the New
York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in 1892.
Charles S. Mellen is president of this system at this
date.

Federal Lodge

Brookfield had a Masonic lodge. It was known as
Federal Lodge, No. 41, and was chartered November
7, 1797. The charter members were Eli Perry, Ben-
jamin Bostwick, Lemuel Hawley, Rufus Sherman,
Solomon Warner, Peter Hurd, Benjamin Warner,
Nathaniel Ruggles, Jabez Hurd. The first three per-
sons given on the list held respectively the offices of
master, senior warden, and junior warden. In 1826
the Congregational Church at Brookfield voted to give
Federal Lodge, No. 41, the privilege of erecting a
Masonic hall on the north side of the meeting house,



Town Affairs 131

provided they do not locate within twenty-four feet of
the church. The lodge did not conclude to build near
the church, but erected a two-story hall just south of
Hiram Fairchild's residence and on his ground. This
building was subsequently used for select school, store,
and dwelling, and was removed some years since. Mr.
Ira Keeler was one of the last to be interested in this
lodge, and in the closing up of its affairs, May 8, 1844,
the charter was revoked by the Grand Lodge of
Connecticut.

The Grange

A local Grange was organized here in 1894. It was
auxiliary to the Pomona Grange of Fairfield County.
The society's headquarters were in Peck's Hall, the use
of which was donated by Mrs. Eliza G. Peck. Meet-
ings were held twice during the month. Papers were
prepared and delivered by members of the society on
various subjects relating to agriculture. This or-
ganization was successfully managed for some thir
teen years, enjoying a good degree of prosperity; but
owing to the removal of some prominent members of
the society from the town, and the death of others, it
was thought best to discontinue the meetings in the
summer of 1907. The hall in which the Grange had
conducted its meetings was also, at about this time,
used for other purposes.



132 Historical Sketch

Village Improvement Society

At the suggestion of Mr. H. Allen Smith, and very
largely through his efforts, a Village Improvement
Society was organized here December 2, 1893. The
first officers of the society were : President, Hiram D.
Hawley ; vice president, Alfred Somers ; secretary,
Minnie Somers ; treasurer, Sidney E. Hawley. The
executive committee, of which Mr. H. Allen Smith was
the chairman, included also Rev. E. L. Whitcome and
Stanley B. Terrill, Esq. This committee had the en-
tire work in charge from first to last.

It was decided to construct a sidewalk on the east
side of the village street, and the society immediately
took steps to raise funds for this purpose. This was
accomplished by subscriptions, membership fees, and
moneys raised through public entertainments.
H. Allen Smith contributed very largely toward the
latter, giving illustrated lectures by means of the
stereopticon, which were highly entertaining as well
as a source of revenue to the society.

A concrete sidewalk, five feet in width and nearly
three quarters of a mile in length, has been constructed
through the village at Brookfield Center, at a cost of
nearly two thousand dollars, including crosswalks.

The society raised about fifteen hundred dollars, and
three property owners (Mrs. Skidmore, Esther M.
Hawley and Mr. Houseman) paid for the construction



Town Affairs 133

of the walk in front of their respective properties,
amounting to about four hundred and fifty dollars ad-
ditional. The work was done by John P. Beard, Esq.,
and Benjamin Brothers, all of Danbury, in the years
1898-99, 1900-01 and 1903-04.

The present officers of this society are : President,
F. S. Curtis ; vice president, S. B. Terrill ; secretary,
Miss Somers ; treasurer, Alfred Somers.

The Village Improvement Society is also credited
with securing the first telephone installed in Judge
Griffen's office.



CHAPTER XV

A FEW SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF BROOKFIELD

WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO

THE WORLD'S WORK

Ministers and Editors

Rev. Albert E. Dunning, editor-in-chief of The
Congregationalist, the national organ of Congrega-
tional churches in this country, was born in Brookfield,
Conn., January 5, 1844. A graduate of Yale College,
class of 1867, and of Andover Theological Seminary,
class of 1870. Mr. Dunning became pastor of High-
land Church, Boston, Mass., in 1870 and served the
same until 1881, when he was appointed national
superintendent of Sunday-school work for Congrega-
tional churches. From 1897 to 1902 he was secretary
of the International Sunday School Lesson Committee ;
also connected with the publishing society.

Mr. Dunning is author of the following books :
"The Sunday School Library," "Normal Outlines for
Sunday Schools," "Bible Studies," "Congregationalists
in America," and others. During the eighteen years
that Mr. Dunning has been editor of The Congregdr-
tionalist he has placed the paper in the very front rank




Rev. Albert E. Dunning, D. D.
Editor ok The Con<;regationalist



Sons and Daughters of Brookfield 135

of religious weeklies, both as to literary merit and as a
medium for religious intelligence. Beloit College con-
ferred on Mr. Dunning the degree of Doctor of
Divinity in 1889.

Dr. Dunning resides at Brookline, Mass., with
business offices in the Congregational House at Boston.

Joseph C. Smith, born in Brookfield September 4,
1865, graduated from Yale University and received
degree of A. B. in 1885. Removed to Boston in 1887,
and has been connected with The Boston Globe ever
since. Elected alderman in Medford, Mass., in 1907.

Missionaries

Samuel Ruggles was born at Brookfield (Iron
Works) in 1795; he came of an unusually interesting
and brilliant family. Mr. Ruggles early became active
in foreign missions, and decided to join a company
sailing for the Sandwich Islands. His sister, Lucia
Ruggles, who had established a school in Cooperstown,
N. Y., married soon after Dr. Thomas Holman (1819),
and Samuel Ruggles and wife with Dr. Holman and
wife sailed with others from Boston in October, 1819,
being the first missionaries sent by the American
Board to those Islands. They were five months on the
voyage. Mr. Ruggles remained fifteen years, and ac-
complished a great work, having ability as a translator
of languages. Dr. Holman and wife returned in



136 Historical Sketch

1822. They were in Bridgeport at the time of Dr.
Holman's death in 1826. Mrs. Holman married
Daniel Tomlinson, Esq., of Brookfield, a successful
man. She died at the home of her daughter, Mrs.
Hiram Noble of New Milford, in 1886, in her ninety-
third year. Mr. Samuel Ruggles returned to Brook-
field in 1835, but died at the home of his daughter,
years after, in Fort Atkinson.

Ministers

Other ministers who have gone out from Brook-
field in past years are: Rev. William A. Hawley,
Rev. William Dibble, Rev. B. F. Northrop, Rev.
Stevens, Rev. Peter Shepard, Rev. Oliver Tay-
lor, Rev. Oliver St. John, Rev. Frank Lobdell,
Rev. Frank Whitcome.

Physicians Who Went Out from Brookfield

Dr. Michael Dunning Benedict was born in
1811 on Stony Hill, Danbury, but spent his youth in
Brookfield, and married here. He took a course of
lectures in the Medical Department of Yale College,
practiced medicine in New Haven, and removed to
Skaneateles in 1838, and was a successful physician
there for twenty-five years. In 1861 he became army
surgeon of the 75th New York Volunteers and served



Sons and Daughters of Brookfield 137

until December, 1864. In 1865 he was on the Sanitary
Commission at Washington, D. C. He settled in
Syracuse, N. Y., in 1865, where he remained until his
death in 1885. Dr. Benedict was one of the foremost
physicians in Onondaga County. He was brother-in-
law to Dr. Williams of Brookfield.

Dr. William F. Lacey, son of Dr. Noah A. Lacey,
was born here in 1823. He graduated from Yale
Medical School in 1844 and practiced in Danbury,
Conn., from 1844 to the time of his death. Of his three
brothers two were physicians.

Dr. Anson P. Smith, son of Anson Smith, is a
graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons
of New York City, class of 1879. Dr. Smith prac-
ticed in Brookfield, Sandy Hook, New York, and re-
sides in Nova Scotia.

Dr. Elbridge W. Pierce, whose youth was spent
here, graduated from the University Medical School,
New York City, in 1885. He settled in Meriden,
Conn., in 1885, where he is now practicing his pro-
fession. Dr. Pierce is a son of Rev. A. C. Pierce.

Dr. Homer B. Jones, born here, is a graduate of the
University Medical School, New York City, class of
1891, practiced in New York City and in Borough of
Brooklyn from 1891 to the present time.



138 Historical Sketch

Dr. George R. Hawley, born here, is a graduate of
the Long Island College Hospital, class of 1892. Dr.
Hawley served as interne one year at this college;
practiced medicine one year at Danbury, and in 1894
located in Brooklyn, N. Y., where he has since been
engaged in the practice of his profession.

Dr. Howard P. Mansfield, born here in 1863, is
an alumnus of the Long Island College Hospital, class
of 1893. He settled in Georgetown, Conn., where he
practiced medicine until 1901, when he removed to
Ridgefield, Conn., where he is now a practicing
physician.

Dr. Joseph Michael Collins, born in Brookfield
in 1866, is a graduate of New York University, class
of 1888. Dr. Collins is a widely known specialist in
neuropathy. Dr. Collins has practiced in New York
City since 1888.

Martin Lawrence Collins, D. D. S., is a native of
Brookfield, born in 1868. He is a graduate of the
University of New York, class of 1892 ; practiced in
Rush, N. Y., one year, and in New York City since
1893.

Charles S. Halpin, D. D. S., is a graduate of the
New York College of Dentistry, class of 1891. Dr.
Halpin practices his profession in the city of Brook-
lyn, N. Y.



Sons and Daughters of Brookfield 139

W. D. Halpin graduated from the College of
Pharmacy, New York City, in 1884.

Teachers Who Were Born Here and Who Have Been
Successful Elsewhere

Miss Almira J. Gray was born July 1, 1830, in
Brookfield. She has taught forty-six years — fourteen
years in Connecticut and thirty-two years in Michigan
— resigning her vocation in 1906. She was a teacher
in the public schools, except seven years, when she
taught in a private school in New Haven. Her present
residence is Grand Haven, Mich.

Miss Harriet E. Stevens was born in Brookfield.
She was teacher and principal of Children's Aid
School in New York City from 1863 to 1903, a period
of forty years. Miss Stevens' school opened on Canal
Street in 1864 with five pupils. In 1888 John Jacob
Astor erected a fine school building on Mott Street for
Miss Stevens' school, which numbered at that time
two hundred pupils, the grade being the same as the
public schools of the city. In 1903, when Miss Stevens
voluntarily retired from the principalship, her school
numbered five hundred pupils and twelve teachers.
Her work is of lasting value to thousands. Miss
Stevens has traveled extensively here and in Europe.



140 Historical Sketch

Miss Elizabeth Stevens was born in Brookfield.
She was teacher and principal of Children's Aid
School, New York City, from 1865 to 1886, a period
of twenty-one years. Her school on East 14th Street
was under the patronage of Mrs. John Jacob Astor.
Miss Stevens was called to be principal of the school
on 40th Street, which she served with great efficiency
until 1886. Miss Stevens was married to Edward
Davidson, Esq., of Hempstead some years ago, and
now resides in Hempstead, L. I.

Abner Brundage Holley was born in Brookfield
November 1, 1834. He was a teacher for more
than forty-three years. Mr. Holley taught in the
public schools of New York City thirty-nine years,
from 1859 to 1876 and again from 1882 to 1904. For
twelve years Mr. Holley was a principal. In addition
to his regular work he was principal for a time of the
largest night school for men in New York City (this
was previous to 1876), and for many years thereafter,
in conjunction with his regular work, he taught in the
night schools of the city. Mr. Holley was regarded as
a teacher of unusual excellence. He died May 15,
1904.

F. Lilian Taylor, born in Brookfield, graduated
from Mt. Holyoke Seminary in class of 1873. She
has taught in Galesburgh, 111., for many years, and is



Sons and Daughters of Brookfield 141

a lecturer and author of a series of school readers of
much value. Miss Taylor belongs in the first rank as
a teacher.

Amelia I. Northrop, native of Brookfield, taught
school in Brookfield Center, Great Plain, and city of
Danbury for a period of about ten or fifteen years.
Miss Northrop resides in Brookfield, where she has
long been a very useful member of this community,
entering into church and civic affairs.

Principal George D. Northrop was born in
Brookfield Center and commenced his career as
teacher in 1875. He has taught thirty-one years as
follows : Brookfield two years, Great Plain two years,
and has been prominently identified with the public
schools of Danbury, Conn., for twenty-seven years.
Mr. Northrop has held the following positions in Dan-
bury : Principal of the White Street School two years,
principal of the Balmforth Avenue School twelve
years, superintendent of the Center District schools
ten years, principal of the New Street School three
years.

Miss Susan Whitcome, daughter of Rev. E. L.
Whitcome, was graduated from Connecticut Normal
College in 1881. Miss Whitcome has taught in
Litchfield, Clinton and Hartford; also in Pough-
keepsie, N. Y. For ten years Miss Whitcome has been



142 Historical Sketch

a popular instructor at the Curtis School for Boys,
Brookfield Center.

Henrietta B. Ruggles graduated in 1884 from the
New Britain Normal School ; began teaching in Shel-
ton, Conn., in 1884, and has been a successful teacher
in the public school of that city ever since.

Miriam Taylor is an alumna of the Normal Col-
lege of New York City, class of 1889. Miss Taylor
taught in the Training School of the Normal College
from 1889 to 1898, and has been a teacher in the Girls'
High School of New York City since 1898.

Anna Theodora Skidmore, graduate of Wellesley
College, class of 1894, taught at Northfield Ladies'
Seminary, Massachusetts, from 1894 to 1903 ; taught
in New York City in 1904, and has been professor of
mathematics in the High School at Newark, N. J.,
since 1904.

Florence R. Sagendorf taught in Brookfield seven
years, and entered the New Haven Normal School
in 1900, graduating in 1903. She taught in Port
Chester in 1903 and in Amenia Union in 1904. (Mrs.
Odell.)

Chloe Curtis, a graduate of Wellesley College,
class of 1900, was a social worker in the city of Boston
from 1904 to 1907, a position of responsibility under
the State Board of Charities.



Sons and Daughters of Brookfield 143

Business Men Who Were Natives of Brookfield

Hiram N. Peck, born in Brookfield in 1804, located
in New York City, where he became a dealer in im-
portations to and from Russia, and amassed a large
fortune. Mr. Peck visited Russia. He was connected
with the first Colonel Vanderbilt at one time. Mr.
Peck died in 1851.

Henry William Peck was born in Brookfield in
1812, and removed to New York City early in life.
He succeeded to the business of Hiram N. Peck, under
the name of H. W. Peck & Co.

Arza Canfield Peck, merchant and ship owner of
New York City, was born in Brookfield January 8,
1822. Mr. Peck removed to New York in 1843, and
entered the employ of H. N. Peck & Co., which firm
was succeeded by H. W. Peck & Co., and later by the
firm of DeGroot & Peck, engaged in Russian and East
Indian goods, and of later years in running their ves-
sels. Mr. Peck's business career in New York ex-
tended over a period of sixty-three years. He died
March 10, 1906.

Edward Fairchild, merchant in Danbury, Conn.,
and large real estate owner.

E. P. Goodsell, business man, and one-time mayor
of Bridgeport.



144 Historical Sketch

Amos P. Hawley, in active business, first in Boston,
later in New York City, for many years he was asso-
ciated with his brother, John G. Hawley, in the cloth-
ing business. At one time Henry L. Foote was a
member of the firm, known as Hawley, Foote & Co.

Noble Foster and Henry Foster were business
men in New Haven and New York City.

Henry and Homer Lockwood were in business in
New York City and Brooklyn.

Heman Keeler was in mercantile business in Rome,
N. Y.

Ezra Keeler was in manufacturing business in
New Jersey.

Isaac B. Bristol was born in Brookfield, Conn., in
1821 and received his early education here. For sixty-
six years he was a resident of New Milford, repre-
senting his district in the State Assembly six years,
and in the Senate two years ; besides holding numer-
ous offices in that town. At his death in 1905 Mr.
Bristol was president of the First National Bank, also
president of the Savings Bank, both of New Milford.
Mr. Bristol married for his second wife Miss Lizzie
Allen, at one time a resident of Brookfield.

Henry B. Hawley was born here in 1826. He en-
gaged for a short time in mercantile business at New



Sons and Daughters of Brookfield 145

Milford, which he sold in 1853 to Charles C. Noble.
He went to Brooklyn the following year and remained
in New York City from 1854 to 1868 in the clothing
business. He engaged in manufacturing business at
Brookfield from 1868 to 1880 ; was actively engaged in
religious work at Brookfield from 1868 to 1883, and
established a prosperous mission work in Danbury
from 1883 to 1894. Mr. Hawley was an earnest ad-
vocate of temperance and devoted time and means to
that reform. He died in 1894.

Gen. Samuel E. Merwin was born in Brookfield
in 1831 and removed to New Haven in 1847, where he
died in 1907, in his 76th year. General Merwin was
one of the best known citizens of New Haven. He
was president of the Yale National Bank for years,
and president of the New Haven Savings Bank at the
time of his death. In 1876 General Merwin repre-
sented the fourth senatorial district in the legislature.
In 1888 he was chosen lieutenant governor on the
ticket with Governor Bulkeley. General Merwin twice
received the Republican nomination for governor, in
1899 and in 1892. He was captain of the New Haven
Grays during the Civil War and adjutant-general of
the state from 1868 to 1872. He was chairman of the
committee which erected on East Rock the beautiful
soldiers' monument. General Merwin held numerous
private and public trusts.



146 Historical Sketch

Samuel C. Holley, born in Brookfield in 1832, has
been a resident of Danbury, Conn., for fifty years. From
1866 to 1873 Mr. Holley was director of Union Savings
Bank, being one of the original incorporators of said
bank. Since 1873 he has been president of this bank,
a period of thirty-four years. In 1862 Mr. Holley
became engaged in the manufacture of hats, and for
forty-five years has been actively connected with that
industry in Danbury. In 1887, when the Danbury and
Bethel Street Railway was organized, Mr. Holley be-
came a director, serving for three years, and in 1890
was elected president of the road, which office he has
filled for seventeen years. Mr. Holley is connected
with various other interests in the city of Danbury.

Attorney Samuel Sherman was born in Brook-
field in 1828. He was graduated from Trinity College
in 1850 ; was admitted to the bar in 1852, and practiced
law in New York City until 1872. Mr. Sherman re-
turned to his native town, where he resided until his
death in 1901, in his seventy-third year.

Mr. Sherman was an active member of the Episcopal
Church and an officer in the same. He was a man gen-
erally informed on the questions of the day, which he
enjoyed discussing with his friends, and took a lively
interest in the affairs of this town. He married Miss
Mercedes Montejo of Cuba.




Sidney E. Hawley
Sheriff of Fairfield County



Sons and Daughters of Brookfield 147

Barzillai B. Kellogg, Esq., although residing in
New Fairfield, was a lifelong member of the Episcopal
Church in Brookfield Center and prominently identi-
fied with its interests. Mr. Kellogg was a highly es-
teemed business man, and at the time of his death
was president of the National Pahquioque Bank of
Danbury, Conn., now the City National Bank.

Hiram D. Hawley, born in 1829, left Brookfield
to engage in mercantile business early in life. During
the Civil War he was with the 10th Connecticut regi-
ment. Mr. Hawley has been for nearly forty years
commercial traveler for the Francis H. Leggett Com-
pany of New York City, and has led a very active life.
He left New Haven some years ago and took up his
residence here on the Benjamin Starr place, which he
has greatly beautified. He has also manifested great
interest in local town improvements.

Charles Seeley Hawley was born in Brookfield
in 1836. Mr. Hawley has been actively engaged in
business for fifty years in New York City.

Sheriff Sidney E. Hawley was born here in 1841.
He represented the town of Brookfield in the legisla-
ture from 1887 to 1889. Mr. Hawley was elected
sheriff of Fairfield County, and took office June 1,
1895. After serving the county for three consecutive
terms, or twelve years, Sheriff Hawley was again re-



148 Historical Sketch

elected and entered on his fourth term June 1, 1907.
Sheriff Hawley is regarded as a valuable incumbent of
this office.

Frederick B. Roe, son of Harvey Roe, was a native
of Brookfield, born in 1845. Mr. Roe was a civil en-
gineer and publisher.

Elmer Cornwall, son of George Cornwall, was
born here in 1849. Mr. Cornwall has been in business
in Bridgeport for many years.

Hon. Wilson H. Pierce, whose youth was spent in
Brookfield, was graduated from Yale University in
1881, from Yale Law School in 1885. Attorney Pierce
located in Waterbury in 1888, where he has since been
engaged in the practice of law. As clerk of the city
court and member of the board of education he has
served the city of Waterbury. For ten years he served
New Haven County as prosecuting agent. He was
also president of the University Extension Society of
that city. Mr. Pierce is a son of Rev. A. C. Pierce,
a former pastor.

Prof. Charles B. Hawley, musical composer
and basso of New York City, was born in 1858 on
Whisconier Hill. For twenty years Mr. Hawley was
musical director and solo bass in the Broadway
Tabernacle, New York City. Professor Hawley is a
composer of wide reputation.



Sons and Daughters of Brookfield 149

Among the younger men who have entered business
and gone out from Brookfield may be mentioned : —

Richard Meaney, who is in business in Danbury.
Mr. Meaney has been superintendent of public works
in that city, also alderman. He is a prominent member
of St. Peter's Church.

William H. Hawley was born here in 1858. He
took a course at Eastman's Business College, Pough-
keepsie, and engaged in the drug business some years
at Danbury, Conn., later was commercial traveler for
the Dr. Kilmer Company of Binghamton, N. Y. Mr.
Hawley died in 1893.

John G. Hawley resides in Hartford, Conn., where
he has been engaged in business for many years, being
connected with the Capewell Horse Nail Company in


1 2 3 4 5 7

Online LibraryEmily C. (Emily Carrie) HawleyHistorical sketch of the First Congregational Church of Brookfield, Connecticut, and of the town of Brookfield → online text (page 7 of 8)