J. B. Beers.

History of Middlesex county, Connecticut, with biographical sketches of its prominent men online

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Online LibraryJ. B. BeersHistory of Middlesex county, Connecticut, with biographical sketches of its prominent men → online text (page 51 of 147)
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in the town are one at Middle Haddam, near the Con-
gregational Church, laid out in 1794; one in Tarsia Dis-
trict, East Hampton, 1776; one north of Pocotopaug
Lake, 1787; one in Young Street, 1789; Waterhole, 1793;
the Selden yard in Middle Haddam, 1825; ^^"d the
Skinner yard, in East Hampton, about i860. Scattered
thrd'ugh the town are numerous private cemeteries, and
unmarked graves of victims of small-pox and other con-
tagious diseases.

Cobalt Mines.

About the year 1762, Dr. John Sebastian Stephawney
a German, opened a cobalt mine at the foot of Great
Hill. He employed a number of men for a short time,
and made a horizontal opening into the hill. In 1770
(^ renewed the works, in connection with two other Ger-
mans, John Knool and Gominus Erkelens, but in a short
time made over the management of the concern to his




associates. A large opening was made in the hill, and
the superincumbent matter was prevented by stanchions
from falling upon the laborers. Many casks of ore were
obtained and sent to Europe, but little was known as to
its character or value. Erkelens finally became the
principal manager of the concern, and operations were
suspended about the year 1787. Nothing more was done
there for about 30 years, or until 1818, when Mr. Seth
Hunt, from New Hampshire, commenced operations, and
continued them about two years. He and his asso-
ciates, five in number, expended about $20,000, and ob-
tained, as they supposed, 1,000 pounds of cobalt, which
proved in England to be nickel containing from three to
four parts of cobalt. This proof induced a suspension
of operations. In 1844, the mine was again opened, by
Professor Shepard, author of the " Report on the Geo-
logical Survey of Connecticut. He employed a few
hands for a short time, but it is ^?ot known what discov-
eries he made. In 1850, Edmund Brown, with some
friends, began operations a few rods eastward from the
old excavations. He employed many hands, sunk a shaft
38 feet deep, worked from the shaft some 50 feet, and
took from the opening a large amount of ore. They then
commenced a tunnel 700 feet east of the shaft, at a ra-
vine, and proceeded with it some 35 feet westerly, with a
view of meeting the opening from the shaft, in the mean-
time putting up stamping works, laboratory, and smelt-
ing works. In the course of 15 months, after expending
a large amount of money, the company failed, and Mr.
Brown died shortly afterward. Dr. Eugene A. Frank-
fort, a native of France, a graduate of the Medical School
of Bonn, and of the Chemical School of Giessen, came
to Middle Haddam, in 1857, to test the ores obtained by
Mr. Brown. He practiced a short time as a physician,
and then removed to Middletown. Through his influ-
ence and report upon the character of the ore obtained,
a company was formed, under the name of " The Chat-
ham Cobalt Mining Company," with its principal office
in Philadelphia. A large amount of money was expended
in mining, but the cobalt could not be separated from the
arsenic and nickel with which it was associated, and the
works were abandoned, the buildings and furnaces taken
down and carried away.

Post Offices.

The Middle Haddam post office was established in
1804, and John Hugh Peters was appointed postmaster.
Since his death the postmasters have been John Stewart,
John Stewart jr., Henry Stewart, Huntington Selden,
John Carrier, Henry Hurd, Linus Parmelee, Josiah Ack-
ley, and' John A. Carrier. East Hampton office was
established in 1818. The postmasters have been Frank-
lin G. Comstock, David Buell, William G. Buell, Noah
S. Markhara, Joel W. Smith, and Clark O. Sears. West-
chester office, when first established, was within the
limits of the town, being kept by Franklin S. Comstock,
near Comstock Bridge. Moses W. Comstock also kept
an office known as East Hampton Lake, afterward
changed to Chatham, about 185 1 or 1852. Cobalt post

office was established in 1851. The postmasters have
been Charles Rich, Henry W. Tibballs, Daniel Judson,
and Rufus^b. Tibballs.


Both of the ecclesiastical societies made early arrange-
ment for the support of schools within their respective
localities, and committees were appointed from year to
year to take charge of educational matters. Of these
early schools but little is known, and the names of but
few of the teachers have been recovered. John Norton"
jr., William Bevin, and Joseph Frazier Montgomery were
among the early teachers in East Hampton Parish, and
later, Elisha Niles and Timothy Rogers served in that
capacity. The town is at present divided into eleven
districts for school purposes, and the contributors toward
the maintenance of common schools are quite liberal.
There is no academy within the limits of the town, and
scholars desirous to obtain a more liberal education are
obliged to seek it elsewhere.


Manufactures in East Hampton.

About 1743, a forge was erected near the outlet of
Pocotopaug Lake, but little is known of the amount of
business that was done, or how many hands were em-
ployed while it continued in operation, which was until
1810. Captain Abijah Hall, an iron worker from Lyme,
appears to have been the master workman up to the
time of his death, when he was succeeded by his son,
Abijah Hall jr. In 1825, a new forge and a scythe fac-
tory were built on the site of the old one, and at these
business was done for several years, but the buildings
are now all taken down and removed. A few rods south
of this formerly stood a bell foundry, 38 feet by 22, to
which an iron foundry, 40 feet by 20, was attached.
This was at first operated by Goff, Abell & Buell, and
later by Buell & Veazey, then for a time by Hiram
Veazey. These buildings have also been taken down.

Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company. — The
next factory in order, or the first one, in fact, that is now
in active operation, is that of The Bevin Brothers' Manu-
facturing Company, which stands on the site of the East
Hampton Manufacturing Company's works, which were
organized in 1830 by Butler N. Strong, Harry Strong,
Dan. B. Niles, and Alfred Williams. They carried on a
limited business in the manufacture of waffle irons, coffee
mills, clock bells, and other metal goods. In 1837,
Chauncey and Abner G. Bevin bought out the firm, and
in 1838 admitted their brother Philo as a partner, under
the name of Bevin Brothers. They manufacture sleigh,
hand, house, cow, sheep, door, and ship bells; also pre-
serve kettles and waffle irons. At first they employed
but six hands. As their business increased the old build-
ings were torn down and new ones erected which cover
over an acre of ground. The casting shop, which is the
largest, is 35 by 174 feet, one story high; the finishing



shop 34 by 165 feet, two stories high. There is an office
and nine other out-buildings. From 50 to 75 hands of
both sexes are employed throughout the entire year, and
the business continues to grow and increase, requiring
constant changes to meet the demands of the trade. Soon
after the great fire in Chicago, during which the court-
house in that city was destroyed, the large bell which
hung in that building, being ruined, was purchased by
Everhart & Co., of Chicago, manufacturing jewelers, who
shipped a portion of this famous bell to this 'firm, who
cast it into miniature bells to be worn as a relic of the
great fire. Many thousands of these little souvenirs were
cast for the Chicago firm, who sold them readily at first
for ^3 each. It may be interesting to know that part of
the metal of this court-house bell was from remnants of
cannon used in 1832 in the defense of Fort Dearborn at
the time of the Indian massacre. In 1868, they took the
firm name of "The Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Com-
pany," which they still retain.

The Eureka Silk Manufacturing Company. —
The next factory in order on the stream is The Eureka
Silk Manufacturing Company, which is a branch of the
largest concern interested in the silk manufacture in the
United States. The buildings were erected in 1880 by
the Merrick & Conant Manufacturing Company, and
were purchased by the present company in 1882. The
main building is 50 by 105 feet; dye house, 40 by 75
feet; and store house, 25 by 50 feet. They employ about
80 hands, and consume about 30,000 pounds of silk per

The Merrick and Conant Manufacturing Com-
pany was organized in 1880, with a capital of $50,000,
which was increased, in February 1882, to f 100,000.
The incorporators were: J. L. Merrick, H. E. Conant, J.
A. Conant, Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company,
Chauncey Bevin, H. H. Abbe, A. G. Bevin, Philo Bevin,
A. H. Conklin, E. G. Cone, E. C. Barton, and H. D.
Chapman. They sold out, in 1882, to the Eureka Silk
Manufacturing Company. Their buildings stand on the
site of a saw mill and carding works, formerly owned by
Buell & Sears, and later by Bevin Brothers, who erected
a building which was used by Markham & Strong, for
the manufacture of coiifin trimmings, for some years,
when they united with parties in Winsted, Conn., formed
The Strong Manufacturing Company, and removed the
business from town.

The Starr Brothers Bell Coio'ANY own and oc-
cupy the next factory on the stream. They were organ-
ized in 1882, under the general law, with a capital stock
of $20,000, for the manufacture of bells of various pat-
terns. ' The main building is of wood, 156 by 30 teet,
two stories high; a brick foundry, 126 by 38 feet, one
story high; and two other frame buildings, 40 by 30 feet,
and 120 by 20 feet. From 25 to 30 hands are employed.
These works were built by the firm of J. S. Hall & Co., and
by them sold to Veazey & White, who carried on the bell
business here until 1882, when the above firm purchased
the entire works. Veazey & White at one time manufac-
tured church bells, which were mounted with a patented

contrivance, being a self-acting, rotating, automatic ap-
paratus by which the clapper or tongue did not strike
twice in the same place, thus obviating the liability to
fracture, which so often occurs in large bells when much

The East Hampton Bell Company, formed in 185 1,
by J. N. Goff, Amiel Abell, J. S. Hall, D. W. Watrous,
and G. S. Goff, for the manufacture of sleigh and other
bells, occupies the next buildings on the stream, which
stand on the site of Cook's ancient grist mill. In 1837,
Mr. J. N. Goff, A. Abell, and Alfred Williams commen-
ced the manufacture of waffle irons in a building that
stood about 20 rods east of Buell's Hotel. They subse-
quently took in Charles A. Buell as a partner, and re-
moved to the Pocotopaug Stream, where they continued
until the above company was formed. In 1854, J. S.
Hall sold out to R. S. Clark, and in i860 Clark and
Watrous sold out to the other parties. Three large
frame buildings are now used, one 25 by 90 feet, three-
stories high, one 25 by 25 feet, one story, and an office,
18 by 30 feet. From 30 to 40 hands are employed, and
about 190,000 pounds of bell metal, besides other materi-
als, are consumed annually.

Gong Bell Manufacturing Company. — The works
of the Gong Bell Manufacturing Company adjoin those
of the East Hampton Bell Company. The company is a
copartnership concern, composed of H. H. Abbe, A. H.
Conklin, E. G. Cone, and E. C. Barton. They com-
menced the manufacture of gongs and other varieties of
bells, in 1866. New patterns of almost endless variety,
are continually added to their catalogue, and their goods
are sought for by all the leading firms in this country,
and in Europe. The following extract from the official
reports of the British Commission at the exhibition of
the world's fair in Philadelphia, in 1876, is a fair and
truthful representation of the exhibits made by this

" The Gong Bell Manufactuiing Company, of East Hampton, Conn.,
exhibited a case of polished bells for hand, call, and sleigh bells, also a
stand of gongs of which several were mounted. The samples were
beautifully finished, and excellent in tone and quality. A specialty,
called the Cone Globe hand bell, which is constructed by mounting two
gongs on a frame with a hammer so arranged as to strilie both gongs at
the same time, the bells being tuned to accord, produces not only a
full, clear tone, but a very musical sound."

Three large frame buildings, besides other smaller
buildings, are required for their works. The main build-
ing is 50 by 25 feet, three stories high, with a wing 22
by 22 feet, two stories high, and an additional building,
30 by 45 feet. They employ 35 to 40 hands, mostly
skilled laborers. Upwards of 50 tons of bell metal, and
40 to 50 tons of iron are consumed annually in the manu-
facture of these goods. Some 5,000 gross of bell toys,
besides large quantities of door, hand, table, call, and
sleigh bells, are produced annually. They were the pio-
neers, in 1872, in the manufacture of revolving chimes on
wheels, and they also control some 20 different patents.

The East Hampton Plate Company, established in
1880, is one of the most successful in this line of busi-
ness. Parties from New York, Philadelphia, and other
large cities, find it to be for their interest to send their



goods here to be plated. The factory is directly oppo-
site that of the Gong Bell Manufacturing Company, and
it was formerly used by the East Hampton Silver Plate
Company for the manufacture of coffin trimmings, until
they removed to Ridgetown, Ontario. The building is
of wood, 30 by 35 feet. Mr. A. D. Willard is secretary
of the company and general manager.

Watrous & Co., AND R. Wall 2D.— The next facto-
ries are on the bend of the creek, and are occupied by
R. Wall 2d and Watrous & Co. The buildings are of
wood, one 200 by 40 feet, one-and-a-half stories high,
one 80 by 30 feet, two stories high, and one 80 by 30
feet, one story high. Here formerly stood a saw and
grist mill, and one of the buildings on this site was for-
merly used by Newbury Darling for the manufacture of
scythes, and after he removed from town Bosworth &
Roberts occupied it about one year in the same 'business.
Later, Noah S. Markham manufactured a concave oval
shanked hoe of a superior quality of cut steel, in the
building, until competition, by throwing an inferior arti-
cle upon the market, compelled him to give up the busi-
ness. Afterward, Clark & Watrous carried on the man-
ufacture of sleigh bells here, and later, D. W. Watrous &
Co. manufactured both sleigh bells and coffin trimmings
for a number of years. Watrous _& Co. manufacture
bells and toys of various kinds and patterns. Mr. Wall
also manufactures bells of many varieties, among which
is the Russian star saddle gong, of peculiar style and
workmanship, beautifully finished, and of elegant design.
Mr. Hall deserves great credit for what he has accom-
plished. He came to this country about 30 years ago,
from the Emerald Isle, a poor lad, and he is now a suc-
cessful competitor of some of the oldest manufacturers
in his line of business.

NiLES, Parmelee & Co. — The next buildings in order
on the stream are those formerly used by Niles, Parme-
lee & Co. for the manufacture of bells. They were
erected about 1853. Later, they were used by D. B.
Niles & Sons for the manufacture of bells and coffin
trimmings, and still later by the Albany Casket Company
for the manufacture of caskets and coffin trimmings.
The buildings are at present unused, but are in good

The Barton Bell Company. — The next building on
the stream is used by the Barton Bell Company, which
was organized in i88r. The incorporators were: O. L.
Clark, A. W. Barton, and A. G. Barton. Mr. Clark is
president, and A. W. Barton secretary and treasurer.
Mr. Barton is a descendant of William Barton, the
pioneer of the bell business in this country. They man-
ufacture bells of elegant form and fine workmanship, and
some 25 hands, mostly skilled laborers, are employed.
There are some specialties made by this firm, unlike the
goods made by any of their competitors, and one of the
most elegant and beautiful designs shown in their
catalogue is that of " Barton's New Saddle Gong,"
which consists of a chime of gong bells mounted with
plumes. They also manufacture the Globe bell, patented
by William E. Barton. The building used by this com-

pany is of wood, 26 by 80 feet, three stories high, and
was erected by the Union Bell Company.

Skinner's Mill. — Next beyond the Barton Bell Com-
pany's works is the saw and grist mill of H. Skinner &
Co., size 32 by 85 feet, three stories high, with a wing 45
by 28 feet, two stoiies high. Beyond this is a small
building used by Joseph Arthur for smelting metals. It
stands on the site of a building used by D. W. and L. S.
Sexton, and afterward by Sexton, Veazey & Brown, for
the manufacture of wrought iron cow bells.

H. B. Brown & Co.— The works of H. B. Brown &
Co., manufacturers of bolt cutting and nut tapping ma-
chinery, are located about a mile beyond Skinner's saw
mill. The business was first established by this firm at
New Haven, in 1865, and removed to its present loca-
tion in 1876, and the property purchased by H. B.
Brown. The original building was erected for a cotton
mill, by Henry Skinner, about i860. It was 33 by 70
feet, three stories high, and provided with 15-horse water
power. It was burned in the spring of 1884, and a new
building is in process of erection, of the same size but
two stories in height. About 20 hands are employed,
mostly skilled laborers. The trade is principally with
railroad companies and machine shops. The building
stands on the site of Abell's saw and grist mill.

Beyond this, on the same stream, was the factory of
the Pine Brook Duck Company, a saw mill, a pistol
factory, and a satinet factory, formerly owned by Justin
Sexton & Sons. AVith this latter a saw mill was connected.
House's paper mill also stands on the same stream.

Manufactures on the Cobalt Stream.

The Cobalt Water Power Company was organized
February 20th 1866, with a capital of $2,000. The in-
corporators were: Harrison Brainerd, Daniel S. Tibballs,
William Tibballs, David Dickinson, and Isaac E. Wills.
The first officers were: president, Harrison Brainerd;
secretary, A. B. Bailey; treasurer, James N. Tibballs.
The present officers are: president, B. C. Clark, Boston;
secretary and treasurer, F. J. Bailey. The large reser-
voir, which supplies the several mills on the stream, was
erected in 1866, on the site of the old dam. The com-
pany purchased the right from the different parties. The
dam is 10 feet high and about 10 rods wide. If the
water is used economically in the spring it will keep
the mills running the whole year.

The Cobalt Manufacturing Company. — One of
the largest mills on the stream is that recently occupied
by Bailey & Brainerd, for the manufacture of coffin trim-
mings. One of the buildings was probably erected pre-
vious to the Revolution, and was owned by Mr. George
Hubbard, the father of Stephen Hubbard, of Cobalt, who
is now about 90 years of age. It was used as a grist
mill. The other buildings are of more modern construc-
tion, and they were used at one time for the manufacture
of hoes and axes. The works are now occupied by the
Cobalt Manufacturing Company.

Bailey & Markham.— The grist mill now owned and
run by Bailey & Markham was erected many years ago


by John Stewart, and was used by him for the manufac-
ture of oakum. It was subsequently used for working
the cobalt ore by Brown & Risburg, and at a later period
by Samuel W. Taylor for smelting brass cinders. It was
next used by Brainerd & Cook for grinding feldspar. In
i860, it was purchased by Alexander Bailey and changed
into a grist mill. In 187S, it was purchased by Bailey &
Markham, the present owners, who continue to occupy it
as a grist mill. The old building is 20 by 40 feet, two
stories high. The stone building used for storage is 40
by 50 feet, one and one half stories high. They use
water power, about 22 feet fall. Capacity, 75 bushels
per day.

J. C. Clark.— The business of J. C. Clark, manufac-
turer of sleigh bells, located on the Cobalt Stream, was
established here in 1865, under the firm name of Wells &
Clark Brothers, composed of James J., Cyrus R., Watson
W., and J. C. Clark, and Isaac Wells, a brother-in-law.
The business was continued by them for seven years,
when they dissolved partnership, Mr. J. C. Clark taking
the business. He took Mr. P. H. Hilliard, of Westerly,
Rhode Island, as a partner, and continued the business,
under the firm name of J. C. Clark & Co., for one year,
when Mr. Clark purchased his partner's interest. The
buildings were erected by Wells & Clark Brothers. They
are now owned by the Portl-and Savings Bank. These
buildings consist of a casting-room, 16 by 32 feet, two
stories high, and a finishing-room, 20 by 40 feet, three
stories high. They use water of about 8-horse power, but
they are provided with an 8-horse power engine for use
when the water is low. They employ about 20 hands,
and consume about 150,000 lbs. of bell metal per annum.

The Oakum Manufactory of Tibballs Company
is located on the Cobalt Stream, about seven-eighths of a
mile nearer Middle Haddam landing on the Connecticut
River. The business, which is now carried on by the
Tibballs Brothers, was started by their father, Thaddeus
Tibballs, in 1828, and with one exception it is the only
manufactory of the kind in Middlesex county. Daniel,
the oldest brother, was first taken into the firm. In 1873,
he separated from his brothers and started an oakum
manufactory in Boston, Massachusetts. The business is
now carried on here by the three brothers, Russell,
James, and Dana. The original buildings, which were
of wood, were destroyed by fire in 1870, and were soon
after rebuilt in a more substantial manner. There are
now two large mills, one of brick, and the other of stone
and brick. The brick mill is 30 by 30 feet, three stories
high. The stone mill is 30 by 45 feet, three stories high.
In addition to this the company have two large frame
storehouses, and a large dock and storehouse on the
Connecticut River. The large reservoir of the Cobalt
Water Power Company supplies the mills with 2S-horse
power. Steam power of 12-horse is used in addi-
tion to this when required. The firm employ about 14
hands, and produce about 60 bales, of 50 pounds each,
per day. The transportation facilities by water and rail
enable this firm to compete successfully with all others
in this line of business throughout the country.

Middle Haddam.

A very large business was done at this place, some
years ago, in ship building, which was the most import-
ant branch of industry. Among the principal ones en-
gaged in this were Mr. John Stewart and Mr. Jesse Hurd.
Owing to the lack of building material in this locality,
and the heavy expense incurred in transporting lumber
from the east, it became unprofitable, and for some years
past very few vessels have been built here. At one time
over two hundred men were employed here in this busi-

A little house, standing near the Stewarts' residence,
was built previous to the Revolution, by a tailor named
Luther Whitmore, who paid for it but 10s., ()d., in cash.
The balance was paid by him in labor and material con-
nected with his business.


Warren Lodge, No. 51, F. & A. M., was constituted
August ist 181 1, by a charter from the Most Worshipful
Stephen Titus Hosmer Esq., Grand Master of the Grand
Lodge of the State of Connecticut, upon the petition of
David Clark, Zebulon Penfield, Ira Lee, Samuel R. Dick
inson, Edward Bowles, John Parmelee, Samuel Brown,
John Richmond, Jabez Hall 2d, Sparrow Smith, Simeon
Young, Elisha Niles, Morris McNary, Charles L. Smith,
Thomas Stewart, Benjamin Hurd, Joseph Dart, Horace
W. Bowers, Seth Branch, Jeremiah Taylor, Samuel Tay-
lor, Stephen Griffith, Ralph Smith, Eliakim Ufford, John
Ackley, Jacob Hurd, Stephen Brainerd, John H. Strong,
Joel Bradford, Nymphas Wright, Elijah Colton, Richard
Carrier, Jeremiah Penfield, Noah Shepard, Elizur Good-
rich, Hezekiah Goodrich, David Stocking, Stephen Ran-
ney, Abel Lewis, Daniel Hale, Samuel Cook, Seth Over-
ton, and Jonathan W. Brown, praying that they be con-
stituted into a regular lodge, to be holden at the dwelling

Online LibraryJ. B. BeersHistory of Middlesex county, Connecticut, with biographical sketches of its prominent men → online text (page 51 of 147)