New London County Historical Society (Conn.).

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Records and Papers


Historical Society.








Edited by thk Secrktarv.


PuHMSHED r.\ THK Soritrrv,



Copyright, 1906, nv
The New London County Historical Society.

Bingham Paper Box Comi'any, Printers,
New London, Connecticut.


Foreword, .....

The John Winthrop Monument.

The Work of the Commissioners,
The Sculptor,
Winthrop Square, .
The Boulder Pedestal,
The Tablet,

Details of Preparation for Mav Sixth,

Outline of Committee Work,
Citizens' Committee,
Reception Committee,
List of Officers and Committees,
Special Orders for Escort to

Roberts, ....
Orders for Afternoon Parade,
Invited Guests,



A Midnight Soliloquy, by Cornelia W. Cha

pell, Jr.,

Military Escort to the Governor, .
Program, Unveiling Ceremonies, .
Introductory Remarks, lunest E. Rogers,
Invocation, Rew |. Romcyn Dantorth, .
Address of Welcome, Mayt)r Mahan,
Response, Governor Roberts,
Delivery of Statue, Ex-Governor McLean,
Unveiling of Statue, ....



I I - 22





New London's Two Hundred Fiftv-ninth Birthday, 42 - 82






Acceptance of Statue, Ex-Governor Waller,
Historical Address, Hon. Daniel Davenport,
The Luncheon, .....
Afternoon Parade and Re\'ie\v,

Conclusion, .......

Final Committee Meeting,

Text of Circular issued by Finance Committee

Statement of Celebration Fund, with List of

Contributors, .....
Statement of Pedestal Fund, with List of Con

tributors, ......

Replies to Invitations, ....

The Old Town Mill,

New Connecticut or the Western Reserve, by

William C. Oilman, ....

The Parentage of Phebe Brown - Lee - Larrabee

Cornish, bv Lieut.- Col. C. D. Parkhurst,
Four Lost Legacies of the Early N. E. Civil Polity

by Rev. Leonard Woolsey Bacon, D. D.,
Publications of the Society, ....
Records of the Society, June 17, 1904, — Septem

ber I, 1905, ......

Oifts, September i, 1903, — September i, 1905,
Officers and Committees, ....

List of Members, September i, 1905,


83 - 92










Statue of John WinthiDp the Younger,
The Statue and its Surroundings,
Bronze Tablet, ......

Facsimile of Invitation, ....

Unveiling of Statue, ....

The Old Town Mill and Surroundings in
1820, .......

The Old Town Mill in 1905,

Manuscript, "A Genealogy of my Mother,"



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Governor John Winthrop the Younger

Erected in the city which he founded

A. D. 1646

By the State of Connecticut
NEW LONDON, MAY 6. 1905.

Publication Commi tiee.
Jonathan Trumbull, Elizabeth Gorton, Ernest E. Rogers.

The Act of Incorporation allows the New London County
Historical Society to hold property, and any bequest may be
made for specific purposes, as a fund for permanent building,
for printing, or for the general expenses of the Society.

The form of such bequest is as follows :

I give and bequeath to the New London County Historical
Society, the sum of dollars, the same to

be applied to the fund of said Society to

be used under the direction of the officers of said Society, for
the purpose named.


On May 6, 1896, the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the
settlement of New London, Connecticut, there was laid in that city
the cornerstone of a monument to John Winthrop the Younger. Part
III, Volume II, of the Records and Papers of the New London County
Historical Society contains a detailed account of the celebration held
at that time, and the preliminary arrangements for it. In order to
show the connected history of the movement from its beginning in
189s to the completion of the statue, ten years later, the following sum-
mary of important facts, taken largely from The Day of May 6, 1905,
is given.

The bronze statue unveiled today is not wholly a memorial to John
Winthrop, the founder of New London, as is the general impression,
but is erected by the State in memory of John Winthrop the Younger,
one of the earlier governors, who served the colony well by securing
from King Charles the Second of England, the charter which gave
Connecticut so much more liberty than was accorded to other colonies.
The fact that Winthrop also founded a city in 1646 is merely one of
the many important events of his life, but it caused his statue to be
placed in New London, where he lived, and with which town his
name is so intimately connected.

Nearly ten years ago the movement for a memorial to Winthrop
was started by Ernest E. Rogers, who, noticing that there were no
memorials of any kind in New London, and believing that the first to
be erected should be to the founder of the city, introduced the follow-
ing resolutions at the annual meeting of the New London County
Historical Society, September 2, 1895 :

" Whereas, the 6th of Mav, 1S96, will he the 250th anniversary of the
founding of New London hv John Winthrop the Younger, subsequently gov-
ernor of the colony, and

"Whereas, it is eminently fitting and proper that the New London
County Historical Society should originate plans tor the erection of a public
memorial to Governor John Winthrop,


" Moved, that this Society take the initial and active steps toward
placing on the elevation in the new park a statue of Governor Winthrop of
commanding size, the cornerstone to be laid not later than the above men-
tioned date.

"Moved, that a committee of three, of which the President of the
Society shall be an ex-ofiicio member, be appointed by the Society to de-
velop plans and methods for securing the necessary funds, and to report to a
special meeting of the Society to be held during the third week of Septem-

These resolutions were referred to the Advisory Committee of the
Historical Society, with instructions to report not later than Decem-
ber I. On November i6 the committee reported to the Society in
favor of the project, and recommended that the city, through the
Common Council and Board of Trade, be invited to join in the move-
ment. A committee was appointed and empowered to represent the
Society, and Miss Fannie Potter, the Secretary, notified the Common
Council and Board of Trade of this action and recommendation.
The approval of those bodies was given, and a committee was ap-
pointed by each to co-operate with that of the Historical Society in
the preparations for laying a cornerstone.

The celebration on May 6, 1896, had a three-fold program, the
dedication of the soldiers' and sailors' monument on the parade
being one project, the celebration of the city's 250th anniversary an-
other, and the laying of the cornerstone for the Winthrop monument
a third. This made a more varied program than was the case in to-
day's celebration.

The portion of the program devoted to the laying of the corner-
stone took place in the forenoon. The ceremonies of laying the stone
were in charge of local Masons and the grand officers of Connecticut
were also present, besides members of Bay View Lodge of Niantic.
The Masons formed in line in Union Street and marched to the scene
where the ceremony was to take place, being escorted by 400 school
boys in line. The boys formed a solid body on one side of the parklet
and the Masons had the center of the scene. The ceremonies
included prayer by Rev. James Wilson Bixler, D. U., remarks by
President A. H. Chappell of the Board of Trade, and an address on
the Founder of the City by Rev. S. Leroy Blake, D.D., late pastor

forp:\vord. 7

of the First Church of Christ. The lowering and setting of the stone
and sealing of its contents was conducted in accordance with the rites
of the order.

Even after the cornerstone was laid, and the work thus given an
auspicious start, the project did not move forward with the desired
rapidity and success. For several years nothing was done toward
securing funds, but finally Hon. Augustus Brandegee, who was an ad-
mirer of Winthrop, offered to start a popular fund with a donation of
five hundred dollars, if the public would give the rest within a specified
period. In January, 1900, it was announced that this amount would
be doubled, provided that the remaining sum necessary for the mon-
ument should be raised by July 4 of the same year. Both offers
stood neglected, however, as no other donations for this purpose were

On December 31, 1899, Hon. Charles Augustus Williams, then
President of the New London County Historical Society, died. In
response to the urging of members of the organization, Mr. Ernest E.
Rogers finally accepted the Presidency, and succeeded to the duties
of the position. The Society has had various other enterprises in hand,
but from that time the project to secure the statue of Winthrop was
made foremost, and given its strongest efforts.

At a special meeting, it was voted that a committee of five be
appointed to endeavor to secure a state appropriation for the statue,
inasmuch as no funds seemed forthcoming from local sources. In
January, 1901, a committee was appointed consisting of Hon. Robert
Coit, Alfred H. Chappell, Walter Learned, Mayor M. Wilson Dart,
and Postmaster John McGinley, President of the Board of Trade.
This committee was instructed to draw up and present to the General
Assembly a bill making the desired appropriation. Mr. Coit drew
the bill, and his son, William B. Coit, then representative from New
London, presented it in the Assembly, and watched zealously over its
interests while it was before the Legislature.

In order to secure an appropriation for the statue, it was necessary
to show that the memorial was not strictly local. Accordingly the
bill was given the support of the Connecticut Historical Society, the


New London County Historical Society and the Connecticut Society,
Sons of the American Revolution, as well as the following local socie-
ties : John Winthrop Club, St. John's Literary Association, Salton-
stall Club, and Nathan Hale Branch, Sons of the American Revolution.
Committees representing the above societies were appointed to ap-
pear before the Appropriations Committee on March 14, 1901, in the
Capitol at Hartford, and were as follows :

Connecticut Historical Society : Rev. Lindall Winthrop Salton-
stall. Rev. W. DeLoss Love, Prof. Henry Furguson, Arthur L. Ship-
man, Albert C. Bates. New London County Historical Society:
Ernest E. Rogers, President, Charles B. Ware, Treasurer. City of
New London : Hon. M. Wilson Dart, Mayor, Hon. Robert Coit,
Alfred H. Chappell, Walter Learned, John McGinley, President Board
of Trade. Connecticut Society, Sons of the American Revolution :
Jonathan Trumbull. Winthrop Club : Asa O. Goddard, Hon. Cyrus
G. Beckwith, Maj. Hadlai A. Hull, Ex-Gov. Thomas M. Waller. St.
John's Literary Association : Bryan F. Mahan, John C. Geary, William
J. Brennan. Saltonstall Club : Henry P. BuUard. Nathan Hale
Branch, Sons of the American Revolution : Dr. Frederic Farnsworth.

The Hartford Courant of March 15, 1901, gives the following out-
line of the hearing :

Hon. Robert Coit, of New London, briefly sketched the career of Win-
throp, whose home was in New London, dwelling particularly on his suc-
cess in procuring a charter for the State. The only memorial to Winthrop
is the portrait that leads the line of Governors' portraits in the State Li-
brary. Mr. Coit also referred to the fact that New London had furnished
four governors, and adhered to his belief that the statue should be in that
city. To Chairman Roberts' inquiry if less than ten thousand dollars would
do, Mr. Coit said that no proper statue could be secured for less, and that it
was not worth while to put up a cheap statue. New London wanted a work
of art, such as a former governor deserveci.

Jonathan Trumbull of Norwich spoke of the work accomplished by indi-
viduals, as when the Sons of the American Revolution rescued and perpet-
uated Trumbull's War Oftice. When General Hawley was invited to make
the address at the dedication of this building, he said : " Your Society has
done nobly, but this work ought to have been done by the State of Connec-
ticut." Mr. Trumbull then spoke of Winthrop's great influence on the his-
tory of the State. With the exception of the statue of Governor Hubbard here
on the Capitol grounds, Connecticut had not done honor to the memory of her


statesmen. General Putnam had been honored most abundantly, as had
John Mason, Colonel Knowlton, and other military heroes, but little had
been done tor the statesman. He concluded by saying that he had suggest-
ed giving up for two years the five thousand dollar annual appropriation for
the Norwich Hospital, so, if it were to be looked at in that narrow way, the
state treasury would not suffer by this appropriation.

Arthur L. Shipman, representing the Connecticut Historical Society,
decidedly favored the resolution, though it might be better if the statue
w'ere placed here at the capital. Mr. Shipman then re\iewed the important
events in Winthrop's life, and spoke in favor of the memorial.

Rev. Mr. Saltonstall of this city said he would speak on the practical
side. It was a good thing for Hartford and all the State to beautify any
city in the State. He also saw great educational benefit in such a statue and
like memorials.

Representative Whittlesey, of New London, thought the State should not
be niggardly in honoring the man who founded the State Government.

Ex-Speaker Brandegee, of New London, would like to see more than ten
thousand dollars appropriated for the purpose.

Ex-Mayor Cyrus G. Beckwith, of New London, said that at present
there w^as hardly a proper marking of W^inthrop's grave, and that now
something should be done. Winthrop's remains rest in the churchyard of
King's Chapel, Boston.

Postmaster McGinley, of New London, made an eloquent appeal. In
these days of ingress of citizens from other countries, it was well to keep
before the people the memory of the country's founders.

In his report to the Historical Society, the following September, of
the work done, Hon. Robert Coit, Chairman of the Legislative Com-
mittee, said it was like asking a soldier returning from an unsuccess-
ful war to give an account of his actions during the campaign. An
effort had been made to impress upon the Appropriations Committee
the propriety and feasibility of an appropriation for such a worthy
and historical cause, and the committee was ably assisted by
citizens of prominence in the State, but success did not crown their
persistent efforts. There were many petitions for similar appropria-
tions, and while the committee were impressed with the real worth of
the cause presented, there was no money available for a Winthrop
statue. Therefore the Committee on Appropriations recommended
that it be referred to the Legislature, to meet two years later. Mr.
Coit considered the reference to the next Legislature a polite way of
bowing the petitioners and petition out of court.


In January, 1903, at the General Assembly, Representative William
B. Coit again introduced the resolution, and it was referred to the
Committee on Unfinished Business. In that way the bill obtained
precedence over newer bills, and great credit is due Mr. Coit for his
untiring efforts during two sessions of the Legislature, in helping push
the project to a successful issue.

The following act was passed, April 22, 1903, creating a com-
mission and providing funds for the statue :

Section i. — That the Governor shall appoint three Commissioners to
procure and cause to be placed upon a suitable pedestal in the town of New
London, to be provided bj or through the New London County Historical
Society, a suitable bronze statue of John Winthrop, Governor of the Colony
of Connecticut from 1657 to 1676.

Section 2. — Said Commissioners are herebj- authorized to make a con-
tract in behalf of the State with some competent artist for the making of
such statue and placing it on the pedestal, provided that the entire cost to
the State of such statue and of placing it on the pedestal shall not exceed the
sum of $10,000.

Section 3. — The sum of $10,000 is hereby appropriated to be expended
under the direction of said Commissioners, and the Comptroller is hereby au-
thorized and directed to draw his order on the Treasurer for the cost of said
statue not to exceed the amount above specified, on the presentation of
vouchers approved by said Commissioners.


Under an Act passed by the General Assembly of 1903, Governor
Abiram Chamberlain appointed Hon. Robert Coit of New London,
Col. Norris G. Osborn of New Haven, and ex Governor George P.
McLean of Simsbury, as Commissioners "to procure and cause to be
placed upon a suitable pedestal in the town of New London, to be
provided by or through the New London County Historical Society, a
suitable bronze statue of John Winthrop, Governor of the Colony of
Connecticut from 1657 to 1676." An appropriation of ten thousand
dollars was placed at their disposal for the purpose.

At the first meeting of the Commissioners, held with Mr. Coit in
New London, the question of an artist for the statue was fully consid-
ered. Being anxious to recognize New London County in the studio,
Mr. Coit suggested that the work be entrusted to Bela Lyon Pratt, of
Boston, a former Norwich resident. In the summer of 1903, Mr.
Pratt was engaged to make the statue, and the completed work proves
how admirably the decision of the Commissioners was justified.

Subsequent meetings were held in New Haven, Boston, Hartford,
and again in New London. The work was carried on under the di-
rection of the Commissioners, Mr. Pratt first submitting a design
which differed in one material respect from the statue as it now
stands. This had an Indian crawling up from behind Winthrop, sug-
gesting a guide in the wilderness, but that figure was rejected with the
approval of xMr. Pratt. A working model or study, which is a care-
fully proportioned model, two and one-half feet high, was then made
and inspected by the Commissioners at the artist's studio in Boston.
After careful consideration, a few modifications were made in the
garments and face, the Commissioners being upheld in these by the
judgment of the artist. When the changes had been made to the sat
isfaction of all, Mr. Pratt perfected the study in detail. After approval
by the Commissioners, the full-sized clay model was made and cast in


plaster late in 1904. From this the statue, requiring thirty-seven
hundred pounds of metal, was cast by the Henry Bonnard Bronze
Co. of New York.

Hon. Robert Coit, Chairman of the Commission, died June 19,
1904, and a few weeks later the following communication was received
by the President of the New London County Historical Society:

State of Connecticut, Executive Dept.,
Hartford, August 5, 1904.

rivE Dept., ")
just 5, 1904. i
Mr. EfeNEST E. Rogers, New London, Conn.

My Dear Sir : You are hereby appointed on the Commission for the
erection of a statue in memory of John Winthrop, to fill vacancy caused
by the death of the Honorable Robert Coit.

Trusting you will accept the same, I remain, with high regard,

Sincerely yours,

A. Chamberlain.

Your associates on the Commission are Col. N. G. Osborn, ex-Gov.
George P. McLean.

A meeting was held with Mr. Rogers in New London, March 28,
1905, at which time arrangements were made for the Commissioners'
part in the unveiling ceremonies, and other details regarding their
work considered. It was suggested that May 6 be made a Govern-
ors' Day, " thus further dignifying the office which Winthrop did so
much to make memorable in the colonial history of Connecticut.
Winthrop was governor for a generation, and he was the man who
laid the foundations of so many of the traditions which have since
been preserved by incumbents of that office."

There were six ex-Governors living, and it was decided to invite
them, with Governor Roberts, as special guests of the occasion.

It was voted that Ernest E. Rogers, President of the Historical
Society and of the State Commission, should preside at the unveil-
ing exercises, also that the delivery of the statue from the State
Commissioners be made by ex-Governor McLean. Other details of
the program as arranged, were an address of welcome by Mayor
Mahan, a response by Governor Roberts, and the acceptance of the
statue by ex-Governor Waller. After the meeting, the Commissioners


drove to the site of the statue in Bulkeley Square, and inspected the
boulder pedestal whi^^h had previously been placed in position.

Mr. J. Frank Salter, of the firm of John Salter & Son, of Groton,
made the following proposition to place the statue and set the tablet
at cost :

Groton, Conn., March 22, 1905.
Mr. Ernest E. RociicRS,

Chairman lolin \\'inthrop Statue Commission.

Dear Sir : We note in our daily paper that the bronze statue will arrive
about April 15th. As our firm ga^'e the cornerstone, including the mortise
in stone for box, cutting of dates and all tools, etc., for the lajing, we would
appreciate the honor of erecting the statue and placing the bronze tablet,
and would do the work at exact cost, which would be a very small sum. As
you know, we have cut and erected a great many marble and granite statues,
and could handle this one with the greatest care and the least expense, giv-
ing the matter our personal attention.

Awaiting your pleasure, we are

Yours very truly,

(Signed) John Salter & Sox.

As the erection of the statue on its pedestal was included in the
contract with Mr. Pratt, this letter was forwarded for his considera-
tion. Mr. Salter's offer was warmly appreciated, and he was at once
engaged for the important work, to which lie gave his careful and ex-
perienced attention in person, making no charge for his time and
services in superintending the setting of the statue and tablet.

The finished statue reached New London, April 1 1 , 1905, consigned
to the sculptor, and was his property until accepted by the Commis-
sioners. A telegraph message, " John Winthrop has arrived,"
brought a prompt response from Mr. Pratt, who came to New London
the following day and superintended the placing of the statue on the
pedestal. Two days later the work was completed and the monument
temporarily veiled.

At a meeting of the Commissioners held in the Crocker House,
April 28, the sculptor was present by special invitation. At the close
of the executive session, the party, accompanied by ex-Governor
Waller, drove to the statue, the covering of which was removed for a
short time. After thorough inspection of the completed work, the


Commissioners pronounced it satisfactory in every respect, and handed
Mr. Pratt an order on the Comptroller of the State for the final pay-
ment of six thousand dollars, due after the erection of the statue.
The covering was then replaced, where it remained until a white veil
of the regulation kind was substituted, in preparation for the unveiling
ceremonies of May 6, when the final and formal duties of the Win-
throp Statue Commission were completed.

A correspondent of the New Haven Register has said :

In the case of John Winthrop, as in the case of many of the founders
and patriots, less is known about him than would be commonly supposed.
The people of New London, who have naturally been proud of the young
man who founded their town, giving it the name of "New" London, in-
stead of London, as some of his followers wished, and calling the beautiful

Online LibraryNew London County Historical Society (Conn.)Records and papers of the New London county historical society .. (Volume III, Part I) → online text (page 1 of 30)