Archive:Commemorative Biographical Record of Hartford County, Connecticut

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Commemorative Biographical Record of Hartford County, Connecticut : Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of Many of the Early Settled Families [Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1901]. Part 1.

From Google books.


[p. 86]

Mehitable Havens married Hezekiah Whitney; his daughter (VI) Juliette Whitney married Jesse Williams [son of Jesse and Lois (Collins) Williams].


[p. 127]

Henry Winthrop [Hurlburt] ... (c) Nellie Mary, born Nov. 2, 1877, who was married April 25, 1900, to Clarence Edgar Whitney; ...


[p. 157]

(III) Daniel Dart ... married ... Jemima Shayler ....

(IV) Jonathan Dart, born Jan. 10, 1733, married June 16, 1755, Lucy Whitney, of Canaan. He was admitted to Bolton Church May 28, 1758. Children: (1) Timothy, born Nov. 15, 1756; (2) Jonathan, Oct. 8, 1758; (3) Lucy, Oct. 27, 1760; (4) Asahel, Sept. 30, 1762; (5) Levi, July 25, 1874; (6) Abiel, April 7, 1766; (7) Aaron, Jan. 12, 1768; (8) Daniel, baptized Dec. 30, 1769; (9) Amos, baptized Sept. 1, 17771, died March 19, 1778; (10) Mabel, baptized Dec. 19, 1773; and (11) Joshua, baptized Aug. 20, 1777.

(V) Aaron Dart, born Jan. 12, 1768, in Bolton, Conn., resided in what is now the town of West Hartford, where he was an extensive farmer. He married Sarah Shayler, and had a large family, of whom are named: ...


[p. 396]

AMOS WHITNEY, president of the Pratt & Whitney Co., Hartford, is justly ranked as foremost among the representative, self-made men of the community, and the city is greatly indebted to him for his share in building up in its midst a gigantic industrial establishment, which has made a name and reputation for Hartford in nearly every civilized land on the globe, and which is so closely identified with the material prosperity of the city. His personality has been a most potent one here for fifty years--a half century--and his identity through all these years with this great plant, the welfare of which in turn has been so materially connected with that of the community, places him in the front rank of the city's prominent men.

Mr. Whitney was born Oct. 8, 1832, at Biddeford, Maine, son of Aaron and Rebecca (Perkins) Whitney, whose ancestors were among the early and prominent settlers of New England. John Whitney, the emigrant ancestor of this branch of the Whitney family, was born in 1589, and resided from 1619 to January, 1623-24, as Isleworth-on-the-Thames. His wife, Elinor, with children accompanied him to America in 1635. They settled in Watertown, in the Massachusetts Colony, soon after their arrival. Mr. Whitney was an important man in the community, and held various public offices. He died in 1673. From this emigrant ancestor Amos Whitney, of the Pratt & Whitney Co., Hartford, is a descendant in the eight generation, the line of his descent being through Jonathan, Jonathan (2), Daniel, Lieut. Levi, Aaron and Aaron (2).

(II) Jonathan Whitney, son of John, the emigrant, born in England in 1634, married in 1656, in Watertown, Lydia, daughter of Lewis Jones. He was admitted as an inhabitant in Sherborn in 1769, and there died in 1702.

(III) Jonathan Whitney (2), son of Jonathan, born in 1658, married Sarah Hapgood. He lived in Sherborn, Watertown, and Concord, where he died in 1735. He served in King Philip's war.

(IV) Daniel Whitney, son of Jonathan (2), born in 1710, in Sudbury, married in 1739 Thankful, daughter of Elnathan and Mercy (Rice) Allen, of Sudbury. He resided in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

(V) Lieut. Levi Whitney, son of Daniel, born in 1739, married (first), in 1764, Rebecca Clark. During the war of the Revolution Mr. Whitney was an officer in the commissary department, with rank of lieutenant. He possessed much mechanical ingenuity, and was a manufacturer of agricultural tools. He resided in Townsend and Shrewsbury, Mass. He died in 1809.

(VI) Aaron Whitney, son of Lieut. Levi, born in 1772 in Townsend, Mass., married (first) in 1797 Phebe Dunklee, who was born in 1778, and died in 1800. Mr. Whitney was a blacksmith by trade, and in 1812 was the postmaster at Amherst, Mass. His shop was burned in 1815, and in 1819 he removed to Calais, Maine. For some years he was a prominent citizen of Amherst. He died in 1845.

(VII) Aaron Whitney (2), son of Aaron, and the father of Amos Whitney, of Hartford, was born Dec. 15, 1801, in Amherst. He was married at Biddeford, Maine, to Rebecca Perkins, who was born in Mary, 1809, and they resided at Biddeford, Maine, and other points, and finally at Hartford, Conn. He was a machinist by trade and occupation, and died in January, 1866. His family consisted of six children, three sons and three daughters.

The rudiments of his education the subject of this sketch acquired in the village schools of Biddeford and Saccarappa, Maine, and Exeter, N.H., his parents removing when Amos was eight years of age to Saccarappa, and four years later to Exeter, where he saw the last of the school room two years later, at which period the family had taken up a home in Lawrence, Mass. Here he was apprenticed, before he was fourteen, to the machinist's trade with the Essex Machine Co., and thoroughly mastered the trade. The shop in which he worked was a very large one for those days, devoted to the making of cotton machinery, locomotives and machinists' tools. His apprenticeship of three years on one year as a journeyman were served on the latter work. At the end of the fourth year he followed his father to Colt's pistol factory at Hartford, Conn., where both father and son were working as machinists in September, 1850. It may be noted here that among the Whitneys for generations there had been many skilled mechanics. Aaron Whitney was an expert locksmith and machinist, and no doubt the son, our subject, inherited from him his taste in a mechanical line and also the father's pronounced skill. Eli Whitney, of cotton-gin fame, as well as of firearms note, was a descendant of the same remote ancestor as is Amos.

In 1852, Francis A. Pratt, now of the Pratt & Whitney Co., came to Hartford to take a position in the pistol factory of Col. Colt, where he was employed until 1854, when he accepted the position of superintendent of the Phoenix Iron Works, and about this time or a little previous young Whitney went to the same works, where were then conducted by Levi Lincoln and his two sons. These two young machinists--Pratt and Whitney--were closely associated as superintendent and contractor at the Phoenix Iron Works, and although remaining with the firm until 1864, in the summer of 1860 rented a room on Potter street, and began doing some work on their own account in manu-

[facing p. 397]

Photograph of Amos Whitney

[p. 397]

facturing a little machine called a "spooler," for the Willimantic Linen Co., who owned the device for winding thread--the Conant patent. This was the beginning of the great Pratt & Whitney Co. of to-day. The following February from their start these gentlemen were burned out, but a month later saw them again settled for business in what was then the Woods building, in the rear of the Times office, where they continued to spread through one room after another till all the available space was outgrown by the expansion of the business. In 162 Messrs. Pratt & Whitney took into partnership Monroe Stannard, of New Britain, each contributing $1,200, and the association has since remained unbroken. One of the chief products of the early firm was a milling machine, designed by Mr. Pratt. Since then there have been nearly 7,000 of these machines made by the company, distributed to all parts of the world. The design of the machine is substantially the same to-day as that of nearly forty years ago. Mr. Stannard, on coming into the firm, assumed charge of the running of the shop, but the business so increased that Messrs. Pratt & Whitney found it necessary to give up their positions in the Phoenix Iron Works and devote their whole time to their own business. In 1865 the firm erected the first building on the present site, which was ready for occupancy the following March. From time to time others have been added, till the plant now occupies about five and one-half acres of floor room, equipped throughout with the most approved appliances for protection against fire, for the comfort of the employes, and for the convenient and economical dispatch of work. The property lies on both sides of the Park river, with the tracks of the Consolidated and of the New England railways on the northern border, about one-fourth of a mile from the passenger station.

Beginning with the manufacture of machine tools, gun tools, and tools for the makers of sewing machines, the firm has gradually extended its lines, till a partial catalogue of its products fills hundreds of pages. The invention of the typewriter and the bicycle materially enlarged the demand for tools. Since the davent of these industries the compnay has largely supplied manufacturers throughout the country with appliances for doing work. Here, in applied mechanics, the resources of science and art have been long and conscientiously devoted to the task of embodying the ideal in the real. In 1866 Roswell F. Blodgett and Seth W. Bishop were admitted to an equal interest with the other members in the partnership. Owing to the constant increase in the business it became necessary to organize a joint-stock company. The net assets of $3,600, in 1862, had grown during four years to $75,000, and the next three years they made and put into the business a clean profit of $100,000. In July, 1869, the Pratt & Whitney Co. was formed, with a capital of $350,000. From that day to this but $150,000 in cash has been put into the business--the rest of the increase of capital has been earned. A stock dividend was declared a few years later, and the capital was increased to $500,000 (to $400,000 in 1873 and to $500,000 in 1875), where it remained until 1893, when the company was reorganized with a capital of $3,000,000, two-thirds in preferred stock and one-third in common stock, figures which were based upon the company's assets and earning power. The company has employed as many as 1,180 hands, and manufactures a larger variety of machines than any concern in the world. When the company was reorganized in 1893 the limit of production for a year was $1,118,000. With the same business activity now the establishment could produce in the same period goods to the value of $2,000,000.

In 1882 what is known as the west building was erected. In 1887 the company completed, on the east side of Fowler street, and addition of four stories, containing 44,000 square feet of floorage. In 1891 they erected, on the south side of the Park river, a building 295 feet x 45 feet, two stories above the basement, for the exclusive use of the small tool department. In 1895 they built a forge shop 165 feet x 50 feet, and lengthened the original shop about 18 feet, for the enlargement of the offices and stores above. There are now over 233,000 square feet of floorage.

Back as far as 1870 Mr. Pratt visited Berlin, and after an absence of six weeks returned to Hartford with orders from the German Government for gun machinery to the value of $350,000. Within the next three years he made three trips to Berlin, taking orders and delivering to the government goods worth over one and a quarter million dolars. Since 1888 the company has made over four hundred Hotchkiss guns, mostly to form the secondary batteries of our new war vessels.

Through all these years, and up to the spring of 898, Mr. Whitney, our subject, was superintendent of the work, and was vice-president after 1893. In March, 1898, he became president. For over forty years Messrs. Pratt & Whitney, brought together casually at first, have toiled in harmonious intimacy to the profit of each other and to the wider benefit of those who have trusted them--a rare instance of such business and social relations. Mr. Whitney has always been an indefatigable worker, and has probably put in more than ten hours' work for every day since he was fourteen years old. From the organization of the firm until 1883 he never had more than one or two days' vacation in a year. He has ever kept in close touch with his men, and there is to-day the same bond of sympathy and loyalty between them that existed forty years ago. Every man in the shop feels this. One of the remarked: "Mr. Whitney is a kind-hearted man, of generous impulses. He is very popular with all of the men here, all feel a very strong allegiance to him. Whatever he promises he will do. He is

[p. 398]

perfectly straight-forward in his dealings with his men, and there is no need of a contract with him, if his word has been passed."

Mr. Whitney has given his life to business, has no tastes of inclinations for public preferment, and has declined to participate in political affairs. He is a stanch Republican, and does his duty as a citizen in this line, always taking a great deal of interest in party questions and matters. He is a man of decidedly domestic tastes, and enjoys his beautiful home on the corner of Whitney street and Farmington avenue. For thirty years past he has traveled for his company nearly one-third of the time, and is in very close touch with the hundreds of customers of the great concern. He is a director in the Pratt & Cady Co.; is president of and a director in the Gray Pay Station Telephone Co.; also a director in the Co-operative Savings Bank.

On Sept. 8, 1856, Mr. Whitney was married at Hartford to Miss Laura Johnson, who was born Nov. 9, 1837, and the union has been blessed with children as follows: Nellie H., born in 1860, died in 1865; Nettie L.; and Clarence Edgar. The latter studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, later passed through a similar training in the shop and in the office of the company, and resigned in March, 1896, to organize and manage the Whitney Manufacturing Co., which within a year was employing over one hundred hands.


[p. 413]

EDWIN BILLINGS SMEAD [son of Jonathan and Lucy B. (Adams) Smead] ... was married Nov. 12, 1874, in Baltimore, Md., to Miss Annie Whitney, of the island of Bermuda, and after her decease, Jan. 25, 1876, he married, on Oct. 30, 1878, her sister, Miss Roselvina Whitney.


[p. 476]

WILLIAM R. MACK ... was married (first) in Windsor to Miss Juliette Holt ... He has five children, all by the first marriage: Eva R. (Mrs. T. H. Whitney), ....


p. 583

PARDON AUGUSTUS WHITNEY, the well-know superintendent of the Southington shops of the Peck, Stow & Wilcox Co., was born in Woodstock, Vt., June 10, 1844.

Mr. Whitney is a son of Aaron Warren and Harriet (Leonard) Whitney, the former a native of Schroon, N.Y., the latter of Woodstock, Vt. Grandfather Whitney served in the war of 1812. The father was reared in his birthplace, and in 1883 [sic: 1838?] went to Woodstock, where he learned the machinist's trade, and later worked as a journeyman for a couple of years. In 1840 he embarked in the manufacture of tinner's tools and machines, in which he continued at that place until 1869, and the following two years was engaged in the same business in Smnithville, N.J., selling out at the end of that time to the Peck, Stow & Wilcox Co. In 1871, he came to Southington, where for a time he was employed as inspector by that company, and then for several years was engaged in the grocery trade. He died in Southington, May 15, 1877, honored and respected by all who knew him. He was twice married, his first wife being Harret Leonard, daughter of Capt. James and Mary (Briggs) Leonard, of Woodstock, Vt., and by this union were born four children, our subject being the only son to reach years of maturity. The mother died Jan. 20, 1848, and for his second wife the father married Lucia Tucker, of Royalton, Vt., by whom he had one son, Foster A.

In his native town our subject grew to manhood, and his early education was obtained in its public schools. Subsequently he was a student at the Burnham Business College, Springfield, Mass. He served a four-years' apprenticeship in the machinist's trade in his father's shop at Woodstock, and continued in his father's employ until the removal of the family to Smithville, N.J., when he became a partner. When they sold the plant, in 1871, he came to Southington and entered the employ of the Peck, Stow & Wilcos Co., having charge of their bolt shop for about nine years. In 1879 Mr. Whitney went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he had charge of the mechanical department of the Wilcox, Treadway Co. for three years, and when it was absorbed by the Peck, Stow & Wilcox Co., he continued with them at that place for one year. Removing to Chagrin Falls, Ohio, he was engaged in the manufacture of racket drills at that place for a year and a half, and then went to Warsaw, N.Y., where he purchased an interest in the Variety Machine Co., and had charge of the mechanical department of their works for three years. In the fall of 1877 he returned to Southington, and has since held his present position with the Peck, Stow & Wilcox Co., being at the head of the mechanical department of the Southington plant.

During the Civil war Mr. Whitney enlisted, in August, 1862, in Company C, 6th Vt. V. I., and participated in alll the engagements in which the 6th Army Corps took part. With the exception of a two weeks' furlough he was never off duty a single day, and ws honorably discharged, as sergeant, July 31, 1865, after two years and eleven months of arduous and faithful service.

Mr. Whitney was married Oct. 2, 1870, to Miss Julia Douglass, a daughter of Reuben and Catherine (Thomas) Douglass, of Woodstock, Vt. Her father was a farmer of that place, and a son of John Douglass, a native of Scotland, who became a farmer at Hartland, Vt. Her maternal grandparents, Phineas and Deborah (Thomas) Thomas were also agriculturists of Woodstock. The Thomas family was formery of Old Middleboro, Mass. Mrs. Whitney's great-grandmother was Deborah Howland, a descendant of John Howland, who landed on Plymouth Rock from the "Mayflower" in 1620. Of the four children born to our subject and his wife only two survive: Jennie M. and Mary Louise. Mr. and Mrs. Whitney are both active and earnest members of the First Congregational Church of Southington, of which he is a deacon. Socially he is a Knight Templar; politically he is a stanch Republican. As a citizen, friend and neighbor he is true to every duty, and justly merits the high esteem in which he is held.


[p. 615]

Enoch Lawrence, born Jan. 5, 1648-9, settled in Groton. On March 6, 1676-7, he married Mrs. Ruth (Whitney) Shattuck, widow of John Shattuck, daughter of John and Ruth (Reynolds) Whitney, and granddaughter of John and Elinor Whitney, and of Robert Reynolds. Enoch Lawrence died at Groton, Mass., Sept. 28, 1744, leaving four sons.

(III) Daniel Lawrence, son of Enoch, born at Groton, Mass., March 7, 1681, died about 1778, and was buried in Canaan, Conn. It is supposed that he died at the home of his son John, in Norfolk, Conn., as his son Isaac gave the use of a farm to this half-brother as compensation for care of their father. By his first wife, Sarah, Daniel Lawrence had children, Daniel, Isaac, and several children by second mnarriage.

(IV) Capt. Isaac Lawrence was born in Groton, Mass., Feb. 25, 1704-5. It is supposed that his parents removed to Plainfield, Conn., when he was a child, and that he removed to Canaan from there. "In the spring of 1738, with a team composed of a yoke of oxen, and a horse, he started with his family and goods in a cart for his new home in what was then called the new and western country." There were no settlements west of New Hartford, and he was obliged to cut his way through the woods, and bridge streams. The distance beyond New Hartford was about thirty miles, and the journey occupied nine days. On one of the nights there was a fall of snow (in May), and in the morning bear tracks could be seen. His destination in what is now Canaan, Conn., was reached June 2, 1738. During his life in Canaan Capt. Lawrence built three different houses, the last, the old Lawrence tavern, erected in 1751, still standing, a find example of the substantial building of that day. He was a tall, erect man, "of pleasing countenance, sociable, intelligent, excellent character, and active, correct business habits. He accumulated a valuable property, owned several large farms, and twenty slaves--a very large number for any one man to own in New England--to whom he gave freedom before his death, with the exception of one who was freed by his heirs. He made provision for the infirm and needy. He held many town offices, and was representative to the General Assembly in 1765. His extensive business transactions necessarily, bringing him in contact with a large number of persons, his

[p. 616]

excellent reputation and the veneration in which he was held afford the best evidence we could have that his general course was honorable, manly and benevolent. He and his wife were members of the First Congregational Church organized in Canaan, later of the Second Church, in North Canaan, and the frequency with which his name appears in the business meetings of the Second Church, and information derived from other sources, affords good reasons for believing that he was an exemplary Christian." The Captain's first wife was Lydia Hewett, whom he married probably in Plainfield, and who died Nov. 14, 1767. His second wife, formerly Mrs. Amy Whitney, died in 1819. There were eleven children by the first marriage, six of whom died in youth. The youngest was Hannah, born May 25, 1750, who married Willard Kingsbury, and they had six children: Andrew, who was a physician at Rush, N.Y.; Ardon, who settled at Elmira, N.Y.; Philo, at Oswego, N.Y.; Lydia, at Rush, N.Y.; John, who married Rebecca Griswold May 8, 1794, and died Jan. 19, 1841; and Hannah, who married Hezekiah Goodwin, of Bloomfield, COnn., their daughter Olive Goodwin, becoming the wife of Benajah Humphrey, of Simsbury. Willard Kingsley was a soldier in the Revolution, serving in Capt. John Stevens compay, of Col. Burrall's regiment, 1776. This regiment reinforced Arnold at Quebec. two companies were captured at the battle of the Cedars, forty miles from Montreal, and Willard Kingsbury, one of the prisoners was exchanged August 1.


[p. 1372]

Charles and Esther [(Gay)] Stewart had eleven children ...: ... Elizabeth, wife of Henry Whitney, of Phillipston, Mass.; ....


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