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Your Silent Neighbors: Frederick A. Bidwell, Farmer and Public Official

April 15, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian  

A lifelong resident of Canton, Frederick A. Bidwell (1850-1907) was a farmer and very active in the Cawassa Grange.  He served as master of that organization for four years. A public spirited man, he served the town in a variety of capacities including fifteen years on the board of selectmen.  “In that office he was painstaking and careful, and the town has lost a good guardian of the taxpayer [and] a considerate official” according to a newspaper account.  Bidwell was elected state representative from Canton in 1889. He was a member of the Village Lodge of Masons.

Although he met with business difficulties and “severe blows due to sickness and death in his family, he always maintained a cheerful disposition and gained the respect and admiration of all who knew him.”  Bidwell died in Hartford Hospital after a week’s stay. He was operated on for a severe strangulated hernia and was on the road to recovery when complications arose requiring another surgery.  Weakened by the second operation, he failed to rally.

… Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Mary Pratt Lewis, Probate Judge, Town Clerk

April 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian 

Mary Pratt Lewis (1874-1959) had one of the most distinguished public service careers in Canton history.  She was born in Collinsville in 1874, daughter of the renowned local physician Dr. George F. Lewis.  She attended local schools and in 1895 graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.  During the next ten years she taught school in Hartford and Cornwall.  Returning to Collinsville in 1905, she taught German and mathematics in local schools until an appointment as probate clerk in 1917.  In 1918 she became assistant town clerk and town clerk in 1922. She served as town clerk for 33 years until announcing in 1954 that she would not seek reelection. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Stephen Marusiewksi, Collins Company Worker

March 15, 2018 Community, History No Comments

 

By David K. Leff 
Town Historian 

A native of Poland who lived in this country for 28 years, Stephen Marusiewski (1894-1950) worked most of that time in the maintenance department of the Collins Company.  He fell twenty-five feet to his death from a scaffold onto a concrete floor while painting a ceiling in a building.  The plank he was standing on broke and caused his fall.  Medical examiner Dr. Carl Kilburn determined that Marusiewski died of a fractured skull.  A fellow worker, Everett Gustafson, also fell.  He was lucky enough to land on another platform and escaped injury.

Marusiewksi left a wife, a daughter, and three grandchildren.  Funeral Services were held at the C.H. Vincent Funeral Home on Maple Avenue and at St. Patrick’s Church.

Stephen Marusiewksi is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Collinsville.

“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past.  It will appear on the first and fifteenth of each month.  Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.  Any suggestions, questions, or corrections should be addressed to Town Historian David Leff at onktaadn@comcast.net

Your Silent Neighbors: George F. Lewis, Collinsville Doctor

March 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian  

Born in Pine Meadow and schooled there, Dr. George F. Lewis (1840-1919) was a beloved physician in Collinsville who also served patients in surrounding communities.  He attended the Claverack Institute, a preparatory school in Hudson, New York and graduated from Yale in 1865.  After finishing his education he came to Collinsville to practice medicine until his health declined during the last four years of his life.

Dr. Lewis was known to take long drives to see his patients in North Canton, Hartford, Burlington, Avon, Granby, and elsewhere.  In some cases he doctored four generations of the same family.  He was Canton’s health officer for twenty-three years and medical examiner for about thirty years.  Devoted to his patients, it was said that during an epidemic he would go days when the only sleep he got was while being driven from one house to another.

Dr. Lewis was one of the founders of Trinity Church in Collinsville and served as a vestryman.  He served on the Canton Board of Selectmen and was president of the Hartford County Medical Society.  Dr. Lewis was also a thirty-second degree Mason.

He was married to Mary Pratt of Pine Meadow for over fifty-one years.  They had two children,

Funeral services were held at Trinity Church where a quartet sang “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” and De Profundis.” … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Carleton B. Jones, Probate Judge

February 22, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian  

A victim of the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918, Carleton B. Jones (1884-1918) died at his home on Maple Avenue one day shy of his thirty-fourth birthday. He was sick for about a week with a flu that later developed into pneumonia.

Jones attended Collinsville schools and graduated from Collinsville High School in 1902. He was also a graduate of Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts (1904) and the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University (1907).  After college, he returned to Collinsville where he was employed as a chemist by the Collins Company.  After several terms as Canton’s assessor, he was elected judge of probate in 1916. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Ralph Lincoln Cowles

February 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff 
Canton Town Historian  

Described in a newspaper account as “one of our best known young men,” Ralph Lincoln Cowles (1883-1925) was born in Canton Center.  He eventually developed a “thriving little business” in automobile, bicycle and radio accessories, as well as gasoline and oil.  He was a member of the Cawasa Grange and the Red Men, a fraternal organization, both in Collinsville.

A newspaper report described him as “a person of few words and one who stood strong for right and duty.  Although his years here were much shorter than the average few proved more faithful to the tasks of life than he.”

Cowles died at the Granby Hospital.  He had been in poor health for over a year, “suffering from a nervous muscular trouble with other complications, although in no pain, he lost the control of the different muscles in first one location and then another.” … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Frederick J. Hough

January 15, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff 
Canton Town Historian 

Frederick J. Hough (1871-1952) was the classic Collins Company official of his era, long employed in the axe factory and civic minded.  He was born in Collinsville and spent his entire life here.  He worked for the Collins Company for 60 years, the last 30 as superintendent.  He represented Canton in the legislature for two terms, in 1927 and again in 1929.  He was a thirty-second degree Mason and the oldest past master of the Village Lodge, AF & FM.  Hough was also a member of the Collinsville Congregational Church.

A newspaper photo of Hough in his mid 30s shows a serious looking man with dark hair and a luxuriant mustache.  He’s formally dressed in a suit and tie with an upturned collar.  He died at home at age 80.

Frederick J. Hough is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.

“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past.  It will appear on the first and fifteenth of each month.  Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.  Any suggestions, questions, or corrections should be addressed to Town Historian David Leff at onktaadn@comcast.net

Your Silent Neighbors: Caroline Konold

January 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Canton Town Historian  

At age ten, Caroline Konold (1844-1908) came to Collinsville from Germany with her parents, the youngest of ten children.  She married Ulrich Haury on February 14, 1864, two years after he emigrated from Germany.  He was employed by the Collins Company and later ran a very successful grocery store.  As a result, Caroline had many connections to the business life of Collinsville, which included many fellow immigrants.

Haury was a member of the Collinsville Congregational Church.  She had a son and a daughter.  One news report called her “a woman of strength of character and of a loveable disposition that endeared her to a large circle of friends.”

She underwent surgery at Hartford Hospital and died there after a month’s stay.  The pallbearers were six of her nephews.

Caroline Haury is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.

“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past.  It will appear on the first and fifteenth of each month.  Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.  Any suggestions, questions, or corrections should be addressed to Town Historian David Leff at onktaadn@comcast.net.

Your Silent Neighbors: Walter L. Carlson, Eleven Year-Old Drowning Victim

December 15, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Staff Writer 

Along with his brothers Elmer and Carl, Walter Carlson (1908-1919) was crossing the Farmington River ice in February just below the stone piers where the upper railroad bridge then crossed. All three boys broke through the ice. Their cries could be heard on shore. Theodore Miller found a rope and carefully crawled out on the frozen river. He fastened the rope around both Elmer and Carl and pulled them to safety. Unfortunately, Walter was drawn under the ice. When his body was recovered later, rescuers attempted to revive him with a pulmotor, a respiratory apparatus for pumping oxygen or air into and out of the lungs.  Their efforts were unsuccessful. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Harlow A. Wheelock, Civil War Veteran, ‘Estimable Citizen’

December 1, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff 
Town Historian 

Harlow A. Wheelock (1842-1917) was born and raised in Monterey, Massachusetts where he started his working life as a rake maker.  He served for roughly a year during the Civil War with Company F of the Forty-ninth Massachusetts Regiment.

Around 1872, he came to Collinsville and lived on High Street for about nine years, afterward moving to Canton Street where he resided for thirty-six years.  He worked as a carpenter with his brother, John.  He was also employed in the knife handling department of the Collins Company for over three decades.  He was a member of the Collinsville Congregational Church and for many years he served on the Canton school board.

Wheelock was described in one newspaper account as “a man who to rare degree had the esteem of his fellow citizens.”  He died at his Canton Streethome after a year-long illness that ended his working career.  “He passed the years of a long life,” the paper reported, “without a word ever having been said against him as a man and citizen.” … Continue Reading

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