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Your Silent Neighbors: Loyal Higley, Livestock Dealer

January 15, 2019 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff, Canton Town Historian

Although born in North Canton, Loyal Higley (1868-1919) moved to his home on Canton Springs Road at about one year of age. Decades later he died there of complications from diabetes. He was a dealer in livestock and beef, a business that “called him to deal with those of all nationalities and also over a wide territory of the surrounding vicinity,” according to a newspaper account. He was said to have “an unusual sunny and jovial nature.” Another report noted that “he made friends wherever he went.”

Higley was a member of the Canton Baptist Church and served as its clerk and a member of the choir. He had a remarkable connection to the number thirteen, having been born and then dying on that date of the month. He was also one of thirteen to join the CantonBaptist Church on the Sunday he became a member.

In 1891, Higley married Caroline Rexroth of Canton. The couple had no children. She could not attend his funeral due to an illness that left her confined to her room.

Reverend C. K. Flanders conducted the funeral at the Baptist Church and gave a solo rendition of “The Land of the Unsetting Sun.” The church was filled to capacity.

Loyal Higley is buried in the Canton Springs Cemetery on Canton Springs Road.

“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: Byron Gracey, Farmer

December 15, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff, Canton Town Historian

Born in Canton, Byron Gracey (1899-1936) went to local schools, including the Collinsville High School, class of 1918.  He graduated from Tufts College in 1922 and was married that same year.  After college, he left Canton for three years while serving as principal of the Richville, New York high school.  On his return to town, he bought a farm in the East Hill area and became well known as a fruit grower.

Active in agricultural affairs, Gracey was a member of Cawasa Grange and the state and national granges.  A Mason, he was senior deacon of the Village Lodge.  Gracey was also a member of the Canton Men’s Club and the Republican Town Committee.

Gracey died at Hartford Hospital following a short illness caused by a streptococcus infection.  In addition to his wife, Ruth, his mother, and two children, Gracey was survived by his Aunt Flora Werner and Uncle Maurice Werner.  Their farm would one day become Werner’s Woods adjacent to Roaring Brook Nature Center.  The funeral was held at the Werner home on Bahre Corner Road.

Byron Gracey is buried in the Canton Springs Cemetery on Canton Springs Road.

“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: Charles Froideveaux, Collins Company Foreman

December 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff, Canton Town Historian

 A lifelong resident of the Collinsville area, Charles Froideveaux (1867-1941) attended Huckleberry Hill School and Collinsville High School. He worked for the Collins Company for decades and spent 20 years as a foreman of the machine shop. He died unexpectedly in the middle of the afternoon while at work.

In 1891, Froideveaux married Bertha Horak who died in 1903. He married again in 1907 to Carolyn Neff. The couple took a five month trip to Europe in 1936, the only vacation Froideveaux ever took from his work at Collins.

Prominent in Avon town affairs, he served as state representative in 1895 and 1905. He had been a member of the board of education, and at his death was on the board of finance. Froideveaux was a pastmaster of the Village Lodge of Masons, and a member of other fraternal organizations.  The funeral was held at his home.

Charles Froideveaux 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: John T. Frye, Collins Company Employee

November 15, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff, Canton Town Historian

Called one of Collinsville’s “venerable and respected citizens,” John T. Frye (1832-1908) was born in Alleghany, Pennsylvania and came to Collinsville in his early twenties. He lived in the village the rest of his life, save for a year spent in East Douglas, Massachusetts. He worked in the Collins Company polishing department for 53 years.  In 1858, he married Laura Lee, a Collinsville woman. They had two sons who died very young and two daughters who lived into adulthood.

Frye was a devoted member of the Collinsville Congregational Church.  He was said to be “of a quiet, unassuming nature.” He was not much of a joiner and did not connect with any local organizations, but had “a large circle of friends.” Frye had been in poor health for months and had to give up working late in 1907.

The funeral was held at his home. It’s interesting to note that his last name is spelled two different ways on the monument in the cemetery.

John T. Frye 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 Neighors: William H. Parmelee, First Selectman, Soldier

November 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff, Canton Town Historian

A highly skilled and respected Collins Company pattern maker, William H. Parmelee (1826-1907) grew up in Agawam, Massachusetts, one of nine children, and came to Collinsville as a young man. In August 1862 he enlisted in the Twenty-fifth Regiment, Company A, Connecticut Volunteers.  His time in the service during the Civil War was active and he was promoted many times. By the end of the war, he had achieved the rank of major.

Engaged in civic affairs, he served several terms as Canton’s first selectman. He was also involved in fraternal organizations. Parmelee was a thirty-second degree Mason and member of the Village Lodge where he held a variety of offices. He was a member of Washington Commandery, No. 1, Knights Templar; the Robert O. Tyler Post, Grand Army of the Republic; the Odd Fellows; Knights of Pythias; and Order of United American Mechanics.

After 54 years with the Collins Company, declining health forced him to retire just several months before his death at the home of his daughter Mary, wife of L. D. Dowd. Parmelee’s funeral was held at Trinity Episcopal Church. The Masonic burial service was read at graveside, and the Village Lodge quartet sang. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Albert Williams, Railroad Station Agent

October 15, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff                                                                                                                                                              Town Historian                                                                                                                                                                                    Born in New Hartford, one of ten children, Albert Williams (1828-1906) attended a one room schoolhouse there before moving with his parents at age 12 to Pleasant Valley.  He started work in a Winsted general store and was employed by several businesses, including in Georgia, coming to Collinsville in 1857 as station agent for the New York and New Haven Railroad, a position he held for about twenty-five years.  Afterwards, he went into the grain, feed, and coal business for over four decades.

Williams became a member of the Collinsville Congregational Church in 1858 and served as superintendent of the Sunday school and as a deacon.  Children of the school eagerly looked forward to winter sleigh rides with him.

Active in civic affairs, Williams served several terms on the board of selectman.  He was also a member of the Village Lodge of Masons.

Williams married Helen Graves of Agawam, Massachusetts in 1853 and the couple had three children, two boys and a girl.  Only this daughter survived him.  Williams died at home on Maple Avenue at the corner of River Road (where the used car dealership is today).  He had been stricken with “a paralytic shock” two weeks earlier while weighing a load of coal and had to be carried home where he gradually grew worse.

Albert Williams 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: Ruggles Case, Village Blacksmith

October 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff                                                                                                                                                               Canton Town Historian

A lifelong resident of North Canton, Ruggles Case (1789-1881) was one of the town’s “most respected citizens,” wrote Sylvester Barbour in his 1908 book Reminiscences.  Case was one of ten children.

Around 1820 he built a shop for blacksmithing in North Canton, a trade which he carried on for many decades.  “I vividly remember,” Barbour wrote, “watching him many times shoeing horses and oxen I had ridden or driven there, a distance of three miles to be shod.  In those days a blacksmith made his own shoes and nails, a work largely done at the time of shoeing, and which kept the bystanders dodging the particles of red hot iron flying about while the iron was being hammered into shape for use.”  A relatively large man, late in life Case was permanently stooped and walked leaning forward from the many years spent bending over his work.  Late in life he became bedridden.

Case was a “truly hard working, ‘solid citizen,’” descendant Ruth V. Gracy wrote in The Lure of the Litchfield Hills in the 1950s.  He was a devout man and gave half the land for the North Canton church.  On Sundays he is said to have attended church in Canton Centerin the morning, Washington Hill in the afternoon, and North Canton in the evening.  He and his wife Cynthia had ten children.

Ruggles Case is buried in the North Canton Cemetery on Cherry Brook Road.

“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: Howard A. Bristol, Lumber Company Owner

September 15, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Canton Town Historian

Howard A. Bristol (1875-1962) was born and grew up in Canton. He worked as a farmer and building contractor. For many years he ran a lumber, sawmill and ice company. In his role as a builder, he constructed many cottages on Long Island Sound and houses throughout the state.

Bristol was survived by his wife Bertha Case Bristol and two sons, Fenn and Kenneth, all of Canton. Funeral Services were held at the Charles H. Vincent & Sons Funeral Home on Albany Turnpike with Reverend Jerry Freiert officiating.

Howard A. Bristol is buried in the Canton Springs Cemetery on Canton Springs Road.

“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: Lucie Case, A Life of Ministry to Others

September 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Canton Town Historian 

Lucie Case (1822-1908) was an active member of the Canton Center Congregational Church for sixty years.  She married Franklin Case in the church in 1842. “Hers was a life of ministry to others,” according to one newspaper, “and her name will long be a cherished one among the homes of Canton Center.” She was the mother of five children, all of whom survived her. She had 12 grandchildren.

“It is not given to many women to live 86 years and to retain their health and mental activity almost until their last days,” the paper acknowledged. Case died at home on a Thursday morning after an illness of a few days which left her unconscious and paralyzed. Her funeral was held at the church.

Lucie Case is buried in the Canton Center Cemetery beside her husband.

“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: Howard Follert, Collins Company Official

August 24, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian 

Howard V. Follert (1896-1960) was born in Collinsville, attended local schools and Huntsinger Business College in Hartford.  During World War I he started working in the Collins Company forging department as a clerk. In 1920, he took a transfer to the main office and was appointed assistant secretary-treasurer in 1941. In 1953 he was appointed secretary-treasurer, a post he held until his death.

Follert lived at 162 Hill Street. He was a member of the Village Lodge of Masons, Trinity Episcopal Church, and the Cawasa Grange. His death at Hartford Hospital followed a long illness, and the family’s suggestion that donations be made to the Heart Fund suggests he had cardiac problems.

Funeral services were held at the Charles H. Vincent & Sons Funeral Home on Maple Avenue in Collinsville with Reverend John Lee of Trinity Episcopal Church officiating. Honorary bearers included several Collins Company notables, among them president Clair Elston, former president H. Bissell Carey, vice president Leonard B. Hough, and plant engineer Guy F. Whitney.

Howard V. Follert 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

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