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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

Our Silent Neighbors: Leslie Terry, 14 Year old Boy Killed by a Friend

November 15, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian  

At age 14 Leslie Terry (1907-1920) was accidentally shot and killed with a .32 caliber revolver by George Douglas, his friend of the same age, while the two were playing “wild west” in imitation of movies they had seen.  The bullet hit Terry in the heart and left lung and sent him crashing to the floor. Distraught at what he had done, Douglas later turned the gun on himself.

On July, 29, 1920, the boys were at the Main Street home of 18 year-old Kenneth Chapin with a third boy, Norman Wheeler. The four had intended to go on a berrying trip. When the other boys arrived at Chapin’s home he was busy with some chores so they hung out in a room on the second floor while waiting.  After a few minutes, a shot was heard and Wheeler ran downstairs to tell Chapin what had happened.

As Wheeler rushed off to get Dr. Kilbourn, Chapin went to a neighbor’s telephone in hope of hurrying a response. When he came back, Terry was on the first floor and had fallen between the dining room doors with Douglas beside him. Chapin went out again looking for the doctor and when he returned Douglas was on the stairs, but unseen. Dr. Kilbourn soon arrived and pronounced Terry dead. On hearing he had killed his friend, Douglasshot at his right temple and the bullet lodged between his eyes. A surprised Dr. Kilbourn and Chapin turned to see Douglas with the smoking gun.  Emergency medical attention was given and Douglas was rushed to St. Francis Hospital where he lay in “serious” condition. Physicians feared he might lose sight in one if not both eyes. Two days later, he was said to be resting comfortably.

Douglas had finished grammar school and was to enter Collinsville High School in September.  He had been carrying the gun for “some time,” though it was not clear where he got it.  The boy had acquired “a sudden mania . . . for wild west stunts, which resulted from attendance at movie shows,” according to the Hartford Courant. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: M. Stanley Neal, Collins Company Foreman

November 1, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff 
Town Historian 

M. Stanley Neal (1856-1949) was employed by the Collins Company for 51 years beginning around 1879.  He was mostly with the forging department of which he became the longtime foreman.  Prior to coming to Collinsville he spent a year working for the Gilbert Clock Company in Winsted.  He retired in 1930 and ran an insurance business for 25 years.  Born in Paris, New York in Oneida County, he attended schools in that area.

Neal was active in community life.  He was chairman of the Canton Board of Education, an incorporator of the Collinsville Savings Society, and president of the Collinsville Cemetery Association.  Neal was a Mason and the senior member and senior past master of the Village Lodge, AF and FM as well as past master of the Hartford County Past Masters Association. … Continue Reading

David Edward Shaver, 79

October 19, 2017 Obituaries No Comments

David Edward Shaver, 79, of Destin Florida passed away October 17, 2017. He was born July I, 1938 in Hartford Connecticut to Donald and Dorothy Widen Shaver. David grew up in Canton Ct. and attended Canton schools, and Bucknell University Pa. David had a 36 year career with United Parcel Service as an Industrial Engineer, working in many regions in the United States.

He was preceded in death by his father when he was 8 years old.  His mother Dorothy married Robert W. Kennedy. David and his step-father had a very special relationship! He was preceded in death by his first wife Alice (Dolly) Chartier Shaver. David is survived by his wife Linda Shaver, daughter Susan Lynn Shaver, stepsons Michael Meaders (Kim) and Scott Meaders (Lori). Two sisters Penny Frank (Doug) and Linda Mahoney. Two brothers Donald Shaver (Bobbie) and Robert Kennedy (Meg). Sister in law Clare Chartier Wolf (Steve). Nine grandchildren and two great grandsons.

There will be a service October 30th 2017 at Vincent’s Funeral Home, 120 Albany Turnpike Canton, CT. 06019.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to American Cancer Society via www.cancer.org or American Heart Association at heart.org.

Online guest book can be found at rollerfuneralhomes.com/Chenal.

Interment at Calvary Cemetery after service.

Your Silent Neighbors: Frank E. Wilder, Collins Co. Chief Electrician

October 15, 2017 Community, History No Comments


By David K. Leff 
Town Historian 

Frank E. Wilder (1896-1948), chief electrician for the Collins Company, was killed in an explosion at age 52 while at work.  Wilder was standing in front of a newly installed boiler. He died instantly of head trauma when the heavy front plates blew off and struck him. Wilder was attempting to relight the oil burner after it had been turned off for about five minutes. “It is believed that oil fumes collected during the lapse in operation and were ignited when Mr. Wilder applied a torch to the lighting vent,” according to The Hartford Times. State Department of Labor investigators were called to the scene.  The factory sustained minimal damage although windows were shattered up to thirty feet away.  The explosion could be heard for some distance, perhaps by his family living on lower South Street.

… Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Fred R. Widen, Musician & Museum Curator

October 1, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff 
Town Historian 

Fred R. Widen (1884-1952), a pattern maker for the Collins Company, had an interest in history and began collecting objects related to the factory and Canton. His collection grew rapidly. In the 1930s, he was given space to display his artifacts in the Company recreation hall that had once been a shed for assembling and painting plows. At the time, the building still contained a bowling alley on the second floor and a shooting gallery in the basement. Eventually, the collection filled three rooms in the south end of the first floor. Today the building is home to the Canton Historical Museum.

Widen’s museum contained a variety of Collins tools including axes, machetes, shovels, and hammers. He also displayed a blacksmith’s forge and tools, old fire trucks, a Victorian barber shop, and nineteenth century costumes. He collected and cataloged relevant articles about the Collins Company and the town.  In Widen’s time, the museum was rarely open to the public, and only on request. News reports indicate the collection received rave reviews and that people came from some distance to see it. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Edwin J. Smith, Hardware Merchant

September 15, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian  

Edwin J. Smith (1877-1948) started work in his father’s hardware store as a young man and in 1903 began managing the business.  The store first opened in 1896 under his father’s name, P.F. Smith. It was located at 107 Main Street and later moved across the road to 122 Main Street.  In 1923, the E.J. Smith Hardware Company was incorporated with Smith as president. He ran the shop until his death at age 71, an exemplar of the kind of personal customer service for which Collinsville businesses have long been known. He died at Hartford Hospital following a six-week illness.  After Smith’s death, his nephew Everett P. Eaton, who had long been involved in the business, bought the store.  It went by the name Eaton Hardware until its closure in 2001.

Born in Collinsville, Smith attended grammar school here before finishing his education at Mt. Hermon School for Boys in Northfield, Massachusetts. Through his mother, Rose Hart Smith, he was a descendant of Stephen Hart, a founder of Hartford.

Among the organizations of which Smith was a member was the Collinsville Congregational Church, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Old Newgate Coon Club.  He was on the executive committee of the Collinsville Savings Society. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Arthur Olson, Selectman

September 1, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian 

Arthur Olson (1894-1958) was one of Canton’s most respected citizens when he died at age 64 at Hartford Hospital after a brief illness. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, he served as a private in the army during World War I and was honorably discharged in June 1919, having spent his military career stateside. He lived in Canton for 45 years and served as second selectman and foreman of the highway department for 19 years.  Olson was also an ex-officio member of the Canton Planning Commission in his role as town engineer.

Olson “was the kind of man who made you proud to be a member of the human race,” wrote L. K. Porritt in a letter to the newspaper. “Few towns have ever been so fortunate to have had so tireless and conscientious a servant as he was.” This sentiment was echoed by John B. Wright who noted in the same paper that “with gay banter and cheerful industry he pursued his rounds. His Yankee good sense got things done and done right without fuss and feathers.” For Olson, Wright observed, “fellowship with all men of good will was as natural as breathing.” … Continue Reading


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