Welcome to our news and history blog!

Welcome to our news and history blog!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Year 2009 Concludes...

The Year 2009 is concluding. Time flies, as those of us immersed in history know well. May 2010 bring all of you hope, happiness, good health and prosperity.

Historically yours,

Jeffrey Bingham Mead

(Pictured: The Benjamin Mead II House, off Riversville
Road in Greenwich, Connecticut. Built circa 1728)

Internet Archive: Spencer P. Mead's Abstracts of records and tombstones of the town of Greenwich (1913)

As a follow-up to yesterday's posting of the Internet Archive's access to an electronic version of Spencer P. Mead's 'History and genealogy of the Mead family' visitors may also access and download Mead's 'Abstracts of Records and Tombstones of the Town of Greenwich (1913). This was the first comprehensive inventory of gravestone records and inscriptions in Greenwich's history. The book is divided into a listing individual cemetery sites with alphabetized inventories of those interred in Greenwich cemeteries as of 1913.

The box on the left side of the page provides visitors with various options. You may download the text as a pdf-file, for example, or you may also read the text online. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Internet Archive: Spencer P. Mead's History and Genealogy

For those who do not own or have access to a printed version of Spencer P. Mead's 'History and genealogy of the Mead family of Fairfield county, Connecticut, eastern New York, western Vermont, and western Pennsylvania from A.D. 1180 to 1900 (1901)' it is possible to go to the Internet Archive and find online and scanned editions there. Go to this link. Visitors have a number of choices including downloading a pdf file and reading the text online. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Come Christmas!

(Pictured: Second Congregational Church of Greenwich, Connecticut, started by our ancestors in 1705)

On behalf of the Historic Mead Family Burying Grounds Association I extend to all Mead family descendants near and far best wishes for a festive, safe and very Merry Christmas. May the light and peace of the Christmas season keep you and guide you well.

Sincerely yours,

Jeffrey Bingham Mead

Friday, December 18, 2009

Removed Plots: Mead Plot at Byram Shore

It comes as a surprise to many that the hills and valleys of the Town of Greenwich once featured an even larger number of small family plots than there are today. In addition to the three Mead family plots under the care of the Association there were three others.

One of these is identified in Spencer P. Mead’s Abstract of Greenwich Tombstones published in 1913 as the ‘Mead Plot on Byram Shore.’ Dated March, 1908 its location is given as “Near the Trolley Line a short distance east of Grigg Avenue.”

Charles Hale authored the ‘Index of Greenwich Graves,’ compiled as a WPA Project in the early 1930’s. The Hale Map Index on page 471 shows a cemetery in the vicinity, called the "Mead Plot on Byram Shore”, described in Mead's survey on Page 140 as “Near the Trolley Line a short distance east of Grigg Avenue”, which avenue is now known as St. Roch’s Avenue. The actual distance straight line is 0.07 miles. The area is described as “a driveway,” with graves apparently removed.

A survey by Aidan McCann, PLS, Soundview Engineering dated January 26, 2004 indicated that this long-removed plot was located off Charles Street between Josephine Evaristo Avenue and Hamilton Avenue.

Spencer P. Mead’s survey lists 12 persons buried there, the earliest being Jabez Hobby in 1823, who was joined by Abigail Hobby in 1847. Between 1839 and 1859 eight Meads were buried there, along with Sarah L. Martin 1849 and Mary E. Oliver, 1851.

The late Greenwich Town Historian William E. Finch stated that the graves were relocated to Union Cemetery. The following is a listing of 19th century ancestors who were interred at this site:

Abigail Hobby, died June 16, 1847, aged 84 years, 4 months and 26 days.

Jabez M. Hobby, died December 23, 1823, aged 66 years, 11 months and 11 days.

Sarah L. Martin, wife of Jacob Martin, died May 30, 1849 aged 38 years, 3 months and 26 days.

Henry H. Mead, son of Jabez H. and Harriet Mead, died March 9, 1849, aged 2 years and 8 days.

Jabez H. Mead, son of Nehemiah and Mary Mead, died June 26, 1850, aged 46 years, 5 months and 15 days.

Mary, Widow of Nehemiah Mead, died March 15, 1859, aged 74 years and 4 days.

Mary Lucretia Mead, daughter of Jabez H. and Harriet Mead, born January 26, 1839, died May 29, 1839.

Nehemiah Mead, died December 4, 1833, aged 54 years, 3 months and 13 days.

Oscar Hobby Mead, son of Jabez H. and harriet Mead, born February 26, 1842, died December 18, 1845.

Sarah Ann Mead, daughter of Jabez H. and Harriet Mead, born November 11, 1844, died August 4, 1845.

William A. Mead, son of Nehemiah and Mary Mead, died February 20, 1849, aged 35 years, 7 months and 10 days.

Mary E. Oliver, daughter of William H. Oliver, died January 29, 1851 aged 16 years, 11 months and 10 days.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Obituary (New York Times) Spencer P. Mead, Lawyer and Historian

Spencer P. Mead (Buried in Putnam Cemetery, Greenwich, Connecticut)

New York Times Death Notice and Obituary: January 8, 1935

MEAD-On January 7, 1935. Spencer p. Mead in his seventy-second year. Funeral service at the home of his brother, Ephriam Mead, 240 Milbank Av., Greenwich, Conn., on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2 P.M.


New York Lawyer Wrote ‘Ye Historie of Greenwich’

Spencer P. Mead, descendant of one of the oldest and most prominent families in Greenwich, Conn., died yesterday at the Fifth Avenue Hospital of a gall bladder ailment after a short illness. Mr. Mead, who lived at 828 Union Street, Brooklyn, was 71 years old.

Mr. Mead was an examiner of real estate titles for the law department of the Lawyers Title Corporation, 160 Broadway, having been with the company since 1903, at which time it was called the Lawyers Title Insurance Company of New York.

Born in the old Mead homestead at Mead’s Point, Greenwich, he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Howe Mead and was descended from William Mead, who came from England to Connecticut in the seventeenth century. He was the author of a book on the genealogy of the Mead family and of ‘Ye Historie of Greenwich.’ He was graduated from New York Law School.

Mr. Mead belonged to the Sons of the American Revolution and Society of Colonial Wars. Surviving are three brothers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Should Have Good Roads" by Solomon S. Mead, July 4, 1903

The following is a letter-to-the-editor of the Greenwich Graphic dated July 4, 1903. It was written by Solomon Stoddard Mead. He lived on the family farm at the corner of Riversville and Cliffdale roads in North Greenwich. Mead died June 7, 1906, and he is buried in the North Greenwich Congregational Church Cemetery at the corner of Riversville Road and John Street.

His death notice in the New York Times was printed as follows: MEAD- At Quaker Ridge, Greenwich, Conn., June 7, 1906, Solomon S. Mead, aged 80 years. Funeral services at his late residence June 9, at 4 P.M. Carriages will be waiting at Greenwich Station for train arriving from the East at 1:40 P.M. and train leaving Grand Central Depot 2 o'clock P.M.

Should Have Good Roads: Greenwich Graphic: July 4, 1903

Mr. Solomon S. Mead Gives Some Suggestions-Thinks There is No Place Like Greenwich

Editor of the Graphic:

I am an advocate of good roads to Travel over for the few remaining days that I will be among you, and I know that good roads are everything to any country or town. There is nothing whatever that will boom a place like good roads.

But to have them you must have them worked and graded by a person who is competent to do the job. If you want your gold watch repaired when out of order you must employ a man who understands his business of the job will be worse after a poor workman has had it in charge than when you left it in his care, and so you must have a man to work a road who has some knowledge of what is needed.

If for the past one hundred years the roads had been properly worked they would now be in number one condition and there would be no cause to complain. But they are worked just as they have been for years; if there is a wall in the gutter, instead of blasting it a huge break is placed across the road to carry the water from one side to the other.

And the roads are made up so narrow that one horse has to travel on the ridge and the other in the gutter, and no matter how much space there is between the fences the roads are worked to a single track and only occasionally a place where one can pass a loaded team in front of him or where one can pass a loaded team coming toward you.

The roads are all too narrow and I can show roads that have been narrowed up in the past two years from three to four feet. To me this is all wrong and no road should be worked less than twenty-five feet across and in no instance a break should be permitted on any road. If it is necessary for the water to pass from one side of the road to the other let it be done with a pipe; iron is best, earthen would do.

I know it is very hard for persons who have schooled themselves to work a road in the old way to change, but the change must come and will come if the present road makers will insist on the old way, give the roads to someone who will.

My idea of working roads would be to first draw a line on each side as far as it could be done conveniently and make the place straight if the distance was long or short, and where a rock interferes with the gutter blast it out. Have the road as wide as twenty or twenty-five feet and not round it up too much, but enough so all the surface water would run off its sides, not follow the wheel track. And above all never go into a road-bank or a lot of dirt or gravel when there are hundreds of hillocks all along the roadway that should first be removed, by ploughing and carting where it may be needed. I see hundreds of these knolls all along the roads I travel about Greenwich.

I feel very proud of the town that gave me birth and I hope to see it still improved and everyone that belongs in Greenwich should take an interest in its welfare. I never felt one half so proud of my native town as I do today, because I have seen more of good, and bad, that has been presented to my view.

Now let every body go for good wide and well-graded roads and if one will not do it get someone that will. Let the old foggies go.

I am truly disappointed in the working of the highways this season. That the roads are very rough and uneven and so narrow up from four to six feet that it is very dangerous for driving when one meets say half a dozen automobiles one after another, and the autos are bound to keep the road and on a one track road it is very dangerous driving, and the roads are so uneven and they seem to me worse then I have known them for years by and gone.

I will say here that the auto drivers are generally a class of hogs. An exception is Richard Carpenter, of the Upper King Street Road. He always gives all he can to the driving horse class and stops his auto if he sees any horse afraid.

I must say that I do not think I have miscalled or mis-classed the auto drivers. I find they in general do not pay any attention to raising the hand when coming, but on the contrary will keep as near the middle of the road as possible and often they will turn their machine right in front of the horse. I hope someone will put the law in force and bring the autos to know their place, and if they frighten a horse and upset the carriage they will run on the faster to avoid being known I wish every driver of a horse would see the law is complied with.


Hester Bush Mead: Resident's Contribution was Timeless (Greenwich Time 1993)

The following text was published in Greenwich Time's 'Looking Back' local history column authored by Jeffrey Bingham Mead. It was published on September 19, 1993.

For an audio-visual presentation go to this link on the Association's YouTube channel. Featured photos include Hester Bush Mead's gravestone in Union Cemetery, the watercolor work attributed to her, and a photo of the Jabez Mead House that once stood on the southwestern corner of East Putnam Avenue and Indian Field Road. The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich acquired this work in February 2006.

Resident's Contribution was Timeless
Looking Back: by Jeffrey Bingham Mead
Greenwich Time, September 19, 1993

In a quiet corner of Union Cemetery off Milbank Avenue sits a small, worn marble gravestone. It marks the final resting place of Hester Bush Mead, daughter of Candice Bush.

Hester's name does not appear in the roster of famous persons in Greenwich history; her life is obscured by the passage of time.

Hester Mead in reality is not a descendant of the original ancestors at all-she is the direct descendant of slaves who were emancipated when Connecticut, with her sister New England states, mandated the abolition of slavery in the late 18th century.

Candice Bush, her mother, was a servant in the David Bush household. Mr. Bush owned what we preserve today as the Bush-Holley House, headquarters of The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich. Candice's name appears in the David Bush estate in 1797, and Hester was born there the next year. We believe Hester married a freed back man who was emancipated from service to the Mead's in Greenwich.

My interest in Hester centers on a mysterious but beautiful watercolor of one of our ancestral houses. I'm told by a relative that this fine example of early American folk art on woven paper was created by a black woman employed by our forebears; it dates from 1840-1860.

The Jabez Mead House, circa 1840, stood at east Putnam Avenue and Indian Field Road. The farm encompassed all of Milbrook and the lands up to the base of Put's Hill. The house was demolished when East Putnam Avenue was widened many years ago.

Could Hester be the mystery artist? It's possible, but we may never know since the work is unsigned and no written documentation to confirm this has been uncovered.

Hester died March 2, 1864. Her will in the Greenwich Probate Court leaves her few belongings to her granddaughters, Martha and Julia, and ordered good tombstones to be put up for herself and her mother. The austere appearance of her marker may be deceiving if it is true that Hester was the mystery artist of the old homestead built long ago.

Jeffrey B. Mead is a free-lance writer and direct descendant of one of the town's founding families. He grew up in backcountry Greenwich and is a member of the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Charles N. Mead Presents New Bell to Commemorate Deacon Ancestors (1919)

Six Generations of Meads, Deacons

Greenwich News and Graphic: February 14, 1919

Charles N. Mead Presents New Bell to Commemorate Deacon Ancestors

Announcement was made at the morning service of the Second Congregational Church last Sunday, that Charles N. Mead had presented a bell for the new spire, in memory of six successive generations of deacons in his family, serving this church for nearly 200 years.

It will be a victory and peace bell, bearing the inscription “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men.” It will be cast at the Meneely Works in Troy, and probably will be installed by Easter Sunday.

The old bell, which was taken down and placed in one of the horse-sheds at the rear of the church, while the spire was being rebuilt, had become cracked from being overheated in a fire which broke out in the sheds some time ago, and instead of the former clear tones of the bell, which were most pleasing to the ear, it had sounded muffled of late.

For many years the spire of this church has been a guide for seafaring men on Long Island Sound. The church itself stands on the highest point of and along the Sound between New York and New London.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Obituary: Isaac L. Mead 1913

Source: Greenwich Graphic: March 14, 1913.

Isaac L. Mead died at his home on Lafayette Place on Saturday morning, in his 79th year.

Mr. Mead had recently suffered from shock, and early last week submitted to a serious piece of surgery performed by Drs. Griswold, Brooks and Clarke, designed to afford relief, and as he rallied readily it seemed to have proved successful. But relapse followed later, and he passed away finally as above stated.

Mr. Mead was one of the first organizers of Lombard Post and had been its commander. He was a Connecticut veteran, serving in the Civil War in Company I, Seventeenth Regiment 3 years. He was attached to the invalid corps as a member of the Sixth Veteran Reserves, and served until 1865, when he mustered out at Cincinnati. He was a member of the Congregational Church and Acacia Masonic Lodge.

This is an old image of the Isaac Lewis Mead Building at the top of Greenwich Avenue. The building is still there. 

Mr. Mead was a public spirited man and took great interest in whatever concerned the town and the borough.

For a number of years he was a member of the Board of Burgesses and a very active member of that body, suggesting and putting through a number of important measures.

As a member of the Board of School Visitors for many years, or until his blindness interfered, he was an indefatigable worker, being intensely interested in the work of putting the schools on as high a plane as possible, and what’s more he spent much time and was at some trouble in doing his duty, for which he took no pay, although entitled to remuneration for every visit he made to the schools. He believed in good schools, good teachers and good school houses. His ideals were high, and so far as he could he tried to bring the schools up to a higher plane, and did much for their betterment.
Putnam Cemetery, said to be one of the most picturesque, best laid out and attractive places of its kind along the shore, came about through Mr. Mead’s suggestion, planning and general work. He started the company that brought the plot and was superintendent of the cemetery for a number of years. In everything he did he stood for the best.

He was of the old school of New Englanders, sturdy, honest and kind hearted, patriotic, loyal and true, and was of the kind of men that are alluded to as having so much to do with having made America what it is today.

He was a prominent member of the Connecticut Undertakers Association, the president and secretary coming down from Hartford to attend the funeral services.

Mr. Mead was married in 1855 to Esther A. Mead, daughter of Daniel Seton Mead, and is survived by his wife, sons Willis T. and S. Warren, and daughter Miss Lucy A., and a sister Mrs. George H. Mills. He had been married for 57 years.

He was engaged as an undertaker in Greenwich for a quarter century, or more but during his latter years became blind and had become more or less of a recluse because of this defect, occupying his mind largely in an improvised shop where his spare time was spent in making gifts for his friends which included wood making into cabinets and such things.

Mr. Mead was greatly esteemed by a large circle of relatives and friends, and his business and social dealings were of the highest type. He was of most generous and sympathetic nature, his benefactions being many although only known to himself and his beneficiaries. For years he was a central figure in the business life, upbuilding and enterprising in his efforts to promote the general interests of Greenwich. He erected the first brick business building in Greenwich village, at Greenwich and Putnam avenues, which never passed from his possession.

The funeral services were held at his Lafayette Place home and were attended by a large assemblage of relatives and mourning friends, Rev. Mr. Taylor of the Congregational Church officiating, interment being in Putnam Cemetery.

Monday, December 7, 2009

YouTube Channel in Development

The Historic Mead Family Burying Grounds Association, Inc., is developing a channel on YouTube. To view the channel go to this link.

Future content of the channel will include audio and visual images of ancestral grave sites with material based on historical research from various sources.

The Association encourages descendants to participate in the development of this channel. This include narratives about individual grave sites relying on obituaries, publish histories, land records, probate records, letters and correspondences.