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Welcome to our news and history blog!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Obituary: Col. Thomas A. Mead: Leading Citizen (1932)

Early Owner of ‘Dearfields’ Prominently Identified With Town

Source: Greenwich News: Thursday, March 17, 1932.

Colonel Thomas A. Mead, an early owner of “Dearfields” where today stands the new Franklin Simon & Co. store building, occupied a prominent place in the early history of Greenwich, serving the community with distinction in many capacities.

Born in 1799, the son of Richard Mead, a revolutionary figure long connected with Greenwich history, Colonel Mead spent almost his entire life in Greenwich, growing up to till the fertile acres of “Dearfields” as had his father before him. He died in 1892 after an active life which carried over a span of 91 years.

While Colonel Mead was primarily a farmer, shipping large quantities of milk to the New York markets and also producing grain and farm produce as well as raising large flocks of sheep, his interest in civic affairs was a keen one, his name appearing with frequency in accounts of early days as an advocate of progress and civic betterment.

Many interested in the early citizens of the town have often wondered as to the title of “Colonel” borne by Thomas A. Mead and some have even been of the belief that the title was an honorary one. However, such is not the case, he having served as lieutenant-colonel of the 9th Regiment from 1831 to 1833. The regiment had served with distinction in the Revolutionary War.

Colonel Mead served upon the school and town committees and at one time represented this section in the General Assembly. He was a member of a committee, with Silas Davis and William Timpany, which on October 5, 1835 was appointed to arrange for the construction of the first town hall in Greenwich. This building was later erected on the present site of the Soldier’s Monument, near the Second Congregational Church. In May, 1841, he served on a committee which went before the General Assembly to attempt to have the court house and jail moved from Fairfield to Norwalk. In October, 1854 he was one of a committee which secured prices upon property as a site for a town poor farm. This farm was finally located upon Pecksland Road and remained there until 1905. In 1855 he acted as one of the incorporators of the Greenwich Mutual Fire Insurance Company and as early as 1827 his interest in education was revealed when he was named among the founders of the Greenwich Academy.

That Colonel Mead was a wealthy man in his day is revealed by the account of an ancient transaction in which he loaned the sum of $10,000 to a relative. That he was progressive is also indicated through his association with real estate transactions of his day. He was one of the stockholders of the Rocky Neck Company, one of the first efforts of land speculators in Greenwich. This concern purchased a tract of land near Indian Harbor Point and subdivided it into approximately 58 lots which were sold by a form of public auction on March 23, 1837.

Colonel Mead and his nephew, Amos M. Brush, were also recorded as the owners of the old Congregational Church, which they purchased upon the erection of the new church, moving the building in 1860 to the northeast corner of Putnam Avenue and Sherwood Place where it stood for many long years.