Welcome to our news and history blog!

Welcome to our news and history blog!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Businessmen Profiles: Alexander Mead (1897)

Source: Greenwich Graphic. Saturday, February 20, 1897. Page 4.

The great increase in the demand for flowers of late years is one of the most noticeable indications of the pronounced gain in culture which is so evident on every side and which is so astonishing to foreign critics in this country, who are unable to understand how culture can be so general in a land where practically everyone works for a living, and where there is no recognized aristocracy. Flowers are now in demand for all occasions, whether of joy or sorrow, and everyone who goes into society at all will find it very useful to know where appropriate floral designs can be obtained without delay and at moderate prices. Many residents of Greenwich and vicinity are already acquainted with the establishment of Mr. Alexander Mead, located on Lake Avenue. Mr. Mead owns a farm of 16 acres. In February 1867, he built hothouses to raise early tomatoes, 10 X 20 feet in size, after supplying his own wants he gave the tomato plants away. Seeing a chance for business he added twenty feet in length to the hothouse, making it 10 X 40 feet, which was heated by an old coal stove. From this beginning the present plant was now grown, consisting of eight houses, covering about one acre. This was the first greenhouse erected in Greenwich, the nearest one being in Stamford. The premises are artistically fitted up and stocked with a choice assortment greenhouse plants for home decoration; also pinks, carnations, cut flowers, all kinds of bouquets and floral pieces. This enterprise was established in 1867 and enjoys and enviable reputation. All orders are promptly attended to. Mr. Mead was born in Greenwich May 27, 1835. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all born on the premises. He is an active business man, full of energy and enterprise and is highly regarded in social and commercial circles, and is greatly esteemed by the public in general. 

Businessmen Profiles: S. Warren Mead (1897)

S. Warren Mead
Greenwich Graphic. Saturday, February 20, 1897. Page 4.

The most complete establishment devoted to the sale of stationery, musical merchandise, etc., is undoubtedly throne conducted by the subject of this brief sketch, Mr. S. Warren Mead. This business was established about twelve years ago, Mr. S. Warren Mead becoming proprietor eight years ago. The premises occupied are neatly arranged and well stocked with a fine line of office, school and fancy stationery, musical merchandise of every description, birthday cards, pocketbooks, all kinds of games, fine cutlery, etc., all of which are sold at the very lowest prices, consistent with the quality of the goods handled. The latest and best goods, no "old style" stock being allowed to accumulate, and all orders are promptly and satisfactorily attended to. Mr. Mead is a native of Greenwich. he is well known throughout Greenwich and vicinity as a straightforward and conscientious business man and private citizen and well deserves the success he has achieved.

Businessmen Profiles: Charles N. Mead (1897)

Businessmen Profiles: Charles N. Mead
Greenwich Graphic. Saturday, February 20, 1897. Page 3

There is an immense variety of articles now included under the head of dry and fancy goods, and the number of such is constantly increasing as the popular demand for novelties calls forth fresh fabrics and original "notions." It naturally follows that the only way to offer anywhere near a complete assortment is to carry a very heavy as well as varied stock, and that is to be found at the establishment conducted by Mr. Charles N. Mead, coated on Greenwich Avenue, for it comprises dry goods, fancy goods, notions, carpets, oilcloths, gent's furnishing goods, etc., in endless variety, and at the same time is composed of fresh, seasonable and reliable articles, the proprietor considering his store space too valuable to be occupied by "back number" goods. The residents of Greenwich have not been at all slow in recognizing the advantages held out at this popular store. Competent and reliable assistants are employed ad prompt and courteous attention is assured to every caller, while the prices quoted will bear the severest scrutiny and comparison. This business was established by Messrs. Mead & Brush, Mr. Mead becoming the sole proprietor about six years ago. He is an experienced and enterprising business man, highly esteemed in social and commercial circles by all who know him and enjoys the confidence and respect of the community. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Commander Silas E. Mead of Lombard Post Honored at Reunion (1910)

Commander Silas E. Mead of Lombard Post Honored at Reunion
Greenwich News: September 9, 1910. Page 3.

Comrade Silas E. Mead was elected the president of the Tenth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, at the annual reunion of the veterans at Savin Rock last Thursday. President Mead was a member of Company I, in which many Greenwich men enlisted. He has always been prominent in Lombard Post, G.A.R., activities, serving for many years as the commander of the Post. The Tenth is to be congratulated  upon its fine selection for its commanding officer and president.

The business meeting was the first thing disposed of at the reunion, after the general handshaking and inquiries about one another. The report of the secretary and treasurer, William E. Whittlesey, was most encouraging, for the regiment is in splendid condition financially. The death roll revealed the fact that nine men had gone from the ranks the past year.

After the election of officers the veterans were entertained by Miss Rena Teresa Barnes, one of the daughters of the regiment, whose sweet voice has been heard on Memorial day in Greenwich. There was also a recitation by Mrs. Paul and an address by William Allcorn.

When the business session, which was held at the Maple Palace, closed, the veterans and their friends adjourned to Wilcoxs, where a shore dinner was served. About 125 people enjoyed the dinner and the speeches. The newly elected president, Mr. Mead, was called up upon and made a few remarks. Then followed other speeches, recitations and the singing of "America" at the close. 

Obituary: Caroline Mills Mead (Greenwich News, 1910)

Obituary: Caroline Mills Mead
Greenwich News: Friday, June 10, 1910. Page 7, column 5. 

Mrs. Caroline Mills Mead, widow of the late William H. Mead, died at the home of her niece, Mrs. Henry V. Peck at Relay place, Cos cob, least Friday after an illness whose duration was nearly a year, aged eighty-four years and six months.

The funeral was held at the home of Mrs. Peck on Tuesday, Rev. M. George Thompson officiating. The service was an impressive one. Hymns were sung by a quartet consisting of Dr. and Mrs. Carl E. Martin, Arthur H. Dorland and Miss Lillian Reese. 

Mrs. Mead was a prominent woman in Greenwich, a woman of strong character and mind and one highly respected in town. She was born in 1826 in Stamford, the daughter of Ebenezer and Rhoda Smith. On her marriage to Mr. Mead she came to Greenwich to live in the old homestead which is now occupied by Mr. Young.

Thirty-seven years ago her husband died and upon her then devolved the task of looking out after his large land holdings. In recent years she has done much to improve the property. She had four streets laid out, Mead circle, Suburban avenue, Glendale street and Randolph place, all of which are well built up. She showed remarkable business ability in all of her dealings, and did much to build up Cos Cob. 

Mrs. Mead was one of the oldest members of Christ church and was active in church work. She was a member of the New Canaan Chapter of the D.A.R.

She leaves two nieces, Mrs. Peck and Miss Caroline Smith, and a nephew, Benjamin Smith, besides grandnephews and grand nieces. 

Saunterings About Town: Solomon Mead

Saunterings About Town
Greenwich News and Graphic, Tuesday, August 22, 1916. Page 4

Solomon Mead, when asked his occupation stated that he was a farmer. His ninety years of life in Greenwich indicate that his outdoor occupations and his love for nature of which he was so observant were conducive to a long life; while his accumulation of a million dollars, indicates that he was a careful, shrewd financier. He was only fifteen years old when his mother, Hannah Mead, whose praises he was always sounding, bought of Ruben Holmes-the farmer, showmaker, school teacher- thirty-two acres of the tract under discussion last week. This parcel included land now owned by the Parmelee J. McFadden estate and the site of the old Titus Mead homestead where Timothy Knapp met his tragic death.

Hannah Mead was the widow of Joshua Mead who died early in life and Solomon was Hannah's only child. While the son was always unstinted in the praises of his mother we have reason to assume that she had an equal admiration for her only child. 

It was here that Solomon learned to be a farmer and as his wisdom increased with his years he studied and worked and observed, becoming finally one of the most intelligent and well read of our local farmers. 

He has the trait also of secretion and long after his mother's death he was adding to the original farm. He made many improvements upon the property. The blind ditches he laid our for drainage purposes still remain to ____ his skillful, scientific handling of the property. 

Finally, the Solomon Mead possessions extended south to the Post Road and west to Maple avenue. 

Forty years ago Francis Tomes and Frank Shepard appear as buyers and Mr. Mead began to realize the difference between buying low and selling high. 

And yet the prices he obtained were insignificant compared with the price which the new real estate company is said to have paid. 

At the time Mr. Mead disposed of his holdings there was an old potato cellar located on what is now the rear of Dr. Hyde's property.

Potatoes being the principal and profitable crop of the farmers a century ago, no farm was without a storage place. The old cellar was built so many years ago that it was probably the work of Samuel Seymour, when he owned and cultivated the entire tract, as well as land on the west side of Maple avenue.

But the memory of the old potato cellar is bond to recur to every Academy scholar who in those bygone days imagined that it was a robber's cave and gathered there with his playmates while scheming for mischief. 

Probably in the entire career of Solomon Mead nothing interested him more than the construction of the stone house on Maple avenue still in the possession of members of his family. 

The old farm house from which every field of the one hundred and fifty acres was visible wood just inside the south entrance to the present house. Possibly Henry Bush built it for in the spring of 1755 he sold it to Samuel Seymour and it remained in the family till 1830 when Solomon Mead bought it with eight acres of land. 

This included the two acres, now the cemetery near the church, where lie the remains of Solomon Mead.

The old Seymour farmhouse was a fine example of the Connecticut houses built between 1675 and 1700. 

When the Saunterer first saw it, it had a comfortable "sit down" appearance characteristic of all the old gray shingle, low-studded sweep backs of that period of construction. 

Near the north end was the well house in which an empty bucket hung over the curb. 

Under its small front windows, that looked out of the porchless house, bunches of phlox and marigold nodded in the summer breeze. It was overshadowed by the great stone house, then just completed and it was only a short time after that the family moved into the new house and the old one disappeared. 


Historian Spencer P. Mead Expects to Publish Book Next Year (1910)

Historian Spencer P. Mead Expects to Publish Book Next Year
Greenwich News: September 2, 1910. 

A history of the town of Greenwich is now being compiled by Spencer P. Mead, L.L.B., author of the History and Genealogy of the Mead Family, who expects to have the book ready for publication next year. Among some of the interesting features of the work is a graphic account of the Battle of Strickland Plains, which took place during the winter of February, 1664, in which a party of English and Dutch soldiers surrounded an Indian village at Cos cob, burned the village and killed to cover reports, over seven hundred Indians.

The account of the Revolutionary war includes many interesting incidents regarding the inhabitants of the Town of Greenwich, which heretofore have never been published, as also a list of the soldiers who serviced during that war. Genealogical notes of the early families are to be included, and among the names will be found Adams, Avery, Banks, Betts, Brown, Brundage, Brush, Bush, Close, Davis, Dayton, Denton, Ferris, Finch, Greene, Hendrie, Hobby, Holly, Holmes, Howe, Hubbard, Husted, Ingersoll, Knapp, Lockwood, Lyon, Marshall, Mead, Merritt, Mills, Palmer, Peck, Purdy, Reynolds, Ritch, Rundell, Sackett, Seymour, Sherwood, Smith, Studwell, Sutherland, Sutton, Waring, White, Wilson, and Worden.

Silas E. Mead Died at His Home Wednesday Last (1916)

Source: Greenwich News and Graphic, Tuesday, August 25, 1916. Page 1

End Came After Extended Illness in His 73rd Year -A Prominent Citizen

A complication of diseases, the result of old age, caused the death on Wednesday afternoon of Silas E. Mead at his home, 124 Putnam avenue, in the 73rd year of his age. The death of Mr. Mead removes from the community one of its best known and most prominent citizens, one who was born and lived here for practically his entire life and a man who has held many positions of public trust. 

While those intimate with Mr. Mead have realized for some time that his health was such that recovery was unlikely, the news of his death came as a shock to his many acquaintances. Mr. Mead had a wide acquaintance in Greenwich and he was loved and respected for his upright and honorable administration of affairs, both in his private life sand while a servant of the public in positions of trust which he held during his long and useful career. he knew Greenwich as few men have known it, and when he became reminiscent many interesting bits of early local history were enjoyed by those who were fortunate in hearing him.

He is survived by a widow, and a brother, Ezekiel Mead of Greenwich, and one daughter, Mrs. George Feltus, of Elmwood, L.I. 

Silas E. Mead was born on March 15, 1844, in the old Clapboard Ridge school district and he received a common school education during the early years of his life here. A son of Silas D. Mead and Althea Close he was a descendant of one of the oldest families in the country, the Mead's having been among the original colonists. Later, Mr. Mead received a course of training at North Greenwich Academy after which he lived as a farmer until August 14, 1862, when he enlisted in the First Connecticut regiment, 10th Co. C. V. I. in the Civil War.

He served with honor and credit throughout the war and saw much active service during the campaigns of that struggle. He was honorably discharged at Richmond, Va., on June 20, 1865, and returned to his home in Greenwich. He married Miss Cornelia Wilcox on September 12, 1867, and lived on Round Hill at his father's estate for many years. 

He was a deacon in the North Greenwich Congregational church and an active member all his life. He served on the Greenwich school committee for years and also the board of assessors and board of burgesses. 

The funeral will be held from his late home Saturday at 3 P.M. and Rev. Levi Rogers will officiate. Interment will be at Putnam cemetery. 

Weddings: Ida Gertrude Mead and Allen H. Brown (1910)

Wedding: Brown-Mead
Greenwich News: Friday, July 8, 1910. Page 2.

A very pretty altho quiet wedding was that of Miss Ida Gertrude Mead, oldest daughter of Mrs. Gilbert O. Mead of Round Hill, to Allen H. Brown of Colchester, at the bride's hem Wednesday afternoon, June 29. The bride wore a pretty tho simple white gown of elk batiste. Miss Fannie L. Mead, sister of the bride, was bridesmaid and Gilbert E. Mead, brother of the bride, was best man. After the ceremony a very nice wedding dinner was served by the bride's mother. Mr. and Mrs. Brown received several beautiful presents, among them was a handsome clock and a set of silver spoons from the Round Hill M.E. Sunday school of which she was organist for several years. She will be greatly missed in the church as well as in her home. 

Mr. and Mrs. Brown have the best wishes from a host of friends who wish them success and a long and happy life. Mr. and Mrs. Brown will take up housekeeping in Long Ridge. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

At Reunion of Seventeenth

At Reunion of Seventeenth
Greenwich News. 1910

Isaac L. Mead, a past commander of Lombard Post, was one of the speakers at the re-union of the Seventeenth Connecticut veterans at New Canaan Saturday. The reunion was marked by some very interesting accounts of Stonewall Jackson and his battles by Benjamin Rough, a colored man who served in the famous Confederate general's regiment up to the time General Jackson was killed in battle on May 2, 1863.

A street parade behind the Port Chester cornet band and a banquet at the hall in the Raymond Building helped to make the day an eventful one to the old soldiers. New Canaan's hospitality pleased all. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Obituary: Oliver Deliverance Mead (New York Times)

Oliver D. Mead, 96, Greenwich Banker
Executive of Lumber and Land Companies is Dead
Special to the New York Times

GREENWICH, Conn., January 11.

Oliver Deliverance Mead, former banker and lumber dealer, died in his home, Field Point Park, here this morning. He celebrated his ninety-sixth birthday on December 29, and on Monday made his usual trip to town in his electric automobile, 1922 model, to pay his town taxes.

Mr. Mead was vice president of the Maher Brothers Corporation, a large lumber and coal firm. He was president of the New Burial Ground Association and for ten years president of the Greenwich National Bank.

Born on his father's farm on Dec. 29, 1842, he attended Greenwich Academy and in 1882 moved to the Sophar [Zophar] Mead homestead, Field Point Park, a house built in 1792, which he inherited with 120 acres from his cousin, Oliver Mead. He organized the Field Point Land Company and served as its president for many years, dividing the farm into home sets, which now make up Belle Haven. For thirteen years he served in the Connecticut militia and was for a time justice of the peace.

In 1864 he cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln and had voted in every Presidential election since that time. Mr. Mead sought to enlist in the Union Army during the Civil War. "They thought I wasn't physically able," he said recently, "and now there are none of them left." He was the oldest member of the Elks and Masons here.

Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Adam Reed Guy of Brooklyn, and Mrs. Newell L. Walker and Mrs. William J. Ferris of Greenwich, and a granddaughter, Mrs. Granville K. Lester. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sage of New Lebanon Fooled by Picnickers (New York Times)

Sage of New Lebanon Fooled by Picnickers
Boat Seized, They Took Constable Along as Guest
His Plan to Prevent Sunday Excursion on Boat Named for 
Him Foiled by Defective Attachment

Special to The New York Times
August 23, 1904.

GREENWICH, Conn., Aug. 22- All of the inhabitants of the western end of the town of Greenwich, including Byram Shore, where the Mallory’s, Joseph Milbank and other New Yorkers of wealth summer, are laughing about how the Independent Citizens Association yesterday fooled Milo Mead, the “Sage of New Lebanon,” as he calls himself, and had an enjoyable excursion which he had planned to break up.

Mr. Mead is eccentric. He lives in East Port Chester, but insists on calling it New Lebanon. This Spring Charles Grigg, a contractor, had a freight boat built at City Island, which he named “Milo Mead.” That gentleman loaned Grigg $5,000 in acknowledgement of the honor and took a mortgage.

Saturday word was brought to Mr. Mead that the Independent Citizens Association was going on an excursion on the Milo Mead on Sunday, and already had her stocked with beer and other drinks. Mr. Mead sent at once for lawyer William Ferris to see how he could stop it. The lawyer told him to attach the boat, put a constable on board, pay him for the trouble and release the attachment Monday morning.

Richard Morrell was the constable whose services were procured and the attachment papers were against Charles Grigg, Lulu Grigg, the Grigg Contracting Company and Charles Grigg, agent, all four forms being used by Mr. Grigg in business dealings. But there was a flaw in the serving of the legal papers by the constable. They could not be served on Sunday and the association was not long in finding this out.

They allowed the constable to remain in possession all Saturday night. When they were ready to start they notified the officer that he would have his choice of getting off the boat or being put off. They had their counsel present to prove they were right.

While Mr. Mead was hustling to the village to get out an injunction or anything else that would fill the bill, the anchor was weighed and the Citizens’ Association, with the constable as a guest, left the dock and had a glorious day of it.

Mr. Mead declares he will do everything possible to prevent a repetition of Sunday excursions as long as the boat bears his name. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jared Mead (1852) and the Steamer Frances Skiddy

By the mid-nineteenth century steam powered ships emerged as a new innovation in travel for goods and people. Sometimes accidents happened, often with tragic consequences. I’ve read about such things in the newspapers of the times. A gravestone in Greenwich’s New Burial Grounds Association Cemetery references one such sad ending.

Jared Mead was the son of Daniel Smith Mead (1778-1831) and Rachel Mead (1779-1859. He was born in Greenwich, Connecticut on July 25, 1816.

He married his wife Clarinda on May 28, 1843. They had five children; only two would outlive Jared:

Watson N:1844-1863
Susan E: 1845
David Newton: 1846
Adelia Rachel: 1848-1848
Emma Huldah: 1852-1934

In 1852 Jared Mead was the captain of a schooner owned by Augustus Stedwell of Brooklyn, New York. Mead was 36 years old at the time. His gravestone states:

Jared Mead,
who perished on the Hudson River in the sinking of
his Schooner the JONATHAN BORAM by the steamer
Francis R. Skiddy.
Died October 14, 1852,
aged 36 years & 3 months.

Husband thou art gone to rest
Thy toils and cares are o'er
And sorrow pain and suffering now
Shall ne'er distress thee more.

While in the Hawaii State Library near downtown Honolulu I found this story of the first page of the New York Daily Times, dated Saturday, October 16, 1852:

Collision on the Hudson River-Supposed Loss of Life

Verplanck’s Point, Friday, Oct. 15
A schooner, supposed to be the Jonathan Booream, belonging to AUGUSTUS STEDWELL, of Brooklyn, Captain JARED MEADE, was run into and sunk last evening by the steamer Francis Skiddy, when opposite this place. The schooner was broken in two, and the stern floated ashore with the compass and a box containing the schooner’s papers, with the captain’s coat and hat. The fate of those on board is not known, but they are supposed to have been all drowned.

Insights into history sometimes appear in the most unexpected places and circumstances. On the same day I was at the Hawaii State Library I ran across this article in, of all places, The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, published weekly in Honolulu by Henry M. Whitney (today known as the Star Advertiser). The following appeared on the first page of the July 1, 1865 edition. It focuses on the fate of the Frances Skiddy in Spring, 1865:

Letter from New York
(634 BROADWAY,) New York,
March 28th, 1865.

MR. EDITOR: - A few days since I left Troy in the beautiful steamboat Frances Skiddy. I chose this boat in preference to the cars, because of the greater comfort and finer view of the Hudson River scenery, to say nothing of the satisfaction of knowing that I was in no danger of one of those railroad “smash-ups” which have become so fearfully common within the last month or two.

The boat was heavily laden with merchandise and the spacious saloons full of passengers. When about ten miles below Albany we heard a sudden crash of timbers accompanied by a heavy jar. The boat began to tip and soon the decks stood at an angle of forty-five degrees to the horizon. Men shouted, women shrieked and fainted, and children cried, while the steam-whistle screamed shrill and clear above them all. For a few minutes the scene of wild confusion and dismay was indescribable. Just at this crisis something about the engine gave way and a volley of steam rushed into the main saloon filling it in a few seconds. Strange to say no one was badly burnt.

We had struck a rock, tearing a large hole in the bottom of our craft. She was rapidly sinking, slowly righting as she sank. In less than ten minutes the dining-saloon was full of water. Tables, chairs, dishes, and burning lamps were floating about. There was great danger that the lamps would set the boat afire, but no one dared venture in to get them.

In five minutes more the water was a foot deep on the next deck. The baggage-master was not to be found, so we broke into the baggage room with axes, got out our carpet-bags and retreated to the upper decks, where we were rejoiced to see that a steam-tug. Which was going down the river with a number of canal boats, had just come to our rescue.

By the time we had handed the ladies, children and personal baggage over to these, the Skiddy had sunk seven or eight feet more and grounded. After waiting there a half an hour, the Hendrick Hudson, on her way from Albany to New York, picked us up. We were happy to have escaped without the loss of a single life, and concluded that it was not unreasonable to expect entire freedom from accidents either by land or water. The dangers encountered in trusting your life in your little inter-island coasters, (to say nothing of the Kilauea,) are perhaps no greater than the perils of travel in this most civilized and christian land.

(signed “Viator”)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Google Earth Views: Family Plot at Lot & Drake's Corner, Greenwich, Connecticut

Featured here is an overview image courtesy of Google Earth. The image is of the area around the intersection of North Street and Taconic Road, Greenwich, Connecticut.

Taconic Road is the road that bears to the right and up toward the center of the image. If you look closely above the house in the center of the image the outline of the cemetery plot can be seen. Adjacent to it is the stone wall that goes from the street. The original family homestead, barn and other buildings built by Caleb Mead is in the upper left of the photo.

Google Earth Views: Cos Cob Mill Pond Cemetery

The image featured here comes courtesy of Google Earth. The date of the image is March 30, 2012. 

Pictured here is the family plot located off Relay Place, Cos Cob and the Mill Pond. The parking lot is in the rear of the Mill Pond Shopping Center off East Putnam Avenue.