Welcome to our news and history blog!

Welcome to our news and history blog!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Elynore Peterson Plans Her Wedding: Connecticut Girl's Marriage to Douglas P. Mead to Take Place on Saturday (New York Times, 1934)

Source: The New York Times: May 3, 1934. Page 16.
Special to The New York Times.

Douglas Parker Mead of Stamford, son of Mrs. Elbert M. Reynolds of Greenwich, and Miss Elynore Peterson, daughter of William Peterson and the late Mrs. Peterson of Glenbrook, Connecticut, will take place in the Swedish Evangelical Congregational Church Stamford, on Saturday afternoon, at 5 o'clock. Reverend Oscar F. Johnson, the pastor, will officiate.

Mr. Mead is with the Stamford Trust Company. His father, the late Seaman M. Mead, was a descendent of one of the oldest and most prominent families in Greenwich.

Mrs. Reynolds, mother of Douglas Mead, is the daughter of the late Nathan Parker of Port Chester, where she was born. Following the death of Mr. Mead she was married to Mr. Reynolds, formerly lived in North St., Greenwich and whose ancestors were among the pioneer residents of the town.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Oliver D. Mead, 96, Greenwich Banker: Executive of Lumber and Land Companies is Dead (New York Times, 1939)

Source: The New York Times. January 12, 1939. Page 19.

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 Dec. 29, and on Monday made his usual trip in town and 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 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 sites, 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.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

World War I Centennial: Mead's of Second Congregational Church, Greenwich Who Served

The above names are on a plaque in the Second Congregational Church that reads as follows: 

This tablet erected in honor of those of this church who answered the call of their country in the world war 1914-1918. 

376th Founders Day: July 18, 2016

In 1990 -also the year the Town of Greenwich celebrated its 350th founding -Mead family descendants gathered in Tomac Cemetery in Old Greenwich and dedicated this monument. 

Below are additional images of Tomac Cemetery. 

According to the late Town Historian William E. Finch, Jr., the family's original ancestors are interred in this cemetery in the back section among the plain fieldstone markers. 

We wish all near and far a Happy 376th Greenwich Founders Day. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Obituary and Funeral: Philander Button (1878)

Source: Greenwich Observer. May 23, 1878. (Funeral: May 30)

On Tuesday morning there died at his home here, one who is probably as universally appreciated as any citizen who ever dwelt in our midst. Philander Button was born at North Haven, Connecticut, in 1812. He entered the academy at this place in 1834 to prepare for college, and graduated from Yale in the class of 1839, being the salutatorian of his class. His arduous study had so weakened his eyes that he was unable to conclude the theological course which she commenced and he returned to Greenwich and took charge of the Academy in 1840, which he retained  until 1861. He was an efficient teacher and a large number of the most prominent men of the generation now in active business life in this place, as well as many who are well and favorably known to other places, and in fact many in all corners of the globe, owe much to his careful and patient tutoring. In 1844 he married a daughter of the late Darius Mead M.D.

In 1840 he joined the Second Congregational Church and was always prominent in its counsels, being elected a deacon in the earlier years of his membership, and credibly and acceptably filling the position of superintendent of the Sabbath school for over thirty years. Much credit was due to his endeavors in the direction of the beautiful edifice in which the church worships. In 186_ he became associated with Mr. Frederick Mead in business in New York, retiring in 1863. In all public measures he was foremost, never seeking his own advancement, in fact often refusing proffered preferment. Especially was he active and deeply interested in our public schools, being for many years a school visitor. In social life he was affable, genial and hospitable. Few sadder days have darkened all circles here, than when in 186_ he was stricken down. During his active life no man in our midst had a greater influence in public and private affairs, and his influence, always for good, will be felt for years to come. Since that time, though still living in our midst he has been lost to us, and a few men, we may say no man, has been more mixed, or their loss more generally regretted.

His funeral will be attended from the Second Congregational Church to-morrow (Friday) at 3 o'clock.

Funeral of the late Philander Button was attended on Friday last from the Second Congregational church. The deacons of the church, Messrs. Chas. Mead, Elkanah Mead, Moses Christy, Dr. T. S. Pinneo and Wm A. Howe, and Mr. L. P. Hubbard, clerk of the church, were the pall bearers, and Messrs. Benj. Wright, Alex. Mead, Geo. S. Ray, Whit. A. Mead, Jos. B. Husted and Geo. H. Mills, carriers. Reverend Chas. R. Treat spoke very feelingly from the text "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord." Rev. S.B.S. Bissell, formally of this place, who was for many years the intimate friend and associate of Mr. Button, spoke of his name "Philander" which means "the friend of men." At the grave, the Sabbath school sang "Rest for the weary," and as each member passed the grave, cast in a sprig flowers. The body was enclosed in an ebonized and velvet trimmed cloth covered casket simple, yet elegant and unique, as well became the receptacle of one whose life among us while casting a lustre on all around him, was so free from ostentation. On Sunday a Sabbath school memorial service was held, at which addresses were made by a number of the older officers and teachers and the following resolutions adopted.


Whereas-God in his all wise providence has called to his record our beloved friend and former Superintendent, Mr. Philander Button, therefore

Resolved-That we as a Sabbath school do sincerely mourn, as we realize his removal from the position of Superintendent, which he so wisely and except the filled for more than 30 years.

Resolved-That he being dead, yet speaketh to us, by the memory of his bright example of faith and good works, and we hope to be influenced to follow him as he followed Christ.

Resolved-That we have sympathized with him, and his family in the long and trying period between his removal from active work, and his final call to be with his Lord.

Resolved-That in his removal to his heavenly home, we have lost a leader and friend to whose watchful love and inspiring words we owe more than we can express.

Resolved-That in his untiring zeal for the Master and earnest, unselfish labors for his fellow men he has shown us how closely it is possible for us to obey the command to love God and our neighbor.

Resolved-That we tender to his bereaved wife and family our warmest sympathy in their great affliction, praying for them that the God of all comfort will sustain and bless them as he has promised and is able to do.

Resolved-That as a token of our feelings under this afflictive providence this school room be appropriately draped for thirty days.

Resolved-That a copy of these resolutions be presented to the family of the deceased.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Sage of New Lebanon: A Man of Public Spirit is Milo Mead (1899)

Source: Greenwich Graphic. July 1, 1899.

His Old House Stands a Reminder of the Past Amid Modern and Elegant Residences- Where Once was a Farm is Now a Village

Up on a hill overlooking its more pretentious neighbors stands the home of Milo Mead, known as the sage of New Lebanon. The immediate locality is known as Byram and Byram Shore. Just over the river is Port Chester in New York State. This section of the town goes by a number of names, some of it is called East Port Chester, by new residents Hawthorne, and Mr. Mead has given it the name New Lebanon. To the stranger all these names are puzzling and we doubt if there is a spot of the same size in the State of Connecticut that is burdened with so many appellations.

The Post Office is called Hawthorne but most people when they write to residents of this quarter of the town address their letters East Port Chester. Perhaps no other person has done so much for this locality as Milo Mead. Years ago in _____ of his house there were but vacant fields and woods which belonged to farms. He could stand, when he was a boy, on the piazza of his house and his view was unobstructed by dwellings; his house was far away from any other. To-day he can look from the porch and an entirely different scene presents itself; houses have built all around him except to the westward. Beautiful and costly residences have been erected and there is a large growth in population and the summer homes of many wealthy men are located within a stone's throw of his house. And this group is of a substantial nature representing all classes, as well as men of wealth, intelligence and prominent in the world of business.

Mr. Mead is a man of public spirit and has been deeply interested in this growth. Instead of turning the cold shoulder to new comers and giving them the impression that he preferred to so, far as he could, keep things in a primitive state, he has extended the hand of welcome to all who desire to buy property in that section and locale there. He has helped many men in times when help was needed in business ways. His advice has been sought for repeatedly and he has hand in his pocket in many cases where he was asked for aid, perhaps too much so for his own financial good. He called the place New Lebanon because he thought that East Port Chester was too much associated with Port Chester which is in New York State and the name New Lebanon that was suggestive to him of a beautiful spot.

There is a New Lebanon Opera House, New Lebanon Drug Store, New Lebanon Market, New Lebanon Carpet Beating Factory, and other business enterprises are named from the place. The improvements about the locality seem to be his hobby and he takes great pride and interest of the people of the place. He has erected several shops and offered their use at ridiculously small sums in order to bring trade to New Lebanon. He said to the GRAPHIC the other day, "I don't want the people to go to Port Chester and trade. The money should stay here if we can keep it here. This is Connecticut and not New York State, and we ought to patronize our own people." He is not a narrow man, but broad in his views, but he will not allow liquor to be sold in any of his buildings.

The Byram road leading to the shore was recently widened fifty feet at his expense,  and other thoroughfares have also been improved and straightened by him, and in some cases he has cut the street through land at considerable cost to himself. The people of New Lebanon and that locality all speak of him very highly. He lives in the old homestead where he was born and which commands a most beautiful view of the Sound, up and down.

The improvements he has made about New Lebanon cannot fully be enumerated and the value of what he has done for the town in that locality is inestimable. He has seen the elegant residences which are in front of his house along with the shore erected. They are owned by Mr. C.R. Mallory, Mrs. H. Mallory, Mr. Robert Mallory, Mr. W. J. Tingue, Mr. Jon McClave, Mr. James H. Hunt, Mr. Peter F. Meyer and others. Mr. Joseph Milbank is now building opposite Mr. Mead a very elegant mansion, which, it is said, will be one of the handsomest along the Sound. It is on the property once owned by Mr. Starbuck.

The old house presents a quaint and picturesque appearance way up on the hill and suggests the past. It is so high that the view from it can never be obstructed to any great extent. There were three of these charming locations in Greenwich which were selected and built upon by the Mead's.  One is what is known as Charles Mead's Point, the second, Field Point, where lived Oliver Mead; the third is the home of Milo Mead. They afforded not only beautiful sites for homes, but were near the Sound, which gave them benefits to be derived from the nearness to the salt water. Then they had many acres of fertile fields for farms.

The old house was built by a Mr. Close some time before the Revolutionary war, and is at least one hundred and fifty years old. Mr. Mead's father bought it of Mr. Close, and Mr. Milo Mead has always lived there. About seventy-five or eighty years ago an addition was made to it. It is better preserved that many of the old houses about Greenwich, for Mr. Mead keeps it in good repair.

To compare it with the modern house across the way would be like placing the old lumbering stage coach alongside the Saratoga flyer. But yet with it quaintness and age there is a feeling of quietness and rest which comes over one when passing in its doorway that is refreshing after one has been through the modern and elegant dwellings which are its neighbors. It's the difference between the electric light and the tallow candle.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Near the Busy Center: The Old House on Lafayette Place (1899)

Source: Greenwich Graphic. Saturday, May 13, 1899. Page 1.

Was Built When the Street it is Now on Was a Cow-Path
The Inside of it is Antique. Indeed. 

Everybody about the village was recognize this picture. It's an old house on Lafayette Place and it sits perched up on a bank as though it was not "part or parcel" of the houses surrounding it, and neither is it.

It has so much in contract with its neighbors, that it is the most conspicuous building on this short street.

"When was it built?" That is hard to say. Some who pretend to know will tell you that it was put up in 1650. Its appearance indicates that it is at least two hundred years old. Look at the old shingles, the hand-wrought nails sticking out here and there, and the big stone chimney, and the general dilapidated appearance of it-although that is not always a sign of age, but in this case it is easy to see that it is very old.

Lafayette Place was but a cow-path when its timbers were first put there, and there was no other building between it, and the Sound, and the view in those days from its doorstep must have been fine, indeed. 

This property was owned way back in 1725 by John Hobby, who sold it to Nathaniel Mead.

It was known as one time as the Dunton Homestead, where lived Royal Dunton and his family.

Its size and shape is different from the houses that were built during the Revolutionary War. It's a very old settler and was famous years ago.

Mrs. Mary Thompson, whose maiden name was Banks, with whom we talked about the old house, said that her grandmother and her mother and she were all born there, and the house was very old in those days. She thinks it is about 250 years old. But it can't be quite as ancient as that, for Greenwich was settled in 1645, but this was probably one of the first houses erected.

Mr. Joseph E. Russell considers it one of the oldest houses in town. When he was a boy it looked as aged as it does now.

When Nathaniel Mead occupied it, which was during the Revolutionary War, Cowboys and the British made raids upon his herd of cattle, and he always kept his musket handy night and day. In the field and by his bedside it was his constant companion. We can well imagine what a beautiful farm it must have been in those days, the lay of the land must have been ideal.

They tell funny stories of one Thomas Mead, who was known as the fat fiddler, who lived there. He weighed, it is said, 400 pounds. He disliked to walk any distance, and when they wanted him to play, they would back a cart with oxen up to the door and he would get in and off they would go, carrying him to the place where his fiddle and bow were wanted.

He was exceedingly popular with the young people, and his presence was always necessary for a merry evening. It is said, too, that notwithstanding his great weight, and disinclination to walk, he was a graceful dancer and was light on his feet when whirling a Colonial girl over the floor. Mr. Mead lived in this house for many years and when he died the door sash had to be removed to allow the coffin to pass out.

Some years ago the house was purchased by Augustus Lyon. At one time Azra Banks resided there and worked in a little shop near the house as shoe maker but this small building disappeared.

It is said that an English officer who had been wounded was taken to the house and died in the South room.

But if you want to judge the house and its age, go inside and see that long, wide room on the first floor, which is almost the same as when around the big fireplace the family and neighbors gathered 150 or more years ago. The ceiling is so low that a man of six feet must stoop to walk about. The quaint doors hang on the same hinges, and the little iron latches appear to have been made at a time the house was erected. There is, perhaps, no house in Greenwich that would more impress you with its age, than this one, after you had taken a look at the inside of it.

It is going to pieces rapidly, and can't last but a few years more as it now stands. It is owned by Mrs. Francis Warburton. 

Richard Mead, "A Patriot of the Revolution"

This Makes Third Time: Lightning Strikes Seaman Mead's Barn (1899)

Source: Greenwich Graphic. Saturday, May 13, 1899. Page 1.

Entirely Destroyed in Sunday Night Storm-Loss About $4,000-Insured $3,000

There is an old saw that lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place. But this isn't true in Greenwich.

Down in the valley at the rear of Mr. Seamen Mead's residence  there is something that attracts lightning. In fact that locality seems to have, more or less, a something that draws electricity in a thunderstorm. Mr. John Dayton's, Town Clerk Mead's, Mr. Chas. Cameron's and Mr. George Rowland's residences on the Field Point Road and near by have all felt the bolt. Now they are all protected by lightning rods, and thunder storms pass them by without harm.

Three barnes has been struck by lightning near where the one which was destroyed in Sunday night's storm was located.

In 1876, in 1896 and in 1899. The one burned in 1876 belonged to Col. Thomas A. Mead, and the other two to Seaman Mead.

A terrific thunder storm passed over Greenwich Sunday night, the air had been heavy all day, and the conditions were just right for a severe electrical storm. It was one of the most severe storms of the summer.

There was a continuous play of lightning for some two hours before the rain came, and then the dark clouds poured their contents to the earth, the wind blew and the lightning and thunder was something awful, it being incessant.

About nine o'clock it became known that Seaman Mead's barn had been struck by lightning and was in flames.

The fire alarm had made known that there was trouble, but didn't tell where, for it struck one, but the glare in the west told where the fire was.

In the pouring rain, with the lightning flashes coming in frightful succession and brilliancy, with the thunder roaring incessantly, the firemen responded to the call. 

So on the Volunteers and Amogerones were on the spot and had two or three streams of water playing on the fire.

It was seen that the barn could not be saved, ___ the fire was well underway before the firemen arrived. And so efforts ____ade to save the barns and houses near by ___anger, which were successful, for the flames were kept confined to the barn which was struck.

In charge of the firemen was Chief Engineer Russell, with Foreman Mead, Assistant Foreman Peck of the Amogerones, and Assistant Forman Emery and Mahoney of the Volunteers.

Grave of Seaman Mead in New Burial Grounds Association Cemetery
next to the Second Congregational Church, Greenwich. 

Mr. Mead and his family were sitting on the piazza of their house when the lightning struck the barn. An alarm was rung in from the box near the old toll gate, but it was thought that the storm had affected the wires in some way, and the system failed to work.

When they heard the crash they surmised that the barn had been struck, and on going to look in that direction they saw that it was on fire.

The family rushed to save the horses, there being three in the barn, and succeeded in getting them out of the barn, and also in saving, with the help of neighbors, the carriages, harness, and other things in the barn.

Miss Louise Mead, who had pluckily gone into the barn, and had succeeded in finding one of the horses, was injured by being thrown to the floor by the fright of the horse. She had grasped him by the mane, and was leading him out, when he became frightened and, throwing his head, freed himself from her grasp, and with such force as to cause her to lose her balance and she fell heavily to the floor, badly bruising her shoulder.

At two o'clock the firemen went home, all danger being over.

The barn was insured for $3,000 by Mr. Cameron, the insurance agent. The claim was promptly adjusted and the companies are ready to pay Mr. Mead. It will cost about $4,000 to replace the barn for the building was a large one.