Welcome to our news and history blog!

Welcome to our news and history blog!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Ball That Hit Putnam-Mr. Augustus Mead Says He Has Found It-and is Positive it's the One. (1901)

Greenwich Graphic: Saturday, November 30, 1901, Page 4.

Authentic history, as well as popular opinion, as that of the many bullets fired at the daring General Putnam in his mad ride down the hill which bears his name, one passed through his head covering, and this has been verified, for the same bullet has been found.

While excavating in the repairing of the drive at the east side of his residence on the Post Road, men in the employee of Mr. Augustus Mead discovered this Revolutionary relic embedded in some three feet of earth. Mr. Mead is strong in his belief that this is the same ball that passed through the General's hat, and luckily so, for it is a three pounder, and if it had pierced the head instead of the hat, history must needs have been re-written, and instead of the thrilling account of a daring plunge down seventy-four stone steps, we would have had simply "Another fearless general killed in a skirmish between the British regulars and the Colonial patriots."

This now innocent, unassuming and harmless appearing piece of Revolutionary warfare we believe, with Mr. Mead, is the bullet which might have caused a change history and deprived the schoolboy of what is near and dear to his heart – stories of adventure and daring, and if a thorough scientific and scholarly  investigation should be had, with employment of algebra, geometry, or the higher mathematics, taking the hypothesis: the position of the rider, the angle at which the bullets were fired, and the distance traveled, together with other data, the only logical and current deduction would be as we have stated.

We are told that a picture of Putnam can be traced on the cannonball, with a date when it struck him. We have this on the authority of Mr. John Dayton, whose word is to be relied on.

But to be serious with regard to this cannon ball. Opposite this place on the farm of Jabez Mead, often in ploughing, English coins were turned up, and the supposition is, that is more or less skirmishing was carried on in this locality during the Revolution, this evidence of British soldiers is accounted for, as in the case of this old relic of long ago.

Greenwich's Oldest Voter (1902)

Greenwich Graphic: November 8, 1902, Page 1.

Mr. Smith Mead, the oldest voter in town, went to the polls on Tuesday and cast his vote. Mr. Mead is close to 93 years of age. He has never failed to cast his ballot at an election since Andrew Jackson ran for the presidency in 1833, and he was 23 years old at that time. When the Republican party was formed in 1836, Mr. Mead became identified with it, and he has cast his ballot for the candidates since that date. 

In 1824 he met the Marquis de Lafayette when he passed through this town on his triumphal tour, and enjoys the distinction of being one of the very few living persons who shook the hand of the great French soldier. 

Mr. Mead is in fairly good health, and his mind is clear. He loves to sit down with a friend and talk of the Greenwich of years ago, and his fund of knowledge on the growth of the town is remarkable. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Announcement: Greenwich, A Town For All Seasons Show on Radio 1490 WGCH/WGCH.COM

Historian and town native Jeffrey Bingham Mead, a descendant of the founders of the town, is the host of an upcoming new show on NewsTalk AM 1490 WGCH and WGCH.com anywhere. 

Greenwich, Town For All Seasons is scheduled to air every other Wednesday morning 9:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m. 

The show’s creator and host, Jeffrey Bingham Mead, is no stranger to Greenwich history. Born and raised in Greenwich, he as a direct descendant of one of its founding families. His background and interests are varied and ever-evolving. 

Mead is a former board member and trustee of the Greenwich Historical Society; former local history contributing writer at Greenwich Time in the 1980s and 1990s;  the vice-president of the Capt. Matthew Mead Branch of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution; a university professor and lecturer in the states of Hawaii and Connecticut; president and co-founder of History Education Hawaii, Inc., the Hawaii Council of the National Council for History Education (since 2006); president/founder of the Historic Mead Family Burying Grounds Association, author of Chains Unbound: Slave Emancipations in Greenwich, Connecticut, and more. 

Mead is also the creator, producer and host of the highly successful Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim show on WGCH. Now in its third year, the show has an international audience and its heard in China with plans for national syndication across the USA in the near-future. 

“We’re planning on having a lot of fun with this,” said Mead. “The textures of Greenwich’s history make it interesting, so we’ll be featuring lively perspectives of the town’s heritage encompassing its 378-plus years. Greenwich: A Town for All Seasons is a first-of-its kind show on WGCH. The show seeks to build bridges between past and present; feature local business, historical news and cultural events for long-time residents and newcomers alike; entertain, contribute to and heighten knowledge of the history of Greenwich, Connecticut and ultimately do its part in its sustained preservation.” 

Mead was one of the early pioneers of featuring Greenwich history on the Internet. These include:

“We’re looking forward to establishing long-term strategic partnerships with the town’s historic preservation organizations. Greenwich is a town for all seasons and all people -everyone is invited to our celebration of the town’s culture and heritage,” Mead added.

Click this link to visit and listen to archived broadcasts of Greenwich, A Town For All SeasonsVisit this link for the official blog site.  Contact GreenwichATownForAllSeasons@gmail.com to be added to the email list for announcements and updates. 

Sponsors and Potential guests can contact Jeffrey Bingham Mead at JeffreyBinghamMead@gmail.comGreenwichATownForAllSeasons@gmail.com and via LinkedIn and Facebook.

Gen. Ebenezer Mead's Grave: Letter from J.R. Mead Suggesting Suitable Recognition on the Form of a Monument. 1907

Greenwich Graphic: Saturday, February 23, 1907. Page 1.

To the Editor of the Graphic:

I was much pleased to receive the Graphic of January 26th, with your able article in relation to the grave and history of my great-grandfather, Maj. Gen. Ebenezer Mead. The statements I know to be correct, for as a boy, in 1845-6 I heard the story of his life and Gen. Put's told time and again by my grandparents and the old people, who were living in Greenwich at the time of Put's ride and who already saw all the occurrences mentioned in my letters and conversations.

The grave was also shown me by numerous persons, beside my relatives, for my great-grandfather's house was widely know, and it was the general visiting place of the prominent people of the country, Lafayette was entertained there on the occasion of his last visit to the country.

It was a great surprise to me to find that the grave of the most noted man Connecticut had produced in its early history and to be forgotten. Surely it was not forgotten by me. And I made the trip with the two younger ones of my family to show them where my ancestors lived.

The western members of the Mead family seem to have prospered, and risen in the world more than those who remained at the ancestral home. I have a son who is one of the great merchants of Chicago and Liverpool, England.

I should be much pleased if the people of Greenwich would assist me in erecting a grand monument to one of the founders of their town and to add to the great honorable and historic interest of the already celebrated locality. 
J. R. Mead


Mr. Mead also writes Rev. Mr. Ally in reference to the monument as follows: 

Wichita Kansas, Feb. 3rd, 1907. 

Mr. H. S. Ally, Greenwich, Conn 

Dear Sir -In regard to the monument I've much desire to see a notable monument over the grave of Maj. Gen. Ebenezer Mead, who next to Gen. Putnam was the most noted man whose name was associated with Greenwich in Revolutionary days, and the most noted perhaps of the numerous Mead's of any of Greenwich.

"Putnam" and the "stone steps" made Greenwich famous – gave it historical importance and interest. Gen. Mead, his ancestors and descendants, down to recent years owned the eastern slope of Putnam Hill, including the stone steps, also the valley at the foot, where the family mansion stood and still stands extending down to the Sound, or over much of it. Gen. Mead was buried on his own estate, a few hundred feet from the stone steps, on a mound which appears to be a prehistoric Indian mound. I visited the grave site in  1845-6, when I spent a year at the family homestead, then occupied by Colonel Ebenezer Mead, my grandfather, son of Col. Ebenezer Mead -and a graduate of Yale. If I am correctly informed the old homestead has been in our family since 1660 to a recent ____.

I referred to Mr. Spencer P. Mead, Historian, of 93 West 43rd Street, New York, for further information and wish you to show this letter to the Editor of the Greenwich GRAPHIC. Also show it to Mr. Isaac L. Mead, of 38 Lafayette Place. Also please send me copies of the previous number of your GRAPHIC which you refer to in your letter, and copies of the GRAPHIC containing any further reference to it. 
J. R. Mead

[In our recent story of the finding of Maj. Gen. Mead's grave we overlooked one very important fact:

Gen. Mead, from the porch of his house, at the edge of the meadow, was the only person who saw Gen. Putnam ride down the precipice – not the steps – except the six Tories who followed Gen. Putnam to the top of the hill, and they never knew whether he went down the steps or over the precipice.

He saw him as he emerged at the bottom, and heard the famous  shout "damn ye, I'll hang ye to the nearest apple tree," as the shots they fired flew wide of their intended mark.

Gen. Mead told the story to Jabez Mead, a boy then in about his tenth year whose family were neighbors, and told repeatedly, so that it became firmly impressed in his mind, that Gen. Putnam rode down the hill through the bushes. Jabez Mead, who died in April, 1886, often related the story to the editor of the GRAPHIC.

This makes it but two removes, two repetitions, from Gen. Mead, very close indeed, certainly near enough to give it ample credence for such historical need as may be called for.

Were this not enough then the confirmation given by Isaac L. Mead, adds to its correctness. His father told him that he heard Gen. Mead tell the same story as told by Jabez Mead as above narrated. It is therefore hardly to be disputed and is assuredly to be accepted over the step fallacy. General Putnam's horse was sure footed and he took the hazard of the shortest cut to safety.

The monument suggestion by Mr. Mead is well worthy attention, and doubtless there will be steps taken in the very near future to carry it into affect. Indeed, Mr. Mead intimates that he would himself be an active participant.]

Over in the Meadow: The Grave of Major-General Ebenezer Mead (1907)

Greenwich Graphic: Saturday, January 26, 1907. Page 1.

Was found by J. R. Mead of Kansas City, a Great Grandson – the Tombstone was Lying on its Face Down, and Was Broken – Who This Colonial Patriot Was. 

Copyrighted 1901, by Erwin Edwards.

Over in the meadow, just at the foot of Put's Hill, in a little hillock, the waters of Ten Acres almost reaching it, is the grave of Major-General Ebenezer Mead– a soldier of the Revolution.

Just above it, on the top of the hill is a handsome boulder in memory of General Putnam, which tells to the hurrying passer-by in his automobile, or in the trolley car, that was the spot where Putnam started on his perilous ride over the precipice, and made his "plunge into history."

Forgotten, neglected and unmarked, is the little grave in the meadow, near where the busy world of flies by, just below the handsome boulder. But General Mead played his part in the war for liberty, as well as "Old Put," and now that his grave has been found, it will be marked with a fitting monument.

There came to Greenwich, last summer a man from Wichita, Kansas, J. A. Mead, and with him his wife and two children.

It was the home of his boyhood, and he returned to his native town to find the grave of Maj-General Ebenezer Mead, and also to see the old place in which he was born, in which he left a half century ago, to seek his fortune in the west, and he wanted as well to look up his kinsman.

He was here but a day or two, he found old Greenwich so different from what he expected, in many ways, he tarried but a short time.

But his real purpose he accomplished, the finding of the grave of his patriotic ancestor, and he went away as quietly and on ostentatiously as he came.

He had become a very successful businessman in the west, had made money and was rich, but now as he was beginning to go down the sense that side of life, although a vigorous and healthy man still, his mind reverted to the scenes of his boyhood, and he often thought he would like to visit the old town, find a grave of General Ebenezer Mead, and put a granite monument over it.

It was with such intention that he came to Greenwich, and after trying to get in touch with his relatives, went to the house now occupied by John Maher, and accompanied by Mr. Maher and accompanied by Mrs. Maher finally located what he believed to be the grave.

With Thomas Egan, whom he met in a cemetery, he arranged for further investigation. On his return home he wrote Mr. Egan as follows:

"We visited the grave and noticed a marble slab sunk level with the surface at the north end, and it occurred to me that there might be an inscription on the stone underground. I will be pleased if you will visit the spot and dig down and examine the stone very carefully, wash it if necessary and write me exactly what is on it then replace as before."

Mr. Egan at one started on his search. At the house he was met by Mrs. Maher, who pointed out the spot. Carefully he removed the undergrowth, moss and earth that had almost entirely destroyed the ordinary outlines indicating the grave. Soon he uncovered a marble slab, finding a broken near the center. Deftly he brushed away the clinging dirt and was soon enabled to trace the marks of an inscription. Still more carefully cleaning off the discolorations his efforts were at last rewarded and he could read: 

"Major-General Ebenezer Mead, died February 7, 1818, aged 70 years."

His task was accomplished. The long neglected and almost obliterated resting place of the Connecticut soldier whose fame was notable in the strife for Independence, was definitely disclosed. He replaced the stone, leaving the grave as nearly as was possible as he found it, and then duly advised Mr. Mead in accordance with instructions. In response the annexed was received: 

"The information, yours of the 26th, contained, is very gratifying. It confirms the statement I made while in Greenwich as to that being the grave of Gen. Mead, my great-grandfather. My grandfather, Col. Ebenezer Mead, my father Rev. E. Mead, and my uncles Ebenezer and Theodore all pointed out the spot to me, with at that time a picket fence around it, as the grave of General Mead. It was was customary in colonial days in later to bury the proprietor of an estate upon the premises. Now that the identity of Gen. Mead is established beyond question it is a matter of historical interest that the spot should be suitably made prominent by monument or otherwise."

Mr. Mead in a later letter said: "Gen. Mead was shot through the lungs by a musket ball early in the war for Independence, and in dressing the wound the surgeon drew a silk handkerchief through his body. I was told this in 1846 by old men who were there at the time, also by my grandfather and grandmother, otherwise he might have taken an active part in the war as the rest of them."

It was not fully understood that there were two Meads in the Revolutionary war. Ebenezer Mead, the Gen. Mead here referred to, served as a private in Capt. Joseph Hobby's Company, Lt. Col. John Mead's 9th Regiment, from Nov. 11th, 1776, to Jan. 11th, 1777. The regiment was ordered to Westchester County and employed in guarding its borders. As the latter take fixes the time when he seems to have dropped out of the service, the wound, referred to above by J. R. Mead, may have been suffered about this time, and the resulting sickness was doubtless the cause.

He stood in the doorway of the house where John Maher now resides and saw Gen. Putnam ride down the hill when surprised by six dragoons. He saw General Putnam come tearing down the hill, saw him turn in his saddle as he reached the bottom and gained the turnpike, and heard him holler "damn ye" to the tories, who were firing at him from the hilltop.

After the war Ebenezer Mead came again into notice and gained distinction as a training master in the militia. He was Major in the Connecticut Militia in the War of 1812, under Colonel Samuel Dean, and at the same time of the scare, caused by the appearance  of a British fleet under Commodore Hardy, off the eastern end of Long Island Sound, which had almost complete control to Throgg's Neck, he was detailed to guard the coast against invasion. He stationed his forces at several strategic points, prevented the enemy from landing, and finally compelled withdrawal of its forces from the waters of the Sound. He ultimately rose to the rank of Major General.

John Mead at the commencement of the Revolutionary war entered the American army as a Major. King George had previously sent him a Captain's commission, which he declined.

Within a month he was promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel, and three years before the end of the war was commissioned a Brigadier General, and had command of the American lines at Horseneck.

Ebenezer Mead, his cousin, was a private an Captain Hobby's company, John Mead's regiment, and it lessens in no degree the credit due to Ebenezer Mead to explain and correct the impression that he then served as officer instead of private. The meagre record shows that his service temporarily ended in November, 1777, probably from the serious wound described above by J. R. Mead as told him by his grandfather. For he figures later as a training master of militia, taking part in the war of 1812 was a Major to which he advanced meantime. And his promotion thus started continued as the result of meritorious service in connection with the Connecticut militia until reaching the major generalship, under which he served with distinction through the later years of his military career.

John Mead's military record before the Revolution was as a lieutenant of the West Company of Greenwich in October, 1757, promoted to captain in October, 1767, and in May, 1773, receiving commission as Major in the 9th Regiment, Connecticut Militia, advancing therefrom to Lieutenant Colonel as the record shows, within a month after the beginning of his service in the Revolution. He saw much active service on the Brooklyn front before and during the Battle of Long Island in August, 1776, and in the retreat from New York was in command of the last attachment that left the city. He was in the Battle of White Plains in October, 1776, and was afterward posted at Horseneck, where he remained during the greater part of the war, joining in many other engagements.

A character he was firm, decided, perhaps severe, but like all Meads exceedingly just. He spent the whole of his life in Horseneck, where he had a large farm, and his house was almost the first in the village of Greenwich at the west. He was a member of the Connecticut Legislature for eight years before, eight years during an eight years after the Revolution until 1797, twenty consecutive years; was also justice of the peace for Fairfield County from 1769 until 1774.

He died in December, 1790, in his sixty-fifth year, and was buried in the old graveyard Put's Hill, the exact spot having become unknown long before the removal of bodies there from to Putnam cemetery.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Fortieth Anniversary: Alexander Mead & Opening of First Greenhouses

Greenwich Graphic: December 21, 1907.

Mr. Alexander Mead, due to physical ailment that began to give him some annoyance, took occasion to go away from Greenwich in search of relief. He has gone forth and back the past several years, staying away as much as his affairs would permit. On his return in late fall he found that his general health had been improved, and it has thus far continued so evenly that he is encouraged that he may not soon again be compelled to take a prolonged trip from home.

This is the 40th anniversary of the opening by Mr. Mead of his first greenhouse: and it was not opened with expectation of engaging in the business, rather as a diversion from the prose of farming.

But at once there came such demand that almost without realizing it this enterprise became established, other greenhouses were called for, and ere long the biggest concern of its kind hereabouts was a verity, and has been maintained with notable increase as the years have flitted by. 

Forty years ago the only other greenhouses near here were in Stamford. There was no competition to stimulate effort, but flower culture was his pleasure, the results were choice, and the inclination of the people toward the beautiful being invited, the demand grew and kept growing.  

And down to this Christmas tide it has continued with the resultant large establishment, with its prosperous surroundings and its thousands of lovely flowers, its plants and its foliage and the urgent call. Well it deserves to be known, as it is, as one of the places to see ere a Greenwich visit is enjoyed.

The display now is particularly inviting. Poinsettias, so suitable to the time, are there in perfection. And also are azaleas, cyclamens,  primroses, carnations, violets; and palms, ferns and holly, with wreaths and roping as well as cut flowers to meet every time and requirement.

Mr. Mead welcomes all calls and his green houses will continue to attractive evolution his application of intelligent and up-to-date methods has made possible, in which his personality so pleasingly supplemented.