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Full text of "Early silver of Connecticut and its makers"

jrsity of 
Connecticut 
libraries 







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Early silver of Connecticut and it 




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EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT 
AND ITS MAKERS 



By GEORGE MUNSON CURTIS 




INTERNATIONAL SILVER CO. 

MERIDEN, CONN. 

1913 




(Yv 

UK 



Copyright, 1913 
By the International Silver Co. 



The B&rta Press 
Boston — New York 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT 
AND ITS MAKERS. 

O those who are lovers of old plate, 
-*- and have become familiar with the 
various shapes and designs characteristic of 
Colonial days, it is interesting to note the 
slow evolution and gradual change in 
church and domestic silver from the simple 
and yet beautiful vessels of the seventeenth 
century to the more elaborate forms and 
greater variety of articles of the eighteenth 
century, which the growing luxury and 
more complex life of the later period 
demanded. 

Judging by the examples that have sur- J 
vived, silver utensils of the seventeenth 
century were limited to spoons, the caudle- 
cup, the beaker, the chalice, or standing 
cup, the tankard, the flagon, and what are 
called to-day wine- tasters. The orna- 
mentation on the earliest of these pieces 
suggests the conventional flower designs 
found on oak furniture of the same period. 

The old inventories and wills, however, 
give us a list of articles once in common 
use which are doubtless no longer in exist- 
ence. 

[5] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Dr. Gershom Bulkeley died in 1713 in 
Glastonbury. He was a man of consider- 
able distinction and wealth. By the terms 
of his will he bequeathed to a son a silver 
retort and to a daughter a silver cucurbit, 
a species of retort, shaped like a gourd, 
used, perhaps, to distil perfumes and 
essences, once the duty of an accomplished 
housewife. 

In various inventories frequent mention 
is made of silver dram-cups, always lower 
in value than spoons. They were minia- 
ture bowls with an ear-shaped handle on 
each side, and called dram-cups because 
they comfortably held a dram, or spoonful, 
and were used for taking medicine. Some- 
times they were of pewter. Modern col- 
lectors have called them wine-tasters, which 
is clearly a misnomer. Our ancestors were 
not wine -tasters : they drank from beakers, 
caudle-cups, and tankards. 

Other articles mentioned are silver plat- 
ters and punch-bowls, whistles, hair-pegs, 
seals, bodkins, thimbles, clasps with glass 
centres, chains or chatelaines with scissors 
and other articles attached, shoe and knee 
buckles, and last, but not least, silver hat- 

[6] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

bands,* worn only by those who affected the 
highest type of fashionable attire. Articles 
of gold were toothpicks, cuff-links, stay- 
pins, rings, brooches, buttons, and beads 
ad libitum. Doubtless a search through 
other inventories would reveal many other 
articles of silver and gold. 

In the eighteenth century the colonist 
had greater wealth, and life had become 
more formal, and luxury more common. 
As a result, the silversmith had increased 
the variety of his manufactures, and used 
more elaborate designs, although he still 
clung to a simplicity of line and form that 
was characteristic of all early industrial art 
in America. 

Although the earliest known silversmiths / 
in New England had either learned their 
craft in England or been taught the trade 
by English workmen, there was no attempt 
to adopt later the elaborate baronial de- 
signs of the mother country. Simpler 
forms were more in keeping with the simple 
life of this country. 

* Captain Giles Hamlin of Middletown (died in 1689 ae. 67) 
was a prominent figure in the early days of the Colony; he was 
the owner of a silver hat-band which he bequeathed to his daughter. 
The portrait of Pocahontas dated 1616 depicts her crowned with 
a mannish headgear, encircled by a golden hat-band. 

[7] 



Seventeenth Century Plate 




Caudle Cup 







Early Flagon 
[8] 



Seventeenth Century Plate 





Earliest Shape of Chalice 



Later Style of Chalice 





Early Beaker 



Early Tankard with Flat Lid 



[9] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

As early as 1715, the man who had 
amassed a fortune could purchase coffee 
and chocolate pots, braziers (the fore- 
runners of the modern chafing-dish), elab- 
orate urn-shaped loving-cups, porringers, — 
in a form which seems to have been peculiar 
to this country, — patch-boxes and snuff- 
boxes, toddy-strainers, and many trinkets 
dear to the feminine heart. 

By 1736, when tea had so far dropped 
in price that it had become a necessity, 
beautifully chased tea-pots had come into 
vogue, in delicate and pure designs, in 
forms now known as bell and pear. 

The silversmiths were also making grace- 
ful sauce and gravy boats, quaint steeple- 
topped pepper-casters, beakers with single 
and double handles, cans with double scroll 
handles, three-legged cream-pitchers, candle- 
sticks and salvers shaped like patens, and 
in other forms. 

Later in the century beautiful tea-sets 
and punch-bowls became popular, as grace- 
ful in shape and line as the Heppelwhite, 
Adam, and Sheraton furniture of that 
period. One of the most frequent of mo- 
tives was the classical urn, which became 

[10] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

as common in silver as in architecture. 
Meantime the tankard had increased in 
height, the flat lid had been replaced by 
a domed cover with a finial, and a band 
had been moulded around the middle of 
the body. It should be remembered that 
no tankard was made with a spout. It 
was a drinking-vessel pure and simple. 
The spout now so frequently found on 
these old pieces is quite a modern addition, 
— an attempt to make a pitcher. 

Spoons in the seventeenth century werev 
invariably rat - tailed. From the handle 
down the back of the bowl to about the 
middle ran a ridge, shaped like a rat-tail. 
This is sometimes thought to have been 
an attempt to strengthen the spoon, but 
its use must have been purely ornamental, 
for it adds little strength to these strongly 
made spoons. Sometimes the rat-tail was 
shaped like a long "V," and grooved, while 
on each side were elaborate scrolls. The 
bowl was perfectly oval in shape, while 
the end of the handle was notched, or trifld. 

This style of spoon was continued, with 
modifications, through the first third of the 
eighteenth century. Then the bowl became 
[ill 



Early Eighteenth Century Plate 




Snuff Box 



Porringer 



12 



Early Eighteenth Century Plate 




Brazier or Chafing Dish 



[13] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

ovoid, or egg-shaped, and the end of the 
handle was rounded, without the notch. 

The rat-tail was gradually replaced by 
what is known as the drop, or double drop, 
frequently terminating in a conventional- 
ized flower or shell, or anthemion, while 
down the front of the handle ran a rib. 

Later the bowl became more pointed, 
the drop was replaced by a tongue, and the 
handle about 1760, instead of slightly curv- 
ing to the front at the end, reversed the 
position. A little later the handle became 
pointed, and was engraved with bright 
cut ornaments and a cartouche at the end, 
in which were engraved the initials of the 
owner. 

During the first ten years of the nine- 
teenth century a popular style was the 
so-called coffin-shaped handle, succeeded 
probably about 18 10 by a handle with a 
shoulder just above the junction with the 
bowl, while the end became fiddle-shaped, 
or of a style now known as tipped, — shapes 
produced to this day. 

Up to about 1770 spoons were of three 
sizes, — the teaspoon, as small as an after- 
dinner coffee-spoon ; the porringer-spoon, 

[14] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

a little smaller than our present dessert size; 
and the tablespoon, with a handle some- 
what shorter than that of to-day/ 

So few forks have been found in collec- 
tions of old silver that it forces the belief 
that they were generally made of steel, with 
bone handles. There seems no reason why, 
if in general use, silver forks should not 
now be as common as spoons. 

In the great silver exhibition recently 
held in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 
of more than one thousand pieces, there 
were only two forks to be found, and they 
were of course two-tined. 

In the manufacture of silverware, as in 
every other form of industry, modern meth- 
ods have worked a revolution. Now pow- 
erful lathes and presses accomplish in sec- 
onds the work of days under old conditions. 

Nevertheless, we can produce no better 
silverware than could the old craftsman 
working with his primitive tools. The sil- 
versmith of Colonial days knew thoroughly 
every branch of his trade. He was de- 
signer, die-sinker, forger, solderer, bur- 
nisher, chaser, and engraver. He was a 
many-sided man, and he did thorough work. 

[15] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Let no one fancy him as other than a man 
of might, for muscle and sinew were as 
needful in fashioning plate as in the trade 
of blacksmithing. 

With his hammers, anvils, beak irons, 
testers, swages, punches, planishing ham- 
mers, and stakes and drawing benches, he 
skilfully shaped the beautiful white metal, 
putting a feeling into his work that is gen- 
erally missing in modern silver. 

He used a lathe, probably worked by 
foot-power, not for spinning, but for sha- 
ping and truing a porringer, a beaker, or a 
bowl after the hammers and anvils had 
done their work. This is plainly shown by 
the mark left by the lathe in the centre of 
these vessels. 

The metal was hammered while cold, and 
many times during the operation was 
annealed; that is, heated in a charcoal 
fire, to prevent brittleness and to make it 
tough. 

With the planishing hammers and anvils, 
rotten stone and burnishers, a uniform and 
beautiful surface was produced that can 
never be attained by a modern workman 
using a buffing wheel. 

[16] 





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Plate 




Plate ii. 




Plate 




Plate iv 



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Plate v. 



lustrations showing transition in the bend of Spoon Handles 
in the third quarter of the eighteenth century 




Showing bend of handle previous to decade 

1760-70 




Showing bend of handle after decade 
1760-70 



Plate vi. 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Ornaments on the back of spoon bowls 
and handles were impressed by dies forced 
together by drop presses or under screw 
pressure. This is absolutely proven by the 
exact duplication of the pattern on sets of 
spoons. Accurate measurements show that 
these ornaments were not hand-work, for 
there is not the slightest deviation in 
dimensions. 

The silversmith carried little manufac- 
tured stock. It was the general practice 
to take to the smith the coin which it was 
desired to have fashioned into plate. These 
coins were melted in a crucible and poured 
into a skillet to form an ingot, which was 
then hammered into sheets of the correct 
gauge. 

This explains the usual practice at that 
time of valuing a porringer or a tankard, 
or other plate, by saying that it contained 
so many Spanish dollars or English coins. 

Probably most of the early plate was 
fashioned from Spanish dollars, once so 
generally in circulation in this country. 
They were not up to sterling standard, 
being only .900 parts fine, while sterling is 
.925 fine. Nevertheless, early plate seems 

[17] 



Mid-Eighteenth Century Plate 




Bell Shaped Tea Pot 




Pear Shaped Tea Pot 
[18] 



Mid-Eighteenth Century Plate 




Sauce Boat 




Candlestick Tankard with Domed Top 



[19] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

to be whiter in color than that manufac- 
tured to-day. 

Perhaps this is the explanation: hand- 
hammered or forged silver must be annealed 
very frequently, and in the old days this 
was done with the aid of a bellows in the 
open air, instead of in a furnace, as is done 
to-day. As a result, a film of oxide of 
copper was formed, which was removed by 
plunging the article into what is called the 
pickling bath, — a hot diluted solution of 
sulphuric acid. This operation continued 
often enough would tend to make the sur- 
face almost fine silver; hence the white color. 

Most smiths impressed the plate they 
fashioned with their trade-mark. The ear- 
liest marks were initials in a shaped shield 
or in a heart, with some emblem above 
or below. Later marks were initials or 
the name in a plain or shaped or engrailed 
rectangle or oval. In the early part of the 
last century the word "Coin" * was added, 
and about 1865 the word "Sterling" was 
employed to denote the correct standard. 

*When the United States Mint was established in 1792, the 
standard of silver coinage was fixed at .892 T % fine. In 1837 the 
standard was raised to .900 fine. Therefore, "Coin" stamped on 
plate does not indicate .925, or "Sterling" fine. 

[20] 




Silversmith Shop of Lewis Curtis, Farmington. Formerly stood at 

the head of the main street, one hundred and fifty feet west of Elm 

Tree Inn. Now located in the meadow two or three hundred feet 

north of the Country Club 




Silversmith Shop of Joseph Carpenter, Norwich 



Plate vii. 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Undoubtedly, the shops of the gold and 
silversmiths were small affairs, with no 
cellars or substantial foundations, being 
similar in that respect to those of black- 
smiths. They were frequently built on 
leased or rented land, and could with little 
difficulty be moved to other sites. 

When Captain Robert Fairchild, of Strat- 
ford, sold his homestead in 1768, he re- 
served the right to remove from the prem- 
ises a goldsmith shop. Such reservations 
were not unusual. 

They were easily broken into by bur- 
glars, and "stop thief" advertisements in 
the local press were quite common. The 
shops of Joseph and Stephen Hopkins, of 
Waterbury, were entered in this way some 
eight or ten times in the decade from 1765 
to 1775. 

The writer well remembers a visit in 
1875 to the smithy of one of these artisans 
in East Hartford. There, busily engaged, 
was an old man forging spoons for a Hart- 
ford jeweler. The building could not have 
been more than fifteen by thirty feet, and 
yet there was ample room for every emer- 
gency. The smith had learned the trade, 

[211 



Mid-Eighteenth Century Plate 





Three types of Pepper Caster 






Examples of Cream Jugs 



^F ^ eyr^ i 



Beaker 




Mid-Eighteenth Century Plate 





Pepper Box 



Two Handled Cup 




Early 18th Century 



Early 18th Century 



Later and usual type 
of 18th Century 



[23] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

just as his predecessors of earlier days had 
done, and perhaps was the last of the 
fraternity. 

The knowledge that America had silver- 
smiths during the Colonial period came as 
a complete surprise and revelation to most 
of those who were so fortunate as to see 
the splendid examples of their work exhib- 
ited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston 
in 1906. 

That these craftsmen were equal in skill 
to their English rivals cannot perhaps be 
claimed in every respect on account of the 
lack of demand for highly florid ornamen- 
tation, but it may be safely stated that 
American silversmiths produced wares that 
for beauty of shape, sense of proportion, 
and purity of line were not surpassed in 
England; and, if occasion demanded, elab- 
orate ornamentation in most decorative 
designs was fully within the grasp of Ameri- 
can workmen. 

Working in silver was a most respectable 
craft, and many of the men who followed 
the trade were of excellent social standing, 
particularly in Boston. One can say with- 
out fear of contradiction that the best silver- 

[24] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

work in this country was done in that 
town. 

The earliest American silversmiths of 
whom record has been found were Captain 
John Hull, coiner of the Pine Tree Shilling, 
mint-master of Massachusetts, and mer- 
chant prince, and his partner, Robert San- 
derson, both of Boston, and working in the 
middle of the seventeenth century. 

They were succeeded by men who were 
also past masters of the craft, such as David 
Jesse, who is thought to have been born in 
Hartford; Jeremiah Dummer; John Coney; 
John Dixwell, son of the regicide of that 
name who resided in New Haven for so 
many years; the Edwardses; Edward Wins- 
low; William Co well; the three Burts; the 
Hurds; and last, but not least of this very 
incomplete list, Paul Revere, father and 
son, the last the hero of Longfellow's famous 
poem. 

These men were craftsmen of the great- 
est skill, and the many examples of their 
work still extant show that they upheld the 
standards and traditions of their trade in 
a manner worthy of the highest praise. 

The work of a number is to be found in 

[25] 



Later Eighteenth Century Type 




This and the following page illustrate a tea service 
of the urn type, popular at the end of the 18th century 



Later Eighteenth Century Type 







[«7] 



Later Eighteenth Century Types 




Punch Bowl by Paul Revere 




Tea Pot made about 1795 



[28] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Connecticut to-day, particularly in the 
churches. In fact, a considerable part of the 
early communion silver in this State was 
made by Boston silversmiths. 

Jeremiah Dummer (1645-1718) is rep- 
resented by thirteen silver vessels in our 
churches, one more than John Dixwell has 
to his credit, although the latter was born 
in New Haven, and must have known many 
men in the Colony. 

But Dummer is of interest to us in another 
way. When the government of Connecti- 
cut decided in 1709 to issue paper cur- 
rency, or Bills of Exchange, the agents of 
the Colony apparently selected him to do 
the mechanical part of the work; that is, 
the engraving of the plates and the printing 
of the bills. 

Journals of the Council for 1710 show 
transactions with Dummer relating to this 
currency, and in 171 2 Governor Saltonstall 
laid before the Council Board the bill of 
Jeremiah Dummer for printing 6,550 sheets 
of this paper currency. 

The inference seems clear that Dummer 
not only printed, but engraved, the first 
paper currency of Connecticut. His one- 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

time apprentice, John Coney, had the dis- 
tinction of engraving the plates for the first 
paper money issued by Massachusetts some 
years previously, the first issued on this 
continent. 

Part of the trade of a silversmith was to 
engrave on the metal coats-of-arms, orna- 
mentations, or the initials of the owners, and, 
of course, the transition to engraving on 
copper was easy and natural. Several of 
the early engravers did their first work on 
silver, Paul Revere and our own Amos 
Doolittle among the number. 

The early church silver is of very great 
interest not only on account of its beauty 
and quaintness, but also because of its as- 
sociation and history. Nothing else brings 
us into such intimate touch with the life 
of our forefathers. Generation after gen- 
eration of the sturdy Connecticut stock 
have hallowed it by the most religious act 
of their lives. 

The beakers, caudle-cups, and tankards 
were frequently in domestic use before they 
were presented to the churches, the offering 
of devout Christian men and women. This 
plate is nearly all in precisely the same con- 

[301 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

dition as when first dedicated to God's 
service. 

Too many of our churches have banished 
these sacred memorials to safety deposit 
vaults in our cities and to boxes and baskets 
stored in attics in our country districts. 
The substitution of the individual cups is, 
of course, the cause of this change. 

Would it not be most fitting if these dis- 
carded memorials were deposited in some 
central place where the protection would 
be ample, and yet where their historical 
and religious significance would not be 
hidden and their beauty and workmanship 
could be studied and admired? 

While not so likely, when silver is stored 
in a safety deposit vault in the name of a 
church, there is always, when placed in 
the custody of an individual, the danger 
not only of fire and burglary, but that it 
may be utterly forgotten, and thus, through 
carelessness or dishonesty, finally drift into 
alien hands and be lost to the church for- 
ever. The silver of more than one Con- 
necticut church has been destroyed by fire, 
and in one case the writer's visit resulted 
in the locating of church silver that had 

[311 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

been completely forgotten. Fifty-seven 
Connecticut churches still preserve their 
ancient silver. Much of it is of great his- 
torical interest, and some of it of very great 
beauty. 

The oldest piece of communion plate in 
this State belongs to the Congregational 
Church in Guilford. It is a quaint old 
beaker with flaring lip, and is marked in 
pounced engraving "H. K." on the side. 
It was the gift of Henry Kingsnorth, one 
of the first settlers of that town and a man 
of substance and worth. He died at the 
age of fifty in 1668 during the great sick- 
ness, as it was called, and his will reads: 

"I give and bequeath unto y e church 
here fifteen pounds to buy any such uten- 
sills for the sacrament withall as they shall 
see cause." The beaker was made by 
William Rouse, of Boston, a contemporary 
of Captain John Hull, the mint-master. 

One of the beakers belonging to the Con- 
gregational Church in Groton bears the 
engraved inscription, "The Gift of S r John 
Davie to the Chh. of Christ at Groton." 
It was made by Samuel Vernon, a silver- 
smith of Newport, R. I. The story of the 

[32] 



Earliest Piece of Church Plate in 
Connecticut 




Beaker belonging to Congregational Church, Guilford. Pre- 
sented by Henry Kingsnorth, 1668. Made by William Rouse 
of Boston. Height 4Vi inches 



Plate 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

beaker is this: John, who was a son of 
Humphrey Davie, of Hartford, and cousin 
of Sir William Davie, of Creedy in Devon, 
England, graduated at Harvard in 1681, 
and became one of the first settlers of 
Groton and its first town clerk. In 1707 
his cousin, Sir William, died without male 
issue, and John of Groton succeeded to the 
baronetcy. Barefooted and in his shirt- 
sleeves, he was hoeing corn on his farm 
when the messenger arrived to tell him of 
his good fortune and to salute him as Sir 
John Davie. He soon left for England, and 
the beaker was his parting gift. 

Belonging to the ancient Congregational 
Society of Norwichtown is a two-handled 
cup made by John Dixwell, and bearing the 
inscription in quaintly engraved letters, 
"The Gift of Sarah Knight to the Chh. of 
Christ in Norwich, April 20, 1722." She 
was Madam Knight, who wrote a diary of 
her trip from Boston to New York in 1704. 
For a number of years she was a resident 
of Norwich, and lies buried in the old grave- 
yard in New London. 

There are sixteen silver beakers owned by 
the First Congregational Church, New 

[33] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

London, and two of them bear the inscrip- 
tion, "The Gift of the Owners of the Ship 
Adventure of London, 1699." They were 
made by two Boston silversmiths working in 
partnership, John Edwards and John Allen. 
A ship named "Adventure" and built 
in London was owned at that time by 
Adam Pickett and Christopher Christo- 
phers, of New London. It does not seem 
a wild flight of the imagination to conjecture 
that these beakers were presented to the 
church as a thank-offering either for a 
profitable mercantile venture or for a for- 
tunate escape from some harrowing expe- 
rience at sea. 

In 1725 Governor Gurdon Saltonstall 
gave by will a silver tankard to this church, 
and in 1726 his widow made a like gift. 
In 1793 the church by vote had these two 
vessels made into three beakers by J. P. 
Trott, a New London silversmith, but care 
was used to preserve the old inscriptions. 

The Congregational Church at North 
Haven owns a large baptismal basin on 
which is inscribed, "The Gift of the Rev. 
Ezra Stiles, D.D., LL.D., President Yale 
College, to the Congregational Church in 

[34] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

North Haven, 1794." He was one of the 
most distinguished men of his time, and 
a native of North Haven. 

There was a time when the First Con- 
gregational Church, Hartford, could boast 
of an array of plate made by these early 
silversmiths. This fact is revealed by the 
ancient Court of Probate records. In the 
early part of the last century a pinch of 
poverty was felt, or else it was thought 
that the style of these vessels was too old- 
fashioned. Whatever the cause, the plate 
was sold. 

In the collection was a fine old mug 
made by William Cowell, of Boston, and 
presented by Mrs. Abigail, the wife of Rev. 
Timothy Woodbridge, pastor of the church 
from 1683 to 1732. On the mug is the in- 
scription, "Ex dono A. W. to the First 
Church of Christ in Hartford, 1727." 

In 1883 William R. Cone, of Hartford, 
found the mug in the possession of J. K. 
Bradford, of Peru, 111., whose grand- 
father, Dr. Jeremiah Bradford, had bought 
it of the church in 1803 for £15. Mr. Cone 
was able to buy it for #75, and re-presented 
it to the church. 

[35] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

In 1840 the Second Congregational 
Church, Hartford, procured a new commun- 
ion service, made from its ancient silver, 
melted down. The old inscriptions were 
faithfully copied, and tell of the following 
gifts: a tankard, given by John Ellery in 
1746; two cups, engraved "The Dying 
Gift of Mr. Richard Lord to the Second 
Church of Christ in Hartford"; two cups, 
engraved "The Gift of J. R. to the South 
Church in Hartford"; and two cups, en- 
graved "S. C." The church now owns 
only one piece of ancient silver, a beautiful 
tankard given by William Stanley in 1787. 

Hartford is not the only town which has 
lost its ancient church silver. The Congre- 
gational Church in Saybrook sold its plate 
in 18 1 5 (but fortunately it is still in exist- 
ence), and the Congregational Church in 
Wallingford remodeled its ancient plate in 
1849, in a style popular at that period, while 
the Congregational Churches in Wethers- 
field and Cheshire lost their communion 
silver by fire a number of years ago. The 
East Hartford Church plate nearly met a 
like fate only a few months ago. 

The Congregational Church in South 

[361 




Plate ix. 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Windsor owns two beautiful beakers made 
by John Potwine, a silversmith of that 
vicinity, and presented by Governor Roger 
Wolcott in 1756. 

The Congregational Church in Fairfield 
has a beautiful collection of plate: two 
handsome tankards, dated 1753 and 
1757; two fine chalices presented by 
Captain John Silliman in 1752; three 
beakers and a cup with a handle. On 
Saturday evening, May 1, 1779, this silver 
was in the home of a deacon, General 
Silliman, and for convenience it had been 
placed in a corner of his bedroom. That 
night a company of British soldiers landed 
on the shore of Fairfield, and stealthily 
made their way to the good deacon's home, 
and made him a prisoner. The noise of 
the entering soldiers awakened Mrs. Silli- 
man, who hastily threw some bed-clothes 
over the silver and, although the house was 
ransacked, the communion plate was not 
discovered. 

The First Congregational Church, Bridge- 
port, has a large collection of ancient silver; 
but its most noteworthy piece is a tankard 
made about 1738 by Peter Van Dyke, of 

[37] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

New York. It is a small one, only six 
inches high, and has been disfigured by the 
addition of a spout in modern times; but 
the ornamentation on the handle in most 
elaborate arabesque scrolls and masks, and 
around the base in acanthus foliage, is the 
most beautiful ornamentation that has been 
found on any ancient silver in America. 

One of the most interesting collections of 
communion silver in the State belongs to 
the Centre Congregational Church, New 
Haven. It consists of thirteen beautiful 
caudle-cups and a large baptismal basin. 

The latter was made by Kneeland, of 
Boston, and was presented to the church 
by the will of Jeremiah Atwater in 1735. 
Its history is quite interesting. 

Early in the eighteenth century Mr. 
Atwater, a wealthy merchant, made a pur- 
chase in Boston of a cargo of nails. In 
one of the kegs, beneath a layer of nails, 
he found a quantity of silver money. He 
wrote to the Boston merchant, and told 
him of the money found in the keg, and 
asked how it could be returned to its right- 
ful owner. The reply stated that the keg 
was bought for nails and sold for nails, and 

[38] 




Plate x. 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

had passed through many hands, and it 
would be impossible to trace the original 
owner, and that Mr. Atwater must dispose 
of the money as he saw fit. He finally 
concluded that he would give the money 
to the church, and had it wrought into a 
baptismal basin. This was the traditional 
story as told to Dr. Leonard Bacon by the 
two eldest children of a Jeremiah Atwater, 
who was a nephew of the original Jeremiah. 
On the following facts we can absolutely 
rely. Mr. Atwater made his will in 1732, 
and died the same year. The will says, 
"I give and bequeath unto the First Church 
of Christ in New Haven the sum of fifty 
pounds to be improved for plate or other- 
wise, as the pastor and deacons shall di- 
rect." This story in full was told by Dr. 
Bacon in the Journal and Courier, July 15, 

1853. 

During the British invasion of New 
Haven in 1779, all the communion silver 
was hidden in a chimney in the house of 
Deacon Stephen Ball at the corner of 
Chapel and High Streets, .where Yale Art 
School now stands. 

In the Congregational Church, Columbia, 

[39] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

is a beaker presented by Captain Samuel 
Buckingham in 1756. When the centenary 
of the founding of Dartmouth College was 
observed a few years ago, this beaker was 
taken to Hanover for the occasion because 
of its intimate association with Dr. Eleazer 
Wheelock. 

When Canterbury was settled about 
1690, a number of the pioneers were from 
Barnstable. The interest of the older town 
apparently did not wane, for by the church 
records we find that in 17 16 the church in 
Barnstable presented to its daughter more 
than two pounds sterling, which was in- 
vested in a silver beaker still in use in the 
Canterbury Church, and inscribed, "The 
Gift of Barnstable Church, 1716." 

Belonging to the Congregational Church, 
Windham, are three ancient silver beakers, 
inscribed, "John Cates legacy to the Church 
in Windham." 

Cates was a mysterious individual, and 
probably the earliest settler in Windham. 
Barber, in his Historical Collections, says 
he served in the wars in England, holding 
a commission under Cromwell. On the 
restoration of Charles II. to the throne, 

[40] 





Plate belonging to Berkeley Divinity School, Middletown. 

Cup made by John Gardiner. Height 5 ] s inches. Paten 

made by an unknown maker. Mark: J. Gardner in rectangle 




Beakers made by John Potvvine and presented to East Windsor 

Church by Gov. Roger Wolcott in 1756. Height 4% inches 

Mark : I. Potwine (script) in cartouche 



Plate xi 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Cates fled to this country for safety, and, 
in order to avoid his pursuers, finally settled 
in the wilderness of what is now Windham. 
He died there in 1697. 

Berkeley Divinity School, Middletown, 
possesses two ancient and interesting pieces 
of communion silver: a beautiful cup or 
chalice, made by John Gardiner, a silver- 
smith of New London, and a paten. 

The tradition is that they were originally 
owned by Rt. Rev. Samuel Seabury, first 
bishop of Connecticut, and presented by 
him respectively to St. James Church, New 
London, and Calvary Church, Stonington. 
Around the chalice runs the inscription, 
"Given by Dr. Yeldall towards making 
this chalice 4 oz. 7 dwts. 1773." Who Dr. 
Yeldall was, is not known, but in an adver- 
tisement in a New London newspaper in 
1775 it is stated, "Dr. YeldalPs medicines 
may be had of Joseph Knight, Post Rider." 
Presumably, therefore, he was well known 
in that vicinity. 

Some fifty years ago, at Bishop Williams's 
request, these memorials of .Bishop Seabury 
were presented to the Divinity School. 

This brief account of the ancient silver 

[41] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

belonging to the churches of Connecticut 
by no means exhausts the subject, either 
historically or from other points of view. 

One might continue describing in detail 
the display of ten beakers and massive 
baptismal basin belonging to the First 
Church in Middletown, the fine array be- 
longing to the Congregational Church in 
Stratford, and the seven very ancient and 
beautiful caudle-cups owned by the old 
church in Farmington. Not less worthy of 
mention is the silver of the First Church 
in Milford (two of the pieces having been 
made by a Connecticut silversmith), and 
the fine silver of quaint design belonging to 
the Congregational Church in Guilford. 

The United Church and Trinity Church, 
New Haven; St. John's Church, Stamford; 
The Congregational Church, Durham; Cen- 
ter Church, Meriden; First Congregational 
Church, Derby; Congregational Church, 
North Haven; and many others, — have 
beautiful collections of silver of great in- 
terest, most of it made by the silversmiths 
of Connecticut. 

In private hands, among the old families 
of the State, a considerable quantity of old 

[42] 




u 



Plate xii. 




Plate xiii. 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

plate remains, but the great bulk of it has 
disappeared forever, — most of it consigned 
to the melting-pot, to issue thence in mod- 
ern forms of nondescript styles or no style 
at all. The temperance movement in the 
early part of the last century is responsible 
for the disappearance of quantities of old 
plate. Many of the old porringers, tank- 
ards, beakers, mugs, and cans were trans- 
formed into spoons and forks by our local 
craftsmen, of whom Hartford and New 
Haven had so many. 

What stories of this iconoclasm could 
have been told by Beach, Ward, Sargeant, 
Pitkin, and Rogers, of Hartford, and Merri- 
man, Chittenden, and Bradley, of New 
Haven ! 

Indeed, one begins to believe that every 
town of any importance in this State had 
its local spoon -maker, whose trade was 
nearly as familiar to the inhabitants as that 
of the village blacksmith. 

But, of all causes for the disappearance 
of old plate, none was equal to the feeling 
that the good old silver, utensils of the 
forefathers were old-fashioned. It is the 
same subtle influence which banished to 

[43] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

garrets and outhouses the beautiful fur- 
niture of the same period, and gave us in 
exchange the Empire styles and the mid- 
century products of the so-called furniture 
butchers. 

It is surprising to find what quantities of 
plate were owned by some of the rich men 
of the Colony. To give a few illustrations : 
Rev. Samuel Whittlesey, of Wallingford, 
who died in 1752, had silver to the amount 
of 108 ounces, consisting of tankards, por- 
ringers, beakers, salt-cellars, spoons, etc. 

Captain Joseph Trowbridge, of New 
Haven, who died in 1765, owned 234 ounces 
of plate. 

In March, 1774, the home of Hon. Thad- 
deus Burr, of Fairfield, was entered by 
burglars, and plate was taken which must 
have amounted to several hundred ounces. 
In a list published in a newspaper at the 
time are such articles as chafing-dishes, tea- 
pots, porringers, tankards, silver- hiked 
sword, beakers, cans, sugar-dish, and spoons 
ad libitum. 

Governor Theophilus Eaton, who died in 
1657, left plate valued at 107 pounds 
sterling. 

[44] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

The greater part of the early domestic 
silver found in Connecticut was made by 
the silversmiths of Boston, New York, and 
Newport. This was but natural, for Con- 
necticut had no large commercial ports 
where merchants grew rich through for- 
eign trade and accumulated wealth in suf- 
ficient quantities to invest very large sums 
in the productions of the silversmith's art. 

In one respect the conditions in Con- 
necticut one hundred and fifty years ago 
were much like those of to-day. If a man 
of wealth desired to purchase an article of 
exceptional quality and worth, he was quite 
likely to patronize the merchants and crafts- 
men of those far-away cities, Boston and 
New York, where styles were sure to be of 
the latest fashion and workmanship of 
unusual merit, while a man of slender re- 
sources naturally depended on near-by 
shopkeepers and artisans. 

However, Connecticut had many silver- 
smiths, and a number of them did most 
creditable work when their services were 
demanded, although, owing to the influ- 
ence just stated, their products seem to have 
been distributed almost wholly in their own 

f45l 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

localities, — one might indeed say among 
their fellow-townsmen. 

One never finds in Hartford the work 
of a New Haven smith, or in New Haven 
the product of a man who was working in 
New London, except when recent migra- 
tion has carried the ware from home. 

As a result, these silversmiths, in order 
to eke out a living in communities that were 
not lavish in accumulating their work, were 
obliged to turn their attention to various 
other trades. Some were clock and cabi- 
net makers; others were blacksmiths and 
innkeepers; and others, to use a homely 
phrase, were jacks-of-all-trades. 

Many of them advertised extensively in 
the weekly press, and these appeals for 
custom vividly illuminate the social and 
domestic demands and requirements of their 
patrons, and present striking pictures of the 
times. 

The earliest silversmith of Connecticut 
of whom record has been found was Job 
Prince, of Milford. Very little relating to 
him has been discovered. Apparently, he 
was born in Hull, Mass., in 1680. He 
died evidently in 1703, for the inventory 

[46] 



Work of Cornelius Kierstead 




Baptismal Basin and two-handled Beaker belonging to First 

Congregational Church, Milford. Made by Cornelius Kierstead. 

Diameter of basin 10 inches. Height of beaker 5% inches 

Mark: C. K. in rectangle 



Plate 




Cup made by Ren£ Grignon. Height 2%e inches. 

Owned by Mrs. Carl J. Viets, New London. Mark 

R. G. crowned, stag passant below, in a 

shaped shield 



Plate xv. 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

of his estate is on file in the Probate Court, 
New Haven, dated January 24, 1703-04. 
It includes a set of silversmith's tools, a pair 
of small bellows, a pair of silver buckles, 
tobacco-box, tankard, porringer, and six 
spoons. The Princes were evidently a sea- 
faring family, and even Job owned a Gun- 
ter's scale and a book on practical navigation. 

The next silversmith in Connecticut was 
Rene Grignon, a Huguenot, who had lived in 
various parts of New England and finally 
settled in Norwich about 1708, for in that 
year he presented a bell to the First Church 
there. He attained considerable impor- 
tance during his brief residence, and, judg- 
ing by the two pieces of silver still extant, 
which it is safe to ascribe to him, was an ex- 
pert craftsman. He stamped his work with 
the letters "R. G.," crowned, a stag (?) 
passant below, in a shaped shield. 

He died in 1715? and his inventory con- 
tained the usual stock in trade of a gold and 
silver smith. His tools he left to his ap- 
prentice, Daniel Deshon, who was after- 
wards a silversmith in New London and 
ancestor of the family of that name once 
quite prominent in that town. 

[47] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Grignon did a considerable business, for 
debts were due his estate from persons in 
Windham, Colchester, Lebanon, New Lon- 
don, and Derby. 

Next in chronological order was Corne- 
lius Kierstead, a Dutchman by descent, 
baptized in New York in 1675. He fol- 
lowed his trade in that city until about 
1722, when he appeared in New Haven with 
two other New York men and leased land 
in Mount Carmel and in Wallingford for 
the purpose of mining copper. They were 
not the first men to search for the red metal 
in that region, for Governor Jonathan 
Belcher and other Boston men had sunk 
thousands of pounds in copper mines in 
Wallingford, and the net results or profits, 
so far as can be learned, were the holes in 
the ground. 

It is perhaps needless to say that Kier- 
stead's venture was not successful, but the 
incident apparently settled him as a per- 
manent resident of New Haven. On the 
map of New Haven, dated 1724, his home 
is indicated as on the west side of Church 
Street, a short distance below Wall Street, 
and just north of the home of Moses Mans- 

[48] 




■S^.sc-g a 
5 Ls.KI 



00 rt 5 "C • 
u o % 2 c u 
'fa-* o"^ 



* » J> ■ B "a 



Plate 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

field, the school-teacher, whose father-in- 
law he was. He was still living in New 
Haven in 1753, for in that year the select- 
men placed him in charge of a conservator, 
giving as a reason that, "on account of his 
advanced age and infirmities, he is become 
impotent and unable to take care of him- 
self." 

In a few Connecticut churches we find 
examples of his work: a caudle-cup in the 
Congregational Church, North Haven; a 
baptismal basin and a two-handled beaker 
in the First Congregational Church, Mil- 
ford; and a tankard belonging to Trinity 
Church, New Haven. There are also two 
other pieces extant made by Kierstead, — 
a fine punch-bowl and a large candlestick. 
He was certainly a most skilful craftsman. 

The next to record is John Potwine, 
who was born in Boston in 1698, and fol- 
lowed his trade there until about 1737, 
when he moved to Hartford. For a time 
he seems to have continued as a silversmith, 
for three beakers made by him are owned 
by the Congregational Church, Durham, 
and two by the church in South Windsor. 
A fine silver-hiked sword is owned in Hart- 

[491 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

ford, which was doubtless made by him, and 
probably once belonged to Governor Wol- 
cott. In the recent silver exhibition held 
in Boston were several examples of his 
work, which prove that he was a silversmith 
of very high order. 

He was apparently for a while in partner- 
ship in Hartford with a man named Whit- 
ing, and later was a merchant in Coventry 
and East Windsor, dying in the latter place 
in 1792. 

Shortly after Potwine's advent appeared 
another silversmith, not of Connecticut lin- 
eage, — Pierre, or Peter, Quintard, who was of 
Huguenot extraction and was born in 1700. 
He was registered as a silversmith in New 
York in 173 1, but in 1737 moved to what 
is now South Norwalk and there passed the 
rest of his life, dying in 1762. There is a 
caudle-cup made by him belonging to the 
Congregational Church, Stamford; and in 
the Metropolitan Museum, New York, are 
two fine beakers bearing his mark. His 
inventory shows that he also made gold and 
silver jewelry, rings, beads, and knee and 
shoe buckles. 

New Haven, the richest town in the Col- 

[50] 





Made by Timothy Bontecou. Height SY2 inches. Owned by 
Mrs. Oliver Swan, Meriden. Mark: T. B. incised 




Plate of the First Congregational Church, Derby 

Flagon, height 17 :! i<> inches. Made by Ebenezer Chittenden. 

Chalices, height 5% inches. Made by Miles Gorham, 1804 

v. . \ E. Chittenden in rectangle 

I M. G. in rectangle 



Plate xvii. 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

ony, was evidently quite a centre of silver- 
smithing. The map of 1748 shows that 
Timothy Bontecou, also of Huguenot de- 
scent, was located on the west side of Fleet 
Street, which ran from State Street to the 
wharf. He was born in New York in* 1693, 
but learned his trade in France, and was 
certainly living in New Haven as early as 
1735. He was the victim of an outrage by 
a mob of British soldiers at the time of the 
invasion in 1779, and died in 1784. 

From 1770 to 1800 the junction of Church 
and Chapel Streets was a favorite stand for 
silversmiths. On the southwest corner 
were located the following men in the order 
named: Captain Robert Fairchild, Abel 
Buel, and Ebenezer Chittenden. 

Captain Fairchild was born in Stratford 
in 1703. Shortly afterwards the family 
moved to Durham, and there the young 
man first followed his trade. He became 
prominent, representing the town in the 
General Assembly from 1739 to 1745; was 
an auditor of the Colony in 1740 and re- 
ceived the title of captain in 1745. He 
removed to Stratford about 1747, and in 
1772 to New Haven, and, when a very old 

[51] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

man, to New York. It is probable that, 
while in Stratford, John Benjamin was his 
apprentice. He was certainly a silver- 
smith, but only one or two pieces of his 
silver-work are known to be in existence. 
It is said that he made the brass weather- 
cock still capping the spire of the Episcopal 
Church, which was used as a target by a 
battalion of British soldiers quartered in 
Stratford during the winter of 1757-58. 

Captain Fairchild was an excellent silver- 
smith, and a number of pieces of his work 
are still in existence, including two tankards, 
several beakers, an alms-basin, two braziers, 
and many spoons. While located at the 
corner of Church and Chapel Streets, New 
Haven, on land leased of Trinity Church, 
he must have been quite active in his trade. 
We find him advertising in April, 1774, that 
"he carries on the goldsmith's and jeweller's 
business at his shop adjoining his house 
near the south-east corner of the green, 
where he will do all sorts of large work, 
such as making of tankards, cans, porrin- 
gers, tea-pots, coffee-pots, and other kinds 
of work. Those who please to favor him 
with their custom may depend on having 

[52] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

their work well done and on reasonable 
terms." 

In 1779, to vary the monotony of trade, 
he advertises a few hogsheads of choice 
West India rum for cash, and in 1784 he 
tells us that he has opened a house of en- 
tertainment, and has provided a new and 
convenient stable. The same newspaper 
announces, under date of November 26, 
1794, that Captain Robert Fairchild, late 
of this city, has just died in New York. 

His next-door neighbor on the west, and 
separated from him by a narrow lane now 
known as Gregson Street, was Abel Buel. 
He was a man of singular versatility and 
inventive genius. He was born in 1742 
in that part of Killingworth now known 
as Clinton. He learned the silversmith's 
trade of Ebenezer Chittenden in East Guil- 
ford, now Madison. 

Before he had attained his majority, he 
was convicted of counterfeiting, and con- 
fined in New London jail. On account of 
his youth he was soon released, but to the 
day of his death he bore the scars of cropped 
ear and branded forehead. 

Like other Connecticut silversmiths, his 

[53] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

activities were not confined to his trade. 
He must have moved to New Haven about 
1770, and he was soon appealing for custom 
in the local press. He had already in- 
vented a machine for grinding and polish- 
ing precious stones, which had attracted 
considerable attention, and in recognition 
of this service his civil disabilities were 
removed by the General Assembly In his 
shop, the old Sandemanian meeting-house, 
he had established a type foundry, for 
which he received a grant from the General 
Assembly. 

In 1775 he was in some trouble with the 
Rivingtons, printers of New York, and had 
apparently absconded; but he soon re- 
turned and again made his appeals to the 
public. In 1778 he established a public 
vendue. In 1784 he advertised his map of 
the United States, which, he said, is the first 
engraved by one man in America. His ad- 
vertisement of 1796, perhaps better than 
any other, gives an idea of his activities: 

"Mariners' and surveyors' compasses and 
other instruments cleaned and rectified, en- 
graving, seal and die sinking, seal presses, 
enameled hair worked mourning rings and 

[54] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

lockets, fashionable gold rings, earrings and 
beads, silver, silver plated, gilt and pol- 
ished steel buttons, button and other cast- 
ing moulds, plating mills, printers blacks, 
coach and sign painting, gilding and var- 
nishing, patterns and models of any sort 
of cast work; mills and working models for 
grinding paints as used in Europe; working 
models of canal locks, drawings on parch- 
ment, paper, silk, etc., by Abel Buel, Col- 
lege Street, New Haven, where there is a 
decent furnished front chamber to let by 
the week." 

The same year he advertised that "he 
has on exhibition the wonderful negro who 
is turning white," the authenticity of which 
phenomenon was vouched for by no less a 
person than Timothy Dwight, President of 
Yale College. In 1798 he advertised a use- 
ful machine for planting onions and corn 
which he had invented. In 1795 he estab- 
lished a cotton manufactory, which Presi- 
dent Ezra Stiles, of Yale, stated in his diary 
would prove a success. 

He was the coiner of the. first authorized 
Connecticut coppers, produced in a ma- 
chine of his own invention. His roving 

[55] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

disposition carried him to various parts of 
the world, and, like other rolling-stones, he 
gathered no moss, but died in great poverty 
about 1825. 

There are still extant various pieces of 
silver made by Buel, notably four two- 
handled cups belonging to the Congrega- 
tional Church, North Haven. 

The following story, gathered from the 
Colonial Records of Connecticut, shows that 
he did important work and was considered 
a skilled silversmith: 

In 1771 the General Assembly, desiring 
to show its grateful sense of the many im- 
portant services rendered by Richard Jack- 
son, Esq., of London, who for some time 
had acted as the agent of the Colony at 
the Court of Great Britain, manifested its 
appreciation by adopting a vote of thanks, 
and appropriating a sum not to exceed 
£250 to procure some proper and elegant 
piece or pieces of plate to be presented to 
him. It was to be engraved with the arms 
of the Colony, and inscribed with some 
proper motto expressive of respect. 

The commission for this work was given 
to Abel Buel, and he forthwith began to 

[56] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

fashion the plate; but some months later, 
because of the certainty that there would 
be large duties to pay when the plate 
entered England and the fear that Buel 
would not be able to complete the work in 
time, the commission was withdrawn from 
him and given to a silversmith in England. 

Just west of Bud's stand were the house 
and shop of Ebenezer Chittenden. He was 
born in Madison in 1726, and for a number 
of years worked at his trade in that place, 
removing to New Haven about 1770, pos- 
sibly in company with his son-in-law and 
apprentice, Abel Buel. 

Thirteen beakers, and a flagon 17M 
inches high, made by him, have been 
located in Connecticut churches. He was 
a man of excellent connections. His mother 
was a sister of Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson, 
of Stratford, father of Episcopacy in Con- 
necticut, as he is called, and first president 
of King's College, now Columbia Univer- 
sity, New York, and his brother Thomas 
was the first governor of Vermont. He 
was quite intimately associated as a skilled 
mechanic and friend with Eli Whitney, in- 
ventor of the cotton-gin, and for many years 

[57] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

he was either warden or vestryman of 
Trinity Church, New Haven. He died in 
1812. 

On the other side of Church Street from 
Robert Fairchild was located the silver- 
smith shop of Richard Cutler, while on 
Court Street were the home and shop of 
Captain Phineas Bradley, who was a skilled 
workman and saw service in the Revolu- 
tion. His brother, Colonel Aner Bradley, 
was also a silversmith. He was born in 
New Haven in 1753, learned his trade there, 
and served in the Revolutionary War at 
Crown Point and Ticonderoga, and was 
wounded in the Danbury raid, 1777. He 
retired as colonel of militia. After the war 
he settled in Watertown and followed his 
trade until his death in 1824. 

Marcus Merriman, who was born in 
Cheshire in 1762, came to New Haven 
when a boy. He saw naval and military 
service in the Revolution, part of the time 
in the company of Captain Bradley. 

His first advertisement appeared in 1787, 
and thereafter he was constantly asking for 
custom. He apparently did a large busi- 
ness for the times in his shop on State Street. 

[58] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Thirteen of his beakers and a caudle- 
cup have been found in Connecticut 
churches, and his spoons are not uncom- 
mon in New Haven County. It is probable 
that he produced more silver than any 
other early Connecticut silversmith. He 
died in 1850. 

Amos Doolittle, born in Cheshire in 1754, 
certainly began his business career as a 
silversmith, having learned his trade of 
Eliakim Hitchcock, of that place. He ad- 
vertised several times that he worked in 
silver, but the greater number of his an- 
nouncements had relation to engraving, 
and are of interest. He successively ad- 
vised the public that he has published a 
mezzotint of the Hon. John Hancock in 
colors; Mr. Law's Collection of Music; 
that he does printing on calico; that he 
engraves ciphers, coats-of-arms, and de- 
vices for books, or book-plates, and maps, 
plans, and charts; that he has published 
the Chorister's Companion, and that he 
does painting and gilding; and in 1790 that 
he is publishing an elegant print of Federal 
Hall, the seat of Congress, with a view of 
the Chancellor of State administering the 

[59] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

oath of office to the President. He died 
in 1832. 

Other silversmiths of the period in New 
Haven might be mentioned, such as John 
and Miles Gorham, Charles Hequemburg, 
and Samuel Merriman, who all did credit- 
able work. 

In Hartford, after Potwine's day, per- 
haps the most skilled craftsman was Colonel 
Miles Beach, who was born in Goshen in 
1742, and followed his trade in Litchfield 
until 1785, when he moved to Hartford and 
opened a shop about ten rods south of the 
bridge on Main Street. His first partner 
was Isaac Sanford, and later he was in 
business with his former apprentice, James 
Ward. Spoons bearing his mark are found 
in Hartford and vicinity, and there are four 
interesting chalices, made by him in 1794, 
belonging to the Congregational Church in 
Kensington, Berlin. He saw active service 
in the Revolution, and he was chief engi- 
neer of the Hartford Fire Department from 
its organization in 1789 to 1805. He died 
in 1828. 

James Ward, just mentioned, was one 
of a family of silversmiths. His father, 

[60] 



♦ iJVfi&hJif* 




..•^. 



Business Card of Beach & Ward. 
Found in the back of an old watch 




Si ' jm - : is he «>"?«^ra i 



®iii4!i'i.y,. 



^ 







■ 
9 



Card of Joseph Carpenter 



Plate 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

brother, and probably grandfather, all fol- 
lowed the trade in Guilford. He was born 
in Guilford in 1768 and, as already stated, 
was apprenticed to Colonel Beach. After 
the firm of Beach & Ward was dissolved in 
1798, Ward for a time continued alone at 
a shop about ten rods north of the bridge at 
the "Sign of the Golden Kettle." A num- 
ber of silver pieces made by him have been 
found in Connecticut churches, as well as 
spoons in private hands. He was a good 
craftsman and, like other Connecticut 
smiths, did not strictly confine himself to 
his trade, for we later find him making and 
dealing in pewter worms for stills, dyer's, 
hatter's, and kitchen coppers, and various 
sorts of brass and copper goods, and casting 
church bells. He became quite prominent 
and influential in Hartford, and died in 1856. 
No early Hartford silversmith ever used 
the advertising columns of the local press 
to a greater extent than did James Tiley, 
born in 1740. His first announcement was 
in 1765, which states that "he still does gold 
and silversmith's work at his shop on King 
Street, Hartford." This was the old name 
for State Street. Another notice says that 

[61] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

his shop was a little east of the Court-house 
on the street leading to the ferry. When 
the brick school-house which stood on the 
site of the present American Hotel in State 
Street was blown up by a gunpowder explo- 
sion in May, 1766, Tiley was among the 
number of those seriously injured. For 
many years he pursued his calling until 
financial difficulties overtook him in 1785. 
Later he advertised that he had opened a 
house of entertainment in Front Street at 
the sign of the "Free Mason's Arms." He 
was a charter member of St. John's Lodge 
of Free Masons in 1763, and he was also 
a charter member of the Governor's Guard, 
now First Company of Governor's Foot- 
guard, at its organization in 177 1. He 
died in the South in 1792. 

Next door to Tiley in 1774 was Thomas 
Hilldrup, watch-maker, jeweler, and silver- 
smith, from London, whose motive it was 
to "settle in Hartford if health permits and 
the business answers." He therefore re- 
quested the candid public to make a trial 
of his abilities, assuring them he was regu- 
larly bred to the finishing branch in London. 
He later returns his unfeigned thanks to 

[62] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

those who favored him with their custom 
or interest since his commencing business 
here, their favors having exceeded his most 
sanguine expectations. Somewhat later his 
shop was situated south of the Court-house 
at the sign of the "Taylor's Shears." 

In 1777 he was appointed postmaster 
and began a series of migrations to various 
locations. While occupying this position, 
it is related that Sheriff Williams drove up 
to the office one day and was informed that 
it had been removed. He replied, "Hill- 
drup moves so often he will have moved 
again before I get there." 

Hilldrup was evidently blessed with a 
vein of humor. In one of his announce- 
ments he states " he has silver watches which 
will perform to a punctilio, and others that 
will go if carried, and he has a few watches 
on hand upwards of one year which he is 
willing to exchange with the owners for 
what the repairs amount to." 

He died about 1794, and, judging by the 
amount of his inventory, he did not find 
later that the favors of a discriminating 
public exceeded his most sanguine expecta- 
tions. 

[63] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Other silversmiths of the period in Hart- 
ford were Ebenezer Austin, whose shop was 
on the west side of Main Street, a few doors 
south of Pearl Street; and Caleb Bull and 
Norman Morrison, the latter a grandson of 
Dr. Norman Morrison. Bull and Morrison 
worked in partnership, although one sus- 
pects Morrison was the silversmith of the 
firm. He was reared in the family of 
Captain Tiley. He was lost at sea in 1783, 
and shortly after Caleb Bull, who had mar- 
ried his widow, advertised the silversmith's 
tools for sale, and says they are the most 
complete in the State. Captain Bull was 
a member of Hartford's first City Council, 
and was one of the first board of directors 
of the Hartford Bank. 

At a somewhat later date Jacob Sargeant 
was working in a shop next door to the 
United States Hotel. His spoons are still 
found in Hartford County. 

Middletown's earliest silversmith was 
apparently Timothy Ward, the son of Cap- 
tain James, and born there in 1742. Little 
is known concerning him, and that little in- 
dicates that he was lost at sea in 1767 or 
'68. In November, 1766, he made a will in 

[64] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

which he says he is "bound on a long sea 
voyage, and may never see land again." 

The Boston commissioners' records on 
July 10, 1767, announce the arrival of the 
sloop "Patty" from Connecticut, Peter 
Boyd, master, with Timothy Ward on 
board, a goldsmith from Middletown. Less 
than a year later, on May 2, 1768, his will 
was proved in court, and his inventory was 
filed, containing a list of silversmith's tools, 
which tell us that he was a craftsman of 
merit. 

Apparently, the most skilful of Middle- 
town's silversmiths was Major Jonathan 
Otis. He was born in Sandwich, Mass., in 
1723, and began business in Newport, R.I., 
where he continued until 1778. As he was 
an ardent patriot, and the town was in the 
hands of the British at that time, he moved 
to Middletown, and died there in 179 1. 
Eleven of his beakers and cups have been 
found in Connecticut churches, — six in Mid- 
dletown, four in SufBeld, and one in Durham. 

Antipas Woodward, born in Waterbury 
in 1763, began business in Middletown in 
May, 1 79 1, taking the shop under the print- 
ing-office vacated by Timothy Peck, an- 

[651 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

other smith, who was moving to Litchfield. 
Moses, the brother of Antipas Woodward, 
was running this printing-office overhead 
at that time; but the building was soon de- 
stroyed by fire, and Antipas then moved 
to the shop formerly occupied by Major 
Otis. He must have been an excellent silver- 
smith, judging from a fine porringer made 
by him which is owned in Boston. 

Other smiths of the period were: Samuel 
Canfield (i 780-1801), who also was sheriff, 
and whose shop in 1792 was ten rods south 
of the town-house, and in 1796 a few rods 
north of the printing-office. His one time 
apprentice, William Johonnot, whose shop 
was south of the corner of Court and Main 
Streets (perhaps the site now occupied by 
the Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank), 
opposite Mrs. Bigelow's tavern, and who 
about 1792 moved to Vermont. 

Joseph King, whose shop in 1776 was at 
the northwest corner of Main Street and 
Henshaw Lane, now known as College 
Street. Apparently, his business was not a 
profitable one, for it devolved on Samuel 
Canfield, in his official position as sheriff, 
to make a number of calls on his brother 

[66] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

craftsman during a period of years which 
must have been unhappy ones for Joseph. 

In November, 1785, David Aird, with 
true British pride, announced in the local 
press that he was a watchmaker from 
London, and that he carried on the busi- 
ness in all its branches two doors north 
of the printing-office; whereupon Daniel 
Walworth, with due and becoming humility, 
informed the public that, while he was not 
from London, he was a goldsmith and brass- 
founder, and that he performed all kinds 
of gold, silver, copper, and brass work in 
a shop nearly opposite the printing-office. 

About 1800, Judah Hart and Charles 
Brewer were working at the silversmith's 
business in a shop which stood at the north- 
east corner of Main and Court Streets. 
Two or three years later Hart moved to 
Norwich, and Brewer took as a partner 
Alexander Mann. In a year or two Mann 
left him, and began to manufacture guns. 
Brewer continued to do business at the 
same old stand, in later years as a jeweler 
only, and died in i860. Spoons bearing his 
mark are common in Middlesex and New 
Haven Counties, and in the Congregational 

[67] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Church in Durham are three beakers made 
by him and presented in 1821. 

It has been stated that some of the Con- 
necticut workmen turned their attention to 
various pursuits; in fact, were jacks-of-all- 
trades. Abel Buel has been cited in illus- 
tration of this statement, and the activities 
of Joel Allen, who was born in Southington 
in 1755, deserve equal prominence. He 
was a spoon-maker, engraver, brass-worker, 
carpenter, general storekeeper, and tinker, 
and yet he did excellent work. Opportu- 
nity has been given to examine his day 
book, running from 1787 to 1792. 

In his shop he sold everything from pinch- 
beck * jewelry to castor hats, including 
spelling-books, Bibles, dry goods, groceries, 
drugs, meats, and hardware. In 1790 he 
moved to Middletown, and began to en- 
grave for the silversmiths, working princi- 
pally for Samuel Canfield. In 1790 he ren- 
dered a bill to the Congregational Church 
in Middletown for taking down the organ, 
adjusting and mending the pipes, putting 

*Chr. Pinchbeck, London watchmaker, eighteenth century, 
invented an alloy of three or four parts of copper with one of 
zinc, much used in cheap jewelry. 

[68] 



Work of Connecticut Silversmiths 




Two upper cans, height 4% inches, made by Jonathan Otis. 

Lower can, height 5Vi» inches, by S. Parmele ; porringer, 

diameter 4% inches, by J. Gardiner, and pepper box, height 

3 inches, by J. Benjamin. 

f S. Parmele (script) in cartouche 

J. Gardner in rectangle 



Marks ^ 



Otis 
I. B. 



script) in rectangle 
in oval 



" 




Silver Belonging to Congregational Church, Guilford 

Basin, diameter 9 1 !' inches; middle beaker, height 4^ inches. 

Made by Samuel Parmele. Former given by Mrs. Deborah 

Spinning, 1768; the latter by Mrs. Ruth Naughty, 1773. The 

end beakers, height 4% inches. Made by B. Benjamin and 

given by Lydia Fowler, 1825 

Marks ^ ^' P arme ' e (script) in cartouche 

I B. Benjamin in rectangle 

Plate xix. 




Chalices belonging to Congregational Church, Parish of Ken- 
sington, Town of Berlin. Made by Col. Miles Beach in 1793. 
Height 5% inches. Mark: Beach in rectangle 



PI; 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

in new ones, mending the bellows, and 
charged £9 for all this work. 

He engraved the map of Connecticut 
published by William Blodgett in 1792, — an 
excellent piece of work. He made book- 
plates, engraved seals and coats-of-arms; 
he painted and gilded chairs and mirrors; 
and, when Major Jonathan Otis, silversmith, 
died in 1791, he lettered his coffin. During 
this busy career he found time to make 
silver spoons and jewelry. He died in 1825. 

Guilford was the home of two excellent 
silversmiths, Billious Ward and Captain 
Samuel Parmele. 

Ward, the son of William Ward, who was 
probably a silversmith, was born in 1729. 
Two patens, five beakers, and a number of 
spoons have been found in Connecticut 
marked "B. W.," and doubtless made by 
him. He died in Wallingford in 1777 of 
small-pox, whither he had gone to visit his 
intimate friend, Rev. Samuel Andrews, rec- 
tor of the Episcopal Church, who at that 
time was in dire disgrace, owing to his sym- 
pathies with the British side of the Revo- 
lutionary quarrel, and was confined to his 
own premises. 

(691 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Captain Samuel Parmele, who received 
his title in 1775 and saw active service in 
the Revolution, was born in 1737. He was 
prominent in Guilford, and was an excel- 
lent workman. In the Congregational 
Church in that town are a baptismal basin 
and a beaker made by him, and spoons 
marked "S. P." and "S. Parmele" are not 
uncommon among the older families of that 
vicinity. 

Norwich, which, as every one knows, 
was at an early date one of the most 
important and wealthy towns in the Colony, 
had a number of skilled smiths. Perhaps 
the most important was Thomas Harland, 
who was born in England in 1735 and came 
to Norwich in 1773, where he died in 
1809. 

In addition to the trade of silversmithing 
he was an expert watch and clock maker. 
In 1790 he had twelve workmen in his 
employ, his annual output being two hun- 
dred watches and forty clocks. He also 
produced quantities of jewelry, which is 
described in his advertisements as "Bril- 
liant, garnet and plain gold rings, broaches, 
hair sprigs, ear jewels, and gold and silver 

[70] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

buttons." His assortment of plate con- 
sisted of "Tea pots, sugar baskets, cream- 
ieures, tea tongs and spoons." 

Among his apprentices afterwards in 
business in Norwich were David Greenleaf, 
Nathaniel Shipman, and William Cleve- 
land, grandfather of President Grover Cleve- 
land. Eli Terry, inventor of the Connecti- 
cut shelf clock, also learned his trade of 
Harland, as did Daniel Burnap, the ex- 
pert clock-maker and silversmith of East 
Windsor. 

Joseph Carpenter, born in 1747, was an- 
other enterprising silversmith whose shop 
still stands fronting on the old town green. 
In it was lately found an engraved copper 
plate from which his business cards were 
printed. 

His name is surrounded by a graceful 
grouping of silver tea-set, cake-basket, 
mug, spoons, tongs, buckles, watches, rings, 
a clock, and a knife-box, illustrating the 
articles in which he dealt. At the top ap- 
pear the words "Arts and Sciences" on a 
ribbon scroll, while cherubs floating in 
clouds hover over these treasures. 

Other silversmiths working in Norwich 

[71] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

were William Adgate, Samuel Noyes, Gur- 
don Tracy, Charles Whiting, Philip and 
Roswell Huntington in the eighteenth cen- 
tury, and Judah Hart and Alvan Willcox 
of the firm Hart & Willcox, Thomas C. 
Coit and Elisha H. Mansfield of firm Coit 
& Mansfield, and William Gurley in the 
early part of the nineteenth century. 

New London, another enterprising and 
wealthy town, had its quota of silversmiths. 
Mention has already been made of Daniel 
Deshon (1697-1781). 

John Gray (1 692-1 720) and Samuel Gray 
(1684-17 1 3), both born in Boston, followed 
their trade in New London at an early 
date. Two interesting pieces made by the 
latter, a can and a snuff-box, were in the 
recent silver exhibition in the Museum of 
Fine Arts, Boston. 

Captain Pygan Adams was the son of 
Rev. Eliphalet Adams, pastor of the Con- 
gregational Church, New London, succeed- 
ing the Hon. Gurdon Saltonstall when the 
latter became governor of Connecticut. 

Captain Pygan (171 2-1 776) was a promi- 
nent man, and represented the town in the 
General Assembly at most of the sessions 

[721 




Porringer with a cover, diameter 4 ; ;i inches. Made by 

Thomas Harland ; the property of Mrs. Thomas 

Harland, Norwich 

Mark: Harland in rectangle between profile and eagle 

displayed 



Plate xx 




In the successful siege of 
Louisbourg in the island of 
Cape Breton in 1745, Capt. 
Andrew Ward of Guilford 
commanded one of the Con- 
necticut Companies. He 
was a teetotaler and in- 
stead of spending his grog 
money for rum, saved it, and 
when he returned to his 
home, had the money 
wrought into four spoons 
and his initials A. W. and 
Louisbourg engraved on 
the backs by his kinsman, 
BilliousWard. One of 
these spoons is shown in the 
accompanying illustration 




Paten made by Billious Ward. Diameter 8% inches, height 
2% inches. Johnson crest engraved on the top. Owned by 
Mrs. Susan Johnson Hudson, Stratford, formerly owned by her 
ancestor, Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson, first President of Kings 
College, now Columbia University 
Mark: B. W. in rectangle, engrailed at one end 

Plate xxii. 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

from 1753 to 1765. He was appointed by 
the Assembly to many responsible positions, 
as auditor, overseer of the Mohegan In- 
dians, and one of the builders of the light- 
house at New London in 1760. He was 
also deacon of his father's church. He is 
called a merchant in the History of New 
London; but his father, in a deed of gift 
to Pygan in 1736, calls him a goldsmith, 
and Joshua Hempstead in his diary has 
three entries which show that, when he 
needed anything in the goldsmith's line, 
he patronized Captain Pygan. In 1735 he 
bought of him a pair of gold sleeve-buttons, 
in 1738 some plated buttons, and in 1744 
Pygan replaced the broken mainspring of 
his watch. 

Additional evidence puts him in the class 
of the best silversmiths Connecticut has 
produced. In 1910 a fine porringer bear- 
ing the mark "P. A." was sold in Guilford. 
A rat-tailed spoon and tankard owned in 
Lyme, and several fine spoons owned on 
the eastern end of Long Island, are also 
so marked. No other known silversmith 
had these initials. 

John Champlin (1 745-1 800) also worked 

[73] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

in New London, and evidently did a good 
business. In 1779 his shop was entered 
by burglars, and the list of stolen articles 
gives one an excellent idea of the contents of 
a gold and silversmith's shop of that period: 
"12 strings of gold beads; 40 pairs of silver 
shoe buckles and a parcel of silver knee 
buckles; 3 or 4 silver .plated and pinchbeck 
knee buckles; 6 silver table spoons; 3 dozen 
tea spoons ; 10 silver watches ; a large quan- 
tity of watch chains, keys, main springs, 
stock buckles, stone rings, jewels, broaches, 
etc." On November 30, 1781, he notified 
his old customers and others that, since 
the destruction of his shop by the enemy,* 
"he has erected a new one by his dwelling 
in Main Street." 

John Hallam (175 2-1 800) was another 
enterprising silversmith. In 1773 he ad- 
vertised, "At his shop near the signpost, 
makes and sells all kinds of goldsmiths and 
jewellers work as cheap as can be had in 
this Colony." He engraved the plates for 
the bills of credit issued by the Colony in 
I77S- 

*The burning of New London by a British force under com- 
mand of Benedict Arnold. 

[74] 



m ) 



Beaker, height 3 1: V46 inches, made by J. P. Trott, owned by 

Mrs. Carl J. Viets, New London 

Mark: J. P. T. in rectangle 



Plate xxiii 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

His inventory on file in the Probate Court 
contained the following plate: two tank- 
ards, a can, a cup, two porringers, milk- 
pot, pepper-box, sugar-bowl, punch-ladle, 
and many spoons. 

John Gardiner (1734-1776), one of the 
family associated with Gardiner's Island, 
who fashioned the beautiful chalice belong- 
ing to Berkeley Divinity School, must have 
been a smith of exceptional skill. 

Jonathan Trott, a Boston silversmith, 
was a skilful craftsman, and in that town 
are still preserved a number of pieces of 
plate made by him. He went to Norwich 
in 1772, and there kept the Peck Tavern 
for a short time. He moved thence to 
New London, where he died in 1815. His 
two sons, Jonathan, Jr., and John Proctor, 
were also silversmiths, and there is in Lyme 
a tea-set of the style popular about 18 10 
marked "I. T.," and probably made by 
Jonathan, Jr. John Proctor did a large 
business for the times, and much plate, 
both hollow and flat, bears his trade- 
mark. 

Belonging to the Congregational Church 
in Middlebury are two old cups, or beakers, 

[75] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

presented by Isaac Bronson and Josiah 
Bronson in the year 1800. They do not bear 
the marks of the maker. 

These interesting vessels were probably 
made by some near-by silversmith, and 
the only man of that vicinity whose rec- 
ord makes it safe to assume that he was 
the craftsman in question is Israel Holmes, 
who was born in Greenwich in 1768, and 
came to Waterbury in 1793. 

His house stood on the site of the present 
St. John's rectory. In 1802 he was en- 
gaged to go to South America by a silver 
mining company, and died on the voyage. 
His inventory, filed in August that year 
in the local Probate Court, contains a list 
of silversmith's tools, which shows that he 
was a smith of considerable practice and 
experience. 

There ought to be many spoons in that 
vicinity made by Holmes. Joseph, Jesse, 
and Stephen Hopkins, and Edmund Tomp- 
kins at an earlier date than Holmes, were 
goldsmiths in Waterbury; but it is prob- 
able that their work was confined to the 
making of jewelry. 

Joseph Hopkins's peculiar claim to dis- 

[76] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

tinction was in the number of times his 
shop was visited by burglars. Five times 
between 1766 and 1772 was he the victim 
of these outrages, either because his stock 
was of more than ordinary value or because 
of the enmity of some neighbor, and in 1780 
his shop was destroyed by an incendiary 
fire, — a record of misfortune unique among 
Connecticut silversmiths. 

Although there is no evidence that many 
of Connecticut's silversmiths fashioned arti- 
cles more pretentious than spoons, it was 
probably due not to lack of ability, but to 
absence of demand. 

Captain Elias Pelletreau, of Southamp- 
ton, L.I., was a smith of excellent reputa- 
tion, who fashioned many pieces of plate. 
His day book shows that he was called on 
to produce tankards, porringers, tea-pots, 
silver-hilted swords; in fact, everything 
that a full purse could demand. 

At the outbreak of the Revolution he 
removed to Simsbury, Conn., where he 
resided for a few years. An examination 
of his day book shows that not once was 
he called upon during that period to fashion 
hollow-ware plate. His work was con- 
mi 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

fined to spoons and the jewelry and trink- 
ets in demand in that region. 

This list of early Connecticut silversmiths 
is by no means complete. There were 
many others who did excellent and credit- 
able work, and were successful and capa- 
ble men; but a sufficient number have been 
mentioned to show that Connecticut has 
reason to be proud of the record, especially 
considering the limited field in which these 
men were obliged to work and the strong 
competition from larger and wealthier towns 
than were to be found in this Colony. 

The question of high prices, about which 
we hear so much nowadays, was evidently 
as troublesome one hundred and fifty years 
ago. In the issue of the Connecticut Cou- 
rant for August 17, 1767, a two-column arti- 
cle appeared, discussing exports, imports, 
and home manufactures, urging lower prices 
on all articles made in this Colony by arti- 
ficers and mechanics, and complaining that 
they are eager to raise prices when prices 
rise, but are very slow to reduce them when 
prices fall. 

Two enterprising gold and silversmiths, 
Joseph Hopkins, of Waterbury (whose shop 

[781 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

had so many times been broken into by- 
thieves), and Martin Bull, of Farmington, 
considered that this complaint gave an ex- 
cellent opportunity to gain a little patriotic 
publicity and at the same time to advertise 
their wares. In the issue of August 24, 
1767, the following letter was printed: 

"We, the subscribers, goldsmiths of Wa- 
terbury and Farmington, being convinced 
of the truth of the sentiments expressed 
in this paper No. 138, and sensible of the 
obligation that lies upon every person in 
this popular Colony to conduct so as will 
have a natural tendency to advance the 
good of the whole; hereby inform the 
public that (notwithstanding we have the 
vanity to believe that our demands have 
ever been short of any goldsmith in this 
Colony) we are determined to serve all 
our customers for the future, demanding 
only seven-eighths of our usual acquire- 
ments for labour; excepting in making 
silver spoons and silver buttons, which has 
ever been lower than the wages of most 
other tradesmen. 

Joseph Hopkins. 

Martin Bull." 

[79] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

It has long been a current tradition that 
many of the silversmiths were also black- 
smiths, and the following reply to the letter 
by Hopkins and Bull shows that the tra- 
dition is based on fact, although it is certain 
both these gentlemen were skilled artisans 
and of good standing in their respective 
communities. In the issue of August 31, 
1767, we read the following letter: 

"Mr. Green: In your last, two persons 
calling themselves Goldsmiths 'Inform the 
Public that they have the vanity to believe 
their demands have ever been short of any 
Goldsmith's in this Colony.' Vanity in- 
deed, with great propriety! When in the 
article of Gold Necklaces (in which they 
have been so celebrated) they have had a 
price equal to any one, reckoning the Labour 
and the advance on the Gold; — and it is 
surprising those gentlemen did not see into 
what a dilemma their expressive vanity 
leads them; for they 'Are determined to 
serve all their Customers for the future' at 
a rate short of the former — viz: 'Demand- 
ing only seven-eighths of their usual ac- 
quirements for Labour.' Why this alter- 
ation? Is it because they are determined 

[80 1 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

to engross the business by representing to 
the Public that they sell cheaper than any- 
body else — Vanity! — Or is it not rather 
because they are conscious to themselves of 
having injured their customers by over- 
rating Labour done by Blacksmiths and 
Tinkers, and mean to make restitution that 
way; for they seriously express a sense of 
the obligation that lies upon 'Every person 
in this popular Colony to conduct so as will 
have a natural tendency to advance the 
good of the Whole.' 

"But for men to set up themselves for 
Standards for others, that have acquired 
their skill by hire of journeymen — it is to 
be wished the Legislative Body would pass 
an act that no man should set himself up 
at any trade without having served a reg- 
ular Apprenticeship of seven years, and 
have a Certificate from his master. Then 
we should not see every Blacksmith and 
Tinker turn Goldsmith. " 



[81] 



EARLY CONNECTICUT SILVER- 
SMITHS. 

THIS list does not include the names of 
those who began to work at the trade 
after 1830. Probably the majority of these 
men made only spoons and jewelry. How- 
ever, many of them made articles of more 
importance than spoons, for now and then 
some unexpected evidence of this fact comes 
to light, proving that the ability to fashion 
silver into various shapes and utensils was 
not uncommon. 

That the number of examples still extant 
is so small is due to two causes: first, the 
lack of demand and consequent limited 
production ; second, the melting-pot, — that 
final receptacle, until recently, of old plate, 
exchanged for new or sold because of the 
desire to realize its money value. 

Many of these men advertised as silver- 
smiths and jewelers and sometimes as 
watchmakers. This latter term undoubt- 
edly generally meant what its use to-day 
indicates: that they mended, repaired, and 
regulated watches. But they should not 
all be classed under this head. The inven- 
tories and advertisements of Thomas Har- 
land and Joseph Keeler prove conclusively 

[82] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

that they made watches. Harland is said 
to have had an annual output of two hun- 
dred; but the first considerable attempt 
to manufacture watches took place in the 
Pitkin shop in East Hartford, — a venture 
from which indirectly grew the American 
Waltham Watch Company. 

Born Died 

Adgate, William Norwich 1744—1779 

Adams, Pygan New London 1712—1776 

Son of Rev. Eliphalet Adams. For further notes see 

page 72. 

Allen, Joel Southington and Middletown 1755—1825 
His shop and store were located in that part of Southing- 
ton called Plantsville. Moved to Middletown about 
1790. See page 68. 

Austin, Ebenezer Hartford 1733 — 

Born in Charlestown, Mass. Moved to Hartford in 
1764. Served in the Revolution. Advertised in 1768, 
1780, 1788. About the latter date moved to New York. 
In 1818 was listed among the pensioners of Revolution 
living in New York. 

Avery, John Preston 1732—1794 

Was a farmer and self-taught silversmith. Made clocks, 
shoe and knee buckles, spoons and beads. He was jus- 
tice of the peace and held court. Four of his sons were 
silversmiths. 

Avery, John, Jr. Preston 1755-1815 

Son of John above. 

Avery, Robert Staunton Preston 1771—1846 

Son of John. Captain of Militia: When his father died, 
he abandoned the trade. 

Avery, Samuel Preston 1760-1836 

See John Avery. 

[83] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Avery, William Preston 1765—1798 

See John Avery. 

Babcock, Samuel Middletown and Saybrook 1788 — 1857 
Born in Saybrook. Collector of customs there. Moved 
to Middletown, and advertised in 1812. His shop was a 
few doors north of the Episcopal Church. 

Balch, Ebenezer Hartford and Wethersfield 1723—1808 
Born in Boston, and learned his trade there. When he 
became of age, he moved to Hartford, and in 1756 to 
Wethersfield. Goldsmith and clockmaker. A number 
of early spoons have been found marked E. BALCH. 

Barrows, James Madison Tolland 1809 — 

Working at his trade in 1828 in Tolland. Born in Mans- 
field. 

Bartholomew, Roswell Hartford 1781—1830 

Born in Harwinton. In 1804 he became a member of the 
firm Ward & Bartholomew, in 1809 Ward, Bartholomew 
& Brainard. 

Beach, Isaac New Milford 

His name appears signed to a subscription paper dated 
1788. Whence he came is not known. In 1791 he 
bought a plot of ground on which a shop was standing, 
occupied by himself and Noadiah Mygatt, saddler. In 
1794 he sold the shop and apparently left the town. 

Beach, Miles Litchfield and Hartford 1742—1828 

Son of Adna Beach. Selectman, 1777; grand juror, 
1773. Major in the Revolution, later Colonel of Mili- 
tia. See page 60. 

Beecher, Clement Berlin and Cheshire 1778—1869 

In 1801 advertised in Connecticut Courant that he was 
in the "Gold and silversmithing business: likewise brass 
founding, in Berlin, opposite the Academy." He was a 
clever workman, but very eccentric and peculiar, due, it 
was believed, to an unfortunate love affair in his youth. 
In 1818 he was living in Cheshire on a farm on the road 
leading to Milldale. At one time he conducted his 
business in that town under the name Clement Beecher 
& Co. He once made the remark that he "hated to 
sell things because it broke the assortment." He called 
his shop and farm the "New Jerusalem." To the prod- 
uce which he raised and the spoons and gold beads which 

[841 




■jmamtmm 



Barzillai Benjamin 

1774-1844 

Bridgeport and New Haven 

From an oil portrait 



Plate xxiv. 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

he made he gave the same name, and his New Jeru- 
salem apples, vegetables, and spoons were in demand 
among the people of Cheshire, Meriden, and Berlin. 
He was at times an itinerant silversmith, and traveled 
about the region, carrying in his cart forge and anvils 
and the various tools of his craft. Many specimens of 
his work have been found marked C. B., particularly 
among the older families of the district. He was also 
an inventor and patented a number of articles, among 
others a washing-machine which he trundled about in 
a wheelbarrow, to exhibit its merits to his customers. 
In his old age he grew morose and lived the life of a 
hermit. In front of his house was hung a great belU 
possibly of his own founding, which he rang when in 
need of assistance. 

Born Died 

Benjamin, Barzillai 1774—1844 

Bridgeport and New Haven 
He was born in Milford. For many years he lived at 
what is now 262 East Main Street, Bridgeport, and his 
silversmith shop adjoined his house. George Kippen was 
his partner for a while. In New Haven his shop stood 
at the southwest corner of Church and Chapel Streets, 
where Robert Fairchild had once been located. For a 
few years he did business in New York also. He was 
a skilful smith, and many examples of his work are still 
to be found. Belonging to the First Church, Guilford, 
are two beakers made by him, and a fine tea-set and 
back hair comb made about 1815 are owned in Union 
City, and are examples of his skill as a craftsman. His 
inventory filed in the Probate Court, Bridgeport, con- 
tains a long list of silversmith's tools. His son, Everard 
Benjamin, was his successor in 1829 in New Haven. 
The George H. Ford Company, successor of Everard, is 
therefore successor of Barzillai. 

Benjamin, Everard New Haven 1807 — 1874 

Began business in 1829. See above. For many years 
he was associated with George H. Ford. Firm was 
known as Benjamin & Ford. 

Benjamin, John Stratford 1730—1796 

Was probably an apprentice of Robert Fairchild. Al- 
though a member of the Church of England, he was an 
active patriot during the Revolution. He took part in 
the battle of Ridgefield, was wounded in the shoulder, 
and carried the bullet to the day of his death. In May, 

[85] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

1782, he was promoted from Captain to Major, and later 
to Colonel. A beautiful pepper caster and several spoons 
made by him are still extant. See page 52. 

Born Died 

Benjamin, Samuel C. New Haven 1801 — 1831 

Son of Barzillai, for whom he was working when he 
advertised in 1819 that he was located a few rods south- 
east of the Public Green, and nearly opposite J. Buck's 
City Hotel. He made jewelry and silverware. Later 
he was a teacher in a school for young ladies. 

Billings, Daniel Preston, New London Co. 

He was located in Poquetannock Village, Preston, and 
advertised in 1795. 

Blackman, John Starr Danbury 1777—1851 

He was a clockmaker as well as silversmith. His shop 
was south of the Court House and on same side of the 
street. His sons, John Clark Blackman, 1808—1872, 
and Frederick Starr Blackman, 1811 — 1898, were his 
apprentices. The former moved to Bridgeport and 
established a business, and the latter succeeded to his 
father's business in Danbury. Levi Clark, 1801 — , was 
also his apprentice, and located in Norwalk. 

Blakslee, William Newtown 1795—1879 

Son of Ziba Blakslee, the silversmith. Desiring to perfect 
himself in his trade, when twenty-one years old, he 
journeyed to St. Louis, Mo., and worked with French 
artisans, intending to remain there. He resided in the 
home of Madame Bouye, a lady of culture. He worked 
hard, studied nights, learned to speak French fluently, 
and became an expert silversmith and engraver. He 
also learned the clockmaking art. At the end of four 
years he returned to Newtown for a visit. While there, 
he fell in love and married, and decided to remain in 
Newtown, and went into business with his father. He 
was prominent and did a good business. 

Blakslee, Ziba Newtown 1768—1825 

Born in Plymouth. Came to Newtown when a young 
man. His house and shop stood at the head of Newtown 
Street on the road leading to Brookfield. He worked at 
the gold and silversmith's business, cast church bells, 
made surveyors' instruments, clocks, and watches. Wil- 
liam Blakslee was his son. 

[86] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Bontecou, Timothy New Haven 1693—1784 

Born in New York City, and learned his trade in France. 
Married his second wife in New Haven in 1736. He sold 
his shop in 1775. He was a member of the Church of 
England, and was registered as one of the Congregation 
in Stratford in 1735, and, when the new church was 
built in 1743/4, he contributed £15. When Trinity 
Church, New Haven, was organized in 1765, he became 
a member and was its first recorded warden. He was 
buried in the crypt beneath Trinity Church, which at 
that time stood on Church Street. An illustration is 
shown of two candlesticks, doubtless made by him. 
See page 51. 

Bontecou, Timothy, Jr. New Haven 1723—1789 

Son of Timothy, of whom he learned his trade. 

Botsford, Gideon B. Woodbury 1776—1866 

His home and shop were in what is now known as Glebe 
House, now owned by the Episcopal diocese of Con- 
necticut, and in which Rev. Samuel Seabury was elected 
first bishop of Connecticut and of the United States, 
by the clergy there assembled in 1783. Examples of 
silver made by Botsford are not uncommon in that 
locality. 

Bradley, Aner New Haven and Watertown 1753—1824 
Brother of Phineas, the silversmith. For additional 
notes see page 58. 

Bradley, Phineas New Haven 1745—1797 

His shop and house stood on Court Street. Brother 
of Colonel Aner Bradley. Phineas served in the Revo- 
lution and was Captain of a company of New Haven 
men. At the British invasion of New Haven, July, 
1779, he did valiant service with his men at the bridge 
on the road leading to Milford. 

Bradley, Richard Hartford 1787—1867 

Born in Hartford. The Directory 1825-28 gives his 
location as Morgan Street, near the bridge. Met death 
at the hands of a burglar on Thanksgiving night. For 
many years was a member of the firm. 

Bradley & Bunce Hartford 

Bradley, Zebul New Haven 1780—1859 

From 1806 to 1817 he was a member of the firm Marcus 
Merriman & Co. and Merriman & Bradley. About 

[87] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

the year 1826 he formed a partnership with Marcus 
Merriman, Jr., under the name of 
Bradley & Merriman. 

In the year 1847 the Directory of New Haven contains 
the advertisement of the firm. 

Bradley, Zebul, & Son 

Consisting of Zebul Bradley and Gustavus Bradley. 

Born Died 

Brainard, Charles Hartford 1787—1850 

A native of Wethersfield. Member of the firm Ward, 
Bartholomew & Brainard, afterwards C. Brainard & 
Son (Charles H.). 

Breed, John Colchester 1752—1803 

Born in Stonington. His relative, Gershom Breed, 
had dealings in Colchester, and this influence probably 
induced John to move to that town. He located on Town 
Street, or Governors Road, the main highway leading 
from New London to Hartford. He married in 1773 
Lucy Bulkley, a member of an influential family there. 
His inventory contains a considerable list of silversmith's 
tools as well as farming implements. To agriculture 
he probably devoted the last few years of his life. His 
widow, who died in 1821, left the sum of $500 to be ap- 
plied toward building a home for the poor of the town. 

Brewer, Charles Middletown 1778—1860 

Born in Springfield, Mass. Learned his trade of Jacob 
Sargeant, of Hartford. He located in Middletown, 
October, 1800, and on October 16, that year, Judah Hart 
and Charles Brewer advertised that they had taken a 
shop a few rods north of the printing-office, where they 
would carry on clockmaking, watch repairing, and gold 
and silversmithing in all its branches. In December, 
1801, they had removed to a shop opposite the new meet- 
ing-house. This partnership was dissolved on Septem- 
ber 21, 1803, and on October 28, that year, Brewer formed 
a partnership with Alexander Mann under name of 
Brewer & Mann, which lasted until April, 1805. There- 
after Brewer continued alone. The jewels belonging 
to St. John's Lodge, F. & A. Masons, and two beakers of 
the communion vessels of the Congregational Church, 
Durham, were made by Brewer, and spoons bearing his 
mark are found in Middletown and near-by towns. 

Brewer & Mann Middletown 

See above. 

[88] 




Charles Brewer 

1778-1860 

Middletown 

Sketched from life by his nephew, William S. Stearns 



Plate 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 
Brewster, Abel Canterbury and Norwich 1775 — 

Advertised in Canterbury in 1797, and in 1804 gave 
notice that he had moved to Norwich, and in 1805 that 
he was selling his place of business to Judah Hart and 
Alvan Willcox, because of poor health. 

Buel, Abel New Haven 1742—1825 

In 1799 he was located in Hartford on Main Street, 
opposite the North Meeting-house, making silver, 
plated, gilt, steel, brass, and iron hiked swords and 
dirks, pikes, and military flags. For full particulars re- 
lating to his life see page 53. 

Buel, John New Haven and Derby 1744—1783 

Brother of Abel Buel. Advertised in New Haven, 
1779, and in Derby Neck, 1780-82. Died in New 
Haven. 

Buel, Samuel Middletown and Hartford 

Advertised in former place, 1777, and in Hartford, 1779. 
A Samuel Buel was born in Killingworth, 1742; died 
in Westfield, Mass., 1819. A beaker belonging to 
Center Congregational Church, Meriden, bears his 
mark, S.B. 

Bull, Caleb Hartford 1746—1797 

Served in the Revolution, and was commissioned Captain, 
January 1, 1777, in Colonel Samuel B. Webb's regiment. 
A member of the Society of the Cincinnati. See page 64. 

Bull, Martin Farmington 1744—1825 

He was a gold and silversmith and maker of silver 
buttons and spoons. He also made saltpeter for the 
army when needed during the Revolution. He was a 
deacon of the Congregational Church, a conductor of 
church music, town treasurer for eight years, clerk of 
the Probate Court for thirty-nine years. A strong 
patriot and a writer of long letters — appallingly solemn 
— to the youth of the village when at college. He made 
a book-plate for the "Library of the First Society in 
Farmington," founded in 1795, and later executed a 
more ornamental plate. See Vol. III., p. 187, Ex Libris 
Society. 

Burdick, William S. New Haven 

Advertised in 1814 that the firm of Ufford & Burdick 
had been dissolved. 

[89] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 
Burnap, Daniel Coventry and East Windsor 1760 — 1838 
Learned his trade of Thomas Harland, of Norwich. 
Began business in Coventry. About 1785 moved to East 
Windsor, and twelve years later settled in what is now known 
as Andover. Made spoons, buckles and repaired watches 
and jewelry. 
Advertised in 1791 as follows: — 

"Brass Wheel'd Clocks." 
"The subscriber having for a number of years applied 
himself principally to the business of Clock making and 
having met with considerable encouragement in the 
business, takes this method to inform the publick that 
although he works in many other branches common 
for those in the silversmith line as also surveyor's Com- 
passes, watch repairing &c, yet notwithstanding 
clockmaking is intended as the governing business of 
his shop and is determined that no pains shall be want- 
ing to merit the approbation of his Customers. Clocks 
of various kinds may be had at his shop in East Windsor 
on short notice on the most reasonable terms (war- 
ranted). Those parishes that may be in want of publick 
clocks may be supplied at the above shop and may 
depend on a faithful performance by the publick's ser- 
vant, Daniel Burnap." The tools with which he en- 
graved the silvered dials of his clocks are owned by 
Albert H. Pitkin, Hartford. Experts consider that 
Burnap made as fine clocks as were ever produced in 
New England. A few examples of his silver-work are 
still extant. 

Burrill, Theophilus New London —1739 

Under date January 1, 1738/9, Joshua Hempstead 
wrote in his diary, "I was at the Town Meeting & y e 
choice of Taverners & Theophilus Burrill a goldsmith, 
aged about — . Died with Convulsion fitts: he be- 
longed to Boston but hath sojourned in Town 2 or 3 
years." 

Bushnell, Phineas Saybrook and Guilford 1741—1836 
Born in Saybrook. Moved to Guilford about 1795. 
Died in Branford. Tradition says that he did some 
silversmithing. 

Candee, Lewis Burton Woodbury 1806—1861 

Born in Oxford. He was in partnership with Daniel 
Curtiss, and the firm was known as Curtiss & Candee 
and Curtiss, Candee & Stiles. 

[90] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Canfield, Samuel Middletown 

He was living in Middletown in 1780. He advertised 
1792-97. During the years 1790-92 Joel Allen, en- 
graver and silversmith, did more or less work on silver 
for Canfield. In 1787 he was sheriff, and served a num- 
ber of writs of attachment on his brother silversmith, 
Joseph King, to recover debts. For a time he was in 
partnership with a man named Foot (probably William 
Foot). In 1801 he was living in Lansingburg, N.Y., 
and in 1807 in Scanticoke, N.Y. 

Canfield & Foot Middletown 

See above. Born r>i e d 

Carpenter, Joseph Norwich 1747 — 1804 

As early as 1769 he was in business in a shop belonging 
to his stepfather. This shop has never been altered, 
and retains to-day all its old features. His son Charles, 
who settled in business in Boston, learned his trade of 
his father, as did also, probably, Rufus and Henry Far- 
num, prominent silversmiths of Boston. See also page 71. 

Case, George East Hartford 

Advertised in 1779. 

Champlin, John New London 1745—1800 

Advertised from 1768 to 1780. See page 73. 

Chapin, Aaron Hartford 1753—1838 

Born in Windsor. His name appears in Hartford 
Directory for 1825. He is put down as a cabinet-maker 
and jeweler at the head of Trumbull Street. He was 
deacon in First Church. Spoons bearing his name as 
silversmith are found in Hartford and vicinity. 

Chittenden, Beriah New Haven 1751—1827 

He was son of Ebenezer, and probably learned his trade 
of him. In 1787 he advertised that his shop was next 
door to the printing-office of New > Haven Gazette and 
Connecticut Magazine. Later he lived in Durham, 
Milford, Salisbury, Kinderhook, N.Y., and Middle- 
bury, Ohio. 

Chittenden, Ebenezer New Haven and Madison 1726 — 1812 
See page 57. 

Church, Joseph Hartford 1794—1876 

Born in East Hartford. His father moved his family 
to Lee, Mass., when Joseph was quite young, and estab- 
lished the first paper-mill in Western Massachusetts. 

[91] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Joseph returned to Hartford when a youth and learned 
the silversmith's trade, and established his business on 
Ferry Street, after having been with Jacob Sargeant 
and Horace Goodwin. Later he moved to Main Street. 
William Rogers, C. C. Strong, and L. T. Wells were 
among his apprentices, and in 1840 he sold his business 
to the latter two and became an official and director 
of the JEtna. Fire Insurance Company, and was a director 
of the Connecticut River Bank and vice-president of 
Society for Savings. Frederick E. Church, the land- 
scape painter, was his son. 

Bom Died 
Clark, Joseph Danbury —1821 

In 1791 he advertised that he carried on the clock and 
watch making and gold and silversmith business in all 
its branches at his shop near the printing-office. He was 
living in Danbury in 1/77, and bore arms in the Danbury 
raid of that year. Prior to April 1, 1811, he moved to 
Newburg, N.Y., and later to Alabama, where he died 
about 1821. 

Clark, Levi Norwalk 1801—1875 

Born in Danbury, and learned his trade of his father- 
in-law, John Starr Blackman. Settled in business in 
Norwalk. 

Clark, Peter Q. New Haven 

Advertised in 1810. 

Clark, William New Milford 1750—1798 

Born in Colchester. Settled in New Milford about 
1775. He built a house soon after, in which he kept 
tavern and carried on silversmith's business. He adver- 
tised in 1774 and 1777. His inventory shows a large 
number of silversmith's tools. When the Union Li- 
brary was established in 1796, the first meeting was held 
at his house. He seems to have been a public-spirited 
man. 

Cleveland, William Norwich 1770—1837 

Son of Rev. Aaron Cleveland. Born in Norwich. After 
a residence of some years in New London and New 
York, returned to Norwich. Made a deacon of First 
Congregational Church there in 1812. While in New 
London, he was in partnership with John P. Trott under 
firm name Trott & Cleveland. Married, 1793, Margaret 
Falley. His son, Richard Falley, was the father of the 
late President, Grover Cleveland. Deacon William 

[92] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

lived in later years in Worthington and Salem, Mass., 
and Zanesville, Ohio. He died at Black Rock, N.Y. 

Born Died 
Coit, Thomas Chester Norwich 1791—1841 

Born in Norwich. His family moved to Pomfret and 
then to Canterbury. He was apprenticed at the age of 
fourteen. Followed the trade fourteen years in Norwich, 
part of the time in partnership with Elisha H. Mans- 
field (1816 — ). Later moved to Natchez, Miss., 
and died in New York. 

Coit & Mansfield Norwich 

See above. 

Copp, Joseph New London 

Married Rachel Denison, 1757. Advertised in 1776 that 
his shop had been robbed. 

Curtiss, Daniel Woodbury 1801—1878 

He established a manufactory of silver articles about 
1825, making spoons, thimbles, spectacles, etc., asso- 
ciating with him Lewis Burton Candee and, later, 
Benjamin Stiles under firm names of Curtiss & Candee, 
and Curtiss, Candee & Stiles, and Curtiss & Stiles. 
Spoons made by these firms are frequently found in 
Connecticut. Gave up the business in 1840. 

Curtiss & Candee Woodbury 

See above. 

Curtiss, Candee & Stiles Woodbury 
See above. 

Curtiss & Stiles Woodbury 

See above. 

Curtis, Joel Wolcott, Conn., and Cairo, N.Y. 1786— 
Silversmith and clockmaker. 

Curtis, Lewis 1774—1845 

Farmington, Conn., and Hazel Green, Wis. 
His little red shop with prominent show windows still 
stands in Farmington a few hundred feet north of the 
Country Club. It was originally located on the main 
street, a hundred or more feet west of what is now known 
as Elm Tree Inn. Silversmith and clockmaker. In 
1797 he advertised that his shop had been entered by 
burglars and a number of silver articles stolen. In 
1799 he advertised that he made chime clocks that played 

[93] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

a number of tunes and clocks that showed the moon's 
age, etc. He probably learned his trade of Daniel 
Burnap. In 1820 he moved to St. Charles, Mo., and 
later to Hazel Green, Wis., where he died. 

Born Died 

Cutler, Richard New Haven 1736—1810 

Born in Fairfield. Settled in New Haven in 1760, where 
he purchased a large lot at the southeast corner of 
Church and Chapel Streets, and erected a dwelling and 
a shop. The locality is still known as Cutler's Corner. 
He was long engaged in the gold and silversmith's trade. 
He was a Tory in his sympathies during the Revolution. 
He formed a partnership about 1767 with Hezekiah 
Silliman and Ambrose Ward. See Silliman. In 1800 
he took his sons into partnership. 

Cutler, Richard, Jr. New Haven 1774—1811 

See above. 

Cutler, Richard & Sons New Haven 

See above. 

Cutler, William New Haven 1785—1817 

See above. 

Cutler, Silliman, Ward & Co. New Haven 
See above. 

Dagget, Henry New Haven 1741—1830 

A merchant, magistrate, and alderman (Tuttle Geneal- 
ogy). His shop or store burned January 27, 1800. 
Caught fire from goldsmith's forge in back room. At 
one time was in partnership with Isaac Beers. 

Davison, Barzillai Norwich 1740—1828 

Born in Pomfret. In business in Norwich. 

Dennis, Ebenezer Hartford 1753 — 

Advertised in Connecticut Courant, 1782-85. His shop 
was opposite Dr. Solomon Smith's office. His shop was 
robbed March 9, 1785. Brother of George, Jr. 

Dennis, George, Jr. Norwich 1749 — 

Advertised in 1778. 

Deshon, Daniel New London 1697—1781 

He was of Huguenot descent. Apprenticed to Captain 
Rene Grignon. When Captain Grignon died in 1715, 
he bequeathed to Daniel his goldsmith's tools, and his 

[94] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

will reads: "I desire he may be bound out to some suit- 
able person in Boston 'till he arrive at the age of twenty- 
one years to learn the trade of goldsmith." It is sup- 
posed that he was bound out to John Gray, of Boston, 
and later of New London. Deshon, having learned his 
trade, settled in New London, and became a well-known 
citizen, and married Ruth, the daughter of Christopher 
Christophers, Esq. 

Bora Died 

Dexter, Minerva Middletown 1785 — 

On March 28, 1810, she advertised for an apprentice to 
silversmith's business. Connecticut's only woman silver- 
smith. But it is not probable that she did the manual 
labor of the craft. 

Dodge, Ezra New London 1766—1798 

He died in the epidemic of yellow fever which raged in 
New London in 1798. In the list of deaths is mentioned 
"Ezra Dodge, watchmaker, clockmaker, gold and silver- 
smith, brass founder, gun smith, locksmith, grocer, etc. 
An ingenious mechanick, good man, and valuable citi- 
zen." 

Doolittle, Amos New Haven 1754—1832 

Born in Cheshire. See page 59. 

Doolittle, Enos Hartford 

Advertised as clockmaker and silversmith, 1781-82. 
Stated that he was casting church bells and was a 
brass founder on west side of Main Street in 1799. He 
disappears from Hartford records about 1804. Oppo- 
site page 260 of Lyon's "Colonial Furniture of New 
England" is an illustration of a fine clock made by 
Doolittle. 

Douglas, Robert New London 1740—1776 

In 1766 he advertised that his silversmith's shop was 
next door to Captain Titus Hurlbut's, and that he made 
shoe and knee buckles, chapes and tongues, buttons, stones, 
crystal rings, sparks, and cyphered earrings. Died 
during Revolution at Canterbury, on his way home from 
Boston to New London, in the service of his country. 

Elderkin, Alfred Windham 1759—1833 

He was youngest son of Colonel Jedediah Elderkin. He 
was for a time in business with his neighbor, John Stam- 
ford. Advertised in 1792. 

[95] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Elderkin, Elisha Killingworth 1753—1822 

Went to New Haven before 1777, and has a record as a 
Revolutionary soldier. After the war he settled in his 
home town, Killingworth. 

Elliott, John Aaron Sharon 1788 — 

He was first a printer and then learned the trade of watch- 
maker and silversmith. He also, for a time, resided in 
Red Hook, N.Y., and in Michigan, but returned to 
Sharon. His name appears in Business Directory of 
Connecticut, published in 1857. 

Ellsworth, David Windsor 1742—1821 

He advertised in 1772 and again in 1792. 

P Fairchild, Robert 1703—1794 

Durham, Stratford, and New Haven 
See page 51. 

Fairchild, Joseph New Haven 

In business there in 1824. 

Fitch, Allen New Haven 1785 — 

He was the son of Nathaniel and Mary Fitch. In 1811 
he bought land on south side of Crown Street, with a 
frontage of 18 feet, and built a shop on it. He advertised 
in 1808. In 1813 an advertisement announced that the 
firm of 

Fitch & Hobart New Haven 

is dissolved. 

Foote, William East Haddam 1772— 

Born in Colchester. He lived at various times in Col- 
chester, Glastonbury, and East Haddam. Later moved 
to Michigan. Advertised in East Haddam in 1796 — 97. 
See Canfield & Foote. 

Francis, Julius C. Middletown 1785—1862 

Was member of firm Hughes & Francis, 1807-09. 

Gallup, Christopher 1764—1849 

North Groton, now Ledyard 
The house where he lived is still standing, in good repair, 
and the room in which Christopher used to carry on his 
trade is still shown by his descendants. Spoons made by 
him are in use among Ledyard families. It is probable 
that he made other articles. 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Gardiner, John New London 1734—1776 

He was a descendant of the Gardiner family of Gar- 
diner's Island, and was a son of Jonathan and Mary 
(Adams) Gardiner. Jonathan was a physician, and was 
lost at sea, 1735 or 1736. She was a daughter of Rev. 
Eliphalet Adams. John, the silversmith, was an excel- 
lent craftsman, and his silver is still found in New 
London, Conn. He made the silver cup belonging to 
Berkeley Divinity School. His. inventory filed in 1777 
gives a long list of silversmith's tools, including two 
stamps for impressing his trade-marks. 

Gilbert, Samuel Hebron 

He advertised in 1798. Spoons bearing his mark are 
frequently found in Hebron and vicinity. 

Goodwin, Allyn Hartford 1797—1869 

In business with his brother under firm name H. & A. 
Goodwin. Is mentioned in Hartford Directory, 1825. 

Goodwin, Horace Hartford 1787—1864 

He learned the trade of jeweler and silversmith, and 
first located in New Britain and soon moved to Vermont. 
In 1811 he returned to Hartford, and went into business 
with his brother Allyn. Their store and shop stood 
on ground now occupied by Connecticut Mutual Life 
Insurance Company. In 1852 he engaged in the music 
business. 

Goodwin, H. & A. Hartford 

See above. 

Goodwin, Ralph Hartford 1793—1866 

Mentioned in Directory in 1828. 

Goodwin & Dodd Hartford 

Advertised in 1812. 

Gorham, John New Haven 

Born probably in Hamden. Estate of John Gorham of 
that town was administered in Probate Court, 1790. 
John was his youngest son, and was probably the silver- 
smith. He advertised in 1814. His spoons are still 
found in New Haven County. 

Gorham, Miles New Haven 1757—1847 

The six cups belonging to the First Congregational 
Church, Derby, were made by him. His spoons are 
still found in vicinity of New Haven. 

[97] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Gorham, Richard 1775—1841 

In 1806 Isaac Townsend leased land on High Street 
to Samuel Shethar and Richard Gorham. The partners 
sold the lease in 1809. Spoons marked S & G have 
been found in the vicinity of New Haven. See Samuel 
Shethar. 

Graham, Daniel West Suffield 1764— 

He advertised in 1789. Married in Wethersfield, 1790. 

Gray, John New London 1692—1720 

Born in Boston. Came to New London about 1713 to 
administer his brother's estate, Samuel Gray. Daniel 
Deshon was probably apprenticed to him. He mar- 
ried, 1714, Mary Christophers, of New London. He 
lies in the old cemetery in New London. 

Gray, Samuel New London 1684 — 1713 

Born in Boston. He married in 1707 Mrs. Lucy Palmes, 
of New London. He came to the town before 1712. 
Joshua Hempstead, in recording his death in his diary, 
says, "had been sick a long time." The most elaborate 
of the ancient tombstones in the cemetery in New Lon- 
don is the one erected to his memory. Brother of John 
Gray. His inventory gives evidence that he was an 
expert silversmith. Among other items are mentioned 
99 ounces of plate in 3 tankards, 3 cups and spoons and 
forks; 20| ounces of plate in buckles and buttons; 76 
ounces of plate in silver chafing dishes, etc. 

Greenleaf, David Norwich 1737—1800 

Born probably in Bolton, Mass., where his father was a 
physician. Learned his trade of Thomas Harland. 
Served in the Revolutionary War. He advertised in 
Norwich, 1769. He was in Bolton, Mass., 1769-72. 
In Coventry, 1778, where he spent the rest of his life. 
David Greenleaf, of Hartford, was his son. 

Greenleaf, David, Jr. Hartford 1765—1835 

Advertised in Hartford, 1788-94. Son of David, of 
Norwich. 

Greenleaf, Joseph New London 1778—1798 

Died of yellow fever there, 1798, aged twenty. 

Grignon, Rene Norwich — 1715 

He came to this country in the latter part of seven- 
teenth century, and joined French settlement at East 
Greenwich, R.I. Driven from there by persecution. 
He went in 1691 to Oxford, Mass., and about 1696 to 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Boston, where he was at one time elder of the French 
Church. In 1699 he was again living in Oxford, but the 
Deerfield massacre, 1704, drove the inhabitants away, 
and he probably then settled in Norwich. See page 47. 

Griswold, Gilbert Middletown and Portland 

Early part of last century was practising his trade. 

Born Died 

Gunn, Enos Waterbury 1770 — 

Was born in what is known as Gunntown on the edge 
of present Middlebury and Naugatuck. Spoons are 
still found in that vicinity marked E. GUNN. 

Gurley, William Norwich 1764 — 

Born in Mansfield. Advertised in 1804 in Norwich. 

Hallam, John New London 1752—1800 

See page 74. 

Hamlin, William 1772— 

Born in Providence, R.I. Apprenticed in Middletown. 

Hanks, Benjamin 1738—1810 

Windham, Litchfield, and Ashford 
Born in Plymouth, Mass. He advertised in Windham, 
1777-79; in Ashford, 1790. At the October session of the 
1783 General Assembly he asked for the exclusive right to 
manufacture air clocks, which was granted. The me- 
morial he presented stated that he had "invented and ex- 
ecuted a clock which winds itself by the effects of air and 
will continue so to do without any other assistance until 
the parts thereof are destroyed by friction." At that 
time he was living in Litchfield. (See Kilbourne's Chron- 
icles of Litchfield, 1859, p. 266.) He sold to Amherst, 
Mass., in 1793, its first church bell. 
Harland, Thomas Norwich 1735—1807 

After serving his apprenticeship in England, he journeyed 
from place to place, wandering as far East as Warsaw, 
probably practising his craft and learning foreign 
methods. He was evidently a man of education, for 
the inventory of his library shows an unusual collection 
for that period of works of the best historical and phil- 
osophical writers, and the large number of French works 
would imply a familiarity with that tongue. He came to 
America in 1773 — a year of great excitement in the 
political life of America — in one of the ships which 
brought the taxed tea to the port of Boston. He did not 
tarry there, but settled immediately in Norwich. In 
his first advertisement in 1773 he states that "he makes 

[991 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

in the neatest manner and on the most approved prin- 
ciples, horizontal, repeating and plain watches in gold, 
silver, metal or covered cases: spring, musical and 
plain clocks; church clocks and regulators: he also 
cuts and finishes watch-wheels and fuzees of all sorts and 
dimensions, neat as in London and at the same price." In 
1774 he says, "he has now compleated an assortment 
of warranted watches viz. Horizontal, Showing Sec- 
onds from the Centre, Day of Month, Skeleton and Eight 
Day Watches in gilt, tortoise shell and plain silver Cases." 
His mechanical ingenuity was unusual, for in 1788 he 
made for Norwich Landing a fire-engine which was long 
in use. The homestead which he built in 1779 is still 
in the possession of his descendants. In front of it, 
and surrounded by the piazza, are two large elm-trees 
said to have been planted by his apprentice, Nathaniel 
Shipman, in 1781. See page 70. 

Born Died 

Harland, Thomas, Jr. Norwich 1781—1806 

Son of Thomas, Sr. Although he died so young, he had 
accumulated a large inventory in his business. He had 
for sale 117 silver and gold watches. 

Hart, Eliphaz New Britain and Norwich 1789 — 1866 
Born in New Britain. Learned trade of his brother 
Judah. He settled in Greenville in Norwich and died 
there. 

Hart, Judah Middletown and Norwich 1777—1824 

Born in New Britain. Began business in Middletown in 
1800, in partnership with Charles Brewer. Formed 
partnership with Jonathan Bliss in 1803. In 1805 
removed to Norwich, and formed partnership with Alvan 
Willcox. In 1807 in business alone. In 1816 removed to 
Griswold, and in 1822 to Brownsville, Ohio. 

Hart & Bliss Middletown 

1803—1804. See above. 
Hart & Brewer Middletown 

1800—1803. See above. 

Hart & Willcox Norwich 

1805—1807. See above. Spoons marked H. & W. with 
an index hand preceding are common in Norwich. 

Hequembourg, Charles, Jr. New Haven 1760 — 1851 

Born in France. He was a soldier of the Revolution in 
France. He first appeared in New Haven in 1804, 

[1001 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

when he bought land. He advertised 1809-20. His 
shop was on Church Street, opposite the site of Trinity 
Church at that time. Spoons made by him are fre- 
quently found in New Haven County. His daughter mar- 
ried in 1810 James Brewster, father of carriage industry 
in New Haven. 

Bom Died 
Hilldrup, Thomas Hartford —1804 

See page 62. 
Hitchcock, Eliakim Cheshire and New Haven 1726—1788 

He maintained shops in Cheshire and New Haven. 
Advertised in New Haven, 1776. It is said that Amos 
Doolittle was his apprentice. Spoons made by him are 
found in Cheshire. He was one of the charter members 
of the Second Company, Governor's Foot Guard, or- 
ganized 1774. His shop in New Haven was on Union 
Street, near Fair. 

Hobart, Joshua New Haven 

See Fitch & Hobart 

Holmes, Israel Greenwich and Waterbury 1768 — 1802 
See page 76. 

Hopkins, Jesse Waterbury 1766 — 

Hopkins, Joseph Waterbury 1730—1801 

Late in life became Judge of Probate, and gave up silver- 
smithing. 

Hopkins, Stephen Waterbury 1721—1796 

Hotchkiss, Hezekiah (?) New Haven — 1761 

Clockmaker, but his inventory shows he owned silver- 
smith's tools. 

Hughes, Edmund Middletown 

In 1804 was located in Hampton. In 1806 the partner- 
ship of Ward & Hughes, Middletown, was dissolved. 
Same year partnership of Hughes & Bliss was formed, 
and in the following year that of Hughes & Francis. 

Hughes & Bliss Middletown 

1806. See above. 

Hughes & Francis Middletown 

1807—1809. See above. 
Huntington, Philip Norwich 1770—1825 

He was town clerk from 1801 to 1825. 

[101] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 
Huntington, Roswell Norwich 1763 — 

Learned his trade of Joseph Carpenter. In 1784 he ad- 
vertised as goldsmith and jeweler in a shop opposite the 
store of Jedediah Huntington. Finally moved to Hills- 
borough, N.C. 

Jarvis, Munson Stamford 1742—1825 

His father, Samuel, was a blacksmith, and the inventory 
of the confiscated estate of Munson shows that he owned 
a like shop. It is probable that he worked in both silver 
and iron. Two silver mugs owned by the Congregational 
Church, Green's Farms, bear the maker's mark M. J., and 
were probably made by him. He was a Loyalist, and 
left the country in 1783 and settled in St. John, N.B., 
where he passed the rest of his life. He was a member of 
the Provincial Assembly in New Brunswick, and a man 
of prominence. 

Jennings, Jacob Norwalk 1729—1817 

The inventory of his estate mentions a number of silver- 
smith's tools. 

Jennings, Jacob, Jr. Norwalk 1779 — 

He learned his trade of his father. His nephew, Isaac 
Marquand, was apprenticed to him to learn the trade. 
Frederick Marquand, the well-known New York jeweler 
and benefactor of Yale College, was Isaac's son. 

Johonnot, William Middletown 1766—1849 

In 1782 he was apprenticed to Samuel Canfield for 
five years. Began business in 1787. He advertised 
in 1787—88, and stated that his shop was opposite Mrs. 
Bigelow's tavern. In 1792 he moved to Windsor, Vt., 
where he carried on his business of jeweler and silversmith. 

Keeler, Joseph Norwalk 1786—1824 

Silversmith and watchmaker. His inventory shows such 
items as pivot lathe, fusee cutting tool, main-spring 
tool, small brass files, four watch-case stakes, together 
with silversmith's tools, proving that, like Harland, he 
actually made watches. Spoons bearing his mark are 
found in Norwalk and vicinity. 

Kierstead, Cornelius New Haven 1674— 1753 (?) 

See page 48. 
King, Joseph Middletown 

His name and shop appear on map of Middletown, 

made about the period of the Revolution. Still living 

there as late as 1807. 

[102] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Kinney, Thomas Norwich 

Was located there first half nineteenth century on She- 
tucket Street. 

Born Died 

Kippen, George Middletown and Bridgeport 1790 — 

He was born in Middletown. Probably learned his 
trade of Charles Brewer. In 1825 George Kippen and 
Elias Camp, both of Bridgeport, leased a shop there. 
Later Kippen was in business with Geo. A. Hoyt. Spoons 
are found in Bridgeport and vicinity marked G. Kippen 
and G. Kippen & Hoyt. The First Congregational 
Church, Bridgeport, possesses three beakers made by 
Kippen. Map of Bridgeport, made in 1824, shows that 
his shop was located at the corner of Beaver Street 
(now Fairfield Avenue) and Broad Street. Kippen was 
also in partnership with Barzillai Benjamin for a time. 

Kirtland, Joseph P. Middletown 1770 — 

Born in Norwich. He advertised as a silversmith in 
1796 in Middletown. 

Lathrop, Rufus Norwich 1731—1805 

Lewis, Isaac Huntington and Ridgefield 1773 — 1860 

Born in the former place. In Ridgefield as early as 1809. 

His shop was probably on west side of Main Street, 

immediately below where the Episcopal Church stands. 

Loud, Asa Hartford 1765—1823 

Advertised in 1792 as a silversmith. In 1793 sold his 
shop on Main Street to James Spencer. Was reported in 
1807 to have absconded. 

Main, David Stonington 1752—1843 

Mann, Alexander Middletown 1777 — 

Born in Hebron. In business a short time with Charles 
Brewer. Later a gun-maker. 

Mansfield, Elisha Hyde Norwich 1795 — 

See Coit & Mansfield. 
Marble, Simeon New Haven 1777—1856 

About 1801 the firm of Sibley & Marble was formed. 
They were located at first on Chapel Street, and later on 
State Street, south of Chapel Street. The firm adver- 
tised from 1801 to 1806. Marble then continued alone. 
Later he was located on Church Street. At his death 
he left a considerable estate of bank and railroad stocks 
and houses. 

[103] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Merriman, Marcus New Haven 1762 — 1850 

Born in Cheshire. He was active in the Revolution. 
Served on a privateer, and had many adventures. Mem- 
ber during the British invasion of New Haven in 1779 
of the company of Captain Phineas Bradley. He was 
present at the defense of West Bridge, and contracted a 
cold at the time, from which he never fully recovered, 
although he lived to an advanced age. After the war 
he began to practise his trade of silversmithing. His 
first advertisement appeared in 1787. Much plate has 
been found in New Haven County bearing his trade- 
mark. In 1802 Bethuel Tuttle became his partner, and 
they worked under the name of Merriman & Tuttle. 
The same year Zebul Bradley was admitted, and firm 
became Marcus Merriman & Co. In 1817 the firm be- 
came Merriman & Bradley. See page 58. 

Merriman, Marcus, Jr. New Haven 

Son of Marcus Merriman. About 1826 he went into 
partnership with Zebul Bradley. Firm was known as 
Bradley & Merriman. 

Merriman, Marcus, & Co. New Haven 
See above. 

Merriman & Bradley New Haven 

See above. 
Merriman & Tuttle New Haven 

See above. 
Merriman, Reuben Litchfield 1783 — 1866 

Probably came to Litchfield in 1827, for at that time his 

name first appears on the land records. 

Merriman, Samuel New Haven 1769 — 1805 

Brother of Marcus and born in Cheshire. First adver- 
tised in 1794. At that time his shop was two doors 
west of the New College, Chapel Street. In 1800 he 
advertised that his shop had been destroyed by a fire, 
and that he was then located with his father on State 
Street. He next leased a shop on Church Street, south 
of Richard Cutler's shop. 

Merriman, Silas New Haven 1734—1805 

He moved from Cheshire to New Haven about 1769, 
and established his home and shop on State Street. He 
not only made silverware, but was also a clockmaker. 
He was father of Marcus and Samuel. 

[104] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Merrow, Nathan East Hartford 1758—1825 

His name appears on tax list as goldsmith in 1783. 

Moss, Isaac Nichols Derby 1760—1840 

Some of his tools are preserved by a descendant living 
in. Thomaston. 

Munson, Amos New Haven 1753—1785 

He advertised in 1776. 

Munson, Cornelius Wallingford 1742 — 

A Tory. Died in British army. 

Mygatt, Comfort Starr Danbury 1763—1823 

He was a gold and silver smith, and also made clocks 
and watches. He was in partnership with his brother 
David. In 1804 he advertised for one or two boys to 
serve as apprentices to the gold and silver smith's clock 
and watch making business. He was a member of the 
General Assembly in 1800 and 1802. In 1807 he moved 
to Canfield, Ohio, where he passed the rest of his life. 

Mygatt, David Danbury 1777—1822 

He was in partnership with his brother, Comfort Starr. 
He finally moved to South East, N.Y. 

Mygatt, Eli Danbury 1742—1807 

Father of Comfort Starr and David. Was first in gen- 
eral store and drug business with Dr. Daniel Noble 
Carrington as partner. They advertised in 1793 that 
they had gone into the silversmith's business with Najah 
Taylor. The shop and store were on Main Street, 
nearly opposite where the Hotel Green now stands. 
Mygatt served in the Revolution, and was made Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel in 1778. He was very prominent in 
Danbury, and represented the town in the General As- 
sembly in 1777, and many times subsequently, dying 
while attending the May session, 1807. 

Newberry, Edwin C. Brooklyn 

He was born in Mansfield. Served his apprenticeship 
in Hartford. Began business in Brooklyn about 1828. 

Norton, Andrew Goshen 1765—1838 

Tavern-keeper and silversmith. A descendant living in 
Goshen has some of his smith's tools. 

[105] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Norton, Thomas Farmington 1773 — 1834 

Advertised in Farmington, 1796 — 1806. He moved to 
Albion, N.Y., where he passed the rest of his life. 

Noyes, Samuel Norwich 1747 — 1781 

Born in Groton. Established his business at Norwich 
Landing. 

Oakes, Frederick Hartford 

In 1814 the firm of Oakes & Spencer advertised. Prob- 
ably James Spencer. Directory of 1825 shows that Oakes 
was located three doors north of Marshall's tavern, 
which was at northwest corner of State House Square. 

Oakes & Spencer Hartford 

See above. 

Olmsted, Nathaniel 1785—1860 

Farmington and New Haven 
Born in East Hartford. He learned his trade of Daniel 
Burnap, of East Windsor. He built a house in Farming- 
ton in 1808, and began business there. He married 
Phidelia Burnap, a niece of Burnap, the silversmith. 
In 1826 he moved to New Haven, to be near his 
brother, Professor Denison Olmsted, of Yale. His 
shop was then on north side of Chapel Street, four doors 
east of the bank at No. 127. In 1847 the Directory 
gives the location of N. Olmsted & Son, jewelers and 
silversmiths, as 37 Olive Street. 

Otis, Jonathan 1723—1791 

Newport, R.I., and Middletown 
Commander of the militia in Newport, and bore the 
title of Major. See page 65. 

Parmele, James Durham 1763 — 1828 

Silverware and gold beads made by him are found in 
Durham, and his tools are preserved by his great-grand- 
daughter, who lives in Parmele's homestead. 

Parmele, Samuel Guilford 1737—1803 

See page 70. 

Peabody, John Enfield 

Advertised in 1779. 

[106] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 
Peck, Timothy Middletown and Litchfield 1765—1818 
Born in Litchfield. In 1791 he advertised that he was 
about to leave Middletown, and recommended to the 
public Antipas Woodward, who had purchased his shop 
under the printing-office. About that date he settled 
in Litchfield, and his shop was immediately west of the 
Court House, in a brick building he had erected or pur- 
chased. He carried on the silversmith business there, 
and was also interested in a paper-mill and a saw-mill 
located in that town. 

Pitkin, John O. East Hartford 1803—1891 

Born in East Hartford, son of Captain John. With his 
brother Walter began the manufacture of silverware in 
1826 in a shop west of his father's house. In 1834 this 
business was extended, and a branch was established in 
Vicksburg, Tenn., which was successful until the 
financial panic of 1837. Shortly afterwards it was aban- 
doned. In 1834 their brothers, Henry and James F., 
began to manufacture the "American Lever Watch" 
in a shop erected for the purpose, north of their father's 
dwelling. The silver business of John 0. and Walter 
was soon moved to the same shop. Forty workmen 
were employed, and the products were sold principally at 
the store of the Pitkins, near Exchange Corner in Hart- 
ford. The watch business was later moved to New York. 
Nelson Pitkin Stratton, who learned the trade of making 
watches in this factory, went to Waltham, Mass., and 
was one of the organizers of the Waltham Watch Com- 
pany. The manufacture of silverware was continued 
in the building in East Hartford until it was destroyed 
by fire in 1880, although John O. retired from the business 
in 1840, which was continued by his brother Walter. Of 
another branch of the family, also of East Hartford 
origin, were Horace E. and William L. Pitkin. They 
were of much later date, and manufactured silverware 
in Hartford. 

Pitkin, Walter East Hartford 1808—1885 

See John O. Pitkin. 

Post, Samuel New London 1736 — 

Advertised 1783-84. Went South at the end of the 
eighteenth century and not heard of again. Perhaps 
was a partner of William Cleveland for a time. Silver is 
found in New London marked C & P. 

[107] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Potwine, John 1698—1792 

Boston, Hartford, East Windsor, and Coventry. 
Born in Boston, and followed his trade there until 1737. 
His shop was in Newbury Street. He followed his 
trade for a while in Hartford after 1737, and later ran 
a general merchandise store there and in East Windsor 
and Coventry. A great-great-grandson lives in Scantic, 
and preserves his account book and a number of relics 
connected with the old smith. His account book, dated 
principally in 1752, shows dealings with Daniel Hench- 
man, the silversmith of Boston. He died in Scantic, 
where for many years his son was pastor of the Congre- 
gational Church. See page 49. 

Pratt, Nathan Essex 1772—1842 

Son of Phineas Pratt, the silversmith. The Masonic 
jewels in the lodge-room in Essex were made by Nathan 
about the year 1811. 

Pratt, Nathan, Jr. Essex 1802— 

Son of Nathan Pratt, silversmith, of whom he learned the 
trade. Later devoted himself to the ivory comb business. 

Pratt, Phineas Westbrook and Lyme 1747—1813 

Born in Westbrook. Served in the Revolution. In 
1772 he advertised that his silversmith shop in Lyme 
was for sale. He was associated with David Bushnell, 
inventor of the "American Turtle," or first torpedo 
boat, giving him material assistance. The house in 
which Bushnell carried on his experiments is still stand- 
ing on Corban Point, Old Saybrook. In 1799 Pratt took 
out a patent for a machine he had invented for making 
ivory combs, the first invention of the kind, and the 
business resulting from it grew into a large industry. 
He had great mechanical talent. He was deacon of the 
Congregational Church in Westbrook. 

Pratt, Seth Lyme 1741—1802 

Served in the Revolution. 



Prince, Job Milford 

Born probably in Hull, Mass., about 1680. Died in 
Milford, c. 1703. See page 46. 

[108] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Quintard, Peter New York and Norwalk 1699—1762 
Son of Isaac Quintard and born in New York. He was 
registered there as freeman and goldsmith, 1731. Land 
was transferred to him in 1722 on south side of 
Maiden Lane, with a frontage of 21 feet. Moved to 
Norwalk about 1737. His inventory taken at his death 
gives the following items: all the goldsmith's tools, 
£35; 2 necklaces of gold beads, £5-12; 7 gold rings, 
£3-3; 2 pairs gold jewels, £1-2; 2 pairs silver buckles, 
£2-10; 6 silver spoons, £1-3; 2 sleeve buttons, £0-11; 
1 silver tongs, £0-3-9; 6 large silver spoons, £4-0-0; 
4 gold stone rings, £2-13-4; house lot, barn, and shop, 
£230-3. See page 50. 

Reed, Isaac Stamford 1746 — 

Born in New Canaan. He was living in Stamford in 
1776, and was making clocks, silverware, and jewelry. 
He was a Tory and was obliged to migrate to Nova 
Scotia during the war. Returned to Stamford about 
1790. 

Roath, Roswell Walsten Norwich 1805— 

In business in 1826, in which year advertised his shop 
as at the corner of Main and Shetucket Streets. Later 
moved to Denver, Col., where he died. 

Rockwell, Thomas Norwalk — 1795 

Inventory of his estate shows he was watchmaker and 
silversmith. 

Rogers, Joseph Newport, R.I., and Hartford — 1825 

Brother of Daniel Rogers, silversmith, of Newport: both ap- 
prentices and later partners of John Tanner of Newport. In 
1803 Joseph moved to Hartford. House and shop corner of 
Trumbull and Pratt Streets. Silver marked I R and J R 
has been found in Newport. 

Rogers, William Hartford 1801—1873 

Was apprenticed to Joseph Church. Became a partner 
in 1825. In 1828 was in business alone. About 1847 
began to manufacture plated spoons and forks. This 
venture grew into a large business, and with his brothers 
he later established the well-known trade- mark, 1847 
Rogers Bros. 

Russell, Jonathan Ashford 1770 — 

Advertised in 1804 that he was carrying on his business 
in the East Society of Ashford. 

[109] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Sadd, Hervey New Hartford 1776—1840 

Born in East Windsor. His old red house is still stand- 
ing. North of it, and situated near a brook whence he 
had water power, he built his shop. Here he made silver 
spoons and other articles, and later he established an iron 
foundry where he made stoves, pots, and kettles. In 
1829 he moved to Austinburg, Ohio, where he spent the 
remainder of his life. One of the silver communion cups 
belonging to the Congregational Church in East Hart- 
ford was made by Sadd. 

Sanford, Isaac Hartford 

An advertisement in 1785 states that the firm of Beach 
& Sanford has moved from Litchfield to Hartford, and 
proposes to carry on engraving, clock and watch making, 
and silversmithing. As early as 1783 and as late as 1822 
an Isaac Sanford was living in Hartford who was a 
miniature painter and engraver, and possibly the same 
man as the silversmith. In 1812 he was in England, 
where he was granted a patent for making tile. In 1824 
he was living in Providence, R.I. 

Sargeant, Jacob Mansfield and Hartford 1761 — 1843 
Born in Mansfield. About 1785 he moved to Hartford, 
and was successful in his business. It is said that Joseph 
Church learned his trade of Sargeant. His store and 
shop were at No. 10 State Street, next door to the old 
United States Hotel. The Directory of 1838 shows that 
he was located at 229 Main Street. He left a consider- 
able estate for the times. Clocks bearing his name 
are found in Connecticut. 

Shethar, Samuel Litchfield and New Haven 

In 1801 he was in business with Isaac Thomson in Litch- 
field. In 1806 he was in business in New Haven with 
Richard Gorham. He was probably living in Litchfield 
in 1810. 

Shethar & Gorham New Haven 

See above. 

Shethar & Thomson Litchfield 

See above. 

Shipman, Nathaniel Norwich 1764 — 1853 

Learned his trade of Thomas Harland. In 1790 he 
advertised for sale watches, clocks, and a general assort- 
ment of goldsmith's work. He was a representative from 
Norwich to the General Assembly many times, and was 
judge of the County Court and Probate Court. The 
late Judge Nathaniel Shipman was his grandson. 

[110] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Sibley, Clark New Haven 1778—1808 

Member of firm Sibley & Marble, 1801-06, situated on 

Church Street, next north of the location of Trinity 

Church at that time. 

Sibley & Marble New Haven 

See above. 

Silliman, Hezekiah New Haven 1738 — 

In 1767 Richard Cutler, Hezekiah Silliman & Ambrose 
Ward & Company advertised that "they are gold- 
smiths and jewellers in New Haven and beg leave to 
inform the publick that at their respective shops in 
said New Haven, they severally continue to do all sorts 
of Gold and Silver Work both large and small: likewise 
the Jewelling Business in all its Branches." 

Skinner, Elizer Hartford — 1858 

In 1826 advertised that his shop was at the head of 
Ferry Street. 

Smith, Ebenezer Brookfield 

Latter half of eighteenth century was working at his trade 
on Whiscomer Hill. 

Spencer, George Essex 1787—1878 

In 1801 he was apprenticed to Nathan Pratt "to learn 
the art and mystery of the trade of goldsmithing." After 
a time he gave up the trade and began to manufacture 
ivory combs in Deep River, in which he did a successful 
business. 

Spencer, James Hartford 

In 1793 bought the silversmith shop of Asa Loud. Prob- 
ably partner later of Frederick Oakes. 

Staniford, John Windham 

In business there late in the eighteenth century. 

Stanton, Daniel Stonington 1755—1781 

He served for a time during the Revolution on the priva- 
teer "Minerva," which captured the British merchant 
ship "Hannah." In his share of the prize was a beau- 
ful brocaded silk dress, which, on his return, he presented 
to his affianced bride as a wedding gift. They were 
expecting soon to be marriedj but death prevented. 
He was killed in the defense of Fort Griswold at Groton. 

Stanton, Enoch Stonington 1745—1781 

Killed in the defense of Fort Griswold at Groton. 

[HI] 






EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Stanton, Zebulon Stonington 1753—1828 

Brother of Enoch. His house, with shop in adjoining ell, 
is still standing. 

Stiles, Benjamin Woodbury 

See Curtiss, Candee & Stiles. 

Sutton, Robert New Haven 

In business early part of nineteenth century. 

Terry, Geer Enfield 1775—1858 

He was quite prominent in Enfield, being postmaster 
for a time and filling many offices of trust. For a while 
he lived in Worcester, Mass., where he continued to prac- 
tise his trade of silversmithing. He advertised in En- 
field in 1814. 

Thomson, Isaac Litchfield 

In February, 1801, he bought a house and lot sixty rods 
north of the Court House. 1801 — 1805 was in part- 
nership with Samuel Shethar. 

Tiley, James Hartford 1740—1792 

See page 61. 

Tompkins, Edmund Waterbury 1757 — 

Advertised in 1779. 

Tracy, Erastus Norwich and New London 1768 — 1795 
Advertised in Norwich in 1790. After 1792 moved to 
New London. Brother of Gurdon Tracy. 

Tracy, Gurdon New London 1767 — 1792 

Born in Norwich. Advertised there in 1787. In 1791 
he bought a plot of ground in New London, 20 x 14 feet, 
on which his shop stood. The inventory of his estate 
lists a number of silversmith's tools. He was brother 
of Erastus. 

Trott, John Proctor New London 1769—1852 

Son of Jonathan Trott. He was a man of prominence 
in the community. The output of his shop was con- 
siderable. Silver bearing his mark is frequently found 
in New London and vicinity, both hollow and flat ware. 
His house stood on the site of the present Mohican 
Hotel. His shop was on State Street, between No. 138 
and Bank Street. See page 75. 

[112] 






EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 

Trott, Jonathan 1730—1815 

Boston, Norwich, and New London 
The Connecticut Gazette, under date of January 2, 
1784, has the following: "Jonathan Trott, Innholder, 
Norwich, gives notice of the meeting of the New London 
County Medical Society, December 18th, 1783: meeting 
postponed by adjournment to January, 1784." For 
further notes on his life see page 75. 

Trott, Jonathan, Jr. New London 1771—1813 

Son of Jonathan Trott. In an advertisement in 1800 
he "informs the publick that he carries on the business 
of a Gold and Silversmith at his shop two doors north 
of J. & A. Woodward's, Beach Street." See page 75. 

Trott & Brooks New London 

Advertised in 1798. See John Proctor Trott. 

Trott & Cleveland New London 

Advertised in 1792. See John Proctor Trott and Wil- 
liam Cleveland. 

Tuttle, Bethuel New Haven 1779—1813 

Member of firm Merriman & Tuttle, 1802-1806. 
1806-1813, member of firm Marcus Merriman & Co. 

Tuttle, William New Haven and Suffield 1800—1849 
Son of Bethuel. Some time before his death he moved 
to Suffield. 

Ufford & Burdick New Haven 

Advertised in 1814. See William S. Burdick. 

Walworth, Daniel Middletown 1760—1830 

Born in Groton. He advertised in 1785 and subse- 
quently. 

Ward, Ambrose New Haven 1735—1808 

See Hezekiah Silliman. 
Ward, Billious Guilford 1729—1777 

See page 69. 
Ward, James Hartford 1768—1856 

See page 60. 

Ward & Bartholomew Hartford 

1804-09. See James Ward and Roswell Bartholomew. 

[113] 




EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Ward, Bartholomew & Brainard Hartford 
1809-1830. See above and Charles Brainard. 

Ward, John Middletown 

Advertised in 1805 that he had "taken the shop formerly- 
occupied by Judah Hart where he will carry on gold and 
silversmithing in all its branches." Later formed a 
partnership with Edmund Hughes under name of 

Ward & Hughes Dissolved 1806. 

Born Died 

Ward, Timothy Middletown 1742—1768 

Son of Captain James Ward. See page 64. 

Ward, William Litchfield 1736—1826 

Born in New Haven. 

Ward, William Guilford 1705—1761 

Father of Billious Ward. Blacksmith and silversmith. 
The inventory of his estate shows that he owned tools 
for working in iron and other metals. Rat-tailed spoons 
have been found in Guilford and vicinity marked W. W. 
and W. WARD. 

Wardin, Daniel Bridgeport 

Advertised in 1811. 
Welles, Andrew Hebron 1783—1860 

He bore the title of General. The writer owns a number 

of his silversmith's tools. 

Wells, William Hartford 1766— 

His name appears as silversmith in Directory for 1828. 

White, Amos East Haddam and Meriden 1745—1825 
Silversmith and sea-captain. Served in the Revolution. 
The latter part of his life was spent in Meriden. 

White, Peregrine Woodstock 1747—1834 

Bought land in Woodstock in 1774 for purposes of clock- 
making. He also made silver spoons. A number of 
fine clocks bearing his name as maker have been found 
in southern New England. 

White, Peter Norwalk 1718—1803 

Built a silversmith shop in 1738. 
Whiting, Charles Norwich 1725—1865 

He built a shop in Norwich about 1750. 

[114] 



EARLY SILVER OF CONNECTICUT AND ITS MAKERS 

Born Died 
Willcox, Alvan Norwich and New Haven 1783—1865 

Born in Berlin. For two or three years, viz., 1805-07, 
he was a member of firm Hart & Willcox. For a while 
he lived in New Jersey. In 1824 he was living in New 
Haven, and his shop was at southwest corner of Church 
and Chapel Streets, where a number of early silver- 
smiths were located before him and E. Benjamin sub- 
sequently. His name appears in New Haven Directory 
for 1841 — first issued — as silver-worker, in 1850 as gold 
and silver thimble and spectacle maker, and in 1857 he 
is called a "silver-plater." 

Willcox, Cyprian New Haven 1795—1875 

Brother of Alvan. Born in Berlin. In 1827 he was a 
silversmith in New Haven. Later he was an iron founder, 
at one time at the foot of Whitney Avenue and later on 
North State Street, not far from East Rock. The late 
H. B. Bigelow succeeded to his iron business. For 
several years he was First Selectman of New Haven, 
and during the years 1855-56-57 he was Judge of Pro- 
bate. He died in Ithaca, N.Y. 

Williams, Deodat Hartford —1781 

In 1776 he advertised "has set up his business in a room 
under the Printing Office where he makes and sells Ladies' 
Necklaces, Lockets, Ear Rings and Hair Sprigs, Silver 
Shoe and Kneebuckles, Stock Buckles, Stone Shoe But- 
tons, Stone and Silver Broaches and a variety of other 
articles. Officers Silver Mounted Hangers with either 
lions, eagles, painters or plain heads, etc.'* 

Wilmot, Samuel New Haven 1777—1846 

He advertised in 1808. In 1800 an advertisement states 
he is a member of the firm. 

Wilmot & Stillman New Haven 

Woodward, Antipas Middletown 1763 — 

See page 65. 

Yeomans, Elijah Hartford 1738—1794 

Born in Tolland. Advertised in Hartford, 1794. 

Young, Ebenezer Hebron 

He advertised in 1778-80. 

Young, Levi Bridgeport 

He advertised in 1827 as opposite the shop of Peck & 
Porter on Water Street. 

[1151 




u 



NOTE 

The writer wishes to express his 
appreciation to those who have sent 
him the names of many early Con- 
necticut silversmiths in the alphabet- 
ical list. His thanks are particularly 
due to Mrs. ElishaEdgerton Rogers, 
of Norwich, and Mrs. C. H. 
Brush, of Danbury, who have ren- 
dered great help in discovering the 
names of early craftsmen in 
the eastern and western parts of 
the state respectively. 




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Jewels owned by St. John's Lodge, F. & A. Masons, Middle- 
town. Made by Charles Brewer about 1812 



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Jewels owned by St. John's Lodge, F. & A. Masons, Hartford. 
Made by Samuel Rockwell and James Tiley 




Jewels owned by Mt. Olive Lodge, F. & A. Masons, Essex. 
Made by Nathan Pratt about 1811 

Plate xxxiii. 




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Connecticut 

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