PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  435

HON. WILLIAM AUGUSTUS AGARD.  Few men in Tolland county, Conn., have come so rapidly to the front in public affairs as has Hon. William Augustus Agard, one of the representative citizens of this part of the State 

Mr. Agard comes of honorable ancestry.  His grandfather, Nathan Agard, who was born in 1778, married Hannah Hall, this family also being a distinguished one in New England history.

Ransel Hall Agard, the father of our subject, was born Jan. 9, 1815, in Stafford, Tolland Co., Conn., and during his early youth, attended the common schools in his neighborhood.  Then for two terms he was a student at Wilbraham Academy, leaving there at the age of twenty to engage in teaching.  After following this profession for some three years, he and his brother Isaac, went to Marshall, Mich., where the latter bought a large farm, and he engaged in teaching school for several years.  Upon his return to the East, Mr. Agard taught school for two years in Stafford.  In 1844, in partnership with a party by the name of Woodruff, Mr. Agard opened up a grocery business on Asylum street in Hartford.  Several years later the firm name was changed to Sumner & Agard, his brother-in-law, William Sumner, having become his partner.  The business prospered and a few years after, Mr. Agard became the sole proprietor.  Then he rented his business property in Hartford and bought a store in Vernon, Conn.; in 1866 he removed a stock of goods from Hartford, and until 1871 conducted the largest general store in Vernon.  At that time he sold the business and settled in Tolland, retiring from activity and spending his last days in comfort and enjoyment in his pleasant  home, dying here on Jan. 27, 1889.  Mr. Agard was a staunch Republican, having borne testimony all his life in favor of the abolition of slavery.  No inducement could be offered to cause him to accept political office, although he supported the standard bearers of his party with characteristic vigor.  In the Methodist Church he was a leader, and was one of its faithful stewards at the time of his death.

On May 3, 1846, Mr. Agard was married to Maria A. Sumner, who was born March 26, 1819, and who died May 25, 1898.  She was a daughter of Deacon William A. and Anna (Washburn) Sumner, of Hebron, Conn.  The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Agard were:  William A.;  Edwin Sumner, who was born Nov. 12, 1851, in Hartford; and two that died young.

William Augustus Agard was born in Hartford, Conn., Dec. 13, 1848.  Here he attended the excellent common schools and later entered the high school, one and one-half years later taking an academic course in the East Greenwich Academy, at East Greenwich, RI, graduating with honors from this noted school in 1869, at the age of twenty years.  Until the next year Mr. Agard remained at home, going then to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was called to become the bookkeeper for William Sumner & Co., who were in the sewing machine business, and with this firm his pleasant and profitable connection lasted until 1875.  That year he resigned and in September, 1876, he accepted the position of secretary of the Capital City Gas Light Co., of Des Moines, Iowa, of which four years later he was made superintendent and general manager, which position he filled until 1887.  Resigning this responsible position, Mr. Agard then returned to his Connecticut home where he remained for two years.  In 1889 he was elected to the position of manager of the Underwood Manufacturing Co., of Tolland, Conn., the business being the manufacture of belts and belting.  This company is now known to the commercial and industrial world as the William Sumner Belting Co., of which Mr. Agard has been the president since its formation, in 1898.

On Sept. 15, 1874, Mr. Agard was married to Miss Catherine Bissell, a daughter of Sanford Bissell, of South Windsor, and the children born to this marriage are:  M. Lucille is at home;  Katherine M. is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.;  William H., connected with Ames & Co., of Jersey City, manufacturers of railroad supplies, resides in New York; and Marian B., graduated at Mt. Holyoke in 1902.  Mr. Agard is one of the leading men of Tolland, and is President of the Savings Bank of Tolland, being elected to that position in 1902, and he is financially interested in many lines.  For many years he had been a leader in the Congregational Church and since 1896, has been one of its deacons, and is also a member of the Society’s committee of this church.  In politics he has been a life-long Republican, but has declined political honors for many years, serving now only on the school board.

Reproduced by:  Linda D. Pingel

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