PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  981

GILBERT POTTER BABCOCK. Mention of the Babcock family is made in the earliest history of New England. James Babcock, the founder of the family in the United States, changed the family name at the time of his coming to these shores, it having been “Badcock” before that day. This old Puritan was born in Essex, England, in 1580, and in 1620 accompanied the Pilgrims to Leyden, Holland, and later to this country. He crossed the ocean in the ship “Anne” in 1623, and arrived at Plymouth, Mass., in July, where he spent the remaining years of his life. Mr. Babcock was a member of the most venerable body of men the world has ever known, men of profound spiritual illumination, and a most vital sense of dependence on an over-ruling Providence; and among them he occupied a very honorable place.

James Babcock brought with him to these shores four children, who were born in England from 1612 to 1620, James, John, Job and Mary. Mr. Babcock contracted a second marriage in Plymouth about 1650 and became the father of one son, Joseph, by his second wife. The four older children, already noted, remained with their father in Plymouth, but the youngest son, Joseph, removed to Saybrook, Conn., where he made settlement.

John Babcock, the second son, later settled in Rhode Island, in that section which is known as Westerly, about 1648, and there he died in 1719, when over one hundred years of age. At the time of his death he left ten children, and their descendants at the present time number over 5,000. The first magistrate in Westerly, he held that office many years. Nearly all Westerly, and much of South Kingston belonged to him, and much of this land is now in the hands of his descendants, two hundred years after his death.

Nearly all the offices of the town within the gift of the people, were filled by him or his family for many years. Joshua Babcock, born in 1707, and deceased in 1783, was a noted man in his time. As a physician he excelled in his profession, and his christian character was worthy of all imitation. The descendants of the Babcock family are found among the earliest pioneers of the far West. The name is found in the annals of the Revolution, and many Babcocks have died on the field of honor, making their lives a sacrifice on the altar of their patriotic devotion.

Henry Babcock, born in 1736, was a colonel in the English service prior to the Revolution, and was wounded at the battle of Ticonderoga in the French war. In the Revolution he was “General of the State Troops of Rhode Island,” and distinguished himself on many occasions. Oliver Babcock, another distinguished member of this family was a captain in the Revolutionary army, and was at the siege of Fort Washington, becoming so indignant at its surrender that he broke his sword across a cannon, with the declaration that it should never be yielded to the British.

Simeon Babcock, great grandfather of Gilbert P., lived in Columbia, Conn., where he died, having been the father of seven boys and seven girls. When he died in 1852, he was ninety-four years of age.

Stanton Babcock, the grandfather of Gilbert P., was born in Westerly, R.I., was bred a farmer, and came to Connecticut when a young man. Almira Robertson, of Coventry, became his wife and bore him the following children: Janes M.; Horatio; Gurdon; Stanton.

Janes Maxwell Babcock, the father of Gilbert Potter, was born Feb. 14, 1820, in Coventry, Conn., and died April 18, 1895, in Vernon, Conn. Bred to a farming life, he followed that calling all his active years. In 1858, he removed from Coventry to Tolland, where he combined farming and lumbering until 1870. That year he settled in Vernon, where he made a specialty of tobacco raising. In 1892 he gave up farm work on account of old age. It was in 1872 that he went to California, and for a time had a dairy of a hundred cows at Cape Mendocino, in Humboldt county, spending seven years all told in that State. Always a strong Republican, he was a selectman in Coventry for several terms and represented that town in the General Assembly in 1857, and at different times held many town offices. In Tolland he was first selectman several terms, and was county commissioner four years, the last year being chairman of the board. His services as justice of the peace in Tolland were highly creditable to him. In 1847 he was married to Levica Huvey, who was born in 1826, in Mansfield, Conn., a daughter of Alvia Huvey. She died in 1856. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Janes M. Babcock were as follows: Maryette, born May 30, 1848, who married Alford Harvey, of Ashford, and is now living in Scranton, Pa.; Gilbert P.; Jennie Minerva, who died at the age of twenty years.

Gilbert P. Babcock was born in Columbia, Conn., Jan. 2, 1850, but when he was only two years of age his parents removed to Willimantic, and two years later to Coventry. In 1858 he came to Tolland, where he received his education, both at the public school, and at a select school taught by Prof. Fred Lilley, of Coventry. Mr. Babcock left school when he reached the age of seventeen years, and engaged in farming, a business he followed until 1874, when he went to Scranton, Pa., where he became an engineer, having a stationary engine in charge for several months, and then becoming a fireman on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. In 1881 he left railroad work, and came back to Vernon, Conn., where he bought the Blinn mill of Charles Underwood, operating both the grist and saw mill for sixteen years. At the end of that time he sold out to George M. Cox, and returned to his Tolland farm, a place of a hundred acres, with a fine grove of thirty-five acres of peach trees. While engaged in the Vernon mill, Mr. Babcock dealt in lumber, and did custom work for the public. He was appointed deputy jailer of Tolland county, June 1, 1899, acting under Sheriff A.P. Dickinson.

Mr. Babcock belongs to the Grange, an institution in which he has always taken an active part, having been a charter member of Vernon Grange, No. 52, of which he has been steward, overseer, and for three years a trustee. Mr. Babcock attends the Tolland Congregational Church, and in politics is an ardent Republican. In 1897 and in 1898 he was first selectman. In 1898 he was defeated for representative by only four votes, running ahead of his ticket eighteen votes.

Mr. Babcock was married Oct. 22, 1873, to Inez Brown, who was born in Tolland, a daughter of James A. and Frances E. (Kimball) Brown. To this union have come the following children: Frank Gilbert, born July 22, 1875, a graduate as a mining engineer from the school of Technology at Boston, class of 1903; Harry Janes, born July 27, 1877, who entered Yale in 1902 to study sanitary engineering; Elliot Kimball, born March 27, 1896.

Mrs. Lurancy Hall, born Lurancy Huvey, a daughter of Alvia Huvey, and a sister of the mother of Mr. Babcock, is the widow of Egbert Hall, of Willimantic, and is now an inmate of the home of Mr. Babcock, with whom she has lived for twelve years. Mrs. Hall took care of Mr. Babcock in his early childhood after the death of his mother, and has indeed been a mother to him and his sisters.

Reproduced by:  Linda D. Pingel


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