GEORGE S. CROSBY

BIOGRAPHY

AS RECORDED IN:

COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF 
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND REPRESENTATIVE  CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  886 

GEORGE S. CROSBY,  judge of probate for the town of Thompson, Windham county, and a citizen who has held an honored place among the respected business men of that locality for many years, comes from an ancestry to which undoubtedly he owes many of his sterling characteristics.  However he deserves the sole credit for their development, and his fellow citizens esteem him accordingly.

(I)               Simon Crosby, the founder of this family in the new world, settled in Cambridge in 1635, with his wife, Ann, and one son, Thomas.  At his death, in 1639, he left three sons, of whom the eldest, Thomas, was graduated from Harvard in 1653, and entered the ministry.  Simon, born in August, 1637, is next in line of descent.  Joseph, the third son, was born in February, 1639.  The estate of Simon Crosby, the settler, after several conveyances passed in 1707 to Rev. William Brattle.  This land is now partly occupied by the “Brattle House.”

(II)            Simon Crosby (2), son of Simon, born in August, 1637, married July 15, 1659, Rachel, daughter of Richard Brackett.  Their children were:  Rachel, born Aug. 20, 1660;  Simon;  Thomas, March 10, 1666;  Joseph, March 5, 1669;  Hannah, March 30, 1672;  Nathan, Feb. 9, 1675;  Josiah, Nov. 11, 1677;  Mary, Nov. 23, 1680;  Sarah, July 27, 1684.

(III)         Nathan Crosby, son of Simon (2), born Feb. 9, 1675, was the next in line of descent.

(IV)         Nathaniel Crosby, son of Nathan, born Aug. 31, 1699, died in 1770.  In February, 1721, he married.  His wife, Hepzibah, was born in Feb., 1699, and died in Oct. 1771.  Their children, according to record of birth or baptism, were as follows:  Jean, born Dec. 26, 1723, died unmarried in 1788.  Nathaniel, born in 1729, died unmarried in 1774.  Richard, baptized March 14, 1731, died young.  Stephen, born Jan. 5, 1734, died Sept. 15, 1776.  Jonathan was baptized May 8, 1737.  Richard was baptized July 17, 1740.  Soon after his marriage Nathaniel Crosby removed to Connecticut, buying land of Sampson Howe on each side of French river near the present site of Grosvenor Dale.  Mrs. Crosby united with the Killingly Church in 1728.  Mr. Crosby assisted in building the meeting-house in Thompson parish, and united with the church in 1731.  He was not active in town or church affairs but was nevertheless reckoned among the substantial inhabitants.  The first school district of that section, “both sides of French river from Nathaniel Mills’ to Ebenezer Prince’s,” was known as Nathaniel Crosby’s.  Only one of his children married – a remarkable record for those days.  All were intelligent and active in the community.  Jean Crosby was one of the thirteen young women who begged the privilege of building “a pew upon the women’s side gallery” for their own accommodation.  Stephen also joined in building a pew “ where the hind seat is in the men’s side gallery.”  The mechanical ingenuity for which this family has been noted was manifested in Nathaniel, specimens of whose handiwork are still in evidence.  Richard, the youngest, was in active service during the Revolutionary was, first enlisting in 1775 in Capt. Elliott’s Company; Putnam’s Regiment.  He was on duty at Bunker Hill, in 1776 he was a private in his brother’s company, New York; and in 1780 served six months in the Connecticut line.

(V)            Stephen Crosby, son of Nathaniel, born Jan. 5, 1734, was the ancestor of all the Thompson Crosbys.  On Feb. 16, 1755, he married Hannah, daughter of Francis Carroll, and their children were:  (1) Elijah, born May 19, 1756, died Aug. 16, 1831;  (2) Sarah, born Dec. 4, 1758, died Aug. 24, 1758;  (3) Sybil, born March 8, 1760, married Capt. William Russel, and died in 1829;  (4) Pearson, born Feb. 14, 1763, died Sept. 19, 1829;  (5) Betty, born Oct. 16, 1765, married David White in 1781, and died April 27, 1785; they had one child.  (6) Hannah, born Aug. 16, 1768, married Jotham Johnson Oct. 4, 1787, and died in 1843.  (7) Stephen, born Oct. 9, 1772, married Susanna Johnson, and died Sept. 15, 1849.  (8) Sarah, born Nov. 20, 1776, married Capt. Wyman Carroll, and died in 1854.

Stephen Crosby went out as a sergeant of Capt. Elliott’s Company at the Lexington alarm in 1775.  That he was a man of unquestioned standing in the town is indicated by the fact that he was elected first representative of the town of Killingly in 1776 – at a crisis when only the strongest men were placed in responsible positions.  In June, 1776, he was commissioned captain in Wadsworth’s Brigade, 3d Regiment, Comfort Sage, Colonel, and after three months’ arduous service he died, at the head of his company, on the retreat from New York, Sept. 15, 1776.  His widow married, May 8, 1783, Jacob Mascraft, of Woodstock.  She died at the home of her son Pearson, Dec. 27, 1813.

(VI)  Elijah Crosby, eldest son of Stephen, assumed the care of the farm and family after the death of his father.  He went out with the militia after the New London Alarm.  Like his father he was active in public affairs, and he was one of seventy-eight citizens to whom the freeman’s oath was administered June 21, 1785, at Thompson’s first town meeting.  He was one of the first to take advantage of the “Thompson Land,” in 1803, buying 300 acres for $4,461.  This land was east of Fort Hill, extending from the land of John and Nathaniel Mills to Alpheus Russell’s (the Horace Bixby farm). Mr. Crosby’s house, which occupied what is now the site of the residence of Joseph Mills,  was one of the original “Thompson Houses,” built by the English proprietor for whom Thompson was named.  Elijah Crosby was very active in promoting the Providence turnpike, which passed through his farm, and served as chairman of the Thompson Turnpike Company which had the enterprise in hand and carried it through to completion.  Mr. Crosby was also deeply interest in church affairs, serving on the building committee of the meeting-house, which was completed in 1817.  On Dec. 27, 1781, Elijah Crosby married Celia, daughter of Capt. Isaacher Bates.  Of their children, Charles is mentioned below.  Stephen served in the ministry at Penn Yan, N.Y. (his son Elijah studied medicine and moved to Ohio).  Caleb married in Thompson, and his son, Deacon Elijah Crosby, lived there until a few years ago.  Susea, Mrs. Barber, also lived in the village of Thompson and with her the mother passed her closing years.

(VII)      Charles Crosby, the eldest son of Elijah, became the head of the family in his declining years.  He bought a part of his father’s land and farmed what is now known as the David Day farm which he occupied for thirty years.  He assumed the care of the Crosby interests in the Providence Turnpike, was prominent in church affairs, assisted his younger brothers Stephen and Elijah to gain a professional education, and reared five daughters and one son.  He served in the war of 1812.  In March, 1805, he married (first) Hannah Elliott, who died leaving one daughter, who married John Thayer, and is now living in Hammond, Wis.  In February, 1810, Charles Crosby married Abigail Fairbanks, who became the mother of six children:  The two eldest daughters, Rachel and Abigail, married two brothers, Hiram and Dennis Wakefield, of Thompson, and moved to Morenci, Mich.  Rachel left one daughter, and Abigail left a son, Charles Crosby Wakefield, a well-known landowner and banker of southern Michigan.  Simeon, the only son of Charles, died at the age of twenty-seven, two years after the family removed to the West.  Jane, the third daughter, married Thomas Sweet, of Fredonia.  Two children survive her, Crosby and Jane Sweet, now living in Pioneer, Ohio.  Susan, the fourth daughter, married Alexander Blake, and settled in Grand Rapids, Mich.  They had four daughters, three of whom are still living there.  Mary, the youngest, is the wife of George H. Nichols, of Thompson.  In 1837 Charles Crosby sold his farm to David Day, Sr., and moved West with his family, locating in Ypsilanti, Mich., where he and his son, Simeon, died in August, 1839.

(VI)         Pearson Crosby, second son of Capt. Stephen, served with the militia during the Revolution.  He was converted at an early age uniting with the Baptist congregation centering at Brandy Hill, served as deacon and clerk of that society, and was ordained as its pastor Nov. 8, 1798.  He has left a very interesting report of the great revival of 1815.  He was a man of more than ordinary ability and eloquence, and had the reputation of being especially gifted on the occasion of funerals.  After a successful pastorate of twenty years he followed his children to Fredonia, N.Y.  On Dec. 10, 1782, Rev. Pearson Crosby married Hannah, daughter of Capt. Isaacher Bates.  Their sons, Nathaniel and Pearson, moved West, and left numerous descendants.  Their daughters also removed from the town.  Their daughter Betsey married a Mr. Hill.

(VI)         Stephen Crosby, son of Capt. Stephen, born Oct. 9, 1772, removed with his mother to Woodstock, where he learned the clothiers’ business with his stepfather.  Thence removing to Masonville, he carried on fulling and gristmills, and became a well known man in that community, held in the highest esteem.  He was prominently identified with the Baptist Church, with which he united during the great revival in 1815, and was chosen deacon, which office he filled until his death with great fidelity and general acceptance.  In 1836 he assisted in the erection of the Central Baptist Church.  On Nov. 29, 1792, Mr. Crosby married Susanna Johnson and they had three sons:  Talcott, born June 23, 1794, died Nov. 16, 1795;  Talcott, born Aug. 24, 1796, died Dec. 8, 1870; and Stephen, born April 27, 1802, died Nov. 29, 1884.

(VII)      Stephen Crosby, son of Stephen, born April 27, 1802, in Masonville, passed his boyhood at Grosvenor Dale, and was twenty-four or twenty-five years of age when he moved to Thompson.  He had no advantages but those afforded by the district schools of his time.  He taught school in New Boston, and one or two terms elsewhere.  He was a man well informed on all current events.  When he moved to Thompson Hill he engaged in farming with his father, and there remained until the spring of 1844, when he purchased the Alpheus Russel farm on which he lived for ten years.  He then came back to the hill and for three or four years was not engaged in any business.  In 1858 he bought the old “Styles Tavern,” which is one of the most interesting buildings in Thompson.  In August, 1859, Mr. Crosby opened this hotel, having in the meantime bought the mail route of Mortimer Cook, and continued at these two occupations until his death, which occurred Nov. 29, 1884.  The mail route was to West Thompson depot, the New England Railroad not being built.  Mr. Crosby was a successful man in business.  Politically he was a  Democrat, and as such was elected to a number of town offices which he filled with rare fidelity.  He was a justice of the peace and selectman in the year that Putnam was set off – in 1855 or 1856 – and also assessor.  The settlement of estates was often intrusted to him, and he settled many.

Stephen Crosby married, in 1829, Susan Mason Larned, daughter of George Larned, whose wife’s maiden name was Brown.  She died April 18, 1849, the mother of three children as follows:  Anna D.B., who died March 13, 1889, married Jonathan Nichols.  John, died when five years of age.  George Stephen is mentioned below.

(VIII)   George Stephen Crosby was born Feb. 17, 1844, in what is now the Lewis house, located in Thompson village. He acquired most of his education in the public schools of Thompson, attending part of the time in Quaddick and then for four years in Thompson Village, and in the private school of Mr. Rawson, Henry Parker being the principal.  He attended school regularly until he was fifteen years old, and then after his father went into the hotel business he went only two winters.  He was an apt pupil and gained a good education for his time.  From 1859 to 1865 Mr. Crosby worked for his father, receiving only his board and clothes.  After he was twenty-one his father took him into the business and the partnership continued until the father’s death in 1884.  This partnership was an equal one, George S. having a half ownership.  During the time of the partnership he and his father built up a large summer boarding business, in which they were very successful.  In April, 1886, Mr. Crosby sold the hotel to Mr. Chapin.  In 1884 he purchased one half of the Talcott Crosby farm from the estate of Jerome Crosby and erected upon it the present buildings.  On Jan. 27, 1894, he bought the last half, from the estate of Joseph Crosby, a brother of Jerome and son of Talcott.  The farm consists of fifty acres, and Mr. Crosby has another tract of twelve acres.

Judge Crosby has been a Democrat, but not a Bryan man, and he is not zealously partisan.  In 1902 he was elected judge of probate of the town of Thompson, receiving a nice majority in a Republican town.  In this instance it was literally a case of the office seeking the man.  In a town like Thompson the office is a responsible one because of the large estates to be settled.  Judge Crosby was assessor for one year, and has always taken quite an active interest in public affairs.  Judge Crosby was a director in the Thompson National Bank for a number of years, and he was an incorporator of the Thompson Dime Savings Bank.

On Oct. 29, 1879, George Stephen Crosby married Mary Bailey Jacobs, daughter of Joseph D. and Sarah (Carroll) Jacobs, of Thompson.  This union was blessed with two children, viz.:  Sarah Carroll, born Feb. 16, 1882; and Mary Larned, born Nov. 8, 1884, who died April 7, 1885.  Sarah Carroll graduated from the Boston high school and the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, and is now engaged as a teacher of physical culture in the public schools of Northampton, Mass.  Judge Crosby is a member of the Congregational Church of Thompson and for many years has been quite active in church work.  He was made a deacon in the church in 1892.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel – great-great granddaughter of Cyrus White of Rockville, Ct.

 

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