NATHAN EXLEY

& THE BABCOCK FAMILY & THE MAIN FAMILY

 

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.  841-843

NATHAN EXLEY,  a prosperous farmer and influential citizen residing on North Society street, Canterbury, Windham county, is of English descent.

Nathan Exley's father, Nathan Exley, was born in Holmforth Yorkshire, England, Sept. 26, 1818.  He learned the trade of hand loom woolen weaver, at which he later secured employment, working a loom in his own home.  In 1854 Mr. Exley came to America.  Being a man of energy, well equipped for life, he readily found employment; first at Lawrence, Mass., where he remained a year, and later in Woonsocket, R.I.  He married in England Mary Fenton.  About a year after his arrival in this country she, at his request, set sail with her children.  The ship making unusually slow progress - requiring six weeks for the voyage - the food supply ran short; and Mrs. Exley denying herself for the sake of her children, finally sickened and died and was buried at sea.  Mr. Exley later married Mary Bentley, and after her death, which occurred in about a year, he was married in Woodstock, by the Episcopal minister in September, 1856, to Jennette Ridell.  Mr. Exley's third wife was born in Glasgow, Scotland, Sept. 27, 1829; she died in Plainville, now Woodville, R.I., in September, 1872, at the age of forty-three, and is buried in the River Bend Cemetery, at Westerly.

By his first marriage Mr. Exley had five children:  (1) Thomas B., a farmer, born Feb. 8, 1842, married Mattie Morris and lives in Weir City, Kansas.  They have six children:  Mary, Amelia, Ira, Grover, Grace, and Angeline.  (2) Lydia, born Feb. 20, 1845, married William Morgan (deceased) of Westerly, R.I., and has five children:  Mary, George, William and twins, John and Nathan.  (3) Amelia, born April 28, 1847, married John Bedford, an Englishman, and lives in Arlington, R.I.  They have one child, Mary.  (4) John, born Oct. 28, 1848, lives at Norwich, Conn.  (5) Ira, born April 15, 1852, married Sarah Thorp, and resides at Potter Hill, R.I.  They have one child, Frederick.  By his last marriage Mr. Exley had six children:  (1) Ann Janette, born June 17, 1858, married Samuel Wibberley.  (2) Matthew Henry, April 22, 1860, married Mary Mahoney and lives in Versailles, Conn.  He has four children, Mary, Albert, Matthew and Alice.  (3) William, born Sept. 20, 1862, died at the age of two and a half years.  (4) Nathan is mentioned below.  (5) Albert, born May 30, 1867, married, in Oct., 1897, Callia Babcock, and lives at New London, Conn.  They have two children, Bertha E., born Nov. 20, 1898, and Clarice Callia, born Nov. 10, 1900.  (6) Alexander, born Aug. 28, 1872, died Sept. 1, 1872.

For over twenty years after coming to Woonsocket, R.I., Mr. Exley followed his trade as a weaver; about four years at Millville, Mass., another four years at Westerly, R.I., three years in Carolina Mills, four years at Plainville, R.I., and six years at Greeneville, now a part of Norwich, Conn.  In 1880 he came to Canterbury and purchased the farm now occupied by his son Nathan, and here he engaged in farming until his death, which occurred April 19, 1890.  He is buried in the River Bend Cemetery at Westerly, R.I.  As a thoroughly competent and industrious workman Mr. Exley won the esteem of all who knew him.  He belonged to the Episcopal Church and endeavored conscientiously to follow its teachings.  In politics a Republican, he evinced a keen interest in public affairs.

Nathan Exley (2) was born in Westerly, R.I., Jan. 5, 1866, but spent most of his boyhood days in Norwich, Conn., where he attended the graded schools for many years.  When he was fourteen years old the family moved to Canterbury and he there attended the district schools for some time.  On April 25, 1889, he married Anna Evenor Babcock, who was born Jan. 16, 1867, daughter of William S. Babcock, who is mentioned below.  Mr. And Mrs. Exley have four children:  William Stuart, born Jan. 14, 1891;  Edith Main, Sept. 18, 1893;  Florence Ridell, Sept. 27, 1896; and Lucius Morgan, Sept. 1, 1901.

Mr. Exley has for years carried on the family homestead, making a thorough success of general farming and dairying.  As a man keenly interested in the diffusion of knowledge, he is a member of the board of education.  He has also served on the grand jury and the board of relief.  Socially and religiously he is well known.  He attends the Congregational Church and has belonged to the Grange.

THE BABCOCK FAMILY  to which Mrs. Exley belongs is one of considerable prominence, has possessed a coat of arms and has been represented in this country since early Colonial days.  Three brothers - James, Jesse and Nathaniel Babcock - came from England and landed at Newport, R.I.  Nathaniel, hearing that Stonington, Conn., offered excellent prospects for settlement, hired in Moosup a very powerful Indian, Moosuck, to carry him to that place.  This feat the Indian accomplished by the aid of a stick basket, strapped to his shoulders.  Little is known of the other ancestors preceding Nathaniel Babcock, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Exley.  He married Mary Laricon, who was very well to do, owning real estate, now in possession of her great-great-grandchildren.  Of this union there were three children:  Jonas L., who was drafted to serve in the Revolution, fought under Washington, and was killed at the battle of White Plains;  Stephen H., who is mentioned below; and Mary.

Stephen H. Babcock, the grandfather of Mrs. Exley, was born in North Stonington, Conn., June 13, 1765, and there received the training for his life work.  He also made his home in that place for most of his mature life.  He engaged in farming extensively, and also carried on a lumbering business, getting out and selling timber for ship building.  Stephen H. Babcock was married three times.  First to Mary Hinckley; after her death to Elizabeth Stuart, who was born in Voluntown, Conn.; and later, Sept. 7, 1808, to Mercy Davis, who was born in North Stonington, Conn., March 16, 1782.  By the first marriage there were four children:  (1) Eunice, married Ethan Crandall, and had three children:  Wealthy, Nancy and Caroline.  Mrs. Crandall died in her eighty-first year.  (2) Stephen, Jr. (died in his seventy-eighth year), married Amy Bentley and had four children:  Mary Ann, Frank W., Ira B., and Lucy G.  (3) Samuel H. (died at the age of seventy-three), married Caroline Slanton and had four children:  Samuel A.;  Daniel H. (died at the age of twenty-one);  Horace S.; and Albert Clinton, who enlisted in the Civil war, but died before he reached the front.  (4) Henry (died in his seventy-sixth year), married Mary Ross and had two daughters.  By the second marriage there was one child, (5) Elizabeth.  An infant when her mother died, she grew to womanhood and married Cyrus W. Brown, and they had ten children:  Emily, Cyrus, Gideon, Louisa, Benadam, William, Thomas, James, John and Sarah.  By the third marriage there were six children:  (6) Charles D., married Betsey Richmond.  He left no children.  (7) Nathaniel S., born March 7, 1813, never married and lived to an advanced age.  (8) Mercy Ann, born Dec. 3, 1814, married Thomas M. Brown and they had four children:  Thomas H., William E., Herman C., and Stephen E.  Mrs. Brown died when Stephen was an infant.  (9) John D., born Feb. 5, 1817, married Harriet D. Bentley, and after her death Eunice Ann Main, of North Stonington.  By the first marriage there were two children:  Susan H., and John R.  By the second marriage there were four children:  William P., Wealthy E., Abbie L., and Betsy A.  (10) Jonas L. (born Nov. 8, 1818, died April 21, 1855) married Abbie C. Stanton, and had one son, Edwin L., who died in childhood.  (11) William Stuart is mentioned below.

Hon. William Stuart Babcock, father of Mrs. Exley, for many years a prominent citizen of Plainfield, Conn., was a man of rare attainments and considerable genius.  He was born March 22, 1822, and attended the district and select schools of North Stonington, where his alert mind and studious habits enabled him to acquire a very thorough education.  So ambitious was he that as a young man he taught school in winter and worked on the farm in summer.  He later made farming the main business of his life.  On Oct. 4, 1859, he married at North Stonington, Conn., Frances E. Main, and they had six children, born as follows:  (1) William Payson, born Feb. 5, 1862; he married May 11, 1892, Gracie A. Green, and they have three children:  Frances Eva, Lillian Carrie, and William Edwin (born Nov. 3, 1901).  (2) Nella, July 28, 1865; she married, Jan. 1, 1890, George L. Bradford, who is mention more fully elsewhere in this volume.  (3) Anna Evenor - Mrs. Exley - is mentioned above.  (4) Stephen Richard, Feb. 6, 1870; he married, April 6, 1898, Birdie May Kenyon, and they have one child, Ella May (born Jan. 25, 1899).  (5) Callia Main, Nov. 16, 1871; she married, in Oct., 1897, Albert Exley, of Norwich, Conn., and they have had the following children:  Bertha E. and Clarice Callia.  (6) Telley Eugene, Oct. 22, 1876; he graduated from the Norwich Academy and is now in the junior year of the Boston University School of Law.

Mr. Babcock purchased of the late Hon. Joseph Hutchins a splendid farm in Plainfield, containing 120 acres, to which he moved in 1865, and thereafter made if his home.  Besides being extensively engaged in agriculture Mr. Babcock gave considerable time to inventions and secured patents for improvements on plows, wagons and other farm implements.  He also invested in the Robinson & Fowler Foundry Co., and was its treasurer for several years.  He died in Plainfield, Conn., May 18, 1899.  William S. Babcock was president for many years of the Plainfield Cemetery Association, an office he held at the time of his death.  He is buried in the family plot in said cemetery.

Mr. Babcock possessed those traits of character that won him favors everywhere.  At the age of nineteen he was made lieutenant of a military company in his town of North Stonington, and later received the honor of captain.  At various times he was elected to fill offices of selectman and justice of the peace, and he served on the board of relief.  In 1871 he was sent to the State Legislature, where he represented his town with marked efficiency.  In politics Mr. Babcock was an unwavering Republican, and in religious sentiment, a man of liberal views.  Possessed of great personal magnetism and genial manners, he had many warm friends.

THE MAIN FAMILY.  By her mother Mrs. Exley is descended from Ezekiel Main, who married and in 1670 came to Stonington, where he became a large land owner, receiving land grants in 1672 and 1680, and in the meantime making extensive land purchases.  He died June 19, 1714.  His wife's name was Mary.

Richard H. Main, son of Simeon X. (who was a descendant of Ezekiel) and Martha (York) Main, and grandfather of Mrs. Exley, was born in North Stonington, Feb. 24, 1808, and married Abbie S. Crandall.  He died Sept. 26, 1901, at the advanced age of ninety-three, and she passed away Sept. 9, 1851, in her forty-sixth year.  By her he had five children:  George W., is an extensive farmer at Hop River, in the town of Columbia, Conn.;  Charles H., born Jan. 3, 1837, resides at Milltown, in the town of North Stonington, Conn.;  Frances E., June 15, 1840, mentioned above, is still living;  Mary A., born July 26, 1844, married George Avery and resides in North Stonington; and John D., born in 1846, died Sept. 1, 1851.

Reproduced by:

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

 

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