VINE ROBINSON FRANKLIN

WITH HENRY D. CROSBY & 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.  1179-1181

VINE ROBINSON FRANKLIN,  senior member of the firm of Franklin & Crosby, florists, is a prominent factor in the business life of Brooklyn, and is a worthy representative of an old Windham county family.

William Franklin, the grandfather of Vine R. Franklin, was a resident of Ashford, Conn., for many years, where he was occupied in work at the carpenter trade.  The later years of his life were spent at Phoenixville, Conn., where he died and his remains lie in the cemetery in Ashford.  His marriage was to Mary Boutelle, who survived him, dying a number of years later, in Ashford, Conn.  Their children were eight in number:  John, father of Vine R. Franklin, of Brooklyn;  Thomas, who married Margaret Najack, and was a meat dealer in Providence, R.I., where his life was passed;  Edwin, who died young;  Henry, who was in the meat trade, and later was connected with the great business of Armour & Co., at Providence, R.I., and became very wealthy;  Maria, who married Gilbert Greene, and resided in Texas for many years, where her husband, who was an engineer, died, after which she went to New York City, and died there, both being buried by the side of the father, at Phoenixville;  Emeline, married, second, Albert Clark, and died in Phoenixville (her first husband was also a Clark);  Cynthia, who died young; and Julia, who died young.

John Franklin was born Jan. 13, 1819, in the town of Ashford, Conn., and there he grew to manhood, being brought up to hard work on the farm, under the strict discipline of an upright but stern father.  His educational advantages were those of the youths of the time, in the rural districts, and as soon as he reached his legal age, he left home to carve out a career for himself.  His services were in demand through the neighborhood, and he found a home with various farmers of the locality, finally securing employment on the farm of Col. Asahel Hammond, of Hampton.  Here his industry and thorough knowledge of husbandry, as well as his personal attributes, so gained him the esteem and confidence of his employer, that in the course of time, he was accepted as a son-in-law, marrying Miss Laura P. Hammond.

After his marriage, Mr. Franklin rented the estate known as the Dennison farm, which adjoined the property of Col. Hammond, and which is now owned by Henry Kenyon, and for nearly a year he remained in its management, conducting it on shares.  Then he moved to Brooklyn, where he lived for a few months on a rented farm, afterward purchasing the "Pierce farm," a valuable piece of property which had been neglected, and which needed some live, energetic and progressive man like Mr. Franklin to renovate and improve it.  The original tract was forty acres, which Mr. Franklin increased to 115, its present acreage, and here he entered into a systematic and practical course which resulted in making this farm one of the best in the neighborhood.  Mr. Franklin was a successful farmer, because he applied common sense to its management, making a study of the properties of his soil, and cultivating those grains and vegetable growths which it was capable of producing, using in its management modern methods of drainage and fertilizing.  The results proved that he thoroughly understood the science of farming and knew how to apply this knowledge.  Mr. Franklin was also interested in cattle dealing, and it was his custom to go several times a year to Northern Vermont to buy cattle which were there raised, of sturdy stock, and bring them to Brooklyn, where, as he was an excellent man of business, he easily disposed of them, much to his advantage.

Until his death, on Aug. 27, 1880, Mr. Franklin continued in the management of his farm, and yet also found time to take an active part in public matters, serving with faithfulness in almost all of the town offices, and during one term was the honorable representative of Brooklyn in the State Legislature.  In the Congregational Church he was long a valued member, and he lies buried in the beautiful cemetery in Brooklyn, still affectionately remembered by his bereaved widow, his three children and a large circle of personal friends and business associates.  

On March 28, 1842, John Franklin was married to Laura P. Hammond, who was born Nov. 15, 1819, a native of Hampton, a daughter of Col. Asahel and Betsey (Robinson) Hammond.  (Elsewhere will be found extended mention of the Hammond family.)  Mrs. Franklin resides with her son, Vine R. Franklin, of this town.  The family born to Mr. And Mrs. Franklin numbered three children:  Vine R., of Brooklyn;  William H., born July 19, 1849, who married Nellie Streator, by whom he has a son, Irving, is now a successful hardware dealer in Montrose, Col; and Anna L., born Dec. 28, 1854, married Daniel Holmes, engaged in the plumbing business in Providence, R.I., and they have one son, Daniel, who married Mattie Morton, and assists his father.

Vine Robinson Franklin was born in Hampton, Conn., on the Dennison farm, and was one and one-half years old when his parents moved to Brooklyn.  There he received a good, common school education, and had taken up farm work with the intention of following the lines laid down by his successful father, when the outbreak of the Civil war first unsettled his plans, and finally changed them entirely.  On Aug. 11, 1862, he enlisted for service at the age of nineteen years, in Co. K, 21st Conn. V.I., for a term of three years, and with his regiment took part in many of the most serious battles of the war.  Fredericksburg, Siege of Suffolk, Drury's Bluff, three days of fighting at Cold Harbor, and the fighting around Petersburg, proved the mettle of the soldier lad, and changed the careless, happy, country boy into the serious man, all the romance, though not all the patriotism, being taken out of the great game of War.  Mr. Franklin had the dreadful experience of witnessing the mine explosion at Petersburg, on June 30, 1864, when human beings, cannon and tons of dirt were thrown high in the air.  From Petersburg the regiment was ordered to Cedar Point, where it crossed the James river, fought the enemy at Fort Harrison, and then passed the winter of 1864-65 in camp, on Chapin's farm.  Its next move was a raid toward Fredericksburg, it was thought in pursuit of the Confederate chief, Mosby, who had captured twenty-six car loads of tobacco at that point.  However, it withdrew from this pursuit and spent a few days at Deep Bottom, near the Wilderness, and was one of the first regiments to enter the capital city of Richmond.  After the taking of Fort Harrison Mr. Franklin, for bravery, was promoted to the office of second sergeant, filling this office until he was mustered out of the service on June 18, 1865, at Richmond, Va., having never lost a day through sickness or wound.

Upon his return to Brooklyn, Mr. Franklin did not resume farming, but entered into the employ of the watch case factory of Enos Preston for a few months, and from there went to New York, where he followed watch case making in the factory of the American Watch Company, remaining until business depression all over the country affected this firm also.  Then Mr. Franklin severed his connection with it, and went to Thamesville, Conn., and began to learn the machinist trade, later coming to Brooklyn to take charge of the engine of the Atwood & Richmond Silk works, continuing here for three years.  Going then to New Haven, he was employed for the next three years by C. Coles & Co., as a machinist, and then entered the employ of the Henry Killam Co., where he continued until 1881, a year after the death of his father.  Returning to Brooklyn he assumed the management of the farm, and was engaged in agriculture and dairying for a number of years.  It was not until 1897 that Mr. Franklin became engaged in the business for which it is very evident Nature fitted him, that of florist, market gardening and the raising of nursery stock, the results of his efforts, in this direction having been so unusually successful.  In association with his son-in-law, Henry D. Crosby, he embarked in this business, and they erected greenhouses of large capacity, with every known modern convenience and appliance, and they have built up an immense trade in nursery stock, seeds, marker garden supplies and all of the products of a florist business.

On Nov. 21, 1866, Mr. Franklin was married in Brooklyn to Josephine H. Main, who was born May 9, 1848, in Hampton, and who came when quite young, to Brooklyn.  One child was born to this marriage, Lucy H., born Dec. 12, 1867, who was married Dec. 20, 1893, to Henry D. Crosby, and had one child, Hope Dexter, born Feb. 1, 1895, and accidentally drowned April 21, 1898.

A life-long and active Republican, Mr. Franklin has been identified with public affairs for many years.  As early as 1887 he was a member of the Legislature, serving on the committee on Finance, has also served as first selectmen through one year and several years on the board.  During the period covering the erection of the iron bridge over the Quinebaug river, in East Brooklyn, he was the only Republican member of the board.  Although his life has been one of more that usual movement, he has taken always a deep interest in the development of the agricultural interests of this section, and was one of the organizers and charter members of Brooklyn Grange, No. 43, and also is a member of the Windham County Pomona, and the State and National Grange.  Ever since its organization, Mr. Franklin has served as the treasurer of the Pomona.  His accomplished wife is also an interested member of these social organizations.  While a resident of New Haven, Mr. Franklin joined Washington Council, O.U.A.M., and later transferred to Lockwood Council, of Danielson, and was instrumental in organizing Mortlake Council, of Brooklyn, in which he has acceptably held all of the important offices.  While a resident of the above named city, he became a member of Admiral Foote Post, No. 17, G.A.R., and has held many of the official positions in that organization, later transferring to McGregor Post, No. 27, of Danielson, also filling official chairs in the latter place.  Mr. Franklin has a worthy war record and is admired and esteemed by his fellow comrades.  Both Mr. And Mrs. Franklin attend the Congregational Church, of which Mrs. Franklin is a valued member.

HENRY D. CROSBY.  The second member of the firm of Franklin & Crosby, Henry D. Crosby, was born in Brooklyn, Conn., and was a son of Deacon Martin W. and Abby (Dexter) Crosby.  His education was acquired in the public schools of this town, and he began his business career as a clerk in the employ of R.H. White & Co., of Boston, Mass., remaining with them until he was advanced to the position of traveling salesman, continuing in that capacity for that and other firms until 1897, when he became associated with his father-in-law, Mr. Franklin, in the florist business.  Endowed with energy and business ability, and having an extended acquaintance, he is well fitted to manage a business that is yearly growing to larger and larger proportions, the sale of their products extending far beyond the local trade.  They deal in all kinds of nursery stock and seeds, while their florist business is conducted on lines to meet a most exacting patronage.

MAIN.  The Main family of which Mrs. Franklin is a member, is an old and honored one in the State of Connecticut.  Her grandfather, Job Main, was born in 1781, in Stonington, Conn., and in that locality many of the name still reside, among the most respected and highly esteemed citizens.  While still in the vigor of young manhood, Mr. Main came to Brooklyn to make his own way in the world, grew into a sturdy farmer of remarkable force of character, and by an industrious and frugal life, accumulated a fortune and became the owner of extensive tracts of land.  His death occurred on Oct. 22, 1861.  He married Comfort Billings, who died March 29, 1852, at the age of seventy years.  Their children were Betsey Elizabeth, who married Joshua Webb, a farmer of Brooklyn, and died Dec. 28, 1852, at the age of forty-four years;  Mary Ann, who died unmarried Aug. 3, 1850, at the age of thirty-one years and eight months;  Palmer, who died unmarried Aug. 10, 1882, at the age of seventy-three years;  Daniel, the father of Mrs. Franklin;  Charles, who married Frances Hewitt, and who in early life was a peddler of Yankee notions, later becoming a farmer of Brooklyn, where he died; and William W., who married Mary L. Hewitt, and who in early life was engaged in peddling Yankee notions, but later became a meat dealer and passed his last days in Brooklyn.

Daniel Main, the father of Mrs. Franklin, was born May 11, 1817, in Brooklyn, and during his early married life resided in Hampton, but later returned to Brooklyn, where he died July 13, 1888.  His marriage was to Lucy E. Hutchins, who was born Feb. 24, 1821.  Their children were:  Helen, who died at the age of sixteen years;  Elizabeth Ann, who married John Bard, and died at the age of twenty-three years;  Mrs. Franklin;  John D., and engineer, in Putnam, Conn., who married Lucy Greenman, and had five children, Flora, who married John Lane, and has three children, Helen, who married Albert Cutler, of Putnam, and has one child, Grace, who married Frank Bannister, of Webster, Mass., Frank and Ann;  Ida H., who died at the age of nine years;  Sarah M., who died at the age of nineteen years; and Ina W., who is the wife of Frank Schofield, of Worcester, Massachusetts.  

Reproduced by:

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

 

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