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. 1008
MARY TERESA GARRITY has by her own efforts solved the question as to the
possibility of one of her sex not only building up a large and successful
business, but also doing the same without any loss of womanly characteristics
and attractions. Through many
obstacles and discouragements, Mrs. Garrity has earned for herself and family a
comfortable home, a respected name and a flourishing business as the leading
florist of Willimantic and Windham County.
Henchler, the father of Mrs. Garrity, was a carpenter by occupation, and died in
his native Austria, when his only child, Mary Teresa, was quite small.
Her mother, Teresa (Meinhar) Henchler brought her daughter to America in
1859, landing in New York after a passage of two weeks.
Soon after Mrs. Henchler was married, in Bloomfield, N.J., to John Kline,
who was a former acquaintance, but who, at this time, was residing in Cromwell,
Conn. After marriage Mr. Kline took
his wife and her daughter to Cromwell, and there Mrs. Kline died Sept. 1, 1898,
lacking two months of being seventy years old.
By her marriage with Mr. Kline, she became the mother of the following
children: William H., a resident of
Middletown, Conn., John L., a farmer
at Cromwell; Lizzie, residing at
Saybrook, the widow of George McGuire, who was drowned in the Connecticut river;
and Kate, wife of Frank Rasted, an engraver of Meriden, Connecticut.
Teresa (Henchler) Garrity was born in Austria, Jan. 11, 1856, and was brought at
the age of three years to the United States.
Her early life was spent in the hardest kind of work, and her only
schooling was gained during the winter, for a short time previous to her eighth
year. She assisted her mother and
step-father in the household duties, and was compelled at a tender age to assist
in farm work, and to perform duties far beyond her strength with no
remuneration, no play, and as few clothes as possible.
When she had reached the age of twelve, she grew rebellious, and in the
hope of bettering her condition, ran away, and went to Middletown where she was
employed as a nurse, receiving for this service, four dollars per month.
She was not permitted either to handle or to save her wages, her mother
taking them, and providing her in return with only second-hand garments.
By the time Mary was fifteen years old, she saw the advantages of a
trade, and resolved to become a dressmaker, soon becoming very expert with her
needle, and for eight years she followed this business in Middletown; then going
to New York city, she secured employment in a dressmaking establishment on Grand
street, remaining there until it suited her to open up a first-class
establishment in Hartford, Conn. This
she located in the Marble block, on Asylum street, over Warner’s music store,
where she remained for five years, and then removed to another location, in
Willimantic, where she continued for three years, or until 1891.
Mrs. Garrity was a very successful dressmaker, and conducted her
establishment on business principles. Her
work was of the most perfect kind, her assistants were also trained in the same
line, and thus she built up a fine class of trade.
From childhood she had been accustomed to hard work and economy, and thus
had been able to save a sum of about $5,000 at the time of her second marriage,
to Thomas H. Garrity, a florist. On
Feb. 18, 1882, she was wedded to Frederick A. Lowman, a native of London,
England, who was a silver plater, by trade, and who, while introducing and
patenting an invention, contracted blood poison and died, in London, and was
interred there, being at the time in that city, in the interest of his
invention. The children of this
marriage were two sons, who have developed into most capable, industrious and
excellent young men: Frederick
Andrew, born April 26, 1884, who has attended the Willimantic High school, and
the Willimantic Business College; and
George Alfred, born Oct. 7, 1886. The
second marriage was to Thomas H. Garrity, in Hartford, Conn.
By occupation he was a florist, and for a number of years was in the
employ of Spear, the well-known florist of Hartford.
Three children came to this marriage:
Eddie and Mary, twins, both deceased, the former dying at the age of
eight months; and William H., born
March 9, 1893.
her second marriage, Mrs. Garrity assisted her husband in the purchase of the
florist business, in Willimantic, and removed here in 1891.
With her capital, the land now occupied by her greenhouses was purchased,
at that time being but a rocky field. Here
was erected a house, barn and greenhouses, of which in a few years Mrs. Garrity
took charge, proving her excellence as a business woman.
She assumed entire management of the plant, and with the assistance of
her excellent and able sons, has built up a large and constantly increasing
business. She has met with many
reverses, and one of these was when on July 4, 1900, a miscreant fired her barn,
and the house also caught fire, the family having a very narrow escape.
The barn was entirely destroyed, with tools, four wagons, and two horses,
while the dwelling house was badly damaged.
The insurance was but $100. Although
Mrs. Garrity was badly burned in her attempt to save her property, she
immediately made arrangements to rebuild, and a couple of months later had
erected new buildings, among which is a fine brick house, after her own plans.
In 1902 an extensive addition to the greenhouse was constructed.
business so ably conducted by Mrs. Garrity and her capable sons is that of
florist and market gardening, managing about fifteen acres of land.
Previous to 1897, she conducted a flower store on Main street, in
Willimantic, for several years. She
is a very industrious and upright woman, and possesses fine judgement and
excellent business ability. Kind and
liberal to her children and ready with her help for others, she is most highly
esteemed in the community. Her
religious connection is with the Lutheran Church, and she is a
member of the American Benefit society, of Willimantic, while both she
and her son Frederick belong to the State Border Grange, No. 93.
D. Pingel – great-great granddaughter of Cyrus White of Rockville, Ct.
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April 7, 2008
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