HON. HENRY E. H. GILBERT

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.  180

HON. HENRY E. H. GILBERT, whose death occurred at his home in Coventry, March 5, 1895, was for years one of the substantial men and prominent citizens of that town.  His ancestors and the families with which they were allied by marriage were among the first families of New England.

Born Dec. 17, 1822, in Mansfield, Tolland Co., Conn., Mr. Gilbert was a son of John and Anna (Hunt) Gilbert, and a grandson of Major John and Mellicent (Goodrich) Gilbert.  His mother, Anna Hunt, was a direct descendant of Increase and Cotton Mather, through Rev. John Williams, of Deerfield, and Rev. Nathan Strong, first minister of North Coventry.

Major John Gilbert, the grandfather of Henry E.H., born Feb. 26, 1749, was an influential farmer and leading citizen of the town of Hebron during his earlier and most active business career.  But for the last twenty years of his life he lived in Belchertown, Mass., where he kept an oldtime inn or tavern.  He married Mellicent Goodrich, who was born probably Sept. 29, 1754, at Rocky Hill, in the town of Wethersfield, Hartford Co., Conn., daughter of Oliver Goodrich and Temperance Wright, of that town, granddaughter of Capt. Ephraim Goodrich of Wethersfield, and his second wife, Widow Jerusha (Treat) Wells, and great-granddaughter of Ensign William Goodrich, the first of the name in Wethersfield, who came from England and married in 1648 Sarah Marvin, also born in England, daughter of Matthew Marvin, the first of the name in Hartford.  To the marriage of Major Gilbert and Mellicent Goodrich were born children as follows:  Mellicent, Mellicent (2), Wealthy, John, Bernice, Samuel, Solomon, Harriet, Betsey, George, Anna (mother of the late J.G. Holland, the distinguished author), Josiah and Charles.  Major Gilbert died in 1819, at Belchertown, Mass., whither he had removed in 1799.

John Gilbert (2), son of Major John, and the father of Henry E.H., was born in Hebron Sept. 25, 1775, and married (first) April 17, 1797, Cynthia Hyde, who was born at Lebanon, Conn., June 18, 1776, the seventh daughter of Major Elijah Hyde and Mary Clark, and a direct descendant of William Hyde, of Norwich, Conn., through Samuel, Samuel (2), Elijah and Major Elijah.  Mr. Gilbert settled in Mansfield, Conn., where for forty years he was a merchant.  He evinced much business enterprise, and as a stockholder in the earliest mill built for the purpose, was among the first to introduce the silk manufacturing industry into the country.  He was outspoken in his temperance sentiments, and early in the century was chairman of a county meeting held in Tolland at which the first temperance society in the county was organized.  As an earnest, aggressive Christian his light shone no less conspicuously.  Mrs. Gilbert died April 3, 1821, and Mr. Gilbert married (second) Dec. 1, 1821, Anna Hunt, of Coventry.  He died Feb. 14, 1837.  The children of his first marriage were:  Cynthia H., John T., Charles D., George O., Gershom C.H., Elizabeth G., Mary M. and Harriet A.; and those born to the second marriage were Henry E.H. and Nathan S.

Henry E.H. Gilbert, the subject proper of these lines, received his early education in the schools of his neighborhood.  He later studied under private tutors, and also attended the high school of South Mansfield and Andover.  His father was a farmer as well as a merchant, and Young Gilbert in boyhood assisted in the store, and when sixteen years of age engaged in teaching school, which he continued during intervals when his services were not needed on the farm, which had been turned over to him for superintendence.  He retained his residence in Mansfield until 1859, in which year he removed to what was known as the Kingsbury homestead, where he remained until 1866.  He then removed to the farm on which he spent the balance of his days, and where his daughter now resides.

Mr. Gilbert was well and favorably known throughout his section of the State.  His political affiliations were with the Republican party and he was honored by his fellow citizens from time to time with an election to about all of the town offices within their gift.  He was elected to the State Legislature for the sessions of 1868, 1872 and 1885, and served on the committees on Banks, Constitutional Amendment and Temperance, being house chairman of the latter.  His religious connection was for more than forty years with the Congregational Church, and for most of those years he was either treasurer or member of the Ecclesiastical Society committee of Mansfield and Coventry.  For nearly thirty years, beginning with 1866, he was treasurer of the North Coventry Cemetery Association.  He was an enterprising and public-spirited citizen, and as a man bore the respect and esteem of the communities in which he lived.

On Sept. 24, 1851, Mr. Gilbert was married to Elizabeth W., daughter of Harvey Kingsbury, of Coventry.  She died Nov. 9, 1862, and on June 27, 1866, he was married (second) to Mary J. Kingsbury, a sister of his first wife.  To the first union were born four children, namely:  (1) Mary died at the age of eight.  (2) Annie Frances married Edgar F. Storrs, of Mansfield, Conn., and their children were Ada May, Gilbert Holland and Raymond Homer, the latter of whom died when young.  (3) Henry Kingsbury died when less than two years old.  (4) Hattie Elizabeth resides at the homestead.  She is active in church work and the auxiliary societies.  For years she has been identified with the Congregational Church.  She is a member of the Christian Endeavor Society, has been secretary and treasurer of the Sunday-school since 1884, and for several years has been a teacher in the school.  Mrs. Mary J.K. Gilbert survived her husband seven years, he having died March 5, 1895; she died May 31, 1902, aged seventy-five years and five months, and both are buried in the cemetery at North Coventry.  She had been a member of the Congregational Church in Coventry more than sixty years, and treasurer of the Ladies Fragment Society forty-three years.  She was a liberal contributor to benevolent enterprises, and although frail in health was for many years a faithful Sunday-school teacher.   

Reproduced by:

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

 

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