CAPT. RUFUS THOMPSON HASKINS

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. 656

CAPT. RUFUS THOMPSON HASKINS, one of the prominent and influential citizens of Scotland, Windham county, is a man who holds a unique place in the community in which he resides.  Although not a native of the town, he has won a place in the hearts of his neighbors which might be envied by many an older resident.  He was born Dec. 29, 1839, in Rochester, Mass., a descendant of one of New England’s time-honored and representative families.

(I)            Thomas Haskins, the great-grandfather of Capt. Haskins, was a prosperous and thrifty farmer of Rochester, and reared a family of several children, among whom was a son, Daniel, who served in the Colonial army during the war of the Revolution.

(II)          Job Haskins, also son of Thomas, was born in Rochester on the home farm, where he grew to manhood.  He removed to Plymouth, where he was engaged in the shipyards, but after a few years he returned to Rochester and again engaged in farming, finally settling in Middleborough, Mass., where the remainder of his useful life was spent, and where his death occurred at the ripe old age of eighty-five years.  His remains rest in peace in the old burying ground of that place.  In politics he was a staunch old line Democrat.  He married Susan Hackett, daughter of George Hackett, of Middleborough, where she died and is buried.  They were devout Christians, and were well known as charitable, self-sacrificing people.  Their children, all now deceased, with the exception of Charles H., were:  Clarissa, who married Willard Bump; Job; Phineas, who died in infancy; Susan, who married Benjamin Johnson; Betsey, who married James Bacon; Polly, who died unmarried; Phinea (2); George; Sebra; and Charles H., father of Rufus T.

(III)       Charles H. Haskins was born Jan. 28, 1816, in Middleborough, Mass., where he grew to manhood; later he removed to Rochester, Mass., and for eighteen years was engaged in the iron foundries of that town, ten years of which were spent by him in puddling.  He then settled on a farm, which he successfully conducted until 1878, when he disposed of it, and removed to Scotland to spend the autumn of his well spent life with his son, Rufus T.  He is still (1903) living, at the advance age of eighty-seven years, retaining to a marked degree all his faculties, together with a rugged constitution.  In early life he cast his lot with the principles of Democracy and cast his first ballot for Andrew Jackson.  He continued to vote for the candidates of that party until 1896, when he became a Republican, casting his vote for William McKinley.  He has always possessed a quiet, unassuming disposition, yet holds his own opinion on matters of importance.  In 1835 he married in Rochester, Mass., Almira Haskins, who was born April 16, 1818, daughter of Thomas Haskins, who was a soldier in the war of 1812.  She died in Scotland, Conn., at the home of her son, and is buried in the Scotland cemetery.  To this happy union nine children were born:  Charles F., of Middleborough, Mass.; Rufus T., our subject; a son that died in infancy; Lucy, who is now the widow of William Benson, and resides in Brockton, Mass.; Almira, who died at the age of five years; Job; Ellen, who married William Snell, and resides in Rochester, Mass.; Andrew, now deceased; and Almira, who married George Parish, and resides in Massachusetts.

(IV)       Rufus T. Haskins was born Dec. 29, 1839, in Rochester, Mass., on the home farm, and received his schooling in the district schools of his native town.  At the age of fifteen years, having a desire to follow the adventurous life of a seaman, he sailed from New Bedford, Mass., on the bark “Newton,” Capt. George Sherman, as a common seaman, and after a thirty-four month voyage of adventure and hardship the vessel was stove in the ice in the Ochotsk Sea, and the crew was compelled to leave her, reaching home on various vessels many months later.  Notwithstanding his hazardous experience, the young seaman again set sail on a whaling voyage on the ship “Onward” as boat steerer, under Capt. W.H. Allen, and after three seasons sailing in the same sea wherein the “Newton” was lost, they reached port with over 6,600 barrels of oil.  Having still a desire to visit foreign countries he shipped as mate on board a British merchant vessel, and visited many European ports.  Returning home he later shipped on board the “Onward” under Capt. Allen as third mate.  After making two voyages on that ship, for the latter of which he sailed as mate, he accepted the same berth on board the “Contest.”  After succeeding in obtaining about 1,400 barrels of oil on this voyage, the ship, together with thirty-one other vessels, was caught in the ice and the crew was compelled to abandon her, taking to the small boats, and for days the men were forced to cut and break their way through the ice for over twenty miles before reaching open water and then cruised for forty miles farther, experiencing untold hardships before they were finally rescued and taken to the Sandwich Islands.  From there Mr. Haskins sailed to San Francisco, and came home overland.

After a few months he again set sail on the ship “Jerry Pery” to the Arctic Ocean.  While on this voyage, they found the ship “Helen Snow” lodged in the ice and abandoned.  The crew of the “Jerry Pery” was divided and Captain Haskins, taking command of the “Helen Snow,” after completing a successful season, brought her to San Francisco.  Having spent over twenty years of his life on the sea he abandoned that career for a less perilous one, and coming to Scotland in 1869 he purchased the old Tyler homestead and farm of 130 acres, then owned by Egbert Bass, and now known as the “Hillcrest” farm.  Here Mr. Haskins has since been successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits.  On July 11, 1867, Capt. Haskins was united in marriage with Miss Mary Ellen Anthony, daughter of Caleb and Acineth (Grammans) Anthony.  The children born of this marriage were five in number:  (1) Rufus Caleb was born July 24, 1871, in Scotland, Conn., where he attended the district schools.  He later learned the trade of blacksmith, and is now successfully engaged in conducting a shop of his own near the homestead farm.  (2) Leander Owen born Feb. 29, 1876, in Scotland, Conn., received his education in the district schools of his native town, and in the Willimantic grammar school.  After leaving the latter he was engaged in teaching for a term in Scotland.  His father, retiring from the active management of the farm, has turned the same over to him, and he is now conducting one of the best cultivated farms in the town of Scotland.  He has taken an active part in the agricultural matters, being a member of Shetucket Grange of Scotland, of which he was overseer and master as well as of Pomona and State Granges, in the latter of which he is a lecturer.  He is a staunch Republican, takes an active part in the ranks of the party, and has served his town as tax-collector.  He is a member and liberal supporter of the Congregational Church, and he is public-spirited and alive to the interests of his town.  (3) Jessie Almira, born July 13, 1877, in Scotland, married Elwin B. Inman, of Scotland.  (4) Flora May, born Nov. 26, 1880, in Scotland, married Daniel Knickerbocker, of Stamford, Conn., where they now reside.  (5) Edith Abby, born Jan. 30, 1884, in Scotland, resides at home.  She, as well as her sisters, has taken a very active part in the Grange work, and is now serving her second term as secretary of the local Grange.  Mrs. Haskins is a noble Christian woman, an ideal wife and a devoted mother, possessing those higher qualities which endear her not only to her immediate family but to all who know her.  She is a member of the Christian Church of Hampton, Conn., in which she is a faithful worker.  She has also taken an active part in the Grange work, being a member of Shetucket Grange of Scotland.

Capt. Haskins is a man possessing qualities of integrity, sound judgement and business sagacity; a man of upright character, who thinks and speaks for himself.  He has always been a consistent and staunch Republican, and his counsel has been sought by members of that party.  He has served his town acceptably as a member of the board of selectmen for eight years, assessor for a like number of years, and has held minor offices of the town.  He represented his town in the General Assembly in the session of 1884, serving on the important committee on Claims.  He was one of the original incorporators and stockholders of the Scotland Creamery Association of which  he was first president, which position he held for ten years.  He is socially affiliated with the Masonic Lodge, having joined Social Harmony Lodge, No 7, A.F. & A.M. of Wareham, Mass.  He is also a member of Shetucket Grange, of Scotland, in the organization of which he is active, and which he served as gate keeper, steward, and overseer.  He is also a member of the Pomona and State Granges.  He also served two years as president of the Windham County Agricultural Society.  His religion is of the character which finds good in all.  Capt. Haskins and his family represent one of Scotland’s most honored families and bear the respect and esteem of all who know them.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel

 

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