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. 740
McCOLLUM, owner of the Mansfield
Organ Pipe Works, at Mansfield Depot, is one of the successful and leading
manufacturers of Tolland county. His
great-grandfather came to America from Scotland, and his grandfather was captain
of a vessel and was drowned while engaged in the discharge of his duties.
McCollum, the father of Fenelon, was born in Manchester, Conn., where he spent
his early life and learned the trade of carpenter.
He removed from Manchester to Vernon, where he followed farming, and
later located in Rockville, at a time when that city contained but a few houses.
Mr. McCollum erected the first house on Brooklyn street, and also a barn
in the rear of what is now the Rock mill. It
was in this barn that the first church organ was set up by Seldon McCollum and
his two brothers, Julius and Henry. Erastus
worked in the mill as a millwright, and lived many years in that city, following
the same occupation. His death
occurred in advanced age, and he is buried in the cemetery at Vernon Center.
Early in life he was a Whig, and later became a Republican.
For many years he was a most consistent member of the Congregational
Church at Rockville. His first
marriage was to Lydia Corning, by whom he had the following named children:
Erastus S., who married Miss Putnam, was one of the first to learn the
trade of organ builder in this country; he resided first in Rockville, and later
removed to Middletown, where he died. Maria,
who married Hart Keeney, a stationary engineer, died in New Haven.
Electia R. died young. Henry
F., who married Emily Webster, was an organ builder, and resided in Boston, in
Westfield, Mass., and later in Mansfield, where he was engaged in the business
with our subject until 1890, dying soon after retiring; he had a son Henry, who
served in the Civil war. Julius S.,
also an organ builder, died in Boston. Electia
R. (2) is the widow of S.K. Childs, and resides in Duxbury, Mass.
Sarah Ann, who married Luther Talcott, died in Rockville; he was a
railroad man. Martha, Mrs. Bilson,
died in Rockville.
second marriage of Erastus McCollum was to Harriet Bosworth, of Rockville, who
survived him several years, and died in Westfield, Mass.; she was buried at
Vernon Center, Conn. The children of
this marriage were Fenelon (our subject) and Harriet.
The daughter married S.B. Carpenter, and they had two sons:
Orlando B., living in Mansfield; and Albion B., living in Brockton, Mass.
Mrs. Carpenter married for her second husband S.B. Carr, of Brooklyn,
where they now live.
McCollum was born in Rockville, Oct. 5, 1841, and received his education in the
Rockville high school, soon after leaving which he was employed for several
years as assistant postmaster, during the administration of President Lincoln,
when Andrew W. Tracy was postmaster at Rockville.
Within a short time he became engaged in the furniture business with H.L.
James, at Rockville, under the firm name of James & McCollum, but after
several years they disposed of the business to J.L.G. Carpenter, and Mr.
McCollum went to Westfield, Mass., where his half-brothers were engaged at organ
building. Until 1868 Henry and
Julius were employed by Johnson & Son, at Westfield, and there Fenelon also
secured employment, beginning on case work; later he was engaged on the making
of the pipes. After a fire destroyed
this factory in 1871 Julius and Henry returned to Boston.
Fenelon had conceived the idea of making the manufacture of the pipes a
separate industry, and in 1871 started this independent business.
Hard times came on, and desiring a location where expenses were less, he
removed to Merrow, in the town of Mansfield, and rented a room, where he
employed several hands and was joined by his brother Henry.
They remained at Merrow until 1876, when they removed to Mansfield, to
the “ell” of the Brigham mill, at Mansfield Depot, and the style of “The
Mansfield Organ Pipe Works” was adopted. The
business soon demanded more room, and the whole mill was leased.
Later, in 1889, the whole mill property, tenement house as well as mill,
became the property of Mr. McCollum, and in 1892-93 a new four story factory was
erected to accommodate the rapidly growing business.
In 1890 Henry McCollum was obliged to retire from business, and died soon
after. In 1896 fire destroyed the
mills, but with characteristic energy Mr. McCollum erected new ones, and
equipped the establishment with the latest improvements in machinery.
McCollum is an inventor and patentee himself, and has made special machinery for
some of the work. Among his
inventions is an improved pipe foot for organs, on which he holds the patent,
and is considered an important invention in first-class organ construction.
These factories have the best equipment of any in the country for the
manufacture of organ pipes, and constitute the largest manufactory for wood
pipes in the world. About 400,000
feet of the best Michigan pine is used annually, and the skill and care with
which each part is fitted place the work of this establishment at the head of
the output in that line.
McCollum has always been active in religious and moral affairs, and the result
of his labors is very apparent in the section of the town occupied by his
industry. Socially he is a member of
South Coventry Lodge, No. 10. A.O.U.W. In
politics he descended from old Whig stock, and has always been identified with
the Republican party, and greatly interested in political issues, even as a boy
taking an active part in the Fremont campaign, but he has always refrained from
holding office. In public-spirited
enterprises of all kinds, however, he is very prominent.
He is a member of the Union Chapel Society at Mansfield, and was one of
the organizers and builders of the chapel there.
McCollum was married Dec. 15, 1870, to Mary E. Carpenter, of New Britain, Conn.,
who died in 1890, and they had two children:
Herbert O., who died in infancy; and Odell F., who died at the age of two
and one-half years. The second
marriage of our subject, on March 18, 1896, was to Minnie L. Bowers, of
Mansfield, and they have had three children:
Ruth B., Ella Louise and Fenelon Jr., the last named born March 11, 1902.
In 1896 Mr. McCollum erected his handsome residence from which is
dispensed a charming hospitality.
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