PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  860

GEORGE M. PAULK  (deceased), one of the most esteemed residents of Rockville, Tolland Co., Conn., was one of the pioneer citizens who watched the wonderful but healthy growth of that place, and materially contributed to its advancement.  Mr. Paulk was identified with the leading business interests of Rockville as president of the People's Savings Bank for his last twenty-five years, a director in the First National Bank, and as president of the Rockville Hotel Co., which was incorporated in 1901 with a capital of $40,000.

John Paulk, the great-grandfather of George M. Paulk, was an early settler in Tolland county, and there married Kesiah Benton, Dec. 22, 1736.  Their children were:  Dinah, John, Lydia, Kesiah, Puhamah, David, Ephraim, Amri, and Jemima.

The father of George M. Paulk, Eliakim by name, was a son of Ephraim, of the above family, born in December, 1787.  In 1816 he married Sally Craw, the children of this union being:  (1) Laura, born in 1818, married Charles Curtiss, of Meriden, later a Mr. Dresser, lived in Meriden until 1853, returned then to Tolland, dying in Troy, N.Y., leaving one son, George A.  (2) George M.  (3) Julius, deceased.  (4) James, born in 1825, resides in Chicago.  (5) Sarah, born in 1827, deceased.  (6) Julius A., born in 1828, lived a time in California, but returned to Connecticut and died in Tolland county.  (7) Edwin.  The death of George M. Paulk's father occurred in 1865.  He was one of the pioneers in the business of framing by squaring, instead of fitting together, as was the old custom, and built frames for many of the factories put up in Rockville in his day.  In politics he was formerly a Whig, later a Republican, and held many of the town offices.

The mother of George M. Paulk, Sally (Craw) Paulk, was a native of East Windsor, Conn., and she with three sisters remained in the old home when the rest of the family removed to "New Connecticut," as northern Ohio was then called.  Her death occurred in her sixty-sixth year and with her husband she was laid to rest in the old South cemetery.

Our immediate subject, the well-known George M. Paulk, was born Feb. 8, 1820, in the old Paulk homestead, in the town of Tolland, where his ancestors had lived for generations.  His educational advantages were confined to the common schools, at that day not to be compared with those of the present, and he remembered two of his teachers with regard, Miss Lucretia Gager and A.M. Raymond.  As the oldest boy in the family he was called upon at an early age to make himself useful, and the industry that was necessary in those youthful days assisted in forming habits which advanced his interests later in life.  Under his father he was initiated into the carpenter trade and in 1841 at the age of twenty-one came to Rockville to work for William A. Gager.  When the American Mills were being built George M. Paulk was one of the workmen employed in construction, his wages being $16.00 per month, although he had not completed his education in the trade.  It was in 1849 that Mr. Paulk began as a builder and contractor, sometimes alone, again with others.  He either built or assisted in the building of nearly every mill in Rockville, and did a large portion of the important construction work of that character in the town.  Mr. Paulk continued in business as a contractor until 1870, having in 1868 embarked in the lumber business, which he carried on extensively until 1888 when he sold out to Thomas A. Lake, and retired from active commercial life.  Mr. Paulk had become a resident of Rockville when it was but a village with two streets between Main and Prospect, those being Elm and Park, and when there were but thirteen houses east of Park street towards Tolland.

In early days Mr. Paulk was a Whig, but later identified himself with the Republican party and in 1869 was elected sheriff of Tolland county, being re-elected in 1872 and again in 1875.  For five years previously he had acted as deputy-sheriff under Col. Amos Pease, of Somers, Conn., and also held various town offices, being selectman for a number of terms.

On Jan. 5, 1848, Mr. Paulk married Miss Abby Smith, of Ellington, a daughter of Chester and Betsey (Holton) Smith, who was connected by intermarriages with the Holton and Walcott families, old and prominent people of Ellington.  No children came to this home to perpetuate an honored parentage, but Mr. And Mrs. Paulk had a life of peace and happiness together for fifty-four years.  In 1863 Mr. Paulk built his elegant home on Prospect street where he resided until his death, July 29, 1902.

When a Lodge of the I.O.O.F. was started in Rockville, Mr. Paulk joined it, but later it was abandoned.  When the Rockville Hotel was not a very attractive hostelry, Mr. Paulk was one of a quartet and the prime mover in the project, to provide a creditable place of entertainment, from which enterprise has arisen the Rockville Hotel Company.  Although nominally retired from business Mr. Paulk's temperament would not permit him to break all business connection, and he continued for many years to give his personal attention to large property interests.  Identified for over sixty years with the business life of Rockville, Mr. Paulk's name stands before the public as a synonym for probity and uprightness.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel


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