HON. ASA PETTENGILL

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.  1019

HON. ASA PETTENGILL.  Although Hon. Asa Pettengill is not one of the old residents of Rockville, Tolland county, he has made his presence felt since locating there in 1888, both in business and political circles.  Mr. Pettengill was elected to the State Legislature from Vernon after a shorter residence than any other incumbent of the office and served his party with great credit, as he wielded greater power in the position than any other new man from his section in that honorable body.

Mr. Pettengill comes from old New England stock and was born at Rindge, N.H., Sept. 2, 1835, a son of Asa and Lavina (Sawtelle) Pettengill, the former of whom was born at Ware, N.H., the latter being a daughter of Jonathan Sawtelle.  Mr. Pettengill comes of a stalwart family, his father weighing 225 pounds and his uncle Dudley the same, the former being six feet, two inches, while the latter reached the unusual size of six feet, seven inches.  Mr. Pettengill, the father of our subject, has been married previously to Polly Webster and the children of that marriage who lived to maturity were:  Hosea;  Polly;  and Eliza.  The children of the second marriage were:  Almena, deceased;  Hannah, the widow of Calvin Gordon, of Saco, Maine,  her first husband having been Timothy Hubbard, of Rindge, N.H., who was killed at Baton Rouge, La., during the Civil war, by the fall of a limb of a tree upon him, just as he was prepared for home;  and our subject, the youngest of all.

Mr. Pettengill was a carpenter by trade but worked at other kinds of business, his death occurring at the age of eight-six years.  For two years he was a soldier in the war of 1812, being an orderly at Fort Independence, in Boston, and was also at Plattsburg, during that war.  His death occurred in Keene, N.H., at the home of his son, Asa, with whom he had made his home for a couple of years, the mother having died at Rindge, N.H.  Mr. Pettengill was a Jacksonian Democrat and a consistent member of the Free Will Baptist religious belief, two of his brothers, John and Dudley, being powerful Baptist ministers.

Asa Pettengill was but a boy when his parents removed from the old home and settled at Stanstead Plain, in Canada, just opposite Derby, N.H.  In those days his father drove the stage between Montreal and Boston, when it required from twenty-six to thirty days to make the trip, six horses being needed, and Mr. Pettengill was well known all through that country.  When he was eleven years old the family removed to Winchendon Springs Village, and there he completed his education, having attended school in all the places where the family had lived.

At the early age of sixteen Mr. Pettengill began to learn the carpenter’s trade under his father, with whom he worked until he was twenty-two, when he started out for himself, at the age of twenty-five beginning to learn the trade of machinist, for which he had natural adaptability, at Peterboro, N.H.  In that town he was married in June, 1860, to Miss Hannah Heard, a native of Dublin, N.H., born June 16, 1833, a daughter of Henry and Belinda (Barden) Heard, the only child of this union being Walter Edwin, born May 30, 1862, at Dublin, N.H., who married Nellie Holt, of Peterboro, and has one child, Elva H.  For some years Walter Edwin was in business with his father, but is now a master mechanic in the Rock mill, of Rockville.

Asa Pettengill followed his trade at various places, being at one time the efficient superintendent of the Norwich Woolen mill, at Norwich, Conn., at another time was superintendent of the Niantic mills at Sandy Hook, Conn., and was also superintendent of the Joseph Noons & Sons mill, at Peterboro, N.H.  In 1886 he went to Uxbridge, Mass., as master mechanic of the Capron Woolen Company’s mill, but two years later he came to Rockville as master mechanic for the White Manufacturing Company, where he remained until that company went out of business.  Soon after this Mr. Pettengill bought the property on Thompson street and there established his machine shop and factory, before his purchase known as The Thompson & Holmes Chuck Shop.  When he started the business he associated his son with him, but later the son made new connections and he is the sole proprietor.  The plant is fitted up with carpet cleaning works, and is properly fitted for all kinds of mechanical and electrical work, and the product has been marketed in many foreign countries.  The electrical apparatus from this factory has been sent all over the United States, and comprises cutters, punchers, shears, boiler injectors, steam engine governors, shafting, pulleys, hangers, etc., dynamos and also motors being made there.  The machinery in use is almost entirely from designs originated by Mr. Pettengill and his son, who have taken out several valuable patents.

Natural mechanical skill enables Mr. Pettengill to easily perform many branches of the work himself, in which he takes the greatest interest.  Having inherited the robust constitution of his forefathers as well as their iron will, he bore with ill grace a severe sickness during the winter of 1899 and 1900, his determination alone bringing him back to health, as the physicians could do nothing for him, and several days were passed in a comatose condition.

Mr. Pettengill is a staunch Democrat, a sound money one, and in 1892 he was elected, after a residence of but four years, and in a Republican town, from Vernon to the State Legislature, having the largest plurality of any candidate for the office on any ticket up to that time, and served acceptably on the committee on Cities and Boroughs.  This committee had the charge of Electric railroads, and Mr. Pettengill was one of the hardest workers for the electric line into Rockville, being one of its most enthusiastic advocates, in the face of influential opposition.  For seven years he served as assessor in Rockville and his unceasing labor resulted in a most substantial increase of taxable property returned.  It was Mr. Pettengill who fought for higher valuation and the result was a great victory.  In political matters he is an enthusiastic worker.  Socially he is connected with the Odd Fellows at Peterboro, N.H., and Columbia Lodge, F.& A.M. at Brattleboro, Vt., and K. of P. of Rockville; while both he and his wife are valued members of the Methodist Church of Rockville.  Except for the great land-slide for the Republican party in 1894, he would have undoubtedly been elected State Senator, his friends rallying well, but at that time only one Democratic senator was elected in Connecticut.

Perhaps it is the activity of mind and the alert and intelligent grasp of events which has kept Mr. Pettengill so well preserved, physically as well as mentally, but his looks much belie his years.  His name is well known throughout Tolland county, and universally respected.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel

 

Return to Main Page

This page was created by Linda Pingel on April 7, 2008
copyright 2008 - all rights reserved