PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  926

PIKE.  James Pike, the discoverer of a process of dyeing black, which for permanency and general excellence has no equal, and who organized the Sterling Dye & Finishing Co., which has met with phenomenal success, was a worthy representative of a family that has held an honorable place in New England for 150 years.  Through the latter half of the eighteenth century there resided in the town of Sturbridge, Mass., several families by the name of Pike.  The children of John and Mahetabel Pike are of record there:  Mehitable, John, Ebenezer, Lydia, Ruth, Abigail and Lois, all born between 1758 and 1779 inclusive.

Jonas Pike, the great-grandfather of James Pike, of Sterling, Conn., was married in Sturbridge, May 7, 1767, to Mary Howard, and their children were:  Anna, born May 18, 1770;  Ephraim, born March 7, 1772;  David (not on record);  Jesse, born June 28, 1774; and Jonas, born May 25, 1777 (a Jonas Pike is of record in Sturbridge as dying Feb. 24, 1781).  It is recorded in Sturbridge that “Jonas Pike, of Windham, Conn.,” and Peggy Turner were married May 30, 1804, and that Mary H. and Jonas, their children, were born Feb. 18, 1805, and March 14, 1809, respectively.  This Peggy Turner was probably the Margaret Turner born in 1780, daughter of George, as Margaret is referred to in the genealogies of the families of Medfield, Mass., as perhaps marrying Jonas Pike, of Sturbridge.  George Turner, it appears, was a deserter from the British army during the war of the Revolution, and until the war was over secreted himself about Medfield, where he married Amy Clark.  He is said to have been a gardener to the Duke of Argyll before entering the army.

There is a family tradition that Jonas Pike, great-grandfather of James, of Sterling, Conn., married a descendant of William White, of the “Mayflower,” through the latter’s son, Peregrine White.  Peregrine White was born Nov. 20, 1620, in the cabin of the “Mayflower” as she lay in Cape Cod Harbor, and was the first white child born in New England.  William White, of the “Mayflower,” was the son of Bishop John White, and was married in Leyden, Holland, July 1, 1612, to Susanna Fuller, a sister of Samuel Fuller, also a passenger in the “Mayflower.”  Peregrine White married, about 1647, Sarah, daughter of William and Elizabeth Bassett.

David Pike, son of Jonas Pike, of Sturbridge, Mass., married Elizabeth Pitman, of Newport, R.I.  Their two sons were:  William and James Pitman; and their daughters were:  Lucy, who married David Bayless; and Nancy, who married Abijah Prouty.

William Pike left Sturbridge in 1810 and settled in Sterling, Conn.  He learned from his father, who was by trade a hatter, the art of coloring.  In the year 1811 he began the dyeing of cotton yarns, and later assumed charge of the dye house of the Sterling Manufacturing Company.  Removing to Pawtucket, he introduced the bleaching of cottons by chlorine, and thus superseded the old and primitive method.

James Pike, son of William, was born in Sterling, Conn., Dec. 31, 1826.  After a season at the public schools he became a pupil of the Plainfield Academy (then a flourishing institution), and also a student at the Scituate Seminary.  Soon after leaving school he entered the employ of the Sterling Manufacturing Company, and subsequently aided his father in the manufacture of chemicals.  Meanwhile by a series of experiments he discovered a process of coloring black which for permanency and general excellence is superior to any other in use.  He at once (1880), organized the Sterling Dyeing & Finishing Company, in which he held a controlling interest and was agent until his death in 1890.

On May 10, 1853, Mr. Pike was married to Mary E. Shepard, of Brooklyn, Conn., a daughter of Abram and Hannah (Webb) Shepard.  Abram Shepard was born in Plainfield, Windham county, Conn., in 1806, a son of John Shepard, and a descendant in the fourth generation from Isaac Shepard, one of the first settlers of the town of Plainfield.  Abram Shepard settled in Brooklyn, Conn., in 1837, and followed farming and merchandising until his death in 1877.  He had children:  Harriet;  Edward;  Mary E. (who married James Pike, the father of Mrs. George H. Call);  Maria, who married Duncan Cameron;  Esther A.;  John and Henry.  To James and Mary E. Pike were born:  James Edward, who since his father’s death has been agent of the Sterling Dyeing & Finishing Co.;  Lydia Campbell, wife of Claramon Hunt;  Mary Esther;  Harriet Elizabeth, wife of George H. Call; and Annie M., deceased.  Mr. Pike was a Republican in politics.  He served as railroad commissioner from 1868 to 1871, held several town offices, and while a member of the State Legislature served on the committee on Banks.  He was a member of Moriah Lodge, No. 15, F. & A.M., of Danielson, and of Columbia Commandery, of Norwich.  Religiously he was a supporter of the Congregational Church.  He died Aug. 26, 1890, in the sixty-fourth year of his age.

Jeremiah Pike, probably son of James and Rachel, had a number of children born to him at Reading, and with his family came to Framingham before its incorporation and their neighborhood was styled “Pike Row.”  Framingham, Mass., was not incorporated until 1700, although the place was known as Framingham plantation in 1670, and had received a grant of land as early as 1640.  James Pike and his wives, Naomi and Sarah, were of Reading, and perhaps he was the James received into the Charlestown Church, 1647; probably also of Cambridge, where he had a son, John, born Jan. 1, 1653-54; at Reading were born Zachariah and others.  (See Barry’s Framingham, 1847.)  There are evidences pointing to a relationship between the Pikes of Framingham and Sturbridge.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel


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