PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  646 & 647

JOHN S. SEARLS.   Among the well remembered citizens of Brooklyn, Conn., is the late John S. Searls, who for a period of twenty-seven years acceptably held the trying position of jailer at the Windham county jail, at Brooklyn, a man who, while he upheld the necessary discipline of the institution, so combined humanity and kindness with his administration that his influence was long felt by those with whom he came in contact.

John S. Searls was born in Brooklyn, March 5, 1813, and he was the second child born to John Searls by his first marriage, to Deborah Baker, the one sister being Alice, who married Almon Bolles, Esq., for many years clerk of the court of Windham county.  John S. Searls was educated in the common schools of Brooklyn, and while yet a boy learned the carpenter trade under his uncle, Ebenezer Baker, of Brooklyn, in order to be self-supporting.  However, he followed his trade but a short time, circumstances opening in another direction a chance for an entirely different career.  Going to Buffalo, N.Y., he there engaged in the brokerage business, continued for seven years, and was prospering, when his father wished him to return and take charge of the farm.  This request Mr. Searls granted and spent two years operating the homestead farm.  Just as he was about to return to Buffalo, he was appointed jailer of the Windham county jail, by high-sheriff Septimus Davison, of Brooklyn.

In many ways this was a very wise selection, for Mr. Searls was a man of robust constitution and rugged health, and while he possessed the tenacity of purpose and the power to uphold the necessary discipline of the prison, he also possessed the discriminating judgement which enabled him to bestow kindness and sympathy where he found that the best method of government.  In domestic and social life, he was a man of genial presence and was much beloved.

While so successfully conducting the affairs of the Windham county jail, Mr. Searls’ career there had gained him so much prominence that he was offered other positions of responsibility, notably that of warden of the State penitentiary, at Wethersfield, Conn.  These offers were declined, and Mr. Searls remained in Windham county for a continuous service of twenty-seven years.  At the end of that time he retired from active life in county affairs, accepting, however, the office of first selectman in his city, and efficiently filling the same for several years.  Having accumulated large means, he was identified with a number of leading interests, one of these being the Windham County National Bank, in which he was a director.

During all these years of stress and strain, Mr. Searls had been in the enjoyment of good health, and it was a cause of sad surprise, when his death occurred after and illness of but twenty-four hours, March 19, 1889.  In his political life, he had always adhered to the principles of the Republican party, while in his religious connection he was not only a consistent member, but also one of the most liberal supporters of the Congregational Church.

Mr. Searls was married Jan. 22, 1845, in Hampton, Conn., to Miss Jane L. Fuller, who was born May 19, 1815.  No children were born to this union, but Mrs. Searls still survives her esteemed husband.  Mrs. Jane L. Searls comes of most honorable ancestry, her family being one of the oldest and most highly respected in Hampton, Conn.  (Extended mention of the same will be found in another part of this volume.)

James Fuller was born in Hampton, where he was reared a farmer boy and obtained the best education afforded at that time in his locality.  In his younger years he engaged in the business of buying horses and shipping them to the West Indies, this being interrupted when he was drafted into the service during the war of 1812.  Although a man of peace, he faithfully served when New London was threatened by the British troops, and for his valor he was rewarded by a bounty grant of land in the West, which is still owned by the family, although no land was ever claimed on it.  The fine farm in Hampton which is now the property of his son, Dwight Fuller, he purchased from Samuel Ashley, and the excellent and commodious buildings on this property he erected, making valuable improvements all over the farm.  Mr. Fuller was obliged to earn all he possessed, and his property was acquired by industrious and frugal habits.

James Fuller married Parmelia Warner, of Hartford, Conn., and their children were:  James, who married Hannah Bennett, of Linden, Pa., in early life was a boatman on the Erie Canal, but later engaged in farming and died a wealthy man;  Mary, who married Simon Fuller, a tanner and shoemaker, resided a number of years in Scotland, Conn., and died in Hartford;  Jane L., Mrs. Searls;  Josiah, who was first married to Anna Angevine, and second to Mrs. Jennie Brown, and is a retired musician and school teacher, residing in Tarrytown, N.Y.;  Albert, a lumber dealer, who died in Charleston, S.C.;  Dora Ann, who married Dr. S.W. Skinner, a surgeon in the 1st Conn. Heavy Artillery, during the Civil war, and resides in Toledo, Ohio;  John, who married Fannie Root, of Pittsfield, Mass., located in Somerville, Fayette Co., Tenn., and for a period was engaged there in the marble business, in association with his cousin, L.H. Fuller, of St. Louis, but who later went to Florida, engaged in the fruit business, and died there;  George, who died in infancy;  Dwight, who married Mary Lester, and was a farmer on the homestead, in Hampton; and George W., who married Eunice Hammond.  At present he is engaged in farming in Hampton, but early in life he went to the South and was there engaged in business with his brother.  From both talented parents he inherited musical ability and is widely known as an accomplished performer on the banjo, his large family all displaying talent in the same direction.

All through life James Fuller was noted for his musical skill and both he and his wife had fine voices, this talent making them highly valued in religious and social circles, as well as in the privacy of domestic life.  Mrs. Searls recalls with pride and affection, the sweet singing of both her father and her mother.  Both parents were members of the Congregational Church, Mr. Fuller being a valued member of the Ecclesiastical Society.  In his early life he was a pronounced Whig, but upon the formation of the Republican party, he attached himself to that and was ever after its strong supporter.  Mrs. Searls is one of the most esteemed ladies in Brooklyn, and has a wide circle of appreciative friends.

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