EPHRAIM J. WILCOX

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.  459 & 460

EPHRAIM J. WILCOX,  one of the representative citizens of the town of Hebron, Tolland county, is one of the most highly respected and popular men of the town.

The Wilcox family is an old one in Connecticut, and in Hebron its history begins with that of Ephraim Wilcox, who came from Lebanon, and located in the town many years ago.  His death occurred Sept. 24, 1834, when he was past eighty years of age.  His wife, Dorcas, whom he married June 9, 1773, died Oct. 29, 1847, when she was ninety-one years old.  To them were born:  Ephraim, the grandfather of Ephraim J.;  Lucy;  Polly; and Erastus.

Ephraim Wilcox, the grandfather of Ephraim J., was born July 13, 1779, and in addition to his life work as a farmer, he also made hand rakes.  For this purpose he had a small shop near his house and for many years he and his sons were engaged in this business.  In the old days the Ephraim Wilcox rake had a wide reputation as an entirely hand-made implement carefully put together and absolutely reliable in every respect.  The employment of machinery in the making of rakes finally cut off the profits of his business to such an extent that the little shop was closed, and Mr. Wilcox devoted all his time to farming.  Prominent and prosperous, he was influential in the community, and was a captain in the militia, being generally known as Captain Wilcox.  At New London, Conn., he had command of his company when that town was threatened by the English in the War of 1812.  His death occurred Sept. 3, 1868, and his ashes were interred in St. Peter’s Cemetery, at Hebron.  An active and devoted member of the Hebron Congregational Church, he was much respected by all who knew him.  On Nov. 24, 1803, Ephraim Wilcox was married to Rachel Tarbox, a native of Hebron, and a daughter of Godfrey and Rachel (Wright) Tarbox.  Mrs. Wilcox died June 26, 1853, the mother of five children:  (1) Ephraim, born Sept. 5, 1804, was engaged in the foundry business in Bernadot, Ill., and died Sept. 5, 1838; he was a noted marksman, and made his own rifles.  (2) George, born Dec. 28, 1805, in early life was engaged in the rake business with his father, and in later years was a farmer on the old homestead, and died of heart failure in Buell’s store in Hebron, Nov. 9, 1867; Frances, his wife, was the daughter of Judge Ralph Gilbert, of Hebron.  (3) Rachel Maria, born Jan. 18, 1808, married Benjamin Bliss, and lived in Hebron.  (4) Phoebe, born April 8, 1811, died unmarried April 19, 1834.  (5) Joel, born Oct. 20, 1814, was the father of Ephraim J. Wilcox.

Joel Wilcox was born on the old homestead, which is now known as the Glen Dale farm, and attended district school.  When he was twenty-one he learned the carpenter’s trade under Benjamin Bliss, with whom he worked for three years.  He became well known as an expert carpenter, and was given much work in Hebron and the adjoining town, at times giving employment to many men.  The factory at Turnerville was put up by him, and he always had all the work he was willing to undertake.  During his later years he was devoted to the cultivation of his farm, which at one time consisted of more than 450 acres.  His death took place, after a short attack of pneumonia, in the house he had built, and in which he had lived many years.  A prosperous and successful man, he had made his own way in the world, and whatever he had, he had hammered out in the struggle of life for himself.  In his early life Mr. Wilcox was a Whig, but in his later years was a Democrat.  Both husband and wife were devoted and beloved members of the Hebron Congregational Church.  Mr. Wilcox was married to Lucy Ann Burnham, who was born in 1817, in Hebron, a daughter of Capt. Joseph Burnham and his wife Violetta Mann, nee Phelps.  Mrs. Wilcox died Nov. 9, 1854, having become the mother of one son, Ephraim J., born Jan. 11, 1843.  Mr. Wilcox married for his second wife, Ann E. Strong, who was born Aug. 27, 1827, and who survives her husband.

Ephraim J. Wilcox, whose name introduces this article, was born in Hebron, and educated in the district school.  Reared on a farm, he was strong and vigorous, and when he was eighteen set himself to learn the carpenter’s trade under his father’s instruction.  The Wilcox blood seems to carry with it a talent for mechanical labors, and Mr. Wilcox became a very expert wood worker, having a gift for such high-class carpenter work as stair building and ornamental wood work.  For eight years he worked exclusively as a stair builder, at Middletown, Conn., and Chicago, Ill., and he has been engaged in general building in Connecticut.  Mr. Wilcox is an expert wood worker and cabinet maker, and in his home are to be seen interesting specimens of his skill, among other pieces a fine black walnut set.  About six months after the burning of the Hubbard factory Mr. Wilcox came back to Hebron, and settled on the “Phelps place,” which he bought and where he has since been engaged in farming.  It comprises 175 acres, and is an interesting and charming home.  Among the buildings which Mr. Wilcox has erected in Hebron are the public library and the Congregational Church.  The old Gov. Peters homestead was altered and modernized by him.

On Nov. 19, 1874, Mr. Wilcox was married to Fannie E. Brown, who was born Nov. 5, 1850, in Haddam, Conn., a daughter of Cephas and Emeline (Selden) Brown.  To this union have been born two children:  Della Eugenia, born Oct. 8, 1875, married Oct. 15, 1901, Roger Fuller Porter;  Herbert Joel, born March 19, 1877, graduated from the Stillman Russell College at Danbury, Conn., and the Huntsinger’s Business College at Hartford, and is now employed as a bookkeeper at Waterbury.  Mr. Wilcox is a liberal man in his politics, and was elected by both parties to the Legislature in 1884, where he served on the committee on Incorporations.  Mr. Wilcox and his family are among the leading members of the Congregational Church at Hebron, where he is on the Society’s committee, and where his daughter is organist.

The Tarbox genealogy, which touches Mr. Wilcox through his paternal grandmother (Rachel Tarbox), is interesting.  John Tarbox , Born in England, came to Lynn, Mass., in 1639, with his wife Rebekah, and he died May 26, 1674.  Samuel Tarbox, his son, born in 1647, married Rebecca Armitage, and their son, Godfrey, born in 1670, married Eleanor, and was a captain in the Indian War.

Godfrey Tarbox, the son of Godfrey and Eleanor Tarbox, born in 1695, married Hannah Laughton, and moved to Hebron in 1739.  Their children, all of whom were born in Lynn, Mass., but were married in Hebron, were as follows: Lydia, born in 1722, married John Porter; Jonathan, born in 1724, married Abigail Bartholomew; Thomas, born in 1726, married Deborah Skinner; Hannah, born in 1730, married Joshua Phelps; and Solomon, born in 1733, married Asenath Phelps.

Godfrey Tarbox, a son of Solomon and Asenath Tarbox, married Rachel Wright, and their daughter, Rachel, married Ephraim Wilcox, the grandfather of Ephraim J. Wilcox.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel

 

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