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Ezra Brewster Bailey

HON. EZRA BREWSTER BAILEY, WINDSOR LOCKS: Secretary and Treasurer and Manager of the E. Horton & Son Company; Collector of Customs for the Port of Hartford.

Hon. E. B. Bailey is a native of the town of Franklin, in New London county, where he was born March 29, 1841. He is of the sturdiest New England stock, his early ancestry through both branches representing prominent families of both the revolutionary and puritanic periods in our country’s history, who, with their descendants, have been distinguished for physical vigor and intellectual attainments, as well as for inflexible integrity and patriotism. He is a son of Aaron and Eliza (Brewster) Bailey of Franklin, and through the maternal line is ninth in direct descent from Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower through the eldest son, Jonathan Brewster, who joined the Connecticut colonists in his early manhood and settled below Norwich. Mr. Bailey’s paternal ancestors were the Baileys of Groton, whose lineage through the Puritans establishes theirs as among the most ancient of English families. It may be mentioned here, although out of chronological order, that Miss Katie E. Horton, who became the wife of Mr. E. B. Bailey in 1871, is a descendant in the eighth generation from John Alden and Priscilla (Mullens) Alden, prominent characters in Puritanic history; thus in the present generation mingling several strains of ancient English blood which have separately quickened the best subjects of American history. The Hortons of Windsor Locks represent one of the oldest and best of New England families which, since colonial times, has contributed numerous and distinguished names to the country’s service and history.

Mr. Bailey’s early life in Franklin was spent on the ancestral farm (of which the subject of this sketch is now the proprietor), where he was nurtured in habits of industry, and acquired at the district school the elementary education which is the basis of all literary accomplishments. His daily toil in the hayfield or cornfield, in the woods and meadows, or at the old mill where his father made the shingles which supplied the covering for the roofs of all the houses in the neighborhood, gave the boy a rich experience of the hardships and the pleasures of farm life, and sharpened his appetite for the healthy farmer’s fare on which he throve and grew to the stature of vigorous manhood. Here he laid the foundation of his future success, while he imbibed inspiration from be precept and example of his God-fearing parents aged deported himself in a way to secure the respect and esteem of his associates and neighbors.

The breaking out of the rebellion in 1861 found Mr. Bailey still in his minority, but his patriotic impulses impelled him to enlist for the defense of his country, and he joined Company B of the Twenty-sixth Connecticut regiment, going into camp September 5, 1862. While in camp, however, he was prostrated by a severe attack of typhoid fever, and was taken home, still in a critical condition, on the fifth of the following November. Although he was for a long time unable to rally from this attack, his health gradually returned, but at no lime thereafter during the progress of the war was he in a condition for active service, and his patriotic designs were of necessity abandoned. As soon as able to perform any laborious work he again engaged in farm duties with his father, and remained at the old homestead until 1867, when he removed to Windsor Locks, and for one year carried on a farm there, devoting considerable attention to the using of tobacco. He then was made assistant postmaster at Windsor Locks, and in connection therewith had charge of a store for two or three years, and held a general agency for various publications sold on subscription by canvassers. He afterwards made an engagement with W. J. Holland & Co., a large subscription book publishing firm of Springfield, Mass., and exercised the prerogative of a supervisor of agencies. In the discharge of the duties of this position he traveled extensively, visiting nearly every town and village in the Northern States, Canada, and the provinces, having charge of most of the company’s outdoor work for four years, and building up a very large and profitable business. In 1873, upon the organization of the firm of E. Horton & Son of Windsor Locks as a joint stock company, under corporate name of The E. Horton & Son Company, manufacturers of The Horton Lathe Chuck, became its secretary and treasurer, continuing in the position for three years. In 1876 he severed the connection, and removed to his farm in Franklin - a delightful country place, whose attractions include some of the most romantic spots to be found in the state, the shady vales and hillsides of which have become of late favorite resorts for picnic and excursion parties. Here he devoted his time to agricultural pursuits and the raising of Jersey stock until 1880, when he was called to assume control of The E. Horton & Son Company at Windsor Locks; since which time he has remained its secretary, treasurer, and general manager. He is also connected with other important business enterprises, being president and director, as well as an incorporator, of The Windsor Locks Electric Lighting Company, in the establishment of which he was intimately concerned; a director in The Windsor Locks Savings Bank; also in The Connecticut River Company, an important corporation which owns the Enfield and Windsor Locks water power, and furnishes water power for all the mills in Windsor Locks; a director in The Dwight Slate Machine Company of Hartford, manufacturers of fine tools and special machinery; director and one of the original incorporators and a prominent promoter of The Windsor Locks Water Company, which furnishes the village with water for domestic purposes; and a director in The J. R. Montgomery Company, manufacturers of warps and fancy yarns, recently re-organized as a joint stock corporation, with a large capital, doing a large and profitable business, and at the head of all enterprises of its class in the country.

Mr. Bailey is an ardent and active republican, and as such has been elected to various positions of public trust. He has held the office of selectman, and is now a member of the school board and acting school visitor. He was elected to the legislature from Franklin in 1879 and from Windsor Locks in 1882, carrying the former town by the largest majority any candidate ever received, and carrying Windsor Locks by a majority of thirteen, although it is naturally heavily democratic. During the session of 1883 he was on the committee on incorporations, and did essential service for the incorporation of The Windsor Locks and Warehouse Point Bridge Company. He was elected state senator in 1887, running ahead of his ticket in seven towns of his district, and as chairman of the fisheries committee and of the committee on education carried through a number of important measures. He was active and prominent in support of the measure, in the senate, giving to towns the control and management of school district affairs, his efforts in this reform giving him favorable notoriety among the friends of education all over the state. He was appointed United States Collector of Customs for the port of Hartford in 1890, for which position he was warmly endorsed by both Senator Hawley and Congressman Simonds, the duties of which office he performs with characteristic ability and fidelity.

Mr. Bailey’s social connections include membership with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, an "organization for promoting acquisition of that knowledge which is necessary to the mechanical engineer to enable him most effectively to adapt the achievements of science and art to the use of mankind," with whose high reputation all are familiar; the Law and Order League, of Windsor Locks, whose object is the enforcement of laws relative to the sale of intoxicants; the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution; and, in the Masonic fraternity, with Euclid Lodge, No. 109, F. A. M. of Windsor Locks, Washington Chapter, No. 30, R. A. M., of Suffield, Washington Commandery, No.1, K. T., stationed at Hartford, and Pyramid Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., at Bridgeport. His social instincts and tastes are strong; he engages with enthusiasm in all the activities of the various organizations with which he is connected. He is a member of the Congregational Ecclesiastical Society of Windsor Locks, and a liberal supporter of its institutions and charities. He is an excellent representative Connecticut citizen, and always equal to his opportunity whenever it comes. He has been successful in whatever he has undertaken, and occupies an important and influential position in business, politics, and social affairs.

As already mentioned, Mr. Bailey was married, December 14, 1871, to Miss Katie E. Horton of Windsor Locks, daughter of Eli Horton, celebrated as the inventor of the Horton Lathe Chuck. They have two children, a son and a daughter; the former, Philip Horton Bailey, in his eighteenth year, is a member of the senior class at the Hartford Pubic High School; the latter, Helena Ellsworth Bailey, in her fifteenth year, is at school in Windsor Locks.

SourceIllustrated Popular Biography of Connecticut - 1891 Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding Hartford Conn.  Press of the Case, Lockwood and Brainard Company 1891

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