New Horizons Genealogy

"Specializing in New England and New York Colonial American Ancestry"

Biographical Sketches
Town of Washington
Berkshire County Massachusetts

Transcribed by Lynn Tooley

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Alanson B. Pomerboy

Alanson B. Pomeroy was born in Washington, February 8, 1842, and his entire life was spent in his native town. He was a man of more than average business ability. He doubtless handled more real estate than any other man in his time. He was also an entensive dealer in lumber and wood. In his early life he taught school for a time. He united with the Congregational Church during the pastorate of Rev. N. M. Longley, in the early 60's, and was very prominent in the religious life of the town.

He enlisted in the 61st Mass. Regiment and served in to the end of the war. He received all the honors in the gift of his native town to bestow. He was in the Legislature the year Gov. Gaston was in office. He was a man who rendered faithful and efficient service in all the positions he was called upon to fill. His death occured in 1905.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Thaddeus Lynch of Hinsdale. She died in 1903. There were six children in the family, four of whom survive: Frank, Irving, Cora, and Mrs. Mabel Weston, and an adopted daughter, Myrtle.

Henry Noble

Henry Noble was born in Washington, September 29th, 1822. He was a son of Madison Noble, a prominent man in that day, and a grandson of Zenas Noble, and early settler of Washington. His home was near the tavern where the late Gov. E. D. Morgan of New York was born.

He removed to Pittsfield when a young man and married Clarissa Tracy of that town. He was a County Commissioner for several years, and was prominent also in the Berkshire Agricultural Society, as an Officer. He was likewise a valued member of the Methodist Church and an honorable and useful citizen. He died in 1901.

Nelson Franklin Tyler

Nelson Franklin Tyler was born in West Stockbridge in 1830. In early life he went to New York City where he studied architecture for a profession. Later he removed to LaGrange, Georgia, where he remained in business until a few years before the war when his strong Union sentiments led him to return to the North. He was an intimate friend of the late Senator Ben Hill of Georgia and correspondence between the two was resumed after the war and continued until the senator's death.

Mr. Tyler settled in Washington, formed a partnership with Edward Cheeseman and engaged in the lumber business for a number of years. He then went to Westfield where he again engaged in the lumber business and also in the manufacture of whips and whip machinery, until the time of his death. He will be remembered as a man of unusual intellectual powers and attainments, an original thinker and most diligent reader, enjoying the volumes of his well selected library. His family consisted of his wife and two daughters, Georgia and Hattie Estelle.

Mrs. Georgia Tyler Kent

Mrs. Georgia Tyler Kent was a daughter of the late Nelson F. Tyler. She was born in Georgia and in 1855 her father removed to Washington when she was two years of age. She lived here 18 years. She was a woman of unusual intellectual ability, adopting the stage for a profession and became a prominent actress. She was associated with Madam Modjeska, Thomas F. Keene, John McCullough, John Drew, Lawrence Barrett and other stage celebrities.

After a brilliant career she retired from the stage and married Daniel Kent, a prominent lawyer of Leicester and Worcester. Later Mr. Kent was elected Register of Deeds for Worcester County and they made their home for a number of years in Worcester. She was an active member of the social and club life in the city. She died July 24, 1914. She is survived by her husband and only sister, Hattie Estelle Warner of Boston.

Frederic White Manley

Frederic White Manley, son of Daniel and Matilda White Manley, was born in Washington, Mass. September 8, 1810.

Through his mother he was descended from Robert White, one of the first settlers of Stafford Springs, Conn., and also from Richard Lyman, whose name appears upon the founders' monument in Hartford, Conn., as also that of another ancestor, Thomas Bliss, whose family moved to Springfield, Mass. and whose son Nathaniel married Catherine, daughter of Dea. Samuel Chapin.

Mr. Manley, in his paternal line, had five ancestors who came over on the Mayflower in 1620: William Bradford, for 34 years Governor of Plymouth Colony, John Howlands, John Tilly and his wife Bridget Van de Valden Tilly and daughter, Elizabeth Tilly.

Two of his forebears were in the War of the Revolution: Asa Manley and Timothy Dimock. Major John Mason, Commander General of the Connecticut troops who so successfully ended the Pequot Indian Wars and to whom the State of Connecticut erected a monument in Mystic, Conn., was also an ancestor. We may therefore assume Mr. Manley inherited unbounded patriotism and love of country.

In his early years, Mr. Manley attended the district school and worked upon the farm. Later he attended the Pittsfield High School and the Lenox Academy. While in Pittsfield he worked for his board at Dr. Wright's, where after school hours he was employed in making pills.

For fifteen years in his early manhood he followed the vocation of school master in winter and farming in summer. He taught at Valatie, State Line, and Canaan, N.Y., Lenox and Pittsfield, Mass., and in Bergen New Jersey. He was a man of great dignity and precision of speech and a diary in the possession of his family shows he was a student and thinker while his letters, still extant and dated 1862-65, breathe deep devotion to his family and his country.

In 1844, Mr Manley was appointed Agent for the Western R.R., which position he held for 27 years, until his death. He was also postmaster for 18 years, filling both positions with fidelity.

He filled various town offices and for many years served on the school committee. In fact the schools and education were to him matters of vital importance. Through a bust life he found time for reading and was a thorough student of the Bible and family prayers were a daily institution.

On November 5th, 1844, Mr. Manley married Mary Louisa, daughter of Eli and Lucy Crittenden Hale of Tyringham, Mass. Seven children were born to them, all but one living at mature years. Mrs. Manley, a faithful wife and devoted mother, died February 8, 1864. Mr. Manley married the second time Janette Bigwood of Winooski, Vermont.

Mr. Manley passed away February 4, 1871, leaving besides his immediate family, his aged mother for whom he had cared since the death of his father in 1854 and to whom he had been a loyal and devoted son. Mr. Manley is buried in Washington, Mass.

Ambrose E. Morgan
A Civil War Soldier

Ambrose E. Morgan, son of Justin Morgan of Washington, enlisted in the nine months' 49th Regiment, as a Private in Company I. He returned with his regiment and was mustered out at Pittsfield. A few months later, he reenlisted in Company D, 57th Regiment and was killed in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in May of 1864. The following account was published by the "Berkshire County Eagle" soon after:

"B.F. Pease, a private, as he lay sorely wounded at the Spotsylvania Hospital, May 13, 1864, saw three dead soldiers brought in, and from the nearest his cot, a little pocket testament was taken. The next day was the Sabbath, and while suffering great pain, he asked the nurse for the little book which he had placed in a crevice near him the day before. The testament had been struck by a ball near one corner and had passed half way through it and then glancing down through his body had caused his death. The book was moistened with his blood.

On the flyleaf was written his address as given by his pastor, Rev. M. N. Longley. Mr. Pease called the attention of the chaplain to the incident. He took the book and sent it to his father together with the above story of his son's death and burial."

The book is now in the possession of his youngest brother, Edwin E. Morgan, of Washington.

Origin of the Dwight Family

About two miles north of the Center, on the summit of a hill which slopes in nearly every direction with gentle inclination and affords a delightful prospect of the surrounding country, there stood some fifty years ago, a house occupied by Ezra Felton. Scarcely a vestige now remains. The farm to which it was attached was once highly cultivated and very fertile. Now on every hand are seen the evidences of neglect and decay. Long years ago, prior to Mr. Pelton's time, it belonged to a family named Dwight. It is believed that they reclaimed it from the forest. Besides the management of the farm, the sons, who were active and enterprising, engaged as far as their means could allow, in some business speculations, and among others, fitted up a small room at the end of the house, and filled it with various articles of merchandise. The neighborhood trade soon became brisk and lively. When money could not well be obtained, goods were exchanged for agricultural products, which were sold in Springfield and Hartford. The business grew upon their hands, their transactions increased in magnitude and they greatly extended their operations. But in process of time, the little store was found inadequate to their wants, and Chester too limited a field for the exercise of their genius and ability. They removed to Springfield, engaged in trade, were eminently successful, rapidly acquired wealth, and became highly respected and useful citizens. Luck, in brief, was the origin of the prosperity of the Dwight family of our ambitious valley city.

Harry Seagers - A Revolutionary Soldier

John Henry Seagers, who was familiarly known in Washington as "Harry Seagers", was a British soldier who came over with the Hessian army that was hired by Great Britain during the Revolutionary War, to come here to fight against the American Colonies. He served in the British Army and when the war was over he decided to remain in this country. The traditions in the Seagers family state that John Henry Seagers was mustered out at West Point, N. Y. in April 1781. Soon after this date he married Sarah Scott Robinson of Windham, Conn., the widow of Samuel Robinson, Jr. She had three children by this former marriage. There were ten children born to John Henry and Sarah Seagers, as follows:

1Johnb. Feb. 1, 1782-
2Pollyb. Mch. 3, 1783d. Feb. 22, 1822
3Williamb. May 27, 1784d. Fredonia, N. Y.
4Sarahb. Nov. 3, 1785d. Oct. 1821
5Elisha Johnsonb. Oct. 26, 1787d. Mch. 25, 1819
6Vineb. Dec. 4, 1789d. Aug. 11, 1872
7Martinb. Oct. 3, 1791d. Jan. 1853
8Charlotteb. Nov. 8, 1793-
9Henryb. May 8, 1796d. June 2, 1874
10Josephb. Jan. 12, 1799d. 1855

John Henry Seagers was born in Germany in 1740; he died July 25th, 1819. Sarah, his wife, was born in 1756 and died July 29, 1840. Mr. Seagers bought a farm in the eastern part of Washington Sept. 2, 1802, from Thomas Barnabas, and here he lived the remainder of his life. His son Henry remained at home on the farm and cared for his father and mother. The rest of the children moved to the central part of New York.

It is instructive to note that a German Psalter which the old soldier carried with him in his knapsack during the Revolutionary War is in the possession of George Seagers of Chester, Mass., a lineal descendant of the old veteran. It is related of him that often on a Sabbath afternoon he would get this Psalter out and begin to sing in his native language, until aroused by the laughter of his children, who grouped together had listened in amazement to a language they did not understand. He would be recalled to his present surroundings, then realizing he was not in the fatherland he would close the book and no more singing could be obtained from him that Sabbath afternoon. He, like the other British soldier, David Cross, became a Methodist, joining the "class" about 1810. He was a godly, exemplary man, and one of the founders of the Methodist church in the days of the "circuit rider" preachers.

The son Henry who remained on the ancestral acres was long and familiarly known as "Uncle Henry Seagers", became a Methodist when a young man. He was one of the "seceders" who formed the Wesleyan Methodist Church, and when that church gave up its organization, he returned to the original M.E. Church, where he afterwards remained. He was a man highly respected and a worthy citizen. He married Pauline Mansfield of Washington and had two children by this marriage. A son, Henry M., wo was a soldier in the Civil War; after he returned from the war he was employed on the railroad and lived in West Springfield until the time of his death, about 1895. His daughter, Elizabeth Fredora, married George B. Clark of Springfield, who was engaged in the business of a slater for many years.

Mr. Clark had two sons, Henry G. and W. Frank. The former lives in Springfield and W. Frank is engaged in business in Orange City, Florida, residing in Blandford summers.

Henry Seagers had two children by a second marriage; Susan, who died in early womanhood and Joseph who was engaged in business in Chester at the time of his death a few years ago. He is survived by his son George, who was his ancestor's Psalter. Of the families of the other children nothing is known except that Martin has a son living in Bloomingburg, N.Y.

Mr. Mellville

A very few rods beyond the Wendell Farms, we come to Arrowhead, the fine estate once owned by Herman Mellville.

Mr. Mellville is a grandson of the Major Thomas Mellville, who, a few generations ago was known to all Bostonians as the last genuine specimen of the gentlemen of the old school left in the city, the last wearer of the costumes of the Revolution, and the last survivor of the Boston Tea Party.

His son of the same name and rank was commandant of the military post of Pittsfield during the War of 1812, and after the war, President of the Agricultural Society, and other wise a leader of men in Berkshire besides being a man of some culture. With him his nephew Hermann was domiciliated for a time, while in his youth he played school-master in wild district under the shadow of Rock Mountain, I think.

It was probably the memory of his early experience which led Mr. Mellville in 1850, n the first flush of his literary success, to retire to Pittsfield, and soon the purchase of a fine estate with a fine old house adjoining in the rear of the farm of his early residence with his uncle. This quaint old mansion he made a home of the most free-hearted hospitality; and also a home of many stories, writing in it "Moby Dick" and many other romances of the sea, and also "The Piazza Tales", which took their name from a piazza build by their author upon the north end of the house and commanding a bold and striking view of Greylock and the intervening valley. "My Chimney and I", a humorous and spicy essay of which, the cumbersome old chimney, overbearing tyrant of the home, is the hero, was also written here and so of course was "October Mountain", a sketch of mingled philosophy and word-painting which found its inspiration in the massy and brilliant tints presented by a prominent and thickly wooded projection of Washington Mountain, as seen from the south-eastern window of Arrow-Head, on a fine day after the early frosts, Mr. Mellville was almost a zealot in his love of Berkshire scenery, and there was no more ardent and indefatigable excursionist among the hills and valleys.

Source: "History of the Town of Washington, Massachusetts".