Perkins family of Hartford, of which the eminent lawyers, Enoch Perkins
and his son, the late Thomas day Perkins, were honored and distinguished
members, and of which the latter's son and grandson, Charles E., and Arthur,
respectively, are prominent in the profession, is one of the oldest families
in New England. Charles E. Perkins is in the seventh generation from John
Perkins, Sr., the American ancestor, the line of his descent being through
Sergt. Jacob, Joseph, Mathew, Enoch and Thomas Clap.
(I) John Perkins, Sr., as he is called in
the records, the immigrant ancestor of many of the family in this country,
according to family tradition was born in Newent. Gloucestershire, England,
in 1590. He was among the earliest emigrants from the mother country, sailing
from Bristol, England, Dec. 1, 1630, in the ship "Lyon" bound for Boston
in America, taking with him his wife and five children. The ship anchored
before Boston Feb. 6, 1631. The children of John Perkins and wife Judith
were: John, Thomas, Elizabeth, Mary, Jacob and Lydia. He resided in Boston
two years, and became one of the leading men of Ipswich, Mass.; was several
times deputy to the General Court; and held other offices of trust. He
died in 1654, aged sixty-four years.
(II) Sergt. Jacob Perkins, son of John. Sr.,
was born in England in 1624. He was first married about 1647, his wife's
name being Elizabeth. She died in 1665, and later he married Widow Damaris
Robinson, of Boston. He died in 1699-1700, and his widow in 1716. Like
the general farmer he lived a quiet, uneventful life. His children by Elizabeth
were: Elizabeth, John, Judith, Mary, Jacob, Mathew, Hannah, Joseph
(III) Joseph Perkins, son of Sergt. Jacob,
born June 21, 1664, in Ipswich, Mass., removed in early life to Norwich,
Conn., and married there, in 1700, Martha, daughter of Joseph and Dorothy
Morgan. She was of Preston, Conn., born in 1680, and died in 1754. He died
in 1726. In connection with his brother Jabez he purchased a large tract
of land— 800 or 1,200 acres—in that part of the town of Norwich afterward
the town of Lisbon, and it was known as "Perkins' Crotch." Joseph Perkins
was an influential man in both town and church. His children were: Elizabeth,
Mary, Joseph, Martha, John, Jerusha, Mathew, Deborah and Ann.
(IV) Mathew Perkins, son of Joseph, was born
Aug. 31, 1713, in Norwich, Conn., and died in 1773. In 1739 married
Hannah, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Fobes) Bishop. She was born in 1724,
and died at Lisbon, Conn., in 1809. He owned a farm of 1,000 acres in Hanover
Society, north part of Lisbon. His children were: Joshua, Hannah, Mathew,
Ephraim, Jerusha, Na-than, Susanna, Sarah, Mathew (2), Enoch, Frederick
(V) Enoch Perkins, son of Mathew, was born
Aug. 16, 1760, and in 1787 was married to Anna Pitkin, born in 1704, daughter
of Timothy and Temperance (Clap) Pitkin, of Farmington, Conn. Enoch Perkins
was graduated from Yale College in 1781, and studied law with William Channing,
of Newport, R. I. He was a tutor in Yale College for two and one-half years,
after which, in 1786, he established himself in his profession at Hartford,
where he remained in the active discharge of his duties to the end of his
life. As a lawyer he was distinguished for a thorough acquaintance with
the duties of his profession, and he was, to no common degree, skilled
in the forms of legal process, and his services were often called into
requisition; his clients are said never to have suffered by his negligence.
As a member of the civic society he was ever ready to bear his part of
public business; and when appointed to civil offices he executed the duties
thereof promptly and efficiently, and his services met with the approbation
of the wise and good. In 1809 he was appointed attorney for the State of
Connecticut in the county of Hartford, in which office he discharged the
duties of public prosecutor with a characteristic regard for moral principle.
He was chosen a member of the board of trustee's of the Missionary Society
of Connecticut in 1808, and was also trustee of the Hartford grammar school.
Mr. Perkins was much esteemed and resorted to as an adviser in cases of
difficult, and for this office he was well qualified. He looked coolly
into the intricacies of a subject, and it was rarely that he did not penetrate
it to the bottom; his unbending integrity and honesty of purpose gave to
his advice its peculiar value. His life was one of uncommon evenness.
While a tutor in Yale College Mr. Perkins
made a public profession of religion, and through his whole life he was
thoroughly and sincerely a Chris-tian; his religious feeling sprang from
clear views of truth. He observed the Sabbath with great strictness, for
he loved its holy hours and sacred duties. He died Aug. 28, 1828. His children
were Anna, Charlotte, Henrietta, Emilia, Thomas Clap, Henry A. and George
(VI) Thomas Clap Perkins, son of Enoch,
and the father of Charles E. Perkins, of Hartford, was born July 30, 1798,
in Hartford, Conn. On Nov. 7, 1827, he married Mary Foot Beecher, daughter
of Rev. Lyman Beecher, D. D. Thomas C. Perkins was graduated from Yale
in 1818, taking the salutatory, and studied law with Hon. Seth P. Staples,
of New Haven. He was admitted to the Hartford Bar, and soon rose to an
influential position among associates whose ability and success rendered
it no easy matter for a new and young lawyer to achieve distinction. For
a time he was secretary of the Protection Fire Insurance Co. He filled
several town offices, and was a number of times a member of the State Senate
and House. Elected later in life to the Bench of the Supreme Court, he
declined that honor, preferring the business of his profession. He was
very learned in the law, had an intellect of great exactness and clearness,
a sound and instructed judgment, and wonderful tenacity of purpose. He
excelled both in the preparation of a case and in its conduct, convincing
court and jury not so much by eloquence of words as by perspicuity of statement
and entire candor of manner. "Thoroughly learned in the law, he was untiring
in his work. Gifted with an extraordinarily retentive memory, and an equally
surprising quickness of perception, he made the most of his facts and authorities;
and could inprovise his points, as trial progressed, without previous knowledge
of preparation of the case. He had not the winning and persuasive way with
a jury that marked Mr. Chapman, who was frequently associated with him;
he was better before the Court than before the jury. He digested everything
he read, and his application of a rule was remarkable. He used his precedents
and authorities in such a way as to make them 'tell' on the case without
lumbering or overloading it. In a consultation his judgment was as valuable
as that of the ablest of his associates. As a lawyer, in the stricter sense
of the word, he was one of the best of the Hartford Bar. During the latter
half of his professional career his practice was very large and lucrative."
In his private life Mr. Perkins was accustomed
to lay aside his severe habits of business, and give himself to the genial
pleasure of social intercourse. He was a man of much wit and humor, and
greatly engaged them in others, drawing always for the entertainment of
his friends upon a large store of anecdotes and a wide range of reading.
He was a man who concealed his charities and avoided a display of sympathy,
but a tale of distress never failed to move him, and he gave liberally
where his gifts were known only to himself and the receivers. He looked
habitually on the bright side of life, and never liked to talk of that
which was unpleasant or disagreeable. No man was truer or deeper in his
attachments, though he sought society in a limited circle of friends. He
was a Christian gentleman, of the old school of courtesy and kindness.
He died, after a short and painful sickness, Oct.11, 1870.
''The death of Mr. Perkins deprived the Hartford
Bar of one of the last of the old fraternity of distinguished lawyers whose
names, during the thirty or forty years prior to his death, had given it
honorable distinction. Within eighteen months from that time the deaths
of Toucey, Chapman and Perkins had occurred. Hungerford and Waldo alone
remained of the older members, and the latter practiced chiefly at the
Bar of another county. Ellsworth, Parsons and other distinguished lights
of the Hartford Bar had died during the few preceding years. Hungerford,
at that time the oldest surviving associate of the old members of the Hartford
Bar, and in some respects the most remarkable lawyer whom Connecticut or
New England has ever produced, survived our subject at eighty or upwards,
and had then of late years entirely withdrawn from active practice. One,
who would have won a deservedly wide fame at the Bar, died in his fresh
prime; and the Bar of Hartford county, as well as the community, lost a
valuable member in the death of the late Lucius F. Robinson. Mr. Perkins'
death, like the loss of Mr. Chapman, was particularly felt."
The quotations preceding are from the Hart-ford
press at the time of the death of Mr. Perkins, and those following are
from the resolutions of speakers at the Hartford Bar meeting held at that
"As a genial lawyer, conducting causes from
their earliest consultation, through their preparations in his office and
conflicts at the Bar, to the final engrossment after the last decree of
the last tribunal, he was systematic, patient, vigorous and powerful. He
was an associate most valuable, an antagonist most powerful.
“His well-disciplined intellect, his retentive
memory, his unequalled self control, and his many years of industrious
application to all branches of profes-sional practice, rendered him a bright
ornament to that Bar which not even the offered highest judiciary honors
of our Commonwealth could induce him to forsake, and in whose advance he
died, with courage unabated and pulse unwearied."
"The death of Mr. Perkins was not merely the
loss of a great lawyer and of a Christian gentleman, but it would be peculiarly
felt by the Hartford County Bar. For the last few years he had been regarded
as the leader of this Bar. Taking a prominent part in almost all the important
trials, he was always cautious, always honorable, always fair. The influence
of his example had had much to do in giving to our Bar its enviable reputation
of being one of the most honorable and courteous in New England. The younger
members, with his daily example before them, were led to know that trickery,
dishonesty and sharp practice have no place in the qualifications of a
great and successful lawyer. Mr. Hyde felt sure he expressed the feelings
of the younger brethren present when he declared that to the Hartford County
Bar his loss was irreparable."
Mr. Perkins' children were: (I) Frederick
B., Perkins, born Sept. 27, 1828, in Hartford, Conn., married May 21, 1857,
Mary Westcott, of Provi-dence, R. I., and a daughter of Henry and Clarissa
(Perkins) Westcott. Their children were: Thomas H. (deceased), Thomas A.,
Charlotte A., and Julia De W. (deceased).
(2) Emily B. Perkins, born Nov. 23, 1829,
in Hartford, Conn., married Oct. 13, 1852, Rev. Edward Everett Hale, D.
D., of Boston, Mass., son of Hon. Nathan Hale. Their children were: Alexander,
(deceased); Ellen D., born Feb.11, 1855; Arthur, born Aug. 12, 1859; Charles
A. (deceased); Edward E., born Feb. 18, 1863; Philip, born May 21, 1865;
Herbert, born July 22, 1866; Henry K., born June 6, 1868 (deceased); and
Robert, born Sept. 5, 1870 (deceased).
(3) CHARLES E. PERKINS, born March 23, 1832,
in Hartford, married, Aug. 29, 1855, Lucy M. Adams, of Boston. He graduated
from Williams College, Massachusetts, in 1853, then studied law with his
father in Hartford, and was admitted to the Bar in 1855. He has resided
in Hartford ever since as a partner with his father while he lived, and
after his death alone until 1892, when his son Arthur was admitted to a
partnership. Mr. and Mrs. Perkins have had children as follows : Mary R.,
born July 22, 1857, married in 1887 Rev. Sidney D. Hooker, of Dillon, Mont.;
Emily H., born Jan. 23, 1861, married in 1888 Howard H. Knapp, of Bridgeport;
Arthur, born May 16, 1864, graduated at Yale College in 1887, was admitted
to the Bar in 1889, and since 1892 has practiced law with his father under
the firm name of Perkins & Perkins (he married Miss Amy Dennison, of
Philadelphia, and has one daughter, Helen Perkins) ; Lucy A. was born Oct.
23, 1865; and Thomas C. was born May 16, 1873.
(4) Catherine B. Perkins, born May 3, 1836,
married in 1859 William C. Gilman, of New York. She died Nov. 15, 1879.
Their children were: Theodora (deceased); Bessie (deceased); Houghton,
born Aug. 8, 1867; and Francis, born Dec. 15, 1870.
J. H. Beers & Co.
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