ALBERT P. PITKIN (deceased), for many years a leading business man
of Hartford, was a representative of one of the oldest families, tracing
his descent from William Pitkin, a pioneer of East Hartford.
The name has long been identified with a high
order of citizenship, and among other members of the family who have attained
distinction are William and Ozias Pitkin, sons of the pioneer, who were
among the most noted lawyers and politicians of their time; William Pitkin,
governor of the colony from 1766 to 1769; Col. John Pitkin, brother of
the governor, who was lieutenant-colonel in 1755 and colonel in 1756, and
led his command against Crown Point in 1755 in the expedition under Gen.
Lyman; and Col. William Pitkin, son of the governor, who was in 1758 appointed
major of the Connecticut forces raised for the expedition against Canada,
served through the campaign, under Gen. Abercrombie, and acquired the reputation
of a faithful and gallant officer; during the greater part of the Revolutionary
war he was a member of the Council of Safety.
William Pitkin, the pioneer, was born in 1633,
at Marylebone, near London, England, and came to Hartford in 1659. A year
later he began teaching school, being thereto encouraged by votes and grants
of money by the town. He was appointed attorney for the colony in 1664.
He bought land on the east side of the river, and was one of the most prominent
planters. He bequeathed in his will nearly 800 acres of land, after
having given his two older sons a portion of it. William Pitkin filled
many public offices with ability, and was conspicuous and influential in
the affairs of the colony. He annually represented Hartford in the Colonial
Assembly for a period of fifteen years, from 1675 to 1690. His sister Martha
married Simon Wolcott, and was ancestress of five governors. He married
Hannah Goodwin, only daughter of Hon. Ozias and Mary (Woodward) Goodwin,
the progenitors of the Goodwill family in Connecticut. Mr. Goodwin was
born in England in 1596, and came to America with Rev. Thomas Hooker.
Roger Pitkin, the next in the line of descent,
married Hannah Stanley. Jonathan Pitkin married Rebecca Smith. Jonathan
Pitkin (2) married Lucy Steele. Ezekiel Pitkin married Euphemia Chapman.
Dennison Pitkin, our subject's father, married Phoebe Dunham Turner.
Albert P. Pitkin was born Feb. 27, 1829, at
East Hartford, on the original homestead purchased from the Indians in
1684 by William Pitkin, the pioneer. When a young man he went to Hartford
and entered the employ of Gilbert & Cowles, tinners and furnace makers,
of whom he learned his trade. He was afterward employed by the Culvers
of New York, the leading furnace manufacturers of the country at that time.
Returning to Hartford in 1849, he went into partnership with D. L. Bidwell,
under the firm name of Bidwell, Pitkin & Co. In 1858 he formed another
co-partnership, with his brother Norman T., for the manufacture of steam
goods, etc. At this date the heating of buildings by steam was but little
known. This was the only concern of the kind, of any considerable note,
between Boston and New York, and Mr. Pitkin was one of the leading steam
engineers in New England. Not long afterward the firm of Pitkin Brothers
& Co. was formed, consisting of A. P. Pitkin (senior member), N. T.
Pitkin and Charles A. Pitkin, and George C. Root. Mr. Root shortly afterward
withdrew from the firm and removed to Detroit, where he died; C. A. Pitkin
also severed his connection with the firm, because of failing health, and
is now in Arroyo Grande, Cal. A. P. Pitkin was the directing spirit in
this firm, whose work stands as high as any of its kind throughout the
country. He was for more than forty years a director of the Farmers &
Mechanics Bank, having been first appointed to the position by the State.
From 1866 to 1871 he was a member of the board of water commissioners,
and was instrumental in securing the establishment of the present system
of water supply. He was also instrumental in founding the Hartford Light
& Power Co., of which he was a director at the time of his death, and
he also took an active interest in the Hartford Board of Trade. He was
one of the original members of the Putnam Phalanx, and was a Freemason
of long standing, having taken the thirty-second degree in that fraternity.
Mr. Pitkin was a member of the Connecticut Historical Society, and the
author of the Pitkin Genealogy, which was published in 1887, and for which
membership in the Harleian Society of Blackheath, Kent, England, was conferred
upon him. This work, which stands high among the genealogical literature
of the day, was a lifelong labor of love with its author, and is an enduring
monument to his energy and devotion, especially as it was compiled in the
midst of a life of unusual business activity. Mr. Pitkin was a liberal
supporter of the churches of the town, and had been a regular attendant
at the First Church for many years. He was a kind, genial, generous man,
devotedly attached to his family, and beloved and respected by all who
knew him. He was a man of sterling business qualities, scrupulously upright,
and always careful for the welfare of everyone in his employ. He believed
in the right of every man to his freedom in the broadest application of
the term, and was a stanch supporter of the Republican party from the time
of its formation. His death, which occurred Feb. 21, 1892, caused sincere
mourning among a wide circle of acquaintances in Hartford and elsewhere,
and called forth many tokens of respect and affection. The funeral, which
was held at his residence, was largely attended.
On Nov. 4, 1851, Mr. Pitkin married Miss Jane
Ann Hastings, who was born Dec. 8, 1828, daughter of Capt. Henry and Sarah
Ann (Dewey) Hastings. Capt. Henry Hastings was a leading citizen of Hartford
for many years, and he and his father, Benjamin Hastings, were elected
collectors of the taxes of the town and city of Hartford, Conn., for thirty
consecutive years. Mrs. Pitkin died Feb. 1, 1876, leaving three sons: Albert
H., of Hartford; Howard S., of East Hartford; and William T., of Hartford,
all yet living. In 1889 Mr. Pitkin married Miss Julia Louise Goodwin,
daughter of Horace Ely Goodwin, of Hartford, and she survives him.
J. H. Beers & Co.
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