|MAJOR EUGENE A. BANCROFT, of
New London, formerly of the Fourth Artillery Corps of the United States
Army, was born in Boston, Mass., June 17, 1825, the son of Thomas and Betsey
(Tileston) Bancroft. His great-grandfather was Thomas Bancroft, and his
grandfather, Aaron Bancroft, of Boston. At least one member of the family
fought in the Revolutionary War, Captain Bancroft, who participated in
the battle of Bunker Hill.
Thomas Bancroft, the Major's father, was
born in Boston in 1798, and died there in 1886. His first wife, Betsey
Tileston, died in her twenty-second year in 1828, leaving two children
— Eugene and an infant daughter. The daughter died in early married life.
Mr. Bancroft and his second wife, Eliza Osborn, reared two sons and two
daughters. Of this family three are living, namely: the two daughters;
and a son, Thomas J., who is an Assessor in Boston.
Major Eugene A. Bancroft was given good educational
advantages, finishing his course of study at the Chauncy Hall School, Boston.
From 1849 to 1856 he was in the employ of the Adams Express Company in
California, going via New Orleans and Texas, the journey consuming six
months; and in 1861 he began his military career, enlisting in the Sturgis
Rifles in Chicago. On October 24 of that year he was commissioned Second
Lieutenant in the regular army; on June 25, 1862, he was brevetted First
Lieutenant for gallantry near Fair Oaks, Va.; on December 13, 1862, he
was commissioned First Lieutenant; and on July 3, 1863, brevet was conferred
upon him for bravery at Gettysburg. Though not a physically strong man,
Major Bancroft has the resolute will, the nerve and fire, that characterize
leaders of men; and, whenever danger was to be faced, he was found in the
thickest of the fray. The rank of Captain of the Fifteenth Infantry was
offered him January 22, 1867; but he declined it, accepting, however, the
Captaincy of the Fourth Artillery, April 26, 1873. He was in active service
against the Indians in the West and at Clear Water, Idaho, was severely
wounded by a gunshot in the left arm, left lung, and thorax. For gallant
conduct at this time he received his major's brevet. He went to Europe
on a pleasure trip in 1873, but within a few months was recalled, and ordered
to join the army in the West. Stationed for some time in California, he
was two years in Sitka and different parts of Alaska, spending nine years
in all in the Far West. On June 17, 1889, his sixty-fourth birthday, he
was honorably discharged, having attained the age limit for active military
service. Though not a confirmed invalid, Major Bancroft suffers from physical
disability to some extent, caused by the hardships and exposure of army
life, and his hearing is impaired by climatic causes; but he is constitutionally
cheerful, keen, and witty, and enjoys heartily a good joke or story. In
all things he is a typical Yankee soldier.
Major Bancroft was married June 19, 1861,
to Miss Eleanor Croes, a native of St. Charles, Ill., daughter of Ralph
V. M. and Anna N. (Blanchard) Croes. Mr. Croes died in Chicago in 1855.
His widow is yet living. Ten children have been given to Major Bancroft
and his wife, and nine of them are living: Anna B., wife of William D.
Coit, prosecuting attorney of New London; Thomas Eugene, in New York City,
unmarried; Eleanor, a graduate of the New London High School; Henry Edward,
Mary Edith, Bessie Tileston, Charlotte J., Helen McDowell, and George Croes,
ten years of age, all with their parents. In politics the Major favors
the Republican side. He is a Master Mason.
Biographical Review Volume
Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens
of New London County Connecticut
Biographical Review Publishing Company
pgs 415 - 416