|HENRY W. BRANCHE, manager of
the Boston and Norwich Clothing Company of Norwich, Conn., was born in
Lisbon, Conn., August 9, 1860. His father, Levi J. Branche, was born in
Lisbon, August 19, 1819; and his mother, Sarah L. Williams Branche, was
a native of Canterbury, Conn. Elisha Branche, father of Levi J., was a
son of Stephen, who was born in Preston, Conn. The first ancestor in Connecticut
was Peter Branch, who came to Preston from Scituate, Mass., or near Brant
Rock, Peter Branch, of Kent, England, sailed from his native land in the
ship "Castle" between the years 1620 and 1640, but did not live to see
the new world for which he had set out. His son John was bound out at ten
years of age for the remainder of his minority. Branch Island, near Brant
Rock, referred to above, was named for him; and his will shows him to have
been a man of property. During the Indian War one of his sons was killed
at Rehoboth, and is buried there.
Stephen Branch, the great-grandfather of
Henry W., of this sketch, was a noncommissioned officer in a company of
militia that responded to the Lexington alarm in April, 1775. His brother,
Captain Moses Branch, was in command of a company at Groton Heights. Elisha
Branche, the grandfather of Henry W., was the father of three sons — Elisha
P.; Levi J.; and William, who married a Miss Atwood, and went to Utah to
live — and three daughters.
Levi J. Branche engaged in farming in his
younger days, then became a paper manufacturer, being one of the organizers
of the Reed Paper Company. He was one of the incorporators of the Jewett
City Savings Bank. Two years, 1882-84, he was a member of the State legislature.
He was active and influential in the town affairs of Sprague, to which
place he removed at the close of the war. In 1860 Mr. Branche was married
to Miss Sarah L. Williams, daughter of Merritt Williams, of Canterbury,
Conn. Four children were the fruit of this union, namely: Henry W.; Ida,
wife of a Mr. Blanding, of Providence, R. I.; Herbert R., a yard-master
in Providence for the New England Railroad; and Leone L., a salesman in
a clothing store in Providence. Their mother died in November, 1875, at
thirty-seven years of age. Their father subsequently married a second wife,
by whom he had two children. His third and last wife was a Miss Bromley,
who survives him, and is living in Sterling, Conn. He died in March, 1886.
Henry W. Branche, after attending the common
schools and a boarding-school at Providence, began his business career
at sixteen, as a clerk in a clothing store in Winchendon, and afterward
went to school for another year. He tried working in a woollen-mill and
at other employments until 1883, when he entered the New York Clothing
House in Norwich as a clerk, remaining there until the spring of 1887,
when he started in business for himself at 90 Main Street, in company with
a Mr. Reeves, firm of Reeves & Branche. After carrying on the business
together for seven years, they dissolved partnership; and Mr. Branche became
manager of the Boston and Norwich Clothing Company.
In December, 1886, Mr. Branche was joined
in marriage with Miss Fannie Bottomley, of this city, a daughter of Joseph
Bottomley. They have three children—Harry, Herbert, and Fannie.
As was his father before him, Mr. Branche
is a Republican. Fraternally, he is a member of the Knights of Pythias,
the Improved Order of Red Men, and Sons of the American Revolution. Mrs.
Branche is an Episcopalian. The family reside on Laurel Hill, in the house
which Mr. Branche purchased in the fall of 1895.
Biographical Review Volume
Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens
New London County Connecticut
Biographical Review Publishing Company
pgs 427 - 428