Page, Charles (Hon.)

HON. CHARLES PAGE.

  Hon. Charles Page has the distinction of serving as town clerk for forty-six years, a longer period than that covering the incumbency of any other person in an elective office in the state of Connecticut. He has also been a member of the state senate and in many ways has left the impress of his individuality and ability upon the records of the commonwealth. His life, ever guided by the highest principles, has taken cognizance not only of the opportunities for the attainment of material success but also of the opportunities for service to one’s fellowmen. He has held to high ideals and in their accomplishment has utilized the most practical methods, a combination productive of splendid results. North Branford is proud to number him among her native sons. He was there born May 21, 1839, his parents being Benjamin and Sarah Elizabeth (Merriam) Page. The family is of English origin and was established on American soil at an early day. The probate records indicate that George Page emigrated from England to America and soon afterward took up his permanent abode in Branford, Connecticut. In 1667, in connection with others, he signed an agreement to build a Congregational church, which two years later was completed. He married Sarah Linsley, a daughter of John Linsley, and in her he found a true helpmate--a lady whose splendid qualities of heart and mind have been handed down through generations to her descendants. She died in 1695 while still in the prime of life. The death of George Page occurred in 1689, in which year he had made his will. His children were: Sarah, born in 1666; Samuel, in 1670; George, in 1672; Jonathan, in 1675; Anna, in 1677; Nathaniel, in 1679; Daniel, in 1683; and John, in 1684.

  Of that family Daniel Page was but six years of age at the time of his father’s death and was early forced to start out in life to make his own way in the world. In young manhood he became a resident of North Branford, where he purchased land and engaged in farming, becoming one of the representative and valued citizens of his community. He served as selectman about 1727, was one of the grand jury and was otherwise connected with public interests. His religious faith was that of the Congregational church. On the 3d of February, 1710, he married Hannah Johnson and on the 17th of April, 1766, he departed this life.

  His son, Daniel Page, Jr., born in 1724, in North Branford, there resided until 1776, when he removed to Bare Plain, in the southwestern part of the town. There he died July 4, 1779. He had served as constable from 1755 until 1759, had been selectman from 1763 until 1777, and for eight terms had represented his town in the legislature. On the 13th of February, 1749, he wedded Dinah Baldwin, a daughter of Israel Baldwin.

  Their family included Benjamin Page, who was born October 18, 1769, and died November 29, 1851. He was married twice. On the 16th of May, 1798, he wedded Lois Ford, who died June 25, 1810. His second wife bore the maiden name of Mary Hurd and died August 15, 1852. There were six children of the first marriage and three children of the second marriage besides others who died in infancy. Benjamin Page was a man of considerable prominence in his day who by individual effort had acquired a good education and his ability was greatly appreciated by his friends and neighbors, who called him to the office of justice of the peace for forty years and sent him as a representative to the state legislature for two terms. He was also town clerk for one year. His political support was given to the democratic party, while his religious faith was that of the Congregational church.

  His son, Benjamin Page, Jr., was born August 11, 1806, and was married in Meriden, Connecticut, October 20, 1836, to Sarah E. Merriam, whose birth occurred February 8, 1816, and who passed away May 12, 1887, while the death of Mr. Page occurred July 16, 1876. Like his forbears, he was a consistent member of the Congregational church, taking an active part in its work, while his wife was identified with the Episcopal church. In politics Mr. Page was a strong democrat and his ability caused him to be selected to various public positions of honor and trust. He was town clerk, was also justice of the peace for twenty-three years and acted in other public positions. In his family were five children: John M., who was born February 14, 1838, and who became a hardware merchant of Naugatuck; Charles; Benjamin, who was born September 4, 1840, and is engaged in the insurance and real estate business in Meriden; Martha E., born February 25, 1845, the wife of T. A. Smith, of Northford; and Robert, who was born July 5, 1846, and is a farmer of North Branford. Mrs. Benjamin Page, Jr., was a daughter of Asel and Elizabeth Merriam, natives of Meriden. Her father was a farmer by occupation and was a son of Joseph Merriam, who was likewise a native of Meriden and devoted his life to general agricultural pursuits.

  Hon. Charles Page, whose name introduces this record, has spent practically all of his life in North Branford. After mastering the branches of learning taught in the district schools he continued his education in the Meriden high school, from which he was graduated when fifteen years of age. He then took up the profession of teaching, which he followed until he was seventeen, and later he went to the Guilford Institute. Subsequently he became a student in the  normal school at New Britain, Connecticut, and afterward taught school in North Branford, also at Branford, at New Haven and at Stony Creek. While thus engaged he studied for the ministry under the direction of the Rev. Curtis and Rev. Clark. In 1882 he entered the Yale School of Religion, now known as the Yale Divinity School, and in 1885 he was licensed to preach as a minister of the Congregational faith. He accepted the pastorate of the church at Branford and was afterward for a time at North Branford and at East Haven. In 1891 he took charge of the Congregational chapel at Foxon and organized the work there so thoroughly that a church was established. He has been its minister since 1893, covering a period of twenty-four years, and under his guidance the work of the church has been carried steadily forward with good results, proving a strong agency in the moral stability and growth of this section of the state. In 1880, through the terms of his uncle’s will, he inherited a large farm in North Branford, where he still makes his home, employing someone to care for and further develop the property.

  Rev. Page was married at North Guilford on the 22d of April, 1863, to Miss Elbertina Adelia Dudley, who was born in Guilford, where she lived to the time of her marriage and then went to North Branford, where she died in 1913. She attended the Guilford high school and the State Normal School and successfully engaged in teaching in Guilford, North Branford and North Madison. She was a daughter of Luther F. and Elizabeth A. (Buck) Dudley, representatives of old Guilford families. The memory of Mrs. Page is cherished in the hearts of all who knew her. She was a lady of splendid qualities, of deep sympathies and warm heart, ever extending a helping hand to the sick and needy, her life being fraught with many acts of kindness and many deeds of charity. She was continually aiding those who were in trouble, going about quietly doing good, and thus she won the love and goodwill of all throughout the community. It has been said that no woman who has lived in North Branford has been so greatly loved and so deeply mourned as Mrs. Page. By her marriage she had become the mother of three children. Charles Augustus, who was born in North Branford, February 12, 1865, is now instructing conductor at New Haven for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company. Edson Clark, born in East Haven, May 21, 1868, is engaged in the milling business. May Cornelia, born in East Haven, August 1, 1870, is the wife of John R. Merrick, a painter of North Branford.

  In his political views Mr. Page has ever been a stalwart republican since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. In 1871 he was elected town clerk and has been reelected at each succeeding election since that time, being the nominee of both the democratic and republican parties on each occasion save one, when the democratic party did not place a candidate’s name upon their ticket. He has thus held the office of town clerk of North Branford continuously for forty-six years, a longer period than any person holding an elective office in the state of Connecticut. He has also been town treasurer of North Branford for a long period, being chosen again and again for the position at each succeeding election. He has served thirty years on the board of education of North Branford and is secretary of the board. In 1874 he was elected to represent his district in the legislature, again in 1900 he was chosen to the same office and in 1903 he was elected state senator, in which position he served for one term. He was chairman of the senate temperance committee and chairman of the committee on public health and safety. He was also a member of the senate committee on the state library and was largely instrumental in securing the passage of a bill to raise the salary of the state librarian and secured three thousand dollars with which to buy new books for the library. For many years he has been chaplain of Foxon Grange. His life, actuated by high and honorable purposes and lofty ideals, has been of great worth to the world. For many years he had the encouragement, assistance and cooperation of a woman who was indeed a helpmate to him in the highest and best sense of the term and whose good example is yet felt throughout the community in which she so long lived and labored. The Rev. Page has spent his entire life in this section of Connecticut and the years devoted to the material, intellectual, social, political and moral progress of the community have been most resultant, making his name an honored one throughout the state.
 
 

Modern History of New Haven
and 
Eastern New Haven County

Illustrated

Volume II

New York – Chicago
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 
1918

pgs 659 - 661

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pages / text are copyrighted by
Elaine Kidd O'Leary &
Anne Taylor-Czaplewski
May 2002