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James Trowbridge, Page 412
JAMES TROWBRIDGE is one of the oldest pioneers of Sheboygan County, and is now living in Sheboygan Falls. He comes of English ancestry, his parents being both natives of the old Bay State. He was born in Worcester, Mass., August 18, 1822, being one of eight children, whose parents were William and Dorothy (Chapin) Trowbridge. They had five sons and three daughters, but only two are now living, our subject, and his sister Dorothy, wife of David Giddings, now a resident of Fond du Lac County, and one of the earliest settlers of this county, where he located in 1836.
William Trowbridge, who was always known as "Deacon" Trowbridge, was born October 16, 1790, in Massachusetts, and died November 20, 1880. He was reared as a blacksmith and manufacturer of all kinds of edged tools, such as scythes, sickles, knives, etc., and learned his trade of a Mr. Chapin. His education was obtained in the primitive schools of the olden days, and he continued working at his trade most of his life. After he came to this county, he often did work for the Indians, such as repairing their guns and hatchets. On the 26th of November, 1812, he married Miss Chapin, a native of Massachusetts. In 1837, with his family, he came West from his former home, which was in Tompkins County, N. Y. The entire trip was made by the Lakes, and at the end of four weeks the vessel anchored opposite the site of Sheboygan, and they were transferred to the shore in an old scow. The winter was spent with Charles Cole, one of the first settlers of the city, and the same winter the father opened a blacksmith-shop. They had, in the mean time, found a home in a block house near the present site of Mr. Trowbridge's residence. There was not a settler then between their home and Sheboygan Falls, and none west of there. Plymouth was not known, and there were not more than fifteen habitations in Sheboygan. Timber and heavy brush covered almost the entire site of the present city; Eighth Street was a wilderness, and the wolves often came into the village. There were no roads, and only Indian trails instead. Sheboygan Falls had only about five residences besides the old sawmill, and many Indians were to be seen at that time. In 1836 the present site of two hundred and forty acres of our subject's farm was purchased at $1.25 per acre. There were no churches and schoolhouses, and religious services were held in a small office, 16 x 20 feet, belonging to David Giddings, at the Falls. Deacon Trowbridge was the first minister of the Gospel in this part of the county, and was engaged in the work from the time of his arrival here until his death. He was sent for from far and near to preach funeral sermons, his trips being sometimes made on horseback, and sometimes on foot. He was an earnest Christian, and the influence of his noble life was felt wherever he went. In the erection of the first Baptist Church in Sheboygan Falls, he was one of the prime movers. In politics, he was an old-line Whig, and afterwards upheld the principles of the Republican party. For six months he was one of the Minute-men of Massachusetts, and his brother James was a surgeon in the navy during the War of 1812. Mr. and Mrs. Trowbridge were interred in the cemetery of Sheboygan Falls, after a life spent in useful service.
The first eight years of the life of James L. Trowbridge were spent in Massachusetts, and the succeeding seven years in the Empire State. he well remembers attending the little schoolhouse on the hill, near the city of Worcester, which has been leveled, and now has beautiful city residences upon it. He was fifteen years of age on coming to Sheboygan County, and became used to hard work in clearing the wilderness and developing a good farm. He was married June 15, 1846, to Miss Mary E. Cole, by whom he had two children. The mother died July 11, 1849. On the 19th of October, 1852, Mr. Trowbridge married Mary L. Cobb, a native of New York, and a daughter of C. D. Cobb. Three children grace their union. Thaddeus, who is married and has two children, was educated in the High School of Sheboygan Falls, and is a practical farmer of Sheboygan Falls Township; Charles, who is a dentist of Sheboygan Falls, graduated at the American Dental College, of Chicago, in 1892. He had previously studied and practiced with Dr. Dickinson, an eminent dentist of Fond du Lac, for two years, and is meeting with gratifying success in his profession. He is a natural-born mechanic, and inherits many of the sterling qualities of his father. He married Miss Jones, of Fond du Lac. Sarah, the only daughter, lives at home with her parents. Mrs. Trowbridge comes from one of the best families of the county, and has resided here since 1850. She is well educated, and for some years was a teacher of vocal and instrumental music.
Our subject wished to go to the defense of the Union, but was not received on account of deficient eye-sight. His first vote was cast for Henry Clay, and since the organization of the Republican party he has exercised his right of franchise in its behalf. He is an ardent friend of the public-school system, and respects moral measures and religious teachings. His wife is a member of the Episcopal Church. The most of his life has been spent in this county, and he has truly witnessed its development from a dense wilderness to one of the most beautiful counties of the State.
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