William J. Gabb
Death of Former Representative and Prominent Business Man
The close of the earthly life of William John Gabb occurred Thursday afternoon at 4:45 at his residence on Park Avenue, Bloomfield.
He was born in Bloomfield February 18, 1843. His parents were Thomas and Mary Gabb, who came from England, bringing with them their three children, Ann, who married a Mr. Shepard; Thomas, who made his home in Texas, and Henry of Chicago, Ill., all of whom are dead. Other children born to these parents were Charles N., who was a resident of Northampton and Cummington, Mass., and who died at Northampton in 1904. He was almost the last one of the charter members of Hiram lodge, No. 98, A.F. and A.M., of Bloomfield, William J. and George D. of this town.
Mr. Gabb received his early education in the district schools, and later studied as a private pupil under the instruction of the Rev. R. H. Maine, then pastor of the Baptist church of this town. He taught school for a while, being at one time employed in Duncaster district.
His residence all his life had practically been in Bloomfield. He married Miss Katherine Parsons of Unionville, July 5, 1872, and started his home where his father and mother years before had lived, on the farm now occupied by William Cooley on Maple avenue, and where for many years his father carried on a blacksmithing business. When this farm was sold he lived for a while on the Deacon Clark farm on Prospect Hill, and later purchased the Hon. Francis Gillette farm, now known as “Burnham Wildwood,” after the sale of which he moved to the center. As a farmer he was early interested in Jersey stock, and the introduction of registered stock.
Mr. Gabb started in the tobacco business in 1870, purchasing not only in Connecticut, but also in Ohio and Wisconsin. He also made trips through the west selling tobacco. In 1871, Shailor F. Burnham, H. Goodwin Fish, and W. J. Gabb formed a partnership for the purchase and sale of tobacco, and this partnership was continued until 1873 when Mr. Burnham retired. Mr. Fish’s failing health caused him to retire in 1893, and Mr. Gabb continued the business which increased so much that some winters ninety men or more have been employed in the warehouse in town, while still other men have been engaged in a warehouse at Southwick, Mass. Mr. Gabb served the town as an official for many years. In 1869, he was assessor; in 1870 he was a constable; in 1871, he was a school visitor; in 1879, 1879 and 1880, tax collector; in 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, and 1885, registrar of voters; 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1900 and 1901, first selectman. He then declined to hold office longer.
Mr. Gabb was the representative from Bloomfield in the general assembly in 1869.
He became a director in the Bloomfield Cemetery association, January 11, 1898, and has been a member of the board of directors since that time.
In 1905 he was elected one of the library directors of the Prosser library and has since then held that office. He has been for several years a member of the executive committee of the Bloomfield Village Improvement association and in 1906 and 1907 was its president. He was raised in Hiram lodge, No. 98, A.F. & A.M., in 1866, holding various offices at different times and was its worshipful master in 1896 and 1897, and the installing officer in 1906, when he conferred the title of worshipful master on his son, George Henry Gabb, the service being an impressive and especially notable event. He was a member of the Connecticut Masonic Veterans’ association. Mr. Gabb was a public spirited man, successful in his business enterprise and financial investments.
Eleven or twelve years ago Mr. Gabb began to be a sufferer from a stomach trouble, and from that time has not been in robust health and of late winters has suffered from colds, and spells of coughing which gave anxiety to his family and friends. Four winters ago he spent the winter at Hot Springs, Va., and the following two winters at Jacksonville and St. Petersburg, Fla.
He is survived by his widow, his son, George H. Gabb, and two grand-daughters, children of his son, Eunice and Catherine Gabb, and his brother George D. Gabb.
The funeral service will be private, Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock from his late residence. The burial will be in Mountain View cemetery with Masonic rites.
Kathryn Agnes Parsons Gabb
1849–1941 (m. 1872)
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