Biography of Dr. Pinckney W. Ellsworth
Connecticut Biographies





DR. P. W. ELLSWORTH, HARTFORD.

Dr. Pinckney Webster Ellsworth was born in that city, December 5, 1814, being the grandson of Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth of the United States Supreme Court and the son of Governor W. W. Ellsworth of Connecticut. His mother, Emily Webster Ellsworth, was the eldest daughter of Noah Webster, the noted lexicographer. He is a descendant of Governor Bradford of the Mayflower, and also of John Webster, one of the first governors of the Connecticut colony. Governor Webster was one of the leading members of the First Church of Christ, now known as the Center Church, in Hartford. but owing to differences of opinion concerning baptism he removed to Massachusetts establishing his home in Haverhill This Governor Webster was one of Noah Webster's ancestors, and it is supposed that the text of the original Unabridged Webster was prepared in the old Massachusetts home of the governor. John Steele, who came to Hartford about six months prior to Thomas Hooker's arrival here was also an ancestor of Dr. Ellsworth. Chief Justice Ellsworth, who represented Connecticut in the national constitutional convention in Philadelphia, was the originator of the plan giving each of the states two senators in the national congress. Dr. Ellsworth graduated from Yale College in the class of 1836 and pursued the most exacting medical course then required in the noted medical schools. in Philadelphia and New York, graduating from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in the latter city in 1839. His medical studies were afterwards continued in Paris, London. and Dublin. He settled in Hartford as a practitioner in 1843 and in a. few years became one of the foremost surgeons in the state. He was the partner of Amariah Brigham, who became, subsequently, the superintendent. of the Retreat for the Insane in this city. From this city Dr. Brigham removed to Utica and became the superintendent of the Insane Asylum there. Dr. Ellsworth, in conjunction with his father, Governor Ellsworth, was mainly instrumental in procuring these promotions for Dr. Brigham. Dr. Ellsworth was himself one of the visiting physicians for a considerable period at the Retreat. He was one of the organizers of the City Medical Society, and is among the leading members of the Hartford county and the state medical societies, and honorary member of the New York State. Medical Society. During the war his distinction as a surgeon led to his appointment to a brigade surgeonship, receiving his commission from Governor Buckingham. He served on the staff of General Isaac T. Stevens of the Army of the Potomac, who was shot and killed at the head of his command in the second battle of Bull Run. General Stevens was the governor of California and one of the bravest men in the field. Dr. Ellsworth was an examiner of recruits for the service and probably made the personal examination of 9,000 men for the service. He has also held the office of pension examiner in this state for nine years, serving in that capacity under Presidents Johnson, Grant, and Cleveland. He is a member of the Center Church, where he was baptised in infancy by the Rev. Dr. Strong, one of the most noted divines of his day. He became a member of the church soon after his graduation His father, Governor Ellsworth, was a deacon in the Center Church for fifty years. The only brother of Dr. Ellsworth, Oliver Ellsworth, was interested for several years with John F. Trumbull of Stonington in the manufacture of cotton gins. Afterwards he became a successful publisher of school books in Boston. Losing his fortune in the end, he went to Montana and died there some years ago. There were four sisters in the family, only one of whom is now living. One died in infancy; one was the wife of President Jackson of Trinity College; and one the wife of Russell S. Cook, who was secretary of the American Tract Society. The youngest sister, Elizabeth Ellsworth, married the late Waldo Hutchins of New York, a distinguished lawyer and member of congress from the metropolis. She is still living. Dr. Ellsworth has been married twice. His first wife was Julia M. Sterling, daughter of Jesse Sterling of Bridgeport, who was one of the first treasurers of the Housatonic Railroad Company. She died at the age of twenty nine years. The second wife, who is now living, was Julia Townsend Dow, daughter of Lucius K. Dow of New Haven. There are six children by this marriage now living. The three elder are Mrs. Augustus Julian Lyman of Asheville, N. C., son of Bishop Lyman of North Carolina; Wolcott Webster Ellsworth, who is now pursuing a post graduate course at Yale University, a brilliant linguist and a student of great promise; and Emily Webster Ellsworth. The three remaining children of the family are under age. a he son of Dr. Ellsworth by his first marriage died in the old home on Main street near St. John's Church, when only two and a half years old. From that day until now it has been impossible for Dr. Ellsworth to speak of the loss without the deepest emotion. The busiest part of the doctor's life was spent in the home which he occupied for years, where the Phoenix Insurance Company's office now stands on Pearl street. Dr. Ellsworth is an independent in politics and has invariably abstained from public office. Even in the church, where his father was a deacon for half a century, he has maintained the same position with regard to the holding of office. Dr. Ellsworth has long been a thorough and conscientious student of the Scriptures, the Greek Testament especially attracting his attention and interest. He is the author of a number of valuable contributions to the science of theology, including a work of more than ordinary research entitled "Immanuel, God with us." His life has been a notable one in this city.

From:
Illustrated Popular Biography
Of Connecticut
Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding
Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.
Hartford, Conn. 1891


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