Henry Talcott (May 10, 1815 - January 28, 1888) was a prominent citizen in West Hartford, Connecticut, and an advocate of the education system in the town. He was a civil engineer and descended from Joseph Talcott, th Governor of Connecticut from 1724 to 141. He also served as the first selectman of West Hartford for many years. He was also the grandson of Thomas Hart Hooker and Sarah Whitman Hooker, the proprietors of the Sarah Whitman Hooker House in West Hartford.

Life and Death Edit

Henry Talcott was born on May 10, 1815 in West Hartford, Connecticut to Samuel Talcott and Abigail Pantry Hooker, specifically the Elmwood section. He attended the local schools in the South district and later attended and graduated from the Academy in Farmington, Connecticut, which was considered to be a very fine preparatory school. He was greatly interested in reading history, literature, and educational books, and was considered to be one of the most highly educated men in the community. He became a civil engineer and for a number of years was County Surveyor for Hartford County.

On August 26, 1841, a few years after graduating from the school, he married Elizabeth Wells Whiting, the daughter of Samuel Whiting and Sophia Kilbourn.

In 1840, he championed a movement for the erection of a modern schoolhouse in the South district, but his ideas were so far in advance of those of his fellow citizens that his project met with strong opposition. It was only after a prolonged effort over many years that he and his associates were successful in carrying out their plans in 1852. Talcott served a number of years as acting school visitor for the town, examining teachers and giving them their certificates, visiting the schools, and in a general way caring for their interests. In 1872, he advocated the opening of a high school for the benefit of the older boys and girls of the community, and was successful in securing a vote of the town by which that school was established in December 1872.

He was active in the affairs of the town in other lines, serving for several years as West Hartford first selectman. He was greatly interested and very active in connection with the affairs and work of the Congregational Church of West Hartford, serving on important committees from time to time, and for many years conducted a large and successful adult Bible class in connection with the Sunday school.

Talcott was elected chairman of the town school committee in 1885, and served in that capacity until his death on January 28, 1888. At a meeting of the town school committee held on February 18, 1888, the following resolution was unanimously adopted: "By the recent death of Mr. Henry Talcott, this committee has been deprived of its efficient and esteemed chairman, and the community of an intelligent and active citizen. Mr. Talcott, during all the years of his citizenship, which have been many, has always maintained a warm and active interest in educational methods and in various positions of influence and trust. He has labored continually and successfully for the improvement of our schools and the advance of the cause of education. We desire, hereby, to record our deep sense of loss as a committee and as citizens, and to extend to his family our tender sympathy in that great affliction."

He was survived by his wife and his six children:

  • Francis Wayland (b. 1842)
  • Eliza Sophia (b. 1846)
  • Abigail Hooker (1848-1856)
  • Emeline Frances (b. 1849)
  • Sarah Whiting Talcott (1852-1936)
  • Elizabeth Hannah (b. 1861)
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