Jared Butler Standish
by John M. Oblak and Kayla M. Pittman
Jared Butler Standish was born on 4 September 1866, the son of James Tryon Standish, Jr. and Jershua McCallen (Churchill) Griswold, and the seventh of their ten eventual children. The Standish family, as others at the time, named their children after earlier family members. His namesake, Jared Butler, was a successful Wethersfield businessman who owned property on Jordan Lane. Jared Butler Standish was well versed in his family’s long legacy in Wethersfield and over the course of his lifetime proved himself to be an ardent antiquarian and genealogist.
The first Standish to arrive at Wethersfield was Thomas Standish, in about 1636. The Standish family believes that Thomas was closely related to the Plymouth Colony’s Miles Standish, perhaps even his son. Thomas Standish arrived only shortly after John Oldham had led the Ten Adventurers to the big bend and meadows of the Connecticut River to found the settlement in 1634. Like Captain Miles Standish, Thomas was a military man. He fought in the 1637 Pequot War and was keeper of the Fort at Wethersfield. For his service, he was given a sizeable grant of land in Wethersfield. He built his first house on the site of the fort and later purchased additional property extending southward from Jordan Lane.
Jared Standish was also a direct descendant of Wethersfield’s Thomas Welles, colonial Connecticut’s fourth governor. Standish’s grandfather James Tryon Standish had married Cynthia (Andrus) Welles, a fifth generation lineal descendent of Governor Welles. Thomas Welles was a remarkable man. He was the only individual to hold all four of Connecticut’s highest offices – secretary, treasurer, deputy governor, and governor. He was recording secretary in 1639 when the leaders of the Wethersfield, Hartford and Windsor settlements created the Fundamental Orders, a first constitution, to form the Connecticut Colony.
In terms of Standish’s immediate family, both his father and paternal Uncle John were successful businessmen in their own right. Known as the Standish Brothers, they operated a general merchandise store in a building located between Marsh Street and the Deming-Standish House at 222 Main Street. That building was subsequently sold to The Chas. C. Hart Seed Company; the brothers’ business moved, as a grocery, to Standish property on Hartford Avenue, Wethersfield.
The Standish Brothers established the Red Bird Flier Stage Coach Line in 1852. It carried passengers, and to a lesser extent freight, to Hartford three times daily. The Red Bird Flier Stage Coach Line also provided regularly scheduled service to Middletown and occasional service all the way to Saybrook. The Wethersfield Horse Car Railroad purchased the stage line from the Standish family in 1865.
Diverging from the more traditional business pursuits the Standish family engaged in over the years, Jared Standish chose to follow a more artistic path to his own success. From an early age, Standish demonstrated an imaginative nature and interest in the natural landscape. As a youth, he was a “photographist,” as photographers were then known. He trained birds and photographed them at his home. He produced sketches throughout his life. The sketch of “Fort and Palisado” is an example. In addition to birds, sailing vessels were a favorite subject as they were a reminder of Wethersfield’s two centuries as an international maritime port, its West Indies and coastal trade, and as a shipbuilding center. He also was an early practitioner in the use of stereopticon slides for lectures. His youthful penchant for sketching sometimes caused trouble. He and a classmate at the Wethersfield “North-Brick” district elementary school drew caricatures of their teachers in class, for which the two were more than once reprimanded. Standish recalled much later, “I remember one time when we were sent out to cut switches which we were afterwards beaten with.”
After graduating from the Wethersfield Academy, Jared Standish continued to engage in artistic pursuits and began a wood-engraving apprenticeship in October 1883 with the Albert Mugford Company, a New York-based engraver that had just opened a branch office in Hartford. The sixteen-year-old Standish had responded to an advertisement; and it was Albert Mugford, himself, who hired Standish as the first Hartford apprentice. He began at no pay for six months to prove his merit. Then followed a three-year apprenticeship where Standish earned $1 a week, a sum later increased to $1.50. It was a fair wage in those days for a young fellow learning a profession in commercial graphics art.
Those early years at Mugford were arduous. Jared Standish rose before dawn to milk two cows and then walked four miles to work. In winter, he skated to and from work on the frozen river. Upon arrival, he was responsible for menial tasks such as sweeping the office floor, dusting his supervisor’s desk and building a fire in cold weather. All to be done before 8 AM when his training began. The apprenticeship had an unexpected side benefit. Standish became acquainted with William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Cody’s Wild West show came to Hartford annually during that period. Cody would visit the Mugford company personally to arrange the engraving of handbills of “Custer’s Last Stand” and other scenes of the play. These were passed out on the street when the Wild West show arrived.
Upon completion of his apprenticeship, young Standish earned the coveted title of “wood-chopper” and honed his trade at the Mugford company. At that time, images were drawn by hand backward upon fine-grained wooden blocks of Asiatic Turkish boxwood and carved in reverse for printing. Standish became an expert wood engraver recognized throughout the country for reverse carving of portraits on wooden blocks and cuts used in printing. The technology of commercial engraving advanced rapidly toward the end of the 19th century. With his talent as an artist and acquired expertise in wood carving, photography and chemistry, Standish kept apace of the changes. He made the first copper half-tones produced in Hartford, used by the American Publishing Company in printing Mark Twain’s works. He also created the first half-tone plate used to illustrate an article in Harper’s Weekly. Standish was the first in Hartford to create a colored plate and held inventions on color printing processes. He was an acknowledged master at the fine hand detail of “dot etching” used to correct imperfections in etched engraving plates.
Jared Standish set out on his own in 1903 by acquiring half-ownership of the Hartford Engraving Company. Its offices at that time were in The Hartford Courant building. Hartford Engraving provided the Courant with its first half-tones and continued to do so for several years. During his early years as partner, Hartford Engraving became a pioneer in three-color half-tone reproduction, doing much work for the Phelps Publishing Company of Springfield, Mass., the publisher of Good Housekeeping Magazine. Standish later acquired full ownership of Hartford Engraving. He would be joined in the business by his son Paul and briefly his youngest son James. Jared Standish stayed active in the company into his nineties, when in 1960 he turned operations over to Paul.
As his professional career flourished, so too did his personal life when in Vermont he met Miss Martha Louise (Dinsmore) Perkins. Martha was known to those close to her as “Mattie”. Standish’s parents had called him “Jerry” as a youngster. “Jerry” and “Mattie” were affectionate terms of endearment between the two, and a familiarity not permitted outsiders. They wed in 1895 and enjoyed a long married life. They had four children who all carried family names – Erland Myles, born 13 October 1896; Paul Dinsmore, born 1 August 1901; Priscilla, born 5 December 1904; and James, born 12 October 1910. Their children graced them with thirteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren during Standish’s life.
As Jared Standish was occupied making a success of his new business and fully engaged in raising a young, growing family, he found time to devote to preserving Wethersfield’s heritage. The history and tradition of the town were important to him; he saw the context provided by history as essential to society’s present and future. He wanted Wethersfield’s collective past to be remembered and enjoyed by subsequent generations. One of the ways Standish ensured the history of Wethersfield was preserved and promoted was by collecting photographs and drawings as well as producing his own. He contributed various materials including genealogies to Dr. Henry R. Stiles for his book, The History of Ancient Wethersfield published in 1904. Stiles gratefully acknowledged the contribution.
As a preservationist and naturalist, Standish believed that stewardship of Wethersfield’s history meant preserving both its natural landscape and its historic buildings. He helped reorganize an inactive Wethersfield Village Improvement Society in 1908, serving as president for many years. When the Society evolved into the Wethersfield Park Association in 1928, he served as its secretary for eighteen years. Standish also organized the gift of Standish properties to the Town of Wethersfield.
One was the parcel of land now known as Standish Park, deeded to the Town in 1928. It had been in the Standish family since 1671. The other was the Deming-Standish House, also deeded to the Town in 1928. The latter was purchased by Jared’s grandfather in 1854. The purpose of these gifts in Standish’s own words was, “to preserve the rare setting and appearance of a most typical New England village.”
In his work to preserve the history of Wethersfield, Standish set out to prove that Wethersfield was “Ye most Auncient Town…” in Connecticut, as written in the Colony of Connecticut Law Code of 1650. In 1922, an item had appeared in The Connecticut State Register and Manual that gave Windsor credit for being settled in 1633, making it Connecticut’s oldest town. Undertaking Wethersfield’s cause, Standish was at the center of this 1920s dispute over the oldest town in the state. Standish’s research coupled with his extensive articles and lectures advanced Wethersfield’s claim as Connecticut’s oldest town. However, the answer to this question rests upon the definition of a town.
The history of these towns and the settlement of the territory that became Connecticut begins with Adriaen Block’s 1614 exploration of the Connecticut River. That exploration was the basis for the Dutch West India Company’s claim that New Amsterdam’s territory extended eastward to the Connecticut River. Dutch presence for a time was itinerant, rather than permanent in the area, as they conducted a lucrative fur and wampum trade with Native Americans. The Dutch grew concerned when the English arrived in New England, first at the Plymouth Colony in 1620 and then with the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630.
The English threatened the monopoly Dutch traders held on the Native American trade. This threat increased when Native Americans in the Connecticut Valley invited the English to settle among them for protection against the Pequot Nation and periodic Mohawk raids. The Dutch West India Company, to counter the growing English presence and protect their business dealings, established a permanently manned fur trading post and fort, Huys de Hoop (The House of Hope), in 1633 at what is now Dutch Point in Hartford.
Governor Winslow of the Plymouth Colony, in response, dispatched an armed detachment of men to Connecticut in 1633 to establish a trading post and keep an eye on the Dutch. The Plymouth contingent chose a site near the confluence of the Connecticut and Farmington Rivers at Windsor for their armed trading post. It had proximity to Huys de Hoop and the advantage of being upstream. Native Americans carrying furs and goods for trade from the upper Connecticut Valley encountered the English post first.
The Town of Wethersfield’s history begins in 1634 when John Oldham led Ten Adventurers to the oxbow bend on the Connecticut River, establishing the Pyquag settlement. The men constructed rudimentary shelters, cultivated the land, and planted rye or winter wheat in preparation for arrival of their families the following year. These events preceded two ministers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony (not Plymouth Colony) leading their congregations to settle on land at Windsor in 1635. Thus, Standish contended the Windsor site was only a trading post in 1633, not a town. He further cited the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and Law Code of 1650, which states, “Ye most Auncient Town for the River is determined by this Court to bee Wethersfield.” The dispute was never adjudicated; debates continue to this day.
Standish’s role in this debate is just one of the ways he left his mark on the town of Wethersfield. A prominent Standish legacy is the Town Seal. He used his skills as an artist and engraver to represent the Wethersfield Cove Warehouse, port activities, sailing vessels, and Native Americans in memory of the town’s founding and maritime past. The seal was adopted by the Town of Wethersfield in 1928.
Four years later Standish was again diligently at work preserving Wethersfield’s history in preparation for the 1934 Wethersfield Tercentenary. Standish, with a group of like-minded individuals in the Wethersfield Business Men’s and Civic Association, and others, worked to found the Wethersfield Historical Society in 1932. Members held meetings at the Thomas Welles School. Loaned and donated historical artifacts were placed on display in three rooms located there.
Standish was particularly busy in 1932 as the George Washington Bi-Centennial also took place that year. It was now the “age of the automobile” and Wethersfield was an important stop on the circuit as Washington had visited Wethersfield three times.
Standish created an image of the Webb House for the town’s Washington Bi-Centennial cachet, or seal, and served on the Wethersfield Reception Committee. A two-day event honored the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington and celebrated Washington’s 1781 five-day stay in Wethersfield during which his historic meeting with the Count de Rochambeau at the Webb House took place. This experience in event management was valuable for the upcoming Tercentenary celebration.
Two years later in 1934, Jared Standish served as the Vice-President of the Tercentenary Program and Pageant for Wethersfield’s 300th anniversary. June 1934 saw a three-day celebration, beginning with the dedication of a memorial boulder and tablet to the Ten Adventurers who founded the town. A second tablet commemorated George Washington’s 1781 visit. The pageant Leaves of the Tree, written and directed by Doris Campbell Holsworth, was adapted from a narrative created by Standish. It was performed two consecutive days at Wethersfield Cove Park with performers – men, women, and children – from the four towns of Wethersfield, Glastonbury, Rocky Hill and Newington. Participation by the residents of Glastonbury, Rocky Hill, and Newington was particularly special as those towns were originally part of Wethersfield before those areas were incorporated as separate towns.
Fifteen thousand people, over twice the population of Wethersfield, attended the many Tercentenary events, which included a parade featuring bands, drum corps, floats, and multiple military and fraternal organizations from the four towns. Standish was successful in bringing Connecticut Governor Wilbur Cross to Wethersfield for the celebration. Dr. Erland Myles Standish, Jared’s son, captured events with modern motion pictures.
The next year in 1935, Wethersfield Congregational Church celebrated its 300th anniversary. Standish served as chairman of the commemoration. He was a fifty-five-year member of the Church. He also served as a deacon and sang in the choir. In commemoration of its anniversary, Standish also sketched an artist’s conception of the First and Second Congregational Meeting Houses. While founded in 1635, the construction of the First Meeting House did not begin until 1645. As the congregation grew and prospered, a larger Second Meeting House was constructed during 1685-1687. A Third Meeting House, the current brick Congregational Church building, was constructed 1761-1764. Although scholars remain uncertain of what the First and Second Meeting Houses looked like, in Standish’s mind’s eye they appeared as follows:
First Meeting House – “It was framed of hewed log construction 16 feet square with a belfry surmounting the peak. There were two entrances North and South. The windows were mere portholes, set high and covered with membrane tissue.”
Second Meeting House – “The new second church building was 50 feet square, built in 1685-87, patterned after the Hingham Mass. church built four years earlier, and occupied the space a trifle to the south of the present building, offsetting its foundation by about a rod. The “Greatdoor” was on the east side. And a door in the middle of the north and south sides. The roof was of a ‘hip roof’ type and rose to a point with a stairway on the west side leading to a belfry, in which was placed a new larger bell in 1688…”
In addition to his efforts to commemorate and preserve the built landscape of the town, Standish also felt it important to develop recreation areas for townspeople to enjoy nature and interactions with their neighbors. As secretary of the Wethersfield Park Board, he participated in the acquisition of the Mill Woods property for town parkland. The final land transaction for Mill Woods Park was completed in 1944. Swimming and picnicking facilities opened in 1945.
Jared Butler Standish continually served to preserve and shape the history of Wethersfield over the course of his long and productive life before passing on 19 November 1961. He was a member of the Antiquarian & Landmarks Society of Connecticut, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, the Connecticut State Forest and Park Association and the Governor’s Horse Guard. Wethersfield was his home and passion. Standish wrote many articles and pamphlets on Wethersfield’s history. He made engravings and sketches of Wethersfield’s historical events. He was involved in the marking and dating of old historical buildings and the renaming of some ancient streets. Standish was very active in local organizations. In addition to the groups mentioned previously, he was a member of the Wethersfield Choral Group, charter member of the Wethersfield Business Men’s and Civic Association and a sixty-five-year member of the Wethersfield Grange, as well as serving as an officer in the Welles Family Association and the Griswold Family Association.
Jared Butler Standish’s contributions to Wethersfield are substantial and lasting. His life’s work is present in the preserved look and feel of the town.
 The family hired genealogy experts in England to research the ancestry roots of Thomas Standish. Unfortunately, the genealogists reported the task could not be accomplished because the Puritans themselves had destroyed the essential vital records for their self-protection. Such records were used by authorities for identity information.
 It is ironic that an altercation with Miles Standish, among other offences, led to John Oldham’s expulsion from the Plymouth Colony. Oldham led a peripatetic life for a couple years between Massachusetts and Virginia before settling in the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Watertown. Oldham’s settlers were called “Adventurers” because the General Court, the legislative and judicial body of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, had not given them permission to take possession of land in Connecticut. Oldham had explored the area in 1633 and was not one who submitted easily to authority. The term “adventurer” was used into the 19th century. One modern-day variant of the term is the pejorative “squatter.” The Connecticut River flowed through the ancient silt lakebed of prehistoric Lake Hitchcock. The river had formed a large oxbow here. Subsequent flooding in the early 1690s cut a river channel through the oxbow. The settlement was first called Pyquag, Algonquin for “cleared land”. It was briefly named Watertown before becoming Wethersfield. Some early spellings also show it as “Weathersfield”.
 Completion of the Connecticut Valley Railroad in 1871 provided efficient land-based transportation for passengers and freight along the Connecticut River from Hartford to the shore.
 “Buffalo Bill ls Recalled by Standish: …”, see References.
 In 1804, First School Society built the Academy building for a private preparatory school. Most noteworthy was the Female Seminary for higher education of women run by Rev. Joseph Emerson and his wife from 1824 to 1835. From 1868 to 1894, the Academy building was used for Wethersfield’s public high school, referred to as the Wethersfield Academy, until the new Governor Thomas Welles School opened. Municipal use continued, even as the Town Hall for a period. The 1804 Old Academy Building is now home to the Wethersfield Historical Society.
 Martha Perkins Standish passed away on 8 January 1958.
 The name Priscilla is a liberty taken from the relationship of Priscilla Mullins, John Alden and Miles Standish, which was romanticized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
 James Standish was named for his great-grandfather Captain James Standish, commander of the 6th Connecticut Infantry who served as escort for General Marquis de Lafayette on his visit to Hartford in September 1824.
 However, the family was not without its sorrow. The youngest son James, Captain in the U.S. Army, died during World War II at Camp Gruber, Muskogee, Oklahoma following an operation. He had worked with his father in the engraving business before entering the Army and planned to rejoin him after the war.
 Dr. Henry Reed Stiles had a long and distinguished career as a physician. He held an equally respected reputation for history and genealogy. Stiles researched and published in 1859, The History of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut, which also included genealogies of early Windsor families. Near the end of his life, Stiles took up the work of the deceased Wethersfield historian Sherman Wolcott Adams. Judge Adams had written a series of articles on the history of Wethersfield. Stiles undertook editing Adam’s work and conducting additional research. Stiles credited Adams as first author of The History of Ancient Wethersfield, Vol.1, published in 1904. Stiles was sole author of Vol.2, Genealogy and Biography, also published in 1904.
 The Town-owned Deming-Standish House is now managed under lease by the Wethersfield Historical Society. Lucky Lou’s Bar & Grill is the current tenant.
 A Register for the State of Connecticut was first published in 1785. Responsibility for annual publication of The Connecticut State Register and Manual was assigned to Secretary of the State by the Connecticut legislature in 1886. The 1922 Register and Manual was altered to support Windsor as the first town. Attribution for the change was unclaimed.
 The Massachusetts Bay Colony may not have been a disinterested party. While it and the Plymouth Colony were English allies, the two were also rivals.
 The Wethersfield Town Seal is an artistic rendering incorporating various elements of Wethersfield history although the image in its entirety is not acknowledged as historically accurate by modern scholars.
 This building is now the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center, which hosts Wethersfield Historical Society exhibits, events and meetings.
 This theme was chosen to represent Wethersfield and her daughter towns of Glastonbury, Rocky Hill and Newington because of the significance of trees to the four towns, the Great Elm of Wethersfield, and the verse from Revelations 22:3 – “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations.”
 A video copy of Dr. Standish’s Tercentenary film can be viewed on the Wethersfield Historical Society’s website at http://wethersfieldhistory.org/about/tercentenary-film/
 A Pleasant Land – A Goodly Heritage, by Lois M. Wieder, see References.
 Standish’s writings went beyond history and genealogy. His addressed topics as diverse as maple sugaring, touring Vermont and why leaves change color in the fall.
Adams, Sherman W. and Henry R. Stiles 1904, The History of Ancient Wethersfield, Vol. 1, New York: The Grafton Press.
Bartucca, Peter J. 1989, The Connecticut State Register and Manual: A Brief History, http://vvv.sots.ct.gov/RegisterManual/RMHistoryPDF.pdf
Buffalo Bill ls Recalled By Standish: Revival of Play at Princess… 30 Jul 1944, The Hartford Courant, p. B4
Cave, Alfred A. 1996, The Pequot War, Amherst MA: University of Massachusetts Press.
Connecticut Historical Society, Annual Report for the Year 1962, https://archive.org/stream/annualreportofco15conn/annualreportofco15conn_djvu.txt
Fox, Frances Wells, Jared Butler Standish et al 1934, Wethersfield and Her Daughters from 1634 to 1934, Hartford CT: The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.
Gworek, Thomas J. 2010, Wethersfield Summers, Wethersfield Historical Society, http://wethersfieldhistory.org/articles-from-the-community/wethersfield_summers/
History of the Deming-Standish House (1787) 2011, Wethersfield Historical Society, http://wethersfieldhistory.org/collections/2011/07/history-of-the-deming-standish-house-1787.html
Hollister, G. H. 1855, The History of Connecticut from the First Settlement of the Colony to Adoption of the Present Constitution, Vol. I & Vol. II, New Haven: Durrie and Peck.
Holsworth, Doris Campbell 1930, The Leaves of the Tree, Wethersfield: Tercentenary Committee.
James Standish Dies After Army Camp Operation 3 Apr 1943, The Hartford Courant, p. 11.
Jared B. Standish, Engraver, Dies 14 Nov 1961, The Hartford Courant obituary, courtesy of Frank Winiarski.
Knight, Cliff 1 Apr 1956, Skating To City Recalled By Wethersfield Historian, The Hartford Courant, p. 13A.
Legendary People, Ordinary Lives, Wethersfield Historical Society permanent exhibit.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth 1858, The Courtship of Miles Standish and other Poems, Boston: Ticknor and Fields (1859).
McCain, Diana Ross 29 Apr 1998, A Brief, But Dramatic Visit By Lafayette, `The Nation’s Guest’, The Hartford Courant. http://articles.courant.com/1998-04-29/news/9804260026_1_french-revolution-nation-s-guest-lafayette
McDermott, William P. 2009, Wethersfield 1634-1790 Families, Community and Change, Tolland CT: Kerleen Press.
Meehan, James J. 2015, Mill Woods Park: A History, Wethersfield Historical Society, http://wethersfieldhistory.org/articles-from-the-community/mill-woods-park-history/
Murphy, Abby Howard 2017, personal communications with a niece of Jared Butler Standish.
Nakashima, Ellen 14 Nov 1994, Wethersfield Park: Stillman Or Standish?, Hartford Courant.
Patriarch of Photo Engraving 10 Oct 1943, The Hartford Courant, p. SM4.
Shorto, Russell 2004, The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America, New York: Doubleday.
Standish, Leigh 2016-2017, personal conversations with a grandson of Jared Butler Standish.
Stiles, Henry R. 1904, The History of Ancient Wethersfield, Vol. 2 Genealogy and Biography, New York: The Grafton Press.
United State Federal Census: Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut 1870, 1880, 1900, 1920 and 1930.
Webb-Deane-Steven Museum, Washington Bi-Centennial cachet image, courtesy of Richard C. Malley, Museum Curator.
Weider, Lois M. 1986, A Pleasant Land – A Goodly Heritage, First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, Connecticut 1635 – 1985, Wethersfield: The First Church of Christ in Wethersfield.
Wethersfield Tercentenary 1634 – 1934, Official Program 1934, Hartford: Case, Lockwood and Brainard Co.