Friday, October 19, 2012

Pharcellus Dean Bridges (1846-1940), Pharcellus V. Crittenden (1846-1933)

   A lifelong Massachusetts resident, Pharcellus Dean Bridges was a prominent farmer and businessman in Franklin County who served three terms in the Massachusetts General Court. Aside from a brief biographical write up in an 1894 edition of A Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators (where the above portrait was located) little else could be found on Bridges' life, which extended to the grand old age of 93.
   Born in the town of Deerfield on December 21, 1846, Pharcellus was one of thirteen children born to Benjamin Franklin and Mary Hubbard Bridges. Educated in the common schools of Deerfield, Pharcellus later went on to study at the Deerfield Academy in the early 1860s. After reaching adolescence, Bridges removed to Connecticut where he became involved in the grocery business. He eventually returned to Massachusetts where he spent the rest of his life engaged in farming, as well as the sale of produce. In addition to this, Bridges was also one of the foremost political and civic leaders in Deerfield, serving as a member of the board of selectmen and later on the board of Overseers of the Poor. The Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators also lists him as being the Captain of Company H, Second Regiment Militia from 1876-1888.
  Bridges was elected to his first term in the Massachusetts State Senate in 1877, representing the county of Franklin. He was returned to this office in 1885 and in 1894 was elected to his first term in the state house of representatives. It was remarked that Bridges was the "only representative from Deerfield who has been elected to the legislature for a third time for more than thirty years", and during his short stint in the house held a seat on the committee on military affairs.

                    Pharcellus Bridges as he looked late in life, found via the Find-a-Grave website.

   After leaving the Massachusetts legislature in 1895, Bridges returned to farming and produce sales, later serving as President of the Board of Trustees for the Deerfield Academy. He died at the age of 93 on August 26, 1940, in Deerfield and was later interred at the Pine Nook Cemetery in that town.

   Rochester, New York resident Pharcellus V. Crittenden is another man with this odd first name who made himself known in the public forum. A lifelong New Yorker, Crittenden was born in the town of West Brighton on August 6, 1846, being the last of eight children born to Austin and Sarah Crittenden
  Pharcellus received his education in the Monroe County district schools and later began studying at the Rochester Commercial School. Shortly after graduating from the latter institution he joined up with the H. Austin Brewster grocery house of Rochester, eventually becoming a full partner in this business. This company would later become known under the name Brewster-Crittenden Co., with Pharcellus serving as its president for a number of years. Crittenden married on October 12, 1879 to Frances Baker, who predeceased him in 1931. The couple remained childless through the entirety of their marriage.
   In 1907 Crittenden was selected as a chief commissioner from New York to the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition being held in Hampton Roads, Virginia. In the following year he served as a Republican Presidential Elector for New York, and during the 1912 Presidential election was named as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago. Pharcellus Crittenden maintained an active involvement in business affairs well into his eighties and is also mentioned in his Rochester Democrat Chronicle obituary as serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Central Presbyterian Church, and as vice-president of the Monroe County Savings Bank.
   Pharcellus Crittenden died at age 87 on October 15, 1933 at his home and was interred alongside his wife Frances Delora at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester. The rare portrait of Crittenden shown above was featured in his obituary in the October 16, 1933 edition of the Rochester Democrat Chronicle.

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