Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Zibeon Chapman Field (1831-1914), Zibeon Lewis Packard (1829-1893)

Portrait from the History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Vol. II, 1889.

  The following dual profile examines the lives of two native New England political figures named Zibeon. A name with biblical origins, there are two meanings behind the name, one of which is a "Horite chieftain" named Zibeon noted in the book of Genesis whose name translates to "little hyena". Another version gives the meaning of the name as "robber"...truly a peculiar name to give a child, even back in the 19th century!
   First to be profiled is Paris, Maine native Zibeon Chapman Field, who would later find prominence in both business and politics in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving two terms in that state's House of Representatives. Born in Paris on Christmas Day 1831, Zibeon C. Field was one of ten children born to Zibeon and Lydia Howe Field and inherited his name courtesy of a brother (also named Zibeon Chapman Field) who died in infancy in 1823. His early education occurred near the town of his birth and at age seventeen removed from Paris and resettled in Milford, Massachusetts, where he was employed in the manufacture of boots. Field would later leave Milford out of concerns for his health and traveled to California to make a go at gold mining, remaining here for three years.
   In 1855 Field returned to Massachusetts, marrying in 1856 to one Lydia Ann Corbett (1836-1872). The couple would become the parents of four children, listed as follows in order of birth: Prentice (1859-1863), Francis Dana (1861-1932), Charlotte Thayer (1865-1911) and Grace Prentiss (1868-1962). Following Lydia Field's death, Zibeon remarried in June 1874 to Anna Thwing (1842-1913), mentioned by the Field Genealogy as being a "successful teacher" and "woman of culture."
   For a short period in the 1850s Zibeon Field operated a general store and "provision business" in Roxbury, Massachusetts, returning to Milford in 1858 to join his brother Perley in the formation of a coal and lumber dealership, a business they would successfully manage for over three decades. While attentive to business dealings in Milford, Field found further distinction in local politics, being a member of the Board of Engineers, as well as the Milford Board of Selectmen from 1865-66 and again from 1870-71. In 1864 Field served Milford as a town agent, aiding in the recruitment of soldiers for the ongoing war effort, and in this role visited President Lincoln. His visit with the President later:
"Secured the credit of one-hundred and thirty-seven three years men to Milford--which has not been recorded in its favor at the war department--thereby saving the loss of many thousands of dollars to the town.
    Zibeon Field during his later years, from the 1901 Field Genealogy.

    In the 1864 election year Zibeon Field was elected as one of Milford's representatives to the Massachusetts General Court, and during the 1865 term held a seat on the house committee on Horse Railways. Field would serve a second term in the legislature in 1866, serving on the committees on Railways and Canals. Following his two terms in the house Field refrained from political activity, but did serve as the chairman of the Republican League of Milford during the mid-1870s. Remarked by the Field Genealogy as "a Mason in good standing", Zibeon Field was a member of both the Montgomery Lodge and Mt. Lebanon Masonic chapter, a director of the Milford National Bank, and was a longstanding parishioner at the Milford Universalist Church.
   After many decades in public service in Milford, Zibeon C. Field died on December 18, 1914, a week short of his 83rd birthday. He was predeceased by his second wife Anna, who died in August 1913. A burial location for both Zibeon Field and his wife is unknown at this time. 

   Another Maine native who made his name known politically was Zibeon Lewis Packard of the town of Hebron, who served a term in the Maine House of Representatives in the late 1880s. One of six children born to Lewis and Betsy Webster Packard, Zibeon L. Packard was born in Hebron on May 30, 1829, and as a youth worked the family farm, and was "obliged to assume the head of the family" after the death of his father. Zibeon attended the Hebron Academy in addition to farm work and also taught "in the district schools" during the winter months. 
  In February 1860 Packard married in Hebron to Ellen Bearce (1835-1895), later becoming the parents to four daughters: Bertha Leonora (1862-1908), Ida Ellen (born 1864), Edith Lulu (1867-1967) and Jennie Webster (1871-1942). One of these children, Edith Lulu Packard Cushman, survived her father and mother by over seventy years, dying one month short of her 100th birthday in June 1967.  A few years following his marriage Zibeon Packard enlisted for service as private in the 30th Regiment, Maine Volunteer Infantry. Following his return from service, he returned to farming and fruit growing, and was later acknowledged by the Lewiston Evening Journal as "one of the pioneers of apple orcharding in this section and made it a remarkable success." 
  Beginning the mid-1870s Packard was honored by his native town by being elected to a number of local political offices, serving as a Hebron town school supervisor, selectman, town treasurer, and collector. In 1886 he was elected as Hebron's representative to the Maine State Legislature and would serve in the sessions of 1887 and 1889. In addition to legislative service, Packard was also prominent in local fraternal clubs, being a member of the Buckfield, Maine Masonic Lodge, the Hebron Grange, and the G.A.R. The Lewiston Evening Journal notes that Packard remained a "firm friend" of the Hebron Academy, serving as the secretary of the school's board of trustees for over twenty-five years.
   Zibeon L. Packard died at his home in Hebron on August 11, 1893 at age 64. His wife Ellen followed him to the grave two years later, and both were later interred at the Maple Ridge Cemetery in Hebron. Following his death, the Lewiston Evening Journal published a lengthy obituary for him, noting that:
"Whoever held a beneficient relationship with Zibeon L. Packard, whether in the Church, in the Grange, in any organized society, in general society or in his family, has met with an irreparable loss."

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