Biography of William C. Jillson

The first ancestor of the Jillson family is said to have come over from Normandy with William the Conqueror in 1066. The earliest member of the family to sail for New England was William Gilson, who came from Kent county, England, and settled in Scituate, Massachusetts, in 1631. The next on the list to emigrate are Joseph and James Gilson, the latter of whom settled in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, about the year 1666. He is the progenitor of the branch of the family represented by the subject of this biography. James and his wife Mary died about 1712. Their son, Nathaniel, was born in 1675, and died in 1751. To his wife, Elizabeth, were born five children, of whom Nathaniel was the eldest. His death only is recorded as having occurred in 1782. He married first Ruth Boyce in 1728, and second Sarah, daughter of William Arnold, in 1741. He was the father of two children by the-first and seven by the second union, of whom Luke, the fourth son by the last marriage, was born in 1754 and died in 1823. He was both a farmer and mechanic, and the first person in the country to adapt and apply satinet looms to water power. He married, in Cumberland, Rhode Island, Anna, daughter of Nehemiah and Experience Sherman, and made Cumberland his residence. He .had seven children, among whom was Asa Jillson (the name having been, in 1709, changed from Gilson to Jillson), born September 5th, 1783, who died in Willimantic, Connecticut, April 7th, 1848. A manufacturer of cotton goods, he removed from Dorchester, Massachusetts, to Willimantic, in 1828, and spent the remainder of his life at this point. He was in 1807 married to Anna H. Sabin, of Providence. Their children were nine in number, the eldest being William L., the father of the subject of this biographical sketch, who was borne in Scituate, Rhode Island, December 18th, 1807, and died in Willimantic June 1st, 1861. He married in 1831 Caroline Curtis, of South Coventry, Connecticut. Their children are five sons and three daughters, of whom William Curtis, the eldest, was born April 4th, 1833, in Willimantic, and received- his education at the high schools of Ellington and his native town. His father being then engaged in the manufacture of cotton goods in Willimantic, his son at the age of eighteen entered the office to acquaint himself with the business of a manufacturer. The death of his father in 1861 threw upon him very grave responsibilities as agent and treasurer *of three cotton mills-the Willimantic Duck Company, the Eagle Warp Company, and the Dunham Manufacturing Company. He conducted the affairs of these companies until 1870, when the former two were merged into the Dunham Manufacturing Company, of which he continued treasurer and agent until 1876. In 1865 he established the Hop River Warp Company, to which his attention is now largely confined; not, however, to the exclusion of an interest in other important business projects. He was one of the incorporators and is the first president of the First National Bank of Willimantic, president of the Merchants’ Loan and Trust Company, and vice-president of the Dime Savings Bank, both of the above town. He is also vice-president of the Hartford Life and Annuity Insurance Company, and was formerly a director of the -Second National Bank of Norwich. The Hop River Warp Company embraces a warp factory and a tape mill, both of which are owned by Mr. Jillson, who has greatly improved the hamlet, afforded it many advantages in the way of postal and telegraph service, aided greatly in the erection of a new school house, and given much. thoughtful consideration to the welfare of his employees. In politics Mr. Jillson is an ardent republican. He was chosen on a very close vote to represent the town of Windham in the Connecticut legislature in 1879, and was for thirteen years committee of the Second school district, during which period the schools attained high rank and the pupils exceptional scholarship. He is in his religious belief a Congregationalist, and has been chairman of the Congregational Ecclesiastical Society of Willimantic for a period of sixteen years, until the present time. William C. Jillson was married May 3d, 1859, to Maria A. Bingham, of Greenville; Connecticut. Their children are a daughter, Josephine Curtis, born May 22d, 1860, and a son, William Huntington, whose birth occurred July 18th, 1869.



History of Windham County, Connecticut, Bayles, Richard M.; New York: W.W. Preston, 1889. Additions and corrections © by

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