Biography of George Brown Waterman

GEORGE BROWN WATERMAN, postmaster of Williamstown, is a descendant of an old and prominent Massachusetts family, his paternal great-grandfather, John Waterman, who was born in Coventry, Rhode Island, May 18, 1755, came to Cheshire, Massachusetts, in the latter part of 1776 or 1777. During the first and second years of the Revolutionary War he was a sailor or privateersman annoying the commerce of Great Britain. After coming to Massachusetts he made his home for two years in the family of Captain Daniel Brown, remaining there in the absence of the captain while he was in command of his company at the Battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777. Mr. Waterman was enrolled as a minute man. In 1803 he moved to his farm adjoining the village of North Adams. During his youth he had received but a limited education, but he became one of the best informed men of his day, and was fortunate in numbering among his friends such men as Dr. William Towner, who practiced medicine in Cheshire before his removal to Williamstown, and Elder John Leland. Mr. Waterman served as a delegate from Adams to the State convention of 1820, for amending the constitution of Massachusetts, and previous to that time had been a member of the legislature. He was of a social disposition, and was kind to the poor and unfortunate. He moved to Williamstown in 1829, and his death occurred there May 28, 1830, at the good old age of seventy-five years. He married, about 1780, Anna Hall, a native of Stafford, Connecticut, and they were the parents of eight children all born in Cheshire, the eldest of the five sons being William, of whom further.

(II) Colonel William Waterman, son of John and Anna (Hall) Waterman, was born April 6, 1784, at Stafford Hill, Cheshire, Massachusetts, in a house that is still standing on the southern slope of that hill. He owned the Sand Springs. kept by his son, Henry B. Waterman, of whom further, near Williamstown.

(III) Henry Bucklin Waterman, son of Colonel William Waterman, was accidentally killed by a Troy & Boston Railroad train as he was crossing the tracks near the springs. He married Catherine Brown, a daughter of Joseph Brown of Goole, England, who was born there and learned the machinist’s trade; and granddaughter of George Brown, who was the founder of the family in America, coming from England where he had been a linen manufacturer. He located at Schaghticote, New York, where he started a linen factory, and was there married. He conducted this factory until he reached an advanced age, when he retired from business and all active business pursuits. He died in 1846. His son, Joseph Brown, with others, was the founder of the Episcopal Church at Schaghticote. His death occurred in 1849. Henry Bucklin and Catherine (Brown) Waterman, had a son, George Brown, of whom further.

(IV) George Brown Waterman, today (1924) the Postmaster of Williamstown, was born July 10, 1862, son of Henry Bucklin and Catherine (Brown) Waterman. His education in the public schools of his native town was supplemented by study at Glen Seminary, a private school in Williamstown. At the age of seventeen he entered the business world, and was thereafter engaged in work at Valley Falls, Troy and North Adams. He came to Williamstown as manager for T. W. Richmond & Company’s Coal office, and for nine years was also agent for the National Express Company of that town. In 1889 he formed a partnership with Fred E. Moore, the firm name being Waterman & Moore, and they purchased the property occupied by the old Union House and Methodist Church which they remodeled, the old church part was later occupied by the town hall. The firm bought out the T. W. Richmond & Company’s coal business at Williamstown, a branch of the North Adams firm, and to this added lumber, lime, cement, and building materials. In addition to his extensive business interests, Mr. Waterman has always found time to devote himself to the public interests, and he has been active in the political life of this section. In 1895 he was elected a representative from the First Berkshire District to the Massachusetts State Legislature, and again served in this capacity from 1915 to 1918. He was Chairman of Selectmen of Williamstown from 1907-8; a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in 1917; and for many years was a member of the board of registrars; and a member of the Cemetery Commission for a period of twenty-seven years. He is a member of the Board of Trade; of the Berkshire Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution; and in his church connection is a member of the First Congregational Church of Williamstown, in which he has served as deacon for many years.

George Brown Waterman married, September 28, 1898, at Albany, New York, Frances Laura Brockway, only daughter of the late David Brockway, a native of Stephentown, New York, and a lawyer of marked ability. Mr. Brockway had studied his profession in Ballston Spa, New York, and practiced in Troy, and subsequently in Topeka, Kansas, where he retired from the practice of law, and whence he removed to Albany, New York, where his daughter was married to Mr. Waterman.


Lockwood, John H. (John Hoyt); Bagg, Ernest Newton; Carson, Walter S. (Walter Scott); Riley, Herbert E. (Herbert Elihu); Boltwood, Edward; Clark, Will L. (Will Leach); Western Massachusetts A History 1636-1925; New York and Chicago: Lewis historical publishing company, inc., 1926

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