"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Babbitt, Henry B. secretary and manager of the Merrill Canning Co., was born at Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 22, 1856, son of James P. and Eliza (HULETT) BABBITT. The Babbitt family has been a noted one in America since early colonial days. Its founder here was Edward BABBITT, who settled at Taunton, Mass., in 1643, and who, it is said, came to America with a brother. He founded the first successful iron works in this country. He was killed by the Indians in King Phillip's War (1675-1676), and on the wall at the rooms of the Old Colony Historial Society at Taunton is the old gravestone on which in quaint lettering is recorded his death. From him spring thousands of descendants, covering eleven generations, who are scattered throughout this country. Important branches of the family settled in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey. In scanning the pages of history, they are found fighting in the various wars of the period. Dr. Seth BABBITT was at the Siege of Louisburg. Others fought in the various Indian wars, many of them in the Revolution; also in the Civil War, both in the Union and Confederate armies. Major BABBITT was killed at Fredericksburg; Brigadier-General E. B. BABBITT won fame in the Florida and Mexican wars. They were in the front of the pioneer movement, penetrating into Michigan and Wisconsin, or down the Ohio to the south and west. Daniel BABBITT went into the wilderness of Canada and founded an important branch of the family. They crossed the praires to California in '49 and after. Among those whose names are best known were B. F. BABBITT, captain of industry; F. L. BABBITT, manufacturer; Major Elijah BABBITT, who established the first newspaper in Providence, R.I.; Rev. Benjamin BABBITT, who was president of South Carolina University, and Almon Whiting BABBITT, a Mormon elder. James P. BABBITT, father of the subject of this sketch, was a railroad man and spent his whole life in Kentucky. They had ten children, of whom three are now living: Ross, a resident of Greenwood, Ind.; Mollie, wife of William BRONNER, who lives near Frankfort, Ky., and Henry B., of Merrill, Wis. Henry B. BABBITT attended school in his native state until 16 years of age. He then went to Greenwood, Ind., where he engaged in railroad work, following that line of industry until 1884, when he quit it and entered into the canning business, in that state. Later he spent 16 years in Michigan canning fruit. At the end of that time he moved to Columbus, Wis. and soon afterwards organized two canning companies at Elba, Wis., superintending the construction of the buildings, and was their active manager until 1920, when he came to Merrill. Here he organized the Lincoln Canning Co., of which he is secretary and manager, and a detailed account of which appears in the historical part of this volume. Here it is only necessary to say that it has an adequate and well equipped plant and is doing a large and increasing business. He is now well established as one of the progressive and substantial business men of the city, taking an interest in everything calculated to promote its welfare. He is a Blue Lodge Mason and a member of the Odd Fellows. Mr. BABBITT was married at Greenwood, Ind., in 1897, to Anna M. BURGE, daughter of Joseph and Sarah BURGE, her parents having been old settlers there but both now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. BABBITT have two children, Owen and Bertha. Owen is now a resident of Sacramento, Calif., where he is engaged in the canning business. Bertha married Arbin SCHLEY and lives at Durand, Wis., where he husband also is engaged in that business.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 597; History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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