Little Mystery Postscript

So I’ve done a little sleuthing about the characters mentioned in my last post who appear on the mysterious inscription in my 1750 edition of Cicero.

I had looked on the British DNB, thinking these folks lived in England. I had been misled by London place of publication of the book and the use of shillings in the price (acc. to Wikipedia, “Due to ongoing shortages of US coins in some regions, shillings continued to circulate well into the 19th century.”)

But in fact, the story all seems to center on society in Glastonbury, CT, and at Yale.

Elias W Hale

Information from Find A Grave


Glastonbury, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
DEATH 3 Feb 1832 (aged 56)

Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, USA

LewistownMifflin CountyPennsylvaniaUSA

MEMORIAL ID 55825529 · View Source

Genealogical excerpts from the 1886 book “The History of the Susquehanna & Juniata Valleys” – page 466:

Elias W. Hale was born in Glastonbury, Conn., April 18, 1775. He graduated at Yale College in 1794, and soon after began the study of law…..after completing his studies he removed to Lewistown and was admitted to practice in May, 1798. He died February 3, 1832 and is buried in St. Mark’s Cemetery. Mr. Hale was married to Miss Jane Mulhollan, who survived him many years. Their children were George G., Reuben C., John M., Elias W., Mary and Caroline. Mary became the wife of Gideon Welles, of Hartford, Conn., and Caroline married George D. Morgan of New York. Dr. Elias W. Hale is now living at Bellefonte.

Source is book “Hale, House and Related Families” by D. Jacobus.

Elias Hale was born at Glastonbury, Hartford County, CT on 11 April 1775, son of Gideon and Mary (White) Hale. Married 26 Feb 1810 to Jane Mulhollan. Died at Lewistown, Mifflin County, PA.

Gideon Welles who was his son-in-law was Secretary of the Navy during the Civil War.



Gideon Hale


Glastonbury, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
DEATH 27 Apr 1831 (aged 64)

South Glastonbury, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA

South GlastonburyHartford CountyConnecticutUSA

MEMORIAL ID 10531585 · View Source



Samuel Welles

Information from Find A Grave


Glastonbury, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
DEATH 12 Nov 1834 (aged 80)

Glastonbury, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA

GlastonburyHartford CountyConnecticutUSA

MEMORIAL ID 43501885 · View Source

Connecticut Courant (Hartford, CT), November 17, 1834
At Glastonbury, Samuel Welles, Esq, aged 80 years,”

New England Historical and Genealogical Register 85:306

Samuel Welles, was the son of Capt. Samuel and Lucy (Kilbourn) Welles. Married first, at Glastonbury on 2 May 1782 to Anne Hale. Five known children. Married second, on 8 Nov. 1816 to her sister, Hannah Hale.

“Hale, House, and Related Families”, Donald Jacobus


On this tombstone, it’s interesting to note that his name is spelled “Samuel Wells Jr”


Elijah Smith

Find A Grave doesn’t have anything on the ne’er-do-well Elijah Smith, but there is this notice from Franklin Bowditch Dexter’s Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College: May 1745-May 1763 (Holt 1896) p. 771:

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 10.03.24 PM.pngIt seems likely that this is the man who owned my copy of Cicero’s Orations. The connection with Yale, Glastonbury CT, and the notice of his insolvency, all seem to cohere with the portrait sketched out on the flyleaf of my book.



Septimius G. Huntington

Lastly, what of Septimius G. Huntington, whose name also appears on the flyleaf, though it seems to be of later date (1795)? This person too has Connecticut connections, and my guess is he went (as his brother Samuel, later the governor of Ohio, had) to Yale. According to The Huntington Family in America: : a genealogical memoir of the known descendants of Simon Huntington from 1633 to 1915 (Privately printed, Hartford CT 1915) p. 594: 

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 10.33.12 PM.png


Postscript to the Postscript. My friend Betsy has gotten very interested in this mystery, and adds the following.

I looked around a little bit out of interest and I have it all figured out. I believe you have the wrong Gideon Hale in your postscript. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense that when Elijah Smith skipped town between the ages of 27 and 51 as per our evidence, he would’ve been indebted to someone that was a teenager. It seems that the Gideon in your book, Elias’s dad, was born 1736 as per my other sources (and 2 yrs older than Elijah). See my illustration.. 🙂


About Uncomely and Broken

I am a classicist in Sewanee, Tennessee.
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1 Response to Little Mystery Postscript

  1. Betsy says:

    I realized I have gotten at least one thing wrong—which is why it’s always important to look at the original!
    There’s likely an additional person involved who wrote in this book: the bookseller. It would have been he (or she) who crossed out Elias Hale’s ownership claim, added the price of “10”, and —I think—wrote 1795. Then Septimius H came along sometime after that to write in his own name )and perhaps cross out 1795? I could not easily figure out when he was at Yale (which is presumably where he got this book).
    Finally, I’ll add for anyone who couldn’t figure out the “subscriber” part—it took me a while!—that this is Elias Hale referring to himself in the 3rd person (as one whose name is “written below”/sub/scribed)

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