ORSON WILLIAM STOW
May 30, 1820 ~ November 10, 1883
From the 25th Anniversary publication
of the Yale College Class of 1846
~ Published 1871 ~
Orson William Stow was born at Rocky Hill, Connecticut May 30, 1820, the son of
Solomon and Eunice (Shepard) Stow. His father was the third of that name in the family,
which was noted for its longevity--one of his ancestors dying at 94, his great-grandfather
at 85, his grandfather at 77, and his father at 75 years of age.
Stow fitted for college at Southington, with Lewis J. Dudley (Yale College, 1838),
afterwards well known to the class as an enthusiastic and highly successful teacher of
Greek, and Rev. George Richards (Yale College, 1840), afterwards tutor, and pastor
of the Central Congregational Church, Boston, and at Monson, Missouri, with Rev.
Charles Hammond (Yale College, 1839).
He entered the class in the spring of 1844, and after graduating, entered the Yale Divinity
School, of which he was a member three years. His health, to his great disappointment,
hindered his asking for approbation to preach, and in June, 1849, he engaged, in his native
place, in manufacturing tools for works in tin and sheet iron, with his father and brother,
hoping soon to be in a condition to preach. But his health continued poor for eight years,
when he spent nine months in the Water Cure at Northhampton, and obtained much relief.
Since then, he has done an extensive business. He has taken out from 15 to 20 patents,
some of which have paid well. In 1866, his factory was burned, and soon after rebuilt.
He took an active part in the formation of the Plantsville Congregational Church and
Society, organized in December, 1865. He has been from the beginning a Deacon
of the Church and Clerk in both; also a liberal supporter of the enterprise, and a hard
worker for its growth, which has been rapid.
He says, "With most of my classmates, I have reached that period of life when men begin
to look back rather than forward." He regards it a kind, though at the time severely
afflictive, dispensation of Divine Providence that shut the door of the ministry against him,
and assigned him his place in Southington. He had important work to do there.
On June 13, 1849, he married Sarah Walkley in Southington, whom he calls "My good
angel." They have two children, Lucretia Amela, born June 7, 1851, and Francis Solomon,
born April 23, 1863. His daughter, at the date of his letter (Feb. 20, 1871), was in the
freshman class at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie. He also has, since 1863, an adopted
daughter, a child of the brother of his wife, whom the war made an orphan. P.O. address,
Orson William Stow was born May 30, 1820, in Rocky Hill, Middlesex, Connecticut,
one of eight children of Solomon and Eunice Shepard Stow.
In 1871, Stow became vice president of Peck, Stow & Wilcox Manufacturing Company
in Southington, Connecticut, a major tool company formed in 1870
from the merger of the S. Stow Manufacturing Company; Peck, Smith & Co., and the
Roy's Wilcox Co.
Peck, Stow & Wilcox manufactured and sold bits, braces, chisels, dividers, draw knives,
hammers, household tools, machinist tools, screwdrivers, tinsmith tools
and wrenches. The company marked its tools with various combinations and
configurations of the full name, "P.S.&W. Co." PEXTO, etc. Plantsville, Connecticut
and Cleveland, Ohio were additional factory locations used in some marks.
The company was bought out by Billings & Spencer in 1950, but the name continued
in use for some time afterward. The company's household tools included a variety
of meat cutters, choppers, and grinders, sausage stuffers and coffee mills.
The brand name "Little Giant" was used on some of these.
From the 1910 DKE Catalogue
B.A., M.A., Yale College
Yale College Department of Theology, 1846 - 49
Married Sarah Walkley, June 13, 1849, Southington, Connecticut
Selectman, Plantsville, Connecticut, 1850
Connecticut General Assembly, House, Town of Southington, 1873 - 77
Vice President, Peck, Stow & Wilcox Manufacturing Co., 1871 - 83
President, Southington Water Co.
Deceased: November 10, 1883, age 63, Plantsville, Connecticut