Ransel Agard House (1883)

February 27th, 2017 Posted in Folk Victorian, Houses, Tolland

The house at 76 Tolland Green in Tolland, built in 1883, rests on eleven hand-cut granite blocks. Built for Ransel Agard (1815-1889), it was home to five generations of the Agard family. Ransel taught school for a number of years and then, according to the Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties (1903),

In 1844, in partnership with a party by the name of Woodruff, Mr. Agard opened up a grocery business on Asylum street, in Hartford. Several years later the firm name was changed to Sumner & Agard, his brother-in-law, William Sumner, having become his partner. The business prospered and a few years after, Mr. Agard became the sole proprietor. Then he rented his business property in Hartford and bought a store in Vernon, Conn.; in 1866 he removed a stock of goods from Hartford, and until 1871 conducted the largest general store in Vernon. At that time he sold the business and settled in Tolland, retiring from activity and spending his last days in comfort and enjoyment in his pleasant home, dying here on Jan. 27, 1889. Mr. Agard was a stanch Republican, having borne testimony all his life in favor of the abolition of slavery. No inducement could be offered to cause him to accept political office, although he supported the standard bearers of his party with characteristic vigor.

His son, William Augustus Agard, worked a number of years in the mid-west until returning to Connecticut in 1887. According to the source quoted above:

In 1889 he was elected to the position of manager of the Underwood Manufacturing Co., of Tolland, Conn., the business being the manufacture of belts and belting. This company is now known to the commercial and industrial world as the William Sumner Belting Co., of which Mr. Agard has been the president since its formation, in 1898.

On Sept. 15, 1874., Mr. Agard was married to Miss Catherine Bissell, a daughter of Sanford Bissell, of South Windsor. [. . . .] Mr. Agard is one of the leading men of Tolland, and is President of the Savings Bank of Tolland, being elected to that position in 1902, and he is financially interested in many lines. For many years he has been a leader in the Congregational Church and since 1896. has been one of its deacons, and is also a member of the Society’s committee of this church. In politics he has been a life-long Republican, but has declined political honors for many years, serving now only on the school board.

William A. Agard served in the state legislature, as did his brother, Edwin S. Agard,.

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