Ralph Bulkley Savage, born: September 10, 1812. Died 1887
Sarah Ann Strickland Savage: born March 28, 1821. Died 1880
married: May 15, 1843
Sarah Maria Savage (b.1844)
Emma Tennant Savage (1845)
Ralph Wilcox Savage (1847)
Mary Ann Savage (b.1848, died 1853)
Elizabeth Strickland Savage (1850)
John Henry Savage (1852)
Francis Absalom Savage (1853)
George Pruden Savage (1854)
William Redfield Savage (1858)
Watson Lewis Savage (1859)
Lucy Hutchinson (1863).
Carrie Augusta (1865)
Ralph Bulkley Savage was born on September 10, 1812 at the family homestead in Cromwell, Connecticut. The house had been built only 6 years earlier by his father, Captain Absolam Savage. It is likely that Ralph was named for a business associate of his father, There is a letter from Absolam to his wife telling her to write Ralph Bulkley for funds. His father died at sea when Ralph was about 8-1/2 years old. His mother, Sally Wilcox Savage, died when he was about 22, and it is likely that it was at this time or slightly later when he took over as the owner of the homestead.
He attended the Mechanics Institute in New York City where he learned carpentry. There are several stories told by his daughter Elizabeth Savage Coe to her nephew Sylvester Butler about his time in New York. He nearly died while staying in New York. There was a charcoal fire in his room that was heating some lead paint. Not too surprisingly it gave off poisonous fumes. According to the story someone had locked the door to his room from the outside and he almost succumbed before someone opened the door. He was plagued by asthma all his life as a result of this incident. In another story from New York, Ralph had some sort of hemorrhage and it was feared he had tuberculosis. The woman, at whose house he was staying, told him he was foolish to have bought a new suit, as he would never have use for it.
Ralph took a sailing steamer from New York to Mobile, Alabama and then worked his way up the Mississippi as far as St. Louis. He kept a journal in which he gave vivid pictures of the places he saw and the people he met on his travels. (Unfortunately we don't have the journal.) In St, Louis he purchased land that was located in what is now the central part of the city. He sold the property when he moved back to Cromwell. His brother George had written to him telling him that since their mother was dead, Ralph was the one who should keep up the homestead. George also advised him that he had a good wife picked out for him. And, as the story goes, this is what "opened negotiations with Sarah Strickland with matrimony in view." They married in May of 1843.
He ran a general store on the east side of Main Street, just south of the Academy (now the Beldon Library). He was one of only 5 merchants who had stores in Cromwell in the 1850's. He sold his store, called the Co-op Store in 1871 to John Stevens. The Co-op store sold items such as clothing, hardware, foods and candy.
In 1852 a company called Kelsey, Wright & Company moved its manufactuting business to Waterbury. The facility on Hicksville Road was bought by the Cromwell Manufacturing Company and Ralph Savage served on its board of directors. The company made toy banks and cast iron hardware. It closed in 1859.
When a new cemetery was needed in November 1855 he became a founding member of the Cromwell Cemetery Association which raised capitol stock of $2000 and bought the property on Hillside Drive. He served as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Association until his death. His interest in the town's cemeteries is further shown when, in the late 1870's, he was among a small group of citizens who petitioned the town to improve the Old Burying Ground on Timber Hill Road and Ranney Street.
After the Civil War he was selected to be on a committee, along with Eliza Sage and David Edwards, to develop a "Roll of Honor." This list was commissioned to show who from Cromwell had served in the war. They had to sort out who had been drafted and if that person had actually served, or if the person had hired a substitute, a common practice of the time.
As well Ralph served the town as a selectman, town clerk (1881-1887), and tax collector. At the Congregational Church he served as a clerk and a deacon. His wife, Sarah, was president of the Sewing Society
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