Mary Cheney, 1855 - 1934
Mary Cheney was the daughter of Frank and Susan Cushing Cheney. Frank was one of the original eight Cheney brothers and one of the founders of the silk business here in Manchester.
Frank and Susan had five children - Frank Jr., Mary, Katherine, Alice and Paul. Mary never married and she devoted her life to the town of Manchester. She lived most of her life in the large grey brick house that is now part of the South Methodist Church campus located on Main Street, Manchester.
Mary inherited a substantial estate from her parents, which allowed her time to contribute to various civic activities and organizations. She gave financial aid to families in time of hardship, contributed to young adults' scholarship funds, served on the school committee and the South Manchester Library board, gave Christmas gifts to kindergarten children and contributed both time and money to the new Memorial Hospital when it was built. She took up the hospital kitchen as her personal task and kept it supplied with equipment during the rest of her life.
Besides her various civic interests, Mary was an avid gardener. She maintained beautiful gardens around her home and kept them open to the public as if they were a town park.
Mary, as well as the rest of the Cheney family, was never one to make public the various philanthropic contributions made to Manchester. The Manchester Public Library was named after Mary Cheney. The plaque in the library's lobby reads -
"This library is honored by the name of Mary Cheney. A Friend of the distressed and a comforting listener. A public spirited citizen whose interest and help were given whole heartedly to all civic and cultural activities in Manchester particularly to the work of this library."
A portrait of Miss Cheney, painted on the occasion of her twenty-first birthday, can be found at the entrance to the Reference Room.
"Great Oaks Memoirs of the Cheney Family" by Antoinette Cheney Crocker, 1977
"A New England Pattern, The History of Manchester, Connecticut" by William E. Buckley, 1973
100 North Main Street
Manchester, CT 06042
Dr. Francis Whiton Biography
Dr. Francis H. Whiton, 1846 - 1922
Dr. Francis H. Whiton was born in Mansfield, CT on May 16, 1846 and was the son of Chester and Philama (Brown) Whiton. He attended public schools for his early education and went on to Harvard Medical School and Dartmouth Medical College, graduating from Dartmouth in 1872. After graduation he worked in a private health institution and spent a year working in a New York hospital.
In May of 1870, Dr. Whiton married Mary Elizabeth Loomis, daughter of George M. Loomis of Portsmouth, NH. Mary Whiton's ancestors came to this country in 1636 and were in the Revolutionary War. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
In December of 1873, Dr. Whiton came to Manchester to practice medicine and was a well-known physician in the north end of town. He was very active in his profession and was a member of both the Connecticut as well as the Hartford County Medical Societies. He was also a member of the American Medical Association.
Dr. Whiton was also active in local and state politics. He represented Manchester in the Connecticut Legislature from 1895 to 1899, and was a long-time trustee of the North End Library.
Upon Dr. Whiton's death in 1922 he left a part of his estate to the town of Manchester for the construction of a library. The building had to be within the limits of the Eighth District. Dr. Whiton's picture is hanging in the Manchester Public Library, Whiton Branch, 100 North Main Street.