Laurence Loomis Bedortha (1837–1926) established and ran the Bedortha Mill on Mill Brook in Windsor for the majority of his life. A resident of Windsor, Connecticut from his birth in 1837 to his death in 1926, Bedortha was a lifelong and notable member of the town. The mills along Mill Brook served as the nexus of all economic activity in the area, and Bedortha Mill operated for nearly a century. Originally a wheelwright shop, the bulk of manufacturing ultimately included the blocks for rolling cigars, cutting tools for cigars, blocks for meat cutters, and the manufacturer of levels. Many of the photographs and glass plate negatives featured in this collection include images of dams, bridges, and landscapes near the Bedortha Mill. At his death at the age of 89, Laurence Loomis Bedortha was the oldest member of the Washington Lodge (Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons) of Windsor, CT and was believed to be one of the oldest Masons in Connecticut. Widowed in 1886, he had two sons and one daughter. He is buried in Palisado Cemetery in Windsor, CT.
His sons Alfred Calvin Bedortha (1872–1963) and George Quartus Bedortha (1874–1962) continued work at the Bedortha mill until their deaths in the mid-1960s. Unable to continue operation, the mill was demolished in 1963. Notably, machinery from the mill developed by Arthur H. Eddy, inventor and founder of the Eddy Electric Corporation, was donated to the Smithsonian Institute. Their sister, Clara R. Bedortha (1876–1972), also lived in Windsor until her death. Neither George nor Clara married, and both are buried in the Palisado Cemetery with the Bedortha family. In 1916 Alfred C. Bedortha married Grace (Roberts) Bedortha (1885–), who worked as a school teacher, and they had four children together. He is buried in Elm Grove Cemetery in Windsor, CT.
Scope and Contents
The Bedortha Family Collection consists of mostly visual materials, including glass plate negatives and photographs of Bedortha family members and friends, and of the local area. The collection also includes a pocket diary, correspondence, and advertisements belonging to L. L. Bedortha, as well as information concerning photography.