Notable Penfields from the Past
All the notable people listed below can be found in the
genealogy on this Web site.
Living Penfields, no matter how notable, are not included on this page.
(ca. 1651–1710, first generation)
Earliest Penfield born in North America. He was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, and in 1675 married Mary Lewis of Charlestown, Massachusetts. In 1679 they moved to Rehobeth, Massachusetts with two small children. The family later moved to Bristol, Rhode Island, and finally to Guilford, Connecticut in 1708. Their ten children, 5 boys and 5 girls, all grew to maturity.
Mary Penfield Fairbanks
(1678–1748+, second generation)
Ancestor of U.S. Presidents George Bush and George W. Bush.
Samuel M. Penfield
(1734–1811, fourth generation)
Kept the Sun Tavern in Fairfield, CT, where Washington, Adams, and Lafayette were often guests. This restored tavern is now administered by the Fairfield Historical Society.
(1758–1810, fifth generation)
Kept a popular inn in Rye, NY, on the mail coach line between New York City and New Haven. Notables were entertained there after the Revolution. Son of Samuel M. Penfield, above.
(1759–1840, fifth generation)
Founded the town of Penfield, NY.
(1770–1852, fifth generation)
Founded the town of Penfield, OH.
(1783–1851, sixth generation)
One of the first settlers of Simcoe County, Ontario. The town of Penville, Ontario was named after him.
(1785–1872, fifth generation)
Founded the firm of Penfield and Harwood, Iron Mines in Ironville, near Crown Point, NY. His firm is believed to be the site of the first industrial application of electricity (to separate iron particles in the ore). Electromagnets for this purpose were secured in 1831 from Joseph Henry. Today the Penfield Museum is located in his house in Crown Point.
(1785–1828, sixth generation)
Silversmith and merchant in Savannah, GA, and first major donor of Mercer Institute (now Mercer University). The town of Penfield, GA was named after him. In 1871 Mercer University moved from Penfield to Macon, GA. Son of Nathaniel Penfield, above.
Josephine Abiah Penfield
Bateham (1829–1901, seventh generation)
Active in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. She testified before Congress in 1888 in favor of a Sunday closing law.
Guy Daniel Penfield
(1832–ca. 1900, seventh generation)
Moved from Vermont to Illinois in 1856, and to California in 1881. In 1876 the village of Penfield, IL was named after him.
Smith Newell Penfield
(1837–1920, seventh generation)
Organist, music teacher, and composer in Savannah, GA and later New York, NY. Some of his compositions continue to be performed today. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
William Lawrence Penfield
(1846–1909, seventh generation)
Professor at Georgetown University, authority on international law. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
Frederic Courtland Penfield
(1855–1922, sixth generation)
Noted diplomat, served as ambassador to Austria-Hungary, 1913–1917. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
Samuel Lewis Penfield
(1856–1906, eighth generation)
Professor of Mineralogy at Yale University. Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, 1900. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
Raymond Cassenove Penfield
(1860–1932, eighth generation)
Second President, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, 1899–1903.
Roderic Campbell Penfield
(1863–1921, seventh generation)
Editor, author, critic, and founder of The Opera Magazine. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
Gertrude Ferguson Penfield
Seiberling (1866–1946, eighth generation)
Ninth President, National Federation of Music Clubs, 1919–1921. Wife of Franklin A. Seiberling, founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (1898) and Seiberling Rubber Company (1921). Sister of Raymond Cassenove Penfield, above.
(1866–1925, eighth generation)
Noted illustrator, for many years drawing covers for Harper’s Monthly, Saturday Evening Post, Ladies’ Home Journal, and other magazines. His work is displayed in museums today, and posters of his art work are available. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
Thornton Bancroft Penfield
(1867–1958, eighth generation)
Clergyman, Englewood, NJ. Active in YMCA. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
Walter Scott Penfield
(1879–1931, eighth generation)
Attorney, Professor of International Law at Law School in Washington, DC, and international negotiator. Son of William Lawrence Penfield, above. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
Clarence Miller Penfield
(1882–1951, eighth generation)
Executive Secretary, American Defense Society, 1922–1951. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
Harry Earle Penfield
(1882–1960, ninth generation)
Business executive. President, Hartford Machine and Screw Co., 1930–1946. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
Wilder Graves Penfield
(1891–1976, ninth generation)
World renowned brain surgeon, affiliated with McGill University, Montréal, Québec. Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, 1953. Received the British Order of Merit, 1953. Listed in Who Was Who in America.
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Cornelia Sterrett Penfield
(1892–1938, ninth generation)
Author of mystery novels (reviews and appreciation) and a book about local Connecticut seacoast history.
James Kedzie Penfield
(1908–2004, ninth generation)
U. S. Foreign Service Officer. Consul-general to Greenland, 1941–1945. Ambassador to Iceland, 1961–1967.