HENRY TITUS CANFIELD, postmaster of Wichita Falls is an old resident of this city, being such by virtue of the fact that he came here nearly twenty years ago when the town was just springing into activity on the prairie. He had already experienced a very prosperous business career in other parts of the country, and since locating here he has been very active and enterprising in promoting the development of the material resources of this fine Texas community.
Mr. Canfield belongs to one of the oldest and most prominent American families, whose genealogical history goes back some six centuries, and whose personnel in this country contains names in every state of the Union. Mr. Canfield has many generations of sturdy New Englanders back of him, and he is himself thoroughly Yankee, although broad-minded in sentiment and able to appreciate the viewpoint of other men reared under other ideals of life. His paternal grandfather, Titus Canfield, was the son of Dan Canfield, who was a soldier of the Revolutionary War. This branch of the Canfield family is descended from Thomas Canfield, who, with his brothers Timothy and Matthew, came from England and settled at Milford, Connecticut, about 1639. These brothers were direct descendants of James de Philo, a French Huguenot, who on account of persecutions left his home in Normandy, France, about 1350, and went to England, where he became a loyal subject of the English sovereign. He was a soldier in the wars of the latter country and in reward for their services was given a grant of land on the river Cam, in Yorkshire. The family name then became Cam Philo, later contracted to Camphilo, and by subsequent mutations of orthography became Campfield and Canfield. The Canfield family has a coat of arms.
Mr. Henry T. Canfield was born in Chesterfield, Fulton county, Ohio, in 1841, being a son of Herman A. and Amanda G. (Brown) Canfield. His mother was born in Ontario county, New York, and moved to Fulton county, Ohio, in 1838, where she lived until her death in 1902, aged eighty-four years. His father was born in Ontario county, New York, in 1816. He moved to Fulton county, Ohio, in 1837, being one of the pioneers there. He followed farming pursuits, and lived and reared his family in Fulton county, being an honored and respected citizen throughout the years of his long life, which ended there in 1902 at the age of eighty-six.
Henry Titus Canfield was reared on his father’s farm back in Ohio, and during about half of the year attended the country schools in the neighborhood. He later attended for two terms the Oak Grove Academy at Medina, Michigan. During the rebellion he was a civilian clerk in the quartermaster’s department on the staff of General James B. McPherson, of the Seventeenth Army Corps, and in that capacity was stationed at various points throughout the south. In 1873 he moved to the pine woods of Michigan, and was there until 1877, when he took up his residence at Zanesville, Ohio, and became a prosperous hardware merchant with a large establishment. In 1885 he came out to Texas and located at the then new town of Wichita Falls, where he had centered his business activity to the present time. On March 31, 1898, he was appointed postmaster by President McKinley, and was reappointed January 20, 1903, by President Roosevelt. He has been successful in business affairs, and is now well to do, although he has always been conservative and never a speculator. Although sixty-three years of age, he is remarkably strong and well preserved, really looking twenty years younger, and he attributes his vitality to his careful living and to the many generations of New England vigor behind him.
Fraternally he is a Mason, and it was through his active efforts in behalf of that order that the Masonic lodge was instituted in Wichita Falls in the early days of the city. He is also a member of the Presbyterian church, and in politics has always been a Republican. Mr. Canfield was married in Fulton county, Ohio, in 1864, to Miss Delia A. Mansfield. Mrs. Canfield is descended from an old New England family. They have just one daughter living, Mrs. Grace Canfield Prescott, of Kansas City; another daughter, Mrs. Belle Canfield Jalonick, with her husband and two of her children, lost their lives in the memorable Galveston flood of 1900. Mrs. Jalonick’s other two children, Edison Canfield and Nellie,were saved from the waters, and now have their home with their grandparents, Mr.and Mrs. Canfield.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 693-694.