PRIME TIME: Andrew Fuller Atkins, Builder of Bristol

Published on Sunday, 26 September 2021 19:50


Here’s a “Builders of Bristol” segment written by Eleanor Wilson in 2006:

Andrew Fuller Atkins (1828-1893)

“Andrew Fuller Atkins, son of the Rev. and Mrs. Irenus (Eunice Beckwith) Atkins, was born in Bristol in 1828. His father, an active Baptist minister and prominent manufacturer, was involved with clocks, saws, wood turnings, wooden faucets and machinery. It was said that he and his partners went through more bankruptcy than any other Bristol manufacturers.

“Also, he worked out of the same site for 60 years, running family businesses.

“With regards to his son, Andrew, after his early education in Bristol, he attended Suffield Institute, after which he joined his father in the general store business. Back then, the Atkins property was located near the corner of West and Divinity streets in the West End of Bristol.

“On May 6, 1849, Andrew married Helen  M. Welch, the daughter of Elisha N. and Jane (Bulkeley) Welch. Elisha Welch was one of the chief factors in the growth of Bristol during the 1800s, finding phenomenal success as one of the town’s most successful individuals as its first millionaire.

“Around 1851, young Andrew, who had developed a fondness for business, took on the responsibilities as secretary and treasurer for the Bristol Brass Corp., a position he held until the death of his father-in-law, Elisha N. Welch. In 1887, he was promoted to president of the company and his foresight enabled the company to prosper under his administration until his death.

“A genial man, Atkins was an individual everybody respected, even the poorest shop hand was considered a friend. Although he never sought public service he was highly interested in the welfare of Bristol.

“In 1889 he purchased eight acres of land of the Tracy-Peck estate on West Street, opposite the E.S. Hollister property and before much of the work at the proposed ‘Brightwood Hall’ had actually begun, Andrew died on May 9, 1893 at his winter residence in Hartford. He was survived by his widow, his daughter, Fannie, and his cousin, Judge Roswell Atkins. The ‘castle’ as it was called by many, was left to his widow to complete.”

(Note: His widow died before the ‘castle’ was finished. The building stood unoccu[pied before Albert F. Rockwell purchased it to reside in. Sometime after Rockwell’s death, the mansion  and surrounding property were purchased for the development of residential housing.)

Contact Bob Montgomery at

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Sunday, 26 September 2021 19:50. Updated: Sunday, 26 September 2021 19:52.