Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 135 , page(s) 719-720


For more than two-thirds of a century Nathaniel R. Bronson of Waterbury was known throughout the State as a lawyer of great ability and competence. His reputation for rugged and sturdy honesty was matched only by a forthrightness that was sometimes irascible but always so much in character as to hold its own peculiar charm.

From the time he was admitted to the bar in 1884 until his death April 20, 1949, he was constantly colorful and probably the subject of more tales and anecdotes than any other lawyer of his period. It is quite appropriate, therefore, that a sketch of his life and a pen portrait of his personality should be included in the Connecticut reports, which contain so many cases in which he appeared as counsel.

He was born in Waterbury July 3, 1860, the son of Lucian Stone Bronson, a descendant of John Bronson, who was one of the earliest settlers of Waterbury. He obtained his preliminary education in the high school of his native city, was graduated from Yale in 1882 and then completed two years of study in the law department of Yale. As early as 1888 he had formed a law partnership in Waterbury with George F. Terry, a well-known Connecticut lawyer. In 1905 he founded with Lawrence L. Lewis the firm of Bronson and Lewis, which has had a continuous existence to the present time. The latter fact alone is a revealing commentary on Mr. Bronson's well-ordered, serious-minded approach to professional responsibilities and his idea of service to the community with which he cast his lot and in which he became an important cog during its flourishing growth and development.

His early years at the bar were marked by an eager interest and active participation in civic and community affairs as he took his place among the solid and important citizens of his city. He served as president of the Chamber or Commerce during World War I and furnished dynamic leadership which did much in shaping a rapid industrial growth in Waterbury and contributed greatly to the upbuilding and development of that important city, which today is one of the leading municipalities in the state.

On March 26, 1886, Mr. Bronson married Miss Helen Adams Norton. The tender devotion that marked their long journey together was as touching as that of Darby and Joan and furnishes bright testimony to the fine fiber of his loyal and affectionate nature. Mrs. Bronson survives, together with their two sons, Norton Bronson of Greenwich, and Richardson Bronson, who was for a long time a member of his father's law firm. He is now in Germany in government service.

It is given to relatively few men to serve their state and their fellows for as long a period as Mr. Bronson did. He earned a unique position at the bar and was generally recognized as possessed of great legal ability and imbued with the highest ideals and traditions of a truly great profession. He took a stern pride in his fellow members of the Waterbury bar and his trust in them amounted almost to a fetish.

He believed with Polonius that the dress oft proclaims the man and was always meticulous in being well-groomed. He was short in stature but exceptionally sturdy and alert. His physical vigor was great and found its counterpart in a mental stature and a moral grandeur that marked him as one of God's noblemen. By instinct and nature he was so polite as to live almost by protocol.

His physical activity found its outlet in golf, of which he was an enthusiastic devotee, and he was perhaps as widely known on the links as in the busy marts of life. His was a well-rounded life, a sound mind and body, with perfect poise and superb serenity of spirit. Such a man as he adorns any profession to which he belongs.

His sturdy figure with its Jove-like head and brisk but dignified pace was for fifty years familiar as a part of the Waterbury scene. He will be missed; but he will be remembered at least as long as the statute against perpetuities makes possible.