In Attleboro, most people associate the family name Capron with Capron Park. But the family whose history is intimately intertwined with Attleboro's has produced more than its share of prominent soldiers, politicians, farmers and business leaders.
"There are a lot of famous Caprons," says the Attleboro Historical Commission's Marian Wrightington.
Banfield Capron, who according to genealogical accounts was the Capron in the colonies, is credited by at least one source as being the first settler in Attleboro, having arrived in 1674. His son Joseph's house, at 42 North Ave., still stands and is owned by Wrightington and her husband.
According to historical accounts, Banfield and his family once owned much of the north end of what is now the city of Attleboro, from Attleboro Falls to the city center.
Horace Capron, Civil War soldier, farmer and manufacturer, served as the second U.S. commissioner of agriculture, the 19th century equivalent of the secretary of agriculture.
Dennis Capron farmed more than 100 acres from his home on Dennis Street and a portion of his estate later became Capron Park.
Both Horace, who left Attleboro as a child in 1806, and Dennis were descendants of Banfield Capron, who died in 1752.
Dennis (1802-1884) descended from Joseph, one of 12 children of Banfield Capron and Elizabeth Callender. Horace (1804-1885) descended from another of Banfield Capron's sons, Jonathan.
In 1901, Dennis Capron's heirs donated the land for the park. A fund drive was started in the 1920s to open a children's zoo. Capron Park Zoo opened in 1937.