Who was Ezra Conant?
Ezra Conant, for whom the buildling is named, was a descendant of Roger Conant, who governed the first Massachusetts Colony. He was born in Winchester, New Hampshire on January 4, 1812. His father, Ezra Conant, held a pastorate here from 1788 to 1807.
At the age of eighteen, Ezra left Winchester to work with an older brother in Roxbury, Mass. in the provision business. Later he turned to manufacuring patent leather, which in subsequent years turned out to be a very profitable. Being frugal and industrious by nature, he was able to retire from business at the early age of fifty. This gave him time to cultivate and improve his real estate investments.
Mr. Conant traveled extensively in this country and became an ardent lover of nature. He was well read in history, science, political economy and English Literature. Books were his constant companions.
Ezra married his cousin, Marcella Conant of Reading, Vermont in 1848 and by her had three children, Erza Russell, Emma and Anna. Mrs. Conant and one daughter died early in life. The son and other daughter died at the ages of twenty-four and twenty. All of this cast a lasting shadow on the remaing years of Ezra Conant's life. He died at the age of seventy-six on October 20, 1888. He left in his will $50,000 for the building of a new library in his hometown of Winchester. It was built in 1890 and open it's doors to the public in April of 1892, with the name Conant Library carved above the entrance.