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"This township was originally covered principally with hard wood. The surface is uneven, but very little of it so broken as to be unfit for cultivation. The soil is generally good . . . The first settler of this town was Mr. JosephWheeler.  He moved into it with his family in March, 1788. In 1789, Hubbard Barlow and Andrew Bradley, with several others, moved into the town.  Smithfield Beadeu, was the first child born here, in the part called Smithfield."

Gazetteer of Vermont, Hayward, 1840.


      Aug. 18, 1763, Samuel HUNGERFORD of New Fairfield, Ct., obtained for himself and associates, Wm. LIBBEY, James NEVIN, Ezekiel HULL, Benjamin ELLIOT, Benjamin OSBORNE, Jonathan CUTTER, Samuel BENNETT, Joseph NEWMART, James STEWART, Abel JENNINGS, Ebenezer OGDON, Thomas NORTHROP, Peter BLACKMAN, Samuel WALLOW, Jabez HUBBELL, Moses WAKEMAN, Ebenezer BARTRAM, Stephen HULL, Benjamin DIMON, Thomas STAPLES, Peter BURR, Nathan PRICE, Ebenezer BURR, Elnathan WILLIAMS, Samuel BALDWIN, Sleepe HULL, Abel PLATT, George BURR, Joshua JENNINGS, Benjamin ELLIOT, Jr., Andrew STURGES, John OGDON, Jr., Albert STONE, Hezekiah DE FORREST, Job BARTRAM, Samuel STERLING, Eleaser OSBORN, Abraham GOULD, Benjamin BANKS, Haines HANDFORD, Joseph LYON, Peter BETTS, Ephraim NICHOLS, Thaddeus BANKS, Samuel SMITH, Moses BULKELEY, Noah ROCKWELL, Samuel WATERS, Samuel OGDON, John BANKS, Gideon WELLS, Abraham HAYS, James BRADLEY, Daniel BELDIN, Egor WILLIAMS, Benjamin WYNKOOP, Davis BARLOW, Daniel WARNER, Daniel SMITH, Andrew JENNINGS, Ebenezer SILLIMON, James HUNGERFORD, Richard WIBORG, Ephraim HAWLEY, Daniel JACKSON, obtained of Gov. Wentworth, grants of 3 townships on the N. E. of Lake Champlain, chartered by the names of FAIRFIELD, SMITHFIELD and HUNGERFORD.

      The first meeting of the grantees was held at Fairfield, Ct., Feb. 16, 1774, at the house of Gershom BRADLEY, L. C. OSBORN, moderator, meeting adjourned 'till the 17th, at the house of John HUBBEL, same town -- Stephen HULL, moderator; John BANKS voted proprietors' clerk; "Samuel HUNGERFORD, Capt. Abraham GOULD and Daniel Smith, committee to manage the prudence affairs of the township, and warn meetings from time to time. Voted, John CAMPS, Hezekiah BRADLEY, John HUBBELl, Gershom BRADLEY to set up notifications. Voted, to proceed to survey and lay out the township." At a proprietors' meeting, April, 1774, "voted every proprietor pay Azariel WARD of Wellstown, and David IVES of Goshen, lawful money, on each single right, or give a quit-claim deed of one-eighth part of said right, to said WARD and IVES, for their trouble for laying out said township." "Voted that the committee for said township shall have power to agree with some suitable person to go and see said township, in order to see what sort of land it is; and to be paid by proprietors, and to return in a reasonable time." Aug. 22, 1774, "voted to lay out the township into 78 equal shares -- Arah WARD, David IVES and Stephen HULL a committee for that purpose." "Voted, that the town should be surveyed by the first day of January, 1775; each lot bounded and numbered, and a plan of the same returned to the proprietors." March 14 1715, George BURR, John BANKS and Stephen HULL, were chosen selectmen, and Benjamin WYNKOOP as an additional selectman for the new township. Dec. 22, 1780, "voted to send an agent to the State of Vermont, to apply to his Excellency and his Council, or to the General Assembly of said State, for liberty to sell so much of delinquents' lands in the above township, as would raise a sum sufficient to pay the expenses of said township; Stephen HULL chosen agent for that purpose. The first meeting of the proprietors in the State of Vermont was held at Pawlet, Sept. 5, 1783. The meeting adjourned to Pownal, Sept. 8th, when it was voted to lay out one division of land, containing 160 acres, to each proprietor, James STEWART, Stephen HULL, Ebenezer WAKEMAN, Beach TOMLINSON and Wakeman HULL, a committee for that purpose; and May 17th to lay out a 2nd division of 100 acres to each proprietor, to be drawn according to the statute laws of the State of Vermont -- Beach TOMLINSON, Isaiah HUNGERFORD and Hubbard BARLOW, chosen for the above purpose.

      Pownal, Sept. 6, 1786 -- voted "to accept the plan or plot of the 1st and 2nd division exhibited by Capt. Beach TOMLINSON and Hubbard BARLOW, with a survey-bill of the same for recording." Voted "to draw for the 1st and 2nd division lots, and that one draught should answer for both, and that the number any proprietor shall draw shall be the number of both his lots."

      Pawlet, Feb. 13, 1787 -- "Hubbard BARLOW, Ralph GREGORY and Isaac LUCE, chosen a committee to lay out roads.”

      At a meeting in Georgia, Oct. 2, 1788, Joseph WHEELER, moderator: "voted to accept the doings of the committee for laying out roads." "Voted to raise a penny half-penny per acre for cutting roads. John LEECH, Hubbard BARLOW and Andrew BRADLEY, chosen committee. Voted to adjourn the meeting to the dwelling-house of Hubbard BARLOW, in the town of Fairfield, County of Chittenden, State of Vermont, April 3, 1789. April 21, 1789, Joseph WHEELER, moderator; Hubbard BARLOW, proprietors' clerk; John LEECH, collector; David HOIT, Hubbard BARLOW, Bradley BARLOW, committee for laying out roads. Sept. 21, 1789, Beach TOMLINSON, moderator; "voted to lay out a 3d division of 50 acres, Andrew BRADLEY, committee, a 4th division of 140 acres -- Hubbard BARLOW, committee; and a 5th division of 4-acre lots in the cedar-swamp.

      The object of this division that each proprietor might have his share of cedar and pine for fencing, immense quantities of which have been taken from it annually in the time of sledding, the swamp being impassable at any other time. This tract lies in the westerly part of the town, on a stream called Dead Creek, and many an exciting scene has been enacted among the rail-splitters in this dismal-swamp, in the olden time. Hooking rails seemed to be a business of frequent occurrence. Hundreds of miles of fence have been made from the rails of this bog. The stage-road now from St. Albans to Bakersfield passes directly through the marsh, and its annual calls for repairs severely tries the patience of the Fairfield tax-payers.

      Besides the 6th division, there was also "a town-plot" Set off intended for city-lots: the site is a rocky hill about 2 miles S. W. from the present centre of the town, and the first building has not yet been erected in the innascent city, though three-fourths of a century have elapsed since its survey.

      Proprietors' meeting, June, 1790. "voted to draw for 3d and 4th division lots." 

      In 1792, Smithfield was, by act of Legislature, annexed, and Fairfield by this acquisition became the largest township or the county. It is situated nearly in the centre, and bounded N. by Sheldon, E. by Bakersfield, S. by Fletcher and Fairfax, and W. by St. Albans and Swanton, with an area of about 60 square miles now.

      The surface of the township is generally very uneven, but mostly susceptible to cultivation. The principal stream is Black Creek, which rises in Fletcher, and entering the town at the S. E. corner, after a course of several miles in a N. W. direction, enters the Missisquoi in the town of Sheldon. Fairfield river is a small stream which also has its source in the town of Fletcher, and running north through the centre of Fairfield, unites with the Black Creek. Dead Creek is a dark, sluggish stream which rises in the cedar-swamp before described, and running several miles empties into the outlet of Smithfield pond -- a beautiful sheet of water in the N. W. part of the town, whose outlet runs east into Black Creek.

      The first deed of any portion of the new town was given Jan. 29, 1765, by Abraham DAVENPORT of Fairfield, Ct., to Samuel HUNGERFORD of New Fairfield, Ct. There does not appear to have been any permanent settler here before Joseph WHEELER, in 1787. John SUNDERLAND and John MITCHELL appear to have settled in 1788, also Gabriel SHERWOOD, Wm. BEADEN and James HAWLEY from Huntington, Ct.; Ebenezer LOBDELL and David and Nathan HOYT, from Bridgefield, Ct., Samuel ROBERTS and John LEACH, from Now Fairfield, Ct.; Lucius HALL, from New Milford, Levi WAKEMAN from Norwalk, and Edmund TOWN and Joel BARBER from Simsbury. 1789, Andrew BRADLEY, Hubbard BARLOW, Clark BURLINGAME, from New Fairfield, settled, and Jabez BURR from Reading, Ct. 1790, Samuel HOLLISTER, Samuel GILBERT, Dimon BARLOW and Jebiel SMITH settled. 1791, Joseph SOULS, from Dover, N. Y., settled. The sons of Joseph SOULS were Isaac Newton, Timothy, Salmon, Joseph, Hiram and Harry. 1792.  Francis STORY, Reuben. CROW and Isaac LUCE settled in this year; in which year also Smithfield waS annexed to the town.

      Among the names of other early settlers were Joe. D. FARNSWORTH, Bates TURNER, Solomon BINGHAM, John CHANDLER, Benjamin WOOSTER, ___ STURTEVANT, Dyer SHERWOOD, Morse WARNER, Ezra SHERMAN. Eli SHERMAN, Ezekiel BRADLEY, Nathan LOBDELL, Sherwood WHITNEY, Amos THOMPSON, Abraham NORTHROP, Bradley DAVIS, Dimon, Samuel and Ebenezer BARLOW, Joab SMITH, Job HURLBURT, Samuel PAYNE, Isaac WAKEMAN, Noah DIMOND, Solomon NELSON, Ezra STURGES, Ezra, Samuel and Nathan GILBERT, Abner WRIGHT, Whittemore and Nathaniel BEARDSLEY, Wm, MORSE, Benj. and Andrew KENDRICK, ___ STORY, Martin PRINCE, Orange HALL, Westover BARBER, Norman BARBER, Benjamin FAIRBANKS, John ABOTTS, Joseph BOWDITCH, and Johiel HULL.

      Smithfield BEADEN was the first child born here, in the part called Smithfield. The proprietors made him a present of 100 acres of land.

      March, 1790, the town was organized and first town-meeting held-Edmund Town, town clerk. [ Deming gives the first representative as Clark BURLINGAME, in 1791 -- -Ed.]

      There were several other Proprietors' meetings up to 1804, when the proprietory government seems to be about ended.

      We have a few more statistics.--Ed. An academy building was erected and the Institution incorporated in 1808.* 

* [The old Academy, which was among the early academic institutions of the State, we have been informed, was at one time quite popular, especially tinder the administration of Ira HILL, preceptor; during which time the students numbered, some terms, from 100 to 150. It was a school for both young men and young ladies. Mr. HILL, we understand, was principal for a number of years. After the departure of Mr. Hill, its history is similar to that of most, if not all similar institution in the State. It was not founded on a rock of gold, and its glory waned. It is at present, and has been for the last 23 years, unoccupied as an academy. Mr. HILL was the first teacher, and John R. KENDRICK the last.]

      Upon Black Creek, Fairfield river and Smithfield pond, 3 miles long and 1 and a half wide -- already mentioned -- are many excellent mill-sites. -- The surface of the town is uneven, yet the most part good for cultivation. The town is divided into 26 school-districts with school-houses in each. The public buildings are a town-house, Congregational, Baptist, Episcopal and Catholic churches, and an academy: there are 3 stores, 4 grist-mills, 9 saw-mills and 2 tanneries.

      ANDREW BRADLEY, ESQ., came with his family through the unbroken wilderness to the place in the south part of the town which he had selected for their home. The first season he planted corn for their bread in the coming winter, but the early frost so injured the crop it was hardly fit for food, and but a scanty supply. Knowing that his family could not survive the long winter without some increase of provision, he was driven to the painful necessity of leaving his young and tender family, a wife and three young children, for an indefinite space of time. Their only sustenance during his absence was the frost-bitten corn which they had to cut from the cob. The husband having been gone some time, his anxious family were beginning to feel the intensity of privations. They watched in vain for many days, for the desired relief. No human being came. At length, as the family, one day, were peering into the wilderness for the long desired appearance of their protector, they saw a number of men approaching with knapsacks upon their shoulders. They were panic-stricken at first, with fear that they were going to be assaulted by Indians; but soon, to their indescribable joy, the husband and father was with them.

      The following spring the family was prostrated with sickness. Mrs. BRADLEY and one or two of the children died of the canker-rash.

      On the day preceding the last anniversary of our once "glorious Union," (July 3. 1863,) the writer called to see an aged lady, widow of John B. MITCHELL, whom she had survived for about 30 years, and who had arrived at the extreme old age of 106 years. She retains her mental and physical faculties to an astonishing degree.

      I learned from her that her father, John SUNDERLAND came with his family in 1788, and that at one time, they had to subsist on the buds of the base-tree, for a number of days. She told me she knew all about it, and that if I would call in a day or two she would tell me many things about the first settlers. But the third day from my visit I met one of her grandsons, and, inquiring for the health of the old lady, was told that she was dead, and that he was then making arrangements for the funeral. So the facts which might have been gained from her were forever buried. The writer was three days too late.

      REV. BENJAMIN WOOSTER was born in Waterbury, Ct., October 29, 1762, and died at his residence in Fairfield, Vermont, Dec. 18, 1840, in the 78th year of his age. When but 14 years of age he enlisted into the army for 4 months, under the command of his great-uncle, Gen. WOOSTER. In his 15th year he offered himself a substitute for a neighbor who had been drafted for the defense of the sea-coast, and having served out the time for which he volunteered, went down to New Haven-then in his 16th year-and enlisted as a regular soldier for 3 years. The regiment to which young WOOSTER was attached, joined the army in the Jerseys under Washington, and shared dreadfully in the hard-fought battles and extreme sufferings, from sickness, and wait of food and shelter, which that army heroically sustained.

      Having completed his time of service he returned home to his mother in 1780, with no other reward for his perils and hardships, but the consciousness of having discharged a high duty to his country. All his wages were paid in the currency of the government, "which sunk in my hand and came to nothing. The pay which- I received for 9 months' service I carried home, and with it bought a shirt worth one dollar! So fared it with those who achieved the revolution. Nor did we murmur: we felt that the country was doing as well as it could by us."

      Having spent 3 or 4 years after he left the army, in assisting his mother, he went to the academy at Lebanon, with the view to supply the deficiency of his early instruction. While here he had an interview with the minister of the town, Mr. BROCKWAY, who advised him to seek a collegiate education; and having made the necessary preparation, he entered freshman at Yale College, in 1788.

      After leaving college he studied theology with the Rev. Jonathan EDWARDS, D. D., of New Haven, and in due time received license to preach from the New Haven Association, and was persuaded by the Rev. Mr. MILLS, of Torringford, who was bound on a mission to the northern part of Vermont, to accompany hem as an assistant. In 9 months they traveled 800 miles, preaching only once in a place; and then hastening forward to meet another appointment. This mode of life he pursued for 4 years, preaching in seven states. In the year 1797, he was ordained pastor of the Congregational church in Cornwall, Vt.; but after a pleasant and successful ministry of 5 years, was, at his own request, dismissed, and 3 years were, spent in supplying various destitute congregations. He was installed in Fairfield July 24, 1805. His labors were most abundant and to an uncommon degree successful. During the 29 years of his active ministry in this county, from 1804 to 1833, he preached not less than 4100 sermons-attended a vast number of other religious and church-meetings, and assisted in more councils, probably, than any other man in the State, with the exception of the venerable Dr. SWIFT, and received into the church not much less than 500 persons. The whole number of sermons he preached during his ministry, it is believed, will not fall short of 6000. Revivals were enjoyed under his preaching in St. Albany Bakersfield, Enosburgh, Montgomery, Berkshire, Sheldon, Franklin, Highgate, Swanton and Georgia.

      As a preacher, he was instructive and impressive, his sermons were uniformly well studied, abounding in thought, and full of apt and striking illustration.

      The heroic conduct of Mr. WOOSTER, in the celebrated battle of Plattsburgh, is widely known, and enthusiastically applauded. A meeting of the people was called in Fairfield, as in ether towns near the lake, to persuade the militia to fly to the aid of the army. Mr. WOOSTER, perceiving the men irresolute, or disinclined to go, promptly presented himself as a volunteer, and called on his people to follow their minister to the rescue of the country. That company was soon filled, and the hero of the revolution chosen captain. His church were assembled at the time to a preparatory lecture, some expressed their doubts of its being proper for the minister to go. It is said he referred them to the scripture denunciation of the doubting. He met his flock-commended them to God, and, with tears, bade them farewell. Before sunset be and his company were far on their way. They arrived in Plattsburgh to witness the awful encounter between the fleets, and to share whatever of danger and glory awaited the troops en the land.

      Gen. Tomkins, duly appreciating the patriotism of Mr. WOOSTER, presented him an elegant folio gilt bible, containing the following letter written on one of its blank pages:

"Albany, April 21, 1815.

"Reverend Sir:

      "General STRONG, who commanded the intrepid volunteers of Vermont, on the memorable 11th of September, 1814, has made me acquainted with the distinguished part you bore in the achievements of the day. A portion of your parishioners, roused by the danger which hung over our invaded country. generously volunteered in her defence, and chose you, their pastor, for their leader. You promptly obeyed the summons, and placing yourself at the head of your little band, repaired with alacrity to the tented field. There you endured with patient fortitude the vicissitudes of the camp, spurning the proffered indulgencies which were justly due to the sanctity of your character. In the hour of battle you were found with your command, in the ranks of the regiment to which you were attached, bravely contending for the imperishable honors of victory. The invaders being expelled, you quietly returned with your small but patriotic troops to your duties of sacred calling, and there inculcated by precept those principles of morality, patriotism and piety of which you bad just given a practical demonstration.

      “At a period, Sir, when principles inconsistent with what we owe to ourselves, our country, an our God, had gone abroad, your example on the occasion alluded to, could not fail to carry with it an irresistible influence. It illustrated the perfect compatibility of the injunctions of patriotism with the duties of religion, and was a striking and affecting instance of that attachment and self-devotedness to the cause of a beloved country, which ought always to distinguish the conduct of the virtuous and pious, in times of peril and of war.

      "As a memorial of my veneration for your distinguished, noble and patriotic conduct on the 11th of September, 1814, and of my grateful sense of the eminent benefits which the State and Union have derived from your example and exploits, I request your acceptance of this sacred Volume; and, by you, to convey to your brave associates the assurance of my high estimation of their patriotism and signal services.


"To the Rev. Benjamin WOOSTER, 
Fairfield, Franklin County, Vermont"


To His Excellency Daniel D. Tompkins, 
Governor of the State of New York.

      "Sir: Last evening my sensibility was awakened by the reception of Browns's Gild FAMILY BIBLE, which your Excellency was pleased to forward by the politeness of Colonel Anthony Lamb, Aid-de-camp to your Excellency

      "If the stores of heaven had been unlocked, your Excellency could not have found a more precious gift than the Word of God, except you could have bestowed the very God of the Word. And as if it were possible to enhance the value of the present, your Excellency is pleased, in a letter dated Albany, April 21, 1815, to bestow many encomiums on me and my intrepid band, for our conduct at Plattsburgh, on the memorable 11th of September, 1814.

      "You are pleased to observe that General Strong, who commanded the intrepid volunteers of Vermont, had made you acquainted with the part I bore in the achievements of the day. I did not, sir, expect to be particularly noticed by Gen. Strong, nor by the Governor of the first State of the Union; but, by this, I have another assurance that our patriotic fathers delight to search out and reward the honest attempt to deserve well of our country. Should a candid public consider your very handsome encomiums too freely bestowed, I hope they will also believe, that nothing but the speedy flight of the invaders could have prevented our deserving all which your Excellency has been pleased to say.

      “The calls of a sister State for help in a common cause, wafted to our ears by the western breeze, were powerful. The Governor of Vermont called for volunteers. Fourteen thousand British pressed upon Plattsburgh; the shock was like electricity, and the language of the brave was, 'I will go.' The act looked like temerity in the eyes of the over-prudent: the event was dubious and hung in awful suspense; but life had no value when our country was in disgrace.

      "My aged brethren and sisters, whom I loved as my life, then collected to hear a sermon, preparatory to the sacrament, from my lips, expressed their fears that I was depriving them of a Pastor forever. They said 'Will you not preach with us this once? We expect to see you no more; come, go with us into the house where the church are collected.' Fearing what effect so tender a meeting might have upon my mind, I bade them a tender adieu, embraced my family in tears, kissed my clinging babes, and set out immediately for Plattsburgh. The conduct of my men on that hazardous expedition will endear them to me while my heart beats for my country, or the blood remains warm in my veins.

      “Your Excellency is pleased to observe, 'that I obeyed the summons -- repaired to the tented field, and there endured the vicissitudes of the camp -- spurning the proffered indulgencies which were due to the sanctity of my character,' The sanctity of my station, sir, I would sedulously preserve. But I have yet to learn, that sanctity of character will make bondage sweet, dangers unbecoming, or justify idleness, when it is the duty of every man to act. Law and custom rendered me exempt; but my conscience and my country forbade such an appeal. Hard, indeed, had been my lot, to be chained by custom to a bed of down, when General Strong and his men were braving the dangers of the field of honor. How could my heart endure, where my people were in danger, and yet could not find me dividing their danger by their side. I grew up with the principle, sir, that danger lessens by being divided – that states are strengthened by union, and that regular armies and fleets are invigorated by seeing citizens contend by their side for the honors of victory. Hard is the lot of the soldier, when they who should be his friends, whose battles he fights, whose property he defends, are idle and regardless of his fate.

      "The sacred Volume alluded to above, your Excellency is pleased to present. as a memorial of your veneration 'for my distinguished conduct on the 11th of Sept„ 1814.' Gratefully I receive it as such, and beg leave to remind your Excellency, that this same Holy Book taught me to march for Plattsburgh, and told me how to behave when I was there.

      "You were pleased to request me to convey to my brave associates the assurance of your high estimation of their patriotism, and signal services. It shall be done; and your Excellency may be assured, that should such a day as the 11th of September, 1814, ever return while we have life, the same men -- nay, more, will appear in the field as volunteers from Fairfield.

"Fairfield, June 15, 1815."

      Mr. WOOSTER represented the town of Fairfield 1 year in General Assembly, and twice in the Septennial convention, convened by the Council of Censors. He married, first, Miss Sarah HARRIS, daughter of Captain Israel HARRIS, of East Rutland, in 1796; they had 11 children. She survived seven of them, and died in 1824, universally esteemed as a discreet and pious woman. In 1825 he married, second, Miss Sally COOPER, of Sheldon, who now survives him In person he was of a tall, erect and commanding figure, of blue eyes, light and florid complexion. His mental powers were of a superior order; his many sallies of wit are fresh in the minds of many of his survivors.

      Some few instances are here given:

      On an occasion of the annual March meeting in the election of town officers, some waggish fellow nominated Mr. WOOSTER for hog-ward, and he was voted the office; whereupon he very coolly and calmly arose and said, " Gentlemen, when you were sheep I was your shepherd; and now as you choose to be hogs, I will be your hog-ward -- I accept the appointment."

[As some excuse for the “waggish fellow" and the citizens, it should be stated, that this nomination and appointment was in accordance with an old-time rule among the settlers, to put in at town-meeting for hog-wards, such of the men as had been married during the year; and though the ministers were, probably, from the great respect of their people, generally exempt, it was a joke the first citizens accepted and submitted to with grace. Mr. WOOSTER's appointment was received the March Meeting after his second marriage.]
      We have also from the Rev. Bonnet Eaton another anecdote. The minister was one time driving calves-very perverse calves, which went all ways but the right -- perhaps he was at the corners of 4 roads-but the calves would take any but the right road, and seemed obstinately bent on so doing; till at length, the patience of the good man giving way, he was heard to exclaim: "I don't see why the devil never set Job to driving calves." -- Ed.

      On another occasion some one saying that a class-leader of rather doubtful piety, had expressed to his class that he feared he had lost his religion, Mr. WOOSTER replied that he hoped no one had found it.

      In the eastern part of Fairfield lived an old revolutionary pensioner by the name of Capt. BOBWOOD. He occasionally came to the Centre, to the store kept by Joseph SOULE, for the sake of conversation, and frequently came in contact with his brother pensioner; Mr. WOOSTER. On one occasion, while sitting is the store, be saw Mr. WOOSTER come over the green from his house, towards the store, when he says to Mr. SOULE, "I will give Mr. WOOSTER a poser, when he comes along." Mr. SOULE told him that if he knew when he was well off, he would let Mr. WOOSTER alone; but the caution unheeded, as Mr. WOOSTER comes along, says Mr. BOBWOOD, "How shall we cheat the devil?" "Humph," was the reply, "I know of no better way than to give you to him."

      But three children of Mr. WOOSTER survive him; Sarah, wife of Hon. Harmon NORTHROP, Benjamin Horn WOOSTER, the only son, residing in Swanton, and Charlotte, wife of Mr. COMSTOCK, of Shelburn.

      He died, as before stated, in 1840, leaving a name which is cherished with the highest veneration and respect ; and which, like the names of all who have been prominent in deeds of virtue, and for heroism, increase in luster with increasing years.

      HON. J. D. FARNSWORTH was born at Middletown, Ct., Dec. 22, 1771. When he was 6 years of age his parents removed to Bennington, Vt. From 6 to 8 years after this, he spent a considerable portion of his time in Connecticut attending school; at 14 completed his classical course at "Clio Hall," Bennington, under Amos MARSH, Rev. Win. HASKLEY and Rev. John SWIFT, D. D. Clio Hall was the first literary institution ever incorporated in Vermont, and was then the most distinguished institution in the State. On leaving this institution, he went to Weathersfield, Ct., and commenced the study of medicine under Dr. OLCOTT, with whom be remained one year; then spent about 18 months with Dr. OSBORN of Middletown and Dr. HOPKINS of Hartford. In the fall of 1789 -- having received a diploma though not quite 18 years of age -- commenced practice at Addison, Vt.; in 1790, removed to Plattsburgh, N. Y.; for a time was the only physician in Clinton County; after a very successful practice of 2 years returned to Vermont; engaged in business in Pownal; April, 1793, was united in marriage with Miss Catharine WHEELER, and during the same year united with the Baptist, church at Pownal; in 1795 removed to Fairfield, and nearly 30 years was one of the principal physicians of Franklin County; in 1801, was elected a member of the legislature, an appointment he often received during the time he resided in Fairfield; in 1807, was appointed one of the judges of the court for the county of Franklin, and the year following appointed chief judge, which appointment he held with one year's interruption, till 1824, when he removed from Fairfield to Charlotte in Chittenden Co. During the time that he resided in Fair field the most important events of his life occurred. Here be buried 3 wives, and here the most of his children were born. During his residence in Fairfield he was very successful in his profession, and shared largely in the confidence and esteem of his fellow-citizens, and here the larger part of the labor of his life was performed. In 1836 he left Charlotte and removed to St. Albans, and in 1839 came to Fairfax, where, Sept. 9, 1857, he died, and on the 11th, his remains were carried to Fairfield and placed by the side of his wives and children, that had gone before him.

      Judge FARNSWORTH has had a long and eventful life-his history stretches almost the entire history of Vermont. -- He was 22 years old, and had been in active professional life 2 years when Vermont was admitted into the Union, He was a student at the first literary institution incorporated in Vermont. He was a member of the legislature 8 years before the capital was established at Montpelier, and a member of the first Baptist church organized in the State. He has been too long and too favorably known to require a single word of eulogy, His parents and last wife survived him about a year, and were buried at Montpelier,

      CAPT. JOAB SMITH the so called "Father of the town," was horn in Oakham, Mass., Sept. 7, 1774. In his 20th year be came to Fairfield, and was married May 5, 1808, to Sarah MERRIT, who survives him, with three daughters who are married and live near the old homestead. During his long life he w as a constant attendant upon divine worship, toward the support of which and to other beenevolent objects he gave liberally. He was a kind and obliging neighbor, a social peace-maaker and a strenuous upholder of law and order, under all circumstances a just and upright man. His word was always to be relied upon, and his integrity never suspected. He held several important civil and military offices for an unprecedented length of time. He was elected chief selectman of the town of Fairfield, for 9 successive terms, and was town treasurer for many years, holding that office at the time of his decease- He was chosen justice of the peace for 49 successive years, and was 11 times elected to represent the town in the General Assembly. He was endowed with great intellectual power and activity, and if he had been favored with early educational advantages might have attained an elevated professional position. In his opinions he was particularly conservative and high-toned, and in all the relations of life exemplary. In the discharge of the many trusts which devolved upon him by reason of his intelligence and probity, he was eminently prudent and faithful. Always guarding the interests and welfare of the town with more jealousy, if possible, than his own.

      So lived and so died Capt. Joab SMITH, leaving to his children and to society the rare legacy of a spotless name and a bright example; and these few flowers are thrown upon his grave by one who long since was taught to respect, and even venerate a man who was enabled to live more than four-score years without reproach, and to die without an enemy.

      He died June 25, 1858, in his 84th year.


Jos. D. FARNSWORTH, died in Fairfax.
John L CHANDLER, died in St. Albans.
Norman BARBER, died in Fairfield.*
Chester ABELL, died in Fairfield.
Chester W. KEYES, died in Fairfield.
Thomas CHAMBERLAIN, died in Burlington.
Frederick W. ADAMS, died in Montpelier.
David H. BARD, died in South Troy, Vt.
Seneca PARK, died in Swanton.
Renselaer SOULE, living in North Fairfax
Myron N. BABCOCK, living in Saratoga Spr'gs
I. O. CRAMTON, living in Fairfield.
L. L. CUSHMAN, living in Highgate. 
R. R. SHERMAN, living in St. Albans. 
Dana R. MORRILL, living in Swanton. 
William WHITE, living in Waterbury. 
Ralph SHERWOOD, living in Fairfield.

* Accidentally killed at a hunting party.


      Bates TURNER, David READ, Luther B. HUNT, John MATTOCKS, Charles ADAMS, Anson SOULE, John R. SKINNER, Pallas PHELPS, I. Allen BARBER, Mr. LAW, Mr. BOARDMAN, Frank M. MCENTYRE.








[Thus, with an unfinished paper upon the murder of Mrs. CLIFFORD, by her husband, Eugene CLIFFORD, which may he found in the history of the Courts in St. Albans, ends the papers left by Cal. Samuel PERLEY. -- Ed.]


      Joseph SOULE was born Oct., 1779, in Dover, Dutchess Co., N. Y. He was the 4th son of Joseph and Eunice (HUNGERFORD) SOULE, and with his parents and 5 brothers and 2 sisters removed to this town in 1791. In his early years he endured all the privations and hardships incident to life in a new country, and although at that time the means of obtaining an education were limited, yet, being possessed of a good share of natural ability, he managed by dint of perseverance and application, to gain a large stock of useful information. He was an insatiable reader, and a deep thinker -- was in short a self-made man. He was engaged for many years in mercantile business, and that he enjoyed the confidence and esteem of his fellow townsmen is evident from his having filled almost all the various offices of importance and trust in town. He was elected several years representative, and connected with all its local and business interests; was town clerk 39 consecutive years -- elected for the 40th time in 1863, the year of his death.

      He was among the number of those who volunteered to go to Plattsburgh at the time of the invasion of that place by the British, in 1814. He married in January, 1809, Esther WHITNEY, (daughter of Sherwood and Abigail WHITNEY) who still survives him.

      [The change in the times and in market prices since the settlement of Joseph SOULE, and for years after, is not poorly illustrated in a little incident narrated by Harmon SOULE, nephew of Joseph SOULE. When a boy, says Mr. S., I recollect my mother making more butter at one time than was required for family use, sending me with a portion of It to St. Albans for sale. The butter I carried In pails attached to the sap-yoke, as I need to carry sap, and I remember I was rather tired before I reached the village where I was to sell my butter, and anxious to dispose of my burden. But although I tried at every house in the village of St Albans, I could find no sale for it. My mother had told me that I must not dispose of It for lees than eight cents a pound, and to "bring it home first." I did not like to carry my butter all the way home; I had quite enough of it bringing it, and after I had tried at all the private houses, tried the stores. They would not buy at any price and pay in money, and I was about turning home discouraged, when, at the very last, one store-keeper -- in this to-day great butter market -- took pity on me and bought my butter, paying me in groceries at the rate of eight cents a pound. -- Ed.]


      The Congregational Church was organized in Fairfield, Vermont, September 22d, A. D. 1800, by Rev; Nathaniel TURNER, a missionary from Massachusetts. Rev. Benjamin WOOSTER, the first and only settled minister in town, was installed pastor July 24, 1805, --the church at that time consisting of 34 members: between this time and 1813, there were added at different times, 70 members; 36 in 1812, and 55 from 1813 to 1840, and it was at the commencement of 1840 reduced to less than 30 resident members, Rev. B. WOOSTER remained pastor of the church until his death, Feb. 18, 1840, aged 77 years. Rev. T. REYNOLDS preached from Dec., 1837, half of the time, to March, 1842, when Rev. A. J. SAMSON came to this town, and was installed pastor, Feb. 15, 1843 ; he was dismissed Feb. 1, 1849, and the same year Rev. Calvin C. ADAMS came to this place, and was installed pastor Sept. 5, 1850; dismissed Sept., 1856. Nov. following, Rev. James BUCKHAM was hired from year to year to labor with the people until June, 1863, and the church was without stated preaching till April, 1864, when Rev. C. J. COMINGS was employed to April, 1867. -- In June following, Rev. Daniel WILD came to this place and is still remaining here. This church was without a meeting-house until 1840. Since which time there have been additions to the church at different times -- 21 in 1842, 17 in 1864. The church is now reduced by deaths and removals, to 25 members. The first Sabbath-school was organized in 1818.


      Among the first settlers (1788) were several families belonging to the Prot. Epis. Church. The Rev. Bethuel CHITTENDEN was probably the first clergyman who visited them. The first lay reader was Mr. Nathan LOBDELL.

      In June, 1803, the church was organized by the Rev. Russell CATLIN, of Connecticut. Nathan LOBDELL and Hubbard BARLOW were elected wardens, and Major Bradley BARLOW, clerk. The Rev. Barzillai BUCKLEY was the first minister who officiated regularly in the parish. -- He remained a part of the year 1806. In 1808-9 the Rev. Charles STEWART of St. Armaud, C. E. (afterwards Bishop of Quebec), and the Rev. Abraham BRONSON, of Arlington, officiated occasionally. In 1811-12, J. P. K. HENSHAW (afterwards Bishop of Rhode Island), who was then a candidate for orders, spent 6 months here, to the great edification of the church.

      In 1813 the Rev. Parker ADAMS was invited to the charge of the parish. He came, but owing to a previous engagement, remained but a few Sundays.

      June, 22d, 1814, the State Convention of the Church met in Fairfield; the Rev. Mr. HENSHAW presided. In the year 1814, Bishop GRISWOLD visited the parish and confirmed 30 persons. In the fall of 1814, it was resolved to build a church. The frame of the church was raised Sept. 5th, 1815. The Rev. Stephen BEACH commenced his labors in this parish Dec. 24, 1815, preaching in this parish and in Sheldon. In 1818, Sept. 20th, the church was consecrated by Bishop GRISWOLD, and the Rev. Stephen BEACH instituted rector. The; number of persons confirmed on the same day was 47. In 1822, the Rev. Stephen BEACH left the parish, and in December of the same year the Rev. Elijah BRAINARD commenced officiating occasionally until July 1823. In Nov., 1823, the Rev. Nathan B. BURGESS commenced to preach-remained here only a few months; after this until 1826, there were no regular services; a few visits were received in the meantime from the clergymen of the adjoining towns. March 27th, 1826, the Rev. Moore BINGHAM was engaged to take charge of the parish in connection with that of Sheldon who remained until 1828. In July, 1829, the Rev. Anson B. HARD took charge of the parish, and April, 1831, resigned the same.

      January 23, 1833, the Rt. Rev. John H. HOPKINS, Bishop of Vermont, made his first visitation to this parish and confirmed 5 persons. In June 1833, the Rev. John T. SABINE began to officiate here and in St. Albans, and continued to do so about 1 year. In Nov. 1838, the Rev, John A. SPOONER was chosen rector and continued his labors until 1840. In the fall of 1840, the Rev, E. H. SAYLES took charge of the parish in connection with that of "Buck Hollow," in Fairfax, and remained here until 1813. In 1844 the Rev. Edward F. PUTNAM commenced his labors in Fairfield and "Buck Hollow," and remained in charge of those parishes until 1847. In 1851 (Jan. 1) the Rev. Richard T. CADLE took charge of the parish and remained 1 year. The Rev. John A. FITCH officiated in the parish half of the time from August 1853, until the following Easter. In 1856, the Rev. E. H. SAYLES renewed his connection with the parish and remained until 1860. In 1860, services were suspended in the church, and were held at the north part of the town, in a school-house-the Rev. E. H. SAYLES officiating. July 7, 1861, the Rev. Francis W. SMITH began to preach in the church, at first once in 4 weeks, and afterwards on alternate Sundays, and continued in charge of the parish until December, 1866. In 1864 the old church was taken down and a new one erected in its place. Jan. 1, 1865, the new church was first opened for public worship-and consecrated by Bishop BISSELL, Aug. 31, 1868.

      The church society, which was formerly a large one, has decreased by reason of the death and removal from town of many of its members; but there is reason to hope that it may survive all opposing influences, and its condition be improved. In 1868 there were 20 confirmations, and the present rector, the Rev. Dr. J. SWETT, hopes there may be others who, at the next visitation of the Bishop, will go forward for that purpose.


      Mrs. Laura LEACH, aged 73, who lives now in Bakersfield, and is a sister of Rev, Isaac HILL, who left Sheldon several years ago for the West, said that Father MITCHELL, about 1804, was the first preacher in Fairfield. He preached in school-houses in different parts of the town, and quarterly meetings were held in barns. After Father MITCHELL, came Elder BROMLEY, J. B. STRATTON, Samuel DRAPER, Daniel BRAYTON, Isaac HILL, one Harris LYON, Phineas DOANE, Elijah CRANE, Orville KIMPTON, William TODD, Solomon STEBBINS, Chas. LEONARD and John CLARK.

      In the earliest days mentioned, the circuit comprised all Northern Vermont west of the Mountains and into Canada. Nicholas WANGER was the first class-leader that Mrs. LEACH remembers, James TODD the second. Preaching meetings were held in the town-house after one was built; prayer and class-meetings at the house of James TODD. She does not remember the names of all the members of the first class, but a few I can give you besides the above, viz., Zimri HOYT, Eli SHERMAN and wife, Raggles SHERMAN and wife, Marshall SHERMAN, Medora TODD, William SIMPSON, Thompson SIMPSON, Benjamin, Eliza, Mary Ann and Laura NYE, Laura SHERMAN, Eliza SHERMAN, Caroline SHERMAN, Mrs. Elizabeth HOPS, Miss E. Hops, the wife of Nicholas WANGER, Betsey WANGER, Joseph CROFT and wife and Elizabeth CROFT, now COBURN, living near this place aged 54 years, and from whom I gained a part of this information, and the only person of all who formerly belonged to the M. E. Church in this town, now living in town.

      There were several very powerful revivals during the ministrations of these old pioneers, especially one in 1816; after which time there was a very strong and powerful church for several years, but they never built a meeting-house, and the consequence was that when a few of the strongest ones came to emigrate west and to other places, they all seemed to scatter and vanish away like dew before the morning sun.

      In the winter of 1854, Rev. S. W. CLEMENS, then preaching in Bakersfield, came to this place and held a series of meetings, which resulted in the formation of a class; but for some reason, in two or three years most of them were missing. There is now a small class belonging with Bakersfield, and we are supplied with preaching from that place, in a union meeting-house, built in 1867.

      The first sabbath-school under the auspices of the M. E. Church was formed about the year 1859. It is now, since our union church was built, a sort of union school, with books mostly from the M. E. Book-room, N. Y., some 250 to 300 volumes; about 6 or 8 teachers; some 75 different scholars; average attendance from 35 to 45 in different years. The different classes of the M. E. Church were so broken up, I have not been able to get the aggregate membership, but I should think it may have been 50 or more since the first class was formed.


      TOWN CLERKS. -- Edmund TOWN, first town clerk of Fairfield, elected in 1791; James D. FARNSWORTH, 2d, elected in 1801; Benjamin WOOSTER, 3d, elected in 1813; James D. FARNSWORTH, 4th, elected in 1814; Joseph SOULE, 5th, elected in 1824; A. G. SOULE, 6th, elected in 1864.

      NAMES OF FIRST SETTLERS. -- Joseph WHEELER, in 1788 and '89; Nathan HOIT, Andrew BRADLEY, Hubbard BARLOW, Ebenezer LOBDELL.
Name of first child born in town (at that time called Smithfield) was Smithfield BEEDEN, -- and the proprietors of the town granted him 100 acres of land, thereupon.

      Polly BARLOW was the name of the first child born in town, in 1789, daughter of Hubbard BARLOW, Esq., and his only child, who survived but a short period.

      FIRST JUSTICES, -- Hubbard BARLOW, Clark BURLINGAME, Andrew BRADLEY, Edmund TOWN, Elisha BARBER.

      FIRST LAWYER, -- Bates TURNER.

      First district school taught in Fairfield was by Joshua MILLER, in 1797.

      FIRST POSTMASTER, Bradley BARLOW; 2d, Julius CARLISLE; 3d, Bradley BARLOW, jr.; 4th, A. G. SOULE; 5th, R. K. BARLOW; 6th, Ormond BRADLEY ; 7th, Joseph NORTHROP.

[*Col. Perley had not completed his papers at the time of his death. Ho removed from Fairfield to Reading, Mass., in July 1865, and died at his new home in March, 1866]

"The Vermont Historical  Gazetteer: 
A Magazine Embracing A History of Each Town, 
Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military."
Volume II, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille & Orange Counties.
Including Also The Natural History of Chittenden County.
Edited and Published by Miss Abby, Maria Hemenway. 
Burlington, VT. 1871.
Page 190-200.

Transcribed by Karima Allison 2004

Bradley Cemetery, Fairfield, VT 

Egypt Cemetery, Fairfield, VT 

Leach-Fairview Cemetery, Fairfield, VT 

Morey Cemetery, Fairfield, VT 

North Fairfield Cemetery, Fairfield, VT 

Pond Cemetery, Fairfield, VT 

Pumpkin Village Cemetery, Franklin, VT

St. Rock's Cemetery, Fairfield, IL 

Soule-Swamp Cemetery, Fairfield, VT

St. Patrick's Cemetery, Fairfield, VT

Waite Cemetery (formerly Kirley Cemetery), Fairfield, VT