River Lamoille just touches upon the southern extremity of this township.
Metcalf Pond is about one mile long from north to south, and one third
of a mile wide from east to west . . . The surface of this township is
considerably broken . . . This town was chartered to Moses Robinson, John
Fay and others in 1781. The settlement was commenced in 1784."
of Vermont, Hayward, 1840.
OF THE TOWN OF
BY BEN A.
If the readers of the Gazetteer will look on the map of Vermont,
in the S. E. corner of Franklin Co., they will behold this ill-shapen town.
It was chartered Aug. 20, 1781, by Thomas CHITTENDEN, the then governor
of Vermont, to Nathaniel BRUSH, David AVERY, Rufus MONTAGUE and others;
none of whom, with the exception of Rufus MONTAGUE, ever had a residence
in town. It is bounded W. by Fairfax, N. by Fairfield and Bakersfield E.
by Waterville and Cambridge, and S. by the Lamoille 'River -- the south
end being very narrow.
Its area is estimated to be 24,040 acres. The river farms contain
some excellent intervale; but in going back from the river, it becomes
hilly and even mountainous, affording nearly every variety of soil; and,
in some instances, several varieties are found on one farm.
The first division of lots was surveyed by Benjamin FASSETT, in
1786, and the second division by John SAFFORD, in 1789.
There is no record by which to determine by whom, or at what date,
the first permanent settlement was made in town; but enough is known to
warrant the belief, that the family of JOHN FULLINGTON were the first white
inhabitants permanently settled within its limits, and probably in the
autumn of 1788, or '89. Mr. FULLINGTON came from Deerfield, N. H. -- commenced
clearing the farm now occupied by Loren C. LEE-worked one season -- put
up a shanty, and returned to Deerfield for his family -- and the next fall,
which was probably in the year 1788, with his wife and 4 children, began
a wearisome journey through the wilderness to find their new home in Fletcher.
They had one horse to ride and one cow to drive, and marked trees to guide
them on their lonely way. Two men who had land in the S. E. part of Fairfax
accompanied them. Whatever befell them on their way, until within the limits
of Johnson, on the Lamoille, is now unknown to the living. Here they encamped
for the night, and FULLINGTON, finding a yard of turnips near by, had the
imprudence to eat one in a raw state, which induced a violent bilious cholic
-- and there being no medical assistance to be had, he died in a few hours.
He was buried next day by his companions, near the bank of the river, a
hollow log serving for his coffin.
His bereaved widow, with her four fatherless children, proceeded
on their journey down the river, and found the home provided for them in
the wilderness. Here the widow became the mother of the first child born
in Fletcher. Being a daughter, it was named for the river upon the bank
of which it was born -- Lamoille. She is still living near where she was
born, but in the adjoining town of Cambridge.
Mrs. FULLINGTON subsequently married Elisha WOODWORTH, and lived
to the age of 95 years, when she died of small-pox, in Fletcher.
Next in the order of time, is Lemuel SCOTT, who, about the year
1789, came from Bennington in the dead of winter, bringing his wife and
one child on a sled drawn by a yoke of steers. From Burlington there was
no road; but he found his way by marked trees, and settled on the farm
now occupied by his grandson, George M. SCOTT. His children were Jonathan,
Lemuel, [Who was the first male child born In Fletcher.] Seth, Levi, Abigail,
Anna, Emily, Jefferson and Wait.
The next inhabitant was Dea. Peter THURSTON; but where he was from
is not known to this writer. He settled on the south side of Lamoille River,
on the farm now owned by Ephraim BISHOP. * About the same time Elijah DAILY
settled on the farm now owned by Sumner CARPENTER. In March, 1795, Daniel
BAILEY moved from Weare. N., H. and settled with his family in. the N.
W. part of the town, on the farm now owned and occupied by his grandson,
Ebenezer BAILEY. His children were Haynes, Jonathan, Nathan, Achsah, Philip,
Betsey, Sally and Polly. The men were prominent business-men in town, and
large land-owners. The said Daniel BAILEY was the first representative
of the town -- Was born Jan., 1748; died Sept. 6, 1832.
About the year 1795, Elias BLAIR, Reuben ARMSTRONG, John KINSLEY,
Samuel CHURCH, Samuel CHURCH, jr., Joseph and James ROBINSON and Dewey
NICHOLS, all of Bennington, moved into Fletcher, and settled as follows:
Elias BLAIR on the farm now owned and occupied by his grandson, Noel BLAIR;
Reuben ARMSTRONG on the farm now owned and occupied by his son Ira and
grandson Reuben ARMSTRONG. John KINSLEY, on the farm east of it, now owned
by Munroe BLAISDELL, the two Churches on the farms now owned by Abial WETHERBEE,
(a grandson by marriage) and N. W. CHURCH, a great-grandson -- Joseph ROBINSON;
where his son Demas now resides; James ROBINSON, on the farm now owned
by his son Norman; Dewey NICHOLS on the farm now owned and occupied by
his son Hilkiah P. NICHOLS.
the town was chartered, there was a small gore of laud on the south side
of the river, contain in; the farms of Peter THURSTON, Peter CHADWICK and
Seth WILLEY. Now -- in 1868 -- owned by Ephraim BISHOP, Sanford HOLMES
and Harrison CADY -- belonging to the town, but being very inconvenient
to get to the centre of the town, to attend town-meetings, they petitioned
to be set off to the town of Cambridge. In 1845, in compliance with this
petition the town voted to act off all the territory south of the Lamoille
River; and, by an act of the Legislature, it was given to the town of Cambridge.]
Another John KINSLEY came into town about the same time, (1795,
being also a native of Bennington) and settled on the farm formerly owned
by Levi COMSTOCK -- now by Willis D. LEACH. Other families coming in soon
after, it was thought best to organize, which they did March 16, 1790.
Lemuel Scott was appointed moderator, Elisha WOODWORTH, town clerk, Peter
THURSTON, Lemuel SCOTT and Eljah DAILEY, selectmen -- and Elijah DAILEY
The town was first represented in the General Assembly in 1797,
by Daniel BAILEY. He was succeeded in '98, '99, 1800 '01, '02, '03, '05,'08,'11,'13,
by Lemuel SCOTT, in 1804,'06, '07, by John WHEELER; in 1810, '15, and '26,
by Reuben ARMSTRONG ; in 1812 by Joseph ROBINSON ; in 1814, by Nathan L.
HOLMES ; in '16, by Daniel BAILEY; in '18, '20, '22 and '23, by Zerah WILLOUGHBY;
in '24 and '25, by Elias BINGHAM, sen.; in '28, 30, 33 and 84, by Ira ARMSTRONG
; in 1821 Ira SCOTT was elected: but refusing to serve, the town was not
represented: but in 1831 he was again elected and served -- in '32. '35,
'36. '50, '50, '51, by Guy KINSLEY ; in '37, '38, '40, by John KINSLEY,
jr.; in 1839, by Howard WATKINS; in '42 and '43, by Joseph ELLSWORTH, jr.;
in '44 and '45, by Lucas HOLMES ; in '47 and 48, by Joseph KING ; in '53,
by Horace STEARNS; in '54 and '55, by Reuben ARMSTRONG ; in '56, '57 and
'60, by Luther WELLS; in '58 and '59, by R. T. BINGHAM ; in '61 and '62,
by E. O. SAFFORD; in '63 and '64, by Amos E. PARKER; in '65 and '66, by
Lorenzo BLAISDELL; in '67 by V. D. ROOD, M. D.; in '68, by "honest" John
In 1833 Jonathan BAILEY was elected; but refusing to serve; Ira
ARMSTRONG was elected, and served instead.
Elisha WOODWORTH, the first clerk chosen in town, in 1790, was succeeded
in 1791, by Lemuel SCOTT, who held the office until 1807, when he was succeeded
by Joseph HOLMES. In 1809 Lemuel SCOTT was reinstated, and held the office
2 years. In 1811 Joseph ROBINSON was elected, and held the office 'till
'21. He was succeeded by Zerah WILLOUGHBY, who was succeeded the following
year by Elias BLAIR, who held the office until the year 1840, when John
KINSLEY, jr., was elected, and kept the books 2 years ; then succeeded,
in 1842, Dr. Cassander F. IDE; in '43, '44, Medad R. PARSONS; in '45, '46,
'47, Medad P. BLAIR; in '48, '49, '50. '51 to 57, Demas ROBINSON; in 58,
Dr. O. F. HAWLEY; in 59, the present incumbent, E. O. SAFFORD, Esq.
Elijah DAILEY was appointed constable at the organization of the
town in 1790, and Elias PALMER, in '91; Peter THURSTON, in '92; Levi COMSTOCK,
in'93; Samuel KINSLEY, in '94; Reuben ARMSTRONG, in '95; William THOMAS,
in '96; Haynes BAILEY, in '97 and '98; Reuben ARMSTRONG, in 99; Nathan
BAILEY, in 1800; John KINSLEY, in 1801; Jonathan HAYNES, in 1802; James
ROBINSON, in 1803; Ira SCOTT, in 1804; Joseph HOLMES, in 1805 and '06;
Elias BLAIR, in '07. '08 and '09; Samuel CHURCH, in 1810; Daniel READ,
in 1811, '12, '14, 15,'16 and '20; James ROBINSON, in 1513; Joseph H. LAW,
in 1817; Ira ARMSTRONG, in 1818; Samuel TERRILL, in '19; Levi SCOTT, in
'21 and '22; Lewis TERRILL, in '23. In 1824 John KINSLEY, jr., was elected,
and held the office for 9 years in succession, and N. R. BINGHAM for the
2 years following; and in 1836 Albert KINSLEY was elected, and for the
9 succeeding years; then Reuben ARMSTRONG for 4 years, and H. P. NICHOLS
for 3 years; when. in 1854, Reuben ARMSTRONG was re-instated to the office,
and has retained it from that time until the present writing, (Nov., 1868.)
The early settlers experienced great inconvenience, and severe hardships
on account of bad roads, The town is quite hilly and much of it stony,
and for many years the people were few and. far between, so that good roads
were among the things to be desired, but not enjoyed by the hardy pioneers.
Yet by patient perseverance and much hard labor, most of the public roads
are now good.
It will not harm the present generation of Fletcher (and should
greatly increase their respect and veneration for the heroes dead and gone)
to look back 60 years, and see their ancestors toiling through the winter
in the woods, for the double purpose of clearing a patch of ground to sow
or plant in spring, and, also, to make ashes, with which to buy corn to
subsist on through the winter. And when they visited their friends, they
would yoke the oxen, hitch to the old sled, put in a little straw, and
perhaps a bed-quilt or two, and tumble in, men women and children, and
go two, three or four miles to make au evening visit, or to meeting; and
as their way was generally through the woods for some of the first years,
if they happened to have an adventure with some wild animal on the way,
it only made them relish the ride all the better, and afforded them something
to talk about. For it should be borne in mind that books and newspapers,
now everywhere abundant, were at that time exceedingly rare, and the people
had little besides their adventures to divert their minds from the monotonous
round of daily life.
Fast horses, dandy sleighs, buffalo-robes, and fancy wagons were
things unknown to the early settlers of Fletcher; even horses, wagons,
or carts of any kind were very scarce, many of the few inhabitants at that
time possessing only a yoke of cattle and an ox-sled. A great many bushels
of corn have been "toted" upon a man's back to Fairfax or Cambridge to
be ground, there being no grist-mill in town. There has been a change,
indeed, since then. A great majority of the people are well off now, besides
having "rich relations." There are none very rich, and none very poor.
There are no large villages, and but two small ones. There are no manufacturing
establishments in operation now, but 25 years ago there was a potato-starch
factory doing good business at the Centre, and there is now a tannery about
a mile east of the Centre, which has turned out good work and received
fair patronage. There are also several blacksmith's shops now scattered
through the town. Charles MARKS does the blacksmithing at the Centre, and
Sylvanus CHASE, has a shop for doing various kinds of wood-work, while
Joseph LOUNETTE & Co. have a boot and shoe-shop.
At the lower village, called Binghamville, Wm. K. LAMB runs a carriage-shop,
and does some good cabinet-work. Horace WOODS does the blacksmithing, while
H. W. SCOTT makes boots and shoes. N. R. BINGHAM has a carpenter and joiner's
shop, and R. T. BINGHAM runs a saw-mill which boasts a circular saw.
But tilling the soil, raising the various kinds of stock, and the
manufacture of butter and cheese, is what gives employment to the community,
and brings a comfortable wealth into the town. The town has never been
wealthy enough, however, to make it an object for gentlemen of legal or
clerical profession to settle within its limits; and men of eminence are
to be looked for in some other locality. But for men of solid worth, men
of stern integrity, men of unimpeachable character, Fletcher is by no means
wanting, And although none of its inhabitants are collegians, there is
a good degree of general intelligence among the people, a commendable zeal
in the cause of education; desire for general information; and, probably,
there are few towns in the State, whose inhabitants are more nearly on
a level, than in the town of Fletcher.
It is believed the first school in town was taught by James ROBINSON
in the house of Lemuel SCOTT; but in what year this writer is not able
to say. The town was early divided into school-districts, and new ones
have been organized as the wants of the people demanded, until there are
now ten in operation. The common schools are maintained by a tax on the
grand-list, free for all, and several select schools have been supported
in town by individual liberality, which have been a credit to the community;
and although Fletcher has never been called on to furnish a governor or
a member of Congress, it has furnished quite a number of excellent school-teachers,
who have made their mark in the Southern, Western and Middle States, and
there is no lack of material for the governor and congressmen, whenever
they are called for.
SOIL. -- A portion of the soil is somewhat sterile, but when properly
cultivated yields the laborer a fair remuneration. Excellent crops of wheat
were frequently raised while the land was new, but it is not so well adapted
to the growth of wheat, as to corn and oats; still there are some of the
more elevated farms that produce good crops of wheat and of excellent quality;
but take the town together, it is best adapted to grazing. Large quantities
of really excellent butter and cheese are made yearly. Some good oxen,
horses, cows, sheep and hogs are raised for market, and since rail-roads
have been introduced, although they do not come within our lines, they
afford such facilities for transportation that our surplus produce finds
a ready market at our doors, at remunerative figures.
WATER. -- The town is well watered, having the Lamoille river for
its southern boundary, and Metcalf pond in the northern part. The pond
is about 1 mile in length, and half as wide, and some portions of it very
deep. It discharges its waters at the south end, and after running about
one mile, crosses the town line into Cambridge. and continues about a mile
further in a southerly direction, when it turns north and runs into and
through its native town into Fairfield, where it becomes Black Creek [or
Fairfield River] affording some excellent mill-privileges in Cambridge,
Fairfield and Sheldon, where it falls into Missisquoi river, and finally
into Lake Champlain. About a mile west of the Centre is another pond of
similar growth, called Half-moon pond, probably from its having some resemblance
in its shape to that planet when but half its disk is revealed to our vision.
It is, perhaps, half a mile in length and half as wide, discharging its
waters easterly, and uniting with Stone's brook on the farm of Abial WETHERBEE.
Some effort has been made to stock it with fish, but none have ever done
anything except pickerel, and they are generally caught before half-grown.
Stone's brook has its rise in the northern part of the town, on the farm
of G. G. TAYLOR, and running S. and S. W. receives several smaller streams
as tributaries, affording some good mill-privileges, and empties its waters
into the Lamoille, half a mile below Fairfax Falls, on the farm of A. WILCOX;
and there are other smaller streams in the western part of the town, capable
of propelling machinery.
The people were dependent on adjoining towns for medical assistance
until 1827, when Dr. Sanford EMERY located at the Centre, and announced
himself ready to undertake the cure of any and every ill that flesh is
heir to. Ho was a man of great energy, and some shrewdness, but he did
not succeed, and abandoned the undertaking and went to Rochester, N. Y.
His successor was Dr. SWAIN, who also staid but 1 month, and was then succeeded
by Dr. Ira HATCH, who 3 years later (1837) was succeeded by an old school
steam Dr. named JOHNSON whose successor was Dr. Cassander IDE, who staid
long enough to gain the confidence and good will of the people, and the
office of town clerk, and left the field to be occupied by Dr. DREW, who
became so disgusted with the people because they chose not to be doctored
while in good health, that he left them to their own destruction, which
they escaped by the timely arrival of Dr. BENEDICT from Underhill; who,
though not as popular as some, was very successful in his treatment of
croup, canker-rash and many other diseases. But his stay was short, and
after his departure came Dr. Andrew PARSONS, a young man of skill and energy,
but who remained but 3 years. He began his practice of medicine here, and
having become established as a physician and gained considerable popularity,
sought a larger field in Fairfax, where he married, and then went West.
Dr. C. F. HAWLEY came next, and commenced his first practice. He
married and settled here, took an interest in society, and was one of the
people by whom he was so well liked as a man, that we flattered ourselves
we had at last obtained a physician who would be a permanent resident.
But he must needs deem Fairfax better adapted to his capacity, or as offering
greater inducements for his practice, and in 9 years from his coming, sold
out and moved there, where he still remains, enjoying the confidence and
respect of his patrons and fellow-townsmen.
Dr. HAWLEY was succeeded by a young man from Massachusetts named
ANDREWS. His stay was brief, and his practice limited; the more, however,
he was known, the better be was liked.
Our next resident physician was Dr. Sylvester WILSON, whose practice
terminated with his death, April 6, 1866. His successor was a young man
from Panton. Enoch W. KENT, who remained but 18 months.
Then came a young man from Underhill, -- Darwin H. ROBERTS, of the
Homeopathy School. He has made a fair beginning, and seems likely to do
well, secure a permanent residence and be one of the people.
VERNON D. ROOD, born in Fletcher, April 20, 1842, pursued his studies
at New Hampton Institution, Fairfax, with a view to the legal profession,
but subsequently studied medicine, and graduated at Burlington Medical
University, receiving his diploma in June, 1867, and is now located at
North Hydepark, having an extensive patronage.
NORMAN F. WOOD, born in Fletcher Nov. 4, 1833, an earnest and ambitious
scholar; taught one or two seasons in town; attended school at Johnson;
married Miss Sarah Jane LEACH, of Fletcher, August, 1853, and went to the
State of Georgia as teacher; returned in 4 years; pursued his studies at
New Hampton Institution, Fairfax; studied law and was admitted to the Franklin
County bar in 1859, and located at Bakersfield. He was elected state's
attorney in '63, and county senator in '64, and died of consumption, April,
1865, aged 31 years and 5 months.
CLINTON S. KINSLEY, born in Fletcher, September, 1840; attended
school at Johnson, and studied law, and was admitted to the Franklin County
bar in 186_, but has never practiced his profession at New Hampton Institution,
Fairfax; studied law; admitted to the Lamoille County bar June, 1869; is
now located at Cambridge Borough, Vt., in the practice of his profession.
Two men named Jefferson FULTON and Abial CHASE, living on the east
side of Metcalf pond, on adjoining farms, had a difficulty about their
lot line, which finally grew into an open quarrel, and on the 5th day of
Sept., 1855, FULTON procured a pint of rum and a butcher-knife, and proceeded
to the premises of CHASE, who with his son (a lad of perhaps 10 years)
was making fence but a short distance from the-house.
When within a few yards of CHASE, he thus accosted him; "Well, old
Jeff. has come!" CHASE answered, "And what does old Jeff. please to want?"
By the time CHASE had asked the question, FULTON had approached within
reach, and, drawing his butcher-knife from his bosom, plunged it into CHASE's
breast; whereupon CHASE turned and run; but as he turned to run, FULTON
again plunged the bloody knife into his back so as to pierce the aorta,
and then pursued his victim about ten rods, and the boy some three or four
rods further, and would undoubtedly have killed him, if be could have overtaken
him, so that he should not testify against him. He then turned back to
his bleeding victim, who was already dead, gave the lifeless body two or
three malicious kicks, and left the promises. The alarm was immediately
given, and a search instituted for the perpetrator of the bloody deed.
The highways were carefully watched, railway stations were guarded and
telegraphic dispatches were sent in every direction. An army of men were
searching the hills and ravines, at that time covered with timber and brush.
and finally it was determined to search the cave, which was accordingly
explored, but all to no purpose, and the search which commenced Wednesday
afternoon was continued until the next Monday at sunset, when he was discovered
in a little swamp near the highway just north of Michael MCGETRICK's, and
about one mile and a quarter from where he had committed the terrible deed.
Seeing himself fairly surrounded, with no hope of escape, he deliberately
cut his own throat with his old and dull jacknife; which is proof positive
that he was determined not to be taken alive. With regard to his whereabouts
during all this time, there are various conjectures.
Some are of the opinion that be went just as far away as he could
and get back at the time he was found. Others think he kept himself hid
in some of the many hiding places found among the mountains and ravines
in the vicinity. Still another class are firm in the belief that he was
hid in the cave. But wherever he was is of little consequence now that
he is dead.
June 16, 1860, Elias BLAIR, jr. left his home in Fletcher for Burlington,
with a light express wagon loaded with two bales of hops, upon the top
of which he was seated. In passing over a rough place in the road near
Essex Centre, the fore-wheel became detached from the wagon and he was
thrown violently forward, striking his head upon the axle-tree. He was
conveyed to a hotel where he expired about 3 o'clock P. M., some 5 hours
after the accident.
He was 58 years of age, and the oldest son of Elias BLAIR, sen.,
one of the first settlers in town.
One Sunday, July 1858, two boys, residents of Fletcher, went to
meeting as usual, and after Sunday school endeavored to persuade some of
their comrades to go with them to bathe in Lamoille river, but failing
in this they two went alone together. Their parents felt no anxiety about
them, each supposing the other had gone home with his friend for the night,
as they were quite intimate. Monday morning their clothes were found upon
the bank of the river, on the farm of Lewis TERRILL, sen., just on the
edge of Cambridge. Alarm was instantly given, and scores of men were soon
searching the river. A few hours later their bodies were obtained. They
were found lying several rods from each other. Their names were Henry CROSIER,
aged 17 years, and John ST. JOHNS, aged 16 years. Neither of them could
swim. Tuesday P. M. their funeral sermons were both preached at the same
hour and place, at Fletcher meeting-house.
BUT NOT FATAL ACCIDENTS
In the winter of 1852, “Honest" [An appellation given to him
by his neighbors for proverbial honesty.] John KINSLEY slid from the
top of a hay-mow upon a pitch. fork-stall, which entered the body at the
lower part of the abdomen and extending upward 14 inches came nearly through
at the pit of the stomach, impaling him alive. He was alone, but succeeded
in withdrawing the fork, and his physician with the aid of time and a good
constitution, succeeded in restoring him to health, and he has worthily
represented the town in the Legislature the present year.
In 1827, James CHASE, living on the farm now owned by Van Ness CHASE,
was clearing a piece of land and drawing poles with an ox-team, when a
pole got cramped among the stumps and flow around in such a way as to hit
Mr. CHASE on the head, inflicting a severe wound, and fracturing the skull
in a shocking manner, so that it was found necessary to trepan. After a
long time he recovered and lived till the 7th day of Nov., 1833, when he,
with his son Lyman and another young man, went into the woods to chop timber
for rails, and felling a tree, or in attempting to fell it, it lodged against
other trees in such a way that a piece of a large pole over 13 feet in
length was hurled back several rods to where Mr. CHASE was standing and
hit him upon the head, rendering him senseless. He lived an hour or two,
but never recovered his consciousness. He was an industrious, hardworking
man and worthy citizen.
In the summer or autumn of 1840, a young man of Irish descent, named
Nicholas OWEN was found, on the farm now owned by Charles ROBINSON, dead
and half consumed by fire. He had been engaged burning off a piece of ground
on which some dry trees were standing, and it being dry and windy the fire
was blown into them; and it is supposed that one of them burned off at
the ground and fell upon him, knocking him down, and falling upon him,
where it was on fire, burned him as above stated. He had no relatives in
town, but a brother living in an adjacent town being sent for, came and
took charge of his remains. He was carried to Fairfield, and buried by
In the month of April, 1850, four young men had been to a raising
and were returning home through the woods. One of them named Thadeus CHASE,
had a gun in his hand, and as one of the party named Thomas RISDON was
passing over a tree fence, the gun in the hands of CHASE (who was several
feet behind) was accidentally discharged, lodging its contents in the body
of young RISDON, who survived but a little more than 24 hours.
In December, 1850, two men named Julius D. SCOTT and John H. BAILEY,
living in the same neighborhood, had a quarrel which resulted fatally to
BAILEY. The origin of the difficulty is not known, and is of little consequence;
it bad been festering a long time, and came to a head on this wise: It
was a matter of convenience for BAILEY to go through SCOTT's sugar-bush
with an ox-team after poles for fence; so he went and got a load, and SCOTT
forbade his crossing his premises again. BAILEY swore h would, and defied
SCOTT to hinder him. Accordingly he took his team and started for the woods,
probably with a determination to go through or die in the attempt --
SCOTT was aware of his movement and prepared to meet him, and undoubtedly
determined to prevent it or die in the attempt. Thus it was the belligerents
met; but as no eye, except that which never slumbers, witnessed the sanguinary
conflict, no description can be given. Suffice it to say, BAILEY was repulsed
and driven from the field without materially injuring his antagonist, and
survived only about four weeks. But the principal injury being in the head,
he soon became delirious, so that little could be gathered from him in
relation to what had taken place, except what his appearance indicated.
After his decease, a post-mortem examination disclosed the fact that the
skull was fractured, and a coagulum had formed upon the brain which was
sufficient to produce death; but whether the contusion was caused by a
blow received in mortal combat, or by a fall upon a rock, or upon the sled-beams
upon which he might have been riding, we may never know for certainty.
SCOTT was arrested by the civil authority on a charge of murder; but at
the preliminary examination holden in Fletcher, that charge was abandoned
and he was bound over for trial on a charge of manslaughter, and the testimony
not being sufficient to convict for manslaughter, he was convicted of assault
and battery, and fined $30.00. He has lived in town ever since, and has
the reputation of being a quiet, law-abiding citizen.
In 1850, Elias CHASE, living near Metcalf Pond, had occasion to
cross in an old canoe in the night and was drowned.
The first case known to this writer is that of Francis WETHERBEE,
by hanging himself with a small skein of shoe-thread, on the old Thurston
place, on the south side of Lamoille river, in October, 1817. In 1849,
Mrs. FREEMAN, the 2d wife of Erastus FREEMAN, hung herself in the wood-shed
on the farm now owned by Loren C. LEE. In 1854, a French boy, called Charlie
POTTER, hung himself in Mr. POTTER's barn, on the farm now owned by Ira
RICKARD In 1858, Isaac FLOOD cut his own throat on the farm of John THOMAS.
Sept. 13, 1863, Capt. Oren HOOK ended his mortal existence by tying one
end of a rope around the bed-post and placing a slip-noose knot around
his neck. He was found soon after, with his head barely raised from the
floor-his neck resting on the rope. Cause, insanity-induced no doubt by
an inordinate love of money, and want of energy and skill to accumulate
On the 3d of Dec. 1868, a party assembled at the house of Hiram
BOOMHOUR for a dance, and being old folks, they stayed all night, and some
of them nearly all the next day to play cards, and of course such business
could not be done to advantage without rum and as the company was an amalgamation
of Dutch, Irish and "Yankee," a spirit that was not ardent sprung up among
them -- even a spirit of jealousy -- and in the afternoon of the 4th, which
was Friday, a drunken row was indulged in, which resulted fatally to the
man of the house, who, instead of being knocked down and dragged out, was
knocked down and stamped out, and so effectually was it done that he died
in less than 36 hours. A post-mortem examination disclosed the fact that
he died of congestion of the brain, which might have been caused by the
tramping to which he had been subjected, or it might have been induced
by some other cause. At any rate somebody had been killed, and somebody
had killed him, and thereby the peace and dignity of the State had been
disturbed, and the case must be investigated and the majesty of the law
vindicated. So three men were arrested, viz. Thomas RYAN as principal,
and Patrick RYAN and Truman ELLIS as accessories. At the examination before
R. T. BINGHAM, Esq., conducted by Ira S. BLAISDELL and M. A. BINGHAM of
Cambridge for the State, and George BALLARD of Fairfax for the respondents,
so much proof of guilt was shown that they were all held for tried at the
county court, in the sum of $100.00 each.
We too have our bear stories, which if not thrilling with the jeopardy
and bravery of old John STRONG 's bear traditions in Addison, yet have
been very enjoyable and laughable to us.
Oct. 6th, 1816, there being a fall of snow on the hills a foot deep,
Mark FLOOD, Samuel MONTAGUE, Seth and Levi SCOTT, four fine young men,
started out for a bear-hunt on the hills surrounding Metcalf pond. They
soon started one and gave chase, but it was snowing fast, and their guns
became wet and useless, and their dog could not be made to believe that
bear meat was good raw; neither could they persuade the bear to climb a
tree and wait for them to go and get another gun, so they followed him
all day, and much of the time so near him that they could almost reach
him with their guns; but bruin, though Hard pushed, remained master of
the field, and the boys had their labor for their pains.
In the summer or fall of 1818, another bear having committed some
depredations on the MONTAGUE farm (now owned by Zina CHASE), a dead-fall
trap was prepared, into which he carelessly entered, w as held for trial
and executed. It weighed over 400 pounds.
The next spring a bear was one day seen quietly eating sugar from
a sap-bucket in the sugar-place of Samuel and Rufus MONTAGUE, a little
west of where John MONTAGUE's house now stands. He was seen from the house
of Samuel MONTAGUE, now Zina G. CHASE's. There being several young men
present with guns and ammunition it was decided to have a fight, and the
order of battle was arranged and charge made upon bruin. The bear reluctantly
retreated under a heavy (if not well directed) fire, to a less exposed
position; and the assailants retired to devise a more effectual plan of
attack, when remembering the success of the previous year with the dead-fall
trap, they decided to make a rude floor of boards near the boiling place
where the battle had been so valiantly fought. So they made a figure four
(4) trap, using the potash kettle for the fall, and what was left of the
tub of sugar for bait. Thus far all things had worked together. The trap
was set, and the expectant host retired for the night and to contemplate
the victory that awaited them in the morning, when a new and unlocked for
difficulty presented itself. There was no doubt but what the bear would
be caught, but how was he to be got out from under the kettle? Who would
volunteer to raise one side of the kettle and let the others fire under
and kill the bear? The idea was preposterous! Especially when it was recollected
how ineffectual the firing of the afternoon had been, when they were within
a very few feet of him. No one. Well, at length the long looked for morning
came, bringing with it no solution of the question. However the time had
arrived when something must be done. The boat was marshaled and proceeded
to the hunting ground, where they found the trap sprung and the kettle
all right. And then followed an elaborate display of generalship in placing
the men so that the bear must surrender, or die if he attempted to escape!
When at this juncture the whole affair assumed a new complexion, by some
reckless creature going to the trap, who made the important discovery that
the bear had gone, after eating up the sugar. The kettle instead of falling
over him had just rested on him while he took his fill of sugar, then backed
out and evacuated the field, scraping off a handful of his hair upon the
edge of the kettle, as proof of his having been there and gone.
In the winter of 1829 and '30, a huge wolf came into Fletcher and
began operations as inspector of muttons. And the people determined to
hunt him down. They accordingly assembled at the house of James TINKER,
where he had killed his last sheep, formed a line, and swept the mountain
from west to east without success. Two men took his track and followed
him for a week, when he killed another sheep -- I think for John STRAIT,
and the people turned out again with dogs and guns, and after thoroughly
scouring a large tract of territory, succeeded in capturing him upon the
grounds now occupied by D. B. ROOD. Hiram CHURCH brought him down with
a rifle ball at short range, and had the skin. The State bounty ($20.00)
was divided among the captors. The wolf was minus one foot, but made good
use of the three hie had left, judging by the business he accomplished
and the manner in which he had eluded the vigilance of his pursuers.
The following remarkable swine story will undoubtedly tax the credulity
of those who may be ignorant of the fact that the hog and bear closely
resemble each other in their ability to exist without food. The writer
is urgently requested to give it, by several persons who can testify to
In January, 1838, a hog belonging to D. B. ROOD, of Fletcher, suddenly
disappeared, Search was made and no trace being found, it was given up
for lost property. But one morning, the next March, a very slim, sleek
and smooth-looking hog was observed in the yard with the swine of Thomas
TABOR, of Fairfax. The lost hog had been taken to Mr. TABOR's, the day
previous to its having been missed.
On looking about, it was discovered that the animal had been imprisoned
in the hatch-way, which was off at an unfrequented part of the house. It
was then remembered that the plank had been removed from the hatch-way
the morning before, and replaced on the hatchway the evening after the
hog was missed. The family had heard strange noises in the cellar during
the winter, which were now easily explained.
The straw, with which the hatchway had been packed weeks previous
to the last plank being put on, was completely munched, being all the food
the hog had tasted for forty-nine days. A long time to exist with neither
food, drink nor light. It appeared well, but took very little food for
a long time -- from 10 to 15 kernels of corn being all it would eat at
first! It was driven to its owner's house the same day found, and raised
5 pigs the following summer, and dressed 250 lbs. the next fall
Mrs. Sarah WOODWORTH, who has been mentioned as being the first
resident in town, died in the spring of 1848, aged 95 years, Elizabeth
FLEMING was born in Blanford, Mass., 1757; moved to Fletcher 1828, and
died Sept. 14,1852, aged 95 years. Richard THOMAS died April 30, 1858,
aged 94 years. Sukey, his wife, died April 8, 1858, aged 92 years. Samuel
KINSLEY died in June, 1854, aged 85 years. His widow, Belinda, still lives
at the age of 91 years, and is as smart in body and mind as many people
at 70. Lucy KINSLEY died Feb. 11, 1850, aged 85 years, less one day. ____
GREGORY died in 1865, aged 88 years. Daniel READ died January, 1863, aged
87 years, Jonathan BAILEY died June 4, 1864, aged 87 years. Thomas MUNSELL
commenced the first clearing on the farm now owned and occupied by Amasa
WALKER, and also on the farm adjoining WALKER's now owned by Dudley B.
ROOD. He was a Revolutionary pensioner, and died in October, 1855, supposed
to be over 100 years. Abner BATES, a colored man, and Mr. Samuel PEIRRE
(French), were citizens of Fletcher, and supposed to be over 100 years
old. The former died October, 1864, the latter a few years previous to
that. Briggs ROOD was born in Lebanon, Ct.; moved to Shoreham, Vt., in
1797, and to Fletcher in 1806; was a Revolutionary soldier, and died Dec.
30, 1849, aged 87 years, 2 months, 8 days. Cena CASWELL died Sept, 22,
1856, aged 85 years. Lota, widow of John STRAIT, died Dec. 20, 1863, aged
87 years. Sally CHASE died July 5, 1857, aged 82 years. Philura WOODWORTH
died April; 1867, aged 80 years. Asenath, born in Thetford, Vt., widow
of Ira SCOTT, lives in Fletcher, aged 86 years. George KING, still living,
is aged 81 years. John RISDON died in 1862, aged 82 years. Sarah HUNKINS
died May 29, 1866, aged 80 years Polly PARSONS died Oct. 31, 1866, aged
87 years. Joseph SMEDLEY died Jane 24, 1866, aged 87 years. Elias BINGHAM
was born in Windham Ct., July 23, 1780; moved into Fletcher in 1809 and
settled on the farm now owned and occupied by his son Benjamin F., where
be resided until his death, June 28, 1860, aged 80 years. Dexter WOOD,
died April, 1853, aged 82 years; Cyntha, his widow, died May 28, 1867,
aged 83 years. Phebe Sibley, born in Sutton, Mass.; came to Fletcher in
1812; died October, 1845, aged 93 years. Daniel BAILEY, died Sept. 6, 1832,
aged 84 years. Thadeus ELLIOT died June 22, 1844, aged 81 years, 4 months.
Nancy WOODWORTH, now living, is aged 80 years. Sarah FLANDERS, now living,
is supposed to be 87 years. Elias BLAIR died October 15, 1861, aged 85
years. Samuel Church, died June, 1831, aged 83 y ears.
The Ecclesiastical chapter in the history of this town is a sad
one, indeed, to contemplate, and I enter upon it with feelings of sorrow.
There was probably no particular demonstration of a religious character
until the winter of 1817, when there was considerable interest manifested;
and in the spring a man named Joseph WILCOX, living in the S. E. part of
Fairfax, established religious meetings, and preached in the school-house
at the Center once in 2 weeks for a year. July 5, 1817.
A Baptist church was formed, 1817, by advice of council, comprising
the following persons: Joseph WILCOX, James ROBINSON, Tisdale SPAFFORD,
John HALL, Lemuel SCOTT, jr., Sarah ARMSTRONG, Lucy CHURCH, Polly HALL
and Betsey BLAISDELL. Aug. 6, 1817, brethren from Fairfax, Georgia and
Cambridge, met with them and gave the hand of fellowship as a sister church,
wishing them Godspeed, -- and Lucy BRUSH, Dolly REMINGTON and Apha THOMAS
were admitted, by baptism, into the little church thus duly organized.
It was first represented in the Baptist Association, Sept. 1817. Mr. WILCOX
was succeeded by Eld. David BOYNTON, from Johnson, who was with the church,
alternate Sabbaths, for 2 years. And here I will state that the fact of
its pecuniary inability to support more, and of its occupying a Union house,
combined, has prevented the church from ever sustaining Baptist preaching
more than half the time.
In 1822, Eld. Ephraim BUTLER, of Fairfax, began laboring here, and
united with the church by letter Sept. 17, 1825; was dismissed Dec. 10,
A temperance society was organized in 1830: and while some members
of the Baptist church espoused the cause heartily; others, with the minister
at their head, opposed the movement with acrimony. Bitter feelings produced
bitter words, and bitter words alienation of affection and Christian love;
the adversary was not slow to take advantage of this state of affairs to
sow discord; and it soon became apparent that the church was held together
more by paper covenant, than love for each other.
Aug. 21, 1841, Eld. Chester INGRAHAM, of Essex, united with the
church as its pastor. In the winter of 1845, Rev. C. W. BABCOCK, then residing
in Westford, came, and finding the difficulties existing in the church
could not be amicably settled, it was thought advisable to disband, which
was done April 12, 1845. The number when organized was 9. From the time
of the church organization in 1817, to its disorganization in 1845, the
whole number included in its membership was 98. James ROBINSON served the
church both as deacon and clerk, during its whole existence, and June 26,
A New Baptist Church was organized, consisting of 9 of the original
members of the old church. Rev. Alvah SABIN, of Georgia, moderator, and
Rev. C. W. BABCOCK, scribe; and subsequently, at different periods, 9 others
of the original members united with the new organization. Alvah CHASE was
chosen church clerk, which office he held until his death in 1851. In 1852,
Willis D. LEACH was chosen church clerk, and in 1858, was appointed to
fill the office of deacon.
In the year 1847, Rev. J. C. BRYANT, then settled with the Baptist
church at Cambridge Center (now Judge BRYANT of Enosburgh), began laboring
here, also, and remained until the spring of 1851, when Rev. P. C. RIMES,
from Wells, Me., came and settled at East Swanton, ministering to the Baptist
church there and in this place, alternate Sabbaths. From Sept. 1852, until
the spring of 1856, the Baptist pulpit was supplied by various theological
students, together with Dr. SMITH from New Hampton Institution, Fairfax.
Then Rev. George W. BIXBY was with the church a year. From that time until
1866* the church was again dependent upon students, with the exception
of a few months, when Prof. Charles AYER, of New Hampton Institution was
here. He gave much satisfaction, and would doubtless have accomplished
great good, could he have remained. The last member admitted, was by baptism,
May 14, 1865. From the time of its organization in 1846, the whole number
included in its membership is 55. The members have always been scattered
and unable to support a settled minister. Removals and deaths have reduced
the church to a very limited number, and having no suitable house for public
worship, there has been no Baptist preaching in the place since the summer
of 1867, when Rev. J. C. SMALL, teacher at N. H. Institution, Fairfax (now
Professor of the same), closed a year's labor with this people.
Sept. 25, 1852, the church granted J. W. Buzzell license to preach.
He studied theology at New Hampton Institution, Fairfax, and was ordained
minister of the Baptist church at East Sheldon in the year 1856.
* A mistake.
Prof. Comings, of N. H. Institution, Fairfax, was also connected with the
church as its pastor, I think in 1858 or '59.
July 7, 1855, Corwin BLAISDELL received: license from the church
to preach. He studied theology and graduated at N. H. Institution, Fairfax,
and was ordained minister of the Baptist church at Colton, N. Y., in 1862.
The church has not been represented in the Baptist Association for
2 years, and is therefore no longer recognized by that body as a church
-- but as extinct.
CHURCH, OR TRUAIRISM
In the year 1833, a Mr. TRUAIR, formerly Congregational minister
of Cambridge, came among us promulgating a new doctrine; viz that all covenants
and creeds were an abomination in the sight of God, and should at once
be discarded, and all church organizations be blown away, and all Christians
"see eye to eye," belong to one church, and that must be called the Union
Church. Well, the thing was new and attractive, and many wondered they
had never seen it before; and nothing was easier than to organize a new
church which should be free for all, and what was better it would be free
from sectarianism! So said, so done; the Union Church of Fletcher was organized,
and went into operation; but, was as short lived as Jonah's gourd.
There are some persons of this order living in town, and in the
summer of 1851, a small church was organized in the school-house at Binghamville.
Eld. FAY, of Jericho, and other ministers, whose names are unknown to this
writer, were present. John SMITH of Fletcher, was appointed deacon, and
Robert DARLING, of Georgia, ordained a Freewill Baptist minister, at the
same time and place. The members were very few and scattered, and its existence
Methodism 'has never been very popular in Fletcher, though it dates
back to its first settlement. Dea. Peter THURSTON, one of the fast settlers,
was a Methodist, and others came in later; but they were so few in number,
so remote from each other, and the state of the roads was so bad, that
no class was organized until the year 1850.
In the winter and spring of that year there was quite a revival
and several conversions. A Methodist minister, named FORD, laboring here
at the time, formed a small class, which was increased, in 1858, to quite
a respectable size, so far as numbers were concerned; but for some reasons
of which the principal, and perhaps the only one, was want of love for
God and each other, -- a predominating love for self and a strong sectarian
spirit, -- the class in one, or less than 2 years, got into an inexplicable
tangle, which seems likely never to be unraveled. It is now almost extinct,
a faithful few being a time numbering 36.
The names of those who have labored here in the ministry, as far
as can be recollected, are in order as follows: Revs. Ford, Loveland, Mott,
Gregg, Osborne, Puffer, Truax, HYDE, LYON, LAMPHEAR, FISHER, BROWN, BRAGG
and SCRIBNER, The last named, living at Waterville, preaches here also,
once in 4 weeks. "Hoping against hope."
The Congregational Church was organized in Fletcher, Jan. 8, 1826,
by Rev. James Johnson, but of what place is not known to me. The original
members were Rufus and Joseph MONTAGUE, Daniel FARRAR, Daniel KINSLEY,
Chapin TAFT, Albert KINSLEY, Lucy, Sarah, Elmyra, Betsey and Nancy KINSLEY,
Harriet TAFT, Nancy NICHOLS and Jannette BOYNTON, all from Cambridge; Hiram
and Hannah HITCHCOCK and Polly LAMB from Fairfax; Lois BOYNTON from West
Boylston; also Patty and Emily W. READ from Townsend; Cynthia WETHERBEE
from Templeton, and Sally FLEMING from Brookline, all from the Congregational
church in their respective towns.
Some few additions were made subsequently, and the church enjoyed
the labors of Rev. Mr. REYNOLDS of Fairfax, one-fourth of the time for
a season. Also, Rev. Chauncey TAYLOR and Rev. Septemeus ROBINSON (since
settled in Stowe, and more recently a missionary from Massachusetts), has
here. Several of the members were aged persons when the church was organized,
and were soon called to their rest. Some of them moved away, by which the
number of the members was diminished still more, until at this present
writing, Nov. 10, 1868, there is but one member living within the limits
of the town.
In 1829, there being two organized churches and a number of professors
of the Methodist persuasion and no church-edifice, it was deemed advisable
to unite in building a meeting-house. Accordingly, the Baptist, Congregational
and Methodist people united and formed a constitution, providing that the
"house shall be the property of the Baptist, Congregational and Methodist
Societies of Fletcher, to be owned and occupied by said denominations,
in proportion to what each hall own in it." There was also provision made
in the constitution for any one who desired to own property in it, subject,
however, to the control and occupancy of said denominations, except on
funeral occasions, when it should be open and free for all.
On this constitution a commodious house was erected the following
year, and dedicated July 7, 1831.
There was a good degree of liberality manifested in building the
house, and the proprietors enjoyed it much, for perhaps 3 years, when there
began to be a declension in the churches, and some of those who had property
in the house, not belonging to either of the above named denominations,
at once declared themselves Universalists, and demanded the occupancy of
the house by ministers of their own order, and finally succeeded in making
their way into the house, and keeping possession of it until this day;
but for that, or some other reason the house was struck by lightning and
considerably shattered. It was repaired at the time, but the foundation
has entirely failed, and the body of the building being of brick, it has
cracked and the walls have bent and crumbled until it has become so dilapidated
as to be now condemned as unsafe and unfit for use.
And, what makes the matter still worse, the proprietors and people
have become so divided and so irreligious, that it is very questionable
if there will ever be anything done with the old house, or a new one built;
at least by the present generation.
Daniel KINSLEY and his wife Lucy moved from Cambridge, Vt., to Fletcher,
in 1816. Their children were Clarissa, Hannah, Lucretia, Ben, Alvah, Elvira,
Guy, Earl, Nancy, Samuel, Chellis and Calista.
Said Daniel died in 1828; his widow, Lucy, survived him until Feb.
11, 1850, being 85 years of age, less one day.
Ben Alvah KINSLEY was born in Cambridge, Jan. 11, 1796; in 1813,
he served 6 months in the N. Y. State militia; and April 27, 1813, enlisted
in the 2nd Co. 30th Vt. Vols., and served one year in the army commanded
by Wade HAMPTON, Sen. Here, in common with other soldiers of that time,
he endured such terrible privations and hardships, as would have appalled
the soldiers of our late war, brave men though they were. In the battle
at Lacole Mill, Odelltown, Ca., his hat band was cut off and a hole made
in his hat (which was thick felt) 3 inches long, by a bullet which left
its track of fiery red upon his head for the same length, without breaking
In private life, also, he has had many hair-breadth escapes from
instant death. Some thrilling incidents we briefly-record.
In the early part of December 1823, Mr. KINSLEY was at North Hero,
where his brother Guy was dangerously ill at their brother-in-law's
[Dr. BUCK’S]; from whence he came to Fletcher to get Samuel MONTAGUE
to go and take care of him.
On his way back, arriving in the evening at St. Albans' Point, and
failing to obtain a boat, Mr. KINSLEY undertook the hazardous task of wading
over to Johnson's Island -- a distance of 60 rods -- on a ridge of gravel
formed by the motion of the waves.
His companion, having just recovered from small pox, not deeming
it prudent to wet his feet got upon Mr. KINSLEY's back, until the water
became so deep, that he was obliged to climb upon his shoulders to keep
his feet dry, and with this heavy burden, Mr. K. succeeded in reaching
the shore, following the ridge by the white caps or breakers, when he fell
prostrate to the earth, his lower limbs perfectly paralyzed with cold and
Mr. MONTAGUE set himself to the work of vigorously rubbing his legs,
until action was restored. For a time he was in an agony of pain, but finally
was able to get upon his feet, and by leaning on his companion succeeded
in getting through the woods to a house some 80 rods distant, and the next
day they crossed over to North Hero in a boat.
A few days later, he was called to St. Albans on business, which
being done, he returned as far as Butler's Island, where, being headed
by the wind, his boat was detained.
During the night the wind ceased and the Lake froze over. The urgency
of his business was such that he deemed it expedient the next evening to
attempt crossing on foot; taking a stake in hand, to try the ice, which
bent beneath his weight at every step.
Being dark, he could not determine how far be had proceeded, but
judged himself to be nearly half way across, when he found it was impossible
to go further, and turned back; keeping at a little distance from the weakened
track he had just passed over.
Getting perhaps half way back to Butler's Island, he instantly dropped
through and went down, but fortunately in coming up, his head and shoulders
popped through the cavity just made in the ice, and throwing out his arms
he drew himself from his unwelcome bath. In attempting to get upon his
feet, the ice gave way again, and he went down a second time, and this
was repeated thrice, but profiting by his experience, on coming up the
fourth time, be spread himself out, and crawled off several feet from the
spot, when he succeeded in getting on his feet and safe back to the Island.
Here he waited a day, for the ice to strengthen, and the following
morning started again on foot, accompanied by Lovina KNOWLTON, a young
lady of 18, and a boy of 14 years, who were also icebound and as anxious
as himself to go to North Hero. The ice was still very thin, but as far
as they could see, there was a zigzag crack, extending into the lake through
which the water bad oozed and mingled with a light snow which had fallen
the night previous, thereby strengthening the ice for afoot and a half
on either side of the crack.
They left the house and going down the lake shore, perhaps the distance
of half a mile, ventured upon this narrow bridge: Mr. Kinsley going in
advance with a stake to try the ice, Lovina, following at a distance of
10 feet, and the boy bringing up the rear at an equal distance from her.
Thus they started on their perilous journey and proceeded about a mile
when they came to the end of the bridge.
Here they counseled together as to what should be done. It seemed
impossible to proceed as the ice could easily be broken by a blow with
the stake, and equally impossible to go back, as their weight in coming
had greatly weakened the bridge in many places. But the fearful peril to
which they were exposed was made more imminent by an approaching storm
of wind and snow, and something must be done at once. The danger of returning
seeming greater of the two, Mr. KINSLEY started forward; but on taking
the first step dropped through and out of sight, but rose immediately,
where he went down, and the first thing he saw was Lovina coming to his
rescue. With great vehemence he warned her back, as any attempt of that
kind, would, as he imagined, bring greater peril to both. But doubtless
forgetful of her own danger, having naught before her vision but his struggling
form, she heeded not a word he said, but stepped forward and plunging her
hand in his hair, and clutching it in her fingers, she drew him out upon
the end of the ice-bridge, which sank so far beneath their weight, that
the water came over the to of her bootees.
Without a word being spoken by either of the party, they returned
as they came, and when once more they set their feet on terra firms, but
not until then, the brave girl was completely overcome, and yielded to
a paroxysm of tears.
While out upon the lake they discovered an open glade at the north
of the Island, extending apparently to Long Point, North Hero. In the evening,
Mr. KINSLEY and Miss KNOWLTON (the boy, unwilling to risk his life again,
remaining behind), attempted to gain the other shore by passing through
this glade in a boat. Breaking away the thin ice at the shore, he got his
boat in open water and started, although surrounded by continual danger
from floating ice which was driven about by a strong wind. Getting within
perhaps 100 rods of Long Point, they found the glade extended no farther,
and an attempt was then made to draw the boat upon the ice, as they could
not leave it in the water, lest it should be drifted away, and they be
left to find another opening, where they should need it.
After long and tedious efforts, in which they exerted all their
strength without success, they hallooed loudly for help, but failing to
raise it, again seated themselves in the boat, and rowed back to the Island.
This was Friday night, and on Sunday morning the ice had become so firm
that the whole party ventured to start again on foot, and this time succeeded
in reaching their destination in safety.
Mr. Kinsley was married to Miss Catherine MONTAGUE of Fletcher,
Feb. 24, 1824. Their children were Guy, Lucretia, Daniel, Rufus, Jason,
Alonzo, Edgar and William L.
For the last 14 years of her life, Mrs. KINSLEY was a great sufferer,
being perfectly crippled in her lower limbs and obliged to use a wheel-chair.
She endured this trying dispensation with much patience and fortitude.
For many years the only daughter and sister took (in a great measure) her
mother's place in the family. Mrs. KINSLEY's sufferings terminated Feb.
15, 1849, when her Heavenly Father said, "it is enough, come up higher."
remarkable incidents and circumstances connected with their eldest son
and his family seem to call for record in the historic papers of this town,
which he is writing for the State Gazetteer. If the like could have been
written of any other family, he would certainly have recorded it; but is
now reluctant that it should appear among them, lest it should be credited
to himself. And we, therefore, state that this, and the paper concerning
his sister Elvira, were furnished by an acquaintance and friend of both.
Ben is not an abreviation of Benjamin, as some may suppose; but the name
is Ben, and the surname is spelled without a g, as will be seen, wherever
it is mentioned in these papers-
Sept. 1854, Mr. KINSLEY married Lucy, widow of M. P. BLAIR of Fletcher.
The first year of the rebellion, four of his sons, viz. Alonzo, Jason,
Rufus and William L. went forth to defend the Flag, and, the third year,
a fifth, Edgar, enlisted under the same glorious banner. During the war
it was suggested by one of the soldier-brothers that if they all lived
to see its close they should have a family-gathering at the house of their
This proposition was heartily acceded to by the other members of
the family. At the time it was made Guy and Lucretia were in Iowa, Daniel
in Worcester, Mass., Rufus in New Orleans, La., Jason in Texas, Alonzo
in Annapolis, Md., Edgar and William L. in Virginia. This meeting took
place, a brief account of which, published at the time, we here copy verbatim.
Vt., April 4, 1866.
To the Worcester
Perhaps a more remarkable family gathering never occurred than one assembled
in this town today. Remarkable, not on account of numbers, but because
there were present five soldiers, all brothers who enlisted early in the
war, from different parts of the country, and have served, in the aggregate,
17 years, All returned, one after another, war-worn, weary and wounded;
but every one with body unmaimed and constitution unbroken. And here we
have this day assembled around the fireside of our aged father (himself
an old soldier), an unbroken family of seven sons and one daughter, with
a large nuber of relatives, to make glad our hearts and to praise God for
his preserving care over us.
After Spending a good portion of the day in social conversation, war-stories,
addressee from Rev. Edwin WHEELOCK, our father, and several of the soldier-boys,
and doing justice to the bountiful collation prepared for us, we were invited
to meet the people of this our native town, in the sugar-woods near by,
where we feasted ourselves around a sugar-pan of hot sugar prepared for
the occasion. After which we returned, and were treated to a few patriotic
songs in the evening by a company of five sisters [daughters of Challis],
and the following poem by one of the soldier-boys [Jason]:
FROM THE WAR
bloody war at last, thank God is done;
is vanquished now; Justice and Right have won.
'round thee to-night behold each wandering son
we're gathered here, a happy, joyous band, --
of brothers dear, war-worn, and scarred, and tanned.
still bears aloft a strong and true right hand,
and Liberty, God, and "Our Native Land."
forth for the Right in danger's early hour,
the clouds and storms round us began to lower,
controlled alone by selfish pride of power,
Slavery's dark stain o'er all our land entailed;
the traitor-horde the dear Old Flag assailed;
with craven souls grew sick at heart and quailed;
the field of strife, in truth and justice mailed,
was crushed to earth, and Truth and Right prevailed.
We can thank
God tonight it hath not been in vain,
of bloody strife, of weary toll and pain;
so fiercely waged, bath rent the Bondman's chain,
site enthroned upon our victory;
blighting curse our land at fast is free;
it is to-night, so shall it always be,
of "Equal Rights" the Home of Liberty!
we will maintain our law! forever free!
us all rejoice, as we are gathered here,
scenes of youth to every heart so dear,
by old friends, so faithful and sincere,
heart Is warmed with friendship and with love;
sad thought, to-night, of one, whose smiles we miss,
dark shade of gloom o'er this bright hour of bliss,
fond caress, a Mother's loving kiss
dark, weary world, and soar to worlds above.
each heart doth thrill and start,
As so fondly
we gaze round this circle so bright,
the glad welcomes that greet us tonight
deep swell, --
to-night with joyful music rings,
thanksgiving hymn to God the King of kings!
Mr. KINSLEY is a man of good judgment, deep feeling and religious
principle. Is noted for his eccentricities, originality and stern independence
of thought and action, and has a vein of good humor underlying his whole
character, which shows itself in everything he says and does. He still
has a young heart, and has ever taken an active interest in all religious
meetings, in common, select and singing schools, and in whatever pertains
to the improvement and advancement of society in general. His house has
always been open and free to entertain ministers of all religious denominations;
and for many years he was superintendent of the sabbath-school.
To say that he had no enemies would be to make him more than a god,
or less than a man. Such a character as his always gains warm friends and
bitter enemies; but the friends usually come from the more intelligent,
and the enemies from the more ignorant portion of the community.
It seems that the heart must greatly desire to pass the declining
days of life amid the associations and friends of former years, and that
after "life's fitful dream" is over, the form should be laid to rest among
its kindred dust, but Mr. KINSLEY and his excellent wife are about to leave
the town where they have spent the greater portion of their lives, and
form new associations among strangers. They go amid the good wishes, but
deep regrets, of those who knew them best.
Miss Elvira KINSLEY was born in Cambridge, Vt., Jan. 6, 1798, and
died in Fletcher July 3, 1859, at the residence of her brother, Guy KINSLEY.
Her education at home was strict and reverent, at school, firm and obedient;
and so diligently did she improve her opportunities, that she became a
teacher at the early age of 16; pursuing this work with Christian devotion,
for 35 years; keeping pace with the advancing knowledge of the times, by
studying later books during vacations between the terms of school; not
at academies or institutions of learning, as commonly practiced in these
days, but by taking private lessons, being her own expounder and instructor.
She taught her first school in a barn in Fletcher, and her parents
moving here 2 years later; her home was here ever after, though she spent
some time with her invalid sister, at North Hero, and with relatives in
North Brookfield, Mass. The following extracts are taken (with his permission)
from a eulogy delivered by Rev. Edwin WHEELOCK, of Cambridge, on the day
of her funeral: Referring to her life-work as teacher, he says:
Referring to her whole life and character, he says: "She was a most
charitable soul, extremely fond of obliging others -- so free in all acts
of favor, that she would not stay to hear herself thanked." . . . She was
an excellent friend and sister." . . . “In her brothers house a pattern
to the household." "She always lived a life of much bodily suffering, and
of great inconvenience, but endeavored by patience 'in suffering, to have
her life convey nothing but health, and a good example, and a blessing."
. . . "She had not very much of the forms and outsides of godliness, but
was extremely careful for the purity of it." . . . "She was tender of reputation.
Of the pleasures of this world, she took small share -- as not loving to
take her portion of good things here below." . . . "In prayers, she was
fervent and constant. They were not improvised for a Sunday, but the sweet,
every-day atmosphere of all the week." "She loved the Bible; she was a
great reader of it" . . . " not for the purpose of vanity and impertinent
curiosity, not to seem knowing and become talking, not to expound and rule
; but to teach her all her duty." “The glory of her religion was a rare
modesty and humility of spirit -- and uadervaluing of herself. For though
she had the greatest experience of things and persons, for one of her sex
and circumstances; yet as if she knew nothing of it, she had the humblest
opinion of herself; and, like a fair altar-lamp, when she shined to all
in the room, yet round about her own station she had cast a shadow, and
she shined to everybody but herself: But the perfectness of her prudence
and excellency could not be hid; and all her humility and arts of Concealment
made her virtues more amiable and illustrious. When death drew near, she
was ready to die as if she were glad of the opportunity. . . . Amid the
sufferings and solemnities of her late sickness, she was as calm as though
angels conversed with her, and her Saviour was guiding her by his friendly
hand; her head leaned upon His breast, and these things were not illusions
with her," . . "She lived as we all should live, and she died as
I fain would die." "Such was her death that she did not die too soon;
and her life was so useful, that she could not have lived too long." .
. . . “Death consecrates that person, whose excellency was such that though
we mourn their loss sadly, yet think we can never commend them sufficiently."
enabled her to bring to this most useful and honorable work a rare combination
of intellect and of heart, and to leave behind her a noble result, worth
ten thousand worlds.” . . . . “But what I desire to note in her is what
I would have as an example to all women. She had a love so great for her
peculiar work, that her heart and mind were entirely absorbed into it.
To instruct children was no mercenary employment with her. She thought
the same thoughts, and loved the same likes with them. She breathed in
their souls, and lived in their presence as one who had an interest in
them, and all she was or did, was for their good." . . . "They found her
prudent and fit to govern, because she governed herself; and yet open-handed
and apt to reward -- a just exacter of their duty and a great rewarder
of their diligence."
Nothing was attempted in the mercantile line until the year 1820;
when Hon. Zerah WILLOUGHBY opened a store in his dwelling-house, on the
farm now owned by Sumner CARPENTER, where he sold nuts, tea and tobacco
to some -- tobacco, tea and gin to others -- for about 3 years; but was
not dependent on the profits of his store for a living, as he owned and
cultivated a good farm. In 1825 Lucus LATHROP & Levi CARLTON opened
a small store at the Centre, and sold goods for a brief period, and were
succeeded by Hiram HOPKINS, who was followed by HORTON & ARMINGTON;
and they were succeeded by Martin ARMSTRONG. In 1837, M. P. BLAIR built
the store now owned and occupied by E. O. SAFFORD and H. P. SEEGAR, filled
it with goods, and looked for customers. Ira S. SCOTT & D. BAILEY kept
a slobber-shop in the store opposite. H. M VILAS succeeded SEEGAR; but
no man could be found to succeed SCOTT & BAILEY; so that institution
failed. In 1848 Oel, and his son E. O. SAFFORD, began trade here, and did
a lucrative business, until 1861, when Oel died, and E. O. has since conducted
the store alone; and by energy, industry and economy has accumulated a
good property, and is an honored citizen. In 1852 Elias BLAIR, jr., built
a store on the corner at Binghamville; and it was occupied by different
ones until 1861, when it was converted into a dwelling-house; since which
time SAFFORD has had no competition in trade.
The first saw-mill was built by Elisha WOODWORTH -- but in what
year, is not known to the present generation; but it is known to be of
ancient origin, and occupied the same ground as that now owned by Hon.
R. T. BINGHAM, of Binghamville. An accident, or incident, connected with
this mill, while in its youthful days, may be worth recording: A Mr. FULLINGTON,
who run the mill, left his home, where L. C. LEE now resides, in the morning,
and came through the woods to the mill; and while engaged in cutting the
ice from the wheel, so that he might start the saw, the wheel started unexpectedly
and drew him under and held him there, while the water poured upon him
its pitiless flood of cold, for several hours, when he was providentially
found and rescued alive, and lived many years to tell the story of the
No attempt was made to start a grist-mill until 1831, when John
and Jesse CARPENTER erected one on Stone's Brook, on the farm now owned
by J. B. LEACH: but the stream was quite too small at that point to run
a grist-mill, and the enterprise was abandoned as unprofitable.
A little north of Metcalf's pond is a cave, which would be a great
thing in some towns; but in Fletcher is scarcely known. It is situated
in the side of a hill, a little west of the road leading from Fletcher
to East Fairfield. -- The entrance is upon the south side of the hill,
and near the base. The passage is narrow, but high, and is quite smooth
and level for 75 or a 100 feet, when an opening at the right leads you
down about 12 feet into an apartment of perhaps 12 or 15 feet square, with
From this apartment there are openings into other apartments on
a level with this, and others still lower down -- some larger and
some smaller. And though parties from Montreal, Boston, Troy, New York
and other places, have visited this cave, it has never been any thing like
thoroughly explored -- a sufficient reason why no perfect history can be
given of it
Report has it that FULTON, whose bloody deeds are recorded elsewhere,
once kept a man who was a fugitive from justice concealed in this cave
3 weeks, furnishing him with food daily; and this circumstance has led
many to believe, that he went directly there from the bloody field, and
that he remained there through all the search, until just before he was
found, and that he had then started for Canada -- though others think differently.
The store built by Elias BLAIR, jr., was occupied successively by
Dorman SMITH, Dr. JOHNSON, formerly practicing physician in town, Elias
BLAIR, Jr. and Charles R. BLAIR.
has sought his nightly rest,
the curtains of the West,
has returned from toil,
murmurs the Lamoille.
wears a deeper shade,
clouds begin to fade,
birds rest among the trees,
by the gentle evening breeze.
farm-hones low and red,
meal is deftly spread;
plain, but snowy white,
and silver sparkling bright;
girls are turning o'er
book upon the floor;
their feet in playful glee,
Maltese roll joyously;
his chair beside the hearth
views his young pets' mirth;
stretched beside the door;
looks the "daily" o er;
busied with her care,
find time a smile to spare –
that is not all a smile,"
a heart-ache all the while.
arranged around the board,
a fervent prayer is poured,
bows his hoary head
their God for daily bread.
is blended with that prayer,
of one who is not there.
head still lower falls,
As on God's
name he trembling calls.
heaves, each eye grows dim
God's good care of him,
still they know not where;
up a hopeless prayer.
are just, the mother said,
I know that Guy had bread
to-night, or could I see
as oft he's smiled on me,
I know that he had rest
in death, 'twould ease my breast.
said the husband, and his eye
as he made her reply,
of years have passed away,
of years this very day,
with blush like maiden shy,
me to bless our baby Guy.
be grew to man's estate
for right, for wrong a hate.
his manly grace,
of his form and face
just pride, but prouder far
when at the cry of war,
a heart so [?] and true,
honer's garb -- the loyal blue!
he has gone to rest,
still by foes oppressed,
complain, submit we must;
saved, and God is just!
the past, the grand sire said,
the locks upon my head,
were young as Effie here,
you and your mother dear,
the others of our town
the hirelings of a crown;
west shore of Lake Champlain
put their pride to shame;
crew were glad to flee
our Country proud and free.
alas! -- he said no more
For a faint
knocking at the door
words checked, the father rose
did the door unclose,
the faint light glimmered through
a wasted form to view.
friend,' the farmer said.
raised his bowed head,
sir; I'm on my way
town, but now the day
to the shades of night,
my walk, I saw your light
I'd call; mind will you prey
me for one night to stay!"'
come in,' the farmer said,
the door the stranger led.
a son, if not in Heaven,
a shelter one night given,
me grateful all my life,
than grateful, my dear wife.
He is our
Country's, so are you; --
I see you
wear the loyal blue.' '
three years 'tis now and more,
I crossed my father's door,
in our Country's cause,
her flag, maintain her laws.
with our brave men, I stood
field, or in dense wood;
a day, 'mid cannon's roar,
me weltering in my gore.
within a prison cell
what no tongue can tell
cells like vampires take
life, or sprits break.'
ceased, the farmer broke
as he gently spoke,
at last the war is o,er,
return to fight no more.
my God! that it is done,
at last is won,
at our table here;
us our evening cheer.'
came with feeble pace
in Guy's accustomed place;
so wan, his eye so wild,
had not known her child.
took whate'er they gave,
nor drink did seem to crave.
courteous and free,
I pray, think me not rude
decline this drink and food;
so plainly to my mind
home I left behind
want forth to meet my fate
from this Green Mountain State,
mine, I could not eat - -
I'll no excuse repeat."
wore on, the hour of rest
and still the stranger guest
talked, with greatest zest.
her evening labor done,
of her absent son.
girls had hushed their mirth,
by grandpa near the hearth.
with his kindling eye,
to the talk nor made reply.
me much,' the stranger said,
his breast he bowed his head,
perchance, I'll not be known
most dear, when I get home.'
mother made reply,
of her absent Guy, --
she spoke, and sweet she smiled, --
sure would know her child.
heart can not forget;
nor space has power yet,
fend bosom to erase
of the form and face.
might pass, and I
ne'er forget my poor lost Guy.'
forget, but camp and field
cells make youth to yield
up, and we grow old
appointed time is told.
despair, combined, will break
heart, -- hunger will make
grow wan, and fade the eye;
you still would know your Guy; --
and went to her, ' bless me!
is I, and I am he!"
of 1865 ~
been some pebble small,
Niag'ras mighty fall, --
have been some forest bird
song men never heard.
some flower man never knew
blest with rain or dew, --
have been the smallest drop,
old Neptune's briny cup, --
have been some unearthed ore
tree, where none explores, --
to thwart kind Heaven's plan
the monster, change the man!
D. Rood ~
WITH THE LORD
BY MISS MARTHA
with the Lord!
the poet olden,
today, the choir above,
their harp-chords, golden.
With the Lord!
the ransomed sinner,
the life that is without,
the spirit banner.
with the Lord!
His table meeting,
He at the
solemn feast presides,
us gracious greeting.
with the Lord!
life's joys and trials,
the blessings which He gives,
His firm denials.
with the Lord!
the gates of glory,
them shall come the glorious round
with the Lord!
my soul, the measure,
with thy sovereign God; --
how sweet the pleasure.
with the Lord!
most ardent lover,
rolls on, but still around
with the Lord!
and o'er the river,
eternity shall last,
Embracing A History of Each Town,
Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military."
II, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille & Orange Counties.
Also The Natural History of Chittenden County.
and Published by Miss Abby Maria Hemenway.
by Karima Allison 2004.