located in the eastern part of the county, in lat. 44º 34', and long.
4º 34', bounded northeasterly by Craftsbury, southeasterly by Hardwick,
southwesterly by Elmore, and northwesterly by Hyde Park, was granted by
the State, November 7, 1780, and chartered to Joshua Stanton and sixty-one
others, August 22, 1781, as a township of 23,040 acres. Its name was given
in honor of Maj-Gen. Oliver Wolcott, one of the original proprietors. The
names of the other proprietors were as follows: Joshua Stanton, John Fellows,
Matthew Mead, Aaron Comstock, Samuel Middlebrooks, Isaac Lewis, Clap Raymond,
Abijah Taylor, Levi Taylor, Ozias Marvin, Gamaliel Taylor, Jonathan Pynoger,
William Chamberlain, David Phelps, Jedediah Lane, Joseph Cook, Thomas Phillips,
Roger Lane, Samuel Lane, James Waterous, Samuel Lee, Theodore Sedgwick,
William Bacon, Paul Dewey, Peter Parrit, Jonatban Pettibone, Abraham Stevens,
Benjamin Seyley, John Adams, Zachariah Fairchilds, Lemuel Kingsbury, Stephen
Lawrence, Elizabeth Stanton, Joshua Stanton, Rufus Herrick, Seth Austin,
Joel Baulding, Benjamin Durkee, Giles Pettibone, Judah Burton, Solomon
Tyler, Hezekiah Lane, William Dean, David Crocker Dean, William Goodrich,
John Sedgwick, David D. Forest, Derrick J, Geois, Ezra Fellows, Gad Austin,
Sylvia Morgan, Elisha Taylor, William Fellows, John Ashley, Steven Dewey,
Benjamin Keyes, Enoch Shepard, John Fellows, Jr., Enoch Shepard, Jr., Samuel
Shed, Joseph Goodrich, John Watson, David Pixley, and Daniel Shepard.
In surface, Wolcott is somewhat hilly and uneven, though it possesses
no mountains. The soil is usually of a good quality and produces fine crops
of the grains and grasses indigenous to the latitude, while the rich pasturage
of its many hills slopes afford sustenance to many herds of cattle. Many
beautiful views are afforded throughout the town, the most accessible of
which being from the cemetery near Wolcott village, where one may obtain
a sweep of the fine country of the Lamoille valley, through Morristown,
Hyde Park and Johnson, to the mountains, and south into Washington county.
Near the vicinity of A.H.Keeler's, on road 8, a fine view of the country
south, west and north, to Canada, New York, and as far south as Camel's
Hump, including the sublime profile of Mt. Mansfield, may be obtained.
The Lamoille river forms the principal water-course, flowing across
the town from east to west, about a mile from the Elmore line. Its principal
tributaries are Wild branch and Pond brook from the north, and Elmore brook
from the south, though there are a number of streams of minor importance.
Numerous mill privileges are afforded, many of which are utilized. Several
small ponds are found, the largest of which are Wolcott and Akins pond,
near the eastern line, and Peach pond on the western line.
The rocks that enter into the geological structure of the township
are of the talcose schist formation, with a narrow bed of clay slate in
the eastern part. No minerals of importance, except copper, have been discovered.
About six years ago this useful metal was discovered near the western line
of the town. A mining company was organized soon after, composed of Canadian
gentlemen, and though the ore is said to have yielded a good percentage,
nothing has been done towards the development of the mines for several
years. The vein extends south to the river, underlying the farm of C.C.Twiss,
and it is said to be only a question of time when this section will be
reckoned one of the richest copper producing districts in the State.
In 1880, Wolcott had a population of 1,166, and in 1882, was
divided into twelve school districts and contained eleven common schools,
employing one male and nineteen female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate
salary of $1,025.88. There were 256 pupils attending common school, while
the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $1,180.56,
with Mrs. Angie Jones, superintendent.
Wolcott, a post village and station on the St. J.& L.C. R.R.,
located in the southern part of the town on the Lamoille river, contains
three churches, (Congregational, Methodist, and Universalist,) an hotel,
school-house, three general stores, two groceries, a furniture store, drug
store, saw-mill, grist-mill, two carriage shops, two blacksmith shops,
two millinery shops, a shoe shop, and about fifty dwellins.
North Wolcott (p. o.) is a hamlet located in the northern part of
the town, containing two stores and a few scattered dwellings.
The Wolcott Hotel was built by Ira Woodbridge at an early date,
and came into the present proprietor's hands, L.A. Tillotson in 1874. Mr.
Tillotson has made many improvements, so that the house is now a well appointed
H.B. Bundy's flouring-mill, located on the Lamoille river, is operated
by four turbine water-wheels, and is supplied with, five runs of stones.
The building, a two story structure 42 by 52 feet, with a basement, was
erected in 1878, upon the site of a mill destroyed by fire the year previous.
Mr.Bundy grinds about 30,000 bushels of custom grain per year, in addition
to 46,000 bushels of wheat and 20,000 bushels of corn for the trade.
C.H. Reed's saw-mill, located on road 40, is operated by water-power,
employs twenty-five men, and cuts about 1,500,000 feet of lumber per year.
Joel R. Parker's saw-mill, located on road 18, corner 11, is operated
by water-power, is furnished with a circular saw, and cuts 250,000 feet
of lumber per year. The first mill on this site was built by Calvin Graves
about forty-five years ago. The present mill was erected in 1853. An upright
saw was used until 1872, when a circular saw was introduced.
E. Guyer's sawmills, located on road 33, was originally built by
Amos Walbridge, in 1833, who operated it about eight years, when it passed
into the hands of Hezekiah Guyer and Gilbert Noyes. In 1851, Mr.
Guyer purchased the whole interest and retained the property until 1864,
when be sold it to his son, Earle, the present proprietor, who remodeled
the mill and instituted many improvements. He employs eight men and manufactures
900,000 feet of lumber per annum.
W.W. Cate's saw-mill, located at Wolcott village, was built in 1879.
Mr. Cate employs eight men and manufactures about 1,000,000 feet of lumber
The Wolcott Steam Mill Co.'s saw-mill, located on road 41, was originally
built in 1881. About three weeks after business was commenced the buildings
were destroyed by fire. The present mill was immediately commenced,
and was in operating order by the 25th of May of that year. The mill
contains one band saw, jointing and edging saws, planing and matching machinery,
etc. operated by a forty horse-power engine, having the capacity for cutting
18,000 feet of lumber per day. The firm employs about fifteen men.
D.N. Boyniton’s saw-mill, located at North Wolcott, employs about
twelve men and has the capacity for manufacturing 1,000,000 feet of lumber
C.C. Fisher's refrigerator and cold storage buildings, located on
road 40, have the capacity for storing several tons of poultry.
Charles E. Clark's carriage manufactory, located on road 38, was
established November 1, 1882. Mr. Clark manufactures all kinds of carriages,
wagons and sleighs, and does a general repairing and blacksmith business.
The first settlement in the town was made in 1789, by Thomas Taylor
and Seth Hubbell, who took up land in the western part of the town. Mr.
Taylor came the day previous to Mr. Hubbell, with his wife and two children,
on snow-shoes. Both families were subjected to great hardships, but Mr.
Taylor having more means, escaped many of the privations that fell to the
lot of Mr. Hubbell and his family.
The vicissitudes of the latter were unusually severe, though but
a counterpart of what many of our forefathers had to endure. No more earnest
lesson of what energy and perseverance can accomplish could be found, perhaps,
than in Mr. Hubbell's sketch of his trials and triumphs in those early
days, found in the following narrative, written by him and published in
1829. We are indebted to the kindness of Mr. Justus Hubbell, one of the
descendants, for a copy of the pamphlet, which we deem of sufficient interest
to warrant an entire reprint. —
“This narrative was written for the private use and
gratification of the sufferer, with no intention of its ever appearing
before the public but certain reasons connected with his present circumstances
have induced him (by the advice of his friends) to commit it to the press.
It is a simple narration of real facts, the most of which many, living
witnesses can now attest to. The learned reader will excuse the many imperfections
in this little work: the writer not being bred to literary knowledge, is
sensible of his inability to entertain the curious; but if his plain and
simple dress can reach the sympathy of the feeling heart, it may be gratifying
to some. It may also serve to still the murmurings of those
who are commencing settlements in the neighborhood of plenty, and teach
them to be reconciled to their better fate, and duly appreciate the privileges
they enjoy, resulting from the toils of the suffering few who broke the
way into the wilderness.
“ In the latter part of February, 1789, I set out
from the town of Norwalk, in Connecticut, on my journey for Wolcott, to
commence a settlement and make that my residence; family consisting of
my wife and five children, they all being girls, the eldest nine or ten
years old. My team was a yoke of oxen and a horse. After I had proceeded
on my journey to within about one hundred miles of Wolcott, one of my oxen
failed but I however kept him yoked with the other till about noon each
day, then turned him before, and took his end of the yoke myself, and proceeded
on in that manner with my load to about fourteen miles of my journey’s
end, when I could get the sick ox no further, and was forced to leave him
with Thomas McConnel, in Johnson; but he had neither hay nor grain for
him. I then proceeded on with some help to Esq. McDaniel's in Hydepark:
this brought me to about eight miles of Wolcott, and to the end of the
road. It was now about the 20th of March; the snow was not far from four
feet deep; no hay to be had for my team, and no way for them to subsist
but by browse. As my sick ox at McConnel's could not be kept on browse,
I interceded with a man in Cambridge for a little hay to keep him alive,
which I backed, a bundle at a time, five miles, for about ten days, when
the ox died. On the 9th of April I set out from Esq. McDaniel's, his being
the last house, for my intended residence in Wolcott, with my wife and
two eldest children. We had eight miles to travel on snow shoes, by marked
trees—no road being cut: my wife had to try this new mode of traveling,
and she performed the journey remarkably well. The path had been so trodden
by snow-shoes as to bear up the children. Esq. Taylor, with his wife and
two small children, who moved on with me, had gone on the day before. We
were the first families in Wolcott; in Hydepark there had two families
wintered the year before. To the east of us it was eighteen miles to inhabitants,
and no road but marked trees: to the south about twenty, where there were
infant settlements, but no communication with us; and to the north, it
was almost indefinite, or to the regions of Canada.
“I had now reached the end of my journey, and I may
say almost to the end of my property, for I had not a mouthful of meat
or kernel of grain for my family, nor had I a cent of money to buy with,
or property that I could apply to that purpose. I however had the good
luck to catch a sable. The skin I carried fifty miles, and exchanged it
for half a bushel of wheat, and backed it home. We had now lived three
weeks without bread; though in the time I had bought a moose of an Indian,
which I paid for by selling the shirt off my back and backed the meat five
miles, which answered to subsist upon. I would here remark that it was
my fate to move on my family at that memorable time called the 'scare season,'
which was generally felt through the State, especially in the northern
parts in the infant settlements. No grain or provisions of any kind, of
consequence, was to be had on the river Lamoille. I had to go into New
Hampshire, sixty miles, for the little I had for my family, till harvest,
and this was so scanty a pittance that we were under the painful necessity
of allowancing the children till we had a supply. The three remaining children
that I left in Hydepark, I brought one at a time on my back on snow-shoes,
as also the whole of my goods.
“I moved from Connecticut with the expectation of
having fifty acres of land given me when I came on, but this I was disappointed
of, and was under the necessity soon after I came on of selling, a yoke
of oxen and a horse, to buy the land I now live on, which reduced my stock
to but one cow; and this I had the misfortune to lose the next winter.
That left me wholly destitute of a single hoof of a creature: of course
the second summer I had to support my family without a cow. I would here
notice that I spent the summer before I moved, in Wolcott, in making preparation
for a settlement, which, however, was of no avail to me, and I lost the
summer; and to forward my intended preparation, I brought on a yoke of
oxen, and left them, when I returned in the fall, with a man in Johnson,
to keep through the winter, on certain conditions; but when I came on in
the spring, one of them was dead, and this yoke of oxen that I put off
for my land was made of the two surviving ones. But to proceed, in the
fall I had the good fortune to purchase another cow; but my misfortunes
still continued, for in the June following she was killed by a singular
accident. Again I was left without a cow, and here I was again frustrated
in my calculations. This last cow left a fine heifer calf that in the next
fall I lost by being choked. Soon after I arrived, I took two cows to double
in four years. I had one of my own besides, which died in calving. In June
following, one of those taken to double, was killed while fighting; the
other was found dead in the yard; both of which I had to replace. In the
same spring, one of my neighbor's oxen hooked a bull of two years old,
which caused his death soon after. Here I was left destitute—no money to
buy, or article to traffic for one; but there was a door opened. I was
informed that a merchant in Haverhill was buying snake-root and sicily.
This was a new kind of traffic that I had no great faith in; but I thought
to improve every means or semblance of means in my power. Accordingly,
with the help of my two oldest girls, I dug and dried a horse-load, and
carried this new commodity to the merchant; but this was like most hear-say
reports of fine markets, always a little way a-head, for he knew nothing
about this strange article, and would not even venture to make an offer;
but after a long conference I importuned with the good merchant to give
me a three year old heifer for my roots, on certain conditions too tedious
to mention. I drove her home, and with joy she was welcomed to my habitation,
and it has been my good fortune to have a cow ever since. Though my faith
was weak, yet being vigilant and persevering, I obtained the object, and
the wilderness produced me a cow.
“When I came into Wolcott my farming tools consisted
of one axe and an old hoe. The first year I cleared about two acres, wholly
without any team, and being short of provisions, was obliged to work the
chief of the time till harvest, with scarce a sufficiency to support nature.
My work was chiefly by the river. When too faint to labor, for want of
food, I used to take a fish from the river, broil it on the coals, and
eat it without bread or salt, and then to my work again. This was my common
practice the first year till harvest. I could not get a single potato to
plant the first season, so scarce was this article. I then thought if I
could but get enough of this valuable production to eat, I would never
complain. I rarely see this article cooked, but the thought strikes my
mind; in fact, to this day I have a great veneration for this precious
root. I planted that which I cleared in season, with corn and an early
frost ruined the crop, so, that I raised nothing the first year; had again
to buy my provisions. My seed corn, about eight quarts, cost me two and
a half yards of whitened linen, yard wide, and this I had to go twenty
miles after. Though this may be called extortion, it was a solitary instance
of the kind; all were friendly and ready to assist me in my known distress,
as far as they had ability. An uncommon degree of sympathy pervaded all
the new settlers, and I believe this man heartily repented the act, for
he was by no means indigent, and was many times reminded of it by way of
“My scanty supply of bread-corn made it necessary
to improve the first fruits of harvest at Lake Champlain, to alleviate
our distress, it being earlier than with us. Accordingly, on the last days
of July, or first of August, I took my sickle, and set out for the lake,
a distance of better than forty miles. When I had got there, I found their
grain was not ripe enough to begin upon; but was informed that on the Grand
Isle they had began their harvest. I was determined to go on, but had nothing
to pay my passage. I finally hired a man to carry me over from Georgia,
for the small compensation of a case and two lances that I happened to
have with me; but when I had got on to the Island, I found I was still
too early. There was no grain ripe here, but I found the most forward I
could, plead my necessity, and staid by the owner till I got one and a
half bushels of wheat, and worked for him to pay for it; it was quite green;
I dried it and set out for home; but my haste to get back prevented my
drying it sufficiently. I found a boat bound for Mansfield mills, on the
river Lamoille, and got my grain on board, and had it brought there free
from expense. I got it ground, or rather mashed, for it was too damp to
make meal. I here hired my meal carried on to Cambridge borough for my
sickle, and there got it ground the second time, but it was still far from
good meal. From the Borough I was so fortunate as to get it home
on a horse. I was a fortnight on this tour. My wife was fearful some accident
had happened and sent a man in pursuit of me, who met me on my way home.
I left my family without bread or meal, and was welcomed home with tears;
my wife baked a cake, and my children again tasted bread.
“I had the good fortune to by on trust, the winter
after I lost my corn, of a man in Cambridge, twenty-four miles from home,
twelve bushels of corn, and one of wheat. This, by the assistance of some
kind friends, I got to Esq. McDaniel's. I also procured by digging on shares
in Hydepark, twelve or thirteen bushels of potatoes. This grain and potatoes
I carried eight miles on my back. My common practice was one-half- bushel
of meal, and one-half bushel of potatoes at a load.
“The singular incidents that took place in getting
this grain on, though tedious to mention, may be worthy of notice. Soon
after I set out from home, sometime in the month of March; it began to
rain, and was a very rainy day and night. The Lamoille was raised—the ice
became rotten and dangerous crossing—many of the small streams were broken
up. The man of whom I purchased the grain was so good as to take his team
and carry it to the mill. The owner of the mill asked me how I expected
to get my meal home. I answered him as the case really was, that I knew
not. The feeling man then offered me his oxen and sled to carry it to the
Park, and I thankfully accepted his kind offer. He then turned
to the miller, and directed him to grind my grist toll free. While at the
mill a man requested me to bring a half hogshead tub on my sled up to Johnson.
By permission of the owner of the oxen, he put the tub on the sled, and
it was a Providential circumstance; for when I came to Brewster's branch,
a wild stream, I found it broken up, running rapid and deep. At first I
was perplexed what to do. To go across with my bags on the sleds would
ruin my meal. I soon thought of the tub; this held about half of my bags;
the other half I left on the shore, and proceeded into the branch and crossed
with safety. Though I was wet nearly to my middle, I unloaded the tub and
returned into the branch, holding the tub on the sled, but the stream was
so rapid, the tub being empty, that in spite of all my exertions, I was
washed off the sled and carried down the stream, holding on to the tub,
for this I knew was my only alternative to get across my load.
At length I succeeded in getting the tub to the shore, though I was washed
down the stream more than twenty rods, sometimes up to my armpits in the
water, and how I kept the tub from filling in this hasty struggle, I know
not, but so it was. The oxen, though turned towards home, happily for me,
when they had got across the stream, stopped in the path till I came up
with the tub. I then put in the other half of my load, and succeeded in
getting the whole across the branch, and traveled on about three miles
and put up for the night. Wet as I was, and at that season of the year,
it is easy to conceive my uncomfortable situation, for the thaw was over,
and it was chilly and cold. In the morning I proceeded for home—came to
the river; not being sensible how weak the ice was, I attempted to cross,
but here a scene ensued that I can never forget— When about half across
the river, I perceived the ice settling under my oxen. I jumped on to the
tongue of my sled, and hastened to the oxen's heads, and pulled out the
pin that held the yoke. By this time the oxen were sunk to their knees
in water. I then sprang to the sled and drawed it back to the shore, without
the least difficulty, notwithstanding the load, and returned to my oxen.
By this time they had broken a considerable path in the ice, and were struggling
to get out. I could do nothing but stand and see them swim round—sometimes
they would be nearly out of sight, nothing scarcely but their horns to
be seen they would then rise and struggle to extricate themselves from
their perilous situation. I called for help in vain; and to fly for assistance
would have been imprudent and fatal. Notwithstanding my unhappy situation,
and the manner by which I came by the oxen, etc, I was not terrified in
the least—I felt calm and composed; at length the oxen swam up to where
I stood, and laid their heads on the ice at my feet. I immediately took
the yoke from off their necks; they lay still till the act was performed,
and, then returned to swimming as before. By this time they had made an
opening in the ice as much as two rods across. One of them finally swam
to the down stream side, and in an instant, as if lifted out of the water,
he was on his side on the ice, and got up and walked off; the other swam
to the same place, and was out in the same way. I stood on the opposite
side of the opening, and saw with astonishment every movement. I then thought,
and the impression is still on my mind, that they were helped out by supernatural
means; most certainly no natural cause could produce an effect like this;
that a heavy ox six and a half feet in girth, can of his own natural strength
heave himself out of the water on his side on the ice, is too extraordinary
to reconcile to a natural cause; that in the course of Divine Providence
events do take place out of the common course of nature, that our strongest
reasoning cannot comprehend, is impious to deny; though we acknowledge
the many chimeras of superstition, ignorance and barbarism in the world;
and when we are eye witnesses to such events, it is not for us to doubt,
but to believe and tremble. Others have a right to doubt my testimony;
but in this instance for me to doubt would be perjury to my own conscience,
and I may add ingratitude to my Divine Benefactor. In fact a signal Providence
seemed to direct the path for me to pursue to procure this grain. Though
I was doomed to encounter perils, to suffer fatigue and toil, there was
a way provided for me to obtain the object in view. In the first onset
I accidentally fell in with the man of whom I purchased at the Park. I
found he had grain to sell. I requested of him this small supply on trust;
we were strangers to each other—a peculiar friend of mine, happening to
be by, volunteered his word for the pay. I knew not where or how to get
the money, but necessity drove me to make the purchase, and in the course
of the winter I was so fortunate as to catch sable enough to pay the debt
by the time it was due. Though I hazarded my word, it was in, a good cause—it
was for the relief of my family, and so it terminated. But to return, I
had not gone to the extent of my abilities for bread corn, but was destitute
of meat; and beef and pork were scarcer in those times. Accordingly I had
to have recourse to wild meat for a substitute, and had the good luck to
purchase a moose of a hunter; and the meat of two more I brought in on
shares—had the one for bringing in the other. These two were uncommonly
large—were judged to weigh seven hundred weight each. The meat of these
three moose I brought in on my back, together with the large bones and
heads. I backed them five or six miles over rough land, cut up by sharp
ridges and deep hollows, and interspersed with underbrush and windfalls,
which made it impracticable to pass with a hand-sled, which, could I have
used, would much eased my labor. A more laborious task was this than that
of bringing my meal, etc., from the Park.
“My practice was to carry my loads in a bag, to tie
the ends of the bag so nigh that I could but comfortably get my head through,
so that the weight of my load would rest on my shoulders. I often had to
encounter this hardship in the time of a thaw, which made the task more
severe, especially in the latter part of winter and fore part of the spring,
when the snow became coarse and harsh, and would not so readily support
the snow-shoe. My hold would often fail without any previous notice to
guard against it—perhaps slide under a log or catch in a bush, and pitch
me into the snow with my load about my neck. I have repeatedly had to struggle
in this situation for some time to extricate myself from my load, it being
impossible to get up with my load on. Those who are acquainted with this
kind of burden may form an idea of what I had to encounter—the great difficulty
of carrying a load on show-shoes in the time of a thaw, is one of those
kinds of fatigue that it is hard to describe, nor can be conceived but
by experience. It is wearisome at such times to travel without a load;
but with one, especially at this late season, it is intolerable; but thaw
or freeze my necessities obliged me to be at my task, and still to keep
up my burthen. I had to draw my firewood through the winter on a hand sled;
in fact, my snowshoes were constantly hung to my feet.
“Being destitute of team for four or five years, and
without farming tools, I had to labor under great embarrassments; my grain
I hoed in the first three years. After I raised a sufficiency for my family,
I had to carry it twelve miles to mill on my back, for the first three
years; this I had constantly to do once a week. My common load was one
bushel, and I generally carried it eight miles before I stopped to rest.
My wife at one time sold her shirt to purchase a moose hide which I was
obliged to carry thirty miles on my back, and sold it for a bushel of corn,
and brought the corn home in the same way.
“For a specimen of the hardships those have often
to encounter who move into the wilderness, I will give the following, that
took place the winter after I came on: We had a remarkable snow, the first
of consequence that fell; it was full two feet deep. Our communication
was with the inhabitants of Hydepark, and it was necessary for us to keep
the road, or rather path, so that we could travel; we were apprehensive
of danger, if we did not immediately tread a path through this snow. I
was about out of meal, and had previously left a bushel at a deserted house
about five miles on the way. I agreed with Esq. Taylor, he being the only
inhabitant with met to start the next day on the proposed tour. We accordingly
started before sunrise; the snow was light, and we sunk deep into it. By
the middle of the day it give some, which made it still worse; our snow-shoes
loaded at every step; we had to use nearly our whole strength to extricate
the loaded shoe from its hold. It seemed that our hip joints would be drawn
from their sockets. We were soon worried—could go but a few steps without
stopping; our fatigue and toil became almost insupportable—were obliged
often to sit down and rest, and were several times on the point of giving
up the pursuit, and stop for the night, but this must have been fatal,
as we had no axe to cut wood for a fire; our blood was heated, and we must
have chilled. We finally, at about dusk, reached the deserted house, but
were in effect exhausted. It seemed we could not have reached this house
had it been twenty rods further; so terrible is the toil to travel through
deep snow, that no one can have a sense of it till taught by experience.
This day's journey is often on my mind; in my many hard struggles it was
one of the severest. We struck up a fire and gathered some fuel that lay
about the house, and after we had recovered strength, I baked a cake of
my meal. We then lay down on some hewn planks, and slept sound till morning,
It froze at night; the track we had made rendered it quite feasible traveling.
The next day I returned home with my bushel of meal.
“Another perilous tour I will mention, that occurred
this winter. It was time to bring on another load of meal from Esq. McDaniels.
I proposed in my mind to go early the next morning. There had been a thaw,
and in the time of the thaw a man had driven a yoke of oxen from Cabot,
and went down on my path, and trod it up. The night was clear—the moon
shown bright, and it was remarkably cold. I awoke, supposing it nearly
day, and sat out, not being sensible of the cold, and being thinly clad
I soon found I was in danger of freezing, and, began to run, jump, and
thrash my hands, etc. The path being full of holes,and a light snow had
just fallen that filled them up, I often fell, and was in danger of breaking
my limbs, etc. The cold seemed to increase, and I was forced to exert my
utmost strength to keep from freezing; my limbs became numb before I got
through, though I ran about every step of the eight miles, and when I got
to McDaniel's the cocks crowed for day. I was surprised upon coming to
the fire to find that the bottoms of my moccasins and stockings were cut
and worn through, the bottoms of my feet being entirely bare, having cut
them by the holes in the path; but notwithstanding the severity of the
frost, I was preserved, not being frozen in any part. Had I broken a limb,
or but slightly sprained a joint, which I was in imminent danger of doing,
I must have perished on the way, as a few minutes of respite must have
“In the early part of my residence in Wolcott, by
some means I obtained knowledge of their being beaver on a small stream
in Hardwick; and desirous to improve every means in my power for the support
of my family, and to retrieve my circumstances, I determined on a tour
to try my fortune at beaver hunting. Accordingly, late in the
fall, I set out in company with my neighbor Taylor on the intended enterprise.
We took what was called the Coos road, which was nothing more than marked
treads; in about seven miles we reached the stream, and proceeded up it
about three miles farther, and searched for beaver, but were soon convinced
that they had left the ground. We, however, set a few traps. Soon after
we started it began to rain, and before night the rain turned into a moist
snow that melted on us as fast as it fell. Before we reached the hunting-ground
we were wet to our skins; night soon came on—we found it necessary to camp
(as the hunters use the term); with difficulty we struck up a fire, but
our fuel was poor, chiefly green timber—the storm increased—the snow continued
moist; our bad accommodations grew worse and worse; our fire was not sufficient
to warm us and much less to dry us; we dared not attempt to lay down, but
continued on our feet through the night, feeding our fire and endeavoring
to warm our shivering limbs. This is a memorable night to me; the most
distressing I ever experienced; we anxiously looked for day. At length
the dawn appeared, but it was a dismal and a dreary scene. The moist snow
had adhered to every thing in its way; the trees and underwood were remarkably
loaded, were completely hid from sight—nothing to be seen but snow, and
nothing to be heard but the cracking of the bended boughs under the enormous
weight, we could scarcely see a rod at noonday. When light enough to travel,
we set out for home, and finding it not safe to leave the stream for fear
of getting bewildered and lost, we followed it back; it was lined the chief
of the way with beaver meadow, covered with a thick growth of alders; we
had no way to get through them but for one to go forward and beat off the
snow with a heavy stick. We thus proceeded, though very slowly, down the
stream to the Coos road, and worried through the ten miles home at the
dusk of the evening, nearly exhausted by fatigue, wet and cold, for it
began to freeze in the morning; our clothes were frozen stiff on our backs;
when I pulled off my great coat it was so stiff as to stand up on the floor.
In order to save our traps we had to make another trip, and one solitary
muskrat made up our compensation for this hunting tour.
“A painful circumstance respecting my family I must
here mention. In the year 1806, we were visited with sickness that was
uncommonly distressing, five being taken down at the same time, and several
dangerously ill. In this sickness I lost my wife, the partner of my darkest
days, who bore her share of our misfortunes with becoming fortitude. I
also lost a daughter at the same time, and another was bedrid about six
months, and unable to perform the least labor for more than a year. This
grevious calamity involved me in debts that terminated in the loss of my
farm, my little all; but by the indulgence of feeling relatives I am still
permitted to stay on it. Though I have been doomed to hard fortune I have
been blest with a numerous off-spring; have had by my two wives seventeen
children, thirteen of them daughters; have had fifty-one grandchildren,
and six great-grandchildren, making my posterity seventy-four souls.
“I have here given but a sketch of my most important
sufferings. The experienced farmer will readily discover, that under the
many embarrassments I had to encounter, I must make but slow progress in
clearing land; no soul to help me, no funds to go to, raw and inexperienced
in this kind of labor, though future wants pressed the necessity of constant
application to this business, a great portion of my time was unavoidably
taken up in pursuit of sustenance for my family, however reluctant to leave
my labor, the support of nature must be attended to, the calls of hunger
cannot be dispensed with. I have now to remark, that at this present time,
my almost three-score years and ten, I feel the want of those forced exertions
of bodily strength that were spent in those perils and fatigues, and have
worn down my constitution, to support my decaying nature.
“When I reflect on those past events, the fatigue
and toil I had to encounter, the dark scenes I had to pass through, I am
struck with wonder and astonishment at the fortitude and presence of mind
that I then had to bear me up under them. Not once was I discouraged or
disheartened: I exercised all my powers of body and mind, to do the best
I could, and left the effect for future events to decide without
embarrassing my mind with imaginary evils. I could lie down at night, forgetting
my troubles, and sleep composed and calm as a child; I did in reality experience
the just proverb of the wise man, that ‘the sleep of the laboring man is
sweet, whether he eat little or much.’ Nor can I close my tale of sufferings
without rendering my feeble tribute of thanks and praise to my benign Benefactor,
who supplies the wants of the needy and relieves the distressed, that in
his wise Providence has assisted my natural strength, both of body
and of mind, to endure those scenes of distress and toil."
COUNTY OF ORLEANS, Nov'r. 1824.
“The undersigned, having read in manuscript the foregoing
narrative, and having lived in habits of intimacy with, and in the neighborhood
of Seth Hubbell at the time of his sufferings, we are free to inform the
public, that we, have no doubt but his statements are, in substance, correct.
Many of the circumstances therein narrated we were at the time personally
knowing to, and are sensible more might be added without exaggeration,
in many instances wherein he suffered.
“THOMAS TAYLOR, Justice of Peace.
“DARIUS FITCH, J. of Peace.
"JOHN McDANIEL, J. P.
"JESSE WHITNEY, J. P.
Mr. Hubbell was known among his townsmen as a good and pious man.
He died in 1832, aged seventy-three years, leaving a valuable farm to his
Luke Guyer and Hezekiah Whitney came into the town next, and these
four men, with their families, constituted the first settlers, and many
of their descendants are now residents of the town. Settlement was very
slow until after 1800, the census report of that year showing a population
of only thirty-seven. In 1806, Mrs. Hubbell made a quilting to which she
invited all the ladies in the town, and they all came, numbering fourteen.
The town was organized and the first town meeting held March 31, 1791,
when all the male citizens were elected to an office, as follows: Hezekiah
Whitney, moderator; Robert W. Taylor, clerk; and Hezekiah Whitney, Thomas
Taylor, and Seth Hubbell, selectmen. The first child born was Charlotte
Hubbell, in 1790. The first justice of the peace was Thomas Taylor, in
1794, who held the office for a period of thirty years. At this election
Mr. Taylor was also elected town clerk, first selectman and constable,
and in 1801, he was elected to the legislature, which office he held twenty
years. Mr. Taylor also built the first frame house, which is still standing,
the property of C. A. Reed, whose wife is a great-granddaughter of Mr.
Luke Guyer, one of the three original settlers, came here about
1790, from Hartford, Conn., and located on what is now known as the Guyer
farm. He was a blacksmith by trade, and built the first blacksmith shop
in the town. John, son of Luke, came here with his father, and was a resident
of the town until his death. John reared a family of four children, none
of whom are now living. Hezekiah, son of John, died on the old homestead,
in 1875, aged eighty-one years. His widow still survives him, age
seventy-nine years. Earl Guyer, son of Hezekiah, is a resident of the town.
Thomas Davis, a Connecticut sea captain, came to Wolcott at an early
date, and purchased fifty-five acres of land on road 24, which is now owned
by his grandson, Pardon Davis. A year or two after his settlement
Mr. Davis erected a house of planks, the outside being lathed and plastered,
the walls being decorated with pebble stones, arranged in fantastical figures
in the plaster before it hardened. This house is still remembered by some
of the inhabitants, because of its oddity. Mr. Davis also planted an orchard
when he first came here bringing the trees from Connecticut, some of which
are still bearing fruit. He married Sarah Fay, and reared a family of six
children, all of whom lived to have families of their own. His son, Taylor,
was one of the founders of the Congregational church.
Perley Hutchins, Sr., a native of Massachusetts, came to Wolcott
about the year 1813, where he resided until his death. His son, Perley,
Jr., served in the war of 1812, and in 1815, married Polly Whitney, daughter
of Hezekiah Whitney, one of the early settlers. Mrs. Whitney still resides
here with her son, in the old tavern where her husband kept a hotel for
more than twenty years. She is eighty-four years of age.
Barnabas Peck came to Wolcott in 1811, and located upon the farm
now owned by C. C. Twiss. The first saw and grist-mill built in the
town then stood on this farm. Mr. Peck reared a family of eleven children,
and died in 1832, aged seventy-three years. Jera Peck now occupies the
old homestead, aged seventy-one years. The Peck family trace their pedigree
back through six generations to Joseph Peck, who came to America in 1638,
and whose descendants in the United States are now estimated to number
Moody Parker, a native of Lyman, N.H., born in 1785, came to Wolcott
in 1821, where he resided until his death, in 1869, aged eighty-four years.
Mr. Parker was at the battle of Plattsburgh, and held the office
of sergeant. After the war he returned to Lyman and married Millicent Moulton,
who is still living. This union was blessed with seven children, five of
whom are living. S. R. Parker, who now resides on road 12. was three years
of age when his father came to the town.
Levi Parker, from Lyman, N.H., came to Wolcott in June, 1821, and
purchased fifty acres of land on road 11, where E. P. Dexter now resides.
Here Mr. Parker resided until his death, in 1862, aged seventy-two years.
Joseph C. Bailey, a native of Berlin, Vt., married Miss Sally Gurley,
of that place, and removed to Elmore in 1823, where he built a log house
near the present residence of Philo Darling. About the year 1852,
Mr. Bailey sold his farm to his sons, C.N. and Frank, and removed to Middlesex,
where he resided until his death. Chester N. Bailey now occupies a part
of the original homestead of 500 acres, on road 43, just on the line of
Wolcott. J. C. Bailey was extensively engaged in the dairy business sat
one time, having sixty head of cattle. Joseph represented the town of Elmore
in the legislature in 1847-'48.
Calvin Holton, a native of Chester, Vt., born March 3, 1809, came
to Wolcott in November, 1831, and located upon the farm now owned by John
Wells, near road 16. Here Mr. Holton erected a log house on his 100 acre
farm, for which he had paid $200.00, there being then no wagon road within
a distance of three miles. His family lived in this log house eighteen
years, when he built a frame dwelling, the same now occupied by Mr. Wells.
Mr. Holton is now a resident of Milton county, D.T., having become a pioneer
for the second time. Five of his seven children are living.
Rufus Bruce, a native of Chester, Vt., and son of Rev. Rufus Bruce,
came to Wolcott on horseback during the summer of 1831, and bought 100
acres of land on road 22 corner 17, paying therefor $200.00. He then hired
a man to slash five acres of the heavy timbered land, and returned to Chester,
where he soon after, December 14, married Mary Hovey. In January, 1832,
he hired a man to bring them and their household effects to Wolcott, where
for the first six months, they resided in the house with John Phelps, on
road 17. In August, 1832, however, their log house was completed, and they
moved into it, where they resided until 1846, when a new frame building
was completed, the same now occupied by their son, M. Bruce.
Mr. Bruce was a brick-maker by trade, though he had taught school in Chester
for several years. He was one of the nine original members of the Freewill
Baptist church society in this town, which has since become extinct. He
died June 17, 1874, aged over seventy years. His wife survived his death
Jesse Davenport, born in Salem, Mass., March 25, 1797, came to Wolcott
from Berlin, Vt., in 1832, and located on road 11, where he resided until
his death, October 9, 1880. Mr. Davenport held many of the town trusts,
and enjoyed the respect and confidence of his townsmen to a remarkable
Beverly Titus, a native of Tunbridge, Vt., came to Wolcott from
Vershire, Vt., in 1832, and located upon the farm now owned by C. G. Moulton,
on road 26. Mr. Titus reared a family of twelve children, several of whom
are living, viz.: William C., in Oakland, Cal.; John H., and Mrs. Celia
Titus Baxter, in Monticello, Wis.; Beverly J., still resides in Wolcott,
and Daniel lives in Charlestown, Mass.
Edward Walsh, a native of Ireland, came to America when nine years
of age, and located, with his parents, in Quebec, where he was apprenticed
to a tobacconist. After completing the term of his indenture he went to
Williamstown, Vt., where he married Mrs. Sarah Smith, a widow with three
children, and, in 1834, came to this town and located on road 43, where
he died, April 13, 1882, aged seventy-three years. Mrs. Walsh, at
the age of eighty-one years, still resides on the old homestead. Their
family of seven children are all living. Mr. Walsh was a man universally
esteemed, and was said to have been unusually well versed in history.
Leonard Thompson, born in 1812, came to Wolcott from Tunbridge,
Vt., about forty-five years ago, and located on road 22. In February,
1862, he enlisted in Co. E, 8th Regt. Vt. Vols., was taken prisoner, and
died at New Orleans in June, 1863.
Israel Currier, from Corinth, Vt., came to Wolcott about 1836, and
located upon the farm he now occupies, on road 30. He built his present
dwelling in 1851. His father, David, was a ship carpenter of Salisbury,
Mass., and served in the Revolutionary war.
Merrill Andrus, from Orange county, Vt., came to Wolcott in 1839,
and located on road 13, where his son, T. O. Andrus, now resides. He married
Maria Lawrence, by whom he had eight children, three of whom, T. O. Andrus,
Mrs. R. F. Parker, and Mrs. Eli Drury, are living. Mr. Andrus died in August,
1881, aged seventy-four years.
Jabez Willey, son of Eben Willey, born in Peacham, Vt., July 22,
1801, came to this town in July, 1840, and still resides here, aged eighty-two
years. He was the first Universalist preacher in the town, and has often
traveled six or eight miles on the Sabbath to preach in some school-house
of this or adjoining towns, and even now, at his advanced age, the Universalist
society has no more earnest and able advocate than Jabez Willey.
Luther Andrus, with his family, came to Wolcott from Orange county,
Vt., in 1847, and purchased 100 acres of land where C. E. Fisher now resides,
where he died in 1863, aged eighty-one years. Mark L., located on road
3, is the only one of his five children now living.
Franklin Trow, a native of Barre, and son of George Trow, one of
the early settlers of that town, removed to Woodbury in 1821, where he
subsequently died. His son Franklin came to this town in 1851, and purchased
a farm on road 21, now owned by his son, with whom he lives at the age
of seventy-eight years.
Nelson L. Lanphear, residing on road 36, is a son of Lyman Lanphear,
one of the early settlers of Hyde Park. He was born in that town August
23, 1822. In 1849, he purchased 100 acres of wild land in this town upon
which he erected a log house, and in 1850, he married Sarah M. Peake, daughter
of Thomas Peake, one of the early settlers of the county, and together
they began life in the woods of Wolcott, where they have reared a family
of four children. Mr. Lanphear's mother was a daughter of Seth Hubbell,
the first pioneer of the town.
During the late civil war Wolcott furnished 134 enlisted men, thirty-two
of whom were killed, or died from the effects of wounds or exposure, while
in the service.
The Congregational church, located at Wolcott village, was organized
by Rev. Daniel B. Dodge, with the following members, in 1818: Thomas Taylor,
Oliver Walbridge, Perez Smith, Gideon M. Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, and
Elizabeth Walbridge. The church building is a wood structure capable of
seating 250 persons, built in 1833, and the property is now valued at $4,000.00.
The society has forty members, with Rev. C.J. Richardson, pastor.
The Methodist Episcopal church, located at Wolcott village was organized
at an early date, and supplied for years by circuit preachers. Rev. George
Brown, a colored man, being the first resident pastor. Through his energy
and perseverance money was raised to build the present church building,
which was erected in 1855. The building will comfortably seat 300 persons,
cost $1,500.00, and is now valued, including grounds, at $3,000.00. The
society now has seventy-three members, with Rev. John Morse, pastor.
The Methodist Episcopal church of North Wolcott has thirty members,
with Rev. Charles S. Hamilton, pastor.
The Universalist church of Wolcott, located at Wolcott village,
was organized in 1875, with six members. Rev. I. P. Booth was the first
pastor. The church edifice was built in 1882, a wood structure capable
of seating 165 persons, at a cost of $1,200.00, about its present value.
The society has about seventy-five members, with Rev. G. Foster Barnes,
of Lamoille and Orleans Counties, VT.; 1883-1884, Compiled and Published
by Hamilton Child; May 1887, Page 148-162)
was provided by Tom Dunn.
–1884 Wolcott Business Directory