OF ORANGE COUNTY, VT.
OF THE TOWN OF
BRADFORD occupies a beautiful position on the west bank of the Connecticut
river, opposite Piermont, in New Hampshire. It lies about the center of
the eastern border of the county, and is also midway between the north
and south limits of the state, in latitude 44 and longitude 4
46',* and is bounded north by Newbury, east by the west bank of Connecticut
river, south by Fairlee and West Fairlee, and west by Corinth.
whole county is in north latitude, and longitude is reckoned east from
Washington, the words north and east will be. omitted.]
The topography of this township is, in the main, like that of most
others in the Connecticut valley. The intervals are abundantly productive,
and the highlands easily cultivated, and good alike for grass and grain.
The tracts of forests are charmingly variegated with birch, beech, elm,
maple and evergreen trees. Wright's mountain occupies the northwestern
corner of the town, and its summit is about 1,700 feet above Connecticut
river, some three or four miles distant towards the east, and 2,100 above
tide water. The sides -of the mountain, west and south, are precipitous,
consisting of almost perpendicular ledges of argillaceous slate, from which,
especially on the south side, where there is a deep ravine, huge fragments
of rocks in ages past have fALLEN down, one on another, forming various
cavities, the largest of which has been called “Devil’s Den."
The township is well watered, not only by innumerable springs and
rivulets, richly refreshing the hillsides, but by larger streams. On its
eastern border flows the Connecticut; through its northeastern corner Hall's
brook, from Newbury, passes quietly along; then as you go south, Roaring
brook comes dashing down over its rocky precipices to mingle with the others
at its confluence with the Connecticut; and from the southwest comes Rowell's
brook to reach the principal stream which from west to east runs through
the town and is dignified by the name of Wait's river. The two main branches
of this stream, soon after entering Bradford, unite, and constitute a respectable
river, which,' at Bradford Center, and on passing through a narrow rocky
channel about half a mile above its entrance into the Connecticut, affords
many fine mill privileges.
In 1880 Bradford had a population of 1,520. In 1886 the town had
twelve school districts and thirteen common schools, with an attendance
of 331 scholars, taught during the year by one male and seventeen female
teachers, to whom was paid an average weekly salary, including board, of
$25.40 and $5.47 respectively. The entire income for school purposes was
$2,938.06, while the total expenditures were $3,640.79, with F. E. HILAND,
BRADFORD, an enterprising and thrifty post village, is located in
the easterly part of this town. The situation is on a moderately elevated
plateau, about a mile west of the Connecticut river, and on the pretty
little stream, Wait's river. This village contains about 1,000 inhabitants,
is noted for its invigorating and healthful climate, and has become, to
the full extent of its ability to provide accommodations, the resort of
summer boarders. The youth of the village and in the surrounding country
are furnished ample opportunity to acquire a good academic education at
the well managed academy. Its intelligent inhabitants support two good
churches, which are under the pastoral care of able preachers. Wait's river
passes over a succession of falls on its way through the village, which
affords power rarely equaled, in proportion to its volume of water, and
turns all the machinery of the place. The village streets are nicely shaded,
adorned with well built and neatly painted dwellings, and with many elegant
residences. About a dozen stores of all kinds are located here; also three
physicians, five lawyers, a general insurance office, with the usual complement
of trades and artisans.
BRADFORD CENTER (p. o.) is located near the center of the town,
on Wait's-river, which furnishes power for a number of manufactories.
This institution was chartered by act of the legislature of Vermont,
on the 2d day of November, 1820, under the name of Bradford Academy, and
William TROTTER, Rev. Naphtoli SHAW, Benjamin P. BALDWIN, John H. COTTON,
Oliver HARDY, George W. PRICHARD, Thomas TABOR, Israel WILLARD, James WILSON
and. Alfred CORLISS are incorporated under the name of the Trustees of
Bradford Academy, with the usual powers of corporations. The above named
incorporates met on notice given by Benjamin P. BALDWIN, John H. COTTON
and George W. PRICHARD, as provided in. the charter, at the academy, which
was then nearly finished, on the 21st day of November, 1820, for the purpose
of organization, and a quorum being. present they chose Naphtoli SHAW,
moderator, George W. PRICHARD, clerk protem., and Moses CHASE, John H.
COTTON and Benjamin P. BALDWIN, a committee to draft a code of by-laws.
They also authorized the same committee to hire, a teacher, and to adopt
ways and means to pay him. It will be noticed that Moses CHASE was not
one of the corporators, but he was a lawyer in town, and was undoubtedly
made one of the committee for the benefit of his legal knowledge. The committee
made their report at a meeting held at the store of John WHEELER, December
16, 1820, and the trustees then and there adopted a code of by-laws of
twelve articles. At the same meeting they filled the board of trustees
to the number of fifteen, as provided by the charter, by electing Silas
MCKEEN, Samuel MCDUFFEE, John RAND, Jonathan JENNISS, of Topsham, and Moses
CHASE as additional trustees. But John H. COTTON and William TROTTER declining
to serve, William SPENCER, of Corinth, and Jesse STODDARD were chosen in
their places. They then completed the permanent organization of their body
by electing Rev. Silas MCKEEN, president; James WILSON, vice-president;
Moses CHASE, secretary; Oliver HARDY, treasurer; and Benjamin P. BALDWIN,
Samuel MCDUFFEE and Moses CHASE, an executive committee. It was then voted
that the committee hire a teacher and commence the school as soon as may
The first regular annual meeting was "held on the third Wednesday
of December, 1820, and the same officers were elected except that Naphtoli
SHAW was put upon the executive committee in the place of Moses CHASE.
At a meeting held at the dwelling house of Arad STEBBINS, on the 12th of
March, 1821, it was voted:
The Mr. NESMITH spoken of above was the first teacher of the school,
and, is now (1888) the Hon. George W. NESMITH, of Franklin, N. H., who
has been one of the judges of the supreme court of New Hampshire, and is
now vigorous in mind and body in his eighty-eighth year.
the president assist Mr. NESMITH, the preceptor (who has this day commenced
teaching in the academy), in the organization of the school, and in case
of any difficulty, that they call on the executive committee for assistance.
that the president, preceptor and executive committee prepare a set of
rules for the regulation of the school.
He began to teach in this school in March, 1821, before he was twenty-one
years of age, having graduated at Dartmouth the year before. He continued
as principal of the academy until the middle of July, 1822, when he was
compelled by ill health to give up the position. This was not Mr. NESMITH's
first experience, as he had taught at Antrim, Peterboro and Concord, N.
H., before coming here.
Mr. NESMITH was succeeded by Mr. Adams MOORE, then of the senior
class in Dartmouth college. How long Mr. MOORE taught does not appear.
He was from Bradford, N. H., and after he graduated, was tutor at Dartmouth
for a year, then studying medicine, he settled as a physician at Littleton,
N. H. It is not certain who immediately followed Mr. MOORE, but Judge NESMITH
names E. P. HARRIS and a Mr. CLEVELAND from Salem, Mass., but Mrs. A. P.
NEWTON thinks that Mr. HARRIS came later, and Mr. Jona. Johnson believes
he was here twice. Mr. CLEVELAND was afterward an author to some extent.
Boyd Hopkins WILSON, who graduated at the University of Vermont
in 1824, was the preceptor in 1826, and probably from the time he graduated.
Mr. F. COGGSWELL took charge of the school probably in September,
1826, but for how long a time cannot be ascertained. On the 17th of August,
1827, the trustees voted to pay him $8.80 for fuel and $100 towards services.
Cyrus LANCASTER, as principal, and George STONE, as assistant, had
charge of the academy in 1829. A catalogue published during that year shows
but one change in the trustees, viz.: John RAND is dropped out and Naphtoli
SHAW, 2d, is elected in his place, and one hundred and twenty-six pupils,
forty-nine girls and seventy-seven boys, but whether for a single term
or for the year does not appear.
Mr. Charles WINGATE succeeded Mr. LANCASTER in the fall of 1831.
Mr. HOBART came next. Mr. Edward P. HARRIS came next after Mr. HOBART,
according to the recollection of Mrs. NEWTON.
Joel BLACKMER, who graduated at Dartmouth in 1834, and received
the degree of Master of Arts at the University of Vermont in 1837, probably
taught two years, from September, 1834, to July, 1836.
Franklin BUTLER, who graduated at the University of Vermont in August,
1836, began to teach the Bradford academy in September of the same year,
and taught until July or August, 1839. Miss Adeline PRICHARD was preceptress
under Mr. BUTLER. The catalogue of 1837, when these teachers were in charge
of the school, shows one hundred and one students in all.
Moses P. CASE, who graduated at U. V. M. in 1839, succeeded Mr.
BUTLER in September, 1839, and was assisted by Miss Martha A. ROGERS. They
were both here as late as the summer of 1842.
J.S.D. TAYLOR, also a graduate of U. V. M. in 1840, succeeded Mr.
CASE in September, 1842, and remained three years. He was assisted by Miss
Martha A. ROGERS and her sister, and also by a Miss CHASE.
William C. BELCHER, who graduated at U. V. M. in 1843, taught from
September, 1845, until July, 1849, when, owing to some trouble with the
trustees, he opened a select school in the village, which he taught several
terms. While in the academy he was assisted by Isaac S. BELCHER, his brother,
and by Miss Mary J. BELCHER, his sister, and some others.
Justin W. SPAULDING, a graduate of Dartmouth, succeeded Mr. BELCHER,
and taught two years. Miss Fidelia WELLMAN was preceptress, Miss Mary Ann
BRACKETT, associate preceptress, and Mrs. Caroline H. PECKETT, teacher
of music, with Mr. SPAULDING as principal.
Mr. Charles CUTLER, a graduate of Dartmouth in 1852, taught in 1852
and 1853. He was assisted by Miss Marcia L. PIERCE, preceptress, Miss Mary
D. SAWYER, Miss Marcia A. CUTLER and Mrs. Caroline H. PECKETT, teacher
of music the first year, and by Miss M. Elizabeth DENNY and Miss Fidelia
WELLMAN, preceptresses, Miss Marcia A. CUTLER and Mrs. Caroline H. PECKETT,
teacher of music the second year.
Benjamin M. REYNOLDS, a graduate of Dartmouth of the class of 1852,
taught the winter and spring terms of 1854, assisted by Miss Fidelia WELLMAN,
preceptress; Miss Phebe MCKEEN, assistant; and Miss A. E. EASTMAN, teacher
of music and painting.
Roswell FARNHAM, a graduate of U. V. M. of the class of 1849, taught
from the beginning of the summer term 1854, until the end of the summer
term 1856, assisted by Mrs. Mary E. FARNHAM, preceptress and teacher of
music and painting; Miss Mary J. BELCHER, Mrs. Caroline H. L. PECKETT,
teacher of music; and Miss Ellen P. WOODWARD, teacher of painting.
Edward E. HERRICK, a graduate of U. V. M. of the class of 1856,
taught two years, from September, 1856, assisted by Mrs. Mary E. FARNHAM,
preceptress, and by Roswell FARNHAM, assistant teacher and teacher of French.
George N. LOW, a graduate of Dartmouth in the class of 1857, taught
one year, from September, 1858, assisted by Miss M. J. CARLETON, preceptress
and Miss S. J. HARDY, teacher of music.
Edward R. RUGGLES, a graduate of Dartmouth in the class of 1859,
taught two years, from September, 1859, assisted by Miss Mary M. CLOSSON
and Miss L. Jennie MASON, preceptresses, and Miss Lucy A. STRICKLAND, teacher
of music, French and drawing.
George A. LOW returned and taught three years, from September, 1861,
assisted by Mrs. Marcia C. LOW, preceptress; Miss Lucy A. STRICKLAND, teacher
of French, and Miss Martha A. R. LOW, teacher of drawing and painting.
Earl W. WESTGATE, a graduate of Dartmouth in the class of 1860,
taught two years, from September, 1864, assisted by Miss Charlotte E. STRICKLAND
and Miss L. W. JOHNSON, preceptresses, and Mrs. Julia M. WESTGATE, teacher
of music and painting. Miss SMILEY taught during this term.
Mr. WESTGATE was the last preceptor of the academy, proper. It had
been gradually becoming evident that the institution could not support
itself if the instructors must depend upon the tuitions received for their
wages. It was also very desirable that the pupils in the village of Bradford
should have the advantages of education in the higher branches without
paying tuition. An arrangement was finally made between the trustees of
the academy and the prudential committee of the Union district, which included
the whole village, by which the Union district might have the use of the
academy property, including the building, library, apparatus and income
of the general funds on the easy condition that they keep the property
in repair and have a man at the head of the school of liberal education,
thus affording an opportunity to the poorest scholar within the district,
to fit himself for college without the payment of tuition. The arrangement
was entered into in 1866, and has continued now for twenty-two years, greatly
to the advantage of the village and the town.
The teachers under the Union were as follows, viz.:
Francis F. FARRELL, a graduate of the University of Vermont in the
class of 1866, taught one year, assisted by Miss Sophia B. WOODWARD, preceptress.
James W. PALMER, a graduate of Dartmouth class of 1867, taught three years,
assisted by Miss WOODWARD, preceptress. T. R. GROW, preceptor, 1870-71;
Miss N. M. WING, preceptress. Watson T. DUNMORE, graduate of Middletown,
Conn., preceptor, 1871-73; Miss Lydia WHITE, preceptress. Thomas MARTIN,
Dartmouth, 1871, preceptor, 1873-74; Miss Lydia A. WHITE, preceptress.
Mr. MARTIN was compelled to give up the school before the close of his
last year, and Mr. CUDWORTH taught the last term. Frank P. MCGREGOR, Dartmouth,
1875, preceptor, 1875-77; Miss Martha B. POWERS, preceptress. Benj. M.
WELD, Middlebury, preceptor, 1877-79; Miss Martha B. POWERS, preceptress.
Wm. H. CUMMINGS, Dartmouth, 1879, preceptor, 1879-1884; Miss Martha B.
POWERS and Miss E. F. MORSE, preceptresses during different years, and
Miss Abbie F. MCLANE, Miss Edna N. ELLIOT, Miss Lucy E. NELSON, Moses L.
BROCK and W. E. EARLE, assistants at different times. William E. SARGENT,
Dartmouth, 1884, preceptor, 1884-87; Miss Fida H. SMITH and Mrs. L. E.
WILSON, preceptresses; Miss Tillie A. LOWELL, Miss Mary Grace WOODWARD
and Miss Sue S. WORTHEN, assistants. David B. LOCKE, Dartmouth, 1882, preceptor,
1887-88; Miss M. Grace WOODWARD, preceptress; Miss Lucy E. NELSON and Miss
Mary E. SMITH, assistants. At the time of this writing (March, 1888) Mr.
LOCKE, Miss WOODWARD and Miss NELSON are the teachers of the school.
The institution is in possession of a well selected library of over
sixteen hundred volumes, due to the generosity of Mrs. Elisha C. MERRILL,
who gave by will $2,090 to the trustees of the academy, the income to be
used for the purchase of a library and apparatus for the use of the scholars.
The principal is now increased to $2,500. Mr. Nicholas W. AYER also gave
to the school $1,000. The trustees also have $450, which was given by the
Masons, and annually receive from $75 to $100 from the county grammer school
In 1865 the trustees were Rev. Silas MCKEEN, D. D., John POOLE,
M. D., Col. Roswell FARNHAM, Dea. Geo. W. PRICHARD, George PRICHARD, Hon.
Horace STRICKLAND, Asa LOW, Esq., John B. WOODWARD, Esq., Hon. George P.
BALDWIN, Dea. Thomas C. SHAW, James MCDUFFEE, Esq., Zeeb GILMAN, M. D.,
Jonathan JOHNSON, Esq., John B. PECKETT, Jr., Esq., and Abner A. DOTY,
M. D., thus but two of the original trustees were in the board. At the
present time not one is left. They are as follows, viz.: Dea. Geo. L. BUTLER,
prest.; Capt. P. S. CHAMBERLIN, vice-prest.; Wm. B. STEVENS, sec'y.; Roswell
FARNHAM, treasurer; H. G. DAY, J. H. SAWYER, H. C. MCDUFFEE, J. W. LEES,
J. H. WATSON, Geo. F. MORRIS, J. B. W. PRICHARD, J. C. STEARNS, H. A. WINSHIP,
E. H. ALLEN, W. E. S. CELLEY.
The original building was built by subscription, and until the union
of the two schools it was mainly kept in repair in the same way.
The following letter will show how the academy became the possessor
of a bell:
The appropriate present was duly accepted and the generous donor
notified thereof by a letter under the hand of the president, Rev. Silas
Dec. 4, 1822.
of Bradford Academy.
In passing by the house built and appropriated for the use of your public
school; I noticed there was no bell, and knowing the utility and great
convenience of one; and as I have ever felt in duty bound as under Providence
I should be prospered, to appropriate a part for the support of public
and private schools, being fully sensible that thereby the peace, order
and harmony of all society, civil as well as religious, would be greatly
promoted, I -therefore have purchased a Bell for said house, and, Sir,
hereby present the same to you and through you to the corporation. Have
the goodness to receive the same and oblige your friend and well wisher
for the prosperity of your school.
Bradford Mills, built by Asa LOW, about 1847, and now owned by PECKETT
& Co., are located on Wait's river, about half a mile west of its confluence
with the Connecticut. They are operated by water-power, and have been in
the possession of the present company since 1854. These mills manufacture
flour and feed and do general custom grinding. They are -furnished with
five runs of stones and have a plaster mill attached. Their capacity of
grinding is 1,000 bushels per day. The saw-mills in connection manufacture
dimension lumber from pine, spruce, ash, hemlock and hard wood, and turn
out about 500,000 feet per annum. About one-fourth mile above they have
another mill where are manufactured lumber and shingles. The whole concern
gives employment to about ten men.
Wait's River Paper Company, Warren MOORE and Albert F. COLBURN,
proprietors; Warren MOORE, manager; A. F. COLBURN, treasurer; has mills
located in the flourishing village of Bradford, on Wait's river, which
furnishes ample power. This company was organized October 1, 1886, and
occupies the stone structure erected for paper making over forty years
ago by Hon. Asa LOW. The company now runs three 500-pound engines, one
44 inch -cylinder machine, and manufacture tissue and manilla paper. The
capacity -of these mills is 2,000 pounds in twenty-four hours. They employ
about fifteen hands.
The J. W. Bliss Co., H. A. WINSHIP, manager, manufactures sash,
doors, blinds and round butter boxes, in Bradford village, on Wait's river,
which furnishes the power. The company was organized in the spring of 1887,
and occupies spacious and convenient buildings previously built and used
for the same purpose. The present company has the best modern machinery,
employs skilled workmen, and is turning out goods of the first quality.
To detail the circumstance, etc., which led to the granting of the
charter under which the titles to the land now comprising the township
of Bradford are held, one must go back to the very beginning of settlements
in this section: The first settler within the limits of the present town
was one John OSMER, or HOSMER. He located upon the north side of Wait's
river at its confluence with the Connecticut, in 1765. During the succeeding
five years he was followed by others, so that in 1770 the land-holders
amounted to thirty. The locality took to itself the name of "Wait's River
Town," or, “Waitstown." These settlers had the character of squatters or
adventurers, as they had no valid of legal title to the land, simply holding
it by a system of "pitches"; among themselves. By this time, however (1770),
it was deemed expedient by them to seek for some legal title to their lands,
and to have the section between Newbury and Fairlee constituted a township.
For this purpose they jointly commissioned Samuel SLEEPER, one of their
number, to go to New York, and agree, if practicable, with one William
SMITH, an influential man of that city, to obtain for them a royal charter,
with a distinct understanding between them and him, that on his procuring
the desired charter, he should give them a good title to the lands they
had begun to cultivate, one-hundred acres to each, and that he and such
proprietors as he should engage with him, should hold as their own all
the rest of the township. That this was accordingly done is manifest from
the following extract from the original charter of Moore Town, granting
to the persons therein named thirty thousand acres on the west bank of
the Connecticut, as therein set forth, viz.:
By a deed from the before named William SMITH, to Samuel SLEEPER,
dated August 14, 1770, and recorded in the office of the clerk of Gloucester
county, subsequently Orange, December 31, 1770, it appears that the twenty-four
grantees who were associated with the said William SMITH, whose names are
given in the above extract from the royal grant or charter, did, on the
30th and 31st days of May in that year, by a certain "Indenture of Lease
and Release, convey and confirm to him, the said SMITH, all their
rights and titles to the lands, and everything pertaining thereto in the
said MOORE Town, and that, in accordance with a request from, and agreement
with, the settlers on the said tract, made in writing, before the royal
charter was obtained, and with a view to secure to them their respective
rights, the said SMITH did, August 14, 1770, by an "Indenture of Lease
and Release," convey and confirm to Samuel SLEEPER all his right and title
to certain tracts or sections of land which are particularly described,
lying along on the Connecticut river, eight in number, not adjoining each
other, but in alternate sections, and reaching back from said river about
one mile and a half, on an average, the same to contain in the whole three
thousand acres, more or less.
Moore Town, subsequently called Bradford, by King George the Third, May
the Third, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King,
defender of the faith, and so forth: To all to whom these presents shall
come, Greeting, WHEREAS our loving subject, William SMITH of our city of
New York, Esquire, by his humble petition in behalf of his associates presented
unto our trusty and well beloved Cadwallader COLDEN, Esquire,. our Lieutenant
Governor and Commander in Chief of our Province of New York and the territories
depending thereon in America, and read in our Council for our said province,
on the twenty-eighth day of March now last past, did set forth that on
the Seventh day of November which was in the year of our Lord One Thousand
seven hundred and sixty-six, a petition was, preferred to our late trusty
and well beloved Sir Henry MOORE, Baronet, then our Captain General and
Governor in Chief of our said Province, in the name of John FRENCH and
his associates, praying a grant of certain lands on the west side of Connecticut
river. That our said late Captain General and. Governor in Chief was advised
by our Council to Grant the prayer of the said petition, and that a Warrant
issued the same day to the Surveyor General for a survey thereof -- That
the said John FRENCH is since deceased, and that the petitioner and his
associates are the persons intended to be chiefly benefited by that application
-- That the tract which they desire to take up contains, as it is supposed,
about Thirty Thousand Acres, to the southward of a tract of land commonly
called or known by the name of Newberry, and adjoining the same, and was
granted under the province of New Hamphshire -- That there are divers persons
settled within the limits of the said tract of land, amounting in all to
Thirty families, to whom the petitioner and his associates intend to convey,
after a Patent is issued, Three Thousand Acres, to wit, to the head of
each family One Hundred Acres, in such manner as to secure to them the
parts they have respectively cultivated-and therefore the petitioner did
humbly pray that the lands aforesaid might be granted to him and his associates
as tenants in common in fee, agreeable to the directions and upon the terms
of our Royal Instructions. Which petition having been referred to a Committee
of our Council for our said province, our said Council did afterwards on
the same Twenty-eighth day of March, in pursuance of the report of the
said Committee humbly advise and consent that our said Lieutenant Governor
and Commander in Chief as aforesaid, should, by our Letters Patent, grant
to the said William SMITH and his associates and their heirs, the land
described in said petition according to the prayer thereof, under the quit
rent provisos, limitations and restrictions, presented by our Royal Instructions,
and that the said lands should by the said Letters Patent be erected into
a township by the name of Moore Town, with the privileges usually granted
to other Townships within our said Province. In pursuance thereof and in
obedience to our said Royal Instructions, our Commissioners appointed for
setting out all lands to be granted within our said Province have set out
for the said petitioner William SMITH, and for his associates, to wit:
James. ROBERTSON, Richard MAITLAND, William SHERREFF, Goldsbrow BANYAR,
Andrew ANDERSON, Jonathan MALLET, Peter Van Brugh LIVINGSTON, Charles MCEVERS,
Hugh GAINE, Francis STEVENS, William BRUCE, Thomas William MOORE, Samuel
VER PLANCK, Richard YATES, Abraham MORTIER, Abraham LYNSEN, Abraham LOTT,
Hamilton YOUNG, Garret NOEL, Ebenezer HAZZARD, John ALSOP, Thomas JAMES,
Thomas SMITH, and Samuel SMITH, All that certain tract or parcel of land
lying and being on the west side of Connecticut River in the County of
Gloucester, within our province of New York, Beginning on the west bank
of said river at a white pine tree blazed and marked for the Northeast
corner of a tract of land known by the name of Fairlee, and run thence
north, sixty-one degrees west, five hundred and ninety chains ; then north
thirty-two degrees east, five hundred and twenty chains; then south fifty-nine
degrees east, five-hundred chains, to the said river; then down said river,
as it winds and turns, to the place where this tract began; containing
Twenty-five Thousand Acres of land and the usual allowance for highways.
And in setting out the said twenty-five thousand acres of land, our said
Commissioners have had regard for the profitable and unprofitable acres,
and have taken care that the length thereof doth not extend along the banks
of any river otherwise than is conformable to our said Royal Instructions,
as by a Certificate thereof under their hands, bearing date the Seventh
day of April now last past, and entered on record in our Secretary's Office
for our said province may more fully appear; which said tract of land,
set out aforesaid according to our said Royal Instructions, we being willing
to grant to the said petitioner and his associates, their .heirs and assigns
forever, with the several privileges and powers hereinafter mentioned."
In the then unsettled state of land titles New Hampshire made some
grants here, and much contention among the settlers, lasting through a
series of years, was the result. Taken to the legislature, that body appointed
Israel SMITH, Esq., of Thetford, Alexander HARVEY, Esq., of Barnet, and
James WHITELAW, Esq, of Ryegate, January 25, 1791, a committee to regulate
the difficulty and deed the lands to the settlers. This committee, having
failed to settle all matters of difficulty among the inhabitants, especially
among those on the Hazen tract, further legislation was demanded, and an
act, entitled, "An act for the purpose of quieting the settlers on a certain
tract of land in the western part of Bradford," was passed by the General
Assembly at Rutland, November 6, 1792. In accordance with this legislative
enactment the settlers who before had no legal claims to the lands they
occupied, were quieted, and valid titles to lots unoccupied were given
to those who were wishing to possess them, and the general settlement of
the township was accomplished.
The original name of the town was, beyond doubt, given it in honor
of Sir Henry MOORE, Baronet, from 1765 to '69, captain-general and governor-in-chief
in and over the province of New York. But, in accordance with the request
of its inhabitants to the General Assembly of Vermont, it was changed,
October 23, 1788, as follows:
This town was for a while called Salem, as appears from a deed given,
and a road survey made and recorded, in 1786. The first name of all, however,
was Waits River Town, or Waitstown, at which place a petition signed by
Samuel HALE, John PETERS, and others, May 21. 1770, was dated.
hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, 'That the
name of the Township of Moretown, in the County of Orange, be forever hereafter
known by the name of Bradford:-And that it is hereby provided that whenever
an advertisement respecting said township shall be published within three
years from the passing of this act, it shall be called Bradford, heretofore
known by the name of Moretown, in Orange county."
The town was organized May 4, 1773. The first town meeting of which
any record has been preserved, was held at the house of Samuel MCDUFFEE,
at which the following list of officers was elected: John PETERS, moderator;
Stephen MCCONNELL, clerk; Benjamin JENKINS, supervisor; Hugh MILLER and
Noah WHITE, overseers of the poor; Benjamin JENKINS, treasurer; Jesse McFarland,
Lieut. Jacob FOWLER, and Hezekiah SILLOWAY, surveyors of highways; Hezekiah
SILLOWAY, constable; Amos DAVIS, collector; Samuel GAULT and Amos DAVIS,
William, Thomas, and Hugh PETERS were brothers, who emigrated from
England to Boston, Mass., about the year 1634. Rev. Thomas, soon after
their coming to this country, was settled in the ministry at Saybrook,
Conn., where he patronized an academy which became Yale college, and was
removed to New Haven in 1716. Rev. Hugh PETERS was settled in Salem, Mass.,
about five years; returned to England in 1640, or 1641, where he earnestly
espoused the cause of Cromwell and the Parliament, in opposition to Charles
I., became a man of influence and distinction, and was among those who
.heartily approved of the execution of that ill-fated king. After the elevation
of Charles II., son of Charles I., to the throne, he was by royal authority
arrested, tried on a charge of high treason, and beheaded October 16, 1660,
William, brother of the two clergymen above named, had six sons and four
daughters. He lived to a great age and died at Andover, Mass. From him
the race bearing the name of PETERS, in New England, have mainly descended.
William, Jr., his fourth son, had six sons and two daughters. William,
son of William, Jr., was killed in a battle with the Indians, at Andover,
leaving his widow, Mary RUSSELL, with an infant son named John, then but
eleven days of age. This John PETERS, when he became of age, in 1717, removed
from Boston to Hebron, Conn., and by his wife, Mary, a granddaughter of
the martyr Gen. Thomas HARRISON, had a large family. Distinguished among
these was the Rev. Samuel Andrew PETERS, LL. D., an Episcopal clergyman,
who was a man of ability, and during the Revolutionary war a decided loyalist.
He became so offensive on this account that he found it expedient to leave
his native state in haste and take a voyage to England. After the war was
over he returned to this country and claimed to be, not only in title but
in fact, "Bishop of Verdmont," as he denominated this new state.
Margaret PETERS, a sister of the Rev. Samuel, married John MANN,
a farmer, February 17, 1765 On the 16th of the following October this enterprising
young couple set out on a journey through the wilderness, to build up a
home in Orford, N. H., where they arrived on the 24th of the same month.
They were persons of honorable distinction among the early settlers of
John PETERS, Jr., the eldest brother of Samuel and Margaret, was
born in Hebron, Conn., 1n 1718. His wife, Lydia PHELPS, was a direct descendant
from John PHELPS, secretary to Oliver Cromwell. They had a family of six
sons and seven daughters. Lydia, one of the daughters, married Benjamin
BALDWIN, subsequently one of the influential settlers of Moretown, now
Bradford. Mary PETERS, a sister of Mrs. BALDWIN, married Joseph HOSFORD,
Esq., of Thetford, and Susanna, another sister, married Col. John HOUSE,
of Norwich. Their brother, General Absalom PETERS, was born in Hebron,
Conn., in 1754, and graduated at Dartmouth college in 1780. He married
Mary ROGERS, a sister of Mrs. Col. John BARRON, of Bradford, and resided
on a farm in Wentworth, N. H, for many years, where he took an active part
in public affairs. He was, during the war of the Revolution and to the
close of his life, decidedly loyal and patriotic. He died in the city of
New York, in April, 1840, aged eighty-six years.
Col. John PETERS, brother of General Absalom, and eldest son of
John PETERS, Jr., was born in Hebron, Conn., in 1740. He married Ann BARNET,
and their children were one daughter and eight sons. He emigrated from
Connecticut to Thetford, Vt., in 1765, and from Thetford to Bradford in
1771. In 1772 he built the first grist-mill in the town. In the troubles
which soon after occurred between this country and England, and during
the war of the Revolution, like his uncle, Dr. Samuel PETERS, his sympathies
were decidedly with the British government, while his brother, Gen. Absalom,
and some or all of his sisters, were as decidedly in favor of the independence
of the colonies. This set the two brothers in strong opposition to each
other, and caused an unpleasant division in the family. Near the commencement
of the war he emigrated to Nova Scotia, and received a commission as colonel
of a regiment styled the “Queen’s Rangers." After the war closed he left
his family at Cape Breton and went to England to prosecute his claims on
the government, and died there January 11, 1788.
Andrew B. PETERS, the second son of Col. John, was born in Hebron,
Conn., January 29, 1764, and by the. course taken by his father he became
a subject of the British government. From his seventeenth to twentieth
year he was engaged in the king's service in the inland naval department.
Soon after the close of the war he settled in Bradford, and, January 18,
1787, united in marriage with Anna WHITE, of Newbury, who died at Bradford
a little over a year after their marriage. Mr. PETERS married for his second
wife Miss Lydia BLISS, then residing in Bradford, a native of Hebron, Conn.,
and daughter of Ellis BLISS, December 16, 1790. Mrs. PETERS died in this
town March 5, 1816, in the fiftieth year of her age, leaving a large family.
In 1798 Mr. PETERS was chosen town clerk, and held that office forty years
of the ensuing forty-six years. He also represented his town in the state
legislature in 1798, which position he held five years, was justice of
the peace for many years, and served his town in various positions with
general satisfaction for half a century. The children of Mr. PETERS and
his second wife (Lydia BLISS) were John, Anna, Samuel, Daniel, Hannah,
William and Andrew B. Mr. PETERS married Keziah HOWARD, of Tamworth, N.
H., his third wife, September 15, 1816. She was a native of Bridgewater,
Mass., was born November 25, 1783, and resided in Bradford after her marriage
for nearly fifty-six years. She died September 2, 1872, aged nearly eighty-nine
years. Andrew B. had by this third marriage two sons, viz.: Joseph Howard,
and Edmund Fanning. The former was born October 7, 1817, married Miss Clarissa
Culver WASHBURN, of Lyme, N. H., November 25, 1841, and settled on the
old homestead, where he still resides. He is giving his attention to the
cultivation of his fine farm, the rearing of high blood cattle and sheep,
with a specialty for full blood Morgan horses, of which he has as fine
stock as are found in Vermont. Mr. PETERS has been called by his townsmen
to serve in various official capacities. His children are Andrew Barnet,
born March 10, 1843, married Miss Jennie S. KESSLER, May 14, 1872, and
settled in Fitchburg, Mass.; Mary Ann, born June 23, 1845, died August
20, 1846; Mary Ellen, born March 30, 1847, married Charles A. LEAVITT,
December 25, 1871, and resides-in Bradford village; Clara Emma, born June
15, 1848, married Andrew G. TARLETON, December 20, 1870, and settled in
Woburn, Mass.; Arthur W., born July 31, 1851, married Velma L. MCFARLAND,
of Bradford, November 14, 1871, and remains on the home farm with his father;
and Minnie S., born June 4, 1855, married Job CLEMENT, of Bradford, March
Edmund Fanning, the youngest son of Andrew B. and Keziah (HOWARD)
PETERS, was born September 5, 1822. He married Mary Ann SLACK, of Wilmington,
Mass., and has had born to him a son and daughter, and resides in Charlestown,
Daniel MCDUFFEE emigrated with his wife and daughter Margaret, then
about two years of age, to America, from the North of Ireland, in 1720,
and settled in Londonderry, N. H., among their Scotch-Irish friends. They
were parents of six sons and three daughters. Five of their sons were in
the war with France, and three of them were at the decisive battle of Quebec.
One son, Daniel, Jr., was born in Londonderry, in March, 1739 He married
Margaret WILSON, whose brother James was father of James, the globe maker.
Mr. MCDUFFEE and his wife emigrated to Bradford, Vt., in February, 1796,
and settled on a farm at the north end of the "Upper Plain." His house
was on the east side of the road, and near what was a long time MCDUFFEE's
ferry, across the Connecticut river, and where several of his posterity
are now living. They were parents of fifteen children, all of whom were
born in Londonderry. Of those who lived to mature age, John was born June
16, 1766, and, when old enough, assisted his father on the farm and in
the blacksmith shop, attending the district schools. In his seventeenth
year he had mastered Fisher's arithmetic, and commenced the study of surveying.
In the spring of 1788 he taught school a few weeks, then attended Andover
academy for a time, the meanwhile prosecuting the study of surveying. He
taught several terms in the towns of Falmouth, Saco and Brunswick, Maine.
When about nineteen years old, on his first journey into that country,
he had a narrow escape from wolves in Saco woods. He was on foot, and near
evening inquired at a house the distance to Saco Falls. Being told it was
five miles, he pushed on, thinking that there were inhabitants along the
route as there had been on the road just passed. He soon found himself
in the wilderness and in the darkness of night. Presently he heard the
barking of a wolf scenting his track in the distance behind him. Being
young and spry he quickened his steps. Soon the howl of the first wolf
was increased by a pack of them in hot pursuit. He ran with all his might
and exerted his strength to his utmost to escape; but the wolves were coming
nearer and nearer; and just as his courage and strength were failing, and
the monsters were about to seize and devour him, he discovered a light
ahead, and with one last effort for his life, pressed on, reached the cabin,
and, dashing open the door, fell exhausted and senseless upon the floor.
In June, 1788, Mr. MCDUFFEE made his first visit to Bradford. The object
of his visit was to .assist in the settlement of the estate of his uncle,
Samuel MCDUFFEE, who had been drowned in the Connecticut river in 1781.
The widow was still living on the desirable farm to which his uncle became
entitled as one of the first settlers; and being pleased with it he bought
it. In the spring of 1789 he took up his residence on this place and continued
a distinguished citizen of Bradford until his death. In 1791 he purchased
of Uriah STONE, of Piermont, the ferry, which was for many years a noted
crossing place over the river, until bridges were built above and below
it, and where he kept a small store for some time. He married Martha DAKE,
then a resident of this town, but a native of Londonderry. He left this
farm for his father and removed to another one on the eastern slope of
Wright's mountain, and near the line of Bradford and Newbury, where he
reared his family and spent the remainder of his life. He was celebrated
as a surveyor and was extensively employed by all the towns about. He was
employed by Mr. James WHITELAW, surveyor-general of Vermont, to survey
and divide into suitable lots for settlement, the Hazen tract, in the western
part of Bradford. He aided efficiently in the construction of the railroad
from Concord, N. H., to Wells River, through the towns of Plymouth, Wentworth
and Haverhill, having previously surveyed over the most formidable part
of this route with a view to constructing a .canal. He was a zealous politician,
and at a railroad meeting at Concord, when called upon for a sentiment
or toast, called out the applause of the assemblage by giving, impromptu,
this sentiment: "The political compass of the United States, with the representative
needle equally balanced on the pivot of the Union, freely playing over
the four cardinal points freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom
in elections and freedom in religion." Mr. MCDUFFEE died at his mountain
home in Bradford, May 4, 1851, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. His
first wife, Martha. DAKE, died at Bradford, May 14, 1822, at the age of
forty-nine years. They had six sons and five daughters, all natives of
Bradford. Mr. MCDUFFEE married for his second wife Miss Dolly GREENLEAF,
of this town, November 10, 1833, who was born March 10, 1790. They had
six sons, of whom Daniel, Mansfield and Henry died in childhood. Charles,
the third son, was born November 19, 1827. Like his father, he was a fine
mathematician, a professional civil engineer and land surveyor, and his
aid was much sought as an efficient agent in the settlement of estates.
He died at the family home on the mountain, July 31, 1863. Henry Clay,
their fifth son, was born October 3, 1831. March,12, 1863, he married Miss
Laura WATERMAN, of Lebanon, N. H., who died on the 15th of the ensuing
September. Mr. MCDUFFEE married his present wife, Miss Rosie M. BILL, daughter
of Major R. M. BILL, of West Topsham, June 8, 1869. Their only son, Ernest
B., was born November 23, 1870. Mr. MCDUFFEE is also prominent as a practical
civil engineer and surveyor. In politics he is an uncompromising Republican,
always loyal to his convictions, and by no means without political honors.
He represented Bradford in the state legislature in 1872-73, and has held
other offices of honor and trust. He was high bailiff of Orange county
in 1872-73; has been a selectman of Bradford, etc.; and served his county
as state senator in 1885-86. He has, as an agent for parties in New York
and Boston, conducted a large business in buying and selling lands 'in
the Western and Southern states, and has also settled some large estates
in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Horace G. MCDUFFEE, the youngest son
of John, was born December 22, 1833, graduated in the scientific department
of Dartmouth college, in the class of 1861, and has given his attention
to real estate, surveying and the manufacture and sale of lumber. In 1867
he married Mrs. Ellen P. SMITH, widow of James C. SMITH, of Cairo, Ill.,
and they have one daughter, Mabel.
Samuel MCDUFFEE, son of Daniel, Jr., married Jane WILSON, September
7, 1773, and settled on a farm on the "Upper Plain," where he died July
20, 1850. He left a daughter, Alice, and a son, James. The latter married
Mary P. SAWYER, with whom he lived over forty-four years, dying March 22,
1873, in the seventy-third year of his age. Of their children, Alice married.
Alexander YOUNG; the eldest son, Ellis, married Elizabeth SAWYER, and their
children are Olivia, Annis, Louisa, Edward E. and Sarah S.; Horace Everett
married Lucy MCDUFFEE, a remote relative, and their children are Frank
and. Alice; Homer S. married Adelaide ROBINSON; and the fourth son, James
L. R., married Carrie WOODWARD.
James WILSON, a native of Londonderry, N. H., was born in 1763.
To him belongs the honor of making the first terrestrial and celestial
globes in America. He possessed, talents of high order, and his genius
or inclination turned to the investigation of the science of astronomy,
and included geography; but his circumstances in life compelled him to
devote his energies to, farming until he was about thirty-six years of
age. In 1796 he removed with, his family to this town and purchased a farm
on the Connecticut river about one mile north of the village, which became
his permanent home. Here in 1799 he constructed his first globes. These
were balls turned from blocks of wood, nicely covered with paper maps,
and were heavy and clumsy. He persevered and in time produced them of fine
quality. He became a skillful engraver and protracted his maps on copper
plates, the impressions from which fitted with perfect accuracy when pasted
upon the light but durable hollow paper spheres which he then constructed.
In 1814 he personally exhibited to the people of Boston the first American
globes which were seen there. He was encouraged in his project by the assurance
that they would take all the globes he could furnish. For a time he continued
their manufacture on a small scale in this town and in Londonderry, N.
H., until about 1815, when, in company with his sons, who inherited from
their father like tastes and genius, he established a large manufactory
in Albany, N. Y., which continued and flourished for several years. The
younger artists who commenced it went to early graves, and the aged father
not long after withdrew from business. When past eighty years of age he
invented and constructed with his own hands a machine or instrument, which
finely illustrates the daily and yearly revolutions of the earth; the cause
of the change of seasons; and the sun's place for every day of the year,
in the ecliptic. The large copper plate for the printing in constructing
this instrument (Wilson's Planetarium) was engraved by Mr. WILSON after
he was eighty-three years of age. He died at his home in Bradford, March
22, 1855, at the age of ninety-two years and twelve days.
Moses SWASEY, Sr., who married a Miss PAGE, was born in Haverhill,
Mass. Their son Moses, also born in Haverhill, August 5, 1768, emigrated
to Newbury early in life, where he engaged in mechanical business a number
of years. Later he bought a farm on the Ox Bow, and continued the mechanical
business, cultivating his farm at the same time. He married, at the age
of twenty-five years, Miss Elizabeth MERRILL, daughter of Nathaniel and
Sarah (HAZEN) MERRILL. Nathaniel MERRILL, also a native of Haverhill, where
he was born March 2, 1747, emigrated to Newbury when quite a young man
and settled on the Ox Bow. In a few years he built a house on his farm
across the river, in Haverhill, N. H., where Hubbard EASTMAN now lives,
to which he removed, carrying on the farms on both sides of the river.
Later Mr. MERRILL sold these farms and removed to the farm where Benjamin
Hibbard now lives, in Piermont, N. H., where he resided the remainder of
his life. George SWASEY, son of Moses, Jr., was born in Newbury, August
3, 1818, and was educated in the common schools and Newbury seminary. He
married, first, December 25, 1844, Miss Louisa LANG, of Bath, N. H., who
died December 25, 1881, on the thirty-seventh anniversary of her wedding
day. Their children are Elizabeth M., born in Newbury, September .30, 1845,
married Joseph POOR, a merchant of Haverhill, where she now resides; and
Sherburn L., born March 3, 1850, married Leona A. WORTHEN, of Newbury,
and is a druggist and jeweler doing business in his native village. January
18, 1883, George SWASEY married for his second wife Mrs. Mary B. (PARKER)
HOLT, of Willington, Conn. After his first marriage he settled on the "Ox
Bow," and conducted his fine farm and dealt in agricultural implements,
until March, 1867, when he sold the farm and located in the village where
he is now engaged in the fire insurance business. Mr. SWASEY is .a member
of the Congregational church and has been its clerk for many years. In
politics he is a decided Republican but not an "offensive partisan.”
Dr. Bildad Andross settled in Bradford previous to 1777, and was
one of the earliest practicing physicians of the town. May 29, 1777, the
town -elected him and Benjamin BALDWIN to attend a convention of delegates
at Windsor to take measures to form a state government for Vermont. His
wife, Mary S., was an aunt of Dr. Arad STEBBINS, who succeeded Dr. ANDROSS
in practice in this town. Their residence was on the lower plain north
of the road that leads to Piermont bridge, and near the Connecticut river.
Their children were Naomi, Lucy, Cynthia, Mary, Levi Stebbins and John
Levi Stebbins ANDROSS, eldest son of the Doctor, married Prudence SPAFFORD,
of Fairfax, Franklin county, settled in this town, and they were the parents
of .children as follows: Prudence S., Naomi, Mary, Bradstreet and Bildad.
Bradstreet married Mary KIMBALL, of this town, and during the summer months,
for several years, was engaged in rafting timber down the Connecticut river.
One evening at Greenfield, Mass., when he and his companions had secured
their raft to the shore, and were about leaving for their hotel, he beard
a splash in the water, and, on going to see the cause, discovered a boy
helpless and sinking in the river. He unhesitatingly plunged in, seized
him, and rescued him from drowning. The boy, when grown to manhood, repeatedly
visited Mr. ANDROSS, and after the latter's death presented Mrs. ANDROSS
with a silver goblet, on which was engraved, "A tribute of gratitude from
John MUNN, rescued from drowning by Bradstreet ANDROSS, A. D., 1816." The
five sons and three daughters of Mr. and Mrs. ANDROSS were natives of this
town, and were as follows: Stebbins, born October 1, 1813, married Keziah
LIBBEY, of Maine, and later removed to New York; Harriet K. (deceased)
married John K. HOMER, of Fairlee; Charles L., born August 4, 1818, married
Harriet CLARK; Mary S., born September 14, 1820, died at the age of twenty-two
years; Col. Dudley K., born September 12, 1823, of whom more will be said
hereafter; E. Porter, born December 25, 1825, married Sarah WHITCOMB, served
nine months in the late war, in the 15th N. H. Vols., and now resides in
Piermont, N. H.; and Moses C., born January 26, 1836, emigrated to California,
and engaged in mining. The latter served as United States assistant assessor
six years, and as senator in the state legislature four years.
Col. Dudley K. ANDROSS, before mentioned, was the first man from
Bradford to visit California, and there labored successfully in the gold
mines for two years. At the call of Governor FAIRBANKS for volunteers,
in April, 1861, the Bradford Guards, as a company, responded, and entered
the service for three months, with Col. ANDROSS as their chosen captain.
They were stationed at Newport News, Va., were engaged in the battle of
Big Bethel, June 10, 1361, and were honorably discharged at the expiration
of their term of service. Capt. ANDROSS again enlisted, in the 9th Vt.
Regt., commanded by Col. STANNARD, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
This regiment was eventually engaged in the unfortunate battle of Harper's
Ferry, where 11,500 of the Union forces were taken prisoners. They were
sent to Annapolis, Md., and thence on parole to Chicago, where they were
employed to guard 3,500 rebel prisoners waiting, like themselves, for an
exchange. Lieut.-Col. ANDROSS, for his gallant conduct at this time, was
honored with the commission of colonel, and in April, 1863, was duly exchanged,
and again engaged in active warfare. Col. ANDROSS resigned his commission
and returned home, after an honorable service of two years, and was united
in marriage with Mrs. Marcella WASON, widow of George WASON, and daughter
of Rev. Horatio HARRIS, by whom he has had two children, viz.: Mary Kimball
and Walter HARRIS.
Ephraim MARTIN, born in Goffstown, N. H., was one of the first settlers
in this town. He first located where Bradford village now stands, and owned
the lands from along the main street, from the residence of George MCFARLAND
to that of Joshua GERRY, and including a large portion of the meadow along
Wait's river easterly. He also owned the first grist-mill where the present
fine brick mills of J. B. PECKETT now stand. His residence was on the site
of what was afterwards the BLISS tavern, and his orchard on the opposite
side included the site of the savings bank. His son Jonathan settled where
Frank CHAMBERLAIN now lives, where he worked at his trade of carpenter
and also engaged in farming. He was married three times. His first wife,
a Miss BOWEN, was the mother of six children, viz.: Loraine, Ira, Sally,
Christopher, Jonathan and Jacob. His second wife, Dinah BAILEY, bore him
eight children, viz.: Benjamin, Susan, Mary, Mehetable, Lydia, William
B., Hiram and one who died in infancy. His third wife was Lydia STEARNS,
who survived a few years after his death, which occurred in 1832, at the
age of eighty-five years. The only survivor of this large family is William
B., who resides with his son-in-law. J. F. CUSHMAN, at the great age of
William B. MARTIN, mentioned above, married, first, Hannah BANFIELD,
with whom he settled in the west part of the town, where he lived fifteen
years, when he removed to the place where he now resides. His first wife
died in. 1857, and, in 1860, he married Miss Frances J. WILMOT. Of his
children, Sarah B. (Mrs. James KELLY), of this town, and Prunella (Mrs.
Nelson MARTIN), of Randolph, daughters by his first wife, and Alice A.
(Mrs. J. F. CUSHMAN), a daughter by his second wife, are living, the latter
on the homestead with her aged parents.
David WILSON, of Scotch-Irish descent, and brother of James WILSON,
the first American globe maker, was born in Londonderry, N. H., December
11, 1768. He married Margaret DOAK, and they came up the Connecticut river
in an open boat propelled by oars and a pike-pole, landing in Bradford
in June, 1795, settling in the wilderness a little northwest of the summit
of Wright's mountain, where he resided about sixty-eight years, dying here
February 23, 1863, in the ninety-fifth year of his age. The lot upon which
he settled was then considered of so little value that it was sold at auction
to pay its charter fees, and was bid off for one bushel of wheat and a
gallon of rum. No wagon road across the mountain had been opened at this
time, and his first habitation was a log cabin. Many narrow escapes from
wild beasts occurred to the early settlers. At one time Mrs. WILSON had
set out to visit her sister, Mrs. MCDUFFEE, about one mile distant over
the mountain, leading her little son James and carrying David, then a baby,
when she was confronted by a huge bear, who was setting in the pathway
and disposed to be master of the situation. Mr. Bruin allowed her to return
home, however, which she did without much hesitation. On another occasion,
a little before harvest time, Mr. WILSON found so much of his wheat trampled
down that he concluded his neighbor's hogs had paid it clandestine visits,
and decided to keep a sharp lookout for them. A short time after this he
saw the grain in rapid motion and ran to drive away the supposed swine,
when a bear sprang up before him, then another, and still another. He sprang
upon a stump and gave a terrific shout, when the equally terrified bears
ran away and left the field in possession of its rightful owner. The first
sheep he had he brought from Newbury, and as it had become nearly dark
before he got over the mountain, the wolves howled around him in pursuit
of his little flock. He reached home in safety, however, but before morning
he heard an uproar that convinced him the wolves were among his sheep.
He was not mistaken, and bravely went to their rescue, succeeding in driving
the wolves off, but not before they had killed and partially devoured three
of his choicest sheep. As soon as he had cleared land enough, Mr. WILSON
planted the largest orchard in that part of the state, chiefly grafted
trees, from which he harvested from 100 to 175 barrels of choice apples
annually. He sold a great many young fruit trees, thus promoting fruit
growing in this and adjoining towns. He served his town gratuitously as
selectman for six or seven years, and officiated as justice of the peace
fifteen years. He was constant in attendance at the Freemen's meetings
for more thin sixty years, always voting. He was always opposed to slavery,
and his patriotism born with him and inspired in his youth by the stirring
times of the Revolution, ceased only at his death. Mrs. WILSON died March
6, 1853, about ten years before her husband, aged eighty-three years. Their
children were Robert, William, James, David, Fanny, Samuel, and John. The
latter was born August 11, 1806, married Nancy COCKRAN, June 29, 1834,
and their children were Mary W., Byron B., Persis A., John D. and Boyd
Byron B. WILSON, mentioned above, was born November 18, 1836. He
enlisted in the War for the Union, September 5, 1861, for three years service,
or until the close of the war, and was with the 4th Regt. Vt. Vols., participating
in several bloody battles. On one occasion he wrote: "No friend of mine
shall blush to think I feared or failed to meet the foe." This patriotic
and talented young man was instantly killed at the battle of the Wilderness,
May 5, 1864, a bullet passing through his head.
Boyd H. WILSON owns and occupies the old homestead, which has been
in the possession of the WILSON family since 1795. Mrs. John WILSON died
June 20, 1885, aged eighty years.
Capt. Ezekiel SAWYER was born May 9, 1743, removed from Rowley,
Mass. to Bradford about 1795, and purchased the farm on the Connecticut
river which is now owned and occupied by his grandson, Dea. John H. SAWYER,
where he resided to the close of his life, January 13, 1817. Mary (PAYSON)
SAWYER, his wife, died July 6, 1819. They were parents of four sons and
seven daughters. Their son John, born October 27, 1786, married Lydia W.
DIKE, of this town, March 19, 1816, and they spent their days on the old
homestead. Of their children, Mary Dike, born February 27, 1817, married
Dea. George BURROUGHS, of Newbury; John Hiram, born November 22, 1818,
married Sarah HIBBARD, of Piermont, N. H., and as before stated, resides
on the homestead; Emily Payson, born in January, 1822, married Charles
P. BLANCHARD, September 3, 1862, and removed to Concord, N. H.; Henry Ezekiel,
born February 2, 1824, married Amanda CHAMBERLIN, and removed to Chicago,
where he now lives; Lydia, born June 13, 1826, has lived in the vicinity
of Boston several years; Joseph, born April 24, 1829, married Susan SAWYER,
of Newbury, February 14, 1865, removed to Chicago and engaged in the livery
business; Elizabeth, born September 14, 183x, married Ellis MCDUFFEE, of
this town; Edward, born February 20, 1837, resides in Chicago, and is engaged
in the express business; Jane, born February 20, 1837, married E. ROBIE,
of this town. John Hiram SAWYER, in addition to his farming interest, carried
freight to and from Boston up to 1848, his team consisting of eight horses
with a huge wagon carrying eight tons. This industry he abandoned when
the Passumpsic railroad was built, and was engaged as a contractor in its
construction until 1854. Since November 10, 1871, Mr. SAWYER has officiated
as deacon of the Congregational church of Bradford. He has also held the
position of selectman, is a man of sterling worth, a good citizen and an
History of Bradford, Vermont, by Silas McKeen 1791-1877
Township, Orange County