OF ORANGE COUNTY, VT.
OF THE TOWN OF
THETFORD is situated in the southeast corner of Orange county, in
latitude 43° 50' and longitude 4° 43,' and is bounded north by
Fairlee and West Fairlee, east by Connecticut river, which separates it
from Lyme, N. H., south by Norwich, in Windsor county, and west by Strafford.
It was granted by Governor Benning WENTWORTH, of New Hampshire, August
12, 1761, to extend six miles north and south, and seven miles west from
Connecticut river on the south line, and six miles on the north line. It
was divided into sixty-eight shares, and contained 23,200 acres. The grantees
were John PHELPS, Esq., Aaron, Roger, Alexander, Davenport, Amos, Timothy,
Asahel, Roswell, Isaac and Oliver PHELPS, and John, Jr., Alexander, Jr.,
and Asahel PHELPS, Jr.; Capt. Samuel FILER, John, Samuel, and Samuel FILER,
Jr.; David CARVER; David, Oliver and Aaron BARBER; Israel SMITH; Israel
POST; Obadiah, Daniel, Daniel, Jr., and Talcott HOSFORD; Capt. William
BUELL; David MILLER; Benjamin, Benjamin, Jr., and Ebenezer BALDWIN; Daniel
and Joseph GRISWOLD; Ezekiel, Samuel, Jr., Eliphas and Joel JONES; Wm.
CANADA; Daniel TILLOTSON and Daniel TILLOTSON, Jr.; Joseph SKINNER; Phillip
MATTOON; Stephen PALMER; Jonathan, Elijah and Caleb ROOT; Israel TAYLOR;
Josiah COLEMAN; Azariah BEACH; Theodore ATKINSON and Theodore ATKINSON,
Jr.; Benning, Hunking, Mark H., John and John WENTWORTH, Esq., and Samuel
Wentworth BENTON; Henry HELTON; Rev. William FOGG and Wiseman CLAGGETT;
with the usual minister's eight, glebe, and school rights, and 500 acres
to the governor.
On September 16, 1761, a meeting of the proprietors was held at
Hebron, Conn., and a committee consisting of Jonathan ROOT, Joshua and
John PHELPS, Jr., Josiah COLEMAN, William WHITE, Joseph DEWEY, Solomon
TARBOX, and David CARVER, chosen to visit the township with a surveyor
and lay out a road across it, northwardly and southwardly, eight rods wide,
and one fifty acre lot to each proprietor, said lots to be fifty rods wide
and one end bounded on the road. This committee reached the township October
8, 1761, and beginning on the south line 292 rods from the river, laid
the road northwardly to the Fairlee line near the lake, and the lots sixty-six
in numbee. At a meeting of the proprietors in Hebron, Conn., December 16,
1761, these lots were drawn, the number of each lot being written on a
slip of paper and drawn by a man blindfolded one for each proprietor.
The first town meeting shown upon the records was held at the house
of Abner CHAMBERLIN, in Thetford, March 8, 1768, when the following officers
were chosen: John CHAMBERLIN, moderator; Abner HOWARD, town clerk; Samuel
GILLETT, John CHAMBERLIN, and Josiah GOODRICH, selectmen; Noah SWEETLAND,
constable; Zebedee HOWARD, Benjamin CHAMBERLIN and Joseph DOWNER, assessors;
Abner CHAMBERLIN, treasurer; Ebenezer GREEN, collector; Edward HOWARD,
Joseph HOSFORD, and Richard BAXTER, surveyors of highways; Samuel WISE
and Elijah HOWARD, deer reeves; Samuel OSBORN and ,Joseph DOWNER, hog constables;
Zebedee HOWARD and Joseph HOSFORD, fence viewers; Joseph DOWNER and Edward
HOWARD, tythingmen. At this meeting it was voted to join with Lyme, N.
H., in hiring preaching for the ensuing summer.
October 15, 1768, the proprietors "voted that John STRONG shall
have sixty acres provided he build a good grist-mill and saw-mill on Gun
Brook, by November 20, 1796," and David TYLER was voted a similar portion
of land if he would build a grist-mill and saw-mill on " the brook near
Mr. John CHAMBERLIN's." The lands were voted to each of the above men,
May 15, 1771, for having built the said mills, which were undoubtedly the
first in town.
The principal water-courses traversing the town are the Ompompanoosuc
river, which enters from West Fairlee near the northeast corner, flows
in a nearly southerly course into Norwich about two and one-half miles
west of the southeast corner of Thetford; and the west branch of Ompompanoosuc,
which, entering from Strafford on the west line about one mile north of
the southwest corner, flows southeasterly and joins the main stream about
a mile north of Union Village. There are two small streams on the eastern
side of the town which empty into the Connecticut, the more northerly one
kown as Gun brook, from the tradition that a settler of the lower "Cohos,"
who was one of a party who came down the river in a canoe and followed
this stream back into the forest, broke his gun in leaping the brook while
hastening back in alarm to his canoe, fearing an Indian attack. No large
ponds lie wholly within this town, although Fairlee lake is one-half within
its borders, finds its outlet by way of Ompompanoosuc, and furnishes an
unfailing reservoir for the manufacturers at Post Mills and below. Mud
pond, on Thetford hill, is of little importance except as the source of
the ice supply of that village and the Center. Child's pond is smaller
but is worthy of special note as a natural curiosity. Lying less than 200
feet from Connecticut river its surface is over 150 feet above that stream,
while the soil underlying the pond is composed of quicksand, a fact in
itself sufficient to make it remarkable that it remains there. There is
no visible outlet or inlet to the pond, and the land slopes away to a lower
level within a short distance on all sides, yet through all seasons the
pond remains with little variation and unknown depth.
The underlying rocks in Thetford are mica schist, clay slate, and
calciferous mica schist, the latter predominating. Lead and silver have
been taken in noteworthy quantities from a mine worked fifty years ago
on the farm now owned by H. A. CUMMINGS at the "Hill." Beds of steatite
are in the southeastern and eastern part near Connecticut river. The surface
of the township is very irregular. That portion bordering upon Connecticut
river consists of a free, light soil, easily worked, extending back at
an easy grade, or in a series of broad terraces, from one-fourth to one
mile in width. The principal ridge of land extends north and south through
the town, about midway between the Connecticut and Ompampanoosuc rivers,
being highest toward the northern line. The western portion is cut up by
many small streams, and steep hills and narrow valleys predominate. There
is an abundance of excellent pasturage, and many fine farms are cultivated.
Some pine timber remains in the eastern section, but most of the present
forest growth is sugar maple, the product from which, in quantity and quality,
is justly noted.
In 1880 Thetford had a population of 1,529. In 1886 the town had
fifteen school districts and an equal number of common schools, employing
three male and twenty-four female teachers, who received an average weekly
salary, including board, of $6.50 and $4.50 respectively. There were 333
scholars, sixty-six of whom attended private schools. The entire income
for school purposes was $2,263.36, while the expenditures amounted to $1,891.38,
with W. L. PAINE, superintendent.
THETFORD (p. o.) village is probably first in age in the town, its
settlement dating back to 1785, when the stake for the location of the
meeting-house was set near Beriah LOOMIS's house, on the present common.
It now consists of one broad, beautifully shaded street, extending about
one-fourth of a mile north and south, intersected by another, near the
north end, leading east and west. Along the former are situated the store,
post office, Thetford academy, Latham Memorial library, and from twenty
to thirty dwellings, while the Congregational church stands near the northwest
angle, on the cross street.
POST MILLS (p. o.) village was so named from Eldad POST, who built
the first saw-mill and grist-mill there, which he sold to his sons Aaron
and Israel in 1782. From its location -- the convenient falls and unexcelled
reservoir -- the village has ever been a manufacturing one. A saw-mill
at the outlet of the lake was sold by the POSTs to Jeremiah DODGE, and
is now owned by T. H. CHUBB. A mill for the production of linseed oil was
erected about the beginning of this century, by Joseph HINCKLEY, where
the fishing-rod factory now is. His grandson, Dea. Lyman HINCKLEY, continued
the business until about 1860. Fulling-mills were operated for many years
in this place by Jeremiah TYLER and Capt. William HEATON, and their sons,
Monroe TYLER and S. G. HEATON, and by George and Daniel DODGE. Cabinet-making
was carried on by G. W. and Alanson JOHNSON. The merchants here have been
John MANN, David BRUCE, George O. STRONG, Silas MANN, George MAY, John
PRATT, Dea. WALKER, D. G. CARLTON, H. COLTON & Sons, Frank FULLER,
O. PRESCOTT & Son, William A. DODGE, Samuel NILES, Capt. Orange COMSTOCK,
Alonzo GEORGE, Truman M. TAYLOR, George W. COMSTOCK, and perhaps others.
The physicians located here have been Dr. Samuel NILES, Dr. HAZELTON, Dr.
H. H. NILES and Dr. H. H. GILLETT. The village is principally upon one
street, which extends for a hundred rods along the west bank of the Ompompanoosuc,
and two radiating streets leading from this to the lake shore. One store,
two saw-mills, a grist-mill, a blacksmith shop, furniture shop, and the
fishing-rod factory of T. H. CHUBB are located here. The church edifice
of the Congregational society, Peabody Library building, and an elegant
public hall, recently erected by the Odd Fellows, are the principal public
buildings. The village contains about fifty dwellings.
THETFORD CENTER (p. o.), situated a little west of the geographical
center of the town, was formerly the scene of considerable manufacturing;
but fire, flood, and the difficulty of transportation have had the effect
of discontinuing most of it. Undoubtedly the first mills were the grist-mill
and saw-mill; but by whom they were established is unknown. Charles HOPKINS
owned them in 1807. He was soon succeeded by Hezekiah PORTER and Samuel
FARNSWORTH, who rebuilt the mills and operated them many years. They have
since changed owners several times, and were burned about fifteen years
ago. The grist-mill was rebuilt by S. A. FISH and sold to MOULTON Brothers
in 1883. A carding and cloth-dressing mill was established here about 1806,
was conducted many years by Hezekiah PORTER, and afterwards by J. B. MOORE.
The manufacture of carriages was carried on by Hiram B. SLOAN, beginning
before 1830. A scythe and axe factory by A. S. BRIGGS and Harmon PORTER,
a bedstead shop by S. A. FISH, a musical instrument manufactory by H. R.
SMITH, a sash and blind factory, a potato starch factory by FLETCHER &
RAY, a shoe factory by H. E. BROWN. Center and extension tables have been
made here by James ALLEN, succeeded by William TEWKSBURY, and now by Sayre
Brothers. Below the village an extensive business was done for some years
in the manufacture of straw board and paper, by S. G. ROGERS, who built
the mill about 1848, and his successors have been S. M. GLEASON, H. E.
BROWN, and J. B. CRAM. This mill was burned about 1875. Stephen G. ROGERS
& Son built a large woolen-mill a mile below the village in 1865 and
operated it about ten years. It was later owned by a Mr. LITCHFIELD and
A. D. CARTER, and was burned several years since. The first store at the
Center was near where Mrs. Truman BURR now lives, in which for many years
different merchants carried on business. Melvin N. RUSS did business here,
and was town clerk from 1836 to 1845. One store, town house, church (Methodist),
grist-mill, table and carriage shop, and twenty-five or thirty houses comprise
the present village. One lawyer, Hon. S. M. GLEASON, the present judge
of probate, has his residence and office here.
NORTH THETFORD (p. o.) village, a station on the Passumpsic railroad
located in the northeastern part of the town, contains two stores, one
steam saw-mill, two church organizations (Congregational and Methodist)
occupying one house of worship, two or three shops, and fifteen or twenty
dwellings. One or two merchants have done business here since about 1835.
But little manufacturing was carried on until 1883. The first merchant
here was Asa MERRILL, who came from Orford, N. H., before 1830, and the
second was Harvey ALLEN, from Lyme.
UNION VILLAGE (p. o.) is located where the river Ompompanoosuc crosses
the town and county line in both Thetford and Norwich. On the Thetford
side are located the store, post office, hotel, harness shop, a saw and
grist-mill, and about fifteen dwellings. Nearly one hundred years ago Samuel
B. LOCKE and his father built saw and grist-mills here, which formed the
nucleus of the village then called "Locke’s Mills." James WATERMAN, Alba
TUCKER, John HALL, and others were successively owners of the mills. John
HALL also built a woolen factory which was afterwards operated by Stephen
EASTMAN, who sold it to P. C. CAMBRIDGE about 1845, but these were all
destroyed by the great freshet in the fall of 1869. The principal merchants
here have been John HALL, M. J. WALKER (forty years), and J. K. BLAISDELL.
Thomas H. CHUBB's Fishing-rod manufactory, at Post Mills, was established
by the present proprietor in 1869. He first bought and enlarged the old
HINCKLEY oil-mill, but had barely placed the necessary machinery, in position
when it was swept away by the October freshet, in 1869. He immediately
rebuilt, erecting a wooden building 35x120 feet, three and a half stories
high, with an ell 24x30 feet for an engine-room, and began business in
the spring of 1870. In February, 1875, the buildings were destroyed by
fire, and immediately rebuilt. The works are lighted by gas, heated by
steam, and the machinery operated by either steam or water-power. Since
the start the business has steadily increased, new machinery and appliances
have been added as the necessity appeared, and now one man can with the
machinery used do the work of five in 1872. The business furnishes employment
for from fifty to sixty persons, and produces about $75,000 worth of rods,
reels, and fishing tackle annually. Mr. CHUBB supplies the trade and does
a custom order business. The best rods are made of selected split bamboo,
and range in weight from four to twenty-four ounces. Mr. CHUBB also controls
two saw-mills, which furnish lumber for the fishing-rod factory. It is
expected that this factory will soon be removed to Bradford, where the
business will be run by a stock company.
SAYER Brothers' extension table manufactory, at Thetford Center,
has been owned and operated by the present proprietors since 1883. They
manufacture from cherry, birch and ash, do custom planing, sawing and turning,
and repair wagons and sleighs. The machinery is operated by an excellent
MOULTON Brothers' grist-mill, at Thetford Center, was built by Stephen
A. FISH & Son about sixteen years ago, upon the water-privilege of
the old PORTER mill. It was bought by the present proprietors in 1883,
contains two runs of stones, is operated by water-power, and does custom
grinding. They also manufacture butter tubs, meat barrels, etc.
S.M. Ladd & Son's steam saw-mill, at North Thetford, was built
by S. M. LADD in 1883, and burned in April, 1886. It was at once rebuilt
and fitted with machinery for sawing and dressing lumber, sawing shingles
and lath, turning chair stock and grinding feed. It has the capacity for
manufacturing from 300,000 to 700,000 feet of lumber annually, and gives
employment to from two to five men.
John A. KENNEDY's saw-mill, on road 14, corner 18, was purchased
by the present owner in 1884. It is run by water-power, does custom work,
and has the capacity for manufacturing from 100,000 to 150,000 feet of
lumber and about 200,000 chair stretchers annually.
WATSON & THICKET's carriage repairing, painting and blacksmith
shop, at North Thetford, was established in 1882.
James E. BARRETT's saw and grist-mill, near Union Village, came
into his possession in 1881. The grist-mill was added in 1884. They are
operated either by steam or water-power, saw from 50,000 to 60,000 feet
of lumber and grind about 20,000 bushels of grain per year.
The Star flour and grist mill, at Post Mills, is a new, commodious,
and well-appointed establishment owned by Phineas KIMBALL, of Nauvoo, Ill.,
and operated by H. C. PUTNAM.
BURR & BACON's cider-mill, on road 15, manufactures about 400
barrels of cider a year.
Thetford academy is perhaps more widely known than any other public
institution in the town because of the large number who have pursued the
road to knowledge through its portals. It was established in 1819, largely
through the influence and labors of Capt. Lyman FITCH, who urged and secured
in the legislature the division of the state fund, and also gave the timber
and did much of the work to erect a building for its use. The first principal
was John FITCH, who was succeeded by Carlos SMITH, E. E. MARSH, and DeForest
RICHARDS. Hiram ORCUTT, now at the head of the Bureau of Education in Boston,
Mass., was the next principal, and held the position from 1843 to 1855,
during which time over 2,500 pupils were given instruction here. After
Mr. ORCUTT severed his connection with the school Gilbert E. HOOD served
from 1856 to '58, and J. W. NORTON till 1861. David TURNER was principal
from March, 1869, for over twelve years, and was succeeded by B. M. WELD,
who held the position from December, 1881, to May, 1883, and W. H. CUMMINGS
from that time to the present. 'Under Mr. CUMMINGS's management the school
has averaged from sixty-five to one hundred pupils and has enjoyed a high
degree of popularity. His own large and successful experience, and an able
corps of assistants, make this equal in efficiency to any similar institution
the state affords.
Latham Memorial library, which now numbers about 3,000 volumes,
is. the result of a bequest in the will of Mrs. Azubah LATHAM BARNEY, in
1875. She was a daughter of Capt. William Harris LATHAM, for many years
a highly esteemed member of the First Congregational church of Thetford.
To her legacies of $5,000 to the Congregational church and $5.000 to the
society, other members of the LATHAM family have added gifts, making the
total amount about $16,000 donated by this family for the public institutions
of the town. The library building was built partly by subscription and
party from the fund, and cost about $2,000. The library was opened to the
public in July, 1877.
Peabody library. -- In the early part of this century there came
to Post Mills a poor boy to live temporarily in the family of his mother's
brother, Eliphalet S. DODGE. His name was George PEABODY. How his after
life was passed, his grand financial success, and his memorial benefactions
are well known. Among them he remembered the village where a portion of
his, youth was passed, and in the summer of 1866, while on a visit here,
tendered the gift of a public library to the two school districts composing
the village. Accordingly, in September, 1866, he transferred to a committee
chosen for the purpose $5,000 in books and securities, $2,000 of which
was safely invested, the income to be used in the purchase of new books.
He afterwards gave $500 additional to the building fund. The building,
a tasteful wooden structure, cost $1,500. The site was presented by Hon.
Harvey DODGE, who has always served as librarian. The benefits to be derived
from over 3,000 volumes are thus made free to the inhabitants of this village,
and the privilege may be extended at the discretion of the board of trustees.
September 15, 1769, by vote of the town, Col. Jacob BAYLEY, of Newbury,
was selected as agent to petition the governor of New York for "privileges,
both civil and military, or either of them," for the inhabitants of Thetford,
a mission he seems to have undertaken in behalf of several towns jointly.
In 1774 warnings for meetings were dated "Province of New York,
Early in 1777 a negative vote was passed on the question, "whether
we are willing the convention of the State of New Connecticut should emit
a bank of £10,000," and later chose Abner CHAMBERLIN representative
"to the convention of Vermont" at Windsor, with the munificent salary of
nine shillings per day, "he to bear his own expenses."
In 1777 Capt. John STRONG, John WRIGHT, John ROBINSON and William
MOOR served as a committee of safety, and the same year seven men suspected
of tory sentiments were disarmed by the committee and made to take the
oath of allegiance before their arms were restored. March 26, 1777, William
MOOR, Abner HOWARD and Joseph HOSFORD, the "committee of inspection," took,
according to an act or resolve of Congress, the real estate and personal
property of Thomas SUMNER, who had left town on account of tory sympathies,
and placed Capt. John STRONG in charge of it, with instructions "to inspect
the boys and see that they are kept at work" for the maintenance of themselves
and the family.
August 25, 1780, the town "voted to raise six men one month as scouts
to guard the frontier," and chose Solomon STRONG, commander, and Amos CHAMBERLIN,
captain. Capt. William HEATON and Major Israel SMITH were selected as a
committee to provide for the six. The remuneration to each soldier was
eight bushels of wheat per month, as wages; and by vote of a subsequent
meeting an allowance of "a gill and a half of Rhum per day and other necessary
February 21, 1784, "voted to petition the Assembly to make Thetford
a half shire town," and an almanac for 1786 shows that the supreme court
of Vermont was to be held in Thetford on the third Tuesday in February,
and the Orange county court the second Tuesday in June.
The following is a list of the soldiers of the Revolution who are
buried in the several cemeteries in Thetford, and is as complete as we
have been able to make it: Richard WALLACE, Solomon CUMMINGS, Joshua TYLER,
Joshua PALMER, John FRIZZLE, Josiah Hubbard, Thaddeus LADD, Richmond CRANDALL,
Ensign Joseph WARE, Simon GILLETT, Col. Jonathan CHILD, Cyrel CHILD, Capt.
William HEATON, Capt. HOWARD, Capt. RYLEY, Bethuel NEWCOMB, Solomon STRONG,
Robert FOREST, Joseph FOSTER, Lemuel SOUTHWORTH, John GUILD, Joseph BRUCE,
John GODFREY, James TYLER, ____ KEYES, Job MORSE, Daniel D. BRYANT, and
The following soldiers of the War of 1812, including many "Plattsburgh
Volunteers," are also buried in this town: Timothy ABBOTT, Nehemiah HOWE,
Eliakim FRIZZLE, Capt. John TYLER, Elijah TILDEN, ____ PUTNAM, Col. Lyman
FITCH, Lyman WALKER, GEORGE W. Holton, Thomas WARE, Joseph WARE, Capt.
Oliver TAYLOR, Josiah PALMER, Jared HOSFORD, Aaron WILCOX, Calvin HOSFORD,
Eben CUMMINGS, Ira W. JOHNSON, Capt. W. H. LATHAM, Lyman HOWARD, Capt.
Isaac BALCH, Capt. Orange HEATON, Lieut. William HEATON, Col. Oramel HINCKLEY,
Capt. Ambrose STRONG, Joseph HOSFORD, Alva HEATON, Bela CHILD, James HEATON,
George MALTBY, Lemuel COLBURN, Jesse MCCLARY, David BRUCE, John GODFREY,
Jr., Henry GILLETT, Ebenezer WEST, Joseph CHAMBERLIN, Darius MOORE, and
Thetford furnished, under all calls in the civil war, 133 men, including
two captains, three lieutenants, nine sergeants, eleven corporals, two
quartermaster-sergeants, and two surgeons. Of these, fourteen died of disease
while in the service; two died of wounds, or were killed in battle; nine
were wounded in action; sixteen were discharged for disability; twenty
(of whom seventeen were substitutes) deserted; five were taken prisoners;
seven residents from Thetford served from other states, and nine from other
towns. The town paid $28,525 in bounties, and $500 expenses. Commutations
paid by individuals amounted to $1,500, and $6,600 was paid for substitutes.
The following soldiers of the civil war are buried in this town: Lieut.
L. SANBORN, Solon PORTER, Chester FRANKLIN, Charles H. HALL, Isaac A. BALCH,
J. Foster PALMER, William C. BABCOCK, Phineas S. PALMER, Arthur W. COMBS,
Capt. E. P. FROST, Quincey CAREY, George CURRIER, Lucian CURRIER, Orange
ALDRICH, Ransom ALDRICH, Timothy ROWELL, John SQUIRES, Ira W. MOORE, Joshua
N. STEVENS, William YARRINGTON, Samuel MACKEY, ____ CILLEY, Rufus D. ROBINSON,
James W. PARKER, Silas TURNER, Edward CARPENTER, and William CARPENTER.
A short sketch of the early physicians here will be of interest
to many. The first practitioner of the “healing art " in Thetford was undoubtedly
Dr. Augustus BURGOYNE, who settled where Henry A. CUMMINGS now lives, and
was the only physician in town for a number of years. His name is first
found upon the records in 1781. His successors have been many; but of few
can we present any definite account. At Thetford Hill Dr. Elijah HAMMOND
settled about 1790. He was born in Tolland, Conn., and when he was fifteen
years old his parents removed to Norwich. He studied medicine with Dr.
LEWIS, of Norwich, married Lydia Hutchinson, of that place, and passed
most of his life in Thetford, dying at Hebron, N. H., at the age of eighty-six-years.
Dr. Thomas KENDRICK came from Hanover, N. H., to Thetford Hill, and was
a physician and merchant. Of Dr. LEFFINGWELL and Dr. Joram ALLEN we-only
learn that they practiced here.
Dr. Daniel PALMER removed from Poultney to this place in the summer
of 1825, and continued in practice here six years, when, having been appointed
-to a professorship in the medical college at Woodstock, he removed thither.
With no early educational advantages save those afforded by a district
school, by unaided effort he attained an enviable position as a practitioner
and lecturer upon the science of medicine. His death, October 22, 1852,
at the age of fifty-two years, occurred at Pittsfield, Mass., resulting
from an accident which happened during the delivery of an illustrated lecture
Dr. Samuel W. THAYER removed to Thetford from Braintree in 1832,
and remained until about 1846. He passed his last years in Burlington.
Dr. Ezra C. WORCESTER located here in 1846. He graduated from Dartmouth
Medical college in the class of '38, dying in this town in July, 1887.
At Post Mills Dr. Samuel NILES was the first resident physician.
He was a son of Sands and Anna (LUDDEN) NILES, of West Fairlee, where he
practiced a few years before locating here (1807), where he continued in
practice until his death, in 1826. He married, first, Elizabeth KEZAR,
who bore him one son, Harry H., and by his second wife, ____ WILD, he had
two sons, George and Edward. Dr. Harry H. NILES, born in October, 1807,
graduated from Dartmouth Medical college, and began practice at Post Mills
in 1831, where, until 1881, he was an acknowledged leader as well in social
and political affairs as in his profession. He was one of the original
members of the Congregational church, of which he was deacon for eleven
years. He served as representative three terms, and in the state senate
in 1870-71. He married for his first wife Lucy HEATON, who bore him three
daughters, viz.: Elizabeth K. (LOW), of Washington., D. C.; Frances W.
(DODGE), of Post Mills, and Kate (GAREY), of Columbia, S. C. By his second
wife, Catharine (GILLETT) NILES, he has one daughter, Mary G.
Dr. Heman H. GILLETT was born on his present homestead in 1824,
the eldest son of Henry and Hannah (WALLACE) GILLETT. He was educated at
Thetford academy, graduated from Dartmouth Medical college in 1846, established
a practice in Corinth in 1848, where he continued until the breaking
out of the war. Being at Montpelier in 1861 as representative from Corinth,
he was commissioned assistant surgeon of the 8th Vermont Volunteers, and
entered upon the performance of his duties. Most of his army life was passed
in the Louisiana campaigns, and he was mustered out at the close of the
war as surgeon-in-chief of the second division of the sixth army corps.
Returning to Thetford he settled down upon the paternal homestead, where,
with his sister, he still resides. He has served his town two years as
representative, was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1869,
and since 1886 has served on the United States examining board for pensions.
At Thetford Center there is now no physician, though there have
at different times been a number located here in the practice of medicine,
among whom were Dr. CLARK, Dr. TOBIN, who was killed in the army, Dr. HOWARD,
an Englishman, who acquired wide notoriety by his daring experiments and
many notable cures, and who left the town somewhat under a cloud, and Dr.
Union Village has not lacked for numbers in the profession, though
but few remained any considerable length of time. Dr. William SWETT came
from Salisbury, N. H., practiced about forty years, and died here. Dr.
TYLER, a graduate of the Vermont Medical college when at Woodstock, went
to Vershire. Dr. Israel HINCKLEY, son of Joseph, graduated from Dartmouth
college, and died in this town. Dr. SPENCER also practiced here. Dr. Cyrus
Hamilton ALLEN left town as assistant surgeon of the 8th Vermont Volunteers,
became assistant surgeon of the 5th Regiment, and now resides in California.
Drs. GILLESPIE, BLANCHARD and WELCH each remained here for a brief period.
Dr. William L. PAINE, the present physician, is a native of Randolph, and
a graduate of the Medical department of the University of Vermont. He settled
here in 1883.
The first settlement in Thetford was made in May, 1764, by John
CHAMBERLIN, who came from Hebron, Conn. CHAMBERLIN remained here alone
until the next spring, when he was joined by Abner HOWARD, Benjamin BALDWIN,
Joseph HOSFORD and Joseph DOWNER, from the same place. John CHAMBERLIN,
by industry, soon arose to a kind of independence among his neighbors,
who dubbed him "Quail John," which name adhered to him through, life. The
following verse is credited to the muse of his fellow pioneer, Samuel OSBORN:
John was the first that come On,
as a calf in the spring;
he is rich as Governor FITCH,
like a lord or a king."
Tradition informs us that two of his brothers also came into the
wilderness, one locating in Newbury and the, other in Bradford, among the
first settlers in those towns. John CHAMBERLIN, "of Hebron, Conn.," received
his deed of "a certain right of land lying in the township of Thetford,
Province of New Hampshire," from Alexander PHELPS, of Hebron, April 9,
1764, "it being the same right granted to Philip MATTOON." In the following
May he came on, made his "pitch," began a clearing and erected his log
cabin near the river upon the present farm of H. M. SAYER in the southeast
part of the town. He was chosen to serve in at least two town offices at
the first town meeting, in 1768, and in one or more offices annually for
the succeeding ten years. He reared a large family, of whom Samuel was
the first white male child born in Thetford. Ebenezer, Joseph, Benjamin
and John, Jr., were the names of other sons, and Thankful that of one daughter.
Samuel CHAMBERLIN settled upon the hill west of where C. F. BOND now lives.
His children were Spencer C., Ruth, Josiah, Betsey, Lydia and Mary. Asahel
D. CHAMBERLIN, proprietor of the Elm House, Orford, N. H., born in Thetford,
July 5, 1827, is a son of SPENCER C.
Ebenezer CHAMBERLIN, son of John, was one of three or four Thetford
men who served both in the Revolution and War of 1812, entering the army
first when about sixteen years of age. He cleared a farm on the hill north
of Thetford village, now included in the homestead of his grandson, Oramel
F. His wife was a daughter of Noah SWETLAND, and their children were Hazen,
Anson, Russell, Seaver, Beriah, Lucinda and Eliza. Hazen passed his life
in Thetford, dying in December, 1867, aged seventy years. His first wife,
Clarissa WOOD, bore him two sons, and by his second wife, Asenath DOWNER,
he reared four, of whom Austin H., of Fairlee, married Sarah TIBBETTS,
of Bradford; Harvey A. is deceased; Oramel F. married Olive M. BRADLEY,
of Norwich; Wesley H. is a farmer in this town.
Joseph CHAMBERLIN, son of John, served in the War of 1812. He married
Electa SAYER, and their children were Mariah, who married John LADD, Mercy
A. (Mrs. A. WILMOT), Jane F., Edson C., George C., Lucian C., Olive J.,
Marcus A., Sylvanus S., Solon, M., and Julia A. (Mrs. WALLACE). Edson C.
a physician and died in Connecticut; George C. is a farmer in Minnesota;
Lucian C. is a farmer in Missouri; Marcus A. is a physician in Winthrop,
Iowa; Sylvanus S., a farmer, died in Littleton, N. H.; Solon M. is a farmer
in Northfield, Minn.
Joseph DOWNER, from Hebron, Conn., came to Thetford the second year
of its settlement. He settled where Henry DOWNER now lives, the first house
being built upon the meadow near the river. He had two sons, Cushman and
Gardner, and several daughters. Gardner married Mabel RANSTEAD, and to
them were born two sons, Ranstead and H. Harrison, and five daughters.
Sabrina, widow of T. J. COMBS, is the only one of these children now living.
Henry, son of H. Harrison, occupies the farm on which Joseph settled in
Joseph, Aaron, Elihu and Obadiah HOSFORD, from Hebron, Conn., were
early settlers in this town. Joseph, the first here, came with his wife
and infant daughter, March 3. 1766, and settled on the present A. B. WILCOX
farm. He was born in Hebron, Conn, in 1743. His wife, Mary PETERS, was
a descendant of Andrew PETERS, from Amsterdam, Holland, who located in
Andover, Mass., in 1665. They had a stockade of posts surrounding their
house, which was a haven of refuge in times of alarm during the Revolutionary
war. Twelve children were born to them. Col. Heman HOSFORD, one of the
sons, was a man of affairs, and excellent as a military officer. Aaron
HOSFORD located here a short time after his brother, on the farm now owned
by his grandson, Abner B. He was a blacksmith, the first in town, and married
Lucy STRONG, by whom he had four children -- Aaron, Jr., Joseph, John,
and Lucy. The mother of the pioneers Joseph, Aaron, Elihu and. Obadiah
came to Thetford and passed her later years with her sons, dying at the
house of Aaron. Clarence Kent HOSFORD, son of J. Tracy, is of the sixth
generation who have occupied the same farm. Aaron, Jr., went to New York.
John remained in town, but his sons removed to the West. Joseph married
Abigail, daughter of Timothy BARTHOLOMEW, and reared twelve children. Their
eldest son, Isaac, graduated from Dartmouth college and Andover Theological
seminary, preached many years in Massachusetts, and in 1860 returned to
his native town, where he died in 1883. He was a. man of great learning,
benevolence and piety. Urial was a farmer and gave up his personal ambitions
to provide means to educate his brothers and sisters. He married Martha
KINSMAN and reared three sons and two daughters. Josiah was a mason and
builder. Willard HOSFORD, M. D., graduated from Dartmouth, located in Orford,
N. H., and practiced there over fifty years. Bradley resides in Springfield,
Massachusetts, and is engaged in literary work. Abner B. HOSFORD has been
a life-long farmer upon the old homestead. He married Eliza A. SAWYER,
of Lyme, N. H., and they have one son, Joseph Tracy HOSFORD. Rev. Benjamin
F. graduated from Dartmouth and was settled at Haverhill, Mass., where
he died at the age of forty-six years. Of the daughters of Joseph and Abigail
HOSFORD but one is now living -- Harriet M., widow of G. G. CUSHMAN. Elihu
HOSFORD, the third of the four pioneers, located where C. N. BALCH now
lives, previous to 1772. Deacon Jared, his son, was a town and church officer,
and passed his life in Thetford. William removed to Ohio. His son Oramel
is a professor in Olivet college, in Michigan. Obadiah HOSFORD, the fourth
one of the brothers, located on Potato hill and reared eight children.
Samuel GILLETT and wife, from Lebanon, Conn., were among the earliest
settlers in Thetford, and located where E. P. DAY now lives. He was the
first selectman of the board chosen at the organization of the town in
1768. He was a man of means, and brought with him two negro slaves, to
whom he gave homes. He and his wife were among the founders of the Congregational
church. They had two sons, Nijah and Simon, and eight daughters. Simon,
who served in the Revolutionary war, married Mary, daughter of Joseph HOSFORD,
and had born to him seven sons and eight daughters. His son Henry was orderly-sergeant
of the East company in Thetford in 1814, when they started for the battle
of Plattsburgh. He lived to the age of ninety-four, honored and respected,
after serving his town in the highest offices. His wife, Hannah, was a
daughter of Richard WALLACE. Dr. H. H. GILLETT and his sister are the only
representatives of this family and name in Thetford.
The name of HOWARD is represented in the first list of town officers
by Abner, Zebedee, Edward and Elijah, and these names often recur in the
early records. Zebedee came from Hebron, Conn., and located upon the present
farm of C. S. SAYER, which he cleared. He married Rhoda MANN, and died
in January, i800. Their only child, Mercy, married, in 1793, Sylvanus SAYER,
who came from Southampton, L. I., in 1791, and they became the parents
often children, of whom three died in childhood. Electa married Joseph
CHAMBERLIN. Anna married Jeremiah CUMMINGS. Julia and Cynthia were first
and second wives of Henry CURRIER. Zebedee Howard SAYER married. Lucy WARKS,
of Springfield, Vt., reared five sons and one daughter, dying in 1880,
aged seventy-five years. Sylvanus Howell SAYER married Abigail GRIFFIN,
of Hanover, N. H. He served as deputy and high sheriff, and in various
local offices, dying in 1882 at the age of seventy-two years. Francis Albert
SAYER became a lawyer in New York.
Israel SMITH, son of Benjamin and Hannah (BERBER) SMITH, of Colchester,
Conn., was born in 1741, and was one of the few original grantees of Thetford
who made a settlement here. He located where T. D. SANBORN now lives, previous
to 1770. He was town clerk in 1770, served as selectman ten years, was
representative to Cornish convention, secretary of the committee of safety,
and judge of the county court. He died in Alstead, N. H in 1809. His wife
was Jemima PAYNE, and they had two children, Israel Barber and Jemima.
Israel Barber SMITH was born in June, 1771, and during his, life was a
substantial farmer in his native town. About the year 1800 he made a clearing
and built his cabin on the farm now owned by his grandson, Solon G., and
since that time the place has never been owned outside the family. He married
Anna DEWEY, was the father of three sons, and died at the age of seventy-one.
His eldest son, Israel Harvey SMITH, born in 1795, was a teacher of vocal
music, and for twenty years was chorister of the Congregational church
at Thetford. In the militia he held the rank of colonel. For about ten
years he was engaged in the manufacture of brass musical instruments at
Winchester, N. H., but returned to Thetford, where he died in 1880. He
married Margaret B. GRAVES, and their children are Solon G. and Anna D.,
the latter the wife of George LESLIE, cashier of the bank at Wells River.
Oramel H. SMITH, son of Israel B., became a lawyer and practiced for fifty
years at Montpelier. Royal Hammond SMITH, son of Israel B., was a manufacturer
of musical instruments at Winchester, N. H., and at Thetford Center. Solon
G. SMITH has devoted much of his life to the science of music, which he
first taught in Thetford academy while a student there, and for eight years
preceding the civil war in southern literary institutions, where his wife
(Edna PENNOCK) taught drawing.
Moses CADWELL settled where Galin TERRY now lives sometime previous
to 1772. In 1779 he served as selectman. His son Moses was a farmer, and
lived near the place now occupied by Carlos SLAFTER, and at one time also
owned and operated a lead mine on Thetford hill. He married Sarah HOSFORD,
and their eldest son, Moses H., married Elizabeth KINNEY. Harvey Hart CADWELL,
son of Moses H., was born in 1831. He married Frances R. COBURN, of Newbury,
is a farmer, and has four children now living.
Timothy BARTHOLOMEW settled in Thetford about 1772. He married Esther
GRANT, of Lyme, N. H., was a man of eminent piety and intellectual ability,
often served his town in public office, and was commissioner of the state
to sell the confiscated tory estates in Orange county in 1780. He was an
accomplished surveyor, and as a trial justice was famed for his uprightness.