Wallace HEATON, of Montpelier, was born in Berlin, August 25, 1811, and
is the son of Dr. Gershom HEATON, who moved to Berlin in 1795, and Polly
(WALLACE) HEATON. His education was in the common schools, and in St. Lawrence
Academy at Potsdam, N. Y., and Washington County Grammar School. He read
law with J. P. MILLER and N. BAYLIES, Jr., was admitted to the bar, November
term, 1835, and -- the firm of MILLER & BAYLIES dissolving that year
-- at once became a member of the law firm of MILLER & HEATON. Col.
MILLER's health in 1839 obliged him to retire from practice, and with Charles
REED the firm of HEATON & REED was formed, which lasted till Mr. REED's
death, March 7, 1873.
He was state's attorney in 1839, 1841, 1860, and 1861, and representative
in 1848. When J. Y. VAIL resigned, as county clerk Judge I. F. REDFIELD
and his associates offered the place to Mr. HEATON, but he kept at the
law, thinking rightly that in its steady pursuit he would find his account.
He was the candidate of the Democrats for speaker in 1848, for governor
in 1869 and 1870, and for Congress in 1872 and 1874. His first vote was
for Andrew Jackson, and in Rebellion days he was a war Democrat. He would
probably call himself a Jeffersonian Democrat, and his definitions are
generally correct. I have always wished that he was a Republican, but while
at times I have thought he was almost under conviction he has never exhibited
any indications of coming forward into the anxious seats; and instead of
seeing my old law instructor come over to the right side I have lost off
my partner to the Democrats.
Mr. HEATON's professional life and his later engagements in other
fields have been above all an example of steady and persistent work, and
his successes have all been earned by painstaking labor and care. Conservative,
cautious, and industrious, he has made progress in the walks of life by
regular steps, -- good long ones, some of them, though, -- and has attempted
no advancement by sudden flights. But all the while he has been genial
in social life and not averse to its enjoyment. That "stern mistress, the
Law," has been known now and then to look without disapproval on timely
amusements, and even the venerable Hannibal HAMLIN is remembered as a good
dancer as well as a good Vice-President. In court, too, a quick turn sometimes
helps when rightly made, as did Mr. HEATON's suggestion when trying to
get the bonds chancered in a case where his absent client in a drunken
frenzy had flourished a revolver and put a bullet through a man's hat and
hair. The state's attorney was earnest in opposing the chancering of the
bonds, for the assault was really an outrageous one, but he unfortunately
several allusions to the "bullet through the hat," so that Mr. HEATON's
only suggestion in reply, “but the hat, your honors, was an old straw hat,"
finally characterized the case in the minds of the Judges, and the bonds
were greatly cut down.
Mr. HEATON was always a good “all round" lawyer, and while he was
a good pleader his special strength was in his extensive knowledge of real
estate law and in his careful conduct of all the business interest of his
clients and in his power as a jury lawyer. He was, though an easy speaker
and a good advocate, not given to flights of oratory, and an adversary
might for once (but never a second time) underrate what he had to contend
with. A verdict for his client was the goal aimed at, and he scored in
his professional life full more arrivals at the point of destination than
was his share. His success was obtained by careful preparation, lasting
vigilance, and going around such obstacles, as he could not remove. Of
late years he has kept out of practice all that he could to devote himself
to the conservation and increase of his large property, and to the management
of the Montpelier Savings Bank and Trust Company, of which he has been
president since its organization, and which is as financially sound and
honest as Mr. HEATON himself. This large business institution is confessedly
a model of its kind, and none would rate Mr. HEATON's efforts higher towards
making it such a model than Mr. BROCK, Mr. BENIN, and his other associates
in its management.
I wish here to acknowledge the value of Mr. HEATON's and Mr. J.
A. WING's reminiscences of the bar during the second third of this century,
and of the traditions by them preserved of the earlier bar and Judges.
Mr. HEATON and Mr. EWING are the fathers of our bar, -- ex-Gov. DILLINGHAM
is its good grandfather, -- and we thus have "more ancestors than wealth”;
and indeed had we a good big pot of wealth we should take more pride in
our ancestry than in it. They have all been kind and helpful to tile younger
members of the bar, and when we have got any distance from what is the
right way it is a sure sign we haven't followed their advice. It should
be here justly said that good feeling towards each other has been peculiarly
a mark of Washington County bar from the very first. This feeling is strengthened
by the example of these three men, and the high respect in which they have
always held their own profession has no doubt elevated its standard in
the county as well as given them their high place in the minds of the community
at large and their brethren of the bar.
Mr. HEATON married Harriet STEAMS, of Boston, July 1, 1841. She
died April 26, 1859. Three of their four children are now living -- Charles
H., James S., and Homer W.
Charles REED, of Montpelier, son of Joseph and Elizabeth (BURNAP),
was born in Thetford, November 24, 1814. His father moved to Montpelier
in 1827 -- they came in the winter, and I have heard Mr. REED say that,
as they were coming into town, they met Gen. WALTON driving a span of fine
horses, and that the equipage as the General dashed by awed him by its
magnificence as nothing had since.
Mr. REED graduated at Dartmouth in 1835, read with W. UPHAM, and
was two years in Harvard Law School. He was admitted at the April term,
1838, and finished his law school studies and graduating LL. B. in 1839.
In 1839 he began practice, forming a partnership with H. W. HEATON, under
the name of HEATON & REED, which lasted more than a third of a century,
and in the same office the whole time.
Mr. REED was state's attorney in 1847 and 1848; state librarian
from 1858 till his death, and also librarian of the Vermont Historical
society, and was a valuable legislator as representative from Montpelier
and senator from this county. He was particularly a Supreme Court lawyer,
and, in the division of labor between him and Mr. HEATON, that part of
the firm's practice fell to his share. He was a public spirited citizen
and gave himself to much work in all matters that promoted the public good.
He was as good a lawyer as any who practiced at this bar in his time, and
the bar and the court knew it -- the men who won verdicts had trouble in
keeping them when he was on the other side, and many cases came to his
hands after they had left the County Court on their way up.
He was a man of marked personality, and pages might be filled with
his wise and terse sayings. A student in his office, as the years go by
I remember him with the same affection and with, if possible, increased
respect-for experience shows the value and the rarity of such knowledge
as his, of such men as he.
A just estimate of Mr. REED by Rev, J. Edward WRIGHT is found in
vol. 4, p. 513; and a sketch appears in the Vermont Bar Association's
Proceedings for 1880.
Mr. REED married Emily Eliza BALDWIN, June 5, 1842. Of their five
children, one, Minnie G., is now living: she resides with her mother in
Montpelier. Another daughter, Elizabeth Burnap REED, was the wife of Col.
LUCIA, and died leaving three children. Mr. REED died March 7, 1873.
George Washington REED, brother of Charles, was born in Thetford,
November 4, 1817, graduated at U. V. M, in 1838, and was admitted to the
bar, and he was a lawyer of Montpelier from 1842, but never pursued the
practice. He was postmaster of Montpelier from 1845 four years, and has
long been secretary of the National Life Insurance Company. He married
Almira ROBINSON, of Boston, in June, 1853. Mr. REED was admitted to the
Washington County bar, he tells me, in the days when Stillman CHURCHILL
was clerk of the court, which explains why there is no record of his admission.
Joseph Addison WING, of Montpelier, son of Josiah and Polly (GRAY)
WING, was born in what is now East Montpelier, October 26, 1810. He went
to district schools in the summer till seven years old and then to winter
district schools till he was eighteen, and attended the Grammar School
three months. He lamed his shoulder, concluded to study law, entered his
name in MERRILL & SPAULDING's office, used to come and get books once
in two weeks, meantime working on the farm three miles from here and reading
at home, until November, 1834, when he came into their office and read
there till April, 1835. He went, to Plainfield, May 13, 1835, and began
practice and says: "I supposed, in 1835, when I started, I knew just as
much law as I suppose I know now." He was admitted April term, 1836.
Mr. WING is especially a chancery lawyer. He has all his life delighted
in that form of practice. Another delight of his has been pleading in law
cases. He used to read the pleadings in every case in court. And he has
always been ready and willing to give the younger members of the bar the
benefit of his knowledge of pleadings and practice. He knows more statute
law and points decided by the courts than any other man who has been at
this bar. He is an indefatigable worker, and to this day carefully prepares
and writes out at length many of his arguments.
One of his first cases is illustrative of the man and the lawyer.
James BELL in 1836 brought suit for a client before a justice in Caledonia
county. WING was employed to defend, got beaten, and took an appeal to
County Court. There he called in L. B. PECK to help him; they got beaten;
WING told PECK he was going up to the Supreme Court; PECK said not to do
it. WING carried it up all the same, got a new trial, went back to the
County Court, and got beaten worse than ever. PECK said: "You've got beat
this time"; WING said: "No, there is a hole just big enough for me to get
through." I. F. REDFIELD was presiding in the County Court; WING had taken
exceptions and asked to have them allowed; REDFIELD said there was nothing
in them and that he would not stay execution. WING said: "Your honor, the
execution is yours, the exceptions are mine." He went up to the Supreme
Court again, got another trial ordered, and at that trial in the County
Court ended the case by getting a verdict ordered for the defendant, the
plaintiff not being able to change his case from what the last exceptions
showed it to, have been at the preceding trial.
Mr. WING moved from Plainfield to Montpelier, in June, 1858, and
has practiced in Montpelier ever since. He marred Samantha Elizabeth WEBSTER,
January 1, 1840, and their sons, George W. and John G., and their daughters,
Mrs. Florence A. BLAKELY, Mrs. Annette M. FARWELL, Alice M., and Elizabeth
B., all live in Montpelier.
George Washington WING; of Montpelier, son of J. A., was born in
Plainfield, October 22, 1843, graduated at Dartmouth in 1866, read law,
and was admitted in this county, March term, 1868. He was assistant state
librarian in 1864 and 1866, deputy secretary of state from 1867 to 1873,
town representative in 1882, and postmaster from July, 1884, to July, 1888.
Mr. WING has a good law practice, and entertains and instructs whether
before the jury or the court, or on the stump. He is at once scholarly
and practical, and has an enviable power of illustration peculiar to himself.
Mr. WING, December 1, 1869, married Sarah E., daughter of Dr. Orlando
P. and Millie (HENDEE) FORBUSH, of Montpelier, who died in April, 1871,
leaving one daughter, Sarah FORBUSH. Mr. WING in 1882 married Miss Ida
I. JONES, of Montpelier.
John Gray WING, of Montpelier, son of T. A., was born in Montpelier,
October 20, 1859, read law with his father, and was admitted September
term, 188o. He has practiced ever since in Montpelier, studies his cases
carefully, and argues them well. He married, August 16, 1882, Dora M. HATHAWAY,
daughter of Charles and Elizabeth HATHAWAY. They have one child, Charles
Marcellus N. FLETCHER, of Plainfield, a nephew of Joseph A. WING,
was admitted to Washington County bar, March term, 1856, and went at once
to Plainfield, where he entered into partnership with Mr. WING, and practiced
law till his death, in June, 1858.
William Henry Harrison BINGHAM, of Stowe, son of Elias and Martha
(ROBINSON) BINGHAM, was born in Fletcher, April 13, 1813, read law and
was admitted in Washington county, November term, 1836, and began practice
in Stowe, where he remained until in 1877 he made his business headquarters
in Montpelier, where he was for some years president of the Vermont Mutual
Fire Insurance Company. He was state's attorney for Lamoille county for
four years, and has held numerous other positions, being now, as he has
been for more than ten years, a director of the state prison and house
BINGHAM was, in 1874, 1876, and 1878, the Democratic candidate for governor,
and would long ago have been governor of his native state had he belonged
to a party not in the minority. As it is he is "Governor Bingham" to his
host of friends throughout the state, not because he has been governor,
but because he deserved to be. The Biographical Encyclopedia of Vermont
and Hemenway give more full sketches.
BINGHAM married, July 31, 1838, Orpha R., daughter of Riverius CAMP, of
Stowe. They last summer celebrated their golden wedding, at which there
was a most notable gathering of Vermonters.
Heman CARPENTER, of Northfield, son of Nathaniel and Abigail (MORSE)
CARPENTER, was born in Middlesex, July 10, 181 r, read law with W. UPHAM,
and was admitted November term, 1836. He at once began practice in Northfield,
and there continued the remainder of his useful and honorable life. Judge
CARPENTER held many offices of importance, and his life was full of professional
and business duties too numerous to be here described. I refer the reader
to Frank PLUMLEY's appreciative sketch of his old instructor in the law,
read at the meeting of the Vermont Bar Association in 1885.
He married, November 14, 1838, Harriet S. GILCHRIST, who died June
21, 1865, and left four children who survive: Col. George N., of Boston;
Jason H., of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Mrs. Caroline S. PORTER and Mrs.
Abigail F. HOWES, both of Northfield. Mr. CARPENTER, October 16, 1866,
married Betsey S. EDGERTON. Judge CARPENTER died at Northfield, January
16, 1884. His son George N. graduated at the U. V. M. in 1860, read law
a few months, enlisted, was a captain in the 8th Vt., and is now in Boston,
the general agent of the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company.
Albert V H. CARPENTER, of Northfield, .a brother of Heman, was born
in Middlesex, read law with his brother Heman, and was admitted April term,
1884. He began practice in Strafford and remained there till 1847, when
he went to Northfield and practiced for a time, being admitted to the Supreme
Court bar in 1853, but soon turned his attention to railroading, and for
nearly thirty years has been general ticket agent of the Milwaukee &
St. Paul Railway lines, with headquarters at Milwaukee and Chicago.
Harman G. REYNOLDS was from Berlin and was admitted November term,
1836. He went West, to Illinois Mr. WING says; and Gov. BINGHAM says he
became an editor.
Rufus C. SMITH, of Waterbury, practiced in that town from 1836 till
his death, which was about 1854. I as yet find nothing further concerning
him except that he was a reputable lawyer.
William Wellington WELLS, of Waterbury, son of Roswell and Pamelia
(WHITE) WELLS, was born in Waterbury, October 28, 1805, and died there
April 9, 1869. He graduated from the U. V. M. in 1824, read law and was
admitted in Chittenden county, but went into business and returned to Waterbury,
and never practiced law. He married Eliza, dauaghter of Dan CARPENTER,
January 31, 1831. They had ten children, of whom seven sons and one daughter
grew up. Gen. William WELLS, of Burlington, is one of the sons, and Mrs.
James W. BROCK, of Montpelier, the daughter. See Hemenway, vol. 4, p. 852,
for longer sketch.
John RICHARDSON, of Barre, is given in the Registers as a practicing
lawyer in that town for two years. He was there in 1836 and 1837.
Aaron BAILEY is given in a Register as a practicing attorney in
Woodbury in 1836.
Harlow P. SMITH, of Berlin and sometime of Cabot, was an attorney
there in 1836. He went to Hyde Park in a short time and was in practice
there a number of years. He was at one time state's attorney of Lamoille
Augustus Pingry HUNTON, of Bethel, son of Dr. Ariel and Polly (PINGRY)
HUNTON, of Hyde Park, was born at Groton, N. H., February 23, 1816, read
law with Joshua SAWYER at Hyde Park, W. C. WILSON at Bakersfield, and then
with William M. PINGRY at Waitsfield, and was admitted in Washington county,
April term, 1837. He practiced at Warren, and in 1838 went to Bethel and
was a partner of Julius CONVERSE till 1844, when he went to Chelsea and
practiced till 1848, when he returned to Bethel and has practiced there
since. He was speaker of the House of Representatives in 1861. Mr. HUNTON's
ability deserved still higher preferment, and he is a lawyer of great skill.
See Churl's Orange County Gazetteer and Pingry Genealogy for further notices.
He married Caroline PAIGE, of Bethel, April 29, 1849, and, their daughter
Mary is the wife of William B. C. STICKNEY, of Bethel.
George Barney MANSER, D. D., of Montpelier, son of John and Sarah
(BARNEY) MANSER, was born at New Haven, Conn., August 8, 1803. He read
law at Danville, practiced at Williston, was secretary to the Governor
and Council, and afterwards civil and military secretary from 1832 to 1841,
removed to Montpelier in 1837, and practiced law till 1841. He entered
the Episcopal ministry in 1843 and was the first rector of Christ church
in Montpelier, 1843 to 1850; he then went to Bennington, where he was rector
of St. Peter's till his death. He married, June 12, 1831, Mary, daughter
of Augustin CLARK, of Danville; and he died in Bennington, November 17,
Stillman H. CURTIS, son of Col. Caleb CURTIS, of North Calais, read
law with S. C. EATON, and was admitted April term, 1838. He practiced four
or five years in Plainfield and died of consumption.
Stillman CHURCHILL, son of Noah CHURCHILL, of Stowe, was admitted
in Washington county, April term, 1839, and began practice in Montpelier.
He was clerk of the court from 1840 till 1844, when he went to Stowe, and
in about twelve years returned to Montpelier. He afterwards went West and
was eight years ago living in Chicago.
George W. STONE, of Cabot, was a practicing attorney in that town
most of the time from 1839 to about 1865.
Benjamin H. ADAMS, of Waitsfield, was born in Tunbridge in 1810,
and was, I think, admitted in Orange county at the June term, 1838. He
was admitted to the Supreme Court bar in Washington county, March term,
1842. He began practice in Waitsfield in 1839, and there continued till
his death, in October, 1849. He was a good advocate, and might have attained
distinction had his habits and health been different. He was a man whose
ready wit made him remembered long after his asthma and appetite had, wrought
Alley SPAULDING, of Roxbury, is given as an attorney in that town
from 1839 to 1842 in the Registers, but probably this was merely to put
collection business into his hands, as Mr. HEATON says he was never a member
of the bar.
Robert S. M. BOUCHETTE, of Montpelier, opened an office here in
1840 and remained a few months. He was a man of fine appearance and of
ability, and had been editor of the Quebec Liberal. He engaged in the "Patriot
war," otherwise called the Papineau Rebellion, and in December, 1837, in
the fight at Moore's Corner, was shot in the ankle and taken prisoner by
the British. He was transported to Bermuda, came to Vermont and was admitted
to the bar in Franklin county in 1839, and came to Montpelier the next
year probably on account of his friendship for J. A. VAIL. He afterwards
had an office in Burlington, and Thompson says was, in 1860, in Montreal.
O.H.P. MILLER was admitted to Washington County bar at the April
George GALE, of Waterbury, began practice there in 1840 and continued
three years, when he went to Wisconsin. I suppose him to have been a brother
of Mrs. Hannah Gale LUCE, daughter of Peter and Hannah GALE, who with her
husband moved to Galesville, Wis., in 1857, and that George GALE was the
founder of Galesville.
Alpheus TILDEN, of Barre, was admitted at the April term, 1841,
and practiced there six years or more. He was a brother of Judge Harvey
TILDEN, and removed to New York, but returned and died at Barre. He left
a widow. [See sketch of his brother, Judge Harvey TILDEN, at close of
Of Washington County, Vt. 1783-1899,
and Published by Hamilton Child,
By William Adams.
Journal Company, Printers and Binders.
N. Y.; April, 1889.