town of Dover is situated in the western part of Windham county, is 20
miles northwesterly from Brattleboro and 12 miles westerly from Newfane,
the present county seat. It was originally chartered as a part of
the township of Wardsborough [Wardsboro], and was granted to William WARD
and 51 others by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont on the 7th
day of November, 1780. The charter was signed by Thomas CHITTENDEN,
Governor, and Jonas FAY, Secretary. By the terms of the grant, as
imposed by the General Assembly, the proprietors were to pay the sum of
eight pounds and ten shillings each, and to settle the township within
three years after the war, or when safety to the inhabitants would admit.
The town [Wardsborough] was organized March 14, 1786, and Aaron
HUDSON was the first town clerk. Extending across the town from east
to west, and in about the central part thereof, is a high range of hills,
which rendered it exceedingly inconvenient, and at some seasons of the
year almost impossible for the inhabitants on either side communicating
and doing business with each other. On the 18th day of October, 1788,
at a session of the General Assembly held at Manchester, the town was divided
into two separate and distinct districts by a line commencing at a point
on the eastern boundary of said town and equi-distant from the northeast
and southeast corners thereof, thence running westerly to a point on the
western boundary of said town, and equi-distant from the northwest and
south west corners thereof; that portion lying north of said line
to be called the North District of Wardsborough, and all lying south to
be called the South District of Wardsborough. By this act of division
each district was entitled to have, and thereafter did have, a separate
and distinct set of town officers and records; but the two together
were entitled to but one representative in the General Assembly.
Abner PERRY, a resident of the South District, was elected town
representative in 1803, and this was the only occasion that a representative
was given to that part of the town while the district system remained.
The inhabitants of the South District frequently petitioned the Legislature
to constitute them into a separate town, but without success, until Oct.
30, 1810, when they procured the passage of an act, entitled "An act incorporating
the North and South Districts of Wardsborough, in the County of Windham,
into two separate and distinct towns," which said act provided that the
North District should thereafter be called and known by the name of of
Wardsboro, and the South District by the name of Dover.
On the 16th day of Nov., 1869, by an act of the Legislature, that
portion of the town of Wilmington lying directly west of the town of Dover,
being a strip of land two miles in width and which previous to November
2, 1858, was a part of the town of Somerset, was annexed to Dover.
The town as now constituted is about four miles wide from north to south,
and eight miles on the north line, comprising in round numbers about 22,000
acres of land.
The town has no natural ponds, nor any considerable streams of water;
but several branches of the West river and a branch of the Deerfield river
have their rise here, which afford several small mill privileges.
The surface of the town is exceeding uneven, and a view from some of its
highest hills present to the eye scenes both picturesque and grand.
Looking to the west may be seen the Haystack, and from it extending north
and south the range of the Green Mountains for a long distance can easily
be traced. To the northeast the Ascutney looms up in the distance,
and still beyond may be seen some of the white Mountains of New Hampshire;
looking eastwardly, one has a fine view of Mt. Monadnock, with the valleys
of the West river and the Connecticut lying between; turning to the
southeast and the south, the eye takes in a vast amphitheatre of hills
and valleys, with Wauchusett, Mt. Holyoke and Mt. Tom forming a magnificent
background. The soil is hard of cultivation, yet some good crops
are produced thereon, and the hillsides afford excellent grazing.
The first settler was Abner PERRY, who came in alone from Holliston,
Mass., in 1779, and made a clearing on the farm ever after occupied by
him, and now owned and occupied by Asaph ADAMS. He returned to Holliston
in the fall, but came back again in the spring of 1780, bringing with him
Joshua KENDALL of the same town, who settled on the farm recently owned
and occupied by Preston ADAMS.
The same season William HALL of Upton, Mass., came in and settled
on the farm where he lived and died, since occupied by his son, Lewis,
and now occupied by Adelbert JEFTS. In 1781, Ebenezer SPARKS and
Robert LOVE of Killingly, Conn., settled in town, the former on the farm
now occupied by Charles WENTWORTH and the latter on the farm now occupied
by Isaac L. GOULD. In 1782, these early pioneers brought their wives
into this new settlement, that was to be their future home. They
were followed during this and the few succeeding years by Jonathan K. WELLS,
who settled on the farm now occupied by George BOLSTER; Timothy WOOD
and Aaron WOOD of Warwick, Mass., the former settling on the farm recently
occupied [by] Warren BROWN, and the latter on the farm now occupied by
Charles BEMIS; Joseph BRIGGS of Old Marlboro, Mass., who settled
in the west part of the town, where he resided a few years, then bought
out Jonathan K. WELLS, moved on to the place and occupied it until his
death Feb. 16, 1850, at the age of 92 years; James SLADE, Silas WRIGHT,
Reuben CHITTENDEN and a Mr. RICHARDSON were among the early settlers, but
it is now impossible to ascertain from whence they came or where they settled,
with the ex[c]eption of Mr. SLADE, who settled on what is now known as
the "ESTABROOKS Hill;" so were also Gamaliel ELLIS, John and Oliver
KEMP, who settled on the hill southwesterly of the present village of West
Dover, on lands now owned by Hosea MANN. Among others of the early
settlers who came to town previous to 1790, may be mentioned Gardner HOWE
of Shrewsbury, Mass., Ebenezer and William SEARS, Roger Birchard (maternal
grandfather of President HAYES), of Mansfield, Conn., Elijah BALDWIN, of
the same town, who settled on the farm now occupied by Hosea MANN 2d;
William HASKINS of Hardwick, Mass., who settled on what has since been
known as the "WHIPPLE Place," and where he built the first frame house
ever erected in town; Lemuel OSGOOD, who settled on the farm now
owned and occupied by Lorenzo L. HOWE, sold it in 1794 to Abraham JONES
of Milford, Mass., since which time it has been owned and occupied by Whitney
JONES, Laban JONES, Laban JONES, jr. and Carlos K. JONES, respectively.
Mr. OSGOOD then moved to the farm now owned and occupied by George B. BOYD,
where he lived and died. David JOHNSON, who settled on the farm now
occupied by John SYLVESTER; Silas JOHNSON, who settled on the "ESTABROOKS
Hill," on lands now owned by Joshua F. PARKER, where he erected and kept
the first tavern in town. Also Isaac LASDELL [LAZELL], Josiah H.
WHEELER, Aaron THOMPSON, Luther JOHNSON, Daniel WARNER, Uzziel PUTNAM,
Abner SLADE, Eliphaz STEARNS, and Jesse MARSH.
The first marriage celebrated in town was between Ebenezer SPARKS
and Margaret LOVE, in the year of 1782. The ceremony was performed
in a log house, by the Rev. Hezekiah TAYLOR of Newfane, to which the settlers
were generally invited. It is related of Parson TAYLOR, that, he
had a habit when at prayer, of rising upon his tip-toes and then settling
down upon his heels, obviously, to give emphasis to his words. On
this occasion, while the Parson was engaged in prayer, and growing unusually
fervent, he came down upon his heels with such sudden force that the floor
gave way and the whole party were precipitated into the cellar.
The first child born in town was Anna, daughter to Abner and Anna
PERRY, July 18, 1782; she afterwards married Ebenezer JONES, and
was the mother of Hon. Wm. H. JONES. The second was Sarah, daughter
to Ebenezer and Margaret SPARKS, born Sept. 29, 1782. In 1800, she
married Aaron WOOD, who died in about four months thereafter. She
then married William BUGBEE, December 15, 1801, with whom she lived until
his death Sept. 11, 1862; she died May 23, 1867, aged 84 years.
The third was Samuel, son to William and Lois HALL, born Dec. 19, 1782.
The fourth was Alpha, son to Silas and Mary WRIGHT, born July 27, 1783.
The early settlers of this township experienced many severe hardships
and privations in their newly selected home. They lived in log houses
and erected temporary shelters for their stock, which were but poor apologies
for barns during the long cold winters which followed. But they were
men and women of strong constitutions, possessed of a determined and iron
will, for whom toil and privation only served to call forth greater efforts
on their part, to make their homes comfortable and leave to their posterity
an example of prudent thrift, sterling integrity and manly intelligence.
Abner PERRY, the earliest settler in town, died very suddenly Sept. 2,
on Dover Common, while attending freeman's meeting. His widow deceased
Aug. 19, 1862, aged 99 years, 8 months and 10 days, being the oldest person
that ever died in the town, although many of the early settlers lived to
be upwards of 85 and 90 years of age.
MEETINGS AND OFFICERS
The first meeting for the election of officers in the Wardsborough
South District, was held at the dwelling house of James SLADE, March 10,
1789, when the following were chosen: David JOHNSON, moderator and
town clerk; David JOHNSON, Aaron THOMPSON and Luther JOHNSON, selectmen;
Daniel WARNER, treasurer; Ebenezer SEARS, constable; Wm. STANDCLIFF,
collector; Elijah BALDWIN, Isaac LASDELL and William HASKINS, listers;
Barnard CONVERSE, sealer of leather; Roger BIRCHARD and William HALL,
grand jurors; Nathan GANSON, pound keeper; Nathan BAXTER, hayward;
Silas WRIGHT and Uzziel PUTNAM, tithingmen; Abner SLADE, fence-viewer;
Jacob STAPLES, Daniel WARNER, Nathan GANSON, William HASKINS, Silas WRIGHT,
William SEARS, Barnard CONVERSE and William HALL, highway surveyors; William
HALL, Abner SLADE, Luther JOHNSON, Roger BIRCHARD, Abner PERRY and Elijah
STEARNS, petit jurors; William HALL, sealer of weights and measures.
On the 18th of June, 1789, William HALL, Roger BIRCHARD, Abner PERRY,
William HASKINS and Abner SLADE were chosen a committee to find the center
of the town. This committee made their report at a meeting held October
8, 1792, when it was "voted to establish the centre where it was picked."
There is no record of the report of this committee, nor can their report
(if made in writing) be now found, but the writer is informed, and it has
been understood that the centre was established to be on the hill near
the present dwelling house of George B. BOYD, and a short distance easterly
of what was found to be the geographical centre of the town.
March 7, 1791, the town "voted to give Daniel WARNER forty shillings
to clear and fence one-half acre of land given by Mr. John LEE, for a burial
place." John LEE settled on the farm formerly owned and
occupied by David DEXTER, and the "burial place" so given and established,
is the one still in use just north of the village that for many years has
been known as "Dover" or "Dover common."
that old familiar and hallowed spot,
heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
in his narrow cell forever laid,
rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep."
did the harvest to their sickle yield,
furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
jocund did they drive their team afield!
bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!"
breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
swallows twitt'ring from the straw built shed,
cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
more shall rouse them from their lowly bed."
August 1, 1791, the town "voted, that all warnings for meetings
shall be put up at Mr. SOUTHARD's mill, Capt. JOHNSON's and John KEMP's
houses, for the future."
Sept. 23, 1793, the town "voted, to build a house in which to do
town business at the centre of the town, or the nighest convenient place."
This vote was subsequently re[s]cinded, and no building was ever erected
for that purpose at the then recognized centre of the town.
At a town meeting holden Sept. 15, 1794, to take into consideration
the matter of paying the soldiers who had served in the revolutionary war,
and were then residents of the town, "voted, to make up the soldiers three
pounds per month while in service."
From 1789 up to 1810, inclusive, when the South District was incorporated
into a separate and distinct town under its present name, the town meetings
were held at the houses of James SLADE, Silas JOHNSON, David JOHNSON, Lemuel
OSGOOD, John LEE and others.
The first town meeting held for the election of officers under their
new act of incorporation was March 4, 1811, at the meeting house which
had previously been erected on "Dover Common," and which has ever since
been known or distinguished from the other villages in the town, as "Dover"
or "Dover Common." At this meeting Reuben DEAN was chosen town clerk;
Elijah STEARNS, Samuel MILLER and Ebenezer SEARS, selectmen; Ebenezer
COPELAND, William HASKINS and Phineas WOOD, listers; and Asa PHILLIPS,
constable and collector.
From this time forward the town meetings were holden in the same
place, as also were the freemen's meetings from 1828 up to and including
the March meeting of 1861, when by vote of the town it was decided that
they thereafter be held alternately at the east and west villages.
In 1811, and for a few years thereafter, the freemen's meetings were held
at the dwelling house of Lemuel OSGOOD; subsequently, up to and including
the year 1828, they were holden in the Baptist meeting house, erected on
lands given for that purpose by the said OSGOOD, situated on the hill northwest
of the "Common," and on the farm now owned and occupied by George B. BOYD.
Within the last few years, however, the meetings have been holden on "Dover
As a general thing the elections in this town have passed off very
quietly, the Democrats being in the majority a greater portion of the time
until 1844, when the Liberty party obtained the ascendency. Since
which time the Free Soil party of 1848, and the Republican party of 1856,
have constantly been in the majority. From 1811 to 1815, however,
considerable party feeling existed, and many a heated discussion was indulged
in by the Democrats and the Federalists of that time, the participants
not unfrequently coming to blows. An incident of this kind was related
to the writer by an eye-witness that on the occasion of a town meeting
being held to encourage the young men to volunteer and fill the quota of
the town, in response to the call of the governor, and to protect the State
from threatened invasion by the British troops, the excitement reached
a fever heat and insulting and threatening language was freely indulged
in. Whereupon one Secretary RAWSON, an ardent Democrat and strong
supporter of the administration or "war party," encountered Roswell WARNER,
a Federalist, and one of the local leaders of the "anti-war party," and
gave him a most unmerciful thrashing. A draft, however, was made,
but none drafted ever entered the service, their places being filled by
volunteers who received as a bounty one silver dollar each.
In 1849 a scheme was projected to annex to Dover that portion of
the town of Somerset which was subsequently annexed to Wilmington in 1858,
and from that town to Dover in 1869. This matter was presented to
the Legislature at nearly every session, the party favoring the annexation
only succeeding to the extent of procuring the passage of an act to take
effect whenever a majority of the town should vote to receive them.
This project having for its object, as the anti-annexation party believed,
the removal of the place of holding the town and freemens' meetings from
the "Common" to the west village for the whole or a portion of the time,
provoked a great amount of angry discussion and created feelings of bitter
enmity and hatred between those who had theretofore been warm friends.
The anti-annexationists were in the majority, but the struggle was continued
year after year until that territory was annexed to Wilmington in 1858.
In 1868 the contest was renewed by an attempt to annex that portion of
Wilmington to Dover, but was defeated. In 1869, the opposition becoming
tired of the fight, or becoming convinced that the acquisition would proved
beneficial instead of detrimental to the best interests of the town, abandoned
the struggle, and the act of annexation was passed with little or no opposition,
and thus ended what had been a long, tedious and most perplexing controversy.
David JOHNSON, from 1789 to 1796; Reuben DEAN from 1796 to
1813; David BURR, from 1813 to 1822; Aaron P. PERRY, from 1822
to 1824; David BURR, from 1824 to 1828; Laban JONES, from 1828
to 1832; Wm. H. HODGES, from 1832 to Dec. 8 of same year; Samuel
JONES, from Dec. 8, 1832 to Nov. 14, 1833; Fayette PERRY, from Nov.
14, 1833, to June 21, 1849; Presson F. PERRY, from June 21, 1849
to 1857; Martin PERRY, from 1857 to 1861; Wm. H. JONES, from
1861 to 1869; Sidney H. SHERMAN, from 1869 to 1873; J. Arnold
NEWELL, from 1873 to 1878, also 1881, '82, '83, '84 inclusive; Stillman
H. LAZELLE, 1879 and 1880; Wiliam F. JONES, from 1885 to the present
Amos RICE 1811, '12, '13, '15, '21, '22; Samuel CLARK 1814;
Gardner HOWE 1816, '23; Elijah STEARNS 1817, '18, '19, '20;
Ebenezer JONES 1824, '26, '28; David BURR 1825, '27; Wm. H.
HODGES 1829; James MINER 1830, '31, '37, '38, '48, '49, '50;
Lyman HOWE 1832, '33, '34; David DEXTER, Jr. 1835, '36; Lewis
HALL 1839, '40; Wm. H. JONES 1841, '42, '64, '65; Fayette PERRY
1843, '44, '45; (1846, no choice); Joel LYMAN 1847, '69;
Asaph HASKINS 1851; Laban JONES 1852, '53; Liberty HOWE 1854,
'55, '56, '57, '58; Martin PERRY 1859, '60; Edwin F.
SHERMAN 1861, '66; Jedediah C. ESTABROOKS 1862, '63; Resolved
S. STAPLES 1867, '68; Laban JONES, Jr. 1870, '71; Signey H.
SHERMAN 1872, '73; J. Arnold NEWELL 1874, '75; Stillman H.
LAZELL 1876, '77; Augustus FITCH, Jr. 1878, '79; Henry J. TURNER
1880, '81; Elwin H. JONES 1882, '83; Oscar A. LAZELL 1884,
'85; John C. SNOW 1886, '87; William J. JONES 1888, '89;
Fred E. RYTHER 1890, '91.
TO CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTIONS
Reuben DEAN 1814, Amos RICE 1822, Ebenezer JONES 1828, Lewis HALL
1836, Fayette PERRY 1843, Asaph HASKINS 1850, Sidney H. SHERMAN 1870.
JONES, 1838, '39;
H. JONES, 1856, '57.
JUDGE OF COUNTY COURT.
H. JONES from 1864 to 1770.
David JOHNSON, Aaron THOMPSON, Luther JOHNSON.
William HALL, Lemuel JOHNSON, Joshua KENDALL.
Abner PERRY, Eliphaz STEARNS, Ebenezer SEARS.
Isaac LASDELL, John LEE, Gardner HOWE.
John WHITNEY, Joseph CHAMBERLIN, William SEARS.
Eliphaz STEARNS, Ebenezer SEARS, Luther JOHNSON.
Ebenezer CHENEY, Reuben DEAN, Nathaniel STEARNS.
Nathaniel STEARNS, Abraham JONES, Abner PERRY.
Abraham JONES, Asa MOORE, Gamaliel ELLIS.
William HALL, Luther JOHNSON, Lemuel FITCH.
Luther JOHNSON, David JOHNSON, Abner PERRY.
Abner PERRY, David BURR, Patten FITCH.
David BURR, Patten FITCH, William HASKINS.
William HASKINS, Jesse MARSH, Samuel MILLER.
Samuel MILLER, Luther JOHNSON, Elijah STEARNS.
Elijah STEARNS, Elijah HAWKS, Josiah H. WHEELER.
Josiah H. WHEELER, David BURR, William HASKINS
David BURR, William HASKINS, Silas JOHNSON
David BURR, William HASKINS, Silas JOHNSON.
David BURR, Abner PERRY, Rodolphus CARLTON.
Elijah STEARNS, Timothy GILLETT, William HASKINS.
Timothy GILLETT, David BURR, Gardner HOWE.
Elijah STEARNS, Samuel MILLER, Ebenezer SEARS.
David BURR, Abraham JONES, 2d, Nathan DEAN.
Abraham JONES, 2d, Nathan DEAN, Reuben DEAN, Jr.
Nathan DEAN, Amos RICE, Abner ADAMS.
Nathan DEAN, Gardner HOWE, Aaron P. PERRY.
Gardner HOWE, Aaron P. PERRY, Jesse MARSH.
David BURR, Nathan SHERMAN, Nehemiah FAY.
David BURR, Nathan SHERMAN, Whitney JONES.
David BURR, Aaron P. PERRY, Secretary RAWSON.
David BURR, Aaron P. PERRY, Secretary RAWSON.
David BURR, Ebenezer JONES, Phineas WOOD.
Ebenezer JONES, Aaron P. PERRY, Aholiab GOULD.
Aaron P. PERRY, Nathan SHERMAN, Silas GOULD.
David BURR, Silas GOULD, James MANN, Jr.
David BURR, Silas GOULD, Jedediah ESTABROOK.
David BURR, Silas GOULD, Ebenezer SEARS, Jr.
Laban JONES, Asaph HASKINS, James MANN, Jr.
Laban JONES, Daniel LEONARD, William H. HODGES.
Laban JONES, John RICE, Jr., Lyman HOWE.
James MINER, Jr., Ebenezer SEARS, Jr., Daniel LEONARD.
William H. HODGES, James MINER, Jr., Daniel LEONARD.
Samuel JONES, James MINER, Luther CORSE.
Fayette PERRY, Lyman HOWE, Jedediah ESTABROOK.
Fayette PERRY, David DEXTER, Jr., Jeptha LYMAN, Jr.
Fayette PERRY, David DEXTER, Jr., Liberty HOWE.
Fayette PERRY, Ebenezer SEARS, Jr., Jeptha LYMAN, Jr.
William WALKER, Enos R. KNAPP, Liberty HOWE.
Fayette PERRY, Luther CORSE, Lewis HALL.
Fayette PERRY, Lewis HALL, William H. JONES.
Fayette PERRY, Asaph HASKINS, Liberty HOWE.
Laban JONES, Enos R. KNAPP, William H. JONES.
Laban JONES, William H. JONES, Asaph HASKINS.
Ebenezer SEARS, Jr., William WALKER, William H. JONES.
Asaph HASKINS, Fayette PERRY, Harvey COPELAND.
Lyman HOWE, James MINER, John KINSMAN, Jr.
Fayette PERRY, Lyman HOWE, Joel LYMAN.
Ebenezer SEARS, Jr., Joel LYMAN, William WALKER.
Asaph HASKINS, Solomon JONES, Paris RAWSON.
Hosea MANN, Moses P. COOPER, Joel LYMAN.
Ebenezer SEARS, Asaph HASKINS, Presson F. PERRY.
Presson F. PERRY, Lyman HOWE, Liberty HOWE.
James MINER, Joel LYMAN, Gilbert W. YEAW.
Joel LYMAN, Isaac W. LAZELL, Enos R. KNAPP.
William R. MANN, Martin PERRY, Isaac W. LAZELL.
Solomon JONES, William H. JONES, Delphi W. YEAW.
H. JANES [sic], Delphi W. YEAW, Martin LEONARD.
William H. JONES, Delphi W. YEAW, Martin LEONARD.
Edwin F. SHERMAN, Jedediah C. ESTABROOK, Laban JONES.
Moses P. COOPER, Jedediah C. ESTABROOK, Delphi W. YEAW.
Edwin F. SHERMAN, Daniel LEONARD, Augustus FITCH.
Edwin F. SHERMAN, James M. HARRIS, Augustus FITCH.
James M. HARRIS, Edward HOWE, Samuel J. GREEN.
Sidney H. SHERMAN, Edward HOWE, D. Pitt LEONARD.
Joel LYMAN, Gilbert W. YEAW, James W. BISSELL.
Joel LYMAN, Gilbert W. YEAW, James W. BISSELL.
D. Green LEONARD, Henry I. TURNER, Enos R. KNAPP.
Joel LYMAN, Henry I. TURNER, William YEAW.
Joel LYMAN, Isaac W. LAZELL, William H. JONES.
William H. JONES, Isaac W. LAZELL, James W. BISSELL.
James W. BISSELL, D. Pitt LEONARD, Gilbert W. YEAW.
D. Pitt LEONARD, Gilbert W. YEAW, Laban JONES, Jr.
D. Pitt LEONARD, Gilbert W. YEAW, Ansel B. COLLINS.
Ansel B. COLLINS, Laban JONES, Jr., Wells C. HALLIDAY.
Laban JONES, Jr., Wells C. HALLIDAY, William H. MANN.
George E. RICE, Isaac W. LAZELL, Freeman F. FITCH.
George E. RICE, Isaac W. LAZELL, Freeman F. FITCH.
George B. BOYD, George E. RICE, Freeman F. FITCH.
George B. BOYD, George E. RICE, Freeman F. FITCH.
Delphi W. YEAW, Geo. B. BOYD, D. P. LEONARD.
Delphi W. YEAW, Geo. B. BOYD, D. P. LEONARD.
Geo. B. BOYD, D. P. LEONARD, Delphi W. YEAW.
Geo. B. BOYD, D. P. LEONARD, Delphi W. YEAW.
George B. BOYD, D. P. LEONARD, Delphi W. YEAW.
George B. BOYD, Delphi W. YEAW, Orville L. CORSE.
George B. BOYD, Ozro E. HILL, Stillman H. LAZELL.
George B. BOYD, Ozro E. HILL, Elwin H. JONES.
George B. BOYD, Ozro E. HILL, Wells C. HALLIDAY.
Wells C. HALLIDAY, W. N. HARRIS, Oscar A. LAZELL.
Wells C. HALLIDAY, W. N. HARRIS, George B. BOYD.
George B. BOYD, W. N. HARRIS, Elwin H. JONES.
Ebenezer SEARS 1789, William SEARS 1790, Daniel WARNER,
1791, Lemuel JOHNSON 1792, David JOHNSON 1793, Abner
PERRY 1794, '95, '99, John LEE 1796, Luther JOHNSON 1797,
Asa MOORE 1798, Cyrus KNAPP 1800, Enos GOULD 1801, Samuel CLARK
1802, Nathan Baxter 1803, '05, Oliver RUSSELL 1804, Asa
PHILLIPS 1806, '11, '12, '13, Amos RICE 1807, '08, '09, '10,
Whitney JONES 1814, Aaron P. PERRY 1815, '16, '17, Ebenezer
JONES 1818, '19, '20, Imri PERRY 1821, William SHERMAN 1822,
Asaph HASKINS 1823, '24, '25, '31, '32, '33, Samuel JONES 1826, '27,
Lyman HOWE 1828, Enos R. KNAPP 1829, Cyrus P. DRYDEN 1830,
Alvin GOULD 1834, '35, '36, '37, Fayette G. KNAPP 1838, '39, '40,
'41, Eleazer GORHAM, Jr. 1842, Martin PERRY 1843, '44, '45,
'46, '47, '48, Gilbert W. YEAW 1849, '56, Delphi W. YEAW 1850, '51,
'52, '53, '54, '57, '58, '60, '63, '71, '72, '73, '74, '75, Ansel
B. COLLINS, 1855, '59, '61, '62, '76, '77, '78, William YEAW 1864,
'65, '66, Henry C. SHEPARDSON 1867, Ezra STETSON 1868,
E. P. KNOWLTON 1869, '70, John C. SNOW 1879, Oscar A.
LAZELL 1880, '81, '82, '83, '84, '85, '86, '87, James H. METCALF
1888, '89, '90, '91.
Justices of the Peace who held office exceeding twenty years:
Nathaniel STEARNS, Abner PERRY, Reuben DEAN, Aaron P. PERRY, David BURR,
James MINER, William H. JONES, Asaph HASKINS, Laban JONES, Lyman HOWE,
Joel LYMAN. The first justice was Nathaniel STEARNS, he being commissioned
The first post-office was established Dover, (Centre,) May 23, 1826,
and the following named persons have held the office of postmaster, viz:
May 23, 1826.
August 24, 1827.
Jr. June 1, 1831.
July 2, 1838.
PERRY May 9, 1848.
February 13, 1856.
HOWE February 7, 1859.
December 30, 1861.
Frank C. BURR
May 18, 1864.
May 22, 1874.
E. P. KNOWLTON
September 14, 1882.
Henry J. KNAPP
May 8, 1885.
Mrs. C. L.
RUSSELL December 17, 1886.
An office was established in the village of West Dover, February
17, 1848, and the following persons have served as post-masters, viz:
Norris L. STETSON
February 17, 1848.
ESTABROOK April 26, 1850.
SNOW July 5, 1854.
David P. LEONARD
October 24, 1860.
JONES September 14, 1861.
ESTABROOK June 19, 1871.
CONVERSE December 26, 1871.
ESTABROOK March 13, 1876.
MAY May 8, 1882.
Moses J. BOGLE
April 9, 1888.
An office was established in the village of East Dover, Dec. 30,
1861, and the following persons have served as post-masters, viz:
Sidney H. SHERMAN,
appointed Dec. 30, 1861.
E. SHERMAN, appointed Sept. 16, 1872.
Wells C. HALLADAY,
appointed Feb. 21, 1876.
BROWN, appointed Nov. 18, 1886.
Wells C. HALLADAY,
appointed June 29, 1889.
AT DIFFERENT DECADES
In 1791, 270; 1800, 616; 1810, 894; 1820, 829;
1830, 831; 1840, 729; 1850, 710; 1860, 651; 1870,
635; 1880, 621; 1890, 524.
The first school in town was one of five weeks, taught in an old
vacant log house in the east part of the town, about the year 1790.
At this time no organized school system prevailed, and the fathers and
mothers feeling the necessity of having their children educated, it was
decided to have a school to be taught one week each by such of the mothers
who felt themselves competent to teach. This system of private schools
with the mothers for teachers, was continued until the town in its organized
capacity took hold of the matter, and at a town meeting holden May 22,
1793, chose David JOHNSON, William HASKINS, Luther JOHNSON, Gamaliel ELLIS
and John LEE a committee to divide the town into school districts.
This committee reported their action to the town on the same day, dividing
the town into four school districts, which report was adopted. After
the town was constituted and duly organized under the name of Dover, it
was again divided into seven districts. The people of this town,
as a general thing, have always taken a great interest in the matter of
their common schools, and none of the smaller towns of the State have had
a more excellent system, or taken greater pains to employ good and competent
teachers to educate their youth, in which, in a great measure they have
been successful, and have sent out from among them several of their sons
and daughters who have become eminent in their profession as teachers.
In 1814 there were 345 scholars returned as attending school for
that year. Of this number district No. 5 (Dover Centre) returned
73, and No. 6 (West Dover) returned 65. At the present time the town
has 203 children returned as of school age, with but 182 attending school.
This remarkable falling off is of course owing to two causes, the one,
the decrease in the population, the other and most prominent one, is the
great and disproportionate decrease in the number of children composing
the several households at the present time, as compared with those of an
Nearly all of the early settlers had emigrated from places where
they had enjoyed the privileges of the Gospel, and therefore were anxious
that provision should be made for religious worship among them. The
first step taken in this direction, of which there is any record, was at
a town meeting holden April 23, 1795, when they "voted to hire the Rev.
Mr. (James) TUFTS one-third of the time the ensuing year; that the
meetings be held one-half of the time at Abraham JONES' and the other half
at Elijah BALDWIN's and that a tax of two and one-half pence on the pound
of the grand list be raised to pay for the same."
On the 10th of June, 1795, the town further "voted to join with
the north district of Wardsborough in settling the Rev. Mr. TUFTS for the
term of five years upon the following term: To have the Rev. Mr.
TUFTS one-half of the time for the aforesaid term of five years to preach
with us; to give him thirty-six pounds the first year, and then to
add twenty shillings per year until the term of five years is up, for our
part of his annual support, we keeping our public land to ourselves."
Mr. TUFTS commenced preaching under the above vote and continued
with them during the next five years, at the end of which time he was again
employed for an unlimited period. The Rev. Mr. TUFTS was a Congregationalist
of the strictest order, and many in town who had been brought up in a different
faith and religious belief were opposed to being taxed for his support.
They therefore procured certificates under the law of 1797, that they were
of a different religious belief and opinion, had them recorded in the office
of the town clerk, and were thereafter omitted in the assessment made for
the support of preaching. This practice became so general that the
friends of Mr. TUFTS were unable to raise the money necessary to pay him,
without its becoming exceedingly burdensome to a few, so preaching was
for a time suspended.
In February, 1802, a petition signed by Eliphaz STEARNS, Lemuel
FITCH, Samuel CLARK, Abraham JONES, Patten FITCH, Nehemiah FAY, Silas JOHNSON
and John LEE, was presented to the town clerk requesting him to call a
town meeting, "To see if the town will form into a religious society, under
such denomination as they shall choose when met." Pursuant to said
call, a town meeting was holden March 22, 1802, when they "voted to join
in a religious society, to be called the United Religious Society."
A committee consisting of Ebenezer SEARS, Nathaniel STEARNS, Abraham JONES,
John LEE, Luther JOHNSON, Lemuel JOHNSON and Ebenezer CHENEY, were chosen
to draft the "Society Convenant."
A covenant was subsequently reported and adopted, and the following
persons became members thereof: Silas JOHNSON, Elijah STEARNS, Abner
PERRY, David JOHNSON, Oliver RUSSELL, Samuel CLARK, John HAYWARD, William
HALL, Isaac LASDELL, Patten FTICH, Ebenezer SEARS, Eliphaz STEARNS, Jr.,
Nathaniel JONES, J. THOMPSON, Nathan SHERMAN, Simpson EAMES, Nathaniel
WARD, Joshua KENDALL, William SEARS, Elijah HAWKS, Abrahaham [sic] JONES,
2d, Samuel MILLER, Josiah H. WHEELER, W. ALEXANDER, Jeremiah WHEELER, Abel
SIMONDS, Gardner HOWE, Abner ADAMS, E. PHILLIPS, Lemuel FITCH, John LEE,
Ebenezer CHENEY, Elijah BALDWIN, Solomon JONES, William HASKINS, Abraham
JONES, Reuben DEAN, David RICE, William BUGBEE, W. A. PHILLIPS, John TAFT,
Nathan BAXTER, Joseph CHAMBERLIN, Nathaniel STEARNS, D. ALEXANDER and Whitney
The "Covenant" adopted was broad and liberal, and upon it united
men of different religious beliefs and opinions. The society organized
the same day by choosing Patten FITCH, clerk; Ebenezer SEARS, treasurer;
William SEARS, collector; John LEE, Abraham JONES, 2d, and Whitney JONES,
assessors; Ebenezer SEARS, Abner PERRY, and Ebenezer CHENEY, committee.
It is not known, nor is there any evidence in existence that this society
ever sustained any preaching. It is certain that they never had any
settled minister, but from the unanimity of feeling then prevailing, it
is reasonable probable that they were occasionally supplied with preachers
of an itinerant character. One thing however this society did accomplish
worthy of lasting remembrance, the erection on Dover common of the first
meeting house in town. For out of this society was subsequently organized
a "Meeting House Society," to whom Elijah STEARNS deeded a tract of land
for a public common, upon which was erected in 1805, a large, two story
meeting house, which was thoroughly built and handsomely finished.
This house was located upon the highest point of the public common where
it stood for 64 years, plainly visible for many miles distant, like a tower
upon Zion. In this building religious services were held almost continuously
from the date of its completion up to 1855, since which time it was occupied
but occasionally for religious worship. In 1861, it was entirely
abandoned for any purpose, and it becoming sadly dilapitated [sic] and
in need of extensive repairs it was in 1869, dismantled and razed to the
ground, and thus passed away one of the old landmarks of the town.
As an abstract proposition, this building should have been zealously guarded
and carefull [sic] preserved,---builded as it was in the most substantial
manner and elegantly finished for the times--as a monument of the religious
zeal and piety of the early fathers, of their self sacrificing devotion,
and earnest efforts, thus early put forth by them in providing a place
of religious worship for their posterity. In a strictly business
point of view however, its destruction was undoubtedly justifiable, for
its future preservation would have entailed an unequal tax upon the few,
without any apparent necessity then existing for its present or future
Soon after the first meeting house was erected, a Congregational
society was organized in town, but owing to the loss of the records the
exact date cannot be ascertained, nor who were the persons of whom the
society was composed. The Rev. Urban HITCHCOCK was the first settled
minister, but when he was settled or how long he remained, there is no
data now in existence to tell. The next settled minister over this
society was the Rev. Isaac CUMMINGS, as he was also the last. Mr.
CUMMINGS continued with them, respected and beloved by all, until his death,
which occurred September 3, 1831. The pulpit was then temporarily
supplied by Rev. Linus OWEN and others, to 1843, when the society ceased
to exist as a branch of that denomination.
Early in the year 1843, the Rev. Darwin H. RANNEY, a native of Townshend,
Vt., came to town, calling himself a Unionist and preached in this meeting
house. He was a man of much ability, a fine scholarly speaker, liberal
in his views and of courtly address. He at once set about organizing
a church, and on the 22d of April, 1843, articles of faith were subscribed
to by Laban JONES and seventy-eight others. On the 18th day of May
following, a society was organized under the name of "The First Church
of Christ in Dover," and Mr. RANNEY was constituted its pastor. Presson
F. PERRY was chosen clerk, Laban JONES and Ebenezer SEARS, Jr., deacons.
Mr. RANNEY continued with them as their pastor and preacher, until the
spring of 1851, when he removed to Wilmington, Vt. The pulpit was
then supplied for a few years at irregular intervals by the Rev. Simeon
SPENCER and others when preaching was abandoned altogether and the society
On the 3d day of January, 1872, another society was organized, called
the "Congregational Church of Dover Centre." It commenced with 18
members, male and female; they were supplied with preaching for a
short time by Rev. A. CHANDLER and Rev. O. C. DICKENSON, but being few
in numbers they were unable to sustain preaching all the time, and for
a few years past they have had none at all.
April 7, 1857, a "Meeting house Society" was organized in West Dover,
and a meeting house was erected the next season. A Congregational
Society was duly organized in 1867, which still maintains its organization;
and although having a preacher but a portion of the time, they occupy this
meeting house when occasion requires, as also do those holding to a different
faith. The following have been employed as preachers since the completion
of this house in 1858: Rev. Simeon SPENCER, Meth.; Rev. A.
H. SWEET, Cong.; Rev. O. S. MORRIS, Meth.; Rev. L. W. Brigham,
Unt.; Rev. J. H. RICKETTS, Cong.; Rev. S. H. AMSDEN, Cong.;
Rev. H. H. Olds, Cong.; Rev. Frank E. PIERCE, Bapt.; A. C.
FIELD, Cong.; H. R. TITUS, Cong.; R. D. METCALF, Cong.; Addison
MARTIN, Cong.; F. B. HYDE, Cong., the present incumbent.
A very respectable number of the "United Religious Society" who
had given material aid towards the erection of the first meeting house,
after the organization of the Congregational Society, the settlement of
the Rev. Mr. HITCHCOCK and his installation as their pastor, feeling aggrieved
at the action of the majority withdrew entirely, and in 1812, erected a
meeting house on the hill about one-half mile northwest of the Common,
on lands given them by Lemuel OSGOOD, and near where the centre of the
town was originally "picked" to be. The pulpit was supplied during
the greater portion of the time for the ensuing two years by the Rev. Mansfield
BRUCE, Baptist. On the 5th of October, 1814, a Baptist church as
duly constituted, and at its first church meeting held October 19, 1814,
Abida DEAN was chosen scribe and Ebenezer SEARS, deacon. The Rev.
Geo. ROBINSON became pastor of this church at its organization and continued
as such for the four succeeding years, and again in 1820, one-half of the
time, and in 1825, all the time. They occupied this house as a place
of worship until 1828, when they united with the Methodists and Universalists
in building a second meeting house on Dover Common, which is still standing.
This new house they continued to occupy for the most part, one-third of
the time until 1852, when they built a house of their own in the village
of East Dover, where they still have regular preaching. Since the
organization and first election of officers in this church the following
have served as clerks, deacons and ministors [sic]: Clerks, Lemuel
OSGOOD from 1816 to 1823; John CARPENTER from 1823 to 1829;
Jonathan WOODS from 1829 to 1838; Alvin GOULD from 1838 to 1843;
Edwin F. SHERMAN from 1843 to 1872; Sidney H. SHERMAN from 1872 to
1875; Wells C. HALLIDAY from 1875 to present time. Deacons,
Isaac LAZELL, chosen in 1825; Ebenezer SEARS, Jr. in 1832;
Levi POLLARD in 1844; Freeman HASKINS in 1846; Edwin F. SHERMAN
in 1843 [sic]; John P. GOULD in 1860; Henry I. TURNER in 1872;
Wells C. HALLIDAY in 1875. Ministers, Revs. Calvin ORCUTT, Calvin
PRATT, Sem [sic] PIERCE, James MANN, Daniel H. GRANT, Mansfield BRUCE,
Phineas HOWE, P. B. FISK, Samuel KINGSBURY, A. W. GOODNOW, Origen SMITH,
J. H. PARMELEE, E. H. WATROUS, H. V. BAKER, L. KENNEY and Walter CHASE
who is the present pastor. The Rev. Origen SMITH was pastor from
1852 to 1873, and during his pastorate 92 were added to the church.
It is said that for seven consecutive years he was absent but one Sabbath,
although residing nine miles from their place of worship. This church
is at present the most flourishing one in town.
About 1791, there was formed in the west part of the town and that
portion of Somerset that is now a part of Dover, a Baptist Church, known
as the "Dover and Somerset Church;" they had no meeting-house in
which to worship, nor is it known that they had any stated or regular preacher
until about 1812, when the Rev. James Mann became their pastor and continued
as such until 1832. In 1829, this church organization became a branch
of the Dover Church, and in 1830 and 1831, Mr. Mann was pastor of both
bodies. In 1832, the conduct of Elder MANN, for some reason was by
the action of the church disapprobated, and he together with the organization
in West Dover and Somerset were dropped from the rolls as being a branch
of the Baptist Church. In 1832, the Rev. Daniel LEONARD, a Free-will
Baptist, commenced his labors with the West Dover and Somerset people,
and a meeting-house was erected by them the same or the following year.
Mr. LEONARD continued with them for the most part until 1843. During
the winter of 1842 and 1843, he was instrumental in awakening a good deal
of religious enthusiasm among the people of that section, and a great revival
was the result of his labors, bringing into the fold men and women of all
classes, and of all religious predilections. About this time there
came among them the Rev. Linus OWEN, who was known as a "Unionist;"
the result was that, Mr. LEONARD was displaced from the position he had
so long successfully filled, and Mr. OWEN was installed as pastor of this
people, continuing as such for about fourteen years, when the old meeting-house
was abandoned and the remnants of this society remaining, became merged
in that subsequently organized at West Dover village in 1857.
A Methodist Society was organized here in 1827, and united with
the Baptists and Universalists in building the meeting-house on Dover Common
in 1828. This house they continued to occupy one-third of the time
until about 1854, since which time they have had preaching but occasionally.
During this period they have had as preachers the Revs. Elias CRAWFORD,
John B. HUSTED, F. W. SEIZER, J. C. MONTAGUE, Richard NEWHALL, John LAWTON,
Zera COLBURN, Amos KIDDER, Gray BECKLEY, A. ADAMS, Zeb. TWITCHELL, A. K.
HOWARD, H. JOHNSON, H. CAMPBELL, David JONES, Jr., Wm. S. LOCKE, C. W.
LEVINGS, Caleb DUSTIN, J. H. STEVENS, Moses ADAMS John L. SMITH, O. S.
MORRIS, Simeon SPENCER. Secretary RAWSON was the first class-leader
chosen; Ebenezer SPARKS Jr., was chosen class-leader in 1830, in
which capacity he faithfully served until his death in 1865. Also
may be mentioned the names of William BUGBEE, Caleb HOWARD, Asahel MOORE,
Suel BRIGGS, Elijah S. HOWE and Alonzo BUGBEE as among the devoted and
consistent members of this church. Perhaps the most remarkable man
ever connected with the Methodist Church in town was the Rev. Wm. H. HODGES.
He was son to Abiather Tabitha HODGES who resided on the farm now owned
by Augustus FITCH, and was born May 6, 1794. He studied for the ministry
and commenced preaching when he was but twenty years old. He preached
to those of the Methodist persuason [sic] in his own town, was instrumental
in the organization of the church, and gave liberally of his own means
to the fund contributed by the Methodists, towards the erection of the
new meeting-house on the common in 1828. He continued with this Society
until his removal to Newfane in the fall of 1832, where he resided until
his death, which occurred February 14, 1849. He taught twenty-six
terms of school, and during his ministry of thirty-five years he preached
over seven thousand sermons, married over three hundred couples and attended
over four hundred funerals. He died deeply lamented by a large circle
of most ardent and admiring friends. During the past few years the
Methodists have had preaching occasionally in the meeting-house on Dover
Common, also in a hall in the East village, where they erected a small
chapel; but they are few in numbers and much scattered, and are unable
to support a preacher all the time. They have had as preachers at
different times E. S. MORSE, A. S. MAXHAM and G. F. ARMS.
It is not known that the Universalists ever had any regularly organized
society or church in town. In 1828, those of that persuasion, and
among whom may be mentioned Abner PERRY, Elijah STEARNS, William HASKINS,
Ebenezer JONES, John DEXTER, Aaron P. PERRY, Asaph HASKINS, John SIMONDS,
Samuel YEAW and James MINER, united with the Methodists and Baptists in
building a meeting house which they continued to occupy for the most part
one-third of the time up to about 1853, since which time they have had
preaching but occasionally, although there are many still left in town
holding to that faith. Among the more prominent of the Universalist
clergymen who have ministered to this people may be mentioned the Revs.
Warren SKINNER, Wm. S. BALCH, Hosea F. BALLOU, Otis WARREN, Wm. S. BALLOU,
Orrin PERKINS and Wm. N. BARBER.
The first saw-mill was built by David SOUTHARD in 1791, in what
is now known as the village of East Dover. In 1794 he sold to Ebenezer
CHENEY, who soon thereafter erected in connection with said saw-mill a
grist-mill. Mr. CHENEY sold to Silas MERRIFIELD in 1812, and MERRIFIELD
to John DRYDEN in 1814, who also erected a carding machine. These
mills then passed through the hands of several grantees to Sidney H. SHERMAN,
who in 1864, made extensive repairs, and among other things he took out
the old "up and down" saw, and in its stead substituted a circular board
saw, it being the first of the kind introduced into town. The same
season he erected a building for the manufacture of tubs and chair stock,
in which he did an extensive business. These mills were aferwards
owned and operated by Messrs. PROUTY & CONNELL, and at the present
time by George D. HALE.
In 1872, Resolved S. STAPLES erected in the same villag[e] a steam
saw-mill and tub manufactory which was operated most of the time until
it was destroyed by fire in the summer of 1877. It has since been
rebuilt and is now owned and operated by Dana S. PROUTY. In 1866, Wells
C. HALLIDAY erected in this village a small building for the manufacture
of butter tubs. He continued in this business for several years when
he sold out to Holland P. FREEMAN. Several years ago it was destroyed
by fire and has never been rebuilt.
In 1796, William GRAGG erected a saw-mill in what is now the present
village of West Dover. Mr. GRAGG sold to Samuel MILLER in 1800, who
soon after erected a grist-mill, fulling-mill, clothiers works and a potash
manufactory. In 1813, MILLER sold to James MANN who carried on the
business for several years thereafter. The property then passed into
the hands of Joshua ROBBINS, who sold to Wm. M. WOODS, April 24, 1824.
Mr. WOODS operated these mills a little over ten years and Oct. 29, 1834,
he sold to Jeptha & Jeptha LYMAN, Jr. The Messrs. LYMAN continued
the business for several years, but all except the saw-mill was eventually
abandoned, which mill is now owned and operated by J. B. DAVIS & Son,
having in the meantime undergone extensive repairs, and in all respects
modernized. In addition to the last mentioned mill, there is in this
part of the town one other saw-mill, owned by H. L. HESCOCK & Son,
a wooden-ware and carriage manufactory owned and operated by Silas H. MOORE,
and an extensive cider-jelly manufactory by D. G. LEONARD and Sons.
In 1846 Martin and Elliot LEONARD erected in West Dover village
a building for the manufacture of potatoes into starch. They prosecuted
this business about ten years when the enterprise was finally abandoned.
About the year 1820, Phineas WOOD erected in that part of the town
known as "Goose city," a carding machine, and soon after Daniel HODGKINS
erected a clothiers shop and fulling mill. These works were kept
in operation for some 20 years, when they were abandoned and the buildings
afterwards taken down.
In 1814, Samuel CLARK then in trade on Dover Common, erected there
a potash manufactory. He was succeeded in the business by Justus
GALE, Aaron P. PERRY and Jotham HOWE. The business of manufacturing
potash here was abandoned sometime previous to 1840, but the building remained
standing for several years thereafter, it having been located over the
brook and just north of the dwelling house of John KNIGHT.
On the eastern slope of the mountains in that portion of the town
that was formerly a part of Somerset, iron ore may be found in considerable
quantities. In 1820, a Mr. TRAINOR of New York came here and erected
a forge and other apparatus for the smelting of iron ore and working it
into bars of iron. He sunk a shaft on the mountain side and took
out quantities of ore and manufactured it into iron. The business
was continued for several years under the superintendence of Luther PARK,
but it failing to pay, further operations were discontinued.
About the year 1832, Messrs. WILDER and RICHARDS of New York having
obtained an interest in this property, sent to town one Nicholas TURKINGTON
to take charge of the mines and see if iron could not be found in paying
quantities. He employed workmen and commenced operations by tunneling
into the mountain and took out considerable ore, but not in quantities
to pay for working it into iron; so after a few years of unprofitable
experimenting the works were entirely abandoned, and nothing now remains
to be seen but the shaft, the two long dark tunnels cut out of solid rock,
and heaps of ore lying around nearly hidden from view by the bushes and
small trees that have grown up since work there was discontinued.
On the site of the "old forge," a large tannery was erected in 1844,
by S. F. HARRIS; it was operated by him, SCOTT & HARRIS, PHILLIPS
CONKEY, Samuel D. & Edward L. REED, Gideon N. PARSONS, PARSONS &
CUDWORTH, and PARSONS & PARSONS, at different periods down to 1861,
when the latter failed in business. A large and extensive business
was carried on here during all the while the tannery was in operation,
and at the failure of PARSONS & PARSONS a large amount of stock was
on hand, which was worked out under the direction of William H. JONES,
Thomas F. BOGLE, and others.
In 1867 William F. ESTABROOKS purchased the property, tore down
the building and erected on the site a saw-mill which is in operation at
There are at present several blacksmiths in town, and has been the
greater part of the time for the past eighty years. Those best and
longest known are Gersham EAMES, William SHERMAN, Suel BRIGGS, Enos R.
KNAPP, Elliot WARD and John KNIGHTS. The first blacksmith was Gersham
EAMES; he came to town from Holliston, Mass., about the year 1798,
and erected a temporary shop in the farm of General Abner PERRY, which
he occupied about two years. He then returned to Holliston and married
a wife, who came back with him the same or following year. He soon
after settled on what is known as the "RICE hill" in the northerly part
of the town, where he remained a few years, and then removed to Dover common,
where he erected a blacksmith shop situated at the northeasterly side thereof.
Subsequently however he erected a shop east of the common, as also he did
a dwelling house, in which he lived until his death, which occurred January,
1864, at the age of 94 years. Mr. EAMES was always a hard working
man, and yet he seemed to retain the sprightliness of youth almost to the
day of his death. When he was 75 or 80 years of age he would leap
a rail fence, or over a pair of bars in a manner only equalled by a few
of his juniors.
The first "Tavern" was erected about the year 1895, by Silas JOHNSON
on what is now known as the "ESTABROOKS hill," and on lands now owned by
Joshua F. PARKER. He removed to Pelham, Mass., in 1809, and it is
not known that the house was occupied as a hotel after that.
Cyrus KNAPP came to town from Douglas, Mass., in 1798, and settled
on the farm now owned and occupied by his grandson, Augustus W. KNAPP.
In 1813 he erected near the forks of the road leading from Dover to Marlboro
and Wilmington, respectively, a large two story house which he at once
opened as a tavern. He was a popular and obliging landlord, as was
also his wife a popular landlady, and his house became quite famous as
being the favorite place of public resort with the people for many miles
around. He kept this as a public house for about 20 years, when it
was closed as a hotel, but he continued to reside there until his death,
which occurred March 23, 1852, aged 82 years. His wife, the excellent
landlady of years ago, deceased April 1, 1852, aged 82 years. The
building which had sheltered beneath its hospitable roof so many weary
travellers, and whose walls had echoed to the gayety and mirth of the young
men and women of those times, who always found a welcome there, having
become badly dilapidated, was taken down in the spring of 1877, by its
About the year 1818, Aaron P. PERRY erected a large two story house
on Dover common, which he kept as a hotel for several years thereafter.
Since his house was closed to the public there has been no hotel or house
of public entertainment in this part of the town. This house is still
standing in a good state of preservation, has been owned and occupied by
Martin PERRY, afterwards by Mrs. BURR, and now by one Fred SMITH.
About the year 1846, William H. SNOW erected a hotel in the village
of West Dover, which he kept for a few years. Since which time it
has had for proprietors, Parley WHIPPLE, Moses J. & Thomas F. BOGLE,
A. B. COLLINS, and D. P. LEONARD. This house was always a favorite
hostelry with the travelling public, but never more so than when "Uncle
Parley" stood behind the office bar and gave his guests a warm and kindly
welcome. Daniel H. MAY has his store there at the present time.
Samuel CLARK of Lebanon, Conn., opened the first store in 1798,
on the "ESTABROOKS hill," and near Silas JOHNSON's tavern, where he remained
until 1804, when he removed to Guilford, Vt. The business was continued
by Rufus GRAVES until 1813, when Mr. CLARK returned, the store in the meantime
having been removed to the common. Mr. CLARK remained until 1815,
when he made a permanent removal to Brattleboro, Vt., since which time
the following gentlemen have been engaged in the mercantile business on
Dover common either by themselves or as co-partners: Justus GALE,
Aaron P. PERRY, Gooding LINCOLN, Jotham HOWE, John and Henry RICE, Reuben
D. JONES, Nathan LAZELL, Presson F. PERRY, Willard GORHAM, Fayette DEXTER,
Martin PERRY, D. Gilbert DEXTER, William F. HOWE, Frank C. BURR, Frank
HESCOCK, Levi MOORE, Duane C. STARKEY, E. P. KNOWLTON, and J. L. CLARK,
Sometime previous to 1818 a Mr. GARFIELD opened a store in "JOCKEY
Hollow," so called, and near the present dwelling house of Marshall A.
MOORE. This store was continued in operation but a few years.
The building is still standing and in use as a wagon house by its present
About the year 1810 Amos RICE commenced trade in what is now the
village of East Dover. The store was located on the southerly side
of the highway and near where now stand the lumber sheds connected with
the steam mill of Mr. PROUTY. Mr. RICE continued in business here
about 14 years, when he removed to Worcester, Vt. The building formerly
used as a store was subsequently moved a little to the west and on the
north side of the highway, and converted into a dwelling house. A
few years ago it was taken down, and on its site a new one erected, now
owned by Dana S. PROUTY.
Late in the fall of 1853 Asa H. MARSH opened a store in the dwelling
house formerly owned by Lambert HOWE, subsequently by S. H. SHERMAN, and
by Albert D. FESSENDEN, and at present by George D. HALE. Mr. MARSH
continued in trade about two years, when he was succeeded by a company
of gentlemen who continued the business about two years longer, on the
"Union" or co-operative plan, with William RAWSON and Edmund P. HOWE as
agents, at different times respectively.
In 1860 Sidney H. SHERMAN erected in this village a large building
in which he opened a store. The business was continued by him with
Lucius H. GOULD and Wells C. HALLIDAY as his several partners. For
a number of years past Mr. HALLIDAY has prosecuted the business alone.
In the village of West Dover a store was opened by Messrs. LOOMIS
& GILLETT, about the year 1826. In 1829 William H. JONES bought
out the interest of Mr. LOOMIS and from that time until 1871 he continued
in the business for the greater portion of the time, with Waters GILLETT,
John SIMONDS, Jeptha LYMAN, Jr., Joseph E. FRANKLIN, Norris L. STETSON,
Jedediah C. ESTABROOKS, and William F. JONES, as his several partners at
different periods. He and his son, William F. JONES, sold out to
William H. CONVERSE. CONVERSE sold out to Taylor S. ESTABROOKS, and
he to Daniel N. MAY, who now occupies another building for a store, while
Francis DAVIS has a store at the old stand.
J. Arnold NEWELL has also in this village a boot and shoe store
which he opened a few years since, and continues in connection with his
other business, that of a boot and shoe manufacturer. Also LEONARD
& BOGLE have been and now are quite extensive dealers in furs.
The following named persons have resided and practiced their profession
as physicians and surgeons in this town: Lemuel FITCH, Paul WHEELER,
Marcus ROBBINS, Samuel ALLEN, Jedediah ESTABROOKS, Edward A. KITTREDGE,
Daniel LEONARD, William H. CLARK, J. Otis HOWE, and Chesselden FISHER.
Dr. FITCH came to town at a very early day and was its first settled physician.
Dr. WHEELER remained here but a few years, removing from the south to the
north district of Wardsboro in 1794. Dr. ROBBINS died August 14,
1816. Dr. ALLEN removed from town in the fall of 1831, and soon after
the death of the Rev. Isaac CUMMINGS, whom he attended in his last sickness.
Dr. KITTREDGE, a most excellent physician and surgeon, after a few years
residence in town, removed to Wilmington in 1835, and from thence to Lynn,
Mass., in 1838. He afterwards went to Boston, Mass., where for several
years he was the proprietor and physician of a water cure establishment
which was quite extensively patronized. During this period he contributed
many spicy and interesting articles to the Water Cure Journal, writing
over the signature of "Noggs."
Dr. CLARK resided in town only about four years. He was a
very promising and talented young man, a close student, quick and accurate
in his judgment. He died in 1847, at the age of 28 years.
Dr. HOWE, a native of the town and a man of much promise, settled
in the west village, where he died in 1852, at the age of 29 years.
Dr. FISHER came into town soon after the decease of Dr. CLARK, but
remained only about one year, when he removed to Pennsylvania, and from
there to Illinois. During the war of the rebellion he served nearly
four years as surgeon of an Illinois regiment, and came out with his health
seriously impaired. He removed to Iowa, and from thence to Texas,
where he lived about 12 years. He is now a resident of Oklahoma territory.
Dr. ESTABROOKS moved into town from Dummerston, Vt., in 1807, and
located on the hill about one-half mile southwesterly of Dover common,
where he resided until 1850, when he removed to West Dover. He was
the longest resident physician, and died in 1853, aged 69 years.
Dr. ESTABROOKS was a good physician having a large practice, and was withal
a very remarkable man. He was overflowing with wit and humor, fond
of cracking his jokes, and would shake with jolly laughter from the crown
of his head to the end of his toes. He was a most excellent story
teller, and always had a story to illustrate almost every incident happening
in life. His funny stories in the sickroom, and his manner in relating
them, would be sure to force a smile to the countenance of the sufferer.
He used to say that, a good story well told, was in a majority of cases
better than all the medicine he could administer. He believed if
he could keep his patients feeling well, nature, aided by his favorite
"bread bills," would force a cure.
An incident illustrating the healing efficacy of the old doctor's
stories, in a case of sickness, was related to this writer by a person
who claimed to have been a witness of the scene, and vouches for its truthfulness.
There lived in town a middle aged spinster by the name of Ann H_____, who
was something of a termagant, and when she was well everything and everybody
about her had to move lively. She was also subject to occasional
attacks of hypochondria, when she would take to her bed, indulge in the
most gloomy forebodings, and with fear and trembling wait for death which
she knew would soon overtake her unless she should receive immediate relief.
The doctor had treated her on several former occasions, but this time he
had been sent for with great haste, the bearer bringing the intelligence
that Ann thought she was surely dying. He hastened to the house and
found the patient in bed groaning bitterly, believing herself to be upon
the very verge of the grave. The doctor soon discovered that there
was nothing the matter with her, except that she was suffering from one
of her old attacks of the "low-po," as he used to call it. He felt
of her pulse, looked at her tongue, and then said to her: "Ann, you
are not sick, get up, dance and sing and scold a little and you'll be all
She replied with a terrible groan, protested that she was dangerously
ill and would surely die without he could afford her immediate relief.
The Doctor rose from his chair and with a twinkle in his eye looked her
squarely in the face and said, "Ann, you are no doubt a pretty sick woman,
and you are beyond the power of medicine to help you; I don't see
as I can do you any good, but before I leave I want to relate to you my
dream last night. I dreamed that I died and passed immediately to
the spirit land; I was anxious to get into heaven and so while wandering
around I discovered a large iron door to which was attached an enormous
brass knocker which I lifted and when it fell it sounded like the roll
of thunder; soon the heavy massive iron door grated harshly upon
its hinges and was partially opened, when I beheld the Old Devil, who,
placing his finger to his lips said, "s-h, come in if you want to, but
be very careful and make no noise as the Young Devils are all asleep, endeavoring
to get a little rest, for they expect Ann H_____ here tomorrow, and when
she comes there won't be any sleep or rest after that." Ann leaped
out of bed, seized the broom and followed the Doctor who hastily retreated
from the house, jumped into his sulky and drove away roaring with laughter.
It is said that the cure was so effectual that it was several years before
she had another attack of the hypochondria.
Dr. LEONARD was a man of great native ability but did not give his
exclusive attention to the practice of medicine, being engaged at different
periods in several avocations. He died in 1868, since which time
there has been no resident physician in the town.
The people of this town have always been averse to litigation and
have indulged but little in suits of law. They have never had a resident
lawyer, and have furnished but three from among their sons to swell the
ranks of that profession, viz: Josiah HALL, who emigrated to Warren,
Penn., about 1820, where he lived and died; Kittredge HASKINS who
was admitted to the bar in April 1, 1858, and is now engaged in the practice
of his profession at Brattleboro, Vt.; Gilbert H. MANN, who was admitted
to the bar in September, 1864, practiced for a while in Brattleboro, but
soon left to engage in other pursuits near the eastern entrance of Hoosick
Tunnel, in the town of Zoar, Mass., where he now resides.
The following named persons served as soldiers in the revolutionary
war, came to Dover among the early settlers and there resided until their
death, nearly all living to be upwards of four score years of age:
Abner PERRY, Ebenezer SPARKS, David DEXTER, Gardner HOWE, John FITCH, Joseph
BRIGGS, Luther WARD, Ebenezer SEARS, Elijah BALDWIN, Timothy WOOD, Joshua
KENDALL, Gamaliel ELLIS, William HALL, David LEONARD, and Samuel HILL.
The following persons enlisted and served in the war of 1812, all
of whom were residents of the town at the time of their enlistment but
the last named: Calvin P. PERRY, Asaph HASKINS, Otis SEARS, Warren
KENDALL, Isaac EAMES, John SPARKS, Samuel SPARKS, Daniel SNOW, and Alpha
RYTHER. Mr. PERRY was wounded in the arm while in service, and Samuel
SPARKS was reported killed and his funeral sermon was preached. The
report however proved unfounded for at the close of the war he returned
home well and hearty.
OF THE WAR OF 1861
The following is a list of men furnished during the war of the rebellion
under the several calls of the president of the United States, and the
respective organizations to which they severally belonged:
Second Regiment, Co. C. --- Edwin W. BUGBEE, Danford A. BUGBEE.
Fourth Regiment, Co. I. --- George H. ESTABROOKS.
Seventh Regiment, Co. E. --- Asa BURNAP, Jr., Lewis H. CORSE, Daniel
F. CUTTING, Deliverance PIKE, Oscar L. PIKE, Otis M. REED, George M. SMEAD,
Alanson C. SMITH, John S. STANLEY, John Q. STRICKLAND.
Eighth Regiment, Co. A. --- Asa E. SNELLING. Co. D. ---Thomas
J. HALL. Co. E. --- Ely SANTEE. Co. F. --- Geo. W. MATTHEWS.
Co. H. --- Lucius W. BISSELL, Albert H. MERRIFIELD. Co. I. --- Solomon
S. ARLING, Alphonzo D. BALDWIN, Oscar D. HESCOCK, Henry G. BALDWIN, Clark
L. BROWN, Emery U. HALL, Charles H. LEONARD. Co. K. --- George PAGE.
Ninth Regiment, Co. E. --- William H. GARDNER, Myron E. PHIPPENS,
George RAND. Co. K. --- William M. CARROLL, Edgar F. COPELAND, Myron
W. JONES, Charles W. STODDARD.
Sixteenth Regiment, Co. F. --- Alfred H. BALDWIN, Edward W. BOGLE,
David BOLSTER, Willard W. BUGBEE, Frank C. BURR, John T. COOPER, Erwin
FESSENDEN, Frederick FESSENDEN, Enos GOULD, Ira C. LAZELL, Stillman H.
LAZELL, Dwight P. MOORE, Hiland B. MOORE, Chalmer D. TUCKER.
Seventeenth Regiment, Co. F. --- Willard W. BUGBEE, James E. HOLBROOK.
First Regiment Cavalry, Co. H. --- Dudley W. BUGBEE, Darwin E. EAMES.
Second Regiment, Sharpshooters, Co. E. --- Thos. J. TARBELL.
Fifty-fourth (Mass.) Regiment, (Colored.) --- Frederick TYRRUS.
U.S. Navy. --- William DAVIS, Michael F. DOUGHERTY, Owen MELLEN,
Procured Substitutes. --- D. Pitt LEONARD, Sidney H. SHERMAN, John
P. FITCH, Clark M. STAPLES, Tyler L. WHIPPLE.
Paid Commutation under Draft. --- George BOLSTER, Manly L. BURR,
Augustus FITCH, Jr.
Casualties. --- Danford A. BUGBEE, wounded, and discharged Jan.
31, 1863; Edwin W. BUGBEE, discharged for physical disability, Nov.
21, 1861; George H. ESTABROOK, died in service March 25, 1865;
Solomon S. ARLING, died in service, July 23, 1863; Oscar D. HESCOCK,
Charles H. LEONARD, discharged for physical disability; George W.
MATTHEWS, died in service, May 31, 1864; Asa E. SNELLING, deserted,
July 14, 1864; William H. GARDNER, deserted, March 5, 1865;
Myron E. PHIPPENS, died in service, Sept. 17, 1864; Myron W. JONES,
died in service, Sept. 27, 1862; Frederick FESSENDEN, died in service,
Aug. 2, 1863; Dwight P. MOORE, died in service, July 31, 1863;
Hiland B. MOORE, died in service, Dec. 8, 1862; William W. BUGBEE,
died July 27, 1864, of wounds received in action June 17, 1864; Darwin
E. EAMES, wounded and transferred to Invalid Corps; Lieut. Tomas
J. TARBELL, died in service, Oct. 9, 1864. Of the 60 soldiers furnished
during the war, 34 enlisted for three years, 12 for one year, and 14 for
nine months. Six of the number re-enlisted.
From the foregoing table it will be readily seen, that this town,
with its rural population, engaged almost exclusively in the cultivation
of the stubborn soil, furnished one soldier out of a fraction less than
every eleven of its inhabitants.
That the rebellion must be conquered and the nation preserved, was
the united expression of the people, and to that end the town gave liberally
of its means, and fathers, mothers, and wives gave their sons and husbands
to do, and if need be to die, for the preservation of that goodly heritage
bequeathed to them and theirs by their forefathers. Besides all this,
a great number of her native sons, who, previous to the war had removed
to other towns and states, cast aside their implements of honest toil and
enrolled themselves as volunteers from the several towns and states in
which they then resided, and helped swell the ranks of that grand army
of citizen soldiery, who, for four years fiercely struggled and bravely
fought for the maintenance and vindication of the supreme majesty of the
law, and the perpetuation of the Union of States, as designed to be by
the fathers of the Republic, "one and inseparable."
Her sons shrank from no duty; evaded no responsibility.
True to their manhood, true to the heroic demands of justice and right,
to them was the struggle and to them the glory. The triumph of freedom
and the growing greatness and glory of their country is a full and complete
recompense for every sacrifice offered.
David DEXTER, senior, was one of the early settlers of Dover (then
Wardsboro). He came from Rochester, Mass., the place of his birth,
and settled in the wilderness, at the extreme north part of the town, having
then purchased a large tract of wild land for a song. He made a clearing
with his own hands, built a log hut, and commenced life in the wilderness
with only his hands and the aid of a true and heroic wife. He had
seven children, six sons and one daughter. The father died in 1854,
at the advanced age of 94. The mother died about twenty years prior.
The names of the children were: Charles, Polly, Nathan, John,
David, Daniel and Silas, all of whom are gone, but one, David, who still
survives at the age of 80. David married Chloe HAZELTINE, daughter
of Daniel HAZELTINE of Wardsboro, and both are living in Wilmington, Vt.,
owning and cultivating a farm of sixty acres, are in full possession of
their physical and mental power, and receive only small assistance in managing
their affairs. Mrs. DEXTER, now 79 years of age, is sister of Judge
Abner HAZELTINE, of Jamestown, N. Y., an eminent lawyer and jurist, who
once represented his district of Western New York, in Congress. Of
this marriage, two sons and two daughters were born. One daughter
died when 13; the other, Laura Ann, is the wife of F. W. JONES, esq.,
of Wilmington, Vt.; the oldest son, Laban, resides in Springfield
Mass.; the youngest son, D. Gilbert, so well-known throughout Vermont as
a writer of prose and poetry and contributor to many of our most prominent
journals, was born in Dover, March 29, 1833, and is now 37. He resides
in Cambridge, Mass., is a member of the board of aldermen of that city,
holds prominent positions in several of the most eminent literary organizations
in Cambridge and Boston, is president of the Young People's Christian Association,
Cambridge, and is esteemed as a wide awake working man in its full sense.
He is the successful financial manager of the house of MILENDY, DEXTER
& Co., Boston, wholesale dealers in boots and shoes.
Historical Gazetteer, vol. 5,
County, 1891, pp. 337-356.
By K. Haskins,
(a Native of Dover)