OF THE TOWN OF JAMAICA
JAMAICA lies in the northern part of the county, in lat. 43°
5' and long. 4° 11' bounded north by Londonderry and Windham, east
by Townshend, south by Wardsboro, and west by Stratton and Winhall. It
has an area of about 29,017 acres, including portions of six grants made
by the Governor of New York, between March 31, 1767, and December 8, 1772.
One of these grants, named Camden, included the southwesterly corner of
the present town, extending south across Wardsboro into Dover, and another
included the northeasterly corner of the township and the old town of Acton
and was called Warrenton. Nothing, however, seems to have been done towards
a settlement under these grants. The charter of Jamaica was given by the
general assembly of Vermont, November 7, 1780, to Col. Samuel Fletcher,
of Townshend, and sixty-seven associates, among whom were named several
who were at that time settled in the territory, several prominent State
officials, and citizens of Newfane and Dummerston. The charter contained
the usual restrictions and reservations of the Vermont charters, and so
far as learned these conditions were fully carried out by the grantees.
The surface of the town is mountainous and uneven, and the elevations
rocky, though the soil is, in general, warm and productive. Some of the
principal elevations are as follows; SAGE hill, in the southwestern part;
South hill, in the southern part; Shatterack mountain, in the northern
part; Bald and Atridge mountains, in the northern-central part; and Turkey
mountain in the northeastern part of the township. West river flows a southerly
course through the town, and, together with its numerous tributaries, affords
a number of excellent mill-privileges. Jamaica and Adams ponds are small
sheets of water, the former lying in the northern and the latter in the
northeastern part of the town. Almost every mountain, valley and stream
in the town abounds in beautiful and interesting scenery, so that to speak
of any particular point seems almost invidious; still one spot we must
mention, viz. Hamilton Falls, in the northern part of the town, near road
8. Here Cobb brook tumbles and leaps, from the bosom of a beautiful meadow,
down an almost perpendicular ledge into a narrow gorge, nearly 200 feet
below. Through this gorge the stream finds its way into West river. Standing
upon the brink of the fall, and looking down upon the tops of the tallest
trees of the valley, dim indeed must be the eye that fails to brighten
at the beautiful vision spread before it. The principal rocks entering
into the geological structure of the territory are of gneiss and talcose
schist formation, the former underlying the western and the latter the
eastern portion. Gold ore in small quantities has been discovered in the
eastern part of the town.
In 1880 Jamaica had a population of 1,253, and in 1882 had ten school
districts and eleven common schools, employing one male and nineteen female
teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $1,189.93. There were
307 pupils attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools
for the year, ending October 31st, was $1,331.30, with O. G. BAKER, superintendent.
JAMAICA is a pleasant little post village located near the central
part of the town, on Bald Mountain brook. It has two churches (Congregational
and Baptist), one hotel, several stores, several manufacturing establishments,
and about 100 dwellings. The locality is exceedingly healthful as the village
is located 688 feet above the sea, and 480 feet higher than Brattleboro.
Among the professional men are three attorneys and two physicians, while
ample facilities for financial transactions are afforded by the West River
National Bank, and the Jamaica Savings Bank, both flourishing institutions.
Transportation facilities are also good, as the Brattleboro & Whitehall
railroad passes near the place.
WEST JAMAICA (p. o.) is a hamlet in the southwestern part of the
town. It has two saw-mills, a hand-rake factory, and about a dozen dwellings.
EAST JAMAICA (p. o.) is a new postoffice established at Wardsboro
Station, on West river, in the eastern part of the town A grocery and feed
store has also lately been opened here.
RAWSONVILLE (p. o.) is a hamlet located in the northwestern part
of the town, on Winhall river. It has a grocery store, grist-mill, two
saw-mills, and a chair-stock factory.
The West River National Bank was chartered as a State institution,
in 1853, the first bills being issued July 20, 1854, with James H. PHELPS,
president, and John E. BUTLER, cashier. In August, 1865, it re-organized
as a National bank, with a capital of $100,000.00, though it was subsequently
reduced to $60,000.00. The bank is located in a substantial brick building
at the lower end of Main street, in Jamaica village, with William HARRIS,
of Windham, president, and John A. BUTLER, cashier.
The Jamaica Savings Bank was chartered in 1872, and commenced business
with William HARRIS, president ; E. L. WATERMAN, vice-president; and J.
C. ROBINSON, secretary and treasurer. The institution was originated by
Rev. Charles BURNHAM, who was pastor of the Congregational church here
several years, and who died in 1883. It was at first located in the National
Bank building, but was subsequently removed to its present quarters. The
officers are Hon. E. L. WATERMAN, president; O. R. Garfield, vice-president;
and J. C. ROBINSON, secretary and treasurer. The bank now has 693 depositors,
aggregating a gross deposit of $139,500.00, while the bank has a surplus
C. H. NICHOLS's saw, and, shingle-mill, located at the corner of
roads 22 and 32, was built by a Mr. WARD about twenty-five or thirty years
ago. O. A. RICHMOND purchased the property about 1866, and in 1883 it came
into the possession of the present owner, who has replaced the old upright
saw with a circular saw, and added other improved machinery, giving the
mill capacity for cutting about 5,000 feet of lumber, and 6,o00 shingles
per day, doing both custom and merchant work.
G. F. RICHMOND's carriage shop, located on road 22, was established
in 1883. He carries on a general manufacturing and repair business.
C. A. WHITE's butter-tub and shingle factory, located on road 22,
was established by him in 1877. February 25, 1881, the buildings were destroyed
by fire, the present mill being erected the same year. It is operated by
both steam and water-power, giving employment to about six men, and turning
out 15,000 butter tubs, and 1,000,000 shingles per annum. Mr. WHITE also
manufactures sap buckets and does custom planing.
B. B. HOUGHTON's saw and planing-mill, located on road 3, was built
about fifty years ago, and has been in the present proprietor's possession
about sixteen years. The mill has the capacity for cutting about 5,000
feet of lumber per day, and is also supplied with circular, board, and
chair-back saws, planer, etc., and does merchant work.
A. A. KINGSBURY's saw and grist-mill, located on road 3, in Rawsonville,
was built by Flint RICHARDSON, about forty years ago, and was purchased
by Mr. KINGSBURY, in July, 1882. The saw-mill is supplied with upright
board saws, circular bench saws, shingle machine, band saw, and planer,
and cuts annually about 100,000 shingles, also doing custom board sawing
and jobbing. The grist-mill has one run of stones, and grinds about twelve
tons of corn per month, besides the custom work.
H. H. FELTON's saw-mill, located on road 24, was built by Mr. FELTON
in 1868. It is fitted with a circular board saw, is operated by water-power,
and cuts about 200,000 feet of lumber per annum. Mr. FELTON has also a
mill on road 23, built by him in 1872, with the capacity for cutting 10,000
feet of lumber per day.
W. H. WHEELER's saw-mill and chair-stock factory, located on road
23, was purchased by him in 1883. It is operated by both steam and water-power
and is fitted with circular board saw, chair-back saw, cutting-off saw,
band-saw, planer and shingle machine, having the capacity for manufacturing
400,000 chair-backs per annum and about 10,000 shingles daily. Mr. WHEELER
also cuts dimension lumber and does custom sawing.
FARR & ROEL's rake factory, located on road 34, has all the
necessary turning machinery for manufacturing rakes, and has also splitting
Alvin FROST's tray shop, located on Mechanic street, at Jamaica
village, was established by him in 1877. He manufactures about 3,000 trays
William F. GLEASON's saw and shingle-mill and chair-stock factory,
located on road 34, is furnished with a circular board-saw, cutting-off
and splitting saws, band-saw, and shingle machines. He manufactures about
250,000 feet of rough lumber and 200,000 shingles per annum.
F. W. PERRY & Son's tannery , located in Jamaica village, turns
out about $75,000,00 worth of hides per year, employing about twelve men.
The leather is not finished here, but is sent to Massachusetts in the rough.
W. L. BARNES's carriage and blacksmith shop, located at Jamaica
village, is operated by water-power and furnished with all necessary machinery
for carrying on a manufacturing and job business.
Edwin F. RUSSELL's chair factory, located on Factory street, at
Jamaica village, has the capacity for turning out about 100 dozens of cane-seated
chairs per month, but it is not operated for this purpose at present, being
used as a sawing, matching and planning-mill.
WARDWELL & FLINT's steam saw-mill, located at the base of Bald
mountain, was built in 1881. It is supplied with a circular board saw,
edging saws, band saw, cutting-up machinery, etc., and cuts about 1,000,000
feet of lumber per annum, 250,000 feet of which is converted into chair-stock.
O. C. FLINT's chair-stock factory and grist-mill, located on Mechanic
street, of Jamaica village, has three lathes, bench saws, etc., and a mill
for grinding meal and feed. He usually employs five men in the manufacture
of turned chair-stock and in doing custom grinding.
Edward MAGOON's saw-mill, located on road 34, cuts 200,000 feet
of lumber per annum.
The first event of historic importance occurring in Jamaica took
place years before the territory was settled or had even been set apart
by charter or name. It was back in the remote year of 1748, when the out-posts
of white settlements in this section were at Fort Dummer, and at Charlestown,
or Number Four, in New Hampshire. During this year Capt. Eleazer MELVIN,
of Northfield, Mass., in command of a scouting party of eighteen men, met,
in the vicinity of Lake Champlain, a larger force of Indians than they
could cope with, and so retreated towards Fort Dummer, along the valleys
of Otter creek and West river. On the night of May 30th they camped within
the present limits of Londonderry, and early on the following morning resumed
their march. Being nearly out of provisions they halted in this town, a
short distance above the mouth of Bald Mountain brook, to shoot salmon
in the river. Here they were overtaken by the Indians, between nine and
ten o'clock in the morning, they having, probably, crossed through the
gap west of Bald mountain, while the scouting party had followed the river
around the mountain. They fired upon the party from ambush, four men being
killed at the first volley. Though taken by surprise, the little party
rallied and charged on the Indians, killing several, but, after losing
two more men, the soldiers scattered through the forest and fled, reaching
Fort Dummer during that and the following day. A party was immediately
sent out from the fort, who buried the four men who were shot at the outset
of the affray, on the flat south of Bald Mountain brook, about fifty roads
from its mouth. Their names were John HAYWARD, Isaac TAYLOR, John DOD and
Daniel MANN. The other two men, Joseph PETTY and Samuel SEVERANCE, managed
to get some distance from the scene of the affray before death overtook
them, and their bodies were not found until some time after. Thus occurred
the first deaths and burials in what is now the township of Jamaica.
The first clearing made in the town was in 1775, by William HAYWARD
(now spelled HOWARD), of Townshend, and his sons Caleb and Silas. They
erected houses in their clearings, into which they moved in 1777, Caleb
on the bank of West river, east of Wardsboro depot, and Silas on the hill
to the north, supposing, however, that they were located in Townshend,
and Silas was sent as the first representative in the general assembly
from Townshend, in 1780. The town line being run the next year, 1781, however,
proved that he was a citizen of Jamaica. In 1780 there were eleven or twelve
families in the town, seven of whom were HAYWARDs, and in 1791 the population
had increased to 263 souls.
The first proprietors' meeting seems to have been the one held at
Newfane, June 5, 1781, where a committee was chosen to lay out the township
into lots, James MACK, of Londonderry, being appointed surveyor. The first
town meeting was held September 3, 1781, at the house of William HAYWARD,
near the present site of Wardsboro station, on road 28. William Harrison
CHURCH was chosen town clerk and representative; Benjamin HAYWARD, William
HAYWARD and William H. CHURCH, selectmen; Calvin HAYWARD, constable; Peter
HAZELTON (or HAZELTINE), treasurer; Paul HAYWARD, lister; and Caleb HAYWARD,
surveyor of highways, though the latter office must have been a sinecure,
as their were no highways opened in the town until June, 1784. The first
birth was that of Banyard HAYWARD, son of Paul, in 1779. The first grist
and saw-mill was built by Peter HAZELTON, on Mill brook, or Wardsboro brook,
on road 45, in 1782-'83. In 1785 they were called "Howe's mills," having
been purchased by John HOWE. The first road built through the town was
laid in 1784, from the line near West Townshend to "Peaked rock," where
the bridge crosses West river, about two miles below Jamaica village. In
1790 it was completed through to the Winhall line. The first house designated
by the name of tavern was kept by John WELLMAN, on road 30, where was also
a “training ground," a sign post, and stocks for the punishment of wrong
doers. It was erected in 1793. The first school was taught by Zebotes SKINNER,
in 1791, being held in a lot school-house that was sustained by voluntary
contribution. Mr. SKINNER became a noted school master, teaching, at different
times, twenty-one schools in the town. The first resident minister was
Rev. John STODDARD, who was called by vote of the Congregational church,
in 1794, He was dismissed in 1799, for selling his wife, who, it appears,
however, ratified the sale, for she lived with the purchaser and reared
a respectable family of descendants. The first carriage (with springs)
in the town was probably that of Jonas PIERCE, which is mentioned in the
tax list in 1812. The first lawyer to commence practice here was Hon. John
E. BUTLER, in 1840, who was born in the town in 1809. The first physician
was Dr. Nathan WEEKS, who began practice in 1815. The heaviest freshet
that ever visited the town occurred October 2, 3 and 4, 1869. It carried
away bridges and washed out highways, doing damage to the amount of $15,000.00,
and causing the death of William H. CARR, a prominent citizen of the town
and at that time a deputy sheriff.
The HAYWARDs, or HOWARDs, as the name is now spelled, were the progenitors
of the large number of that name now residing in the town, William being
the father of fourteen sons, all of whom settled in Jamaica. Of the others
who settled here before the charter of the town was issued, were Peter
HAZELTON, who located on the river; Amariah TAFT, who located the first
farm west of the river, on Wardsboro branch, where Peter HAZELTON built
the first grist and saw-mill; Paul, son of Benjamin HOWARD, located on
the farm just west of his father's, which is now owned by Deacon BURNAP;
William H. CHURCH located on the farm next west, just below the railroad
cut at the West river bridge; Stephen WILCOX, sometimes called Stephen
SABIN, settled on the next farm west; and John WRIGHT, who located on a
farm farther south. Among those who came at a later date were the following:
Amos SKINNER, from Packersfield, now New Alstead, N. H., in 1781; Elisha
CHASE, from Petersham, Mass., in 1783; Samuel LAMB, a shoemaker, from Petersham,
Mass., in 1783; John B. HINDS, a shoemaker, from Blandford, Mass., in 1784;
Hezekiah HOWE, from Alstead, N. H., in 1784; Jonathan COOMBS, from Billingham,
Mass., in 1790; Benjamin FURNISS, from Greenwich, Mass., in 1798; Jonas
PIERCE, from Lincoln, Mass., in 1792; and Childs WHEATON, from Pomfret,
Conn., in 1798.
Benjamin HOWARD came from Mendon, Mass., when sixty-six or sixty-seven
years of age, and located in Townshend. He built a log house on the hill
northeast of West Townshend village, where he lived two years, then came
to Jamaica, locating, with his son Calvin on the place now owned by Lestina
and Sylvia HOWARD. He resided there in 1781, being elected that year as
one of the first selectmen of the town, and died there about 1784. He was
the father of fourteen sons, nearly all of whom reared families either
in this town or Townshend.
David EDDY was born in Heath, Mass., August 3, 1801, and died in
Jamaica, December 18, 1881. He was the son of Daniel and Elizabeth (SIMMONS)
EDDY, and a direct lineal descendant of one of the EDDY, brothers who came
to this country in the “Mayflower." He belonged to an exceptionally long-lived
family, his father dying at the age of seventy-seven and his mother at
the age of eighty-nine years. His father moved to Jamaica in 1802 or 1803,
settling on the place now owned by Charles GLEASON, near Wardsboro. He
lived here but a short time, however, as he was living on what is now a
pasture, owned by Brainerd BROWN, at the time of the "dark day" of June
16, 18o6. The incidents of that day were distinctly remembered and often
recounted by David, although he was less than five years old at the time.
In early life David EDDY evinced a remarkable taste and aptitude for books,
and readily mastered obstacles that were insurmountable to his schoolmates.
For some twenty years of his early manhood he taught school apart of the
time each year. He married Lucy STOCKWELL, April 1, 1827, by whom he had
four children. September 27, 1835, he married Lydia PIERCE, by whom
he had seven children. January 22, 1868, he married Mrs. Maria DEXTER,
of Wardsboro, who survives him. From 1837 until his death, he served the
town by holding one or more of its most important offices. The duties of
a constable were distasteful to him, for he said: "Many a time I've had
to serve writs when I would rather have paid every cent of the debt than
to do it." In 1856 he was elected representative of the town, and served
in the regular and special sessions. For about forty years he was justice
of the peace, and probably no man in the town ever tried more cases, or
settled more estates of deceased persons than he. He was held in such universal
respect that the name of David EDDY appeared on the justice ticket of both
political parties. He believed in letting offices seek him, instead of
his seeking office; and, though repeatedly urged to allow his name to be
used as a candidate for assistant judge, he as often refused. In politics
he was a sturdy antislavery Republican from the birth of the party. He
respected the man, and not the skin with which the man was covered; and
many a time needy colored men have found shelter under his roof and hospitality
at his table. Mr. EDDY was a farmer all his life. He lived upon the homestead
of his father till 1863, when he removed to that of his father-in-law,
to care for his wife's parents. He remained here until his marriage in
1868, when he removed to Wardsboro. Within a few months of his death he
expressed a desire to return to the old homestead and die there, and the
wish was granted. He was a thorough going temperance man, an ardent lover
of the prohibitory law, and always took a determined and active part in
its enforcement. He lived a consistent Christian life, and in his last
moments evinced the clearest proof that his faith was unshaken and that
death had no terrors for him. In early life Mr. EDDY and his young wife
united with the Baptist church, in Jamaica, and both remained members until
their death. Until within a few years he was a constant attendant upon
church services, and very few Sabbaths passed in which he and his family
were not in their place in the sanctuary. During the last few years of
his life he was troubled with deafness, so that he could not hear the public
services, and he preferred to spend the few Sabbath in the quiet of his
home. The religion of the New Testament was a reality to him, and he loved
to drink it in, in all its purity, simplicity and fullness. Its influence
was seen and recognized in his daily intercourse with men, and it is but
simple truth to say that his life was a "living epistle, known and read
of all men," and that he was one of the noblest works of God-an honest
George HOWARD, son of Paul was the first settler on the farm now
owned by Harland HOWE, off road 8, on Turkey mountain. Willard H., his
eldest son, married Abigail CHASE and bought a partially cleared place
on road 8, where Elwin CLAYTON now resides, about 1823. He reared three
sons and six daughters, all of whom were born on this farm. Of these children
Alphonso P., Mason F., Marthaette (Mrs. Elwin CLAYTON), and Laurette (Mrs.
P. KELLOGG), reside in Jamaica, Willard H. was a staunch Methodist and
died at the residence of his son, Mason F., at Jamaica village.
Revido HOWARD was born here in 1832, on the old homestead he now
occupies He married Mary M. CLARK, a native of Hubbardstown, Mass.
Jered HOWARD was born in Mendon, Mass., in 1788. He married Tryphenia
WHEELER, by whom he reared nine children, Sylvia, Isaiah, Obadiah, Lestina,
Taft, Henrietta, Raney, Anson and Webster, seven of whom are living. Sylvia,
Lestina and Taft occupy the old homestead, neither of them ever having
Milton L. HOWARD was born here in 1847, has been twice married,
and has five children. He was a member of Co. K, 9th Vt. Vols, and was
mustered out of service June 15, 1865. He is now commander of Post Scott,
G. A. R., of Jamaica.
Mary O. HOWARD, residing on road 42, married a descendant of Banyard
HOWARD, the first white child born in the town.
Levi HOWARD, residing on road 47, was born in New Hampshire in 1839,
and came to Jamaica in 1882.
John HOWE, familiarly known as Miller HOWE, was an early settler
in the town. As early as 1785 he owned the grist-mill built by Peter HAZELTON,
and operated it for many years, while his sons Elijah and Joel also carried
on the business a long time. John reared six sons and three daughters.
Elijah married Annie FISHER, who bore him four children, two of whom, Elliot
and Alfred, are living. John, Jr., Joel, Simon and Peter resided in Jamaica.
Abijah, one of the younger sons of John, became a shoemaker and resided
near Jamaica village, on road 24. He married Margaret, daughter of a Revolutionary
soldier named CRAPO, by whom he had nine children, only one of whom, Asa,
born in 1814, is now living in the town.
Nathaniel R0BBINS, from Paxton, Mass., was one of the early settlers
of the town, locating. upon the farm now owned by Charles R0BBINS. He reared
three sons and four daughters, of whom Loring and Cyrus succeeded to the
homestead. Loring died August 28, 1871, and was succeeded by Charles.
Dea. Beriah WHEELER was an early settler, locating upon the farm
now owned by Warren WHEELER, on road 16. He served as a captain in the
Revolutionary war, at the battle of Bennington, was a deacon of the Congregational
church, and was a well educated man for those times, serving for sometime
as town clerk. He died about 1835. His wife was Mary WILLIAMS, by whom
he reared ten children. One, Henry, is now living in Oswego county, N.
Y.; Warren, born in Connecticut, in 1784, spent his life on the old homestead;
Zachariah was born in Winhall, in 1793; and Merritt A., the remaining son,
is doing an extensive business in Leicester, Mass.
Bailey RAWSON, son of William, was born in Oxford, Mass., about
176o. He married Susannah BROWN, of Keene, N. H., and located near Samuel
WISWELL, in Townshend, about the close of the Revolution, in which war
he served as a fifer. He was a farrier, and traveled through the surrounding
towns on horseback, wherever his services were required. During one of
his journeys he crossed the northwestern corner of Jamaica. Being impressed
that the location was favorable, he, in 1810, made the first clearing where
Rawsonville now is. He built a log house on the farm now owned by R. TOMPKINS,
and later on the farm now owned by F. B. PIER, where he built a dam on
the Winhall river, and erected a saw-mill. Mr. RAWSON was an eccentric
man, and many amusing anecdotes are related of him. On one occasion he
gathered several bags of sorrel seed, carried them to Massachusetts, and
sold the lot for "not clover seed." Being threatened with the law by the
parties who used the seed, he replied: "I sold the stuff for 'not clover
seed,' and if you can prove that they are clover seed I will pay the damage."
He reared a family of three sons and three daughters, and died December
18, 1848, aged eighty-eight years. Bailey, Jr., married twice, and his
second wife, Asenath GALE, now resides with his son Sylvester, on road
3. She has four sons living, three residing in Jamaica, Webster L., Sylvester
E., and Bradford B. Thirteen grandsons of Bailey RAWSON, Sr., served in
the late war. Manley S. RAWSON, on road 6, is the only son of Capt. Lowell
RAWSON, now residing in Jamaica.
James CLARK came from Dummerston at an early date, locating on road
49, where Abial T. MORSE now resides. One of his older sons, Osmer N.,
was born in 1809, married Eliza R., MAHAN, of West Boylston, Mass., in
August, 1829, and reared nine children. His widow now resides with their
son Charles S., in Jamaica village. A daughter, Mrs. Eliza A. HIGGINS,
resides off road 48, near the Wardsboro line.
James WATERMAN was born in Rhode Island, and came to Jamaica at
an early date. He married Nellie Howard BUTLER, by whom he reared four
children, Mary, Chandler, Eliza, and Lorenzo, all of whom, except Eliza,
are living. Hon. Eleazer L., son of Chandler, married Jenny E. BEMIS, of
Windham, and is one of the prominent lawyers of the county. He has held
various town offices, and was State's attorney in 1874-‘75, and senator
Lewis SHUMWAY was one of the early settlers of the town. He was
married, first, to Lucy SMITH, by whom he reared thirteen children, and
second, to Sally MASON, of Brookline, by whom he reared two children, John
Q. and Elizabeth, both of whom are living.
Ephraim HIGGINS was born in Cape Cod and came to Jamaica at an early
day, and reared six children, John, Isaac, William, Payne, Lacina and Lucy.
Isaac married Almina BALDWIN and reared eight children, seven of whom are
Joseph JOHNSON, from Putney, was one of the earliest settlers on
Winhall river, between Bondville and Rawsonville. He reared seven children,
two of whom, Mrs. Una SANDERS and Mrs. Lorinda BLOCHER, now reside in Jamaica.
Marshall, his fourth child, married Melinda JOHNSON, reared four children,
and, in 1857, removed to Winhall, where his widow and one son, Irving W.,
now reside. His other surviving son, William B., resides in Jamaica village.
Israel THAYER came to Jamaica, from Sutton, Mass., at an early date,
making the first settlement on the farm now known as the THAYER homestead.
He married Molly A. HOWARD, by whom he reared six children. Moses, who
succeeded to the homestead, married Sally BALDWIN and reared nine children.
Elias WILDER, from Dummerston, was one of the early settlers in
West Jamaica, having located upon the farm now occupied by his grandson,
George F., about 1785. Only one of his sons, Ephraim, spent his life in
Jamaica. He married Lucinda RICE and resided on the old homestead, reared
seven children, three of whom reside in the town, George F., Henry S.,
and Austin N. George F., who resides on the homestead, married Mrs. Lucy
M. HURLBURT, daughter of David GALE, and has three children.
Lieut. Abijah LIVERMORE purchased three lots of land on West Hill
in 1787, and during the following year his sons Ezra and Abijah, Jr., came
on and began to clear the same, and a little later Lot LIVERMORE came on
and began a settlement on another place. Ezra LIVERMORE was a man of considerable
education and an ardent Congregationalist, which facts caused him to be
held in much esteem and led to his being elected to many town trusts, among
which was that of town clerk, an office he held over forty years.
Abiah FULLER, from Connecticut, came to Putney in 1793, with his
four sons, Abiah, Jr., Abel, Joshua and Joseph, and several daughters.
Abiah, Jr., subsequently married Betsey BLANDIN, as early as 1800, and
died in Jamaica, February 15, 1859. Only one of his nine children, Abial
P., is living. He resides in Jamaica, on road 1, where he has cleared two
farms during the past forty-nine years, and has acceptably filled many
positions on the official board of the town. He married Phebe STILES, June
13, 1843, and has three sons and two daughters. His brother, Amora E.,
born September 3, 1812, spent most of his life in Londonderry, where he
held many offices of trust, and died in March, 1872.
David YOUNG came from Arlington, Conn., about 1796, purchased a
lot of wild land on South hill, which he cleared, and where he erected
a dwelling and reared thirteen children, seven by his first wife, Polly
FITTS, and six by his second wife, Elisabeth STREETER. He was one of the
founders of the Baptist church here. Jonathan and job, two of his elder
sons, and Jerry, one of the younger children, always resided in Jamaica,
where Jerry still lives, the only one of the family now left. Jerry married
Candace D. KNOWLTON, and has had born to him three sons and two daughters.
John E. BUTLER, a son of Aaron and Lucinda (HOWARD) BUTLER, was
born at Jamaica, on December 14, 1809, and died at Beaufort, S. C., May
9, 1867. He lived with his parents upon their farm until after he was seventeen
years of age, and attended such district schools as the times afforded.
The spring after he was seventeen he went to Coxsackie, N. Y., and worked
in a brick yard. The following autumn he returned home and attended the
district school during the winter, returning the next summer to Coxsackie,
where he worked in the same brick yard during the last of summer, and returned
home in season to attend a select school that fall at West Townshend. The
following winter, 1828-'29, he taught a district school in Londonderry,
and in the summer of 1829 he worked some with his father on the farm, and
also on the highways, in the fall attending the select schools again at
West Townshend. The winter following, 1829-'30, he kept school in the southwestern
part of Townshend, and the next summer went to Worcester, Mass., to find
employment, working on a farm a few months. In the winter of 1830-'31,
he taught school in Townshend, in the spring of 1831 attending the Chesterfield
Academy, N. H. In the winter of 1831-'32, he taught school at Windham,
and attended the Chesterfield academy again during the spring and fall
terms of 1832, returning to Jamaica in the summer, and continued thus,
part of the time attending or teaching school, and part of the time working
on the farm, until 1834, when, in March, he commenced the study of law
with Epaphroditus RANSOM, Esq., at Townshend, continuing there until the
latter removed to Michigan, after which he went into the office of the
Hon. John ROBERTS, of Townshend, where he remained until the spring of
1836, when he went to the office of Horace ROBERTS, Esq., at Whitingham,
where he remained until he was admitted to the bar, at the April term of
the court of 1837. While studying his profession, in the winter seasons
he taught district schools at Townshend and Winhall, and in the summers
labored for a short season for his father on his farm, to gain means with
which to pursue his studies. Immediately after he was admitted to the bar
he commenced practice in company with Horace ROBERTS, Esq., at Whitingham.
October 25, 1837, he married Roccina BROOKS, of Winhall. He continued his
practice of law with Mr. ROBERTS until the latter died, early in 1838.
In 1838 he was appointed postmaster at Whitingham, which office he held
and continued to practice his profession there until 1843. While he resided
at Whitingham, an academy was established and provided with a building
and apparatus mainly through his efforts. July 24, 1843, he removed to
his native town, and commenced the practice of the law here. He was elected
representative to the-general assembly from Jamaica, in the years 1848,
'49 '51, and 53. In 1853, mainly through his influence, the West River
Bank was incorporated, and located at Jamaica. In 1854 the bank was organized
and he was elected cashier, continuing to hold that office while he lived.
In 1854 he formed a partnership for the practice of law with Benjamin L.
KNOWLTON, and they continued to practice law together until Mr. KNOWLTON
died, in 1859. In 1857 he was a member of the constitutional convention.
In 1858 and 1859 he was State senator for the county of Windham. The Jamaica
Leather Company was incorporated, located at Jamaica, and commenced business
in 1859, largely through his influence. In December, 1859, he commenced
a law partnership with H. H. WHEELER, which continued while he lived. In
1861 he had many friends in various parts of the State, who urged his name
for the office of governor, and many of them attended the State convention
of that year for the purpose of procuring his nomination for that office.
Mr. HOLBROOK's claims were urged by some, however, and so strongly that
Mr. BUTLER's name was withdrawn. He was the father of three children, of
whom the youngest, George A., died at the age of eighteen, in 1864. The
eldest, John A., assisted him in the care and management of the bank from
about the time it was incorporated until his death, and then took his father's
place as cashier, a position he still holds. His second son, Henry A.,
was lying dangerously sick at Beaufort, S. C., where he had gone to visit
him at the time of his death.
Solomon GOODELL came to this town in 1798, locating in the southern
part of the town. Mr. GOODELL was a benevolent man, and gave much for one
of his means, to religious charities. He died in 1815, aged seventy years.
Josiah GLEASON, in company with his brothers Benjamin, Jonathan
and Elisha, came to Jamaica from SPENCER, Mass., previous to 1800. Josiah
made the first clearing on the Squire GLEASON place on road 38. Squire,
the youngest of five children, spent his life on the old homestead. He
married Candace HOWARD and reared three children, Charles H., William F.
and Ella. He was a liberally educated man, taught school a number of terms,
was a justice of the peace many years, and was a member of the Methodist
church of Wardsboro from the time of its organization until his death,
which occurred in 1877, at the age of seventy years. His widow survives
him, residing at Wardsboro.
Jared SAGE, son of Jonathan, was born at Shaftsbury, Vt., in 1780.
He married Elizabeth HOWARD, and removed to Jamaica about 1803, locating
on Turkey mountain. Later, however, he removed to the western part of the
town, where many of his descendants now reside. Of his family of ten children,
S. Emery, Jared and John B. reside in Jamaica, Jesse in Stratton, and Mason
A. in Wardsboro. John B. and S. Emery married sisters, Nancy and Martha
S. HOLTON. The former has reared four sons and one daughter, while the
latter married for his second wife Lois RICHMOND, and has reared a large
Willard SMITH, eldest son of Rufus, came to Jamaica with his father,
from Mendon, Mass., in 1806, locating upon the farm now occupied by Titus
HOWE. He now, at the age of eighty-four years, resides on road 14. He has
been a member of the Baptist church here fifty years. The younger children
were Ruth, Anna, Abigail, Samuel, Sally, Nahum, Rufus and Emeline. Willard
lived with his father, in the western part of the town, until his marriage
to Jerusha HOWE, in 1829. Two of his seven children are living, Hezron
W. and Emerson W., the former postmaster at North Windham, in Londonderry,
and the latter in this town.
Benjamin FELTON was born in Brookfield, Mass., July 21, 1771. He
learned the clothier's trade in his youth, married Nancy ELLIS, in September,
1794, and resided in Massachusetts until after the birth of their four
children, Eliza C., Nathan B., Dwight F. and Asa E. About 1806 he purchased
the grist and saw-mill at "Wardsboro City," and brought his family to Vermont.
Here he carried on business until 1828 and had four more children born
to him, Lucy D., Horatio L., Henry H., and Theodocia R. In 1828, with his
wife and four younger children, Mr. FELTON came to Jamaica and spent the
remainder of his life here, dying October 19, 1858, aged eighty-seven years.
Mrs. FELTON died May 1, 1836. Five of their children are now living, four
in Jamaica, viz.: Asa E., Horatio L., Henry H. and Theodocia R.
Charles BARNES, from Leicester, Mass., came to Jamaica in 1823.
He followed the blacksmith trade and died here in 1871. Eight of his nine
children are still living, of whom William L. succeeded to the business
established by his father and also owns a hotel and several dwellings.
He was also a member of Co. D, 16th Vt. Vols.
Asa B. KINGSBURY, with his three brothers, Arnold B., Squire A.
and Ward P., made the first settlement here in West river valley, just
north of Bald mountain, about 1820. They were all born in Chesterfield,
N. H., where their father, Philip A. KINGSBURY, was also born, in 1780.
These brothers bought land here and made clearings adjoining each other,
and each reared a large family, numbering thirty-four in all. Ten of these
children were in the late civil war, of whom Merritt W. and Daniel O. now
reside in Jamaica, and Ezra lives in Chester. Arnold B. removed to Rawsonville
in 1838, where three of his sons now reside, Ward C., Austin A. and Benjamin
A. Ward P. removed to Rawsonville about 1867, locating on road 4, where
his son, Merritt N., now lives, and where he died, in February, 1867, aged
seventy-five years. His widow still resides on the homestead, while another
son, Daniel O., resides on road 18, and two daughters, Mrs. C. H. LANDMAN
and Mrs. Betsey M. KINGSBURY, reside in Jamaica on road 7. Asa spent his
life on the farm he cleared. His surviving children are Dea. Nelson KINGSBURY
and the widow of Rev. Ralph LYON, in South Windham; Mrs. Rev. Willard BISHOP,
of Meriden, Conn.; Rev. Zenas KINGSBURY, of Windsor; and Rev. Arnold KINGSBURY,
of Fredonia, N. Y. Squire A. KINGSBURY reared five children, only one of
whom, Loren KINGSBURY, of Londonderry, is living. Elliot O., his third
son, married Betsey M., daughter of Ward P. KINGSBURY, and reared two sons,
Charles H., residing in this town on road 71, and Loren K., of Fort Ann,
N. Y. Elliot O. served in Co. E, 5th Vt. Vols., was mustered out of service
in 1865, and died three months later, of disease contracted while in the
Dr. Joel HOLTON was born in Dummerston, May 14, 1803, and settled
in Jamaica in 1831, where he has practiced as a physician and surgeon for
over fifty years. He is a graduate from Bowdoin college, has been town
clerk here many years, a justice of the peace several years, was a delegate
to the constitutional convention in 1850, and has represented the town
in the general assembly two terms. He married, first, Lucretia BUGBEE,
of Dummerston, who died in 1839, and second, Paulina DALTON, of Wardsboro.
The latter marriage resulted in the birth of three children, Warren L.,
George W., and Lucretia E. (Mrs. David EDDY).
Luke C. LANDMAN originally came from RICHMOND, R. I., to Vermont,
locating in Brattleboro, in company with his father, Levi, in 1810. Here
he grew to manhood, and, October 30, 1830, married Hannah BUTTERFIELD,
a daughter of Zenos BUTTERFIELD, and a granddaughter of Capt. Ezra BUTTERFIELD,
who served under Gen. STARK at the battle of Bennington. In 1836 he came
to Jamaica with his family, and has resided thirty-seven years on the farm
he now occupies, on road 7. Ten of this aged couple's twelve children are
now living, of whom John T., the eldest, resides in Londonderry, and Charles
H. and Luke T. in Jamaica. Mr. and Mrs. LANDMAN celebrated their golden
wedding October 30, 1880.
Wales CHENEY was born in this town in 1836, and has resided here
all his life. During the late war he served in Co. I, 18th Vt. Vols., and
was wounded at the battle of Bull Run.
Myron L. BOYNTON was born at West Townshend in 1838, and came to
Jamaica with his father when seven years of age. During the late war he
enlisted in Co. H, 8th Vt. Vols., and served three years, most of the time
on detached duty. At the opening of the B. & W. R. R., he was appointed
station master here, and has held the position ever since.
George H. ELLIS was born here in 1839. He married Hattie L. HARRINGTON,
was a member of Co. F, 1st Regt. of Sharpshooters, and has carried on the
business of a carpenter and builder here thirty years.
Royal E. TAFT, one of the younger sons of Josiah and Olive TAFT,
was born in West Townshend. He married Frances H. WOOD, of Randolph, and
now resides on road 14. He has reared five children, Willis H., Lillie
G., George F., Rosa M. and Marcia M., all of whom, except George F., reside
in Jamaica. Royal E. TAFT's mother is still living, aged ninety years.
Isaac N. PIKE, son of Capt. William PIKE, was born in Somerset,
married Jane H. STILES, of Stratton, and came to Jamaica about 1846, building
a sawmill at PIKE's Falls, where he carried on the lumber business about
thirty years. Mr. PIKE was also the agent of Massachusetts parties owning
large tracts of land in this vicinity, was a practical surveyor, and in
early life was a practicing physician of the Thompsonian school. Mr. PIKE
reared nine children, one of whom, Norman, died in Andersonville prison,
during the late war. He now, with three sons and two daughters, resides
in the county, at the advanced age of eighty years.
Hon. Hoyt H. WHEELER, born in Chesterfield, N. H., in 1833, located
in Jamaica in 1859, where he is now a distinguished resident. He represented
the town in the legislature of 1867; was State senator in 1868-'69; judge
of the supreme court from 1869 to March, 1877, then was appointed United
States district judge, a position he still retains.
Harvey E. SPENCER, son of Mark SPENCER, was born in Westminster
in February, 1837, where his great-grandfather, Ephraim, was one of the
early settlers. Harvey E. removed from Westminster to Londonderry in 1862,
and came to Jamaica in 1868.
Philemon HOLDEN, son of Phineas HOLDEN, of Worcester county, Mass.,
was an early settler in Londonderry. He married Sally FAULKNER, of that
town, and reared five children, Charles F., Henry G., Lauren W., Sylvenus
M., and Mary J. Charles F. went West about 1859, and now lives in Nebraska.
Henry G. spent twelve years in the West, returned in 1869, and now resides
on road 7. Lauren W. was a member of the Windham county bar, and lived
in Londonderry until his death, October 10, 1882. Sylvanus M. resides in
Londonderry. Mary J. died in Londonderry at the age of eighteen years.
Philemon died in the spring of 1881, aged seventy-two years.
Seth L. RANDALL was born in Kingfield, Me., and located here upon
the farm he now occupies, in 1869. He enlisted at East Bridgewater, Mass.,
in the 40th Mass. Vols., in August, 1862, and while on picket duty in Florida
was taken prisoner with seven others, remaining in Andersonville prison
363 days, where his seven companions all died of exposure and starvation.
George WELLS, the second son of Samuel WELLS, was born in Blandford,
Eng., came to America in 1870, and followed shoemaking in this town ten
years, when he retired. He is one of seven sons, six of whom are custom
Jeptha FROST, one of the early settlers of Mount Holly, Vt., reared
a family of seven sons and two daughters. Two of the sons, Stephen and
Daniel, perished in the late war. Two, Alvin and Ransel, came to Windham
county in 1877, Alvin locating in Jamaica, where he established the business
of manufacturing trays. He married Sarah A. WILDER, of Wallingford, Vt.,
and had five daughters. Ransel located in West Townshend, but now resides
Samuel RYDER, from Massachusetts, settled in Stratton about 1820.
He reared nine children, and died in June, 1840. The only ones of the family
now in the county are Henry R. and Fred M., of Jamaica. Fred M., from the
time he was six years of age, was brought up by Oliver MAYNARD, who made
the first clearing in the district now known as Maynard Hollow; in 1812
or '14. He now occupies a part of the original Maynard homestead farm.
Alonzo P. CLOUGH, born in Peru, N. Y., came to Jamaica with his
widowed mother when he was nine years old. In 1862 he enlisted in Co. K,
9th Vt. Vols., serving three years. After the war he returned to Jamaica,
married Mrs. Lydia ALLISON, whose husband was killed in the battle of the
Wilderness, and has four sons and two daughters. He resides on road 34.
Levi BALDWIN, born in Dummerston, married Miss A. FISHER, of West
Brattleboro, and was an early settler in Jamaica. Ebenezer F., one of eight
children, born here in 1808, married Miss T. M. WARD, of Wardsboro, carried
on the cabinet making business in that town thirty-six years, and now resides
at West Brattleboro.
During the war of 1812 the quota first called from Jamaica was five
men, which was filled by the following, viz.: William DAVIDSON, Sylvester
HISCOCK, Vajazatha DANIELS, Abram GAGE and Timothy BOLTON.
During the late civil war the town furnished 149 men, and paid bounties
amounting to $48,179.85. The first enlisted were Dennis CHASE and Frederick
B. FELTON, May 1, 1861.
The First Congregational CHURCH, located at Jamaica, was organized
September 25, 1791, by the society's eight original members, viz.: Reuben
WELLMAN, Aaron WHITNEY, John WELLMAN, Margaret WHITNEY, Mary WELLMAN, Mary
GAGE, and Lucy BLANCHER, and under the advice of the pastors of the churches
in Dummerston and Newfane. The first pastor was Rev. John STODDARD, settled
November 4, 1794. The church building, a wood structure capable of seating
200 persons, was erected in 1808. The society now has a total membership
of sixty-six persons, with Rev. O. G. BAKER, pastor.
The Baptist CHURCH, located on Main street, Jamaica village, was
organized, probably, in 1796, though the Baptist association records say
1790. We make this assertion for the reason that one of the charter members
of the Congregational church was a Baptist, and joined that society for
the reason, say the records, "that there is no Baptist church in town."
This was in 1791, one year after the date claimed by the association. It
is barely possible that in making the record the clerk caused his figure
six to resemble a cipher. The first regular pastor, Elder Simeon COOMBS,
was settled in 1798 or '99. In 1811 Elder COOMBS deeded two acres of land
to the society for a church site, under condition that a building should
be erected inside of five years from the date. In 1816 this restricted
time was extended two years, and the building was completed the following
year, 1817. It is a neat, comfortable structure, having undergone extensive
alterations and repairs in 1883. Rev. E. SMALL is the present acting pastor
of the society.
The Seventh Day Advent Church, located on road 21, was organized
about 1858, by Elders A. C. BOURDEAU and A. S. HUTCHINS, with nine members,
the first settled pastor being Elder Nahum ORCUTT. The church building,
erected in 1868, will seat 200 persons and is valued at $1,000.00. The
society now has about seventy members, with no regular pastor.
and Business Directory of
County, Vt., 1724-1884.
and Published By Hamilton Child,
At The Journal Office, Syracuse, N. Y., July, 1884.
by Karima Allison ~2004