HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF 

MARLBORO

      MARLBORO lies in the southern-central part of the county, in lat. 42° 53' and long. 4° 26', bounded north by Newfane and a small part of Dover, east by Brattleboro and a small part of Dummerston, south by Halifax, and west by Wilmington. It has an area of about 23,040 acres, being the third township chartered by New Hampshire. Its original charter was given April 29, 1751, to Timothy DWIGHT and sixty-four others; again, on the 21st of September, 1761, it was chartered as New Marlboro, and again on the 17th of April, 1764. The prefix “New” being disliked, it was dropped by the consent of most of the inhabitants, the original name only being retained. The first two charters were granted to Timothy DWIGHT, of Northampton, and his associates, the third to Charles PHELPS and his associates. PHELPS, as the principal grantee, was directed to call town meetings in accordance with the conditions of the third charter. Under the first charter the outside lines of the town were run and the corners set in 1752, but owing to the French war the grantees were unable to comply with the requisitions of their charter, and for this reason it was forfeited. On the renewal of the charter means were taken to effect a settlement, and in May, 1762, the town was laid out by Joseph ALLEN, Jr., surveyor, and Eliphaz CLAPP, Oliver BRIGHAM, Joel STRONG and Timothy PARSONS, chairmen.

      The surface of the territory is extremely uneven and mountainous, forming a beautiful landscape, 'but in many places interfering with the cultivation of the soil. Still, there are large areas of easily cultivated, arable land, there being some farms in Marlboro as fine as any in the county. The principal streams are ADAMS, Worden, Bellows and Gulf brooks, which unite in forming Marlboro branch, a stream that flows north into Newfane. Whetstone brook rises in this town and flows east into Brattleboro, and Green river rises in the southern part of the town, flowing south into Halifax. Marlboro pond is a handsome little sheet of water located in the southeastern part of the town. Reservoir pond lies in the central part, and North pond in the northeastern part.

      The principal rocks entering into the geological structure of the town are talcose schist, gneiss, and calciferous mica schist, being distributed in parallel beds running north and south, in the order as mentioned, beginning on the west. In the extreme western part of the town there is also a small vein of hornblende schist, and two other narrow veins of the same rock cutting the bed of gneiss in the central part of the town. A bed of steatite, or soap-stone, is found in the northwestern part, and beds of saccharoid azoic limestone in the southwestern part. The mineral that have been found in connection with these rocks are sulphur, serpentine, garnets, steatite of different varieties, clay, sulphuret of iron, and sulphuret of copper. There are also some springs impregnated with sulphur and iron.

      In 1880 Marlboro had a population of 553, and in 1882 had nine school districts and eight common schools, employing four male and fifteen female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $1,031.16. There were 182 pupils attending common schools, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $1, r 8r.64, with E. P. ADAMS, superintendent.

      MARLBORO is a post village located in the southern-central part of the town. It has one church (Congregational), one hotel, a blacksmith shop, town hall, school-house, and seven dwellings.
      WEST MARLBORO post office is located in a dwelling in the western part of the town.
      The first actual settler was Abel STOCKWELL, who, in the spring of 1763, removed with his family from West Springfield, Mass. Entering the town by the road passing through Brattleboro, he established himself in the eastern part of the town, on the farm since known as the Ames place. Mr. STOCKWELL opened and kept the first tavern in the town, and his grandson, Aaron, son of Abel, Jr., was the first child born here, July 9, 1768. Francis WHITMORE, with his family, from Middletown, Conn., commenced the second settlement. He came in by the way of Coleraine and Halifax, and chose for his location the farm afterwards occupied by his grandson, Levi BARRETT. Although his entrance succeeded that of STOCKWELL but a few weeks the two lived nearly a year within a few miles of one another without becoming acquainted, each supposing that his own family was the only one in town. On account of their distance from other settlements, the families suffered severely from the want of the necessities and conveniences of living. Capt. WHITMORE was accustomed to bring all his grain on his back through the woods, from Deerfield and Coleraine, a distance of from twenty to thirty miles. With difficulty a cow was kept through the winter, upon browse and wild grass gathered in the preceding summer. During another winter Capt. WHITMORE supported his oxen with the hay which he had previously cut from a beaver meadow. To this spot he drove his oxen at the commencement of the cold weather, built for himself a camp, and there remained, performing the duties of an ox herd until the following spring.

      The winter of 1765 was a lonely one to Mrs. WHITMORE. Her husband, pursuing his calling as a tinker, was absent in the older settlements, earning something for the support of his family. During the short unpleasant days, and the long cheerless nights of that dreary season, she saw no human being but her little daughter. Once, it is true, a party of hunters visited her dwelling in their wandering, but the shortness of their stay only added to her loneliness. In this situation she displayed that force of mind and power of contrivance which in a more public situation would have earned for her the name of a heroine. Her hands were not employed in performing simply the lighter duties of the household. In order to supply her fire with fuel she felled the trees of the forest, and on the twigs which the branches afforded she supported her little stock of cattle. She procured water for them, and for herself and daughter, by melting snow, it being easier to pursue this method than to seek for the springs through the deep snow. In this manner she spent the winter, and although her sufferings were occasionally severe, yet constant employment left her but little time for unavailing complaints. Mrs. WHITMORE was exceedingly useful to the early settles, both as a nurse and midwife. She possessed an uncommonly STRONG constitution, and frequently traveled through the forest on snow-shoes, from one part of the town to another, both by day and night, to relieve the sick and afflicted. On one occasion in the night, she went on snow-shoes through the woods, keeping the path by the assistance of blazed trees, from her own house to that of Col. William WILLIAMS, situated at the mills known as the Underwood mills, a distance of not less than six miles. Capt. WHITMORE died May 31, 1790, aged about seventy years. Mrs. WHITMORE was afterwards married to Isaac PITT, an early settler, from Shrewsbury, Mass. She died, after a lingering illness, May 24, 1814, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years. During her life she officiated as midwife at more than two thousand births, and never lost a patient.

      In 1764, the year following the arrival of STOCKWELL and WHITMORE, Charles PHELPS, a lawyer from Hadley, Mass., removed with his family to Marlboro. He and his sons Solomon and Timothy, though men of eccentric mental conformation, bore a prominent part in the history of the country. The family, however, were confirmed Torys. Charles, after suffering by fine, imprisonment, confiscation of property, and banishment from Vermont, on account of his devotion to New York, at length took the oath of allegiance to the former State. His feelings, however, underwent but little change, and until the day of his death he retained the strongest antipathy against the government which had been the means of destroying his own happiness, and rendering his household the abode of sorrow and insanity. He died in April, 1789, aged 73 years. In 1790 Solomon, having become insane, ended his life by his own hand. When discovered he was lying in a lot, between two hemlock logs, and to all appearance had been dead some time. Timothy died here July 3, 1817.

      In 1766 there were twenty-seven people in the town. In 1769 and '70, Col. William WILLIAMS, who distinguished himself in the Bennington battle, moved from Northboro, Mass., accompanied by Capt. Nathaniel WHITNEY and his two brothers, Samuel and Jonas, from Shrewsbury, Mass. The latter represented the town seven years in the general assembly, was thirty-two years a justice of the peace, forty-seven years a deacon of the church, and finally removed to Ohio. In 1770 the settlement was considerably augmented by emigrants from Massachusetts and Connecticut, and about this time meetings were established for religious worship, though they had no preaching in town for several years. In 1771 the Rev. Abner REEVE, of Brattleboro, married the first couple, Perez STOCKWELL and Dinah FAY. James BALL died here in December, 1762, aged twenty-six years, the first death known to occur in the town. The same year, Col. WILLIAMS erected a saw-mill which was the first built in the town, Rev. Abner REEVE preached the first sermon ever preached in the town, in 1774, from Mark xvi., 15. The first physician was Samuel KING, who was also the first representative. The first justice was Benjamin OLDS, in 1786. In 1771 the total population of the town was fifty souls, twenty-two of whom were heads of families, while in 1791 the population had increased to 629 souls, seventy-six more than it has at present. From 1781 to 1787 Marlboro was, with Westminster, a half-shire town of the county.

      Timothy PHELPS, who was born January 25, 1747, and died July 3, 1817, settled in Marlboro in April, 1761, with the first immigrants to this town. The stone which marks his grave in the "PHELPS cemetery," on the farm of MATHER ADAMS, bears this inscription: "This plat of ground, whose dust mingles with his, was among the first that felt his cultivating care.”

      Nathaniel WHITNEY was born in Shrewsbury, Mass., in June, 1749. He married Mary HOUGHTON of that place and moved to Marlboro in April, 1770, settling on a farm on what is known as "Lyman hill." About 1777 he removed to a farm in the east part of the town, where he resided till his death, June 6, 1829. His widow died September 22, 1844, aged ninety-three years.

      Nathaniel, Jr., one of his eleven children, married Sally STEWART, of Brattleboro, and lived on the homestead in Marlboro, where he died in July, 1852, aged seventy-three years. He had seven sons and three daughters, all of whom are dead, except Harriet Maria, who lives in West Brattleboro, aged seventy years. The place, after belonging to the WHITNEY family for more than a century, has passed into the hands of strangers. Nathaniel WHITNEY, Jr., had twenty-four grandchildren, only four of whom are residents of Marlboro. Among these is Brutus M. WHITNEY, (son of Emory, eldest son of Nathaniel, Jr.,) who resides on road 11. After the settlement of the WHITNEY family in Marlboro, three of the WHITNEY brothers, named Jonas, Samuel and Eliphalet, followed and settled here, where some of their descendants still reside.

      Joseph WINCHESTER came to Marlboro from Grafton, Mass., about 1772. He had five sons and one daughter. His son Luther, who was born in 1774, was the third child born in this town. He died in 1853. He had seven sons and three daughters, one of the latter of whom, Hannah, lives with the Hall brothers off road 24.

      Timothy MATHER, who was born in 1757, came to Marlboro from Suffield, Conn., in 1773, and in 1779 married Hannah CHURCH, who was born in 1756 and died in 1827. He died in 1818. He had six sons and four daughters, Lucy, Hannah, David, Timothy, Lois, William, Cotton, Enos, Dan, and Phila. Hannah, Lois, William, and Enos made their homes in other States. Lucy married Simeon ADAMS, whose father of the same name came from Suffield Conn., in 1777 and died in 1806. Simeon Jr., was born in. 1770 and died in 1846. He had six sons and five daughters, three of the former and one of the latter of whom are living: His son Ira lives on road 27, and is postmaster at West Marlboro. Simeon, another son, lives on road 42 cor. 45. Mather, the third, and the surviving daughter, still live on the homestead off road 12. Cotton MATHER married Betsey CARPENTER in 1827, and had six sons and six daughters. The only daughter left in Marlboro married Carley P. WHITNEY, and lives on road 20. George, their only son living in Marlboro, married Lura WORDEN and lives on road 18. Dan MATHER, who was born May 6, 1795, married Almira MILLER, who was born in 1800, and had three sons and seven daughters. One son, Miller D. married Jannette WARREN, and another, David, Hannah ADAMS. Both reside in the town. William, a third, married a KELLY and lives in Brattleboro. One daughter, Susan, married Flint SNOW, and has a son and daughter. Hannah, a daughter of Timothy MATHER, married Ezra AMES and had a son and daughter. Phila, another daughter, married Samuel BROWN and had one son and four daughters.

      Thomas ADAMS came to Marlboro from Massachusetts with his father when quite young. He died at the advanced age of ninety-nine years. He married and had four children, three sons and a daughter, Chester, Beria, David and Lorinda, the latter of whom married Isaac WORDEN and settled in Halifax. Chester married Laura SPEERS, by whom he had three boys and two girls. He was a farmer, and died in November, 1852. The other sons married and settled in Marlboro and raised families.

      Luther AMES came from Guilford, and was one of the earliest settlers in Marlboro. Cynthia, his wife, died in 1839, aged sixty-eight years. They had six sons and four daughters. One daughter, Almerine, died in 1875. Three of her five sons, and one of her three daughters, are living. William C. moved to Michigan, in 1873. George W. and Charles A. Ames still reside in Marlboro, on road 51. The surviving daughter is Ellen, wife of Albert M. PROUTY.

      Levi HOWARD, an old settler in Marlboro, was born June 15, 1784, and died July 18, 1862. He exhibited his philanthropy by the adoption of one son and two daughters, and by caring for several orphan children. One son, Deacon Joseph H. HAMILTON, now lives off road 11.

      Daniel HALLADAY, from Connecticut, was an early settler in this town. He died November 22, 1842, aged eighty-eight years. He had six sons and three daughters, all of whom are dead. One son, Oliver, was born and lived on the farm on which his son Elliot now lives, on road 9. He died herein 1862, aged seventy-five years. He had five sons and five daughters, of whom Elliot is the only one living here. One daughter is in Ohio, one in Michigan, and one in Brattleboro, Vt.

      Jonathan WARREN was an early settler from Waltham, Mass. He died at the age of eighty-three years. He had two sons and three daughters, one of whom, Jonathan, lived on road 26, where his son Clark now resides. He had four sons and three daughters, and Clark two sons and one daughter. Clark's son Henry now lives in Brattleboro. His daughter married Miller D. MATHER, and lives on road 31.

      Lieut. HIGLEY was one of the earliest settlers in Marlboro. His son Orange died in 1852, aged seventy-nine. He had one daughter by his first wife, and two sons and a daughter by the second. Elliot, who lives in Halifax, had five sons and four daughters. One son, Orange, lives in Marlboro, on road 11; another, Charles H., in Halifax; and a third, Levi, in Illinois. A daughter married S. L. BRAYMAN, and lives here on road 33. A daughter of Orange HIGLEY, Sen., married Andrew N. JENKS, and lives on road 48.

      Eseck THAYER was born in Rhode Island, February 7, 1762, and was among the first settlers in Guilford. He married Mary SHEPARDSON, of that town, and after a few years residence there removed to Marlboro, settling in the southwest part of the town, on the farm of Don HOWE. He died in 1850, and his wife, who was born May 11, 1765, in 1843. They had nine children, all of whom are dead. Their son, Col. Ezra, who was born December 22, 1793, was a prominent man in the town. He held the various town offices, and was a colonel of militia. He married Thirza SHELDON, by whom he had eight children, seven of whom are living. He died February 21, 1875. His widow is still living. Only one of his children lives in Marlboro, Sylvie A., wife of B. M. WHITNEY. One son, Orson, is a farmer in Guilford. A daughter, Mary E., wife of O. J. HALE, lives in Halifax. Another son, James H., was a lieutenant in Co. E. 12th Wisconsin Vols., and was wounded at Atlanta, Georgia, from the effects of which he died October 8, 1864.

      Asa WARDEN, who was born in 1765, came to Marlboro in 1802, and died in 1853. He had seven sons and three daughters, of whom five sons and two daughter are living. Roswell, the only one living in Marlboro, had six sons and four daughters, two of the former and all of the latter of whom are living. One son, John, who was born in 1802, and one of the daughters are living in Newfane. Another son, George C., is in Dover, and another daughter in Marlboro.

      Elijah BRUCE, who was born in 1760, came from Newfane to Marlboro, in 1810, and died in 1832. He had nine sons and six daughters. His daughter Abigail, who married Willis FISHER, is living with her son, Joseph E., aged seventy-seven. One son, Preserved, was born in 1785, and died in 1865. He had five sons and five daughters, two of the former of whom are living in Marlboro, Joseph on road 40, and Alvin B. on road 15.

      Nehemiah FISHER, who was born in 1764, and died December 8, 1846, was a deacon of the Baptist church in Pondsville. He had two sons and seven daughters, all of whom are dead. His son Nehemiah W., who was born June 23, 1805, and died December 6, 1858, had five sons and four daughters, of whom Joseph E. is the only one living in this town, off road 16.

      Samuel WHITNEY came here from Massachusetts. He had four sons and three daughters, viz.: Moses, Guilford, Simeon, Zenas, Betsey, Phebe, and Kate, all of whom are dead. Moses lived where his son Zenas now resides, on road 2. He had nine children, only two of whom are living, Zenas, on road 2, and Brittana, who married Dr. GILLETT, in Whitingham.

      In June, 1748, Capt. Humphrey HOBBS, with forty men, was ordered from Charlestown, N. H., (Number Four), to Fort Shirley, in Heath, one of the forts of Massachusetts cordon. Their route lay through the woods, and for two days was made without any interruptions save those occasioned by natural obstructions. On Sunday, June 26th, having traveled six miles, they halted at a place about twelve miles northwest of Fort Dummer, in the precincts of this town. A large body of Indians who had discovered HOBBS's trail had made a rapid march in order to cut them off. They were commanded by a resolute chief named SACKETT, said to have been a half-blood, a descendent of a captive taken at Westfield, Mass. HOBBS had carefully posted a guard on his trail, and while his men were refreshing themselves the enemy came up and drove in the guard. HOBBS then arranged his men for action, each man selecting a tree for a cover. The enemy rushed forward, and received a well-directed fire from HOBBS's men, which checked their progress. A severe conflict ensued. SACKETT and HOBBS were well known to each other, and both were distinguished for their intrepidity and courage. SACKETT could speak English, and frequently called on HOBBS to surrender, threatening to sacrifice his men with the tomahawk if he refused. HOBBS, in a loud voice, returned a defiant answer, and dared his enemy to put his threat into execution. The action continued about four hours, each party retaining their original position. Daring the fight the enemy would approach HOBBS's line, but were immediately driven back. SACKETT, finding his men suffered severely, retreated, carrying off his dead and wounded. HOBBS lost only three of his men -- Ebenezer MITCHELL, Eli SCOTT and Samuel GREEN; and three were wounded. The loss of the enemy was supposed to be greater.

      This battle occurred in the northern part of the town. Some authorities, however, say, and perhaps truthfully, at occurred just over the lane in Newfane. It cannot be accurately decided, at this late day, to which town belongs the honor. As late as the year 1810, a large number of graves were visible on the lower portion of the Robinson flats, so-called, in Newfane, under a cluster of chestnut trees, near the South branch, below Williamsville, where the bodies of the Indians who were killed are supposed to have been buried; at least, such was the current tradition for fifty years or more among the early settler of Newfane. And if SACKETT "retreated, carrying off has dead," it looks reasonable that he retreated from the territory now included within the limits of Marlboro.

      At a town meeting held here May 22, 1775, to know the minds of the people with regard to the impending war with Great Britain, the following resolutions were passed:

"Resolved, That we wull, each of us, at the expense of our lives and fortunes, to the last extremity, unite and oppose the last cruel, unjust and arbitrary acts of the British Parliament, passed for the sole purpose of raising a revenue, etc. Also, “Resolved, That we will be contented and subject to the Honorable Continental congress an all things which they shall resolve for the peace, safety and welfare of the American colonies."
      When the news of the battle of Lexington reached here, several young men shouldered their guns and hastened to the field of action. In 1777 Capt. Francis WHITMORE was sent as a delegate to the convention at Windsor.

      When the late dark cloud of the Rebellion broke upon us the town again showed its patriotism and love for the Union. For notice of the officers sent out from the town at this tame, and of those who, enlisting as privates, were promoted, see the roster, on page 69.

      The Congregational church, located at Marlboro village, was organized by its first pastor, Rev. Gershom C. LYMAN, D. D., October 20, 1776. The church building, a wood structure capable of seating 350 persons, and valued at $5,000.00, was built in 1819. The society now has fourteen members, with no regular pastor.

Gazetteer and Business Directory of 
Windham County, Vt., 1724-1884.
Compiled and Published By Hamilton Child,
Printed At The Journal Office, Syracuse, N. Y., July, 1884.
Page 248-255

Transcribed by Karima Allison ~2004