OF THE TOWN OF
NEWFANE, the shire town of the county; lies in the central part
of the same, in lat. 42° 58' and long. 4° 12', bounded north by
Townshend and a part of Brookline, east by Brookline and Dummerston, south
by Marlboro and a small part of Dummerston, and west by Dover and Wardsboro.
It was originally chartered by New Hampshire, by the name of Fane, to Abner
SAWYER and sixty-seven of has associates, June 19, 1753, the name of Fane,
according to an old tradition, being derived from Thomas Fane, or given
in his honor, he being one of the "men of Kent" who was engaged in an insurrectionary
movement under Sir Thomas Wyat, in 1554, during the reign of Queen Mary,
for the purpose of elevating Lady Jane Grey to the throne, in consequence
of the odious Spanish match which Mary had formed with Philip II. Its area
was, as by charter given, 23,040 acres, or a tract six miles square, bounded
In 1820, However, that part of the town lying north east of West
river was annexed to Brookline, materially reducing the chartered area
of the township.
at a stake and stones five rods east ten degrees south by the needle from
the northeast corner of the town of Marlboro, and from thence running six
miles north twenty degrees east by the needle to a stake and stones, from
thence west ten degrees north by the needle six miles to a stake and stones,
from thence south twenty degrees west by the needle six miles to the north
side of Marlboro aforesaid, thence by Marlboro's northeast corner, and
from thence continuing that course to the stake and stones first above
The year following that in which the charter was issued, attempts
were made by the proprietors, most of whom were inhabitants of Shrewsbury,
Mass., to comply with the terms of the charter, by clearing a certain amount
of land and allotting it in severalty; but the state of the times forbade
a successful prosecution of the work, and the charter was forfeited. In
1761 the charter was returned to New Hampshire, and on the 3d of November,
of that year, a new one was issued to "Luke BROWN and his associates,"
containing the same conditions embraced in the original charter deed. But
on the 10th of July, 1765, Ebenezer MORSE, Ephraim DOOLITTLE and Job CUSHING,
a committee of the proprietors, sent a memorial to Lieut-Gov. COLDEN, of
New York, in which they referred to the second New Hampshire charter, as
In addition to the above it was also stated in the memorial that
the doubts, which had arisen in their minds in regard to the validity of
the New Hampshire charter, had retarded the settlement of the township.
So, in order to remove all obstacles, they asked for a confirmation grant;
and, that they might not be compelled to pay more than the usual fees,
they prayed that the confirmation might be made before the stamp act should
become obligatory. But, for a long time, no notice appears to have been
taken of this petition, and when, finally, the attention of the Governor
was directed to the subject, instead of confirming the New Hampshire charter,
he, on the 11th of May, 1772, made a grant of the township by the name
of Newfane, to "Walter FRANKLIN and twenty other persons, principally residing
in the city of New York," the charter being a literal copy of the original
WENTWORTH deed, from New Hampshire. On the day following this transaction,
FRANKLIN and his associates conveyed their rights to Luke KNOULTON and
John TAYLOR, of Worcester county, Mass. Thus the titles to all the lands
in Newfane are in consequence derived from the New York charter.
have, agreeable to the demands of said Charter, made all possible efforts
in order effectually to settle said lands so granted, and have already
expended Six Dollars upon Each right or share, in making Publick Roads,
and in other Publick Services, and cleared upon the several Lots in said
Township more than fifteen hundred acres of Land (as we judge), and were
vigorously prosecuting the settlement of said Township, When Your Honor
Issued a Proclamation, Laying Claim to all the Land West of Connecticut
River (then chartered out by the Governor of New Hampshire) as belonging
to the Government of New York."
The surface of the town is broken into high hills and deep valleys,
affording many magnificent views and many beautiful landscape pictures,
though it has no elevation deserving to be termed a mountain, and there
is little or no broken or waste land that is unsuitable for purposes of
cultivation. The intervales afford excellent tillage lands, and the uplands
are inferior to none in the State for grazing purposes. The original growth
of forest trees is principally rock-maple, beech, birch, spruce and hemlock;
but the recent growth on the eastern and southern hillsides is oak and
hickory, and in the southern part of the town, on the intervales and hillsides
near Williamsville, the chestnut grows abundantly, this being the only
town in the county, outside of the Connecticut river valley, where trees
of the latter growth are found. The principal streams are the Wantasiquet,
commonly called West river, which flows a southerly course through the
eastern part of the town; the South branch, so-called, which rises in Dover,
and, after receiving a number of tributary streams, passes through the
southerly part of the town and empties into West river near the eastern
boundary of Newfane; Baker's book, a tributary of the South branch, rises
in Wardsboro, and empties into the South branch at Williamsville; and SMITH's
brook, which rises in Wardsboro, and, running through the entire northerly
part of the town, empties into West river, two miles below Fayetteville.
These streams afford many eligible mill-sites and water privileges.
The rocks entering into the geological structure of the territory
are principally mica slate and hornblende, though few continuous ranges
can be traced with certainty. Granite is by no means an uncommon rock here,
bowlders and rolled masses of it being scattered in profusion over every
part of the town, sometimes being found upon the summits of the highest
hills, probably the result of the drift period. These bowlders, by skillful
splitting, are wrought into fence posts and building stone. Hornblende
is a very common rock, forming a range that extends through the entire
town. It is the variety called hornblende slate, and is often curiously
curved and twisted, and occasionally passes into primitive greenstone and
greenstone porphyry. Mica slate is the most common rock, yet no connected
range can be traced. It forms the summits and frequently the sides of the
hills, and in the valleys it is common; but hornblende is constantly thrusting
itself from underneath the mica slate, and interrupting the continuity
of its ranges. In the north part of the town are extensive strata of mica
slate, which are occasionally quarried and wrought into flagging stones.
Talcose slate better deserves the name of a range than any other in the
town. Serpentine, associated with it, forms a range extending four or five
miles on the western border of the town, presenting perpendicular precipices,
in some places forty or fifty feet in height. Chloride slate also occurs
in the town, in which is embedded splendid specimens of garnet. A nugget
of native gold, weighing eight and one-half ounces, was found here in 1827,
about one hundred rods east of the village of Williamsville. It was of
conical shape, and there were adhering to it a number of small crystals
of quartz. It was found in alluvium consisting of thin strata of sand,
clay and water-worn stones. At the time the gold was found it was supposed
to have been accidentally lost by a band of counterfeiters who formerly
resided in the neighborhood, although their operations were confined exclusively
to the manufacturing of silver coin. Gold at that time had not been discovered
elsewhere in New England; but since then its discovery at Somerset, Plymouth,
Bridgewater, and other places in Vermont, seems to favor the theory that
it existed originally in the bed of serpentine and talcose slate in the
western part of the town, near the head waters of the South branch, and
was swept out of place by some freshet and deposited in the alluvium some
six miles below.
In 1880 Newfane had a population of 1,031, and in 1882 had eleven
school districts and eleven common schools, employing three male and fourteen
female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $1,103.84. There
were 241 pupils attending common schools, while the entire cost of the
schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $1,359.41, with M. O. HOWE,
FAYETTEVILLE (Newfane p. o.), the county seat, is a pleasant little
post village and station on the Brattleboro & Whitehall railroad, located
in the northeastern part of the town, on Smith's brook, near its junction
with West river. It has one church (Congregational), a court-house and
jail, two hotels, two stores, two saw-mills, two blacksmith shops, and
about fifty dwellings. In the early settlement of the town a village grew
up upon the summit of a hill, which rose like a cone in the center of the
town, and when, in 1787, Newfane was constituted the shire town of the
county, the courts were removed from Westminster to this village, or Newfane
Hill, as it was called. From 1790 to 1820 this village consisted of a court-house,
jail, meeting house, academy, three stores, two hotels, a variety of shops,
and about twenty residences. But in 1825 the site of the court buildings
was changed to what is now Fayetteville, or what was then known as Park's
Flats, and named Fayetteville in honor of General La Fayette, who had paid
his memorable visit to Vermont the preceding year. After this removal of
the public buildings from the hill to the valley below, the owners of the
real estate on the hill began removing their buildings to Fayetteville
and Williamsville, and as late as 1860 not a building remained to mark
the pleasant site of the old village of Newfane Hill.
WILLIAMSVILLE, another pleasant little post village, is located
in the southeastern part of the town, on the South branch, near the mouth
of Baker's brook. It contains two churches (Methodist and Universalist),
one hotel, two stores a grist-mill, two saw-mills, one tub factory, a cardboard
mill, wagon shop, blacksmith shop, cider-mill and jelly manufactory, a
shoe-shop, and about thirty dwellings. The name of the village is derived
from William H. WILLIAMS, in early years the owner of a large portion of
its business interests, and who was an enterprising citizen of Newfane
for many years. He died in 1866, at an advanced age. The village doubtless
owes its origin, and, in a large degree, its subsequent growth, to the
natural advantages afforded by the stream upon which it is situated.
PONDVILLE (South Newfane p. o.), a small village located about a
mile west of Williamsville,, has one church (Baptist), a saw and shingle-mill,
carding mill, a cider and jelly mill, and about twenty dwellings. The village
derived its name in honor of Caleb POND, once a resident here, but later
a wealthy merchant of Hartford, Conn.
BROOKSIDE is a hamlet located in the southwestern part of the town,
containing three saw-mills, a blacksmith shop, harness shop, and about
The Windham County savings Bank, located at Fayetteville, was chartered
in 1853, and organized in 1854. Its officers are Samuel D. WINSLOW, of
Townshend, president; Oscar L. SHERMAN, vice-president; Milon DAVIDSON,
treasurer; trustees, Charles H. EAGAR. Joseph J. GREEN, A. T. WARREN, William
T. BRUCE, O. L. SHERMAN, Jonas LIVERMORE, P. H. BUTLER, I. K. BATCHELDER.
Hugh H. HOLBROOK, Abner B. BAILEY, and John STEBBINS.
Alvira GATES’s grist-mill and chair shop, located at Fayetteville,
was built many years ago, where Mr. GATES now carries on a good business.
Ephraim C. WALKER's saw-mill, located at Fayetteville, is furnished
with a circular saw, and cuts about 100,000 feet of lumber per annum.
DAVENPORT & UNDERWOOD's saw-mill and turning works, located
on Smith's brook, at Fayetteville, is operated by a fifty-horse power steam
engine, employs twenty men, and has a sawing capacity of i,000,000 feet
of lumber per annum, turning out about $2,000.00 worth of work per month.
HOYT's cider-mill and jelly works are located at Williamsville.
The jelly works have the capacity for turning out thirty tons of jelly
WHEELER & MORSE's tub factory, located at Williamsville, turns
out about 5,000 to 7,000 butter tubs and sap buckets for annum.
D. B. LAMSON's wool-carding mill, located at South Newfane, is operated
by water-power and does about $400.00 worth of custom carding per annum.
William A. BROOKS's saw-mill, located on road 42, is fitted with
board and bench saws, shingle machine, lathes, etc., cutting about 300,000
feet of lumber per year.
HOWARD Bros.' card-board mill, Packer S. SIMONDS, superintendent,
is located at Williamsville.
The first settlement of Newfane was begun by Jonathan PARK, Nathaniel
STEDMAN and Ebenezer DYER, in 1766, as follows: In the spring of 1766,
Jonathan PARK, then a young man about twenty-three years of age, and Nathaniel
STEDMAN, aged twenty-one years, both single men, started forth from Worcester
county, Mass., with axe, tinder box and kettle, slung on their shoulders,
to seek a home in the forests of the New Hampshire grants. They made their
halt in the township of Fane, selecting their lots on or near the top of
the highest hill in the center of the town. STEDMAN took up and cleared
the farm that is to-day known as Nathan MERRIFIELD's old farm. PARK cleared
what is known as old Newfane hill common. During this summer they occupied
a cabin together on STEDMAN's lot. During the season, Ebenezer DYER, a
lawyer from Wortester county, who was out prospecting for a home, came
to their camp and enquired the route to John HAZELTINE's clearing. He had
settled in the vicinity of the FRANKLIN homestead, about on the line between
Townshend and Newfane, in 1764, supposing he was in Townshend, though it
is said he was in reality in Newfane. DYER, it seems, was a full-blooded
rebel, or anti-king's man, -and had come here as a refugee from Worcester
county, where he had lain in jail seven years for refusing to pay a royal
fine of nine shillings. When an opportunity offered itself the three men
started out together to look for HAZELTINE's cabin. They came out on the
round top of the high hill just west of Fayetteville, and pointed out the
course in a northeast line to the river. STEDMAN returned to the camp,
and PARK and DYER descended into the valley and found the flats on which
Fayetteville now stands. Once in the valley, surrounded by the dense forest,
their only course was to make the best of their route to the river; and
this they reached on what is today known as the Windham county fair ground
farm. DYER was so well pleased with the land that he marked the trees and
selected this for his lot; and now, being satisfied that they must be below
HAZELTINE's, they followed up the river and found his clearing. It seems
to be evident that these three men returned to Worcester county in the
autumn and there spent the winter. In the spring of 1767 PARK and STEDMAN
returned, driving with them a pair of steers and a heifer. With reference
to the exact time that DYER moved his family into town, it has only been
learned that Mrs. DYER was the first white woman that ever spent the winter
in the town.
The "History of Newfane," from which these facts are taken, also
gives an incident illustrating the hardships these men endured. In order
to winter their steers and heifers they went out into the northern part
of the town, some five miles from their camp, to a natural meadow, now
known as the Knowlton meadow, and cut and stacked swamp hay and built a
shelter for their stock; and every day throughout that long, dreary winter,
1767-'68, one or the other of these men plodded his way through the lone,
dreary forest to feed their stock, and back to camp at night; and during
the winter PARK returned to Massachusetts, leaving STEDMAN alone in the
forest with the stock to feed, for twenty-six days.
In the summer of 1768 PARK commenced his clearing in Fayetteville,
and built the first framed house in town, covering the frame with hemlock
bark. STEDMAN left the hill, either then or soon after, and settled upon
the farm lately occupied by his grandson, W. A. STEDMAN. He died October
16, 1812, aged sixty-seven years. PARK lived to the age of eighty-four
years, dying July 18, 1827. The remains of both these men are buried in
the village cemetery at Fayetteville, while Mr. DYER's dust lies sleeping
on the bank just outside the southeast corner of the fair ground, with
no monument to mark the spot.
In 1771, three years later, settlers had come in so rapidly that
the town had eight families, making a total of fifty-two persons, fourteen
of whom were adult males. In 1791 this population had increased to 1,031.
The town was surveyed in 1772, and duly organized May 17, 1774,
when Ebenezer FLETCHER was chosen moderator; Luke KNOULTON, town clerk;
John WHEELER and Ebenezer FLETCHER, overseers of the poor; Jonathan PARK,
Moses KENNEY, and Christopher OSGOOD, trustees; Edward SMITH, Christopher
OSGOOD, and John WHEELER, commissioners; Christopher OSGOOD and Luke KNOULTON,
assessors; Josiah RANDALL, collector; Luke KNOULTON, treasurer; Phineas
FARRAR, John MORSE, Edward SMITH, and Lemuel STEVENS, constables; Josiah
RANDALL, Ebenezer MYRICK, Moses KENNEY, and Lemuel STEVENS, overseers of
highways; and Jonathan THURSTON, Joshua MORSE, Christopher OSGOOD, and
Nathan PIKE, fence viewers. Ebenezer MYRICK was the first representative
in the legislature, in 1779. The first justice of the peace was William
WARD, in 1786. The first child born was Lucy PARK, August 15, 1769.
Thomas BETTERLY, born in Worcester, Mass., in 1751, came to Newfane
in 1770 and located upon the farm now owned by his grandson, Chester H.
One of his sons, familiarly known as Captain BETTERLY, and father of Chester
H., was born on the old homestead in 1792, and died in the house in which
he was born, in 1870.
Hon. Luke KNOULTON was born in Shrewsbury, Mass., November 4, 1738,
and served in the old French war. He married Sarah, daughter of Ephraim
HOLLAND, of Shrewsbury, Mass., January 5, 1760, and with his family moved
to Newfane in February, 1773, the fourteenth family to settle in the town.
He died here December 12, 1810, aged seventy-three years. His wife died
September 1, 1797. Their family consisted of seven children-three sons
and four daughters. Mr. KNOULTON was chosen first town clerk, and continued
to hold the position fourteen years. He was a representative in 1784, '85,
'88, '89, '92, 1803 and '06, and a member of the old council from 1790
to 1800; judge of supreme court in 1786, and judge of the county court
from 1787 to 1793. In the division of the $30,000.00 which New York received
from Vermont, on the accession of the latter State to the Union, he received
$249.53, on account of the losses he had sustained by being obliged to
give up lands which he held under a New York title.
James LAMB was one of the very early settlers of the town. He was
born at Spencer, Mass., in 1750, married, first, Charlotte HOWARD; second,
Lydia (CUSHING) STEARNS, and died here January 11, 1836.
Silas GATES was also one of the very early settlers. He cleared
what is known as the Oliver DEXTER farm. Died August 21, 1826.
Rev. Hezekiah TAYLOR, first pastor of the Congregational church
in Newfane, was born in Grafton, Mass., in 1748, graduated from Harvard
college in 1770, and was settled as pastor of this church June 30, 1774.
He died here August 23, 1874.
Rev. Aaron CROSBY was born in Shrewsbury, Mass., November 27, 1744,
graduated from Harvard college in 1770, married Mary TAYLOR, sister of
Rev. Hezekiah TAYLOR, August 22, 1774, came to Newfane the same year, and
died here January 13, 1824.
Dea. Moses KENNEY was born in Northboro, Mass., September 11, 1747,
married Azubiah PARMENTER in 1770, and came to Newfane in 1774. He reared
twelve children, and died June 23, 18o8, aged sixty-one years. Mrs. KENNEY
died January 3, 1837, aged eighty-six years.
Ethan DURREN was born in 1747, and came to Newfane in 1774. He was
married the same year to Millescent PARMENTER, of Sudbury, Mass., and died
July 7, 1823. Mrs. DURREN died December 5, 1848, aged one hundred years.
Artemas BRUCE came to Newfane from Westboro, Mass., in 1774, and
located upon the farm now occupied by William T. BRUCE. His son Ephraim
married Polly CROWL and had five sons and three daughters. Of this family,
Samuel married Arathuzia BARTLETT, daughter of Capt. William BARTLETT,
and reared one son and one daughter, Mary H. (Mrs. F. O. BURDETT), of Newfane,
and William F. The latter was born in 1829, married Emma V. FRANKLIN in
1865, and has had three children.
Daniel FISHER, born at Milford, Mass., in 1752, came to Newfane
in 1774, and purchased about 1,000 acres of land in the eastern part of
the town. He was called Corn FISHER, on account of the large quantities
of Indian corn he raised on his large farm. He died in 1820, aged sixty-eight
years. His son Daniel, Jr., born here in 1776, married Milliscent DURREN
in 1797, their children being Clark, Lydia (Mrs. Nathaniel STIMPSON), Orrison,
Caroline (Mrs. Richard P. PRATT), Hannah (Mrs. Isaac BURNETT), and Simon.
George C. FISHER, son of Simon, born in 1800, married Lorinda KERMAN, of
Burlington, in 1820, and reared six sons and four daughters. Two of the
daughters are now living, one of whom, Laura, is the wife of George B.
JOHNSON, and resides on a part of the old FISHER homestead.
Jonathan ROBINSON. Jr., was born at Milford, Mass., July 12,'1754,
married Sarah TAYLOR, sister of Rev. Hezekiah TAYLOR, and came to Newfane
in. the early part of 1775. He bought of John WHEELER, November 13, 1775,
a farm in the parish, so-called, which he occupied until September, 1796,
when he exchanged farms with Lieut. James LAMB. The LAMB farm, which he
received in exchange, embraced an extensive meadow a hundred rods or more
below Williamsville, where SACKETT's men, who were killed in the fight
with HOBBS, June 27, 1748, were buried. In 1796, when Jonathan ROBINSON
took possession of the farm, a large number of graves were distinctly visible
near a clump of chestnut trees standing on the lower meadow, and they were
said to be the graves of those who were killed in the fight with Melvin
at the mouth of the South branch, formerly called the lower fork of the
Wantastiquet. Mr. ROBINSON had a family of ten children, and died April
14, 1819. Sarah, his wife, died March 9, 1809.
Hon. Luke KNOULTON, Jr., was born here March 24, 1775, was educated
first at the elementary school at Westminster, then at Chesterfield academy,
N. H., and finally as a private pupil and law student of his brother Calvin,
a graduate of Dartmouth college, N. H., at Newfane, where he was admitted
to the bar about 1796. He was a successful practitioner, although he had
no special fondness for the profession, and became assistant judge of Windham
county, and also represented Newfane for several years in the general assembly.
He removed to Canada, in 1821, where he died in 1855, aged eighty years.
Dr. Nathan STONE was born at Shrewsbury, Mass., in 1761, studied
medicine at Dr. FLINT's school of medicine, was a surgeon's mate in the
Revolution. He came to Newfane in 1782, and was surgeon of the 14th Vt.
(militia) regiment, in 1787, of the 2d regiment in 1790, and of the 3d
regiment in 1794. He held the office of justice of the peace for many years,
and was town clerk forty-two years. He married Alice, daughter of judge
KNOULTON, in 1788, and reared five sons and four daughters, of whom Edson,
died in New York ; Joseph died at Ellenburgh, N. Y.; Lucinda died in 1874;
Benjamin died at the age of ten years; Alice R. died at the age of twenty-six
years; Sophia K., widow of Justus HOLLAND, and Sarah S.. widow of James
HOLLAND, reside in Newfane. Dr. STONE died in March, 1839. Mrs. STONE died
in 1865, aged ninety-six years.
Aaron MERRIFIELD came to Newfane, from Milford, Mass., about 1785,
and located upon what is now known as the MERRIFIELD homestead. He married
Betsey E. ROBINSON, and reared seven sons and four daughters. The seventh
son, Nathaniel, born in 1789, married Sophronia CHAPIN, for his first wife,
their daughter becoming the wife of Joseph WILDER; for his second wife
he married Abigail CUSHING, in 1828, by whom he had a family as follows:
Abby L., Porter W., Hollis R., born in 1833, Ormando P., and Augusta C.,
born in 1842. Only the latter three are living, of whom Hollis R. resides
on the old BRUCE place, where he located in 1846, and with him resides
his sister, Augusta C. The other surviving child, Ormando P., resides in
Nahum HOUGHTON was born in Newfane, March 17, 1785, married first.
Mary HOLDEN, January, 1812 ; second, Lydia STRATTON. He was a justice of
the peace many years, and transacted a great deal of public business. He
died May 12, 1854.
Ebenezer ALLEN was born at Medway, Mass., in 1758, and came to Newfane
in 1785. He represented the town in the general assembly for ten consecutive
years, from 1794 to 1804, was for a time judge of the county court, also
a judge of probate for the Marlboro district, and was actively engaged
in public business until his death, December 16, 1805.
Ebenezer MORSE, born in 1756, came to Newfane in 1788, married Henrietta
SEARLY, and reared two sons and eight daughters, of whom Ann D. was married
to Denzil TAYLOR. They reared three sons and one daughter, as follows:
Horace B. and George W., of Boston ; Henry R., residing in Maine ; and
Mrs. Harriet A. E. JONES, widow of William JONES, of this town, The latter
was married in 1851, and had one son, born in 1852, died in 1873, a student
in Harvard college.
Capt. William BARTLETT, born at Northboro, Mass., married Azubah
GLEASON of Westboro, about 1790, and came immediately to Newfane. He became
quite prominent in town affairs, but removed to Winchester, N. H., in 1837.
Elijah ELMER was born at Hinsdale, N. H., in 753; married first,
Grace GOULD, of Winchester, N. H.; second, Amy (WOOD) WHEELER; came to
Newfane about 1892, and died here December 28, 1833.
James HOLLAND, son of Joseph and Elizabeth (GLEASON) HOLLAND, was
born in Newfane, in 1792, married Sarah STONE, daughter of Dr. N. STONE,
and reared four sons and five daughters. Of the children, William H. died
in 1883, aged fifty-seven years; Alice S. died in 1856, aged twenty-six
years; Mary L. died in 1867, aged thirty-six years; James M. died in 1854,
aged twenty years; John N. died in 1861, aged twenty-five years; Elizabeth
S. died in 1854, aged sixteen years; Sarah J. died in 1861, aged twenty-one
years Harriet died in 1862, aged twenty years; and Charles B., born in
1848, resides on the old homestead with his mother, his father having died
Justus HOLLAND, born here in 1803, married Sophia K. STONE, daughter
of Dr. STONE, in 1848. He was a harness-maker, resided on Newfane Hill,
and died in 1856. His widow resides at Fayetteville, aged eighty-two years.
William H. WILLIAMS, son of Larkin and Anna WILLIAMS, and grandson
of Colonel Abraham WILLIAMS, was born in Chatter, Mass., February 24, 1776.
His father died in 1778, and soon afterwards he was bound out during his
minority to a farmer residing in Paxton, Mass. He was treated with great
severity by his master, who deprived him of the benefits of a common school
education until he was fourteen years of age, when he returned to Chester
to learn the cloth-dressing business, at that time a leading branch of
industry in New England. While learning his trade he enjoyed the privilege
or attending school six weeks in the year, and learned what he could of
reading, spelling and grammar, from "The Only Sure Guide," the only text
book he ever possessed, and which is now in the hands of his widow. After
completing his apprenticeship he worked two years in Paxton, and then came
to Newfane, in October, 1797, taking charge of the cloth-dressing and oil-making
works of Thomas and Darius WHEELER, which he bought four years afterwards
and operated until his decease. He engaged in mercantile pursuits in 18r4,
and continued in the same for more than forty years. During the war of
1812 he was engaged in the manufacture of woolen cloth and potash, and
at a later day erected a large custom flouring-mill, carding-mill and saw-mill.
In 1798 he commenced a diary which was continued by himself and family
until his decease, a period of nearly sixty-nine years, and in which was
jotted down every day's doings and every important event which occurred
during that time. He was a resident of Newfane about seventy years, gave
the name to the village where he resided and died, contributed largely
toward the erection of the village church in 1834, and was a liberal supporter
of the gospel. He was a member of the Methodist church, represented the
town in the general assembly, and filled many municipal offices, faithfully
discharging the duties incident to the same. He was enterprising, industrious,
and practical in all his views and efforts. He married Abigail ROBINSON,
of Newfane, October 17, 1802, who was born March 25, 1781, and died July
6, 1821. February 22, 1826, he married, for his second wife, Rosanna MILLER,
of Dummerston, who was born May 19, 1794. He died December 9, 1866. William
H. and Abigail WILLIAMS had nine children, as follows: George, born September
14, 1803, died May 26, 1841; Anna, born January 24, 1805, died January
26, 1805; Hastings, born March 5, 1806, died December 26, 1808; Mary, born
May 26, 1808, harried Roswell ROBERTSON, January 26, 1831, and died May
27, 1834; Sarah R., born March 30, 1810, married Roswell ROBERTSON, December
10, 1835, and died October 9, 1839; Louisa, born October 26, 1811, married
John A. MERRIFIELD, January 17, 1843; William L., born December 9, 1813,
died at Dubuque, Iowa, January 11, 1864; Abigail E., born March 3, 1816,
married Charles CONVERSE, of Sandusky, Ohio, September 25, 1808; and John
W., born January 9, 1818, married Gertrude BROWN, April 22, 1841, and died
May 25, 1851.
William L. WILLIAMS, the third son of William H. WILLIAMS, born
December 9, 1813, was a clerk in his father's store during his early youth,
and when he attained his majority he entered into a co-partnership with
his father in the mercantile business, which he prosecuted successfully
for many years. He removed to Dubuque, Iowa, about 1860, and was extensively
engaged in business as a produce broker at the time of his decease. He
was exceedingly pleasing in his manners, and was highly esteemed for his
intelligence and sound practical judgment. While residing in Newfane he
manifested a lively interest in the growth and prosperity of the town,
and was munificent in his donations in aid of the enterprises that would
contribute to its progress and advancement. He gave generously to the poor,
was kind to the sick and suffering, courteous and affable in his bearing,
proverbially honest and upright in all his business relations, and modest
in his deportment. His death, January 11, 1864, at the comparatively early
age of fifty years, was a source of great regret to all his friends and
Dea. John GOODNOW, son of Oliver and Catharine (BALL) GOODNOW, born
in this town in 1787, on the place where Joseph MORSE now resides, had,
by his first wife, three daughters; by his second, Charlotte GOULD, who
died in 1852, six sons and one daughter; by his third wife, Susan CHASE,
he had one daughter; he then married Hannah BRUCE, of Marlboro, and now
resides at Williamsville, aged eighty-seven years.
Gen. Martin FIELD, born in Leverett, Mass., February 12, 1773, graduated
from Williams college in 1798, and received the honorary degree of A.M.
from Dartmouth college in 1805. He studied law with his uncle, Lucius HUBBARD,
of Chester, Vt., and upon the decease of Calvin KNOULTON, in 1800, and
at the special instance and request of Hon. Luke KNOULTON, he came to Newfane
in January, 1800, and entered upon the practice of law. He was for ten
years State's attorney for Windham county, repeatedly represented Newfane
in the general assembly and constitutional convention, and in 1819 was
elected major-general of the Vermont militia. He married Esther SMITH KELLOGG,
of Amherst, Mass., February 21, 1802, an accomplished and handsome lady,
who died June 6, 1867, aged eighty-eight years. Mr. FIELD died October
3, 1833, aged sixty years.
Daniel STRATTON was born at Ipswich, N. H., March 23, 1773, married
Jane STICKNEY, of New Ipswich, N. H., February 16, 1800, and came to Newfane
the same year, residing here until his death, October 11, 1850.
WARREN CUSHING, Jr., son, of WARREN and Abigail (ANDREWS) CUSHING,
was born here December 14, 1800, married Lucy CARTER in 1827, and reared
two sons and one daughter-Mary A. (Mrs. Joel PAGE), Warren C., of Jamaica,
and Baxter C., of Newfane. Mr. CUSHING died on the old homestead, in 1871,
and his widow now resides at Williamsville.
Richard PRATT was born at Malden, Mass., September 2, 1770, married
Lydia SPEARS, of New Ipswich, N. H., in 1795, came to Newfane in 1802,
and died here August 23, 1856.
Charles Kellogg FIELD, oldest son of Martin FIELD, was born in Newfane,
April 24, 1803, fitted for college at Amherst, Mass., entered Middlebury
college in 1818, at the age of fifteen, and graduated in 1822. After studying
law three years in the office of his father, he was admitted to the bar
and commenced the practice of his profession at Newfane, remaining here
until 1828, when he removed to Wilmington. In 1838 he returned to Newfane,
and in 1861 removed to Brattleboro, where he died, September 16, 188o,
aged seventy-seven years. He married Julia A. KELLOGG, of Cooperstown,
N. Y., in 1828, who, with three children, Mrs. E. P. JEWETT, Henry K.,
of Montpelier, and Mrs. H. C. WILLARD, of Brattleboro, survived him. Mr.
FIELD represented the town of Wilmington in the State legislature during
the years 1835 '36, '37 and '38; was elected a delegate to the State constitutional
convention in 1836; represented Newfane in the legislature during the years
1853, '54, '55 and '6o, and also in the constitutional convention for 1843,
'50 and '57; was elected a member, of the council of censors in 1869, and
chosen president thereof-at its first session in 1869, and in 1870 was
chosen a member of the constitutional convention for 1870, from Brattleboro.
Hon. Marshall NEWTON, Jr., was born in Newfane, April 1, 1805, and
died here June 29, 1870, aged sixty-five years. He was honored with most
of the municipal offices in the gift of his townsmen. He represented the
town in the legislature two years, was high sheriff of the county one year,
and for six consecutive years served as assistant county judge. At the
time of his decease he was county treasurer and deputy county clerk.
Roswell Martin FIELD, son of Gen. Martin FIELD, was born in Newfane,
February 22, 1807, and died at St. Louis, Mo., July 12, 1869, aged sixty-two
years. He fitted for college with Rev. Luke WHITCOMB, of Townshend, Vt.,
and entered Middlebury college in the autumn of 1818, at the age of eleven
years. Graduating in 1822, he studied law with Hon. Daniel KELLOGG, of
RockINGHAM, Vt., and was admitted to practice in September, 1825, at eighteen
years of age. He practiced law in Windham county from 1825 to 1839, when
he removed to St. Louis. He represented Newfane in the legislature in 1835
and '36, and was State's attorney for Windham county in 1832, '33, '34
Emerson MORSE, son of John MORSE, was born here in 1810, married
Mary BELLOWS, in 1819, and reared three sons and three daughters, as follows:
Olin W., Etta, Ada M., John E., Willie, and Bertie E., the two latter of
whom reside with their mother at Pondville.
Samuel BROWN was born at Buckland, Mass., July 4, 1783, married
Gertrude GLYDE, of Boston, February 16, 1812, and came to Newfane the same
year. He operated a grist and saw-mill for a few years, and was afterward
engaged, for a long time, in running a freight team between Williamsville
and Boston. He died April 5, 1870.
Ira INGRAM was born in Massachusetts, December 19, 1786, married
first, Sally MILLER; second, Lydia PUTNAM, and came to Newfane from Marlboro
in 1813. He was chosen a deacon of the Baptist church in 1824, and held
the office until his decease, April 5, 1860.
Stephen BOWKER, was born October 18, 1788, married Sarah WHITNEY,
April 7, 1814, and came to Newfane from Fitzwilliam, N. H., soon after.
He died September 22, 1860.
George WILLIAMS was born at Chester, Mass., March 23, 1769, married
Orilla PEASE, June 30, 1803, and came to Newfane in 1816. He died March
Benjamin E. MORSE, son of Ebenezer and Sally (GOODNOW) MORSE, was
born here in 1816, married Mary A. HOWE, of Marlboro, in 1840, and has
reared four sons and four daughters, of whom two sons and two daughters
are now living. Mr. MORSE has been a justice of the peace a number of years,
selectman seven years, and is now a practicing lawyer at Pondville.
Amasa LINCOLN was born at Norton, Mass., July 10, 1787, married
first, Lucy RICHARDSON, April 14, 1814; second, Mary HASTINGS, January
26, 1830, and came to Newfane from Dummerston in 1817, and was engaged
in the tanning business for many years. He died January 9, 1858.
John TIMPSON was born at Brattleboro, October 4, 1794, married Julia
KNAPP, of Brattleboro, in 1813, and came to Newfane in 1819. He died August
Samuel MORSE, son of Joshua and Sally (PHILLIPS) MORSE, was born
on the farm he now occupies, in 1820. He married Georgina, daughter of
Deacon John GOODNOW, in 1846, and has reared children as follows: Abby
L., who died at the age of four years; Fanny R., who married Albert G.
KENDALL, now of Lincoln, Neb.; Georgie A., of Nebraska; Maria E., wife
of Arthur MERRIFIELD, and Samuel H., residing on the old homestead.
Austin BIRCHARD was born in Wilmington, Vt., December 5, 1793, and
came to Newfane in 1822, where he was in trade for many years. In 1819
he married Roxana PLUMMER, of Brattleboro, who died in 1820. In 1824 he
married Mary A. PUTNAM, by whom he had four children, Charles A., Mary
R., Charlotte P., and Sardis. Mary R., in 1876, while on her way to visit
the family of ex-president Hayes, Mr. Hayes's mother being her father's
sister, was aboard the train that was wrecked in the awful Ashtabula disaster,
and nothing of her remains was ever discovered. She is said to have been
an unusually lovely young lady, both in character and appearance. Sardis,
the youngest son, gave his life for his country during the late great war.
Charlotte P. married Rollin C. DEWITT, of Elyra, Ohio, and reared four
sons, Rollin B., John C., Frank A., and Dewese, the latter two of whom
reside in Newfane with their mother, their father having died a few years
since. The widow of the late Austin BIRCHARD also resides in Newfane.
Warren R. HILDRETH, son of Otis HILDRETH, born in 1823. married
Olive D. WHEELER, in 1845, and has reared nine children. Justena, his daughter,
married Charles M. GOODENOUGH, of Newfane, Frank W. resides in Michigan,
and Wells M. resides with his father on the old EDDY homestead, on road
Dana D. DICKINSON was born in Dummerston in 1821, and came to Newfane
in 1830. He married Eliza A. GOODNOW, in 1849, and has two children, Charles
H., of Cleveland, Ohio, and Alice (Mrs. W. H. NEWTON), of Wallingford.
Mr. DICKINSON was employed in the mills of W. H. WILLIAMS for a number
of years, and in 1850 he purchased them, operating the same as a tub factory
until 1869. He now owns a saw-mill on Baker's brook, where he saws all
kinds of hard wood lumber. He represented Newfane in the legislature in
1870 and '72.
Dennis A. DICKINSON was born in Dummerston in 1819, and came to
Newfane in 1830, married Mary C. ROBINSON in 1845, and located upon the
farm formerly occupied by A. C. ROBINSON. He has two children, Imogene
R. and Aaron C. Mr. DICKINSON has been town clerk fourteen years and justice
of the peace nine years.
Ebenezer M. STRATTON was born on the STRATTON homestead in 1833,
married Mary KING in 1853, and has reared three sons and four daughters.
Clara (Mrs. Charles E. BROWN) resides in Michigan. Nellie R. and Effie
M. reside in Newfane. Mr. STRATTON now resides on the old GROUT homestead.
Nathan B. PERRY was born here in 1829, married Isabella KNIGHT.
His daughter, Willamina E., married Fred C. ELMER, of Cleveland, Ohio;
Ada F., married Henry O. BOWKER, and resides in Rochester, N. Y.; Nellie
A. and George N. reside at home. Mr. PERRY occupies Elm Grove farm, formerly
occupied by Dea. CARTER, on road 41.
John S. STRATTON, born here in 1835, is a veterinary surgeon. He
married Adelina M. POWERS, of Marlboro, in 1860, and has two sons and one
Henry W. MILLER was born in Dummerston, in 1835, and came to Newfane
with his father when four years of age, locating upon the farm he now occupies.
Mr. MILLER married Ella M. GOULD, in 1865, and has one son, Frederick.
Clark L. BROWN was born in 1838, married Mrs. John WILSON, in 1865,
and reared five children. He operates the Worden mill, at Brookside, on
Abbott T. EDWARDS, born here in 1838, married Ella JACKSON, in 1868.
He is actively engaged in mercantile pursuits, and resides on the JACKSON
homestead, on road 12.
BURDITT, born in Brookline, in 1821, came to Newfane in 1838,
married Harriet KIDDER for his first wife, by whom he had two sons, Frederick
J. and Edwin T. For his second wife he married Mary H. BRUCE, in 1852,
by whom he had three sons, Samuel H., William, and Frank A. Mr. BURDITT
held the office of justice of the peace twenty-four years, and represented
the town in the legislature of 1852.
Dr. Caleb S. BLAKESLEE was born at Richmond, Mass., in 1812, received
an academic education, studied medicine, and commenced practice at Williamsville,
in 1838, where he is still a successful physician. He married Mary B. DREW,
of Dover, who died in 1882.
John H. WORDEN, born in 1839, married Luna C. HOLDEN, of Newfane,
in 1873, and has three daughters. He resides on road 37, on the STRATTON
Fayette W. KNAPP, born in 1839, married Fanny M. LAMB, in 1862,
and has had born to him seven children, -- Elmer W., Emma J., Ada M., William
F., Mary M., Lorin H. and Martha A. He resides at Brookside.
Joseph WILLIS, from Marlboro, Vt., located in Newfane, in 1840.
He reared two sons and two daughters, of whom Daniel H., was a sharpshooter
in the late war, and was killed at the battle of White Sulphur Springs.
Monroe C., another son, was also killed in the army. Hannah, his daughter,
married James F. HOWE, and resides on the CUTTING farm, off road 6.
Joel GROUT, son of Hudson and Silence (BABCOCK) GROUT, born in 1842,
enlisted in Co. K, 9th Vt. regiment, and was discharged for disability,
having been wounded in the ankle at the battle of Fair Oaks, October 27,
1864. He married Martha J. PIKE, of Stratton, in 1866, and has nine children,
of whom Edwin J., Moses P., Leon E., and Guy E., reside with their parents
on the farm formerly occupied by Dea. KIMBALL.
Chester E. PERRY was born in Newfane in 1842, married Stella M.
MORSE in 1864, by whom he had one son, Frank C., when she died, in 1876.
In 1877 he married Nellie E. STEDMAN and they have one daughter, Mabel
E., born February 15, 1880. Mr. PERRY now has the farm formerly owned by
G. D. STEDMAN, at Williamsville.
George B. WILLIAMS, son of John W. and Gertrude (BROWN) WILLIAMS,
born in 1844, married Aramantha A. HOPKINS, daughter of Clark HOPKINS,
of Antrim, N. H., in 1869, and has two sons and one daughter, John W.,
Lucella L. and Hastings. Mr. WILLIAMS resides on a part of the William
H. WILLIAMS homestead, at Williamsville.
Edford O. BENNETT, born in 1846, married Mary J. HOWARD, in 1872,
resides on the Marshall H. TWITCHELL farm, at Fayetteville.
Andrew J. THOMAS, born in 1854, married Addie BARRETT, by whom he
had one son and one daughter, when she died in 1876. For his second wife
he married Mrs. Eunice H. (MOORE) HUNT, in 1869, and has one son and two
Reuben M. NEWTON was born in Vernon, Vt., in 1828. He married Sophia
EDDY, of Newfane, who died in 1860. He then married Sarah HARRIS, of Newfane,
and now resides on the old SHERMAN farm. He came to Newfane in 1856.
Charles E. SPARKS was born in Dover, Vt., in 1823, and married Irene
W. INGHAM, in 1846. He has two sons, Herbert C., born in 1847, and Harland.
Henry M. HESCOCK was born at Dover, Vt., in 1841, married Harriet
M. WHITAKER, of Newfane, in 1864, and has five children.
Charles E. MORSE, born in 1831, married Marion E. WETSON, of Wardsboro,
in 1860, and has had two sons and three daughters -- Etta F., Lula, Ida
W., Charles W., and Albert E. Lula is dead, and the three latter reside
at home, on road 4.
Obed HALL, born in 1821, at Whitingham, Vt., married Nancy E. EVANS,
in 1854, and has a family as follows: Henry W., Wallace A., Willie E.,
and George L. Wallace A. married Emma T. CALL and has one daughter. He
owns and occupies the NEWTON place, off road 5.
Frank H. WHITE, born in 1847, married Emma J. HOWE, of Jamaica,
and. located on the CUSHING farm in 1874.
Charles M. GOODENOUGH, born at Guilford, Vt., in 1845, came to Newfane,
in 1865, married Gustenia E. HILDRETH in 1868. In 1881 he located on the
Capt. GOULD farm, on road 28, he having been absent from the town from
1869 up to that time.
Kendall H. WINCHESTER, born in 1851, married Cora A. MAY, in 1878,
and came to Newfane in 1881, locating on Newfane Hill, upon the farm formerly
known as the BOYNTON place.
Samuel P. MILLER, born at Dummerston, Vt., in 1819, married first,
Mary A. DROWN, of Putney, rearing two sons and three daughters; second,
Alvira M. SIMONDS, in 1855, by whom he has had two children. Mr. MILLER
has been a successful merchant, but is now retired, residing at Fayetteville.
Col. Holland PLYMPTON, born at Wardsboro in 1807, married first,
Sybria WAKEFIELD, of Wardsboro, in 1829; second, Nancy L. BARTLETT, of
Wardsboro, in 1850. He located on the farm formerly occupied by Dea. GOULD.
He represented the town in the legislature in 1876, and was a justice of
the peace fourteen years. Mr. PLYMPTON's children by his second wife were
Frank B., Silas W., Addie E. (Mrs. J. W. HOSFORD), and Alice M. He died
March 28, 1884,
William R. RAND was born in Townshend, Vt., in 1839, married Lizzie
H. RUTTER, in 1860, and located in the eastern part of the town, on the
Brattleboro & Whitehall railroad, which has a stopping place at that
point known as Rand's Crossing.
Richmond DUNKLEE was born in Marlboro, Vt., November 2, 1807, and
when quite young went to Newfane. He married Caroline FISHER, daughter
of Daniel FISHER, and reared four children, Dana, Harrison, Addison and
Ann, only two of whom, Harrison and Addison R., are living, the former
in Boston, Mass., and the latter in Brattleboro. Mr. DUNKLEE was a prominent
man of the town. He kept a hotel at Williamsville several years, was a
selectman several years, and took an active part in town affairs. He died
November 6, 1876. Addison R. was 1st sergeant of Co. I, 16th Vt. Vols.,
during the late war. He married Sarah ALLEN, of Newfane.
Josiah POWERS was one of the early settlers of Marlboro, locating
near the Newfane line, where he cleared a farm and reared seven children,
viz: Emery, Henry H., Lyman, Josiah, Arad, Susan, and Sally. Lyman and
Josiah became merchants of Troy, N. Y. Emery was a farmer, spent his life
in Vermont, and two of his sons, Ellis and Hollis, are prominent hotel
men of New York city. Henry H. married Selecta FISHER, in 1818, and soon
after made a clearing where he now lives, in the southwestern corner of
Newfane. Here his seven children were born, of whom Brigham and HOLLAND
are dead. Lafayette C. and his father, Williston, who served in the late
war and was for a time in a rebel prison, now lives in Littleton, N. H.
Lyman G. and M. V. B. reside in Marlboro. Arad H., the youngest son of
Josiah, Sr., now resides near Williamsville.
During the war of the Revolution, when the military stores at Bennington
became in danger, and the call came for the Green Mountain Boys to rally
for the rescue, Lieut. Jonathan PARK and others from Newfane volunteered,
and, after a two days' march, reached Bennington in time to participate
in the glorious struggle of that memorable day. In returning after the
battle, PARK, worn by the fatigue and hardships of the campaign, sickened
and was several days in reaching home. We can find no record or reliable
tradition of the names or number of men who accompanied Lieut PARK on this
expedition; but the fact that the minute-men of Fane responded to the call
to arms, is vouched for by many who often heard the venerable lieutenant
recount the trials of that eventful day.
Those who enlisted here for the war of 1812, were Lyman HOLDEN,
____ GAMBEL, ____ BULLARD, Nathaniel HOLLAND, who died at Plattsburgh,
October 6, T814, and Isaac HOVEY.
During the late civil war, the town did her full share, and not
a few of her sons were sacrificed in the great cause.
The Fayetteville Orthodox Congregational church. -- A Congregational
church was organized in 1874, when there were but fourteen families in
the town. It consisted of nine members, and its first pastor, Rev. Hezekiah
TAYLOR, was ordained and took pastoral charge on the day of its organization,
June 30, 1874. The first church building was erected in 1800, on Newfane
Hill, at a cost of $3,731.32. The building was used until 1825, when the
court buildings were removed to Fayetteville. The court-house at the latter
place was then used, until 1832, when a union church was built. This was
used until 1839, when the present building was erected, at a cost of $4,000.00,
about its present value. It will seat 300 persons. The society now has
seventy-one members, with Rev. George W. LAWRENCE, pastor. The old union
church was used by the Universalists until about 1853, when they found
themselves unable to sustain a pastor. From that time the house began to
decay, and in 1872 it had reached that stage that it must be repaired,
or sink to utter ruin. It was repaired and remodeled into a public hall,
by public subscription, and is now called Union Hall.
The Universalist church, located at Williamsville, was organized
by Rev. M. H. HARRIS, with twenty-seven members, February 17, 1878. The
society now has about twenty-seven members, with no regular pastor.
The Methodist Episcopal church, located at Williamsville, was organized
in 1877, with sixteen members. The church building, however, was erected
in 1822. It will seat 200 persons and is valued, including grounds, at
$3,000.00. Rev. Goodsel AMES is the present pastor of the society.
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
of the Town of Newfane, Vermont 1774-1874. Centennial Proceedings and Other
Historical Facts and Incidents Relating to Newfane, the County Seat of
Windham County, Vermont."
History of Newfane Vermont
Genealogy Resources -- Newfane, Windham County