HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF 

WHITTINGHAM

      WHITINGHAM lies in the southwestern corner of the county, in lat. 42° 47' and long.' 4° 9', bounded north by Wilmington, east by Halifax, south by Rowe and Heath in Massachusetts, and west by Readsboro in Bennington county. There are four grants extant given by New York to different persons, under the name of Cumberland, one grant being dated December 3, 1766, and the others April 23, 1767. One, or all of these, probably, was for the lands now known as Whitingham; but when Whitingham had been organized a century, no person residing in the town knew by what authority its charter was granted, and it was an open question as to whether any charter of the town existed. On the 18th of August, 1880, the charter in the possession of the town at the present time (which is a copy of the original among the land records of at Albany, N. Y.,) was presented to the town by Clark GILLSON, Esq., while delivering the Centennial address in the old church on the hill near the center of the town. From it we learn that the town was chartered March 1, 1-770, to Nathaniel WHITINGHAM (from whom the town received its name) and his nine associates, by King George III., in the tenth year of his reign, "By his Commissioners, Cadwallader COLDEN, Esq., Andrew ELLIOT, Esq., Alexander COLDEN, Esq."

      The surface of the territory is uneven, though there are many level tracts, the soil being generally of a good quality and quite easily cultivated. The native timber is beech, birch, ash, spruce and hemlock. Deerfield river flows through the western part of the town, watering some excellent tracts of meadow land, while there are many other smaller streams in different parts of the town. Sadawga pond lies in the central part of the town, a handsome little sheet of water, so named in honor of an old Indian who formerly lived near it, and who is supposed to have been drowned while passing down Deerfield river. There are also three other small bodies of water lying in the northeastern part of the town, called Jacksonville, Rider and Roberts ponds. The geological structure of the town is made up almost entirely of rocks of gneiss formation, except in the eastern part, where they are of talcose-schist formation. There are, however, several beds of limestone which has been manufactured into lime to a considerable extent. The mineral springs known as Sadawga springs, located near the pond of that name, were discovered in 1822. Their waters are largely impregnated with time, magnesia and iron, and are said to prove exceedingly efficacious in cutaneous diseases. Lead and silver ores are said to exist in the southwestern part of the town.

      In 1880 Whitingham had a population of 1,240, and in 1882 had fifteen school districts and contained sixteen common schools, employing nine male and twenty female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $2,012.14 There were 352 pupils attending common school, white the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October 31st, was $2,213.20, with A. A. BUTTERFIELD, superintendent.

      JACKSONVILLE is a beautiful little post village located in the eastern part of the town. It has two churches (Methodist and Universalist), an hotel, dry goods store, drug store, tannery, grist-mill, two saw-mills, two butter box manufactories, cider-mill, and about fifty dwellings. The beautiful glen in which the village is situated attracts many summer tourists and interested visitors.

      Sadawga Springs (Whitingham p. o.), is a small village located about a mile west of the center of the town, at the foot of Sadawga lake. It has two churches (Baptist and Universalist), two hotels, one store, two saw-mills, blacksmith shop, wagon shop, about twenty dwellings, and the famous Sadawga springs, whence the village derives its name. As early as 1822 it was discovered that the waters of these springs possessed unusual curative qualities, especially in diseases of a cutaneous nature. This led to a scientific analysis of the water, discovering the following minerals held in solution; muriate of lime, carbonate of lime, muriate of magnesia, and carbonate and peroxide of iron.

      Sadawga Springs wool-carding mill, was built by Calvin BAKER in 1870, where he now carries on the business of wool carding and general jobbing.

      Z. WHEELER's grist-mill, located at Sadawga Springs, was built by Houghton SAWYER, about fifty years ago.

      G. L. ALBEE's steam chair factory, located at Sadawga Springs, was built about twenty years ago. Mr. ALBEE, since that time, has manufactured about 20,000 chairs.

      Lincoln H. SAWYER's saw-mill, located at the foot of Sadawga take, was built by Mr. SAWYER's father, J. W., in 1859. He now manufactures 300,000 feet of lumber per annum, though the mill has the capacity for turning out 1,000 feet per hour.

      George S. GOODNOW is largely engaged in the manufacture of lumber in Whitingham, turning out about 4,000,000 feet per year, and giving employment to about fifty hands.

      A. J. HULL’s saw-mill and chair-stock factory, located on road 26, was built about seventeen years ago.

      George PORTER's saw-mill, butter-box, and chair-stock factory is located at Jacksonville, where he carries on a large business, which was established in 1880. Herbert G. PORTER leases shop of George and makes butter boxes, and grain measures.

      STETSON Bros'. butter tub and chair-stock factory and cider-mill, located at Jacksonville, was established by George PORTER in 1856. They manufacture 50,000 butter boxes, 1,000 barrels of cider, and 3,000 butter tubs per annum.

      Edwin E. PUTNAM's butter box manufactory, at Jacksonville, was established by Willard FOSTER, in 1830. He manufactures about 100,000 butter packages per year.

      A railroad is being built from Hoosac Tunnel to Readsboro, passing through the southwest corner of this town, by the bank of Deerfield river.

      The settlement of Whitingham was commenced in 1770, by a Mr. BRATTON and Silas HAMILTON. Mr. BRATTON's son John was the first child born in the town, where his father settled on road 4, where C. WHEELER now lives, and his father received a grant of land in consideration thereof. John lived and died on the old homestead. The settlement thus started, according to the census of Cumberland county, taken in 1771, increased during that year and the year 1771, to fourteen souls, three of whom were males under sixteen years of age four over sixteen, three females under sixteen, and four over sixteen, making seven males and seven females. In 1773 the settlement was increased by the arrival at Messrs. ANGEL, GUSTIN, NELSON, LAMPHIER and PIKE, emigrants from Massachusetts and Connecticut. Mr. PIKE, among the early inhabitants of the town, had a family of twenty-eight children. The town was organized March 23, 1780, Eliphalet HYDE being chosen the first town clerk. Silas HAMILTON was the first justice of the peace, and also the first representative, in 1778. The house now occupied by Addison C. TAINTER, on road 29, built by Eli STARKWELL, was the first framed house built in the town. Benjamin DIX, aged eighty-five years, is the oldest man in the town, and Sally KING, aged ninety-six years, is the oldest woman. Brigham YOUNG, the Mormon saint, was born in Whitingham, on road 40, near the center of the town. A part of the cellar walls of the old log house mark the place of his birth. His father was a poor basket maker.

      Absalom PIKE settled at an early day on road 41, in Whitingham, and raised twelve children, four of whom are now living, Josiah, Sylvanus, Willard and Eunice. Josiah is located on a farm adjoining the homestead, and has five sons who are living in this town.

      Nathaniel DAVIS came to Bennington, Vt.. from Ware, Mass., in 1762. He removed to Whitingham at the age of sixteen years and settled on road 22, where he resided till his death. He built the first log house on the farm on which he settled, and raised ten children, only one of whom is living, Mrs. Phebe BAILY of Readsboro, Vt. His eldest son, Ebenezer, was born in Ware, Mass., and was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He lived on the homestead farm in Whitingham and raised seven children, two of whom are living, Freeborn G. and Hannah, the former on the homestead farm. Ebenezer DAVIS was a minister. He commenced preaching at the age of twenty, and during the first twelve years of his pastorate was connected with the M. E. church. He then united with the Wesleyan Methodists and continued his ministerial labors in that denominational fold until his death, July 28, 1875.

      Ira DAVIS, now dead, was a native of Whitingham. He married Polly PERRY, of Woodstock, Conn., and settled on a farm on road 23, on which he cut the first tree and built the first log house. He had six children, Arad E., Jotham B., Perry N., Hannah I., Arad A., and Agnes T., four of whom are living. Arad A., who married Rosetta P. BISHOP, of Readsboro, resides on the homestead farm.

      Jonathan DIX was born on road 3521, in Whitingham, in 1789. July 5, 1812, he married Polly REED, and resided in this town in various locations till his death in 1860, except two years spent in Stamford, Vt. He had eight children, five of whom are living, Alvira, Sybil, John P., Fauna and Lestina P. One son, Freeman, lived many years on road 41. He was killed instantly beneath a load of logs. Two of his three children are living, Polly and Joseph, the latter on the homestead farm.

      Abraham CHASE came to Whitingham, Mass., about 1798, and settled on road 351, where he remained two years, when he removed to road 17, on which he resided till his death, at the age of eighty-two. He was a volunteer soldier in the war of 1812 and drew a pension. He married Betsey RICH, of Massachusetts, and had five children, David, Samuel, Jacob, Ellis and Elliot. Jacob and Elliott are still living. David, the eldest son, married Irene KINGSBURY of Fairfax, Vt., and has five children living, -- Betsey Upton, Joseph K., Caroline WHEELER, Adaline HATCH, and George A. Joseph married Caroline BEEMAN, of Fairfax, Vt., and settled on the homestead farm, where he still remains. David CHASE held many offices of trust in the town.

      Joshua NEWELL came to Whitingham in 1790, and after a residence of two years on road 50, in the east part of the town, and of one year on road 41, he located on road 46, on the farm now owned and occupied by his grandson, Chester B. NEWELL, where he resided till his death. His children were Frank, Baxter, Samuel, Joshua, Dwight, Mary, Luna, Sarah, and Martha, of whom Samuel, Baxter, and Martha are living.

      Zachariah WHEELER was born at Stowe, near Boston, November 15, 1777, and came to Whitingham shortly before 1800. He located on road 22 and made the first improvements on the farm on which he settled. He married Susanna BRATTON, by whom he had two children, Whitman and Susanna, both of whom are dead. Whitman married Polly FAULKNER, of Whitingham and settled on road 3, on the farm now occupied by his son Cyrus W., who married Lestina L. WHEELER, December 1, 1858. Four others of Whitman's eight children are living.

      Daniel WHEELER, a native of Massachusetts, came to Whitingham in 1800, and settled on road 25. He subsequently removed to road 42, where he resided till his death. He had ten children, five of whom are living, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Lucy, Daniel, and Zachariah, the latter of whom owns and occupies the homestead farm. Zachariah married Caroline J. ALLARD, of Wilmington, in which town her father was a physician of long practice, and her grandfather a pioneer settler.

      Oliver REED was a pioneer in Whitingham, and was born on road 27 1/2. He settled and lived for forty years on road 41. He then removed to Stamford, in Bennington county, where he spent the remainder of his days. Two of his eight children are living, Marcena, and Nancy PECK. His son Thomas was a lifelong resident of Whitingham. Of the latter's nine children, Henry, the eldest son, who resides on road 41, is the only one left in Whitingham. Henry married Fanny ATHERTON and has eight children living.

      Deliverance WHEELER is said to have come from England in pioneer times, with two brothers, and first located on a farm in the town of Stowe, near Boston, whence he removed to Whitingham and located on road 25, where he remained till his death. Not one of his nine children survives. His son John married Hannah JEWELL, of Whitingham and settled on road 2, making the first clearing and building the first log-house on his farm, on which he resided till his death. He had numerous children, six of whom are living, Ephraim, Roby F., Eli J., Harriet M., Henry F., and John. Ephraim lives on road 16 adjoining the homestead farm.

      Benjamin JEWELL, who was a hatter by trade, was an early settler in Whitingham. He enlisted at the commencement of the Revolutionary war and served till its close, when he returned to Whitingham. He married Olive LAMB and settled on a farm on road 41, on which he built the first log-house in district No 9. After a few years he removed to road 1, where he continued to reside till his death. He was a member of the State militia during the war of 1812. His children were David, Jonas, Samuel, Daniel, Aaron, Sally, Hannah, Elizabeth, and Mary. Samuel, Daniel, and Aaron never married. The latter two, imbued with the martial spirit of their father, were in the Florida war, and died there. David was born November r, 1794, married Susan FAULKNER, by whom he had nine children, pursued the vocation of a farmer, and died in October, 1870. His wife died in December, 1869. Jonas married Cynthia HARRIS, of Massachusetts, and lived in Whitingham a few years. He moved to Minnesota and died there.

      John FULLER came to Whitingham at an early day, from Douglass, Mass., in company with eight or nine families, most of whom settled in the north part of the town. Mr. FULLER located on road 10, and made the first improvements on his farm, on which he resided till his death. He raised seven children. His son John married Polly McKNIGHT, of Douglass, Mass. Two of his seven children, Alfred and Polly, are living, the former on the homestead farm on road 8, on which he has resided from birth. He married Philinda HATCH, of Halifax. He has been a representative of the town two years. Two of his four children, Edward L. and Eliza W., are living, the former of whom, residing with his father on the homestead farm, is president of the Wilmington Savings Bank and has held many offices in the town of Whitingham.

      Jacob PORTER was an early settler on road 38 in Whitingham, and made the first improvements on his farm, on which he opened the first hotel in the town. His son Jacob was a resident of this town for twenty-five years.

      Willard FAULKNER was born on road gin Whitingham. He married Roxana BOYD, of this town, and settled on a farm on road 5, on which he made all the improvements. The homestead farm is now owned and occupied by his son Willard R., who married Hattie HOWARD, of Wilmington.

      William FAULKNER, several of whose descendants now live in Whitingham, came to this town from Massachusetts about the year 1800. He reared five daughters and three sons, and died at the age of sixty-five years. Shepherd D., his youngest and only surviving child, is now residing on road 34, at the age of sixty-five years. He has always resided in town, and has been chosen to various town offices. His wife was Miranda GREEN, daughter of Alfred GREEN, of Whitingham, and they have one son, William A., who is cashier of the People's National Bank of Brattleboro. Their only daughter, Emma M., married Henry H. HOLBROOK, and died December 16, 1882.

      Ansel E. TOBY, now living on road 42, is a native of Whitingham, and has four children now living, Henry A., John L., Ella F., and Cassius E. Henry A. enlisted as a private in the late war, January 7, 1862, was mustered into service February 18, 1862, and discharged June 27, 1862, by reason of disease, which renders him a cripple for life, and for which he draws a pension.

      Phineas H. SAWYER came to Whitingham from Massachusetts about eighty years ago and settled on a farm on road 21. He operated for about twenty years the first saw-mill built in the town, in the vicinity of the present village of Sadawga, and at the expiration of that time was succeeded by his son Houghton, who occupied it about twenty-five years. During that time Houghton SAWYER built the grist-mill now owned and occupied by Z. WHEELER. He was a life-long resident of Sadawga village, and became a leading citizen, holding many of the town offices a great part of the time. He died in 1872, aged sixty-seven. Only three of his nine children survive him, John W., Mary J., and Mattie A., the former of whom occupies the fine homestead at the foot of Sadawga lake.

      Timothy JILLSON was born in Guilford, Vt., and March If, 1796, married Sylvia OGDEN, of Whitingham, locating upon a farm on road 46, where they reared eight children, three of whom are living, Samuel C., David and Daniel. Five were soldiers in the late war. Joseph died in Libby prison. James resided on road 41 until his death, rearing seven children, six of whom are living, Eli J., Ellen L., Uberto C., Emma S., Unray E., and Newton S. He married Lestina P. DIX, who now lives on the homestead.

      The CHASE family in Whitingham, and mostly throughout Windham county, are descendants of one of the oldest families of England, the records of which go back to about the year 1000, at which time they occupied what was known as the Lord TOWNSLEY estate, one of the largest in England, and held many offices of more or less importance, under the English government, among them that of sergeant-at-arms to KING Henry VIII.

      Three sons of this family came to America in 1639. Among them was Aquila, who was born in 1618, and first settled in Hampton, N. H., but soon moved to Newbury. David CHASE, a descendant of his in the fourth generation, was born April 17, 1752, and married Jemima HUMES. He served in the war of the Revolution in and about Boston. In February, 1815, he, in company with his five sons, came to Whitingham from Douglass, Mass., and settled on road 35 1/2; and by their energy, industry and untiring perseverance contributed largely to the present prosperity of the town. He died October 20, 1841. His sixth son, Benjamin, who married Mary SPRAGUE, and came here from Douglass with his father, located on road 20, where he died April 27, 1863, leaving six children, the fourth of whom, Abraham, was born January 5, 1820, married Catherine REED, of Whitingham, April 23, 1844, and has resided nearly all the time on road 21. He had five children, four of whom are living, as follows: Oscar R., a farmer, on road 19 in Whitingham; Augustus L., a physician, living at present at Randolph, Mass.; Augusta L., wife of Gilbert A. BOYD, of Wilmington, Vt.; and Charles S., attorney at law, who married Carrie E. BRIGHAM, of Boston, Mass., January 19, 1881, and now resides on road 27 1/2 in the village of Sadawga.

      J. K. STAFFORD came to Whitingham from Coleraine, Mass., about sixty years ago, and has pursued the vocation of a farmer. Russel A. STAFFORD, now residing at Sadawga, is the only one of his six children living.

      Waters GILLETT, M. D., was born in Wilmington, Vt., in December, 1801. He removed at the age of four years to Dover, and thence at the age of fourteen to Wilmington, where he attended school. He attended medical college at Castleton, Vt., and commenced the practice of medicine in Readsboro, Vt., in 1834. In 1840 he removed thence to Whitingham, where he has since practiced his profession. His grandfather, Timothy GILLETT, came to Dover in this county about 1792, and was noted for turning woodenware from knots for family use.

      Nathan D. SHERMAN, who was formerly from Massachusetts, came to Whitingham in 1840, and settled on the farm on which he now resides on road 61. He commenced preaching in the Universalist church in 1855, and has continued to officiate in that capacity to the present time.

      Parley STARR was born in Colchester, Vt., August 20, 1813, and brought up in Milton. At the age of twenty-one he left home, and by energy and perseverance has won an enviable success. He found employment at the tanning business in the village of Jacksonville, and in 1837 became proprietor of the establishment. He continued the business till 1873, and on the incorporation of the People's National Bank, at Brattleboro, Vt., he was elected president of that institution, which position he retains to the present time, with his home in Brattleboro. He enjoys, in a marked degree, the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens, who elected him to represent the town in the Vermont legislature, in 1832, '56 and '72, and to the State senate in 1859 and '60. He was justice of Windham county eleven years, trustee of the Windham Provident Institution for Savings five years, and a director of the Brattleboro bank seventeen years. In 1862 he opened a recruiting office for volunteers, and was appointed State agent to look after and provide for the families of soldiers absent in the war.

      Edwin C. STARR is a native of Milton, and has been a tanner and merchant at Jacksonville, Vt., since 1840.

      Calvin BAKER came to Sadawga in 1848, from Templeton, Mass., in which State his father, Luther BAKER, was a pioneer.

      Jesse HULL came to Whitingham, from Boston, and settled near the center of the town, on road 38, where he resided till his death. His son William, was a life-long resident of Whitingham. He married Samantha HALL, October 25, 1825, and raised eleven children, five of whom are living, Sanford, Martha, Azuba, Horace, and Andrew Jackson, the latter of whom resides on road 26, and is a farmer and manufacturer of chair stock.

      Horatio N. HIX, who resides in Whitingham, is a son of Gideon HIX, who was born in Richmond, N. H., February 9, 1793, and removed to Readsboro in 1816, residing there till his death, in 1859. Horatio N. HIX has practiced law for twenty-nine years, and during two years of that time was State's attorney. He was a representative one term, and a justice of the-peace for thirty consecutive years.


CHURCHES

      The old church on the hill at Whitingham Center was cut down October 14, 1883, by some citizens residing in that vicinity. It was built by the town in 1798, but was not finished till 1806. It was a strong, thoroughly built edifice, and was occupied by different religious denominations. In 1833 a belfry was built by subscription, without regard to sect or creed, a bell was procured and hung therein, and there remained for many years. At length it was taken down rather surreptitiously, as was thought, and concealed for long time. A church was built at Sadawga by the Methodist, now owned by the Baptists, and by some arrangement the old bell was placed upon that church, where it has since remained. Since the business left the center of the town, the old church has been denuded of its outward and inward finish by different persons, and for some thirty years has been in a dilapidated condition, though occupied much of the time for town meetings. It has withstood the violence of the tempest for well nigh a century, and stood as a monument of the architectural skill and strength of former days. At the centennial celebration of the town, August 18, 1880, a portion of one side having been removed and extensive seating arrangements made in and about the building, the largest assembly ever convened at the old, honored edifice was gathered from this and adjacent towns and distant places, and the interesting exercises well-nigh proved obsequies over the revered relics of by-gone years; and this old-time landmark is now among the things that were.

      The Baptist church, located at Whitingham, was organized by its first pastor, Rev. Paul HOLMES, in October, 1808, with twenty-one members. Their first church building was erected in 1834, and the present house in 1850, at a cost of $1,500.00. The society has at present forty-two members, with Rev. Origin SMITH, pastor.

      The Jacksonville Universalist church, located at Jacksonville, was organized by twelve or more of the citizens residing in the vicinity of Jacksonville, December 31, 1849, Rev. H. F. BALLOU, being the first pastor. The church building, which is a wood structure capable of seating 250 persons, was erected in 1850 at a cost of $1,200.00, and is now valued at $1,500.00. The society has about fifty members, under the pastoral charge of Rev. Jeremiah GIFFORD.

      The First Methodist church of the Jacksonville and Sadawga charge, located at Jacksonville, was organized by its first pastor, Rev. Moses SPENCER, with fourteen members, in 1858. Their church building, a wood structure capable of seating 300 persons, was built in 1865-'66, and dedicated in December, 1866. It cost $2,200.00, though it is now valued at only $1,800.00. The society has at present thirty-three members, with no regular pastor.

      The Universalist Society of Sadawga, located at Sadawga, was organized by its present pastor, Rev. Jeremiah GIFFORD, in 1862, with twenty members. The church building, however, which will accommodate 225 persons, was built in 1860, and is now valued at $2,000.00. The society has at present forty members.

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 304 [76] – 304 [84].