OF THE TOWN OF
WINDHAM lies in the northwestern part of the county, in lat. 43°
11', and long. 4° 19', bounded north by parts of Andover and Chester,
in Windsor county, east by Grafton and a small part of Townshend, south
by portions of Townshend and Jamaica, and west by Londonderry. Windham
was originally a part of Londonderry, which was chartered by New York,
February 23, 1770, under the name of Kent. In 1792 Londonderry was divided,
the eastern part thereof becoming the township of Windham, though the boundary
line was not established at that time, but was supposed to be near the
base of Glebe mountain, which is a long ridge of highland, forming a natural
barrier between the towns, and which, from this fact, was largely a factor
in producing the change. In 1795, however, through the influence of Esquire
ARNOLD, in the legislature, the division line was established, ranging
with the summit of Glebe mountain, and the portion to the east thereof,
in connection with a small gore of land called Mack's Leg, was on October
22d, formally incorporated into the township of Windham. Again, October
21, 1797, a part of Windham was re-annexed to Londonderry.
The surface of the township is uneven, Glebe mountain extending
nearly the whole length of its western border, while Turkey mountain lies
in the southern portion, and high hills are found in the northern and eastern
parts. Through the central part it is more level. There are, however, notwithstanding
this brokenness, many tracts of level, arable land, affording some excellent
farms. The territory is well watered, though the streams are small, consisting
of branches and tributaries of WILLIAMS, Saxton's and West rivers, The
rocks entering into the geological structure of the town are principally
of talcose-schist formation, though there are considerable beds of hornblende,
schist and gneiss in the extreme eastern parts, and also gneiss in the
extreme western part. Beds of limestone, serpentine and steatite are also
found throughout the town. The most important minerals found are actynolite,
clorite, garnets, serpentine, steatite and talc. Gold is also said to exist
in small quantities in the southern part of the town.
In 1880 Windham had a population of 536, and in 1882 it had six
school districts and six common schools, employing eleven female teachers,
to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $669.84. There were 165 pupils
attending common school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year,
ending October 31st, was $722.78, with Mrs. A. M. GOODELL, superintendent.
WINDHAM, a post village located in the central part of the town,
has one church (Congregational), a postoffice, telegraph office, and a
SOUTH WINDHAM, a post village, located in the southeastern part
of the town, near the Jamaica line, has one church (Baptist) a store, postoffice,
NORTH WINDHAM (p. o.), is the name given a hamlet located in the
northeastern part of Londonderry.
The principal manufacturing carried on in the town is at a little
hamlet on Mill brook, where are located a grist-mill, chair-stock factory,
and a blacksmith shop.
Ezra PIERCE's grist-mill. -- The first grist-mill erected in the
town was built by a Mr. HAMILTON, on road 29, upon the site now occupied
by PIERCE's mill. Mr. HAMILTON run the mill a number of years, during which
time it burned to the ground, and was rebuilt. He was finally killed by
a fall from the bridge. Captain Daniel COBB, son of Colonel Daniel COBB,
and father of Mrs. William HARRIS, subsequently purchased the property,
running the business about ten years, when he, too, was killed, or died
of wounds received by being caught in some of the machinery. Mr. PIERCE,
the present proprietor, has enlarged the mill so that it now has three
runs of stones, with the capacity for grinding 15,000 bushels of grain
per annum, and has also lately put in machinery for manufacturing chair
Albert O. MASON's saw-mill, located on road 29, has the capacity
for sawing about 50,000 bushels of grain per year.
As Windham was a part of Londonderry until after 1792, the sketch
of its early history is necessarily identical with that of the early history
of that town, as detailed on page 238. Among its early settlers, however,
may be mentioned John WOODBURN, Deacon Edward AIKEN, and James McCORMACK.
The town was duly organized, March 14, 1796, when James AIKEN was chosen
town clerk; Peter AIKEN, constable; and James AIKEN, John BURNAP, and Benjamin
PIERCE, selectmen. The first justice of the peace was James AIKEN, in 1797,
and John AIKEN was the first representative, in 1805. The first settled
minister was Rev. John LAWTON, who received the ministerial grant, which
includes a part of the present site of Windham village. The first house
that could be called a hotel was that of John WOODBURN, where L. S. WHITE's
residence now stands, for in it most of the early settlers made their home
until they could erect a log habitation.
Deacon John WOODBURN, Jr., did not attain an advanced age, though
he did much for the advancement of the town in its early days. His bones
rest in the little cemetery near where the old church stood. Deacon John,
Jr., settled upon the farm now owned by Samuel MACK. His wife was Mercy,
daughter of Moses DAVIS, and reared a large family. Capt. Samuel WOODBURN
was born in 1781, married Lucy WILKINS and reared eight children. He was
captain of a militia company, whose training ground was upon the AIKIN
farm. Samuel Clark WOODBURN, residing on road 20, is the only one of his
children now living, and who, in 1878-'79, represented the town in the
general assembly, and has also held most of the other town trusts. Deacon
David WOODBURN, youngest son of John, Sr., was the first postmaster in
the town, and bore his share of the town trusts with credit and fidelity.
Benjamin PIERCE, from Westmoreland, N. H., came to Windham, about
1783, in company with Abial WHITMAN, and both located in the southeastern
part of the town. Mr. PIERCE made his pitch and erected a log-house on
road 37. In 1789 he married Lucinda COBB, of Westmoreland, N. H. His life
was spent here where he reared a family of nine children, only two of whom
are now living-Nathan, aged eighty-three years, in West Townshend, and
Benjamin M., who owns the old homestead, on road 28, in this town, aged
seventy-four. Benjamin was a justice of the peace for many years and several
times represented his town in the State legislature. He was captain of
the militia company, and a member of the Baptist church. He died at the
age of eighty-six years.
Jonathan BRINTNALL, a native of Massachusetts, born September 21,
1750, married Mary WILLIAMS, of Roxbury, Mass., July 12, 1781. They located
in this town about 1785, on the place now owned by H. A. COOK, on road
9. Their union was blessed with eight children, three of whom settled in
this town and Joseph on the homestead.
Abial WHITMAN, of Westmoreland, N. H., came to this town about 1788,
and located on road 37. All of his eight children attained over seventy
years of age. His son Asa now occupies the old homestead farm.
Archibald MACK, from Londonderry, N. H., came to this town about
1790, and settled where his grandson, Albert MACK, now resides.
James STEARNS married Sarah CHASE, of Warwick, Mass., January 22,
1799, and brought his wife to this town during that winter, though he had
settled here some years previous. He reared sons and daughters, of whom
Sally married M. R. FARR. Another daughter, Pollis, never married, and
now resides with her brother Clark. James married Achsah BURNAP, for his
first, and her sister for his second wife.
John GOULD, from Westminster, located in Windham in 1800, on the
farm now occupied by Charles WIGGINS. He married Nancy GRAVES and reared
eleven children. Many of his descendants are living here and elsewhere.
Abraham ADAMS, a native of Connecticut, married Fanny SUMNER, of
Spencer, Mass., and settled in Townshend, at an early day, where he made
the first settlement on the William LAWRENCE farm. He subsequently removed
to Jamaica, where he died, in 1858, aged eighty-five years. He reared ten
children, several of whom emigrated to Pennsylvania and New York. George,
one of the sons, married Miranda BUTLER and spent most of his life on the
old homestead, now owned by his son, Wayland G., grandson of Abraham. George
now resides on road 28 in this town, aged seventy-five years. Of George's
daughters, Mrs. Addie M. GOODELL and Mrs. Homer BROWN reside in this town,
and Mrs. Dr. SPRING resides in Holliston, Mass.
Ephraim LAWRENCE, from Jaffrey, N. H., settled in Windham on road
8, about 1804. Here he reared to maturity a family of seven sons and three
daughters. Three of these are now living, Eli, on the homestead farm, George
in Grafton, and Henry, in Michigan. Ephraim died at the age of sixty-six
years. Eli married Harriet HASTINGS, from Marlboro, N. H., and has reared
a family of three sons and one daughter.
Jonathan UPHAM, Sen., from Thompson, Conn., came with his wife and
five daughters to Guilford in 1796, where three sons, Gardner, Jonathan,
and Asahel, were born. In 1804 the family moved into this town and. took
up land on the southern base of Glebe mountain. Here Ebenezer was born.
Asahel UPHAM, residing on road 31, is a descendant of this family.
Nathan HASTINGS, born March 1, 1776, in Warwick, Mass., married
Esther WOODWARD, of North Orange, in that State, and settled in Windham
in 18o6, on the farm now owned by his son, Charles W. Nathan reared ten
children who grew to manhood and womanhood, and three others died in infancy.
Seven children now living are all farmers. Charles W., residing on the
old homestead, married a daughter of Dea. Hart B. ABBOTT, and has reared
a family of eight children, of whom four are now living. He has been a
deacon of the Congregational church since 1865.
Samuel MOORE, from Hardwick, Mass., settled on road 25 in this town
in 1813. He married Elizabeth LEONARD and reared nine children, five boys
and four girls, to maturity. Sarah M. married Jonathan UPHAM who settled
where his son Asahel now lives. Elizabeth married Hart B. ABBOTT, and both
lived and died in this town. Samuel afterwards married Laura J. HOLMAN,
of Springfield, Vt. Their son Charles F. made the first clearing
on the farm now owned by Samuel MOORE.
Wilder MOORE, born in Warwick, Mass., November 12, 1790, was a son
of Capt. Mark and Sally MOORE, whose English parents settled in Sudbury,
Mass. At twenty-one years of age Wilder went to Champlain, N. Y., and during
the war of 1812-'15, he carried the mails from Champlain to Charlotte,
riding on horseback sixty miles per day. His route passed the lines of
the American army, and on one occasion at night, being overcome with sleep,
he nearly lost his life, awakening just in time to give the countersign
as his horse passed the sentinel. He married Sally SHEPARSON of his native
town in 1816, and in September of that year settled in Windham. They had
eleven children-eight sons and three daughters. He united with the Baptist
church in 1824, and for fifty-two years was sexton of the Center cemetery,
having during the time dug over 300 graves, the last one when he was eighty-one
years old. He died October 15, 1872. Of his children now living Louisa
and Nathan are on the home farm, and Mark and Henry are also in this town.
Hon. William HARRIS, born at Brattleboro, November 8, 1797, settled
in Windham in November, 1823. He held the office of town clerk and treasurer
twenty-three years, and was justice of the peace forty years, assistant
judge of the county court five years, town representative six years, State
senator two years, and was president of the West River national bank of
Jamaica for several years, until his death, January 15, 1880. His son,
William HARRIS, of this town, is now president of the same bank, and a
merchant at Windham.
George PERSON, a native of Massachusetts, came to-Windham county,
from Lunenburgh, Mass., in 1792, locating in Windham, where he married
Abigail AMIDON, in 1796, and soon after located upon a farm just over the
line in Jamaica. He had a family of eleven children, three of whom are
now living, viz.: Ebenezer, born in 1797, now residing on Western avenue,
in Brattleboro; Samuel, born in 1799, now residing in Zumbrota, Minn. ;
and George residing on Chase street, Brattleboro. The latter, until obliged
by age to discontinue labor, worked at masonry from the age of sixteen,
He was employed at his trade for many years at the Vermont Asylum for the
Edward BANKS, whose father was one of the early settlers of the
town, was born here in 1810. He has three children, Warren, residing in
Brattleboro, George N. and Mrs. Charles C. PECK, in Westminster. Edward
now resides in Brattleboro, at the age of 73 years.
Enoch GODDARD, from Orange, Mass., came to Windham about 1803, locating
a little south of the center of the town, where he reared nine children,
and died in 1867, aged about eighty-five years. Eight of his children are
living, one, Daniel, in Westminster West.
William HEWITT, born in Sutton, Mass., August 1, 1778, came to Windham
about 1813. About 1836 he removed to Westminster and finally to Wilmington,
where he died, February 15, 1858. Two of his nine children now reside in
the county, Mrs. Lurana DENSMORE, of Jamaica, and Alexis B., of Putney.
The First Congregational church, located at Windham, was organized
by Rev. William HALL and James TUFTS, with nine members, September 9, 1805,
Rev. John LAWTON being the first pastor. The church building, a wood structure
erected in 1802, will seat 300 persons, and is valued at $3,500.00. The
society has 118 members, with Rev. Amos HOLBROOK, pastor.
The South Windham Baptist church was organized January 12, 1807,
with thirty-three members, Rev. Thomas BAKER, settled September 12, 1807,
being the first pastor, The church building was erected in 1825-'26, under
the pastorate of Rev. Samuel KINGSBURY. It is capable of seating about
250 persons, and is valued, including grounds, at $1,600.00. The society
now has 100 members, with Rev. H. V. BAKER, pastor.
and Business Directory of
County, Vt., 1724-1884.
and Published By Hamilton Child,
At The Journal Office, Syracuse, N. Y., July, 1884.