OF THE TOWN OF WOODSTOCK
WOODSTOCK, the shire town of Windsor county, lies in the central
part of the same, in lat. 43° 36' and long. 4° 27', bounded north
by Pomfret, east by Hartland, south by Reading, and west by Bridgewater.
The original charter of the town was given by Benning WENTWORTH, July 10,
1761, granting 24,900 acres of land to David PAGE and others, in sixty-eight
shares; but in 1764, George III, having confirmed the claims of New York
to the disputed territory of the New Hampshire Grants, a re-charter of
the several towns granted by New Hampshire came to be considered necessary,
and among others the grantees of Woodstock applied to Governor Tryon, of
New York, and were granted are-charter in 1767. A third and last charter,
however, was applied for by Oliver WILLARD and twenty-three others, when
the town was again granted by New York, February 28, 1771, and chartered
June 23, 1772, with an area of 23,200 acres, bounded as follows:
On the same day, 23d of June, all the other grantees made over their
right and title to Mr. WILLARD and he became sole owner of the town, and
in turn, on the same day, he conveyed 1,050 acres of land to Elisha SPENCER,
situated in the northwestern corner of the town, and now known as the SPENCER
tract, and the same amount to Dr. John ROGERS, of New York, lying next
easterly of the SPENCER tract and is now known as the ROGERS tract, On
March 1, 1784, the town was divided into two parishes by the legislature,
called the north and south parish.
at the southwest corner of the town of Hertford [Hartland], then running
north sixty-five degrees west, 440 chains; thence north thirty-two degrees
east, 602 chains; thence south sixty-two degrees east, 448 chains to the
northwest corner of the town of Hertford [Hartland]; then south thirty-three
degrees west, 580 chains to the place of beginning."
The surface of Woodstock is pleasantly diversified by hill and valley,
the highest point being the summit of Mount Tom, near Woodstock village,
1,351.22 feet above tide-water. The soil is rich and deep in most localities,
making up one of the finest farming districts in the county. The territory
is watered by Quechee river, which runs through it in a northeasterly direction,
and by two of its branches, one on the north side and the other on the
south. That on the north is called Beaver brook, and originates in the
northern part of Bridgewater and in the southern part of Barnard and Pomfret,
That on the south is called South branch and originates in the southern
part of the township. Several good mill privileges are afforded. The rock
entering into the geological structure of the territory is entirely of
the calciferous mica schist formation, except in the extreme southeastern
and southwestern corners, where it is of gneiss formation.
In 1880 Woodstock had a population of 2,815, and in 1882 it was
divided into fourteen school districts and contained seventeen common schools,
employing seven male and twenty-five female teachers, to whom was paid
an aggregate salary of $3938.72. There were 607 pupils attending common
school, while the entire cost of the schools for the year, ending October
31st, was $4,688.59, with N. P. WOOD, superintendent.
WOODSTOCK, the county seat, is a beautiful little village nestled
among the hills in the northern part of the town, at the western terminus
of the Woodstock railroad. The boundaries of the village were established
December 14, 1819, as follows:
The tract thus bounded was made a corporate village by an act of
the legislature, approved November 1, 1836, and now has about thirteen
hundred inhabitants, and is divided into five wards. The stranger visiting
Woodstock will at once be struck with its general air of quiet elegance
and refinement. The broad, shaded streets are lined with tasty, and in
many instances elegant residences, and cross and re-cross Quechee river,
a bright, sparkling stream, that here affords a good mill-power, while
near the centre of the village is a beautiful public square, comprising
several acres of land, handsomely laid out and thickly studded with fine
at the easterly side of the highway at a point opposite the northeast corner
of the barn nearest the road on the WARDELL farm, so-called [being the
BLAKE farm, now owned by Benjamin S. DANA,]; thence southerly on a straight
line by the easterly side of the brick house standing at the corner of
said highway and the turnpike to the south side of said turnpike road opposite
the southeast corner of said brick house [the brick house on the east side
of the road which was recently burned, belonging to Oliver T. HATCH]; thence
southwesterly in a direct line to the large elm tree standing on the top
of the hill east of the Oi1-mill brook [Mount Peg] ; thence southerly in
a direct line to the southeast corner of Lyman MOWER's meadow lot [now
owned by Rufus TOWNSEND]; thence on the south line of said lot, across
the highway, and on the southerly line of said MOWER's pasture to the southwest
corner of the same [now owned by said TOWNSEND]; thence in a direct line
to the southwest corner of the house now owned by Jared RICKARD [the Hiram
POWERS house]; thence by the westerly end of said house, and on a line
with the same, to the highway; thence across the river to the two black-cherry
trees on the north side of the highway, opposite L. & B. F, MOWER's
mill yard [near where the house now occupied by Liberty B. MARBLE stands]
; thence on a direct line northerly to the northwest corner of the small
dwelling house owned by Henry C. DENISON, Esq., northerly of the clothier's
shop [this house stood on the site, or near by, where Allen THOMPSON's
house now is]; thence by the northerly end of said house to the northeast
corner thereof; thence on a direct line to the southwest corner of the
school house, near the dwelling house of the said H. C. DENISON, Esq.;
and thence easterly in a direct line to the place of beginning."
The visitor will also become conscious of the prevalence of a high
religious sentiment, evinced by the heavenward pointing spires of the five
imposing churches that meet his eye (Congregational, Unitarian, Universalist,
Episcopal and Methodist,); while he will find his temporal wants looked
after by a score or so of merchants of different kinds and a good hotel
awaiting his arrival. The village has also a National Bank, Savings Bank,
two weekly newspapers, -- "The Vermont Standard" and "The Spirit of the
Age," -- a flourishing graded school, a beautiful library building, a good
court-house and a strong jail.
Now, if the visitor pleases, we will conduct him through “the labyrinth
of faded years" and reveal to him the first steps taken towards building
the beautiful village in which he has found himself. In 1771 Joab HOISINGTON,
of Windsor, began to make arrangements for moving into Woodstock, He purchased
a large tract of land of Jonathan GROUT and Oliver WILLARD, the WILLARD
purchase embracing a thousand acres, more or less, including the present
site of the village. Upon this purchase he settled with his family, in
the spring of 1772, building a log cabin upon the present site of the Eagle
Hotel. He also took out a license as a tavern-keeper, at the June term
of the court of common pleas of that year. His brother Asahel came from
Windsor about the same time, though he located in the southern part of
the township, upon lands he had purchased of Joab. In company with Joab
and Asahel came John HOISINGTON, whom tradition asserts was the father
of the brothers, though upon this point we are not clear. He purchased
two hundred acres of land of Oliver WILLARD, covering the territory through
which the lower half of Pleasant street now passes, and extending across
Quechee river, taking in a part of what is now Mr. BILLING's meadow, the
fair ground, etc. For the site of his dwelling he selected a spot on the
edge of the plain, about ten rods up the stream from the present brick
church. Thus commenced the first settlement of the village of Woodstock.
Joab HOISINGTON died in 1780, and in 1781 John left the town.
In 1789, within what is now the village, besides the rudiments of
a courthouse, the only buildings were a tavern, put up by Capt. Israel
RICHARDSON, to accommodate the “court folks," four dwelling houses, a dilapidated
grist and saw-mill, built by Joab HOISINGTON in 1776, and a 30 by 40 feet
barn, in which Rev. Aaron HUTCHINSON gathered the first church in the township.
All that constitutes Elm street and its contiguous grounds and house lots,
now one of the pleasantest in the village, was then an unbroken forest,
and remained so for a little while thereafter, when it was purchased by
Hon. Charles MARSH and opened for improvement.
In the year 1800 the number of inhabitants had increased to about
two hundred, while nearly all the buildings were clustered around the park,
or "Green" as it was then called, though a few dotted at long intervals
the sides of the old town road that passed from the park down what is now
Central street. Still, though the village was small, the town itself contained
a larger rural population than it has to-day. The census of that year gave
Woodstock 2,100 inhabitants, nearly all of whom were living on the hillsides,
engaged in farming, while the borders overflowed with young men; for the
West had not yet opened with her attractions to draw them away, neither
was there any disposition yet developed to be leaving the rural districts
and crowding into the villages.
For a few years after the settlement, as the inhabitants could not
afford to build bridges over the Quechee, the river was forded at three
different places in the present village, viz.: at the house of Elias THOMAS,
where Henry JOHNSON now lives, at a point behind the brick church, and
at the place where the old court-house bridge subsequently crossed it.
After Woodstock became the shire town and the court-house was built, it
was resolved to have a bridge at the “common." Therefore, at the sessions
of the legislature at Newbury October, 1787, Benjamin EMMONS, the member
for that year, secured the passage of an act laying a tax of two pence
on the acre of lands in Woodstock, public lands excepted, for the purpose
of building a bridge over Quechee river. The following summer the bridge
was built, located nearly on the site afterwards occupied by the so-called
court-house bridge. This bridge lasted about nine years, when a new one
was required. To meet the expense of building the same, Benjamin SWAN and
Moses OSGOOD obtained a grant from the legislature, in March, 1797, to
raise $500.00 by a lottery. What resulted from this lottery business is
not known; but during the following summer a subscription paper for building
a bridge was circulated, drawn up by Mr. SWAN, which read as follows:
subscribers whose names are hereunto annexed, do promise and agree to pay
to Jabez BENNETT the several sums set against our names, for the purpose
of building a bridge near the court-house, where the bridge now stands;
the payment to be made to the said Jabez, in material for building the
said bridge, or any other payment to his acceptance."
July 24, 1797.
This bridge was located some thirty rods further up the river, and
did service until 1811, when it was swept away by a freshet. Many other
bridges have been built since that time, and the village now has three
good bridge structures, one at Elm street, one at Union street and one
at Church street.
The village of Woodstock is now well supplied with illuminating
gas of a superior quality. The above-named company was incorporated by
an act of the legislature, approved November 9, 1855, with a capital of
$10,000. The first officers were Thomas E. POWERS, president, and Thomas
E. POWERS, Solomon WOODWARD and George MELLISH, directors. The construction
of the works was immediately commenced, and gas was made the same year.
The works are located just off Church street, near the river. Gas was first
made from rosin, the machinery for its manufacture being brought from Providence,
R. I. During the war, however, rosin became so expensive that the process
had to be given up, and machinery for converting raw petroleum, or crude
oil, was substituted. This process was in use until about 1873, when it
was changed for that now in use known as the Butler patent, converting
paraffine oil into gas. The pure gas is used; that is, not mixed with oxygen,
and is said to equal, in strength and brilliancy, five times the same quantity
of coal gas. About two miles of mains are laid throughout the village,
and the works have the capacity for manufacturing 5,000 feet per day. The
present offices of the company are C. P. MARSH, president, and C. P. MARSH,
Frederick BILLINGS and Franklin N. BILLINGS, directors.
The Woodstock Bank was originally chartered November 9, 1831, with
a capital of $60,000, and with Job LYMAN, president; Lyndon A. MARSH, cashier;
and Job LYMAN, Benjamin SWAN, Lyman MOWER, George W. RICE and Edmund S.
HAYDEN, directors. On a re-organization, under a charter of 1844, the following
officers were appointed: Oliver P. CHANDLER, president; Eliakim JOHNSON,
cashier; and Oliver P. CHANDLER, Julius CONVERSE, John PORTER, Philo HATCH,
Ammi WILLARD and William SKINNER, directors. In 1865 it was converted into
a National bank, and the capital has from time to time been increased so
that it is now $300,000. The present officers are Frederick BILLINGS, president;
Oliver P. CHANDLER, vice-president; Henry C. JOHNSON, cashier; and Frederick
BILLINGS, Oliver P. CHANDLER, John PORTER, Frank N. BILLINGS and William
E. JOHNSON, directors.
The Ottaquechee Savings Bank was chartered by the legislature, and
commenced business in 1848, since which time it has been in successful
operation. The object of the institution is to afford a medium for the
industrious and economical for investing their money in a secure and profitable
manner. It has at present 1,894 deposits, with G. R, CHAPMAN, treasurer.
Woodstock has also a fine public library and a beautiful library
building. the latter was built in 1883, upon the site of the old Norman
WILLIAMS homestead, a present to the town from Dr. Edward H. WILLIAMS,
of Philadelphia, a son of the late Norman WILLIAMS. The plan of the building
is simple, consisting of a main building containing the library proper,
and the entrance lobby communicating on the right with the reading-room,
and on the left with the office and the conversation-room. This disposition
gives a direct approach to any one of the rooms independent of the others;
while the office, directly connected with the library and the reading-room,
is isolated so as to be out of reach of any noise from the other three
apartments. The conversation and reading-rooms have also a pleasant outlook
front over the public park. The construction of the building is solid and
substantiate in every respect, and the design quiet and dignified as befits
a memorial building. The style is such as to admit of the use of local
stone to advantage. The wall facing is of red Burlington stone, squared
but not dressed, over a base of Barre granite, with cut work of Isle La
Motte gray limestone. The front consists of a central gable over an arcade
of three arches handsomely moulded, carried by two columns of polished
gray granite, enclosing a porch which communicates with the main entrance
hall. The reading-room on the right and the conversation-room on the left
form wings to this central gable, and complete a frontage of sixty-seven
feet six inches. Above the arcade appears a band of cut stone work between
moulded courses, containing the name of the building, "The Norman WILLIAMS
Public Library;" and over this in the upper part of the gable is a small,
richly moulded window and an inscription giving the date of erection, "Ano
Domini MDCCCLXXXIII." The flank presents a frontage of seventy-six feet
three inches, of which the gable of the wing occupies thirty feet four
inches, and the side of the library makes up the rest. The library will
accommodate about 13,000 volumes, arranged in cases set at right angles
to the wall. The windows are high enough to clear the top of the cases,
and the walls between them up to this height (eight feet) are lined with
polished Vermont marbles of different colors. The floor of the porch is
also of marble. The reading-room, conversation-room and office are wainscoted
five feet high, and the former contains a large open fire-place with a
very handsome terra cotta mantel. The others have open fire-places with
marble mantles. The building is heated with hot air furnaces in the basement,
and every precaution has been taken to ensure warmth during the severe
This hotel is one of the landmarks of the village. It was built
by Capt. Israel RICHARDSON, in 1792. It then consisted of a two-story building
facing the park, with an ell of one story in the direction of South street.
The captain himself went "down to Boston" in August, it seems, and bought
glass, paint, nails, etc., for this building and for the new court-house
then in course of erection on the opposite side of the park. The ware first
used on the table was blue, and in addition to the rum, ten gallons of
brandy and ten gallons of sherry sufficed in stocking the bar. The hotel
stood without change, except from necessary repairs, till 1822, when Titus
HUTCHINSON put up the brick wing on the line of the park for a dining-room
and hall. Lyman MOWER had charge of building this wing, and Nathan CUSHING
drew the lumber and brick and assisted in laying the foundation. It was
in the hall of this building that Dr. Joseph A. GALLUP, in 1827, delivered
the first course of lectures before the medical school that formerly flourished
in the village. About the year 1828 or 1830, while it was the property
of Col. CUTTING, a third story was added to the wood part of the building
and the piazzas put up. During the years 1830 and 1832, or thereabouts,
an eccentric creature named Moody HEATH lived in the village. He was an
expert workman in all kinds of wood carving, and during his stay here was
in the employ of FISHER & MCLAUGHLIN, doing all their work of this
kind. Among other things he carved the gilded eagle which has given name
to the hotel and which still adorns it, doing the work in Joseph CHURCHILL's
paint shop. In 1867, Calvin A. FAIRBANKS began making thorough repairs
and added a fourth story to the building, the house being ready for guests
the following summer. The building now has a dining-room thirty by thirty-four
feet, two parlors and a sitting-room, office, and forty sleeping rooms.
On December 11, 1848, Titus HUTCHINSON sold the Sons of Temperance the
hall of the brick wing for $500.00, which they still continue to own and
The first manufactory erected in the village was the old saw and
grist-mill, previously mentioned, built by Joab HOISINGTON in 1776. The
next manufactory of any importance, except, perhaps, for the manufacture
of potash and pearl ashes, was the old oil-mill, built by Jacob WILDER,
in 1793-94. He did a large business in the manufacture of linseed oil,
which was prosecuted by various parties, down to 1829, when the oil-mill
was converted into a furnace.
The Woodstock Woolen Mills gave a great impetus to the growth of
the town, Their construction was begun by a stock company, who carried
the enterprise forward until the walls were up and the roof on, when operations
ceased, Thus matters stood for several years, the property coming into
the possession of Darius BLAKE, who, in 1847, sold it to Solomon WOODARD,
of Millbury, Mass. Mr. WOODARD was born in Keene, N. H., in May, 1802.
Here he resided until he was twenty-one years of age, when he went to Millbury
and was employed in a woolen factory, where he learned his trade and remained
until he came to Woodstock, in 1847. When he came here, some fears were
entertained as to a permanent supply of water, so a pond and a tract of
land were purchased in Plymouth, near the sources of the river, to insure
an unfailing supply. Mr. WOODARD's purchase was made mainly by contributions
from the citizens of the town as an inducement for him to start the mill.
He had previously owned and run a mill in Millbury, Mass., and when he
finally moved here a large number of the operatives, including two of his
brothers, who had long been in his employ, came with him. It is needless
to say that the colony thus established was mainly composed of men who
were substantial citizens as well as good workmen, and so added materially
to the prosperity of the town. Immediately on coming into possession of
the property, vigorous measures were employed to put the mill in operation.
These were so far successful that in January, 1848, the water was first
turned on the wheels and the hum of machinery was again heard. Following
this came as fast as practicable other improvements. New houses were built
for the operatives, others repaired and purchased, and the work of renovation
was constantly progressing. In 1855 the old saw-mill and grist-mill were
torn down and the present thoroughly built and substantial structures were
erected in their places. Mr. WOODARD continued the business until 1877,
when the property passed into the hands of judge HILTON, as a part of the
estate of A. T. STEWART, of New York city, when operations were ceased
and the mills have since been idle. Mr. WOODARD died May 1, 1879.
B. F. STANDISH's tannery, located on the river, at Woodstock village,
was built by Mr. STANDISH, in 1874, where he now does a large business.
A tannery was established on this site about fifty years ago by removing
to it the old Union church and converting it into a building for that purpose.
In 1859 Mr. STANDISH and Charles D. PERKINS purchased the property, carrying
on the business under the firm name of PERKINS & STANDISH. This firm
did business for the ensuing five years, when Mr. STANDISH became sole
proprietor and has continued the business since. In 1873 the buildings
were destroyed by fire and were rebuilt the following year. About 10,000
sides of heavy leather and 5,000 calf skins are tanned annually, most of
which are brought from the west.
C. W. SAYWARD's sash, door and blind factory, located on Center
street, is operated by water-power and gives employment to five men.
WEST WOODSTOCK is a pleasant little village, located about a mile
southwest of Woodstock. It has one store, the DANIELS Machine Co.'s works,
a saw-mill, school-house, etc., and about twenty dwellings. The first settlement
of West Woodstock, which for many years was known as "The Flats," was made
as follows: On the 14th of June, 1776, Joseph SAFFORD, of Hardwick, Mass.,
bought of Jonathan GROUT, of Petersham, 300 acres of land, situated near
the center of Woodstock, resting on the west bank of Quechee river and
spreading out in a northerly direction with a surface beautifully varied
by level and hillside. On the plain, removed back from the river some little
distance, SAFFORD built a house in due time, and thus was begun the first
settlement of "The Flats," or West Woodstock. Col. SAFFORD was a carpenter.
Three years after his first purchase he deeded to his son Jesse eighty
acres of this land, lying directly on the river and embracing the territory
now occupied by the mills and underlying a large portion of the village
which has grown up here. This spot thus early occupied by the SAFFORDs
became in due time a kind of center for the westerly part of the town.
All the lands on the river up to the Bridgewater line and so back on the
hills west and north were soon taken up by an excellent class of men. There
were the RAYMONDs, the CHURCHILLs, Phineas WILLIAMS, the DELANOEs, the
MEACHAMs, the BENNETTs, and so on through a long list that might be mentioned.
These people wanted mills and school-houses and churches. A site for a
mill was chosen on Jesse SAFFORD's land, a saw-mill and grist-mill were
put up by solid Jabez BENNETT, who continued the owner of the same for
thirty years. Capt. Ephraim EDDY erected clothing mills in the vicinity
and had his fulling mills in the lower part of the grist-mill. In the year
1804 carding mills were added. Probably about 1793, a school-house was
built on the flat. It stood on the north side of the main road. It was
a wood building over fifty feet long, with chimneys on each end and with
two front doors, one an entrance for the boys and the others for the girls.
The desks were arranged along the side walls and extended the whole length
of the school room.
TAFTSVILLE is a pleasant little post village located in the northeastern
part of the town, on Quechee river. It has a store, school-house, several
manufacturing establishments and about twenty dwellings. The village was
named in honor of Daniel TAFT, its founder, who was born in 1778, and came
from Mendon, Mass., to Woodstock, in 1792. He took up his residence with
his brother Stephen, who had previously located at what is now Taftsville,
and had built a dam there in 1790 and a saw-mill in 1791. In 1804 Stephen
also built the saw-mill on the opposite side of the stream. Daniel and
Seth TAFT soon after purchased this mill of Stephen and carried on the
business until 1811, when Seth died and his interest was purchased by Daniel.
About the time the mill was built, Stephen also erected a factory for the
manufacture of scythes and axes, which ultimately came into the hands of
Daniel. Daniel became a very prominent man in this vicinity, represented
the town in the legislature of 1835, and in addition to maintaining the
manufacturing interests already mentioned, also established a foundry and
machine shop. He married Thankful WILSON, of Mendon, Mass., and reared
three sons, two of whom, Daniel and Paschal P., are now living, both at
Taftsville. Daniel, Sr., died in 1857.
SOUTH WOODSTOCK, a very pleasant little post village, lies in the
southeasterly part of the town. It has one church (Universalist), the Perkins
Liberal Institute, the usual complement of merchants and mechanics shops,
and about twenty-five dwellings.
ENGLISH MILLS is a hamlet located in the northwestern part of the
Charles H. ENGLISH's saw, grist and cider-mills, located at the
hamlet of English Mills, on road 15, were built at an early date. The saw-mill
cuts 300,000 feet of lumber per year, the cider-mill manufactures 400 barrels
of cider, and the grist-mill has two runs of stones.
A. T. WALKER's cider-mill, located on road 28, was established in
1865. Mr. WALKER manufactures 500 barrels of cider per year.
Charles H. SEAVER's saw-mill and chair stock factory, located at
Taftsville, gives employment to four men and turns out about $6,000.00
worth of manufactured stock per annum.
D. & B. D. HATHAWAY's saw, grist and cider-mills located at
Taftsville, were built by David HATHAWAY, in 1873. The grist-mill has two
runs of stones, the saw-mill cuts 600,000 feet of lumber per annum, and
the cider-mill has the capacity for turning out l00 barrels of cider per
Oliver LEAR's shingle-mill, located on road 45, turns out 200,000
hemlock shingles annually.
The DANIELS Machine Co.'s works, located at West Woodstock, were
established by Reuben DANIELS, in 1830. He manufactured woolen jacks, wool
pickers, cards and cloth sheares exclusively until about 1850, when the
firm title became DANIELS & RAYMOND, and the manufacture of hay, rag
and rope cutters was added. December 24, 1864, the shops were destroyed
by fire. A little later the DANIELS Machine Co. was organized, and in November,
1879, Wales N. JOHNSON purchased the property, forming, immediately after,
an equal partnership with Isaiah BENSON, and these gentlemen have since
successfully carried on the business.
Ira DULLON's saw-mill, located on South branch, corner of roads
22 and 22, manufactures soft and hard wood lumber, and is also supplied
with machinery for planing and dressing.
Allen W THOMPSON's grist-mill, located at Woodstock village, was
built in 1849, by Henry C. DENISON, and came into Mr. THOMPSON's possession
in 1856. The mill has three runs of stones and a corn crusher, and does
The town farm for the support of the poor, is located in the southern
part of the town, on road 53. It consists of a tract of 240 acres, under
the efficient management of Levi J. MERRILL. The farm labor is mostly done
by the indigent inmates.
The first permanent settlement in the township of Woodstock was
begun by James SANDERSON. On the 4th day of December, 1768, he came here
from Hartland, stuck his stakes and built a brush cabin about a mile and
a half southeast of the court-house, upon the farm now owned by Ira ATWOOD.
The following autumn, however, he moved north, down near the river, a short
distance below the village; but about 1779 he moved to the place now occupied
by O. MORGAN, when he died at the age of forty-five years. Mr. SANDERSON
married Polly POWERS, and reared seven children, the eldest, Benjamin,
being six weeks of age when his parents came to the town. He married Polly
SHAW, September 1.9, 1793, and reared a family of five daughters and one
son. He owned a farm of three hundred acres, was an intelligent reading
man, and was reputed by his neighbors to be quite wealthy.
While Mr. SANDERSON was the first actual settler, however, Timothy
KNOX was the first white man, of whom we have any account, who set foot
upon the soil. The tradition is that he left Harvard University before
finishing his studies, about the year 1765, and spent three years in this
section as a hunter and trapper, but making no permanent settlement. Subsequently,
however, he made a settlement in town and died here in 1807, aged eighty-two
Other settlers must have followed in the footsteps of SANDERSON
quite rapidly, for at the taking of the census of Cumberland county, in
1771, the town had a total population of forty-two souls, ten of whom were
heads of families, named as follows: Andrew POWERS, Abraham POWERS, William
POWERS, James POWERS, James HARWOOD, James SANDERSON, Joseph CALL, Ebenezer
DIKE, Ebenezer CALL and John SANDERSON. In 1791, this population had increased
to 1,605, and in 1820 it was 2,610. Windsor at that time had a population
of 2,956, and Springfield, 2,704, these three towns having the largest
population in the State. The town was organized and the first town meeting
held in May, 1773, when Joab HOISINGTON was chosen town clerk; Daniel WALDO,
Jaseph COTTLE, Ezra DREW and Joseph CALL, constables; and Benjamin EMMONS,
Nathan HOWLAND and Phineas WILLIAMS, selectmen. The first justices of the
peace were Benjamin EMMONS and Jabez COTTLE, in 1786. The first representative
was John STRONG, elected in March, 1778. The first birth was that of Olive,
daughter of James SANDERSON, in 1770. Jabez DELANO was the first male born,
June 3, 1772. The first grist-mill and and first saw-mill were built by
Joab HOISINGTON, in 1776, both being located within a few rods of where
the county jail now stands. Dr. Stephen POWERS was the first resident physician.
He came from Middleboro, Mass., in 1774, and built the second house at
the village. The general assembly of Vermont met at the court-house here
in October, 1807, Titus HUTCHINSON representing the town. The only execution
that ever occurred here was that of Samuel E. GODFREY, on the "green,"
for murdering Capt. HULETT, superintendent of the prison, in 1818.
Joab HOISINGTON, previously mentioned as the first settler of Woodstock
village, was the son of John HOISINGTON, of Farmington, Conn. John was
born in 1713, was married to Sarah TEMPLE, of Wallingford, November 3,
1735. They had sons and daughters; among the number, Joab, born September
19, 1736; Rhoda, born December 19, 1741; and Asahel, born December 3, 1746.
In 1763 Joab HOISINGTON and Benjamin BISHOP, both of the same town, accompanied
Steele SMITH, the first settler in Windsor, to that town on one of his
excursions thereto, and the following year SMITH, with his wife and four
children, made the first permanent settlement there. HOISINGTON and BISHOP
soon followed him. HOISINGTON became a large landholder in Windsor and
took an active part in all measures for promoting the interests of the
town. His house was on the spot where the Edward FORBES house now stands-the
first house on the right hand as you enter the village from the north.
His farm extended probably south to the OTIS house, so-called, which stands
in the centre of the village, where the minister's lot was located. The
"Hoisington brook," on which his house was built, must be what has since
been called Pulk Hole brook. One sad event connects Joab with the early
history of that town. He and another citizen by the name of BARTLETT went
into the swamp which was watered by Pulk Hole brook to hunt deer. Going
in different directions they lost sight of each other, and Mr. HOISINGTON
shot and killed his companion by mistake. The event cast great gloom over
the new settlement. They had to send to Charlestown, N. H., for a coroner,
and after a careful examination he was acquitted of all blame.
One thing more may he mentioned in connection with Joab's life in
Windsor. On September 21, 1768, the church of "Cornish and Windsor" was
organized, of which HOISINGTON was one of the founders. At the same time
ten citizens of Windsor signed a bond running for five years, to secure
Mr. WELLMAN, the pastor, his annual salary. First on the list of signers
stood Joab's name. In 1771, he began to make arrangements for moving into
Woodstock, and in the spring of the following year came here and located
as mentioned on PAGE 287.
James HARWOOD, a native of England, came with his family to Woodstock
in 1769, the third to settle here, locating upon the farm now owned by
George BREWSTER. He married Eunice BROOKS and reared six children, three
sons and three daughters. The sons died young and the daughters married
and settled in the town. The only representatives of the family now residing
here are Mrs. Betsey H. (CALL) PELTON, a granddaughter, and her four children,
Erastus C., Melinda C., Betsey C. (Mrs. Samuel W. SOULE), and Lucy E. (Mrs.
F. A. HOLT). Mr. HARWOOD died in 1805.
Benjamin EMMONS came to Woodstock, from Hinsdale, N. H., in March,
1772, locating upon the farm now occupied by Henry VAUGHAN. He assisted
in the organization of the town the following year, was a justice of the
peace several years, a deacon of the Congregational church, etc. In 1807
he left the town and died in St. Louis, Mo., in 1812. All of his eleven
children, except one, attained an adult age. His only relatives now living
in the town are a granddaughter. Miss Marcia CARVER, aged eighty-six years,
and two great, granddaughters, Betheny and Caroline HAGAR, all residing
on Pleasant street, at Woodstock village.
Seth DARLING was an early settler in the town. He came from Camden,
Conn., and located upon the farm now occupied by E. S. GALLUP, on road
19. He married Chloe MARSH and had twelve children. Jason L. DARLING, a
grandson, resides on road 20.
Moses BENSON, a native of Middlebury, Mass., was among the early
settlers, locating at what is now English Mills. He married Experience
GIBBS, June 13, 1796, and reared nine children, one of whom, Hosea, eighty-three
years of age, resides on road 17. Moses was one of the twelve who established
the Christian church.
George THOMAS, from Middlebury, Mass., made the first settlement
on the farm now owned by Joseph C. MACKENZIE. Mr. THOMAS served as a private
during the Revolutionary war, and at its close was paid off in continental
money, with which he purchased one hundred acres of land in Vermont, upon
which he located soon after. He was twice married, and reared eight children,
six by his first wife and two by his second. His descendants on the old
homestead have now many articles of furniture and other relics that they
prize highly, which he brought with him to the town.
Joel ENGLISH, born at Andover, Conn., was among the pioneers of
the northwestern part of the town, where he purchased mills standing upon
the present site of English Mills. He married Tryphenia, daughter of Benajah
STRONG, of Hartford, Vt. Four of their children settled in the town and
three are now living here.
Elisha NYE came to this town at an early date, locating upon the
farm now owned by Seneca WINSLOW, where he resided until 1821, when he
removed to Barnard, Vt., though lie finally returned to Woodstock, spending
his last days with his son, David T., where he died at the advanced age
of eighty-seven years.
Bela SIMMONS came to Woodstock at an early date, locating upon the
farm now occupied by Austin E. SIMMONS. Mr. SIMMONS held the office of
justice of the peace for many years and taught singing school nineteen
years. He died in 1835, aged sixty-one years. His only son, Benjamin F.,
held many of the town offices, and died in 1843, aged thirty-seven years,
leaving three children.
John ANTHONY, a retired sea captain, came to Woodstock among the
early settlers, locating in the southern part of the town. Mr. ANTHONY
was twice married and six of his children attained a mature age, two of
whom, Mrs. Verona HOUGHTON, of Dubuque, Iowa, and Edward, of Cornish, N.
H., are living. Two grandchildren, Mrs. John C. MORGAN and Miss Nancy ANTHONY,
now reside here.
Levi BLOSSOM, from Bridgewater, Mass., came to Woodstock at an early
date, locating where W. B. SWITZER now resides. He was twice married, reared
a family of nine children, and died at the age of eighty-six years. Only
three of his children are living, viz.: Mrs. Abigail BISHOP, Levi and Charles
Hiram POWERS, the sculptor, a man of whom Woodstock people probably
feel more proud than any other ever a resident here, was born in the well
known Powers house, on Church hill. His grandfather, Dr. Stephen POWERS,
came to Woodstock, from Plymouth county, Mass., in 1774, and was the first
resident physician of the town, and built the second log house on the “Green."
He had two sons, Stephen and John, and two daughters. Stephen engaged in
farming and was the father of six sons and two daughters. Hiram was the
fifth son, born July 29, 1805. While yet a child he moved with his parents
to Ohio, where his father soon after died. After his death, Hiram was engaged
as an assistant in a reading-room of a hotel, then in a produce store,
and finally in a clock-making establishment. Becoming acquainted with a
German sculptor he acquired from him knowledge of the art of modeling in
plaster. At the age of thirty he repaired to Washington, where he met with
considerable encouragement, modeling the busts of many prominent men. He
was well paid for his labors, and at the same time acquired the friendship
of Mr. Nicholas LONGWORTH, who assisted him to visit Italy, in 1837; and
he made that home of art his home, residing principally at Florence, where
he died, June 27, 1873. His first great work, his “Eve,” was produced in
1838. Among his many great ideal works are “The Greek Slave,” “The Fisher
Boy,” “La Pensierosa,” “America,” “California,” “Paradise Lost,” and
“The Last of the Tribes.” Of his busts, are “Proserpine,” “Genevera,”
“Psyche,” “Diana,” “Clythe,” “Hope,” “Faith,” “Charity,” and “Christ
Our Saviour.” To show the estimation in which these works were held
it is only necessary to say that the original “Greek Slave” was
purchased at auction, by the Duke of Cleveland, in London, some years since,
for $10,000.00, and the fourth copy of it, for the Prince Demidorf's gallery,
was sold at Paris for $10,500.00.
Ephraim BREWSTER, a decendant of Elder BREWSTER, who came to this
country in the "Mayflower," came to Woodstock, from Preston, Conn., in
the spring of 1775, purchasing three hundred acres of land on the South
Branch of Otta Quechee river, about a mile and a half south of the court-house.
The following spring he moved his family here. His wife was Miss Margary
PARKS, daughter of .cider Paul PARKS, of Preston, Conn., by whom he reared
six children, viz.: Polly, Paul, Sally, Seth, Ephraim and Margary. Mr.
BREWSTER served in the French and Indian war, and was one of the number
who went the rescue of Royalton in 1780. He died May 10, 1810, aged seventy-nine
years. Mrs. BREWSTER died February 20, 1841. Paul and Dr. Ephraim BREWSTER
served in the war of 1812, the former as a nurse in the hospital, the latter
as a physician, and was accidentally drowned in Lake Champlain.
Hon. Charles MARSH, LL. D., son of Hon. Joseph MARSH, was born at
Lebanon, Conn., July 10, 1765, graduated from Dartmouth college in 1786,
studied law, and began practice in Woodstock in 1789. Here, while building
for himself a dwelling on the north side of Quechee river, near where he
built his brick mansion in 18O5,'06 and '07, he boarded at a farm house
about a mile out of the present limits of the village. Mr. MARSH was for
fifty years devoted to his profession, and for a long time at the head
of the bar in the State. He served as a member of congress from 1815 to
1817, and while in Washington became identified with the American Colonization
Society as one of its founders. He acquired great popularity as a patron
of benevolent societies generally, and was a highly influential and useful
citizen. He died at Woodstock, January 11, 1849. The degree of LL. D. was
conferred upon him by Dartmouth college. Mr. MARSH was twice married. By
his first wife, Nancy COLLINS, of Litchfield, Conn., to whom he was united
in 1789, he had a son and daughter. The son, Charles, studied law, and
died in 1817. The daughter became the wife of Dr. BURNELL, of Woodstock.
Mrs. MARSH died in 1793. For his second wife, Mr. MARSH married Mrs. Josiah
L. ARNOLD, daughter of Dr. Elisha PERKINS, of Plainfield, Conn. This union
was blessed with four sons, -- Lyndon A., George P., Joseph and Charles,
and one daughter, Sarah B., whose daughter is the wife of Senator EDMUNDS.
The second Mrs., MARSH died in 1853. One of these sons, George P., was
our late lamented minister to Italy. He was born in Woodstock, March 15,
1801, and educated at Dartmouth college, where he graduated in 1820. He
afterwards removed to Burlington, where he commenced the study of law,
and afterwards made that place his home. After his admission to the bar,
he came into an extensive practice, and devoted much of his time to politics.
He was a member of the State legislature in 1835, and in 1842 he took his
seat in the United States house of representatives, where he continued
until he was sent as a resident minister to Turkey, in 1849, by President
Taylor. At this post he rendered essential service to the cause of civil
and religious toleration in the Turkish Empire. He was also charged with
a special mission to Greece, in 1852. But especially was Mr. MARSH known
as an author and scholar. He devoted much attention to the languages and
literature of the North of Europe, and his sympathies seem to be with the
Goths, whose presence he traced in whatever is great and peculiar in the
founders of New England. In a work entitled “The Goths in New England,”
he has contrasted the Gothic and Roman characters, which he appears to
regard as the great antagonistic principles of society at the present day,
He was also the author of a grammar of the old Northern or Icelandic language,
and of various essays, literary and historical, relating to the Goths and
their connections with America. He was also the author of an interesting
work on the camel; also of a work on the English language, which occupies
a very high rank; and still another of great merit, entitled “Man and Nature,”
and his miscellaneous published addresses and speeches are quite numerous.
After his return from Turkey he performed the duties of commissioner of
railroads for Vermont. In 1861, he was appointed by President Lincoln,
Minister to Italy, where he died. His library, said to be one of the finest
in this country, rich beyond compare in Scandinavian literature, is now
the property of the University of Vermont.
Dr. Joseph GRAY, who spent many years of a long life in Woodstock,
was born in Nottingham West, N. H., February 9, 1788. Before he was two
years old his parents removed to Mason, N. H., where he received a common
school education, and at the age of eighteen began the study of medicine,
under his father, a practitioner of the old school; and continued his medical
studies with his oldest brother, Dr. Henry GRAY, late of Weston, Vt. His
parents, Joseph GRAY, M. D., and Lucy BANCROFT, were married in 1780, and
Joseph was the fourth of their nine children. His brother Isaac was taken
prisoner in the war of 1812, and for a time was in Dart Moor prison, England.
Joseph listened eagerly to the consultations of physicians, watched the
effects of opium, calomel, and other drugs, then freely used, and then
said, "I will find a better way or never go into practice." "Seeking,"
according to the promise, "he found." In 1809 and 1810, he practiced with
Dr. Amasa FORD, a Botanical physician, and soon after practiced with Dr.
Samuel THOMSON, subsequently purchasing his practice. With this varied
information was combined keen, shrewd judgment, and he used only such remedies
he believed best calculated to restore health, regardless of the name,
or school to which they belonged. July 11, 1811, Dr. GRAY married Eunice
RUSSELL, youngest daughter of John RUSSELL, Esq., of Cavendish. She died
June 9, 1859, aged sixty-eight years and four months. Her children, one
son and four daughters, all survived her death, and reared families of
their own. The tastes of Dr. GRAY and his wife were decidedly literary,
reading forming a part of their daily life, and that too, of a choice and
instructive character. When Dr. GRAY's cousin, the Hon. George BANCROFT,
was secretary of the navy, and afterwards minister plenipotentiary to the
court of St. James, the Doctor was often asked why he did not seek for
office through his relative. But Dr. GRAY had an independent spirit. If
he had but little, he made that little sufficient. His medical fees were
always moderately remunerative, but his family were never encouraged in
extravagant habits, consequently he had the pleasure in his old age of
sending a check for five hundred dollars to the Orphan's Home, at Burlington,
Vt., in 1876.
Dea. Daniel RALPH, born in Bellerica, Mass., May 21, 1747, married
Priscilla BEALS and came to Woodstock in 1775, locating upon the farm now
occupied by Mr. Henry WALKER, Mrs. WALKER being his youngest grandchild.
Dea. RALPH reared eight children, none of whom are now living, and died
March 22, 1826. Mrs. RALPH died July 30, 1825, aged seventy-two years.
William McCLAY was born in Scotland in 1743, and when about twenty-seven
years of age came to America, locating soon after at Charlestown, N. H.
Here he married, and his wife died soon after. For his second wife he married
Polly FARNSWORTH, June 17, 1775, and during that year, in company with
his brother-in-law, Jonathan FARNSWORTH, came to Woodstock. Mr. FARNSWORTH
located upon a farm in the southern part of the town, while Mr. McCLAY
located about four miles west of Woodstock village. After seeing his brother-in-law
well established in his new home, Mr. McCLAY returned to Charlestown, remaining
there about five years; then came to Woodstock, remaining here the rest
of his life. His children were Jane, who married Francis ALLEN; Eunice,
born in 1782, married John FISHER and died in 1858 Stephen, born in 1784,
married Margaret HILL and died in 1838; Polly, born in 1787, married Henry
CHEEVER and died in 1818; Azuba, born in 1791, died in 1811; William, Jr.,
married Betsey HILHAM and died in California in 1872; Betsey, died in 1872;
David, married Caroline LANGWORTHY, of Kentucky, and died in 1834; and
Stephen, who lived and died in Woodstock. He, Stephen, married Margaret
HILL and reared nine children, viz.: Lorinda, Stephen P., William, Azuba,
Jane, David, Gustavus H., Sarah M. and Margaret E. Only three are now living,
David, in Wisconsin, and Gustavus and Sarah in Woodstock.
Nathaniel LADD came from Coventry, Conn., about 1776 and located
upon the farm now owned by his grandson, Mason W. He reared a family of
nine children, none of whom are living. At his death, in 1837, the homestead
descended to his son, Mason, and, at his death, in 1871, it came into the
hands of Mason A., son of Mason.
George LAKE was born at Topsfield, Mass., in 1750. His wife, Sarah
LOVEJOY, was born in Lunenburg, Mass., April 3, 1752. In 1779 Mr. LAKE
came to South Woodstock, purchased 200 acres of forest land of Ebenezer
CURTIS, and the following spring brought his wife and three small children
to their new home. At the burning of Royalton, in October, 1780, Mr. LAKE
and his neighbor, Abraham KENDALL, fled with their families to Cornish,
N. H., returning when the danger was over. He reared eight children, and
died in April, 1816, aged sixty-six years. Mrs. LAKE died March 30, 1831,
aged seventy-eight years. Daniel, son of George, born here March 16, 1784,
became noted for his great strength and powers of endurance.
Abram KENDALL married his wife Lucy, August 22, 1780, and soon after
came to Woodstock, locating upon the farm now owned by J. Kendall HOADLEY,
where he resided until his death, January 30, 1828, aged seventy-two years.
He was the father of seven children, of whom Caleb settled in Windsor,
where he died March 13, 1847; Nabby married Arnold SMITH and settled in
Woodstock; Charles settled in Richmond, Va., and later in New York city,
where he died; Rhoda married William SCOTT and settled in Woodstock; Jason
settled on the old homestead, held many of the town offices, etc.; Benjamin
F. went to Richmond, Va., and finally to Indiana; and Hosea settled in
Woodstock. Isaac KENDALL, brother of Abram, married Ruth SWALLON and came
from Dunstable, Mass., about 1780, locating upon the farm now owned by
Thaddeus L. FLETCHER. He reared four children. Lamond KENDALL, now residing
near the old homestead, is the only living representative of his grandfather
John DARLING married Mary Wood, of Middlebury, Mass., in 1780, and
soon after came to Woodstock and located upon a farm on Long Hill. He then
returned to Massachusetts and the following year brought his wife to their
new home, and resided there until his death, at the age of ninety years.
His wife died about fifty years previous. Of Mr. DARLING's seven children,
none are now living. His only representatives here are three grandchildren,
Amasa, Rebecca K. and Isaiah T. FULLERTON, children of his daughter, Polly,
and John FULLERTON.
James FLETCHER came to Woodstock about 1780 and located upon the
farm now owned by Leonard P. EATON, whose wife is a granddaughter of Mr.
FLETCHER. He reared a family of twelve children and died in Jericho, in
1834, aged seventy-seven years. Mr. FLETCHER died in 1856, aged ninety-five
years. Their only surviving child is Frederick, a banker of St. Johnsbury.
Nathaniel RANDALL came from Pembroke to Woodstock and located in
the southern part of the town near the Reading line. Here he followed farming
and house building until about sixty-six years of age, when he removed
to Bristol, N.Y., where he remained until his death. Mr. RANDALL was twice
married, having born to him by his first wife three children, Lydia, Hannah
and Nathaniel. By his second wife six children, Gaius, Thomas, John, Stetson,
Elias and Deborah.
Jabez KING was born in Bridgewater, Mass., June 1, 1763, and came
to Vermont about 1785, locating in Hartford. In 1790 he married Nabby UDALL,
by whom he reared nine children. Soon after his marriage he started a tannery
in Woodstock, near where Henry VAUGHAN now resides. After a few years he
gave up the tanning business and turned his attention to farming. Mr. KING
was a public spirited man and held many positions of honor and responsibility.
He died in December, 1846. James U. KING, on road 17, and Mrs. Philena
SAMSON are his only children now residing in the town, though two other
daughters are living, one in the southern part of the State and one in
Capt. Elisha LORD, a native of Connecticut, married Mrs. Lydia HAYES,
May 29, 1788, and soon after came to Woodstock, purchasing one hundred
acres of land of Jonathan GROUT, about a mile and a half south of the court
house. April 9, 1813, Mrs. LORD died, and October 28th, of the same year,
Mr. LORD married Mrs. Lydia Fay UPHAM. He died December 11, 1818, aged
fifty-five years, having reared thirteen children.
Arunah FULLERTON came to Woodstock, from Marshfield, Mass., in 1742,
locating upon a farm a portion of which is now occupied by Otis WOOD. Mr.
FULLERTON was a shoemaker and died about nine years after taking up his
residence here, having reared seven children. His nearest representatives
now residing here are five grandchildren, viz.: Amasa, Rebecca K. and Isaiah
T. FULLERTON, and C. F. Benjamin and Mrs. B. F. STANDISH.
Chauncey RICHARDSON, son of Lysander and grandson of Capt. Israel
RICHARDSON, was born in this town February 20, 1793, and has resided here
all his life, being now ninety years of age. The house in which he was
born was located upon the grounds now occupied by the Woodstock Railroad
depot, where his father resided until i800, when he located upon the farm
now occupied by Chauncey, and died there in 1813. Chauncey, like many other
farmer's sons, received only a scanty, common school education, but by
virtue of close observation and the aid of the South Woodstock library,
which was under his care more than fifty years, and by availing himself
of the benefits of a lyceum which he was instrumental in sustaining nearly
twenty years, he obtained a large fund of practical information. In early
life Mr. RICHARDSON was engaged in the manufacture of spinning-wheels,
though he soon turned his whole attention to farming, He has never sought
political honors, nor responded to the popular voice when it conflicted
with his private convictions. About 1860 he began to gather historical,
biographical and statistical information relative to his native town, and
now has a valuable collection of information. March 11, 1819, Mr. RICHARDSON
was united in marriage to Rebecca CAREY, of Hartland, the union being blessed
with two children, one dying in infancy, while the other. Mrs. Thomas R.
CARLTON, now resides with him.
Silas PERRY came to Woodstock in 1793 and located on road 34, where
Miss Emeline M. PERRY now resides. Mr. PERRY was the father of nine children,
none of whom are living, and died suddenly at the age of sixty-two years.
The homestead was then divided among his heirs, whose rights Elisha PERRY
bought in, and resided on the place until his death, in 1872, aged seventy-four
William PERKINS came to Hartland; from Lyme, Conn., in 1793, locating
in the western part of the town, where his grandson Norman PERKINS, now
resides. About five years after he removed to South Woodstock, where he
and his son Elisha built a tannery and engaged in tanning and in the manufacture
of boots and shoes. Later he retired from business and took up his residence
with his son Francis, where he continued to reside until his death, aged
eighty years. He was twice married and had six children, all but one of
whom attained the advanced age of eighty years and upwards.
Caleb ATWOOD came from Carver, Mass., in 1802, purchasing of John
PADDOCK a farm about half a mile north of English Mills. Mr. ATWOOD married
Elizabeth COBB, of Middlebury, Mass., reared seven children, and died October
29, 185 r. Of his children now living, Mrs. Nancy THATCHER resides in Washington,
D. C.; Sarah S. resides with her brother, Horatio N., on road 17; and Ira
resides near Woodstock village.
Richard SMITH, born in 1750, came from Lyme, Conn., about 1795,
and after a short residence in Bridgewater, located in Woodstock upon the
farm now occupied by his grandson, William H. SMITH. He married Lois ROGERS,
and two of their children, Arnold and Elias, settled in Woodstock. Norman
W., son of Elias, now resides on road 28.
Francis CURTIS, born in Massachusetts in 1778, came to Woodstock
in 1797, and purchased a large tract of land in the southwestern part of
the town, the location being now known as Curtis Hollow. Mr. CURTIS was
twice married and reared six children, the only one now living being Joseph
E. He died July 11, 1855.
Hon. Jacob COLLAMER was born at Troy, N. Y., January 8, 1791. With
his father, a Revolutionary soldier, he removed to Burlington, Vt., where
he received his education, graduating from the University of Vermont with
the class of 1810. After his admission to the bar, in 1813, he made a brief
campaign in the last war with England, as a lieutenant of artillery in
the detached militia of the United States service. After locating a year
or two in Randolph, Vt., he settled in Royalton, where he remained until
1836, then came to Woodstock, which was his home from that time until his
death. Having settled in Royalton, he represented that town in the legislature
of 1821, '22, '27 and '28, was a member of the State constitutional convention
in 1836, and was made associate justice of the supreme court of Vermont
in 1833. He was continued on the bench until 1842, when he was elected
a member of the house of representatives in the congress of the United
States. Re-elected in 1846 and '47, he was, at the expiration of his service
in this house, immediately called to the cabinet of President Taylor, resigning
the place upon the death of the President in 1850. During that year he
was again placed as a judge in the supreme court of Vermont, remaining
until 1854, when he was elected a senator of the United States for six
years, from 1855, being at the expiration of that time re-elected. At his
first entrance upon his duties in the senate he was placed upon the committee
on territories, of which judge DOUGLASS was chairman, and made the celebrated
reply of the minority (March 12, 1856) to the report of that distinguished
gentleman on the territories of Nebraska and Kansas. The compact statement
of facts, the logical deductions therefrom, and the powerful condensation
of the summing up at the conclusion, at once established his reputation
in that body, of which he became so marked a member. At the close of his
career he held the position of chairman of the committee on the postoffice
and post roads, chairman of the joint committee on the library, and was
also a member of the committee on the judiciary. He received the honorary
degree of LL. D. from the Vermont University in 1849, and from Dartmouth
college in 1857. Suffering from a sharp attack of congestion of the lungs,
induced by a cold caught while returning from the funeral of a brother,
Senator COLLAMER died from organic disease of the heart on the evening
of Thursday, November 9, 1865, at his residence in Woodstock.
Hon. Peter THATCHER Washburn was born at Lynn, Mass., September
7, 1814. He was the son of Hon. Reuben WASHBURN., born in Leicester, Mass,,
December 30, 1781, and who, at the age of four years, removed to Putney,
Vt., with his father, Asa WASHBURN, who was born in Leicester, July 25,
1757, and was the son of Seth WASHBURN, born in Bridgewater, May 19, 1723,
the son of Joseph WASHBURN, 2d, the son of Joseph WASHBURN, 1st, the son
of John WASHBURN, 2d. the son of John WASHBURN, who came from Evesham,
England, and as early as 1632 was in Duxbury, Mass., from which place he
afterwards removed to Bridgewater, Mass. Hon. Reuben WASHBURN, father of
Peter T., married October 10, 1813, Miss Hannah Blaney THATCHER, daughter
of Rev. Thomas C. THATCHER, of Lynn, Mass., and granddaughter of Rev. Peter
THATCHER, D. D., for many years pastor of the Brattle street church, Boston.
In February, 1817, Reuben removed with his family to Chester, Vt., and
after remaining there a short time, removed to Cavendish, and from there
in 1825, to Ludlow, where he died, April 23, 186o. Peter T. WASHBURN, or
as he was better known in Vermont, General WASHBURN, graduated from Dartmouth
college in 1835, and immediately after his graduation commenced the study
of law with his father, with whom he remained except for three months when
he was in the office of Hon. William UPHAM, of Montpelier, until he was
admitted to the bar, at the December term of the Windsor county court in
1838. January 1, 1839, he opened an office and commenced the practice of
his profession at Ludlow, Vt., where he remained with a constantly increasing
business and reputation, until 1844, when he removed to Woodstock, where
he resided until his death, which occurred on the morning of Thursday,
February 7, 1870. In October, 1844, Gen. WASHBURN, was elected by the senate
and house of representatives of Vermont, reporter of the decisions of the
supreme court, and was annually re-elected at each session down to and
including that of October, 185T. In 1853 and 1854, he represented Woodstock
in the legislature. In October, 1861, he was elected adjutant and inspector
general of Vermont, and continued as such by annual re-elections until
the close of the war. At the time of his death he was Governor of Vermont,
to which office he was elected in September, 1870, being the only Vermont
governor who died in that office, and was also a trustee of the University
of Vermont, and president of the Woodstock railroad.
Lester Anson MILLER, who served for so many years in the postoffice
at Woodstock, was born in Pomfret, Vt., July 13, 1810. His early years
were spent on his father's farm, with but scanty opportunities for obtaining
even a common school education. In October, 1827, he left his home in Pomfret
and entered the office of the “Woodstock Observer” to learn the printer's
trade. How long he remained here is not known, but he ultimately decided
on a. collegiate course, and as a preparatory step entered the Kimball
Union Academy, at Meriden, N. H. His health failed, however, and he was
obliged to give up the plan and return to his father's house, who had in
the meantime removed to Woodstock village. In 1831 or '32 he first entered
the postoffice here, as clerk under Benjamin SWAN, Jr., who was then postmaster.
On the 24th of October, 1852, he became postmaster, an office he held until
April 30, 1853, when a change in the political character of the administration
led to a change in the office. After this he was a telegraph operator at
White River junction about two years, and two years chief clerk at the
postoffice in Montpelier, Vt. In 1859 he came back to Woodstock and was
a clerk in the postoffice until failing health obliged him to retire, in
November, 1875, from which time his health gradually failed until his death,
December 13, 1877. Mr. MILLER had an active brain and was possessed of
considerable literary ability, as many of his contributions to various
journals, both in prose and poetry, amply testify.
John YOUNG was born in Newport, N. H., April 4, 1798, and in 1801
came to Bridgewater. During the latter part of the war of 1812 he enlisted
and was in the service, and has drawn a pension therefor since 1870. February
11, 1882, he married Nancy A. HERRICK, of Windsor, and, after living a
number of years in Windsor and Bridgewater, came to Woodstock and has lived
here with his aged consort since. Eight of this couple's sixteen children
are stilt living, and they also have nineteen grandchildren.
During the Revolutionary war, Elias THOMAS and about twenty others
from Woodstock marched through the forest to Saratoga, N. Y., and tendered
their services to General Gates, and assisted in taking Burgoyne's army,
October 17, 1777. For this service they neither asked nor received any
Edward C. BARNARD, now residing on road 28, enlisted in the 7th
Vt. Vols. during the late war, and was taken prisoner off Point Washington,
Fla., February 9, 1864, and was confined in Andersonville and other prisons
until March 27, 1865.
The Congregational church, of Woodstock, was the first organized
in the town. On the 3d of September, 1774, a special town meeting was held
by the inhabitants of Woodstock at Joab HOISINGTON's house, a log hut standing
directly on Maj. CHURCHILL's corner. At this meeting it was voted to hire
the Rev. Aaron HUTCHINSON for five years in connection with Hartford and
Pomfret, and a committee was appointed to carry the vote into effect. Mr.
HUTCHINSON must have been well known to many of the settlers in the above
named towns, and there is reason to believe that in April, 1774, he visited
this town and preached to the few settlers then living here. Also during
the same year, if not before, he must have decided to locate himself permanently
in the town of Pomfret. This seems to be established from what took place
in a meeting of the proprietors of Pomfret, held November 24, 1774, Already
there was a meeting house erected in Pomfret, but for the people of that
town and of Hartford the usual place of worship during mild weather was
a barn standing on the line between the two towns, built by Samuel Udall.
In Woodstock the meetings were held in Joab HOISINGTON's barn, the first
and for a while the only frame building in the town. This barn stood by
the side of the old town road, about six rods to the west of the judge
HUTCHINSON house. During cold weather services were held oftentimes at
HOISINGTON's house, which was a central spot and was kept as a tavern.
Mr. HUTCHINSON was hired by the town and preached for the benefit of all
its inhabitants, but forming the center and main stay of his congregation
was a small body known and recognized as "Mr. HUTCHINSON's church." This
was the first organization of the kind in the town, and reckoned among
its members Jaob HOISINGTON and Mary, his wife, John STRONG and wife, Dr.
Stephen POWERS and wife, Benjamin EMMONS, who officiated as deacon, the
wife of James EMERSON, Joseph SAFFORD and Martha SAFFORD. Rev. J. F. BRODIE
is the present pastor of the society.
The Universalist church. -- It is handed down by tradition that
John SANDERSON and Captain Israel RICHARDSON were the first Universalists
in Woodstock. Each, independent of the other, had come to favor the doctrine
of the final happiness of all mankind, and it was only by conversing together
that they learned their religious views were the same. At first they kept
their thoughts to themselves, partly because their own minds were not yet
clear on the new faith, and partly because they dreaded the hostility of
their neighbors. But in August, 1786, it began to be whispered about among
the members of the Congregational church that Benjamin EMMONS, their deacon
and leading man, who had been most active in organizing the church and
sustaining it thus far, had embraced the doctrine of Universalism. This
report concerning Dea. EMMONS caused great disturbance in the church; meetings
were called forthwith, at which the delinquent member was arraigned for
heresy, and the matter was not settled nor was peace restored to the church:
of which EMMONS was a member till after a lapse of seven years.
this time a Universalist society, and perhaps two of them, had been firmly
established here. The earliest direct notice as yet discovered of the existence
of such a society is contained in the following, taken from the records
When this society was first organized and on what terms, are particulars
unknown at present. But a few years later either another Universalist society
was started in Woodstock or the old one was re-organized under a new name,
as can be seen by another certificate taken likewise from Pomfret records
and running thus:
certify that Lieut. KEITH is a professed Universalist, and is a member
of the Universalist society in Woodstock.
December 30, 1789,"
The persons named in the above certificates were inhabitants of
Pomfret, and the certificates were entered on the records to relieve them
from paying the tax for the support of public worship in the town, which
all citizens were called on to pay, under certain conditions, by law of
the State. The records thus furnish direct evidence that a Universalist
society, so-called, existed very early in Woodstock and embraced in its
membership persons from the neighboring towns. The present North Universalist
chapel society, so called, located on Church street, was organized by its
first pastor, Rev. Russell STREETER, with twenty-three members, February
28, 18,35. The church building was erected during that year, a wood structure
capable of seating 400 persons, and valued, including grounds, at $10,000.00.
The society now has sixty-three members, with Rev. L. S. CROSLEY, pastor.
certify that Timothy MITCHELL is a member of the Independent Catholic society
July 19, 1794."
The Christian church, located at Woodstock, was organized by its
first pastor, Rev. Elias COBB, with eight members, in 1806. The church
building, a brick structure, was erected in 1826. It will seat 600 persons,
and is valued, including grounds, at $15,000.00. The society now has 250
members, with Rev. Moses KIDDER, pastor, Mr. KIDDER was born at Walpole,
N. H., November 14, 1817, and came to Woodstock in 1842, and was ordained
as associate pastor with Elder Joseph HAZEN, March 15, 1843. Elder HAZEN
acted as pastor until December, 1846, when he resigned, after a pastorate
of thirty years, and in January, 1847, removed to Albany, N. Y. Since this
resignation Mr. KIDDER has remained sole pastor of the society.
The St. James Protestant Episcopal church of Woodstock was organized
in 1825, Rev. Joel CLAPP being the first rector. The church building, erected
in 1827, will seat 275 persons, and is valued, including grounds, at $10,000.00.
The society now has seventy-five members, with Rev. Francis SMITH, rector.*
to the inability, or neglect of those to whom it was entrusted to furnish
historical data, sketches of some of the churches of Woodstock are omitted.
and Business Directory of
County, Vt., For 1883-84
and Published By Hamilton Child,
N. Y. Printed January, 1884.
by Karima Allison ~ 2004