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690 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.

 

was one of the first settlers of Northampton, Massachusetts, about the year 1655; was highly respected as a deacon in the church; and died on the 27th of May, 1702, leaving "a good estate." The death of his widow occurred on the 6th of December, 1712. Their children were Mary, born at Windsor in 1651, who was the wife of Matthew Clesson; NATHANIEL, born at Windsor in 1653; Abigail, born at Windsor in 1655, who was the wife of John Alvord, and who died in 1756, aged one hundred and one years; William, born at Northampton in 1657; and Mercy born at Northampton in 1662, who died young.

NATHANIEL PHELPS, son of Nathaniel the deacon, married Grace Martin on the 27th of August, 1676, and died on the 20th of June, 1719. His wife, at the time of her marriage, was a young woman who had recently come from England. She was a person of great resolution and perseverance, and was withal a little romantic. She has been highly praised by her descendants. Her death occurred on the 2d of August, 1727. Their children were NATHANIEL, born in 1678; Samuel, born in 1680; Lydia, born in 1683, who was the wife of Mark Warner; Grace, born in 1685, who was the wife of Samuel Marshall; Elizabeth, born in 1688, who was the wife of Jonathan Wright; Timothy, who removed to Connecticut; Abigail, born in 1690, who was the wife of John Laughton; and Sarah, born in 1695, who was the wife of David Burt.

NATHANIEL PHELPS, son of the second Nathaniel, married for his first wife, Abigail Burnham, about the year 1716, and for his second wife, Catharine, daughter of John King of Northampton. His death occurred on the 4th of October, 1747. His first wife died on the 2d of January, 1724, at the age of twenty-seven. His second wife, at the time of her marriage with him, was the widow of a man named Hickock of Durham, Connecticut, who had died without children. After the death of Mr. Phelps, his widow married for her third husband, Gideon Lyman. Mr. Phelps's children by his first wife were CHARLES, born on the 15th of August, 1717; Nathaniel, born in 1721; Ann, who was the wife of Elias Lyman of Southampton, Massachusetts; and Martin, born in 1723. His children by his second wife, were Catharine, born in 1731, who was the

 

Chancellor of England, by the name and title of Lord Lyndhurst, on the 30th of April, 1827.

SOLOMON PHELPS. 691

 

wife of Simeon Parsons; Lydia, born in 1732, who was the wife of Ebenezer Pomroy; John, born in 1734, who lived in Westfield, Massachusetts; and Mehitable, born in 1736, who died young.

CHARLES PHELPS, to a sketch of whose life this notice has been mainly devoted, was the eldest son of the third Nathaniel. Of three of the sons of Charles, namely, Solomon, Charles Jr., and Timothy, an account will be found elsewhere. The other children of Charles Phelps were Dorothy, Abigail, Lucy, John, and Experience.*

 

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SOLOMON PHELPS.

SOLOMON, the first son of Charles Phelps, was born in the year 1742, and was entered a freshman at Harvard College at the age of sixteen. On graduating in 1762, he applied himself to the study of the law, and having removed with his father to the New Hampshire Grants, was commissioned by Governor Henry Moore, on the 31st of March, 1768, an attorney-at-law, and was authorized to practise as such in "His Majesty's courts of record to be holden in and for the county of Cumberland." At the breaking out of the war he embraced the cause of the colonies, and during the period in which the inhabitants on the "Grants" acted in concert with the people of New York, served as a member of the committee of safety for Cumberland county. Being well versed in the Scriptures, and possessing an hereditary oratorical capacity, he served as a preacher at Marlborough during the summer of 1776. In the year 1779 he received the degree of M.A. from his Alma Mater, which fact alone, judging from the qualifications which were then necessary to render a person eligible to this rank, affords good evidence of his abilities. But unhappily his life was darkened

 

* MS. Narrative of Phelps family. MS. Letters from the Hon. J. H. Phelps. MS. Hist. Marlborough, by the Rev. E. H. Newton. Journals of Congress, passim. Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv. 996-1002. George Clinton Papers, in office Sec. State N. Y., vol. viii. doc. 2549; vol. xi. doc. 3189; vol. xvi. docs. 4647, 4796, 4797, 4828, 4842, 4856, 4857, 4858. Journals Gen. Ass. Vt., Feb., 1784, pp. 24, 27, 42, 43, 47, 50, 52, 53; Oct. 1784, pp. 28, 33, 35, 40; June, 1785, p. 47. Slade's Vt. State Papers, p. 494. Trumbull's Hist. Conn., i. 54, 58, 70. Holland's Hist. West Mass., ii. 245.

692 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.

 

by the obscurations of insanity a disease which, whether it be of the mind or of the body, is almost certain to manifest its effects upon both. On one occasion he attempted to beat out his brains with the head of an axe, and succeeded in breaking in his skull. His life was saved by trepanning. In the year 1790 he ended his life by cutting his throat with a razor. When discovered he was lying in a lot, between two hemlock logs, and to all appearance had been some time dead.*

 

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CHARLES PHELPS JR.,

THE second son of Charles Phelps, was born in the year 1744, and bore the name of his father. Like his brother Solomon, he was educated in the profession of the law, and received his commission as an attorney from Governor Tryon of New York, on the 22d of July, 1771. Although he afterwards removed to Hadley, Massachusetts, yet he ever continued to manifest a deep interest in the affairs of the New Hampshire Grants, and on several occasions afforded assistance to his father and broュthers, when the rage of party violence had driven them from their homes, to seek refuge wherever they could find it. His contemporaries in legal practice were John Worthington of Springfield, Joseph Hawley of Northampton, Oliver Partridge of Hatfield, Josiah Dwight of Westfield, and John Ashley of Lower Housatonic. An account of Mr. Phelps's farm and residence, which the Rev. Dr. Timothy Dwight describes as "the most desirable possession of the same kind and extent," within his knowledge, may be found in the travels of the latter gentleman in New England and New York during the year 1796. Mr. Phelps died in Hadley, on the 4th of December, 1814, aged seventy years.

 

* MS. Hist. Marlborough. Am. Arch. Fourth Series, vol. iii. col. 1330.

Dwight's Travels in New England and New York, i. 357. Holland's Hist. West. Mass., 185.

 

NOTICE OF TIMOTHY PHELPS. 693

 

 

TIMOTHY PHELPS.

 

OF Timothy Phelps, the third son of Charles Phelps, but little remains to be said in addition to what has been already recorded in the preceding pages. He was born on the 25th of January, 1747, and at the age of seventeen removed with his father and brothers to the unsettled wildernesses of the New Hampshire Grants. His services as a farmer were especially valuable at this period, and upon him devolved, in a great degree, the management and cultivation of the lands of the new abode. Of great energy of character and steadfastness of opinion, his attachment to the government of New York having become once fixed, remained constant and unyielding. In his efforts to enforce its laws, he often met with the most determined resistance, and was not unfrequently overュpowered by the number and force of his opponents. On the 5th of June, 1782, he received from the Council of Appointment of the state of New York, the shrievalty of Cumberland county. Armed with the power of this office, before which he imagined the vehemence of party rage and the lawlessness of party triumph would cower, he endeavored to exercise his authority within the limits of Vermont, and against men who scoffed at the government under which he acted. The decision of the trials of September, 1782, in Windham county, marked him with the taint of treason, rendered him for a time a prisoner, confiscated his possessions, banished him from the state, and forbade his return on pain of death.

Emboldened by the resolves of Congress, passed on the 5th of December of the same year, he returned to his home, was cast into prison at Bennington, and there remained in confinement for nearly five months. Although he afterwards became a citizen of Vermont, yet he was never able to transfer to the adopted state the feelings of loyalty which he entertained towards New York, and could not be brought to acknowledge his obligation to maintain pecuniarily, or otherwise, a government which had deprived him of his possessions, surrounded him with sorrows, and rendered his life miserable and unhappy.

 

694 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.

 

Continued reflection upon his troubles, served in a measure to waste his mental energies, and the effects of this condition, combined with the natural eccentricity of his disposition, disordered his intellect, and left him a melancholy prey to the gloomiest forebodings concerning his temporal welfare. The fact, also, that there had been no "atonement made for that blood that was wantonly shed" on "the confines of Guilford," when Silvanus Fisk and Daniel Spicer were killed, seemed ever to disturb him, and there is still preserved a curious letter, written by him, dated at Marlborough, May 28th, 1812, and directed to the grand jury of Windham county, in which he adjured them, in the most solemn manner, to investigate the circumstances attending those deaths, and denounced upon them terrible retribution, in case they should fail to attend to his appeal. He died at Marlborough very suddenly, in the seventy-first year of his age, on the 3d of July, 1817, and was buried in that town.

Timothy Phelps married Zipporah Williams on the 6th of June, 1775. Their children were John, who was born on the 18th of November, 1777, and who died on the 14th of April, 1849, at Ellicott's Mills, Maryland; Charles, who was born on the 13th of September, 1781, and who died on the 19th of November, 1854, at Cincinnati, Ohio Eunice, who was born on the 8th of May, 1783, and who died on the 14th of Decemュber, 1811, at Marlborough, Vermont; Austis, who was born on the 11th of September, 1788, and who died on the 25th of May, 1850, at Townshend, Vermont; and Timothy, who was born on the 6th of June, 1792, and who died of yellow fever in September, 1822, near Natchez, Mississippi, on board of a steamer from New Orleans.

 

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NOAH SABIN

WAS born at Rehoboth, Massachusetts, on the 10th of November, 1714, and was the only son of Noah Sabin, of that place. Becoming religiously disposed in early life, he was designed by his father for the ministry. To this disposition of his

 

ILL-JUDGED PERSECUTION OF NOAH SABIN. 695

 

talents the son refused to accede, but for what reason is not known. In the year 1768, at the age of fifty-four, he removed to Putney, and at the first election of town officers, held on the 8th of May, 1770, was chosen town-clerk. On the 14th of April, 1772, he was appointed judge of the Inferior court of Common Pleas of Cumberland county, and justice of the peace. Previous to the affray at Westminster on the 13th of March, 1775, Judge Sabin opposed in every practicable manner the attempts of the people to interfere with the management of the courts. His extreme conscientiousness led him to adopt this course, for he knew that he had received a commission from the Crown, and felt that his oath of office bound him, at the least, not to offer resistance to the government of the mother country. After being taken prisoner on this occasion, he was confined in the Court-house at Westminster for a few days, was then carried to Northampton, and afterwards to New York city, where he was imprisoned. It is said that he was subsequently tried, and upon being honorably acquitted, was supュplied by Governor Tryon with clothing and ample means to return home. He was absent more than a year.

Regarded as a Tory in principle, and as a secret favorer of the cause of Great Britain, he was for a time subjected to many annoyances. Soon after his return, William Moore, Daniel Jewett, and Moses Johnson, committee men of Putney, accompanied by a party of their friends, armed with swords, went to his house, ordered him to mount his horse, and follow them. Obeying their commands, he was conducted to Westminster, where he was placed in the jail. Many were the threats used to intimidate him during this transaction. His imprisonment, however, lasted but a day. In the evening, the door of his cell was opened, and he was allowed to return home. On his death-bed, Moore, who had been the principal actor on this occasion, sent for Judge Sabin, confessed with tears the abuses of which he had been guilty, and besought forgiveness. On being assured that his request was granted "Now," said he, "I can die in peace." Fearing that Judge Sabin might be in communication with the enemy, he was confined to his farm by an order of the committee of safety, passed in the year 1776, and permission was given to any one to shoot him, whenever he should be found beyond its limits. So bitter was the hatred towards him at this time, that one of his neighbors, a man zealous for the liberty of the colonies, and for the destruction

696 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.

 

of their foes, watched for him with a loaded rifle, as he afterュwards acknowledged, in the woods adjoining the Judge's house, prepared to shoot the despised Loyalist, should he venture beyond the prescribed lines. But this treatment, though it might tend to suppress the outward manifestation of his principles, did not avail at once to change them. A certain Solomon Willard, who had been a soldier under Governor Tryon at the time of the burning of Norwalk, having returned to Vermont at the close of the war, had again taken up his residence in the state. Although a Tory at heart, yet he submitted to the existing laws, and acted like an American citizen. In his conversations with this man, it is said that Judge Sabin often declared that the British troops had not treated the rebels with half the severity they deserved, and expressed his opinion, that every place refusing to acknowledge the authority of the Crown should have suffered the fate of Norwalk.

The prejudices against him springing from these causes, affected the minds even of the members of the church at Putney. Not being an original member, he was refused the priviュlege of occoasional communion with them. This fact appears by the annexed extract from the church records:

 

"Putney, Dec. 7, 1778. The church met and took under consideration the request of Noah Sabin, Esqr., of occasional communion with this church, and came to the following vote, that it was best, all things considered, not to receive him at present.

"J. GOODHUE, Moderator."

 

He was afterwards on the 29th of April, 1781, admitted by vote to full communion, and was known as a "most stable, consistent, and useful member."

In 1781 he was elected judge of probate for Windham county, but on the 12th of April, in the same year, was suspended from office in order to satisfy the complaints of many who believed him to be dangerous as a Loyalist. He was reinstated on the 25th of October following, and it is believed continued in office until the year 1801. Judge Sabin was a man of uncommon powers of mind. He was cool and considerate in his purposes, and sound and discriminating in his judgment. His counsels were often sought and were generally safely followed. For the period in which he lived his education was superior. It is asserted with confidence that when the charter for Putney was

NOAH SABIN JR. 697

 

 

obtained, he was the only person in the town possessed of sufficient skill to decipher the peculiar chirography in which the instrument was written. In his religious character he was upュright, sincere, and conscientiously true to his professions. It might be said of him that he was remarkably active as a Christian, for it is well known that when the people were destitute of a minister, the duty of conducting the exercises of their religious assemblies usually devolved on him. Although at the first strongly attached to the Crown, and for some time after the commencement of the Revolution undecided as to the course he should take in the struggle between the colonies and the mother country, his sympathies were subsequently enlisted on the side of the former, and no truer patriot was to be found than he. Upon retiring from office and active life, the remainder of his days was marked by acts of piety towards God and beneficence to mankind. He died on the 10th of March, 1811, at the advanced age of ninety-six years.*

 

NOAH SABIN JR.,

SON of Noah Sabin, was born at Rehoboth, Massachusetts, on the 20th of April, 1750, and removed with his father to Putney, when he was about eighteen years old. He held the office of register of probate for Windham county, from 1791 to 1801, and from the latter year until 1808 was judge of probate, in which station he succeeded his father. He was early elected a justice of the peace, and filled the office for nearly half a century. He represented the town of Putney in the General Assembly during the years 1782, 1783, 1784, 1785, and 1787. his death occurred at Putney on the 5th of December, 1827, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. From an obituary notice, written soon after his decease, the following passages are taken:

 

* MS. Letter from Rev. A. Foster of Putney, April 5th, 1852. Doc. Hist N Y., iv. 1022. See ante, pp. 398, 3899.

 

698 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.

 

"Judge Sabin was a man of sound mind, of a placid temper, and manifested upon all occasions that urbanity of deportment which commanded the love and respect of his acquaintance. He was an early settler of the town [of Putney], and ever took an active interest in its civil and religious concerns. He was more than forty-seven years a magistrate, and sustained for many years the office of judge of probate, and other offices, with honor to himself, and with usefulness to the public. He discharged the duties of office with such firmness and fidelity as to escape with a much less share of censure than is common in like cases.

"As a Christian, he appeared humble and unostentatious, steady and uniform in his principles and practice. He seemed always to love religion, and to be governed by a sacred regard for its doctrines and duties. It appeared to be his stay in the closing scenes of life. He was resigned to the will of God and ready to depart at His bidding. He was willing to be absent from the body, and to go to be present with the Lord."*

 

 

PAUL SPOONER

WAS for many years actively engaged in advancing the interests of Vermont, and enjoyed the fullest confidence of the people of that state. He was a member of the Council from 1778 to 1782, when he was chosen lieutenant-governor of the state. In this position he was continued until the year 1786. He was a judge of the Supreme court in 1779, 1780, and from 1782 to 1788. During the years 1781 and 1782 he served as judge and register of probate for Windsor county. In the year 1779 he was the town-clerk of Hartland in Windsor county, and having subsequently removed to Hardwick, in Caledonia county, was chosen the first clerk of that town in 1795. During the years 1797, 1798, and 1799, he represented the citizens of Hardwick in the General Assembly of the state. Of the respect with which the

 

* Brattleborough Messenger, December 21st, 1827, vol. vi. No. 47.

 

JONATHAN STEARNS. 699

 

early officers of Vermont were treated, the following incident affords a good example. On one occasion the Rev. Elisha Hutchinson, the first minister of Pomfret, Vermont, was preaching a sermon at Hartland, in a private house, when Mr. Spooner entered the room. Pausing in the midst of his discourse, the reverend minister informed his audience that he had "got about half through" his sermon, but as Governor Spooner had come to hear it, he would begin it again. Then turning to a woman who sat near him, he said, "My good woman, get out of that chair and let Governor Spooner have a seat, if you please!" Mr. Spooner was accommodated, and Mr. Hutchinson repeated the first part of his sermon, much to the edification, it is supposed, of those who had already heard it.*

 

JONATHAN STEARNS.

PRIOR to the Revolution, Jonathan Stearns was engaged in the practice of the law in the eastern portion of the New Hampshire Grants, and was generally regarded as a man of ability. In an account presented at New York on the 5th of May, 1775, by some of the officers of the court, it was stated that he "was in the unhappy event that happened between the posse of the county of Cumberland and a body of rioters," at Westminster, on the 13th of March previous. In company with Samuel Knight, who was also a lawyer of that county, he happily escaped the fury of the mob and went immediately to Boston." On his arrival in that city, "General Gage advised him to repair to New York with the utmost expedition, to give information to government of the state of the county." He reached New York on the 29th of March, and having presented an acュcount of the affray, of which he had been a partial witness, was reimbursed the expenses of his journey, to the amount of 」7 18s. He subsequently removed to Nova Scotia, and was attorney-secretary of that province.

 

* Deming's Cat. Vt. Officers, p. 75, et passim.

Council Minutes, in office Sec. State N. Y., 1765-1783, xxvi. 435. The Rangers, by D. P. Thompson, ii. 93. See ante, p. 674.

700 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.

 

 

MICAH TOWNSEND,

WHOSE name has freュquently occurred in these pages as a correspondent of Gov. George Clinton, deserves to be held in reュmembrance as one of those worthy fathers of Vermont, whose sterling virtues and wisdom, and indomitable courage, carved out and shaped the destiny of that state, amid scenes of conュvulsion at home and abroad. The influence which he exercised and the service which he rendered, at a period in the state's history when education was at a low ebb, though not of that bold and dazzling kind which characterizes the deeds of military heroes, and on which contemporary historians so often delight to seize to spice their pages, and keep alive the momentary excitement, were valuable and duly appreciated by those engaged with him in perfecting the organization of Vermont. Though in principle and habit an emphatical lover of peace, he was a sincere patriot, having the true interests of his country deeply at heart.

Henry Townsend, the first of the family who settled in America, came from England to Long Island previous to the year 1687. His son Micajah Townsend having married Elizabeth Platt, their son the subject of this notice was born at Cedar Swamp, Oyster Bay, Long Island, on the 13th of May, 1749, O.S. After pursuing the studies commonly taught in elemenュtary schools, and others under the guidance of a neighboring clergyman preparatory to a collegiate course, he entered at the age of fourteen the college of Nassau Hall in Princeton, New Jersey, during the presidency of Dr. Elihu Spencer. At the end of four years, having completed the usual course of acadeュmic studies he proceeded Bachelor of Arts on the 8th of October, 1766, and during the presidency of Dr. John Witherspoon proceeded Master of Arts on the 5th of October, 1769. On leaving college in 1766, he immediately commenced the study of the law, in the office of the Hon. Thomas Jones, a distinュguished barrister and attorney in the city of New York, and subsequently a justice of the Supreme court of the province of New York. Having continued this pursuit for the term of four years, he was admitted to the practice of the law on the 6th of

 

MICAH TOWNSEND. 701

 

April, 1770, by a commission under the hand and seal of the Hon. Cadwallader Colden, lieutenant-governor of the colony.

Soon after his admission to the bar, he established himself in his profession at the White Plains, in Westchester county, where he remained until after the commencement of the war of the Revolution. Attached by conviction and by principle to the cause of the colonies, he freely lent his efforts to advance that cause. He served as clerk of the Westchester county comュmittee of safety, and on the 22d of June, 1776, was appointed to the command of a company of militia in that county, conュtaining fifty men, including officers, which had been raised to defeat the machinations of the Tories who abounded in that region. On the 25th of July following, he was ordered to take post at the mouth of Croton river, and continued on duty in and about that locality until the end of October. On the night of the 1st of November, it became evident to General Washュington, that the British were preparing to take possession of the heights in the neighborhood of the White Plains, which he then held with his troops. In order to gain a more secure position, he broke up his camp, and having previously set fire to the houses in the White Plains and the neighborhood, removed his forces to a more mountainous region, in the vicinity of North Castle. The destruction of the village where he had at first entered upon the active duties of life, was doubtless the immediate cause which led Mr. Townsend to seek in the inteュrior of the country a residence less exposed to the disturbances of that exciting period. Removing to the beautiful village of Brattleborough, he was soon surrounded by friends, and on the 15th of August, 1778, married Mary, a daughter of Col. Saュmuel Wells.

In the controversy which at this time raged with peculiar aniュmosity in the south-eastern portion of Vermont, Mr. Townsend, at the first, sided with the supporters of the New York jurisdicュtion, and was in constant communication with Governor Clinュton. His letters, extracts from which have been given in the body of this work, were always prepared with accuracy, exュpressed in well-chosen language, and engrossed in a chiroュgraphy of singular beauty. He was frequently entrusted with the conduct of important negotiations between the provincial government of New York and its supporters in Vermont, and never failed to perform his duty in a manner which gave the

702 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.

 

completest satisfaction. In the supply bill passed by the Legisュlature of New York on the 4th of November, 1778, the sum of 」60 was appropriated to him, in payment of his "expences in attending upon the Legislature, on the business of quieting the disorders prevailing in the north-eastern parts of the state."

The share which he had taken in military affairs while at the White Plains, had secured for him the enmity of the Tories who infested that part of the country, and, when occasion offered, they did not fail to clothe this feeling in deeds. In the year 1781, having obtained permission from Governor Clinton to visit Long Island, he performed the journey, but in a letter to the Governor, written at Fishkill, on the 16th of May, 1781, while on his way home, he informed his Excellency that he had met with abuse in the city of New York from the Westchester refugees; had been "once carried before his Worship," the British mayor of that city; and had been obliged to take a difュferent route on his return, to avoid his "old enemies," who were lying in wait to take him. "A thousand pounds," said he, "would not tempt me to a similar visit."

Having come to the conclusion, after an honest and careful review of the circumstances, that New York would never be able to substantiate her claim to the New Hampshire Grants, or to enforce her laws in that district, he took the oath of allegiance to and became a citizen of Vermont. In the practice of his profession, though not distinguished as an eloquent advocate, he possessed, what was of more value than eloquence, the estimation of the community for integrity. By reason of his legal attainments and the soundness of his judgment, he was esteemed the first lawyer in the state, and during the twenty-four years of his residence in Brattleborough, his practice was successful and profitable. At this place, his children, five daughters and three sons, were all born. In the year 1781, he was chosen judge and register of probate for Windham county, and held those offices until the year 1787.

The constitution of Vermont, which had been established by a convention on the 2d of July, 1777, was never submitted to the people for popular discussion, lest in those critical times, when unanimity was the only strength, its consideration should create disunion. Having been acted upon, as an experiment, for eight years, it was found to admit of so many practical abuses that its revision was regarded as imperative. This duty

APPOINTED SECRETARY OF STATE FOR VERMONT. 703

 

devolved upon a council of censors, who were chosen from the ablest men in the state for this specific purpose, and of this council Micah Townsend was the secretary. Their sessions were held at Norwich in June, 1785, at Windsor in September and October following, and at Bennington in February, 1786. All the members of this body, doubtless, participated in the disュcussions of the various points embraced in the work they had in hand, and justly shared in the honor of the labor. But their secretary alone, could mould and shape the honest but crude suggestions, into the clear and explicit form of legislative proュcedure. The discriminating acumen acquired by his legal education, gave him an ability in drafting judicial and legislaュtive documents, which was then as important as it was rare, and was duly appreciated by such men of his associates as the Hon. Messrs. Marvin, Robinson, Mosely, Walbridge, Marsh, Jacob, and Hunt.

In the year 1781, Mr. Townsend was called to fill the office of secretary of state, under the administration of the Hon. Thomas Chittenden, and was continued in that station by annual election until 1788. While occupying this position, his habits of promptitude and regularity enabled him, by reforming the looseness and confusion which had prevailed in the department, to establish system and order. By these means, access to the records was rendered easier, and the facilities for the dispatch of business were increased.

Pending the controversy between New York and Vermont, Micah Townsend was, on the 10th of July, 1784, arrested in the city of New York, by Seth Smith, "solely for his officiating in the line of his duty as clerk of the county court of Windham county," and was obliged to give bail in the sum of 」2000 for his appearance. The matter having been laid before the Geneュral Assembly of the state, an act of indemnity was passed at the next session of the Legislature, by which commissioners were appointed to sell lands in the state of Vermont, belonging to citizens of New York, until money enough should be raised from the sales, to reimburse Mr. Townsend all the expenses consequent upon his arrest.

For domestic reasons Mr. Townsend resigned his state secreュtaryship in 1788, much to the regret of all persons connected with the government. On tendering to the Legislature the seals of his office, the event was noticed by the House in the following complimentary resolution:

704 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.

 

"In General Assembly, 21st October, 1788.

 

"Resolved, that this House having accepted the resignation of Micah Townsend, Esqr., late Secretary of this State, feel themselves obliged to express the warmest sentiments of gratiュtude to that gentleman, for the fidelity and skill with which he has discharged the duties of his said office. That it is with reュluctance we consent that an officer of state of his ingenious acュcomplishments, which have been so faithfully and to so general satisfaction exerted for the public good, should so soon retire from the station he has filled with advantage to the state, and honor to himself."

His services were rendered with great fidelity, and were left to the judgment of those for whom he labored, without any subsequent effort to bring them into notice. The estimation in which they were held by a man whose memory will ever be fresh in the hearts of the inhabitants of Vermont, affords addiュtional evidence of their value. "In the year 1835, I was in Middlebury," writes his son, the Rev. Canon Townsend, "and called upon the Hon. Nathaniel Chipman, an early friend of my father, from whom I learned the high estimation in which he was held for his integrity, the clearness of his intellect, and his legal attainments. This opinion he illustrated by saying, The state of Vermont would this day have been far wiser and richer could she have retained his services from the time of his resignation to the present, at a salary of ten thousand dollars per annum."

He now retired from all public business to the bosom of his family, residing still in Brattleborough until the year 1801, when he disposed of his estate at that place to the Hon. Royall Tyler, and with his family dwelt in Guilford for one year. In the spring of 1802 he removed to the township of Farnham, Lower Canada, where a grant of land had been made by the British government of twelve hundred acres to each of the children of Col. Samuel Wells, as a compensation for the losses sustained by their father during the revolutionary war. He lived here in retirement, devoted to domestic and religious duュties until 1816, when he changed his residence to Clarenceville, that he might spend the evening of his life with his son, the Rev. Micajah Townsend. Although for many years he had intended not to engage again in public business, yet as his

REVIEW OF HIS CHARACTER. 705

 

health was good and his faculties unimpaired, he yielded to the solicitation of the people to make himself useful among them as a justice of the peace, and from the Governor, the Earl of Dalhousie, he received the appointment of judicial commisュsioner for the trial of small causes. At length admonished by the infirmities of age, he resigned these offices, and filled up his time in gardening, reading, and meditation.

In the year 1831 he was called to part with the faithful wife of his youth, who died on the 27th of June, at the age of seventy-one, in the peace and joy of Christian hope. To her he had been united for more than half a century, and he mourned her loss with deep sorrow and a chastened submission. Her departure was regarded by him as a solemn premonition of his own decease, at no distant period, and this presentiment was soon verified, for he survived her but ten months. About the middle of the following spring he was attacked with chills and fever, and on the 23d of April, 1832, his mortal life termiュnated at the age of about eighty-three.

He was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and, according to the certificate of lodge No, 2 of the province of New York, was elevated to a Master Mason's degree on the 14th of June, 1770. His moral character was marked for its truthfulness, integrity, justice, and honesty. His mind was stored with vaュried and extensive knowledge. His style of writing was plain, classical, and elegant. His business habits were characterized with system, order, and correctness. His disposition was mild, amiable, and forgiving. His personal deportment was dignified yet unforbidding, and his manners graceful, polished, and genュtlemanly. For the last thirty years of his life, his daily pracュtice was to retire for an hour at twilight for meditation and prayer, and yet his personal piety which was thus sustained, and was further evinced by a constant attendance on public worship and communion in the Episcopal church, of which he had been from youth a member, was of a meek and unュobtrusive character, commending itself more by deeds than words.

Though his physical activity was abated by age, his bodily health was unimpaired, and his sight and hearing, and appetite for food and sleep undiminished. His mental powers, upheld by the habit of reading, had lost but little of their vigor, and he could compose and write with his customary ease and perュspicuity up to the time of his last illness. His remains were

 

45

706 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.

 

deposited by the side of those of his wife, in the cemetery of the parish of St. George, Clarenceville, Lower Canada.*

 

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AMOS TUTE.

THE name of Amos Tute appears first as connected with the settlements bordering the banks of the Connecticut river, in a muster roll of a company of rangers commanded by Capt. John Burk, who were stationed at Hinsdale's Fort, in the year 1757. He was one of the earliest inhabitants of the town of Vernon, and, for the period in which he lived, was a man of wealth and influence. In the year 1755, Mrs. Jemima Howe, who was afュterwards known as the "Fair Captive," was taken prisoner by the Indians, and carried to Canada. On her return she became the wife of Mr. Tute. In 1768, Mr. Tute, by a commission from Cadwallader Colden, Lieutenant-governor of the province of New York, was appointed, on the 7th of April,. a coroュner for Cumberland county, and held that office until the breaking out of the revolutionary war. The inquest on the body of William French, who was shot at the Westminster Massacre, was held before him, and his name appears on the paper which declared the result of this investigation.

To those curious in epitaphic lore, the following inscription may not prove uninteresting. It is copied from the stone which marks the grave of his son Jonathan, in the burial ground at Vernon, and was probably composed by the Rev. Bunker Gay, of Hinsdale, New Hampshire.

 

Memento Mori

 

Here lies cut down like unripe Fruit

 

A Son of Mr Amos Tute

 

* Many of the facts contained in this notice were supplied by the Rev. Canon Micajah Townsend, of Clarenceville, Lower Canada, the only surviving son of Micah Townsend. The other sources consulted are, the George Clinton Papers, in N. Y. State Lib., vol. viii. doc. 2397; vol. xii. doc. 3718. Petitions in office Sec. State N. Y., xxxiii. 104. Journal N. Y. Prov. Cong., 503, 541, 744, 952; ii. 464. Laws of N. Y., Holt's ed., 1777-1783, p. 47. Barber's N. Y. Hist. Coll, ed. 1841, pp. 463, 598-601. Journal Gen. Ass. Vt., Oct. 1784, pp. 13, 29. Williams's Hist. Vt., ii. 262. Slade's Vt. State Papers, pp. 491, 511, 516, 531. Demュing's Cat. Vt. Officers, passim.

AMOS TUTE. 707

 

And Mrs Jemima Tute his Wife

Call'd Jonathan of Whose frail Life

The days all Summ'd (how Short th' Account)

Scarcely to fourteen years Amount

Born on the Twelveth of May Was He

In Seventeen Hundred Sixty Three

To Death he fell a helpless Prey

April the Five & Twentieth Day

In Seventeen Hundred Seventy Seven

Quitting this World We hope for Heaven

But tho his Spirits fled on High

His body mould'ring here must lie

Behold the amazing alteration

Effected by Inoculation

The Means improv'd his Life to Save

Hurr'ed him headlong to the Grave.

Full in the Bloom of Youth he fell

Alas What human Tongue can tell

The Mothers Grief her Anguish Show

Or paint the Fathers heavier Woe

Who now no nat'ral offspring has

His ample Fortune to possess

To fill his Place Stand in his Stead

Or bear his Name When he is dead

So God Ordain'd, His Ways are Just

Tho Empires Crumble into Dust

Life and the World Mere Bubbles are

Set loose to these, for Heaven prepare.

 

In the same grave-yard are deposited the mortal remains of Amos Tute. His memorial is in these words:

 

In Memory of

Mr. Amos Tute,

who died April 17th

1790 in the 60th

year of his

Age.

 

Were I so Tall to Reach the Pole

Or grasp the Ocean with my

Span I must be measured by my soul

The Mind's the standard of the Man.

708 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT.

 

By his will Mr. Tute devised a certain tract or farm of land, situate and being in Brattleborough," for the use of the schools in that town.*

 

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ROYALL TYLER.

UNDER the colonial government of Massachusetts, the Hon. Royall Tyler, who resided in Boston, held several stations of distinction. At that place his second son, the subject of this notice, was born, "in the neighborhood of Faneuil Hall," in the year 1758, and was at first called William Clark Tyler. On the death of his father, the name of the son was changed by an act of the General court, and at the suggestion of his mother, to Royall Tyler, and under this name he entered Harvard College, at the early age of fourteen. While at this institution, he evinced a fondness for study and a readiness of apprehension which gave him a high position among the members of his class. His collegiate career was disturbed by the war of the revolution, but in spite of interruption he maintained an honorable standing, and on graduating in 1776, received the usual degree of B. A., and the appointment of valedictorian. In the same year the B. A. degree was conferred upon him by Yale College, as an honorary distinction. He proceeded Master of Arts at his own Alma Mater, in 1779, and received the same degree from the University of

 

* Acts and Laws of Vt., 1794, pp. 33, 34.

 

ROYALL TYLER. 709

 

Vermont in 1811. In 1802, he was chosen a member of the corporation of the latter institution, which position he held until 1813, and was professor of jurisprudence in the same seminary of learning from 1811 to 1814.

Soon after leaving college he studied law with Francis Dana of Cambridge. During the war he served for a short time as aide-de-camp to General Lincoln, and was engaged in the same capacity in the years 1786 and 1787, "when that officer commanded the military force of Massachusetts, called out to suppress the rebellion of Daniel Shays." "He was also deputed by Governor Bowdoin to the government of New York, to make arrangements for the delivery of Shays and his adherents to the authorities of Massachusetts, should they escape to that state." For the purpose of conducting similar negotiations with the government of Vermont, he was sent to the General Assembly of that state, during the month of October, 1786. His energy and enterprise in this emergency were of great value in leading the neighboring states to take efficient meaュsures in preventing the rioters from receiving external aid. After spending the years of his early manhood in the practice of the law, not only in Boston but in the neighboring towns, he removed to Vermont, and married Miss Palmer, the daughter of an old and valued friend. Becoming a citizen of Brattleborough, he, in 1801, purchased the residence of Micah Townュsend. His abilities as a lawyer and a man of learning were already extensively acknowledged, and he soon numbered among his friends many of the most able, polished, and social gentlemen of his adopted state.

In 1796 he was appointed state's attorney for Windham county, and held the office until the year 1800. He presided as side judge of the Supreme court of Vermont from 1801 to 1806, when he was chosen chief judge. This position he retained until the year 1812. Party strife and ill health combined were the causes which prevented him from being chosen to fill this office for a longer period. From the year 1815 to the year 1821 he was register of probate for Windham county, and this, it is believed, was the last public station he was called to occupy. An idea of the originality of his style and manner in arguing a case, under circumstances calculated to produce embarrassment, may be gained from the following anecdote.

At a court held in Newfane, he undertook his first case after he left the bench. He had not practised for a long time, and