Brattleborough — Fulham or Dummerston — The "Equivalent Lands" — Frauds — John Kathan — Chester — Guilford — Peculiarity of its Organization — Grafton — Hartford — Norwich — Plymouth — Reading — Windsor — Pomfret — Hartland — Woodstock — Thetford — Sharon — Springfield — Weathersfield — Fairlee — Guildhall — Cavendish — Andover — Bradford — Lunenburgh — Newbury — Col. Jacob Bayley — Immigration.
THE first civilized settlement within the boundaries of Vermont was made at Fort Dummer, in the south-eastern corner of the township subsequently known as Brattleborough, in the year 1724. The charter of Brattleborough was issued by New Hamsphire on the 26th of December, 1753, but several years elapsed before any attempts were made to colonize those portions of the town which are now comprised within the limits of the east and west villages. One of the principal proprietors was Col. William Brattle of Boston, and to him the town owes its name. Josiah Willard, Nathan Willard, David Sargeant, David Sargeant Jr., John Sargeant, Thomas Sargeant, John Alexander, Fairbank Moore and son, Samuel Wells, and John Arms, were among the first settlers, and were all from Massachusetts, with the exception of John and Thomas Sargeant, and John Alexander, who were born at Fort Dummer. John Sargeant is believed to have been the first white person born in the state. His father and his brother David were ambushed by the Indians, and the former was killed and scalped. The latter was carried into captivity, and adopted the Indian habits and manners, but subsequently abandoned his savage pursuits and companions, and returned to his friends. Governor Wentworth manifested much interest in the early settlement of this town and of Rockingham, and in both of them, according to his own statement, he was at "considerable ex‑
1750-1770.] ALLOTMENT OF THE "EQUIVALENT LANDS." 105
pense in erecting mills." Brattleborough was at an early period a flourishing settlement, and prosperity has at all times subsequent characterized its condition.
The township of Dummerston includes within its limits a portion of the territory which was formerly known, and has been previously spoken of, as the "Equivalent Lands." After these lands had passed from the hands of the government of Connecticut, in the year 1716, they were held by gentlemen from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and London. Application having been made by five of the proprietors to Samuel Partridge of Hatfield, Massachusetts, one of His Majesty's justices of the peace, desiring him, in his official capacity, and in accordance with the laws of the province, to appoint a meeting of all the proprietors, Major John Stoddard of Northampton was, on the 26th of March, 1718, directed to make the appointment. In obedience to this order, Major Stoddard issued the following notification on the 28th, which was posted "at some public place" in the county of Hampshire:
"These may certify all persons concerned, but more especially the several and respective proprietors of the Equivalent Lands, so called, lying in the county of Hampshire:—
"That pursuant to a law of the province, and at the desire of five of the proprietors of the said lands, the Honorable Samuel Partridge, Esq., hath appointed the first Wednesday of June next, at two o'clock in the afternoon, at the Green Dragon Tavern, in Boston, to be the time and place for a meeting of the said proprietors, in order to the choosing of a proprietor's clerk, the appointing a committee to be selected out of their number for such purposes as shall be agreed on, the dividing or disposing of their said propriety or any part thereof, the choosing an agent or general attorney to represent, manage, and act for them, to regulate meetings for the future, etc. I do, therefore, hereby, in obedience to a warrant directed to me for that end from the said justice, inform and give notice to all the proprietors of said Lands, that there will be a meeting at the time and place, and for the ends aforementioned, and they are hereby desired to give their attendance accordingly."
The "Equivalent Lands" were afterwards allotted by mutual agreement, and it is probable that the allotment took place at the meeting notified by the above warrant. The tract situated above Northfield, including portions of the present towns of Putney, Dummerston, and Brattleborough, fell in the partition to
106 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-1770.
William Dummer, afterwards Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts, Anthony Stoddard, William Brattle, and John White, "and a deed thereof" was made to them by Gurdon Saltonstall and others, "as their part and proportion."
Between the years 1744 and 1750, when attention was first aroused to the subject of settling the lands on Connecticut river, situated between the north line of Massachusetts and Number Four, the idea was prevalent that Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire had received advices from Great Britain, instructing him to give to the inhabitants of Massachusetts who were proprietors under that province within the specified limits, the privilege of the first choice of lands and in case they should refuse to take out charters under New Hampshire, then to extend the privilege to whoever should next apply. In the year 1750 Joseph Blanchard of Amherst, New Hampshire, was sent to survey the territory which it was in contemplation to grant. His examination having been completed, the old proprietors of the "Equivalent Lands" petitioned the Governor of New Hampshire for a grant of that tract, and a portion of the adjacent territory. Accordingly, on the 26th of December, 1753, the "Equivalent Lands," together with a "considerable quantity of other lands, was formed into three townships, beginning at the north bounds of Hinsdale, on the west side of the river, and extending back about six miles, and so far up the river" as to enclose the required amount. Previous to this, the whole of the "Equivalent Lands" had been known by the name of Dummerston. The proprietary of Dummerston, with the territory added by New Hampshire, was now divided into the townships of Fulham, Putney, and Brattleborough. The name Fulham* was afterwards changed to Dummerston, but at what time no record shows. As late as 1773, the town was called by both names.
In the charters of the three towns, the names of several new proprietors were admitted, but particular care was taken that the rights of the original grantees should not be infringed. In a petition presented by these grantees to Governor Wentworth, in the year 1760, he was requested to confirm to Anna Powell, who held the share formerly belonging to Governor Dummer, one quarter part of the "Equivalent Lands," and to the heirs of Anthony Stoddard, to the heirs of John White, and to William Brattle, each, a
* In old documents, the name is spelled Fullum, Fullham, and Fulham
1750-1770.] ALLEGED FRAUDS. 107
like portion. The confirmation was made in accordance with these instructions, and it was generally supposed that satisfaction had been given to all concerned. At the close of the war, when Governor Wentworth had recommenced his prodigal system of apportioning lands, there came to Portsmouth from Pomfret, Connecticut, one Isaac Dana, who stated that "a certain Mr. White" had an interest in the "Equivalent Lands," but that no portion had been given him in the allotment which had been made seven years previous. To compensate for this neglect, Dana asked for the grant of a township. Col. Josiah Willard of Winchester, New Hampshire, who was present, told him that if any wrong had been done, the blame lay with Col. Brattle, who had acted as agent for the proprietors of the "Equivalent Lands," and had ordered all matters "to his liking." Notwithstanding this declaration, Dana received, on the 8th of July, 1761, a patent for the township of Pomfret, on the New Hampshire Grants, and departed satisfied. It is doubtful whether the heirs of White ever received any benefit from this transaction.
A few days passed, and there appeared at Portsmouth "one William Story, a gentleman from Boston." He also complained of the injustice which had been done White's heirs in the distribution of the "Equivalent Lands," and prayed for redress or compensation. Col. Theodore Atkinson, the Governor's secretary, was very merry when this claim was proffered, deeming it as fraudulent. But his laugh was no more effective than had been the reasoning of Willard, and to Story and his associates was set off the township of Bernard on the 17th of July, 1761, though the application had at first been made in the name of the injured heirs of the injured White. On the 11th of August, 1766, one Joseph Bryant discovered that in the charter of the township of Putney, "only about two thirds" of the names of the heirs of White had been inserted. He also ascertained that other names had been substituted for those of the unlucky one third, by which a great wrong had been committed. A memorial containing this and kindred information, was in consequence dispatched to Henry Moore, Governor of New York. Whether that official exhibited on this occasion a disposition as yielding as that which characterized the conduct of Governor Wentworth, it is impossible to say. As to the frauds which were afterwards practised by means of John White's neglected title, old
108 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-1770.
manuscripts, soiled land papers, and formal depositions are silent.*
Soon after the charter of Fulham was granted, John Kathan, who had resided within the limits of the town since the year 1752, united with, a number of persons, purchased in conjunction with them, from the New Hampshire proprietors, a part of the township, and in the year 1754, according to his own account, removed there, "with his wife and seven or eight helpless children." Possessing the qualities of industry and perseverance — qualities especially necessary to the successful management of a new settlement, he addressed himself with energy to his task, and "did actually clear and improve above a hundred and twenty acres, and built a good dwelling-house, barn, and all necessary offices, and also a saw mill, and potash works." in order to guard his improvements, he was "at a considerable expense in building a fort round his house," and was "under the disagreeable necessity of residing therein during the course of a tedious and distressing war." Misfortune rendered his toil more severe.
* MSS. in connection with a deposition made by Israel Williams, June 20th, 1786. Deposition of Joseph Blanchard, dated Amherst, N. H., August 7th, 1787. Petition of Joseph Bryant, dated August 11th, 1766, in Colonial MSS., Land Papers, office Sec. State, N. Y., vol. xxi. To the MS. "Records of the public Proceedings of the Town of Dumerston, alias Town of Fullham," the annexed account of the circumstances attending the early history of that proprietary is prefixed as an "Introduction."
"The tract of land called Dumerston is a part of the tract of land on the west side of Connecticut river, formerly granted to Connecticut government as an equivalent for some lands which the province of Massachusetts Bay had granted to their planters, which upon inquiry was found to be within the government of Connecticut: in order to secure the property of ye soil to the Massachusetts planters, that government granted to Connecticut the property of sundry tracts of their province land, one of which was the tract here mentioned, which the government of Connecticut sold to sundry private gentlemen, among whome were the late Honourable Wm. Dumer & [Anthony] Stoder, Esq., whose heirs are now the proprietors of one half of the whole tract on Connecticut river, supposed to contain 48,000 acres. The said Wm. Dumer being the oldest proprietor, the tract was called after him. The name is now kept up in acknowledgement of the title from the original grant of the Massachusetts government, which is the title the land is now held by. On the settlement of the jurisdictional line of the province of Massachusetts Bay with that of New Hampshire, the tract of land here mentioned fell within the limits of New Hampshire government, which incorporated the whole into three townships, including in the middle townships, the greatest part of the lands belonging to the heirs of Wm. Dumer [Anthony] Stoder, and called the name of it Fullham, by virtue of which the privileges of a town are now held: besides the town of Fullham, what is known by the name of Dumerston includes nearly one half of the town of Putney." — Records, 1773, 1774, p. 10. Appendix to Deming's Catalogue, p. 142.
1750-1770.] TOWNSHIP OF CHESTER. 109
His eldest daughter was taken prisoner by the Indians. For two years and a half he knew nothing of her fate, but at the end of that time she returned home, Col. Peter Schuyler having "paid a ransom of four hundred livres for her redemption from captivity."
In the year 1752, a ferry was established between Westmoreland, New Hampshire, and the proprietary of Dummerston, and about the same period a similar method of communication was arranged between the latter place and the town of Chesterfield. The settlement, although much disturbed by the war, was not allowed to die, and a few years after the restoration of order, John Kathan and his eighteen associates with their families were rapidly subduing the forests of Fulham, and accomplishing the conditions of their charter.
To John Baldridge and others the lands now comprised in the township of Chester, were granted on the 22d of February, 1754, by the name of Flamstead. Under this first New Hampshire charter no settlements were made, and by this neglect the proprietors no doubt forfeited their rights. A second charter to Daniel Hayward and his associates, issued by the same province on the 3d of November, 1761, gave to the town the name of New Flamstead, and divided it into seventy-four equal shares. Under this charter the proprietors held a number of meetings, but none in Chester until about the year 1764. Their first appointed clerk was John Goulding, who held that office from 1761 to 1763. In the latter year, Thomas Chandler Sen., who being interested in the settlement of Walpole, New Hampshire, had been appointed a selectman of that town, turned his attention towards the colonization of New Flamstead. His son, Thomas Chandler Jr., was chosen to succeed John Goulding, and was clerk until the year 1767. During the year 1763, the elder Chandler, with his sons John and Thomas Chandler Jr., removed to New Flamstead, and was followed by Jabez Sargeant, Edward Johnson, Isaiah Johnson, Charles Mann, William Warner, Ichabod Ide, and Ebenezer Holton, from Woodstock, Connecticut, and Worcester and Malden, Massachusetts. The first birth in the town was that of Thomas Chester Chandler, on the 26th of December, 1763. By a third charter issued by New York on the 14th of July, 1766, Thomas Chandler Sen. and his associates became proprietors of the town, and its name was changed to Chester. Under this patent the town was organized in June, 1767, and by authority derived from it, lands in Chester are now held.
110 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-1770.
The town of Guilford was chartered by New Hampshire on the 2d of April, 1754, to fifty-four proprietors, principally from Massachusetts. The account of the early civil and political condition of this town, given by Thompson in his "Gazetteer of Vermont," is in the words following :— "When granted, the town was a perfect wilderness, yet by the charter, the grantees were to hold their first meeting for the choice of officers, etc., on the 1st of May, 1754, and on the first Tuesday of March ever afterwards. It seems the town was first organized by and under the very grant itself. Power was given to the grantees to transact the business of the town as a majority should see fit, subject only to the control of the Parliament of England. This little enterprising band, composed of Samuel Hunt, John Chandler, David Field, Elijah Williams, Micah Rice, Ira Carpenter, and others, having little to fear from the nominal power of Parliament, in the wilderness of Vermont, assumed the title, which was virtually created by their charter, of a little independent Republic. By the records of their first meetings, they appear to have been governed by certain committees, chosen for the purpose of surveying the lands, laying out roads, drawing the shares or lots, taxing the rights, etc., but their greatest object was to procure and encourage settlers. Their meetings were held at Greenfield, Northfield, Hinsdale, or Brattleborough, until 1765, when their first meeting was held at Guilford. There was a condition, which, if not performed, went to defeat the grant. The grantees were to settle, clear and cultivate, in five years, five acres for every fifty in said township. Although much time and money were spent in making roads and clearing lands, yet on the 20th of March, 1764, the grantees, by a special committee chosen, petitioned the Governor of New Hampshire for a confirmation of their grant, and an extension of the time, stating that the intervention of an Indian war had made it impracticable for them to fulfil the conditions of the charter.* Their prayer was granted, and the time for settling the town extended to the 1st of January, 1766. From the time the charter was confirmed in 1764, the town began to be rapidly settled by emigrants from Massachusetts and other New England provinces. Through
* The charter of Guilford was renewed and extended on three different occasions. The first extension was dated July 6th, 1761, the second, March 20th, 1764, and the third, June 7th, 1764.
1750-1770.] TOWNSHIPS OF GUILFORD AND GRAFTON. 111
the policy of the original proprietors, the first settlers began upon lots of fifty acres, in order to fulfil the condition of the grant. So rapid was the increase of population, that the town soon became the largest in the state as to numbers. Yet there was not a single village in the township, or rather, the whole township was a village — all the hills and valleys were smoking with huts."
In this township, three hundred and fifty acres constituted a share. The usual reservations for public purposes were made, but the governor's right was located upon the only mountain in the township, from which circumstance the elevation has since been known as "Governor Mountain." Although the conduct of the proprietors was in general fair and generous, yet in one instance love of gain appears to have predominated over scrupulous honesty. Not content with obtaining good prices for the land contained within their grant, they located and sold "one whole tier of hundred acre lots, north, beyond the extent of their charter," and to this day these lots are comprised within the limits of the town. The first land was cleared in 1758, by Jonathan and Elisha Hunt, on the farm since occupied by the Rev. Asa Haynes. The first settlement was made in September, 1761, by Micah Rice and family, on the place since occupied by Jeremiah Greenleaf. These adventurers were followed by Jonathan Bigelow, John Barney, Daniel Lynds, William Bigelow, Ebenezer Goodenough, Paul Chase, Thomas Cutler, John Shepardson, and others. "They came into town by the way of Broad Brook. Beginning at the mouth of that stream on Connecticut river in Vernon, and passing up on its banks, they found their way into Guilford." This road, although the only one by which the town could then be reached, was impassable with teams, and the settlers, for some time, were compelled either "to boil or pound their corn, or go fifteen miles to mill with a grist upon their backs." Such are some of the circumstances pertaining to the early settlement of Guilford.
The town of Grafton was granted, on the 8th of April, 1754, to Jonathan Whitney, William Holt, Nathaniel Harris, and sixty-one associates, by the name of Thomlinson, and was the last town chartered by New Hampshire previous to the breaking out of the French war. On the 9th of July, 1761, the time for fulfilling some of the conditions of the charter was extended. A new charter was granted on the 1st of September, 1763, to the same persons who had held the former one, and the old name
112 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-1770.
was retained. In the year 1768, a Mr. Hinkley and his family, with two other families, removed to the township, and began a settlement on what was afterwards called Hinkley Brook. They soon abandoned their undertaking, and from that time there was no permanent settlement within the borders of the town until the year 1780. The name Grafton was substituted for that of Thomlinson on the 31st of October, 1791.
Hartford, the first township granted by New Hampshire east of the Green Mountains after the close of the French war, was chartered on the 4th of July, 1761. The original grantees, sixty-four in number, were principally from Lebanon, Connecticut. Prince Tracy, James Pinneo Jr., and Jonathan Marsh constituted the proprietors' committee. Within a few months after the charter was obtained, sixty-four fifty acre lots were laid out, one of which was given to each proprietor to hold in severalty. In 1763, the township was surveyed, and proper marks were placed at the corners, and between the corners at the end of every mile. At the same time allowance was made for highways, and some of them were partially prepared for use. These improvements occupied a part of the summer, and were made by ten of the grantees. in the summer of 1764, the same persons renewed their exertions, and in that year, Elijah, Solomon, and Benajah Strong emigrated with their families from Lebanon, Connecticut, and made the first permanent settlement. They were followed during the next year by twelve other families, and on the 8th of March, 1768, the town was regularly organized. The first child born in town was Roger, son of Ebenezer Gillett. This event occurred on the 6th of August, 1767. From the time the town was chartered until its organization, the proprietors displayed much energy in effecting a settlement, and by their strenuous efforts the requisitions of the charter, under which they held, were faithfully fulfilled.
On the 4th of July, 1761, under a patent from New Hampshire, the township of Norwich was granted by the name of Norwhich, to Eleazer Wales and his associates, and was organized in Connecticut on the 26th of August following. In 1762, the township was apportioned by lot. Although at that time the neighboring country was for miles around covered with untrodden wildernesses, yet this did not deter the advance of civilization. A few years later, cottages and cabins had sprung up in Norwich; and at Lebanon and Hanover, in New Hampshire, patches of cleared ground bore witness to the presence of
the sturdy pioneer. The first settlers in Norwich were Jacob Fenton, Ebenezer Smith, and John Slafter from Mansfield, Connecticut, Jacob Burton and Asa, his son, from Stonington, in the same province, and the Messenger and Hutchinson families. In 1766, a saw mill was built by the Burtons, a little west of Norwich plain, and from that period the growth of the town was constant and certain.*
Plymouth, the next town chartered by New Hampshire, was granted to Jeremiah Hall, John Grimes, and sixty-two other proprietors, by the name of Saltash, on the 6th of July, 1761. The township, although early surveyed and divided under the original charter, was regranted by New York on the 13th of May, 1772, to Ichabod Fisher. No settlement was commenced within its limits until the year 1777, and the town was not organized until ten years later. On the 23d of February, 1797, the name of Saltash was superseded by that of Plymouth.
The township of Reading was chartered by New Hampshire on the same day on which Saltash received its patent, but could not boast of any inhabitants until the year 1772, when Andrew Spear and his family moved thither from Walpole, New Hampshire. For several years they were the only residents in the place. The original grantees were Zedekiah Stone, Israel Stowell, Jonathan Hammond, and their associates to the number of fifty-nine. On the 6th of March, 1772, the township was granted by New York to Simon Stevens and others. It was organized on the 30th of March, 1780. A saw mill was built during the same year, and Reading became a thriving settlement.
Windsor, the date of whose charter is the same as that of the two preceding towns, was granted to Samuel Ashley, Jacob Cummings, and fifty-seven other persons, who immediately organized as a proprietary body, and "proceeded to survey, make a plan of, and allot the town." The first permanent settlement was commenced by Capt. Steele Smith, who with his family removed from Farmington, Connecticut, in August, 1764. In the following spring, "Major Elisha Hawley, Capt. Israel Curtis, Deacon Hezekiah Thompson, Deacon Thomas Cooper, and some others" became inhabitants of the town, and before
* A statement of the opinions which obtain respecting the first settlers of Norwich will be found in Thompson's Vt., Part III., p. 130, and in Powers's Coos Country, pp. 137-141.
114 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-1770.
the close of the year 1765, the number of families in the new settlement amounted to sixteen. Before the arrival of Capt. Smith, Solomon Emmons and his wife had built a hut within the town limits, where they resided, although they "had not purchased the land, nor made any improvements with a view to a permanent settlement." * Windsor was granted by New York to David Stone 2d, and his associates, on the 7th of July, 1766. On the 2d of March, 1772, it was regranted by the same province to Zedekiah and David Stone, and their associates. A third and last grant of the township was made by New York to Nathan Stone, and twenty-two other grantees, on the 28th of March, 1772. The first settlers of the town regarded the Stones with high respect. Upright in character, they were fully entitled to be held in estimation. By their exertions and enterprise they increased the wealth and prosperity of Windsor, and rendered it at an early period one of the most flourishing and popular villages on the "Grants."
Pomfret, although chartered on the 8th of July, 1761, was not settled until the year 1770. Its original proprietors were sixty-six in number, of whom Isaac Dana was the principal person. Most of the proprietors were inhabitants of Pomfret, Connecticut. The name of Israel Putnam stands conspicuous in the list, but except as one of the grantees, he appears to have had no share in the settlement of the township.† ,
The township of Hartland was originally granted by New Hampshire to Samuel Hunt and his associates, by the name of Hertford, on the 10th of July, 1761. Its settlement was commenced in May, 1763, by Timothy Lull, who had been previously living at Dummerston. Having concluded to remove to Hertford, he purchased a log canoe, and taking with him his
* "Mrs. Emmons was the first, and for some time the only white woman who resided in the town." She was very useful to the early inhabitants, being for a long time the only midwife within many miles around. During the latter part of her life she was supported by the town. Her death occurred in the year 1833. To Samuel Smith, a son of Capt. Steele Smith, is accorded the privilege of primogeniture among the children born in Windsor. His birth took place July 2d, 1765. He died in 1842, aged seventy-seven years. — Thompson's Vt., Part III., p. 194. Appendix to Deming's Catalogue, p. 201.
† On the 3d of July, 1766, John Stark applied to Governor Moore of New York, for a grant of 3000 acres of land in the south-east corner of Pomfret. Accompanying his request was a certificate from Thomas Gage, signed September 6th, 1766, stating that Capt. John Stark served under Capt. Rogers during the war. — New York Colonial MSS., Land Papers, July 3d, 1766, vol. xxi.
1750—1770.] HARTLAND AND WOODSTOCK. 115
family, which consisted of a wife and four children, and such furniture as they needed, paddled up Connecticut river. Arriving at the mouth of a certain stream in Hertford, he anchored his boat and landed his family. Taking then a junk bottle, he broke it in the presence of his wife and children, and named the stream Lull's Brook — the name by which it has ever since been known. Proceeding up the brook about a mile, he came to a deserted log-hut, situated near the place now called Sumner's village. Here he commenced a settlement. For many years he suffered privations and hardships, "but possessing a strong constitution and a vigorous mind, he overcame all obstacles, accumulated a handsome property, lived respected, and died generally lamented." His son Timothy was the first child born in the town.* The settlers who followed Mr. Lull were mostly emigrants from Massachusetts and Connecticut. In 1765, thirty was the number of the inhabitants in the town. On the 23d of July, 1766, the charter of the town was confirmed by New York to Oliver Willard, and the grantees associated with him. The first town meeting was held on the 11th of March, 1767. Much inconvenience having arisen from the similarity between the name of Hertford and that of Hartford the adjoining town, Hertford was, by an act of the Legislature of Vermont passed June 15th, 1782, altered to Hartland, which name is still retained.
Woodstock was established by charter from New Hampshire, on the 10th of July, 1761. The grantees were David Page, and sixty-one associates. On the 5th of September, 1766, a representation was made to the Colonial Assembly of New York, by Page and Jonathan Grout of Petersham, Massachusetts, by which it appeared that they, in company with a few of the original grantees, purchased of the rest ten thousand acres of land in Woodstock, soon after the charter was issued, and divided the purchase into lots. For these reasons they requested that the land might be confirmed to them by charter. The fate of this petition is not known, but on the 28th of February, 1771, New York granted the township to Oliver Willard and others, and a charter to this effect was issued on the 3d of June, 1772. The first settlement in the town was commenced by James Sanderson, who removed hither with his family in
* His birth took place in December, 1764, and on this occasion, "the midwife was drawn by the father from Charlestown, upon the ice, a distance of twenty-three miles, upon a handsled." — Thompson's Vt., Part III., p. 88.
116 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-1770.
the year 1768. In the year 1772, there were only forty-two inhabitants in the place.*
The charter of the town of Thetford was signed by Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire, on the 12th of August, 1761. The first settlement within its borders was made by John Chamberlain, familiarly known as "Old Quail John," who removed hither from Hebron, Connecticut, in 1764. On the 13th of December in the same year, his daughter Susannah was born. This was the first birth in the town. During the year 1765, the Baldwin and Hosford families removed to Thetford. The town was organized on the 10th of May, 1768.†
To John Taylor and sixty-one associates, the charter of Sharon was issued by New Hampshire on the 17th of August, 1761. The settlement of the town was commenced by emigrants from Connecticut, in 1765. Robert Havens and his family were probably the first persons who spent the winter within its limits. But little is known concerning any of the pioneers who succeeded in planting a colony in this part of the New Hampshire Grants. In a civil point of view the right of primogeniture belongs to Elias Marsh, who was born on the 25th of March, 1768. The town was organized on the 8th of March in the same year.
In the year 1753, before the commencement of the French war, and eight years previous to the date of the charter of the town of Springfield, Daniel Sawtell, Jacob Sawtell, Oliver Sawtell, Combs House, Samuel Douglass, Oliver Farnsworth, Joseph Douglass, Noah Porter, Nathaniel Powers, Simeon Powers and Simeon Powers Jr., "being poor and indigent, and unable to purchase lands in any of the inhabited towns of his Majesty's provinces" — while the lands in said Springfield "lay in the open wilderness, waste and until'd, without yielding any revenue to his Majesty, or profits to his subjects" — "did, for his Majesty's profit," as well as for the support of themselves, their wives, and their children, "enter upon, till and improve part of the lands in said Springfield." During the war they
* In December, 1766, Lord Townshend and his associates petitioned Governor Moore of New York for a grant of the township of Woodstock by the name of Raynham Hall, promising to settle and cultivate it. The request appears to have been dismissed. — New York Colonial MSS., Land Papers, December, 1766, vol. xxii.
† A number of entertaining incidents relative to the early settlers of Thetford may be found in Powers's Coos Country, pp. 144-162.
1750-1770.] THE EARLY SETTLERS OF SPRINGFIELD. 117
defended their possessions "at the peril" of their own lives, and by the loss of the lives of some of their "friends and neighbours," and "were as a guard to those places," located further down the river, which "were exposed to the rage of an heathen and savage foe." After the reduction of Canada, and the defeat of their "Popish enemies," they renewed their labors with greater energy, and succeeded in establishing a prosperous and attractive settlement. The first charter of the town was issued under the seal of New Hampshire, on the 20th of August, 1761. In the same year John Kilburn purchased of the proprietors one right containing three hundred and sixty acres, and shortly after "did enter upon, clear, cultivate and till said lands, according to the conditions of the charter under which the lands were then held, and also erected thereon a dwelling-house." In 1762, Simon Stevens became an inhabitant of the town, and by his example and individual efforts, did much to alleviate the wants, and add to the happiness of the settlers.
The governors of New Hampshire and New York, in granting lands on the New Hampshire Grants, were not always actuated by the purest principles in the choice of grantees. In the case of the early settlers of Springfield, their conduct was especially worthy of reprobation. At the conclusion of the war, Daniel Sawtell and his associates petitioned Governor Wentworth for a patent of the lands which they had improved, or for "such part thereof as he should think fit." From some unaccountable reason, the Governor refused to assent to their request, and on the 20th of August, 1761, gave a charter of the whole township to Gideon Lyman and sixty-one associates. Not one of the original settlers was named in this instrument, and thus they were placed entirely at the mercy of men who were at liberty to dictate whatever terms they might deem most subservient to their own interests. "Without any regard to the great dangers and hard labour" which the early settlers had undergone in maintaining possession of, and preparing for cultivation the lands which they had so long considered their own, the New Hampshire grantees sued out writs of ejectment, and obtained judgments against them. Executions were then issued, their possessions were taken, they themselves were threatened with imprisonment in default of the payment of the costs and charges of the suits which had been decided against them, and their families were "thereby brought to distress and want." Meantime the decree of the King in Council,
118 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-1770.
dated July 20th, 1764, had declared the New Hampshire Grants to be within the province of New York. On this information the original settlers, in a petition dated November 13th, 1764, prayed Lieutenant-Governor Cadwallader Colden for a grant of Springfield, or in case this request was too great, that they might "be permitted still to inhabit those lands, and in some measure reap the benefit" of their past labor. In reply, the governor stated that he should "always be disposed to favour those who had settled and cultivated the lands, especially such as had been in possession for a considerable time." At the same time he informed them, that before proceeding further in the matter, he should be obliged to receive his Majesty's orders. Another petition was presented, on the 15th of August, 1765, by Nathaniel Powers and twenty-nine others, of whom a portion were the original settlers, asking a recognition of their rights, but, like the former, it met with a similar reception. A few days subsequent to the presentation of this last petition, Gideon Lyman and his associates informed the Governor of New York that the township of Springfield had been granted to them by New Hampshire. "In faith of this grant," said Lyman, "your petitioner and the other persons interested therein, have already made considerable improvements and settlements" in Springfield, "and are willing and desirous to compleat the settlement thereof." These conflicting petitions seemed for a time to puzzle the Governor of New York, but in the event the grant of Springfield was confirmed to Gideon Lyman and his associates on the 16th of March, 1772.*
As to the organization of this town, little is definitely known. There are still extant two notifications for town meetings, from which the following information is derived. One is dated, "Province of New Hampshire," March 1st, 1764, and is signed by Samuel Scott, Simon Stevens, George Hall, Timothy Spencer, Taylor Spencer, and Abner Bisbee, inhabitants of Springfield. It is directed, "To Simon Stevens, Constable of Springfield and Province aforesaid," and requires him "In his Majesty's name" to "Notifie and warn ye Freeholders and other Inhabitants of sd Town that are Duely quallified by Law to Vote in Town Meetings, that they assemble and meet at ye House of Joseph Littles in Springfield afores'd on Tuesday ye
* N. Y. Colonial MSS., Land Papers, Nov. 13th, vol. xviii. 1764: vol. xix., Aug. 15th, Sept. 19th, 1765.
1750—1770.] THE GRANTEES OF WEATHERSFIELD. 119
13th of this Instant, at 10 of ye Clock in ye forenoon." The object of the meeting is stated to be, "1st, to Choose a Moderator to govern sd meeting — 2dly, to choose Town Officers agreeable to Charter." At the foot of this paper is a note by the constable, declaring that he read the warrant in town meeting on "March ye 13th," and on the back is an endorsement of the same date, showing that George Hall was chosen moderator, and that the meeting was then adjourned to the 26th of the same month. The other notification, similar in form, is dated July 13th, 1764, and is signed by Simon Stevens and Abner Bisbee. It is directed to Jehiel Simmons, and at the meeting to be held on the 22d current, the business to be attended to, is "1st, to Choose a Moderator to Govern said meeting — 2dly, to see whether the Town will accept of the Roade, known by ye name of Crownpoint Roade, which leads Through sd Town — 3dly, to see whether the Town will Repair said Roade." From these statements it may be reasonably concluded that the town was organized before the year 1764.*
The grantees of Weathersfield were principally from New Haven, Connecticut, and the charter of the township was issued by New Hampshire, on the 20th of August, 1761. From a report made by the proprietors of the town in September, 1765, it appeared that they had been "at great charge and expense in laying out the township into allotments," and further that they had cleared and cultivated a portion of the lands which they owned, and erected a number of houses. In a petition addressed to the Lieut.-Governor of New York, on the 17th of October, 1766, they expressed a sincere desire to be protected while engaged in accomplishing the work incident to the commencement of a settlement. Their pioneer history, were it known, would, it is probable, resemble that of the early inhabitants of most of the towns situated along the valley of Connecticut river. The colonizers of the New Hampshire Grants were men and women who were aware that their future lives were to be lives of toil and self-sacrifice, and for this reason they were prepared to grapple with adversity in whatever form it might appear. On the 8th of April, 1772, the town was regranted by the government of New York, to Gideon Lyman and his associates.
* Old MSS. in possession of Hon. William M. Pingry.
120 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-1770.
now known as Fairlee and West Fairlee, was chartered by patent from New Hampshire, on the 9th of September, 1761. Josiah Chauncey, Joseph Hubbard, and their associates, were the grantees. In the year 1766, a certain Mr. Baldwin, who before that time had been a resident of Thetford, removed to Fairlee, and commenced a settlement within the limits of the town. According to the account of Mr. Thompson, the author of the "Gazetteer of Vermont," Samuel Miller, Samuel Bentley, Noah Dewey, Joel White, and William and David Thompson, were inhabitants of the town in 1768. This statement is partially controverted by Grant Powers, on the authority of one of the early settlers of Orford, New Hampshire. The town was probably organized in 1775, when Samuel Smith was chosen town clerk.*
The charter of Guildhall was issued by the government of New Hampshire, on the 10th of October, 1761. The grantees were Elihu Hall and sixty-four associates. In 1764, a settlement was commenced in the lower part of the town, which was then supposed to be a part of Lunenburgh, by David Page, Timothy Nash, and George Wheeler. In 1775, Enoch Hall, Micah Amy, and James Rosbrook became residents of the town. Eleazer Rosbrook and Samuel Page joined the little band of settlers in 1778, and in the following year David Hopkinson and Reuben and Simeon Howe were added to the number. "The first settlers," observes Thompson, "suffered severe privations and hardships for a number of years. They brought their grain and provisions, in canoes, from Northfield, Massachusetts, a distance of more than one hundred and fifty miles. During the revolutionary war, they were in continual alarm, and were frequently annoyed by the Indians and Tories, who killed their cattle, plundered their houses, and carried a number of the inhabitants into captivity." The first town meeting of which record is made, was held in March, 1785.
The town of Cavendish was chartered by the Governor of New Hampshire, on the 12th of October, 1761. The principal grantee was Amos Kimball. In the following year a number of the proprietors visited the township, surveyed it, allotted the shares in severalty, and, according to their own account, " were in great forwardness, when disputes arose," which caused them to abandon the undertaking. A disposition to renew this
* Thompson's Vt., Part III. pp. 70, 71. Powers's Coos Country, pp. 162, 163.
1750-1770.] TOWNSHIP OF ANDOVER. 121
attempt was manifested in 1765; but no settlement was actually made until 1769, when, in the month of June, Captain John Coffein located his farm and built a dwelling in the north part of the town. During the war of the Revolution his hospitable residence afforded shelter and refreshment to the American soldiery while passing from Charlestown to the military posts on Lake Champlain. In the north-west part of the town was a similar stopping-place, known as the "Twenty miles encampment." Noadiah Russell and Thomas Gilbert settled in Cavendish in 1771, and shared with Captain Coffein his wants and privations. "For several years they struggled hard for a scanty and precarious subsistence." So few were the mills at this period, that they were sometimes obliged to travel sixty miles to procure "the grinding of a single grist of corn." The town received a charter from New York, on the 16th of June, 1772.
On the 29th of December, 1760, soon after the conquest of Canada had been completed, a number of the inhabitants of Lebanon and of other towns in Connecticut decided to petition the Governor of New Hampshire, for a grant of land on the west bank of Connecticut river. Having assembled on the 12th of June, 1761, and obtained the names of those who wished to engage in the project, they chose a clerk, and a committee to regulate their mode of procedure. At a meeting held on the 7th of September following, they selected two men "to repair to that part of the country," in which they wished to obtain a grant of land, and instructed them, in case they should find a situation which they deemed acceptable, to make their wishes known to Governor Wentworth. A location having been selected, a charter was issued by New Hampshire, on the 13th of October, granting the township of Andover to Nathaniel House and his associates. In accordance with the charter, a meeting of the grantees was convened at Lebanon on the 4th of November following, and a clerk for the town and proprietors was chosen, "who was sworn to a faithful discharge of his duty." On the 10th of March, 1762, another meeting was held in the same place at the house of Joseph Clark, one of the grantees, and officers were chosen for the ensuing year. A committee were also selected to survey the town, and on the 25th of August a resolution was passed, instructing them to proceed with the business which had been assigned them. This they were able to perform only in part, "by reason of bad
122 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-1770.
weather;" but being instructed on the 8th of March, 1763, to complete the survey, they renewed their undertaking, and three hundred acres were laid out for each of the proprietors, on the east side of the town, by carefully marking the trees at the corners." These lots were distributed on the 21st of November, by an indifferent person appointed by the proprietors, and an account was taken of the result. At the next regular meeting of the town, held on the 13th of March, 1764, officers were chosen for the year ensuing; "accounts were adjusted, and each person's demands carefully and justly allowed him for services done." On the 5th of November, a resolution was passed, by which an offer of fifty acres of land was made to each proprietor who should settle in the town during the spring of the year 1765. Pending this offer another meeting was held on the 12th of March, 1765, and a committee were chosen to mark out and clear a road to the town. Measures were accordingly taken to carry this proposition into execution, and a party of twenty persons had already made preparations to remove into the new township, when the publication of his Majesty's Order in Council, on the 20th of July, 1764, declaring the western bank of Connecticut river to be the eastern boundary of New York, caused them to abandon the project.
Judging it prudent "to consider what might further be needful to be done, to maintain good order and submission" in their changed circumstances, the proprietors met on the 29th of' April, 1765. After some discussion they decided to acquaint the Governor of New York with the state of their circumstances, and ask for his "approbation and protection." In the memorial which they sent to Lieutenant-Governor Cadwallader Colden, dated at Lebanon, Connecticut, May 6th, 1765, in addition to the facts which have already been detailed, they stated that they had expended in improvements more than four hundred and sixty-two dollars, that they had "vendued and sold" several of the rights of negligent proprietors, and had inserted the names of new proprietors in the place of some of those whose names were to be found in the original charter from New Hampshire. "Therefore," said they, "if it be consistent with your pleasure to incourage us, his Majesty's Liege subjects, in the settlement of so wilderness a Land as that is, and grant us also your Protection, as there are many more under the Like Circumstances, it may much inlarge the Province,
1750-1770.] THE TOWNSHIP OF BRADFORD. 123
and his Majesty's English settlements." "And we cannot but Rejoice," they continued, "when we so fully persuade ourselves that your Excellency's highest ambition is to strengthen and enlarge all our late acquisitions by Regular and Industrious Inhabitants; and when once you shall please to make your Pleasure known to us, we shall with all Readiness Comply therewith; and if it be your Pleasure to ratify to us those Lands we once supposed stood fair for us to settle, we shall undoubtedly soon (as some other Towns have Done) Make considerable Improvements thereon. But, notwithstanding our earnest wishes, we do Heartily and Freely submit the same to your Wisdom and Prudence." For a long time this petition remained unnoticed, and although the Council of New York, on the 15th of June, 1772, recommended the issuing of a confirmatory grant of this and several other townships, whenever "his Majesty's Instructions" should allow of such a course, yet the patent was never conferred.*
In the year 1768, Shubael Geer and Amos Babcock, with their families, became residents of the town. During their stay, which was short, William, son of Shubael Geer, was born. After the departure of these families no attempt to effect a settlement in Andover was made until after the commencement of the Revolution.
The charter of the township of Bradford was issued by Sir Henry Moore, Governor of New York, on the 7th of November, 1766. John French and his associates were named as the grantees in the patent. After the death of French, William Smith and his associates applied for a grant of the township and received a new charter on the 28th of March, 1770. At the same time the name of the town was changed to Mooretown, as a compliment to the governor. On the 23d of October, 1788, the name was again altered to Bradford by an act of the Legislature of Vermont. The first settlement within the limits of the town was made in 1765, before the first charter was issued, by John Hosmer or Osmer, who located his cabin near the mouth of Wait's river, on the north bank. During the following year Samuel Sleeper and Benoni Wright commenced a settlement near Connecticut river, about a mile and a half from the north bounds of the town. According to some
* N. Y. Colonial MSS., Land Papers, May 6th, 1765, vol. xviii. Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv. 786.
124 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-1770.
statements it would seem that there were but ten families in the town in 1771. In an account of the condition of Bradford, communicated to Governor Moore in 1770, it is stated that at that time the town contained thirty families. In the same account particular mention is made of "Sleeper's house," on Connecticut river. Andrew B. Peters became a resident of Bradford in 1771, and in the following year the first grist-mill was built by John Peters, on the south side of Wait's river. In consequence of the careless manner in which the lands in this township were surveyed and granted, much trouble and vexatious litigation arose. The history of many of the neighboring towns discloses similar disputes concerning boundary lines and conflicting grants. An account of proceedings of this nature, although it might prove entertaining to those curious in disentangling the intricacies of land titles, would not possess an interest sufficiently general for these narrative pages, and is therefore omitted.
Of the other towns comprised in the eastern section of Vermont, to which reference has not been made, none, it is believed, were settled before the year 1770, with the exception of Newbury.* The arrow-heads and domestic implements of a rude manufacture, which have been found within the limits of this town, afford conclusive evidence that it must have been at an early period the site of an Indian village. Gen. Jacob Bayley of Newbury, Massachusetts, was probably the first white settler. In a letter written by him from Newbury, Vermont, on the 3d of October, 1768, he remarked :— "'Tis but seven years since I struck the first stroke here, at which time there was not one inhabitant on the river for seventy miles down, none eastward for sixty, none between us and Canada, and now almost all the Lands are settled and settling in almost every town on the east side of the river." It does not appear that Gen. Bailey was a resident of the town until 1761. In October of that year he brought his family to Newbury, and thenceforward until the time of his death, at the age of eighty-nine, in March, 1815, he devoted himself with cheerfulness and assiduity to the service not only of his adopted town but of his country.
* Attempts were doubtless made at an early period, to effect settlements north of Newbury. In 1766, Jonathan Grout of Petersham, Massachusetts, declared that he and his associates had cultivated lands in the town of Lunenburgh, which town, according to his statement, was "Thirty Miles Higher up Connecticut River than any other Settlement on Said River."
1750—1770.] SETTLEMENT OF NEWBURY. 125
In March, 1762, Samuel Sleeper, a Quaker preacher from Hampton, New Hampshire, moved with his family into Newbury. He was in the employ of Gen. Bailey, and seems to have borne the character of a good citizen, until being unduly "moved by the spirit," he began to create disturbance by interrupting the minister while preaching, with laudatory and condemnatory exclamations. Various persuasive means were employed to induce him to alter his behavior, but without success. One of his followers, a certain Benoni Wright, was even more obstreperous than his master. Punishment was at last resorted to, and was followed by good effects. Wright received "ten lashes, well laid on." Sleeper was confined in a cellar, and when released, was informed that he would "receive thirty lashes in full tale" should he continue to exhibit his peculiar propensions. Finding that they could not enjoy the license to which they deemed themselves entitled, Wright and Sleeper removed to Bradford in 1766. Three other persons, with their families, came into the town from New Hampshire during the year 1762, namely, Thomas Chamberlain of Dunstable, Richard Chamberlain of Hinsdale, and John Hazleton of Hampstead.*
The charter of Newbury was issued by Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire, on the 18th of March, 1763. The grantees were Jacob Bayley and seventy-four associates. The first meeting for the choice of town officers was held at Plaistow, New Hampshire, on the 13th of June, 1763. Jesse Johnson was chosen town clerk, Caleb Johnson, constable, and Jacob Kent, Benjamin Emerson, and John Hazen, selectmen. The proprietors, also, voted to unite with the inhabitants of Haverhill "in paying a preacher for the term of two or three months," during the following "fall or winter." The arrival of Noah White, Thomas Johnson, and Jacob Kent† in this year,
* Betsey, daughter of John Hazleton, was the first child born in the town. Her birth took place in 1763. In the same year was born the first male child, Jacob Bayley Chamberlain, son of Thomas Chamberlain. Agreeable to a promise of the original proprietor, that the mother of the first male child should be entitled to a bounty of one hundred acres of land, the premium was awarded to Mrs. Chamberlain. Betsey Hazleton "was the wife of the famous Nehemiah Lovewell, who bravely fought at Bunker Hill and other places." She died Nov. 19th, 1850, aged eighty-seven years. — Thompson's Vt., Part III. p. 124. Appendix to Deming's Catalogue, p. 165.
† Col. Jacob Kent was born at Chebacco, Mass., June 11th, 1726, and Mary White, his wife, was born at Plaistow, N. H., August 14th, 1736. Mrs. Kent survived her husband many years, and lived to a great age. — Powers's Coos Country, p. 50.
126 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1750-4770.
gave a new impetus to the settlement; James Abbott, John Taplin, Frye Bayley, and Ebenezer White, were also among the early settlers, and rendered valuable assistance in advancing the interests of the town. The first meeting in Newbury for the election of town officers, was held on the 12th of June, 1764. Jacob Kent was chosen town clerk, John Hazleton, constable, and Jacob Bayley, Jacob Kent, and James Abbott, selectmen. Through the instrumentality of the Rev. Peter Powers, of Hollis, New Hampshire, a church was organized in Newbury during the fall of 1764. On the 24th of January, 1765, Mr. Powers was solicited to "take the spiritual charge of this newly constituted church and society in the wilderness." He accepted the call on the 1st of February following, and on the 27th of the same month, preached his own installation sermon at Hollis, New Hampshire.
For the purpose of securing the title to the lands in the township of Newbury, Gen. Bayley obtained from Governor William Tryon of New York, a confirmation charter. By the terms of this instrument, which was dated March 17th, 1772, Bailey and twenty-four associates were constituted grantees in trust for the proprietors and settlers under the New Hampshire charter. The whole trust was afterwards assigned to Bailey, who gave a bond to deed the lands to those to whom they belonged.
With the cessation of French aggressions, Indian hostilities had now come to an end. The, adventurer, as he paddled his canoe up Connecticut river, with his little stock of baggage and provisions, feared no longer the ambush on the shore; and the emigrant in his new home, lay down to sleep, feeling sure that no midnight foe was near to plunder and destroy. Inducements to settle in the new territory were, it is true, not as great as they had been represented by unprincipled speculators. The soil on the banks of the Connecticut was fertile, and the mountains were well wooded, but the climate was severe, and for many years nothing but a bare subsistence could be expected in return for the most painful toil. Still the men and women who left their homes in Massachusetts and Connecticut, to extend civilization and the arts of peace, knew well the nature of their undertaking. Though some quailed beneath the burdens which want compelled them to bear, there were but few who by reason of their sufferings relinquished their design, or who, from their own experience, warned their friends,
1750—1770.] AUTHORITIES. 127
who were hesitating whether to join them or abide at home, to pursue the latter course.*
* New York Colonial MSS., in office Sec. State, N. Y., Land Papers, November 13th, 1764, May 7th, 1765, vol. xviii.: August 15th, 17th, 23d, September 19th, 28th, 1765, vol. xix.: October 9th, 28th, 30th, 31st, November 2d, 1765, February 3d, July 18th, 1766, vol. xx.: June 25th, July 14th, 15th, 16th, September 5th, October 6th, 1766, vol. xxi.: October 17th, November 3d, December 2d, 1766, vol. xxii. Council Minutes, in office Sec. State, N. Y., 1764-1772, October 7th, 1766, vol. xxix. Thompson's Vt. Gazetteer, ed. 1824, pp. 230, 260. Thompson's Vt., ed. 1842, Part III., pp. 8, 29, 47, 53, 74, 79, 80, 87, 88, 124, 130, 140, 142, 147, 150, 160, 171, 176, 194, 198. Appendix to Deming's Catalogue of Vt. Officers, pp. 135, 147, 151, 168, 173, Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv. 586. Powers's Coos Country, passim.