HISTORICAL ADDRESS

 

OF THE

 

HON. CHARLES K. FIELD:

 

Delivered at the Centennial .Anniversary

of the organization of the Church and Town

of Newfane,

July 4th, 1874.

 

 

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NEWFANE, the shire town of Windham County, is situated eleven miles west of Connecticut river, and is bounded north by Townshend, east by Dummerston, Putney and Brookline, west by Wardsboro and Dover, and south by Marlboro. The township contained originally within its chartered limits thirty-six square miles ; but, in 1820, that part of the town lying northeast of West river was annexed to Brookline, which materially reduced the chartered area of the town. The original charter of the town was granted in 1753, by Benning Wentworth, governor of New Hampshire, to Abner Sawyer and others, by the name of Fane. There was a current tradition, seventy years ago, that it was called Fane after Thomas Fane, one of the "men of Kent" who was engaged in an insurrectionary movement under Sir Thomas Wyat, in 1554, during the reign of Queen Mary, for the purpose of elevating Lady Jane Grey to the throne, in consequence of the odious Spanish match which Mary had formed with Philip 2d. Abner Sawyer and sixty-five others were the original grantees of Fane. Their names were as follows:

Abner Sawyer, John Milling, Ebenezer Morse, Vespasian

 

 

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Millar, Joseph Baker, Thomas Adams, James Ball, John Ball, Samuel Brown, Jabez Beaman, John Hazeltine, Ross Wyman, John Young, John Adams, Charles Bridgham, Joseph Dyer, Jr., John Chadack, Barnet Wait, Ebenezer Taylor, Ebenezer Prescott, Isaac Temple, Edward Goodale, John Holland, Phineas Wilder, Joshua Houghton, Asa Boucher, David Osgood, Jonathan Osgood, Asa Whitcomb, Samuel Bayley, Thomas Sawyer, Saul Houghton, Ezekiel Kendall, Samuel Kendall, Daniel Allen, Ebenezer Taylor, Jr., Joseph Bayley, Nathaniel Houghton, John McBoide, Philip Goss, Joseph Glazier, Jacob Pike, Benjamin Glazier, Abner Wilder, Josiah Wilder, William Densmore, Barzillai Holt, John Glazier, Nathaniel Bexby, Rueben Moore, Aaron Newton, Peter Larkin, Matthias Larkin, Samuel Moore, Jonathan Wilder, Tille Wilder, Ezra Sawyer, Ezra Sawyer, Jr., John Stone, Fortunatus Taylor, Hy. Sherburne, Theodore Atkinson, Richard Wibird, Samuel Smith, John Downing, Samuel Solley, Sampson Sheaffe, Daniel Warner, and John Wentworth. Jr.

In 1761 the charter was returned to Gov. Wentworth, and a new one issued to Luke Brown and his associates, containing the same provisions that are embraced in the original charter. The 11th day of May, 1772, the governor of New York made a grant of this township, by the name of Newfane, to Walter Franklin and twenty others, most of whom resided in the city of New York. This New York charter is a literal copy of the original charter granted by Gov. Wentworth. The 12th of May, 1772, Walter Franklin and his associates, the grantees named in the New York charter, assigned and conveyed all their right in said townュship to Luke Knowlton and John Taylor, Esqs., of Worcester County. Mass. The titles to the lands in said township are derived directly from the New York charter. The township was surveyed in 1772, and duly organized May 17, 1774. The town was first settled in 1766, by Jonathan Park, Nathaniel Stedman and Ebenezer Dyer, who emigrated from Worcester County, Mass. The first clearing was made by Park and Stedman on the Nathan Merrifield farm, north of the Newfane Hill Common, in the spring of 1766. In 1774, Judge Knowlton, one of the original proprietors under

 

 

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the New York charter, was allotted some 300 or 400 acres in and about the present site of Fayetteville.

Deacon Park's clearing covered the old common on Newュfane Hill and the Knowlton Farm. Judge Knowlton exchanged his lands in and about Fayetteville with Deacon Park for his clearing of eighty acres and a log cabin thereon. The deacon went down and cleared up the land in and about Fayetteville. In 1787, the judge succeeded in removing the shire from Westminster to Newfane Hill ; but in 1824 thirty-seven years thereafter the shire was removed from the Hill to Fayetteville. Had Judge Knowlton made his pitch upon the lots originally allotted to him on Smith's Brook, and contributed as liberally towards the growth and prosュperity of a village where Fayetteville now is, it would have changed materially the destiny of Newfane. Starting, a hundred years ago, a settlement where Fayetteville now stands, with no rival villages near, it would have secured such a concentration of wealth and business as would have made it one of the most important villages in the county. For several years the early settlers suffered all the hardships and privations incident to the settlement of a new country. Without roads, or teams, or any of the ordinary means of transportation, they were under the necessity of conveying, by their own personal efforts, all their provisions and farming tools from Hinsdale, N. H., a distance of twenty miles through an unbroken forest. At that early day there was no road or pathway up the valley of the West river, from Brattleboro ; but they were obliged to cross Wicopee Hill, in Dummerston, by marked trees. Elizabeth, a child of Jonathan Park, was the first child born in town, February 20th, 1768.

 

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INDIANS.

The early settlers of Newfane were never molested by the Indians, for the reason that no permanent settlements were made in this town until after the storming and taking of Quebec by Wolf, in 1759, and the capitulaュtion of Montreal in 1760, when the French lost their control over the Indian tribes in the Canadas. June 27, 1748, before any settlement was commenced, a battle was fought in the south part of this town or north part of Marlュboro ; the precise place of the battle cannot be fixed. Capt. Humphrey Hobbs, with 40 men, was ordered from Charlesュtown, No. 4, through the forest to Fort Shirly, in Heath, one of the frontier posts in Massachusetts. The march was made without interruption until Hobbs arrived at a point about twelve miles northwest of Fort Dummer, "on a low piece of ground covered with alders intermixed with larger trees, and watered by a rivulet," where he halted to give his men an opportunity to refresh themselves. A large body of Indians, commanded by a half-breed of the name of Sackett, who was said to have been a descendant of a capュtive taken at Westfield, Mass., discovered Hobbs' trail, and endeavored to cut him off. Hobbs had carefully posted a guard on his trail, and, while his men were refreshing themュselves, the enemy came up and drove in the guard. Hobbs then arranged his men for action, each man selecting his tree for a cover. The enemy rushed forward, and received a well-directed fire from Hobbs' men, which checked their progress. A severe conflict ensued. Sackett and Hobbs were well known to each other, and both were distinguished for their intrepidity and courage. Sackett could speak English, and frequently called upon Hobbs to surrender, threatening to sacrifice his men with the tomahawk if he refused. Hobbs, in a loud voice, returned a defiant answer, and dared his enemy to put his threat in execution. The action continued about four hours, each party retaining their

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original position. During the fight the enemy would approach Hobbs' line, but were immediately driven back. Sackett, finding his men had suffered severely, retreated, carrying off his dead and wounded. Hobbs lost only three of his men Ebenezer Mitchell, Eli Scott and Samuel Green ; and three were wounded. The loss of the enemy was supposed to be greater. In all battles the Indians made extraordinary efforts to conceal their loss, and to effect this would incur greater exposure than in actual combat. When one fell, the nearest comrade was accustomed to crawl up and, under cover of the trees and brush, fix a "tump line" to the dead body and cautiously drag it to the rear. Hobbs' men stated that in this action they often saw the dead bodies of the Indians sliding along the ground as if by enchantment. As late as the year 1810, a large number of graves were visible in the lower portion of the Robinson flats, so-called, under a cluster of chestnut trees, near the South Branch below Williamsville, where the bodies of the Indians who were killed in this fight were supposed to have been buried; at least, such was the current tradition for fifty years or more among the early settlers of Newfane. Stevens, in his Journal, states that Capt. Hobbs started for Fort Shirly from Charlestown, No. 4, with forty-two men, officers included, on Thursday, June 23, 1748, and camped the first night at Bellows Falls, and the next day marched for West River, which they reached Saturday, 25th ; "then traveled down the river and came to the South Branch, then traveled up the Branch two miles and camped, then traveled six miles southwest, and came to a small brook, where we boiled our kettles, and just as we began to eat, the enemy came upon us." The late General Field, who furnished a sketch of Newfane for Thompson's Gazetteer, about fifty years ago, was evidently misled by the prevailing traditions in relation to the fight with the Indians by Melvin's party for he fixed the scene of the battle at the mouth of the South Branch, in Newfane; and Belknap, in his history of New Hampshire, and Beckley, in his history of Vermont, adopt the same error. The publication of Capt. Kelvin's journal, in the New Hampshire historical collecュtions, fixes the place of the fight with Melvin's party in Jamaica, some seventeen miles above the mouth of the South

 

 

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Branch in Newfane, arid about four miles below the mouth of Winhall river, which, during the old French wars, was regarded as the upper fork of West river, and the South Branch in Newfane as the lower fork thereof. After the fight with Hobbs, Sackett retreated and passed down the Wanュtastiquet to its mouth, and, crossing the Connecticut, marched down to a point opposite Fort Dummer, where they ambusュcaded a party of seventeen men, who were marching from Hinsdale to the fort, under command of Ensign Thomas Tayュlor, and killed four of the party. Four escaped, and the remainder, with Ensign Taylor, were taken prisoners. Ensign Taylor, in a journal describing his march to Canada, which he wrote after his return, describes his route to Crown Point, on Lake Champlain, as follows: "Crossed the Connecticut at a place called 'Catts-bane,' two or three miles above the mouth of West river, which we fell in with at the lower fork; thence proceeded up that river, part of the way on the flats, over the ground where Capt. Melvin's affair happened, three or four miles below the upper fork ; thence to the source of the river." This would seem to settle the question conclusively, that the fight with Melvin's party took place some two hundred rods northeast of Jamaica village, on the banks of the West river. At the commencement of this century, the graves on the Robinson meadow, about one hundred rods below Williamsville, near the left bank of the South Branch, were plainly to be seen ; and the writer of this remembers when a boy, as late as 1812, two graves were distinctly visible on Newfane Hill, and the current tradition was that two scouts from Fort Dummer were at one time engaged in shooting salmon at the mouth of the South Branch, and, being driven by the Indians to the summit of Newfane Hill, were killed, and afterwards buried about sixty rods northwest of the site of the old Court House. The theories of Beckley, Belknap, and others, in relation to the origin of the graves on the Robinson meadow and on Newュfane Hill, are all contradicted by the journals of Melvin and Stevens. The ploughshare has long since rudely obliterated every trace of their existence.

 

 

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RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES.

 

There are three religious societies in town, Baptist, Congregational and Universalist. The Congregational is the most numerous. Their place of worship is at Fayetteville. The Universalists have occasional preaching at Williamsville, and the Baptists worship at Pondville, in the extreme south part of the town.

A Congregational Church was organized in 1774, when there were but fourteen families residing in the town ; it consisted of nine members, and Rev. Hezekiah Taylor was ordained and assumed the pastoral charge of it on the day of its organization.

 

 

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RIVERS.

 

The Wantastiquet, commonly called West River, rises in Weston, Windsor County, and, passing through Newfane, empties into the Connecticut at Brattleboro. The South Branch, so-called, rises in Dover, and, after receiving a number of tributary streams, passes through the southerly part of the town and empties into the West River near the eastern boundary line of said town. Baker's Brook, a tributary of the South Branch, rises in Wardsboro, and empties into the South Branch at Williamsville. Smith's Brook rises in Wardsboro, and, running though the entire northerly part of the town, empties into West River, two miles below Fayetteville. These streams afford many eligible mill sites and water privileges.

 

 

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FOREST TREES.

 

The original growth of forest trees is principally rock maple, beech, birch, spruce and hemlock ; but the recent growth on the eastern and southern hillsides is oak and hickュory, and in the south part of the town, on the intervals and hill sides near Williamsville, the chestnut grows abundantly. In no other town in Windham County, outside of the valley of the Connecticut, is the chestnut found growing.

 

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SOIL.

 

The intervals afford excellent tillage land, and the uplands are inferior to none in the state for grazing. The town is diversified with high hills and deep valleys; but there are no elevations that deserve the name of mountains ; there is little or no broken or waste land that is unsuitable for cultiュvation.

 

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GEOLOGY AND MINERALOGY.

 

The geological character of the town is uniformly primiュtive ; few continuous ranges can be traced with certainty. The rocks in place are principally mica slate and hornblende. Granite is by no means an uncommon rock ; boulders and rolled masses of granite are scattered in profusion over every part of the town, and sometimes they are found on the summits of the highest hills which are composed entirely of mica slate. These boulders, by skillful splitting, are wrought into fence-posts and building-stone. Hornblende is a very common rock ; it forms a range which extends through the

 

 

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entire town. It is the variety called hornblende slate, and is often curiously curved and twisted, and occasionally passes into primitive greenstone and greenstone porphyry. Mica slate is the most common rock in town, yet no connected range can be traced. It forms the summits and frequently the sides of the hills, and in the valleys it is a common rock ; but hornblende is constantly thrusting itself from underneath the mica slate, and interrupting the continuity of its ranges. In the north part of the town are extensive strata of mica slate, which are occasionally quarried and wrought into flagging stones. Talcose slate better deserves the name of a range than any other in town. It traverses the whole county, passing through Whitingham, Wilmington, Marlboro, Newfane, Townshend, Windham, Athens and Grafton. In Grafton, Athens and Townshend it is extensively quarried, and wrought into fire-jambs, etc. There is an extensive bed of this rock in the west part of Newfane, bordering on Wardsboro and Dover, which, at some future day, will be successfully wrought, whenever the railュroad facilities shall be such as to furnish a cheap mode of conveyance to market. Serpentine associated with talcose slate forms a range extending four or five miles on the western border of the town, presenting perpendicular precipices in some places forty or fifty feet in height. The crystalline appearance of this rock demonstrates it to be of the most primitive kind. Its texture is close, and it is extremely tough and hard, though in some cases it is easily broken on account of the fissures that pass through it. Chloride slate occurs in this town, in which is embedded splendid specimens of garnet. A nugget of native gold, weighing eight and one-half ounces, was found in this town in 1827, about one hundred rods east of the village of Williamsville. It was of a conical shape, and there were adhering to it a number of small crystals of quartz. It was found in alluvion consisting of thin strata of sand, clay and water-worn stones. The rocks in situ are all of a primitive class, consisting of hornblende, hornblende slate and greenュstone porphyry, which are often found alternating with mica slate. At the time this mass of gold was found, it was supposed to have been a piece that was accidentally lost by

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a band of counterfeiters, who formerly resided in the immediate neighborhood, although their operations were confined exclusively to the counterfeiting of silver coin. Gold at that time had not been discovered elsewhere in New England ; but since then its discovery at Somerset, Plymouth, Bridgeュwater, and other places in Vermont, seemed to favor the theory that it existed originally in the bed of serpentine and talcose slate in the west part of the town, near the head waters of the South Branch, and was swept out of place by some freshet and deposited in the alluvion some six miles below. All the gold which has thus far been found in Vermont has been associated with the serpentine and talcose slate range, which extends from Massachusetts north line to Canada. This town probably furnishes the richest and most extensive variety of minerals of any town in the State.

 

 

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THE BURNING OF THE SAWTELL FAMILY.

 

A melancholy catastrophe occurred in this town on the night of the 2d of February, 1782, in the burning of the log house of Henry Sawtell, which created great sorrow, borュdering upon terror, in the minds of the inhabitants of the vicinity, for the house was not only burned, but Mr. and Mrs. Sawtell and five children were consumed therein. The morning after the fire the neighbors saw a cloud of smoke gathered over the Sawtell place, and smelt an unusual odor in the air like burning flesh and clothing. The site of the house was hidden from the view of all the neighboring inhabitants, being situated in a deep valley ; but as they approached the ruins they discovered, to their great horror and astonishment, the Sawtell house in ashes. Some of the larger logs were still burning, and the charred bodies of

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Mr. and Mrs. Sawtell and five of their children were smouldering in the ruins. They gathered up, with pious care, the charred remains of the family, placed them in a coffin, and a public funeral was holden at the center of the town on the fourth, when a great crowd of people from the town and vicinity were assembled, and an appropriate sermon was preached by Rev. Hezekiah Taylor, the pastor of the church. From an old copy of his sermon, in the possession of the writer of this sketch, it appears that he exhorted his hearers not to construe this painful and violent death of a whole family as a judgment of God by reason of any great or unusual wickedness, for the manner of a person's death was no evidence of his righteousness or sinュfulness before God. He appealed in pathetic and eloquent terms to the neighbors and townsmen of the deceased family, to take warning by this terrible and appalling calamity to be "always ready," for they know not at what hour the Lord would come, "whether at the second or third watch, whether at nightfall or at midnight." Mr. Henry Sawtell and his wife came to Newfane about 1774, and began the clearing of a new farm at a point midway between Newfane Hill and Williamsville. He was highly esteemed for his integrity. His wife was regarded as a pious, amiable woman, an exemplary, affectionate mother. After having undergone the hardships and vicissitudes attending the commencement of a new settlement, though not wealthy, Mr. Sawtell was in comfortable circumstances, and contemplated the erection of a more convenient and suitable dwelling for his family. But fate had decreed "that but for a little time" and they would need no earthly dwelling.

 

 

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THE OLD SHIRE VILLAGE.

 

In the early settlement of the town, a village grew up on the summit of a hill, which rose like a cone in the center of the town, and in 1787 Newfane was constituted the shire

 

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town of Windham County, and the courts were removed from Westminster to Newfane Hill, so called. From 1790 to 1820, the village consisted of a court house, jail, meeting house, academy, three stores, two hotels, a variety of shops, such as were found in all New England villages at an early day, and about twenty private residences. The village stood upon the summit of the hill, and afforded a prospect as extensive and picturesque as any in New England. From the summit, near the meeting house, might be seen not less than fifty townships, lying in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. On the west, Haystack in Wilmington, and Manicknung in Stratton, towered above the ridge of the Green Mountains, which formed the western boundary of the county. On the north, Ascutney was plainly visible to the naked eye, and on a clear summer day, the White Hills in New Hampshire could be distinctly seen by the aid of a telescope. The Highlands of New Hampshire and Massaュchusetts, extending for a distance of more than eighty miles from Sunnapee to Holyoke, were distinctly visible on the east, while Monadnock and Wachusett, with their cloud-capped summits, seemed to mingle with the heavens ; and along the margin of the horizon to the southeast, little was to be seen but a broad sea of mountain tops, displaying, in wild disorder, ridge above ridge, and peak above peak, until the distant view was lost among the clouds.

 

 

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VIEW FROM PUTNEY WEST HILL.

 

We cannot, in this connection, omit a description of the view from Putney West Hill, near the northeast corner of Newfane, and near the old road that passes from Dummerュston and Putney to Newfane. From an eminence near the highway, the view in mid-summer is unsurpassed by any in New England. Looking south, you have on the right, the

 

 

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narrow and deep valley of the Wantastiquet, and on the left, the broader valley of the Connecticut. The whole compass of the horizon opens to the view. You can trace the line of the Green Mountains from Florida, in Massachuュsetts, to Mount Holly on the north. Saddleback, Haystack, Manicknung and Shatterack tower far above the Green Mountain ridge. From the Connecticut valley your eye stretches over the entire space from Ascutney to Holyoke, and you see hill and valley, clearing and forest, villages, hamlets and cottages, until you reach the summit of the majestic Monadnock ; and from thence you look north along the line of the Blue Highlands toward the White Hills. The surface of the Connecticut, for ten or fifteen miles below Brattleboro, and the cemetery on Prospect Hill, in the east village of Brattleboro, and the village of West Brattleboro are distinctly visible. The serrated, irregular and broken surface of the country, extending from the Wantastiquet to the summit of the Green Mountains on the west, is highly interesting, and reminds one of the Sierras of Spain and California.

 

 

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SITE OF THE NEW SHIRE.

 

In 1825, the site of the public buildings were changed from Newfane Hill to what is now called Fayetteville, a village two miles east of the old center in the valley of the Wantastiquet or West River. The present site of the shire is three miles cast of the geographical center of the county, and one mile south of the center of population. It is easy of access from all parts of the county. A new court house and jail were erected at an expense of $10,000. In 1853, by an Act of the General Assembly, commissioners were appointed, who altered and improved the public buildings at a cost of $13,000. After the removal of the shire from

 

 

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the hill to the valley below, the owners of the real estate on the hill commenced removing their buildings to Fayetteville and Williamsville, the two villages that have sprung up since the removal of the public buildings, and as late as 1860 not a building remained to mark the pleasant site of the old shire of Windham County. Fayetteville, the present site of the shire, has entirely grown up since 1825. It contains a court house, jail, two churches, two hotels, two stores, one grist and saw mill, two blacksmith shops, two carriage factories and fifty dwelling houses. It is pleasantly situated in the northeast part of the town on Smith's Brook, near its junction with the Wantastiquet or West River.

Williamsville, in the southeast part of the town, is situated on the South Branch, near the mouth of Baker's Brook, and contains about thirty dwelling houses, one hotel, one meeting house, two stores, two saw mills, one flouring mill, one tannery, two blacksmith shops, one bobbin factory, one carriage factory, one carding machine, one fulling and cloth dressing mill, and one planing mill and pail factory. This village was named after William H. Williams, an enterュprising citizen, who resided many years in Newfane, and died in 1866 at a very advanced age.

Pondville, in the extreme south part of the town, contains a meeting house, one store, two saw mills, one flouring mill, one carding machine, and twenty dwelling houses.

 

 

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POPULATION.

 

The population of this town in 1771, was 52; in 1791, 660; in 1800, 1,000; in 1810, 1,276; in 1820, 1,506; in 1830, 1,441 ; in 1840, 1,403 ; in 1850, 1,304; in 1860, 1,192, and in 1870, 1,113.

 

 

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TOWN CLERKS.

 

The following is a list of the Town Clerks from the first organization of the town, in 1774, to the present time:

Luke Knowlton, from 1774 to 1783 ; Hezekiah Boyden, from 1783 to 1784; Luke Knowlton, 1784 to 1789; Calvin Knowlton, from 1789 to 1792; Nathan Stone, from 1792 to 1834; Joseph Ellis, from 1834 to 1836; William H. Hodges, from 1836 to 1839; Otis Warren, from 1839 to 1867 ; Marshall Newton, from 1867 to 1868 ; Dennis A. Dickenson, from 1868 to 1874.

 

 

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REPRESENTATIVES TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

 

Ebenezer Myrick, 1779; William Ward, 1780; Ebenezer Myrick, 1781 ; Daniel Taylor, 1782; William Ward, 1783; Luke Knowlton, 1784-5 ; William Ward, 1786-7 ; Luke Knowlton, 1788-9; Calvin Knowlton, 1790-1 ; Luke Knowlton, 1792 ; Moses Kenny, 1793 ; Ebenezer Allen, 1794 to 1804 ; Luke Knowlton, 1805-6; Elijah Elmer, 1807; Joseph Ellis, 1808-9 ; Martin Field, 1810; Sylvanus Sherwin, 1811 ; Luke Knowlton, 1812-13 ; John Brooks, 1814; Luke Knowlton, 1815; Sylvanus Sherwin, 1816; Horace Dunham, 1817 ; Luke Knowlton, 1818 ; Martin Field, 1819 ; Sylvanus Sherwin, 1820; Martin Field, 1821 ; Sylvanus Sherwin, 1822; Jason Duncan, 1823-4; Sylvanus Sherwin, 1825 ; William H. Williams, 1826 ; D. W. Sanborn, 1827 ; Sylvanus Sherwin, 1828; Joseph Ellis, 1829-30; Henry

 

 

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Wheelock, 1831-2 ; George Williams, 1833-4; Roswell M. Field, 1835-6 ; James Elliott, 1837-8 ; Walter Eager, 1839 ; Nahum Eager, 1840-1 ; Walter Eager, 1842; Otis Warren, 1843-4; Oliver P. Morse, 1845 ; no representative in 1846 ; Marshall Newton, 1847 ; George Arnold, 1848 ; Sir Isaac Newton, 1849-50; F. O. Burditt, 1851-2; Chas. K. Field, 1853-4-5 ; Marshall Newton, 1856 ; Otis Warren, 1857 ; Emory Wheelock, 1858 ; Otis Warren, 1859 ; Charles K. Field, 1860 ; O. L. Sherman, 1861-2 ; A. J. Morse, 1863-4 ; H. T. Robinson, 1865-6 ; John Rice, 1867; Holland Plimpton, 1868 ; E. P. Wheeler, 1869 ; Dana D. Dickinson, 1870-72.

 

 

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PERVERSION OF LEGAL MAXIMS.

 

By a strange perversion of legal principles, which preュvailed among the early settlers of Windham County, it was supposed that whoever married a widow who was adminュistratrix upon the estate of her deceased husband represented insolvent, and should thereby possess himself of any property or thing which had been purchased by the deceased husband, would become an executor de son tort, and would thereby make himself liable to answer for the goods and estate of his predecessor. To avoid this difficulty, Major Moses Joy, of Putney, who became enamored of Mrs. Hannah Ward, of Newfane, the widow of William Ward, who died about 1788 leaving an insolvent estate, of which Mrs. Ward was administratrix, and married her within three months after taking out letters of administration. The marriage took place in the old Field Mansion on Newfane Hill, February 22d, A. D., 1789, and was solemnized by Rev. Hezekiah Taylor. Mrs. Ward placed herself in a closet, with a tire-woman, who stripped her of all her clothing, and while in

 

 

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a perfectly nude state, she thrust her fair, round arm through a diamond hole in the door of the closet, and the gallant major clasped the hand of the nude and buxom widow, and was married in due form by the jolliest parson in Vermont. At the close of the ceremony, the tire-woman dressed the bride in a complete wardrobe which the major had proュvided and caused to be deposited in the closet at the commencement of the ceremony. She came out elegantly dressed in silk, satin and lace, and there was kissing all round. A similar marriage took place in Westminster, in this county. See Hall's History of Eastern Vermont, page 585.

An instance, illustrating the strange perversion of legal maxims which prevailed among our ancestors at an early day, fell under the observation of the writer of this sketch. The Hon. Luke Knowlton, Sen., died December 12, 1810, and, at the time of his decease, there were many unsatisfied judgments existing against him. The morning after his decease, a creditor who had obtained a judgment of about forty dollars, applied to the late General Field, his attorney, for an execution with which he could seize the body and commit it to prison, hoping thereby to wring the amount thereof from the relatives and friends of the debtor. But the Attorney refused to have an execution issued, insisting that it would be regarded as an outrage to take the dead body of a debtor and commit the same to prison. The prevailing notion at that time was that inasmuch as the execution run against the body, that the officer might take the body of the debtor, whether dead or alive, and commit the same to the common jail. The same notion prevailed in England as late as 1816. The creditors of the eloquent Richard Brinsley Sheridan, just before his decease, in July, 1816, became so clamorous that they caused a Sheriff's officer to arrest the dying man in his bed and was about to carry him off in his blankets to a sponging house, when the attending physician interfered, and by representing to the officer the responsiュbility he must incur, if, as was too probable, his prisoner should expire on the way, succeeded in averting the outrage.

In the Vermont Republican, printed at Brattleboro, in July, 1855, a story is told of a custom which prevailed in this County at an early day, of holding even the dead

 

 

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body of a debtor liable to arrest, and that a case occurred in the town of Dummerston, when a dead body was arrested on its way to the grave and detained until some of the friends "backed the writ," and thus became bail for the debtor's appearance at court. As the return day of the writ was put far ahead the defendant was in no condition to appear and consequently "lurched his bail." In 1820 Dr. John Campbell, of Putney, had obtained a judgment against Anthony Jones and Joel Lee, upon a jail bond executed by Jones and Lee. By virtue of an execution issued upon said judgment, Lee was arrested and confined in the common jail, on Newfane Hill, and under the law which prevailed in this State at that time he was not entitled to the privilege of the jail yard, but was subjected to close confinement. He died within the prison, in the summer of 1820, and his son requested the privilege of taking his body away for the purpose of burying it in the cemetery at Brookline, with his relatives and friends, but the jailer refused to permit the body to be taken away, insisting if he permitted the body to be removed it would be regarded as an escape, and he and his bail would he made liable to satisfy the original judgment, and not until the creditors had consented, would the jailor permit the body to be removed.

 

 

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THE WHIPPING POST.

 

At an early day corporal punishments were inflicted at every term of the Court on Newfane Hill. The writer of this sketch, when a mere boy, well remembers witnessing the whipping of old Mother White, of Wardsboro, in August, 1807. She was convicted of passing counterfeit money, and sentenced to recive thirty-nine lashes upon her bare back. A great crowd of men and women collected

 

 

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to witness the whipping. The Post vas in the form of a cross, with a transverse strip near the top, to which her bare arms were bound, and her body was stripped to the waist. The High Sheriff applied a certain number of stripes, and the balance were allotted to his Deputies, some seven in number, and some of whom applied the blows with great vigor. Near the close of the whipping her back became raw, and she suffered excessive pain and she shrieked and screamed terribly in her agony. The writer of this sketch, although very young, remembers the scene distinctly. The Meeting House and Academy stood a few rods above the site of the Whipping Post, and their windows were filled with women, gazing intently upon the revolting scene. This was probably the last woman publicly whipped in Vermont, for the Legislature abolished the Whipping Post that fall and provided for the building of a States Prison at Windsor.

 

 

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NUMBER OF SOLDIERS IN THE REBELLION.

 

The town of Newfane readily and promptly furnished her quota of soldiers, on the call of the President, for the supュpression of the Slave-holder's Rebellion. She stands credュited by the War Department with having furnished the following number of soldiers for the several Vermont regiュments and other army organizations:

Second Reg't, 7 ; Third Reg't, 1: Fourth Reg't, 6 ; Sixth Reg't, 1 ; Seventh Reg't, 1 ; Eighth Reg't, 38 ; Ninth Reg't. 3 ; Eleventh Reg't, 10; Twelfth Reg't, 1; Sixteenth Reg't, 17 ; Seventeenth Reg't, 6 ; Vermont Cavalry, 5 ; Sharpュshooters, 3 ; United States Navy, 6; soldiers not credited by name, 6 ; substitutes furnished, 6 ; commutation money paid by 7 men. Grand total of men furnished, 124 ; of whom 17 were killed or died in the service.