TOASTS AND RESPONSES.

 

 

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1. The President of the day. One of the stalwart, solid men of Newfane, though nothing but moss (Morse).

This was happily responded to by Mr. Morse, but the speech was not reported.

 

2. The Judiciary of this State. Adorned as much by the modesty as by the learning and sound judgment of those who wear the ermine.

To this the Hon. H. H. Wheeler replied as follows, viz.

It has given me great pleasure to be present on this occasion, to show in some measure the respect and regard that I have for the past and present inhabitants of this town. I have personally known it during the last quarter of its century. During the first ten years of that time it was, mostly, the home of my parents and myself, and since then it has been their home and that of others of my near relatives. And since then, too, I have spent some time in every year; and in some years considerable time in attendance at court here. These things have given me an extensive acquaintance with its people which has created and continued much respect and esteem on my part for them. From the manner in which I have been called upon now, however, I suppose that I am expected to say at least something about the relations of this town to the courts. In 1786-7 Luke Knowlton, a man prominent among the early inhabitants, and some of whose descendants still reside here, was a Judge of the Supreme Court. In an act of the Legislature of the State, passed March 8, 1787, which provided for the organization of courts and for their sessions, it was enacted that the time and place for the annual sitting of the Supreme Court should be " At Westminster in the county of Windham on the first

 

 

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Tuesday next following the fourth Tuesday of August next, and thereafter at Newfane in said county of Windham on the first Tuesday next following the fourth Tuesday in August, if the inhabitants of said Newfane shall, before that time, build a court house according to the condition of a bond executed by Luke Knowlton, Esq., and others, to the treasurer of Windham county." I suppose that the inhabitants of the town built a court house, according to the condition of the bond, for at the October session of the legislature in the same year an act was passed that provided, "That after the session of Windham County Court in November next all writs and processes to be issued returnable to the said court in June term, 1788, shall be returnable at Newfane in said county." This court house was set in the middle of the common on the hill, which was given by Luke Knowlton for that purpose. The session of the county court at that June term, 1788, would appear to be the first session of any court of general jurisdiction in the town. In the latter part of August, or the fore part of September following, the Supreme Court of the State must have sat there. At that session Moses Robinson, who was the first chief justice of the State, and who had been a judge of the court every year but one, and chief justice every year but two after the organization of the State. Paul Spooner, who had been a judge of the court every year but two, from the organization of the State, and chief justice one of the years that Robinson was not, and Stephen R. Bradley, the first person ever admitted to practice as an attorney, by the courts of Vermont, were the judges.

I have been thus particular in speaking of the session of that court, for it must have attracted a good deal of attention from the people at the time and have been quite an event in the history of the town. The court house built by the people of the town was consumed by fire, probably in the year 1790 or 1791. An act of the legislature was passed, October 18, 1791, laying "a tax of a half penny on the pound on the list of the polls and rateable estates in the county of Windham as taken the present year for the purpose of rebuilding a court house in Newfane in the county of

 

 

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Windham, on the ground where the court house lately stood." The court house was rebuilt on the same ground, and the courts, at times Nathaniel Chipman. Noah Smith, Royal Tyler, Theophilus Harrington, Richard Skinner, Cornelius P. Van Ness and Asa Aiken were members of which, continued to hold their sessions at the old court house on the hill, until the court house was built at Fayetteville, where it now stands. After that at times Chas. K.. Williams, Stephen Royce, Samuel S. Phelps and Jacob Collamer, of the judges not now living, attended the courts here, and became known to, and more or less familiar with the people of the town.

But the efficiency and usefulness of the courts do not depend upon the judges alone, but are largely dependent upon the members of the bar. When the courts were first established at Newfane, Luke Knowlton then lately a judge of the Supreme Court, probably practised before them. I have never learned that any other attorney then resided in the town. Perhaps among those who came from other towns was Charles Phelps, of Marlboro, who was the first lawyer that ever resided in the State. Afterwards Gen. Martin Field became an attorney and a prominent inhabitant of the town ; and William C. Bradley of Westminster, Jonathan Hunt of Brattleboro, John Phelps of Guilford, and Charles Phelps of Townshend. became, among others, prominent practitioners. After them came Jonathan D. Bradley, Roswell M. Field, a native of Newfane, and one of the brightest and ablest of the lawyers in the State and in the nation ; and later still, Edward Kirkland, John E. Butler, Henry E. Stoughton, Oscar L. Shafter, Stephen P. Flagg and many others, not now living. I cannot mention them all, nor say but a few words about any of them. All of these must have been often in this town, and have been more or less familiar with the people of the town. Some of them wielded an important influence in the nation, some of them in the State, all of them some influence in the county, and upon this town, the shire town of the county.

3. Our Historian. A Field well tilled and rich in the fruits of learned lore.

Response not reported.

 

 

 

 

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4. The Band. May they ever play Yankee Doodle close to the heels of a retreating foe.

 

The Band responded by playing Yankee Doodle, with the "Doodle" well put in.

 

5. Our Public Schools. The pride and glory of the town.

 

6. Our Ancestors. Embalm their memory and practice their virtues.

 

7. The Soldiers of Newfane. As in the past, so in the future they will stand by their country in the hour of her peril.

 

8. The greetings of Newfane's first Centennial to its second in 1974. We will take care that you shall not be ashamed of us.

 

Posterity will bear the greetings, and make the responses.

 

9. We often enough extol the deeds and virtues of our fore-fathers, and tell how much we owe to them, but we hear little of what we owe to our fore-mothers.

 

Our Fore-mothers. But for them we should not be here.

 

Responded to by M. O. Howe.

 

10. The people of Newfane hating everything dry but dry wit, are diligently cultivating something which is ever-Green.

This sentiment was happily and humorously responded to by J. J. Green, as follows:

 

Ladies and Gentlemen: I acknowledge the corn. Green I am, and Green I always expect to be. But we read in the Good Book that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like a lily of the field, and yet, the lilies are clothed in Green. I look about me. and I behold all nature clothed in her most beautiful garb. There's nothing in it but Green. And as I behold this vast assembly, these professional men and learned judges on the stage, I ask myself for what have they come

 

 

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here to-day? and the closing century answers: It is to hear Fane's Field,

 

Green with historic lore,

The crop of an age that's gone before.

 

11.

The ladies of Fane,

May they ever sustain

Their mothers' good name,

And, as of yore,

Of children have a score.

 

Response by C. K. Field.

 

12. Our Ancestral Mothers.

Responded to by Rev. Lewis Grout, as follows :

 

Our Ancestral Mothers Rich in health, good sense, grace and culture, with spinning wheels for pianos, cradles for melodeons, and wide-awake boys and girls for pupils and performers, they made their homes happy, and their memory to be revered.

 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: There are some occasions when it is not easy to give expression to the thoughts and feelings that go flitting through the mind and heart ; and, to some of us, such is this day. To have been born and reared on these hills or in some of these valleys, and then at the age of fifteen or twenty years to have gone away and have been absent some thirty or forty years, and now return, look around, see the present and recall the past, is to have remembrances and sentiments too many and too deep to be brought to the surface and put in words at the moment. Crossing the Green Mountains, a day or two since, when I had climbed up to the highest ridge, I turned and took a look at the regions left in the rear ; and what a glorious outlook was that hills and valleys, forests and farms, gardens and villas, nature and art, the works of God and the works of man, all mingled and lying at my feet in the perfection of beauty and variety. So, climbing up to this day of a hundred years, we turn for a moment and take a look at the past ; and what a grand review is this. Right here, at our feet, and around us, we see the fruitage of three generations of trials

 

 

 

 

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and joys, endeavors and achievements, in the richest of variety.

In this court house, under the shadow of whose walls and the shade of these trees, we are assembled; in that home of the traveler, there on the left ; in yonder bank, where the surplus gains of industry and economy are treasured for a rainy day ; in those walls across the way, where the lawless are kept out of mischief; in those neat and beautiful dwellings, the school house and the church, on the right and in the rear ; in these pillars and walls, on which hang the portraits and mementos of ancestors, whose disembodied spirits are, perchance, looking down upon us and upon the events of the day, with an interest surpassing even that which we feel ; in these lawyers and judges and ministers of the gospel, and in all this gathering of intelligent and enterprising men and women, we have embodied before us the memorials and results of a hundred years of life, labor and success, in all of which our ancestral mothers bore a large and steady part. In all that privation, industry and enterprise, out of which have come these blessed legacies, our mothers and the mothers that went before them, were never found wanting.

Much has been said of our ancestral fathers. We love to speak of them as living in times that tried the souls of men. Historians, poets, orators have recited and sung their praises. Records of their deeds are often written in statues and pillars of bronze, marble and granite. Nor can we speak or think of their worth too often or too highly. But to us, of what particular account had our fathers been, without our mothers? Even now the early days and noble deeds of those heroic women come up to my mind, as I heard and saw them in my boyhood, fifty years ago ; and it seems but yesterday that I listened to their story or looked upon their labor. How they left the society and comforts of their kindred and homes in Massachusetts, or other neighboring States, and came up into the wilds of Vermont, into the forests that then covered all these hills and valleys, on horseback, on the ox-sled, or cart, without roads, and only a blazed tree, here and there, for a guide ; what dangers they met with by the way ; what difficulties they had to encounter in this new

 

 

 

 

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field; what treasures of health, good sense, counsel, sympathy, grace and culture they brought to the aid of those they had taken "for better, for worse, while life should last" all this and a thousand other things come thronging upon the memory, as we stand here to-day.

Nor can we keep their many home virtues out of mind. How they began their new wilderness and domestic life, many of them in log huts of only one or two small rooms, and lived there contented and happy, till industry and economy could furnish something better ; how they were never slow or afraid to milk the cow, feed the pig, harness and drive the horse, or rake after the hay-cart ; could bring the water from the brook, the spring, or the well in the field; could hatchel the flax and card the wool, spin and weave, cut and make, bake and brew, make butter and cheese; and yet manage somehow to keep the cradle almost always a rocking, and have a troop of light infantry always well equipped and in best of tune and training. Such were the ancestral mothers whose names we honor to-day. We do well to rise up and call them blessed. If there is any name that is sacred and dear to me, after that of my God and Saviour, it is that of mother. And so it is, I doubt not, with you all. I look upon that picture (of Mrs. Newton), as it hangs before me on that pillar, and call to mind her character ; I see and hear some of her grand-children here to-day ; I remember what children she gave the world especially that one, the Rev. E. H. Newton, to whose instructions I listened with deepest interest every Sabbath for some ten or twelve years, in early life ; and upon whom I always looked as the perfect gentleman, the cultured scholar, and the eloquent preacher, and I get, in this way, some good idea of what we all owe to our ancestral mothers.

I have said this day finds us on the dividing ridge of two centuries ; or, if you will allow me to change the figure, I will say we are standing upon the bridge that links the two together and carries us over from the one to the other. As we pass, let us carry with us the treasures of good our ancestors wrought out and handed down to us. Let us be grateful for the institutions they planted for us, cherish the virtues they practiced, remember the good instructions they

 

 

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gave us, heed the pure and noble examples they left us ; and so be ready to hand all these blessings over, untarnished and improved, to those who shall come after us.

This has been a good day, a day of rejoicing, of happy meeting and greeting. But these festive hours must soon come to a close. Soon we separate, and go, some to our birth-place homes here in this good old town of Newfane, and some to the homes we have made in other towns and States, never to return and meet all here again, as to-day. But if we are true to our mission here below, we may yet meet in that yonder world above, and have a reunion there, more lasting and glorious than earth can give.

 

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HISTORICAL NOTES.

 

BY J. J. GREEN.

 

To me, it seems, that in order to understand and fully appreciate the history even of our own town, we must take it to a certain extent in connection with the contemporary history of the surrounding towns. Our several charters were all originally obtained from one governor, and the difficulties met and overcome in one town were common to all the towns ; so that in celebrating the centennial of Newfane and making that the central theme, around which all things else cluster, we find the subject thoroughly permeated with interests whose ramifications extend throughout the county of Windham, and, we may say, the state and the nation. Else why do we find this multitude assembled, as by common consent, on this, the ninety-eighth birthday of John Bull's most noble daughter, that child, Miss Columbia, who, as you all know, was born into the family of nations a 13-pounder,