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were married fifty-five years. He died July 31, 1811, aged eighty-four. She died the 29th of August, following, aged seventy-eight. The first grown person whose death we find recorded by the Rev. Mr. Taylor, is that of Ebenezer Merrick, who was killed by a falling tree, January 9, 1779, aged seventy-five. April 20 and 21, 1795, five children died in town under twelve years of age.

 

 

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ROADS AND BRIDGES.

 

 

As is well known, all the social and business intercourse between the first settlers of our New England forests was conducted by the aid of marked trees. By their aid the beaten path was formed, and as the people and their wants increased, the trees along the line were cut, and a track that marked the advent of civilization formed. In this town there were, undoubtedly, two of these paths leading from the north and south part of the town, to a point near the mouth of the South Branch, as we find an undoubted record that there was a bridge over the stream at this point, before 1782, but the records fail to show by whom or by what means this bridge was built.

We find the first record of a regularly surveyed and laid out road to be in June, 1782, when it appears that the selectmen, Moses Kenney, Charles Evans, and Jonathan Park laid, and Lieut. Ward Eager surveyed, three roads. The most important and undoubtedly the first of these roads, commenced at the east side of the common and run eastwardly down the hill in and near the track already improved, to a point near the house of Thomas Higgins, thence in a northerly direction to Townshend line. In September following, a road was laid, commencing at a point near the house of Artemas Bruce and running south by marked trees and monuments, to and across the bridge at the mouth of the Branch, to Dummerston line. During

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the following twenty years a great number of roads were built throughout the town. The first vote on record for building a bridge was taken April 13, 1789, when it was voted to build a bridge over the South Branch near its mouth.

In 1791 Thomas Wheeler took a contract to furnish red beech and birch plank three inches thick, for the Phillips bridge, at the rate of one shilling and sixpence for every fourteen feet of plank used.

In 1794 it became necessary to rebuild the east bridge over the Branch, and the town voted to raise forty pounds for the purpose, a sum, according to their manner of reckoning, equal to one hundred and thirty-three and one-third Spanish milled dollars. In 1796 they voted to grant the sum of fifty pounds to Darius Wheeler to build a bridge across the Branch, near his mills. In 1802 the county road was laid and surveyed, four rods wide, from the court house to the north line of the county, the distance from the court house to Townshend bridge being four and three-fourths miles, and forty-seven rods.

In closing these notes it is perhaps proper for us to designate a few points of location, for the benefit of the future reader. The house of Thomas Higgins, mentioned in the survey of the first road, stood upon the farm now owned and occupied by Chas. Nichols. This farm is on the road leading to Brookline, upon the upper or oldest river flats, the second one from the bridge. From it you have a complete and beautiful view of the broad flats in Brookline, composing the meadow lands of the farms at this clay owned and occupied by Timothy Albee, Luther Osgood and A. T. Barnes. The Bruce farm is situated at the foot of Newfane Hill, upon the brook to which his name has been given. From the date of its first settleュment to the present it has remained in the possession of the family, and is now owned and occupied by a great grandson, Wm. T. Bruce.*

 

*We were in error in stating elsewhere that the farms now owned by Samuel Morse and Wm. A. Stedman were the only ones in town which have remained in continuous possession of the families by whom they were originally settled.

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Wheeler's mills were in the present village of Williamsュville, upon the mill site owned at this date by H. H. Hoyt, just above where the stream rushes through the deep gorge in the rocks, over which the present bridge stands. Tradition says the old bridge stood above the mills, opposite the spot where now stands the residence of the late Wm. H. Williams. From the location of the old road, it appears that the east bridge near the mouth of the Branch, stood some rods further up the stream than the present one.

 

 

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EXTRACTS FROM THE FIRST TOWN RECORDS

VOTES FOR COUNTY AND STATE OFFICERS

NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE.

 

In March, 1782, the town voted to grant the sum of four pounds, silver money, to pay Luke Knowlton for a book which he had procured to register deeds, and in April they accepted from him the gift of a book for town records, and ordered all their former records copied therein.

March 27, 1781, the town cast its first vote for County officers, and Luke Knowlton was chosen to carry the vote to Putney, as pointed out by act of the Assembly, but how many, or what officials were voted for, the records fail to show.

The first vote on record for Governor, Lieut.-Governor, and Treasurer, was taken on the first Tuesday of September, 1794, and stood as follows: Governor, Thomas Chitュtenden, 29 ; Isaac Tichenor, 44; Nath'l Niles, 3. Lieut.-Governor, Jonathan Hunt, 64. Treasurer, Calvin Knowlton, 28 ; Sam'l Cutler, 16 ; Dea. Moses Kenney, 1.

On Tuesday, the 30th of October following, we find the first vote recorded for a Representative in Congress Jonaュthan Hunt, 48 ; Stephen R. Bradley, 1 ; Lewis R. Morris, 1;