BY HON. HARVEY MUNSILL.
This town, by name of Pocock, was chartered by Benning Wentworth, of New Hampshire, June 26, 1762, (26,000 acres,) to Samuel Averill and 62 others. Its name was changed to Bristol, Oct. 21, 1789; and 4,400 acres were set off to Lincoln, Nov. 18, 1824. It lies S. W. from Montpelier and S. E. from Burlington, about 25 miles. Bristol Flats, and land bordering on the river, is composed of a fine, deep, fertile, alluvial depost; on, the elevated plains a more gravelly and compact soil, not much diminished, prevails. Through the town, one part is rich loam; another, a clay soil; and yet another filled in with small smooth stone, having the appearance of once having been in the bed of a river. A broken range of mountains divides the town, so that two thirds of the table land lies on the west; one of which, from its shape, received the name of Hog's Back. These mountains, except in a few places where naked rocks appear, were formerly timbered near to their summits. Rattlesnake Den, a mass of broken stone, piled promiscuously, was at an early day infested by these snakes; but when they came out in the Spring, and curled upon the rocks, the settlers took advantage of their docility, and killed them in great numbers. None have been seen for many years. New Haven River enters through a mountain ravine, on the west, over so rough and rocky a bottom for some two miles, that, in time of high water, it appears in a perfect rage, and winds its way by a circuitous route to New Haven. Upon this stream and Balwin's Creek, a tributary, there are many good mill privileges improved. Bristol Pond, about 1½ miles in length, and ¾ wide, in the widest part, lies on the west side of Hog's Back. It has a muddy bottom, and extensive marshes covered with white cedar, black and white oak, tamarisk, and a few scattering pines; and it is well stored with pickerel. There is another pond, covering 10 or 12 acres, on South Mountain, well stored with trout. There are several springs in this town impregnated with mineral or gaseous substances, at one time frequently visited for their curative properties. These waters, clear and cold, are in constant motion, like a boiling pot, and resemble "Clarendon." A bed of iron ore, of the brown hematite variety, fibrous and commonly radiated, has been worked in years past and made excellent iron, found in connection with this bed is the black oxide of manganese and an ochery variety of iron ore.
It is said, and generally believed, that John Brodt, a German, and fugitive from justice, made Bristol his residence for about twelve years before any settlement was commenced. The account given by himself, as the writer is informed by one who had seen and conversed with him, is substantially as follows: He came from, or near, Unadilla, N. Y. He and one of his neighbors were owners of adjoining lands, and there was a misunderstanding between them about the line between their lots; this was the cause of bitter controversy between them. One day, Brodt, on his return from a hunting excursion, found his neighbor cutting timber, which he claimed to be on his land, and shot him dead on the spot. He immediately fled, and escaped punishment. On his flight, he called at Scheensboro', now White Hall, and procured ammunition, an axe, fishing tackle, and other necessary articles, and finally located in Bristol, then an unbroken wilderness. Here he built a small hut, where he was found by the committee, when they were surveying the first division of lots in the township. Capt. Bradley had then commenced a settlement some five miles down the river. He had built a log-house, and was expecting the arrival of his family. He pitied the solitary man, and invited him to make them a visit.
Soon after the arrival of the Captain's family, a very strangely dressed person made his appearance. As John Brodt stalked in, with moose-skin coat, with the hair on; breeches of undressed deer-skin, and a cap of fox-skin with the tail on; his short gun over his shoulders, followed by his aged and gray dog, the frightened children crept under the bed.
Brodt remained with them during the winter. His distant friends, on learning the place of his residence, petitioned in his behalf to the executive of New York for a pardon, which was granted; and soon after the receipt, he left for his former residence. We have no further knowledge of his history. It is said that he had a good education, and some respectable friends and connections. About fifty rods in a S. E. direction from Munson & Dean's Forge, a large chestnut-tree and a few stones of a fireplace mark the spot on which the guilty and unhappy fugitive long resided in solitude.
The first permanent settlement was commenced by Samuel Stewart and Eden Johnson, in the spring of 1786. Benjamin Griswold, Hen. McLaughton, Cyprian Eastman, Justus Allen, Robt. Dunshee, and John Arnold soon joined them; Gurdan Munsill, Amos Scott, Sam'l Brooks, Elij. Thomas, and Calvin and Jonathan Eastman were soon added, and their numbers continued to increase until 1810; from which time, until 1820, there was a decrease of 128. The population in 1850 was, by census, 1,312. Since 1850, it is thought there is considerable increase. The first person born in town was Mary Stewart, daughter of Sam'l Stewart, the first settler, who married Capt. Jehial Saxton, and now lives in New Burgh, O., a widow. The first male born in Bristol was Horace Griswold. The first marriage that appears upon record is that of Samuel Brooks and Betsey Rorapaugh, Mar. 16, 1791. The first death was that of a child of Amzi Higby, about 6 years old. The
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boy had been sent by its mother to call his father to dinner. The father was chopping down a tree. The boy, with all the animation of childhood, ran near to him, calling out, "Pa! pa! dinner is on the table! " But when the father first heard the voice of his child, he also discovered the tree had commenced falling in the same direction; and, horror stricken, beheld his beloved son instantly killed by the falling tree.
The first physician was Dr. Joseph Cable; the first practising attorney, the Hon. Sam'l Halley. The first settlers were generally persons of very limited means, compelled from necessity to labor with their own hands to subdue the forest and cultivate the fields as the only means of support for themselves and families. The females acted well their part; in addition to the ordinary cares of their families, they were often found in the field assisting to secure the crops of hay and grain; and not unfrequently were employed in piling logs and brush when their husbands were clearing their land. They were accustomed to spinning, weaving, and manufacturing their own and their husbands' and children's clothing. The wheel was the instrument of music on which they played, and it was seldom found out of tune. None of the first settlers were men of liberal education, nor were any of them very illiterate.
The town was organized Mar. 2, 1789. At the first freeman's meeting, held the first Tuesday of Sept. 1792, and from that time until the present, the town has been represented in the General Assembly, and the annual town meeting orderly held in March. The town pays heavy taxes, yet has always met its liabilities, and is as free from indebtedness as any town in the county.
Located in the centre of the town, on a plain 100 feet above the bed of the river, is one of the most delightful villages in the State. On the east towers a mountain, presenting a sublime and picturesque appearance. On the north and south is an open country. Casting your eyes to the west, in a clear day, the first object presented to view is the lofty Adirondack mountain chain; their scores of heads, in sportive mockery, seeming to vie with our own Green Mountains in Vermont. There is also within the village a beautiful enclosed park, (over an acre,) with an open space of near 6 rods on all sides. Taking into consideration the water power, its soil, always dry in the streets, and not dusty in a dry time, and its romantic scenery, it can hardly be surpassed in Vermont for beauty and convenience. Yet this handsome village, in 1800, was almost an unbroken forest, with not a single framed building, and but few small log-houses. This village now contains 3 good meeting-houses, (the Baptist, built in 1819; the Episcopal Methodist, in 1840; and the Congregational, in 1841, — the two first having each a good bell;) and a good academy building, with a good bell; a two-story district schoolhouse; 2 grist mills; 2 sawmills; 1 chair factory; 1 window blind, sash and door factory; 1 carding machine and clothier's works; 1 tannery; 4 blacksmith shops; 3 shoe shops; 2 paint shops; 2 harness maker's shops; 1 tavern; 4 dry goods stores; 1 hardware store and tin shop; 1 drugstore; 1 bookstore; 2 eating saloons; 2 milliner's shops; several mechanics' shops; and 94 dwelling-houses, mostly painted white; and is supplied with water by 4 aqueducts, fed from never-failing springs; — the principal one brought about 300 rods in water-cement pipes. There are now in the village, 2 practising physicians, Dr. F. P. Wheeler and Dr. L. Hasseltine, Jr.; 2 attorneys, Hon. Horatia Needham and Martin Copland. There are 8 districts in which a summer and winter school are regularly taught; though not what they should be, yet good as generally sustained in the State.
Charles Smith, Royal W. Peak, Anson H. Parmelee, Jeremiah Hatch, Jr., Adam K. Miller, George Eastman, Martin Lowell, Edwin Johnson, and Walter C. Dunton, are our college graduates.
The Baptist church, organized Aug. 7, 1794, Timothy Allen, first deacon, held their meetings at different places to accommodate the people, and had no ordained minister or steady preaching until Eld. Amos Stearns was ordained, Sept. 3, 1818, — the church numbering 44 members. The whole number during the 24 years since its organization is 108. In 1820, Eld. Stearns was dismissed for want of support. Elders John Dodge and David Hardy supplied them most of the time until Eld. Wm. W. Moore was ordained, June 16, 1836. The two first years of Eld. Moore's labor were successful, but during the last, various influences worked an alienation of pastor and people, and a separation ensued. Since Eld. Moore was dismissed, the church has employed for different periods, Elders Arnold Kingsbury, Solomon Gale, Elias Hurlbut, Richard Amsden, Cyrus W. Hodges, A. A. Sawin, P. C. Himes, and the present supply, Eld. Pinkam.
The Congregational church was organized July 8, 1805, by Rev. J. Bushnell, of Cornwall, who in an early day occasionally preached here. David Ingraham, first deacon, continued to officiate until he removed from town, 1815. They had no stated preaching for several years, nor house of worship, till 1819, when they built a house in connection with the Baptists and Universalists, each denomination to occupy in proportion to the amount paid for its erection; they occupied their share, until 1837, when they sold out to the Baptists, and, in 1841, erected themselves a respectable house. They had no settled minister until Calvin Butler was ordained, Feb. 10, 1842, at which time the church numbered 67. He continued to labor three years, and was dismissed for want of support. The church
has been temporarily supplied since, by the Revs. Beckwith, Frazure, Reggs, Morgan, Hoyt, Goodale, Hazen, and Kimble. At present they have no stated preaching.
There were a few Methodists who occasionally held meetings, as early as 1810, if not before. There was a class that united with a class in Monkton, whose leader was John Creed, who held meetings in a schoolhouse at the north part of the town. In 1813 a class was formed at the village, and meetings held at the house of Eben'r Saxton, an early and worthy member. Rev. Stephen Sovenberger preached the first Methodist sermon in Bristol. Rev. C. H. Gridley was the first circuit preacher; during his preaching, several united with the church. The first quarterly meeting was held by Rev. Jacob Beeman, when in charge of the Charlotte circuit, in Capt. Noble Munson's barn, in 1816, and since then there has been regular preaching most of the time, and quarterly meetings regularly. At that period Bristol belonged to the Charlotte circuit, but is now under the Troy Annual Conference, organized in 1832. The church is now supplied by Rev. Thomas Dodgson, and among its members are some of our best citizens, and its Sabbath school is in a prosperous condition. In 1819, by great exertion, they built a chapel, which answered their purpose until 1840, when they had become able to erect one after the modern style.
the first permanent settler of Pocock, (now Bristol,) was a soldier of the Revolution, in the battle of' Bunker Hill; went to Quebec with Arnold in his detachment, that penetrated the wilderness by the way of the Kennebec River; was at the assault on Quebec, and after the fall of Montgomery, his term of service having expired, he returned home. He was soon after married to Miss Elizabeth Abbot, of Pawlet, and removed to Salem, N. Y.; from thence to Scheensboro'; and from thence to Bristol, in June, 1786, where he continued to reside until the fall of 1817, when he removed to Royalton with an ox team, being 51 days on his journey. He was one of the first Board of Selectmen in Bristol, — had twelve children, — was a bold and resolute man, and died at Royalton, Aug. 27, 1827, aged 78.
came from Westfield, N. Y. and was the third person with a family who settled in town. He located on what is called Bristol Flats, built a log-house and occupied the same a few years, when he removed to Cambridge, Lamoil county.
CAPT. CYPRIAN EASTMAN
was born in Norwich, Conn. in 1749. He was the second son of Jonathan Eastman, of Rupert, deceased. He married Rosannah Nelson, of Rupert, by whom he had ten children. In 1787 he settled on Bristol Flats, and was one of the first selectmen. In June, 1791, a militia company being organized, he was chosen captain, and was also appointed one of the committee to lay out the first division lots of land and roads in said town. The Captain was a good citizen, and well esteemed. In the spring of 1798 he went to Montreal, where he took the smallpox, of which he died on the 23d of May, aged 49 years.
was born in New Hampshire, and emigrated to Bristol in 1787. He commenced a settlement at the extreme south part of the town, and afterwards sold and removed to Bristol Flats, where he built a two-story house, afterwards used as a tavern. He followed the business of a saddle and harness maker many years. Again he sold out and removed on to the mountain road to the Little Notch. He, too, was one of the first selectmen. He was twice married. After the death of his first wife, by whom he had one child, he married Bershabe Eastman, a daughter of Capt. Cyprian Eastman, by whom he had several children. He was an industrious man, and a good citizen. He died from the effects of a cancer.
HENRY McLAUGHLIN, ESQ.
was born in Ireland, and served as a drummer in the army of Burgoyne, till he (Burgoyne) left Ticonderoga for Scheensboro', when he left his army and went to Williamstown, Mass., where he employed his time in teaching school a few years. He married Miss Mary Dunton, of Dorset, a sister of Gen. Dunton, of Bristol, and soon after, in March, 1787, removed to the latter place. The snow being very deep, he removed his goods from Middlebury on a hand-sled. He was our first town clerk, and afterwards constable; and five times one of the selectmen. He surveyed many of our roads, and was the proprietors' clerk. He thrice represented the town, and was ten years an acting justice of the peace. He commenced a settlement at the four corners, west of the village, where he built a brick house and kept a tavern many years. In 1805 he removed to Hopkinton, N. Y., where he kept a public house until February, 1812, when he and his wife for the first time returned to Bristol for a visit, and were taken sick and died within one week of each other. Their death was much lamented.
CAPT. GURDON MUNSILL,
a soldier of the Revolutionary war, was born in Windsor, Conn., Oct. 28, 1760. He married Miss Olive Carver, of Bolton, Conn., by whom he had eight children. He emigrated to Bristol, where he arrived March 21, 1789. He had been in town the previous year, and made some improvements. He was appointed by the Legisla‑
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ture, in 1788, collector of a land tax in Bristol; represented the town in 1796; was two years justice of the peace; and seven years one of the selectmen. He was appointed captain of a militia company in Bristol, in 1795, which office he held several years, and died Nov. 15, 1807, aged 47.
GEN. EZEKIEL DUNTON
was born in Dorset. He married Miss Comfort Kellogg, and removed to Bristol at an early day, where he continued to reside until his death, Feb. 13, 1824, aged 56. He was a good farmer and a much respected citizen. In 1794 he was chosen one of the selectmen, and was ten times re-elected. He was twice chosen constable and collector; represented the town in 1806, '08, and '13; was fifteen years a justice of the peace; and was appointed brigadier-general of the 2d Regiment, 1st Brigade, and 3d Division of the militia of Vermont. Holding that office at the invasion of Plattsburgh by the British, he took the command of a volunteer company as their captain, and was in the battle of Plattsburgh. He left four children, two sons and two daughters.
JONATHAN EASTMAN, ESQ.
was born at Norwich, Conn., in 1753, and was third son of Jonathan Eastman, late of Rupert, deceased. He married a Miss Haynes for his first wife, by whom he had one daughter; and a Miss Ruth Dean for his second, by whom he had five children. He removed from Rupert to Bristol in 1791. He was a worthy citizen, and our first representative in 1792, and again in 1795; four years one of the selectmen; eleven years town clerk; and seventeen years a justice of the peace. He died Dec. 16, 1816, aged 63.
A SPECIMEN OF AMOS EASTMAN'S POETRY.
[Amos Eastman, Esq., at the advanced age of 92 years, is still living at Bristol.]
THIS day my age is EIGHTY-EIGHT,—
How like a dream! how short the date!
The scenes and trials I've passed through
All lie before me to review.
The adage, true in every land,
We're twice a child and once a man;
May childhood innocence be mine,
With age, experience, all combine.
Time swiftly passes on, we see,
Waits not for you, waits not for me;
Then seek a City out of sight,
Where all is found that can delight.
FEB. 8, 1868.
BEAUTIFUL may be the towns that lie beside the placid waters of Lake Champlain, but they cannot compare with the picturesque scenery of my own native town, — its grand mountains, with towering rocks, and lofty oaks and pines; its verdant hills, with gushing springs and rivulets. Earth's scenes are changing, but mountains and hills remain, remnants of primeval beauty.
The hand of man may change the wilderness to a fruitful field, — Omnipotence alone maketh the mountain to nod, and drieth up the source of waters. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so, indeed, in some measure, are they round about us. We cannot boast of mighty rolling waters, but there is magnificence in the ragged, rock-bound shores of our rivers. When the forests assume the October tints, we enjoy a sunrise over these mountains, beautiful beyond description, as hill and dale are lighted by the ascending King of Day. If there is any devotion in the heart, it must ascend in praise to Him who hath said, "Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool."
MRS. JAMES TUCKER.
THERE ARE MEMORIES.
THERE are memories that linger forever,
And yearnings deep hid in the breast;
There are feelings unspoken, that never
Shall change till the heart is at rest.
There are hours when the soul is all sadness,
And darkness rests down like a pall,
Pierced by no ray of sunshine or gladness,
And life seems a weariness all.
There are friends whose sweet sympathies cheer us,
The loving, the true, end the kind;
Oh, would they might ever be near us
To chase the sad gloom from the mind!
There's a pathway our feet may leave never,
Marked out by the finger of God,
Stern Duty is beckoning us ever
Where the footsteps of martyrs have trod.
There are hopes that grow brighter in sorrow,
And Faith sheds her heavenly light,
While she points to a fairer to-morrow,
A day not succeeded by night.
Where the faithful ones, wayworn and weary,
Are gathered to mansions of rest,
Exchanging these earth-scenes so dreary,
For joys in the home of the blest.
MRS. M. H. CASE.
POETRY is the harmonious and picturesque development of the truths of nature and of God. In its expression, it rises from the simplest lullaby song of the mother to the cradled nursling, to the loftiest anthems that swell the praises of God, and fill the immensity of his universe. In its range, it extends from the simplest truths of nature, on and on, to the sublimest utterances of God in all time and eternity. In its scenery, it embraces every exhibition of God's works; in earth, from the lowest existences to the highest; in air, the sublime and interminable range of all worlds, with all their multifarious existences; in heaven, all the revealed and conceivable perfections and glories of its high, holy, and eternal abode; in the immensity of the world beyond, the eternity of our being and God's, its forever developing and still forever undeveloped wonders and glories.
REV. C. W. WALKER,
Principal of Bristol Academy.
REST for the weary hands,
When the work of life is done;
Rest for the weary feet,
When the race of life is run.
Rest for the aching head,
When the care of life is o'er;
Rest for the breaking heart,
When sin shall vex no more.
This is the rest we wish, we need,
Oh, such repose is rest indeed!
MRS. D. M. F. WALKER.
To be! Ah, 'tis a grand and fearful thing
To feel the dread responsibilities
That crowd around the soul, e'en in this life;
To know, each morn, that in the coming day
A future lies that may destroy bright hopes, —
Perhaps the dearest of the quivering heart, —
Throw shadows o'er the soul, whose length'ning
Shades may dim its lustre through all time;
Or else stir thrills of joy within the breast,
To swell and vibrate through eternity.
Through pleasure's eddies, and the passion's whirl,
The storm's rude wrath, the lightning's vivid curl,
The low'ring cloud of dark and fell despair,
The tempest-tost and trembling soul rides on,
Lives, ever lives, expands, and grows more strong;
Till, fretted by its limitations scant,
It launches forth upon that unknown sea,
Toward which time ever rolls its ceaseless tide,
There through unending ages to exist,
And quaff deep, satisfying draughts, for which
The soul in time oft longs, and thirsts, and gasps,
And stretches forth its hands, but cannot grasp.
L. H. THOMAS, M. D.
NO ROSE WITHOUT THORNS.
A YOUTH walked Life's garden to cull the fair flowers,
Where a garland he wove his brow to adorn,
When sweet cries of rapture were beard in Hope's bowers, —
Eureka! Eureka! a rose without thorns!
His heart by loud beating re-echoed the sound,
And mocked at the sages who often have said,
A rose that is thornless no mortal hath found
In the way-path of life man ever must tread.
He gazed on its petals, his soul filled with fire,
Emotions welled up and burst from his lips;
I've found the rich treasure for which I aspire,
More fragrant than nectar that Jupiter sips.
He pressed to his bosom this blossom so fair,
He sought it at evening and gay smiling morn,
Nor dreamed he of sorrow, nor suffering, nor care;
He fancied the rose quite devoid of a thorn.
But as he caressed it he felt a sharp pang;
Like an arrow it sped, while bleeding and torn
His heart lay in sorrow; and upward he sprang
With wail of sore anguish; — "Alas! here's a thorn."
Oh, ever 'tis thus in our longings for fame,
Or what is called glory and dazzling renown!
Hope ever allures by fanning the flame,
And then turns away with a wound or a frown.
Or Love gives a banquet, and we are his guest,
And earth seemeth joyous, and beauty adorns;
We think ne'er was mortal so favored and blest,
When lo! mid the whole lie numberless thorns.
JENNIE B. LOWELL.*
* Now Mrs. J. B. Cook, of Monkton.