BY NATHAN CAPEN.
GOSHEN, containing 13,000 acres, and two gores in Caledonia county, of 2,828 and 7,339 acres, was chartered, by the legislature of this State, to John Powell, Wm. Douglas, and 65 others, Feb. 2, 1792, and rechartered to the same, Nov. 1, 1798. It was argued, the inhabitants in each of the gores might, with equal propriety, organize themselves into a town, and their proceedings would be valid as our own; consequently, an act of the legislature, legalizing our organization, was obtained soon after. The meeting for the organization of the town, was held on the 29th of March, 1814, at the dwelling-house of Simeon C. Davis; presided over by Henry Olin, Esq., of Leicester. At this time there were but 17 families in town. Jabez Omsted was the first settler, in March, 1807; Nathan Capen was first town clerk; Grindal Davis, Noah Allen, and Anthony Baker, first selectmen; listers, Sim. C. Davis, Nathan Capen, and Jas. Fitts; first constable, Anthony Baker; first male born in Goshen, Mial Carlisle, son of Joseph Carlisle; first female, Polly Allen, daughter of Noah Allen. It was evident from the first settlement in the north part of Philadelphia, in consequence of the mountain dividing it nearly through the centre, making a distance of 3 miles between the habitable parts, the town would soon be divided for the mutual convenience of the inhabitants in the north part and Goshen; consequently, Nov. 9, 1814, the north part of Philadelphia was annexed to Goshen. Phineas Blood was the first settler in the annexed portion, (1806.) First child born in this part of the town, was Roswell W. Mason, March 11, 1811. Jabez Omsted, March, 1807, had put up the body of a small log-house, and moved his family. His wife had been sick for some time; but, such was his anxiety to be on his land in the sugar season, with the assistance of three other men, he brought his wife on a bed, and took up their abode in a log-hut, without a floor, rafter, or roof, save a few boards and brush to cover their beds, and shelter them from the storms of that inclement season. Such accommodation for a sick person must have been anything but inviting. Omsted, at this time, was past middle age; had lost his property, and came here in debt, hoping to retrieve his broken fortune. With the assistance of his son Jonathan, he succeeded in clearing a few acres; worked hard, and fared harder, till his creditors thought best to close the concern. At that time the civil process ran in this wise: "And, for the want thereof, take his body." It did not require a very rigid scrutiny of Omsted's effects to satisfy the officer that the body must pay the debt. So Omsted was taken from his family, and incarcerated in jail, at Middlebury. He soon obtained the limits of the yard; but the time he was compelled by law to stay was too long for any other purpose than to prove that imprisonment for debt was but the relic of a barbarous age. In his case, it was too well exemplified. He wrote to his family, saying, on a certain Saturday night, he would be at home. When that Saturday night came, his family watched with the greatest anxiety for his return; the children often running out, while day lasted, to see if there was any appearance of their father; and, after dark, listening to every sound, in their eager anxiety to greet him. The mother would walk short distances in the direction she expected him to come, making it her rule not to go beyond sight of the house. Saturday night, to Mr. Omsted's family, wore off drearily. He did not come. There was a lurking feeling that possibly he might be sick; but hope sought to alleviate their fears by suggesting the probability that he had stayed on the road to attend meeting on the Sabbath. So they waited patiently on through the day. Monday brought a dreary east wind and snow-storm, which rendered travelling almost impossible. While Mrs. Omsted was preparing breakfast, a stranger knocked at her door, and inquired for her. She said she knew that he brought tidings from Mr. Omsted, and, without farther preliminaries, asked if he was sick. His reply was, Very sick. After a moment's pause, he added, He was alive
36 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
when I came away, but there is no probability that you will ever see him alive. Mr. Omsted died the same morning that the messenger left. Preparations were made to bring him home for burial, that his family might have the cold satisfaction of looking upon the lifeless form of that beloved husband and father; but, either through fear of having the debt transferred to the person who should remove him, or some unexplained cause, he was buried in Middlebury.
The first settlers were generally obliged to buy their grain of farmers in adjoining towns. The method of transportation was to carry it on their backs. The manner of payment was almost universally by days' work, in which they were rich, and possessed of but little else which they could spare. So universal was the practice of working out in haying, on one occasion they felt compelled to raise a barn on Sunday, there not being help at home sufficient to do it on a week day. While talking of the hardships to which our first settlers were subjected, with Nathaniel Belknap, now 76 years old, he said, his eye brightening up, — I tell you, we saw hard times. The young folks now-a-days couldn't begin to stand it as we did. I moved into my log-house, here in the woods, when there was but one board on it, and that I brought from New Hampshire. And for weeks after, said Mrs. Belknap, I could lie abed and count the stars. Said the old man, I have been more than a mile beyond Pittsford village to buy a bushel of corn. I couldn't find it between here and there. When I paid for it, I had to take 5 pecks, because I couldn't make change. I took it, and started for the mill; got it ground; shouldered it, and carried it home. But, he added, I didn't get off the bed the next day. He had travelled at least 26 miles that day, and 13 with 5 pecks of grain on his back. His second winter was a hard one. He took a job of lumbering in Pittsford; bought a yoke of oxen, and calculated to work his way through the winter, and have a team in the spring; but his oxen sickened and died, and he lost his cow before spring.
Joseph and Wm. Carlisle, Jr., on one occasion travelled three days before they could find a bushel of grain that they could buy, while their families were in need at home. It was often the case that the women would go to Brandon to get necessaries. On one occasion, Mrs. Joseph Carlisle went to her brother's in Brandon; borrowed his horse, and went to the village; but, before she got home, night came on, when neither she nor the horse could follow the road. She called for help with a will, but this so alarmed her child, she dared not repeat her call, lest the child should cry itself into fits. So she sat down on an old log, and held the horse by the bridle until morning. When she sat down, she wished her father would come and help her out of the wood in which she was lost; she said, immediately a bright light stood out before her, up a little from the ground. She always thought that if she had followed it, it would have led her out into the right way. Her father had been dead some time. She had sat in the woods not more than half a mile from home.
Anthony Baker had laid up a good supply of provision, in order to have enough to last till he could raise it here; and left hay to winter his stock in Sudbury, so that one would have supposed the hardships incident to a new settlement would have skipped him; but he came in with the rest for a full share, his only cow dying the first winter; and one winter, when he thought he was going to live right along, had wintered 4 cows and 14 sheep, before grass grew, two of his cows died, and the wolves killed 7 of the sheep and all the lambs.
But why enumerate hardships? When I asked old Mrs. Gale what were their hardships, she answered, very significantly, "It was all hardship. The men were sometimes disheartened, but we always hoped for and expected better times." The first saw-mill was built by Anthony Baker in 1817. Till then all the boards used in town had to be drawn from Brandon. The first schoolhouse was built in 1815, in the first district. The first persons baptized in town were John White, Nancy Blood, Lydia Carlisle, and Hannah Smith, in 1815, by Rev. Edward B. Rollins. In the same year, Amos Sawyer and Fanny Sawyer, his wife, and Merriam Ayer, the wife of David Ayer, were baptized. These seven members constituted the first Christian church. The first school in town was taught by Martin Carlisle, in the winter of 1814. Nathaniel Alden was the first Methodist preacher; he came from Ripton. The first Methodist society was established in 1818; its members constituting this society were William and Rebekah Clark, his wife, Benjamin and Mary Phelps, his wife, and Polly Clark. Of this number there are none living. The first acre of potatoes was planted by Simeon C. Davis in 1811. In the year 1816, Noah Allen raised, on 3½ acres, 1,300 bushels of English turnips.
3¼ years in the Revolution, settled in Goshen in 1806. He conceived the idea of annexing the north part of Philadelphia to Goshen, as soon as it was organized. He built a log-house on 4 different lots of land, and disposed of them, and then built a framed one on another lot, between the years 1806 and '20; was one of the principal men in town from 1815–'21; the second representative in 1815–'16, and a justice of the peace 5 or 6 years; was a respected citizen, and something of a rhymester. He died Sept. 10, 1822. His widow is still living, and is over 90 years of age.
7½ years in the Revolution, was a good soldier. He came here in 1809; was an unassuming man,
who contented himself with his domestic concerns; died April 30, 1819, and was the first person buried in the present burying-ground.
a Revolutionary soldier, was in the battle of Red Bank. He said he was one of the 400 men under Col. Greene, who defended Fort Mercer against the British attack, and fired 60 rounds of cartridges before the contest was decided and the enemy left them. He died Dec. 1813, was the first grown person that had died in town, and was buried near the west line of lot No. 50, by the side of the road. There is nothing to mark the spot where the old patriot was buried, and occasionally wagons are driven over his grave.
was out in the service, but not in such a manner as to obtain a pension. He came to town in 1823; was a man of uncommon intellect, and wonderful memory. I have heard him say, for 40 years he could repeat the texts of every discourse he had heard preached, and the occasion of its delivery; and three days after its delivery, he repeated every word of a discourse. He was a pious man, and almost invariably attended meeting. In argument he was systematic and lucid, cogent in reasoning, and logical in discourse. He was once where the ordinance of baptism was being administered. After all those who had requested had been baptized, Cowen stepped forward and said, "Here is water; why may not I be baptized?" "If thou believest, thou canst." Said the old man, "I believe." But his belief was not sufficient to satisfy the ministering official, and he was not baptized. His religious belief was restoration. On one occasion he stated in meeting that he had had a passage of Scripture on his mind for some time, and as there was no appointment for a certain Sabbath, which he named, he would try to talk on that subject. And for fear he might get confounded, he would give out the text there, and in case of his failure, the audience could help him. But the old man was adequate for his subject. However, a few days after the delivery of his discourse, he said he shouldn't preach any more; for no sooner had he got one passage of Scripture from his mind, than another was impressed upon it. He composed several pieces of poetry; but only one is to be found, and that was written after he was 81 years of age, but a few days before he died, and shows the state of his mind at the time.
My ears are deaf, my eyes are dim,
And vision flees away;
My memory fails, my strength far spent,
My flesh must soon decay.
I listen, but I cannot hear;
I gaze, but cannot see.
Bless God! I feel, and that to me
Is good as good can be.
Some fragments of my broken thoughts
With me yet still remain;
To Jesus I devote them all,
And bless his holy name!
Sometimes I fancy I can hear
The holy angels sing;
While they seem hovering round my bed,
Borne by their golden wings.
They seem to waft a heavenly breeze,
Which proves a royal feast.
When I am fanned by angel-wings,
I'm freed from all distress.
My time is short, for death draws near, —
A happy change for me,
Thus to depart and be with Christ
To all eternity.
He died May 13, 1845, aged 81.
This town could not be properly accused of the want of patriotism in the war of 1812, for Asa Grandey, Jr., and David Omsted were killed in battle at French Mills. Jesse White, a much respected citizen, was in the U. S. service during a great part of the war, and Sanford Grandey was also in the service, and in the battle at Plattsburg. Such was the noise of that battle that the guns were heard here. Asa Grandey and his wife walked the road before their house, wringing their hands in an agony of grief, expecting to hear that Sanford was killed, as Asa had been before. When the alarm was given that the British were marching on Plattsburg and a battle expected, Sam'l White, Grindal Davis, Sim. C. Davis, Reub. Allen, Dav. Ayer, Jr., Martin Carlisle, Benj. Phelps, Jr., Rob. Mason, Henry S. Jona. Omsted, and Leon. Toby took their equipments and started for Plattsburg. The battle was fought, however, before they arrived. John Ayer and Jesse White also served 18 months in this war.
came here in 1809; was one of the first selectmen when the town was organized, and held that office a number of years; he was a kind, obliging neighbor, ready to help in time of need, and give for all charitable purposes according to his ability. Such was his generosity, by some he has been styled the father of the town. Noah Allen and his 6 sons were prominent, substantial men, first and foremost in all things pertaining to social, moral, and religious improvement. Noah Allen died May 20, 1844.
came to Goshen in the spring of 1811; was elected first selectman at the first town meeting in 1814; in May, 1814, was appointed a delegate to the convention to amend the Constitution; in September chosen representative to the general assembly, and removed from town, in 1815, to Yates, N. Y., where he now resides, a wealthy and respected citizen.
38 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
came to Goshen in 1810; was appointed town clerk when the town was organized, which office he held 28 successive years, and a justice of the peace nearly the whole time; delegate to the convention to amend the Constitution in June, 1828 ; elected to represent the town in September, 1831, by a unanimous vote, and chosen representative 6 successive years. Places of trust and responsibility were often accorded to him, for he was generally considered an upright man. He died March 12, 1852, aged 66.
was the first minister that settled in Goshen. He came here in 1822, and reorganized the Christian church or society, Dec. 9, 1822. The number of members who joined the society at this time was seven, previously baptized. This society flourished for a time, but now exists only in name. Elder Knapp preached here for 8 years. In September, 1830, was elected to represent the town. He removed to New York the fall of 1830.
was an inhabitant in 1847; had lived in town and out, as interest prompted him. He was something of a versifier. It was currently reported of him that he versified the whole book of Genesis. One of his neighbors having carried off a load of ladders and sold them, and brought back rum, Laird complimented him after this fashion :—
I think I have read in an old book of mine,
There was once a man could turn water to wine;
Since he has gone, another has come,
But the best he can do is to turn ladders to rum.
Our inhabitants have ever shown themselves willing to, and capable of, defending themselves against all attacks and intrusions of wild beasts, and on a number of occasions have not been scrupulous about carrying the war into Africa, as one case in point will show.
Josiah Brown and Perley Green came here in 1819, from Brookfield, Conn. Brown's wife was Green's mother. She had saved a small quantity of ammunition that belonged to her first husband. Calvin Green soon followed his mother and Perley to Goshen. Asa Green, a minor, still remained in Brookfield. In a year or two Asa came here on a visit, in the fore part of March. Mrs. Brown divided Green's ammunition among them. After Asa had finished his visit, his brothers proposed to put on their snow shoes and take a direct route to Hancock. The three Greens and Charles Brown started across the mountain. Young Brown, who also took a gun, had a small dog, which followed them. Soon after they began to descend the mountain, they came to a large birch-tree turned up by the roots, partly, and lodged. Near the root they discovered a small hole through the snow, iced around. They began to tread in the snow and ice, when the little dog came up and signified that there was something under the old roots. In a moment more a yellow nose was protruded. It was a hurrying time with men, dog, bear, and all. When the bear came out, Brown fired. So near was he to her, he saw the wad burning on her shoulder; but she was quick out of sight, and the dog would not follow. They went on, and stayed with Esq. Ranney, in Hancock, who was quite a hunter, and kept a good dog. In the morning Asa pursued his way, and the others induced Ranney to take his dog and return with them after the bear, supposing on account of her wound she would not go far. There had fallen a little snow during the night. When they got to the track the dog would not follow. On reaching the den, they went in and made quite a noise with the old bear's children. They soon succeeded in capturing two cubs, one of which Ranney carried home, and Brown the other, which they tamed. Brown sold his to Wm. Cook. Ranney came down the next March, and on his return, in hopes of coming across a deer yard, induced young Brown to put on his snow shoes and accompany him part way. When they reached the height of land, Brown proposed to go down and visit the old bear's den. There they found much the same appearance as the year before. Immediately, Ranney's dog went into the den. Mrs. Bruin not liking such an unceremonious call, or being partial as to what company she entertained, soon ejected him from her domicile, and followed him out, intending to give him such a flagellation that he would be more mannerly in introducing himself upon the notice of strangers. As quiet as she was, he acted as if he thought she had hurried him out rather too quick, and that in doing so she had been as rough and unceremonious as he had, and that he shouldn't hurry about leaving the deer yard, but would take the next lesson there. The bear and dog immediately closed in for a fight. The men, with their snow shoes on, stood by. Ranney saw at a glance that his dog would get the worst of the fight unless he had help immediately; so ho stepped astride of the bear, and took an oar in each hand. When she felt the whole weight of this new element in the controversy was made to bear upon her, she turned her attention from the plaintive and suppliant tones of the dog to the more defiant antagonist on her back. In her efforts to get rid of Ranney, she took his hand into her mouth and bit it through. Ranney couldn't fight any more; but Brown's dog, when he found there was fighting, applied himself to her haunches, which had a tendency to lacerate her feelings so severely, she now turned her special attention to him, having no further fear of Ranney or his dog. Meanwhile, Brown had cut a small club, and came to the scene of action just at the time the bear turned upon his dog. She had hurt the dog so that he wouldn't
trouble her any more than Ranney and the first dog. The bear at once raised herself upon her haunches to fight Brown. He struck at her, but she would either dodge the blow or ward it off with her fore feet, and every time she warded off or dodged a blow she would hitch forward toward Brown, and he would step back and strike again; Ranney in the mean time begging Brown to desist and let the bear go, and come and do up his hand. Brown, however, didn't feel like beating a retreat under such circumstances, and kept plying the blows. After some time spent in striking, dodging, and hitching up, the bear made a mistake in the rule of fencing, and a blow fell upon her nose, which she instantly dropped into the snow, and Brown, plying his club vigorously, soon killed her. He then did up Ranney's hand, and he started for home. Brown dressed the bear, and found the ball he had shot her with the year before. He then went into the den and found two more cubs, which he killed on the spot. When asked why he didn't keep and tame them, he replied, he "found it a d—d sight easier to kill young bears than old ones."
The truth of this story can be verified.
The first framed house was built by Daniel Hooker in 1810, a small, unpretending domicile, 24 feet square, posts 6 feet high, with six 12 lighted windows, glass 6 by 8. The old man, now 78, lives there yet, and so endearing are its associations, and so strong his attachment to it, that he contends it is the best house in town.
I would add the name of Jona. Bagley as a first settler in 1809, and a Revolutionary patriot. He lived in town a number of years, was considered an honest, respectable man, and died in Brandon at an advanced age. Jona. Loveland settled in 1809; was a soldier during the English and French war of 1756. In his younger days he was married, but either because he made a hasty choice or was sick of faded charms, soon left his spouse for another Dulcinea, with whom he lived and raised a large family of children. In the mean time, his lawful wife died, and the old man made a profession of religion; whereupon he proposed to go into meeting and be publicly married. Old Esquire Blood told him he should think he would rather go into some swamp. "But," said the old Esquire, "before I had done with him, he was lawfully married." He was then near so; probably the oldest man ever married. in Goshen.
WM. CARLISLE, JR.,
came here in 1816; was a tough, hard-laboring man; raised a large family of children; was never wealthy; a man of excellent memory; and such was his style of relating anecdotes, that he would always enchain the attention of those around him, and even children would invariably sit with breathless attention to hear his stories. The most minute circumstances he would relate with admirable precision; and that his stories were strictly true there can be no doubt, for he always told them exactly alike, word for word, whenever he repeated them. He died May 11, 1858, aged 79. His wife died on the 14th of the same month, aged 74.
the second settler in town, came here in 1808. He was a hard-laboring man, but riches never appeared to be for him. For several years he was considered our best leader in vocal music, and his performances would compare favorably with those of later years. He was trustworthy, and labored hard for the rights of all; and never feared to denounce wrong in any place. His word was as good as his note. He died September, 1859, in Michigan, aged 77½ years.
settled in 1813; he always took a decided stand in favor of the church; was so attentive and Faithful in his Christian duties, that for years, a meeting in town without him and his wife, Wm. Clark and wife, and Amos Boynton and his wife, would have been considered almost a failure. He died July 5, 1857, aged 89. His wife died Dec. 25, 1856, aged 87. She had been a church member 70 years. Tryphenia Shedd died March 12, 1851, aged 89; the two oldest persons ever deceased in town. Their exact age cannot be obtained.