BY C. G. ROBBINS, ESQ.
HANCOCK lies in the S. E. corner of Addison county; has one post-office, and 23,040 acres by charter, granted Nov. 7, 1780, chartered July 31, 1781, by Vt. to Samuel Wilcox and his associates. The settlement was commenced in the year 1788, by Joseph Butts, from Canterbury, Conn., Dan'l Claflin, from New Salem, and John Bellows, from Dalton, Mass., with their families. Several young men also began improvements the same year, among whom were Zenas Robbins, from Pittsfield, Mass., and Levi Darling. Eben'r, son of Dan'l Claflin, was the first child born here.
The town was organized June 18, 1792. First town clerk, Zenas Robbins; constable, Noah Cady; selectmen, Dan'l Claflin, John Bellows, and Jas. Claflin. First justice of the peace, Esias Butts, 1799, and first rep. in 1800. First physician, Darius Smith, 1801, who lived and died in the town.
The first public house was kept by Jose h Butts, at the now small village of Hancock; afterwards by Esias Butts for many years. Dan'l Claflin commenced on the mountain farm, on the road to Middlebury, in an early day, and kept a public house for many years, a really convenient place for travellers who had to pass over the mountain through the then mostly wilderness country from East Middlebury to Hancock village, to wood and water up for the journey, which they usually did, in those good old times, with a hearty good-will. The first sawmill and gristmill was built by Zenas Robbins, about 1800; till then the inhabitants went to Stockbridge, some 10 miles, to mill.
Nature has surrounded us with her towering mountains and evergreen hills, her mimic sheets of water falling in beautiful cascades from their mountain homes, and uniting with each other until at last they form the beautiful Connecticut. On the summit of the mountain over which crosses the road to Middlebury, is a public house, called the Mount Vernon House, kept by Messrs. Packard. One half a mile from this place is the Mount Vernon pond, accessible only by ascending steps cut in the rocks. The pond is one half mile in diameter, and affords to pleasure seekers a fine place for trouting, boat-riding, and exhaling the pure mountain breezes.
GEN. ALONZO G. ALLEN was born in Barnard, Sept. 2, 1811. His grandfather, Elnathan Allen, removed from Connecticut about the year 1780, to the then wilderness of Vermont. He is said to have been a distant relative of "Old Ethan." Be that as it may, the subject of this notice has shown by his life that whether he be connected or not with him by blood, he certainly inherits much of his spirit.
Until the age of 14, he resided on his father's farm, remote from school, and noted for but two peculiarities, — a passionate love of books, and a waywardness of disposition, which would sooner yield to a mother's kind request than the father's stern command.
His father at that time entering into commer‑
44 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
cial business, installed his son as clerk, who, being rather an apt scholar, soon learned the lessons usually taught in the N. E. rum and codfish shops of those days, and became, in modern parlance, a "fast boy."
At the age of 17, a clergyman residing in the same district, (who had often tried to approach him with good counsel, and only met levity and boyish jests in return,) made application to his father to employ him as teacher in their district school, of which he was superintending committee.
The boy was taken aback, — the father hesitated; but the clergyman insisted that Alonzo had all the elements of a good teacher. He entered the school, receiving the munificent remuneration of $8 per month, and to the surprise of many, and the satisfaction of all, he was successful.
This was the turning point of his life. From that time, higher aspirations controlled his actions; and although deprived of a classical education which was intended for him, in consequence of the pecuniary reverses of his father, he made himself master of all the fundamental principles of an English education, and for some 30 years has been a teacher during the winter season in district schools, with uniform success; and may be considered as one of the most untiring and active friends of the cause of popular education in the State.
He removed to Granville in 1837. In 1838, was elected captain of the militia under the then existing laws, and served 5 years. In 1856, elected captain of the Green Mountain Rangers, which office he held until promoted to that of Judge Advocate General by the Legislature, in 1857. He was elected town superintendent of schools upon the establishment of that office, and has continued to perform its duties to the present time with credit to himself, and signal benefit to his town.
He has served as justice of the peace for upwards of 20 years; represented his town in the legislature in 1843, '48, '56, and '57, and was elected Senator for Addison county in '59.
In person, Gen. Allen furnishes a fine specimen of a Green Mountain Boy, — 6 feet 2 inches in height, and well proportioned. May he long live an example of an affectionate husband, a kind parent, and a useful citizen.
REST IN HEAVEN.
Art thou a wanderer? doth no loved one's smile
E'er meet thine own, thy sorrows to begulle?
In this wide world, hast thou no heartfelt claim?
Lingers there not within some cherished name
Of one, perhaps, who far in childhood's hour,
Won thy young heart, and still with lingering power
Retains the precious gem, though time has wove
A web which dims the lustre of thy love?
Hast thou no harbor on life's troubled sea?
Wanderer, there's rest in heaven for thee.
Art thou a mourner? doth the cold earth cover
The forms of loved ones all, none left to hover
Around thy pathway? must thou tread alone
Life's dreary walk, looking for naught beyond
To smile upon thy toil? no word of love
To recompense thee? Mourner, look above!
When life's dull task is over, then thy soul
Shall find its long anticipated goal;
And friends shall smile and welcome thee with song,
And thine own voice shall help the strain prolong.
So murmur not, for when from earth once free,
There's rest in heaven for weary souls like thee.
MARY S. ROBBINS.