Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

 

                                                        MONKTON.                                              65

 

 

 

MONKTON.

 

BY O. L. NIMBLET, M. D.

 

MONKTON was chartered by Gov. Wentworth June 24, 1762, 24,000 acres in 70 equal shares; first settled in 1774, by Barnabas Barnum, John Bishop, and John and Eben'r Stearns. Tradi­tion says John Bishop was the first settler. The first allusion to any resident upon the records of the town, is to Barnabas Barnum. We quote from the records of an old man, now deceased, who was a boy at the time. "The early settlers were noted for friendly and social feeling, visiting their neighbors who lived within 12 or 15 miles, and knowing the minute circumstances of their

——————

* Mistaking the house of a friend upon whom we wished to call, a few months since, at Middlebury, a kind-spoken, middle-aged gentleman at the door, after he had given us right directions, remarked, "This is the old Henshaw House!" We thanked the gentleman, and took a momentary survey, with an interested reverential curiosity, of the house, which still wears an Episcopal look.

 

 

 

 66                               VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

 

affairs more accurately than we do of our neigh­bors within a stone's throw of us. As the set­tlers increased, their visits became more circumscribed; but the same kind feeling existed in the gatherings at trainings and "raisings," at the close of which they engaged in athletic sports, — wrestling, running foot-races, playing ball, &c. vieing with each other in feats of strength or agility.

On training-day mornings, the companies were accustomed to wake up their officers by firing a salute at their doors, for which compliment, his grace, from corporal up to captain, was expected to liberally treat. If any one became intoxicated it was quite disgraceful, but honorable to bear up with the largest quantity without intoxication.

After the town had become so settled as to turn the attention of the inhabitants to the im­provement of stock, a race-ground was cleared off for about a mile, where the trial of speed of their horses was frequently made, and betting small sums. However, no large amount of bet­ting ever became the custom.

During the Revolution, John Bishop, with sev­eral sons, and Mr. Eben'r Stearns, were cap­tured by Tories and Indians, and taken to Can­ada; and the settlement was broken up till after the war. Tradition says Bishop had some wheat stacks to which the Indians were about to set fire, when Mrs. Bishop, knowing them to be her main dependence, appeared with hot water, which she threw so vigorously that the Indians, admiring her courage, spared the stacks. Bishop and his sons were again returned to their homes. Bishop was noted for his eccentricities; for instance, when any one came to the marsh near where he lived, to pick cranberries, he always demanded a portion, for the reason that he brought the seed with him from New Milford. He also demanded a share of all the fish in an adjacent pond. as he had brought the original stock from the same place, in a leather bag, supplying fresh water from time to time, on his way. Barnabas Bar­num met with a more tragic fate. On the alarm being given at the siege of Shelburn blockhouse, he repaired, with others, to the scene of action, and fell in the bloody skirmish of March 12, 1778.

Tradition says that on hearing of the death of her husband, Mrs. Barnum, with several small children, went through the wilderness by marked trees, to the fort at Pitsford. A short distance south of Monkton Borough are some rocks, called the Tory rocks, where a small party of Tories were captured, during the Revolution, by a less number of early settlers by stratagem. The early settlers of Monkton were men more noted for their physical strength and endurance than for mental culture or refinement. Yet they were not without those who sometimes tried their tact and skill at written composition. The following poetical specimen is from the pen of one of those primitive and untaught bards, — Mr. Ebenezer Finney.

 

 

MONKTON CANNON.

 

WHEN men rejoiced in days of yore

That stamp-acts should appear no more,

They fired their pump instead of cannon,

And shook the very earth we stand on.

But latter years, more full of glory,

Since Whig has fairly conquered Tory,

Pump guns are thrown by in disgrace,

And iron stationed in their place.

The heroes of a certain town,

To please themselves and gain renown,

A cannon made, without a blunder,

To send forth home-made peals of thunder.

Never have such reports been given,

Since Satan cannonaded heaven;

To these reports 'twas merely whistle,

When Queen Ann fired her pocket pistol.

As that, so fame could never say less,

Was fired from Dover unto Calais,—

So this, without dispute we know

Was fired front Monkton to North Hero.

This thing was formed, our heroes say,

To usher in our training-day;

But ere their training had arrived,

To try her metal they contrived.

Now courage aids their hearts of steel;

She's mounted straight on wagon-wheels;

In order firm the heroes stand,

'Till the commandant gives command

To load and fire, when at the sound

Hills, dales, and vales all echo round.

What transport fills these sons of Mars;

They shout for joy, and bless their stars;

But oh, how transient is their fun!

They load too deep, and split their gun.

Earth, at the blast, turns shaking Quaker;

Boys curse the cannon and its maker;

What havoc made 'mongst ducks and hens;

The pigs run frightened round their pens;

Young puppies setup hideous yells,

While goslins perished in their shells;

Lake Champlain shakes from shore to shore,

And Camel's Hump was seen no more.

 

—————

 

JOHN FERGUSON was strong-minded, and a member of the legislature at an early day. His descendants, many of them, reside in Starksboro', where they are prominent citizens, — a portion of Monkton being set off to that town many years ago.

JESSE LYMAN was for several years a resident of Monkton; removed to Vergennes; was a major of militia, and an efficient officer under Gen. Strong, at the battle of Plattsburg. He died at Vergennes.

BUEL HITCHCOCK was the first physician in town, and very skilful in bilious and intermittent fevers, that were prevalent among the early settlers. He once amputated a leg with a shoe-knife, using a rope and a stick for a tourniquet, Eben'r Barnum sawing the bone with a carpenter's saw. He built the first gristmill in town, and after several years' residence, removed to St. Lawrence Co., N. Y. where he died many years ago.

ISAAC SAWYER, with limited means for education, became a Baptist preacher, claimed the right

 

 

 

                                                        MONKTON.                                              67

 

 

to the lot granted to the first settled minister, which the town had leased for the benefit of schools, which after being in court several terms, was finally compromised by a division between him and the town. He was ordained in a barn, Sept. 24, 1798, and became noted as a preacher of power and ability, and had several sons, who became preachers of the Baptist order. He died but a few years since, in Jay, N. Y.

 

SAMUEL BARNUM was chief magistrate in town for a number of years; represented the town in the legislature a number of terms. He died at the residence of his son, Gen. A. W. Bar­num, of Vergennes.

 

GEN. A. W. BARNUM, with very limited means for an education, by steady perseverance in business as a clerk in the mercantile profession, became noted in mercantile, mechanical, and agricultural pursuits, acquired a large estate, was influential in improving agricultural pro­ducts, and the breeds of cattle and horses; was for many years a leading citizen of Vergennes, and influential member of the legislature; was quartermaster and general of militia in Vt.. but experienced a reverse of fortune, and died at Ver­gennes in indigent circumstances.

 

DAN STONE, a physician of large practice and great skill, resided in town many years, and some of his descendants reside here still.

 

DANIEL SMITH was of quick apprehension, shrewd in remark, gifted as counsel in law, for several years a representative to the legislature, and died in 1812, of the typhoid epidemic.

 

IRA SMITH, son of Dan'l Smith, has resided in town the longest of any person living in it, and has been an esteemed practitioner of medi­cine for nearly 50 years.

 

DAN'L COLLINS, JUN., was for many years a deputy sheriff, judge in the County Court, and represented the town one term. He was a very ardent politician of the Democratic school. He died very suddenly in town.

 

STEPHEN HAIGHTS was a self-educated man, of quick apprehension of any subject presented to his mind; ardent in all his undertakings; for many years a leading member in the legislature, judge in Addison County Court, and sheriff for said county; for several years an officer in the Senate of the U. S. He died at Washington, Jan. 12, 1841, aged 58, while holding the office of sergeant-at-arms in the Senate of the U. S. He was so much respected that the Senate voted an appropriation to pay the expenses of carrying his remains to Burlington, Vt. for interment.

Monkton is almost exclusively an agricultural town, with a population of 1,246; grand list, 360,957. Iron ore is found here, the color of its surface a velvet black, white, and sometimes grayish; dry to the touch, absorbs water quickly, is evidently decomposed feldspar, graphic, gran­ite, and kaolin clay, which was discovered at a very early day, by Stephen Barnum.

The town was organized March 28, 1786. First town clerk, Samuel Burnham; first constable, John Allen; first selectmen, John Bishop, Jr., John Ferguson, and Sam'l Barnum; first jus­tice, Sam'l Barnum; first representative, Eben'r Barnum, 1787. The first birth was that of Ebenezer Stearns, Jr., Oct. 17, 1775. The first death that of EUNICE CHURCH, date un­known. Number of college graduates, 8. The first church organized was the Calvinistic Bap­tist, July 24, 1794, and consisted of 12 members, present No. of members, 48. To the date of the organization of the Methodist Episcopal church, I can only approximate; but it must have been near 1797. Their first preacher was a man by the name of Mitchell. I am unable to state the first number of members. Some time prior to the organization there was but one Meth­odist in town, — Mr. Samuel Webb. The church now consists of 84 members. I am unable to state anything definite in regard to the time when the Society of Friends was organized, but it was at a very early day. Their numbers at present are comparatively few.

In the south part of Monkton is a pond curiously located on a considerable hill; in the north­western part a noted cavern. The orifice by which it is entered is at the foot of a large chasm of rocks on the side of a small hill. After descend­ing about 16 feet from the opening, you arrive at a room 30 feet by 16, from which is a passage leading to a second apartment, not quite so large, but more pleasant.

 

————————————

 

 

 

BENEFICENCE THE END OF LIFE.

 

BY REV. H. H. STOWELL, A NATIVE OF MONKTON, NOW PASTOR OF A BAPTIST CHURCH AT SEEKONK, MASS.

 

A LOVE of preferment and honors is one of the oldest inhabitants of the heart. It pervades all classes, from the king on the throne to the peasant on the bleak moor. It is one of the great driving forces of the human intellect. If subordinated to beneficence and usefulness, it makes a strong and forceful character, — a Paul in the church, a Washington in the state. If not curbed and sanctified, it anarchizes the soul, overrides the character; it makes autocrats, and despots, and traitors; it forms an Erostratus, a Catiline, a Benedict Arnold.

The gentle breast of woman is often shaken by ambition. "Then came unto Christ the mother of Zebedee's children, with her sons, desiring to speak with him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She said unto him, Grant that these, my two sons, may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom!" The word is uttered. The heart speaks. But is this the highest good? What does the Master, — "a gloater than Solomon," — say? "Ye know not what ye ask. Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister." In my kingdom

 

 

 

 68                               VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

 

goodness is greatness, usefulness is chieftainship, and beneficence is aristocracy.

But goodness is a daughter of the skies. To be good and do good is to be like God, in the highest and best sense. No human greatness can resemble us to him. As well might the ant talk of its hillock of greatness, or the beaver of its house of pride, as man to talk of mightiness, either of strength or wisdom.

A good act, a kind word, an approving smile upon virtue, a reproving look upon vice, all may do good, and liken us to God. The whole earth is full of the goodness of God! and let us reflect it, diffuse it. Let us dig little channels through every man's grounds, in which it may run. Such labor is not lost, but lasting; for all such rills will yet converge, unite, and form the river of God's pleasure, and empty into the ocean of eternal blessedness.

A selfish life resembles a leafless oak. A life of benevolence resembles that same oak full of flourishing branches, around whose trunk many creeping plants entwine, and the grape forms gay festoons of beauty and fruit, "recompensing well the strength they borrow by the grace they lend."

Mere valor, daring, and ambition must not be deified; more regard must be paid to morals and piety. The head is not to be idolized, to the ne­glect of the heart and its beneficent affections. Napoleon was a man of gigantic talents, made up of unbounded ambition, military tact, unri­valled celerity, and indomitable perseverance, and no doubt his wasting, earthquake wars did good, as thunderstorms purify the atmosphere, or the devouring fire the foul rookeries of a city. We believe God used him as a scourge to punish guilty nations, to break down the old corrupt po­litical systems, and hoary fastnesses of evil, and let in the light of day upon the darkest despot­isms of Europe; but that, through lack of an ed­ucation by Christian parents, and nurture in a Christian nation, the aims of his noble nature, and the scope of his fertile mind, could not be consecrated to the highest good of man.

Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not. There is no permanent good for man in aught else than to "rejoice and do good in this life."

The greatness of goodness, usefulness to oth­ers, is the pinnacle of fame to every right-minded man. Aspiration sanctified to beneficence, causes no regret. It looms before man through life. It is a softly-glowing vista; as he looks behind him, it is a Drummond light, when all the earth is a "dissolving view."

 

"Each deed that we do for the true and right,

With purpose unshaken and high,

Is graven in characters living as light,

In hearts where it never shall die."'

 

A life of usefulness alone can make us happy. Selfishness is not the state of mind in which God made us.

The gospel of Jesus is designed to restore to us the faith of holiness. How happy would our state be if we, like him, "went about doing good." How soon would the bitterness of many hearts be dried up; the wailings of the sorrow­ful, the prisoner, the oppressed, cease. Every man would be a brother, and a friend. The "good time coming," would have "come." Heaven would kiss the world; the sons of heaven and the daughters of earth would be married, and earth keep jubilee a thousand years.

Men generally award lasting praise to those who are benefactors of their race. We are creatures of animal organization and sympathetic, excitement. While the pageant, or triumphal show is passing, we sometimes follow the multitude in huzzas, and the weak-minded abandon their principles; but when the pompous exhibition has passed, and become history, we give our meed of praise to the less gorgeous and more substantial. As time rolls on and brings us nearer the millennium, and heaven; as truth spreads her influence over the earth, and we live in the light of eternal splendor, will the little greatnesses of the earth, which have engrossed the attention of the infancy and ignorance of the world, fade, and grow dim, while the soul and its overwhelming interests, and the labor which appertains to its salvation, will grow intensely brilliant and enduring. While the name of Wellington, the victor of Waterloo, the conqueror of the great hero of modern times, is rusted in oblivion, the name of Clarkson, the philanthropist, and of Wilberforce, the Christian statesman, will flourish in evergreen memory. Howard's life stands out in pure sublimity against the sky of glory which now hides him from our sight! Here are glory, honor, benevolence, humanity, — everything good and great. The grass will grow green over his grave; his memory will be embalmed in the hearts of coming millions. Posterity will be pointed to him as the benefac­tor of the race; mothers will teach the lesson to their children, and his name will be a "house­hold word," to the end of time.

At the close of life we go back to the simplicity and artlessness of children. Sober reason returns, and our better nature longs for a "better and enduring substance."

 

———————————

 

 

ANNALS OF NEW HAVEN.

 

BY REV. WARD BULLARD.

 

THIS town lies near the centre of the county. Its limits have been several times changed since its charter was granted, in 1761. A small por­tion in the N. W. corner became a part of the city of Vergennes. A larger portion in the same section was formed into the town of Wal­tham, in 1796. Not far from this period, a tract in the W. part was annexed to Weybridge, New Haven receiving, at the same time, a gore about 1½ miles square, bordering on the N. line.

 

 

 

                                                       NEW HAVEN.                                             69

 

 

In 1761, John Everts, of Salisbury, Ct., was deputed to repair to Portsmouth, N. H., and ob­tain charters of two townships. He first designed to locate them on the sites of Clarendon and Rutland, but learning that charters already covered that region, and the territory N. of Leicester had not been granted, and having some knowl­edge of the lower falls on Otter Creek, now Vergennes, he began at these falls, laying off his townships S. of that place, and bounded on the W. by the creek. Finding a sufficient extent of territory between Leicester and the falls named, for three townships, he obtained that number of charters; having redistributed the names of the applicants in such a manner as to secure the giants of three instead of two. This town he named New Haven, after the capital of his State. To designate the starting-point more permanently than "a tree marked," a cannon was in­serted in a hole in the rock, with the muzzle up­wards. This cannon has ever since been the guiding landmark not only of New Haven, and Salisbury, but of Middlebury, inasmuch as Mid­dlebury took its boundaries from the S. line of New Haven, and Salisbury from the S. line of Middlebury. In process of years this cannon became hidden from view by earth piled upon it, and which, from repeated additions, now cov­ers it to the depth of several feet. But a bar of iron, seasonably inserted in the muzzle, can now be seen protruding above the superincumbent ma­terial.

In the charter, Gov. Wentworth reserved to himself 500 acres in the N. W. corner of the town, considered equivalent to two shares; assigned for the gospel and schools, 4 other shares, and one to each of the 56 grantees.

In 1794, the legislature passed an act appro­priating to the use of common schools, in all the Hampshire grants, the shares of the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel." But that society, instead of abandoning their claim, trans­ferred into the Episcopal Church. That church contested the constitutionality of the above-mentioned law, in the U. S. courts. After protracted litigation, the matter was decided in favor of the church. The suit which was to test the validity of the church's title, throughout the State, was brought against the town of New Haven. The share in New Haven for the first settled minister, after an attempt made by the Universalists to obtain it, was, by a vote of the town, appropriated to the use of common schools.

Of the original grantees, few ever became ac­tual settlers. Some of them forfeited their shares rather than pay the incidental expenses. A few were represented among the settlers by the children; but most of them, having engaged  in it merely as a speculation, sold their claims. Little is known of the proceedings of the proprietors previously to the settlement of the town, owing to the loss of the proprietors' records. It is, however, evident from the records of the other two towns, that the proprietors reg­ularly met and did business for their townships up to the year I774.

Although chartered in 1761, the town remained an unbroken wilderness until 1769. A few fami­lies that year removed from Salisbury. Ct. into the N. W. part, now Waltham, and settled near the creek. Among them were John Griswold and family of 5 sons. About 12 other settlers came near the same time. A Col. Reid had received from the governor of N. Y. a patent of a tract of land 4 miles wide, lying on both sides of Otter Creek, and extending from the mouth of the stream to Sutherland Falls. This Reid, with a company of armed dependents, drove these settlers from their homes, after they had expended much in cutting roads, and cultivating their farms.*

We will only add, the block fort built by Col. Ethan Allen, at the falls, to protect the settlers from further encroachments of the Yorkers, and in which he left a small garrison, was within New Haven, and that after this they received no further molestation from that quarter.

Scarcely had the early settlers began to feel secure from the inroads of the Yorkers, before the Revolution broke out, and in the first years of its progress they were entirely broken up. The history of the memorable raid made in the autumn of 1778, belongs properly to Weybridge, as that town now embraces most of the section that was the scene of that merciless foray. There were two families, however, whose farms and places of location are now in Weybridge, that were then in New Haven. These were the fami­lies of Justus Sturdevant and David Stow. This raid was made by Indians, British, and To­ries. The adult males were carried off; the women and children were left, but left without shelter, or any means of subsistence. All build­ings were burned; and by burning, or other modes of destruction, grain and cattle were de­stroyed. David Stow, and Thos. Sandford, a near neighbor, had gone to Crown Point, to mill, in a canoe. This took them down the creek to the falls, a distance of 9 miles. Here they took their canoe and grist around the falls, and then proceeded to the lake, 8 miles further. They then passed up the lake, and crossed over to Crown Point. The route could not have been less than 30 miles. They were returning with their grist, and had got above the falls, when they were met by the marauding party, captured, and with their grist taken on with the rest of the prisoners and booty. Sandford, and others, subsequently found their way back from Quebec, whither they were taken; but Mr. Stow, when he left home in his canoe, to get bread for his household, looked for the last time on his wife and children, (save his son Clark, who was a captive.) His

—————

* For further account, see Ferrisburgh chapter.

 

 

 

 70                               VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

 

sufferings ended in death a little over a month after his capture. Joseph Johnson, John Griswold, Sen., and 4 of his sons, John, Nathan, Adonijah, and David, Eli Roberds, and his son Duren, residents of New Haven, were taken in this foray. The elder Griswold, in consequence of his advanced age, was released. The others were taken on to Canada. Out of numberless instances of suffering, I will relate one. Doctor Griswold, the youngest son of John Griswold, Sen., then about 7 years of age, was left by the foe with the women. An Indian came into the house of his father, in search of plunder. He espied a pair of new shoes, belonging to little Doctor, on a shelf, and bagged them. This act of robbery obliged the little boy to go to Manchester barefoot, over roads abounding in stumps and roots, his feet exposed to the frosty air of November. John Griswold, Jr., induced by the promise of liberty, went as a hand on board a transport ship that sailed from Quebec for Ire­land, and was never after heard from. The pris­oners, save David Stow, and the one last named, returned at the close of the war. Their farms, which had been partially cleared, remained waste during their absence, and were covered with a thick growth of bushes. A portion of the live stock that escaped slaughter or capture by the enemy, ranged in the woods, grazing in summer, and browsing in winter, and were found at the return of the settlers, to have multiplied, rather than diminished. They had formed a trail from the clearings on the creek to a beaver meadow or prairie of nearly 100 acres, covered with wild grass, and situated between Beach and Town hill. It is related that one of the settlers was at work in the field, having with him a yoke of oxen fastened by a chain to a tree. When the alarm was given of the approach of the enemy, in his haste to release the cattle, and drive them to a place of security, he unhitched the chain from the yoke, leaving it wound around the body of the tree. The tree, in its growth, finally cov­ered the chain, and it remained undiscovered until many years afterwards, when the tree was cut down.

I have not been able, with such means as I could command, to ascertain with much preci­sion, the times when those parts of the town not lying on the creek were settled. Prior to the Revolution, and during that war, settlements were mostly made on the creek, and in the neighbor­hood of the falls. Settlements, however, were made in other parts of the town, prior to, and in the early part of the Revolution. Justus Sher­wood came in 1774, and settled on the farm now owned by Judge Elias Bottum, and erected his dwelling, — a log-house, — exactly where Judge Bottum's family graveyard is. Justus Webster settled in the earlier part of the year 1775, and others came on in the years 1775 and '76; Asahel Blanchard in '75; Joseph Thompson before the Revolution. On the return of peace, the town became rapidly settled in all its parts, and was organized in 1785, and represented in '88, in the legislature, by Alexander Brush. By the beginning of the present century the land was nearly all taken up, and to a great extent cleared.

At an early day becoming attention was paid to religious worship, and the town has always looked well to its common schools. An academy established a few years since, is doing good ser­vice in the cause of education. The first regular schoolhouse was erected on Lanesborough street, in 1794. Religious service was first held in pri­vate houses, barns, and schoolhouses. The prin­cipal denominations have been Congregationalists, Baptists, and Methodists, the first mentioned always predominant. The Baptists early organ­ized a church in the west part of the town, and for many years flourished under Elders Hayward and Hurlbut. After the retirement of the latter, no pastor has ever remained any considerable number of years; some remaining only 1 or 2 years. The church, never very large, has suf­fered greatly from emigration.

Near the close of the last century, the eccentric Lorenzo Dow, and his colleague, Sam'l Mitchell, preached in the east part of the town, and formed a Methodist Society, but it seems to have been in no wise permanent. Occasionally, Methodist itinerants have visited the central portion of the town, but have never met with sufficient en­couragement to justify the continuance of an appointment. A considerable proportion of the people in the western section of the town belong to a Methodist society, located principally in Weybridge.

There were originally two Congregational churches formed; one in the south part of the town, Nov. 15, 1797, and the other in the North part. These were united in one, Sept. 29, 1800. The church was furnished with occasional supplies until 1804, when Rev. Silas L. Bingham became its first pastor; dismissed in 1808. Rev. Josiah Hopkins was ordained in 1809, and con­tinued its pastor 21 years. Since his dismission, in 1830, Revs. Joel Fisk, Enoch Mead, James Meacham,* and Samuel Hurlbut have been settled ministers of the church. The latter died in 1857, greatly lamented for his numerous virtues, and decided ministerial qualifications. Rev. Mr. Hulbard has lately been installed over the church. This church has been much favored with revivals, and has always embraced in its membership many of the strong and influential men of the town.

A church of Adventists has, within a few years, been organized in the town. They have a meeting-house at Brooksville, and preaching a part of the time.

—————

*For biographical sketch of James Meacham, see Middlebury department, college article.

 

 

 

                                                       NEW HAVEN.                                             71

 

 

The early settlers found the town well tim­bered. On the east, the town stretches well-nigh but not quite to the base of the Green Mts. The rocks in situ composing Snake Mountains, lying between Weybridge and Addison, extend beneath the bed of Otter Creek at the reef bridge, at which place a reef of rocks crop out, giving name to the bridge. The rocks thus depressed at this place, rise again into a small mountain range in New Haven and Waltham, the principal peak of which bears the name of Buck Moun­tain. A line of limestone rock crosses the creek from Weybridge, at a place called the Turn­pike bridge, and extends across the town in a northerly direction. This rock, on being burned, is a good material for building purposes. West of the meeting-house, where the road from the depot rises a tedious hill, there is an out­cropping of rock that has not as yet, I believe, received much attention from geologists.

New Haven is well supplied with fountains and small streams. New Haven river enters the town near the S. E. corner, and washing the whole southern portion, flows into Otter Creek near the S. W. corner. It is an elegant stream, its waters limpid and pure, and makes a very beautiful and fertile valley.

The soil of the town is good, consisting mostly of clay and loam. The surface, in many places, is scattered over with boulders and pebbles. In places, these boulders and pebbles are found mingled with the surface-soil to some little depth; pebbles to the depth of some 18 inches, while boulders lie sometimes half buried in the ground, and are sometimes found completely buried, and lying some feet below the surface. These bould­ers and pebbles are of the same material of the rocks in situ, in the mountains and outcroppings around, and are abraded and rounded, evidently Caused by being moved from their original positions, and mingled together, and swept along by vast bodies of agitated and moving waters, in ages of the remote past.

In 1813 and '14, the town was visited with terrible mortality. Mr. Hopkins, then pastor of the Congregational church, in giving an account of the same, and the gloom it occasioned, re­marked that "the faces of all he met were bleached to the paleness of marble." In 1830, a freshet, extending along western Vermont, and doing great damage, swept, with dreadful ruin, over New Haven. The Green Mountain torrents rolled on with impetuous fury. New Haven river suddenly rose to an unprecedented height. Bridges and dams were swept away, and at a place then called Beman's Hollow, now Brooks­ville, many dwellings were carried off, and 14 lives lost. At first the victims were borne along on the wrecks of houses, and other buildings, as on rafts, shrieking for help. A little below the place, rocks rise high on each side of the river, and are but a few feet apart. The cries of the sufferers were heard till they reached these nar­rows, when they became suddenly hushed. The waters, not passing readily through the narrows, rose the higher in the hamlet just above, and the timbers, and the victims upon them, were thrown and commingled together at the narrows, in one mass of ruin and death. The bodies of the dead were found along the banks of Otter Creek, into which the New Haven river enters.

The population, by the last census, was 1,663, and probably has not varied much in fifty years. The grand list, for the present year, is $6,521.54.

Some of the early settlers, by their enterprise, disinterestedness, and endurance, have laid pos­terity under lasting obligations. Among these, it is due that we should mention JUSTUS SHERWOOD, though the finale of his life was anything but such as demands the acknowledgment of ob­ligations from an American. As already men­tioned, he settled in 1774, on the farm now owned by Judge Bottum, on Lanesborough street. He was proprietors' clerk, from the first meeting held in town, Oct. 1774, until probably the latter part of 1776, when he left on account of the war. Among other improvements, he planted a nursery of apple-trees; and though broken down by the deer and moose, during the Revolution, they were found alive at the close of the war, and trans­planted. In 1776, Mr. Sherwood returned as far as Shaftsbury. On a visit to Bennington, — being not a man to disguise his sentiments, — he gave utterance to remarks that denoted sympa­thy with the royal cause, at which the Whigs of that place taking offence, tried him before Judge Lynch, and sentenced him to a punishment, of the precise character of which I am not informed; but which, according to the account before me, was common at that place and time, in respect to a certain class of political offenders, and much more amusing to the spectators, and wounding to the feelings of the culprit, than to his body. Exasperated at this treatment, he raised a company of royalists, conducted them to Canada, and entered the British service. He was one of the agents employed by the English to conduct ne­gotiations with the leading men of Vermont respecting its reannexation to Great Britain. After the war he received a pension of a crown a day during life, and the grant of 1,200 acres of land in Upper Canada, opposite Ogdensburgh, N. Y. Before leaving New Haven, having in his hands, as proprietors' clerk, their records, he buried nearly all of them in an iron pot, having a potash kettle turned over it, near his house, marking the place, with the view of its being recognized, but it was never afterwards found.

 

LUTHER EVERTS, several of whose grandchil­dren now reside in Waltham and New Haven, settled before the Revolution, in the west part of the town, near the town plat, laid out in the south part of what was set off as Waltham. He was

 

 

 

 72                               VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

 

a prominent man in the early history of the town, and an extensive landholder, having at one time near 2,000 acres. He was first town clerk.

 

Hon. EZRA HOYT, though not among the first settlers, came in an early day. He represented the town nine years; was judge of the County Court 6 years; and judge of Probate 5 years; a man of talents and public spirit, kind and urbane in his bearing. To him the town is indebted for his wise devotion to its interests. His death oc­curred some 20 years since.

 

CAPT. MATHEW PHELPS, and Maj. Mathew Phelps, his son, were men of more than ordinary qualities. The former undertook an enterprise into the valley of the Mississippi, near the close of the Revolution; but the enterprise proving greatly disastrous to him and his household, he returned. He published a book, giving an ac­count of his reverses and sufferings in that enter­prise. His death occurred in 1817, after having been a resident of the town some 20 or 25 years. Mathew Phelps, Jr. died about 4 years before his father, being cut down amid a course of useful­ness and honor. He graduated at Middlebury College in 1804, and was early called to fill re­sponsible stations in civil life. On the commencement of the last war with England, he entered the regular service, and held the office of major when he died.

 

PRESERVED WHEELER was born June 9, 1769, in Lanesborough, Mass. His father removed, with his family, to the Wyoming valley in Pa., where he fell in the massacre that occurred there in the time of the Revolution. His mother returned, immediately after, to Connecticut, with her young children. After her return she gave birth to a third son. She and her children passed through incredible hardships after the death of the husband and father. Preserved Wheeler passed his childhood and youth mostly with sympathizing friends. He settled first in Charlotte, then in the north part of New Haven, where he spent most of his life, and accumulated an ample fortune. He died a few years since.

 

SOL. BROWN was one of the worthies of the town, a man of mind, probity, and firmness; a soldier of the Revolution, and a participator in the battle of Lexington. He was a deacon in the church, and for many years held places of public trust. He died about 1837.

We have already spoken of the admirable qualities of Rev. Samuel Hurlbut, grandson of Mr. Samuel Hurlbut, one of the granted of New Haven, who was about 10 years pastor in this town. He was a man of a genial spirit, and active in every good work. Not only did the church prosper greatly under his pious and devoted labors, but the temporal interests of the town were materially enhanced by his steady and enlightened action. After no little labor and re­search, he was bringing to a close the history of New Haven, when he was removed to the study of a higher history.

Though the writer intended to give brief sketches only of those who have passed away, yet some notice of one still living, viz. REV. JOSIAH HOPKINS, ought not to be omitted. He was the second pastor of the Cong. Church. Unlike most of the Congregational clergy, he entered upon the sacred office without a classical education; but his strong native sense made amends in a great measure. He had no sooner entered on his duties in New Haven, than his mark was plainly to be seen; and no one, perhaps, has left behind him a more enviable and enduring reputation. In 1826, he published a book deli­neating the doctrines and duties of religion, under the title of "Christian Instructor." Since leav­ing New Haven he has filled responsible positions in the ministry, in the State of New York. A full account of the man will not be attempted, and what we have said will be the more excus­able, as he is now far down in the vale of years.

For materials out of which the foregoing has been formed, I am mostly indebted to papers left by Rev. Samuel Hurlbut, deceased. Mrs. Caroline Hurlbut, widow of Mr. Hurlbut, placed these papers in the hands of Lewis Meacham, Esq., from whom I received them. Mr. Hurl­but quotes for authorities, "De Puy's Life of Allen," "Dr. Merrill's Semi-Centennial Ser­mon on the History of Middlebury," "Thomson's Gazetteer," "Allen's Letter to Gov. Tryon," and "Vermont State Papers." He also had recourse to more original sources of information, as I have had.

 

————————————

 

 

REV. SAMUEL HURLBUT.

 

EXTRACT FROM A SKETCH BY REV. GEORGE N. BOARDMAN.

 

MR. HURLBUT was born in Charlotte, Nov. 1816; graduated at Middlebury College in 1839, and at the Union Theological Seminary, N. Y., in 1845. He went to New Haven in Oct. 1846, and was installed over the church the following June; he died Dec. 2, 1856, aged 40 years.

"His eminence was first of all as a preacher and a pastor. In the pulpit or the lecture-room, he gained the attention and the affection of his hearers, by the earnestness of his manner." He had not to a great degree the graces of the orator, but he was imbued with those moral traits, which, as the source of influence over other minds, constitute the highest rhetorical power.

He was also a very instructive preacher. From his strong tendency to metaphysical and doctrinal discussions, he became very familiar with the views of theologians, and, in addition to this, was always on the watch to learn how uneducated minds were impressed with the ordinary state‑

 

 

 

                                                          MONKTON.                                                73

 

 

ments of the doctrines of theology. When he entered the ministry he determined to read a chapter in the Hebrew Bible, daily. This reso­lution he carried into practice nearly or quite to the close of his life, frequently reading from the original Hebrew at the devotions of the family in the morning. In this way he attained an uncommon familiarity with the Jewish customs and habits of thought, which gave remarkable fresh­ness and impressiveness to his interpretation of Scripture. He was, moreover, a faithful pastor. He considered it his duty to know the religions condition of every person in his parish, and to give them such instruction and warning as they might need; and he made it a point, so far as circumstances would allow, to converse with some person every day on the subject of personal religion. . . . The best proof of his faithfulness, however, is in the results of his labors; there were more than a hundred added to his church during the 10 years of his ministry.

He believed that the ability to preach without notes was indispensable to the pastor. How well he succeeded will be inferred from the fact that the list of his written sermons numbers only 258.

He was one of the best citizens of the place. Convenient mail arrangements, the present con­dition of the cemetery, a well-selected circulat­ing library, the walks about the common, the schoolroom, the lecture-room, and town hall, all testify his zealous and energetic public spirit.

There was nothing worth knowing that he did net take pleasure in. He had a remarkable knowl­edge of history; was perfectly familiar with the ordinary operations of war; and had much curious knowledge about machinery. By such general information he made himself agreeable in any society, and was very apt to draw hearers about him in familiar conversation. Though he was several miles from the college at Middlebury, the students all knew and admired him. We should add, he interested himself deeply in all the moral questions of the day. His earnest advocacy of the cause of temperance will long be remem­bered in this county, and his stirring remarks on the question of slavery, especially on the relation of the federal government to that institution.

But Mr. Hurlbut's praise is in the narrative of his death and funeral. No one can describe the deep sadness of the whole county. The crowded, weeping assembly, the deeply affecting services, the subsequent expression of a meeting of citi­zens, were convincing proof of a deep sense of bereavement.

 

——————————

 

BURY ME NOT IN FUNERAL ARRAY.

 

Friends, I implore thee, never let my clay

Be borne to the church in funeral array;

Oh, never, never let my pallid brow

Lie in its coffin as a public show.

I would not that a stranger e'er should gaze

Upon the death-fixed features of my face;

None but the few, — that circle near and dear, —

The solemn words, "Dust unto dust," should hear.

'Twill need no marble shaft to mark the spot,

For those who love me will forget it not.

And when the chilling winds stalk fiercely forth,

Like spirit giants passing o'er the earth,

Then autumn's sere and faded leaves will come,

And cluster sweetly round my narrow home;

Hover, like dreams, which spirits ne'er disclose,

Around the pillow of my last repose.

MRS. L. S. WARNER.