BY JOHN D. SMITH, ESQ.
To the casual observer it may seem idle to expect, that in our quiet farming towns in Vermont, with so many evidences of peaceful, happy prosperity presenting themselves on every hand, events and incidents of former days can be gathered, worthy of a place in our common history.
But a little reflection must convince any one that the change of our former dense forests, and almost impassable swamps, into the present productive farms, could not be effected without great trials and severe suffering; and when we consider the turbulent state of the times, our sympathy is increased for the first settlers in their trials, our conviction strengthened that they must have witnessed scenes of thrilling interest, and our desire quickened to rescue the names and deeds of those brave and earnest men from the oblivion that is fast covering them. The actors in those scenes have passed away. The traditions handed down to us need a careful scrutiny and comparison with written history. Our ancient records are brief and unsatisfactory, and much of interest, undoubtedly, is beyond the reach of any now living. In the hope that some one, better suited to the task, may be stimulated to make more extended search, I have endeavored to embody so many of the local facts and incidents of the town of Panton, as the brief space allotted will permit. I shall confine myself to facts of which I have good evidence, and though some dates and statements may differ from published accounts, they are based upon the early records of the proprietors of Panton, which are the earliest, and perhaps the only record of the first English settlement in Addison county, kept by men sworn to fidelity, who put down at the time of their occurrence the public acts of the proprietors.
Various causes have operated to deprive this township of as much importance in the county as the character and efforts of its proprietors deserved, to whom belongs the honor of having
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established and fostered the first English settlement in the county, and of having first settled two of the neighboring towns. At the first survey, her limits, by charter, were found to extend so far into the lake as to leave less land than was expected. But with commendable zeal, the proprietors commenced the settlement, by offering bounties to settlers, paying for roads, surveys, &c., the principal outlay being upon that part nearest to Chimney Point, the most noted place in the whole region, and which, it was generally supposed, would be a central point of business for future generations.
After the formation of quite a settlement at that place, they were obliged to relinquish more than half their territory, covering all the first settlements made in the present town of Addison; and now as a nucleus for a village, and the foundation of extensive business, attention was turned to the water-power at the lower falls of Otter Creek, clearly within their limits. But this, too, after improvements were made at great expense, was taken from their jurisdiction, notwithstanding their remonstrance, by the legislature of 1788, to form a part of the city of Vergennes, giving to Vergennes about 500 acres of Panton territory. Yet even then, with a contracted territory, covered with a dense growth of heavy timber, with no point of peculiar attraction for commerce, or manufactures, they applied themselves to the task of making it a farming town, which should yield to none, except in size. Their success can hardly be denied, although the small extent of territory occupied with extensive farms, forbids that multiplicity of votes which might give her a more commanding position in the county.
The earlier titles to the lands in this vicinity, both from the Mohawks, and French government, having been either ignored, or cancelled by the British government, after the surrender of the French possessions in Canada, Sept. 8, 1760, our ancestors seem to have been possessed of the same mania for land speculation, which in later years, has sent so many of their descendants to the western prairies. Among the 60 towns in Vermont, chartered in 1761, was Panton, probably named in honor of a British nobleman, Lord Panton. Nov. 3, 1761, George the Third, through Benning Wentworth, issued a charter to James Nichols, and 69 others, mostly citizens of Litchfield Co., Conn., granting them "something more than 25,000 acres," lying 7 miles west and 6 miles south from the lower falls of Great Otter Creek.
The opinion prevails that the proprietors of Panton, when they found there was not room for a 7-mile line between the falls and the lake surrendered their charter, to obtain a new one, covering the full amount of land intended to be conveyed in their grant, and that, in the interim between the 1st and 2d charter, Addison charter was issued, covering a portion of the territory of Panton, which being dated previous to the 2d charter of Panton, held the land by priority of grant. It has so often been published as a fact, that Panton was rechartered, Nov. 3, 1764, that I can hardly be expected to prove the negative, but I may give some of the reasons which seem conclusive to me that no second charter was obtained. The charter of 1761 is now in the possession of the proprietors, and no other is noticed in their records. On the back of this charter is the following record:
"STATE OF VEREMONT,
"SURVEYOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Sept 26, 1782.
"Recorded in the first book for New Hampshire Charters, page 125, 126, and 127.
"T. ALLEN, Surveyor Gen'l."
Would the proprietors of 1782 have sent a cancelled charter for record? The charter of Addison was dated October 14, 20 days previous to the original charter of Panton, so there is no necessity of supposing a recharter of Panton, in order to give Addison priority. In Nov. 1766, we find the proprietors petitioning the king to lengthen the time allowed them in their charter for completing the settlement. The time being 5 years, was then just expiring, if the charter of 1761 was in force; but the movement was premature, if they held under a charter dated 1764. The inference from the records is, that, in the imperfect knowledge of the country, existing at that time, the estimate of distances was incorrect, and the same territory was conveyed by 2 charters; that without being aware of this fact, the Panton proprietors surveyed and settled according to their charter, and some years after, when the Addison proprietors came to survey and settle their lands, according to their grant, they were resisted by the owners of Panton, until convinced of the justice of the Addison claim by priority of title, and the correctness of their bounds by actual measurement, when an amicable arrangement was effected.
The first known survey of Panton was made in 1762, by Deacon Eben'r Frisbee, of Sharon, Conn., in company with Isaac Peck, and Abra'm Jackson, who surveyed the lines of the town, and laid out seventy 50-acre lots on the lake shore. They were paid for 53 days' service. With what interest should we now read a journal of the adventures and observations of those 53 days, and the appearance of our town in all its native wildness. In 1763 but little was done towards a settlement. The records show their efforts to collect the taxes previously voted, and a vote to send Capt. Sam'l Elmore, as agent, to procure from Gen. Amherst, then Commander-in-Chief of the British forces, "a pass for any of the proprietors of Panton, to go or come to and from sd township," exhibits the state of the country.
In April, of 1764, a bounty of £70 was offered to any number of proprietors, not less than 15,
who would go to Panton, and make the necessary clearings required by the charter, and the same spring or following summer it seems that, —
"Messrs. Jas. Nichols, Griswold, and Barnes, David Vallance, Tim'y Harris, Jos. Wood, Capt. Sam'1 Elmore, Wm. Patterson, Eliph't Smith, Zaddock Everest, Amos Chipman, Sam'l Chipman, &c., to the number of 15, did go, and there build, clear, and fence, and do the duty on 15 rights in sd township." . . .
Upon this evidence we fix the date of the first clearings for settlement in 1764. In April, 1764, agreement was entered into with Isaac Peck, Jer. Griswold, and Dan'l Barnes, Jr., to build a sawmill on the falls. The mill was commenced that fall, but not completed until the fall of '65. It appears certain that these 3 men built a saw-mill there, and that Reid took it from them in 1766. It is probable little if any clearing was done on the lake shore in '65. The record of a vote in March, '66, shows that Tim'y Harris, Jos. Pangborn, Jed. Ferris, Zadock Everest, and David Vallance intended to come to Panton in the spring of that year, and the tradition in the Strong family asserts that several settlers did come at that time with their families. They were —
"Appointed a committee to fence the whole town of Panton into one common field as soon as they get there in the spring."
And this year Benj. Kellogg, and Zadock Everest procured a surveyor, and laid out 76 city lots, of 1 acre each, which, though not fulfilling the high hopes of the proprietors, make an excellent sheep pasture, now mostly owned by Gen. Strong.
In the summer of '66, the difficulties growing out of the controversy with New York commenced. Gov. Moore's proclamation, giving notice of the King's decision that Connecticut River was the boundary between New Hampshire and New York, and directing the settlers to procure grants from New York, excited their fears that their titles would not be respected, and Col. Wooster, under a patent from New York, "warned off some of the inhabitants, and harrassed one of them with a lawsuit." Wooster says some of them promised to leave, and others took leases of him for the time being, but they had no definite settlement till Sept., 1772, when he fell into the hands of 13 of the settlers, and their friends, and the fear of the "Beach seal" overcoming his cupidity, he not only promised, but kept the promise then extorted from him, to leave them unmolested.
Col. Reid, who held a N. Y. grant of the falls in Panton and New Haven, this year forcibly took possession of the sawmill. I am aware that a date has usually been assigned for this transaction that in all the published accounts of it Pangborn has been considered the owner; but our records are explicit as to the date and ownership. Peck, Griswold, and Barnes being the acknowledged owners till 1769, when the proprietors decided they had forfeited their privilege "in not having it built by the time set, and after it was built, suffering it to be wrested out of their hands by Col. Reid, and detained from them;" and therefore voted to resume the right to it, and "assert their rights against Col. Reid." Pangborn had the privilege granted him of building a gristmill, but did not build one, and if he built the sawmill, it must have been under Peck, Griswold, and Barnes, which is quite likely, as he and several sons were strong, robust frontier men.
Donald McIntosh, one of Reid's tenants, is said to have settled at the falls in 1766, which corresponds with the date of Reid's occupancy of the sawmill. Between June 15, and July 15, 1772, Allen and his party dispossessed Reid. The next summer Reid regained possession; but, Aug. 11, the same season, Allen and his Green Mountain Boys so effectually routed him, that he abandoned his claim.
The record of the title to the property afterwards is incomplete, but a part of it came into the hands of Remington, the Tory, and was deeded by the commissioner of confiscated estates. The number of settlers in the fall of 1773 were sufficiently numerous, and confident of final success, to warrant the transfer of the proprietors' meetings and records from Connecticut to Panton.
The charter difficulties with the proprietors of Addison commenced in 1770, and continued till an agreement was ratified May 17, 1774, by which Addison held according to her charter; but gave 8,000 acres of the disputed territory to the Panton proprietors, "for a reward for duties done in settling sd tract," which was defined and ratified at the first meeting held after the Revolutionary war, at Pawlet. This agreement left 115 acres of Panton territory, lying on Otter Creek, near Reef Bridge, detached from the rest of the town, and long known as "little Panton," which was annexed to Weybridge in 1806.
The last appointment of a meeting before the war was for the second Tuesday of October, 1776; but as this was the week, perhaps the day of the battle at Ferris' Bay, it is not strange, that, with British cannon sounding in their hearing, and the smoke of battle in sight, they should not meet to deliberate in regard to the titles to their lands, when the great care with them must have been to preserve the titles to their lives. Events had by this time occurred within the immediate neighborhood, that had convinced them that they could not remain inactive spectators of the struggle in their exposed locality. The year before, Ethan Allen had sent Capt. Douglass, of Jericho, to Panton, to consult his brother-in-law, and procure boats to assist in carrying his men across the lake to attack Ticonderoga; and among the reinforcements sent to Canada, under Gen. Thomas, after the death of the lamented Montgomery, and so many of his brave companions, was Edmund
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Grandey, the father of the late Judge Grandey, and brother of Elijah Grandey, then living in Panton, who passed down the lake on snow-shoes in the winter. Nathan Spalding also enlisted, and left home, Jan. 20, 1776, and died at Quebec, the May following, of the smallpox, while being carried in a cart, when the army retreated in such haste. And now, in October, Arnold having command of the first American fleet on Lake Champlain, consisting, some say, of 9, and and others of 15 vessels, of different sizes, manned by 395 men, was attacked by a British naval force, under Capt. Pringle, greatly superior in numbers and equipments. After 4 hours' hard fighting at Valcour Island, in which one of Arnold's vessels was burned, and another sunk, the British retired from the attack. Arnold endeavored to escape in the night with his vessels, to Crown Point, but was overtaken, Oct. 11, near Ferris Bay, in Panton, and the battle was renewed, and kept up for 2 hours, 6 of Arnold's vessels being engaged, those foremost in the flight having escaped to Ticonderoga. The Washington galley, under Gen. Waterbury, owing to her crippled condition, was obliged to surrender, and in order to prevent the rest of his men and vessels from falling into the hands of the enemy, Arnold ran ashore, and blew up, or sunk his fleet. We have the statement of Squire Ferris, as first published by Mr. Tucker, that Lieut. Goldsmith was lying wounded on deck, and blown into the air at the explosion, Arnold's order for his removal not having been executed, much to his sorrow and indignation. This affair gave Arnold's name to the Bay where it occurred. Of the 5 vessels sunk, 3 are known to have been raised, and 2 of them may still be seen in low water, lying where they sank 83 years ago, and have often been visited for the purpose of fishing up the balls, and other articles which may be seen in clear water. One brass cannon was taken out many years since, by Ferris, and fired in the militia gatherings after the war, and is said to have been used at the battle of Plattsburg. It is not known whether the British pursued Arnold on land, but "several shots fired by them at his men struck the house of Peter Ferris, near the shore where they landed. Ferris and his family, and probably some others in the town, went with Arnold to Ticonderoga, but soon after returned."*
I am told by Isaac Spalding that a few years before his father's death, a traveller called at his house, who claimed to have been in the engagement at the Bay, and that he was one of the British soldiers that followed Arnold some ways on land, that his comrade, McDonald, unable to go further, was carried into a deserted house, and Spalding's father told him that when the families came back soon after, Henry Spalding found a dead body in his house.
From this time the inhabitants were frequently visited by straggling bands of Indians and Tories, who plundered them of any movable property desirable in their eyes, and after Burgoyne came up the lake, in June, 1777, these robberies were more frequent. Some few of the families again left, and it is thought by some this was the time of the general flight; but we have good evidence that the Holcomb, Spalding, and Grandey families were not burned out till the next year. Some of the men were taken prisoners in '77. It is supposed that Oct. of this year was the time when Phineas Spalding, and 11 others of Panton and Addison were taken and kept awhile on board a vessel in the vicinity. Spalding was employed to dress the animals brought on board for food, until an opportunity occurred to him to jump into a small boat lying aside the vessel, when he paddled for shore, but before he reached it, was observed, and ordered to return. Knowing they would fire upon him, and thinking his body too large a mark to escape, he jumped into the water, and swam safely to shore, amid the bullets of the British. On the evacuation of Crown Point, about one week later, the other prisoners were released. "In the fall of 1778, a large British force came up the lake in several vessels, and thoroughly scoured the country on both sides," and every house in Panton was burnt but one. Timothy Spalding's house escaped, for some reason not known, although the enemy came to the front while he was escaping at the back. The house of Elijah Grandey was visited before his wife left. She was then but 19 years of age, but had become accustomed to the visits of the Indians for plunder. After witnessing the burning of her house and furniture, she carried her son Edmond, two years old, to the batteaux at Merrill's Bay, where the women of the vicinity assembled. Her husband was taken prisoner, with others, and carried on board a vessel, but was released by the officer commanding, to go in company with Thomas Hinckley, of Westport, to take the women and children to Skeensboro. Five of the Holcomb family, 2 Spaldings, and 2 Ferris' were taken prisoners about the same time, and the town remained deserted till after the close of hostilities, when those of the settlers who were still living, gradually returned, rebuilt their houses, and again commenced the cultivation of their long neglected farms. March 30, 1784, the first public town meeting was held in Panton. Elijah Grandey, town clerk; Noah Ferris, Benj. Holcomb, and Henry Spalding, selectmen; Asa Strong, constable, &c.; and as the number of freemen in the town was then but 11, there were few disappointed office-seekers. In 1785, Zadock Everest and John Strong, living in Addison, were appointed a committee to look after the interests of Panton in the legislature, and in '86, Peter Ferris was chosen their representative. In the summer of '88 the wheat crop was so much injured by rains that before the
* See a fuller account of Ferris in Swift's History of Middlebury.
next harvest, there was a great scarcity of breadstuffs, and considerable suffering. A few barrels of flour brought into Woodford Bay gave some relief, although no one could obtain more than 10 pounds at one time, because of the necessity of a general distribution. In 1793, a destructive fire swept across the town in the woods between the Ledge, and Dead Creek, and in 1816 a large tract was burnt over on the east side of Dead Creek.
Previous to 1804, there was no bridge in the town, over Dead Creek, and the summer travel was either by a ferry across Otter Creek, at the month of Dead Creek, or by a road in Addison. In 1804 the south bridge was completed; the north in 1805; the turnpike finished, and tollgates erected in 1818, and became a free road in 1840.
A log-house, covered with bark, was first built for a school, in the fall of '86. It is not certain who was the first teacher, but Thomas Judd taught two winters about that time, and not long after, Dr. Post (who died at Elizabethtown the last summer, aged 81,) taught several season.
The first framed schoolhouse was built in 1791, and has come down to the present generation, though perverted from its original purpose, being used for a barn. In later years, 4 good district schools have usually been open to all from 6 to 10 months in each year, and the select boarding-school, kept by the late Rev. Jas. Ten Broeke, (for many years unrivalled as a teacher of English branches,) afford good facilities for a superior education.
While thus providing for a secular education, our fathers did not forget that something more was needed, in order to secure the prosperity and well-being of their children, and upon their return after the war, not having neglected, as is sometimes the case, to carry their religion with them to their new settlement, they were accustomed to meet at private houses for prayer and conference, and in 1794 a Baptist church was organized, consisting of 10 members, one of whom occasionally preached to them, till 1799, when Eld. Henry Chamberlain was ordained their first pastor. In 1810, a meeting-house was completed, which, in 1854, gave place to a new one. The present number of members is about 40, — pastor, Eld. Reuben Sawyer. In 1858, the Methodist society erected a house of worship, near the Baptist house, and very similar to it, both of them being neat and tasteful, and well adapted to the wants of the societies. Present number of members of the Methodist church, about 65, — preacher in charge, Rev. Wm. T. Stearns. Few of those who now worship in these houses appreciate the strength of principle which our predecessors possessed, to surmount the difficulties in establishing or attending upon public worship, or the quaint simplicity of manners, when it was thought in no way derogatory for the young ladies of that day, as they often did, to carry their shoes in their hands till near the house, when they put them on to wear through the service, and then carried them home again in the same way they brought them. Tradition says that one of our early ministers, not having the fear of Bishops before his eyes, and instigated thereunto by that necessity that knows no law, sometimes performed his public duties in the pulpit, without coat or shoes. Certainly, there is no doubt that out of their scanty means they contributed cheerfully to the support of religious teaching; and our obligations remain to them for their religious zeal and perseverance.
The soil is mostly a heavy clay, better adapted to grass than tillage; and the principal business is the raising of stock. Its present area is about 10,000 acres, with no waste land except that occupied by Dead Creek, which divides the town nearly in the centre, leaving a little more land on the east side, and more inhabitants on the west side. An extensive ledge of beautiful limestone is found on the west side of the creek, and a bed of very fine marble has been opened, but not much worked, on account of its depth. Within a few years, the discovery of a mineral spring in the S.E. part of the town, — possessing great healing virtues, especially in cutaneous diseases, — has made the place a resort of invalids and pleasure-seekers from abroad, and occasioned the opening of a boarding-house and hotel, by the proprietor, Mr. Allen, near the spring, — known as the Elgin Spring, — about 3 miles S. from Vergennes. The analysis of the water shows it to contain sulphate of magnesia, sulphate of iron, sulphate of soda, carbonate of soda, carbonate of lime, and carbonic acid gas.
A ferry across Lake Champlain was recognized as a necessity at an early day, and has long been kept up from Arnold's Bay to Westport, — at first by Ferris, — in 1796, by Kingman, but for many years has been owned in the family of Friend Adams, (a prominent and wealthy citizen of the place, who died here in 1837,) and is widely known us Adams Ferry. At one time the travel to a large part of northern New York passed by this ferry, and a wharf, store, and storehouses, were needed to transact the business that centred there; but the opening of new routes of travel, and the change of business centres has affected this place, in common with many others.
Those of the early settlers, whose descendants have remained in Panton, and have always constituted a large portion of its population, were Pet. Ferris, Elij. and Edmond Grandey, Phineas Spalding and sons, Phineas Holcomb and sons; and of those who came immediately after the war, Wm. Shepherd, and Benj. and Abner Holcomb.
PETER FERRIS was born in 1722, and before corning to Penton had married a second time. Leaving his first family of children in Duchess County, he came here with a wife and two sons,
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Squire and James, about the year 1766. His family was, probably, the first in the present limits of Panton, although Odle Squire and Joseph Pangborn have always been classed with Ferris as the first settlers.
Ferris' third son, DARIUS, is supposed to be the first child born in the town. Priority of birth has been claimed for Edmond Grandey, and for Timothy Spalding, Jr.; but the records show that Grandey was born in 1776, and Spalding in 1773.
The statement of Deming, that Lois Farr was born here in 1764, is not accepted, because there is no evidence that there was a family in the town at that time. Ferris' wife died in Panton before the Revolutionary war, and was the first adult white person buried in the town.
Peter Ferris died in 1815, aged 93. The story of his imprisonment and terrible sufferings, from Nov. 1778, to June, 1782, has been too often published for me to repeat here. It is said that when Ferris' house was burnt by the British, John Reynolds, a tory from Shoreham, formerly a neighbor of Ferris, in Duchess County, in his zeal for his king, requested the privilege of putting the torch to Ferris' house with his own hands.
Squire Ferris died at Vergennes in 1849, aged 77 years.
ELIJAH GRANDEY, born March 14, 1748, in Canaan, Conn.; came to Panton about the year 1773; commenced a clearing and built a log‑house where Isaac Spalding now lives; was married Feb. 23, 1775, to Salome Smith, of Bridport, then 16 years of age; (they were obliged to go to Ticonderoga to find an officer competent to perform the ceremony.) Lived on his farm till the war; was taken prisoner, and released to take care of the women and children; went to Canaan, and left his wife and child at his brother Edmond's; returned to Vermont, where he frequently acted as scout and guide; and, after the close of hostilities, returned to his farm, where he died in 1810. He, as well as his brother Edmond, appears to have possessed advantages of education superior to most of the early settlers; was for many years Proprietors' Clerk, and first Town Clerk. His son Edmond, born in 1776, died at Panton, in 1849. Elijah, born in 1782, is still living.
EDMOND GRANDEY was a soldier of the Revolution; was at the siege of Quebec in 1776, and with the army in their retreat in May. In 1788 he came with his family to Panton, where he resided till his death, in 1826. He was several times chosen to represent the town, and held other offices. Of his four sons, Jesse and Elijah, who settled near their father, left large families, mostly settled in this vicinity.
JESSE GRANDEY was born in 1778, and died in 1846, having long enjoyed the confidence and esteem of his townsmen. He was often called to the more important town offices, and in 1832, appointed Judge of Probate.
PHINEAS SPALDING, born at Plainfield, Conn., in 1720, came from Cornwall, with a large family of children, by way of Fort Edward and Lake George, in 1767, to what he supposed was Panton (of which town he was an original proprietor). He remained on the Swift farm, now in Addison, till Nov. 5, 1778, when his house and goods were burnt, and two of his sons taken prisoners. He escaped to Rutland, but died there not long after.
PHINEAS SPALDING, Jr., born 1749, married for his second wife Sarah, daughter of Phineas Holcomb. Driven from his farm, he went to Rutland, and enlisted for six months. In the spring of 1779 went to Canaan; late in the fall of 1783, came back. Was once taken prisoner, as before related, and died in Panton, 1825, at the age of 76. Of his descendants bearing his name, Isaac and John, children of a third wife, remain with us.
PHILIP and GEORGE were captured on their father's farm, Nov. 5, 1778, and carried to Canada in company with other prisoners. They, however, managed to escape; and Philip, with some others, wandered in the woods 21 days, when they struck the Connecticut River, at the great Ox-bow, in Newbury.
George was retaken and put in irons, but afterwards offered his liberty if he would first go one trip in a vessel to Great Britain. Stopping at some port in Ireland, he availed himself of his permission to go ashore with the crew, when he was taken by a press-gang, and nothing more is known of him.
Philip, after his return, enlisted and served through the war; then married and moved on to the farm, where his son Hiram now lives. Of his five sons, two are dead; one living in New York, one in Iowa, and one in Panton.
PHINEAS HOLCOMB came from Duchess Co., in the spring of 1774, with a large family, and settled on land now owned by Edrick Adams, Esq. On the morning of Nov. 5, 1778, his son Joseph, then 16 years old, was cutting firewood under an elm-tree now standing, at the door of his brother-in-law, Spalding, who was away from home at the time. Being intent upon his work, he saw nothing of his danger till an Indian stepped up from behind, and a number more surrounded him. They took him off to a vessel on the lake, with his father and three brothers, who lived a short distance from Spalding's, and who were taken by the same party, and their houses burned. They were taken to Quebec, and endured great privation and suffering, which resulted in the death of the two oldest brothers, Joshua and Samuel, in the prison, in the summer of 1781, and of the father, in September of the same year.
The two younger boys, Joseph and Elisha, allowed more liberty, and treated with less severity (being permitted to aid in the care of the sick prisoners), escaped the disease and death which
was the sad fate of so many of their companions in misery, and were exchanged after three years and eight months imprisonment. Joseph died at Panton, Jan. 20, 1833, in his 71st year. Elisha moved to Elizabethtown in 1813, where he died.
WILLIAM SHEPHERD moved from Simsbury, Conn., with 6 children, in 1785, having purchased two 50-acre lots for £100. He died in 1802, at the age of seventy. His oldest son, William, died at Panton in 1836, aged 77. Abel G., the second son, settled in Ohio. Samuel was born in Conn., 1768; married to Rachel Grandey in 1790. Not long after built the small house near his late residence, where he lived till the completion of his large house, in 1815, then the most expensive one in the town. In 1795 he was elected constable, and held the office till 1802; was town clerk from 1803 till 1817; town representative in 1804, 1807 to 1814; also in 1816-18; was a justice of the peace more than 40 years. In 1812, appointed by the legislature one of the assistant judges of the County Court; and he and his wife were among the ten members who united to form the first Baptist church, of which he was a member at the time of his death, in 1858, in his 91st year.
LIEUT, BENJAMIN HOLCOMB was an officer in the Revolutionary war, who lived in Panton from 1783 to 1790. He was a man of ability, and competent to discharge any of the duties of citizenship.
In the spring of 1788, Abner Holcomb moved into a house he had built near where Dea. Aaron Curler now lives, and in 1802 removed to Westport, his children going with him except Abner G., from whom I have obtained many incidents of early times, of which he is the oldest known survivor in the town, and retains a distinct recollection of the condition of the town, and of the persons here at the time of his arrival.
THE TOMB OF THE GIFTED.
HARRIET A. TAPPAN, born at Panton, March 25, 1838; married to Wm. E. White. Jan. 19, 1858; died of consumption three days afterwards. Mrs. W. had been a pupil of Fort Edward Institute, and contributed for a number of periodicals. We give below a paragraph from one of her sketches.
"The sun sinks in the distant west, and with light as from heaven, shines on the sculptured marble above the perishing casket of an immortal jewel. Precious dust! too sacred to be forgotten, we desire to offer silent homage to that which once was the tabernacle of a living and lofty soul. The sun and moon might as soon be darkened, as the glory of that soul be shut from the world forever. Its splendor is like
" 'The star that sets beyond the western wave
It brightens in another hemisphere,
And gilds another evening with its rays.'
"Oh! glorious hope of immortality. Tomb of the Gifted! Hallowed abode! Thy trust is precious! And when He, who sits in judgment, and judges each according to his works, shall command thee to open thy marble gates and give up thy dead, then the sacred dust committed to thy keeping may meet with a glorious resurrection. The gifted may then come forth from thy silence, with bodies purified and clothed in garments of immortality, all wending their way, hand in hand, toward the throne of the King Eternal. 'Their sun shall no more go down; neither shall their moon withdraw itself, for the Lord shall be their everlasting light, and the days of their mourning shall be ended.'
H. A. T.
PARAGRAPHS FROM "FLORAL HOME, OR THREE YEARS IN MINNESOTA."
A 12mo. vol. 342 pp. By Harriet E. Bishop, a native of Panton; born Jan, 1, 1818; who graduated at Fort Edward Institute, and went under Gov. Slade's administration a pioneer teacher to Minnesota. Miss Bishop was married to a Mr. McKonkey, Sept. 1, 1858.
THE FIRST SCHOOLROOM IN MINNESOTA — A MUD-WALLED LOG-HOUSE A PRIMITIVE BLACKSMITH'S SHOP.
Some wooden pins had been driven into the logs, across which rough boards were placed for seats. The luxury of a chair was accorded to the teacher, and a cross-legged table occupied the centre of the loose floor. . . . Soon all was bright and joyous. Our domicil was converted into a rural arbor, fragrant evergreens concealing the rude walls, with their mud chinkings, and even the bark roof. A friendly hen, unwilling to relinquish her claim, on the ground of free occupancy, daily placed a token of her industry in the corner, and made all merry with her loud cackle and abrupt departure. Snakes sometimes obtruded their heads through the floor, rats looked in at the open door, and dark faces were continually obscuring the windows. An old pitcher, minus the handle, received the rarest specimens of wild flowers, from which our "centre-table" exhaled a generous perfume. In front, and at our feet, flowed, in silent majesty, the Father of Waters, with two beautiful green islands reposing on its bosom, which have since been named Raspberry and Harriet* Isles.
Why should I pine for halls of science and literature, when such glorious privileges were mine; when to my weak hand was accorded the work of rearing the fabric of educational interests in the unorganized territory; of establishing the first citizen school within its undefined limits. There was not a spot in earth's broad domain that could have tempted me to an exchange.
THE FIRST SABBATH SCHOOL. The duties of the first week in school were over, and books were deposited upon the rough shelf. The open Bible, from which we had just read, lay upon
*Named for Miss Bishop.
84 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
the table. The eyes of all were upon their teacher, awaiting the closing exercises. . . . Want of space forbids a notice of those who at a later date settled in the eastern part of the town. "Children," said she, "I remember when I was a very little girl, and went to Sunday school, that I read in a little book of a young lady who went to visit some friends a long way from her home, where the children had never heard of a Sunday school. She invited them to come together to form one, and they soon learned to love it very much; and she, too, was very happy in instructing them; and a great deal of good resulted from it. . . . While I am with you I wish to do you all the good I can, and therefore wish you to obtain your parents' permission to come here next Sabbath, and we will have a Sunday school.
The day proved dark and rainy, but there was a gleam of pleasure in the eyes of the seven children who composed the first Sunday school * in St. Paul.
AN OFFER OF MARRIAGE. The Indians are flattered by attention, and often become exceedingly obtrusive and presuming where it is bestowed. From my debut in St. Paul, they had regarded me with a curious eye, and bestowed upon me the appellation of Woa-wan-pa Wa-madon-ka Wash-ta, (good, book woman.) Among the many who honored my "teepee" with a call, was one of unusually commanding appearance, and of proud, graceful, and dignified bearing. His profuse ornaments were exhibited for especial admiration, and a smile, a pleasant recognition, or a cordial shake of the hand, was always ready. Early one morning, having been unusually careful in making his toilet, so that, in his own eyes, he was perfectly irresistible, he called upon me.
Beside the ordinary costume of calico shirt, cloth "leggin," and "breechlet," and the blanket which, in careless negligence, gracefully enshrouded his person, he wore a huge brass bracelet, scoured to unwonted brightness, and a bear's claw appended to his numerous silver ear drops, an additional number of finger rings, and a heavy mass of wampum about his neck, while a new ribbon of scarlet flannel ornamented his long, braided black hair, from which waved two pea-fowl feathers, and his embroidered "'leggin" were fastened with high-colored bead-wrought ties.
His deep, sonorous voice sounded in the outer room, and, by a glance at the aperture of the door as it stood ajar, his graceful movements were visible as he loaded his massive red-stone pipe with "kinnekrikniek," and proceeded to light it. This pipe was highly polished, curiously wrought, and so heavily inlaid with lead that when used it was rested on the ground.
An unusual brightness lurked in his eye as he drew a whiff or two through the stem, three feet long, richly and ingeniously wrought with highly colored porcupine quills, and then passed it until it had made a circuit of the family, — a reassurance of peace and friendship. During this preamble, a pair of eagle eyes were constantly peering into my sanctum; and I was about to close and secure the door, when, with the silent movement of a cat, he threw it open, proffered his hand in morning salutation, with a careless, easy grace, took a seat directly in front, and, with those same eagle eyes scanning me through and through, commenced a spirited and animated "talk," — of course in an unknown tongue. The expressive pantomime bespoke the importance of the subject. The good lady, knowing the trepidation of her boarder, came to the "rescue." Departing from the customary manner of wooing, he said, "Say to Woa-wan-pa Wa-ma-don-ka that she must be my wife." In vain it was urged that he had one, and ought not to have another. "All the band have as many as they can keep, and I have but one," was his reply. "She shall have the best corner of the lodge, and the dark squaw shall pack the wood and water, plant and hoe the corn; white squaw may ride by my side in the hunt, and the other shall carry the game, set the 'teepee,' and cook the food, and hush the pappoose, while white squaw eats with me." Arguments irresistible! To be permitted to eat with my lord, to be first in the lodge! But then, to have another claiming even a menial's fare as a right, and regarding mine as her lawful lord and master, might, and doubtless would, awaken the "green‑eyed monster," and I was incorrigible. "Then when she is dead," said he, for he declared she was dying with consumption, and could not possibly live more than two or three moons; but, at last, finding that no arrangement could be made, he begged "a dollar to buy a new shirt," and, with a haughty, defiant air, took leave.
SCENE AT LITTLE ROCK. On these uninhabited shores, where the dying embers of the council-fire still smoked, and where, but a few days since, the war-whoop resounded, some 200 U. S. troops were landed to erect a defence against the encroachment of the Indian. . . A solitary Indian approached, and, with folded, arms and speechless tongue, watched the operations of the soldiers. . . . When the soldiers' tents were pitched, their camp-fire built, and camp-kettle hung thereon, our visitor slowly and sadly ascended the bluff, and disappeared in the distance.
THE LONE INDIAN.
Not a word he spake, not a gesture made,
As he gazed on the passing scene;
But he folded his arms across his breast
With proud and majestic mien.
The warrior's plume is adorning his head,
The fire of the brave in his eye,
His pallid lips are together pressed,
Nor kindred, nor friend is nigh.
* To Miss B. belongs the credit of sustaining, in this almost unknown wilderness, this school for a year, unassisted by any co-laborer.
Closely with grace his blanket he drew
As he thought of the white man's skill;
But he mastered each muscle of face and form
With an Indian's iron will;
For surely no good was tokened to him
In the scene that was passing around;
For the strong defence of the white man's walls
Would rest on his hunting-ground.
He looked on the graves where his fathers slept,
On the spot where his teepee had stood,
On the stream where glided his light canoe,
And the wild deer coursed in the wood.
And never again to his vision would seem
The sky so bright and fair,
Or earth be dressed in such beauty and green,
Or so pure and serene the air.
The pale face come, so potent in skill!
His own race were dwindling away;
The remnant doomed; how brief the hour
They might on their hunting-ground stay!
And sadly, oh, sadly, his spirit was stirred,
For life was bereft of its charms,
Since these flower-clad plains and crested bluffs
Were marked for the white man's farms.
And closely, more closely, his blanket he drew,
More firmly his lips compressed;
And stronger he folded his brawny arms
O'er his painfully heaving breast.
His eagle eye had divined the scene,
The river and plain he has crossed;
And he climbs the bluff, and, westward away,
He is soon in the distance lost.