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POWNAL.

 

 

BY T. E. BROWNELL, ESQ.

 

The Town of Pownal occupies the S. W. corner of Vermont, bordering upon the States of New York and Massachusetts on the W . and S.; upon the Towns of Stamford and Bennington on the E. and N. It contains 23,040 acres; and is watered principally by the rivers Walloomsock and Hoosic. The one, taking its source on the side of the Green Mountains, passes through that portion of the town contiguous to the range; the other, leaving the marshes of Cheshire, Mass., finds its way to the Hudson through the beautiful valley of its own name. On the banks of the latter stream, are situated some of the finest farms, rivaling in fertility any within the State. And here industry, ever ready to bring the forces of nature into submission, has built up large woolen manu­factories, which command superior advanta­ges, in their locality and privileges.

This valley of the Hoosic lies in three different States, and is remarkable for its warmth. Especialy in Pownal, because of its narrowness, and the high hills and ledges of rocks, which form its sides, thus providing a large reflecting surface, is this peculiarity noticable. A few days of good sleighing is all that is expected. The scenery is bold and attractive, possessing elements of beauty and sublimity. Iron ore in moderate quantities, has been found. Kaolin also is found, but not to a large amount. White clay appears in the vicinity of the Chalk Pond. Lime rock of the best kind is abundant. Sulphuret of iron is found upon Mr. Nathan Varin's farm, and elsewhere. Silex, clay, slate, boulders, silex slate, crystals of silex, also of lime, marble and quartz appear in different quan­tities. An aqueous formation of lime and slate gravel (commonly called pudding stone) appears at the "dug way," between Pownal and Williamstown. From these rocks which partially overhang the highway; there is a continual dropping of water, which the dri­est summer is unable to check. On account of this, they have been appropriately named the "weeping rocks." The Williams Quar­terly furnishes the following tradition.

"Long before the foot of the white man trod these valleys or his axe rang in the aged forest which once waved around this spot, an Indian Tribe sought refuge in this region from the persecution of their powerful ene­mies. They had a tradition that they should never be totally conquered until the rocks wept. The meaning they attached to the prediction was that they should always en­dure; and this confidence sustained them in many reverses of fortune. When they arrived at the place we have described, howev­er, they observed with terror the apparent fulfillment of the fatal prediction, and at once yielded to despair. The pursuers were close at hand, and falling upon the unresist­ing fugitives, completely exterminated the whole tribe.

The similarity of this prediction, and of the results of its apparent fulfillment, to that introduced by Shakespear into his play of Macbeth, gave rise to a poem, of which the following are extracts.

 

"Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until

Great Burnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill

Shall come against him."

MACBETH.

 

 

 

"I sat, a boy, on a chieftain's knee,

In the shade of the graceful maple tree;

We have laid him since in his narrow bed,

Where he will not wake at the foeman's tread;

I listened close to the tales he told,

Of the valient deeds of our sires of old.

 

Again the glory of his tribe in the brave and beautiful bygone he rehearsed, and this tradition told — this prophecy of old‑

 

 

 

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"What if the foeman follow on?

What if our valiant chiefs are gone?

What if our wigwams rise no more

On the forest verge and smooth lake shore?

Yet never may we to a foeman yield

In the woodland glade or the open field,

Till the rocks shall weep our nation's woe,

And tear-drops sad from the mountains flow.

 

The war-whoop pierced through the fated wood,

Where the foeman thirsted hot for blood,

Yet never it woke the Indian fire

Whose ears still rang with the sentence dire,—

Yet never they raised an impious hand,

For the fates had spoke — their word must stand —

Here mourn the rocks a nation's woe,

And tear-drops from the mountains flow.

 

Silent they fall at their chieftain's side,

And Hoosic blushed with the purple tide,—

Not a groan was heard, not a tear was shed,

But the rocks bewailed a nation's dead."

 

The western part of the town suffered ear­ly from the frequent incursions of the In­dians; probably war parties which acted un­der the leadership of the French. For the protection of her people Massachusetts erected two forts in Adams and Williamstown, near the south line of this township. The site of one of these forts is still pointed out. Certain spots where Indian relics have been most numerous, are regarded as the winter rendevous of their early parties. Among the most manifest of these, are the nursery yard of Alonzo Whipple, the warm, sandy knoll near the residence of Moses Whipple, the "wash-tub grove," and Nathan Varin's farm. It is said a planting-ground was also marked out by them upon lands subsequently occupied by the Burnes, and which are now in the farm of Alonzo Whipple, Esq.

The first record of any settlement, dates back to the year 1724, when a few Dutch families squatted upon the banks of the Hoosic river, without any title to the land. Who they were is not known. But some years afterwards, the names of Gregor, Van Norman, Anderson, Westenhouse, Forsburg, Voss and Sebastian Deal appear in connection with lands subsequently claimed under patents originating in New York, and which titles on the remeasurements of their limits were extended into the town of Pownal about three miles on its western part. (Allen's History.)

These early settlers were pioneers of the first quality; and if their hearts, in most cases, did not sympathize with the republicans of 1776, it was because they were satisfied through their strong conservative prejudices, to continue in their old habits of thought. They had not the warm blood of the Anglo-Saxon, and were incapable of being moved to rebellion by his independent hopes, or of be­ing actuated by the baser motives of toryism. They desired a new home, and sought it in the deep solitude of endless forests, amid dan­gers incalculable. They could endure suffer­ings of fatigue and submit to the pains of hunger; they could witness the atrocities of a savage foe and see children, mothers, wives and husbands butchered by the hands of merciless heathen; and yet persevere. Their spirits were equal to this. But when their minds were required to grapple a new truth, a startling and innovating principle, they turned away in disdain. By it, they saw old ideas, which they cherished, rejected, kings whom they adored, insulted and despised, and fathers whom they loved, mocked. Surely, custom and association have strange powers! Let us not forget the virtues of these early settlers in the contemplation of their defects.

The Forsburgs settled upon the lands now owned by Green Brimmer; they have no family representatives now living. in town. Hogle and Sebastian Deal occupied the lands now held by Mrs. Bovie. The former was killed by the Indians. He left a wife and son. — Deal married his widow, and succeeded to his possessions.

The Burnes took possession of the lands contained in the farms of the Whipples and Hiram Hovey, Esq. Tradition gives the following story. It seems that the two broth­ers were laboring in their fields, near the river, when looking up they discovered their barn to be on fire. One immediately accused the other of setting the fire by his pipe. He denied it, stating that he had not been to the barn with his pipe lighted. Upon this they both hastened toward the house, and when within sight, discovered, standing in the door, what appeared to be guns. They simultaneously thought of Indians, and in their fright seperated; one going north, ascended the rocky hill east of the present highway, and directed his course to the Massachusetts fort. The other, turning towards the river, ran up the stream, and when he had arrived at the bend in the river near the spot now occupied by the Rail-road bridge, he was so unfortunate as to meet a party of Indians, who immediately gave chase. He succeeded in reaching the water, and was enabled to secrete himself in some heaps of flood-wood, where he remained until morning, when he continued his way to the fort without farther molestation. There he met his brother who had supposed him killed. In after years he spoke of his impressions while the Indians passed near and over his hiding place, and that he so feared they would hear his heart beat, that he came near risking a flight.

In 1794 and 1800 these lands were deeded

 

 

 

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by Wheeler and Richard Brown to Zachias Hovey, Esq.

Westenhouse took the farm which still holds his name on the west side of the river, nearly opposite the factory.

Gregor settled a little north of the rocks which bear his name. A very good story, the truth of which we do not vouch, is told of his wife, who, from the testimony of her neighbors, was an extraordinary woman. This of course brought upon her the envy and suspi­cion of the good people, and in after years, when witchcraft prevailed, and her husband had gone to his long rest, she was accused of being a witch, and brought before a commit­tee, appointed to judge and dispense justice in such cases. After reviewing the grounds of accusation, and consulting the evidences of the case, they deferred a direct decision, and required that she be subjected to two tests, in order that they might better determine the points of witchery: First, that she should climb a tree, and if upon cutting it, she was not killed, she was a witch, other­wise not. Second, that a hole should be cut in the ice, sufficient to let her body through, and if, upon trial, she sunk to the bottom, an acquittal should be granted; but if she floated, the penalty of the law should he vis­ited upon her. After some deliberation, they adopted the latter test, and the poor woman was obliged to undergo the process of sink­ing, which of course she did. With much effort she was saved from drowning, and al­lowed to go free, with the wise conclusion of the judge, that if she had been a witch the powers infernal would have supported her.

Somewhat later the southwestern part of the town was settled by Youngs, Van Nor­man, Anderson and Fisher. Most of these claims were purchased by new comers, who held them under the grant of 1760. This grant which proceeded from Gov. Wentworth of New Hampshire, was dated the 8th of Jan., but no one took up any lands under it until about 1762. Then indeed the counter­claims of New York, which had been gradu­ally intruded, were urged with renewed zeal. In 1764 John Horsford and Isaac Charles held titles from New Hampshire to the same lands that Voss and Deal possessed, and ob­tained authority from Justice Samuel Robinson of Bennington, to secure their rights. Accompanied by one Sheriff Ashley, they proceeded to hasten the execution of the law, when suddenly the Sheriff of Albany opposed their proceedings, and, by the aid of his as­sistants, lodged Robinson, Ashley and Charles in jail. But as it was a case of conflicting jurisdiction, the parties, being allowed bail, were eventually discharged.

These counter-claims continued to be the source of embarrassment long after the year 1800. In 1786 an effort was made by certain land holders to dispossess the occupants of these dubious possessions, of their property. A suit had been brought by Gen. Josiah Wright and Page against Joseph Wheeler and Amos Potter for the title of their farms. The authority of the former originated from this ancient New York patent, concerning which a statute of limitation had been made, which required all persons this side of the great waters, who held adverse claims, to close them before a certain determinate date. The aforesaid case happened to come on the last day of the appointed term. But howev­er law-abiding the defendents in this case may otherwise have been, they determined that the "Freehold Court" should not as­semble on that day; and accordingly two parties of fictitious Indians were organized on the morning of said day, one of which was to keep their neighbors under the re­straint of fear, while the other should hold the officials, whom they supposed would cross the mountains from Bennington. Nathan Clark and Isaac Tichenor were the victims of this conspiracy, and were seized on their way hither, carried to the top of the mountain, and there kept under arrest until after the term of the statute had expired. David Stannard was the "Captain Pete" of this band of Indians. The Sheriff was suffered to escape, when he at once hastened to the place of court. But the Indians who had charge of the neighborhood threatened so loudly that he was sobered in his blustering. It is enough to say the plan was entirely success­ful. The day had passed, the imprisoned of­ficials were released, and no court was held. An attempt was made to apprehend the ac­tors in this farce, but as no identity of persons could be proved, the matter was dropped. The young men, however, for a long time, had always a sly wink to exchange whenever any allusion was made to the affair. But they have lived, as others lived, have grown old, recited the tales of their early valor, and have died, while we their children remain to enjoy the fruits of their mischief.

In 1762 strangers came in to take up new claims under the grant. They moved back towards the mountains, and selected farms near the limits of the town. John Potter settled upon the "Watson place." He came from Rhode Island, poor and friendless, and had chosen a lonely place, but he was equal to his fortune. He had come on foot, while his wife rode on horseback with a feather bed and sheet for a saddle.

Jonathan Card located upon the lands now

 

 

 

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owned by Abram Gardner, Esq. A bear story is told of his wife. She was at dinner when one of her children announced the pres­ence of a bear in the 'hog-pen.' She seized a pitch-fork, placed by chance near the door way, hastened to the pen, and dispatched the unwelcome tenant at one blow. The hunters from whom the bear was escaping, arriving soon after, magnanimously rewarded her heroism with a small portion of the meat.

In 1763 Charles Wright came up from fort Massachusetts. He had three sons, Samuel, Josiah and Solomon. Samuel moved to Canada and died while on a visit to his son at Og­densburg, N. Y. Josiah and Solomon lived and died in town. Several of their children are still living. Judge Samuel Wright is the son of Gen. Josiah Wright, and is 84 years of' age. Capt. Samuel Wright and Obadiah Dunham were the delegates from Pownal to the General Convention held at Dorset, Sept. 5, 1776.

About the year 1765, Noble, Geo. Gard­ner, Wittum, Mallory and Benj. Grover took up their residence in town.

Geo. Gardner, Esq., was 14 days moving from Hancock, Mass., to Pownal. He lived to the age of 114 years. At the age of 85 he planted an apple nursery, which he lived to see bear fruit. His daughter, afterwards the wife of Wm. B. Sherman, was the first English child born in Pownal.

Benj. Grover preached the first sermon in town. From the rearing of new homes, our fathers were soon called to their protection.

In the summer of 1777, Burgoyne hastened from the north to make a junction with Gen. Clinton. Arrived at Saratoga, the military stores at Bennington attracted his greedy at­tention. Hessian soldiers were immediately dispatched, but the disciplined forces were conquered by our militia under Gen. Stark. Certainly after the battle every one had his exploits and narrow escapes to relate. The tories had expressed their hostility to the popular cause by uniting with the enemy. Deal, Hogle and Forsburgh took their station behind the breastwork of the British. It appears that Forsburgh for some cause or other had been delinquent, and did not ar­rive on the field of battle until after the ac­tion had commenced. He proceeded at once to the place occupied by Deal, and was about to greet him with a cordial shake of the hand, when the latter indignant at his delay, struck at him with a knife. This created a feud between them which lasted till death.

Another who was afflicted with the same tory defect, in after years told a very good story of himself. When the route of the enemy was complete, and the tories were scat­tered in every direction, hotly pursued by enraged victors, he found himself during this race, so near his pursuers that it became ex­tremely dangerous to keep the open field. Anxious for a place of concealment, he at last ventured to stoop behind a heap of logs. But hardly had he secured an easy position, and was congratulating himself upon a sure escape, when the whistling of bullets and showers of bark revealed the weakness of his hiding place, and obliged him to attempt a flight. Once more being considerable in ad­vance of his pursuers, he sought another refuge within a thicket; but the sudden fall­ing of a twig, in close proximity to his nose, admonished him of danger, and again he hastened flight. For several minutes he urged his speed, and was beginning to expe­rience hopes of' escape when a bullet nicely severed his hat ribbon. Despairing any longer of success, he then gave himself up as a prisoner of war.

Squire Nathaniel Wallace has told his ex­perience. He was a patriot, earnest and true, and presented himself at the post of duty upon the first threatening of danger. When the battle was well commenced, and the tories from behind their breastwork were exulting in apparent victory, Wallace with a few companions took up their station upon a pile of chips in front of the enemies' line. He afterwards described their works as being formed of stakes and pieces of timber, set close together at the bottom, so as to be im­penetrable to bullets, while the tops diverged, thus leaving a space for the soldiers to direct their fire. Upon the inside at the foot of the upright timbers was thrown up a platform of logs and earth which was high enough to enable the combatants to bring their faces up to the apperture. Here they discharged their guns, stepped down from this elevation, and no longer exposed to danger, reloaded their pieces.

At one of these appertures, Wallace had noticed a young man, wearing a white neck­tie, appear several times. Finally resolved upon his destrucion, he arranged his rifle and awaited his reappearance. After the usual interval of time for loading had expired, the opening was again filled by the same young looking face; but before he had marked his victim, Wallace pulled the trigger, and the space was once more empty. After the order to charge had been executed with perfect success, Wallace went to the position oppo­site the pile of chips, identified the body of the young man and measured the distance to his former standing place, which proved to be 30 yards.

 

 

 

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Forsburgh affirmed, after the battle, that young Hogle stood near him behind the breastwork, and wore a white neck-tie, and that when, at one time, he was about to discharge his piece, he saw instantly a bright blue spot appear in the center of his fore­head and Hogle fell back upon the ground a dead man. Before and during this action consternation was upon the countenance of every one. They feared yet they dared. — Women and children left, their homes and retired to places of security. But if doubt and trepidation had prevailed before the contest, joy and jubilee were abundant afterwards. Meetings of rejoicing were held at the south part of the town, and articles of proscription against the tories were read and approved. And for many subsequent years, upon any public occasion, they were made the subject of reproach and ridicule. One was left hanging upon a stake by the leather waist­band of his breeches. Another received an application of the "Beech seal;" and even so, a spirit of hostility and contempt always existed towards them while they lived. But they have returned to their original dust, as the patriots have, and their children live, good and loyal citizens. Prominent among those who responded, from Pownal, to the general call of freedom, was Capt. Angel, who had accompanied Arnold's expedition to Quebec.

In the absence of a legitimate government a committee of "Public Safety" was ap­pointed, whose duty it was to adjust such points of difference as might from time to time arise among the people, and also to su­perintend the police of the town. This "committee" although originally calculated to meet a present exigency, soon became an indispensible branch of the town govern­ment. Its members, three in number, pos­sessed almost absolute power. Their decis­ions, although generally just and impartial, were occasionally tinctured with caprice and favoritism. Thus when composed of Jewett, Seely and Dunning, as its members, a com­plaint was whispered about that they always decided in favor of the plaintiff, and unless they improved their style of deciding, a new board should he appointed. It is said that embarrassed by such slanderous reports, and intimidated by these threats, a consultation was held and a new method of proceedure adopted. It was determined that future de­cisions should be rendered in favor of the de­fendent. Stimulated by these deliberations, equanimity was once more attained; but the first application of this new rule incurred a novel difficulty. The case was this. A man was arraigned for stealing a harrow. The day of trial came; witnesses were present; the court opened, when the defendent unex­pectedly plead guilty to the offense, with the explanation that his intention was only to use the harrow, and to return it before the owner had occasion to use it. Here appeared a perplexing question. How could they fa­vor the defendent? He had admitted the theft without compulsion. However, after some deliberation they agreed upon a decision remarkable for its ingenuity and justice. It was decided that the defendent should return the harrow and pay for the use of it, while the plaintiff should pay the costs because he had neglected to prove his charge.

In these days certain parts of the town were famous for rattlesnakes. Among these the high and frowning cliffs, which skirt the river by and near the manufacturing village of North Pownal, were the chosen rendevous of these dangerous pests. Here they wintered and at early spring, slipping forth from their dens, scatterd themselves about the neighbor­ing fields. A capacious "snake story" sur­vived the final extermination of the reptiles. Benona Hudson, upon one autumn morning, seeing a large rattlesnake cross the river from its western banks, roll itself in the sand, and hasten towards the rocks; followed close af­ter and watched him as he entered his den. He at once proceeded to cut a short walnut cudgel and a stout pole, with which he in­stantly invaded the strong retreat of the snake. Forthwith there was a hissing and a promiscous crawling forth. Rapidly the blows descended and all were dispatched. Upon counting he found eighty-seven. Thus much says tradition; but it does not add, as did the Mississippian, who told of killing four cords and a half of black snakes between sunrise and sunset, that "it was not a good snake day either."

Still later another incident occurred, which found its way into a Virginian paper, under the title of "Sam Patch Outdone." One "Nabbie Ross," whose parents resided upon the eastern side of the hills, had been to the factory on some trading errand, and was re­turning with a bundle of "rolls," by way of the "rocks," which was considerable nearer. When near the summit, attracted by the river and village below, she ventured to look over the cliff. Loosing her balance she fell to the ground beneath. The villagers seeing her hurrying through the air, hastened to the spot, expecting to find her bruised into pieces. Imagine their surprise when instead of a mangled mass, they found "Nabbie," alive, without any serious injury, and not a little perplexed at her uncouth predicament.

 

 

 

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Upon measurement they found she had fallen the distance of 79 feet.

The old church at the "Center" was erect­ed in 1789, by Capt. Ovaitt, who arrived in town in 1780.

The first ordained minister was ELDER CALEB NICHOLS, who moved to Pownal in 1788. "Bringing with him not only fair paper credentials, but what far exceeds, a heart glowing with love to God and man; and now instead of using his violin to captivate the thoughtless throng, he is engaged with successful zeal in sounding the gospel trumpet. His life and conversation are exemplary, his preaching spiritual and animating, pretty full of the musical new light tone. But his gift of prayer is his great excellence; for he not only prays as if he was softly climbing Jacob's ladder to the portals of heaven; but his expressions are so doctrinal, that a good sermon may be heard in one of his prayers." The following inscription appears on his tomb stone. "Sacred to the memory of Rev. Caleb Nichols who after fifteen years of faith­ful service as a minister and watchman over the first Baptist church in Pownal, departed this life on the 27th of February, 1804, in the 61st year of his age." He was born in Exeter, R. I., on the 12th of March, 1743.

Since that time the number of churches has increased, so that now there are four; one Union, one Baptist, a Methodist, and a Congregational.

Dr. Caleb Gibbs died Jan. 31, 1813, aged 55 years. Dr. Bonister died April 6, 1824, aged 65. Dr. E. N. S. Morgan is the pres­en physician. He received his degree of M. D. at Pittsfield, Mass. The following names appear in William's College Catalogue. — Charles Wright, Thomas Wright, Lyman Thompson, Seth Moore, E. N. S. Morgan, M. Barber, T. E. Brownell, D. Barber, S. Wright. Seth Moore died Nov. 5, 1825, in the 24th year of his age. Dr. B. F. Morgan received his M. D. degree at Castleton. He is now a prominent physician at Bennington.

In 1812 a company of soldiers was enlisted in Pownal, to serve in the war, commanded by Capt. Danforth. Simce then the general character of Pownal has improved with oth­er towns. Gradually. the gloom of forests have given way to pleasant homes and fertile farms. Enterprise and thrift are prominent features, while the efforts of a true and un­defiled religion are hastening to correct dis­cord and introduce an universal harmony.

May 8, 1763, is the date of the first meet­ing on record for the election of town officers: Asa Alger first Town Clerk; John Vanerum, Constable; Edmond Town, Asa Alger and Jabez Warren, Selctmen. Erastus Jewett was Town Clerk 13 years, and Silvanus Danforth (in 1852) 17 years. Thomas Jewett, Joseph Williams and Eli Noble were the first Justices. Others, Josiah Wright 24 years; Obadiah Dunham 20; Nathan Varien 19; Silvanus Danforth 16; Sebastian Wager 16; Samuel Wright 15; and Blackmer E. Brow­nell 12. Thomas Jewett was the first Representative, March 1798.

In point of population Pownal was the third town in the County and the fifth in the State, in 1791. [See Deming and Thompson.]

 

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ADDITIONAL BIOGRAPHY

 

BY HON. HILAND HALL.

 

GEN. JOSIAH WRIGHT and JUDGE SOLOMON WRIGHT, sons of Charles Wright, one of the early settlers of Pownal, long occupied prom­inent positions in the town, Josiah Wright was born in 1752, and Solomon in Fort Hoo­sic, near North Adams, Dec, 28, 1763. Both were whigs in the revolution, Josiah participating in the battle of Bennington and Solomon, when of sufficient age, serving on the frontier, at Rutland and Pittsford, to­wards the close of the war. Both were men of great natural talent and shrewdness, and possessing sound and discriminating judg­ments and determined wills, were well calculated to lead in all matters in which they respectively took part.

When political parties took a distinct or­ganization, in the time of the elder Adams, the brothers differed in sentiment, Josiah uniting with the republicans and Solomon with the federalists, and each becoming the acknowledged leader of the party to which he was attached, each as his party predom­inated, exerting an important influence in the affairs of the County and State. They not only belonged to rival parties but were frequently rival candidates, and the strife there­by occasioned is said to have sometimes de­generated into personal unfriendliness. There is however the best reason for believing, that if such ill feeling did exist, it was happily removed before the death of either.

Gen. JOSIAH WRIGHT belonged to the political party which was usually the strong­est, and was much more in public life than his brother. Before political parties had as­sumed a definite form, he was, in 1792, elect­ed a representative of the town, and he was rechosen every year thereafter until 1803, with the exception of 1796. He was Judge of Probate 13 years in succession, from 1801, and he was, at the time of his death, which occurred Jan. 1, 1817, a State Councillor and Chief Judge of the County Court, having been a member of the Council for 10 and Judge of the Court 8 years. Be was one of the Board of Commissioners appointed by the Legislature in 1807 for the erection of the

 

 

 

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State Prison, and is believed to have been the active agent and superintendent in its con­struction. His name also headed the list of Presidential Electors of the State in 1805 and 1813, voting, on the first occasion, for Thom­as Jefferson, and on the last for James Madi­son.

At the age of 65 he was in the vigor of health and activity, and lost his life from an injury received in jumping from his carriage near his own door, just as he was starting to attend the session of the County Court at Bennington, in December, 1816, — his horse, by the breaking of his bits, having become unmanageable. Among several of his chil­dren still living it is not deemed improper to mention the Hon. Samuel Wright, formerly Representative of the town and Judge of the County Court, who, though over 80 years of age, and, unfortunately, decrepid and blind, still retains his interesting conversational and mental powers in their original brightness.

Judge Solomon Wright, while the political rivalry between him and his brother contin­ued, belonged to the party which was gener­ally in the minority, and consequently was not much in public life. He was, however, elected a Representative of the town in 1796, in 1803 and 1804 and also in 1815 and 1816, a Judge of the County Court in 1798 and 1799 and Chief Judge in 1814, and he again represented the town in 1817 and in 1821 and 1823.

Judge Wright had not the advantages of an early education, but had acquired exten­sive knowledge by reading and observation and was quite familiar with legal proceed­ings. He was often called upon to counsel in law matters, and occasionally attended to cases in Justice Courts, and before auditors and referees, managing them with great skill, arguing them not only with ability but some­times with surpassing eloquence. He died at Pownal, Aug. 24, 1837, aged 74. Among his children were Charles, who was a lawyer of much promise and in extensive practice, who died at Bennington July 1817, aged 35; and Thomas, also a lawyer, who died in 1813, soon after his admission to the bar. He has other children still living.