BY DR. HENRY SHELDON.
Rupert, a town 6 miles square, lies in the northwesterly corner of Bennington Co., and is bounded N. by Pawlet, E. by Dorset, S. by Sandgate, and W. by Hebron and Salem, in New York. The surface is very uneven, presenting a constant variety of hill and dale, mountain and ravine. A high range of mountains, commencing in Arlington, and running north into Pawlet, being a spur from the Green Mountain range, runs through the easterly part of the town. In this range is a high, cone-shaped mountain, near the geographical centre of the township, towering high above its fellows, named Mount Antony, — a place of great resort in the summer season for parties of young people from the
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adjacent country, bent on pleasure and sightseeing. The proprietor has made a winding foot-path up its side and cleared away the trees and shrubbery from its peak. The prospect from its summit presents westerly and northerly a beautiful panorama of forests and cultivated fields, mountains and valleys, villages, hamlets, rivers and ponds, — well repaying the arduous labor of climbing its steep sides. Spread out beneath the beholder, like a map. lies all the central and northern part of Washington and Saratoga Counties, N. Y., the winding valley of the Hudson, in many places even the river itself; and also the western part of Rutland Co. is visible.
The soil of this town is quite fertile, — the intervales between the mountains, from one quarter to half a mile in width, supplying rich meadow lands and corn fields, and the hill and mountain sides affording luxuriant pasturage for cattle and sheep, and producing good crops of oats and other small grains. There are many flourishing farmers located on our mountains, receiving a rich remuneration for their labor in the abundance of their crops and the growth and products of their herds. Unlike many places, the highest mountains; instead of producing nothing but naked, brown rocks, are covered with a heavy growth of timber. Consequently, there is more wealth here, compared with population, than in any other town in the county, — its inhabitants, in 1850, numbering 1,101, and its grand list in 1859 amounting to $4,655,93 — besides, about $50,000 lying in Bank-stock in the State of New York, not taxable here.
The township is well watered — every farm having a sufficient supply — little streams running along every ravine, and springs gushing from almost every rock-crevice. There are no streams of much size within its limits, but rivers of some consequence take their rise here. Pawlet river, rising in Dorset, flows through the N. E. part of the town, and passing diagonally through Pawlet, empties into Wood Creek, in New York, and thence into Lake Champlain, at Whitehall. White Creek and Indian river both have their origin here, — the latter flowing north, and emptying into Pawlet river, — the former running S. W., and emptying into the Battenkill, in New York, and thence into the Hudson. Here is the line, dividing the waters which flow north into the St. Lawrence from those that flow south to the Hudson. Branches of White Creek and Indian river take their rise from the same swamp or marsh, part of its waters flowing north and part south. Indian river derives its name from its being the favorite resort of Indians, for hunting and fishing, when the country was a wilderness.
The principal timber growing here is the hard or sugar maple, beech, birch, white and black oak, elm, hickory, bass-wood, &c., and considerable spruce is found on the most elevated lands.
Agriculture is the occupation of more than nine-tenths of the inhabitants. Formerly they turned their attention principally to sheep husbandry, raising cattle for sale, and raising wheat and rye — transporting the two latter in ox-carts or waggons 50 miles to Troy, N. Y., the nearest market. Latterly' the farmers have depended more for their profits upon the making of butter and cheese. There are as fine dairies here as can be found in the State.
The Rutland and Washington Rail-road runs about 5 miles through the westerly part of the town; raising essentially the value of land, especially of wood lands, and affording a ready market for all agricultural productions at almost every man's door. There arc two depots or stations — one called Rupert, and the other West Rupert Station.
The principal farm products, so far as can be ascertained, were, in 1859, as follows:— cheese, 275,000 lbs., butter, 15,000 lbs.,— from about 900 cows; maple sugar, 60,000 lbs.; wool, 20,000 lbs., from about 5,000 sheep; hay, 3,000 tons; oats, 15,000 bush.; corn, 5,000 bush.; potatoes, 25,000 bush. Rye and wheat are not raised to any great extent. There are 9 School Districts (formerly 11,) and as many school houses, in each of which are two terms of school every year; 3 small villages, called Rupert, West. Rupert, and East Rupert, at each of which is a Post-office; 3 churches; 1 tavern; 4 stores; 3 saw mills; 1 grist mill; 3 blacksmith shops; 1 waggon shop; 1 boot and shoe manufactory; and 1 milliner's shop. Like all other towns in Vermont, strictly agricultural, the population is gradually but steadily diminishing. Its maximum was in 1800, when the number was 1,648; its minimum is probably not yet reached.
Little is known of the early settlement of Rupert, or the names or character of its settlers. Its records are deficient, being carried off by one Josiah Cass, the first Proprietors' Clerk, recorded subsequently in the Books, as a "noted tory," and never recovered. Tradition, always unreliable, must be substituted for written history. Thus much, however, is known. It was granted Aug. 20, 1761, by Denning Wentworth, Gov. of New Hampshire, to Samuel Robinson and 63 others. The first meeting of these proprietors was held "at the house of John Fassett, Innholder in Bennington," on the 16th day of April, 1765, at which meeting it was voted
to lay out a 1st division of 50 acres of land to each proprietor; which lots were laid out the following year, in what is now called East Rupert, along the intervale on Pawlet river. The prorietors in that year "voted to give the first settler 50 acres of land on the undivided lands, as an encouragement to the first family that goes on;" but the name of the fortunate individual, who drew this prize, tradition does not give. But about this time Isaac Blood, Barnabas Barnum, Reuben Harmon, Amos Curtis, Jonathan Eastman, and perhaps others, moved on to the 1st division lots, and commenced clearing the land. In 1768 a 2nd division of 60 acres to each proprietor was voted to be laid out in the western part of the town, on what was called "the White Creek meadows," adjoining Salem, N. Y., now called West Rupert. Here, however, they met with opposition "by reason of York's pretending jurisdiction," and were compelled to desist. In a year or two afterwards this division was laid out and settlements commenced. Aaron Rising was the first settler in this part of the town. Oliver Scott built the first grist-mill here, on White Creek, about 1773.
The early settlers entered with zeal into the contest, on the question of jurisdiction, between New York and New Hampshire, ardently espousing the cause of the latter. In 1771, settlements were commenced on the White Creek meadows by New Yorkers, who had armed themselves in defiance of the New Hampshire grantees. Soon after, these latter, well armed, proceeded to drive off the intruders, who fled; and the log houses, which they had erected, "were pulled down, laid in heaps and burned with fire." In 1772, the Sheriff of Albany County, armed with the Governor's proclamation, came here with a posse, for the purpose of arresting the rioters, as they were called, but the inhabitants, having intimation of the Sheriff's intent, turned out en masse, headed by "one Harmon near Indian river," and with guns and clubs drove them back to New York, and they were glad, to escape with their lives. The New Hampshire grantees were in the habit of often applying the "Beech seal" to the naked backs of the intruding "Yorkers."
Previous to the Revolutionary war, there were but few settlers in this town, located mostly in log huts, near Pawlet river and White Creek, on its east and west borders. Upon the breaking out of the war, and especially upon the advance of Gen. Burgoyne from the north, in 1777, and upon detachments from his army being sent into western Vermont, they deemed it unsafe to remain on their farms any longer, and packing up whatever of their household effects they could carry with them, and burying or concealing what they could not, removed with their families to Suffield, Ct. — the place from which most of them had emigrated. Consequently, this place was in the possession of the British and tories during this and two or three following years. They burnt the grist-mill, on White Creek, and most of the log dwellings, and stole whatever they could find, of value. As a specimen of the character of the tories, and their hostility to the cause of the Revolution, the following story is related. Maj. Ormsby, then residing in Manchester, a leading and active Whig, had exposed himself to their especial hatred, and they determined to capture him and delver him over to the British, then encamped at Saratoga. Accordingly, six or eight tories left Rupert in the night and proceeded to the house of the Major. Fortunately, he was not at home; but they seized Daniel, his son, a young man about 21 years of age, and returned in all haste with their prisoner to the wilds of Rupert. Alarm was given in the morning, and the friends of Ormsby, joined by some Whigs residing in the east part of the town, followed on for the purpose of rescuing him. They were enabled to follow the track of the tories, in consequence of the prisoner having taken the precaution, unobserved, of frequently breaking off the twigs and branches of the trees in the woods. The rescuers came across the party, whilst at lunch, in the mountain in the north part of the town. The tories, in the mean time, having dressed their prisoner in a red coat, in imitation of a British soldier, John Nelson of this place, one of the rescuing party, drew up his gun and was in the act of firing upon the Red-coat, when the latter made a sign that he was a friend, and the former dropped his gun. He was thus rescued from the grasp of the tories and returned to Manchester; but they escaped.
In 1780, the British and tories having evacuated this part of the country, the settlers began to return, accompanied by many of their friends and neighbors, and commenced rebuilding their burned and dilapidated log huts and cultivating their farms. In this year the HON. DAVID SHELDON, subsequently a man of note and influence, emigrated to this town from Suffield, Ct. When quite young, he enlisted under Capt. Hanchett of Suffield, joined the regiment of Col. Benedict Arnold, was led by him through the wilderness of Maine to Canada, enduring incredible hardships and suffering, was taken prisoner at Quebec, and after some months of confinement, was exchanged early in 1776. He came here poor, but, by industry and
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good management, made a good fortune. He was a man of large frame, noble and commanding appearance and wielded a great influence over his fellow-townsmen. He was a Representative to the Vermont Legislature 13 times between 1781 and 1811, and was one of the Judges of the County Court for many years, besides holding many town offices. He raised a family of 10 children, gave four of them a college education, and died in 1832.
HON. GROVE MOORE and HON. JOSIAH RISING, were early settlers, and also prominent citizens in their day — the former a Representative in the Legislature for 2 years, and also for some time Judge of Probate; the latter being a Representative 7 years between 1804 and 1817, Judge of the County Court, and a leading Anti-mason, being a Delegate to the Baltimore Convention, which nominated William Wirt for President of the United States. Enos Harmon was the first Town Clerk, and Moses Robinson the first Representative.
MARTIN SMITH was an early settler, and the first in that part of the town, called Indian River. He emigrated to this place from Litchfield, Ct., in 1773. In the language of one of his descendants, "He was of small stature, energetic, enterprising and benevolent; of the Calvinistic faith — the names of the Reformers were dear to him, and his sons bore their names. The latch-string of his door was always to be found on the outside, when any ministers were about. Rev. Mr. Occum, the Indian preacher, was often a guest at his house, and so also was Father Haynes, the black preacher, and both often preached at his house. By his kind offices to the new settlers, he afforded them much aid and encouragement, — indeed, his house was their home, until they could establish homes for themselves. He was a zealous Whig, and hated the British and tories with a perfect hatred." He lived and died, at an advanced age, on the farm he first occupied, never having left it, except for a few months in 1777, during the approach of Burgoyne from the north. His descendants are now quite numerous here, and some of them at present own the very land he first occupied.
ISRAEL SMITH, also a prominent man, was one of the early settlers. He was a graduate of Yale College, studied law and came here in 1783 and commenced the practice of his profession. In 1785, '88, '89 and '90 he represented this town in the Legislature, moved to Rutland in 1791; was afterwards member of Congress for 4 terms; Chief Judge of the Supreme Court in 1797, elected to the U. S. Senate in 1803; which office he resigned on being elected Governor in 1807. He died at Rutland, Dec. 2, 1810. "He was a noble looking man and got the name of the handsome Judge."
DR. JOSIAH GRAVES was the first physician that settled in Rupert. He was born in Columbia Co., N. Y., 1760, came here in 1788, and continued here in the practice of his profession until his death in 1825. His practice was large and lucrative. He was a man of good size, broad shoulders, spare in person, very homely in his features, a self-made man, uncouth in his manners, strong intellect, sober and discreet in his intercourse with his fellows, of decided piety, and much beloved by the people. To a stranger his appearance was stern and forbidding, but upon acquaintence he proved to be warm-hearted and companionable. He had no patience with impertinence or quackery. It was very annoying to him to be hailed on his return from visiting the sick and inquired of concerning them. In such case, he would either give a repulsive answer, such as "sick enough," or pass along without making any reply. He was, also, a man of firm opinions and strong prejudices. The following anecdote is characteristic and shows his contempt of quackery. A Dr. Drew once settled here, whom Dr. Graves considered a quack, and would not acknowledge as a physician, though doing considerable business in that profession. At a certain time a stranger, passing along, inquired of Dr. G. where Dr. D. lived. Dr. G. replied, "I know no such man." The stranger with surprise repeated the question. The Doctor again replied, "I know no such man." The stranger replied, that it was singular, for there was certainly such a man living somewhere in town. The Doctor finally made answer, "I know no such man as Doctor Drew, but Jacob K. Drew lives about two miles below." Dr. Graves was for some years a County Judge, and held the office of Town Clerk from 1791 to 1824. He had only two children — both daughters. One married Hon. Nathan Burton, then a lawyer at Manchester, who afterwards removed here, was 2 years a Town Representative; Chief Judge of the County Court for some years, and is now living, though advanced in life. The other married Hon. John S. Pettibone of Manchester. Dr. Henry Sheldon succeeded Dr. Graves as Physician in 1821, and as Town Clerk in 1824, and is now performing the duties of both stations in this place.
The first Church organized here was the Congregational, June 6, 1786, with only 7 members. REV. INCREASE GRAVES, brother of Dr. Graves, was the first Pastor, and as such was entitled to come into possession of the lot of land granted to the first settled
minister. He was a man in appearance resembling his brother, of limited education, strong reasoning powers and a sound theologian. He remained here until 1793, removed to Bridport, where he died about 1830. He was succeeded by Rev. JOHN B. PRESTON, an able, educated and popular man, who was the Pastor until his death in 1813. Mrs Preston was a woman of superior talents and ardent piety. Two of their sons are now ministers, one in the Presbyterian Church in Wisconsin, and the other in the Episcopal Church at Philadelphia. One of their daughters married a Missionary, named Johnson, went to Siam, lost her health, returned to this country and died at Philadelphia about 1838. Since Mr. Preston's death, Revs. Martin Powell, Daniel Marsh, David Wilson, R. A. Watkins and others have succeeded. The present minister is Rev. JOSIAH B. CLARK; the present number of church members about 75.
A BAPTIST CHURCH was organized at West Rupert, May 25, 1803, with 32 members. Rev. Alvin Wales was the first Pastor, left in 1809, and was succeeded by Elders Reynolds, Cormack, Wait and others. Rev. E. W. BROWNELL is the present Pastor. Number of church members 60.
Another Church was organized at West Rupert, in 1837, called the CHURCH OF DISCIPLES, more commonly known by the name of CAMPBELLITES, embracing essentially the doctrines promulgated by Alexander Campbell of Virginia, with 13 members. The first minister was C. J. WHITE; present one E. S. WOOD. Number of members 100.
Rev. LUTHER SHELDON, son of Hon. David Sheldon, was born in 1785; graduated at Middlebury College in 1808; studied divinity, and settled in Easton, Mass., soon after, where he is still living, and preaching occasionally, though far advanced in years. He has been an active, energetic and successful minister and much beloved by his people. It is not known that be published any works, except occasional sermons. CALVIN SHELDON, his brother, was also a graduate of Middlebury College, studied law, settled in Manchester, was for a time at the head of the Bar in Bennington County, afterwards went West, and died, some years since, in Oswego, N. Y.
ICHABOD S. SPENCER, D. D.
Among the distinguished men who have gone out from this town, Rev. Ichabod S. Spencer, D. D., stands pre-eminent. He was born Feb. 23, 1798, of respectable parents, in comfortable but moderate circumstances, the youngest but one of 11 children. At the death of his father in 1815, he was thrown upon his own resources, and he went to Granville, N. Y., and entered himself as an apprentice to a tanner and currier. He was the subject of a revival of religion, which prevailed there at that time, and abandoned the idea of pursuing a trade and determined to devote himself to study, preparatory to the ministry. He entered Union College in 1819 and graduated in 1822, sustaining himself in part by occasionally teaching. He then had the charge of a Grammar School in Schenectady for about 3 years, and afterwards was Principal of the Academy at Canandaigua, N. Y., from 1825 to '28, in the mean time studying divinity and being licensed to preach. In the fall of 1828, he accepted a call from the Cong. Church in Northampton, Mass., one of the largest parishes in the State, where the great Jonathan Edwards so long preached. He labored acceptably there for 3 1-2 years. Whilst there he declined a call to become Pastor of Park Street Church, Boston, and also declined the appointment to the Presidency of the University of Alabama and Hamilton College, N. Y., and finally accepted a call to take charge of the 2nd Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, N. Y., was installed its Pastor in 1824, and continued there until his death, Nov. 23, 1854. Whilst at Brooklyn, he performed 4 years' service as one of the Professors of Union Theological Seminary, New York City.
Dr. Spencer was a man of medium size, square, compact-built frame, firm compressed lips, with a small, piercing, penetrating eye, that seemed to look into one's innermost soul, shrewd in his judgement of men and measures, of remarkable firmness and decided opinions, but of tender feelings and sympathies. Many considered him rather dogmatical; but this arose more from the firmness of his convictions and his boldness in expressing them, than from his really possessing such a spirit. Certainly, be was no "trimmer," he uttered plainly and fearlessly what he thought was the truth. Dr. Spencer had quite a poetic talent. Besides many fugitive pieces, never published, he wrote and published' whilst at Canandaigua, a "Poem on Time," which attracted considerable attention, and possessed a good deal of merit. He published, in his life time, many occasional sermons and two volumes of "Pastor's Sketches," the latter being a very popular work and had an extensive sale. Two volumes of his sermons, with a sketch of his life and character; have been published since his decease.*
* Mrs. Spencer is now engaged preparing another volume of her late husband's sermons for press.
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REV. ALLEN GRAVES, born in 1790, was noted, as being one of the first Missionaries sent out by the American Board to India. He located at Bombay, and after a life of ardent and devoted toil in behalf of the heathen, died there in 1845. His wife, also reared here, is supposed to be still living in India, though broken down by years and severe labor. Miss Orpha Graves, a sister of Rev. Mr. Graves, also, went to India, some years since, and died there.
The oldest person deceased here, so far as is known, was Mrs. KATHERINE SHERMAN, relict of Enoch Sherman, 'a Revolutionary pensioner. She died in the fall of 1859, about 94 years of age. The oldest persons now living are Mrs. Rhoda Sheldon, relict of Seth P. Sheldon, Timothy Flower and Abner Derby, — all about 86.
The number of men, born here, who have received a Collegiate education, is about 25. Of these, at least one half have entered the ministry, and some of them became distinguished in after life.
Since the settlement of this town, some events have occurred of sufficient local interest, to merit a brief notice. After the suppression of Shay's insurrection in Mass., in 1787, he fled, and lay secreted in the woods here for some time, until he could safely escape from the pursuit of the officers of Justice.
In 1810, a thunder shower, unparalleled in this part of the country, burst over the S. W. part of the town, in what is called Kent and Clark hollow, swelling the branches of White Creek, arising there, to an enormous size, tearing up roads, sweeping away dams, carrying off a trip-hammer shop on the stream, in fact, almost filling up the ravines between the mountains. Apprehensive that the flood might cause great damage to meadows on the Creek below (it being haying time) and even to the village of Salem, lying 8 miles below, in its valley, a messenger was dispatched on a fleet horse to warn the inhabitants to prepare for the approaching flood. They were at first inclined to treat the matter as a joke, it having been cloudless there all day, but soon had reason to believe the truth of the warning. The flood came rushing on, bearing along hay-stacks, cattle, &c., and for a time completely inundating the village, filling the cellars, and destroying or injuring a large amount of property.
In 1832, another flood occurred on another branch of White Creek, completely tearing up the highway for half a mile, sweeping away every bridge across the stream, and carrying off the house of Norman Harvey, the First Constable of the town. His pocketbook, containing a considerable amount of money, which he had collected on State taxes, was carried off and never recovered. The Legislature, the following year, passed a special act, crediting him the sum lost.
A terrible and destructive tornado passed through this town in June, 1855, accompanied by thunder, hail and rain. It entered from Sandgate and passed diagonally over the S. E. corner of the town, uprooting orchards, unroofing and demolishing buildings, and twisting and breaking off the largest forest trees. It left its track, which will for a long time be visible, through the woods from Kent hollow, over the mountain to Dorset, laying prostrate every tree in its path from one quarter to half a mile in width. One man, Ephraim Jones of East Rupert, was killed by the falling of a barn in which he had taken refuge from the storm. A lad in Kent hollow was taken up, carried 7 or 8 rods, over two fences and deposited in an orchard, without being seriously injured.
The early settlers of this town, like most pioneers, were a hardy, rough, stalwart, uncultivated and illiterate class of men. They came here with bold hearts and strong hands, to fell the forests, subdue the lands and make homes for themselves, but cared little for the refinements of civilized society, and were very deficient in mental culture. As a specimen of the literature of that day, the following Warning is copied verbatim et literatim from the Proprietor's Book of Records; and it may be remarked, that Daniel Read, who made the entry, being the Proprietor's Clerk, was probably chosen as such, because he was the best scholar of the lot. Would that the hand-writing of the worthy Clerk could be transferred to these pages!
"Rupert April the 4th AD 1780
Then the proprietors of Rupert by the apintment of a Warant as hear mentioned Varmont
Whaire as aplicashon has ben mayed to me the subscribor by mour than a sixtenth part of the proprietors of the Tound ship of Ruport in the Countty of Beninton & Stat of Varmont to meat at the dweling house of Jonathan Eastman inholder in sayd Town on the Tursday of Dec. next
1ly To chuse a Moderator
21y To chuse a Clark
31y Then & thaire to act on the following artickels first to see if thay Will astablesh thaire formour lots & proceedings Relative to laying out land as sum parts Records aire caryd of by the lat proprietorse Clark a noted tory Secondly to see if thay will lay out a forth Devishon & to do any other bisnis Necessary to be dun att sayd meting.
Timothy Brownson a petishoner This Warant Was in the publick Nuse paypers three Weaks going
Attest Daniel Read proprietors Clark."
A few extracts from the proceedings under the above warning.
"the Proprietors being met on sayd day and playse first have establisht the formour vots to stand good Whitch Was those hundred acor loots should stand good * * *
2ly Chous a Comitty for that purpus
3ly and have votted to lay out fifty Akors on each Wright in forth Devishon * * *
6ly this meeting has confarmed to phinehas Sheldon that of land Whitch Oliver Skot Gave to Jesse Grave being fifty Akors
Clark sworn "
The present inhabitants of this town, in thrift, industry, intelligence and moral worth will compare favorably with any town of equal size and importance in the County or State. A deep interest is felt here in the cause of common school education. Well qualified teachers are laboring, both summer and winter, in all our 9 school-houses, to impart mental and moral culture to the young, and there are few, if any, children here who are not being educated in our common schools. Moral and religious instruction is also regularly communicated from week to week in our three pulpits, and there is a general respect for religious institutions and observances prevading the community.
REUBEN HARMON AND HIS COINAGE.
In 1785, the Legislature of Vermont, assuming the powers of an independent government, at the June session, granted to Reuben Harmon, Jr., of Rupert, the exclusive right to coin copper money, within the State, for two years, after the first day of July following Mr. Harmon had already procured a quantity of copper suitable for coinage, and had perhaps intended to manufacture coppers, without legal authority, but he had no difficulty in obtaining the approval of his project by the General Assembly; and a Committee was appointed to cooperate with him in the details of the undertaking. He was required to give bonds in the sum of £5,000 for the faithful performance of his contract, and no coin, manufactured by him, was to weigh less than one third of an ounce, Troy weight.
After much expense incurred in erecting a suitable building, and after much trouble and delay in obtaining the necessary apparatus, Harmon succeeded in getting his works in operation. His mint-house was located in the northeasterly part of the town, a little east of the main road leading from Dorset to Pawlet, on a small stream of water, called Mill-brook, which empties into Pawlet river. It was a small building, about sixteen by eighteen feet, made of rough materials, simply clapboarded, unplaned and unpainted. At the east end was the furnace for melting the copper, and machinery for rolling the bars; in the middle of the room was the machinery for cutting; and at the west end that for stamping. This latter was done by means of an iron screw, attached to heavy timbers above, and moved by hand with the aid of ropes. Sixty coppers per minute could be stamped, although thirty was the usual number. The mint building is still standing, but its location is entirely changed; having long since been removed to the edge of the adjoining town of Pawlet, where it is now used as a corn-house.
The first coins issued from this mint were of the following description:— Obverse, a sun rising from behind the hills and a plough in the foreground; legend, VERMONTENSIUM RES PUBLICA, 1786. Reverse, a radiated eye, surrounded by thirteen stars; legend, QUARTA DECIMA STELLA.
In October 1786, Mr. Harmon, on the ground that in the short time granted him, he could not indemnify himself for the expenses he had incurred in commencing his enterprise, applied for and obtained from the General Assembly, under certain regulations and restrictions, an extension of his privilege for eight years from July, 1787. The weight of the copper pieces was fixed by law at 4 pwts. 15 grs. each, and were to bear the following devicce;— on one side a head with the motto, AUCTORITATE VERMONTENSIUM, and on the reverse, a woman, with the letters, INDE. ET LIB., for independence and liberty.
On the 7th of June, 1787, Harmon's firm, which consisted of himself and William Cooley of Rupert, Elias Jackson of Litchfield Ct., and Daniel Voorkis, goldsmith of New York, formed a partnership with another company, consisting of six gentlemen of New York City, for the said term of eight years, for the coinage of copper. By the first of July, the New York firm were required, by the terms of the co-partnership, to complete, at their own cost, the works, then being erected, near the Great Pond in the County of Ulster, N. Y., while the other firm agreed to complete in the same time the works at Rupert. The ten partners divided the affairs of the company between them, and agreed to meet on the first day of February, June and October, of each year, at Rhinebeck, N. Y., for the purpose of general business. It is supposed that William Cooley, better known by the title of Col. Cooley, who had been a goldsmith in New Nork City, but who afterwards removed to Rupert, cut the dies and assisted in striking the coppers. At all events, he was actively engaged in the oper‑
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ations. How long the Vermont money was coined, or the quantity that was manufactured, is not certainly known.
For the exclusive privilege, granted by the Legislature to Mr. Harmon, he was required, after the expiration of three of the eight years, to pay into the treasury of the State two and a half per cent of all the copper he should coin during the remainder of the term. The first three years, he was allowed the use of the patent, without any compensation to the State.
A William Buel, a man of considerable note in Rupert, and a son of Abel Buel of New Haven, Ct., who had for a long time been connected with the Connecticut Mint at that place, came to Rupert about that time and associated himself with Harmon in the business of coining. He brought with him the original dies used by his father at New Haven, and continued the business of coining coppers, until they had depreciated so much in value, as to be worthless, or early so, for circulation. William Buel fled from New Haven to Rupert under the following circumstances. Having had occasion to use some aqua fortis, he procured a quantity in a jug from a druggist and was returning to his residence, when he was accosted by some Indians, who insisted upon drinking from the jug, what they supposed to be rum. He assured them he had no rum, and that, what was contained in the jug, would poison them. But the Indians were not satisfied, and, supposing this a mere excuse, seized it and one of them took a hearty swallow, which of course soon caused his death. Buel was accused of killing one of their number, and they, in accordance with their notions of justice, claimed his life and watched every opportunity to take it. But he evaded their vigilance by leaving the country. A son of William Buel, and bearing his name, was for a time U.S. Consul to Algiers, where he lost his health, softening of the brain came on, he became idiotic, was returned to this town, where he died a pauper about 1828. A grand-son of said Buel, by the nume of Abel Buel Moore, is now a distinguished artist in be city of Troy, N. Y.
Specimens of Harmon's copper coin are now very rare, if to be found at all.
About 1800, it was discovered that a large amount of spurious silver coin was getting into circulation in this part of the country — so well executed, as to deceive the most wary. Suspicion fell upon one Adonijah Crane and his two brothers — well dressed and fine appearing men — who were loitering about here, without any apparent honest employment. Strict watch was instituted over these gentlemen, and it was discovered, that they were in the habit of often taking a walk into the woods east of the present village of Rupert. After long and diligent search, their instruments for coining were found in a secluded glens in the woods at the base of Mt. Antony, and seized, broken up and destroyed. The Cranes fled to parts unknown, but rumor has it, that Adonijah met a fate he no doubt richly deserved on a gallows in one of the Southern States.
EXTRACT FROM A LETTER.
East Rupert, Vt., Sept. 5, 1860. Mrs. Mary Fuller, now living in Johnson, where she moved a few years since, is now in the 94th year of her age. She was born in Suffield, Ct., and when 5 years old her father, Aseph Leavitt, moved his family to Rupert; there being only marked trees for a road, and but 5 families in town. After living in town 4 years, enduring the hardships incident to a life in new settlements, they were begining to feel at home. The neighbors harvested the fruits of their toil, and stowed it together in three large barns, and felt amply repaid for all their trials. In a few weeks the tories burnt them to the ground, — the large quantity of wheat burning so brightly as to make the neighborhood as light as day. They hoped to remain, and for several days all was quiet; but one afternoon the startling news was brought, "The tories are coming — Flee for your lives!" Hastily strapping a feather bed upon a horse, Mr. Leavitt placed his wife and two youngest children upon it, and with the others on foot, started for a place of safety. When night-fall overtook them, they with 8 other families, also fleeing, sought refuge in a barn in Cambridge, N.Y. Mr. Leavitt returned to Connecticut, where he hired a farm for three years. He then came back to Rupert, and found his farm covered with underbrush. He found many of his household goods, as a Mr. Murphy, too crippled to flee, and thinking the tories would not kill him, remained, subsisting on provisions left which he buried and concealed with brush-heaps. Many of the goods left, were found when the families returned. A pair of tongs thus found are now used in our family. (Leavitt's grand-daughter.) Mr. Leavitt now worked with renewed energy, and soon was surrounded with plenty of this world's goods. He died, aged 42, having 10 children, 6 of whom are now living, whose united ages are 492.
M. L. K.
FROM ICHABOD SMITH SPENCER, D. D.
CONTENTMENT. — The nature of contentment can be apprehended more easily than defined. Everybody knows what it means; and yet it is of such, a nature that the moment we attempt to explain it, we are in danger of diminishing the impression of its significance. It is not one of the distinct and seperate sen‑
sibilities of the heart, standing by itself and to be examined and understood alone, so much as it is a general sensibility which mingles with and tempers all others — which spreads its cast and character over the whole. It is not the rock on the landscape nor the rill — it is not the distant mountain of fading blue which loses its head in the heavens — it is not the tree, or the flower, or the contrast between light and shade, or that indescribable something which seems to give it life, as if the grass grew, and the flowers breathed, and the winds were singing some song of pleasure or sighing some mournful requiem. It is none of these. But it is rather that softness, that mellow light, which lies over the whole — which sleeps on rock, and river, and tree, on the bosom of the distant mountain, and on the bosom of the humble violet that blushes in the sweetness of its lowly valley.
GOD's GOODNESS is certainly visible here. . . . . Beyond the measure of our mere necessities he has made arrangements for many a happy hour. The flagrance and beauty of the flowers that please us seem to be things seperate from mere necessity and utility — utility in its ordinary sense. They are just delights and luxuries to us. They are the overflowing of Divine bounty. They are tokens of God's love — Just those little testimonials to make us happy, not by their necessity, their intrinsic value, so much as by their tastefulness and their suggestions. As if he would convince us that he has not forsaken us altogether, he compels the thorn that sprang from the curse to scent the breezes of the evening, and compels the thistle to clothe its blossoms with beauty.
When first the infant bosom learns
To beat with joy and grief by turns,
What e'er our state, there's sure to be
Some whisper of Hope's minstrelsy;
Some other good than that attained
Some other blessing to be gained:—
Man ever wants;— beneath the skies
There 's not the boon that satisfies.
In seraph smiles I've seen the child,
When love its little cares beguiled,
When on it beamed the eyes that speak
A mother's love, and on its cheek
A mother's kiss came soft and light
As moonbeams kiss the deep at night ; . .
. That little infant mind
Wants something still;— it cannot find
In all the joys that o'er it roll
Enough to satisfy the soul !
Now, free from care and ripe for joy
Roams gaily on the hoping boy.
From dale to dale, from hill to hill
He flies at happy boyhood's will.
Through tangled wild-woods, up the steep,
And o'er the hill and by the deep.
Plucks the wild flower as pure and fair
As if some spirit nursed it there,
Drinks the soft music of the rill
That gushes down the sunny hill.
He climbs the cliff that beetles o'er
The growling of the ocean's roar,
And catches now the wild-bird's song —
And now its echoes sweetly flung
From cliff to cliff on mountain-high
Wake fancy's wildest witchery.
The flower, the brook, the wild-bird's cry
The valley deep, the mountain high,
The skies of blue, the ocean deep,
The music mellowed o'er its sweep,
The clouds that deck the evening-skies,
Robed in their angel draperies,
All nature's voice, all nature's view
Brings o'er his heart some joy that's new.
But tired, he seeks his better bliss,
A father's smile, a sister's kiss.
'Tis changed again: a maiden fair
Has crossed his path; he sees her there,
He seeks her side, and leads her still
O'er beauty's vale and beauty's hill,
Treads the same path, breathes the same air,
Culls the wild-flowers to deck her hair. '
That faultless form, that speaking eye,
That bosom strung for sympathy,
That melting soul, that angel-grace
Have changed the man: 'twere perfect bliss
If fate would let him call her his.
Oh! if there's aught beneath the skies
Could bless the man, 'twere such a prize.
'Tis done, and from the altar's side
He happy leads his darling bride.
But is he happy? can he find
In nature or in human kind
So much of bliss, so much of love,
His heart shall say, 'it is enough'?
Oh, no! . . . . . . . .
The heart, the HEART wants something still.
Oh! were there not some better prize,
Some happier world beyond the skies,
Why does the man, though grasping earth,
Still long for things of better birth?
Why does another wish arise
Amid earth's loveliest paradise?
There's but one hope that ne'er deceives,
There's but one hope, the heart relieves,
There's but one hope that never dies,
There's but one hope that satisfies;—
It is the hope by God that's given,
It is the hope that ends in HEAVEN.
A RURAL SKETCH.
BY MRS. MARIA BROWN COLE.
Wife of the Editor of the "Salem Press," N. Y. — A contributor to the Knickerbocker Magazine, &c. — A native of Rupert.
By the little gate, beloved, out by use
I lean, and listen for thy footfall: listen, watch and wait;
The golden light fades in the west, a shade comes o'er the sky,
The dew-drop gathers on the leaf; the tear-drop fills my eye.
Deep darkness drapes the valley round, and rests upon the hill,
The stars gaze at me mockingly, yet am I waiting still;
Waiting, praying, all for thee; dreaming of the days gone by:
The while, each breeze thy herald seems, and whispers thou art nigh.
A light, a soft, pale, silv'ry light, o'erspreads yon mountain brow;
The cold moon comes, the stars grow pale: where, wanderer, loiterest thou?
Hark! to the step I know so well! — beloved, than lingerest not;
Be still, my poor, impatient heart, thou art not quite forgot.
230 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
THE ZEPHYR AND MAIDEN.
A saucy, young Zephyr blew carelessly near
The place where a Maiden was sitting,
And lifting a curl, whispered close to her ear
About father Boreas permitting—
A wish to be granted, if made known before
Evening breeze should he sporting that way;
Any boon she might ask he would waft to her door
Were it named, without any delay.
With a blush, pout and sigh, the Maiden replied
That "such hurry was past enduring,"
Of nothing at all could she think of, she said,
Or of nothing the least alluring.
But if she must choose, she would speak without thought,
As the wish she should offer would show,—
Since impudent Zephyr that queer message brought,
She for nothing had wished but — a Beau."
MRS. MARIA BEEBE.