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230                              VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SANDGATE.

 

BY WALTER RANDALL.

 

Sandgate, bounded N. by Dorset, E. by Manchester, S. by Arlington, and W. by Sa­lem, N. Y., was chartered by Governor Went­worth, Aug. 11, 1762 — 6 miles square — 72 shares to John Park and 65 others. The first records are so worn I cannot give names and dates. REUBEN THOMAS Esq. was one of our first settlers. Samuel, his son, born Sept. 15, 1772, was the first child born in town. The first highway was laid out and through the middle of the town, March 20, 1781. The first deed on book executed in 1778 and entered May 24, 1782. There were surveys of an ear­lier date. Abner Hurd was the first Town Clerk and Justice of the Peace. Geo. Peck was Justice of' the Peace, Town Clerk and Surveyor from 1801 to 1828. Walter Randall was Town Clerk and Surveyor from Mar. 1834 to 1860 — 26 years save one in the meantime. The east part of the town is mostly side-hill, with not more rock or large stone than is needed for fencing and building purposes. We cultivate our sidehill in many places to the top of the mountain. The soil is a slate-gravel and better adapted to sheep than a dairy. I do not think we have 200 acres of intervale in the township. We have some limestone, but not worked. Green River, a clear, beautiful stream, fed by springs that gush out of the westerly side of the moun­tain, runs southerly through the town to the Battenkill in West Arlington. There are 4 saw-mills and a grist-mill on this river, and 2 clothes pin factories on tributaries to the river. We have not much of a village or many improvements for a place as old as this. Be­tween the east and west part of the town there is a remarkable passage through the mountain called the Notch, where there is scarcely room enough for a carriage-way. — This cut is through the solid rock, some 30 feet high, and wholly the work of Nature, turning and winding through the rocks some 50 rods, and is the only way to pass from one part of the town to the other with a carriage short of 10 miles travel. It will well repay those who like to feast on the curious works of Nature to visit this spot in the summer season. West of the Notch the soil is a hardpan from 1 to 2 feet below the surface. The hills are not as high as in the east part. Half a mile south of the Notch is a hill known by the name of "Swearing Hill," and so re­corded on the books of deeds since the first settlement of said town. It is said that two parties started out in pursuit of game, one from the east side and the other from the west side of said hill, and met on the top, where they had a hot fight which party should be entitled to the game. Thus the name was established "as long as wood grows and water runs." Across the hollow east of said hill, is another high hill, called "Minister Hill," on the west side of which lay the farm or lot of land occupied by REV. JAMES MURDOCK, the first settled minister in Sandgate, of the Congregational order. It is 61 years, last month (April 1861) since my father moved with his family into this town, from Southbury, Ct.

 

[The settlement was commenced in 1771, by a Mr. Bristol. The religious denominations are Congregationalists and Methodists. First Justices, Reuben Thomas and Joseph Bristol, 1786; Others Geo. Peck 29 years; John H. Sanderson 14; Horace Hurd 12; and Sam'1 Thomas 12 years. First Representative — Reuben Thomas, October 1778. — See Demming.]

 

 

CAPT. LEWIS HURD

 

was a native of Roxbury, Ct. In June, 1776, he was drafted to serve his country in that struggle which resulted in our independence. The first term of service continued but months; but this period saw him with the army in New York City, in July '76, when the shout of freedom was raised in the land.

He was with Washington in his memorable retreat from Long Island; but soon after taken sick with camp fever, was carried in that condition across the North River into New Jersey, where he was left for some weeks, enjoying such luxuries as could be procured (including attendance) for six cents per day. In May, '77, he enlisted to serve during the war, and was at the taking of Fort Montgomery; at Valley Forge in the winter of '77—'78, when the sufferings of the army were almost unparalleled; at the battle of Mon­mouth in '78; with Gen. Wayne at the bat­tle of Stony Point in '79; and at Jamestown in July '81, besides a number of encounters of minor importance. He was a member of Gen. Wayne's military family, as a personal attendant, from January '80 until the treachery of Arnold made it expedient to change the official relations, as far as possible,

 

 

 

                                                       SANDGATE.                                            231

 

 

through the army. Capt. Hurd was with Lafayette during his journeyings through Virginia, and with him at the ever memora­ble battle of Yorktown, the closing scene of the Revolution, on which occasion he was one of a party under Lafayette who scaled the walls of the forts during that seige, where he received a severe wound in the arm, from which by loss of blood he was brought so near to death that the surgeons abandoned his case as hopeless, and left him without surgical at­tention for 14 days, when Lafayette visited the hospital where he lay, and directed special attention to be given to his case and furnished him with a nurse. He was soon so much improved that he was sent with 40 others in covered waggons on straw beds to New Windsor, N. Y., where his wound was opened and 16 pieces of shattered bone taken from the joint, when he soon recovered.

In the winter of 1783, the Captain settled in Sandgate, where he resided until his death. He was a decided advocate of the cause of temperance and attributed the unusual health which he enjoyed for the last 20 years, mainly to his abstinence during that period. In the summer of 1844, then in his 80th year, he traveled upwards of 4,000 miles, visiting a daughter at Prairie-du-Chien, and mission­ary stations still farther west. But what is more important than all, Capt. Hurd enlisted as a soldier of the cross, and for about 40 years stood connected with the Congregational Church in Sandgate, — an exemplary mem­ber, manifesting a strong interest in the in­stitutions of religion, and an earnest desire that the gospel might be regularly dispensed in the place where he resided, and was a lib­eral supporter of the gospel according to his means. Two years since the Congregational Society made a successful effort to rebuild their house of worship, to which enterprise Capt. H. contributed $450, and when the work was completed he felt like Simeon, "Lord now let thy servant depart in peace." Capt. H. prepared for the gratification of his friends, a short narrative of the events of his life, which closes as follows:—

"This brings me to this present generation, where I am as well known, both in church and society, as could be described, and here arrived to advanced age having a desire to forget the things that are behind, looking forward with a prayerful attention that I may through faith and unfeigned repentance obtain the righteousness of our Lord Jusus Christ, for my justification, that I may through faith be saved, that when this earthly tabernacle shall be dissolved I may have a "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Capt. Hurd died Dec. 18, 1848. He drew a pension from the close of the war to the time of his death.

 

LINES

 

BY PHINEAS MEEKER.

 

The author of these lines told me, years ago, that he nev­er went to school but three days. He was, however, the best mathematician of his day, and taught district school some seven winters. About 50 years ago, he used to lead the choir, and much injured his voice by blowing musical instruments. He died in 1849, aged 81 years. — RANDALL.

 

Friend, host thou heard a strong northeast wind roar,

And seen the dashing billows lash the opposing shore;

While mighty ships are hurled beneath the waves,

And all their inmates sink in watery graves?

 

Friend, host thou from dark clouds heard thunders break

In peals so loud you'd think the dead would wake,

And livid lightnings darting through the air,

Fill every mind with terror and despair!

 

Friend, host thou heard the dreadful earthquake's sound,

Whose awful shock brings walls and cities down,

While thousands are to instant ruin hurled

And dire convulsions snake the solid world.

 

Friend, hast thou seen the high volcano throw

Its melted lava on the plains below,

And rolling onward like a flaming tide,

Spread death and desolation far and wide?

 

Friend, hast thou been where hosts engaged in war

Throw balls and shells with terror through the air,

Where heroes stand amid explosions dire,

Enwrapt in clouds of smoke and sheets of fire—

Should all these join in one tremendous strife,

They'd not be equal to a scolding wife.