BY REV. A. W. GOODNOW.
Stamford is in the south part of Bennington Co.; 9 miles S. E. of Bennington, and 4 miles N. of North Adams, Mass.; and was chartered by New Hampshire, March 6, 1753, to Elisha Cook, and 55 others, (23,040 acres in 62 shares.) It was again chartered by New Hampshire, under the name of New Stamford, June 9, 1764, to Francis Bernard, Esq., and 65 others, in 72 shares. It retained the latter name until March 31, 1783, when the town "voted, to do business in the name of Stamford, alias New Stamford." It soon adopted its original name altogether.
This town is separated from her sister towns of the State, by natural gigantic fortifications. The Green Mountains biforcating just north of the town, extend the entire length each side. On the east the range continues into Massachusetts, and is called the Hoosic Mountains; on the west the range is rather broken; but continues on through the western part of Massachusetts, under the name of Taconic Mountain. The side of the mountain on the east of the town, presents a beautiful wavy appearance, very similar to so many windrows, arranged side by side. One dome like point, just east of the village, is called Allen's Peak.
The surface of this town is uneaven, and generally, quite as well adapted to grazing as tillage. "Stamford hollow" embraces the most arable portions, which, in many respects, is a valley of rare beauty.
The north branch of the Hoosic river, rises in the north part of the town, flows south, is fed by numerous tributaries, which dash down the mountains on either side, and swell the river considerably before it enters Massachusetts.
There are three natural ponds, in the N.W. part of the town; all situated on very high land. One is called Sucker Pond, in the extreme N. W.; Stamford Pond, S. E. of this, is some smaller; and Mud Pond, in the same vicinity, is quite small.
The names of some hills in town, owe their origin, either to the names of their owners, or to some circumstances connected with their early settlement. Cato, Sherman, and Baker Hill, bear the names respectively of their original owners. Moose Hill is so called, because a moose was once killed there.
THE FIRST SETTLER in town, is reported to have been a man by the name of RAYMOND. He built his cabin against a large rock, 16 feet by 22, about one mile south of the centre, and one half mile west of the mountains, and is said to have lived in town, 2 or 3 years before he knew of their existence; (probably owing to the density of the forests.) Here was baked the first johnny cake, and from the fact of his living againt the rock, he was ever after known by the name of Rock Raymond. The first Town Meeting on record, was March 14, 1780, when Edward Higly was chosen Moderator; Israel Mead, Town Clerk; Amos Mead, Constable; Edward Higly, Benjamin Tupper, and Israel Mead, Selectmen. This was probably not the first organization; the early records of the town were lost.
The first public road was laid out by Geo. Lamb, Nathan Mead, and Solomon Gleason, May 5, 1777.
The first framed house, was built by Benj. Tupper, in 1782, a little south of the house, now owned by Mr. McNamara.
Nov. 12. 1783, the town voted to build a school house in each district. Josiah Tupper, son of Benj. Tupper, taught school in James Harris' house before a school house was built. Other schools were taught in dwelling houses. The first school house was probably built the following season, as they in 1784 voted to hold town meetings in the school house. It must have been a log house, as the first framed school house was built in 1793.
At this time there was also a log meeting house, standing on the line between Vermont and Massachusetts, in which a Mr. Dean, (Baptist) preached.
The first store was built in 1825, by J. L. Wilmarth, Esq.
The first tavern, known to have been kept in town, was by Wm. Clark.
238 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
WM. RAYMOND was in the French and Indian war; came here about the year 1780, and died June 14, 1818, aged 96; being the oldest person deceased in town. His son, ELISHA RAYMOND, served 3 years in the war of the Revolution.
JACOB BROWN was born in Charlton, Mass., 1789; came to Stamford when 7 or 8 years of age; entered the army in 1812; was in service in the Florida war, in which he acted as Indian Agent, superintending the removal of 2 or 3 tribes. He was promoted to the rank of Major and served in the Mexican war till his death. He was struck by a bomb-shell while with a few soldiers he was defending the Fort at Matamoras, and survived his wound but 2 or 3 days, during which time he encouraged the soldiers, refusing to surrender till the very last, shaking his head to every demand of the enemy, when the power of speech had failed. "His loss," said Gen. Taylor in a letter. to the President, "is irreparable."
First born on record, Jeremiah Tupper, May 2, 1772. Otis Phillips was Town Clerk to 1816, 32 years. First Justice, Oliver Smith, 1786; others, Otis Phillips, 41 years; S. C. Millerd, 20; J. L. Wilmarth; 19, and James Houghton, 12 years. Frist Representative, Jonathan Munger, 1781.
CHURCHES. Among the early settlers of Stamford, there were several belonging to different Baptist churches. Mrs. Lydia Baker, who came to Stamford in 1788, and was present at the organization of the church, gave us in substance the following account of its early history.
"When I came to Stamford, there were a number of Baptists in town, and we occasionally had preaching by different ministers. When we had none, we met together, and prayed and exhorted. In 1799, Rev. D. Starks preached at Mr. Stephen Clark's, in Clarksburg, and Dr. Robinson invited him to preach in his house in Stamford. In March he advised the brethren to form a church. They met about the 15th of April, 1799, and called a council; Rev. Peter Worden of Cheshire, attended with several of his brethren. The church was organized, and Rev. Mr. Worden preached from these words:— "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit, in the bond of peace." Rev. Mr. Starks was chosen pastor, and a religious revival followed, so that he baptized from 2 to 13 each month, through the ensuing summer and autumn. After Mr. Starks left us, we had no stated preaching for some time, but were supplied by ministers from different places. Rev's Mattison, Withrell, Leland, Robinson, Dwyer, Bennett, and others, occasionally served this church. In 1810, Rev. Paul Himes was ordained pastor of the church."
Ministers who have served this church as pastors or otherwise, are the following: Aaron Haynes, Henry Cady, W. G. Johnson, Truman Hendry, Merritt House, Ransom O. Dwyer, J. H. Wells, H. Crowley, D. Avery,, and A. W. Goodnow. Present number of members 71.
The first church edifice was erected in 1827, by indivuals of different denominations, and was used as a Union house. It was occupied by the Methodists, Universalists, and Baptists, until 1853, when the last named, relinquishing their claim on the old houses built a new church.
Rev. J. M. Weaver of the Methodist E. church, formed a class here, in June 1832, of 23 members; who belonged to the North Adams M. E. Church, and were supplied with occasional preaching from Adams for about 10 years, when the class by removals and deaths became extinct.
In May, 1847, a class was again organized, consisting of 8 members, who held their connection with the M. E. Church of North Adams. They were supplied with preaching one quarter of the time, by local preachers, from North Adams. In May, 1851, the church was organized, and Rev. Angelo Canol was appointed pastor. At its organization the church consisted of 16 members. Ministers: The following have served this church: E. B. Haff, M. B. Mead, J. B. Wood, O. W. Adams, Daniel Ross, and W. P. Hitchcock. During the pastorate of Rev's J. B. Wood and O. W. Adams, the church enjoyed special seasons of revival. — Present number of members, 85, and of probationers, 4. Their house of worship was repaired in 1856.
MANUFACTURERS. Jonathan Brooks, leather; Ira Stroud, Wilbur Cook, Ira Lee, Jeremiah Stone, lumber; C. T. Parker & Co., staves.
MERCHANTS: J. W. Weld, and Ja's Houghton.
Present number of inhabitants, 833 (1860.)
The inhabitants like most Vermonters, are a plain, hospitable and quiet people, with no great ambition for reforms; kind to friends, with some obstinacy in controversy; exhibiting the stern, rather than the æsthetic qualities of character; arc generally farmers, and the village is small.