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While adverse winds and tempests lower,

And fortune's frowns like mountains tower,

They boldly brave stern winter's power.


ONE individual alone remains of the veteran band of hardy pioneers who inhabited the town of Burke the eight years succeeding the first set­tlement, and this individual is a female, worn and broken by a life of toil.

Yet, with the records and papers in the ar­chives of the town, and what still lives in story, we hope to collate and embody as many local facts and incidents as time and circumstances will permit. Burke, in the N. E. part of Caledonia County, is bounded N. by Newark and E. Heaven (in Essex Co.), E. by Victory (in Essex Co.) and Kirby, S. by Lyndon, and W. by Sutton. The town originally contained a little over 6 miles square, including a gore of about 3,400 acres, lying easterly of Lyndon, and formerly called Burke Tongue. In 1807, the Legislature annexed this gore to the township of Kirby, leaving the present area of Burke about 20,320 acres, in the form of an irregular octagon, the surface somewhat uneven, rising between the rivers into high ridges, three in number, running in a northerly and southerly direction through the town, and mostly covered with a heavy growth of hard wood, among which a large proportion of sugar maple abounds. In the valleys bordering on the streams the timber is mostly evergreen, among which is some cedar and a small quantity of pine. The soil is various; the ridges or hills mostly contain a deep rich loam, and are well adapted to agricul­tural pursuits. In the valleys, in some localities, the soil is composed of a mixture of sand and gravel, but bordering on the streams are some meadows of a deep alluvial soil, and very fertile. Generally, the soil is well adapted to grazing, and some of the finest and best cattle and sheep found in market are raised in this town.

The Passumpsic River, a branch of Connecticut River, runs through this town, and is divided into two branches, called the East and West branches; one passing near the eastern, and the other near the western part of the town. Into these branches, which unite their waters in the town of Lyndon, flow several tributary streams, on which are many excellent water privileges adapted to the various purposes of mechanical arts.

At the eastern extremity of the township is a mountain bearing the name of Burke Mountain, lying partly in Burke and partly in Victory; the line between the towns crossing near the summit. The summit of this mountain towers nearly 3000 feet above the bed of Passumpsic River. It is mostly covered with a small growth of ever­green. Along the western base are many good farms. A small house has lately been built on the summit, for the accommodation of visitors, by Mr. Joseph S. Hall, an enterprising citizen of this place, from which a picturesque and delight­ful view of the surrounding country can be taken.

The original grantees of this town were a com­pany of 65, mostly, if not all, inhabitants of the county of Litchfield, Conn., among whom were a number of females. A grant or charter was dated February 6, 1782, and signed by Thomas Chit­tenden, Governor, and Joseph Fay, Secretary, in behalf of the freemen of the State of Vermont, granting to said company the exclusive right to form and incorporate the same into a township, on certain specified conditions. In the year 1787, Seth Spencer and Uriah Seymour, the latter be­ing one of the original proprietors, proceeded in the allotment of said township, and surveyed the same into shares or Rights as they were called, each share or right containing 300 acres, the town be­ing first divided into two divisions, and a lot in each division of 160 acres was assigned to each proprietor, reserving five rights, or one lot in each division, for public uses, viz: one right for the first settled minister, one for the minister's support, one for common English schools, one for an academy in the county, and one for a seminary or college in the State of Vermont.

The first settlement of the town commenced in 1794, by Lemuel Walter, from Litchfield County, Conn. The year following, several families, mostly from Connecticut, settled. Owing to the inconveniences ever attendant upon a settlement of a new country, these worthy pioneers had to endure many hardships, sufferings, and priva­tions. The badness of the roads, the lack of privileges of almost every description, rendered it very difficult, many times, to obtain necessary supplies for themselves and families, St. Johnsbury then being the nearest place where they could be accommodated, a distance of 16 or 17 miles. Almost the whole of the first inhab­itants of the town followed the pursuit of agri­culture, and for the period of five or six years little other business was done in the immediate vicinity. During many years, the inhabitants lived in cabins built of logs, and covered with bark peeled from spruce trees, and were often doomed, especially in the winter seasons, to en­dure cold and hunger; for, being poor, they had not the requisite means to procure comfortable clothing to screen themselves and families prop­erly from the rigors of a northern climate. Chil­dren would frequently be seen in winter days running barefooted in the snow, and otherwise but poorly clad, sleeping on straw beds or the skins of animals, at night, in the upper loft of their bark-covered cabins, whose roofs, by the in‑




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fluence of the sun's rays, would but poorly shield them from the rain and snow, or the blasts of a wintry storm. Sometimes these cabins would have no chimney save a few boards fas­tened together in a conical form through which to convey the smoke. Sometimes they would have backs, as they were called, built against the logs at one end of their dwellings; but many were destitute of this appendage, and had noth­ing for a substitute but logs of wood, which when burnt away were replaced by others. Of­tentimes these wooden chimneys would take fire; but, to use the common adage, "Necessity is the mother of invention." Most families had an instrument familiarly called a "squirt-gun," of a large size, through which a considerable quan­tity of water could be emitted to any part of their dwellings. This was the only engine made use of in those days for extinguishing fire in their dwellings, and reminds the writer of an anecdote which he heard related many years ago. At a certain time, Lemuel Walter, the first in­habitant of the town, was sitting at his table in his log cabin, with a wooden chimney, at noonday, taking his frugal meal, when a stranger on horseback rode up to his door, and with an ear­nest voice enquired, "Sir, do you know that your house is on fire?" Ah, said the owner, well, no matter, I will see to it as soon as I have finished my dinner. "But," said the stranger, "your house will all be in flames before that time." Be not alarmed, sir, said Walter, I am used to fire and have no fears. Thank you, sir, for your trouble. "If you are disposed to stay there and let your house burn down over your head," rejoined the stranger, "it is no business of mine," and rode off, and left the owner to take care of his own house. Whereupon, Wal­ter deliberately took his squirt-gun and soon ex­tinguished the fire.

Perhaps many circumstances and events might be here related touching the character and con­dition of the first settlers of the town which might serve to interest the reader; but lest the writer should extend this part of the history be­yond its proper limits, it will not be prudent, perhaps, to dwell much longer on this description; yet it may not be amiss to relate some of the trials and perplexities our venerable fathers had to encounter, and the labor and toil which they experienced in subduing the forests, and braving the dangers and vicissitudes to which their condition exposed them.

Besides the labor and privations with which they then had to struggle, the country at that time was considerably infested with wolves, pan­thers and bears, which rendered it somewhat dangerous many times to venture a great dis­tance from hone without being properly armed and equipped to meet a deadly foe in the character of some ferocious and hungry wild beast. Still they were often under the necessity of jour­neying into the wilderness, and sometimes to a considerable distance. At that time, most of the inhabitants owned but one cow, and for many years the only pasture which they had for their cattle consisted of the forest, and not un­frequently they would ramble to a considerable distance, in which case the only guide the owner had in seeking them was the sound of the bell, fastened with a leather strap to the neck of a fa­vorite cow. I have heard of several instances in this town, in the early stages of its settlement, of inhabitants being beset by bears in their ram­bles in search of their cattle. Wolves, it is pre­sumed, were not as plenty here as in many other places, still their flocks of sheep, though small, were sometimes annoyed by them. Yet wild animals, in another sense, were of benefit, especially bears, as their flesh, many times, served in part to furnish the inhabitants with meat, which from domestic animals was very scarce, and their skins were used for moccasins and various other purposes. Sometimes they were hunted in the woods, and sometimes they were caught in traps when visiting corn-fields, or by guns set in corn-fields, or by watching or lying in wait for them; various ways and means being resorted to, to entrap and destroy them. Moose and deer hunt­ing was also resorted to, to supply the deficit of meat. The country north of this town for many miles, at that time, was an unbroken wilderness, where moose and deer were found in great num­bers. It is the nature of these animals, in the winter season, to herd together in considerable numbers, especially when the snow is very deep, which circumstance greatly facilitated the means of taking them. The most hardy of the vet­eran settlers would resort thither on snow-shoes as soon as a sufficient depth of snow had fallen, and surprise and slay them, and after dressing them select the best part of the flesh for food, and carry it on their backs a distance of 7 or 8 miles, through the wilderness, to their homes. Not unfrequently a man would carry a burden of 100 lbs. But they soon grew wise by expe­rience, and furnished themselves with a kind of hand sled made expressly for the purpose, the timber of which was made very light, and the runners, being 5 or 6 inches in width, prevented their sinking in the snow to a very great depth.

On these a man would draw more than double the quantity that he could carry on his back, and the labor was not so hard. These kinds of sleds are used by many at the present time in this vicinity, and still retain the name of moose-sleds. For weeks, many times, they would re­main in the woods, sleeping by night on hem­lock boughs for beds, and in camps, as they were called, made of poles and covered with boughs, and subsisting on the flesh of wild animals, and perhaps a little bread carried from home. These camps were warmed by a fire made in front of them, one side of which was left open for that purpose. The skins of these animals, after be­ing partially tanned by a process of their own




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inventing, were much used for beds, being spread upon the ground or floor of their cabins. Whole families of children would sleep upon them be­fore the warm fire, with as much seeming com­posure as though they were reposing on a bed of down.

Various other means were resorted to at that time to obtain the necessary supplies for the sus­tenance of their families. One of these con­sisted in making salts from the ashes of wood. The new lands that were first cleared were cov­ered with a heavy growth of hard wood, and when clearing their lands of this timber the ashes made from the wood were collected and put into leaches, generally made of hollow logs, cut from the trunks of hollow trees, and after being thoroughly leached, the lye was boiled in small kettles, generally holding no more than 12 or 14 gallons, to a consistence called salts of lye. These were generally transported. to St. Johns­bury, and sold from $3 to $4 per 100 lbs.; the avails of which were applied in purchasing the necessary articles for family consumption. These salts, after being sold, were manufactured into pot or pearlash, and transported to Boston, or some other market. Most of the men who were not engaged in hunting found employment in this business during a large portion of the win­ter season. The business of making these salts was continued for several years after the town was considerably settled, when a different dispo­sition was made in this branch of business. A man by the name of Dan. White, who emi­grated from Torrinford, Litchfield Co., Ct., in or about 1800, purchased a small farm, on which he labored for several years, then purchased a few goods and opened a small store in a room in his dwelling-house, built a small potash, and exchanged his merchandise for ashes and other produce. These ashes were manufactured into potash and transported to Portland, Me., with a two-horse waggon through the Notch of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and exchanged for such articles of merchandise as the people most needed. At that time, the road to Portland was extremely bad, especially through the Notch of the mountains, and twelve to fifteen hundred was considered to be a full load for a span of horses. In a few years, however, (the writer thinks about 1805), White sold his inter­est in the Potash to Chandler, Bigelow & Co., of' Putney, who built a small store, and brought their merchandise from Boston, and manufac­tured their ashes into pearlash, and considerably enlarged the manufacturing of that article of commerce. For many succeeding years this article was manufactured on a more enlarged scale by successive merchants, and even until the tim­ber was so much used up that it could not lon­ger be spared for that purpose. At the present time, the business is almost wholly discontinued in this section of country.




Joseph Lord, of St. Johnsbury, a Justice of the Peace for the County of Orange, on applica­tion of a number of the inhabitants of Burke, set up a notification, warning the inhabitants of said town to meet at the dwelling-house of Lemuel Walter, in Burke, on the 5th day of December, 1796, for the purpose of organizing said town, and electing the officers thereof as required by law. At said meeting, Lemuel Walter was elected Moderator and Town Clerk unanimously; Barnabas Thurber, Godfrey Jones, and Lemuel Walter, Selectmen, and Ira Walter Constable. On the 23d day of March, following, a meeting was duly warned and holden for the election of town officers, and the transaction of other busi­ness appertaining to said town. Lemuel Walter was re-elected Town Clerk; Barnabas Thurber, David Colfix, and Godfrey Jones, Selectmen; Ira Walter, Constable; and Barnabas Thurber, Surveyor of Highways. Thenceforward, to the present time, meetings have been held annually, in the month of March, for the election of town officers, and the transaction of the business of the town. A freemen's meeting was warned and holden on the first Tuesday of September, 1801, for the purpose of giving their votes for State officers; and in December, 1802, a freemen's meeting was holden for the purpose of electing a Representative to Congress. At a freemen's meeting in Sept. 1805, Thomas Bartlett was elected the first Representative for General Assembly of Vermont, to which office he was elected the two succeeding years.

In the year 1801, the first schoolhouse was erected near the centre of the town, which answered the double purpose of a school and town house. Thomas Bartlett taught the first school in the winter of 1802. Schools were taught in this house for 8 years, and the scholars came from nearly all parts of the town, some of them a distance of 3 miles. In 1803, the town was divided into 7 school districts, but no schools were established, or schoolhouses erected in any other part of the town, till the year 1809; in that year another house was built, and schools taught therein. Other districts soon followed the example, and schools were discontinued at the old house; still it was occupied for a town house till 1825. There are now 11 school dis­tricts, all of which have schoolhouses, and schools are taught from 4 to 9 months each year. Select schools, for improvement in the higher branches of learning, are generally taught 3 months in a year in some of these districts.

Roman Fyler, an enterprising citizen of the town of Winchester, Litchfield Co., Ct., emigrat­ed to this town in 1800, and commenced the build­ing of a saw and grist mill on a small stream of water near the centre of the town, where the village of Burke Hollow is now located, which gave a new impetus to affairs. But the new saw‑




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mill had but just commenced running when it took fire and was laid in ashes. This unfortu­nate circumstance was severely felt by the inhab­itants generally, but the untiring enterprise and perseverance of the owner, in spite of many obstacles, soon found means to repair the injury. In 1802, another saw-mill was erected and put in operation, which served to supply the inhab­itants with lumber for several years. After this saw-mill had been in operation several years, it was torn down, and another built in the same place by the same owner, and occupied by him until his death in 1828. A new grist-mill was also built near where the old one stood, by the same individual, in 1817, and occupied by him while he lived. In 1845, another mill was built, on a larger scale, by a company formed for that purpose, which is now in successful operation. Other mills have since been erected from time to time, and there are now 3 grist-mills, 8 saw-mills, 3 starch factories, 2 carriage shops, 2 planing machines, 1 clothing shop, and 1 carding ma­chine, within the limits of the town; and various other machinery for artificial purposes.

The oldest person deceased in town was Reu­ben Lippingwell, who died about 30 years since, in the 99th year of his age. The oldest person now living is Esther Walter, the widow of Ira Walter, one of the first settlers of the town, and the first constable, — the widow being now in her 87th year. Chloe Jones, daughter of Godfrey and Sally Jones, was the first born in town; and Willard Spencer, son of Ranney and Cyn­thia Spencer, the first male child, who is now a prominent citizen. The first death was an in­fant of Godfrey and Sally Jones. The first marriage on the records of the town, John Woodruff and Esther Barbour, married Dec. 4th, 1799.

There are three small villages, known as Burke Hollow, Burke East Village, and Burke West Village. Burke Hollow is the oldest, and situ­ated near the centre, on a stream of water called Fyler's Mill Stream, from the circumstance that Roman Fyler built the first mills in town on this stream, as already related. There are about 30 families, mostly mechanics and laborers. The village has increased very slowly for several years past, owing, perhaps, in a great measure, to the settlement and growth of the other two villages in different parts of the town, which possess many local and superior advantages. There is 1 meeting-house, a union house, and 1 schoolhouse, in the village; 2 stores, a grist­mill, a starch mill, a clothing machine, a card­ing machine, a carriage shop, a post office, 3 shoe and boot makers, a blacksmith, 2 physi­cians, a harness maker, and 1 lawyer. David Chadwick, Esq., is the only attorney at law who has ever had a permanent residence in the town. The village probably contains about 150 inhab­itants.

(For a description of Burke East Village, see Rev. R. Godding's article.)


Burke West Village is situated near the west­ern extremity of the town, on the west branch of Passumpsic River, at the junction where another stream of water, called Trull's Mill Stream, unites with the Passumpsic, and near the depot on the Connecticut and Passumpsic Riv­ers Rail Road, which passes through the western part of this town. About 28 years since, Joel Trull, Esq., of this town, purchased a water privilege, where the village is now located, and built a grist and saw mill, where a large portion of the inhabitants of the town of Sutton could be better accommodated than at any other place. The place improved but slowly for several years. In time, however, a number of dwelling-houses were built, and a store opened by Daniel Beck­with, Esq., who, with his sons, still carries on quite an extensive business in the mercantile line. In 1857, the above mentioned railroad was ex­tended through this town, and a depot was lo­cated near the village, which soon gave a new impetus to the business transactions of this little village. Large quantities of lumber are annu­ally brought to this place from the surrounding country, to be transported on the railroad to other markets. Present population probably about 30 families, and 150 inhabitants. Within the limits of the village, there is now but 1 store where business is done, 1 hotel, 1 school­house, 1 carriage shop, 1 grist-mill, 1 saw-mill, 1 starch mill, and 2 shoe and boot manufactur­ers. At no distant time, this little village is des­tined to become the largest in town, owing to its proximity to the railroad.

Dr. Samuel Putnam was the first physician. He commenced practice here in 1804, and re­mained till 1808, when George W. Denison came and established himself as physician; and Putnam went to Newbury, and soon after died. He was elected town clerk in 1805, which office he held 3 years.

By the census of 1850, the number of inhab­itants was 1103; and in 1860, 1138.









(For a history of this denomination, see Rev. R. Godding's contribution.)




In 1804, a circuit was formed by the Metho­dist Conference, embracing the County of Cale­donia, and in 1805, a preacher by the name of James Young appointed to this circuit, who preached in Burke occasionally, the writer thinks once in 4 weeks. In 1806, an associate preacher, by the name of Hollis Sampson, was appointed to this field; and Young and Sampson held meetings alternately at stated times. The wri­ter thinks they continued this about 2 years, and




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church would tax their means almost beyond their ability to procure the services of some neighboring clergyman. But they persevered in the cause they had espoused, and, notwithstand­ing death and removals thinned their ranks, still continued to increase gradually, though, at times, very slowly, till the year 1834, when Rev. Thomas W. Duncan was employed for a time, the writer thinks for one year. The drooping spirits of the church, and its friends, under his ministration, soon began to revive, and addi­tions were made to their numbers. In Novem­ber, 1839, he was installed pastor; but a short time after his installation requested to be dis­missed, which, by vote of the church, was granted. He was succeeded by Rev. S. M. Wheelock, who continued 2 years, and was suc­ceeded by Rev. John Clark, who remained about 10 years. For some time after Mr. Clark's dis­mission, they had only occasional preaching, till 1859. Since that time, Rev. Edward P. Good­win supplied the desk — who was ordained Nov. 10th, 1859 — till Oct., 1860, when he removed to Ohio. Rev. M. Underwood now supplies this church. Present number of members about 60.













Was born in Farmington, Ct., in 1755. In ——, he moved to Tinmouth in this State, where he resided until he moved to this town. While re­siding in Tinmouth, he was chosen captain of the artillery company there, and retained in that capacity until his removal. In 1800, he removed to this town, and settled on what is called the "West Hill."

He was, while a resident of this town, often chosen to fill town offices, such as justice of the peace, selectman, lister, etc., and he always dis­charged his duty with fidelity and despatch. He raised a family of 10 children, — 8 now living, — the youngest of whom is Dr. Selim Newell, of St. Johnsbury. Another (Isaac) was a Baptist preacher, for a long time settled over the Baptist Society at Danville Green, Vt., but moved West about the year 1835, where he died.

In his religious sentiments, the Captain was a Baptist, and one who exemplified his religion by dispensing with a liberal hand to the poor and needy, — consoling the afflicted, encouraging the faint-hearted, — in short, by obeying the injunc­tion, "Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you." Possessed of a kind heart and a large share of "sociality," he was ever a welcome guest in every circle, whether of old or young, rich or poor. Moreover, he was a very public-spirited man; and, while unostenta­tious in all his acts, always one of the first to en­gage in any work whereby the community might be benefited, without asking or expecting reward, yet having his reward in the conscious­ness of fulfilling the design of his creation, and in the respect, confidence and love of his fellowmen. Perhaps no man ever lived in town who was more generally respected and beloved.

Physically, he was a fine specimen of manly beauty, being above the common height, well proportioned, and very straight. His carriage was full of ease and dignity, and his countenance but the reflection of his heart. In 1824, he went to his rest.




Born in Farmington, Ct., in 1756; first came into this town in 1792, as an agent for distant land proprietors. He paid the town a visit every year on business for his employers, until 1805, when he became a permanent settler. He was first married about the year 1780, to Miss Rhoda Phelps, who died in 1783. In 1790, he was again married to Miss Sally Woodruff, who died in 1831. He died July 9, 1820.




Born in Winstead, Ct., in 1768; married to Sally Lyman in ———. In 1799, moved with his fam­ily, consisting of his wife and four children, to Burke, and located on what is now called Burke Green, a ridge of land running N. and S. through the town, dividing it nearly in the centre. Here he built him a log house, and commenced the laborious work of a pioneer. There was at that time no grist-mill nearer than Lyndon, and he, as well as other settlers, was often under the neces­sity of going to Barnet to purchase grain and bringing it to Lyndon to be ground, and from thence home, his path guided by marked trees. In 1801, he built the first grist-mill in town, and subsequently added 2 grist-mills and 2 saw-mills.

In 1803, he met with a serious accident in one of his mills, having his foot and ankle severely crushed, which troubled him more or less to the close of his life. He was one of the company that, about the year 1806, built the road through the Notch of the White Mountains in N. H. He also formed one of the company that built the turnpike through the town of Barnet. He was one of the "early few" who represented the town in "olden times;" was also town clerk a number of years, besides holding many other offices of trust, always discharging his duty with fidelity and zeal. In religious sentiments he favored the Methodists, of which his wife was a member. In physical proportions he was almost gigantic. It has been asserted, moreover, that he was the strongest man ever in town. He died in the year 1828.




Born in Hartland, Oct. 16, 1779; about the year 1803, commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Fuller, of Cavendish; in 1806, went into partner­ship with Dr. Fuller; practised with him one year; and in 1807, moved to Burke, and pur




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chased the farm, upon which he lived until his death.

Believing it was not good for man to be alone, in 1813 he was married, at Lyndon, to Miss Sally Jenks. From 1808 to 1813, he was town clerk; in 1822 and '23, was elected town repre­sentative, and in 1837 was chosen one of the assistant judges of the County Court, which office he held two years.

His wife died January 25, 1843. One of their sons is a practising physician in Illinois; anoth­er, a lawyer of considerable repute in Washing­ton Territory, was formerly Judge of the County Court in Los Angeles County, Cal.; another is now in California; two remain in their native town, one upon the old homestead; another is in Canada; Charles O. (deceased) was formerly a practising physician at Lyndon; and Emeline, wife of Dr. Selim Newell, lives at St. Johnsbury.

Dr. Denison was one who was out of his ele­ment unless engaged in business. He built sev­eral mills in town, and was until his death a large land-holder, owning large tracts of wild land in several different towns. His practice as physician extended over many towns. Phys­ically, the Doctor was a model man, 6 feet and upward, finely proportioned, with a carriage full of grace and dignity, and his countenance when at rest was but an index of his heart, re­flecting all its loftier attributes, mild and gentle, yet wearing the stamp of an iron will that must and would accomplish everything it undertook. In his religious sentiments, he looked upon all mankind as brothers and sisters, travelling the same highway to one common home, — or was a Universalist. In his politics, he was a Republi­can. In relation to slavery, his ideas of justice were to give it no more territory, but confine it within its present bounds and let it work its own destruction. He was a capital shot. Noth­ing suited him better, even in his old age, than to take down his trusty rifle and try his skill with the young men, and if he succeeded in beating them, he would "fat an inch on the rib." He died March 4, 1847.






One of the early settlers, was born in old Ply­mouth, Mass., May 19, 1771, and was a descen­dant of Sylvanus Bartlett, who emigrated from England in the year 1624. He moved to Ver­mont at the age of 16, and fitted for college with Judge Miles, of Fairlee. He entered Dartmouth College in the year 1794. In consequence, how­ever, of poor health, he was obliged, after two years, to abandon his studies. While at college, he attained a high rank as a scholar, and main­tained it to a respectable degree ever after. In early life he contemplated the ministry, but his state of health did not admit of his carrying out his cherished plans. He moved into Burke in 1802. Being an able writer and effective speaker, he was often called upon to officiate at funerals, speak on the Fourth of July, etc. He was the first deacon of the Congregational church; first town clerk; first representative of the town, in 1805; planted the first apple-trees, and raised therefrom the first apples in town. Physically, he was a little above the common height, spare, and very straight, and retained his faculties in a remark­able degree to the time of his death, June 19, 1857. A man who was esteemed by all who knew him, for the excellence of his principles, can be truly written of him.






Of Burke, is one of those individuals so identi­fied with the general history of the town, of whom a brief sketch, at the least, is requisite to complete the history thereof. A citizen of B. has furnished such sketch; but, although abounding in interest, it yet is so minute in detail, but a summary can be given.

"Asahel Burington was born in New Hart­ford, Ct., Feb. 17, 1791, the youngest of a family of 8 children. In 1802, the older brothers of our sketch persuaded their father to sell out his farm in Connecticut, emigrate to Vermont, and purchase lands sufficient to make farms for him­self and them. The avails of the sale barely purchased 500 acres of wild land, at $2.50 per acre, and defrayed the expenses of the removal. Their cabin was thus built: spruce logs, locked together at the corners, chinked with mud, and covered with bark. Within, large logs piled against the wall-logs for a chimney, the fire being kindled in front, and loose boards floored the one room, whose area was mostly filled by three beds, curtained with blankets, and the large pine table. The one schoolhouse, near the centre of the town, was on a high ridge of land, where in winter the snow, from 3 to 4 feet deep, blowed into well-nigh impassable drifts; and even the boy of 11 could not be spared from clearing up and cultivating the farm in summer; and when at school, only reading, spelling, writing, and the first four rules of arithmetic, were indifferently taught."

Here our writer goes on to tell how young B. was destitute of all mathematical text-books, till, learning a man had moved in who had one of Pike's Arithmetics, he hastened to secure a loan thereof, and bent every energy systematically to the task, till he had mastered that tough old book. In a few years he added to this science, grammar, geography, logic, philosophy, &c. A library association had previously been formed by a number of the citizens of Burke and Billymead, (now Sutton,) which contained Rollins' Ancient History, Robinson's History of Amer­ica, Josephus, one excellent novel, The Fool of Quality, &c. Embracing every opportunity rainy days, and especially evenings, mostly by the firelight, volume after volume was digested. In 1810, Martin Doyle moved in from Walpole,




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N. H., bringing a respectable library for those days. Doyle and Burington were old friends. Not only were the use of Doyle's books gra­tuitous, but his assistance in study cheerfully given. Here Mr. B. discovered "Ferguson's Astronomy," and in a year could calculate the changes of the moon and eclipses with perfect accuracy. Doyle, a self-taught scholar, imbibed his enthusiasm, and mutually assisting, these friends spent hours investigating the problems of this work. Doyle died in 1848.

From the study of this sublime science, the investigation of this "stupendous machinery," Mr. B. claims that his mind was led upward, till he, too, could exclaim,


"An undevout astronomer is mad," —


till he was irresistibly confirmed in belief of the universal mindfulness and mercy of the Creator over and toward all his creatures, particularly his offspring man.

From 1812 to '21, he was employed during the winter seasons to good acceptance in common schools, — a popular teacher, who drew many scholars from the districts around; in 1816, from thence nearly 25 years, was postmaster; and for upward of 38 years has held the office of town clerk, during which time every instrument recorded in the town, nearly or quite 5,000, has been done with his own hand. He also retains the office of town treasurer, held nearly 31 years, and justice of the peace about 24 years; in 1838 and '39, was town representative, and has from time to time held other town offices.

When not engaged in public business, his pur­suit has ever been agricultural, being located on the farm on which his father settled in 1802.

He is now living with his fourth wife. The Rev. L. M. Burington, mentioned by Rev. Mr. God­ding in his sketch of East Burke, is his son; and H. A. Burington, in the specimen department of this chapter, a liberally educated young lady, now engaged in teaching, his daughter. And our venerable State Antiquarian Society Pres­ident (H. Stevens, Esq.) may be gratified to know there is a blooming bevy of younger daugh­ters in this family still taught to dexterously turn the somewhat antiquated spinning-wheel.

Mr. B. has from time to time written several poems, which have appeared in different journals of the day. An obituary notice to his first wife (who died of an epidemic fever in 1832) was transcribed by Rev. Hosea Ballou, 2d, into a book entitled, "Happy Deaths." In the fall of 1842, erysipelas commenced in the northern sec­tion of the State, and continued its fatal ravages for about 6 months, till a twenty-eighth part of the inhabitants of this town were its victims; a large proportion of the population clothed in mourning; a melancholy gloom visible in each countenance; and it was difficult to obtain assis­tance sufficient to alleviate the wants of the sick and dying. January and February, the disease was the most prevalent and fatal. The dose of this sadly eventful year he chronicled in verse, and for the fallen mourned:—


"They sank 'neath autumn's chilling blast,

And with the leaf grew pale and sere;

Their memory only with the past

Is mirrored with the dying year."


Jan. 1, 1843, which he inscribe "UNHAPPY NEW YEAR," the second Mrs. B., a lady of un­usual attainments for those days, — the affection­ate, the gentle, and the congenial wife, whose memory is still fragrant in the old farmhouse, — died of the fatal erysipelas. In the "In Memo­riam" which commemorated again his dead, he thus touchingly generalizes sorrow:—


"There lives not in this world of human mould,

Not even savage Nature's rudest child,

A form so dull, affectionless, and cold,

Midst gloomy forests born, or deserts wild,

But he has sometimes felt, when doomed to part,

The last sad hopeless sorrows of the heart."


Near the close of his 69th year, he is still en­gaged in the active business of life. May a score of years yet crown his worthy head, who, in his waning manhood, with a pleasant pathos sings, —




"Farewell my youth! thy star was bright,

And mildly did it beam on me;

But nevermore upon my sight

Will fall its pure, its heavenly light,—

Dear in the waste of memory.


Farewell my youth! thy dream of love

Was like the sunset's brilliant calm,

When not a leaf the breezes move;

But never more my soul shall prove

Its luxury and dewy balm.


Farewell my youth! thy years are past,

Thy hopes and sunny smiles are gone, —

I know they could not always last,

Like roses on the torrent cast,

A moment, and their joys were flown." — ED.






Down beneath the drooping willows,

By the streamlet's limpid wave,

Where the wild-birds sing above it,

Is a little, new-made grave, —

In it lieth all of Winnie

That could die,

While his soul, immortal, liveth

In the sky.


Three short summers scarce are measured

Since on earth his life begun;

But the world was all too sinful

For our sweet and gentle one,—

All too rough for his pure spirit

Long to dwell,

And the Father called him homeward

"All is well."


Fare thee well, our darling Winnie,

Till we pass the river cold;

Through the pearly gates celestial,

Through the shining streets of gold,

Thou shalt be our guardian angel,

Watching o'er,

Guiding us in paths of virtue







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Close gently her eyes, in their long dreamless slumber,

Fold meekly the arms o'er the heart that's now still,

Oh bear her away from that now broken number,

The place that is vacant none other may fill.


No more will her smile banish sorrow and sadness

From hearts that are swept by grief's death-flood­ing wave,

No more will she join in the gay song of gladness,—

That voice once so sweet is now hushed for the grave.


She's far above sorrow, nor heeds she the weeping

Of friends who on earth ever blest her with love;

Ye've paid the last tribute, she's now in the keeping

Of angels, — Oh, leave her in glory above.











ON the eastern slope of Burke Mountain, the Dishmill Brook rises, which takes its name from the circumstance that in the early settlement of the town, a man by the name of Walter built a small shop here, where he turned wooden plates, dishes, and bowls, of different shapes and sizes. At the junction of this brook with the Passump­sic River, is the village of East Burke. In this part of the town, previous to 1820, there were but a few families. In that year the Rev. Rufus Godding, some 10 years before he commenced preaching, purchased the lot of land where the village is located, and commenced clearing away the forest to make a farm.

In 1825 he sold 10 acres, at first cost, to Jo­seph Wood, to encourage him to build a set of mills and commence a village. Wood moved into Godding's house, and commenced building a dam across the river. Coming in one evening from his work, he said, using his familiar by­word, "By gracious! there are bears in the place, and I'll have Mr. Bruin in the morning." The next morning he and his son, with two of the neighbors, started with dog and guns, and before sunrise killed two bears and brought them in. "Now," said Wood, "I will have some of the gentleman for breakfast." He breakfasted de­liciously, and went to his work. In that year he completed his saw-mill, and put it in operation. The next year he built a grist-mill.

Soon others settled in the place: Mr. C. C. Newell, who built a blacksmith shop, and Mr. C. Harvey, who opened a store. Wood remained a few years, when, becoming involved in debt, he sold his interest in the village to Willard Spen­cer, and removed to Victory, where, several miles from any inhabitant, he built another saw mill; but his stay was short. From thence he removed to Lyndon; then to Brighton, East Haven, and Newark, building a saw-mill in each place, — his last being in Newark. In his history we find one ever ready to shake the bush, but who caught no bird. He finally came back, and died at the house of his daughter, in East Burke.

Spencer built a new grist-mill, dwelling-house, shop, &c., and the village slowly increased until A.D. 1852. In the fall of this year Spencer sold all his property in the village to D. P. Hall. Soon after this sale we had a heavy freshet, which carried off the old grist-mill, bridge, dwelling-house, shed, shop, &c., leaving the new grist­mill tottering on its foundation, in the centre of a deep gulf many rods in width, caused by the flood. This took place in the night, and the work of destruction was not so clearly seen; but the crash of buildings, and the giving way of the earth under the feet of those who were cleaving the house and other buildings. Some barely es­caped from a watery grave, their property being borne down the once beautiful but now dark and terrible Passumpsic. The inhabitants on either side, opposite their homes but a few rods, passed the lonely night, there being no way of reach­ing their homes without a journey of many miles. The next morning hundreds of people assembled to behold the devastation so suddenly and unexpectedly made. Some remarked, East Burke is sunk, and can never rise again.

But Mr. Hall, with an energy and enterprise seldom equalled, repaired the dam and grist-mill, filled in part the gulf, and built a new saw-mill, probably the best in the county, at a cost of some $10 or 812,000, since which time there has been quite an increase in business and building, for a small place. There are now 2 meeting-houses, 3 stores, 1 hotel, 2 saw-mills, 1 grist-mill, planing and clapboard machine, 2 blacksmith shops, 3 shoe shops, a post-office, starch factory, um­brella stick factory, a repair shop, cabinet shop, and a good schoolhouse, in which school is sus­tained 9 months in the year.

One incident occurred in 1846, near East Burke, which shows that God takes care of his own through life, and takes them home to himself as he pleases. There was a Mr. Newell and his wife,* some 70 years of age, poor in things of this world, but rich in faith, and heirs of the king­dom. She was his third wife, and he was her third husband. They lived in a small log house, at the foot of a steep bank, in a retired place. Being destitute of food and fuel, the neighbors carried in a good supply of the necessaries of life, for which they were very thankful. Mrs. Newell, a few days after this, in conversation with some of her neighbors, remarked that they were poor, and that it would be difficult to support themselves, and they hardly knew what to do. She said that her children were willing to maintain her, but not her husband; and that his children would support him, but were not willing to support her, and they could not bear the thought of being separated. She said, "We have concluded to live together, and hope to die to‑


*She was a daughter of the Rev. Peleg Hix, the first settled minister of Burke.




                                                           BURKE.                                                311



gather." A short time after this conversation, there was a heavy rain during the night, which caused an avalanche or slide in the hill back of their house, which came down with such force as to carry away the roof; and fill the entire house with earth to the depth of some 5 feet. It was discovered the next morning by a man who was passing by. He informed the inhabitants of the village, many of whom immediately repaired to the place and commenced removing the earth, which in a moment of time had unroofed the house, and buried its occupants alive, while in bed, apparently asleep, as appeared when the cold, thick, heavy, earthy covering was removed from their lifeless remains. Near the bed a Bible was found lying on the stand. They had doubt­less read the Word of God, and in prayer had committed to him the keeping of their souls, and fell asleep to wake no more on earth. And in this providence it seemed that their desires were granted; they were not separated in life, nor di­vided by death. A large congregation assembled on the day of their interment, and on many a manly face the tear stole silently down as they saw them lie side by side in death, and borne away to rest in one grave.




Was organized April 29, 1801, Barnabas Thur­ber, clerk and first deacon. Elder Peleg Hix preached in Burke several years previous to his instalment, I find by the records. In 1803, 9 were added to the church; in 1806, 27; and probably Elder Hix was installed by a council of elders, May 1, 1807. He remained pastor until April 13, 1809, when he was, at his request, dis­missed from pastoral care, in full fellowship with said church. In A. D. 1810, it appears this church enjoyed a precious revival, and 30 addi­tions, mostly by baptism. There was no other minister settled as pastor, but others were em­ployed to preach and administer the ordinances to the church. Among the many, I name the following reverend gentlemen: Colby, Palmer, Beckwith, Ide, Davison, Fisher, Grow, Mitchel, and Doge. This church, for the want of a per­manent place of worship, and the lack of means to sustain a settled minister among them, did not prosper as they otherwise might. Additions were made; but dismissions, removals, and death, reduced their numbers, and placed additional dis­couragements in their way.




Was organized in the spring of 1830, consisting of 2 males and 4 females. Rev. Jonathan Woodman labored with them several years, and in 1831, B. Godding was licensed to preach. In 1834, Mr. Godding was called to ordination and the pastorate. From time to time additions were made and revivals enjoyed, till, in 1840, it numbered 42. At this time 8 members of the first-mentioned church united with this, and the two churches became one, and united with the Danville Baptist Association. In 1841, 25 mem­bers were added. Rev. N. Denison, who preached in several towns in this State, and Skeneateles, N. Y., with so much success, and died a few years since at Mendota, Ill., was, at his conversion, re­ceived into this church, and by it licensed to preach the gospel.

1852 and '53 were its most discouraging days, not having any place of worship but in a Union house, and their minister preaching with them but part of the time. In 1855, they decided to sell their interest in the Union house, and build a house themselves. In March, 1856, their house was finished and dedicated. It cost about $4,000, and for convenience and taste is seldom surpassed in a country village. Since that time they have had constant preaching on the Sab­bath, and have been greatly prospered. Rev. Mr. Godding, who became their pastor in 1834, still sustains that relation. Within the last 4 years 75 have been received into fellowship. The aggregate number of members has been about 210. The number of members belonging to the Baptist church is about 116.




There have been a number of good scholars who have gone out from this place and became eminent teachers, who have not taken a full collegiate course, viz.:  George Buckman, Rev. C. M. Cushing, and L. M. Burington. The fol­lowing have graduated at college, viz.: I. D. NEWELL, an able and successful Baptist minis­ter, who labored in this State, New York, and Illinois until his death; DANIEL LADD, now a missionary at Smyrna; B. F. DENISON, attor­ney at law in California; B. F. RAY, a Congregationalist clergyman in this State; and A. W. GODDING, a teacher in one of the city schools in Providence, R. I., and associate editor of the "Rhode Island Schoolmaster."







We once heard of an interesting little fellow, to whom was given a beautiful rose-tree. It was to be his own, to cultivate and to admire. He was delighted with his treasure, and bestowed upon it his most assiduous care. He watered it, loosened the soil about it, and watched its pro­gress till it put forth its green foliage, and was at last covered with little rose-buds. As these were very much hidden by the thick leaves, he cut them away, and exposed them to the sun. Af­ter a few days, he saw a little opening on the side of several buds, through which he spied the colored petals. In his impatience to gather the fragrant roses, that he might carry them to his mother, he plucked away the calyx and unfolded the petals. But in the morning, he was sadly disappointed to find that his roses were all with­ered away.   .   .   .




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A profound thinker once asked, "What be­comes of all the bright children?" Does not the fate of the little rose-buds furnish a practi­cal solution? Many a parent, who would sternly chide the nurse that should attempt too soon to teach their little one to walk, do, after all, precisely the same thing in the management of their minds. The earlier years of the child are sufficiently occupied with words and things. When his mind is matured, then give him ideas, and permit him to remember, to imagine, and to reason. It is evident, that many parents and teachers, and even school supervisors, expect too much from children. It is necessary that the various faculties should be somewhat developed before mature results can be expected from their exercise. . . Besides, the minds of all children are not uniformly progressive. . . Some are more quickly matured than others. . . It is by no means a sure evidence that a pupil may not ulti­mately succeed, because he is backward at an early stage of his education. There is far more danger from too rapid, than from too slow progress. The anxiety of many parents to make their children proficients very often defeats itself. Thousands, who might have been able men, were spoiled in vain efforts to make them remarkable children. Shakspeare and Milton speak com­plainingly of their "late spring." But where are those prodigies of whom we have heard so much.

Let us then learn a lesson from the processes of nature. The leaves must shield the tender buds from the scorching rays of the sun; and the rough calyx is required to confine the petals till their color and fragrance are duly perfected. We must not expect to turn out perfect scholars to order. Indeed, it may be suspected that there is some mistake when such examples are exhibited. Let children be childlike; but when they are men, not till then, let them "put away childish things."  











Miss G., a native of Burke, educated herself for a successful teacher without any pecuniary aid. She has taught in several places in this State, the city of Hartford, Ct., St. Louis, Mo., and is now Principal in a Ladies' Boarding School in St. Anthony, Minne­sota. (1860.)


I wonder how deep,

In a fathomless sleep,

Lay the earth in her primitive state,

When Jehovah passed by,

With his hat so high,

And each particle ran to its mate.


I wonder how low

The old primaries go,

Mysteriously building so long —

That time sped away

In long ages ere they

Could form a foundation so strong.


I wonder what power

Thus caused them to tower,

And lift their grey heads to the skies;

While the loftiest hills

Have the granite for rills,

And their tops interspersed as they rise.


I wonder how trees,

And the fish of the seas,

So ventured (the truth nature shocks)

That they should intrude,

In a manner so rude,

Even into the centre of rocks.


I wonder what time,

In old Ocean's young prime,

Little insects so busy could be,

As to form in vast piles

Those coral-reef isles,

Springing up in the midst of the sea.


I wonder, below,

What I never can know,

Of that ocean whose fiery tides lave

The crust of the earth

Since the morn of its birth, —

Lo, it rises and falls with its wave.


I wonder what hour,

By Omnipotent Power,

Creation's vast wheel shall be stayed,

And the internal fire,

Bursting forth in its ire,

Earth's funeral pile shall he made.