358 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
BY REV. A. BOUTELLE.
Peacham received a corporate existence by charter from Benning Wentworth, governor of New Hampshire, Dec. 31, 1763. This charter made over to seventy grantees, "inhabitants of N. Hampshire and of our other governments, and to their heirs and assigns forever," a tract of land — 23,040 acres — "six miles square and no more."
A tract of land lying between Danville and Peacham, which afterward received a township charter under the name of Deweysburg, was by act of the legislature divided in 1810, a part added to Danville and a part to Peacham, which gave it a territory of 25,695 acres. Peacham is in the second range of townships westerly from Connecticut River, and its principal village is 7 miles northwesterly from its rail road station at Barnet. A high ridge of land passes through the westerly part of the town, running northeast and southwest, which divides the waters of the town running into Lake Champlain, from those passing into Connecticut River. The territory of the town lies chiefly on the eastern slopes of this dividing ridge, and though a varied surface, has many excellent farms, well adapted for all kinds of grain, grass and pasturage. We can say in truth, both valleys and hills possess a remarkable fertility, some of our best farms being on high swells of land.
From the summits of some of our high hills beautiful prospects are obtained. On one of these, called by way of legendary distinction, Devil Hill, looking west and north, the eye gazes upon an almost unbroken wilderness, extending from the base of the hill directly beneath your feet for several miles, while by just turning around, without other change of position, the cultivated farms of Peacham and Barnet, lie spread out to the beholder's view. From Cow Hill, a still higher eminence, the vision is bounded north and west by the Green Mountain range and to the east by the Franconia and White mountains in New Hampshire. Looking west, or looking east, the whole intervening country lies spread out in all its untold variety of hills, valleys, forests, ponds, farms and villages.
Within the limits of the town are several ponds, or small lakes, some of which, environed with forests, and fed by mountain springs, are remarkably clear and much visited by those fond of piscatorial diversions. Onion River Pond — so called as the source
of one of the principal branches of Onion, or Winooski River — is in the westerly part of the town, covering an area of about 300 acres. Osmore Pond, one mile west of Onion — a long sheet of water wholly surrounded by forests — has on its bed a deposit of infusorial marl, much admired by geologists for its fineness and freedom from foreign ingredients. Shell marl of coarser quality is found in other places in town, from which lime in considerable quantities has been manufactured.
There are several streams of water running easterly, affording numerous mill privileges, upon which are 4 sawmills, 2 gristmills, a starch factory, a carding machine, a tannery, a blind and sash factory and 2 wagon shops. According to charter prescription, the first town meeting of the proprietors of Peacham was held in Hadley, Mass., Jan. 18, 1764. Hadley is distant from Peacham 164 miles. It is an honored town, and Peacham need never be ashamed of the place of its birth. There the machinery of the town was put into working order, but the power to work the machinery was in the city of London, while the chief overseer had his dwelling in Portsmouth, N. H. Affairs slumbered, and for nearly 20 years the town remained in almost unbroken silence.
After long intervals the proprietors held an occasional meeting, and made some progress in surveying lots and running lines around the town. Their first meeting held in Peacham, bears date August 20, 1783, 6 months previous to the first regular town meeting of which there is any record. The disturbed condition of the country, arising from the contested claims of New Hampshire and New York, and the American Revolution retarded the growth of the town. A very few inhabitants tried to carve out homes for themselves and families as early as 1775, but lived in constant peril by day and night. Early in the spring of that year, Dea. Jonathan Elkins* came with a few others, and began cutting down the forest; but from fear of the enemy, soon after returned to Newbury. In 1776 the solitude was broken by the marching of several companies of soldiers along a line made by blazed trees from Newbury to Champlain. It was in early spring, and they marched on snow shoes. But upon hearing of an invasion from Canada, they soon marched back again. The few people who were here, fled with them. Dea. Elkins, however, with John Skeele and Archey McLaughlin, returned in the fall and spent the winter together in Peacham These were the first white men who wintered here, and may be called the fathers of the town. But the few increased a little from year to year till the close of the war.
In October, 1777, was born Harvey Elkins, the first white male child born in Peacham; and next year, Ruth Skeele, the first female child born in Peacham, and who died Sept. 25, 1860, aged 82 years.
In 1779, Gen. Hazen, stationed at Newbury, had orders to clear a road from that place to Champlain, and thus gave name to the so-called Hazen Road, which for a long time thereafter was a great convenience to the inhabitants. As usual in those early days, that road did not avoid the high hills. In 1780 a Capt. Aldrich built a picket around James Bailey's house for security from the enemy, and this was probably the only block house in the limits of P. Generally the people had to take care of themselves as best they could, and seasons of alarm were not unfrequent; though it is not known that any one was killed in the limits of the town by Briton, Tory or Indian. A few were taken prisoners, among whom were Cols. Elkins of Peacham, and Johnson from Newbury in 1781, and two by the name of Bailey, in 1782. Col. Elkins was carried to Quebec, thence to England, and was there exchanged for one of equal rank. Col. Johnson returned on parole.
After the war closed, population rapidly increased. It was a point of considerable commercial importance in Indian trade. and as the Hazen Road became famous as a medium of transit across the country, the land rapidly came under cultivation. People began to forget past trials in the prospects opening before them, and population became respectable in numbers, intelligence and character. By December, 1784, there were 24 freemen in the town, and a population of some 200. The census of 1791 shows a population of 365. In 1800, there were 873 — only 374 less than at this present year (1860). Thus in 1784 the town was fully organized, and on that same year, it was voted to raise $60 for preaching, to be paid in wheat at 6s. per bushel, and the selectmen were the committee to hire ministers and appoint places for preaching.
In 1791, was agitated the question of erecting a meeting-house. The vote stood contents 33, non-contents 28. But the people could not agree on the place of building, for even when they agreed to abide the decision of men appointed from out of town, who
* Of Hampton, N. H.
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should "stick the stake," they were very reluctant to stick to their vote. Happily in 1795, their thoughts were turned to the question of erecting an academy, and of using the same building, both for a school and a sanctuary, and the question prevailed, and Caledonia County Grammar School, located in Peacham, received its charter, bearing date Oct. 27, 1795. It seems the question was agitated whether the County School should be here or the Court House and Jail, and the people wisely decided to have the School, and posterity thanks them for the wisdom of the choice. For Peacham, it was a happy day when she said, Danville may have the Court House, we will have the School; and Danville was satisfied, rejoiced and was glad. The academy located here, drew to it the eyes and the hearts of the people. The meeting house wrangle was hushed. The men called from New Hampshire, to "stick the stake," were not needed. The people this time stuck their own stake, and on the brow of the noble eminence called afterward Academy Hill, the stake was stuck and all the people said amen. The town agreed to support the principal three years, and in addition, erect a commodius building. On the 1st of December, 1797, it was opened for the reception of pupils, and Ezra Carter, Esq., was the first principal. From that time to this, it has gone its way prospering, with an annual average aggregate of 200 pupils. It has had 35 different preceptors, of whom 24 were graduates of Dartmouth, 3 of Yale, 2 of U. V. M., 4 of Middlebury and 1 of Harvard. Among these are the honored names of Ezra Carter and Jeremiah Evarts, Esqrs., David Chassell, D. D., David Merrill, Prof. Bartlett, Evarts and Noah Worcester, Daniel Christie, John Lord, Mellen Chamberlin and C. C. Chase. Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, Hon. Samuel Merrill, Chief Justice Redfield, Rev. Wilbur Fiske, D. D., were among its pupils. Its present principals are Lyman S. Watts, A. B., and Miss Jane E. Chamberlin.
The people of the town have ever taken a warm interest in its moral and religious welfare. In 1784, when it does not appear there were more than 6 freemen in town, it was voted to raise $60 for preaching, and in that same year a church was organized by Rev. Mr. Powers of Newbury, consisting of 18 members of the Presbyterian order. That church did not prosper, and at length disbanded. On the 14th of April, 1794, the present Congregational Church was organized with 12 members. The last survivor of this number was Mary Bailey, 2d, who died in Glover in 1844, aged 92 years. In the same year 23 others united with the church, three of whom lived till after the present pastor was settled over the church. Jonathan Elkins and Reuben Miner were its first deacons. In 1800 there were 41 members, of whom Rev. Leonard Worcester was the 40th, who was ordained pastor of the church, Oct. 30, 1799.
Thus we come down to 1800. Within less than 30 years the wilderness had been invaded, and before the sturdy blows of the woodchopper the forest had rapidly disappeared, and these now beautiful and fertile slopes of land laid open to the light of the sun, and bountiful harvests crowned the labors of the husbandman. Substantial dwellings took the place of log cabins, roads were opened and graded, an academy built and set agoing under auspicious influences, a printing press established from whence for several years a weekly newspaper was issued, a church organized and a pastor settled. The people worked — earned their bread by the sweat of the brow. The idle and shiftless were not wanted and were summarily reminded they might return whence they came.
The Elkinses were brave men, the six gigantic Blanchards were not behind, while William Chamberlain run lines both for land and conduct. Others too, as the McLaughlins, Skeele, the Baileys, Minors, Merrills, Martins, made their mark, and posterity honor their memory. Among its freemen at that time were William Chamberlain, afterward member of congress and lieutenant-govenor of the state, John Mattocks, for 6 years member of congress, governor of the state and a judge in the supreme court, Leonard Worcester, for 40 years a wise, devoted and successful minister of the gospel; not to mention the boys and girls, who in after years grew up sturdy yeomanry, bowing not, nor doing reverence to king, pope or bishop, abhorring slavery, and titled aristocracies of all grades.
From 1800 its prosperity has been steadily onward to this day, comparing favorably with any other town in a rural region for health, wealth, enterprise, thrift, intelligence and positive religious influences.
The Academy has had a very happy influence on the resident population as upon other hundreds who have gone from us. In 1840 Mr. Worcester stated in a published sermon; "No less than 26 young men from
among the inhabitants of this town have obtained a college education, having been fitted for college in this institution." It is believed this was the first academy building erected in the state of Vermont.
THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH AND SOCIETY
As before remarked, the church was organized in 1794. Rev. Leonard Worcester was ordained as pastor Oct. 30, 1799, and till 1840 labored faithfully in the work of the ministry. He appears to have been the right man in the right place, and in the memories of a grateful people his words and deeds are still garnered up. It was a ministry of great prosperity, and generally during the period of his labors the church occupied a very commanding position among those of the denomination in the state. In the 18th year of his ministry there began a revival of religion which continued for two years, when 225 were received to its membership on profession of faith. Again in 1831, in a time of great darkness and no little alienation among brethren, the Spirit was wonderfully poured out from on high, and in the course of 14 months 154 were added; when the total of its membership arose to 370, and except Middlebury, it was the largest church in the state. During Mr. Worcester's ministry 571 were added. His formal connection as pastor was not dissolved till his death, which occurred May 28, 1846. He was succeeded by Rev. David Merrill — a native of Peacham, and a member of the church, — who was installed September 9, 1841. Mr. Merrill was pastor nearly 9 years, dying suddenly, July 22, 1850. During his ministry 99 were added to the membership. The present pastor, Rev. A. Boutelle, was installed February 13, 1851. Since his ministry commenced, 132 have been added, leaving a present membership of about 260. Since its organization in 1794, there have been added 877.
This church and society have always taken a warm interest in the cause of humanity, temperance and missions. Forty years ago there were some 30 distilleries in. operation here, but for more than 25 years they have ceased to be, and the places they occupied will be known as such no more forever. So far as votes are tests of temperance, this town has sometimes been called the "banner town" in Vermont, and the same may probably be said of the attendance upon public worship on the sabbath day. The statistics of contributions for benevolent purposes in the Congregational Church and Society can be given only for 10 years — from 1851 to '61. These amount to about $5,844; beside some $22,000 in legacies by Dr. Josiah Shedd.
The first meeting-house of the Congregational Society was built in 1806 on Academy Hill, and for the times was a large and beautiful building, and what was better still, usually filled with hearers from sabbath to sabbath. Its cost was more than $5,000. The present pastor of the church is the third from its beginning.
[Not long since while on a visit at the Peacham parsonage, the present lady there (Mrs. B.) remarked unto us, "This church can claim what probably not another church of its age can in the state. It has had but three pastors two are in tho grave yard over there, the other' in the parsonage here." — Ed.]
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
BY REV. D. PACKER.
The M. E. Church in Peacham was organized by Rev. D. Field in 1831. There had been occasional preaching in the east part of the town, some three years previous, by the Rev. Mr. Fairbank, stationed preacher at Danville, and Rev. A. Sias.
The following ministers have been regularly appointed at Peacham:
D. Field, 1831, 1 year
John Currier, 1832, 2 do
O. Curtiss, 1834, 1 do
J. A. Sweetland, 1835, 1 do
C. Lyscomb, 1836, 1 do
Roswell Putnam, 1837, 1 do
J. H. Patterson, 1838, 1 do
J. N. Hume, 1839, 1 do
W. Evans, 1840, 1 do
John Clark, 1841, 1 do
J. D. Rust, 1842, 2 do
R. Bedford, 1844, 2 do
F. T. Albee, 1846, 1 do
H. P. Cushing, 1847, 2 do
A. G. Button, 1849, 2 do
H. Hitchcock, 1851, 2 do
S. Dexter, 1853, 1 do
E. D. Hopkins, 1854, 2 do
N. W. Aspinwall, 1856, 2 do
George F. Wells, 1858, 1 do
D. Packer, 1859, 1 do
The Society built a chapel in 1832, which was dedicated January 1, 1833. During the first decade to 1840 the Society numbered 111, including probationers. In 1850 it numbered in full membership and probationers 123. In 1860 we reported in full and probationers 141. In 1859 the number was 74 only; but the Lord of the vineyard blessed
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us with a glorious revival during our first, year, nearly 100 professed faith in Christ. We have expended during our two years, in repairs in the chapel; and parsonage $725. Well may we say, "What hath God wrought," to Him be the praise.
[We here resume Mr. Boutelle's MS. — Ed.]
Peacham had in 1791 the largest population of any town in the county, and in 1800 the largest except Danville. In 1840 it had 1443; in 1850, 1377; in 1860, 1257.
Aloof from scenes of war, in which the towns bordering on Lake Champlain so much participated, we have scarce anything to speak of as unusual or marvelous.
The first millstones for a gristmill in Peacham were drawn from Newbury on an ox sled, by Col. Johnson, of N. He tarried over night with Dea. Elkins. Somehow, the Tories found out he was there. They had a special dislike to Col. Johnson, Gen, Bailey, and Rev. Peter Powers. They hated Bailey for his influence over the Indians; they hated Johnson for his bravery at the taking of Ticonderoga; and Powers, for he now and then preached on freedom and human rights, and that was preaching polities. Knowing Johnson was staying with a defenceless farmer, about midnight they surrounded the house, and entering, took prisoners whom they would, at the point of the bayonet. Resistance was useless, and Johnson, with Jacob Page, Col. J. Elkins and a younger brother, were marched off before daylight, prisoners of war. Johnson told the Tories the younger Elkins would not live to get through the woods, as he was feeble, "having been drowned when a little boy," and they let the boy return, to his great joy and that of his parents. Col. J. found many old acquaintances among the Tories, now bitter enemies. There were eleven of them under the command of a Capt. Prichard. This affair happened March 6, 1781.
At another time during the war, several men were clearing land not far from Cow Hill. One morning, as they went for lunch in their camp, leaving axes behind, an Indian stole down from the hill — where also were two Tories and other Indians — and counted and examined the axes, and fled back. The Tories insisted on going down to scalp and massacre. "No," said the Indian, "we no meet men who use such big axes. We want three Indians to fight one big white man. We no go." The Tories yielded, and they went away.
At another clearing, at P. Blanchard's place, about dark, one thought he saw an Indian. The dog soon began to bark and snarl. The cabin fire was put out, the dog seized, his jaws held together to keep him still, and the family fled into a slashing of timber, where they spent the night in darkness, taking turns in confining the dog's mouth till light, when they fled to the garrison.
One day, at the farm of Mr. Aaron Bailey, the hog made an outcry. Upon looking, it was found a large bear had laid hold of the porker, resolved on a good meal. Mrs. B. seized a cudgel, and in the true grit of those early days, dealt out upon him blow after blow, till Bruin gave up and fled, and so she delivered the hog out of the paw of the bear.
In the cold summer of 1816, snow began to fall on the 9th of June and continued next day till it was several inches deep. Mr. Joseph Walker, aged 82 years, went to a distant pasture to drive in some lately sheared sheep, became bewildered in the snow-storm, lost his way, laid out in the woods two nights, and when found on the third day was near perishing. His feet were badly frozen, rendering amputation of some of the toes necessary. He was found on Sunday, and so general was the rally to search for him, that it is said only two men were present at church that day.
In 1811, a malignant fever swept over the town — called the spotted fever — particularly fatal to children. There were 59 deaths that year, out of a population of 1300, of whom 34 were under ten years of age. Almost every house was a house of mourning. From 1800 to 1838, the average mortality was 16 5/6 per year. From Jan., 1851, to Jan., 1861, the number of deaths has been 192, an average of 19 1/5 per year, the largest annual mortality being in 1852, when the deaths were 33. The erysipelas and scarlet fever were very prevalent that year.
Mrs. Ruth Watts was instantly killed by lightning July 13. 1813.
It is believed the first trees felled by white men for clearing, were on the Dea. Elkins farm, and the first log cabin was on that farm.
The first religious meeting was at the house of Mr. Moody Morse, where Thomas Morse now lives, and at or near the same place was assembled the first common school.
James Bailey was the first town clerk, the first town treasurer, and the first representative to the state legislature. The first selectmen were James Bailey and Simeon Walker. The first justices were Wm. Chamberlain and James Bailey.
The first recorded death of an adult was that of Gen. John Chandler of Newtown, Conn., father of Hon. John W. Chandler, March 15, 1796.
The first salary pledged by the town to the principal of the academy, for the ensuing three years, beginning with 1796, was $333.33. Tuition free to the youth of the county, and twenty-five cents a quarter for pupils residing out of the county.
The first call to a minister to settle in the town in the work of the ministry, was as follows: "At a town meeting held in Mr. Reuben Miner's Barn, July, 1791, Voted to offer Rev. Israel Chapin one half of the minister's lot and a salary of fifty pounds annually, which sum be paid in wheel at five shillings a bushel, or neat cattle, rating six-feet oxen at twelve pounds per yoke."
The following are the names of the 12 persons, members of the Congregational Church at its organization, April 12, 1794:
James Bailey, died 1808, aged 86.
Dea. Jonathan Elkins, do 1808, do 74.
James Bailey, Jr., do 1828, do 77.
Ephraim Foster, do 1803, do 72.
Dea. Reuben Miner, do 1829, do 93.
William Varnum, do 1814, do 68.
James Abbott, do 1815, do —.
Mary Bailey, do 1818, do 84.
Mary Bailey, 2d, do 1844, do 92.
Mary Walker. do 1834, do 74.
Phebe Skeele, do 1836, do 80.
Anna Bailey, do ——, do —.
DEA. JONATHAN ELKINS,
Born at Hampton, N. H., 1734; married Elizabeth —— of Chester, N. H., 1756, and in 1760 removed to Haverhill, N. H., being among the first settlers of that town, and coming there in very troublous times. From thence in 1776 he removed with his family to Peacham. His was the first family to settle in town, and his house the first public house kept in P. He was also the first deacon of the Presbyterian Church in P., and when that ceased to be, filled the same office in the Congregational Church. More than any other man, he may be called the father of the town. As a pioneer, he was patient, peaceful, persevering; as a citizen, trusty, worthy and honest; as a Christian, exemplary, kind, quiet, submissive. He loved peace, and to maintain it, would make almost any sacrifice. When the Tories took possession of his dwelling, he yielded rather than defend it, as being in his circumstances the wisest course, and they left his house standing, and him with his family in it, excepting his two sons, and one of those returned the day after, and the other in the space of two years. His idea was, conquer by mildness, more than by fighting; to persuade rather than drive, and beseech rather than fret and threaten; and by his gentle, yielding temperament, may have averted trouble and calamity from the infant settlement. He died Dec. 4, 1808, aged 74 years. His wife died in Peacham, March 7, 1809, aged 71 years.
COL. JONATHAN ELKINS,
Son of Deft. E., born in Haverhill, N. H., Oct. 23, 1761, came with the family to Peacham, and was taken captive by Tories in his father's house, March 6, 1781. He was marched away on foot, in deep snow, direct to Canada, first to Quebec, then carried to Ireland, then to England, from whence by exchange of prisoners, he returned to his friends the following year. He removed from P. about 1836, to Albion, N. Y., where he died. He possessed a soldierly element, was fearless, hardy, able to endure, met perils and dangers with firmness, and could mingle in stirring events with self-possession and confidence. His memory is held in high esteem by those who knew him, as a citizen of Peacham in the stirring times of its early history.
HON. WILLIAM CHAMBERLAIN,
Born at Hopkinton, Mass., April 27, 1753; removed with his father to Loudon, N. H., 1773; enlisted a volunteer in the army 1775, where he held the office of orderly sergeant; went with the army at the invasion of Canada; suffered all sorts of privations while so doing, especially in the retreat, and was one out of the nine officers and privates who remained of a company of 70 to take part in the battle of Trenton, N. J., that same year. At the expiration of his enlistment he returned to New Hampshire, but went forth again at the invasion of Burgoyne, as a volunteer, was in the battle of Bennington, from whence he is said to have brought away some trophies of personal contest with his Hessian enemies. About 1780 he removed to Peacham, being then cleric of the proprietors of the town. He was town clerk 12 years, justice of the peace 24 years, was a member of the con‑
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vention for framing a state constitution, town representative 11 years, member of congress from 1803 to 1805, and from 1809 to 1811, and lieutenant governor in 1814, the last of his public and civil offices. He died Sept. 27, 1828.
In private life Gen. C. was upright, a friend of order, learning and religion. For 15 years he was president of the board of trustees of Peacham Academy and held the same office for sonic years in the County Bible Society. He lived to see the wilderness become a cultivated and populous region, and as a matter of far higher moment to himself, closed a long, useful and eventful life, on earth in humble trust of a better life in heaven.
Abiel, Peter, Joel, Abel, Reuben and Simon, six brothers born in Hollis, N. H., came to Peacham about 1780. Strong, stalwart, fearless men, well fitted, for the privations and hazards of pioneer life, they have left a numerous posterity; and while many are dispersed abroad, very many still bear the name around the old homestead. The children of these six brothers, as shown by the town records, amount to 44.
EZRA. CARTER, ESQ.,
Born at Concord, N. H., Feb. 15, 1773; graduated at Dartmouth College, 1797; was the same year appointed first principal of the academy in Peacham, which office he held 10 years, and died Oct. 10, 1811, aged 38 years.
Though a lawyer by profession, he devoted himself principally to teaching. In that vocation he was strict almost to sternness, and in discipline resorted pretty freely to arguments that were more telling and impressive than words. He had to cope with the rudeness and independence of a forming period in society, and determined to make heaven's first law the motto of his doings. In the early history of the town he filled an important and useful sphere of action, because he had so much to do with its moral and mental culture, to give shape and tone to methods of study, application and industry. Many of his surviving pupils, now aged men and women, though not forgetting the discipline, bear testimony to his fidelity as a teacher, and his worth as a man.
HON. JOHN WINTHROP CHANDLER,
Born in 1767, the son of Gen. John Chandler of Newtown, Ct., who died at Peacham, March 15, 1796. He was one of the early settlers of the town, was successful in his business transactions, amassed a large property, and after filling many offices of trust and honor, died July 15, 1855, aged 88 years. He was assistant judge 6 years, treasurer of the Grammar School, and of the town of Peacham 34 years, when both these offices were transferred to his son, Samuel A. Chandler, Esq., who held them till his death, Feb. 11, 1855.
REV. LEONARD WORCESTER,
Born in Hollis, N. H., Jan. 1, 1767; he was the third son of Noah Worcester, and of the 6th generation from Rev. William Worcester, who came from England and was settled pastor of the first church gathered in Salisbury, Mass., about 1640. The descendants of William may be reckoned by hundreds, if not thousands, widely scattered over the Union. Noah (the father of Leonard) was the father of 16 children, and before he died, August, 1817, having nearly completed his 82d year, had noted the natal day of 77 grandchildren. In a record in his family bible, Sept., 1798, he says: "I had eighteen children of my own and by marriage at my table to-day." In all he had 95 grandchildren, and of these 94 were born to 6 sons and 2 daughters. Of his descendants, 17 have regularly graduated at college, nearly half of whom entered the ministry. Six others have been in the sacred office.
The brothers of Leonard who entered the ministry were Noah W., D. D., settled in Thornton, N. H., Thomas W. settled in Salisbury, N. H., and Samuel W.; D. D., settled in Fitchburg, then in Salem, Mass.
Of the sons of Noah, two, Samuel and Thomas, entered the ministry.
Of the sons of Jesse, Henry Aikin W. entered the ministry, while his 2d son, Joseph Emerson W., LL. D., devoted himself to literary pursuits, noted as the author of gazetteers, geographies and dictionaries.
Of the sons of Samuel, Samuel M., D. D., was successor of his father 25 years in the ministry at Salem.
Leonard of Peacham, was the father of 14 children, of whom Samuel Austin, Evarts, Isaac Redington and John Hopkins entered the ministry. Four of his sons regularly graduated at college, from which it will be seen he well sustained the ancient character of his ancestors. He served an apprenticeship, beginning in his 18th year, in the printing office of Isaiah Thomas, Esq., in Worcester, Mass., after which he was for
several years editor, printer and publisher of the Massachusetts Spy. This occupation gave him great facilities for reading, and presented a stimulus for correct composing, and he diligently improved his opportunity. He learned grammar, not from grammar books, but from a careful reading of standard authors, and there he learned the power of the English language and how to use it. In 1795 he was chosen deacon of the first church in Worcester, of which Samuel Austin, D. D., was pastor, and turning his attention to the study of theology, was licensed to preach the gospel March 12, 1799, at the house of Dr. Emmons, Franklin, Mass. He came to Peacham in June the same year, preached a few sabbaths, and being unanimously invited to settle in the ministry, was installed Oct. 30, 1799. It was a prosperous ministry of 40 years; during that time 571 were added to the church. He succeeded admirably in uniting the people in himself, and for more than 31 years of his pastorate, his was the only organized church and society in Peacham, and when he closed his ministry, it was in point of numbers among the foremost in the state. At that time one-fourth of the population of the town were professing Christians.
The writer of these lines never heard or saw Mr. W.; but he sees among the people the presence of an influence, which he trusts will not soon pass away. Few ministers leave behind them a more healthy and abiding impression. His habits of punctuality, exactness in the common dealings of life, his conscientious regard for right and wrong in all public and private transactions, his indignant rebukes when judgment was perverted by men in power, his kind and gentle treatment of the serious and thoughtful, both young and old, his style of preaching, so free from effort at effect and sensation, so straightforward, so simple, yet solemn and earnest, grave, methodical, evangelical, these gave him power, and his memory is blessed. Such a ministry of 40 years could hardly fail to do a great and good work for the people. The town, indeed, owes much to him for the orderly, moral, religious elements yet existing in the habit of attending public worship, punctuality therein, and a prevalent bias of feeling toward evangelical religion. The house in which he so long lived still stands, and his grave is among us. A massive granite monument marks the spot — fitting memorial of such a man. In a sermon preached on the occasion of his death by Rev. D. Merrill who knew him well, he thus speaks:
"His personal appearance was tall, commanding, and of full proportions in middle life, erect to the last, strong, compact, and capable of much endurance, a fit habitation for such a mind. He never appeared in the pulpit without full written preparation, and what he had written, he had written. His voice was strong, clear, and sweet, and his manner ardent and energetic. Yet with all his resolution and force of mind, he was naturally bashful, and easily put to the blush. His defects were such as belong to his peculiar cast of mind — an independent spirit could scarcely brook control or desert a position once taken — a sanguine temperament that could hardly conceive itself wrong. There was the honest, the just, and the pure; but too slight an admixture of the lovely and the amiable. But these defects disappeared in great measure as he advanced in life. May 28, 1846, he finished his course and retired to rest, but his works live after him, not only in this, the principal scene of his labors, but wherever the young people of Peacham are scattered. They will feel when they learn of his death, that a great man has fallen."
Mr. Worcester was town clerk of Peacham 34 years, a trustee in the Grammar School 27 years. and president of the board 10 years. Several sermons of his preached on special occasions, were published.
He married for his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Samuel Hopkins, D. D., of Hadley, Mass., Nov. 1, 1793; for his second wife, Eunice Woodbury of Salem, Mass., Jan. 25, 1820, who survived him only about 3 months.
REV. DAVID MERRILL,
The successor of Mr. Worcester, and son of Jesse and Priscilla Merrill, was born at Peacham, Sept. 8, 1798. He was of the 7th generation from Nathaniel Merrill, who settled in Ipswich, Mass., in 1638. His parents came to Peacham in March, 1789. Their children, all born in Peacham, were 10 sons and 3 daughters. Three of their sons have been members of Dartmouth College; James, the oldest, graduated in 1812; David in 1821.
He made a profession of religion in 1817, along with 69 others, who united with the church the same day. Turning his attention to the work of the ministry he graduated at Andover, in 1825; was licensed to preach the gospel the same year, and the year after emigrated to the west. After preaching in various places in Indiana and Illinois, he
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came in 1827 to Urbana, O., was installed over the Presbyterian Church in that town, and there remained 14 years. Unanimously invited to succeed Mr. W. at Peacham, the invitation was accepted, and he was installed Sept. 9, 1841.
Mr. Merrill was the author of the popular temperance tract — Ox Sermon. It was written and published in a village newspaper in Urbana, in 1832. The Temperance Society next published it in an extra newspaper form, issuing more than 2,000,000 copies. Next it was adopted as a permanent tract by the American Tract Society, who printed more than 200,000 copies. In this way it has had an immense circulation, and no doubt done great good. That sermon reveals the cast of his mind, as original, shrewd, logical, sagacious. One who knew what he was going to say, and having said, knew when to stop. Having taken his position, he was not easily driven therefrom. He respected human authorities, but his convictions were superior to authorities, the Bible being his great guide in policy and theology. As a preacher, earnest, sincere, awakening, he made a most faithful application of truth to the hearts and consciences of his hearers. Dying in "manhood's middle day," he still lives, and will long live in the hearts of many, both east and west. He died of erysipelas, after a short and distressing sickness of four days, July 22, 1850, aged 51 years.
A volume of his sermons, compiled by Thomas Scott Pearson, was published in 1855, to which is prefixed a short biographical memoir. It is a fact of interest that the last sermon in the volume, from the text "What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter," was never preached. He left a widow and 10 children, of whom all but one are living at this writing.
REV. ORA PEARSON,
Born in Chittenden, Oct. 6, 1797, graduated at Middlebury College in 1820, and at Andover Theological Seminary in 1824. In 1826 was settled as pastor at Kingston, New Hampshire, where he remained seven years, after which he labored 3½ years as a missionary in Canada East, and next settled over the churches of Glover and Barton, where he remained 6 years. The last 6 years of his life was spent in Peacham, where he died July 5, 1858, aged 60 years. Bereft of his eyesight, at about 110 years of age he ceased to act as pastor, though continuing to preach as opportunity presented till his last sickness. He was a good man, of unfeigned humility of spirit, Christlike, tender, peaceable, conscientious, earnest in his work and in his convictions, a man of prayer, of faith and love, dying in calm and joyful hope of entering the saints' everlasting rest.
REV. SAMUEL AUSTIN WORCESTER,
Born in Worcester, Mass., Jan. 19, 1798; the 3d son of Leonard W., graduated at the University of Vermont, 1819, and at Andover, 1823; went as a missionary to the Cherokee Indians in 1825; was stationed at Brainard, East Tennessee, till 1827, then removed to Georgia. In Sept., 1831, was imprisoned in the Georgia Penitentiary for refusing to comply with unjust state requirements, bearing on the Indians within its borders, where he continued till Jan. 14, 1833-16 months, when he was released and returned to his former place of labor. After various removals, he finally went with the tribe to the Indian Territory, and died at Park Hill, April 20, 1858. He was a man of great wisdom, firmness, courage, consistency and devotedness, eminently fitted for the post he held among the Indians in the turbulent scenes through which he passed, occasioned by the forcible removal of the Indiana from the state of Georgia.
REV. EVARTS WORCESTER,
Fourth son of Leonard, was born at Peacham March 24, 1807 ; graduated at Dartmouth, in 1830, was principal of Peacham Academy, one year, a tutor in Dartmouth College one year, and resided in Hanover, pursuing theological studies till 1836, when he was ordained pastor of the Congregational Church in Littleton, N. H., where he died the same year, Oct. 21. He was a distinguished scholar, and had he lived would unquestionably have attained a high rank in his profession.
REV. ISAAC R. WORCESTER,
Fifth son of Leonard, was born at Peacham, Oct. 30, 1808, received a medical degree at Dartmouth in 1881 ; ordained pastor of the Congregational Church in Littleton, N: H., 1837 ; dismissed 1842; now an assistant secretary of the American Board, and resides at Auburndale, Mass.
REV. JOHN H. WORCESTER,
Sixth son of Leonard, born at Peacham, May 28, 1812; graduated at Dartmouth, 1833; tutor at Dartmouth one year, ordained over Congregational Church at St. Johnsbury, 1839; dismissed in 1846; installed at Bur‑
lington, 1847; dismissed Oct. 11, 1854; now resides at Burlington.
JOSIAH SHEDD, M. D.,
Born at Rindge, N. H., 1781. He received a medical diploma at Dartmouth College. Spent nearly all his professional life in this town; was regarded as a skillful practitioner, a successful financier, a man of integrity, energy and firmness of character. He died suddenly of apoplexy, Sept. 4, 1851, aged 70 years.
HON. THADDEUS STEVENS.
He fitted for college in our Grammar School, and graduated at Dartmouth College, A. D. 1815; for a time pursued the study of law in the office of John Mattocks, Esq., of this town; and this town, more than any other place, was his early home. Here lived the family, and the graves of his parents are among us. From Peacham he went to Gettysburg, Pa., thence to Lancaster, Pa. He is at this time a member of congress (1861), and for several preceding sessions has served his country in that position. He has just been reelected by a large majority to the next congress.
HON. JOHN C. BLANCHARD,
Was born in Peacham, 1787, and graduated at Dartmouth in 1812. After graduating he taught in York, Pa., two years, reading law at the same time. He then went into practice at Bellefont, Pa. Was elected to congress in 1844, and took his seat in 1845. He died in 1849 at Lancaster, Pa., while on his way home from Washington.
MELLEN and WILLIAM CHAMBERLAIN,
Sons of Hon. William Chamberlain. MELLEN, born June 17, 1795, graduated at Dartmouth in 1816; was in the practice of law some years in the state of Maine, and while making the tour of Europe, drowned in the river Danube, May 14, 1840. His grave is on the banks of the Danube, province of Servia, empire of Austria.
WILLIAM, born May 24, 1797; graduated at Dartmouth in 1818; in 1820 was elected professor of languages in his alma mater, and so continued till his death, July 11, 1830.
The following inhabitants of Peacham are graduates of college:
Clergymen. — Samuel A. Worcester, Evarts Worcester, John H. Worcester, David Merrill, Horace Herrick, Ephraim W. Clark, John Mattocks, William Walker, Elnathan Strong.
Lawyers. — Thaddeus Stevens, John C. Blanchard, Nathaniel Blanchard, William C. Carter, George B. Chandler, S. A. Chandler, O. P. Chandler, William Mattocks, James Merrill, David Gould, A. A. Rix, James Stuart, John A. Gilfillan.
In other callings. — Leonard Worcester, Enoch Blanchard 1st, Enoch Blanchard 2d, Mellen Chamberlain, William Chamberlain, George Mattocks, Moses Hall, William Varnum, Willard Thayer, William Bradlee, William W. Moore, Ephraim Elkins, Lyman S Watts. Total, 35.
PUBLIC LIFE AND CHARACTER Of GOVERNOR MATTOCKS.
BY REV. T. GOODWILLIE OF BARNET.
Editor of the Vermont Hist. Magazine:
You write to obtain information of the public life and character of Gov. Mattocks, from one who was acquainted with him. It is true I was long acquainted with him, but not intimately, till the last years of his life. I send you the following sketch drawn from personal knowledge and other sources:
Hon. John Mattocks was born at Hartford, Conn., March 4, 1777. His father, who was treasurer of the state of Vermont from 1786 to 1801, came with his family about. the year 1778 or 1779, and settled in Tinmouth, Rutland county, Vt. His youngest son became the fourteenth governor of Vermont. Having been admitted to practice law before he was 21 years of age, he opened an office in Danville, Caledonia county, and commenced the practice of his profession in 1797, but the next year removed to Peacham in the same county, where he resided till his death. In a few years be became a celebrated lawyer, and ultimately a very popular man, being elected to every office for which he was a candidate. He was one of the great men of Caledonia county, indeed he was one of the eminent men of the state of Vermont. He practised law about 50 years, the most of the time in the courts of four counties. He has often been engaged in every jury trial at a whole session at the county court, and won every case. He represented Peacham in the legislature of Vermont in 1807, and again in 1815 and 1816, and also in 1823 and 1824; and was a member of the constitutional convention of 1835, when the measure for a state senate was adopted, and which he advocated. During the last war with Great Britain he was brigadier-general of militia in this part of the state. He was ,judge of the supreme court of the state in 1833 and 1834, but declined it reelection on
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account of domestic afflictions. He was a representative in congress from Vermont in 1821-1823, 1825-1827, and 1841-1843, and was governor of Vermont in 1843-4. It is the opinion of good judges that in many respects he resembled the celebrated lawyer, Jeremiah Mason of New Hampshire.
He did not receive a liberal education, but was a self-educated man. "My brother," said he, "rode through college to the law, but I came up afoot." He possessed in an uncommon degree "the sanguine temperament," as physiologists call it, being distinctly characterized by vigor, vivacity and activity of mind, a ready and retentive memory, lively feelings and a humorous disposition. Indeed so strong and active were his mind and memory, that a book which a good lawyer would take a number of days to master thoroughly for practical purposes, he could devour and digest in a day, storing its contents away in his capacious memory ready for future use. His wonderful talent of appropriating the contents of books enabled him, though altogether a practical man, to obtain a tolerable knowledge of standard English, and the current literature of the day, as well as a considerable acquaintance with history. His style, as may be seen in his reported judicial opinions, was direct and forcible, using few words to convey his thoughts. His concentration of mind and power of analysis and illustration were so great that he had an admirable faculty of presenting fasts and points in a clear and convincing manner, and his address had a peculiar aptitude to the case under consideration.
In stature he was about 5 feet 10 inches high, with a large robust frame inclined to corpulency, but with a very healthy appearance. Active, energetic, industrious and prompt, he did much work, which was well done and done in due season. He had a superior way of examining witnesses, but his great and universally acknowledged power as a lawyer was advocacy before a jury. Here he stood unrivaled among great lawyers. His success was almost certain, especially when he had the closing argument. His power as an advocate was not owing to his eloquence as an orator. It did not consist in long and loud speaking. He had not a copious flow of fine words "like flaxseed running out of a bag" to use one of his own comparisons with respect to flowery pleading and preaching. He employed no rhetorical flourishes or fanciful sketches to fascinate the jury. But in a familiar and colloquial manner he talked the whole matter over with them and he talked his side of the case into them. In a manner really ingenious and artful, but apparently frank, fair, and artless, he convinced them that his client was in the right and ought to gain the case. He seized upon the strong points of his case with consummate skill and ability and urged his natural and simple logic with such power and perspicuity that any man of common sense could easily comprehend the case. He excelled also in making the most out of a series of circumstances, not always harmonious, and was long celebrated for his skill and tact in managing criminal cases. His knowledge of human nature, which was deep and extensive, he successfully employed in his profession. As a book lawyer he was not so remarkable, for although he had such an acquaintance with the books as readily to find what he wanted, yet his mind was too active and impulsive to plod patiently among authorities. So acute and rapid were his mental operations that he grasped a knotty point instantly, as if by intuition, and solved the legal problem in some quick mysterious manner quite incomprehensible to ordinary minds. As a judge he was cautious and upright, desiring to do justice to all. His reported dissenting opinion given in the Supreme Court with respect to the Christian sabbath agrees with the word of God and the laws of the state. His views on this important subject were sound and Christian. He had warm sympathies for his fellow-men, and could not have been an oppressor, a persecutor, or an inquisitor, had he lived in the dark ages when oppression and superstition prevailed. Ever ready to relieve the poor, his charities were like numerous rivulets which water a wide space. When a member of congress and governor of the state he took an early and decided stand against human bondage. In a speech he made in congress when he presented a petition for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, he said, "I present this petition because I believe in my soul, that the prayer thereof ought to be granted, so as to free this land of liberty from the national and damning sin of slavery in this our own bailiwick, the District of Columbia."
As he was intelligent and social, his conversation was interesting and instructive. He was universally acknowledged to be a keen and ready wit. The lightning-like operations of his mind and his prompt memory, always gave him ready command of all his resources, which were numerous and diversified. His wit consisted in combinations of these materials adapted to the subject and
occasion. His witty sayings were sometimes very pungent, but in general they were harmless pleasantries. His fund of anecdotes was inexhaustible, and both in public and private, he illustrated the subject with pertinent anecdotes well told in few words. His conversation was sprightly, and he enjoyed a hearty laugh. He was fond of joking, even with strangers. One evening at the place of his residence, he heard an agent of the Colonization Society represent its claims in a manner so forcible that he thought him a good beggar in a good cause. The next morning the agent called upon the governor and in a general conversation, asked him "what is the chief business in this place at present?" "Begging," quickly replied the governor, "is now the chief business," at the same time slily slipping some gold into the agent's hand, for which he thanked him. "Not at all," said the governor, "I thank you, sir." "Why thank me?" asked the agent. "Because," answered the governor, "you let me of so easy." In a tight pinch he was very adroit in devising ingenious and prompt expedients for effectual deliverance from difficulty. He wrote such a hasty and imperfect hand, that sometimes he could not read it himself, but which, his brother, a lawyer in the country, could decipher. Going to trial before the County Court on one occasion he had such difficulty to read the writ, though written with his own hand, that the judge questioned the correctness of his reading, when he instantly gave it to his brother, saying, "You are college learned, read that writ." At one time when returning from the court at Guildhall, he lodged on Saturday night in the town of W., then a new settlemont, where they had no public worship. The next day he went home through Barnet, intending to worship with the Presbyterians in that town (whose religious principles and practices he esteemed so highly as to refer to them with approbation in a reported opinion he gave from the bench of the Supreme Court), and to hear their venerable minister, Rev. David Goodwillie, whom he held in high estimation, preach. The next morning the sheriff from Barnet arrested him at his residence in Peacham and took him to Barnet, to be tried upon a charge of violating the law of the state by traveling on the sabbath in prosecution of his secular affairs. Arraigned before a sage Scotch Presbyterian justice, he called for a jury, and by exercising his right of challenge, he got a number of Presbyterians on the jury, knowing they were strict observers of the sanctity of the sabbath. Having produced his testimony, he freely admitted that he went home from court on the sabbath, but in his defence he said, "The court at Guildhall sat so late on Saturday I had not time to go home that evening. The next morning I found that there was no public worship in the town of W., where I lodged on Saturday night. It being my custom to attend church on sabbath, I came to Barnet to worship with the Presbyterians whom I know to be sound in the faith and right in practice, and to hear their intelligent and pious pastor preach. But I was disappointed, for when I came to their church door I found that their worthy minister was officiating out of town that day. I was then half way home, and instead of returning to the place whence I came that morning, I went home, knowing my residence was in a better place than the wicked town of W. where there is no church, no clergyman, no public worship, no sabbath and no religion." The court having heard his witnesses and defence, immediately withdrew the action and discharged him from arrest. He then generously entertained the court and company at his own expense.
About the time he became governor of the state, I was sent to him by the board of trustees of Caledonia County Academy to procure from him a piece of his land to complete the site for the new academy. When shown what was wanted, he instantly gave it as a donation to the academy, although the land was a part of his mansion garden. After returning to his house, we engaged for some time in relating anecdotes, respecting the folly and wickedness of dueling, as a member of congress had been lately murdered in a duel. About to depart I related an anecdote, which convulsed the governor with laughter. I bid him farewell and left him still laughing heartily, but the next time I saw him, which was not long afterwards, oh how sadly changed! The shocking death of his youngest son, a college graduate, then at home, produced lamentable effects upon his mind and body, which lasted as long as he lived, although he recovered from them in a good degree. But there is reason to believe that a gracious Providence overruled this heart-rending event for his spiritual interest and eternal welfare. At the grave of the deceased, he said to the multitude that attended the funeral, "With the mangled body of my son, I bury my ambition and love of the world, and God grant that they may never revive." Regretting the errors and delinquencies of his past life, he settled his
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worldly affairs, made his last will and testament, declined a re-election to the office of governor of the state, and joined the Congregational Church of Peacham, of which he continued a member till death. His creed was Calvinistic, embracing the great doctrines of the gospel. He always preferred such sermons as were deeply doctrinal and practical. Through life he refrained from secular affairs on the sabbath, and it was his constant practice to attend church on that holy day. He was never rude nor insolent, but courteous to all. He was particularly spoken of, and is gratefully remembered by many, for the assistance and encouragement he almost uniformly gave to young men, and markedly so to those of his own profession. He always acted in an honorable manner towards his fellow lawyers and judges, and his clients were his firm friends. His great success as a lawyer, though his charges not were exorbitant, laid the foundation of an ample fortune. Besides the donations bestowed on his children after he gave them a liberal education, his property at death was valued at $80,000. He died August 14, 1847, aged 70 years. His funeral was attended by a great concourse of people from different and distant parts. Three sons survived him — one of whom became a clergyman, another a physician, and a third a lawyer.
THOMAS SCOTT PEARSON,
BY MRS. L. H. KENDALL.
Son of Rev. Ora and M. K. Pearson, was born at Kingston, N. H., Sept. 14, 1828. His religious birth dates about the age of seventeen. He entered Middlebury College in 1847, and was graduated in 1851; for the year subsequent was principal of Addison County Grammar School, at Middlebury, and librarian of the College.
In 1852, he became principal of Caledonia County Grammar School, Peacham, which position he filled with great acceptance until compelled by ill health to resign in the spring of 1855. The summer of 1855 was passed under medical care, and in traveling for his health; the autumn and winter of the same year, in part, in completing a catalogue of the library of Middlebury College. In the spring of 1856, he became connected, as teacher, with Kimball Union Academy, at Meriden, N. H.; a post, however, he was soon obliged, in consequence of increasing feebleness, to relinquish. In August, he left his home in Peacham to try the effect of the western climate upon his still failing health; but death had placed his seal upon him. He died at Indianapolis, Ind., Nov. 10, 1856.
To a stranger, this is but a short and common-place story; to those who knew Mr. Pearson, a brief outline of an earnest, well-spent life.
As "the boy in father of the man," so there early appeared in the subject of this sketch those traits of character which ennobled maturer years. Orderly, conscientious, truthful, eminently persevering, obtaining a ready mastery of the rudiments of knowledge, and exhibiting withal a marked predilection for the gathering up and classification of facts, he became early distinguished as a reliable, intelligent boy, and in later years as the devoted son and brother, the faithful friend, the trusted pupil, the indefatigable teacher, the upright citizen, and the consistent Christian. As a Christian, he was always in his place. His seat in the prayer-meeting was seldom vacant, nor his voice silent there; as a sabbath school teacher and superintendent, it is believed he accomplished much good.
Although gifted with unusual conversational powers, having rare fluency of utterance, an inexhaustible fund of anecdote, and a keen perception of the ludicrous, he rarely, if ever, indulged in unseemly mirth, or uttered a word inconsistent with his profession as a Christian. In religion, as in every thing else, he was in earnest, doing with his might whatsoever his hand found to do. His early fondness for collecting facts, alluded to, strengthened with his years. He was always on the alert for items of value, for all which he had a place and a use. While maintaining a high rank as a scholar, and defraying most of his college expenses by teaching, he made this remarkable talent effective in the preparation of several important works, viz., the triennial catalogues of Middlebury College, which he greatly improved; an elaborate catalogue of the college library; the biographical catalogue of the graduates of Middlebury College, believed to be the most thorough and complete work of the kind ever published in this country; obituary notices of deceased members of the alumni; the literary remains and memoir of Rev. David Merrill. And in addition to these, a large amount of unpublished material, which, had he lived, might have been wrought into works of value. The remarkable manner in which all this was accomplished, clearly indicated the work for which he was peculiarly adapted. His talent was becoming widely known and appreciated. He was elected
resident member of the N. E. Historic-Genealogical Society, and his death was noticed by this and several other societies.
But there was another, a moral trait, as beautiful as rare, deserving of especial mention; it was filial piety. Loss of eyesight and impaired health had rendered his father unable to labor for the support of the family as in former years, and so this noble son assumed and fully met the heavy responsibility.
Reluctant to lose even a day, he had resumed his duties as teacher, after an attack of illness, before health had become fully established. Reduced as he was previously by unremitting toil, it was too much for him; and his system gave and consumption began its insidious work. While it was evident he was gradually loosening his hold on earthly things, still there was so much work to be done, he would make one effort more for health and life. Counseled by physicians, he decided to try the west. He arranges his study,* sacred to him by many hallowed associations, gives a parting glance at his varied treasures gathered there. One more prayer and he turns the key upon the place dearest to him on earth. With a full heart but chastened spirit, and a calm, manly bearing, he gives to each member of the household a tender, affectionate farewell and goes forth from his home forever. A few weeks of weary, fruitless wandering among strangers, were terminated by distressing sickness and death. It was a mysterious providence that led him from home only to suffer and to die, away from the affectionate ministrations of his kindred. This it was, doubtless, that in his delirium caused him to utter in vain the bitter cry, "My mother! take me to my mother!" It was, perhaps, the last needful refining process with which God often visits his children, just before he takes them to himself.
Neighbors and friends in Peacham, to whom he had become greatly endeared, rested not until his remains were brought from their grave in the distant prairie to rest on the sunny slope of one of their own green hills. The marble that marks the spot bears the fitting sentence, "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord."
EXTRACTS FROM A LETTER OF REV. MR. WORCESTER,
Requesting Mr. Merrill to prepare a Sermon to be Preached on the occasion of his Death.
St. Johnsbury, Jan. 3, 1844.
It has long seemed to me that, in obituary notices of Christians and Christian ministers, in funeral sermons and in Christian biographies, there is, much too commonly, something like high wrought panegyric — something which approaches very near, and sometimes quite reaches to gross adulation — to me, things of this nature are always unpleasant — I had almost said disgusting. In relation to myself, I am sure any thing of this sort would be utterly out of place; and it is my earnest desire that, by every one who may have occasion to say anything concerning me, after my decease, it may be most carefully avoided. Living and dying, my prayer must be, "God be merciful to me a sinner." And though I would not dictate as to the text for a sermon at my funeral, I do not think of one better adapted to the occasion than this prayer of the publican, or the declaration of Paul to Timothy, which has been a favorite text in my preaching, "It is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." I think that neither of these texts could legitimately suggest any inflated eulogy in speaking of a poor unworthy sinner.
A word or two now in relation to my desire that my remains may be laid in the grave in Peacham. When I was sick at Littleton, a respected and beloved brother of our church made me a visit; and having understood that I had expressed such a desire, in allusion to it, remarked that he had felt that it would be of no consequence where he should be buried; intending I suppose to intimate that he thought my desire to be, to say the least, a childish one. His remark however, produced no change in my. feelings. And when I find in my Bible, that good old Jacob exacted an oath of his son Joseph, that he would bury him in the cave of Machpelah with his venerable grandparents and parents, and one of his deceased wives, which was done at no little expense; and that Joseph himself also exacted an oath of the children of Israel, that they should take his bones with them when they should return to Canaan, that they might be buried in the land of promise, I can not but hope it need not be thought either unrea‑
* This room is kept as he left it — large accumulations of newspaper files, books, manuscripts, as his own hands arranged, In collating Addison county for the Gazetteer. his biographical catalogue of the college had been a favorite text book. We stood as in our dead master's room — large, well-filled, antiquarian treasure-room — during a day spent with this interesting family, in the summer of 1860. — Ed.
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sonable, or very strange, under all the circumstances of the case, that I should desire that my poor remains may be interred in Peacham, in preference to any other place. There for almost forty years of my life I found a pleasant home, and in my poor way performed the duties of the ministry, endeavoring "to testify the gospel of the grace of God." There, too, I was made the humble instrument of gathering a goodly number into the visible fold of the Good Shepherd, no small proportion of whom, I humbly trust, will be found among those on his right hand, in the day of his appearing. There is the grave of the beloved wife of my youth, the mother of my numerous family of children, and the graves of more than half these dear children themselves. Yes, and there too no small number of the members of that beloved church and society, to whom I ministered the gospel of the Son of God so long, have been gathered into the congregation of the dead; and there, no doubt, many more of them, and you my dear brother, it may be, among them, will yet be gathered together into that same congregation. There too, I freely own, if the Lord will, I would that my poor remains may rest with them until "the voice of the Archangel, and the trump of God" shall call us all from thence. And O, that we may all, together
"Then burst the chains in sweet surprise,
And in our Saviour's image rise,"
and go away to be forever with the Lord.
I add one item more. It seems to me a somewhat remarkable fact that, although thirty ministers have been ordained or installed pastors of churches in Caledonia county, only seven of whom, including myself, now retain that relation, and four of whom certainly, and others not improbably, have deceased, yet no one of them has ever died, or found his grave among the people of his charge here. One only (Brother Wright) has deceased, sustaining his pastoral relation; and he died and was buried, not among the people of his charge, in Hardwick, but among his former charge in Montpelier village — my son Evarts is the only minister of our order who has yet found his grave in this county.
Your very affectionate brother
In the bonds of the gospel,
Rev. David Merrill.
EXTRACTS FROM THE OX SERMON.
BY REV. DAVID MERRILL.
Among the laws given by the Divine Lawgiver through Moses to the Jews, was the following: "If an ox gore a man or a woman that they die, then the ox shall be stoned — but the owner shall be quit. But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but he hath killed a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death." — Exodus, XXI, 28, 29.
The principle of this law is a very plain one — and a very broad one — here applied in a specific case, but extending to ten thousand others. It is this. Every man is responsible to God for the evils which result from his selfishness, or his indifference to the welfare of others. * * * *
The principle of this law is a principle of common sense. * * * Every man is responsible for evils which result from his own selfishness or indifference to the lives of men. In other words, to make a man responsible for results, it is not necessary to prove that he has malice, or that he intended the results. The highwayman had no malice against him he robs and murders, nor does he desire his death, but his money, and if he can get the money he does not care. And he robs and murders because he loves himself and does not care for others; acting in a different way, but on the same selfish principle with the owner of the ox, and on the very same principle is he held responsible.
In the trial of the owner of the ox, the only questions to be asked were these two: Was the ox wont to push with his horn in time past? Did the owner know it when he let him loose? If both these questions were answered in the affirmative, the owner was responsible for all the consequences. This is a rule which God himself has established.
I. Is Intoxicating Liquor wont to produce misery, and wretchedness, and death? Has this been testified to those who make and deal in it as a beverage? If these two things can he established, the inference is inevitable — they are responsible on a principle perfectly intelligible, a principle recognised and proclaimed, and acted upon by God himself.
Turn then your attention to these two facts:
1. Intoxicating liquor is wont to produce misery.
2. Those who make or traffic in it know this. * * * * * *
The greatest wretchedness which human nature in the world is called to endure, is connected with the use of inebriating drink. There is nothing else that degrades and debases man like it — nothing so mean that a drunkard will not stoop to it — nothing too base for him to do to obtain his favorite drink. Nothing else so sinks the whole, man — so completely destroys, not only all moral principle, but all self-respect, all regard to character, all shame, all human feeling. The drunkard can break out from every kind of endearing connection and break over every kind of restraint; so completely extinct is human feeling, that he can be drunk at the funeral of his dearest relative, and call for drink in the last accents of expiring nature.
Now look at a human being, whom God has made for noble purposes and endowed with noble faculties, degraded, disgraced, polluted, unfit for heaven, and a nuisance on earth. He is the centre of a circle — count up his influence in his family and his neighborhood — the wretchedness he endures, and the wretchedness he causes — count up the tears of a wretched wife who curses the day of her espousals, and of wretched children who curse the day of their birth. To all this positive evil which intoxicating liquor has caused, add the happiness which but for it this family might have enjoyed and communicated. Go through a neighborhood or a town in this way, count up all the misery which follows in the train of intoxicating liquor, and you will be ready to ask, can the regions of eternal death send forth any thing more deadly? Wherever he goes the same cry may be heard — lamentation, and mourning, and wo; and whatever things are pure, or lovely, or venerable, or of good report, fall before it. These are its effects. Can any man deny that "the ox is wont to push with his horn?"
II. Has this been testified to the owner? or are the makers and venders aware of its effects? The effects are manifest, and they have eyes, ears and understandings as well as others. * * * * * *
Look at the neighborhood of a distillery — an influence goes forth from that spot which reaches miles around — a kind of constraining influence that brings in the poor, and wretched, and thirsty, and vicious. Those who have money bring it — those who have none bring corn — those who have neither bring household furniture — those who have nothing bring themselves and pay in labor. Now the maker knows all these men, and knows their temperament, and probably knows their families. He can calculate effects, and he sends them off, one to die by the way, another to abuse his family, and another just ready for any deed of wickedness. Will he say that he is not responsible, and like Cain ask, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The ox was wont to push with his horn, and he knew it; and for a little paltry gain he let him loose, and God will support his law by holding him responsible for the consequences.
But a common excuse is, that "very little of our manufacture is used in the neighborhood; we send it off." And are its effects any less deadly? In this way you avoid seeing the effects, and poison strangers instead of neighbors. What would you say to a man who traded in clothes infected with the small-pox or cholera, and who would say by way of apology, that he sent them off, he did not sell any in the neighborhood? Good man! he is willing to send disease and death all abroad! but he is too kind hearted to expose his neighbors. Would you not say to him, you may send them off, but you can not send off the responsibility? The eye of God goes with them, and all the misery which they cause will be charged to you. So we say to the man who sends off his intoxicating liquor.
"But if I do not make it and traffic in it, somebody else will." What sin or crime can not be excused in this way? I know of a plot to rob my neighbor; if I do not plunder him somebody else will. Is it a privilege to bear the responsibility of sending abroad pestilence and misery and death? "Our cause is going down," said Judas, "and a price is set upon the head of our Master, and if I do not betray him somebody else will. And why may not I as well pocket the money as another?" * * * *
Says another, "I wish it were banished from the earth. But then what can I do?" What can you do? You can keep one man clear; you can wash your hands of this wretched business. And if you are not willing to do that, very little reliance can be placed on your good wishes. The days of ignorance on this subject have passed by; every man acts with his eyes open.
Look at the shop and company of the retailer. There he stands in the midst of dissipation, surrounded by the most degraded and filthy of human beings, in the last
374 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE. •
stages of earthly wretchedness. His business is to kindle strife, to encourage profanity, to excite every evil passion, to destroy all salutary fears, to remove every restraint, and to produce a recklessness that regards neither God nor man. And how often in the providence of God is he given over to drink his own poison, and to become the most wretched of this wretched company. Who can behold an instance of this kind without feeling that God is just. "He sunk down into the pit which he made, in the net which he hid is his own foot taken." Another will say, "I neither make nor traffic in it." But you drink it occasionally. As far as your influence supports it and gives it currency, so far are you a partaker of its evil deeds. If you lend your influence to make the path of ruin respectable, or will not help to affix disgrace to that path, God will not hold you guiltless. You can not innocently stand aside and do nothing.
A deadly poison is circulating over the land. Its victims are of every class; and however wide the difference in fortune, education, intellect, it brings them to the same dead level. An effort has been made to stay the plague, and a success surpassing all expectation has crowned the effort. Still the plague rages to an immense extent. What will every good citizen do? Will he not clear his house, his shop, his premises of it? Will he not take every precaution to defend himself against it, and use his influence and his exertions to diminish its circulation and thus diminish human misery? If he fears God or regards man, can he stop short at this? "I speak as unto wise men: judge ye what I say."
Sung at the Semi-Centennial Celebration of the Incorporation of the Caledonia County Grammar School, at Peacham, July 1, 1846.
BY OLIVER JOHNSON,
Who was born in Peacham in 1809, and served ant apprenticeship in the office of the Montpelier Watchman. He was one of the twelve who formed Jan. 1, 1832, the present Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, and from that day has been prominently indentified with the anti-slavery cause; aiding it as lecturer, and editing several of its leading papers in the country. He was associated with Garrison in the Liberator, three years; an associate editor of the New York Tribune, four years, 1853 (1858); has edited the Anti-Slavery Standard, New York.
When forests crowned these verdant hills,
Full fifty years ago,
And ringing through these fertile vales
Was heard the axman's blow;
When Peace and Thrift came hand in hand
These woodland wilds among,
Above the settler's humble cot
A modest Temple sprung.
In Faith our fathers reared the shrine
To Truth and Knowledge given,
And lifted high a beacon-light
To guide the soul to Heaven!
That light, though kindled long ago,
Is burning brightly still;
Its rays are now in beauty shed
O'er valley, plain, and hill.
The Fount of Knowledge opened here,
From purest source supplied,
Hath sent afar its healing streams,
And showered its blessings wide;
The dusky Indian of the West
Hath felt his soul reclaimed,
And e'en to heathen isles its sons
The Gospel have proclaimed.
In honored places of the land
Its sons have served their age,
And won for it a noble name
On History's glowing page;
In Pulpit, Court, and Council Hall,
Their words of Truth are heard,
And through the Press their clarion voice
The Nation's heart bath stirred.
On this dear spot, in youth's fair morn,
While yet our hopes were bright,
Wise Teachers sought to guide our feet
In paths of love and light;
And now we come in manhood's hour
To pour our grateful song,
And offer up our fervent prayer
Where holiest memories throng.
The Father, leaning on his staff,
This day renews his joy,
And in the mother's listening ear
Talks proudly of her boy;
The Widow's broken heart revives
To see her son return,
And Friendship's fires, once more renewed,
With holy fervor burn.
O Father! in this joyful hour
Our thanks to Thee we bring,
And with united heart and voice
Thy glorious praises sing;
Thy love is boundless as the sea—
Thy mercy ever sure —
O may the shrine our Fathers reared
To latest time endure!
May Education's holy light
Extend on every hand,
Till War's foul blot, and Slavery's curse
Be banished from the land!
And O may Freedom's sacred fires
On every altar flame,
And Temperance, Righteousness and Peace
Exalt our Nation's fame!