386 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
Lat. 44° 27'. Long. 72° 1' W.
BY EDWARD T. FAIRBANKS.
Prior to the independence of New Hampshire Grants, and 10 years before the settlement of St. Johnsbury, a tract of land on Passumpsic river was granted by King George III, to certain of his "loving subjects of the Province of New York." This tract contained 39,000 acres — including the whole or nearly the whole of St Johnsbury, together with a portion of Concord and Waterford — was granted to 39 petitioners under leadership of John Woods and Wm. Swan, and formally chartered by Cadwallader Colden, who in 1770 was governor general of New York. The charter was issued at New York city on the 8th August, 1770; and in honor of the Earl of Dunmore, who on the 19th October following was appointed under his majesty, governor of the province, the new township received the
ST. JOHNSBURY. 387
name of Dunmore. From this document, which is still preserved in the State Hall at Albany, the following sections are transcribed:
"George the Third, by the Grace of God — of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith and so forth —To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting:
"Whereas our loving subjects John Woods and William Swan in behalf of themselves and their Associates, by their humble petition presented unto our trusty and well-beloved Cadwallader Colden Esquire, our Lieut. Governor, and Commander in Chief of our Province of New York and the territories depending thereon in America — and read in our Council for our said Province on the 31st day of Jan. now last past — did set forth among other things — That the Petitioners had discovered a certain Tract of vacant Land situate on the West Branch of Connecticutt River in the County of Gloucester, within our said Province, containing about 39,000 acres, and that the said Lands are not included in any grant heretofore made by the Gov. of New Hampshire and are still lying vacant and vested in us. "Know ye, That of our especial Grace, and certain Knowledge, and meer Motion, we have given, granted, ratified and confirmed, and do by these Presents, for us our Heirs and Successors, give, grant, ratify and confirm to them, the aforesaid John Woods, William Swan and Associates their heirs and assigns forever — All that Tract of Land aforesaid set out, abutted, bounded and described in the Manner and Form as aforesaid, together with all and singular the Tenements, Hereditaments, Emoluments and Appurtenances thereunto belonging or appertaining, and also our Estate, Right, Title, Interest, Possession, Claim and Demand whatever of, in, and to the same lands and Premises, and every Part and Parole thereof. And the Reversion and Reversions, Remainder and Remainders, Rents, Issues and Profits thereof, and of every Part and Parole thereof — Except, and always reserved out of this our present Grant unto us, our heirs and Successors forever, All Mines of Gold and Silver and also all White or other Sorts of Pine Trees fit for Masts, of the growth of 24 inches diameter and upward at 12 inches from the Earth, for Masts for the Royal Navy of us, our heirs and Successors — To their only proper and separate Use and Behoof respectively forever as Tenants in common and not as joint Tenants. Yielding, rendering, and paying therefor yearly and every year forever unto us our heirs and Successors, at our Custom House in our City of New York, unto us, our or their Collector or Receiver General there for the time being, on the Feast of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commonly called Lady Day — the yearly Rent of two shillings and Six pence Sterling, for each and every 100 acres of the above granted lands, and so in proportion for every lesser Quantity thereof. And we do by our especial Grace, and certain Knowledge and meer Motion, erect, create, and constitute the Tract or Parole of Land herein granted and every Part and Parole thereof, a Township, forever hereafter to be and continue, and remain — and by the Name of DUNMORE forever hereafter to be called and known. And for the better and more easily carrying on and managing the public Affairs, and Business of the said Township, our Royal Will and Pleasure is, that there shall be forever in the said Township, 2 Assessors, 1 Treasurer, 2 Overseers of Highways, 2 Overseers of Poor, 1 Collector and 4 Constables, Elected and chosen out of the Inhabitants of the said Township, yearly and every year on the first Tuesday in May at the most publick place in said Township, by the majority of the Freeholders thereof, then and there met and Assembled for that purpose. In testimony whereof. We have caused these our Letters to be made Patent and the Great Seal of our Province to be hereunto affixed. Witness our said trusty and well-beloved Cadwallader Colden Esquire, our said Lieut. Gov. and Commander in Chief of our said Province of New York, and the Territories depending thereon in America. At our Fort in our City of New York, the Eighth day of Aug. in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy, and of Our Reign the Tenth.
The conditions of the above grant were as follows: "That some or one of the grantees should within three years next after date, settle on the tract granted, so many families as should amount to one family for every 1000 acres of land — or plant or effectually cultivate at the end of three years, at least three acres for every 50 acres of land granted capable of cultivation." That no one should "by their Privity, consent or Procurement, fell, cut down, or destroy any of the Pine Trees suitable for the Royal Navy. Otherwise the Grant should be void, and the land should revert to, and be vested in the Grantors."
388 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
Whether any of the grantees undertook the fulfillment of these conditions, we are not informed, but it is highly probable that the difficulties which shortly after arose in adjusting the claims of landed proprietors in New Hampshire grants, prevented the actual settlement. and tillage of the Dunmore lands.
Seven years after the grant of Dunmore, the state of Vermont threw off her shackles, and declared herself an independent sovereignty. In the conflict which thence arose respecting the right of lands granted under the seal of neighboring states, a board of commissioners was appointed to adjust the claims of the New York grantees. These latter had the choice of paying ten cents per acre on their lands, and retaining them, or giving up their title thereto and removing to new grants in western New York. Probably most of the grantees of Dunmore sold or relinquished their claims in Vermont, and settled in other quarters. From records preserved at Albany, we learn that the township lines had been surveyed previous to the issuing of the charter, and that two warrants of surveys had been filed on the first of January, 1770, but the field books of the surveyor general from this quarter are not found. We learn further, from a petition presented to the general assembly of this state in 1787, by one Moses Little, that the proprietors of Dunmore had completed the lotting out of the township, and that this had been done at great expense. The same petition proceedeth to show "that the Petitioner, not in the least doubting that the said Grant had been legally made by the said Governor of New York, had purchased at a very high Price, Ten Thousand Acres of Land in the said Dunmore, situate about 20 miles north of Newbury in the Co. of Orange. That since the State of Vermont had Exercised Jurisdiction, the whole of said Tract of Land had been granted by the said St. of Vt. to the Proprietors of St. Johnsborough and other towns, whereby the Petitioner hath suffered greatly by the loss of his property, and hath no redress besides applying to the Hon. Assembly of the State." This comprises all that can be found relative to the township of Dunmore. On a map of "His Majesties' Province of New York," published in London about 1779, may be seen this township, located according to the boundaries designated in the grant, on either side of the Passumpsic (west branch of Connecticut), and extending on the east nearly to the boundary line of New Hampshire. It is not known that any permanent settlements were made within its limits, until the year immediately preceding Gov. Chittenden's charter of St. Johnsbury. It is certain however, that the valley of the Passumpsic was often traversed by surveyors, hunters and trappers, and had probably been spied out and examined by the future proprietors of St. Johnsbury, sometime before its forests had been opened by the squatter's axe.
On the 27th October, 1786, Thos. Chittenden, then in the 10th year of his service as governor of Vermont, made an official grant to Dr. Jonathan Arnold and associates, of a tract of land in old Orange county, to be known as the "Township of St. Johnsbury." The shorter and more euphonious name which Cadwallader Colden had bestowed on this tract in 1770, and by which he thought to immortalize the memory of the British earl, was now repudiated by the less loyal mountaineers, who had already assumed the control of the state. Among the French people they had found a man, whose love of liberty, and disinterested friendship for the Green Mountain State, challenged their respect, and won their gratitude, and as a must appropriate testimony of their regard for his character and services, the new township was named the borough or town of St. John de Crevecœur, the French consul at New York. This was done at the suggestion of Gen. Ethan Allen, who was a warm personal friend of St. John, and who successfully advocated the claims of the latter before the governor and council. The following letter, addressed by St. John to Gen. Allen, evinces in a striking manner the characteristics of the man, besides containing an allusion to the name in question:
New York, 31st May, A. D. 1785.
"Gen. Allen: In consequence of the leave you have given me, with pleasure I will communicate to you the following thoughts, earnestly desiring you'd be persuaded that they have not been dictated by any vanity or foolish presumption, but by a sincere and honest desire of being somewhat useful to a state for the industry and energy of which I have a great respect. I am an American by a law of this state passed in the year 1763. I have lived and dwelled in it ever since. I married in 1770. I have three children. I have drained 3000 acres of Bog Meadow, built a house, cleared many acres of land, planted a great orchard. I have had the pleasure of publishing in Europe a work which has been well received by the public;
ST. JOHNSBURY. 389
wherein many interesting facts are recorded of the bravery, patience and suffering of the Americans in the prosecution of their last war. Such, dear sir, are the titles whereon I presume to found and establish the liberty I am now taking. First, I offer to have the seal of your state elegantly engraven on silver by the king's best engraver, and to change somewhat the devices thereof. I offer with pleasure to get another engraved for the college which the state of Vermont intends erecting, and I will take upon myself the imagining of the device thereof. I will do my best endeavors to procure from the king some marks of his bounty and some useful presents for the above college. If the general approves what I told him formerly concerning national gratitude and the simple though efficacious way of showing it to such French characters as have amply deserved it, no opportunity can be so favorable as the present, since new counties and districts will soon be laid out. If the general dont think it too presumptuous, in order to answer what he so kindly said respecting names, I would observe that the name of St. John being already given to many places in this country, it might be contrived by the appellation of St. Johnsbury. But the most flattering honor that the citizens of Vermont could confer on me would be, to be naturalized a citizen of that state, along with my 3 children — America Francis St. John, William Alexander St. John, Philip Lewis St. John. As soon as any resolution will be taken towards giving to the new townships and districts, some of the new names, I earnestly beg the general would write the account of it, which I should beg of him to send me by 2 or 3 different ways, so that I should not fail to have that part of it translated and put into the French newspapers with the name of the general. Wishing your state every prosperity, your good governor and council and yourself, my dear sir, I take my sincere leave of you, and beg you will look on me as a true friend and your very humble servant,
From Allen's reply to the above we extract the following:
"Sir, in behalf of the people of Vermont I return you thanks for the honor you have done me and them in your correspondence and assure you that we esteem it a great honor to be noticed by the French nation, the guarantees of American independence, more especially as we are not as yet confederated with the United States, and we flatter ourselves that a mutual interchange of friendship and good offices amounts nearly to an alliance. We have not as yet made an accurate plan or map of the state, but are now doing it, which, when done, we will send to France, to be completed by the king's engraver with the seal of the state, as you propose. With regard to the other matters, the people of Vermont confide in Mr. St. John, and are his humble servants. I should have written you much earlier could I have obtained an opportunity of laying the subject of your letter before the governor and council of the state, which I have since done. They readily conceived your good intentions, and nothing will be wanting on their part to promote your laudable requests in every particular.
"I have the honor to be, sir, with every sentiment of respect and esteem,
"Your friend and very humble servant,
Besides St. Johnsbury, the names of Danville and Vergennes were adopted at the request of Mr. St. John.
The township of St. Johnsbury, which was granted to the petitioners "for the due encouragement of their laudable designs, and for other valuable considerations thereunto moving," comprised 71 equally divided rights, each right including 310 acres, 1 rood, 22 poles, the whole being estimated at 21,167 acres. Besides the rights appropriated to the several grantees, we find one 71st part reserved for the use of a seminary or college, and the same for the use of county grammar schools in the state. Also "lands to the amount of one 71st part for the purpose of settlement of a minister or ministers of the Gospel in the said township, and the same amount for the support of an English school or schools in the said township." The two first mentioned reservation's were to be under the control and disposal of the state assembly, the latter to be located "justly and equitably or quantity for quality" in such parts of the township as would least incommode the settlement thereof. At the first proprietors' meeting it was determined that the college and grammar school reservations should include two full rights in the extreme north-eastern corner of the town — the others were variously located, in no case comprising more than one-third of the same right. Provision was also made in the charter for the erection of the first grist and saw mills out of the proceeds of the public lands and 9 acres in each 71st part, and the same proportion for each lesser part were so reserved by the charter, that the profits arising there‑
390 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
from should be applied to the construction of public roads and highways. The conditions and other reservations of this charter were. "that each proprietor of the township should plant and cultivate 5 acres of land, and build a house at least 18 feet square on the floor, or have one family settled on each respective right in said township within the time limited by law of the state. Also, that all pine timber suitable for a navy be reserved for the use and benefit of the freemen of the state." The penalty of non-fulfillment was forfeiture of each non-improved right of land, the same to revert to the freemen of the state, and by their representatives be regranted to such persons as should after appear to settle and cultivate them.
Thus was granted the town of St. Johnsbury. The quaint memorials of olden days, will hardly be sought in the annals of a town, whose birth dates so late in New England history. A hundred and sixty-six years had already passed since the Mayflower first dropped her anchors in Plymouth Bay. Nine years since the squatter sovereigns of New Hampshire Grants, had declared their green hills an independent territory. Full twice nine since the boys of the Green Mountains had first raised the arm of resistance against the tyranny of the Granite and Empire states. The straight forward policy and decision of the incipient commonwealth had been felt to the east of the Connecticut, and west of the Lake, and the time had come when "tall grenadiers of the King's army, stood and trembled in the day of her fierce anger." But not as yet had this little state been accepted by Congress, as one of the confederated union. Her repeated applications had been treated with an evasive policy which at the time was regarded as alike unfortunate for the state, and discreditable to Congress. Nevertheless, her very disappointment resulted eventually in good to the state, since it served to develop a greater self-reliance and energy on the part of the citizens, and furthermore released them from the heavy governmental taxation, necessitated by the expenses of the Revolution, just concluded. This consideration, together with the strength and efficiency of the state government, and the cheapness of lands, induced a large immigration of young and enterprising men, who came up to clear her forests and settle within her borders. Such were the men whose ayes first rang in the wood lands of St. Johnsbury. Earnest, hardy, and vigorous, they sought not the refinements of society so much as a lordly independence around their log cabin firesides.
The names of the grantees were as follows: Jonathan Arnold, Esq., Samuel Stevens, Esq., John James Clark and Joseph Nightingale, Joseph Lord, Ebenezer Scott, Jr., David Howell, Thomas Chittenden, Esq., John Bridgeman, John C. Arnold, Joseph Fay, Esq., Ira Allen, Esq., Simeon Cole, Benjamin Doolittle, Josiah Nichols, James Adams, Jona. Adams, J. Callender Adams, Thomas Todd, William Trescott and Jona. Trescott. Thomas Chittenden, the governor, in accordance with the usage of the day received one 71st part as remuneration for his services in drawing up the charter. His right was located on the east bank of Passumpsic river, north of the Center village, Ira Allen of Irasburgh, and Joseph Fay of Bennington, men of influence and position in the state were also non-resident proprietors to the amount of four 71st parts. The principal proprietor was Samuel Stevens, Esq., who held 18 rights or about 5400 acres. Being a non-resident, however, he subsequently transferred most of his lands to Dr. Arnold and others who were ready to settle. Arnold at the date of the charter held 3900 acres, 13 rights, or a tenth in amount of the old township of Dunmore. Of the other grantees, the last eight in the list, obtained the rights of proprietorship, by virtue of settlement previous to the chartering of the town, and held respectively one 210th part, or about 100 acres.
In the latter part of 1786, before the boundaries of the township had been fixed, or its charter issued, James Adams, Martin Adams, James Callender Adams, and Jonathan Adams, came up the valley of the Passumpsic, to the meadow south of Railroad street, and there began the first clearing in the town. About the same time Simeon Cole, whose old pasture gate subsequently swung on the edge of Cole Gate Hill, established himself on the meadows south of Center village. Before the close of this year Benj. Doolittle, Josiah Nichol — Thomas Todd, Jonathan and William Trescott had all obtained the right of proprietorship. It is difficult to trace the history of these early pioneers, inasmuch as most of them removed to other settlements, and of those who remained no very reliable record can be found. The two Trescotts lived and died in this vicinity. Jonathan, on a certain occasion, sent out the following "Friendly Salutation:"
"Know all men by these lines, that the
ST. JOHNSBURY. 391
undersigner is expecting to leave this country, and wishes all his friends, or foes if any, to call on him by the 20th May instant, and he will endeavor to make them satisfaction. Sheriffs, Constables and Lawyers are desired to make their demands or otherwise hold their peace. Adieu! Wishing all, God's blessing here on earth, and eternal life hereafter, when I hope to meet you all again.
He died at the age of 88, and from the rough hewn stone which marks his resting place in the cemetery, we learn that "He was one of the first settlers in town, being the seventh inhabitant." His brother William died in a kind of subterranean habitation near Joe's pond in Danville. He was something of a hero in his day as we shall find in a subsequent part of' this narrative.
A winter of primitive simplicity was that of 1786-7 in St. Johnsbury. A great settlement had not as yet sprung up on the ruins of Dunmore. To the few and scattered families who braved out the first winter in this wilderness, the distant stores and grist mills of Barnet, furnished rum, sugar and flour. No bridge had been erected, no roads established, and the lines of travel were as yet but rough cut sled paths through the forest primeval."
Early in the spring of 1787, came Jonathan Arnold, Joseph Lord, and Barnabas Barker, with 14 others. Dr. Arnold, the principal proprietor of the three towns Lyndon, Billymead and St. Johnsbury, was much the most efficient and enterprising man among the settlers of this vicinity. He was now in his 40th year, and had already seen much of public life both in state and national assemblies. For several years he was a member of congress from Rhode Island, and while serving in this capacity, he was suspected by many of being over friendly to the interests of Vermont, and in particular, of communicating to men in this state certain doings of the continental congress while in secret session. The following extracts from a letter addressed to Hon. Daniel Cahoon of New Hampshire (afterwards a a resident of Lyndon), indicate the position of Dr. Arnold, respecting the affairs of Vermont; but whether he advocates the independence of the state solely as a safety measure for New Hampshire, may be doubted. He says, writing from Philadelphia: "Congress has been on the affair of Vermont for several days, and upon the whole, it appears that the present members will do nothing to its advantage, I have it from the friends of New York, that a new state will probably be formed on Connecticut River, having for its western line the Green mountains, and its eastern they care not where, I think it would not be amiss to suggest to the friends of New Hampshire, that New York policy will probably set such a project on foot (if Vermont is not supported in her present claims), in order to secure the land west of the mountains and on the lake to themselves at Hampshire's expense — and that as the only sure means of preventing such an event, it is the policy of the latter to concede in the clearest and most decided manner to Vermont's independence. Propositions, I doubt not, have passed between some individuals of your state and New York to divide Vermont between them by the height of land, but from what I can discover, it will be dangerous for New Hampshire to depend on such a division; and if New York agrees to it, I think it must be with a view to effect a future division of your state. I am the more confirmed in this opinion from sentiments discoverable in the persons lately banished from Vermont, viz: Phelps and his companion, who are now in this city, and who are daily and nightly propagating every false and scandalous rumor that malice can invent to injure the people of that country, who have no agent or other person to contradict them. I must therefore again repeat, that New Hampshire can only be safe in holding jurisdiction to the river — by leaving Vermont to its present limits, Independent."
If Dr. Arnold anticipated at this time a future settlement in Vermont, he was well aware that his own interest would be furthered by the independence of the state, without regard to the policy of New Hampshire; but it is more probable that as a true patriot and a disinterested observer of the struggles which he here witnessed for freedom, he threw his influence and sympathies in favor of the oppressed. It was shortly after the close of his term in congress that Dr. Arnold immigrated to St. Johnsbury. He had served as a sergeant and surgeon in the Revolutionary war, and received his compensation in continental money, which he desired to invest in landed property. We learn however, that a few years after his removal here, the state effected a trade with Arnold, according to which he was to supply the medical chest of the state which was kept at Bennington, and receive in compensation his charter fees. The value of
392 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
these charter fees may be determined from a resolution passed in council at Rutland, Oct. 27, 1786, in which it is declared that the "grant of land made to Jonathan Arnold and associates, be under the following terms, viz: That each proprietor agreeable to the grant, pay for each right in said grant, nine pounds hard money, on or before the first day of June next, in order to be appropriated to the exigencies of the state." Subsequently, the sum of £537 13s. 7d. was discounted on the charter fees of St. Johnsbury and Danville, being due bills given by Surveyor General Whitelaw for services rendered in the town surveys. The survey of the lot lines and the division of the township into rights, was not completed until the summer of 1787, as we learn from a call for proprietors' meeting, published in the Bennington Gazette, and also from a letter addressed by Dr. Arnold to Esquire Whitelaw, the surveyor. This letter which was dated at Bennington March 8th, 1787, runs as follows:
James Whitelaw, Esq.:
Sir — The surveyor general has appointed me to look out, cut and make a road from the west line of St. Johnsbury, beginning where Capt. Leavenworth ends the road he is to make through Danville, and thence crossing the Passumpsic river at (or as near as the land will suit), the best falls in the said river, which I suppose is between Cole's and Adams [now Paddock's village], thence on a course which will bring it through some part of the gore east of Lyndon, to the west line of Lunenburg — which road will not only be necessary for facilitating the transport of provisions for the surveyors and their parties, but will serve valuable purposes for general roads in that part of the state. The surveyor general having also consented that you should complete the outlines of St. Johnsbury, and lay the same into lots of 300 acres each before you enter upon the general survey, I am to desire you to get Josiah Nichols and Martin Adams to assist you to make the same, which I would wish to be done plain and distinct; and if Mr. Adams or Nichols can not attend to that service, the old gentleman, or Mr. Simeon Cole may be applied to, although I hope and expect that Mr. Cole will be otherwise engaged for me at that time. You will please call on Mr. E. R. Chamberlin for pork and flour for this service, and get some rum from Col. Thos. Johnston. I hope to be with you early in May, and fix the magazine for your supplies for surveying that quarter. I enclose a sketch of the manner which I think will lay the lots to best advantage in St. Johnsbury — if you can better it, you will. I am the less anxious about matters there, from having the fullest confidence in your ability, will and friendship. Desiring you to make my compliments agreeable to all friends in that quarter, I am sir, with esteem, your assured friend and humble servant.
Squire Whitelaw was subsequently appointed surveyor general. and from his Field Book of Surveys of Town Lines in St. Johnsbury we extract the following as a specimen of the manner in which he filled some forty or fifty pages of the journal while surveying in this quarter:
"Began the W line of St. J. at NW being Birch tree marked Lyndon SW corner Nov. 16, 1786, and ran S 6°, 20' E. At 18 Ch. brook 10 links wide runs SW. At 63 Ch. little brook runs W. 1 Mile, on W. branch of brook 10 links wide running S. Easterly by an Alder marked M. 1, 1787, and an alder meadow (m) 2 Miles, a stake 12 links S. 40° W. fr. a fir tree on land descending east (g) the wood elm, fir, beech, ash and maple, excellent land for grass. At 8 Ch. a stream 3 rods wide runs NE. * * * 7 Miles, a stake 8 links westerly fr. a little birch on the south side of a hill (g) — this mile chiefly uneven — the wood beech and maple, good for grain and pasture; at 51 Ch. Barnet Corner at a hemlock tree marked Barnet Cor. March 23, 1784, standing on flat land on the edge of brook running SE. wood chiefly hemlock (g) A lot in St. J. 310 A. 1 R. 22 P."
Under a later date, and after the surveys of town and lot lines had been completed, we and the account of James Whitelaw against the state as presented to the treasurer for settlement; from a portion of this account we quote as follows:
To Provisions and assistance fur‑
nished by Dr. Jona. Arnold, £52 4 5½
To 1 Quart of Rum, 0 1 0
To 7 Males' Victuals at 10d, 0 5 10
To 10 Days surveying, 6 0 0
To 2 Days settling acc'ts with
Jona. Arnold, Esq., 1 4 0
To a man and horse 1 Day, 0 6 0
To 2 Camp Kettles, 0 8 0
To 1 Quart West India Rum, 0 2 0
To 3 males' victuals at 10d, 0 2 6
To Entertainment (?) for Hands, 0 10 0
To 2 Bags worn out in the Sur‑
veys, 0 12 0
ST. JOHNSBURY. 393
To Dr. Arnold's Account. £118 5 0½
To 7 lbs. Salt Pork of Capt. Colt
and 2 Galls. Rum, 0 17 0
To 35 Days Surveying, . 21 0 0
To 4 Days making Plan to lay
before Commissioners ap‑
pointed to locate the Flying
Grants, 2 8 0
A single tradition in connection with the surveys of this town, although it occurred at a later date, is perhaps worthy of mention. Dr. Arnold was in town at the time, and in company with Squire Whitelaw and others, was laying out certain lines in the vicinity of Sleeper's River, then known as West Branch. The provisions and equipments of the party were left in charge of Thomas Todd, who was instructed to keep a careful watch over the same, while the others penetrated into the forest to finish their surveys. Meantime Todd removed his effects from the bushes to the river bank, and on the return of the party was found rolled up against a log and fast asleep. "Hencefoward," said Dr. Arnold, "let the West Branch be known as Sleeper's River," and to this day its waters flow along the sandy bed whose name recalls this legend of our "Sleepy Hollow."
After the settlement and before the organization of the town in 1790, all matters of township business were transacted in proprietor's meetings held at some one of the houses in the town. In the Bennington Gazette, vol. 4, No. 182, we find an advertisement signed by Isaac Tichenor, afterwards governor of the state, in which the "Proprietors of St. Johnsbury are warned and notified to meet on the eighth Feb., 1787, for the purpose of choosing committees to complete the division of lands then undivided in the township — to hear report of committee appointed to settle with new residents in township — to make provision for erecting mills in the course of the ensuing summer — to take measures for the furtherance of the settlement, and transact other business deemed necessary." It is doubtful whether this meeting was ever called to order, and if it was, probably no business of importance was transacted, as no record of proceedings can be found. Another meeting was called in the June following, and in the meantime Dr. Arnold had removed to the township and erected a house, as we infer from the following minutes, taken from the first page of the town records:
"At a meeting of the Proprietors of the Township of St. Johnsbury held at the House of Jonathan Arnold, Esq., in the said Township, in the Co. of Orange, on the 18th Day of June, A. D. 1787, Alex. Harvey, Esq., was chosen Moderator, Dr. Joseph Lord, Proprietors' Clerk. Voted, that the several rights in said Township (exclusive of two Lots of One-Third Right each to the 10 persons who had entered the town in 1786 and who were admitted as Proprietors by reason of actual settlement — also one Full right for building mills in said Township and Five public Rights, all which said Rights are located and designated on the said Plan) be now drafted for."
Thereupon Alex. Harvey, Jos. Lord and Enos Stevens, were authorized to prepare lots with numbers affixed, the same to be shuffled and drawn against each proprietor's name. Dan'l Cahoon, Jr., and William Tressott "in presence of and under superintendance of the Assembly, made draft of the lots, and in the said draft the lots came out to each proprietor's name" in the order recorded in the proprietors' record book.
The "one full right" which was reserved according to charter for building mills, was located on the Passumpsic at the most available place for water-power, just above the mouth of Moose River. This property including about three hundred acres was assigned to Dr. Arnold, and during the spring of '87 he put up a saw mill. The following year a grist mill was erected, and the business importance of the settlement largely increased. These were days when our modern Paddock village was known as "Arnold's Mills," and before the "big moose" which was afterwards victimized on the bank of East Branch, had left to that dashing stream a more historic name. The house of Dr. Arnold was located in the wood lands at the northern extremity of the plain, just above the park which still bears the family name. The erection of this house began the settlement of the plain, and within its walls, during succeeding generations, no less than seven several families found a home, and last of all the owl and the bat. We could wish that the "boys" who in 184– brought down its old timbers with fire, to the ground, had reserved their torches until some artist could have sketched the "rough exterior" of the first frame house erected in St. Johnsbury.
To this house it was that Dr. Arnold carried home his third wife, Cynthia Hastings. Now the way in which Cynthia came to be the wife of the doctor was as follows: On a certain occasion the latter was journeying down the river, and quartered for the night
394 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
with one Enos Stevens of Barnet. In the course of the evening it was determined with great unanimity of feeling that their condition bore a forlorn resemblance to that of the old Romans before the visit of the Sabines — pioneers in a new settlement and hopelessly destitute of wives. Nothing could be done to remedy the matter in this northern wilderness; accordingly an expedition to Charleston "No. 4" (N. H.) was immediately planned, to take effect on the morrow, the object being to spy out the available daughters of the land. Arrived in Charleston they called on Samuel Stevens, Esq., and made known their wishes. After some consultation invitations were issued to Cynthia Hastings and Sophy Grout requesting their company at tea, it being understood by the contrivers of this plot, that the two strangers from Vermont should accompany them back to their homes. In anticipation of a possible emergency it was judged advisable that Mrs. Squire West should also be in attendance to play the part of umpire in case both gentlemen should claim the same lady. Tea time arrived, and so did the unsuspecting maidens. The evening passed, but when the hour of departure came, Cynthia Hastings seemed to be in double demand. The ladies still remained in blissful ignorance of the conspiracy. Mrs. Squire West was called for, and constituted referee. She very sagely argued that Sophy Grout was admirably adapted to be the companion of a farmer (Mr. Stevens was a tiller of the soil), but as for Cynthia it was much more suitable that she should be attended by a professional man. This wise decision of Mrs. Squire West (especially grateful to Dr. Arnold), prevailed, and before separating that night each of the gentlemen from the north made known to parties most concerned the special object of theIr visit to Charleston. Sophy Grout suffered somewhat from paternal interference, grounded on the fact that Stevens was a tory, but she was finally told that if she would marry an old tory she might, only she should carry nothing from the ancestral domain but herself and a cow. A few days later the afflicted Grout family witnessed the departure of Sophy and the old cow with a tory. The doctor experiencing less difficulty in preliminary arrangements, went foward to Rhode Island where he remained a few days, and on his return was accompanied to St. Johnsbury by the aforesaid Cynthia of Charleston. She became the mother of Lemuel Hastings Arnold, who was born at St. Johnsbury, educated at Providence, governor of Rhode Island in 1841-42, member of governor's council during the Dorr rebellion, member of congress in 1845-47, and died at Kingston June 27th, 1852. We learn from the political journals of the day that Mr. Arnold met with some opposition while a candidate for the office of governor. "During the canvass and in the heart of the electioneering campaign conducted upon the high pressure principle, a zealous Jackson man lustily accused Mr. Arnold of the enormous crime of having been born in Vermont!" Thereupon a question arose, as to whether a man could be held accountable for being born in any particular age or country. This kind of accountability was hardly recognized in the political creed of the Green Mountain boys, and does not appear to have been sanctioned by the sons of Rhode Island, for Mr. Arnold, notwithstanding he was born way up in Vermont," was elected by a decided majority, and did honor both to the state of his birth and the state of his adoption.
After the mills were established, the rights assigned, and the settlement of the town fairly under way, the population increased rapidly by immigration from the south. Most of the new comers were citizens of New Hampshire, Massachusetts or Rhode Island. No regular record of marriages, births and deaths was kept, until after the organization of the town, in 1790. The marriage service was commonly performed by Dr. Arnold, the first on record being that of Eneas Harvey and Rhoda Hamlet, who "were married 17th Jany., 1793, by Jonathan Arnold, Esquire, in presence of several witnesses." The earliest recorded births are those of Polly, daughter of David Doolittle, Dec. 14, 1789; and Polly, daughter of John McGaffey, Aug. 28, 1788. About this time a tax was imposed on the township to raise funds for the purpose of procuring a record book, wherein such interesting events might subsequently be preserved. Something of the condition of the town in the third year of its existence, may be gathered from the following petition presented to the general assembly by Dr. Arnold, the original of which is in the state department at Montpelier:
"To the Hon. Gen. Assembly of the State of Vt., convened Oct. 1789. The subscriber humbly showeth — That he hath with great difficulty and expense begun a settlement in the northern part of this state. That he hath since the 25th April, 1787, introduced more than Fifty Industrious men as settlers (which number would have been much
ST. JOHNSBURY. 395
greater, but for the scarcity of Provisions in that Country), and some of whom have families now there. That a principal difficulty we have had to encounter, hath originated from the want of passable roads to the Townships by which we are planted, and which we have had no means of procuring to be made. And this difficulty is still likely to continue, unless by the interposition of your Honors we are relieved."
The location of the contemplated roads is then described, the principal one being through Barnet, corner of Waterford, St. Johnsbury, Lyndon, &c., which is now the regular river road.
Doubtless the scarcity of provisions alluded to in the above petition, resulted chiefly from the want of roads and suitable conveyances; and this indeed might have been expected in days when men carried the necessaries of life on their backs for miles through the forest.
It is said that the old pioneer, who was afterwards elected first representative to the state assembly, used to make periodic journeys on foot to Barnet, and return with a two bushel bag of grain on his back, and a galllon of rum in his hand. Of course the measurement of the latter was taken at Barnet. Another illustrative tale is told of a certain eccentric individual, who bought a bag of potatoes "down below," and having with the assistance of two or three able bodied men, secured the same upon his back, set out for St. Johnsbury. Unfortunately and greatly to his dismay, a small rent in the corner of the bag, became so enlarged in the course of the homeward trip, as to permit the escape of one of the esculents, and how to recover this was a problem which gave ample scope to his available eccentricity. Fearing to stoop, lest the weight of the bag should prevent his subsequent perpendicularity, and unwilling to lose so dainty a morsel, he proceeded to inflict upon the said potato sundry well-directed kicks, which in due time propelled it with variable velocities to the floor of his kitchen, whence it met its appropriate fate. For the authenticity of the above we are incompetent to vouch, but we accept it as a practical treatise on the times. Probably very few of the early settlers were burdened with a surplus of hard money. Wild meat, grain and furs were the legal tender. A letter has been found, written by one Merritt, who lived in the south part of the town a year or two after the settlement was begun. It seems that he had been dunned by Capt. Lovell for a debt. His reply states "that he had just hoed in three acres of wheat, a few potatoes and some barley, which was all the property he had in the world, save flint, powder and gun. He proposes to set out on a hunt the following day, and if Providence is pleased to give him usual success, he pledges within a limited time to redeem his credit with furs."
For many years moose were abundant, and contributed much toward supplying the wants of the settlers. How Daniel Hall, in 1793, gat for himself the necessaries of life, and the name of a mighty hunter, may be gathered from the following notes, inserted as they were taken from the narrator:
Hall had grant of land from Dr. Arnold — hundred acres — in St. Johnsbury — west of Passumpsic — above Plain — by mistake, deed not given — next year Doctor dies — alarming apprehensions — Hall applies to Josias Lyndon — son of Doctor — J. L. gives him hundred acres — up in Lyndon — Hall satisfied — next morning up early — packs wife and goods on hand sled — travels to Lyndon — on crust — unpacks wife and goods — builds fire — sets up wigwam — moves in wife and goods — all settled — sundown — Next morning, nothing to eat — takes gun — sallies into forest — tracks a moose — big one — shoots moose — skins thigh — cuts out steak—carries home — wife delighted — heard gun go off — thought breakfast coming — roasts meat on forked stick — eats — no butter, pepper, salt—after breakfast calls up all neighbors — they skin moose — each takes a piece — Hall gets out hand sled — loads on moose meat and pelt — goes to St. Johnsbury — trades — gets three pecks potatoes, half bushel meal, peck salt — carries home to wife — wife delighted — sundown."
In the year 1790, the first town meeting was held at Dr. Arnold's house, and the organization of the town effected. The record of this meeting stands as follows.
"At a meeting of the Inhabitants of the Township of St. Johnsbury, legally warned and holden at the Dwelling house of Jonathan Arnold Esquire, in the said township, on Monday the 21st day of June, Anno Dom. 1790, being the first town meeting ever held in the said Town.
Jonathan Arnold, Esq., was chosen Moderator; Jonathan Arnold, Town Clerk; Jonathan Adams, Town Treasurer; Asa Daggett, Constable; Asa Daggett, Collector of Taxes; Jonathan Arnold, Sealer of Weights and Measures; Joel Roberts, Joseph Lord, Martin Adams, Selectmen; The Selectmen, List‑
396 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
ers and Assessors; Barnabas Barker and Four others, Surveyors of Highways and Fence Viewers. Meeting Dissolved.
JONA. ARNOLD, Town Clerk.
The selectmen immediately proceeded with the duties of their office, and sent up to the assembly an urgent petition for roads, in which it is
"Humbly shewn — that they suffer under great inconvenience from the want of Roads and Bridges in the Township of St. Johnsbury, and although the Inhabitants have exerted themselves equal at least to those of any new Settlement, and have also had the Assistance of a small Proprietor's tax; the whole is utterly inadequate to what is absolutely necessary for their convenience, the advantage of Land Owners, and the Interest of the State. For the circumstances of the Town is such as requires much more to be expended for such purposes than falls to the Lot of such Townships in General, it being so Situate as to be the Key to a very fertile Country northward, and the only practicable and nearest communication between the towns on and about the Onion River, to those on the Connecticutt at the Upper Coos; which render necessary an extent of about 35 miles of Roads for general purposes, besides many others for more private and particular uses therein. And the said Township having nearly through its center from North to South the Passumpsick, a River about 12 rods wide, and on the East part the Moose River about 6 rods wide, and runs therein an extent of about 5 miles, and on the West part the Sleepers River about 4 rods wide, and runs therein an extent of about 7 miles — requires a large number of Bridges, two at least on the Passumpsick, one near the Mills, and the other near the North line of the said Township; two on Moose River, and three at least on Sleepers River. Wherefore your Petitioners humbly pray Your Honors for leave to bring in a Tax of 4 pence per acre on the lands in St. J. for the purpose aforesaid. And as in duty bound will ever respectfully pray."
Signed, &c., by Selectmen.
To this petition were also affixed the signatures of Jonathan Arnold, Joseph Fay, Enos Stevens and Thomas Chittenden, as proprietors, to the amount of 32 rights, joining in the prayer of the petition; and upon the 30th June following, we find that the committee appointed by legislature for laying out and making these roads in St.. Johnsbury, "allowed £30 for Bridge over the Pass. River at the Mills — £20 for ditto across the East Branch or Moose River near its mouth, and six pence per rod for completing a road (1 rod wide) from one bridge to the other." Jonathan Arnold undertook the job, and in building the first bridge, "tradition says that his inflexible will compelled the workmen to commence the planking at the opposite end from which the plank were, so that they were compelled to convey all the plank across the river as best they might, instead of laying them down in advance of their own steps." During this year, 1790, the plain was mostly cleared of its forests, and contained three habitations; Dr. Arnold's at the northern extremity, Joseph Lord's log hut at the southern, and a rude cabin on the site now occupied by the St. Johnsbury House. A road was cut across the plain, corresponding to Main street as it now lies — charred stumps on either side and dense woods beyond. A ravine about 20 feet deep ran across the street near the corner of Church street, which was afterwards spanned by a dry bridge. By especial vote, and at expense of the township, a guide-post had been erected. The population of the town was 143; grand list, $590; first freeman's meeting was held dept. 26th, 1791, and Joel Roberts was elected representative of the town in state assembly. His certificate, which is preserved in the secretary of state's office, runs as follows:
"This certifies that at the Freeman's Meeting in St. Johnsbury on the day assigned by law, Mr. Joel Roberts was Chosen to Represent in the General Assembly of the State of Vt. for the year thence ensuing, the Town of St. Johnsbury aforesaid.
"Attest, ASA DAGGETT, Constable.
"St. J., Sept. 26, 1791."
The first freemen's oaths taken in St. Johnsbury were administered on the 2d Sept. 1794. Only one of the eleven young men who on that day first exercised their elective franchise, is still living, and he, through the infirmities of three score and thirty years, but faintly recalls the scene. On the same hills where, in 1791, he began his clearings, Mr. Goss, our oldest citizen, is still residing, and the beautiful valley which his axe first opened along the upper waters of Sleeper's River, preserves the memory of his labors in the name of "Goss Hollow." The freemen's oaths alluded to were taken by John Barker, Jeriah Hawkins, P. Gardner, Moses Melvin, David Goss, Wm. Hawkins, B. Bradley, Steph. Houghton, Nath. Daggett, Danl. Smith and Nath. H. Bishop. On the same
ST. JOHNSBURY. 397
day, was held the first recorded election for governor, with the following result:
For Governor. — Nathaniel Niles had 16 votes, Thomas Chittenden 8 votes, Isaac Tichenor 6 votes.
For Lieut. Governor: — Jona. Hunt, had 30 votes, Nath. Niles 1 vote.
For Treasurer. — Saml. Mattocks, had 23 votes.
In the state election for this year, Thomas Chittenden was for the 17th time elected Governor, Jonathan Hunt Lieut. Governor, and Samuel Mattocks Treasurer.
The first hog constables in the town were James Thurber, James Wheaton, Martin Wheeler, Eneas Harvey and Alpheus Houghton, elected on the first Monday of March, 1793, and as record declares "all married within the year last past." The first merchant in St. Johnsbury was a Mr. Sumner, who, about 1794 or '5 opened a store in the house of Jonathan Trescott, which stood on the road to Passumpsic, just below the county fair grounds. Afterwards Stephen Hawkins and Reuben Alexander came from Winchester, and commenced trade about 1798. Hawkins married a daughter of Capt. Arnold the miller. This Arnold was an old sea captain, a brother of Dr. Jonathan, and was the first person employed to tend the gristmill. His successor was Daniel Bowen, who lived in a rude hut by the corner of the bridge at the rail road crossing, which was the first house built in that village. The first store kept on the Plain was opened by Fred. Phelps as early as the year 1800, at the north end of the street. He carried on a potash factory near the mills, which was afterwards converted into a distillery of whiskey. Amaziah D. Barber kept a store somewhat later near the head of Maple street, which was subsequently occupied by Chamberlin & Paddock, afterwards fitted up as a house of worship for the Second Congregational Church, then in its infancy, and finally moved to its present location nearly opposite the post office, where it is still occupied as a dwelling house. The first public house or tavern was opened by Dr. Lord soon after the settlement of the town, at the southern extremity of the Plain. In 1799, the building now occupied as a bakery was built and opened as a tavern by Maj. Thomas Peck. It is said that Dr. Lord, after he had erected his great two story red house, distinguished himself and astonished his neighbors by importing from Montreal an enormous metallic structure, known as the first cooking stove brought into town. It is reported to have been cast in Scotland. The first clock in St. Johnsbury was purchased before 1800, by Nath. Edson in Danville, for $75, and is still to be seen in running order at the house of Mrs. J. Clark on the Plain. It is one of those lofty relics of antiquity which used to stand guard in the corners of old kitchens, surmounted with brazen balls, and the moon's disc. It was on the lawn fronting Edson's house (now Mr. Butler's), that the first public muster and training was held. A few years after when Edson was preparing to remove to the west, he experienced some difficulty in making his exit from the town. His wagon was packed up with moveable property, ready for an early start on a certain morning, but during the night some mischievous person purloined one of the wagon wheels, rendering it impossible to proceed. The vexation of the Edson family was great, for it was not until two or three days had passed that the wheel was found, hurled in in thistle bed half mile from the house; and this vexation was greatly increased when it was discovered that a vast multitude of spectators had assembled on the Plain to witness the progress of a wagon that had gained so much notoriety. This same man subscribed in company with one of his neighbors for Spooner's Vermont Journal, which was the first paper that circulated in this part of the state. As one of them lived away from the main road, it was proposed that all the papers be left at Edson's house until the end of the year, and then equally divided between the two. Among the earliest lawyers in St. Johnsbury were Lyndon Arnold, Goodhue, Bissel, Dorr, and Gov. William A. Palmer. The row of maple trees front of the court house and along the east side of the street were set out by Gov. Palmer, who brought them all out of the woods on his back as early as 1805. He died in Danville, December, 1860. Hon. Ephraim Paddock is the first lawyer that can be said to have had a permanent residence in St. Johnsbury. Very soon after the settlement of the town, Joel Roberts, Gardiner Wheeler, Ariel Aldrich and Martin Wheeler, each purchased a 100-acre lot about two miles north west of the Plain. They commenced clearing at the same point which was the common corner of the four lots, and in process of time the title "Four Corners," which was at first applied to this clearing simply, came to embrace the whole region now known by that name, and where the descendants of the original proprietors are still residing.
398 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
About three years after its organization, the town was deprived of its most efficient leader in the death of Dr. Jonathan Arnold. He had risen rapidly in public estimation, and was regarded by all as one of the most able men in this section of the state. The following notice of Dr. Arnold's death is quoted from a series of letters published in London, about 1797. "The first principal inhabitant and proprietor of St. Johnsbury, Vt., was the truly patriotic and learned Dr. Jonathan Arnold, who is now no more. The Doctor emigrated from Providence in the state of Rhode Island. How sincerely his death is lamented, those only who had the happiness of knowing him can tell. His son (Josias Lyndon) was bred to the law, to which profession he does honor. His attainments are great. With the Greek and Roman authors he is familiar, and however strange it may appear, perhaps Mr. Arnold is the only person in Vermont who is perfect master of the French language, and who speaks it in its utmost purity. Saint Johnsbury lies on the Passumpsic river, and to this town is attached some of the best land in the whole state." From one who was for more than half a century an active citizen of the town, we learn that the Doctor was a strong minded independent man. Yet accessible and companionable, but in St. Johnsbury always maintaining a complete ascendancy over all about him. He was a member of the governor's council at the time of his death. On a marble slab in the cemetery overlooking the valley of the Passumpsic and the beautiful village he founded, we read the simple inscription: "Hon. Jonathan Arnold, died Feb. 1st, 1793, Aged 52."
After the death of the Doctor, his eldest son Josias Lyndon, referred to in the above quotation, removed from Rhode Island and settled in St. Johnsbury. His career was short, although uncommonly brilliant in prospect. He was graduated at Dartmouth College with high honors in the class of 1788, admitted to the bar of Rhode Island — elected a tutor in Brown University — received in '91 the degree of A. M., from Brown, and was admitted ad eundem at Dartmouth and Yale. He removed to Vermont in 1793, married Miss Susan Perkins of Plainfield, Ct., and died June 7, 1796, aged 28. The year following Arnold's death a small volume was published in Providence, entitled, Poems by the late Josias Lyndon Arnold, Esq., of St. Johnsbury, Vermont. From the preface to this volume we make the following extract: "Mr. Arnold, before leaving college, had given splendid proofs of his practical talents, and acquired the reputation of uncommon attainments in all the ornamental and useful branches of literature. his acquaintance with the Greek and Latin classics and the best English writers in history and belles-letters was intimate; with the vernacular and learned languages he was familiar and critical. With an imagination bold and fruitful, he possessed an understanding cool and discriminating; and while indulging the fanciful flights of the muse, he was equal to the calm discussions of reason. No man was better calculated to command the voice of popular applause. No one of his age received more flattering proofs of public approprobation. He was an early candidate for fame. His political prospects were bright and promising, and few had stronger reasons for attachment to life; but alas! the strength of his constitution was unequal to the vigor of his mind." As representative of Mr. Arnold's versification, we quote the following
Lines on a Young Lady embarking for a Sea Voyage.
Ye winds be hushed — forbear to roar
Ye waves, nor proudly lash the shore;
Be hush'd, ye storms, in silence sleep,
Nor rage destructive o'er the deep.
ASPASIA sails and at her side,
The Beauties on the ocean ride.
Rise, Neptune, from thy coral bed,,
And lift on high thy peaceful head;
Calm with thy rod the raging main,
Or bid the billows rage in vain.
ASPASIA sails — and at her side
The Graces on the ocean ride.
Attendants of the watery god,
Ye Tritons, leave your green abode;
Ye Nereids, with your flowing hair,
Arise, and make the nymph your care.
ASPASIA sails — and at her side
The Muses on the ocean ride.
Thou sea-born Venus, from thine isle,
Propitious on this voyage smile;
Already anxious for the fair,
Thy winged son prefers his prayer.
ASPASIA sails — and at her side
The Loves upon the ocean ride.
Let ALL attend — and bid the breeze
Blow softly — bid the swelling seas
Swell gently — for such worth before,
The ocean's bosom never bore.
ASPASIA sails and at her side
The Virtues on the ocean ride.
July 22, 1791.
ST. JOHNSBURY. 399
The following lines have perhaps more local interest than intrinsic merit, being a brief extract from
An Ode Written on the Banks of Passumpsic River, in September 1790.
PASSUMPSICK, hail! who glid'st along
Unknown to melody and song,
Reflecting in thy watery glass
Wide spreading elms,
And pines that kiss the ambient sky.
Thy stream which runs like Fancy's child,
Irregular and sweetly wild,
Oft on its margin has beheld,
The Sachem and his tawny train,
Roll the red eye in vengeful ire,
And lead the captive to the fire.
Now, fairer scenes thy banks adorn;
Yellow wheat and waving corn
Bend in gratitude profound,
As yielding homage to the ground.
PASSUMPSICK, hail! who glid'st along,
The theme of many a future song.
Had'st thou a wish, that wish would be
Still on thy banks such scenes to see.
Where innocence and peace are found,
While vice and tumult fill the earth around.
Mr. Arnold at the date of his death held the offices of town clerk and town representative. His widow, Mrs. Susan P. Arnold, afterwards re-married, and was the mother of the Hon. Geo. P. Marsh of this state.
An old chronicler, who half a century ago was recording passing events, makes the following allusion to the death of the Arnolds:
"The father had chosen for his family seat, a plain near the south part of the town. The son occupied the same. They looked to that spot as the seat of the future village. Every thing was favorable. The leading roads almost unavoidably centered there. The situation was favorable for building. On its border were excellent seats for mills, and all kinds of machinery requiring the aid of water. The short life of the father, and still shorter of the son blasted all these prospects, and destroyed the design of the Doctor, which was to build up a city around him."
It is further stated that Dr. Arnold intended to have parceled out the Plain lands into "small lots, sufficiently large for garden and necessary buildings," allowing one more than one or two lots, and thus to have controlled and superintended the building up of the village.
In turning over the early records of our town clerks, we find the business transactions of town and freemen's meetings to have partaken largely of the miscellaneous. These meetings were commonly held at the dwelling house of Dr. Arnold until his death, after which they were "held around." Sometimes they convened at Nathaniel Edson's barn, and sometimes in the new dwelling house of the said Edson. In 1798, it was unanimously "voted, that the town will agree to hold their meetings at Asquire Edson's house in future." Apprehending certain contingencies however, it was judged advisable to appoint a committee "to enquire of the said Edson for liberty of the use of his house." This committee after a conference with said Edson, reported "that the said Nath. Edson gives his consent that the town shall hold a meeting at his House on March next and not thereafter." The house in question is the same now occupied by Mr. Beaumon Butler south of Center village.
In 1792 it was "Voted, that a Bounty of $10, be paid to any Inhabitant of this Township who shall take track of a Wolf in town and kill the same in any part of the state."
In 1795 "Voted, that a committee be appointed to procure powder and lead if necessary.
Voted, that the town be districted for schools, and that the Selectmen be committee for the said purpose."
1799, "Voted, that Surveyors of Highways shall see that Canada thistles are cut in the season directed or complain.
"Voted, that the Selectmen shall take invoice of ye rateable properties by going to their several dwellings."
1797, " Voted, that Henry Hoffman have the Improvement of the Burial Yard in the South Parish in St. Johnsbury (Plain), provided he clear the same, and does not interfere with the use heretofore made thereof, until such time as the said town shall put the said land to some other use."
1798, "Voted, to dispense with such part of the fine imposed on John K—t for theft, as belongs to the town of St. Johnsbury."
1799, "Voted, that Nath. Edson receive from the town $70 in grain, for the use and trouble of his house."
1800, "Voted, that Hogs shall not run at large during the ensuing year."
Sheep, Cattle and swine had for the most
400 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
part, been suffered to ramble at large. So long as this was the case, it became necessary for each animal to submit to the process of marking, which operation generally involved the mutilation of one or both ears. We find the following "cattle marks" recorded in 1795: "The mark of Josias L. Arnold, Esq., is a swallow's tail in the end of the right ear, and a crop off the left ear, being formerly the mark of Jonathan Arnold his father. The mark of Barnabas Barker is a hole through the left ear (simplex munditiis). The mark of Nathaniel Edson is a hole through the right ear and a slit in the same. The mark of Joseph Lord is a cut of half an inch on the top of the right ear and about the middle thereof, and a half penny on the upper side of the left ear near the head. Recorded March 2, 1795, J. L. Arnold, T. Clerk."
Before the XVIIIth century closed St. Johnsbury had grown to be a thriving town, and was fast increasing in population and wealth. In 1800 the town numbered 663 inhabitants, and the grand list was figured at $8628. The table from which this list was made out is here inserted; probably the ten houses mentioned did not include the log cabins in which most of the settlers were quartered:
Town of St. Johnsbury, County of Orange.
Grand List, A. D. 1800.
No. of Polls, 124; Assessment, $2480.00
No. a. imp. land. 1059; " 1853.25
No. of Houses, 10; " 61.00
Other property to value of, 5754.00
Deduct 76 Militia Polls, assessed at 1,520.00
do Horses of Cavalry, none.
Bal., or true list for State Taxes, $8628.25
To show the comparative increase of property in the town, a table of grand lists is here quoted from the date of organization down to the year 1800:
1790, $408.10 1796, $1415.10
1791, 590.00 1797, 6295.25
1792, 868.15 1798, 7286.50
1793, 1033.15 1799, 7261.75
1794, 1200.00 1800, 8628.25
In the year 1797, St. Johnsbury was set off from Orange county, and with eighteen others united to form the new county of Caledonia. This year we notice an increase in the grand list over preceding years of nearly $5000. The increase of population by births and immigration for the first five years after settlement of the town was not far from 50 a year or 250 in all. The exact number is not known.
As yet no established post roads had been constructed, and the arrangements for carrying mails were every way inadequate to the wants of the settlers. All the southern mails were conveyed from Barnet to St. Johnsbury, over the hill road through Peacham and Danville. The post riders made their periodic circuits on horseback, fully equipped with saddle bags and tin horns. Prominent among these public functionaries, and well known for his daring, was the man William Trescott. He had been endowed by nature with a versatile genius. His attainments in astronomy and capacity for ardent spirits were alike immense, and his genius was especially exercised in the construction of almanacs and the destruction of bears. He it was, who encountered and vanquished Bruin on the edge of the gravel bank south of the Plain. It happened on this wise: Trescott had been employed in clearing and burning over the tract of hill land to the south of Dr. Lord's house. The fires which required "tucking up" in the evening, had excited the curiosity of a certain hear, who after dark, prowled out of the woods to investigate proceedings. In the course of their wanderings over the hill-side Trescott and Bruin most unadvisedly met, each being astonished at seeing in the darkness an undefined phenomenon standing on two feet. No very considerable space of time elapsed before an acquaintance was effected, and warmly embracing each other, the two rolled in alternate victory and defeat down the hill-side, until cradled in the hollow of an uprooted stump. Trescott was now underneath, uninjured and unterrified, right hand was free, with which he straightway produced a knife from his pocket, and after opening the blade of the same with his teeth, applied it with fatal effect to the jugular vein of the quadruped. Thus ended the tragedy; but the bear meantime had suffered untold agonies from the incessant worrying and yelping of Trescott's dog, and it is said that the personal comfort of both combatants had been seriously endangered by the showers of fire brands that came blazing down the hill-side at the instigation of a certain terrified youth above. Now in giving the minor particulars of this transaction, authorities somewhat differ, but as to the essential facts, that Bill Trescott met, hugged and rolled down hill with a bear, and there‑
ST. JOHNSBURY. 401
upon instituted a course of proceedings highly disgusting to the latter, all agree.
Several years after the above adventure, and indeed within the recollection of many eye witnesses still living, a movement was made which evinced a unanimous determination on the part of the citizens, to wage a war of extermination against the bears. The fact that the latter had greatly multiplied in the land, and had long waxed corpulent over the plundered cornfields of the settlers, was regarded as ample provocation for this belligerent movement. In due time Dr. Calvin Jewett as commander-in-chief, mustered all the effective forces of St. Johnsbury, who took up their fowling-pieces and followed him into the haunts of the taciturn offenders. An ample range of forests was enclosed by the encompassing hosts, and the point of convergence determined upon, was the steep bluff on the east bank of the Passumpsic, opposite the bend in the river road, midway between Center village and the Plain. Hither in course of time, were gathered nine distracted bears. Furthermore it is a very suggestive fact, that shortly after the advent of these bears over the hill-top, nine black pelts might have been seen, spread out on the grass plat front of Edson's tavern. Equally suggestive is the fact that these nine pelts were "all sold off for the necessaries of life — rum, bread and butter." Previous to the year 1800, vigorous and repeated efforts had been made by various citizens of the town to establish a place of public worship, or some building to answer the two fold purpose of a church and town house. It was not however until the year 1802, that the town voted an appropriation for this purpose. On the 2nd September of this year, a meeting was called "by request of 18 substantial freeholders," to consider the question of building a town house. "Met at the house of Lieut. Pierce, and made Choise of Alexander Gilchrist Moderator. On motion, voted to raise $850, Payable in good wheat at the market Prise, for the purpose of building a house for holding town meetings — one half to be paid in the Town treasury by the first of January next, viz: $425 at each payment. On motion, voted to erect said house on a certain Peace of Land given by Lieut. Thomas Pierce for Publick use near his house in said Town. On motion, voted to choose a committee of three to superintend building said House, and that Joel Roberts, Asquire Aldrich, and Thomas Pierce, Esq., be the Committee, who eccepted the appointment. On motion, voted that said Committee have Liberty to Dispose of the floors of the house to individuals, in such a manner as they in their wisdom shall Judge best, the avails of which to be appropriated in order to finish said house Sutible and Convenent to attend Publict Worship in, and for a Town House. On motion, voted that the said Committee prosead as soon as may be, in the line of their appointment. On motion, voted to dissolve said meeting.
Attest, NATH. EDSON, T. Clerk."
During the following year $80 more were appropriated to the same object, and in the autumn of 1804, the building was raised. At this raising all the able bodied men and boys in town were assembled. After the frame had been erected, a gymnastic entertainment was executed by Zibe Tute, who about the going down of the sun, ascended one of the rafters, stood on his head at the end of the ridge pole, and thence, after emptying the contents of his flask, descended with head downwards to the ground. The temperance reform had not yet began. Tradition tells us that all the shingles used on this building were taken from a single tree. The floor of the house was divided up into the square pews which were characteristic of olden days, 51 being placed on the lower floor and 25 in the galleries. This building, which stood for more than 20 years the only meeting house in town, was built on the high hill west of Center Village, in the central right of the township, which had been originally alloted to Ebenezer Scott, and by him deeded to Lieut. Pierce, with a special reservation of 2 acres for the use of the town. From its high and bleak location, it overlooked the valley of the Passumpsic, from Lyndon Falls, past the mouth of Moose river and Arnold's Mills to the meadows at the mouth of the Sleeper. Within its spacious walls it received on town days the representatives of every family, and on the sabbath the worshipers of every denomination. For 41 years its brown old timbers stood on the hill top, until in 1825 it was removed to its present location in the Center village, and as late as 1855 the lower floor was used for the accommodation of town meetings. The former site is now a green sward, with no relic of former years, save the projecting end of ledge which was known as "Whig Rock" in the days when it was used as a rostrum for political haranguers. The first town meeting held in this house was on September 1, 1804, Respecting this building the following action was subsequently taken by the town:
402 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
"Voted, that Capt. John Barney be employed to keep the Meeting House clean, and that he sweep it at least twice during the year.
"Voted, that no person or persons be alowed to enter the Pulpit on town meeting Days unles speshely Directed by the town.
"Voted, that Five persons be appointed to Expel dogs from the Meeting House on Sundays, and that they be authorized to take such measures as they think proper, and that the town will indemnify them for so doing."
Gen. Joel Roberts, Capt. John Barney, Gen. R. W. Fenton, Simeon Cobb and Abel Shorey, were appointed dog committee, and accepted the responsibilities of the office. One of the ways in which expenses of public worship were met may be gathered from the following note, in which the subscriber promises to pay "three midling likely ewe sheep as to age, size and quality, on demand, and to keep the said three sheep five years, free from expence to the said Society, and to pay the Wooll to the committee in June, and the lambs on or Before the first day of November yearly. All the Wooll and all the lambs and all the proffits arising from the said Sheep, to be laid out yearly for Congregational Preaching."
The first district school house built by the town has led a more restless career than its predecessor the meeting house. No less than six distinct localities on Main street have sustained this classic edifice. Originally it stood on Main street, corner of Winter; thence it was moved southward to a place opposite the Bank; thence northward to the foot of Mt. Pleasant; thence southward to the corner of Church street; thence northward over against Arnold park; thence southward a short distance to its present location, a few hundred yards north of its original site. The first school in this building which is now attached to a dwelling house, was kept by Miss Rhoda Smith. Rev. Dr. Goodell of Constantinople was also at one time a teacher on the Plain. A few years later a small building was erected on the south side of Moose river, and was known as the Branch Bridge school house. In this house a party of soldiers returning from the war of 1812, were quartered for a night, making use of the hemlock fire wood for pillows, and the handkerchief of the mistress for bandages. No record of dates is found to indicate the time when the different school houses in town were erected. The present number of school districts is 17, the number of schools 23, and the amount expended for their support per annum, about $3000.
It must have been after the erection of the meeting house and the establishment of the first school on the Plain, that a petition was sent in to the legislature by the land owners and settlers in the west part of Littleton (now Waterford), praying to be set off from that town and united to St. Johnsbury. For in this petition "it is humbly shewn that the Inhabitants of St. Johnsbury being Organized, and amongst whom Law is known, and Order is duly observed, and having begun to provide for the introduction of regular Schools, and the Preaching of the Gospel; for these reasons in an especial manner, as well as others, we are desirous to be united with them that we and our Children may as Citizens and Christians enjoy those valuable advantages as early as may be, and which without such Union we cannot expect to do, if ever, for many years." It would seem that the Governor was not Opposed to such a change, for he states in a foot note to the petition that "in case the foregoing facts are truly stated, he has no objection to the prayer of the petitioners being granted."
St. Johnsbury at this time was rapidly improving. The publication of its weekly paper, the increase in the number of its churches, and the subsequent establishment of the Academies, tended much to elevate the character and influence of the place.
On the 3d of July, 1828, was issued at St. Johnsbury Plain, the first number of The Farmer's Herald, a weekly Whig journal, edited by Dr. Luther Jewett. This publication was continued about four years, when the failing health of the editor caused its temporary abandonment. In July of 1832, however, it was revived by Samuel Eaton, Jr., under the name of The Weekly Messenger, or Connecticut and Passumpsic Valley Advertiser. In the course of the following year, the establishment passed into the hands of A. G. Chadwick, Esq., who commenced in August, 1837, and for 18 years continued the publication of The Caledonian. Since 1855, this paper has been under the management of Rand & Stone and Stone & Co., has nearly reached its XXVth volume, and attained a circulation of about 1900 copies.
DR. LUTHER JEWETT,
Whose enterprise established and whose literary talent ably sustained the first paper in St. Johnsbury, was for many years an active and honored citizen of this town. He was born in Canterbury, Ct., 1772 — gradu‑
ST. JOHNSBURY. 403
ated at Dartmouth College, class of 1792 — removed to St. Johnsbury in 1800, and immediately commenced the practice of medicine. In 1817 he represented the north-east district of Vermont in Congress, and took his seat by the side of Daniel Webster, then in his second term. He was licensed to preach the year following by the Coos Association, and supplied the pulpits of Newbury and other towns in this vicinity for a period of ten years. His varied acquirements, and experience in public life especially fitted him for the post of a journalist, and in the editorial management of the Herald, he displayed much practical tact and ability. He was honest and straightforward in every expression of opinion, and no less firm in his support of justice and right, than unsparing in his rebuke of existing evils. Slavery, intemperance and anti-masonry, he denounced in the most fearless manner, and to combat the ultraism of the latter, he issued during the year 1827, a weekly sheet entitled The Friend, whose columns were entirely devoted to the discussion of this and kindred subjects. A late member of Congress from Massachusetts, and intimate friend of the Doctor, writes as follows: "To us, the name of Luther Jewett will always recall come of the most pleasant memories of life. He was eminently good, and scrupulously just in all his ways. In a delightful village, unsurpassed for its picturesque beauty by any in New England, his bright example has contributed largely for half a Century in the development of its character for enterprise, as well as for moral and intellectual elevation, On revisiting the town a few years since, we sought. out the venerable old man at his retired house, and found him so feeble that he scarcely ventured from his door. His snowy locks and patriarchal mein lent impressiveness to his words as he conversed of current events with the zest of one who was never content to be a mere spectator of the world's progress. It was our last meeting. We left him
'— in a green old age,
And looking like the oak, worn, but still steady
Amidst the elements, while younger trees
Fell fast around him.' "
He died in 1860, aged 87.
ST. JOHNSBURY FEMALE SEMINARY.
On the 27th November, 1824, was incorporated the St. Johnsbury Female Seminary. This institution owed its existence to the efforts of Judge Paddock and Deacon Luther Clark, by whom the charter was obtained, and a small school opened the year following in the hall of the brick house built by Capt. Martin, the ruins of which are still standing near the Union school house. Owing to the want of sufficient funds, no organization under the charter was effected, but for several years the seminary was sustained with much success, until after the grant of St. Johnsbury Academy 18 years later, when it was given up and merged into the latter institution. The persons employed as teachers in this seminary were 8 in number, extending their instructions over a period of nearly seventeen years, viz: Miss Trowbridge of Worcester, Miss Giles of Walpole, Miss Newcomb of Keene, Miss Almira Taylor of Derry, Misses Susan and Catharine Clark of St. Johnsbury, Miss Bradley of Peacham, and Miss Hobart of Berlin.
HON. EPHRAIM PADDOCK,
One of the originators and warmest supporters of this Seminary, was a strong-minded, self-educated mam and well-known for many years as one of the ablest lawyers in this part, of the state. His early education was that of the common school only, but in this he made such proficiency that on removing to this state from Massachusetts, he was for two or three years employed as an instructor in Peacham Academy, then the only institution of the kind in the county. His opportunities for professional studies were very limited, and the standard of legal acquirements at the time was by no means a high one: yet after he had commenced practice in St. Johnsbury, he applied himself with such diligence to judicial investigation, that he was quickly enabled "to take rank with the most learned lawyers of the state." He always maintained a high position as a lawyer, and did much to elevate the standard of the legal profession in this vicinity. We find the following record of his public services: "He was representative of St. Johnsbury in the state legislature from 1821 to '26, inclusive — a member of the constitutional convention in 1828 — one of the council of censors in 1841 — judge of the supreme court from 1828 to '31. In 1847 he retired from professional duties, having well earned a quiet old age by a long life of activity and usefulness." He died July 27, 1859, aged 79.
ST. JOHNSBURY ACADEMY.
Early in the year 1842 a movement was made by several persons who were warmly interested in the cause of education, to establish on a permanent and liberal basis a high
404 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
school or academy on the Plain. This movement, resulted in the establishment of the St. Johnsbury Academy, an institution, which from a small and unpretentious beginning has grown to become one of the most flourishing of its kind in this part of the state. A constant and efficient religious influence, systematic thoroughness in everything undertaken, and cultivation of the mental faculties rather than mere accumulation of knowledge, were the objects specially aimed at in the establishment of this institution, and by which it was thought that a foundation might he laid for a consistent, sound, and useful character. The first session of this academy was opened on a small scale in the fall of 1842, and during the following year a building of ample accommodations was erected at the south end of the Plain. The subsequent growth of the town and increasing demands of the school, have required a more appropriate and commodious building. From the commencement, with exception of a short interval, the school has been under charge of the same principal, who is still at its head. There have been connected with the instructing department of the institution, 21 male and 17 female teachers assistant, and nearly 1800 different names are recorded on the 18 catalogues which have already been issued. The rate of increase for the first five years may be seen from the following enumeration: Number of scholars during first year, 101; second year, 164; third, 196; fourth, 206; fifth, 257. Greatest number in any one year subsequent to 1847, 223; James K. Colby, principal; J. C. Cutler, principal in 1856-7. The springing up of other similar institutions in this vicinity, has withdrawn somewhat from the patronage which it formerly received, but it is believed that the high standard, and well earned reputation of St. Johnsbury Academy, will still give it that favor and influence in the community to which its antecedents so justly entitle it.
We would not in this connection, omit the name of one, who but a few years since, was actively identified with the interests of religion. education, and social progress in this community, and whose memory is yet warmly cherished in the hearts of those who knew him. In early manhood and the full tide of usefulness, he passed from earth, but not until by an earnest, benevolent and guarded Christian character, he had faithfully accomplished "life's great end." Another's pen, if any, should eulogize, but ours is the privilege to make grateful mention of an honored parent, a liberal and is worthy man — JOSEPH P. FAIRBANKS.
Nearly 8 years were numbered after the settlement of the town, before any active movement was made to establish public divine worship. Not a large proportion of the first settlers were religious men, and after the rough labors of the week were closed, the sabbath seems to have been regarded rather as a day of physical relaxation than religious observances. We are told that in those days they were wont to spend the sabbath in rambling the fields, visiting each other's homes, and planning those labors which called for the public arm, and aimed at the public good. The first town meeting was held in 1790, but not till 1794 was the question put, "Will the town raise money by tax to pay for preaching of the gospel?" It was determined in the negative, and during the following year, J. L. Arnold, Joseph Lord, Stephen Dexter, John Ladd and Jona. Adams, were chosen committee to draw up a subscription paper with the same object in view. No record of their labors is found, and in September, 1797, it was voted that a minister be hired at the expense of the town. Before the close of the meeting however, this vote was recalled, and a committee of three appointed to find how much money could be raised for this purpose by voluntary contributions. What success attended their labors we are not informed, but at the next March meeting in 1798, we find that the town voted to raise $80, payable in grain within the year for the support of preaching. It was also voted "that the town build a house for public use or a town house, to be framed, enclosed with rough hoards, and shingled by Nov. 1st, 1799; to be 56 by 46 feet square on the ground, and to be located wherever a committee appointed for the purpose should designate." On the 18th day of June following, a meeting was called, in which the last mentioned vote respecting the town house was revoked, and it was then and there determined that the town should not build a meeting house. The month following a meeting was called to consider the question of hiring a minister. Committee of seven was appointed to consider the subject, and report within one hour. According to the records, they reported it as their opinion "that the town ought to hire a minister, and therefore to raise $230, payable in wheat, rye, corn, pork and
ST. JOHNSBURY. 405
beef, for his yearly salary. Also that said minister preach one half the time on the Plain, and the other half at the most convenient place toward the north end of the town. On motion, voted to hire a minister. A minister was accordingly engaged, who probably remained a few weeks only, for in September of the same year "it was put to vote to see if the town would raise money to pay for further preaching and determined in the negative. But, voted to raise $15 to pay expense of preaching already incurred." One year later, September, 1799, a motion to hire a minister by the town was again negatived. On the 25th of May, 1801, it was "voted, to raise $100, payable in grain by the 1st of Feb. next, to pay for preaching." The first of February came — the grain and the minister came not.
On the 2d September, 1802, one more, and finally successful effort was made by the town to erect a church edifice, and establish at last a place for the observance of sabbath worship. Record of this meeting, which is one of interest [and somewhat anomalous, as the town subsequently seemed to abide by its action], has been transcribed, and inserted in a previous section, page 401. A large and commodious building was erected in the fall of 1804, and so finished off as to answer the purpose of town and meeting house, although it was some years before the formation of any church body.
THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH,
Was organized Nov, 21st, 1809, fifteen years after the settlement of the town, and five after the raising of the meeting house. Rev. Leonard Worcester of Peacham, Rev. John Fitch of Danville, and Rev. Asa Carpenter of Waterford, constituted the ecclesiastical council. The little band of nineteen whose names constitute the first church roll of the town, formed the nucleus of four large Congregational churches which now stand in its place. Six were males, and thirteen females. Hubbard Lawrence was chosen moderator and David Stowell clerk, both of whom were subsequently appointed deacons, and both of whom were recorded as "good men and true."
Six years passed away before the church obtained a pastor, but public worship is said to have been uniformly maintained, sometimes with, and often without preaching. The sisters of the church frequently walked from three to six miles in mid-winter to attend worship, and sat in a cold room through the service. The following list embraces all who have been settled over the church:
Pastors. Installed. Dismissed.
Pearson Thurston, Oct. 25, 1815, Oct. 17, '17.
Josiah Morse, M.D., Feb. 21, 1833, May 3, '43.
James P. Stone, Sep. 29, 1846, Sep. 23, '50.
H. Wellington, Jan. 4, 1855, Oct. 25, '60.
George H. Clarke, Jan. 15, 1862.
During the 2 years' ministry of the first pastor, 52 members were added to the church, and during the 7 years of the third, 66. This church still worships in the old meeting house, which was moved from the hill into Center village, in 1845, and located east of the burial ground. About 15 years after the organization of the First Church, in consequence of the scattering of the families and the increase of population in town,
THE SECOND CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Was set off as a colony from the first, and organized on the 7th April, 1825. It is a noticeable coincidence that this church also was established with 19 members, of whom six were males and thirteen females. They were set off by their own request, and with full consent of the church then existing, and adopted the some Confession of Faith and Covenant. This church worshiped on the Plain, and over it we find the following list of pastors, settled and dismissed:
Pastors. Installed. Dismissed.
James Johnson, Feb. 28, 1827, May 3, '38.
John H. Worcester, Sep. 5, 1839, Nov. 6, '46.
William B. Bond, Oct. 14, 1847, June 29, '58.
Ephraim C. Cummings, May 10, 1860.
The church was very much enlarged during the ministrations of its two first pastors, and especially during the revivals of 1827, 1831 and 1832. The additions embraced a large number who resided in and near the East village of St. Johnsbury, and in accordance with their wish, to be set off in a separate body,
THE THIRD CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Was organized, Nov. 25th, 1840. A meeting house was erected for their accommodation in the East village, and the church at the date of its organization, consisted of 26 individuals from neighboring churches, to wit, two from the First and eleven from the Second in St. Johnsbury; five from the church in Kirby; and two from the church in Lyndon. This church subsequently received large additions under the ministrations of its successive pastors, as follows:
406 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
Pastors. Installed. Dismissed.
Rufus Case, May 4, 1842, Feb. 26, '50.
J. H. Gurney, Feb. 27, 1850, '55.
John Bowers, Feb. 4, 1858.
The Second Church, located on the Plain, by reason of the increase of its congregation, found it necessary to erect a new house of larger dimensions, which was completed in 1847, standing on the corner of Church and Main Streets. But the population of the parish still continued to increase. The new house was found insufficient to accommodate all who wished to attend public worship; and in the spring of 1851, it was determined, after mature deliberation, that the interests of religion rendered expedient the formation of a new church, and the erection of a new house of worship on the Plain. Accordingly a
FOURTH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Was organized Oct. 23, 1851, consisting of 65 members — it having been previously voted that not less than one-quarter, nor more than one-third of the members of the Second or North Church should be designated to the new organization. The church edifice, located near the academy at the south end of the Plain, was built at the expense of the whole society, and became the property of the new church, its rents being appropriated to the support of their own pastor, and other expenses of public worship. After the establishment of this colony, the two churches on the Plain, Second and Fourth became known as the North and South Congregational churches of St. Johnsbury. Pastors of the South Church have been as follows:
Pastors. Installed. Dismissed.
S. G. Clapp, Jan. 13, 1852, Jan. 18, '55.
Geo. N. Webber, Dec. 4, 1855, Sep, 13, '59.
Lewis O. Brastow, Jan. 10, 1860.
Respecting churches of other denominations, our records are incomplete. The Universalist Church at Center village, was built about the year 1830; the Methodist in the same village, a few years later. Of the other two Methodist churches in St. Johnsbury, one is located at the East village, the other on Central street, at the Plain, which latter was completed in 1858, and is at present supplied by Rev. H. W. Worthen. Early in 1859, an association was organized for the purpose of sustaining Episcopal worship, but as yet no church has been built, or permanent preacher obtained, The corner stone of a Catholic church was laid in the summer of 1860, and when completed, there will be numbered in St. Johnsbury 9 church edifices — two at the East, and three at Center village, and four on the Plain. Yet, less than 40 years ago, not a church spire was to be seen in either of the villages.
The influence of the strong religious element, which after the formation of the first church, began to prevail over the immoralities of former years, has been great. It is said that few towns have at different periods of their history, developed such marked changes of character as this. Originally the standard of morality was low; in a few years, with the influx of a mixed population, it became still lower; but by degrees the influence of good men, and the increasing facilities for religious and intellectual cultivation, imparted a more salutary tone to society, and elevated the social condition of the place to such a degree, that it soon acquired, and has for many years retained, a high character for morality, industry and intelligence. And it is a fact worthy of mention, that at the present time (1861), the heads of both the executive and judiciary of this state, are residents of St. Johnsbury — Gov. E. Fairbanks, and Chief Justice L. P. Poland.
The relative increase of population in the town since 1800, may be seen by comparing the following tables quoted from the census reports: 1800, 663; 1810, 1334; 1820, 1404; 1830, 1592; 1840, 1887; 1850, 2758; 1860, 3470. In 1857, the first registration report was made, recording for that year 114 births, 50 deaths, 10 marriages. The increase in post office business has been great. Thirty years ago there was but one office, the compensation of the post master being about $50. Now, of the three independent offices located at the Plain, East and Center villages, a single one receives twenty times the compensation which was paid in 1830. Within the last decade, the town has made its most rapid growth and internal development. The opening of the rail road — chartering of the bank — removal of county buildings, and the extensive manufacturing and rail road interests here established, have all tended to increase the importance of the place as a business center. Passumpsic Bank was incorporated in 1849 — capital, $100,000, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery was laid out and dedicated in the summer of 1852, and is probably unsurpassed in natural beauty and location by any other in the state. Caledonia County Court House was built in 1855, at an expense of $15,000. Of this amount, $3,000 was
ST. JOHNSBURY. 407
raised by the town for furnishing a hall, $1,770 paid as share of county tax, and $1,000 by voluntary subscription in the village, making a total of $5,770, or about two-fifths the whole expense. The ground occupied by the Court House, was originally granted to the town by Jonathan Arnold for a burial yard, and was used for this purpose until the new cemetery was opened in 1852. The Union School House on Summer street, was built in 1854, providing for the primary, intermediate and high school departments in the same building. Caledonia County Fair Grounds were first opened south of the Plain in the autumn of 1858.
The manufacturing interests of St. Johnsbury are varied and extensive, embracing almost every variety of wooden and metalic wares, machinery, agricultural and household implements. The business villages which have sprung up on the banks of each of the rivers, witness to the natural endowments of the town, and these all with a single exception are of modern date. In 1821, before Center village had ceased to be known as Sanger's Mills, not a single dwelling house had been erected on the marshes which then covered that region. As late as 1848, the only building on the flat now intersected by rail way tracks, was the little farm house which still stands at the southern extremity of Rail road village. Arnold's Mills, built in 1787, give to Paddock village the right of priority in settlement, but before Huxum Paddock had built his foundries and revived the importance. of the village which has since then borne his name, grist and saw mills had been put up on the banks of Sleeper's river, by a man from Brimfield, whose descendants have originated and developed on the same water privilege the manufacture of " weights and balances." By request of the publishers, more particular details of this manufacture are here inserted.
THE FAIRBANKS SCALES.
About the year 1830, a business company was established at St. Johnsbury, for the purpose of cleaning hemp, and preparing the fibre for market. The location of this business was in Moose river valley, on the site of the large red mill, which was burned in the summer of 1860. After commencing operations, it was found that a machine or scale was very much needed to facilitate the operation of weighing the hemp. This necessity led to an investigation of the principle of levers as combined in a weighing machine, and resulted ultimately in the invention and development of the platform scale, by Mr. Thaddeus Fairbanks. The invention of this machine — the first grand idea which has resulted in profit not only to the manufacturers, but to almost every branch of human industry — was by no means an accident; and yet, hardly less mental ingenuity was required to originate the idea, than in after years to perfect the manufacture, a work to which the skillful mechanical genius of the inventor has been constantly and most successfully directed. Labor-saving machinery, and all the appliances which years of study can develop, are employed to facilitate the work; and the delicate accuracy, strength and unchanging quality of the scales are due in a great measure to the minor improvements successively introduced. The success of the establishment has been a natural sequence of skill in construction, care in management, and increasing demand for the article manufactured. The limited resources of Sleeper's river, have proved utterly insufficient to supply the power required for driving the thousand machinery wheels of the factory. And even since the employment of steam, one engine after another has been removed to make room for others of higher power. The works at present employ an average of 300 men, on wages of about $130,000 annually — consume 2500 tons pig iron, 200 tons bar iron, 38 tons steel, 26 tons copper, 300 tons anthracite coal, 100,000 bushels charcoal and 1,000,000 feet of lumber. The annual product of scales amounts to $500,000. Up to January 1st, 1861, there had been made 96,658 portable scales; 8,872 hay and track scales, and 94,712 counter and even-balances; making an aggregate of more than 190,000 in all, including a hundred different modifications, and a range of capacity from half an ounce of the even-balance to five hundred tons of the canal scale.
A correspondent of the New York press, after visiting this manufactory, remarks: "There is no business worthy of New England, but will afford employment for all the skill and care which can be commanded, but the scale manufacture seems in an especial degree to require experienced and intellectual labor. The three hundred workmen employed in the scale works at St. Johnsbury are unequaled by any like number of operatives collected together in the world.
"This is due partly to the nature of their employment, their isolated situation, the influence of employers, but more than all, no
408 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
doubt to the traits of character inherent in the people of this section. The village is purely New England — the proverbial air of freshness, neatness and industry, being no where more strongly marked than in this locality."
Well does the author of the above allude to the prosperity and thrift of the employees in this manufactory, and justly may our community congratulate itself on the general intelligence, public spirit and energy which characterize this class of its citizens. From their daily workshops, when, indeed "thought is embodied in iron and brass," the delicate emblems of Astrea have gone out to every quarter of the globe, and in distant resting places their quick responses have silently witnessed to the industry and skill of this Green Mountain town.
In closing this imperfect record of historical sketches, it is fit that a passing mention be made of our lost Aborigines, and of the traces which they have left to us of a sovereignty here, anterior to the date of even most of the traditional history.
The records of early adventurers, and the comparative scarcity of Indian relics, induces the belief, that in this immediate vicinity the numbers of the warlike red men were few. Not, indeed, because nature here refused them ample means of subsistence, for within the memory of men now living, game was abundant — numberless trout leaped in our brooks, and rotund bears rioted through the forest. But this was contested land. The powerful and dreaded tribes of the Iroquois on Lake Champlain, and the Abenâquis or Coossucks, who ranged the Connecticut valley and the forests of Canada, each laid claim to the fair hunting grounds of Northern Vermont, and this being border land between them, never became permanently settled or abundantly stocked with their rough-hewn relics. Yet now and then, even at the present time, there is found some rudely fashioned implement of savage days. Arrow points are turned up from time to time in the furrows of the plow. And within the year last past, a more formidable object — a veritable stone battle axe was discovered on the pasture ground south of the plain. This Indian axe head is verily an object of interest, a grim old reminder of those taciturn tribes, who stalked of yore along our thoroughfares. It bears a rough and venerable look, as characteristic of those days "when the rank thistle nodded in the wind, and the wild fox dug his hole unscared" — when the hand of some patient squaw chipped it into fashion, and the stout arm of an Algonquin brave sent it crashing on its fatal errand. Its granite edge seems to tell of tracts away to the east of Connecticut river, and how of old the fierce Coossucks
"Armed themselves with all their war gear,
Sang their war-song wild and woful."
and journeyed hitherward on their way toward the hunting grounds of the mighty Iroquois.
But a few years have passed since our Aborigines took up their farewell marches.
When Lord Cornwallis surrendered his sword, not a white habitation had been seen within the boundary lines of St. Johnsbury. Scarce fifty years have gone since old Joe, the "last of the Coossucks" passed away to the "kingdom of Ponemah," and only a hundred since Major Rogers sacked the Indian villages of St. Francis, and saw his brave rangers on their return starving on the islands at the month of Passumpsic river. Strange and sad, that in these regions, over which contesting tribes of Indians roamed and hunted and fought, the traces of their existence should have been so quickly and thoroughly obliterated. We might almost think to find their lodge poles undecayed, and shelving rocks still blackened with the smoke of their camp fires.
Note. — For facts and valuable assistance in compiling the above sketches, especial acknowledgments are due to Henry Stevens, antiquarian, whose abundant resources were readily tendered to the writer. The preparation of the narrative has involved many difficulties, in combining at the same time the requisites of a readable article for the Quarterly, and a faithful record of the town history; and if inaccuracies have crept into the text, or too much incoherence characterises the whole, it must be remembered that the limited space and the nature of the case, forbid a thorough and systematic treatment of the almost endless variety of subjects introduced.
Saint Johnsbury, Dec. 31st, 1860.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
Until the erection of Burlington into as Episcopal see, in 1853, St. Johnsbury had received occasional visits from missionary priests of Canada, and Rev. H. Drolet, who was then stationed at Montpelier.
ST. JOHNSBURY. 409
Soon after the arrival of the oblate fathers at Burlington, they were appointed to attend St. Johnsbury, and one of them, Rev. R. Maloney, visited there once every month on Sunday, until the fall of 1856. The lot on which stands the present church was brought at his suggestion.
Rev. R. Maloney officiated for the congregation in a public hall, hired for that purpose, and service continued to be held there until lately, when the church was far enough completed to allow it to be used for worship. Rev. Charles O'Reilley of Bellows Falls, attended the congregation after Rev. R. Maloney, until July, 1858, when Rev. Stanislaus Danielou was appointed resident pastor of the place. To his exertions is due the erection of the handsome church of St. Johnsbury, named Our Lady of Victories, after a celebrated church in Paris, situated on the Place des Petits Peres.
Rev. Stanislaus Danielou purchased also lot for a cemetery, which he laid out with great taste.
The Catholics of St. Johnsbury and vicinity number about eighty families."
CAPTAIN JOHN BARNEY,
Said The Caledonian, in an obituary notice, "was one of our oldest citizens; had been a resident of this town 50 years or upwards, was widely known and much respected." Mrs. Curtis, his daughter, who resides at St. Johnsbury, thus writes:
"Your kind offer to insert something in the St. Johnsbury chapter, if I would furnish it, of my father, stirs me up to attempt. I shall fail to write an article that will read well — would that I could borrow some able pen to write a history of that lovely man — but I will endeavor to give you a few facts. From the large family Bible (bequeathed to me), I find in the record, 'John Barney, born in New Haven, Conn., Jan. 4th, 1775; married in St. Johnsbury, Vt., July 17, 1802, to Betsy Carlton.' He resided in his native place till about 21 years of age. After his settlement in St. Johnsbury he became the captain of a military company, which office he acceptably filled several years. He built the second public house of entertainment on the Plain. A part of the building now remains, connected with the St. Johnsbury House. This house he kept for many years, and as was customary in those days, it had its bar, but when the temperance cause awoke in Vermont, and came up like a bannered host from the wilderness, he was one of the first to enlist in this great moral reform, and stand ever afterward by its sacred standard. He held several town offices in his day; was deputy sheriff from 1809 a number of years; also justice of the peace several years; and was known as a townsman always one of the first in all patriotic, enterprising and benevolent movements. I have often heard my parents narrate various incidents connected with their habits of living, social, moral and physical. True, I find as I dwell upon them none of the superfluities and elegancies of life that constitute the luxuries of the present, but I find instead, a homely but hearty sufficiency, with frugality and cleanliness withal, and a home ever made desirable and appreciated. A characteristic picture of their sociality was the winter evening visit: Some long and pleasant December or January evening, the noble yoke of oxen were 'whoa'd' and 'gee'd' to the kitchen door, hitched to the sled, and the first family started; calling for the next family and the next, on the way, till the last family on the road joined the party. Arrived at their destination — as our old fashioned surprise party came steadily up to the log mansion, and shaking off their 'buffalo of hay,' the sleds were unloaded upon the great stone door step the welcomings and greetings were sometimes so hearty as to be almost deafening. The well fatted turkey must be prepared for the spit, and pies and puddings well flavored, placed for baking; meanwhile a mug of hot flip came not amiss after their cold ride of eight or ten miles. A good supper, joviality and sincere good will crowned the hour. I could dwell at much length on many adventures of these early settlers, deer huntings, &c., but others will recount for you similar narrations. And of my father's Christian character I would speak more fully. In or about 1827, he made a profession of the Christian religion — a public profession, and erected a family altar, where from thenceforth prayer went up daily from a heart overflowing. Even now I scent to hear the kindness that lingered in his voice as he reproved our childish follies, or see the patient, beaming smile, as he encouraged our feeble efforts to do the right. Thus a sainted father's heavenly influences still shines out sweetly and clear upon the path of his child, guiding on like a beacon star to right purposes — activity, patience here, and the hope of the beyond. It is an inestimable blessing to have such a father. And to lose him —— . But I write of the dead, and would not wrong the messenger that gathered back the breath,
410 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
'For his touch was like the angel's,
Who comes at close of day,
To lull the willing flowers asleep,
Until the morning ray.'
"He died Oat. 12, 1860, suddenly, of heart disease, at the house of his daughter in Lancaster, N. H., aged 76. At his funeral, one of the deacons of the church arose alter the sermon, and amid the tearful congregation, spoke at some length of the power of holy example. 'I know,' said he, 'it is not according to our custom to thus speak in the funerals of our dead, but a good man has departed, and I cannot refrain from this just tribute.' [This deacon was Gov. Fairbanks.] Our aged mother, who has already seen 81 summers, resides in her old home with her son George. Her children are all living, four in number."
A niece of the departed, from Connecticut, present upon the funeral occasion, published at the time, a poem, in The Caledonian, from which we extract:
A Good Man has Departed.
'Twas a solemn gathering, A day
Long to he treasured in the kindliest hearts
That worshiped in that temple. An aged man,
A man whom all had known for many years,
A friend, a Christian, honest and sincere,
Had by that shaft, which nothing can resist,
Been called to part with earth and earthly scenes.
"A good man had departed " — full of years
'Tis true, and ready for his sudden change;
But happy in his love of brotherhood,
His old familiar friends, his kindred ties,
And ripening for his immortality.
An aged. man, of whiten'd locks, he stood
Whene'er the sabbath came, in his own pew,
To show his reverence for the sacred word,
And love for holy things. I see him now
With form erect, and noble brow, as o'er
The sacred hymns he pondered oft . . .
Within this temple now — silent unseen,
His spirit hovers o'er that chosen pew,
And bids them look above, with faith's clear eye,
Above the cares of earth — these sordid scenes,
To purer joys. . . . . . . . .
Born in Keene, N. H., married Sabrina Whitney of Winchester, Mass., and settled in St. Johnsbury at the Four Corners, about 1790. Mrs. Roxana Sears, a daughter of Mr. Sanger, from whom we have the account, says her parents came immediately after their marriage to St. Johnsbury, moving in on an ox sled, and she thinks her father was, after Mr. Cole, one of the first five settlers in town. Here his 12 children were born and he lived, till his death about 17 years since, and died aged nearly 70, being insane some 18 years before his death. Dr. Arnold, Gen. 'Roberts, Martin and Gardiner Wheeler, and Mr. Sanger, all settled at the Four Corners. Three of the families, the Roberts and Wheelers, have always lived there. Mr. Sanger soon removed to the Centre, where he was the first settler, and owned the land upon which the Centre village now stands — some 200 acres. Here he built a large "hopper-roofed" house for his family, and though ho never opened a public house, yet, as he was himself a teamster, the teamsters and so many others put up with him, that he kept about as many travelers as the tavern. After his death, the ample old house was rented at one time to some five families; it may still be seen standing near the Methodist chapel. He also built several other houses to rent, and the first saw and grist-mill at the Centre. After many years these mill privileges were sold to Reuben Spaulding from Cavendish, who built new mills on the old sites. Ezra, Mr. Sanger's son, kept the first store at the Centre. Mr. Sanger never coveted any part or lot in town offices, but appears to have been a prominent business man, helping well toward first building up the Centre Village. He was, moreover, one of the first free masons of St. Johnsbury — to whose lodge also belonged General Roberts, Gardiner Wheeler, Capt. Barney and Gen. Fenton, who moved in somewhat later, and carried on the manufacture of earthen ware, which business his son Leander, has since followed. In those pleasant olden days, town meeting was a great day; the farmers for miles around were accustomed to bring their wives into the village for a visit. For years at St. Johnsbury Centre, Mr. Sanger's was a general rendezvous where the men left their wives to visit while they went to the meeting, and then came back to supper. Speaking of suppers — we are told Mrs. Sanger kept the first anniversary of her birthday in St. Johnsbury with a supper, to which Dr. Arnold, Gen. Roberts, the Wheelers, and the wives of all were invited, and came — and "all went merry as a marriage bell." The pine table was loaded, and the jovial guests around — when suddenly the floor, unsupported by crossbeams
ST. JOHNSBURY. 411
or props (they lived in the little log hut, at the Corners then,) began to slide and cave and tunnel cellarward — down went the table, pewter, turkey, gravy, Doctor, General, host, ladies, floor and all. Great was the smash, the scare and the laugh, after the party had all crept safe from the hole — for cellars were but holes in those primitive huts, and men and women both could laugh heartily over little mishaps — the pewter plates were not broken, the floor could be relaid.
Mrs. Sanger died about 3 years after her husband, while on a visit to a daughter in the west. None of the family reside now in St. Johnsbury. But three of the children survive, a son and a daughter in Ohio, and Mrs. Sears, now a resident of Ludlow, before alluded to. "At. St. Johnsbury Plain," says Mrs. S., "43 years ago, old Dr. Lord lived in a large two story house at the lower end of street; Dr. Calvin Jewett about the middle of the Plain; his brother, Dr. Luther Jewett, who was the oldest, lived just opposite, and old Mr. West, a 'dreadful good' old man, lived next door to Dr. Luther, and John Clark kept store with his brother at the north end of the village."
ST. JOHNSBURY PLAIN.
The railway hugging close the river-land as we come up the Passumpsic valley, gives no hint of the handsome village we are approaching till we are there, landed at the convenient and respectable depot under the hill — nor indeed, then and there, the village proper is on the plain over above. Only a few sightly residences like light-houses at sea, hang off the hill. Winding up the ascent to the village — rather steep for an invalid or the aged — though pleasantly assuring the hearty they are getting up in the world — arrived at the street of the Plain which runs north and south, if you turn to the right and go up, you pass presently offices, shops, stores, while a conspicuous block over the left labeled in gilt, the ''St. Johnsbury House " (the stand where old Captain Barney used to keep tavern), looks over to you, and you to that. Anon you come to dwellings — pleasant residences with pleasant yards, till you have passed up — I can not measure distance safely by memory two years back — it is 1852 now — but till you have gone a long way up the street — till the last house is left — and the village passed in this direction. A little further on, through an entrance way, about which there is nothing remarkable, a new road leads by a gradual curve downward, and around the hillside, away at once from all sight and sound of the other. You stand in the beautiful cemetery of St. Johnsbury, a broken landscape, more. hillside than dell; in sacred seclusiveness, so holily shut away from the world, you feel you would love to be buried here. Each picturesque site has its headstone and grave, and a good carriage way winds through the handsome grounds. Here you stand by the monument of Joseph P. Fairbanks, whom you will remember as the benefactor of Middlebury College,* the liberal patron of education and works of worthy promise. Let his memory be blessed: and let especially the history of the just and liberal man be written. And here is the monument and grave of Judge Paddock. But turn with me and search now for the grave of Josiah L. Arnold, the poet of St. Johnsbury. The St. Johnsbury cemetery is indeed the most beautiful yard of burial we have found in the state.
Returning to the head of Eastern avenue, if you take the left hand and go down the main street southward, you directly pass the handsome, court house and county buildings, churches, academy, &c., and soon arrive at the terminus of the village; and at the natural head of this street, fronting the street, commanding an extensive view down through the street, stands the residence of the same late Joseph P. Fairbanks, by whose tomb we stood in the cemetery. The beautiful, under the hand of elegant culture, begins to develop more markedly here in the parterre of shrubs and flowers fronting the pleasant porches. Crossing the street to the rightward, on the road leading toward Danville, the house and flower grounds upon the right, of Horace Fairbanks, may not be passed without receiving a full tithe of admiration. You recognize the place at once, having been told he has this summer the most beautiful garden in St. Johnsbury. It can not be other than this. The beds in their arrangement, are markedly unique — the flowers in their glory of bloom. As you go down yet farther into Fairbanksville, the road winding through a natural glen or narrow defile in the hills, one house in particular, upon the hillside leftward, from its several terraces of earth, verdant and velvety smooth, looms up like the olden towers on a rock, looking down upon you as you pass. But where all
* See page 55, No. 1.
412 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
is beautiful, who may with just delicacy designate? We will individualize but one other. At the foot of the village on your right — up and away from the street beneath where you only catch a partial view of a pillared porch — you ascend a marble flight, where upon the topmost stair, from within a natural recess in the hills, the mansion, with its quietly perceptive swell of graded ground between, serenely develops. The hills hang over and above and half around. At the westward or right wing of the building, knots of flowers spread away, and over beyond the flower plat, lies a miniature lake beneath. This is the home and family seat of Governor Fairbanks.
St. Johnsbury has grown very much, we are told, within a few years. It is now, indeed, one of the handsomest villages of the state. Nature made it beautiful at first, and architecture and horticulture have lavished upon it since. Several fine views of the place, and especially of Fairbanksville, by B. F. Gage, the artist of St. Johnsbury, decorate the picture saloons of some of the first artists in Now York.
THE DOOMED WILLOW.
The sun had set,
And night's black shadows hung once more,
O'er Saint Helena's distant shore;
The god of storms o'er land and tide,
Had flung the banner of his pride,
And mustered all his legions there,
To battle in the midnight air,
Or revel in their reckless mirth,
And scatter ruin o'er the earth.
The storm grew wild —
The guarded Exile heard the sound,
That shook the midnight air around,
Anon he saw the lightning's flash,
And started at the thunder's crash,
As if he deemed he heard once more
The music of the battle's roar;
Yet as the tempest raved and moaned,
Low on his couch he raved and groaned
In mortal pain.
Gasping, he spake
In accents low — "Ye know the tree
That waves beside the distant sea,
Where I have loved to sit all day,
And watch the billows in their play.
There ye shall lay me down to rest,
And heap the turf above my breast,
And long its drooping bough shall wave,
Above my low and lonely grave,
Wild birds their mournful lays shall weave,
And nature o'er my ashes grieve,
And all earth's nations yet shall weep,
Where the great hero lies asleep,
And curse the foul deceit and hate,
That gave him to the arms of Fate,
That crushed his heart and closed the strife,
E're waned the glorious noon of life."
Night rolled away,
The sun returned with quiet smile,
To Saint Helena's lonely isle,
But that sweet smile came not to him,
The mighty chief whose eye was dim,
Whose iron frame and royal brow,
In death were cold and pallid now.
Sweet sounds the murm'ring breezes bore,
And balmy scents were in the air;
The glad waves rippled on the shore.
And wild birds carol'd gaily there;
Yet the proud chieftain's favorite tree,
Waved not besides the solemn sea,
Torn by the fury of the blast.,
And on the shore in fragments cast,
The tree lay dead!
B. F. GAGE