590 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
BY GEORGE HOUGHTON, ESQ.
the professional men who located in Burlington
in the earlier period of its history, Judge Samuel Hitchcock bore a prominent
part. He was so conspicuous for ripe scholarship and zealous promotion of the
prosperity of his adopted state, as well as his devotion to the University of Vermont,
and the other interests of Burlington, that a
notice of him seems indispensable to a work professedly designed to commemorate
the lives and public services of Vermont's
Hitchcock, the fourth son of Noah and Mary Hitchcock, and grandson of David
Hitchcock, one of the original settlers of the town of Brimfield, Hampshire
county, Mass., was born in Brimfield, March 23, 1755. He fitted for college
with the Rev. James Bridgham, a graduate of Harvard university, in 1726. Mr. Bridgham
was pastor of the Congregational church in Brimfield, from January 29, 1736,
until he died, September 17, 1776, aged 69; and took great pains with the
classical education of Samuel Hitchcock, who was graduated at Harvard university, in 1777, the next year after his excellent
teacher and benefactor, Mr. Bridgham, died. After his
graduation he read law at Brookfield, Worcester county, Mass., with the late Hon. Jedediah Foster, and was,
probably, admitted to the practice of the law at Worcester.
1786, Samuel Hitchcock removed to Burlington,
Vermont, where he commenced the
practice of his profession, and boarded at the well known tavern* kept by Capt.
Gideon King. He was the first state's attorney appointed in Chittenden county, and
held the office from 1787 to 1790, inclusive, when he was succeeded by the Hon.
William Chase Harrington. Mr. Harrington, it is worthy of remark, was continued
in office as state's attorney until 1812 the longest tenure of such an
office, probably, in the state.
Hitchcock was chosen representative from the town of Burlington, soon after its organization. He
represented the town in 1789, 90, 91, 92, and 93, and was succeeded by William
Coit, a brother-in-law of Levi Allen, and a graduate of Yale college in the
class of 1761. He was a member of the Convention of Delegates of the People of
the State of Vermont, held at Bennington,
January 10th, 1791, to ratify the constitution of the United States,
which had been submitted by an act of the Vermont Legislature, passed October
27, 1790. This ratification "was agreed to and signed by one hundred and
five, and dissented to by four."
charter of the University of Vermont, which was granted by the General
Assembly, November 3, 1791, is said to have been drafted by Samuel Hitchcock,
while the main features of it were furnished by another alumnus of Harvard
university the Rev. Samuel Williams, D. D. of Rutland. Samuel Hitchcock was
elected one of the trustees of the university from the start, and continued to
hold that office until his death. He was secretary of the corporation from 1791
to 1800, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Daniel Clarke Sanders, D. D.,
president of the university. Dr. Wheeler, in his Historical Discourse,§ says that the creative mind of Dr. Samuel Williams, and the
reflective and profound mind of Judge Hitchcock, had worked for the University of Vermont, and in it. The two last were
graduates from Harvard university, who, together with
Dr. Sanders, brought the habits and experimental knowledge of that venerable
institution to aid in the practical workings of the university, and to give it
distinctness and precision of outline."
was elected attorney general of the state of Vermont,
under the act of October, 1790, and was succeeded in 1793, by the Hon. Daniel
Buck of Norwich.
Samuel Hitchcock and Lemuel Chipman of Pawlet, were
the presidential electors at large from Vermont,
at the second presidential election, in 1793. Lot Hall of Westminster, and Paul
Brigham of Norwich, were their colleagues in the first electoral college
in Vermont, and all were appointed by the legislature, in 1792, and
Vide page 462.
pp. 194, 5.
Vide American Quarterly Register, vol. XIII, p. 395, and the instructive
"Historical Discourse," pronounced by the late Rev. John Wheeler, D.
D., on the occasion of the semi-centennial anniversary of the University of
Vermont, August 1, 1854, p. 7.
Ibid, pp. 14, 15.
they cast the vote of Vermont
at Windsor, for
George Washington and John Adams.
1797, the second general revision of the laws was completed by a committee
consisting of Roswell Hopkins of Vergennes, Richard Whitney of Brattleboro', Nathaniel Chipman of Tinmouth,
and Samuel Hitchcock. The statutes so reported, were
adopted and printed in 1798, in one octavo volume of 622 pages with an appendix
of 206 pages.
Hitchcock was judge of the District Court of the United
States for the district of Vermont, and judge of the Circuit
Court of the second circuit of the United States, receiving his
appointment from president John Adams, and going out
of that office when the Judiciary Act was repealed.
Hitchcock was married May 26, 1789, to Lucy Caroline Allen,* second daughter of
Gen. Ethan Allen. This marriage is the first one recorded in the town records
For six or seven years after his marriage he continued to reside in Burlington, and then removed to Vergennes, where he lived
until 1806, when he returned to Burlington
to reside. Soon after the death of Gen. Washington,
he was invited by the citizens of Vergennes to pronounce his eulogy; with which
invitation he cordially complied. This eulogy is probably preserved in
manuscript. Judge Hitchcock died at Burlington, November 30th, 1813, aged 58
years. He had been Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Vermont, from 1797
to 1800 inclusive, and was buried with imposing masonic ceremony.
Hitchcock's scholarship was of a superior order, and as a lawyer he ranked
among the foremost in New England. He was
endowed with a large measure of benevolence and admirable social qualities. As
a conversationist he was unrivaled for humor and
brilliant repartee. His personal appearance was dignified and commanding. He had
a light complexion and sharp blue eyes, and to a handsome person of medium size
and height, he added polished manners and a pleasing address.
the old grave yard at Burlington
are the following inscriptions upon tombstones, which are here reproduced as
not devoid of historical interest.
A. Hitchcock died at Vergennes,
Vt., 28th of September, 1802,
aged 2 years."
Hitchcock, (Jr.?) died 29th of August, 1806, aged 8 years."
Ann Hitchcock, wife of Dr. J. S. W. Parkin, died at Selma, Alabama,
September 16th, 1825, aged 27 years."
P. Hitchcock died at Coosada, Alabama,
9th of September, 1822, aged 17 years."
George P. Peters, U. S. A., died at Fort Gadsden, Florida, November 28, 1819,
aged 30 years; and Lorraine A., his wife, and eldest daughter of Samuel and
Lucy C. Hitchcock, died 22d April, 1815, aged 25 years."
Samuel Hitchcock died November 20, 1813, aged 58 years. This monument is
erected by Henry Hitchcock, of Alabama."
Lucy Caroline, widow of the Hon. Samuel Hitchcock, and daughter of General
Ethan Allen, died August 27th, 1842, aged 74 years."
Ann, whose decease is above mentioned, and whose husband still survives, left
one son William W. Parkin, Esq., a China merchant of the highest respectability
and prosperity. Dr. Parkin is now living in New York city. He
married a second wife, by whom he has one son and five daughters.
George P. Peters, whose death is recorded above, was a cadet in December, 1807,
and while commanding his company at the battle of Tippecanoe,
7th November, 1811, was distinguished for bravery, and was wounded.
He was again wounded at Maguago, 9th August, 1812,
and became subsequently assistant adjutant general, with the rank of major.
the widow and three daughters, whose decease is above noted, Judge Hitchcock
left three sons Henry, Ethan Allen, and Samuel.
Henry Hitchcock, a suitable memoir, from the ready pen of an early and
life-long friend, is given in other pages of this magazine. Of Ethan Allen
Hitchcock, now a major general of Volunteers, (the only son of Judge Hitchcock
now living) a recent biographical sketch has appeared in the New American
Cyclopedia, published by D. Appleton & Co. of New York. A more complete
notice may be prepared for this work, of this distinguished military and
literary character, when the history of Vergennes, the place of his nativity,
is published herein.
Hitchcock, the youngest son, born at Burlington in 1808, was graduated at the
United States military academy in 1822, and subsequently became brevet second
lieutenant of Infantry, when, in a moment of affectionate yielding to the
earnest wishes of his mother, who felt, in advancing years, that
ante, p. 135, and p. .
Henry F. Brown, Esq. of Brimfield, Mass., communicates the fact that Ebenezer Hitchcock,
Esq. of Brimfield, Mass., a nephew of Judge Hitchcock, who
lived with him a few years in Vergennes, had a copy a short time since.
592 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
she could not spare more than one son to the army, he
resigned, 19th December. 1827. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar,
both in Alabama and Missouri. His tastes,
however lay in another direction, and he lived and died a student. In 1843, he
received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from the University
of Vermont, and subsequently spent
several years in Europe. About this time he
completed a very perfect translation from the Latin original of Spinoza's Ethics,
one of the most wonderful examples of speculative writing in existence. He died
at sea, of consumption, August 1, 1851, while on his return passage to the United States,
and his remains were committed to the deep. He was a gentleman of highly
cultivated mind and manners, and inherited his father's remarkable
conversational powers. He was never married. At the
time of his death he was in the 44th year of his age.
BY G. T. RUSSELL OF BLUFFVILLE,
Russell was born at Alford,
Ct., Jan. 28, 1765. At the age of
15, being determined to participate in the war of the revolution then waging,
his brother, opposed to his enlistment, shut him up in a chamber. He escaped,
however, enlisted for three years, and served during the war. The winter after
leaving the army he attended school. Paper and slates were unknown to that
school. The boys and girls did their ciphering on birch bark; and thus he
received his education. Feb. 12, 1800, he married to Mary Sharpe, at Pomfret, Connecticut, and
came the same year to reside in Burlington,
Vermont. He first lived for a
number of years on the site now occupied by the house built by the late Hon.
Timothy Follet. He was among the first settlers of the town, and helped open
the road from his house to the Court House square; and there were but few
dwellings in town at the time. He held a number of town offices, as collector,
constable, &c.; all of which he discharged with fidelity. From the village
he removed to a farm, one mile and a half from the Court House square, where he
lived some 20 years, when he sold part of his farm, built a new house half a
mile to the north, and lived there till his decease, March 5, 1847; being aged
82 years, one month and five days. His treasures were not in this world, but
that which is to come. It was not known as he had an enemy in the world. It was
the privilege of the writer to be with him in his last illness, and to be able
to record that he died
in the full assurance of a blessed immortality.*
BY REV. HENRY P. HICKOK.
Ozias Buell, though not one of the very earliest inhabitants of Burlington, was one of
the most influential in establishing its present moral and religious character.
He was born in Litchfield, Connecticut,
8th April, 1769, and died in Burlington
5th August, 1832, aged 63. After receiving in his youth a thorough business
education, under the care of his uncle, Mr. Julius Deming of Litchfield, he
first established himself in Kent, Connecticut, where he remained ten or twelve
years; and from thence removed here in 1804. Being a man of great energy of
character, and possessing active business talents, the opening of a new state,
offered attractions to his enterprising mind which were encouraged by his
brother-in-law, Moses Catlin, who preceded him several years. Liberal, kind and
benevolent in his disposition, be advocated and contributed to every good cause
that promised to promote the prosperity of the place. At this time there was no
house of worship or church organization. Rallying about him the more serious of
the people, a Congregational church was soon organized at the house of Moses
Catlin in 1805. This house is that afterwards owned and long occupied by Samuel
Hickok, and stands on the west side of Court House square, at the corner of St. Paul and Main
streets. Col. Buell was the leading spirit and contributor in the erection of
the first house of worship in 1812. He was, however, ably seconded by Wm. C.
Harrington, Esq., at that time the leading lawyer of Chittenden county bar.
Col. Buell was also for 21 years treasurer of the University of Vermont,
whose interests he steadily pursued, making no charge for his services. His
title of colonel was derived from his having held that office in the
continental militia, while resident at Kent. Possessing a fine personal
appearance, and being a good horseman, in days when riding on horseback was
common, his appearance on public occasions added greatly to the display. It is
said that when the first bell was to be raised on the church newly erected,
Commodore McDonough, the hero of Lake Champlain,
whose vessel was at the time at the wharf, volunteered the services of his men,
and superintended the operation in person.
Russell left several sons, of whom the writer of the above sketch is one. Ed.
Buell was conspicuous in the crowd, when one of the sailors whispered to his
comrade, "I say, Jack, that man has never seen many 'Banyan days.'
" These Banyan days are days of short allowance
on ship board.
Calvinistic church and society will hold Col. Buell, as a member and
benefactor, in lasting remembrance. His hospitable home was ever open, and was
the resort of all ministers of the gospel.
BY HENRY W. CATLIN, ESQ.
Catlin, one of the first inhabitants of Burlington,
was born in Litchfield, Conn., in 1770. He married early in life,
Miss Lucinda Allen, daughter of Capt. Heyman Allen (a brother of General
Ethan's), who died from a wound he received at the battle of Bennington. Miss Allen inherited from her
father a large fortune; the land lying between Vergennes and Highgate, was part
of this inheritance, and Mr. and Mrs. Catlin decided to remove to the township of Burlington and make it their future
home. A journey in those days, of that length, was accomplished with much
difficulty, but Miss Allen possessed much of the energy and intrepidity of her
father's family, and nothing daunted, performed it on horse-back, much of the
way, being still but a bridle path. They found the beauty of the locality such
that there was no reason to repent them of their undertaking, and they soon
made for themselves a home in this new and wild country.
first house built by Mr. Catlin was upon the Court House square. where they remained several years (it afterwards became the
residence of the late Mr. Samuel Hickok), but Mrs. Catlin, being a great lover
of the beautiful in nature, desired a residence where she could look on the
beautiful blue waters of Champlain. Mr. Catlin then built upon the College
Green, the residence now of Mr. Dana Allen. But Mrs. Catlin was not quite
content, and she chose an eminence back of the college, the view from which can
scarcely be surpassed. She begged of Mr. Catlin at that time to climb a tree
and see if Champlain's blue waters could be seen. The height to which he
climbed enabled him to behold a most beautiful panorama spread out before him.
The lake with its cluster of distant islands, hills and dales, through which
the Winooski river wandered to its outlet in Champlain, and the whole enclosed
in a perfect amphitheatre of mountains. They decided then to make this their
home, and Mr. Catlin enjoyed for many years the varied landscapes, discovering
each year some new beauty that enhanced the value of the enchanting view. Many
will remember, with pleasure, the pleasant reunions on the fourth of July in
this enchanting spot, and the kind and cordial greeting with which Mr. Catlin
welcomed the young ladies of the seminary, the professors and students of the
university, and the principal inhabitants of the town. It is now the residence
of his nephew, H. W. Catlin, Esq.; and some of the original pines are still
standing, grouped upon the lawn, ever fresh and green through the snows and
frosts of winter or the balmy airs of summer. To one unaccustomed to mountain
scenery, those eastern hills with the sun just risen,
the view is most glorious. Mrs. Catlin was a woman of perfect uprightness of
character and exemplified the Christian in her every day walk. It was under her
roof the first Calvinistic Congregational church was formed in Burlington. Mr. C. was a man universally
esteemed and well respected. He possessed a great fund of anecdote, and his
friendly greetings were always accompanied by a certain humor that played upon
the mirthfulness of all. The mills and manufactories, which he erected at
Winooski falls, gave the first impetus to the flourishing little city, and was
the means of subsistence for many families for a long number of years. In his
domestic relations he was most kind and gentle; he was also a man of active
benevolence; having no children of his own, he adopted three orphans, one of
whom died early in life, receiving from Mrs. Catlin and himself, all the care
and attention of an own child. He was a cheerful and liberal contributor to all
benevolent, objects; was associated with his brother in-law, Col. Ozias Buell,
in the erection of the first church edifice in Burlington; though at that time
not a professor of religion, his place was never vacant in the church of
worship, except under extraordinary circumstances. His Christian character
developed itself at a late period of life, and shone brighter and brighter as
he approached the limit of life. In his last sickness, while his mind was
wandering with the effect of disease, his voice was often heard explaining some
passage of scripture, or raised in prayer, until the lamp of life gently
expired in the year 1842, at the age of 72.
A younger brother of Moses, was also born in Litchfield in
1782, and while a young
594 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
man, emigrated to Burlington.
He married Miss Melinda Wadhams (a half sister of Mrs. Moses Catlin), a woman
who in every relation of life as wife, mother, member of society, and the
Christian church of which she was a bright ornament, fulfilled the high order
of her being in a manner most worthily. An obituary notice of her death in the Burlington
Free Press of that date, says: "Seldom does death by a single stroke,
afflict so many hearts, disappoint so many hopes, or take from the walks of
private life, an individual charged with such peculiar
responsibilities. Seldom does he take from among us one whose example was so
bright, whose preparation was so mature, or whose existence seemed so necessary
to the happiness of others. As a neighbor, a Christian, a wife, a mother, she
was a rare example of excellence. All who knew her,
will feel that it is not the language of mere eulogy when we say that she
filled all these relations with peculiar dignity, kindness and grace. All who
have ever dwelt by her as a neighbor, will remember
with gratitude, her generous kindness, her deep sympathy in their afflictions,
her prompt and efficient aid in trouble, and her safe counsels in the hour of
died in 1843, at the age of 45. Mr. Catlin was a man of liberal mind and public
spirit, ever ready to cooperate in anything that would tend to the advancement
of learning or improvement and beauty of the town. The University of Vermont,
in which he took a deep interest, found in him, in its time of need, one ever
willing to contribute for its advancement and prosperity. His business
interests were intimately connected with his brother Moses's,
in the manufactories at Winooski, and the poor of that place will have occasion
to remember for life the kindness received from the two brothers, who first
settled and started into life the little city of Winooski. Mr
Catlin died in 1853, at the age of 72.
BY SION EARL HOWARD.
Howard, late of Burlington, Vermont, who died 24th February, 1854, aged 84
years, as well as his brothers, William and Robert, was born at Providence,
Rhode Island. Wm. went to Ohio and settled as a farmer among the Indians, who
were then generally hostile to the whites, and then it was that he found an
occasion for putting into requisition the principles and practice of his great
progenitor, Roger Williams, which was to treat them
kindly, and in consequence of so doing greatly ameliorated the condition of
himself and other new comers into the neighborhood. He was over six feet in
height, with a full commanding voice. The Indians called him their great
friend, and gave him protection instead of trouble. Robert left for England, and as
no letters were received he was supposed to have been lost.
father was William Howard of London, England,
whose ship and all on board were lost, being burned by lightning in a
storm at sea, as was so reported by another ship in sight. He was said to have
been of large stature and an energetic, gentlemanly man of good repute. His
being lost just at the commencement of the Revolutionary War, when the troubles
of the country were such, no attempt was made to trace or look up his
relatives, from whom, in his life-time, on return voyages, he brought many
valuable presents for his family, and some of the keepsakes are still retained
by its members. He was married to Patience Dyer of Providence, Rhode Island,
whose father was Samuel Dyer, the son of Charles and Mary Dyer, who settled on
Cabbage Neck, in the year 1712; and whose mother was Patience Williams, before
her marriage, who was the great-grand-daughter of Roger Williams, the founder
of Rhode Island, in 1637, and was a woman of great energy and determination of
character. The house is still standing where most of the children of Samuel and
Patience Dyer were born, on the place known as the Rodney Dyer farm, Cabbage
widow of William Howard, the mother of John, William, and Robert Howard, was
again married to Josiah Foster by whom there were four children, of whom three
are living; and among their descendants are the families of Esek
Saunders and brothers of Saundersfield, and Mrs. Patience Howard Whitin of Whitinville,
Mass. Her latter days were passed
in the family of her son John Howard, and she died, aged 83 years, November
wife of the late John Howard, who is still living, 18th April, 1862, at an age
of 88 years, is in good health, and, to a remarkable degree, retains her
faculties. She was Hannah Earl, born at Dartmouth
(called by Indians Ponyganset, and is now Westport), Mass.,
at Coxet river, six miles from the ocean. Her father
was Joshua Earl, the son of Oliver Earl, whose vessels were in the East India
and China trade, at which time it took a year and a half to make the out and
home voyage. He went from Newport to New York, and after
remaining there seven years,
returned to Newport,
and then to Swanzey, where he died at an advanced age. Her mother was Alice
Sherman, whose father was Job Sherman, whose wife was Ama
Gardner. His father was Preserved Sherman, who was the son of Philip Sherman,
who settled at Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1637 (where he had a grant of two
hundred acres of land from the town, dated December 10th, 1639), and died in
had an Aunt Sherman, the mother of the late Benjamin Sherman of Peru, New York,
who attained the age of 104 years, and in the last few years of her life was
amused with articles suited to the gratification of children, and, as is
frequent in extreme old age, it was that when on a visit to see her, she at
first thought the new woman, as she called her, was a stranger, and did not
give her any attention, but on the following day, when it was explained to her
that it was her neice, Hannah Earl, her recollection
came to her, when she began to caress her, and exclaim: "Hannah!
Hannah!" and afterwards knew her, and was greatly pleased with her
father, aged 70 years, and her mother 68, died at their residence in Westport, within a week
of each other, during a very fatal prevailing epidemic that was thought to have
come into the neighborhood by the army.
of John Howard and Hannah Earl, are: Sion Earl,
married to Hannah Vail, daughter of Aaron Vail of White Creek, New York; whose
wife was Mary Raleigh, the daughter of Edmond Raleigh of Wales, who settled in
Cambridge, N. Y., and whose family, with others, had to flee for their lives
from the Indians, and from those more dreaded than Indians the Hessians.* The
second son was Daniel Dyer, married to Delia Carpenter of Hoosick, N. Y.,
daughter of the late Col. John Carpenter, whose father was from the Nine
Partners, Dutchess county, N. Y., and settled at Pittstown, eight miles from
the North river, and lived there before the making of wagon roads in that
place, and at a time of great scarcity of provisions; and sturgeon, that then
went by the name of "Albany Beef," were drawn from the river by a
horse and chain, for a distance of ten and more miles, into the country, and
the famine was so severe that the potatoes were dug up for food, and the
parings thereof were again planted as seed. The third son was Sidney Smith, who
died, aged 33 years, June 30th, 1839. The other children are: Hannah Louisa,
John Purple, and Catherine Maria. The latter is married to Amos C. Spear,
druggist, Burlington, Vt. And there are two grand-daughters;
Fanny, daughter of Daniel, was married to Dr. Theodore S. Evans, formerly of Philadelphia, Pa., now of
Paris, France; and Julia Hannah Howard,
daughter of Catherine Maria.
thus after a lapse of one hundred and sixty years, the course of events is such
that, by the marriage of the late John Howard to Hannah Earl, in 1797, their
children are the direct descendants of Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode
Island, and also of Philip Sherman, and Dyer, and Earl, his associates.
Howard was on board the steamboat Phoenix on Lake Champlain when it was burned, on the night of the 3d
September, 1819. There he rendered very great assistance indeed to the
passengers, and at the same time had in charge a package of money belonging to
the Bank of Burlington, for exchange with the Montreal Bank, and afterwards the
following resolution and award was presented to him by the Bank of Burlington.
At a meeting of the Directors of the Bank of Burlington,
on the 16th September, 1819.
Present C. P. Van Ness, the President, Wm. White, Ozias Buell, Luther Loomis,
That the Cashier do, and he is hereby authorized and required to present to Mr.
John Howard, the sum of one hundred dollars for and on behalf of the President,
Directors, and Company of this institution, as a testimony of the obligation
they feel themselves under for his unyielding exertions at the time, and after
the conflagration of the late steam boat Phoenix, in preserving that portion of
their property eight thousand five hundred dollars committed to his care
(under all its various circumstances of exposure), from destruction and loss.
following in an extract from a notice in the Burlington Free Press:
are called upon to record the death of one of our oldest and most respectable
citizens John Howard, aged 84 years. His death, as
already announced, occurred on Friday, the 24th February, 1854. He leaves an
aged widow with whom he has lived in the peaceful and uninterrupted enjoyment
of the marriage state for over fifty-five years, also three sons Mr. Sion E. Howard, merchant of this town, Daniel and John P.
Hessians are troops belonging to the country of Heese
Cassel, in Germany, They have been frequently hired by Great Britain.
Particularly in the war of American Independence, when they were sold at £40
sterling a head; £9 of which was to be repaid if they returned alive.
596 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
ard, late of the Irving House, New York, and two daughters;
the sons last named were in Europe at the commencement of the last illness of
their father, and on receiving intelligence of the same, they hastened their
return and had the satisfaction to be present at the period of his death.
During a long residence in Burlington,
Mr. Howard was found ever ready by his counsel, advice, and purse to contribute
to its prosperity, as well as to the happiness of all around him and his
demise, even at his advanced age, leaves a gloom upon many who were familiarly
and intimately acquainted with him."
now, as a condensed obituary Masonic address was made and published, by the
late most worshipful brother, Philip C. Tucker, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge
of Vermont, which is herewith printed, any further notice of his general
character as a citizen is omitted. And the address thus says:
a week after the sudden death of our brother Pratt, we were called to mourn the
loss of our aged brother John Howard, of Washington Lodge, No. 3, at Burlington. Brother
Howard was extensively known as the landlord of one of the best and most
popular hotels in Burlington for many years, and
was the father of Daniel D., and John P. Howard, formerly of the Irving House,
in the city of New York, and Sion
E. Howard, a well known merchant in Burlington.
He was born at Providence, Rhode Island, and was in early life deprived
of his father, who was lost at sea. He was placed in the care of an uncle, and
while a youth made several voyages at sea. He afterwards resided at Pittstown, New
York, whence he removed to Schaghticoke
Point, and was in mercantile business about six years. From thence he returned
to Pittstown and established himself as a tavern keeper; after following which
for six years longer, he removed to the town of Addison,
Vermont, and became a farmer upon a beautiful
farm on the bank of Lake Champlain. (It was
the original Case farm, lately Crane's, and adjoining the Gen. Strong place.)
In 1812 he gave up farming, exchanged his farm for a hotel in Burlington, and removed there to renew his
business of hotel keeping, which he pursued constantly for the next thirty-five
years. He retired from active business about seven years before his decease,
and remained in retirement until his death, which occurred on the 24th day of
February, 1854, when he had attained the ripe age of 84 years. He was among the
survivors of the steamer Phnix, which was burnt on Lake
Champlain, 3d September, 1819, and his exertions in arousing the
passengers, and aiding their escape, on that occasion, has been highly
commended. He was, himself, saved upon a plank, after having been several hours
in the water. Brother Howard was popular as a landlord, and was very long an
active business man and valuable citizen. He took a strong interest in every
thing promotive of the welfare of Burlington, and was ever ready to aid in all
things to advance its business and prosperity. He bore a long painful illness
with exemplary patience and resignation. Having early joined the masonic ranks,
he remained always true, worthy, and faithful; and his brethren, presided over
by our past Grand master Haswell, consigned his remains to the grave, with
brotherly love, esteem, and affection."
Late of Burlington, was
descended from a family of that name who were among the first settlers of Andover, Mass.,
where several branches of the family now reside.
father, Benjamin Johnson, was a grandson of Capt. Timothy Johnson of Andover, who, in 1677, at
the head of a corps of mounted men, had several successful encounters with the
Indians. Capt. Johnson at that time was the largest land owner in Andover.
Johnson married Elizabeth Boardman of Preston, Conn., and soon after removed from Andover
N. H., where their son John was born, Dec. 2, 1771. Benjamin Johnson was a
farmer, and like most of the farmers of New England
of his day served in the army during the war for independence. At the battle of
under Gen. Stark, he distinguished himself by his bravery and received the
commendation of that officer.
sustained an irreproachable character throughout life, and died at the advanced
age of 88, his sight continuing unimpaired to the last.
His son John, at the age of 19, concluded to seek his
fortune in the direction in which so many of the young men of eastern New England, were then moving. He went, in 1790, to the northwest part of Vermont, residing for short periods in different places,
until finally in 1808, he located in Burlington
on Lake Champlain. He was twice married, viz:
in 1799, to Rachel Ferry of Granby, Mass., and in 1807, to Lurinda Smith of Richmond, Vt.
His second wife is still living
in the 81st year of her age. Of his children, four now
survive, two by his first, and two by his second wife.
Johnson soon after he emigrated to Vermont, entered upon the business of a land
surveyor, which became his principal occupation for a number of years, during
which period he made surveys and resurveys of many townships, and parts of
townships, in the northern portion of the state. The business of making land
surveys in that part of the country, at that period, was of a peculiarly
arduous character. The country was without roads, unsettled, hilly, the surface
covered with a dense forest, in which the snows lay at a great depth late in
the season. In conducting these surveys, it was his practice to encamp with his
party, wherever night overtook him. The town of Westmore, in which Willoughby
lake is situated, was surveyed by him in the months of February and March,
1800, when the snow was five or six feet in depth on the level.
Johnson was in stature a little under the medium height. His frame was compact
and sinewy, and he possessed great activity and energy of mind and body. He was
appointed in 1812, surveyor-general of Vermont,
and from his high reputation as a surveyor, was selected by the commissioners,
under the treaty of Ghent, to superintend the
surveys on the part of the United
States, of our northeastern boundary. This
work he undertook in 1817, in which year, in conjunction with Col. Bouchette, the English surveyor, he traced the due north
line from the head of the St. Croix river, in the eastern part of Maine, to the
St. John's river. In 1818, he pursued this line, in conjunction with Col.
Odell, on the part of the English commission, to the highlands designated in
the treaty, and explored the country lying to the west of the due north line,
the geography of which, up to that period, was unknown.
this stage of the proceedings, the English commission objected to carrying the
due north line across the St. John's
river, and the surveys were interrupted, and in 1819
or 1820, Mr. Johnson's final report was made. The surveys were not resumed
again until some years after, when the government directed a line to be run
with more care than was possible in a first exploration, but it differed so
little from the line as originally traced by Mr. Johnson, that the latter was
adopted in the treaty of 1842, as the boundary to the St. John's river, from
whence by a most liberal concession on the part of the United States
government, it was permitted to follow the channel of that river for some
distance west, before again seeking the highlands.
Johnson, after concluding this service, was again elected surveyor-general of Vermont. During his
life, he filled at various times, several offices of public trust. In the last
war with England, his
intimate knowledge of the topography of northern Vermont
and New York,
enabled him to furnish valuable information to the military department, which was
suitably acknowledged, but for which he received no compensation.
army on that frontier, was at times obliged to make forced demands upon the
citizens for transportation, forage, &c. Mr. Johnson was one of a
commission appointed by the government to examine into and adjust these claims,
a position to which he was elected, because of the universal esteem in which he
was held for his probity, and his many excellent qualities as a man and a
citizen. His character for uprightness caused him to be made the umpire in the
settlement of many disputed questions, which were thus closed without the
expense and delay of a trial before the regular constituted courts. In the
division and settlement of estates, his services were almost constantly in
to his skill and knowledge as a land surveyor, Mr. Johnson possessed a degree
of mathematical and mechanical knowledge, seldom
attained by those whose education, like his, was mainly the result of his own
unaided efforts. Possessing a mind of a high order, he investigated carefully
and closely, and his conclusions upon all subjects, were remarkably free from
prejudice or any improper bias. His manuscripts on the
subjects of carpentry, bridge building, hydraulics, &c., show great care in
the collection of facts, and great mechanical skill and judgment in the
arrangement of plans. But few mechanical structures of any magnitude, were erected in northwestern Vermont, the plans for which did not emanate
from him or receive his sanction. In 1815, he gave the plans for the structure,
at that time the largest of the kind in that section of the country, which was
placed over the frame of the large government vessel, then in an unfinished
state at Sackett's Harbor. In the planning and erection of bridges, of dams,
and mills, he had no superior, and many improvements so called, since patented
by others, in other parts of the country, may still be
seen in structures planned by him in northern Vermont.
598 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
subject of saw mills, and of flouring mills, he gave particular attention, and
it was through his agency, with one or two others mainly, that the flouring or
grain mills of northern Vermont and western New York of that day, were rendered
superior to all others.
1822, Mr. Johnson was a partner in the first establishment erected in the Ausable valley, New
York, for the manufacture of chain cables, and for
several years thereafter, he was interested in the iron manufacture in that
valley. The manuscripts left by him on the subject of grist mills, saw mills, fulling mills, oil mills, rolling mills, forges, &c.,
contain an amount of practical information, which could only have been acquired
by great industry and careful observation. The celebrated Oliver Evans, in a
visit to Vermont to collect dues for the use of some of his improvements in
machinery, was surprised and delighted to find in Mr. J. so great a proficient
and adept in the branches in which himself had acquired so much fame.
Johnson usually had with him several young men, whose object was to qualify
themselves as land surveyors and mechanics, many of whom, subsequently, became
prominent as such, in other parts of the country. These young men ever retained
for him the greatest respect and regard. Among them we may mention one whose
letters are filled with the most grateful recollections, the late Hon. Lucius
Lyon of Michigan.
Johnson was early impressed with the truth that theoretical knowledge in any
department of science, was only chiefly valuable as it contributed to the
general prosperity, and he saw with pain, the little effort made by scientific
men of his day, to render science practical, and the great reluctance of
practical men to admit that anything of value in their profession could be
learned, outside of the field or the workshop. To these latter, he particularly
addressed himself, and was greatly instrumental in elevating the character of
the several mechanical professions, by convincing them that a knowledge of
general principles and theories was important, and that in addition to a man's
own experience very much that was valuable of the recorded experience and
observations of others, could only be learned by reading and study. In his
efforts in this direction, he was eminently successful, and of the many young
men who received instruction from him, all became deeply impressed with the
importance of the great benefits of study and reading to ensure success in the
callings they had chosen.
large amount of valuable practical knowledge acquired by Mr. Johnson in the
useful arts, and the many improvements and valuable suggestions made by him, he
never sought to benefit himself by letters patent, as others might have done
under similar circumstances. His knowledge and his labors were freely bestowed
for the public benefit. His son, Edwin F. Johnson, whose standing as a civil
engineer for the last twenty-five years, has been among the first of his
profession, is indebted, as we have heard him say, for the success which has
attended his labors, in no small degree to the knowledge and instruction
derived in the house of his father on those subjects immediately connected with
Johnson died suddenly of erysipelas fever, on the 30th day of April, A. D. 1842,
at the age of 71, having at that age been engaged but a few days previous in
the settlement and division of an estate in the town of Williston. During life
he sustained the character of a good citizen, and a kind parent and husband.
the poor and suffering, his sympathies were easily excited, and he was
charitable in the Christian sense of the word. He was also hospitable,
his house being at all times a home for his friends, who were numerous. If he
possessed a weakness, it was in being too generous and too regardless of
himself, thus limiting his means and compelling to undue exertions in the last
years of his life. His polities were of the Jeffersonian school, but he took no
very active part in political affairs, although he never neglected his duties
as a citizen, and never hesitated to give his opinions freely upon men and
understood human nature, however, too well, not to perceive how easily it is
swayed by partizan or sectarian influences, and this
made him forbearing in his judgment of others, and careful to avoid exposure to
such undue influences upon himself. In conversation he
had the very happy faculty of making himself agreeable to all. He was not, as
has been intimated, what would be termed, a learned man. Yet his reading was extensive,
and among his most intimate friends were those who ranked high for their
scientific attainments; and when Mr. Johnson died, Vermont lost a citizen whose
acquaintance was so extensive, and the regard in which he was held so high,
that few men
in the section of the country where he lived, have passed
from the stage of life more generally lamented.
BY REV. H. P. HICKOK.
Hickok came to Burlington,
where he spent 57 years of his life, at as early a period in its history as A.
D. 1792. He was born in Sheffield, Berkshire co., Mass.,
Sept. 4, 1774, and died in Burlington,
June 4, 1849, in the 75th year of his age. As the name Hickok is unusual, its
derivation is the more interesting. According to one of the family, who seems
to be a little quizzical as to ancestry, the name first occurs in the Book
of Chronicles, where it is spelt Hukok and Hukkok. As it is there the name of a place it
becomes doubtful whether the Hickoks were Jews
or Canaanites. It being, however, the name of a place the family at that
early period seems to have been so far distinguished as to have given name to a
city. But, according to Dr. L. P. Hickok, who presides over Union College,
Hickok is a diminutire from Hicks, which some will
account the more probable derivation. It is gratifying to know that little
Hicks, in the person of his descendants, has risen to some distinction in the
world, showing in them a state of progression upwards; progress so commonly
happening downwards. Samuel was 18 years of age when he came to Burlington, accompanying
his elder brother thither from Lansingburgh, N. Y.,
to which place the family had removed, and where his father and grandfather now
lie buried. The site of Burlington
was then a forest. The two or three buildings were at the lake shore. No wharf
existed. Goods, brought in sloops from Whitehall,
were landed in scows, or, if casks of liquor or molasses, were thrown overboard
and floated ashore. William Hickok, the elder, opened a store in a small wooden
structure, which stood on the bank where now the Lake House
accommodates its patrons. Samuel was clerk. In the short space of three years
William was drowned while skating. He and a companion glided into an opening in
the ice about midway between the store and Shelburne point, both of them
perishing. Samuel succeeded to the business. At that day lumbering to Quebec, the purchase of wheat, grown on new lands and
forwarding it by sleigh to Troy;
and the gathering of pot and pearl ashes, were the three leading branches of
business. As customers came in from the East the tendency of dealers was up
town to meet them, Mr. Hickok began to think of going up higher and concluded
to build on Main street, where his second store was soon erected on the site of
the present house of Daniel Roberts, Esq., amidst the pines and also the jeers
of people for going so far off. He soon built the large square house,
yet standing on the corner above the store, where his three oldest children
were born. Burlington
increasing in population and business, in a few years he built the three story
brick store on the west side of the Court House square, and fixed his permanent
residence at the corner across from the American Hotel where he spent his
remaining years. His third store and residence were at an early day ornaments
to the town, and would be now, except for the changes of style and progress of
decay. Some of the earlier buildings of Burlington show in both taste and wealth
equal to the later. This store is believed to be the oldest building of
brick in town. Samuel Hickok was one of nature's noblemen. Though living after
the stirring times of the revolution and of the New York controversy, he mingled with the
actors in those scenes and with them pursued in generous rivalry, the arts of
peace. The Chittendens and Allens were his neighbors
and friends, and he was worthy of their companionship. With others he joined in
the settlement of one of the two first ministers; the two being settled within
a week of each other, the controversy respecting ministerial lands having been
settled by an amicable divison. On this occasion he
was one of three to build and present to the minister a two story brick dwelling
house, at a cost of $2,500. With increase of wealth Mr. Hickok continued his
liberality. Every worthy object had his countenance and support. Among others
the University of
Vermont received repeated
liberal subscriptions to its funds. When its first buildings were erected he
was a contributor. When after the fire it was rebuilt, he was one of the most
liberal. At every stage of its progress during his life he was the constant
friend of the institution. So of other public objects and
institutions. At his death he was one of the deacons of the Calvinistic
Congregational church, as for 17 years previous.