VHG Biographical Sketches, Chittenden County, Vt.

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A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LATE

PROF. JAMES DEAN, LL. D.

 

BY GEO. F. HOUGHTON, ESQ., OF ST. ALBANS, VT.

 

James Dean was born in Windsor, Vt., Nov 26, 1776, and was graduated at Dartmouth college in 1800, in the class of which the Hon. Samuel Swift of Middlebury, is

 

 

 

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probably the only surviving member. Soon after his graduation, he became principal of an academy in Montpelier, and while so engaged, was appointed tutor in the University of Vermont, continuing in that office from 1807 to 1809, when he was the first to be chosen professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in that university. He occupied the professor's chair until the university building was rented by the United States as barracks. Pres. Saunders, the Rev. Judson Chamberlain and Prof. Dean, who then constituted the academical faculty, left the institution March 24, 1814.

From Burlington, Prof. Dean went to Hanover, N. H., where he took an appointment in the college erected on the prostration of Moor's charity school, but upon the decision of the United States supreme court, Mr. Dean became disengaged from the duties of teaching for awhile, and devoted his time to the pursuit of the sciences and benevolent purposes. Subsequently (in 1822), he was reelected professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in the University of Vermont, and continued to occupy the professor's chair, until the university edifice was accidentally consumed by fire May 27th, 1824. He was succeeded by Prof. George W. Benedict, LL. D., in 1825.

James Dean in 1806 received the honorary degree of A. M. from the University of Vermont, which was the first honorary degree granted by the institution. The same university bestowed upon him in 1847, the honorary degree of LL. D. The following inscription upon his tombstone, which stands in the old burying ground north of the Unitarian meeting house in Burlington, gives an epitome of his character and the date of his death:

 

JAMES DEAN,

LL. D., A. A. S.

Born at Windsor, Vt.,

November, 26, 1776.

Died at Burlington, Vt.,

January 20, 1849.

A Friend of Peace,

Temperance, Knowledge and Freedom.

"Nihil humani alienum."

 

Total abstinence, love of humanity, and the success of the peace society, were cherished objects with him, and he devoted time and money for their furtherance. His only journey to London, was to attend a meeting of the peace society. The Latin quotation upon his tombstone, was suggested by Miss Butler of Groton, Mass., daughter of Caleb Butler, Esq., his classmate in Dartmouth college, to whom Prof. Dean gave a legacy of books and money.

As a teacher, Prof. Dean, was thorough, and demanded from his pupils intellectual labor and exact knowledge. As a man, he was uncouth in his appearance and awkward in his manners, yet so great was his vivacity and appreciation of humor, that he was a favorite with the fair sex. By the way of contrast, it was amusing at an evening party to see the light, gay, resplendent figure of some accomplished belle, leaning on the ponderous arm of one that might well be taken for the lineal descendant of old Samuel Johnson. His handwriting corresponded with his conversation and life, and was stiff, sharp and awkward, but readable and full of sense.

"He possessed," says the late Rev. John Wheeler, D. D., in a valuable historical discourse, delivered by him, in 1854, on the occasion of the semi-centennial anniversary of the University of Vermont, "a mathematical mind, distinguished for its clearness and accuracy, rather than its depth and scientific insight. He devoted himself to the life of a student, and acquired much and various knowledge, rather than comprehension and profound principles. He was rigid in his discipline, the sharp lines of which were, perhaps, increased by an occasional irritability of temper, which seemed to spring from his very peculiar physical constitution. He was inordinately fleshy, and in such way as to give the appearance rather of disease than of health. His influence in the university was marked by adherence to law and order in the simple and earnest pursuit of its objects."

His only publications, known to the writer, consisted of the following, which are now exceedingly rare:

"An Alphabetical Atlas, or Gazetteer of Vermont; affording a summary description of the state, its several counties, towns, and rivers, calculated to supply, in some measure, the place of a map; and designed for the use of offices, travellers, men of business, &c., by James Dean, A. M., tutor in the University of Vermont. Montpelier; Printed by Samuel Goss, for the author, January, 1808, 8vo., pp. 44."

"An Oration on Curiosity, pronounced in the University of Vermont, 24th April, 1810, on Induction into office, by James Dean, A. M., Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. Published at the request of the

 

 

 

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students. Burlington, Vt.; Printed by Samuel Mills, May, 1810." 8vo., pp. 19.

The following is an extract from the oration:

This propensity stimulates to the acquisition of knowledge from the earliest childhood, long before it is conceived to be honorable or useful. This through life is incessantly suggesting practical improvements in all the arts of civilized society.

But what other advantage can we require from curiosity, than that its final cause, and most appropriate effect, is the improvement of the mind? Shall nature be ransacked to pamper the body, while the mind must implore the intercession of the senses, and promise a double remuneration, in order to obtain the gratification of her most exalted appetites. Narrow, indeed, must be his investigations who insists on the immediate prospect of pecuniary compensation, who gratifies the most distinguished propensity of rational beings no farther than can be made subsurvient to idle show or brutal enjoyment. View the progress of every science then say if the original embryo phenomena exhibited to human foresight the least promise of their ultimate application.

The philosopher should neglect no application of his principles, which affords the least prospect of promoting the convenience of society, but the pleasure of the investigations, or the gratification of curiosity, must be his principal motive, and when utility presents itself, like fame to the man of merit, "it comes unlocked for, if it comes at all." It need not be surprising if there are many laws of nature, which we can not on their first disclosure, subject to the purposes of avarice, vanity, or luxury. Here curiosity steps in and richly supplies the place of meaner motives.    *    *    *    Disinterested appetite for truth is the distinguishing characteristic of the genuine philosopher. He scatters far and wide the seeds of science; for himself the verdure of the crop is sufficient, and if the fruit should benefit the world, his benevolence congratulates itself on the unsought for advantage.

In all ages of our race have the different degrees of this passion afforded the distinctive mark of the exalted intellect.

No more proper and noble objects can be presented for the gratification of curiosity, than the moral and civil history of mankind.

But the period is fast approaching, when we shall no longer elicit truths by a tedious cross examination of our treacherous senses, when death shall usher the "embryo intellect." into real life, where man, who, even here, seems "winged to fly at infinite," if no moral disqualification prohibit, "shall read it there, where seraphs gather immortality."

With what earnestness should we strive to purify our hearts, and improve our minds, that we may be permitted and qualified to mingle   .   .   .   .

 

With all the sons of reason   .   .   .   .

                                             Wherever found   .   .   .   .

Howe're endowed.   .   .   .   .

 

Here Pythagoras salutes Newton, and Thales congratulates Franklin, and the benefactors of mankind from all countries and ages readily recognize in each other that taste immortal, by which, even in this vale of weakness and ignorance, they were distinguished among their fellows. Here they unite, with cordial harmony, to spend "Heaven's eternal year."

 

"To read Creation — read its mighty plan

In the bare bosom of Deity."

 

 

HON ALVIN FOOTE,

 

The son of Daniel Foote, of Middlebury,* a soldier of the revolution, was born in 1776, in the camp at Castleton, where Mrs. Foote had accompanied her husband. Mrs. Foote's maiden name was Anna Woodward, her native place, Hanover, N. H. Her husband being detained a prisoner at Ticonderoga, when the subject of our notice was but an infant a few weeks old, she, although a delicate woman, walked, with her babe in her arms, from Castleton to Hanover. After the war the father removed to New York, and died in Canton. Alvin Foote graduated at Dartmouth, studied law in the office of Judge Paine of Vermont, and commenced practice in Burlington, about 1804, where he built up an honorable reputation as a lawyer and a citizen. Mr. Foote's practice of law in Burlington was about 20 or 25 years.

He was twice married — first with Priscilla, daughter of Col. Nathan Rice, in 1815, by whom he had four children, and who died in 1841.

In January 13, 1845, he married with Mrs. Caroline Clark, the widow of Rev. Samuel Clark, who still survives him. A daughter by her former husband, Rev. Clark, died May, 1862. Judge Foote was deceased Sept. 21st, 1856.

 

 

HEMAN LOWRY.

 

BY HON. DAVID A. SMALLEY.

 

The class of men, who, a generation since, were the active and leading men of Vermont,

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* Vide Middlebury in No. 1 of this work.

 

 

 

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were, certainly, in many respect, of marked and peculiar character; and it is matter of regret that they have so nearly all disappeared from our midst. In some respects they were rude, perhaps; for the times in which they lived were rude, and the state itself was yet in the rudeness and roughness of a new
and unsettled country. But they were men of strong will, of determined and unyielding purpose, of manly courage, of unquestioned integrity, and of high toned honor. They were the men for the day in which they lived; and Vermont owes to them the high reputation for sturdy manhood in her sons, which she holds abroad, and the large measure of thrift and prosperity which she enjoys at home. To this class of men belonged the subject of our present memoir, Heman Lowry; and he may himself be said to have been a good and marked specimen of his class. His native place was the town of North East, Dutchess county, N. Y., where he was born on the 4th of September, 1778. He is said to have been of Scotch-Irish descent, and his father is spoken of as having been a farmer "in moderate circumstances, but highly respected for his industry, honesty, and probity." His mother was a "Miss Phebe Benedict, the daughter of a Presbyterian clergyman."

Mr. Lowry, the father, removed with his family from Dutchess county to Jericho, Vt., in the month of March, 1789.

That part of the state was then but "and unbroken wilderness;" and it was in aiding his father and an elder brother to clear up their new farm, and to make for themselves a thrifty homestead, that young Lowry passed the period of his boyhood. The opportunities, of course, for education, were but scanty. His father, moreover, died while he was yet young; and it was left for an excellent mother to impart, to him the instructions, and give him the early training, which so largely aided him in after life to become the man of character, position, and influence he did.

In accordance with the custom of that day, Mr. Lowry commenced business and married-life together; having married, in the year 1800, for his first wife, Miss Lucy Lee. She died, however, in the following year, 1801; and two years afterwards, in 1803, he married Miss Margaret Campbell, who died but a few years since, subsequently to the death of her husband, and who is well remembered as a lady of much excellence and of "high moral worth," bearing with her to the grave the love and esteem of all who knew her.

Mr. Lowry, we believe, early became a resident of Burlington, where he died on the 5th of January, 1848, in the 70th year of his age. During the larger part of his life — for 10 years or more — he was almost constantly in public place and employment. In 1809 he became high sheriff of Chittenden county, and continued to hold that honorable and very responsible office for 19 years — a long period, and one indicative of the great confidence reposed in him by his fellow citizens and the state authorities. Subsequently he became United states marshal for the district of Vermont, which post he held for the period of 11 years. So well did he fulfill the duties of the offices imposed upon him, and so large a measure of respect and esteem did he earn from the men of all parties, that all alike, whether political friends or opponents, concurred in the propriety and fitness of retaining him in place.

Mr. Lowry was, throughout his life, a democrat in politics, and at all times held prominent place and exercised large influence with his party. But he never permitted his political opinions to interfere with his personal feelings and friendships; and many of his warmest and steadiest friends were from among those opposed to him in party politics. While a man, it is said, of strong and unyielding antipathies in many instances, yet he was singularly strong in the tenacity of his personal confidences and friendships. An anecdote told of him will, perhaps, best illustrate this. Some evil reports were, on a certain occasion, brought to him, respecting an old friend, whom it was desired to lower in his estimation. After listening patiently to what was told him, he replied, with his accustomed gravity and deliberation: "I have known him a great while; he has been my friend; I will inquire about the matter; what you say may be true; I don't believe it now; I never doubt a friend till he has stolen a sheep."

The general character of Mr. Lowry may be summed up as that of strong common sense, of sound judgment, of unbending integrity, and of a truthfulness that nothing could turn aside. To know him was but to esteem and confide in him. Alas! that the class of men to which he belonged should have so nearly all passed away, and that their mantles should have fallen upon so few of the generation succeeding them!

 

 

HEMAN ALLEN, OF MILTON, AND BURLINGTON.

 

BY GEORGE ALLEN, PROFESSOR IN THE

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

 

Chittenden county may reckon, among its

 

 

 

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distinguished citizens, two, that bore the name of Heman Allen — both born the same year, both bred to the bar, both in public life together, long resident in adjoining towns, and afterwards in the same town, in earlier life opposed in polities, as Federalist and Democrat, but later of the same party, always personal friends, and even (although neither may have been aware of the fact) remotely related by blood.* When members of the state legislature, they were distinguished on the roll, as "Allen of Milton," and "Allen of Colchester." When both came to live as neighbors, in Burlington, the latter, by his long residence as minister, at Santiago, had won the distinctive designation of "Chile Allen." It is of the former of the two — Heman Allen of Milton (afterwards of Burlington) that the following biographical notice is furnished, by his oldest surviving son.

Heman Allen was born in Ashfield, Mass., on the 14th day of June, 1777, within the original limits, I believe, of the ancient Pocomptuck or Deerfield, out of which the township of Ashfield, had, in part, been formed twelve years before his birth. His great-grandfather, Edward Allen, was among the earliest of those who renewed the settlement of Deerfield, after the close of King Philip's War. His name appears on the proprietors' records, as the purchaser of a right, in 1686. The purchase of his older brother, entered as John Allin Gent., had been made before the war in 1671. The family has won a place in local history, by the large share it bore in the calamities inflicted on Deerfield by Indian warfare. When the village was surprised and destroyed, in February, 1704, a female member of the family was one of the many captives carried off, through the wintry wilderness, into Canada; and two months later John Allen and his wife, on venturing to leave the fortified house for their dwelling at The Bars, were shot down near their own door. In 1724, Heman Allen's grandfather, Samuel Allen, was fired upon by the Indians and wounded. On the 25th of August, 1746, he was again set upon by the savages, while at work in his meadow, and fell, pierced with several bullets, as he stood bravely fighting to secure the escape of his children, of whom one (Eunice) was tomahawked, and another (Samuel) was carried off as a prisoner.†

His youngest son (Enoch), then an infant, was the father of Heman Allen.

Edward and Samuel Allen had always lived at The Bars, where Edward had purchased his right, adjoining that of his brother John. But Enoch and an older brother (Lamberton), who had both married sisters of the old Deerfield family of Belding, left the ancient homestead and settled in Ashfield, of which Elijah Belding was the first town clerk, to whom, as such, the warrant of incorporation was directed in 1765. Enoch Allen died there, in 1789, at the age of forty-five, leaving a widow and eight children, the eldest, Enoch Jr., seventeen, and Heman, the third, twelve years old.‡ Young as the boys were, they were true sons of New England, and lacked neither the energy nor the intelligence required for carrying on successfully the paternal farm. But already, before the death of their father, and during the Revolutionary war, their uncle Lamberton had achieved the bold adventure of emigrating to the dangerous outpost of Grand Isle, in Vermont and another uncle, the warlike Samuel, in his boyhood an Indian captive, in manhood a Revolutionary officer, had followed Lamberton, after sheathing the sword which (as he was always proud of declaring) he had drawn as a captain under Shays. Hereupon the family of the deceased younger brother sold out their rather unproductive farm, and, in March, 1795 made the same dreary migratory journey from rocky Ashfield, to the fertile tract of Grand Isle. Heman alone remained behind. After five years of cheerful labor by the side of his hardy brother, Enoch, it had been sufficiently demonstrated that he was physically incapacitated for being a cultivator of the earth; he was constantly subject to the cruel visitation of "chapped hands," in an excessive degree; while his fondness for books and his superior powers of mind appeared to qualify him for a liberal profession. He therefore devoted his share of the small paternal inheritance to the expense of pursuing a preparatory classical

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* For this probable relationship, see the Genealogical Appendix, at the close of this notice.

† Hoyt's Antiquarian. Researches; Williams's Redeemed Captive returning to Zion; New England Historical and Genealogical Register, II, 207-10, &c.

‡ I give the names of all the children, as a specimen of puritan nomenclature worth preserving: 1, Enoch; 2, Abishai; 3, Heman; 4, Aretas; 5, Obed; 6, Mercy; 7, Eunice; and 8, Joel. The name of Mercy preserves the memory of our first Deerfield ancestress, Mercy Painter, wife of Edward Allen; as that of Eunice commemorates in like manner, the daughter of Samuel Allen who was struck down by the tomahawk of an Indian, when her father was killed, in 1746.

§ Mr. Thompson says: The settlement of Grand Isle was commenced by Lamberton Allen, and others, about the year 1783. But my uncle, Hon. Joel Allen of North Hero, is able to fix the date precisely. It is well remembered in the family, that Lamberton Allen arrived in Grand Isle just before the famous "dark day;" but the dark day occurred (Thompson, Part I. p. 16) on the 19th of May, 1780. The blank in Mr. Thompson's article Allen's Point, should be filled up, I suppose, by the name of Lamberton.

 

 

 

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course in the academy at Chesterfield, N. H. After two years thus spent, he rejoined the family in Grand Isle, making the journey on foot, and philosophically carrying with him all his possessions, which amounted to a book or two, and $20 in money. He spent the next five or six years, at first, in continuing his Greek and Latin studies, under Enoch Allen's nearest neighbor, the learned and Rev. Asa Lyon; and afterwards in reading law, with necessary interruptions for the purpose of teaching school. He was, at one time, in the office of Elnathan Keyes of Burlington; but he always looked up to the late Hon. Judge Turner, then of Fairfield, afterwards of St. Albans, as his proper master.* He was admitted to the bar in 1803; and immediately opened an office in Holgate's tavern in Milton — commencing business on a pecuniary basis of precisely twenty cents. As the people of Milton were always, from the very first, perfectly unanimous in their good opinion of Heman Allen, what law business there was in the place fell into his hands at once. Nor was it long before his justice practice extended regularly to the neighboring towns. Upon the heels of this preparatory work, there soon began to follow a large county and supreme court practice, which extended to the three counties of Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle. It was, however, characteristic of the modesty and dififidence of Heman Allen, that — with all his energy and resolution — he rather put off the day of appearing before any court higher than that of a justice of the peace. Nay, it was long before he could rise to a regular argument before a justice, or a justice's jury, without visibly trembling at the knees;‡ and when one of the cases, thus humbly begun, was carried up, by appeal, to the county court, he shrank from appearing in it himself, and entrusted it to his friend and senior, George Robinson. If his diffidence could not long keep him from the higher stage to which his business introduced him, it at least led him, from first to last, to prepare his cases with the greatest possible care and thoroughness. His excellent business habits also made him, early in his practice, the agent of several large nonresident land proprietors, and thus enabled him to acquire the peculiar character of being decidedly the best real estate lawyer on the circuit Ultimately, the nature and extent of his business united, with other considerations, to make it desirable for him to take up his residence in the chief town of his county; and he, accordingly, removed to Burlington in the month of May, 1828.

With professional advancement came a certain degree of political distinction. His temperament and tastes, not less than his systematic devotion to his professional and private business, disqualified him for being what is called a politician. His political

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* At some period, before his admission to the bar, he was a law student (so my uncle, Hon. Joel Allen, informs me) at Plattsburg, N. Y. I know, at any rate, that he was, for some time, in the family of Judge Platt of that place, as a tutor; but whatever law he may have learned must have been learned elsewhere, than in the judge's court, at least, For I have heard my father say, that the good judge was never in a condition to hold any court at all after dinner; and that before dinner, if any lawyer was so ill advised as to produce a book, or cite a case, he was suddenly cut short by a hasty roar from the bench, of "O, devil, devil, devil! No law here! No law here!"

 

† This was Samuel Holgate, who soon after became a brother-in-law by my father's marriage with Sarah Prentis, a younger sister of Samuel Holgate's second wife Samuel and his brother Curtis Holgate were both men of extraordinary energy and enterprise. Samuel was foremost amongst the numerous lumbermen of Milton; Curtis removed to Burlington, and — a fact which escaped mention in its place — was the first man to build a wharf in Burlington bay. He stole a march upon the capitalists, who were talking about a wharf, by getting from the legislature the grant of an exclusive right: and then disappointed the same capitalists, of whom he had to borrow the requisite funds, by making money so rapidly out of the half finished work, that he was able to meet all their demands at maturity, instead of surrendering his wharf to them under a foreclosure. After he had made a fortune out of it, he sold it to Mr. Henry Mayo, who afterwards associated with himself the late Judge Follett, under the firm of Mayo & Follett.

 

‡ So, in particular, I have heard the late eminent judge Aldis say, He told me that when he himself had come down to Milton to attend a justice's court, he was equally surprised, fresh as he was from the advantages of a university and a law school, to find with what talent and knowledge he was met by my father, and to see the trembling knees of one who was doing battle so bravely.

 

§ Our illustrious townsman, the Hon. George P. Marsh, once said to me that he believed Chief Justice Marshall to be the greatest living lawyer, and perhaps the greatest lawyer that ever lived, because he could give an opinion that should be the perfection of sound law, without either citing, or apparently leaning upon, anything that had ever been previously decided or written: — his very mind was law. The same thought occurred to me, when I afterwards listened to an argument of surpassing ability, from Mr. Marsh's father, the Hon. Charles Marsh of Woodstock. To the same class of lawyers — without pretending to rate him so highly — I may venture to refer my father. He had read law with a master, who, at that day, knew just three books by heart, Blackstone, Burrowes's Reports and Douglas's Reports. In that way, perhaps, he had formed the habit of working out the application of legal principles in his own head, instead of hunting up in books the application as made to his hand by others. When consulted in his office he would invariably give his opinion by reasoning it out from principles: he would then tell me, or some other student, to "look it up in the books." I used, in fact, to be amused (as a born "book lover") with the dislike he seemed to have for law books — the reluctance with which, from time to time he added modern books to his library, after losing a cause because the case he had relied on, in Lord Raymond (for example), had been overruled by an pertinent contemporary — the aversion which be showed to either reading or hearing read a shelf of law books in the course of an argument. And yet, as being comparatively homo unius libri, he was in fact a better book-lawyer even, than most of his book-reading associates.

 

 

 

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opinions; were, nevertheless, distinct and decided; and were held none the less firmly for being held with a liberality and good temper, which always secured him through life the respect and friendship of his political opponents. As parties stood, during his earlier public career, he was — and to his dying day was proud of having been — a federalist. As such, he was the representative of Milton, in the state legislature, in 1810; and, between that year and 1826, was re-elected eleven times — whenever, for the most part, he was willing to be a candidate. In 1827, he was sent as a delegate to the convention held at Harrisburg; an honor, at that time, when such conventions were new, and composed of citizens really eminent.* In 1832, during the administration of Gen. Jackson, Heman Allen was elected to congress, after a contest so protracted and so singular in its circumstances, that he often expressed his regret that he had allowed his peace to be disturbed by being a candidate at all. He served in four successive congresses. Although he had been a fluent and impressive speaker at the bar, he made no attempt to shine as an orator on the floor of the house. He, however, gained a high reputation, as a useful member, by his conduct as one of the committee on revolutionary claims. It had become a kind of fashion — a settled rule of the house — to allow a certain class of these claims (perhaps because they came, of course, chiefly from Virginia), without requiring what ought to have been considered satisfactory evidence. When the chairman of the committee handed Mr. Allen his share of such papers, his first deviation from congressional routine was to put by all other claims upon his time, and to study each application, with its vouchers, thoroughly, precisely (he said) as he used to prepare his law cases. His next step was to inform the committee that their report ought (in his judgment) to be adverse to all the claims of this class. They agreed that such ought to be the report, but dissuaded him, as a new member, from taking the unpopular step of setting himself, unavailingly, against the received practice of the house. When they found him, nevertheless, unshaken in his opinion and his purpose, they allowed him to report as he pleased, and promised to sustain him. Accordingly, on the 9th day of February, 1839, comparatively early in the session, he brought his report before the house, and sustained it by a clear, business‑like speech of an hour in length; during which he was listened to with some surprise, and with the closest attention. He was replied to vehemently by the ablest of the southern gentlemen; but he closed the debate by an effectual rejoinder; and the house sustained him by an overwhelming majority. He was retained on the same committee during the rest of his service in congress, and was always able to sustain the new principle which he had thus introduced, with an enormous saving to the public treasury

The characteristic traits of Mr. Allen's character were brought into strong relief by the circumstances under which his public career was brought, to a close. The Canadian insurrection broke out, and the neutrality bill of Gen. Washington's administration, with the necessary modifications, was recommended to congress for re-enactment by Mr. Van Buren. Mr. Allen's district was the focus of the warmest and most active sympathy with the insurgents. His friends at home wrote to him, therefore, to warn him, that if he voted for the bill there

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* He had been nominated for the preceding congress, but lost the election from causes that may be worth mentioning: First, the eagerness of his friends had led them to make the nomination hastily, without a proper understanding with the friends of Mr. Swift, the actual representative. Secondly, his case was spoiled by being complicated with that of his friend Gov. Van Ness, who was, at the same time, a candidate for the United States senate. It was just at the critical moment when a "Jackson party" was forming in Vermont, and a certain suspicion was felt towards all the friends of Mr. Van Ness, because it was believed that he — although he had commended the administration of John Quincy Adams in his message — was believed to be really favorable to the election of Gen. Jackson. How unfounded was the suspicion, so far as Mr. Allen was concerned, was abundantly proved by his subsequent course. During this canvass Heman Allen was elected by the legislature, one of the judges of the supreme court, but declined to accept the office.

 

† Among those who congratulated my father on the good work he had done, was John C. Calhoun. My father had a singular admiration for Mr. Calhoun as an orator; he would make sure of being in the senate chamber to hear him speak, when he would not stir for Clay or Webster. What he admired was the subtility, the logical consecutiveness, and the condensation, in which the able South Carolinian far surpassed both his rivals. I call to mind, however, at this moment, with what earnestness my father pronounced Calhoun (the very day on which I first saw him) to be the most dangerous man in existence; "he lives (said my father) with but one idea and one aim, to bring about the dissolution of the Union." This opinion he had derived, in part, from his friend Judge Prentiss, who — as a senator — had watched Calhoun longer and with better opportunities of observation. That of all the public men with whom my father became associated or acquainted, there was none whom he regarded with such esteem and veneration as John Quincy Adams, because (as he expressed it) he added to the highest talents and the largest acquirements the keenest sense of duty; he had time for all duties — he could do more public business thaw any body else, and yet attend to his devotions daily, and go to church constantly and punctually on Sunday. My father sympathized so thoroughly with Mr. Adams, in the stand which he took and maintained on the right of petition, that he once found himself with him in a minority of seven.

 

 

 

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was not the slightest chance of his being re-elected to his seat. They knew him too well to advise him to vote against a bill which he could not but approve; they merely entreated him to absent himself from the house when the vote should be taken. Heman Allen was incapable of an act so cowardly — so much at variance with his sense of duty as a representative. He voted for the bill, and lost his seat in congress; but he neither lost his own self-respect, nor the respect of those who had voted, for another in his place.*

For the remaining years of his life, he devoted himself, with all the unforgotten alacrity and energy of his youth, to his professional business. But his constitution had received many severe shocks, from various accidents, to which he had habitually exposed himself, by his habit of utterly disregarding hour and season, roads and weather, in keeping or returning from appointments. On one such occasion he had broken through the ice, at the Sandbar, between Milton and South Hero, and had struggled for an hour in the water during one of the coldest days of the winter, in the desperate attempt to raise himself out, or to break his way to the shore. A few years later, while returning by night from a business appointment, he was thrown from his sulkey, and suffered a fracture of his leg, which left him so far lame for life as to check the usual activity of his habits, and to induce a serious derangement, of his bodily system. Untaught by such experience, or, rather, disregarding all such lessons where business with others was concerned, he now, early in 1844, exposed himself, during the coldest day of winter, in a journey to Lamoille county. He suffered severely from the cold. The reserve strength of youth, on which he had fallen back at other times, was at length gone; and he never recovered from the effects of the exposure. He lingered on until the 11th day of December, in the same year, when he expired suddenly and peacefully, with no one present but his son-in-law, the Rev. J. K. Converse, who had a short time before prayed with him, at his request.

Heman Allen was of lofty stature, over six feet high, and of commanding presence. His strongly marked countenance indicated that combination of massive strength of intellect with inflexible adherence to principle in private and public life, which formed the salient points of his character. His features, in repose, wore a slight expression of severity, which belied the real kindness of his disposition. The dignified simplicity of his manners was perfectly expressive of his habitual absence of all personal pretension.

Heman Allen was married on the 4th of December, 1804, to Sarah Prentis, daughter of Dr. Jonathan Prentis, of St. Albans.† She survived him until the 1st of December, 1850. Their children were: 1, Heman, died a freshman in the University of Vermont; 2, Lucius, died at the age of 19; 3, George, now professor of Greek and Latin in the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; 4, Sarah, wife of Rev. John K. Converse of Burlington; 5, a daughter died in infancy: 6, Charles P. of Port Kent, N. Y.; 7, Joseph W., of whom a notice will be found in the history of Milton in this work; 8, Julia, died at the age of 11 years; and James H., now of Montreal, Canada East.

 

 

GENEALOGICAL APPENDIX.

 

I. The name of Allen, being a Christian name, converted, in process of time, into a

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* Immediately on his return home, he declined being a candidate for re-election, on the ground that the unpopularity, which he had incurred, might secure the election of a candidate of the opposite party. He was, however, told, that no one else could run so well as he, so great was his personal popularity. He consented, therefore, to stand; but after the first unsuccessful run, he withdrew peremptorily and finally. It is a curious fact, that the legislature representatives from the "sympathizing" counties were particularly anxious, that my father should have the Whig nomination for United States Senator. How their good wishes and those of many others, were frustrated, is a secret, which, at this late day, need not be exposed to the light. He was afterwards offered the Whig nomination for governor, but declined. Four or five years after the event, I had the opportunity of hearing from the lips of the late Hon. John Sergeant of Philadelphia in what light the house regarded my father's course, in comparison with that of certain Northern representatives who "dodged" the dangerous vote. I have neglected to mention in a more appropriate connection, that Heman Allen was a member of the corporation of the University of Vermont from the year 1813 until his death. In none of his public duties did he take more interest than in this.

 

† For the benefit of those who are curious in genealogy I add, that my grandfather was of that less known branch of the Prentis family, of which some account is given in Miss Caulkins's admirable History of New London, and in Binney's History and Genealogy of the Prentice or Prentiss Family in New England. It descends from Valentine Prentis (who came to America in 1631), through John Prentis, who settled in New London in 1651. The peculiar spelling of the name, and the coat of arms, as described to me by my grandfather (viz; Per chevron or and sable; three grayhounds, current counterchnged, collared; crest; a demi-grayhound rampant, or. collared ringed, and lined sable, the line coiled in a knot at the end), would appear to prove descent from the Prentys family of Wygenhall and Burston in Norfolk. The names of Gilbert and Edgcumbe have been kept up by my grandfather and his descendants to commemorate the fact that one of our ancestresses was of the family of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and another of that of the Edgcumbes of Cornwall, now represented by the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe. It was immediately after a visit to Mount Edgcumbe, upon an invitation to spend the holidays there, that the famous Capt. John Prentis died, at London, in 1746.

 

 

 

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family name, may have been borne originally by several individuals, nowise related to each other; but it indicates, in all its spellings (such as Alain, Alein, Alleyn, &c.), a Norman origin. An Alain did, in fact, come in with the conqueror, having commanded the rearguard at the battle of Hastings. Of the fifty families of the name, mentioned as still extant, in the books of heraldry, many have arms of very ancient date. The Alleyns of Essex, in particular, bear the arms of an ancient crusader, viz.: on a sable shield, a cross potent or; with the crest, a demi-lion azure, holding in the two paws the rudder of a vessel or. Motto: Fortiter gerit Crucem. These arms are mentioned as borne, amongst. others, by Sir Thomas Alleyn, bart., of Thaxted Grange, and by Samuel Alleyn, Esq., of Chelmsford, both in Essex.

 

II. When Mr. Hooker of Chelmsford came to New England, in 1632, and, a few years later (1636) to Windsor, Conn., he was accompanied by one of his congregation, Matthew Allen, whose name appears frequently and prominently on the early records of the town and colony. Later appear the names of Samuel and Thomas Allen, brothers. Samuel died in 1648, leaving three sons, Samuel, Nehemiah, and John. Nehemiah died in 1684. One of his sons, Samuel, born in 1665, removed to Deerfield, then to Coventry, Conn. One of Samuel's sons, Joseph, was born in Deerfield in 1708, and died at Coventry in 1755. Joseph was the father of Gen. ETHAN ALLEN, who was born at Woodbury, Conn., Jan. 10, 1737, and died at Colchester, Vt., Feb. 13th, 1789. Heman Allen of Chili was a nephew of Ethan Allen's. Now the diligence and sagacity of the Rev. Dr. Allen have, for the first time, established the fact, that Ethan Allen's progenitor, Samuel, was a brother of Matthew Allen, and therefore of the Essex family of Alleyns.*

 

III. Samuel Allen, uncle of Heman Allen of Milton and Burlington, the Indian captive and revolutionary soldier — who lived to be past ninety — preserved the traditionary history of his branch of the Allens, which, with some help from records, may be given as follows: An officer of Cromwell's, by the name of Allen (whose christian name has been lost†), emigrated to New-England, coming directly to Connecticut — landing, probably, at New Haven. The date of his arrival can not be placed much later than that of Matthew, Samuel, and Thomas at Windsor. He married in this country, and had seven sons and one daughter. Of these, Samuel and Mary migrated to Elizabethtown, N. J John purchased a right, in Deerfield, in 1671, although he may not have settled there at once.§ Edward, joining, at first, in the migration to Elizabeth, there married Mercy Painter, who used to relate, that in her early years, she had seen the head of King Philip, as it was borne through her native town. After his marriage, Edward returned to New England, and settled, with his brother John, in Deerfield, at The Bars, in 1686. He died in 1740. Samuel, son of Edward (born in 1702, killed by the Indiana August 25th, 1746), was father of Caleb, Samuel, Eunice, Lamberton, †† and Enoch. Caleb lived and died at The Bars. Samuel was the Indian captive, afterwards a lieutenant in the revolutionary army. Lamberton was the settler of Grand Isle. Enoch was the father of Heman Allen of Milton and Burlington.

 

IV. The late Abishai Allen (an older brother of Heman Allen of Milton), who lived in the family of his uncle Caleb, at The Bars, from 1787 to 1795, preserved the record of the following incident, which occurred within his knowledge,‡‡ viz.: Gen. Ethan Allen

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* The widow of the original Samuel, brother of Matthew, removed to Northampton, Mass. There the eldest son Samuel (born in 1634), died Oct. 18th 1718. One of his sons Samuel (born July 6th, 1675, died March 29th, 1739), was a deacon of the church in Northampton, while Jonathan Edwards was pastor. One, of his four sons, Joseph, was born April 5th, 1712, and died Dec. 30th, 1779. One of Joseph's eight sons, Thomas (born in 1743, died in 1810), the first minister of Pittsfield, Mass., fought along with his people at the battle of Bennington. Of the seven sons of Thomas, one was Solomon, M., the professor in Middlebury College whose accidental death (in 1817) has been recorded in its place (Addison county), and another the venerable Rev. WILLIAM ALLEN, D. D., of Northampton, Mass., late president of Bowdoin College, and author of the American Biographical Dictionary, to whose great kindness I am indebted for the above (and more) information, concerning the Allen family — information, which no other person living could have supplied.

 

† His son John, is said (by the same tradition) to have been his eldest son. It is probable, therefore, that the Cromwellian soldier also rejoiced in this good old English name.

 

‡ For this singular migration of Connecticut settlers to New Jersey, at the invitation of Gov. Carteret, see Trumbull's History of Connecticut, vol. I: Smith's History of New Jersey, p. 67, and Collections of the New Jersey Historical Society, vol. I. Newark, Elizabeth, Woodbridge and Piscataway were settled wholly or in part from New England. Trumbull relates, that Mr. Pierson of Branford, was so much dissatisfied with the terms of union (between the two Connecticut colonies) that he and almost his whole church emigrated to Newark (in 1665).

 

§ Or if he did, he withdrew from the town, with rest, during King Philip's war, and returned only when joined by his brother Edward, in 1685; for the first baptism in his family stands on the records under date of 1686.

 

†† A family name. The mother of Mercy Painter, Edward Allen's wife, was a Lamberton — a name which stands forth prominently in the early history of New Haven.

 

‡‡ It does not appear distinctly from the memoranda sent to me, whether the visit took place during my uncle Abishai's residence at The Bars, and therefore within two

 

 

 

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made a visit to Caleb Allen for the purpose of comparing genealogies — in consequence, most probably, of a tradition of relationship current in both branches, and known to Ethan Allen through his father, who was born in Deerfield. The result of this session of the two old gentlemen — who, undoubtedly, like most seniors of that day, carried in their heads an inexhaustible store of genealogical facts — was, that the tradition of relationship was fully confirmed. There is nothing in what we do know to invalidate this decision: and it was based on much, without doubt, which we do not know. It must, therefore, I think, be taken as conclusive. If so, then the progenitor of the Deerfield branch must have been another brother of Matthew — one, who (like Samuel and Thomas) came to Connecticut later and in no direct association with him. If so, again, the two Heman Allens were, as I have said, "probably related by blood," and both were of the Essex Alleyn family, and descendants of that stout Christian warrior, "who bravely bore the Cross"

As far as to the Sepulchre of Christ.

G. A.

 

 

PHINEAS ATWATER.

 

[From the Burlington Times of Jan. 9, 1860.]

 

Died in Geneva, N. Y., on the morning of the 9th inst., at 3 o'clock P. M., of consumption, Phineas Atwater, aged 80 years.

Mr. Atwater was a resident of this town from 1803, till about two years since, when he went to Geneva to visit his children at. that place.

He was an exemplary member of the Episcopal church of this place, a valuable citizen, honest and industrious, and highly esteemed for his integrity and usefulness. He leaves a large circle of relatives and friends to mourn his loss.