VHG Richmond, Chittenden County, Vt.




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The town of Richmond is situated in the central part of Chittenden County, Lat. 44° 24', Long. 4° 4'; and bounded northerly by Jericho, easterly by Bolton, southerly by Huntington, and westerly by Williston.

This town had no charter as a town, hav­ing been formed out of the contiguous parts of other towns, viz: Huntington, Williston, Bolton and Jericho. From the four contig­uous fragments it was formed and incorpo­rated by act of legislature in 1794, as a town, to which was given the name it bears.

Richmond lies on the Winooski river, within 13 or 14 miles from its mouth, and about 55 miles from its source. The river carries off the waters from 970 square miles and flowing at a moderate pace over its broad bed, bearing its rich freight of deposit gathered from a thousand hills to enrich the soil along its borders. After receiving the additional waters of the Huntington river, which forms a junction with it at Jonesville (a village in Richmond) they flow on smooth­ly a plural river through the broad interval meadows, made by the alluvial deposits of their mingled waters as they wend their way among the clustering hills to the lake.

I know but little of the geology of the town. Igneous and stratified rocks are ap­parent in various parts; principally, I under­stand, they are of the primary formation. They have an easterly dip of from 36°, in­creasing in some places until they become vertical.

Bowlders are found here from the lower members of the red sand-rock, and are in­stantly recognized as resembling those along the lake shore by any one acquainted with the formation. Some of them found in this and adjoining towns will weigh several tons, and are found resting on the talcose slate formation.

As to minerals, in the south-east part of Richmond on flats formed by beaver dams, on which David Robbins, a Revolutionary soldier, settled, bog-iron ore has been found, which has been dug to some extent and man­ufactured into iron of a good quality,

Near the ore bed one Sears erected a forge on Huntington river, but it was carried off by a flood soon after.

I am informed that the state geologists have never examined the deposits of bog and mountain ore in this vicinity, although specimens have been left with the town clerk, agreeably to their advertisement.

A few years ago Col. Rolla Gleason, while digging muck in a swamp near the top of Bryant hill, struck on some hard, bony sub­stance, and on getting it out of the mud and examining the same, it proved to be the fos­sil remains of an elephant's tusk.

It was presented by Col. Gleason to the University of Vermont, and can be found by the curious in its museum.

As to the soil, the intervals along the Wi­nooski river in Richmond are composed of deep, rich alluvial deposits, are very fertile and considerably extensive. The soil in the hilly and other parts of the town is fertile. and well adapted to grazing, and many of the farmers keep large dairies. In some parts the soil is clay; others, gravelly loam; in others, marl.




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Richmond is quite hilly, excepting in the valley of the Winooski, in which its two villages stand on either side of the river, and even there the clustering hills wall in the river till you can hardly tell "whence it cometh and whither it goeth." It sits on more than seven hills which encircle its val­ley and villages round like a vast natural amphitheatre, where men are the actors in the arena, as everywhere in the broad earth acting the grand drama of life.

Richmond can boast of none but the district school. There is, however, in contemplation a union or graded school.

Jonesville, named after Ransom Jones, is a very pleasant little village in Richmond; has a few fine dwelling-houses, and a pleasant location near Bolton line at the mouth of the Huntington river. It has one hotel, and owing to the somewhat wild and pictur­esque beauty of the surrounding scenery it has been a place of some considerable summer resort.

The lower village in Richmond is several times the size of Jonesville. It has six stores, one hotel, one steam saw-mill, and a large furniture manufactory together with several other mechanics' shops. The Ver­mont Central Railroad passes down the valley of the Winooski, and has depots at each of the two villages in said town.

There is much business by the way of trade that once went to Burlington, that now stops here. And more butter and cheese is annually received at Richmond depot than any ether save one in the state.

The lower village has very fine surround­ing scenery though not as wild as the upper, and, like the other village, it has been a place of considerable summer resort. And a hotel company has been incorporated, which con­template building a more commodious hotel at the lower village, for the accommodation of those who, in the heat of summer, fly from the city to the romantic country. Richmond is but a pleasant drive from the foot of Mansfield and Camel's Hump.

Richmond I think is not surpassed by any town in the state for its variety of scenery, and its many pleasant and romantic drives: now along the smoothly flowing river and grassy meadow; now up through a ravine lined on either side by natural forest trees as God planted them; now by the overhang­ing precipitous rock; now along in the shadow of the towering hill; now by the farm-house, meadow, and pasture; now through an avenue formed by the beech, birch, hemlock, pine, spruce, the tall maple and stately elm, along by the murmuring brook, the clear cold springs here and there gushing ont from the hill-side, then back to the river again. This description is not merely applicable to one drive in town, but to a half dozen—and does none of them justice.

The first settlements made within the limits of the town were begun by Amos Brownson and John Chamberlain, with their families, in 1775, on what is called Richmond Flats, on the south side of the Winooski river, in what then was the town of Willis­ton. In the fall of that year, they abandon­ed the township, and did not return until the close of the Revolutionary War. In 1784, they returned to their farms where they had made beginnings, accompanied by Asa and Joel Brownson, Samuel and Joshua Chamberlain, James Holly, Joseph Wilson and Jesse McFairlain.

The first settlements begun in the south part of the town, then included in the char­ter limits of Huntington, were made by Ozem Brewster and Daniel Robbins, about the year 1786.

The first settlements along the south side of the Winooski river, between the mouth of Huntington river at Jonesville and the village of Richmond, were made by Amos Brownson, Jr., Matthew Cox, Jesse Green, Wm. Douglas, Barley and Comfort Starr, Clement Hoyt, James and Peter Crane, James Hall, and Nathaniel and Asa Alger.

The first made in the west part of the town were made by Asa Brownson, Nathan and Henry Fay.

On the north side of the river, one of the first beginnings was made by Joseph Hall.

The town was organized in March, 1795, and Joseph Chamberlain was the first town clerk. Amos Brownson, Esq., was the first representative, chosen the same year. Joel Brownson and James Farnsworth were the first justices of the peace.

The town his since been represented by Dr. Matthew Cole, Joshua Chamberlain, Joel Brownson, Jacob Spafford, Nathan Fay, Abel Cooper, James Butler, William Rhodes John Fay, Edward Jones, Amos B. Cooper, Eli Brownson, Sylvanus Douglas, Nathan




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Fay, Jr., Ransom Jones, James Humphrey, Rufus Stephens, Iddo Green, 2d, Thomas Browning, Artemas Flagg, Edwin D. Mason, Truman Fay, Rolla Gleason and Ezra B. Green, Robert Towers, U. S. Whitcomb and Safford Brownson.

Richmond is divided into 10 school districts. There is a hotel in each village. The lower village contains nearly 100 dwelling-houses, and the population in Richmond in 1850 was 1453.




The clerical profession has been represented in Richmond by Elder Ezra Wilmot, the first settled minister settled over the Calvinistic Baptist church. John Peck was settled over the same denomination, on the 25th of Sep­tember, 1823.

Jedediah Bushnell, Guy C. Sampson, Zenas Bliss, T. J. Holmes, E. H. Alden, Eben Halley and others have presided over the Congregational church.

Jonathan Wallace, Thomas Browning, and others have presided over the Universalist society.

Rev. T. Williams presides over the Meth­odist society.

There are three churches in-town: the old round church—with 16 sides and steeple rising from the center, built and owned by sev­eral societies; but now principally occupied by the Methodists, and occasionally by the Universalists,—the Congregational church and the Catholic.




The medical profession has been repre­sented in Richmond by Dr. Matthew Cole—the first physician, who died in 1809—and his successors Drs. Seth Cole, Sylvanus Church, Reuben Nims, William Foss, Carlos Allen, James M. Knox and G. P. Conn; at present by George Benedict, Loren Cham­berlain and William Root.




The legal profession has been represented in this town by Harry Brownson, Wm. P. Briggs, Wm. S. Hawkins, Edward A. Stansbury, Aaron B. Maynard, B. E. B. Kennedy, F. A, Colton, Joseph W. Allen, P. K. Gleed, and at present by S. H. Davis.




Those who have figured as business men in Richmond—as merchants, manufacturers and mechanics have been Nathan Fay, who carried on the business of carding wool and cloth dressing, at Fay's Corners (so called), said to have been the first works of the kind in the county of Chittenden; Silas Rockwell carried on tanning and currying and shoe-making at the same locality, and afterwards bought and carried on by Asahel Murray, later by Murray & Talcott, and at present by R. A. Jones.

Wm. Rhodes carried on blacksmithing and manufactured ploughs at his place upwards of 50 years ago.

Isaac Gleason opened a store and traded for many years near the old round church. On the north side of the river, near the lo­cality of the railway depot, where Hodges' store now stands, Winslow & Gay carried on the mercantile business, and D. F. Lapham & Co. were their successors. The mercantile business is now carried on by H. A. Hodges, Solomon Green, J. P. Barnum, Firman & Gorton, E. B. Green, and Sayles and Eddy, at Jonesville; and to these may be added Joshua Jewell's furniture store, and Dr. Wm. Root's drug store.

The present manufacturing concerns are the steam saw-mill and furniture manufac­tory of Joshua Jewell, the wagon shops of T. J. Bryant and Lewis Gosling, the harness shop of A. K. Jacobs, and tin shop of J. P. Barnum. There are also many other mechanics in town who work at various trades.

In this town one Dumfries had a hatter's shop as long ago as in 1817, which was de­stroyed by fire.

A grist-Mill was built by John Preston, on Huntington river, near the commencement of the present century, and is now called Preston's Mill.

A carding machine and clothier's works were built at the same locality by James H. Judson in 1815, which was destroyed by fire in 1819,—afterwards rebuilt by Daniel Fisk.

A saw-mill was built lower down the river, about the beginning of the present century, half a mile above the mouth, by Joseph Whipple.

Afterwards another clothing works was built here by Marcus Robbins & Co., but has not been in operation for some years.

There have been a number of fatal acci­dents, and two or three suicides in town.

In May, 1812, Mrs. Jewell, an aged lady, was drowned in the Winooski river, in attempting to cross it, riding behind her husband on horseback.




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In 1817 Adam Bennet received a wound while engaged with others waking up officers on training-day morning, by the careless dis­charge of a heavily-loaded gun in the hands of another young person, the wadding of the gun entering and lodging in his back, near his shoulder blade, of which he died in a few days.

Some years ago (in 1831) the bridge over the Winooski having been carried away by high water, Heman Russel, Evander Lapham and Thomas Bonnet and three others, being desirous to cross, attempted it in a boat. By an accident the boat was capsized, and Heman Russel and Evander Lapham were drowned. Thomas Bennet was so badly chilled that he died soon after he was got out of the river. Church, the mail-carrier, whom they were trying to ferry over, swam to the shore; Blossom and Case to an island, and thus three escaped with their lives. The accident was on the 31st day of March, 1831. Russel was found next morning; but Lap­ham not till June following.

About 20 years ago one of Thomas Cut­ler's children and one of Thomas Green's, were drowned in the Winooski, by breaking through the ice on the river, on which they had incautiously ventured to have a slide,

Some years later a child of Joshua Jewell was killed by the fall of a wagon body, on which it had climbed when at play.

Several years ago Capt. David Blossom was badly hurt by being overturned from his wagon, of which injury he died in two or three weeks.

In 1848 Thomas Barber, while riding on his wagon reach, lost his balance and fell under the wheels and was crushed to death.

In 1849 Daniel Robbins was thrown out of his wagon on to the frozen ground in the road, near the old meeting-house; he was taken up insensible, and died soon after with­out recovering his senses.

In 1853 John Kenedy, while in a boat on the Winooski river, near Shepard's Cove, trying to shoot pickerel, was mortally wound­ed by the accidental discharge of his gun, of which wound he died in a short time.

In July, the same year, Andrew Jackson Mason was killed while in the steam sawmill by falling upon a log that was being sawed and against the circular saw then in motion, which nearly severed his head from his body.

There has also been several very sudden deaths in Richmond. In July, 1819, Mr. Bigford Spooner, a very old man, dropped down suddenly near his house and was taken up dead.

In 1836 Abraham Alger, another aged man, dropped down dead while in the field at work,

In 1837 Stephen Manwell, on returning into his house from work out of doors, dropped down suddenly dead.

A few years ago Oliver Cutler, a man of four score years, died suddenly.

In November, 1853, Harvey Talcott came into his house from out of doors, seated him­self in a chair, and was about lighting his pipe, when death overtook him unawares.

In 1860 Mr. Elijah Hinkson, of Bolton, was picked up dead in the road, near Jones­ville, having fallen there from his cutter.

The following suicides were committed in Richmond, viz: Chester Merrifield, who hung himself in March, 1822; Anson Jones, one of a pair of twin brothers, who put an end to his life in the same way, Jan. 30, 1852; some three years since a Mrs. Gibb com­mitted suicide by cutting her throat; in 1814 Benjamin Whipple, a resident of the town, while confined in Burlington jail, in the same manner, and Denslow Barber, Jr., a returned soldier, hung himself in the sum­mer of 1866.


Some of the earlier settlers attained a very advanced age. Bigford Spooner, whose sud­den death we noticed above, was 104 at the time of his death. Mrs. Bethiah Squires, relict of Stephen Squires, was 100 years old in March preceding her death. Mrs. Ruth Robbins, widow of Daniel Robbins, was 98, when she died. Abel Cooper was upwards of 90; James Stephens, 88.

Nearly all of the following persons attained the age of 80 years and upwards: Amos and Asa Brownson, Nathan Fay, John Devereaux, Wm. Rhodes, Jesse Green, Abel Hildreth, Abraham Alger.

Mrs. Jones (mother of Edward Jones), Solomon Bates and his wife Jemima Bates, Mrs. Tomlinson (widow of Eliphalet Tom­linson), Mrs. Barber (mother of Martin, Elisha, and Shubel Barber), Ebenezer Cook, Isaac B. Andrews and Mrs. Sally Rhodes saw four score years.

Hon. Wm. P. Briggs and J. W. Allen, Esq., died in 1861. Judge Briggs, who practiced




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law for several years in Richmond, had no ordinary reputation as an advocate.

As a ruler of the twelve, in his palmiest days, when his tones were clear and silvery, he had few equals, if any, at the Chittenden county bar. I have been told by one of the older members of the bar that the most powerful and eloquent jury argument that ever was made in Chittenden county court­house was made by Wm. P. Briggs. It had, he said, all the charm and mesmeric influence of Clay. The spectators, judge and jury, were lost in the creations of the master-spirit and held as by a spell by the irresistible power of his eloquence. He said an enemy of Briggs, who was present, touched him on the shoulder and said: "That is eloquence! Henry Clay eloquence! !"

He was very social, and I have heard poor men say that whatever he might have been to the rich, he was ever a true friend to the poor.

[ We omit here a few paragraphs, as the same, in substance, we have embodied in a more extensive notice of Judge Briggs, that may be found at the close of this chapter.—Ed.]

About the beginning of the Revolution, soon after the burning of Royalton, a party of loyal citizens, 24 in number, among whom was John Barnet, started from Piedmont, on the Connecticut river, to explore the wilder­ness down the Winooski river as far as the shore of Lake Champlain. They were sent out as a scouting party to see if any Indians and tories were lurking about, as there had been suspicions that their destruction was in contemplation.

After traveling down the Winooski river as far as the west line of the town of Rich­mond, formerly in the limits of Jericho, on the interval of what is called the Spafford farm, they discovered the trail of a consider­able body of Indians. Thereupon they formed in a line to receive any attack the foe might make. They then advanced down to a point of rocks in the bend of the river, just a few rods above where the old turnpike bridge now stands.

Behind a point of rocks that project down near the river lay about 30 tories and Indians, concealed in ambush, who fired a volley into the advancing loyal party and mortally wounded their leader, John Barnet, and slightly wounding many others. The loyal party then retreated, leaving their dying leader, John Barnet, mortally wounded in the hands of the enemy.

The leader of the tories and Indians was from Piedmont, from the neighborhood from which Barnet and his followers came. He was at once a tory and a traitor, and had given notice to the Indians of the advance of Barnet and his party, perhaps not con­jecturing their true object.

After the retreat of Barnet's followers, the tory leader, blackened and disguised as an Indian, hastened to the dying Barnet, took him up in his arms, and as he recognized the dying man, exclaimed: "John, if I had known it was you, I would not have fired !"

Barnet soon after died, and was carried by the tory leader and his followers down the river to the Penniman place and buried be­neath an old tree-root, near where the "Lime-kiln" now stands.

The next spring the brothers of John Barnet learned where he was buried, went after him, dug him up and carried him on poles through the wilderness to Piedmont, and buried him with his kindred. They swore eternal vengeance on his murderer, if they should ever meet him, and the tory leader was obliged to find a home in Canada, where he lived and died many years after Great Britain had acknowledged our independence.




Here in Richmond, near Jonesville, about half a mile from the confluence of the Huntington and Winooski rivers, after crossing the interval, and going up the Huntington river, on the first point of land projecting towards the river, stands—a few rods from the river's bank—the mounds and embank­ments of an ancient Indian wigwam.

It was first discovered in 1809, and when discovered a large birch tree stood on the bank or mound of the wigwam over three feet through, indicating its considerable antiquity. Its mounds are still visible, and many ancient Indian relics have been found here.

Here the red man sped his canoe from the broader Winooski up the smaller river to his hidden home in the unbroken wilderness. Here he returned from his hunting and fishing excursions. Here he made his necessary arrow heads and utensils of stone. Many of the former and some of the latter have been found on the site of this wigwam by the




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"children of an older growth," who excavated these mounds for Indian relics in their boyhood days. Here he wooed his dusky mate; hunted the wild game; danced the wild dance; sang the wild song; proclaimed his passions and sentiments in wild oratory; lived, loved and died in the wild wilderness a hundred years ago.




In the early day one Isaiah Preston and one Stinson, two of the early settlers of this vicinity, went out on a moose hunt. They were not fortunate until they got several miles from home. It was in the winter time, and they, on account of the depth of snow, were obliged to travel on snow-shoes.

Just at night they found and shot a large moose in a hollow near the south-west end of Mansfield mountain. The shades of night were coming on, they built a fire, dressed their moose, cooked their supper of moose meat, made a bed of evergreen boughs and laid down to pleasant dreams.

After they had made preparation for a night's lodging in the woods, it being very cold, Preston said to Stinson that he would take the moose hide and wrap himself up in that, which he did, giving Stinson both of the blankets. They slept soundly and well, and were unmolested and undisturbed, ex­cepting by the distant howl of the wolves.

Morning dawned, and Preston thought he would unrobe himself and help Stinson build the fire and cook their breakfast; but he found his hands and legs tied so tightly by the frozen hide that he must inevitably have perished had it not been for the assistance of his companion. After being restored to liberty, they hung upon a tree the portion of the moose they could not carry, and backed the rest 8 or 10 miles on their backs to their hungry families. In this way the early set­tlers supplied themselves with game, it being their only meat. Many are their stories of hardships and hair-breadth escapes of these iron-sinewed pioneers.




The year the Maine boundary question was at its height, Gen. Scott, on his way to join his troops on the Maine border and passing through the town of Richmond, stopped at the stage hotel, now the farm-house of Joseph Whipple.

It was general muster-day, and all of the militia in the western part of the state had met, pursuant to orders, in Richmond, and were drilling on the flat meadow in front of the hotel, under General Coleman. After Gen. Scott was introduced to Gen. Coleman and his officers, he inquired if there were any soldiers there who belonged to the 11th regiment of infantry, who fought under him at Lundy's Lane or Bridgewater. He was informed there was one soldier of his old regiment there, Orderly Sergeant William Humphrey, who resided in Richmond. Humphrey was soon found, brought forward and introduced to Gen. Scott. They instantly recognized each other. A large crowd gath­ered around to hear what they had to say. They grasped each others hands with all the warmth of affection of two brothers long separated. Still grasping each others hands, the joy of each with the memories of the past were so great, the tears welled up to each of their eyes and flowed down the bronzed cheeks of the General and his Orderly. Scott inquired for all of his old companions in arms, and recounted the deeds of valor of each of the brave men who fought so bravely against old and tried soldiers, the heroes of Waterloo.

After he had finished his many praises of his brave men, not forgetting to speak in the highest terms of his Orderly Sergeant, calling him by his given name William, Humphrey says to him, "There is one more whose name you have forgotten to mention." Scott said, "Whom have I neglected or forgotten?" Humphrey's reply was, "The bravest of them all—one Winfield Scott."

The General in becoming a General did not lose the man. He did not forget his soldiers—they never forgot him. He loved them as children—they reverenced and loved him as a father.

Humphrey used to declare that Scott was superior to any other general in the world; that he was unconquerable, more than a man, and almost a god.

Such was the inspiration Scott threw over his men in the hour of battle and the hour of peace, that the spell was not dissolved till his soldiers slept their last sleep.






The few Catholics who lived in Richmond aged to be visited occasionally on week days by Rev. Jeremiah O. Callaghan as far bank




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as the year 1840. In the year 1854 to 1857 Father Maloney had charge of the Catholics of that place. In the spring of 1857, Rt. Rev. L. de Goesbriand bought a lot in Rich­mond, on which he began immediately to erect a church, The church was finished in the summer of 1858, and was dedicated on the first Sunday of October, 1858. Whilst the church was building, and until December, 1859, the Rt. Rev. Bishop had charge of the congregation. When the church was com­pleted, Rev. Father Lynch took charge .of the congregation and celebrated mass there every other Sunday. In the fall of 1860 a house was built for the priest, and Father James Quinn was appointed resident pastor of the place. He remained in Richmond until September, 1861, when Father (oane took charge of tho congregation. From September, 1861, to May, 1865, Father. Cloarec celebrated Mats in Richmond once a month. In May, 1865, all the debts on the church and house of the priest being paid, Father O'Carrol, the present pastor was ap­pointed.

There are about 120 families in the con­gregation of Richmond, 50 Irish families and 70 French Canadians. This spring (1866) the church has been enlarged, and it is now a very neat and commodious building.






The late Hon. Wm. P. Briggs was born at Adams, Mass., March 14, 1796. His father, Benjamin Briggs, a farmer, of the old Rhode Island stock of Friends, married Naomi Wells, of the same faith, at Windsor, Mass., Dec. 10, 1776.

The subject of this sketch was the young­est of 11 children, and his parents gave him a name most dear to their hearts.—William Penn.

Although in comfortable circumstances, they did not feel able to give him a collegiate education, but furnished him the best aca­demic instruction within their reach. This education was widely improved upon by him in after years, and in those branches of learning which he most loved there were few better scholars.

He was a cousin of the late lamented George N. Briggs, ex-governor of Massachu­setts, in company with whom he studied law in the office of Mr. Robertson, of Adams. They maintained through life the most tender affection for each other, and died but a week apart.

In 1819, at the age of 26, he married at New Lebanon, New York, Melinda Brown, formerly of old Windsor, Conn., latterly of Cheshire, Mass., a woman remarkable for graces of person and character. She was an invalid for 30 years before her death, which took place on the 15th of March, 1849,

To them were born three children: Josephine Melinda, at Adams, Mass., in 1822; John William, at Hancock, Mass., April 2, 1826; and Catharine Naomi, at Richmond, Vt., Nov, 1831. The eldest daughter—a most estimable lady—married, in 1840, Edward Augustus Stansbury, of New York, at the time a law student of her father's, and they now reside with their children—Cordelia, Agnes, and Caroline Kirkland Stansbury—in Holedon, New Jersey. Their only son, Hamilton, died in Burlington, Vt., Jan. 20, 1849.

John William Briggs was remarkable, the last days of his life, for his beautiful Christian spirit, which led him, at the age of 26, to relinquish home and the society of his friends to labor as a missionary in Jamaica. He arrived at Kingston, on the 10th of February, 1853, and died of fever on the 17th of the same month. His remains now rest at that place.

Catherine Naomi married, at Johnson, Vt., Nov. 6, 1854 Charles Crawford Carter, of Marion, Iowa, formerly of Montpelier. Unto them was born, in 1855, a daughter, Cora Blanche. On the 25th of the following December, Mr. Carter died, and in 1857 his widow married Edward LeRoy Samson, of Marion, by whom she has a son Charles Edward.

While quite a young man, Mr. Briggs was elected to the legislature of the commonwealth, from Adams, Mass., and he served with much ability in that capacity, manifesting talent, political foresight and wisdom that seldom characterizes so young a man.

He lived at Hancock, Mass., in the practice of law several years, acting in the minor offices of postmaster, justice of the peace, &c. and removed to Richmond, Vt., in 1825 where he resided until the autumn of 1841. During this time he acted as merchant and farmer, in addition to a very extensive law practice, and in 1829, 1832, and 1834, was




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chosen Judge of Probate for the District of Chittenden. In 1841 he received from Pres­ident Harrison the appointment of Collector of Customs for the District of Vermont, and Burlington being the principal port, he removed his family to that place in October, 1841, and continued to reside there until May, 1845, when he returned to his farm in Rich­mond. On the death of his wife he remained unmarried until autumn, 1849, when he married a Mrs. Amy Richmond, a widow, of Adams, Mass., whom he had known from his boyhood. By her he had no children, and she survives him. The late Andrew A. Richmond, well known in Massachusetts, was her youngest son.


Judge Briggs was remarkable, and noted for his strong sense, his extensive acquaint­ance with English literature, and extraordi­nary powers of persuasion as a jury advo­cate. To his last days this great gift survived with scarcely diminished force, and gave him the well-deserved reputation of being one of the ablest jury lawyers of Ver­mont. His energy was exhaustless, and his tenacity of purpose such that obstacles seemed rather to stimulate than to discourage him. His familiarity with the Scriptures and the poets—especially Shakspeare—supplied him with apt quotations, which he used freely and with great effect. His sense of honor and of the ludicrous was remarkable, and his merciless ridicule of his opponents often carried court, bar and jury with him in spite of themselves.

He possessed, to an uncommon degree, the faculty to which so much of the success of President Lincoln as a lawyer is attributed—the faculty of condensing an argument in a pithy story, which made the point too plain to be missed by the dullest hearer. And in this he did not fall into that great error of coarseness and vulgarity, as many poor law­yers do, but borrowed his illustrations from re­fined sources; and whenever a rough subject must be considered, he gave it such a polish that the most delicate ear would delight to hear him.

Although industrious, temperate and able, his want of system in the conduct of his affairs, and his deprecated accommodation in signing with other men, deprived him of the rewards he had so richly earned, and gave rise to controversies which embittered his declining years. But in spite of the industrious efforts of enemies, his genial spirit and earnest friendliness of nature always won for him, wherever he lived, the good will and respect of the best people around him.

In person he was tall and commanding, of noble aspect, and conciliatory manners, and in fluency of utterance had few equals.

He was several times prominently before the public for high political positions; but party exigencies seeming to require the post­ponement of his claims, he never received the political advancement to which his friends deemed him justly entitled.

He never allied himself to any church or­ganization, hut his respect for religion and all sacred things was profound and sincere, and he always attended on its ministrations when he was able. He was never a profane man, but was always pure in morals, and was possessed of a fine poetic temperament that always thrilled with the beautiful, the eloquent, and the sublime. His last days were marked by the meek serenity of a spirit at peace with God and man, and he passed on in the undoubting faith of a happy here­after. He died at Montpelier, on the 20th of September, 1861, in the 69th year of his age, and is buried beside his first wife at Rich­mond. Thus lived and died one of the most talented men of Vermont. And I cannot better close than by saying of him, in the language of his beloved Shakspeare:


"His life was gentle, and the demerits

So mixed in him that Nature might stand up

And say to all the world, 'This was a man!' "


MONTPELIER, May 30, 1862.













No discord has the sighing reed,

None has the running rills,

None is there in the wild bird's song,

That echoes from the hills.

Feel nature's soft harmonic charms,

And let them bind thy will,

And soothe the passions of thy heart,

To peace, and make them still.






June, pure, loveliest June,

And brooks that are dancing the merriest tune

That the warblers e'er sung

Through bright elfin groves in the earliest spring,

You are passing away;

Though you bear on your brow a chaplet of flowers,

That the May Queen, your sister, bountifully showers.




                                                 ST. GEORGE.                                                       851


On you, sweet, sunny June, to brighten your hours,

You are passing away.


Like bright smiles you did bring,

Like birds that have warbled through all the glad spring,

Like life's journey half took,

Like the murmuring music of the babbling brook,

You are passing away;

Like the flowers, with heaven-fraught incense, our bowers

Have blessed to make glad and brighten our hours;

Like the clouds that e'er bless the earth with their showers,

You are passing away.










St. George is a small township lying 8 miles S. E. from Burlington, and 28 nearly W. of Montpelier. It was not organized until 1813, and this fact, together with the rather limited size of the town, has led to the very general impression that it was for­merly a gore, and not a chartered township; this, however, was not the case. It was chartered August 18, 1763, by Governor Wentworth, of New Hampshire, to Jesse Hallock and 63 others,* and by the terms of the charter was a full-sized township, or 6 miles square; but upon surveying the towns in that part of the-country, it was found— owing, perhaps, to a misapprehension at that time of the course of the Winooski river—that the area was not sufficiently large to give to each town the number of acres named in their charters; and, as it turned out, it was the misfortune of the proprietors of St. George to suffer the greater part of the deficiency. The circumstances were as


The towns of Charlotte and Hines­burgh were granted in 1762, and their boundaries marked. The year following the towns of Burlington, Williston, St. George and Shelburne, were granted, and as the Winooski river, by the terms of their char­ters, was to form the north lines of Burling­ton and Williston, their boundaries were readily established, beyond dispute. But upon surveying those towns, such was the course of the river, it was found that the S. E. corner of Williston reached quite to the north line of Hinesburgh, thus leaving a triangular piece some 6 or 7 miles broad on the lake, and narrowing to a point at about 10 miles back from the lake, and containing some 1600 acres, which only remained to form the towns of Shelburne and St George. And as Burlington and Williston had a few days priority in the date of their charters over those of Shelburne and St. George, there was no alternative left to the two latter but to take what remained. St. George, unfortu­nately having the small end of the wedge, came near being crowded out entirely. As it is, however, it has an area of 2200 acres.

The name of the town is said to have been given in honor of the then reigning king of England. The pious prefix of the name would seem to indicate a high degree of reverence on the part of the proprietors who proposed the name for that august mon­arch; but had it been a few years later, when the burden of the stamp act and other kindred acts began to weigh heavily upon the colonies, they would, no doubt, have left off the Saint, and perhaps have substituted some other quite as significant title.

When it was finally ascertained to what an extent the town was reduced, by an act­ual survey, the proprietors—none of whom resided on their grant—determined to make the best of their misfortune; accordingly, they had the town laid out into 30-acre lots, each proprietor having one lot, or 30 acres, instead of 360, as they would have had if it had proved a 6 mile township; but as their charter was for a full-sized town, and the number of grantees 64, it was very easy for any one unacquainted with the facts to com­pute the number of acres in a "right" to be 360; therefore, their "rights" sold in the market for the same price as those of other towns.

A single instance, as related to me by an intelligent old gentleman, who was him­self a witness of the circumstance, will suf­fice to illustrate the matter. A gentleman


* ST. GEORGE GRANTEES.—Jesse Hallock, Samuel Farmer, Christian Farmer, John Farmer, Christian Farmer, Robert Farmer, Peter Farmer, Jeremiah Leming, Thos. Ellison, William Ellison, Simon Ransom, Shem Ransom, Isaac Sears, Jasper Drake, Joseph Sacket, Joseph Sacket Doctor, Francis Sacket, William Butler, John Mann, Thomas Mann, William Mann, Ermes Graham, John Jeffrys, Isaac Underhill, Benj. Underhill, Henry Frankling, Jona. Courtland, Uriah Wolman, Amos Underhill, Richard Willik, Sam'l Willik, Jacob Watson, Benj. Ferris, Daniel Prindle, Joshua Watson, Benj. Leaman, Edmund Leaman, Richard Leaman, Richard Titus, Isaac Mann, Isaac Mann, Jr., Peter Vanderwort, Wm. Hayris, Magnes Gurrat, Robert Ling, John Dervicos Murphy, Edward Ferrol Murphy, Jno. Deveeanose Murphy, Jr., Thomas Wright, Caleb Wright, John Wright, Tim. Whitmore, Benj. Clap, Benj. Clap, Jr., Henry Clap, Daniel Quimby, Jona. Wake, Jona. Quimby, The Hon. John Temple, Esq., Theo. Atkinson, Esq., Wm. Hunk, I. Wentworth, Esq., John Fisher, Esq. [From the papers of Mr. Henry Stevens.—Ed]