854 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
BY LYMAN THAYER.
Our ancient records are brief and indefinite, and much of interest, undoubtedly, is beyond the reach of any now living. I have endeavored to embody as many of the local facts and incidents of the town as can be ascertained in the limited and brief records which were made and have been preserved. I copy the original Charter of the town. It is a curious document as to phraseology and conditions, showing the manner, style and literature of 100 years past:
OF THE TOWN OF
George the 3d, by the Grace of God, of Great Brittain France and Ireland, King, Defender of the faith, &c., To all persons to whom these presents shall come,— Greeting:—Know ye, that we of our special grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, for the due encouragement of setling a new plantation within our said province, by and with the advice of our truly and well-beloved Bening Wentworth, Esq., our Governor and commander in chief of our said province of New Hampshire, in New England, and of our council of the said province, have upon the conditions and revelations hereinafter, made, given and granted and by these presents, for us, our heirs, and successors, do give and grant in equal shares, unto our loving subjects, inhabitants of our said province of New Hampshire and our other governments, and to those heirs assigns forever, whose names are entered on this grant, to be divided to and amongst them into seventy equal shares, all that tract and parcel of land. situate, lying and being within our said province of New Hampshire, containing by admeasurement 23,500 acres, which tract is to contain something more than six miles square and no more, out of which an allowance is to be made for highways and unimprovable lands, by rocks, ponds, mountains and rivers, one thousand and forty acres free according to a plan and survey thereof made by our said governor's order and returned into the secretary's office and hereunto annexed, butted end bounded as follows, viz: beginning at a stake and stones, standing on the easterly shore of Lake Champlain, which is the northwesterly corner bounds of Charlotte, a Township lately granted in this
province, and from thence running east seven miles, partly by Charlotte aforesaid and partly by Hinesburg to a stake and stones on the northerly side line of Hinesburgh, from thence, turning off and running north six miles to a stake and stones, thence turning off again and running west about six miles to Lake Champlain, then running southerly by the said Lake as that runs, to the northwesterly corner bounds of Charlotte, the bounds begun at, and that the same be and hereby is incorporated into a Township, by the name of Shelburne. And the inhabitants that do and shall hereafter inhabit the said Township, are hereby declared to be enfranchised with and entitled to each and every one of the privileges and immunities that other Towns within our province by law exercises and enjoy, and further that the said Town as soon as there shall be fifty families resident and setled therein, shall have the liberty of holding two fares, one of which shal be held on the—and the other on the—following the said—and that as soon as the said Town shall consist of fifty families, a market may be opened and kept one or more days in each week as may be thought most advantageous to the inhabitants. Also that the first meeting for the choice of Town officers agreeable to the laws of our said province, shal be held on the third tuesday in September next, which said meeting shal be notified by Mr. Jesse Hallock, who is hereby also appointed the moderator of said first meeting, which he is to notify and govern according to laws and customs of our said province, and that the annual meeting forever hereafter for the choice of such officers for the said Town, shall be on the second tuesday of March annually. To have and to hold the said tract of land as above expressed, together with all the privileges and appertinances to them and their representative heirs and assigns forever upon the following conditions, viz: 1st.—That every grantee his heirs or assigns shal plant and cultivate five acres of land within the term of five years, for every fifty acres contained in his or their share or portion of land in said Township, and continue to improve and settle the same, by additional cultivation, on penalty of forfeiture of his grant or share in the said Township, and of its reverting to us our heirs and successors, to be by us or them regranted to such of our subjects as shall effectually settle and cultivate the same. 2d.—That all white and other pine trees within said Township fit for masting our royal Navy be carefully preserved for that use and none to be cut or felled without our special leave for so doing first had and obtained, upon the penalty of the forfeiture of the right of such grantee, his heirs and assigns to us our heirs and successors, as well as being subject to the penalty of any act or acts of parliament, that now are or that may be enacted. 3d.—That before any division of the land be made to and among the grantees, a tract of land, as near the center of said Township as the land will admit of shall be reserved and marked out for Town lots, one of which shall be allotted to each grantee, of the contents of one acre. 4th.—Yielding and paying therefor to us our heirs and successors, for the space of ten years, to be computed from the date hereof, the rent of one ear of Indian corn only, on the 25th day of December annually, if lawfully demanded, the first payment to be made on the 25th day of December 1763. 5th.—Every proprietor, setler or inhabitant, shall yield and pay unto us our heirs and successors yearly and every year, forever, from and after the expiration of ten years from the above said 25th day of December, namely, on the 25th day of December, which will be in the year of our Lord 1773, one shilling proclamation money, for every hundred acres he so owns, settles or possess, and so in proportion for a greater or lesser tract of said land, which money shall be paid by the respective persons above said, their heirs and assigns in our council Chamber in Portsmouth, or to such officers as shall be appointed to receive the same, and this to be in lieu of all other rents or services whatsoever. In testimony whereof we have caused the seal of our said province, to be hereunto affixed. Witness, Bening Wentworth, Esq., our Governor and commander in chief of our said province, the 18th day of August, in the year of our Lord Christ 1763, and in the third year of our reign. By his excellency's command, with advice of council.
T. ATKINSON, Jun. Sec.
Province New Hampshire, August 18th 1763, recorded according to the original Charter under the province seal,
Per T. ATKINSON, Jun. Sec.
[Names of the grantees of Shelburne, Jesse Hallock, and 64 others:]
For his excellency, Bening Wentworth, Esq., a tract to contain five hundred acres as marked B. W. in the plan, which is to be accounted two of the within shares—one whole share for the incorporated society for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts—one share for the glebe for the Church of England, as by law established—one share for the first settled Minister of the gospel there—and one share for the benefit of a school in said Town forever.
Province New Hampshire, Aug. 18th, 1763, Recorded according to the back of the original Charter of Shelburne, under the Province Seal.
Per T. ATKINSON, Jun. Sec.
The above and within is a true copy of the Charter of Shelburne.
Attest, JOSEPH PEARSONS, Sec.
Shelburne, Dec. 14th, 1809. Received the Charter of Shelburne, and the foregoing is a true copy,
Attest, JOSHUA ISHAM, Town Clerk.
The plan referred to in the charter is on the back, and
the government right marked B. W. is in the N. W. corner of the plan, which
would properly enbrace Potter's Point, and as it is marked in the plan, would
cover a portion of Shelburne Bay. But in locating that right it was fixed on
the east side of the Bay. Three-fourths of this right was purchased originally
by Robert Lyon, father of Jonathan and Chauncy, now residing on this right, and
the remainder by Simon and Samuel Blin. This right of 500 acres is bounded on
the S. by land now owned by Aaron Rowley, and extends E. as far as lots owned
by Simon and Samuel Blin, and all N. to the S. line of Burlington. In the names
of the original proprietors there is but the name of one individual that ever
became a resident of the town—John Potter, who settled and commenced improvements
on the Point which bears his name. It will be seen by the charter that it
covers more territory than was ever held by the proprietors by several thousand
acres. The reason for this was the lapping over of the original surveys. Two
parties were engaged in surveying the towns on the lake—one party, commencing
at the S. going N., the other commencing at the N. going S., meeting at
There has been various controversies, many disputes, and much litigation in the town in relation to boundaries of lots, which was caused by there having been two different surveys. The first was made in 1775, by Silas Hathaway, under instruction from Ira Allen, who assumed ownership of a large part of the town. This survey was made and the boundaries fixed by chain, with no particular regard to points of compass, measuring so many rods and fixing a corner. In 1798, the town was surveyed by Ebenezer Cobb, under the direction of the selectmen, by order of the town. In this survey the boundaries were fixed by compass, and the consequence was a variation in the two surveys, caused mostly by the variation of the surface of the earth, as by measuring over an elevation with a chain would necessarily make a shorter line than on a level. This has caused much difficulty and perplexity among landholders, and some hold by one survey and some by the other. Reference is often made in the conveyance of real estate to a certain noted line, called the Maybee line. In Cobb's survey this line was made the basis of operation as a starting point. It is an E. and W. line commencing at the lake shore, and is the dividing line between Isaac Smith and Ezra Meech, is Garrid Burritt's S. line, Erwin Rowley's S. line, and the stone wall on the line between land owned by Leander Chauvin and H. S. Morse on the W. of the main road running through to Shelburne Pond, and is the S. line of the lot formerly owned by Bela Chittenden, and now owned and occupied by Timothy Peters. Cobb commenced numbering the lots N. of this line at the lake shore and numbered all on the N. aide to the pond first. Lot No. 1 is on the N. of this line at the lake, the lot directly S. of this and S. of this Maybee line is No. 134, all S. of this line being the higher numbers. This line is so called from the fact that a family of that name resided at the time of that survey near the lake and directly on this line. There is no evidence that there ever was a division of the town made by the original proprietors. Some of them sold their claims to others and they made a pitch, as they termed it, where they could. Ira Allen probably purchased some of these rights, came here when it was a wilderness and before others, laid claim to most of the town and made such disposition of the early settlers as suited his purpose, and undoubtedly a large portion of the real estate which has been held under titles from him were invalid. There is no record in the town books of any conveyance from the original proprietors to him, but a large amount from him to others. But reference is made in some of them to the proprietors' records which is not to be found. The titles in early days were very uncertain. A large portion of the real estate was sold in 1809 at vendue in the collection of a land tax and a vendee deed given, and many hold possession under these vendue deeds and the quieting act.
[ We don't understand how he could have made valid conveyances in the town to others unless he first had them to convey. Our antiquarian father, the venerable Henry Stevens, we have frequently heard affirm that the fact that in many of the towns so few of the proprietors named in charters appear as settlers, may be better understood when it is known that many of the rights were, at the time of obtaining the charter, held by the Aliens and others under fictitious names. That is, when they wished to have a new township chartered they merely obtained a few bona fide proprietors and filled up the required number of' grantees with assumed names from some at that time distant point, as Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, &c.; paid the first grantee dues, and afterward professedly bought up these claims. This may also explain many of the uncouth and unheard of names in some of the charters, and the altogether illegibly written ones in others, — which it is said the true proprietors had much pleasantry in concocting. From Mr. Stevens' papers we give the following letter from
Gov. Chittenden, which is favorable testimony in regard to Ira Allen's true interest or claims in Shelburne—Ed.]
LETTER TO IRA ALLEN.
SIR:—The bearer, Mr. —— , [unintelligible] has been with me to inquire concerning the situation of the land that he has purchased and improved in Shelburne. I am unable to inform him the particular situation it is under at present or even your determinations respecting his claim, however I informed him that there was no chance of his obtaining any part of his purchases, which by his papers appear to be 3,000 acres, unless it was a farm as a settler. And how that may be, is unknown to me. However, as it appears he began actual settlement in his own person on land granted to him for his own service during the last French war in America in the year 1776, and has continued the settlement either by himself or at great expense by others until the opening of the present war, and has actually lost more than $100 in live stock, beside farming tools, &c., to a considerable amount, and as his improvements have been of real service to the first New Hampshire settlers, and as it appears altogether likely to me he was entirely deceived in taking his grants and making his purchases, and as it appears he is willing and very desirous to come and settle there with his sons if he can be encouraged this summer I cannot see but he is entitled to a farm, at least on the principle of settlement as well as other settlers, notwithstanding what his tenant has done. However it may be, you are much more acquainted with the matter than I am. As you are a principal owner in that town, it will be in your power — it may be in your wisdom to do something for him, as it will set an example which may be followed if we desire to maintain that justice we are contending for and keep the peace of government. You have doubtless heard of the unhappy quarrel that has happened on that account, which I have reason to believe through my influence is quieted at present. I hope you will be at home soon so as to help me a little in drawing an act to be published, which I think will have a very salutary effect.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
In 1787 there had about 30 families settled. March 29th this year, the town was organized. Caleb Smith was the first town clerk. From this period arrivals of others as settlers were numerous. The forests began to disappear; cultivated fields were to be seen in almost every part of the township; high‑ways were laid out and opened; bridges erected across the streams; framed and brick houses began to take the place of log cabins,—rail and log fence that of the brush fence which inclosed the clearings originally. Societies, social and religious, were formed; political feelings were manifested, and civilization was apparent in the habits, manners and customs of the people. Schools were established and well patronized. A house for religious worship was erected, and prosperity generally crowned the labors and efforts of the residents.
The first settlers were John Potter and Thomas Logan, two Germans who came here in 1768. Potter was one of the original proprietors named as has been said in the original charter. These two Germans located on two different points extending into the lake, which bear their names respectively — Potter's and Logan's Points. They were associated in getting out oak timber and taking it to the Quebec market. In 1775, they took a raft of timber to Quebec, sold it, and on their return the commanding officer at Montreal sent a sergeant and two privates to protect them in passing through the Indian settlements. They came up the river from St Johns in a small boat, encamped for the night on a small point a short distance from the S. line of Canada. A conspiracy was matured by the guard, and two of them engaged to murder the two Germans and secure their money, and the other made a solemn promise, sealed with an oath, never to divulge the secret. The deed was done, and their bodies were buried on a small island near the point. These are known as Bloody Point and Bloody Island, named from this circumstance. This secret disturbed the quiet of him who was sworn not to divulge or make known, and several years after he disclosed the committal of this act. The two were arrested, tried, condemned and exectuted, and the other severely punished by whipping for not disclosing sooner. Whether these two Germans ever had families is past finding out.
There had about 10 families commenced settlements near the lake before the Revolutionary War, and there is no knowledge to be had at the present day as to who they were, or of their return after the close of the war, but these two Germans and Moses Piersons. At the close of the war, several families soon came in and located in the town. In 1783, Moses Piersons returned.
Wm. Smith, Caleb Smith, Rufus Cole, Thomas Hall, Hubell and Bush associated on Potter's Point, Richard Spears and Gershom Lyon. In 1784 and 1785, Daniel Barber, Daniel Comstock, Aaron Rowley, Capt. Samuel Clark, Benjamin Harrington, Israel Burritt, Joshua feed, Timothy Hollabird, Sturgess Morehouse, Remington Bitgood, and Jirah Isham located and became residents. In the three following years Dr. Frederick Meack, Phineas Hill, Keeler Trowbridge, Samuel Mills, and probably others came, and soon after Bethuel Chittenden, Benjamin Sutton, Rosel Miner, Nathaniel Gage, Ebenezer Barstow, Robert Lyon, James Hawley, Frederick Saxton, Asahel Nash, Hezekiah Tracy, Asa Lyon, John Tabor, Robert Averill, Joseph Hamilton and several others became residents.
EVIDENCE OF INDIAN SETTLEMENTS.
The territory embraced in the limits of Vermont previous to any settlement by Europeans, was claimed as hunting ground by several powerful tribes of Indians who were hostile to each other, consequently it was often a battle field for these savage tribes. It has often been remarked as singular, that as there had been for centuries large and powerful tribes of Indians located on all sides and not far distant, that no permanent settlement was effected within the limits of Vermont. The Sioux or St. Francis tribe on the north, their principal settlement being at Montreal or Hockhelaga, as it was then called. The Naraganset on the east—principal settlement on the Merrimac River, N. H. The Pequoits on the south, inhabiting the northwest part of Connecticut; and Iroquois or Mohawks as they were commonly called on the southwest—principal settlement at Schenectaday, on the Mohawk River, N. Y. And the territory now Vermont was claimed as hunting ground by each of those tribes. And this was the cause which prevented the aborigines from making our territory to any considerable extent a permanent residence. And still there are indubitable proofs that they have at some former period resided here in considerable numbers, and for many years. There is abundant proof that Grand Isle was occupied by them for many years.
It was evident also that a field on the farm now known as the Grady farm in Shelburne at the mouth of the river, was occupied by the Indians many years as a camp field. A field of about 25 acres, on the east side of the river near the mouth, had been cleared and cultivated for a length of time, as there were no stumps of the original timber. This clearing was in a square form, and a heavy growth of the original timber on all sides, and two large trees of the original growth left standing in the clearing. There were numerous heaps or small piles of stones on this field, which must have been carried there, as there were no stones in the soil, probably for camp fires. This field was evidently abandoned by the savages several years before any settlement was made by the whites, as it was covered with a thick growth of small trees, unlike the surrounding timber, apparently of about 30 years growth. This held was cleared in 1803 by Benjamin Harrington, who then owned the lot. Arrowheads, flints and other articles were to be found on this field in considerable numbers, which was conclusive evidence of its having been occupied by savages for many years. It is highly probable that this field was occupied by a portion of the Canadian Indians for many years; but when discovered by some of those other tribes, were driven away and their settlement broken up. There were several other places near the lake where small parties of the aborigines had evidently camped for a while, previous to settlements by the whites. Grand Isle was occupied by the Sioux or St. Francis Indians many years after the first settlements were made by the whites in Chittenden County. The early settlers on the lake suffered loss and vexation by the pilfering habits of those savages.
INCIDENTS AND EVENTS OF THE WAR.
Several families had settled near the lake previous to the war of the Revolution. Among the number was Moses Pierson, on what has long been known as the Meech farm. In 1776 he had raised a large crop of wheat, and soon after it was harvested—on the approach of the British and Indians up the lake—he, with the other settlers, deeming it unsafe to remain, left this part of the state. In the month of March, following, he returned with his family and a company of armed men, under the command of Capt. Sawyer, as a protecting party, to thresh out the wheat and secure it. Whilst engaged in
860 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
this work, they were attacked by a large party, apparently of Indians, who, with terrific yells, made a furious attack in the latter part of the night. The house was constructed of large logs laid close together, and but few windows, which protected those inside from the balls of the enemy that only came through the door or windows. A desperate encounter was held for two hours, in the course of which the house was set on fire by the enemy, but extinguished by some of the party inside going out and throwing on water and returning safe; but in a short time it was fired a second time, and all the water in the house had been used in extinguishing the fire that was first kindled. The question was, what shall be done? Fortunately Mrs. Pierson had made a barrel of beer but the day before, which was used in extinguishing the second fire. The undertaking was a hazardous and dangerous one, and a reward was offered by Pierson to the man that would put out the fire. Barnabus Barnum made the attempt, and succeeded in extinguishing the fire by throwing on the beer, but was shot down before reentering the house. Joshua Woodard was also killed by a ball entering through the door. These two men by chance came to Pierson's the previous day, for the purpose of purchasing wheat, and were under the necessity of remaining through the night, which proved fatal to them. There were others of the party wounded; but they succeeded in repelling and driving off the attacking party, killing and wounding many of them, and taking a number of prisoners. The party in the house saw them after daylight carrying their dead to a crack in the ice, near Logan's Point, and throwing them into the lake, and some were thrown in that showed signs of life, which were probably considered mortally wounded.
Ziba and Uzal, sons of Moses, were young men at this time (the one 17, and the other 15 years of age), were of the party, and were active in this encounter. An infant daughter, who in after years became the wife of Nehemiah Pray, was lying in a bed at the time and fortunately escaped unharmed, although several balls were found, after the action, in the bed on which she lay, and several went through the headboard of the bedstead.
When Capt. Robert White was attending the legislature as representative of this town, from curiosity he was examining Henry Stevens' (long known as the antiquarian) collection of ancient papers and documents, and discovered a paper relating to this identical case. It is an order from the state department, and reads thus:
TO CAPT. EBENEZER ALLEN AND ISAAC CLARK.
Gentlemen: — By express this moment received the account of Capt. Sawyer's latesignal victory over the enemy at Shelburne. Therefore, direct you to repair to his relief without loss of time. You are to take post at Fort William on Otter Creek,* for the time being. You will send scouts to protect the inhabitants, or harrass the enemy, as you in your judgment may determine.
All the inhabitants you cannot safely protect, you are to insist to move within your lines (to be by you prescribed) for the time being, within a reasonable time; and all such as move, to come in, if need be, you will assist. And those that refuse such kind invitations, you are to treat as enemies of this and the United States of America.
If possible, you will secure the wheat at Shelburne, and such other effects as shall be in your power. You are not to burn or destroy any buildings or other effects.
I am, gentlemen, your obedient, humble servant.
By order of Council,
THOMAS CHANDLER, JR.,
Captains ALLEN & CLARK.
Voted in the House of Representatives to be sent."
This paper is not dated, but evidently refers to this identical case.
The party was not molested again, and the wheat was secured. This attacking party was apparently Indians; but it was strongly suspected at the time that many of them were in disguise, and this suspicion was confirmed by a train of circumstances many years after this event. In the course of the last war with England, in 1814, a number of British officers that were captured at Missisco Bay, by Gen. Clark, were brought to Burlington, and by chance were visited by Ziba Piersons; and in conversation with a Lieutenant, one of the captives, revealed his name and place of residence. The Lieutenant repeated: "Piersons — Shelburne — Shelburne and at Piersons' my father fell, he was a Captain in the British service in the time of the Revolutionary war, and was shot down at Shelburne and at Piersons'—his name was Larama." This fully confirmed
* Which was at Vergennes.
their former suspicions. His body was probably conveyed back to Canada, as it was known to the Piersons party that some of their dead were carried on hand-sleds, of which they had a number. The party at Piersons' attributed their signal success and preservation from captivity or death to the fact that the attacking party were under the influence of intoxicating liquor, with which they were well supplied. This engagement and defeat of the enemy at this time and place evidently greatly exasperated the English leaders of the army. A large bounty was offered by British authority to the person or party that would capture and deliver to them the body of Moses Piersons, dead or alive, and a party was sent out in April, following, for the express purpose of capturing, if possible, this notorious rebel, as they termed him.*
After the party had secured the wheat, deeming it unsafe to remain in Shelburne, Piersons retired with his family to Orwell. Fodder for cattle became scarce. Ziba and Uzal, with an elderly man, were sent with a lot of cattle to Shoreham, to browse these cattle in the forest. While thus employed, they were surprised by this scouting party from Canada, who were in search for Moses Piersons, or any other noted rebel. Ziba, Ural, and this elderly man, were taken prisoners and conveyed to Montreal, where they were confined until the next winter.
The prison in which they were confined was situated directly on the river St. Lawrence, and when the ice formed on the river the three found means to escape. The aged man escaped first, and the two young men made their escape through the escapement of the privy, which was directly over the river. The fate of the old man they never learned, they neither saw nor heard more of him. Unfortunately for the young men a light snow fell that night, and they knew full well that they should be pursued, and when they reached the forest, on the opposite side of the river, they crossed and recrossed their track, reversed their shoes on their feet and retraced a portion of the distance they had traveled, secreted themselves in the forest, and soon after daylight a large party was in hot pursuit of them, passed directly by where they were concealed, and obliterated their track with their own, and they were not discovered. They remained in their hiding place the next night, not daring to proceed. The third night they moved cautiously forward and made their way as best they could, traveling for sometime in the night only, and lying concealed in the wilderness through the day. They had no means of subsistence but what chance threw in their way, sometimes procuring milk from the cows they found in some of the French settlements through which they passed. They traveled most of the time in the forest, with no guide and often in the wrong direction, as they learned when the sun revealed itself. When about 25 days from Montreal, and near the north line of New York, they discovered a party of lumbermen who camped in the forest in a log cabin. They concealed themselves near by, until the workmen left in the morning, when they approached the cabin cautiously and ascertained that but an old man was left to take care of the cabin and its contents, and he was fast asleep and, as they judged afterwards, intoxicated. They entered the cabin cautiously, with the understanding that one of them was to watch the old man, and, if need be, to dispatch him at once, to prevent a discovery, and the other to procure provisions for present and future use. They succeeded in getting as much as they could carry, which was a great relief to them in the remainder of their journey. The old man on guard made no move, and they did not harm him. They proceeded on and reached Lake Champlain, crossed the lake to the main land, as they then supposed, not knowing the geographical location of places, but found they were on the Grand Isle, which was then occupied by Indians in considerable numbers, though they did not discover them. They then crossed to the main land in Vermont, and after 40 days spent in cold winter weather, without the benefit of fire, for fear of its being a means of their being discovered and recaptured, they reached Shelburne, and found naught but desolation, no living person there. They found a few peas and some frozen potatoes at their former residence, and cooked and eat them with a relish, and proceed on to Orwell, where their parents then were, and they were received with a joyful welcome, after almost a year's
* Additional particulars in regard to the "Shelburne battle" appear in the next paper, furnished by Rev. Mr. Sutton.—Ed.
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absence — appearing more Iike walking skeletons than living beings.
After the close of the war, in the spring of 1783, Moses Piersons returned to Shelburne with his family, reoccupied his former residence and resided there until his death, which was July 28, 1805.
located on a farm lying on the main road, in the south part of the township; accumulated a good property, held many offices of trust in the town, a thorough business man; died suddenly in a fit of apoplexy, Nov. 1, 1820, aged 60 years.
owned and occupied the farm near the lake, now owned and occupied by Ezra Meech, a son of Ezra Meech, Sen. By energy and good fortune he secured a large and valuable estate, what is termed among country farmers wealthy; reared up a large family of children, but was unfortunate towards the close of his business life and lost much of his wealth; came to his death by falling from a wagon, striking upon his head, June 11, 1836, aged 72 years.
emigrated to Shelburne, and located on what has ever been known as Smith's Point, in 1783; was familiarly known as Quaker Smith. His family consisted of several sons and daughters, most of them settled in the west part of the town. The old homestead has passed from one to another of his descendants and is now owned and occupied by Isaac Smith, a descendant—one of the third generation.
one of the early settlers, located a short distance north of Wm. Smith's, on a point which has ever bore his name. He was a man of unblemished character; held many offices in the gift of the people, being treasurer of the town for many years. He was a Universalist in religious sentiment, a strict moralist, and honest man; died Jan. 11, 1810, aged 74 years.
son of Daniel, was town clerk for many years, justice of the peace, and held various town offices; was a prominent man in the community; died May 10, 1847, aged 81, universally respected.
son of Daniel, owned and occupied this farm, the old homestead, after his father's death, which is now owned by Hezekiah, son of Elisha.
was one of the first settlers in the town of Burlington. Located at the head of Pearl street in 1785, resided there several years. Sold to Col. Pearl, in 1792, and removed to Shelburne, located on a point a distance north of Comstock's Point, now owned and occupied by Geo. Saxton, a descendant of Frederick; resided on this point till his death in 1796, the manner of which may be learned under head of "drowning," in this paper.
removed from Braintree, Mass. Came to Shelburne July 21, 1783, purchased a lot of land the east side of Shelburne Bay, a part of which was in the town of Burlington; erected a log-house directly on the bank, near the water, and but just south of Burlington line, in which he resided till his death. This part of Shelburne was then an unbroken wilderness, no roads opened which were passable, settlements few and far between, no grist-mill or market nearer than Whitehall or St. Johns for two years was under the necessity of taking his grain in a small boat to one of those places to get it ground; then, for a while, to Willsborough Falls; there to Winooski Falls, for a time before a mill was put in operation at Shelburne Falls. He was the father of 11 children. His children mostly located in the north part of Shelburne and south part of Burlington, and their descendants were quite numerous. He died March 19, 1788, aged 52 years.
ELHANAN W. SPEARS,
a son of Richard, now owns and occupies a portion of the real estate originally purchased by his father. Was two years of age when he came to Shelburne, and has resided on said farm since, has followed the business of shoemaking, tanning and currying, associated with farming. Has been successful in business; filled many offices of trust in the town, and has retired from business in comfortable circumstances. Has reared a large family of children, most of whom have departed this life. He is still living, 81 years of age.
emigrated to this town from Connecticut in early day, with several sons; located on a portion of the Governor's right, a short distance south of Spears'; did not live many years after he came to Shelburne.
a son of William, owned and occupied a portion of the lot on which his father resided; was a prominent citizen; held several offices — constable, selectman, &c.; kept a public house for many years; raised a large family of children. He died April 5, 1819, aged 53 years.
a son of William, owned and occupied another portion of the farm purchased by his father; was an enterprising and influential citizen in the community, filled various offices in the gift of the people, kept a public house for many years, reared a large family of children. The street on which these two brothers were located has long been known as Blin street, and the neighborhood as the Blin district. He died Nov. 27, 1844, aged 73 years.
for many years a sea-faring man, emigrated to this place from Connecticut, soon after the Revolutionary war, in company with his father and his brother, Wm. C. Harrington, who was the first lawyer that settled in Burlington. Benjamin and William purchased the lot at the end of Potter's Point, and previously occupied by Hubbell and Bush, and traded for a while in a log building erected by Hubbell and Bush and occupied by them as a store. In 1788 Benjamin purchased a lot at the center of the town, erected a log cabin and removed to that place, it then being an unbroken wilderness, a hemlock swamp, and a frog pond the year round where Simonds store now stands. In 1789 he erected a frame-house a few rods back of where Col. Frederick Fletcher now resides (the cars now passing directly over where this building was erected), cleared up the land, caused a public road to be laid out and opened from Middlebury to Burlington, known as the main road. In 1796, soon after this road was laid out, he erected the large building which has ever been used as a public house, now owned and occupied by Cornelius H. Harrington, a descendant from him. He was one of the most enterprising business men in the community; entered largely into business; added farm to farm, and accumulated wealth. He was the contractor, in 1807, for building the white church edifice, as it is called, and completed it to the satisfaction of the people, with dispatch and credit to himself. Was associated with Jedediah Boynton for several years in mercantile business. Was the father of several sons and daughters; Henry, the youngest, now owns and occupies most of his real estate at the center of the town. But he was arrested in the prime of manhood and in the midst of his business operations by a fatal disease, and closed his earthly labors Jan. 17, 1810, aged 48 years, and was buried the day that has ever been known as the cold Friday.
one of the early settlers, emigrated from Williamstown, Con.; made a pitch, as he terms it in a memorandum made by him at the time, in St. George, Mar. 17, 1784, where he resided 9 years; purchased the lot east of the Falls in Shelburne, now owned and occupied by John Clark, and removed to that place Feb. 28, 1793; erected the dwelling now occupied by Clark that year; purchased the store at the Falls, long known as the old red store, goods, land and potash owned by Thadeus Tuttle, and removed to that place Jan. 1, 1796; shortly alter purchased the grist-mill, sawmill and all the water privileges formerly erected and owned by Ira Allen; owned and occupied the grist-mill and saw-mill through life; erected the dwelling now owned and occupied by Geo. Bliss, a descendant of his, in 1804; was a thorough business man; traded many years in the old red store; was generally fortunate in business, and the owner of valuable real estate at the time of his death. He was a leading man in his day; held many public offices in the town: was town clerk for many years, and for years a member and principal supporter of the Episcopal church. In this place, at the time he came to St. George, there was no settlement whatever at Shelburne Falls, an unbroken wilderness. He died April 9, 1840, aged 82 years.
a younger brother of Joshua, accompanied him from Williamstown, in 1784, and purchased a lot of land a few years after in the S. E. corner of Shelburne. He was a man of enterprising habits and good moral charac‑
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ter; but situated so remote from the business places of Shelburne and so much nearer Hinesburgh village that his business associations were more in Hinesburgh than in Shelburne, and hence he was not so much known in this town as many other business men. His energies and good fortune secured to him a real estate of several hundred acres and other accumulations of wealth. He raised up a large family, many of them now living. He was a man that was fond of hunting and fishing. On the 9th of December, 1837, he took his gun in the afternoon, went into the woods near Shelburne Pond, which was but a short distance from his residence, in search of game; but not returning that night, search was made in the morning for him. His hat and gun were found on the ice that covered the pond, and his lifeless body at the bottom in about 12 feet of water. It was evident that he was attempting to cross a small bay, deeming it safe. The ice gave way under him, and laboring under the infirmities of age, he could not work his way to the shore, which was but a few feet from where he was found. He had broken his gun-lock in his efforts to reach the shore, but probably soon became exhausted, and left his hat and gun as a guide to where his body might be found, and sank to the bottom. [We here omit a complimentary, but brief notice of Rev. Bethuel Chittenden in Mr. Thayer's paper, having had a more complete paper furnished by Rev. Mr. Bailey, as appears further on.—Ed.]
a son of Bethuel, a respectable farmer, having a family of four children: whilst engaged in stoning a well for Remington Bitgood, by accident fell into the well and was so badly injured as to cause his death in a short time. He was insensible when taken from the well. This was on the 15th of November, 1816, just one week before Bitgood committed suicide. He was 52 years of age.
ASA. R. SLOCUM,
one of the early settlers in the N. E. part of the town, a citizen of enterprise, respectability and wealth, who held many town offices, having a numerous and respectable family: returning from Burlington in the evening of Jan. 3, 1830, called at a near neighbors for some purpose, and, as it appeared, in attempting to reenter his wagon (there being snow on the ground), made a miss-step and probably fell between his spirited horses, as the neighbor observed from the sound of the wagon on the frozen ground indicated that they were soon going at a rapid rate. His foot caught between the whiffletrees and his lifeless and mangled body was found dragging under the wagon when the team reached his place of residence. He was 63 years of age.
who settled at an early day in the N. E. part of the town, was an enterprising citizen, owned a valuable real estate and other accumulations of wealth. He held various offices in the gift of the people, and was justice of the peace for many years. He was a leading member of the M. E. Church from its earliest history in this town, and often engaged and officiated as preacher, and was regarded as father to the church of that order, and contributed largely to its support. But in a later day he with others dissented from some of the principal tenets and forms of government adhered to by that denomination, who seceded from them and joined themselves to the Reformed or Protestant Methodist church, the government of which was more democratic; and, with a view of establishing this order on a more firm basis, caused a small, neat church edifice to be erected in the N. E. part of the town in 1844, where services have generally been held since. This church edifice is known, and probably ever will be, as the Gage meeting-house—a memorial of his benevolence to the order he was striving to establish, and of his devotion to the cause of the Redeemer. He died November 27, 1854, aged 89 years.
one of the early settlers, located in early day near the center of the town geographically. He was a man of enterprise and industry, and accumulated a valuable real estate; was a leading citizen for many years, and filled several offices of trust in the town; was a member and deacon of the Congregational church for several years; reared up several children; gave one of his sons (Almon) a liberal education, who emigrated to the state of Pennsylvania and became a noted lawyer, a member of the state legislature several years, and member of Congress from that state several terms. He died April 30, 1843, aged 84 years.
emigrated from the town of Arlington to this town in early days, located on a lot near Joshua Reed's, now owned and occupied by Myron Reed, a millwright by profession, was master-builder of the first grist-mill erected at Shelburne Falls by Ira Allen, and superintended its running for a time; a prominent citizen; father of several respectable children, some of them still living.
was born in Canterbury, Conn., in 1756, was a Sergeant in Col. Canfield's regiment of Connecticut Volunteers in the Revolutionary war, and received a Sergeant's pension from Government. He emigrated to this town soon after the close of the Revolutionary war, settled in the eastern part when it was an unbroken forest; married Esther Owen, who emigrated from Connecticut, and erected a log cabin in the forest a few feet back of the dwelling-house now owned and occupied by Heman Barstow, in which they resided several years. Their energies secured for them the means for a comfortable subsistence. They were blest with 13 healthy children, 11 of them living to mature age. He was a man of unblemished character; never made a public profession of religion, but lived and died a strict moralist; had a fair education for his day, and filled many important offices in town. His 11 children settled so near that he visited them all about one week before his death, and was impressed with the belief, and so expressed it, that it was his last visit. He died of pleurisy and bowel complaint, March 30, 1834, aged 78 years. His wife was a respectable member of the Congregational church formally years, —died in 1824.
second son of Ebenezer, was born in the log cabin 1790, is in the 73d year of his age (1862), and resides, and ever has, on the old homestead. He was celebrated when a boy for his skill in throwing small stones. Crows, hawks, partridges, pigeons, squirrels, and all kinds of small game, were almost sure to fall, if within gunshot distance and a stone was hurled at them by him; and when about 10 years of age he killed an eagle with a small stone, which measured nearly 8 feet from the extremities of his wings.* He was rather a dull scholar, but of very industrious habits. He has filled many public offices in this his native town, has represented the same in the legislature, and the county in the senate. There is a remarkable case in the history of his family. He has two daughters and a son who are perfectly deaf and have been from childhood, who can read and write as well as most persons, and converse freely with each other and their intimate acquaintances, by the motion of the lips and the organs of speech; they are otherwise endowed with the common faculties of nature; they are all members of the church, and generally attend and can understand preaching. One of the daughters was married, at a suitable age, to a respectable man, and now resides in Michigan. The other daughter and son still live with their father on the old homestead, and constitute his family.
HON. EZRA MEECH
was born in Connecticut, 1773, emigrated with his father and family and located in the town of Hinesburgh, in 1785; was engaged in trapping and gathering furs for several years, catching what he could and purchasing of other hunters, and became engaged in the fur trade to considerable extent; going into Canada and purchasing furs —bringing large packs on foot through the wilderness; was successful in his trade, and in 1795 opened a store and commenced trade at Charlotte Four Corners, so called, still dealing in furs. In 1800, married Mary McNeil; continued in trade and accumulated wealth. In 1806, purchased the farm in Shelburne near the lake, formerly owned by Moses Piersons, in the S. W. corner of the town and removed to that place; kept a small store of goods for some years; continued dealing in furs, and engaged in the manufacture of potash, purchasing ashes and salts of the settlers in this and adjoining towns for some years. About the year 1810, commenced lumbering and dealing quite extensively in oak timber principally, taking, it to Quebec market. When war was declared in 1812, by the United States Government, against Great Britain, he was at Quebec with timber and could not close his business im-
* Was this eagle story received from tradition, it might be taken as fabulous; but the actor is still living on the same farm, and I have the statement from his own hand and verbal affirmation, and if any doubt the truth of the assertion he will at any time testify to its being a fact, and point them to the very spot where the deed was done.
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mediately, and so applied to the authorities and obtained a permit to remain for 30 days, and closed his business as best he could in that time and left the province. He then engaged largely in supplying the American army with provisions, such as pork, beef, flour, &c., while the war continued. At the close of the war, reengaged in the lumber trade and was generally successful in business. He had not the benefit of a liberal education—a man of strong mind, an accurate judgment, and strong intellectual powers—was a self-made man. He filled many offices of trust in the town; represented the same in the legislature, and was county judge for several years. He was also elected a member to Congress in 1819, and served one term, and again in 1825 represented the state honorably. He was the democratic candidate for governor in 1830, 1831 and 1832, but unsuccessful. In 1833 he became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and remained a worthy and influential member until his death, and was instrumental in building up and establishing that church in this town on an enduring basis. Fortunate in business, he added farm to farm, and accumulated wealth and fame, and, at the time of his death, was the owner of some 3500 acres of land. His real estate was appraised at $125,000, exclusive of his personal property. He was, perhaps, the largest land holder in the state. He was the father of 10 children; but two have survived him — two sons that now reside a short distance from the old homestead. In 1826, while absent at Washington, his wife died; and subsequently he married Mrs. L. C. Clark, who is still living and holds possession of the old homestead. His estate was divided in accordance to his will. He died Sept. 23, 1856, aged 83 years; and a plain, neat, well-finished, substantial monument, in the central burying ground, marks his resting place.
was a daughter of Roderick Messenger, one of the early settlers of the town of Jericho in this county. He removed from Connecticut to Jericho in 1770, cleared some land and commenced improvements on a farm situated on Winooski river, near the west part of the town. In 1776, when the state was invaded by the British and Indians, he, with all others of the early settlers, left this part of the state. He with his family made their way as best they could to the town of Pawlet, in the south part of the state. Many hardships were experienced, much extreme suffering had to be endured, many difficulties overcome in making their way through the then almost unbroken forest and roads, of which the present generation can have no adequate conception. The then residents of the town of Pawlet were not very numerous, and had but few of the conveniences and necessaries of life, when compared with those of the present day. These accommodations while they remained in Pawlet were very limited, and their wants but poorly supplied. They left Jericho about the first of September, and on the 24th the wife of R. Messenger gave birth to a pair of twins, of which Ruth, who in after years married Eli Thayer, was one. The wife and mother survived but a few days; she died when Ruth was but nine days old, the other twin lived but four days. Ruth was left in care of a sister but 11 years of age, who cared for her as best she could some 9 weeks, when the father bargained with Daniel Barber, then a resident of Sunderland, to take the child, and she was subsequently adopted by him, and was ever after considered as one of his children. At the close of the war in 1784, Barber came to Shelburne with his family, purchased a lot of land, the farm now owned and occupied by Lee Tracy, a descendant of Barber, in the west part of the town, erected a log cabin for the time being and occupied this lot through life. Ruth was then 8 years of age. There were then but eight families resident of the town. These were Moses Piersons, Wm. Smith, Rufus Cole, Caleb Smith, Thomas Hall, Hubbel and Bush associated, Richard Spears and Gershom Lyon. These were all the residents of Shelburne, and not a solitary family resident in the town of Burlington. Ruth the subject of this memoir was employed when quite young in teaching school in the district where she resided, known as the Corner district; was married to Eli Thayer, December, 1795. They owned and occupied a small farm at the head of the bay on the west side of Plot river. She was the mother of ten children two of them died when quite young, of the scarlet fever or canker rash; eight of them — three sons and five daughters—universally enjoying good health, lived to what is termed
middle age. Several of them became heads of families, when one after another became victims to that fatal disease, consumption, which prevails to so alarming an extent in the New England States. She followed seven of her children and her husband to the grave in so many years. She saw all her family but one laid in the tomb, and still lived like some blighted tree in the world's wilderness, sad monument of bereavement. Her life began in sorrow, and she experienced a full share of affliction through its course. She was a person noted as having a remarkable memory—could tell the date of most of the principal events which happened in the town, age and date of birth of most of its natives, and the notable events in the county. Her family connections were noted for their longevity—universally living to a good old age. Death ended her sorrows the 9th of October, 1861, in the 86th year of her age. She closed her earthly existence with a full expectation of entering into that rest which remains for the people of God. She was for many years a member of the Episcopal church.
was born in Thompson, Conn., 1773. His father died' when he was but two years of age. He came to Shelburne in 1788; married Ruth Messenger, December 1795; owned and occupied a small farm at the mouth of the Plot river; was a joiner by profession; held several offices in the town; was constable and collector for the town 22 years; collector of the direct tax in 1815 and 1816, in the counties of Chittenden and Addison. His ancestry and family connections were noted for their tendency to consumption, many of them having large families, and almost universally dying with that disease. Such has been the case for several generations. He died of consumption, October 26th, 1838, aged 65 years.
a son of Eli and Ruth, born 1799, married Laura Blin, a daughter of Simon Blin, in 1821, is a native of this town and has always resided here;* has had six children—two sons and four daughters; all have become victims to that prevailing disease, consumption. His brothers and sisters, his father and his ancestry for several generations back, have died of consumption, most of them in middle life. It may reasonably be inferred that he partakes more of his mother's family tendency to longevity than of his father's family tendency to consumption,—he now being the only remaining representative of several numerous Thayer families.
with a family of two sons and four daughters, emigrated from Reading, Conn. to this town, in 1788, in company with Dan Fairchild and two sons. Lyon's sons were Robert and William; Fairchild's sons were Jacob, Reuben and Henry. Robert Lyon and his father purchased three-fourths of the Governor's right in this town and settled on that as it was located, and the Fairchilds purchased a portion of Lyon's claim and settled on the same right. They came from Connecticut in the winter season, bringing their effects with an ox team on a sled,—a mode of traveling that would be considered rather slow in these days of steamboat and railroad facilities, reaching Shelburne in the month of March, some six weeks from the time of starting. Jonathan Lyon died in the spring of 1791. His sons resided on this right for many years, and Jonathan, a son of Robert, is still living, owning and occupying a portion of that right. Tho Fairchilds all left Shelburne in 1813, emigrating to Ohio.
Frederick Meack, a noted and successful! physician, settled in the east part of this town at an early day; was the only one here for several years. He accumulated a valuable real estate, and raised up a large family of active children. Jacob, his eldest son, was educated at the University at Burlington, has been for many years a noted lawyer in Chittenden County. Frederick, his second son, now owns and occupies the old homestead. The Doctor was a man of impulsive temperament, using strong terms of expression at times, but understood his profession; was an able physician and safe counselor. He died June 30th, 1826, aged 61 years.
In 1810, ISAAC C. ISHAM, a brother of Joshua Isham, came to this place and located near the center, and engaged as a practicing physician. He was a plain, unassuming man, but able in his profession and generally successful, and followed his profession to the,
* Till the past Spring, (1866) when he removed to Burlington, where he now resides.—Ed.
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close of his life, July 1st, 1829, aged 58 years.
In 1826, JOEL FAIRCHILD, a young physician, located at the village, and practiced as such for several years. He received a good patronage and was generally successful, but removed to the state of Michigan in 1836;
And ELMER BEECHER took his place and officiated as physician for two years, and then retired.
In 1838, EDWIN H. SPRAGUE, a young physician, commenced in Shelburne village and followed his profession with profit to himself and satisfaction to the people for several years, but became disaffected at length and left for Ohio in 1848.
HENRY H. LANGDON took his place and practiced as physician for about six years and then left, removing to the State of New York.
SAMUEL H. CURRIER purchased the residence of Langdon, and practiced as physician about 3 years and then left town, and is now a surgeon in the army.
JONATHAN TAYLOR, an old experienced physician, removed to Shelburne from Georgia in Franklin County, in 1839, and still resides and practices here.
HUGH TAGGART, a young but successful physician, located in the east part of the town; has practiced for several years and is still practicing with good success, and has the reputation of being an able physician.
Most of the medical practice in this town at the present time is performed by physicians that are residents of Burlington.
CASES OF DROWNING.
April 28th, 1796, Col. Frederick Saxton, Jared Post and two of his sons—all citizens of this town—started in a log canoe to cross Lake Champlain from Saxton's Bay to Willsborough Point directly opposite. When about a mile or so from the Point the wind, which had been increasing from the time they first set out, had become so strong that the canoe filled with water, and the whole party were drowned. Their bodies were never found.
In the spring of 1803, John Patrill, while engaged in catching fish with a seine at the mouth of Beaver or Monroe's brook, in the night time, in attempting to reach the boat, —which had drifted some distance from the shore—on a rudely constructed raft hastily thrown together for that purpose, was precipitated into the water, and being unable to swim, was drowned. He was a resident in the west part of the town.
In February, 1810, Myron Newell, a son of John Newell, of Charlotte, crossed the lake on business at Essex, N. Y. He, with a span of horses and sleigh, started from Essex in the evening, intending to cross over to Charlotte; but probably losing his course steered too far north. He did not return to his family, and search was made for him; but no discovery could be made as to what had become of him, and various suspicions were entertained and expressed as to his fate or cause of absence, until he had been missing some four weeks. There seemed a mystery in the case; and it is said that a young man discovered in a dream where he might be found, and pointed out the spot, which was a short distance from Meech's Point in the lake, and where some part of the sleigh-box that was loose from the sleigh was found in the ice. The horses, sleigh, and the body of Newell were hauled up from the bottom,—he still holding the lines in his hands. He probably lost his course, it being in the night time, and drove into a crack in the ice. He had married the eldest daughter of Joshua Isham some two years previous. His widow married a few years after Argalus Harmon, and by this union became the mother of William Harmon, our present town clerk and treasurer.
In the spring of 1814 Edward Curry, a son of Samuel P. Curry, a small boy some six or seven years of age, in company with several other lads sporting in a leaky boat on the saw-mill pond at Shelburne Falls, the boat filling with water capsized, and they were all in the water and in danger of drowning. A good swimmer being at the saw-mill immediately swam to their relief, and succeeded in saving all but Edward, who was drowned. His body was not found until 24 hours after.
April 28th, 1826, Zalmon Drew, a son of Sturgess Drew one of the early settlers of the town, was engaged on the steamboat Phcenix, the boat coming into Burlington in the night with a raft of timber and wood; while engaged in securing the boat and timber to the wharf, by some unlucky step young Drew fell into the water and was drowned. His body lay in the water some seven weeks before it was recovered.
August 18th, 1834, Mary Ann Tracy, wife of Guy Tracy and daughter of Alpheus Fletcher, was drowned in Winooski river. She, in company with her husband, Emma Thayer, a daughter of Eli Thayer, and Reuben Nash, was returning from Colchester Point, to which place they had been for the purpose of gathering whortleberries, and drove their team to the river for the purpose of watering their horses. The two men leaving their seats in the wagon for the purpose of loosening the check reins on the horses, were standing on either side of them. The horses were in the habit of stepping into the water in the lake while in the act of drinking, and stepped forward into the water. It being an abrupt descent from the water's edge downward, they lost their foothold, and the horses, wagon and two women were soon in deep water beyond the reach of those on shore. Tracy, frantic with excitement, made a desperate effort to reach them; not being much of a swimmer and encumbered as he was with boots and coat he plunged into the water, but soon found he could render them no assistance while thus encumbered; he returned to the shore to divest himself of his coat and boots; but when he made the second attempt to save his wife, before he could reach her she had sunk to rise no more. A citizen residing near by came to their assistance soon enough to seize Miss Thayer, when sinking probably for the last time, and brought her to the shore in an insensible state, but by proper appliances she was restored to life. The body of Mrs Tracy remained in the water several hours before it was recovered. She had been married but a short time; was 21 years of age.
Jirah Isham, drowned in Shelburne pond Dec. 9, 1837. (See biographical sketches.)
In the spring of 1812 Kilburn Hill, a son of Phineas Hill who was one of the early settlers in the eastern part of the town, while engaged with others in catching fish in the river below the falls with a scoop net, unexpectedly stepped into a deep hole in the river where the water was beyond his depth, and being no swimmer sank to the bottom; but one of his comrades by diving in brought him to the shore, and by the most strenuous efforts succeeded in restoring him to life. He is still living—an aged man and respectable citizen.
In 1812 Jedediah Burt, a shoemaker by profession, known by the nickname Crapo, who then resided near the mouth of Platt river, accidentally fell into the stream and was drowned to all appearance, but luckily was taken from the water in time, so that by strong and thorough application of proper means he was reanimated. It so happened that whilst the operation of restoring him was going on that a Methodist preacher came that way, and, when he had recovered his consciousness and speech, questioned him as to his thoughts and feelings whilst in the water drowning, and one question put was: "Did you not think when drowning of dying and going into eternity unprepared?" "Yes," said Burt, "I thought some about dying, but a d—— sight more about living." This was an uncivil and ungodly answer truly; but it is a leading principle in man's nature. Mankind almost universally reflect but little about dying, but bestow all their thoughts upon living.
David Beard, an individual of some literary attainments—engaged several years in teaching school—noted for his piety and exemplary habits—deacon of the Congregational church several years, lost his wife by death in 1810. He was the father of three sons; the eldest he was endeavoring to educate at Middlebury college. His means were limited; and his embarrassed circumstances, with the loss of his wife and other difficulties, caused a partial derangement of his mind, which resulted in his committing suicide by hanging himself, in the fall of 1813, at the residence of Uzal Piersons.
Remington Bitgood—one of the early settlers in the east part of the town—was the owner of a good farm and accumulated comfortable estate. He reared up a family of children. He conducted himself strangely for some time—showed symptoms of insanity before the evening of Nov. 9, 1816, when he committed suicide by hanging himself in his collar kitchen.
Hezekiah Fletcher—a man of singular habits and peculiar notions—living entirely by himself for many years, the derangement and wanderings of his mind led him to commit suicide by cutting his throat with a razor in the spring of 1817. He left one daughter.
EMPLOYMENTS, HABITS, MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.
Few of the early settlers enjoyed any other advantages of education than a few months
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attendance at primary schools as they existed in new England previous to the Revolution. But those advantages had been so well improved, that nearly all of them were able to read and write a legible hand, and had acquired a sufficient knowledge of arithmetic for the transaction of ordinary business. They were in general men of strong and penetrating minds, and clearly perceiving the numerous advantages which education confers, they early directed their attention to the establishment of schools. But for many years there were obstacles in addition to those incident to all new settlements, which prevented much being done for the cause of education. The controversies in which they were involved, and the war of the Revolution, both of which threatened the annihilation of Vermont as an independent state, and the ruin of many of the settlers by robbing them of their farms, employed nearly all their thoughts and all their energies previous to their admission into the Federal Union.
In a new settlement the first business of the husbandman is to cut down the woods, to clear up the lands, to sow them with grain; to erect the necessary buildings and to open the roads, and thus to connect and form a communication between the scattered settlements and make the most of his labor. Amidst the hard living and hard labor that attends the farming in a new settlement, the settler has encouragements. One hundred acres of land in a new town does not generally cost him more than the wages of one or two years. Besides maintaining himself, the profits of his labor will generally enable a young man in that period of time to procure himself such a tract of land. When he comes to apply his labor to his own land, the first crop of wheat will generally pay him for all the expense he has been at in clearing up, sowing and fencing his land, and at the same time increases the value of his land eight or ten times the original cost. In this way the profits attending labor on a new settlement are the greatest that ever can take place in agriculture—the laborer continually receiving double wages. Most of the early settlers were engaged in agriculture, living in log houses. The early settlers were mostly from Connecticut and Massachusetts. As is the case in all new settlements, a natural friendship and good will was manifested. The nearest equality that can take place among men will be found among the inhabitants of a new country—their employments and pursuits being the same, and all depending on their own labor and industry for support. The early settlers were not noted for their piety or religious attainments. Their habits and customs were not of a religious character. They were in the habit of using spirituous liquors rather freely, as was the custom in all other places in those days. They must be had in preference to anything else; were necessary on all occasions and under all circumstances, and were an antidote for all the ills of life and a remedy for every disease. From 1805 to 1815, there was probably more liquor used in Shelburne, and throughout the state, than at any other period of the same number of years before or since. Previous to that time the population was not so great and the facilities for obtaining it were not so good; and from about 1815 there began to be some temperance advocates, and they have been increasing in numbers and influence from that day. In those days there were some 200 distilleries in the state of Vermont. There were 30 of them in the county of Chittenden, and four of them in the town of Shelburne; and they were all in full operation. There were perhaps from 20 to 25 hogsheads of liquor sold annually at the stores in Shelburne. There was one tavern at the village and four others on the road to Burlington, which made five rum-selling and dram-drinking establishments in so many miles. I have known even ministers of the gospel who made no secret of taking a glass of grog before entering the pulpit to preach, declaring that it assisted them to preach and many of their hearers carried their flasks of cider brandy in their pockets to church, and they were freely and fearlessly passed around at intermission with the understanding that if it assisted the minister to preach, it also assisted them to hear and understand. There were no temperance organizations previous to 1830. In that year a temperance society was organised. Col. Horace Saxton was appointed president; George Cloyse, vice-president; and Asahel Nash, secretary. A constitution was drawn up and subscribed to by 156 residents of the town, headed by Rev. Louis McDonald, an Episcopal clergyman. This organization for many years was the means of effecting a very
desirable change in the morals and habits of the people in the community. This society held their stated meetings for 28 years, but has been suspended by other temperance organizations. There was an organization of the order of Recabites in 1847; and this was resolved into an organization of Sons of Temprance known as the Oaken Bucket Division No. 75 in Shelburne. This order has a convenient hall for their weekly division meetings, which have been and still are regularly attended and now number some 100 members.
In reviewing the past, we can but be satisfied that the friends of the temperance cause have not been laboring in vain; great and important changes have been wrought. The morals and customs of society have been greatly improved. Distilleries—once so numerous, manufacturing and dealing out destruction morally and physically—have all been demolished, and the places they occupied have become fruitful fields. Public houses, where once was heard the clamor of the drunkard and the revel of the debauchee, have been converted into quiet farm-houses. Those signs which were so numerous and so conspicuous in all our public thoroughfares—not emblems of peace, but of intemperance and immoralities—have disappeared. Intoxicating liquors, which were once the leading article of trade in all our country stores, are no part of their trade at the present day. In private families they have been entirely banished from their sideboards, and are wholly out of use as a beverage to be presented to friends on social occasions. At public gatherings, where once it was used as freely as water, and drunkenness and brawls and fightings and fatal accidents were among the results, no man now dare offer the maddening poison openly; and consequently general temperance, peace and security are the order of the day. In farming and other laborious employments very little is used at the present day where once it was very common. Let us therefore give no heed to the false outcry that no good has been done, but thank God and take courage. The enactment of the prohibitory law of our state in 1852 was to become a law provided a majority of the people sanctioned that enactment; and the votes of Shelburne were almost unanimous in favor of its becoming a law of the state; only three votes being cast against it, and these were known to have been cast by foreigners. Shelburne was known to be the banner town of the state. For several years there has been no liquor sold in town, having no agent under the law. Thus customs have materially changed and fashions varied.
Justices were almost universally employed to perform the marriage ceremony, and the marriage fee was one dollar; and the officiating magistrate was considered very penurious if he did not make a present of that dollar to the bride; and in many cases an amount of flax was purchased with that dollar and manufactured ink, linen for family use—hetcheled, carded, spun and in some instances woven with her own hands. Household or domestic labor was not considered derogatory, and a calico dress was a respectable marriage outfit. I recollect in one instance, in performing the marriage ceremony the justice and the father of the bride having a relish for gin and having imbibed freely of that cordial previous to the ceremony, when the happy couple presented themselves ready for the ceremony with their gloves on, the justice required them to remove their gloves, as his custom was to marry skin to skin. Fashions and ceremonies have materially changed. It would not be considered respectable at the present time to have a marriage solemnized by a justice. These rites must be performed by the pastor or some noted clergyman, and $10 dollars is considered a moderate marriage fee. A notable change also has been gradually manifesting itself in regard to families. Most of the early settlers had families numbering from 8 to 15 children, and in some cases even more. John Hadley's family numbered 25 children, Benjamin Sutton's 24, Ebenezer Barstow's 13, and many other families from 10 to 15 children. From 1810 to 1825 the school-houses in every part of the town were filled with scholars, numbering from 50 to 100 in each district. But at the present time in several districts barely a sufficient number for a small class can now be gathered.
Another custom which everything tends to introduce in a new country is early marriage. Trained up to regular industry and economy, the young people grow up to maturity in all the vigor of health, and bloom of natural
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beauty. The ease with which a family may be maintained, and the wishes of parents to see their children settled in the way of virtue, reputation and felicity strongly invite to an early settlement in life. The practice becomes universal, and it generally takes place as soon as the laws of society suppose the young people of sufficient age and discretion to transact the business of life. Nature leads the way; all the lovely train of virtues, domestic happiness, and the greatest public benefits, and a rapid population are found to be the fruit. No people have so few diseases, multiply so fast, or suffer so little from sickness. Activity and labor do more for them than art and medicine. The disorders which wear away the inhabitants of wealthy cities are almost unknown in the woods; very few die but under the unavoidable decay of nature, and the deaths are to the births in no higher proportion than 1 to 6 or 8.
About the time of the commencement of the 19th century there first began to be some religious feeling manifested, and some feeble efforts made to institute Christian worship among the people. A Congregational church was organized about this time, comprising but a limited number as members. Occasional meetings were held in private houses and in barns for several years, but no regular services were held until the church edifice known as the White or Union Church was completed, in 1808. This church was erected to be occupied by the different denominations in proportion as each should hold stock in the same. The original arrangement of this church was a lobby, as it now remains, three aisles on the ground floor, two rows of body pews of square form, seats on all sides, and a single tier of like construction around the outside called wall pews, with a wide gallery on the front and two sides above, and a large elevated pulpit in the extreme back end of the building. No arrangements were made for warming the house, not even a chimney or a place for a stove; and the house was occupied and service held for many years without any warming apparatus. The contract for erecting this church, and to furnish the land for the same and a common or green in front, was taken by Benjamin Harrington for the sum of $5000, guaranteed to him by several of the principal men of the town; and when completed the pews on the ground floor were sold to the highest bidder, to raise the funds for the payment of the contract; and each purchaser became a stockholder in the property in proportion to the amount of his purchase, and could assign his interest to any order of Christian worship he chose. Pew No. 1 was bid off by Uzal Piersons at $630, No. 2 by Ziba Piersons at $550; and they ranged down to $20. The whole sum raised from the sale of the pews amounted to nearly $6,000.
After the completion of this church edifice the Congregational church increased largely in membership and popularity, and held service in the house most of the time for the next 10 years. The services of Rev. Dr. Sanders, the first President of the University of Vermont (located at Burlington), were engaged, and he preached several years, most of the time here, and other clergymen of that order at different times. The Methodists held a small interest in the house, as did the Universalists also, and occupied the house occasionally. There was also a limited number of residents in the east part of the town who were Episcopalians, who formed themselves into a society at an early day, under the supervision of Bethuel Chittenden as their pastor, and held service in that part of the town in private residences and school-houses. They held but little stock in the White Church originally. A small society of Methodists formed also at an early day, and held religious meetings occasionally in private houses, in barns and in the forest. It will be seen by the charter a lot was reserved to become the property of the first settled minister. In 1819 a move was made by Dea. Josiah King, being the principal manager in the matter, to settle a minister as pastor on the conditions that he should convey the title of the minister's lot to the Congregational church, and that it should become the property of that church forever wholly. But a short time before the consummation of his plans, some of the principal men of the town were informed of what was intended and was about to be accomplished, and immediately commenced a counteracting move which soon aroused the whole community. Their plan was to settle a minister on the conditions that he should convey the lot to the town for the benefit of all orders of Christians. And the first inquiry was to
find a suitable clergyman; no particular preference was felt as to what denomination he belonged. A merchant in the town by the name of Peckham was brother-in-law to Joel Clapp, then residing in the town of Sheldon in Franklin county, who had just completed his studies for the ministry of the Episcopal order and was seeking a place of labor. He was applied to immediately, and an engagement entered into on those conditions. He was settled forthwith, and the lot became the property of the town; is rented and the rent-money divided annually among the several churches in the town, and is denominated minister-money. This event created a general feeling in favor of the Episcopal order. Mr. Clapp proved an exemplary man and a sound preacher, and the Episcopal church soon gained members, popularity and influence.
The Episcopal church was reorganized and took the name of Trinity Church. The Congregational church from that period began to wane, and is almost blotted out. Mr. Clapp occupied the White Church for several years almost wholly; and after he left, the Rev. Lewis McDonald and the Rev. Charles Cleveland of the same order were severally called and officiated as rectors of the church.
About, the year 1825 the Methodists began to increase in numbers and influence and to feel the want of a suitable place of 'worship. As most of the stock of the White Church was owned and controlled by the friends of the Episcopal order, an effort was made to raise the means and erect a Methodist church, which was effected in 1831. A neat and comfortable brick chapel was erected on the south side of the green or common, a few rods from the White Church, at a cost of about $2,000; and has been occupied since by that order, which is far more numerous as to membership at the present time than all others. When the effort was made for the erection of a Methodist church, a counteracting move was made by those in the interest of the Episcopal order to build a parsonage for their minister, and an effort was put forth with the obvious intention of enlisting the mass of the people in favor of that order, and if possible to prevent the erection of the Methodist house, and thus establish the Episcopal church on a more permanent basis; and again an excited feeling was created in the community and a strife as to which party should prevail. The result was both houses were erected at the same time. But the Methodists gained the most favor in the community as a whole, and the Episcopal society began to wane, and there has been no regular service of that order for several years past; only occasional service is held.
About the year 1845, a portion of M. E. ministers seceded from that church and organized a new order known as Wesleyan Methodist. The leading principles of this new order was non-fellowship with slaveholders and also a more democratic form of government; and a church was organized in this town, comprising about 40 members. Rev. Cyrus Prindle, one of the seceding ministers was the officiating clergyman. These were mostly seceding members from the M. E. church. The Episcopalians then occupying and controlling the White Church, the Wesleyans must needs have some suitable place to worship in, and they immediately commenced the erection of a small church edifice between the other two houses of worship, and completed a comfortable house in a short time where service was held, which was well attended for several years. About the year 1840, a small number of the members of the M. E. church in the north-east part of the town seceded and organized a church under the leadership of Nathaniel Gage, long a resident in that part of the town—styling themselves Protestant Methodists. The material difference in the two orders is in the church government—the Protestants adopting a more democratic form in the appointment and location of ministers, preachers and members having a voice in the matter of appointments. They also must needs have a place for worship; and a small, neat brick chapel was erected in 1844, by the friends of that order in the N. E. part of the town, known as the Protestant or Gage meeting-house. And the residents of that part of the town and the S. E. part of Burlington here meet for worship most of the time on Sabbath days since the erection of this house. In 1850 the Episcopalians became so reduced that they suspended service in the White Church, and it was free for any denomination of Christians when not occupied. The Wesleyan church having lost several of their leading members by death and removal, and not well able to sustain regular preaching, a remnant of the
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Congregational Church united with the Wesleyans, and they occupied the White Church conjointly, employing preachers of each order to occupy the pulpit alternately, preaching to the same congregation; and this was the order for several years. The small Wesleyan house in which that order worshiped for many years, was then converted into a parsonage and has been occupied by the preachers of that order since. The Congregational church has become so reduced by removal and death, that they have not sustained preaching for the past two years; and the Wesleyans and the Protestant Methodists are associated in employing a minister to preach alternately in the white house and the Gage meeting-house. And the Methodist Episcopal church is the only one that sustains constant, regular preaching.
Elections have, as a general thing, passed off quietly. From 1810 to 1815 parties were nearly equally divided, known as Federals and democrats; and considerable party feeling existed in those days. The Democrats prevailed for the most part. From the time of the Hartford Convention the Federalists became unpopular and died out here, the Democrats having their own way for many years. But they were superseded by the National Republican party; then the Whig party, and the Republican party, which is now in the ascendency. There has been a small party styling themselves Modern Democrats for several years, but these have always been in the minority. In 1847 Elijah Root was elected to represent the town in the General Assembly by the Whig party. In 1848 the Free Soil party became somewhat popular in this place. The Democrats and Abolitionists uniting as Free Soilers, nominated as their candidate Henry S. Morse, who had for several years been the nominee of the Democratic party, and elected him over Mr. Root the Whig candidate for reelection. A strife for the next year soon commenced, intended at first to be carried on privately, but soon became open and general by both parties, and was carried to extremes. Votes were bought, and men were bribed in every way possible; money was freely and largely offered. The whole country was ransacked for absent voters who had not lost their residence by limitation. Foreigners of all nations and tongues were naturalized by both parties; and many kept under guard as it were for months previous to election day. Individuals hired by one party and their families supported, mysteriously disappeared a short time before election. Laboring men were kept in employ through the season who were unprofitable, in order to secure their votes. In brief, no means were left untried or unused by either party that could secure a vote; and no means however dishonorable were resorted to by one party which the other party was not guilty of. But election day came, and the contest was a scrutinizing one. Legal advisers were employed on either side to attend the examination of voters. Charles Adams by the Whig party, and William Weston by the Free Soil party, and almost every voter had to pass a scrutinizing examination; and it was late in the evening before the examination was closed. When all had voted, the box was taken by the authority to a side apartment away from the multitude that thronged the town room, and none admitted but those qualified by law. Many had come from adjoining towns to learn the result. Both parties had their hopes and fears. The result of the balloting was such that the multitude was kept in anxious suspense for some time—there being 107 for Mr. Morse, 104 for Mr. Root, 2 scattering, and 3 blanks or pieces of newspaper. Some of the Root party contended strongly that these 3 blanks must be counted as scattering votes—which would constitute no choice. Others contended that blanks could not be deemed votes and should not be counted, and that Mr. Morse was elected. A warm debate was held for some time, and at one time a personal encounter was imminent. But the question was finally referred to Mr. Adams, who had retired from the town room. He was sent for; and on entering, the question was put to him: "Do blank votes count?" Not knowing how the case stood, he promptly answered "No;" which decided the case in favor of Mr. Morse, which was heralded to the anxious multitude—kept for a long time in suspense—and caused a shout of triumph from the Free Soil party, and an almost instant disappearance of the Whig party. It is earnestly hoped that another like contest will never occur.
Plot river is the only stream of any size
running through this township. This stream takes its rise in the S. E. part of Hinesburg, and, running through the N. E. corner of Charlotte, and through Shelburne Falls into Shelburne Bay. It is about 15 miles in length, and affords several mill sites. The circumstance which gave name to this river, happened in the fall of 1775. A party of Indians was discovered, probably from Grand Isle, making their way up Shelburne Bay, in their bark canoes. From the head of the Bay, they proceeded about 100 rods up this stream and landed on the west side—and having drawn their canoes on shore, and concealed them among the bushes, proceeded cautiously forward for the purpose of plundering the settlers. Their motions having been watched and the alarm spread among the settlers, they were mustered to the number of ten, and a consultation was held with regard to the course to be pursued. Concluding that the Indians if vigorously attacked, would make a precipitate retreat to these canoes, it was decided that three of their number should proceed to their place of landing and disable their canoes, by cutting slits through the bark in various places, and then conceal themselves near by and await the result—while the other seven should make a furious and tumultuous assault upon the enemy, who had already commenced their work of plunder. The plot succeeded beyond their most sanguine expectations. The onset of the seven, favored by the darkness of the night, was made with so much show and spirit, as to lead the Indians to suppose that they were assailed by a force far superior to their own, and that their only chance of escape consisted in a hasty retreat to their canoes. They accordingly betook themselves to flight, and being closely pursued, when they reached their landing place they seized their canoes, hurried them into the stream, and leaped on board with the utmost precipitation. But what was their surprise when they found their canoes were disabled and were all filling with water. In this forlorn condition they were attacked by the three men, who had lain concealed on the bank, and the pursuing party soon coming to their aid the Indians were all shot while struggling to keep themselves afloat, or sunk to rise no more, not an individual being allowed to escape to tell to their kindred their tale of woe. This well contrived and successful stratagem, gave the name to this stream—Plot River. Relics of guns were found in the stream at this place not many years after.
The next stream in size is Cogman's Brook, which rises in Charlotte, runs northwesterly through Shelburne into Plot River some 200 rods from its mouth. This stream took its name from an old hunter of that name who lived in a log cabin on its bank at an early day.
Beaver Brook is a small stream rising in the east part of the town, which running in a northwesterly direction falls into Shelburne Bay on the east side not far from the head. This stream is so called from its having been the resort and abiding place of the beaver. There were beaver dams constructed in several places on this stream. It is known near the outlet as Monroes' Brook, from the fact of the Monroes owning the land at the mouth.
There is also a small brook in the S. W. part of the township, running into Lake Champlain, known as the Maybee Brook,— a family by that name residing directly on the bank of this brook near the lake, in early day.
Shelburne Pond in the N. E. part of the township, covers about 600 acres, is noted for the fine pickerel and bass which are caught by anglers in large numbers, and is the resort of many sportsmen and gentlemen of leisure, both in summer and winter. Its outlet is called Muddy Brook. This stream is the dividing line between Burlington and Williston, and flows into the Winooski river, just above the narrows or high bridge.
The early settlers dwelt in log cabins rudely constructed—used temporary hovels as an apology for barns, with a portion of a hollow log as rack and manger Their clearings were enclosed with a brush fence—so their highways were laid out with no system, and but poorly worked foot-paths from one clearing to another, indicated by marked trees. They had no grist-mills—no saw mills—no bridges across the streams—no stores and no blacksmiths for several years. The first settlement commenced at Shelburne Falls, was in 1785 by Ira Allen, then a resident in the town of Colchester at what is known as
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Winooski village. A rudely constructed log bridge was built across the Plot river—a dam was constructed some 10 rods above the present saw-mill dam—a saw-mill erected on the north side of the stream, and a forge on the south. In 1786 a dam was constructed at the lower end of the falls, and a grist-mill put in operation the next season. Clothing works were erected and put in operation between the grist-mill and saw-mill, in 1789, by David Fish, which was purchased by Samuel Fletcher, in 1805, owned and occupied by him until his death, April 23, 1852, since which time it has remained unoccupied, and in the spring of this year (1862) was swept away by a freshet, as was also the old stone building formerly used as a grist-mill.
The first saw-mill erected in this town, was located directly east of the public house, now kept by C. H. Harrington, the dam extending from the high bank on the west side of the stream, to the bluff rock on the east side, raising the water and covering the interval above nearly to the falls. This was built by Lazel Hatch, in 1784; the bottom being of light soil and the dam but imperfectly constructed, it was soon carried away and the work abandoned.
The first dwelling other than a log house, was the block-house now occupied by Tristam Conner, on Potter's Point, by Hubbell and Bush in 1784. In 1790 a house was erected by Moses Piersons in the S. W. corner of the town, and is a portion of the dwelling owned and occupied by Ezra Meech. The first framed house erected was by Lazel Hatch east of the village, near the saw-mill erected by him—a small building about 12 by 16 feet, in 1784.
It has been occupied as a dwelling-house—as a store—a slaughter-house—a currying-room—a cooper's shop—a joiner's shop—a barn—a hog house—a lumber room—a hen house, and for almost every conceivable purpose, and in various places. About the year 1855, it became rather the worse for wear, and was taken down by Nelson Newell, 78 years from the time of its erection. The original covering, shingles and all, still remained secured with wrought nails, some of which he has now on hand.
The second framed house was built in 1789 by Benjamin Harrington, a few rods west of the present residence of Col. Frederick Fletcher.
The public house was erected in 1796, and from the commencement of the 19th century framed houses began to multiply in all parts of the town, but it was many years before log cabins wholly disappeared.
Before bridges were erected across the Plot river, the travel mostly passed through the river at the falls, the principal highway leading, in going north, by the present residence of John Clark, to the former residence of Joshua Reed, now occupied by Clayton Reed, a descendant of Joshua; thence north, west of the ledge, continuing east of the main road as it is now traveled, intersecting the present road near where Catlin now lives in Burlington. Citizens in the west part of the town in going east or north, passed around the mouth of the river on the sand bar, most parts of the year, and in going north traveled a rough road near the bank of the bay through to Burlington, near where the cars now pass. The main road was laid out, and a bridge erected north of the village in 1796. A bridge was constructed across near the mouth of the river in 1801, and the highways soon became passable. Settlers multiplied; mechanics of all professions came among them, and general prosperity manifested itself.
The year of 1788 has been remembered throughout the state as one of scarcity and want of the necessaries of life, the previous season being cold and unproductive; 1813 was also a cold unproductive season, causing much want and privation in the community. A fatal epidemic prevailed to an alarming extent in the community in 1813, which caused many deaths in this town, in some instances two and even three funerals in the same day.
Limestone of the first quality, and in great amount, is to be found in Shelburne. Several ledges or marble quarries are to be found which have all the appearance, so declared by those having had experience in other marble quarries, of containing an abundance of marble of the first quality. Several ineffectual attempts have been made to open these ledges, but failed for lack of means. No doubt, however, with enterprise and capital, large profit might be realized, by opening and successfully working these quarries.
POPULATION OF THE TOWN.
In 1791, 389; in 1800, 723; in 1810, 987;
in 1820, 936; in 1830, 1123; in 1840, 1089.
The town was organized in 1787. The first Town Clerk was,—from 1787, Caleb Smith, to 1791; from 1792, Daniel Castle, one year; from 1793, Joshua Isham, to 1812; from 1813, Joshua Morgan, to 1818; from 1819, Levi Comstock, to 1836; from 1837, Elma Beecher, to 1838; from 1839, Lyman Hall, to 1854; from 1855, Wm. Harmon, to 1862.
There is no record of any Freemen's meeting until 1809. Frederick Meack was elected representative of the town in that year and the following; Joshua Isham, 1811, 3 years; Joshua Morgan, 1814, 2 years; Ziba Pierson, 1816, 2 years; Burgess Hall, 1818, 2 years ; Levi Comstock, 1820, 3 years; Garrad Burritt, 1823, 2 years; Burgess Hall, 1825, 2 years; Levi Comstock, 1827, 1 year; Hyman Hollabird, 1828, 2 years; Heman Barstow, 1830, 2 years; no choice, 1832; John Tabor, 1833, 2 years; Horace Saxton, 1835, 2 years; Samuel Fletcher, 1837, 2 years; Elhanan W. Spears, 1839, 2 years; Robert White, 1841, 2 years; Ira Andrews, 1843, 2 years; Wm. Harmon, 1845, 2 years; Elijah Root, 1847, 1 year; Henry S. Morse, 1848, 2 years; Elijah Root, 1850, 1 year; Lyman Hall, 1851, 2 years; Geo. Saxton, 1853, 2 years; Pierpoint Smith, 1855, 2 years; Guy Tracy, 1857, 2 years; C. P. Williams, 1859, 2 years; Frederick Fletcher, 1801.
FACE OF THE TOWNSHIP,
AND SHELBURNE BATTLE.
BY REV. GEO. F. SUTTON.
Shelburne, named in honor of the Earl of Shelburne, for beauty of location, fertility of soil, variety and excellence of products, prosperity, high moral character, and intelligence of her citizens, constitutes no unworthy member of the common sisterhood of towns that stretch along the shore line of the Champlain valley, and slope away on either hand from the Green Mountain Ridge, which forms as it were the back bone of the State. Especially in respect to the beauty of location, it is surpassed by few if any of the towns lining the lake. Situated about midway on the line of the shore, a little to the south of the broad lake, the view sweeps away to the west and east, taking in the Adirondac on the one side, and the Green Mountain Range on the other. And in no other place are the highest peaks of either range—their bald summits white with almost perpetual snow—so full in view.
Most of the eastern shore rises perpendicularly above the water, and viewed from the opposite side presents a wall of solid rock, whence at intervals high bluffs, presenting a bold appearance, project into the water.
But for picturesqueness, and quiet rural beauty, the western part presents a scene fit, for the eye of the contemplative Wordsworth, or Thompson of the inimitable Seasons.
The land generally level, is however gently rolling, and in the center is a considerable swell, yet so gradual, and almost unnoticeable, especially on the eastern side, as to effectually disclaim the dignity of a high hill, much less of a mountain.
The reentrant shore of the lake forms two points of land, formerly designated by the names of the two first settlers of the town—Pottier's Point, and Logan's Point.
The former projects into the lake on the S. W. side of Shelburne Bay—an arm of the lake extending about four miles into the township, in a southwesterly direction. The bay is only shut off from the main channel of the lake, by this point, which at its conjunction with the main land is quite wide, but after a short distance is suddenly narrowed, whence it becomes a slender tongue of land of almost uniform width, until it terminates abruptly, and perpendicularly, in a bold promontory several feet high.
Deer were formerly met with, as also the lynx; and wild cat-and also beaver dams were very prominent, on the flats about the pond, and near its tributaries.
Timber is principally hard, the soil clay and loam, and in some places an admixture of both clayey and sandy loam.
Of geological characteristics. I might mention the very peculiar character of the limestones in the eastern section, on the farm now owned by Mr. Barber—also on the eastern and western shores of the pond. These rocks have been visited by scientific men, and their strata examined, which they pronounce to be some variety of marble—that on the eastern shore of the pond of a very excellent quality. But whether they are really good marble, or an inferior kind, or only limestone in some other of its varieties—saccharoid limestone perhaps—remains to be proved by further trials.
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Thompson in his Gazetteer says this river undoubtedly took its name from the point in the west part of Shelburne, called on early French maps, Pointe au Platre, or Plater Point. It was formerly often written La Platte. [We omit here, as Mr. Thayer has given an account of the same.—Ed.]
Now if these two accounts of the origin of the name La Plot, the one by Mr. Thayer, and the one to which Thompson gives credence, and which rests entirely on the authority of etymology, the former has both the evidence of well authenticated tradition and of etymology. Besides, the derivation of the word Laplot, from the two French words La and Platre, is no more evident than its derivation from the French words La, and Complot. Indeed how natural the corruption from Lacomplot to Laplot. Add to this the very respectable testimony furnished by the oldest men, and the fact that it is nowhere denied, or called in question in any of the early records, and the evidence decidedly preponderates to the side of the very interesting tradition, on page 875, and this tradition should be received as the true account of the origin of the name.
Tradition locates an Indian village on the farm now owned by O. Grady, near the mouth of the river, and an Indian burying-ground on the opposite side, at the mouth of Cogman's brook.
Shelburne was then settled so rapidly that in 1791 its population was above that of Burlington. When the Piersons left in 1777 they had harvested a large crop of wheat, and returned during the winter to thresh and secure it. Meanwhile they were menaced by tories and Indians. A Col. Thomas Sawyer of Clarendon, being apprised of it, with Lieut. Barnabas Barnum and Corporal Williams, and 14 soldiers, hastened to the exposed frontier. It was the month of January, and the weather was very cold. They marched through the trackless wilderness about 90 miles, all on foot except Col. Sawyer, who rode a fine stallion.
Once they came very near yielding themselves to fate, but through the energy and art of Col. Sawyer they were animated to surmount the very extremes of cold and hunger until they arrived safely at the house of the Piersons. There they remained strengthening the place some seven or eight weeks, when suddenly the foe who had been lurking about disappeared. Col. Sawyer suspected this to be a stratagem, and learned that one Philo, a tory, who had gone to Canada on skates, had returned with a considerable force, 57 in all. Accordingly all were immediately set at work barricading their house, and when night came on had made all parts secure except one window. The attack was made that night, and through that window two men who had stopped and put up for the night, sharing the homely hospitality of the place, were killed at the first fire of the enemy. Their names were Woodard and Daniels. They were met by an incessant fire from the besieged for three-fourths of an hour through port holes made for that purpose. During that time the Indians twice fired the house; and Col. Sawyer offered his watch as a reward to any one who would extinguish the flames. There was no water in the house; but Mrs. Pierson had been brewing beer that day, and Joseph Williams entered the chamber and, breaking a hole through the roof, extinguished the flames with the contents of the beer barrel, under a deadly fire from the savages without. Col. Sawyer faithfully kept his word and gave Williams his watch. The enemy were finally repulsed and closely pursued, and two prisoners taken; the enemy also lost one officer and one Indian chief, who were found dead in the field, besides several who were thrown through a hole cut in the ice. This battle occurred on the 12th of March, 1778. Of the brave little band who defended the house, Lieut. Barnum, according to Thompson and Downing, was killed, though his name is not mentioned anywhere in connection with the narrative of the battle I have given. Col. Sawyer cut from the nose of the Indian chief who was killed, his jewels, and secured his powder-horn and bullet-pouch, as trophies of his victory. The following lines were composed to celebrate this exploit. Monkton claims the author of this battle song, as also the "hero" slain.
"On the twelfth day of March in the year seventy-eight,
The Britons and Indians invaded our State;
'Twas in Shelburne brave Sawyer these wretches did meet,
And fully determined not to retreat.
The first in command was Thomas Sawyer by name;
In the next unto him were the elements of fame—
'Twas young Barnum the hero, he fought like a man,
Saying: "Fight on brave boys,"—but quickly was slain.
Our men numbered twelve, and the enemy fifty-seven;
But with this vast odds, when aided by Heaven,
We drove them, we beat them, and caused them to fly,
While others lay wounded and left there to die.
There are three of our men lying dead on the ground,
The rest have returned, and are yet safe and sound;
The enemy lost twelve, and the rest they soon fled—
Some went on their feet, others drawn on a sled.
May the name of the hero be never forgot,
Who determined to beat or to die on the spot;
Let the youths of our land his example pursue,
Give the glory to God and to whom it is due."
BY GEORGE BLISS.
There were many Episcopalians in this town and vicinity as early as 1790. At some time in that year the Rev. Bethuel Chittenden* removed here from Tinmouth, Vt. Services were probably held regularly from that time till Mr. Chittenden's death in 1809, and after that time services were kept up by lay reading, with occasionally a visit from a clergyman.
Dr. Garlick—a practicing physician on Grand Isle, but ordained deacon by Bishop Seabury in Middletown, Conn., July 29th, 1787—often visited and preached in this parish. There are no records of the parish, but from reports to conventions, &c. the church in 1810 must have numbered about 25 communicants, increasing between that time and 1820 to about 80, and remaining about that number for 10 or 15 years.
Dr. Joel Clapp† was the first regular settled clergyman over the parish. He was ordained deacon by Bishop Griswold at Greenfield, Mass., the 2d October, 1818, and priest by Bishop Griswold, at Windsor, Vt., the 17th Sept. 1819, and instituted rector of Trinity Church by the Rev. Stephen Beach, assisted by the Rev. James Read, the 27th Oct. 1819. He resigned his charge the 20th Sept. 1827. The Rev. Louis McDonald commenced his services as rector the 1st Nov. 1827, and resigned the 1st May, 1834. The Rev. S. A. Crane officiated every other Sunday from the 14th Sept. 1834, for a year or more. The Rev. Charles Cleveland was in charge of the parish from the summer of 1840 to the summer of 1848. The Rev. R. F. Cadle from December, 1848, to January, 1851. Services were suspended from this time—with the exception of occasional visits from neighboring clergymen, and a lay service which was maintained from the fall of 1856 till the summer of 1857—until September, 1860, when the Rev. J. Isham Bliss assumed the rectorship of the parish, and remained in charge until March, 1862. The Rev. Mr. Eastman of Vergennes now officiates every fourth Sunday. (1863.)
MEMOIR OF THE REV. BETHUEL CHITTENDEN,
The first Clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal Church ordained for Vermont.
BY THE REV. A. H. BAILEY, OF SHELDON, VT.
The Church in Vermont owes the tribute of a grateful memory to this excellent man, who labored for them as few of them have ever done for themselves. No sufficient and satisfactory memorial of him has yet been given to the public; and the following account is also confessedly incomplete, and may require corrections, since its materials were derived in fragments from various sources, including oral tradition. It is here put forth in the hope of eliciting further information. The writer can be addressed at Sheldon, Vt.
The scenes of the public life of Mr. Chittenden were among the hills, lakes and streams on either side of the Green Mountains. The time comprehended the period of most active emigration into the "New Hampshire grants," and extended to nearly twenty years after the admission of Vermont into the sisterhood of the Union. And the man is remembered as a large, portly, and very strong man, very sociable and full of anecdote, usually habited in a long coat with great pockets, and often seen journeying upon his horse over the rude ways from place to place amidst the new settlements.
He was born in Guilford, Connecticut, in or about the year 1739, being some ten years younger than his brother Thomas, who became the first Governor of Vermont. Both of these brothers were destitute of any better education than they could obtain in the common schools of Connecticut at that day, but were possessed of an unusual share of natural ability, in which respect the writer has the best authority for saying that the younger was not inferior to the elder. Both became pioneers in Vermont Bethuel settled within the present Rutland county, in Tinmouth, before the organization of that town, which took place in 1774. There he felled
* See biography by Rev. Mr. Bailey.
† A biography by Rev. Dr. Hicks will appear in the history of Montgomery, Franklin County.—Ed.
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the forest, and secured himself a farm in the wilderness, and in company with Major Royce, the ancestor of a distinguished family of that name, built the first saw-mill in the town.
He was a man of unsullied probity, and a conscientious Christian. It is probable, from evidences that need not be detailed here, that he commenced reading the Prayers of the Church on Sundays, with such sermons as he could procure, before his family and as many neighbors as were disposed to meet with them, several years prior to his ordination. The circumstances under which he devoted himself to the ministry were remarkable, and must be understood before the act can be appreciated. The proportion of friends of the Church of England in the settlements was not less, but probably greater than in Connecticut and Massachusetts, from which most of the settlers came. New England Churchmen cannot have been wholly uninfluenced by the important inducements held out to them to migrate hither, in the charters issued by the Governor of New Hampshire, to which province the territory of Vermont was supposed to belong. In each township one right, which should have been about one-seventieth of the whole, was reserved for a glebe for the Church of England, and another was appropriated for the benefit of the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Episcopalians must have argued that with these aids for the maintenance of the Church gradually becoming available, they would, after some years of privation, have a fuller enjoyment of the privileges of the Church than in the older States.
The war of the Revolution threatened the destruction of these hopes, and of the Church also. The time was unfavorable for religious improvement in any form; the hatred of everything British which was aroused by it intensified all prejudices against the established Church. The Society for Propagating the Gospel could not be expected to aid the people while at war with the mother country, nor in the event of their ultimate independence; and it required little sagacity to foresee that the chartered rights of the Church of England would be greatly endangered.
The elder brother, Thomas Chittenden, was not a Churchman, and naturally viewed the great questions then at issue in their political aspects only. By his earnest efforts to promote the American cause, and to secure for Vermont a good government and an honorable place among the States of the Republic, he gained for himself the confidence and honor of the people, and a distinguished place in the history of the State.
It was equally in the power of the younger brother to do the same thing if his aims were in the same direction. But his mind was not one which could easily break loose from the past for any experiments, however flattering in appearance. The tradition received by the writer is, that, in a public meeting of the citizens of his town, assembled to consult about the crisis, "He declared with tears in his eyes, that he could not lift his hand against the king." And it adds, that "He was never molested for his unpopular scruples." The writer has no written evidence of these statements. It is probable that Mr. Chittenden was not without sympathies for the cause in which his brother and fellow-citizens were engaged, but was restrained, conscientiously, from an active participation in it. His scruples were set at rest by the event, if not before. In 1796, he objected to the consecration of Dr. Peters, then Bishop elect of Vermont, on this ground among others, that the Doctor (a violent royalist) had acted a part, during the war, that was offensive to the Dissenters and to a majority of the Episcopalians.
When the war was over, the prospects of the Church were dreary in the extreme. Not an Episcopal clergyman yet resided within the State. In 1784, one was settled in Arlington, and two years later another in Manchester, both toward the south western part of the State. Of these two, one soon manifested his unworthiness; and the other could not, if disposed, attend to his parish and the whole State besides. Who now should go through the State, and "seek for Christ's sheep that were dispersed abroad," feed them with the bread of life, gather their lambs into the fold, and encourage them to fidelity in the time of adversity, in the patient hope of brighter days to come? Who that was competent for it, would accept the life of obscure toil and of "journeyings oft," and endure the prejudices and suspicions which it involved? And where were the means for his support, if such an one was found? Or must the Church's heritage be
diverted to other uses, as plainly it soon would be, if not in the practical possession of its proper owner, and these scattered disciples and their children be left to wander hopelessly?
The first practical answer to these questions was given on the 1st of June, 1787, when in Stamford, Conn., this energetic and successful pioneer, the plain farmer of Vermont, in the 49th year of his age, made his vows, and was ordained, by Bishop Seabury, to the office of a Deacon in the Church of Christ. Bethuel was the "man of God."
Mr. Chittenden commenced his official ministrations in his own neighborhood, with his children and a few other persons for his congregation there, visiting other places from time to time. The author of "Tinmouth and its Pioneers," an article in the Rutland Herald of April 6, 1855, thinks there was no Episcopal church organized there in those days. Probably there was none which would be regarded as sufficiently organized for this day; perhaps there was nothing written; yet the parish in Tinmouth was represented in some of our earliest Conventions, in which the "members presented their credentials and took their seats." But Mr. Chittenden seems to have been defective in being too inattentive to the value of proper organizations and records. Indeed, much inquiry has failed thus far to discover a single parochial organisation made under his auspices, or even so much as a record, a letter, or a scrap of any kind written by his own hand. It is hoped that some of his letters and other papers, may yet come to light.
His parish in Tinmouth was certainly very humble. The town never became populous. He remained there less than three years after his ordination. But his labor there was not in vain. Though the parish has never, since he left it, had a resident clergyman, except once very transiently, and generally no regular pastor, several families well known, and two or three of high distinction, besides two persons who became clergymen, have gone from that place and done much for the Church elsewhere. And to this day there are a few names there of persons who are strongly and intelligently attached to the Church. The foundation of all this was the labor of Mr. Chittenden.
In 1790 he removed to Shelburne, in Chittenden county and purchased a farm of 50 acres, subsequently increased to 150, which was his residence for the rest of his life. His four sons and one daughter also settled near him, along the same road, called, from the circumstance, Chittenden street. About a dozen families, including those of his children, are now remembered to have belonged to his congregation there. His time was spent chiefly away, in the work of an itinerant evangelist. In 1794 he took the time to revisit Connecticut, and on the 29th of June was ordained Presbyter, in New London, by Bishop Seabury.
The extent of his field of labor may be inferred from the localities where his visits for official purposes are mentioned. He is known to have officiated in Franklin county, much in Fairfield, and occasionally in Sheldon; in Chittenden county, frequently in Jericho, besides Shelburne, the place of his residence; in Addison county, occasionally in Middlebury and Salisbury in Rutland county, much in Tinmouth, his first residence, in Rutland, Castleton and Poultney occasionally, and in Wells and Pawlet frequently—all of these west of the Green Mountains; in Windsor county, in Bethel and Weathersfield, repeatedly; and in Windham county, in Rockingham, occasionally—these being on the eastern side of the range. Other places in the vicinity of these, where there were little clusters of Church people, no doubt shared his attention, though the want of records and other means of information prevents the addition of their names. The venerable Bishop Philander Chase thus mentioned his visit to Cornish, N. H.: "Being invited, he came across the Green Mountains to preach and administer the ordinances in Cornish, where the writer and his friends lived; and it was at the hands of this pious ambassador of Christ that he received for the first time the blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. Never will the impressions made by this divinely appointed means of grace be obliterated from the writer's conscious mind." (Reminiscences, Vol. I., p. 18.)
Those, now aged, who were children of the Church, in his day, remember the pleasure which Mr. Chittenden's arrival gave to their households, and the satisfaction with which they themselves accepted a seat upon his knees. Cheerful and genial at heart, ready in conversation, argument, and illustration,
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it is here supposed that his influence was gained quite as much in private as in public.
The Rev. Abraham Bronson, in his letters on the History of the Prot. Epis. Church in Vt., published in the Gambier Observer and in the Episcopal Recorder in 1834 and 1835, said that Mr. Chittenden "was respectable for talents and Christian character," and "was fond of controversy and skillful in it." But the general impression of him derived from those letters is diminutive, compared with that obtained from all other sources. Without entering into particulars, it may be admitted that his preaching was more controversial than our time would require, or even than is best at any time, without affecting our judgment of his aims, or seriously lessening our estimate of his wisdom. The literature of the saints and martyrs of the primitive Church was chiefly apologetic. But it should be noticed firstly, that Mr. Bronson wrote those letters without his memoranda before him, a quarter of a century after Mr. Chittenden had gone to his rest and was certainly mistaken in a number of his statistics respecting Mr. C.. and his parishes, and the field generally; secondly, that after Mr. C.'s decease there was a confessed change in Mr. Bronson's own opinions respecting the characteristics of true piety, and the means to be employed to promote it, in accordance with which all the New-England clergy, his former self not excepted, were comprehended in his censures; and thirdly, that the Historical Letters exhibit throughout the predominant desire of the writer to recommend by his experience and observation "the measures" which he practiced, to universal adoption. To the Rev. Mr. Bronson, the Church in Vermont can never assign an inferior place in the memory of her early worthies; but it is right that these facts should be duly weighed, if the tone of those letters would prevent us from justly appreciating the excellent character of Mr. Chittenden.
Bishop Philander Chase called him "this pious ambassador of Christ." Bishop Carleton Chase mentioned him first of all in his list of the "excellent and steadfast men," of whom "he confessed with unfeigned satisfaction, his admiration." (Thompson's Hist, of Vt., Part II., p. 196.)
The survivors, among those who knew him in their youth, give but one opinion—that he was an honest, capable, faithful, and self-sacrificing minister of Christ. And the Convention of the Diocese annually elected him their President, from 1798 to 1808 inclusive, even when he was absent, appointing also on such occasions presidents pro tempore. He was a member of the standing Committee from 1796 or '97 till his decease, and was a member of other important special Committees.
In the spring of 1809 he became too infirm to travel, but continued to officiate in Shelburne till his decease, which was a fitting termination of such a life, On Sunday morning, Nov. 5, 1809, being then in his 71st year, with his congregation around him in the house of his son-in-law, he had concluded the devotions and commenced his sermon, which was to be followed by the holy Communion, when he sank back into his chair, and thence to the floor. His spirit was released before his friends could minister to him.
There is no way to arrive at any definite estimation of the value of his services. Records are wanting, and parochial reports were not yet made in the Diocese. Mr Chit- tenden was not a parish clergyman, in such a sense that his parish should be an adequate exhibition of the fruit of his labors. In each place of his residence he gathered a small congregation, and in neither has the love of the Church ever since been extintinguished. If statistics of his whole field could be found, covering the time of his ministry, it is probable that they would exhibit a gradual decrease of members. The Church was Episcopal without a bishop—that is, most inefficiently organized; was mostly without ministerial services; was despoiled of her property by the State; and was enduring the full weight of popular prejudice and opposition, as aggravated by the recent war. It was Mr. Chittenden's work to "strengthen the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees." And to his efforts, under God, is to be ascribed very much of the steadfastness of that noble band who remained firm through every trial, kept the Church together and active, and ready for advancement under the apostolic Griswold, when the brighter day dawned.
But the example of the man—who left the comforts of his farm, and for most of the time, of his home, at the age of fifty, and
devoted himself to such a life, enduring its toils, and encountering its oppositions, for a waning Church, without reasonable recompense, and without the stimulus of present, or the prospect of future distinction, and persevered in it through all the infirmities of age, until the very moment of his final summons—is one which neither the Church nor the world can afford to lose.
BY DEA. H. BARSTOW.
A Congregational church was formed at Shelburne, Jan. 29, 1807, by the Rev. Jedediah Bushnell, of Cornwall, consisting of ten members—three males and seven females. Up to Aug. 1814, they had increased to 21 members; from this period to Sept. 1817, 12 had been added; from this, to May 16, 1819, 27 were added; from this to Nov. 1823, 17 were added from this period to Feb. 1832, 10 were added—making a total of 87 members. Making no allowance for deaths, removals, or expulsions, the above is a total of the admissions. I believe there has never been more than 30 members at any one time from 1807 to 1832. They never succeeded in building a church or settling a minister. They struggled hard and faithfully to sustain themselves, but seemed to be peculiarly unfortunate. About this period, by and with the advice of neighboring clergymen of the same church, the remaining members, with a few individual exceptions, in connection with a remnant of the Free Will Baptist church of about the same number, concluded to make a virtue of necessity—by uniting with the M. E. church. They were cordially received, and have generally walked harmoniously with them to the present time (Nov. 30,1860.)
March 27, 1851, a Congregational church was organized at Shelburne, by the following named gentlemen, who composed the ecclesiastical council convened for that purpose, viz: Revs. J. K. Converse, John Wheeler and R. Case, of Burlington; O. S. Hoyt, of Hinesburgh; J. C. Bingham, of Charlotte; J. Leavitt, of Vergennes; S. Hurlburt, of New Haven. On the same day 27 persons were admitted—10 males and 17 females. The Congregational church of Shelburne now numbers 17 members—5 males and 12 females. The foregoing statistics are taken from recollection and records. They have no preaching at the present time, but are faithful attendants with other denominations.
METHODISM IN SHELBURNE.
BY REV. A. CAMPBELL.
It is not certainly known that there was Methodist preaching in Shelburne before 1800. Still it is quite probable that the Rev. Joseph Mitchell, who preached on the Vergennes circuit the two preceding years, might at some time have preached in Shelburne.
In 1800, the Rev. Henry Ryan preached on the Vergennes circuit, and established an appointment in Shelburne. His first sermon was preached at the residence of Mr. Joshua Read, from the following text: "And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods; because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection." Acts xvii. 18.
Mr. Ryan was not very cordially received by the clergymen of the town, and some others. He was denounced as an intruder, and almost anything else but an ambassador of Christ.
The preaching was principally confined to the east part of the town for many years. A society was soon organized. Among its early members were Nathaniel Gage, John Simonds, Phinehas Hill, and their wives. Among its most devoted and worthy members was Mr. James Simonds, the father of the Rev. S. D. Simonds, formerly of the Troy, and now a prominent member of the California Conference.
The preachers who succeeded Mr. Ryan on the Vergennes circuit, and consequently preached at Shelburne, were R. Dyer, E. Chichester, William Anson, J. M. Smith, S. Cochran, S. Draper and Dexter Bates. In 1808, the name of the circuit was changed to Charlotte, and Shelburne remained connected with it until 1837. During this period, the following preachers labored on the circuit, viz.: A. McKain, M. Richardson, S. Sormborger, A. Scolfield, T. Madden, G. Lyon, J. Haskins, J. Byington, W. Boss, D. Lewis, J. Beman, N. White, B. Landon, T. Benedict, S. Silliman, A. Dunbar, H. DeWolf, J. Youngs, S. Covel, B. Goodsell, L. Baldwin, J. Covel, L. C. Filley, N. Levings, J. Poor, C. Meeker, B. Griffin, T. Seymour, Hazleton, E. C. Griswold, R. Wescott, J. Ayers, C. R. Morris, J. Ames, P. C. Oakley, J. Gobbitt, J. D. Marshall and William Griffins.
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Under the labors of the last two named ministers a very extensive revival of religion was enjoyed, in which Shelburne shared very largely.
The following year, Z. Phillips and C. De Vol were appointed to the circuit, and labored together one year, when the circuit was divided, and Shelburne became a distinct charge. Since Z. Phillips left Shelburne in 1838, the following ministers have occupied the charge, viz.: C. Prindle, A. Witherspoon, H. Meeker, H. L. Starks, H. Dunn, R. T. Wade, J. D. White, J. F. Yates, S. L. Stillman, J. M. Edgerton, G. C. Wells, O. J. Squire, and A. Campbell, the present pastor. In 1833, the brick church now occupied was erected. Since that time the interior has once undergone an entire renewal.
The present number in the society is 140. The following is a list of its official board: Stewards, Ezra Meech, Robert White, L. Blair, N. Newell, R. J. White, H. Russell, R. Rogers and L. Tracy. Class leaders, H. Barstow, L. B. White, J. F. Wells, E. Meech, S. Curry and R. Rogers. Local preachers, George F. Sutton, H. F. Fisk and G. Yager.
Of the vicissitudes common to the Christian church, Methodism in Shelburne has shared its due proportion. While seasons of special prosperity have not been few, seasons of trial have been encountered.
In 1843, through the efforts of a former pastor, Rev. C. Prindle, an excitement on the subject of slavery was produced, and a secession of about a score of members: and the organization of the Wesleyan society was the result. No pains were spared to bring the M. E. church into disrepute, and to effect its overthrow.
Again in 1851, after a very gracious revival of religion under the pastoral oversight of the Rev. J. F. Yates, through the efforts of a Dr. Sprague, a small secession was induced for the purpose of organizing a Congregational church in town.
But in reviewing the past, it is gratifying to realize that the numerous vicissitudes encountered have tended to the promotion of spiritual stability and advancement.
Special attention has been given to the Sabbath School for a number of years. Occasional conversions have been realized among its members. In this respect it has been more than usually prosperous for the last few months—about a score having been converted since the beginning of autumn (1861.)
Thus the church is strengthened to stand forth a rebuke to sin, a light to the benighted, and an asylum for the penitent believer. "A proverb of reproach and love."
BY C. F. TABOR, OF TROY, N. Y.
John Tabor, though not one of the first, was an early settler in Shelburne, and was often heard to say that he helped raise the first frame building in town. He was a native of Princeton, Rhode Island, and removed with his father and family from there to Rutland County, Vt., in 1788, where—excepting himself—the family settled; the town of Mount Tabor taking its name from them. John penetrated farther into the wilderness, and settled in Shelburne about this time. He immediately took up land, a portion of which was situated upon that beautiful point made by Shelburne Bay and Lake Champlain, known as Potter's Point. He about this time married a Miss Smith, who soon died; and for his second wife married Jemima Trowbridge.
The lands he purchased were entirely new. He entered at once upon subduing them, and continued to occupy them, or a portion of them, until his death, which occurred in 1813, at the age of 47 years; leaving a widow and a family of eight children. His prosperity had been such that he left his children in a condition better than his own at their age. They each took by inheritance a small farm. of land both in quality and beauty of location not excelled.
He possessed the qualities necessary to successful pioneer life; was an energetic, industrious, honest, courageous man, of good sense and judgment. Any sketch of the early history of this town would be deficient which should omit mention of his name.
His numerous descendants now residing in several of the different states, are an illustration of the nomadic character of the race.
HON. ALMON H. READ.*
FROM MR. STURGEON'S ADDRESS.
U. S. SENATE, WASHINGTON,
June 10, 1844.
A message was received from the House, announcing the death of Hon. Almon H. Read, late a representative from the state of
* This paper is furnished by his son—Ed.
Pennsylvania, and that resolutions had been adopted testifying the respect of that body for the memory of the deceased, and asking the concurrence of the Senate therein; which being read, Mr. Sturgeon rose and addressed the Senate as follows:
MR. PRESIDENT: The message just received, announces to us that death has again been in our midst. Whilst we have been earnestly engaged in the vain struggles of this mortal life, death has often, since the commencement of the present session, intruded itself, and selected its victims, to remind us that we are but pilgrims and sojourners on this earth, as our fathers were.
Almon H. Read, our late esteemed associate and friend, is no more. He died at his residence in Montrose, Susquehanna County, Penn., surrounded by an affectionate family and sympathizing friends, who did all that human kindness could do to alleviate the sufferings of his last illness, and smooth his passage through the dark valley of the shadow of death.
Mr. Read was born at Shelburne, on the 12th of June, 1790. He received his education partly in the University of Burlington, in his native State, and partly at Williamstown College in the state of Massachusetts, and was a good classical scholar. In 1814 he settled in Montrose, Penn., where he commenced the practice of law, and resided to the day of his death.
My acquaintance commenced with Mr. Read in 1827, when he first took his seat in the Legislature of Pennsylvania. Our friendship continued uninterrupted from that time till a few weeks since, when he left the seat of government for his home, to leave his remains among those who knew him best and loved him most. Mr. Read was elected to the popular branch of the Pennsylvania Legislature five successive sessions. Although he could not be called the originator of our state internal improvement system, yet it owed much of its progress to, completion to his energy, activity and perseverance. In 1832, he was elected a member of the state Senate, and for four years was actively engaged in carrying out his early views on the subject of our improvement system. In 1836, he was elected a member of the Convention to amend the Constitution of the State; and here, although on a new theater and having new subjects to engage his attention, the character of Mr. Read for talents lost nothing by the change. He appeared to much advantage when coming in mental collision with the talented men who were assembled together on that occasion. He showed himself intimately acquainted with our forms of government. He was bold in announcing his views, and energetic in carrying them out. The various speeches made by him on that occasion will hand down his name to posterity as a civilian of the first order,—logical in debate, and energetic in action. A short time after the dissolution of the Convention he was elected state treasurer, in which situation he served one year. He was subsequently elected twice as a member of Congress. Here his talents were not so conspicuous, nor could they be properly estimated, because, previous to his taking his seat, that fell destroyer—so flattering in its progress to the subject of it, yet holding out no consoling hopes to the observant friends—had marked him for his victim. He died of consumption, on the 3d inst., in the 54th year of his age.
Mr. Read was a sincere friend, an affectionate husband, and a kind and tender parent. He left no wife to sorrow over his grave—the partner of his bosom having preceded him to the tomb but a few short months; but he has left an amiable and interesting family, to whom the bereavement must be peculiarly poignant. Let his example urge them on to imitate his course; and while they lament his death, they lament not as those without hope. He died as he had lived, "an honest man, the noblest work of God."
Mr. S. concluded by submitting the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Senate has received with deep sensibility the communication from the House of Representatives, announcing the death of the Hon. Almon H. Read, and that as a mark of respect, they will wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days.
The Senate then adjourned.
There was also an eulogy pronounced in the House, but the main incidents of his life are mentioned in Mr. Sturgeon's address. I think it unnecessary to repeat them.
Our County Court was in session at the time of his decease. A meeting of the bar was called, and resolutions passed to wear crape on the arm for thirty days, to adjourn court and attend the funeral in a body.
At the close of the Reform Convention for revising the Constitution, composed of 133 members, the chairs occupied during the session were sold at public auction. My father's brought $14, the highest price of any one sold, which shows the estimation he was held in by a Philadelphia community. They were all alike, and the remaining 132 were sold at varying prices from $2 to $10.
I have also a valuable cane in my posses-. sion, presented him by the citizens of Erie—made from the Flag Ship Lawrence—for distinguished services in the Reform Convention. The top of it is of octagonal shape—interlaid with silver, on which is the engraving.
886 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
BY LUCELLA READ.
[Lucelia Read was born in Shelburne, in 1822. She early exhibited a decided precocity of intellectual activity and poetic talent, but in consequence of prolonged ill health and other unfavorable influences at an early period In life, she was forced to abandon intellectual pursuits, writing but little subsequent to the age of 20. She died in May, 1861.]
I was born in the heart of the lovely wild rose,
And cradled amid its perfume,
And save when my eyelids in slumber would close,
I saw but its beauty and bloom.
O sweetly the hours of my infancy fled,
As I dwelt in that charming bower,
Till I winged my way from the rosy bed,
In the heart of the wild wood flower.
In the morning beams I have floated along,
While the air with melody rung,
And at noontide warbled my merriest song
The violet blossoms among.
And oft in the jessamine pure and sweet,
I have frolicked, and danced, and laughed,
And oft as I rested my wearying feet,
Of the dewy nectar quaffed.
To the heart of the lily I've often crept,
When wearied with music and mirth,
And there in her bosom have peacefully slept,
As few may e'er slumber on earth.
I have rested oft 'mid the splendor and light
Of blossoms whose rainbow-like leaves
Enshrouded me there amid tissues more bright
Than the labor or man ever weaves.
I am told that the sunlight will soon be gone,
That my race will soon be run,
But still I am carollng on,
In the rays of the setting sun.
THE GOLDEN WEDDING.
The "golden wedding" of the Hon. Robert White, of Shelburne, was commemorated Jan. 15th, 1860. On which occasion a poem was read from the pen of Nancy T. Colamer, which opens thus:
Just fifty years ago to-night,
Ah me! how long it seems,
This aged pair were then quite young
And full of life's bright dreams.
To tread life's ever-changing path,
To share its joy and woe,
With hearts so full of hope and love,
Just fifty years ago.
BY GAY H. NARAMORE, ESQ.
This township originally contained 36 square miles, but in 1839 one-third (i. e. 12 square miles) of the town of Mansfield was annexed. It lies in the N. E. corner of Chittenden county, and connects with four other towns, to wit: Westford, Fairfax, Fletcher and Cambridge.
1765, June 8, the town was chartered by the governor of New Hampshire to Joseph Sackett, Jr., and 64 others,* for $230,40, there being 71 shares in all.
Underhill was named after two brothers who held shares under the original charter. The first survey was made in 1785, and it is supposed that one Darius Post, in the same year, settled within the limits of this town, on the site of the present village of Underhill Flats. Said Mr. Post was married to Miss Bostwick in 1788, but he must have soon removed as he did not attend the first town meeting, March 9, 1795, and does not appear after this date on the records.
The first permanent settlement was made by Moses Benedict and Abner Eaton about 1786. The last named lived for a number of years on the old post road, about half way between Underhill Flats and Cambridgeboro'. Here, five miles from any neighbor, he built a log house, and commenced clearing up the woods. This was a, desirable location at that time, on account of the beaver meadows which covered some 50 acres on either side of a small branch of the Lamoille. Sufficient wild grass and hay for the support of a yoke of oxen and a cow were readily obtained here without waiting the slow destruction of the forest and the growth of tame grasses, hence the choice of this remote and comparatively sterile farm in preference to the rich bottom lands of Burlington, Essex, and Jericho, which then could have been bought at the same price.
The warning for the first town meeting was made by Jonathan Castle, Esq., justice of the peace, of Jericho, Feb. 23, 1795. The first town clerk and representative, William
* Joseph Sackett, Jr., James H. First, Peter First, Joseph First, Edward Earle, Marmaduke Earle, James Jameson, Cornelius Low, Jr. Esq., Jona. Dayton, Jr., Jona. Heard, Andrew Anderson, James Anderson, John Yeats, Jas. Sackett, Sant. Sackett, Joe. Sackett, David Mathews Andrew Ten Eike. Jr., William Sackett, Joseph Savage, Daniel Vorhes, Micael Butler, Samuel Wall, Joseph Ball, Jeremiah Allen, Henry Allen, John Freeborn, Robert Freeborn, Samuel Browne, Carey Dunn, Wm. Sands, Benja. Underhill, Peter Allen, William Allen, Henry Franklin, Bishop Hadley, James Horton, Sen., Silvanus Horton, Underhill Horton, Maurice Salts, Lewis Riley, James Reid, Peter Ten Eike, Jr., Isaac Adolphas, Samuel Judea, Myer Myers, Solomon Marache, Jacob Watson, Joshua Watson, Silvanus Dillingham, William Butler, Robert Midwinter, John Midwinter, Derrick Amberman, Joseph Holmes, John Cokle, Jona. Copland Uriah Woolman, John Sears, Hon. John Temple, Theo. Atkinson, M. H. I. Kentworth, Dr. John Hale, and Maj. Samuel Hale. [From the papers of Henry Stevens.—Ed.]