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890                         VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

 

WESTFORD.

 

 

BY REV. J. H. WOODWARD.

 

Westford is in the second tier of towns east of Lake Champlain, reclining on the western slope of the Green Mountains. It is bounded N. by Fairfax, E. by Underhill, S. by Essex, and W. by Milton. Its center is 16 miles N. E. of Burlington, and 16 miles S. E. of St. Albans. The town lies in a regular form, containing 36 square miles, and was chartered by Gov. Wentworth of New Hampshire, in 1763. The grantees were 65 in number. Its surface is broken, ledges cropping out here and there, and the whole diversified with luxuriant valleys and verdant mountain ridges. No part of it, however, is so rough or precipitous as to be uninhabitable, and the whole is well adapted to grazing purposes. Like other mountain­ous districts it is well watered. Its pastures are sweet, and its meadows and corn lands productive; nor is there any great amount of waste territory, although to a stranger it

 

 

 

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might seem otherwise. The soil is somewhat varied. Through the central portions clay preponderates, while in the eastern and western sections a rich gravelly loam pre­vails, and the extreme northern portion (originally a pine plain) has a light, sandy soil. The rocks generally are of a slate formation. There have as yet been dis­covered no metals of any considerable value, although indications in the north-eastern por­tions of the town are at present awakening some interest and eliciting some examination.

This town is about equi-distant from the grand old Mansfield on the east, and the beau­tiful lake, with her silver waters and her green isles on the west. Its northern border is skirted by the Lamoille, and but a little to the south flows the Winooski, so that natu­rally Westford is among the most desirable positions in the state. Its scenery, and that about it, is wild and beautiful; while, from its near proximity to the mountains, the lake, and two of the principal rivers of the state, its soil is not as subject to drouth as sections more remote from these favorite haunts, and conductors of clouds and of showers. Yet, in 1859 and '60, "boasting" (in these respects) "is excluded."

Besides numerous living springs and brooks there is one pond covering some 10 acres in the west part of the township, and Brown's river, which enter it on the south, holding its course a little to the west of north, dividing its territory on the east and west into nearly equal parts. This river takes its rise near the base of old Mansfield, and making a sweep in a south-westerly direction through Underhill, the corners of Jericho and Essex, assumes a northerly course which it maintains till it becomes tributary to the Lamoille, in the town of Fairfax. Our lands were originally covered with heavy forests containing almost every variety of timber. Hemlock, beech and maple were the most common, although spruce, pine, birch, elm and ash were quite abundant. It was a giant task to clear these lands, hence this town was not settled as early or as rapidly as most of the towns in its vicinity. Indeed, till within 30 years, it was considered one of the most undesirable towns in the county. Within that period it has probably advanced as rapidly in wealth and culture and the substantial comforts of life as any agricul­tural town in the region.

In 1787 Hezekiah Parmelee, uncle to the Rev. Simeon Parmelee, D. D., so long and favorably known in the state, became the first settler. A. few others soon came in, mostly Massachusetts men, and commenced their settlement in the south part of the town. Shortly after, and about simultane­ously, two companies came in; the one, from New Hampshire, settling in the north-east part of the town; the other, from Rhode Island, settling in the north-western section. The Massachusetts and New Hampshire families were an excellent class of settlers, of enterprising, moral and religious char­acter. The Rhode Islanders were a little more of the "rough and ready stamp"— fearless, impulsive, ready for a frolic or a fight.

In 1793, March 25th, the town was organ­ized. Francis Northway was the moderator. Martin Powell (subsequently the Rev. Martin Powell who passed a long and useful minis­try in this and York states) was the first clerk. The first selectmen were John Seely, Levi Farnsworth and Shubal Woodruff. John Seely was town treasurer. John Seely, Levi Farnsworth and Shubal Woodruff were listers. First constable, Ebenezer Burdick. Tithingman, Shubal Woodruff. We have no means of knowing the number of inhab­itants in town at this time, but the proba­bility is that it was quite limited, as several offices were conferred on the same individuals. Jeremiah Stone (father of the late Allen Stone) was the first represettative and mer­chant of the town. Its first physician was Dr. Rice, who remained but a short time and removed to Canada. Its first postmaster was Wm. P. Richardson. We believe that a pair of twins, belonging to Mr. Stephen Johnson, first received burial in town. Mr. Silas Beach, the grandfather of the several Beach families now resident among us, was the first adult who died. He was killed by the fall of a tree which he had been chop­ping, July 1, 1796.

In 1795, Mr. Elisha Baker put up a saw­mill at the center of the town, where there are several good mill privileges. Shortly after, Mr. Joshua Stanton erected a grist­mill and a forge at the same place. These formed the nucleus of a village—inviting in settlers, and awakening the cheer and hum of industry amid these waving forests. They seemed to impart a new activity and enter‑

 

 

 

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prise to the whole town. The inhabitants who up to this time had been forced to go a long distance for boards and milling, now felt rich in their home facilities. The forge gave employment to a number of hands. It was supplied with ore, bog-ore, from Colchester, near the mouth of the Winooski river, from which place a distance of 16 miles, it had to be drawn by horses, over new and bad roads. The iron made from this ore was very soft and malleable, and subsequently was much improved by a mixture of moun­tain ore brought from York State. It was boated into Burlington, and carted from thence.

Notwithstanding the great distance and the disadvantages under which the ore was brought, the business of making iron proved profitable, so much so that another forge was built in a short time, at a, point some hundred rods lower down the river—near where the grist-mill and upper saw-mill now stand. The first mills and forge were at the rapids near T. G. Beach's furniture shop. The mills stood at the lower extremity of Mr. Woodward's garden, and the forge just over the line of the garden on the lot connected with the Baptist parsonage.

These mills, and this forge fell into the hands of Luke Camp, soon after they were built, and by him were worked up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1809 or '10.

About this time, or a little before, the iron business was necessarily suspended, as the ore at Colchester failed, and they were not successful in working that which came from the other side of the lake, alone.

Soon after the death of Mr. Camp, a suit at law was commenced for the removal of the dam, which fed his mills, by Messrs. John Keeler, and Joseph Weed, of Essex, on the ground that it damaged their lands. The suit terminated adversely to the inter­ests of Mrs. Camp, resulting in the removal of the dam, and the suspension of business which had been carried on for so long a time, at this point in the village. Mrs. Camp subsequently built a grist-mill some rods down the river, nearly back of where now stands the Baptist meeting-house. This proved an unfavorable position, and the mill was sold to Col. Danforth Wales and Henry Miles, who subsequently built our present grist-mill. There are now in town 5 saw-mills, 1 grist-mill, four shops in which ma­chinery is carried by water, or steam; 2 blacksmith shops in active operation, and 2 stores. There are 12 school districts with school-houses, such as they are,—most of them very indifferent, disclosing little taste in location, convenience or architecture. Two or three of them are quite passable, and one of them (the one at the center) is highly creditable to the district. It is of the cot­tage style; having two large rooms, with ornamental trimmings and belfry. It is thought to be the best district school-house in the county, outside of Burlington.

The first church organization was effected in this town in 1801. Missionary societies of Connecticut had sent their missionaries at an early day into western Vermont. The two most frequently mentioned by the aged among us, are father Marshall (as he is familiarly called), a good man, but of some eccentricities of character, and the Rev. Jed­ediah Bushnell, so long and favorably known as pastor of Cornwall church. As the result of immigration, and the occasional labor of these missionaries, on the 7th of August, 1801, a Congregational church was organ­ized, consisting of 13 members, by Rev. Mr. Bushnell, In this organization there were six males, and seven females. The Lord's Supper was administered, and they were left in the wilderness as sheep without a shep­herd. They were poor, as were all the first settlers. In 1805 it was thought that $60.00 was all that could be raised for the most popular minister. In 1808, Mr. Simeon Parmelee, a young missionary from Pittsford, who spent two weeks here, preaching, and visiting from house to house, found a little church of 23 members. At the time he was conditionally engaged to settle at Malone, N. Y. But as he went on his missionary tour, he carried with him a pleasant recollec­tion of his cordial reception at Westford, and the little, harmonious, warm-hearted Chris­tian band he had left there in the wilderness.

Notwithstanding their poverty, and the paucity of their numbers,—without a meeting-house, or any place of meeting other than a barn, or a private dwelling,—within two months from the time of his first visit, Mr. Parmelee received a pressing invitation to come and spend 8 weeks with them as a can­didate for settlement. They felt (what this

 

 

 

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People have ever felt) that they must have a preached gospel; and although "clouds and darkness were round about them," and though to human view the way seemed closed before them, there was nevertheless a mysterious confidence in their ultimate success. The letter of invitation was signed by eight individuals, each pledging himself to pay for one Sabbath day's preaching. To quote Mr. Parmelee's language, "For some unaccountable reason, that the missionary could never solve, he sent a negative answer to Malone, and on the first Sabbath of May, his labors commenced with this little flock, in a barn." The sequel sufficiently shows that he was preceded and led by the Divine Spirit—for no sooner had his labors com­menced than the places of worship were crowded. Men, women, and children, came miles on foot to hear the gospel preached, and it became the power of God unto salva­tion. The cry was soon heard on every hand: "'What must we do to be saved?" Before the 8 weeks had expired, over 40 persons, mostly heads of young and growing families, were rejoicing in Christian hope. A call was at once presented for the candidate to become the pastor. It was accepted, and Mr. Parmelee was ordained on the 31st day of August, 1818, in a barn, now standing about a mile S. W. of the village. The or­der of exercises was as follows; 1st, Prayer by Rev. James Parker, of Underhill. 2d. Sermon by Rev. Lemuel Haynes, of West Rutland. 3d, Consecrating Prayer by Rev. Jedediah Bushnell, of Cornwall. 4th. Charge to the Pastor by Rev. Benjamin Wooster, of Fairfield. 5th, Fellowship of the Churehes by Rev. Publius V. Bogue of Georgia. 6th, Con­cluding Prayer by Rev. Amos Pettengill, of Champlain, N. Y. On the following Sabbath the young pastor was permitted to receive of those who had been previously examined, over 60 into his church. Shortly after, on one occasion, over 30 children received the ordinance of baptism. The revival continu­ed so that within 6 months from the ordina­tion the church numbered 100, and these were mostly heads of families.

But they had no proper place of worship, and to support their minister and to build a meeting-house, seemed nearly impossible. How could they do it? Very few of them had comfortable dwellings for themselves. Many of them had no barn, or barns, and houses half built. Their farms in many in­stances were not paid for, and were under heavy mortgages, and but partially cleared. Money was scarce, and farming products very low. To any but a people prizing tho gospel, and zealous of the worship and glory of God, the idea would have seemed absurd and ruinous. But a meeting was called to con­sider the matter, which resulted in a deter­mination to go forward at once, and build a house for God. The location, size, and style of the building were determined. Mr. Luke Camp, the principal businessman and land­holder at the center of the town, gave to the society two acres of ground at the west end of the village, for a meeting-house site; and to the town for the extension of this site, two acres and a half in addition.

Mr. Alpheus Earl took the contract for building the house. The outside was finish­ed, and the ground floors laid, within a year. And there they worshiped summer and win­ter without stoves, and with no seats but temporary ones. The house was a large two story building, without steeple or belfry, sufficiently capacious to hold the whole town. It was ultimately finished in the old style of high square pews above and below. In this house Mr. Parmelee labored for most of the time during his long and prosperous ministry, of more than 29 years. There were of course seasons of trial, dark and gloomy periods, but there was more of sun­light, of pleasant progressive prosperIty than usually falls upon the same term of years in any one man's ministerial life. From 1810 to 1817 was one of the periods of trial. In 1810, and 1812, there was much sickness, and many deaths occurred. In the latter year the spotted fever carried off large numbers. The war came on, and with it great excite­ment, and violent feeling. Good men often­times lost confidence in each other. The seasons were cold, and unfavorable, and the people here did not raise their bread. They were in debt for their meeting-house, in debt for their farms, and in debt for their supplies. Wheat sometimes was three dol­lars a bushel; tea a dollar and a half per pound, and calico from 50 to 75 cts. per yard, and many other thing in proportion. Very many of the church and of the society became discouraged, disposed of their effects as best they could, and left for the West, or other parts. The pastor participated in this

 

 

 

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feeling of discouragement, and asked for a dismission. A council was called, and an arrangement made for Mr. Parmelee to preach one half of the time here, and the other half abroad.

In 1828 a serious difficulty broke out among the singers, which extended to the church and society, threatening the most unhappy consequences. But after a three years continuance, by the gracious inter­position a revival of extraordinary power set all things right. While dark clouds of this character lowered occasionally over the way, let it be borne in mind however, that this church never had a council called to settle any difficulty during the long pastor­ate of Dr. Parmelee (and we may add, never from its organization in 1801 to the present day), that all along in its history, under the first pastor's care, revivals occurred —numbers of them of great power. One which we have named, in 1808; another partial revival in 1816; another in 1821. In 1824 one which shook the whole town; in 1831 the most extensive work of divine grace in which the town has ever shared—adding some 70 to this church, and numbers to the other churches.

In an anniversary sermon preached by Dr. Parmelee a short time before his dismis­sion, are contained the following facts:— "There has been five general revivals of religion, which have brought into the church 270 members,— 100 have been dismissed; 40 have died; 6 have been excluded, and one has been restored. The present number of resident members is 132,—48 males, and 84 females. There are about 20 absent members." The relation between the pastor and the church has always been affectionate and cordial, and we think should never have been sundered but by death. Dr. Parmelee justly felt that the people were able, and ought to pay him more salary. But there was an unhappiness, and misapprehension in rela­tion to this matter, which resulted in a hasty call of a council, and in his dismission, Aug. 8th, 1837.

Thus was terminated a pastoral relation of almost 30 years standing—a relation not entirely devoid of self-sacrifice and trials, but on the whole eminently pleasant and successful, and which has left its impressions upon this people which, we trust, will last for a long time to come.

Before the week had transpired in which Dr. Parmelee was dismissed, a committee from the church and society appeared at the house of J. H. Woodward, then a young licentiate preaching in the adjoining town of Cambridge, with a unanimous call for him to become their minister. This was entirely unlooked for by Mr. Woodward, and all his inclinations and feelings decidedly rebelled against a compliance, and it was not till after he was made very sensible that it was God's will that he laid aside his ob­jections, and reluctantly consented to enter upon his labors with a view to a permanent settlement over them. The church and soci­ety were anxious that no time should inter­vene between the termination of the retiring pastor's labors and the occupation of the desk by the candidate for settlement. This anxiety was gratified by the presence in the pulpit, on the third Sabbath in August, 1837, of the old pastor and of him who was to be his successor.

 

It was a Sabbath long to be remembered, a Sabbath of tears, a Sabbath on which the retiring pastor and a people so long blessed by his labors wept together, as he rehearsed the dealings of God with them—the trials and labors, the joys and sorrows and changes through which they had passed.

 

The young candidate for settlement found in Westford a plain, substantial, agricultural people—not wealthy, no large capitalists, and but few comparatively who were really poor and needy—a people with whom there was a great degree of equality in wealth, in style and refinement. He found a strong church and society for a small country parish. The church numbering about 130 resident members and a congregation averaging full 200. He found a little, shabby, irregular-looking village, with a school­house and two church edifices. The one of brick belonging to Baptists, Methodists and Universalists. The other, then an old house, which has before been described, belonging to his flock, with residences, mills, and shops, perhaps to the number of 20—mostly of a rude, cheap style—scattered somewhat promiscuously around the outer edges of a large, bare, open common. Here and then his labors commenced in the dawn of one of the most exciting and unhappy periods in the history of the New England churches. His

 

 

 

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ordination and installation did not take place till the 28th of January, 1838.

From 1815 to 1832 had been a season of unusual religious interest throughout the country. Revivals of great power had ob­tained all over the land. The churches had become numerous and strong. But now there was an absence and dearth of the Spirit. A reaction had come on. The anti-Masonic revolution had had its sweep, had soured and alienated some minds, had dis­missed some ministers, and had nearly wrecked some churches. Teuarism (as it is here called) was having its brief day, and in this immediate section the fragments of some broken churches were floating in disorder around us. About the time of the pastor's settlement also the new measure storm which had been raging at the West, broke upon New England. This, as it seems to him, was a well-intended but mischievous attempt on the part of some ardent minds to atone for the absence of the Spirit—to bring men into the kingdom of Christ by human instru­mentalities. It necessarily in its workings overrode the strong distinguishing doctrines of the Cross. The two would not harmonize. Wherever the system came there was more or less excitement and discord.

This parish was peculiarly situated during this stormy period. Essex, Jericho Corners, Underhill and Cambridge had fallen under the new order of things so that we were the center of this full half circle of churches, and hence were subject to very strong outward influences. There were also some good brethren within who were exceedingly anx­ious for the introduction of this system which stood knocking so loudly at our door. The pastor stood firmly and honestly opposed to the experiment. He had watched with deep anxiety its progress and results thus far at the west and the east. He had studied its character and believed he under­stood its machinery. After a full and earnest discussion of the whole matter in open church meeting, notwithstanding the high excitement, and some dangerous expedients resorted to, the pastor was sustained in his views by a large majority of the church and by his whole society.

While this subject was wrapping the parish in its perplexing folds, the anti­slavery excitement was drawing on. Socities had been organized. The press had become divided and had entered into a heated conflict. A new political organiza­tion had made its appearance. Agents and lecturers multiplied, many of whom were exceptionable in character, ultra, extrava­gant, wild, fierce, fanatical and denunciatory —mingling in a kind of chaos immediate, unconditional abolition on the soil, with no church, no ministry, no government and woman's rights. Our house of worship was often sought for discussion by this class of men on the Lord's day. The pastor took the ground that such discussions as were not unfrequently indulged in were incompatible with the sacredness of the Sabbath—the spirituality, peace and harmony of the con­gregation, and hence that the house could not be used for these purposes during the ordinary hours of religious worship. This for a while caused some excitement and disaffec­tion, but resulted finally in no lasting aliena­tion.

Mingling with these unhappy excitements have been the influences arising from the discovery and opening of the California mines, the construction and bearing of the numerous railroads in Vermont upon the spirit of speculation, and the material wealth of her people. Never, from the first settle­ment of this continent, was there a period with us of such a degree of absorption in the world and of such unparalleled worldly prosperity as has attended the last 15 years. In all these respects our history is not unlike that of the other churches of Vermont.

It is easy to anticipate the general bear­ings of such a state of things upon religion. We should expect no luxuriant growth of piety, no powerful and protracted revivals of religion, but rather a process of weakness and depletion.

The whole course of events for the last 25 years in New England has been adverse to a state of religious prosperity. Had it not been for the great revival period which preceded it, owing to the influences named, and the rapidly wasting processes of death and emigration, doubtless New England to a much greater extent than it now is would be a mis­sionary field. God, in His great wisdom and goodness, had anticipated and provided for these times.

From the dismission of Dr. Parmelee, a period of 24 years, there have died, emigrated and been excommunicated from the church

 

 

 

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136 members, 6 more than the number of resident members at the time, and 11 more than the present number of resident members—so that we have this humiliating fact, that the church is wasting away. There are now quite as many non-resident members as then, but the resident members are five less.

In 1840 the society built a very good church edifice at the cost of about $4,000. This church and society are in a state of general harmony and prosperity, and, we trust, ere long may receive a "visitation from the Day Spring on high."

 

METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.

 

Its history begins in the year 1821. Up to this time there had been no church in town, though—some 20 years before—Loren­zo Dow and others had preached here occa­sionally, there being here and there a Meth­odist family.

In 1821 B. P. Taylor, then a young convert, went to Burlington and invited brother Truman Seymour to come and preach, which he did, leaving an appointment for two weeks from that time. He came accord­ing to appointment, and formed a class of 12 members, appointing James Brown leader. Mr. Seymour was a wheelwright by trade and a local preacher residing in Burlington. He preached, when at Westford, at the Stewart school-house, near where Samuel Rice now resides. It was under his labors, at the time above named, that the M. E. church of this town was organized.

In 1822 and '23 this church was united with several neighboring churches, and con­stituted what was then known as the Bur­lington Circuit, extending from Burlington to Canada line and from the lake to the mountain, having Rev. John B. Stratton for presiding elder, and Revs. Cyrus Prindle and Wm. Todd, preachers. The church in 1823 numbered 45 members, brother B. P. Taylor being leader.

From that time many changes have taken place by deaths and removals. It has been in circuit connection with the churches of the following towns: Burlington, St. Albano, Milton, Essex, and Underhill. In 1859 the Westford church stepped out single-handed with Bro. A. H. Seaver, a young man of great promise, for their preacher, who died—in the mysterious providence of God—during the first year of his labor, deeply lamented by all.

In 1860 this society and its friends erected a neat and convenient chapel where they now have preaching regularly every Sab­bath. Among the preachers in the first cir­cuit connection to this society were the following: Revs. Almon Dunbar, Cyrus Prindle and Wm. Todd. At a later date: Revs. Bates, Meeker, Hall, Harrower, Cook, Poor, Hitchcock, Witherspoon, &c. The present number of members is 70. The above facts have been kindly furnished by Rev. WM. HYDE, present preacher.

 

THE CALVINISTIC BAPTIST CHURCH.

 

was organized Aug. 19, 1810, with a con­stituent membership of 13. They passed through alternations of prosperity and ad­versity for several years without a regular pastor or place of worship, being dependent on casual supplies, obliged to hold their meetings in dwelling and school-houses.

In 1822, in connection with the Methodist and some others who belonged to no particu­lar denomination, they built a very substan­tial and, for the times, respectable brick house. In this house they worshiped alter­nately with the Methodists and others who claimed an interest in it, up to the year 1858. At this time the Baptist church became sole proprietors of the house by purchase, and immediately set about a thorough repair of it, so that now it presents a modern and respectable appearance.

The church from time to time has been favored with seasons of prosperity. Revivals of religion have been enjoyed in her midst, the results of which have been that large numbers, in the aggregate, have been added to her membership. While this is true, it is also true that the ordinary processes of reduction—such as deaths, removals, &c.— have been going on until the church at the present time numbers only 67 resident mem­bers. The above statement is from the Rev. CHARLES FULLER present pastor.

The population and grand list of the town are as follows: Population, according to the last census, 1231—nearly 200 less than we had supposed; grand list, $3314,54.

So far as we know, this town has furnished but one state-prison. convict who was born and educated here. The temperance reform was needed in this place, and has been as

 

 

 

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thorough and extensive here as in most towns. Intoxicating liquor was freely used in church and out of it. It was thought to be an indispensable guest at a birth or a funeral. In 1826 it was first refused public use on a funeral occasion by Appollos Partridge. This was a bold step and caused much talk. But it was followed by others no less startling, till the liquid fire was finally banished from all good society and common use to the abodes of darkness, secrecy and unlawful sale. In all the progress of this wholesome reform in the state the majority of this town has participated—reaping as a result the fruits of a more perfect peace and prosperity in all the departments of life.

While we have cause of gratitude for what has been done, the reform however needs to go further, imparting a more sleepless energy to its friends, saving here and there a poor misguided inebriate, striking the sparkling bowl from the hand of the young adventurer, and applying the law to the unprincipled and the lawless. Of the readiness of our citizens, both in the past and the present, to respond to the call of their country we have the best of evidence. There are those now resident among us who were engaged in the war of 1812, and in the later war with Mexico, while as many as 20 of our brave young men are in the late struggle for the suppression of rebellion and for the maintenance of the government.*

Among the college graduates this town has furnished are the following: Hon. Alvin Stewart, Rev. Francis Bowman, Rev. Ira Chase, Torrey E. Wales, Esq., Whipple Earle, Esq., Mr. S. R. Henry (who died soon after graduating), and Mr. Henry Chase.

While many of the first settlers and their descendants have been men, in their limited spheres, distinguished for intelligence and moral worth—few, perhaps none of them, have heen sufficiently known abroad to en­title them to an extended notice on these pages. We shall, therefore, with very few exceptions, let them rest together, enshrined in the hearts of their successors, without trumpeting abroad their real, or seeking to give them a fictitious distinction. In the exceptions we make to this general purpose we wish not to have it understood that there may not be other names equally worthy of mention, but we bring these forward because they stand connected with published produc­tions which are at hand, and because they are fair representations of our more gifted citizens.

The first we shall introduce is the

 

HON. ALVIN STEWART,

 

a name not entirely unknown to the public. A native of Westford, and a graduate of the University of Vermont, he gave himself to the profession of law and became quite dis­tinguished as a lawyer at Cherry Valley, N. Y. From this place he removed to the city of Utica. Here his mind seemed called to the then unpopular subjects of abolition and temperance. To these reforms he de­voted much of the residue of his life. He died in the city of New York, May 1, 1849. The following is taken from an obituary notice in one of the New York journals:

 

"Perhaps no living man in America, cer­tainly none in the state of New York, has done more signal service for the cause of human freedom than Alvin Stewart. He was a man—an original man, copying no­body, imitating nobody, and inimitable in himself, both as to genius, mode of expres­sion and the character of his mind and man­ners, with no earthly motives to gratify, while to entirely refrain from the agitation of this subject would have saved him from a world of odium and malignant misrepresenta­tion. He obeyed the convictions of his inner man, giving to persecuted. reform the support of his superior talent and personal influence."

 

His writings are numerous, but we must content ourselves with a solitary extract, taken from a speech delivered in Pennsylvania Hall, May, 1888, on the great issues between right and wrong. In speaking of the flight of the children of Israel from Egypt and the treatment they received at the hand of the king of Edom, he says:

 

"Here we have an awful demonstration of God's detestation of a nation which could dare attempt to arrest or impede the progress of fleeing fugitive slaves who sought a pas­sage through a neutral country to a land of freedom. For that crime the malediction of the Most High has brooded over the land of Idumea. Oh, what a solemn fulfillment of that prophecy! Look at Petra, the city of the rocks in the mountain, the wonderful capital of this heaven-doomed land—this nest of one of the world's great empires girded about with everlasting mountain bar­riers. Behold her theaters, temples and catacombs vying with imperial Rome in the days of her Caesars, cut from her granite

—————

* Written during the first year of the war.—Ed.

 

 

 

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mountains with rocky roofs one thousand feet in thickness, culminating above. Behold her mighty palaces, without mortar, without joints, chiseled out of primeval rock, perfect after the long lapse of centuries as when first opened! Yet this ancient abode of polished life, which felt the movings of a mighty ambition, has for twenty centuries been abandoned of God and forsaken of men, only tenanted by the obscene bird and loathsome serpent, the sole inmates of the palaces of kings and lodgers in the chambers of departed greatness. No man abides in this land, no man says this is my home. A land once red with the blood of the grape and thronged with populous life, it has become a sterile and majestic solitude, borne down by the withering curse of God for the crime of opposing the escape of fugitive Hebrew slaves from the land of the spoiler. Here stands, and will stand to the end of time, the witness, telling to each generation of the world, as they flow down the long stream of ages: 'Here was once a crime committed by man against man—by a nation in prosperity against a nation of fugitive slaves flying in distress.' The punishment was inflicted in the zenith of her glory, and she is the only country on the globe which has been depopulated from century to century, as an enduring testimo­nial of God's wrath.

As the solitary traveler wanders over the ruins of Petra, he is alarmed as echo sends back her voice in answer to his footsteps, from the lonely temple, the deserted palace and silent catacombs; astonished he lifts his eye surrounded by ever during backs of rocks, and beholds the only living being, an eagle in the regions of the blue sky, revolv­ing in his noontide gyrations over the doomed city of the mountains. The flight of the Hebrews from the house of bondage, took place at a period when Egypt was the home of science—the Gamaliel at whose feet the learned and inquiring of other nations sat. She was the head of the families of the earth, and within her borders were locked up those discoveries which have since astonished mankind. In the contest between Israel and Egypt, therefore, it was enlightened strength contending against ignorant weak­nesses. There was too much and to decide the question by reason, and argument, on the side of the Egyptians, and too much feebleness on the part of the Hebrew. But we are somewhat struck at the superior refinement of the haughty slave holders of Egypt as compared with those of the United States. Pharaoh as the representative of supreme power, tolerated Moses and Aaron with rights denied by an American Congress, and by southern slave holders to wit; the rights of petition and free discussion.

For this matter was discussed no less than seven or eight times in the palace of Egypt, and Pharaoh never denied the right of petition but once, and that was when he told Moses not to come before him again. But that was at the time when Moses had ceased to petition, as the business was lodged in the hands of the angel of death."

 

JOHN WORTHINGTON WOODWARD,

 

was born in Westford, June 16th, 1839—He was a bright, open-hearted, ingenuous boy, warm in his attachments and his resent­ments, a favorite wherever he went. He was fitted for college mainly at Johnson, and entered the freshman class in the Universi­ty. Aug. 1858, at the age of 19. His college course was several times interrupted by ill health, but it was on the whole an honorable and successful one. His exuberant spirits and love of excitement led him sometimes to engage in those frolics which are apt to glide insensibly into something that merits a se­verer name, but so far as I know, Woodward was never chargeable with any of those actions or habits which degrade and taint the whole moral character, such as lying, deceit, or meanness in any of its forms. He entered with great ardor and enthusiasm into college friendships, and he has left be­hind him among his college associates those who mourn for him as tenderly as for an own brother. His talents were considered by his instructors to be of a very high order, and such as promised to make him conspicuous and influential in society. He had a special relish for the higher departments of literature—for poetry, oratory, and romance, and his reading in these departments was exten­sive and careful. He was passionately fond of music. Indeed his soul seemed spontane­ously to attract itself to and to delight in that which, by any form of expression, in literature, in harmony, or in life, is adapted to awaken noble and lofty feeling. "One of the finest traits in John's character," says his most intimate college friend in a letter to me, "was the profound love and veneration which he felt for his father. He was impul­sive, often thoughtless, always gay and fun-loving, and would sometimes engage with hearty zest in enterprises not approved by the laws of the University. But when his father questioned him, there was no shifting, no deceit—his answer was always frank, straight forward and truthful. He often told me that he never could and never would deceive his parents—and I do not think he ever did."

Young Woodward received the honors of the University in Aug. 1862, and almost immediately made his preparations for entering the military service of the United States. It was with great difficulty and only by a con­tinual struggle that he was kept from join­ing the army before the completion of his college course. He felt it a reproach, as he said, that his father and only brother were in the field, and he left at home with the women. Every one who knew him, foresaw what his career as a soldier would be. Brave almost to recklessness, never so much at home as in perilous enterprise, and yet clearheaded while in the midst of the greatest

 

 

 

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excitement, every body said he was admira­bly adapted for a cavalry officer. He receiv­ed his commission as Captain on the 19th of Nov. 1862, and left for the seat of war with the company he had recruited and drill­ed in the January following. His conduct in the field more than justified the anticipation of his friends. Along with his unquestioned bravery he soon showed capacity for com­mand, and that combination of daring and judgment which is so valuable in a leader of cavalry. He was at different times entrusted with the command of detachments sent out on those important and desperate enterprises required of this arm of the service, and his success was such as to attract the notice and win the complimentary mention of his su­perior officers. On the third day after the late battle at Gettysburg, the Vermont Cavalry with other regiments' under Gen. Kil­patrick were attempting to harass the enemy, then on the retreat between Hagerstown and Williamsport. While holding a position on the Williamsport road, supported by por­tions of the 5th New York and Elder's bat­tery, they found themselves outnumbered and outflanked. It was while bravely attempting to rally his company to face this overwhelming attack that Capt. Woodward was shot, simultaneously through the brain and the heart. The whole force was obliged to fall back and leave their dead in the hands of the enemy. It was not till nine days afterward, when our troops re-occupied Hagerstown, that Mr. Woodward was able to recover the body of his son, which in the mean time had been rifled and buried, and was with difficulty identified. It afterwards received Christian burial in the Presbyterian graveyard of Hagerstown—and let all of us who knew Capt. Woodward, remember to the everlasting honor of the clergyman and in­habitants of Hagerstown, that they showed the kindest sympathy for his father in his great affliction, they attended the burial of the remains, and strewed flowers over the grave. And thus ended the earthly career of one who so lately went from among you in all the bloom and promise of early man­hood. You will not see his face again; that clear, ringing voice, which so often sounded forth the praises of God in this house, and which so often cheered his comrades on to daring and victory on the bloody field, you and they will hear no more.

 

FUNERAL OF CAPTAIN WOODWARD.

 

The services in memory of Capt. John W. Woodward, Co. M, 1st Vt. Cavalry, took place in Westford yesterday. The church was filled to overflowing with mourners and sympathizing friends from a number of towns. Prayer was offered by Ray. C. C. Torrey, of Westford, followed by a

 

HYMN

 

Written for the occasion by Rev. O. G. Wheeler, of Grand Isle

 

O God, to Thee we early gave

Our child, to take away or save:

Since Thou hast claimed him, why should we

Withhold Thine own? We yield to Thee.

 

Around our darling's budding brow

Hope twined her sweetest sun-lit glow,

His future seemed a path of light:

We deemed, for him, no joy too bright.

 

By learning trained, we hoped to see

Him give his life, O Lord, to Thee,

With sword of truth, and helm of right,

For Christ and for his cross to fight.

 

But other work to him was given

Than winning souls to Christ and Heaven:

God bade him heed his country's call,—

He heard, and gave to her his all.

 

"Charge, soldiers, charge the trait'rous foe,

God bids you strike the avenging blow!"

His work is done, and angels bear

Him to the loved that wait him there!

 

The funeral discourse, by Prof. M. H. Buckham, of the University of Vermont, followed. From the text, Matthew x. 30: "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered," the speaker drew the lesson that God's providence extends to the separate events of human life, and His kind and loving care to the separate individuals of the race, and that what He thus orders for His children is always best. These truths he enforced in a simple, thoughtful, practical and exceedingly impressive discourse. Em­bodied in it was a truthful and touching biographical sketch of Capt. Woodward, from which we were permitted to make the above extract. It is a bright and honorable record.

The services closed with the singing by the choir of the following Lines:

 

Away from his kindred and scenes of his youth.

He sped at the summons of freedom and truth,

He rushed to the conflict, nor counted the cost ;

He has fallen, how soon! but he died at his post.

 

Even strangers wept freely that thus in life's bloom,

One so gifted, so noble, went dawn to the tomb;

He charged with the foremost in front of the host,

But he fell for his country—he died at his post.

 

We faltered not, swerved not, unmindful of fear,

Though foemen surrounded he rode with a cheer,

And breathed the last message, while yielding the ghost

"Tell my kindred and dear ones, I died at my post."

 

He covets no monument chiselled in stone,

To tell of the laurels his valor has won,

But asks to be cherished by those he loved most,

As a friend of his country who died at his post.

 

Our young hero's deeds we will never forget—

His virtues are fresh in our memories yet,

His name is embalmed with the patriot host,

With the Martyrs of freedom he died at his post.

 

All the services, music, prayers and sermon were appropriate, impressive and in keeping with the subdued and solemn spirit of the occasion, stirring the large audience at times with strong emotion, and conveying a wholesome lesson to all whose privilege it was to be present,*

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* The writer of this history is indebted to Dr. Parmalee and to Miss Amire Bryant for some important facts used in this communication.

 

 

 

900                         VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

[The following illustrative anecdote, too good to lose, we clip from Mr. Milliken's Vermont Record.—Ed.]

 

Rev. Simeon Parmelee, well known in Northern Vermont, and for many years a settled minister in the town of Westford, used to relate the following respecting one of his parishioners, who never was known to en­gage in any religious conversation, so strong­ly was he attached to things earthly. Mr. Parmelee called one day to have a talk with him. He wished to have the minister walk over his well cultivated farm, which request was complied with. After looking at his stock and crops, he waited for an opportu­nity to change the subject to things of a religions nature. At last the minister thought the time had arrived, when he said, "All these things are good enough in their place, but thou lackest one thing." "Yes, yes," said the farmer, "a good cart, and I'll have it too" The minister gave it up.

 

 

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VERMONT.

 

"THE STAR THAT NEVER SETS."

 

BY MRS. S. B. HERRICK.

 

Formerly of Westford, now a resident of Rockford, IL.

 

Thou wearest still thy radiance, beauteous star,

Though others in thy galaxy are dim,

With pride and joy we watch thy beams from far,

And list the chorus of the grave old Hymn

That, gently lulled amid thy rocks and hills,

Had almost slumbered,—yet whose waking thrills

Thy every heart string—kindling fresh the fires

Upon the sacred shrine of Liberty,

That burned within our noble patriot sires

And led them forth to death or victory,—

We knew thy heart as true, thine arm as brave

As when in weakness thou thy part didst bear

To force the British Lion to his lair.

We knew thy heart as true, as when, to save

From his stern grasp our cherished virgin soil

Thou sharedst danger, suffering and toil,

Till the proud Eagle reared his eyrie high

And o'er his fair domains, with dauntless eye

Kept his keen vigils,—yes, we knew thee true,

Strong with a will to dare, and arm to do;

And yet we watched from far with eager eye,

For lesser stars to many a vision fade,

When greater with each other seem to vie,

Mingling their kindred beams to pierce the shades

That gather swiftly on the evening sky.

But when we saw thy noblest sons arrayed

For the stern conflict with a traitor foe,

With bosoms bared to meet a deadly blow,

Or plant our glorious flag where darkly now

Vile treason rears its venomed, hydra head,

We bowed in reverence, and the golden chain

That distance had dissevered, clasped again;

Thy hills and vales, and streams, and mountains wore

A radiance they had never known before,

E'en when we squandered childhood's rosy hours

Amid thy forest shades, and wildwood flowers.

 

Oh, many a cherished home,

Nestled away among thy quiet hills,

Amid the music of the murmuring rills,

And flocks that idly roam,

Waits for a footfall on the dewy lawn,

With evening's shadow,—and at early dawn

Listens in vain to hear

One echo of that votes, an soft and clear.

 

And many a mother now,

Who on her infant's brow,

Saw the pure seal, placed by a holy hand,

Has said "Thy will be done"

And laid her cherished one

Upon the altar of her native land.

And many a maiden keeps

Her vigils lone, and weeps

For the brave heart that echoes to her own.

Hushed is the childish glee,

Around the mother's knee,

As her sweet voice pleads for the loved one gone

 

Pray on, ye noble ones!

So shall your sires and sons,

Unsullied bear your beauteous ensign high.

Thus toiling for the right,

Strong in Jehovah's might,

'T were sweet to live—'t were noble thus to die,

 

 

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OUR NATIONAL FLAG.

 

BY W. GIBBS.

 

[The following song, written by W. Gibbs, Esq., has been recently set to music by Professor P. J. Whipple, of Iowa City (himself a native of Westford), and pub­lished by a musical firm in Chicago.]

 

 

Forget not the flag of our nation,

Vermonters wherever you roam,

Though over so humble your station,

Stand by the old flag of our home.

                                        CHORUS.

 

Our National Flag ! Republican Flag!

The "Star-Spangled Banner" defend,

For proudly it waves, over patriot graves,

And there it shall wave to the end.

 

Those colors emblazoned in story

Were penciled in Liberty's stain,

Deep traces of crimson to glory

By many a warrior slain.

                      Chorus,—Our National Flag, &c.

 

So soon shall the shades of oppression

That battlefield banner deface,

So soon shall their names by secession

Be severed in shame and disgrace.

                                          Chorus.

 

Preserve it, and be its defender

From danger, at home and abroad,—

Resolved it shall never surrender,

In the name of our country and God.

                                          Chorus.

 

While Union exists in our mountains,

And Liberty worships each crag,

While freedom flows forth from our fountains,

We'll stand for the National Flag.

                                          Chorus.

 

Though Presidents, frightened, neglect it,

It cannot be trailed in the dust,

The yeomanry now will protect it.

The people are true to their trust

                                          Chorus.

 

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WILLISTON.

 

 

BY HARRY MILLER.

 

Williston, a town situated in the center of Chittenden County, was chartered by Gov. Wentworth, June 7th, 1763, and according to the original charter, was bounded north by Winooski river, which separates it from Essex and Jericho, east by Bolton, south by Huntington and Hinesburgh, west by Bur­lington, which line at that time was about one mile west of the village of Williston. It was called Williston is honor of Samuel