90 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
BY S. R. HALL, LL. D.
This town was granted by the Legislature of Vermont, Feb. 22d, 1782. It was chartered to Timothy and Daniel Brown and associates, Oct. 2d, 1780. It contains only 19,845 acres, while other towns usually contain 23,400. This deficiency was made up by the grant of a gore of land that is now united to the town of Morgan.
The original proprietors early disposed of their interest to the State of Connecticut. Mr. Elijah Strong, Elisha Strong and Amos Porter, purchased the township and made preparations to commence settlement. It is supposed that they assumed responsibilities beyond their means, and after suffering loss, re-sold to that State. Mr. Elijah Strong became agent for the State, and with his brother, Mr. Porter, and others, commenced settlements in the town. The shape of the town is oblong. The length is much greater than the width. The soil is of good quality. It is watered principally by Willoughby river, and a branch which heads near the Clyde river in Charleston. It is affirmed by early inhabitants of that town, that a part of the waters of Clyde river passed into this stream, during freshets.
The first settlement was commenced on the farm now occupied by Rev. S. R. Hall and son, by Dea. Peter Clark. Other settlements were commenced at or near the same time, in 1796 and 1797. James Porter on the farm now owned by Israel C. Smith, Esq., S. Smith, Jr., on land now owned by Israel Parker, E. Cleveland, H. Kellam, George Smith, Valentine Going, and Samuel Smith, senior, commenced settlement on the farm now owned by W. C. Thrasher, and Amos Porter on the farm of S. & W. Twombly. Soon after the settlements were commenced in the west part of the town, Mr. Erastus Spencer, Mr. Elijah Spencer and Mr. Joel Priest, commenced settlements in the east part, near the west line of Westmore, on lands now owned by Mr. Cleveland and others. This settlement was commenced probably in 1799. Settlements were commenced by Elijah and Asabel Strong, in 1798 or 9, on North Hill, upon the farms now owned by Stephen Burroughs and Chester Gilbert. Ebenezer Gridley, George Drew, Daniel Knox, Ebenezer Crouch, John Merriam and Luke Gilbert were in town when it was organized. But whether all had commenced settlements is not now known. O. Weber settled on the farm now owned by Margaret Nichols. Luke Gilbert came with Elijah Strong and labored for him a year, and then settled on the farm now owned by Mr. S. R. Jenkins, and formerly owned by his son, J. Gilbert. Mr. Kingsbury commenced on the farm now owned by Dea. A. P. Buxton. The town was organized March 28th, 1799, by a town meeting, at the house of Maj. Samuel Smith. He was chosen Moderator; Elijah Strong, town clerk; E. Strong, Amos Porter and S. Smith, Jr., selectmen. Peter Clark, Jonathan and Justus Smith, Luke Gilbert and Obadiah Wilcox, were appointed to other offices. It is probable that these were all the voters then in town. In September of the same year, at freeman's meeting, Eben Gridley, George Drew, Daniel Knox, Ebenezer Crouch, Eleazer Kingsbury and John Merriam, took the freeman's oaths. At this meeting 20 votes were cast for Governor, and Elijah Strong was chosen representative
Among those who were appointed to town offices at March meeting, 1800, are found the following names. Benjamin Newhall, Luther Smith, Elijah Spencer and Carlos Cowles. At freeman's meeting that year, Michael Megnatta, Obed Dort, Solomon Humphrey and Jonathan Smith were present. It is probable that the preceding names comprise the entire list of the voters that were in the town at the close of the century.
A road, following the lot lines, was made from the settlements on North Hill, commencing in the south field of A. O. Joslyn, and extending to Westmore line, on the farm of Erastus Spencer, for the accommodation of the settlers in the east part of the town. This early road passed over ground not now occupied as a highway. That settlement was commenced on a tract of hard-wood land, then regarded as excellent. But, after a few years, most of the 19 families that had settled there, removed either to the west part of the town, or to other places. Erastus Spencer, whose widow is still living, at the age of 96, was the last to vacate the improvements he had commenced. The great distance from mills, schools and meetings, was doubtless the primary reason that so many left the farms on which they had commenced improvements.
Mr. Erastus Spencer remayed to the farm
now occupied by his son, Dea. William Sponcer, and Mr. Priest to that now occupied by his grand-son, Stephen S. Priest. Mr. Elijah Spencer removed to Claremont, N. H., after remaining in town 9 years. At the Freeman's meeting, September, 1801, 28 votes were cast for Governor. Carlos Cowles, Elijah Spencer and John Merriam were the selectmen. In 1802 the same selectmen were chosen, and in addition to these, Elijah Strong. Eben Gridley was treasurer. Wm. Baxter, Stephen Smith, Jonathan Fullsome, Michael Blye and Zenas Field, were appointed to other offices. A burying ground was laid out for the west part of the town, and another for the east part. A common or parade ground, also, was laid out. The town voted that these should be plowed and sown with wheat, at the expense and for the benefit of the town.
At the Freeman's meeting in September, 1802, only 18 votes were cast for State officers, 10 less than the previous year. No reason for this small vote is furnished by the records of that meeting. Whether several voters had left town, or there was less interest felt in the election, is left to conjecture.
Dea. Luke Spencer, son of Erastus Spencer, was the first person born in town. He was born in 1800. He resides at St. Johnsbury. The first death that occured was a Mrs. Porter, in 1799. Her grave is near the house of Mr. John Twombly.
It is probable, however, that the small-pox either was in town or was feared, for a town-meeting was called in October, among other things to see if "the town will vote to authorize the selectmen to erect or procure a house for inoculation for the small pox." A vote to this effect was passed. In December of that year, only eleven votes were cast for a representative to congress.
At the March meeting in 1803, the additional name of Abner Hammond appears among those put in office. At the Freeman's meeting in September, 19 votes were cast for State officers. In March, 1804, George Nye and George Perkins were appointed selectmen with Luke Gilbert, Elijah Spencer and Samuel Smith, the two former being new names. The names, also, of Julius Johnson, Silas Brigham and Alpheus Smith, appear for the first time. 16 votes only for State officers were cast at Freeman's meeting in September of that year. David Putnam and Zenas Field were among the town officers of 1805. 22 votes were cast for State officers, in September of that year. At the March meeting in 1806, appear the new names of Daniel Flint, Lewis Priest and John Dwyer. In September 23 votes were cast for State officers. Lemuel Nye and Samuel M. Cowdrey are the only new names that appear on the records of the town meeting, 1807. 26 votes were cast for State officers, at the freeman's meeting of that year.
Up to this period 38 different persons had been appointed to offices in the town. Some of these were, doubtless, young men without families. It would hardly appear, however, that the number of inhabitants had increased from 1801, when 28 votes were cast for State officers. Most of the names given appear more than once, and several of them nearly every year for many years in succession. These of Judge Strong, Major Smith, Luke Gilbert, Eben Gridley, Peter Clark, William Baxter, Erastus and Elijah Spencer, and Joel Priest, appear every year, thus indicating that they were prominent men in the early history of the town. Several others appear as frequently, after their first settlement. Mr. G. Nye and Mr. Brigham, Benj. Newhall and others. As it is probable the first settlements were commenced in 1797, ten years had now elapsed from the settlement of the town. In 1816, when the town was 19 years old, 45 votes were cast for State officers, but in 1817 only 36, and in 1818, 20 was the highest number recorded for any one candidate. It can hardly be supposed, however, that the population had diminished in two years, according to the diminution of votes. The frost and snow in June, 1816, anxiously alarmed many. 5 votes only were cast for Governor in 1817. In 1819 only 26 votes were given, and in 1820 only 28 votes, so that it would seem probable that the population was less than in 1816, when the Governor had received 45 votes from the town. How far the population had been reduced by the war of 1812, and the cold seasons of 1816 and 1817, we cannot now decide. It was doubtless considerable.
Among the new names found on the town records during the second decade, are those of Gilbert Grow, Amherst Stewart, Isaac Smith, Humphrey Nichols, Reuben Trussell, Lemuel Nye, Daniel Baily, Noah Allen, Tristram Robinson, John Sash, Samuel Burn‑
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ham, Joseph Marsh, Amos Percival, Abraham Tracy, Zenas Field, William White, Alden Farnsworth, Benjamin Walker, James Seavy, (1812) Samuel A. Burke, Joshua Smith, Enos Bartlett, Amasa Plastridge, Horace Huntoon, Samuel Ward, (1813). Seth Kidder, (a town pauper,) Enos Bartlet, Philip Flanders, Jonathan Eaton, Jonas Cutting, Isaac Smith, Jeremiah Tracy, Ebenezer Terry, Seth Bartlett, Arristides Houstis, Asa Plastridge, Asa Winston, James Nevers, Daniel Elkins, Cyrus Eaton, first appear in the records of 1820, Jabez Nevers, Nathaniel Wheeler, Jonathan E. Danis, Albert Gabrin, George C. West, William Custy, Jonathan Nye, Ora C. Blass, Gilman Estey, E. G. Strong, James Finley and then James Woodman, came into town previous to 1825.
The establishment of a County Grammar School in 1824, was an event of great importance to the town. From an early period, this town and Craftsbury had been half shire towns to the time of the establishment of the County buildings at Irasburgh, in 1816. The courts were held in the old school or town house, and the cellar in the house now occupied by Mr. Burroughs, I have been informed, was used for a jail. The common, or parade-ground, is now a part of Abira O. Joslyn's south field, and was near the old town-house in which the courts were held. The academy is still standing which was erected in 1823 and '24.* Mr. Woodward and Judge Parker, had charge only a few years. Mr. Twilight and Mr. Scales have been the prominent preceptors, Mr. Twilight much longer than all the others. He was in charge of it from 1829 to 1847, without intermission, and then from 1852 to 1855, in all 22 years. He was a very earnest and efficient teacher, and for a time, the seminary, being the only one in the county, was attended by large numbers, not only from the county, but from other counties and from Canada. Mr. Parker, Mr. Woodward and Mr. Scales were learned men, and very successful instructors. The two latter continued in charge three or four years each. Several others have had charge of it for a few terms each. Mr. Twilight is mentioned with great interest by a large number of former pupils, many of whom fitted for college under his instruction, and are now filling many important stations in society. He died in 1857.**
An event took place March 4th, 1809, which has had an important influence on the moral and religious history of the town. Several of the early settlers were religious men. They enjoyed occasional visits from missionaries, and maintained religious meetings when not thus favored. A Congregational church was formed at the above time. After the academy was built, the upper part of which was designed for religious meetings, then Mr. Woodward was invited to take charge of the school and preach to the church people. He was installed over the church, and was regarded by all, an able pastor and successful instructor. He remained but a few years. Rev. Mr. Baxter and Rev. Mr. Webb each supplied the church for a season. Then Vernon Woolcot was installed and continued pastor some 4 years, his health preventing him from further labor, Rev. Mr. Twilight supplied the pulpit after he took charge of the school, a portion of the time for several years, and was invited to be installed, but declined. After Mr. Twilight left, in 1847, Rev. Mr. Scales was employed both to take charge of the academy and supply the pulpit, and continued to do so for about 4 years, but was not installed. In January, 1854, Rev. S. R. Hall commenced preaching to the church, and was installed March 4th, 1855, and remained pastor till the early part of 1867, when he requested a release from his labors. He was pastor a longer period than all who had been pastors before him. Rev. David Shurtliff was ordained and installed Feb. 26th, 1868, and dismissed after one year. The church has from the first maintained evangelical doctrine, and been cordially fellowshiped by surrounding churches of the same order. A meeting-house was built in 1841. No. of pupils in Sabbath school, 70; teachers, 9; supt. 1; vols. in library, 200.— Rev. I. T. Otis is the acting pastor now (1870).
An Episcopal Methodist church was formed at a later period, and afterward united with a Freewill Baptist church in erecting a meetinghouse at the centre, and both continue to worship together, and are highly respectable
* But has been removed to the village.
** For further particulars see biography of Mr. Twilight, which follows anon.—ED.
churches. Both have been blessed with seasons of revival, and have constantly increased in numbers.
THE FREEWILL BAPTIST CHURCH
was organized in Coventry, with members from three different towns, Aug. 14th, 1840. More recently the religious interest in Brownington being on the increase, the members in said Brownington, out-numbering those in Coventry, it was voted to call it the Coventry and Brownington church. The present number in this town is 58. They sustain preaching half the time, and the Methodists the other half, with a union sabbath-school of 90 members.
The physicians who became citizens of the town at an early period, were Drs. Curtis, Brannon, Chapman, Kelsey, Grow and Davis. Dr. Davis lived where S. S. Tinkham, Esq., now does. Dr. Kelsey where Mr. Murray does. Dr. Grow remained longer than any other, and was regarded as a very able physician. He died in 1856, soon after he removed from town. Dr. Brannon removed to Castleton, Vt. Dr. Chapman removed to Canada. Dr. Sash remained in town but a short time. Dr. Patch, now of Derby, and Dr. Hinman, now of Charleston, were in practice a short time in town. The later physicians have been Dr. Jonathan F. Skinner, now of Boston, Drs. Smith and Skinner, now of New York, Dr. William B. Moody and Dr. Winslow, both now in practice. Many of these have been eminently successful, and those who are now in practice stand high In the profession.
No lawyer has made the town his residence for a great length of time, with a single exception, William Baxter, Esq. An account of him will be found on a subsequent page. Esquire Marsh remained in town only a short time. George C. West, Esq., who erected the house now occupied by the writer, was soon invited to take charge of the bank at Irasburgh, and removed to that town. Esquire Baxter came into town in 1801, and about 2 years after the town was organized. He remained here till the time of his death, identified with all the interests of the town. He was, though somewhat rough, a man of great shrewdness and talent, and, undoubtedly, for many years, was at the head of the bar in N. Eastern Vermont. For the following account I am indebted to the late Thomas C. Stewart, who was, many years, near neighbor and friend. I am indebted to him, also, for other interesting and valuable items.
came to this town from Norwich, for the purpose of practising law. All the property he possessed at that time, he transported to this place with him, consisting of a pinch-back watch, a horse, saddle, bridle, saddle-bags, a few law books, and some few shillings in money. He hired his board and horse-keeping at Judge Strong's, remarking when he went there that he could not pay his board then, and did not know as he ever could. He engaged to pay 10 shillings and sixpence per week. Luke Gilbert, Esq., one of the prominent inhabitants of the town at that time, hearing that a young lawyer had come into the place, and learning the enormous price he was to pay for board for himself and horse, remarked that "he had come to a very poor place, and would find very poor picking." Mr. Baxter, (though in poor health always,) soon won for himself a good reputation as a business man, and acquired much notoriety for his perseverance, quickness of apprehension in financial matters, and good judgment of law, as well as ability as an advocate. He was as good a collector as lawyer, and very particular about paying promptly to his clients all that he collected for them. In the early years of his practice as collector, before he had any property of his own, he was accustomed, when collecting for several individuals, to mark each package separately, putting upon the paper the name of the person for whom it was collected, that it might be ready when called for. His perseverance in collecting demands for other people, and his prompt manner of doing business, soon brought him into great notoriety about the country, and a large amount of foreign business was placed in his hands.
Mr. Baxter was also a good farmer, and always raised good crops. He appeared to be a good judge of the different soils, and understood their management well. In all his affairs he was as industrious as his health would admit, and in this way he accumulated a great property for a man living in the north part of Vermont, his estate at his death being appraised at $100,000 or over, all of which he accumulated during the 25 years of
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his residence in this town, being an average gain of $4000 per year.
Mr. Baxter was known as an active man in all town affairs, whether financial, or requiring enterprise, and was ever liberal in aiding the religious and benevolent objects of the day. He erected the academy in this town at his own expense, the land having been given by Samuel Smith, Jr., and gave it to the county for the purpose of a grammar school, making it one of the provisions that the second story should be appropriated as a place for public worship, until such time as it should be required for the interest of the grammar school.
Though making no pretensions to piety, his benevolence, and assistance in sustaining religious worship, and the prominence he ever held in the offices of the town, caused his loss to be much lamented by the whole town. It seems that he held, at different times, every office, in the gift of the town, from those of hog-reeve and fence-viewer to that of the representative of the people. He held, for a series of years, from two to six or eight public offices at a time.
Mr. Baxter resided in the town 25 years, and died of palsy, Oct. 1, 1826, aged 49 years.
Of the other more prominent early citizens of the town, Judge Strong, Peter C. Clark, Judge Robinson, Erastus and Elijah Spencer, Joel Priest, Joel Priest, jr., Eben Gridley, Samuel Smith, Samuel Smith, jr., Silas Brigham, Amherst Steward, Luke Gilbert, Esq., Col Grow, Humphrey Nichols, George Nye, Amos Porter, Jonathan and Stephen Smith, and Amasa Plastridge are still held in grateful remembrance by the older citizens who have survived them.
It would seem by their frequent appointment to many important trusts and offices, that they long enjoyed the confidence of their fellow citizens. L. Gilbert, Esq., was for a long time a prominent justice of the peace; also Amherst Steward, Silas Brigham, Col. Gross and others occupied that responsible office for a long number of years.
Judge Strong kept a public house for a long time, and was identified with the interests of the church and the business of the town. He was the town clerk many years, and the clerk of the church, constantly, till a minister was settled, and after the first minister had left.
He had been pursuing a prosperous, commercial business at Bennington, when he was persuaded to unite with his brother and Amos Porter in making a purchase of and settling a new town, in the wilds of Northern Vermont. It would appear that they could not effect sales with sufficient rapidity to enable the company to meet their payments. Mr. Strong and his brother lost much property by the speculation, as well as for a long time endured the great privations of pioneer life.
Settlements had been commenced at Craftsbury, Greensboro, Barton, Derby, and a few other towns: but the roads leading from one place to another, were exceedingly hard.—Mills were "few and far between," and tradesmen and mechanics as far apart. Religious meetings and schools must be waited for. But these were provided as rapidly as other necessities.
In 1801, the town voted to build a school-house and town-house; and, in 1824, voted to unite with the church in settling a minister.
Mr. Asahel Strong left town for the sake of religious privileges; but Dea. Strong labored to provide them for himself and others.
ACCIDENTS, CALAMITIES, ETC.
There have been, from time to time, incidents in the history of the town, which may be worthy of notice; and probably the usual number of accidents, casualties, sudden deaths etc. Some notice of these will be interesting, and should be given. Among the numerous items of interest are the following:—
Mr. Erastus Spencer, soon after removing into town, while endeavoring to carry home an ox-yoke, on horseback, by passing under the limbs of a tree, had, in some unaccountable way, his scalp cut from over his eye to the back part of his head, and the part peeled off from the bone, so as to fall down over his ear! But serious as was the injury, he returned home after having the scalp replaced, and the wound bound up.
At the first annual training, a boy by the name of Devine, became so intoxicated as to be unable to reach home, without assistance; and was so severely bruised by his friends, who were pushing him along, that he died the next day, at the house of Amos Huntoon.
The danger of suffering for food, by the early settlers, was greatly diminished by the abundance of fish and game. Near the year 1800, Mr. Erastus Spencer, Mr. Elijah Spencer and two others went to a pond in Westmore, near Bald Mountain, and in a single
day caught more than 500 weight of dressed trout. They were obliged to send for oxen to draw home the fruits of their day's labor.
About the year 1811, a man by the name of Harman (a brother to Hartson Harman of Coventry) was killed instantly at the raising of a building for Capt. Samuel Smith, jr., of this town, who intended it for the purpose of a distillery.
The circumstances of Harman's death were as follows: the men, at the time, were laying on to the sill a large overlay, and Harman had one end of the timber on his shoulder, when the men who held the other end let it fall in such a manner as to bring his head between the timber and the cellar wall,—crushing it so as to cause instant death. The building was located near a small brook, on the land now owned by George E. Smith.
During the war of 1812, the inhabitants of this town became much alarmed on account of the Indians. The inhabitants of all the adjacent towns, northerly, were so fearful of an attack, that they left their homes at night, and several families were grouped together for safety, meeting at one house after another, in the various neighborhoods, while the panic continued.
The people of Brownington were not inclined to follow the example of their neigh-ors; but proposed to build a block-house, to which all the families in the town should remove, and the men should go out in companies to work on the farms belonging to the various families. All the inhabitants, however, were not agreed as to the expediency of this plan, and some declared they would not leave their farms if a fort was built—at least, till they saw the danger which was anticipated. In consequence of the want of agreement in the matter, the block-house, which was proposed to be erected on the North Hill, was never built,—though for a time much talked of.
The ammunition belonging to the inhabitants was placed in a building upon the hill (which was afterwards occupied by Judge Robinson, as a store), and was carefully guarded. At one time the alarm was given that the British were coming to seize this ammunition, and that they had already reached the Lake. The panic was so great that a large number of men assembled at the store-house, and kept guard all night. But the British did not come, and no harm was done, except that one man came near losing his life as an emissary of the enemy, through ignorance of the countersign, which was demanded at his approach. Some one, however, recognized him in season to prevent the fatal shot.
So much alarm was felt, after the failure to erect a block-house, that many families made preparations for leaving town. They buried their iron ware, packed their goods, as much as could be done, and the women who had commenced weaving cut their webs out of the looms, and rolled them up—ready to start at a moment's warning. Some families—at much damage to themselves—left town; but the majority tarried to see what would be the end of the matter. Many months passed, however, before the buried property was removed from its hiding-place, or the goods unpacked.
Some people who left town at that time, never returned, and in consequence lost much of their property, and many who remained lost a great deal by attempting to smuggle goods into Canada, or from thence into the States; while a few, more successful in their attempts, acquired a large amount of wealth. It is to be regretted that there were any who had so little love for their country as to smuggle cattle over the line, to sell to the British; but such was the case. The plan of procedure was to buy as many cattle as they could, and drive them round through the woods so as to elude the custom-house officers, and, if successful, they were able to sell to the British at very great prices; thus feeding the enemy, while they enriched themselves.
[ We think the writer should say, thus enriching themselves through feeding the enemy. It was not the enemy at all, but their pockets, that it came first in their purpose to serve.—Ed.]
Near the period of the war, John Ware, a brother-in-law by marriage of William Baxter, came from Stanstead to Barton, for the purpose of smuggling cattle, as was supposed, and received an accidental shot in the knee. He was removed to the house of Amos Huntoon of this town (who then lived on the farm now owned by Mr. John Twombly), when it was found necessary to amputate the limb. The operation was performed by Dr. Frederick W. Adams, then of Barton, it being the first amputation performed by him.
July 29, 1815, Mr. Nathan Stearns was killed by lightning, while engaged in making
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hay on the farm then owned by Isaac Smith, now owned by Lorenro Grow.
In the same year, Capt. Samuel Smith, jr., of this town, started, with his family, to remove to East Windsor, Ct. At Barnet, Mr. Amos Huntoon, who was driving one of Mr. Smith's teams, was taken sick with spotted fever, as was supposed; but the attack being slight, he soon recovered, and returned to Brownington, Mr. Smith pursued his journey. His son Albert was soon taken unwell, but kept along until they arrived at Cornish, N. H., and then could go no farther. Albert was unconscious most of the time after he was taken with the spotted fever, and died the second day of his illness. Mr. Smith's wife was then taken with the same disease, and died after being unconscious 24 hours. About the same time, Miss Nancy Walker (a sister of Shubael Walker, then living where C. N. Thrasher now does, though not in the same house), was taken sick with the same disease, and remained unconscious till her death, 3 days afterwards. Miss Walker had been assisting Mrs. Smith in packing for her journey.
What rendered these cases of sickness the more remarkable, was that these four persons, who were sick at nearly the same time, had repacked some goods that were brought from Quebec. It was supposed they contracted the disease in that way, as no other cases of it were known to have occurred at that time.
Mr. Smith returned to Brownington with the remainder of his family, where be resided until his death. He was father of Asa K. Smith, Esq.
In the year 1819, Franklin Bartholomew, son of Elisha Bartholomew of this town, was sent on horseback to the grist-mill that stood near the brook, on the place lately owned by Mr. Benjamin Thrasher of Coventry. After getting his grist ground, it was placed upon the horse, and he mounted, and started for home. It appears that he placed the bridle around his neck, and while on the way the horse became frightened and threw him from the saddle; and he, being entangled in the bridle, and his foot held in the stirrup, was brought into such a position that every jump the horse made the boy's head came in contact with the feet of the horse; and he was found dead, with his neck broken and his body very much bruised.
Franklin was nine years old, and was a brother of Charity Rowell, now of Coventry.
In the year 1821, Harry Partridge, a nephew of Mr. William Baxter, and brother of Mrs. E. G. Strong, went upon the common, near the Academy, to catch a mare that had a young colt, when he received a severe kick in the bowels from the mare, which resulted in his death, 2 weeks afterwards. This same mare, in a few weeks, was hitched under the shed of the tavern, then owned and kept by Mr. Amherst Steward, and she and her colt were both killed by lightning; though no particular injury was done the shed or barn.
At the raising of the academy in 1823, Mr. Dennis Sabin, of Coventry, was assisting in raising the roof, when, stepping upon one of the joists on the top of the second story, it broke or split out from the gain, and he fell through the frame—striking upon other timbers as he fell—into the cellar among the stones, a distance of 20 feet or more. He was considerably hurt, but recovered in a few weeks. This circumstance occasioned the saving, at that time, that "Sabin was the first one that went through the academy."
In the year 1825, Isaac Smith, son of Major Samuel Smith, and father of Isaac C. Smith, had a leg amputated, in consequence of a white swelling upon the knee joint. The operation was performed by Dr. Frederick W. Adams.
April 13, 1829, two brothers, James and Jeremiah Seavey, were felling a tree. As the tree fell it struck on the top of another tree, breaking off a limb, that flew back and hit James Seavey, just over the eye, with sufficient force to break his skull, causing instant death. His brother stood but a few feet distant at the time. This sad accident occurred on the farm now owned by Mr. Isaac C. Smith, Mr. Seavey's age was 45 years.
A singular incident connected with the death of Mr. Seavey was the fact, that his little son went to him, in the morning, and begged him to stay at home—saying, "Don't go into the woods to-day, pa, for a tree will fall on you, and kill you, if you go." Mr. Smith replied, that he had a great deal of work to do, and must go. In an hour or two he was brought home a lifeless corpse.
In the year 1839, Mr. Amherst Stewart was thrown off the bridge near the mills this side of Derby Center, in consequence of some logs lying upon the bridge which caused the
horse to run backwards and cramp the wagon. He held on to the reins, so that he went off the bridge with the horse and wagon, a distance of about 15 feet from the top of the bridge to the water. Mr. Stewart had the neck of the thigh-bone broken at the time, which was the probable cause of his death; though he lived about 4 years after this accident. The horse was not injured, excepting a few bruises, from which he soon recovered, and the wagon was not broken much.
Mr. Stewart was father of the late Thomas C. Stewart, and grandfather of Hon. Edmond Stewart.
In the year 1850, Mr. Lewis Paine was engaged in the saw-mill, in this town, belonging to Mr. Cyrus Eaton. As is supposed, he attempted to roll some logs down the log-way, for the purpose of sawing. They were nearly opposite the mill; when, in some way, he became entangled, and a log rolled upon his body. No one saw the accident. His wife was the first person who discovered him. When the spoke to him, he was unable to reply, but raised his hand as a signal, and in a short time expired. Mr. Paine was the first husband of Mrs. Foster, now of Barton.
There has never been any prevailing epidemic in town, such as has frequently visited many, other places.
Several persons have arrived at a great age. Maj. Samuel Smith was 79 years of age. Two, within a few years, have died who were over 90 years of age. Mrs. Bixby, mother of Mrs. Baxter, was 84, and Mrs. Nichols, widow of Humphrey Nichols, was 93. Joel Priest, senior, was nearly 100 when he died. Mrs. Twombly was 96 years at the time of her death.
Mr. Priest was advanced in years when he came into town. He had been a soldier in the Revolutionary war; was one of the party who proceeded from Lake Champlain to Indian Village. They put almost the whole village to death. After the sack of that village the soldiers divided into various parties, intending to proceed to the foot of the Fifteen-mile Falls of the Connecticut, where supplies were to be sent to them. But the party with supplies became frightened and left; and the soldiers suffered severely in consequence. Mr. Priest was with a party who passed through Barton. After the war, he returned to the wilderness through which he had so long before passed, and lived to reap the reward of his labors and sufferings in the cause of independence.
Mr. Humphrey Nichols was also a Revolutionary soldier; and, after commencing in the first settlement of several other towns, came here again to share the trials and toils of pioneer life. He died at an advanced age.
The first public house in town was opened by Major Samuel Smith, in the year 1799, on the place now owned by C. N. Thrasher. Major Smith was grandfather of Asa K. and I. C. Smith, now of this town.
Silas Brigham was the first person who carried on the business of tanning, and James Silsby the first blacksmith and ax-maker. Abram Day had the first furnace for small castings, on a site near where Mr. Eaton's mill once stood. Samuel Ward had the first pottery, on the farm now owned by Mr. Townsend.
The first store-goods were brought into town by Levi Bigelow, who was not, however, a resident of this place. He employed Ichabod Smith, late of Stanstead, Canada, as a clerk to sell his goods.
Judge Strong opened a tavern, and kept it many years, at the place now occupied by Chester Gilbert, Esq. Mr. Amherst Stewart kept a public house on the site of the present inn kept by Mr. Wheeler.
Of those who have been born and moved up here, there are, perhaps, no names of great literary eminence to note. It is rather a singular fact, that, with the good literary and scientific advantages of the County Grammar School, established here, which has aided in raising up numbers to considerable eminence in other towns, who have gone through college,—the youth of this town, with very few exceptions, seem to have been satisfied with "going through the academy."
The natives of this town are widely scattered, and are filling stations both of usefulness and responsibility. None of them have attained the high eminence of some in the adjoining town of Coventry—the Ides and Redfields; but some are, no doubt, on the way to eminence.
Several physicians and lawyers have had their origin here, whose history is not yet to be written.
There have been few crimes committed in this town, requiring the execution of severe
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penalties. From the first, perhaps, the reputation of the inhabitants for morals would not suffer in comparison with any other town in the County or State. The people, having to a large extent been devoted to the quiet and peaceable pursuits of agriculture, have been content to offer the prayer of one of old, "Give me neither poverty nor riches; but feed me with food convenient for me." Many good men have gone out from us, whom the people of other places have delighted to honor, and who are among the leading business men and men of influence in several adjoining towns.
LUKE GILBERT, ESQ.,
whose name was among the first settlers of Brownington, died Nov. 6th, 1855. He was born in Brookfield, Mass., and came to the town in 1797, when 18 years of age. "He pitched his tent where the earth was his bed, and the canopy of heaven his covering, remote from civilization, with the savages of the forest and wild beasts for his neighbors; there being but two families in town. After passing through the trials and hardships which are common to the first settlers, he reared a numerous family, and lived to see all but one arrive at adult age. In 1831 he experienced the christian religion, which was his comfort in the decline of life. Although for more than 30 years his health was poor, yet he was never confined to the house by sickness but two days, till he had a shock of paralysis, Oct. 28th, a few days before his death. He was confided in by his townsmen, and filled the office of justice of the peace longer than any other had done at the time of his decease."—Obituary Notice.
died Oct. 25th, 1839, aged 85 years. He was born in Amesbury, Mass., where he lived till the commencement of the Revolutionary war. He entered the service of his country at 21 years of age, and continued in the service 7 years. He was in Bunker Hill battle. He suffered the extreme heat and fatigue in the field at Monmouth. He was at the surrender of Burgoyne, and shared in many other important battles.
Grandsire Nichols was a man of strong memory, and seemed to recollect all the minute incidents of his life. He was long missed by those who were deeply interested in his stories of the Revolution. He was a member of the Calvinistic Baptist church of Coventry, and maintained the character of a consistent christian for more than 30 years. Having fought gloriously for his country's independence, and received his reward therefor, he has now gone to receive the reward of those who fight the good fight and keep the faith."— Obituary Notice.
MRS. MARGARET NICHOLS,
widow of Humphrey Nichols, was born Nov. 5th, 1763, at Lime, Ct, and died in the 93d year of her age, at Brownington. Her father, a soldier of the Revolutionary war, was taken prisoner and exposed to small-pox, of which both he and her mother died. She found a home with an uncle at Canaan. Here she was married to Humphrey Nichols, a soldier of the Revolution, and soon after removed to Tunbridge, Vt., and they were among the first settlers of that town. They removed from thence to Orange, and from thence to Brownington in 1808. For more than 25 years they had endured all the trials and hardships of pioneer life, before coming to this town. Mr. Nichols deceased in 1829. She survived him 18 years, during the last 10 of which was a great sufferer from heart disease, and confined to her bed. During that long period, she retained her intellectual faculties in a remarkable degree. She made a profession of religion when young, and for nearly 60 years had maintained a creditable standing in the Calvinist Baptist church. She was sustained in all her trials and hardships by the rich consolation of religion. As long as her health permitted she attended meeting, and enjoyed the Christian sympathy of the Congregational church in this town.
During her long confinement she enjoyed the benefit of a pension from the Government, and the most unwearied and watchful care of a daughter, who was with her by day and night, ministering to her many wants. In her greatest sufferings her religious character was always developed. She departed in peace, leaving an example of the consolations of a good hope in the Lord Jesus.
MRS. LUCY (STIMSON) SPENCER
was born at Winchendon, Mass., Oct. 3, 1773. Though too young too remember the Declaration of Independence, she can distinctly remember many of the incidents of the Revolutionary war, and has lived through the whole life of the nation. No one can sit by her side without a feeling of awe, at being in the presence of one who has lived so long, and
been familiar with events, so fraught with interest to the Nation and to the world.
Born when the country was subject to the king of Great Britian, and when a few millions only were dwellers within the territory of the United States, she has witnessed the stupendous events which has astonished the world and while the nation has grown in numbers power and influence, to be one of the mighty powers of the world.
She was married to Mr. Erastus Spencer at Weathersfield Vt. July 1, 1797, and with her husband and infant daughter made a home in Brownington, Jan. 30, 1800, being the fourth family that made a permanent settlement in the town. Mr. Spencer, a brother, and Mr. Paul Priest, commenced settlements in the extreme easterly part of the town, while the families, which preceded them, had located in the western part, 6 or 7 miles distant.
The great distance from schools, religious meetings and neighbors, soon induced most of the families, who settled in that part of the town to give up the improvements they had commenced, and to remove to more favorable locations. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer, at length followed the example of others, though they remained till 19 families had removed from that part of the town. They removed to the farm now occupied by their son Dea. Wm. Spencer. In March, 1800, Mrs. Spencer gave birth to a son, now Dea. Luke Spencer,* of St. Johnsbury.
The Congregational Church was formed Mar. 4, 1809. The church held a meeting March 4, 1859, to commemorate the close of its half cenury, when both mother and son were present at the communion season, of that occasion. Mrs. Spencer bore her full share of the privations and sufferings of pioneer life, but was sustained by the consolations of trust in Christ and has continued a pattern of christian patience and exemplary faith.
Though afflicted by the sudden death of her husband, more than a score of years since she has manifested cheerful submission to the events of divine providence and ready to say at all times, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," Her health and faculties are remarkably good, for one who has lived so near a century. She is the oldest person in town and long has merited the appellation of a "Mother in Israel." She died Jan. 1870.
brother of William, came into town soon after the town was organized and settled on the lot of land now owned by S. R. Hall and son, known as the "Hiram lot".
Amos Huntoon, son of Amos and Mary Huntoon, died of the spotted fever, soon after the singular attack of Maj. Smith's family, May 25, aged 15.
The first militia officers chosen in town were Hiram Baxter, Captain; Samuel Smith, Lieutenant; Silas Brigham, Ensign. This company was organized Oct. 1807.
A child of Col. Gross, fell backwards into a tub of hot water and lived only one or two days.
The old burying ground, near the parade ground on North Hill, was laid out in 1804. A Mr. Newhall, father of Benjamin Newhall, was the first person buried in it. Obed Dort was buried in it July 1804.
The first death in town was that of Mrs. Porter. Her grave is near the house of Mr. John Twombly.
A VENERABLE LADY,
whose intellect is but little clouded by the flight of fourscore and fifteen years, Mrs. Tam-son (Hill) Twombly, now residing with her son, John Twombly, of Brownington, was born in Newburyport, Mass., Aug. 2, 1771. Among the events of her early life which she remembers distinctly, was the visit of General Washington to Portsmouth, N. H., and the thronging of the people far and near to see him: among others a litite girl, when she cast her eyes on him, exclaimed with surprise, "Why you are nothing but a man!" by which the great man was affected so as to shed tears. She recalls another event of that visit. A countryman in his great anxiety to see the "deliverer of his country," drove a poor old horse with a harness made entirely of ropes and wood, and without any leather. At this unique display General Washington heartily laughed.
At an early period, but she does not recollect the year, her father removed to Kittery, N. H. In 1796, she was married to Mr. Jacob Twombly, and in 1801, removed to Sheffield, where settlements were being made by the few who were not afraid of the forest, and who were willing to endure the inconveniences of pioneer life. The trials to which these early settlers were subjected, when many of the roads were mere bridle-paths through the forests—and mills were distant, and all the conveniences to which they had been accustomed were only hoped for in the distant future—can be but dimly apprehended by any who now live within the sound of the whistle of the locomotive, and who can read the news from Boston and New
* Amos Porter Spencer, son of Elijah Spencer, was born five months later.
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York on the evening of the day on which it is published in those cities.
What changes and improvements have been witnessed by our venerable friend. She was born under British rule; has seen the country emerge from slavery of foreign domination, to liberty and independence; has witnessed an increase of population from less than three millions, to more than thirty millions; has seen the territory controled by the United States more than doubled; and all the wonders of steamboat and railroad travel inaugurated.
Mrs. Twombly has had 8 children, 66 grandchildren, and 56 great grand-children, of whom 6 of her own children, and more than 100 of the others are now living.
She removed with her husband to Brownington, to the farm on which she now lives, in 1830. The town was thinly settled, but the inconvenience of pioneer life, had been materially lessened. Here most of her children settled and she has been permitted to dwell in the midst of her own people. She made a profession of religion, more than 50 years ago, and has been permitted to see many of her descendants following her example, and seeking first the things of the kingdom of heaven. Though her hearing and sight have in a measure failed, she is yet cheerful and awaiting the time of her departure with Christian patience. Her husband died in 1852, since which time she has remained a widow, experiencing the fulfilment of the divine promise to those that trust in the Lord. The bible is precious to her and prayer her daily delight, having the joyful assurance that prayer will soon "be changed to praise." Venerable woman! may thy end be peace; and in God's own time angels conduct thy departing spirit to the bosom of Jesus. S. R. H.
[The preceding account of Mrs. Twombly, was written and printed in the Independent Standard, in March 1866, nearly 2 years before her death. She died Jan. 24, 1868, at the age of 97 years. She died as she had long lived, enjoying the presence of her Divine Redeemer.]
HON. PORTUS BAXTER.
Mr. Baxter, son of Wm. Baxter, whose memoir is given in preceding pages, was born in Brownington, Dec. 4, 1806.
He received his education at the military school at Norwich. In 1828, he settled in Derby, and was ever after identified with the interests and prosperity of that town.
[We omit a more extensive notice here, as a memoir furnished by Mrs. Baxter may be found in the history of Derby in this volume. Ed.]
THOMAS CARLISLE STEWART.
When good men die it is well to chronicle their virtues for the benefit of the living.
The subject of this sketch was the only child of Amherst Stewart, (or Steward as he used to write his name) and Anna Carlisle, and was born in Coventry, near where Albert Day now lives Oct. 26, 1804, but his father moved into Brownington soon after. With the exception of a short time spent as a clerk in a store at Coventry, and 2 years spent at Shipton, P. Q. his residence was in Brownington till his death Sept. 3, 1865. He was married to Emily, daughter of Capt Silas Brigham, one of the first settlers of Brownington, July 3, 1833, by whom he had 5 children, all now living and engaged in the active duties of life.
During many years he was engaged in mercantile pursuits and at the same time kept a public house. His honesty and integrity were acknowledged by all with whom he transacted business. His early conviction that the furnishing of intoxicating drink to others was morally wrong, led him to exclude it from his bar, before any other did so in the County, though the profits of the sale were large. He took strong ground in favor of total abstinence and would not furnish to others what he knew would only injure them, however profitable the sale might be to himself. His uprightness and excellent judgment induced the citizens of the town to elect him to several responsible offices in their gift. He was appointed a justice of the peace at an early period, and held that office for 30 years. Besides representing the town in the legislature, he was appointed selectman, town clerk and treasurer at different times, and discharged the duties incident to those offices with fidelity and acceptance. There being no attorney in town the greater part of the time, he was called upon to make writs, draw agreements and contracts and be did a large amount of such business.
He was interested in the building of the Conn. and Pass. Rivers Railroad from the start, and promoted its extension into Orleans County, with great earnestness and zeal, subscribing to its stock at various times an amount equal to a sixth part of his property. He was equally earnest in sustaining the academy, which for a long time was so honorable to the town, and so useful to the community. Being naturally very reserved, he was disinclined to talk much among strangers. and those unacquainted with him would get the impression that his was an uncongen‑
ial spirit; but among his familiar friends, he was sociable and full of mirth and good feeling. He was remarkable for chasteness in the use of language: no one ever heard from his lips any of those slang phrases so common in the world, much less anything bordering on profanity. He was truly "of sound speech that could not be condemned." In this respect his children and friends and many Christians even will do well to follow his example.
About 1830, he united with the Congregational Church, and though excessively diffident, he established and faithfully sustained family worship: he was then keeping a hotel, a place where bolder professors think they have good excuse for neglecting this duty; he also gave his influence to sustain the sabbath-school, the prayer-meeting and public worship. He was strongly attached to his pastors and they always relied on him as a firm friend to cooperate with them in efforts to sustain the religious institutions in the town. He was imbued with a deep sense of his accountability as a moral being; his plans were expressly conditioned on the contingency of life. Those most intimate with him were impressed with the fact that he himself, at least, felt that his life was not in his own hands. This idea was ever present with him, controlling all his thoughts and permeating all his plans. He seemed to say "there is a Providence ruling over all; by His permission I will do this or that. I am in his hands." And he had withal a childlike trust in God His services were especially valuable in the choir. He loved the songs of Zion: that music ever had peculiar charms for him. He was always at his post, even down to the Sunday previous to his death, though physically unable. In truth he was a tower of strength in doing that most difficult thing, keeping up a choir in a country church.
During his life, he suffered periodically from disease which resulted in short seasons of derangement. An attack of paralysis from which he never recovered, led him to feel that death was near, but did not alarm him, nor destroy his confidence in the hope he had long before cherished. His children have erected an appropriate monument over his grave, to show their high estimate of him as a parent and keep him in lasting remembrance by them and their offspring.
REV. ALEXANDER L. TWILIGHT.
BY REV. C. E. FERRIN.
Time works great changes, "old things pass away, behold all things become new." And yet in some sense this is not quite true. Some old things remain to tell their story of the past. And some old things that pass away first give birth to the new, modify and shape them, so that through their influence, the new becomes what it is. There are old landmarks here and there, which suggest curious and instructive histories, of the new and things that have passed away.
There is a landmark of this kind in Brownington: the old stone house near the village, which has a history though it may never be fully written, and suggests a history of the man who built it, in some respects, one of the most remarkable men that Orleans County has ever had. Rev. Alexander L. Twilight was born in Corinth, Sept. 23, 1795, the oldest but one of five children of Wm. and Mary Twilight. The father was a farmer of moderate means. He died when Alexander was a child and he was indentured to a farmer in his native town for the remainder of his minority. Of his early life little is known to the writer, except that he had a great love for books, and an insatiable desire to acquire a liberal education. After improving all the opportunities which his apprenticeship enabled him to secure, he bought the last year of his time of the farmer, and set himself at once to accomplish his long cherished purpose. He became a Christian at the age of 17 and under the impulse of christian duty his desire for an education was stimulated and directed. When his contract with the farmer was satisfied with the small effects of clothing and books which he possessed, in his hand, he made his way on foot to Randolph academy then in charge of Rev. Rufus Nutting, since of Lodi, Mich. Here combining study with labor to procure funds, and much of the time absent from school without any instructor, he fitted for college. He entered at Middlebury and graduated in the class of 1823. While a member of college, he was obliged to spend much of his time away from Middlebury so that, though he was an excellent mathematician, thoroughly read in history, and not destitute of belle-lettres culture, his knowledge of the languages was less minute and critical than it otherwise would have been. In the
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spring of 1824, he commenced teaching in Peru, N. Y. where he remained 4 years. Here he read theology by himself and was licensed to preach by the Champlain Presbytery, in Plattsburgh, January 1827. In August 1828, he went to Vergennes, Vt. and taught one year, at the same time preaching on the Sabbath—alternately at Ferrisburgh and Waltham. In August 1829, he removed to Brownington to take charge of the Orleans County grammar school. This institution had been chartered by the State. To it had been given, by charter, the rents of the county grammar school lands, amounting to about $400 annually. It was at that time the only academic school in the county; and Mr. Twilight entered upon the charge of it with the purpose to make it his life work, and with the ambition to make it a school of high order, worthy of the patronage of the people of the whole county; In the beginning of this work, he was well sustained by such men as Wm. Baxter, Geo. C. West, Amherst Stewart, Jasper Robinson, Ira H. Allen and other men influential in the county. He held this poet for 18 years, or till 1847. In the autumn of 1836, as it was known that an effort would be made in the Legislature to divide the grammar school fund, giving a part of it to Craftsbury, Mr. Twilight was chosen to represent Brownington in the Legislature. He labored hard to prevent the division, not alone on grounds of personal interest, but of public policy, and for the highest good of the cause of sound academic education. He believed that one division would open the way for others till the whole sum would he so divided as to do little good anywhere, and thus there would be in the County no school, permanently endowed, of high grade and extensive influence, constantly raising the character and standard of education. He was unsuccessful and his fears have been more than realized. Not a few friends of education in the County now regret exceedingly the division of the grammar school fund into little driblets, that amount to nothing anywhere; or at least poorly compensate to the County the failure, to have our academic school of thorough instruction, permanent character and low terms of tuition, to give thorough fitting for college, as for business, or teaching. No such school is now sustained in the County, though efforts have frequently been made, and are still made, to raise funds by voluutary subscriptions to endow such a school, and thus supply what the distributions of the County grammar school fund destroyed. Local jealousies, in this case as in many others, tore down foundations which succeeding generations must labor hard to rebuild. Those who desire a thorough academic instructions must seek it elsewhere and few do so. The consequence is that few thoroughly educated teachers are now found or employed in the county, and the number of young men who are encouraged and enabled to fit for college in our own county, and to thus obtain a liberal education, is far less than it was when we had one or at most two academies, supported by the county funds. From 1825 to 1845, Orleans county furnished many students for the colleges at Hanover, Middlebury and Burlington. Since the present system of a select school in almost every town has superceded the county grammar school, it has furnished very few. How many has she now in college? Do the catalogues of these colleges for the last year (1867) show a single one from Orleans county? Mr. Twilight taught in Shipton, P. Q., from 1847 to 1860; from 1850 to 1852 in Hatley, P. Q.; in May 1852 returned to Brownington and was principal of the academy again till his health failed in October 1855—in all 21 years. Oct. 28, of this year, he was prostrated by paralysis and remained helpless during the remainder of his life. He lingered in much weakness and suffering, affectionately nursed by his devoted wife, who had shared with the most lively sympathy all his prosperity and all his adversity, till he was released by death, June 19, 1857, aged nearly 62 years.
Hon. Isaac Parker of Coventry, was Mr. Twilight's predecessor in the academy, and in 1836, when Mr. T. was in the Legislature, Hon. T. P. Redfield, then just graduated from Dartmouth college, took his place.
In November 1829, Mr. Twilight was ordained at Brownington, Rev. David Sutherland of Bath, N. H. preached the ordination sermon. He was never installed, but supplied the pulpit of the Congregational church many years at Brownington, and occasionally preached, for longer or shorter terms, in the adjoining towns; indeed preaching was—scarcely less than teaching—the labor of his life. In 1831, he was much and successfully engaged, in the protracted meetings so common at that period. Rev. George B. Ide, a
Baptist minister, was then preaching in the Union church in Derby, and he and Mr. Twilight labored together in great harmony and with large results, in protracted meetings in Derby, Brownington, Stanstead, Irasburgh and Coventry during that year. He was a sound theologian, strongly Calvinistic in his doctrines, clear in the illustration, pointed and searching in its application, with voice and manner that were both attractive and impressive. Sometimes, especially under the stimulus of an important occasion, he preached with great eloquence and power. But his peculiar gift was in the instruction and management of a school. He seldom failed to get the good will, and high esteem of his pupils. His power to influence, stimulate and direct them in regard to their character, studies and future pursuits was very great. He governed them mostly, by appeals to their honor and manliness, but could use sterner persuasives when they were called for. Sometimes when the subject and occasion demanded it, and all other measures failed, his power of invective sarcasm, satire and ridicule were tremendous. No sensible rogue would wish to encounter it but once. When there was no regular preaching in the village he was accustomed to hold a religious service before his pupils on the Sabbath in the academy. This would commonly be a biblical lesson previously assigned, accompanied by extended remarks, perhaps a lecture, or a direct appeal to the conscience of his pupils. At such times his power to instruct and move was very great. Many conversions and some extensive revivals occurred in his school. His appeals to the impenitent were often powerful, and his counsels to the inquirer and the young Christian were wise and exceedingly stimulating to a devoted and useful life. For many years large numbers of the young men of the County sought his instruction, either to be fitted for college, or for a business life. In this latter certainly did he greatly excel. Many men trained by him have gone out to attain eminence in professional or business life. Though his classical instruction was not of the highest order, yet his influence was such as to encourage young men to seek a full collegiate course, and the highest attainable culture. A catalogue of the fall term of 1839, lies before me as I write. Looking it over I find that there were in that term 57 young men. Running over the names, I find 5 who have since graduated at college, 5 who have become preachers, 5, at least, who have become lawyers, 2 physicians, 2 judges, severals legislators, many merchants and business men, and of a large number of them I have no present knowledge. Nor is there any reason to suppose that this was any larger or better term of his school, than many others. Is any school in the county—are all of them as now conducted, encouraging, aiding, stimulating, filling with ambition, and helping upward better than Mr. Twilight did the young men of the County, and giving them resolution to conquer difficulties?
Perhaps the most prominent trait of Mr. Twilight's character, and that which he infused most largly into the character of his pupils, was his unconquerable will, to pursue with energy and prosecute to success anything which he undertook. It was this with his desire to benefit young men, that built the stone house and kept him so long the master of the academy, and led him to devote nearly the whole of his strength and of his income to sustain it. After he had been a few years in Brownington, he saw the need of a boarding-house. He besought the trustees to provide one. They delayed, and at last declined to provide such an one as Mr. Twilight thought was needed, to furnish accommodations for such a school as the wants of the county required, and he meant to have. The discussions between Mr. Twilight and the trustees concerning the building of a boarding house were protracted and perhaps we should say acrimonious. Other matters concerning his relations to the church, and some of its members about this time produced much bitterness of feeling. A portion of the trustees and patrons of the academy became alienated from him, and the academy was left after this almost entirely to his sole control. Then on his own resources he set to work and built the granite house—"Athenian Hall" he called it. With the aid of this his school increased in numbers and in influence till the grammar school funds were divided and subdivided so as to be of little aid to him, or to any one else. Mr. Twilight died in 1857. The railroad ere long took the old stages and most of the business from the hill. The school as a permanent institution is gone. But the old granite house will stand in silent loneliness, perhaps in emptiness, for ages to come, a monument to tell the changes of time, and to tell of the character and works
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of one of the most able and influential men who ever labored for the good of Orleans County. Scattered over all the County, and filling stations in every department of useful service, are his pupils, to perpetuate the fruits of his labors, and to remember with gratitude and pride, while life lasts, their old preceptor. Mr. Twilight was married in Peru, N. Y., April 20, 1826, to Miss Mercy Ladd Merrill, born in Unity, N. H. She yet survives and lives mostly by herself in the old stone house. They had no children.
BROWNINGTON SOLDIERS IN THE WAR OF 1861
BY CAPT. O. H. AUSTIN.
Names. Rank. Co. Mustered in. Remarks.
Allard, Alanson H. Priv. D July 16, '61. Re-enlisted Dec. 21, '63.
Atkins, David " " Sept. 22, '61. Died Oct. 1, '62.
Drown, Nelson " K April 12, '62. Discharged Oct. 24, '62.
Lamere, Frank " B July 16, '61. Died Dec. 6, '62.
Robinson, Sylvester " K Apr. 12, '62. Died Sept. 4, '62.
Stoddard, Lucius D. " " " Died Jan, 1, '63.
Skinner, Daniel " D July 31, '63. Wounded in action at Wild. May 5, '64.
Wheeler, Ruel B. " " " "
Bishop, John H. 2d Lt. D Sept. 20, '61. Resigned Feb. 6, '62.
Lund, Norman F. Priv. " " Died Feb. 17, '62.
Marshall, George W. " " " Died in Philadelphia.
Marshall, William " " " Discharged.
Phillips, William A. " " " Re-enlisted Dec. 16, '63.
Richards, Charles " " " Discharged Dec. 13, '62,
Robbins Eli M. Corp. " " Pro. serg't; re-en. Dec, 15, '63; killed near Chancellorsville, May 11, '64.
Streeter, Joel " " " Re-en. Feb. 10,'64; killed at Wild. May 5, '64.
Joslyn, C. Edwin Priv. D Oct. 2, '61. Pro. sergt.; 2d lieut. Nov. 1, '62; 1st lieut. Feb. 3, '63; capt. June 4, '64—honorably disch'd Jan. 18, '65, on account of wounds rec'd in action at Winchester, Va., Sept. 19, '64—ball entered his right eye and passed entirely through his head—and now in trade at Barton Landing.
Davis, M. W. Serg't " " Resident of B. though credited Coventry—wound. Apr. 16, '62—pro. 2d lieut. May 1, '62—1st l't, Dec. 1, '62—capt. Feb. 3, '63.
Carpenter, Lucius Priv. " Oct. 15, '61. Died Nov. 11, '62.
Craig Archibald " " "
Dutton, Marquis L. " " " Deserted Sept. 7, '62.
Henry, Lorenzo D. " " " Discharged June 6, '62.
Putney, Simon F. " " " June 24, '62.
Robinson, John R. " " " Oct. 31, '62.
Spencer, Erastus " " " Feb. 14. '63 for wounds.
Stewart, Thomas T. " " "
Weeks, George R. " " " Discharged Aug. 10, '62.
Allard, Chauncy M. Priv. K July 9, '62. " Jan, 15, '63.
Crandall, William H. " E " Deserted Sept. 2, '62.
Lund, Leonard A. Serg't " "
Robbins, John E. Priv. " " Discharged May 4, '63.
Spencer, George A. " " " " Jan. 14, '63. '
Wadleigh, John G. " "
Ward, James O. " " July 9, '62. Died Sept. 22, '63.
Bruce, Ebenezer J. Corp. K Sept. 1, '62. Pro. Serg't; discharged May 12, '65.
Norris, George Priv. " " Died Oct. 13, '62.
Eleventh Regiment. 1st Art.
Austin, Orlo H. 2d Lt. F Aug. 12, '62. Pro. 1st lieut. Co. I, Nov. 22, '62, capt. Co. A, Oct. 12, '64.
Names. Rank. Co. Mustered in. Remarks.
Buxton, Frank Corp. F Sept. 1, '62. Pro. serg't; wound. at Cold Harbor, June 1, 64; com. 2d lieut., Oct., '64; must. out on acc't of wounds, and died at home, Aug., '65.
Matthews, Asa D. Priv. " " Pro. serg't Oct. 21, '62; 2d lieut. Aug. 11, '64; made pris. June 23, '64; 1st l't Jan. 21, '64.
Beede, Jesse " " "
Burroughs, Olin " L Jan. 10, '63. Pro. corp.; wound, in action.
Carpenter, Solon B. " F Sept. 1, '62. Dis. on account of loss of foot at C. Harbor.
Foss, Moses A. " " " Made prisoner June 23, '64.
Frost, Lewis H. " " Nov. 12, '63. Died while pris. at Florence, Ala. Oct. 20, '64.
Foster, Charles " " Sept. 1, '62. Died while pris., Sept. 20, '64, Charlestown, S.C.
Foster, Elisha " " " Wounded at Cold Harbor, Va., Jan. 1, '64.
Goodall, Henry L. " " Nov. 18, '63. Died while pris., Oct. 18, '64, at Florence, Ala.
Heath, George A. " " Nov. 17, '63. Killed at Cold Harbor, June 1, '64.
Pearson, William M. " " Sept. 1, '62. Discharged Dec. 8, '62,
Rice, Julius Serg't " " Pro. 1st lieut., Co. M, Nov. 2, '63.
Riley, Oliver Priv. L June 16, '63. Wounded in action.
Ripley, Fred. B. " F Nov. 18, '63. "
Smith, George R. " " Sept. 1, '62. Deserted Oct. 8, '63.
Wheeler, Simon " " " Died Dec. 4, '62.
Wilson, John A. " " " Pro. corp.; died while pris. Jan. 15, '65, at Charleston, S. C
Joslyn, Ahira O. Priv. I Oct. 22, '62.
Joslyn, Rollin O. " " "
McEwen, Terance " " "
Ordway, Cyren B. " " "
Richmond, Charles H. " " "
Smith, Isaac C. Serg't " "
Carpenter, Hiram Priv.
BY ALPHA ALLYN, ESQ.
This township, situated in the easterly part of Orleans County, is in lat. 44° 51', and long. 4° 53' bounded N. E. by Morgan, S. E. by Brighton, S. W. by a part of Westmore and Brownington, and N. W. by Salem; and lies 50 miles N. E. of Montpelier. It was granted by Gov. Thomas Chittenden the 6th, and chartered the 8th of Nov., 1780, to Hon. Abraham Whipple, his shipmates and others; containing 23,040 acres. Commodore Whipple was a distinguished naval officer in the Revolutionary war, and he first named this township Navy, in honor of the American navy which he so bravely defended. The town is 8 miles 184 rods long, and 4 miles 64 rods wide. This tract was originally divided into 69 equal shares. By the terms of the charter one share was granted for the first settled minister, one for glebe, one for support of town schools, one for support of grammar school, and one for college. Gen. James Whitelaw surveyed this town into 98 lots, making each lot 196 rods in length, and 192 rods in width; and received $256 for his service. According to this first survey the town was 14 lots long and 7 lots wide—the longest way of the lots being lengthwise of the town. Afterwards, 69 of these lots were made by draft* at Providence, R. I., into first division lots, each containing 236½ acres. Abner Allyn surveyed the second division into 69 lots, making each just one third as large as the first division lots. The third division was surveyed by Charles Cummings into 69 lots, each containing 10 acres 30 rods. A first, second and third division lot, consisting of 325 acres and 56 rods, constituted a share or "right."
None of the original grantees ever resided in town, and but three—John L. Chandler, Elisha and Andrew Brown—were ever known to come here. The most of them lived in
* The draft of the 1st division lots was made August, 1794; the 2nd div. August, 1809; the 8d div. September, 1828, and the surveys were made previous to dates of drafts.