136 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

strengthened them. His life has been one of usefulness as a citizen, especially as a townsュman, being alive to all its interests. Togethュer with his father he has been largely engaged in the interests of wild lands, having been agents for land proprietors, and more or less for their own. He married Miss Adelaide Nash of Montpelier, a most estimable woman, with whom he has lived in this town and reared 8 children, 6 of whom are living; two promising young lady daughters have passed away from earth, as beacons to draw them to the better world, to which they are jourュneying.

 

EAST CHARLESTON, VT. May 26, 1870.

As I learned that the history of this town had been submitted for publication, in Miss Hemenway's history of the State, without an account of the above narrated event, I felt that it was not right, as that was certainly one of the most startling events ever expeュrienced here. That I have failed to make it as interesting to the reader as some other perュson might, I doubt not. I have done it beュcause no other person has to my knowledge. This therefore is a tribute to the memory of my only surviving brother. My sisters are all deceased.

Respectfully submitted by

RACHEL H. ALLYN, M. D.

Lowell, Massachusetts.

 

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COVENTRY.

 

BY THE REV. PLINY H. WHITE.

 

Coventry, situated in latitude 44ー 53エ N. and in longitude 4ー 54エ E., is an irregular quadrangle, no two sides being of equal length: and is bounded N. E. (6シ miles) by Newport and Salem, S. E. (4セ miles) by Brownington, S. W. (5セ miles) by Irasburgh, and N. W. (4ス miles) by Newport.

The charter was granted Nov. 4, 1780, to Maj. Elias Buel and 59 others. Its boundaュries as defined by the charter, were as follows "beginning at a beech tree, marked Irasュburgh corner, Sept. 26, 1778,' being the northュwesterly corner of Irasburgh, and running north 36ー east, six miles and 63 chains, to Lake Memphremagog; then south-easterly on the shore of said lake, about 27 chains to a hemlock tree, marked 'Salem Line, 1778; ' then south 45ー west, two miles and two chains, to a great hemlock tree, marked, 'Salem West Corner, Sept. 30, 1778;' then south 45ー east, six miles and 24 chains, in the southerly line of Salem, to a stake five links north-west from a cedar tree, marked 'Coventry Corner;' then south 36ー west, four miles and four chains, to the North line of Irasburgh; then north 54ー west, five miles and 60 chains, to the bounds begun at." Within these limits were supposed to be contained 16,767 acres, or about 26 1-5 square miles. To make up the six square miles usually included in a township, there were granted 2,000 acres diュrectly south of Newport, called Coventry Gore, and 4,273 acres in Chittenden County, east of Starksboro, called Buel's Gore. The north part of Buel's Gore was annexed to Huntington in 1794. That part of the town which bordered on Lake Memphremagog, being in the form of a slip, 108 rods wide on the Lake, and 2 miles, 4 rods long, was called Coventry Leg, somewhat inappropriately, as it was narrowest where it joined the body of the town, and widened as it extended north. In 1816 it was annexed to Newport. Five rights were reserved by the charter, one for the benefit of a college in this State, one for the benefit of a county grammar school, one for the benefit of schools in town, one for the first settled minister, and one for the support of the ministry as the inhabitants should diュrect. Buel, the principal agent in procuring the charter, was a native and resident of Covュentry, Ct., and, in honor of his birth place, the same name was given to the new townュship.*

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* Concerning Elias Buel, the founder and principal original proprietor of Coventry, it is suitable to put on record a few facts. He was a son of Captain Peter Buel, one of the first settlers of Coventry. Ct., at which place he was born 8 Oct. 1737. He married, 6 Aug. 1758, Sarah Turner, by whom be had Anna, born 2 Jan. 1759; Solomon, born 12 Apr. 1760; Elias Jr., born about 1770, studied law with Nathaniel Chipman, admitted to the Rutland County Bar in 1793, died in Waterbury, Vt., about 1810; Jesse, born 4 Jan. 1778, established and edited the Cultilator at Albany, N. Y., died at Danュbury, Conn. 6 Oct. 1839; Samuel, a custom-house officer at Burlingron about 1809; also John, Eunice, Abigail, Peter, and two Sallies. Not all of those names are given in the order of birth.

He was a major in the Revolutionary army, and a brother of the Rev. Samuel Buel, D. D., an eminent minister on Long Island. "He was a man of dignified deportment, and possessing a highly cultivated mind, full of anecdote, and a most agreeable and instructive companion. Major Buel was an ardent politician, but never sought an office; and a frequent contributor of

 

 

COVENTRY. 137

 

At the time of the chartering of Coventry, and for many years after, Orleans County was destitute of inhabitants, and inaccessible by roads, and lands were of no value except for speculative purposes. Buel purchased the rights of his associates, one by one, as he had opportunity, paying from 」5 to 」20, and in a few instances as much as 」30, for each right; until, in 1788, the title of 54 of the 60 rights was vested in him. His deeds, however, were not put on record until 1801, and, in the mean time, sales for taxes, and levies of executions against the original proprietors had created conflicting titles to much of the land. In 1791 all the lands in town were sold by Steュphen Pearl, Sheriff of Chittenden County, to satisfy a land tax of a half penny an acre levied by the Legislature of Vermont. Ira Allen purchased most of them, and 49 rights, which were not redeemed within the preュscribed time, were deeded to him. Buel afュterwards quitclaimed to Allen his interest in those rights, and appears to have had little or no more to do with the township.

Allen made few, if any sales of his Covenュtry lands till 1798. In March of that year he was in London, where he met Stephen Bayュard, of Philadelphia, and sold him the 2,000 acres comprised in Coventry Gore for the round sum of 」1,600 sterling, ($7,104). There is something ludicrous in the minute particuュlarity of, English forms of conveyancing as exhibited in the deed 6 pages long, by which Allen transferred these 2,000 acres of woods and mountains, "together with all and singuュlar houses, outhouses, edifices, buildings, paths, passages, commons, fishing places, hedges, ditches, gates, stiles, fences, ways, waters, water-courses, lights, liberties, easements, privileges, profits, commodities, adュvantages, hereditaments, and appurtenances whatsoever.' If Bayard paid the purchase money, or any part of it, it was a dead loss to him, for in the following July a direct land-tax was assessed by the Congress of the United States, to satisfy which, the whole town of Covュentry, including the Gore, was sold at auction at the house of Thomas Tolman, in Greensboro, May 20, 1801, by James Paddock, of Craftsュbury, the collector, for $ 4.80, and was never redeemed. Jabot G. Fitch, of Vergennes, was the purchaser. William C. Harrington, of Burlington, had a color of title to 8 rights,

Reed Ferris, of Pawlington, N.Y., to 9, Alexander Schist, of Canada, to 15, Thaddeus Tuttle, of Burlington, to 15, and James Seaュman, of the City of Now York, to 16. Fitch bought the interests of them all, and Dec. 14, 1801, he took a conveyance of Ira Allen's enュtire title. By these means he became the osュtensible owner of the whole township, and had a valid title to nearly all of it.

It was by Fitch's agency that the settlement of the town was effected. He offered land at moderate prices to actual settlers, promising gifts of land to some, (which promises, howュever, were fulfilled in few, if any, instances,) and encouraged emigration as much as possiュble. Two dollars on acre was the current price of land, with a liberal credit, and cash was seldom required. Most of the early purュchasers made their payments in "good clean wheat" or "merchantable neat cattle, (bulls and stags excepted,) not exceeding eight years old." In many of the conveyances he reュserved to himself "two thirds of the iron ore being and growing on the land," a reservation which never proved of any value. Notwithュstanding the pains he took to purchase all outュstanding claims, the titles to some of the lands afterwards proved defective, and subjected his grantees to serious loss.

 

SETTLEMENT.

 

In September, 1799, Samuel Cobb and his son Tisdale visited the township with a view to settlement, decided to settle there, put up a log-house, and returned for their families.悠n March, 1800, the first settlement of Covュentry took place. The pioneer settlers were Samuel Cobb and Tisdale Cobb, father and son: Samuel accompanied by his children, Samuel, Jr., Nathaniel and Silence; and Tisュdale by his wife. They came from Westmoreュland, N. H., March 15th, traveling on horse‑

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political essays to the Connecticut Courant, where he defended the policy of Jefferson's administration and advocated Democratic principles." His first residence in Vermont was Rutland. He afterwards removed to Buel's Gore, and resided on that part of it which was annexed to Huntington. In 1798 and 1801, he was an Assistant Judge of Chittenden County Court; in 1799, a member of the Council of Censors; 1891, 1892, 1894, the representative of Huntington in the General Assemュbly of Vermont; and in 1814, the delegate from that town to the Constitutional Convention. In 1819 he reュmoved to Albany, N. Y., where he died, May 17, 1824, at the residence of his son Jesse.

In 1841 the Legislature changed the name to Orュleans. About that time an attempt was made to constitute it the shire-town of Orleans County, but the effort was unsuccessful, and, in 1843, the original name was restored.

 

 

138 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

back as far as Brownington, which being the end of the road, they left their horses there and made their way on foot through the dense woods, marking the trees as they went, till they reached the east part of Coventry, March 27th. Samuel Cobb pitched on lot No. 11, now occupied by Stillman Church, and built a log-cabin directly opposite the present site of Mr. Church's house. Tisdale Cobb pitched on lot No. 12, now occupied by Jesse Miller, and built a cabin just east of the present grave-yard. Samuel Cobb, Jr., made an opening on lot 6, now owned by James K. Blake, but, being disappointed in some of Fitch's promises, he did not locate permanently. The cabins of these first settlers were exceedingly rude in appearance; built of spruce logs hewn only on the inside, and pointed with mud and moss, roofed with bark, having one door and one or two small windows, and inclosing only a single room, which was made to answer all the purposes of kitchen, dining-room, bedュroom and parlor. Boards were not to be procured nearer than Barton, where Gen. Wm. Barton, the founder of that town, had, in 1796, built a saw-mill. From that mill, boards sufficient to floor the cabins were drawn a distance of 10 miles through the pathless woods. In the following June, Samuel Cobb's wife (Silence Barney, born Feb. '21, 1756,) and his younger children, who had reュmained in Westmoreland while preparations were snaking for their reception, joined the husband and father in the wilderness, and the first settlement of Coventry was made complete. Tisdale Cobb's family consisted only of himself and wife, (Sarah Pierce,) and Samュuel's of himself, his wife, 3 sons and 4 daughters.* Until the arrival of Mrs. Cobb, the first comers had no baking apparatus whatュever, and were obliged to go to Mr. Newhall's in Brownington, about a mile, to do all their baking. Silence Cobb was usually the mesュsenger on these errands, and had as her conュstant companion through the lonely woods, a large black dog, which, being a very docile animal, she taught to do pack horse duty, in carrying to and fro on his back the bags of meal or of bread.

All the first settlers, male and female, were of more than usual physical ability; and, beュing of athletic frames and rugged constitutions, were admirably qualified to endure the hardュships of a settlement in the wilderness. Hardュships they had to endure, and those neither few nor small. It was no light task to conquer the primeval forest, nor was it easy even to proュcure needful food for themselves and their animals while the work of clearing, was going on.

There were no roads, no neighbors within 2 miles, no grist-mill nearer than West Derby, and facilities for procuring the most ordinary necessities, not to say comforts of life, were scanty indeed. The young men used to carry grain on their shoulders to Arnold's mills in West Derby, there being no road that could be traveled by horses. In the winter they had an easier conveyance, by hand-sled on Memュphremagog. By most diligent toil, in which all the members of the families bore their parts, each man made a small clearing In the season of 1800, and raised grain and potatoes enough to secure them from fear of actual want. Each family had a cow which gained its living as best it could in the forest. It was the work of the younger girls to find the cows at night, and drive them home oftentimes a laborious task requiring them to search the woods for miles around. To provide for the cows during the Winter was a problem of no easy solution. No hay was raised, but a scanty supply was brought from Barton, and with the help of browse, which was abundant and close at hand, they were comfortably wintered. So ended the first year of the infant settlement.

In 1801, Samuel Smith of Brownington built a saw-mill on the Day Brook. This was a great convenience to the settlers, as it obviated the necessity of going to Barton for boards and planks, or of using planks roughly split from logs, which was a not unusual kind of flooring in the early days. A grist-mill was lacking for some years longer, and, in the mean time most of the grain was sent to Arnold's mill at West Derby, it being floated down Barton river and through South Bay, in canoes. At length Daュvid Kendall built a small grist-mill on the Day Brook. The wheel was an overshot wheel, as the brook was small, and the supply of water sometimes insufficient, the miller was occasionュally compelled to supply the lack of water by treading the buckets of the wheel after the fashion of a tread-mill. The stones for this mill were made of the nearest granite; and as

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* The sons were Samuel. Jr., Hanover and Nathaniel; the daughters were Silence, Lattice C., Arabella and Sabrina. After the lapse of 69 years, four of the eleven persons constituting these two pioneer families still survive; only one of whom, however, Mrs. Isaac Parュker, (Arabella Cobb,) lives in Coventry.

 

 

COVENTRY. 139

 

there was no bolt in the mill, the meal which it made was of the very coarsest kind. Pudュding-and-milk was the principal food of the setュtlers, and this mill, which furnished the more solid part of their fare, was called the "pudding-mill"預 name by which its site is known to this day. The ruins of this ancient mill are still traceable a little westerly of where the read running north from William B. Flanders crosses the Day Brook.

As soon as the Cobbs had fairly established themselves, they built a log-shop, in which they carried on the business of blacksmithing. They were the only men of that trade in the northュern part of Orleans county, and they had cusュtomers from all that region round about.

The first birth in Coventry took place July 28, 1801, when a daughter was born to Tisdale Cobb. Her original name was Harriet Fitch, bestowed on account of a promise of Jabez C. Fitch to give a lot of land to the first-born child傭ut he failed to fulfil his promise, and the name was changed to Betsey.

Many of the former townsmen of the Cobbs soon came to visit them and their new settleュment, and several families were added to the little colony in 1801 and 1802. Among those who immigrated from Westmoreland were Jotham Pierce, Asa Pierce, Wm. Esty, Simon B. Heustis, John Farnsworth and John Mitchell. All the settlers prior to 1803, in the strictest sense of the phrase, "Sqatter Sovereigns," havュing no deeds of any land, but taking possession where they pleased, and procuring deeds when they could. Deeds were executed to them earュly in 1803. Jotham Pierce pitched on lot No. 15, on which William B. Flanders now lives.幽e was a man of great energy, and became an influential citizen of the town. He was the first captain of militia, and magnified his office not a little, as was suitable he should in those days, when a captain was of more consequence than a brigadier general now is. William Esty pitched on lot No. 13, now owned by the Day estate; Simeon B. Heustis on lot No. 50, where Lewis Nye lives; John Mitchell on lot No. 51, and John Farnsworth on lot No. 52, where J. W. Mitchell lives. Farnsworth brought with him the first ox-cart ever seen in town. Previous to this time all teaming had been done on sleds or drags. Daniel B. Smith name in the Fall of 1802, and made an opening on lot No. 53, which was the first clearing west of Barton river. He took an active part in town affairs, but remained only till 1805, when lie sold to Samuel Boynton and removed. The first framュed house in Coventry was built by him, a little south-east of the present residence of Ira Boynュton, and on the opposite side of the road.

This house, as well as all that had previously been built, was on the high land. Surprise is often expressed at the present day, that the setュtlers in this town, and in other towns, should have selected the hills rather than the valleys as the sites of their farms, and that the roads should have been made directly over the hills rather than around them. These things, howュever, were a matter of inevitable necessity.

The high lands were covered mainly with hard timber, and the decay of the leaves had made the land fertile and mellow. It was necュessary only to clear the land and sow it to be sure of a crop the first year. The stumps deュcayed with comparative rapidity, and a few years sufficed to transform the forest into a farm. But the low lands were too wet to be
tilled, and were generally covered with soft timber, the stumps of which decayed slowly. The rich lands on and Barton rivers, which now constitute some of the best farms in Coventry, could not have been made to yield the early settlers food enough to keep them from starvation. The soft, wet soil of the valleys made them as unsuitable for roads as they were for farms; to say nothing of the uselessness of roads where there were no people, and the need of roads where the people were.

A peculiar feature of the early houses was their fireplaces and chimneys. Stoves and furnaces were then unknown. Fireplaces and chimneys were built of prodigious size, and with small regard to beauty or even to shapeliュness. Seven thousand brick were none too many to put into a chimney in which there was a fireplace 8 or 10 feet wide, and of proportionュate depth. The fireplace was a mavellous storeュhouse of light and heat. The back-log was part of the solid butt of a tree, which, with a fore-stick and top-stick of nearly or quite the same size, constituted the main structure for a fire. To this were added as many smaller sticks as the state of the weather required, and a few pine knots and other kindlings being thrust under and between the several logs, the whole mass was easily set on fire, and the flame went roarュing up the chimney, filling the house with cheerful light and warmth. One such fire lastュed 24 hours, and sometimes several hours longュer, according to the size, kind and condition of the wood.

 

 

140 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

To us, of the present generation, this seems wastefulness in the use of fuel, and to those of the next generation it will seem wicked extravュagance; but to the early settlers wood was reュally of no value at all, but rather an ineumュbrance, to be got rid of by any and all possible means. The more of it they saw reduced to ashes, the more they rejoiced, and with good reason, too.

About 1802 Joseph Marsh and Timothy Goodrich, both from Addison County, made the first opening in the west part of the town. A log cabin was built by Jabez G. Fitch, a few rods south of the present residence of George Heerman near the Upper Falls, and in this cabュin Goodrich resided, having as boarders Marsh and his family, and some other persons, who like himself, were employed by Fitch in clearュing and building. Fitch also made Goodrich's house his home during his occasional visits.柚arsh was a lawyer, and a man of more intelュlectual ability than any other of the early setュtlers. He was Fitch's agent for the sale of lands and had a general supervision of his affairs at Coventry. He had respectable literary attainュments, but was no financier, and though he beュcame owner of some lands, he was obliged to transfer them in payment of old debts, and at length he removed to Brownington. Timothy Woodbridge, from Waltham, Vt., came in the Fall of 1802, and purchased lots No. 23, 24 and 47. He was the gentleman of the little colony. He was a son of the Hon. Enoch Woodbridge, of Vergennes, Judge of the Supreme Court of Vermont, and married Lydia Chipman, daughュter of Darius Chipman, and niece of the Hon. Nathaniel Chipman. He held himself in good esteem, as became one so respectably connected, and was always ready to occupy any place of which the position was honorable and the duties light, but he and his wife had been too daintily reared to be fit for frontier life, and were regardュed by the townsmen as lazy and shiftless to the last degree. After a few years he sold his first purchase, and bought a part of lot No. 156, on which he made a clearing and built a cabin; but 1807 sold out and left town. His last clearing is included within the grave-yard near the village. Amherst Stewart pitched on lot No. 3, now owned by Albert Day, and resided there a few years, after which he moved to Browningュton. John Wells, Jr., began on what is known as the Peabody farm. He was the first justice of the peace appointed in town. Perez Gardュner, from St. Johnsbury, came in 1802, and pitched on parts of lots No. 9 and 10, now ownュed by Zebulon Burroughs. In 1802, the first hay made in Coventry was cut on lot No. 7, where Quincy Wellington, a son-in-law of Samュuel Cobb, had begun a clearing. He abandoned it the next year and it returned to wilderness, and so remained till 1817, when Zebulon Burュroughs reclaimed it, enlarged the clearing and erected buildings. The same year a man by the name of Symomes began a clearing on the farm now owned by Charles Owen, and a man by the name of Hawes on the farm now owned by William R. Alger. Neither of them put up any buildings, and they did not become permanent inhabitants. One of them brought in his knapュsack four English white potatoes, the first of that kind that were brought to Coventry. They were cut into as many pieces as there were eyes, and were planted near Tisdale Cobb's. The whole produce was sowed and planted the next year, and from those four potatoes the town was stocked with that variety of the vegetable.

In June, 1802, John Ide, Jr., began a clearュing, either on lot No. 55, or 56, both of which he had bought for $500. He started from Brownington in the morning and came to Barュton river, where he felled a tree and attemped to cross, but as the river was high the tree was not long enough, and he plunged in with his axe and swam the remaining distance, when he felled another tree and completed his bridge. He then bent his course towards his new purchase, but after traveling awhile in the woods, found himュself again at the river, which he followed till he reached his crossing place, and then took anュother start. This process he continued all day, and returned to Brownington without seeing his land. He moved his family into Coventry March 9, 1803, and was the first white settler west of the river. By this time two log-bridges had been built across the river, and a road cut from the upper falls of Black river half way to the Center. His first log-house was built about half way between the present sites of the brick church and Mrs. Sarah A. Kendall's house and so far west that the road now passes over its site. He afterwards built a log-house about 40 rods north-westerly of Mrs. A. Plastridge's present residence. For many years he was a leading man in town, and did as much as any one else to give it form and character.

The settlers whose names have now been mentioned constituted the adult male population of the town in March, 1803. Until that time there was no municipal organization, as indeed

 

 

COVENTRY 141

 

there was little need of any. Whatever of a public nature was done, not much at the most, was accomplished by voluntary private effort. But it was now thought desirable that the town should be organized, and accordingly application was made to Luke Chapin, Esq , of Duncansboro, (now Newport.) who issued his warrant for a town meeting to be held at Samuel Cobb's house on Thursday, March 31, 1803. At that time and place the town was organized by the choice of officers, as follows: John Wells, Jr., moderator; Joseph Marsh, clerk; Timothy Woodbridge, constable; Samuel Cobb, treasurュer; Samuel Cobb, Daniel B. Smith and John Ide, Jr., selectmen; Perez Gardner, John Wells, Jr., and Joseph Marsh, listers; Joseph Marsh, Samuel Cobb, John Wells, Jr., and Daniel B. Smith, highway surveyors; Perez Gardner, grand juror.

It was voted that each inhabitant should work on the roads four days in June and two days in September. A tax of $12 was iaised to defray current expenses of the town. The grand list of 1803, the first taken in town, and on which this tax was assessed, amounted to $608. The highest tax payer was John Wells, Jr., who paid a town tax of $1.39, and a State tax of 96 cents.

Most of the early settlers were uneducated men, but they were not insensible to the value of education, nor deficient in desire that their children should know more than themselves.裕hey had no school-house, however, were too poor to build one, and there was no spare room in their cabins where a school might be held.輸t length Samuel Cobb's corn-barn was tempoュrarily converted to the purpose of a school-house, and here, in the Summer of 1803, Temperance Vincent taught the first school in Coventry, for the moderate compensation of $1 per week. A ruder building was perhaps never devoted to educational purposes. It was small, not clap-boarded, and lighted only by the open doorway and the cracks between the boards. The seats were rough boards laid upon blocks of wood, and the desks were constructed in the same way. In this unsightly building the rudiments of education were imparted to some, who are now among the most valuable citizens of the town.

In the Summer of 1803 a saw-mill, the second in the town and much better than the first, was built on the Upper Falls of Black river, by Jabez G. Fitch. This and the adjacent cabin of Goodrich and Marsh constituted a center of civilization in the west part of the town, as the Cobb settlement did in the east.

The first freemen's meeting was held Sept. 6, 1803, when 16 votes, the unanimous vote of the town, were given for Isaac Tichenor for Govュernor. Jos. Marsh had the honor of being the first representative; receiving 9 votes against 2 for John Wells, Jr., and one each for Samuel Cobb and D. B. Smith.

The year 1804 was signalized by the first birth of a male child, the first marriage, and the first death. The birth took place February 17th, when a son, George B., was born to John Ide, Jr. That son is now the Rev. George B. Ide, D. D., of Springfield, Mass., one of the most emュinent Baptist divines in this country. The marュriage was that of Silence Cobb to Col. David Knox, of Tunbridge, which was solemnized March 11th, by Elijah Strong, Esq., of Brownュington. The death was that of Mrs. John Farnsュworth, which took place December 4th. There being no public grave-yard, she was buried on her husband's farm, and her grave-stone may still be seen at the four corners on South Hill. [Near her grave were buried three infant childュren of John Mitchell; three children of Daniel Heustis, triplets, who lived but a few hours; and James Heustis, son of Simon Heustis, who died Oct. 30, 1808. The graves of all the childュren are unmarked by any stone. In 1866, the town surrounded these graves of its early dead by a neat fence.]

Among the new settlers in 1804 were George Dorr, Benjamin Walker, Charles Bryant, Thomュas Baldwin, Daniel Ide, John Gardner and Arisュtides Heustis, Dorr bought of J. G. Fitch lot No. 75, where Azro Gray now lives, began a clearing, May 5, 1804, and built a log-house near a spring, almost opposite the present resiュdence of Hubbard Gray. His title proved deュfective, and Filch having in the mean time beュcome bankrupt, he was compelled to repurchase the lot of the legal owner. Bryant pitched on lot No. 42; Walker on lot No. 49; Heustis on lot No. 76; and Baldwin on lot No. 57. Ide pitched on lot No. 89, and made the first openュing in the North neighborhood. Gardner was the first house-carpenter.

The clearing of land was a much more laュborious work in the early days than it now is. Almost all of it was done by hand, oxen and horses being very scarce. In 1804 there were only 3 yoke of oxen in Coventry, owned by Samuel Cobb, Jabez G. Fitch and Timothy Woodbridge. Ordinary logs were not drawn into heaps to be burned, but if a tree were

 

142 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

large, sticks and small logs were piled along the whole length of it, and so it was burned. A horse with a chain was used to draw the small logs, and to draw together the partially burned brands.

The political harmony which had hitherto prevailed, as witnessed by the unanimous vote for Tichenor in 1803, was slightly disュturbed in 1801, when Jonathan Robinson was the opposing candidate. One vote was given for the Robinson ticket; and at an election for member of Congress, the same independュent voter cast his solitary suffrage for James Fisk, in opposition to William Chamberlin, who was the choice of all his townsmen. It is quite probable that Charles Bryant was this voter. One vote was also given for Robinson in 1805, but in 1806, after Bryant had sold out and left town, the vote was again unaniュmous for Tichenor.

At the town meeting of 1805, a tax of $12 worth of wheat was raised for the purpose of defraying town charges. Wheat, then and for a long time after, was the principal currency in Orleans County. Town and school district taxes were assessed in wheat much more frequently than in cash. A cash tax, however small, was considered quite a oalana ity, and, in fact, was such. A person was once obliged to go more than 50 miles, to procure less than a dollar for the purpose of paying a tax. On account of the scarcity of money it often happened that no tax whatever was asュsessed, the officers choosing to render their services gratuitously, and the people in genュeral to do with their own hands whatever needed to be dons, lather than to pay theit proportion of a tax. On one occasion, when two bridges were to be built, the town voted " that the inhabitants turn out voluntarily to build the bridge at Burrough's mill, and that $45 be raised to build the bridge across Black river, payable in labor at 67 cents per day, the person finding himself, or in grain the first of January next.

SOLOMON PIEF=

immigrated in 1805, and pitched on lot No. 82, being the farm on which the Rev. A. G. Gray now lives. In June of the same year came Dr. Peleg Redfield, and purchased lot No. 44, on the eastern border of which he made a clearing and built a house. The farm still remains in the ownership of his family. Dr. Redfield was the first settled physician in Coventry, and the fourth in Orleans County ;

his only predecessors being Dr. Samuel Huntュington, of Greensboro, Dr. Luther Newcomb, of Derby, and Dr. James Paddock, of Craftsュbury. His practice immediately became exュtensive and arduous. His journeys to the scattered cabins in which his patients lived were performed mainly on horseback, but not unfrequently he was obliged to thread his way through the forests on foot. He was a man of vigorous mind and great force of charュacter, and was held in high esteem not only for professional skill but for business qualities. He is entitled to be remembered for his own abilities, and as the father of sons who, in other professions, have won emitypt distincュtion for themselves, and have reflected honor upon the town from which they went forth.

ROADS, &C.

In October and November, 1805, the first public roads were laid out. Until that time the roads were mere p4ths cut through the woods, with reference mainly to private conュvenience, and no wider than was absolutely necessary for a single team, not always so wide as that. When John Farnsworth came into town with his ox-cart, the whole populaュtion had to perform extra work on tho road from Brownington, to allow the passage of so wide a vehicle. The public roads now laid out were 3 rods wide. Their general direction was north and south, but alterations and disュcontinuances have so changed the state of things that it is difficult now to identify more than one of them, which was, in the main, the road from Irasburgh line over South Hill to the Center. Little more was done to roads then, and for many years after, than to clear them of trees, leaving stumps, and stones, and mud-holes, for the traveler to avoid as best he could. Sometimes a by-path was cut around an unusually formidable slough, or logs were laid in it ; but, at the best, the going was very, uncomfortable, not to say dangerous. Travュeling was performed principally on horseback, both men and women taking long journeys in that way. Frequently a man and a woman rode on the same horse, and sometimes a woman took two or three children on the horse with herself. A sled drawn by oxen was almost the only other mode of conveyance known in the early days. Oxen were trained to travel, as well as to draw loads, and someュtimes would perform a pleasure-trip at a speed of more than 4 miles an hour.

 

COVENTRY. 143

 

The first law-suit in Coventry took place in the winter of 1805. It was held at the house of D. B. Smith, Esq., who was the magistrate in the case. William Baxter, Esq., of Brownュington, was plaintiff and attorney, and Joseph Marsh, Esq., of Coventry, was defendant and attorney. The action was founded on a note payable to Perez Gardner, and the defense was that the note was given for beef which proved not to be sweet. But the plaintiff proved that Marsh took the beef "for better or for worse," and so the defense failed.

 

EARLY SETTLERS 佑ONTINUED.

 

In 1806 came Isaac Baldwin from Westュminster, Samuel Boynton, from Westmoreュland, N. H., and Eben Hosmer, from Concord, Mass. Baldwin and Boynton bought lots alュready improved. Hosmer made a commenceュment on lot No. 88, now owned by Erastus Wright. In 1806 came also Samuel Thompュson, and purchased lot No. 139, which he afュterwards sold, and then bought of Joseph Marsh parts of lots No. 136 and 137. He lived in a log-cabin built by Marsh, near where Isaac M. Hancock now lives. He was a most original and eccentric character, and was familiarly called "Shark Thompson."

His moods were various and contradictory. At times he was irritable in the extreme, and the slightest provocation would rouse him to ungovernable wrath which vented itself in the most horrid profanity and most brutal conduct. One of his cotemporaries said that "he could swear the legs off from an iron ketュtle in less than two minutes." He ruled his family with a rod of iron. A son of his was the innocent cause of the death of a cow, and for nine successive days Thompson adminisュtered to him a severe whipping every mornュing and evening. He was poor to the very last degree of penury. Very often his wife and children suffered severely for the want of suitable food and clothing. Sheriffs constantュly embarrassed him with attachments and executions, and were sometimes greatly harrassed in return. Jotham Pierce once attempted to serve a process on him by driving away some cattle, which Thompson prevented by putting up the bars as often as Pierce could let them down. During the struggle Thompson having a favorable opportunity, caught one of Pierce's fingers between his teeth, and fixed them into it with a vigor and tenacity of grip, which, in the officer's estimation, fully justified the appellation of "Shark."

But there was another side to his character. He was very kind and obliging to his neighュbors, and would divide his last morsel of food with any one who was in need. He was full of sympathy for the sorrowful and suffering. Tears would flow copiously down his sunュburnt cheeks as he stood by the bedside of a dying neighbor, and from the depths of his soul would come up the consoling expression, "By Judas, it's too bad," which was his unュvarying formula on such occasions. He had by nature a strong mind, though it was never cultivated. There being no lawyer in the imュmediate vicinity, he took up "pettyfogging," in which he achieved a good deal of celebrity. He had also a gift of extemporizing.

In June, 1806, the first road from east to west was laid out. It extended from the upュper falls of Black river, through the Center, "to the west side of Jotham Pierce's opening," near the present residence of William B. Flanュders. As it went eastwardly from the Center, it diverged, at an angle of about 45ー south from the present road, passed the lowlands on a log-causeway about 30 rods long and 4 feet high, and crossed Barton river near where Willard Fairbrother now lives, with the first substantial bridge built over that stream in Coventry. On the 6th of June, 1810, the waters of Runaway Pond carried off this bridge and causeway, covered the meadow with several inches of soft, sticky mud, and compelled a change of the road to its present location. Miss Betsey Parker was crossing the causeway in horseback, as the flood apュproached; and, hearing, a frightful noise, though she could see nothing, she quickened the speed of her horse, but had hardly reached Dr. Redfield's house, a few rods west of the causeway, when the rushing torrent overュwhelmed the road she had so recently passed. The westerly end of the road has also been quits chanced in location, but across the hill it remains as at first. At the same time this road was laid, a road was laid from South Hill westerly in a bee-line to a junction with the first-named road, being mainly the road as now traveled.

At the March meeting in 1806 the town was divided into two school-districts, Barton river being the dividing line. The first clerk's reュturn, made in September, 1807, showed that there were 17 scholars in each district. In the spring of 1807 Thaddeus Elliot began a clearュing on the farm now occupied by Hollis Day,

 

 

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where he built a log-house somewhat better than the average, it being made of peeled logs, and tolerably well finished. In August, 1807, John Farnsworth was licensed as a tavュern-keeper, and was the first person who kept a public house. Among the new comers in 1808 was Isaac Parker from Cavendish. In the winter of that year he taught the second school ever taught in town, and the first which was taught by a male teacher. His schoolュhouse was a log-cabin near Samuel Cobb's, and his pupils came from all parts of the town. While imparting to others the rudiments of knowledge, he was himself making acquisiュtions in the higher departments of learning, and to so good purpose, that in the spring of 1813 he entered Middlebury College considerュably in advance, and was graduated in 1815, the first graduate from Coventry. He continュued to teach, and as there was at that early day no institution in the county at which a full preparation for college could be made, he established a school at his own house, where for several years young men were taught the classics and higher mathematics. Among those who laid the foundations of a liberal education under his tuition were Isacc F. Redュfield, George B. Ide, Jonathan Clement, and several others who have attained eminence or respectability in the learned professions. His influence was long and happily exerted in the development of intellect in his adopted town, where he will be held in lasting and honoraュble regard, as the father of education in Covュentry. He celebrated his golden wedding Dec. 24, 1868, and it was the first celebration of that kind in town.

In September, 1808, came Thomas Guild from Swanzey, N. H., and began on the farm now owned by Job Guild. In the spring of 1809 came Frederick W. Heerman and Timoュthy W. Knight. The latter made a clearing and built a log-house near the present site of Jonathan Bailey's house. Knight's house was roofed with poplar bark, which, warping as it dried, left wide cracks through which he, as he lay in bed, might gaze upon the stars, and not seldom receive an additional blanket of snow. The same cracks gave egress to the smoke from his fire. The back of his fire-place was a large stump which was left standing within the house for that purュpose.

In the spring of 1811 came Israel Ide from Westminster, and Ebenezer M. Gray and Abiather Dean, jr. from Westmoreland. The two last had made some clearings the year previous. Dean built a log-house near the site of Hubbard Gray's present residence.幽e was a gunsmith by trade, and during the war panic of 1812 he did a large business in repairing muskets. Ide settled on lot No. 88, where Eben Hosmer had a few years before cleared several acres. Here he built a log-house, and, soon after, a framed-house, a part of which is still standing as a part of the house occupied by Erastus Wright.

The war with Great Britain in 1812 occaュsioned great alarm in all the frontier setュtlements, and the inhabitants of Coventry shared in the general panic. Lake Memphremaュgog and the adjacent country had been a faュvorite resort of the Indians for purposes of fishing and hunting; and although they had almost entirely abandoned that region just before the year 1800, leaving only a few scatュtered individuals, whose relations to the setュtlers were always friendly, it was supposed they still remained in great numbers near the outlet of the Lake, ready, whenever opporュtunity offered, to exterminate the civilization before whose onward march they had been compelled to retire. Tales of Indian cruelties were familiar to every ear; and the knowledge that Great Britain had made alliュance with the savages carried dismay to many a heart which would fearlessly have met the fortunes of a warfare conducted in a less atroュcious manner. Each little settlement imagュined that itself would be the first to experiュence the assaults of a secret and blood-thirsty foe. The dwellers in the Black River valley were sure that the Indians would avail themュselves of the facilities of approach afforded by that stream: equally certain were the inュhabitants along the banks of Barton River, that they should be surprised in a similar manner. The terror which prevailed was extreme. Some of the most timid sought safeュty in flight預bandoned their clearings, and hastily gathering together such of their perュsonal possessions as were most valuable and portable, fled to the older settlements. Othュers, more courageous, determined to abide the result, and made all possible preparation for the expected attack. Rusty old muskets were scoured and kept constantly loaded預xes were put into condition, and butcher-knives were sharpened to be used by men or women in the last desperate resort of hand‑

 

 

COVENTRY. 143

 

to-hand struggle. In the west part of the town the inhabitants assembled at the house of Samuel McCurdy, near where Charles P. Cobb now lives, and in the east part of the town Israel Ide's was the place of refuge.裕hese were strongly built houses, more defensュible than most of the others, and about them guards were stationed, while scouts were kept at watch for the approach of the enemy. For some time there was constant apprehension of an attack. The cracking of a limb in the forest, or the midnight hoot of an owl, was sufficient to alarm the little garrisons. But as time passed away, and no foes made their appearance, the panic subsided, and the setュtlers returned to their former avocations, which they pursued without molestation, and without further fear.

The evils which were occasioned by this temporary suspension of peaceful employュments did not all cease when the fears of the people were allayed. It was difficult for the British forces in Canada to procure provisュions, and their commissaries often came seュcretly into the border towns of the United States to purchase supplies. They found some in Coventry, as well as in other towns, whose covetousness was greater than their patriotism, and from them cattle were bought at enormous prices and driven to Canada by night, to feed the enemies of America. The detection of some of these unpatriotic men aroused no little indignation, and caused aliュenations of feeling which lasted for many years. Smuggling was also greatly increased by the war. The unsettled state of affairs along the borders made this crime easy and profitable. To suppress that, and to guard against hostile approaches which might possibly take place, a corps of soldiers was raisュed and stationed at Derby Line. Of this company Hiram Mason of Craftsbury was captain, and Tisdale Cobb of Coventry, lieuュtenant. Five citizens of Coventry融ebulon Burroughs, Joseph Priest, Timothy Heerman, Rufus Guild and Jonas Rugg, were among the privates. This company remained in serュvice 6 months庸rom Sept 16, 1812 to March 16, 1813傭ut had no opportunity to do any thing more than to prevent smuggling. The town held a special meeting, June 16, 1812, to take action respecting the war, and voted a tax of one cent on the dollar, to be expended in, ammunition. The grand list that year amounted to $2857, so that the sum raised by this tax was $28,57預 small sum in modern estimation, but by no means insignificant to those who had to pay it from their almost empty purses. Nineteen militia mon were returned as "armed and equipped according to law." "Cornet" Daniel Huestis and horse are also on record as obedient to the requireュments of the statute in that regard. Huestis belonged to a small company of cavalry, the members of which were scattered throughout the County.

In 1813, Abiathar Dean Jr. made 8 sleighs, the first that were made or used in Coventry.

About the year 1813 came Ammi Burlington from Burke, and purchased the tract of land on which stood the fulling-mill and sawュmill; which he soon sold and moved to the west part of the town. He was familiarly called "the swamp angel," and if the domains of actual or imaginery zoology contain any such being as that, he was probably not unュworthy the sobriquet. He was nearly 7 feet in height, broad-shouldered, long-limbed, gaunt, skinny, and crooked; with dark comュplexion, wide mouth, large teeth, and other features to match. Tradition says that the name was given him by a Yankee peddler, whom he asked to give him a ride. The pedュler told him that if he would ride within the box as far as the next tavern, and remain in the box for an hour after arriving there, he should have not only a ride, but his keeping over night. Ammi readily accepted the proposition, and took his place among the tin ware. Upon arriving at the tavern the peddler announced himself as the exhibitor of "a very rare animal葉he swamp angel"預nd proceeded to exhibit Ammi for a certain price, to his own good profit and the great amuseュment of the spectators.

In 1814 Abijah Knight came from Westmoreland, and arrived at Coventry March 16. He was 8 days on the road, performing the journey in a wagon as far as St. Johnsbury, thence on a sled, and finally in a sleigh傭eing obliged at each exchange of vehicles to leave a part of his loading.

James Hancock, with his wife and two children, came from Westmoreland with an ox-team, spending 9 days on the road, and arrived at Coventry April 11, 1814; He bought 66 acres off the east end of lot No. on which were a house and barn, and began to clear the land for a farm; but in 1816 he bought, moved on it and cleared the farm

 

 

146 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

known to this day as the James Hancock farm.

Hardly had the town recovered from the injuries inflicted upon it by the war of 1812, when it was visited by calamity from anothュer source葉he famine of 1816. The scarcity and high provisions occasioned extreme priュvation and suffering. A peck of corn was regarded as a good compensation for the day's work of a man. Salt commanded $4,50 per bushel, and could be procured only with cash. All other kinds of provisions were held at prices proportionately high. The inhabitants prepared themselves as best they could for the fearful winter of 181617. Flesh, fish and vegetables of every kind that could possibly be used for food were converted to that purュpose. To what straits they were reduced may be judged from the fact that hedgehogs were "made great account of;" and berries, or boiled nettles sometimes constituted the entire meal of a family. Often it happened that the last morsel of food in a house was consumュed, while the householder neither knew where to procure more, nor had the means of payュing for it. Frequently the father or mother of a family was compelled to start in the morning without breakfast, go on foot to Barton, Brownington or Derby, procure a litュtle pittance of rye or corn, and return home, before any of the family could have a mouthュful of food.

One morning Abijah Knight found that his whole stock of provisions for a family of 7 persons amounted to only half a loaf of bread. His neighbor, Matthias Gorham, with a family of equal number, had no bread at all. He shared the half loaf with his more destitute neighbor, and then both of them started for Lyndon with a load of salts which they hoped to exchange for food. Mr. Knight was fortunate enough to effect his obュject at Barton, where he procured three, pecks of corn, and about 20 pounds of fish rice, and other groceries; all of which he carried on his back, through Brownington, to his home in the North Neighborhood, a distance of about 12 miles. This being done, the two families were able to make amends for a scanty breakfast and a scantier dinner, by a hearty supper. This was one of many such cases.

The manufacture of "salts" was then, and in fact during the whole early history of the town, an important branch of business. "Salts" were made by boiling the lye of hard wood ashes to such a consistency that when cold it might be carried in a basket. In this condition they were sold to the manufacturュers of pearlash. Barton was the nearest marュket for them. To this place they were carュried sometimes on sleds; but as sleds were rare, a less expensive vehicle was usually emュployed. A forked "staddle" was cut down, the body of which was used as a tongue to enter the ring of an ox-yoke, and across the forked part, which was somewhat bent so as to be easily dragged over the ground, a few slats were nailed, and on these was deposited the box or basket of salts. If a horse was to be used, a pair of thills was made of poles, turned up at the hinder end like a sled-runュner, and connected by strips of board. One of these vehicles seldom performed more than a single journey, the owner choosing to leave it on the woodpile near the ashery rather than to drag it home. A yet ruder mode of conュveyance than either of these was sometimes adopted. A log様onger or shorter, according to the quantity to be carried謡as hollowed out like a trough, rounded up at the end which was to go forward, and dragged by a chain and horse. To prevent the log from rolling over and spilling its contents, a stick was inserted in the hinder end and held conュstantly by the driver, as one would hold a plow-tail. The market value of salts was very variable, ranging from $3 to $5ス per 100 pounds; but they could always be sold at a fair price, and for cash. Leather, salt, flour, and other staple articles which were held for cash, were freely given in exchange for salts. Sometimes they would buy what money could not. During this season of famine they were the main reliance of the people of Coventry, and had the demand for salts ceased, many a family would have been brought to actual starvation.

There were some circumstances which renュdered the scarcity of bread-stuffs a less intolュerable calamity than it would otherwise have been. It was a time of universal good health. Hardly a single case of severe sickness occurュred that year. The rivers and brooks affordュed a considerable supply of fish. The trouts, weighing 3 lbs. and upwards, which in the early years of the town were so numerous that they might be caught by hundreds, had indeed been almost exterminated; but other species were somewhat abundant, and it was

 

 

COVENTRY. 147

 

not a time to be dainty in the choice of food. Suckers sometimes constituted the entire livュing of a family for days in succession, and happy were they who fared as well as that.

Winter, however, prevented a resort to the rivers, except in extreme emergencies, when a scanty supply of fish was caught through holes cut in the ice. During the whole periュod of distress the setlers cordially befriended each other, and rendered mutual assistance as their means allowed. Each man was neighbor to every other man. He who had little shared it with him who had none. Some who would not sell their previous year's crop of corn, lest themselves might be straightened for food, freely gave to the poor and destiュtute the grain which they had refused to exュchange for money. By exercising the most pinching economy of food, all were able to meet the crisis; and although there was exュtreme suffering, and starvation seemed alュmost inevitable, not an individual perished.

During the 5 years including 1812 and '16, there was almost no increase of property.裕he grand list of the latter year exceeded that of the former by less than forty dollars. The influx of population seems also to have nearly ceased. There were 51 tax-payers in 1812, and just the same number in 1816.佑ontrary to what was expectable, the year of famine was signalized by more than the usuュal number of marriages. Previously, marュriages did not average more than one a year, but in 1816 three couples put their sufferings and sorrows into common stock.

The town slowly increased in population and property till, in 1821, there were about 300 inhabitants, many of whom were in comュfortable circumstances. But capital and enュterprise were lacking. At that date there were only 2 saw-mills, and those quite dilapュidated: there was no grist-mill deserving the name溶o store, mechanic's shop, public house nor house of worship. There was no semblance of a village except at the Centre, where there were 4 or 5 dwelling-houses and a school-house, and the roads for 40 rods each way were laid 1 rod wider than through the rest of the town. All the trade went to Barュton, Brownington or Derby, occasioning great inconvenience and labor, and much loss of time.

But a new condition of things was about to take place. At a sale of lands for taxes in 1813, Calvin Harmon and Argalus Harmon of Vergennes, bought for $3 lots No. 41 and 107, and a part of lot No. 111. Lot No. 107 is now the site of the village. When the Harmons purchased it it was a mere wilderュness, and the level part of it was a cedar swamp. They were men of intelligence, enュergy, wealth and business habits, and all these they put in exercise to advance the inュterests of the town in which they took up their residence. They engaged actively in business themselves, encouraged farmers and mechanics to immigrate, and gave a powerful impetus to the prosperity of the place. Well knowing the value of such a water-power as is furnished by the falls of Black River, they decided to lay the foundation of a village beュside those falls, and to that work they now directed all their energies.

Ammi Burrington felled the first tree in the village, and built the first house預 small log cabin near the spot now occupied by Mrs. Mary W. Person's house. Two other log-cabュins were built soon after熔ne of them on the present site of Holland Thrasher's house, the other on the spot, now occupied by Lorin Soper's house. Eber R. Hamilton occupied the former, and kept a boarding-house for those who were employed by the Harmons in clearing and building. Jonas Cutting lived in the other, and carried on the blacksmith's busiュness in a shop immediately adjacent to his house. These houses were built merely to subserve temporary purposes, till better ones could be erected.

In 1822 Calvin Harmon and his brother Daniel W. moved in, and immediately comュmenced operations on a somewhat extended scale. A store was speedily built and stockュed with merchandize. It was an exceedingly plain building, the inside being cased with rough boards, and the outside consisting of rough clapboards nailed directly to the studs. your years afterwards its cash value was esュtimated by three disinterested men at $301. It still occupies its original site, and is a part of the store now occupied by Messrs. Soper & Cleveland. The variety of goods was not great, but it was sufficient to supply the wants of the people, and the store was in truth a great benefit to the town, not only by furュnishing articles for which the inhabitants must otherwise have gone abroad, but by providュing a home market for grain, salts, and whatュever else they had to sell. During the same season a saw-mill was built on the site of the present mill

 

 

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In 1822 a post-office was established, and Isaac Parker, who lived in the house now ocュcupied by Mrs. Mary A. Holton, was appointュed postmaster. The office began to do busiュness May 22, 1822. Until that time residents of Coventry had their mail accommodations at Brownington office. The route by which the new office was supplied had its termini at Burlington and Derby, between which points the mail was carried once a week each way, for a few months by Elijah Burroughs, and then for some years by Daniel Davidson of Craftsbury. This was quite sufficient to meet the necessities of the people at that time, as may be judged from the fact that the receipts of the office for the first year were only $10,57, and that the whole receipts in the years, 1 month and 2 days, during which Mr. Parker was postmaster, were $133,30.

The anniversary of our national independュence was celebrated in Coventry for the first time in 1822. The celebration took place at the Centre, and George B. Ide, then a little more than 18 years old, was the orator. In the fall of 1822 Calvin Harmon built a two-story dwelling-house, the same in which D. P. Walworth resides. Daniel W. Harmon lived for a while in a small framed house, close by Burrington's cabin, and, in the sumュmer of 1825 he built and occupied the house in which Charles Thrasher lives. An ashery for the manufacture of pearlash was built on the river-bank, eastwardly from the store.悠t fell down in a few years, and the ground where it stood has been almost entirely washュed away by the river.

In January, 1823, the first school-house in the village was built by the voluntary contriュbutions and labor of the inhabitants. The top of a very large hard-wood stump was levュeled and smoothed to supply a solid foundaュtion for one of the corners. This house stood upon a part of the present site of Hartford Hancock's house. In the winter of 1823-24, the first school in it was taught by Loring Frost. This school-house was used till 1835, when another was built near the same site. The present school-house was built in 1857 58, at an expense of $2000.

The Rev. Lyman Case and family moved into Coventry March 10, 1823, bringing with them the first cooking-stove over seen here. In 1823 Eber K. Hamilton built a two-story house, 40 by 30 feet, on the present site of C. R. Dailey's house, and began keeping tavern there. The Hamilton house was destroyed by fire Sept. 3, 1859. Calvin Harmon built a blacksmith's shop on the river bank a little below the falls, and furnished it with a tripュhammer. Jonas Cutting was the first occuュpant of the shop. The business of a blackュsmith was much more laborious, as well as broarder in its scope, than it is now. His stock consisted mainly of Swedes or Russia bar iron, 3 or 4 inches wide, and this he had to split, hammer and draw into shape for all purposes, even to the making of horse-shoe nails. He was expected to make any iron article which was wanted, and he did make axes, hoes, edge-tools, hand-irons, shovels, tongs, and many other iron articles, each of which is now regarded as the work of a disュtinct trade. Samuel Cobb even made darning needles.

This shop was occupied successively by Joュnas Cutting, Holland Witt, Daniel Bartlett, and Holland Thrasher, and was burned April 16, 1834. Mr. Thrasher then built a shop standing partly on the ground now occupied by the post-office, and partly east of that. This was burned April, 1843, and he then built the shop now occupied by him. He has been a blacksmith in the village since April, 1832.

Calvin and Daniel Harmon gave the land for a village common, on condition that the citizens should clear it of stumps, and smooth the surface. They were slow in complying with the condition, and, to expedite matters, it was agreed that whoever became "the worse for liquor" should do public penance, by digュging out one stump. This proved to be much more effectual in clearing the land than in preventing drunkenness. A pint of rum afterwards came to be regarded as a fair, compensation for digging out a stump.

The first permanent settlement on West Hill was made in 1823, by Aretas Knight from Westmoreland, N. H., who commenced on the farm now owned by Amos K. Cleveュland. Calvin Walker had previously made a clearing and built a cabin on the hill, but he became discouraged and abandoned his improvements. When Mr. Knights first went to his farm the forest was so dense that he spent half a day in going from the village to the spot where he pitched. Calvin Harュmon assured him that he would by and by see the stage passing over the same route

 

 

COVENTRY. 149

 

which he had traversed with so much difficulュty, and this prediction was fulfilled.

Knights built a small house, which was for some time the only dwelling on the hill. It served as a house of entertainment for such as came to examine lands before purchasing, and a boarding house for settlers till they could build for themselves. There was quite a rapid immigration into that part of the town, and his house was sometimes crowded to the utmost. It was inhabited several months by 23 persons, 8 of whom were marュried couples, with 14 children under 7 years of age. The little building which contained so large a population is now one of Mr. Cleveュland's out-houses. Tyler Knight commenced in 1823 on the farm now owned by George W. True. In February, 1825, Sidney White began a clearing on the farm now owned by John Armington, and in the fall he built a house near the present site of Mr. Armington's house, of which house it now constiュtutes the back part.

Hollis Dorr moved on to lots No. 117 and 118, April 1, 1825, and built a log cabin on No. 118, on the site of James Goodwin's presュent residence. The cabin was in the very heart of the woods, and so near that the branches of the hemlock trees could be reachュed from the windows. In 1825 John M. Fairュbanks began on the farm still owned by him, 憂ohn H. on the farm now owned by Silas H. True, and Walter Bowen on the farm now owned by William A. Peacock.

In 1824 came Argalus Harmon, who bought the mills at the upper falls, and built a store and a two-story house on the level east of Joュseph Kidder's present residence. Both these buildings were afterwards taken down and converted to other purposes, The site of the house is indicated by a row of shade trees, and the store stood directly opposite. In Febュruary, 1825, Calvin and Daniel W. Harmon sold their stock of goods to Elijah Cleveland & Co., who commenced business with a larger and more varied assortment than had before been offered for sale in this part of the counュtry. They also sold at much lower prices than any of their competitors; and soon so cured an extensive custom. Molasses was sold at $1 per gallon, bohea tea at 58 cents a pound, and young hyson at $1,50, loaf sugar at 28 cents, brown sugar at 14 cents, allspice at 50 cents, cinnamon at 10 cents an ounce, salt at $2,25 per bushel, nails at 14 cents a pound, cast iron at 10 cents a pound, pins at 25 cents a paper, shirting at 25 cents a yard, calico at prices varying from 25 to 50 cents a yard, and all other goods at proportionate prices. Two circumstances conspired to enュhance the value of merchandise in those days. One was the great expense of transportation, which, in the case of heavy articles, much exュceeded the original cost of the goods, Portュland and Boston were the nearest places at which merchants could supply themselves.友rom Portland goods were drawn by horse-teams over a long and difficult road. Transュportation from Boston was accomplished genュerally in the same way; but sometimes merュchandise was sent on vessels, by New York, Albany and Whitehall to Burlington, and thence conveyed by horse teams. Another circumstance which increased prices was that goods were sold mainly on credit, and for barュter pay. The almost invariable terms were, that payment should be made in produce in the January following the purchases, which if the customer failed to do, he was required to pay cash and interest within the succeedュing year. January was always a busy month with the merchant. All the teams in the viュcinity were put in requisition to carry proュduce to market, and when ten, fifteen or twenュty two-horse teams were loaded and started for Portland, the merchant took stage or priュvate conveyance, and reached the city in seaュson to sell the loads and make his purchases, so that on the arrival of teams they might be immediately loaded for the return trip. If a satisfactory price could not be obtained, the produce was shipped from that place to Boston; but the former city was the place of resort in the first instance, and so continued till the opening of a railroad from Boston northwestwardly turned the current of trade towards that city, and as the expenses of transportation diminished, the prices of goods decreased in proportion.

The first capital operation in surgery was performed Feb, 27, 1825, by Dr. F. A. Adams of Boston, who amputated Jonathan Baldwin's leg, which had been crushed the day before by a falling tree. Within less than a year from that date Dr. Adams amputated 3 other legs in Coventry; one of Francis Siscoe, a lad whose ancle had been crushed; one of Isaac Baldwin, on account of a fever-sore; and one of Nathaniel Dagget, Feb. 14, 1826, on account of a white swelling. Isaac Bald‑

 

 

150 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

win had sufficient strength of constitution and will to use his leg till the very day it was cut off. He made all the necessary preparaュtions, and even took care of the horse of the surgeon, when he came to perform the opュeration.

In June, 1825, Nathaniel Daggett came to the Centre and commenced shoemaking in the front room of Daniel Ide's house, (now occuュpied by Mr. Putney.) He was the first shoeュmaker who pursued the business as a regular trade. Others had done some shoemaking with their main employment預nd one perュson, John Hamilton, had "whipped the cat" from house to house. Daggett at once enterュed upon a good business. In the fall of 1826 he built a shop on the spot where the brick church now stands. In the fall of 1825 John C. Morrill built a shop in the village, and was the first shoemaker there. His shop was afュterwards converted into a dwelling-house, and is now occupied by M. L. Phelps.

During the same year William Miner and Amasa Wheelock commenced the business of tanning, on the site of the present tannery. The apparatus for grinding bark was efficient though simple. A round, flat stone, somewhat like a millstone, about 8 feet in diameュter, and as many inches thick, was set on edge. Through the centre passed a spindle, one end of which was inserted into an upュright shaft, and to the other end a horse was attached. The stone was thus made to deュscribe a circle around the shaft, about 50 feet in circumference, at the same time revolving on its own axis, and crushing the bark beュtween itself and the plank floor beneath.

In 1825 Mr. Cleveland built an ashery, in which he began to make pearlash in Decemュber. The ashery stood just south of J. Dougュlass' blacksmith's shop. It was burned two or three years after, and another was immeュdiately built on the same spot. In the sumュmer of 1856, the building having become ruュinous, it was taken down, and the materials used to make the embankment at the south end of the bridge.

The settlement of Coventry Gore was begun Oct. 7, 1825, by Archibald W. Higgins, who, with three other persons, went out into the woods nearly three miles from any house, and began a clearing. They had not so much as a path to guide them, but found their way by following marked trees on the lines of lots. A log cabin was built, into which Higgins and his wife moved a few weeks after, and there they long resided without neighbors, and seeing bears much oftener than human beings. Wild beasts infested that part of the town more than any other. In those days it bore the name of "bear ridge." Higgins had many stirring adventures with his savage companions, 14 of which he killed, 3 in a sinュgle day. One night as he was walking home from Troy a bear followed him 3 miles through the woods. Some of the time Higュgins sung, some of the time he scolded, by which means and the help of a stout cudgel he kept his pursuer at bay, though he was not able to kill him or to drive him off. At another time he was confronted by a she-bear with cubs. She stood on her hind feet and disputed his passage. Higgins was unarmed, save with such stones and sticks as were near at hand, but he maintained his position till his dog came to help him, and with that asュsistance he put his adversaries to flight. Bears have not yet been utterly exterminated from the Gore, though they are now quite rare. In the fall of 1858, Higgins had sight of one which he thought to be the largest he ever saw. [In the body of the town wild beasts have not, since the settlement, been very nuュmerous nor mischievous. Growing crops and flocks of sheep have suffered somewhat, but not extensively, from their depredations. No bear has been killed since 1831. On the 20th of Jan. 1838, three wolves were seen, and a wolf hunt took place. Another hunt occurュred March 1829, which resulted in killing of one wolf. Other wild animals of the cat tribe have been seen occasionally and at long inュtervals. A lynx was killed, Jan. 9, 1862, by Cephas R. Lane and others. In this connecュtion it is not unsuitable to record that, in June, 1868, Charles Eaton caught in a trap a grey eagle, measuring more than 6 feet from tip to tip of wings.] The progress of afュfairs in the Gore has been quite slow. The cleared land does not much exceed 300 acres.

The first death of an adult in the west part of the town was that of Mrs. Mary Hamilton, wife of Eber R. Hamilton, which took place Oct. 14, 1825. She was the first person buried in the graveyard near the village.

At the March meeting in 1827 the town voted to hold its future meetings alternately at the Center and the Village. For some years previous meetings had been held at the Center school-house, which stood just North

 

 

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of Mrs. Mary A. Holton's present residence: and earlier still, at a school-house on South Hill, standing in the north-east angle formed by the crossing of the roads; also at Dr. Redュfield's, John Ide's and various other private houses. They now became more permanentュly located at the two principal centers of popュulation and influence, and since Sept. 1837, they have been held exclusively at the vilュlage. For some years the village bore the name of Harmonville, which has now gone into disuse. Its boundaries were legally esュtablished to be a circle with a radius of half a mile from the center of the common, except that southwardly it was limited by Irasburgh line.

In the Fall of 1827, John W. Mussey built a shop just south of S. F. Cowles' present resュidence, and in the following Spring he comュmenced the cabinet business there. He was the first cabinet maker in Coventry. During the same Fall, Jesse Cook, from Morristown, built a fulling-mill on the ground now occuュpied by the starch-factory, and furnished it with machines for carding wool and dressing cloth. He also built a dwelling-house on the hill north-eastwardly from the fulling-mill. This house, to which a second story has since been added, is the one now occupied by Samュuel Burbank. The same year Elijah Cleveュland & Co. built a grist-mill on the site of the present mill. Grinding was commenced there in Jan. 1828. Loring Frost was the miller for some months, and was succeeded by Emore Dailey, who bought the mill, Dec. 20, 1835, and in the Fall of 1854 built a new mill on the same site. He continued the busiュness till his death, Aug. 9, 1868, and was sucュceeded by his son, Charles R. Dailey.

In the Spring of 1828, Dr. S. S. Kendall built a house, which with alterations and large additions, is now the tavern of M. N. Howland. Dr. Kendall removed from the Center, to the village during the following Fall, and opened his new house as a tavern, Nov. 30, 1829.

The post-office was removed to the village in the Summer of 1828, and Loring Frost was appointed postmaster. His commission bore date June 12, 1828, but he did not take posュsession of the office till July 1. His succesュsors were Elijah Cleveland, Holland Thrasher, (1837'41,) Calvin Harmon, Holland Thrasher, (commissioned Mar. 22, 1845,) and Greenュleaf Boynton, (commissioned April 6, 1861.) In the fall of 1861 a post office was established at East Coventry, and Isaac Parker, Jr., (commissioned Oct. 21, 1861,) was appointed postmaster.

As late in the spring as April 14, 1829, the snow was 4 feet deep on a level, in the woods.

 

TEMPERANCE.

 

During the first quarter of the nineteenth century intemperance prevailed everywhere, and the people of Coventry were not uninュfected by the universal vice. Seventeen hogsュheads of whisky constituted a part of the first stools of goods brought into the village; at a time, too, when the population of the town hardly exceeded 300. There was none too much, however, to meet the demand. A cusュtomer, whose rule was to settle his account yearly, used to say that "almost every item in the account from one end to the other was nothing but whisky, whisky, whisky." But in 1828 a change in opinion and practice took place. On Sunday, Sept. 14, the Rev. Nathaniel Hewitt preached a temperance serュmon, the first discourse on that subject ever pronounced here. The novelty of his views secured attention, and the vigorous arguュments with which he enforced them carried conviction to many minds. A Temperance Society was organized July 11, 1829, as the result of whose efforts and of other appropriュate means a decided reformation was effected. In August, Elijah Cleveland, then the only merchant, discontinued the sale of alcoholic liquors. Though the town has not been free from the vice of intemperance nor from the crime of rum-selling, it will compare favorably in those particulars with other towns in the State. Under the statute of 1844, authorizing the election of County Commissioners with authority to grant or refuse licenses, the town in 1845, gave 56 votes for anti-license Comュmissioners and 33 for license Commissioners. In 1846 the vote was 45 to 29. Under the statute of 1846, submitting the question, "Liュcense or No License?" to the annual vote of the people, the vote in 1847 was 54 for Liュcense and 53 for No License. This did not, however, truly express public sentiment, for in 1848, only 34 votes were given for License against 78 for No License, and in 1849, the vote stood16 to 78. On accepting the proュhibitory law of 1852, the vote was 53 for acュcepting and 89 for rejecting. This was the result of a temporary excitement. The next Fall, the law was put distinctly at issue in the

 

 

152 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE

 

election, and Horace S. Jones, who had voted for the law, was re-elected representative by a vote of 87 against 35 for an anti-law candiュdate. At several other elections temperance has been made an issue, and the temperance candidate has never failed of an election. Picciola Lodge of Good Templars was organュized in March 1863, and has maintained a vigorous existence for 7 years, and is still in a highly prosperous condition.

 

BUSINESS.

 

Samuel Sumner from St. Albans established himself in the practice of the law at Coventry, Nov. 13, 1828. His office stood on a part of the present site of D. P. Walworth's store, and is now occupied as a dwelling house. He remained only till the following May. Charles Story commenced practice in the Spring of 1830, and continued till the winter of 1849, when he removed to Newbury. H. W. Weed, from Sheldon, went into partnership with him Nov. 13, 1834, and continued some years. Oliver T. Brown commenced practice May 1, 1842, and remained till March 1848, when he removed to St. Johnsbury East. Wilュliam M. Dickerman commenced practice in the fall of 1847, and removed to Derby early in 1854. Henry H. Frost, a native of Coventry, commenced practice in the summer of 1850, and continued till his death, Nov. 25, 1859. He was succeeded by Enoch H. Bartlett, who had been his clerk, and who continued pracュtice till the spring of 1861. Leavitt Bartlett began practice July 15, 1861, and remained about a year. Elijah S. Cowles immediately succeeded him, and continued practice till Feb. 13, 1866, since which date the town has been without a lawyer. In the fall of 1828, another store was built. Its original site is now a part of the school-house-yard. In the summer of 1843 the store was removed, and it is now occupied by D. P. Walworth. The first merchant who stocked it with goods was Ebenezer Clement, who commenced business in December 1828.

During the summer and fall of 1829, sevュeral of the largest buildings in the village were raised. Seth F. Cowles built the house now occupied by him and he and Leonard Cowles, commenced business as hatters. The shop in which they made hats was the same and their sales room was the south front room in which S. F. Cowles now does business.

Work was commmenced on the church in July 1829. The raising of that ediffce was a fortnight's job. It was begun on Monday, 24 August, and not completed till Saturday of the following week. On the 3d of October the frame of a dwelling-house for Daniel W. Harmon was raised. The same house is now occupied by Charles Thrasher. On October 10 the frame of Elijah Cleveland's present residence was raised, and by the following August the house was finished sufficiently to be occupied. During the same season Calvin Harmon built the house in which Simon Wheeler lives. It was originaly designed for mechanics' shops, and so divided as to furュnish two such shops in each story. Its founュdations were at first about 6 feet lower than they now are. The whole street along the bank of the river, has been raised from three to 6 feet. Before that was done, the river in times of freshet, not only overflowed the street but invaded the cellars in that vicinity, filling them sometimes to the depth of 3 feet.

In the summer of 1831, the Rev. Ralden A. Watkins built a dwelling house, the same in which Thomas Guild now lives. During the same season, Calvin P. Ladd built a two story shop just below the grist-mill. Here he did business as a general machinist; and manufactured, among other things, a large number of winnowing-mills. The shop was afterwards removed and modified, and is now occupied as a dwelling house, just east of Simon Wheeler's.

In the summer of 1837, Elijah Cleveland built a starch-factory on the site of the presュent factory, and the manufacture of starch was begun November 27. This factory was a great advantage to the farmers, furnishing a ready and sure market for one of their most important crops. Potatoes then brought only 10 cents a bushel, and were slow of sale at that price. The business of the factory increased from year to year, and the producュtion and price of potatoes kept even pace with the increasing demand for them. In the summer of 1860, the factory was enlarged, and the following Fall and Winter, 36,000 bushels of potatoes were made into starch. In October, 1862, it was consumed by fire, but was immediately rebuilt. It converts into starch an average of about 30,000 bushュels annually.

 

MORTALITY.

 

The year 1843 was one of great and peculュiar sorrow in Coventry, as well as throughout this whole region of country. Erysipelas, in

 

 

COVENTRY. 153

 

its most malignant form, raged epidemically, and committed fearful devastation. So great were its ravages as almost to compel a susュpension of all business, except ministering to the necessities of the sick and rendering the last offices to the dead. Sometimes its victims died within two days from the attack; in other cases they lingered for several weeks. Those who recovered, did not for months fully regain their previous health. The disease was fatal alike to the very young, the middle-aged, and the old. In one instance, a whole family揺usband, wife, and child謡as destroyed by the pestilence. It was equally dangerous in the most healthy localities and in those which ordinarily would seem more assailable by disease. The efforts of physiュcians to arrest its progress were futile, till, having apparently spent its force, it disapュpeared. During that year the list of dead lumbered 41; more than six times the averュage number, and more than a twentieth of the whole population.

Notwithstanding the numerous deaths in that year, the mortality in Coventry has been less than is usual in towns of equal populaュtion.

The person who attained the greatest age, in town, was Mary Fairbrother. She died, Oct. 25, 1843, at the age of 95. Next in seniority were Salmon Wright, who died, Apr. 14, 1857; and Abel Hammond, who died Apr. 6, 1868;容ach at the age of 93. Ruth Wright, the widow of Salmon Wright, died, July 30, 1866, at the age of 90 years, 6 months. John Mussey, who died, Dec. 18, 1866, was 91 years and 4 months.

On or about the 14th of June, 1846, a male child, of a year's age, was murdered by its mother, Hannah Parker, alias Stickney. The murder was effected by throwing the child into the Black River, near the bridge which crosses it in the North Neighborhood. The mother had been married once or twice, but there was considerable uncertainty as to the paternity of the child. She had no home nor means of support, and the child was a hinュdrance in the way of her procuring assistance or employment. These circumstances overュcame the maternal instinct, and persuaded her to the murder. Before throwing in the child, she disabled it from making efforts to escape, by tying together its neck and one leg with her garter. She was arrested, confessed her crime, and was committed to jail.

In due season she was indicted, and, on the second trial was found guilty; but exceptions being taken to some rulings of the court, the judgment was reversed, and, after she had remained in jail about 8 years, she was alュlowed to go at large; the long confinement being regarded as severe a punishment as public justice required to be inflicted upon an offender who, in great weakness of mind and extreme desperateness of circumstances had committed crime. Although this transュaction took place within the limits of Covenュtry, the morality of the town is not thereby impeached, as the criminal was never a resiュdent of the place for any time, however short.

 

MILITARY.

 

The military history of the town takes its date from September, 1807, when a company of militia was organized, and had its first training. Ebenezer Hosmer was chosen capュtain, Jotham Pierce lieutenant, and Tisdale Cobb ensign. This organization was mainュtained till the destruction of the militia sysュtem by the statute of 1844. In 1856, a statュute was enacted, permitting of volunteer and uniformed companies, and under that statute a company, which took the name of "The Frontier Guards," was organized at Coventry, Dec. 16, 1857. The officers elected, were Azariah Wright, captain; Hartford Hancock, Augustine C. West, John H. Thrasher, lieuュtenants; and Dr. D. W. Blanchard, clerk. It became an artillery company, and was furュnished with a cannon by the State. The breaking out of the Rebellion in April, 1861, and the call of the President for 75,000 men, brought this company to an untimely end. Its ranks were thin, numbering only 58, its members were not united in judgment as to the policy of putting down the Rebellion by force of arms, a number of them were past military age and had large families, and the call of the President, followed by that of the Governor, operated as an effectual disbanding of the company. A very few of the members put their bodies out of danger by "skedadュdling" to Canada.

The officers of the company, however, and many of its members, did good service, either as recruiting agents or as soldiers, or in both capacities, during the war of 1861-65. In fact they constituted the nucleus, around which there was afterwards gathered another company of "Frontier Guards," which, under that name, went into the service with full

 

 

154 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

and formed a part of the 3d Vermont Regiment.

 

RELIGIOUS.

 

The death of Mrs. John Farnsworth in Deュcember 1804, produced a profound sensation in the little commuity, not only by reason of its being the first death, but on account of the distressing circumstances which attended it. In addition to severe bodily pain, she experienced great anguish of spirit. She earnュestly desired that prayer might be offered for her, and that she might be assisted in preparュing for her departure from the world. But there was neither man nor woman in the town who could pray with her. None of the early settlers were religious persons, but it was an unpleasant thought to them all that there was not an individual among them who could offer prayer with the dying, or perform a religious rite at the burial of the dead. Sevュeral years elapsed, however, before there were any systematic efforts to maintain the instiュtutions of the gospel.裕here was no house of worship, nor was there the pecuniary ability to provide one and when public worship was observed, it was in a barn, a log-cabin, or some equally inconvenient place.

The first sermon in Coventry was delivered in Jotham Pierce's barn, on a week day, in June 1806, by the Rev. Asa Carpenter of Waterford, a Congregational minister. The second was preached at John Ide's house in Jan. 1807, by the Rev. Samuel Smith, a Baptist minister from Windsor.悠n Feb. 1807, the Rev. Asaph Morgan of Essex, a Congreュgational minister preached in the afternoon at William Esty's and at John Ide's in the evening. In July 1807 the Rev. Barnabas Perkins of Lebanon, N. H. (Baptist,) preached in John ide's barn, and in August of the same year, the Rev. Peletiah Chapln of Thornュton, N. H. (Baptist,) preached in the same place. In April 1808, John Ide became a Christian, and was the first person in Covenュtry who made a profession of religion and esュtablished family worship. The first public worship on the Sabbath was held in his barn, July 10, 1808, on which occasion the Rev. Nathaniel Daggett of Newport, (Baptist,) preached. As the result of his preaching and other occasional preaching in 1808, these perュsons became Christians, in the order named, Mrs. Sarah Ide, Mrs. Mary Pierce, Mrs. Hanュnah Redfield, George Dorr and Samuel Boynュton. The Rev. Barnabas Perkins preached at Jotham Pierce's on Sunday, 2 October 1808, and baptized Mr. and Mrs. Ide by immersion in Barton river, near the present residence of Isaac Parker.

In Dec. 1808, Mr. Dorr and Mr. Ide estabュlished a meeting on the Sabbath, and conュducted public worship. Mr. Dorr who was of a retiring disposition, took no other part than to make one prayer; Mr. Ide, who had more confidence, performed all the other services. The meetings were held in Mr. Ide's house during the winter, and in his barn in the summer. Burder's Village Sermons were freュquently read, as were also the sermons of Baxter, Watts, Hewitt, Stillman and others.

From that date, public worship, in one form or another, was regularly maintained. The Rev. Samuel Ambrose, a missionary of the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society, preached at Mr. Ide's, July 16, 1809. In his report, he says"This was a solemn season, I spent 3 days here, after the Lord's day, in preaching and visiting from house to house."

 

BAPTIST CHURCH.

 

A Baptist Church, consisting of 5 male and 5 female members was organized, Oct. 7, 1809, by the Rev. Samuel Smith of Windsor, and Dea. Daniel True of Derby. As some of the members lived in Irasburgh, it took the name of "the Baptist Church in Coventry and Irasュburgh." Nathaniel Kellam of Irasburgh was chosen deacon, and John Ide, clerk. The subsequent growth of the church being mainュly in Coventry, the title was altered, in 1815, to "The Baptist Church in Coventry." For several years there was no preaching except at long intervals, by missionaries of the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society, among whom were Messrs. Ariel Kendric, Samuel Churchill, Barnabas Perkins and Jabez Cottle. 21 were added to the church during the first 3 years of its existence. On the 4th of April 1812, the church voted a tax of 2 mills on the dollar of the grand list of its members, payable in wheat, one half by the first of June and the other half by the first of Jan. then next. On the 23d of Feb. 1815, John Ide was called to the pastorate. The church voted "to give him for his services $25 for the first year, payable in grain in the month of Jan. next, and to add to that sum annually as our grand list shall increase, so long as remains our minister." In addition to this, he was to receive so much of the minister's right of land, and of the income from

 

 

COVENTRY. 155

 

the lot reserved for the support of the gospel, as the town should by vote assign to the Baptist Society.

Mr. Ide accepted the call, and was ordained June 28, 1815. The services of the occasion were as follows: Sermon by the Rev. Amos Tuttle; consecrating prayer by the Rev. Silas Davison, of Waterford; imposition of hands by the Rev. Messrs. Silas Davison, Amos Tuttle, David Boynton, of Johnson, and Daniel Mason, of Craftsbury; charge to the pastor by the Rev. Daniel Mason; right hand of fellowship by the Rev. David Boynton; concluding prayer by Dea. Nathaniel Kendall, of Derby. In 1816, a revival occurred, and 20 persons were added to the church. On the 2d of November, in the same year 7 persons were set off to conュstitute a church in Irasburgh. Revival influュences continued in 1817, as the result of which thirty additions took place. Sept. 24, 1817, 23 persons were set off to constitute a church in Newport. Apr. 13, 1818, 8 persons were set off to constitute a church in Troy. In 1825, 22 persons united with the church, and Thomas Wells and Thomas Baldwin were elected deacons. Mr. Ide's pastoral relation to the church continued nearly 16 years. He was dismissed in January, 1831, and preached his farewell sermon on the last Sabbath in that month.

In 1830-31, a meeting-house was built at the Center. It contained 52 pews, and by the constitution of the society in which the legal title was vested, each holder of a pew was authorized to have the pulpit occupied one Sabbath in a year by a preacher of such denomination as he preferred. A very large majority of the pews was held by Baptists, and the house became practically a Baptist meeting-house. The house was dedicated in the Fall of 1832. The Rev. S. A. Graves, of Jericho, preached the sermon. Alvin Bailey and Gardner Bartlett, members of this church, and George B. Ide, then a member of the Baptist church in Derby, were ordained, June 22, 1831, to the ministry of the gospel. Rev. Joseph M. Graves preached the sermon. Early in 1832, The Rev. Prosper Powell was engaged as stated supply, and remained about 2 years. In August. 1834, the Rev. Prosper Davison was called to the pastorate. His ordination took place Sept. 9, with serュvices as follows: Sermon by the Rev. Edward Mitchell, of Eaton, C. E., from Acts 11:24; consecrating prayer by the Rev. Silas Daviュson; charge to the pastor by the Rev. Jonaュthan Merriam, of Passumpsic; right hand of fellowship by the Rev. Prosper Powell; charge to the people by the Rev. E. Mitchュell; concluding prayer by the Rev. William M. Guilford, of Derby. Within a month after the ordination, 12 persons united with the church. Mr. Davison continued pastor till the Spring of 1837, when he was disュmissed. A. H. House, a member of the church, was licensed to preach the gospel, Sept. 22, 1839, and was ordained to the minュistry, June 23, 1840. In 1837, the number of church members was 76. The Rev. Simon Fletcher was acting pastor 2 years, 18371839; the Rev. Rufus Godding 1 year, 1842; the Rev. A. H. Hovey 1 year, 1843-44: the Rev. S. B. Ryder 1 year, 1845葉he pulュpit being occupied by them only on alternate Sabbaths. All this time, the tendency was downward. Deaths, excommunications, and emigration deprived the church of the great majority of its members. In 1850, the Rev. A. W. Boardman preached a part of the time. In 1851, an effort was made to strengthen the things which remained, that were ready to die. The Rev. Henry I. Campbell was employed as preacher half the time, the church covenant was renewed, and during the year of his ministry, 5 persons were added to the church. But the attempt at resuscitation was unsuccessful, and this church, once the strongest of that denominaュtion in the County, has become extinct. But its existence was not in vain. It was the parent of three other churches which are still living and flourishing, and of 6 ministers of the gospel who have been active and successュful in their profession.

 

CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.

 

The first sermon in Coventry by a Congreュgational minister was preached at William Esty's house in the Summer of 1807. It is probable that Rev. Chauncey Cook was the preacher. He visited the town that season as missionary of a society in Connecticut. On the 2d of Oct., 1810, 17 persons, 6 of whom were males and 11 females, were organized into a church by the Rev. Seth Payson. D. D.. of Rindge, N. H; 5 of these remained members of this church for more than half a century. Perez Gardner was chosen deacon and Dr. Peleg Redfield, clerk. For about 6 years public worship was main‑

 

 

156 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

tained by lay services, with only occasional preaching by itinerant missionaries. In 1816, the Rev. Luther Leland, of Derby, was engaged to preach every fourth Sabbath; and as the result a number of conversions took place, and 6 persons united with the church. Another period of lay services now began, and continued till Sept. 1822, when the Rev. Lyman Case commenced preaching as a candidate for settlement, and in the following March he was ordained pastor, under an engagement to preach on alternate Sabbaths, for a salary of $123, payable in money or in specific articles. In 1825, an extensive revival took place, and 34 persons, half of them heads of families, united with the church. An unhappy state of affairs ocュcurred in 1827, and occasioned a long series of disciplinary proceedings, and much disュsension, the evil consequences of which did not pass away for many years. Mr. Case was dismissed in the Fall of 1828.

In 1829-30 a house of worship was built, at an expense of $2,750, and not without great sacrifices and self-denials. It was dediュcated Oct. 7, 1830. The Rev. David Sutherュland, of Bath, N. H., preached the sermon. The Rev. Ralden A. Watkins began to supply the pulpit June 6, 1830, and after preaching on alternate Sabbaths till August, was then engaged to preach every Sabbath for a year. His salary was fixed at $350, payable one-third in money and two-thirds in grain. In 1831 a protracted meeting of 6 days' continuュance was held, numerous conversions took place, and 32 persons, 2 of whom became ministers of the gospel, united with the church. Mr. Watkins' ministry closed, May 15, 1836, and a period of destitution succeeded, which continued more than a year. The Rev. Lynュdon S. French began to supply the pulpit, 8th Oct., 1837, was soon engaged as acting pastor, and remained till Aug. 1844. During his ministry 22 persons united with the church by profession. In the Fall of 1844, the Rev. A. R. Gray was ordained pastor, continued in that relation nearly 14 years, and was disュmissed in June, 1858. During the latter part of his pastorate there was a decided increase of religious interest, and some conversions took place. The additions by profession durュing his ministry were 20.

The Rev. Pliny H. White became acting pastor, 8 Aug. 1858, at a salary of $600, and continued in that relation 10 years. At an evening prayer meeting, 20, Nov, 1858, the presence of the Holy Spirit was manifest, and a number of persons expressed a desire to beュcome Christians. A revival ensued, which continued for some months, with the use of little more than the ordinary means of grace. As the result, mainly, of this revival, 20 persons united with the church. A revival of similar character, but of greater power, began July 28, 1867, and continued 6 months. It was marked by great depth and intensity of feeling, yet was singularly free from unュhealthy excitement. It began without any special means having been used to produce it, and continued without any unusual labors or means, except one or two additional prayer meetings weekly, and a weekly inュquiry meeting, which was thronged by inュquirers. As the result of this revival, 53 united with the church. The salary of the acting pastor was advanced to $700 in 1866, and to $800 in 1867. In 1868 a vestry was built under the house of worship, and the house was put in thorough repair at an exュpense of $2500.

The whole number of persons who have been connected with the church is 337, of whom 127 were males and 210 were females. 98 were admitted by letter and 239 by proュfession. 84 have died, 91 have been dismissed to other churches, 14 have been separated on account of long absence, and 148 remain members. This church is now the largest in the county. Among the temporal causes to which its prosperity may be attributed are these: It is the only church in town; for more than 30 years it has enjoyed the uninュterrupted preaching of the goapel, each minュister continuing to supply the pulpit till his successor was ready to occupy it; and all its ministers have been in the very prime of life, neither too young to lack experience nor too old to be wanting in zeal.

 

PASTORS.

 

1. The Rev. Lyman Case, son of Abijah and Thankful (Cowles) Case, was born in Whiting, 13 April, 1792, and received only such eduュcation as the common school afforded. He studied theology with the Rev. Josiah Hopュkins, of New Haven, and the Rev. Benjamin Wooster, of Fairfield; was licensed by the Winooski Association, and before his settleュment at Coventry preached for short terms in Montgomery and Lowell. He was ordained pastor 19 March, 1823. The Rev. Benjamin

 

 

COVENTRY. 157

 

Wooster preached the sermon. He was disュmissed Oct. 8, 1828, after which he preached for short terms in various towns in Vermont and Canada, but continued to live in Covenュtry, with the exception of about a year, when he lived in Johnson. During the latter part of his life he was in the service of the Ameriュcan Tract Society as a colporteur. He died Feb. 27, 1858.

2. The Rev. Asahel Reed Gray, son of Dea. Ebenezer M. and Levinah (Reed) Gray, was born in Coventry, June 29, 1814, and was graduated at the University of Vermont, 1844. He studied theology with the Rev. S. R. Hall, was licensed by the Orleans Association at Albany, 16 Aug., 1842, and was ordained at Coventry, 13 Nov., 1844, The Rev. John Wheeler, D. D., preached the sermon.幽e was dismissed 29 June, 1858. He supplied the pulpit in Albany, on alternate Sabbaths, from Aug., 1858, to Jan., 1866, and in Morュgan, from July, 1864, 4 years and more, the other Sabbaths being employed in various other places. His residence continues to be in Coventry. He was the representative of that town in the legislatures of 1860 and 1861.

 

NATIVE MINISTERS.

 

1. The Rev. Leavitt Bartlett, son of Seth and Asenath (Huggins) Bartlett, was born Sept. 4, 1837. He studied law with Jesse Cooper of Irasburgh, was admitted to the Orleans County Bar at the June term, 1859, and pracュtised 4 years in Irasburgh and a few months in Coventry. Then, becoming a Christian, he abandoned the law, and entered Bangor Theュological Seminary where he was graduated in 1865. He was licensed by the Penobscot Asュsociation at Bangor, 12 July, 1861, and was ordained to the ministry at the same place, July 27, 1865. The Rev. G. W. Field, of Banュgor, preached the sermon. He preached a year and a half at Kansas City, Mo., where be gathered a church and had a successful ministry. In July 1867, he returned to Vermont on account of impaired health, and in the spring of 1868 he began preaching at North Bennington. A church was soon orュganized, of which he became acting pastor.

He married Nov. 29, 1865, Emily J. Scales, daughter of the Rev. Wm. Scales.

2. The Rev. A. R. Gray.

 

FREEWILL BAPTIST CHURCH.

 

On the 14 Aug. 1840, a Freewill Baptist church was orgaaized by Elders David Cross and Daniel Quimby. It consisted of 7 perュsons4 males and 3 females. Dexter Currier was chosen clerk, and it was voted to hold monthly meetings on the second Saturday in each month. John Wilson, a member of this church, was publicly set apart as an evanュgelist, at the August term, 1840, of the Wheeュlock quarterly meeting. The growth of this church has been principally in Brownington, and its public worship is now maintained in that town.

 

METHODISTS.

 

Rev. J. B. H. Norris, preached to the Methュodists at the Center 2 years, from 1846 to 1848; Moses Pattee from 1848 to 1850, half the time. A L. Cooper from 1850 to 1852. Rev. Joseph Hayes 1845. Since 1852 them has been no regular meeting held by the Methodists.

 

UNIVERSAISTS.

 

A society for the support of Universalist preaching was orgnnized, July 16, 1859, by the choice of Daniel P. Walworth moderator and John M. Vezey as clerk and treasurer. For several years previous to that date, Uniュversalist preaching, once in 4 weeks, had been maintained. Rev. George Severance, of Glover peached in 18589. Mr. Severュance discontinued preaching at Coventry 6 Nov. 1859, and did not preach there again till 3 Dec. 1860. Since that time there has been Universalist preaching only occasionally.

 

GRADUATES.

 

Residents of Coventry who have been graduated at college. Natives are marked with a star:(*)

Isaac Parker柚iddlebury, 1815.

Isaac Fletcher Redfield優artmouth, 1825.

* George Baker Ide柚iddlebury, 1830.

* Timothy Parker Redfield優artmouth, 1836.

Moses Robinson柚iddlebury, 1839.

* Asahel Reed Gray唯urlington, 1844.

Ira Osmore Miller唯urlington, 1848.

* Henry Reuben Pierce輸mherst, 1853.

Female Graduates * Lydia Parker悠ngraham Sem., Le Roy, N. Y., 1865.

M. E. White裕ilden Sem., West Lebanon, N. H., 1868.

 

RESIDENTS WHO HAVE ENTERED PROFESSIONAL LIFE.

 

MINISTERS憂ohn Ide, *George B. Ide, Alvin Bailey, Gardner Bartlett, Jonathan Baldwin唯aptists. *Asahel R. Gray, Moses Robinson佑ongregational.

 

 

158 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

ATTORNEYS悠saac F. Redfield, *Timothy P. Redfield, Don A. Bartlett, Amasa Bartlett, *Leavitt Bartlett, *Henry H. Frost, Ira O. Miller, *Elijah S. Cowles, Riley E. Wright.

PHYSICIANS *Cassander Ide, *Luther F. Parker, Jonathan L. Flanders.

EDITOR宥eorge D. Rand.

 

RESIDENTS WHO HAVE HELD COUNTY OFFICES.

 

John Ide輸ssistant Judge, 1824.

John Ide由oad Commissioner, 1828.

Isaac Parker輸ssistant Judge, 1833, '39 to '42.

Elijah Cleveland輸ssistant Judge, 1844 to 1846.

Charles Story祐tate's Attorney, 1836 and 1837.

Wm. M. Dickerman祐tate's Attorney, 1851 and '52.

Silas G. Bean祐heriff, 1857.

Elijah Cleveland祐enator, 1862 and 1863.

J. B. Wheelocks輸ssistant Judge, 1865 and '66.

 

MEMBERS OF CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTIONS FROM COVENTRY.

 

1814猶eleg Redfield.

1822憂ohn Ide.

1828輸rgalus Hammond.

1836猶hilip Flanders.

1843佑harles Story.

1850悠saac Parker.

1857勇lijah Cleveland.

 

REPRESENTATIVES 1803 and '04憂oseph Marsh.

1805憂ohn Ide, Jr.

1806湧o election.

1807 and '08憂ohn Ide, Jr.

1809, '10 and '11湧o election.

1812 to 1820猶eleg Redfield.

1821 to 1827憂ohn Ide.

1828佑alvin Harmon.

1829猶hilip Flanders

1830佑alvin Harmon.

1831悠saac Parker.

1832佑harles Story.

1833悠saac Parker.

1834佑harles Story.

1835幽olland Thrasher.

1836 and 37輸rgalus Hammond.

1838祐amuel S. Kendall.

1839 to '41勇lijah Cleveland.

1842 and '43裕homas Guild.

1844 and '45憂osiah B. Wheelock.

1846勇lijah Cleveland.

1847 and '48悠saac Parker.

1849 and '50邑illiam M. Dickerman.

1851祐amuel S. Kendall.

1852 and '53幽orace S. Jones.

1854 and '55優. W. Blanchard.

1856 and '57有oring Frost.

1858 and '59由ichard W. Peabody.

1860 and '61輸sahel R. Gray.

1862 and '63猶liny H. White.

1864 and '65悠ra Boynton.

1866 and '67有oren Soper.

1868祐eth F. Cowles.

 

TOWN OFFICERS.

 

CLERKS1803 and '04憂oseph Marsh.

1805憂ohn Ide, Jr.

1806 to '11猶eleg Redfield.

1812憂ohn Ide, Jr.,

1813 to '26猶eleg Redfield.

1827 to '34勇lijah Cleveland.

1835悠saac Parker.

1836 to '44祐amuel S. Kendall.

1845涌liver T. Brown.

1846祐. S. Kendall.

1847宥reenleaf Boynton.

1848 to '51祐. S. Kendall.

1852 to '59幽enry H. Frost.

Dec. 17, 1859勇. H. Bartlett.

1860 to '69 Greenleaf Boynton.

 

TREASURERS1803祐amuel Cobb.

1804猶erez Gardner.

1805祐amuel Cobb.

1806憂ohn Ide, Jr.

1807猶eleg Redfield.

1808 to '12憂ohn Ide, Jr.

1813'17祐amuel Boynton.

1818由ufus Guild.

1819 and '20悠saac Parker.

1824祐amuel Boynton.

1825 and '26猶eleg Redfield.

1827 to '34勇lijah Cleveland.

1835悠saac Parker.

1836 to '46祐amuel S. Kendall.

1847宥reenleaf Boynton.

1848 to '51祐. S. Kendall.

1852 to '59幽. H. Frost.

Dec. 17, 1859 to '69宥reenleaf Boynton.

 

FIRST CONSTABLES1803 and '04裕imothy Woodbridge.

1805憂ohn Mitchell.

1806祐olomon Pierce.

1807祐imon B. Heustis.

1808憂ohn Farnsworth.

1809祐imon B. Heustis.

1810 and '11憂otham Pierce.

1812輸ristides Heustis.

1813祐olomon Pierce.

1814 and 15優avid Huggins.

1816 and '17優aniel Heustis.

1848 and '49猶eleg Redfield.

1820幽anover Cobb.

1821 and '22優aniel Heustis.

1823裕homas Guild.

1824 and '25優aniel Heustis.

1826 and '27裕homas Guild.

1828 and '29優aniel Heustis.

1830祐ilas Sears.

1831 to '33裕homas Guild.

1834 and '35祐ilas Sears.

1836裕homas Guild.

1837祐eth F. Cowles,

1838幽olland Thrasher.

1839輸bner Sylvester.

1840祐ilas Sears.

1841 to '44憂osiah B. Wheelock.

1845幽orace W. Root.

1846憂. B. Wheelock.

1847祐amuel F. French.

 

 

COVENTRY. 159

 

1848幽. W. Root.

1849祐. F. French.

1850幽. W. Root.

1851優an Guild.

1852祐ilas G. Bean.

1853 and '54優an Guild.

1855 and '56祐ilas G. Bean.

1857優an Guild.

1858, '59 and '60悠saac Parker, Jr.

1861 and '62祐amuel Burbank.

1863輸llen M. Ripley.

1864佑hester E. Persons.

1865, '66 and '67邑. W. Frost.

1868 and '69祐almon Nye.

 

SELECTMEN1803. Samuel Cobb, Daniel B. Smith, John Ide, Jr.

1804. John Ide, Jr., Amherst Stewart, Wm. Esty.

1805. Perez Gardner, Solomon Pierce, Joュtham Pierce.

1806. Joseph Marsh, John Farnsworth, George Dorr.

1807. John Ide, Jr., Peleg Redfield, Amュherst Stewart.

1808. Joseph Day, Joseph Marsh, Jotham Pierce.

1809. Joseph Day, Perez Gardner, David Huggins.

1810. John Ide, Jr., Samuel Boynton, Joュtham Pierce.

1811. Ira Clark, Thomas Guild, Jasper Johnson.

1812. Thaddeus Elliot, Tisdale Cobb, Daュvid Huggins.

1813. Samuel Bailey, Israel Ide, Daniel Ide.

1814. Thomas Guild, Ebenezer M. Gray, Samuel Heustis.

1815. David Huggins, Peleg Redfield, Samュuel Boynton

1816 and '17. Perez Gardner, Thos. Guild, Ebenezer M. Gray.

1818. Peleg Redfield, Samuel Boynton, David Huggins.

1819. Peleg Redfield, Isaac Parker, Timoュthy W. Knight.

1820. David Huggins, Thomas Baldwin, Timothy W. Knight.

1821. Perez Gardner, Thomas Baldwin, E. M. Gray.

1822. David Huggins, Samuel Boynton, Philip Flanders.

1823 and '24. Calvin Harmon, David Hugュgins, E. M. Gray.

1825. David Huggins, Isaac Parker, Silas Sears.

1826. Isaac Parker, Thomas Guild, E. M. Gray.

1827. Thomas Baldwin, Philip Flanders, E. M. Gray.

1828 to '31. Argalus Harmon, Thomas Baldwin, David Huggins.

1832. Argalus Harmon, David Huggins, Isaac Parker.

1833. David Huggins, Isaac Parker, Ebenュezer Clement.

1834. Isaac Parker, Samuel Boynton, Lorュing Frost.

1835. Thomas Guild, Philip Flanders, E. M. Gray.

1836. Philip Flanders, Elijah Cleveland, E. M. Gray.

1837. E. M. Gray, Thomas Baldwin, Thos. Guild.

1838. Thomas Guild, E. M. Gray, Argalus Harmon.

1839. Isaac Parker, Holland Thrasher, Benjamin Thrasher.

1840. Philip Flanders, Dan'l P. Walworth, Moody Soper.

1841. Philip Flanders, Moody Soper, Lorュing Frost.

1842. Loring Frost, D. P. Walworth, Oren Alton.

1843. Loring Frost, Oren Alton, Holland Thrasher.

1844 to '46. Holland Thrasher, Ira Boynュton, Joseph W. Mitchell.

1847. Holland Thrasher, Isaac Parker, Jno. Armington.

1848. Josiah D. Wheelock, J. W. Mitchell, Ira Boynton.

1849. J. B. Wheelock, J. W. Mitchell, Horace S. Jones.

1850. H. S. Jones, Holland Thrasher, J. W. Mitchell.

1851. J. B. Wheelock, Joseph S. Kidder, Amasa Plastridge.

1852 and '53. Joseph S. Kidder, Amasa Plastridge, Azariah Wright.

1854. Azariah Wright, J. S. Kidder, Lewis Nye.

1855. Lewis Nye, Nath'l W. Gray, Erastus Wright.

1856. Elijah Cleveland, Azariah Wright, Richard W. Peabody.

1857. Richard W. Peabody, Abel W. Fairュbrother, Isaac Parker, Jr.

1858. A. W. Fairbrother, Isaac Parker, Jr., Charles Thrasher.

1859. A. W. Fairbrother, Sylvester Cass, Ezra Guild.

1860. S. Cass, E. Guild, J. W. Mitchell.

1861. E. Guild, J. W. Mitchell, Cephas R. Lane.

1862. Ib.

1863. J. W. Mitchell, Loren Soper, Hollis Day.

1864. Loren Soper, Hollis Day, Charles Thrasher.

1855. Loren Sorer, Charles Thrasher, Chas. Ide.

1866. Loren Soper, Charles Ide, George W. True.

1867. Ezra Guild, Dan Guild, Charles Ide.

1868 and '69. George W. True, Samuel Burbank, Job Guild.

 

SUPERINTENDENTS OF SCHOOLS.

 

1846 and '47悠saac Parker. 1848 and '49 輸sahel R. Gray. 1850邑illiam M. Dickュerman. 1851 to '55幽enry H. Frost. 1856 to '58優. W. Blanchard. 1859 to 61輸. R. Gray. 1862 and '63猶liny H. White. 1864 and '66輸. R. Gray. 1867 and '68優. W. Blanchard. 1869輸. R. Gray.

 

 

160 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

Population according to the United States census: 18007; 1810178; 1820282; 1830735; 1840796; 1850807; 1800914.

A. R. Gray was the first native-born citizen of Coventry who represented the town in the legislature.

 

EDUCATIONAL.

 

The educational interests of the town have received a fair share of attention by sustainュing district and other public schools. In the Fall of 1858 the legislature granted a charter for an Academy, but the trustees did not meet for organization until Dec., 1859, when the following board of officers were elected: President, Hon. E. Cleveland; Secretary, Dr. D. W. Blanchard; Treasurer, Loren Soper; Executive Committee, Isaac Kimball, Elmore Dailey, J. R. Thrasher. The ensuing Fall the school was commenced and continued with varying degrees of success until the present time. In 1800, Coventry, with a population of 914, furnished all its own teachers and enough for the surrounding towns to make the number 21, all of whom in varying deュgrees were successful.

The history of Coventry, in the past, reュlates to only a brief period of time, and reュcords events comparatively unimportant. The foundations have been laid, the superュstructure remains to be built. Its true history is in the future; to be wrought by the heads, and hearts, and hands of its inhabitants, and to be written by some future annalist who shall record more rapid and far greater proュgress in all that makes a community happy, prosperous and useful.

 

CASUALTIES.

 

The inhabitants of Coventry in the last 10 years have been remarkably free from accidents by fire and otherwise. But a few losses have been sustained.

On or about 26 June, 1858, the dwelling-house of Otis Hancock, on the same site where stands the house of Hosea Hancock, was destroyed by fire, with nearly all its contents. The fire occurred in the night, and had made such progress when discovered that Mr. Hancock and family barely escaped with their lives.

About 2ス o'clock in the morning of Saturュday, 3 Sept., 1859, the dwelling-house owned by Mr. Jacob Hurd, and occupied by him and Mr. John R. Thrasher, was discovered to be on fire. The flames had made such progress that it was evident the house could not be saved. A large part of the clothing, furniture, &c., was saved, while the house, shed, and barn, with a large stock of fireュwood, and considerable hay, were wholly consumed. Mr. Thrasher lost about $100 worth of clothing, and Mr. Hurd's loss was about $800. There was no insurance. This was one of the earliest houses built in the village.

On Monday morning, 18 May, 1868, a house and barn on South Hill, belonging to Stephen Mason, were consumed by fire. The fire was discovered about 7 o'clock, and had then made such progress that the few people in that neighborhood could do nothing to arrest it. The buildings had been unoccupied for a long time, and were well insured.

During the thunder storm of Monday eveュning, 15 June, 1868, the dwelling-house of Asa B. Hancock was struck by lightning. The fluid entered the house near the floor, tearing it up to the stove, which it upset, cutting off three of its legs, and scattering blocks upon which it stood about the room; cut off a lamp chimney and again returned to the floor tearing it into fragments; thence into the ground in three different veins, two of them running out of the house, one on the south and one on the west side; then branching on in different directions running sometimes under ground, and then following logs and rocks a distance of eight or ten rods to a bog where further trace was lost. Mr. Hancock, but a moment before, was standュing where the main current passed out of the-house, and thus barely escaped, perhaps, fatal injury.

On the afternoon of Saturday, 27 Aug., 1859, a young man named Hiram Fletcher, was drowned in Bowley's Pond, in the north part of Coventry. He went in to swim, accompanied by a lad younger than himself, and, either from exhaustion, cramp, or some other cause not known, he sank and was drowned in water not more than 6 feet deep. This was the seventh death by accidental drowning that has occurred in Coventry since the settlement of the town (1869.)

 

MEMORIAL OF THE LIFE AND SERVICES OF REV. PLINY H. WHITE.

 

BY HENRY CLARK.

 

From the Memorial Address delivered before the Vermont State Historical Society at its first annual meeting after the death of Mr. White.

 

Pliny Holton White, son of John and Bethiah Holton White, was born at Springfield, Vt., Oct. 6, 1822. By his maternal ancestry he was descended from William Holton, who was one of tho first settlers of Hartford, Ct., and afterwards of Northampton, Mass.

He was left fatherless and in poverty when but little more than 3 years old.

His early opportunities were limited, and he had very little assistance in procuring an

 

 

COVENTRY. 161

 

education, except what his mother gave him before he was 15 years of age. He had alュways a predisposition to learning, and a great thirst for knowledge. His early education was received at Limerick, Maine, Academy, where he was a student from his 8th to his 15th year. He spent a few years as a clerk in a store at Walpole, N. H. His leisure hours were devoted to reading and study, which developed those peculiar traits of inュdustry that characterized his future life.

He studied law with that eminent and honored citizen of our commonwealth, Hon. William C. Bradley, at Westminster, Vt. His association with Mr. Bradley, and havュing access to his well selected library, gave him rare advantages for the cultivation of his taste for reading in every department of history and literature, and the well known historical tastes of his instructor undoubtedュly gave direction and development to his own natural inclination toward historical inquiry. The relations of intimacy which existed between instructor and pupil, continュued during Mr. Bradley's life, and a filial and appreciative tribute was paid by Mr. White to his early patron in an address before the State Historical Society, soon after his death, which was marked by the highest deュgree of appropriateness, simplicity and pathos, in which were given the principal incidents of Mr. Bradley's life, a masterly analysis of his character and intellectual endowments, and a touching and beautiful tribute to his eminent social and domestic virtues.

Mr. White was admitted to the Windham County Bar Nov. 24, 1843, it being the first session after his arriving at the age of 21. He practiced his profession in West Wardsboro from April 15, 1844, until March 31, 1848; from this latter date until February 4, 1851, in Londonderry, and in Brattleboro from that time until Dec. 25, 1852. While in the practice of the law in Londonderry, he commenced to write for the Brattleboro Eagle. The conducting of a newspaper being more congenial to his tastes, he abandoned the law and became the editor of the Eagle, now the Ph從ix, in February, 1854, and conュtinued his connection with that paper until December, 1852. He removed to St. Johnsュbury in January, 1853, engaging as a clerk and assistant in the manufacturing establishュment of Messrs. Fairbanks, in whose employ he remained until August, 1857. From St. Johnsbury, he went to Amherst, Mass., where he was connected from August 15, 1857, to May 7, 1858, with the publication of the Hampshire and Franklin Express. Having for a long time pursued privately theological studies, he was licensed to preach. He preached his first sermon at Westminster, Vt., April 18, 1858; and was licensed at Amherst, Mass., May 11, 1858, by the Hampshire East Association. After preaching a few Sabbaths each at Bernardston, Mass., and Putney, Vt., he went to Coventry, Orleans County, and commenced his labors as acting pastor of the Congregational church, August 8, 1858, and was ordained Feb. 15, 1859, Rev. George N. Webber preaching the sermon. He continued its pastor until his death, which occurred April 24, 1869. The church greatly prospered under his ministrations. He had many opュportunities offered for settling with increased salary, of which he declined to avail himself, considering it his duty to remain with that people, as his labors were being blessed to such a degree that he felt elsewhere they might not accomplish the results that were attending his efforts in Coventry. He was called to preach frequently at installations and ordinations, and on special occasions. He spent much time in collecting the statisュtics of his denomination, and in writing for religious papers, magazines and reviews. A few months previous to his death, he pubュlished a history of the Congregational churches in Orleans County. He had also in preparaュtion a history of the Congregational churches in Vermont, which it was his intention to have published at an early day. We are pleased to learn that he left it in such a comュplete state that the work has been intrusted to the General Convention to finish and pubュlish. He had contributed many valuable religious and historical articles to the Congreュgational Quarterly, and the Vermont Chroniュcle and Boston Recorder.

We have no information upon which to base an opinion in reference to Mr. White's success or qualifications as a lawyer, only that he gave untiring industry to the prepaュration of his cases, and argued them with great fluency and directness.

He had several public positions connected with the General Assembly, in all of which he faithfully and diligently served with great satisfaction. He was second assistant clerk of the House of Representatives in 1851,

 

 

162 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

during the clerkship of Chalon F. Davey, and proved himself a ready reader and a valuable clerk in the discharge of all the duties that were assigned him. He was apュpointed Secretary of Civil and Military Afュfairs under the first administration of Gov. Erastus Fairbanks, in 1852. He represented the town of Coventry in the House of Repreュsentatives in 1862 and '63. At the session of 1862, Mr. White took little part in the debates, only upon a bill relating to marriage, which was subsequently considered by a special committee on domestic relations, conュsisting of A. B. Gardner, Dugald Stewart, Geo. W. Hendee and Mr. White, who reportュed substantially the existing law upon that subject, as the amendment which ought to be made. He was also one of the committee of conference on the disagreeing votes of the two houses upon the school laws, and contributed valuable aid in perfecting them as they stand upon the statue book.

During the closing hours of the session, he introduced a joint resolution of thanks of the General Assembly to the Vermont soldiers then in the field, and which met the most hearty and enthusiastic approval of the Legュislature. He served only upon one standing committee, that of the joint committee upon the library. At the session of 1863, Mr. White took a more active part in the busiュness, and spoke frequently upon the questions presented for Legislation. He was a memュber of the committee on education and on the special committee on the establishment of the State Agricultural College, and was originュally one of the trustees named in the bill.

A petition was presented for the repeal of the law, passed the previous year, requiring the publication of the intention of marriage, which had proved obnoxious to the people of the State. It was referred to a special comュmittee, of which he was chairman. He made a report, favoring the repeal, and differing from the other members of the committee, in which he gave his reasons for the repeal. Reports were made by both the majority and minority of the committee, and will be found in full in the Appendix to the House Journal of that session. Although he stood alone in the committee, he ably presented, in a forciュble speech, his views of the law, and succeedュed in securing its repeal. He introduced two important bills: "An act to promote the efficiency of Teachers' Institutes:" also "An act authorizing towns to erect monuments to the memory of deceased soldiers," both of which met the approval of the Legislature. His influence in favor of progressive legislaュtion on the subject of education, and the exュpression of his views before the House, securュed valuable and efficient additions to our present school laws. In Nov. 1862, he was appointed a member of the Board of Educaュtion, and held the office for successive years until 1868, and prepared the annual reports of the Board. He ranked among the ablest and most earnest friends of education, laborュing both with voice and pen to enlarge the field of its labors, and perfect our system of common schools. Next to the late Secretary of the Board of Education, J. Sullivan Adams, Vermont owes a debt of gratitude and remembrance to him for his valuable serュvices which have greatly redounded to the benefit of the State, and those who are to be educated in its schools.

He was chaplain of the Senate in 1864, '65 and '66. He was superintendent of recruiting in Orleans county from 1863 to the close of the war, and rendered efficient service in raisュing men to crush out the rebellion.

Aside from his public duties, he performed much valuable labor for the State, which is not recorded on the journals, and which will be most highly appreciated by a future genュeration. He was superintendent of schools in St. Johnsbury in 1857, and in Coventry from 1862 to '64.

He was an untiring and enthusiastic friend and laborer in the cause of temperance, seekュing every opportunity to promote it. He was appointed Chief Templar of the Indepenュdent Order of Good Templars in Vermont in 1867, and held the position until his death. He devoted all his energies to its welfare, and to extend its usefulness, never sparing his strength or labors in the cold of winter or heat of summer visiting the Lodges, and going here and there delivering public addresses, and gathering together bands of this impor- tant auxiliary to the temperance cause amid the hills and valleys of our State; and the thousands connected with that institution, bless his memory and reverance his name. To Pliny H. White, the friends of temperance in Vermont owe a debt of gratitude which will be long held in remembrance.

When about 20 years of age, he commenced writing for the periodical press, and was a

 

 

COVENTRY. 163

 

copious contributor to the newspapers and magazines during all the rest of his life. He had been a diligent student in many departュments of study, and won for himself an enviュable reputation as a writer. At different times he wrote editorially for the Vermont Journal, People's Journal, Newport Express Caledonian, and Orleans Independent Stanュdard. To the Historical Magazine and Conュgregational Quarterly, he contributed numerュous historical and biographical articles. For the Vermont Record he furnished some hunュdreds of articles, most of them relating to Vermont history and biography. Among them was a series of biographical notices of the Alumni of Middlebury College, and conュtinued nearly every week for several years; also a series of biographies of the Presidents of the University of Vermont, and a series of memoirs of the Governors of Vermont. He was the Vermont correspondent of the Conュgregationalist from 1852 to April 22, 1869. He was a regular contributor to the Burlingュton Free Press, Rutland Herald, Barton Stanュdard and Newport Express, and contributed occasionally to many other papers and periュodicals. Whenever he found anything in his inquiries that was of importance or interest to any particular locality, he at once comュmunicated it to the nearest local newspaper, evincing a desire to impart information that would be of service to those most interested, which was a valuable and happy peculiarity that enabled him to make friends, and aided him in the pursuit of his inquiries upon parュticular subjects. He was a valued assistant of the Vermont press, and his contributions were ever welcome, and his death becomes a serious loss, as he placed on record, through the various journals, items and articles of a character that were full of interest to the genュeral reader, but particularly to every Verュmonter.

We have thus minutely enumerated the public services of Mr. White, that they might be recorded as the evidences of a fertile mind, industrious habits, and mark him as one of Vermont's most industrious and faithful sons.

Perhaps the most arduous and useful labors of his life, and those which were congenial to his natural tastes, have been in the field of local history and biography, in which he had few, if any, equals in our whole country容ver on the alert to gather and place in meュthodical order, for use at any moment, all scraps of history pertaining to Vermont in any form, or to the local history of towns or individuals. He was probably better acュquainted with the personal history and peュculiar characteristics of more Vermont men than any man now living, and his materials for the biography of individuals were far more exact and voluminous than any other collection in this country, a large portion of which was devoted to Vermonters at home and abroad. He has left sketches of most of the leading men of the State, both clergymen and laymen, all carefully and systematically arranged. His published sketches of Matュthew Lyon, Jonas Galusha and William C. Bradley fully attest his quallifications as a biographical writer.

His love of history and research early led him to become associated with the Vermont Historical Society, whose objects he fully appreciated, and for its prosperity he assiduュously labored, and contributed more than any other one individual to its upbuilding and in additions to its valuable collection. During his leisure hours, while at Montpelier, he carefully arranged and catalogued its colュlection, with a loving hand. Associated with such earnest patrons of the Society as Hiland Hall, George F. Houghton, Charles Reed, A. D. Hager and others, his services have been invaluable to this Society and the State. On the retirement of Ex-Governor Hall from the Presidency of the Society, in 1866, Mr. White, with great unanimity, was chosen its President, which position he held to his death. His loss is severe to the Vermont Historical Society, and his death is deeply mourned by all its members, as an energetic head and valued associate.

It is unnecessary for me to dwell on his historical labors, for they are known, read and appreciated, not only by those who have been associated with bin in this field of labor, but are appreciated by the people of the State he loved and served so well.

Perhaps in concluding this view of his services, we may use the language of a paraュgraph in the Barton Standard in announcing his death, It says: "He was a remarkable man both in the extent of his knowledge and the readiness with which he could apply it on all occasions. He was a walking encyュclop訥lia of historical facts and dates, and it will be a long time before Vermont can furュnish his equal in this particular. He was a

 

 

164 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.

 

warm and genial friend, a temperance man of the strictest sect, and, as we believe, a consistent Christian.

Mr. White was a resident member of the New England Historic Genealogic Society, and corresponding member of most of the local and State Historical Societies in the United States. He was a member of the corporation of Middlebury College. The honorary degree of Master of Arts had been conferred upon him by Amherst and Middleュbury Colleges and the University of Vermont.

He married, May 11, 1847, Electa B. D. Gates, of Belchertown, Mass., who survives him, and now resides at Amherst, Mass. He had three children: 1st, Margaret Elizabeth, born at Londonderry, Vt., Mar. 21, 1849, and who graduated at the Tilden Female Semiュnary in 1868, with the highest honors. 2d, John Alexander, born at Brattleboro, Feb. 15, 1851, and who died at Brattleboro, Aug. 12, 1861. 3d, William Holton, born at St. Johnsbury, Aug. 1, 1855. He inherits many of his father's useful and studious qualities.

Mr. White died at his residence in Coventry, Apr. 24, 1869, after an illness of paralysis of the brain, undoubtedly occasioned by overwork, at the age of 46 years, 6 months and 18 days. He was buried at Westminster on Tuesday, the 27th of April in a lot selected by himself for his last resting-place.

From this imperfect and hasty glance at his life and character, we may briefly take a general view of his claims as a remarkable man and useful citizen.

It is obvious that he owed little to advanュtageous circumstances. It was not his name that drew attention to his talents, it was his talents that gave prominence to his name. He forced his own way from obscurity, and by the power of his own genius carved out for himself an honored name. He sprang from the substantial yeomanry of New Engュland. He attained his eminence and position by the force of his own genius, by patient, laborious, untiring industry. It was the quickness of his observation which enabled him to appropriate to himself whatever was useful. His memory was capacious and reュtentive. Witness the stores of information he had collected. His imagination was liveュly and vigorous. With all these characterisュtics of mind, none of us know how much he might have accomplished had he lived to the ordinary length of life. Owing to his versatility of talent, he was ready upon every subject, and could accomodate himself to all occasions. He possessed a fund of chastened humor and harmless satire. We have seen him in a deliberative assembly, when angry feelings were enkindling, by one stroke of humor avert the gathering storm and change the whole current of feeling.

He gained knowledge for practical purpoュses, and considered knowledge of little value that could not be turned to utility. As a writer and speaker, he adopted no artificial mode of expression; he simply sought that phraseology, which would convey with clearest directness, his own ideas. His words were of the old Saxon stock; his sentences were not modeled by Roman measures, but to the more negligent simplicity of native, English syntax. It had been his life's early and late business to address popular assemblies, and commune with the common mind; and the habit of constant, hasty popular addresses, with all its simplifying benefits, produced its corresponding defects. It lowered his standard of rhetorical finish. The main excellence of his style consisted in a clear, vernacular, consecutive train of manly thought and methodical arrangement.

Such is a brief sketch of the life of Mr. White; such, at least he was to the fallible view, and in the hastily expressed phrase of one whose pleasure it was to enjoy his friendュship and to have been the associate of some of his earthly labors. If personal feelings were likely to color the expression, still the endeavor has been to draw the lineaments, from memory, and to speak with the imparュtiality of history.

Vermont had the honor of his birth, the benefit of his labors; her hills were his home, her history his study, her progress his deュlight, her honor his glory, and her soil his grave. May a kind Providence grant to our beloved State another son like PLINY H. WHITE.

 

 

CRAFTSBURY.

 

BY HON. W. J. HASTINGS.

 

Craftsbury, in Orleans County, is bounded N. by Albany, S. by Greensboro, E. by Wolcott, W. by Eden. It is situated about 25 miles south of Canada line and about 30 north of Montュpelier, and is about equidistant between Con‑