BY MRS. H. C. PITKIN.
Marshfield was granted to the Stockbridge tribe of Indians, Oct. 16, 1782, and chartered to them June 22, 1790, by the General Assembly of Vermont, containing 23,040 acres; lat. 44° 19', long. 4° 30' on the upper waters of the Winooski; bounded N. by Cabot, E. by Peacham and Harris' Gore, S. by East Montpelier, Plainfield and Goshen Gore, W. by Calais and East Montpelier.
In the charter it is stipulated the township shall be divided into 75 equal shares, etc., with the usual charter conditions.
The charter is signed by Gov. Moses Robinson and Joseph Tracy, Sec.
The township was purchased of the Indians by Capt. Isaac Marsh of Stockbridge, Mass., in honor of whom it is named, for £140 lawful money, and the deed was signed by 18 Indians, thus:
O Joseph Shawguthguat, O Hendrick Aupanmat, O Jehosuhim Alokaim, 0 Peter Pohijhionurpjsut, + Joseph Luonahant, + John Pophmin, + Solomon Quargariahont, + Uhndrw Warmaeruph, + Vendru Waumurmn, + Hudrink Ihchumhwmh, + Moses Laupunmsapeat, + Thomas Wind, + John Thonhpol, + David Nesonukausdahawauk, + Cornelius Janmauch, + David Nesonuhkeah Grum, + Abraham Maummumthickhur, + Isaac Unamprey.
This deed was given July 29, 1789, and witnessed by David Pixley and John Sargeant, missionary.
These Indians, it is supposed, when they secured the grant of this land, intended to remove here, and make it their hunting-ground, but finding white settlements were beginning to cluster around it, they disposed of it as best they could, and sought the unbroken forests of New York and called the new home there, in honor of the old one in Massachusetts.
Capt. Marsh had married, for his second wife, a young widow by the name of Pitkin, of East Hartford, Conn., and four of her sons, and two of his own daughters were among the pioneers of his new township. Caleb Pitkin one of these sons, came from East Hartford as a surveyor, with a com-
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pany under Gen. Whitelaw, in the spring of 1790. They spent the summer surveying in this wilderness, returning to Connecticut in the autumn. They spent the next season here also. Caleb was cook for the company, and it was asserted he "could cook as well as a woman." In the springs of 1792, '93, he, together with his brother, Martin Pitkin, and Gideon Spencer, came here, and labored clearing land, preparatory for a settlement, returning to East Hartford in the autumn, each year. The winter following Caleb, having married Hannah, daughter of Capt. Marsh, and Gideon Spencer, having previously married Polly, another of his daughters, together with Aaron Elmer, also a married man, removed to this town. They came as far as Montpelier with teams ; and from there, the snow more than 4 feet deep in Feb., they came with handsleds. Caleb Pitkin settled on the farm where his son, Jas. Pitkin, now dead, resided. Gideon Spencer, where his grandson Stephen Spencer lives, and Aaron Elmer where John Harris Eaton resides. All their pro visions and furniture they brought from Connecticut over roads which would now be deemed impassable. In the summer they were joined by Ebenezer Dodge and family.
John Preston Davis, son of Ebenezer Dodge, was born Sept. 7th, of this year, and was the first child born in town. James, son of Caleb Pitkin, was born in Jan., 1795, and was the second child born, and the first girl born in town, was Betsey, daughter of Gideon Spencer, now wife of Dea. Dan Storrs. During this first season no one of these settlers owned a team, and all the grain for their families was carried to Montpelier to be ground, and brought home upon their backs, they leaving the bran to lighten their loads.
March 1, 1795, Joshua, Stephen, and Nathaniel Pitkin, and Solomon Gilman moved into town. Joshua Pitkin settled near the centre of the town where William Haskins now resides. Stephen Pitkin on the farm below, where Bowman Martin lives, Nathaniel Pitkin, who was cousin to the other settlers of the name, on the road from Abram Wood's to the saw-mill in the south part of the town, and Solomon Gilman where his grandson Loomis Gilman now resides.
Settlers continued to come in. Stephen Rich was an early pioneer, commencing his settlement where his grandson, Samuel D. Hollister, now lives.
Nathaniel Dodge, another, who came at a day so early, that he moved all his goods into town on a hand-sled, was an upright, Christian man, accumulating a good property and bringing up a large family, only two of whom remain in town.
Martin Pitkin removed here previous to the organization of the town. Simeon Dwinell was also one of the early settlers, and one of the best of citizens; afterwards four of his brothers, men of worth, Martin, Squier, Zenas, and Aaron Bullock; the right kind of men; John Pike, whose 5 sons all tilled the soil and made their homes here with his large family; Caleb Putnam, the first blacksmith in town, who made all the nails used in the early days; cut nails such as are now used, being quite unknown. Mr. Putnam was not only a good, ingenious blacksmith, but also a good, useful citizen. After some years, he removed to Woodbury, where he died.
So rapid was the tide of immigration, that, at the organization of the town, 61 men took the freemen's oath. Shall I say of these men, that they were industrious, energetic, persevering? None but such men would think of making comfortable, permanent homes in a forest? The farms they cultivated, the school, and dwelling-houses they erected, the thrift which soon became apparent on every hand, all tell what kind of men were the pioneers of Marshfield.
Joshua and Stephen Pitkin for a few of the first years worked in company, afterwards they mutually agreed to dissolve partnership, and amicably divided their possessions. They built the first framed barn in town. It was raised July 4, 1796. This barn in their settlement became the property of Joshua Pitkin. Stephen Rich raised a barn June 20, 1797. Caleb and
Stephen Pitkin had each a barn raised June 26, 1797. June 28, 1798, William Holmes raised a barn; also Ebenezer Dodge raised a barn July 6, '98. Capt. Stephen Rich raised his house June 14, 1800. This was the first framed-house in town. Stephen Pitkin, it is supposed, built the next framed-house, two-story. Joshua Pitkin raised a two-story house, Sept. 24, 1803. Nathaniel Pitkin raised a house June 20, 1804, and Timothy Cole raised a house June 24, 1804.
THE FIRST RELIGIOUS MEETING
in town of which we find any record, was Sunday, Aug. 20, 1797, at Nathaniel Dodge's. The 25th of Sept. after, Mr. Gilbert preached at Joshua Pitkin's. He was a missionary from Connecticut; and Oct. 20, '97, a meeting at Nathaniel Dodge's, no preacher mentioned, and it is probable a sermon was read, as this was often the case in after years. From this time meetings were occasionally held in town; very many it seems at Capt. Rich's for many years and also frequently, at Nathaniel Dodge's sometimes at Joshua Pitkin's. Among the ministers who occasionally preached here in the early days, were Elder Wheeler, of Montpelier, Baptist, Revs. Kinnee of Plainfield, Hobart of Berlin, Lyman, of Brookfield, Wright of Montpelier, Congregationalists.
How did our settlers live? in every department of labor, almost nothing to do with? For making of maple sugar, the first five-pail kettle owned in town, Caleb Pitkin brought from Montpelier on his back, and sap-troughs had to be made, and the sugar-house was two huge logs with the kettle hung between, the smoke and ashes inclined to blow towards you; the sap had to be gathered by hand, and where was the man who owned a sap-holder? And when sugar was made, where was it to be stored? James Pitkin told the writer, he could remember how his father provided for this emergency. In June, he pealed birch-bark, soaked it, and sewed it with a strong wax-end, and thus made a large box, less the bottom, but he sat this on a smooth piece of bark, with a sap-trough under to catch the molasses, and he recollects many times eating biscuit and butter very near that sap-trough. The box, he thought, would hold 200 pounds. He also tells me the first cow his father owned, he drove from Newbury through the wilderness by marked trees, 34 miles. He did not say how the cow lived the first winter, but the second they raised a very large crop of wheat, and the cow was fed through winter, on wheat in the stook. She was very sleek, and yielded a large quantity of milk.
The children must be educated. In 1799, a meeting of the settlers was called, and they concluded to build a log-school house, covered with bark. It stood just above where the road turns off to go to Daniel Dodge's. Miss Nancy Caldwell taught the first school; was afterwards married to Rowland Edwards of Montpelier.
Capt. Marsh came from Connecticut to visit his children and their families three times, and once, Jan. 7, 1797, his wife came with him. No small undertaking for a lady past middle age, with such roads. These visits were seasons of great interest to their children, and no less so to themselves. They were made happy by seeing the prosperity of the settlement, and the thrift which was apparent among their children. Mrs. Marsh died the next summer. Capt. Marsh lived some years longer, and married the third wife.
When Capt. Marsh and his wife returned home, Joshua Pitkin went in company with them as far as Walpole, N. H.; was four days going, and four returning. They went the first day to Williamstown, the next to Pomfret, the next to Cavendish, and the next to Walpole. Joshua Pitkin has also a record of his going to Judge Lynde's of Williamstown, to get a writ made out, hiring a horse of Mr. Hamett of Montpelier, for the trip, for which he paid 4s. It is not known what he paid for making out the writ. It ought to have been done cheap, as he went 20 miles to get it. He mentions a visit of Dr. Lamb of Montpelier, to his wife, for which he paid 6s and has a record of wages paid Henry Walbridge and two other joiners, at work on his new house, $2.25 a day for the three. And
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we are informed, it was considered no more immoral then to buy a barrel of rum, or 10 or 15 gallons of brandy, than it was to make other purchases for family use. The mystery is, how any one kept sober; how any one knew whether other people were sober.
For a few of the first years the farmers here went to Montpelier or Calais for blacksmithing, till Caleb Putnam moved into town.
Mr. John Knox was the first person who died in town. The date of his death is not known. Aug. 22, 1797, a child of Mr. Robert Waugh was drowned in a well.
Joshua Pitkin was appointed first justice of peace Aug. 23, 1799.
FIRST RECORD OF MARSHFIELD.
On application of a number of credible freeholders of the town of Marshfield, County of Caledonia, and State of Vermont, that said town may be organized, according to law, I hereby warn a meeting of all the Freeholders and other inhabitants of said town, qualified to vote in "town-meeting, to appear at the dwelling-house of Joshua Pitkin, in said town, on the tenth day of March next, at ten o'clock forenoon on said day. 1st, To choose a moderator to govern said meeting. 2d, To choose all officers that the law requires for organized towns to have.
JOSHUA PITKIN, Justice Peace.
Marshfield, Feb. 24th, 1800.
March 10th, 1800.
This day a Town-meeting agreeable to the above Notification was held, and 1st Chose Stephen Rich, Moderator; 2ond, Chose Stephen Rich, Town Clerk; Joshua Pitkin, Clerk pro tem.; 3rd, Stephen Rich, 1st Selectman; 4th, Stephen Pitkin, 2ond Selectman; 5th, Samuel Paterson, 3rd Selectman; 6th, Caleb Pitkin, Town Treasurer; 7th, Stephen Rich, Nathaniel Pitkin, and Robert Waugh, Listers; Gideon Spencer, Constable and Collector; Samuel Wilson, Grand juryman; 8th, Aaron Elmer, Ebenezer Dodge, Jun., Joseph Wells, Surveyors of roads; 9th, David Benjamin, Ebenezer Wells, Nathaniel Pitkin, Fence Viewers; 10th, Robert Waugh, Pound Keeper; 11th, Giles Skinner, Sealer of Leather; 12th, Caleb Pitkin, Sealer of Weights and Measures; 13th, Giles Skinner, Tythingman; 14th, Ebenezer Dodge and Aaron Elmer, Hay wards; 15th, Joshua Pitkin, Caleb Pitkin and Joseph Page, auditors of accounts of Selectmen. 16th, All the above names chosen into the several Offices have taken solemn oath for the faithful discharge of their trust. This meeting adjourned untill the 24th day of this month, by order of the Selectmen.
Monday, Mar. 24, 1800, town meeting according to adjournment. After taking the freeman's oath, it was voted to ratify the proceedings of the annual meeting, Stephen Pitkin, Esq., chosen moderator pro tem. "Chose Stephen Pitkin and Samuel Paterson, Jurymen to attend the Supreme Court; Samuel Paterson, Joseph P. Page, Aaron Elmer, Elisha Benjamin, Jr., Nathaniel Pitkin, Ebenezer Dodge, Jr., and Robert Waugh, Petit Jurymen."
"Voted to assess a tax of 2 cents on the dollar on all polls and ratable property for the purpose of defraying town charges to raise four days' work a year, from each voter for the year ensuing, to mend the highways; that the tax shall be worked out in June, and that the Selectmen shall credit the same on the bills."
Names of the men who took the freeman's oath at said meeting:
Stephen Rich, Stephen Pitkin, Samuel Paterson, Caleb Pitkin, Aaron Elmer, Ebenezer Dodge, Ebenezer Dodge, Jr., Elisha Benjamin, Jr., David Benjamin, Samuel Wilson, Hart Roberts, Joshua Pitkin, Elisha Benjamin, John Goodale, Hugh Wilson, Matthew Jack, Joel Knox, Timothy Cowles, Stephen Cowles, Amon Persons, James English, Edmund Harwood, Abraham Goodale, Solomon Spencer, George Gleason, Martin Pitkin, Gideon Spencer, Joseph P. Page, Uriah Simons, Nathaniel Pitkin, Joseph Wells, Giles Skinner, Robert Waugh, Solomon Gilman, Ebenezer Wells, Selah Wells, John Waugh, Stephen Olmsted, John Cutler, Samuel Wilson, Jr., Robert Dodge, Chas. Cate, Samuel Pratt, Cyrril Garnsey, Caleb Putnam, Simeon Dwinell, Daniel Holmes, Daniel Damon, Calvin Elmer, Job Taylor, Ichabod Shurtleff, John Pike, Guy Benjamin, Asa Spencer, Josiah Hollister, Andrew Jack, William Jones, Avara Gilman, Wm. W. Powers, Nathan Jones, Chester Clark, Stephen Rich, town clerk.
It was voted at town-meeting Jan. 7, 1800, Joshua Pitkin, Esq., mod.; Stephen
Rich, district clerk, to support the school on the grand list; Robert Waugh and Nathaniel Pitkin, school com.; Aaron Elmer, collector. Voted, that no one shall have a right to take any child into his family to attend school, unless he take one for a year, and that the selectmen shall act in conjunction with the committee in examining the school teacher, and to raise $34 to support schooling.
At town meeting, Mar. 25, 1801, Caleb Pitkin, mod., voted to divide the district; set up the old school-house at vendue, to be sold to the highest bidder; sold the house for 2½ bushels of wheat, on 6 months' credit, to Aaron Elmer; 12 squares of glass, to Solomon Gilman, for 1 bush. of wheat; 75 nails, to Nathaniel Dodge, for 1 peck of wheat; boards, to Robert Waugh, for 9s. 6d., to be paid in wheat; table, to Joshua Pitkin, for 2 bush. 2 qts. of wheat; chair, to Joshua Pitkin, for 3 pecks, 4 qts. of wheat. The selectmen organized the inhabitants on the river road into a school district, beginning at Hart Roberts' on the north, Capt. Skinner's at the south, Nathaniel Pitkin's on the west, and Samuel Wilson's and Joseph Wells' on the east. Stephen Rich, Samuel Paterson, Caleb Pitkin, were selectmen.
So the old school-house was sold, a little, square, log-building, covered with bark; a big stone chimney, with an opening above for the smoke to go out and the rain to come in, and the grand old forest for play-ground, and did it not ring with the merry shouts of childhood? They needed no gymnasium then. Were there not the trees to climb, the birds' nests and squirrels to hunt, and partridges and woodchucks to look after? The children did not sing in school in those days. They had to sit straight, keep their eyes on the book, and their toes on the crack. They hardly dared breathe in school-time, there was such an awe of ferule and rod. The children did not sing in school, but the bird's song they heard through the open window, and when the noon-time came, the children joined the chorus, and the old woods rang again.
It seems the inhabitants not included in the river district, were all in one other district. Afterwards districts were divided and arranged, as the inhabitants increased, according to their needs. But it was not until about 1812, that a school-house was built on the river near Joshua Pitkin's. Schools were kept in a portion of a dwelling-house, and sometimes in Caleb Pitkin's old house. In the mill district, now the village, the first school-house was built in 1821. The first school in this district was taught by Miss Comfort Gage, in the summer of 1820, in Capt. Martin Pitkin's barn, on the place where the writer resides. There was a school a number of years in the Dwinell district, before the convenience of a school-house was enjoyed. Four winters this school was kept in Simeon Dwinell's kitchen. This to some housekeepers might have seemed an inconvenience, as the house was small, and Mrs. Dwinell had 8 children of her own. But she doubtless got along nicely, washing days and all. The children must be educated; in those days troops of little ones were not so much in the way.
In 1805, a committee was appointed by the town to act in concert with the selectmen in purchasing a piece of ground for the burial of the dead, and the grave-yard near J. H. Eaton's was bought of Nathaniel Dodge.
Mar. 1797, Thomas McLoud, of Montpelier, and Sally Dodge, of Marshfield, were united in marriage by Joseph Wing, Esq., of Montpelier, the first marriage in town. Joshua Pitkin, Esq., was the first justice of peace, and Dec. 10, 1801, he married Ebenezer Wells to Susannah Spencer, the first marriage by a citizen of the town.
Feb. 1, 1803, a town meeting was called to see if the town would form themselves into a Congregational society, and also to see if they would agree to settle a minister. The vote stood 17 in favor and 70 against.
Bears, wolves and deer were very numerous in the early days of Marshfield. The wolves made night hideous by their howlings, and it was no uncommon thing to kill a bear or deer. Joshua Pitkin, in his
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journal, speaks of killing 8 deer at different times, and one bear story belonging to our region has in it sufficient of the tragic to warrant insertion here.
One season early in September the bears began to make depredations in the corn, on the Skinner farm, now Wm. Martin's. Solomon Gilman, one of the early settlers, who was a great sportsman, promised to watch for the bear, and put an end to his suppers of green corn; he took his stand at night in the field, waiting the arrival of the depredator. The bear came on, and was soon helping himself, when with true aim, the hunter fired. The bear gave one great spring, and came directly on, or over him. He felt his time had come. The blood was flowing! He caught the lacerated intestines in his hands, replaced them as he could in that moment of desperation, wrapped the long skirt of his overcoat about his body, holding it firmly with both hands; had just strength enough left to shout for help, and to run a short distance. Help soon came. They assisted him to a place of safety, and folding back his overcoat, a double handful of bruin's entrails fell to the ground! Mr. G. lived long to be the terror of the denizens of the forest, but it was years before he heard the last of being killed by a bear.
At another time, Mr. Gilman was pursuing a bear through some woods where Mr. Ira Stone was chopping. Seeing the bear rapidly approaching, Mr. Stone sprang upon a large rock. The bear came up. Mr. Stone attempted to strike him with his axe, but one blow of the bear's paw sent the axe to the ground. They now clinched. Mr. stone attempted to grasp the bear's tongue, but instead, the bear crushed two of his fingers. They rolled to the ground, the bear uppermost. Just now Mr. Gilman came near, and taking aim, shot the bear through the head. The crushed fingers was all the serious injury Mr. Stone received.
The settlers made quite a business of selling ashes, and afterwards, a larger one of making salts for sale. The beautiful elms, of which there were many on the river banks and in other places, were cut down, piled and burned for this purpose, and a great deal of other valuable timber. Salts sold well, so the day and the long night were often spent in boiling salts, and more than one woman has lent a hand at this work.
There are only two ponds which lie wholly in this town—Nigger Head, of circular form, and about half a mile in width, and Nob Hill ponds. Long pond lies partly in Marshfield and partly in Groton.
Mud pond has within a few years dried up. Our county map shows other ponds in our eastern portion, but by actual survey it is found that neither of these are our side of the line. Our township is somewhat hilly, but in only one case are we entitled to the name of mountain.
mountain, in the north-easterly part of the town, is a steep precipice, 500 feet high, in one place 300 feet perpendicular. It is an imposing sight, so bold, precipitous and grand—nature enthroned in one of her wildest phases. On its dizzy heights we have a remarkably fine view of the surrounding regions, and of the bright waters of the beautiful pond below, and nowhere can one get a better view of the fearful precipice, than in a little boat on the waters at its base.
Winooski river passes through this town from north to south, more than half of the town lying on the east. It receives many tributaries in its course. Lye brook, the outlet of Pigeon pond in Harris' Gore, is a considerable stream, and falls into the river a little south of the center of the town.
A part of the south portion of Marshfield is more easily convened at Plainfield village, which really extends a little into our town than at our own village. As a consequence our people in that vicinity attend church at Plainfield, while a portion of the people in Eastern Cabot, on Molly's brook and vicinity, attend church at Marshfield.
On the east side of the river a large quantity of good timber remains uncut, and there are also on this side of the river very large quarries of granite, beautifully clear, and of superior quality, and should
the time come when a railroad shall pass up through this portion of our town, the value of these forests and quarries will be estimated very differently from what they are now. As far as farms are cultivated on this side of the river, they are pretty good.
About the year 1825, quite a settlement was made on this side, some 2½ miles east of where the town-house now stands. So many families moved in, that a log school-house was built, and at one time there was a school of 30 scholars; but the land proving better for pasturage than tillage, after a few years the settlement was deserted. These large pastures are now owned by wealthy farmers.
The town is in every part well-watered. The east part is noted especially for its pure, soft, cold springs. There is also hardly a farm in town but what has one or more good sugar orchards, and the amount of sugar made here any year is large. Through the kindness of E. S. Pitkin, Esq., I have the following statistics of the manufacture of maple sugar here in the spring of 1868, which is above the average: Sugar orchards, 108; sugar made in 1868, 140,350 pounds, or more than 70 tons; 18 orchards made each 2,000 and upwards; 40 made less than 2,000 and more than 1,000 pounds.
Molly's brook, from the easterly part of Cabot, unites with the Winooski soon after entering this town. On this brook, just above the junction, are Molly's Falls, which are worthy the notice of the traveler. They can be seen to advantage from the stage-road, a mile above the village. The water falls in the distance of 30 rods, 180 feet. Were we writing fiction, it would do, perhaps, to follow the figures of Thompson in his valuable "Gazeteer of Vermont," making these falls 500 feet; but we, who, in the clear mornings of summer can hear the roaring of the water, will have it just as it is, 180 feet. There is an amount of water-power here not often equalled. It would be difficult to estimate how much machinery might be kept in motion by the water which is precipitated over these falls. Then, on the river below, are a number of excellent mill-sites, and in addition to all these, Nigger Head brook, from where it leaves Nigger Head pond to its entrance into the Winooski, has a succession of falls, making good locations for mills; all the better, as the stream is never materially affected by drought.
Among our early settlers a good deal of attention was paid to orcharding. On the hill farms there are good orchards and fine fruit, both grafted and native. On the river, apple-trees have never done as well.
Aug. 22, 1811, there was a very great rise of water, and Joshua Pitkin lost grass sufficient for 15 tons of hay, by the over flowing of his meadows, as his journal tells. In Sept. 1828, there was a great flood, and Stephen Pitkin, Jr's. clover mill, a mile above the village, was carried off; also many bridges. July 27, 1830, a great rise of water carried off nearly all the bridges on the river, and greatly injured the uncut grass on the meadows, and Aug. 1, 1809, there was a great hail-storm, injuring gardens and corn very much. The evening of July 5, 1841, there was a terrific hail-storm through a portion of the town. Vegetation was much injured, and very much glass broken. Aug. 20, 1869, there was a very sudden rise of water, buildings were injured, some small ones carried off, and bridges and other property destroyed.
A great gale was experienced here May 13, 1866. The wind was accompanied with rain, and 4 barns and some smaller buildings were blown down. Mr. Amos Dwinell was in his son's barn at the time, and was buried in its ruins, but extricated without much injury. A number of cows were in two of the demolished barns, but only a very few were seriously injured.
In the spring of 1807, snow was 4½ feet deep April 4, and when Joshua Pitkin began to tap his sugar-place, Apr. 15, it was 3 feet deep. May 15, 1834, there was a great snow-storm, more than 2 feet deep. In the winter of 1863 and '4, snow was very deep, fences covered for months.
We have also had our portion of fires. A barn was burned Oct. 1806, Jeremiah's
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Carleton's blacksmith shop in 1827; after, an old house of Caleb Pitkin's, the dwelling house of Nathan Smith; the dwelling-house of Bemis Pike, Feb. 1835; new house of Hiram Goodwin, May, 1840; the starch-factory and clover-mill of Stephen Pitkin the night of Dec. 10, 1853, large shoe-shop of Henry Goodwin, May, 1860; house belonging to G. O. Davis, occupied by G. W. Nouns, who was severely burned, and the family just escaped with their lives. Mar. 1869, the saw-mill and shop, and all the tools of Calvin York.
Betsey Swetland and another young lady were riding on horseback May 7, 1817, below the village, when she was killed by the fall of a tree. She lived only a few hours.
Mr. Jonathan Davis, an aged man, was burned to death by falling into the fire, probably in a fit, and Jonathan Davis, Jr., had a little son drowned in a water-holder at the door.
George Pitkin, while drawing wood alone, fell before the runner of the sled, and was crushed to death, Feb. 20, 1845.
Martin Bemis, son of Abijah Bemis, came to his death by slipping in the road, and a sled passing over him.
Mrs. Linton was accidentally shot, by a gun carelessly handled by a boy.
Mrs. Tubbs, an ofd lady, accidentally took some oil of cedar, and lived but a short time.
Mr. Graves had a little daughter scalded, so as to cause death. A child of Nathaniel Lamberton was scalded, so as to cause its death in a short time. Mrs. Benoni Haskins was burned, so as to cause death in a few hours. A little child of Francis Loveland was also burned to death some years since, and a child of Spencer Lawrence scalded, so as to cause its death.
A number of years ago, Mr. Asa Willis had a very remarkable escape from sudden death, while at work on a ledge of rocks, near where Daniel Loveland resides. There had been an unsuccessful attempt made to split open a granite rock 12 feet square, the lower edge of which lay on a large rock 15 feet high. The top of the lower rock was slanting like the roof of a house. While attempting to open the crevice already commenced in the upper rock, sufficient to insert a blast of powder, the rock split in two nearly in the middle, Mr. Willis falling between the parts, and he and they sliding from the large rock to the ground, 27 feet. The two pieces, when they reached the ground, stood in such a way that the upper edges leaned against each other, and the lower edges stood apart so as to leave a wedge-shaped cavity large enough to admit his body, and there he lay. No one was with him but Mr. Joshua Smith. On ascertaining that he was alive, Mr. Smith dug away the earth, and succeeded in extricating him from his perilous situation. Neither he, nor the physician, who was immediately called, thought him much injured, and he lived to do a good deal of hard work, and yet it is thought he never entirely recovered from the effects of the shock.
The log houses of the pioneers soon gave way to better dwellings. At the present time nearly all the houses in town are of modern style and finish, but it is the barns that ought particularly to be mentioned. Many of them are large, beautifully finished and painted, and not surpassed by any in the vicinity.
THE TOWN CLERKS
have been, Stephen Rich 7 years, George Rich 7 years, Robert Cristy 9 years, Martin Bullock 16 years, Jacob Putnam 19 years, Jonathan Goodwin 2 years, Samuel D. Hollister 2 years, and Andrew English 24 years, from 1849 to his death in 1873; Geo. W. English 2 years, and Edgar L. Smith, elected in 1875, now in office.
The town was first represented in the Legislature in 1804, by Stephen Pitkin. He held this office in all 13 years, then by George Rich 3 years, Wm. Martin 12 years, Josiah Hollister a years, Alonzo Foster 2 years, Spencer Lawrence 2 years, Welcome Cole 2 years, Horace Hollister 3 years, Ira Smith 2 years, Stephen R. Hollister 2 years, E. D. Putnam 2 years, Hi‑
ram Potter 2 years, Asa Spencer 2 years, George A. Gilman 2 years, Ingals Carleton 2 years, Samuel D. Hollister 2 years, Andrew English 2 years, Bowman Martin 2 years, C. W. H. Dwinell 2 years, Wm. Martin, Jr., 2 years, and Preston Haskins 2 years. George Wooster, 1869-70; Moody Bends, 1872; George Putnam, 1874; Levi W. Pitkin, 1876; Marshal D. Perkins, 1878; Mark Mears, 1880.
TOWN TREASURER.—George O. Davis, elected 1870.
SELECTMEN FROM 1876.
Eli G. Pitkin, 1876-77; H. P. Martin, 1876-78; J. H. Eaton, 1876; Willis Lane, 1876; Marcus R. Bliss, 1877-78-79; H. H. Hollister, 1879—80; Chester Sawyer, 1880; Levi W. Pitkin, Orin H. Smith, Daniel Holcomb, 1881.
Joshua Pitkin, Esq., raised the first tavern-sign Oct. 1805. He continued to keep a public house many years. The second tavern was opened by Charles Cate, where Erastus Eddy now lives. Joshua Smith moved into town from Ashford, Ct., in Dec. 1811, bought out Mr. Cate, and commenced keeping tavern, which he continued 17 years. He was a kind neighbor, accommodating to all, and travelers who called on him would never forget the exceeding drollery of his jokes. He died at the age of 84. His wife, one of our best women, still lives (1869) aged 87.
Capt. James English opened a tavern about the year 1811, where Obed Lamberton now resides, and kept a public house a number of years. He was a wheelwright and a highly respected citizen; removed to what is now the village; died in 1825, and was buried with Masonic honors.
Capt. Jacob Putnam bought out Capt. English in 1820, and kept a public house some years, and his son, A. F. Putnam, kept a number of years after at the old stand, and later at the village.
Dudley Pitkin commenced keeping a tavern at the old place occupied by his father, about the year 1824, and for a few years continued the business.
Daniel Wilson moved from Alstead, N. H., in 1821, and settled in the village. He built and run the first carding-machine in town. He also bought the place where the hotel now stands, and built there a one-story plank house. The place soon passed into other hands, and in 1826, was bought by Eli Wheelock, who put on another story, and made other additions to the house, and opened it as a hotel the same year. It has been used for a public house till the present time (1869), but so many additions and alterations have been made, that it would now be rather a difficult matter to find the original building. The property soon passed into other hands, was purchased by Horace Bliss, who remained in the tavern a number of years; then sold to Lyman Clark, who afterwards sold to Jabez L. Carpenter, and it has had a number of owners since. A. F. Putnam was proprietor 6 years, and sold to P. Stevens. The present occupant (1869) is P. Lee.
The first store in town was opened as early as 1818, by Alfred Pitkin, son of Joshua Pitkin, Esq., in a one-story house just opposite his father's, and just where Wm. Haskins' house stands. After a few years Mr. Pitkin removed to Plainfield, and later to Montpelier. The first store in the village was kept by a Mr. Kimball. He stayed here only a short time.
Enoch D. Putnam opened a store here, Apr. 5, 1840, and continued to trade here till March, 1855, when he sold out and went to Cabot, and has recently removed to Montpelier. George Wooster went into partnership with Mr. Putnam in Sept. 1848. In May, 1858, G. & F. Wooster commenced trade in their starch-factory, but have since built a large store, and are doing a good business.
A. F. Putnam commenced trade in 1866, and is also doing a good business. Levi Bemis and some others have also been in the mercantile business in our village, and after a time have left for other places. Geo. A. Putnam is our present merchant (1881), and Mrs. Adams keeps a ladies store. A. F. Putnam, postmaster.
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Dr. Bates came here in 1826. He located at Eli Wheelock's hotel; remained but a few months. In 1827, Dr. Hersey came here to practice. He boarded at Judge Pitkin's; remained about a year. About 1828, Dr. Daniel Corliss settled in our village, stayed a year and removed to Montpelier, (now East Montpelier, where he died.)
Dr. Asa Phelps removed from Berlin to this place in 1831, and still lives here. For many years he was the only resident physician. He has known as well as any other man, what it was to travel over our hills on a dark night, with the thermometer below zero, while the winds were all abroad—years ago. At that time, we had many more poor people in town, than now, On such nights after doing for the sick, if he could have lodging on the floor, with his feet towards the fire, he would put up till daylight. He was never known after such visits to complain of his fare, indeed sometimes, he had no fare to complain of. He has had a large practice— often without pay, never objecting to have counsel, and if superseded by others, "he kept the even tenor of his way," never speaking against the practice of other physicians; thus has secured universal respect.
Dr. Ezra Paine moved here in 1842, and remained here some 2 years.
Dr. George Town removed here from Montpelier in 1852, but after a few years, sold out and returned to Montpelier, but removed here again, and has a good practice.
Dr. J. O. A. Packer, homoeopathist, removed from Peacham here in 1865. He is doing a good business.
A few persons here have attained to the age of 90 years. Dea. Spencer died at 90; Mrs. Capron over 90; Mrs. Cree, 94; Mrs. Austin, 94.
Mr. Joel Parker and wife resided in this place a year or two. Some few years since, Mrs. Parker had attained to the great age of 97, and on her birth-day sung two hymns to a neighbor who called upon her. Mr. P. was 10 years younger. They have both recently died in Northfield, she in her 100th year.
Aged persons who have died in town within 3 or 4 years.—Daniel Young, 91, and his wife Lydia, 85, Sylvester Loveland, 88, and his wife, 84; Mary Bemis, 84; Samuel G. Bent, 81; Ira Smith, 80; Abijah Bemis, 86; Willard Benton, 83.
Aged persons now living (1881) .—Dr. Asa Phelps, 85; Lucy Bemis, 86; Sally Dwinell, 86; Mary York.
The first saw-mill in town was built by Stephen Pitkin, afterwards Judge Pitkin, in 1802, on Lye brook. In 1812, he built the first saw-mill at what is now the village, and a grist-mill in 1818, which was used many years. The stone and brick gristmill, now owned by Harrison F. Ketchum, was built in 1831, by Gen. Parley Davis and Truman Pitkin. About the year 1823, Simeon Gage built clothing-works at the south part of the village, but they were used only a few years.
There has been for 20 years, in this place, a circulating library, of historical works, travels, etc.
BY MRS. DEA. A. BOYLES.
The first Congregational church in Marshfield was organized Dec. 24, 1800. By request of a number of persons in town, to be embodied into a visible church of Christ, Rev. Mr. Hobart and two brethren, Mr. Timothy Hatch and Peterson Gifford of Berlin, came and organized a church of 13 members. Selah Wells was the first deacon, and afterwards Gideon Spencer. For a number of years they had additions, both by professions and letters, and were supplied with preaching a portion of the time by ministers from the neighboring towns. Rev. Mr. Hobart of Berlin, Rev. Mr. Lyman of Brookfield, Rev. Mr. Wright of Montpelier, Rev. Mr. Worcester of Peacham, and also a Mr. Washburn and Mr. Bliss, were among those who occasionally ministered to them. About the year 1817, Rev. Levi Parsons,
afterwards missionary to Palestine, was here, and preached a number of times. But they never enjoyed the blessing of a settled minister. Thus they continued till Dec. 8, 1825, when with the hope that they should enjoy better privileges, those members residing at the south part of the town, united with the church in Plainfield. The rest of the members, and a number of other persons who wished to unite with a Congregational church, thought best to form a church at the north part of the town, in the vicinity of the village, and by request, Rev. Mr. French of Barre, and Rev. Mr. Heard of Plainfield, came and organized a church, which still remains. Brothers Andrew Currier and Alexander Boyles, were chosen deacons. It has been supplied with preaching a part of the time. Among those who have labored here are Rev. Messrs. Kinney, Baxter, Herrick, Torrey, Waterman, Samuel Marsh, and Lane. Rev. Joseph Marsh labored here nearly 2 years. Through the summer of 1868, Rev. Mr. Winch, of Plainfield, preached at 5 o'clock every other Sabbath. There have been many removals and the present number of church members is small.
Record from 1869 to Aug. 3, 1871, by Rev. N. F. Cobleigh, pastor, then.—For several years there had been but little Congregational preaching in Marshfield, when in the spring of 1870, Rev. J. T. Graves preached half of the time for 6 weeks. Soon after, Rev. N. F. Cobleigh was engaged to preach half of the time for 1 year. The church had no church property, but in the spring of 1871, a new church was begun, a Sabbath school organized, and a library obtained. The church will be dedicated Aug. 16, 1871. The membership has more than doubled during the past year. Preaching services are now held every Sabbath. Rev. N. F. Cobleigh is to be settled as pastor Aug. 16th inst.
Record from Aug. 1877, to 1879, from Rev. Geo. E. Forbes.—From this time to the spring of 1877, Rev. Mr. Cobleigh was its pastor, and through his faithful efforts its membership was very largely increased. Of the 57 who composed the church when Mr. Cobleigh resigned, only 9 were members in 1870. Aug. 16, the church was dedicated and the pastor installed. After Mr. Cobleigh's resignation in 1877, Rev. John Stone, of Berlin, supplied until early in 1878, when Rev. Paul Henry Pitkin, of Brooklyn, N. Y., was called to be its pastor. He was installed March 14; is its present pastor (1879.) Alexander Boyles, elected deacon in Aug. 1827, held office till his death, Nov. 27, 1876. The other deacons have been Andrew Currier, Silas Carleton, Benjamin Boyles and Mervin Roberts.
BY MISS A. BULLOCK.
About the year 1815, Elder John Capron commenced preaching in this town, and soon after removed his family here from Danville. There was a revival of religion, and a church was organized about this time. They believed the Scriptures, together with the spirit of God, a sufficient rule of faith and practice. They were blessed with more or less prosperity till 1825, when some of them considered some articles setting forth their faith and covenant, as necessary and proper for a Christian church. This caused a division, but finally there was a reorganization under the pastoral care of Elder Capron, Dec. 15, 1836, the two blending together again. Between this time and March 5, 1844, 44 persons united with this church, a part living in Calais, and a part in Marshfield. Among this number there were many of whom we believed "their record is on high." Elder Capron had but little educational advantages, was of warm and energetic temperament, and many remember him justly, as a friend and brother in adversity. He moved from this town some time after the death of his excellent wife, who was kind to all and ever had a word for the afflicted. She died June 14, 1848, and was buried in our soil, and her memory still clings to our hearts. Elder Capron being the first settled minister in town, was entitled to, and received the town's minister lot of land. He removed to
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Stowe. [See history of Morristown. Ed.] He was married a second time, and died some years since.
About the year 1839, there was another church of the Christian denomination organized in the North-west part of the town, under the direction of Elder Jared L. Green. This church was subjected to very hard and severe trials. Many of its members sleep in the dust, some are scattered to other parts, while others are living and striving for the better land.
Feb. 6, 1867, another church was organized here of 6 members, believing in the advent of Christ near at hand, under the pastoral care of Rev. J. A. Cleaveland.
From the early settlement of the town there have been residents here who have maintained the views of the Baptist church. More than 30 years ago a church of this denomination was organized, consisting of members in Barre, Plainfield and Marshfield. The larger number resided in Barre and Plainfield, and this church will probably be mentioned in the history of one of those towns. [Barre has left it, we think, to Plainfield.—Ed.]
BY REV. A. SCOTT.
Universalism was introduced into this town by Daniel Bemis, a Revolutionary soldier, who moved here from Conn. in 1809. Soon after Ebenezer Dodge, Jr., and Robert Spencer became associated with Mr. B. in religious faith. The first preacher of this faith here was Rev. Wm. Farewell, in 1818. From this time there was occasional Universalist preaching here till 1854, by Revs. L. H. Tabor, Benjamin Page, Lester Warren, and it may be some others.
In 1854, Daniel Bemis, Junior, Edwin Pitkin, Jonathan Goodwin, Abijah Hall and others united and secured the services of Rev. Wm. Sias for one-fourth of the Sabbaths for this and the next year. During 1855, the friends organized, under the name of "The Universalist Society of Liberal Christians in Marshfield." The society for the year 1856 and '7, enjoyed the labors of Rev. Eli Ballou for one-fourth the Sabbaths.
In 1827, an association was formed called "The Union meeting-house society," for building and keeping in repair a church they erected in the village in the north part of the town; the only church edifice in town till 1859. [In 1831, when the first list of shares prepared apportioning the time to the several denominations, the Universalists were represented by four shares, owned by Sam'l. Ainsworth, Daniel Bemis, Jr., and Cyrus Smith] In 1857, this association repaired and modernized the church, making it neat and pleasant, both external and internal. Some of the other societies, desiring more room at this time, relinquished their interest in the church. The property being sold to pay the assessment upon it, it fell into different hands, and at the present writing, 1869, three-fourths of the occupancy is given to the Universalist society. This change in the occupancy of the house gave a new impetus to the cause in the town. This society has since sustained public worship one-half of the Sabbaths, excepting 1866 and '7, during which they sustained it every Sabbath. These years were supplied as follows: 1858 and '9, by Rev. Eli Ballou; 1860, Rev. M. B. Newell; 1861, '2 and '3, by Rev. E. Ballou; 1864, by Rev. Olympia Brown; 1865, by Rev. L. Warren; 1866, '7 and '8, by Rev. A. Scott. Revs. Newell, Brown and Scott lived in the town during their ministrations. The society was united, and at the present time, 1869, is in as good, if not better, condition than at any former period, having raised more money for the support of worship one-half of the Sabbaths, than it had ever before done. Rev. L. Warren is to labor with it from May 1, 1869. Connected with the society and congregation are some 40 families, beside many single individuals of other families. There is also a small Sabbath-school, for the use of which there is a reading library of 150 vols. The church property is worth from $3,000 to $3,500, ¾ of which is given to the occupancy of the society.
From paper of Rev. Geo. E. Forbes in 1879— Universalist record continued —In 1869, Rev. Lester Warren was engaged to preach one-half of the time till the spring of 1873. In July of this year, Rev. Geo. E. Forbes was settled over the society. For 2 years the Plainfield society united with this for his support. The remainder of the time he has preached for this society exclusively, and is its present pastor.
The Union Sabbath-school, composed of scholars from the different denominations occupying the church, was continued until 1871. Since that time the Sabbath-school here has been connected with this society; present number, about 90, officers and pupils. A. H. Davis was its superintendent in 1871 to '75, when he was succeeded by C. H. Newton. Under the ministry of Rev. L. Warren in 1871, a church was organized, which at present numbers 43 members. John E. Eddy and Abial H. Davis were elected deacons, and still hold the office. Ira H. Edson was the first church clerk, succeeded by D. R. Loveland and C. H. Newton, present clerk.
METHODIST CHURCH IN MARSHFIELD.
In May, 1826, Stephen Pitkin, Jr., married the writer, a daughter of Gen. Parley Davis, of Montpelier. A few months before she had been baptized by Rev. Wilbur Fisk, and united with the M. E. church on probation. Previous to their marriage Mr. Pitkin had also experienced religion. In Jan. 1827, there being no Methodists in Marshfield at that time, they both united with the Methodist church in Cabot; he as a probationer, being baptized by Rev. A. D. Sargeant, of the N. E. Conference, and she, by letter, in full connection. In 1827, the union meeting-house was built at Marshfield, and a committee appointed to divide the time for occupying the house between the different denominations owning it. A few Sabbaths were set to the Methodists, though Mr. Pitkin was the only Methodist pew-holder. Rev. N. W. Aspinwall, preacher in charge at Cabot, appointed and attended meetings here on these Sabbaths alternately with his colleague, Rev. Elisha J. Scott. In Feb. 1828, the first quarterly meeting was held, weather stormy. The meeting commenced Saturday, P. M. Several ministers and one minister's wife were in attendance, and all were entertained at our own house—a small frame-house, never encumbered with clapboards.
The next year Sophronia and Sally Cate were baptized by Rev. Hershal Foster— the former now Mrs. Guernsey, of Montpelier. These two, with Mr. Pitkin and myself, and a Mrs. Whittle, constituted the first Methodist class in Marshfield, organized in the autumn of 1829, Mr. Pitkin class-leader and steward. What seasons of interest were the class-meetings and prayer-meetings of those days! The next to join were Samuel G. Bent and wife. Our numbers increased very gradually; at most, we occupied the church only the Sabbaths. Rev. Solomon Sias, Rev. Stephen H. Cutler, Rev. E. J. Scott, and others, spoke to us the words of life. About 1834, the first wife of Andrew English, Esq., proposed to the writer, we should get the children of the neighborhood together for a Sabbath-school. As we had preaching at the church so little, we met at our homes alternately, at 5 o'clock. This we did many months, till we had a good-sized school, when it was proposed to take our Sabbath-school to the church, where it was duly organized, Jeremiah Carleton, Esq., first superintendent. A library was procured, and the school prospered. It was strictly a union Sabbath-school. The desk was supplied by ministers of different denominations, and our Sabbath-school went on. For a number of years the Methodists were supplied with preaching ¼ the time, by preachers who lived in Cabot. After that, we were united with Woodbury and Calais, and supplied in that way. A few united with the little band from year to year, but deaths and removals kept our number small. Some of these death-bed scenes were, however, remarkably happy. Especially was this the case in the death of Loammi Sprague.
The first preacher sent here by Conference was Rev. David Packer, who died a
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few years since in Chelsea, Mass. He resided on East Hill, in Calais.
At this time preachers received but a very small salary, and the members were often scattering and poor. After being in Calais a few weeks, Mr. and Mrs. Packer one morning ate their last food. Almost an entire stranger, Mr. Packer did not feel that he could beg. After uniting in family prayer, he retired to an old barn on the place, while she sought her closet, and each alone committed their case to the father of the stranger and the poor.
A mile away from them lived a young farmer, not a
professor of religion. As he started after breakfast for the hay-field with his
hired help, something seemed to impel him to stop. He must go back to the house
and carry some provisions to the new minister. It was of no use to say,
"I'm not acquainted with them, I know nothing of their needs," he
must take them some food. He told the men they might go to mowing, he must go
back. He went back, told his wife his feelings, and they together put up meat,
potatoes, flour, butter and sugar, and other things,
a fair wagon load, and he took it over, and found how blessed it was to give, and they, how safe to trust in God.
Slowly did the little church increase, never having preaching more than one-fourth of the time for many years.
In 1851, the Congregationalists and Methodists agreed to unite and support preaching. First for 2 years they would have Congregational preaching, and then Methodist for the next 2. Rev. Mr. Marsh, Congregational, was our first minister, and at the close of the two years Rev. Lewis P. Cushman was appointed by Conference, and spent 2 years with us. In those years a number were added to the church. Mr. Cushman is now a missionary in Texas; his little daughter, Clara, so well remembered by us, started last October as a missionary to China.
Before the close of Mr. Cushman's first year Mr. Pitkin died, and as he had been very influential in procuring and sustaining preaching, and there was no one to then take his place, the effort was now abandoned, and for a number of years we had no stated preaching. At length, in 1859, a few concluded to make one more effort, and Rev. Joshua Gill was stationed with us. The Union church had passed mostly into the hands of the Universalists, and we had no preaching place. We needed a church, and one was put up and covered in '59, and finished in 1860. The house was the right size, well furnished. Our next minister was Rev. Geo. H. Bickford, an excellent preacher, and one of the best of men. He died some years later at Barton. His last words, his hand upon his breast, closing his eyes, that grand old doxology, the gloria, "Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost." Rev. C. S. Buswell came next 2 years. Rev. James Robinson was stationed here in 1865, Rev. Joseph Hamilton in 1867; both years we had some additions. In 1869, Rev. James Spinney was appointed here. No. of vols. in S. S. library, 450.
In 1871, Rev. J. Hamilton was with us again, and stayed one year. In 1872, Conference made Rev. C. P. Flanders our pastor, succeeded in 1874, by Rev. C. A. Smith, who was with us 3 years, followed by Rev. G. H. Hastings in 1877, in 1879 by Rev. O. A. Farley, and in 1881 by Rev. C. H. Farnsworth, our present pastor. Our members have gradually increased; our present number is 73.
In the spring of 1870, we bought of Bemis Pike a good house and garden for a parsonage; cost, $1,800.
Feb. 3, 1878, our church was burned. The society had just put down a new carpet, and a new organ and new lamps had been purchased, which, together with our large Sabbath-school library, was all consumed, and no insurance. What a loss for us! But after mature deliberation we decided to rebuild. The Church Extension Society gave us $200. Rev. A. L. Cooper $50, and a few other friends smaller sums. January 16, 1879, our new church was dedicated, sermon by Rev. A. L. Cooper. The church is built in the Norman Gothic style of architecture, nicely finished and furnished throughout, warmed from the vestry beneath, and free from debt.
Since we have had a church of our own, our Sabbath-school has been prosperous, and never more so than at the present time. It is large, numbering over 80. The present superintendent is J. B. Pike.
whose history is so interwoven with early Methodism in Marshfield, was very unassuming in his manners, and very strong in his temperance and anti-slavery principles. He belonged to the old Liberty party when in this town; their caucuses were opened with prayer. He had a great aversion to pretension. He once lent his sleigh and harness to a man calling himself John Cotton, to go to Barnet, to be gone three days. Cotton was quite a stranger, having been in our place but 6 weeks, during which he had boarded with my husband's brother, working for him a part of the time, and the rest of the time selling clocks he had purchased of a Mr. Bradford, in Barre. Four days went by. On inquiry, Mr. Pitkin found that the clocks had been purchased on trust, and all sold for watches or money; that he owed $60 toward his horse, and that he had borrowed of the brother with whom he boarded, horse-blanket, whip and mittens. It seemed sure he was a rogue. What could be done? Pursuit was useless after such a lapse of time. Mr. P. felt his loss severely; he had little property then, and what he had, was the product of hard labor; but he always made his business a subject of prayer. About 3 weeks passed away. One evening, having been out some time, he came in, and with his characteristic calmness, said, "H—, I shall not worry any more about my sleigh and harness; I think I shall get them again." "Why do you think so?" said I. His answer was, "I have been praying God to arrest Cotton's conscience, so that he will be obliged to leave them where I can get them, and I believe he will do it," and from this time, Wednesday evening, he seemed at rest on the subject. The next Tuesday morning, as he stepped into the post-office, a letter was handed him from Littleton, N. H., written by the keeper of a public house there:
Mr. Pitkin—Sir:—Mr. John Cotton has left your sleigh and harness here, and you can have them by calling for them.
Yours, &c., JOHN NEWTON.
He started for Littleton the same day, some 40 miles, found the sleigh and harness safe, with no encumbrance. The landlord said the Wednesday night previous, at 12 o'clock, a man calling himself John Cotton came to his house, calling for horse-baiting and supper. He would not stay till morning, but wished to leave the sleigh and harness for Mr. Pitkin, of Marshfield, Vt. He also requested the landlord to write to Mr. Pitkin, and said he could not write, and that he took them for Mr. Pitkin on a poor debt, and started off at a o'clock at night, on horseback, with an old pair of saddle-bags and a horse-blanket on a saddle with one stirrup, and no crupper, on one of the coldest nights of that winter. None of the other men to whom he was indebted received anything from him, or ever heard from him after.
[This brief sketch of this so worthy man cannot be better completed than by the following lines we have in our possession, which were written by Mrs. Pitkin after his death:]
"I have loved thee on Earth,
May I meet thee in Heaven!"
Thrice, since they laid him with the dead,
Have Autumn's golden sheaves been laded,
Thrice have the spring-birds come and flown,
And thrice the flowrets bloomed and faded.
Yet, yet the far-off birds returning,
The harvest sunset gilded o'er,
The flowrets springing, blooming, fading,
But whisper, "he will come no more."
That hymn of praise, that voice in prayer,
On memory's zephyrs back to me,
Thrilling my inmost soul, they come
Like midnight music on the sea.
In these dear haunts, beside this hearth,
There is for me no answering tone.
We knelt together by her grave,
I weep and pray by theirs alone!
Oh, "pure in heart," in purpose firm,
To me be thy meek mantle given;
One faith, one hope was ours on earth,
God grant us one bless'd home in Heaven.
In the winter of 1866, a lodge of Good Templars was organized here. Good has been accomplished, and it is hoped much more may yet be done. The present number of members is 101.
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DEA. GIDEON SPENCER
Came first to Marshfield from East Hartford, Conn., in company with Caleb and Martin Pitkin in the spring of 1792. That summer and the next they worked clearing land, and preparing for the coming of their families, returning for them in the fall. February, 1794, Mr. Spencer, Caleb Pitkin and Aaron Elmer removed their families to this wilderness, and commenced the settlement of Marshfield. From Montpelier they came with hand-sleds without roads over snow 4 feet deep. Daniel, oldest child of the Spencer family, was 4 years old. This family had the first daughter, born in town, and their son, Horace, was born the day the town was organized. Their location was a mile from either of the other settlers. So neighborly were the bears, Mr. Spencer found it necessary to take his gun when going after his cow, which had the whole forest for pasture.
He was chosen deacon of the Congregational church, soon after its organization; was active in sustaining meeting, and attained the great age of 90 years. His wife, a daughter of Capt. Isaac Marsh, a woman of energetic and social habits, died at the age of 86.
married Hannah, daughter of Capt. Isaac Marsh, and came first to Marshfield as a surveyor. He was rather retiring in his manners, but had a vein of pleasantry which made him agreeable company, and he had a good education for the times. He was a good reader, and often when no minister was present, read the Sunday sermon. His trade was a mason, and the original stone-chimneys of the first dwellings were laid by him. His wife was social, and a worker. He removed to Peacham a few years before his death, Apr. 1813, at the age of 40. His widow returned to Marshfield, and lived some years after the decease of her husband. The oldest son, James, still lives on the old place. One son, a physician, has deceased, and a daughter lives in Burlington.
JOSHUA PITKIN, ESQ.,
born in East Hartford, Conn., arrived with his wife and three children in Marshfield on the 1st of Mar., 1795, and located where Wm. Haskins now lives. Not a tree was felled on the lot, excepting what had been felled by hunters in trapping for furs; but he went to work and soon had a spot cleared, a log-house up and ready to occupy. He raised a large family, and resided on the same place till his death. He kept the first public house in town, and was the first justice of peace. He and his exemplary wife united with the Congregational church. She died about 1821, and he married again. He commenced a journal of his life and business Mar. 28, 1796. The last record is dated June 10, 1847. He died June 25, 1847. His last words were, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," etc. Dea. Pitkin of Montpelier, his second son, kept the first store in town. None of his descendants remain in Marshfield.
HON. STEPHEN PITKIN
came with his wife into this town March 1, 1795. He had a large farm, pleasantly located, where Bowman Martin now resides. He was very well educated for the times, and possessed of a strong mind, and great energy. His keen eye, and commanding look gave evidence he was one to lead others, rather than one to be led. His influence was great in the business transactions of the town. He was the first town representative; held the office in all, 13 years; was first militia captain, eventually became a major, and was assistant county judge 4 years.
He was considerate of the poor, and the writer is informed by his nephew, James Pitkin, Esq., that in the cold season of 1816 and '17, when almost no provisions were raised, he bought salmon at Montpelier by the barrel, when he had to be trusted for it himself, and sold it out to those in need, taking his pay when they could work for it. He continued to reside on the same farm till his death, which took place May 22, 1834, age 62. He raised a family of 13 children, 12 of his own, one
dying in infancy, and one, the motherless babe of his brother, Levi, he and his excellent wife adopted and brought up as their own. His oldest son, Horace, settled in town, but after a few years, removed to Central Ohio, where he recently died. His second son, Edwin, an enterprising citizen, settled in town, raised a large and intelligent family, was considerably in town business,—and was for many years the principal surveyor in the vicinity. He died a few years since. His third son, Truman, settled in Marshfield first, subsequently in Montpelier, where he died, leaving 3 sons and one daughter. One of his sons, Gen. P. P. Pitkin, resides in Montpelier, and the other two at the West. His 4th son, Stephen Pitkin, Jr., will be particularly mentioned in another place in this history. The two youngest sons went West, where one died a number of years since. Three daughters still live, one in Iowa and two in Massachusetts.
CAPT. STEPHEN RICH,
born in Sutton, Mass., at 15 became a soldier in the Revolutionary war, as a substitute for his father. He was at the taking of Burgoyne, and in a number of other battles. He came to Marshfield in Feb. 1798, and settled where his grandson Samuel D. Hollister now resides. He was the first selectman of Marshfield and first town clerk; held the office 7 years. His only son George, was also town clerk 7 years. He removed to Montpelier, where he died. Capt. Rich filled various town offices, and was an esteemed citizen. He accumulated a large property, and had, besides the son mentioned, a family of five daughters. He resided where he first settled till his death, at the age of 83. His wife, a woman of uncommon energy, survived some years after his decease.
CAPT. JOSIAH HOLLISTER.
Born in E. Hartford, Ct., came to Marshfield about the year 1806. He married Phebe, daughter of Capt. Stephen Rich, in 1809. He acquired a large property, was respected by his townsmen, and had a fair share of town offices. He represented the town in the legislature of the State 2 years, and was chosen captain of a company of cavalry. He died at the age of 52.
HON. HORACE HOLLISTER.
Born in E. Hartford, Ct., in 1791; when a young man came to Marshfield, and resided one year with his brother Josiah, and then returned to Ct.; was married to Ruth P., daughter of Capt. Stephen Rich, and moved to Colebrook, N. H., first in 1817, and to Marshfield in 1821. Like his brother, he was very successful, shared largely in the confidence of the people, and was very much in public business. He was a man who had an opinion of his own, and dared express it. He was elected to most of the town offices; was overseer of the poor many years; also, assistant judge 2 years, and senator 2 years. He died recently, aged 76.
HON. WILLIAM MARTIN.
BY MRS. SOLOMON WELLS, OF PLAINFIELD.
Among the early settlers of Marshfield, was Wm. Martin, born in Francistown, N. H., July 28, 1786. In 1800, his father and family moved to the frontiers of Vermont. William worked out mostly till 21, to help support his father's family. He worked at South Boston a part of the time, and on the first canal that was built at Cambridge, and went to Canada, owing to the scarcity of money in Vermont, and worked. He had no education except what he picked up, without attending school. At 18, he enlisted in a company of cavalry; was chosen at once an officer, and rose from one grade of office to another to colonel. At the time of President Monroe's visit to Vermont, he commanded the company that escorted him into Montpelier, and took dinner with the President. He continued in the militia, was in the war of 1812, and at the battle of Plattsburgh.
In 1809, he married Sabra Axtell, of Marshfield, and moved that summer to Plainfield, where he lived 4 years, and then bought a farm in Marshfield, about a mile above Plainfield village, where he resided till 1840. His farm was one of the finest upon the head waters of the Winooski. He had 5 boys and 2 girls, two
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of whom are now dead. He held many of the town offices; was constable and collector 25 years; 12 years representative, and a number of times was one of the assistant judges of the County Court. Up to 1840, much of his time was spent in public business. He then moved to Montpelier (now E. Montpelier,) afterwards returned to Marshfield, but finally removed to Rockton, Ill., where he now resides. His wife is still living (1869,) but has been blind for 16 years. He is a man of fine social qualities, and was always hospitable and kind to the poor. He acquired a handsome property, and an accuracy in doing business which but few men possess. He was many years a member of the Congregational church in Plainfield.
JACOB PUTNAM, ESQ.
BY HON. E. D. PUTNAM, OF MONTPELIER.
My father, Jacob Putnam, moved from Alstead, N. H., to Marshfield, with his family, himself and wife, 3 boys and 3 girls, in the spring of 1820. He also brought with him his father and mother, Joseph and Miriam Putnam. They were among the first settlers of Hancock, N. H., where my father was born in 1784. He bought the farm of James English, Esq., on the river road, 2 miles south of the village, 220 acres, for which he paid $1,400. He afterwards sold 50 acres, and the remainder was sold in 1868 for $6,200. This is about a fair sample of the rise of real estate in the town in the last 50 years. Mr. English moved to the village, and built a house and wheelwright shop. There were at that time a saw and grist-mill, and only two houses within what are now the limits of the village. The land where the village now stands was then but partially cleared, and there were no settlements east of the river, except in the extreme N. E. and S. E. corners of the town, and there was but little money in the country. Most of the business transactions were in neat stock and grain. When anything of any considerable value was bought on credit (as was usually the case,) notes were generally given, payable in neat stock in Oct., or grain in Jan. following. When the prices of the stock could not be agreed upon by the parties, three men were selected as appraisers, their appraisal to be binding upon the parties. A pair of good oxen were worth about $50 to $60; cows, $12 to $15; corn and rye were worth 50 cts. per bushel; oats, 20 cents; potatoes, 12 to 20 cents. Good crops of wheat were generally raised in town, and I can recollect of wheat being carried as late as 1824, to Troy, N. Y., for a market. There was no manufacturing to any considerable extent done in this country as early as 1820. Nearly all the clothing was made at home by hand. The spinning-wheel and loom might be found in almost every house, and among my earliest recollections is the buzz of the wheel and the thumping of the old loom, and whenever there came a pleasant, sunny day in March, the flax-break might be heard at almost every farmer's barn, and very well do I recollect the "big bunches" of woolen and linen yarn which "ornamented" the kitchen of the old homestead, spun by my mother and sisters. The words of Proverbs, "She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh diligently with her hands," were peculiarly applicable to my mother. In addition to making all the cloth for clothing the family, she made hundreds of yards of woolen and linen cloth, and exchanged it at the store for family necessaries. These days have passed. A spinning-wheel is rarely seen now; if found at all, it is stowed away in some old garret, a relic, and the sewing-machine is annihilating the needle. Are people happier now than they were then?
My father enjoyed the confidence of the public; was town clerk 19 years, and occasionally held other town offices. He lived on the same place where he first bought 36 years, to the time of his death, in 1856, aged 72 years. My mother died in 1864, aged 81. They lived together 52 years. Their children are all living, except the eldest son, Thomas B., who died Apr. 30, 1830. The youngest son, A. F. Putnam, is the present postmaster of Marshfield. My grandfather died in 1826, aged 83 years; my grandmother in 1835, aged 91.
JONATHAN GOODWIN, ESQ.
BY MRS. H. L. GOODWIN.
Jonathan Goodwin was born at Concord, N. H., May 27, 1784, where he passed his youth and early manhood. He was one of a large family. Were it not for the experience of the late war, it would be difficult for a person in these days to realize the bitterness of party-spirit and controversy, even among kindred, which existed before and during the war of 1812. At a family gathering where politics were discussed, Jonathan being a Democrat, and the other members of the family Federalists, a brother remarked, "as there was a prospect of war, it would be a good time for him to show his patriotism and courage, if he had any." He replied, "it was a pity those who had so much sympathy for the enemies of their country, were not in a position to afford them the aid and assistance they would naturally wish to give." "These remarks were never forgotten. Jonathan enlisted as recruiting sergeant, was afterwards lieutenant and captain; was stationed at Saco. Me., Boston and Plattsburgh. At the latter he received an injury from which he never recovered, and was a pensioner the remainder of his life. It is worthy of remark that during the 7 years he was in the United States' service, although at that time the custom of using ardent spirits was almost universal, he never indulged in it, not even after being assured by his physician that probably he would not survive the campaign without it. In 1814, his family moved from Concord, N. H., to Randolph, Vt. After his discharge he removed to Chelsea, and in 1839, to this town to reside with his eldest son. The following summer they built a house, and occupied it one winter. In April it was burned.
It was burned on Saturday. The next day, Elder Capron announced from his pulpit that on Monday the inhabitants would meet to assist Messrs. Goodwin in getting out timber for another house-frame.
On Monday, men enough came to cut the timber, hew it, frame it, draw it over a mile, and raise a house, 28 by 34 feet, in a day.
He passed the remainder of his life in Marshfield; was justice of peace, town clerk 2 years, postmaster 2 years, and often administered on the estates of the deceased, and gave general satisfaction. Although in early life his opportunities for education were limited, he was a person of more than ordinary information, especially in history and the Bible, of which he was a daily student.
In early life he united with the Baptist church in Concord, but during a season of religious interest in Chelsea, was drawn to a more thorough examination of the Scriptures than ever before, which led to his embracing the doctrine of the final redemption of all, in which belief he afterwards continued till his death, Jan. 1867, aged 82, generally respected as a man and a Christian.
REV. MARCUS M. CARLETON,
son of Jeremiah Carleton, Esq., was born in Marshfield, 1826. When about 15, he made a profession of religion, uniting with the Congregational church in Barre, where he resided with his uncle. He soon after decided to be a foreign missionary, and from hence devoted all his energies to procuring a suitable education. He first entered Middlebury College, but removed to Amherst College, Massachusetts, where he graduated, and on account of a chronic cough went south to study theology at Columbia, S. C. After finishing his course, he offered himself to the Congregational Board for foreign missions, but was not accepted, they fearing his health would fail; but determined in his resolutions he offered himself immediately to the Presbyterian Board by whom he was accepted, and sailed for India in 1865, where he has labored most of the time since. He was stationed first in Ambalia city, but the mission seeing him eminently fitted for an itinerant, set him apart for that work after a few years, since which he has lived most of the time in a tent, travelling from village to village in Ambalia district, instructing and preaching to the people, and having studied medicine, finding it very advantageous to him in his ministeral
216 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
labors among the inhabitants, he also administers to them as a physician—sometimes his family accompany him in the tent; but during the hot season they generally remain among the mountains, where he sometimes rests with them during the hottest period. [An account of his family we will not repeat here, as we have already given the same in a notice of Rev. Mr. Carleton with his family in Barre—See No. 1, of this vol. p. 40. A member of the Carleton family tells me he is a man of herculean frame—physically and mentally a very strong man. In a letter to his father in 1879, an extract of which lies before me, he speaks of his good health as a source of great joy—seems to luxuriate body and soul in his nomadic preaching life.]
MARSHFIELD MILITARY RECORD.
SOLDIERS OF 1812.
This place furnished 8: Abijah Bemis, Phineas Bemis, Obadiah Bemis, David Cutting, John Waugh, Abijah Hall, Isaac Austin, and Philip Delan.
Lewis Bemis, a brother of three of these soldiers, was also from this town, though he enlisted from Barnet. His father and friends all resided here, and he should have a notice here. He belonged to the old 4th regiment, which was sent out under Col. Miller to the then territory of Ohio, to look after the Indians who were making depredations on the frontier settlements. At one time they came to the dwelling of a Mr. Harriman, (whose wife was the daughter of Alexander Parker of Montpelier, and sister of Mrs. James Pitkin of this town,) just about an hour after the savages had murdered and left him and his family. They pressed on, but failed to overtake the Indians, and soon after joined the main body under the infamous Gen. Hull on its way to Fort Detroit. Before arriving at Detroit, Col. Miller saw Hull's treachery, and accused him of it, and challenged him to fight a duel, both before and after their arrival, quite in vain; he surrendered the fort and army without firing a gun. In that fort, among our men, were a number of British who had deserted and joined our army. The next morning, and two or three succeeding mornings, our army was paraded and the British officers walked along and inspected it, and when they saw a British soldier, he was tapped on the shoulder, and commanded to step out. Where they had suspicions, and yet were not certain as to their being British subjects, they would question them. A number of times Mr. Bemis, though he never saw Ireland, was asked, "In what town in Ireland were you born"? Each time his answer was, "I was born in Paxham, in Massachusetts." One poor fellow, the first time they came round, succeeded in squinting his eyes so as fairly to deceive them, and after that succeeded in slipping down an embankment just in the right time to save his life. About 40 of these poor deserters were taken out and shot. The army, surrendered by Hull, was then taken to Quebec, and confined in a prison-ship on the St. Lawrence, where they were allowed but one half pint of water per day, though their prison was floating on the river, and it any one attempted to let down a cup for water, he was shot down. Three-fourths of the prisoners eventually died from the cruelties there received. The rest were eventually exchanged.
JESSE WEBSTER died in Marshfield, Oct. 20, 1878, aged 83 years. He was one of the Plattsburgh volunteers, and had an application for pension pending at the time of his death.
It is not known that any one enlisted from this town, in the war with Mexico.
But when the great rebellion broke out, that intensity of feeling which thrilled from the prairies of the West to the shores of the Atlantic, found an answering tone among our hills, and by our firesides. And as call after call for reinforcements came, the father left his family, the son his parents, in many cases, alas! to return no more.
They came in serried ranks, the boys in blue,
Who at their country's call no danger knew;
Room! room! for Marshfield boys, our
LIST OF SOLDIERS FURNISHED FOR WAR OF
BY GEN. P. P. PITKIN, OF MONTPELIER.
Alphonso Lessor, Co. D, 2d Reg. Pro. Lt., wd.
Patrick Mahar, F, 2. Wd. & dis. Oct. 31, 62.
Alvah H. Miles, F, 2.
Chauncey Smith, D, 2. Died of disease in army.
David P. Bent, G, 4. Died; buried at Washington.
Byron Bullock, G, 4. Died of disease in army.
Hiram Hall, H, 3. Died.
John E. Aiken, G, 4.
Robert A. Spencer, G, 4.
Edward W. Bradley, F, 6. Wounded.
Homer Hollister, F, 6. Wounded in hand.
Asa H. Winch, 1st Bat. Died at New Orleans.
Joshua D. Dunham,. 2d Bat. Died at New Orleans.
George W. Nownes, C, First Cav.
Ira Batchelder, C, First Cav. Wounded.
Josiah O. Livingston, I, 9. Pro. Capt. Co. G, Oct. 19, '64.
George N. Carpenter, I, 9. Pro. 1st. Lieut.
Benjamin F. Huntington, I, 9.
Vilas Smith, I, 9. Lost overboard Steamer U. S. near Fortress Monroe.
John Q. Amidon, I, 11.
Jackson Blodgett, I, 11. Died.
George H. Wheeler, I, 11.
Harvey L. Wood, I, 11. Deserted.
Benj. F. Shephard, Jr., I, 11. Died in Hosp. at Montpelier.
Robert H. Tibbetts, I, 11. Killed in battle.
Alvah A. Cole, I, 11.
Elbridge G. Wilson, I, 11. Killed in battle.
Francis H. Felix, I, 11. Injured in shoulder.
John W. Huntington, I, 11.
Lorenzo D. Mallory, C, 1st Cav. Pris'nr at Andersonville; exch'd, died on way home.
William R. Gove, C, 1st Cav.
Charles Nownes, C, 1st Cav.
Thaddeus S. Bullock, G, 4, Died in hospital.
Nathaniel Robinson, G, 4. Ball in hand, cannot be extracted.
Calvin R. Hills, G, 4. Wounded.
William A. Webster, A, 4. Died at Andersonville.
Wesley P. Martin, G, 4.
David B. Merrill, A, 4.
Smith Ormsbee, G, 4. Shot on picket, died from wound.
Samuel Wheeler, A, 4.
John Bancroft, C, Cav. Died.
Parker S. Dow, C, 8 Regt.
Frederick H. Turner, H, 1
David K. Lucas, 3d Bat.
Edmund H. Packer, 3d Bat.
Allen Phelps, Frontier Cav.
Moses Lamberton, do. do.
Edward L. W heeler, do. do.
Leonard H. Fulsome, do. do.
Frank L. Batchelder, E, 4 Regt.
Ira Ainsworth, E, 4.
Patrick Moore, D, 8.
Lysander E. Walbridge, E, 8.
Theron T. Lamphere, E, 8.
Hiram Craves, K, 2.
Thomas Witham. K. 2. Died, prisoner.
George H. Nelson, D, 2. Badly wounded.
David Powers, D, 2.
Henry A. Rickard, D, 2.
Joseph S. M. Benjamin, B, Cav.
Francis H. Ketchum, C, " Badly wounded with shell.
Eri McCrillis, C, Cav. Died at Andersonville.
Geo. W. Nownes, C, Cav. Died Andersonv'e,
Cyrus Farnsworth, H, 4 Regt.
Horace Burnham, C, Cav.
Charles M. Wing, B, Cav. Leg broken.
Norman W. Johnson, F, 2 Regt. Ball thro. body and wrist, lived.
John O. Morse, I, 9. Died.
James H. Carpenter, H, 11.
John Graves, Jr. H, 11. Died at Andersonville,
Solon H. Preston, H, 11.
William W. Willey, H, 11.
Walter H. Morris, G. 3. Wounded.
Charles H. Newton, G, 4. Wn'ded with shell.
James Aylward, E, 17. Died.
John H. Amidon, I, 11.
Charles T. Clark, E, 17. Died.
James Clark, C, 17. Died.
William G. French, E, 17. Died.
Clark J. Foster, E, 17. Badly wn'ded in leg.
Benj. F. Huntington, E, 17.
Daniel Hogan, E, 17.
Wm. E. Martin, E, 17. 1st Lieut.; killed before Petersburg.
Harvey L. Batchelder, C, 13.
Martin L. Chandler, " "
Eli S. Pitkin, C, 13.
Charles A. Davis, C, 13.
Hudson J. Kibbee, " "
Sereno W. Gould, " "
Charles E. Shephard, C, 13.
Albert Sargeant, C, 13.
Willard M. Austin, C, 13.
Orson Woodcock, " "
Rufus H. Farr, C, 13.
Benjamin B. Buzzell, C, 13.
David Huntington, " "
Joseph Simmons, C, 13.
Lucius D. Nute, " "
In 1863 a draft was ordered; 34 men were drafted, but only one, Cottrill Clifford, went into the service; 22 paid their commutation money. Clifford served his time, was discharged, and accidentally killed on his way home. I do not find his name in our list of soldiers; probably he was put in to fill up some regiment separately from our other men.
There went out 98 from us, 28 of whom never returned. A few were brought back to be buried, but most of our dead sleep on Southern soil. In the vigor of young manhood they went, one and another, who were household treasures.
"The loved of all, yet none
O'er their low bed may weep."
Perhaps the last news of them was, "seen on the battle-field," or "taken prisoner,"
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and then long months elapsed ere one word could be heard to stay the anguish of suspense. At last came the fearful, "Died at Andersonville."
MONTPELIER & WELLS RIVER RAILROAD.
When the history of Marshfield was written eleven years ago, we had no railroad. About this time a charter was granted for the Montpelier & Wells River road, which passes through our town about a mile from the village. The town bonded itself in the sum of $17,500, and private subscriptions made up the sum of $30,000. All is paid but about half the bonds.
The first train of cars went through here Nov. 29, 1873. Of course the rejoicing was great.
A year or two later we were connected with the rest of the world by telegraph. The advantage to the public is not easily estimated. The railroad is doing good business. L. D. Nute is station agent and telegraph operator. A private telegraph is owned and run by George A. Putnam and L. D. Nute, from the depot to Putnam's store, where the post-office is located. Mr. and Mrs. Putnam are telegraph operators.
THE THANKS OF THE WRITER
are due to James Pitkin, Andrew English and E. S. Pitkin, Esqs., and others, for the assistance rendered her in this work; also to Miss Anna Pitkin, of Montpelier, for the loan of her father's journal.
[We have known our excellent historianess of Marshfield more than 20 years. Mrs. Pitkin was a favorite contributor in our "Poets and Poetry of Vermont," (1858,) in which see from her pen, "The Young Emigrant," "The Fugitive Slave," pages 333, 334. So well has Mrs. Pitkin written for us, and for the Montpelier papers in the past, Zion's Herald and other papers, we cannot forbear, not solicited by her, but of our own good will, to place a little group selected from her poems at the foot of her history here—Ed.]
MRS. HANNAH C. PITKIN.
For thee, busy man, in a forest lone
A shoot hath started, a tree hath grown.
The axe-man, perchance, may have laid it low
For thy narrow house—it is ready now,
All ready—but mortal, art thou, art thou?
Maiden, thy dream of affection so warm,
Trust not. The shroud to envelop thy form
Is woven, is coming, by wind or wave;
'Tis thine, by a stamp which no mortal gave.
Thou canst not turn from the path to the grave.
Art thou toiling for wealth, the weary day,
Or thirsting for fame—there's a pillow of clay
On a lowly bed, 'tis waiting thee there,
The mould and the worm thy pillow will share;
Spirit, oh, where is thy refuge—Oh, where?
TO THE ITINERANT'S WIFE.
BY MRS. H. C. PITKIN.
Out on the ocean, dark and wild
A little bark was driven.
One kindly star looked out and smiled
A precious boon from heaven;
It warned of threatening near,
Just, just in time the rocks to clear.
I stood upon a point of land
Where ocean billows came,
A beauteous wave just kissed the strand,
Then seaweed swept again.
'Twas gone, to come again no more,
But left a gem upon the shore.
A wanderer lone mid desert's waste,
Beneath a burning sky,
Sank down at last despairingly,
He felt that he must die,
My Island Home, so dear to me,
I never, never more may see!
Oh God! he cried. A tiny flower
Just caught his closing eye,
And in its winsome loveliness,
It seemed to whisper "try."
God lives, take heart, so o'er the main
He found his Island Home again.
So sister, like the star be thine
To bless the tempest driven,
And point, to poor despairing ones
The narrow way to Heaven.
And in the wanderer's darkest hour,
Sweetly to win him like the flower.
In blessing be thou ever blest,
Cheer age, and counsel youth,
And ever where thy pathway lies,
Scatter the gems of truth.
And hear, when Death is lost in Life
Blessings on the Itinerant's Wife.
FROM AN HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF MARSHFIELD.
CONTRIBUTED BY REV. GEO. E. FORBES IN 1879.
[After the Legislature of Vermont had approbated and passed the General Resolutions of 1878, to assist in finishing this work, the MS, history of Mrs. Pitkin, furnished to us for the work in 1869, having
been sent to the Claremont Manufacuring Company of New Hampshire, and by them withheld four years, with the other Washington County papers sent, under their proposition to immediately print. We wrote to Mrs. Pitkin for a duplicate of her history. Unable, from the infirmities of her age and feebleness, from fully undertaking to so do, she engaged the assistance of Rev. Mr. Forbes, who gave us a very reliable and pleasant paper of about half the length of Mrs. Pitkin's paper, with which we were pleased and should have published, had we not fortunately meantime recovered Mrs. Pitkin's papers, which as they are the fullest record, as she was first invited to write, and is so eminently a Washington County woman, daughter of old Gen. Parley Davis, of Montpelier, and a long-time honored and beloved resident of Marshfield, we are assured no other writer could be so acceptable to Marshfield, and none other to the County, and so have given the papers of Mrs. Pitkin in full, nearly; and will here but append a few extracts from the paper by Mr. Forbes, containing information or points in it not in Mrs. Pitkin's paper; while we feel to express under the circumstances more thanks to Mr. Forbes than if able to give his paper more fully—Ed.]
Marshfield is situated in the eastern part of the County, and lies on both sides of the Winooski river, which flows through it from north to south. The soil is a mixture of clay and loam; the surface broken and hilly, is divided into productive farms. The river valley, and that part of the town lying west of it, contains the best tillage land, which has very largely been brought under cultivation. The eastern part, more rocky, is used principally for pasturage; although in the eastern part in some sections there are some good farms.
The original forests were heavy timbered with maple, beech, birch, spruce and hemlock, and some elm, fir, cedar and pine. In the eastern part there yet remains a considerable growth of spruce and hemlock, but it is rapidly being cut off for lumber. Sugar-maples are to be found in all parts of the town, producing quite as abundantly of sugar as in any other part of New England.
Besides the Winooski river privileges there are two or three streams which furnish good water-power the larger part of the year. It has not been utilized to any large extent, however, hence the town is not noted for its manufacturing interests. Molly's Falls, on Molly's brook, about a mile from the village, in a distance of 30 rods the water falls between 200 and 300 feet in a series of beautiful cascades. During high water the roar of these falls can be heard for several miles. A good view of these falls can be obtained from the road leading to Cabot. There is also a very pretty cascade on Nigger-head brook, about a third of a mile south of the village, where it is crossed by the road leading to the depot. The town has only one village, which is situated on the Winooski river, about a mile from the Cabot line. The Montpelier & Wells River R. R. crosses the town, running nearly parallel with the river from Plainfield until within a mile of the village, when it makes almost a right angle to the east, passing Nigger-head pond, and threading its way through a notch in the mountains to the Connecticut river. The Marshfield station on this road is one mile from the village, and 15 miles from Montpelier.
It is not known what white men first visited the town's location. This township was purchased of the Stockbridge Indians, (see Mrs. Pitkin's paper,) but it is not certain whether these Indians ever occupied this territory. At the time of the purchase by Mr. Marsh, they were residents of New Stockbridge, Montgomery Co., N. Y.
When the first settlers picked their dwelling-places, Mr. Pitkin settled upon the river near the place where Bowman P. Martin now resides; Messrs. Dodge and Spencer settled further south and west on the higher land. Here was the birth-place of the first child born in town, a son to Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Dodge, Sept. 17, 1794, the place of his birth about a mile north of Plainfield village; the place is still owned by descendants of the Dodge family.
The first "burying-ground" was purchased by, and for the use of the town. The first interment therein that has a stone to mark the spot was the infant twin sons
220 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
of Joshua and Ruth Pitkin, died January 9, 1800. Stephen Pitkin, Jr., donated the land for the village cemetery, and the first interment in it was his adopted daughter, Eunice Sweeny.
There have been five church organizations in town. At present there are but three, as the Christian, and Calvinistic Baptist have become extinct. There have been 11 school districts in town. The present number is 10, each of which has a school of from 20 to 30 weeks per year. The school in village district has two departments, but employs two teachers only during the winter term, as a rule. The town has no academy, but competent teachers hold select schools at frequent intervals, affording educational facilities for those wishing to remain in town. And the seminaries at Montpelier and Barre, as well as academies in the vicinity, have drawn a considerable number of students from this town. There are but two persons, however, from this town who have received a full collegiate education. Rev. Marcus M. Carleton, missionary in India, and Prof. Curtis C. Gove, Principal of High School at Westport, N. Y.
The principal business of the town has been, and still is, farming. At present there is but little manufacturing being done. There is 1 boot-shop for making men's thick boots and overshoes, 2 harness-shops; 1 tin-shop, 1 photograph saloon, 2 cooper-shops, where are manufactured butter and sugar-tubs, and sap-buckets. Six sawmills, one clap-board and three shingle mills. Two of the saw-mills are run by steam; the rest by water-power; one cheese-factory, and 1 starch factory. There is 1 blacksmith shop, 2 wheelwright shops, and 3 carpenter-shops, There is a hotel, and a patent medicine laboratory. There are 3 stores, and 3 churches. The town cannot boast of a lawyer. It has 3 doctors, Asa Phelps and George M. Town, allopathic; J. Q. A. Packer, homoeopathic.
The town representatives from 1870 to 1879 have been: Moody Bemis, George A. Putnam, L. W. Pitkin, D. M. Perkins.
The population in 1840, was 1,156; in 1850, 1,102; in 1860, 1,160; in 1870, 1,072. The decrease which the census of 1870 shows, is doubtless owing to the abandonment of some of the smaller and most unproductive farms, and the Western emigration of many of the younger men.
There are a few pensioners of the war of 1812 yet living. One of the soldiers of this war, Lewis Bemis, enlisted at Barnet in 1808. His son, Daniel H. Bemis, of Lancaster, Mass., writes of him; "He enlisted at Barnet in 1808, and served 5 years in the 4th Reg't. of Regular U. S. Infantry. He was with Harrison in his march through the wilds of Ohio in pursuit of the Indians, and was in the battle of Tippecanoe, when over half of the men in his company were killed or wounded. The man on either side was killed, and he was slightly wounded in the face by a rifle ball. He was in 11 battles and 13 skirmishes with the Indians. He used to relate to his children the story of the soldiers' sufferings while on their march to join Hull, and through Ohio, how their thirst was so intense, that when they reached Lake Erie, in spite of their officers, large numbers threw themselves on the beach, and drank until they died from the effects of it. He was under Hull when he surrendered at Malden, near Detroit, and was a prisoner 26 weeks, during which time he suffered greatly, both for want of water and decent food. Their bread, he used to say, bore the mark on the package in which it was enclosed, 1804. He was paroled, and went from Halifax to Boston, where he arrived a few days before the term of his enlistment expired. He soon after enlisted again in a Company of Light Artillery, with which he went up and joined Gen. Macomb's army the day before the battle of Plattsburg. A part of the battery was stationed at the bridge-head at Plattsburg, and the remainder sent to Burlington, to prevent the British from landing and destroying that place. He was with that portion of the battery sent to Burlington, and so did not have any active part in the battle; but assisted in burying the dead. He was one of the party who
buried the British dead after the engagement. He was discharged after peace was ratified, having served in all about 6 years and 6 months; 5 years under the first enlistment in the 4th Infantry, and 18 months in the Light Battery. He died in 1855, at Clinton, Mass., where he is buried, aged 73."
BY REV. GEORGE E. FORBES.
He was the son of Joshua and Keturah Smith; was born in Woodstock, Conn., Jan. 22, 1800. At 11 years, he came with his parents to Marshfield. They moved on to the farm now owned and occupied by J. E. Eddy. During his minority, Ira worked on the farm summers and attended school winters until he was 18. The schoolhouse then stood near the present residence of Webster Haskins. Soon after there was a school-house erected where the village now stands, in which he taught the first school. He was paid in grain, to the value of $12 per month, boarding himself. In 1821, he purchased 300 acres ofwild land lying around the present site of the Marshfield depot, which he cleared, and cultivated 15 acres, spending a part of his time there, and the balance in working out, until he was 29, when, Jan. 4, 1829, he was married to Hannah Jacobs, and they settled at first on his cleared land, but a short time after, as he purchased, and they removed to, the home of his parents, where they lived 11 years. For about 4 years after selling the home farm, he rented different places, but in 1844, purchased a farm on which the remainder of his life was spent. He died Sept. 18, 1880, leaving a widow, one son, Orrin, who lives on the homestead, and two daughters, now Mrs. Levi Benton, of Marshfield, and Mrs. C. H. Newton, of Montpelier. One son died in the army, and a daughter married E. B. Dwinell, but died a few years after, and 4 children died quite young. Mr. Smith held many of the town offices, being regarded by the citizens as a man of worth and integrity. He represented the town in the Legislature during 1844-5. In polities he was a Democrat, and never failed by his vote to express his faith in the doctrines of his party. His last public act was to rise from the sick bed to which he had been confined for several days, and go to the polls to deposit his ballot for the several State officers. He believed in the vital principles of religion, but in accordance with the general character of the man, his faith found expression in deeds rather than in word. In religious sympathy he was a Universalist, and gave his influence and means to promote the interests of that society in town. His morals were always above reproach. He was temperate in deed and in word; drank no intoxicating liquors, no tea of coffee, and never used tobacco in any form; was frugal and industrious, and consequently was enabled to acquire a good property, while generously responding to many calls for the promotion of educational and benevolent enterprises.
He possessed an indomitable will and wonderful endurance from the time that he hired out as a laborer, at 9 years of age, until he abandoned active toil, a short time before his death. He met all duties with a manly spirit, and evinced his willingness to obey the primal law of life—labor. He had a remarkably strong constitution, and when his "golden wedding" was celebrated in 1879, he seemed nearly as hale and hearty as a man of 60 years, though even then there were premonitory symptoms of the disease which caused his death. For nearly 2 years he suffered from a cancer on the lower lip, and during the latter half of this time, especially, did he endure extreme pain and inconvenience in taking food. But under all these trials he exhibited great fortitude, and died resigned to his Maker's will. His funeral was attended by a large concourse of citizens besides the numerous relatives, thus testifying of the esteem in which he was held by the entire community. The funeral services were brief; no formal eulogy was pronounced; his life had preached its sermon, and with a few words of comfort to the bereaved ones, the last sad rites were ended, and the body of this worthy man was borne to its final resting-place. His age was 81 years. "Though dead, he
222 VERMONT HiSTORICAL MAGAZINE.
yet speaketh," in his good, solid, practical life.
The Rev. Geo. E. Forbes continued as pastor until May, 1880. For 1 year succeeding this date the church had only occasional preaching services, and during this time its numbers were diminished by the death of two members. In May, 1881, the Rev. Eli Ballou, D. D., was engaged as pastor for one-half the time. This engagement continues at present, (Aug. 18, 1881.)
MARSHFIELD VOTED FOR THE GAZETTEER
at the town-meeting held March 4, 1879, to send a subscription to Miss Hemenway for the whole work, attested by E. L. Smith, town clerk.
STEPHEN HERRICK, ESQ.
The town of Middlesex was chartered June 8, 1783, by Benning Wentworth, Esq., then Governor of the Province of New Hampshire, to the following grantees: Jacob Rescaw, Benjamin Crane, 3d, Seth Trow. Richard Johnson, Lawrence Egbert, Jr., James Campbell, David Ogden, Matthias Ross, Jonathan Skinner, Jehial Ross, Ebenezer Canfield, Daniel Ogden, Jonathan Dayton, Jr., Lawrence Eggert, Samuel Crowell, William Bruce, Robert Earl, Patridge Thacher, Joshua Horton, Job Wood, George Ross, Cornelius Ludlow, Nathaniel Barrett, Esq., Jeremiah Mulbard, John Roll, Jr., Joseph Newmarch, Nathaniel Little, Henry Earl, Richard Jennee, Esq., Gilbert Ogden, John Little, George Frost, Daniel Ball, Samuel Little, 3d, David Morehouse, Jr., Thomas Woodruff, John Force, Joseph Raggs, Jr., Capt. Isaac Woodruff, Daniel P. Eunice, Jacob Brookfield, Jonathan Dayton, 3d, Isaac Winors, Samuel Meeker, Jr., David Loomeris, John Cory, Jr., Alexander Carmiea, David Bonnet, James Seward, Stephen Potter, Nathaniel Potter, Stephen Wilcocks, Thomas Dean, Jonas Ball, Amos Day, John David Lamb, William Lamb, William Brand, James Colie, Jr., William Hand, Robert French, Samuel Crowell, Jonathan Woodruff, Ezekiel Ball, Aaron Barnett.
THOMAS MEAD AND THE FIRST SETTLERS.
The first settler in this town 20 years subsequent to the above date made his first settlement here. Having succeeded in finding one of the best lots of land in Washington County, on the Onion River, 5 miles from Montpelier village, here Mr. Thomas Mead made his excellent location. The second settler, JONAH HARRINGTON, chose his location about 2½ miles from Montpelier on a superior lot of land. SETH PUTNAM came soon after with three brothers, Ebenezer, Jacob and Isaac, who were soon followed by Ephraim Willey, Ebenezer Woodbury, Ira Hawks, Solomon Lewis, Samuel Mann, Isaac Bidwell, Henry Perkins, Daniel Harrington, Samuel Montague, Nathaniel Carpenter, Daniel Smith, Hubbard Willey, Asa Harrington, Joseph Chapin, William Holden, Lovewell Warren, Jesse Johnson, Joseph Hubbard, David Harrington, Jonathan Fisher, Isaac Bidwell, Oliver Atherton, Robert McElroy, Nathan Huntley.
ORGANIZATION OF THE TOWN.
Copy of a record in the town clerk's office in Middlesex:
To Seth Putnam, Esq.:—
Sir—We, the Inhabitants of the town of Middlesex, petition your honor to grant a Warrant for the purpose of calling a town-meeting in said town of Middlesex on Monday, the 29 of March instant, at ten of the clock in the morning, for the purpose of Organization of said Town.
Chittenden, March 15th, 1790.
In pursuance of the foregoing Petition, By the authority of the state of Vermont, you are hereby directed to warn all the free-Holders and other inhabitants of the town of Middlesex to meet at the dwelling-house of Seth Putnam, Esq., in said Middlesex, on Monday, the 29th day of March Instant, at ten of the clock in the morning. Firstly to choose a moderator to govern said meeting.
2dly, to choose a town Clerk, Selectmen, Town treasurer, and all other Town officers according to Law, and of your doings herein make due return according to Law.
Given under my hand at said Middlesex. this 15th day of March, A. D., 1790.
To Levi Putnam, freeholder of the Town of Middlesex.
Justice of the Peace.