BY HENRY BURNHAM.
The population of this town, now about 6,000, is principally in two villages called East and West village. The West village is nearest the geographical centre of the town. It was formerly the larger and only village, where were the church privileges, town meetings, June trainings, etc. In consequence of the navigation of the Connecticut river — which forms the eastern boundary of the East village, and of the town for about six miles — and the enterprising character and efforts of Wm. Fessenden, John Holbrook, Francis Goodhue, and others, the East village received an impulse, early in the present century, which caused it to far surpass the West village in business and population.
The town derives its name from William Brattle, from Massachusetts — one of the grantees of the town — and his name is the first one upon the list. Being loyal to King George, he fled to Nova Scotia at the commencement of the Revolutionary War. It is said he died there before the close of the war, and, after the "Jay treaty," his heirs made efforts to recover his confiscated property in this country. How much land he owned in this town, we are not informed; but his claim covered some of the best land in the town of Putney, which is ten miles north of Brattleboro. It has long been quite universally believed that the first civilized establishment in Vermont was at Fort Dummer, which was erected in the southeast corner of the town of Brattleboro in 1724. Hon. David Reed, in his account of Colchester, ably maintains and claims this honor for Isle LaMotte, in the county of Grand Isle. [See Isle LaMotte, this work, Vol. II. — Ed.] Though it is evident that the several histories of the State have been led into the error of claiming too much for this town, it is equally evident, we believe. that the first English or Anglo-Saxon settlement, in this State, was made on what is now soil of Brattleboro, by the erection of "His Majesty's Fort Dummer," as stated in the charter. Twenty-nine years after this settlement, Brattleboro was chartered under George II., and Josiah Willard, Esq., chosen or appointed Moderator of the first town meeting,
CHARTER OF BRATTLEBORO; BY KING
GEORGE THE SECOND, 1753.
PROVINCE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.
L. S. George the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, &c. To all persons to whom these presence shall come, greeting:
Know ye that we of our special grace and certain knowledge and mere motion, for the due Encouragement of settling a new Plantation within our said Province, By and with the advice of our trusty and well-beloved Benning Wentworth, Esq., our Governor and Commander-in-Chief of our said Province of New Hampshire in America, and of our Council of the sd Province, have upon the conditions and reservations hereafter made, Given & Granted and by these Presents for us our Heirs & successors Do Give and Grant in equal Shares unto our Loveing Subjects Inhabitants of our said Province of New Hampshire and his Majesty's other Governments and to their heirs and assigns forever whose Names are Entered on this Grant to be divided to and amongst them into fifty-six shares, Two of which shares to be laid out in one Tract of the contents of Eight Hundred acres for his Excellency Benning Wentworth, Esq., and is in full for his two shares, which Tract is bounded as follows, viz:
Beginning at the rocks at the upper end of the Fort meadow so called, Thence up Connecticut River Two hundred and forty rods, & to carry that breadth back West ten degrees North so far as to contain Eight Hundred acres. All that Tract or parcel of Land situate, lying & being within our Province of New Hampshire containing by admeasurement Nineteen Thousand Three Hundred and sixty acres, which Tract is to contain five miles and one-half mile square & no more, out of which an allowance is to be made for high ways & unimprovable lands by rocks, mountains, Ponds & Rivers,
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one thousand and forty acres free according to a plan thereof made & presented by our said Governors orders & hereunto annexed, Butted & bounded as follows, viz: Beginning at the mouth of Venters Brook so called where it empties itself in to Connecticut River, & runs from thence six miles or thereabouts to the South East corner of Marlebrough thence five miles, North ten degrees East by Marlebrough aforesaid to a stake & stones in said Line, Thence East 10 degrees south to Connecticut River aforesaid, then down said River to the bounds first mentioned at Venters Brook. Except a Tract of land lying in the said East corner of said Township containing about Two Hundred acres as the same is now fenced in and improved, which is hereby granted & assigned to Oliver Willard and to his heirs & assigns one of the within Grantees, He having heretofore cleared and improved the said Tract and is to be in full for his share & proportion of the said Township, said Two hundred acres are bounded as follows, viz: Beginning at Venters Brook and runs West ten° North sixty rods to a Hill & then runs under the Hill round as the Hill runs to the rocks at the upper end of the Meadow called fort meadow, thence down the river to Venter Brook and that the same be and is incorporated into a Township by the name of Brattleborough, and that the Inhabitants that do or shall hereafter Inhabit said Township are hereby Declared to be Enfranchised with and entitled to all & every the priviledges & Immunities that other Towns within our said Province by law exorcise and enjoy, and further that the said town as soon as there shall he fifty Familys resident and settled therein shall have the liberty of holding Two Fairs, one of which shall be held on the first Thursday in October annually, and the other on the first Thursday in February annually, which Fairs are not to continue & be held longer than the respective Saturday following the sd respective Thursday, and as soon as said town shall consist of fifty familys a market shall be opened and kept one or more days in each week as may be tho't most advantagious to the Inhabitants. Also that the first meeting for the choice of Town Officers agreeable to the laws of our said Province shall be held on the fifteen Day of Jan'ry next which meeting shall he notifyed by Josiah Willard Esq who is hereby also appointed Moderator of the said first meeting which he is to notify and govern agreeable to the laws and customs of our said Province, and that the annual meeting forever hereafter for the choice of such officers of said Town shall be on the first Wednesday in March annually. To have and to hold the said Tract of Land as above expressed together with all the Priviledges and appurtenances to them and their respective heirs & assigns forever, upon the following conditions Viz: That every Grantee his heirs or assigns shall Plant or cultivate five acres of land within the term of five years for every fifty acres contained in his or their share or Proportion of Land in said Township, and continue to improve and settle the same by additional cultivations on Penalty of the forfeiture of his Grant or share in said Township, & its reverting to his Majesty his heirs & successors to be by him or them regranted to such of his subjects as shall effectually settle & cultivate the same. That all White or other Pine Trees within the said Township fit for Masting our Royal Navy be carefully Preserved for that use, and none to be cut or felled without his Majestys Especial Lycence for so doing first had and obtained upon the penalty of forfeiture of the right of such Grantee his heirs & assigns to us our heirs & successors as well as being subject to the Penalty of any act or acts of Parliament that now are or hereafter shall he enacted. Also his fort Dummer & a Tract of land of fifty rods square round it, viz, fifty rods West, twenty-five rods South & twenty-five rods North of said Fort. That before any Division of the land be made to and amongst the Grantees, a Tract of Land as near the center of the Township as the land will admit of shall be reserved and marked out for Town Lots, one of which shall be allotted to each Grantee of the contents of one acre yielding and paying therefor to us our heirs & successors for the space of ten years to be computed from the date hereof the rent of one Ear of Indian corn only on the first day of January annually if Lawfully Demanded, the first payment to be made on the first day of January after the first of January next ensuing the date hereof, and every Proprietor, Settler or Inhabitant shall yield and pay to us our heirs and successors yearly & every year forever from and after the expiration of the ten years, from the date hereof. Namely on the first day of January which will be in the year of Our Lord Christ one thousand Seven Hundred & Sixty-four, one shilling Proclamation money for every hundred acres he so owns, settles or possesses, and so in proportion for a Greater or Lesser Tract of the said Land, which money shall be paid by the respective persons above said their heirs or assigns. in our Council Clamber in Portsmouth or to such officer or officers as shall he appointed to receive the same, and this to be in lieu of all other rents and services whatsoever in Testimony hereof we have caused the seal of our said Province to be hereunto affixed. Witness Benning Wentworth, Esq., our Governor & Commander in Chief of our said Province the Twenty-sixth day of December in the year of our Lord Christ 1753 and in the Twenty-seventh year of our Reign.
By his Excellencys command with advice of Council.
Entered and Recorded according to the original under the Province Seal, this 27th day of December 1753.
Pr THEODORE ATKINSON,
Names of the Grantees of Brattleborough, viz:
William Brattle, Jacob Wendell, James Read, Isaac Brodish, Owen Warland, William Lee, Ebenezer Smith, William Gammage, John Hicks, Ebenezer Bradish, James Whitemore, William Manning, Thomas Sherren, Thomas Hastings, Jonathan Sprague, John Warland, Benjamin Lynde, Andrew Oliver Junr., William Bowls, Cornelius Woodbury, William Willard, Oliver Willard, Samuel Allen, Moses Wright, Sampson French, Joseph French, William Fessenden, Stephen Palmer, Stephen Palmer Junr., William Barrett, Daniel Printice, Caleb Prentice, Ebenezer Stedman, Edward Marrett, Junr., Abner Hasey, Benjamin French, Thomas Blanchard, Thomas Blanchard, Junr., Jacob Fletcher, Samuel Searle, Samuel French, Sampson Willard, Oliver Coleburne, Jeremiah Coleburne, Peter Powers, Stephen Powers, Daniel Emerton, William Laurence, Abel Laurence, Mather Livermore.
Theodore Atkinson, his Excellency Benning Wentworth a Tract of Land to contain Eight Hundred acres which is to be accounted Two of the within mentioned shares and Laid out and bounded as within mentioned, one whole share for the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, one whole share for the first settled Minister of the Gospel in said Town, one whole share for a Glebe for the Ministry of the Church of England as by law Established. Also his Majestys Fort Dummer, and a Tract of Land fifty rods round it, viz: 50 rods West, twenty-five rods South & twenty-five North of said Fort.
Recorded from the Back of the Charter for Brattleborough the 27th day of December 1753.
Pr THEODORE ATKINSON,
State of New Hampshire,
Secretary of State's Office,
CONCORD, Sept. 20, 1869.
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of the Record of the Charter of Brattleborough as recorded in "Charter Records," Vol. 1, pages 181, 2, 3, 4. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Seal of said State the date above written.
NATHAN W. GOVE,
Deputy Secretary of State.
The town contains about 34 square miles, in latitude 42 deg., 52 min., and longitude 40 deg., 25 min. It is bounded N. by Dummerston, E. by Connecticut River, which separates it from Chesterfield, N. H., S. by Vernon and Guilford, and W. by Marlboro. Among the first settlers were John and Thomas Sargent, John Alexander, John Arms, and Fairbank Moore and son. With the exception of John and Thomas Sargent — who were born at Fort Dummer — they were from Massachusetts. The father and brother of John Sargent. Jr., were ambushed by the Indians; the father killed and scalped and the brother carried into captivity, where he adopted the Indian habits and manners, but afterwards returned to his friends. Fairbank Moore and son were killed by Indians at the West, River meadows — now owned by the Vermont Asylum — two miles north of Fort Dummer, and the wife and daughter of the younger Moore were captured.
John Alexander died in Marlboro, July 8, 1828, supposed to be near 90 years of age. At the time Bridgeman's Fort was burned by the Indians — the site of which is now in Vernon, and a short distance from Fort Dummer — where Mrs. Howe and others were made captive by said Indians, John Alexander was a lad 10 years old, and then in the woods after the cows belonging to the fort; being thus in the woods he escaped captivity. The following year he gave proof of a daring spirit for a boy of only eleven years. He discovered a bear and two cubs a short distance from his residence. His father being absent, he, fearless of consequences, repaired to the house, took down a loaded gun, and with a well directed shot killed the old bear on the spot. He then, with a lad of similar age, caught and secured both of the cubs.
In the old French War, so called, at the age of 17, he served under Gen. Amherst, and was at the taking of Ticonderoga, and in the American Revolution was at the taking of Burgoyne. He resided in Brattleboro more than half a century and reared a large family. Few men have lived to his age and enjoyed so great a measure of health; and very few men of his stature, which was below the middle size, have been more active, robust and herculean than Mr. Alexander. He, at one time, carried on his shoulders, upon snow-shoes, a five-pail iron kettle, two sap-buckets, an axe and trappings, a knapsack, four day's provisions, a gun and ammunition, more than three miles
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through the woods, over hills, valleys, and in a deep snow. He was the second white person born, and, at the time of his decease, the oldest living of the first native settlers on the New Hampshire grants. alias Vermont.
At the time Colonel Samuel Wells represented this place, this side of the mountain was called Cumberland County. He represented this part of the State, at New York, until Ethan Allen came down here, in his wrath, to repair the politics of Brattleboro and Guilford.
The man who said, "Rather than submit to the authority of Great Britain, or even the State of New York. I will retire with the Green Mountain boys into the mountains and caves of the earth, and wage war with human nature at large," also said. "Unless the inhabitants of Brattleboro and Guilford peaceably submit to the authority of Vermont, their territory shall be made as desolate as Sodom and Gomorrah."
This proclamation, with the "last arguments to which kings resort," cured the York State proclivities in this part of the State. And no wonder that New York power and influence ceased, for all she ever did in defence of her persecuted friends, advocates and officers in this part of the State was to use brave words and make promises that were never performed.
Allen knew brave words or law was vain without force, therefore he brought all these with him when he rested att the hotel kept by John Arms, a few rods north of and on premises now owned by the Vermont Asylum.
Among the men of this town most distinguished in the annals of the State, and who have been men of influence here, may be mentioned John Arms, Samuel Wells, Samuel Knight, Samuel Gale, Henry Wells, Sam'l Stearns, Micah Townshend, Stephen Greenleaf, William Wells, John Stewart, Royall Tyler, John Noyes, Lemuel Whitney, John W. Blake, Francis Goodhue, Oliver Chapin. William Fessenden, Joseph Clark, John Holbrook, Samuel Clark, Sam'l Elliott, James Elliott, Jonathan Hunt. Jr., Thomas G. Fessenden, Joseph Fessenden, Jonathan D. Bradley, Edward A. Kirkland, C. Townsley, L. G. Mead, Paul Chase.
Most of the foregoing names can be seen, in marble, at the cemeteries in this town, it is impossible to obtain biographical sketches of all these persons, but we have succeeded in getting some information respecting the lives or career of twelve of the persons afore-named, three of whom have been members of the United States House of Representatives, viz.: John Noyes, James Elliott, Jonathan Hunt, Jr.
Was a man of culture and one of the most talented men of his time. He was, for years, Chief Justice of the courts in this county, and one of our early town representatives.
JOHN W. BLAKE
Was one of the foremost lawyers of Windham County. He came to this place, from Bellows Falls, about 1790; was one of the earliest postmasters in this place; represented the town in the Legislature, was a large owner of real estate in the East village, which he sold to Francis Goodhue in 1811. He died October 27, 1818, aged 59 years.
JONATHAN HUNT, JR.,
Was first president of the first bank established in Brattleboro. He built the large brick house now owned and occupied by George Howe. Esq. He died, while a Member of Congress, at Washington, May 15, 1832, aged 45 years.
LARKIN G. MEAD
Came from Chesterfield. N. H., about 1838, was president of the Brattleboro Typographic Co., was in the practice of law; very active in promoting the cause of common school education; the first to move in establishing the savings bank in this place, and for over twenty years was treasurer of that institution. He raised a talented family, and one of his sons, L. G. Mead, Jr., grandson of John Noyes, has a worldwide reputation as a sculptor.
Further descriptions of the character and doings of others upon the foregoing list of names can be found in our biographical department, and quite extended notices of Micah Townshend, Samuel Wells, Samuel Knight, Royall Tyler and Samuel Gale can be found in Hall's History of Eastern Vermont.
Was incorporated in 1801, and the building for the same erected at the West village. The hall in this building was used for town
meetings until 1855, when the town constructed, at the East village, on Main street, a large brick, two-story building for this purpose. The upper room is over 100 feet long, over 60 feet wide, and 20 feet in height.
WEST BRATTLEBORO ACADEMY AND FEMALE SEMINARY.
William R. Hayes, a native of West village, left an appropriation, by will, for building an academy at said village. The conditions of the will having been complied with, the building was erected in 1853.
Rev. Hiram Orcutt, in 1859, erected a large three-story building and established a female seminary near the old academy, and the later one built in part by the Hayes appropriation, and by consent of parties, occupied the three buildings for the seminary school.
At the East village a high school building was erected by a joint stock company in 1831. Deacon John Holbrook, John L. Dickerman and others were first officers, either trustees or committee for building this school house. The site was pleasant, and all conditions seemed favorable, but the school never was prosperous for any great length of time. In 1841, the house was purchased by the district to be used in teaching the advanced scholars from the primary schools. In 1868, a wing upon each side was added.
The soil of this township is similar to that generally found along the Connecticut River, intervals of sand, loam and gravel, with the timber adapted to them.
The principal streams are West River and Whetstone Brook. The former runs but a short distance in town, entering it from Dummerston, near the northeast corner.
Whetstone Brook rises in Marlboro and runs through this town near the centre, affording excellent water privileges, occupied by a variety of mills and other machinery.
The Connecticut River is crossed at the south part of the East village by a bridge, connecting this town with Hinsdale, N. H. The first bridge was built in 1894. Oliver Chapin was a pioneer in this enterprise and owned a large share of stock in the same. A few rods above this bridge was the general landing-place for merchandise, which was formerly brought by flat-boats from Hartford, Ct. After Mr. John Holbrook — the pioneer of this method of freighting goods to Brattleboro — had abandoned importing West India goods to this place, the boating business was carried on many years by G. C. Hall, F. Goodhue & Son, John R. Blake & Co., &c. From 1828 to 1831 these gentlemen, with other enterprising men in towns on the river made commendable efforts — worthy of at greater success than they achieved — to navigate the river by steam. But some of those enterprising men have lived to see a greater success, by using the river bank on which to employ steam, than the most sanguine of them ever dared to hope from using the river. The steam cars first entered Brattleboro in February, 1848, bringing such a multitude of visitors that the hotels could not accomodate them.
MINERALOGY AND GEOLOGY.
Not enough of any kind of metals have been found here for any practical purpose. A small amount of lead and gold has been found near Whetstone Brook.* Actinolite is found in steatite. It is in very perfect capilliary crystals, which are grouped together in different forms, and sometimes radicated mica is found of rose-red color with schorl in quartz, and abundance of schorl in beautiful crystals; also the red oxide of titanium. Argillaceous slate is very abundant, and is quarried to considerable extent. Some large granite boulders have been found of sufficient size to split into blocks for steps and other building purposes, and no lack of sufficient clay for brick making. Fine roofing slate is found within three miles of the East village and though it is in the town of Guilford, it is just as well for the interest of builders here as though found in town.
It is the belief of geologists that there has been a time when the Connecticut river run where is now the East village, and that it has now worn for itself a rocky bed against the base of Wantastiquet Mountain which from present appearances, will effectually check its further progress in that direction.
A few rods above where West River empties into the Connecticut can be seen the residence of Capt. Amos Thomas. The
* From Thompson's Gazetteer.
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descendants of Captain Thomas, we notice, have a boat which they now keep at the same place where he rowed the heroic Stark across the Connecticut River when on his way to use forcible, and, as events showed, fully demonstrated arguments at Bennington, to prove that the English Troops had "got too far from Canada."
Indian relics have been found near Fort Dummer, and we have in our possession an Indian pipe-bowl, flint arrow-heads, and a stone pestle for pounding corn. They were found by Mr. Holland Pettis, some 30 years since, when ploughing in ''The Cove" near West River. His plough point threw up a human skull. It was clearly apparent, upon examination, that the individual (believed to be an Indian chief) was buried in a sitting posture, and the arrow-heads, pipe and pestle were buried with him, that he might not enter upon another life with the same destitution of the means of protection and defence as he entered upon this life. Articles of a more perishable nature, long since decayed, were probably buried with him. A son of Mr. Pettis — W. H. Pettis — who gave us the foregoing information and the relics afore-named, gave vent to his emotions as follows:
"It was here the old chieftain once sailed his canoe,
With his band of red warriors, so valiantly true.
Upon the dark bosom of the slow-heaving wave.
Till he passed from his wars to the shadowy grave."
In consequence of this and other evidences of the proclivitives or abilities of W. H. Pettis in this department of human expression, we have for many years called him the "Bard of West River."
Indian hieroglyphics can now be seen upon rocks in West River Cove, and, from location and circumstances, it is believed that this place was one of the favorite resorts of the wild red man of the forest. About sixteen years ago Mr. Newman Allen, whose farm is on West River meadows, found two partially decayed human skeletons. In one of the skulls was found an old-fashioned lead musket ball, and there was a hole in the cranium where the ball entered. It is possible, and it seems quite probable, that these were the remains of Fairbank Moore and son, of Fort Dummer, who were killed on these meadows by the Indians.
FIRST CHURCH IN BRATTLEBORO.
For the following ancient papers, relating to the earliest religious history of this town., we are indebted to N. B. Williston, Esq., long and favorably known in this community, but more extensively as president of the First National bank in this place.
"BRATTLEBORO April 18, 1769"
"At a meeting of the subscribers of the agreement, relating to the settling of a Minister, on Tuesday the 18th day of April, 1769, regularly warned at one o'clock in the afternoon, after choosing *John Arms, Esq'r Moderator the following Votes were pass'd 1st Voted that those subscribers who shall move out of Town shall be released from paying any moneys in consequence of their Becoming subscribers to the above mentioned agreement, except such monies as shall be assessed prior to their Removal. 2d Voted to chose Mess Sam'l Wells Esqr John Arms and Henry Wells, that they be a committee to confer with Guilford committee as to what proportion Each Town must Pay towards settleing a Minister, & towards his sallary & for what time to Join Together & make report of their Doings to the adjourned Meeting, that the subscribers may approve or Disapprove thereof. 3d Voted that this meeting be adjourned to Friday the 21st Instant, at 2 o'clock.
At the adjourned meeting of the subscribers on Friday the 21st of April at Two o'clock in the afternoon, after chossing Ben's Butterfield Moderator in the Barn of John Arms who was so much Indissposed he could not attend, the following Votes were passed:
1st Voted that a Minisster be procured to preach for the Term three Months upon probation for settling him & The Town of Guilford to pay for one Month & and have preaching one third of the Time. 2nd Voted that the Sum of Sixteen Pounds, York Currency, be raised, for the Purpose aforesaid, the one Half to be levied on the Polls & the Other Half upon the real & personal Estates. 3dly Voted that Sam Wells Esqr, John Arms Henry Wells he assessors. 4thly Voted that Henry Wells be Collector. 5thly Voted Henry Wells be the Person to sue for & Receive the money that Shall be assessed. 6thly Voted that Capt Benjamin Butterfield, Sam Wells Esqr & John Arms be a Committee to procure a Minister upon probation as Aforesaid."
"At the Adjourned Meeting on Tuesday Dec'r 5th 1769 at 2, oClock P. M. Upon reconsidering the Vote Pas'd Nov'r 14th 1769 it Was Voted not to Settle Mr Church."
* John Arms was grandfather to the late Doct Willard Arms, of this town, who died 3 years ago, aged 82 years.
BRATTLEBOROUGH Feby 19th 1770
"We the Subscribers Desire the Town Clerk to Warn a Meeting of the Subscribers to the Agreement relating to the Settling of a Minisster to be held at Major Arms on the first Tuesday of March next at one oClock in the afternoon To act & Vote upon the Following articles Viz 1st to chusse a Moderator 2dly To Signify their Minds With respect to hiring a Minisster upon Probation for Settling, or otherwise, as they Chuse 3dly if they Chuse to hire, to Chuse a Committee to procure a Minisster."
Signed Dail Whipple Malachi Church Israel Field Jasper Patridge Sylvester Wright John Arms Saml Wells William Nichols Nathan Church Jonathan Church Israel Field.
BRATTLEBOROUGH July 5th 1770
"After Choosing Capt Butterfield Moderator the following Votes were Pass'd of the Notification Voted to Hire Mr Reeve to preach for Two Sabbaths upon Probation for Settling. one at Guilford & one here.
Art 4. Voted that Saml Wells Esqr Henry Wells & Nathan Church be a Committee to Agree with Mr Reeve.
7th Art Voted to Join With Guilford for three years in Settling Mr Reeve. Lastly Voted to adjourn this Meeting to July 1870, after choosing Capt Butterfield, Oliver Harris & Oliver Cooke assessors"
Article 9th Voted that Timothy Church be the Person to sue those Who Neglect or refuse paying their proportion of any assessments. Voted that we will Join with Guilford for three years. they to Pay half the Salary & one sixth Part of the Settlement & Mr Reeve preach half the Time for them, they Loseing the Time when bad weather prevents his preaching There
Art 3 Voted to Settle Mr Reeve."
"A Copy of the Agreement of the Committee with Mr Reeve"
"We the Subscribers being Duly Chosen a Committee to Agree with the Reverend Abner Reeve with Respect to his Settlement & Sallary, by the Subscribers, relating to the settling a Minisster in the Town of Brattleborough, do hereby Agree in behalf of Said Subscribers, in Manner & Form Following. That if Mr Reeve Shall return to preach for us & Bring a Recommendation from under the Hand of Ten of the Members of the Church of Blooming Grove — that he has presided over, or from one of the neighboring Minissters Signifying that he has been in Good Standing as a Minisster of the Gospel & sustained a Good Character while he has resided there, We Engage to pay the said Mr. Reeve the Sum of fifty Pounds New York Currency towards his settlement. one hird part in cash yearly until Paid. Also the Sum of Thirty Pounds said Currency for the first years Sallary & the sum of Thirty Two Pounds of said Currency for the second Years Sallary, also the sum of Thirty Four Pounds said Currency for the Third Years Sallary, Provided Mr Reeve Continues to Supply the Pulpit in Brattleborough half the Time for & During the said Three years, Sickness only Excepted. The Above said yearly Payments to be made one Third Cash — The Other Two Thirds in Merchantable Produce at the Market Price to be Delivered at such Place as Mr Reeve shall appoint in said Brattleborough. Whereunto we have set our Hands this Day July 3d 1770 at Brattleborough" "
Signed "SAML WELLS
"We the Subscribers desire the Town Clerk to warn a Meeting of the Subscribers to the Agreement relating to Settling a minister To be held at Esqr Wells's on Monday the twelvth Day of November Next one oClock in the afternoon to Vote and act upon the following Articles Viz 1st To chuse a Moderator. 2dly to reconsidered the Vote passed at the Last Meeting in order to raise money for Mr Reeves Settlement and Sallary. 3dly To pass a vote to pay the Collector for his Trouble of Collecting. 4thly to Raise money to pay the Charge of bringing Mr Reeves Family & Goods from Hadley. 5thly To raise money to make up Deficiency of Last Years rate."
Brattleborough Oct 25th 1770
Signed SAML WELLS
NATHAN CHURCH JUNR
We learn from the last document, in the foregoing, that the first settled minister in this town came from Hadley. We have many more ancient papers, similar in kind, but they are of no farther use than to find names of the early settlers which are signed to them. We give the names below, not given heretofore, as follows, 1769 to 1786:
Jacob Spaldin, Abner Scovell, Oliver Harris, Josiah Wheeler, Thos. Cumpton, Wm. M'Cune, Wm. Brall, Richard Prouty, Doct. Dickerman, John Houghton, Elisha Pierce, Eben'r Howze, Wm. Elias, Benj'm Gorten, Joseph Whipple. David Church, Lemuel Kendrick, Seth Smith, Joshua Wilder, Ebenezer Hadley, Jonathan Herrick, Silas Houghton, Joseph Burt, Eben'r Fisher, O. Cook, John Griffin, Saml Warriner, Daniel Johnson.
The following was called forth in reply to a resolution or vote of the town, Sept. 23, 1774, as follows:
"At town meeting assembled voted, that
24 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
the Rev. Abner Reeve be the settled minister of this town upon his acceptance hereof and relinquishing from this date the covenant, made by him with many of the inhabitants of this town for his support, for so long a time — and no longer — as he is able to supply the pulpit with preaching, on this condition, however, that the said Mr. Reeve by virtue hereof be not entitled to any land in this town given by public authority to the first settled minister."
The next vote states the amount of salary and how it shall be paid, in barter, &c., all showing sharp practice, and a disposition, on the part of the town, to obtain the gospel with the least possible expense. Mr. Reeve made in writing the following reply,
"GENTLEMEN: You have sent me a conditional vote, with which I cordially comply, if your meaning and intention be not to weaken or destroy my claim to the Lands in this town granted to the first settled minister of the Gospel, previous to passing said vote."
Upon receiving the communication of Mr. Reeve, the town acted upon the same in this wise:
"Voted that this town do not intend by the preceding vote to weaken or destroy any claim which the Rev. Abner Reeve heretofore had to the right of lands in this town, granted to the first settled minister, or to add any strength thereto."
Brattleborough Sept 24 1774
The foregoing are true copies of the record.
Attest, SAML KNIGHT,
It is an old saying, and became an adage, "Corporations have no souls." In dealing with another pastor in this town, some years later, we see another proof of the truthfulness of this old adage. With a package of bills paid to the pastor, by the proper officer of the society, were two counterfeit bills. The society refused to make the matter right, because the pastor was paid with the veritable money obtained from subscribers for his support, and the collector could not tell from whom the bad bills came. Every individual in that society knew better than to make so miserable a pretext, for such an outrage against a man who dug his potatoes or cut hie wood. All knew the poor minister would pocket the loss rather than appeal to the law. Though Mr. Reeve was the first settled minister in this town, there was, previous to his advent here, occasional preaching at "Fort Dummer," but we do not learn the names of the preachers, the denomination, or frequency of their ministrations.
We learn Mr. Reeve was a graduate of Yale College, and father of Judge Tapping Reeve who founded the famous "Law School" at Litchfield, Ct., and was principal of that institution as late as 1816. Rev. Abner Reeve was of the order called N. E. Calvinistic Congregationalist. Excepting the foreign element, that denomination was the most numerous in this town up to 1845, if not at the present time, thus giving evidence that the influence of Mr. Reeve yet lives. He was settled in 1770, and closed his labors about 1794.
RENUNCIATION OF THE PULPIT,
BY THE FIRST PASTOR IN BRATTLEBORO,
Among old papers presented us by Hon. LaFayette Clark, we have found, from the pen of Abner Reeve, his letter of resignation in 1792. Though this document gives an idea of the situation of pastor and people eighty years ago, it needs but little, if any, alteration to adapt it to modern uses, or a description of the situation of the successors since that time.
COPY OF THE REV. ABNER REEVE'S RESIGN
"There being unhappily, to my great Grief of Mind, differences subsisting in the Town of Brattleboro, with respect to my further preaching the Gospel to the Inhabitants of said Town in virtue of a former vote thereof. For healing said Differences, & for uniting the said Inhabitants in brotherly Love in the service of our common Lord & Master, & in full hope that these very important purposes will be answered, I do hereby disclaim for myself, my Heirs, Ex'ors & Adm'ors all pretence to salary, by virtue of any vote of the Inhabitants of said Town, in legal meeting assembled, to become due & payable after the date hereof.
Provided always & this writing is on this express Condition that all arrearages of Salary be settled, including the time to the date hereof, or paid to me my heirs Ex'ors Adm'ors, the one half on or before 3d of April next & the other half the 3d day of
October next, and that I may have the priviledge of preaching in the meeting house as heretofore when no other preacher shall be employed by the selectmen of said town, or by a Com'e appointed for the purpose, upon such pay only as shall gratuitously be given me by said Inhabitants or a part thereof. Given under my hand the 3d Oct'r 1792.
Mr. Reeve died in 1798, aged 90 years.
We find the following inscription upon the headstone at his grave, near where stood the old meeting-house in which he officiated:
REV. ABNER REEVE,
Died May the 16th, 1798,
In the 91 year of his age.
"Farewell dear friends,
We part in pain,
But hope to live
And meet again,"
"About the time Mr. Reeve was sinking under the infirmities of age, Rev. William Wells settled in town. He was a native of Biggleswade in England, and had been for twenty-three years a dissenting minister at Brownsgrove in Worcestershire, Eng. He was at once invited to take the spiritual charge of the church and society, and entered upon his work in March, 1794."
Mr. Wells did not officiate in the first meeting-house, which stood close to the old cemetery on the hill, for in 1785, a new and spacious house was built, for the accommodation of the whole town, near the site of the present one at the West village. In March, 1814, Mr. Wells gave up his charge, the care of the whole town being too much for his advanced years and infirm health. He was succeeded by Rev. Caleb Burge, who officiated from 1814 to 1819. Rev. Jedediah L. Stark officiated from 1821 to 1839; Rev. Corbin Kidder from 1839 to 1845; Rev. Joseph Chandler from 1845 to 1870. Present pastor, (1879), Rev. C. H. Merrill.
The large, spacious meeting-house, built at the West village in 1785, was destroyed by fire February 2, 1845, and the smaller one, now standing in the same place, was built in 1849.
Sometime previous to the resignation of Rev. Mr. Wells, the East village had commenced a rapid, thriving growth. Mr. Wells, whose residence was near by, at the place now owned by Charles A. Miles, had been in the habit of officiating two or three times a month at the East village, in the old school-house, then standing on the Village Common. The room was too small, and a proposition was made to build a house of worship at the East village, in which services should be held a part of the time without dividing the parish. This plan not meeting with general favor in the town, it was determined to form a new society, erect a house and invite Mr. Wells to be their minister.
Grindall R. Ellis, Esq., deeded to the society the land now known as the Village Common, on condition that the new edifice be located there. The new society acted in conformity with said conditions in 1815. but in 1842, lost all claim to the land by removing the house and neglecting to fence the grounds.
Rev. Mr. Wells accepted the invitation of the parish, and was the first minister who occupied the pulpit in the first meeting-house built in this village. He officiated here less than three years, thus closing his long ministry of sixty years, and died at his home in December, 1827, aged eighty-three years. His successors have been as follows:
Rev. Jonathan McGee, from Jan. 13, 1819, to Sept. 10, 1834; Rev. Chas. Walker, from Jan. 1, 1835, to Feb. 11, 1846; Rev. A. H. Clapp, from Oct. 14, 1846, to Nov. 15, 1853; Rev. George P. Tyler, from Nov. 16, 1853, to 1866; Rev. N. Mighill, from October, 1867, to 1875; Rev. George L. Walker to Jan. 1, 1878; Rev. George E. Martin, engaged for one year from July 1, 1878. Since has received an invitation to become settled pastor by ordination in July, 1879.
Rev. Mr. Wells was eminent in that department of ministerial duty in the olden time — visiting. The children were always glad to see the pleasant old English gentleman, in antique costume, and his inexhaustible fund of anecdote and story, his fine attractive social qualities, with much of the kindly and sympathetic in his nature, endeared him to the homes of joy or sadness.
His daughter, Miss HANNAH WELLS, established the first Sabbath school in this village, and employed much of her time
26 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
in advancing the prosperity of that institution. Another daughter, Mrs. Freeme, the widow of a Liverpool merchant, came here from England some years after the death of her father. A few years after she had made alterations and refitted the old residence of her father, the house burned in the night time, and she with her house, nice paintings. furniture, barn, horses, carriages, &c., were destroyed. At this fire, which occurred in 1849, we noticed in the air, high above the flames, a large collection of birds, drawn thither by the light from the surrounding darkness. This circumstance was happily alluded to by Rev. Mr. Mott, in a funeral sermon on this occasion, by suggesting that those little winged messengers might have come to escort her spirit to mansions of the blessed.
Most generally the finale to all sermons by Mr. Wells were in these words: "Consider well what has been said and may God give you understanding." His laconic commentary upon "the Sermon on the Mount," reminds us of the brief defence by Patrick Henry of the dissenting ministers in Virginia. Mr. Wells, after reading the concluding words of the chapter, viz.: "And the people were astonished at his doctrine," &c., gave a general glance over the congregation, as he closed the Bible, and simply but impressively said, "and well they might be."
Among old papers left by Stephen Greenleaf, Esq., we are gratified to find the following letter from the pen of Mr. Wells. This letter was directed to Mr. Russell Hayes, but, judging from its contents, it was for the students of the old academy:
BRATTLEBORO, March 20. 1808.
"MY YOUNG FRIENDS:— I am much pleased and comforted with your respectful address. Those lectures at the academy would have been begun many years ago, had not a series of bodily indisposition prevented. When it pleased God to favor me with returning health, I did not know any way in which I could be used more agreeably to myself, or with better prospect of success, than to have an occasional service in the winter season particularly suitable for young men and youth growing up into life. To find, therefore, that those labors have been acceptable and useful, and, as I hope, cannot fail of affording me great satisfaction.
"Being considerably advanced into the vale of years, the shadows of the evening are glowing long and the night of death fast approaching with respect to me. This, however, I do not in the least regret. But so long as I sustain my present relation to the society in this town, and health and capacity for usefulness remain, be assured I shall, with great pleasure, continue the services above-mentioned, well knowing that the sober, virtuous and religious character of young men Is of infinite importance to themselves, to their friends, and to the community at large. That you, my young friends, may continue to be useful in life, the supports and ornaments of religion when my head is laid low in the dust and my lips closed in perpetual silence, and that we may all at last have a happy meeting in the world above, never more to part, is the ardent prayer of your sincere friend and affectionate pastor, WM. WELLS."
FIRST CHURCH IN EAST VILLAGE OF BRATTLEBORO.
Fourteen members withdrew from the church at West Brattleboro, and July 15, 1816, the new church was organized, with Rev. Wm. Wells as pastor, and John Holbrook set apart as deacon. During the short ministry of Mr. Wells, the church was increased by the addition of seventy-eight members. The new edifice was dedicated August 22, 1816. Rev. Samuel Willard, of Deerfield, offered the dedicatory prayer, and Rev. Mr. Pratt, of Westmoreland, the concluding prayer.
The successor of Mr. Wells — Rev. Jonathan McGee — was a graduate of Williams College and of the Theological Seminary of Andover, Mass. At his ordination, January 1, 1819. the sermon was preached by Rev. Samuel Taggart, from II Cor. 4th chap., 5th verse. This was the first ordination that had taken place in Brattleboro, although there had been stated preaching in the town for more than fifty years.
During the ministry of Rev. Mr. McGee of nearly fifteen years, 281 members were added to the church. During the last four years Mr. McGee remained in his charge,
large additions were made to this church. From 1831 to 1833, there was manifested unusual interest on the subject of religion. In 1831, special efforts were made, in various parts of New England, to revive the churches by holding four-day meetings, and concentrating the ministerial ability of several towns to assist at such places as were deemed the most proper for such a purpose. These measures proved so successful that many thought four days a too limited time, and were loth to discontinue these meetings so long as success seemed to attend them. Consequently they were extended and obtained the name of "protracted meetings," where was employed, for weeks and months together, the most gifted eloquence and talented ministrations that could be obtained. The itinerant preachers demanded for these occasions were called "Evangelists." Great powers of originality were expected of him, and he must be able to bring forward old truths in a new, startling manner, so as to not only arouse "those that were asleep in Zion," but those who had ever been careless and indifferent to their spiritual interests.
Curiosity and the love of something new and exciting drew the attention of many to these meetings, who went home in sadness and despair. Old church members were made to feel
"But oh, this wretched heart of sin
It may deceive me still,
And while I look for joys above,
May plunge me down to hell."
Rev. Mr. Boyle commenced preaching at the Congregational church, on the Common, in the month of November, 1832, and continued his labors almost every Sabbath and evening until late in February, 1833. In his addresses, he was solemn, eloquent and impressive, and the still, noiseless, crowded house betokened "no room for mirth or trifling here if life so soon is past." A revival, long continued and of great power, followed or accompanied these exercises. Some old church members of to-day look back to this light of other days with heartfelt joy; as then, old things with them then passed away and all things became new, and they felt confident that the smiles of heaven and an approving God rested upon these movements. Some good citizens and professed Christians disapproved of so much excitement, though they rejoiced to see the attention given to religion by those hitherto averse to the subject. Others condemned the whole thing; with them it was "all emotional religion, an animal excitement, that would soon pass away, leaving the churches in worse condition than before." A theological or spiritual nutriment so highly stimulating, would render the former good gospel preaching distasteful or insipid, and the faithful old pastor, who had baptized us in our infancy and buried our fathers, would be graciously informed certain wise men in the parish beg leave to suggest, for his consideration, the propriety of a change in his field of usefulness.
This prophecy, to some extent, proved true, but we hope some good was accomplished by diverting the attention of many, as it could be done in no other way, from this all-absorbing theme. "What shall we eat, what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?" If man, with his wonderful, mysterious combination of mind and matter, can have no higher aspirations without being stimulated thereto by unusual events, we feel resigned when they occur.
Among the church and society that quietly sat under the ministrations of Rev. Dr. Wells were those who could not sustain or endure a state of affairs so different from the past. Therefore, and but a short time previous to the events alluded to in the foregoing, the society divided and the church bell, presented to the society by Gov. Hunt, of Vernon, and Dea. J. Holbrook of this place, broke at the same time.
A minority portion of the society, called Unitarian, built on Main street the second church erected in this village, in the summer of 1831.
Rev. Jonathan McGee was dismissed by a mutual council, Sept. 10, 1834, and January, 1835, Rev. Charles Walker was installed pastor elect. The sermon upon this occasion was preached by Rev. Willard Child, of Pittsford. Vt.
In the year 1842, the church and society finding their house of worship very much out of repair, and being situated too far north for the convenience of a large portion
28 VERMONT HISTORCIAL MAGAZINE.
of the congregation, concluded to remove it into Main street, near the old Brattleboro Bank. The meeting-house was removed and enlarged in 1842, and the heirs of Francis Goodhue, Esq., gave the land to the society upon which the building now stands. It was dedicated Jan. 11, 1843. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Z. S. Barstow, D. D., of Keene, N. H.; dedicatory prayer by Rev. Amos Foster, of Putney.
Rev. Charles Walker continued the pastor until Feb. 14, 1846, when he was dismissed by mutual council called for this purpose. Mr. Walker was a fearless, uncompromising advocate of the temperance cause. He possessed great moral power and a praiseworthy independence in advocating his views. His sermons upon special occasions showed great research and extensive information. The church under his teaching, was built up and strengthened. The additions during his ministry were 62 by letter and 82 by profession.
After the dismission of Rev. Dr. Walker, the pulpit was supplied by different ones until May 23, 1846, when the society extended a call to Mr. A. Huntington Clapp, of Boston, Mass., then engaged as a professor in Middlebury College. He was a graduate of Yale College and Andover Theological Seminary. After the usual examination by council he was ordained Oct. 14, 1846. Rev. Dr. Blagden, of the old South Church, Boston, preached the sermon.
Rev. Mr. Clapp continued his labors with great satisfaction to the church and society until Jan. 1, 1853, when, from a disease of the eyes, he was induced to ask leave of absence for at least four months, that he might be under treatment for the difficulty. After an absence of nearly eight months, and under daily treatment, yet without perceptible improvement, he sent in his resignation, to take effect Oct. 14, 1853, that being the close of the seventh year of his connection with this society. During the seven years Mr. Clapp was pastor, 60 were added by profession and 42 by letter.
Immediately after Rev. Mr. Clapp had sent in his resignation the church and society united in extending a call to Rev. George P. Tyler, of Lowville, N. Y., a native of Brattleboro, and graduate of Yale College and Union Theological Seminary, New York. He, having accepted the call, commenced his labors as pastor, Nov. 14, 1854. by a preparatory lecture for the communion, and on the following Sabbath preached his first sermon. Nov. 15, 1854, the council met and dismissed Rev. Mr. Clapp and examined Rev. Mr. Tyler. This examination proving satisfactory, he was the next. day installed pastor of the church and society. The sermon was preached by Rev. L. G. Buckingham, of Springfield, Mass.; charge by Rev. Charles Walker, of Pittsford, Vt.; right hand of fellowship by Rev. Joseph Chandler; address to the people by Rev. A. H. Clapp; concluding prayer by Rev. Mr. Aiken. The fact that the two former pastors were present and took part in the services, rendered it very solemn and interesting to the large congregation who were assembled on the occasion.
During the pastorate of Mr. Tyler there was received into the church 194 members, and during the latter part of his ministry here in 1864, extensive alterations were made in his house of worship. He was a man of much energy and originality, and zealous in defence of the government during the late rebellion. That he was a faithful and efficient pastor has, we believe, never been questioned. In 1866, at his own request, he was dismissed from the charge of this church. He was succeeded by Rev. Nathaniel Mighill, who was installed pastor in October, 1867. Rev. L. Buckingham preached the sermon, and Rev. A. H. Clapp addressed the church and society.
From the time of its organization to March, 1869, this church had received 884 members and six settled pastors.
BRATTLEBORO UNITARIAN CONGREGATIONAL SOCIETY.
BY A FORMER PASTOR.
After the death of Rev. William Wells, D. D.. which occurred in 1827, a large number of the members of the Congregational society, then under the charge of Rev. Jonathan McGee, became dissatisfied with him as their pastor on account of certain doctrines which he preached, and because he refused to exchange pulpit
services with several clergymen with whom Rev. Mr. Wells had been accustomed to hold ministerial intercourse. They finally withdrew from that society and formed a new society, known by the name of the "Brattleboro Unitarian Congregational Society." The organization of this society was effected in 1831, and a house of worship was erected on Main street during that year and finished early the next year. It was dedicated Feb. 22, 1832. Rev. George W. Hosmer, of Northfield, Mass., preaching the sermon. On the same day Rev. Nathaniel Thayer, D. D., of Lancaster, Mass., and other clergymen being present, the following persons, Eben Wells, Mary Wells, Samuel A. Allen, Maria Allen, Lemuel Whitney, Sophia Whitney, S. D. Chapin, Eliza Hyde, and Eunice Metcalf, united themselves into a Christian church, adopting and subscribing the same covenant which had been used under the ministry of Dr. Wells, and which was at that time still in use in the Congregational church under the charge of Mr. McGee, which is as follows: "Admiring the infinite condescension and grace of God, in opening a door of life and salvation to perishing sinners through the death and mediation of Jesus Christ: together with a sense of your own unworthiness, you do now make choice of the living God for your God, of God the Father for your Father; of his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for your Lord and Saviour; of the Holy Ghost for .your teacher, sanctifier and comforter; and of the Word of God for the rule of your faith and practice. And you do dedicate and give up yourselves to God, to be only his; to be guided by his spirit, to be ruled by his laws, to be disposed of by his providence, and to be eternally saved in the gospel way, promising by the help of Christ, (without which you can do nothing), that you will live soberly, righteously and godly all your days. And you do likewise covenant and bind yourselves to walk with the church of Christ in this place, in all the ways of God's ordinances, submitting yourselves to the discipline and government of this church according to the rules of the gospel. Thus you give up yourselves to God, and promise by his help to live for Him, and to walk in holy fellowship with this church."
The church was enlarged from time to time by the addition of other members, and the above covenant was used for several years on the admission of new members to the church. For some years. past, however, it has not been read or assented to when persons have united themselves with the church.
On the Sunday succeeding the dedication of the church. Mr. Addison Brown, who had been preaching several months at Troy, N. Y., where he had organized a. society, on invitation of the prudential, committee of the society, commenced supplying the pulpit as a candidate, and after-preaching about three months he received an invitation to settle as pastor of the church and accepted the same.
Mr. Brown was a native of New Ipswich, N. H,, graduated at Harvard College in the year, 1826, and at the Theological School at Cambridge in 1831. His ordination took place June 14, 1832, introductory prayer by Rev. Mr. Rogers, of Bernardston, Mass.; reading of the Scriptures by Rev. Josiah Moore. of Athol, Mass.; sermon by Rev. Mr. Hill, of Worcester, Mass.; ordaining prayer by Rev. James Kendall, D.D., of Plymouth, Mass.; charge by Rev. Abiel Abbott, D. D., of Peterboro, N. H.; right hand of fellowship by Rev. G. W. Hosmer, of Northfield, Mass.; address to the society by Rev. Hersey B. Goodwin, of Concord, Mass.; concluding prayer by Rev. Alpheus Harding, of New Salem, Mass.
Mr. Brown's engagement was at first for three years. At the expiration of that time he renewed his engagement to supply the pulpit for five years, and after the expiration of that time his engagement was made annually during the remainder of his pastorate, which terminated near the close of 1845, he having preached for the society for nearly fourteen years in succession, with the exception of a few months' interruption on account of sickness.
On accepting the resignation of Mr. Brown of his pastoral relation to the society, the following resolution was passed at a meeting of the society, Dec. 1, 1845:
Resolved, That while acceding to the Rev. Addison Brown's request to be discharged from the further performance of
30 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
ministerial duties, this society, collectively and individually, entertain towards him the highest respect and strong personal regard, and that they shalt ever cherish a lively recollection of his devotion to duty and his sincere efforts for their moral and spiritual good.
Since the close of Mr, Brown's ministry to the society they have been supplied by a great number and variety of preachers, some for a brief period, others for a longer time. Those who have supplied the pulpit for the longest periods are Rev. G. G. Ingersoll, D. D., now deceased, who preached for the society at several different times; Rev. Farrington McIntire, who was ordained as pastor of the society, April 7, 1847, and closed his ministry at the end of that year; Rev. John L. Russell, who continued with the society several months; Rev. Mellish I. Motte, Rev. Solon W. Bush, and Rev. Francis C. Williams, each of whose ministry was three years or more; Rev. F. Frothingham, who was the society's pastor for over two years, and Rev. H. N. Richardson, who supplied the desk for a little more than half a year. The society is at the present time (August, 1869) without a settled ministry.
The stone church erected by this society in 1874-5, surpasses in durability and as a fine specimen of church architecture, anything of the kind in this place. Rev. W. L. Jenkins has officiated as pastor to the present time, January, 1879.
The new church building erected by the first and only Baptist society in this town is of brick, with Portland stone caps to the windows, buttresses, &c. It stands upon the ground where once stood a nice brick dwelling-house, on Main street, built by G. C. Hall, Esq., in 1826 or '27. This, the most costly and elegant specimen of church architecture this side of Rutland, if not in the State, was built in 1867. E. Boyden, of Worcester, was architect, and J. M. Buzzell, master workman or superintendent of construction. In the fall of 1868 a bell, weighing 4,500 pounds, was placed in the tower. This bell is said to be the largest one in Vermont. This is the fourth house of religious worship erected on Main street, where is the business of the town, its stores and "temples of mammon."
A venerable deacon once said, "religion should be separated from politics or business; it should be lifted high above all things of a worldly nature." In accordance with this sentiment of early times, temples for religious worship were erected on some elevated spot or away from the hum of business and frequent haunts of men.
"Where musing solitude might love to lift
Her soul above this sphere of earthliness."
The people, when approaching this sacred place, were expected to leave behind their worldly cares and their every day garments, if not their shoes, as did Moses when he ascended the sacred mountain. From present indications, we are inclined to think it is well for the old deacon's peace of mind that he has gone to his rest. If his aged form now moved about our busy streets, and his attention was aroused by the heavy, solemn tones of that great bell, so near the temples of politics and mammon, how sadly he would shake his head to witness this evidence of degeneracy! Vain would be our efforts to calm his troubled mind, by telling him the spirit of the age demanded that religion should be a more every-day, practical affair, and its temples and influences should be brought down to sanctify, baptize or purify all needful earthly transactions.
This church and society have made rapid progress. Front its infancy this church has had within its fold individuals of superior business capacity, who have not been found wanting or backward in advancing the material interests of the organization, and thereby has been erected a church building which is one of the greatest ornaments to this village. This account would he incomplete unless we present the events of nearly 40 years ago, when this society was forming and deriving its first nutrition under a Methodist roof, aided by professed Christians antagonistic to the peculiar features of this church.
In March, 1840, Rev. Mr. Andrews commenced a series of revival meetings in the Methodist chapel, then standing on Canal street. The text to his first sermon was, "Plough up the fallow ground." In this sermon Mr. Andrews declared his
indifference or independence in regard to sectarianism, but plainly stated his belief in the necessity of immediate repentance, regeneration or new birth. "If," said he, "you have evidence of sins forgiven, it matters not whether you are Methodist, Baptist, Orthodox, Congregationalist or Episcopalian." The Methodist society was at this time in a feeble condition. The magnanimous declaration of Elder Andrews aroused the vitality that was yet remaining in that society, and caused it to welcome him with open arms. Deacon Wood and some other members of the Congregational church gathered at these meetings, and used their abilities and influence to sustain Elder Andrews and forward the work according to programme.
The novel. startling titles Mr. Andrews gave out for sermons he was to preach the next evening, as, for instance. "Tomorrow evening I shall preach the looking-glass sermon." or, "to-morrow night I will preach the funeral sermon for the first one of this congregation who will die," caused the house to be well filled about every evening for four or five weeks. The result of these efforts were soon apparent in the professed conversion of several persons, who were persuaded to be baptized by immersion. Some communicants of that faith, residing here, united with the new converts and, under the lead of Elder Andrews, organized the first Baptist church, April 2, 1840. The whole number was but 23 members at this time.
This action on the part of the presiding genius of this movement so disturbed the harmonious fooling heretofore existing, it was considered desirable or necessary to find other quarters wherein to continue the meetings. As might have been expected, Some heretofore warm friends of Mr. Andrews became cold, and they could not justify his action or make it appear consistent with his declarations at the commencement of these meetings. It occurred to others that his course might, perhaps, be justified by eminent precedent or sentiments of the great apostle, as expressed in II Cor., xii, 16.
During six or seven weeks, from the beginning of these labors, Mr. Andrews occupied three places for this purpose, the last place being Dickenson's Hall, where he made the following remarks before his congregation:
"Some people have said this was a peaceable community, a short time ago, but since Andrews came here we have all got by the ears. I don't doubt it my friends, for when the truth of God is thrust amongst a people they will boil like a pot."
Elder Andrews left his charge in a short time, after occupying the third place of worship, and Rev. Joseph Freeman was chosen as pastor, April 24, 1840. The public recognition was upon May 6. 1840, the membership at this time being 94. Mr. Freeman resigned his pastoral charge after a service of about four months.
Aug. 28, 1840, Rev. Moses Field accepted a call of the society to be their pastor. The church was admitted into the Windham County Baptist Association at its annual meeting in the following autumn. The first church building was erected on Elliot street, and completed in the autumn and winter of 1840 '41 and dedicated the following spring.
Sept. 27, 1842, Rev. Mr. Field gave in his resignation which was accepted. His successor, Rev. J. C. Foster, supplied the pulpit from Oct. 2, 1841, to Dec. 11 of the same year, and he was ordained pastor, Jan. 19, 1843.
In 1859, the meeting-house was repaired and re-opened with the following dedicatory exercises: Prayer by Rev. L. Sherwin, sermon by the pastor, dedicatory prayer by Rev. Samuel Fish, concluding prayer by Rev. A. H. Stevens.
June 8, 1856, Rev. Mr. Foster resigned his position, to take effect July 1. June 13, the church accepted his resignation. This is the longest pastorate in the history of the church. Mr. Foster administered to it for nearly 14 years.
August 24, 1856, Rev. P. L. Adams was invited to the vacant pastorship, and commenced his labors Nov. 2d of the same year. The last Sabbath in January, 1859, he closed his ministrations He was succeeded by Rev. Mark Carpenter upon the second Sabbath of February, 1859. He resigned Dec. 4, 1864.
Rev. A. Sherwin succeeded Mr. Carpenter, coming Jan. 4, 1865; resigned April 7, 1867. The seventh pastor of the church,
32 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
Rev. H. H. Peabody, came Sept. 1, 1867, to supply the pulpit six months.
The congregation worshipped for the last time in the old church building in January, 1868. On the first Sabbath in February, of the same winter, the new church was occupied in the basement, as the principal room was not finished. Mr. Peabody, at the expiration of six months, was ordained as pastor of the church. At this time the total number on the church record was 412.
There is a large Sabbath School in connection with this institution. The society is in a prosperous condition, and the oft-sounding of the bell, the frequent, well attended meetings, gives evidence of the sincerity of its members.
Rev. Mr. Matteson officiated about seven years. Present pastor, (1879), Rev. Horace Bucrhard.
In giving an account of this institution, we have nothing upon which to rely but memory; therefore, do not pretend to perfect accuracy in regard to dates, nor do we remember the names of but few of the pastors who have officiated for that church in this place. Regular services date from the advent of Cyrus Davis, who came to this village about 1833, to superintend the printing department of the publishing house of Messrs. Holbrook & Co. When we were first made aware of Methodist preaching in the East village was in 1834, and Mr. Davis, a firm advocate and class leader of the order, was quite prominent in commencing and sustaining these services, which were first held in a small district school-house on Canal street.
Between 1835 and '37 the society erected their first house of worship. This building was placed near the school-house they at first occupied on Canal street. Rev. William Brewster was the pastor of this church in 1837, and by his excellent character, eloquence and energy, considerable advance was made in building up the society. His worthy successor, "Elder Harding," was also a talented and effective preacher; but the organization was not fortunate in members who were able or willing to clear off the mortgage upon their meeting-house. Feeble in worldly matters, "The hull drove on though mast and sail was torn."
But the advent of the Baptist church, born under its roof in 1840, seemed to exhaust the little vitality remaining in the society. The meeting-house passed out of their possession into the hands of "Millerites," so called, in 1842. The Universalist society next obtained possession of this house and occupied it for their denominational purposes until their present house of worship was built, in 1850 and '51. The old house was then sold to Mr. W. Alexander, who made such alterations as fitted it for a private residence.
The Methodist society was, for a time, a thing of the past, but within seven years after their trials with the Millerites, &c., it was made evident that some of the "old leaven, hid in three measures of meal," yet remained. Within the time above-named they built the neat brick meeting-house, now (1869) owned and occupied by the society. Its advocates and supporters, in numbers, character and influence, compare favorably with other denominations in this place. When we consider the trials, difficulties and disappointments the Methodists have encountered in establishing their organization here, we must allow they are entitled to much credit for conscientiousness and perseverance. Methodist services are now (1879) held in the lower town hall, Rev, D. E. Miller, pastor.
Regular services of this church, in this town, commenced at "Dickenson's Hall" in 1836. A society was then, formed, with some hope of permanency, and Rev. Chas. Devens, a talented, promising young man, officiated as rector. Hon. John Phelps and family, prominent actors in commencing this enterprise, during the short time said family resided here, moved to Maryland soon after the organization, and this society, in its days of infancy, could ill afford to lose the influence, power and protection afforded by this family. After about two years, services were only occasional, and then usually conducted at some place hired for this purpose, by the rector of the church, three miles distant, at East Guilford.
Public sentiment in this town seems never to have been favorable to this order, and there has never been a compliance
with the conditions of the charter of 1753, wherein we find a reservation of one share of land for this church, and also "one share for the propogation of the gospel in foreign parts." Since 1852, accessions to this population have been of such a character as to require this form of religious worship.
In 1853, a society was organized and services at first conducted by Rev. G. C. Eastman in a lower room of the town hall. Rev. Mr. Eastman resigned his charge April 15, 1854. Rev. William Southgate officiated from 1857 to April, 1860. Rev. A. P. Morris was invited to accept the rectorship Oct. 10, 1860. Rev. Edmund Rowland occupied the desk in the summer previous to the advent of Mr. Morris. Rev. A. P. Morris was from Hamilton, C. W., and was rector of this church during most of the time of the late war of the rebellion. October 14, 1864, Rev. G. W. Porter was invited to become rector of the parish. He accepted, and resigned after about two years' service. Rev. Francis W. Smith accepted an invitation to fill the vacancy, April 3, 1867, and resigned Dec. 30, 1868. In 1867 the society procured a parsonage, situated upon Green street, at an expense of $2,500. March 19, 1869. Rev. Mr. Harris accepted an invitation of the parish to become rector and now supplies the desk. (1870).
Since 1853, this institution has been known and recognized as "St. Michael's Church," and its progress in numbers, influence and all needful requirements to sustain it, renders the permanent establishment of Episcopacy in this town, no longer, as at first considered, an experiment.
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
Irregular preaching commenced by the Catholics from 1846 to '48, about the time the Vermont and Massachusetts railroad was being constructed in this vicinity. Meetings were held for several years in a building on Elliot street, formerly used for mechanical purposes. In 1863-4 they constructed a good, substantial brick church on Walnut street. This undertaking was under the administration of Father O'Reilly. Judging from the large number of persons going to and from this new house, the church is in a flourishing condition.
[By Rt. Rev. Louis de Goesbriand, Bishop of Burlington].
The number of Catholic families in this town must have been about fifty when the diocese of Burlington was separated from that of Boston. Rev. Z. Druon, (now of St. Albans), in 1844, bought an old paint or carpenter shop and fitted it up for a church. Rev. Charles O'Reilly was given charge of the mission in 1855, and after a few years came to live in the village. He succeeded in building the present neat and substantial church edifice of St. Michael. In 1869, he was succeeded by Rev. Charles Halpin. Rev. N. St. Onge had charge of Brattleboro after Rev. Father Halpin. To Rev. Henry Lane, the present incumbent, is due the erection of the Catholic school house, the establishment of the house of the Sisters of St. Joseph, for the teaching of the children, the purchase of a parsonage, and ornamenting of the church edifice. There are 135 families in this congregation. and the number of pupils taught by the Sisters in 1877 was 125.
Too much credit cannot be given this congregation, who have done much, so well and so constantly, notwithstanding many and serious difficulties.
NOTE. — Some of the details, respecting the religious societies of Brattleboro, have been taken from their own printed books.
EAST VILLAGE OF BRATTLEBORO.
Within the limits of this village was made the first English settlement in Vermont. "His Majesty's Fort Dummer," as stated in the charter of the town in 1753, was here erected in 1724. In this charter is made four reservations of land, one for the first settled minister, one for the English or Episcopal church, one for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts, and one of 800 acres for Gov. Wentworth of New Hampshire. With one exception, we learn these reservations have never been appropriated for the purposes above named. That exception is the land now covered by this village, which was owned by Governor Wentworth and sold at some period from the date of the charter to 1771, for five oxen. Because first owned by Gov. Wentworth, this territory was for a long time known as "Governor's Farm." In 1771, this farm was purchased by Stephen Greenleaf, of Boston, Mass., and
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he established a store where now stands Union block on Main street. This store is said to be the first one established in Vermont. From ancient letters we learn this merchant was an importer of goods from England. From Harrison, Barnard & Spragg, of London, we find a letter, dated 1769, addressed to Stephen Greenleaf, containing a receipt for cash £100 on account, and information they had forwarded to his order and his "risque" goods to the amount of £400. This gentleman, Stephen Greenleaf, was father of Stephen Greenleaf, Jr., who was clerk of this town 45 years.
Among various means which have contributed to the rise and growth of this place, not the least that can be mentioned is the early attention given to mechanics. The first water-power set in operation here was by Matthew Martin, who built a saw mill near the mouth of Whetstone Brook, at the south part of Main street. Matthew Martin was born in 1737, and died in 1831. When 91 years of age, he informed us that at the time he built this saw-mill all "Governor's Farm" could be bought for 25 cents per acre.
This water-power, since first used by Mr. Martin, has operated a great variety of machinery. Joseph Clark, from Auburn, Mass., who owned, at one time, most of the land on the south side of Whetstone Brook to the Vernon and Guilford line, established here the first shop for wool-carding and cloth-dressing. This power has been used for printing, paper making, machine shops, grinding grain, manufacturing silk, cotton, wool, pearl, ivory and boxwood rules, paper machinery, &c. John Holbrook, in 1811, sold all this water privilege below the paper mill to Francis Goodhue.
As Deacon John Holbrook was the main cause, and is so identified with the early prosperity of this village, it is difficult to separate his history from it; therefore, we give a brief sketch of him in this connection.
Was born at Weymouth, Mass., in 1761, and died in this village in 1838, aged 77 years. At the beginning of the Revolutionary war, his father moved with his family to Dorchester, Mass. English officers stationed on Dorchester Heights were so well pleased with the conduct and personal appearance of young Holbrook, they offered to instruct him in engineering, surveying. &c. The offer was gratefully accepted, and he became so well qualified that he was in after years employed by the government.
The opportunities for obtaining knowledge of this character were limited in this country at that time, and to this early event in his history may be attributed much of his success in after life; but men so lavishly gifted by nature with mind and matter, with the most desirable requisites of true manhood, as was Mr. Holbrook, wait not for opportunities or occasions, they create them. Difficulties, dangers, obstacles, such as discourage or dishearten common men, act, if they act at all, on such men as Mr. Holbrook, merely as stimulants to their progress.
His duties, while in the employ of the government, led him beyond his native State to Newfane, Vt., where he married Sarah Knowlton, daughter of Luke Knowlton, Esq., then known as "Judge Knowlton," and presiding at the courts of Windham county. Late in the last century he established a store in the building which has since undergone alterations, fitting it for a hotel, now called the American House. He here became successful in importing goods from the West Indies, all the way to Brattleboro by water. His goods came by shipping to Hartford, Ct., and from there by flat-boats up the river to this place, and we learn he was the pioneer of this method of freighting to Brattleboro, which was long after wards successfully carried on by G. C. Hall, Francis Goodhue, John R. Blake, and others. In 1811, Mr. Holbrook removed to Warehouse Point, Ct. His son-in-law, Wm. Fessenden, was proprietor of "The Reporter," and published Webster's spelling books as early as 1807. Immediately after the death of William Fessenden, in 1815, Mr. Holbrook returned to Brattleboro and bought of the heirs of William Fessenden all his stock, fixtures, &c., and greatly enlarged the publishing business. For undertaking to publish a large family Bible, by subscription, in this obscure town, so far away from the great centers
of trade, Mr. Holbrook was ridiculed by the greatest publishers of the day in New York and Boston, and certain failure of the enterprise was by them confidently predicted. Little did the sons of luxury and affluence know of the character or capabilities of that man. His opening manhood was in the storm of the Revolution; his early life was spent in grappling with all sorts of difficulties, wandering on snow-shoes through trackless forests with compass and chain, and often did he retire for the night, under hemlock boughs, with scanty uncooked food, in the dark, cold, wintry, unbroken forest. Some of the disadvantages in establishing his business here may be learned by reading the following account, as given us not long ago by Mr. Hines, a few days before his death, at the age of 89 years:
"Many years ago I built a paper-mill in this tillage for Deacon Holbrook. It was a hard job, for there was at that time no iron foundry in this region, no machine shop, no engine-lathe or tools such as would be considered indispensable now for doing such work. I went with a horse team to Rhode Island to get iron castings for this mill. After I returned and had been several days at work, the deacon called on me to see how the work was progressing. 'Well,' said he, 'any new troubles, any more lions in the road?' 'Yes; there is one big one,' said I, pointing to a large iron casting on the floor; 'we must make a hole (giving the size) clear through that iron in the thickest place.' 'How in the world will you do it?' asked the deacon. I replied, 'I don't exactly know, but I must contrive some way to do it.' The deacon gave expression to his views upon the subject by saying. 'I should like to see the generation that will be on earth when you finish that job.' In the after part of that day it was a great pleasure to me to congratulate the deacon upon having had his wish, for the job was done."
Some idea of Mr. Holbrook's peculiar style of expressing his emotions, can be seen by the following: Mr. H. sent his man-of-all-work some distance from home to get some early potatoes for planting. The man returned with the potatoes and informed him of the price charged. Mr. Holbrook said: "Jacob, return the potatoes immediately, and say to Mr. W. I would as soon die by famine as by the sword," In spite of prophecy and discouragement, Mr. Holbrook supplied all subscribers with the great family Bible, and made a complete financial success. For more than years the publishing business, first started by Wm. Fessenden, more than all other causes, in that day, put together, enlarged and built up this village. Mr. H. retired from being an active participant in the business, though he became associated with Joseph Fessenden, and the business continued under the name of "Holbrook & Fessenden" until Mr. Holbrook became president of the Brattleboro Bank in 1832. Joseph Fessenden died in 1834. John C. Holbrook and others bought out the old concern and published "The Polyglot Bible," "Comprehensive Commentary," "Church History," and "Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge."
Unable to endure the financial crisis in 1836, the company failed, but the business was continued by a joint stock concern called the "Typographic Co.," which commenced operation in 1836; but it died such a gradual, lingering death, we hardly know when it eased to breathe.
Previous to the establishment of the publishing enterprise by Wm. Fessenden said his successor, Mr. Holbrook, the inhabitants of this place attended public worship on the Sabbath, at the West village, over 2 miles distant. In locating the first church building in this village, in 1814, the inhabitants of that day gave evidence of possessing more taste for the beautiful than any of their predecessors or successors. The meeting-house was placed at or near the centre of what is now the public park or common. In summer time the northern view, especially from the upper windows and belfry, was the most beautiful in this country. People living all their lives among mountains and scenery of a similar character, have said much in praise of this prospect, and even travelers from far-famed lands of song and story, have declared it unsurpassed in its peculiar attractiveness, and reluctantly withdrew their gaze upon scenes on which the eye long loved to linger.
At the time carpenters were framing the
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new meeting-house, Rev. Caleb Burge, then pastor at the West village, said he had a dream that two men were killed while raising the new church frame. This story got noised about, causing a large collection of people at the raising of the frame. Some difficulties and dangers attended the process, which made great excitement among the people. Finally, after the business was completed, without injury to life or limb, the crowd gave three tremendous cheers for "Rev. Caleb Burge."
When this village was very small, not more than one-fourth is present size, it was remarkable for its trade, life or business activity. Long before the introduction of railroads, eight or ten daily stages drove up at some hour of the day or night to the old "stage house," where the passengers were sure to be greeted with excellent fare, and the kind, polite attentions of that prince of hotel-keepers, COL. PAUL CHASE. His house was constantly open both night and day. During the winter months, fires were constantly burning in his capacious, old-fashioned fire-places. Many who have experienced life under his administration and roof have declared it caused no unpleasant memories.
Held by Asa Green, Esq., from 1811 to 1841, was, as the old stage house, constantly open both night and day. It was a distributing office, and at one period of Mr. Green's administration was the postoffice for Guilford, Dummerston, Halifax, Vernon, Whitingham, Newfane, Bernardston, Weybridge, Marlboro. Hinsdale, N. H., Gill, Mass., Leyden, Mass., and Chesterfield, N. H. Inhabitants are yet living here who remember the pleasantries, peculiarities, virtues and eccentricities of the veteran postmaster. His memory will be ever green, for one of the pleasantest streets in this village, on land he once owned, now bears his name. Since the establishment of U. S. government postoffices in this State, he had two predecessors in this office, viz.: John W. Blake, in 1790, when there were but 8 government offices in this State, and Samuel Elliot in 1810. Previous to the admission of Vermont into the Union, we learn that John Arms was the first post-master of this town under the authority of Vermont.
A LOTTERY OFFICE,
Opposite the old stage house, with a large mythological painting for a sign, occupied the attention of the people from 1826 to '29. Ceres, goddess of the harvest, smilingly and willingly, through summer's heat and winter's cold, looked down upon the public while scattering from a cornucopia a large quantity of Mexican dollars. This lottery was chartered by the State for the benefit of Horatio Knight, and Messrs. Chase and Smith, managers. The people, though charmed for a while and paying a sufficient tax on ignorance to learn this to be no improvement on the old ways of money-making, turned their backs on this temple of mammon and beautiful Ceres smiled on us no more. The most appropriate use ever made of the unsold tickets was by Messrs. Hooper and Hughes, in the construction of rarified air-balloons, which were started upon their important mission near the old meeting-house on the village common.
Some notoriety abroad was given this place by the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, established here in 1836, but its popularity as a city resort in summer time, dates from 1845, when Dr. Wesselhoeft, from Germany, established here his, at one time, famous hydropathic institution. Dr Wesselhoeft, after traveling extensively in New England and testing water brought from various parts of the United States, decided upon locating in this village. The purity of the water in this place was an important consideration with him, but he was not insensible to the purity of the air, the mountainous features, ever clothed in green, and the varied surface of grounds in sand about this place. There was here, in his estimation, a rare and happy combination of the desirable things which his system of treatment required. He found here excellent mechanics, markets, stores, schools, churches, representing all phases of Christianity, from Rome to Geneva or Boston, Mass.; in short, a high civilization, from which a walk of fifteen minute's would place one in primitive forests, among precipices, glens, brooks, cascades, and scenes of the most perfect wildness and attractiveness.
Dr. Wesselhoeft did not bring to this work the vigor of early manhood or even the noontide of his life. His whitened locks and other indications made it mani‑
fest his stay here must be short, and he was only making an evening call. But his sagacity, as shown by his choice of location, has been highly commended by ladies and gentlemen of much culture, experience and extensive travel in this and other countries. His success in the treatment of chronic complaints, led us to hope his system would be continued here, and his mantle fall upon some worthy successor, but after he passed away, everything of his excepting the buildings he erected, disappeared, and the buildings were converted to other uses.
During the Rebellion, when Vermont placed over 32,000 of her sons upon the altar of freedom, Gov. F. Holbrook, son of Dea. John Holbrook, made application to the general government for leave to establish a hospital here for sick and wounded soldiers. Leave being granted, the institution went into operation. There was reported from this hospital so large a percentage of cures from chronic diarrhæa and other difficult diseases to cure, as placed this hospital so far above any other in the United States, the authorities at Washington thought there was a mistake in the reports. Investigation proved the reports correct. Consequently the institution was enlarged and made a United States hospital, where have been congregated, from several States, over 1500 invalid soldiers at once.
The surgeon-general, who attended to the last, declared he never before found it necessary to use so little medicine, for obstinate chronic cases, as considered when brought from other hospitals to this one, seemed to be cured as if by magic.
Some years after the war closed, the doctor, while on a visit to this place, was consulted by a gentleman from New Haven, who was afflicted with chronic diarrhæa. After making the needful inquiries, examinations and prescription, the doctor said: "Above all things I recommend, in your case, a large dose of Brattleboro.”
The ground south of the village, where was this military hospital, is now (1872) owned by a company named "The Windham County Park Association," and used by them for agricultural exhibitions and horse races.
In the erection of buildings, there was but little of the elegant in architecture prior to 1833. Since that time utility alone has not always been consulted, but within the last twenty years art and taste have presided in construction of really elegant and pleasant homes, which greatly help to give a desirable character to the place. It has been said that beautiful things have a beneficial effect upon the mind, causing a more agreeable expression upon its dial-plate. Seeing these unmistakable evidences of surplus means is ever gratifying to solicitors of contributions for literary, charitable or religious objects The grand list is thereby made grander and more effective in satisfying public needs by taxation.
Desirable as is this place for a summer residence, in particular localities, we believe some houses on Main and High streets are disease-breeding institutions, from the toleration of overgrown shade trees near the dwellings, causing gloom, dampness, rheumatism, &c., to many otherwise sunny healthful, cheerful homes.
Most of the roads and sidewalks are too narrow. With an increasing population, requiring an expansion of the avenues for public travel, some of these roads, which have been open to the public from all time, have, within 25 years, been partly covered by the enlargement of buildings or enclosed front yard fences This practice is not only a damage to the public but to the real estate owners who are guilty of this action. It is also far from complimentary to the public authorities who suffer the public to be robbed.
FlRE AND WATER DEPARTMENT.
However sensible individuals may be as to the public necessities, communities require some costly experience before they will sufficiently realize those needs, as to be willing a tax should be raised upon their property to supply them. This village in providing the means for extinguishing fires has awaited this educational process. In the summer of 1834 a house near the north part of Main street, owned by Dr. John L. Dickerman, was entirely consumed by fire. Only the out-buildings were on fire when the engines arrived on the ground, and it was only the lack of water prevented the most valuable part of the house from being saved. The indignant owner said, as he gazed upon the crowd doing nothing, "there are women enough here to extinguish that fire with their petticoats."
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It was easy to see how perfectly useless were the best of fire engines without some way to supply them. Meetings of the inhabitants were called at various times, at which committees were appointed to devise and report at a future meeting some feasible plan to meet the difficulty. Progress to this end was slow, but after years of consideration, large underground cement cisterns, supplied by waste water from dwelling houses, were placed at such points as was most advantageous. In 1866, a great advance was made in this department, rendering the supply of water in Main street inexhaustible. A power-engine or force-pump was placed in the machine-shop of F. Tyler, at the south part of Main street, and operated by a large water-wheel. By this means 200 gallons of water per minute, from Whetstone Brook, could be delivered at several hydrants, in such positions as to be available at a fire in any part of Main street, and, with sufficient hose, can be of great service in protecting property in other streets.
There are now (1870) 3 engines and 1 hook and ladder company. Enrolled in the fire engine companies are 300 citizens. Having 4,000 feet of hose, a large part of the village can be protected from fires by water from Whetstone Brook. One of the engines was built by C. Hunneman Co., of Boston, Mass., at a cost of $4,000. The other two hand-engines cost $2,000 each. Messrs. Jacob Estey & Co. purchased, a few years since, a steam fire engine, which will be more effectual than four or five hand-engines.
There never has been so efficient a fire department as within the last 4 years. For the late improvements, much credit is due the chief engineer, Col. S. M. Waite. Fires, under the present management, are almost invariably confined to buildings where they originate. The most remarkable exception to this rule occurred in November, 1869, when the Brattleboro House and several stores were consumed. The great freshet, which occurred in the month before this fire, rendered inefficient the power engine upon which the village depended for the great supply of water from Whetstone Brook.
All the buildings on Main street and a large share of the dwelling houses in thevillage are supplied with constantly running water from springs of great purity. The water is brought by conduits to several distributing reservoirs in such localities as to best accommodate the consumers of the water. There are 7 or 8 companies or organizations for supplying all demands for running water. The Western Aqueduct Association is the largest and most important in the place. Their spring is divided into 180 shares. This water was brought about one mile to High street in 1826, by Messrs. John Holbrook, Asa Green and Francis Goodhue. Shares have been sold for $8 each, but now are valued at not less than $100 each. The company deliver the water at a brick aqueduct house in High street, and share owners put clown small pipes leading to their dwellings at their own expense, and they are subject to taxation, in proportion to the amount of water they own, to keep the main conduit in repair.
To the Western aqueduct may be attributed the growth, in fact, the very existence of two of the most important streets in this village. The three originators of this association conferred a benefit of great importance to the public. They have long since passed away, but their memory lives in that appropriate emblem of purity and industry — pure running water.
The men who act as if they "were ordained to do, not to enjoy," unconsciously build their own monuments. However large may be our organ of reverence, we involuntarily exercise it upon such as these. It will be well for human interests when selfishness shall assume no worse form of manifestation than was apparent in the action of these gentlemen in this and other movements, in which they acted more for the benefit of others than for themselves.
The village is well located for good drainage; therefore, the neglect to improve this advantage seems, at first thought, inexcusable. It needs no argument to convince any thoughtful, reflective person how important it is for the general welfare that impure water be not allowed to stand near dwellings, to be removed only by solar evaporation. Legal gentlemen have informed us that the laws of this State are defective in regard to this matter, and should be so amended as to give the same privileges in making sewers as is now given in the construction of roads.
The proprietors of the large brick block, now building on the west side of Main street, have given a commendable example in making drains on private account.
Three steamboats from below here have, at different times, visited this village, viz.: "Barnet," "John Ledyard" and "William Holmes." The first-named boat was built by Thos. Blanchard, of Springfield, Mass., where he invented a lathe for turning eccentric shapes, and first set it in successful operation at the U. S. Armory in shaping gun-stocks. Mr. Blanchard was confident he could make steam navigation on the Connecticut River, from Hartford far up into Vermont, a success. In 1827, when the little Barnet went, for the first time, screaming and puffing up the river, the inhabitants of this place, always noted for keeping up with the times in their notions if not their actions, needed but little to excite their hopes or stimulate their ideality regarding the great advantages this village was likely to receive from this powerful agency. Capt. Blanchard, the hero of the hour, the presiding genius of the Barnet, already known to fame, for his achievements in mechanics, proudly walked the deck of his steamer, inspiring increased confidence that greater things were at hand and a new era about to dawn upon this fertile valley. His advent here was greeted with bonfires, bell-ringing, illumination and intoxication. There was loud cheering from the well-lined river bank, and British cannon, taken from Burgoyne at Bennington, roared out from their brazen throats the joyful news. But these demonstrations were made before our hero had got into port; he was struggling against the rapids, called "the tunnel," below the bridge. When about half way up the rapids, the boat came to a standstill. Notwithstanding the fire was so great that the blaze poured from the smoke-stack, and Capt. Blanchard, with the energy of despair, was punching against the bed of the river with a spiked pole, no further progress could be made. While making vain efforts to successfully reinforce steam with this ancient method of navigation, Capt. Blanchard fell from the boat into the rapids and came near being drawn under the boat, but was fortunately rescued by strong hands, which seized him by the collar at the right moment to save him from the threatened calamity. Sorrow and disappointment were apparent as swift water now obtained the victory, floating the Barnet and Blanchard down the stream. But all was not lost, the unconquerable will and genius, ever fertile in expedients, survived this cruel shock. The next trial to ascend proved successful, by applying the old stationary windlass that had long been used for drawing flat-boats over these rapids.
Now safely moored in the desired haven, as the sun went down, the asthmatic breathmg and noise of contending elements in the bosom of the Barnet ceased, but the public mind was under a high pressure all that night. For the best reasons in the world, some "wouldn't go home till morning." Light from the morning sun fell upon broken windows, tables, chairs, crockery. glass-ware. &c., thus giving any but complimentary evidence as to the way this high pressure was vented. The participants in this, ever after called, "famous high-go," largely represented the village. The survivors of this brilliant engagement for the evening, aroused the following day by the cannon, bell and hissing steam of the Barnet, bravely stepped on the hot, quivering. trembling deck of the monster, and away they went north, at the enormous speed of 4 miles an hour.
These heroic deeds were embalmed in verse by the poetical genius of the time and place, but most of the actors are now covered by the silent turf.
Early in the present century, when the financial prosperity of this place depended upon the manufacture of spelling-books, Bibles, and rye whiskey, and the most conspicuous, noticeable feature at town meetings and other public gatherings, was the tall, majestic form of Judge Whitney, Mr. A. said to his neighbor, Mr. F., "I learn an attempt is to be made at the next school meeting to raise money on the scholar, instead of on the grand list." Mr. F. replied, "I don't doubt the truth of that report for I have heard conversation in various quarters of such a character as leads me to believe they will try it, and if we don't work pretty smartly they will accomplish their plans. Esquire S. said he should pay
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no more money to educate other people's children, and Mr. C. and Mr. P. were agreed in saying it is as bad as highway robbery to compel them to pay money for such a purpose."
Mr. A., the first person alluded to in this conversation, was a firm believer in special providences. He was a poor man with a young, dependent family, and it was all he could do to keep the wolf from the door. After hearing the remarks of his friend F., he said, "If Judge Whitney is on our side, they will find it up hill to carry out their plan, but, after all, my greatest confidence is in God; his attributes arc on our side."
When this question came before the school meeting of the district, Judge Whitney expressed, in a decided manner, his opposition to it, and by a majority vote the cause of poor Mr. A. was sustained.
"Well," said Mr. F., "Whom are you going to thank now. God or Judge Whitney?"
There was at this time but little system in conducting public schools here. Children carried to their desks or benches any kind of books parents or guardians found the cheapest or most convenient to furnish. Consequently there could not be a proper classification of the school, or economy of effort by the teacher. A large part of the time was occupied by the schoolmaster in the manufacture of pens from goose quills and arousing the fiend, by almost incessant obedience to the "wise man's" instructions. In the ill-ventilated school-room were long benches and seats, containing from 3 to 10 scholars each, crowded together in such a manner as to interfere as much as possible with their comfort and convenience. When school was dismissed, none but those who have been through such experiences can fully realize the joy occasioned by this temporary emancipation.
In a master, for the winter term. three qualifications were indispensable. He must understand how to make a good pen, and have an indomitable will. and sufficient physical power to maintain an absolute monarchy over "cabined, cribbed, confined," juvenile republicans, who, outside of school, were tolerated by their parents in all sorts of noisy, riotous demonstrations and ovations to the goddess of liberty. It was not without some influence upon the rising generation, that the old veterans front Bunker Hill, Saratoga and Bennington were then among us, living, walking realities and representatives of that desperate though successful contest under a banner on which was inscribed, in awful letters of fire and blood. "Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God."
Almost daily, attended with cries of anguish, came physical conflicts between scholars and a master, who seemed as deficient in a knowledge of human nature, or philosophy of the mind, as in ability to make a watch.
Clearly comes before us recollections of that brute in human form, with stiff, black hair, standing like hog's bristles upon his head, slashing his rule indiscriminately upon innocent and guilty tremblers,
"Who had learned to trace
The day's disaster in his morning face."
"Romeo Wilson," "Tinsel Sargent," "Toad Cushing," and others were made to plainly understand if they received a blow from this modern Solomon, a severer one awaited them at home. The suffering victims of tyrannical outrages from teachers and parents, as was enough and did make some hate school and master forever, well knew an exposure of their wrongs would not lessen them, therefore.
"That tale they did not then unfold."
Time brought some improvements, and other or different qualifications for teachers than those mentioned were demanded. The first time a blackboard appeared in the school-room was under the administration of Mr. C. C. Frost, in the winter of 1827. This gentleman, who is now called "the learned shoemaker," we think had as much will as any of his predecessors, but he did not spend so much of his time" as did most of them, in using the rod. While in the employ of the district. he was faithful to his charge, and it was said the school had never been so well kept before. He was obliged to labor under so many disadvantages such as we have already alluded to, he could not be induced to continue in this work. He has ever since labored upon the human understanding, though in a different manner, in Main street.
As this place advanced in wealth, citizens from other States became residents here. Among those who have helped to bring
about desirable changes in our school system, may be honorably mentioned REV. ADDISON BROWN, a graduate of Harvard and first pastor of the second church established here. He gave early attention to this matter, was a frequent visitor of the schools and tried to influence others to do the same. As early as 1834, he made this matter a theme of a public discourse at his church on Fast day. From personal observation, we have reason to believe he improved every opportunity to move the people to establish the school system now in operation. With persistence and confidence, under some bitter persecution and but little, if any, encouragement, he labored on until seven years saw the accomplishment of his wishes. Then one of his most wealthy parishioners, who would have all the "poor boys boot-blacks," abandoned his residence in this village to avoid, it was said, paying his school tax.
In the autumn of 1841, sufficient interest was excited upon this subject, as to call several meetings, attended by both sexes, to hear a discussion of the new system, as advocated by Mr. Brown. Messrs. J. Dorr Bradley, L. G. Mead, J. Steen, John R. Blake, A. Brown and C. Davis, advocated the new movement and made the occasion highly interesting by their remarks. It was convincingly made evident to their audience, all real estate owners would be benefitted by having good schools, as a knowledge abroad of such a fact would be an inducement to people living in less favored places, to settle here for the educational advantages. Families coming here front this motive would make valuable acquisitions to this community, &c.
No outspoken opposition was manifested at these meetings and such an array of the talent and wealth of the place carried the question almost by acclamation.
Messrs. L. G. Mead, C. Davis and Joseph Steen were elected prudential committee, with instructions to reorganize the schools upon the new plan, and Moses Woolson was the first teacher of the central or most advanced school. He proved fully competent for his position and was quite fortunate in material upon which to operate, thereby building up a good reputation for himself as well as for the school.
Brattleboro is the first town in the State where was adopted the Massachusetts system of graded schools. The expense of sustaining the public schools for one year, were at first less than $2000. Now, (1870), as we learn from the report of the town superintendent, John Cutting, Esq., the expenses are over $6000 per year, for this village.
In 1857, and we think at some other times, there has not been that progress and discipline as was pleasing to the friends of common school education; but during most of the time since 1841 the schools have made good progress and given general if not universal satisfaction. During all this period of about 40 years, there has never been manifested anything like a general desire of the people to abandon the present system and return to the old ways. Under able management during the last 16 years, the most advanced school has maintained a high character and is now (1879), well worthy to be called a model school. Certainly no public institution is doing more good, or reflects so high honor upon the East village of Brattleboro.
That accomplished and able instructor, Mr. B. F. Bingham, now (1879), in charge of the high school, has served longer in this department than any one of his predecessors and no one has, since the beginning of the-system, given better satisfaction.
Among the mechanics of the past, whose genius or inventive power has contributed to the welfare of the world, may be honorably noted the name of Sam'l G. Foster of this village. In the year 1828, Mr. Foster made an important improvement in paper making, called the "pulp dresser." This invention, we learn, is now used in all paper mills and is considered indispensable. Though others have received great benefits front the use of this invention, Mr. Foster received no compensation for this benefit to the world, in cheapening the cost in paper manufacture. The first mill where this invention was used, caused the discharge of 12 hands and at the same time accomplished more work in the mill than before the discharge. This invention caused the establishment in this place of a manufactory of paper machinery, a business that has been successfully carried on here about 40 years.
42 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
Mr. Foster died in Fitchburg, Mass., in 1870, aged about 75 years.
In 1832, and from that time to 1845, John Gore manufactured in this place stationary steam engines and boilers. He also made machinery used on steamboats for freight business on Connecticut river. In 1837 he constructed a steam carriage, for use on common roads, which we have seen ascend some of the hills in this village by the power of steam alone.
The genius and successful efforts of our old mechanics is not sufficiently appreciated. We are reaping, almost unconsciously, the fruits of their efforts with as little thought of their origin as we bestow upon those little silent coral workers beneath the sea, while we partake of tropical fruits and admire the beauty of islands on which they grow, reared by their unceasing industry.
Barnard A. Warren, born in Marlboro, Vt., in 1810, during some 10 years of life in East Brattleboro, gave evidence of great excellence in mechanical ability. Upon the urgent solicitation of the leading member of a large importing house in New York city, he left Brattleboro in the employ of this company, in March, 1840, and lived in Brooklyn until his death in May, 1850. Six years before he left this village for New York, he received an accidental gun-shot wound upon one side of his head, that came near proving fatal and impaired his health for some months. As his greatest successes in the exercise of his skill or inventive power, came after this accident, it is possible some new combinations or extra stimulus was given to his brain; as the health of some people has been improved by a shock of lightning. The aforesaid house in New York employed him to devise and construct machinery for the manufacture of steel pens. Up to this time they had employed during 5 or 6 years, the best mechanical talent they could find in this country for this purpose, but had been unable to produce an article that would successfully compete with the imported pen. Mr. Warren so fully answered the demands of his employers, after laboring for them 5 years, they tried to secure his services by written contract 8 years longer and at greatly increased compensation. He left his employers, after 5 years service and commenced the manufacture of gold pens. His labors in this new field and upon his own responsibility were attended with remarkable success. His career forms a noteworthy exception of the rule, viz: "Inventors sow for others to reap."
A MASONIC LODGE
Was in operation here several years before the "Morgan excitement." This excitement rendered the order unpopular in this State and meetings of the order were discontinued for many years. From a historical sketch of this organization by R. W. Clarke, Esq., we copy the following:
The first Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons established in Brattleboro, was called Columbian Lodge, No. 34, and received its charter from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Vermont, at its annual session held at Montpelier in October, A. L. 5812. The original petition for a Warrant of Dispensation to work was dated March 27, A. L. 5812, and addressed to the Hon. John Chipman, at that time the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the G. L. of Vermont, signed by the following named Brethren, none of whom are now living, viz: Lemuel Whitney, Abram Kingsbury, Abram Tinker, Elisha Chase, Elihu Field, Jr., Samuel Elliot, Samuel Clark, John W. Blake, Nahum Cutler, Rodney Burt, Quartus Smead, Nathaniel Bliss, Aaron Barney, Samuel Dickenson, Richard Phillips, Porter Johnson, Joseph Brown and Asa Green. Grand Master Chipman, having considered the petition, granted his Warrant of Dispensation under date of May 5th, A. L. 5812, which permitted the brethren to hold their communications either at Brattleboro or Guilford. For many years after the Lodge was constituted, the meetings were held in Guilford, but subsequently in Brattleboro. This Lodge suspended work about the year A. L. 5830, and soon after surrendered its Charter to the Grand Lodge of the State, under a mandate to that effect. The Hon. Lemuel Whitney was the first appointed Master of this Lodge and held that office by election for many consecutive years front the date of the charter. Many if not most of the leading and influential men of Brattleboro and Guilford, during those times, were of its memberahip. Masters of the old Columbian Lodge were Samuel Whitney, Elihu
Field, Artemas Robbins, Aaron Barney, Emerson Burnham, Dana Hyde, Jr., Arial Root, John Hudson. The present lodge received its charter January, A. L. 5856, under the name of Columbian Lodge, No. 36. The warrant of dispensation was issued to the following named brethren, petitioners, by the late Grand Master, P. C. Tucker, under date of January 4, 5855, viz: Chas. Cummings, Louis Furst, E. J. Carpenter, A. P. Wilder, W. C. Bryant, J. H. Capen, H. R. Godfrey, H. Hastings, Ashbell Dickinson, Henry Smith, Samuel Knight and R. W. Clarke. Brother E. J. Carpenter was the first appointed Master of the Lodge, as also the first elected Master. The following brethren have held the office of W. M. since the constitution of the lodge, viz: E. J. Carpenter, R. W. Clarke. Wm. E. Nichols, Geo. H. Newman, Wm. H. Vinton, N. S. Howe, L. H. Dearborn, C. A. Miles, E. H. Putnam and A. J. Simonds." The present membership is 180.
AN ODD FELLOWS LODGE
Was instituted in this town in 1846. The ceremonies of organization were conducted by Grand Master Rev. Albert Case, from Massachusetts. The first Noble Grand was Rev. John Willis. The order is in a prosperous condition, and has within its ranks many worthy citizens.
At the time of the organization of this lodge there was no Grand Lodge of the State, therefore they applied to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a dispensation.
The first monied institution in this place, called the Brattleboro Bank, was incorporated in 1821, Hon. Jonathan Hunt was the first president and Epa. Seymour first cashier. The institution always maintained a high character, and the first president and cashier continued in office during life. Mr. Hunt died in 1832, and Mr. Seymour died in 1854. Dea. John Holbrook succeeded Mr. Hunt in 1832, and upon the death of Mr. Holbrook, Epa. Seymour was chosen president. It was during the administration of the next president, Capt. Sam'l Root, that the institution was changed to suit the times into what is now called "Brattleboro National Bank," chartered July 13, 1865.
The cashiers from its first organization in 1821, to the last charter in 1865, are asfollows: Epa. Seymour, Henry Smith, S. M. Clark, Horatio Noyes, Phillip Wells, Frank Wells, George S. Dowley, present cashier, 1876. Present capital $150,000.
*THE WINDHAM PROVIDENT INSTITUTION FOR SAVINGS
Was chartered in 1846 and it went into operation January 1847. Application was made for a charter in 1844 and in 1845, but without success, as but little was then known about savings banks in this State, and it was thought no more banks were needed in Vermont. In 1869, with liberty granted by the Legislature in 1867, the directors have erected a substantial brick building three stories in height, which in its general appearance, its finish and arrangements, its thorough construction, both as to material and work is a credit to the institution and an ornament to the village. L. G. Mead, Esq., was its treasurer from the time of its commencement to 1869. tinder the able and faithful management of Mr. Mead, assisted by a board of directors selected from time to time from the best business men of Brattleboro and other towns in this county, the institution has attained its present success and importance. It has now, 1869, invested $816,000. It has paid depositors 7½ per cent for the last 5 years. N. B. Williston, Esq., was the first president and L. G. Mead, Esq., was the last one chosen to fill that office in January, 1869.
THE WINDHAM COUNTY BANK,
N. B. Williston, president, and S. M. Waite, cashier, was first in operation in the year 1856. It is now called the First National Bank of Brattleboro, with a capital of $300,000.
Charles H. Mansur.
J. P. Warren, H. D. Holton, D. P. Dearborn, C. W. Horton, G. F. Gale, I. H. Stedman.
Martin Bruce, Henry Tucker, C. A. Gray, James Conland, G. H. Harvey, and Drs. Draper, Clark and Phelps at the Asylum.
ATTORNEYS AT LAW. (1870).
Clarke & Haskins, Nathan Hall, Daniel
*From the Vermont Phœnix.
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Kellogg, Larkin G. Mead, Field & Tyler, Geo. Howe, Asa Keyes.
EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. (1869.)
Elm Hall Seminary, (established 1855,) Mrs. L, M, Chase, principal; Burnside — A family boarding school for boys. (established 1860,) C. A. Miles, principal; Glenwood Ladies Seminary, (established 1860,) Hiram Orcutt, principal, Miss Mary E. Cobb, vice principal, West Brattleboro; Home School for Boys under ten years of age, by Miss Amelia S. Tyler, (established 1867); Laneside Family School for Girls, (established 1860,) by Miss Louise Barber.
ANTI-SLAVERY IN 1837.
From 1832 to 1840, lectures against slavery met with an unwelcome reception in many towns in New England. Public sentiment as manifested on this subject by the people of Brattleboro, in the summer of 1837, was more suited to the atmosphere of Hartford, Ct., or Charleston, S. C., than to the free air of Vermont. Looking back 40 years, in our history and realizing the comparatively isolated condition and quiet avocations of the people, it is hard to account for the diseased state of the public mind as then exhibited upon this subject. This disease by its malignancy or intensity soon worked its own cure. The conduct of the opponents to these lectures answered their oft repeated question, "Why do you come here to lecture upon slavery, where we have no slaves?" When ministers of the gospel refused to read notifications of antislavery meetings, when one justice of the peace in Brattleboro advocated the application of tar and feathers to the person of Rev. E. R. Tyler, because he gave lectures upon this subject at the Congregational chapel in Elliot street; and another justice of the peace said he world "find powder for the mob if they would blow the damned abolitionist down the bank" — we involuntarily became abolitionists. This crusade against free speech, this violation of the right of discussion, as manifested by firing cannons near the windows of the lecture room and loud disturbing, threatening shouts of a mob, sustained in this rascality, as we knew, by officers of the law and our nearest, and on other subjects, most rational neighbors — convinced thoughtful people that they had a work to do to emancipate themselves.
Such exhibitions of injustice or illiberality, in a community like this, are not without their uses, in the instruction they convey to perpetrators as well as the victims of it. Probably this place is now as free from public intolerance as any community in the world. There is ample proof that persecution, whether from combinations of men or individuals, is beneficial to the persecuted. In the autumn of 1842 a stone was thrown against the door of the Methodist chapel, in Canal street, while a Second Advent preacher was on his knees at prayer, he exclaimed instantly, "God bless that stone."
MILITARY IN BRATTLEBORO
The circumstances in which our early settlers were placed, rendered necessary a constant appeal to force. Frequent attacks from Indians, French Canadians, growing out of old French War difficulties, claims and aggressions of New Fork, &c., so exercised their organs of combativeness, there was probably but little time or disposition to cultivate other departments of the brain. The military was, with them, the earliest and most important institution,
The first operations were commenced here 29 years before this town was chartered by the royal governor of New Hampshire. To protect her northern frontier from attacks from Canada, Massachusetts built a fort on grounds within the present limits of Brattleboro East village, on grounds now owned and occupied by Simon Brooks, Esq. In honor of Sir William Dummer, who was at that time Lieut.-Governor of Massachusetts, this fort received the name of "Fort Dummer." Sixteen years after the erection of this fort, the command devolved upon Col. Josiah Willard, and, we have been informed, his remains, with those of other early occupants of this fort, were placed in a cemetery upon the eastern bank of the Connecticut river, nearly opposite the site of the old fort.
Some of the monuments in this ancient cemetery are covered with lichens, and the inscriptions so effaced it is not possible to read them. The earliest date legible is
1759, upon a stone erected to the memory of Moses Palmer. of Little Compton.
Several headstones have inscribed thereon the name Willard, and they were probably erected to the memory of the connections of the old commander.
Though from some of these headstones we cannot learn who was placed beneath them, yet the following inscription, copied from one of these monuments, furnishes good presumptive evidence that we have been correctly informed as to the last resting-place of Col. Josiah Willard:
"Here lies the remains of
MADAM HANNAH WILLARD,
Relict of Col. Josiah Willard,
of Fort Dummer,
She was an affectionate, faithful wife,
a tender mother, a cordial friend,
and a sincere Christian, and quitted mortality,
May 13, 1772, in the 78th year of her age,
leaving behind her a numerous progeny
and a noble example."
"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."
Of the "numerous progeny," this moss covered record of a hundred years informs is, one was well-known to several citizens now living to this village, and we well remember an aged gentleman, known as "Mr. Willard," who lived with his son-in-law, Asa Green, Esq., near the entrance of High from Main street. There was in the possession of Mr. Willard, a musket with a barrel of unusual length. This interesting relic of the olden time had proved a very effective weapon in the hands of his father. Col. Willard, as several Indians, thereby assisted to their happy hunting-grounds, could testify. Mr. Willard several times visited the "Dummer Farm" when it was owned by the father of the present proprietor.
Interesting accounts and descriptions of the fort, from personal recollections, were given by Willard to Mr. Brooks. The size of the buildings and inclosure were given, and the exact location designated by stakes.
As here was the dawning-light, the first foot-print of civilization in this town, if not the first in the State, all interesting details of facts respecting it, must ever he precious to the inhabitants of Brattleboro to all future time. For this reason, we present some particulars from
"HALL'S HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT."
"Col. John Stoddard, of Northampton, was ordered to superintend the building of the block-house. The immediate oversight of the work was committed to Lieut. Timothy Dwight, who, with a competent force, consisting of four carpenters, twelve soldiers, with narrow axes, and two teams, commenced operations on the 3d of Feb'y, 1724. Before the summer had begun, the fort was in such a condition as to be habitable. It was built of yellow pine, and was nearly 180 feet square. Within were four province houses, as they were called, two stories in height, comfortable, and, for those days, even convenient, besides which there were smaller houses, containing a room each, which could be occupied when the garrison numbered more than its usual complement of men.
Without, the fort was picketed. Posts, 25 feet in height, placed perpendicularly in the ground, side by side, and sharpened at the upper end, surrounded it on every side. Openings were left in the pickets through which to fire on the enemy, and at opposite angles of the fort, 25 feet from the ground and five feet above the tops of the pickets, square boxes were placed in which sentinels kept guard.
To the patereros, with which the garrison was originally furnished, several swivels were added in 1740, which enabled the inmates of the fort to receive the enemy with an enfilading fire, rendering the place comparatively secure.
There was in the fort a great gun whose report could he heard for many miles. This gun was never fired except as a signal for assistance, or on the reception of some news.
The force of Capt. Dwight, the first commander, numbered in all 55 effective men, of whom 12 were Indians of the Maquas tribe. October 11th the fort was attacked by the enemy, and four or five of its occupants either killed or wounded.
A trading or truck-house was built in 1731, for receiving articles of traffic from the Indians, and they came hither in large numbers to trade, bringing, to exchange for the products of the white man, deer, beaver and moose skins, and tallow. This
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traffic was carried on many years under the charge of Joseph Kellogg, who was captain and truck-master.
The Rev. Ebenezer Hinsdill was chaplain 12 or 14 years from 1730.
Capt. Josiah Willard assumed the command in 1740, and its former commander, Joseph Kellogg, was Indian interpreter until 1794.
In 1746, some of the block-houses on the river were burned, and during several months Fort Dummer was the most northern post provided with a garrison.
In 1747, Brig.-Gen. Joseph Wright, by order of the governor, directed Lieut. Dudley Bradstreet to take command of 40 men, and with them garrison Fort Dummer in place of the guard then stationed there. April 5th, Col. Josiah Willard was superseded by Bradstreet, but after five months the fort was again placed in care of its former commander, Col. Josiah Willard.
In the year 1748, the Rev. Andrew Gardner was appointed chaplain, and Col. Willard added two more swivels to the munitions. He also at this time made needed repairs to the fort. Dec. 8, 1750, Col. Josiah Willard died, and ten days thereafter was succeeded by his son, Maj. Josiah Willard, who formerly had charge of a garrison at Ashuelot.
In 1751, there was much alarm for the safety of the fort, but in consequence of vigilant activity in measures of defense, no incursions were made during the summer. In February, 1752, the garrison was reduced to five men. In this condition it remained, under the command of Major Josiah Willard, until January, 1754, when the General Court of Massachusetts voted, 'that from and after February next, no further provision be made for the pay and subsistence of the five men now posted at Fort Dummer, and that the Captain-General be desired to direct Major Josiah Willard to take care that the artillery and other warlike stores be secured for the government.'
In consequence of renewed hostilities on the part of the Indians, late in the summer of 1754, the garrison was increased and continued until 1757, under the command of Nathan Willard.
Records at Concord, N. H., show petitions, about this time, from the grantees of Brattleboro, asking, in consequence of trouble with Indians, for further time in which to comply with the terms of the charter of 1753.
Gov. Shirley, of Massachusetts, repeatedly requested New Hampshire to assist in the defense of Fort Dummer. Gov. Wentworth, of New Hampshire, was willing and anxious to render requisite aid to Fort Dummer and other forts in the western part of the State, but the Assembly of New Hampshire doggedly and obstinately refused to grant any appropriation for this purpose, or in any manner to second the, proper and reasonable request of the governor.
Application was then made to the Massachusetts Legislature by Nathan Willard, and in a memorial by him. presented in August, it was stated that the enemy were continually lurking in the woods near the fort, and that during the past summer, 19 persons, within 2 miles of it, had been either 'killed or captivated.' "
Thus, in the dark wilderness, surrounded by dangers, the infant Brattleboro sent forth its imploring cry for help. Her mother heard it. but she heeded not; but Massachusetts, that magnanimous, ever-faithful old nurse, heeded that cry from among the tall pines, and in her powerful arms she folded and guarded the wailing child.
During five or six years, after the last petition of the grantees for farther time in which to fulfill the conditions of the charter, there must have been a rapid increase in the population of Brattleboro, for in 1766, there was in this vicinity an organized regiment under the command of Col. Thomas Chandler.
Major John Arms, grandfather of the late Dr. Willard Arms, who died in 1863, aged, 83 years, received his commission as major of the afore-mentioned regiment in 1766. At the time John Arms received this commission, he kept a tavern, which stood at the foot of the first descent in the road a few rods north of the Vermont Asylum for the Insane. He owned the extensive meadows now in the possession of the Asylum. The occupants of this house, since the death of John Arms, in 1770, we name: Widow Susannah Arms, Josiah Arms, Peleg Kingsley, Joseph
Goodhue, Nelson Crosby, Newman Hall. Mr. Allen sold the house and farm to the Vermont Asylum, and the venerable old house, which was standing at a recent date, was torn away by the present owners of the estate, and a new building erected upon the same ground.
Col. Ethan Allen, it has been said, made this old tavern-house his headquarters when he came here with a detachment of "Green Mountain Boys," to enforce obedience to the authority of Vermont, and we can furnish evidence that military companies in this town were warned to appear at this house "armed and equipped as the law directs."
The following is a copy of the commission received by Major John Arms from Gov. Sir Henry Moore. It was written upon parchment, and we received it from Willard Arms, Esq., who is great grandson of the old major:
COPY OF THE COMMISSION OF MAJ. JOHN ARMES, 1766.
"By his Excellency, Sir Henry Moore, Baronet, Captain-General and General-inChief in and over the Province of New York and the Territories depending thereon in America, Chancellor and Vice Admiral of the same.
To John Armes, Esquire, Greeting:
Reposing special Trust and Confidence as well in the Care, Diligence and Circumspection, as in the Loyalty, Courage and Braveness of you to do his Majesty good and faithful Service, I have nominated, constituted and appointed you, the said John Armes, to be Major of the Regiment Foot in the said Province, Whereof Thos. Chandler, Esquire, is Colonel. You are, therefore, to take the said Regiment into your Charge and Care as Major thereof, and duly to Exercise both the Officers and Soldiers of that Regiment in Arms. And as they are hereby commanded to obey you as their Major, so are you likewise to observe and follow such Orders and Directions from Time to Time as you shall receive from me or any other your Superior Officer, according to the Rules and Discipline of War, in Pursuance of the Trust reposed in you, and for so Doing this shall be your Commission.
Given under my Hand and Seal at arms in New York, the Twentieth day of Janna'y in the Sixth year of his Majestys Reign, Annoque Domini One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Six" H. MOORE.
By his Excellencys Command.
From this commission we learn it was well understood that the place now known as Brattleboro was, in 1766, a province of New York, and also so considered 14 years later, when the town was first represented by Col. Samuel Wells to the New York Assembly.
AN ANCIENT DOCUMENT.
Mr. Zenas Frost, of this town, while looking over some old papers left by his grandfather, came upon a warrant of which the following is a literal copy:
"To Corporal Jesse Frost
[L. S.] In his Majestys Name you are hereby commanded to Warn all the Soldiers hearin Named to appear on tuesday ye thurteenth day of November next at Nine of ye Clock Before Noon at the house of the widdow Susanna Arms, Compleat with Arms and Aminition as ye Law Directs in Order for Vewing hearof fail not at ye pearel of ye Law and make Due Return of your Doings to me.
"Given Under my hand and Seale at Arms in Brattleborough this Eighth Day of October 1770 in ye tenth year of his Majestys Reign.
Benja. Butterfield, Capt. "Notify ye Sargants
"John Ellis, Nath'el french Jr, Benja. Butterfield Jur. Phillip Paddleford, Oliver Wells, Thomas Sergants, Josiah Armes, Jon't. Wells, Wm. Rile."
The foregoing rare gem of our military history was published in the Vermont Phœnix in 1871.
Six years before the War of American Independence commenced, Brattleboro troops, in short breeches and long stockings, were training under the command of Capt. Benjamin Butterfield, who was afterwards one of the first representatives of the town after the establishment of the authority of Vermont.
From a headstone in the cemetery in West River district, we learn that Benjamin Butterfield died Dec. 7, 1804, aged 78 years. According to this account, the
48 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
first military captain, whom we can learn of in this place, after the town organization, was born 147 years ago.
In more modern times, as from 1845 to 1847, there was a company here, under the command of Capt. T. C. Lord, known as the "LaFayette Light Infantry." This company had a brief existence, but it was well sustained until the failing health of its popular commander caused his resignation.
The first company organized here was the old "Flood-wood Company." This name was probably given them, after the formation of the "independent" or uniformed companies, in derision for their plain dress and lack of military show. The name of the first captain known, has already been mentioned. Of later times the commanders have been: Capts. Warriner, Jerry Frost, D. Mixer, Henry Clark, Benajah Dudley, Nathaniel Bliss, La Fayette Clark, Chas. C. Frost, in 1825; John Leavitt in 1829; Frederick Holbrook, afterwards governor of this State, in 1862; Perrin Smith in 1837; George Salisbury in 1840.
Not only was this company the first one in existence, but it existed the longest, and was, at one period, the largest in town. If they did not burn so much gunpowder at the annual June trainings as did other companies, and their general practice was more in accordance with the dictates of prudence and economy, there was undoubtedly as good, serviceable fighting material in it as in the ranks of birds of brighter plumage. They did, however, occasionally have a little brush with the Light Infantry.
In 1834, their lieutenant, B. A. Warren, was wounded and disabled in a contest with a company, which had a short time before been organized by Captain George Wood, soon after the dissolution of the old "Brattleboro Light Infantry."
As company records have rarely been preserved, we are under the necessity of jumping over long intervals of time, enlivened, no doubt, by interesting military events which would, if recorded, render this department of our subject of far greater value. There has been in existence here three companies of foot soldiers, and part of a cavalry company. The three first companies were known under the following names: "Brattleboro Light Infantry," "Brattleboro Artillery," and State Militia, without uniform, and often spoken of as "The Old Flood-wood Company."
THE BRATTLEBORO LIGHT INFANTRY
Was organized before the present century. The date of organization is not ascertained, but we have learned that the gentlemen whose names we give, have, at different periods, commanded the company:
Capt. Benjamin Smead, in 1797, when he was publishing "The Federal Galaxy," which was the first newspaper published in this town; Capt. Ebenezer Wells, in 1804, (Capt. Wells came from England with his father, Rev. Wm. Wells, D. D.); Capt. Howard Wells, in 1810, who was also a son of Rev. William Wells; Capt. Ebenezer Sabin, Capt. Daniel Bliss; Capt. Samuel Whitney, 1816 to '21, son of Hon. Lemuel Whitney; Capt. Nathaniel Chandler, 1822; Capt. Eli Sargent, 1823 '24, grandson of Col. John Sargent, who was born at Fort Dummer; Adolphus Stebbins, elected captain in 1824; Capt. Willard Frost, 1825 and '26; Capt. Chester Sargent, 1827, '29; William Brooks, captain in 1830; Capt. John King, in 1831, '32.
From 1816 to 1830, this company maintained full numbers, excellent discipline, and elegant uniforms; but their bright array, on a June morning, ofttimes became dim before night from dust, heat, and powder smoke. When making a bayonet charge upon the artillery, in 1820, a brass field-piece was discharged upon the advancing ranks of the infantry, by which two members of said company were laid prostrate on the ground, and for a time rendered insensible. Their faces were blackened and disfigured, and one of them carried the marks of that day's work to his grave.
The inevitable tubs and pails of whiskey-punch, immoderately used at these annual sham-fights, may have had something to do in making these exercises appear sometimes like real fights. It was needful, as. our elders informed us, that Geo. Sargent, Hollan Pettis and Martin Sartwell should keep up an unceasing din with their drum sticks, on these occasions, to drown the groans of the wounded soldiers.
Among the causes which contributed to give a consequence to our citizen-soldiery of 1820 and '26, was a sprinkling in their ranks of veterans, who had seen service in the last war with Britain.
SOLDIERS OF 1812.
There was J. Wilson Landers and J. Freeman, who had stood on the deck with Com. Decatur when he captured the proud Macedonian. In the Brattleboro infantry were John Burnham, from Connecticut, and John Fowler, both soldiers in the war of 1812, and also Ebenezer Howe, grandson of Caleb Howe of Fort Bridgeman; in the artillery was Capt. Lewis Henry, who, in the same war, had served in a company commanded by Capt. James Elliot, and there were probably others, in the several companies, deserving of honorable mention, but their names have passed from our memory. But we can never forget the name, nor the dying words, of Col. Charles Cummings, who, during the late war, went out from among us to his death in the wilderness. With a defiant wave of his sword, came forth his last words, "Boys, save the flag!" By this closing scene of his brief career, we are reminded of Scott's poetic heroes, of whom it has been said, "How grandly they die, when die they must."
"A light on Marmion's visage spread,
And fired his glazing eye;
With dying hand above his head,
He shook the fragments of his blade,
And shouted, 'Victory!' "
THE BRATTLEBORO ARTILLERY
came into existence shortly after the organization of the Infantry, and their first commander was Capt. Jacob Stoddard. Capt. Jonathan Hunt in 1811. He was afterward appointed Brig Gen'l, and died while a member of Congress in 1832. Capt. Atherton, from 1812 to '15, Capt. Samuel Root, afterward last president of the old Brattleboro Bank, Capt. Simpson Goodenough, Capt. Osearl Stoddard, Capt. Lewis Henry, in 1827, Capt. Willard Cobleigh, Capt. Roswell Goodenough, Capt. Albert Bennett, Capt. Argillas Streeter, Capt. Arnold J. Hines, afterward colonel of the regiment, Capt. Franklin Cobleigh, Capt. Jonathan Davis, in 1836 and '37.
Gen. Jonathan Hunt, when captain of this company in 1811, gave several hundred dollars for the purchase of arms and equipments. His promotion was followed by the election of J. Atherton as captain. During his command the National Capitol buildings were laid in ashes, and the air was filled with startling rumors of the defeat of our arms by British troops. Capt. Atherton made the following appeal to his company: "Every man who will do his duty and act as government may require him to act in this war, please to step forward three paces." The whole company moved the required distance, and that was as far as they ever did move in this war; but how much may have been the moral effect of this manifestation upon the common enemy, or how much credit is due the Brattleboro Artillery for taking those three brave steps toward the British lion, we may never know.
This much is certain: rumors of a directly opposite character followed this event. The joyful news from Plattsburg, followed by a blaze of glory from New Orleans, made every Yankee believe he could whip his weight in wildcats, and unitedly clean out the rest of creation. New uniforms were procured, regardless of expense, and "Yankee Doodle" and Fourth of July
"Ruled the camp, the court, the grove."
One of the captains on our list, now past 90 years of age, lately informed us he paid $57 for his coat and $9 for 3 dozen buttons, at the time oats would bring but 17 cents per bushel, and all agricultural products were proportionately low.
During some months, or years, after their organization, the artillery company used, in their military exercises, simply indifferent swords. This was too much like playing Hamlet, with the part of Hamlet left out. After they came in possession of two field-pieces, one of them, it has been said, was taken from Burgoyne at Bennington, there was a noisy demonstration, accompanied by the breaking of window-glass in the East village, quite extensively; much powder was burned, and a lively market created for old West India rum and "black-strap." If the actors in this scene were not drunk or sick before the close of the exercises, some of them, at least, appeared as if very much discouraged.
50 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
With other juveniles of that day, now past life's meridian, we shared in the fear, awe and reverence inspired by the black artillery. Dressed in long, black, swallowtail coats — profusely covered with brass buttons of the size and shape of a large musket-ball — tall, bell-shaped, black leather caps, mounted by long, waving, black plumes, gave this company such a solemn, funeral air when on parade, they might be taken as undertakers of the regiment.
Not even the lively rattle of Sartwell's drum, the piercing notes of Greenleaf 's fife, nor the cheering strains of Joy's bugle, could divert our melancholy, gloomy forebodings, when the Artillery company seized their drag-ropes to move their mighty, loud-sounding instruments of death to bear upon the gaily-dressed Light Infantry.
At a sham fight in 1821, Lieut. Emerson Goodenough, of the Artillery, was so severely wounded he was compelled to suffer the amputation of his arm at the shoulder. The accident was caused by some neglect of the usual custom in managing the field-piece. This sad event occasioned a sudden stop to the exercises of that day; but on the next appointed time for the display of Brattleboro chivalry, all thoughts of danger seemed forgotten, and the inspiring sounds from Greenleaf, Sartwell, Joy, Pettes, &c:, aroused a martial spirit that could be satiated alone by the explosion of gunpowder in the faces of ideal enemies.
In the excitement and hurry of action there has been, we learn, a neglect to withdraw the ramrod from the gun before the charge was fired. This, with many other liabilities of accident, makes it surprising that there were so few casualties, so few really sad occasions to record.
The artillery has ever been considered an indispensable element in celebrations of the Fourth of July. With memories of our youth and joyful anticipations, there come, like remembered music, recollections of the heavy echoes of the guns of this company — mellowed and softened by distance — when fired in the early morning of our national anniversary. These venerable brass pieces, when not in use,were stored under the old church, on the Common, Under the same building, waiting for sad, needful occasions, was
"The solemn hearse. and waving plume,"
keeping company with these instruments of death, under the house of God. These objects separately had each a deep significance, but in their association they gave additional importance to each other, and brave was that boy who would venture alone into their awful presence.
In 1837, Capt. Jonathan Davis revived the expiring embers of military enthusiasm in this company. A new uniform was procured and the wood-work of the guns was repaired and newly painted. This proved to be the last revival, before the final dissolution, of the organization. The wheels and other wood-work of the guns rotted away or disappeared, and for years nothing was seen to remind us of the old glory but two heavy, lonesome old brass cannon, lying under Capt. Lord's horse shed. Unreverenced and unappreciated as they were, they could not die or decay, as had all else with whom they had been associated in the early days of their advent here.
A demagogue or politician would sometimes drag them from obscurity to announce party success; but rarely were they called upon, as in days gone by, to proclaim the glory of the nation, in the dim, misty light of early morning. The sensitive temperament of one of this long-united couple could bear this indignity no longer, and has left us, we have reason to believe, forever. When last heard from, it was nearly 100 miles away, "marching to the sea."
The military gatherings in this town, called musters, in which appeared companies from other towns, and sometimes attended by invited companies from out of the State, excited the universal attention of the public, and crowds of both sexes attended these meetings or reviews. A resident of Augusta, Ga., but a native of Connecticut, gave us the following information:—
"From 1815 to '23, I lived in Brattleboro, and during this period I attended a military muster in that town. Col. Henry Jones Blake was in command, and he well understood his duty. When marching
through Main street, the military bands of the several companies united. I know not how many wind instruments were in operation, but I counted 50 drums, and ten of them were large bass drums. The noise made by this band exceeded anything of the kind I have ever heard since; but the most pleasing impression left upon my mind was the address, action and elegant appearance of Col. Blake." [Son of J. W. Blake, Esq., first postmaster, 1790.]
Col. Blake was, if we are rightly informed, in the war of 1812, and had a military education.
Of other regimental commanders who have made this their place of residence, were: Gen. Mann; Gen. Jonathan Hunt; Col. Paul Chase; Col. Joseph Goodhue; Gen. Jonathan Smith; Col. Lewis Henry; Gen. F. H. Fessenden; Col. Nathan Miller; Col. Albert Bennett; Col. Arnold J Hines, and there were probably others whose names do not occur to us. They have mostly or all disappeared, and now it is more difficult to find the holiday soldier of the halcyon days of 1825, than it then was to find a living relic of the Revolutionary war.
Before daylight, one muster-day morning, in 1826, the "Guilford Light Infantry," with loud music, awakened the slumbering citizens of this place. Capt. Phillip Martin — the oldest captain in the regiment — then commanded this company, and only about a dozen years had passed since he had marched through this place with 16 Guilford soldiers, on their way to Plattsburgh. These facts, with the commendable virtue of early rising, and being the first company on duty, seemed to entitle this company to such consideration as to offer them position upon the right wing of the regiment.
But the "Brattleboro Light Infantry" had just got a "Royal Kent Bugle," new tents and new uniforms; therefore they made a fine show. "Clothes make the man," had long been an adage; why not clothes make the soldier? Carlyle said, the gown and wig had so much to do in making an English judge, that, if he was deprived of them, and a wood-sawer's garb substituted, no one would call him a judge, or respect his authority as such. The Brattleboro Infantry took the right wing, and old Guilford, once the independent republic and empire town, was ordered upon the left wing.
Capt. Martin refused to obey the Colonel of the regiment, and did not appear with his company on the field, but marched his soldiers in by ways and all ways about the village, where they kept up a constant firing of muskets, and, by their independent action, attracted much observation. The Guilford troops unitedly sustained their Commander, it, was said, on the following ground: "By military law, or precedent, the company having the senior captain could claim position on the right
After a conflict of arms came a conflict of opinions and some unpleasantness from the action of Capt. Martin in showing disrespect to his superior officer and giving so flagrant an example of insubordination. But the most serious affair of the day was the death, by Accident, of an old soldier of the Revolution, known as Grandpa Thompson.
GRANDPA LEMUEL THOMPSON
Was a native of Connecticut and came to Brattleboro in 1816, and lived with his son, Isaac Thompson, the remainder of his days. He never held rank or position, but was a private in the army of Washington, in 1777. He was truthful, honest, and far from being pretentious, vain or boastful of his service in the cause of liberty.
Respecting his career in the army, he related to us the following incident, which we give as nearly as possible in his own language.
"The commanding officer ordered us all into a ditch. Every man was told to keep there until further orders. We stayed there several days and got so dry and hungry life didn't seem worth having. One fellow vowed he wouldn't stand it any longer, and jumped out of the ditch, but he didn't more than get out when he fell down dead, his body completely riddled with bullets. I then thought it was best to stand it a little longer."
After Grandpa Thompson told this story he seated himself with us at our dinner table and partook of his last dinner, and then with hands crossed behind him, he slowly moved towards the muster ground,
52 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
where is now Forest Square. On his return, near the close of the day, the highway crowded with people, many of them from other towns in a hurry to get home, there was a test of speed in horses by the efforts of drivers to pass by teams ahead of them. During this rush of wheels, animals and men, poor old Grandpa Thompson was run over on High street. A violent blow upon his head, from the foot of a horse, destroyed all consciousness immediately and forever.
Not a long time elapsed after this eventful day, when a tribunal assembled at the old Stage house, in Main street, before which Capt. Martin appeared on a charge of playing "Grouchy."
"Not a drum was heard," nor a drum stick seen, but the tap, tap, tap, of the toddy stick kept time to the movements of gay uniforms, as they passed in and out of the house. There was a thorough trial of the spirits in the house, however it may have been with the veteran captain. Military laws and precedents were expatiated or commented upon, by opposing advocates, and it was finally decided that Capt. Martin had done nothing worthy of death or any other punishment.
The regiment at this time was under the command of Col. Nathan Miller, of Dummerston, in this county. His commanding appearance when on duty, good taste and decided military proclivities, made his appointment to this office seem to us eminently proper.
With generous, noble impulses, he had great veneration for the old soldiers of the Revolution.
Whenever he served as a marshal, or on a committee of arrangements for any celebration, or public gathering, his first and greatest solicitude was for the honor and comfort of these old men. There was to him a peculiar charm in the number 76. He lived to that age, passing the last 40 years of his life in Brattleboro. When he could find no more living veterans of '76, his work on earth was ended and he followed on after them.
THE LAST MUSTER
In this place, by legal authority, we think occurred in 1837, and was considered by all a feeble affair. It was on grounds now known as Forest Square, on Western Avenue.
A volunteer muster came off in a short time thereafter, attended by invited companies from New Hampshire. The Ashuelot Guards, from Hinsdale, and the Chesterfield Rifles, from Chesterfield, helped greatly to improve the military aspect. The Vernon troops gave a poetical touch to the occasion as they moved past our dwellings before daylight in the morning, keeping step to that grand old tune or march, "The Banks of Ayr." Making some complimentary remarks respecting this company, to a venerable citizen of Vernon: "By zounds," replied uncle Bob, "I marched after that tune 40 years ago."
This military gathering was called Chapin's muster, as that gentleman was the highest officer on parade. How much he had to do in bringing about this event, we are not informed, but he was very active in the movement, and much interested in this military revival, as was evident from the address he delivered near the close of the day, to the assembled troops. He was sorry to see a decline in the military spirit of our people, as was manifested by late events, for the following reasons: "The rapid increase of our population from people unfitted for the duties of freemen. Our institutions and privileges for self-government have been obtained by the bayonet and by the bayonet they must be maintained.
The law is force. The last argument to which kings resort, is the only effectual one we can use, when tyranny or ignorance shall obstinately try to impede or defeat our progress. The time is not far off when there will be needful occasion to use this argument."
In 24 years the events of 1861, proved that the volunteer general was not a false prophet.
The good order, harmonious action, very appropriate speech and a fine day, made this a pleasant affair; but in permanent benefits to this institution, this military revival did but little.
In the summer of 1840, an attempt was made to enforce the military laws. Some 40 or 50 delinquents were summoned to appear before a court martial in the hall of the old Vermont house, which was burned down in February, 1852.
Col. Taft in bright military attire presided at this court. Other regimental officers in official costume appeared upon the scene, and dignified, learned mouthpieces of the law came to expound ponderous russet-colored volumes of statutes. Shivering culprits stood before this imposing array of Mars and Minerva awaiting impending doom.
After the day was nearly spent in hearing cases and imposing fines, it was ascertained by J. Dorr Bradley, Esq., that all the citations had been served upon the defendants before the 12 days grace had expired, which was by law granted the soldier, in which to make his excuse for nonappearance on military duty. In consequence of this revelation not a fine was collected, but there were loud cheers for J. D. Bradley.
The result was quite unsatisfactory to some military officials who, it was said, had declared it their intention to devote a portion of the cash obtained from defendants, to some festive purpose.
In some towns where the Col. held his court, he met with unpleasant receptions and suffered some personal indignities, while in the discharge of his duty. His clothing was, in some towns, spattered with objectionable matter, and other things were done to show disrespect to military law.
Though the mission of Col. Taft was unwelcome to the delinquents in this place, he suffered no violence or illegal interruption in the discharge of his duty.
People respected military law about the same as they do temperance laws, and very little training, from fear of the law, was done here after this trial hi 1840.
The veterans of the old flint lock and log cabin days, had departed, and with them went the inspiration of grand marches, martial music and powder explosions against imaginary enemies.
During 20 years after the war of 1812, the universal cry was, "In peace prepare for war." The cost of uniforms, equipments, gunpowder, rum punch and time spent in these preparations, made an expense or tax upon the people great enough to carry on quite extensive hostilities. There was, however, this difference, blank charges exploded from their guns, and the deadly charges came from their canteens. Finally it was generally believed we were preparing for what would never come again, and the work of heroism, at least on the battle-field, was considered done forever.
The people of this community, as over all sections of the North, were "gazing on the armour suits of buried giants as if no brave acts could now be done," until aroused to action by the guns of the rebellion, in 1861.
ANCIENT ROLL OF HONOR.
Soldiers of 1776, who have lived in Brattleboro.
Oliver Chapin, Reuben Church, Obadiah Gill, Wm. Harris, James Dennis, Dan'l Harris, Isaac Pratt, Oliver Jones, Ichabod King, Dan'l Stearns, David Wells, Thomas Akely, Sam'l Bennet, Joel Bolster, Wm. Butterfield, John Bemis, Jabez Clark, Benjamin Chamberlain, Benajah Dudley, Warren Esterbrooks, Salathiel Harris, Elihue Hotchkiss, Income Jones, Bromer Jenks, Joseph Joy, Elias Jones, Israel Jones, Thaddeus Miller, John Kelsey, Hezekiah Salisbury, Levi Shumway, Sylvanus Sartwell, Reuben Stearns, Thomas Simpson, Nathaniel Sampson, Sam'l Willington, Lemuel Thompson, Wm. King, Cushing King, Royall Tyler, John Alexander.
National gratitude to the old soldiers of the Revolution very much increased about 1826, or soon after the last visit of Lafayette to this country. Previous to that time, pensions were paid only to the poor dependent soldiers; but after 1832, no discrimination was made as to pecuniary circumstances, and the widow of a soldier received the same pension as was paid her husband.
Our list of their names is probably far from complete, as some of the soldiers never received a pension, therefore their names are not on the list.
All of the adventures or personal reminiscences of those who have died in this town, would, if recorded. be without doubt, entertaining and instructive.
We can give but few events of this character,
"For sealed is now the lips that could have told."
During the life of these old heroes among us, the most popular gatherings of
54 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
the people were of a military character, and the most joyful day of the year, the 4th of July.
From 1816 to 1845, there was rarely, if any newspapers issued not containing obituary notices of soldiers of the Revolution. Since 1850, or very near that time, the occasion for such notices ceased, and the military spirit of the people almost entirely passed away, or slumbered, until awakened by the guns of Sumpter.
At the beginning of the Revolutionary war, Mr. King and his twin sons, William and Cushing King, were living on what has long been known as the Rufus Clunk place. On the 19th of June, two days after the battle of Bunker Hill, they learned of that event as they were hoeing corn. They immediately stopped work and prepared for war, first placing their hoes against a stump in the woods. Mr. Chandler, then a store keeper in this town, furnished the three men with guns and ammunition. The next morning, three days after the battle, they were on their way to Boston, where they enlisted. They participated in the important actions of the war, they passed the long dark night of liberty, with Washington at Valley Forge, and not until the morning came, when their services were no longer needed, did they return to their home, in Brattleboro, where they found their hoes beside the stump, exactly where they placed them seven years before. In all this long service not one of them was wounded or received, as we were told, "one single scratch."
Oliver Chapin was a member of Washington's body guard. The most interesting event to him during the service was when his bridle was rendered of no use in managing his horse, by a musket ball from the enemy. He came from Orange, Mass., to make his home in Brattleboro, near the beginning of the present century. He became one of our county judges and held other offices with credit to himself and honor to his constituents. Eminently capable, enterprising and persevering, he proved the right man for the time and place.
Not only did he erect several buildings in Main street, destroyed by fire in 1869, but he was chiefly instrumental in building the first bridge connecting this villagewith New Hampshire. Application for the charter was made in 1801, and the bridge and Hinsdale turnpike was completed in 1806. As he died in 1811, at the age of 51 years, he must have been active and energetic to accomplish so much in so short a time. His venerable widow died in 1849. at the age of 84 years, universally respected.
SOLDIERS, 1861, '65.
BY K. HASKINS, ESQ.
The town of Brattleboro furnished officers and soldiers in the late civil war, as follows:
Brig. Gen'l Jno. W. Phelps, U. S. Vols.
Col. John S. Tyler, 2d Vt. Vols.
Col. Wm. C. Holbrook, 7th Vt. Vols.
Lt. Col. Addison Brown, jr., 5th Vt. Vols.
Lt. Col. Chas. Cummings, 16th & 17th do.
Lt. Col. Geo. B. Kellogg, 1st Vt. Cavalry.
Bt. Lt. Col. N. C. Sawyer, Ad'l P. M. , U. S. Vol.
Maj. J. C. Tyler, 4th Vt. Vols.
Maj. Rob't Schofield, 1st Vt. Cavalry.
Bt. Maj. Elijah Wales, 2d Vt. Vols.
Bt. Maj. R. W. Clarke, A. Q. M., U. S. V.
Surg. Geo. F. Gale, 8th Vt. Vols.
Surg. Henry Spohn, 17th Vt. Vols.
Chap. Francis C. Williams, 8th Vt. Vols.
Adjt. Chas. F. Leonard, 5th Vt. Vols.
Adjt. Geo. W. Gould, 9th Vt. Vols.
Lieut. M. H. Wooster, R. C., 1st Vt. Cav.
Lieut. Samuel H. Price, R. Q. M., out of State
Lieut. J. Warren Hyde, out of State.
Capt. Charles F. Rockwell, U. S. A.
Capt. Henry H. Prouty, 2d Vt. Vols.
Capt. Edward A. Todd, 2d Vt. Vols.
Capt. Dennie W. Farr, 4th Vt. Vols.
Capt. Edward W. Carter, 4th Vt. Vols.
Capt. David W. Lewis, 9th Vt. Vols.
Capt. A. E. Leavenworth, 9th Vt. Vols.
Capt. Rob't B. Arms. 16th Vt. Vols.
Capt. Charles D. Merriam, Vt. S. Shooters.
Capt. Clark P. Stone, 1st Vt. Cavalry.
Lieut. Jas. G. Howard, 2d Vt. Vols.
Lieut. H. L. Franklin, 2d Vt. Vols.
Lieut. F. A. Gleason, 2d Vt. Vols.
Lieut. Rufus Emerson, 2d Vt. Vols.
Lieut. Geo. E. Selleck, 8th Vt. Vols.
Lieut. Henry H. Rice, 9th Vt. Vols.
Lieut. John F. Vinton, 16th Vt. Vols.
Lieut. Chas. A. Norcross, 16th Vt. Vols.
Lieut. Chas. F. Simonds, 16th Vt. Vols.
Lieut. Fred Spaulding. Vt. S. Shooters.
Lieut. N. E. Haywood, 1st Vt. Cavalry.
SOLDIERS FOR THE SECOND REGT. VT. VOLS.
Adams, Edgar E. Holman, Fred'k B.
Baldwin, Eri C. Hopkins, Henry W.
Barclay, Walter S. Keables, Elisha L.
Barrett, John W. Kendall, Albert D.
Bennett, James W. Knight, Levi E.
Benjamin, Russell H. Ladd, Frank V.
Bradley, Robert Lamphere, John M.
Briggs. Charles R. Lord, Robert P.
Brown, Charles W. Paddleford, F. G.
Butterfield, Geo. P. Pierce, Geo. W.
Butterfield, Joel P. Prouty, Geo. B.
Clark, William W. Rand, Kirk L.
Cole, Nelson S. Rice, Chas. B.
Colt, Geo. M. Richardson, H. A.
Cook, Madison Ripley, John P.
Cooley, Henry L. Ripley, James C.
Donavan, Timothy Russell, Waldo D.
Emerson, Elbridge Simonds, Fred W.
Foster, William Simonds. L. W.
Franklin, Daniel S. Smith, Timothy J.
Franklin, Geo. A. Stearns, Edward A.
Griffin, James Stockwell, Chas. J.
Gilson, Edward P. Thomas, Wm. B.
Gore, William Tyler, Rufus C.
Gould, Charles S. Webber, Joshua C.
Hescock, Rinaldo N. Wheeler, Joseph R.
Hill, George Wood, William
Holbrook, James E.
FOR THE THIRD REGT. VT. VOLS.
Alexander, Caleb H. Herney, John
Barry, Geo. W. Manning, John
Britton, Geo. F. Mason, Almond
Brockway, John R. Newall, Lucien D.
Carter, Wright C. Ober, Henry
Carpenter, Fred. A. Ober, Joseph R.
Davis, Noyes J. Peabody, Ariel
Elmer, Edward S. Putnam, William E.
Fairfield, Alvin D. Smith, Charles
Ferriter, Luke Witt, Lucien A.
FOR THE FOURTH REGT. VT. VOLS.
Alden, James E. Harris, Charles H.
Allen, Isaac K. Hosley, Wayland N.
Arms, Edwin H. Houghton, James S.
Bradley, Samuel, jr. Kendall, Luke W.
Blake, John Klinger, Ferdinand
Cassey, Daniel Keplinger, Edward
Carter, Albert A. Mahoney, Dennis
Chamberlin, C. H. Mills, Daniel B.
Cummings, C. W. Powers, Oscar N.
Fisher, Roscoe Parker, Alvin J.
Fisher, Ezra F. Rodgers, Geo. M.
Gibbs, Elijah G. Russell, Will. R.
Gould, Chas. L. Ryther, D. Jewett
Graves, Albert A. Slate, Charles S.
Graves, Henry D. Stearns, Geo. A.
Graves Willard R. Turner, Theodore .L
Haley, Charles O. Weatherbee, A. R.
Haley, John H. Wheeler, John
Hall, Charles E.
FOR THE FIFTH REGT. VT. VOLS.
Collins, Eli Huntley, Henry H.
FOR THE SIXTH REGT. VT. VOLE.
Elmer, Lorenzo Wilder, Soloman W.
FOR THE SEVENTH REGT. VT. VOLS.
Emerson, Frank H. Matto, Frank
FOR THE EIGHTH REGT. VT. VOLS.
Akley, Clark B. Moynehein, Humph.
Akley. Willard H. Prouty, Emerson F.
Bartlett, C. A. Plummer, Geo. F.
Bingham, Albert H. Richardson, O. W.
Connelly, Michael Ward, Austin H.
Davis, Benjamin F. Wheeler, Edward L.
Haynes, Edw. D. Wheeler, Allen M.
Howard, Ariel Wood, Chester N.
Howard, James W. Wood, Lewis A.
Howard, Wm. E. Woodman, John P.
Howe, John C. Fletcher, Joseph W.
FOR THE NINTH REGT. VT. VOLS.
Baker, Chas. E. Powers, Martin K.
Burt, Geo. E. Potter, John C.
Butler, Chas. P. Randall, Jas. P. B.
Butler, Wm. P. Sears, Michael
Butterfield, Wm. H. Smith, George
Hardie, Robt. G. Stygles, Minard
Jones, Robt. G. Wandell, Nelson,
Marcy, Thos. E. Ward, Gilbert M.
Martin, Wm. H. Wright, Edwin S.
FOR THE TENTH REGT. VT. VOLS.
Morse, Thomas B.
FOR THE ELEVENTH REGT. VT. VOLS.
Chamberlin. D. J. Holding, Frank H.
Colburn, Warren Kelley, Michael
Crandall, John J. Kellogg, Aaron
Eels, Henry Nichols, Geo. W.
Ferry, Chas. N. Pellett, John C.
Herney, James M.
FOR THE TWELFTH REGT. VT. VOLS.
Ladd, Edward N. Reynolds, Henry A.
FOR THE SIXTEENTH REGT. VT. VOLS.
Allen. Alexander G. Newman, John L.
Baker, Chandler A. Pratt, Barney F.
Clark, Chas. A. Putnam, Edwin H.
56 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
Clark, Eugene Ranney, Peter
Cole, Harrison A. Remington, Chas. H.
Covey, Clark S. Rice, Wm. K.
Davis, John Richardson, L. S.
Edwards, Horace B. Rood, Nathan G.
Elliot, Wm. H. Root, Frederick E.
Ellis, Wm. T. Sargent, Rodney B.
Fisher, Ezra E. Stedman, D. Bissell
Fisher, Oscar A. Stockwell, Geo. S.
Fisher, Stanford M. Stockwell, Fred.
Gray, james F. Stowe, Alonzo T.
Gray, John H. Thomas, Chester W.
Gray, Fred S. Walker, Geo. A.
Hescock, Warren A. Weatherhead, Drury
Howard, Albert M. Wheeler, Geo. B.
Joy, John M. White, Albert S.
Lawrence, Richard White, Abner G.
Miller, Henry H. Yeaw, Fred J.
Miller, Thomas J.
FOR THE SEVENTEENTH REGT. VT. VOLS.
Connell, Jerry Kelley, John
FOR THE VT. SHARP SHOOTERS.
Cooper, Abraham C. Sprague, Watson N.
Hammond, N. B. Streeter, Fred. F.
Knowlton, F. N. Walton, David S.
Priest, Milo C. Worden, Elisha A.
FOR THE FIRST REGT. VT. CAVALRY.
Aldrich, James D. Howe, Nathan B.
Bartleff, Thos. E. Keyes, Lorenzo D.
Church, Benj. O. Prouty, Forester A.
Crosby, Geo. R Remington, F. E.
Dinsmore, Chas. A. Saunders, James
Ellis, JameS W. Smith, Hervey
Farr, Chas. R. Strong, Calvin D.
Fisher, Wm. H. Whipple, John E.
Forbush, Chas. W. Wallen, Harrison
Forbush, Geo. H. Wellman. Samuel F.
Gevaris, Henry Cune, Dexter
Gibbs, Almond B. Gale, Chas.
Hildreth, Austin O.
FOR THE U. S. COLORED VOLS.
Green, Daniel S. Matthews, H.
FOR THE TWELFTH REGT. U. S. INFANTRY.
Smith, Charles Stone, Levi
FOR THE U. S. NAVY.
Brineck, Chas. McGrath, James
Buckley, Addison Meyers, John
Connor, Harvey Richardson, William
Duncan, Adam Simonds, Chas. H.
Flynn, Patrick Sullivan, John
FOR OTHER STATE ORGANIZATIONS.
Clark, John Moore, Patrick
Estey, James R. Robinson, Daniel S.
Long, Job Warner, Henry
Substitutes furnished not named above. 55
Citizens paying commutation $300, each. 22
RECAPITULATION OF MEN ACTUALLY FURNISHED.
Officers, 40 Sixteenth Vt. Regt. 43
Second Vt. Reg. 55 Seventeenth " 2
Third " 20 S. Shooters. 8
Fourth " 37 First. Vt. Cavalry. 25
Fifth " 2 U. S. Col'd Vols. 3
Sixth " 3 Twelfth U. S. Infantry, 2
Seventh " 3
Eighth " 23 U. S. Navy, 10
Ninth " 18 Other State Organizations, 7
Tenth " 1
Eleventh " 11 Substitutes furn'd. 55
Twelfth " 2
Col. John S. Tyler, died May 23, 1864, from wounds received in battle of the Wilderness, Va., May 5, 1864.
Lt. Col. Addison Brown, jr., died March 3, 1865, from disease contracted in service.
Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, killed in battle before Petersburgh, Va., Sept. 30, 1864.
Capt. Donnie W. Farr, killed in battle of the Wilderness, Va., May 5, 1864.
Lieut. Francis A. Gleason, died May 30, 1863, from wounds received in battle of Salem Heights, May 4, 1863.
Lieut. Samuel H. Price, jr., died April 8, 1863, from disease contracted in service.
Lieut. J. Warren Hyde, died July 25, 1863, from disease contracted in service.
Capt. Charles F. Rockwell, died Nov. 13, 1868.
Benjamin, Russell H., killed at Bull Run, July 21, 1861.
Clark, Wm. W., killed at Savage Station, June 29, 1862.
Cook, Madison, killed at Bank's Ford, May 4, 1863.
Cooley, Henry L., died in service, from disease, Jan. 11, 1863.
Gilson. Edward P., died at Richmond, Va., Aug. 6, 1861.
Keables. Elisha L., died at Richmond. Va., Sept. 6, 1861.
Lamphere, John M., killed at Bank's Ford, May 4, 1863.
Lord, Robert P., killed at Fredericksburg, May 3, 1863.
Paddleford, Frank G., died Jan. 1, 1867, of disease contracted in service.
Kendall, Luke W., killed at Wilderness, Va,, May 5, 1864.
Ryther, D. Jewett, died ——— of disease contracted in service.
Slate, Charles S., died Nov. 5, 1862, of disease, while in service.
Howard, James W., died June 24, 1863, of wounds received in battle.
Wood, Lewis A. died Aug. 17, 1863, of disease, while in service.
Colburn, Warren, died at Andersonville, Ga., Oct. 4, 1864.
Kelley, Michael, died March 29, 1863, of disease, while in service.
Covey, Clark S., died Oct. 8, 1864, of disease contracted in service.
Cooper, Abraham C., killed at Gettysburgh, Pa., July 2, 1863.
Bartleff, Thomas E., died of wounds received in battle, June 1, 1864.
Forbush, Geo. H., died at Richmond, Va., Oct. 11, 1863.
Manning, John, died Dec. 11, 1862, while in service.
Estey, Jas. R., died Jan. 1, 1863, at Newbern, N. C.
Clark, John, died Sept. 15, 1864, while in service.
Sullivan, John, died March 14, 1866, while in service.
Franklin, Geo. A., died Dec. 2, 1862, while in service.
BRATTLEBORO REPRESENTATIVES, 1780 to 1878.
Samuel Wells, 1780; Samuel Knight and John Sargent,* 1781; Benjamin Butterfield and Sam'l Knight, 1782 '83; Sam'l Knight, 1784 '85; Israel Smith, 1786 '87; Sam'l Knight, 1789; Gardner Chandler. 1790 '91; Josiah Arms. 1792 '94; Sam'l Warner, 1795; Josiah Arms, 1796; Sam'l Knight, 1797; John W. Blake, 1798 '99; Joseph Clark, 1800 '01; John W. Blake, 1802; Lemuel Whitney, 1803 '07; John Noyes, 1808; Jonas Mann, 1809; John Noyes, 1810 '12; Sam'l Elliot, 1813 '15; Jonathan Hunt, Jr., 1816 '17; James Elliot, 1818 '19; Sam'l Clark, 1820 '21; Sam'l Elliot, 1822 '23; Jonathan Hunt, Jr., 1824; Sam'l Clark, 1825 '26; Lemuel Whitney, 1827; Sam'l Elliot, 1828 '30; Lemuel Whitney, 1831 '32; Chas. Chapin, 1833; Lemuel Whitney, 1834; Asa Keyes, 1835; Lemuel Whitney, 1836; Calvin Townsley, 1837 '38; Ebenezer Wells, 1839 '40; Cyril Marlin, 1841; Lafayette Clark, 1842 '43; John H. Blake, 1844: Gardner C. Hall, 1845; Royall Tyler, 1846; John R. Blake, 1847; George Newman, 1848 '49; Sam'l Earl, Jr., 1850 '51; Roswell Hunt, 1852 '53; Edward Kirkland, 1854; Joseph Clark, 1855; Jonathan D. Bradley, 1856 '57; Geo. B. Kellogg, 1858 '59; Darwin H. Ranney, 1860 '61; David Goodell, 1862 '63; Silas M. Waite, 1864 '65; Seth N. Herrick, 1866 '67; Jacob Estey, 1868 '69: Edward Crosby, 1870; Kittridge Haskins, 1872; John S. Cutting, 1874; Julius J. Estey, 1870; Dr. Wm. H. Rockwell, 1878.
Samuel Root was, we have heard, a representative from this town, but we do not find the date or year he served the town in that capacity.
In 1781, 1782 and 1783, it will be seen in the above list, there were two Representatives chosen, one for the spring and the other for the fall session.
Dr. Henry Wells, 1768 '73; Samuel Knight, 1773 '74; Elisha Pierce, 1774 '76; Stephen Greenleaf (the first merchant in Vermont), 1776 '83; Samuel Knight (first Justice of Windham county), 1783 '87; Simpson Ellas, 1787 '99, Stephen Greenleaf, Jr., (son of the first merchant) 1799 to 1844; Lafayette Clark, 1844 '62; H. A. Wilson, 1862 '63; Wm. S. Newton, present clerk, 1863 '79.
Micah Townshend was, we have been informed, at one time town clerk, but we find no positive evidence when.
FROM RECORDS OF MAJ. STEPHEN GREENLEAF.
Names of persons over 90 years of age residing in Brattleboro, November 26, 1826:
Dea. Joshua Wilder, aged 92 years; Widow Anna Sargent. 93; Wm. Parks, 90; Mrs. Frost. 90; Widow Brooks. 94; Widow Sartwell, 90; Matthew Martin, 90; Johnson Lynde, 90; James Carpenter, 90; Jno. Alexander, 90.
Names of persons over 80 years of age, residing in Brattleboro, November 26, 1826:
*First Anglo-Saxon child born in the State.
58 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
Widow Crosby, Mr. Stone, Mrs. Sarah Ellis, Mr. Platt and wife, Abel Wilder, Mr. Capen, Widow Warriner, Benj. Baker, Oliver Carpenter and wife, Sam'l Newton and wife, Wm. Robertson and wife, Widow Peabody, Widow Atchinson, Widow Cook, Jona. Herrick and wife, Noah Bennett and wife, Ebenezer Fisher and wife, John Pettis and wife.
COLLEGIATES FROM BRATTLEBORO.
Alonzo Church, President Georgia College, Edmund Frost, missionary, Sam'l Bennett, clergyman, Chas. Chapin, M. D., Wm. R. Hayes, attorney, Royall Tyler, Jr., attorney, Edward Tyler, clergyman, Joseph Tyler, clergyman, Geo. P. Tyler, clergyman, Thos. P. Tyler, clergyman, Charles Tyler, attorney, Roswell Harris, Boswell Harris, Jr., William J. Harris, Charles C. Harris, Lewis Grout, Admantha Grout, Henry M. Grout, Stanford R. Clark, Sam'l H. Elliot, Henry Elliot, Wm. Elliot, Chas. Elliot, Hiram W. Farnsworth, Lyman Wilcox, Theodore Barber, Edward Frost, Thomas K. Fessenden, John N. Mead, Wm. R. Mead, Wm. C. Bradley, Arthur Bradley, John C. Tyler, John C. Holbrook, Lemuel Whitney, Wells Goodhue, Rodney Church, Philip Kingsley, Pliny Kingsley, Micajah Townshend, Dr. John L. Dickerman, Simon Salisbury, Hancock Wells, Henry Blake, Charles Stewart, Walter Blakesley, Wm. Knight, Wm. Samson, Lewis Sikes, A Blodget, C. Alexander, Henry Spaulding, Geo. A. Hines, E. Spaulding, John B. Blake, Warren Marsh, Henry K. Field, Otis B. Atwater, R. H. Bigelow, W. H. Bigelow, Smith, son of Gilbert Smith, W. M. Hunt, R. Hunt, L. Hunt, C. H. Davenport.
Those having monuments, who have died in Brattleboro, 80 years old and upward:
Susannah Jones, died Mar. 3. 1840. age 92; John Carpenter, Feb. 1, 1843, 88; Asuba Carpenter, Aug. 20, 1842, 89; Abner Adams, Aug. 10, 1856, 81; Salmon Steadman, Mar. 21, 1861, 82; Mrs. Polly Baldwin. Dec. 23, 1862, 84; Mrs. Thankfull Burt, Nov. 17, 1780, 85; Mrs. Elizabeth Palmer, Jan. 8, 1838, 80; Mrs. Capt. Amos Thomas, Dec. 11, 1847, 82; Mrs. Mary Thomas, June 19, 1847, 88; Mrs. Elihue Hotchkiss, Jan. 11, 1840, 84; Mrs. Sally Hotchkiss, Feb. 17, 1843, 83; Widow Elizabeth Hotchkiss, Feb. 21, 1819, 85; Abigail Hale, July 14, 1813, 80; Benjamin Fessenden, May 6, 1863, 88; Widow Elizabeth Fessenden, Mar. 27, 1864, 91; Cynthia Greenleaf, Sep. 7, 1859, 91; Rutherford Hayes, Sep. 25, 1836, 80; Widow Chloe Hayes, Feb., 1847, 84; Sam'l Clark, Apr 9, 1861, 84; Widow Susan Clark, Aug. 12, 1863, 85; Derastus Barrett, Mar. 10, 1859, 88; Luther Sargent, Oct. 22, 1850, 83; Widow Elizabeth Sargent, Apr, 26, 1859, 85; Andrew Miner, May, 24, 1849, 82; Widow Lavina Miner, Sep. 11, 1855, 88; Wm. Harris, Mar. 12, 1845, 88; Widow Abiah Harris, Mar. 6, 1847, 82; Maj. James Esterbrook, Mar 5, 1856, 81; Eunice Wood, Oct, 13, 1846, 84; Philip Wood, July 16, 1845, 89; Hon. L. Whitney, Apr. 4. 1847, 82; Susannah Dickinson, Sept. 24, 1843, 81; Abigail Bemis, Oct. 7, 1782, —; Widow Molly Sargent, Dec. 18, 1850, 94; Widow Anna Sargent, Dec. 4, 1827, 93; Mary widow of Col. John S. Sargent, June 10, 1822, 88; Widow Elizabeth Sargent, Mar. 17, 1837, 95; Jacob Spaulding, June, 1808, 81; Eunice Amsden, July 15, 1818, 93; Mrs. Mary Salsbury, Aug. 28, 1821, 82; Capt. Jonathan Salsbury, Mar. 27, 1717, 81; Jonathan Stoddard, Jan. 21, 1812, 80; James Carpenter, Nov. 4, 1829, 92; Lydia Carpenter, Oct. 20, 1826, 94; Lydia Carpenter, May 13, 1839, 82; Dea. Wm. Bigelow, Jan. 13, 1815, 88; Margaret Bigelow, Feb. 15, 1812, 90; Mrs. Esther Richardson, Nov 28, 1851, 94; Warren Esterbrooks, June 29, 1838, 90; Mrs. Rhoda Eaton, Jan. 24, 1842, 86: Mrs. Elizabeth Orris, Oct., 1806, 89; Isaac McCune, Nov. 6, 1833, 82; John Pullen, Feb. 13, 1861, 90; Jabez Wood, Oct. 23, 1843, 94; Benajah Dudley, June 20 1850, 87; Elizabeth Dudley, Aug. 29, 1846, 80; Rebecca Crosby, Nov. 8, 1836, 93; Levi Goodenough, Sept. 9, 1848, 83; Watson Crosby, Sept. 24, 1859, 83; Reuben Stearns, Jan. 29, 1845, 86; Martha Warriner, Feb. 22, 1855, 82; Dea. Daniel Warriner, Apr. 21, 1866, 80; Chloe Warriner, July 4, 183—, 84; Mrs. Lydia Pratt, Nov. 7, 1825, 93; Income Jones, Jan. 10, 1845, 88; Ebenezer Fisher, Jan., 1831, 89; Eunice Sprague, Aug. 15, 1816, 80; Damaris Sampson, Feb. 21, 1838, 84; Solomon Dunklee, Jan. 6, 1865, 82; Widow Mary Rice, Oct. 7, 1850, 83; Jonas Rice, May 1, 1849, 84; Stephen Bennett,
Dec. 18, 1845, 83; Mrs. Ruth Bennett, Feb. 8, 1851, 88; John Gardner, June 15, 1854, 83; Dr, Lem'l Dickerman, Oct, 8, 1832, 81; Elisha Prouty, Oct. 22, 1852, 80; Mrs. Martha Dunklee, Feb. 3, 1805, 84; Benj. Hadley, Mar. 24, 1776, 92; Jonathan Wells, Jan. 7, ——, —; Widow Rhoda Reeve, Aug. 23, 1847, 83; Dr. Willard Arms, Sep. 25, 1803, 83; Widow Susan Arms, Feb. 25, 1863, 86; Nathaniel Sampson, Mar. 25, 1849, 95; Martha Sampson, Jan. 7, 1819, 92; Wm. Parks, Jan. 28, 1830, 93; Rev. Jesse Bennett, Oct. 6, 1868, 85; Widow Tryphena Bennett, Jan. 10, 1868, 83; Col. Timothy Church, Nov. 13, 1833, 86; Noah Bennett. Nov. 25, 1833, 90; Wm. Whipple, Oct. 30, 1848, 85; Stephen Bennett, Dec. 18, 1845, 83; Dea. Nathaniel Horton, Mar. 15, 1806, 81; Jonathan Herrick, Sept. 28, 1828, 83; Lois Herrick, Aug. 26, 1812, 90; Capt. Nathaniel Bliss. Mar., 1866, 84; Lydia, widow of Capt. Nathaniel Bliss, Nov., 1869, 82; Joseph Rodgers, Sep. 24, 1838, 84; Salathiel Harris, Oct. 29, 1846, 87; Lieut. Simon Stone, Apr. 1, 1827, 81; Arad Stockwell, Feb. 1, 1856, 83; Mrs. Lydia Stockwell, Apr. 20, 1864, 85; Ezra Harris, Oct. 13, 1857, 88; Daniel Mixer, Apr. 30, 1847, 83; John Ellis, Apr. 13, 1837, 82; Sarah Ellis, Jan. 7, 1827, 82; Solomon Harvey, Sep. 9, 1862, 81; Noah Fuller, Jan. 13, 1846, 82; Olive Fuller, Apr. 11, 1850, 84; Widow Sarah Holbrook, Mar. 22, 1851, 84; Obadiah Gill, May 25, 1838, 80; Widow Anna Gill, Mar. 28, 1861, 93; Elizabeth Burnap, Mar. 23, 1867, 94; John Bemis, June 22, 1835, 83; Nathaniel French, June 8, 1801, 81; Marcy French, Jan. 20, 1847, 83; Eleanor Thomas, Oct. 29, 1850, 89; Sam'l Frost, Nov. 18, 1866, 82; Widow Lucy Pratt, Sept. 1, 1863, 83; Widow Abigal Sargent, Mar. 9, 1849, 80; Benjamin Gorton, Jan. 22, 1825, 88; Wm. Frost, 98.
PROSPECT HILL CEMETERY IN 1872.
N. B. Williston, President; George Newman, Secretary of the company; Timothy Vinton, Julius J. Estey, S. M. Waite, Dr. Wm. Rockwell, Trustees.
The land first used for this cemetery was given, for the use of the East Village of Brattleboro, in 1797, by Joseph Clark, Esq., and his wife, the first occupant, was buried there the same year.
Additions to this land, upon the east and south, have been made by purchase, as required by an increasing population. In the care of cemeteries in small villages, eighty years ago, neglect was the rule, yet even in early times some persons made the burial-places of their families attractive by neatly arranged grounds, flowers and costly monuments. Sufficient labor was bestowed every year by individuals, upon their own family lots, as to render more noticeable the surrounding general neglect. Neatness and well arranged grounds, in Prospect Hill cemetery, is now the rule, rather than the exception. The solemn looking, round-top, black headstone, with wings of cherubim shielding memento mori, is a thing of the past, Mullen, red sorrel.
"Weeds of dark luxuriance, tares of waste,"
have disappeared, giving place to more choice and fitting decorations. Some rare works of art, in memory of the dead, can now be seen in this cemetery.
The monument of the late Col. James Fisk — designed by Larkin G. Mead — has attracted many visitors from afar and near. The shaft is of Italian marble, with four nude female figures, made of the same material, in a sitting posture, with their backs toward the shalt — two of them facing east and the other two facing west — representing the principal departments of human effort wherein Col. Fisk engaged during his brief career in New York. No language we can use will do this work justice in description, but we can say it is perfectly beautiful, and is as fitting a memorial of the artist who designed it as of him who now lies beneath it. It is to us a constant reminder of that young genius of our village, who, over 20 years ago, made for himself a national reputation by his monument of snow.*
The memorials of Hall, Francis, A. H. Bull, Rockwell, and of several others we might name, are very elegant, chaste, and fitting the purpose designed.*
Located upon a high elevation, overlooking a large portion of the village — depot grounds, Connecticut river, and the mountainous country on the north — this place is a frequent resort of many persons
*See sketch of L. C. Mead, Esq.
60 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
in summer time, who seem to never tire in their admiration of the lovely prospect spread out before them.
Although this place of the dead is the largest of the five cemeteries of the town — and contains the remains of all, or very nearly all, the business proprietors amt reel estate owners of this place, fifty years ago — yet, it is not the most ancient place of the kind in this town. To find where
"The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep,"
we must go to a much higher elevation, over two miles distant.
By ascending. a long hill, nearly north from Centerville, and about a mile distant from that place. we find the ancient burial place of the town. It is but a few rods north of the home of Micah Townshend, which, in the year 1800, he sold to Hon. Royall Tyler. The place is now (1878) owned and occupied by Gilbert Smith, Esq.
For an interesting description of the same see letter of Hon. R. Tyler, in Tyler paper's. In this cemetery is the grave of our first representative—Col. Sam'l Wells—and also of the first minister settled in this town — Rev. Abner Reeve. Maj. John Arms, one of the early settlers, and grandfather of the late Dr. Willard Arms. was buried here six years before the beginning of the war of the Revolution. Three generations of this early family, and our early physician, Dr. Lem'l Dickerman, lie buried here.
Over West river — that charming place of our earliest recollections—is another ancient place Of the dead, where can now be seen the headstone which marks the grave of Col. John Sargent, the first English child born in the State of Vermont. In addition to the foregoing information, engraved upon the stone is the following:
"He gave good counsel while he had his breath,
Advising them to prepare for death."
The first military captain we can learn of, outside of Fort Dummer, in this town, is Capt. Benjamin Butterfield, and ill this burial ground is his memorial stone. His daughter taught the district school in Brattleboro, East village, nearly 60 years ago, and the writer of this article received from her his first lessons in the spelling book, and also received from her a severe whipping because he forgot the small letter — a.
EARLY PHYSICIANS OF BRATTLEBORO, FROM 1786,
Drs. Henry Wells. Lemuel Dickerman, Geo, Holmes Hall, Russell Pitch, Willard Arms. Artemas Robbins, Jonathan A. Allen- Joint L. Dickerman. Phillip Hall. Daniel Gilbert Bruce, John Wilson. Dana Hyde, Reuben Spaulding, F. J. Ht ginson, Kitteredge. Robert Wesselhœft. William GrSu, Loewenthal, Carley, Blackall, Murphy, Cross, Ayres. E. Chapin, Geo. P. Wesselhœft, Bowles, Morrill. From 1838 to 1845, three Thompsonian, or botanic, physicians were in practice here, viz.: Joseph and Oliver Page.
Of the given list, 19 are not living, and none of them now live in this town.
DR. LEMUEL DICKERMAN.
Born Oct. 18, 1751. married in Brattleboro to Lucinda Arms, Mar. 17, 1779. died Oct., 1732. It has been said that he was the first established physician in this town, but, according tO later information. lie was the second, and the longest in practice, With but one exception, no physician in Brattleboro has lived so many years, and few, if any, have had a more successful career.
He was a good manager. He attended faithfully to a wide practice, and, at the same tile, successfully carried on a huge farm, situated about 3 miles northwest from Brattleboro, East village.
The old house he occupied is yet (1869), standing, without change, save that effected by time and neglect. One of the few relics left of the first village of the town, where is the greatest evidence of a former population, is the old cemetery wherein the Doctor sleeps.
There is character expressed in a well-preserved painting of him, in possession of his grandson. Blending with good humor and penetration, something tells of conscious power in reserve for occasion. The accuracy and quickness of perception, for which he was noted, as also a proclivity for the healing art, seems to have been hereditary in his posterity to the third generation. His son, Dr. John L. Dicker-man, was an established physician in this town about 40 years, and his two sons, William and Lemuel, are members of the same profession, in Eastern Massachusetts.
DR. WILLARD ARMS.
Born in Brattleboro. Dec. 2, 1880, the 3d generation from Maj. John Arms, (See military history preceding) studied with Dr. Wm. S. Williams, of Deerfield. Mass., Feb. 8, 1803, married Susan Arms, of Deerfield, went immediately to Stukely, Canada.
After about a year, he was called back to settle the estate of his father, Josiah Arms, who died in possession of the meadow farm (now of the Vermont asylum, which had belonged to the Major, his father).
Dr. Arms remained in practice in his profession in this place about 14 years. He built the house at the East village now owned and occupied by N. B. Williston, Esq. In 1818, he sold his house and practice to Dr. Artemas Robbins, conditioned that he should not practice in this town for 10 years, and followed his profession, the most of this time, in Northfield, Mass.
In 1833, he returned and settled in the West village, where he remained 30 years, and died, Sep. 25, 1863, aged almost 83 years.
He practiced 60 years, 44 in this town, where, in many branches of his profession, his counsel was often sought. He was considered the leading authority in obstetrics, small-pox, &c.
"When I am sick," said he, "I don't want medicine; but I live on corn-meal hasty-pudding until the disease gets disgusted and leaves me."
His long life and good health was owing, in no small degree, undoubtedly, to excellent care, good habits, and a large share of good common sense.
DR, GEORGE HOLMES HALL.
First resident physician at the East village, commenced practice here about 1790. He added to his professional labors the mercantile.
From a report of expenses for building the first meeting-house at the West village, presented us by Hon. Fayette Clark, we quote:
"Report of Accompts, by Meeting-House committee." "Dr. George H. Hall, £46.10.3 = $155.26 - 100, for rum, sugar, glass, white lead. &c." The foregoing is one of 56 accounts, reported by this committee, amounting in all to £696.12.1. = $2988.6 - 100.
Dr. Hall's store for the sale of drugs, medicines and New England goods, stood, in 1797, at the southeast corner of the front grounds of the brick house, in Main street, of Geo. Howe, Esq.
In 1797, a clerk in the employ of Dr. Hall, caused the complete destruction of his store and goods by contact of a lighted lamp, in his hand, with an open cask of alcohol. The cask of spirits exploded and scattered the flames with such rapidity there was no time to save anything. There was no insurance. It was a blow to Dr. Hall, it has been said. from which he never recovered. He lived about 10 years after this, and died in 1807, aged 44.
In January, 1798, Rev. Dr. Wells, in remarks from the pulpit upon the past year, said: "I allude to two very calamitous events in our midst during the year that has just closed — the death by drowning of two promising young men, Taylor and Palmer, and the destruction by fire of the property of our friend and neighbor, Dr. Hall."
Two sons of Dr. Hall, George W. and Gardner C., became successful traders in this place.
George married Sarah Holbrook, a daughter of Dea. John Holbrook, in Sept., 1818, but his life came to an early close. He died in 1825, leaving a widow and three children.
Gardner C., slender built and, to appearance, physically feeble, became, at one period, the most extensive merchant in this county.
While doing a large wholesale and retail business in dry goods, hardware and West India products, he engaged in the manufacture of linseed oil, cotton, iron, and not the least among the benefits he conferred upon this community was the encouragement he gave to home industry by finding a market for its products.
Not the least interesting event in our old times was the arrival of one of Hall's flat-bottom ships, laden with 20 or 25 tons of merchandise from the port of Hartford, Ct. The large white sails, swelling up the rapids on their important mission, along the shore of tall trees and backs of summer verdure, were assisted by hard-handed,
62 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
swift watermen, who, on arrival at the landing, were sure to gratify their weakness for the contents of the old back store of their patron.
He was a prominent member of the Unitarian society. We believe, no one contributed more material aid in erecting the second meeting-house in the East village, in 1831.
To public improvements he gave his right hand and purse together. To all shams he presented a quiet, uncompromising front. From the administration of Jackson to that of Pierce, he was opposed to the Democratic party, and, as a devoted Whig, was chosen to represent his native town in the State Legislature.
DR. JONATHAN A. ALLEN
and his family lived on Main street, in the East village, as early as 1816, but how long before we are not able to state.
The house he owned and occupied was, in 1828, in the possession of Willard Pomroy, who, by enlargements, converted it into a hotel, called the Vermont House, opened to the public in 1829 or '30. In 1849, it was removed, and a new brick hotel of three stories was erected in place by Capt. Thomas C. Lord. In Feb., 185l, this hotel was destroyed by fire, and the ground is now occupied by the Episcopal church and Town hall.
Dr. Allen is spoken of in high terms of commendation by the few aged citizens in our village who remember him. The recollection of his proficiency in chemistry is yet fresh in the mind of the oldest native citizen of this village, who was one of a class, under instructions from Dr. Allen in this science, and listened to his lectures upon this subject in 1820 '21. He was an honor to the profession; gentlemanly, prudent and considerate in his intercourse and dealings with his fellow-men.
He left this place at some period from 1822 to '24, for wider field, and satisfactorily did he prove his capability for the same in the way he long and faithfully fulfilled the duties he accepted, as professor of chemistry in Middlebury college
DR. ARTEMAS ROBBINS
bought the house and practice of Dr. Willard Arms, in the East village. At first sight no one could mistake his calling. He had that dignity of person and general appearance requisite to meet our ideal, as to the externals, of a first-class doctor. A faithful painting of him would be recognized at once as that of an M. D.
The Dr. sleeps more than 20 miles from this place, but of the good he did, during his short mission of 8 years in this place, we every day experience.
He was one of the nine originators and owners of the Northern Aqueduct company, which first went into practical operation about 60 years ago, and now continues to supply several families with water.
Efficient as he generally was in the discharge of missions thrust upon him, there was a chronic difficulty in that huge old machinery, called the town clock, he failed to remedy.
As the old thing was irregularly ticking, and pounding out uncertain sounds, up in that old church tower on the Common, the troubled countenance and anxious eye of Dr. Robbins could be seen moving about the village in pursuit of ability such as he could trust to make the needed repairs. The desire of his heart would be gratified if he could only find that universal genius, Tom Stores, with his head level. The doctor knew that Tom could make nice tempered and beautiful surgical instruments, such as, in 1821, severed the arm of Lieut. Goodenough at the shoulder. In short, there was scarcely anything that could be done with the fingers, Tom could not do when he was not on a bender, but when the rum came in his wits went out, and he would do nothing but pound a bass drum until the heads broke in.
After the doctor moved from this place to Bellows Falls, in 1826, to the old clock
"There came an hour of peaceful rest."
It became so accustomed to resting and rusting it would not do anything else. In 1832, it was taken down, to make room for a new successor.
Dr. Robbins became a partner with Dr. Wells in establishing a drug store at Bellows Falls, Vt. In consequence of investing nearly all his property in railroad stocks, that became comparatively worthless, he came to the close of a long life, in 1860, in destitute circumstances.
DR. DANIEL GILBERT
came, and was in practice here, from 1828 or '29 until 1841, when he removed to officiate in the Massachusetts General Hospital at Boston, where he died, some years since, of Asiatic cholera.
He studied surgery, under instructions from the noted Dr. Twichell, of Keene, N. H., and was a good surgeon. If deficient in knowledge respecting subjects coming under his consideration, he had the courage to acknowledge it, or at least was not so careful to conceal it as he was diligent to seek the remedy. Said Hon. J. Dorr Bradley: "I had confidence in Dr. Gilbert from the moment I discovered this feature in his character."
There was a bluntness in his manner not always pleasing to his patients. A. stout-built, vigorous young man was under his treatment for fever. The fever left him, as did also the doctor, but it became necessary to recall the doctor, for the patient had a relapse, from indulgence of appetite too soon.
"Sick again?" said the doctor. "Well, good constitution; you can stand this thing, I reckon, once or twice more, if you choose; therefore, as soon as you get over this difficulty, eat too much again, before you are able to exercise enough to digest it."
Willing to accept truth from any source, yet not confined to rules of others, but original, progressive and courageous, he was the man for emergencies. His prescriptions were often simple, while effectual. In a case of obstinate, continued hiccough, which he traveled 7 or 8 miles to visit, the remedy he ordered was simply popped corn, which gave to the patient immediate relief.
DR. JOHN WILSON,
of Scotland, educated at Edinburgh, came to this place in 1836. He had previously passed some years in Dummerston and Newfane.
In some way he was connected with Thomas Arnold in building a steam saw mill at the southeast part of the East village, on the site now occupied by the Vermont and Massachusetts R. R. Co., for their depot and other buildings. The old-fashioned cylinder boilers required so much fuel, to create the needful power, the mill proved an unprofitable investment. Arnold disappeared, and the mill was for several years useless property on the hands of the Doctor.
The Doctor married a daughter of Selah Chamberlain. His wife returned to her father, after becoming the mother of one child, and he lived a solitary, secluded life until 1847, in a small house, standing near the silent mill.
In a rather inferior carriage, accompanied by his little boy, he visited, in rural districts, those persons who required his professional services, which, in some instances, were highly appreciated.
Though gifted with rare powers of conversation, which gave evidence of extensive information, he rarely, if ever, sought the society of those who could best appreciate him, or the company we should suppose would have been most congenial to a man of his high cultivation.
The visits necessity compelled him to make to the grocery and stores, were improved by some people to draw forth ideas, or get opinions from this mysterious oracle, and when well started in conversation, we have noticed a charmed circle of attentive listeners gather around him, and all seemed willing to adhere to the maxims of Zeno.
Upon one occasion I heard him remark:
"I have never witnessed such extravagances in the use of language as I have noticed in New England. For instance, Mr. H. said to me, 'Doctor, there is some grand, almighty, elegant, magnificent, splendid, nice, fresh fish.' My first impression was that Mr. H. had just returned from St. Peter's at Rome, or from the grand Cathedral at Milan, and had commenced to enlighten me upon his discoveries; but judge of my surprise, after he had used up superlatives enough to do justice to the architecture of the middle ages, my attention was directed to a few small, dead fishes."
After the death of Dr. Wilson, in 1847, a book was published presenting circumstantial evidence to show we had been entertaining "Thunderbolt" unawares, and our quiet, obscure, peaceable Dr. Wilson was the accomplice of the notorious
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Lightfoot, an English highwayman, who suffered the death penalty, many years ago, for his crimes.
Many persons thought the evidence of sufficient weight to make the idea interesting, but how extensively it was believed we are not able to state. If the most the advocates of this theory claimed was true, death had closed the door against all action and passed the case onward beyond all human jurisdiction.
As if to more fully complete the work of forgetfulness, the Irishman's shovel has been employed, until not less than 14 feet in depth of solid earth now covers all that surface of ground once encumbered by the piles of lumber, steam mill and humble abode of the mysterious doctor. In less than a year after his death, every tangible object that could remind us of him vanished.
All this happened about 35 years ago, yet more than one person can say there is now impressed upon their memories the records of many moments less pleasantly and profitably, spent than have been passed by them in the presence of Dr. John Wilson.
The 11 closing years of his life in this place has left with us an unsolved problem more interesting from the dim, misty light of uncertainty in which it is enveloped. From this cause Brattleboro is richer in her past, and with the mind's eye we see a picture in her silent halls, left there by this event, we could not if we would remove.
Col. Sam'l Wells, the first representative from this town, then in Cumberland county, was born at Deerfield, Mass., Sept. 9, 1730. He married Hannah Sheldon and in July 1762, settled in Brattleboro, on lands now owned by the Vermont Asylum, situated about a mile north of the East village.
We have found where his log cabin stood 100 years ago, but the spot is now a wild, with no road or indications that there ever was a road leading to the place. At the time he came to Brattleboro, many of the pioneers considered it a great success to secure a roof, however humble, and food to sustain life.
Here was born his family of thirteen children, two of whom died in infancy. His daughters were married to Samuel Gale, Ephraim Nash, Micah Townshend, Jonathan Gorton, Nathaniel Church and Ephraim Stimpson.
Like most of the prominent men of the time, in this part of the State, Col. Wells sustained the claims of New York.
Between the years 1798 and 1802, all the family of Col. Wells removed to Canada, where each of his children received from the crown 1200 acres of land as a compensation for the losses Col. Wells had suffered during the Revolution on account of his adherence to the King. He died in this town and a marble head-stone in the old burying-ground gives the following information:
In Memory of
COL. SAMUEL WELLS,
of this town, a Judge
of Cumberland County Court,
and a Member of the Assembly
of the Province of New York,
who departed this life
Aug. 6, 1786, in his 55th year.
His friends, the stranger and the poor have lost
A kind companion and a generous host:
When he fell, the Statesman fell
And left the world his worth to tell.
[Extract from papers of F. Hawks, of Greenfield.]
HENRY WELLS, M. D.,
Was the first town clerk of Brattleboro elected to office in 1768. He was born in Essex Co., N. J., June 14, 1742, but from 1746, for about 20 years, his home was in New York, when the population of that city was less than 10 thousand. When 11 years old he began his college course at "Nassau Hall" in Princeton. Here he took his first degree at the age of 15. Immediately after his graduation he began the study of medicine at New Haven, with the celebrated Dr. Hull, under whose instruction he remained four years. In 1760, Yale College conferred on him the degree of A. M., and in the following year he returned to New York, where he continued his studies until 1764. He studied divinity for a short time after this and added the business of an apothecary to his early medical practice in New York. He was married in the old Dutch church on Nassau street, to Hannah Stout, May 28, 1764. They lived together within a few months of half a century.
Dr. Wells was hardly more than 25 and his wife 20 and the mother of two young children, when they started for their new home in the wilds of what is now Vermont. The town of Brattleboro, of which he and his wife were 2 of the patentees, had been partly settled from New Hampshire as early as 1752. They came by a small sloop to Hartford, Ct., and from thence followed the Connecticut river to Brattleboro. Their new home was a farm of not far from 1000 acres, some 2 miles west of the present beautiful East village of Brattleboro. Here on the brow of a lofty hill Dr. Wells erected a substantial frame house of considerable size, which stood almost unaltered for a century, and was finally taken down (by Gilbert Smith,) in 1875. In 1801 it was purchased from Micah Townshend (its second owner,) by Chief Justice Tyler, who occupied it about 14 or 15 years. From 1768 to the time of his removal in 1781, he constantly held some public office. His name, for the last time, appears upon the records as moderator of the meeting of March, 1781. His name is attached to two memorials to the King in behalf of the legal government, the only civil government, in fact, under the Province of New York. Seven more children were born to Dr. Wells during his 13 years residence in Brattleboro. In 1781 he relinquished the magnificent estate, (in acres,) which cost him so much toil and suffering, and removed to Montague, Mass. He settled in the house which for 80 years continued to be the home of his children. This house is still standing though not in possession of the family. In the associations of his new home and the better opportunities for the practice of his profession, Dr. Wells no doubt found compensation for the visionary fortune, as landed proprietor, for which he and his father had left New York. He soon acquired a reputation as a physician, especially in consultations, which made long journeys from home often necessary. Such occasional calls for him extended from Boston to Albany, New Hampshire and Connecticut, as well as to and beyond his old home in Vermont.
In 1785 he was elected a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society with which he was connected most of the time as counsellor until his death. In 1802 a formidable epidemic made its appearance in Greenfield and its vicinity. "Eminent physicians," says Willard in his history, "did what they could to stop the plague. That excellent physician and estimable man, Dr. John Stone of Greenfield, the late Dr. Williams of Deerfield, and that Nobleman of Nature, Dr. Henry Wells of Montague, were employed, the last and the first named, mostly.
The sick seemed to have the impression, generally, that they certainly should recover if Dr. Wells attended upon them, so great was their reverence for that philanthropist." As a recognition of his services in this pestilence, Dartmouth College conferred on him the honorary degree of M. D. Professor Nathan Smith was accustomed to quote him in his lectures and to speak of him in terms of the highest respect.
"Dr. Wells," adds Dr. Alden, "in his profession attained the most distinguished rank. His natural powers were good, his medical reading extensive and judicious, his application methodical and patient.
His eminent skill, however, in the management of disease was derived chiefly from his own observation and experience. Possessing a clear and discriminating mind and an accurate judgment, his practical deductions were remarkably just. In difficult cases his advice was much sought and highly appreciated. Courteous in his manners, modest and unassuming in his intercourse with his professional brethren, he was highly respected by the profession and the public."
Dr. Williams remarks "Dr. Wells had the confidence of all his professional brethren throughout the country, and many of his patients almost worshiped him."
Very little need be added in regard to Dr. Wells' character and principles. His whole life, family, social and professional, was permeated with a deep sense of religious duty. He died Aug. 24, 1814, aged 72, and was buried in Montague. His funeral was attended by a large concourse of people and a great number of physicians from the neighboring towns paid him the last token of respect.
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DR. SAMUEL STEARNS, LL. D.,
Was born in Bolton, Mass., in 1747, and died in Brattleboro, Aug. 8, 1819. This gentleman, previous to becoming a resident of this town, suffered greatly in mind, body and estate, from the persistent attacks of "The Sons of Liberty," in Worcester, Mass. For his supposed loyalty to King George III, he was confined in a filthy prison nearly 3 years, in Worcester, Mass. In that prison he suffered for the want of the common necessaries of life. A large share of this imprisonment was after the close of the Revolutionary war with Great Britian. By the conditions of the Jay treaty, he was legally entitled to his freedom; but his enemies by legal technicalities, various pretexts and false swearing, continued his confinement and declared he should rot in jail.
Though he was a man of fine presence and great personal beauty, as we learn from a well preserved painting of him, and of rare mental cultivation for the times in which he lived, misfortune was so constantly his attendant he had but little from this world, for which to be thankful.
"Life had no more to bring to him
Than mockery of the past alone."
From his monument at the East village cemetery, we copy the following words:
"Nature was his preceptor, philosophy
His mistress, and astronomy his prompter,
Disappointment ever succeeded his best
Endeavors; he deserved better —
Ingratitude was the reward of
Peace to his ashes."
Dr. Samuel Stearns, while in the practice of medicine in New York, calculated and published the first "Nautical Almanac" published in America. He was the author of "The American Herbal, or Materia Medico," published in 1801. The work was printed at Walpole, N. H., for Thomas & Thomas and the author.
Upon the list of subscribers are 47 names, comprising the most prominent citizens of that time in Brattleboro. He obtained many subscribers for a "Medical Dispensatory." upon which he. labored 28 years. To obtain information for this work, of two volumes containing 600 pages each, he traveled 9 years in Europe and in this country, at an expense of several thousand dollars. He died before completing the enterprise. Upon the list of subscribers for this work we find the names of Dr. Benjamin Rush, of Philadelphia, Gen. George Washington, and other names of the most, noted men of the age in this country.
MAJ. STEPHEN GREENLEAF
Who held the office of town clerk from 1799 to 1844 was by trade a carpenter. We who have only seen him late in the afternoon of life. a tottering, feeble old man, find it hard to realize how athletic and fearless he was in the prime of life. We have been told by an eye witness of the feat, Mr. Greenleaf, after raising a large building, stood upon his head on the ridgepole of the building.
Whatever he attempted was well performed and as a workman and a citizen no fairer name is on the list of Brattleboro mechanics. His penmanship in the old town books, for its uniformity and perfection, is the admiration of everyone who has examined it. Each letter and word is made in full, giving so perfect exactness no one can mistake it.
The example he has left us is a monumental rebuke — 45 years in building — to men of learning, to legal gentlemen who use their pens, as Talleryand said some men did their tongues, "to conceal rather than to express their meaning." In 1834 he wrote several long, highly interesting letters to his friends, that were published in the Phœnix, not long since, respecting the past and present of Brattleboro, and he also furnished that brief though able sketch of this town in "Thompson's Historical Gazetteer of Vermont," published in 1846.
Mr. Greenleaf enjoyed the study of mathematics and often assisted others in that department of knowledge.
Only 12 years of age when he came here with his father in 1771, with no educational advantages and few books worth mentioning, what superior native resources must have been concealed under that modest, unassuming exterior, so faithfully shown in a painting of him, which, to the honor of Brattleboro, now hangs in the town hall.
From Mrs. Ellis, now (1869) 80 years of age, and the only child of Maj. Greenleaf
now living, we learn that her father educated himself, long winter evenings, by light from the kitchen fire-place. To get full advantage of the light, he extended himself horizontally upon the floor where he worked upon mathematical problems, practised penmanship, read the few books he could obtain, and thus laid the foundation of such a character for ability and virtue as won the well-deserved respect, love and confidence of three generations, then calmly and peacefully died in 1850, aged 92 years.
From our earliest recollections, we have heard much said in commendation of Maj. Greenleaf, but feel incompetent to do justice to his memory, or find language to express our admiration of his long, faithful, beautiful life. One who knew him well, has said of him: "Surely, one such man in Sodom would have been sufficient to have saved that wicked city."
Among our ancient worthies of the buried past, there were those of his cotemporaries who surpassed him in mental attainments, brilliancy of the imagination, business faculties or abilities to grasp the prizes in this intense never-ceasing life struggle going on about us, but as the Creator's masterpiece, "an honest man," no one was his superior.
BY W. H. BIGELOW, OF CHICAGO.
In February, 1778, there came to Brattleboro, from New Haven, Ct., a young man, just of age, a blacksmith by trade. The few settlers, wishing such a workman to locate among them, made a bee, shoveled away the deep snow, helped to build a shop, and in less than a month he was at work with his tools. Great results flowed from this hasty settlement of the young man — Rutherford Hayes.
We trace his ancestors back to George Hayes, who came from Scotland and was living in Windsor, Ct., in 1682, and subsequently in Granby, Ct. his grandfather, Daniel Hayes, was, in 1709, taken captive by the Indians, carried to Canada, and was kept a prisoner about 5 years. His mother was Rebecca Russel, great grand-daughter of Rev. John Russell, who lived in Hadley, Mass., where he concealed the Regicides for many years.
Rutherford Hayes was born in Brandford, Ct., July 29, 1756, removed to New Haven with his father, Ezekiel Hayes, in 1773. In his new home, now the West village, he for many years worked at his trade, which he called a "dirty, black business, but it brought white money."
For some time he kept a tavern, joining farming with it, and during his passing old age he was a farmer in easy circumstances. As to his characteristics, he is described as a "round, corpulent, old gentleman, with an elastic, square step, medium height, with florid complexion, sandy hair, a cheerful temper. and friendly, courteous manners." Capt. Dudley, now living, in his 82d year, an intelligent old gentleman of many interesting memories, recalls his hale, hearty laugh, accompanied usually with a noted rubbing of his hands, in the enjoyment of jokes and stories. Of him, one who remembers him well, says: "He was an honest, kindly, religious man, and may well be regarded by his descendants as a model." After he was seventy he became a total abstinence man, "fearing," he said, "that his example would be quoted against the cause of temperance." He died Sept. 25, 1836.
His wife, Chloe Smith, born Nov. 10, 1762, in Hadley, Mass., moved with her parents to Brattleboro when young, and was married (1789) in her seventeenth year, She matured into a noble, Christian lady. She was noted as a wonderful worker, and of great force of will. On a certain occasion she waited upon guests at a country hall, in their tavern, all night, and started in the morning on horseback for a visit to Bainbridge, N. Y. She made the journey with her husband, 200 miles or more, and back in health and strength. She is remembered by her descendants with affectionate admiration. She died Feb. 17, 1847. They had three sons and six daughters, whom they lived to see in positions of honor and usefulness.
DEA. RUSSELL HAYES,
The oldest of the sons, born May 31, 1784, passed a life of valuable usefulness on the old homestead in West Brattleboro, devoting his energies and his love to the academy and the church, and smoothing tenderly the declining years of his aged parents. He was a Christian of equable temper, a man of excellent judgment, and a neighbor highly esteemed. He died July 28, 1856.
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RUTHERFORD HAYES, JR.,
Born Jan. 4, 1787, early entered the mercantile business and accumulated, for those times, a competent fortune. He was a man of honor and commanded universal respect. He was a Presbyterian. In 1817, he removed with his family to Delaware, O., a journey of 40 days, but only lived about 5 years, dying in 1822. After his death was born his son,
RUTHERFORD B. HAYES,
Who, now in middle life, bears well-earned military and political honors. He graduated with the class of 1842, from Kenyon College, Ohio, studied law and practiced it successfully in Cincinnati, O., up to the opening of the War of the Rebellion, when, in 1861, he entered the army; was promoted repeatedly, and in 1864, was promoted from colonel to brigadier-general for "gallantry in time battles of Winchester, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek," and at the close of the war to that of brevet major general. He was elected to Congress in 1864, from Cincinnati, and re-elected in 1866; was elected governor of Ohio in 1867, and re-elected in 1869. He declined to receive a nomination for a third term, and retired to private life, returning to the practice of law. He received the degree of LL. D., in 1868, from Kenyon College.
[Written in 1870, previous to his election to the presidency.—ED.]
WILLIAM R. HAYES,
The third son of Rutherford Hayes, Sen., was born Dec. 6, 1804, prepared for college under the instruction of Rev. Mr. Hallock, and graduated at Yale in the year 1825. He took a high stand in his class. Closing the three years of his legal preparatory studies at the law school in New Haven, under the care of Judge Dagget, he was admitted to the bar, and opened an office in East Brattleboro, Vt., in 1828; was married to Miss Trowbridge, of New Haven, in October, 1830. He is said to have had a fine voice, and to have been a successful pleader. In his will he left $1,000 for the academy at West Brattleboro.
He, with two other professional men, his daily associates, Mr. Elliot, of his own profession, and Dr. Dickerman, were among the subjects of the revival of 1832. He became thereafter an earnest, active Christian, and was restrained from preparing himself for the gospel ministry by failing health. Skillful physicians advised him to seek a milder climate. In 1836, he relinquished the practice of law, and moved to Barbadoes in the West Indies. His health was gradually restored, and he then spent the rest of his life engaged in Prosperous mercantile pursuits, and in discharging the duties of U. S. Consul for the Island of Barbadoes. He engaged himself heartily in the support of temperance and in the abolition of slavery. He organized societies in his new home, and wrote and labored successfully for the promotion of these reforms.
Quoting from Dr. Bacon, of New Haven, "He was known and honored there and at home as a business man of eminent skill, courtesy and probity, and a Christian gentleman, ready for every good word and work."
His life was suddenly terminated by a malignant erysipelas July 13, 1852.
Of the daughters of Rutherford Hayes, Sen., the oldest one, Polly, married Mr. John Noyes, who became a man of note. He graduated at Yale College in the class of 1779, taught in Chesterfield Academy, N. H., preached the gospel, became a merchant, and represented the southern district of Vermont in Congress. They were the grand-parents of Larkin G. Mead, the sculptor.
Belinda married the Hon. Samuel Elliot, of Brattleboro. Clarissa married Ayer Moody, a graduate of Dartmouth College, a man of influence. She is one of the only two members of the family now living, being in her 80th year, ripening into a gentle and beautiful old age in Delaware, Ohio.
Sarah, now (1870,) living in Chesterfield, Mass., married Dyer Bancroft, a graduate of Williams College. He practiced law many years in Chesterfield, Mass.
HON. LEMUEL WHITNEY,
One of the leading men of his time. in this town. was by trade a silversmith. He was born in Petersham, Mass., in 1764, and came to Vermont in 1785. The first years of his residence in this State were passed at Newfane, where he held the office of sheriff.
It was the duty of that officer to execute.
the law which made it discretionary with the Judge of the County Court how many lashes should be applied to the naked skin of the convicted transgressor of Vermont laws. Another barbarous act required of the sheriff, was to brand some culprits with a hot iron, sometimes the letter R upon the hand or forehead, to signify rogue. Once during his term of office, as he informed us, he was ordered by the court to whip a woman, at the public whipping-post, for passing counterfeit money. The shoulders and upper part of her person was completely stripped of clothing, that the naked skin might be exposed to the lash. Under this severe trial of his gallantry the lashes, especially two out of three, fell so lightly, she could be hardly conscious of receiving any, but the third lash, that being a gentle reminder that women were, by law, entitled to "their thirds."
He removed from Newfane Hill to Brattleboro East village in 1790, occupying, at first, a low, unfinished house, which stood where now (1869) stands the Revere House on Main street. The next year he bought about an acre of land in the north part of Main street, and built a small house containing but two rooms, where now stands the elegant mansion of Chas. F. Thompson, Esq. Alterations and additions upon his house were made at times, until his place was at one time considered the most desirable one in this village. Here he lived nearly 60 years, and died April 4, 1847.
He was town representative 10 years; from 1801 to '24, clerk of the supreme court; 1801 to '20, clerk of the county; 1817 to '28, judge of probate; 1790 to 1847, justice of the peace.
From personal observation, during the last 18 years of his life, we noticed as a utilitarian or economist he was a worthy disciple of Benjamin Franklin; retentive in memory, frank, free and fearless in the expression of his sentiments, of promptness and fidelity to his engagements, patriotic, but decidedly opposed to wasting powder in firing guns on the Fourth of July. In theology a Unitarian; in politics, a whig to the back-bone, and a warm admirer of Henry Clay.
He was, as compared with most men, of gigantic stature, and his dignified presence. with a good understanding of parliamentary rules, well qualified him to preside at public meetings.
It is with pleasure we recall that sunny day of his long life among us, in the summer of 1840, when the oak grove in the rear of Col. Joseph Goodhue's residence was honored by the presence of Daniel Webster, who there gave a short address to the people of this place. The long cavalcade of citizens for escort duty, the expression upon each face, the elastic step of youth and age, with other indications, told us Brattleboro was proud that day.
Hope for a season bade the whigs farewell, for, since the election of John Q. Adams, in 1824, they had, up to this time, been unsuccessful in every presidential contest.
The great political revival of this year was of such a character as heralded success. The political prospect not only gave great pleasure to our venerable friend, but also to a large majority of the people in this town. All seemed to appreciate the privilege of seeing this oracle of the party, whose fame had gone around the globe, — that great Daniel, who, on the floor of Congress, had shut the lion's mouth as it was about to close upon the blood-bought constitution of 1787.
Of all the men that we saw standing there to greet the nation's orator, none did so impress us as the venerable judge with silvered hair. The companions of his early life, with two generations, he had seen pass on to the silent land, leaving him to experience
"The worst of woes that wait on age.
To view each loved one blotted from life's page."
But youth or early manhood could show no greater interest in the events of the day.
When Mr. Webster was seated upon the platform erected in the grove, Judge Whitney instantly threw off his hat, and renewed vigor came to that time-worn frame and face, as, with clear, untrembling voice, he loudly exclaimed: "Ladies and Gentlemen: The Defender of the Constitution."
It was enough. Surely nothing could be said more fitting the occasion. As
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died away the cheers of the multitude, the sound of cannon and strains of music, we felt, though all these demonstrations might be proper from our citizens in deference to this distinguished visitor, Judge Whitney, in the use of those last five words, had paid Mr. Webster the highest compliment of them all.
REV. ALONZO CHURCH, D. D.,
was born in the town of West Brattleboro, April 9, 1793. He was son of one and grandson of another, who, in the war of the Revolution, had done the State service. His boyhood and youth were spent upon a small farm, which his father had settled at the close of the war, and where he learned those lessons of self denial and acquired that stern integrity which served in after life to render him eminently useful. His active mind could not long brook the monotony of a farmer's life; at an early age he entered Middlebury college, supporting himself during his college course by teaching in the winter. He graduated in the class of ——— and soon after receiving his degree his health failing, he emigrated to Georgia.
A stranger in a distant state, the singular purity of his life and his earnest devotion to his chosen profession, soon gained for him the esteem and affection of those among whom he had cast his lot.
The classical school which, as early as 1818, he established in Putnam, soon became famous, and pupils were attached to it from all the adjoining counties of the State. His fame as a teacher was established on a firm basis before he had reached mature manhood. In a country which at the time was the outpost of civilization, unaided and alone, he built up and maintained a school of which older states might have been proud; began that labor in the cause of education, which ended only with his long life.
Married at an early age to a fair pupil — both sexes were under his tuition — he identified himself at once with the people of his adopted State
Sincerely pious from his boyhood, he allied himself with the Presbyterian church, and soon after his arrival in Georgia was ordained a minister of that denomination. Deriving from his profession an income sufficient for his modestwants, he devoted himself to the ministry without salary, supplying the pulpit of those poor churches whose members were unable to provide themselves with a pastor. His labors as a preacher were not less earnest than as a teacher, and his success was best attested by the devotion shown him by his humble congregation.
He did not, however, remain long in a subordinate position. His talents and zeal and the skill and prudence he manifested in teaching and in the control and management of youth, soon made him widely known, and in the year 1819, he was elected professor of mathematics and astronomy in Franklin college. an institution which had been endowed by the State of Georgia as early as 1789. This necessitated a change of residence — the last he ever made. For more than forty years he lived in the town of Athens, among the foothills of the Alleghanies, and there heside the Oconee sleeps his last sleep.
For ten years the young professor filled his post so acceptably that at the expiration of that time, upon the resignation of Dr. Waddell, the president of the college, he was unanimously chosen his successor, which position he filled for thirty years, and finally, when broken by the long labor of life, he resigned to other hands his post of honor and of toil.
The regret and affection of all went with the faithful teacher to the modest home which he had prepared for his old age, near the town which had so long known him as its ablest, purest and most influential citizen, and his best eulogy is to be found in the devotion which even now his former pupils show for the memory of their teacher.
Among those who received at his hands instruction are many of Georgia's most distinguished sons. Two of' his pupils are now United States Senators. A. H. Stevens was among his scholars, and during his collegiate career was an inmate of his family. Numbers of Georgia's best and oldest men have acknowledged their indebtedness to the wise and good man who directed their education. He was the friend and associate of Crawford and Bowen, of Calhoun and Preston and McDuffie, and, although his pursuits were different. he was a peer among them.
The fitness of the man for an instructor
of the young was acknowledged by all who knew him. While courteous and kind to such a degree as justly to entitle him to the appellation given him, "the Chesterfield of Georgia," upon occasion he could be firm and decided.
His sense of justice was so strong that he was never accused of partial or prejudiced action.
In his intercourse with others he was ever kind, while his charity covered the follies of youth with its mantle; and, best of all, he was imbued with the spirit of a pure, earnest and consistent Christian. With an intuitive knowledge of his peculiar fitness for the work, he adopted teaching as his profession, and for more than forty years he devoted his life and energies to that pursuit.
He loved with the attachments and strength of his manhood the home and state of his adoption, but never ceased to remember the land of his nativity. In the sunny clime which he chose for his life-long home, his heart turned often to the green hills among which his boyhood was spent, and the friends of his youth were never forgotten.
His Alma Mater conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and, though there may on its alumni be names more widely known to fame, there is not one whose life has reflected more honor upon her teaching.
To him Georgia owes a debt of gratitude. To him more than to any other is due the intellectual developement of her citizens and the silent influence of his teaching.
Dr. Church died May 18, 1862, aged 69.
Vermont may proudly claim him as one of her purest and noblest sons.
[Furnished by a Descendent, Wm. Henry Wells, of N. Y. ]
THE REV. WILLIAM WELLS. D. D.
The Rev. Wm. Wells, D. D., first minister of the church of the East Village of Brattleboro, was born at Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, England, in 1744. He was the only son of Richard Wells, who was also the only son of Richard Wells. His father and mother both dying in his childhood; he was brought up by his uncle, Ebenezer Casterson, as his own son.
His thoughts were early turned to the ministry, for which he was prepared in the Dissenting college at Daventry, and he was encouraged and assisted in his purpose by John Howard, the celebrated philanthropist, an intimate acquaintance of his uncle Ebenezer, after whom he named one of his sons, long a resident of this town. Another son was named after Howard.
In the year 1770, he was invited to preach at Bromsgrove, where he was afterward settled as a minister of a Dissenting congregation, a ministry in which he continued to officiate during his residence in England.
In January, 1771, he married Jane Hancox, daughter of the Rev. James Hancox of the neighboring town of Dudley, who possessed what was considered at that time a handsome fortune. Mr. Hancox had been destined to be a clergyman of the Established church, and to hold the living of Kidderminster, which was in the gift of his grandfather. Even as a boy, however, he had formed opinions in favor of non-conformity, and finally declined to accept the living (of £800 a year), although his grandfather declared his intention of disinheriting him in such a case, of his claims as eldest son, a threat which he carried out for a time, but relented in his last illness. Mr. Hancox was admired for his power of pathos in the pulpit, but was in the habit of saying he should do injustice to his people if, while he attempted to move their passions, he neglected to inform their minds. He appears to have been, as one might expect, a champion of freedom, whom anything like the appearance of oppression roused to a noble wrath.
A letter is extant from a friend of the lady, a clergyman, from which we take an example of letter writing a century ago:
"I acknowledge I was not quite ignorant of Mr. Wells's attachment before I received your favor, and I am confident it is as strong as it is reasonable. I do not wonder that a man of his taste should soon be convinced that the half had not been told him. Kindred minds soon attract each other, and we who know both have often thought and said that if any two minds were cast in the same mold they were yours and his. And really, my dear Miss Jane, as to Mr. Wells, mere justice obliges me to say that I never knew a man better formed by nature and
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grace for being happy and making others so who are most nearly connected with him. His natural temper is excellent, sedate and even, always easy and cheerful, inclined to think well of and be pleased with everybody and everything that is tolerable, obliging, tender and affectionate. yet active, manly and prudent, remarkably free from caprice and affectation and every turbulent passion.
And to these human attributes, valuable as they are, divine grace has added, what you still more highly prize, a rational and warm piety. This, you will think, is saying a great deal; but really, Miss Jane, I cannot in conscience say less. This is the light in which his character appears to me. This is the character his tutor and his most intimate friends universally give him."
In the summer or fall of 1782, as we learn from a memoir written by his son Hancox, a companion of his voyage, Mr. Wells determined to remove with his family to the United States; before leaving England, he made up his mind that he would not take his family to a slave state, and would not establish himself in the wilderness. For many years he had taken a warm interest in the country, and during the Revolutionary war he was decidedly on the side of the colonies. The state of the political world in 1792 was gloomy. The French Revolution caused fear and great excitement in England. The Birmingham riots took place in the summer of 1791. Several dissenting meeting-houses and a number of houses belonging to opulent dissenters were destroyed and openly plundered by a brutal mob and all this was done with the almost open approval of the High Church party. The watch-word of the mob was "Church and King," and the dissenters felt that they were frowned on by the government, and not protected as they ought to have been by the civil authorities, against a mob who were too ready to suppose that their excesses were, to a certain extent, at least, agreeable to their superiors.
Birmingham was only thirteen miles from my father's house at Bowenheath, his meeting-house was at Bromsgrove, two miles off. The destruction of the meeting-house was openly threatened. He feared at one time that his house was in danger, and he removed some of his most valuable goods. All sorts of absurd reports were circulated respecting the dissenters. Men of the most blameless and benevolent characters were suspected of forming secretly the most wicked sad despicable conspiracies. These were some of the circumstances that determined my father to quit his native country and remove to the United States.
In addition to what is said above of Dr. Wells's attitude during the Revolutionary war and his life as an English dissenting minister, we quote from a sketch of his life written by his son, William Wells, Esq., for Dr. Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit, Vol. viii, p. 257.
"At the commencement of the movements which preceded the American Revolution, he took a strong interest in favor of the colonies. He exerted himself, with Dr. Price, Dr. Wren of Portsmouth, &c., in collecting subscriptions for the relief of the American prisoners. When Mr. Laurens, upon his liberation from the Tower, passed through Bromsgrove, on his way to Bristol, he inquired for Mr. Wells, stating that he wished to return his own and his country's thanks to him for this service.
My father's health had been affected by his residence in the town, and he removed to a hamlet distant about two miles, where he cultivated a small farm. This was an occupation which he well understood, and in which he much delighted. He had in his house several boys from respectable dissenting families, some of whom became attached friends.
Notwithstanding these laborious avocations, no one thought his people or study neglected. He commonly rose at 4 o'clock, and in the tardy mornings of an English winter his candle might be seen three hours before daylight. At the academy and in early life, he was a hard student, and, though he never claimed the reputation of a learned man, he had read much and carefully. I cannot be mistaken when I state that at that time the education of dissenting ministers, under Dr. Doddridge and others, his contemporaries and successors, was far superior to that commonly acquired at the universities.
My father was always a student. He had in England a very good library, and
to the latest period of his life his study was his resort when leisure allowed.
His memory was tenacious. He was well acquainted with ecclesiastical history, that of the Reformation, and especially of the Puritans and Dissenters. He had in his library many of the best writers belonging to the established church. Burnet, Tillotson and Clarke were his favorites. No man was less of a bigot, but the idea of submission to articles of faith he never could endure."
During the ravages of the small-pox, contrary to the prevailing popular prejudice, he inoculated his children. The operation succeeding, he was beset with requests to inoculate others, which he complied with as respects some of his poor neighbors, who could not afford to pay doctors' bills. He carried through the disease 1300 persons, a work which occupied much of his time during two years. An eminent physician at Worcester, with whom he was intimate, used to call him in jest "Brother Doctor."
At the time of the Birmingham riots, and the destruction of Dr. Priestley's church and residence, Mr. Wells's house and church were also threatened, and this persecution decided him to emigrate to America.
In January, 1793, he wrote to his son:
"We design to land at or near Boston, and where we shall pitch our tent it is hard to say. * * * I have, as may be supposed, a good opinion of America, but yet my expectations are not raised unreasonably high. I know, like every other land in this world, it must be subject to affliction, disappointment, pain and death. But let it be remembered, also, that there is the same kind Providence to attend us there as here, and as to government, liberty and the prospect of getting a comfortable livelihood. I think the advantage lies on the other side of the Atlantic."
Dr. Wells set sail from Bristol May 8, 1793, — the ship in which he sailed being towed down the Avon by several boats to get it through at high water, — and after a passage of 32 days cast anchor in Boston harbor.
Eight children came over with their parents, William and Jane Wells, among whom may be mentioned William, his eldest son, who spent two years at Harvard college, where he was afterward tutor, and subsequently the head of the publishing house of Wells & Lilly, in Boston, — among the publications of which house may be mentioned Griesbach's New Testament in Greek, at the time an extraordinary enterprise for America, and which was revised and carried through the press by Mr. Wells's own supervision; James Hancox, long a successful merchant in Hartford; and Ebenezer Casterson, who married Mary Chester of Wethersfield, continued to reside in Brattleboro from his coming over with the family in 1793, at the age of sixteen, until his death in 1850. He was universally esteemed as a man of modest, straight-forward and generous character, and was twice the representative of the town in the State Legislature.
It is remarkable that these eight children were all living in 1834, 41 years after the voyage (the first death was that of his youngest son, John Howard, in 1844, aged 60). and met to welcome their oldest sister, Mrs. Martha Freme, when, after marriage and widowhood in England, she returned, shortly after the death of her father, to settle in Brattleboro. The remarkable character of this lady, the generous hospitality which her means enabled her to exercise, and her tragic end, when the mansion house in which she lived, and which had been her father's before her, was destroyed by fire in May, 1849, are still well remembered in the town.
Dr. Wells had for a long time taken great interest in the history of New England, and had corresponded on that subject with the Rev. Dr. Morse of Charlestown, historian and geographer, and father of the inventor of the telegraph. After visiting Dr. Morse for a few days, he went to a house which the former had taken for him in Medford. With his eldest son, William, he made a carriage tour through Connecticut to the Hudson and Mohawk valleys, to inspect his adopted country, and went as far as the Whitestown country, now called Clinton, where he made a stay with Rev. Samuel Kirkland, missionary to the Indians, and father of John Thornton Kirkland, afterward President of Harvard college.
The next year he purchased a farm of 400 acres in Brattleboro, to which he re‑
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moved his family by sleighing. He wished to settle where he could occupy a farm and be useful in preaching. In Brattleboro he found both.
For some time the family felt severely the difficulties and discouragements of their situation. He was invited to become the pastor of the society, but declined, feeling that he would be more independent as a preacher than if he were formally settled. He, however, acted as minister, and accepted the remuneration voted him by the town, by which he was annually chosen for about 20 years.
At that time the character of the population was extremely mixed, and the tone of manners rough (notwithstanding the presence of some educated and elegant families), and the moral and religious character of the people as a whole much below that which he had left in England.
When he first preached, the young men of the village were accustomed to pass the hour of service in amusing themselves under the trees, while the young women would wander from pew to pew during the exercises. Dr. Wells made no comment whatever on these liberties, but went on in his duties with the courtesy that was characteristic of him. In three years time the congregation had become remarkable for order and attention. The misrepresentation and prejudice which he encountered he overcame by quiet wisdom and by the influence of a pure life. His salary, which was never regularly paid, was £80 (about $260) of continental currency.
After this time, he sent in his resignation, and the East village people, who had always been his best, parishioners, built for him the first, meeting-house in that village, where he preached for some years. He went to England on a visit in 1818, and while abroad received very unexpectedly the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Harvard university.
Dr, Wells, although the least controversial of men, was affected by the Unitarian controversy, which began with an article in the "Panoplist" in 1815, — a popular periodical of the Calvinistic sect, — which article was answered by Dr. Channing.
Suspicions of his theological soundness were entertained by the neighboring clergy. He thought proper to deliver an address to his people, on the Sabbath of the first communion, in the new meeting-house at the East village, in which he declared his sentiments and opinions in regard to doctrines. His address was highly satisfactory to his people.
During his absence in England, however, in consequence of intrigues arising from these doctrinal disputes. Dr. Wells having left his parish free to choose another minister, a young man was settled in his stead by the agency of some managing persons. Dr. Wells, by the exercise of great prudence and Christian charity, checked those who were disposed to he indignant on his account, and filled the pulpit without remuneration during the illness of his successor, continuing to the end of his life in peace and friendship with his people. His own religious opinions were what are called Arian, but he considered all doctrinal differences of trifling consequence in comparison with. purity of life.
An admirable anecdote is told of this indifference to theological speculations in "Sprague's Annals" .
"In those days, when every minister's house was regarded as an inn or refectory by every other minister, whether known or unknown, who wanted rest or refreshment, a young man called upon him and, soon after the introduction, a dialogue ensued much like the following:
Stranger — "Are there any heresies among you?"
Dr. W.—"I know not whether I understand the drift of your question."
Stranger — "I wish to inquire, Sir, whether there be any Armenians, Socinians, or Universalists among you?"
Dr. W. — "Oh, Sir, there are worse heretics than am of these."
Stranger — "My dear Sir, what can be worse?"
Dr. W. — "Why, there are some who get drunk, and some who quarrel with their families, or their neighbors, and some who will not pay their debts when they might do it, and some who are very profane. Such men I think far worse heretics than those for whom you inquire."
Dr. Wells is described by all who have seen him as of a very noble person, unit‑
ing dignity and sweetness in a remarkable degree. He was 6 feet in height, well made and very erect. He is the subject of one of Stewart's finest portraits, presenting a countenance of such benevolent radiance as not to be easily forgotten. He commonly wore a black velvet cap over his flowing white locks, which gave him a priestly and patriarchal appearance.
While he was visiting England, it was currently reported among the populace, anxious in respect to Catholic aggressions, that the Pope of Rome was making a journey through Great Britain. Children who saw him for the first time, even babies, would manifest a desire to sit on his knee, and the elder ones would sit to look at and listen to him. This regard of children he valued highly.
Even at the age of 80 years he would read for two hours in the evening, holding his lamp. His temper, though ardent by nature, was chastened by gravity and seriousness; and he is described as abounding in the thoughts which might serve to mitigate trouble, and as having an especial faculty in prayer. He died in peace of mind, Dec. 9, 1827.
[From the Obituary Notice, written by Hon. James Elliot, in the Brattleboro Messenger, Dec. 14, 1827.]
"Although his mind was stored with those rich treasures of theological information which are the products of a long and studious life, he had none of the pride or pomp of education; and, although he was blessed with ample powers of argument, he did not feel it his duty to expatiate in the thorny tracts of controversy, believing that he could better serve the great cause of truth and piety by preaching Christ and Him crucified, by plain and practical illustrations of the pure morality and perfect purity of the Christian system. Sustaining through life the reputation of liberal principles and comprehensive views, he was not understood to adopt, in all their amplitude, the peculiar doctrines of any of the contending sects that occupy the extreme points of the vast field of religious contemplation. While his capacious mind embraced in its benevolent wishes, and in its fervent aspirations, the whole family of man, he acknowledged no human master of the human mind, and still less did he presume to mark out the limits of either the power, the justice, or the mercy of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The daily beauty and moral elevation of his character were of course more peculiarly obvious to his family, his intimate friends, and the circle of his neighborhood. But he had a name and a praise in many of the congregations on both sides of the Atlantic. To the church he was a shining light, and to the world a bright example. It is known that many able and candid men of different denominations regarded him as combining, with a degree, very unusual in this late age of the world, the primitive simplicity of the patriarchal, with the paternal simplicity of the apostolic character."
TO JOSEPH STEEN, ESQ.,
THE ELDEST NATIVE CITIZEN (1878) OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AND POPULOUS LOCALITY IN THE TOWN OF BRATTLEBORO — THE EAST VILLAGE — WHERE, 154 YEARS AGO, WAS MADE THE FIRST FOOT-PRINT OF ANGLO SAXON CIVILIZATION IN THE STATE OF VERMONT.
Not only are we grateful for his long, useful life in this village — reaching beyond the beginning of its business enterprise, and nearly covering the whole period of its growth to the present time — but for the aid of his retentive memory, whereby we have been able to revive, restore and preserve some rapidly vanishing pictures of the past, for the present generation and the future historian.
JOSEPH STEEN, ESQ.,
though a native of Brattleboro, is of English parentage. His great-great-grandfather emigrated from Holland to the North of England, where he settled about the year 1700.
James Steen, father of Joseph, was born in Malpos, Cheshire county, six miles from the city of Chester, Eng., May 19, 1761. He was a landholder, and by trade a house-builder. In Dec., 1785, he married Elizabeth Wood, who was a native of the city of Chester, and came to this country in 1795, for the following reasons: In 1793, political troubles caused the taxes to be so much upon real estate, rents were not enough to pay them; the "press gang" also went about the country, enlisting men
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peacefully if they could, but otherwise forcibly, for the army and navy.
James Steen sold his property, receiving therefor but little more than enough to pay the expenses of his removal to this country. On recommendation from a Mr. Nelson, of London, to Kirk Booth, Esq., of Boston, — whom he luckily found aboard of the ship Galen on the passage — he obtained from Mr. Booth — who was ever after his friend — a letter of introduction to Rev. Wm. Wells, D. D., then but a short time settled in Brattleboro, Vt. as their only pastor.
James Steen settled in this village in I795, living at first in the old Dickerman house, where now is the house erected by Chas. Crosby, and now (1878) belonging to the estate of F. Harris.
James Steen built the house now owned and occupied by his son Joseph, who was born in this village, March 2, 1797. Joseph worked at house-building with his father until 1814, when he commenced work at the printers' trade, under Wm. Fessenden. After 9 years' employment at this trade as journeyman, he worked on contract for Messrs. Holbrook & Fessenden until 1825. This year he bought of Messrs. Thomas & Woodcock the right to their pulp dresser for the State of New York, and engaged two years in the sale of them and putting them in operation in the paper-mills of that State.
The familiar form of this gentleman, and his present quiet operations in the book and stationery business, — continued since 1830 — gives no idea to the present generation — aside from the business aforesaid — what he has been, or what he has done in the long period of 82 years since his birth in this place. The generation now passing off the stage of life have ever considered him an important acquisition — a tower of strength — to any cause his honest convictions led him to advocate, and it is fortunate for this community that his power and influence has been so generally, if not invariably, in the right direction. He has really been a strong man, physically and mentally, often generously exercising these attributes, in times of adversity, advantageously to the condition of those less fortunate than himself. From his aid and counsel the latter have received courage and inspiration to face the ills of life.
In the month of June, 1830, he bought of George H. Peck one half of the book‑store and bindery business, but the next year dissolved partnership with Peck, and took simply the book-store and stationary business into his hands. This business he has ever since continued up to the present time.
Though 82 years of age, Mr. Steen has no partner in his business, but he stands daily behind his counter, selling goods as he has for nearly half a century. If there is another instance of this kind we know not where to look for it; the annals of this place cannot furnish a parallel case.
During his mercantile operations, he published 11,000 Royal octavo Bibles, 1,500 pages each, 11,000 Enc. of Religious Knowledge, 1.500 pages each, 2,000 school Bibles and 1,000 pocket Testaments. In the young or early days of Mr. Steen, the publications in this place were of a very different character. His employer published Webster's spelling-book and several of the old novels, now seldom seen. Among them were the works of Jane Porter, "Rasselas," by Johnson, &c.
Printing was hard work in these days, being done by hand power stimulated by alcohol, in the form of whiskey black-strap, rum, or rye gin. For being a solitary exception in a total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors, Mr. Steen was ridiculed by his fellow-workmen; but he has lived to see nearly all of them in a drunkard's grave. Near the printing office was a whiskey distillery, constantly sending into the atmosphere a delightful aroma, while the old presses were as constantly sending forth into the same atmosphere "The Mysteries of Udolpho," "Scottish Chiefs," "Alonzo and Melissa,'' "Democracy Unveiled," "Paul and Virginia," "Romance of the Forest," &c.
Though fastened with ribs of oak and bands of iron,
Vain were the efforts, of Osgood and Gill
To confine the spirits in that old still.
Out they would come at all times and seasons to haunt our houses and mingle with other spirits the ghosts of old Warriors, hobgoblins and youthful dreams of ethereal beauty, as they fell like snowflakes from the press.
Thereby was an air of rum and romance through which our old-time friend passed from youth to manhood, when we heard him, in a public lyceum, declaim against novel reading; and in 1830, he was foremost in organizing a temperance society in this village. The self-reliant, independent character of the man is apparent from the foregoing, and it is also so in every period of his life where decisive action was required.
Mr. Steen has evidently made some approach to obeying the scriptural command: "Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good."
He read Paine's "Age of Reason," but could not become an infidel. Over 60 years ago he joined the Congregational church and Sunday-school. He yet remains the eldest member of those institutions, attending regularly upon the exercises of the same to this time (1878).
In 1838, he tried democracy, under Van Buren's administration, and for a short time was editor and proprietor of "The Windham County Democrat," years afterward conducted by Geo. W. Nichols. This experiment worked upon him as harmlessly as did "Paine's Age of Reason."
In 1840, he was editor of "The Flail," a whig campaign paper, which had a circulation of 5000 copies per week. This paper was published by Wm. E. Ryther, now of Bernardston, Mass.
Mr. Steen has seen and had personal acquaintance with the editors and proprietors of all the old newspapers published here, commencing with the first one, The Federal Galaxy, by Benjamin Smead, first published 1797; Brattleboro Reporter, by Wm. and Thomas G. Fessenden, 1806; Brattleboro Messenger, by Alexander C. Putnam, succeeded by Geo. W. Nichols; The Yeoman, Simon Ide; Independent Inquirer, Wm. E. Ryther, 1833; Vermont Statesman, O. H. Platt; Windham County Democrat, Geo, W. Nichols.
Mr. Steen was the last agent appointed here for paying pensions to soldiers of the Revolution of 1776, having continued that duty until the last one died.
He was appointed assignee in bankruptcy for Windham county in 1844; justice of the peace in 1848, and now holds the office; selectman, 1854 '55; school committee, first chosen to put in operation the graded school system in 1841. He was prominent in advocating the school reform by effective remarks to the assembled voters of the district. He was severely censured by a wealthy man in this place for his action respecting the schools; but neither wealth or position could ever shut his mouth. He has always been ready to sell books, but never his principles.
His early struggles with poverty, his prudence, economy and self culture under difficulties — never having attended school over 12 months — and being by trade a printer, reminds us, in these respects, of Benjamin Franklin. "Seest thou a man diligent in business, he shall stand before kings."
In 1840, Mr. Steen advocated the election of Harrison to the presidency, and remained true to the whig party to the last. When the old flag was assailed by foes without and foes within, he threw his vote and influence for the party which defended it, and is unwilling to trust that flag in the hands of those who sought to destroy it. With him — our eldest, last living relic of a stormy past — the fight is over. When he shall finally lie down on the well fought field, to pleasant dreams, what drapery more fitting to wrap about him than that same old flag?
In compliance with the request of Miss Hemenway of Burlington, and for reasons given in the dedication of this work, we have made this brief sketch of our old friend of over half a century, whose example we deem a fitting one for the mechanics of Brattleboro.
HON. RICHARD WHITNEY.
[Brother of Hon. Lem'l Whitney.]
In the cemetery at Hinsdale, N. H., where Rev. Bunker Gay was buried, we found a monument having thereon the following inscription:
"Here lies the mortal remains of Richard Whitney, counsellor at law, of Brattleboro, Vermont, who departed this life Sept. 9, 1815, aged 39 years. Those who knew him not, may learn from this monumental stone that his virtues have rendered his memory precious to his bereaved friends. The sight of it will excite a ten‑
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der recollection of his worth in the bosoms of those who knew him, and a tear of sincere regret at his early and untimely departure. Let us humbly hope he has gone where his virtues will be justly appreciated."
Hon. Richard Whitney was born in Petersham, Mass., in 1776, practiced law in Brattleboro in 1808, and was secretary of State in 1806. His character and attainments made him well deserving of the favorable testimonials inscribed upon his monument at Hinsdale.
Near the time of his death he became mentally deranged, and was committed to the care of Mr. Hooker, in Hinsdale, N. H. He was confined in the house — yet standing — built by Rev. Bunker Gay, and then occupied by his son-in-law, Mr. Hooker.
At that time but little, if anything, was known in regard to the proper treatment of insane persons. The faculty were vainly groping in the dark for a potent weapon with which they could meet this mysterious enemy of human happiness called insanity. Many, especially the devoutly religious classes, attributed this malady to supernatural causes. Therefore they considered all remedial efforts vain, and nothing could be done but to confine the unfortunate victim and wait for death.
A council of physicians — Dr. Marsh of Hinsdale has been mentioned as one of the said council — decided upon trying, for the recovery of Mr. Whitney, a temporary suspension of his consciousness by keeping him completely immersed in water three or four minutes, or until he became insensible, and then resuscitate or awaken him to a new life. Passing through this desperate ordeal, it was hoped, would divert his mind, break the chain of unhappy associations, and thus remove the cause of his disease. Upon trial, this system of regeneration proved of no avail, for, with the returning consciousness of the patient, came the knell of departed hopes. as he exclaimed, "You can't drown love."
According to a former version of the story, there was a second application of the drowning process that terminated the life of Mr. Whitney. But Mr. Hooker, grandson of Rev. Bunker Gay, lately informed us that Mr. Whitney did not pass through a second ordeal by water; the physicians, upon mature deliberation, concluded they were on the right track, but had not used the proper agent for the stupefaction of the life forces. The next and last resort was opium, and Mr. Whitney died under the treatment.
The result of the aforementioned experiments for the cure of insanity may have suggested to the widow of Dr. Marsh, the importance of an asylum for the treatment of that class of persons so afflicted, and thereby her will of $10,000, whence originated the Vermont asylum at Brattleboro.
HON. JAMES ELLIOT
was the first elected of the three members of Congress who were citizens of Brattleboro at the time of their election.
His name, with that of Judge Chapin and others, is recorded as one of the corporators of the first joint stock company that originated in this place. This company built the first bridge connecting the East village with New Hampshire in 1804, when it is evident Mr. Elliot was a resident of Brattleboro. He was but about 26 years of age at this time, and this, with other circumstances or events, with which he was connected, compels us to believe he was the most conspicuous in early life, and attended to the serious duties of manhood while other young men of his age were "sowing their wild oats."
His intimate acquaintance with Gen. William H. Harrison, and high appreciation of his character, caused Mr. Elliot to say, "I wish Gen. Harrison could occupy the highest office in this nation; if every man in this country knew the General as I know him, he would go to the presidential chair with an overwhelming vote." These remarks were made several years before Harrison was before the public, or thought of, as a candidate for president. To our surprise, not four months had elapsed, after the death of Mr. Elliot, when Harrison received the nomination, and following soon came the "overwhelming vote," which swept the venerable sage of North Bend from his quiet home to earthly greatness.
In polities, Mr. Elliot was a Jeffersonian democrat and, to some extent, a party man; but he estimated character and ability far above party lines.
After remaining in this town over 25 years, he moved to Newfane. In a Brattleboro paper appeared the following obituary:
"Died at Newfane, Vt., Nov. 10, 1839, Hon. James Elliot, aged 64. He was a native of Gloucester, Mass. He came to reside in Guilford in early life, and enlisted under Gen. Wayne at 18 years of age, and served in the Indian wars three years, quartered most of the time in the west part of Ohio, then a wilderness. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in Windham county, Vt. In the war of 1812, he held a captain's commission. Before he was 30 years of age, he was elected one of the representatives to Congress from this State. and ably discharged that trust for three successive elections.
"His after life was variegated with different scenes and services. Besides his attention to the practice of law, he served several years as register of probate and clerk of the courts, and the past two years had the office of state's attorney for the county of Windham.
"He sustained through life the character of an honest man, with talents and intellectual acquirements of the first order."
His remains were brought here and deposited in Prospect Hill cemetery, where, since 1797, we have placed other of our honored dust and choicest treasures. His widow — a daughter of Gen. Dow — survived him 30 years, and died in New York city. Her remains were brought here and placed beside those of her husband. Their daughter, Mrs. D. Pomroy of New York, is now (1872) the only surviving member of the family.
HON. SAMUEL ELLIOT
was born in Gloucester, Mass., Aug. 16, 1777; and died at West Brattleboro, Dec. 10, 1845.
With the exception of Hon. John W. Blake, we believe he and his brother, James Elliot, were the first ones established in law practice in this town, and he spent the largest share of the last 40 years of his life in Brattleboro, East village.
Elliot street is so named because he formerly owned the land and erected the first house thereon, a brick building of two stories, now standing, near the south end of Crosby's block. His one-story, wood law office stood, as late as 1830, on the site of the Revere house. In or near 1835, he sold the site to Ashbell Dickenson. A large share of, if not all, the land upon the south side of Green street was once in his possession.
He was the successor of Hon. John W. Blake as postmaster, but, becoming a federalist, and prominently advocating the principles of that party during the presidency of Jefferson, he was succeeded in 1810 by Asa Green, Esq., who uninterruptedly held the office until after the inauguration of Harrison in 1841.
He was judge of probate for this district, and repeatedly represented the town in the State Legislature, was candidate for Congress, and also associate judge of this county, where he was widely known as a man of marked ability, unquestioned integrity, and not surpassed in his devotion to charity and mercy.
In the summer of 1826, his mind was greatly exercised by the destitution and sufferings of the inhabitants of Greece, caused by the barbarism of the Turks, with whom they were at war at that time. A ship was at this time in Boston harbor waiting for contributions of clothing and other necessities from New England, to carry to that suffering, unhappy people. At a public meeting, Mr. Elliot described the pressing necessities of the case with such eloquence few could listen to his appeal unmoved. One of the wealthiest citizens in this place became so interested it was said he offered to give as many dollars as his wealthy neighbor would give cents for this object.
The Grecian costume, loose fitting, and so simple one garment would suit persons of various sizes, garments were so easily made, quite a large quantity was soon furnished by the organized ladies of this village, and sent to the ship aforementioned.
"Ought the reading of fiction to he encouraged?" was the question before our
80 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
village lyceum a long time ago. A speaker said, "I know from experience novel-reading is an unhealthy exercise. My lamp has been burning and my tears falling, long after the midnight hour, over accounts of human suffering that existed simply in the mind of the author of the book."
Mr. Elliot replied: "Mr. Chairman — I would not advise the reading of fiction indiscriminately; but no work of this character coming under my observation has, in descriptions of human suffering, ever exceeded the reality. Sentiment must ever precede action, therefore we have reason to hope that the gentleman who has just made so commendable an expose of his emotions will, when occasion shall require fiction, prove by praiseworthy deeds how valuable are the sources from whence came his inspirations. As I see how needful is the exercise of ideality upon occasions like this, and realize that the most sublime and beautiful sentiments and sentences can be found in works of fiction, 1 regret that so little of my time has been devoted to this matter, and am therefore unable to give so good an account of my experiences as my friend G. has given of his. I am glad to learn that my neighbor is a man of fine sensibilities, tender emotions, and has a heart that can be moved by the woes and sufferings of his fellow-men."
Mr. Elliot was not destitute of humor, though there was at times a thoughtful, serious expression upon his countenance.
Born at that dark period in our history, soon after the commencement of that almost hopeless struggle against the greatest power, at that time, in Europe, he was old enough to remember that contest and the return from the war of his poor, sick father to a home of poverty, where he soon died from disease, contracted in the service of his country.
Few men were better fitted by past associations, patriotic fervor and oratorical power, to cause the generations growing up around him to properly appreciate their dear bought, priceless liberties. Therefore his services as orator at Fourth of July celebrations were exceedingly interesting, and eminently and universally acceptable.
During the absence of Rev. Wm. Wells, at that time the only pastor of this place, death had come to one of his parishioners, and not a minister could be found in town to attend the funeral. Application was made to Rev. Mr. Beckley. then of Dummerston, sickness preventing his attendance; and Mr. Elliot was called upon to address the funeral assembly, which he did in a manner highly creditable to his mind and heart.
He well knew how to sympathize with his sorrowing neighbors. The beloved partner of his early years went in her blooming beauty to the grave, leaving a child too young to realize the magnitude of his loss; but in after years he wrote the following lines, addressed to his mother:*
[Copied from the Brattleboro Messenger of December, 1824.]
"In childhood's gay and sportive hours,
I reckless play'd upon thy grave;
Well pleased to pluck the sweet wild flowers,
Which o'er thy grassy bed did wave.
I loved to view thy marble stone,
To read the sculptur'd letters try;
But when my father wept thereon,
I could not think what made him cry.
Remembrance cannot bring to light
Thy form, or make thy face appear;
But fancy paints thee fair and bright
As holy, beauteous angels are.
And now I love to think of thee—
Of all thy virtues, all thy worth—
And hope my soul with thee will be
When I am pillow'd deep in earth."
Mr. Elliot married, second, a daughter of Rutherford Hayes, by whom he had seven children. Three sons were collegiates at Yale and Trinity colleges (Conn.). The eldest, Sam'l H. Elliot, became a Congregationalist minister and principal of an educational institution near New Haven, Ct., and was the author of some interesting publications. J. H. Elliot finished his course in 1836† at Trinity college, died in December, 1838, at Savannah, Ga.
*My grandfather copied these verses from, the Brattleboro Messenger, Dec. 24, 1824, and from his authority alone do we relate the circumstances, authorship, &c.
† He was at that time chosen to deliver the valedictory; ill-health prevented.
He was noted as a young man of great excellence and superior attainments.
The health of William C. Elliot, the youngest son, failed after about two years at Trinity college in Hartford, Ct., and he died in Brattleboro, October, 1839. As could he as truthfully said of the other members of this family who have died, he never caused sadness or affliction to his relatives or friends but when he sickened and died. Nothing we could say of our loved schoolmate and intimate friend would give so faithful a picture of him as the following tribute from his sister, Miss Belinda Elliot, who, some years since, married Mr. McClellan and left her native home.
"He was our youngest brother, fondly loved—
Companion, friend, and cherished counsellor,
Sweetly in him did blend
A childlike, simple spirit, with a mind
Matured, refined, with knowledge and with grace.
To God he consecrated all he had;
Yes, on His altar freely laid himself,
His worth I cannot speak, for even now
The wound bleeds freshly that his loss has made;
And time, that antidote for grief like this,
Has not yet sealed the fountain of my tears.
Oh, in our hearts, as long as being lasts,
We'll treasure up the memory of his deeds,
And love him still."
The arrival to our shores of Gen. La Fayette, Aug. 15, 1824, gave Mr. Elliot so much pleasure he wrote some papers upon this subject.
In these papers we find an account of the progress of LaFayette through the country, and of his departure. We also learn his views respecting agriculture, the education of the masses, and on legal and moral questions. His writings give evidence of strong patriotism and love of the right. The last time we took the hand of this venerable man, he gave us the productions to which we have alluded in the foregoing.
Reluctantly have we released our grasp upon even the rudest links connecting us with the early times — the morning hours of freedom; but painfully as well as reluctantly have we let go forever of a link like this. Contact with such opens to our vision a pathway through the past, and as by an electric wire, passing through the long dead years, there comes to us the pulsations of brave hearts, beating time to the march of liberty, well nigh one hundred years ago.
The eloquence of words rarely fall upon the ear in public places. "In America," it is said, "the orator is dying; in England he is dead." Whatever may be predominating influences, never, we trust, will the fashion of the day, or the influences of others, lessen our veneration and admiration for this old orator of Brattleboro.
Salmon Bennet, son of Noah Bennet, was born in Brattleboro, Vt., Jan, 6, 1790. He studied theology with Rev. Ephraim H. Newton, of Marlboro, and was ordained pastor of the Congregational church in Winchester, N. H., Sept. 10, 1817. Rev. Caleb Burge of Brattleboro (West) preached the sermon. He was dismissed Dec. 25, 1823, preached a year in Roxbury, and was installed in Marlboro Sept. 27, 1825. Rev. Isaac Robinson of Alstead preached the sermon. He was dismissed April 5, 1831, and was installed in East Boscawen as colleague with Rev. Samuel Wood, D. D., Dec. 5, 1832. Rev. J. S. Barstow, D. D., of Keene, preached the sermon. He was dismissed Oct. 25, 1836, and then preached a year at Irvingsville, Mass. He was installed at Wendell May 2, 1838. Rev. Francis Danforth of Winchester, N. H., preached the sermon. He was dismissed Sept. 26, 1844. He then preached a short time in Heath, first to the Congregational, and then to the Baptist church; and afterwards lived in Halifax, Vt., preaching to one or the other of the Congregational churches there for about three years, ending in 1852, when he removed to Chatauque county, N. Y.
P. H. W.
HON. JOHN R. BLAKE.
Another of the early residents of Brattleboro, the Hon. John R. Blake, died in Boston, Mass., June 6, 1873, aged 79 years and 4 months. Funeral services were held in the church of the Rev. Rufus Ellis, June 8th; and on the day following the body was brought to Brattleboro by the only son of the deceased, Dr. John Ellis Blake of New York, and deposited in our village cemetery, where prayers were said by the Rev. Mr. Jenkins.
82 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
The deceased was born in Brattleboro, Feb. 3, 1793. He was a son of J. W. Blake, a lawyer of distinction and a gentleman of wealth, education and polished manners, who moved to this part of Vermont at an early period of its settlement, from Worcester, Mass. He at one time resided in Guilford; was the owner of a large tract of land in and near this village, which then consisted of a few straggling houses, and he took an active part in the political affairs of the State, being one of its earliest representatives. His name occurs in the early records of southern Vermont, as one of its most prominent citizens. But at the closing period of his life, becoming reduced in circumstances, his son. John R. Blake, was taken from school and compelled to go into business, and commence the battle with the world as a poor boy at a very early age. His first experience as a trader was with the Indians at Onondaga, N. V., now Syracuse, which was then considered far West, being taken from school at Deerfield, Mass., and sent there to begin life.
Returning to Vermont, he soon entered upon an extensive business as merchant. In company with Francis Goodhue, and also with Grindal R. Ellis, whose daughter he married. He carried on an extensive trade with Hartford, Ct., shipping horses, cattle and other produce by the river, and receiving back West India and other goods. Among his traits of character was a great fondness for line stock, for horses and cattle. A picture of one of his favorite horses, done by Fisher, the distinguished New England painter, is still in possession of Ids family. In the days of staging he took an interest in stage lines, and especially in seeing them supplied with tine horses; and he exercised a leading influence in promoting the construction of the Vt. and Mass. R. R., which connected the village with Boston by steam communication. He also took an active interest in establishing the old Brattleboro bank, of which he was for a long time one of the directors. His financial abilities were solid and comprehensive.
During the times when the militia was maintained on a respectable footing, he served as aid-de-camp to Gen. Mann; and in subsequent years he sat for several terms in the legislature, both as representative of his town and as senator. His career as legislator was marked for his usual business-like practical ability, and may be said to have been distinguished by his frank and decided opposition to the Maine liquor law, so-called, which he believed impolitic, and for an eulogy pronounced on the death of Daniel Webster.
J. W. P.
The following letter, received by the pastor of the Unitarian Society in this place from the pastor of the First Church in Boston, with which Mr. Blake was associated, will be read with interest by personal friends of the deceased:
106 MARLBOROUGH ST.,
June 14, 1873.
Dear Mr. Jenkins:—I performed the funeral service in my church on Sunday morning last over the remains of a most worthy gentleman, the Hon. John R. Blake; and as the burial was to be in Brattleboro, there may have been a burial service there also. I hope that there was, for Mr. Blake was born in the town, and long and honorably identified with it; and it was exceedingly pleasant to think last Monday of the beautiful graveyard under the clear afternoon sky, and that they were making his grave in that hill country which was so familiar and so dear to him from boyhood. I have seen much of Mr. Blake, and especially of late, during a long and painful illness. He was a very true and a very thoughtful man, with far more in his heart than ever found expression in word; a Christian of a broad and practical type, with a good leaven of the old Puritanism, to which this country owes so much; a man downright, upright, and forthright, not untouched by the questionings of the day, and yet holding fast the essentials of faith and all "the weightier matters of the law." He was much respected in Boston as a man of his word; but the larger part of his life was passed in Brattleboro, and so I am moved to send to you these few words concerning one whom we greatly miss, although we ought to be thankful that days which had become labor and sorrow are no more. I love to think of him as gathered to his fathers in your beautiful town, where, if anywhere, the body may rest in peace, whilst the spirit
is refreshed with the light of the Divine Face.
HON. JOHN NOYES.
(By Geo. W. Noyes, of Wallingford, Ct.)
Prominent among the citizens of Windham county in the early part of the present century, was Hon. John Noyes of Brattleboro. Born at Atkinson, N. H., April 2, 1764, he was fifth in the line of descent from Nicholas Noyes, one of the early settlers of Massachusetts, and inherited the aptitude for learning which belonged to his ancestry. After graduating at Dartmouth, became a tutor in the college, was instructor of the class of Daniel Webster;* his attention turned to theological study, prepared himself for the ministry; finding it unsuited to his health, returned to teaching; had charge for some years of Chesterfield (N. H.) Academy; in 1800, removed to Brattleboro, and engaged in mercantile business with Gen. Mann.
Their store was in West Brattleboro. In those days the country merchant made two trips a year to Boston, by stage, or on horseback, spending three or four days on the road, and carrying a change of clothes, money for his purchases, and perhaps a pistol for his defence, in a pair of ample saddlebags. As the business of the firm increased it drew in other partners, and extended its operations to other towns, — branch establishments, under the name of "Noyes & Mann," or "Noyes, Mann & Hayes,"† were commenced in Wilmington and Whitingham. A principal article of produce in these new towns was potash, exchanged for goods at the store — tea, coffee, tobacco, calico, and plain stuffs, together with the "mug of flip," the common attendant of every bargain. Nearly all classes then drank liquor, from the ministers and magistrates down.
At forty years of age, Mr. Noyes married Miss Polly Hayes, by whom he had nine children, After serving two or three terms in the State legislature, he was, in 1815, elected to Congress from the southern district of Vermont, and entered the House of Representatives as fellow member with Clay, Randolph, and other celebrities, of whom he was fond of telling anecdotes in after life.
In 1817, Mr. Noyes removed to Dummerston, where he continued to reside till 1821, when, having acquired what he deemed a competency, retired from active business to a farm in Putney, and occupied himself mainly thereafter in superintending. the education of his children. His eldest daughter, Mrs. L. G. Mead, still lives in Brattleboro. (1869.) The eldest son, John H. Noyes, is the founder of the Oneida Community. Mr. Noyes, the elder, died Oct. 26, 1841.
Chief Justice Royall Tyler, the author, delivered at an exhibition at the close of Miss Rebecca Peck's select school, in the East village of Brattleboro, in 1823. A son of the author — Rev. Thomas P. Tyler, D. D., then a lad of about 8 years, — was the orator on this happy occasion. This poetical effusion, so characteristic of the fine literary taste of the Judge, after years of search and inquiry we received a copy taken from a scrap-book in the city of Washington, by Miss Amelia Tyler, a granddaughter of the author. According to the best information within our own observation, the Judge gave compliments well deserved, for the little Misses of that school were generally remarkable for their personal beauty and good conduct. The delivery of the address took the school, as well as the audience, by surprise, and furnished a theme of pleasant allusion and reference for a long time in this village. The young orator was quite personal in the application of his theme, causing the whitest of roses to become blushing ones when he pointed his little magic finger toward them. Some of these roses, very well preserved, yet remain in this place,
*Mr. Webster, in the time of his fame, visited Dartmouth College, and held a "reception." Among the students presented to him was John H. Noyes, who was introduced as a son of his former tutor. "I wish," said Mr. Webster, taking the student's hand, "that I could do you as much good as your father did to me."
†General Mann afterwards removed to Syracuse, N. Y. His daughter married Gen. R. B, Marcy, U. S. A., and his granddaughter is the wife of Gen. Geo. B. McClellan, late candidate for the presidency. Hon. Austin Birchard of Fayetteville, Vt., and Mr. Adin Thayer of Hoosick, N. Y., commenced business as clerks in this concern.
84 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
now known as grandmothers; but others, and doubtless much the largest portion of this constellation of the beautiful, are —
"Where are now the birds that sang a hundred years ago."
The orator became a distinguished clergyman of the Episcopal church, and officiated many years in Western New York; but now, advanced to over three-score years, and suffering from infirmities, he is back to his native place, retired from service, to the scene of his first oratorical efforts 55 years ago.
"I dare to say you all do wonder
How our good ma'am, who is so wise,
With taste so pure and judgment nice,
Shall thus commit so sad a blunder,
As 'gainst all reason, rhyme and rule,
To make me mouthpiece of the school.
Perhaps the thought that I might show
How well her very worst might do;
At any rate, shine or not shine,
The praise, or blame, be hers, not mine.
As for myself, in some snug corner,
I'd rather sit, like brave Jack Horner,
And with my thumb, like Jack so sly,
Pluck out the plums from Christmas pie;
For in my mouth plums are much sweeter
Than finest words of prose or meter;—
But ma'am commands, and I obey,
For she holds here a sovereign sway.
Shall I a little rebel prove,
When govern'd by her law of love?
Now, if your patience will prevail,
Indulge me, and I'll tell a tale.
Oh, dear mamma, pray let me see
What have you in your hands for me —
Some almonds, raisins, nuts, or figs,
Or peppermints, or sugar pigs?'
Thus William to his mother said,
As she her opening palm displayed,
And show'd to his disgusted eyes,
Some shrivel'd things of dwarfish size,
Dark as the sweepings of some room,
Which long had mourned the absent broom.
'I don't want them,' said pouting Will,
'They're neither fit for food nor play;
They look as bad as doctor's pills,
Do throw the dingy things away.'
'Poor simple child;' mamma replied,
'Know you despise the garden's pride?
For from these shrivel'd dwarfish things,
The glory of the garden springs;
True, cast them in the highway,
And they no glory will display:
But plant them in the garden fair,
Beneath the gardener's fostering care,
Nurtur'd and cultur'd each will bloom,
And shed its richest, best perfume;
Not he, so fam'd in Scripture story,
Great Solomon, in all his glory,
Was e'er so deck'd the eye to please,
Or e'er array'd like one of these,
And education is defined
The horticulture of the mind;
The mental buds, by its kind care,
Unfold their petals to the air,
Prepar'd by bland instruction given,
To shine on Earth or bloom in Heaven.'
Thus ends my tale, and now I pray
Let me apply it my own way:
Kind patrons, who here condescend
Our exhibition to attend,
Think not these benches now sustain
Of girls and boys a simple train:
But that within our classic bowers,
You see a rich parterre of flowers,
Of buds and blossoms, tendrils, shoots,
Springing from intellectual roots;
Your fancies, sure, you need not strain
To change to flowers our female train:
See Ellen, there, her bloom disclose;
Say, is she not a blushing rose?
In sweet Sophia, you may ken,
A sister rose of the same stem;
While in Miss Fanny's form we trace
The aspiring tulip's airy grace;
Her little namesake, sure, will tally
With the sweet lily of the valley.
The china aster's varied dye
Bright Sarah's mental powers imply;
And in Elizabeth we view
The snowy lily's virgin hue.
The golden pansy, may I fancy,
Portray our modest, pensive Nancy.
In fair Calista's beauteous face
You may the bright carnation trace;
In graceful Helen's air you see,
The very pink of courtesy.
Do you the rose of Sharon prize,
On our Lucretia cast your eyes;
Would you the pale syringa seek,
Mark gentle Anna's snowy cheek;
The amaranthus well may be
Sweet little Gertrude, named for thee.
And sure the gay, sweet-scented pea,
May typify fair Emily.
Our Marys too, as bright a knot
As ever deck'd a maiden's bower;
One is a jonquil, a snowdrop one.
And one a lovely, sweet wild flower.
Elizabeth, her sister Jane,
Are buds that one day will expand;
Soon as their spring is on the wane,
They'll bloom the glory of the land.
Sweet Lucy is a bright moss pink
As ever flash'd its tints before ye:
And Henrietta is, I think,
You'll all allow, a morning glory.
Our bright Eliza, I'll not name,
But rather wish you'd tax your powers,
Provided you with care select
Her emblem from the fairest flowers.
In our cold, bleak and Northern air,
We have few flowers that may compare
With sweet Belinda's speaking face,
Or Harriet's form, or Julia's grace.
There is a fine, attractive flower,
By botanists called mignonnette,
Which I pronounce, by fancy's power,
Shall give the name to Marlette.
Come, Maia, from thy sylvan bowers,
Queen of gay tints and frolic fancies,
Come, bring thy best bouquet of flowers,
The finest type for brilliant Frances.*
Yet there's one favorite, pretty Miss,
Whose given name I've most forgot;
But you may find her out by this:
Her Linnæn name — forget me-not.
Perhaps, within our flowery set,
You'll ask, if we have not some Nett —
No, no, not nettles; that's not right,
We have no plants so impolite.
Perchance we have, if you require,
Some pretty sprigs of sweet sweetbriar.
But what are then your boys, you'll cry,
Have you no flowers to name them by?
Why, boys, as boys, are well enough,
And you may call us garden stuff;
For if with our associates fair,
You should for once us boys compare,
Beside the jonquil, pink and rose,
We dwindle to potatoe blows.
Now, if within our garden fair,
You find aught lovely, good or rare,
To our instructress give the praise:
Our dear instructress crown with bays,
For to her kind, judicious care
We gratefully owe all we are,
Nor would we now forget what's due
Most honored patroness to you.*
To nurse these buds to opening flowers,
Needs genial suns and fostering showers.
All these your favor has supplied,
To you we owe our garden's pride,
You have the seeds of science sown,
And when in life our buds are blown,
Then — then we'll own the generous deeds,
And bless the hand which sow'd the seeds,
And now, kind friends, I pray excuse
My falterings and my stammers —
Respectfully, I take my leave,
And so I make my manners.
Names of the little misses to whom the orator pointed when giving the floral name:
Helen Ellis, daughter G. R. Ellis, Esq.; married John R. Blake.
Janette Ellis, daughter G. H. Ellis, Esq., married Geo. Clark, of Hartford.
Elizabeth Sikes, daughter Uriel Sikes, married Chas. Cune.
Ellen Fessenden, daugther Wm. Fessenden, Esq.; married J. Blake of Boston.
Fanny Gough, with Mrs. Joseph Goodhue, and neice of the same.
Fanny Elliot, daughter Hon. Sam'l Elliot.
Sophia Fessenden, daughter Wm. Fessenden, editor of "The Reporter."
Elizabeth Smith, daughter Henry Smith.
Nancy Wood, daughter David Wood.
Calista Ainsworth, from Bethel, Vt., and neice of Joseph Fessenden, became Mrs. Pearce.
Lucretia Leonard, adopted daughter Dr. Artemas Robbins, removed to Bellows Falls, Vt.
Emily Houghton, daughter Abel Houghton, removed to St. Albans, became Mrs. Stubbs.
Mary Fessenden, daughter Joseph Fessenden.
Sarah Fessenden, daughter Wm. Fessenden; married Elisha Allen, who was member of Congress from Maine.
Mary Nichols, daughter George Nichols; married Herrick.
*This golden age of female beauty in Brattleboro demanded a tribute — the orator, the singer, comes with the occasion.
*Honored Patroness — Mrs. Boott, an opulent English lady, who at that time owned the grounds of the "Vermont Asylum,'' and whose house was removed when the buildings of the Asylum were erected upon the west side of the main road leading to "New Fane." She proved a devoted friend of Miss Rebecca Peck, the instructress, and in various ways assisted in support of her school.
86 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
Mary Elliot, daughter James Elliot; married Pomroy, N. Y.
Elizabeth Fessenden, daughter Joseph Fessenden; died at 12.
Jane Fessenden, daughter Joseph Fessenden; married Dr. Clark.
Mary Fessenden, daughter Joseph Fessenden.
Lucy Chase, daughter Paul Chase; married Denting.
Henriette Smith,. daughter Henry Smith; married Gen'l F. H. Fessenden.
Ann Smith, daughter Henry Smith, married Dr. H. Craig, of Kentucky.
Anna Amsden, daughter Lewis Amsden.
Gertrude Blake, daughter Col. Henry Jones Blake.
Belinda Elliot, daughter Sam'l Elliot; married McClellan.
Julia Nichols, daughter George Nichols.
Frances Ellis, daughter G. R. Ellis; married Russell.
Harriet Goodhue, daughter Col. Joseph Goodhue; married Gov. F. Holbrook.
Eliza Nichols, daughter George Nichols.
Fanny Frost, daughter James Frost; married A. E. Dwinell.
Mary Ann Goodhue, daughter Joseph Goodhue; married Wm. P. Cune.
Hon. Royall Tyler — elected Chief Justice of Vermont in 1807, and Professor of Jurisprudence of the U. Vt., in 1811, at Burlington, was widely known and had an extensive correspondence with the most noted men of his time in the forming period of our institutions, and the most exciting times M. our history, from the Revolution of 1776 to the last war with England, commencing in 1812. Therefore his unpublished memoirs possess a national interest which would, we believe, demand their publication if the public were conscious of their worth. As one of the fathers of American literature. as the date and character of his writings for the drama and periodicals of the time sufficiently prove, we cannot afford to let the waves of oblivion close over the records of his mental efforts as the turf now covers his mortal remains in the cemetery of the East village of Brattleboro. The tragedy, poetry, and romance of his life and family have the charm of fiction. When, with his college friend, on the staff of Gen. Sullivan, their force of 5000 men became scattered by the enemy, Tyler and his. friend, Daggett, lodged over night in a barn, where they discussed the question of where, if they must be hit with a bullet, would be the place of choice. The next day duty called them to the post of danger, and poor Daggett was shot through the lungs. "Ah, Rial'," said he, "you see I did not have my choice."
Tyler, when a gay gallant of 20, in scarlet coat and short clothes, entered the house of his friend, Mrs. Joseph Pearce Palmer, of Boston, and took from her arms her infant child (Mary Palmer) and said: 'This child will become my wife," Time verified his prophecy, and her children, now venerable in years, and those who have gone, with honorable record, to their final sleep, have blessed her memory. In the varied--in the elevated departments of human effort—in the pulpit, at the bar, mercantile and teachers' desk, her children have proved the character of their maternal parentage. That mother who was little Mary Palmer, when seated in her mother's arms at the dining table of Gen. Joseph Warren, when he partook of his last dinner, and received the parting hand from his most intimate friends for the last time, before marching to his death on Bunker Hill. This interesting event we learn, not for the first time, from the memoirs. We heard, near 1830, the aged Mrs. Palmer relate the story. She said: "My husband was an early associate and intimate friend of Joseph Warren, therefore we,' with other of his friends, were invited to dine with him, as he said, "for the last time." Beautiful in her old age, seemingly, as "Madame Recamier," with swimming eyes and trembling lips, she continued: "Joseph Warren was an ardent patriot, an accomplished scholar, elegant in manners, universally beloved, and was the idol of Boston. After dinner, we all and each bogged and prayed that he would not go to the battle-field; but vainly did we try to move him; he firmly believed the cause demanded the sacrifice of his life, and he must obey that demand. Amidst the flames, constant roar of artillery, and panic-stricken inhabitants, I fled from the city with my little Mary crying and clinging to my bosom."
When a girl of fourteen, Mary Palmer accompanied the family of Elbridge Gerry
to New York, where she witnessed the inauguration of Washington, April 30, 1789. The memoirs of Judge Tyler, to which we have alluded, is a work of over 300 pages, legal cap, commenced by his son, Rev. Thomas Pickman Tyler, D. D., but not yet completed. As this was Judge Tyler's last place of abode, and where he lived one-fourth of a century, we extract sufficient matter from said memoirs, as will give an account of his origin, when and why he came to Vermont, college days, etc.:
"Hon. Royall Tyler was born in Boston, Mass., July 18, 1757. His family was wealthy and influential, giving him favorable opportunities for intellectual culture. His father, Royall Tyler, Sen., was a man of marked ability, and a graduate of Harvard College at 19 years, and soon after engaged in mercantile business in company with his brother-in-law, Samuel Phillips Savage. He was a member of the King's council from 1765 until his death in 1771. As such the name of Royall Tyler, Sen., appears upon the most important committees, during the long contest between the General Court and Governors Bernard and Hutchinson, occasioned by the stamp act, the quartering of the troops in Boston, and the removal of the General Court sessions to Cambridge. As the spokesman of the committee, he demanded of the Governor the removal of the troops from Boston. "The people," said he, to the Governor, "have formed their plan for removing the troops from the town, and it is impossible that they remain in it. The people will come in from the neighboring towns; there will be ten thousand men to effect the removal of the troops, let the consequences be what they may."
Amid the excitement, agitation and tumults of this period, his son Royall was growing to boyhood. The fireworks, processions, pealing of bells, and salvos of artillery, which marked the brief intoxication of loyalty, on the repeal of the stamp act, was to him a childish, though vivid memory, and he was a lad already fitting for college at the grammar school, when the same bells sounded the tocsin of alarm on the fearful night of the "Boston massacre." Notwithstanding the political agitation of the times, and heavy taxation, amounting often to more than one-third of their income, the family enjoyed twelve years of prosperity and domestic quiet. The next year, Mary, the eldest daughter, died, aged 18, and in May, 1771, the father, Royall Tyler, Sen., closed his honorable career at 48 years. He was buried in the tomb built by his father in the churchyard of King's chapel. It is situated on the westerly side of the ground adjoining the sidewalk of Tremont street, and is covered with a slab sculptured with the coat of arms of the family.
At commencement July 15, 1772, Royall Tyler entered the freshman class of Harvard College, being then within three days of his 15th year. Of Mr. Tyler's college days little can be known, after the century since elapsed. His class seems to have been an able one, numbering among others, who afterwards distinguished themselves, Chief Justices Sewall and Thatcher, and Christopher Gore, Governor and U. S. Senator of Massachusetts. The latter was his room-mate, and many years after, Judge Tyler, while driving with his son down into Maine, pointed out a house where he and Gore spent some weeks, having been rusticated by the faculty for an unlucky contretemps in which they had involved themselves. Their room was over the front door of one of the college halls, and from the window they had thrown down a line with a hook properly baited, endeavoring thereon to catch one of a litter of pigs in the yard below. Intently watching the issue of this experiment, they failed to notice the approach of the Reverend and austere President Langdon, until he had ascended the steps, removed his cocked-hat, and was wiping his forehead. The line was pulled up with a sudden jerk, in hopes that he might not see from whose window it came; but alas, swinging across the doorway in its quick ascent, the hook caught the wig of the venerable doctor, and brought it up with a run. Aside from the unlucky result of his fishing for pigs, the only punishment recorded during his whole course was a fine of sixpence for abusing a library book.
Royall Tyler graduated in July, 1776, completing his collegiate course and his 10th year, while the country was in a delirium of hope and fear of its first month of independent existence. No record is
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known to exist of his comparative standing in his class. His reputation, however, for wit, genius and elegant scholarship had already extended beyond the walls of Harvard. He was recognized in the cultivated circles of Boston as the brilliant scion of a prominent family; and Yale, as a compliment, perhaps unprecedented, this same year, almost simultaneously with his alma mater, bestowed on him the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He commenced at once the study of law with the Hon. Francis Dana of Cambridge. For the three years succeeding he pursued his professional studies, mingled with more congenial literary occupations and the pleasures of social intercourse. A remarkably brilliant set of young men, cotemporaries, and intimates in college, formed a club, which met statedly at the rooms of Col. John Trumbull, the young soldier and painter. Among those of this coterie who became distinguished in after life, beside Christopher Gore and himself, were Rufus King, subsequently delegate to the American Congress, U. S. Senator, and Ambassador to England; William Eustis, Governor of Massachusetts, member of Congress and Secretary of War; Aaron Dexter, Professor of Chemistry and Materia Medica at Harvard, and Thomas Dawes, Justice of the Supreme Court of Mass. Such a youthful company must have been an efficient mutual stimulus to intellectual exertion, and we do not wonder that Colonel Trumbull recalls, with pleasure, the evenings when in his studio, they "regaled themselves with a cup of tea, instead of wine, and discussed subjects of literature, politics and war." (Reminiscences, p. 50.) He also mentions (page 62) his having painted, at this time, a portrait 2-3d length, of Royall Tyler. This picture, which would now be so invaluable, both for the sake of the artist and the subject, was unfortunately lost some thirty years afterwards, destroyed by fire. Particulars, Memoirs, page 17. Particulars of Tyler in active service in the Revolution, Memoirs, p. 18.
Mr. Tyler was admitted to the bar in 1779, at the most gloomy period of the war of Independence. The business of Boston had been nearly ruined by the British occupation and the siege; while the presence of hostile fleets on the coast still prevented its revival. Such commerce as was possible had been driven to the more distant parts of Maine, where the building of vessels for the privateering service also contributed to the activities of trade. This seems to have induced him, in the first instance, to establish himself at Falmouth (now Portland) a town which having been burned by the enemy three years before, was rapidly rising from its ashes. His residence there was brief, and would not have been known the writer, but for a notice of him in Willis's "History of the Law, the Courts, and the Lawyers of Maine," which states that "Royall Tyler came to Falmouth in 1779. He was a fine scholar and an accomplished man. He continued but about two years in our State." The author gives a short sketch of his life, and adds the following anecdote:
"An incident occurred during his practice in Cumberland, which was not a little annoying to him. He commenced an action against an officer of a privateer, then lying in the harbor, and went aboard with the sheriff to have the writ served. But the privateer's-man, not liking the process, took up his anchor, and sailed out of the precinct, carrying the attorney and his officer with him, whom he landed on Booth Bay, and kept on his cruise, — acting upon the classical dictum: "Inter arma silent leges."
The improving prospect of peace, and the revival of business, soon made it expedient for Mr. Tyler to return to the vicinity of Boston. (Intimacy with the families of John Adams, Palmers, Quincy, and Richard Cranch, in Memoirs, page 20).
Mr. Tyler removed to Quincy, then called Braintree, with the intention of identifying himself permanently with the interests of the place. He purchased landed property there, and is mentioned by its local historian as one of the first who endeavored to supply the pressing want of waterpower by erecting a windmill on an original plan of his own. Popular as a lawyer, and admired as a wit, his neighbors seem nevertheless to have lacked confidence in his skill as a millwright. They made his undertaking a butt of their ridicule. Meeting one day the minister of the village, from whom he hoped for a more favorable
judgment, he asked what he thought of his mill. "Very ingenious," replied the parson, "and in theory undoubtedly correct. When I was young, I built one just like it, and the only fault it had, was that it would not go." Such proved to be the case with Mr. Tyler's also.
(Letters from John Adams and also from Mrs. Adams, and other interesting matters on pages 25, 26, 27, 28, of Memoirs. 1786, courts silenced by armed mobs in the days of the "Shay Rebellion," so called, in Memoirs, page 32. Sad disappointments commencing, Memoirs, page 29).
The measures taken to suppress the Shay rebellion, engaged Mr. Tyler once more in military service. Jan. 19, 1787, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln took command of the forces of the State of Massachusetts. He appointed Royall Tyler his aid-de-camp, with the title of Major, and in the heart of one of the coldest of New England winters took the field, pressing on with all speed, to save the arsenal at Springfield, and to defeat the insurgents. The result is a matter of history. The fortnight following the defeat of the rebels was spent in vigorous pursuit of them through the blustering storms of winter over the hills of Berkshire, covered with two feet of snow, into New York and "the territory called Vermont." Major Tyler; with a troop of cavalry, was actively employed in this service. He used to relate how, on one occasion, he entrapped a company of the fugitives in a meeting-house, on Sunday. Thinking themselves far out of the reach of pursuit, they had stacked their arms outside, leaving but a single sentinel, who was soon enticed into the shelter of the porch from the biting wind that swept over the common. Their leader, like a Yankee Cromwell, was holding forth from the pulpit to the descendents of his Ironsides, on the oppression and tyranny of the government and its bloodthirsty resolution to hunt downs and bring to the gallows every patriot who had taken up arms in defence of the people's rights. Meanwhile Major — as he was usually called, when in command of detached parties, Colonel — Tyler, by a rapid march through cross-roads, had intercepted their route, quietly surrounded the house, seized their muskets and frightened their sentinel into silence. Waiting until the orator had concluded, he then walked up into the pulpit and informed them that they were his prisoners. He then went on with a long and earnest speech in refutation of the misrepresentations and calumnies against the government, by which the rank and file had been led astray; showed them that the evils under which the government suffered were the inevitable results of the exhaustion of the war; that the Legislature had done, and were ready to do every thing possible to relieve the popular distress; and that instead of prosecuting offenders mercilessly, as alleged, only required of the non-commissioned officers and private soldiers among them to surrender their arms, and a renewal of their oath of allegiance. The result was the instant conversion of the whole band into good citizens, their leaders only being committed to trial for treason. By the middle of February the rebellion was suppressed in Massachusetts; but the most prominent of the rebels had escaped into the neighboring states, and still deluded their followers that they would soon return with such assistance as would make them successfully take the field. These promises received some support from the fact that the political party views of Gov. Bowdoin, and his administration, were opposed, as aristocratic and tyrannical, to those in power in the rest of New England. To arrest these ringleaders was very important; and to do this within the jurisdiction of other sovereign States, obtaining the consent and assistance of the local authorities, was a service of peculiar delicacy and difficulty, especially as it was known that the people very generally sympathized with the insurgents. By the act of the Legislature, the Governor of Massachusetts was requested to issue a proclamation offering a reward for apprehending such of the ringleaders, or principals, in the present rebellion, as he shall judge proper, not exceeding £150, for any one of them.
The Governor issued a proclamation, offering rewards for the arrest of Daniel Shay, Elijah Day and John Wiley, as being "principals, aiders and abettors of this horrid and wicked rebellion." When Gen'l Lincoln received this, at Pittsfield, he had information that these persons were in Bennington county, Vermont, making
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their way through New York to Canada. Whoever should be sent in pursuit of them would be obliged to apply to the Executives of New York and Vermont for authority and aid, — a duty exceedingly delicate, for New York claimed Vermont as a province of her own, while the latter had proclaimed itself an independent State, had elected Thomas Chittenden its Governor, and had chosen a Legislative Council and House of Representatives, then in session at Bennington. It had applied for admission to the confederacy; but Congress had not yet acknowledged its independence by receiving it as a State. He determined to send Major Tyler on this service, furnishing him with this letter of credence:
"PITTSFIELD, Feb. 14, 1787. SIR:— I have received from the Governor a proclamation for apprehending certain characters therein named, which proclamation you will receive herewith, as also the doings of the General Court, on which it has been founded; and a warrant against a number of persons, all of whom have been active in the present rebellion, and have taken shelter in the neighboring States. I have, therefore, to solicit, Sir, that you would pursue and apprehend these delinquents, and all such powers as you may need in executing this commission, you will please to apply to the Governors of the neighboring States for them, to whose countenance you are particularly recommended as a gentleman to whom the most perfect respect and confidence is due.
I have the honor of being, sir,
with great esteem.
Your obedient servant,
ROYALL TYLER, ESQ'R.
Major Tyler started on his mission early in the morning of Feb. 15, 1787. On his way he overtook Col. Fay, commander of the frontier post at Williamstown, in the northwestern corner of Massachusetts. The forces at this place, and those at Adams, five or six miles distant, were placed at his disposal, as far as he might need them, for the arrest of the fugitives. They were, in the aggregate, about 500 men. He delivered Gen'l Lincoln's orders to Col. Fay, and dispatched the following by express:
To the Commanding Officer of the Governmental Forces at Adams:
SIR:— I send you the enclosed order from Gen'l Lincoln. You will please to quarter your troops in Adams, as compact as is consistent with the nature of your instructions from the commander of the forces. I could wish that you would, for a few days to come, issue your provisions in such a manner that the troops under your command may have two days' cooked provisions; and that you would engage as many sleighs as will be needed to transport all your troops at a minute's warning. Mr. Jones, a respectable character, will assist you in this, and give you advice in other matters, as may be convenient. If you should be absent, at any time, from your quarters, please to leave a copy of this with the commanding officer on the spot, that no delay may be occasioned if I should call for any number of your troops.
Sir, I am your humble servant,
R. TYLER, V. A. D. C.
Williamstown, Feb. 14, 1787.
That which prompted these stringent orders — to be in constant readiness for instant start and rapid conveyance, was information that was hourly reaching him from scouts, of the whereabouts of the rebels; making it probable that by a sudden dash into the territory of the neighboring States, he might surprise and capture their most prominent leaders, as well as many of the rank and file. To this end, an early move was essential, but accurate and reliable information was equally so. He therefore resolved, with a small guard of picked horsemen, to push on to Bennington, where he expected to receive further reports from his emissaries, and hoped to receive aid from the Governor and Legislature there in session. From a lengthy and interesting report of his proceedings, to Gen. Lincoln, we give the following:
"Upon my arrival at Bennington, I was introduced to Mr. Tichenor — the Governor not being in town, or expected until the next day — to the principal characters in the administration of the government of Vermont: to the Judges of the Supreme Judicial Court; the Secretary, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, &c. We were in private at Col. Brush's house, I there communicated such part of my papers as I judged necessary. They entered
fully into our design, but seemed to feel mortified that his Excellency, our Governor, had not wrote to Gov. Chittenden. I mentioned the act of our Legislature requesting the Governor to write to the authority of adjoining governments, and we amicably resolved that his Excellency's dispatches must have been intercepted by the rebels. They said that the "Shays" and "Days" — the two latter only being in company, had passed through the town a few days since — Shays under a feigned name, the two Days publicly with their side-arms. The people here will not, except a few very trusty exceptions, ever serve a warrant, unless the Legislature shall pass an act directing it. I have had a perplexing instance of this: Luke Day was, yesterday, half an hour in this town, and I could not, with the assistance of the first characters here, prevail upon the sheriff or constable to apprehend him. I offered to take a deputation myself, but was no inhabitant. Whilst we disputed he moved off. I know where he lodges, and shall apprehend him this evening.
Gen'l Ethan Allen, in my presence, said that those who held the reins of government in Massachusetts were a 'pack of damned rascals;' and that 'there was no virtue among them, and he did not think it worth while to try to prevent them that had fled into this State for shelter, from cutting down our maple trees,' and the common people flocked around him as though he had a sight to show. The common sentiment was, that they will shelter anybody that applies to any of their houses for shelter; and that our quarrel will be £10,000 advantage to this State."
The opposition of the Governor to any action of the Legislature, and the almost universal popular sentiment against the arrest of the fugitives, effectually defeated the object of Major Tyler's mission. He reports to Lincoln his having arrested Abram Wheeler, but he was soon rescued by forty-odd subjects of New York, who carried him in triumph to a large mob of rebels. "I have many things to communicate not fit to be trusted on paper. I only say, that there is a certain embryo government, who are as weak as water; and that, in a short time, unless they act decidedly, will be like water spilt upon the ground — not to be gathered."
Neither Shays, nor any other of the more noted of the fugitives were ever captured. Still, Major Tyler's mission can by no means be regarded as a failure. He had made so deep an impression on the authorities of Vermont, in favor of the cause of order and the government of Massachusetts, that although, as we have seen, they hesitated for the time, yet in a few days after he left Bennington, all the requests he had made were granted, the proclamation against harboring, aiding or abetting the rebels was issued, and effort made to arrest or disperse them, putting an efficient stop to their predatory incursions into Massachusetts. The last of these, indeed, the last effort of the rebellion — the attack upon the village of Stockbridge took place on the 27th of February, the day after Major Tyler left Bennington to report himself to Gen. Lincoln at Pittsfield. Immediately on his arrival there, he was sent to Stockbridge to obtain full particulars of occurrences there; and from thence to Boston, to report to the Governor the state of affairs on the western frontier, and the result of his mission to Vermont. He reached the capital the 11th of March. His first act was to send the following note to Judge Theodore Sedgewick.
"Boston, Monday Morning.
DEAR SIR:— I have the pleasure to enclose you several letters from your friends in Berkshire. They contain, doubtlessly, an account of the daring attack and inhuman conduct of the rebels at Stockbridge, and the happy and complete success of the troops of the government. I may have some little particulars, which your friends have omitted to communicate. If your curiosity is excited, pray come and see me at Mr. Palmers, head of the ropewalk. The fatigues of last night — as I passed the whole of it in an open sleigh — and a variety of avocations, will excuse my waiting upon you.
Sir, I am yours, &c.
He also despatched the following note to the Governor:
BOSTON, March 5, 1787.
SIR:— I arrived here about half-past 4 this morning. Mr. Palmer will hand you the despatches from the Gens. Lincoln and Shepherd. Maj.-Gen. Lincoln's letter refers your Excellency to me for a statement
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of facts. Whenever you shall please to direct my attendance, I will wait upon you with punctuality. The nature of my communications are such, that I could wish to converse with you previous to your meeting your council.
I am, with the greatest respect.
Your Excellency's most ob't,
The Governor's compliments to Major Tyler. He would be glad to see him, on the subject of his billet, half an hour previous to the dining hour, which is 2 o'cl'k, or when it shall be convenient to Mr. Tyler. If his brother, the Colonel. is in town, the Governor would be glad to have his company at dinner to-day.
Tuesday morning, 6th March.
The result of his interview with the Governor and Council, was the resolution on their part to send him on a mission to the authorities of the State of New York. He accordingly started next morning on the long and tedious stage journey to New York. He addressed a letter to Gov. Bowdoin. Extracts as follows:
"A report prevails here that Shays with several of his officers have been arrested in Canada. I have reason to doubt this. I shall meet with Major Beckwith, aide-de-camp to Lord Dorchester, at New York, and will endeavor, if it can be done with delicacy, to sound him as to the disposition of the British government, as it relates to harboring our rebels."
Major Tyler spent some time in New York, accomplishing the object of his mission. The energetic co-operation of the authorities of the bordering States entirely paralyzed the action of the fugitives. They meekly acknowledged their error and sued for pardon of their crimes. Special terms of court were held for trial of those in custody. Fourteen were condemned to death for high treason, and many more to imprisonment, fines, whipping and the pillory. The submission of the rebels was, however, so complete that the government felt itself strong enough to be merciful. None of the sentences were executed, and before the summer was over, an act of universal amnesty was passed. Even Shays himself was permitted to return home unmolested. He soon removed to Sparta, N. Y., where he died in 1821.
After this stirring episode in his life, Mr. Tyler returned to his law office in Boston. He evidently kept up his acquaintance and correspondence with those gentlemen whom he met at Bennington. The following letter, from one of the most distinguished men of Vermont, we copy:
"BENNINGTON, 28 Aug., 1787.
SIR:— You find, by this time, I dare say, that the government of this State has been very friendly to yours. Such persons as have been criminals, and have acted against law and society in general, and have come from your State to this, we send back to you; and others, who have only took part with Shays, we govern by our laws, so that they do not and dare not make any inroads or devastations in Massachusetts. As to the appendix to the Oracles of Reason, should you procure £18 or £20 by subscription, in ready money, it shall be published next spring.
I am, sir, with respect.
Your humble servant,
To MAJ. TYLER.
"During the year 1788, our father remained in Boston, engaged in the practice of law, and no doubt in literary pursuits, although no productions of this date can be found. The care of the family property had been left to him, and must have occupied much of his time. An incident connected with this is among the few that can be recalled. Tyler lane or alley had, in a former generation, been opened from Ann street, through the family estate to the town dock, to be held and used by the public for that purpose only. The town authorities, having determined to close the lane. proceeded, against Mr, Tyler's protest, to move a small wooden building upon the ground. Nearly 40 years afterwards, his son. Gen'l John S. Tyler, brought a successful suit for the recovery of this land. An old man was found who remembered distinctly, that when a long line of men and boys were moving the building, by a rope attached to it, Royall Tyler stood on the boundary of this land, forbidding them moving it across the line; that he had an axe in his hand, and, as they did not stop, with one blow he cut the rope, letting those who were pulling at it go headlong, with shouts and laughter, to the ground.
At this period, the wonderful acting of
Garrick and Siddons, and the success of Dr. Goldsmith and others as writers of comedy, had revived in England a taste for the drama. In our larger cities the stage was well supported; even Boston having so far overcome the prejudices of Puritanism as to fill the old Federal street Theatre, with its wit and fashion. Mr. Tyler was intimate with the managers and principal actors of this establishment, and became much interested in dramatic literature and art.
No American play had yet been produced on the regular stage, and urged by these friends, he resolved to attempt a comedy which should have the elements of success as an acting drama, and also be strictly national in plot and characters. The field was in good measure clear before him. The typical Yankee, especially now so familiar, had not yet appeared on the stage or in print.
The general plan which he adopted and which led to distinguished success, was to contrast the homely, honest plainness of our native character and breeding with the polished, tinselled hypocrisy and villany of foreign fashionable society. His dramatis personæ naturally disposed themselves in pairs: the two gentlemen and their two men-servants, the two mistresses and their two maids, etc., and each pair being in marked contrast one with the other suggested "The Contrast," as an apt title to the play.
In the preface it is said to have been undertaken and finished in three weeks. This must have been during the winter of 1788-9. The next spring, at the Park Theatre, New York, it was brought out. It took at once, with the public, and had an unprecedented run of several weeks.
That spring of '89 was a stirring one in our country's history, and New York the centre point of its greatest action.
"The Contrast: a comedy in five acts, written by a citizen of the United States, performed with applause at the theatres in New York, Philadelphia and Maryland, and published, (under an assignment of copyright,) by Thos. Wignell. Primas ego in Patriam, aonio deduxi vertice musas."
Such is the title page as printed the following year at Philadelphia. The copy before the writer is the only one he knows to be extant. It belonged to one of the original subscribers, manager of the Boston Theatre, by him given to Joseph T. Buckingham, the editor, and by him given to Gen. John S. Tyler, the present owner. Wignell, to whom the author gave the copyright, was a comic actor of some celebrity. He sustained the character of Jonathan, both in New York and Maryland.
It has, as was then customary, a list of the subscribers. This is headed by the honored name of George Washington, President of the United States, followed by the names of most of the marked men of that epoch: Aaron Burr, H. Knox, Carroll, of Carrollton, Mifflin, President of the State of Pennsylvania, Chief Justice McKean, Att'y Edmund Randolph, Baron Steuben and others.
The prologue, said to be written by a young gentleman of New York, opens:
"Exult each patriot heart! this night is shown
A piece which we may fairly call our own!
Where the proud titles of "My Lord," "Your Grace,"
To humble "Mr " and plain "Sir," give place,
Our author pictures not from foreign climes,
The fashions, or the follies of the times ;
But has confined the subject of his work
To the gay scenes, the circles of New York.
* * * * * *
Should rigid critics reprobate our play,
At least the patriot heart will say:
Glorious our fall, since in a noble cause,
The bold attempt alone deserves applause."
[Following the prologue is a full report of the play from page 70 of memoir.]
Mr. Tyler also wrote a farce under the title of "May Day in Town," which was brought out, at the same time, as an after-piece with unusual success. He was petted, caressed, feasted and toasted, and no doubt lived too freely. After his return he rusticated with his mother again, a widow living at Jamaica Plain, and after a few visits of condolence, we learn no more of him for four or five years. Why it was we could not discover, but his spirits seemed greatly depressed. In the spring of 1790, Mr. Palmer removed from Boston onto a farm in Framingham, Mass., and during the summer Mr. Tyler called upon them there, being on a horseback journey to Vermont, where, as he informed Miss
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Mary, he had determined to start anew in life, leaving his mother in the care of his brother, John, and relinquishing the Boston property for her use and support.
It seems to us now rather difficult to conceive what sufficient motive could have induced Royall Tyler to leave Boston, where he had family and business connection and a wide reputation, both professional and literary, for the wilds of Vermont. There may have been matters of personal feeling, of which, in the entire absence of any letter, or other document of that date, we cannot judge, but the "new State" certainly presented peculiar attractions at this time. During the war of independence it had maintained a double contest, against Great Britain and New York. It had paid its soldiers mostly 'in kind ' and had not, like other States, contracted heavy debts.
Taxes promised to be light, land was cheap and much of it good. The difficulties which had beset the territory for nearly half a century, were all removed by the act of Congress, "that on the 4th day of March, 1791, the said State of Vermont shall be received in this union as a new and entire member of the United States of America."
It had been manifest for several years that this must be the result, and there had been a large immigration, especially from Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Nor did this consist wholly of hard working farmers. Throughout the State were scattered many men of wealth, enterprise and culture, with whom Mr. Tyler was already acquainted. Wherever he attended sessions of the courts, he was welcomed, not only by able lawyers, but by a circle of wits and scholars, with whom his rare gifts of genius rendered him a universal favorite.
In the summer of 1790, Mr. Tyler visited Vermont, probably for the first time since the Shay's affair. This time he ascended the valley of the Connecticut to Windsor, where the Supreme Court was in session. In January following, he established himself in the middle of the town of Guilford, Windham County.
This township had had a singular history. Chartered in 1754, by New Hampshire, it afterwards threw off allegiance to that colony, and refusing submission to Vermont, became in effect an independent republic.
The liberty its citizens enjoyed proved so attractive to settlers, that it soon became the most populous town in the State. So it was when Mr. Tyler selected it as his residence. "Yet," says Thompson, in his Gazetteer of Vermont, "there was not a single village in the township, or rather the whole township was a village, all the hills and valleys were smoking with huts." At the centre, however, in 1791, a small hamlet with meeting-house, tavern, store and shops had sprung up. Rev. Mr. Woollage was the Congregational minister, Edward and James Houghton the merchants, with cultivated families, and here Royall Tyler established himself as the lawyer of the place.
In a small account book, he kept during this year, the first entry is Jan. 15th; from the charges it appears his practice rapidly extended through the county. He attended the courts not only of Windham, but the adjoining counties. In Bennington, during the summer, 1792, he renewed many of his former acquaintances, and after the adjournment of court, drove down into Berkshire County, Mass., to visit at Stockbridge his friend Judge Sedgewick.
Another attraction doubtless led him in this direction, and induced him to continue his journey to New Lebanon, N. Y. His steadfast friend and devoted admirer, Mary Palmer, whom, not improbably, he already hoped to make his wife, was spending the year there with a brother of her mother. She was now seventeen, and unquestionably was a very lovely and beautiful girl. It required much explanation of bygone relationships to convince the uncle and aunt of the propriety of Miss Mary's warm greeting of a fashionable gallant.
Uncle Hunt had heard of Royall Tyler, as a gay young man and author of the "Contrast," a play in which he greatly delighted, and after the visit he seldom sat down at home without bringing out a printed copy and reading from it, till his wife declared she almost knew it by heart.
Mr. Tyler returned to Guilford and attended the fall sessions of the courts. The next winter he made his promised visit to his friends, the Palmers, in Framingham, with a fine pair of black horses, which, with his accustomed facetiousness, he had named "Crock and Smut." He
now acknowledged to Miss Mary, who had returned home, that since he saw her at her uncle's he had determined in his own mind that it was quite indispensable to his happiness that she should become his wife. He did not ask for any set time; he must prepare a cage before he took his bird, and he had a prospect of obtaining a house in the spring, but some time must elapse before it could be finished and furnished.
No stage lines were as yet established, and all travel was by horseback in summer and sleighing in winter.
Mr. Tyler left his affianced bride and returned to his clients in Vermont. It appears from his docket at the June term of 1793, he had 62 cases, 32 new entries. November term, 48 entries, 22 new ones. An extensive and growing practice, with a reputation for literary ability already established; gifted with remarkable powers as an orator, overflowing with wit and humor, genial and social, his acquaintance soon extended throughout the State. It is the universal testimony of his cotemporaries, that no one ever acquired more rapidly the love and confidence of the people generally, or of the members of the bar.
The intercourse between the towns on the opposite sides of the Connecticut was constant and intimate, and Mr. Tyler's practice extended into New Hampshire. It chanced on one occasion about Christmas time, he was attending court at Charlestown, the Episcopal parish there was vacant, and some of the lawyers, having heard that he had written sermons for the Guilford people on one occasion of the minister's absence, he was strongly urged by bench and bar to conduct church service on the ensuing Sunday, and also on Christmas day. Both his reading of the service and the sermons were greatly admired. In narrating this incident he was wont to say, "After this I was strongly urged to turn my thoughts to the Church and prepare to take orders, being assured that I had mistaken my vocation, that it was my bounden duty to turn my talents that way, etc., and it would have been rest to my soul, at that time, had I dared, but a consciousness of having lived too gay a life in my youth, made me tremble lest I should in some way bring disgrace upon the sacred cause."
It was at Charlestown that he formed the acquaintance of Joseph Dennie, [spicy letters in correspondence between Tyler and Dennie, on 90 to 92 pages of Memoir,] who became his most intimate friend. Thomas and Carlisle had established a magazine at Walpole, which had now taken the name of "The Farmer's Weekly Museum, or the New Hampshire and Vermont Journal," on which Dennie was employed, first as contributor and afterwards as editor. The success of this periodical was unprecedented. "Dennie," says Joseph T. Buckingham in his reminiscences, "was aided in his task as editor, by Royall Tyler, then a lawyer in Guilford, Vt., who furnished all those agreeable and humorous articles, purporting to come from the shop of Messrs. Colon and Spondee. For three years succeeding this arrangement the Museum had no rival. Its circulation extended from Maine to Georgia, and it was more richly supplied with original communications of a literary character than any other paper that had then, or has since, been published in the United States." These contributions to the Museum were to Mr. Tyler a mere amusement of leisure moments, the outcome and overflow of an exuberance of wit and humor. He had however planned and was engaged upon works of a more serious import.
He had secured and furnished a house in Guilford. Twice during the summer he visited his wife and boy. (Royall Tyler and Miss Palmer were married in Framingham.) The young husband at Guilford waited anxiously for the sleighing, then indispensible for the transportation of ladies, children and baggage.
The winter proved mild, nor was it till February that Master Hampden, (Mrs. Tyler's brother, H. Palmer, a law student with Tyler,) drove "Crock and Smut" once more into the farm-yard at Framingham. All was now hurry and bustle to start for home, in horrible dread of a thaw, which might postpone Vermont housekeeping for yet another year. All went well, with bright, cool weather and capital roads, they drove the first day 30 miles, the third brought them home in the evening. They crossed the Connecticut on the ice near the site of old Fort Dummer, and stopped for supper at Squire Howe's, at Vernon. This man was a baby at the
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time of the massacre by the Indians, during the French war. His father was killed and the whole family carried captives to Canada. They were subsequently ransomed. [See history of Vernon, to follow. ED.] The mother, known in story as "the fair captive," who married Amos Tute, was now once more a widow, and residing with her son, the squire. She was, of course one of the celebrities of the country, and the travelers enjoyed not only a good fire and a substantial supper, but an account from the heroine's own lips of the terrible sufferings of that march through the woods to Quebec. As they made their way over the Guilford hills, Mr. Tyler described to his wife the society to which he was about to introduce her. "Open, hospitable and friendly, they have no distinction among them," he said, "If they have a social party the whole neighborhood are invited. We have two merchants, the Messrs. Houghtons, two physicians, Dr. Stevens and Dr. Hyde, one lawyer, your humble servant, all men of education, and their wives and families well-bred country people. There are several well-to do mechanics who aim to treat company equally well. In fact, my dear, you will find it a truly primitive state of society and if you have any adequate idea of the heartlessness of the world in general, you will rejoice in the friendly simplicity of these people, among whom I have spent three or four of the happiest years of my life, and I rely upon you to continue and even to add to the high opinion they have formed of me."
Mrs. Tyler was received with openhearted kindness by the neighbors around her first Vermont home, forming devoted friendships which continued unbroken, till one by one they have all passed away.
It will be noticed that in his comic grammar, [we refer for explanation to the correspondence with Joseph Nancreed, in Memoir.] Mr. Tyler anticipated by more than half a century, the comic histories and comic Blackstones, with which we have been surfeited during the last twenty years.
"You are a thorough grammarian, but did you ever see an amusing, sportive, entertaining grammar? Did you ever laugh over a conjunction copulative, weep overa gerund, and have all your best passions called forth by an interjection? I must tell you about this business.
In the beau pursuits of early life, it was necessary that I should teach grammar to a young lady. But the pretty Miss had contracted an aversion to everything that savored of study and science. She did not lack intellect, and to amuse her into reading was the great object. I accordingly wrote a grammar in usum puellæ, and being forwarded in twelve letters, folded as billet doux, she condescended to read. To give you some idea of the work — the fundamental rules were illustrated by examples from the most approved and entertaining English authors, and sometimes by stories of my own. A lover at the feet of his mistress, gave a passionate example of interjection; a lady crowned her favored lover's virtuous wishes in the passive voice, and dismissed an unsuccessful admirer in the imperative mood. Thus every rule of syntax was associated with some pleasing anecdote, brilliant quotation, or quaint observation, which familiarized the stubborn rule to a mind open only to the amusing and pleasing; or, in the style of Fontaine, "thus the thorn of science was decorated with the roses of fancy."
Doubtless this work would need much emendation, but I believe it practicable to edit a grammar which shall be read."
The first draught, retained by Mr. Tyler, from which this copy is made, thus suddenly ends, and with it this entertaining if not important correspondence. With equal suddenness, Nancrede, either by death, or failure, (as tradition states) dis- appears from our view. (Nancrede was a publisher of books in Boston. As the long correspondence of Tyler with him throws considerable light upon the doings of Mr. Tyler, we regret that we cannot give it entire.) After repeated volleys of wit and argument, some more or less satisfactory adjustment of the old quarrel of author and printer would probably have been reached, between the courteous knights of the pen and of the press.
When Mr. Tyler's location in Guilford was made, it was the most populous town in the State; but already Brattleboro began to give some faint promise of becoming the business place of the county. The following letter describes the new home:
"BRATTLEBORO, March 18, 1801.
* * * * * *
Here we are in quiet and complete possession of our new farm,* after a most fatiguing fortnight of moving, and to add to our fatigue, the baby and little Mary have both been very sick. The latter was so indisposed, when we removed, that it was thought to be accompanied by some risque, even by her physician; but the earnest wish of all the family, and the dread of the snow leaving us, overcame all apprehensions, and on the 3d inst. we came here bag and baggage. The children are now so far recovered as to allow us, for the first time, to hunt up our writing materials and address a line to you, who, next to ourselves, we apprehend will enter most fully into our enjoyments. If I had Sophia's tongue, or Mary's enthusiasm, I might give you a description of this farm in some measure equal to their ideas of it; but as the purchasing of a farm is entirely Mary's, and I have some fears of our success in yeomanry, I cannot write with the spirit, the subject, they suppose, merits; so you will look for the raptures and the beauties from them, while I detail you a little homespun fact. The farm we have purchased is in a retired spot, upon the brow of a large hill, about one mile, as the road goes, from the [West] Brattleboro meeting-house; though we have a shorter cut through our own grounds, which reduces the distance half. The farm consists of about 150 acres, the greatest part of which indeed, upward of an hundred acres is well fenced and under good improvement. We have wheat and rye now in the ground, springing up as the snow leaves it, and promising a sufficiency of those grains for our bread and pies. We have two large orchards, and two smaller ones coming on, and expect to make some 50 or 60 barrels of cider; and, in a few years — as the orchards are young and thrifty — we may reasonably expect to make 100 barrels per year. We have plenty of good pasturing and expect to cut hay enough to winter 30 head of cattle. Our neighbor, Mr. Peck, takes the farm, at present, at halves, and, with his family, has removed to our farm-house, about a quarter of a mile from us.
Mrs. Peck is an excellent dairywoman, and he is a regular farmer. He has a hired man with him, and I have hired a young man, active and stout, who in busy seasons will assist Mr. Peck, so that without reckoning boys and extra help, we shall always have three stout men for farming work. With the farm, we purchased farming tools, young cattle, hogs, poultry and 23 sheep, who have now increased the flock by 13 lambs, and it would amuse you to see Sophia and the children surrounded with sheep, lambs, geese, turkeys and hens, feeding them from their hands.
The house is entirely secluded from a view of any neighbors; though on the crown of a hill it is yet in a hollow, but the necessary buildings around it give it the air of being a little neighborhood: a large barn and shed, corn-barn, chaise-house, smoke-house, ash-house, etc.
The house is somewhat similar to Judge Jones, in Hinsdale, which I think you observed, an upright part with a handsome portico, two handsome front rooms, well finished, papered and painted; and two handsome chambers over them; back, is a sitting room and by the side of it a room for my office, which has a door into the sitting-room and another out of doors, so that ingress may be had independent of the house; back of the sitting-room a good kitchen, from whence you go into two bedrooms, one for the boys, and the other for the maids, and overhead a meal granary; and over the sitting-room an apartment for our hired man and boy; back of the kitchen is a long wood-house, about 20 feet of which makes a summer wash-room, and here stands the water-trough, constantly supplied with plenty of excellent water. In front of the house is a fruit garden, peaches, plums, etc., but the former will not bear until next year
On one side of the house is a kitchen garden, with a good asparagus bed and plenty of currants, red, white and black, and large English gooseberries, on the other side is a flower garden.
Next the house runs a small brook, on the other side of which is a grass plot set out with young fruit trees, chiefly plums. We have on the place a plenty of common cherry trees and four fine blackheart cher‑
*The place now owned (1878} and occupied by Gilbert Smith, Esq., on the hill where was built the first meeting-house in this town.
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ry trees near the front windows. We have also, pear trees and peach trees which bear, and quince bushes. On the place we may gather cartloads of chestnuts, no walnuts, but a sufficiency of butternuts. In a word, if one can love a retired farmer's life, here you may have it to perfection.
For all we live down, or rather up a lane, you will scarcely see three persons pass in as many days. We cannot see a single house, even from our chamber windows, not even our farm-house, but that is prettily situated ; there you may see perhaps 30 houses, and if we climb our orchard we can see the country 30 miles around.
I think this place may be made comfortable and even pleasing, but the house can never be made to look handsome, that is, on the outside, within, to be sure, if we shut the windows, or look into the garden, it does tolerably, but the house is in a hollow, and a house in a hole cannot look well from abroad, but then it is a home and has a thousand pleasant things, fruitful fields, and delicious fruits about, thrown together higgledy, piggledy."
By this removal his ten years residence in Guilford ended. They had now four children, Royall, about six years old, John S., four, Mary, two, and Edward, an infant.
Mrs. Tyler's brother, John Hamden Palmer, had been, until now, a member of the family, but was about this time admitted to the bar and settled at Woodstock. Her youngest sister, Sophia, aged 14, had been virtually adopted as a daughter. For a year or more, John Tyler, his nephew, had been a student in his office, but had abandoned the law for what proved a very successful business in Boston. He had also, although secretly, as a student, the Rev. Mr. Wollage, whose temper he had formerly ruffled by invading his pulpit. This gentleman was admitted to practice, and afterwards oscillated once or twice between the two professions, sacred and profane.
Three new judges were appointed for the Supreme Court, October 1801, but they were not selected on account of their political opinions, but on account of their supposed qualifications for the office. Those thus elected by an adverse Legislature were Jonathan Robinson, Royall Tyler and Stephen Jacob — Robinson being the Chief Justice.
As District Attorney for Windham County, Mr. Tyler had been obliged to attend the Legislature, and had thus extended his acquaintance through the State. His practice also had taken him to the courts of nearly every county. His legal reputation and the peculiar charm of his manners no doubt led to this result.
The same judges were re-elected in the fall of 1802. The constant intercourse of a year had already induced between them a remarkable degree of intimacy and personal regard. There seems to be something in the brotherhood of the bench singularly conducive to such sentiments, and in their case there was much previous antagonism and preconceived distrust to be overcome. Jacob, indeed, had long been a friend of Judge Tyler, having often entertained him as a guest when attending courts at Windsor. With the Chief Justice, on the contrary, he had had, before they met upon the bench, but a slight acquaintance, and they were for different reasons, more or less unfavorably prepossessed in regard to each other. Mr. Tyler, probably, shared the prejudices of his friend, Gov. Tichenor. They had, moreover, belonged to the opposing political parties at a time when party spirit ran so high as to be a serious bar to social intercourse and to a just mutual appreciation. Robinson had long known of him as the writer in "The Farmer's Museum," of satirical poems, pointed epigrams and political squibs against the Republicans; but more than all this, being himself a strict religionist of the Calvanistic and Hopkinsian school, he had been led to regard Mr. Tyler as a man of the world, unregenerate, and in short, "little better than one of the wicked." When brought together, however, in their present close relations, they found each other as good men often do in such cases, so far from antipathetic, that they coalesced at once, forming a friendship for life. The Chief Justice retained his office until, in 1807, he was elected to the Senate of the United States. While he, was in Washington they corresponded constantly, and in one of his letters the Senator refers to their early prejudices against each other, how soon they passed away, and related an incident of the religious discussions into which they fell during their early intimacy. One of the points of
Hopkinsianism that had been much debated between them, was the alleged necessity, as evidence of regeneration, that one should be willing to be lost eternally if it were for the glory of God.
Judge Tyler, detained from court on one occasion, wrote to Judge Jacob and requested him to inform the Chief Justice "that he really began to hope that he had made some little spiritual progress; for, although he could not honestly say that he was willing to be damned himself, even if it were needful for the glory of the Almighty, yet he believed that by great effort he had nearly or quite attained to a sincere willingness that in such an exigency Bro. Robinson should be damned."
Some two or three years after Chief Justice Robinson was elected United States Senator from Vermont, Chief Justice Tyler received from him the following letter:
"WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 1810.
Dear Sir:— You speak well of Bro. Fay, as a judge. I had never any doubt either of his honesty, clearness of perception, legal knowledge or patience, so essential for a judge, but feared he might be too legal, in other words, might give too great weight to technical precision, although useful, yet not wholly essential in administering impartial justice to ignorant but honest suitors. But I knew you and Bro. Herrington would stand as a check. I was always pleased with you more than I ever expressed on that account, because it is a bright gem in the character of a court lawyer, not to lay too much stress on the manner of action or of pleading. When we come to be judged for our judgments, my friend, the question will not be whether we pursued legal forms or technical niceties, but have you heard the cry of the poor and relieved them from their oppressors. But I hope that the philanthrophy of Bro. Fay and yourself will prevent all unpleasant results because he does not carry the Hopkinsian doctrine to that lofty pinnacle of revelation and philosophy to which you so justly and rationally aspire. In one thing, I fear, he will never be able to arrive to equal resignation, which you once expressed, even willingness to see Bro. Robinson damned. However, good men of all faiths, will, I hope, be accepted if their hearts are but right. * * * *
You need never say anything about nerve in congressmen, for they have none. That spirit of cupidity, the natural offspring of commerce, the cowardice so prevalent in weak minds, and the malice of Federalism, like the three headed monster Cerberus, are too powerful for the pure in heart to overcome.
Of war, let no man speak, for we shall have none, unless Britain invade us, and then I shall have my doubts, since the City of New York has played "God Save the King," at the approach of the Copenhagen Jackson.
Good God, can human nature possess such depravity!
Ask Bro. Fay if this is not evidence of one of the five points — the total depravity of the human heart?
Recollect me to all my friends, and as you will now be on the ground, carry my best respects to Mrs. Robinson, and do her the honor of drinking tea with her on my account, and call on Isaac* for a pipe of tobacco.
Your affectionate friend,
HON. ROYALL TYLER.
When there was a tie vote in the Senate upon the war measures, in 1812, Senator Robinson again wrote to Tyler a letter from which we give extracts:
"WASHINGToN, June 15, 1812.
Dear Bro. Tyler:— Yours of the 5th June is received, and it breathes the same spirit which my heart echoes, but alas, I fear the crown has fallen from our heads. In Denmark, in some late proceedings, I have been informed, they stood on a very important vote 16 to 16. All things were palsied. The responsibility was great. Men trembled, it was believed some person would, on the next vote, join with the Executive, and victory would be obtained, but letters arrived from one of the northern hive, that a certain great Scripture Jester would arrive on the 15th and untie the knot, of course all was delay and the fears of the administration party increased. I drop the metaphor and tell you Gen. Bradley† is expected this evening, and our fate will soon be known. We must sing the sailor's song, "God in
*Isaac Tichenor, elected Gov. in 1808.
† Hon. Stephen Rowe Bradley, Senator from Vermont.
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Heaven have mercy on us," none but Him can save us now.
I can say no more. I hope in two days to tell you the fate of the nation."
Again he writes:
"Bradley did not arrive on the 15th or 16th, and on the 17th the opposition were still talking against time, but had exhausted every pretext for delay.
The Senators have been looking to the windows as the stages come in, to see if Bradley was come. All is anxiety. It is four o'clock and the Senate has not yet taken the question. I want a pipe, and I want my dinner, but I cannot start, tack or sheet, until I see, as Bro. Herrington says, "the last dog hung."
Recollect me to Mrs. Tyler, the boys and girls and to Miss Sophia. Keep this letter to yourself. I cannot continue while Gorman is murdering language in an endless speech, which sounds more discordant to my ears than the thundering cannon did 37 years ago this day, when I heard more than 200 of them in my cornfield in Bennington.
I have done.
To JUDGE TYLER.
At another time came from Robinson, the following:
"No man in Congress has a doubt of my unreserved determination to foster energetic measures, and sometimes when I find of what timber we are made, I am sick of the whole species of man. But why should I wonder? I have always believed them totally depraved as well as very purblind in their mental perception. The last, however, is no further a crime than as it arises from depraved minds which are unfavorable to rational enquiry.
The question, are you in earnest, has been bandied about so much of late, that we are all sore on the subject. It was begun by the Federalists, the grumbling Democrats ask the same thing. Is the Executive in earnest? And now the question echoes back again, are the Senate in earnest; if so, why delay for ten days the appointment of Gen. Dearborn as commander when the President wants his aid to arrange the army? But Mr. Bradley does not like Dearborn, nor Giles, nor several others, and the whole Federal phalanx are against him. This is to paralyze measures and then throw the fault on the Executive.
Such is the sourness of some, and the meanness of others, that it requires more philosophy than I possess to bear it, etc." On the outside of this letter, the worthy Senator has described his idea of the scene of its reception by their Honors, the Judges of the Supreme Court of Vermont, in these words:
"Bro. Tyler filled his pipe and said, Come, Brethren, let us see what Bro. Robinson has to say.' Reads. Bro. Fay spits and says, 'Bro. Robinson is as cross as the devil.' 'Well,' says Bro. Herrington, 'I feel easy about it, it is a pack for their backs, not mine.' Bro. Tyler smiled, and filled his second pipe."
In Hall's history of Eastern Vermont, we find the following narration:
"He," (R. Tyler,) "presided as side judge of the Supreme Court of Vermont, from 1801 to 1806, when he was chosen chief judge. This position he retained until the year 1812. Party strife and ill health combined were the causes which prevented him from being chosen to fill this office for a longer period. From the year 1815 to 1821, he was register of probate for Windham County, and this, it is believed, was the last public station he was called to occupy." An idea of the originality of his style and manner in arguing a case under circumstances calculated to produce embarrassment, may be gained from the following anecdote:
"At a court held in Newfane, he undertook his first case after he left the bench. He had not practiced for a long time and many of the lawyers at the bar had never heard him address a jury.
At the period referred to, the disease of which he died, a cancer on the left side of the nose, near the eye, caused him to wear a patch of black silk on his face, which did not tend to improve his appearance. The case was one of importance, involving the property of his client, a certain Mr. Richardson.
The opposing counsel in presenting their pleas, made frequent reflections upon the ex-Chief Justice, declaring that his faculties were failing, that he had a disease about him and that he had been turned from the bench for incapacity.
During the delivery of these sentiments Judge Tyler sat within the bar, taking no notes and apparently oblivious to what was passing around him. When the time came for him to address the jury, he rose in his place, and turning his back upon the twelve men whose minds he was desirous of influencing, called out to his client, 'Richardson! come here!' Richardson started up in great astonishment, and made his way through the crowded court-room to the railing within which the lawyers sat. 'Richardson!' said Judge Tyler, turning to that individual, who was exceedingly surprised at the oddity of the proceedings, 'go home! there is no use of your staying here! I thought you had a case, a good case!' He then went on with his back to the jury and judge, to tell his client all the strong points of his case, making it very plain, or, at least, making it appear that Richardson had been basely abused by the lawyers on the other side.
'But,' said he, in conclusion. 'I was. mistaken in supposing you had any rights that could be maintained. It appears you have no case because my faculties are failing, and what is worse, you have no case at all, because I have this patch on my nose. Go home! go home! I can't be expected to say a word to the jury under such circumstances.' With these words Judge Tyler sat down.
The opposing counsel were dumbfounded at this mode of attack, but the jury were only out long enough to make up for Richardson a most satisfactory verdict."
Judge Dan'l Kellogg was a young law-student, at Newfane, with his brother-in-law, Gen. Martin Field, and was one of the audience in the court-room at the time of this occurrence, as related in the foregoing. In relating the affair to us, a short time previous to his death, he said, "the counsel opposing Tyler, undertook to make it appear the case never would have been brought into the court by Mr. Tyler had it been presented to him before the decay of his faculties, but now, in his pitiable dilapidated condition of body and mind, anything he might do was excusable, provided justice to the parties was maintained. Never," said Judge Kellogg, "in all my long experience in court, did I witness so laughable an affair, and one so difficult to properly describe, or in other words, make one see it as I did."
About 52 years have elapsed since the death of Hon. R. Tyler, he being at that time about 68 years of age, according to in scription upon his monument in Prospect Hill Cemetery, in the East village of Brattleboro.
Reip v Mont Cur Sup Jurid,
DIE XVI. AUG, ANNO DOMINI
Uqor et liberi
Hoc saxum ponendum.
He had eleven children:
Royall Tyler, born in Framingham, Mass., 1794, died in college, young; Gen. John S., born in Guilford, Vt., Sept. 29, 1796, from the age of 14 lived in Boston, Mass., and was in mercantile life; Mary Whitwell, born in Guilford, Vt., June 23, 1798; Rev. Edward R., born in Guilford, Vt., Aug. 3, 1800, of the Congregational Church and Editor of "New Englander," also author of works on future punishment; William Clark, born in Brattleboro, Aug. 28, 1802, passed a mercantile life in Boston; Rev. Joseph Dennie, born in Brattleboro, Sept. 4. 1804, of the Episcopal Church, and Principal of Asylum for Deaf Mutes, in Va.; Amelia Sophia, born in Brattleboro, June 29. 1807, Principal of Female Seminary in 1826; Rev. Geo. Palmer, D. D., born in Brattleboro, Dec. 10, 1809, of the Congregational Church; Judge Royall, 2nd, born in Brattleboro, April 19, 1812, Judge of Probate and County Clerk; Rev. Thomas Pickman, D. D.. born in Brattleboro, Nov. 20, 1815, of the Episcopal Church; Abiel Winship, born in Brattleboro, Nov. 9, 1818, died, 1832.
But four of the children are now (1878,) living, viz: Wm. C. Tyler, Judge Royall Tyler, Geo. P. Tyler, Thos, Pickman Tyler.
In the foregoing are made the last extracts from the memoirs, with regret that our limits forbid more extended quotations. It was not the mission of this old and distinguished family to set in motion the
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wheels of industry, or to, in any way directly, to any great extent, advance the material interests of this town. In that far off time, in our history, when this family settled here, they must have occupied as exceptional a position in Brattleboro, as does the book of Job in the Old Testament.
So large a family of almost purely intellectual proclivities, furnishing six collegiates, four of them ministers of the Gospel, is, we believe, rarely, if ever, found in the past or present history of any town in New England.
As there is no end to the good arising from the cultivation of the highest department of our nature, the beneficial influence of such a family, upon a community almost wholly utilitarian, it is impossible to fully estimate. Their first coming to that high hill overlooking the whole town, seems to us as the morning dawn of intellectual life in this region, or, the beginning of an Elizabethan age in Brattleboro.
It was also the dawn of business in this town. "It is indeed wonderful how imagination rules the world. The poems of a blind old harper, a few crumbling ruins, a few mutilated, battered statues, a few cracked fading canvasses, a few strains of music, and the traditions of a few eloquent words of orators, have proved the most potent forces in the world's civilization."
Before the first year of their advent here had expired, our first educational institution, the old academy, was chartered by act of the Legislature, in October 1801.
Soon thereafter followed in this town the publication of school books, Bibles, etc., which were here and there widely scattered over the land like leaves of the forest, which no man can number.
"Terrible Tractoration," "Democracy Unveiled," by Thomas G. Fessenden, and several of the old novels, now seldom seen, were also published here. To this business the East Village owes its origin, and during the whole period of Mr. Tyler's life in Brattleboro it was the business of the place, and in one year publications amounted to $400,000.
The publication of books did not cease until the art was carried to so great perfection, cotton rags and sheep-skin in the morning became, before night, elegantly finished books. William Harris, Esq., who was the principal of the old academy over 30 years gave us the names of over 40 collegiates — including the names of the sons of Judge Tyler — who fitted for college at the old academy. It is a matter of regret that we cannot give full historical sketches of each one of the latter, who have finished their mission on fields more or less distant from their native home. Though our knowledge of each individual career is far from complete, yet, we believe, that the histories of none of the sons of Brattleboro who have gone out from among us would reflect a fairer light on our pages than would the histories of the sons of Judge Tyler.
GEN'L JOHN S. TYLER,
The oldest son, may well be called the advanced guard of the family. He left his home in Brattleboro in 1810, at the age of 14 years, and passed the long period of over 60 years in Boston, Mass., engaged in mercantile and marine affairs. The city of his ancestry became the scene of his action until the time of his death in 1876. It was there he maintained eminence in his avocations and social position. His magnanimity, as manifested in business relations, and noble generosity to his parents and other relatives, proves his mind was as well worthy of his splendid proportions and such external personal attractions as is rarely, if ever surpassed, — as the diamond is worthy of setting in the purest gold. Forty years ago he was deservedly popular and conspicuous as a commander of the military in Boston.
"How long he has been a citizen of Boston, we do not presume to know ; what we do know is, that far back in the lapse of years, when he was General and we were schoolboys, we thought him the greatest man the city contained. And there are, no doubt, hundreds who will read these lines who remember Gen. Tyler, at the head of his brigade, as the finest mannered officer their imagination ever drew. His last service as an officer was that of commander of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, in 1860."— Boston Paper. He gave universal satisfaction in conducting and in the general management of military and civic processions in the city on great occasions. For a long period of years he was almost invariably selected as chief marshal on great occasions. The
facility with which he discharged the duties of that office, combined with his fine personal presence and bearing, made him the observed of all observers. Many years ago, a convent in Charlestown was destroyed by a mob, and there was every indication of mob violence in the destruction of buildings in Boston as a retaliatory measure. The authorities of the city requested Gen'l Tyler to call out the military under his command. He told the authorities he never should order his soldiers to fire blank cartridges at a mob. If they would consent that every one of his soldiers load his musket with ball cartridge, he would lead them wherever they might direct. The consent was given, and intelligence of the fact was quickly received by every person in the city. All rioters knew that such orders meant business, and it was not a kind of business they felt disposed to encourage. Therefore the mob dispersed and peace was restored without bloodshed.
In Boston papers, published at the time of his death, it was said: "Early in the war of 1812, Mr. Tyler, though under the lawful age for military duty, joined the Boston Light Infantry, and went with the corps to throw up fortifications on Dorchester heights, Governor's and Noddle's islands, and also participated in such other duties as were required of the militia. He was chosen captain of the Suffolk Light Infantry, Sept. 21, 1821, and was the first commander of the City Guards. He commanded the military escort when LaFayette visited Boston. He was adjutant of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1827, and was its commander 4 years — an honor not enjoyed by any other man. He was the senior member at the date of his death. He acted as chief marshal at the Railroad Jubilee, (1851,) attended by the President of the United States, Lord Elgin, and numerous other distinguished guests. The gentlemen who served with him as assistant marshals, on the latter occasion, presented him with a beautiful silver vase and salver, inscribed with the names of many of the leading merchants and professional men of Boston, who were donors, and bearing an engraved likeness of the distinguished defender of the constitution. He has held many civil offices, was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1853; member of the Common Council in 1859-60-62; alderman, 1863-65-66; Trustee of the Public Library 2 years, and member of the Legislature 4 years. He was president of the Granite Railway Company, engineer of the fire department of Boston, president of the Association of the Sons of Vermont, and of the Burns Club; also, president of the Female Medical College. He received the honorary degree of A. M. from both Middlebury College and the University of his native State at Burlington.
We find several interesting notices of him, in Boston papers, since his death, Jan. 20, 1876:
"No particular disease caused his death, but he yielded to the natural dissolution of advanced years. Few men have been more prominently before the public, and none enjoyed the esteem of a wider circle of friends. The older class of our citizens he knew by long association, and the younger were attracted to him by his kindliness of manner. Increasing age did not diminish his interest in passing events, and though advanced in years, he kept, as it were, the freshness of youth." — Boston Journal, 1876.
In 1829, he engaged in the business of adjusting averages,* which he continued the remainder of his life. In this branch he had no superior. His industry was proverbial. He devoted much valuable time to the service of the public, and the midnight hour often found him at work. His business mind enabled him to state cases before committees, and as alderman and representative, with great clearness.
At the time he was elected alderman of the 8th ward, we find the following in a Boston paper:
"He will make an excellent alderman, for he is honest and incorruptible — merits which are not always carried into the city hall by those who enter it covered with official eclat. The people have done well to elect him. He received the united support of the Democrats and Republicans." Gen'l Tyler was for many years identi‑
* "He brought to the discharge of this duty that clearness of perception, candor and fairness of judgment which made him much sought for in the large commercial cities of our country, — EX-GOV. HOLBROOK.
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fied with the institution of masonry. He took his degrees in St. John's Lodge, received the Chapter degrees in St. Paul's Chapter, and was an active member of the De Molay Commandery of Knights Templar. In politics, the General was an old line Whig, but early in its history he identified himself with the Republican party.
Gen'l Tyler was the possessor of a happy disposition, and he looked upon the bright side of the shield. He sought the happiness of his family and promoted the geniality of his favored circle. He grew old gradually. It was a pleasure to see how his calm philosophy enabled him to meet without friction the burdens of advancing age.
The Boston Transcript of January, 1876, says of him:
"He was a true friend, an affectionate husband, a doting father, a loving grandparent, and a true man in every sense. It is a comfort that in his last brief illness, he was spared the anguish of parting with his loved ones, and that, like an innocent child, his last sleep was peaceful and calm. At the funeral services of the late Major Gen'l John S. Tyler, there was a very large attendance of friends and acquaintances of the deceased, De Molay Commandery of Knights Templars, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, the Boston Light Infantry Association and other organizations with which he was connected, were represented. At the head of the casket, in which he was enclosed, was displayed a bust of the General, recently executed by Miss Frazar of Watertown. The services were under the management of Mr. F. Lyman Winship, and were conducted by Rev. Dr. Bartol of the West church, and the choir of the same church furnished the music. At the close the remains were conveyed to Mount Auburn."
REV. EDWARD R. TYLER,
when at college or seminary fitting for professional life, visited, in times of vacation, his native home at Brattleboro. His evening lectures, at such times, in the school-house then on the common, caused many of our best citizens pleasurable anticipations of his periodical visits. Though too young, at the time, to be an appreciative listener to his lectures, yet we well remember hearing highly favorable comments upon his youthful efforts, by Dea. David Wood, Francis Goodhue, Esq., and other of our old citizens of that time, who have long since passed away. It has been a pleasure, in after years, to hear him in the pulpit and in the lecture-room, and we are compelled to add our testimony to that of others who have said he was very far above the average of our pulpit orators. He had a loud, clear, commanding voice, and a very earnest, impressive manner. The ideas he advanced, or the position he took never suffered for lack of logic or authority in maintenance of the same.
There was manifested in this man's character a spirit of self-sacrifice for others. Eloquently did he plead the cause of the slave at that early period,* when to do so was to render the advocate a pariah in his own church, "and a man's foes they of his own household." Even in his native place — we blush to say it — the leading citizens encouraged a mob to disturb his lectures, and the Congregational pastor of that period (1887) refused to read, in his pulpit, a notice of these lectures, or even a notification of a "prayer meeting for the oppressed." Some persons can now (1878) remember hearing the calm voice of Dea. David Wood, "there will be a meeting of prayer for the oppressed at Elliot street chapel." &c. It was well understood at the time why the Deacon, instead of the minister, read the notification. The reverend gentleman also recommended the church discipline, or expulsion, of such members of his church who attended said lectures. Our information is from such members now living (1878). The Deacon did not read the notification until after the pastor had finished his benediction. The pastor, before long, became a good anti-slavery man.
From a New Haven paper of September, 1848:
"Died, in this city, yesterday, Sept. 28, 1848, very suddenly, Rev. Edward R. Tyler, editor of the New Englander, aged 48. Thus another true and able friend of God and man has gone to his rest and his reward. Mr. Tyler was born in Brattleboro, Vt., the son of Hon. Royall Tyler, who was chief justice of the State of Vermont.
*Summer of 1837.
He graduated at Yale College, with honor, in the class of 1825. He pursued theological study chiefly at Andover, and for many years, with ability and usefulness, filled the office of Congregationalist pastor, first in Middletown and afterwards in Colebrook, Ct. He was, for a few years, editor of the Congregational Observer, a weekly religious journal published at Hartford, and since January, 1843, he has been editor and proprietor of the New Englander, which, in conjunction with other gentlemen, he originated and established. Mr. Tyler had a sound, clear and discriminating mind, and excelled in the department of moral and theological science. He was remarkably liberal and catholic, though decidedly evangelical, in his views. He was a true friend of his race, and his mind, hand and heart were ever free and open to the claims of every philanthropic principle and enterprise. And in his private relations, he was, in a rare degree, modest, unselfish and amiable," &c.
REV. JOSEPH D. TYLER
was a clergyman of the Episcopal church, but never officiated in that office to any great extent, for he early became interested in the instruction of the deaf and dumb, and was a teacher in the first institution for that purpose in this country; the buildings erected in Hartford, Ct. After several years service in Hartford, he was, in 1840, chosen principal of the Virginia deaf and dumb asylum, in Staunton, Va., where he died Jan. 28, 1852. Wide as is the manifest difference in the Tyler brothers as to tastes, avocations, religious views — as Episcopalians, Unitarians and Congregationalists — there is, in the most desirable features of humanity, a beautiful harmony in their characters. If Joseph D. Tyler deserved censure for anything, it was his excessive modesty, or lack of a proper appreciation of himself. The testimony of those who have been associated with him during the last 19 years of his life, is of more value than anything we can say:
From a Virginia paper of January, 1852:
"When we referred yesterday to the Virginia Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, we little supposed that we should be called upon in to-day's paper to record the death of the accomplished principal of the former department, the Rev. J. D. Tyler, through whose eminent qualifications, peculiar aptness for his post, and untiring energy, this benevolent institution has acquired its present efficiency and exalted position. The loss of Mr. Tyler to the sphere of benevolence which he so nobly filled, to the community in which he lived, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to supply. The writer knew him well, and a nobler specimen of a Christian gentleman, he never has known. He was beyond all question one of the rarest and ripest scholars of our country, and one of the most vigorous and polished writers of the present day. His essays in the leading Reviews of the United States (though his shrinking modesty prevented him from accompanying them by his own name) have been pronounced among the most powerful and beautiful contributions to American literature. His official duties rarely permitted him to preach, except in the language of signs to his deaf mute congregation; but such sermons as we have heard from him were masterpieces, models, and unsurpassed in strength of thought, purity of style, and solid learning, by anything which we have heard or read out of the pages of old English divines.
This man, with powers which would have graced the most conspicuous arena of cultivated intellect in our whole country, was not only content, but joyful to pass his days in the comparatively obscure and humble position of teacher of the deaf and dumb, and devoted to that field of usefulness all the energies of an intellect, which, devoted to another sphere, would have achieved untold fame and wealth for its possessor. Mr. Tyler was a person of real and substantial excellence of character. There was about him no humbug, no cant; none of that pharisaical austerity of demeanor which atones for sins by frowning upon innocent pleasures. A traveling correspondent of the Charleston Literary Gazette remarked, in a letter from Staunton, that he 'had never seen a face so strikingly stamped with the impress of benevolence.' The face was a faithful index of the heart and life, — the noble and unambitious heart which now sleeps so quietly — the life whose record is written in golden letters on high. When we ponder on the character of such a man, we
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cannot grieve that he has passed away, save for those he leaves behind — for surely there must be in another world some peculiar reward for those great intellects which are content to labor on, almost unknown and unappreciated here, so that they can minister to the happiness and elevation of their fellow-men."
When the expiring breath of a son of Brattleboro, from his distant field of action, wafts to our ears reports like the foregoing, we cannot too highly estimate the privilege of giving his record here. To us, the very soil where was first left the impress of his infant feet, is more sacred. We see the same old trees, and hear the same voices of nature, and her silent teachings, as greeted his earliest consciousness, yet "the latchet of his shoes we are unworthy to unloose." To great heights of moral excellence we may never hope to attain, but we can, at least, love the virtues which we cannot claim. The following beautiful ideal, as expressed in verse, by Rev. Jos. D. Tyler, will, we believe, strike a chord in every bosom for "Who hath not lost a friend?" The more we read it, the more distinctly appears to us the fine, spiritual nature of the author — that spirit only staying in its outward or coarser garb from the necessity of circumstances:
BY J. D. TYLER.
"From the silence of the Scriptures respecting the creation of these spiritual intelligences, and from the remarkable language of the following passages. (Rev, 22, 8, 21, 7,) some have inferred that the whole angelic order is, in fact, composed of the spirits of glorified men." — Bush's Notes on Genesis.
"My father! glides thy spirit near,
From happier mansions come,
To guard the home you lov'd while here,
In airy angel form!
My brother! eldest, earliest dead,
With pale and thoughtful brow,
O'er which bright rays of genius play'd,
Still bends it near me now!
And thou the lov'd, the latest born,
My meek, my gentle brother,
Comes thy glad form in fondness down,
A ministering spirit thither!
Hovers thy radiant spirit here,
My boy, my blessed son,
In angel brightness lingering near
Thy transient earthly home?
Come ye to smooth the couch of pain,
To soothe the aching head,
To cheer the hearts ye loved, again,
Through numbered with the
Come ye to calm the troubled breast.
To guide the erring feet,
To lure along to that sweet rest,
Where happy spirits meet?
We greet you here, each blessed one,
Along our toilsome way,
Till perils o'er and labors done,
We meet in endless day!"
"The Rev. J. D. Tyler, Principal of the Deaf Mute Department of the Virginia Institute, states, in his last interesting report, that our own country is the only one in which the question whether the children of deaf mutes are themselves apt to be deaf, has approached solution. Two hundred educated deaf mutes assembled in Hartford, Ct., Sept. 25, 1850, of these 103 were married, some quite recently, and 72 were parents, — the parents of 102 children, of whom 98 can hear and speak. Instances are given of parents, both deaf from birth, having children able to hear and speak. An instance," says Mr. Tyler, "exists in our own institution, in the case of an instructor and his amiable wife, both deaf from birth, but their two bright little boys have all their senses in perfection. So that the apprehension in question is not sufficient ground for denying to deaf mutes the chief earthly happiness, the school and exercise of virtue — the state which preserves nations, fills cities and churches, and heaven itself."
As we have proceeded, our inability becomes more and more apparent to do anything like justice to the Tyler family, under present circumstances. Our first intention was simply to give a few facts in regard to the head of the family, sufficient, if possible, to create an interest in the memoir. to which we have referred, as would cause its publication. Since our attention has been directed to the sons of Judge Tyler who have passed away, we have often been reminded — as we have discovered so much respecting them worthy of high commendation — of a work by Disraeli
upon "The Curiosities of Literature." This work we have not seen since 1842, but we remember he gives a reason why the children of great or talented men are almost invariably inferior to their progenitor. The mental qualities of the children depend upon their mother, and more certainly is this so with the sons. Great men rarely use their greatness, or better judgment, when selecting a wife, but are governed by taste or fancy. Our memory of the long vanished years is rarely more happily exercised than when it brings before us the beautiful, the talented, the highly cultured and faithful mother of this distinguished family. When we think of her virtues and sterling character, we wonder not that of so many of her children she could say, as did the Roman matron, "These are my jewels."
We quote the following from an obituary notice of her death, in the Vermont Phœnix:
"While aiding greatly, through the benign influence of high natural endowments, and all the graces of her sex, in sustaining and encouraging her husband in his progress to the Supreme Bench as Chief Justice of Vermont, she contributed much towards imparting a tone of elevation and refinement, and an ambition for literary pursuits, to the new and unformed society around her. In those early times, she was a light and centre to society, giving warmth and enjoyment to all who came within her sphere. She was beloved and respected, a bond of union, a centre of mingled love and authority to the early settlers, as she has ever been since, down to her latest day, to a large family of adoring children and descendants, amidst whose kindly administrations it was her happiness to expire. Devoted to everything that was calculated to elevate, refine and adorn humanity, she ever took a deep interest in the welfare of the country. Her infant eyes were opened, as we have already said, upon the dramatic scenes of the Revolution; and, in the closing years of her life, she watched with the liveliest solicitude and concern every stage in the progress of the rebellion, until she saw the last rebel force defeated and disarmed. Amidst all, the received home a corpse of a grandson, a young colonel, who fell in the battle of the Wilderness, and saw his remains sent to the grave." [See Military History of Brattleboro, sketch of Lt. John S. Tyler.] Mrs. Tyler died in 1866, aged 91 years, 7 months and 7 days.
Mrs. Tyler was the author of "The Maternal Physician," a work published by Riley of New York, in 1811. This work was recommended by the best physicians of the time. The author's name was refused by herself. The work contained many passages of marked literary merit.
In the family of Judge Tyler there were two daughters,
MARY WHITWELL TYLER AND AMELIA SOPHIA TYLER.
They both lived until past three-score and ten years. Their sphere of action, and in almost everything, they were widely different, yet were they both highly esteemed and beloved, because they were each, in their way, public benefactors.
Miss Mary was, in her earlier years, a natural kindergartener. Over half a century ago, she had as much, if not more, influence over a large portion of the children in this village than their own parents. She was a member of the Episcopal church, but at this time there was no organization of her faith in this place, yet there was no part of this village she did not frequent to gather the children for the Sunday school and meeting, in the old church on the common. If new clothing for the destitute children was wanting, she contrived some way to get it for them. If any poor family was in want, or destitution, or in suffering of any kind, she would interest some benevolent friend in their behalf, sit that relief came. Her affection for the little ones, rich or poor, was unbounded. Among our earliest, pleasantest recollections of infantile and juvenile days, is the kindly, happy face of "Aunt Mary," when she was telling a dozen or more of us interesting stories. She would always give an intelligent reply, to the little eager questioners in language adapted to their comprehension. Parents freely gave their children permission to go on expeditions, in large or small companies, to the woods or fields, no matter where, if they only knew she was going with them. We all knew she was our friend. She was our oracle and sure defence against "bears and codgers."
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In the summer of 1821, the inhabitants of the village were aroused to search after two little boys, one of them nearly 6 and the other nearly 5 years old, who had been sent to school, but did not appear in the schoolroom. Vainly did people look through the woods, in every direction, for the missing ones. As twilight was giving way to darkness, "Aunt Mary" appeared leading the two little truants, one of them a D. D. in embryo, and the other a Yankee genius — of the jack knife order — in the bud. The seat of learning, at this period, was at the West village. The two little boys must have been remarkable for their precocity and high aspirations. They had heard of the far-famed academy flourishing somewhere in the region of the setting sun, and had concluded it was just the place for advanced young gentlemen, like themselves, who had outgrown the limited educational facilities afforded in the one school-house of the village.
The little wanderers took the right direction to this goal of their ambition, until they arrived near the western limit of the grounds of Prof. Charlier, when down that steep bank they went, stripped off their clothing, and jumped into the Whetstone brook. They, for the first time, learned it was a more easy thing to take off their clothing than to put on the same. Also, did they find, that it is a much easier thing to go down such a steep pitch than to go up the same. "Aunt Mary" heard their cries of despair, in their vain efforts to replace their clothing. Think of the joy of the besieged in Lucknow, when they heard the distant slogan herald the approach of Havelock, and we can get an idea of the joy experienced by these little ones when they heard a voice which they loved so well. How many little wanderers she may have conducted, or given an impetus, into the right path, which leads to home and happiness, on this side of the river, we may not know.
The present generation have only seen her in life's decline, as with faded eye, shaking frame and feeble, tottering step, she slowly passed away, —
"Her labor done, securely laid
In this her last retreat."
MISS AMELIA S. TYLER
was the principal of a female seminary of a high order, sometime before 1830. Young ladies received instruction from her in the higher English studies, and languages. Music upon the piano forte was also taught by Prof. Hughes of Boston, and we believe her school may be said to he the first one in Brattleboro where such instruction was given. Her school received frequent accessions from outside the town, and also from outside the State. A lady from Connecticut, who attended her school one summer, we heard remark as follows:
"Miss Amelia S. Tyler is the most perfect lady I ever met, and she made use of so choice and perfectly grammatical language in conversation, whether in the schoolroom or out of it, it was one great pleasure of my life to hear her voice."
In the later years of her life, she gave instruction principally to the sons of her brothers, and after they passed on to college. or elsewhere, she gave her attention to teaching boys, up to the last week of her life. It is the universal testimony of all those who had the opportunity of judging., that she performed her duties in the most creditable, faithful manner. And they were duties of a character such as she was eminently fitted by nature and cultivation to perform. As a member of the Episcopal church, she was decided in her convictions, and she had no lack of reasons to give for her decision upon this or any other matter. She died Feb 28, 1878, aged 71.
Extract from the Vermont Phœnix:
"A life so full as hers has been of every patient and loving sacrifice is rare indeed, but when coupled with the high intellectual qualities and Christian virtues which lent such a charm and dignity to Miss Tyler's character, it becomes, after it is ended, a subject over which one lingers with tender admiration. And to the young what a lesson of unselfish devotion it furnishes. Many of our middle-aged and older ladies remember, with grateful affection, the careful instruction they received at her hands, when her school for young ladies was in existence, while in more recent years, and up to the time of her death, the old Tyler homestead has been a school for boys, in the management and instruction of which Miss Tyler possessed rare skill and tact, combined with an unvarying motherly love."
FESSENDEN BROTHERS IN BRATTLEBORO.
William Fessenden, the pioneer business man of Brattleboro, East village, was son of Rev. Thomas K. Fessenden of Walpole, N. H. He was born at the residence of his father, in Walpole, in 1779, and came here soon after learning the trade of printer, in his native town, where he served his time with Messrs. Thomas & Carlyle. He came to this village about 1803. He was married to Miss Patty Holbrook, daughter of Dea. John Holbrook, Oct. 9, 1807, who was left a widow in 1815, with four children; and she seemed to have a charmed life. Time withered the faces of her cotemporaries and covered them up in darkness forever, while her face, at fourscore years, had the smoothness and bloom of youth. Though all her life one of the most attractive, substantial and beautiful women in Brattleboro, no earthly influence, no second love, could swerve her devotion from the memory of the early loved and lost. The character and magnitude of her loss, as well as the loss to the community of that day, the traditions and records of the past inform us.
This was a village of scarce a dozen dwellings, when Mr. Fessenden commenced publishing here a newspaper, called The Reporter, in 1804. Fresh from his apprenticeship, with no capital, but a mind fertile in resources, and active hands to execute his designs, he bravely labored under great disadvantages. Often did he make a journey on horseback, to some distant paper-mill, and return with just sufficient paper bound upon the back of the horse, to issue the Reporter one week. While he was engaged in this enterprise, Anthony Haswell was trying to establish at Bennington the publication of Webster's spelling hook. Mr. Haswell did not succeed, and his effects were sold. Mr. Fessenden, in some way, came into possession of the plates and fixtures for the spelling-book. Under his economical, sagacious management the publication of this work caused the land, once called "Governor's Farm," to assume a very different appearance. Houses sprang up rapidly, and the population very soon doubled. Never before was it more fully demonstrated that success in any enterprise depends more upon the character of the man engaged in it, than upon the character of the business.
Between 60 and 70 years have passed away since Mr. Fessenden, accompanied by his wife and infant, was returning to Brattleboro from a visit to his friends at Hartford, Ct. While riding in a sleigh, some miles from any habitation, Mr. Fessenden was suddenly seized with an apoplectic attack. Mrs. Fessenden, with a child in her arms, and a dying husband at her side, drove to Mr. Pomroy's inn at Southampton, Mass. It was here our early public benefactor soon breathed his last. It was not only that he was a man of great business sagacity, and thereby benefiting himself and others, that he was highly esteemed in this place, but it was his integrity, benevolence, moral excellence and social virtues that won all hearts. Only 36 years of age at his death, and only about 12 years a resident of this place, was certainly a short time to obtain such a hold upon the affections of everybody. But a character like his, diffusing light, hope and joy, is not of slow growth. It is when that light goes out—
"When comes the sable smoke where vanishes the flame,"
a darkness comes so thick it can be felt by all. Venerable men, who attended the funeral services of Mr. Fessenden, have told us, that never before or since that time, has the death of any person caused so universal sorrow in this place. All business of the place was suspended, and when the head of the procession arrived at Prospect Hill Cemetery, the rear rested on Main street, opposite the entrance to Elliot street.
The following extract is taken from the village paper of January, 1815:
"Rarely does it occur that a person who had so much to do with mankind in the common concerns of life, so universally obtained thelr good will ; no man was his enemy, no one spoke of him but in his praise. He was at the head of a widely extended establishment, that he had himself created, which gave employment and bread to a large number of families and individuals in this village, where his early death will be long felt and deeply regretted. Cut off in the prime life and in the midst of his usefulness, his decease has created a void which we almost despair of
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seeing again occupied. He was amiable in private and useful in public life; a most affectionate husband, a fond parent, a dutiful son, an affectionate brother and a steady friend; open-hearted and generous, he had nothing selfish in his nature, and apparently lived more for others than for himself."
His eldest daughter, a lady of uncommon brilliancy and personal attractions, married Hon. Elisha Allen. At the time of this marriage, we think about 1828, Mr. Allen was a young lawyer in this village, just admitted to practice. He was afterwards a distinguished member of Congress from Maine, and received some foreign appointment from the Harrison and Tyler administration. We learn he is now (1870) and has been for many years, minister of finance for the Sandwich Islands.
JOSEPH, JOHN, AND THOMAS GREEN FESSENDEN,
worthy brothers of the subject of the foregoing sketch, have also lived in this place.
after the death of his brother William, became associated with his father-in-law, Dea. John Holbrook, in the publishing business and the manufacture of paper. He owned and occupied, at the time of his decease, the estate afterwards purchased for the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, and is now covered by their extensive buildings. Before Mr. Fessenden bought this place, it was owned and occupied by Mrs. Boott, who afterwards became Mrs. Lee. It was a noted place in her time, and some persons, whose "days are now in the yellow leaf," remember with pleasure their joyful festivities and youthful gatherings at the grand old home of Mrs. Boott.
Possession of this place by Mr. Joseph Fessenden was followed by additional attractions to the surroundings. His wife was a great admirer of flowers, and she caused the introduction of plants, trees and flowers never seen before in this town. Her flower garden was at one time the pride of the village, and very few residents here would omit, in summer time, to direct their visitors or friends from abroad to this charming spot. All we could see of the smiles of nature or charms of art were but outward representations or fitting emblems of the presiding genius that reigned within. It was a sympathy with humanity, manifested in action as well as in sentiment, that was the most prominent feature in the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Fessenden. Ripening for the better land with seeming unconsciousness, weeping with those who wept, and rejoicing with those who did rejoice.
At a society meeting of the Congregational church, of which Mr. F. was a prominent member, he was suddenly stricken with apoplexy, and died in Sept., 1834, aged 57 years. His widow, possessing very nearly the same characteristics as her husband, survived this event but a few months, when she passed away Jan. 28, 1835, and very soon after, her garden of beautiful flowers disappeared. Their children were Franklin H., Thomas K., William, Jane, Elizabeth and Mary.
GEN'L FRANKLIN H. FESSENDEN,
the eldest son, received his commission as Brig.-General in 1834. He was one of the partners in the publishing house at the time a re-organization was effected, in 1836, and the business assumed by the "Brattleboro Typographic Company." He married Henrietta, eldest daughter of Maj, Henry Smith. Their eldest son, Frederick H. Fessenden, was killed while fighting for the Union in the late civil war.
Gen'l Fessenden was a valuable member of society, highly esteemed for his many noble qualities, and died in Brattleboro, much lamented, in 1862, aged 51 years.
obtained a collegiate education and fitted for the ministry. For many years he has been a faithful pastor of the Congregational church in New York State and Connecticut.
In the summer of 1826, William, son of Joseph, a promising lad of 6 years, was drowned in the Connecticut river, opposite the village. His body, and that of another lad, Andrew Jackson Shattuck, drowned at the same time and place, was taken from the water by some members of a circus troupe, at that time near the river making preparations for their exhibition.
In 1836, Elizabeth, noted for personal beauty, healthy appearance, and superior
mental qualities, died with consumption, aged 18 years.
THOMAS GREEN FESSENDEN,
author of "Democracy Unveiled," and "Terrible Tractoration," was the eldest son of this gifted family. He graduated at Dartmouth College in 1796, and soon after removed to Rutland, Vt., where he studied law with Nathaniel Chipman, Esq., and afterwards, if we are not misinformed, was connected in business with Mr. Chipman.
During this period, as well as during his residence at college, Mr. Fessenden contributed articles from his pen for The Eagle, a newspaper of Dartmouth, and the Farmer's Weekly Museum, a well known classic paper of Walpole, N. H. His extreme diffidence produced almost a religious scruple against allowing his name to be attached to any of his productions. Therefore it has not been generally known to whom the public has been indebted for several patriotic songs, and other very humorous pieces of his composition, which have had general circulation and admiration through the country. Like most persons who have ever done anything worthy of note, he passed through the refining furnace.
In 1801,* Mr. Fessenden embarked for London, where he engaged in the construction of a mill, or some kind of machinery, to be operated by the water of the Thames. Several men of rank and influence, among whom was the then Lord Mayor of London, being patrons of the undertaking, and other circumstances holding out a reasonable prospect of great success; Mr. Fessenden ventured on a purchase of one-fifth of the concern; but, being deserted by his associates, before there was sufficient time to give the mill a fair experiment, the whole burden fell upon his shoulders. To use his own expression, in describing the character of his associates, "they were guilty of everything but common sense and common honesty."
Far from home, with limited means and among strangers, amidst vexatious embarrassments and distracting cares with which this engagement constantly harrassed him, he undertook, and within the term of four weeks, a part of which was under the influence of severe sickness, which confined him to his bed, executed the first edition of "Terrible Tractoration." This work received high compliments from the English press, and was favorably compared with "Butler's Hudibras." The first American, from the second London edition, was published here in 1804.
How long Mr. Fessenden made Brattleboro his home, we are not able to state; but he was living here in 1816, and was editor of The Reporter for some time after the death of his brother William. After leaving this place, he became extensively known as editor of the New England Farmer, published in Boston, Mass. For many years we saw for sale "Thomas Green Fessenden's Almanac." Before the almanac became a medium for medical advertisements, this work by Mr. Fessenden had en extensive sale. Some 35 years have elapsed since his life closed in the same, apparently, painless and sudden manner as did the lives of his brothers.
Travelers often look back upon the landscape they have passed over to discover beauties they could never realize or appreciate when too near the vision. As we regretfully look back upon the misused hours, so thickly scattered on that half-century road we have passed over, the memory of "Uncle John," as all made free to call the kind-hearted bachelor, comes to us with the reviving influences of youth and a pleasant Sunday morning in that season of the year when Brattleboro is the abode of fairies. As leader of the choir, we invariably saw him at his post in that old semi-circular gallery of the church, then on the common. Clad in costume, a la Daniel Webster, blue coat, gilt buttons and buff vest, he gave a dignity to that office we have never seen surpassed.
No narrow bounds, no gloomy, dim religious light encircled the form or soul of "Uncle John." His generous heart expanded in the broad, clear, healthy sunlight of Heaven, coming in freely, as it did, unobstructed by the evil devices of modern fashion, into the most properly located church building the people of this village ever saw. With eyes occasionally gazing upward, seemingly,
*From old papers.
112 VERMONT HISTORICAL MAGAZINE.
wafting to some distant sphere, wrapped in a sweet tenor voice, his sentiments, aspirations, or devotions, he became a sort of standpoint to us, where has gathered around many and varied recollections.
The form and features of the first minister ordained in the town comes before us. We again hear, in his emphatic tones, "There will be a meeting for prayer, at the school-house, near the residence of Mr. Jesse French, this evening, at half-past 6 o'clock." That "perfect likeness" of his satanic majesty, on the first page of our catechism, looms up again. Navarino bonnets, nearly as large as an umbrella, pass through the broad aisle. The warm sun exhales the perfume of cologne, Day & Martin's sponge blacking, new "Nankeens" and the roses of June, while we listen to the prayers of saints, the songs of birds, the lisps of children, and the loud-whispered "hush" of mamma, as the little plump-faced cherub is leaving the house in her weary arms.
The four days' meeting, in the summer of 1831, when 8 or 10 faithful "watchmen from the walls of Zion." residing in the neighboring towns, came to the help of our worthy pastor. There came to the parsonage, each by private conveyance, Revs. Messrs. Beckley, Pitman, Newton, Field, Smith, Foster, Barstow of Keene, and "Father Packard," the "old man eloquent," from Shelburne, Mass. After a sermon of great power, from the last named pastor, he suggested "there be, by all present, a session of silent prayer of five minutes duration, after which the choir will please sing the hymn commencing, 'Oh, there will be mourning at the judgment seat of Christ."
Silent indeed was that crowded house, while the face of that venerable man was prostrate on the pulpit cushion. It was but a moment, when again appeared that benevolent face, with tear-drops falling, and grandly solemn, sounded from that old choir —
"Parents and children there will part,
Will part to meet no more."
At his post, calm and serene, though sympathetic his countenance, among that weeping congregation, stood "Uncle John." On his right, at the head of the soprano, was Mrs. S., and like the sad moanings of November, or, as we imagine—
"The cold, odoriferous winds that will blow
Over the earth in the last days"—
sounded a German flute, while Mr. Sikes, then in manhood's prime, was in the rear, sweeping off the heavy notes from his great bass-viol. Mr. and Mrs. S—, after serving in this department of worship thirty years, yet (1870) survive beside their great grandchildren, and they are said to be the most aged couple now living in this town. But "Uncle John" has long since done his work and departed. He served several years, as leader of that large choir, and acted as accountant for the publishing house aforementioned. If he had not so eminent abilities as his gifted brothers, he may have improved his five talents as well as some others have ten. However this may be, the sod now covers all that remains of these four brothers, for whom we do not claim perfection; enough of frailty and imperfection can be said of the best men.
The moral atmosphere of this lovely, secluded valley, was, at one period, far from healthy. The owls and bats of human society, from distant places, did here gather to carry on midnight gambling, with its kindred vices, until the reputation of this village became such that pastors in towns 30 miles distant, warned the young of their flocks to avoid becoming residents of this place. To the influence and labors of the Fessenden family do we largely attribute a desirable change in conditions here. Though William Fessenden was never the member of any church, he offered $400 to the society for establishing religious worship and constructing the first meetinghouse in the East village of Brattleboro.
CHARLES C. FROST, A. M.,
was born in Brattleboro, East village, November 11, 1805. He is, by trade, a shoemaker, and such has been his regular business since the age of 14 to the present time (1878). During the years of his early manhood, he was persuaded to leave the shoe-bench, during the winter months, to act as teacher in the only school-house of this district, then standing in the north part of the village. Mr. Frost was in advance of previous teachers in this school, in his methods of imparting instruction in mathematics, reading exercises, and such branches of study as were then pursued. We re-
member his use of various forms of blocks for illustration in solving geometrical or mathematical problems. The blackboard exercise was, we believe, for the first time in this village, seen in his school. His government and good management of the pupils under his charge met with general approval. We believe his service in school teaching did not exceed two winters, though he was urged again and again, to continue to take charge of the school; but for reasons best known to himself, he preferred not to do so. We have a right to suppose there was not a sufficient compensation offered in those days for a man of his abilities. Other young men could be found who could make as good a quill-pen and thrash as big a boy, as could Mr. Frost, for less pay. A man must possess the last mentioned qualifications, if he would command $15 per month, as the principal instructor in the district school in this village, at that time.
Near the time of his last service to the district, he married Roxana Sargent, granddaughter of John Sargent,* who was the first English child born in Vermont. By this marriage were three sons, viz.: Charles S., Wells S., and Henry B. S. Frost. Mr. Frost established himself in the shoe business in his present location on Main street, in 1831. Since that time, he has become widely and favorably known to men of science and culture, and by savants is considered the highest authority in some departments of science. Therefore it is he has received the degree of A. M. conferred upon him by Dartmouth and Middlebury colleges; also, that he has become a corresponding member of societies for the advancement of learning in this country. Wise men, not only of the East, but from other directions, have come long distances to his unostentatious presence and humble surroundings. For reasons in the foregoing, a biographical sketch of our native townsman, for the history of Brattleboro, is demanded from abroad, and the historian of the State has especially requested it.
Other men of the same avocation have, without doubt, produced as good mechanical work as has the subject of our sketch; but we know of no other mechanic who has been so in love with wisdom, that not a day could pass over his head without searching for her as for hidden treasure. We learn it has been the daily practice of Mr. Frost, from his youth, to devote a portion of every day (Sabbaths excepted) to attainments in the sciences and languages. Some years ago he had made such proficiency as to pursue scientific studies in four languages. This practice has been no interruption to his mechanical or mercantile pursuits, for he has, in this manner, only occupied the intervals of business hours — the fragments of time — many heedlessly let pass in a manner often worse than wasted. He does not appear to be ambitious, or to make any display of his abilities. We have never known him to address an audience, or speak in public on any occasion, or manifest any desire for office or elevation above his legitimate business. From his youth he has ever been plainly dressed, very prudent, and as economical in the use of money as of time, and never has suffered business embarrassments, or offered less than one hundred cents on the dollar of his indebtedness. Other men of his acquirements usually aspire to some profession, professorship or position their attainments qualify them to fill and maintain. He has been offered honorable positions, such as he is qualified to fill, and the compensation far greater than he ever received in his business life, yet he has as decidedly refused the offers as in early life he refused the professor's chair in that old hipped-roof school-house at the north part of the village.
The why of this unremitting, life-long devotion to study is, it seems to us, a satisfaction to the demands of his nature he can satisfy in no other way. His reward seems to be in the doing; but with most people reward is a consequence of doing. At the time Mr. Frost was 49 years of age, the following was said of him in the Country Journal:
"He received his early instructions at a common school of his native village, and has never enjoyed the advantages of the higher seminaries of learning. Being fond of mathematics, he early excelled in that department of study, and was a fair, though
*John Sargent was born at Fort Dummer, and his monument can now be seen in West River Cemetery, in this town.
not remarkable scholar in other branches. When he left school, however, he did not lay aside his books. Some mathematical works falling into his hands, when a youth, he studied them faithfully and became master of their contents. And, having studied mathematics for several years, with little or no assistance except from books, he finally made himself familiar with the most important works on algebra, geometry, the calculus, &c. He turned his attention also to astronomy, geology, mineralogy, meteorology, and botany, in all of which branches of science he has made great proficiency, especially in botany, to which he has for the past few years more particularly devoted himself. His researches into that department of botany relating to the cryptograms, are especially worthy of notice, and are surpassed only by those of a few living botanists. He was, for a time, connected with the Smithsonian Institute, as a reporter on storms, and discharged his duties most acceptably. In the meantime he has kept himself "posted up" on the great moral and political questions and reforms of the age, with most of which he has strong, active sympathies. The Sunday he rigidly devoted to public worship and the reading of works relating to morals, theology and religion.
Mr. Frost has made collections more or less extensive of minerals, insects, shells, grasses, mosses, ferns, lichens, fungi, and plants generally, and arranged them neatly and in a scientific manner. Most of these he has collected with his own hands, not a few of them in early morning, before the usual hours of business; some on excursions made for the purpose, and others whenever business called him abroad, never omitting any opportunity to bring home any rare specimen which his quick, practised eye might discover.
A part of his earnings, which had never been large, he has saved by a simple, frugal mode of living, and appropriated to the purchase of books, so that his library numbers some 600* volumes of valuable works, mostly of a scientific character, selected not for ornament, but for use. Thus by appropriating at times those small sums of money (which might easily have been spent in gratifying the appetite, or in procuring the means of temporary pleasure) in the purchase of books and other instruments of improvement; he has a rich mine of intellectual wealth from which he can constantly draw supplies to enrich and ennoble his mind. Those hours and minutes which some men spend in idleness and loitering about places of concourse, or in gossip, or in dissipation, he has wisely employed in study, and thus acquired an amount of knowledge on a variety of subjects, mostly scientific, which but few can boast of, who have been favored with the best advantages that wealth could purchase, or a college or university furnish.
His knowledge attracts to him those fond of science; those who, like himself, desire to improve, and thus he is brought into communion with some of the hest minds in the community. Scientific men from abroad, when they visit that beautiful village where he resides, find him out and make his acquaintance. And now and then a kindred lover of nature and of science, like his distinguished friend, John L. Russell, of Salem, so well known among men of science, visit him, and together they explore the mountains and valleys of Vermont, so rich in minerals and flowers and plants of almost every description. This, to him, is a source of great pleasure and of no little profit. The satisfaction of seeing beauties and wonders in almost every object in nature, and which are almost entirely hidden from ignorant or unscientific men, is worth an independent fortune."
After Mr. Frost had received a visit from Rev. Dr. C. F. Deemes, of New York, where he was pastor of the "Church of the Strangers," there appeared in "Baldwin's Monthly," from the pen of the above named clergyman, an article from which we extract the following:
"There is nothing at all striking in his appearance, but he was the man in Brattleboro whom I particularly desired to see. I did not venture to present myself, nor did I adopt the roundabout method of endeavoring to make an acquaintance by means of a little trade, I simply asked another gentleman to present me to Mr. C. C. Frost. When we met, I said: 'I wish to know the man who has more friends
*As one-fourth of a century has elapsed since this article we quote, was written, his library is much larger at the present time, (1878,) and now contains 1000 volumes.
among the educated people of Europe, than he has in his native village.' He smiled, dropped his eyes, and replied: 'Well, I reckon I have more friends in Europe than I have in Vermont.' I said: 'I find that there are people in Brattleboro who know no reason why I should desire to become acquainted with you, but I am sure there are a hundred scientific men in various parts of Europe who would be gratified with this opportunity.'
I trust my readers will now wish to know about this Mr. Frost, in whom I was interested. He is a man who knows more about plants, probably, than anyone else in New England, — perhaps than anyone in the. United States. He reads scientific books equally well in four different languages. He has, besides, a very great deal of scientific knowledge beyond botany, — in one department of which he is an authority for scientific men on two continents; perhaps the highest authority since the death of Rev. Dr. Curtis of North Carolina. His knowledge is wide and accurate. He has habits of the closest observation and description. He has been honored by being elected a member of different societies in America and Europe. He did not tell me these things — I knew them; but I desired to hear from his own lips the history of his intellectual progress. It was substantially this:
His father — James Frost* — was a shoemaker, and was the first who opened a store for selling shoes in Brattleboro. At 10 years of age, young Frost noticed that the older scholars brought their sums for him to do, and that in mathematics he was up to boys who were five to nine years older than himself. He did not know what that meant, but his friends afterwards told him that they had discovered in him, from his first years, a considerable mathematical genius. When he was fifteen years of age, his father became possessor of "Hutton's Mathematics," which he had taken for debt from some West Point student. Young Frost looked at it with evident delight, and his father told him that it should be his property if he could read it at twenty-one. At 19 he had mastered the whole course. He went into astronomical mathematics, took up chemistry, learned very much of natural sciences in every department, and all the while attended to his business as a shoemaker. From some neglect of his physical habits, he superinduced mucous dyspepsia. No medical skill in his neighborhood seemed able to relieve him. He went to New York to consult Dr. Willard Parker. While waiting in the ante-room, he admired intently a very handsome bouquet of flowers on the mantel, and was examining them when the doctor called him in. Dr. Parker candidly told him he could do nothing for him: 'But,' said the skillful and honest physician, 'you can do very much for yourself. Are you fond of flowers?' 'Very much so, indeed,' said Mr. Frost. 'Then make it a point to walk one hour in the morning, and one in the evening, looking for flowers.'
He did so. His health constantly and rapidly improved. At first he could hardly keep on his feet through the hour, but he soon learned to walk many miles at a stretch. His scientific mind naturally began to study flowers in their scientific aspects. He began to be a botanist. He ordered Fries' book from London, and paid $12 for it. He did not know until he saw it that it was written in Latin, of which tongue he was ignorant. He bought a Latin grammar, devoted himself to the language, and in six months could read his new book as well as if it was written in English. In the same manner he acquired German and French. He has contributed to our scientific periodicals. He still writes. He showed me an unpublished manuscript on the Boleti of Vermont.
On my first visit, which occupied about an hour, we were interrupted six different times. He went to the counter to cut pegs out of the shoes of a factory girl, to sell a pair of slippers to a gentleman for his wife, to ply his trade with one or two countrywomen, etc. He never asked to be excused, but went to his business and came back and resumed just where he left off. He made no pretences. He did not play the part of a learned cobbler; he simply plunged into the things he and I both wanted to talk about. I asked him how he could be content to spend his days in that little shoe-shop, with these capabilities and acquirements?
'Why,' said he, 'it is the business of my life. Whatever I have acquired of science
*James Frost came to Brattleboro from Paxton, in 1799.
came in the search of health and mental entertainment. Science is not my profession — shoe making is.' "
DR. EZRA CLARK
succeeded Dr. George Holmes Hall, a physician in regular practice, in the sale of drugs and medicines. The inhabitants of this place had, up to this time, purchased their drugs from a medical practitioner, therefore they came to regard the occupations of druggist and physician as one and inseparable. It was on this account, we believe, the subject of our sketch was compelled to bear a title to which he had no claim, and was always known and spoken of here as "Dr. Clark." He came here from Northampton, Mass., in 1809, and during the time he resided here, some 10 or 11 years, was the only druggist in Brattleboro. About 1820, he moved, with his family, to Hartford. Ct., where, from that time until near the close of a long and successful life, he was an extensive iron dealer. N. B. Williston, his former clerk, became his successor in this place, and, in copartnership with E. Hunt, purchased, excepting the building, the entire stock and fixtures of Dr. Clark. The building remained in possession of Dr. Clark over 20 years after his removal to Hartford, but the drug business therein was successfully continued by Messrs. Williston & Hunt, until the time of rival establishments.
Some years ago, we heard frequent mention of Dr. Clark in connection with the events of his time in this place; and at the present time some of the oldest inhabitants now living here find a welcome place for his memory in their reminiscences. With his well-known capability and integrity, such as caused responsible offices to seek his acceptance, but were almost invariably declined, he had some reputation as a wit. and in his conversations and social relations was manifested his ability as well as his approval of instructions found in Proverbs. chap. 25, verse 11.
During the time of his life in this town, the malignity and bitterness of political parties subsided and became greatly mollified under the administration of James Monroe. The way in which Dr. Clark made use of the aforenamed circumstances to give one of his friends a pleasant hit, can best be told in the words of Dr. John P. Warren, who was present on the occasion:
"On a 4th of July celebration of our national independence, which took place at the East village in this town, in the year 1817, and during the halcyon period of President Monroe's administration, a little incident occurred, the history of which by an eye-witness of what he relates, may perhaps serve to amuse some of the readers of the history of the town.
It was an occasion then, as now, fitted to call out a large concourse of all classes of citizens, of this and adjoining towns, to celebrate the day in a style appropriate to the occasion. The venerable John Holbrook of this town was chosen president, and John Phelps, Esq., vice president of the day. A bountiful repast was provided at the American House, of which a large number of citizens partook. Patriotic toasts were read and drank at the table, after the repast was discussed. Among the distinguished guests at the dinner were Dr. Ezra Clark of this village, a vivacious, quick-witted man, and Jeremiah Greenleaf, Esq., of Guilford, the reputed well-known author of 'Grammar Simplified.' "
We will here interrupt Dr. Warren's narrative a moment in regard to the grammar. Mr. Greenleaf claimed that this, to many, dry, uninteresting study, was by his new work relieved of the objectionable features, rendered not only more attractive, but the science made comparatively easy of attainment.
"Mr. Greenleaf had but recently published his book, and transmitted to each of the ex-Presidents of the United States a copy of the same, and from whom he had received complimentary letters, which he had shown to the citizens of the village, for which he had manifested a just pride and no small share of vanity. After the regular toasts had been disposed of, volunteer toasts were called for by the president. Dr. Ezra Clark was the first called. He promptly arose, when all eyes were fastened upon him, and said: 'Mr. President, I give you for a toast, James Monroe' and Jerry Greenleaf — one has mollified party spirit and the other grammar.' The shout and cheering which burst forth, at the announcement, can be better imagined than described."
In what manner this complimentary toast
affected the pacific President of the United States, we cannot say, but all authorities we have consulted declare that our Guilford author was considerably irritated and quite unpleasantly affected.
Several years after the family of Dr. Clark removed to Hartford, his sons came back to Brattleboro, and by their business enterprise assisted materially the growth of the place. The eldest son was the proprietor of a manufactory of "mother-of-pearl" as early as 1833, we think. This material was converted into articles of beauty and utility, such as pearl slides, buttons, etc. He married a daughter of G. R. Ellis, Esq., and returned to Hartford, Ct.
S. M. Clark, who has for a series of years past rendered important services to the United States, in the currency department, established in this place, in 1834, the manufacture of boxwood and ivory rules. His personal attention was given to every department of the works, which for beauty and efficiency were deservedly admired. The rooms in which moved the most approved machinery, and mechanics of great excellence, were models for neatness and cleanliness. No efforts were spared on the part of the proprietor to obtain a high reputation for the articles coming from his manufactory. This business was continued many years by E. A. Stearns. After the death of Mr. Stearns, Charles Mead became his successor in the business, but was compelled to cease operations soon after, by the great fire in 1857. Not only has this business been an important financial benefit to this place in bygone years, but the accuracy and general good character of the work has been highly creditable to all concerned.
Hon. Ezra Clark, Jr., was, in early life, employed as a clerk by Messrs. Williston & Hunt, in this place. Several years after his return to Hartford, Ct., he was elected Representative to Congress from that city.
Born in Chesterfield, N. H., about 1781, he spent the last 50 years of his life mostly in the east village of Brattleboro. His parentage was respectable, but he was partially blind and so unfortunate in his general organization, he had not the ability to properly take care of himself. The labor he engaged in was generally for those the least able to reward him. He found lodgings in some barn or out-house, and during his last years depended mainly upon charity. If any boy insulted him, as they frequently did, Johnson always felt certain the father of that boy would in some way come to grief, by failure in business or some family affliction. We heard him state: "Hon. James Elliot and his excellent wife always treated me well; they were the best friends I ever had in Brattleboro, but I am sorry they are Universalists. Why, if that doctrine is true, there is no hell for them Shaddocks."
But notwithstanding his menial occupation, lack of culture, and unprepossessing externals, he often attracted attention by his quaint remarks and ingenious poetical compositions. Returning disgusted from Nauvoo, whither he was enticed by a Mormon brother, he encountered a fearful storm on Lake Erie, and wrote:
"As o'er Lake Erie's boisterous wave,
I fearfully was driven,
I thought each billow was my grave,
And pray'd to he forgiven.
"Then did I promise to my God,
If safe again on shore,
I'd be submissive to his rod,
And leave the land no more."
Johnson was not a sot, but like many sons of genius that have preceded him, had a fondness for liquid sources of inspiration and yellow snuff, that may have been indispensable to his peculiar mental exercises. The great orator of Kentucky never made a brilliant display of oratory until he had inhaled the aroma from his gold snuff-box. But however much the artificial aids may have assisted our poet, no voice came to his inspiration until he had for some moments intently gazed upon his wrinkled right hand. When urged, as he often was, to produce verses applicable to circumstances, he would sometimes pound his head with his fist, and a suspension of this exercise would be followed by bringing the inside of his expanded hand in contact with the end of his nose. After seemingly writing with his nose upon his hand, he, on one occasion, enlightened his audience upon the history of an individual who urgently requested a rhyme about
himself. From fear of offence, the poet refused to comply, but the individual boisterously insisting he would not and could not be offended by anything he could say, and offering a reward, Johnson thus laid him out:
"Daniel ———, so they say,
To State's Prison he has been;
And if I could have my way,
He would be there again."
Slightly personal as was this production, the person poetized was with difficulty prevented from laying violent hands upon our author, and it was not long before it was made known there was more truth than poetry found upon the wrinkled right hand on this occasion.
Johnson wished for independence, and once tried to improve his fortune by peddling. He made several efforts before he could and any one who would furnish him goods on commission. His success and failure can best be given in his own language:
"John Leavitt let me have a basket of clothes pins, almanacs, and some other articles, that I was to sell or return. I went as far north as Putney, and had very good luck selling my stuff, but when I got back I hadn't got quite money enough to pay for the goods I had sold. I couldn't always tell when I got the right money, and no doubt some folks cheated me. Mr. Leavitt was very kind to me and said, 'Johnson, don't give it up so; perhaps you will do better next time.' He fitted me out with another stock of goods, but I didn't do so well as I did the first time. If the devilish boys would let me alone, I guess I could do something. One boy hit my side with a hard snowball, and you have no idea how it hurt me. I fell down and bruised my bones to all intents.
'I had four dozen clothes pins
And but fifty cents in cash,
When I fell upon my basket
And broke it all to smash.'
"Parents are more to blame than their boys. When I do find out the name of a boy who has insulted me, it is no use to tell his father, for when I have done so the answer generally is, 'Guess he didn't hurt you much; he only wanted a little fun; you'd better go on the town and get away from the boys.' "
But his happiest efforts were reserved for New Year's or Fourth of July. He was ever seeking for some sin with which to charge the Democratic party. From the days of Jackson, in 1829, to President Polk's administration, in 1847, we frequently heard his denunciations. Soon after Van Buren became president, Johnson gave him the following compliment:
"Martin Van Buren — designing man,
With Andrew Jackson laid the plan
To make retrenchment but a sham,
And stain our country black as Ham.'
In 1847 we were fighting Mexico. News came of the bombardment of Vera Cruz. Invited, on July 4th, to give his toast, his bent, aged frame shook with emotion, tears flowed down his withered face, and from quivering lips came feebly forth his first four lines. Warming with the theme, firmer and firmer rose his voice as he proceeded, and when he recited the last line his upraised right foot came down with a vengeance to the floor:
"This glorious day has come again,
The proudest day for freedom's son,
For then a tyrant's galling chain
Broke on the soil our father's won.
But now the cries of Mexan daughters,
With mangled limbs at Vera Cruz;
They tell how freemen's hands can slaughter,
How Independence they abuse.
"Go, Democrat! bow low your head,
Heaven may forgive you this disgrace,
But history's page you've made so red,
All hell and Polk cannot efface."
If all our Johnsonian works had been preserved they would probably be enough to fill a good-sized volume. We give one specimen of his efforts on the first of January, 1847:
"Though little, now, this world can bring
To cheer my pathway to the grave,
Nor early love nor Cupid's wing
Can brace my heart life's scenes to brave
"Yet I can say to rich and poor,
To old and young, to grave and gay,
Accept my hand, I have no more,
A Happy New Year to you this day.
"Improve this time your alms to give
First day of eighteen forty-seven—
For you this year may cease to live,
And your reward be hell or heaven."
Enwrapped in cast-off clothing, Johnson felt his way about these busy streets nearly half a century. From him came to us often the first intelligence of the advent of joys or sorrows to the homes of near or distant neighbors, and, ever on some errand for the sick or well, he considered himself indispensable to the welfare of others. He believed his mission to this suffering world of great importance, and the many gilded flies of fashion, high in the world's regard — but nobody could tell why — had less apology for living.
It was one satisfaction of his life to think an aching void would be occasioned and sadness, like a cloud, come down upon this people, when it could be said of poor, abused, unappreciated. neglected Johnson:
"For thy bent form we look in vain,
No more we hear the echo of thy cane ;
On thee no more boys play mischievous tricks,
For thou hast crossed the fabled river Styx."
His last song ceased, his feeble life went out, as liberty was buckling on her armor for the last great deeds of '61-'65, and peacefully he sank to sleep in his native town.
FRANCIS GOODHUE, ESQ.
We first learn of this gentleman as an active young man living with his wife at Swanzey, N. H. He was born Oct. 26, 1768, married Polly Brown, daughter of Rev. Joseph Brown, in 1788. He moved from Swanzey, N. H., to Wethersfield, Vt., where he came into possession of the famous "Bow Farm" of about 1,000 acres, being of the most fertile and desirable meadow lands of the Connecticut river valley. In 1810 he sold this valuable farm to Hon. William Jarvis, soon after he resigned his office as United States Consul, and who was ever afterwards known as "Consul Jarvis." Soon after selling this farm, Mr. Goodhue settled in Brattleboro — in 1811 — and this place was his home the remainder of his life, which closed in 1837. At the time of his death but two of his five children were living, viz.: Col. Joseph Goodhue and Wells Goodhue. Joseph Goodhue was born in 1794, married Sarah Edwards, of Northampton, Mass., — a descendant of Rev. Jonathan Edwards, — in 1815.
The then small settlement in the part of this town, known as the east village, having extensive meadows north and south of it, attracted the attention of Mr. Goodhue, and he made purchases of said lands north and south, and also a large portion of the lands on Main and other streets of this village, containing, in some localities, buildings thereon.
Hon. John W. Blake, who was living here before 1790, was a large owner of real estate in this village at that time, and he conveyed his title to the same to Mr. Goodhue in 1811. About the same time, Dea. John Holbrook sold to Mr. Goodhue the water-power and buildings east of the south bridge on Main street, containing a saw and grist mill and some machinery for other purposes.
Mr. Goodhue was not a dreamer or builder of air castles. No man in this place better heeded the scriptural injunction, "work while the day lasts." With him every moment was improved in advancing the growth and general prosperity of this little settlement on the western bank of the Connecticut river. Though diligent and attentive to the many small and needful details of life and business, he was ever awake to great occasions. About 14 years had passed, after his settlement here, when an enterprise of great importance aroused the public attention. The great Erie canal, so often called in derision while in progress of construction, "Clinton's Ditch,'' was universally allowed to be a grand success. A canal was made from New Haven, Ct., to Northampton, Mass., and it was proposed to extend the same to the town of Brattleboro. G. C. Hall, Mr. Goodhue, and other of our business men became interested in the enterprise. Surveyors and civil engineers were put on the route, and while performing their duties in this vicinity they were accompanied by Mr. Goodhue, whom we well remember seeing hold of one end of the chain, measuring through the forest. While the public mind was discussing and deliberating upon this matter, a little noisy steamboat came screaming up the Connecticut to tell the people, "you have a canal, a natural one, leading to the ocean, and all that is needed to make Brattleboro a seaport is to apply the heat and put on the steam." The canal project was laid upon the table, and Mr. Goodhue, with others in this place, gave their attention and money to give the
experiment of steam navigation a fair trial. Mr. Goodhue lived to see this enterprise a failure, and not until about 11 years after his death was the grand success of transportation accomplished by railroad, and his son, Col. Joseph Goodhue, and his grandson, Francis Goodhue, Esq., have acted from the first on the board of directors of the Vermont & Massachusetts Railroad.
This intensely practical man seemed to receive a new inspiration in this his last home, for he became everything this village needed at that time. He paid no regard to the old adage, "Don't have too many irons in the fire." He threw in hammer and tongs, shovel and poker all at once. He carried on wool-carding, cloth-dressing, saw and grain mill, cotton spinning, distilling, and a large store of such goods as were sold from country stores at that time. He was also erecting a building of some kind every year, and largely, at the same time, engaged in farming, yet his note was never worth less than 100 cents on the dollar.
Like the most of our successful men, his first lessons came from the hard school of necessity, thereby acquiring a discipline and valuable experience, with natural shrewdness and sagacity, which made him, as he walked these streets in the prime of manhood, nearly 70 years ago, an important and valuable acquisition to this community. He was not one of those half-cent men, who dare not trust a dollar out of their sight, and get all their money concentrated where they can sit down upon it over night, but he confidingly spread out his capital to the winds of Heaven, or "cast his bread upon the waters to return to him after many days."
We know of no man of property who has settled here who manifested more real confidence in our future than did Mr. Goodhue. He completely identified himself with our private and public interests, and was ever ready to listen to and assist in any project presenting a reasonable prospect of tending to the public welfare. His hopefulness and cheerfulness was a constant inspiration to those with whom he came in contact, and the encouraging grasp he gave the hand of honest industry can be seen, in its effects, at the present day. He was generally successful, and hewas always gratified to learn that others were so; and was a young man unfortunate in business, instead of accelerating his misfortunes or downward course, he had a hopeful word to say, and could generally find some employment for him until he could do better. His public liberality was apparent in several instances. He gave valuable locations upon his lands on Main street for the old Brattleboro Bank, chartered in 1821, and the Unitarian and Congregational church buildings.
The old-time, open-handed hospitality was not lacking at the house and home of Mrs. Francis Goodhue. Old people who, in their youth, had rendered service to Mr. Goodhue and lived in his family, we have heard speak in high praise of the kind treatment and good fare they invariably received at the hands of Mrs. Goodhue. The ladies of the village, who gathered on certain occasions around her dining-table, ever considered her a model housekeeper in the selection of refreshments, the manner in which they were served, general attractiveness and neatness of surroundings, and the cordial welcome with which all were received.
George B. Blake, Esq., of Boston, indulged in pleasant reminiscences of his boyhood, when he, a particular favorite of Mrs. Goodhue, assisted her in her entertainments. To a Brattleboro friend he said: "No ladies of the present day so command my reverence as did those of the olden time who composed the Ladies' Benevolent Society of Brattleboro. In summer time each one of them wore a green silk calash, covering a lace cap, white as the new fallen snow. When they entered the house of Mrs. Goodhue, the calash was removed, but the cap remained, giving a uniformity and neatness to their appearance. There was a stateliness and dignity in their manners not surpassed by the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. Never have I felt a more weighty responsibility devolving upon me than when, under the direction of Mrs. Goodhue, I assisted her in the entertainment of the ladies of this society, and no food I have since partaken had such a relish or gave me so complete satisfaction as, in the long ago, came from the table of my dear old friend in Brattleboro."
The memory of Mrs. Francis Goodhue, who, by some years, survived her husband, has not perished; it yet lives in the minds of many in this place, as of those long removed to other places. Her visits to the homes of the afflicted were not simply visits of condolence. She was ever seeking a way whereby some real benefit, some tangible good might be effected, and if there was any apparent possibility of human aid to the suffering she was capable of rendering, her efforts in this direction were never lacking. Her hired help were often summoned to her assistance, with needed supplies, on her errands of mercy to the sick and destitute, and she has often passed the whole night in her ministrations, performing the humblest offices in the abodes of poverty, by the bedside of the sick and dying.
Her only daughter, Lucy, was remarkable for her external beauty, and universally admired for her many virtues. She became the first wife of John R. Blake, Esq., who for many years, until his death in 1873, was of the banking firm of Blake Brothers, of Boston, one of the most reliable financial houses in New England. The members of this firm were the sons of John W. Blake, Esq., and were both natives of the East village of Brattleboro.
Her son, Col. Joseph Goodhue, soon after his marriage, came into possession of the large meadow farm, occupied in early times, before the war of the Revolution, by John Arms, one of the earliest settlers. Col. Goodhue was a model of industry, and during a large portion of his life occupied various town offices, and was the chief in command of the regiment in this vicinity. Being one of the most economical, successful, cautious men in this town, yet he was one of the largest investors here in the first railroad enterprise — the Vermont & Massachusetts railroad — and was one of the board of directors during the remainder of his life.
At the time of his death, in 1861, his children were all married, settled mostly in this place, and constitute, with their families, a very important and influential part of this community.
Mary Ann was married to William P. Cune, now president of the old bank, chartered here in 1821 and renewed in 1863. Harriet was married in 1835 to Ex-Governor Holbrook. Lucy married Dr. Hall, of Northampton, Mass., in 1836. Sarah married first, Albert H. Bull, Esq., of Hartford, Ct., who, before 1860, gave $2000 to the Brattleboro Library Association. Her second husband, Dr. E. R. Chapin, was, for 15 years, superintendent physician of the Asylum for the Insane, at Flatbush, near the city of New York. Francis, the only son, married Mary Brooks, daughter of Capt. William Brooks.
the only brother of Joseph, was 10 years of age when he came here with his father in 1811. He fitted for college and continued his studies about a year after he entered college, and came back to Brattleboro to engage in trade with his father. He was married to Laura Barnard about 1828. They had three children — Lucy, Charles and Julia. Lucy married Rev. George Draper; Julia, Thomas Walter, of New York; Charles B., a lady from Pomfret, Ct.
Mr. and Mrs. Wells Goodhue are not living, and the only survivors of the family, Charles and Lucy, are not (1879) residents of Brattleboro.
Mr. Wells Goodhue passed the most of his life in Brattleboro. He was a careful, prudent man, and never manifested any desire for office, though he was a man of excellent administrative ability and sterling honesty. His quiet, sagacious comments and remarks to those with whom he was familiar, respecting public movements and passing events, gave evidence of much reflection and discrimination. Above all things he dreaded contention, and rarely would discuss exciting questions. His wealth constantly accumulated by real estate transactions and judicious management of his capital. Late in life he was elected president of the first bank here, chartered in 1821, and reconstructed in 1863. Much to the regret of those most interested in the institution, he could be retained in said office but a short time. A few months after his resignation he died, in 1874, at the home of his only daughter, Mrs. Draper, near the city of New York.
The subject of this sketch was the youngest son of Major Moses Seymour, of
Litchfield, Conn. ; born July 8, 1783. He received a good academical education at the Morris Academy, South Farms, Conn., and afterwards was thoroughly trained in the business and duties of a merchant's clerk in a mercantile establishment at Brooklyn, Conn.
Horatio Seymour, the eldest brother, was educated for the legal profession, and settled in Middlebury, Vt. He became a distinguished lawyer in western Vermont, and for twelve years represented the State in the United States Senate. Near the close of the last century, Henry Seymour, an older brother of Epaphro Seymour, came to Guilford and was extensively engaged in mercantile business. Subsequently Henry Seymour, about 1802, induced his brother Epaphro to come to Guilford and engage in trade, although he was less than twenty years of age when he commenced business. At this time Guilford was the most populous and prosperous town in Vermont.
Zadock Thompson, in his Gazetteer of Vermont, published in 1820, speaks as follows of Henry Seymour and others, formerly residents of Guilford:
"Among the early settlers of Guilford, since 1796 was Hon. Royall Tyler, Hon. James Elliot, Hon. Micah Townshend, Hon. John Noyes, Hon. Henry Seymour, and others of lesser note, who were identified with the history of the State, but who have since removed from the town."
After Epaphro Seymour was established in business in 1802, Henry Seymour removed to Pompey, Onondaga Co., N. Y., and engaged largely in trade, accumulating a handsome property. Subsequently, in 1810, he removed to Utica, N. Y., and was appointed one of the canal commissioners of that State, and while supervising the construction of the canal, he acquired a large fortune by successful investments in real estate.
Epaphro continued in mercantile business in Guilford until 1814, when he removed to Brattleboro, and was associated with Geo. F. Atherton in mercantile business. He continued in trade in Brattleboro some three or four years, after which he resided alternately at Guilford and Brattleboro. He spent the winter of 1820 at Middlebury, Vt. He was regarded as a discreet business man of most excellent judgment, and could readily and correctly estimate the value of all kinds of property that passed under his observation, and while sojourning in Brattleboro, Guilford, or elsewhere, he was constantly investing his money in a great variety of enterprises. which uniformly proved productive.
In the fall of 1821, the Legislature of Vermont chartered a bank at Brattleboro, which was organized the following year, and Mr. Seymour was chosen cashier thereof by the directors in March, 1822, and continued to hold the office until Jan. 1, 1837, when he was elected president of the bank to fill the vacancy made by the resignation of John Holbrook. Mr. Seymour continued to hold the office and faithfully discharge the duties thereof until his death, June 10, 1854. By reason of his early and careful training, and his long experience in mercantile business, he was exceedingly practical in his method, and had acquired a perfect familiarity with all the details and complications of the most intricate business transactions, and was enabled to conduct the business of the bank profitably and successfully during the time of his official connection therewith, either as cashier or president. He settled the estate of Hon. Jonathan Hunt, as executor, without excuting bonds for the faithful discharge of the trust which the testator had reposed in his integrity and fidelity, and the estate inventoried at a sum exceeding $150,000. During the year 1837 and from 1837 to 1840, inclusive, he was associated with his nephew, Horatio Seymour, of Utica, N. Y., and O. S. Seymour, of Litchfield, Conn., in settling the estate of his brother, Henry Seymour, who died at Utica, N. Y. The estate was very large and widely scattered, exceeding $250,000 in amount. He was greatly respected for his honesty and integrity and unflinching fidelity in the discharge of his fiduciary engagements. While connected with the bank his time and energies were almost exclusively devoted to the maintenance of its reputation for soundness and solvency. His example, method and manner of conducting the business of the bank has since been strictly followed by his successors, and, at this day, it is regarded as one of the soundest in the State. He was
a great admirer of a fine horse, and manifested a deep interest in the improvement of the breed of horses in Brattleboro and vicinity. At his death he was keeping in his stables eight brood mares with colts, that were sired by the celebrated Gifford Morgan, which was his favorite horse. Some of its descendants are now owned in Windham county, and old horse fanciers readily detect in them the symmetry and prominent characteristics of the sire which was always regarded as the noblest horse in New England, forty years ago.
Mr. Seymour was eminently practical in all his views and opinions, and of most excellent judgment. The public, particularly those who were about to engage in new enterprises, reposing great confidence in his superior financial ability, uniformly consulted him in relation to their proposed investments and were always controlled by his opinions. His advice was always eagerly sought and adopted. He constantly warned all who were inclined to engage in speculations against the folly and danger which was so alluring to a man with a greed for wealth, and so dangerous to him when the money of others is under his control. He begged of his friends to make no investments but those that were perfectly legitimate and promised a safe return.
The community reposed the most implicit confidence in his integrity. Before the adoption of savings banks and trust companies in this State, large sums of money were entrusted to his care and keeping, and in many cases with a simple minute noting the amount, yet for the period of more than forty years not a whisper was ever breathed against his fidelity in the discharge of any fiduciary engagement he had assumed. He was a generous hearted man to the pour and unfortunate, and kindly aided young men who were struggling against adversity and poverty to obtain an education and qualify themselves for professional pursuits He married Miss Mary Root, an estimable young lady, sister of Mrs. Judge Whitney, of Brattleboro. He had but one child, a boy, who died Nov. 23, 1830, aged two years and six months.
CHAS. K. FIELD.
CAPT. SAMUEL ROOT.
Samuel Root was the son of Moses Root; born at Montague, Mass., Oct., 9, 1788; came to Brattleboro when he was about 20 years of age, and worked for Samuel Dickenson and learned of him the trade of a blacksmith. After laboring for Dickenson a few years and completing his engagement, he bought of him his shop, tools and good will and commenced business for himself.
He married Catherine Sargeant, Feb. 6, 1817, by whom he had five children, only two of whom survived him — Frances E. and Catherine. Frances E. married Geo. C. Lawrence, who is still living. Catherine married Samuel H. Price, who enlisted in the Union army and died in the services of his country in 1863.
Frances E. Lawrence left three children — Elizabeth, Richard and Henry R. Elizabeth and Richard died some years ago, and Henry R. is still living. Catherine had two sons by her husband, Mr. Price, Francis and Edward, who reside with their mother in Chicago, and are engaged in trade.
Capt. Root was a man of great industry, of an indomitable will and always exercised the most rigid economy. Forty years ago New England and New York were chartering banks by the score, and the prudent captain invested his surplus gains and accumulations in bank shares, and his investments uniformly proved productive and added largely to his wealth. At the time of his death he owned a large amount of stock in some 10 or 15 banks in New England and New York.
His stern unflinching honesty and practical good sense rendered him exceedingly popular with his neighbors and townsmen, and he was annually elected to responsible offices in town, the duties of which he discharged with great fidelity. He represented the town in the General Assembly of the State; was oftentimes chosen one of the selectmen of the town, and was for many years trustee and keeper of the surplus money, a large fund sequestered and set apart for the support and maintenance of common schools in town. The fund was large and great care was required in obtaining ample security for loans that were made of portions of the same. He was for
a long time a director in the old bank, and was elected president thereof after the death of Mr. Seymour, in 1854, and continued to hold the office until his own death in March, 1869.
For the last fifty years of his life he had filled the most important municipal offices in town. As a citizen, he discharged all his duties faithfully, and distinguished himself by the zeal and energy with which he entered into all the enterprises which were, calculated to promote the growth and prosperity of the town. Faithful to all with whom he had dealings, honorable and upright to all employees, and in all his relations, social or financial, his conduct was characterized by the utmost frankness and sincerity. He followed closely the policy adopted by his distinguished predecessor, Mr. Seymour, in the management of the bank. He never invested his money in wild speculations, and while president of the bank he uniformly declined loaning any of its funds to its officers, or to those who applied for loans for mere speculative purposes. He condemned the speculative mania which prevailed during his official connection with the bank, and which was urged as a partial justification of various and illegitimate investments, such as cutting up farms into house lots, running up prices beyond reason, and expecting every purchase to yield a profit. The world regarded this as legitimate and justified by the business necessities of the country. Not so Capt. Root. He resisted the policy and denounced it as vain and delusive, and flatly refused to approve any loans for such false and delusive purposes. Time has exposed the folly of the speculative mania which prevailed during the currency inflation, and fully justified Captain Root in denouncing it as a sham and a blunder. He died March 15, 1869, sincerely mourned and regretted by a large circle of relatives and friends.
CHAS. K. FIELD.
Ex-Governor Frederick Holbrook was born Feb. 15, 1814. He was the youngest of ten children, who constituted the family of Deacon John Holbrook, and is now the only representative here of this family, which formerly occupied a large sphere ofusefulness and effectually exercised a creative power in the forming period of the East village of Brattleboro. The head of this family was so identified with the building up of this place, that it is found impossible to give a history of the same without the association of his name with our account of the causes of the existence and early progress of this village.
The mother of Gov. Holbrook, a lady of genuine christian graces and strength of character, was the daughter of Hon. Luke Knowlton, of Newfane. She moulded to a forming degree the young life of the future governor, who manifested on the very threshold of manhood a love for theoretical and practical agriculture. There was an increasing neglect of this important avocation, upon which our national greatness depends, which so aroused the subject of our sketch that he brought all the powers of his mind to bear upon the subject. His early culture, observing qualities and travels in Europe, enabled him to furnish valuable and interesting articles on the subject of agriculture for the leading journals of the science in the United States; they possessed a charm to a class of readers heretofore indifferent to such matters, and were extensively copied by the local press through the country.
Mr. Holbrook was wary and cautious in advancing new theories. All positions he assumed were thoroughly examined and considered before being submitted to the public. The reflective department of his mental organism and love for truth being largely predominant in his nature, he avoided hasty conclusions; therefore, he seldom, if ever, had occasion to alter or retract any statements he had committed to the hands of the printer. Being a practical as well as a theoretical agriculturalist, his theories were well tested before publication. It does not require superior discrimination to discover in his writings a patriotic animus, a truthfulness and honesty of purpose. He loved to practice as well as to preach, and gentlemen farmers, so-called, were often surprised to find the man, who could so effectually and gracefully wield the pen, holding the plough or reaping his fields.
In 1847, while thus busy with his farm, he was chosen Register of Probate for the
district of Marlboro, and in 1850 he was elected president of our State Agricultural Society, and held that office eight years. In 1849–'50, his fellow-citizens sent him as Senator from Windham county to the State Legislature, and during his term of office, as chairman of a special committee on agriculture, he projected a petition to Congress for the establishment of a national "Bureau of Agriculture." During the next legislative session at Washington the President of the United States commended the measure proposed, and soon our national department of agriculture became a reality.
His foreign tour, to which brief allusion is made in the foregoing, was in early life, soon after leaving his studies and a short time before steamship navigation of the Atlantic. Over fifty days confinement in a sailing vessel, on his return home, beating against adverse winds, did not give him a rose-colored view of a life on the ocean wave. He suggested to the captain of the ship the employment of steam power in crossing the ocean, but, with a wise shake of the head, the veteran mariner declared the thing impossible.
In this brief presentation of incidents in the life of Mr. Holbrook may be found some of the causes of his elevation to the chair of State in 1861. During his term of office was the darkest period of our national existence. Upon no governor of this State ever rested so grave responsibilities, or of whom was required so arduous, unremitting labors as devolved upon Governor Holbrook and his able cabinet. When gloomy croakers and defenders of rebellion were making every possible effort to weaken the already bleeding hands sustaining our old national ensign, the utterances of Vermont, through her executive, had no uncertain sound to the ear of Lincoln or to his foes. Over 30,000 Vermont soldiers, for the Union army, confirmed those utterances and formed a living wall of steel in protection of that "Star Spangled Banner," which, in the long ago, had so often waved successful defiance to the enemies of liberty, and hecame a worshiped emblem of our nation's glory. The proclamations of our governor, in that period of peril, were resolute, calm and hopeful, with no sign of flinching or cessation of heavy blows at the active enemies of our government, so long as they continued such. Official declarations of this character from the northern frontier at that time, tended in no small degree to dispel the gloom oft-times surrounding the President and his cabinet. While life was in the extremities of the nation, there was reasonable hope of soundness in the body of the same. The clear light of patriotism, from the distant heights of freedom, pierced through the dark cloud of thieves, spies and assassins infesting the home of Lincoln from the beginning of the rebellion to its close.
Before assuming, and since leaving the chair of State, Mr. Holbrook has declined several invitations to official position, including appointments from the general government. He has never been an office seeker, but when induced to accept of a position, or to commence the accomplishment of any duty, however humble, his consideration, first and last, has been for thoroughness and such action as, in his judgment, would secure the best results.
As chairman of the board of trustees of the Vermont Asylum, he has ever been awake to the best good of the patients and the general welfare of that institution. As a director of the agricultural department, for which he is eminently qualified, his position would he difficult to fill.
In confirmation of some statements in in the foregoing sketch of Gov. Holbrook, we give the following extract from his message in the dark hours of 1862:
[Extract from a Vermont paper].
"We should gratefully remember the patriotic devotion manifested by those who. unable to bear arms and endure the hardships and fatigues of the soldier, have nobly aided and encouraged others to do so, contributing liberally of their means to provide for the brave volunteers. The lasting thanks of every patriot are due to the women of Vermont, for so freely giving up their husbands, brothers and sons for the struggle, and their sympathy and zeal in furnishing, in such variety and abundance, the articles of their handiwork, and the delicacies indispensable to the comfort of the camps and hospitals, and to the alleviation of the sufferings of sick and wounded soldiers, lonely and far from kindred and home.
Thus will it ever be with Vermont to the end of the war; she will never falter nor look back, but will press forward, until, if need be, her last dollar is expended, and her last son falls upholding in his dying grasp 'the flag of our Union,' and with his latest breath ejaculating a benediction upon his country."
A large portion of the document is necessarily devoted to the finances of the State. He then reviews the work of raising and equipping the several regiments, and with brief allusions to the several State institutions, to which he has been able to give but little attention, owing to the pressure of other duties. He thus concludes:
"It is an occasion for renewed congratulation that the people of Vermont have again shown their devotion to the cause of the Union, by laying aside, almost unanimously, all considerations of a partisan character, and uniting in earnest support of the National Government, which is charged with the high duty of defending and maintaining that sacred cause. The position of Vermont in this great life struggle of the nation, can neither be questioned nor misunderstood. The blood of her sons has reddened many battle-fields, and their valor and endurance have vindicated her historical renown. Her people admit no thought of concession to, or compromise with, the causeless and wicked rebellion now striking at the vitals of the nation, and their determination is fixed to endure and fight, and sacrifice, till the government, established by the wisdom, the patriotism, and the blood of our fathers, is restored in its beneficent and rightful sway over every portion of the Union.
"The struggle in which the nation is engaged is clearly one of life or death. Even though the scenes of blood and the night of calamity through which we may be called to pass, shall shake the land to its foundations and try us to the utmost, yet, trusting in the God of our fathers, we will not doubt that life is to be the result, and that the nation is to be purified by its trials and established and exalted beyond the expectations of its founders. Our fathers found a great evil, which they deplored, but could not separate from the good. Current events are tending to produce that separation, by uprooting the evil. The rebellion, if persisted in, may be the means, under Providence, of annihilating the institution of slavery, which all acknowledge to have been its cause. The territory of the United States must he preserved in its integrity.
"Neither foreign power nor domestic insurrection can be allowed to establish a rival government within any portion of that territory, and, therefore, all means justified by the ultimate law of self-preservation and compatible with Christian civilization, must be applied to the permanent suppression of the present rebellion. The recent Proclamation of Emancipation by the President of the United States, is a logical result of the slaveholders' rebellion, and as such it is accepted, and will be sustained by all loyal men. It is a 'military necessity,' and has the recommendation to our people of according with both justice and humanity.
Gentlemen of time Senate and house of Representatives:
"Grave and weighty responsibilities rest upon us in this great crisis. Let us show ourselves equal to our duties. Whatever we have to do, let us do it with one heart and one mind. However humble, we are a part of the American Union, and have a vital interest in its preservation. It is a Union consecrated to Freedom, and it falls to our lot and that of our generation to prove the ability of freemen to defend and preserve our birthright. Our institutions are passing through a baptism of blood. They must and will be maintained at whatever sacrifice; and in the momentous issue which is upon us, neither temporary reverses will discourage, nor partial successes unduly elevate us. Relying upon the incontrovertible justice of our case, the bravery, patriotism and intelligence of the soldiers of the Union, the unconquerable determination, and the spirit of American Liberty actuating the loyal people of the country, we may confidently look forward to and patiently wait the time when our beloved Republic, under the providence of God, shall be re-established in unity and power, and afford a triumphant vindication of the ability of a free people to govern themselves.
HON. SAMUEL CLARK.
[We are indebted to the Rev. Joseph Chandler, of West Brattleboro, for a copy of this sketch, prepared by him for, and read before, the Vermont Historical Society, at its meeting in this village].
Hon. Samuel Clark, a member of this society, whose death at the age of 84 gives occasion for this notice, was for many years a prominent and highly respectable citizen of Brattleboro. He was born in Lebanon, Conn., in that part of the town which is now Columbia, Feb. 28, 1777. His father was Samuel Clark, of Lebanon, son of Timothy Clark of the same town, whose father, with a Mr. Dewey, purchased a tract of land of the Indians, which tract was called, down to a late day, the Clark & Dewey purchase. There is a tradition that the first ancestors of these Clarks in this country came from England in the ship Ann, in the year 1622.
Through his mother, Sarah Cushman, the subject of this notice was a lineal descendant, in the seventh generation, of Robert Cushman, who came to Plymouth, Mass., in 1621, and who, though not a clergyman nor even a "Teaching Elder," prepared and delivered a sermon on Wednesday, Dec. 12, the day before he sailed for England. This was the first sermon delivered in New England that was printed. The main facts of his life, with a list of his descendants in this country, are recorded in the volume of "Cushman Genealogy," prepared by Hon. Henry W. Cushman, of Bernardston, Mass., to which volume we are indebted for the main facts of this sketch.
The family of which our deceased friend was the ninth, consisted of seven sons and four daughters. After the death of his brother Eliphas in 1850, who died at Tolland, Conn., at the age of 82, he was the sole survivor of the family. Till 18 years of age, he labored on his father's farm in Lebanon. Then, after attending a high school for about four months, he went to Massachusetts, and for about, three years was engaged in teaching school and as a clerk in a country store in Bernardston, Greenfield and Leyden. He then removed to Dover, Vt., where he resided for some six years, engaged in mercantile business. Sept. 1, 1800, he married Susan Johnson, who was born in September, 1778, in Ellington, Conn., daughter of David Johnson, of Dover, Vt. In 1804, he removed to Guilford, where he prosecuted his business successfully for nine years. In 1813, he went back to Dover, which town, in 1814, he represented in the State Legislature. In 1815, he took up his residence in West Brattleboro, and for about 15 years carried on mercantile business there. In the years 1820-21, and also 1825-26, he was the representative of the town in the Legislature. For three years, commencing with 1827, he was a member of the Council of this State. In 1833 he was first assistant judge of the county court for this county. In 1836 he was a delegate from this town to the convention for revising the Constitution. While in the Legislature, he was chiefly instrumental in obtaining the charter of Brattleboro Bank, of which he was for years following a director. For 13 years he was one of the trustees of the Hospital for the Insane, in this town, and for 35 years was an active member of the Board of Trustees of Brattleboro Academy, ever manifesting a lively interest in the institution by his large contributions for building and other purposes, and by his faithfulness to promote the welfare of the school.
His religious life is supposed to have commenced during the year 1833, at which time, in company with many others, he joined the Congregational Church in West Brattleboro, then under the pastoral care of Rev. Jedediah L. Stark.
He was, in his sphere, a strong man; fitted by nature, and by the wise and diligent use of his energies to exert an influence in society. Though possessed of strong feelings, his judgment was sound and his opinion was much valued by his neighbors. Prudence and sagacity were marked traits in his character. Another pleasing trait was his readiness to make amends for anything done under the impulse of excited feelings, which he was led afterwards to look upon as wrong. He was not one of those men, of assumed infallibility who make it a point never to take back anything, and never to acknowledge themselves mistaken. In many instances where he was called upon to express his opinion and to give his vote, he
seldom hesitated to declare himself faithfully and frankly upon the point in question; and almost as often he would express his willingness to acquiesce in the decision of the majority against him. In all matters, however, involving moral principle, or that seemed to him of superlative importance, he was firm and unyielding; and he brought all the energies of his strong and impetuous nature to bear upon the business of maintaining and carrying out his convictions.
His interest in the welfare of the church with which he was connected was deep and unabated to the last. His place in the sanctuary was seldom vacant while health and strength were given him. He was a conscientious, not a captious hearer of preaching. Before the infirmities of age prevented, he was quite regular in his attendance upon the prayer meetings of the church, particularly the monthly concert in which he manifested special interest, and in which he seldom failed to take a part. While he ordinarily gave something to all the ordinary objects of christian benevolence, he felt more deeply the importance of the foreign missionary enterprise than of any other, and his contributions for that object were regular and freely tendered.
His bequests for charitable and public purposes were as follows: To the A. B. C. F. M., $5,000; to the Vermont Dom. Miss. Society, $3,000; to the Am. Colonization Society, $1,000; to the Eccl. Society of the Cong. Church of West Brattleboro, $1,000; to the corporation of Brattleboro, Academy, for maintaining a school for boys, $1,000.
Admonished by the infirmities of age and by several slight attacks of paralysis, that the end was drawing nigh, he arranged his worldly affairs accordingly and "set his house in order." His last illness was short, and he fell asleep April 9, 1861.
Among the enterprising men who have increased the business facilities, public conveniencies and beauty of modern Brattleboro, is Edward Crosby, who was born in this town in 1815. Soon after this event his father, Godfrey Crosby, removed with his family to Marlboro in this county. His father was also a native of this town, and was born in 1784. He was of English ancestry, and received what was then called a good education. Beginning at the age of 17, he taught school several terms in succession in the West River district. After serving several years as a clerk in the store of Dea. John Holbrook, he married Sylvia Cune and commenced trade in Dummerston, assisted by Mr. Holbrook, who held him in high estimation. Persons now living heard Mr. Holbrook say, "Godfrey Crosby was a man of superior talents, energetic and faithful in the discharge of trusts, with few equals in penmanship and as an accountant."
The business venture of Mr. Crosby in Dummerston proving unfortunate, he again resorted to school teaching, but died at the early age of 33 years, leaving his family in destitute circumstances. The family at this time consisted of his widow and three children, viz.: Enos, Fanny and Edward.
How well Edward improved the stern lessons of poverty and deprivation of early life, the history of his life in Brattleboro since 1847 will testify. While about half a million of dollars have been annually passing through his hands in the flour trade, requiring unremitting care and responsibility, he has erected three large brick blocks in the heart of the village, the larger building, known as "Crosby Block," containing banks, stores, &c., and the others for mechanical purposes, with steam power and the best of modern conveniences.
In 1879 he finished and opened, for the public accommodation, a large and beautiful hall, known as "Crosby Opera Hall." In 1870-71, he was elected to represent his native town in the State Legislature, thereby giving evidence of public estimation and approval. As he is yet a live, progressive man, in practice as in theories, his future may be even more interesting than the past.
[Extract from the Illinois volume of the United States Biographical Dictionary, published at New York and Chicago, 1876].
He was born in Brattleboro, Vt., March 16, 1816; the son of John Burnham and
* "The Yankee genius in the bud," when rescued by Miss Mary Tyler, in 1821. See concluding pages of the Tyler papers.
Rachel nee Rossiter, both of whom were natives of Connecticut. He is a descendant of Thomas Burnham, who emigrated from England and settled in Hartford, Conn., about 1640, John's educational advantages, very limited in extent, were such as the common schools of his native place would afford. He early developed a fondness for the reading of philosophical works and kindred subjects, but at an early age was obliged to close his studies and assist his father, who was a worker in gold and silver, also a brass founder and coppersmith. Three years he traveled through New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine selling and fitting trusses. Going to Ellington, Conn., he there engaged with Mr. Henry McCray in the pump business, and soon began the sale of the now well-known "hydraulic ram." He continued in this business until he was nearly 30 years of age, and during that time found so many who wanted running water, where they had not fall enough to use the ram, that his attention was diverted to the wind as a motive power. Here was the power of millions of horses, sweeping through the heavens over every man's farm throughout the known world, and might be utilized to the saving of human, the dearest of all labor. It was this thought that inspired him and urged him on to the prosecution of that invention which has more than met his must hopeful expectations.
There was at that time no manufactory of small wind mills in this country, and probably none in the world, the reason Mr. Burnham divined to be the difficulty in producing a machine that could stand the strong winds, and he felt that if this difficulty could be obviated, the success of such a machine would be certain. Feeling that he had but limited abilities as an inventor, he applied to Mr. Daniel Halladay, then conducting a small machine shop in the village, and after several times calling his attention to the subject, received from him the following reply:
"I can invent a self-regulating wind mill that will be safe from all danger of destruction in violent wind storms; but after I should get it made, I don't know of a single man in all the world who would want one."
Being assured by Burnham that he would find men who wanted them, he began and soon produced a self-regulating wind mill. The two now united in the enterprise, and soon organized a joint stock company in South Coventry, Conn., with Mr. Halladay as superintendent and Mr. Burnham as general agent. The wonderful growth of the enterprise is abundantly shown in the following fact: When the machine was first entered at a State fair for a premium, it had to be entered as a miscellaneous article, as no such thing had ever been entered on a fair ground for a premium. To-day they are seen at every State and County fair throughout the country, while millions are invested in their manufacture, and they have become a common article for pumping at railroad water stations, on farms, and also for running farm machinery, and during six or eight years past they have been successfully used for flouring mill purposes, a single machine being sufficient to run three sets of burrs. The flour produced is, in quality, equal to that manufactured by steam or water power, and is furnished at a much less expense.
In 1856, Mr. Burnham removed to Chicago where he resided eight years. He there made the acquaintance of John Van Nortwick, Esq., a noted western capitalist and railroad manager who, after examining Mr. Halladay's invention, induced some of his friends to join him in forming a joint stock company, entitled "The United States Wind Engine and Pump Company," with himself as president and general manager, Daniel Halladay as superintendent, and Mr. Burnham as general agent. Up to the present time, (1876), $3,000,000 worth of the Halladay Standard Mills have been sold.
Since the beginning of railroads, civil engineers have deemed the tank house, fuel and attendance, at water stations in northern climates, indispensable, and it is estimated that over $20,000,000 have been expended for this purpose. This became a serious objection to the use of the wind mill, as large tanks had to be provided to hold water sufficient to last through unusual calms; and to remove this objection, Mr. Burnham began experimenting, with a view of producing a frost-proof tank. For some time he met only with discouragement, as he could not induce a road to
allow him to even try his experiment, and finally accomplished his purpose through a director of one of the railroads, who was a stockholder in the wind mill company. The first frost-proof tank has now been in use during five winters without house, fuel or attendance, and the road which adopted the improvement has already made a saving of more than $150,000, and the universal use into which this improvement is now coming, will, in the next quarter of a century, produce to the railroads of this country a saving of $25,000,000. Mr. Burnham attributes the success of his life not only to perseverance, untiring industry and an extensive business acquaintance throughout almost every State in the Union, but also to the superior mechanical and financial abilities of the men with whom he has been associated in business. Of the four patents which he has obtained, this last he considers by far the most important."
This native of our village, whose name has found creditable record, as will be seen by the foregoing extract, commenced his wandering from home at a very early age. To restrain his natural inclination for traveling, when about two years of age, he was fastened at one end of along rope, but he would keep the rope straitened, and his constant cries obtained his liberation. His infantile journey, in 1821, was towards the western prairies — the arena of his fame to-day — when he was discovered and restored to his parents by that good angel of all the little ones — Miss Mary Tyler.
HON. GEORGE NEWMAN.
Mr. Newman was, in his younger days, one of the early efficient mechanics of Brattleboro. When a boy he learned the trade of carriage making of Capt. Adolphus Stebbins at the West Village. We first knew him in 1828, when he was employed by Elihue H. Thomas in the manufacture of fanning mills at the south part of the East Village. In 1830 he was employed by Messrs. Thomas & Woodcock, near the time, or at the time, they commenced the manufacture of pulp dressers and other machinery used for paper making. He was one of their principal workmen, and in a few years thereafter succeeded them in this business, connected with which was an iron foundry, blacksmithing, clothier's shop, saw-mill and grist-mill. In this important business, for the time and place, he was in co-partnership with Col. A. J. Hines and Roswell Hunt, Esq. At one period, Lewis Newman, Governeur Morris, Esq., and Brinsmade, of Troy, N. Y., were interested in the business. Until a recent date, Mr. Newman continued at the head of the business, which finally all came into the possession of himself and family, under the name of George Newman & Son. Without pretension or apparent effort for popularity or office, he became eminent and office was thrust upon him. However much people differed in opinion about other matters, all believed in George Newman. He died Sept. 11, 1872.
In the Vermont Phœnix, of Sept. 13, 1872, appeared the following obituary notice of him:
"DEATH OF GEORGE NEWMAN. — Geo. Newman, one of the oldest and most respected citizens of Brattleboro, died at his residence, Wednesday morning, of heart disease, after a brief illness, at the age of 74. Mr. Newman had been a resident of this town for more than 60 years. Born. at Seekonk, Mass., he removed with his parents, at an early age, to Marlboro, Vt., whence he came to this place a mere lad. The history of his life is in large measure identified with that of the town of which he has so long been an honored resident. He served many years as lister, town treasurer and selectman, and for two years represented the town in the Legislature. As proprietor of the machine shop, engaged in the manufacture of paper machinery, with which he was associated from 1837 to 1865, his name was familiar to many people in various parts of the country, and the respect with which he was regarded was universal. Evidence of this may be seen in the frequency with which he was called upon to settle estates. Probably no man in the county has administered upon so many estates as he. For more than 20 years he was an officer of the Windham Provident Institution for Savings, and for the last two years was its treasurer. He was also one of the original members of the Unitarian Church in this village, of which he ever remained a prominent and liberal supporter. Ever ready to oblige a neighbor or assist the
needy, kindly in all his relations, and without an enemy in the world, the influence of his genial life will not soon pass away, nor his memory be forgotten."
HON. EDWARD KIRKLAND.
[Extract from Amherst College Record of the class of 1831].
He was the son of Samuel and Dorcas Kirkland; was born in Warwick, Mass., June 24, 1808, graduated at Amherst College in 1831, studied law in Worcester, under the direction of Judge Merrick, during the first three years after graduation. He then located himself in Templeton, Mass., where he practised successfully in the legal profession until 1838. He undertook a business agency for the Brattleboro Typographic Co., and removed to Louisville, Ky., where he remained till 1842, when he returned to the East and resumed the practice of law in Brattleboro. The last two or three years of his life were marked by a gradual decay of his bodily and mental powers, owing to repeated attacks of paralysis, which terminated his useful and Christian life, Jan. 6, 1866.
Mr. Kirkland was successful in his profession, and useful as a citizen and public spirited man, always ready to lend his hand and heart for the promotion of good objects, whether political or religious. He was several times elected a member of the Legislature of Vermont. For two years he was a member of the Vermont Senate. He was often active in the labors of political campaigns, and was a good deal in demand as a "stump" orator.
In answer to a letter from the class committee, Rev. Dr. George P. Tyler, of Brattleboro, writes: "During 12 years in which I was his pastor, he was a prompt, useful, faithful member of the church. In the various causes of Christian benevolence, he was energetic and generous. He was thoroughly acquainted with the great foreign and domestic missionary enterprises and promoted them with constant effort and success. As a lawyer, he stood among the first; as a citizen, he was often intrusted with public duties at home, and represented his town in the State Legislature with great credit. Beyond his professional studies, Mr. Kirkland was a man of much literary culture, fond of historical studies and belles-lettres. He left a considerable library of carefully selected books of this character. He devoted a good deal of time to biblical research, and always taught a Bible class, and for several years superintended our Sabbath school. Such a man could not fail to be missed from the bar, the church and the community. As a Christian, he felt deeply his unworthiness, but while his mind remained he exercised a full, and I believe, a saving trust in his justification through faith in the Lord Jesus."His life was marked repeatedly by sad scenes of desolating bereavement, which put in requisition the supports of a Christian faith and which he met as a Christian. Mr. Kirkland was married to Miss Catherine P. Robinson. of Templeton, Mass., May 24, 1836, who died in Louisville, Ky., April 15, 1840. He was married to Miss Frances S. M. Robinson, of Templeton, Mass., Oct. 31, 1844, who died in Brattleboro, Vt., Oct. 12, 1858. He was married to Miss Mary Slate, of Bernardston, Mass., in October, 1859. He left three children, the eldest, bearing his name, was born in April, 1861. His widow and three children now (1879) live in this town.
An obituary notice of his death says: "He died at his residence in Brattleboro. He was a native of Huntington, Mass., and a graduate of Amherst College, and has been for 24 years a resident of this town. He was an able and successful lawyer, and held in high esteem by all who knew him. Was a State Senator in 1863, and was a member of the House from Brattleboro. He was well known throughout the County and State, and was reckoned on the list of the late Senator Collamer's intimate friends. His age was 58 years."
GEORGE C. HALL.
George Chandler Hall was born in this village on the spot now occupied by the Baptist Church, Feb. 17, 1828; died at his residence on Clinton avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y., April 26, 1872. He was the son of Gardner C. Hall,* of this town, who was also born here, and who for nearly 40 years
*Gardner Chandler Hall was born in Brattleboro, Oct. 12, 1795. Julia Ann Leavitt was born in Suffield, Conn., Jan. 27, 1806. The persons above named were married Oct. 6, 1823, and there were born to them eight children, of whom George C. Hall, the subject of this sketch, was one.
occupied a prominent business and social position in this community, and won for himself a state-wide reputation for enlightened enterprise and sterling integrity, which he transmitted, not in vain, as it but too often happens, to his sons. Up to the commencement of his sixteenth year, George was kept constantly in the village schools, then recently remodelled on the improved system now existing, and no better illustration of the thoroughness of the training therein prevailing can be afforded than by young Hall.
In 1844, his father placed him with the firm of Carruth & Whittier, Boston, wholesale dealers in drugs, oils, paints, &c., where he served a long apprenticeship, and commenced to form those habits of system, energy and strict personal attention which marked his after life and led to fortune.
In 1851, Mr. Hall, then about 23 years of age, removed to New York and soon engaged in the manufacture and sale of paints, dealing mainly in white lead, and subsequently established the now well known firm of Hall, Bradley & Co., than which no business house in the city enjoys a higher reputation for liberality, commercial integrity and financial soundness. He continued in this firm, as its senior partner, until his death.
In 1868, after much solicitation on the part of the late Col. Fisk and his associates in the management of the Erie railway, who had personal knowledge of his especial fitness for the place, Mr. Hall consented to accept the responsible and laborious position of purchasing agent of that road, wherein his strong will, personal independence, thorough knowledge of men and business, and especially his eminent executive ability, found full scope, and soon made themselves felt in results so favorable to the financial condition of the company as to render his services a necessity thereafter, and to compel him to continue in the position, despite his repeatedly expressed wish to retire, up to the time of his death. He had also been a director of the road for nearly three years; but, fully occupied by the special duties of his own department, he gave little attention to, and assumed no responsibility for, the general management and policy of the company. These, it was well understood, were in the exclusive control of an "inner circle" of the directory, to which Mr. Hall and several of his associates neither sought nor obtained admission, and of whose intentions and plans, until disclosed and developed by acts, they knew nothing. In the final overthrow of Jay Gould and the late notorious "Erie ring," however, Col. Hall played an important part, and was one of the three directors in the old board who commanded the full confidence of the rightful owners, now in authority in that corporation, and was consequently retained by them, both in his position as director and purchasing agent. It was, however, his firm purpose, at a near period in the future, to withdraw entirely from his connection with the company, with a view to devote the leisure thus secured to duties and pursuits more congenial to his personal tastes.
Though avoiding all active participation in public life, Col. Hall occupied a prominent social position in Brooklyn, where he resided, and took a lively personal interest in many of the enterprises intended to improve and adorn that city. He was the most active projector of the Prospect Park Association; was a member of the Art Association, and of several other clubs and associations.
Funeral services were held at his late residence in Brooklyn, the officiating clergyman being Rev. Dr. Buddington, (Congregationalist), assisted by Rev. Dr. Farley, (Unitarian), and were attended by a large concourse of prominent citizens, all testifying to the high esteem in which he was held in the city of his adoption. In the absence of Rev. Mr. Jenkins, the funeral services at Brattleboro, the following Sunday, in the Congregational Church, were conducted by Rev. Mr. Noyes, Unitarian clergyman, of Northfield, Mass. The church, the largest in town, could not hold the people, and his remains were borne tenderly to their final home in the beautiful grounds on Cemetery Hill, by his life-long associates and friends, and placed beside those of his three children, who had preceded him on the journey whence there is no return. He left a wife, two daughters and a son; also his mother, two brothers and a sister. He had accumulated an ample fortune, which he disposed of by will.
He was moulded on a large scale. His physical structure — large, compact, powerful — was a type of the whole man, and was the fitting abode of a head and heart of like proportions, all obedient to a will that yielded to no common obstacle. Endowed thus bountifully with all the strong elements of manhood, he did nothing weakly. Earnest and tenacious in the pursuit of desired ends, he rarely failed in attaining them. To his great strength was joined a remarkable quickness of perception and promptness in execution, qualities seldom found in one of his mould. He was essentially a fair-minded and just man, hating all shams and all forms of hypocrisy and meanness with a hatred that knew no bounds. Like most men of strong feeling and will, he was often impatient and sometimes imperious; but his strong sense of justice restrained him, even then, from serious wrong doing, and those who knew him best realized that his occasional brusqueness of manner seldom had a rough purpose, and not unfrequently concealed the kindest thoughts and intentions. His open-handed liberality is known to all, though but few of his constant acts of kindness and generosity have been heralded abroad. His tender affection for his family — for wife, children, sisters, brothers, and especially for his widowed mother, from whom he inherited many of his marked physical and mental traits, was deep and enduring and found constant expression, more in deeds than words. To his younger brothers and sister, on the death of his father many years ago, he acted a father's as well as an elder brother's part, and their preparation for and establishment in life, as their circumstances required, was his especial care. Among the strongest characteristics of his strong nature were his remarkable local attachments and his never-changing affection for his friends. Though he went out from among us while yet a boy, he never ceased to regard the place of his birth and the scene of his youthful trials and pleasures, as the one spot on all the earth most to be desired and cherished. No project having in view the interests and welfare of his native town, ever appealed to him in vain. He had already done much for her material advancement, but it is within the knowledge of many, that he looked forward with peculiar pleasure to other and greater benefits he might bestow. In his death Brattleboro has lost a dutiful son and a most hearty and generous friend.
HON. B. D. HARRIS.
COL. ARNOLD J. HINES
Was born in Guilford, Vt., Jan. 28, 1805, married Sarah, daughter of Ezekiel Gore, of Bernardston, Mass., in 1827. Two daughters of this union are still living — Mrs. Mary J. Cutler and Mrs. Sarah A. Morrill — a son having died in infancy. His wife died March 14, 1835. In 1837, he married Maria L. Brown, grand-daughter of Gamaliel Arnold, of Dummerston Hill, who still (1879) survives him. The result of this union was a daughter, Mrs. Julia M. Wilder, and a son, George A. Hines. His father, Thomas Hines, was by trade a millwright and the favorite right hand man of Dea. John Holbrook in establishing his first mechanical operations in this village, and in 1829, Arnold and his father removed to this place, where the remainder of their lives was passed.
Arnold J. Hines, as captain of the old artillery and colonel in the old Vermont State militia, in the declining days of our military organization, proved worthy to lead a "forlorn hope." He was prominent in the fire department, in securing the first village charter, and was one of the original members of the Prospect Hill Cemetery Association. As a principal or important actor in establishing and sustaining the only religious organization in this village south of Whetstone Brook, the will be long and gratefully remembered. In religion he was a firm believer in the final restoration of all mankind to holiness. In politics he was a strong anti-slavery Democrat until the christening of the Republican party, of which, it may be said, he was one of its original members. His last days, which were days of suffering, were characterized by the heroic resignation and tender patience which might be expected from a man of his large and generous nature, and his last effort, just as he was entering the valley of shadows, was a pleasant word and smile to a ministering friend.
[From the Vermont Phœnix.]
"He was for twenty-five years the senior partner of the well and widely known firm of Hines, Newman & Co.,
iron founders and machinists. In the responsible and too often thankless labors of the fire department, village and school offices, he was often employed, and his efforts therein were largely instrumental in giving character to this village. He was a man of excellent judgment, of good business habits, and his advice was frequently sought and highly appreciated by his townsmen. In all the relations of life, he was a man of integrity of character, combined with a geniality of disposition that commanded the respect and affection of his fellow-citizens no less than of his more intimate associates and friends. The existence of an internal tumor, which was rapidily developing, led him, about a year before his death, to retire from business and close up his worldly affairs. The tumor terminated his life April 6, 1862. An examination disclosed the fact that it was a fleshy, fibrinous substance, with several attachments to the abdomen. It weighed 78 pounds. All the other organs of the body were in a sound condition, except as they were displaced by this monstrous tumor."
It seems that a large share of his nutriment was, in some mysterious way, diverted from its legitimate purpose to increasing the size of this formation. This sad case, so remarkable and without precedent here or elsewhere, so far as we know, is deemed worthy of record.
DR. CHARLES CHAPIN
Was born at Orange, Mass., July 10, 1803, but his father, Judge Oliver Chapin, a soldier of the Revolution, removed to Brattleboro almost directly afterwards, where he continued to reside and to act a prominent part in business and public affairs during the remainder of his life.
Dr. Chapin was fitted for college by Rev. Dr. Coleman, and graduated from Harvard University in 1823, when 20 years old. He went through the usual course of studies for the medIcal profession under the direction of the celebrated Dr. Bigelow, of Boston, and commenced the practice of medicine in Springfield, Mass., in 1826. In 1827, he married Elizabeth B. Bridge, of Charlestown, Mass., by whom he had one child, Elizabeth Alice, who married Joseph Clark in 1846 or '47.
In 1880, his first wife having died, he married Sophia Dwight Orne, of Springfield, by whom he had five children — Lucinda Orne, Oliver Howard, Mary Wells, William Orne and Charles Jones — all now (1878) living. In 1831, Dr. Chapin removed to Brattleboro, and soon after gave up the practice of medicine and thereafter devoted himself to business and public affairs, filling many public offices with credit and fidelity. He was a member of the legislature in 1833, and was for a long time deputy sheriff and the most active officer of that kind in the county. He was United States Marshal during the administration of President Pierce, and for many years was one of the efficient directors of the Vermont Mutual Insurance Company. He was one of the first members and organizers of the Unitarian Society of this place, and for 25 years was a favorite moderator and presiding officer at town meetings and other public gatherings, and his services were in frequent request to conduct funerals. For many years, and until infirmities forbade, he was the very acceptable and efficient chief engineer of our fire department; also a director of the Vermont Valley Railroad Company when their road was being constructed, in 1850, and at the same period a clerk of the company.
Dr. Chapin was an active, energetic, influential and useful man in this community for nearly 40 years, and whatever was given him to do was always well and faithfully done. During a period of several years after resigning his medical practice, his advice in council was deemed of importance by the profession. Nature had indeed been lavish in giving him excellence of form and feature, a good constitution and a commanding presence; high spirited, quick of apprehension, honorable and just in his dealings with all men, possessing all the advantages which education, wealth, social culture and position give, his influence was wide and enduring. While not without faults, his virtues were of the manly sort which command universal esteem. Suffering about seven years from paralysis, he died on the 47th anniversary of his second marriage, Jan. 6, 1878. — Extract from the writings of Chas. K. Field.
HON. ASA KEYES
Was born in Putney, Vt., May 30, 1787. His father was Deacon Israel Keyes. He fitted for college in the then somewhat famous Chesterfield, N. H., Academy, and graduated at Dartmouth in 1810. He engaged in teaching for a couple of years, then studied law with Judge Phinehas White, of Putney, and one year with Ebenezer Rockwood, of Boston. He was admitted to the Windham County bar in 18I4; married Sarah Britton, of Chesterfield, N. H., Jan. 7, 1815. He practiced law at Putney until 1833, when he removed to Brattleboro, where he has ever since resided. He early became a Mason and was for a time W. M. of Golden Rule Lodge in Putney.
He has held, and what is better, filled many official positions; he represented Putney in the lower branch of the legislature in 1826 and 1827, and Brattleboro in 1835. Was a senator of Windham County in 1855 and 1856, and both years a promi nent member of the judiciary committee. He was Judge of Probate for the Westminster district while residing in Putney, and that position gave him the title of "Judge," which he has since borne. He was also, for a number of years, Register of Probate for the Westminster district, and for 15 years preceding 1879, Register of the Marlboro district. He has been a Justice of the Peace "since a time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary." Was a trustee of the Windham Provident Institution for Savings from its origin, and of the Vermont Savings Bank since the change of name. He drew the will of Mrs. Marsh, the founder of the Vermont Asylum, and was for 35 years a trustee of that institution. He framed the charter for that institution and secured its passage through the legislature.
Judge Keyes early stepped into the front rank of his profession and always stayed there. The bar of Windham County has always been an able one, and he did his part for more than half a century to keep the standard of excellence high. Though not eminent as a jury advocate, he was a successful practitioner; he was a good draughtsman, a skillful pleader, and the best equity lawyer in Southern Vermont, if not in the whole State. His Supreme Court briefs are models for other practitioners; he was always listened to attentively by the courts, for he never talked unless he had something to say. He was studious and painstaking, faithful to his clients and honest with the court. He was a good husband, a kind father, and always faithful to every trust; he never attained to wealth. The income arising from the practice of his profession he spent freely in his family, and gave generously to the church he attended, to public objects and to the poor and needy, as many among them can testify.
He is now, (March 22, 1879), nearly 92 years old, but still a healthy, vigorous old gentleman; he is the oldest living graduate of Dartmouth College, the oldest lawyer in Vermont, the oldest Mason and the oldest justice of the peace. His good, vigorous old age is due in part to a healthy constitution, but mainly to his temperate and methodical habits. Though never a "total abstainer," he has ever been temperate and abstemious in both eating and drinking. He always loved his pipe and a game of whist. To those who know him best, his conversation is still entertaining and instructive.
Of his four children, one is the wife of Judge Royall Tyler of this village; another, a faithful daughter, who cares for her father in his declining years; a son, Judge George B. Keyes, died in California two years since, and another daughter, deceased, was the wife of Dr. F. N. Palmer, of Boston, Mass.
CHAS. N. DAVENPORT.
HON. JONATHAN DORR BRADLEY,
Son of Hon. William C. Bradley, of Westminster, Vt., was born in Westminster, Vt., in 1803; was a graduate of Yale College and fitted for the legal profession; was married to Susan Crossman in 1829, and first practiced law at Bellows Falls, but the most of his professional life — about 30 years — was passed in Brattleboro, where he died in September, 1862. His widow and four sons are now, (1878), living. William C., a graduate of Harvard in 1851, and Richards now reside in this place. Stephen Rowe lives in New York and is of the firm of Hall, Bradley & Co., extensive manufacturers of white lead. Arthur C. graduated at Amherst, class of 1876.
The subject of our sketch was a grandson of Hon. Stephen R. Bradley, who was one of the foremost men of Vermont a hundred years ago. Before our State was a member of the Union, he rendered important services in resisting her enemies, and was highly fitted by nature and cultivation to advocate our claims — the right to exist as a State in the Union — against the determined opposition of New York. How grandly and triumphantly he assisted our infant State in her early struggles, has long since been recorded in history. [See Hall's History of Eastern Vermont]. During, and years before, the declaration of war with England in 1812,* he was United States Senator from this State, and his son, William C., — the father of J. Dorr Bradley — was elected Representative to Congress a short time after the close of said war.
Hon. Jonathan Dorr Bradley, in some specialties, had no equal in his profession in this county, if in the State. His knowledge of mechanics — extensive scientific attainments and willingness to impart the same to others — tendered him an almost inexhaustible source of information upon matters often imperfectly understood by the learned, as well as those of more ordinary attainments. To thoroughly understand the laws governing the production of the natural and artificial, or the discovery and bringing to light a hidden or obscure truth, seemed to be the greatest pleasure of his life. Pecuniary motives had but little if anything to do with his scientific labors, so far as he was personally concerned, but he gladly and freely furnished theories for the practical. Those who have met him, in controversy at the bar or elsewhere, have learned that his mental exercises in the sciences did not render him a less formidable antagonist in debate.
In the days of Andrew Jackson he acted with the democracy, but he was not a radical, or so governed by prejudice as not to candidly weigh and examine the views of his opponents. His devotion to truth was ardent and unremitting, and he was always ready to
"Seize upon truth where e'er 'tis found,
On Christian or on heathen ground;
The plant's divine where e'er it grows,
Amongst our friends or 'mongst our foes."
It became so apparent that the Democratic party had lost all claim to that name, by following John C. Calhoun to death and destruction, Mr. Bradley early left the sinking ship, and ever after acted with the dominant party in this State in sustaining the old flag, and shortly before our civil war — in 1856-57 — he represented this town in the State Legislature. It was there he became noted by his able action in the State House question. There was healing in his presence before tumultuous assemblies and heated clashing of opinions. He was on the first board of directors of the Vermont & Massachusetts Railroad Co., and no one in this place exerted so powerful an influence in forwarding the construction of that road to Brattleboro. His simple presence at railroad meetings in towns on the route was to all a harbinger of success; but when came forth in earned tones his arguments, honest convictions and prophesies, all doubts of success vanished. Difficulties or opposition only aroused him to greater efforts, and those efforts did not cease until the occasion for them passed away.
As memory calls up the early days of his advent here, we see him, as if but yesterday, at the Village Lyceum. From his inexhaustible mental resources came forth telling arguments, with playful sallies of wit, compelling a general laughter of the audience, more beneficial to the dyspeptic portion than all the patent medicines ever invented. Nor can we ever forget, when addressing a juvenile assembly, how he held the attention of little boys and girls, who would seem to see nothing but his genial countenance, and hear nothing but his words of wisdom, so attractively and ingeniously adapted to their comprehension. Upon one such occasion, in the Goodhue oak grove, in July, 1842, a stranger to Mr. Bradley, from Ohio, remarked, at the conclusion of Mr. Bradley's address, as follows:
"The gentleman who gave the last address has uttered the fewest words, but he
*See correspondence of Judge Tyler and Senator Robinson in Tyler papers.
has really said more than the five gentlemen who have preceded him. He is certainly a Christian, for he has given us the whole law and gospel. Who is he and what is his business?"
We replied: "He is a lawyer by profession, and his name is J. D. Bradley. If he is a Christian, I think he is not conscious of it, for he belongs to no church, and is rarely seen in attendance upon religious exercises."
"Real Christians," said he, "are the last ones to know it of themselves, but their light may so shine that others may know it. When you find a man who is quite positive he is a Christian. you may well be on the lookout for him. There never was a face like Mr. Bradley's on a bad man."
Perfect master of the science of adaptation to all grades of intellect, Mr. Bradley's remarks always found attentive listeners. The countenances of the hod-carrier, mechanic, scholar, farmer and merchant all assumed a more happy and elevated expression so long as the sound of his voice could be heard. His young professional brethren will ever gratefully remember the information imparted to them by him, in so modest and inquiring a, manner, as to make it seem he was the learner and prevent, so far as possible, a feeling of obligation from his inferiors. After some 25 years practice of the law, his friend Roswell M. Field, a noted lawyer of St. Louis, reproved him for not giving the Yankee proof of success in life.
"Roswell," said he, "I have laid up my treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust doth not corrupt nor thieves break through and steal."
Several instances could be given where he, in his intercourse with mankind, faithfully obeyed the instructions in Proverbs, chapter 25, verse 5. We will give one instance of his ready wit:
Coming hastily into the law office of Mr. F., he enquired for Chitty on Contracts.
"What do you wish to know?" replied Mr. F., placing one finger on his forehead, "I carry my book here."
"I see," said Mr. Bradley, "bound in calf."
Near the close of a warm day in July, 1837, a prominent citizen of the village became highly excited in denouncing a lecturer upon slavery. Wiping the perspiration from his brow, he said to Mr. Bradley:
"A man who will lecture about the country, forming abolition societies, deserves a coat of tar and feathers, and I hope Tyler will be ridden out of town on a rail before to-morrow night."
Mr. Bradley calmly replied: "I think among our societies we need one more, and I would suggest it be a keep cool society."
In conversation with a neighbor, upon the cultivation of plums, Mr. Bradley said: "I know the curculio is considered a formidable obstacle to the culture of plums, but to a certain extent they are needful to prevent a too great abundance of fruit. When they appear in excess, we must fight them, and if they are smarter than we are they will get all the plums, to which they are entitled, by the same rule governing in transactions of far greater importance."
[The following we received from Wm. C., eldest son of Mr. Bradley] :
"The late J. Dorr Bradley, soon after he entered on his professional career, received the gift from a friend of a noble mastiff, named Jowler, to which he became much attached. About that time a motion was made in the legislature to tax dogs, which gave rise to the following jeu d'esprit from his pen. The effect was to defeat the motion, and it was laid aside for many years; indeed, until he became a member himself, when it was again introduced, and he recited, at the request of a colleague, the lines to Jowler, with the same effect as before. Since his decease it has passed into a law. There is a likeness of Jowler in the possession of J. D. Bradley's family, painted by his friend Fisher."
TO MY DOG JOWLER.
Jowler! they have taxed you, honest friend
Assessed you, put you in the roll,
To exile every dog they'll send,
Unless some friend will pay his poll,
By all that's good, the rascals meant
Betwixt us two to breed a strife,
And drive you into banishment,
Or bribe your friend to take your life.
But Jowler, don't you he alarmed!
If politicians do neglect you,
Confound their tax! you shan't be harmed,
I know your worth and I'll protect you!
But taxes by the constitution
Convey the right to represent,
So, dogs, by this same resolution,
Might just as well as men be sent.
Now, dogs and men and voters hear !
That Jowler's put in nomination
To go, upon the coming year,
And aid in public legislation.
Jowler, avoid the demagogues,
Keep out of the minority;
Take care to smell of other dogs,
And vote with the majority.
How he was regarded by his most intimate friends and members of the legal profession in this State, may be learned by the action of a meeting of the bar of the United States Circuit Court for the District of Vermont, holden at Rutland, on the 3rd day October, 1862. Hon. Lucius B. Peck was called to the chair.
On motion of H. E. Stoughton, Esq., E. J. Phelps, A. P. Lyman and Horace Allen, Esqs., were appointed a committee to report appropriate resolutions relative to the decease of Hon. J. Dorr Bradley, of Brattleboro. On motion, Mr Stoughton was added to the committee. The committee reported the following resolutions:
Resolved. That the members of this bar have heard, with profound sensibility and regret, the announcement of the death of Hon. J. Dorr Bradley, since the last term of this court.
Resolved. That it is due to his memory that this occasion should not be allowed to pass without placing upon record, as the unanimous and deliberate judgment of his brethren throughout this State, that the profession to which his life was devoted loses in his death one of its most valuable members and most admired ornaments.
Resolved. That we shall cherish an unfailing and grateful remembrance, which none who knew him would willingly forget, of his distinguished abilities as an advocate, his varied and elegant acquirements as a scholar, his genial and attractive qualities as a man; and shall recall with a sad pleasure, in the scenes from which he has departed, those professional labors we shared with him, enriched on his part by learning so complete, by wit so rare and sense so full, and inspired always by so thorough an appreciation of what belonged to the lawyer and the gentleman.
Resolved. That these resolutions and the proceedings of this meeting be presented to the court, with the request of the bar that they be allowed to be entered on the minutes, and that the clerk of the court be desired to transmit a copy to the family of the deceased, and to furnish copies for publication.
E. J. PHELPS, for Committee.
The resolutions were unanimously adopted, and the meeting adjourned.
LUCIUS B. PECK, Chairman.
CLERK'S OFFICE, UNITED STATES
CIRCUIT COURT, DIST. OF VERMONT.
I hereby certify that the above and foregoing is a true copy of record.
B. B. SMALLEY, Clerk.
[From the Vermont Watchman of Sept. 19th, 1862:
"It is with great sorrow that we record the death of this distinguished gentleman, at his residence in Brattleboro, on the 9th inst. We learn that he was taken severely ill with fever some three weeks since, and that his disease made rapid progress, until it quenched one of the most cultivated intellects and genial hearts that our State has produced. He had a discerning, rapid and comprehensive mind, an elegant and varied culture. He was quick and ardent in his sympathies, a lover of truth and justice, and a fervid hater of all shams and hypocrisy. He was a member, for Brattleboro, of the House of Representatives for two years, in which the State House controversy was waged, and distinguished himself as leader in debate in that most brilliant conflict.
"If it had not been for his deafness, which prevented his hearing all points of discussion, no man that Vermont has produced would have surpassed him in the debate in the halls of legislation. But whatever might have been the qualities that fitted him for a public career, he was most eminent in social and private life. His rare store of information and culture were open to his friends, and he had few equals in the genial exchanges and conversations of social life. His reading was extensive and recherche, his memory was retentive, his style of conversation was playful and captivating and always appropriate to his theme, his perceptions were quick and vivid, his illustrations apt and beautiful, and his whole air and manner reminded us of the school of elder times in which he had his training. The death of such a man is a public calamity, and in common with his nearer associates and
neighbors and friends, we would lay a small tribute of our high appreciation of his worth upon his fresh made grave."
[The above was undoubtedly from the pen of Hon. E. P. Walton.—ED.]
We omitted to state that Hon. Stephen R. Bradley was the first U. S. Senator chosen from Vermont.
WILLIAM MORRIS HUNT,
The eldest son of Hon. Jonathan Hunt, of Vernon, Vt., and Jane Maria Leavitt, of Suffield, Conn., from whose maternal side he inherited his genius for art, was born in Brattleboro, Vt., March 31, 1824.
Upon the death of his father, in 1832, his mother removed from Brattleboro with her family to New Haven, Conn., where William was placed at Mr. Skinner's school. He very early showed skill in drawing, and several finely drawn sketches and even small cameo heads are preserved in the family, done by him previous to his tenth year.
In New Haven, Signor Gambadella, an Italian gentleman who had fled from Italy during the troublesome times of Silvio Pellico, was engaged to give William his first regular instructions in drawing.
In 1839, he was prepared for college by Mr. William Wells, of Cambridge, Mass., and was matriculated at Harvard in 1840. Owing to a pulmonary difficulty during his senior year, a change of climate was recommended by his physicians, and Oct. 9, 1843, he accompanied his mother and family to Europe. As his life henceforward was devoted to art, a sketch of his career as an artist will best define the limits of this paper.
The winter and spring of 1843-44, was spent in Rome, where he applied himself to the study of drawing and sculpture. During the summer, he traveled through Switzerland on horseback, visited Paris and many places of interest in England, and in the spring of 1845 went to Athens and Constantinople. In 1845 he entered the Art Academy of Dusseldorf, where he devoted himself exclusively to anatomy and drawing, and not liking the style of this school, he did not join the class in painting. While in Dusseldorf he lived in the family of Leutze, the artist, and held most friendly relations with Lessing, Sohn, Schrœdter, and other notable men of that school.
At this time Lessing was painting his picture, "The Martyrdom of John Huss," and selected the head and figure of his friend Hunt as a model for the martyr.
He passed the summer of 1846 in America, then returned to Paris. Preferring the French method in painting, Mr. Hunt entered the studio of Thomas Couture in the spring of 1848. Here for a year or more he worked in the scholar's room, when, at the suggestion of his master, he took a large studio with Couture in the "rue de la Tour des Dames," formerly occupied by Horace Vernet. While working here he made his first exhibition in the French "salon," and his pictures of "The Prodigal Son" and "The Fortune Teller" received very favorable public notice. At the next annual exhibition he sent to the "salon," amongst others, his picture of the "Marguerite." This picture was marked for purchase on the private list of Napoleon, but owing to political troubles no paintings were bought by him that year.
At this time he became acquainted with Jean Francois Millet, then living in the hamlet of Barbison in the forest of Fontainbleau. Between them a strong friendship was formed that resulted in Hunt's going to Barbison to study near his friend. Here or in Paris he continued to work for several years, purchasing, meanwhile, many of Millet's pictures long before the latter had acquired his pre-eminent European reputation. The genius of no living artist seems to have impressed Hunt so strongly as the grand simplicity of Millet.
To the first Universal Exposition, held in Paris in 1855, Mr. Hunt sent several pictures, "The Violet Girl" and "Girl at the Fountain," which were pronounced by Theophile Gautier the best in the American department.
Returning to America in 1855, he married Miss Perkins, of Boston, and passed a year in Brattleboro, Vt., and thence went to reside in Newport, R. I., spending, however, a winter with friends in the Azores — 1857-58.
A ludicrous incident occurred at this time, when several of his pictures, that had received praiseworthy comments from the Parisian press, were sent to our National Academy. These were mentioned by the art critics of New York, of that day, as
decidedly the worst specimens of art in the exhibition, with the exception, perhaps, of a small painting by a Mrs. X * * ! Since 1861, Mr. Hunt has resided in Boston, with the exception of two years in Europe, and two winters in Mexico and Florida.
In Boston his time has been devoted chiefly to portrait painting, and among the best known are those of chief Justice Shaw, John Quincy Adams, William M. Evarts, Gov. John A. Dix, and one of himself. About 1868, he opened his studio to scholars for two or three years, and when some of his scholars formed classes of their own, he continued deeply interested and has ever maintained over them a constant personal supervision. It is to his devotedness and untiring efforts in assisting the younger artists that the healthy impulse to art in New England is largely due and recognized.
It was during these lessons that one of his pupils wrote down daily a few of his remarks to the different scholars, which were later, (1875), published under the title of "Talks on Art." This little work had a great success in England as well as in this country. John Millais, the English artist, wrote the preface to the English edition, and the reviews in England, and the press generally, had very complimentary notices on the work, besides most flattering letters were written about it by distinguished persons, among others by the poet Browning.
But figure painting alone has by no means absorbed the whole of Mr. Hunt's time. While in Europe, he modeled, restored and put in marble the beautiful head of the Neapolitan Psyche. He also cut many fine heads in cameo, (1847), and lithographed and published, about 1859, a series of his own paintings. Besides, he has devoted considerable time to landscapes, and among the most memorable are his views of Niagara, painted in the summer of 1878. His last great work was an order by the State of New York for two large allegorical pictures for the new capitol at Albany. The subjects of these paintings, each 45x16 feet, were "Anahita," or "The Flight of Night," and "The Discoverer." These grand paintings, on stone, finished in 55 working days, in December, 1878, were hailed by the artists as making a new departure in art, and they have received unqualified approbation from the press, as the most important works of their kind in America.
In personal appearance, Mr. Hunt was about five feet 11 inches in height, slender, but sinewy. He had a compact head, aquiline nose, keen gray eyes, and long gray beard. He was of a very nervous temperament, a most serious worker, but off his work overflowing with vivacity. There was no brighter wit, and he could tell a humorous incident to the life. Very sensitive not to ruffle the feelings of others, yet he had, perhaps, the one fault of being over-absorbed in art, and we may add in fine horses.
Since the above was written it has become our sad task to record the death of Mr. Hunt, which occurred Sept. 9, 1879, at the Isle of Shoals, off Portsmouth, N. H. In compliance with an often expressed desire, he was buried in Brattleboro, Vt. A deep public as well as private interest was taken in Mr. Hunt's death.
In the fall of 1879, a loan exhibition of many of his paintings and charcoal drawings opened at the Boston Art Museum, and was visited by 60,000 persons.
In conclusion, a word may be added concerning the two real mural paintings at Albany. Although they were finally executed with great rapidity and by methods of unsurpassed durability, yet both the subjects, "The Discoverer" and "Anahita," or, "The Flight of Night," cover, in their conception, partial treatment at long intervals and final rendering, almost the whole of his artistic career.
Of "The Discoverer," a sketch exists made by Mr. Hunt many years ago; while the idea of "Anahita" as a pendant to Guido's "Aurora," was first suggested in 1847, by the writer of this notice in the following lines:
Enthroned upon her car of light, the moon
Is circling down the lofty heights of Heaven;
Her well-trained courses wedge the blindest depths
With fearful plunge, yet heed the steady hand
That guides their lonely way. So swift her course,
So bright her smile, she seems on silver wings.
O’er-reaching space, to glide the airy main;
Behind, far-flowing, spreads her sleep blue veil,
Inwrought with stars that shimmer in its wave.
Before the car an owl, gloom sighted, flaps
His weary way; with melancholy hoot
Dispelling spectral shades that flee
With bat-like rush, affrighted, back
Within the blackest nooks of caverned Night.
Still Hours of darkness wend around the car,
By raven tresses half concealed; but one,
With fairer locks, seems lingering back for Day.
Yet all with even measured footsteps mark
Her onward course. And floating in her train
Repose lies nestled on the breast of Sleep,
While soft Desires enclasp the waist of Dreams,
And light-winged Fancies flit around in troops.
From Boston Daily Advertiser, Jan. 4, 1879.
MURAL PAINTINGS. — Mr. Hunt's mural paintings in the assembly chamber at Albany, N. Y., could be approached, a week or two ago, by a scaffolding, which is now removed. These paintings were, of course, made with the intention of their being seen from the floor or galleries; but the view from the scaffolding was full of an interest of its own, as it was there possible either to examine the most delicate details of the artist's work, or to look at it across the great hall it completes. Some account of such a view may, therefore interest even those friends of Mr. Hunt who mean to see his last and best work for themselves.
We are told, and it is easy to believe, that the assembly chamber is the largest and most beautiful room in this country. Its general effect is cheerful, but grave; it is built entirely of stone, much of it of a warm, yellow gray; the ceiling is vaulted, and some slight decorative use of deep red and deep blue relieves its carved work. Mr. Hunt's paintings, "The Flight of Night" and "The Discoverer," occupy arched compartments on the south and north walls, each 45 feet long by 16 high. The first glimpse which one caught of these pictures, in going upon the scaffolding, was Hope's extended arm, as she points the way across the sea for the Discoverer. He stands in his dark boat, his arms folded, a serious figure full of resolution; he, too, is looking forward, but there is no wild joy in his steady face; he has not seen the country for which he is looking, and his voyage is a long one. He has no company but his own Fortune and Science and Faith and Hope. But he can want no better friends than these. The Fortune raises the sail behind him, and holds the rudder with a firm hand. She is young and strong, as the Fortune of a New World ought to be; she is wonderfully beautiful, and, though she has broad wings to fly away with, her face shows that she is not the Fortune to desert the man who has trusted her. Hope is leaning on the bow of the boat and pointing forward ; her's is a strong maidenly figure, too, with a lovely, hopeful face. Beside her Science rises from the water, and holds out her charts to the Discoverer; her face is turned toward him, and her white shoulders and proud head and gliding motion are what impress you. And far to the left, before all, swims Faith, looking down away from the bright afternoon sky and all her sisters, but sure in her heart of the New World. This picture is bright, both in key of color and of light and shade, though not in the least gaudy. The sky is that of late afternoon, with the beginning of sunset in the west, to which Hope is pointing. The sea, as well as the sky, is full of soft, bright color. The Discoverer stands dark, not black, against the sky; the sail which Fortune holds is ruddy in the shadow, and her own figure, though fair and delicate flesh and blood, sends the distance behind it miles and miles away. The whole composition is full beyond description of the life and motion of the sea.
There is as much color, life and motion in the picture on the opposite wall, but of a far different kind. Any one who has seen just before sunrise the slender crescent moon pale in the eastern sky, with all the mists of the night flying away before the dawn, can form some idea of the general feeling and color of this picture. But it is not in every morning sky that one can see, as here we do, the (goddess Of talc Night herself against the crescent, rushing down with her three wild horses into the abyss of darkness. She does not try to restrain them, though she sees over her shoulders the coming day; a dark spirit is laying his hand on one of them to keep them back, but there is no stopping such
horses as these. Below the Moon-Goddess, and apparently under her protection, are a sleeping mother and her little child; the morning light might wake them too soon, fast though they are carried from it, and a flying boy is screening it away. The noble and beautiful figure of the goddess, seated on the clouds, her right hand extended toward the darkness, is relieved upon bright light all about her. But her own crescent shines mysteriously brighter than all; her three wonderful horses, one white, one gray and white, one bay, — horses to whom rest seems impossible, — come plunging out of the faint mists on their way to darker places. The figure who is trying to restrain them holds an inverted torch; whether it be against his will or not, he is going as fast as they. The beauty of the two sleeping figures makes one wish they were never to be awakened. But behind all, down in the east, stretch the level lines of the irresistible sunrise.
Both of these pictures, admirable as are their composition and general effect, are equally admirable in grace and precision of detailed drawing and modeling. Everything is treated with the noble simplicity proper to decorative work and to all work, but it is the simplicity of deep knowledge; all is there, but nothing obtrudes itself. To the observer, within two feet of these paintings, there is nothing unfinished or sketchy about the drawing; the heads, the hands and feet, the wonderful outline and modeling of the figures, all are firm and decided and complete. The gods see everywhere; it is to be regretted that they should monopolize a near view, which would help so many young painters and sculptors. Strongly individual as these pictures are, they fulfill exactly their leading part in the general decoration of the hall. That key of color and of light and shade was chosen by the artist which would best carry out the conception of the architect, however difficult that key might be, and this sacrifice, if it were one, has brought its own reward. Hr. Hunt's work has helped Mr. Eidlitz's hall, and this as well helps the painting.
Much as we may wish those paintings were in Boston, we cannot wish them elsewhere than in a place which so well deserves them in every way. In fact, a visit to the unfinished assembly chamber gave one an impression of generous confidence between workers of different kinds, which cannot be easily forgotten. Very fortunate is the building committee which has such a head as Governor Dorsheimer. But next Tuesday, when the building is formally opened, will be a day of triumph to not one or two men only, but to many. Mr. Hunt's paintings are in the best sense historical, for the story they tell is not only true, but is going on now among us all, and every one has his part in it. He has brought to this work the thought and study of years, the experience of all his life, and his own high powers. Those who admired his work before, will find him a greater painter even than they thought. Those who disliked it before, cannot fail to change their minds in some degree before pictures so admirable. They form a new departure in American art, and a new departure worthy of the most serious recognition, thankfulness and congratulation.
HON. JACOB ESTEY,
Now universally known as one of the foremost business men of New England, was born in the town of Hinsdale, N. H., Sept. 30, 1814, but has been a resident of Brattleboro the last 42 years. Though deprived of parental care and training at a very early age — thrown upon the mercies of the world when not quite five years old — his life has been remarkably successful. Shifting about from one place to another, meeting indifference, selfishness, neglect and ill treatment, from which there was no relief or escape but by flight, his after career seems so wonderful, and if not so exceptional, we should be inclined to doubt the propriety of Solomon's injunction in Prov. 22: 5. Brattleboro abounds in instances of the strictest compliance with the instructions of the wise man, and the results may be seen and compared with the results of a course exactly opposite.
We know but little of his early wanderings from place to place, to obtain fair treatment or desirable conditions where he could be free in the untramelled exercise of his native capacity, yet we cannot for a moment doubt that the trials and difficulties he successfully encountered had much to
do in shaping his future destiny. Another subjected to the same conditions as was Mr. Estey, might have become dissolute, improvident and wretched, but with his powerful vital organization, iron will, self control, and great variety of mental resources, opposing influences, perhaps, proved more beneficial than otherwise, like sprinkling water on a blacksmith's fire, to produce a greater desirable effect. From the time he first began to act in his business life, he manifested a sagacity in discovering ways and means, unthought of by others, to improve natural resources to the best advantage, not only for himself, but to cause the world to be beneficially affected by his action. His equal in administrative ability, power of organization and prudential management of a large business, cannot be found in this region.
In 1848, he erected a large building near the south bridge on Main street, where for many years stood the old wagon shop owned by Eleazor Farnsworth. The upper stories of this new building were devoted to the manufacture of melodeons, as the instruments were then called. This business had been carried on here in a small way several years previous to the time Mr. Estey engaged, with others, in the manufacture of these instruments. The demand for instruments rendered more room needful, and another larger building was erected south of the bridge, in that locality known in early times as "Squabble Hollow." The early names of some of our village localities are not very attractive. The neighborhood of the "Omnibus" was known as "Polecat," and at the north, where is the Park or Common, "Toad Hill." How the name of "Squabble Hollow" originated we have not been informed, but we know there was a deadly squabble in one of the old low buildings of this locality in the summer of 1850. There and at that time, Peter Moore, in a quarrel with a French Canadian, received a fatal stab in the abdomen. By removing the old unsightly buildings and wiping out "Squabble Hollow," Messrs. Jacob Estey & Co. made an important improvement in this part of the village.
In the fall of 1857, the manufactories were burned down, but very soon rebuilt, to be again destroyed in 1864, and two firemen — Messrs. Nichols and Kittredge — in their labors upon this occasion lost their lives. The manufactories were again rebuilt, and also a much larger one was erected on Frost's meadows, bordered on the south by Whetstone Brook, where was ample room for the large amount of lumber required constantly on hand. The sudden rise of Whetstone Brook in 1869, drowned one of their workmen, carried off several thousand dollars worth of lumber, and so endangered the safety of the manufactory, other and higher grounds were obtained on Birge street, where the company erected eight organ shops, each of three stories, 100 feet in length, where the whole business is now carried on. Large reservoirs of water, constantly supplied, on grounds high above the buildings, render it possible, at a moment's notice, to deluge any part of the premises. They have also two steam fire engines, in readiness for emergencies in any part of the village, and on several occasions they have rendered highly important service in extinguishing and preventing fires from spreading over the village.
Several hundred men have been in constant employ a large share of the time, all through the general business depression, commencing in 1873, down to the present time.
The field upon which the financial resources of this company is gathered, reaches beyond the United States; therefore, local conditions or circumstances, adverse or destructive to many other enterprises, is not sufficient to stop the profitable operations of this company. It may be considered fortunate, not only for the town but for the world, that such important interests are controlled by men of high moral aims, public spirit and liberality.
Mr. Estey was one of the first and principal actors in organizing the Baptist church and society in this place, in 1840. Benevolent, educational and Christian institutions, in various parts of this country, have received pecuniary assistance from this company, which, in its beneficial effects, will be felt to the remotest time. The two junior members of this firm, Capt. J. J. Estey and Col. L. K. Fuller, have been mainly instrumental in organizing, equipping and sustaining the infantry and artillery of this place. Never, even in the most palmy days of old military times,
have we seen, in this town, military companies so apparently efficient and warlike as the battery or flying artillery company under the command of Col. Fuller. We have often heard it said there is nothing of the kind superior, if equal, in the State of Vermont.
A large portion of a new department of this village has been built up and is sustained by this manufactory of cottage organs. Encountering so many difficulties — trials by fire, water, unpropitious times for business — this company has shown a courage, enterprise and perseverance that compels the admiration of friends and enemies.
We make the following extract from "New England Manufacturers and Manufactories, " 1879.
"Prominent in the manufacture of parlor organs is the firm of J. Estey & Co., of Brattleboro, Vt.
The families of the name of Estey, are descended from three brothers, who came from England and settled in Massachusetts, early in the seventeenth century. The great-grandfather of Jacob Estey, founder and present head of the firm, also named Jacob, was a farmer in Sutton, Mass., but moved early in life to Royalston.
His son Jacob owned and managed a farm in that town, and also kept a public house.
Of his seven children, but two attained maturity. The eldest, Isaac, having married Patty Forbes, of Royalston, went with his brother Israel to Hinsdale, N. H., where they built a saw-mill and engaged in the manufacture of lumber. This enterprise was a failure.
Israel Estey left the town and State, and went to Ann Arbor, Mich., where he engaged in farming.
His elder brother, Isaac, remaining with his family, was arrested for debt and thrown into the county jail. He remained there thirty days, at the end of which time he took the poor debtor's oath, and was released from his liabilities. He then engaged in farming.
Jacob Estey was one of eight children, seven of whom, five sons and two daughters, still survive. He was born September 30, 1814, and was, when four years ofage, adopted by a wealthy family in the neighborhood. After remaining with them seven years he ran away, and walked to Worcester, Mass., where a brother lived, and where he went to work on a farm. During the next four years he was employed on farms in Rutland, Millbury and other places in that vicinity. At seventeen he engaged with T. & J. Sutton, of Worcester, as an apprentice to learn the trade of a plumber, including the manufacture of lead pipe, and remained with them four years.
In February, 1835, he went to Brattleboro, Vt., with two hundred dollars, and there purchased the business, tools and real estate of a plumbing and lead pipe concern, and hired a shop on premises opposite the present Brattleboro House. In 1850, the proprietors of a small organ factory, which occupied a part of his building, being unable to pay their rent, he accepted in settlement an interest in the business, and two years later purchased the whole establishment, which then employed six hands, for $2700. Mr. Estey now turned his attention especially to the organ manufacture, and a few years after devoted himself exclusively to it. He continued in successful operation until 1866, when he received into partnership, Levi K. Fuller and his son, Julius J. Estey.
Mr. Estey was married in 1837, to Desdemona Wood, of Brattleboro. Their. surviving children are Abby E., born Sept. 21, 1842, and married to Levi K. Fuller, and Julius J., born Jan. 8, 1845, and married to Florence Gray, of Cambridge, N. Y. Mr. Estey represented the town of Brattleboro in the Vermont Legislature in 1868 and 1869, and the district, including that town, in the Senate of 1872 and 1873. He is a director in the Central Vermont Railroad. Mr. Estey is still in the prime of life and retains his business activity. He is a member of the Baptist Church, and has contributed freely to religious interests.
Levi K. Fuller was born in Westmoreland, N. H., Feb. 23, 1841, and at the age of about eighteen, engaged with Campbell Chubbuck, of Roxbury, Mass., in learning the trade of machinist. The next year he went to Brattleboro, and entered, on his own account, upon the manufacture of cylinder Planers and Mowing Machines.
He was successful, and continued in this business until April 1, 1866, when he became a partner in the firm of J. Estey Co. Since 1866 he has superintended the manufacturing department.
His inventions had reference to new devices and adjustments, and are protected by patents. He has also made improvements in machinery specially adapted to a variety of the processes of manufacture.
Julius J. Estey spent two years in the Military Academy at Norwich, Vt., and at nineteen entered his father's office, where he received his training for the position."
Died May 11, 1872, at his home in this village. He closed, in quietness and peace, "with eye undimmed and his natural intellectual force unabated," his earthly career, useful and honorable, at the age of 73 years. For the greater part of the past forty years he has made Brattleboro his home. Here he began his public service in the ministry of the gospel. And to the furtherance of the highest interests of this, his adopted home, and through it those of the State and the nation, he gave the devoted effort of a long and laborious life.
Born at New Ipswich, N. H., March 11, 1799, the last year of the eighteenth century, his education, life and spirit were emphatically of, and kept pace with, the nineteenth. His collegiate and theological education were furnished by Harvard College and the Cambridge Theological school. A graduate of the class of 1826, and of the class of 1831 from the Theological school, he became minister of the newly established Unitarian church of this village in 1832. As its first minister, he continued in its pastorate nearly 14 years, and on dissolving his official connection remained, with brief interruptions, until his death, one of its most devoted members. His successors in its pastorate will bear warm testimony to the friendliness of his relations to them, and the steadfastness of his endeavors to forward their labors for its prosperity.
His connection with the Brattleboro Unitarian church terminated Dec. 1, 1845. Though continuing to preach as occasion offered during the greater part of the remainder of his life, Mr. Brown formed no new pastoral connection. With the deepest interest in the advancement of the general good, which he always held to be the great aim of the church and the ministry, he turned his attention to other methods of promoting it. The cause of education especially interested him. To it he gave increasingly his thought and energies. The condition of the public schools in this region excited his deepest concern. He saw they were far behind what the public need and the possibilities of the case required; he sought to remodel the schools on a higher and more effective plan, and he aimed to bring a more direct relation between the parents of the pupils and the teachers and schools entrusted with their education. In 1841, he had the gratification of seeing a response to his efforts, in the introduction into the schools of the graded system. But aware that not even the best system can dispense with that "eternal vigilance " which is the price of all worthy attainment, he labored to the end of his public life to deepen the sense of responsibility in the public mind for the efficiency of the schools, and he rendered an inestimable service. He held office as superintendent of the schools in Windham county from 1846 until that office was abolished, after which, for several years, he acted as superintendent of the schools of the town of Brattleboro. To his care and faithfulness, which never relaxed until his physical powers failed, the schools of our village were greatly indebted for the efficiency which they have attained. Well do Brattleboro's teachers know what a wealth of sympathy and efficient help in all their efforts to improve the schools under their charge was given them by Mr. Brown, by his personal interest and care, and by his efforts through the public press.
With the press he became connected in 1862, when Dr. Charles Cummings, summoned from the editorial chair to the battlefield, relinquished the charge of the Vermont Phœnix. Mr. Brown became editor and one of the proprietors, which post he held until March, 1871, when failing health compelled his retirement. Loyally, in the bitter days of civil war, he stood by the flag of our Union; ceaselessly he identified and toiled to induce others to identify the fortunes and significance of that starry
flag with the broadest and most generous ideas of liberty and the rights of man, his works attest, and not only they, but a son and son-in-law cheerfully surrendered to his country's service, and who being dead yet speak of his loyal and tender sympathy with them in their brave young consecration. He realized the importance of his post as editor of a newspaper, and sought, in every way that opened before him, to make the journal in his control powerful for good. He labored to identify his paper with all that was true and good. He made it a journal whose columns could bring a blush of shame to no pure mind. One of the best among the prints of the Green Mountain State it was his pride to have it. With a special interest he advocated the cause of woman's elevation. He set no bounds to his claim of rights for her. To her largest aspirations he lent a faithful, helping voice. Not alone her pleading for a higher education, not alone her assertion of right and opportunity to labor in other spheres than those heretofore at her command; not alone her right to the possession and use of her own earnings, but, besides and beyond, her right to enter on every sphere to which she felt a divine call, a native fitness, and to the enjoyment of full political rights, found in him a devoted, and, so far as was possible to a mind so finely balanced and so judicial as his, an enthusiastic advocate. Indeed, wherever oppression was, there was he to be found exposing and withstanding it. In the days when slavery's night brooded over the land, he stood one of the lights of liberty that prophesied the coming of the dawn. At the side of the slave he placed himself to recognize in him a man and a brother, and demand for him the full possession of his rights And the slavery of strong drink found no more steadfast enemy than he. In his own person, in his home, in all his public teaching and writing, he was the advocate and exemplar of temperance. To devoted advocacy, to a constancy that could not by pelf or argument be turned aside from its noble purpose, he joined a quietness, a candor of temper, a disposition to do justice to all sides, which nobly illustrated the practicableness and the beauty of a true temperance.
As an editor, he illustrated in his own modest way some of the highest qualities of a true journalist. He would not for any consideration stoop to anything debasing. No chance of making a striking point would move him to be unjust. He would speak the truth, the broad, careful, just truth. He would speak it kindly and calmly, and "with malice toward none." If he missed the brilliance which many affect, he gained the reality which they miss. So he could be utterly trusted, and was a safe and helpful guide. His mind was clear, his principle high, his purpose honest, his spirit pure. To be good and do good were his life's great aims. When he quitted his editorial post he went forth to his retirement without reproach.
Of him is it emphatically true that he was good. His religious creed was broad and simple. It could be all summed up in love to God and love to man. His life was devoted chiefly to others' good. He believed in personal righteousness rather than in profession of piety. To do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God, formed his great aim. It is safe to say that he left the world without an enemy, but not without many a friend by whom his memory will long and tenderly be cherished. — From the Vermont Phœnix.
WILLIAM H. ROCKWELL, M. D.
William Haydon Rockwell was born in East Windsor, Conn., Feb. 15, 1800. He was the fourth child and only son in a family of eight children, of Charles and Sarah Haydon Rockwell. His father was a farmer, as were several generations of only sons before him, a fact that rendered him especially desirous that his only son should succeed himself in the cultivation of an estate that had been long in the family. But though not inclined to adopt this for his permanent pursuit, the knowledge of farming here acquired was afterwards of great service in aiding him to advance the interests of those whose welfare became the chief concern of his life.
A rather precocious fondness for the study of mathematics enabled young Rockwell to early master the science of surveying. This proficiency gained him, at the age of 17, the position of leading surveyor in the neighboring towns, and
by the time he had attained his majority, he was appointed surveyor-in-chief of Hartford county. During the intervals that occurred between this and other engagements, he found time to aid his father when his work pressed more heavily, and also to prepare himself to pass the first three examinations, and to enter the junior class of Yale College. From this institution he was graduated with distinction in 1824. He received soon after the appointment of principal of the Nichols Academy at Dudley, Mass., and remaining there two years, he then entered on the study of medicine in the office of Dr. Thomas Hubbard, a professor in the Yale College Medical School. While yet an undergraduate, he was appointed assistant physician in the Retreat for the Insane at Hartford, then under the charge of the noted alienist, Dr. Eli Todd, where he remained until his return to the Yale Medical School, from which he was graduated in 1831. Though earnestly invited to resume his position in the Retreat, and having now a strong predilection for the specialty, to which he hoped sometime to return, he wisely judged it better to first gain more experience in the general practice of his profession, and a favorable opportunity offering, he at once entered on the practice in Durham, Conn. He was there not quite two years when, in response to a most urgent request from his old friend and preceptor, Dr. Todd, then in failing health, he returned to the Retreat. Here he continued as assistant physician until called to Brattleboro, though acting superintendent during Dr. Todd's disabling illness, and for some time after his death.
Dr. Rockwell was married June 25, 1835, to Mrs. Maria F. Chapin, a native of Salisbury, Conn.
He received the appointment of superintendent of the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, from the board of trustees, June 28, 1836, but he did not assume charge until the following October, when his services were required to supervise the completion of the alterations and additions to the building, purchased by the trustees, was undergoing, to render it suitable for the reception of patients. This building, a wooden structure of rather imposing exterior, stood on beautiful grounds then known as Woodland, and when remodeled was very well adapted to the purpose in view. It occupied the site of the present Marsh building, and with the premises and 45 acres of meadow land adjacent was purchased with the legacy of $10,000, bequeathed by Mrs. Ann Marsh, who died in 1834. By the kind thoughtfulness of this most philanthropic lady, and the remarkable stewardship of Dr. Rockwell, Vermont was placed far in advance of most of the States of the Union in her ability to take proper care of her insane.
The asylum was opened for the reception of patients December 12, 1836. At that time it was by many supposed to be of ample size to accommodate all that would be sent to it for many years; but patients came in so rapidly that scarce a year had elapsed before it became evident that a much larger building would soon be required. Not long after, a centre building and one wing of a new asylum, a brick structure, designed after the best model then known, was erected on the grounds opposite the original building, which afterwards, until vacated and removed, was called the "old asylum."
To the construction of the institution, long since grown to be one of the largest in the country, the State has contributed various sums amounting in the aggregate to $23,000. This is the only outside aid the asylum has ever received from any source, while, under the management of the late superintendent, it has been extended, rebuilt, as to the large portion destroyed by fire in 1862, remodeled in some parts before and since that catastrophe, and has besides supported itself from the first on income derived from private patients. These patients came from all sections of the United States; also from the West Indies, the Bermuda Islands, the Canadas, and the British Provinces, and were attracted hither by the wide spread reputation of Dr. Rockwell for treating mental diseases. And to establish the institution on so firm a foundation that it might continue to be of as great benefit in the future to the insane of moderate means, and to the dependent insane of Vermont, as it was to them and others during his superintendency, with the hope that it might be ever increasing in its
capacity for usefulness, was the great aim of Dr. Rockwell's long continued, most assiduous and untiring labors.
While at Hartford, he had longed for an opportunity of attempting an experiment, before untried, of hugely engaging the male patients of an asylum in farm labor; and it is known that the favorable location of the Vermont Asylum for such purpose greatly influenced him in his decision to accept the superintendency. But, as shown in some of his earlier reports, he met with much opposition from some of his brother specialists, who deemed the project impracticable and dangerous. His was not the character, however, to be stayed by ordinary obstacles, and a few seasons of patient trial, beginning with a limited company at first — selected, of course, with due regard to their mental and physical condition — proved that a large number of insane persons, under the guidance of a few men of calm temper and possessed of ordinary tact, can be safely trusted to work together on a farm; also, that such employment is a most valuable adjunct to the means used to promote the recovery of the curable, and affords the most natural, healthful and enjoyable kind of exercise for the incurable insane. The success of the experiment is further substantiated and, indeed, now indisputably established by the fact that all State institutions for the insane, built in more recent years, have adopted his idea, and now possess extensive farms, on which the inmates are more or less largely employed. But while so much interested in assuring the success of this undertaking, he neglected none of the other means commonly used for the occupation and diversion of the insane. Indeed, he had early and thoroughly tested almost everything in the form of diversion and the ordinary occupations and exercises, both within doors and without, for female as well as male patients, such as are now resorted to for their benefit.
The following extract from some remarks, offered on a public occasion soon after Dr. Rockwell's decease, as coming from a brother superintendent and native of Vermont — Dr. Mark Ranney — and as comprising so much in a few words, would seem to find an appropriate place in this brief sketch: "I well remember his finepresence and genial, courteous manner which quickly won the respect of all with whom he came in contact. His intellectual strength and culture also gave him great influence wherever he was known, and eminently fitted him for the position he filled and adorned for a long series of years. Although deeply engrossed with the financial affairs of a large asylum, which he conducted with signal ability, his contributions to the advancement of psychological medicine were important and valuable. His untiring industry, great financial ability and faculty of organization and ability to forecast the prospective needs of his State, and provide for them, were integral and prominent points of his mental constitution; and they were agencies which led to the gradual growth of one of' our largest public institutions, and with less pecuniary aid than in any other instance in the country, and the same personal resources enabled him to rebuild the large portion of the asylum that was destroyed by fire."
Possessed of abilities of no common order and in harmonious union as they were with a most generous and sympathetic nature, Dr. Rockwell could undoubtedIy have won distinction in almost any position in life. To refer to one faculty only, his memory was so retentive that until late in life he could translate the classic authors with almost the same facility as when fresh from college; and as to such abstract facts as dates and names, particularly the latter, his powers of recollection were certainly quite remarkable. Considering his numerous family of patients and their more numerous relatives and friends, who often came to visit them, and whose names even in full, once heard, he seldom forgot, the ability to call them all by name was certainly very convenient. But it was of far greater service in enabling him to converse with his patients about thei