a local History of
all the Towns in the State,
Civil, Educational, Biographical, Religious and Military.
The Towns of Windham County.
Abby Maria Hemenway.
Mrs. Carrie E. H. Page,
Transcribed by Sue Downhill as it appears in the book with the exception of the last names changed to all CAPS.
WHITINGHAM. by Clark JILLSON. Pages 684 - 704.
This Town has in its archives a copy of its original Charter, issued before the Revolution by the Province of New York.
New York and New Hampshire Claims, or the Forty Years' Controversy.
In 1750 the Province of New York claimed all that tract of country now known as the State of Vermont, and the Province of New Hampshire exercised jurisdiction over the same territory to such an extent that it became known as the "New Hampshire Grants." While this difficulty was in progress, both New York and New Hampshire chartered towns within the disrupted territory, and in some cases, the authority of both Provinces was exercised over the same township.
The controversy between these governments lasted 40 years, and resulted in admitting into the Union the State of Vermont, in 1791, it being the first accession to the 13 original States.
Previous to the Revolution, the southeastern part of the State was known as "Cumberland," and erected into a county by that name in 1776.
The southwest corner of this county had been called "Cumberland Township," but had not been chartered by that name, therefore, its limits were undefined.
THE WHITING PETITION.
On the seventh day of January, 1767, a petition was presented to the lieutenant-governor of New York, by Nathan WHITING, Samuel FITCH, Eleazer FITCH, James SMEDLEY, David BALDWIN, Andres MYERS, Samuel WHITING, Robert ALTON, Amos HITCHCOCK and Nathan Haines WHITING, covering a part of this territory, which was referred to a committee of His Majesty's Council, who reported favorably, and the petition was granted.
The Patent was ordered to issue, but for some unknown reason the matter was delayed for three years.
THE SEVEN GRANTEES.
On the 26th day of January, 1770, Co. Nathan WHITING renewed the petition in behalf of himself and his associated, setting forth that the lands prayed for were vacant and had never been granted, but were still vested in the Crown. He also stated that this land was part[italics] of a tract called "Cumberland," but that no township covering the same had ever been granted. Upon this petition, letters patent were issued on the 12th day of March, 1770. The grantees were seven British soldiers, who were thus rewarded by their fidelity in the King's service. Their names were Nathan WHITING, Samuel FITCH, Eleazer FITCH, James SMEDLEY, Andrew MYERS, Robert ALTON and Samuel BOYER, who were all the persons then interested in said lands.
THE TOWNSHIP NAMED WHITINGHAM.
The township thus granted and charted was named Whitingham. It occupied a position near the southwest corner of Cumberland county and was laid out six miles square, with more flourish and ceremony than attended the founding of Rome.
The following is the second petition of Col. WHITING, and the one upon which the grant was made, and the patent or charter issued:
"To the Honorable Cadwallader COLDEN, Esquire.
His Majesty's Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Province of New York, and the Territories, in America:-
In Council. The Petition of Colonel Nathan WHITING, in behalf of himself and his associates, Humbly Showeth, That your Petitioner and his Associates, on their former Petition, obtained an Order of His late Excellency, Sir Henry Moore, with the advice and consent of the Council, bearing date the twenty-seventh day of January, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-seven, for granting to them and their Heirs, the quantity of Ten Thousand acres of a certain Tract of Land, lying on the west side of the Connecticut River, known by the name of "The Township of Cumberland." That they have since procured an actual Survey of said Land, and find the Vacant Land to contain only the quantity of Seven Thousand acres. That the same, though part of the Lands formerly claimed by the Government of New Hampshire have not been granted by that Government, but still remain Vacant, and Vested in the Crown. Your Petitioner therefore humbly prays, that the Letters Patent ordered on the said former Petition, may Issue for the Quantity of Land found to be vacant, and in the Names of Nathan WHITING, Samuel FITCH, Eleazer FITCH, James SMEDLEY, Andrew MYERS, Robert ALTON, and Samuel BOYER, who are all the persons at present interested in the premises. And your Petitioner, in behalf of himself and his Associates, Doth further pray, that the said Seven Thousand acres, together with the following Tract granted to or surveyed for reduce Officers, to wit: Three Thousand acres granted to the Petitioner, Nathan WHITING; Two Thousand acres granted to Lieutenant James EDDINGTON; Two Thousand acres granted to Lieutenant John NORDBERGH; One Thousand acres granted to Lieutenant James ETHERINGTON; Three Thousand acres Surveyed for Captain John WALKER; Two Thousand acres Surveyed for Lieutenant Thomas GAMBLE; and Two Thousand acres Surveyed for Lieutenant Dennis CARLETON, may be erected into a Township by the Name of Whitingham, with the usual privileges. And your Petitioner, as in Duty bound, shall ever pray, &c.
1770. Nathan WHITING,
in behalf of himself and his
This township is located in the southeast corner of Windham county, and bounded on the north by Wilmington, east by Halifax, south by Heath and Rowe in Massachusetts, and west by Readsboro. The surface is hilly, but as a general thing the high lands are well adapted to grazing and the other crops. Immense forests formerly covered the soil, and beech, birch, maple, spruce ash and hemlock were abundant, but the original growth was largely wasted nearly a century ago, by being burned to the ground, for the ashes, and to get rid of the timber for which there was no market. The center of the town is located upon an eminence belonging to a range of hills running nearly north and south, through the entire length of the town, with Deerfield river at their feet on the west, and North river on the east.
From the summit of these hills may be seen a large tract of picturesque country, embracing a portion of the Green Mountain range, while near, and several hundred feet below, Sadawga pond glistens like a diamond. Among these elevations is Burrington hill, noted for its bleakness during the winter months. Streeter hill is another sightly location, from which may be seen Haystack Mountain in Searsburgh, the Monadnock in New Hampshire, Wachusett and Greylock in Massachusetts. In the notheasterly part of the town near the village of Jacksonville and east of North river, is a rocky elevation known as "Hosley hill," and on the other side of the river are the "Holbrook" and "Tippet hills." The hills in the westerly part of the town near Lime Hollow, and along the easterly bank of Deerfield river for several miles are extremely rugged, and the land about them unsuited to cultivation. The best crop raised here is "All in you eye," and consists of the most magnificent natural scenery, rarely surpassed by any found in foreign lands. Deerfield river, a stream of considerable size and importance, flows through a portion of the town, at its northwest corner, and also at its southwest corner, which is in conformity with the original "set out," wherein care was taken that the "Length thereof doth not extend along the banks of any river otherwise than is conformable to our said Royal Instructions." The stream rises in Stratton and runs in a southeasterly directions for about 50 miles and falls into the Connecticut near Greenfield, Mass. North river runs in a southerly direction, through the easterly part of the town, and unites with the Deerfield near Shelburne Falls, Mass. There are numerous other streams in town flowing north, south, east and west, which indicate an uneven surface, will supplied with water. These streams furnish motive power for numerous industries. There are no large bodies of water in this town, for the reason that there is not room enough between the hills, but there are several small sheets of water of more or less importance. Sadawga pond is the largest and best known. It is located within a mile of the centre of the town, where the first church was built, in a westerly direction. It is estimated to cover from 300 to 500 acres, with indication that it has sometimes been more than three times its present size. It bears upon its surface a floating island of some fifty acres in extent. This accumulation is increasing from year to year, and within the last 50 years has been changed in form and size very materially. It is claimed this pond was named in honor of a "Lone Indian" who continued to dwell about its shores after his tribe had moved on. It is said that "Old Sadawga" lived by hunting and fishing, and that he occasionally made a trip to Northampton and Springfield to dispose of his furs and other articles in the market, and that while going down Deerfield river in his canoe, he was wrecked at Shelburne Falls and drowned. As this Indian was known to the first settlers of the town, his traditionary fate is not improbable. In the northerly part of the town there is a pond, in early times called Beaver dam, but of late, Fuller pond. It formerly covered 50 acres, and is so situated as to have an outlet at each end, both of which reach the Deerfield, on near the north part of Whitingham and the other near Shelburne Falls, but nearly 30 miles apart. This body of water has decreased in size so that in a dry season less than five acres are covered with water. Traces of the old dam, probably built centuries ago, are still viable, and under the surface may be found parts of trees of considerable size bearing tooth marks of the beaver. Near the northeast corner of the town is a sheet of water known as Robert's pond, covering some 30 acres. A small stream runs from it, but none into it from the surface except the rainfall, which can have little to do with the amount of water it contains.
GEOLOGY OF THE TOWNSHIP.
Whitingham contains geological features worthy of notice. The rock formation is gneiss, but it component parts are not so blended as to constitute granite suitable for building purposes. In the easterly part of the town talcose schist abounds to some extent, but not to render it of great value. The western half of the town abounds in limestone of excellent quality, and in such proximity to the surface as to render it comparatively easy to be quarried. Sixty years ago the manufacture and sale of lime constituted the principal business of the town, and next to agriculture was the chief industry.
Near North river about one mile below the present village of Jacksonville may be seen a bowlder 61 feet in circumference and 10 feet high above the ground. Its angles have not been worn as is commonly the case with bowlder, but looks like a block split from an immense ledge and not transported any considerable distance. Near this place are several gravel mounds, produced by the action of the ice and water during the glacial period, and it is believed that this rock was formerly carried down this valley in a mass of gravel which prevented its being worn by attrition. This result of glacial action is often noticed, and it is not uncommon to meet with a moraine, even in this hilly country, and these deposits are made up largely of gravel interspersed with bowlders of various sizes, from a few pounds to several tons. The largest bowlder in New England, called "The Green Mountain Giant," may be seen in the westerly part of Whitingham upon a hill 500 feet above the Deerfield, and within two miles of the stream. It stands upon a flat rock, is 40 feet in length, its horizontal circumference 125 feet, its height 32 feet, its cubic contents 40,000 feet, and its weight 3,400 tons. The angles of this rock are quite sharp, indicating that its journey, if a long one, was made when incased in ice or a mass of earth. There are several other large bowlders in the town, notable the one standing on a flat rock at the highest point on Tenny Hill, much higher than the one last mentioned, and within half a mile of Massachusetts line. Gold, silver and lead have been discovered in several localities, but not in quantities to warrant an extensive outlay in mining operations, though some of the ore, recently found, is said to be quite rich. There are numerous veins of quartz in the rock formation where traces of gold may be found, but whether these veins are sufficiently extensive and rich to become remunerative is yet undetermined. A mining company was formed here and incorporated by the Legislature in 1867, but no startling results have been developed during the 17 years of its existance. In the westerly part of the town, in the village of Sadawga, is
A MINERAL SPRING
to which many people resort on account of its medicinal qualities. An analysis of the waters show that they contain muriate of lime, carbonate of lime, muriate of magnesia, carbonate and per-oxide of iron, allumina with an acid trace. It is said to be a specific for cutaneous eruptions, scrofulous humors, dropsy, gravel, chronic ulcers, liver compliant and many other diseases. This spring was discovered in 1822, and has been sought for more or less ever since. David EAMES, a much respected citizen of the town, claimed that the use of these waters saved his life. While this water has some medicinal qualities, its taste is not much different from ordinary spring water, and its hygenic properties, as represented by the chemist are in no way indicated by the taste.
THE NATIVE FORESTS.
In early times the town was covered with a heavy growth of timber, beech, birch and maple being the principal hard woods, and spruce, hemlock and balsam the soft. No pine timber, of any considerable value, ever grew in Whitingham, and only now and then an oak. Hemlock trees in some parts of the town were of immense size, ranging from three to five feet in diameter. It will be seen that the town possessed few attractions for the settler, while there were many obstacles to contend with before the soil could be made productive. The climate, the location, uneven surface, the lack of a well defined policy in matters of government, all conspired to discourage a speedy and successful settlement; but THE PIONEERS were a hardy race; courted the opposition of the elements and of man. They caused the forests to vanish before their sturdy stroke; took issue with wild beasts and unfriendly men; established their independence by solemn decree and forced civilization to establish a new, free State, the first to be admitted into the Federal Union. The inhabitants of Whitingham bore an active and honorable part in all these struggles, and form that day to the present time have shown themselves worthy of the Green Mountain State.
On the 12th day of March, 1770, by virtue of a New York patent, Whitingham became the property of the following grantees: Nathan WHITING, Samuel FITCH, Eleazer FITCH, James SMEDLEY, Andrew MYERS, Robert ALTON and Samuel BOYER.
It was ten years before the town was organized by the choice of officers, during which time large accessions had been made to its population. The census of Cumberland was taken in 1770-71, which discloses the following facts:
White males under 16..............3
" " over and under 60.....4
" females under 16............3
" " over and under 60.....4
Heads of families.................4
Whitingham as laid out in 1770 was only a part of Cumberland.
SILAS HAMILTON AND ROBERT BRATTEN
were the first settlers and were in town as early as 1770. The BRATTEN family came from Coleraine to Whitingham in 1770. They came around through Wilmington. Mrs. BRATTEN, the wife of Robert, was a brave and resolute woman. On their was to Whitingham from Colerain, Mrs. BRATTEN climbed a tall tree in Wilmington and there discovered the valley of the Deerfield river. They pursued their course in that direction and marked trees as they went. Their house was some distance up the river from where Cyrus WHEELER no resides. They returned to Coleraine in the fall and came back three times before they made a permanent residence in Whitingham. Here they commenced farming in a small way. A small iron kettle served as a water pail, milk pail, and was also used for cooking. The milk of one cow was divided among several families. On the 19th of May, 1780, know as the "Dark Day," Mrs. BRATTEN set out an apple tree on this farm which has since been called grandmotherís apple tree.
Silas HAMILTON was from Western, (now Warren,) Mass. and became an extensive land owner in Whitingham. He was engaged in
and for this offence was tried and sentenced to stand on hour in a pillory and be publicly whipped on his naked back 20 stripes. The charge against him was "For stirring up sedition in the Commonwealth." Mr. HAMILTON was not alone in this business, as Vermont was the place of refuge for many of the insurgents including SHAY himself.
of Hubbardston, Mass, was captured in Vermont by a party of government men under Royal TYLER, Esq., but they were only able to hold him four hours, when he was liberated by a party of 40 sympathizers from over the line in the State of New York. James WHITE of Coleraine was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death, but was subsequently pardoned.
Mr. HAMILTON was the first representative from Whitingham to the Legislature of Vermont in 1778.
While this early settlement was in progress, the town was without roads and the people were obliged to travel by marked trees. They were obliged to have their grain ground at Greenfield, transporting it there and back on foot.
The first child born in town was John NELSON, Jr.
Thomas RIDDLE was the first person who died in town. He was taken sick while on a visit. His home was in Connecticut. He could not be carried home as there was no way of transportation except on horseback. He was buried in Whitingham.
During the 10 years from the time this town began to be settled up to 1780 when it was organized, the inhabitants were quite extensively engaged in an industry which might have been remunerative at the time, but of no permanent advantage.
This was cutting wood and timber to be burned for the ashes, the same being leached and the lye boiled down to salts and potash.
This method of clearing off the land and carrying away what the soil so much needed, worked an injury to the farms from which they will never recover. If one-half the cleared land in this town was covered with the original timber to-day, it would greatly add to the value of the town.
We have now passed over a period of great privation on the part of the settlers, who had cast their lot on a sterile soil, away from the comforts of civilization, among wild beasts, in a climate unfriendly to pioneer life.
Up to this time there is no record of any religious expression of the part of the people or that any clergyman had ventured to set foot upon the soil of Whitingham.
It was now near the close of the Revolution. Independence had been declared by the colonies four years, and by Vermont three years. The English government was not much respected in Vermont, and the inhabitants sought to acquire titles to their lands through the General Assembly. About 1780, Silas HAMILTON and seven others petitioned for a grant of 3,000 acres of land in Whitingham.
This petition was referred to a committee, who referred to a committee, who reported through their chairman as follows:
"The Hon. General Assembly:
Your Committee report as their opinion, that the three thousand acres of land in the Township of Whitingham as Referred to in the Petition of Silas HAMILTON to be granted to said HAMILTON and the settlers named in said Petition thay Paying a Meat Consideration --- and that his Exelancy and Council be Directed to Make out a Charter of Incorporation for the same with the Reservations and Restrictions Necessary.-
John THROOP, Chairman"
This report was referred to the Governor and Council and the petition granted.
The criminal code of Vermont in 1780, made nine offences punishable by death, as follows: treason, murder, arson, rape, beastiality, sodomy, bearing false witness against a person for the purpose of causing his death; mutilation: either by cutting out or dialing the tongue, or putting out an eye, or by emasculation, and blaspheming the name of God.
The first town meeting of which we have any record, was held on Thursday, March 30, 1780, when the following business was transacted:
"Att an annual Town meeting March 30, 1780, the men whose names are under Ritten ware Chosen to Ofis.
Town Clerk: Eliphalet HYDE. Selectmen: James ANGEL, Eliphalet HYDE, Silas HAMILTON. Treasurer: Silas HAMILTON. Constables: Abner MORE, Levi SHUMWAY. Highway Surveyors: Abner MORE, Thos. HUNT, Ebenezer DAVIS, John NELSON Jr. Listers: Thos. STEARNS, Eliphalet HYDE. Collectors: Levi SHUMWAY, Abner MORE. Grand Juror: Thomas STEARNS. Sealer of weights and measures: John BUTLER. Deer Rief: Amasa SHUMWAY, Thomas STEARNS.
At this time the town had a population of not less than 200.
The grand list of 1781 shows who paid the taxes at that time and indicates to some extent the population of the town.
FIRST GRAND LIST. "John NELSON, John NELSON Jr., Beng' BLODGETT, Samuel DAY, John BLUSHFIELD, Thomas BLODGET, Thomas DAY, John HOWARD, Jonnnhan SHUMWAY, James HOWARD, Amos GREEN, James REED, Benj. BLOGETT JR., Ebenezer DAVIS, Isaac FULLER, Samuel NELSON, Leonard PIKE, Eliphalet GUSTEN, Daniel WILSON, Elijah FRENCH, Daniel HOLLOWAY, Luther WASHBURN, Bille CLARK, Levi SHUMWAY, Amasa SHUMWAY, Benijah LAMPHER, James ANGEL, John BUTLER, Samuel BUTLER, Elihue BLAKE, Jabez FOSTER, Calvin FULLER, Levi BOYD, Charles DODGE, John RUGG, Nathan LEE, Henry LEE, Abner MORE, Thomas HUNT, Jonathan BARTON, Jonathan DIX, Timothy S. BERTON, Capt. Eliphalet HIDE, Moses HIDE, Jonathan EDGECOMB, Roger EDGECOMB, Beriah SPRAGE, Thomas STERNS, Sterling STERNS, Nathaniel DAVIS, Brinsele PETERS, Silas HAMBLETON, Robert BRATTEN, Robert BRATTEN Jr., Joseph CPOLEMAN.
The listers for this year were Henry LEE, Benjamin BLODGETT and Eliphalet GUSTEN.
The BRATTENS, Robert and Moses, and Leonard PIKE, settled in the north-west part of the town, and James ANGEL, Eliphalet GUSTEN and Benijah LAMPHEAR in the south-east part. John BUTLER and Silas HAMILTON settled in the north-eastern section. BUTLER built the first grist-mill in town on North river.
The earliest deed on record was from Robert BRATTEN of Whitingham to John TORREY of Halifax, and is dated Jan. 2nd, 1780.
In 1786m the town made provision for paying taxes in the following manner:
"Voted that the town tax be paid in wheat at 4 s. per bushel, Rey at 3 s., Corn at 2 and 6, Oats at 1 and 6, Flax at 8 d. per pound, sugar 5 d. per pound."
Although pioneer life was not pleasant in many respects, there was constant call for unclaimed lands in Whitingham, by those who desired to become permanent settlers.
On the 15th day of October 1857, 600 acres of land were granted by Vermont to Jonathan HUNT and Arad HUNT, described as follows, viz.: "Three lots in the town of Whitingham, being a part of three thousand acres of land granted to Capt. John WALKER, said lots containing one hundred and ninety-six acres in each lot and are numbered 2, 3, and 5, as expressed in a certain indenture of release made to the said Jonathan HUNT and Arad HUNT, by Samuel WELLS."
This grant was made in such a way as to render the location doubtful, unless the three lots were more clearly defined than was customary in those days.
The people of Whitingham at this time, as a rule, were law-abiding, so far as they had any law to abide by; but habits of intoxication sometimes required a check from some official source in cases where the law could not be appealed to with satisfactory results.
In 1787 the people of Whitingham adopted a method unique in its conception and salutary in its application.
The number of cases treated by this humiliating process is unknown, by one specimen has been preserved and may be found among the town records, recorded by Amos Green, who was then town clerk, The selectmen who issued this suggestive hint were Samuel DAY, Daniel WILCOX and Isaac LYMAN. It has no parallel in municipal dictum and is as follows:
"Whereas the mismanagement and bad conduct of A. B. _____ of Whitingham in times Past has apparently Brought himself into such Difficulty that his Family may feel the fatal effects of it in many Instances, Particularly afor their Daly support, which to prevent we, the subscribers, Do agreeable to Law hereby take Inspection of S'd A. B.'s futer affairs under our Emediate Care, and hereby Notify the Publick that we act as Overseers on S'd A. B's futer affairs, and warn all that is or may be concerned with S'd A. B. to govern themselves accordingly.
Whitingham, June 30, 1786."
In 1790 an effort was made to secure a burial place, and the town "Voted to Except the land of Calvin MUNN and fence the same."
Nothing was done about the fence during the year and on the 7th of Mar. 1791, the town was not satisfied with the MUNN lot and choose a Committee "to search for a more convenient place." The lot less than half a mile not of where the old meeting house stood was finally selected.
Gambling and like devices were resorted to for the purpose of raising money for religious and charitable purposes. Churches, roads and bridges were built, repairing loss by fire and paying the State debt, by lottery; clearly showing the tendency of the human mind to be lured by expectation that something is liable to turn up.
These lotteries were not only legalized by towns, but the State was concerned in the same demoralizing business.
Vermont has passed 24 acts, granting lotteries for various purposes, the first being dated Feb. 27th, 1783, and the last one, Nov. 8th, 1804, Nov. 8th, 1792, and act was passed granting a lottery to raise 150£ for building a bridge over Deerfield River at Readsboro.
It was thought that these lotteries had a tendency to relieve the burden of taxation, while it only changed the burden from one class to another by bringing the gamblers to the front in charitable and religious work.
It is to be presumed that the town meetings were legally called, but none of the warrants were recorded during the first 14 years. The first recorded warrant for a town meeting was for the meeting held March 3, 1794. The principal matter before that meeting was in relation to building a meeting house.
Dec. 30, 1794, at a town meeting, Jonathan HUNT received 15 votes for member of Congress.
Persons to whom land was granted in Whitingham by authority of Vermont, 1780 to 1796: 1780, Silas HAMILTON, Thomas STEARNS, John BUTLER, James ROBERTS, Abner MOOR, James ANGEL, Charles DOGE, Eliphalet HYDE; 1781, Robert BRATTEN and seven others, whose names are unknown; 1782, Samuel WELLS; 1787, Jonathan HUNT, Arad HUNT; 1796, Amos GREEN, Samuel MOULTON, Thomas DAY, Samuel DAY, James HOWARD, Seth HOWARD, Benjamin NELSON, Benjamin BLOGETT, Benjamin BLODGETT, Jr., Samuel NELSON, Solomon MOULTON, Asaph WHITE, William NELSON, Thomas BLODGETT, Abisha BLODGETT and Daniel WALLACE. These grants were supposed to cover all the unoccupied land in the town.
The liberality of the town in allowing its citizens to pay their taxes in "truck and dicker," and the raising of money by games of chance did not turn out to be a complete remedy for all the financial ills, and numerous farms were sold under the hammer.
May 30, 1798, the town collector, Amasa SHUMWAY, held a great sale of land in Whitingham to satisfy demands for taxes. The exact condition of these sales does not appear to have been recorded. There were 75 lots sold at a cheap rate: 100 acres in lot No. 7 for $1.37, and another lot of 79 acres for 98 cents. I would be interesting to know whether any of the titles under this sale were ever perfected.
The last year of the century was the most prosperous the town has ever seen. Large numbers were added to the population, log huts were abandoned and more modern houses built. The forests were cleared away, roads and bridges built, schools established and general thrift pervaded the town. The old meeting house was built this year, which was a great relief to church-goers. This house was made free to all denominations, by a vote of the town. The population at this time was 868.
What was known as the "Salem witchcraft," 200 years ago lingered in the minds of the people more than a century.
Near the close of the last century, there live in the southeast part of Whitingham an elderly woman by the name of LAMPHEAR, who had the reputation of being a witch.
Julius CLARK, a young man who lived near Mrs. LAMPHEAR, claimed that he was bewitched by her and so thoroughly under her influence that he was unable to get off his bed for ten years. When the old lady died, he at once recovered and lived to an old age.
Another man supposed himself to be one of her victims, and would exert himself in every possible way to avoid her influence. He related numerous instances where the spirit of this harmless old woman was wont to revel among its victims, and his sincerity was not to be doubted, for he had never been led to believe that witchcraft could only exist in a distempered mind.
Whether a belief in witchcraft had a tendency to weaken the religious sentiment of the people is not clear, but about this time objections was made to paying taxes for the support of a minister who did not preach the right doctrine, and the town, by vote mad the way clear for unbelievers as follows:
"Voted that all persons who will come forward to the selectmen and declare that it is against their conscience to pay any sum of money for the prupose of hiring preaching, that it shall be the duty of the selectmen to abate their taxes."
Several persons filed a certificate for abatement, but I fail to find that any action was taken theron. The following may be found in the town records:
Whitingham, July 5, 1802.
"I do not agree in religious opinion with the majority of the inhabitants of this town."
Among the early settlers and those prominent in business and town affairs, near the close of the last century, were Nathan GREEN, James ROBERTS, Jabez FOSTER, Amasa SHUMWAY, David EAMES, James REED, Reuben LAMPHEAR, Francis PORTER, Amos GREEN, Calvin MUNN, Jonathan HALL, Baxter HALL, Reuben BROWN, Amos BROWN, Joshua COLEMAN, Samuel DAY, Ambrose STONE, Samuel PARKER, David JILLSON, William GOODNOW, Jesse HULL, John ROBERTS, Samuel PRESTON, Isaac CHASE, Joshua NEWELL, Abraham CHASE, Abiather WINN, Levi BOYD, Martin STICKNEY, Abel B. WILDER, Eli HIGLEY, Jeremiah KINGSBURY, Samuel MARTIIN, Hezekiah MURDOCK, Thomas NELSON and many others.
These men assisted in advancing the material prosperity of the town, and took special pride in the success of agricultural pursuit in which they were all more or less engaged.
The first recorded warrant for a town meeting was for the meeting held the third of March, 1794. The time of this meeting was occupied in discussing matters relative to building a meeting house. On the 6th of July, 1795, the town voted: "That they will build a house for public worship, 40 feet wide and 50 feet long, by a majority of 29 against eight.
This meeting house was framed and raised during the summer and autumn of 1799, by Levi CONANT of Halifax, and was finished off later by Justus HALL, also of Halifax.
Nov. 14, 1803, the town "Voted to raise the money that is necessary to purchase the military stores necessary to supply the town as the law directs."
"Voted that the place to deposit said stock of ammunition shall be in the upper left of the meeting house in a chest to be made at the expense of the town for that purpose."
This house stood on a hill, in a climate far from being mild in winter, and yet it was used for religious purposes and town meetings during 19 winters before there was any fire in it. No chimney was put in when the house as built; but time brought its changes, and on the 21st day of December, 1818, the town voted, "To have a stove and pipe erected in the meeting house."
When Whitingham celebrated its centennial in 1880, the east side of this house had been torn away, and the speaker's stand erected close to and partly within this open space.
The oration was delivered by Clark JILLSON of Worcester, Mass., a native of Whitingham. His remarks in relation to the old meeting house were as follows:
"Eighty-one years ago to-day, this very spot was busy with the preparation for the erection of this grand old structure; the inhabitants of the town who have permitted the mutilation of its walls and allowed it to be shorn of its inward beauty -- its unique pulpit, its square pews, its extensive galleries so tastefully decorated, emblematic of New England life 200 years ago --ought to be indicted for the desecration of the altars of their fathers.
Your modern churches, built to gratify the morbid tastes of those who worship fixtures more than the Diety, lack that spiritual presence, that every person cannot but feel when he enters this consecrated temple. It was built by a sturdy race of men, living entirely by the labor of their own hands, but having brains sufficient to admit of a conscience. Two of your modern churches have had a least a private burial, while this ancient building still stands. If it had been left unoccupied and undisturbed, it would have outlived them all, standing upon this hill a monument to the memory of our fathers, am memorial of their unflinching integrity, their perseverance under stress of limited means, their unfaltering fidelity to the Christian faith, and their willingness to do what they thought to be right.
On the night of the 14th of October, 1883, this house was cut down by some reckless vandal whose soul was steeped in the dregs of depravity, whose unholy work was too disgraceful to bear the light of day.
Farewell dear old landmark of our fathers! Your presence was a benediction, your loss will be a perpetual sorrow."
[CIVIL WAR VOLUNTEER CREDITS & AMOUNT OF BOUNTY]
The amount of credits to the town of Whitingham, given to each volunteer who has enlisted and been mustered into service, the time of actual service by each man, dating from the time of muster into the service to the time he was mustered out, discharged or deceased, (not counting fractions of a month,) together with the amount of bounty paid to each man by the town, will be seen by the following table:
Term of Time of Amount
NAMES. Credits Actual Town REMARKS.
to Town. Service Bount-
yrs. mo. yrs. mo. ies
Aldrich, Francis H. 3 2 9
Allard, Henry J. 4 5 $615
Atherton, John 3 1 6 300
Barker, Augustus 3 2 4
Barnes, Levi N. 3 1 2 300
Burke, Frederick 1 10 700
Barker, Charles A. 9 9 100
Ballou, George E. 9 9 100
Ballou, Joseph L. 9 9 100
Bickford, Almerin C. 3 2 9
Bickford, Sylvester 3 2 9
Bishop, Emerson 3 1 8 Died in service.
Bishop, Isaac D. 9 9 100
Blanchard, Joy N. 3 1 1 1st Regiment Cavalry.
Blanchard, George F. 3 9 1 6 400 Killed in battle of Cedar Creek.
Bray, David 3 675
Briggs, Eli S. 3 1 6 300
Brown, Mirvin M. 3 9 2 3 400
Brown, Henry B. 6 3 5 300 Re-enlisted.
Brown, Lansford H. 3 1 3 300 Died in service of disease.
Brown, George F. 3 425 Deserted before muster in.
Brown, Benjamin P. 1 10 250
Burrington, Robert 3 1 3 Discharged for disability.
Cady, Aaron L. 3 300 Died on the way to Regiment.
Clark, Zimri 3 300 Died before Co. left Brattleboro.
Chase, George A. 3 2 11
Comstock, James H. 3 8 Died in service of disease.
Conners, John 3 675 Deserted on way to Regiment.
Cutting, Asa 3 2 11
Davis, Lewis A. 3 1 3 Killed at Fredericksburg.
Davis, Lysander 6 3 10 300 Re-enlisted.
Danforth, Charles 3 3 700 Killed at Petersburg.
Dix, Hosea 3 1 1 Died in service of disease.
Dole, William E. 9 3 100 Died in service of disease.
Eames, Joseph H. 9 9 100
Easton, Solomon G. 9 9 100
Eames, Luther 6 3 10 300 Re-enlisted.
Easton, Chauncy C. 3 1 6 300
Edwards, Abiathar P. 3 3
Eddy, George P. 3 1 6 300 Re-enlisted from a Mass. Regt.
Eddy, John A. 3 1 6 " " " "
Esty, Henry W. 1 10 600 Resident of Readsboro.
Fairbanks, Odid C. 9 9 100
Fairbanks, Edwin 3 2 11 Resident of Heath, Mass.
Fairbanks, Freeman A. 3 3 300 Died in service of disease.
Freeman, John 3 9 750
Foster, Gustavus 3 6
Gillett, Henry O. 9 9 100
Gillett, Elliot F. 9 9 100
Griffin, Henry W. 9 9 100
Griffin, Alfred B. 9 4 100 (Discharged, and died of dis-
Goodnow, Henry S. 9 6 100 (ease contracted in service.
Graves, Joseph D. 3 1 6 300
Griffin, Hollis B. 3 1 4 300
Hescock, Ambrose E. 9 9 100
Hicks, Merritt G. 3 1 9 Killed in action at Petersburg.
Hatch, Elisha P. 3 2 9
Hollbrook, Selah H. 6 3 6 D'f'd, ent'd service under draft.
Hollbrook, Rufus C. 3 6 Died of disease in service.
Howell, Frank A. 3 2 1 Re-enlisted for Wilimington.
Hull, Horace A. 3 1 6 300
Jillson, Rinaldo E. 9 9 100
Jillson, Horace T. 3 1 2 Died in service at Fort Slocum.
Lambert, Michael 3 1 6 300
Lake, Daniel G. 3 10 500
Langdon, Peter, Jr. 1 8 700
Larned, Thomas J. 3 1 4 Reported as deserting.
Mason, Henry 9 Never joined Regiment.
Morse, Frederick N. 9 9 100
Morley, Elias S. 6 3 7 300 Ist Reg't Cavalry, re-enlisted.
Moore, Charles 3 5 475 Died in service of disease.
Murphy, David 3 1 6 300
Murphey, Patrick 3 1 6 300
Newell, Edward 9 9 100
Newell, Hiram 9 4 100 Died in service of disease.
Newton, Albert E. 3 2 2 Killed at Chapin's Farm.
Neenan, James 3 2 550 Deserted.
Nelson, Charles 3 475 Deserted before joining Reg't.
Olden, Daniel 3 10 300 Died in service of disease.
Parker, Edgar 9 9 100
Pike, Amos W. 9 9 100
Pason, James H. 3 675 Deserted, never joined Reg't.
Pike, Lewis 6 2 6 300 Re-en. died of wounds received.
Pierce, George H. 6 1 6 600 Drafted, paid commutation.
Ravey, James 3 1 365 Died in service of disease.
Reed, Wm. H. 9 9 100
Reed, Alfred 9 9 100
Reed, Elmer J. 9 Sick, never joined Co.
Reed, Winslow T. 3 1 6 300
Rice, Daniel M. 3 9 2 3 400 Enlisted for 9 mos. and Vet. Vol.
Rice, Charles H. 9 4 100 Died in service of disease.
Stetson, Albert C. 9 9 100
Stanley, George B. 3 2 9
Stafford, Isaac B. 3 1 2 300 Died in service of disease.
Streeter, Joseph J. 6 1 6 600 Drafted, paid commutation.
Sherman, Albert N. 1 9 600 In 1st Cavalry Regiment.
Shumway, Chandler C. 1 9 600 In 1st Cavalry Regiment.
Toby, Henry A. 3 4 Discharged for disability.
Tooly, David A. 3 1 6 Died in service of disease.
Tooly, John H. 3 3 100 En.for Wil'n trans.to W'dham.
Tucker, John B. 3 Discharged for disability.
Warren, Charles 3 6
Wilcox, Luman C. 9 2 100 Died in service of disease.
Wilcox, John F. 1 9 600
Wilcox, Zackary T. 1 9 600
Wheeler, James W. 3 2 3 Reported as deserting.
Wrinkle, Thomas 3 1 6 300
271 6 131 9 $24030
Of the above list of men that were credited to the town of Whitingham, eighteen were non-residents of the town. Four were citzens of Massachusetts, one of the town of Readsboro, and thirteen were obtained from abroad, and their residence has not been ascertained. To the eighteen non-residents, the town paid $9,415 bounty, and to the eighty-nine of our own men was paid $14,615, averaging $523 and a fraction over to foreigners,and $164.21 to our own townsmen. The whole amount of credits by men mustered into the service is 271 1/2 years and the time of actual service is 131 3/4 years. The credits by non-residents is 43 years, and the actual service is 12 1/2 years.
The aggregate amount of bounties paid by the town to volunteers, and to men furnishing substitues, is $31,030. The expense of procuring volunteers, and other incidental expenses connected with the raising of recruits in 1862-3 and 4, cannot be less than $1500, making the total amount $32,530.
Besides the list of men credited to the town in the foregoing table, there are six men credited to Whitingham whose names are not given. They are probably substitues furnished by enrolled men, and some at least, if not all, have entered the naval service of the United States, instead of the army.
Four men enrolled and liable to draft in Whitingham, enlisted in other towns. Winchester E. HOLBROOK enlisted in Hartford, Conn., was a prisoner for a long time, and came home sick, and died a short time after from disease contracted in the service. David JILSON enlisted in a Reg't in Massachusetts. James S. BIGELOW enlisted in the town of Halifax, went into the 8th Reg't in the same Company with some of our men, and was killed at the battle of Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, '64. David ATHERTON enlisted in a New York Reg't, and was in Andersonville prison some eight months.
The enrolled men who furnished sustitutes to the credit of the town for three years, are the following: Hosea B. BALLOU, Joseph I. CHASE, Royal CHASE, Royal S. FAULKNER, Willard FAULKNER, Jr., Eli T. GREEN, Edward L. ROBERTS, Benj. F. ROBERTS, Henry M. ROBERTS, Albert C. STETSON, Norris L. STETSON, George N. UPTON, George W. WHEELER, Ichabod N. WHEELER.
Each of these men received a town bounty of five hundred dollars.
In July, 1863, sixteen men were drafted from the town of Whitingham, fourteen of whom paid the $300 commutation as provided by a law of the United States, and one, Charles C. H. WILLIAMS, procured a substitute, and Selah H. HOLBROOK went into the service under the draft. The following are the men who paid commutation: Henry S. BLANCHARD, Alonzo S. BLISS, Elliot A. BROWN, Russell D. BROWN, Elisha J. CORKINS, Charles W. DIX, Joseph DIX, Francis W. FAIRBANKS, Levi B. FAULKNER, Geo. H. PIERCE, Henry S. REED, Charles O. STONE, Joseph J. STREETER, Thadeus E. WHEELER.
Two of those who paid commutation, George H. PIERCE and Joseph J. STREETER, afterwards volunteered and went into the service.
In many instances in this brief sketch of the soldiers from Whitingham, the only available source of information was the reports of the Adjutant and Inspector General of the State, and consequently are not so definite as would have been made had not my time to collect facts been so limited. L. BROWN, Whitingham, Feb. 23, 1867.
THE CENTRE VILLAGE
This village, so long the centre of attraction and business interest for the whole town, fill a place in the history of Whitingham of more importance than those now on the stage of active life would suppose. For nearly half a century, during the most progressive period, it was the cherished centre for every section of the town. And not only that, but the most active, enterprising business place to be found in this section of the county. Both secular and religious interests centered here, and all classes felt this to be the common center of attraction. The old church, now ruthlessly destroyed, was built about the commencement of the present century, and was the pride of the whole town, for whose benefit it was erected, and for many years from two to four hundred devout worshippers, in the summer season, would assemble within its walls, on each returning Sabbath, to test their devotion to the religious ordinances of the age.
STORES AND MERCHANTS.
The first store in this immediate vicinity, of which we can find any account, was built by William and Joseph GOODNOW, in 1804. The following have been merchants in town: John NOYS & Adin THAYER, Rev. Linus AUSTIN & Asahel BOOTH, Ephriam SMITH & George BOARDMAN, Emory GREENLEAF & Royal HOUGHTON, Henry GOODNOW, Eli HIGLEY, Reuben MIMS, MIMS & CHASE. John JOYES and Adin THAYER, sold to Rev. Linus AUSTIN and Asahel BOOTH. AUSTIN sold his interest to BOOTH.
Meantime another store had been started on the lower side of the way, near where Henry GOODNOW'S dwelling house now stands. Ephriam SMITH, who had been keeping a grocery store over at a place called the "Corners," near the late "Farmers' Inst. Co's." place of business, moved to the centre village, established a general store, and did an extensive business alone for a few years; and afterwards in company with George BOARDMAN, under the firm name of "SMITH & BOARDMAN" for several years. They were succeeded by Emory GREENLEAF and Royal HOUGHTON, who traded on that side of the way, in the firm name of "GREENLEAF & HOUGHTON," till about 1820. This village and the whole town was rapidly gaining in population and wealth, and had already become a town of no small importance in the county and in the State. This was when cities and large towns and villages had no such magnetic attraction for enterprising young men as we witness in these more modern times. The best native talent was retained at home, to guide the public interest, and establish institutions indispensable to an exalted civilization.
GREENLEAF & HOUGHTON was succeeded on the lower side of the way by George BOARDMAN; and it was there where Henry GOODNOW, whose career as a merchant and citizen, is familiar to most of the people of this town, took his first lessons in the mercantile business. He worked as a clerk under BOARDMAN till about 1833, when he bought out BOARDMAN, and was the owner of the store and responsible party in trade, on that side of the way ever after that. He did an extensive and profitable business for the next ten years, and accumulated a property that with prudent management would have made him one of the most wealthy merchants in this part of the State. But his ambition for wealth prompted him to invest too much in land speculations, and real estate securities in Readsbora, and other towns, when lands were high, and still rising; and this, together with some losses in the lumbering and mill business in Hartwellville, and the extensive litigation in which he became involved, used up his spare capital, and the decline in the value of real estate, which he held too long in hopes of better prices, together with the accumulating taxes and costs of litigation, which he was compelled to pay, has reduced him to a position that 35 years ago would have been though impossible.
In 1824 or 1825, Eli HIGLEY, long a resident and leading citizen of Whitingham, and an active, enterprising business man, formed a partnership with Asahel BOOTH, who was trading in the store built by Messrs. GOODNOW, and built a new store and hotel near the old one first built. They did business under the firm name of "HIGLEY & BOOTH," for two or three years after the completion of their new store; then HIGHLEY sold out to a Mr. HOUGHTON, and the firm changed to "HOUGHTON & BOOTH." They did a more extensive business in trade for a few years than any other store ever did in Whitingham. They continued trade there till Geo. BOARDMAN and Reuben WINN bought them out in 1833. The store was then run in the name of "BOARDMAN & WINN" for a year or two, when WINN bought BOARDMAN'S interest and run the store alone for a short time, when he took in Rufus CHASE as a partner, and the store was run in the firm name of "WINN & CHASE" till CHASE died in 1846.
For nearly half a century before this, this hill had been the common business centre for the whole town, and for many years drew a large share of the trade of adjoining towns. There was a time when this hill was the most central mart for all kinds of merchandise known in this part of the county. The people all took an interest in its progress. A spirit of enterprising emulation pervaded all classes. The common people were of necessity industrious and economical in their habits; the theory of living upon other people's earnings had not yet become popular; few, if any, in this section of the country adopted that course. Manual labor was no dishonor to any class of citizens; even professional men could work on the farm a portion of the time without detriment to their professional standing. They duly appreciated its invigorating effect on both their physical and mental powers. And the people were bound together in fraternal feelings of sympathy for each other's welfare. "Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost," had not become the paramount rule of actions. If any were unfortunate, the whole neighborhood felt it a privilege, as well as a duty, to render charitable assistance. At that age the people not only of this town, but of all other towns in this part of the State, were a hardy, industrious, self-reliant race of people, depending entirely upon their own labor and their own resources for the support of themselves and their families. Farming was the almost exclusive business of the whole town, and the products of the soil and the growth of stock on the farm afforded a liberal surplus annually to most of the inhabitants. Farming paid then, as well as other pursuits. Dairying business was then profitable, and almost every farmer was, to a greater or less extent, engaged in it. From five to 20 cows might be seen in every farmer's yard, besides a good flock of sheep and other stock; mechanics and laborers were under no necessity of sending to city markets for the necessaries of life; the neighboring farmers had an ample supply of the finest quality.
The sound of the woodman's axe and the noise of the flail gave as much satisfaction half a century ago as the hum of machinery at the present time. So, too, the noise of the shuttle and the music of the spinning wheel, were cherished with as much delight by the ladies of that age, as that of the organ and piano of to-day. We cannot too greatly revere the memory of our fathers and mothers for their noble home virtues and the lessons of economy they taught us; their industrious and persevering energy, and the graceful course they pursued in the culture of domestic economy and the arts of civilization, in this then almost wilderness town. We of the present time can have but limited conceptions of the hardships and privations they cheerfully endured for the benefit of their posterity, and to found such institutions for human society as tend to an enlightened and progressive organization. May the successive generations ever be grateful for their exemplary wisdom in laying the foundations of social and progressive elements of the highest form of civilization in an undeveloped and growing township.
But to return to our narrative of the centre village. While this place remained the common centre of the whole town, the store and hotel had all the business they could attend to, and scarce a day passed in the winter, when the weather was favorable, but that from ten to twenty-five teams might be seen there during the business hours of the day. It was no uncommon occurrence to have an hundred tierces of lime bought and sold in a single day. Mechanic too, of every occupation, were kept constantly busy to supply the wants of the farming classes, then more than twice as numerous as now. This was the most progressive and prosperous days of the town; from 1815 to 1835. As early as 1838, the trade and business of this long cherished centre began to decline. Jacksonville began to be a place of some importance, and drew quite a share of the business from this common centre. About that time, Cyrus and Maturen BALLOU conceived the idea of starting a store to be called the "Farmer's Interest Co." of which we shall give a more definite account hereafter.
In former times, when this hill was the common centre of attraction, on every public day the village would be thronged with people from every section of the town, -for the double purpose of conferring with each other upon social and business matters, and having a good time generally. Not the least enjoyable of these holiday gathering for all classes, old and young alike, was "June Training Day" when almost the entire town would assemble; the young men for a jolly game of ball, and other athletic sports common in those days, and the old men to relate the news of the day, and enjoy a social chat over their glass of toddy and lemon punch, of which at that time it was no dishonor to partake.
On one of these training days, the boys as usual had taken their position on the public common for a game of ball, and when they had got nicely started in their game, the Captain of the militia company, feeling perhaps a little too proud of his authority, marched his men directly on to the grounds they occupied evidently with a view of routing and driving them off. The boys, in the true spirit of "young America," loudly protested against such invasion of their supposed rights, but finally, with generous magnanimity yielded to the Captain, and took a position in the highway a little below. The Captain elated with his success in routing the boys, after drilling his company a short time, marched them back into the highway, formed them into platoons with fixed bayonets, for the purpose of marching them down the road directly over the boys new quarters. But this time they were determined to resist such unwarrantable encroachments of their rights. And as the Captain approached with his platoons covering the entire width of the highway, Jonas BROWN, a tall bony athletic fellow (but having a bad impediment of speech,) stationed himself in the center of the highway, ball club in hand, with his comrades on his left, and as the platoons approached, straightened himself up at full length, stamping his foot upon the ground, as if to give force to his order, exclaimed "Hah, hah, half the road."
The Captain, paying no attention to his order, marched his men with their bayonets covering the whole road, intending to scare the boys off; but when they came within reach, the unceremoniously knocked the bayonets right and left with their ball clubs, and some of the soldiers were seen gathering themselves up from the ground amid the shouts and cheers of the crow. The Captain, seeing the determination of the boys, and by the stouts and cheers of lookers on, finding their sympathies were with them, retreated in disorder. Chagrined at the defeat of his military prowess in routing the boys, he dispatched an orderly to the office of the local laywer, John E. BUTLER, with his complaint, and for a warrant to arrest the ball players, for breach of peace, assault and battery, etc. But he was still more stumped, when his messenger returned with the opinion of the lawyer, that in view of the circumstances, he was the aggressor - that the boys had equally as good right to the public common, or highway, with their ball clubs, as he had with his bayonets. And finally the Captain with his men, peaceably withdrew to another place to drill, a wiser, if not a better man.
Although the Methodist church organization has never been the leading religious denomination in the town of Whitingham, since the Baptist church was formed, in 1808, it undoubtedly held precedence of any other religious organization.
From the published proceeding of the Vermont Methodist State Convention, held at Montpelier, September 29th and 21st, 1870, and the historical statistics there in recorded, we find that the Whitingham Circuit was one of the three first formed in the State.
We give here the names of the Methodist ministers that have preached in Whitingham, under the direction of the Methodist Episcopal Annual Conference: In 1799, Peter VANNEST; in 1800, Michael COATS, Joseph MICHELL; in 1801, Daniel BROMLEY; in 1802, Elijah WARD, Asa KENT; in 1803, Phineas PECK, Caleb DUSTIN; in 1804, John TINKHAM; in 1805, Ebenezer FAIRBANKS, David GOODHUE; in 1806, Laban CLARK; in 1807, Andrew MC KAIN, Major CURTIS; 1808, Reuben HARRIS, Cyprian H. GIDLEY; in 1809, and 1810, Samuel COCHRAN; in 1811, Reuben HARRIS, Cyrus CULVER; in 1812, Cyrus CUlVER, John REYNOLDS; in 1813, Andrew MC KAIN, Stephen RICHMOND; in 1814 Gilbert LYON, Daniel BREYTON; in 1815, David J. WRIGHT, Phineas DEAN; in 1816, Samuel EIGHMEY, Sherman MINOR. The minutes and records show no preacher sent to Whitingham, by the Methodist Annual Conference, from 1815 to 1843.
The Rev. Asa KENT, who was sent here in 1802, relates an incident, in one of their meetings in Whitingham, as given in the record of the Vermont Methodist State Convention at Montpelier, in September, 1870. In the early history of the Methodist denomination in Whitingham, Rev. Mr. KENT is quoted as saying: "one important office at that day, was the Tithingman, who, armed with a long rod, at once, weapon and staff of office, presided over the Sabbath congregation, with full power to remind unwary hearers by a thrust from his wand, of any undue disposition to sleep, or other indiscretion."
In 1843, the Whitingham Circuit was revived, and the Annual Conference took measures to supply the people with preaching. The Rev. John L. SMITH was assigned the pastorate for that year. The records shows no preacher sent to this town, from that time, till 849, when the Rev. Mr. SMITH was again sent here, and preached in 1849 and 1850. In 1852, John TYLOR; in 1858, Moses SPENCER; in 1859 Michael R. CHASE; in 1860 and 861 Zenas KINGSBURY; in 1865 and 1866, John S. LITTLE; from 1867 to 1872, Hubbard EASTMAN; in 1873, J. H. GAYLORD; in 1874, E. H. BARTLETT; in 1875, Hubbard EASTMAN; in 1877, 78, and 79, R. B. FAY; in 1880, F. T. LOVETT; in 1881 and 1882, J. HAMILTON.
The Methodists have never since the organization of the Baptist church, in 1808, been the leading religious denomination in the town of Whitingham. Although they have ostensibly built two churches, one at the village of Sadawga, in 1861, and one at Jacksonville, both were built mostly by subscriptions from the local inhabitants, outside the Methodist church or society.
FORMATION OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH.
The Baptist was the first permanent church organization established in the town. It was organized in 181, and its records have been very well kept to the present time. We give and account of its formation as shown by the records.
"At Whitingham, Sept. 8, 1808, a number of the Baptist brethren met according to previous appointment, opened our meeting by prayer, then proceeded to consider the duties we owe to each other, and of the local distance of sister churches. After these serious considerations, we mutually agreed to form ourselves into a church, if thought expedient by council; proceeded to choose Walter EAMES to serve as Clerk, and agreed to send to four Baptist churches to assist in imbodying said church, viz.: First Guilford, First Coleraine, Heath and Halifax.
These brethren, after due consultation, finally fixed the 18th day of October next as the time to call the council for the purpose indicated, and adjourned their meeting to that date. And on the 18th day of October next as the time to call the council for the purpose indicated, and adjourned their meeting to that date. And on the 18th day of October, 1808, the council met at the meeting-house in Whitingham Centre, according to the previous request of these brethren, consisting of the four churches above named, by their Pastors and delegates, and after solemn prayer to God for direction, proceeded to examine the articles of faith and covenant presented by the brethren present, and voted to accept them. The brethren and sisters that assented to them, and subscribed their names, were as follows:
Josiah BROWN, William FRANKLIN, Joseph OLDEN, James WARREN, Joseph STONE, Walter EAMES, Johas BROWN, James CARPENTER, Joseph BROWN, Joel B. EAMES.
Milicent BROWN, Sarah FRANKLIN, Leah OLDEN, Susanna HOWE, Lucy TARBELL, Katharine EAMES, Lois BROWN, Esther EAMES, Dorcas SABIN, Olive EAMES, Esther EAMES, 2d.
At a meeting in September of that year, the church being desirous to join the association then called the "Leyden Association," requested their Pastor, Rev. Mr. SPAULDING, to draft a letter to the association setting forth their request. They also voted to call a council to ordain Rev. Mr. SPAULDING; he remained two years.
For the next four or five years this church had no settled minister but was supplied with preaching most of the time, by different ministers from Coleraine, Heath, Wilmington and Halifax. In 1816, Rev. Linus AUSTIN, came here and commenced preaching on the 12th day of December, it was decided to give him a call, and he became pastor of the church.
At a church meeting January 23, 1819, a unanimous vote of satisfaction with the labors of Elder AUSTIN was passed, and the same meeting voted to pay him one hundred dollars yearly, for his labors. The church continued to gain in numbers, by the untiring labors of their pastor, and the more active members of his charge.
In 1824, the church contained 61 members, 28 brothers and 33 sisters. At a meeting October 7, 1824, the records show a withdrawal of fellowship with Samuel TYLER, and during the previous year three were dismissed from the church, two died, and two were added, leaving the whole number at that date, 60. The next annual report show one dismissed leaving 59.
In January 1826, Elder Paul HINES, and his wife Sally HINES, were taken into the church by letter from the Chesterfield Church, and in March following, he was employed to preach three-fourths of the Sabbaths, Rev. Linus AUSTIN having resigned his pastorate. Rev. Paul HINES continued his labors as Minister during that year.
On the 4th day of Dec. 1827, Rev. Amherst LAMB, and his wife, were received by letter from the church of Guilford. He was soon after installed as Pastor of the Baptist Church in Whitingham, where he remained a long time, and performed the greatest part of his clerical labors.
In 1833, the Baptist meeting house in the centre village on the hill was built, with but little funds from outside the church. We find no record of the time it was dedicated, but it was in the fall, or early winter of that year.
June 1, 1839, Foster HARTWELL was accepted as pastor.
May 11, 1845, Rev. Amherst LAMB came back from Charlemont, and again labored with the church. For the next ten years there were no very notable changes in the condition and progress of this church; it still continued to be the leading church in town.
In October, 1857, Rev. Erastus A. BRIGGS came from Hinsdale, N.H., preached to the church till January, 1858, when he was ordained, and became pastor of the church, with which, he faithfully labored till his death, June 4, 1861. He was a sincere and beloved pastor.
Rev. Thomas WRINKLE came to this church, was called by the brethren Sept. 1, 1861, from the Baptist church in Colebrook, Conn., and was installed as pastor of this church. He officiated as pastor of the church till he was mustered into the army, Jan. 5, 1864. He served in the army about a year and a half, when he got a discharge and came home. And on the 31st of March, 1865, letters of dismissal were granted by the church to him and his family, and a letter of recommendation as minister of the Gospel was given to him to the Baptist church in Bernardston, or any other church of the same faith and order. And in June of the same year, letters of dismissal were given to James WARREN , and Linus A. WARREN, and their wives Philena and Sophrona WARREN, and letters of recommendation to the Baptist church at Shelburne Falls, Mass. Henry DODDS and family also had letters of dismissal and recommendation given at the same time.
April 3, 1866, Rev. P.T. BRIGGS was next pastor.
At a communion service, Jan. 5, 1878, the church extended the hand of full fellowship to Deacon Aldis BROWN, from whom such fellowship had been withheld for some time.
June 1, 1870, Rev. S. P. BENNETT was ordained by council. He and Rev. E. D. WILCOX supplied the church with preaching til June, 1872, when Rev. W. D. HALL from Springfield, Vt., commenced his labors with the church as pastor. He was ordained June 12, 1873, and continued to preach till Oct. 25, 1874, at which time he closed his labors with the church. The church next employed the Rev. Mr. WOOSTER as a supply, and he occupied the desk from Feb. 1, till March 7, 1875.
June 30, 1875, Rev. J. G. BENNETT was employed, and commenced his labors with the church. In October, 1876, Rev. Mr. BENNETT resigned. Rev. E. E. WILCOX then came as a supply, and he and Rev. Jacob DAVIS supplied till the last of March, 1877.
The Rev. L. TANDY was their next minister. He came April, 1877, and commenced his labor as pastor May 13, 1877. He closed his labors as pastor May 4, 1879. Rev. Origen SMITH was called June 1, 1879, and labored with them to the time of his death, Dec. 21, 1884.
Since the death of Rev. Origen SMITH, the Rev. Mr. COLESWORTH has been the pastor.
We find no record of any society or organization of Universalists in Whitingham till Jan. 1, 1817.
On the 15th day of March, 1817, a meeting was held to see if they would employ Rev. Hosea BALLOU to preach the Gospel, any part of the ensuing year.
The meeting was then adjourned to Sept. 6, 1817, at which time it was "Voted to request the General Convention to receive this society into the fellowship of said convention, and Messrs. WASTE and WHITNEY be a committee to prepare a request."
From this time forward, for the next fifteen years, this society kept up its organization; annually electing its proper officers and supported preaching more or less each year. And after Rev. Hosea F. BALLOU came to this town in 1833, he was the regular minister of the Universalist denomination while he lived in town.
At an adjourned meeting holden January 28, 1850, it was voted to build a meeting-house. Accordingly they chose a building committee of three to contract for and superintend the building of said house. James ROBERTS, David JILLSON, and Leonard BROWN were chosen for said committee.
The house was built in the summer of 1850, and on its completion and acceptance by said committee, the pews, were mostly sold, and the avails applied to cancel the debt. It was dedicated in the early part of the winter of 1850 and '51, Rev. Hosea F. BALLOU was employed to preach on-half the time for the next four or five years.
On the 13th day of May, 1851, at a special meeting of the society, an arrangement was made with Parley STARR, David JILLSON, and Martin BROWN, to take the unsold pews, and for that consideration to discharge all indebtedness of the society for building the meeting-house. On the 28th of December, 1856, Rev. H. F. BALLOU tendered his resignation. It was accepted, and he spent the rest of his life in Wilmington.
Rev. Jeremiah GIFFORD preached on-half the time after April 1st, 1857, till March, 1862.
N. C. HODGDEN commenced his labors as pastor, June, 1862, preached three years; since that time there has been no settled minister, but Rev. Jeremiah GIFFORD, has preached to the society most of the time. The Universalist society has been the leading religious organization in the village of Jacksonville, ever since its formation in 1849. Present Pastor, E. W. PIERCE.
In 1830, a meeting of a number of the inhabitants of the northeast part of the town was held, and they formed themselves into a church by the name of the "Free-Will Baptist Church."
In the summer of 1831, a meeting-house was built, and public worship was held therein for the next ten years. The ministers that preached in that church during that time, were Rev. Daniel LEONARD, Calvin BUCKLAND, and Peter S. GATES were for a long time residents of Whitingham, but they afterward removed to Halifax, where they died.
This church and society have been annihilated, their house of worship demolished, and not a vestige is left to mark the place where it stood.
This is a work in progress, town histories will be submitted as time allows.† Thank you to RootsWeb for hosting this site.† You may use the information provided on these pages for your personal genealogical use.† No part of these pages may be harvested and sold for profit.† Copyright 2001, Sue Downhill† firstname.lastname@example.org