Vermont Historical Gazetteer
A Local History of
ALL THE TOWNS IN THE STATE
Civil, Educational, Biographical, Religious and Military
THE TOWNS OF WINDHAM COUNTY,
WITH HISTORIES OF
SUTTON IN CALEDONIA COUNTY, AND BENNINGTON IN
ABBY MARIA HEMENWAY.
MRS. CARRIE E. H. PAGE,
Part III Pages 5-26
BY REV. VOLNEY FORBES.
This township is in the west part of Windham County, on the east side of the Green Mountains in the valley of Deerfield River; the east and west branches of which unite in this town and run south through Whitingham into Massachusetts and empty into the Connecticut River at Deerfield. The township is 6 miles square. bounded, N. by Dover, E. by Marlboro, S. by Whitingham and W, by Readsboro and Searsburg, is 22 miles east of Benington, 20 miles west of Brattleboro.
Its surface is somewhat hilly, interspersed with vallies and intervales formed by the Deerfield and its tributaries. The soil is a rich sandy loam, and there is very little waste land, the hills being arable to their summits, furnishing excellent pasturage for stock. The soil is productive, yielding good crops of grass, oats, corn, potatoes and vegitables. The land is well-timbered with maple, birch, beech, ash, spruce, hemlock, firs; the sugar-maple being very abundant; from which, often a hundred tons of sugar is made in a season and is quite an income to the community. The mountains and hillsides give good, pure water. The Deerfield River, Beaver Brook and other smaller branches of the Deerfield, furnish an abundance of water-power, and in the east part of the town is a fine pond, or lake :
about 2 miles long and half a mile in width, well stocked with pickerel and other fish. This pond empties into the east branch of the Deerfield River by a stream called Bill Brook, which furnishes several good sites for lumber mills.
Lumber is extensively manufactured for the market on most of the streams, spruce, hemlock, birch, maple and beech lumber finding a ready sale, and if we only had the much coveted railroad to transport it to market, it would cause wealth to flow in upon us and make our hearts glad.
In the N. W. corner of the township is Haystack Mountain, more familiarly called
one of the highest peaks of the Green Mountains, rising about 3000 feet, towerering considerably above the surrounding hills. About 1000 feet from the summit lies
a beautiful pond of 75 acres of clear, cold, deep water, containing no fish of any kind. It is fed by springs entirely. Its outlet is by a brook which tumbles over the rocks into Cold Brook, thence into the Deerfield.
This mountain is a great resort for the lovers of nature both wild and cultivated, the view being very beautiful and extensive. After climbing the almost perpendicular sides, the weary traveler finds himself upon the rocky summit where a scene of grandeur and sublimity bursts upon his view. Almost at his feet lies the little lake a thousand feet below, encircled by evergreens, its transparent surface glistening in the rays of the sun and reflecting the surrounding trees and rocks like a polished mirror.
Towards the east, the first object that attracts the eye is the neat, white village of Wilmington which is about 4 miles off though you seem to be looking down into it as if it were almost underneath you. The whole town lies curiously mapped out; every man's domain by itself, his nice residence and out-buildings, shade trees, orchards, meadows and woodland with the "cattle on a thousand hills."
Farther. in the distance the view embraces the whole of Windham County and part of Windsor in Vermont with, Cheshire County New Hampshire with Franklin County Massachusetts in the southeast and their various mountains rivers and villages. The north and west is a continual series of mountains, hills, values and forests, making in the whole, one of the most splendid panoramas in the country, which will compensate the admirer of nature for all the toil and fatigue which it costs to reach it.
formation of Wilmington is of a primitive azoic order, consisting of gneiss, mica slate and hornblend with detached masses of quartz and feldspar. In the west part of the town are quarries of limestone which are rather too sandy to make the best of lime, but is used for agricultural purposes; also, some iron ore is found.
In the west part there, is serpentine and some steletite. Deposites of clay are numerous and tertiary moraines are plenty along the streams. There is not any valuable minerals, although a thorough geological survey has never been made.
The Town was chartered by Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire, April 29, 1751 to
Phineas Lyman, Samuel Kent, Jr., Abraham Burbank, Medad Pomeroy, Noah Pomeroy, Aaron Rising, Paul Kent, Joel Kent, Jonathan Underwood, Samuel Granger, Joshua Austin, Samuel Hathaway, Benjamin Kent, Jonathan Knight, S hem Burbank, Elihue Kent, Timothy Marther, John Leavitt. Samuel Harman, Joshua Kendall, Aaron Hitchcock, Lemuel Granger, Simeon Granger, Elijah Easton, Phineas Sheldon, Reuben Harman, Silas Kent, John Granger, Aseph Leavit, John Rowe, Jr., John Old, Isaac Hall, Joseph Forward, Pelatiah Adams, Samuel Dwight, Seth Dwight, Daniel Austin, Joseph Kent, Daniel Smith, Simeon Hathaway, Daniel Gilbert, Elijah Sheldon, Elijah Kent, Zephaniah Taylor, Asher Sheldon, Benning Wentworth, Esq., Theodore Atkinson, Esq., Ellis Husk, Esq., Richard Vibbard, Esq., John Downing, Esq., Sampson Shea, Esq., ---- most of whom were supposed to belong to Connecticut. They surveyed the town into lots and divided the lots among themselves.
But few of the original proprietors ever settled in the town, Daniel Austin and Elijah Easton are the only ones known to have done so.
A subsequent charter was granted, June 17, 1764 to other parties under the name of Draper. The town was never organized under that charter, but the conflicting claims of the two charters greatly retarded its settlement. The Wilmington charter finally prevailed, the settlers voting that they were not willing that anybody should settle under the Draper charter.
Settlers came in rather slowly; there were no roads and they had to find the way by marked trees and foot-paths, and many of the pioneers had to transport their provisions on their backs from Deerfield, Mass., Hoosie, N. Y. and other places.
A census of the town of Wilmington, Cumberland County, N. Y. was taken by order of Lord Dunmore, the Governor of New York in 1771, by Thomas Cutler, Deputy Sheriff. The names of heads of families were:
John Davis, 2d,
The number of inhabitants was 71.
The first child born in town, January 20, 1771, Zephaniah, son of Chipman Swift.
Very many of the early settlers were from Massachusetts and Connecticut and were men of patriotism, nerve and enterprise. Those who are known to have been
Col. Wm. Williams, who had the command of a detachment of Windham County troops at the Battle of Bennington, and is mentiened in General Stark's official report as being with him.
Capt. Judah Moore:
Capt. Jonas Haynes :
Jonathan Johnson :
Barni Wing :
Jesse Mooseman :
Jonah Lincoln :
Samuel Thompson :
Jan 12, 1778, an order was issued by the Council of Safety to Captain Samuel, Robinson, Overseer of Tories to detach ten effective men under his command with proper officers to take charge of and march them in two distinct files from Bennington through the Green Mountains to Colonel William Williams' dwelling house in Draper, alias, Wilmington, within this State, who are to march and tread the snow in sd. road a suitable width for a sleigh or sleighs with a span of horses on each sleigh ; and order them to return marching' in the same manner with all convenient speed, ordered to take three days provision to each of such men, the same to be cooked this day, and to march at six o'clock tomorrow morning. Signed by Jonas Fay, Vice President."
"Oct. 24th, 1778, a resolve was passed by the General Assembly to make a road from Wilmington to Bennington.
The first town-meeting on record, was held at the house of Elijah Alvord.
Jan. 19, 1778, Caleb Alvord was the first town clerk.
The first vote taken was "to continue Mr. Chapin to preach with us," --- This vote was characteristic of the people, from that time to the present, they having all the time supported one to four ministers.
"March 2d, 1778, Chose Capt John Gibbs, Phineas Smith, Samuel Murdock, Elihue Bascom, and Lieut. Eleazer Bridgeman, Committee of Safety."
At a meeting held, Sept. 1, 1768, "Voted to send for a minister to preach with us on probation. Chose Capt. Josiah Locke, Capt. Chipman Swift and Edward Foster, Committee to look out for a minister."
Feb. 8, 1779, "Voted to dissolve the union between this State and sixteen towns on the east side of the Connecticut River," which they had formerly voted to accept.
The first freeman's meeting on record was held July 7, 1778, "Chose Wm. Miller to attend the election at Guilford as delegate.
"Sept. 1st 1778, Chose Elijah Alvord, representative to attend the General Assembly.
March 30, 1780, the town "Voted that John Rugg shall pay into the treasury the money and deliver the note he took of Capt. Josiah Lock for Phineas Fairbanks' place, when the committee of the court of confiscation calls for it."
"Voted that we will raise our soldiers for the future by a rate on the town. The quota of the town of provisions as ordered by the General Assembly to be provided for the troops employed in the service of this State for the year 1780 was 2338 lbs. of flour, 779 lbs. of beef, 389 lbs. of salt pork, 48 bushels of Indian corn, and 24 bushels of rye."
Nov. 29, 1780, the town "Voted to raise two hundred and fifty hard dollars to procure our part of a magazine of provisions for this State." --- They also voted the same year to raise £3000 for the highways, to be paid at £9 lbs. per day for work; which shows the value of paper currency at that time.
It was voted this year to build a log-meeting house in the centre of the town, which was done and occupied until the completion of a frame edifice near the same spot in 1786.
Aug. 31, 1780, they voted to give Mr. Packard a call to the work of the Gospel ministry. Then voted to give him £100 for a settlement among us to be paid if in time of war with beef at £1 4s. per hundred, or wheat at 5s. per bushel, or rye at 3s. and sixpence; Indian corn at 3s. per bushel. If in time of peace, Beef at one pound per hundred, wheat at four shillings and sixpence per bushel, rye at three shillings per bushel, Indian corn two shillings and sixpence per bushel - to be paid, one half at his ordination and the other half one year afterwards"
Then "Voted to give Mr. Packard for his salary, £30 for the first year, and to raise £5 a year until it comes to £65 a year, and to give him this salary so long as he remains our regular minister. which offer Mr. Packard accepted as will be seen hereafter.
Among the early settlers also whose names appear often on the records as town officers and were prominent citizens, were:
Gad Alvord, Andrew Haskell:
Adnah Bangs, Josiah Flagg :
Silas Axtell, John Rugg:
Rodger Burchard. Mr. Burchard was the first merchant In town:
John Marks, the first surveyor:
Capt. Dickenson, tavern-keeper
Jesse Marks, who was at last frozen to death by guiding a man by marked trees through the woods one cold winter day:
And, Oliver Wilder: His wife, Mary Marks Wilder, who was a very competent woman, lived to the great age of
and died in 1857. She often described the men of this vicinity, hearing the firing at Bennington, hurrying past her house with old swords, pitch-forks and pikes, while she laughed at them, saying, "It would take better arms to fight with British regulars !"
The men of those times were hardy, resolute and persevering; and the women were fully their equals, helping to till the soil and tend the stock whenever necessary. The wives of Ephraim Titus and Joseph Nye who were neighbors, are said to have carried on their farms while their husbands were away fighting for independence.
An annecdote is told of Mrs. Titus, which shows the spirit of those days: Mr. Nye at the house of Mrs. Titus was boasting that no man in town could throw him. She sat weaving at her loom till tired of hearing him bragg, she left her seat and seizing him by the collar threw him upon the floor, telling him that if there was no man in town could throw him, there was one woman who had done it."
Mar. 15, 1790 the town "Voted that Matthew Long, Amos Fox and Morris Doty receive on the town rates, salts of lye at two pence per lb. sheep at one penny and a farthing per lb, butter and flax at sixpence a lb. thus showing what articles were used for currency then.
men were called for by detachments, volunteers and drafts to go north to defend the Canada lines. The town voted to pay the selectmen for providing provisions, camp-utensils, baggage wagon, &c. for the detached militia, Sept. 12, 1820, which is all the vote on record in regard to that war. The men known to have gone to that war:
James Smith, Goodwin Lincoln :
William Wilder, Ethan Smith:
Oliver Wilder, Abijah Petree.
Barney Hastings, James Harwood :
Gates Doty, Seth Hubbard:
Julius Alvord. Moses Cummings:
Samuel Fox, Chester Packard:
Lewis Haskell, John Hill:
Benjamin Parmelee, Robert Farrill:
Daniel Snow, Joseph Snow.
They generally had an easy time ; saw but little of the hardship of war and all returned safely to their homes.
(From "The Brattleboro Reporter.")
On the 15th Inst. (Oct. 27, 1818.) we had a terrible storm of wind and rain attended with flashes of lightning and peals of thunder that might appall the stoutest heart. Several buildings were struck by lightning, but with little damage except a large barn of Lemuel Ball, filled with the products of his industry the past season which was consumed to ashes. Two lads were milking in the barn: his son and a relative who lived with him -- about 16 years of age, who with the cow he was milking was struck dead. Mr. Ball's son, though struck down was not so stunned but that he effected his escape before the flames seized upon him and carried the awful news of the fate of his companion to his father. Ball flew to the barn, but the flames enveloped it, so fierce, he could not approach. The body was not rescued until almost destroyed. The charred remains were interred on the 17th when an affecting discourse was delivered to a large audience by Rev. Hollis Sampson from Job V. 6 to 9 inclusive.
In July 1822, a tornado, commencing in the south-west, passing towards the north-east, struck first the earth where the village now is, unroofing the house of old Mr. Allis, then proceeding about half a mile up the river took the roof from the dwelling-house of Jonah Lincoln and completely demolishing two of his barns, destroyed his orchard and crops ; struck a piece of woods a quarter of a mile beyond, prostrating the trees on several acres like grass before the scythe, passing off over the hills levelling trees, fences and crops for several miles, leaving a path of destruction even now visible.
In the fall of 1858, a part of the town of Somerset was annexed to this town four miles long and two miles wide containing about 100 inhabitants. The same territory was set off and annexed to Dover in the fall of 1869, caused a decrease in the census from 1860 to 1870.
In 1771, 71: 1791, 645:
" 1800, 1011: 1810, 1193:
" 1820, 1369: 1830, 1369:
" 1840, 1296: 1850, 1372:
" 1860, 1424: 1870, 1250:
At the breaking out of
our citizens were very much aroused and swiftly arose to arms in defense of the nation. Meetings were called, speeehes were made, and many of the best young men volunteered and went to the war; others who could not well leave their homes furnished substitutes, and the town voted and paid generous bounties to encourage enlistments. The whole community, men and women exerted themselves to sustain the government and help our soldiers to bear the fatigues and hardships of war, and very many barrels and boxes of clothing. bedding and hospital stores were sent to the Sanitary Commission by the ladies who devoted much time and money to the cause.
The following are the names of all the volunteers who went from this town and substitutes as far as known, as reported by the Adj. & Ins. Gen'l. They were generally men of sterling worth, who went from principle, not as hirelings. Some died in camps and hospitals, some were taken prisoners ; but the majority of them returned to their homes to receive the well-earned praise of their friends, and the gratitude of the whole community.
Allard, Albert A. Co. I. 4th Reg:
Bassett, James M. Co. B, 11th Reg:
Bellows, Nelson, Co. E, 11th Reg:
Bowker, Fay L. Co. C, 2d Reg :
Bowker, Charles S. Co. I, 4th Reg:
Burt, Amasa W. Jr. Co. I, 4th Reg:
Childs, Brainard F. Band, 2d Reg:
Cooley, George C. Co. I. 4th Reg:
Cummings, Chas. W Co. I, 4th Reg:
Cummings, Leonard N. Co, I, 4th Reg:
Cutting, Daniel F. Co. E, 11th Reg :
Davis, Arthur C. Co. H, 8th Reg :
Dennison, L. A. Co. E, 11th Reg :
Dibble, David, Co. I , 4th Reg. killed at Lee's Mills, Apr. 16, '62:
Dickinson, James R. Co. E 11th Reg. killed at Petersburgh, June 23, '64:
Dicks, John F. Co. E, 11th Reg:
Edson, Joseph M. Co. I, 4th Reg :
Estabrook, Henry O. Co. I, 4th Reg:
Farnham, John H. Co. I, 4th Reg. died, Feb. 1,'62:
Farnham, George W. wounded severely at Cold Harbor:
Fox, Martin L. Co. C, 2d Reg :
Fox, Moses D. Co. E, 11th Reg:
French, George W. Co. I, 4th Reg:
Gates. Solomon, Co. H. 8th Reg :
Grimes, George H. Co. I, 4th Reg :
Handy, Milton C. Co. I, 4th Reg, - died, Feb. 16, '62:
Harris, Rollin E. Co. E, 11th Reg:
Harvey, George O. Co. E, 11th Reg:
Haynes, Newell F. Co. H, 8th Reg:
Lamb, Lewis H. Co. I, 8th Reg. killed at Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, '64:
Mann, Warren W. Co. K, 9th Reg:
Matthews, Wm. K. Co. I, 4th Reg:
May, Warren E. Co. F, Cavalry :
Patridge, Cyrus, Co. F, 9th Reg. died Dec. 9, '62 :
Powers, Michael, Co. I, 4th Reg :
Ray, Frances E. Co. E, 11th Reg ;
Rice, George A. Co. C, 2d Reg. killed at Frederick'sburg, May 3, '63 :
Rice, Cyren O. Co. H, 9th Reg. died :
Richardson, Thomas, Co. I, 8th Reg:
Russell, Willard, Co. E, 11th Reg:
Searls, Henry D. Co. I, 4th Reg :
Sears, John C. Capt. Co. E, 11th Reg :
Shippee, James H. Co. H, 11th Reg :
Smith, Sylvester P. Co. E, 11th Reg :
Smith Walter W. S. S. Co. H 2d Reg :
Stone, Clarke P. Co. F, Cavalry :
Stone, Jason A. Co. F, Cavalry :
Stone, Mason A. Co. F, Cavalry :
Stowe, Henry J. Co. H, 8th Reg :
Sullivan, Timothy, Co. I, 8th Reg:
Tooley, John H. Co. I, 4th Reg :
Ware, Henry C. Co. E, 11th Reg :
Ware, Jonas F. Co. E, 11th Reg:
Ware, Loami A. Co. F, Cavalry :
Willis, Charles, Co. I, 4th Reg :
Adams, Lucius, C. Co. H, 9th Reg:
Allard, Edwin R. Co. F, 17th Regiment ; killed :
Boyd, Charles E. Co F, 17th Regiment ; killed :
Brown, Wm. H. Co. K, 3d Reg :
Clifford, Francis E. J. Co G, 5th Reg:
Coburn, George A. Co. F, 9th Reg :
Converse, Asa E. Co. F, 9th Reg:
Crawford, George, Co. E, 9th Vt :
Davis, Oliver, Co. F, 3d Vt. died :
Dodge, George F. Co. F, 8th Vt:
Flanders, Luther, Co. E, 9th Vt :
Fox, Charles F. Co. F, 8th Vt:
Ingerson, John W. Co. E, 9th Vt :
Johnson, Albert M. Co. F. 17th Vt:
Peck, Wm. H. Co. C, 4th Vt. Prisoner of war :
Shippee, Lander E. Co. A, 2d Vt:
Voice, Andrew J. Co. A, 2d Vt :
Walker, Henry W. Co. F, 17th Vt:
Wing, Stephen B. Co. E, 9th Vt:
Bordo, Julius, Co. F, 8th Vt :
Clapper, Jacob, Co. F, 8th Vt :
Deo, Joseph Zed, Co. F, 8th Vt :
Gray, Myron, Co. F, 8th Vt:
Howell, Frank A. Co. I. 4th Vt :
Leonard, Charles P. Co. G, 4th Vt. prisoner :
Pike, Ahaz, P. Co. I, 4th Vt:
Pike, Andrew J. Co, I, 4th Vt :
Pike, Otis H. Co. I, 4th Vt :
White, Stephen M. Co. F, 8th Vt.
all in Company F, 16th Regiment, and mustered into service, Oct. 23, 1862. They were at the Battle of Gettysburg and distinguished themselves for their gallantry and courage.
Henry F. Dix, Captain :
Cyren B. Lauton, Lieut. died of wounds received at Gettysburg:
Charles E. Haskell, Sergt:
George Rose, Sergeant:
Hardy F. Barber, Corporal:
David S. Ballou, Corp, wounded at Gettysburg :
Elliot Adams, Corporal:
Allard, Edwin R :
Allen, Albert, died, Jan. 14, '63:
Ballou, Wm. M:
Bemis Charles C:
Bugbee, Alfred S :
Chandler, Dana P. died, July, 15, `63, of wounds received at Gettysburg :
Childs, Aseph P
Converse, Asa E :
Crosier, Albert I:
Cudworth, Hartland P :
Davenport, George W :
Estabrook, Samuel S :
Haskell, Ephraim :
Haskell, Newland M:
Holland John M:
Hubbard, Linus G :
Johnson, Albert M :
Russell, Chandler M:
Stearns, Francis W :
Titus, Elmer J
Watson, Austin, H. R:
Welch, John :
Wellman, Henry A :
Whiting, Danforth J.
Lucius V. Swan :
Chandler F'. Wellman.
Thus endeth the record of the soldiers of the Rebellion They have resumed their various pursuits and are among our best citizens.
The farmers of Wilmington have for the last thirty years given much attention to the improvement of neat cattle; importing and purchasing the best breed of Durham short-horns. Their motto has been to get the best that could be found without regard to price: till the town has become well-known and quite famous for large and beautiful oxen, cows and other cattle; so that buyers of nice stock come here to purchase.
was formed about 1858. They hold annual fairs and cattle shows and have been very successful, a great pecuniary advantage and pleasant, social, autumnal festival which is thought mach of.
Among the men who have greatly improved the stock are :
David Rugg, Alanson Parmelee :
Russell Fitch, Israel Lauton :
B. L. Barnard, Daniel Cushman :
C. T. Alvord, E. T. Butterfield :
Ruel Smith, D. J. Parmeter .
Chauncey Smith, Chas. W. Bissell.
Horses and sheep are only ordinary. Every farmer has his good, strong horse to take his family out to church. The ladies bring to the fairs their nice, white, flannel and frocking, fine woollen stockings and beautiful stocking-yarn; which they have manufactured from their own sheep.
Indeed, the farmers are celebrated for every thing that goes to make up a pleasant home. There are beautiful residences all over town. White houses with green blinds prevail, surrounded with green lawns, dotted with roses, vines and flowers; while the men have their mowing-machine, horse-rake, fancy potatoes, Norway oats, Alsike clover and swarms of bees.
The present village is built upon each side of the east branch of the Deerfield River at the confluence of Beaver Brook, about half a mile west of the centre of the town. It has a good water-power which was first occupied by David Winslow for a grist and saw-mill, about 1795. In 1831, the stage road from Brattleboro to Bennington was completed through this valley. - The town-house, hotel and two stores were built the same year, and most of the town was removed from the old Centre, which as the custom of the first settlers was built on the top of a high hill. Since that time the Village has grown quite rapidly. It was incorporated in 1855. It now contains four neat and commodious churches, - a Congregationlist, Baptist, Universalist and Methodist, a town-hall, a large school-house; about 80 dwelling-houses with about 400 inhabitants ; has quite an extensive grist and flouring-mill, and a large lumber-mill ; a good sized hotel, 4 stores, one clothing-store; a market, a victualing-house; marble-works, a carriage-shop, harness-shop, 2 blacksmith shops with several other business places ; 3 lawyers offices, and a savings-bank.
The place is easy of access from the adjoining towns by good roads, and has daily mails east and west ; has become a business centre for the southwest part of the County. It is fresh and neatly built and presents an attractive appearance, surrounded by green hills and shaded by beautiful maples.
A rail-road was chartered from Brattleboro to Bennington, Nov. 1869 ;
Elijah Alvord, 1778:
William Williams, 1779:
Chipman Swift, 1785, '99:
Timothy Castle, 1796, 7, 8: 1803:
Jesse Swift 1800:
Israel Lauten, 1801, 2:
Jairus Hall, 1804 '52:
Ephraim Tyler, 1826, '27:
Lancey Forbes, 1828, '29:
David Rugg, 1830, '31 :
Alanson Parmelee, 1833, 4:
Charles K. Field, 1835, 6, 7:
Azor Smith, 1838, 9:
Henry Estabrook, 1841:
F. L. Stanley, 1843:
S. P, Flagg, 1848, 49, 61, 62:
O. L. Shafter, 1853:
J. H. Dix. 1854:
F. M. Crosby, 1855, 56:
E. T. Butterfield, 1857:
B. L. Barnard, 1859, 60:
J. M. Tyler, 1863, 4 :
Henry Whitney, 1865, 66;
E. L. Waterman, 1867, 68:
O. E. Butterfield, 1869:
No choice, 32, 40, 42, 4, 5, 6, 7, 50, 1, 2.
Ashley Stone, 1852, 3:
Stephen P. Flagg, 1861 65:
Caleb Alvord, from 1777 to 79 :
Nathan Foster, " 1780 " 86:
Matthew Long, " 1787 " 90:
Jairus Hall, 1791, to 1832:
Abner Allard, 1833, to 35 :
S. P. Flagg, 1836 to 68:
M. R. Crosby, 1869.
The first physician who settled in town was
DR. BENJAMIN MORGAN
who practiced here for several years, and then, about 1810, removed West.
DR. URIEL BESTOR
came next after Dr. Morgan and settled here to practice. He died here in 1820.
DR. DANA HYDE
succeeded Dr. Bestor and remained a few years and left.
DR. JOHN PULSIFER
came here next to reside and had a successful practice until 1838, when he removed to Illinois.
DR. ORSON FLAGG,
an enterising young man, studied with Dr. Pulsifer and afterwards opened an office in town and won a good reputation, but died in 1827.
DR. G. B. ARMINGTON
took the place of Dr. Flagg for a few years and then removed to Pittsford.
DR. ABNER ALLARD
practiced several years and died in 1839.
DR. HORACE SMITH
then came, doing a fine business for about 15 years. when he removed to Bennington where he now resides.
DR. A. L. PETTEE
was his successor and is now practicing here.
DR. EDWIN HAYNES
practiced medicine and dentistry in town about 10 years; died in 1866.
DR. J. H. TALBOT
came here in 1857 ; gained quite a reputation and removed to Cambridge, Mass. in 1866.
DR. F. J. SWIFT.
a studious young man has recently opened an office here and is doing a good business.
The first lawyer in town was Levi Field, who died in 1820.
CHARLES K. FIELD
came here about 1829. He was an active business man and assisted much in building up the Village, and promoted the prosperity of the town. He left in 1838 and now resides in Brattleboro.
OSCAR L. SHAFTER
commenced the practice of law here in 1837 ; gained an extensive reputation and removed to California in 1854, where he has arisen to Judge of the Supreme Court. [For Shafter see history of Athens.]
S. P. FLAGG
commenced the practice of law here in 1843, and continued in the profession until his death in 1868.
F. H. CROSBY
was Mr. Flagg's partner a few years, and then removed to Minnesota.
J. M. TYLER
was afterwards Mr. Flagg's partner until he moved to Brattleboro, 1864 and is now  in company with C. K. Field in that town.
E. L. WATERMAN
was the next partner of Mr. Flagg, who came here in 1866, and left in 1870.
C. N. DAVENPORT
studied law with O. L. Shafter, and when he left for California, Mr. Davenport took his office and practiced very successfully about ten years when he removed to Brattleboro, where he is now doing business.
The present lawyers are:
O. E. Butterfield, Esq.
S. T. Davenport, Esq.
G. W. Davenport, Esq.
Quite a large number of young lawyers have studied in this place and be-come well known all over the country.
The first vote recorded in town was to hire Mr. Chapin, a Congregationlist minister, to preach to them. The Congregational was the only mode of' worship in town for quite a number of years.
Their first meeting-house was a log one; their next was a large square framed one on the top of a high hill near the centre of the town ; unpainted, without a steeple; but with great, family-pews and a curious sounding-board over the pulpit. There were no carpets, no cushions, no place for a fire, and yet from Sabbath to Sabbath, people came flocking here from all parts of the town. They never thought of being cold, though the mercury was below zero ; they never complained , of the heat, the sun poured its scorching rays all day long into the unblinded windows ; rain or wind never disturbed the even tenor of their souls, while they listened to the preached word and treasured it up in good and honest hearts.
was first formed here, Aug. 16, 1780, by Rev Henry Williams and Rev. Gershom Lyman, the minister of Marlboro. The church consisted of seven members.
May 31, 1780 they gave Rev. Winslow Packard an invitation to become their minister which he accepted and was soon after ordained. Being the first settled minister, he was given the minister right of land ; part of it was in the centre and part of it in the N. E. part of the town. He was much loved and confided in and the church increased under his ministry; but it was of short duration ; he died, October 12, 1867.
Since that time they have had many different pastors settled over them ; mostly good and true men who commanded respect and exerted not only an excellent influence in the church, but in the community.
In 1837, the Society erected a neat modern church in the Village which they have since occupied. They have no settled minister now, Rev. E. E. Herrick, a very worthy, intelligent gentleman, the last, removed to Randolph, June 1870.
Rev. Mr. Emmerson here previous, removed to Lynn, Mass.
Rev. Mr. Perry next before Mr. E. who removed to Cambridge, Mass. and so on. The church is now in a prosperous condition, 82 members, 15, having been added during the revival the past season.
BY MRS. A. W. GOODNOW.
The Baptist Church in Wilmington, was organized, Sept. 1, 1806, the constituted members having previously united with the Baptist Church in Somerset.
The same day, Nathan Flagg and Jeremiah Parmalee were ordained as deacons.
REV. MR. SNOW,
was the first pastor; but he remained only a few months.
was licenced to preach by the church in June 1807, and preached as stated supply 3 years. He also supplied the pulpit in 1815, 16.
REV. ELI BALL
was ordained and settled as pastor in in September 1811. He left after two years service.
REV. MANSFIELD BRUCE,
who had occasionally preached as supply in 1819, was settled as pastor, remaining as such until his death, February 1843.
REV. M. D. MILLER
became pastor In March 1843 and was dismissed in July 1848.
REV. A. CASE
was settled in February 1849, and remained 2 years.
REV. M. BALL
was called to the pastorate in September 1851, and was dismissed in August 1853.
REV. W. TILLINGHAST
was settled in March 1854, and remained 3 years.
REV. C. SMITH
commenced his pastorate in the autumn of 1857, and terminated it in July 1859.
REV. A. W. GOODNOW,
present pastor 18701 was settled in April 1860.
The Church has had nine pastors ; ordained two of its members as ministers, and licenced four to preach; and two after removing to other places became preachers. It has had in all about 450 members of whom nearly 300 united by baptism. It has had 16 deacons, and built two houses of worship. Its present number of members is 120, 32 of whom have recently united with the church.
BY REV. J. H. GAYLORD.
The first class was formed in this place in 1814, being connected with Leyden circuit. Wilmington with several of the adjoining towns was organized into a circuit in 1833.
The present number of members is 76, and in addition 25 on probation or six months trial, the fruit of the revival, this season.
was first formed here by
REV. HOLLIS SAMPSON,
who was formerly pastor of the Congregational church in this town, at the time he renounced the orthodox creed; about 1818. Nearly half of his congation embraced his views and formed the nucleus of the present society, organized in 1820, about which time, Mr. Sampson left town, and
REV. HUBBARD WINCHESTER
was employed to preach and was ordained here ; and after him,
REV. J. C. NEWEL
preached here for a year or two; and then
REV. S. P. SKINNER
was employed for several years; next after whom was
REV. WM. S. BALLOU,
who preached with the society until 1833, when
REV. HOSEA F. BALLOU,
a son of Hosea Ballou, the founder of Universalism in this country, preached ; commenced his labors, preaching one half of the time here and one half at Whitingham where he resided for 7 years.
In 1835, the present church was erected.
REV. J. W. BAILEY
was settled here as pastor in 1843 and hired to preach the whole time, and a church of some 30 members was organized. Mr. Bailey labored with zeal and good success for 7 years when he removed to Western New York, and
REV. ORIN PERKINS
succeeded to him, who preached for 3 years; and after him,
REV. J. CLIFFORD
was settled here as, pastor until 1857, when the present pastor,
REV. H. F. BALLOU,
removed his family here and took the charge of the parish which he has held for the last 13 years.
The number of the church is between 40 and 50, about half the size of the society, - 12 new members.
Each society has a modern church-edifice in good condition, nicely carpeted and cushioned, with interesting Sabbath schools and Bible-classes and good libraries ; a nice melodeon and fine choir.
was born in Bridgewater, Mass. 1750 ; graduated at Amherst College in 1775 ; married Abigail, daughter of Judah Moore, one of the first settlers of this town, and sister of Pres. Zephaniah S. Moore of Amherst College.
Mr. Packard received a call to settle as minister of the Gospel, by a vote of the town, Aug. 31, 1780, which he accepted and was soon after ordained as the first settled minister of Wilmington.
(As on the town records)
"Wilmington May ye 31st 1781
Kind and beloved Friends
The invitation which you was pleased to give me last August to settle with you in the work of ye Gospel ministry, and the discouraging as well as encouraging circumstances with which it has been and is yet attended has all from time to time been with wait upon my mind and sometimes almost distracted my thoughts. My duty for a long time has hung in doubt, and I have been perplexed to know what to do. I have I trust sincerely desired that my duty in this important affair might be made plain, and that I might be cheerfully disposed to do the same: and for this end, I have endeavored sincerely to spread my case before God : and look to him for light and direction. I have endeavored carefully to observe all providences that appeared both in favor and against it. I have counselled both ministers and friends in order to obtain their best advice, and from all the light I can obtain I cannot see it my duty wholly to deny you, neither can I see as it is my duty to accept of your invitation without any exceptions. I have concluded therefore to accept of your call on condition a ministerial right shall be laid out by the proprietors at their next meeting and upon condition the right is as good as any impartial men shall think it ought to be, and upon conditions there shall (previous to my ordination) be procured a settling lot which shall be agreeable to my mind, and likewise upon condition I fully understand our proposals for my support among you, which are I understand them as follows. (viz) That you agree to give me one hundred Pounds lawful money for a settlement. One half of to be paid at my ordination, the other half in one year after. That you agree to give me for a salary thirty pounds lawful money for the first year, - forty for ye second year - fifty for ye third - sixty for ye fourth year, and sixty five for every year after that I shall continue your gospel minister. And these sums for my salary you agree to give (I suppose from what I can learn from your votes and those that were present when they were passed) upon condition I will for the four first years take labor at the common price in ye year 1774 of all those who have a mind to pay their rates in labor and will pay them in such time of the year as I shall stand most in need of their help. You agree that my salary shall begin when I may give my answer in the affirmative, and you agree likewise that the aforementioned sums for my settlement whenever paid be made as good as money was in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy four, by which I understand that you agree whenever you pay y'e forementioned sums or any part of them that if the same nominal sum or sums will not purchase as much of the necessaries of life as in ye year one thousand seven hundred and seventy four, then ye said sum or sums shall be increased till they will.
If you vote this as your meaning, then I conclude to accept your call - wishing that the blessing of God may attend our engagements and that we may all our days be a blessing and comfort to each other.
It was voted in open town-meeting, when Mr. Packard gave his answer, that the conditions of his answer was agreeable to the meaning of the town in their answer to him.
Test. Nathan Foster, Town Clerk
He continued to preach with good success until his death, Oct. 12, 1784, at the age of 34 years.
He left two children, a son and daughter, Origin and Clarissa.
His widow married Rev. Edmund Mills of Sutton, Mass. in 1789, who died in 1825. She was again married to Rev. Nathaniel Emmons, D. D. of Franklin, Mass. in 1831, who died in 1840. She died, Oct. 24, 1853, at the age of ninety-one; after bringing up a family of four sons and three daughters. Her daughter, Clarissa Packard, married Rev. David Holman of Douglass, Mass.
BY REV. OIRGEN SMITH.
Mansfield Bruce was born at Grafton, Mass. Apr. 11, 1781. The autumn after his birth, his parents, Elijah and Abigail Bruce, removed to Newfane, The country new, schooling poor, the circumstances of his parents comparative poverty, his education while young was quite limited.
In December 1804, he sought an interest in the Saviour. He united with the Congregationlist church of Newton, Mass. but in 1806, not being satisfied with sprinkling for baptism, he was baptised by immersion into the fellowship of the Baptist church of Marlboro and Newfane.
He was married to Grace Goddard, Sept. 24, 1805. They had 9 children. She still survives, (1870) being 86 yrs. old.
Soon after baptism, he was chosen deacon which office he well filled until September 1809 when he was set apart by solemn ordination as an evangelist, but soon became pastor of the same church ; and yet went "everywhere" preaching the Gospel to the destitute, aiding pastors in their arduous work, the sign of God's approbation following wherever he went.
In 1813, he supplied the Baptist church in Wilmington one half of the time, and in 1819 became pastor of the same church until his death, Feb'y 5, 1843, in his 63d year. He supplied his desk until the last three weeks before he died. His pastorate of almost 24 years was one of success and great usefulness.
As he spent the whole period of his ministry of 35 years in this vicinity he had become quite a patriarch among the Baptists in this part of the State. His counsel was more sought than that of any other Baptist pastor in Windham County - for the last years of his life. His death was a triumph of that faith in the Gospel he had so long preached.
Elder Bruce was an able, sound and energetic preacher. He spoke with great clearness and power, relying on the arm of the Lord to sustain him. - He was faithful in his charge, unspotted in his life, and beloved by his flock. He was much esteemed as a man, as a Christian, and as an able minister of the Gospel.
During his ministry he preached 6000 sermons, besides many lectures on temperance, moral reform and anti-slavery. He visited the sick far and near. He married 101 couples; baptized 403 persons, and traveled 70.000 miles. He was always punctual to his appointments: rain or shine, wind or snow did not keep him at home.
He was a man of intelligence and blessed with great natural abilities, but had not while young the means to acquire an education. After he entered the ministry, he studied very hard and probably laid the foundation of the disease, hydrocephalas, which terminated his earthly career.
He was very industrious and economical; whatever he undertook, he did with his might, so, though his salary was small, not more than half supporting his family, he managed to get a good, comfortable living.
BY MRS. V. FOBES.
Origen Packard was born, Nov. 30, 1782. His father, Winslow Packard, was the first settled minister of this town. Origen was two years old when his father died. His mother married Rev. Mr. Mills of Sutton, Mass. a few years after and he went to Sutton to reside. He was educated at Leicester Academy under the instruction of his uncle Zephaniah S. Moore, afterwards President of Williamstown College, still later, first President of Amherst College. Origen was quick, easy to learn, and made rapid progress in his studies. He often spent his vacations in Wilmington, having a great partiality for his native place. In the winter of 1798, he started the first Lyceum in town, when he was 16 years old, and the same winter opened a free grammar school, even giving the wood for the fire, which was largely attended, some coming from neighboring towns. - Judge Roberts, late of Townshend, then of Whitingham, once said to Mr. Packard : "All that I am, all that I ever shall be I owe to you ; for it was you who first gave me the desire to be educated, and pointed the way to knowledge." Previous to that time, Wilmington had been obliged to get teachers for common schools from abroad ; after that they could supply other towns.
Soon after Mr. Packard graduated, he went to New Haven, Ct. and in the year 1807, married Azubah Smith, a young lady of great intelligence and refinement. They settled in Douglass, Mass. where he engaged in the mercantile business ; but not having a taste for it, he sold out and removed to Wilmington and settled on the "minister-lot" which was given to his father in the northeast part of the town, where they brought up a family of four daughters and one son.
He was always fond of teaching and continued to do so till he was over 50 years old, and when not teaching was ever ready to give freely any instruction to any young men seeking for knowledge. He was a man of good talents and original mind.
In the winter of 1816 and 17, he became very much interested in the subject of religion, and studied upon it and the Bible until he adopted a system of faith of his own which became quite popular, quite a number joining with him in belief who were called "Packardites." They believed that the Bible was written by inspiration and should be understood wholly spiritually, that all Christians should be united and not divided into sects. Finding that they were only building another sect, they discontinued their meetings, each one attending church where it seemed most like home, though all cherishing more or less their distinctive views through life in great peace.
In 1839, Mr. Packard sold his farm and removed to Bennington, but returned in 1847, and took up his residence with his son-in-law, Volney Forbes, where he and his wife remained until their death, February 1865, aged 82 and 80.
He had often expressed the desire that as they had lived together over half a century, they might die together. When she died after a short illness, he was in usual health, but the day following was prostrated by the same disease (pneumonia) and in two days more followed her to the Spirit-land.
He bore his sickness like a true Christian; while dying he said "I heard a voice ;" and raising his eyes with an intense look of gratitude, and pointing his finger, he whispered "Mother!" and passed away; thus died this peaceable, pure-minded man.
He spent much of the last 12 years of his life in study and reflection. He delighted in astronomy and investigated the science with much enthusiasm, and to quite an extent; but the Bible was to him the Great Book. He studied it through by course 17 times in the last three years of his life, as he said always finding something new and elevating.
"One by one they are passing away,
The old of our town-to their final rest."
Judge Hall was born at New Braintree, Mass. in 1765; educated at Brown University, Providence; came to this town about 1790 ; was town clerk from 1791 to 1832 ; town, representative from 1804 to 1826 ; judge, of the county court from 1810 to 1814; justice of the peace for a generation. He married about 500 couples ; brought up ten children ; was a man of good sense, and abilities, social, genial, and a quiet, Christian gentleman.
He moved to Brattleboro in 1838 and soon after to Boston, where he died at the age of 84 years. A man of note and influence in this vicinity and well known throughout the county and state during the early part of the present century.
was born in Wilmington, Feb. 25. 1806, son of Timothy Flagg, one of the early inhabitants. He was educated at the common schools, but was passionately fond of music and devoted to it much time and study. While very young he taught singing-schools with good success in the principal towns of Windham, Bennington, Rutland and Addison Counties. For more than 40 years he led the choir of the Congregational Church in this place.
He had a taste for the military, at 21 he was a Lieut. of Cavalry, a regiment of militia formed in the west part of Windham County, and was soon after promoted successively to the Adjutancy. Lieut. Colonelcy and Colonelcy of the Regiment, and in 1832 was commissioned a Brigadier General then the youngest officer of his rank in the State.
In 1830, he married Lucinda Brown of this place. She died in 1857, leaving him four sons and one daughter. - In 1859, he married, Eunice Chapin of Bernardston, Mass. who survived him.
He was selectman in 1833, 34; town agent from 1841 to 64; town treasurer from 1849; justice of the peace from 1833 ; town clerk from 1836; and Treasurer of the Wilmington Savings Bank; which four last offices he continued to hold until his death.
He was a member of the Constitutional Convention, 1856; a member of the House in 1848, 49, 61, 2; a member of the Senate in 1864, 5.
He died, December 23, 1865.
He was scrupulously exact in the discharge of all public duties; no one ever questioned his fidelity or integrity in the performance of any public trust.
He was a lawyer of considerable eminence, whose briefs and arguments were always regarded with respect by the bar and consideration by the court.
In private life, he was modest and unpretending in his manners, steadfast in his friendship, and loved his native town and its history, his home and its associations.
During his professional life, he had several young men as partners, and was always ready to assist them in the commencement of their legal profession. In return they regarded him with honor and affection.
the second son of Hon. Stephen P. Flagg was 5 years Clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives; is now Executive Clerk of the United States Senate at Washington.
Mr. John Morris familiarly known as Major Morris was one of King George's "volunteers." He was quite fond of telling how he came to this country. He was a tailor in Leeds, England, and being out one night on a spree, with his friends in the street, they were seized by a press gang of soldiers and forced on board a transport ship, and the next morning were underway for America. Upon his arrival, he was "enlisted" into Burgoyne's army, and was surrendered with Burgoyne at Saratoga. The prisoners were marched over the Green Mountains on their way to Boston. Major Morris said when he was passing through the woods, he thought that he did not wish to return to England and managed one night to make his escape. After wandering several days and becoming tired and hungry, he almost wished that he could return to the British army, and he set up his cane and concluded to take the direction it would fall, and it fell towards the "Regulars." "That was not fair !" he said and tried, it again, leaning it a little to the other way, and it fell to suit him, so he continued his course until he came to Wilmington, where he settled, married, and raised a respectable family.
In the early years of the settlement wild animals were troublesome. Bears, wolves and catamounts were numerous and often committed depredations upon the domestic animals of the settlers. Capt. Chipman Swift who lived where Chauncy Smith now resides was a famous hunter. At one time, some strange animal was discovered in the top of a tall tree near the old burying-ground. No one dared to shoot it for fear it was the devil and might harm them. But Mr. Swift loaded his gun with two bullets and some buck-shot. - It should have the contents of his gun if it was the devil, himself and aiming between his two glaring eyes, he fired, bringing down a huge catamount, who pounced upon his faithful dog and tore him to pieces in his death struggles.
Other stories might be told, but this must suffice.
A large Temperance Society was formed in 1835, which did much good in the community. It flourished until the breaking out of the Rebellion when men's thoughts were turned in another direction, and during the war temperance languished.
The Waverly Lodge No. 83 I. O. of Good Templars was chartered June 20, 1868. It now has 63 members; seems to be in a flourishing condition; is constantly increasing in numbers.
BY F. J. SWIFT, M. D.
SOCIAL LODGE: No. 38 A. M. was originally chartered in June 1815.
First W. M. Jairus Hall:
" S. W. Jesse Swift:
" J. W. Edmund Livermore
Suspended work during the anti-masonic excitement from 1831 to 1856 when it was re-organized under a new charter, but bearing the same name and number, and has enjoyed prosperity up to the present time. It has some 79 members and is receiving new accessions at almost every regular communication. The stations at the present time (1869) are filled as follows:
F. J. Swift, W. M.
E. J. Titus, S. W.
C. C. Bemis, J. W.
The people have from the early settlement taken a great interest in education and in reading, books and papers. a town library of 200 volumes, choice books, was established about 1790, which was kept in good condition and enlarged for about 50 years; since then other libraries have been formed, public and private, including agricultural and Young Men's Christian Association have been formed, while at the present time almost every man in town has a small library of useful books, and is well supplied with newspapers and periodicals which are universally read by all.
The Town contains 14 school districts, each of which has a good school-house ; some of them very nice and commodious, in which schools are supported for two or three terms each year. A high school has been established at the Village which has usually been well sustained.
A newspaper called
was published in 1850; but continued only a year or two, since which no paper has been published here.
Nov. 20 1869.
The author of this Early History of Wilmington has been dead some years. "He was first a merchant, then a village farmer. He was a scholarly man, and a gentleman; active in every enterprise, that could advance the interests of the town or uplift society."
He married Esther Packard who survives him, "a graceful writer, and in former years, often cast her efforts on the billows of literature." - "Karl DeKay" in obituary of her admirable mother. And, to her, Mrs. Esther S. Forbes, this December, 1889, Thanks: - for two pretty brochures : "Vermont Maple Sugar Industry," "Attractions of Wilmington and Vicinity" with view of Haystack Mt. Other historical information, and there is considerable left, we lay up till we may be able to give the history of the town from 1870 to 1890 or 1892: these interesting little publications are by Editor and Publisher Jones of the "Wilmington Valley Times," a talented, 8 pp. weekly paper.-Ed.
BY MRS. A. M. PHILIPS.
(A native of Wilmington.)
Night's voices! how the feverish heat,
Engendered in the toils of life,
And all the restless fears that beat
With its intenser pain and strife;
The aspiring thought, the lofty vein,
The hopes that make our pathway bright
The grief that shrouds the heart in flame,
Yield to the voices of the night.
How softly to the ear they steal,
As if a spirit moved the air,
And to the thirsting soul reveal
A nobler life, divinely fair,
And on their wings the memories come
Of tones that now are with the blest,
And whisperings of that better home
Where all the weary are at rest.
The incense rising from the rose,
The perfume which the lily yields,
And sweeter than from censer flows
The fragrance of the new mown fields,
Lending to sense a soothing balm
As faith controls the waves of grief
And pours upon the heart the calm,
Still waters of an endless peace.
The dews which from the skies distil,
Their cooling to the leaves impart,
As drops of grace refine and fill
The silent caverns of the heart.
And, lo! the murmur of a stream
That bounds in music to the sea.
The spirit of its song doth seem
A breathing of eternity.
And now the wind that parts the leaves
And whispers through the violet-bed;
That plays among the tasseled sheaves,
Steals softly round my aching head.
With tones of peace from spirit friends
Who fold their white arms round me now,
And message borne of comfort blends
With the cool breath that bathes my brow.
And from the dark, green waving woods
That crown the mount and kiss the stars
And from earth's deepest solitudes
Comes music which the soul unbars
To voices of the spirit-land,
Now calling me away, away
To climes whose skies are ever bland,
Whose seasons are eternal May.
I strain my eyes to catch a glance
Of that unfading land of light;
And though far off its pastures seem,
Yet in the stillness of the night,
An angel comes with snow-white wings
And writes a prayer deep in my heart,
And hope sits by my side and sings
Till darkness doubt and fear depart.
Not where the brightest sunlight pours,
Not where unmingled splendor shines,
The aspiring soul the highest soars
Or reads its joy in fairest lines;
But when the gorgeous day-god sleeps
And night's dear lamps burn still and lone,
The soul a heavenly noontide keeps
Within the radiance of His throne.
The stars fade out, the moon departs.
Up in the east there comes the sun,
Take courage, 0, ye fainting hearts!
For life's great toil will soon be done.
Not in the grave will songs be heard
By voices of earth's day or night;
But upward like a soaring bird,
Shall sing ourselves in fadeless light.
(In the days of the Southern Rebellion.)
BY D. GILBERT DEXTER.
(One year ago, during the midnight hour when the old year faded into eternity, and a new one commenced its historical journal. a lone soldier's widow knelt in her solitary cot in the village of W. While the sun came forth from his eastern home, a neighbor called at the door, and there in the solemn attitude of prayer, was the widow - but she moved not, neither did she speak, for "the spirit had returned to him who gave it.")
The wintry moon shines cold and still,
And the wind sounds hoarse and drear,
As it echoes along o'er valley and hill,
With its icy breath and freezing chill,
While 'tis sighing the old, old year!
The old, old year is past and gone.
With its care, its strife and its blood,
And a mother is kneeling and weeping alone
With a trusting heart and a trembling tone
As she prays to the ALL FATHER GOD.
List! the notes and the words of this morning prayer
In the cot so lone and still,
Mark, the beating heart and the lines of care,
The emphasis tone and faith so rare,
Enchaining the soul with a thrill.
She prays Oh Father! Saviour mine !
Redeemer, Maker all divine !
Look down upon unworthy me
Who hopeth in immortality.
Our country, bleeding, torn and rent,
Distracts my mind from calm content,
The throbbing heart and tearful eye,
But tell us joys are born to die.
* * * * * * * * *
The husband dear went forth to fight
For God, for freedom, faith and right.
An only son stood by my side with sire;
The Sire is low and not a breath
Will wipe away the seal of death;
The son is dying far away
In dungeon damp where sunny ray
Ne'er lends its cheer, no comfort near
To usher in the new, new year.
On thy altar, O, Columbia fair!
Iv'e laid my earthly jewels rare -
BY MRS. D. GILBERT DEXTER.
[Published in Miliken's Vermont Record at Brandon, 1863.- Ellen Simonds, one of six sisters and ten children of Dea. Asa Simonds of Peru, - See History of Peru, Vol. I, graduated, Fem. Sem. Troy, N. Y. taught popularly, music, painting, French, etc. at Milton Fem. Sem. 3 years and in 1856 married Mr. Dexter, a merchant at Wilmington. They have several children. This was Mrs. Dexter's first poem published.]
Come, gather round the board, my lads,
Oh, gather round to-day,
And sing of home, our dearest home,
On the mountains far away;
We've left the home of early days,
To fight for God and right -
We'll never yield the gory field
Till truth shall rule with might.
Then cheer, boys! cheer, boys!
The battle has begun-
With holy might,
The victory shall be won.
Shall we forget the days of yore,
The fields our fathers trod,
When Ethan Allen bold and true,
Fought for our cause and God?
No, no, we'll ne'er forget our sires
When battle rages high-
We'll ne'er forget they firmly stood
And fought to win or die.
Then cheer, boys! cheer, boys! &c.
For "Freedom and for Unity,"
The motto of the brave,
We'll ever stand, brave mountain band,
"The Ship of State" to save;
Then rally, brothers of Vermont,
Around "the stripes and stars,-
Yes, rally once again, ye braves
Down with "the stars and bars!"
Then shout, boys! shout, boys!
The battle has begun-
For Freedom fight
With holy might,
The victory shall be won.
Green Mountain Boys! Brave Mountain Boys !
Come, rally round the flag
Our fathers bought with bloody price
From "John of ancient Brag."
We will retain our fathers' name
And punish deeds of wrong,
And never yield the crimson field,
But fight with sword and song.
Then shout, boys! &c.
BY GERTRUDE I. DEXTER.
[Daughter of D. Gilbert and Ellen Dexter. ]
Building still by mystic fingers,
Raising high its gilded spires,
Dimly seen through hazy distance,
Stands the goal of great desires.
To this bright and beauteous temple
Over devious paths that tried
To the utmost, firm reliance,
Trust in God whate'er betide
Comes an aged pilgrim, laden
With a lifetime's gleanings rare,
Standing at the outer entrance
Fain to ask admittance there.
'Neath the arcade, weary, waiting,
Leans a youth, the gods were kind,
Gifting him with wondrous talents,
Grace of limb and might of mind.
'Neath the portals stands a maiden
Bearing offerings to the shrine
Of her young life's glad ambition,
Seeking peace in things divine.
But unto their mortal vision
Those celestial gates unclose,
Never, though from morn till even,
Angels entering disclose
Beauties brighter than the gorgeous
Tints of fair Italia's skies,
Pleasures rarer than the dreamings
Of a primal Paradise.
Now a bright seraph being
Stoops and whispers words of cheer,
Saying: "Like us thou shalt surely
Enter ono day, without fear."
eldest son of Madison Dickenson was born in this town, July 7. 1835; entered Williams College, 1855, graduated 1859. He was Editor of the Williams Quarterly Magazine while there, which he edited with marked ability. He applied himself with intense devotion to his studies. Few better students, probably ever lived. When he left Williams he studied law with Mr. Follett of Readsboro a few months and in 1860, took the regular course in the Law School at Ann Arbor, Mich. reading at vacations with Hon. Chas. I. Walker of Detroit. He arrived at Omaha, in April 1862; appointed Judge of Probate, October 1864, which office he held at the time of his death, July 20, 1865, from congestion of the brain, sick but a few days. Says "The Omaha Daily Republican" in obituary notice : "There are few, if any men in the community who had more friends."
Well may Vermont feel proud of such a son, and well may she lay up a memento in her archives of the noble and gifted that pass away from earth.
Toll the bell quietly.
Toll it with care,
Bear its chimes tenderly
On far Western air;
The noble and gifted
Hath struggled with death!
Toll the bell solemnly,
Son of the West,
Father and brothers
And sister and others
Are weeping in sorrow-
Mother, he had one,
A dear one and true,
Whose harp lies unstrung,
Life's journey through;
Friends met in glory,
Ne'er will they part.
A son and a mother,
Heart prest to heart.
Toll the bell carefully,
Precious the dust,
Son of the mountains,
In God put his trust.
Smooth the sod tenderly,
O'er the still breast,
Calmly and dreamily
Now he's at rest.
D. GILBERT DEXTER.
[One more extract from our old poet friend, see Poets and Poetry of Vermont 1st edition.]
Little Eva, gentle Eva,
Bud of spring and blossom fair-
Lovely gem and household fairy,
Lost to earth and earthly snare-
In the regions made immortal,-
In the clime so fair and bright,
There the angels greet thy presence
In the calm of endless light.
Little Eva, gentle Eva,
Knows no pain or sorrow there,
Where the angels chant their anthems.
Where earth's hopes and blossoms are;
For she's joined the choir angelic,
And she'll watch us while we sleep-
Filling dreams of perfect pleasure--
Calming us to hope-not weep.