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Burrillville; as it was, and it is
3 T1S3 007MEE71 E
|0k Island l^ibrarg.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS,
HORACE A. KEACH.
KNOWLES, ANTHONY & CO. PRINTERS,
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856,
By Horace A. Reach,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
GEN. ELISHA DYER,
Y WHOSE LIBERALITY AND P A T R O N A Cx E THE
STATISTICS OF BURRILLVILLE WERE
THIS WORK IS RESPECTFUUt-Y OEDIOA-TED.
BY HIS FRIEND, THE AUTHOR.
This Yolume, about the past and present of my native
town, was penned during a few weeks of recreative leis-
ure in the summer of 1856. In a rural district there are
no centres of information, few and meagre public records,
and no historic compilations to which one can resort for
aid. A chaos of poor traditions is to be reduced to order,
and incoherent chronicles of popular events arranged to
tell their story as time told it.
I have said nothing in regard to the original purchases
of our land from the Indians. I preferred to leave it un-
til I could include a larger territory. Those purchases
often included tracts that were lying in several towns, and
their importance demands a more elaborate notice, than
would seem consistent with a sketch of so small a portion
of north western Rhode Island. The same remark will
apply to the long controversy about the west line.
I have not found anything printed in relation to Burrill-
ville except ephemeral sketches which I prepared a few
years ago for the Providence Journal. The command of
Sydney's muse was " Look into thy heart and write." I
have followed a like impulse, which will account for the
prominence given to the subject of Reforms. My fellow
citizens, who love our town will rejoice with me at all signs
of progress, and strangers who ask tvhat we have in Bur-
rillville, will be glad to learn of our prosperity. To record
our gradual but sure advancement, has been to me a pleas-
ure, and my humble labor done, I commend it to the favor
of an indulgent public.
BURRILLVILLE, Oct. 1, 1856.
Few traces of the Indians — The Nipmucs — Pas-co-ag —
Black Hut — Herring Pond Woods — Indian Barbari-
ties — Indian Skeleton eight feet high — Indian Corn-
field and Wigwam — Mahungunog Swamp — Comb
Basket one hundred and fifty years old, 9-16
Two hundred and twenty years ago — John Smith — The
Williams Family — Deer — Fish from the sea^— Wolf
Pits— Early Settlement in Herring Pond Woods,. . .17-23
Shay's Rebellion — Taxes and Tories — Primitive Cus-
toms — Old Burrillville Meeting House, 24-34
Money Rocks — Snake Dens — Smith Battey's Diamonds —
Bark Mill and Turning Lathe — The Old Paul
Animated Nature — Little Birds — Bald Eagle — Rattle-
snakes — White Squirrel, 43-45
GLOCESTER AND ITS DIVISION.
Biirrillville a part of Providence— Burrillville included in
Glocester — Corn in the Town Treasury — Petition to
divide the town — Petition granted, and Act passed —
Another vote to divide Glocester 46-53
Hon. James Burrill — Books presented to the town — Yote
to pay Grand Committee — First Taxes — Sale of the
Poor — Sale of the Town Meeting — Town Council
sold — Extra pay to the soldiers of 1812 — Sale of
Town Meeting becomes a nuisance — A thwack at
Office Seekers — Small Pox in 1825 — A slice from
Glocester in 1844 — The License Question — Fiftieth
birth day of Burrillville, 54-61
OLD :M E N .
The Harringtons — Joktan Putnam — Captain William
Rhodes— Our Mysterious Visitor, 62-65
The roads of Burrillville—" The Air Line "— " The indo-
mitable Mac" — The Woonasquatucket, 66-70
Old School houses — Mutiny — Smashing Windows —
Hon. Henry Barnard— School District Boundaries
— Rude Boys and smiling School Marms — Libra-
ries — Decision under the School Law, 71-77
Old Drinking Customs — Washingtonianism — The Hon-
est Quaker — Temperance Songs — Dr. Harrington
and his trial — Harvey P. Brown — The Maine
Law — Round Top, — Singular Outrage, destruc-
tion of books — Extract from our " Scrap Book " —
The Wreckers, 78-90
Fugitive Slave Law in Burrillville — Slaves at work in
Herring Pond woods — " Jack's Grave " — Women's
Rights— Angel's Visits, 91-95
Eld. John Colby's mission to Burrillville — First F. B.
Church in Rhode Island — Clarrissa Danforth —
First Pastor — Millerism — Church meeting in the
Esten neighborhood — Smith's Academy — Liberal-
ity of Nicholas Brown Esq. — " New Lights " —
Huntsville Em.porium — Methodists — Church of
Enorland — Friends — Universalists, 96-108
Divining Rods — Wallum Lake — Bathing Beach — A
race through Wallum Lake — Canal company claim
the Lake — Largest forest in Rhode Island — Win-
ter scene on Buck Hill — September Gale — Apples
"from a tree that fell 40 years ago" — Southern
Burrillville Cotton Gin— The first factory— Old Burrill-
ville Bank— Mapleville, 118-123
Our Climate — Changes in the Seasons — Employments
— Land at 12^ cents per acre — Two dozen facto-
ries — "Five miles to the store" — "Away to
school" — Our buildings — "The nicely sanded
floor" — Wooden Clocks — Our Parlors — Barns —
AVood piles — Living out in the lots — Rhode Island
Brown Bread — A good Dinner — The Farmer's
dress — Factory Girls — Books — " Such a nice car-
riage " — Parties — " Ring Plays " and " Round the
Chimney " — Sleigh Rides — Quilting Bees — Husk-
ing frolic — Rabbit Hunting — Going to the Shore —
At rest, at last, 124-145
SUPPLEMENT, 146-16 7
IMPORTANT POLITICAL AND SOCIAL INFLUENCES OF
THE INSTITUTION OF THE TOWNSHIP.
Tlie following are the obseryations of M. De
TocQUEYiLLE; npoii the American system of muni-
cipal bodies. Ideas are presented that will be
new to some, and interesting to all. The author
was a member of the Institute of France, and of
the Chamber of Deputies, and his admirable work
upon the Political Institutions of America, has at-
tracted attention, not only in our country but
throughout Europe. We may here remark that
the counties of our northern States are divided
into Towns, those of the southern into Parishes.
There are many regulations which belong exclu-
sively to our New England towns, and the peculiar
municipal franchises of the North have not been
without important social results.
" The village or township is th^ only association
which is so perfectly natural, that wherever a num-
ber of men are collected, it seems to constitute
itself. The town or tithing, as the smallest divis-
ion of a community, must necessarily exist in all
nationS; whatever their laws and customs may be }
if man makes monarchies, and establishes republics,
the first association of mankind seems constituted
by the hand of God. But although the existence
of the township is coeval with that of man, its lib-
erties are not the less rarely respected and easily
destroyed. A nation is always able to establish
great political assemblies, because it habitually
contains a certain number of individuals fitted by
their talents, if not by their habits, for the direc-
tion of affairs. The township is, on the contrary,
composed of coarser materials, which are less
easily fashioned by the legislator. The difficulties
which attend the consolidation of its independence
rather augment than diminish with the increasing
enlightenment of the people. A highly-civilized
community spurns the attempts of a local inde-
pendence, is disgusted at its numerous blunders,
and is apt to despair of success before the experi-
ment is completed. Again, no immunities are so
ill-protected from the encroachments of the su-
preme power as those of municipal bodies in gen-
eral ; they are unable to struggle single-handed,
against a strong or an enterprising government,
and they cannot defend their cause with success un-
less it be identified with the customs of the nation
and supported by public opinion. Thus, until the
independence ©f townships is amalgamated with
the manners of a people, it is easily destroyed ;
and it is only after a long existence in the laws
that it can be thus amalgamated. Municipal fi-eedom
eludes the exertions of man ; it is rarely created ;
but it is as it were, secretly and spontaneously en-
gendered in the midst of a semi-barbarous state of
society. The constant action of the laws and the
national habits, peculiar circumstances and above
all, time, may consolidate it; but there is certainly
no nation on the continent of Europe which has
experienced its advantages. Nevertheless, local
assemblies of citizens constitute the strength of
free nations. Municipal institutions are to liberty
what primary schools are to science ; they bring it
within the people's reach, tliey teach men how to
use and how to enjoy it. A nation may establish
a system of free government, but without the spirit
of municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit
of liberty. The transient passions, and the inter-
ests of an hour, or the change of circumstances,
may have created the external forms of inde-
pendence; but the despotic tendency which has
been repelled will, sooner or later inevitably re-
appear on the surface.
In the township, as well as everywhere else, the
people is the only source of power : but in no stage
of the government does the body of citizens exer-
cise a more immediate influence. In America the
people is a master whose exigencies demand obe-
dience to the utmost limits of possibility.
Municipal independence is a natural consequence
of the principle of the sovereignty of the peo-
ple in the United States : all the American repub-
lics recognise it more or less ; but circumstances
have peculiarly favored its growth in New England.
In this part of the Union the impulsion of polit-
ical activity was given in the townships ; and it
may almost be said that each formed an independ-
ent nation. When the kings of England asserted
their supremac}^, they were contented to assume
the central power of the state. The townships of
New England remained as tliey were before ; and
although they were now subject to the state they
were at first scarcely dependent upon it. It is im-
portant to remember that they have not been in-
vested with privileges, but they seem on the con-
trary, to have surrendered a portion of their inde-
pendence to the state. The townships are only
subordinate to the state in those interests which I
shall term social, as they are common to all the
citizens. They are independent in all that con-
cerns themselves ; and among all the inhabitants
of New England I believe that not a man is to be
found who would acknowledge that the state has
any right to interfere in the local interests. The
towns of New England buy and sell, prosecute or
are indicted, augment or diminish their rates, with-
out the slightest opposition on the part of the ad-
ministrative authority of the state.
They are bound however, to comply with the
demands of the community. If the state is in the
need of money, a town can neither give nor with-
hold supplies. If tlie state projects a road, the
township cannot refuse to let it cross its territory ;
if a police regulation is made by the state, it must
be enforced by the town. A uniform system of in-
struction is organized all over the state, and every
town is bound to establish the schools which the
The New Englander is attached to his township,
not only because he was born in it, but because it
constitutes a strong and free social body of which
he is a member, and whose government claims and
deserves the exercise of his sagacity.
In Europe the absence of local spirit is a fre-
quent subject of regret to those who are in power ;
every one agrees that there is no surer guarantee
of order and tranquility, and yet nothing is more
difficult to create. If the municipal bodies were
made powerful and independent the authorities of
the nation might be disunited and the peace of
the country endangered. Yet, without power and
independence a town may contain good subjects;
but it can have no active citizens.
Another important fact is, that the township of
New England is so constituted as to excite the
warmest of human affections without arousing the
ambitious passions of the heart of man. The offi-
cers of the county are not elected, and their au-
thority is very limited. Even the state is only a
second-rate community, whose tranquil and obscure
administration offers no inducement sufficient to
draw men away from the circle of their interests
into the turmoil of public affairs. The federal
government confers power and honor on the men
who conduct it ; but those individuals can never be
very numerous. The high station of the presidency
can only be reached at an advanced period of life j
and the other federal functionaries are generally
men who have been favored by fortune, or distin-
guished in some other career. Such cannot be the
permanent aim of the ambitious. But the town-
ship is a centre for the desire of public esteem, the
want of exciting interests, and the taste for author-
ity and popularity in the midst of the ordinary re-
lations of life ; and the passions which commonly
embroil society change their character when they
find a vent so near the domestic^ hearth and the
family circle. In the American states power has
been disseminated with admirable skill, for the
purpose of interesting the greatest possible num-
ber of persons in the public weal. Independently
of the electors who are from time to time called
into action, the body politic is divided into innu-
merable functionaries and officers, who all, in their
several spheres, represent the same powerful cor-
poration in whose name they act. The local ad-
ministration thus affords an unfailing source of
profit and interest to a vast number of individuals.
The American system, which divides the local au-
thority among so many citizens, does not scruple
to multiply the functions of the town officers. For
in the United States it is believed, and with truth,
that patriotism is a kind of devotion which is
strengthened by ritual observance. In this manner
the activity of the township is continually percep-
tible ; it is daily manifested in the fulfilment of a
duty or the exercise of a right ; and a constant
though gentle motion is thus kept up in society
which animates without disturbing it.
The American attaches himself to his home, as
the mountaineer clings to his hills, because the
characteristic features of his country are there
more distinctly marked than elsewhere. The ex-
istence of the township of New England is in gen-
eral a happy one. Their government is suited to
their tastes and chosen by themselves. In the
midst of the profound peace and general comfort
which reign in America ; the commotions of muni-
cipal discord are infrequent. The conduct of local
business is easy. The political education of the
people has long been complete ; say rather that it
was complete when the people first set foot upon
In New England no tradition exists of a distinc-
tion of ranks; no portion of the community is
tempted to oppress tlie remainder ; and the abuses
which may injure isolated individuals, are forgot-
ten in the general contentment which prevails.
If the government is defective (and it would no
doubt be easy to point out its deficiencies,) the
fact that it really emanates from those it governs,
and that it acts, either ill or well, casts the pro-
tecting spell of a parental pride over all its faults.
No term of comparison disturbs the satisfaction of
the citizen ; England formerly governed the mass
of the colonies, but the people were always sov-
erign in the township, where their rule is not only
an ancient but a primitive state.
The native of New England is attached to his
township because it is independent ; and his co-
operation in its affairs ensures his attachment to
its interest ; the well-being it affords him secures
his affection j and its welfare is the aim of his am-
bition and of his future exertions ; he takes a part
in every occurrence in the place ; he practices the
art of government in the small sphere within his
reach ; he accustoms himself to those forms which
can alone ensure the steady progress of liberty ;
he imbibes their spirit ; he acquires a taste for
order, comprehends the union of the balance of
powers, and collects clear practical notions of the
nature of his duties and the extent of his rights.
The town of Burrillville lies in the extreme
north western corner of the state of Rhode Island.
It is in latitude 42^, and about twenty miles from
the city of Providence.
The adjacent towns upon the north are Douglas
and Uxbridge in Massachusetts; on the east is the
ancient town of Smithfield ; Glocester lies along
its southern border, and Thompson in Connecticut
is upon the west. It is of this territory, compris-
ing an area of fifty-three and two-tenths square
miles, that we propose to give the history.
The lapse of two centuries and a quarter, since
this region was first claimed by the whites, has
obliterated most traces of the aboriginal inhabi-
tants. Now and then the farmer's plow turns up
some rude weapon of Indian warfare, or broken
fragments of their domestic utensils. Their hunt-
ing grounds are forsaken, their Cabins are decayed,
and only purblind tradition tells where they once
But while Wallum Lake smiles among our
northern hills, and the Chepachet and Fas-coag
flow through our valleys, they will never be for-
Their language is linked with the beautiful
brooks, whose silvery cascades brighten our hill-
sides, and it is graven on the imperishable granite
of the craggy battlements that will forever frown
At the time our State was settled, the region
about here was occupied by the Nipmuc Indians.
The country was called the Nipmuc dominion.
This tribe were tributary to the Narragansetts,
but took advantage of the arrival of the English, to
shake off their dependence.
When King Philip, the sachem of the Narragan-
setts, from his seat on Mount Hope, he ard of their
defection, he was surrounded by so many bitter
and implacable enemies, that he could spare no
warriors, to bring back the deserting tribe to their
There is a stream in the northern part of Bur-
rillville, that has always been called the Nipmuc
River. Certain lands, devised in the will of John
Inman, an old settler here, are bounded by the
The river is formed by the union of three little
rills. One rises in Shockalog Swamp in Uxbridge^
Mass., one in Baiting Pond in Douglas, and the
AS IT WAS; AND AS IT IS. 11
other has its source in Maple Sap Swamp. The
river formed by these^ flows southerly through the
Arnold and D. Salisbury estate^ running through a
wood called the Pine Swamp, and uniting with Clear
River at Shippee Bridge.
There was another tribe called Pas-co-ag In-
dians. One of our chief villages still retains this
name. It is a ledgy place, and furnishes among
the rocks around, a secure retreat for snakes. In
the Indian dialect, the term coag meant a snake,
and when they went by this locality they said
The Mohawk Indians, prior to the old French
War, were often basking about this region, visiting
their relatives among our tribes, and uniting with
them in trapping the Otter on the banks of the
Iron Mine and Round Pond Brook.
On the farm once called the "David Inman Place,"
now owned by Smith Wood, Esq. was a cabin, cal-
led by the old settlers the ^^ Black Hut." This
was always supposed to be an old Indian wigwam.
From this settlement they could readily fish in
Herring Pond or Clear River, or hunt in the ex-
tensive adjacent forest.
At the first settlement around Herring Pond the
whites found only saplings in the woods. There
were a few great chestnuts and oaks, but the In-
dians had set fires in the forests, and our ancestors
fed their cattle upon the wild grass that readily
sprung from the charred soil.
Like most frontier settlements, the hamlets of
the early pioneers in these north-western woods
were exposed to the incursions of the ruthless sav-
ages. Their dwellings were furnished with em-
brasures, and a constant guard was kept against
the cunning tactics of the red men. But the dan-
ger could not always be averted, and the horrid
war-whoop sometimes sounded at midnight around
the burning home of some white family. Mothers
with their infants fell beneath the tomahawk, and
strong men were struck down while bravely de-
fending their hearthstones.
Those were still more unfortunate who were pre-
served alive. After long and weary marches to
reach some Pequod or Mohegan village, the miser-
able captives perished under barbarous torture.
Friendly visitors from the Nipmuc tribe found the
habitations of their allies a blackened heap of ruins.
Those who left the settlement at Providence to
visit their friends on the verge of the wilderness
broke their hearts when told that they had fallen
victims to the murderous vengeance of the savage
We who live in these peaceful times have ever
been strangers to the hardships and dangers of
border life. Our dwellings are unguarded, and
our lives and property secure. Our ancestors had
the poisoned arrow and the crimsoned tomahawk
without, and fears and terror within, while we, who
AND AS IT IS. 13
dwell on the sites of their fallen settlements, have
none to molest, or make us afraid. The danger is
past. Tales of sanguinary warfare may occupy a
winter's evening, but the terrific reality threatens
no more. Tis only like the memory of some hor-
A few years ago a discovery was made by one
of our citizens which reveals the physical character
of those with whom our ancestors had to contend.
In 1836, Capt. Samuel White, in excavating be-
neath his wood house, found the remains of a hu-
man skeleton of proportions altogether unlike our
modern inhabitants. He called several of his
neighbors to view it, and among them was Doct.
Levi Eddy. The body was lying upon the side,
with arms folded, head bent forward, and the knees
drawn upward. It was exhumed, the bones were
put together, and all parties were surprised at its
gigantic height. After surveying it awhile the
Doctor exclaimed, " He was a bouncer ! he must
have been as much as eight feet high."
Was he some tall sachem that ruled in the Nip-
muc forest before the Pilgrim Fathers landed at
Plymouth? Had he fallen in the chase, was he
shot down by a hidden foe, or was this the site of
a battle field; where he fell shouting his warriors
, on to the conflict ? Tradition is silent, echo has
At the base of Snake Hill is a field that has
always been called the " Indian's Cornfield." Here
were little mounds, where it appeared that the
Indians planted their Maize, putting it in the same
hill each year. The hills are much larger than the
" Indian Hills " of the whites, which they make
when they sow rye among their corn at the last
hoeing. The points were much further apart than
our present mode of planting. It is now over-
flowed by a Factory Pond.
Upon the lower part of the farm now occupied
by Nelson Armstrong, Esq. are the remains of an
Indian Wigwam. Within the memory of Moses
Cooper, who died in 1837, aged ninety-five, there
was a wigwam there, but it has crumbled away and
there is only a pile of stones left. These are sup-
posed to be the material of their chimney.
Here in the valley, sheltered from the winds,
and near the confluence of the " Chepa's Sack ' '
and " Clear," was a good location. The Indians
.have always been noted for the selection of the
best sites, and for hunting and fishing this would
-be a convenient situation.
In the Mehunganug Swamp are Cedars more than
vtwo hundred years old, counting by the grains. In
these are found a great many bullets. When the
largest cedar logs are sawed, bullets are taken out
near the heart. If these were shot into the young ^
trees by hunters, it must have been when game
was larger than at present, for most of our sports-
AND AS IT IS. 15
men now use sliot for the rabbits, squirrels, and
" such small deer."
There is a rumor of a fight between the Whites
and Indians at this place, but when we were told
that it was with the Narragansett Tribe, we thought
our informant might have confounded it with the
" Swamp Fight," on the banks of the Miskianza or
Chickaseen river in the western part of the town
of South Kingston.
Dea. Duty Salisbury, the oldest man in our town
at present, has a comb basket or case, given to his
mother by the Indians of Metaka woods. It is
woven like a basket, and must be at least one hun-
dred and fifty years old.
About thirty years ago, while the Deacon was
digging for a gate post, he found a bundle of ar-
rows and several other implements. They were
in a pile together about two feet under ground.
One of these was composed of a Porphyritic stone
of a character unlike any at present to be found in
These scanty relics are all that we can now dis-
cover of the aboriginal race. Again, we regret
that in our town the record of legendary lore is so
barren of romantic incident. Through what mu-
tations did that race pass who were dominant here
three hundred years since ?
Man loves the spot that gave him birth. The
Switzer clings to his mountain home j old Scocia's
liills are vocal with the songs of Burns in their
praise, who joined with the immortal Scott in
poetic worship of " the land of the mountain and
the flood j" England; " Merrie England " has pa-
triot peasants and cultured scholars on the banks
of the Avon and the margin of the Thames, who
love the hallowed memories that are woven into
the lovely scenes of their native land.
In our New England homes we love to look out,
over the vallies and up to the hills,, that claim our
reverence by virtue of the great deeds enacted in
their presence. And as we walk through the glens,
or look from the hill-tops of our native town, we
sigh that there is no story of the life and love, of
the strong free men, and the dark eyed maidens
who worshipped the Great Spirit beneath these
skies three centuries ago.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 17
Two hundred and twenty years have gone by
since the axe of the pale faces startled echoes in
the forest of the Nipmuck, and the wilderness has
been made to " blossom like the rose." The In-
dians have disappeared; and the whirr of the spindle
and the din of the factory bells tell us the Anglo
Saxons rule here.
The smoke from the red man's cabin no longer
curls above our pine tree tops and the chiefs who
ruled in northern Ehode Island have gone to sleep
with their fathers.
It was not long after the settlement of Provi--
dence, before the whites made inroads upon the
wilderness in this direction. John Smith came
from the northern part of that settlement, with his
axe and wallet of victuals, and felling trees across
the streams, he traversed the woods till he came
to a spot near what is now called the " Tar Kiln
Saw Mill." Here he found the stream — on which
several mills liave since been built- — and thinking
it a good site, concluded to settle there.
He looked the forest over, going out into Horse
Head Woods, and around the foot of Hen Hill, but
at last pitched upon a spot in the side of a hill
near where the Urania Smith house now stands.
When his victuals was gone he went back to the
city and his brother and several other adventurers
came out with him. The spot they had selected
was sheltered from the windS; and water was
easily had from the brook near by.
There was game in the forest then, and they
managed to live by an occasional visit to the city^
until they had made a clearing and the yellow
maize gave them the staff of life.
At one time almost all that part of the town
was occupied by the Smith family. They are all
descendants of the hardy pioneer, who felled the
first tree and built the first cabin in East Burrill-
There is a family in our town, who trace their
pedigree directly to the founder of Rhode Island.
Eufus Williams, Esq. dwells on the site of the old
house erected by his ancestors, when the settle-
ment at Providence was new. Belonging to the
original farm was a large part of the land that
now constitutes four. Two large oaks that tradi-
tion had assigned, for part of its boundary, have
been felled within twenty years. The old house
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 19
stood a few feet to tlie East of the present one,
just at the edge of the garden. No vestige of it
When the forest was but partially cleared, our
ancestors must have derived a great portion of
their subsistence from the animals then abundant.
They depended much upon venison. In A. D. 1728,
in the reign of King George the Second, the colo-
ny made a law to preserve deer in this State. No
deer were to be killed between January and June.
A violation of this decree was punished by a fine
of thirty dollars.
To a citizen of this modern town, it will not
seem improbable when we suggest that the last
deer of Rhode Island was shot on the margin of
Wallum Lake. The hunter who pursues a few
half starved rabbits, among the bushes in the
northern part of the town, is vexed as he remem-
bers that the lofty hill that lifts its bosky summit
above Eagle Peak, has always been called Buck
Hill. If he could see the red deer bound along
the banks of Pascoag river, or dash through Doug-
las woods, he would be better paid for his toilsome
sport. The prowess of our factory boys now
manifests itself in a terrible slaughter of chip-
mucks and pigeon woodpeckers, it may be with the
same old iron bound smooth bore that their ances-
tors used<, to shoot Nipmucs and black bears.
The only deer that has been seen in Burrillville,
within the memory of the " oldest inhabitant/' was
a tame one, owned by Capt. William Rhodes. He
placed it in the centre of a load of goods, giving
it a chance to put its head out; and so it was
brought from Providence, to Rhodesville. For
many years it was kept upon his premises, and
was a great curiosity to the country people, many
of whom had never seen a menagerie.
There is a man at Brandy Hill in Thompson,
Connecticut, whose grandfather told him about
seeing deer in that region. They came out upon
the plains between the Wallum Lake woods and
the hill. A man in the eastern part of our town,
who is himself old, tells us what the old people
used to tell him about the animals of those parts.
One man saw nine deer at one time run out from a
clump of wood, near what is now called Mount
Pleasant, and he could watch the tossing of their
antlers but a few moments before they were so
far down the valley as to be lost to his view.
Many years ago, before the factory dams were
built, certain kinds of fish came up our streams in
the Spring, to deposit their spawn in our ponds,
and in the Fall the new stock would descend to
the sea. Alewives and Herring were among the
varieties, and one of our ponds still bears the
name of Herring Pond.
Sometimes they have been known to fill the
streams at the fording-places so that it was diffi-
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 21
cult to cross while the slioal was passing. They
were taken by the farmers in considerable quanti-
ties and used as fertilizers.
Since the factories were built here our stock in
the rivers is limited. In the ponds the sport is
better. An expert can get a " mess " in a short
time in Wallum Lake or Sucker Pond, but the
" fisherman's luck " of those not used to it is small.
Sometimes when "it rains so hard we cannot work"
we take a boat and frequent the coves of these
ponds, and a full string rewards us for our pains.
There were once wolves in Burrillville. There
are " wolf pits " on the west of Paulson's shingle
mill. The old settlers used to trap them by dig-
ging deep pits, with the bottom full of sharp stakes,
and the surface lightly covered and well baited.
A hill in this region still retains the name of " Wolf
The Salsbury family were among the first who
settled in the central parts of Burrillville. Ed-
ward Salsbury the father of Duty Salsbury, of
Pascoag, was formerly a resident of Smithfield,
E. I. He enlisted in the old French war, with
the assurance that he would not be called upon to
leave the town; but his regiment was soon or-
dered to New York, and out to Lake Erie. He
was engaged in building Port Stanwix. He care-
fully saved his wages, and at the close of the war
purchased three hundred acres of land on the east
side of Herring Pond.
Not a rood of it was cleared. He built a rude
cabin, and removed his family to it. Duty Sals-
bury remembers when they come across the Branch
Bridge in a cart drawn by oxen. There were no
wagons then, and those who had horses only used
them with the saddle.
The boy sat at his mother's feet, and his father
guided the oxen along the rude paths until they
come to the solitary hut, which was to be their
future home. There were five other children, and
these trudged along in sturdy defiance of bushes
A little spot was cleared around their cabin;
they had one cow ; the woods supplied them with
game, and the pond with fish. The revolutionary
war began. Edward Salsbury had six bushels of
corn. He took this to Hunt's mill, at the place
now called Eound Top, and brought home six
bushels of meal. A day had scarcely past when
three guns were fired at Providence, and answer-
ed at various points, untilt he echoes went over
Herring Woods. They were the alarm guns to
call the minute men. The woodman must lay by
his axe and shoulder his musket. Edward, taking
a hasty farewell of his family, telling them he did
not know when he could return, if ever, and bid-
ding them be frugal of their little stock of pro-
visions, shouldered his knapsack and joined his
comrades in arms.
AND AS IT IS. 23
For six weeks the family lived on such food as
could be prepared from Indian meal, with salt and
water, for their cow was dry. When they had
milk they fared much better, for they could then
have " hasty pudding, pudding and milk, and milk
Twenty years later the youngest boy, whom we
now always call "Deacon," (he holds that office in
the Baptist Church,) left the homestead and mov-
ed to the place now called Pascoag. It is almost
seventy years ago that he began to battle with the
wilderness there. Now there are seven factories
in a circuit of a mile, coaches run through the
valley where he snared the first partridge, and the
mason's hammer rings on the ledge where the fox
hid himself from the pioneer's rifle. Nothing re-
mains of the old, save the rocky hill, whose thun-
der splintered battlements seem to fortify the vil-
lage, and the name the Indian gave to the river
and the valley.
We shall never forget the worthy Deacon, with
his silver hair, stern independence and sturdy piety.
His stereotyped exhortation of " I believe religion
is a good thing, the Lord has been good to me,"
has been repeated for three-fourths of a century,
and now, in his second childhood, he repeats it
That resistance to legal authority that finally
ripened into the " Shay's Rebellion," was com-
menced in Burrillville. There was a class at the
revolution, called reformation men, who would not
fight, and refused to pay the onerous taxes imposed
to defray the expenses of the war.
One day an officer, with three men to aid him,
distrained some cattle belonging to farmers, in the
neighborhood of what is now called the Phillips
place. A mob was formed to rescue them. The
officers were pursued, and overtaken just as they
crossed the bridge to the N. E. of Pascoag village.
Beyond the bridge was a dense wood.
Here commenced a scuffle, the farmers well
knowing that if the cattle went over the bridge
some of them would be carried away. The offi-
cers were overpowered, and the animals were
driven back to the farm yards. My informant
stood by and saw it all. He was a lad of thirteen
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 25
then, and in the employ of the man resident on
the Phillips place.
The next morning an officer called upon the
principal conspirator. The officer was a well
known neighbor, and not being suspected was wel-
comed into the house. " Have you any tobacco ?"
asked the agent of the powers that were. " By
the Lord ! no," was the reply of the insurgent, who
answered with his favorite phrase ; but he said he
would call his fellow, he believed he had some.
The comrade was called, and here the rest of the
officials rushed in, and the chiefs were taken. Here
were two of them. Four more were soon secured,,
and they were marched to Chepachet, to undergo
an examination. The people of the vicinity assem-
sembled, and followed them, intending to rescue
them, as they had their property.
An eye witness says, he " never saw so many
folks in Chepachet, except in the Dorr time.'.' The
mob entered the CoTirt Room, and set the prisoners
free. A messenger was sent to consult Judge
Steere. He was a man of considerable influence
and a resident not far from Chepachet.
Said he to the nuncio, " I must see the Governor."
The Judge ordered his horse, and posted to Provi-
dence to lay the case before Governor Fenner,
This was not the only time that neWs was to be car-
ried to the occupant of the gubernatorial chair that
treason was rampant in Chepachet.
The Governor sent a message to the leaders of
the rioter S; that if they would proceed no further^
the pcist should be overlooked. The smnesty was
accepted, but it did not prevent the occurrence of
another riot, soon after. Several were arrested
and lodged in the State Jail, but they were soon
The excitement went over the border. A fight
with fists and clubs took place in Douglas, and in
the western and northern towns of Massachusetts;.
powder and balls were used. But, after the defeat
af Daniel Shays, wlio taok the lead of the movement
in that State, the riataus proceedings abated.
In those days there were many tories. No mars
knew who might be his enemy. The officers often
abused their authority. The taxes were exorbi-
tant, but the extortions of the tax gatherers were
a greater grievance.
A cow would be sold at auction, to pay a tax-,
and if it brought fifteen silver dollars, the Stat©
might get five, the officer five, and five paid the
The same animal wo-uld bring one liundred dol-
lars of the paper continental currency. The peo-
ple had been often cheated. The large woods, now
called the " Pine Woods," east of Harrisville, was
ofnce sold for fifteen hundred dollars of the conti'
nental money, but a tender being made of a pair
of oxen the lot was regarded as paid for.
John Inman the first, as he was called, could
point to twenty cows in his yard when the war be-
gan. At its close he had but one. A gray-haired
furnier tells us, he has killed a calf, tied the meat
an a bag, and slinging it across his horse's back,
gone through the woods, a score of miles, to the
city of Providence, and sold it to get money to help
pay his taxes. We, of later days, know little of
the privations of tliose who lived in " the times
that tried men's souls," and who have cleared the
forests, dammed the streams, and fenced the land,
for their less hardy descendants.
Perhaps such brief review as we may be able to
give of the customs of our ancestors, may not be
altogether uninteresting. No record has ever been
collated that gave us an .account of the manners
and habits of the primitive inhabitants of Burrill-
ville, and what little we have been able to gather
of ancient modes of living, has been by transient
conversation with our old people, and the hered-
itary rumors of traditional gossip. We have en-
joyed the privilege of several conversations with
Dea. Duty Salisbury, whose great age and very ex-
cellent memory well fit him for a review of long-
ago. The Deacon's father could remember when
there was but one house from Providence bridge
The men of those olden times were much larger
than mo^t of our young men.
28 BURR ILLVILLE.
Their stalwart forms would present quite a con-
trast with the trim appearance of their degenerate
posterity. Among tlie amusements of olden times
were trials of strength, in various ways. Lifting,
wrestling, or mowing, were some of the modes by
which those feats were performed.
Most of the inhabitants of Burrillville will re-
member Otis Wood, Esq., one of the men, who, in
his massive physical proportions, resembled the old
settlers. He was once at a Cattle Fair, at Wor-
cester, Mass., where the power of a yoke of oxen
to sustain a weight upon their necks had been
tested, by attaching them to a cart heavily loaded
with stones. The oxen were detached and several
men in the crowd tried to lift the cart-tongue with
the stones still aboard. No single man had done
it. Otis stepped forward, and putting his brawny
•hands under it, took it right up. " Where did you
come from?" was the inquiry, on all sides. ^'From
Burrillville, in Rhode Island." ^^Have you any
more men like yourself down there ?" ^^ Oh, yes !
some who are a good deal stouter than I am."
" Well ; we don't want to see them, then."
In those days of giants, Esek Phetteplace was
considered the stoutest man in town. These great
men loved to exhibit their power. If they heard
of a rival anywhere, they would take some pains to
I have heard an old man tell of those matches
ASIT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 29
Emong the old wrestlers. At one time, Paul Dud-
ley took hold with Stout Raymond. The place
where they met was upon a barn floor. The scaf-
folds on either side were covered with eager and
noisy partisans. Brandy was esteemed a luxury
then, and at these gladiatorial combats, all hands
Dudley " filed " his opponent, which sporting
term then meant, bringing him upon his knees.
Dudley's admirers hurrahed, and the friends of
Stout Raymond clenched their teeth, as they in-
tently watched the scuffle. Again Raymond got
^^ filed." The spectators crowded to the edge of
the soaffold to peer over upon the combatants, and
swear their defiance at the opposite party, Ray-
mond's case looked doubtful for '^ three files made
a throw," and the powerful Dudley, stimulated by
his success, grasped him with confidence. In a
moment Raymond was stretched at full length upon
the threshing floor. The scaffolds were instantly
cleared, the men of each party attacked the others,
and a furious and bloody medley ensued.
Such were the brutal pastimes, in this portion
of the " Plantations," among the rough old settlers,
who had developed their burly strength by wrest-
ling with our forest oaks.
At the period that succeeded the Revolution, the
food of the people here was coarser than at pres-
ent. They had enough, but it was not tortured
into tlie unhealthy compounds that modern cookery
has devised, to the ruin of the human stomach.
Boys and girls grew fat on mush and milk, our
grandmothers relished their own home-brewed and
brown bread, and our sturdy, paternal grand ances-
tors became tall and stout by virtue of pork and
When the war broke out, they were deprived of
the few foreign luxuries they had before enjoyed.
They could get no tea, and they found a substitute
in a beverage made from Red Root, sometimes
called Even Root. They made sage tea, and from
the inside bark of the chestnut they prepared a
kind of chocolate. While our brave sires were on
the field of battle, their wives at home were gos-
sipping patriotically as they sipped a beverage for
which they thanked no British king.
Our men, in those times, wore a sort of pants
called " Petticoat Trousers." They are sometimes
seen now upon the stage. What would one of our
modern fops think, could he meet a fine gentleman
of the old school, with his small clothes, bright shoe
buckles, military platckets, and powdered wig.
The ladies could not indulge in the fashionable
finery of modern extravagance. The first calico
gown worn in Burrillville was the acquisition of a
belle of Pascoag, a sister of Duty Salisbury. Calico
was calico in those days. Ten acres of land would
be given for a single dress.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 31
It may seem superfluous to refer to the liooped
petticoats, once so fashionable among the dames of
Burrillville. We have seen the custom as large
as life. Our modern maids and matrons have rus-
tled through our drawing rooms, and promenaded
our streets, in all the munificence of the antique
garb, while we demurely whispered ',
" Can such things be, and overcome us like a summer cloud,
Without our special wonder?"
The shoes of the girls of 1750 were made of vel-
vet, and sometimes of a stuff called durant. They
were home-made. They would tie them in their
pocket handkerchiefs when they went to meeting,
and put them on when almost there. Many old
women went all the way barefoot.
Men rode much on horseback in those days. They
learned their horses to pace, and their gentle gait
would be as easy as a cradle. There were no
wagons here then, and on Sunday morning, John
and Judy would mount the same horse, and jog
away to church, conversing , in friendly phrase, as
man and wife should. A modern riding- dress would
have cost a farm.
When men began to ^^wait for the wagon" they
took pains to break up the racking gait of their
low-stepping nags. They would place rails in their
path, twenty feet apart, these would compel them
to abandon their shuffle trot, and pick up their
limbs, as the steeds of our day do.
The dwellers in tlie east part of Burrillville, two
hundred years ago, lived in log huts. Old John
Esten had a log house, in the neighborhood where
a number of families of this name still reside.
It was all woods, and the woods were full of
bears. There were only small clearings around
each hut, and the gun and fishing rod were used
as often as the hoe and axe.
The food of the pioneers was of the coarsest
quality. They often made bean porridge, a dish
never tasted by this generation. The old pantry
" Bean Porridge hot, and bean porridge cold,
Bean Porridge best, when nine days old,**
is oblivious of meaning to the moderns.
Sometimes this plural aliment became sour, then
old Zebedee Hopkins used to boil walnut chips
with them " to sweeten 'em." People were " rug-
geder then than they are now." Mr. John Esten
made chocolate of maple sap. The trees grew by
a brook near the residence of George Walling, Esq.
When the maple sap ceased running, he boiled
maple bark, to make his daily beverage.
Among the first wants of the new settlers was a
place for public worship. The few who had not
imbibed the infidel sentiments, so prevalent during
the war, were desirous of erecting a church. The
first church was built by the Freewill Baptists. A
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 33
lottery was instituted, and tlie proceeds devoted
to the erection of the building. It is now used for
our Town House, but for a great many years it was
called the " Burrillville Freewill Baptist Meeting
It was apparent that the revenue from the lot-
tery would not complete the edifice, and a sub-
scription was set on foot. They had not agreed
upon its location. The dwellers at Rhodesville
wanted it at that place ; the people around Pas-
coag would like to have it nearer them. It was at
last decided that the side of the river where the
people subscribed the largest sum should have the
house. The greatest amount was obtained upon
the west side, and the house was begun.
When raised, and partly covered, the funds gave
out, and the work stopped for some years. An-
other effort was made to finish the lower part, but
when half the pews were up the exchequer was
again empty, and the Society offered to give Dea.
Salisbury the upper story if he would finish the
house. He was a carpenter, had a saw-mill near
Pascoag, owned plenty of timber, and he accepted
the offer. A high steeple was first put upon it, but
about 1812 it was found to be leaky around it, and
it was sawed off. A great crowd gathered to see
it come down.
A long rope was attached to it, hundreds of
hands seized it, and it came to the ground with a
crash that splintered it into kindling wood. When
it fell it reached almost to the road, which those
who have been by there will remember, is a good
way from the house. The house was covered anew,
and the porch built to it. A few years later it was
offered to the town, upon condition that they would
keep the outside in repair. The inside is a curi-
osity. There is a lofty pulpit, above which is a
painting representing cherubim, but a most rude
and shabby daub. The pews are square pens, with
seats on the four sides ; a third of the congrega-
tion sitting with their backs to the speakers. Per-
haps there is no building in our town so heavily
built. The timber is massive, and its appearance
will give us some index to the character of Burrill-
i^ille forests an hundred years ago.
ASITWAS, AND ASITIS, S'5
On tlie margin of Round Fond, in Buck Hill
Woods, is a cave, where a nest of counterfeiters
once worked. They called the place Newport;
when they talked with each other before strangers*
It was only a new jport on the shores of the round
frog pond. The members of the gang lived in the
region now called Burrillville, and in the adjacent
towns. Silver money was rare then. They made
old Eighty-six, and Spanish milled dollars..
The cavity in the rock that led to their den was
hidden behind the trunk of a large rock birch, and
covered by a flat stone. Parts of the forge and a
pile of cinders were lately to be seen there. The
aperture where the smoke came out was about
thirty feet from the door.
They made two sorts, plated and mixed. The
plated were easily tested. If suspected, a knife
soon cut through the thin silver coat and revealed
the copper on the amalgram. One of the gang
went one evening to a hotel at Brandy Hill. He
became very tipsy and having the ready in his pos-
session, he lavished it freely and spent several sil-
ver dollars in treats. The large crowd stared.
Where did he get so much specie ? The thriving
farmers around could hardly find enough to pay
their taxes with, and how could the idling swag-
gerer be so flush ? The rumor of a swindling game
gained credence. The bar keeper looked at the
dollars and found them ^all of the same date.
The man was arrested, and when charged with
the crime, confessed it. Several of his confeder-
ates were taken and brought before a justice at
Chepachet. The cave was searched. The tools
were found and produced in the court room. The
old " bogus " was produced and the chief of the
gang brought forward for examination. He was
cool and cunning and evaded the questions.
Critical mechanics had examined the modus-ope-
randi of the counterfeiting apperatus, and it was
suggested to the court that the key that pressed
the die must be struck fairly and squarely or one
side of the coin would be thicker than the other.
The court would know whether the chief was an
expert or not. The ordeal was known only to a
few who were conducting the prosecution.
The prisoner could only see the game by his
quick shrewd musing, when the hammer was put
into his hand. The dies were placed in the "bogus,"
AS IT WAS; AND AS IT IS. 31
t-iie prisoner was asked to strike the key, and the
adroit schemer did strike a blow, that, to use his
own language as he told it afterwards, '- brought
the dollar clean to an edo-e on one side."
Some were satisfied that the bungling specimen
before them was the work of an innocent man. But
others knew the craft of the chief, and the exam-
ination went on. Soon a witness said that one of
his neighbors, who was a clothier, had promised
his cloth screw to the counterfeiters. This clothier
was son-in-law to the justice. He looked around
the court room, and saw sympathy for the prison-
ers, for already many of the first families for miles
around had been implicated. The rigor of the
questioning was abated and the accused soon dis-
In later years, common report linked one and
another with the plot, but no legal process was
used to bring them to justice. The visions of
wealth grew dim, that had lured men from the
path of honest toil, to secure ill-gotten gold — the
bubble burst, and left them poorer than ever. A
stain was upon their reputation for all their after
Among the natural curiosities of this town, one of
the most singular is a cave sometimes called " Coop-
er's Den." It is located on the road leading from
Glendale to the old Stephen Cooper house, now
occupied by John Paine. There is a high jagged
ledge just in tlie verge of a wood. We remember
ten years ago, standing on the summit of this pre-
cipice, with Calvin S. Keep, an old teacher of Bur-
rillville. We dropped a stone while Calvin held
his watch, to see how many seconds it took for it
to fall, that he might thus calculate the distance.
We have forgotten how far it was, but it is the
highest rock in Burrillville. A few days ago we
went there again, to explore the cave. Climbing
half way up the cliff, by clinging to the rocks and
bushes, we found a narrow opening through which
we crawled and soon found ourselves in an irregu-
lar room about 8 feet wide, 12 high and 30 in
length. There are apertures where the light can
enter. It looks as though the rocks had been vio-
lently cleft asunder by some tremendous subter-
ranean convulsion. It was a fearful looking
place. It was twilight when we entered, and the
dim shadowy appearance made ns shiver; we
remembered the rumors we had heard of snakes,
our fancy made frightful forms of every jutting
'Crag, and we were glad to emerge- into sunlight.
'The rocks were so poised as to seem in momen-
tary danger of falling. There is a tradition that
here too silver money was coined. It was when
all this region was forest, and the lonely cavern
afforded a secure retreat to the company. No
one would be likely to find them, unless some hun-
ter might chance to stumble upon them in pursuit
of game that should run into this ledgy covert.
ASITWAS, ANDASITIS. 39
The place is sometimes called ^ The Forger's Cave.'
Standing outside, the frowning rocks seem prop-
ped by the chesnut trees that lean against their
sides. Large fragments appear to have been bro-
ken off by the frost, and rolled down the hillside.
Parties picking berries often come to this locali-
ty and merry shouts peal among the rocks. The
broken echoes rustle down the valley startling the
timid hare in the brake and causing the crows to
make their way farther into the rooky wood.
On the farm of Smith Battey, are found beauti-
ful specimens of chrystalised quartz. They are
regular in form, and although not so dense as some
diamonds, they will make a slight mark on glass.
They are translucent, some of them are deli-
cately tinged with purple hues, while a few of the
smallest are yellow.
Lapidaries find them too minute to work to ad-
vantage while they can get those of the same quali-
ty from the Old World in large blocks. Some of
the jewellers of Providence obtain stones of the
ame sort at Bristol R. L, which they set in gold
A few years ago. Dr. Cliandler, Dentist, of Paw-
tucket, paid a visit to Burrillville, and examined the
diamonds on the Battey farm. He has made some
experiments with them, as a material for the man-
ufacture of mineral teeth. They worked well and
he has already composed several complete sets.
111 tlic same locality we found shining particles
of earth resembling silver, which an analysis proves
to be decomposed isinglass. A little to the north-
west of Smith Battey's residence, on his farm, is a
large rock upon which an excavation is to be seen
which will hold several quarts, and it is rumored
that it was made hj the Indians as a sort of mor-
tar in which to pound corn. It is evidently artifi-
cial. The position makes it improbable that it
could have been made by the action of water. Per-
haps this was the red man's grist mill, when the
Nipmucks ruled lord of the ascendant in the forest
of the Shining Brook.
In the valley of " Muddy Brook," about half a
mile from its source, was once a bark mill. Unlike
the mills of our time, the bark was ground between
stones, and by horse power. One of these stones
is now the curb-stone of a well near by. The mill was
small, about a hundred hides a year being tanned,
besides the woodchuck and squirrel skins that the
boys prepared, to make whip lashes and money
purses. It is about thirty years since it was used
and it gradually crumbled away, its moss grown
roof fell in, and it assumed an aspect altogether
interesting in the eyes of the antiquarians.
A little below the bark mill is the site of the
turning lathe of Shadrach Steere. Here were
made spinning wheels, the piano forte of our in-
dustrious grandmothers. Those solid, oak, higl^
backed chairs still to be found in the farm houses
of Burrillville and the adjoining towns were most-
made here. Heavy old men who would break
down in the light fancy chair of modern times
were safe in the old substantial seat of the quaker
pattern. At last hoe handles, scythe-nibs and bob-
bins were turned here.
The little mill has rotted down, the dam is gone
and the speckled trout play undisturbed in the
crannies of the pool where the old floom once
A few moments at the " Old Paul Place " and
we close our cursory glances, at old places.
Not far from the centre of the town, is a house,
fast crumbling down, which has long been known
by the above title. It was originally the residence
of an ancient family of Ballous, a common name in
this town. A little to the east of the old castle
are four graves where they were buried.
It was afterward occupied by Paul Smith. The
old man met with many misfortunes which gives
the place a romantic interest. His wife was in-
sane for many years. She was confined in a lonely
room, and with none of the appliances with which
modern science and philanthropy sooth and im-
prove the stricken mind, she ^ank into hopeless
idiotcy. One of the sons, an athletic young man^
was engaged in a foot race at Slatersville, when he
burst a blood-vessel and died in a short time.
Several families have resided there since Paiit
Smith died, but the edifice is at present forsaken,
the moss-grown roof has partly fallen, the massive
chimney is breaking down and the wild wind shrieks
through the crazy fabric like the pitiful wail of its
ruined mistress. The forest is growing up all
around it, and timersome people do not like to fre-
quent the place after nightfall. The raven croaks
hoarsely from the open gable, and the twilight bat
flits undisturbed through the forsaken and desolate
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 43
We are lovers of nature, and if we do not al-
ways look witli the critical eye of scientific accu-
racy, we view with interest the animated creation
that inhabit our woods and meadows. We hear*
the whip-poor-will wail out his plaintive story and
see the night hawk wheel his circling flight. The
bat is flitting his eccentric course through the twi-
light, the owl is shrieking out his discordant notes,
or the wheatear is making shrill music with his rare
Early dawn gives us the songs of the robin, the
twitter of the lively wren, and the harsh scream
of the beautiful jay. A few mornings ago, we saw
a bald eagle sweep in lofty magnificent curves over
Pascoag Pond, and launch like an arrow of light
through the sky far over the wild waste of Mala-
We have orioles and humming birds, and then
we have animals of which we are not so fond,
The rattle-snakes are not all gone. The ledgy
summit of Buck Hill, can boast a few of these ven-
omous reptiles. There is a point, on the North
side of the road leading from Pascoag to Thomp-
son, where the cautious hunter does not like to ven-
ture at some seasons of the year. Occasionally
one of these snakes may be seen hanging from the
side of an old barn in that region, where he has
been nailed by the boys.
We heard of one a few years ago that was kept
alive for some months. He was brought to the
village of Pascoag, where he was looked upon at a
safe distance by many. Those who did not know
his clumsy habits thought him a dangerous thing
to have at liberty. It could not glide rapidly like
some snakes, and its active keeper could watch its
contortions and avoid its fangs, while he left him
to show all his natural motions. But most of our
readers will agree with us that the deadly Crotalus
ought not to be at large without having his poison
Among the unique animals that we have seen in
this town, was a white rodent. It was caught by
a brother of the author in a box^rap, set upon the
top of an old stone wall. It was a little smaller
than our ordinary red squirrel, but resembled it in
all other respects except its color. Its eyes were
red, and its fur as white as snow.
We kept it in a cage for several months. It
learned to turn a'wlieel and appeared as active as
the red, black or grey variety. It was presented
to a gentleman of Providence, and we have not
heard of it since. Wliether its hue changed as it
grew older, whether it still attracts the curiosity
of amateurs in natural history, or whether it has
died in its loneliness, we are not able to inform
our readers, but we assure them an animal more
perfect in form and motion has never been seen in
Bur rill ville.
Black squirrels so numerous in the middle and
western states are never seen in our woods. The
grey variety are plenty.
GLOCESTER AND ITS DIVISION.
From 1636 to 1730, the territory wliicli forms
our town was included within the limits of Provi-
dence. In the latter year an act was passed by the
General Assembly of His Majesty's Colony of Rhode
Island " to incorporate the outlands of Providence
into three towns." A Committee had been sent
out by Roger Williams, to survey the parts north
of the city, and when they looked from Solitary
Hill, near Triptown, over the barren lands, they re-
turned and made their report, that " no one would
ever settle " beyond that point.
But after the lapse of almost a century, there
were inhabitants enough to warrant new towns, and
Smithfield, Scituate, and Glocester, were formed ;
because " the prudential affairs of Providence had
become heavy, and burdensome."
The orio^inal town of Providence extended from
Seekonk Plains to Douglas. The act of incor-
poration gave us the liberties and privileges of
other towns of the State. The franchises and
protection of the Charter were ours. We could
elect our officers, we could send two deputies to
the next General Assembly ; we could send one
grand and one petit juror to the superior courts ;
and we could have our proportion of the interest
of the bank money appropriated to the use of the
towns of this colony, according "to the sums that
the lands, lying in our town, were mortgaged for."
The expense of surveys, roads over our rocky hills,
money paid to the Indians, for the poor, of which
there were more than at present, and the many
burdensome taxes that oppressed the colony prior
to the Declaration of Independence, had compelled
the town to mortgage their lands.
In 1806, Glocester was divided. Since the ju-
risdiction of Glocester extended over our territory
for a period of seventy-six years, her archives must
be searched, that we may form proper ideas of the
condition of public affairs at the time we commenc-
ed our corporate existence.
In 1798 the British currency was employed, and
pounds, shillings and pence, were the familiar
terms of financial parlance. A little prior to this
corn seemed to be a standard of value, and we find
the town treasury filled with it. December 10th,
1787, licenses were granted by the town council,
48 B U R R I L L V I L L E .
in these words : " To tlie six above named persons
to keep a tavern in the house wherein he lives for
one year from this time, provided they maintain
good order and rule, and pay into the town treas-
ury each the sum affixed to their names, viz. : ^'No.
1, six bushels of corn ; No. 2, four bushels," and
The corn was used for the support of the pau-
pers. Persons were made poor by the the poison
extracted from corn, and when a citizen had been
at expense for their maintenance the council voted
him a compensation in corn. A large part of the
earlier council records consist of allowances of this
A little later we find a portion of the currency
consisting of silver dollars. Some who had been
dilatory in application for license, were allowed to
sell, " till the remainder of the year on the pay-
ment of three shillings."
In 1791, from nine to eighteen shillings was the
price of license.
In 1800, the council voted that a special license
be granted to , on payment of fifty cents, to
sell spiritous liquors by the gill on Wednesday
next. It does not appear what day Wednesday
was, but we may presume that it was town meet-
ing or training day. Neither is the result of the
The number of persons licensed the first year of
this century was seventeen.
In 1805; Gloucester began to post her clrimkards,
but the same year licenses were given to twenty-
six persons, and they paid $75 into the Treasury,
as their contribution towards the support of the
poor, with which the township might be burdened.
Gloucester, at this date, was twelve miles square.
The people thought it too far to go to Chepachet
to Town Meeting, so on the 27th August, 1805, it
was voted, " That Messrs. Zebedee Hopkins, Seth
Hunt, Abraham Winsor, Daniel Tourtelott, Bazaleal
Paine, Joktan Putnam, and Edmund Waldron, be,
and they hereby are appointed a Committee to draft
a petition to the next General Assemblj^, to divide
the town by an east and west line through the mid-
dle of the town, free from ejxpense, to said town^
and signing the petition in behalf of said town.
On the IGtli April, 1806, they instructed their
deputies " to use their utmost influence for a divi-
sion of said town."
The influence of the Deputies resulted in the
passage of the following Act :
An Act to divide the town of Gloucester, and to
incorporate the north part thereof into a town
by the name of Burrillville.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assem-
bly, and by the authority thereof it is enacted,
That the town of Gloucester, in the County of
Providence, be divided into two towns, by a line
drawn westerly tlirongli the middle of said town to
the line of the State of Connecticut; and that the
northern half of said town, thus divided and set off,
be incorporated into a township by the name of
Burrillville, and that the inhabitants thereof shall
have and enjoy the like benefits, liberties, privileges
and immunities, as the other towns in this State
generally enjoy, and are entitled to.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the
freemen of said town shall, and may assemble in
town meeting on the third Monday in November,
A. D. 1806, to elect their town officers, and trans-
act all other business which by law a town meeting
may transact ; and that Simeon Steere, Esq., be
authorised and directed to issue his warrant to any
constable in the said town of Burrillville, to warn
the freemen of said town to meet in town meeting
for the purposes aforesaid, at such place, and at
such time on said day as he may in his warrant ap-
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That Messrs.
Joshua Bicknell, Joseph Rice, and Thomas Mann,
be, and they are hereby appointed a Commit-
tee to make an equal division of the poor, now
supported at the expense of said town of Glouces-
ter, between the two towns, and also of the debts
due or owing, and money belonging to the town of
Gloucester, and of the debts due from the said
town, which said division shall be settled and made
AT IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 51
in proportion to the last tax assessed in said town.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That said
Committee be authorised and empowered to run
the division line, afore-described, to set up monu-
ments and boundaries thereon, and to report to the
General Assembly at the next session.
On the 27th October, 1806, the town of Glouces-
Voted, That Jesse Tourtelott Thomas Owen, Esq-.
and Col. Elijah Armstrong, be and are hereby
appointed a Committee in behalf of the tovni of
Gloucester, to attend the State Committee, to see
to the division of the Poor, Taxes and Debts be-
tween the towns of Gloucester and Burrillville.
The following Report was submitted at the Feb-
ruary Session, 1807: The subscribers being ap-
pointed a Committee by the Honorable General
Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Provi-
dence Plantations, at their October Session, A. D..
1806, to divide the town of Gloucester, in the-
County of Providence, did on the tenth day of No-
vember last, agreeably to our appointment, pro-
ceed to make the division as follows : Began at the
southeasterly corner of said town, and measured
the easterly line of said town to the south line of
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which we
found to be ten miles one-half and seventy rods ;
then began on said easterly line, five miles one
quarter and thirty-five rods from said southeasterly
corner, and there erected a monument, it being
sonth eighty degrees, west twenty-three rods and
eighteen links from the northwesterly corner of
Benjamin Waterman's dwelling honse ; from thence
we ran a course north eighty-six and a half degrees
west; making monuments and marking trees, to the
easterly line of the State of Connecticut, and there
erected a large monument with stones : which course
makes the dividing line between the towns of Glou-
cester and Burrillville.
We then proceeded to make an equitable divi-
sion of the poor, supported at the expense of said
town before said division between the two towns^
and also of the debts due or owing, and money be-
longing to said town of Grloucester, and of the debts
due from the said town, which said division we
made in proportion to the last tax assessed in
said town, which proportion is as five hundred and
forty-eight dollars and seventeen cents, to one
thousand dollars, for the town of Gloucester, and
four hundred and fifty-one dollars and eighty-three
centy for the town of Burrillville, of which division
of said poor, and the debts due to and owing from
said town, we made a particular statement and re-
port, and lodged with the town clerks of each of
the said towns. All of which is humbly submitted
by your Committee.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 53
April 20th, 1808, Gloucester Voted, " That Col.
Elijah Armstrong and Jesse Tourtelott, Esq., be
and are hereby appointed a Committee to settle all
amounts, dues and demands which the town of
Gloucester has against the town of Burrillville, and
are hereby empowered to call on the town treas-
urer of the town of Burrillville, in order to close
all amounts and demands existing between said
The final legislation of Gloucester upon this sub-
ject, was in 1809. At the August town meeting of
this year, it was Voted, " That the town of Glou-
cester be divided by a northerly and southerly
line." This appears to have been done for Bun-
combe, as no action was ever taken upon this vote,
which seems to be extending the jurisdiction of a
town "to the fullest extent." But the inhabitants
of Gloucester were always Democrats par excel-
lence, and while the ruins of Acote's Fort frown over
their capital, they will rather enlarge than lessen
the right of the people.
The old town retained the original name of
Grlouccsterj and the new town was called Burrill-
ville, from the Hon. James Barrill, who was the
Attorney General of the State of Rhode Island.
James Burrill was born in ProvidencOj April
25th; 1772. He graduated at Brown University in
1788. Choosing the law for his profession, he be-
gan his legal studies immediately after leaving Col-
lege, and was admitted to the bar before he attain-
ed his majority.
A few years later he stood at the head of his pro-
fession in Rhode Island. By the General Assembly
of 1797, and by the people for seventeen successive
elections, he was chosen Attorney General.
The decay of his health, and other causes, in-
duced him to resign that office in May, 1813. In
1816, he was appointed by the General Assembly
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, having been
for several years previous Speaker of the House of
Representatives, of Rhode Island. The next year
he "was placed in the Senate of the United States,
of which he remained an esteemed member until
the period of his death, Dec. 25th, 1820.
On the 17th day of November, A. D. 1806, the
freemen of Burrillville convened in town meeting
for the first time. Capt. Joktan Putnam was cho-
sen Moderator, and Daniel Smith, Jr., was elected
At this meeting it was voted " That Capt. Jok-
tan Putnam be a committee to attend on the town
clerk, to wait on the Hon. James Burrill, Esq., at-
torney general of the State of Rhode Island, to re-
ceive a set of books that he makes a present to
said town." These books were to keep the records
of the town in, and upon each one was this label.
Presented to the town of Burrillville,
JAMES BURRILL, Jr., Esq. :
The first Town Council consisted of the follow^
ing persons :
John Esten, Esq. William Ross,
Simeon Steere, Esq., Moab Paine,
Samuel Smith, Levi Lapham,
5Q ' BURRILLVILLE.
The division of tlie town was a part of the busi-
ness of this meeting. Daniel Smith, Esq., and Capt.
J. Putnam were chosen " a committee to attend the
Grand Committee in running the dividing line be-
tween the two townS; and also in settling the said
town's business." The representatives to the Gen-
eral Assembly were then called Dejputies. Capt.
Pitts Smith and Capt. James Olney were elected
for the February Session.
The next meeting was December 2d, 1806, fif-
teen days later. It was " for the special purpose
of choosing a representative to the Tenth Con-
gress." The meeting dissolved, then adjourned to
the Hotel of John Wood, Esq., and it was declared
to be ^' again in being." It was Yoted " to do no
business in Town Meeting after sunset."
Again they met on the 14th of February, 1806,
and adjourned to the 17th, at the Hotel of John
Wood. At the meeting on the 17th, when the
town had existed three months, and the lines had
been established, it was Yoted, ^^ That the Charter
of the town of Burrillville, and the Report of the
States' Committee in the division of the two towns
be lodged in the Town Clerk's office."
There had been manifested a disposition to avoid,
or at least delay the payment of the Grand Com-
mittee, but at the annual meeting, April 15th, 1807,
it was Voted " To provide some way to pay the
Grand Committee." A highway tax of $1500 was
ordered, and a poll tax of 75 cents.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 57
August 25th, 1807, the first money tax was im
posed. It was only $500. The poll tax was 33 cts
The money tax was to be paid by the first of Dec.
or interest might be collected of the delinquents
The custom of the old town in regard to the poor
was adopted, and they were sold to the lowest bid
der. This year they sold for $200.
The town meeting was sold next. June 6, 1808,
it was voted " That the next August town meeting
be at Russel Aldrich's upon these conditions : that
he pay to the town treasurer the sum of $16.25,
within one week after said meeting, to which con-
dition said Aldrich agrees, and also voted that said
Russel Aldrich have privilege to prosecute any oth-
er persons for selling liquors on that day and
place." The above is a literal transcript of the
Here was the first Maine Law in Burrillville.
Law might be invoked to defend an impolitic mo-
nopoly, but may not be used to-day to protect the
liberties of the citizens. We shall see how law
was again employed in the cause of temperance,
forty years later.
It was sold again in September, 1808, with a
recommend to the town council to grant the bid-
der a license on the meeting day^. This year it
was bought for $23.00. In 1810, it was $50.00.
This year the town council was sold at auction
as appears by the following vote. "Yoted that
the privileges of having town council set at their
houses one year^ be set up at public auction, and
the highest bidder to be the purchaser."
In 1812, it was voted that the soldiers drafted
in this town receive four dollars per month pre-
mium above the eight dollars they receive from the
United States. The State quota was 9300 men
and in 1814 Burrillville voted to pay thirty dollars
to each man drafted in this town.
By 1819 it became apparent that the sale of the
town meeting was a nuisance. It had been carried
over to the west side of Buck Hill, and the residents
of the eastern district had to travel a dozen miles
and along a miserable driftway over the mountain.
It had been sold at the Jirah Ballou place, and the
people of the west side swore in their turn.
A committee was appointed " to confer with the
Societies of the Baptist meeting house to gain their
approbation to have the town meetings held at the
old meeting house for the future."
From the record of 19th April 1820, it would
seem that office seekers were less scrupulous than
the " fierce democracie " wished them to be. It
was voted " that from and after this date, no man
shall be elected to office in said town who shall
give any valuable consideration therefor."
When, in 1825, an epidemic raged in the town
of Douglas and Uxbridge in Massachusetts, which
was supposed to be the small pos, there were a few
instances of the disorder in this town. The coun-
cil ordered that " the lands leading from Dr. Enoch
Thayer's to Mr. Asa Burlingame's be fenced up at
the east side of the road that leads from Uxbridge
and intersects with said road; and also the same
road that leads eastward to the Providence and
Douglas turnpike road to be fenced up at the said
pike road, so people shall not travel said road be-
tween the two fences without permission of the
said council, owners excepted."
"Also voted that Dr Thayer's house be consid-
ered as a hospital for the said disorder and all per-
sons are prohibited from frequenting it without
said permission under penalty of the law." The
road leading by John White's to Enoch Thayer's,
thence by Peleg Young's was also to be fenced.
Dr. Levi Eddy was appointed assistant superinten-
dant of said hospital.
This legistation seemed to be based upon the
principle that the health of the people is the su-
In 1834, there were many complaints for injuries
received at bridges for want of railing. They
were not in the excellent condition in which we
find them now.
In 1844 it was discovered that the line dividing
us from Gloucester was not properly established.
On motion of Eddy Keach Esq., a committe was
appointed by the General Assembly, to examine
the survey. They reported that Gloucester had
one thousand and forty-nine acres more than her
proportion of the territory. The report was ac-
cepted and a committee was appointed who rim
the line anew and the above tract was added to
There is no doubt in the minds of Rhode Island
men, that the State line should have extended
three miles farther to the north. This would have
have given our town a valuable region now belong-
ing to the towns of Douglas and Uxbridge. The
controversy between this State and Massachusetts
about our northern boundery was finally termina-
ted by a decision of the U. S. Supreme Court in
favor of Massachusetts.
In 1839 the question of license came up. There
were 101 for granting "Indulgences" and 49
against it. In 1844, it was voted "that no strong
drink be brought into the meeting house yard."
Stands and booths had before this been built around
the Town House, and the activity of the sales was
patent upon the common in front, where rings were
formed around drunken rowdies, who were pum-
melling each other with a will.
In 1848, the sale of rum in the adjacent woods
was made a penal offence. At a later date the
town seemed unanimous against the licensed sale
of rum. No licenses are at present granted. The
temperance reform has been of untold value to the
town of Burrillville. Despite the curses of dema-
gogues, the influence that has prevailed in favor of
ASITWAS, ANDASiTIS. 61
sobriety has added much to the security of pro-
perty among us, guarded many young men from
the dangers of dissipation, flung its protection over
many a home, and those noble souls who made
Burrillville the banner town, and will keep her
where she is, are deserving the gratitude of all
who love our best social interest.
We know that the evil skulks around at twi-
light, and in the woods, but the bold notoriety that
characterized it in 1840 will never return. We
once had twenty-two violent deaths in ten years to
be traced directly to intemperance. We will now
protect ourselves. We love, we reverence, the
blessings and privileges of the fireside, and we
fling defiance at the ruffian crew who have deter-
mined to invade them. The scorn of all good men
shall be upon them, while the shafts of truth fall
thick and fast into their discomfitted ranks. The
true man's eyes will see the brand of Cain on the
brow of one who shall, in 1856, deal poison to the
inhabitants of Burrillville.
Our town this year completes its first half cen-
tury. On the 17th of November, 1856, will be the
fiftieth anniversary of our first town meeting. How
few will vote for President this autumn, who voted
for Thomas Jefferson or John Adams in 1801.
Most of those whose recollections are linked with
the 18th century, are gone where the turmoil of
political controversy will agitate them no more.
Within the memorj^ of our elderly men there
were open fields between Mapleville and Solomon
Smith's. It is now thickly wooded. There was
once an old barn at the brook in the woods. It
was used to store the produce of the meadows that
then stretched through the valley.
The Harrington house was a little way west of
the Smiths. The old family burying ground is
still pointed out, by the road side, just in the edge
of the forest.
The family of Harringtons was very large, and
they were a very thirsty set. One of their cus-
toms was to tap a barrel of cider on its arrival
home and drink it all up before it was unloaded
from the cart. A part of them died there, and
the rest moved away. Rufus Smith's grandfather
could discern that when he went by there " the
air smelled sweeter."
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. G3
The old house near Martin Smith's was occupied
by this family. It has been lately torn down and
moved away to Buck Hill. There are none of th^
name left. Seventy years ago there was a Physi-
cian by the name of Harrington. He lived in the
Smithville district. Dr. Bellows, so long a resi-
dent in the Colwell neighborhood, was one of his
students. Dr. H, was one of the great men of the
We will briefly refer to one or two other men
who will be remembered by some who are now
living. Joktan Putnam was one of the old inhalv
itants of Rhodesville. Mr. P. was a great pursy
man, fond of public employment, rather dictatorial
in his manners, and a lover of good drink. He
was for many years one of the assessors of taxes,
and when men came to him to complain of the high
rates, he said, to use his own phrase, he " always
riz the taxes, and soon got rid of the complaints."
He was chosen the moderator of the first town
meeting in Burrillville, held Nov. 17th, 1806.
When they were nearly 70 years of age, he ran a
race with Noah Arnold, and Joktan beat. So vig-
orous was the old age of our early settlers.
He was the owner of the plains at Har] 'ssville,
and a tract in Herring Pond wood, still called Put-
nam Pasture. In his political preferences he is
believed to have been a tor}^ He become involved
in debt in his old age, and bartered his premises
at Rhodesville for wild land in tlie town of Sutton,
Vermont. The land in the above State is still oc-
cupied by the heirs of Joseph Putnam, and Charles
Taft, once a resident of Burrillville.
Another of the old school was William Rhodes.
When a boy, he was poor. He learned the trade
of a cooper, and went to the West India Isles to
work. In his frequent voyages, he learned the art
of Navigation, and engaging in the more lucrative
occupation of a Privateer, intercepted many Eng-
lish vessels on their way to the West Indies, laden
with sugar and molasses. Pie covered the wharves
at Providence with his cargoes, and at one time
felt so rich he ^- did'nt care for John Brown, Clark
.and Nightingale, nor the d 1."
He sold his prizes for continental money, and his
wife urged him to invest it in real estate, but he
refused. It became almost worthless. Capt. R.
said it was the only time he thought his wife knew
more than he did. He bought at Harrissville, then
called Rhodesville, built the large house on the cor-
ner, and owned the Otlmiel Young farm, the Smith
Wood farm, and much land beside. He used to
ride to the city on horseback. He often took a
trip to South Carolina, where he owned a store.
As a mark of his activity, they tell of his standing
upon a stick of timber thirty feet long, and going
the length of it at three hops. There are many
of our old people who well remember Capt. Wil-
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. C5
Every Spring, regular as the singing birds, a
lone man walks through this town. For forty
years he has made his annual tour, sometimes com-
ing several times in a season* We hear of him
at a distance. He goes to Unadilla, in New York,
upon his circuit.
For many years he come with the same dress, a
wine colored suit. Tradition says this was to have
been his wedding costume, but he was disappoint-
ed, and the most marked habit of his sad life was
the care with vs^hich he cherished this suit. He
would enter a house and sit a long time musing,
pensively and silently, never speaking unless ques-
tioned, living in a world apart, unmindful of all
the present, his spell-bound memory was wander-
ing back through the vista of shadowy years, to
the halcyon days of his prime of life. He would
ask for thread, and from what was offered him he
would select the color of his wedding suit, ^nd
then proceed carefully and patiently to darn the
threadbare places, and he thus at last acquired the
name of " The Darned Mam"
The children know him the country round, and
he is seldom rudely treated by them. His visits
among us will soon be over, for he is now an old
man. The blighted genius, for he had talent, the
true lover, the melancholy worshipper among the
ruins of a broken altar, will soon go home. After
the fitful fever of a love-lorn life, he will rest in
We have 103 miles of road. Our highways are
of all grades, and rim to and from all points of the
compass. A few years ago our most excruciating
route was over Buck Hill. But after a series of
complaints, and the payment of much money for
damages done there, the town voted to repair it,
and we have now no better road in all our borders.
It is so steep, however, that it will need constant
watching, or the rains will ruin it.
We have 14 miles of stage road. A coach runs
daily, from Pascoag to Chepachet, en route for
Providence. Another leaves Pascoag every morn-
ing to meet the cars at Waterford. These are all
the facilities for travel, at present.
The Woonsocket Union, alias the " Air Line,"
runs nine miles in this town. This road was sur-
veyed in 1853. In March, 1854, the Railroad Com-
missioners went over the land and made awards to
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 67
the several land owners. Work was commenced,
and after a large expenditure the hands were dis-
missed, and the shanties sold at auction. The work
is, at present, at a dead stand-still.
The " Woonasquatucket " will extend about 10
miles in Burrillville. It will run alongside Wal-
lum Lake and that section, which is thickly wood-
ed, will receive much pecuniary benefit. The
beauty of that romantic water will be appreciated
by those who will ride through Douglas Woods to
the music of the " steam calliope." We quote the
following from a Patriot of last winter. Its pa-
ternity has been attributed to " Horace."
No stranger who visits the town of Burrillville
fails to note the dearth of all comfortable means
of locomotion. Now, in mid winter, it is true we
have the glibbest sort of sleighing, but this is for
the elitej for our pleasure seekers. But those who
are abroad on business, find their loads upsetting,
our merchants fail to get their goods in due time,
and our manufacturers wait for their coal. We
have no Railroad. No locomotive ever startled
echoes in our valleys, and our people must plod
long miles before they can take the cars. Our
older men can remember when the only conveyan-
ces were the lumbering coaches on the Providence
and Douglas Turnpike. Lowing herds now range
along its deserted sections ; and sheep nibble the
grass that grows within the ruts. Five hundred
feet above the level of the sea, we could not even
have a canal. Those who would see how it looked
out of the woods, must go over the break-neck road
across Absalona Hill, and when they greeted sun-
rise on its topmost summit, they saw the city of
Providence at a distance that demanded three
hours of hard travel. Farmers cut wood and drag-
ged it with slow pacing oxen to the city. They
converted it into coal and carted it twenty-five
miles. Many who lustily cried their " char c-o-a-l "
along the city streets early in the morning, had
been driving all night. They said " it was a black,
dirty business, but it brought clean money." After
a while " Mc'Kenzie's stage " began to run from
Pascoag to Providence. Mac had served eight
years apprenticeship on the Hartford Turnpike,
and he thought he could endure the roads of Bur-
rillville. Early and late, in shine and storm, mid
snow and sleet, all weathers, all hours, he drew the
rein and cracked the whip, — the indomitable Mac I
He was a clever driver, and it was cheaper to ride
with him than to go on foot. His muscular form
seemed to bid defiance to the elements ; in the cold
of January, and in the sultriness of July he brought
us the daily mail. "When the muddy turnpike kept
him back, we could hear his shout in the darkness,
and the muffled step of his tired horses. But Bur-
ASIT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 69
rillville highways were too much even for him. He
went to California, where he still plays the Jehu
among the gulches, through the valleys, and along
the rugged passes of their quartz hills.
We think we need the railroad. Our farmers
could then readily avail themselves of the markets
of Woonsocket and Providence. Our manufactu-
rers could easily reach Boston or New York. Our
thinkers find themselves in raj^port with the last
steamer at Halifax, and the last speaker at Wash-
ington. Our Sunday Schools go on excursions to
Rocky Point, and our invalids breathe the salubri-
ous air of Newport. In summer botanists from the
city would pluck flowers in our fields, in winter
orators from the city delight audiences in our halls.
Sportsmen would come out here. We have trout
in our brooks, rabbits and partridges in our groves,
foxes and rattlesnakes, too, among our ledges !
The " Woonasquatucket " has just asked the
General Assembly for a charter. This road, too,
will hit Burrillville. Two railways ! What will
become of our interests ? It was predicted by
some conservatives, that we should be injured by
the factories. But half a million is now invested
in our mills, and our town has steadily advanced
in all the elements of prosperity. Neat, thriving
villages, and a happy population of villagers, attest
the value of the loom in Burrillville. And it will
be so with the Railroad.
I am told that there has been enough subscribed
to the Air Line to grade it to Pascoag. There is
now due from subscribers about $100,000. This
would enable the contractor to go right ahead with
it. The best judges of the value of such property
give it as their opinion that when completed, the
stock will be among the best in the market; if not
the best. Not till the Pacific Road is done, and
the auriferous hills of Oregon, the Sandwich Isles,
and the treasures of the Eastern Indies make its
freight, shall we ever see such a road. The chief
city of New England will, by the Air Line, be link-
ed with the largest city in America. With a straight
line and a double track, they may defy all compe-
tition. Who will tempt the Sound around Point
Judith and through Hurl Gate, when he might by
the " lightning train " land in the Empire city soon-
er ? Give us the Air Line. Those who sell wood,
and those who buy flour, those who sell cattle, and
those who buy hay, those who sell books, and those
who buy papers, those who spin cotton, weave
shirts, forge axes, plate hoes, or whittle axe-helves ;
those who want to get to the city in the wmter, and
those who would escape to the country in the sum-
mer, will all thank the enterprise that shall build
the Air Line.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 11
The author can remember when some of our
scliools were kept in dwelling houses. Most of
the school houses were in a dilipated condition.
They were sure to be set where several roads
met. The internal arrangements made them unfit
for school purposes. Some of the scholars faced
the wall, some were roasted by their proximity to
the stove, while little martyrs hung with their heels
dangling above the floor. No means were provi-
ded for ventilation, and if the cool air whistled in
at some old cranny in the crazy fabric it was to
chill and endanger those who were nearest to it.
It seldom entered the heads of the inmates that
this rude structure was made to study in, and so
they mused of mischief, and meditated mutiny.
The examination of the school-master was made
by a sporting survey of his pliysioal proportions,
and if he happened to be of athletic size, dubious
shrugs telegraplied it round the hall of science on
the first day of school.
To be a good boxer was a qualification as impor-
tant for a teacher in those days as it is for a Con-
gressman now. I am not sure that the manners of
some of our members at the Capitol are not the re-
sult of interest taken in school or college mutinies.
To thwart the master's wishes, to impose some
clever trick upon him and escape detection, or to
rebel against his authority and fling him out of the
school house, these were deeds that met the ap-
plause of the majority of the scholars and not a
few of the parents.
But changes took place gradually. Better
school-houses were built, and these were located
in some retired place, a little back from the high-
way. The prejudice that those encountered who
advocated the policy of progress, manifested it-
self in many ways. Men grumbled about their
taxes, they tried to outvote those who wanted bet-
ter houses, they had got all their " larning " in the
old house and it was good enough for anybody's
children. In this way the fogies talked themselves
But the most singular mode of opposition to a
good edifice was manifested at Mapleville. The
new school-house, now the old lecture room, was
just completed. It had never been occupied. One
morning the passers by found the windows all
AND AS IT IS . 73
Smaslied in, not a pane of glass unbroken. A club,
with which the insolent deed was done, was found
near by. The criminal was never discovered.
The District met to repair the ruin. They drew
several loads of dirt around the house to cover the
broken glass, and purchased new windows. No
interference with the building ever took place af-
terwards. It is standing now a,nd is used during
this Presidential campaign as a Rocky Mountain
When the Hon. Henry Barnard was elected to
the office of School Commissioner for Ehode Island,
he paid several visits to this town. To him we
owe the Manton Library, the neat school-houses
that beautify Burrillville, and the deeper interest
we all take in the culture of the young. To his
labors we are indebted for the noble position our
schools assume to-day.
When the new school law went into operation,
the districts were remodeled, and new boundaries
established. There had been much complaint about
the boundaries, and the first school Committee con-
sisting of Messrs. Nelson Smith, Joshua W. Ballcu,
Lyman Copeland, Asa Paine, Francis H. Inman and
David P. Harriman, were assailed with numerous
petitions for a revision of the districts.
In November 1846, the town voted to instruct
the committee in relation to this revision, and the
14th of the same month, the committee met to
take tlieir instructions into consideration, and em*
bodied them in the following vote, which was pas-
sed by the committee : '' That the lines forming the
bomidaries of the sixteen districts of this town, be
so amended as to include the home farms of all the
houses now included in said districts." Thus the
law remained till the spring of 1856. During the
controversy in district No. 7, (Harrisville) this
vote was much discussed. The school committee
met at the house of Isaac Steere on the 10th of
March 1856, and taking up the old law, ^^ voted,
that the same be and hereby is annulled." They
then ^' voted, that the home farms appertaining to
any dwelling shall be taxable in the district within
the boundary lines of which such dwelling house
Again May 6th 1856, the school committee tried
their hand upon this question of boundaries of dis-
tricts with the following result : '■'■ Voted so to
amend the action of the last meeting in regard to
the taxation of home farms as to read as follows :"
"Voted, that the home farms which shall actually
l}e such at the time of assessment of any tax shall
be taxable in the districts to which the dwelling
connected with the said farms shall belong."
There has been but one printed report of the
school committee. A report has been presented
annually, but Burrillville has no printing press, and
we are an economical people. The report of 1847,
penned by Francis H. laman Esq., was printed by
order of the town. The motion was made by Sol-
omon Smith Esq., who was '^ afraid we shonld nev-
er haA^e another so good, for one important mem-
ber of the committee was about to remove from
the State." The printing was done by Col. S. S.
Foss, at Woonsocket. This is the nearest press.
It is ten miles from the centre of Burrillville.
The Committee prepared a set of rules, had fifty
copies printed, and a copy was posted in each
school room in the town. These have furnished a-
standard of school-room manners. The neat as-
pect of the modern rooms has nurtured respect for
the place and improved the conduct of the pupils.
But the great influences that have produced refine-
ment in the deportment of our students have been
the employment of female teachers, and the intro-
duction of music as a relief to the tedium of con-^
stant study. The rude young man who would re-
sist the will of a master, VA^ill cheerfully comply
with the commands of a smilins: schoolmarm. It
lias been suggested by some who have the reputa-
tion of our national assemblies at heart, that it
would be well to send a few strong minded women
to Washington to hold the balance of power in
the American Senate. The suggestion will be se-
riously thought upon.
The committe of 1847, introduced a uniform set
of school books. This lessened the labors of the
7G B U R E I L L V I L L E .
tcaclior and it was better for the scholar. They
established a depot for the sale of suitable books
in town. Three sessions of a teachers institute
were held; and the ideas imparted have exerted a
beneficial effect upon the schools of our town.
Our school-rooms have neat desks, the walls are
adorned with maps and diagrams, and the teacher's
desk is filled with a good assortment of apparatus.
The great want is a school district librar}^, and we
hope the suggestion of our present commissioner
will be carried out by the General Assembly and
our tcliools in common with those of the State, be
furnished with good libraries.
There is but one, public library at present in the
town. At Pascoag is the ^'Manton Library." It
contains about nine hundred volumes. Here our
citizens can find standard history and romance,
travels and choice biography. The traveller who
sojourns with us through the sultry summer may
find his favorite volume upon its shelves. Our
young people may cultivate a taste for reading,
that shall chasten and refine their life. In mature
years when " the fever of the world " is on them,
they will fling by the carking cares of material in-
terest, and as they bask in the genial light of lit-
erature, exclaim with the sainted Channing, '^ God
be thanked for books."
In 1823, the farmers about the little hamlet of
Smithville, collected a library of three 'hundred
volumes. Rufus Smith Esq. was the first librarian.
For awhile it was kept at his hotel; which was the
old red house in the corner of the roads near the
Tar Kiln Saw Mill.
It was afterward kept at the Smith Academy, and
finally removed to the dwelling of Coomer Smith,.
Esq., who for many years had it in charge. In
1845 it was divided, and the shareholders took the
books to their homes. There is now no public li-
brary anywhere in that neighborhood.
The following final decision of a case arising un-
der the School Act will be of interest to the inhab-
itants of Burrillville. It was in the case of Jo-
seph 0. Clarke, v. school district No. 7.
A corporation may bind itself by a negotiable
promissory note or bill of exchange for any debt
contracted in the course of its legitimate business y
that is, in any matter which is not foreign to the>
purposes of its creation.
A school district (a corporation under the School
Act,) gave its promissory note for monies hired to
discharge debts, incurred in the building of a school
house, and otherwise : Held, that in so doing it
was not contracting debts in a manner foreign to
the purpose of its creation ; and that the provi-
sion of the School Act, giving this class of corpo-
rations power to raise money by taxation, cannot
be construed to forbid a borrowing of money for
a legitimate purpose. S.Rhode Island Reports 199.
78 BURR ILL VI LLK,
The habits of inebriation tliat prevailed duriug"
the Revolution were disseminated through our
State. The people who dwelt in the territory
which is now Burrillville, became slaves to the pop-
ular custom. The settlers who endured the priva-
tions of life in the forest resorted to the rum-cask
for the stimulus that should nerve them for their
daily lal^ors and dangers.
There was scarce a dwelling in which " the drink' ^
was not to be found. The woodman laid the brandy
bottle in his cabiU; and the mower took his glass
of West India at the end of each swath. At all
elections voters were jolly at the expense of the
candidates. On all festive occasions convivial mirth
grew rude as the glass went freely round. lie
who did not drink was a churlish Puritan. The
child in the nurse's arms sipped the sugared lees
AS IT WAS; AND AS IT IS. 79
of tlie glass its father had drained. At weddings
the bride and groom were pledged in a full bumper.
At funerals, the guests expected to enjoy the good
cheer that shortened the days of the neighbor they
buried. Foaming tankards of brown October, en-
livened the winter evenings. He who went to the
house of a friend thought himself insulted if he was
not asked to drink.
Whether men heard of a death by intemperance;
or by lightning, it was with similar emotions. They
saw no way of averting the fatal necessity. The
credence of the many had called alcohol a luxury,
and the coincidence between faith and practice was
complete. That reform had not yet been inaugu-
rated, that has since gladdened so many homes,
and lighted beacons to guide the young past the
breakers of dissipation.
An occasional warning v/ould be given, but the
true remedy was not seen. The clergyman, who
should have pointed out the woes of the drunkard's
life, was himself a victim. The teacher, who should
have guided his pupils along the sunny path of
healthful Temperance, was whelmed in the mals-
trom of excess. The press that has since scattered
so many facts, God's hand-writing against iniquity,
was then silent, or the medium of Anacreon's songs
in praise of wine, or the songs ^of modern poets
who have wreathed their laurels around the brow
But a better day was dawning. The generous
voices that spoke for the drunkard had an echo in
Burrillville. When that reform began that has
been linked with the name of Washington, there
were few in our "outland" town to speak in its favor.
But strangers came to help us. Reformed drunk-
ards told us their story, and we crowded the old
school houses to hear them. Then we talked the
matter over in the bar-rooms, and at the corner of
the streets, and at the singing school, and the
We dijffered in opinion. Some thought it was
all a speculation. Some saw their silver shrined
goddess in danger and shouted lustily against the
movement. But we all loved to hear the reformers
sing, so we went in great crowds to every meeting,
and concluded if they could do the miracle they
told us of, we would let them try their hand on
some of the rosy-faced topers of our town.
When the " Honest Quaker" made his pilgrimage
to our town we had nine public and pojndar places
for the sale of poison. This was in 1844. The
village of Harrisville had two hotels. This village
seemed to be the centre of the movement. There
were but few factory villages in our town then, and
Harrisville was a convenient rendezvous for the
friends of reform. It was in the heart of Burrill-
ville, and it became the residence of several pow-
erful advocates of progress. Meetings were held
there each Sunday evening.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 81
There were gatherings at four places beside. At
Pascoag, Eagle Peak, Mapleville, and the Bee Hive,
lectures were given in regular alternation. A spe-
cial omnibus ran to convey the speakers and a choir
of singers. Old men and matrons, young men and
maidens, came to the meetings. There were no
serious scruples against the employment of the Sab-
bath for such a purpose. We are not a bigoted
There was a freedom of speech that made the
movement popular. Our choir was half the au-
dience. When they sung " Old Burgundy," or
" Clear the Track," young men kept time with
their boots, and old men thrummed it upon the
seats, as they had beat the " devil's tattoo " on bar
room benches. If the mood of the speaker de-
manded a pensive song the sweet " Long Ago," of
Gough was sung, and the spell of its tender words
lingered long in the memory of our artless peas-
Among the prominent speakers was Dr. Christo-
pher C. Harrington. He was young, talented, am-
bitious, and liberal. He began the work of tem-
perance conference meetings, and temperance de-
bates. With a good memory, a fluent utterance, a
caustic wit, and a bold, fearless elocution, he was
well fitted to sway the sympathies of an audience.
The ire of the friends of rum was awakened. It
became apparant that the craft was in danger. —
Several of the lecturers was good looking men, and
the women were frequenting all tlie lectures. The
town votes "No License," with only a solitary vote
for the indulgence. Something must be done. How
to get rid of the Doctor was the question. It would
not do to oppose him openly, that would only pro-
voke his terrible invective, and make him more
A conspiracy was formed, to use the language of
one of the conspirators, "to blow him out of the vil-
lage." A prosecution was instituted against him
on a charge of larceny. The warrant alleged the
stealing /)f ^/iree cents worth oj hay and twenty cents
worth of grain from the barn of Benjamin Mowry,
Jr., where the Doctor was boarding his horse at
The trial took place in Mo wry 's Hall, and was
one of the most exciting ever held in Burrillville.
Christopher Robinson, Esq., of Woonsocket, ap-
peared for the government, and John P. Knowles,
Esq., of Providence, for the defence.
Each side had its partisans. The Temperance
party saw the reputation of their champion at issue,
and the opposition knew if he escaped he would be
more sarcastic and effective than ever. Mere poli-
ticians looked on with interest, for they saw the
destiny of the new party involved in the result.
More than a score of witnesses were examined;
the lawyers made elaborate speeches ; the Court
AT IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 83
took time to deliberate, and the conclusion was a
verdict of acquittal. The Temperance men rallied
around their leader, who, through all the trial had
maintained the utmost nonchalence, smiling scorn-
fully upon the array against him. They congratu-
lated him upon his complete vindication of his char-
acter, and invited him to lecture in their respective
districts. The crowd dispersed. The tipplers went
to drink, their smothered rage scarce allowing
them to swallow. So ended the second experi-
ment to invoke the aid of law in the Temperance
There was another lecturer who was not so for-
tunate in the maintainance of a character amons:
us. Philander Brown, or, as he called himself,
Harvey P. Brown, paid us a visit.
He was a tall, good-looking man, with a plausible
manner, a good voice, eloquent thoughts and words,
and he made many friends, some of whom will not
soon forget him. He lectured in many localities
in our town, and did good, but his influence was
neutralized by the ^^ confidence " game that he
played upon some of our citizens. After a resi-
dence here of several months he left, several hun-
dred dollars in debt. Mr. Brown has been unfor-
tunate, and, perhaps, like many whom we liberally
curse, he was more entitled to our charitable pity.
He was of an ardent temperament, and in his
prime he married the woman of his choice and set-
tied in central New York. They had one child, a
daughter, and their home bliss seemed complete.
But the generous man had bitter enemies. His
efforts for reform were opposed and his Eden of
happiness assailed. His heartless opponents saw
where they could most surely ruin him. They
trumped up a charge of theft against his wife. Cir-
cumstances had been skillfully arranged, suborned
witnesses warped their stories to favor her guilt,
and she was convicted. When the verdict was an-
nounced, the impulsive Harvey rushed from the
court room with his hands clasped on his burning
brow, his reason with all its " sweet bells jangled,"
and his best memories wandering in the labyrinth of
delirium. For many months he was a raving ma-
niac. Then he left the scene of his brief joys, and
the next news his friends had of him he was in the
town of Burrillville.
When he left Rhode Island he went to his old
home. He met his daughter, now grown almost
a woman, but maddened again by the recollections
that clustered around the hearth-stone where he
saw his heart's best idol shivered, he turned away
and is now wandering among strangers, the crea-
ture of circumstances, the ruined plaything of
Lecturers sometimes came from Woonsocket,
to speak at the White School House, formerly
Smith's Academy. The town became the " banner
ASIT WAS, AND AS ITIS. 85
town " in the temperance work. The nine rum
shops were closed. None was sold except clandes-
tinly. " No license " was voted for several suc-
cessive years prior to the passage of the " Maine
Law." The bar room of one of the prominent ho-
tels was transformed into a reading room.
At last the Maine Law was enacted. The first
case under it was the State vs. A. F. Harris, tried
Dec. 22d 1853. It was doing a good work when
the decision of Justice Curtis in the Circuit Court,
Dealers were emboldened, and the friends of
prohibition were disheartened. A reckless gang
came from Woonsocket Falls and opened a rum
shop, brothel, and gambling house at a place called
They defied law. They were just upon the line
and could run into Massachusetts as a last resort.
They talked as border ruffians always talk. We-
were sorry when we heard the plaint of wives and
mothers in that part of the town. Fifteen war-
rants were issued and the guilty parties were sent
to the Court of Common Pleas. But the late or
and and decision has declared those warrants void
and the rude bachanalians are more defiant than
Perhaps this may be as good a place as any, ta
mention a singular outrage that took place here
last fall, since some have hinted that it might have
some relation to those trials.
The author who was educated for the bar had a
law office in the village of Harrisville, in the cen-
tre of Burrillville. There had been no lawyer lo-
cated in Burrillville for thirty years. Our office
was the basement of a wooden block built by Smith
Wood, for a hotel. On the eve of the 5th Novem-
ber 1855, we left as usual and went to our board-
ing place. The next morning we found it had been
entered, our library destroyed, and papers, the re-
sult of four years of industry, stolen. The library
had been selected with care. It consisted of the
best modern text books, and upon the shelves ad-
joining was a good collation of literary workS;
which were mostly untouched.
The books seemed to be laid open by a knife
running through the back. The leaves were cut
and carved as though the spirit of a demi-demon
nerved the Yandal hand that did it. A large pro-
portion of the books were carried to the verge of
a wood near by and strewn along the road. Among
•the papers was a personal journal of five year's
date, giving a sketch of rambles in New England,
Canada and New York, during vacations. There
were many letters and papers of literary value.
No trace of the perpetrators of this deed has yet
If the malicious act was inspired by hatred of
AS ITWASjAND AS IT IS. 87
our words on acts for reformS; we know tliat the
thanks of some ready to perisli are ours. No em-
barassment we have suffered makes us willing to
forego independence of tliouglit or action. We
have as many books as ever and can say with Pros-
pero, " My library is dukedom large enongli."
We find in our scrap book under date of March
20th 1855, the following words, ^^ There are rea-
sons why Burrillville should interdict the sale of
intoxicating liquors which will apply as well to
most parts of Rhode Island.
We have a large manufacturing interest. To
carry on most of the processes in the factory, so-
ber men are indispensable. The unsteady hand,
the besotted mind, the reckless temper, produced
by alcohol, would be fruitful of evil results ; ma-
chinery would become disordered, work would be
neglected ; the hands would disregard the wishes
of a tipsy overseer and confusion would reign over
all the establishment.
Our manufacturers have usually been in favor of
laws to keep rum from their workmen. Many of
them have interdicted liquors among their employ-
ees. They were no doubt incited to this by views
of interest. But it proves as useful to the servant
as to the master. The diligence and frugality
caused by temperate habits is a^good thing for all
We have among us a large class of foreigners
88 BURRILL VILLE,
who are imbued with the principles of Catholicism ;
they hare no lofty sentiments to restrain them from
gross indulgence — the majority of them are unable
to read. As guardians of the public weal may we
not demand the enforcement of the Maine Law; —
surely the ignorance and brutality of this class
renders it dangerous to allow them the stimulus of
gin. They have always been kept poor at home
by their intemperance. The smoke of the distil-
lery has blackened the beauty of the finest of lands.
Famine has stalked across her borders. Pesti-
lence, has sent thousands of imbruted peasants to
the grave. Philanthropy has somewhat mitigated
the evil, but the labors of Father Matthew and his
coadjutors were but partial. Avarice will still mur-
der its victims and law must interpose. The dis-
tiller and dram seller must not be allowed to live
by the misfortune of others."
We commend to the lover of humanity the fol-
lowing words of a generous Reformer. The author
is Geo. S. Burleigh, Esq., of New York. Many of
our readers will remember Charles Burleigh, a lec-
turer upon Freedom. He has often spoken at Pas-
coag and Mapleville. The orator and the poet are
The article is entitled '• The Wreckers."
AS IT WAS;ANDASIT IS. 89
BY GEORGE S. BURLEIGH.
Hark to the roar of the surges !
Hark to the wild wind's howl !
See the black cloud that the hurricane urges^
Bend like a maniac's scowl !
Full on the sunken ledges
Leaps the devoted barque,
And the loud waves, like a hundred sledges,
Smite to the doomed mark.
Shrilly the shriek of the seamen
Cleavi!S like a dart through the roar;
Harsh as the pitiless laugh of a demon
Rattles the pebbled shore !
Ho ! for the life-boat, Brothers !
Now may the hearts of the brave,
Hurling their lives to the rescue of otherS;
Conquer the stormy wave.
Shame, for Humanity's treason .;
Shame to the form we wear :
Blush, at the temple of pity and reason
Turned to a robber's lair ^
Worse than the horriblo breakers,
Worse than the shattering storm,
See, the rough-handed, remorseless Wreckers,
Stripping the clay yet warm.
Plucking at Girlhood's tresses
Tangled with gems and gold ]
Snatching love-tokens from Manhood's caresses,
Clenched with a dying hold.
What of the shrieks of despairing '?
What of the last, faint gasp 1
Robbers, who lived would but lessen your sharing
Gold, 'twas a god in your grasp '?
Boys, in tlieir sunny brown beauty^
Men in their rugged bronze ;
Women whose wail might have taught wolves duty,
Died on the merciless stones.
Tenderly slid o'er the plundered.
Shrouds from the white capped surge ;
Loud on the traitors the mad ocean thundered,
Low o'er the lost sang a dirge.
"Wo ! there are deadlier breakers,
Billows that burn as they roll,
Elank'd by a legion of cruel Wreckers, —
Wreckers of body and soul.
Traitors to God and Humanity ;
Circes that hold in their urns
Blood dripping Murder and hopeless Insanity,
Folly and Famine by turns.
Crested with Avine redly flashing,
Swollen with liquid fire.
How^ the strong ruin comes, fearfully dashing-
High as the soul walks, and higher.
Manhood and Virtue and Beauty,
Hope and the sunny-haired Bliss,
With the diviner white Angel of Duty,
Sink in the burning abyss.
What if the soul of the Drunkard
Shrivel in quenchless flame !
What if his children by beggary conquered.
Plunge into ruin and shame ;
Gold has come in to the Wreckers,
Murder has taken her prize, —
Gold, though a million hearts burst on the breakers,
Smothers the crime and the cries.
There are many friends of the slave among us»
Slavery once existed in the territory that is now
Burrillville. In 1728, two years before the town
of Glocester was incorporated the General Assem-
bly of the colonies enacted.
" That if any child or servant shall refuse to obey
the lawful command of parent or master, they
^shall be sent to the House of Correction till they
have humbled themselves to their parents or
masters satisfaction, and if any children or ser-
vants shall presume to assault or strike their
parents or masters they shall be whipped at the
discretion of some justice, not to exceed ten
No slave could be manumitted till the master
had given " a bond of not less than one hundred
pounds to indemnify from all charge for or about
such slave in case he or she by sicknesS; laziness
or otlierwise be rendered incapable of maintaining
In 1714, sixteen years before the town of Gloces-
ter was formed, the colony made the following
Fugitive Slave Law. It rendered it the legal duty
of the early settlers among these hills to arrest
and secure any slave that might escape and travel
this way, and if there were any who would not
" conquer their prejudices " and return the flying
bondmen, the emisaries of King George 11. who
ruled here then, would hasten to show their devo»
tion to their master's interest by calling them to
an account. Here is the law.
An Act to prevent slaves from running away from
their masters, &c.
" Whereas, several Negro and Mulatto Slaves
have ran away from their masters and mistresses,
under pretence of being employed in their service,
and have been transported out of this Colony, and
suffered to pass through several towns under the
aforesaid pretence, to the great damage and charge
of their owners and many times to the loss of their
Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly
and by the authority of the same,
That no ferryman or boatman whatsoever with-
in this Colony, shall carry, convey or transport any
slave or slaves as aforesaid over any ferry or out
ASIT WAS; AND AS IT IS. 93
of the Colonyj without a certificate under the hand
of their respective masters or mistresses or some
person in Commission of the Peace, on the penalty
of twenty shillings to be forfeited to and for the
use of the Colony, to be recovered upon conviction
thereof before any two assistants or Justices of
the Peace of such town where such offence shall be
committed, and shall pay all costs and charges
that shall arise on his or their carrying or trans-
porting any slave or slaves as aforesaid to the
owner thereof, if not exceeding forty shillings, be-
fore any two Justices of the Peace, and if above
forty shillings at the General Court of Trials, by
action of trespass on the case. And all his Majes-
ty's Ministers of Justice and all other his subjects
in this colony, knowing of any slave or slaves
travelling through the township where they dwell
without a certificate as aforesaid are hereby re-
quired to cause such slave or slaves to be taken
up, examined and secured so as the owners of such
slave or slaves may be notified thereof and have
their slave or slaves again, paying the reasonable
charges arising thereon."
The above is a law that was in operation when
Burrillville was comprised within the limits of the
town of Providence.
From " broken chronicles of senility " we learn
that Slavery once existed in this town. The land
on tlie north- west of Herring Pond was cleared by
the labor of twenty colored men, who were owned
by a Mr. Brown, of Providence city. John Inman
the first, as he is now called by the only man who
remembers having seen him, was the owner of a
Moses Cooper, who was a cotemporary of John
Inman, had a slave. He was called JcrcZ:. He ran
away, and his master heard nothing of him for sev-
eral years. He made inquiries at great distances,
but was one day surprised with the news that his
cunning servant was living in the State of Massa-
chusetts, only a few miles from his old master.
Mr. Cooper mounted his horse and went to re-
claim his property. He brought him home and
told him he would cut his throat if he ever at-
tempted to escape again. Jack lived with him for
the rest of his life. Deacon Salsbury, who has fre-
quently been referred to in these pages, tells us he
has worked with him for many a day. Tbe boys,
sons of Mr. Cooper, used to lay all the bad mowing
to Jack. The old man heard all their charges and
then said he believed " Jack did most all the
Upon Oak Hill, on the farm now owned by Ja-
son Olney, Esq. two rough stones mark a spot
still known as " Jack's Grave." Here rests the
last serf of Burrillville.
We have among us some who are advocates of
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 95
Woman's Eights. Lucy Stone has been here. She
lectured to large crowds at Pascoag and Maple-
villC; and a number of copies of the " Lily " are
One word about Spiritualism, and we close our
notice of Reforms in Burrillville. There have been
a few circles in our town. The orthodox think it
the work of the Devil. The free-thinker at first cal-
led it Magnetism, then Odjlic Force, then didn't
know but it might be Spirits. Those who imag-
ined it the result of sleight o' hand or legerdemain
are giving up that idea, and a few calm, cool ques-
tioners are quietly asking for ^^ Light, more light."
The existence of supernal beings, has always
been a cherished faith among the dwellers in rural
towns. Faries dance in our meadows, Naiads rule
our brooks and rills, and " Wood Nymphs, decked
with daisies trim," preside in our groves. And un-
til we can forget the gossip by the winterfire side,
and the witching tales of Walter Scott, we shall
lend a willing ear to the messao-es of ano^els.
Perfect freedom of conscience is the especial
birtliright of every Rhode Islander. The religious
sentiments are left untrammeled^ and their free
action gives them a vigorous and healthful strength.
In Burrillville, half a dozen sects are struggling for
influence — 'if not for supremacy. In our remarks
about these sects we will first refer to the mission
of Elder John Colby.
This remarkable man, who readily won the con-
fidence of all classes of the community, made fre-
quent and long visits to this town in its infancy.
He was a native of New Hampshire, and travelled
and preached in many of the States, for a term of
nine years. His zeal knew no bounds. His first
visit to Burrillville was upon the tenth of Oct.,
1812, and on the same evening we find him preach-
ing, although he had travelled from Providence over
the roughest of roads.
AND AS IT IS. 97
The eloquence of Whitfield, or the apostolic en-
ergy of Wesley, could not have had more influence
over the rustic inhabitants, than did the fervid ut-
terance of the devoted Colby. There was no por-
tion of the town that did not enjoy the privilege of
listening to him. " In season and out of season "
he labored everywhere. The old people among us
will remember when he preached at the Old Meet-
ing House, in the hall of Capt. Wm. Rhodes, the
hall of Esquire Wood, in school-houses in various
localities, and at the dwellings of Esquire Steere,
Solomon Smith, Mr. Barnes, Mr. King, Andrew
Bullard, Asa Burlingame, Mr. Salsbury, Esquire
Cook, Jeremiah Mo wry, George Brown, Mr. Glea-
son, Daniel Smith, Mr. Thayer, Esquire Arnold, and
in all the adjoining towns.
The people almost idolized him. Worn with his
excessive labors, his friends saw the seal of death
set upon his pale brow, and upon his visit to Bur-
rillville, Jan. 1st, 1817, they persuaded him to rest
for a season. He found them sedulous, to minister
to his comfort, and deeply anxious to bring back
the boon of health. But his work was done. He
made his home at Simeon Smith's, Dea. Salsbury's,
and Capt. Rhodes', for several weeks, but growing
no better he went to Providence, to consult with
Dr. Gano, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in
that city, skilled in diseases of the body as well
as maladies of tlie mind. By his advice lie travel-
led toward the South, but while on his route to
•Charleston, S. C, where he intended to tarry a
while, that if possible the balmy air of those mild
latitudes might improve his lungs, he was arrested
at Norfolk, Ya., by the mandate of death. Here
'^ the silver cord was loosed, the golden bowl was
broken," and the spirit of the sainted Colby left
its frail tenement of pain, and winged its flight to
that better land, where his affections had so long
been placed. His body rests in the family burying
ground of Wm. M. Fauquier, at Norfolk, nine hun-
dred and fifty miles from his childhood's home.
The First Freewill Baptist Church in Rhode
Island, is in Burrillville. It was gathered by Elder
John Colby. The reformation commenced in Oct.,
1812, and gradually spread through the town, then
the residence of farmers only.
The Church was formed on the 15th of Decem-
ber, 1812. At its organization there were but
nine members. They agreed to take the Scriptures
of Truth for their guide, ^^ because," says their
compact, " there is no one in our day wise enough
to revise the laws of God, or alter them for the
The first church meeting was held Feb. 11, 1813.
The first Freewill Baptist Quarterly Meeting in
the State of Rhode Island, was commenced at the
Old Burrillville Meeting House, on the 12th of
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 99-
After the departure of Colby, Elder Charles
Bowles, of New Hampshire, a colored man, preach-
ed a good while in this vicinity. He was a man of
talent and honorable mention is made of him in
the life of John Colby. The people afterwards
listened to Eld. George Lamb, Eld. Joseph White,,
and Eld. Zachariah Jordan, of Maine.
Still later Elder Bullock and Elder Jonathan
Woodman were here. These filled the time until
1820, when Clarisa Danforth, of Wethersfield, Tt.,
came among them. She was a woman of large giftsy.
and immense crowds gathered to hear her. Through;
her labors, the church that had been embodied eight
years before, was strengthened and enlarged.
Elder Reuben Allen, now of North Scituate, R. L,.
come here in 1821, and ever since that time he has
preached often in different parts of the town. At;
the present day he is called upon to attend the
funerals of many old people, who having admired;
him in his prime, expressed a desire that the grey
haired pastor might perform for them the last
earthly service of faithful friendship.
Amono' the occasional visitors were Elder John
Burrell, of Parsonsfield, Me. Elder David Marks,
Elder Richard Lee, of Springfield. Yt., Eld. Ebene-
zer Searles, of N. H , Elder David Sweet, and Eld.
There were several preachers raised up in this
church, about thirty years ago. Elder Daniel Wil-
liamS; now of Killingly, Conn., Elder Smith Fair-
field; now in Maine, Elder Jacob Darling, now in
New York, and two brothers, Abel and Adin Al-
drich, now in York State, were of this church, and
began their ministry in this town.
Eld. Willard Fuller, and Eld. Joseph "Walling, la-
bored here for several years prior to 1832. In
1S36, the Pascoag Baptist Society was incorpo-
rated, and at the June Session of 1839, the charter
was revived. A church edifice was erected at the
village of Pascoag, and dedicated Oct 2. 1839.
Elders Oatley, Cheney, Branch, and Allen, were
Eld. Augustus Durfee was ordained the first reg-
ular Pastor, on the 16 th March, 1842. It was
about this time that the delusion of Millerism
swept over the land. The Church at Pascoag
rnet the fate of so many others, it was rent and
torn by schism, and weakened by the withdrawal
of a portion of its members to worship in a school
house near by.
Eld. Durfee asked for a dismissal. It was
granted him, and he went to become the leader of
the Second Advent band. One member commit-
ted suicide by cutting her throat, and her zeal for
herself and friends, on the near approach, as she
believed of the consummation of sublunary things,
Y/as conceded to be the fatal cause. Many eyes
were gazing at evening on the western sky, where,
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 101
nightly, a brilliant comet spread its fiery trail far
along the horizon. To some it portended the dis-
solution of the " great globe itself," while others
calmly saw the strange visitant wheel through the
visible portion of his eccentric orbit, obedient to
the impulse of an invariable law.
Eld. David P. Harriman, of New Hampshire^
took charge of the church in 1843, and continued
about three years to preach and teach a select
school. D. H. Lord was the Pastor for two years^
then M. H. Davidson one year, and then Eld. Har-
riman was called here again and remained nine
years. Elder H. was a man of liberal education
and much of the time he was engaged in teaching.
He was chairman of the School Committee during-
his residence here.
The church is at present under the supervision.
of Eev. Mr. Weeks, formerly Professor of Elocu-
tion in the New Hampton Biblical Institute.-
The Baptists have often worshipped in the east-
ern part of the town. For many years a Church
meeting was held in the Esten neighborhood, be-
cause it was so far to the Pascoag meeting.
The Smith Academy was used by the Baptists
for many years. It was the liberality of Nicholas
Brown, Esq., of Providence, that induced the build-
ing of this structure in its present form. This
generous man made donations to many districts
in the State to enable them to add another story
to their school rooms, for the purposes of religious
worship. He gave the glass and nails, the cash
articles, for the White School House.
It was dedicated on the 29th October, 1823. It
was a great day for that little hamlet. They had
struggled hard to produce that state of society
that would warrant a regular meeting, and the
house was crowded to perform the initiatory ser-
rice. Prayer was oifered by Rev. Mr. Westcott.
The sermon was preached by Rev. Reuben Allen.
About ten years ago, the high pulpit and nar-
row galleries seemed to form so great a contrast
with the modern buildings, it was resolved to re-
fit it. The desk was torn away, the two stories
were separated, and now the upper room is a very
comfortable place for meetings and social lectures,
while the lower makes a neat school room. When
the friends of progress were battling against in-
temperance, here was the rendezvous for reformers
in this vicinity. Some of the best temperance
meetings in town, have been held there, when
Johnson and Bell spoke, Sadler sang, and a large
cold water band applauded.
When the first settlements were begun in the re-
gion of Pascoag, and for many years afterwards,
the state of society was, to use the expression of
an old settler, ^^ rather heathenish." Among the
first clergymen was Eld. Bowen. His church con-
sisted of only six members, but the old man was
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 103
regular in Ins ministrations, and labored many
years in promulgating the truth as he believed it.
About forty years ago the "• new lights " began
to shine in the northern part of our town. A
spirit of earnestness and fiery zeal was then shak-
ing the Churches of New-England, and the move-
ment has ever since been referred to as " the re-
formation." Eld. Britt, a follower of John Wesley,
was at that time preaching in Douglas and Bur-
rillville. The fervid enthusiasm, and " free and
full salvation " of the reformers, attracted a goodly
number to their standard. The meeting house
npon the plains, now called the old Douglas meet-
ing house was built. Many of the first families on
the borders of the two towns were represented in
their congregations. The late venerable Moab
Paine was one of their first converts, and for forty
years was an exhorter among them.
Classes, the primary organization of Methodism,
have existed among us through all the half century
of our existence as a town. Whatever changes of
form it may have undergone, the vital spirit and
substance of Methodism has been present. The
leaven has been ever at work. Sometimes the
light has looked faint and dim. The haze of
worldliness has enveloped it until it was well nigh
useless as a beacon to the inquiring soul, but again
it brightened and flashed its hopeful radiance into
the gloom of despairing souls.
More than twenty years ago meetings were held
at the " Huntsville Emporium." This had formerly
been occupied for a store. It formed a plain, com-
fortable lecture room, and the good spirit glowed
as gratefully in the hearts of those who worshipped
there, as among those who bowed around gilded
altars and chanted their anthems beneath the
gothic arches of a grand cathedral.
In 1847 a church was organized. It was called
the "Methodist Episcopal Church of Laurel Hill."
Aided by the liberal donations of George W.
Marsh; Esq., a neat Chapel was erected and dedi-
cated in 1848. The sermon at the dedication was
preached by Eev. Charles Macready, of the New-
England Conference. The Rev. Cowen, a
local preacher of the M. E. Church, officiated here
for the first year after the organization.
Since that date the following appointments have
been made by the Providence Conference :
April, 1848, Rev. James Weeks, resident, 1 year.
" 1849, " Geo. Burnham, " 2 "
" 1851, " G. W. Wooding, " 2 "
" 1853, " E. A. Lyon, " 2 "
" 1855, " Chas. Hammond, " 1 "
Their present Pastor is Rev. Samuel Fox.
When Mr. Wooding closed his labors, the mem-
bers of the Church were 56, on probation 70.
During the administration of Mr. Lyon there was
quite a revival. During Mr. Hammond's mission
AT IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 105
was a season of einbarassment and depression.
Their Pastor was of feeble health, some of the
mills in the vicinity had suspended operations, and
a number of their working members removed to
other villages. At the close of the Conference
year the members in Church were 62, with 23 on
The Methodists have a neat chapel. It is beau-
tifully located. There are few more pleasant land-
scapes in Burrillville, than a view from this point,
of the placid valley, through which Clear River
sends its line of light.
Like " the changing spirit's rise and fall " in the
experience of the individual Christian, the Society
at Laurel Hill has had its variable history. Long
may that small band endure, and the victor's palm
reward their self-denying labors.
Until 1851 the people of Burrillville had never
seen the solemn and impressive service of the
Church of England. Li the Spring of that year,
the Eev. J. II. Eames, commenced religious services
at Mapleville according to the rites of the Protes-
tant Episcopal Church. These meetings were con-
tinued for two years and were well attended.
For nearly two years Mr. E. was making the
tour of Europe and wandering among the ruins of
Egypt and the Holy Laud. The meetings were dis-
continued during his absence, but on his return in
the Autumn of 1 854, he recommenced services at
Harrisville, and soon after removed to tlie Old
Meeting House, where they are regularly held at
present. Sunday Schools and Bible Classes have
been connected with all the services.
Upon Mr. Eames' return from the East, he pub-
lished an account of his travels in a neat volume,
and shortly after his accomplished wife, who had
accompanied him gave us another. These were
read with interest by their parishioners, and in
connection with several courses of lectures upon
the same topics, constitute the most liberal tribute
that has yet been made to the intellectual and
jesthetic tastes of our people.
In the neighborhood of the Old Meeting House
are a large number of families who have listened
to the Anglican service in the mother country.
They gather upon the Sabbath day and listen with
reverent attention to the services by which their
religious affections were guided in their dear old
About 1786, the Quakers began to hold stated
meetings in Burrillville. They met at the house
now occupied by Smith Battey. This place is in a
pleasant valley, through which flows a little rill
called Muddy Brook. Notwithstanding its unprom-
ising name this stream is remarkable for the crys-
tal transparency and purity of its waters.
In the humble low-roofed cottage that adorned
its banks, the little band of silent worshippers held
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 107
their sittings. At the end of five years, enough
had been attracted to their assemblies to make the
place of meeting too strait for them, and a com-
fortable house was built at the junction of three
roads, upon a spot now included in the suburbs of
Mapleville. The house is, like all their temples, a
plain structure, two stories high, with unpainted
seats, no ornament in the interior, and only a
modest brown coat upon the exterior. Here for
nearly three score and ten years a little company
have met twice in each week, except when the
Monthly Meeting called them to Smithfield or
Northbridge. They go to the latter places to their
Quarterly Meetings and in the mid-summer of each
year they go to Newport, upon Ehode Island, to
meet with Friends from all parts of New England
and the Union, and often to hear strangers from
The example of the Friends exerts a healthful
influence upon the moral tone of the town. Indus-
trious and temperate, quiet and tolerant, helping
their neighbors and doing good to their enemies,
they furnish a daily tribute to the value of their
There is no church of the Universalists in Bur-
rillville, but many of our most influential men are
of this faith. Rev. Mr. Fish, of Hopedale, has
made occasional visits to the eastern part of the
town, and the Rev. Adin Ballou, founder of the
Hopedale Community of Restorationists, lias some-
times preached at the Town House. One Quar-
terly Meeting has been held at the Old Burrillville
There are but few gatherings of Universalists
here now. They warmly welcome those who bring
" glad tidings of great joy," but our isolated po-
sition renders it difficult for them to reach us from
the city, and we are left destitute of the Gospel
of the last and best Evangel of '^ Good will to man."
There are many who forty years ago would no
sooner tolerate a believer in Universal Good than
give the right hand of fellowship to a Mussulman
or a Hindoo, but the tendency of the visits of Bal-
lon and Borden has been to make this class more
liberal, and now a minister of this denomination
will call together a larger congregation than one
of any other name.
AS IT WAS, AND AS iTIS. 109
If picturesque natural scenery, has an influence-
upon the sentiment of veneration, we might ex-
pect to find in the vicinity of Wallum Lake the
home of those pleasing superstitions that humanize
and refine the hearts of a simple peasantry.
If one would hear gossips tell of ghosts, or find
men digging for silver, at midnight, guided by the
magical movements of Divining Rods, or be point-
ed to haunted houses where troubled spirits " re-
visit the pale glimpses of the moon," let him fre-
quent the rustic neighborhood of western Burrill-
The impressions of those who dwell here are
such as are made by nature where the untrained
luxuriance of the primitive forest is ever in view-
When they look from the summit^ at the northern
end of the lake, they view a range of blue hills:
running along the western horizon as far as the eye
110 BURRI LL VILLE;
ean go, and all nearer them is one wide expanse
of heavy forest.
The distant hills are a range that reach across
New England. They run toward the north through
Massachusetts; join the Green Mountains and be-
yond the 45° descend to the table land of Stan-
At their feet Wallum Lake lies embowered in
the grand old woods, whose monarch oaks sent
their roots down to its springs twice five hundred
years ago, and whose giant arms to-day limn their
mighty shadows upon the crystal mirror of its pla-
Shall we go down to the bathing beach ? where
the grape vines have woven their dense canopy
over the witch hazel, and from the larch to the
maple across the bright bower made by the fantas-
tic clusters of the twisted laurel — here is a place
for the swimmers to disrobe. Newport nor Hamp-
ton Beach can boast such a boudoir. Step out to
the water's edge. The whitest sand, the gentlest
slope, no surf to startle the timid, or stones to
stumble the careless, can our swimmer's beach be
Before the pale faces came to swim in these lim-
pid waves, did the aboriginal models of Appolla
Belvidere, pace these sands, and with the sturdy
strength of their sjnnetrical limbs go stright across
the lake to yonder distant point ',, it might be done
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. Ill
despite the distance. A white man did it once.
It was a swimming race. A boat went alongside
the swnnmers and long ere they reached the shore
one of them was taken in. The other pushed on,
each stroke growing shorter and feebler until the
panting victor struck his palm upon the sand beack
and fell back into the water. His comrades res-
cued him, and years after Caleb used to tell the
story of which he was the hard working hero.
Wallum lake is noted for the purity of its wa-
ter. The stream that rises here is called "C/ear"
river. Like the Mississippi until it unites with
the Missouri, this river is clear until below the
Laurel Ridge it receives the muddy contents of the
When we go out in a boat upon the lake we may
see the bottom at twenty feet. The lilies whose
white petals beautify the surface of several of our
ponds, are not found here, for there are no muddy
eoves in wliich they could grow.
One of the coves is called '^Deep Cove." Li
one place it is ninety-five feet deep. It was sound-
ed by Samuel Wliite Esq., who has basketed many
a noble fish from this lake.
Another is called " Long Cove." It goes far in-
land running under a bold shore, where the shad-
ows rest at sunset, while the "^arrows of evening
light are lodged in the bright tree tops of the op-
posite shore. Another is -' Grassy Cove," and be-
side these is many a little nook and inlet wliere
the fisher moors his boat, and pleasure parties an-
chor for their lunch.
David Wilkinson used to say " if he was ever
going to be drowned/' he should want to be drown-
ed in " Wallum Pond." This water has by some
oeen called ^'Alum Pond " and they justify the name
by referring to its superior clearness.
A few years ago there was a controversy between
the Mill Owners, on the Blackstone, and the Black-
stone Canal Company, in relation to the water of
this Lake. The factory men complained that the
Canal Company carried the water around their
mills. The Company claimed a prescription in the
ponds from whence the water emanated, and among
the original fountains was AVallum Lake. Pendino:
the controversy commissioners were sent to survey
the Lake, and note the rise and fall of the water
through each month in the year.
The Manufacturers replied to the Couipany's
claim, that since they had done nothing at the Lake
to raise the water above its natural level, they had
no exclusive right to its use. The matter was com-
promised before it came to a final decision. Our
Rhode Island manufacturers will never again be
plagued by Canal Companies.
Clear river flows through Saxon Yale, where a
neat village smiles along its margin, then past
Graniteville, it winds in beautiful curves through
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 113
the village of Ilarrisvillc, the pine woodS; along
the base of North Hill, and between Mapleville and
Oakland it unites with the Chepachet to form the
Branch, the largest stream in Burriliville. There
are seven factories on this stream. Upon its south-
ern branch, the Pascoag, there are five mills within
half a mile of each other. These factories have
built up the largest village in our town.
The Chepachet river has three mills in Burrili-
ville. It is a small but durable streo.m. The
Branch has three mills. This river conveys the
water of all our brooks and rills into the Black-
stone. Our rivers have been a source of great
wealth. The building of a large reservoir is con-
templated, which will double the water povrer of
There are many aspects of grandeur and beauty
about our largest forest. From " Reed Swamp ''
to the Bay State line, from " Iron Mine Brook " to
the " Wakefield Saw Mill," extending over six
thousand acres } there is no other such
" Boundless contiguity of shade,"
in Rhode Island. When we are upon the summit,
at the clearing near the Connecticut Line, we have
the widest view in Burriliville. The neat farms of
Thompson, the cosy village of Webster, the pop-
lar rows on Brandy Hill, and the distant forests of
Woodstock are before us. A dozen spires are
visible in our horizon.
Stand here at sunrise after a winter sliower, if
you would view the most magnificent panorama
that ever gladdened the dreariness of a New Eng-
land December. The crystals of frozen spray in a
myriad million glittering clusters burden every
rood of foliage. The pine trees, to their topmost
twigs, are bright with the frosty jewels. The flex-
ible birch and young maple have yielded to the
furious blast of miduight, and their pendant boughs
are fettered to the snow-crust among the elders
and shrubby oaks. There is music for the ear as
well as pictured beauty for the eye. Hark ! up
from the valley rushes the morning breeze, and the
clattering branches and creaking limbs give one
continuous thunder of unwonted music. Aurora
kisses the prisoned wood nymphs, and flinging aside
their pearls that descend in a radiant diamond
shower, they wave their free sceptres up toward
the God of Day, as if grateful for their deliver-
The effects of the terrible tornado, of Septem-
ber 23, 1815, are still visible in Burrillville. We
had large pine forests slightly rooted in a light soil,
and whole acres were laid prostrate. The hunter
in our woods often stumbles over an old log half
bedded in the ground, and thickly covered with a
deep green moss. When the farmers collect their
fuel in the autumn, they break off the pitch-pine
knots, and during the long winter evenings the big
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 115
fire-place is ruddy witli their glow, and the women
knit, the old men smoke, children play, and kittens
purr around the cheerful light.
At the home of the author's childhood, is an old
apple tree which was blown down in that storm.
A portion of the roots still clung to the soil, new
shoots grew up from the prostrate trunk, and al-
most every year it has borne well. The highest
portion of the old bole is scarce a yard from the
ground, but this season it is as usual, fully laden.
If our reader will call at the " Old Homestead "
he shall be treated to Pomona's best, from a tree
that fell forty years ago.
If some of our readers have looked with cold and
careless eyes upon the illustrated pages of Nature's
book, and now smile with utilitarian incredulity at
efforts to call men to love the beauty of our coun-
" Nature showed
The last ascending footsteps of the God."
let US justify our mood by the following quotation
from an eloquent and instructive author. After the
cold winter scene above, a more genial picture
from a southern pen will prove agreeable.
" Why, it was once said that the sky of Attica
would make a Boeotian a poet ; and we have seen
even ' the red old hills of Georgia ' draw inspiring
melody from the heart of patriotic genius. Physi-
cal causes have always operated in the formation
and fasliioning of literature. In all the higher pro-
ductions of mind, ancient and modern, we can
easily recognise the influence of the climate and
natural objects among which they were developed.
The sunsets of Italy colored the songs of Tasso
and Petrach ; the vine-embowered fields of beauti-
ful France are visible in all the pictures of Ros-
seau and La Martine ; you may hear the solemn rust-
ling of the Hartz Forest, and the shrill horn of the
wild huntsman throughout the creations of Schiller
and Goethe; the sweet streamlets and sunny lakes
of England smile upon you from the graceful verses
of Spencer o.nd Wordsworth ; and the mist-robed
hills of Scotland loom out in magnificence through
the pages of Ossian, and the loftier visions of Mar-
mion and Waverly.
" I have stood down in Florida, beneath the over-
arching groves of magnolia, orange and myrtle,
blending their fair flowers and voluptuous fragrance,
and opening long vistas between their slender
shafts, to where the green waters of the Mexican
Gulf lapsed upon the silver-sanded beach, flinging
up their light spray into the crimson beams of the
declining sun, and I have thought that, for poetic
beauty, for delicate inspiration, the scene was as
sweet as ever wooed the eyes of a Grecian mins-
trel on the slopes of Parnassus, or around the
fountains of Castaly.
" Again : I have stood upon a lofty summit of
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 117
the Alleglianies, among the splintered crags and
vast gorges, where the eagle and the thunder make
their home, and looked down upon an empire spread
out in the long distance below. Far as the eye
could reach, the broad forests swept away over the
territories of unexampled productiveness and
beauty. At intervals, through the wide campaign,
the domes and steeples of some fair town, which
had sprung up with magical suddenness among the
trees, would come out to the eye, giving evidence
of the presence of a busy, thriving population. —
Winding away through the centre, too, like a great
artery of life to the scene, I could behold a noble
branch of the Ohio, bearing upon its bosom the
already active commerce of the region, and linking
that spot with a thousand others, similar in their
condition and character. As I thus stood, and
thought of all that was being enacted in this glo-
rious land of ours, and saw, in imagination, the
stately centuries as they passed across the scene,
diffusing wealth, prosperity and refinement, I could
not but believe that it presented a nobler theatre,
with sublimer accompaniments and inspirations,
than ever rose upon the eye of a gazer from the
summits of the Alps or the Appenines."
118 BURRILL VILLE.
F ACTORIE S
In our notice of modern movements in Burrill-
ville we will allude to the commencement of man-
Forty years ago a simple hand machine was used
to whip and pick cotton. It was a box about three
feet square and one foot deep, with ropes across it
near the top on which the cotton was placed and
beaten while the seed fell into the box below. The
cotton gin of Richard Arkwright the humble baker
of Bolton, had not then come into vogue.
Solomon Smith was the architect of the first mill
in Burrillville. It was built on the Tar Kiln Riv-
er, in 1810, 46 years ago. Thurber of Providence
was the owner. The first wheel was a tub wheel
which soon failed, then a bucket wheel was made
which lasted thirty-three years. There was no
gearing on the surface of the wheel, but it was on
the shaft, so the usual strain was avoided.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 119
111 later years the mill was run by Lewis Thomp-
Thompson sold to Joseph Nichols who is the
present owner. The mill is near the road leading
from Mapleville to Woonsocket. Negro cloths are
now manufactured there.
Rufus and Zadoch Smith built a factory on the
same stream, a little higher up. Here were made
the first satinetts in Burrillvillle. Some of the
cloth sold for $2.50 per yard. Cotton cloth for
pantaloons was then selling in Chepachet for 75
cents per yard, now sold for 14 cents.
The warps for the Smith factory were distributed
about the neighborhood and woven by hand. Sol-
oman Smith used to make the spring shuttle lathe,
to weave by hand. An Englishman who used one
of these said they would " never make looms to go
by water for many men in England had undone
themselves by it." But the " impossibility " has
been done, the hand looms4iave vanished from our
town, and the capital invested in mills of Burrill-
ville is a standing rebuke to the incredulity of old
The thriving neighborhood around the Smith
Academy near where the first mill was located
soon wished for a bank. Banks and factories are
always built up together. They ^prefered a peti-
tion to the General Assembly and obtained a char-
ter. The presidency was offered to John Slater
but he would not accept it unless the bank could be
at his new factory village of SlatersvillC; and it
was finally established there.
Another Charter was obtained, and this time it
was located near the Eddy Cooper place. The
vault was hewn from a solid rock, and the trap
door that covered it could only be lifted by a tac-
kle attached to the ceiling of the counting-room.
If burglars had unlocked it, they could not have
got at the coin unless they could have found the
tackling. It was a safe bank.
Those who lived near the Smith Academy would
not subscribe to the stock because they could
not have it at their village. The old settlers
assert that it might have done a good business
there, as there were many solid men in that vicin-
ity. We will not stop to discuss the probabilities
of its success under other circumstances, or to
speculate upon the causes or consequences of its
embarassment, but hasten to warn our readers not
to receive the bills as they have been rejected at
the Suffolk. Mutatis mutandis.
One of our neat factory villages is called Maple-
YiLLE. The following notice of it appeared a few
years since in one of the Providence journals.
I will pen a word about the little village where
I go to get the " Freeman." It is cosily nestled
amono- the hills of northern Rhode Island. I can
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 121
almost see the factory spire from tlie place where I
now write. I remember^ when a school boy, we
used to play along the river there, then all forest.
We would go up the stream to the beaver dam,
where the primitive denizens of that new region
held undisturbed possession. The dull drumming
of large wheels, and the buzz of the whizzing
spindle has scared them away. The woods have
been levelled, but the grove still stands on some
parts of the river's margin. The tall pine is left
to wave in the summer winds, and the hemlock
with its perrenial foilage gladdens the eye at all
seasons, and the balmy breath of the maple still
sweetens the air. That reminds me that I was to
tell about Mapleville. I have left the village so-
often to saunter along a sheltered path througlr
the grove, that I was about to do so now.
We have one factory, this has made our vil-
lage. All over this part of the State, wherever
there is a waterfall, a hamlet springs up like magic.
On a little eminence, overlooking the village,,
stands an elegant gothic cottage. This is the res-
idence of the proprietor of the mill. Its low win-
dows, large parlors, and the ambulatory prome-
nade, its tasty fence, the trellised walk to the door,,
and the trees that surround it, evince the ability
of the lord and the ideality of the lady.
We have one store where our Post office is kept.
We have no tavern. We seldom see a man ine-
briated. Order and industry prevail. The rural
scenery exerts a healthful influence on all. We
have no gaming saloons to steal away the time of
our young men. Our simple people pursue the
even tenor of their way, avoiding the dissipation
of cities, and free from the cares of envious am-
We have one school. Here our little sprigs of
humanity receive their inclination. A " school
district library," such as they have in New York,
is still a desideratum in this State. The cultivated
taste which might thus be formed would shield
its possessor from coarse indulgences, and give
him the luxury of the most improving pleasures.
We have one meeting-house, for the " Friends,'*
who worship here, do not call their temples
Churches. This unadorned strncture reminds one
of the times of Fox and Penn, when simple heart-
ed men rebuked the vices of the court and refused
to participate in the crimes of the camp. The
peaceful band that rallied around them has bright-
ened a large page of modern history. Ever the
advocates of peace, and the truest friends of civil
liberty and soul liberty, they often proved them-
selves real heroes, by the fortitude with which
they suffered for their principles. Now they are
the friends of the slave, and of the drunkard.
They are the friends of education. We love to
meet with them in that quaint old meeting-honse.
"We love to go there on a sunny Sunday iiioiTiing
to sit and muse with them. The serene quietude
of their communion with Heaven, hushes the pas-
sions to reposOj and chastens the too active pulse.
The "still small voice " thrills the lieart with its
kindly monitions, and faith whispers resignation to
our Father's will.
Sometimes they have preaching, and their cliant-
ing tone is burdened with real pathos. I am glad
to know that the principles of toleration, they
have done so much to establish, have imbued the
people of Rhode Island with charity. When you
become weary of the splendid ceremonial of your
city churches, come out to the old Quaker meeting-
Mapleville ! is'nt that a lucious name ? It re-
minds me of rich lots of maple sugar which I used
to get in Vermont When you wish for a respite
from the cares of the "sanctum," come out here
and roam with me in the broad, free fields. With
hearts attuned to nature's serenity, we will forget
the ills of life and go tranquilly to our daily tasks.
I remain as ever.
Upon the precedini^ pages were hints about tlie
state of various interests at the present time, but
we shall attempt some farther sketch of things as
they arc. We, too, " shall cheerfully bear the
reproach of having descended below the dignity of
history if we can succeed in placing before the
reader a true picture of the life of our people."
When some future compiler of the history of Rhode
Island shall seek from " scanty and dispersed ma-
terials " to portray the condition of his ancestors,
some item from this cursory sketch may perchance
subserve his purpose.
The climate of Burrillville is colder than that of
Providence. We have more snow, partly the re-
sult of our altitude, and it may be partially occa-
sioned by the larger amount of forest. The spring
is about two weeks later than upon the shore south
of the capital. Our coldest winds are from the
AND AS IT IS. 125
south west, but these are usually of short contin-
uance. During the extremely cold winter of
1780-81 this wind was prevalent most of the time.
It was impossible to keep the paths open, and at
last they were abandoned and the people travelled
on snow shoes, and drew their grist to the mill
upon hand sleds.
The heaviest fall of snow we have had since 1800
was in the winter of 1836-7. The walls and fences
were covered, and people went upon the hard crust
across the fields without meeting with any obstruc-
tion for miles.
The heavy rains of the spring time do consider-
able damage in the lowlands. The most severe
freshet for many years took place in the middle of
the month of May, 1836. Several dams and bridges
were swept away and deep channels were cut upon
some of the intervals. But we are compensated
by the enrichment of our natural meadows, by al-
Our inhabitants grumble a good deal about our
cold weather. Some of them imagine that a uni-
form temperature is the most conducive to health.
This is a fallacy. Those who live in Florida feel
a change of 5° as sensibly as we feel a variation
of 30^. But these changes do not equally purify
Tho winds that whistle over our hills act as ven-
tilators; and the change produced will do a thou-
126 BUREI LLViLLE^
sand fold more good than harm. A luke-warm
region is not as healthy as our own Rhode Island.
True, without caution we are liable to the " pains
and aches of rheumatism and the neuralgic twinges
of " cold sciatica." But there are more cases of
rheumatism reported at Key West, on the coast of
Florida than on the New England coast. Persons
sometimes find a relief from rheumatic affections
by visiting a mild climate, but they are usually
more affected than ever on their return. Some
who never suffered in that way are victims after a
residence at the South.
A good many of our citizens not having the fear
of the Ague, dumb or shaking, before their eyes
have gone to the West. When we see them re-
turn pale and thin, we feel content to breathe our
native air although it may be frostier. Some are
benefited by a western residence, but it is a doubt-
ful experiment. If the reader will refer to that
admirable work " The Climate of the United States,
1842," by Samuel Tory, M. D. Surgeon U. S. Army,
ihe will be content to dwell in Rhode Island.
There was formerly a great regularity in the
seasons, in this latitude. We had three successive
summers cold and dr}^, then three wet and warm.
Hay would be scarce the first cold season, still
less the second, and upon the third only half the
crop was gathered that would be realized in the
wet seasons. One old farmer kept an account of
AND AS IT IS. 127
a large meadow, and by counting tlie tumbles found
from the last wet season to the last cold and dry
one, a decrease of one-half.
About twenty years ago this rotation of seasons
was broken in upon and now no regular rule can
be found. One effect of the change has been a
decrease of birds. Other causes may have con-
tributed to this result, but several unusually cold
winters and summers about twenty years ago is
supposed to have kept away many kinds of birds.
Night hawks were once so plenty that they were
seen in flocks of hundreds like pigeons. They
were often seen sweeping before a shower, appa-
rently striving to keep out of its way. We see a
few now but they are rare, and we can no longer
find the amusement of our childhood in watching
at twilight, the eccentric gyrations and lofty flight
of this singular bird. There were once a great
many snipes in these parts. The moist ground of
our numerous low meadows, was their favorite re-
sort. They are seldom seen now. Marsh quails,
once very plenty are now rare. But the robin,
the blue bird, and the golden winged oriole still
enliven our springs with their gushing melodies,
and cheer with their vocal joys our glorious mid-
By the census of 1850, the number of inhabitants
was 3538. Now they may be safely estimated at
4000. The larger part are employed upon the
land. Our factories engage a great number."^ The
various mechanical employments common in rural
towns are well represented.
A more industrious people are nowhere to be
found. The thin, hard character of our soil impo-
ses upon our people the necessity of hard labor, and
the prudent maxims of Poor Richard are a law to
the daily conduct of our hardy yeomanry. In our
variable climate hay must be made " while the sun
shines." The many cobble stones that must be
picked up, or made into wall to get them out of
the way, causes a great deal of hard work. The
large extent of land to be traveled over, the hilly
nature of the surface, the many drains to be made,
and the rough roads to be mended ; these give lit-
tle time for rest and none to waste.
The land in Burrillville is poor. Much of it is
sand and gravel, sweet-fern hills and barren pine
plains. There are many acres of interval land,
furnishing only the poorest sort of bog hay. There
are a few tracts in the vallies that might be made
valuable by proper drainage. The culture of cran-
berries would give a better return than the poor
swale hay mingled with checkerberry and foxglove.
The value of land ranges from five dollars per
acre, on Buck Hill, to fifteen hundred in the neigh-
borhood of the factories. The effort to till too
large an extent of land keeps our farmers poor.
* See Supplement.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 129
We have few of the modern implements. The
wooden plow is abandoned except for furrowing,
and a few wheeled " Prouty and Mears " cut their
even channels across our fields. But most farmers
plow in shallow scratches as their fathers did, and
following in the regular ancestral routine scrub
over ten acres to glean the crops they should find
There is no Mowing Machine inBurrillville. We
have a few Horse Rakes, and this is the greatest
innovation upon the clumsy utensils of ancient date.
We have a few Corn Shellers, and a Threshing Ma-
chine makes its autumnal perambulation through
our town. The rude tools used by the farmers in
the outskirts of Burrillville, would excite smiles
among the agricultural amateurs who are familiar
with the advancement of the art near the metro-
It is said that in Belgium each three acres will
support five persons. If the soil of Burrillville
were fertile in the same degree, its territory would
support more than fifty thousand persons, or nearly
one third of the present population of the State.
At its first survey land in Burrillville was sold
for 12 1-2 cents per acre.
Our town has 24 factories. They are scattered
over several districts, from the edge of Douglas
Woods to the Smithfield line. Manufacturing is
now the leading material interest of Burrillville,
and when we remember that only half the power
is 3^et occupied we can hardly be too sanguine in
regard to our future prosperity, nor need we doubt
but the Air Line and the Woonasquatucket must
The produce of the land that is not needed in
the family is bartered at some of the stores for tea
and coffee, ginger and raisins, calicoes and crock-
ery. The frugal housewife takes her weekly stock
of butter, eggs, and cheese, to the home market, at
the factory village, and the worthy matron feels
commendable pride when she unpacks the proceeds
before the large eyed children at home. A bunch
of raisins or a lump of sugar stills the crowing of
the youngest, while a pair of shoes or a calico dress
crowns the expectation of the eldest. There are
dwellers among the hills on the borders of Wallum
Lake, who must go five miles to reach the nearest
store. At Pascoag, there are five stores within a
Hoop poles, shingles and ship timber, are pre-
pared in our woods and carted a score of miles to
market. The produce of the stone quarries is con-
siderable. This is greater the year that a factory
village is built, than upon other years. A new vil-
lage upon our streams is not the slow accretion of
years, but it goes up all together. When our farm-
ers go to the city they often return with a goodly
burden of groceries, which they find are cheaper
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 131
there. If we have a railroad it will bring the mar-
kets of Woonsocket and Providence near the com-
mon people of Burrillville.
Our clergymen labor with their own hands.
There are many who do not like to hear a man
preach unless he works. Some have preached
here who were liberally educated, but often we
listen to those who have no culture save that they
can obtain in the intervals of regular labor.
Our young men who are desirous of a better
education than our common schools afford, go to
some foreign academy. The seminaries at Smith-
ville and East Greenwich often have students from
Burrillville. Our young ladies sometimes go to
Providence or Warren for a few terms. The ac-
complished preceptress of the latter institution is
a native of Burrillville, and parents love to confide
their daughters to her charge.
Our homes are in a healthy region, and we have
the best of water. Those who reside in the vil-
lages are usually tenants of the owner of the fac-
tory, but the majority of those who live on farms
own their homes.
The buildings of Burrillville are not noted for
their good proportions. There is scarcely a resi-
dence in this town that would attract the attention
of an artist. Many of the houses were originally
small, and successive additions have been made,
more for convenience than show. The older houses
were but a single story, with a massive stone chim-
ney in the centre containing a large fireplace. It
was once a custom to paint them red, and there
are some now that blush for their own ugliness.
There is no provision made for ventilation in
our habitations, except the lowering of a window.
Our sleeping rooms are the smallest in the house.
The " parlor bed room " is often no more than
eight feet by ten. Bed curtains are retained by
some, and while they mean to be hospitable, they
almost smother the stranger in these unhealthy
Some of the farm houses have an outside door
to the cellar, so it can be entered without going
into the house. Here is generally the dairy, though
sometimes there is a separate milk house. In the
cellar are stored the potatoes and other roots, our
beef and pork, and cider.
In our low chambers and garrets are stored the
extra bed spreads and counterpanes, and patch-
work. The general use of stoves in our kitchens
is shortening the lives of our citizens. A few
wooden clocks, reaching from the floor to the ceil-
ing, tick in solemn grandeur, while " the nicely sand-
ed floor " is still an institution among us. Many
of the windows of our farm houses have panes of
glass only six by eight, without any blinds, while
in the villages green blinds are oftener seen.
The floors of the best rooms are sometimes cov-
ered with " rag carpets," and here and there a par-
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 133
lor is fiirnislied with a genuine ^' Brussels." A few
of the first families are provided with " pianos " or
^•' melodeons," but many of our farmers daughters
hear only their own sweet voices, or the songs of
the birds, except when a musical brother tunes a
three stringed violin, or makes strange discord
with a broken-winded " accordeon."
Many of the parlors are furnished with a little
recess, used for a best cupboard to stow the
'' China," the blue crockery, and the shells that
some rich uncle sent from the " Indies." The-
table is covered with the best books, — the old
family Bible, Saint's Rest, -^ Life of Colby," and the
" Young Man's Guide." The daguerreotypes of
all their kinsfolks are dispersed among the books,-
or ranged upon the mantel shelf.
Cheap statuary of plaster of Paris, is placed!
over the fire-place, while around the walls arc
hung a few simple pictures, often representing-
scripture scenes, '' David and G-oliah," or " Christ
Blessing Little Children ;" Napoleon Crossing the
Alps," or the " Portrait of George Washington,"
are often seen. Sometimes they have a sentimen-
tal cast, like ^' Burns and his Highland Mary."
Where the daughters have been '- away to school,"'
the best room is adorned with their pen and
crayon sketches, and views of English landscapes,,
with old* castles, noble trees, or some grand scene-
upon the Hudson, give us pleasant and refining,
impressions. Some of the parlors are closed most
of the time, being open only on Sunday evening,
or for a party or a funeral.
In the yard^s of many of the farm houses are
fruit trees, cherries, pears and plums. There are
good quantities of apples and these are always be-
fore visitors. The farmer's company are invited
"when the weather is suitable to w^alk through the
orchard and over the fields and meadows. Each
man tells about his handy oxen and big pumpkins,
his new ditch, or rotten potatoes, while the women
folks are looking over the dairy and the garden,
the bees and the poultry yard. Thus an a>utumn
day goes by.
The barns of Burrillville are of all grades.. Ma-
ny of them are old and leaky, but those of modern
date are better built, some of them being of the
first class. Within a few years basements are
made to the barns. Some of the best kind are
painted', have glass windows and dome ventilators.
During the summer of 1856 a moderate farmer in
this town had his barn struck by lightning and con-
sumed, with his entire stock of hay and farming-
tools. We speak of it that we may allude to the
liberal nature of our yeomanry. His friends col-
lected several hundred dollars for his aid, his neigh-
bors met and built him a new barn, and thus as a
token of their regard for honest industry they
completely indemnified him for his loss.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 135
The harsli winds make it necessary to Iniild
large sheds to shelter the cattle in the day time,
and it is a large item of the farmer's expense to
keep his buildings covered. Some of the best
farmers have good wood-houses, but many in the
bye parts of the town have their wood pile in th-e
open air. Some cut their wood no faster than they
use it, and they would be obliged to stop in th^
morning to prepare fuel before they went to hoeing
or mowing, if they could not leave it for the wo-
men folks to do.
The cost of wood is but a trifle in some districts
of Burrillville. In the forest of the western parts
large quantities are wasted every year. The mar-
ket wood is culled out and the rest is left to rot.
There is but little coal used here. Large quanti-
ties of charcoal are made, but it is sold in the
Many of the older sort of farm buildings are
located away from the main road. A rough lane
leads down to the house. Here is retirement. The
rattling of wheels, the annoyance of pedlers, the
dust of the highway, — they are secure from these.
Here, with the woods all around them, they till
the hardy soil, eat their coarse food with an appe-
tite that the indolent epicure seldom brings to his
perfumed viands, and sleep with a sweet soundness
that kings might envy. The boys grow up tall and
tough, the girls have natural waists., und a healthy
136 BURR ILL VI LLE,
color ill tlicir cheeks ; all live without envy, and
die without ambition, except to fulfil the duties of
their humble but happy station.
In a great many circles, that beautiful song is
sung, entitled " The Dying Californian." Burrill-
ville claims to be the birth-place of the authoress.
Miss Catharine Harris, of Pascoag, composed the
words, and they have been set to music by Mr. Ta-
ber, of Providence. It is no wonder this is a favor-
ite song. Who is there that has not some relative
in the land of gold.
" Some have a Sister,
Some have a Brother,
Some have a nearer one yet, and a dearer one
Than any other."
We give the lines as they were published in the
Morning Star :
SIMPLE, TOUCHmG BEAUTIFUL LINES.
The New England Diadem gives its readers the following beauti-
'ful stanzas, which were suggested by hearing read an extract of a
letter from Capt. Chase, giving an account of the sickness and death
of his brother-in-law, Mr. Brown Owen, who died on his passage to
California. We have but seldom met anything so painfully inter-
esting, in every line, and it will be read with "teary eyes" by many
who have lost brothers, fathers, husbands, or sons, on their way to^
or after having reached, the land of Gold and of Graves :
Lay up nearer, brother, nearer,
For thy limbs arc growing cold,
And thy presence seemeth dearer,
When thine arras around me fold ;
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 137
I am dying, brother, dying,
Soon yoa'll miss me in your berth,
For my form will soon be lying
'Neath the ocean's briny surf.
Hearken to me, brother, hearken,
I have something I would say,
Ere the veil my vision darken,
And I go from hence away 5
I am going, surely going.
But my hopes in God are strong,
1 am willing, brother, knowing
That He doeth nothing wrong.
Tell my father when you greet him,
That in death I prayed for him.
Prayed that I may one day meet him,
In a world that's free from sin ;
Tell my mother, (God assist her
Now that she is growing old,)
Tell her child would glad have kissed her,
"When his lips grew pale and cold.
Listen, brother, catch each whisper,
'Tis my wifb I'd speak of now.
Tell, oh ! tell her, how I missed her,
When the fever burned my brow ;
Tell her, brother, closely listen.
Don't forget a single word,
That in death my eyes did glisten,
With the tears her mem'ry stirred.
Tell her she must kiss my children,
Like the kiss I last impressed.
Hold them as when last I held theTj,
Folded closely to my breast :
138 BURR ILLVILLE,
Give tlicm early to their Maker,
Putting all her trust in God,
And He never will forsake her,
Por He's said so in his Word.
my children ! Heaven bless them !
They were all my life to me,
Would I could once more caress thera,
^^_^ Ere I sink beneath the sea ;
'Twas for them I crossed the ocean,
What my hopes were I'll not tell,
But I've gained an orphan's portion,
If et He doeth all things well.
Tell my sisters 1 remembei*
Evei-y kindly parting word;
And my heart has been kept tender,
By the thoughts that mem'ry stirred ;
Tell them I ne'er reached the haven
Where I sought the " precious dust,"
But have gained a port called Heaven,
Where the gold will never rust.
Urge them to secure an entrance,
For they'll find their brother there ;
Taith in Jesus, and repentance,
Will secure for each a share —
Hark ! I hear my Saviour speaking,
'Tis, I know his voice so well,
When I'm gone, oh ! don't be weeping.
Brother, here's my last farewell.
Having presented this tribute to tlie love of
home joys in the hearts of my readers, I will revert
to our domestic customs.
AT IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 139
The people of Burrillville never know what it is
to want for food. We have few among us who are
rich, but we have none wlio are miserably poor.
There are many whose daily earnings will, only
provide them with a livelihood, but these will al-
ways buy the best flour.
The dainty luxuries that sometimes pamper the
palates of tlie rich are seldom seen upon the tables
of our farmers, but they have enough if it is coarse.
Large quantities of beef and pork are used. No
dinner can be made without pork, or beef, or mut-
ton. We have good potatoes, beets, turnips, car-
rots, beans and peas, with all the esculents that
the garden can afford. We know they are fresh
and good. Our own hands gather them the same
day they are eaten, and we do not have the poor
withered and unwholesome vegetables that the
common people in the city are often obliged to eat,
or go without any.
We have one table staple which is a Rhode
Island institution. We mean ^^ Brown Bread."
This is as much a Rhode Island invention
as the " Rhode Island Greening." It is the best
bread the world has ever produced. I do not
mean the sort that is left at the doors of city ten-
ements, but the real rye and- Indian bread, in
bouncing great loaves, baked in a brick oven. Who-
ever has travelled in the Middle States will know
how to prize this article. Unless he lives with a
family from New England, he may travel for weeks
and never see a slice of this staff of life.
We are so near the land of steady habits that
we have fully adopted their grand Thanksgiving
dish. " Pumpkin Pies " are appreciated in Bur-
rillville. Hasty Pudding, with Muscovado, New
Cheese and Apple Sauce, Pumpkin Pies and Sweet-
bread, these with the swine's flesh aforesaid, and a
mug of cider or a glass of coffee, and our agricul
turalist manages to make out a dinner.
In summer time we have a good many berries.
These make a fine dish in a bowl of fresh milk.
We have good wholesome milk, not the chalk and
water beverage that dilutes the coiFee of the metro-
politan resident. Strawberries are found upon
some of our hill sides, whortleberries are plenty,
Let our city brethren smile if they will, as they
ride by our bushy pastures, — it is there we find the
Our people are well but coarsely clad. The
workmen around the village are mostly arrayed in
the flimsy product of the slop-shop. We have sev-
eral good tailors, who will use good stock, and
have it well put together, for their patrons who
can afford it.
The farmers wear coarse shirts, many of them
are indifferent about the collar, whether it is By-
ronic or a la Greely ; their strait vests have plain
buttons and big pockets ; their pants and overalls
ASIT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 141
are made for service ; cowliide boots defy mud,
water and snakes, and with a heavy frock, Kos-
suth hat and buckskin mittens, their toilet is com-
plete, and they sally forth to the field or the forest.
In a congregation here, upon a Sunday, one may
see coats of all patterns, from the style of a quar-
ter of a century ago to the latest fashion. Our
factory girls are fond of finery. Many of them
give all their earnings for dress. It is true they
look very pretty with ribbons and jewels and
feathers, but the countenances of the young men
fall when they compute the expense of such an es-
tablishment for a series of years. OurBurrillville
girls are pretty amid all the mutations of fashion,
but will not modest worth in a plain garb secure
the best hearts the matrimonial market affords ?
Our farmers wives and daughters have warm
plaids in winter, pretty calicoes in summer, and
sometimes silks and satin. What we shall eat and
wherewithal we shall be clothed takes a good
deal of our time, but we have long evenings and
rainy days that we might devote to books and so-
cial improvement if the means were near us.
We have but few books. As we have looked
over the scanty pile at the homes of many of our
farmers we have thought that a vast change would
come over the spirit of their life when the school
district and village libraries cultured among them
a taste for good reading. The reforms that have
been begun here will only be perfected b}^ an edu-
cation, that shall substitute the elevating pleasures
of the intellect for the present craving for artifi-
cial stimulus to gratify unnatural appetites.
Some of our people ride in first class carriages.
These are all single, there is only an occasional
double family carriage in the town. Those who
come out of the woods to meeting or to mill often
have rude, straight bodied unpainted vehicles, tliat
remind one of the car of Juggernaut.
Within a few years chaise have revived, and
those who patronize our liveries, go bumping over
our rough roads fully satisfied that a chaise is best
because they have heard their grandmothers say
that a " shay " was such " a nice thing to ride in."
"Well, a chaise has its advantages. Young men
with patent leathers and fierce mustaches can fling
back the top and travel from Brandy Hill to Round
Top, and from Round Top to Chepachet, and no
one would imagine they were ever sober. They
can be seen as well as though they had an open
carriage, and then, if it rains and they are not too
drunk, they can put up the top.
We have not much time for amusements, but we
do have some recreation now and then. During
the long evenings of winter, the young people make
parties where the lads and lasses of the neighbor-
hood are agreed in making the time fly merrily.
They like to go to an old fashioned farm-house
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 143
where they can go " round the chimney." '^ Rmg
plays " are popular. These are known to every-
body. They were common before the division of
Glocester, and will last a good while yet. Dan-
cing is often introduced at these parties, and now
and then a quiet game of whist. "Scorn "the
*' twenty questions " and the " stage coach/' fill up
the hours until the old folks want to go to bed, and
then the good humored company pack themselves
in their sleighs, and a galloping drive by moon-
light brings them to their homes.
Sometimes a sleigh ride is contrived by daylight
and a great many couple go to the city or Mendon
or Douglas. The " old married folks " have " quilt.-'
ing parties " occasionally. They meet to sew to-
gether little bits of calico, and at the same time
take the characters of their neighbors to pieces.
They usually stay to tea, and the gossips grow
garrulous as they scatter scandal they have kept
for a whole week for want of so good an opportu-
nity as they knew the " quilting bee " would afford^
to retail it.
It was once the custom for the farmers to com-
bine labor and amusement in the same way, by
meeting to husk each others corn. But these
husking frolics are rare of late years, and all the
romance of the " king ear " belongs to the poetry
of labor of by-gone time. Each man garners his
own harvest, and "the rich plum pudding" and
" sweet mince pie/' arc eaten in moody solitude.
Sometimes our men go to Buck Hill to hunt
rabbits. There are times when the woods swarm
with them, and the skilful hunter usually carries a
good stock home for his table. The route is long
and hard, the cold sometimes becomes intense, and
the tired company can scarcely drag one foot after
the other when they come home ; but the excite-
ment of the chase is such that the next good day,
at early dawn, they are seen plodding past " Eagle
Peak " to greet the rising sun on the summit of the
We have sometimes gone abroad to seek amuse-
ments that we might have found at home. We
have always " lotted " on going to the " shore "
each season after haying, but this summer a com-
pany went to the beach at Wallum Lake. Here
they had a " Clam Bake." They found it far less
wearisome, and less expensive, too, than going to
the shore below Providence.
When our labors and our amusements are over,
they lay us to sleep in the family burial place. It
is a custom here to have a little spot on each farm
set apart as a place for graves. No sooner do we
cross the line into the town of Douglas or Ux-
bridge, than we find large churchyards. But the
relatives of our families are often brought hun-
dreds of miles, that they may be laid with their
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 145
fathers upon the ohl homestead. These little
tithes of '- God's acre " are not often visited.
Friends go there to consign their dear ones to the
dust, or to place beside their grave the flowers
the}" loved. In some of the older yards we find
slate head- stones, often broken, and the record, in-
trusted to their keeping, perchance illegible.
There are melancholy moods in all our lives,
when we prefer the willow shade of these silent
retreats to the glare and bustle of this fitful life.
It will be well, if, when our pulseless forms repose
beneath the tree aff'ection planted, a friend, whose
sorrow has no tears, bends over us to read our
name, and turning away mournfully whispers, "We
will love him ao-ain in Heaven,"
At the monthly meeting of the Standing Com-
mittee of the Rhode Island Society for the En-
couragement OF Domestic Industry, Oct. 15, 185G,
Upon the petition of Horace A. Keach, Esq. set-
ting forth that he is preparing a History of the
town of Burrillville, and that he is desirous of an-
nexing thereto the present statistics of that town
as embodied in a import of said, statistics taken by
him during the last summer, under the direction
and at the expense of Greneral Dyer,
It was voted that the Secretary furnish Mr.
Keach with a copy of his said report, for the pur-
A true copy,
WM. R. STAPLES, Sec'r.
To Gen. Elisha Dyer^
I Lave completed the task assigned me, and np-
on the following pages may be found the results of
my laLorS; the statistics of the town of Burrill-
They were procured by personal application to
the inhabitants. Every farmer has given me the
particulars of the farm occupied by him, so have
the manufacturers, and mechanics generally the
particulars of their business.
The ao'gregate of these, makes the report here
presented. So far as relates to agricultural crops,
and supplies, product of mills, and other similar
points, the report, unless otherwise noted, refers
to the year 1855.
The Educational statistics were obtained from
the report of the school committee for the same
year, and various other sources. For the valua-
tion of the town, reference was had to the town
clerk's office and the records of tlie assessors
of taxes. Other important facts herein sta-
ted, have also been derived from the same source.
It may be proper to state, that neither officers nor
individuals have shown any' reluctance in affording
the information required; it being however express-
ly understood that only the aggregates should be
made public. I ought perhaps also to add, that I
found no dispositon to overrate or underrate, but on
the contrary a desire that Bui'rrillville should ap-
pear as it is. Such has been my wish in executing
the task assigned me, and having consulted on
every point the most correct and reliable means
of ascertaining the truth within my reach, and be-
ing conscious of no motive to misrepresent in any
particular, I hand you the following report of my
labors, as containing a true statement of the sta-
tistics of Buriillville.
Hoping that the results may be acceptable to
you, and trusting that when published they may
incite the inhabitants of Burrillville to still great-
er exertions for further progress, in intelligence,
in business, and in morals, I remain.
Your Obedient Servant,
HORACE A. REACH.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS
L A X D . — 1 8 5 5 .
Occupied by buildings,
Occupied by stone wall,
Under the plough.
Value of land,
Drains and Ditches,
PRODUCE OF LAND.
,. Natural Frmts.
Wc have a good many berries : wliortleberries,
billbcrrieS; blackberries, and tliimbleberries, are
plent}^ A few strawberries grow in our pastures
and old fields. In the woods, on Buck Hill, a man
may pick two quarts of whortleberries in an hour.
We are so far from Providence that few are sent
to the city. Scattered over the town are a few nut
trees. There are about half a dozen Old English
walnut, and a score or two of butternuts ; chestnuts
are plenty. The ordinary pig walnut is common
in our open pastures. We cultivate but few grapes.
Now and then a small vine is seen in the yard of a
farm-house. There are some wild grapes in our
woods. Around Wallum Lake they are found in
■considerable quantities, and of the sweetest qual-
ity. Like the ivy that creeps over the crumbling
columns of some old ruin, they cluster around the
mossy material of our granite ledges, and envelope
the decaying lines of the old stone wall on many a
neglected farm. They weave their emerald fes-
toons around the delicate limbs of the trim larch,
.and drop tlicir purple clusters into the crystal wa-
ters of our "sedgy brooks."
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 153
Cords of wood sold, - - 8500
Tons ship timber, - - 7
Cords tan-bark, - - 73
Thousands hoop-poles, - - 27
Thousands feet lumber, - - 408
Thousands shingles, - - 1582
Bushels charcoal, - - 68,100
Number saw-mills, - - 10
Number shingle-mills, - - -3
We have several old saw-mills and shingle-mills
not in operation. As the timber is cleared awa}^
near them, those farther in the woods do the
work. The name of our largest forest is Buck Hill
Woods, estimated to contain 6000 acres.
We are so far from the metropolis that we have
no market gardens. A few of our farmers sell a
little produce at the villages. Most of the fami-
lies at the factories have gardens of their own.
Among the esculent roots, beets, carrots, parsnips
and onions are raised only in the garden. We do
not cultivate these as a field crop, nor have we any
broomcorn or hops in our fields. A few currant
and raspberry bushes circle around our garden
borders, yet we make but few gills of currant wine.
Raspberry jam is an occasional treat at the table
of our farmers. A few feet are sometimes devo-
ted to a strawberry bed, but this luscious luxury
is eujoYcd only by a few of the most refined. In
our back woods, in former times, the leisure that
might be devoted to the culture of this best of
fruits, was given to that nauseous weed tobacco.
It was planted on old coalpit beds, and in little
patches where a fire had run over newly cleared
land. But our chewers and smokers at the pres-
ent time, depend upon the southern article for their
No. Grist mills, five.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS.
The experiment of soiling cattle has scarcely
been made in this town. Our stock roams over
large pastures, often far into the woods. Many
farmers let their cattle into their meadow lands
in the fall, to gnaw down the grass closely, and
materially injure the crop of the next year.
top, &c., 4.670
Natural meadow, 634
Red top and bent seed,
Acres. Trees. Bush.
364 15.490 15.350
The apple crop of last season was very small..
"We have no other fruit trees by the acre. A few
years since we had two or three poor apologies for
nurseries, but they are going to decay.
Cords, barn-yard manure, - 1772
•• '- ^^ made under cover, 303
^' compost, - - 135
Tons plaster, - - - 41
Barrels poudrette, - - 83
Tons guano, - - - 3J
Tons super-pliospliate, - - f
Our farmers use a good many bushels of leached
ashes. We have not been able to get any satis-
factory returns of the amount. We have one soap
factory, and some are brought from the neighboring
STOCK. — Itorses,
Stallions over three years - 2
Marcs " " - - 99
Geldings " " - 237
Stallions under three years, - - 7
Mares '' u • . 2
Geldin<rs u u . - 2
Total, - - - 349
Most of the horses used to transport freight, to
and from the city, are kept out of town, halfway
to the city of Providence.
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 157
Cows over tliree
Bulls, from three
months to three years.
Over one year,
Founds wool, (mi
Fme wool sheep.
Over one year.
Produce of poultry yard,
Pounds honey, - - - 799
Pounds bees- wax, - - 40
Pounds butter, - - 52,860
Gallons milk, - - - 456,400
Our farmers make little cheese except for family
consumption. They keep no account of that, and
it is impossible to estimate the amount.
Horse powers, - - 6
Hay cutting machines, - - 194
Fanning mills, - - 18
Corn shellers, - - - 13
Value of Implements, - $18,945
By the implements valued above, we intend such
as are employed for agricultural purposes.
Number of houses, - - 451
Number of barns, - - 287
Other buildings, - - 330
Value houses,' - - $225,500
Value bams, - - - 11,480
Value other buildings, - ^,600
Total value of buildings, ^ - 243,580
AS IT WAS, AND AS ITIS. 159
Houses of wood, - - 447
Houses of stone, - - 4
Houses out of highway, - - 34
Houses with basement story, - 30
Houses unpainted, - - - 116
" unoccupied, - - 26
Buildings with slate roof, - - 1
" " gravel " - - *7
In the valuation of buildings above, factory build-
ings and Machine shops are not included.
LABORERS EMPOYED IX AGRICULTURE.
Men by the year, - - .40
Wages " " - - - $7805
Women by the year, - - - 16
Wages " " " - - $1664
Men by the month, - - - 90
Average wages, per month, - $15
Our farmers do much of their work themselves.
In the summer season the boys who are large
enough to labor, are kept from school to aid in the
labors of the farm. We almost daily hear some
farmer complain of being obliged to labor so harcl,
and they sigh for easier terms of western life.
Our farmer's wives love to work, and tlieir daugh-
ters are trained to domestic employments.
No. cotton mills, (one of wood and one
Lbs. cotton nsed in 1855,
Yahie other supplies.
Yds. printing cloths manufactured.
Lbs. yarn warps &c.,
Females " -
Average persons per famil}^,
No. tenements of wood,
No. persons per tenement.
Tons freight annually,
No. of woolen mills of stone,
u u u u u ^ood,
Lbs. of wool consumed annually,
No. setts of Machinery,
'^ yds. fancy cassimere,
" " satinetts,
" tons coal,
" cords wood,
Yalue of dye stuffs, -
^^ other supplies,
of stone,) 2
No. gallons oil, - - - 40,700
" males employed, - - 577
" females, " - - - 181
Average wages males per mouth, - $24.00
" " females ^^ " . - |24.00
No. families in villages employed inMnills, 2G0
Average persons in family, - - 5J
Amount freight per annum, tons, - 4000
Value goods manufactured annually, 1 1,3 72, 991
PROTECTION AGAINST FIRE.
Five of our mills are provided with force pumps,
and beside we have two small fire engines.
We have one steam engine of 60 horse power,
It is connected with one of our woolen mills to
supplement the water power,
Axe Shop, - - - - - 1
Blacksmiths, - < - . H
Butchers, ----- 3
Box Makers, - - - - 6
Boat Makers, - - - . 1
Carpenters, - - - - 17
Dentist, > _ . - 1
Engineer, ... - 1
Gunsmith, - . . - 1
Hoe Factory, . - - 1
Harness Maker, , - - - 1
Masons, . . . _ 7
Machinists, - - - - 50
Millwrights, . . - - 2
Milliners, .... 2
Painters, . - . . 5
Shoe Makers,' - - - - 18
Tailors, .... 3
Wheelwrights, .... 6
Scythe and Drawing Knife Factory.
No. Scythes made annually, - 3000 doz.
No. Drawing Knives, made annually, 500 "
Tons hard coal used, - - 200
Bushels charcoal, - - 2000
Tons iron used, - - - 65
Pounds of steel, - - 14,000
Hands employed, - - - 22
There are about forty coal baskets made annual-
ly, value $140.
No. of Machine Shops, - - 2
Capital, - - - $20,000
Kind of machinery made — spindles and flyers.
Pounds of steel used, - - 93,000
Value of materials used, - $15,000
Bushels charcoal, - - - 3,100
No. of hands employed, - 50
Yalue of annual product, - - $40,000
ASIT WAS, AND AS IT I
Jolin S. Colwell,
Daniel S. Mowry,
John A. Brown,
Oliver A. Inman,
A. L. Foskett,
Daniel S. Sh urn way,
Sayles & Wood,
D. Andrews & Co.
L. D. Millard,
Haynes & Smith,
Wm. R. Waterman,
Buck Hill Woods," "
PascoaQ", Furniture Room.
Jesse M. Smith,
No. Banks, . . . 1
Granite, incorporated, June, 1833.
Amount capital, - - $100,000 00
No. acres in poor farm, - - 125
Original cost, - - $2,400 00
Estimated value, 1856, - - 3,000 00
Value of personal property at poor
house, taken by order of Council,
30tli March, 1855, - - 646 67
No. indigents in 1856, Sept. 1, 9
A donation was made to the town, in 1844, by
will of Doct. Levi Eddy, of Burrillville. The
amount was $1000, interest only to be applied to
the support of the poor.
Our paupers were sold at auction in 1807 for
Estimated value, by assessors, of real
estate in 1855, - - $1,028,661
Estimated value, by assessors, of per-
sonal property in 1855,
Amount tax per centage,
Money tax in 1855,
Highway " ^^ -
First highway tax, 1807, -
Money tax in 1856,
Total value of property in 1856,
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 165
No. miles road. - - - 103
" " stage, - ■ . 14
" " railroad,
" " " partially completed, 9
'' " -' proposed, - 10
No. Bridges 20 feet span, - - 21
Condition of bridges, good; guide posts, bad;
town house, medium.
We lack accommodations for the preservation
of our public records. They have usually been
kept at the dwelling house of the town clerk.
We have no so/c, and the calamity of fire might
unsettle half the titles in town.
No. Hotels, 2.
No. school districts.
" " houses,
Condition of houses, good.
No. male instructors,
No. female "
Average attendance, 1854 and 1855,
1855 and 1856,
Amount money received. State,
" " raised by town.
No. Public Libraries, - - 1
^^ Yolumes, - - - 850
" School district Libraries,
" Reading rooms,
" Literary societies, - - 3
Mapleville Lyceum at Mapleville, for public dis-
cussions and lectures.
Harrisviile Lyceum at Harrisville, for debates
and mental improvement.
Union Club at Laurel Hill, for debates and mu-
No. of lawyers, - - - 1
^' '^ physicians, - - 3
" " post oflices in 1856, - - 4
Newspapers taken —
dailies, - - - 19
semi-weeklies, - - 39
weeklies, - - - 443
semi-monthlies, - - 18
monthlies, - - - - 76
quarterlies, - - 2
Number Freewill Baptist congregations, 4
" Methodist " 3
" Friends " 1
" Episcopalian " 1
" Roman Catholic " 1
" Clergymen, - - 6
" Meeting Houses, - 6
AT IT WAS, AND AS IT IS. 167
Value cliiircli proper ty, - - $8,450
Church accouimodatioii, - - 1500
CoiiiiTe,i>,'atioiis meeting* in school-houses, 4
The Roman Catholics have lately laid the foun-
dation of a church at the village of Harrisville, in
the centre of the town. It is to be 40 feet by Q5,
and it is designed to complete it this autumn.
To the courtesy of D. M. Salisbury, Esq., are we
indebted for the following article, originally pre-
pared for the " Providence Journal."
CENSUS OF BURRILLVILLE.
Whole population, - - 3,538
Number of Males, - • - 1,851
Number of Females, - - 1,687
Persons over 90 years of age - - 7
Persons between 80 and 90, - 21
Persons between 70 and 80, - - 71
Eldest couple now living are John Williams and
wife — -he 91, and she 90, — have been married 73
The family most distinguished for longevity, is
the Esten family, children of John and Lydia Col-
well Esten. Their names and ages are as follows :
Joseph Esten— in his 99th year.
Joanna Inman — in her 97th year.
John Esten — in his 89tlryear.
Marcy Brown — in her 80th year.
Salome Buxton — in her 77th year.
Amey Inman — in her 74th year.
The tliree following children have died since
Jemima Buxton — in her 95th year.
Martha Inman — in her 93d year.
Henry Esten — in his 85th year.
Their father died aged 78 years.
Their mother died aged 86 years.
Their father's mother died aged 97 years.
Their mother's father died aged 97 years.
The Hon. John Esten is still a resident of this
town. Has been justice of the peace 26 years. —
Member of the Court of Probate 34 years. Has
represented the town in G-eneral Assembly 6 years.
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas 4 years. Has
joined in marriage 137 couple. Has been a mem-
ber of the Freewill Baptist Church, of this town,
between 30 and 40 years.
Number of dwelling houses in this town, 633^
Number of families in this town, - 657
Population of Pascoag village, - - 1082
Population of Mapleville, • - 305
Population of Harrisville, - - 202
The population in 1840, was between 1900 and
2000; increase, between 1500 and 1600.
* The followino; was the definition of a dwelling house given to
the Marshal: '•'•Each house having a separate entrance is to he re-
qnrded as a dwelling house, though there maij be tivo or more in a block.''
'When Iiise the term in the Supplement I mean a house in its or-