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us J.(,3q. T 




ProteMor of Philoaopby 




- . F»^-. ■ 










(.39. r 




JUL 28 1933 

Copyright, 1900, by 
Hblsn Evertson Smith. 

Copyright, 1900, by 
Nbw York Evening Post Co. 

Copyright, 1900, by 
The Century Co. 


Sources of Information. Superiority of Letter* 
and Diaries over other Records. Pilgrim, Puri- 
tan, and Cavalier; Dutchman, Huguenot, and 
Palatine. Rapidity of Colonial Growth. 



Sharon, Connecricut. When and how the 
Township was Settled. The Old House: how 
it was Consmictedi who Lived in it; the Papers 
it Contained. 


Rev. Henry Smith of Wethers field, Connecticut. 
Troubles of a Wilderness Church. Letter from 
Samuel Smith of Hadley, Massachusetts, in 
1698, describing Early Days in Wethersfield. 
The Minister's Will. 

The Coming of Mrs. Margaret Lake and the 
Family of Captain John Gallup. Voyage of the 
Abigail. The First Homesteads of the Second 
Generation. Household Labor. A Bride's 


The Long Step &om Connecticut to New York. 
Comforts of the Dutch. Mr. David CodwiM 



Tells of the Houses of his Grandfa 
Niclaes Evertsen, Grandson of Liei 
mind Jan Evertsen. 


Every Homestead a Manufectory. 
Good Providers. Spinning and Wea 
and Candle Making. Washing. 
Yeast. Butter Making. Nursery L 


Edict of Nantes and its Revocation, 
guenot Exodus. Arts Carried Abroac 
L' Estrange. A Huguenot ** Lady in 
An Effectual Disguise. To New R 
Way of England. 



Life less Toilsome than with Most of 
nists. Attachment to the Services 
Church. Refugees not Colonists. 
the Land of their Adoption. Little D 
of House Furnishing. 


Alterations in Names. Resentment to^ 
Native Land. Differences between F 
English Calvinists. Schools Establish< 
Huguenots. Amusements, and Games of 


Gallup and Chesebrough. Rev. Williar 
ington of Saybrook, Connecticut. 
Customs. Quality and Comm' \\t} 
Uninvited Guests. A Valiant Supper. 



Terms of Grant. The First Ladv of 
ingston Manor. Extent of the Manor, 

^ w 


MANOR 197 

Incmae of the Clan in Numbert tad Wodth. 
Education. Margaret Beeckman livingtion, 
Idst Lady of the Manor of Clennont. 

Lake, Gallup, Cheaebrough, and Woithington; 
Elliott, Chauncey, Hopkins, Ely, and Good- 
rich. The Parsonage and its Fumiihingi. Fire 
and Flint. 

Madam Smith's Muldplied Employments. Small 
Incomes and Many Out-goes. Extracts from 
Madam Smith's Reminiscences, The Small- 
pox. Hospitality. The Preaching of WhiteSeld. 



From Sunset to Sunset. The Weekly Ablution. 
Care of the Teeth. Long Services. Catechiz- 
ing. Sunday Night. Fashions and Clothes. 
An Evening of Sacrifice. 

Flight of the Livingstons from Kingston and 
Clermont to Litchfield County, Coimecticui, The 
Young Van Rensselaer, Westerlo. Vaughan's 
Raid. Ladies as Hostlers. Husking Bees. 

XVII A UTERARY CLUB IN 1779-81 . . .267 
The "Clio." Two Diaries. The Sharon 
Uterary Club, Canfield, Spencer. News of 
V'x'try. Tailors and Cbthes. Chancellor 
Kent. Noah Webster. Holmes the Historian. 

'^^^'viktffymg in 1779. Expedients. Abun- 
^*»i HospitaKty. Abaence of Beef. Celery. 
"'^^Wr-dinner Entertainineut. Two Oranges. 

A BiBvd in 1779. litchfidd't Buty I>, 
Judge Tippiiig Reeve ind Famil)'. From Ui 
field to Woodbniy on Snow-ihoei. Panon B« 

Mr. Divid Codwtte Tell* of an Evening it 1 
Rhindander Homestead, Candles and Cant 
d^fxng. The Supper. The "Fire Dano 
Tlie Fndi^ Cup. 

Mescal Man and Merchant, An Early Med 
Conrentiaa. A Captain of Volunteers, i 
mxii^ MofK^ and Supplies. A Solvent Debt 
Compantive Prices. Removal 10 Vennont. 

Aacaton. Penonal Chancterisdca. Smi 
poz in Sharon, "Old Jack" and "Bi 
G -■" A LetMHi in Kindliness. Influei 
mth iDdian*. Tbe Sabbath Made ibr Man. 


The Meeting-hoose at ■ News Depot, ASeaa 
tS Ksconragement. A Meeting-house of 1 
K^Mcnth Century. The News ofBurgoyni 
A Half-century Sermon. E 



Sources of Information. 

Superiority of Letters and 

Diariesoverother Records. 

Pilgrim, Puritan, and 

Cavalier; Dutchman, 

Huguenot, and Palatine. 
Rapidity of Colonial 

jITH the gatheringof relics to make 

WwH siJ'^^'''^ exhibits at the centennial 
kL celebration of our national inde- 
r»s pendence, there came a genera! 
awakening of interest in all things 
pertaining to the history of our Revolutionary War 
and of the few years preceding it. Beginning with 
an interest only in this special period, the slow fire 
spread backward until now there arc few persons 
— at least, of English, Dutch, Huguenot, or even of 
the late-coming Palatine descent — who are not 
increasingly interested in all that pertains to the 
earliest colonists. Especially is this true — proba- 
bly because reliable information concerning it is so 
difficult of access — in whatever pertains to the 
home life, the employments, the enjoyments, the 
hardships, and the habits of our ancestors in those 
far-away days when the comforts and conveniences 
which they possessed were, as compared with 
our own, proportionately as those of the Indians 
when compared with those of the English in 1620. 
So far, it must be confessed that, while the 
amount of information painfully gathered from 

town records, wills, inventories, letters, traditions, 
and relics is not inconsiderable, we are not as greatly 
the gainers by it all as we should be. We have the 
alphabet, but we do not yet know how to make 
words, still less how to construct the sentences, 
which shall tell us the true story of the most in- 
teresting beginning which any people has ever 

Our national life has not been one of growth 
from savagery up, through many wars, through 
centuries of depression and oppression, of slow 
disintegrations and slower constructions, but is 
the result of deliberate purpose on the part of the 
majority of the first colonists, of no matter what 
creed or nationality, to occupy this wide, wild, 
new land, free to the first comer, and bring to it 
all the best of the institutions of the Old World, 
while leaving behind all that was worn out, all 
that had served its day. 

For this reason, if for no other, the smallest 
traces of our national beginnings should be sought 
for; but not as one gathers pebbles on the sea- 
shore, to bring them home, turn them over, and 
throw them away. Every old record, every homely 
detail, every scrap of old furniture, every bit of 
home handicraft, above all, every familiar old let- 
ter or diary or expense-book, should be treasured ; 
not always each for its own sake, but because each 
thing, however valueless by itself, is a letter in our 
alphabet, and, when read in connection with 


something else, may help in the formation of a 
word hitherto unknown to us. 

In forming pictures of home life in the colonies, 
dates, places, and social classes must all be most 
carefully considered. Slow-moving as those pre- 
electric days now seem to us, there yet was a con- 
stant and, when rationally considered, a rapid 
progression, from the moment of the first landing 
at Jamestown onward. 

The life conditions which prevailed in the New 
England colonies from 1620 to 1640 were by no 
means the same as those which prevailed in the 
same colonies during the next two decades, and in 
the other colonics they were at no time quite the 
same as in New England. The settlers of Vir- 
ginia, Delaware, and Maryland were not of the 
same creeds, either political or religious, as those 
which prevailed in New England. They had 
more money, not having been obliged to make 
their flitting under such adverse circumstances, and 
climate had also its influence. 

The Dutch held very similar religious and politi- 
cal views to those of the New England colonists, 
butdieir commercial instincts were stronger, their 
aggressiveness was less vehement, and their love 
of home comforts and knowledge of how to obtain 
them were much greater, for during the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries Holland was at the head 
of the commerce and manufactures of the world. 
Besides this, many of the immigrant Hollanders 


were either wealthy themselves, or were the well- 
provided offshoots from wealthy families who 
were disposed to enlarge their estates by commerce 
in the new lands. 

The first three sets of colonists had passed through 
their pioneer stages, and gathered around them- 
selves a fair degree of all the accompaniments of 
civilization before the advent of the fourth dis- 
tinct and considerable body of settlers. These were 
the refugee Huguenots. In religion the Hugue- 
nots were as Calvinistic in their creed as were 
the Puritans and the Dutch, and were fully as 
earnest and steadfast in their belief, while the per- 
secutions which the Puritans had suffered in Eng- 
land could no more be compared with those which 
had been endured for nearly two centuries by the 
Huguenots than the privations of one of our late 
Spanish captives could be compared with the suf- 
ferings of the colonists harried by the Indians in 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

Whether they had been rich or poor in France, 
there were very few of the Huguenot refugees 
who were not in the depths of poverty when they 
reached here. But they were gentle (in both 
senses of the word), they were trained in many 
arts, and they had the keen perceptions, the cour- 
tesy, and the easy adaptability of their race. Home 
life among them was different from that of any of 
the other colonists, partly because they had the 
advantage of coming to a land which had already 

J ■*■ 


been occupied {or more than threescore years by 
laborious, progressive, and intelligent settlers, and 
partly because they came from a land which was 
in some things more advanced than either Holland 
or England. Politically the Huguenots had little 
sympathy with either English or Dutch. Their race 
was strongly monarchical by instinct; the rights of 
the individual man had never assumed their proper 
proportions in the eyes of Frenchmen. 

The last of the great immigrations was that of 
the Palatines. In modem times there never has 
been such wholesale abandonment of home and 
fatherland as that by these unfortunate members 
of a home-loving race, driven by scores of thou- 
sands forth from the land of their birth by unen- 
durable misery. Their home had been the battle- 
ground of Europe. Great kings and petty princes. 
Catholics and Protestants, had alike fought over it, 
burned its villages, destroyed its crops, leveled its 
strongholds, and harried its people until they had 
no hope remaining. In sheer desperation they 
begged from the compassion of England a passage 
to and a home in the wilds of the new land. 
Theirs is a history as yet inadequately written, but 
it is worthy of the pen of a really good historian, 
and when one shall arise from among their descen- 
dants theirs will prove to be a worthy and in some 
respects an unexampled record. 

In studying the lives of the early colonists these 
different origins should always be considered. 

The one colony must not be judged by another. 
The Puritan, — a political as well as a religious 
exile, — persecuted for his political views even 
more thsin his religious tenets, came here to 
found an empire where all his views should have 
room and liberty to expand. He was keen-witted, 
and, — for bis day^ be it ever understood, — in spite 
of his rigid notions of morality, and of all modem 
assertions to the contrary, he was no narrower in 
his strictness than was the roistering Cavalier in his 
laxity of morals. The harshness of the Puritan 
toward those who disagreed with him was tender- 
ness and mercy compared to the "justice " meted 
out to either religious or political dissidents in old 
England, or, for that matter, in any other country 
in Europe, with the possible exception of Holland, 
at that period. Neither man nor nation should be 
judged by other than the standards of his time. 

The conditions of the Puritan's life were hard, 
but full of mental, moral, and physical health. 
Whether gentle or simple, he despised no handi- 
craft, neglected no means of cultivation, shirked 
no duty (nor did he permit any other to do so, if 
he could help it), and he fought his way upward, 
unhasting, unresting. 

The settlers of the fertile Southlands were also 
principally of English blood, yet they differed 
widely from those of the sterile North. They 
were courageous, of course. A minority came 
under compulsion, but the majority came of their 


own free will, and cowards did not cross the ocean 
in those days, when the sea and the wilderness had 
real terrors for even the boldest. The love of lib- 
erty was in their blood, and both the traditions of 
their past and the comparatively genial conditions 
by which they were surrounded gave them easy 
and comfortable views. If the Englishman of the 
North were strenuous, energetic, a warm friend and 
a stem foe, he of the South was strong, generous, 
and joyous. If each were disposed to look a lit- 
tle askance at the other when the world went well 
with both, when trouble threatened either the fra- 
ternal blood flowed warm and true. We are all 
proud of them both — stern Puritan, gay Cavalier. 

The Dutchman was milder than the Puritan, 
but every way as stiff-necked, and was an inborn 
republican as well as an educated Calvinist. 
Slower in his perceptions, narrower in his concep- 
tions, and more prejudiced than even the Puritan, 
his &ults were not so glaring because less aggres- 
sive, and the strength of his friendships and family 
Sections hid them from the view of those who 
lived nearest him. As a mariner and as a trader, 
as well as in the arts which tend to make life easier 
and more comfortable, he had few equals, and our 
country owes much of its subsequent prosperity to 
the Dutchman's commercial and industrial instincts. 
We are ever grateful to him. 

The Huguenot was devout, unambitious, aflfec- 
tiotute of heart, artistic, cultivated, adaptable. He 


brought to us the arts, accomplishments, and graces 
of the highest civilization then known, together 
with a sweet cheerfulness ail his own. Not a colony 
or a class but was ameliorated by his influence, 
and, ccNisciously or unconsciously, we all love 

The Palatine came to our shores desperate with 
misery. Although Protestant, his hith was not 
Calvinistic, neither did it fill so large a place in his 
thoughts. To the older colonists he seemed to be 
material, almost sordid, in his aims ; but they un- 
derstood neither his language nor his desperation. 
Perhaps they did not sufficiently try to do sa So 
he was left to himself, and so difficult was he of 
assimilation that even to-day those of his descen- 
dants who live a little c^ from the highways of com- 
merce may still be found speaking but very im- 
perfect English, if any, and living in self-centered 
communities, with little heed of the outside world, 
shut off from its influence. Industrious, frugal, un- 
progressive, living for himself alone, we still do not 
comprehend him. 

Now, it is certain, from the nature of things, that 
the home lives of all these different bands of colo- 
nists must have differed widely. None had luxuries 
and few had comforts, as we now understand these 
terms, but each had some possessions, some ways, 
some deficiencies, and some attainments which be- 
longed to none of the others; hence it is that a 
knowledge of the home life and personal character- 

istics prevalent in one colony does not imply a 
knowledge of those of another. 

Even the details of domestic life differed some- 
what in all the colonies, and a thing sometimes 
forgotten is that the house furnishings and personal 
habits, as well as the degrees of mental culture, 
differ with every advancing decade. Improved 
conditions came with a rapidity that was unexam- 
pled until that time. Because the first New Eng- 
land immigrants were obliged to live in moss- 
chinked and mud-plastered log huts, it does not 
follow that they long continued to live in them. 
In feet, it was but a few years before very substan- 
tial and comfortable dwellings were erected by the 
better class in all the colonies. The " Old Stone 
House" of Guilford, Connecticut, erected in 1639, 
is still an exceedingly comfortable and even hand- 
some residence, though it has been damaged by 
some ill-judged alterations for which there was no 
excuse, because they have in no way added to the 
convenience or comfort of the inmates. 

- Two or three years later than the building of the 
Guilford house, there was erected in Hartford, 
Connecticut, a two-story house of squared timbers, 
covered with overlapping shingles on the sides, for 
the Rev. Thomas Hooker. Of this house a cut is 
given in Barbour's " Historical Collections of Con- 
necticut," which shows it to have been not only a 
substantial, but, though a simple, yet a noticeable 
mansion for that period in the old England as 

well as in the New. The house erected for Mr. 
William Whiting about the same time is said to 
have been still better. The house furnishings of 
Mr. Hooker and Mr. Whiting, as inventoried after 
their deaths, would not seem very plentiful or lux- 
urious to-day, but, read in connection with the 
similar inventories of the same date belonging to 
the yeoman or petty gentry classes in England, do 
not show many marked differences. Even when 
compared with the inventories of the larger landed 
proprietors in England, there is not much to choose 
in the way of comforts, though undoubtedly there 
is in that of articles of luxury and display. In 
these there is as much difference between the pos- 
sessions of Mr. Hooker and Mr. William Whit- 
ing of Hartibrd and those of an English gentleman 
of high social grade, as there is between an English 
nobleman's belongings and those of a Frenchman 
of similar rank, or those of a Hollander of the rich 
merchant class at the same period. To the French 
nobleman or the untitled but wealthy Dutchman, 
the interior of the English nobleman's castle must 
have seemed to the full as barren of beauty and of 
comfort as the homes of the Hartford settlers 
would have seemed to all of them. 

A few years later than the deaths of Mr. Hooker 
and Mr. Whiting, the recorded inventories grow 
longer and fuller. Stools gradually disappear from 
them and chairs are increasingly in evidence. 
Forks are not named until well on to the opening 

of the seventeenth century, and then they are of 
silver, and are first mentioned in the will of a citi- 
zen of Boston in the last quarter of the seventeenth 
century, at about which time they seem to have 
come into use among the upper classes in England, 
having been introduced there from France and 

It may be taken for granted that the wealthiest 
settlers of New England in 1630 were a little better 
off in comforts than the poorest of 1650, and so on. 
The advance was continuous. So much industry, 
intelligence, energy, and invention were applied to 
the work that the progress was marvelous. 

The same process was going on in all the col- 
onies. The Dutchman, when he became an Eng- 
lish subject, did not change his character or his 
ways, but his growth was steady, if^ perhaps, a trifle 
slower than that of his English neighbor. It 
must be remembered that he started fi-om a higher 
plane of comfort (Holland being much in advance 
of England in this regard), so that by the middle 
of the eighteenth century both stood upon about 
the same level in these things. In the meanwhile, 
both had been greatly helped by the incoming of 
the artistic, polished, and thrifi:y French element. 
The latter brought but few articles of luxury or 
even of utility, for, like the persecuted Armenians 
who lately sought our shores, the dangers and dif- 
ficulties of their escape made such importations 
impossible; but they brought the manufacturing 


and decorative skill to supply all deficiencies, and 
also the power and the will to impart their skill, 
and a few of them, like the Jays of Bedford, bad 
been able to send some of their wealth to this 
country in advance of their own emigration. Very 
little of all that was left behind was ever regained. 
As sources of knowledge concerning household 
possessions of the colonists, wills and the inventories 
accompanying them have been too much relied 
upon — not because they are not accurate, for this, 
of course, they are, but because they do not cover 
ground enough. As a rule, the larger the estate 
the less likely was there to be an inventory of 
household possessions, their appraisement and divi- 
sion among heirs being usually made by agreement. 
In several distinct lines of colonial £imilies which 
I have traced back through seven and eight genera- 
tions to the years beginning with 1 630, I have dis- 
covered comparatively few wills, and, after about 
1650, these were seldom accompanied by inven- 
tories of household possessions. Even when an 
estate had been administered upon, in ordinary 
cases the more purely personal property had appa- 
rently been divided by lot or private agreement, 
without public appraisal. Especially is this found 
to be the case in families numbering lawyers among 
its members. In such families, when wills were 
made, some person was nearly always named as 
residuary legatee, in order, probably, to prevent 
the necessity for giving detailed information of 

such purely private matters to a curious local 

From the extent and variety of my researches in 
this Hne, I have come to have little doubt that this 
aversion to recorded inventories of household pos- 
sessions was stronger in proportion to the wealth 
of the deceased. Hence it is unfair to suppose 
that the inventories which remain give accurate 
ideas of the kinds and qualities of the household 
furnishings of all the classes in a colony. 

Perhaps it is due to too great a reliance upon 
such sources of information that many persons are 
in the habit of thinking that our ancestors possessed 
only the plainest, most uncouth, and most comfort- 
less of furnishings. This was quite true of even 
the wealthy among the first comers, but it speedily 
ceased to be true even of those who were not 
wealthy. The first immigrants among the Puri- 
tans had not a floor carpet among their possessions ; 
but the number used in England in the first half 
of the seventeenth century was small, and they 
were considered quite in the light of effeminate 
luxuries. By 1660, or a little later, the always 
ugly and hard-to-be-swept, but all-enduring (and 
much-inflicring) rag carpet came into use, while 
those of the better class were usually provided with 
several of the excellent and easily swept but equally 
ugly yam carpets, which could be and were made 
in those private families who were rich enough to 
provide the material, own the looms, and pay for 


the weaving. A few fine carpets were imported 
from the Netherlands, but only by the wealthiest 
colonists. By the middle of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, the yam carpets were made and sold by vil- 
lage weavers, and had thus become comparatively 
plentiful. I find no evidence that rag carpets 
were used in the better sort of houses, except in 
rear passages and inferior rooms. Not long ago it 
was desired to restore one of the living-rooms in 
the most venerated house in North America to its 
condition in the years between 1776 and i8cx),and 
preparations were made by one of our patriotic 
societies to cover its floor with a rag carpet. This 
seems an error in judgment. As Washington im- 
ported most of the finer clothes for himself and his 
immediate family, as well as their rich bed-hang- 
ings, their handsomest articles of furniture, and the 
best of wines for his family consumption, it is hardly 
likely that he did not follow the fashion of other 
gentlemen of his social rank, and import carpets for 
his best rooms, while using those of woven yam 
for all inferior purposes. 

At one time there was a general impression that 
all the immigrant families of good standing had 
brought over with them many rich articles of 
furniture, much silver plate, and even many articles 
of porcelain. Later on it had to be acknowledged 
that nothing but the most essential of household 
furnishings could have been permitted on vessels 
which were already entirely overcrowded with pas- 

sengers and the animals which were essential to life 
and agriculture in the new land, while " Maj^nver 
tea-pots " became a laughing-stock when it was re- 
membered that tea did not come into use in Great 
Britain until many years after the landing of the 

After this there set in a reaction, and now the 
pendulum has swung almost as far the other way. 
While it is true that fine furnishings were the ex- 
ception in the colonies as long as they continued 
to be such, it is untrue that there were not many 
families well supplied with all the comforts and 
luxuries that were usual in families of similar rank 
in old England. There is now in the possession 
of a descendant of the original owner, and in perfect 
preservation, a handsomely inlaid mahogany aicjgc^ 
board of the sort known as Chippendale^ which v 
was imported by a Connecticut former in 1 7.^7, at a 
cost, including that of transportation, of thirty-nine 
pounds fifteen shillings sterling, as witnessed by 
the time-yellowed receipted bill of the maker, 
which is still preserved. This cannot have been 
an isolated instance, yet we are now asked to believe 
that the stem conditions in the first halfcentury in 
the colonies prevailed until after the colonial period 
had passed by. 

The second error is as great as the first. The 
colonial stage of our existence was one of continual 
advancement The colonists were of different 
races, of different social grades, of differing stages 


of intellectual growth, of varying degrees of wealth ; 
hence they cannot be judged by inflexible stan- 
dards, and colonial life should be carefully studied, 
almost as scholars study the history of ancient 
Nineveh and Babylon. From the scanty fragments 
of a long-neglected past we may gather our alpha- 
bet and learn to construct our sentences aright. 






Sharon, Connecticut. 

When and how the Town- 
ship was Settled. 

The Old House: how it 

was Constructed; who 

Lived in it ; the Papers 

it Contained. 


?Or}oO^HE beautifiil village of Sharon, ly- 
A_^ A/> ing picturesquely along one of the 
I broad natural terraces which form 
\j \7 the western slopes of the southern 

O^j^^^^ spurs of the Berkshire Hills, was 
not one of the earliest settlements of Connecticut. 
A few stragglers, mostly from the banks of the 
Hudson River, had reared their temporary homes 
in this vicinity from time to time, but these had for 
the most part faded away when the township was 
laid out, in 1733, and it was not until several years 
after this that there were enough inhabitants to 
justify an application to the Assembly for an act of 
IncorporatiorL Hence it would hardly be expected 
that papers relating to the very earliest colonial 
periods should be found here. But the first settlers 
of Sharon were not fresh immigrants from the Old 
World; they were all, or nearly all, descended 
from the pioneer colonists of New England, and 
naturally brought with them some of the relics 
and records that their parents and grandparents 
had accumulated. 

In Sharon, among several fine houses of late 


colonial dates, is one in which, during more than 
a hundred and thirty years, six generations of 
one family have lived quiet and happy but full 
and not uninteresting lives. 

In the wide and lofty garrets of this house are 
stored many thousands of letters and other papers 
such as generations of cultivated and undestrucdve 
persons would naturally accumulate around them. 
Some of these papers are packed in oaken chests 
which had brought household plenishings ^ across 
the water " in the early days of the seventeenth 
century ; some are in other chests of cherry wood, 
which were probably made in this country in the 
first decades of the colonial period ; some are in 
the hair-covered, brass-nailed, and round-topped 
trunks of a later day ; some are discovered packed 
in bandboxes which may once have contained 
elaborate periwigs, or immense and costly Leghorn 
bonnets; and again we find papers, valuable or 
useless, as the case may be, tucked away under the 
eaves in old baskets of Indian make, or in open 
pine-wood boxes, and even in barrels. 

Some years ago, Mrs. E. P. Terhune (Marion 
Harland) visited this old house, and in her valuable 
and altogether charming book concerning " Some 
Colonial Homesteads and their Stories" has men- 
tioned the old garret and its papers. She says : 

" We climb the stairs to the great garret. A 
large, round window, like an eye, is set in a gable ; 
the roof slopes above a vast space, where the towns- 

people used to congregate for dance and speech- 
making and church ' entertainments ' before a pub- 
lic hall was built; . . . and in the middle of the 
dusky spaciousness, a long, long table over which 
is cast a white cloth. . . . Family papers! . . . 
Hampers, corded boxes, and trunks full of them ! 
The hopes, the dreads, the loves, the lives of nine 
generations of one blood and name.*' But the last 
clause is hardly correct The nine generations 
who are represented here are of several names and 
even of differing nationalities; but the blood of 
them all is mingled in the veins of their descen- 
dants, the present owners of the old house. 

During all the years that these old papers were 
accumulating they were carefully dusted once or 
twice a year, but not always replaced in their va- 
rious receptacles with the reverential care which 
they deserved. Indeed, it is known that during 
the dozen years or so which succeeded 1845, ser- 
vants who had neglected to provide kindlings for 
the fires were occasionally permitted to use the 
garrefs store of papers for their purpose. Not- 
withstanding this culpable carelessness, great quan- 
tities still remained at the time that my interest in 
them was first aroused, now a great many years 
ago. From these papers the larger part of the 
materials for the following chapters has been culled, 
though some of the things that are here related are 
on the authority of femily traditions, notes of which 
I began taking when I was eleven years old, as I 


heard them narrated by parents, grandparents, and 
great-uncles and -aunts. These notes I continued 
to take at intervals for about eighteen years, by the 
end of which time many of the beloved narrators 
had gone to rejoin those virhom they had held 
in such £iithful and affectionate remembrance. 
Whenever anything is told on the authority of 
traditions only, it is thus expressly stated; but 
most of the information is from the abundant store 
of written sources. 

The house in which the before-mentioned papers 
had been preserved is a fine specimen of the best 
period of our colonial architecture. The part which 
is now a capacious wing, running back from the 
main structure, was the first to be erected, and was 
reared on the foundations of a still earlier building. 
This first portion of the new home was completed 
about 1 765 and was in itself a spacious dwelling. 
The cellars and kitchen were in its basement, and 
a very large dining-hall, with two other good-sized 
rooms, were on its first floor. These were flanked 
by piazzas (or rather stoeps) on the north and 
south sides. The wing's bedrooms were on the 
second floor, with windows in the long, sloping 
roof, whose peak was filled by a garret of good 

In this broad and comfortable dwelling, the 
owner, Simeon Smith, M.D., lived with his &mily 
while the very much larger main house was in the 
process of construction. And a slow process it was 


in those laborious days ! Just when the wing was 
begun we do not know, but as it is of the same 
well-cut stone as the main house, which was not 
finished until some time during the Revolutionary 
War, we may hardly credit it with consuming 
much less than three years. There were then no 
steam-drills to assist in cutting the Bnely fitted 
stones. Watei^power sawmills existed in this 
region at the time, and such planks as were used 
in the building were mostly sawed by them; but 
all the heavy timbers — and very heavy they are 
— appear to have been hewn with the carpenter's 
broadax, while the matchings of the floor-boards 
were all cut by hand. 

The walls of both the wing and the main house 
were very solidly built of deftly fitted stones, laid 
with a fine regard for shape and color, and are 
ftom sixteen inches to two feet in thickness. The 
windows are surrounded by ornamental settings of 
red brick, which are of an unusually large size. 
The rear wall of the main house was built up 
against the exterior of the western gable of the 
wing, and the two walls thus joined are fifty-two 
inches thick where a large doorway connects the 
two structures. It is said that the foundations of 
the main house were begun before the completion 
of the walls of the wing, and were allowed to stand 
through the frosts of several successive winters " so 
that they might be well settled." The whole 
work was under the direction of a Genoese archi- 

tect, who is stated to have been a political exile, 
and who brought some of his countrymen as assis- 
tants. The mortar he used is to-day as firm as the 
stone it cements, and is the admiration of modem 
architects and masons. I have often heard my 
grandfather say that his great-uncle, for whom the 
house was built, had told him that the Grenoese 
was so jealous lest some one should discover the 
secret of this mortar that he set guards and took 
other precautions to keep away all intruders while 
he was mixing it. Probably the secret of its en- 
during quality is in the feet that very finely pow- 
dered stone and brick were used in the place of 
sand. With the purely manual labor of those 
days, this alone would have made the building a 
slow affair. 

The foundations being considered sufficiently 
settled, the superstructure of the main building be- 
gan to rise in 1773, and was roofed and its walls 
plastered by the opening of the campaign of 1775. 
From this time onward there was little thought to 
bestow upon so personal a matter as the building 
of a dwelling-house. Country-building was a 
much more important business. 

In the early summer of 1 775, the widowed Mrs. 
Samuel Smith, formerly of Suffield, Connecticut, 
and then living with her youngest son, Simeon, 
saw her second son, the Rev. Cotton Mather 
Smith, depart as chaplain to Colonel Hinman's 
regiment, in General Schuyler's army at Ticon- 


Probably even at this time papers had begun to 
accumulate in the spaces under the steep slopes of 
the hipped roof between the dormer-windows along 
the sides and ends of the old garret ; for, in 1 788, 
Dr. Smith, writing from Vermont, requests his 
nephew to "Look in the big cedar chest which 
Mother brought from SufBeld, and which stands at 
the very south end of my big Garret, and you will 
find there the deeds of the Judge Badcock form 
which I wish to have sent to me by some safe 

The mass of papers remaining here include 
many thousands of letters, several diaries, a great 
number of legal documents of both public and 
private natures, as well as piles of antiquated led- 
gers, bound, for the most part, in a sort of undressed 
leather, and big enough to have required an entire 
sheepskin for each tome. This mass of unassorted 
papers spreads over all the years, fi'om the landings 
of the earlier immigrants in Massachusetts and 
Connecticut, down to near the middle of the pres- 
ent century. Naturally, the number of documents 
that have survived from the hundred years begin- 
ning with 1636 is not as large as we would wish; 
but fi'om about 1730 the number began to increase, 
and from 1 754 onward the material — though often 
leaving gaps just where they are most unwelcome 
— is remarkably abundant. 

From these sources I have drawn what I believe 
to be, though incomplete, yet, as far as they ex- 


tend, faithful pictures of the home life of the better 
class of persons in several places and periods of our 
colonial existence. 

Such information as we may gather from town 
and church records is invaluable in its way; but 
from such sources we need not expect to get any 
but the scantiest glimpses of the home life. We 
now have daily newspapers and society journals to 
chronicle public and private events, and they cer- 
tainly tell a great deal about the daily life of all 
classes among us ; yet if, two centuries hence, these 
things should be the only testimony that had sur- 
vived, can we conceive that our homes might be 
justly pictured from them ? Or should we fere 
any better if judged by the records of the law- 
courts? Yet these would be riches compared 
with the meager sources which have come to us 
from colonial days. Concerning the homes and 
home life of the colonists our best materials must 
come from the comparatively few traditions that 
were committed to paper long enough ago to be 
granted a measure of authenticity, and from the 
relatively few contemporary family papers which 
have escaped from the inevitable losses by fires, 
removals, and — worst of all — the destruction by 
the Gallios who " cared for none of these things,'* 
until a tardily awakened interest in our ancestry 
has caused many of the heedless transgressors to 
remember and shudder at the bonfires fed by such 
unprized but now priceless material. 


This little book relates what I have patiently 
gleaned concerning the home life of a few £iirly 
representative families in the colonies of New 
York and Connecticut These families were ori- 
ginally of several nationalities — English, Dutch, 
Scotch, and French Huguenots; yet, in the course 
of generations, all became related. Papers once 
belonging to or concerning each one of them, some 
of them unknown to each other even by name 
until long years after the papers were written, and 
some of them never so known, have long been 
lying side by side in the silent garret, and the 
descendants of the writers of most of the diaries 
and correspondence may now be found scattered 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific and firom Canada 
to the Gulf. 

In the earliest of these papers we find evidence 
of great privations heroically endured — not firom 
hope of worldly advantage, but fi'om the highest 
of mdtives. The gently born and bred, the con- 
scientious laborer, the strictest Puritan, the Scotch 
Presbyterian, the sturdy Dutch Calvinist, and the 
patient Huguenot were all alike upheld by their 
sturdy faith in God and righteousness. They 
made mistakes enough, all of them — the Puritan 
perhaps more than the rest, because he was Anglo- 
Saxon, and therefore could never imagine himself 
to be in the wrong about any matter, and, in the 
large generosity of his nature, was always ready to 
instruct less gifted mortals, who did not always 


appreciate his unasked services at the value he set 
upon them. But the errors of the Puritan, like 
the errors of most well intcntioned persons, are but 
the defects of his qualities, and a vast deal too much 
has been made of them. 

It is a law of nature that those who have had 
the hardest lives shall become the most rigid in 
character, and the New-Englanders have always 
had the feme of having fulfilled this natural law to 
an undue, even to an unnatural, extent, being harsh 
to cruelty to all who displeased them, including 
their own sons and daughters; but in this garret 
fu!! of papers, mostly written by persons who were 
Calvinists of Calvinists, Puritans of the straitest 
sect, I am happy to state that I have found many 
evidences of kindnesses most tenderly bestowed 
and gratefully received, and of deeds of a large- 
minded tolerance and charity, as well as of tender 
and even demonstrative affection, including a good 
deal of jocose familiarity between parents and chil- 
dren. On the other hand, I have found record of 
but very few things that manifest intolerance or hard 
feelings ; and these were all in the earlier years, 
when the harshness engendered by the persecutions 
from which the colonists had fled and by the ter- 
rors of the wilderness to which they had come had 
not had time to mellow into patience and forbear- 
ance. Neither (except in the papers relating to 
suits at law which had been conducted by or be- 
fore one of the ablest lawyers and judges of his 


time, and with which none of the femilies or per- 
sons connected with those whose lives we picture 
had anything to do) is there aught to show malice, 
trickery, or disgrace of any sort. These family 
records are simple, but, thank Grod ! they are clean. 

The material hardships of the new land were 
very great, but most severely felt were the trials of * 
homesickness, the longing for a sight or a token 
of those who had been left in the homes beyond 
the sea, and the lack of facilities for the mental 
culture of their children. The determination to 
reduce the latter difficulty as soon as might be was 
evidenced in the early establishment of the two 
upper-grade schools which were ambitiously termed 
the colleges of Harvard and Yale, so called not 
because of what they were or could be at the start, 
but because of the high standing to which it was 
confidently hoped they would ultimately attain. 

Rudimentary schools were defective in many 
ways, but the teachers did their best to make zeal 
atone for the lack of other essentials. The grand- 
children of the first immigrants appear to have 
suffered much more from the want of proper in- 
struction than did the preceding and the next fol- 
lowing generation, but never, from first to last, did 
they cease to set the highest value upon intellectual 
cultivation or fail of using every means in their 
power to secure for their children the advantages 
of a "polite education," a phrase which is repeated 
hundreds of times in these old letters. Spelling 


have heen feithfuUy preserved in the unaffected 
chronicles of fathers and mothers, brothers and 
sisters, friends and lovers, who wrote for the limited 
circle of those whom they loved and who loved 
them ; and prove them to be worthy of the love 
of those who came after them. 

t.'.'-- '4 * 'Ll\ 



Rev. Henry Smith of 
Wethersficld, Connecti- 
' Troubles of a Wilderness \ 
Letter from Samuel Smith 
of Hadley, Massachu- 
setts, in 1698, describing I 
Early Days in Wethers- 
The Minister's Will 

V:t^^m ^ 

"IN New England the life of femily, 
church, and town began together. 
The immigrants mostly came in 
families. Of bachelors there were a 
few ; but these, by wise forethought, 
were attached, at least temporarily, to some one of 
the families very soon after the landing, if not 
actually during the voyage. As the earliest colo- 
nists were almost wholly persons who came here 
through religious motives, such heads offamilies 
as were of the most social note were naturally 
among the most active in church matters, and 
therefore in those of the town; for during many 
years the church was practically the town also, 
the elders or deacons of the one usually being the 
selectmen of the other. 

The church edi6ce could not be erected at as 
early a date as the houses ; but in many cases the 
church had been organized even before the selec- 
tion of the town site, and the most commodious 
of the dwellings was used as a meeting-house as 
soon as it could afford a shelter from the weather. 
By prescriptive rights the ministers were the lead- 


ing citizens in each town. They were often, per- 
haps generally, men of gentle birth, and usuaUy 
graduates of one of the leading universities — most 
frequently of Cambridge, that •* nursery of Puritan- 
ism "; thus they were naturally the social as well 
as the spiritual leaders of their people. As eccle- 
siastics they seem to have deemed themselves, and 
to have been esteemed by their congregations, to 
be divine-right priests and Levites, with authority 
to declare and enforce the law of the Lord. Yet 
it is said that the title of Reverend was not used in 
New England until 1670; ministers before that 
time being called Mister, Pastor, Teacher, or Elder, 
save in a few instances where deceased ministers 
were spoken of as Reverend Elders. To their 
honor be it spoken that, notwithstanding their 
conceded superiority, there were very few of these 
ministers who did not bear themselves as servants 
under authority and strictly accountable to the 
Master whom they loyally served for the just ex- 
ercise of the power which he had delegated to 
them. They ruled their people, but it was with a 
father's despotism — as loving and as gentle as it 
was strong. 

With a few exceptions, the rule of the pastors 
was, for more than a century, almost unquestioned, 
because it was in the main both wise and unselfish. 
In the family life of the colonial pastors we find 
the beginnings of all that is best in the history of 
our country : the charity that begins at home, but 


is not confined to family, church, or township; the 
warm affections, the sturdy honesty, the firm ad- 
herence to what is deemed to be right; the cou- 
rageous confession when a wrong is recognized, 
and, as speedily as may be, a contrite atonement 
made. It has been said of the half-century pastor- 
ate of a descendant of the pioneer pastor the faint 
traces of whose footsteps we are now about to fol- 
low, — and the words apply to many others, — that 
" The town's history from the day of the Pastor's 
installation might almost be said to be his biogra- 
phy, with a few footnotes of other things. . . . He 
was a kind of college in himself . . . sending out, 
like class after class, the influences, the growths 
and inspirations of his large nature upon the lives 
of the men and women of his flock." 

Trumbull, in his history of Connecticut, having 
previously designated the chief settlers of Windsor 
and Hartford, names those of Wethersfield, giving 
Mr. Henry Smith as among the latter, and adds : 
"These were the civil and religious Fathers of a 
Colony that formed its free and happy constitution, 
they were its legislators and some of the chief 
pillars of the church and commonwealth, they . . , 
employed their ability and their estates for the 
prosperity of the Colony." 

Nearly half, if not more than half, of the stanch 
first settlers of Connecticut had left England after 
the opening of the eleven years of terror which be- 
gan with the prorogation of Parliament in 1629. 


During these rears Ardibishc^ Laud and die Earl 
of Strafibrd were held bj die loyal-hearted among 
the people to be responsible for all the sins of their 
master, and doubtless some of die odium that the 
advisers received was richly merited; but Laud, 
at least, although a bigot and a £uiatic, was both 
able and honest, while Charies had all the bigotry 
and the £inaticism, without the honesty, of him 
whom he made his tooL 

Very heavy fines, the loss of stipends jusdy due, 
' and imprisonment for too great freedom of speech, 
were among the minor punishments inflicted upon 
the clergy and laymen who did not acquiesce in the 
doctrines inculcated by those in authority. These, 
and the despair of better days coming in the old 
England, were the considerations which drove the 
great body of our Puritan settlers to take the 
desperate step of emigrating to the New England. 
Even this was not permitted without much oppo. 
sition from the officers of the crown. A few 
persons would meet privately, agree upon one or 
two men as leaders, and empower them to secure 
and charter a suitable ship, shipmaster, and crew, 
and to lay in the necessary stores for the voyage 
and the subsequent plantation in the wilderness. 
Those who wished to join the adventure were 
obliged to sell their landed estates or other prop- 
erty, and also to purchase their personal supplies, 
mostly at a great disadvantage on account of the 
necessary secrecy. At all ports of possible depar- 



ture the government's spies were constantly on the 
lookout to report tokens of intention to escape. 
Detection made arrest certain, and imprisonment 
and confiscation of property almost as certain. 

The cost of transportation of human beings, cat- 
tle, or freight, in the miserable little vessels of 
the time, was — considering the difference in the 
purchasing power of money — enormous. The 
company which went to Watertown, Massachu- 
setts, brought with them one hundred and eighty 
servants, whose passage cost the company an ave- 
rage of something over eighty-three dollars each, 
which was probably equivalent to about two hun- 
dred and fifty dollars of our present currency. At 
this rate the transportation of a large femily, with 
servants and domestic animals, agricultural imple- 
ments, other essential tools and provisions, not 
only for the voyage, but for twelve or more months 
thereafter, and even the most modest outfits of per- 
sonal and household effects, must have gone fax 
toward exhausting the funds which, the adventurers 
might have derived from the necessarily disadvan- 
tageous sales of their property. 

It was from Watertown that a great part of the 
Connecticut Colony came. Some persons were 
sent ahead, in the summer of 1635, to prepare 
temporary quarters for the families. The latter, 
numbering sixty persons in all, men, women, and 
children, began to move in Ocjober of the same 
year. The journey, which was necessarily on foot, 


— there being no paths save the Indian trails, and 
very few, if any, beasts of burden, — was so long 
that winter came weeks before the poor creatures 
were nearly ready for it •*By November 15th," 
says Trumbull, " the Connecticut River was frozen 
over and the snow upon it was so deep that a con- 
siderable number of the cattle that had been so 
painfully driven from Massachusetts, could not be 
got across the River. The sufferings of man and 
beast were extreme. Their principal provisions 
and household furniture had been sent around in 
several small vessels to come up the River. Several 
of these were wrecked. Great numbers of the 
cattle perished." The following summer the Rev. 
Thomas Hooker headed the second company com- 
ing from Watertown. It was a pleasanter coming, 
owing to the more propitious season, and made 
forever both picturesque and pathetic by the pres- 
ence of the litter bearing poor, patient Mrs. Hooker, 
carried as tenderly as might be by the willing 
hands of her husband's parishioners and fellow- 

Although the Rev. Henry Smith is historically 
called the " first settled pastor of the first settled 
town in Connecticut," it is not probable that he 
came with either of the first two bands firom 
Watertown, but with a later one. A few log 
cabins were built in what subsequently became 
known as the **town of Weathersfield " even 
before the first settlers reached Windsor. Thus 


Wcthersfield claims to be the first settled town in 
the State, and Mr. Smith was its first settled pastor, 
though he was not installed as such until after Mr. 
Hooker and Mr. Warham were officiating in 
Hartford and in Windsor. It is not recorded just 
when Mr. Smith came to Wcthersfield, but he 
was residing there and received his allotment at 
the first apportionment of the town lands. 

Mr. Smith had reached this country, going first 
to Watertown, in 1636 or 1637. While the rule 
in New England pastorates was that the pastor was 
literally as well as figuratively the head of an obe- 
dient flock, which paid him all due deference, and 
followed his lead as sheep follow the piping of 
the shepherd, the pastors who successively essayed 
the charge of the church in Wethersfield were the 
unfortunate exceptions. In no sense could Mr. 
Smith have found his new pastorate a bed of roses. 
Besides the privations and hardships common to 
all pioneer pastors, there seems to have been a 
strong and most unusual element of turbulence in 
the membership of this wilderness church, for two 
preceding ministers had tried and failed to unite 
the members of the congregation sufficiently to 
secure a settlement, and the trouble did not im- 
mediately cease upon Mr. Smith's installation. 
Previous to or about the time of his settlement in 
Wethersfield the most prominent of the insurgents, 
under advice of the Rev. John Davenport and others, 
had removed to Stamford ; yet the restless spirits 

who were left found enough to say against Mr. 
Smith's ministry during the next few years. 
There is evidence tending to show that he may 
have been too liberal in his construction of doc- 
trinal views, and inclined to too great charity in 
matters of personal conduct, to suit the more rigid 
among the townsmen. In at least one instance 
matters went so far that the pastor was brought 
before the General Court on charges the nature of 
which is not now apparent ; but it is recorded that 
fines which for that day were very heavy were 
laid upon certain individuals " for preferring a list 
of grievances against Mr. Smith and failing to 
prove in the prosecution thereof" From references 
to this, which appear in manuscript of about a cen- 
tury after this date, referring to this trial as a thing 
still remembered, it would seem that Mr. Smith 
was opposed to severity in church discipline, 
and also to the importation into thte Connecticut 
Colony of the bribe to hypocrisy which was offered 
by the law restricting to church-members the right 
of suffrage in town as well as church matters; 
and that he also preferred to believe an accused 
man to be innocent until he was proved guilty, 
and even then did not believe in proceeding to 
extremities until after every gentle means had been 
tried in vain. 

One cause of animadversion is said to have been 
that Mr. Smith had advocated the separation of a 
wife from a drunken husband who had frightfully 


abused her and her children. This seems to have 
been thought by some members of the congrega- 
tion to indicate great laxity of moral principle on 
the part of the pastor; but evidently the majority 
of the people were with him on these and other 
disputed points, and so were his friends, Mr. 
Thomas Hooker, the beloved pastor of the church 
at Hartford, and Mr. Warham of Windsor. An- 
other complaint against Mr. Smith was that he 
refused to listen to those who brought him reports 
concerning alleged infractions of church discipline, 
on the ground that many of these things were mat- 
ters which lay solely between a man and his 
Maker. In the end Mr. Smith carried the church 
with him, and when he died, in 1648, he was sin- 
cerely mourned even by those who at one time 
had " despitefully used " him. 

Mr. Smith is said to have been "a scholarly 
man of gentle birth and breeding, a persuasive 
preacher and a loyal friend." What his salary 
may have been does not appear, but the stipends of 
other pastors of his day rarclyexceedcd from seventy 
to seventy-five pounds per annum. Much of this 
nominal sum was paid "in kind," that is, in ferm 
produce or in peltries, which last were considered 
as the equivalent of cash, always bringing their 
fair price in the English markets. One hundred 
pounds per annum, paid in very much the same 
way, was an exceptionally good salary more than 
one hundred and twenty-five years later. 


Indians were a very real and imminent danger 
in the early days of Wethersfield. Their depre- 
dations were frequent, and the dread of them was 
never-ceasing. We do not know whether the first 
meeting-house of Wethersfield, which was prob- 
ably the only one erected during Mr. Smith's pas- 
torate, was built of logs or was a frztnc structure, 
but we are certain that it was intended to serve 
not only as a house of worship but for purposes 
of defense in times of danger, and that, whatever 
its form or substance, its builders worked in constant 
fear for their wives and children, with muskets 
ever at hand and sentinels always on duty. 

Another thing we suppose that we know, only 
because it is true of all other churches of the time, 
is that it had no chimney. This lack of provision 
for any means of ameliorating the cold of our 
winters was not owing, as sometimes believed, to 
any foolish prejudice or superstition, or, as some 
seem to think, from mere love of hardships and 
discomforts on the part of the Puritans, but to the 
dread of conflagration. Fireless church edifices 
were then universal, both in Europe and America. 
Furnaces and even stoves were not, and open fires 
are dangerous enough even in houses that are in- 
habited and watched. An open wood fire built 
in a house that had been closed all the week could 
scarcely have accomplished more than to thaw the 
frost from the walls into visible streams of chilly 
dampness, without greatly raising the temperature 

'^'-« *■ 




by the time that even the prolonged services of 
the Puritan Sabbath were 6nished ; and the treach- 
erous beds of embers, even after copious waterings, 
often proved to be unsafe. 

Those who could afford such luxuries curtained 
their square pews to keep currents of air from too 
great femiliarity, cushioned their otherwise com- 
fortless scats, and covered the floors with wolf- 
skins and even sometimes with those of the bear, 
though the latter were generally too precious for 

At as early a date as time and means permitted, 
small " Sabbath Day Houses " were erected at a cer- 
tain distance from the sacred edifice. These little 
buildings were ftirnishcd with forms and stools, 
and here, during the service-time, care-takers were 
left and fires maintained. From these the coals 
were taken for the small foot-stoves of which 
many are still found in old garrets, and which 
afforded a degree of comfort to the half-frozen 
church-goers, who at intervals between services 
were wont to gather in the little houses to warm 
themselves and exchange neighborly greetings and 
news. Bitter indeed must sometimes have been 
their sufferings in cold winter weather, but hardly 
as great as the same state of things would cause 
to-day, because no one had yet been rendered un- 
duly tender by furnace- or steam-heated houses. 
There was not then in the colonies anything that 
could be termed wealth, but had there been ever 


SO much of it, the treasure of an equably wann 
temperature could not have been purchased. 

Probably the house of the pastor would have 
been as well built and furnished as those of his 
neighbors, but in the earliest days that is not say- 
ing much for either. Even in the stateliest dwell- 
ings of England, though there was sometimes a 
good deal of luxury and display, there was then 
very little of what we should esteem to be the 
necessary comforts of life. In this country the in- 
ventories of the seventeenth century reveal the 
poverty of the land in unmistakable ways. No- 
thing was too small to escape enumeration, so we 
know that the poorest farm-laborer of to-day is 
richer in comforts than the wealthiest of these 

Few, if any, of the early houses were of more 
than one story in height. They were built of logs, 
and rarely contained more than four rooms. An 
exception to this was the old stone house of Guil- 
ford, Connecticut, built in 1639, which was in- 
tended to serve as a fortress as well as the minis- 
ter's residence. Exceptional also were the houses 
of the Rev. Thomas Hooker and Mr. Whiting of 
Hartford at the time of their erection. But it was 
not long before well-constructed, durable, and even 
handsome dwellings were reared in every colony. 

In our own day the lives of pioneers are consid- 
ered of the hardest ; yet now all are within com- 
paratively easy reach of the base of supplies. The 



Klondike is not now Either from us than old 
England was from New England in those early 
days. Probably but few of the settlers belonged 
to the wealthy class at home, yet many were num- 
bered among the substantial landowners, — the 
upper-class yeoman and the lower gentry, — accus- 
tomed in their own country to all the comforts 
then known. Almost all who came between 
1628 and 1640 bad fled from the persecution 
under Archbishop Laud which had done so much 
to bring on the parliamentary wars and the reign 
of Cromwell, and such refugees had neither 
thought nor hope of returning. All must have 
felt their privations keenly, but concerning this 
we have little recorded complaint or testimony of 
any sort. The difficulties of transmission were so 
great that probably few letters were written, and 
of these but a small number have descended to us. 

In the diary of Juliana Smith, 1779-81, there 
exists a copy of a fragment of a reminiscent let- 
ter, written in 1699 by the Rev. Henry Smith's 
son, Samuel Smith <^ Hadley, Massachusetts, 
to his son, Ichabod Smith, residing in Suffield, 
Connecticut, apparently in reply to some inquiries 
which the latter had made. 

Juliana writes : 

"Today my Grandmother Smith gave me to 
read what is left unbumt of a Letter which was 
written to my Great-Grand&ther by his Father & 


has permitted mc to copy it. The Letter itself 
belongs to my Uncle Dan because he is my Grand- 
fether's eldest son. A large part of it was burnt 
when my Grandfather's house in Suffield took fire, 
and was barely saved from destruction, with the 
loss of many things, especially Books & Papers. 
The Bible in which this Letter was kept was 
found on the next day still smouldering, with 
more than half of its leaves burnt away, including 
a part of the Family Record & this Letter : — 

*• * Hadley, Massachusetts Colony, 

Jan. ye Firste, 16^ 

" * My Dear & Dutiful Son : . . . I was of so 
tender an Age at the death of my beloved Father 
that I am possessed of but little of the Information 
for which you seek. My Revered Father was an 
ordained Minister of ye Gospelle, educate at Cam- 
bridge in England & came to yis Land by reason 
of ye Great Persecution by which ye infamous 
Archibishop Laud and ye Black Tom Tyrante, (as 
Mr. Russell was always wont to call ye Earl of 
StrafForde,) did cause ye reign of his Majestic 
Charles ye First to loose favour in ye sight of ye 
people of England. My Father & Mother came 
over in 16^, firste to Watertown which is neare 
Boston, & after a yeare or two to Weathersfield on 
ye great River, where he became ye firste settled 

"•Concerning of ye earlie days I can remember 


but litde save Hardship. My Parents had broughte 
bothe Men Servants & Maid Servants from Eng- 
land, but ye Maids tarried not but till they got 
Married, ye wch was shortly, for there was great 
scarcity of Women in ye Colonies. Ye men did 
abide better. Onne of em had married onne of 
my Mother's Maids & they did come with us to 
Weathersfield to our grate Comforte for some 
Yeares, untill they had manny littel onnes of theire 
Owne. I do well remember ye Face & Figure of 
my Honoured Father. He was 5 foote, 10 inches 
talle, & spare of builde, tho not leane. He was 
as Active as ye Red Skin Men & sinewy. His 
delighte was in sportes of strengthe & withe his 
owne Hands he did helpe to rear bothe our owne 
House & ye Firste Meetinge House of Weathers- 
field, wherein he preacht yeares too fewe. He was 
well Featured & Fresh favoured with faire Skin 
& longe curling Hair (as neare all of us have 
had) with a merrie eye & swete smilinge Mouthe, 
tho he coulde frowne sternlie eno' when need 

***Ye firste -Meetinge House was solid mayde 
to withstande ye wicked onsaults of ye Red Skins. 
Its Foundations was laide in ye feare of ye Lord, 
but its Walk was truly laide in ye feare of ye 
Indians, for many & grate was ye Terrors of em. 
I do mind me y't alle ye able-bodyed Men did 
work thereat, & ye olde & feeble did watch in 
turns to espie if any Salvages was in hidinge neare 


& every Man keept his Musket nigfae to his 
hande. I do not myself remember any of ye 
Attacks mayde by large bodeys of Indians whilst 
we did remayne in Weathersfield, but did ofttimes 
hear of em. Several Families wch did live back 
a ways from ye River was either Murderdt or 
Captivated in my Boyhood & we all did live in 
constant feare of ye like. My Father ever de- 
clardt there would not be so much to feare iff ye 
Red Skins was treated with suche mixture of Jus- 
tice & Authority as they eld understand, but iff he 
was living now he must see that wee can do 
naught hut^ght em & that right heavily. 

*** After ye Red Skins ye grate Terror of our 
lives at Weathersfield & for many yeares after wc 
had moved to Hadley to live, was ye Wolves. 
Catamounts was bad eno' & so was ye Beares, but 
it was ye Wolves yt was ye worst. The noyes of 
theyre bowlings was eno' to curdle ye bloode of 
ye stoutest & I have never seen ye Man yt did 
not shiver at ye Sounde of a Packe of em. What 
wth ye way we hated em & ye goode money yt 
was offered for theyre Heads we do not heare cm 
now so much, but when I do I feel again ye 
younge hatred rising in my Bloode, & it is not a 
Sin because God mayde em to be hated. My 
Mother & Sister did each of em kill more yanone 
of ye gray Howlers & once my oldest Sister shot 
a Beare yt came too neare ye House. He was a 
goode Fatte onne & keept us all in meate for a 

good while. I guess one of her Daughters has 
got ye skinne. 

"•As most of ye Weathersfield Settlers did 
come afoot throu ye Wilderness & brought with 
cm such Things only as they did most neede at ye 
firste, ye other Things was sent round from Boston 
in Vessels to come up ye River to us. Some of 
ye Shippes did come safe to Weathersfield, but 
many was lost in a grate storm. Amongst em 
was onne wch held alle our Beste Things. A 
good many Yeares later, long after my Father had 
died of ye grate Fever & my Mother had married 
Mr. Russell & moved to Hadley, it was found yt 
some of our Things had been saved & keept in 
ye Fort wch is by ye River's Mouthe, & they was 
brought to us. Most of em was spoilt with Sea 
Water & Mould, especially ye Bookes [Foot-note 
by Juliana: "My Father hath one of these 
books — The vision of Piers Plowman. It is so 
ruinated with damp and mould yt no one can read 
ye whole of it."] & ye Plate. Of this there was 
no grate store, only ye Tankard, wch I have, and 
some Spoones, divided amongst my Sisters wch 
was alle so black it was long before any cou-ld 
come to its owne colour agen, & Mr. Russell did 
opine yt had it not been so it might not have 
founde us agen, but he was sometimes a littel 
shorte of ye Charity wch thinketh no Evil, at ye 
least I was wont to think so when his Hand was 
too heavy on my Shoulders & I remembered ye 


sweetnesse & ye Charity of my firste Father, but 
on ye whole said he was a Goode Man & did well 
by my Mother & her children, & no doubt we 
did often try his wit & temper, but it was in his 
house yt ' — 

" Here," writes the copyist, ** there is a break " 
— probably where the sheets of the original had 
been burned. 

The silver tankard mentioned in the foregoing 
letter of Samuel Smith of Hadley is in all proba- 
bility the one now belonging to my brother, Gil- 
bert Livingston Smith of Sharon, Connecticut, 
though the earliest positive record which we have 
concerning it is in a bill of sale, including various 
things to the amount of nearly ;^700, made to the 
Rev. Cotton Mather Smith by his brother, Simeon 
Smith, M.D., when the latter was leaving Sharon 
to take up his residence in Vermont in 1787. It 
is there described as "One ancient Silver Tan- 
kard marked with our coat of arms & S. S., bought 
by me from Brother Dan." The tankard now has 
on the side opposite the handle a spout, which 
was put on about 1820 that it might be used as a 
water-pitcher. Family tradition has always held 
that this tankard was brought from England in 
1636 by the Rev. Henry Smith, and referred to in 
the letter just quoted. 

Poor and incomplete are these glimpses of a 
New England pastorate, but they bring before us 


some of the privations suffered, and the courage 
vbich so bravely met them because it was 
grounded on an unbounded faith in an omnipotent 
Father, and was cheered by family affection. Of 
both of these the last will and testament of the Rev. 
Henry Smith gives beautiful testimony. It is not 
cAtiched in legal phraseology, but was apparently 
written by himself^ and hence is more than usually 
expressive of the testator's character. He had not 
waited until the shadow of death had fallen upon 
him before making his slender worldly prepara- 
tions for *• departing hence to be no more," but, 
" Being in health of body and soundness of mind," 
and ** wishing to leave no occasion of trouble for 
my children," the will was made several months 
before his decease. There was not much to be 
disposed of, only a trifle over ;^370, but that little 
is so graciously bestowed that one feels as fully 
persuaded of the testator's own loving heart as he 
was persuaded of God's " unchangeable love and 
good will both in life and death . . . according 
to His covenant, viz : — I am thy God and of thy 
Seede after thee." 

After this profession of faith, which evidently 
comes from a simple and earnest heart, the will 
proceeds : 

" Then for my ovtward estate, wch, because it 
is but littel, & I haue well proued the difficvlties 
of this covntry, how hard a thing it will bee for a 


to maiigg dit ifiiis of so great a fiunily 
£ die Fjdbcr Of Mcxcyes bttfa blessed mce widiallp 
Jr lune a!bo e a perienoe ot die pnrdence & £udi* 
frhicss Of HIT deare Wdc; wbo shall, in pardng 
vidie mec; pore allso widie a great pait of her liue- 
iibooii: I do dioc sbi e bc ^ w cad i & giue to her, the 
nrii power Jc dtymil of aDe that estate wch God 
hidi gseucn oiee. in hovseSk lands» cattdls Sc goods 
whitsoeuer« vidiin doies and witfaovt; only pro- 
uiding that in case sfaee manj again, or otherwise 
shee bee able comlbftablT to ^lare it from her own 
necessamr maintenance, that diee giue vnto my 
Sonne Samvell that pait of my hoYse lott that was 
intended tor mx Sonne Peregrine lyinge next to 
the bvT}-ing place, & the land I haue bejon the 
great Riuer eastward ; & allso, to him & my see* 
ond Sonne, Noah« fiue acres apeece of meadow 
with vplands proportionable therevnto, & to the 
reste oi my children vnmarried, 20 pounds apeece, 
at the age of one & twcntj- yeares, or at the time 
of her death, wch shall come the sooner. & for 
my two Davghtcrs that bee married, my desire is 
that they haue 20 Shillings apeece and euery onne 
of their children fiue Shillings apeece, either in 
bookes or such other things as my Wife shall best 
please to part withall." 

Of the jCsjo nearly one half was in houses and 
lands, j^^o were in live stock, which did not 
include any domestic fowls, the latter being still 


scarce in the colonies. Bees, number of hives not 
stated, were valued at ^8, which seemingly dis- 
proportionately large valuation was probably due 
to the scarcity of the cultivated variety. Probably 
Mr. Smith was, as all the New England pastors of 
his time were obliged to be, a farmer as well as a 
preacher, but he could not have been enthusiasti- 
cally devoted to agriculture, for his "husbandry 
tools" were only valued at ^3 los., while his 
"armes & ammunition" were reckoned at £^ 

" Bookes " are mentioned, but their value not 
estimated, probably because at the time of his 
death, during a prevailing " grate fever," proper 
appraisers may not have been on hand. Min- 
isters were usually appointed to appraise books. 
Out of thirty-seven inventories which were re- 
corded during the first ten years of the Connecticut 
Colony, in only nine, including that of Mr. Smith, 
do we find mention of books. The total value of 
these in six of the nine is estimated at ^"39 13/. 
Mr. Hooker's books were estimated at ^300, a 
considerable item in an estate amounting to only 
about /^1I36. I say "only" when viewing this 
subject from present conditions ; under those 
of 1648 in the colonies, Mr. Hooker was a 
wealthy man. His friend and parishioner, Mr. 
William Whiting, the plutocrat of the Connecti- 
cut Colony, left an estate of ^2854, including 
debts due to him which are classed as " doubtful," 
and "adventures wch are harserdous" to the 


amount of ;^429. His *^ books & apparell ** united 
are appraised at £2^. 

What would seem to be a disproportionately 
costly item in Mr. Smith*s house furnishings was 
that of beds. Bedsteads are not named, perhaps 
because there were none, for there were compara- 
tively few in the country, save the sleeping-bunks 
built in with the houses, until fifteen or twenty 
years later than this. "Three feather beds with 
all things belonging to them " are valued at ;^40, 
which would seem to show that the ** all things " 
were of extra quality, or that the other usual fur- 
nishings of the bedrooms, and perhaps also that 
of the parlor or living-room, as well as the beds 
themselves, were included in that valuation. 

Probably it was for the accommodation of fire 
that the parlor was usually the guest bedroom, 
and we find that the entire parlor furniture of the 
wealthy Mr. Whiting, including " bed-stead, bed, 
stools, a clock [perhaps the only one in the colony], 
a safe [probably an iron or steel chest like those 
preserved in some European museums], a cradle, 
cob irons,** etc., is altogether valued at only 

Mr. Smith's tables, chairs, stools, cushions, and 
"other things belonging" are altogether valued 
at ;^3 15J., while "cob irons, trammels & other 
fire irons" were valued at £2 8i., and "brasse, 
iron potts, pewter & such like " were ap- 
praised at jCi^' The two classes of goods last 

" * •«* . 

,^- - .^ ../»v^*'vv»' »»^'»*'*»».-t'**'-* > > »./--•■ 






The Coming of Mrs. Mar- 
garet Lake and the 
Family of Captain John 

Voyage of the Abigail. 

The First Homesteads of 
the Second Generation. 

Household Labor. 

A Bride's Furnishings. 


Abigail do we again hear of Mrs. Lake. This 
time it is as the first white woman to set foot in 
what is now New London County, where — and a 
very unusual thing it was at that time — she is 
named as one of the original grantees, sharing in 
all the grants and divisions of land. Mrs. Lake 
probably never took up her residence in New 
London, appearing to have shared the home of 
her sister, Mrs. Winthrop, until the latter's hus- 
band became the governor of Connecticut Colony, 
after which period Mrs. Lake continued to reside 
in Ipswich, perhaps in the house which had be- 
longed to the Winthrops. It was on the portion 
of land which had been assigned to Mrs. Lake in 
New London County that her daughter Hannah, 
when, in 1643, she had become the wife of the 
second Captain John Gallup, lived for the first few 
years of her wedded life. 

Although the conditions of life were necessarily 
of the hardest all through the early days in all the 
colonies, and there is no doubt that they were 
hardest of all in sterile New England, it must not 
be imagined that there were no degrees in the 
styles of living. In spite of the leveling effect of 
common sentiments, circumstances, privations, and 
dangers, and of the fact that men of gentle birth 
and cultivated minds were forced by the first law 
of nature to become measurably skilled in all 
sorts of handicraft, class distinctions were for sev- 
eral generations as rigorously maintained in the 


New England as in the Old. It was said by 
Daniel Neal, writing in 1720: "In their Dress, 
Tables and Conversation, they [the colonists] 
affect to be as English as possible. . . . The only 
difference between an Old and a New English 
Man is in his Religion." Hence it is plain that, 
at least after the first two or three years in any 
given settlement, to describe the home of a fomily 
belonging to one social class is by no means to 
describe that of a family belonging to another 
class at the same, much less at another, period. 

The wills of the respective ancestors of John 
and of Hannah Lake Gallup prove them to have 
been men of considerable substance and local im- 
portance in old England. In the New World 
their femily alliances were equally respectable, so 
it may be supposed that their dwelling and home 
belongings were fairly representative of those of 
the best of the pioneer families of their time. 

But before the nest-building must have come 
the mating, with all its preliminaries, as sweet 
here in the wilderness as if the actors in the little 
love-drama had been walking beneath the haw- 
thorn hedges on one of their ancestral manors 
across the sea. Between the dust-dry lines of the 
dim old records we imagine that we catch a 
glimpse of what may have been a very charming 
and beautiful romance; for John Gallup and 
Hannah Lake, as boy and girl, probably about 
fourteen and twelve years of age, were fellow-pas- 


sengers on the ship Abigail during the long cross- 
ing of the stormy Atlantic. When, as in this 
case, more than two hundred passengers were 
packed closely together for ten or more tedious 
and sometimes fearful weeks, there is no doubt 
that the foundations were laid for many long- 
enduring friendships, and sometimes, alas! for 
equally durable dislikes ; and if these, why may 
not love also have been bom in these confined 
and tempestuous quarters ? At least, it is a pleas- 
ant thought, with some warrant of tradition and 
probability, that the manly boy, tall, handsome, 
and bold as he must have been, if in this case the 
boy was the fether of the man, and the bright- 
£iced girl who became a brave, high-spirited, and 
loving matron, may have begun their mutual life- 
long trust and love upon this wave-tossed little 
vessel, smaller than many a fishing-schooner of 
to-day. There must certainly have been many 
opportunities to make their respective faults and 
virtues known to each other. 

The conditions of such a voyage are vividly 
painted in the elder Governor Winthrop's journal 
of his own voyage five years preceding that of the 
Abigail. He makes no complaints, but it is easy 
to see that the noble spirit of the adventurer for 
conscience' sake had much to triumph over. On 
the four vessels of which the bark which bore him 
was one, he records that there were three deaths 
and three births during the voyage. Surely those 



were brave women who accompanied their hus- 
bands, venturing so much at such a time ! One 
advantage that the elder Winthrop's company had, 
and which probably they of the younger did not 
have, has a picnicky sound that is droil enou^ to 
modem cars. 

When "off the banks of New Foundland the 
Arabdia stopped to fish," and "all the passengers 
who were so minded " seem to have enjoyed the 
sport of replenishing their scanty larder. A little 
later we find that they were picking strawberries 
on Cape Ann. 

The jibigaiPs weary voyage was not ended until 
in November, much too late for any such diver- 
sions. It is at least to be hoped that her passen- 
gers did not, like those of a ship which immediately 
followed the Arabella, "arrive nearly starved," 
but it is certain that they had on board a most 
unwelcome companion in the smallpox. At that 
time even inoculation had not become known, and 
we can now but faintly imagine the well-justified 
terrors of those exposed to the disease. 

Though the young couple were not married 
until eight years after thei*" arrival in this country, 
it is probable that their earliest dwelling was built 
of logs, as were most of the houses of this date and 
vicinity. If so, it was soon superseded by the 
permanent homestead, which was not taken down 
until the latter part of the eighteenth century. I 
have talked about this house with a man who had 


heard it described by his mother, the daughter of a 
farm-laborer who had lived in it until her marriage 
at the age of eighteen years. Soon after that time 
it ceased to be used as a dwelling, and before this 
it had long been occupied only as a tenement- 
house for farm-laborers, a finer residence having 
been erected for their own homestead by the de- 
scendants of the builders of the first. The second 
permanent home of the Gallups was fine for its 
days and must have been intended to fill, in a 
degree, the place of one of the old manor-houses, 
of which the builders of the first had probably 
transmitted vivid memor)^-pictures ; but the dwell- 
ing which immediately succeeded the log house 
was erected with a view to meeting the needs of 
the new countr)'. 

That so few of the houses of the early settlers 
were built of the excellent stone which is over- 
abundant in New England was not due to the 
groundless prejudice against that material which 
arose among their great-grandchildren, but to the 
fact that haste — such haste as was possible in 
those slow days — was of the utmost consequence. 
No man wished to spend the best years of his life 
in a cabin of logs and clay while waiting for a 
stone house to grow, as ordinarily it must under 
the tedious methods of the period, layer by layer, 
the lower tiers almost having time to gather moss 
before the roof-beams could be raised. 

The larger part of the best of the early houses 


of New England were probably much like this 
first permanent homestead of the Gallups. Both 
the external walls and those of the partitions were 
of heavy timbers, roughly squared by the ax, 
chinked with moss, and lined with hewn planks 
two inches in thickness. In later days coats of 
plaster were put on over the planks, but during 
the first years the walls were made warm as well as 
picturesque by hangings of bear, deer, otter, wild- 
cat, and fox skins, whenever these could be spared 
from more pressing uses. The exterior walls were 
about two feet in thickness, which tells of the size 
of the forest trees which had been cut down to 
make them. The high-placed and deep-seated 
windows were scant in number, heavily barred and 
narrow. (The Pequots and Narragansetts were 
near, numerous, and crafty.) It is doubtful if the 
first of the windows were glazed. Even in old 
England it was only the wealthy who at this time 
could afford the luxury of glass. Oiled paper was 
the usual substitute. To exclude the cold were 
heavy and close wooden shutters both outside and 
inside. During the coldest weather it must have 
been necessary to depend for light, even in the 
daytime, upon open fires, pine-knots, and candles, 
for at least the first decade or two in each new 

In the center of the house rose the great stone 
chimney, with wide-throated fireplaces opening 
into three large rooms on the first story, and into 


zsd pahidcss ceT^ngs w^crr lam. hat higlhcr dun 
was csGxL ior Jocin Gaih:p ts said to haTc stood 
six twt Rx:r rxrhcs in his grar knit hose; and had 
to bow his starclr head to cnscr anr doorwaT saTc 
his own. TbfC sccood sconr on die two longer 
sides projected ooasidenbiT beyond the lower. In 
view Of the constant danger ttom Indians^ it is 
probable that this house was intended to be used 
as a fortress in case of necessity, and tfab prcgection 
may have been made for the sake of aflfording a 
coign of vantage to its inmates if attacked by 
savages, although, as this method of construcdon 
was a common one in nearly all parts of Eurc^ 
at the time, this is not a necessary supposition. 
The third story was but a big garret with windows 
in each end. Beneath all were deep cellars for the 
storage of winter supplies, and for the manu£icture 
and ripening a( home-brewed beer, made after 
recipes brought from the mother-country. At 
first cider had no place in those cellars, but after 
the orchards had grown, there was found room for 
the barrels of hard cider which were made from 
them, and which finally quite displaced the hea- 
vier and perhaps more wholesome, certainly less 
stimulating, beer. In the cellars were also 
kept, even from the first, the casks of metheg- 
lin, made from the plentiful honey of the wild bee, 
which in the autumn filled the place with the 
sound of its working like the swarming of armies 

il:^ L_— i; — — ■ VI. 


of bees — a sound which was said to be reproduced 
in the befuddled heads of those who were not 
extremely moderate in their draughts of this too 
potent liquor. 

In the broad and high-peaked garret were set 
the heavy looms at which, during all the long 
summer days, either men or women, as the case 
might be, were diligently weaving the coarse stuff 
which must serve young and old, master and man, 
mistress and maid, for all the rougher occasions of 
pioneer life. 

Very different are the social standards of differ- 
ing times. In early New England, and in all the 
colonies, for that matter, it was only a specially 
wealthy family which could afford to own a loom, 
at least until they could be made here. Weaving 
was heavy work, and was mostly done by weavers 
who went from house to house, or by the poorer 
neighbors, who were paid in cloth or in other needed 
supplies. It seems certain that, during the first 
two or three decades at least, much of the spin- 
ning must have been done with the distaff", for 
comparatively few wheels are mentioned in the 
inventories of those years. Whether with distaff" 
or wheel, spinning was winter's lighter task, and 
performed by both mistress and maids; but, as 
with the weaving, it was only the well-to-do who 
had the materials. It was many years before suffi- 
cient wool or flax could be grown in this country 
to make them plentiful. 


Long before cloth-weaving factories were estab- 
lished here, yet not until the early part of the 
eighteenth century, a few fulling-mills were set 
up ; at these the woolen cloths were dyed, fulled, 
sheared, and pressed, A web of cloth which had 
passed through the fuller's processes was an object 
of envy to those — and they were in the majority 
— who could not afford to pay for his services. 

The making of the plainest linens was probably 
all done at home, either with or without the aid of 
the itinerant weaver, whose services were some- 
times bespoken months in advance, so greatly was 
he in demand. Even after his labors were done 
the fabric was not ready for use. In my dear 
mother's girlhood flax-spinning was still consid- 
ered as an essential accomplishment for young 
ladies, at least among the descendants of the 
Huguenots. I have heard her say that to bring 
the fine linen for shirts to the required degree of 
snowiness no less than thirty and sometimes even 
forty bleachings were necessary. The first few 
bleachings were of the thread. The colonists were 
never sparing of their labor, yet it is probable that 
they were not so dainty as to the shade of white- 
ness in the overfilled days of the seventeenth cen- 
tury. With their best diligence, the time required 
from the sowing of the flax to the end of the last 
bleaching could never be less than sixteen months. 

Farm-laborers had come over in numbers, and 
there was a fair proportion of mechanics, but of 


maid-servants there was oftentimes a great lack. 
Though many a femily, among the richer colo- 
nists, had brought several, the maid-servants were 
always fewer in number than the men-servants, 
and when they married, as most of them did very 
soon, there was no way of supplying their places. 
At the date when this old house was new there 
were few negroes in New England, and the half- 
tamed squaws who were sometimes employed 
made very poor substitutes for trained house- 
workers. As the Winthrops were sometimes most 
unhappily forced to make use of this very unsat- 
isfactory form of household service, it is probable 
that Mrs. Lake and her daughters were also com- 
pelled to accept of it in defeult of better. 

Scanty enough, according to our standard, were 
then the plenishings of the wealthy houses of old 
England, and really pathetic was the scarcity here 
of what were even then esteemed to be essential 
comforts in the older land. 

Not until well into the second half of the sev- 
enteenth century was furniture of any but the 
roughest sorts made in New England, and it is 
obviously impossible that much should have been 
imported in the tiny vessels then dignified by the 
name of ships. Their space was too important to 
be filled with furniture, their petty holds being 
always crowded with the literally indispensable 
articles, such as provisions, arms, ammunition, 
tools, seeds, and clothes, while their scanty deck- 

space was made still scantier by the presence of 
the live stock of which the agonists were in such 
pressing need. 

In 1645 Mrs. Lake sent to a correspondent in 
England a list of things which she desired for the 
furnishing of the new house of her daughter^ Mrs. 
Gallup. She asked for: 

•• A peare of brasse 

A brasse Kittell, 

2 grate Chestes well made, 

2 armed Cheares with fine rushe bottums, 

A carven Caisse for Bottels wch my Cuzzen 

Cooke has of mine» 
A Warmeing Pann, 
A big iron Pott, 
6 Pewter Plates, 

2 Pewter Platters, 

3 Pewter Porringeres, 

A small stew Pann of Copper, 

A peare of Brasse and a peare of Silver Candle- 
sticks (of goode Plate.) 

A Drippe Panne, 

A Bedsteede of carven Oake, (ye one in wch I 
sleept in my Father's house, wth ye Val- 
lances and Curtayns and Tapestry Cover- 
lid belongynge, & ye wch my Sister Bread- 
cale [?] hath in charge for Mee.) 

3 Duzzen Nappekins of fine linen damasque & 
2 Tabel cloathes of ye same. Alsoe 8 


fine Holland Pillowe Beeres & 4 ditto 

A skellet, 

A pestel & Mortar, 
A few Needels of differnt sizes, 
A Carpet [that is, a table-cover ; the name was 

then universally thus applied], of goodley 

stuffe and colour, aboute 2 £11 longe. 
6 Tabel Knifes of ye beste Steal wth such han- 

dels as may bee. 
Alsoe, 3 large & 3 smal Silvern Spoones, & 6 

of home." 

And this is all. Yet for the time and place it 
must have been considered a fine outfit, perhaps 
too much so for the wife of the frontier farmer, 
skipper, and fighter. At the same period in old 
England, in the wills of wealthy titled families, 
bedding, utensils of copper, and dishes of pewter 
were constantly named as articles of considerable 
value. The elder Governor Winthrop was known 
as one of the wealthiest of the early colonists, yet 
the inventory of his possessions, made in 1649, 
does not present a proportionately finer showing. 
Even a century later than this date a complete 
outfit of pewter plates, dishes, and spoons made a 
lordly wedding present, given by a grandson of 
Major-General Humphrey Atherton to his daugh- 
ter — a gift: which, according to traditions, excited 
some heartburnings among relatives who had not 


been so favored. In the absence of pewter, 
wooden bowls, trenchers, and noggins were consid- 
ered rather fine, while the carefully dried gourds 
and the deep, saucer-like shells of the immense 
quahogs, which were then so abundant, but have 
now left only degenerate descendants along the 
New England coasts, served an ever-useful pur- 
pose when the supply of better things was short. 
It is said that small clam-shells, set in split sticks 
for handles, were used as teaspoons until the early 
part of this century. The large and thin shells of a 
kind of scallop, which is still plentiful along the 
shores of Maine and Massachusetts, are sometimes 
used even now as skimmers — a curious survival 
of an old custom so long after the need for it has 
passed by I 

Many years after the old Gallup house had been 
torn down, the dining-table which had served the 
femily for at least one generation was preserved in 
an out-house, where my informant had seen it in 
his youth. It was simply what once had been 
the cover of a large packing-box, of smooth oak 
boards, supported by carefully squared legs. The 
box might have been used to bring the bedding 
and other things from Europe, for on the under 
side of the table's top still remained the inscription : 
" For Mrs. Margarette Lake, Ippsitch." 

Chairs, when found at all in the houses of the 
earliest colonists, were reserved for the heads of 
families and their most honored guests, or for the 


infirm. When one remembers what uncomforta- 
ble things the most of those chairs were, one must 
profoundly pity the infirm I One may be per- 
mitted to hope that the comfortable " barrel chair," 
still sometimes found in the country houses, was 
the happy invention of this time, by some bene- 
hctoT of the ill and aged. Coopers were plentier 
than cabinet-makers in those days, and the barrel 
chair has an extremely primitive look. Even in 
England, until after the Restoration, backless 
benches and stools formed the usual seats, and we 
must suppose that they did so for many years 
later than that. 

Closets or pantries were not often built in the 
houses which first succeeded the log cabins of the 
settlers, chests which might also be utilized as 
seats, and a small room with shelves not always 
ovemicely smoothed, answering for the safe-keep- 
ing of most articles not in daily use. A cupboard 
was a possession indicating a good degree of pros- 
perity, while a "court cup-board," or a sideboard, 
was a mark of positive affluence, even at a much 
later date than this. 

Scanty as was the wedding house-plenishing of 
Hannah Gallup, she was reasonably well provided 
with fine clothes. Indeed, all of the better class 
among the colonists seem to have had dispropor- 
tionately liberal supplies of " mantels " and " petty- 
cotes " of velvet or brocade, with other " garments 
to consort therewith": but this was not due so 


much to vanity as to thrift, the best being liter- 
ally the cheapest in the days when the finer 
fabrics were so honestly made as to wear for 
decades, and the cost of carriage was the same 
for a coat of frieze as for one of velvet. 

Of silverware there was some, but not frequent, 
mention in wills and inventories, and to jewelry 
still less reference is made, unless mourning-rings 
may be thus classed. Mrs. Lake bequeathed to 
one of her daughters an " enamailed " and to the 
other a " gould " ring. An item of curious interest 
in this will is the following: 

** To my Daughter, Martha Harris, I give my 
tapestry coverlid and all my other apparell, which 
are not disposed of to others pticulerly, and I give 
unto her my mantel, and after her decease to all 
her children as their need is*' (The italics are 

Tradition runs that this " mantel " was of Russian 
sable, even then as costly as it was rare, and that it 
had been brought from the for East, perhaps China. 
Such a bequest brings many things to mind : long, 
tedious sledgings, when stalwart men took the 
place of horses or oxen and drew their wives or 
sisters through the windings of wintry forests, 
where the only track was an Indian trail, and 
where every step was shadowed by the ever-pres- 
ent dread of the approach of the stealthy foe. Or 
we see visions of night campings, made fearful by 




the bowlings of the wolves; and, day or night, 
always the same benumbing cold. Often must 
the grandmother's fur "mantel" (worn, we may 
be sure, until the last hair was gone) have proved 
a veritable life-preserver in those bitter years. 

In addition to the above-mentioned "mantel," 
Mrs. Lake seems to have left a wardrobe of con* 
siderabte extent and richness, besides a goodly list 
of linens and other household treasures, with sev- 
eral carved chests to contain them; but no books 
arc mentioned, save a " grate Byble " and " another 

Of such homely comforts as could be made 
ftom the materials at hand the industrious and 
ingenious colonist might possess a rude abun- 
dance. Le Grand Monarque of the most luxurious 
country then existing might have a fine silken 
instead of a coarse linen slip for his bed, but it 
would be filled with feathers no better than those 
plucked from the wild water-fowl of the New 
England coast; while heavily lined curtains of 
coarse homespun wool or linen shut out the bitter 
winds as effectually as the bravest damask from 
the looms of Flanders. The absence of many 
things which we now deem to be essential was 
not felt as a privation, because the things were 
unknown, not only in this wilderness, but in the 
old country. 

Some one writing of the Lady Arbella John- 
son has said that "she came from a paradise of 


plenty and pleasure into a wfldcrncss of wants." 
Thb expression is especially correct as regards its 
last cbuse. ^A wilderness of wants'* this cer- 
tainly must have seemed, not only to the sister of 
the Earl of LiiKx>ln, but also to the hardiest of the 
colonists ; and these wants were actual, not imagi- 
nary, as evidenced by die frightful death-rates of 
the early years. But even die tapestried halls the 
delicate Lady Arbella had left would seem com- 
fortless enough to the daughter of any small farmer 
of modem New England, however much she 
might admire its splendor, could she now sud- 
denly find herself placed in the Lady Arbella's fine 
abode of ^ pleasure and plenty " as the latter had 
left it in 163a 

Floor-coverings were then a rarity even in 
palaces, and the sand and rushes which polished 
the boards or silenced the tread were as plentiful 
here as elsewhere. Porcelain was a luxury in any 
land ; even delft was uncommon ; and pewter was 
considered too fine for the daily use of any save 
the rich. Wooden dishes served on ordinary 
occasions in old England as in the New, save 
among the wealthiest. The sense of real priva- 
tion was felt in things much closer to the needs of 
the primitive man. 

Great, very great, must have been the suffering 
from the cold and ftom the lack of suitable food. 
If the colonists sometimes took undue quantities 
of beer and the stronger liquors, not only the tra- 


ditions of the older land but the hard conditions 
of the new must be remembered in extenuation. 
They needed something besides cold water. Hot 
water had not been dreamed of as a beverage, and 
the milder stimulants of our day had not been 
introduced. The earliest mention of chocolate in 
Connecticut is said to have been in 1679, Five 
years later coffee is first named, and tea not until 1695. 
For many years raised bread was hardly known, 
and this for several very good reasons. It was a 
diflScult matter to preserve the leaven from one 
baking until the next. Either it would sour from 
too great heat, or it would lose its vitality from 
the severe cold weather. To bake bread in an 
iron pot over the fire or under the same utensil 
inverted before the blaze, was an undertaking very 
doubtful in its results ; yet there was no other way, 
for the brick or stone ovens of a later date did not 
exist during the first decade, and, except in a few 
instances, probably not for a score of years longer. 
Until a sufficiency of bread-stuffs could be raised 
here, which was not for several years, both wheat 
flour and oatmeal were imported in considerable 
quantities ; but the first was costly even in Eng- 
land, and as both often arrived here in an exceed- 
ingly damaged condition, the roughly pounded or 
ground meal of Indian corn was for months at a 
time the staff of life — a staff which, for persons 
of weak powers of digestion, has often proved an 
insufficient support. 


For grinding this the only mills were of the sim- 
ple Indian construction — a large stone hollowed 
by natural or by artificial means, and another stone 
into which a wooden handle had been fitted. The 
latter was sometimes tied to a young sapling grow- 
ing near, which, by its rebound, saved the grinder 
the labor of lifting the pestle. In my childhood 
near the ruins of an ancient house stood a very 
large birch-tree; beneath it was a hollow stone, 
and still lingering amid the upper branches, which 
had grown in such a way as to hold and support 
it, could be seen one of these ancient pestles. 

After the first few seasons summer vegetables 
were as fine and as plentiful as in old England, 
but it was impossible to preserve for winter use 
any that could not survive deep burial in trenches 
out of doors or in the cellars, overlaid with piles 
of earth mixed with dead leaves, so bitter was 
the winter frost and so inadequate the means of 
excluding it. 

Poultry was more easily brought than larger 
live stock, and multiplied more rapidly, but it was 
a good many years after the landing at Plymouth 
before cows and sheep became plenty. Even as 
late as 1672, when Mrs. Lake made her will, a 
"cow and heifer" were evidently esteemed to be 
bequests of more than ordinary value ; indeed, the 
same was then true in old England, where a man 
whose estate went by entail to his eldest son, and 
who bequeathed ;^iooo each to four younger sons. 

- — » '_ — 



seems to have thought each of his daughters well 
portioned with ;^2oo, a cow, a heifer, ten sheep, 
and a feather-bed. Trumbull, in his history of 
Connecticut, gives the value of a good milch cow, 
at about 1640, as £^0. At the same date car- 
penters and other mechanics were receiving from 
fourteen to eighteen pence per day. The work of 
a " paire of Oxen with tacklin " was held to be 
worth two shillings and fivepence for " six bowers " 
in winter and " eight bowers " the rest of the year, 
these hours making the full day's work for cattle, 
except in heavy upland plowing, when **six 
howers *' was considered enough. A man's work- 
ing hours were reckoned from sun to sun in sum- 
mer, and from six to six o'clock in winter; but 
cattle were much more precious than men. The 
latter usually managed to survive the long and 
arduous sea voyage, but of the cattle which formed 
the deck-load of nearly all incoming ships in 
summer, not more than twenty-five per cent were 
expected to survive, even under exceptionally fa- 
vorable conditions. 

Some of the first of the colonists sent by nearly 
every returning ship for seeds and young fruit- 
trees, but comparatively few of the latter survived 
the long voyage, and of course those that did so 
required some years to come to maturity. This 
led to the making large use of the delicious wild 
berries in their seasons, but the best of these, as 
the raspberries and the strawberries, — which have 


jui-i^^comnr^ by dcscribiog indi- 

•jes ii TWO nyffcrs ex itagOK' — do not 
T zo xz^ &3td^ ictuamg tt> icciin their 

TOT TTTi^j^r 5^31^ ^ rii -ii r^r . aod ao odicr method 
oc prcsenrxDoc v:is racL pnctkable. 

Of scdi n-;^its js did eainre the pwjL g s& great 
quanritfes vere girbcrcd azii dricd» a labor which 
rjoc 2, litrie :o die roils ot the wotaai of die 
durir^ the sommer. Uodcr these condi- 
tiooi. it 15 not voodtnul that die asdtuL loqg-siiflkr- 
ing pumpkin came ixco soch muTexsal £iYor. 
Prcsening miits br the oqIt e flc c tua l mediod 
then known, except dnring;. — die boiling with the 
solid pouxki Of truit tor pound ot sugar, — was un- 
wholesome, very costly, and but litde attempted. 
Game and dsh were abundant and delicious. Salt 
meats were a staple import, and swine soon became 
plenty ; but homed cartie, sheep, and even domestic 
fowls were tor a long time too valuable to be eaten. 

For years there seems to have been litde attempt 
at butter-making; most of that which was used 
here was imported from England, and often did 
not keep well, in spite of being frequently made 
unpalatable by the quantit)' of salt used to pre- 
serve it. On the occasion of the wedding of her 
daughter Hannah, Mrs. Lake writes that she had 
*' made some very goode buttere although it 
seemed almost Wicket to soe }'use ye milk yt b 
so sore needet for ye sick & ye littell ownes." 


Sheep were spared for their wool and poultry 
for their eggs; when the chickens were sacrificed 
their feathers were carefully preserved, for in 
those days of scarcity a bed of hen feathers would 
not be despised, though those of the wild geese 
and ducks would certainly be more highly 

In later times there was no lack of material to 
keep the hands of matrons and maids busily spin- 
ning, but at first there was neither flax nor wool to 
spin. Woolen yarns were among the articles sent 
for to England ; but threads from worn-out woolen 
garments long supplied much of the material for 
the stockings and mittens for working wear. 

In these pioneer days the energies of the colo- 
nists were devoted to getting together the raw 
materials for a civilized existence. In 1640 the 
"Generall Court" of Connecticut Colony issued 
the following recommendation: 

'* Whereas as yt is observed yt experience has 
made appear that much ground within these lib- 
ertyes may be well improved both in Hempe & 
Flaxe & yt we myght in time have a supply of 
lynnen cloath amongst o'selves and for the more 
speedy procuring of Hempe Seede It is Ordered 
)rt every family within these plantations shall 
pfcure and plante this pr'sent yeare at lest onne 
spoonfuU of English hempe seed in fruitful soyle 
at lest a foot distant betwixt each seed, and the 

same so planted shall be pr'served and kept in 
husbandly manner for supply of seed another yeare." 

The following year the same ordinance was 
repeated ; after that it may be supposed that enough 
seed had been secured for future planting. 

At what an humble distance must we now admire 
the indomitable and uncomplaining courage with 
which these colonists bore their material as well as 
their more than material privations. To one griev- 
ous privation I have seen no reference made as such. 
Perhaps it bore so heavily upon loving hearts that 
they feared to give expression to their feelings, and 
so lift the flood-gates of their suppressed sorrows. 

There is preserved a letter written by Mrs. Lake 
when she had been living in this country twenty- 
eight years. Her beloved brother-in-law, Win- 
throp, had gone to England in the interests of the 
colonists, and Mrs. Lake thus writes to him : 

" I would desire you to inquire whether my sis- 
ter Breadcale bee livinge, you may hear of her if 
livinge, at Iron Gate, where the boats weekly 
come from Lee." 

There is a world of silent and weary heartbreak 
in this and similar inquiries in the same letter. 

When Mrs. Lake had come to New England, 
Charles I, Strafford, and Archbishop Laud were 
carrying things with a high hand, driving the 
Puritans out from the folds as if they had been 


wolves. Between that time and the date of Mrs. 
Lake's letter the commonwealth had risen, flour- 
ished, and, when the mighty man who gave it 
form had passed from earth, had fallen, and the 
Restoration, which all good subjects were bound to 
call "happy," had dropped a veil over things 
which It could not, and others which it would not, 
undo. Amid all their own troubles and overtum- 
ings, it is scarcely to be wondered at that the 
relatives left at " home " should sometimes have 
forgotten to write to their kin beyond the sea, from 
whose thoughts they were never long absent. The 
river of death could hardly have sundered chiefest 
friends more effectually than did the turbulent 
Atlantic then, but the hungry heart would still 
hope and cry out for certainty. 

When John and Hannah Gallup happily 
planned and stoutly built their forest homestead 
on the banks of the little Mystic River, it well 
may be that they " laid its foundations in the feare 
of God and reared its walls in the terror of the 
Indians," as Samuel Smith of Hadley, Massachu- 
setts, expressed it when writing in his old age in 
regard to the erection of the first meeting-house In 
Wethersfield, Connecticut, of which his iather was 
pastor; and Samuel could speak feelingly upon 
the subject, having himself, in his young manhood 
in Hadley, had frequent occasion to defend his own 
house firom savage attacks. Reverence for God 
was a part of the inheritance of the Puritan settlers. 



oc tbe Ia£xK was a tctt natural con> 
5eq:2icr:cc ci rieir atuarkxL Whoever may have 
been ro bbmc in the fint "»tfanrp, dicre is no 
docbc dur bv fitry years alter the landing at 
Pymoudu the quesdon of proper treatment of the 
Indians received but one au^m ei from the colonists : 
- We must extirpate them or tficy will exterminate 
xisJ' At our distance from aU such apprehensions 
ir is easy to see the l^ults of die white men, and to 
sympadiize widi the misused Indian he was dis- 
placing ; but had we lived in that time and under 
the same circumstances, it is doubtful if we would 
have been more altruistic than were our sorely 
harassed ancestors. The red man may have been 
as unjustly as he was unwisely treated by the white : 
but he was savage; he was untractable; he was 
cruel ; he was treacherous. If his provocations 
were great, his vengeance was terrible. His vicinity 
was an unending menace to the home of every settler. 
The celebrated "Great Swamp Fight" of 1675 
was so called to distinguish it from the smaller 
Swamp Fight, which occurred at almost the 
other extremity of Connecticut in 1637. In the 
later of these battles the power of the truly great 
chieftain. King Philip, and of the native tribes of 
New England was forever broken. Perhaps, yes, 
even probably, this decisive fight might have been 
rendered unnecessary had gentler counsels pre- 
vailed thirty or forty years before, but by 1675 it 
had become inevitable. 


When the colonial forces assembled to attack 
King Philip's fort the members of the opposing 
parties were supposed to be about two to one in 
&vor of the Indians, full half of whom were sup- 
plied with muskets as well as with their native 
weapons ; besides this, they fought behind defenses 
which, as the assaulting party had no cannon, 
must have seemed to be almost impregnable. The 
Narragansetts were the most nearly civilized of all 
the New England tribes. This fort was of their 
construction and was well built, with a strong and 
high palisade in the midst of a vast pine and cedar 
swamp. As an additional protection, the palisade 
was surroundetl by a defensive hedge of interlacing 
felled trees, several feet in height and about a rod 
in thickness. Both parties to the conflict felt that 
they were fighting for their families, their homes, 
even their very existence as nations in these wilds. 

The second John Gallup had always maintained 
pleasant personal relations with the Indians of 
whatever tribe, possessing those qualities of justice, 
firmness, and kindness which win confidence ; but 
the moment was not one for considerations of this 
sort to have weight with either side. The husband 
of Hannah Lake was no longer a young man, 
having been married for thirty-two years ; but the 
hardy pioneer was always in his prime between 
fifty and sixty, and age had bowed neither the 
back nor the spirit of Captain Gallup. At the 
head of his company of eighty men, he led an 


assault upon the fort's only vulnerable point, which 
was a reasonably well protected and gallantly de- 
fended gateway, where he fell with twenty of his 

Whether his body was brought home to the 
woman who had loved him so long and so truly, I 
do not know, but probably it was not. The De- 
cember weather was bitterly cold, the half-frozen 
morass was extremely treacherous. The victorious 
party had already marched twenty miles that day, 
fought fiercely, sustained only by scant rations of 
frozen food, and had the same distance to walk 
back again, carrying more than one hundred and 
fifty wounded men with them, so it is probable 
that the bodies of the slain were hastily interred 
on the spot where they fell. 

Neither do I know how long the wife survived 
her husband ; but I do know that the name of the 
hero-sire who fell in defense of his wilderness home 
was long held in reverent remembrance by his 
descendants. In a journal letter kept by his great- 
great-granddaughter, Juliana Smith of Sharon, 
Connecticut, I find this entry : 

" This evening my Mother has been telling me 
about her great-grandfather. Captain John Gallup, 
who was killed in King Philip's War. I thank 
God to be descended from such a man. Truthfiil, 
Kind and Brave ! " 







The Long Step from Con- 
necticut to New York. 

Comforts of the Dutch. 

Mr. David Codwise Tells 

of the Houses of his 

Grandfather and of Nic- 

laes Evertsen, Grandson 

of Lieutenant-Admiral 

Jan Evertsen. 




^ '•^"g.O"^ 4 ^"QoO"^ Q 




^i^O^M^T is a long step both in time, in 
l^ y IJ^ distance, and in customs from the 
10 pioneer home in New London, 
w ^ Connecticut, started in 1644, to 

^OJ^^D^ the homes of prosperous Dutch 
citizens of New Amsterdam in 1698. 

Material progress in all the colonies had been 
enormous during the years that had intervened. 
It has always been believed that the Dutch settlers 
were at no time subjected to the hardships that had 
been so grievous to the Pilgrims and their imme- 
diate successors, but that may have been a mis- 
taken notion. Early Dutch records not having been 
so thoroughly searched, and letters, if any are in ex- 
istence, being in a foreign tongue, we have been con- 
tent to accept the conditions of later days as char- 
acteristic of the earlier ones as well. This much 
we know, that times were comparatively easy when 
Niclaes Evertsen, a recent immigrant from Holland, 
perhaps by the way of the West Indies, married 
Margrietye Van Baal, a native of the trading-post 
which her father had known as Fort Orange, 
but which, eight years before her birth, had 


been obliged to take the English name c^ Al- 

Yes; times were not hard in the litdc city of 
New York, notwithstanding that it had been cap> 
tured by the English, who were by no means as 
gentle and careful nurses of their colonies as the 
Dutch had been. The marriage just referred to 
occurred in 1698, at which time there was a con- 
siderable degree of material prosperity. 

The Hollanders were natural traders, industri- 
ous, thrifty, honest, and persevering. Probably no 
nation had fewer vices or more virtues, and the 
last were of the kind that bring prosperity in their 
train. The English government paid them com- 
paratively little attention, and the shrewd Dutch 
colonists took no pains to awaken the interest (or 
cupidity) of their new and undesired masters. In 
preserving a salutary obscurity they were undoubt- 
edly aided by their quiet ways and their language, 
which few Englishmen cared to leam. 

New York was now the little city's name upon 
colonial maps; but New Amsterdam it still re- 
mained in the hearts of its citizens, as well as in its 
customs and its people for many years to come. 
The British had been in possession for about thirty- 
five years when Niclaes Evertsen built his broad- 
roofed stone and shingle house somewhere upon 
the big farm which is said to have stretched from 
what is now Fourth Avenue, between Union and 
Madison squares, to the East River; but Dutch 



was still the language of the people, in Dutch were 
their records kept, and Dutch were all their tastes 
and ways. 

The very first comers among the Dutch settlers 
must, like the New England and all other pioneers, 
have lived in huts of rough, or at best of squared, 
logs; but instead of being treated with biting 
neglect like the colonies of England, the Dutch 
received every possible aid and comfort from the 
government of their mother-land, and stores and 
Supplies of all sorts were sent out to them as rap- 
idly as possible and with a liberal hand, so that 
they were supplied with the comforts of those days 
sooner than their neighbors. 

Even had the English so desired, they could not 
have given to their colonies as many comforts as 
could the Dutch, for the latter were for in advance 
of the former in all the peaceful and domestic arts. 
In addition to the help which they received from 
the home-land, the Dutch were fortunate in being 
most advantageously placed for acting as '* middle- 
men " between Holland and the native American 
tribes, and thus they rapidly accumulated property ; 
hence their dwellings speedily became seats of 
comfort, or even of luxury, as those terms were 
then used. 

The late David Codwise, for many years a mas- 
ter in chancery in the city of New York, dying in 
1864 at the age of eighty-four years, was the hus- 
band of a sister of my grandmother. Under their 

—c^ iL-sr-zaric ■•ax inaiT iznr prZiDod^s happy 
::;-= -wirr -j^sx. am 3ix ^it Jos '^ry ^ were die 
^xr^ 7u±i?c-z n isgminr tj sy jot great-ancle's 
IKS.— rc'.TTS .-r 3K "WTm jcii ^c=|s in okl New 
Y.'PS. '*: zi^i nuiTT T"'^' I rask saax notes, and 
I 1^ Tt:'» ^j_T-jr--T iCTTT rac I did not take 
—.-■.-:, 7ii.x^ I iu.'-; 'rwsr cwt j» g'^can siq>ple- 
r?r::;i-7 .-ri.-rzuT'rn f-.T^ 'iK =x=t kttos, wills, 
srsi fT-yr-!~e^A"-i:i-n -^zv ir =:t poGSCsaon and 

I j.- Tcc rv*- -r;=F;-.=J>K- aii e ^zie ae drst of the 
r**.- bLO*:f T-:Li.~i M-. C^-owise tiescribcd w me in 
.-jcs..3;rx'S«r Jirii— i-ii ":ti.-c^i » his maamal 
or r^s— -il r^?'-^T-'r^'f~'^ ; [ think, to the latter. 
I3 iir:. sr: :z sziil, -ri -^e= iz "ix jellow brick 
Will.- .-*;- :?* r-r^,-.ri, i-V-r. wi5 .viv 170a This 
hc,:j<r. --.T -•>.-> iiii. Ti5 ;r.e i-plicate ot one 
whi.-r. wii. sT^-rri i: o: iS.--'-: rhe same time by 
his a:N.-<>:o7> rj.-r~.;r ir.i :=*.t: inrimate triend, 
Ciptiir. N:cU;? E»i-v«;r_ The lirrer was die 
punison 01' :he Iie-^:<:r-Lr.:-Aax.iral Jan (or 
Jv^har.^ E\«r:Ti<r.. a k-:^.: 01" :he Order of St. 
Miciucl. ir.J one or' the rr-o;: timous officers of 
old Ho'.;.ir.J'5 ri:::ou5 r.ivy. to whose han'est of 
heroes hi> ramilv h^J. in the course ot less than 
d century, suppUeJ. besides hi:iiseh, no less than 
three vtcc-ad:iiir.ils. v>ne commodore, and five 
si'itVjyKi\:'rir:i-'S (^ship-comnianJers). At least 
seven of the nine died in battle. Jacob de Liefde, 
in his book 0:1 the "Great Dutch Admirals," says 


that fifteen of the Evertsens had home the name 
honorably in battle both on land and on sea, and 
one must wonder that the immigrant Niclaes was 
content to remain a merchant and captain of one 
of his own ships, peacefully trading between New 
Amsterdam and the West Indies. But times had 
changed. Holland and England had become friends, 
and the claws of Spain and Portugal had been too 
closely clipped to be longer dangerous to their 
enemies. So to Captain Evertsen in the new land 
his title had acquired a purely peaceful signifi- 
cance. That his business was profitable is proved 
by the estate which he left, and by the generous 
plenishings and furnishings of his unusually large 
and commodious house. 

Among the notes which I took from Mr. Cod- 
wise's conversations I am glad to find a description 
and a rough plan of the ground floors of what 
were in their day considered two of the finest 
dwellings on the island of Manhattan. They 
were built at about the same time — after the same 
design and probably by the same workmen — for 
two men who were partners in business and at- 
tached friends — Captain Niclaes Evertsen, and 
the ancestor of Mr. Codwise, whose surname 
may have been either Codwise or Beeckman, as 
that was the maiden name of my great-uncle's 

The Codwise house stood on what is now Dey 
Street, where it was still considered a handsome 


residence, until destroyed by fire not long before 

my great-uncle's twentieth birthday. 

Land on Manhattan Island was not then sold 
by the inch, and these two houses were built with 
a glorious contempt of economy of space. In the 
center of each rose a great chimney-stack of stone, 
having four immense fireplaces, each striding 
across the comer of a wide, low-ceiled, broad-win- 
dowed room about twenty-two feet square. On 
either side, beyond the four rooms ^us grouped 
around the chimney-stack, were two others of 
about equal dimensions, each having its own fire- 
place, for two more chimneys rose, one in each 
gable-end of the houses. The first story of the 
Evcrtscn house was built of stone ; that of the Cod- 
wise house was constructed of bufi-colored brick 
imported from Holland — a needless expense, as 
Mr. Codwise used to say, because brick-making 
was one of the earliest and most successful indus- 
tries started in the new land. 

In both houses the exterior walls of the upper 
stories were covered by overlapping cedar shingles, 
clipped at the comers to produce an octagonal 
effect, as one may see them in certain cottages of 
to-day. In front and at the gable^nds the second 
stories projected a little beyond the lower. At the 
rear there was but one story, the long roof sloping 
from the peak by a slightly inward-curving sweep 
till it terminated over the low, comfortable-looking 
stoep, upon which opened the rear windows and 


doors of the first floor. All the first-floor rooms 
were handsomely wainscoted, and these, as well as 
the heavy ceiling beams, were, as Mr. Codwise re- 
membered them, cased and painted white. Each 
fireplace was surrounded by borders of tiles, all 
illustrating scriptural or naval scenes, save one set, 
which, in reddish brown figures on a white ground, 
portrayed the adventures of Don Quixote. One 
of these last tiles I saw in Mr. Codwise's possession 
in i860. The walls of one room in each of the 
houses were hung with embossed leather, which 
had once been richly decorated in arabesque de- 
signs, and even in my great-uncle's remembrance 
the gold tracings had not been badly tarnished. 
Other walls in the best rooms of both houses were 
hung with a very substantial sort of paper, pic- 
tured with sprawling landscapes in which wind- 
mills, square-rigged boats, and very chunky cows 
figured prominently. This was said to have been 
put on soon after the houses were built. Accord- 
ing to the custom of the time, the bedrooms were 
always washed with lime. 

On the second floor there were six rooms across 
the front, extending to the center of the house. 
The rest was left unceiled — a big open garret 
with square windows at each end and dormers 
along the sides of the roof, which sloped fitim the 
peak to the floor. In this great garret flax-hatchel- 
ing, wool-carding, and weaving went on almost 
without cessation, save in the very coldest weather. 


when the looms were abandoned to the compan- 
ionship of the rows of smoked hams hanging from 
the huge beams, the long ropes of sausage-links, 
the festoons of dried apples, and all the other 
stores which could endure the winter frosts. Those 
that could not do this were safely packed away in 
the dim recesses of the deep cellars which ran 
under the whole house. The latter was ventilated 
during the summer by leaving open the low doors, 
which formed a sort of sloping roof, covering the 
stone steps leading from the outer air on all sides 
of the house to the deeps below. In winter these 
doorways were filled in with straw and dried 
leaves, while earth and sods were laid over the 
closed doors in order to effectually exclude the 
frost. After this was done, late in the fall, the pitch- 
dark cellars could only be entered by the interior 

The diamond-paned and leaded window-sashes 
had originally been brought from Holland; but 
by the time Mr. Codwise could remember them, 
all but a few had been replaced by other sashes 
filled with nearly square panes, twelve to each 
sash. This glass was so full of knots and streaks 
that no object seen through it appeared to be 
entire, but to be broken into disjointed parts. 
The glass of the imported diamond-shaped panes 
was much clearer. 

At what time the Evertsen house was taken 
down, or whether it was burned, I do not know. 


but believe it to have been burned a few years 
before the Codwise mansion. After the destruc- 
tion of each of them Mr. Codwise said that in the 
center of the central chimney-stack, which re- 
mained standing like a strong tower in the midst 
of the ruins, was found a small, diamond-shaped 
chamber, across the longest diameter of which two 
men might have lain down side by side. The 
floor of this chamber was of brick, and its side 
walls were the stone backs of the four comer fire- 
places. Ceiling it had none, for the walls of the. 
flues sloped inward as they rose, until at the top of 
the stack there was only a comparatively small 
opening, through which the noonday sun might 
send a blinking ray to cheer the floor beneath, or 
rain or snow might pitilessly descend. The little 
chamber was entered from opposite directions 
by two strait doors which formed the backs of two 
of the eight narrow closets flanking the four fire- 
places. Good and secure hiding-places these 
chambers were, whether for men or for treasure. 
My uncle said that his father had seen the one in 
their house used for both purposes during our 
Revolutionary War, and to oblige both Tories 
and patriots ; for his ancestors, whether the pater- 
nal Codwise or the maternal Beeckman, had main- 
tained a strict neutrality, and were able sometimes 
to extend a measure of protection to personal 
friends in either party in their times of need. It 
is needless to say that the cautious heads of the 

families did not confide the secret of the chimney- 
stack to many persons. In summer this hiding- 
place must have been rather damp ; but in winter, 
when the fires were burning in all four of the fire- 
places which surrounded it, it may not have been 
an altogether uncomfortable refuge. 

A long, covered passageway led from one end 
of the stoep to a comer of the kitchen, which then, 
as is still usual in our Southern States, was in a 
detached building. Beyond it, again, stretched 
' away the negro quarters, built sometimes of logs 
and sometimes of brick or stone, and mostly of 
one story in height At right angles with these 
were the bams and stables, low, but exceedingly 
broad ; also a blacksmithy, where horses and oxen 
were shod and repairs made, and a carpenter's 
shop. Taken together, the outbuildings made 
three sides of a hollow square in which were the 
milking- and feeding-yards. All this, of course, 
was on the fermstead of the Evertsens. The 
owners of the Dey Street house were merchants 
only, and had no outbuildings save stables for a 
pair of horses and a cow or two. It must be 
remembered that nearly all well-to-do citizens kept 
cows enough to supply at least all the milk for 
family use until the very latter part of the eigh- 
teenth century. 

Neither of these houses followed the common 
Dutch custom of standing with gable-end to the 
street. Both opened from the center of the two- 


story front almost directly upon the scantily trav- 
eled highway, but at the rear were surrounded by 
fruit-orchards and large gardens, wherein great 
square beds of vegetables were edged by borders 
of box or of flowers, as the case might be — for 
your true Dutchman is not confined to strict util- 
ity, but is a flower-lover and cultivator all his 

A peculiarity of both houses was that the only 
closets were those which flanked the fireplaces or 
surmounted the high and narrow mantels. Great 
carved chests of hardwoods and massive mahogany 
structures of drawers, or combinations of shelves 
and drawers, were to be found in nearly every 
room occupied by the members of a wealthy 
Dutch family. Apparently clothes were never 
hung up, but always laid away at full length in 
these and similar receptacles. 

In a large old mahogany wardrobe which once 
stood in the Evertsen house, the three drawers 
which form the lower half are very deep. The 
shelves which form the upper half are equally 
deep, and shove tn and out like drawers, only with- 
out fronts, while broad doors close over them. 
The wood still shows its beautiful grain, though it 
has turned almost black with age, while the artis- 
tically cut brass of the handles and escutcheons 
responds to the labor of the polisher as brightly as 
it could have done two centuries ago. 

Among other articles which once stood in the 


old Evertscn house is a tall mahogany structure 
apparently designed for many uses, whose five 
long and shallow drawers might have held its 
owner's coats and breeches of satin or velvet, his 
long silk stockings, his fine linen shirts frilled with 
costly laces, and even his voluminous wig. In 
the center, behind a leaf which turns down to 
form a desk, is the little bank of pigeonholes for 
holding filed papers, just as we see them in more 
modem desks, only that among them are secret 
receptacles for private papers, and two slides 
which, when drawn out, were intended to support 
candlesticks in such a way that the never too bril- 
liant candle-light should best fell upon the desk's 
contents. Above the pigeonholes, behind* the 
doors of mahogany, rise broad, deep shelves which 
may have been used to hold books or clothes or 
bed- and table-linen. To my mind, the varied 
divisions of the shelf-space are not so suggestive 
of literature as they are both of the linen of the 
housewife and of the tall ledgers of the prosper- 
ous merchant, with long accounts to keep between 
the traders of the interior, his correspondents in 
the West Indian islands of Tobago, St. Thomas, 
and Santa Croix, and with the merchants and 
manufacturers of Antwerp and Amsterdam. 

Though few books have descended to us fi^om 
the ancestral homes of New Amsterdam, it does 
not prove that their owners were any more illit- 
erate than the settlers of the other colonies. The 


change of language from Dutch to English would 
account for the natural disappearance of many of 
the Dutch books. I know of one sacrilegious 
creature who admits that about thirty years ago 
she destroyed some forty Dutch volumes which 
she had found in a garret of a house which her 
husband had inherited, " to get them out of the 
way, though the bindings of some were so pretty 
it was almost a pity." 

A serpentine sideboard of mahogany finely 
inlaid with satin wood, now in the possession of 
one of the Evertsen descendants, is believed also 
to have stood in this house. It is known to have 
descended through six generations to its present 
owner. Sideboards there must have been here, 
for there was much silver and china, scattered pieces 
of both of which still remain. It is said that there 
was little of the latter sold in New York city 
prior to 1730. However this may have been, it is 
certain, from the quantities that were bequeathed, 
that wealthy residents owned much china long 
before that date. Canton china was privately 
imported at a very early period. 

Not far from the present abiding-place of the 
curiously decorated and really beautiful escritoire 
above described is a mirror in two parts, the 
smaller about one quarter the size of the larger, 
the whole, with its frame of mahogany and the 
carved figures of gilded wood which surround it, 
being about six and one half feet in height by two 


feet in width. The glass is said to be of Venetian 
make, and is still remarkably clear. So is that of 
two oval mirrors set in frames of beautifully cut 
brass, bearing on each side girandoles for three 
candles. The last two mirrors have been (iresentcd 
to a historical society. 

Dining-tables with many slender legs, bed- 
steads, both of mahogany and of black oak, each 
with four high posts and deep side pieces, all 
richly carved, but too thick to be graceful, and 
cabinets curiously inlaid with ivory and tortoise- 
shell, stood in both of these old houses, and some 
of the fine pieces are still in existence. Tradiuon 
associates all the things we have particularly men- 
tioned with the old Evertsen house; but they 
may not have belonged to the first Niclaes and 
Margrietye. Many of them were probably added 
by their son, the second Niclaes and his wife, 
Susanna Reuters, the great-granddaughter of the 
famous Admiral De Ruyter, who had many a time 
fought side by side with the Admiral Evertsen 
who was her husband's great-grandfether. The 
two old sea-kings had not always been agreed in 
regard to the best way to serve their fatherland; 
but both of them were true patriots and grand 
men, and did justice to each other's honesty and 
capacity, so we may imagine that they would 
have blessed the union of their descendants. 

One possession which the first Niclaes must 
have guarded with the most jealous care, perhaps 
keeping it hidden in the secret strong room, was 


the silver-hilted sword presented by the state of 
Zealand to his grandfather, the brave old Admiral 
Jan Evertsen. The hilt of this sword, then broken 
ftom its blade, was seen in Poughkcepsie, New 
York, by my fether when he was a boy of about 
fifteen, that is, in 1825 or 1826. It was then in 
the guardianship of a Mr. Richards, who had mar- 
ried a daughter of Nicholas Evertsen, the third of 
his name in this country, and a great-grandson of 
the first Niclaes. Upon the hilt was a handsomely 
engraved inscription in the Dutch language, which, 
unfortunately, the greatly interested boy could not 
understand; but he well remembered the names 
and date. The latter we do not now recall ; but 
my brother, Gilbert Livingston Smith of Sharon, 
Connecticut, my sister, Mrs. Robert Clinton Geer 
of Brooklyn, New York, and I have all heard our 
Either relate the incident and describe the hilt and 
inscription too often not to have them impressed 
upon our memories. The date upon the sword- 
hilt must have been previous to 1666, as that was 
the year in which the old hero died, fighting 
against England in a naval battle of four days' 
duration, on the first day of which his brother Cor- 
nells, also an admiral, had perished. The hilt, 
my fether said, was very heavy, and the size such 
that it could only have been wielded by an unusu- 
ally large hand. Almost all the men descended 
from the first owner of this sword have been very 
large and strong. 

Mr. Codwise remembered having heard of this 


weapon, and also had heard his &ther tell of a fine 
gold medal which Captain Niclaes Evertsen had 
shown to some friends in his presence when a boy 
— a medal which had been presented to Admiral 
Evertsen by, as he believed, the States-General of 

What has become of these precious articles? 
Are they still in the possession of some branch of 
a &mily which has become scattered through 
several of the States of our Union? Or have 
they, — have they — shameful thought! — shared 
the &te of so many of what should have been cher- 
ished heirlooms, and lost their identity in the sil- 
versmith's hateful melting-pot ? 

As alt old American &milies too well know, 
there came a time when, old ideals having slipped 
away like children's outgrown garments, it was 
long esteemed a weakness to have a care for heir- 
looms as such. During this most deplorable in* 
terval, how many invaluable ancestral relics were 
ignobly converted into spoons and forks! An 
uncle of my own — a man, too, who had more than 
usual regard for ancestral relics — within my own 
recollection caused five dinner-plates of beaten 
silver, dating from between 1600 and 1650, to be 
melted to make a large pitcher! The latter is 
indeed much more beautiful than the plates, which 
were as plain as pewter and not a bit handsomer, 
but I never look at it without regretting its 





Every Homestead a 



Grood Providers. 

Spinning and Weaving. 

Soap and Candle Making. 


Bread and YeasL 

Butter Making. 

Nursery Lore. 

"IT seems to have been the rule in all 

the colonies that the wealthier the 

' settler the greater the amount of 

labor constantly carried on under his 

I roof. There were no manufactories, 

and almost everything needed for household con- 
sumption or service had necessarily to be either 
■ imported or made at home. The buysvrouvfs labors 
were by no means confined to the wise dispensing 
of the liberally provided stores. She and her 
daughters were happy and contented producers, as 
well as dispensers and consumers. If they did 
not personally scrub the uncarpeted floors, or 
build and feed the ever-devouring flames in the 
enormous fireplaces, or hatchcl the flax, or card 
the wool, or weave the heavy stuffs for household 
use, or make the soap, or chop the sausage-meat, 
or dip the candles, or wash the linen — they had to 
know, as only experience can know, just how 
each and all of these things should be done, and 
also how to so marshal and direct their many 
hand-men and -maidens that the most and best 
work should be accomplished with the least fric- 

tion. When reading, as one occasionally does in 
our day, of some " wonderful woman " who super- 
intends a factory, or carries on some other line of 
equally active business, we should remember that 
very likely her grandmother once had as much 
responsibility, and fulfilled it as well, without hav- 
ing to go beyond the bounds of her own house to 
do so. 

The days of the huysvrouws were also those of 
negro slavery, and they display all the best and 
some of the worst features of the system. If, on 
the one hand, the house-mistress were always sure 
of retaining the services of a well-trained and 
faithful servant, on the other hand it was by no 
means easy to get rid of one who was sulky, 
stupid, or careless. In fact, the servant question 
was as general a topic among the interested two 
centuries ago as it is now. Kings may go and 
Presidents come, and institutions may change like 
the weather, but human nature remains the same, 
and the diaries of from ten to tenscore years ago 
are found full of lamentations over the shortcom- 
ings of domestics. 

Every farmstead of any pretension had to be, 
at the same time, a manufactory of almost all the 
things required for daily use. It is not probable 
that at the beginning of the eighteenth century 
there were many meat markets (or " fleshers ") to 
be found, even in the cities, and supplies of fbwlS 
and meat of all sorts save game were produced 



on the &rms, where all that could not be economi- 
cally disposed of while fresh was preserved by 
drying or spicing or salting or smoking for win- 
ter use. Several weeks of steady labor were re- 
quired in each autumn to prepare the barrels of 
salted pork and of corned beef, to cure the scores 
of hams and sides of bacon, to prepare the miles 
of sausage-links, to try out and preserve the many 
stone jars full of lard so nicely that it would keep 
sweet the year round, to prepare the souse, the 
headcheese, and the roUichies. These last were 
made of chopped beef rolled in tripe and smoked. 
When desired for the table the little rolls were 
boiled and served cold, or fried and eaten hot. 
Besides all these, each in its proper season, were 
prepared stores of fish of various sorts, pickled, 
dried, or spiced, and great quantities of winter 
vegetables, as well as such fruits as could be kept 
for winter use by drying, or by preserving with 
sugar by the pound-for-pound method, so solidly 
sweet that the descendants of those who ate them 
must envy the grandparents' powers of digestion. 

Of all the colonies, the Dutch were the most 
famous for these delicious (and indigestible) con- 
serves. More than the others also did they distil 
and prepare an endless variety of cordials and 
fragrant waters for drinks or for flavoring to dainty 
dishes. Their mince-pies, fairly tipsy with their 
liberal allowances of hard cider or brandy, or both, 
their famous supplies of cookies, of crullers, of 

^etoeis (doughnuts), and c4 spjced czkcs, were 
regularly made once or twice a week. Waffles, 
wa^rs, raised muffins, and griddle-cakcs crf^ various 
sorts were in daily tea-table use. Supawn, made 
of com-meal boiled in water, salted and stirred the 
while with a wooden spoon till thick and smooth, 
took the place of modem cereals, and was served 
on every break&st-table the year round- It was 
eaten cither with butter and that good, old-&sh- 
ioncd West India molasses which no searching 
can now discover, or with milk. Sometimes, when 
die weather was too hot or too cold to make good 
butter, there was cream used, but usually this bad 
to be saved to make butter ; at the same time, 
skimmed milk would have been considered too 
mean a portion to offer to the cats. Dried fruits 
which had been previously soaked overnight 
were often cooked with and stirred through the 
supawn, giving an added flavor which was much 

The poultry-yard was every huysvrouw's pride. 
Even the wife of the importer, banker, or profes- 
sional man living in the city kept flocks of hens, 
geese, ducks, and sometimes turkeys; but as the 
turkey was a notorious wanderer, and its eggs were 
not prized for eating, nor its feathers for beds, it 
was never very plentiful in the New Amsterdam 

Oysters and clams were brought in large quan- 
tities in the late autumri, and buried in beds of 


clean sea-sand, mixed with Indian meat, tn the 
cellars, where they were profusely watered twice a 
week with water brought in tubs from the bay or 
river. In this way they were said to keep fat 
and good until the ice had broken up in the early 
spring, and the vast beds of native shell-Bsh 
which lay beneath the waters surrounding Man- 
hattan Island were again accessible. It must be 
remembered that these waters were then frozen a 
great part of the winter, there not being sufficient 
traffic to keep the ice broken as now. 

Game of all kinds, from deer to quails, was 
abundant for many years, and for at least twenty 
years subsequent to our Revolutionary War was 
both plentiful and cheap in the markets. 

For many years there were no public bakeries, 
and the femily bread-making was no inconsidera- 
ble toil. Even in the days of Margrietye Evert- 
sen's granddaughters there was less yeast used 
than leaven. The latter is a lump of the latest 
baking buried in flour and kept in a cool, dry 
place until needed for the next baking. Number- 
less were the accidents which might happen to 
this. A degree too cold or a trifle too damp, and 
the leaven would not rise, so the bread was heavy ; 
or a degree too hot, and the leaven would ferment, 
and so the bread was sour. If the sponge stood 
too short or too long a time, or its tempera- 
ture was not just right, again there was trouble. 
If the big brick oven was under-heated, the well- 

made loaves would over-rise and sour before they 
were sufficiently baked, or they might be removed 
too quickly from the oven, and the half-baked 
dough would fall into flat and solid masses. If 
the oven was over-heated, the loaves would again 
be heavy, for the crust would form before the 
bread had had time to take its last rising in the 
oven as it should. The only wonder is that in 
those days there was ever any good bread ; but 
the testimony is ample that among the Dutch 
huysvrouws good bread was rather the rule than 
the exception. 

Probably the experienced cooks could never 
have told how they did it ; but practice had made 
them so perfect that they knew to a second and a 
degree just the time and the heat required. A 
relative of my mother had married a wife of 
unbroken Dutch descent, and, with a tenacity 
characteristic of her progenitors in clinging to all old 
ways that had been proved to be good (and even, 
it must be confessed, to some that had not), she 
continued to use the old brick oven as long as she 
lived, and everything baked in it seemed to my 
childish taste to be perfection of its kind. She 
superintended every step of the long opera- 
tion, from the setting of the sponge overnight 
(with yeast, though, instead of leaven : she had 
been induced to consent to this innovation) to the 
removal of the sweet, light loaves from the oven 
sometime during the next forenoon. Full, round 


loaves of a brown so light as to be almost golden, I 
can see them now, standing in rows slightly aslant 
so that air could pass beneath, and covered loosely 
with spotless cloths of coarse linen, which last 
was as home-made as the bread, only not in her 
own time, but in that of her mother. Poor 
Auntie Aaltje (Aletta) would never have believed 
it possible, but after her death it was discovered 
that the dark-faced, white-turbaned old Chloe, who 
for so many years had patiently called her mistress 
to test the oven, and without a word (but some- 
times with a covert smile) had accepted the pa- 
tronizing verdict that " it would do," required no 
" superintending." But the huysvrouw who did not 
personally oversee all the important operations of 
housekeeping would have seemed to herself and to 
others to have failed in her vocation. 

One of the most troublesome of all the house- 
wife's duties was the quarterly soap-making. I 
can remember this function as performed at this 
house. Ugh I what a troublesome thing it was, 
and unsavory! For several weeks the "leach-tubs" 
stood in an outhouse filled with tightly packed 
hard wood-ashes from the big 6replaces, where 
wood was always burned during my kinswoman's 
life. The tubs, or rather big barrels, being filled 
to within about eight inches of the top with 
the ashes, were supported upon frames, beneath 
which stood small wooden tubs. Twice a day the 
vacant space left above the ashes was filled with 


boiling water. This, after it had slowly filtered 
through the ashes, became lye. Its strength was 
tested by an egg or by a potato about the size of 
an egg. If these would float about one third of 
their size above the lye, it was deemed strong 
enough; if not, it was poured through the ashes 
again ; if found too strong, water was added. 

When enough lye of the right strength had 
been collected, it was put into enormous iron pots 
and bung from the cranes over the open fire ; and 
though my relative had come to endure a cook-stove 
for ordinary things, she always used the fireplace 
for making soap. The fragments of grease which 
accumulate in every household had been tried out 
while fresh, and reduced to cakes like tallow, only 
not so hard. These were now cut up and put into 
the kettles, apparently by guess. Then the boil- 
ing went on. If it was all right the soap would 
"come" in half an hour. If not, it might be many 
hours, or even days, during which water, or stronger 
lye, or weaker lye, or more grease might be added, 
also apparently by guess. The soap, when at last 
successfully produced, was in substance like a good, 
firm jelly ; in color, a marbled brown ; its odor 
that of a clear, clean alkali. It was very good for 
scrubbing and also for laundry purposes, though it 
must not be used too freely or it would yellow the 
clothes. It never made holes in them, as some of 
the modern sorts do. The husband was of Hugue- 
not descent, and progressive in all things, so that 


the quarterly soap-making ended in his house after 
his wife's death. 

This Auntie Aaltje was as decidedly Dutch in 
her ways as if she had been her own grandmother. 
While she lived there must no chum be used save 
the tall stoneware jar, perhaps the same one — at any 
rate, one probably just like it — which her old grand- 
mother had caused her maids to fill to one half its 
capacity with good, rich, yellow cream, and place, 
according to the season, in a tub of ice-cold or of 
hot water. One of the maids meanwhile stood 
patiently beside the jar, plying the dasher up and 
down with rapid, even strokes until the butter 
"came." This also was done by guess; but if 
the huysvrouw's " gucssery " was good — in other 
words, if she were an expert — the cream would 
have been skimmed and put into the chum at pre- 
cisely the right moment and at the right tempera- 
ture; then, in from twenty minutes to half an 
hour, the golden globules would have formed and 
gathered, and the butter would be ready to be 
skimmed out into a round tray of maple-wood, 
beautifully white, and made cold with well-water 
and " sweet with salt" Then with a water-soaked 
ladle the buttermilk was pressed out and salt 
added. This was the butter's first working. After 
a few hours it was again worked, and the next 
morning for the third time. The huysvrouw did 
not wash her butter. To extract the buttermilk 
she depended upon the conscientious muscular 


labor <^ her maids in pressing it aU oat If tbis 
were not successfully done die butter would soon 
become rancid. The only wonder was that quan- 
tities did keep perfectlj sweet and good, tfaou^ 
very salt, from ooe June until Ac next. June 
and October were con«dercd the best mondis for 
packing winter butter, die conditions of tempera- 
ture and food for the cows being then nearest to 

The custom of quarterly clothes-washings had 
been brou^t from Holland, and was long coo- 
dnued here amtMig the Dutch senlers, uotwidi- 
standing that our summer beats, and the immense 
quantides of clothes necessary to maintain the state 
of cleanliness required by Dutch insdncts and tra- 
ditions, must have rendered it exceedingly incon- 
venient. As lately as 1760, we find in an old letter 
that "Grandmother Blum is so deep in her Quar- 
terly wash this Weeke that she has no time only 
to send her love." The writer of the letter was a 
New-Englander married to a citizen of New York 
city, and the custom undoubtedly was strange to 
her. The washing was usually done in an out- 
house called a bleeckeryen where the water was 
heated over the fire in immense kettles, and all the 
other processes of laundry work, conducted by the 
most laborious methods, were carried on there. 
This work usually required not less than a week, 
and quite frequently two weeks. During the three 
months intervening between these periods of cruelly 



hard labor, the soiled clothes had been accumulat- 
ing from day to day in very large hampers of open 
basketwork, and stored in the bleeckeryen. It was 
this system of quarterly washings that rendered — 
and in parts of Holland and of Germany still ren- 
ders — necessary the great stores of household and 
personal linens which are supposed to be brought 
to her new home by every bride, and for which 
the mothers begin to prepare almost from the birth 
of the first daughter. This preparation continued 
in the new land long after the custom of quarterly 
washings had given place to the much more sen- 
sible and sanitary custom now prevailing. 

As the Grand Opera House in Paris was lighted 
with candles, affording certainly a dim if not a re- 
ligious light, until sometime during the Regency, it 
is not to be supposed that lamps came into use in 
the fer-away little city of New Amsterdam until a 
great many years later. In fact, there is little men- 
tion of the use of oil lamps in America before the 
middle of the eighteenth century. Wax candles 
were imported for festival occasions, but immense 
quantities of tallow candles were yearly dipped or 
molded for ordinary consumption. In all regions 
where the waxy and deliciously fragrant bayberry 
was plentiful, candles were made from it. When 
well prepared the wax was slightly translucent and 
of a light green in color. The snuff" emitted so 
delicate an odor that on festive occasions, where 
many candles were burning, it was usual to blow 

some of them out at frequent intervals so that the 
room might be kept pleasantly perfumed. 

The great dependence for cheerful light as well 
as for warmth in winter must have been upon the 
blazing knots of resinous wood dexterously dis- 
tributed in among the slower burning logs of hick- 
ory, oak, and maple. By the blaze of these 
friendly fires there was seen much domestic happi- 
ness and much social enjoyment of a homely sort. 
The Dutch family relations were singularly close 
and intimate. Parental affection was especially 
strong and tender. 

Among the descendants of old Dutch families 
here there still remain so many fragments of the 
nursery rhymes which used to charm the round- 
feced little Dutch lads and lassies that there must 
once have existed a copious literature of nursery 
lore. Part of one such jingle I can remember as 
my fether sang it to my younger brother, who was 
a remarkably beautiful, black-eyed little fellow, 
then probably about two years old. I remember 
his teasing my father to play " trip-trop " with him. 
Then my father crossed his knees, and sat Willie 
astride of the suspended foot, holding him in place 
by the two hands. Then, swinging up and down 
the foot holding the delighted child, the rich, 
melodious barytone trolled out a catch of which I 
could only recall the first and last lines until the 
missing ones were supplied by Mrs. Vanderbilt in 


her most interesting " Social History of Flatbush." 
The completed rhyme runs : 

" Trip a trop a tronjes. 

De vorkens in de boonjes, 
De koejes in de klaver, 
De paarden in de haver, 
De eenjes in de waterplass. 
So groot myn kleine [ ~\ was. 


Mrs. Vandcrbilt translates this as follows : 

•* The father's (or mother's) knee a throne is. 
As the pigs are in the beans. 
As the cows are in the clover, 
As the horses are in the oats. 
As the ducks are splashing in the water. 
So great my little [ ] is." 

When the child's name was of more than two 
syllables poppetje was substituted, this meaning 
poppet, doll, or baby, a term of endearment. Sev- 
eral of my relations of Dutch descent used to call 
rac their " kleine poppetje." At the close of the 
last line of the foregoing jingle the singer is sup- 
posed to toss the child as high as he can reach. 
My father's paternal grandmother, from whose lips 
he had learned the little Dutch jingle when a boy, 
was born Margaret Evertson, and was a great- 
granddaughter of the first Niclaes Evertsen. 

To play "trip-trop" was always my little 
brother Willie's bedtime entertainment by the open 
nursery fire. So handsome and so happy were my 
&ther and little brother, so impossible does it seem 
to associate the idea of death with either, that even 
now I cannot believe that they have joined the 
other dear fiithers and babies who played " trip- 
trop" so many generations before them. 





Edict of Nantes and its 

The Huguenot Exodus. 

Arts Carried Abroad. 

Daniel L'Estrange. 

A Huguenot "Lady in 


An Effectual Disguise. 

To New RochcUe by 

Way of England. 

PVERY one knows of the French reli- 

E/^ gious wars in the sixteenth century, 
^ and of the terrible massacre of St. 
"" Bartholomew, followed, after more 
wars, by the accession of " Henry of 
glorious memory," and by his promulgation, in 
1598, of the celebrated Edict of Nantes. This 
edict by no means made all men equal before the 
law, but at least it granted toleration, as well as 
the most important of civil rights, and a measure 
of protection to the French Protestants. Almost 
as well known, but not so often brought to mind, 
is the long course of gradual encroachment on the 
rights conferred upon the Protestants by that edict. 
This encroachment never ceased until — long after 
the rights granted by the edict had been practically 
withdrawn — the edict itself was formally revoked, 
in 1685, by Louis XIV. 

There is nothing in history more remarkable 
than the patience with which these constantly 
increasing and most odious persecutions were borne 
by the persecuted, except the fetuity which led to 
the final act of despotism, causing the expatriation 


of hundreds of thousands of the best citizens of 
France. If non-resistance to tyranny be a virtue, 
the Huguenots, for nearly half a century, had been 
the most virtuous of people. If adherence to their 
principles under every form of ill-treatment be a 
folly, their folly was unapproached. Either way 
they suffered for conscience' sake, and no people 
in the history of the world have exceeded them in 
this. Politically, the Protestant minority of the 
nation had no differences with the Catholic major- 
ity. All were alike loyal to the monarchical form 
of government and to the existing dynasty ; there 
was no conflict of race or of province ; and those 
of both the highest and the lowest social positions 
were to be found alike in the ranks of both parties. 
Religion was the sole ground of division. 

In the decade preceding the Revocation of the 
Edict of Nantes, the exodus of the Huguenots 
from all parts of France had been great and con- 
tinuous, in spite of the utmost vigilance on the 
part of the authorities. The numbers of the escaped 
have been variously estimated at from five hun- 
dred thousand to three millions. Some good 
judges think that about eight hundred thousand 
would be a conservative estimate. 

In spite of his blind arrogance, Louis Quatorze 
was not so stupid as to wish to deport the best- 
behaved and most productive of all his subjects. 
He only made the mistake of supposing that he 
could command the minds and consciences as 


easily as he could the arms and purses of his sub- 
missive people. To this end he determined to 
buy heaven for himself by ** converting '* the 
Huguenots to his own faith, and at the same time 
to maintain the material prosperity of his kingdom 
by preventing the escape of the many gentlemen 
of landed estates, the bankers, the wealthy manu- 
facturers, and the artisans who, at this time, com- 
posed the bulk of the detested party. Hence 
every new act of persecution was accompanied by 
additional precautions to prevent the escape of the 

Most fortunate of all the Huguenots were those 
who dwelt nearest the frontier. Under the terrible 
and infamously effective system of the "drago- 
nades," it is truly wonderful that such large num- 
bers of the persecuted should have succeeded in 
reaching places of safety ; but the many are always 
better than the few. Thousands of the refugees 
long held in grateful remembrance the names of 
their Roman Catholic neighbors who, often at the 
risk of their own estates or even of their lives, 
gave valuable assistance in the flight of their 
Protestant friends. 

No matter how fiercely might bum the anger 
of the obstinate monarch at seeing the industries 
of the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and 
Great Britain built up by those who had there 
sought refuge from his own tyranny, he still had 
the chagrin of knowing his best subjects to be 


continually escaping from his clutches; and to- 
day the descendants of the Huguenots are among 
the worthiest and most enterprising of all the 
citizens of the countries which he most hated. 

Many of those Huguenots who escaped to Eng- 
land subsequently came to her colonics. Although 
most of the refugees had been prosperous in 
France, and not a few had been wealthy citizens, 
comparatively few had been able to take much 
money away with them — the circumstances of 
their flight precluded that; but they all brought 
energy, industry, thrift, and power of endurance, 
as well as that truly delightful birthright of their 
nation, an invincible lightness of heart, while many 
of them also possessed skill in some hitherto pecu- 
liarly French handicraft, or in mechanical methods 
of unusual scope. 

Like the Plymouth Pilgrims, the Huguenots 
came without any backing of national trade or 
class interest; but while the first came to preserve 
civil and "religious rights which they were fearful 
of losing, the latter were involuntary exiles who, 
having already lost all rights, were flying for their 
lives, and were of all social grades, embracing a 
few noblemen, a larger number of la petite noblesse 
who would have been called "gentlemen com- 
moners" in England, and of professional men, 
merchants, bankers, manu£icturers, and artisans, 
besides a comparatively small number of peasants. 
Of the last-named there were fewer than of the other 


classes, partly, perhaps, because it was impossible 
to escape from their enemies without the use of 
. a great deal of money. Those who came were 
probably brought at the expense of the richer col- 
onists, who expected to be repaid in labor. 

Notwithstanding that the difference of their pre- 
vious social conditions might have been supposed 
to prevent a strong feeling of unity among the 
Huguenot refugees, their " oneness of heart and 
mind " was from the first an object of wonder to 
the Dutch and English colonists, by whom they 
had been kindly welcomed. The persecuted 
were bound together by a common language, 
common perils, and a common faith. In their 
little settlement at New Rochelle there was for 
many years as near an approach to apostolic 
ways of living as has been seen since apostolic 
days. They were received most kindly by the 
earlier colonists, but they asked for no charity 
for even the poorest among them. All who had 
been successful enough in sending money out of 
France in advance of themselves, or had been able 
to bring any with them, placed their funds at the 
disposal of their chief men, to be shared as necessity 
required. It is said that they invariably cared for 
their own poor, and that these did not remain long 
in poverty, but were soon able to return all the 
sums which had been advanced to them by the 
wealthier members of the flock. 

Some of the most flourishing of the hitherto 

purely French industrial arts, such as the 6ne linen, 
silk, tapestry, and china manufactures, had been 
gradually carried to England, Germany, and Hol- 
land by the escaping Huguenots during the long 
years of persecution preceding the Revocation of 
the Edict of Nantes. Therefore to their brethren 
in these older lands the refugees in the new land 
sent for looms and other machines of better quali- 
ties than had hitherto been known here. 

They did not have the capital to start their own 
industries on a large scale; neither did the British 
Colonial Office offer anything but discouragement 
for such undertakings; but every household be- 
came a little industrial colony, those who had 
never labored before now learning to do so, with 
cheerful hearts. 

The Huguenots were as sternly Calvinistic in 
their principles as ever were the Plymouth Pil- 
grims ; but these principles did not seem to impart 
any bitterness to their natures. The little settle- 
ment in the colony of New York which they 
fondly called New Rochelle was from the first an 
abode of poverty and hardships most cheerfully 
borne. My dear mother's ancestry was very largely 
Huguenot, and from a few records of the traditions 
of her mother's family I have gleaned some frag- 
ments of interest which probably have a strong re- 
semblance to the family histories of many others 
of similar descent. 

In 1672 Daniel L'Estrange of Orleans, France, 


was matriculated as a student of philosophy in the 
Academy of Geneva, Switzerland, which at that 
time was the only existing place where a French 
Protestant could receive a liberal education in 
his own language. The " pretended reformed " 
were not allowed to have schools of their own in 
France ; nor, on the other hand, was it permitted 
to them to send their children to tlie Catholic 
schools without previously renouncing their own 
and professing the national iaith. 

A few years later we find that M. L'Estrange 
married Charlotte Le Mesire, also of Orleans. A 
few years later still, the pair are residing in Paris, 
where the husband is traditionally believed to 
have been an officer of the Royal Guard — a tra- 
dition which seems to derive some support from 
the fact that after his arrival in England he is 
known to have held a lieutenancy in the Royal 
Guard of James 11. Strange as it may seem, many 
Huguenots filled positions in the personal guard 
of Louis XIV, where they were comparatively 
safe from persecution, as their places were held by 
a certain unwritten law of inheritance from the 
days when Henry IV had filled its ranks, from the 
commander down to the privates, with those upon 
whose fidelity he could best rely ; and these were 
undoubtedly his old brethren in arms and in the 
&ith which political reasons had caused him to 

While her husband was in the Royal Guard, 


Mme. L'Estrange was one of the ladies in wait- 
ing upon the dauphiness, Marie de Baviere, the 
gracious, studious, retiring, and accomplished 
daughter-in-law of Louis XIV. Thus the wife 
of the Huguenot was often obliged to serve her 
turn of duty at St. Germain and sometimes at 
Versailles. Although Mme. L'E^trange was 
well known to be of the "pretended reformed" 
faith, she was not molested, because she was a 
recognized favorite of the dauphiness. Perhaps 
the position of his wife at court combined with 
his own in the Royal Guard to save M. 
L'E^trange for a while from persecution, although 
he was known to be a determined, if not an aggres- 
sive. Huguenot; but the time came when he was 
obliged to seek safety in flight, and that, too, with- 
out seeing his wife. She was then performing her 
tour de scrcke at Versailles; and her husband could 
only send her a verbal message, requesting that she 
should join him, with their child, and as much of 
their property as she could convert into ready 
money, at some designated point on the coast, 
where he would wait for her as long as possible, 
and whence they could take ship for England. 

The person who was intrusted with the message 
either could not or did not convey it to the wife 
until many days, if not some weeks, after her hus- 
band's flight from Paris. I relate the story as I 
heard it from the lips of my maternal grandmother, 
who had heard it from her paternal grandfather. 


Some of the particulars which she related are also 
given in Baird's " History of the Huguenot Emi- 
gration to America." I believe that the parts 
which rest only upon oral tradition are not less 
trustworthy than those quoted by Mr. Baird, which 
rest upon documentary evidence. 

The husband's message was at last delivered, 
not directly to the wife, but to some one who con- 
veyed it to the dauphiness. In spite of, or rather 
perhaps because oC her high position, the dauphi- 
ness was herself so closely watched that she had 
not the opportunity to transmit the husband's 
message safely until the hour of the coucher^ which 
that night chanced to be particularly late. As the 
Huguenot lady was slipping the night-robe over 
the head of the dauphiness, the latter hastily 
whispered : 

"In the cabinet at the foot of the stairs leading 
to my apartments, you will find one who will tell 
you what you must do, and do without a moment's 
delay." Aloud she added : " I am sorry you are 
suffering so much. You are excused from duty 
until I send for you." 

A few moments later Mme. L'Estrange was 
in the designated cabinet. There she first heard 
that her husband had left Paris, she having for 
some time supposed him to be in hiding in that 
city, and also learned that, his flight having become 
known to the authorities, his property had been 
confiscated. The kind dauphiness had thought- 


fully given a purse of money to the messenger, 
but it was not large, as she was not highly favored 
by her lather-in-Iaw, and had never very much 
cash at her command. The messenger had also 
two horses in readiness, and was ordered to accom- 
pany Mme. L'Estrange until she should have 
got safely started on her journey, under the care of 
friends whom she was expected to meet. But the 
dauphiness had apparently forgotten the existence 
of the child. The infant of two years was under 
the care of the married sister of Mme. L'Estrange 
in Paris, and thither the mother felt that she must 
first proceed, though the delay was well-nigh fetal 
to the success of her undertaking. 

So well watched was every avenue of escape 
from Paris that several days were lost before an 
opportunity for leaving presented itself One 
morning, before daybreak, Mme. L'Estrange dis- 
guised herself as a very poor woman seeking to 
go beyond the walls to glean food from the over- 
laden market-wagons coming in. She carried her 
sleeping child in her arms. Her twin sister, dressed 
in all respects precisely like herself, followed at a 
safe distance. Arrived at the city gate, the mother 
begged to be allowed to take her child with her, 
but was not permitted ; and it was only by address- 
ing the sentry in his native patois of the Orleans 
country that he was induced to let the mother her- 
self pass out, while he retained the child as a hos- 
tage for her return. Two hours later, while the 


awakened child was crying lustily, and the half- 
distracted sentry was busily looking for contraband 
goods in the market-wagons of the peasants, the 
- aunt suddenly appeared, as if she had come in with 
the wagons, and claimed the child, which was gladly 
yielded to the supposed mother. Not for many 
years after did the true mother again see her child ; 
but when he was grown he came to America, and 
married here. He it was who related the story to 
his son, the father of my mother's mother. 

During several weeks after Mme. L'Estrange 
had escaped from Paris her adventures were many. 
When she finally reached the coast, it was only to 
find that her husband had been obliged to ily some 
time before. Her voyage to England was made 
inside of one of the very large casks in which the 
common kinds of wine were shipped to the whole- 
sale dealers in London. In similar casks more 
than sixty persons are said to have been shipped, 
at the same time, in the hold of the same small 
trading-vessel, whose English captain was liberally 
paid for running the risks attending such ship- 

During several years there were many hundreds, 
if not thousands, of escapes made in the same man- 
ner ; and who can now imagine the horrors of such 
a voyage? The trip across the English Channel 
is not very welcome to the majority of travelers 
ttxlay, when not more than two or three hours are 
required, in vessels which, though bad enough 


according to our present standards, are princely 
compared with those of two centuries ago. In 
those days it frequently took a weet to cross, and 
sometimes as long a time, or longer, was spent 
rocking at anchor, waiting for a favorable wind. 
Of course, the casks holding human freight were 
not hoisted on board until the latest moment; 
but whether waiting on shore in momentary peril 
of detection, or confined in casks on board ship, 
what an eternity must every hour have seemed I 

With a small store of wine in a leather bottle, 
and some bread, a pillow or two, and such cloth- 
ing as might be conveniently packed in with her, 
the wretched refugee was placed in the great cask, 
into the sides of which many small holes had been 
bored to admit air without attracting notice. The 
head of the cask was then secured in its place, and 
— carefully right side up — it was placed in the 
hold, where it was skilfully braced to prevent its 
being rolled about when-the vessel was under way. 
My mother had seen, in the possession of one of 
her mother's brothers, a small pillow, filled with 
softly carded rolls of wool, covered with a stained 
and feded slip of brocaded silk, which was sacredly 
treasured because it had eased the buffeted head 
of the revered great-grandmother, when she was 
tossed about in her narrow prison in the hold of 
the blockade-running vessel on the uneasy waves 
of the English Channel. 

Their "Red Sea "the refugees were wont to call 


this Channel, though they certainly did not cross it 
in the triumphant fashionof the hosts whom Moses 
led irom twndage to freedom. Some of the " cask 
refugees" were found suffocated when their "arks 
of refuge " were unheaded. Many more were se- 
riously injured. The only wonder is that such great 
numbers were taken from the French coast in this 
way, and that so many escaped without more than 
temporary injuries, before the persecuting authori- 
ties had discovered and put a stop to similar ship- 
ments. More fortunate than those who had to 
cross the Channel were those who, like the ances- 
tors of my mother's father, Bolden (or Bauldoin) 
by name, were able to cross the frontiers into the 
Low Countries. They had trials enough and hair- 
breadth escapes by dozens, but their bodily suffer- 
ings were much less. 

For the first few years after their escape M. 
and Mme. L'Estrange fared comparatively well in 
England, because the friends of the former had 
procured for him a lieutenancy in the Royal Guard 
of James II. But this monarch was not himself a 
Protestant, and not too well disposed toward the 
Huguenots, though state policy forced him to 
receive them well. It was probably for this rea- 
son that Lieutenant L'Estrange, a few months 
before James was forced to fly from his throne, 
sold his commission, and, with the proceeds of this 
sale and that of some jewels, came, with his wife, to 
this country. Here he soon joined the settlement 


at New Rochelle, and there and in New York city 
for many years he taught his own language to 
those Americans who wished to learn it, as well as 
gave instruction in the classical languages to boys 
who wished to enter Yale or Columbia (then 
King's) College. 

At the same time, his wife, and later on their 
daughters, all of" whom were bom here, applied 
themselves to the new duties imposed by the new 
circumstances, in the cheerful spirit common to all 
persons who lead lives of &ith and kindliness. 






Life less Toilsome than 
withMost of the Colonists. 

Attachment to the 
Services of their Church, 
Refugees not Colonists. 
Loyalty to the Land of 

their Adoption. 

Little Daintinesses of 

House Furnishing. 


^CjoC*/?^'^"^ life in the Huguenot house- 
l^ w^ IJ^ holds was probably less toilsome 
I ] ^^^^ ''I almost any others in the 
O O colonies. The refugees were too 

^^J^^^^ intelligent, industrious, and re- 
sourceful not to be able to escape many of the 
hardships of the very poor among the other colo. 
nists ; and they were too poor to be oppressed by 
the multitude of anxieties and responsibilities 
inevitable to the rich citizens who then had to 
superintend the exercise of all sorts of labors under 
their roof-trees. 

All of the very poor colonists must have had 
certain hardships to endure ; but help of every sort 
was scarce, and sober and industrious persons were 
always sure of constant employment, while their 
tasks, like their lives, were of the simplest. At 
the same time, the home of every wealthy family 
was an industrial center. Thus there were no 
drones in either the richest or the poorest hives. 
The Huguenots, belonging to neither class, were 
in a sense cooperative. Neither the privations of 
the poor nor the multiplied cares of the rich fell 


upon any with excessive weight; hence, notwith- 
standing the varying grades of original social posi- 
tion and culture, there was a great equality of 
living and enjoyment among them. 

It was twenty years after the first Huguenots 
came to New Rochelle before the refugees could 
spare the money to build a church or support a 
pastor. The nearest place where religious services 
were held in their own tongue was New York 
city, twenty miles away ; therefore, on every Sun- 
day during the year, in fair weather or in foul, all 
who were able to do so started very early in the 
morning, that they might not miss the opening 
prayer at 10.30 a.m. There were few horses 
owned among the refugees, and fewer vehicles 
of any kind. Such of both as they possessed were 
devoted exclusively to the use of those who were 
not strong enough to walk. 

Many persons now living may still remember 
Miss Isabella Donaldson, lately of Barrytown, 
New York, as a person greatly interested in reli- 
gious matters. She kept a scrap-book composed 
of original communications concerning the hard- 
ships and trials of those who had come to this 
country under stress of persecution. In this book 
was a copy of a letter which was written about 
1704 or 1705. I give this letter as I copied it in 
i860 from Miss Donaldson's scrap-book : 

" Every week I see the Huguenots pass the 
house in troops on their way to their church in the 


not always, even now, include comforts, and at that 
time scant enough were what we now deem the 
most elementary comforts of life, even in the 
palace of the "Sun King" himself In this coun- 
try the French settlers, though originally among 
the poorest, speedily became distinguished by the 
amount of comforts, and even of luxuries, as these 
were then esteemed, which they gathered around 

The homes of the earlier Huguenot settlers 
were, if one may judge by the two specimens 
which remain in New Rochclle, neither large nor 
fine ; but they were substantial, and as comfortable 
as was possible under the conditions of the time. 
None in our country, save the femilies of high 
colonial officials, and a few of the very wealthiest 
of the colonists, possessed more of essential com- 
forts than the French settlers at a comparatively 
early date were able to gather around themselves 
by dint of the industry, skill, and taste character- 
istic of their nation. There is a tradition that the 
first to utilize the remnants of worn-out garments 
by cutting them into strips and weaving them into 
floor-coverings were the French refugees. The 
rag carpet, as still sometimes seen, is by no means 
a thing of beauty, but in the days when the King 
of England himself did not always have a rug on 
which to rest his royal bare feet when stepping 
out from his lofty bed upon his chill and pol- 
ished floor, the humble rag carpet would not have 


been esteemed an object of contempt even by his 

Among the earliest importations of the French 
settlers were spinning-wheels and looms of better 
quality than were previously known here. Im- 
migrants from fruit-growing and wine-making 
districts of France brought grafts and roots, and 
succeeded in naturalizing most of the hardier va- 
rieties. A few were able to import hangings, mir- 
rors, china, and furniture of rare beauty; but in 
general they possessed only those articles which 
could be manufactured here. However humble 
these might be in themselves, they would surely 
be made decorative by little touches which only 
the French hand could give. 

Homespun linen yam of heavy quality was by 
the Dutch and English colonists dyed and then 
woven into stripes and checks of varying degrees 
of ugliness for bed- and window-curtains. The 
French settlers used for the same purpose either 
purely white linen of that which had but one 
color. The preferred shades seem to have been a 
light blue, a sort of dusky green, and a subdued 
gold-color made by dyes of which they brought 
the secret with them. These linens, when made 
into hangings bordered by an embroidered vine or 
arabesque design in white upon the gold, or in gold 
and white upon the blue, or of varied colors upon 
the all white, were delicately beautiful, and became 
heirlooms in many a hmiVy, including that of my 


mother's mother. When this £ishion was imitated 
by their Dutch or English neighbors, the "em- 
broiderments " grew heavier, and, instead of being 
confined to simple designs, frequently became 
perspcctivelcss " landscapes with figures," wherein 
the yellow-iaced shepherdess, clad in red apd 
green, was taller than the stiflf blue^ecn trees, 
and her black-and-white sheep were as tall as 

The bedroom of my mother's grandmother 
L'E^trange has often been described to me. The 
floor was painted as nearly as possible to match 
the subdued gold of the linen hangings. The 
ceilings and side walls were whitewashed with 
lime. The windows and dressing-tables were 
hung with tastefully arranged draperies, bordered 
with a grape-vine pattern embroidered in white, 
and further trimmed at the edge with a knitted 
fringe of white linen yam. 

The tall four-posted bedstead of carved mahog- 
any was provided with a tester, with long draw- 
curtains, over which valances about two feet and 
a few inches deep, and cut into deep scallops on 
the lower edge, hung in a full ruffle from the cor- 
nice. Foot-curtains and all were of the same 
linen, all embroidered and edged with fringe in 
the same manner. Over the high and downy bed 
lay a fringed and embroidered coverlet of the 
same linen, only that in this case the vine was em- 
broidered over the center part as well as the bor- 


der. An immense stuffed chair, running easily on 
wooden globes the size of billiard-balls, which 
were the precursors of the modern caster, had a 
very high back and side wings, against which the 
head might rest. Such chairs were really comfor- 
table, and some may still be found. This one had 
a neatly fitted slip-cover to match the draperies of 
the room. 

The linen yam for the draperies of this room 
was all said to have been spun by the first Mme. 
L'E^trange and her daughters, and it was afterward 
woven under their direction and embroidered by 
themselves. Until a comparatively late date there 
still existed other bits of their handicraft, in the 
shape of fans of peacock feathers, and humbler 
ones of goose and turkey feathers — these last deco- 
rated with painted flowers. There were also some 
hand-screens made by covering small hoops with 
tightly drawn slips of white silk, the joinings hid- 
den by narrow fringe. One screen was embroi- 
dered with colored silks, others were daintily painted, 
and all were supplied with handles of carved or 
smoothly turned and polished wood. When a 
child I saw one of the peacock-feather fans (un- 
fortunately, moth-eaten), and a pair of the prettily 
painted hand-screens. The latter were used to 
hold between the face and the blaze of the open 
wood fires, which, genial and delightful as they are, 
have a disagreeable way of scorching one's face 
and eyes. 


Very graceful and delicately executed embroi- 
deries upon the daintiest of muslins are still shown 
which were made by members of this family, but 
possibly by those of a later generation. They are 
evidently from French .designs. In the court of 
Lx>uis XIV lace-malting was an art cultivated 
almost as assiduously as that of embroidery. My 
sister and I now have a few yards of two patterns 
of lace made by Mme. L'Estrange, which hap- 
pened to be trimming some part of her under-dress 
at the time of her escape from Paris. She taught 
the secret of its manu&cture to her daughters, and 
for three generations her descendants made similar 
lace, though none was as filmy as that wrought in 
the boudoirs of Versailles, because it was impossi- 
ble to get threads sufficiently fine. 

The cultivated taste and the dainty arts brought 
from France made the homes of the Huguenots 
much more attractive in appearance than those of 
other colonists, even though the latter might be 
possessed of far greater wealth ; and the same dif- 
ference was manifest in their dress. The latter was 
certainly no more costly than that of most of those 
who had filled similar social positions in their re- 
spective mother-lands ; but the Frenchwoman's 
fine eye for color, and her delicate skill with brush, 
needle, and bobbin, united to produce more attrac- 
tive results. Similar touches of taste and skill ap- 
peared everywhere, and gave distinction to all the 
Huguenot homes, whatever may have been the 



owner's social standing in the mother-land. As 
neat as their Dutch neighbors, they devised labor- 
saving methods to maintain perfect cleanliness 
■without being slaves to it. As liberal as the 
^English, they were far more economical, and by 
their skill in cooking they succeeded in rendering 
palatable and digestible even the coarsest fere. 
Their skill in preparing rich dishes, sweet cakes, 
and preserves was not equal to that of the Dutch 
huysvrouws, and they could not compare with the 
English in roasts and pastries ; but in wholesome 
dishes for daily consumption they far exceeded 
both, and particularly in bread-making. It is tra- 
ditionally related that the French were the first to 
introduce the use of yeast in this country, the 
larger part of all the colonists at that time, and 
the Dutch for more than a century later, continu- 
ing to use leaven. 

Perhaps the most keenly felt of the material 
hardships which the French refugees had to meet 
were caused by our stem winters and fierce sum- 
mers, and the learning to subsist on the coarser 
meats and vegetables which formed so large a por- 
tion of the fare of the English and Dutch colo- 
nists. Very soon, however, the refugees taught 
themselves to resist or endure the extremes of the 
climate, and, with their readiness of adaptation, they 
learned to prepare even the coarsest foods with a 
culinary skill which puzzled while it pleased their 
new-made friends. It is a little curious to note 

how long it iras beibre the delicately flavored 
soups, the light omelets, and the delicious entrees, 
common to all Huguenot households, came to be 
adopted br even those who were the loudest in 
praise ot' these delicacies as made by the French 
ladies. Some special tbnns ot buns and rolls ex- 
cepted, vcf}- tew ot* the distinctively French dishes 
appear to have been used in £imilies not of French 
descent, prior to our Revolutionary War. 

Notwithstanding all the invincible ligfat-hearted- 
ness of his nation, the lot of the Huguenot must 
be telt to have been sad and lonely. The Puritan 
was an emigrant tiom his nadvc land for con- 
science' sake, it is true, but his conscience was 
set upon political as well as religious rights. He 
came here of his own accord, that he might have 
freedom to worship God and govern himself (and 
others I) as he thought fit. The Dutchman, hav- 
ing achieved moral and political liberty for his 
hardly won and overcrowded dike-lands, did not 
feel that he was expatriating himself when he sailed 
for the New Nctheriands, but rather that he was 
enlarging the Dutch domains. Even after he had 
fallen under English rule he did not greatly repine. 

The Huguenot, on the contrary, was not a colo- 
nist, but a refugee. In all the world there is not 
a more truly patriotic nation than the French. 
They love their people and their homes, their cus- 
toms, and their country's very soil with a passion- 
ate devotion. The Huguenot was no exceprion 


to the rule. For the privilege of continuing within 
the beloved borders of France he had gradually 
sacrificed his every political and almost all of his 
civil rights. Not until the only alternatives left 
were the denial of his religious faith, death, or 
flight, did he resort to the latter. Then he felt 
himself, not a voluntary emigrant from his native 
land, but an exile, an outcast; and his feeling 
toward the government which had sent him so 
harshly forth was of the bitterest description. 
This was shown in many ways. The French 
Canadian, a voluntary colonist, retains his language 
even to-day, though long cheerfully submissive to 
an alien rule. The Huguenot refugee ceased to 
speak his own language as speedily as possible. 
My grandmother and her many brothers and sisters 
were only the fourth generation in this country. 
As their own grandfather had been left behind in 
France and educated there, they might well be 
counted as the third generation here. Yet, with the 
exception of some of Marot's psalms, two or three 
childish rhymes, a proverb or two, and a few 
chance expressions, their speech betrayed no traces 
of their national origin. Though their great-grand- 
father, the refugee, taught his own language for 
several years, the household use of his beautiful 
mother-tongue was distinctly discouraged by him. 
To the land of their adoption the Huguenots 
transferred to the full all the inborn loyalty of their 
characters. During Great Britain's long wars with 


France — 1 744 to 1 763 — the descendants of the 
Huguenots, whether in England or the colonies, 
bore their part in continental or provincial armies, 
doing valiant and often highly distinguished ser- 
vice in both. Many of the best Huguenot families 
in New Rochelle and Rye sent representatives to 
fight the French and Indians. Among them were 
my mother's grandfather and his brother. The 
first was also, when the time came, an oflBcer in our 
Revolutionary army. 





Alttrations in Names. 

, Resentment toward their ; 

Native Land. 

Differences between 

French and English 


Schools Established by , 

the Huguenots. j 

Amusements, and Games ' 

of Courtesy. 

"IHE utter abandonmetit by the ex- 

Tj / patriated Huguenots of all con- 
yi nection with France is shown in 
-* ^ nothing more clearly than in the 
change of both christened names 
and surnames. Henri and Pierre, Jeanne and Mar- 
guerite, became Anglicized almost immediately, 
and, it must be confessed, not to their betterment. 
The spelling of surnames was apt to follow the 
pronunciation of their new friends and neighbors. 
Even when the spelling was retained the sound 
often became hopelessly altered. De ia Vergne, 
though retaining the accepted spelling, was soon 
written as one word, and pronounced (think of it I) 
Dillyvaije. Often the spelling also was changed 
beyond recognition. Bonne Passe (Good Thrust; 
in the days when good swordsmen were valued 
this was a name of honor) first became shortened 
to Bon Pas, and then changed to Bunpas, followed 
by Bumpus and finally contracted to Bump! 
L'Estrange was first known as Streing, then as 
Strange, afterward as Strang, and even, in a few 
cases, was changed to Strong. 


In writing the name of this last-named £unily I 
have followed die usage of at least some of its cap 
lier members in this country, as well as a wide- 
spread belief among them all in its cwrect n css. It 
is a hmiiy tnulition that when the young Daniel 
— afterward the rciugce — was sent to Switzer^ 
land to enter the academy there as a student of 
philosophy, July 29, 1672, his surname was pur- 
posely misspelled as Stieing to avoid ^ving a clue 
by which his lather's persecutors might discover 
whither the son had been sent; and that aitcrward, 
upon the young student's return to France, and 
during his stay there as a member of the Royal 
Guard, he had resumed his rightful name. But 
later, when he was obliged either to abandon his 
principles or to fly for his life, he thought it wise 
to again adopt the name of Streing for the sake of 
members of his family still residing in France; for, 
as is well known, the spies of Louis XIV were 
almost as active in London as in Paris, and though 
the refugees there could not themselves be reached 
by the laws of France, the tyrant's wrath at tReir 
immunity was often visited upon their relatives 
stiii unable to escape from his clutches. The 
change of name was considered of enough impor- 
tance to be kept up even in this country until 
after the arrival here of the oldest son, whom his 
heartbroken mother, as before related, had been 
obliged to abandon at the gate of Parts. The son 
did not come over until he was twenty-one or 



twenty-two years of age. By this time the habit 
of the name had become fixed. This son seems to 
have retained his name as L'Estrange, and some 
of the others also used it, at short and irregular 
periods. Both L'Estrange and Streing appear 
to be names belonging to the numerous ranks of 
the petty gentry. 

Among the reminders of their native land to 
which the refiigees clung the longest was the ver- 
sion of the psalms of David by Marot — that version 
so hated by the persecutors that every copy dis- 
covered by them was immediately treated with as 
much animosity as was the Bible itself. Even 
after the descendants of the refugees had so far 
forgotten their ancestral tongue that they preferred 
to read the Bible in English, they yet sang, to the 
old melodies which had so often thrilled their 
fathers' souls, the beloved psalms which were still 
cheering the hearts of their persecuted brethren 
hiding in the caverns of the Cevennes, where alone 
the remnant remaining in France could worship as 
conscience dictated. 

I would give much if I could now recall the air 
to which my mother's mother and one of her sisters, 
both of them considerably over seventy years of 
age at the time, tremulously sang the psalm in 
which occur the words : 

" Quiconque espere au Dieu vivant. 
Jamais ne perira!" 


But both the air and the rest of the words have 
escaped my recollection. What has not forsaken 
me is the memory of two petite but still remarkably 
handsome women, one of them very erect, the other 
a good deal bent, but both still vigorous of mind 
and body, as, in the late twilight of a summer Sun- 
day evening, they sat together in a shadowy room 
and crooned the old sacred song with a strong and 
faith-inspired emphasis on jamais^ stopping in a 
startled, halt-ashamed way as soon as they discovered 
" Little Pitchers " trying to efface herself in a dark 
comer, because she well knew that the entertain- 
ment would end as soon as her presence should be 

So far did some of the Huguenots carry their 
resentment to the government which had so unjustly 
expelled them that they did not like to be reminded 
of the land from which they came. It is told of 
one who lived for many years in Charleston, South 
Carolina, that while he never thoroughly mastered 
the English language, he would speak only in that 
tongue even within his own family circle. He had 
his name translated into its English equivalent, and 
though his accent invariably betrayed him as not 
of American or English birth, it was not definitely 
known by his neighbors that he was born in France 
until a short time before his death, when it became 
necessary to declare his nativity in order that he 
might obtain possession of some property willed to 
him by a relative in Burgundy. 

Probably tew ot the rctugccs went quite as ilir 
as this, but certainly for many years their descen- 
dants, while rejoicing in the name of Huguenot, 
seemed to resent being called French. I remem- 
ber that for some time my own grandmother (of 
rhe fourth generation in this country) opposed her 
grandchildren's study of the French language. 
One day I said to her, "But, grandmother, your 
own ancestors were from France, so the language 
is partly our own, and why should we not study it?" 
Her large and brilliant black eyes flashed at me 
over the tops of her spectacle-bows as she replied : 
** Yes, they came from France. They did not re- 
main there. France is now the home only of per- 
secutors and atheists." And I fear that she was 
never able to believe that any one who could not 
be properly classed as either the one or the other 
could continue to exist in the country which had 
so pitilessly cast forth its most loving children. 

This trace of resentment seems to have been the 
only somber characteristic of the Huguenots and 
their descendants in this country; and even this 
had its good side, for it led to their more ready 
adoption of the ideas and institutions of the new 
land which welcomed so warmly and so helpfully 
those who had " endured hardness " for the sake of 
their common faith. 

Doctrinally, the Huguenots and the Puritans 
were the same. In practice there were many points 
of difference. The Puritan was a very strict Sab- 


brsriir, beg==r=g i: sorsccaf Satnnbjr a twenty- 
Kxzr bcKirs oc abGCiackse 6010 anj avoidable 
work, z£ vtU £ rocn anr [deasaic save that which 
his i:«voti:=ies£ norad in religious servicer. The 
H'^z-t^x^r, S.;3daT begin and eixlcd as now. Like 
C^vi:: h:::ii<l£ nx J ciugttJ did not think it cssen- 
rlil £o i\iKd all pleasant ditngs on Sunday more 
ziu:! oz. o:iter diji. and all vbo had iricnds living 
near the v^p:ie jcopped in n> ^"isit tbcm as thcj 
returned thxn church, tor the Sunday time that 
wii ax devoted n> churdi services and to an hour 
of catech-zing at hocnc was not considered as ill 
spent in cheerTul social intercourse. 

In Cjlviniftic Switzerland it had been customary 
to indulge — alter church hours — in any form of 
innocent amusement. The Huguenots seem to 
have drawn the line just short of this. But on 
week-days their national light-beartedncss was 
bound to di^pby irself in as many wa}'s as their 
circumstances would permic Tableaux and little 
comedies were irequent, while dancing was the 
expected amusement in most households at every 
evening gathering, and these took place as often as 
possible. Children were instructed with a degree 
of gentleness and consideration quite in contrast 
with the sterner ways of their coreligionists of 
English or even of Dutch descent 

Cheerfulness, even gaiet)', was the rule. A 
gloomy Huguenot was an anomaly to be pitied 
and apologized for by his compeers only on the 


ground of exceptional misfortunes. Yet, when 
one considers the horrible oppressions which they 
and their ancestors had endured without relief for 
almost a hundred years after the end of the tem- 
porary respite granted by the Ekiict of Nantes, one 
must wonder at, while forced to admire, their 
happy dispositions. 

The "boarding and day schools for young 
ladies " which were established in New Rochelle 
were eagerly hailed by the elder English and 
Dutch colonists. Hitherto their daughters had 
had few educational advantages. The sons could 
have private tutors or attend fairly good prepara- 
tory schools which fitted pupils for the colleges 
so early established in the colonies; or — if his 
parents were among the magnates of the land — 
an especially fortunate youth might be sent to one 
of the great English universities. In general, the 
girls had to be content with the crumbs of know- 
ledge which dropped from their brothers' not over- 
supplied tables, though, in some rare instances, 
governesses were brought from over sea for their 
benefit. So when these French Protestant schools 
were opened by those who had enjoyed every then 
prized advantage of social culture, they were well 
patronized from the start. 

In these schools were taught not only the lan- 
guage of the " politest of the nations," — to employ 
the words of Lord Chesterfield, written half a cen- 
tury later, — but also all the ** ladylike accomplish- 



ments" of die period. English tcacheis were 
engaged to instruct in the grammatical use o£ their 
own tongue, both written and spoken ; but it naj 
be inugined that this was not con»dercd of nearly 
as high importance as the more showy accomplish- 
ments, which could be acquired at these schools 
only. Enough of music to enable a young woman 
to play a little for dancing (although the fiddle of 
some dance-inspired old Aftican was usually pre- 
ferred by the dancers), or to warble a few songs in 
her (presumably) fresh, sweet tones to the accom- 
paniment of the probably thready or wheezy 
spinet ; enough of French to enable her to read it 
easily, write it fairly well, and hold a not too mono* 
syllabic conversation in that language, were cer- 
tainly considered as very desirable accomplishments. 
A still more serious business seems to have been 
" Instruction in the Arts." A few of the flower- 
pieces which were painted from nature in water- 
colors by some of the pupils of these schools are 
still preserved and are really beautiful. When on 
a visit to Nova Scotia some years ago, I saw sev- 
eral which had been taken there by some of the 
Royalist families exiled from here in 1783. They 
bore the inscription, "Eleanora Morris, Pension de 
Demoiselles de Madame De la Vergne, La Nouvelle 
Rochelle, Province de New York, 1736." The 
few still surviving landscapes which I have seen 
were stiff things not evincing much of talent on 
the part of the pupil, or skill on that ctf the in- 


structor. The embroideries, as might be expected, 
were especially good. Occasionally a fine piece 
of Rochelle tapestry or bed-hanging may yet be 
found in the possession of fortunate descendants 
of some who once were New Rochelle pupils, and 
so may many specimens of exquisite embroideries 
on the most delicate of muslins, as well as rem- 
nants of laces which are known to be the handi- 
work of some of Mme. De la Plaine's or Mmc. 
De la Mater's pupils. 

But probably even more than all of these accom- 
plishments, the principal thing desired for their 
daughters by the parents was instruction in "gentle 
manners " — the manners not only of persons who 
were of gentle birth, but who also had been so 
early taught by precept and example that their 
graces seem to have been born with them, a part 
of their very selves. The pupils were taught how 
to avoid all awkwardness of movement or carriage; 
how to bear themselves gracefully erect; how to 
enter a drawing-room with a grave and gracious 
inclination, seeming to include all who are present 
while addressed only to the hostess, and to leave it 
without turning the back, as one retires from the 
presence of royalty; how to graduate their greet- 
ings from the pleasant deference due to elders or 
social superiors to the sweetest condescension to- 
ward their juniors or social inferiors; how first to 
arrange, and afterward how to preside at, a hand- 
somely spread dinner-table with dainty elegance 


and efficiency; and also how to dress themselves 
with taste and effect in the ^hion of the day. 
Dancing was a matter of first importance. The 
" stately steppings " of the courtly dances of the 
period cost time, thought, and much careful teach- 
ing on the one side, and submissive labor on the 
other, before any pupil could be considered as a 
perfected scholar. Incidentally with all these 
things, a great deal of valuable instruction was 
given in the finer graces of courteous speech, and 
all that gentle consideration for others which is at 
once the flower and the root of good breeding. 

From the first, the Huguenots, of whatever de- 
gree, seemed to have endeavored to transmit to 
their children the traditions of politeness which 
they had brought with them from France. For a 
long time — perhaps even yet it may be the case 
in some families of this descent — the children 
were taught some of the details of good manners 
by little games. These may have been invented 
in this country to supply a lack of more regular 
instruction, or they may have been simply adapta- 
tions of similar games once played in the motherland. 

The only one of these jeux de courtoisie of 
which I have retained any distinct recollection 
conveyed instruction in the arts of courtesying and 
bowing, and was also a lesson in propriety. It 
was called " La Loi des Baisers." In this game 
only girls were allowed to play, One of them 
stood in the center of a room, and round her passed 


a decorous procession of little women, each one 
of whom bowed or courtesied low before the gra- 
cious " reigning lady," kissing her extended hand 
and chanting : 

" La main ! La main, Jolie ! Petite ! 
Pour les amis. Pour les amis." 

To each the small lady in the center courtesied 
with more or less of grace, and responded, the 
fi'iends in this case being supposed to be of the 
opposite sex : 

*' Merci, merci ; mes bons amis." 

At the next round the " reigning lady " pre- 
sented her brow to be kissed by all in turn, while 
the chant now ran: 

" Le front I I-e front ! Le noble front ! 
Four les peres, et les freres." 

To this the response was a lower courtesy and 
the words ; 

" Mon cher papa ! Mes freres cheris." 

At the third turn of the procession the small 
lady presented both her hands and her cheeks, 
while the chanted words were : 

" La joue I La joue ! La rougeante joue ! 
Pour les deuces soeurs, ct les meres." 


In this the kissing was mutual, and on botl 
cheeks, without further words. At the fourti 
round the "reigning lady" was seated, demurel; 
placing one small finger on her archly pouting lips 
while the others passed by, each with half-avertei 
face and one hand raised as if prohibiting a neare 
approach, while chanting : 

" La bouche I La bouche, si ravissante I 
Pour les maris I Mais seulement Ics maris ! " 

The rounds generally continued until each littli 
girl had played the part of the reigning lady. 

It was a very old lady who taught this littlt 
game and its chanted words to several of us, litth 
girls of ages varying from five or six to eight o; 
ten years. At first we learned the words by rot* 
only, just as generations of children have leamcc 
"Hickory, dickory, dock," but later on we grew 
to know the meaning, whether by the interpreta 
tion of older girls or not I do not now remember. 

If any living descendants of Huguenots ir 
America retain traces of others of these jeax di 
coarloisie, they should not fail to see that suet 
traces are recorded. Too precious to be allowec 
j to fede entirely away are these faint remains of th« 

( efforts made by the Huguenots to retain for theii 

children, in the midst of the wilderness which hat: 
welcomed them, the graces and proprieties which 
had been birthrights in their old homes. 




Gallup and Chesebrough. 
Rev, William Worthing- 
ton of Saybrook, Con- 
Wedding Customs. 
Quality and Commonalty, 
The Uninvited Guests. 
A Valiant Supper. 

^HE year was 1726. The bride- 

Tr^ groom was the Rev. William 
^ Worthington, then pastor of the 
™^ church at Saybrook, Connecticut 
The bride was a former parishioner 
in the town of Stonington, Connecticut, by name 
Temperance, daughter of William Gallup and his 
wife Sarah (Chesebrough), and granddaughter of 
Captain John Gallup and his wife Hannah (Lake), 
of whose " pioneer home " we have already read. 
As known to all readers of colonial history, this 
Captain John Gallup, the second of his name, had 
been a man of much influence with the Mohegans, 
or friendly Indians, many of whom had followed 
his leadership in the Great Swamp Fight of 1675, 
in which he bravely fell at the head of his com- 
pany. To his son, William Gallup, the Mohe- 
gans had transferred the allegiance they had given 
his father, and, in his turn, he continued to exercise 
over and for them the same sort of fatherly guar- 
dianship which they had received from Captain 
Gallup. A knowledge of this feet is essential 
to the comprehension of an incident of the wed- 
ding of Mr. William Gallup's daughter. 

This femily was among the most prominent and 
highly connected in what is now known as New 
London County, Connecticut, and in the theocrati- 
cal regime of New England the minister always 
held the first rank by right of his office, as well as 
by the gentle birth and breeding which were 
usually his. For both reasons all the neighbor- 
ing " people of quality " were naturally among 
the invited guests. The pastor, being in spirit 
as well as in name the fether of his flock, could 
not allow any member of his late parish to be 
overiooked, though it probably embraced every 
soul in the township. To be both just and gener- 
ous to all, it was decided to make a wedding-feast 
of two days' duration, and invite the guests in 
relays, " according to age, list and quality," in the 
same way that sittings were then assigned in many, 
if not all, of the " meeting-houses " of New Eng- 

The first day of the feast was that on which the 
marriage ceremony was performed by the bride- 
groom's personal friend, the Rev. Ebenezer Rossi- 
ler, and not by a civil magistrate, as was the 
early custom in all the Puritan colonies. It is 
almost certain that there was no wedding-ring. 
Even as late as half a century ago these were 
rarely used by descendants of the Puritans. 
There were present on this day only the relatives 
and intimate friends of the contracting parties. As 
the bridegroom was a minister, no doubt all the 


neighboring clergy, and as many of their families 
as could come, were numbered among the friends 
on this day. So, also, were several of the highest 
colonial dignitaries, as appears by the time-stained 
chronicle, written nearly fifty years later, from the 
relations of her grandmother, the bride of that day, 
by Juliana Smith, a granddaughter of the Rev. and 
Mrs. William Worthington. 

For the first day's feast long tables were spread 
with much profusion, and with what to modem 
eyes would seem like confusion as well. Soups 
were then rarely, if ever, served on occasions of 
ceremony, and all meats, fish, side-dishes, and vege- 
tables were placed on the table at the same time, 
and served without change of plates. It was con. 
sidered an "innovarion" at this wedding-dinner 
that " coffee, pies, puddings and sweetmeats 
formed a second course." 

The guests were seated with great regard to pre- 
cedence. Probably there were not many chairs, 
for even in England "settles and forms" con- 
tinued to be more commonly used than chairs in 
the best country houses at least as late as 1750. 
Such as there were — and probably every good 
neighbor contributed such as he possessed for this 
occasion — were carefully reserved for " the most 
infirm and the greatest dignitaries," 

" Immediately after the asking of the blessing 
by the oldest minister present, tankards filled with 
spiced hard cider were passed from hand to hand 


down the table, each person filling his own mug 
or tumbler." A punch-bowl is not mentioned in 
this chronicle as having formed a part of the table 
furniture, and as it is expressly mentioned that the 
drinks were poured from the tankards into mugs 
or tumblers, it is probable that the custom, men- 
tioned by Mrs. E^rle in her *' Customs of Colonial 
Life," of passing the punch-bowl from hand to 
hand for each person to drink from, had already 
become obsolete; indeed, it is not certain that 
such a custom was ever habitual among the bet- 
ter sort of colonists. Tankards were undoubt- 
edly so passed, not only here but in the rural 
districts of England, as late as " in the days of 
good Queen Anne." 

A very few of the tankards and mugs at this wed- 
ding may have been of silver or of glass, and still 
fewer of delft or of china, but where there were so 
many the greater part must have been of pewter, 
horn, or wood. Of these articles, as well of the 
chairs, it is likely that all the well-to-do neighbors 
contributed the best of such as they possessed, this 
generous sort of neigh borliness being a character- 
istic of the time and of all new settlements. Arti- ■ 
cles of silver were not as plentiful in New England 
as in the other colonies, but by this date nearly all 
families of distinction possessed a few, and in spite 
of the natural losses by fire and other calamities, 
there are still existing some relics which orna- 
mented this long-ago wedding-dinner. 



A curious dish, which may possibly, even proba- 
bly, have been used on that day, is still in posses- 
sion of a member of the family connection, a de- 
scendant of the Chesebroughs. This dish is here 
described in the hope that some one may be able 
to determine what use it was originally intended to 
serve. It is circular, about nine or ten inches in 
diameter, perhaps three inches deep, standing upon 
a circular base ; it would hold from three to four 
pints of liquid, and has a cover. So far there is 
nothing to distinguish this piece of very ancient 
red, yellow, and blue delft from many another 
which we would not hesitate to call a vegetable-dish. 
But, perched against one side of its interior, like a 
swallow's nest under the eaves, is a pocket-like 
thing that would hold three or four tablespoonfuls 
of liquid were it not perforated like the strainers 
of tea-pots. It has been stated — on what author- 
ity I know not — that when tea was first brought 
to Holland it was served as a soup. Is it possible 
that this queer old side-pocketed dish was made 
for the infusion and serving of the new herb? 

If there were not enough dishes of the better 
sort to accommodate all the guests entitled to 
them, preference was always, at such entertain- 
ments, given to the older persons present The 
juniors would be served on this first day, as all 
would be on the next day, with dishes of brightly 
polished pewter, or in trenchers of maple, tulip, or 
poplar wood, scoured to an almost snowy whiteness. 


There would be few spoons of silver, but many 
made of pewter or hom; no silver foi^ and 
perhaps not an oversupply of steel ones. Among 
the relics in the old house at Sharon are still pre- 
served half a dozen specimens of an implement 
which preceded forks — sharply pointed bits of 
steel, about four inches long by an eighth of an 
inch in diameter, set into handles of bone. When 
I first found them and took them to my grand- 
mother with a " What are these ? " she lau^ingly 
told me to " guess," I thought they looked more 
like ice-picks than anything else, but she assured 
me that they were the precursors of forks. They 
must have performed their office but " indifferent 
well," though, as an improvement upon 6ngers, 
some of them may likely enough have been used 
on this occasion. 

Some of the pewter dishes now cherished by the 
descendants of those who, as relatives or friends, 
were present at this wedding, are marked with 
the owner's initials as carefully as if they were of 
silver. Indeed, a full set of pewter tableware was 
considered a fine wedding-gift from a fether to his 
daughter. A pewter porringer, belonging to the 
femily which owns the dish of ancient delft men- 
tioned above, is a really pretty thing, graceful in 
shape and having a ^ncifully cut flat handle pro- 
jecting from its side. It is recorded that in Queen 
Elizabeth's time cocoanut-shells were used as 
drinking-cups, being polished, and set sometimes 


in silver, and sometimes in pewter. In the colo- 
nies polished cocoanut-shells were also occasion- 
ally used as ladles, having long handles of polished 
wood attached to them. At least one such ladle 
still exists. It has a prettily fiishioned handle of 
maple wood. Its exact age is not known, but it 
or its counterpart might well have been used at 
this wedding-feast. 

On the first day of the feast, besides the prelim- 
inary draught of spiced cider, there was brandy for 
those who craved it, and much good Burgundy 
and Madeira for the more temperately inclined. 
Three casks of Madeira (size not mentioned) are 
recorded as having been broached on that day. 

On the second day the "commonalty" began to 
assemble at about nine o'clock in the morning. 
(The "quality" on the previous day had waited 
until eleven.) The tables were served to succes- 
sive guests during the day. Foreseeing the de- 
mand, all the good housewives in the vicinity, 
with their servants, had been assisting Mrs. Gallup 
and her servants in the preparations, and afterward, 
with neighborly cooperation, they assisted in the 
serving of the stores of good things. 

On the first day, " after the removal of the sub- 
stantial part of the meal, the ladies left the table, 
the table cloths were removed, and various strong 
waters, together with pipes and tobacco, were 
brought on, in company with trays filled high with 
broken blocks of nut-sweet." This last was a highly 


prized candy made from maple sugar made soft 
with water, placed in a shallow iron pan over the 
coals, with a liberal allowance of unsalted butter, 
and slightly scorched. While scorching, the 
blanched meats of hickory-nuts and 'butternuts, 
or sometimes almonds when this foreign dainty 
could be procured, were added with a liberal hand. 
When cooled this became firm, and was esteemed 
" equal to anything in England." 

On the second day this regular order of things, 
with the customary toast-drinking, was manifestly 
impossible. "As each relay of guests left the 
tables they passed out of the front door near which 
stood an immense Bowl, lotig ago hollowed out by 
painstaking Indians from a bowlder, for the grind- 
ing of their com. This was filled with Punch 
which was ladled out freely to all who presented 
anything from which to drink it, while great piles 
of powdered Tobacco and a good bed of coals to 
furnish light, were free to all who had pipes." 
This punch, whatever liquor might have furnished 
its body, was sure to have been well seasoned with 
the best of West Indian sugar and lemons, for 
there was already a brisk trade between the Con- 
necticut coast and the West Indies, and at this 
time of the year the trading-vessels would have 
been coming into the home ports. 

This unique punch-bowl held many gallons, and 
it speaks well both for the temperance of the 
guests and the good quality of the liquor provided. 


that "no one became boisterous, though the big 
Bowl was kept well and strongly replenished dur- 
ing the entire three days of this wedding feast." 
For three days there were, though only two have 
yet been mentioned here. 

Early — very early — on the morning of the 
second day, almost before the active men- and 
women-servants had opened their eyes upon the 
heavy day's work before them, a motley but 
grave and decorous procession of apparently in- 
terminable length was seen coming over the hill 
on the side of which, " overlooking the little 
Mystic River, stood the large and, for its time, 
the imposing mansion of Mr. Gallup." 

For a moment the master stood in blank dis- 
may. The descendants of the friendly Mohegans 
and a remnant of their Pequod enemies, so nearly 
annihilated half a century before, were small in 
number when compared with their former strength, 
but they were still formidable as wedding-guests. 
They had heard that all the country-side had been 
invited to partake of Mr. Gallup's hospitality, and 
perhaps had imagined that such an invitation must 
include themselves. Such a conclusion would 
have been natural enough, " considering that he 
had always taken them, in a manner, under his pro- 
tection, and they had always turned to him for ad- 
vice and often for efficient help in time of need." 
Or it may have been that some practical joker had 
been at the pains to convey this impression, or, as 

Mrs. Gallup's great-granddaughter opined, that 
" some sUghted suitor had thought thus to cause 
annoyance to the bride." Whatever might have 
been the cause, the remnants of the tribes had 
come in all the security of invited and welcome 
guests — brave, squaw, and papoose. 

With the prompt decision which characterizes 
most successful men, Mr. Gallup sprang upon the 
stone horse-block and proceeded to make an im- 
promptu speech, " in the picturesque style in which 
he was an adept, and with which an Indian audi- 
tory was always pleased. He assured 'his chil- 
dren ' that they were welcome, very welcome ; but 
that they had mistaken the day for which they had 
been invited ; that their day was the morrow, and 
that then he should set before them the best that 
could be had, a feast that should be worthy of them 
and of his friendship for them." In the slang of 
our own day, this contract was a large one, for the 
resources of the neighborhood had been already 
heavily drawn upon, and the line of the morrow's 
guests "as they wound their way back to their 
wigwams in open Indian file, as their native man- 
ner was, extended from the Gallup house well on 
to the head of the river, a mile or so away from 

On the following day the dignified but hungry 
host came back again, " beplumed and blanketed 
in their best, and none went hungry or thirsty 


For various good reasons, including the natural 
abjections of a dainty housewife, this multitude 
was served out of doors, where immense iron ket- 
tles of clam and of fish chowders had been started 
to cook, over carefully tended fires, long before day- 
light. In other kettles numbers of the wild ducks, 
which at that season had begun to be plentiful 
along the coast, were slowly stewing with onions. 
"Three young hogs, of about one hundred weight 
each, were roasted whole, also out of doors. Hang- 
ing from the cranes in the great fire-places in the 
house were boiling big bags of Indian meal pud- 
dings, thickly studded with dried plums." To be 
served with the puddings were pailfuls of a sauce 
made from West India molasses, butter, and vin- 
egar. Great baskets were filled with potatoes that 
had been roasted in the ashes, and other baskets 
were piled with well-baked loaves of rye and Indian 
bread. All of these were dainties which the cop- 
per-hued guests could duly appreciate, especially 
with the addition of barrelfuls of hard cider and as 
much West Indian rum as it was deemed wise to 
set before them. 

These particulars are all mentioned in the little 
diary from which I have culled so much, but, with 
the exception of the few things previously quoted, 
it says nothing about the viands that were served 
on the preceding days. By this period the colo- 
nists had acquired the art of cooking to the best ad- 
vantage most of the dishes which were peculiar to 



the country, and the wealthy among them had also 
a good many imported dainties. 

No amusements in which women took part, save 
possibly as spectators, are mentioned, but we are 
told that the young men engaged in "rastling, 
quoits, running, leaping, archery and firing at a 
mark, but on the last day no muskets were ailowcd 
by reason of the Indians." Probably the women 
were all too much engaged in hospitable cares to 
indulge in any of the diversions considered suitable 
for them. 

No wedding-journey followed the simple cere- 
mony. On the afternoon of the first day many of 
the invited guests — probably all of them on horse- 
back, save a few who may have followed on foot 
for a mile or so, for apparently there were no car- 
riages then in that region — escorted the newly wed- 
ded pair, the bride riding on a pillion behind her 
husband, to his house, the parsonage of the West 
Parish of Saybrook, Connecticut. Any further 
feasting might, even after a ride of twenty-five 
miles or more, have seemed superfluous, but a 
" valiant supper had been spread " by the care of 
Mr. Worthington's parishioners, wishing to extend 
a hearty welcome to his bride and the friends who 
had accompanied her, and all "were plentifully 
regaled with cold meats, roast and stewed oysters, 
cakes, comfits, chocolate and coffee." 

" After the supper a hymn was sung by all, fol- 
lowed by a prayer and benediction. . . . After 

which," adds the young chronicler, "the friends 
all departed " (probably to the homes of Saybrook 
friends hospitably opened to receive them), " and 
my Grandfather and Grandmother, left alone to- 
gether in their new Home, knelt down and prayed 
together for God's blessing." 





Terms of Grant. Jt 

The First Lady of the 
Livingston Manor. 

Extent of the Manor. 




q ^'QoO' 




>!^Q^^^^HE holder of an American manor 
t^ ^v« sA '" colonial days, though of the 
I 6 highest social rank, was by no 
VJ yJ means an idle aristocrat living on 

^^Jo^^Q an immense estate paying a pro- 
portionate revenue. In feet, if one of the wealthi- 
est, he was also one of the busiest men of his 
generation. Both the conditions of the times and 
those upon which the manors were conferred made 
this a necessity. The manor granted to Robert 
Livingston in l686 was almost, if not quite, as 
large as some of the German principalities of those 
days, and its possession implied a certain amount 
of extraneous wealth on the part of its owner to 
enable him to sustain his manorial authority with 
the fitting degree of power and prestige ; but it 
was no sinecure. 

Mr. Livingston's great domain, situated in what 
are now Columbia and Dutchess counties. New 
York, fronting for twelve miles along the Hud- 
son River, and enlarging to the length of twenty 
miles on the Massachusetts border, thirty miles or 
so back from the river, was still, for the most part, 

a wilderness where Indians hunted the deer, or 
sometimes fired the hut and took the scalp of a 
too adventurous pioneer. 

Robert Livingston was a far-seeing, politic man. 
As much as might be, he made friends of the wild 
tribes, paying them fairly for their lands, without 
regard to the fact that the royal grants were sup- 
posed to preclude any such necessity, and himself 
learning, and causing his sons to learn, the Indian 
tongues, that they might be delivered from the 
misunderstandings which were so frequent when 
the several parties to any agreement were depen- 
dent upon the not always certain loyalty of the 

Nothing in North America was then so plenti- 
ful as land, and under the conditions imposed by 
the royal grants a poor man could not have af- 
forded to accept a gift of the lordliest manor of 
them all. Within a specified time a certain num- 
ber of femilies had to be brought from Europe and 
settled upon the granted territory, and their main- 
tenance for the first few years assured. It is true 
that the settlers thus brought were expected to 
pay back at least a part of the first expenditure, 
but for the time the outlays were heavy, and com- 
paratively few of the settlers made the losses 

Farms were leased for long terms, usually for 
two lives and a half, a period which at that time 
was said to have averaged about fifty years. 

In his novel of " Satanstoe," one of the most re- 
liable of historical tales, Cooper says : " The first 
ten years no rent at all was to be paid ; for the 
next ten the land [five hundred acres] was to pay 
sixpence currency per acre, the tenant having the 
right to cut timber at pleasure ; for the remainder 
of the lease sixpence sterling was to be paid for 
the land and £4.0 currency or about $100 per 
year for the mill site. The mills to be taken by 
the landlord, at 'an appraisal made by men,' at 
the expiration of the lease ; the tenant to pay taxes." 
The mill was evidently to be built by the tenant 
"who had the privilege of using, for his dams, 
buildings, etc., all the materials that he could find 
on the land." To the landlords belonged the duty 
of constructing roads and bridges, and of making 
all improvements of a public nature. The rents 
were usually if not always paid in the produce of 
the land, which the manor's lord was obliged to get 
to market at his own expense in order to obt^n 
the necessary cash for his varied undertakings. 
Such an arrangement would certainly seem to have 
been very liberal toward the tenant, and was doubt- 
less so esteemed at the time, but in after years, 
when the descendants of the first tenants had for- 
gotten the heavy advances which had been made 
by the ancestors of their landlords, and saw how 
easily the more recent settlers could make homes 
for themselves in the West, they considered them- 
selves unjustly treated, and instituted the struggle 


for possession which is known to history as the 
••anti-rent war." 

Of course, nothing of all this was foreseen at the 
beginning. The first manor lords undoubtedly 
thought that they were here founding immense 
holdings after the fashions of the motherland, and 
they proceeded in a thoroughly businesslike way 
to make all things secure for the prosperity of 
their heirs, who, when their time came, did not fail 
to appreciate what had been done for them. 

Grovemor William Livingston of New Jersey, 
writing to his brother, the third lord of the Up- 
per Manor, in 1775, remarked: ** Without a large 
personal estate and their own uncommon industry 
and capacity for business, instead of making out 
of their extended tract of land a fortune for their 
descendants, our grand-parents and parents would 
have left us but a scant maintenance." 

In this expression Governor Livingston seems 
to have included the manor ladies as well as their 
lords, and indeed it is plain that the very desirable 
"capacity for business" was equally needed by 
both, and the "hand of the diligent that maketh 
rich" is not an exclusively masculine possession. 

The first lady of the manor of Livingston was 
Alida, the daughter of Philip Pieterse Schuyler, 
and widow of the Rev. Nicholas Van Rensselaer. 
Whatever dower in money or lands she may have 
brought to the aid of her astute second husband, 
she surely brought one still better in the sturdy 

Dutch qualities of fidelity, thrift, and management. 
For warmth and strength of family affection, both 
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Livingston were long remem- 
bered among their descendants. Mrs. Livingston 
had come honestly by her executive and adminis- 
trative ability. Her father had been a man of 
much influence in the colony, and her mother, tiie 
Van Slichtenhorst, survived her husband for twenty- 
eight years, so managing his large estate, over 
which she had full control, as to be reckoned the 
foremost woman in a colony which numbered many 
women of proved business ability. 

The year of this marriage, 1683, was that in 
which young Robert Livingston made his first pur- 
chase of land from the Indians — a tract of two 
thousand acres. Two years later more land was 
added by purchase, and still one year later came 
the grant from the crown, when the whole was 
erected into a lordship or manor, conferring the 
" Court-Leet," " Court-Baron," and other rights and 
privileges which were for a long time more visible 
on the parchments than elsewhere. 

On this estate of more than one hundred and 
sixty thousand acres,' on the banks of a small but 
for a short distance navigable tributary of the Hud- 
son, was erected the first Livingston manor-house. 
Its last vestige disappeared more than a hundred 

ICharln Carroll of CvnillMii, writing in 1776, nyi that Che IJTinpCon 
Minor then compnacd ors ]oo,OOa icra. Thii rouiC hiTc included almoM 
■ 50,000 icra which had been gndoally added by purchue to cbe originil 


years ago, when the present &mily residence, known 
as Oak Hill, was built, a mile or more from the 
ancient site. 

Of the first house we only know that it was 
"thick walled, low browed and heavy raftered," af- 
ter the then prevailing Dutch ferm-house type, only 
much larger than was usual. We do not know 
that it was constructed in any way for defense, al- 
though it well might have been. Probably its 
builder trusted to keep the peace by his just and 
friendly dealings with the Indians, and he may also 
have been prepared for defense. He certainly had 
good reason to trust somewhat to the number of 
retainers gathered around him, a majority of whom, 
like all frontiersmen, would pretty surely be well 
armed against "big game," which would as surely 
include aggressively inclined Indians, if any there 
were; but this does not appear. From the rear 
of the broad-roofed dwelling stretched away the 
quarters of the slaves, the other outbuildings, and 
several bams, some of which were larger than the 
house itself 

There was much building of houses at various 
suitable points for the use of the tenant &rmers 
and craftsmen brought from Great Britain, Hol- 
land, and Germany. To supply the timber for 
these dwellings sawmill machinery was imported 
and set up on the banks of the streams in the 
midst of the forests. Near these mills little settle- 
ments grew up with a celerity that was remarkable 
for the time, and spoke volumes for the executive 



and administrative ability of the manor's active 
lord. In a long, semi-detached wing of the manor- 
house carpenters and masons were fed and lodged 
during the long winters, while they did such pre- 
paratory work as might be possible to forward 
building operations in the various settlements in 
such moments as the weather would permit. With 
the adaptability of all true pioneers, these men 
could turn their hands to many things, and they 
manufactured in the manor's workshop and smithy 
many of the tools which otherwise must Tiave been 
imported, as well as much of the rude furniture for 
the pioneer houses. Near by was the grist-mill 
which supplied flour and Indian meal to all the 
near settlements, as well as to many outside the 
manor for perhaps thirty miles up and down the 
river. On the home ferm hundreds of swine and 
beef cattle were raised, slaughtered, and cured to 
supply scores of resident families and also for ex- 
portation. Here the wool of many hundreds of 
sheep was sheared, carded, spun into yarn, and 
woven into blankets and cloths to be used for the 
manor household and by those of the tenants not 
sufficiently " forehanded " to do this work for 

In one room of the " great house " were held 
courts where all the difficulties common to fron- 
tier populations were adjusted, and in the same 
room were carried on the primitive banking opera- 
tions of the newly opened region. 

Near by were the docks, whence, when the 

river was open, sloops were weekly departing, 
laden with salted meats, grains, peltries, and lum- 
ber, or returning with cargoes of all the countless 
things which could not yet be produced at home. 
Among these were many articles of luxury and 
rich household furnishings which must have 
seemed a trifle incongruous with their new sur- 

Not far away stood the big " store," where all 
sorts of things, from wrought-iron nails to silks, 
and from "West Indian sweetmeats" to Dutch 
garden seeds, were sometimes sold for money, but 
oftener bartered for country produce and peltries, 
which would soon find their way to New York, 
and some ultimately to England, in ships owned 
by the enterprising Robert Livingston. 

All these various branches of business implied 
the coming and going of many persons, and en- 
tailed an open-handed hospitality of the widest 
kind. For this the principal care and oversight 
fell upon the capable shoulders of Mrs. Livingston. 
It is traditionally related that the number of per- 
manent dwellers which the manor-house roof shel- 
tered during the first twenty years of the eighteenth 
century averaged something over thirty persons — 
this being exclusive of slaves, of whom there were 
more than a hundred having outside quarters, and 
of white employees. As strangers were always 
welcome, it was the custom to have beds of all sorts 
in a state of complete readiness for at least ten 



unexpected guests, while, at a pinch, a good many 
more could be accommodated without great in- 

Among the dwellers in the manor-house was 
always the dominie, who, before the erection of 
the manor church in 1721, held services every 
winter Sunday in the great kitchen and adjoining 
dining-room, and in summer on the threshing-floor 
of the biggest bam. On each Sunday he preached 
one sermon in Dutch and another in English, and 
during the week he acted as tutor for Mr. Living- 
ston's children and young relatives, as well as exer- 
cised a pastoral care over the members of his 
congregation. Other inmates were several more 
or less distant relatives of both Mr. and Mrs. Liv- 
ingston, all of whom were probably expected to 
make themselves more or less useful in one way 
or another, for very few drones could have been 
tolerated in such an industrious hive. 

Robert Livingston was a man of unusual culti- 
vation for his time. It is said that he was a good 
classical scholar, and there is proof that he spoke 
and wrote the English, French, and Dutch lan- 
guages with fluency and clearness. Both he and 
his wife had bright, quick, active minds, "were 
witty and wise," and both were possessed of 
much personal grace and charm, so that their 
house was regarded as a delightful home where 
all other attractions were added to the grace of 


f '94 

The first manor of Livingston, with its many 
activities, its profuse hospitalities, and its strong 
contrasts, reminds one of Scott's descriptions of 
the rude baronial halls in the remote Scotch dis- 
tricts a few scores of years earlier than this. In 
the new land there was almost as much feudal 
authority over more diverse retainers, a greater 
display of costly plate, tapestries, and rich furni- 
ture, and the same lack of what were even then 
considered essential comforts for persons of like 
social position in regions less remote. 

The wide hall and the long drawing-room of the 
big farm-house were wainscoted in panels. The 
mantels above the tile-bordered fireplaces were hxi- 
cifuUy carved, and the walls were hung with costly 
Flemish tapestries; yet it is doubtful if, during 
the first three or four decades, any of the floors 
were carpeted, while that of the dining-room was 
certainly sanded, and a row of sheepskins, dressed 
with the wool on, was laid around the table in 
winter for foot-warmers. At the same time the 
table was laid with the finest naperies and much 
solid silver, interspersed with pewter and wooden 
dishes. During the earliest years there probably 
was not a single fork, and it is almost certain 
that there were few if any articles of china, and not 
many of earthenware. A dozen silver porringers 
bearing the original crest of the Livingstons, show- 
ing that they had been brought from Scotland by 
the first Robert, and a dozen goblets, or tumblers. 


I am not sure which, bearing the same mark, were 
inherited as their share of the original plate, which 
was divided by weight, by two of my grandmother's 
brothers, who were descendants of the fifth genera- 
tion, and who, it is grievous to know, had them 
melted to make handsomer but certainly less 
precious articles. As these persons were but two 
of the scores of Robert Livingston's descendants 
among whom his plate had been successively 
divided, some idea may be formed of its first 

The life led by Lady Alida Livingston in 
her wilderness manor-house was busy, bustling, 
dominant Her household was kept well in hand, 
and so were her husband's business operations ; not 
merely when be was present to guide them with 
his own masterful hands, but also during his long 
absence at his place in the colonial councils, or on 
his several journeys to England. Mrs. Livingston's 
femily of six sons and daughters received every at- 
tainable advantage both in learning and accom- 
plishments. Both she and her husband felt their 
responsibility as the founders of a family destined 
to honor and power. They gazed fer into the 
future and builded wisely, yet they did not dream 
of a result to which their labors were tending. 

Their descendants of the third and fourth gener- 
ation, then grown to be a large, wealthy, keen-wit- 
ted, and " clannish clan," were, with very few ex- 
ceptions, found among the strongest opponents to 

British power during the struggle of the colonics 
for independence, though well knowing that with 
their success would perish all dreams of the new- 
world baronies. The course of the three great 
manor families of Van Rensselaer, Van Cortlandt, 
and Livingston is alone a sufficient answer to the 
calumny that "great estates always made active 




■IE period from the founding of the 

Tr f first manor in the colony of New 
W York to the beginning of the War 
•i * of the Revolution was not quite a 
century, yet during the last third 
of that time home life on all the manors had 
greatly changed. What in the later lime was held 
to be vast wealth had resulted from the wise plans 
and incessant labors of the founders, acting with 
the natural growth of the country. To such pleas* 
ant features as had existed in the earlier days many 
others had been added, while much of that which 
was unpleasant had disappeared. For miles along 
the eastern bank of the Hudson, above and below 
what is now Rhinebeck, almost every sightly 
eminence was capped with the fine residence of 
one of the grandchildren of the first lord and lady 
of the Livingston Manor. At all of these man- 
sions cordial hospitality, abundant cheer, and all 
of what was then esteemed splendor, were to be 
found. There were at this time two Livingston 
manors, as a portion of the first (which was subse- 
quently called the Upper Manor) had been set off 

to the founder's third son Robert as a reward for 
peculiarly important services. This segregated 
portion was indifferently called the " Lower Manor 
of Livingston " or " Clermont " until after the 
colonies had become States, when it became 
definitely known as Clermont, one of the most 
celebrated country-seats in America. 

The manor ladies of the third generation and 
their successors of the fourth (though the tide of 
these last had become one of courtesy only) were 
well-nigh queens on their own domains ; but, like 
all queens who are not mere figureheads, they had 
many cares, which they accepted as frankly as they 
did the pleasures of their position. 

Notions of political independence had for many 
years been growing through all the colonies, but 
of social equality there was scarcely a whisper. 
Certainly it was fer from the thoughts of those who 
had belonged to good femilies in the old countries 
and had here been held in honor and had pros- 
pered to the extent of founding femilies of wealth. 
Perhaps no more frankly fervent aristocrats ever 
lived than the owneK of the great colonial estates, 
whether these were situated on the banks of the 
James and the Chesapeake or on those of the Hud- 
son. They were free from most of the restraints 
and traditions which often hung like fetters on the 
limbs of the kindred class in the motherland, and 
thus they were at liberty to enjoy their rank, 
wealth, and cultivation with an almost childish 

naivete. Of this happy liberty they took the fullest 

From the extreme limits of Van Rensselaer's 
manor on the north to that of the Van Cortlandts 
on the south, the eastern bank of the Hudson River 
from Albany to New York, and for a distance of 
from fifteen to thirty miles back from the river, was 
dotted by the handsome residences of as care-free, 
healthful, fine-looking, and happy a class as prob- 
ably the society of any country has ever known. 
Its members were not driven by the fierce compe- 
tition which embitters so many lives to-day, yet 
they had abundant and satisfying occupations. 
They had intermarried so freely that they seemed 
one great cousinry, all having a serene confidence 
in the invulnerability of their social position, which 
left them free to be jovial, hospitable, good-hu- 
mored, and withal public-spirited to an unusual de- 
gree. The men had their offices, and their business 
hours in which to confer with thetr stewards and 
tenants, or with the men who conducted large en- 
terprises of many sorts upon the strength of their 
capital and under their guidance. Into their ca- 
pable and willing hands official positions naturally 
fell and were faithfully filled ; but all these things 
were done in an atmosphere of large leisureliness, 
consequent upon the slow means of communica- 
tion between distant points, which is almost beyond 
the conception of any in these electric days. 

The men rode a great deal, or hunted after the 

manner of their English cousins, or they made 
long expeditions into the unexplored regions of 
northern and western New York, partly, no doubt, 
with an eye to present profit or to future invest- 
ments, but largely to gratify their innate love of 
adventure. Many of the sons were sent to the 
English universities of Cambridge or Oxford ; but 
even if his college training had been received at 
King's (now Columbia) College, the education of 
no young man belonging to a wealthy and cul- 
tivated &mily was considered complete until he 
had made a tour of Europe, from one to three 
years being frequently consumed in this way. 

Probably owing to the many dangers and die 
very serious discomforts which then beset an ocean 
voyage under the most favorable conditions, the 
sisters seldom accompanied their brothers, though 
there are a few known instances of daughters who 
went to England with their fothers, and there and 
in Scotland were most hospitably entertained by 
their more or less distant but ever "kindly kin." 
I have had the pleasure of reading some remark- 
ably vivacious and charming letters from one such 
fortunate maiden, as they were copied by my rela- 
tive, Mr. Livingston Rutherfurd, into his valuable 
but privately printed volume concerning the 
Rutherfurd family in America. 

During the long absences of the male heads of 
the manor families the administration of their 
home afiairs was left in the hands of capable stew- 


aods, who were always under the supervision of the 
manor ladies Margaret Beeckman, the wife of 
Judge Livingston, second (and last) lord of the 
Lower Manor, was the mother of Chancellor Liv- 
ingston and of nine other goodly sons and daugh- 
ters, most of whom eventually became distin- 
guished persons. She displayed remarkable ability 
not only in fulfilling the duties of her high position 
during the lifetime of her husband, and in the 
management of his great estate after his decease, 
but also in the wise upbringing of her large &mily. 
An account-book kept in her own hand, with 
copious notes relating to crops and stock on her 
many farms, and to contracts with dealers in limi- 
ber, wools, and furs, as well as to the more inti- 
mate matters of household economy, shows a mind 
of much more than common business ability and 
breadth of view. The household supplies of every 
sort were on a scale commensurate with the family's 
social position, and would in themselves make most 
interesting reading for one who loves to make the 
past seem present by recalling the homely details 
of domestic life. 

All the manor families had always encouraged 
what were then " home industries " in a strictly 
literal sense. But there were many things which 
the largest private expenditure could not produce 
in the new country, and Mrs. Livingston's old ac- 
count-book shows that persons of wealth did not, 
for this reason, deprive themselves of much which 


they desired to possess. The things sent for from 
England, France, and Holland were varied, nu- 
merous, and costly. Great treasures of tapestries, 
pictures, inlaid cabinets, jewels, satins, velvets, and 
laces, as well as old wines, delicate porcelains, 
and expensive plate, must have been lost when 
the Clermont manor-house was burned by the 
British during our Revolutionary War. Among 
the imported articles were "An eboney Cabinet 
garnished out with Silver," which cost £^o, and 
another of " Tortus Shell, garnished with Silver 
Guilte," costing ^65 15^. " Two setts of bed cur- 
tayns broidered, lined & fringed," were £^0 each. 
" Thirty six yards of Broussells carpett with bor- 
der,'* ^36. These prices probably covered freight 
charges as well as the original cost. All of these 
were great treasures for their day, and many such 
had been imported by Judge and Mrs. Livingston ; 
but they exist no longer, save on the yellow but 
strong paper and in the good black ink of the 
leather-covered account-book kept for many years 
by Mrs. Margaret B. Livingston, 



Lake, Gallup, Chcse- 
Elliott, Chauncey, Hop- 
kins, Ely, and Goodrich. 
The Parsonage and its 
Fire and Flint. 

QHE roots of a strong character draw 

Trjh their nutriment from fer beneath the 
Kx surface; therefore it is less amiss 
^^ than it might seem that we begin 
the simple story of this country 
pastor's wife by referring to that of another woman, 
who preceded her by more than a century. 

During the twenty-five years which intervened 
between the landing at Plymouth and the battle of 
Naseby, New England had become the place of 
refuge for many of those to whom the mother- 
land had ceased to be home save in fond remem- 
brance. Among these self-exiled were many who 
fled from the choice which they must make, if they 
remained in England, between their faith on the 
one hand and an inborn and inbred loyalty to their 
king on the other. 

Of these was one Mrs. Margaret Lake, who is 
mentioned in our chapter on " A Pioneer Home." 
She was one of the original grantees of the town- 
ship of New London, Connecticut, " sharing in all 
the grants and divisions of land made to the other 
settlers." Beyond this feet, and that she was a sis- 



ter of the second Governor Winthrop's second 
wife, little more than is told in that chapter is 
known concerning her. The father of Mrs. Win- 
throp and Mrs. Lake belonged to that class which 
has ever furnished the backbone of old England 
— the frequently gentle born though often far 
from wealthy class of hereditar}' landowners, living 
at a distance from courts and fashions, but availing 
themselves of the best educational advantages 
afforded in their time. Many of this class fought 
and died for the worthless Stuarts, and to it also 
belonged the most upright and humane portion of 
Cromwell's ever-valiant forces. 

The years from 1645 onward to 1675, the date of 
the battle with the Pequots known as the Great 
Swamp Fight, were full of danger to the New 
England colonists. Whatever their tender-hearted 
descendants may think about the matter in these 
days of security, there is no doubt that to our an- 
cestors the Indian was a continual menace and ter- 
ror, and no man gained more of the admiration of 
his fellows than he who best held in check this 
formidable foe. Among such defenders none in 
what is now known as New London County, Con- 
necticut, was held to be stronger of arm and more 
dauntless of soul than Captain John Gallup, the 
son of a father equally renowned in the same line. 

The first Captain John Gallup was a grandson 
of Thomas Gallup, owner of the manors of North 
Bowood and Strode in Dorsetshire, England. 


Being a younger son of a younger son, the emi- 
grating Gallup may reasonably be supposed not to 
have possessed an unduly large share of this world's 
gear, but it is certain that he speedily became a 
man of some substance and much value in the 
colonies. His son, the second Captain Gallup, 
married Hannah, daughter of Mrs. Margaret Lake, 
thus bringing together the gentle and the warlike, 
and from their union sprang a race many of whose 
descendants have made their mark by council-fires 
and on the tented field, passing from one to the 
other as the needs of their country required, but 
flinching from no difficulty or danger when fol- 
lowing what appeared to them to be their duty. 

William Gallup, a son of the second John Gal- 
lup and Hannah Lake, married Sarah, a daughter 
of Samuel and granddaughter of William Chese- 
brough of Stonington, Connecticut The last- 
named came from England in 1630 in Wintbrop's 
fleet Of Mr. Chesebrough it has been written that 
" he could frame a building or he could sit as 
judge in a case at law. He could forge a chain 
or draw up a plan for the organization of the 
municipal government. He could survey a tract of 
land or he could represent his town in the General 
Court and adjust its disturbed relations with the 
constituted [colonial] authorities." This shows 
him to have been a typical Yankee of the best 
sort — a man who could successfully turn his 
capable hands and brains to any useful thing. 


It is said that Mr. William Chesebrough was 
man of strong religious convictions, and certainl 
he must have enjoyed religious services, for it i 
recorded that in bad seasons, when the necessaril; 
ill-made roads of the time were rendered more thai 
usually impassable by heavy freshets and oozinj 
frosts, he had been " known to start for church a 
a little after midnight in order to accomplish ii 
good time the fifteen miles that lay between hi 
home and the meeting house." It required boti 
strength of muscle and conviction to render the bes 
of men so zealous as that. But, with all his zeal 
Mr. Chesebrough had a fund of humor whicl 
made his genial society sought by young and oh 
until his death in 1667, while his "judicious mild 
ness smoothed many public and private difficultie 
in the region where he was, in two senses, the 6rs 

It is this Mr. Chesebrough's granddaughter 
Temperance Gallup, whose marriage to the Rev 
William Worthington Is related in our accoum 
of" A Colonial Wedding," and it was one of tht 
daughters of this couple who, in 1756 or 17J7 
became the wife of the Rev. Cotton Mather Smitfc 
of Sharon, Connecticut, 

The Rev. William Worthington was the firsi 
settled pastor of the West Parish of Saybrook, Con' 
necticut, where he died in 1756. Family tra^ 
ditions, coming down through several lines of 
descendants, unite in ascribing to him "greai 

blandness, urbanity and grace of manner com- 
bined with a keen and trenchant wit." He was 
considered a learned man in his day, and as a 
preacher "was distinguished for using the persua- 
sions of the Gospel rather than the terrors of the 
law." Mr. Worthington left five daughters and 
one son — also William Worthington, a colonel 
of patriotic troops during the Revolutionary War, 
who died a bachelor. The youngest daughter 
married Dr. Aaron Elliott, son of the Rev. Jared 
Elliott of Killingwoith, now Clinton, Connecticut 
Another married Colonel John Ely of Lyme, Con- 
necticut, whose noble record of high patriotism is 
but too little known. A third daughter married 
Elnathan Chauncey. A fourth daughter married 
Mr. William Hopkins. All of the sons-in-law of 
the Rev. William Worthington were prominent 
men in their several places of residence, and from 
all of them have descended many persons of social 
and intellectual distinction. It was the second 
daughter, Temperance, who became the wife of the 
Rev. Cotton Mather Smith of Sharon, Connecticut. 
All of the sisters bore a contemporary reputa- 
tion of being more accomplished than most of the 
women of their time. Their &ther, being in ad- 
vance of his age in considering that girls had as 
much brain and as much use for it as boys, had 
given to his daughters every attainable advantage. 
Comparatively few of the pastors of Parson Wor- 
thington's generation paid visits to Europe, but 


Mrs. Smith and one of her sisters in their girl- 
hood accompanied their father on a visit which he 
made to England. In the diary of Juliana Smith 
we find this " long and arduous "journey referred 
to several times, but with an exasperating brevity 
and incompleteness, as : 

" When Mamma was with Grandfather Wor- 
thington in Boston, England, she heard a great 
Organ the tones of which rolled like the Ocean, 
and the whole soul melted to its music." 

And again, writing in 1779: 

" When my Mother and Aunt were in England, 
thirty years ago, they were hospitably entertained 
at the country seats of some of my Grandfather's 
relatives there, and now we are told that one of 
them, who was an officer of the King's troops, and 
was an Ensign then, is now a Major, and is sick 
and a Prisoner in the hands of the Continentals. 
My Father will use every effort to have him brought 
to us, and then it is possible we may secure an ex- 
change for my Uncle Ely, who holds the same rank 
in our army, and is now a Prisoner in the hands 
of the British in New York." 

This exchange, so much desired, was not effected, 
the doctor being found too useful as a physician 
among the sick prisoners confined in the "Old Sugar 

House." It was nearly or quite at the close of the 
war when Dr. Ely, much broken in health, but not 
in spirit, was restored to his femily. 

Mr. S. G. Goodrich (Peter Parley), who was the 
grandson of Mrs. Chauncey, says that Mrs. Smith 
and her sisters were all "noted for their wide read- 
ing, their elegant manners, and their excellent 
house-wifery." The last two accomplishments may 
be taken without qualification, but in regard to the 
first claim it is necessary to make allowance for 
the conditions and times. Mr. Worthington's 
daughters certainly read Shakspere and Milton, 
for odd volumes of both of these classics still exist 
bearing the name of "Temperance Worthington, 
from her Father," written on fly-leaves. Both bear 
evidence of having been well read, though care- 
fully used. (Books were iar too costly and rare to 
be treated slightingly.) It is said that all of Mr. 
Worthington's daughters were good Latin scholars, 
and it is certain that at least one of them, Mrs. 
Smith, was a iairly good French scholar, speaking 
the language sufficiently well to act as interpreter 
when occasion required, as it sometimes did when 
the French troops were here during our Revolu- 
tionary War. The same useful office was filled by 
one of her sisters, Mrs. Ely, I think, at Newport, 
Rhode Island. Mrs. Smith taught the language 
of our allies to her own sons and daughters, giving 
them such an interest in it that at least two of them 
continued to read French and translate it with ease, 


even in their latest years. Where Mrs. Smith ac- 
quired her knowledge of the French tongue I do 
not know. It wasa most unusual accomplishment 
in the New England of her time, and may have 
been gained in one of the Huguenot schools in New 
Rochelle. There is no proof that she attended 
one of these, but several circumstances seem to 
point that way ; among them is the existence of 
some delicate specimens, made by"Madamc Smith" 
and her daughters, of such needlework as was then 
universally known as " French embroidery." 

The house to which Mrs. Smith came as a bride, 
in 1756 or 1757, was built a few years before that 
date by her husband's predecessor, the Rev. Mr. 
Searle. In spite of the fact that this dwelling was 
still in an admirable state of preservation, it was 
taken down in 1812 by my grandfather, who re- 
placed it by a house of the then fashionable 
Grecian temple style of architecture. 

The old house, as described to me, was large and 
heavily timbered, with its sides covered with over- 
lapping cedar shingles. In front the hipped roof 
began to rise from a little above the ceiling of the 
first story, but sloped so little that the house was 
practically two stories high on that side. At the 
rear the roof slowly receded from the ridge-pole to 
the long stoep which ran from north to south 
across the back of the low-ceiled, many-windowed, 
wide and comfortable old manse. On the first 
floor four large rooms were grouped round the 

central chimney, against which, and directly op- 
posite to the outer door, was a square hall from 
which a flight of stairs broken by a platform ran to 
the second story. In accordance with the general 
usage of the time, this outer door was divided into 
upper and lower halves. It opened upon a stone 
porch, provided with seats on the sides, and cov- 
ered with an overhanging shingled roof unsup- 
ported by pillars. At the time that my grand- 
&ther remembered it a portion of the stoep at the 
rear had been inclosed to afford accommodations 
for a summer kitchen, for washing clothes, and 
a milk-room. At right angles with the house, 
stretching eastward, there ran out from one comer 
the immense woodshed, rendered necessary by the 
incessantly devouring open 6res ; and near the east- 
em extremity of the shed were disposed the other 
outbuildings. This was a great improvement upon 
the common village usage of colonial days, which 
was to cluster the woodshed and some of the , 
smaller outbuildings around the front door. 

The village green, which is now so beautifully 
elm-embowered, could then have been but a wide 
and unkempt common, a pasture-ground where 
scattered trees, the scant remains of ancient growths, 
afforded shade to sheep, cows, calves, geese, and 
sometimes even to swine. 

Directly in front of the parsonage, shading its 
porch, there stood an immense white-ash tree, be- 
lieved to have been the largest of its kind in New 


England, under whose giant branches the Wequag^ 
nock Indians had often built their council-fires. 
This glorious tree lived and apparently flourished 
until a great gale in August, 1893. My grand- 
father, William Mather Smith (who was bom in 
1786), said that within his recollection this tree 
had never increased in apparent size. From the 
front door to the gate, passing by and under the 
great ash, was a short and irregularly flagged walk, 
edged with box. 

That one of the four principal rooms on the first 
floor which opened by four large windows to the 
west and south was occupied by the parson, both 
as his study and as the class-room for his pupils. 
There were then no theological seminaries, and 
the young men who wished to be fitted for the 
ministry studied with such pastors as were held in 
the highest estimation for learning and ability. 
About the time of the Revolutionary War the 
Rev, Dr. Bellamy of Bethlehem, and the Rev. Cot- 
ton Mather Smith of Sharon, seem to have divided 
between themselves the greater number of divinity 
students of western Connecticut. 

The parsonage fumishings would not strike the 
modem eye as either abundant or very comforta- 
ble, yet there were comparatively few dwellings 
of the day so well supplied. The dark mahogany 
desk at which the Rev. C. M. Smith wrote hun- 
dreds of the sermons preached during his fifty-two 
years' pastorate in Sharon is now in possession of 

his great-great-grandson. Some of the fine old 
chairs and a sofa of the same unrivaled wood, the 
latter handsomely carved, but of severe outlines 
and unapproachable discomfort, are in the same 
ownership. An inlaid sideboard of mahogany 
and satinwood, which adorned the parsonage liv- 
ing-room, and which had belonged to the parson's 
father, is now owned by a great-great-granddaugh- 
ter. These, with some small round mahogany 
stands for candles, an ebony-framed mirror, and a 
few other of the choice things which once stood in 
the parsonage, are all that now remain of its fur- 
nishings, save the portraits of King George III 
and Queen Charlotte. About these the only re- 
markable thing is that they exist at all, for they are 
on glass, and could not have survived save by dint 
of great care ; and who coutd or would have be- 
stowed this care immediately after the War of the 
Revolution ? The parson and his wife were both 
very strong patriots, but it would seem that there 
might have lingered some feeling of persoiul loy- 
alty to the old sovereigns, which, through it all, 
preserved their frail presentments with feithful 

One of the comparatively few imported carpets 
at that time in the country lay on the parson's 
study floor. The living-room, across the hall from 
the study, and communicating with the kitchen 
behind it, had a carpet of heavy homespun woolen 
yam, woven in a pattern of broad, lengthwise 


stripes. Such carpets had two merits: being as 
smooth of surface as the " Kensington art squares " 
of our day, they were much more easily swept than 
the ugly rag carpets ; and being of wool, honestly 
spun and woven, were practically indestructible, 
save by moths. Some were still made in Connec- 
ticut well into this century. In the specimens 
which I have seen the colors were a rich red, a 
dark yellow, an indigo blue, a dingy purple, and a 
dusky green. 

The bedroom of the parson and his wife, com- 
municating directly with the study, and, through a 
passage, with the kitchen also, was a tireless room 
opening to the south. No wonder that in winter 
its tall four-poster was sheltered with heavily woven 
linen or wool curtains under the more decorative 
hangings of picture chintz. Bitterly cold and 
drafty, in zero weather, must have been the 
rooms whose only warmth was that which could 
escape from the adjacent rooms. No matter how 
generous might be the blaze of the open wood fire, 
far more of its heat made its way up the chimney- 
throat than to the opposite wall upon which its 
evening shadows gaily danced, and still smaller 
was the portion which could be coaxed into an 
adjoining room. 

Heavy bed-hangings were a winter necessity be- 
fore steam-heal, furnaces, or even stoves had been 
invented. My father and his brother, who well 
remembered these days, which, in country places. 


continued until about the end of their college terms 
in 1830 and 1832, have told me that on cold 
nights, after the fires had been covered, the wind 
often blew in great gusts down the wide-throated 
chimney, and that then the bed-curtains, heavy as 
they were, " blew like handkerchiefs in a gale," and 
they were glad enough of the additional protection 
for their ears and heads of warm nightcaps knitted 
by grandmother, mother, or cousin from the yam 
even then still spun at home from the wool of 
their own sheep. 

As friction matches did not come into general 
use until 1835' or thereabout, it was stilt the cus- 
tom to bank the fireplaces with ashes at night 
until not an ember or spark of fire could be seen, 
just as similar fires had been banked for untold 
centuries before. If this precaution were not 
thoroughly taken the fires were an ever-imminent 
danger. On very cold and windy nights it was cus- 
tomary for some members of a family to take turns 
in sitting up to watch the fires. 

My fethcr, when a boy of eight or nine years, 
saw his &ther display to admiring neighbors " a 
wonderfully handy new invention by which fires 
could be readily kindled." Something like the 
trigger 'of a flint-lock musket was pulled, and a 
spark struck from the flint and steel, which ignited 
a bit of punk ; this, being judiciously blown upon, 
set fire to splinters of resinous wood, and this, in 
turn, to carefully reared piles of splintered kin- 

dlings and well-seasoned logs. Before the advent of 
the ** fire-sparker " of flint and steel, when the earliest 
riser of a family was so unfortunate as to find that the 
too slightly protected embers of the previous night's 
fires had burned themselves out, or that the too 
densely covered ones had been hopelessly smo- 
thered, it was his chilly task to wait and watch forthe 
nearest chimney which should show rising smoke, 
and then to sally forth, with chafing-dish or foot- 
stove in hand, to " borrow coals." 





* * 

Madam Smith's Multt- i, 

plied Employments. / 

Small ■ Incomes and Many * 

Out-goes. J 

Extracts from Madam J 

Smith's Reminiscences. 1 

The Small-pox. . 

Hospitality. * 

The Preaching of White- . 

field. \ 

^(^o^^N Madam Smith's time, and for 
^ w O many a long year before and af- 
I tci'i there was never a matron so 
O O ^**'*y ^^^ ^^^ ^^ "o' ^^f' hands 

^^^^Q full of Martha-like cares. In 
general the richer the family the more arduous 
were these cares ; but, of them all, not even the 
lady of a manor was so overburdened as was the 
parson's wife — the " madam," as she was generally 
styled, — so much was demanded of her, so multi- 
&rious were her duties. Ministerial stipends were 
then very small. Mr. Smith's salary at the time of 
his settlement, in 1754. was "220 Spanish dollars 
or an equivalent in old tenor bills." In addition 
to this he was to receive, as what was then known 
as a "settlement," "140 ounces of silver or an 
equivalent in old tenor bills, annually for three 
years." I believe that the yearly salary was sub- 
sequently increased, but do not know to what 

Salaries of four or even of three hundred dollars 
a year were considered liberal in country places un- 
til years after the Revolution. On such small sums. 

eked out by the produce from a certain number of 
acres of glebe-land, the minister was expected not 
only to support his own &mily, but to bear an un- 
due share in the entertaining of strangers, as well as 
in aiding the neighboring poor. When, as some- 
times happened, either the pastor or his wife faad 
private property, still more was expected oTthem, 
and rarely indeed did they hi\ to respond to this 
expectation. Parson Smith, in a letter to his son- 
in-law, the Rev. Daniel Smith of Stamford, Con- 
necticut, written in 1804, states that in his family 
there were maintained, in addition to his own six 
children, " an average of four penniless orphans 
during more than thirty years." These were not 
only fed and clothed, but educated, at the parson's 
sole expense. They, with his own children, the 
divinity students, and some of the boys whom he 
fitted for college and who resided with him, made 
a household of unusual numbers even for those 
days of large families, and entailed a great amount 
of care and labor on his own part, while his wtft 
must have been very heavily burdened. 

Long working hours were a necessity of the 
period. Five o'clock was the usual breakfast-hour 
in summer, and from six to half-past six in winter. 
Dinner was at noon, and tea at six in winter and 
seven in summer. This was so that the many tasks 
might be accomplished, for sufficient unto each day 
was its own work ; it had no room for labors left 
over from the day before. 


Wheat, rye, and com were ground into flour and 
meal at the local mills, and salted Ash, sugar, 
molasses, " West India Sweetmeats," and, except- 
ing in war-times, tea, coffee, and chocolate, could 
be bought at the village stores; but aside from 
these, with long volumes of a country store's ac- 
count-books, covering many years, open before me, 
I can hardly find a trace of any kind of provisions 
that did not have to be produced and prepared, 
from start to finish, by manual labor on. the larais 
and in each individual household — and all this 
without the aid of any of the toil-saving devices 
which we now deem matters of course. 

Perhaps an idea of some of these daily labors 
may be best conveyed by extracts from relations 
which were found among the old papers some years 
ago. Mrs. Smith in 1775 had made the week- 
long and perilous journey from Sharon, Connecti- 
cut, to Fort Ticonderoga, where her husband was 
dangerously ill of camp fever. All the way above 
Saratoga was through an unbroken wilderness. In 
after years Mrs. Smith told her story many times, 
and at least three of her children made notes of her 
narrations, from which the full story was compiled 
and told in the first person. Some years ago this 
was published, under the title of" Led by a Vision," 
in the " Home-Maker," a magazine then most ably 
edited by Mrs. E. P. Terhune — "Marion Har- 
land." From this sketch the following extracts 
are taken: 


" Your dear Father was among the very first 
volunteer and received the honored post of Cha 
lain to the Fourth Connecticut Regiment, cor 
manded by Colonel Hinman, and ordered to man 
to Ticonderoga, In common with many oth 
well qualified Pastors my Husband had been intl 
habit of receiving into his family from time to tin 
such young men as might wish, after leaving colleg 
to fit themselves for the Gospel Ministry. At ti 
time there were five such students in our hous 
My Husband provided for them by engaging h 
beloved ftiend,the Rev. Dr. Bellamy, of Bethleher 
to come and reside in our house, prosecute tl 
education of the young theological students, supp 
the Sharon pulpit and attend to pastoral dutie 
a young friend of Dr. Bellamy engaging to p< 
form like brotherly services for him in his pans 
As Dr. Bellamy had two students of his own 1 
brought them with him, which added to tho 
already in our house made my family to consi 
of twent)--two persons besides servants. 

" In our present state of peace and plenty [l79' 
this does not seem so verj' great a burden ; but 
that time when the exactions of the Mother Cou 
try had rendered it impossible for any but tl 
wealthiest to import anything to eat or wear, at 
all had to be raised and manu&ctured at hom 
from bread stuffs, sugar and rum to the linen ar 
woollen for our clothes and bedding, you may w( 
imagine that my duties were not light, though 

can say for myself that I never complained even 
in my inmost thoughts, for if I could even give up 
for the honored cause of Liberty, the Husband 
whom I loved so dearly that my constant fear was 
lest I should sin to idolatry, it would assuredly 
have ill become me to repine at any inconvenience 
to myself And besides, to tell the truth, I had no 
leisure for murmuring. I rose with the sun and 
alt through the long day I had no time for aught 
but my work. So much did it press upon me 
that I could scarcely divert my thoughts from its 
demands even during the family prayers, which 
thing both amazed and displeased me, for during 
that hour, at least, I should have been sending all 
my thoughts to Heaven for the safety of my be- 
loved Husband and the salvation of our hapless 
Country ; instead of which I was often wondering 
whether Polly had remembered to set the sponge 
for the bread, or to put water on the leach tub, or 
to turn the cloth in the dying vat, or whether wool 
had been carded for Betsey to start her spinning 
wheel in the morning, or Billy had chopped light- 
wood enough for the kindling, or dry hard wood 
enough to heat the big oven, or whether some 
other thing had not been forgotten of the thousand 
that must be done without feil or else there would 
be a disagreeable hitch in the house-keeping; so 
you may be sure that when I went to bed at night, 
I went to sleep and not to lie awake imagining all 
sorts of disasters that might happen. There was 



generally enough that had happened to keep n 
mind at work if I stayed awake, but that I ve 
seldom did. A perfectly healthy woman has goc 
powers of sleep. . . . 

"On the third Sabbath in September Dr. B< 
lamy gave us a sound and clear sermon in whi< 
God's watchful Providence over his People w 
most beautiftilly depicted and drew tears from tl 
eyes of those who were unused to weeping, ai 
during the prayer-meeting in the evening the san 
thought was dwelt upon in a way showing that i 
who spoke and prayed felt that our God is inde* 
a Father to all who trust him; so that on th 
night I went to bed in a calmer and more co 
tented frame of mind than usual. I had, to 1 
sure, been much displeased to find that our supp 
of bread (through some wasteful mismanagemei 
of Polly's) had grown so small that the bakir 
would have to be done on Monday morning, whic 
is not good house-keeping ; for the washing shoul 
always be done on Monday and the bakings c 
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. But I ha 
caused Polly to set a large sponge and made Bill 
provide plenty of firing so that by getting up b 
times in the morning we could have the brick ov( 
heated and the baking out of the way by the tiit 
Billy and Jack should have gotten the clothe 
pounded out ready for boiling, so that the tw 
things should not interfere with each other. TJ 
last thought on my mind after commitring n- 

dear Husband and Country into our Maker's care 
for the night, was to charge my mind to rise even 
before daylight that I might be able to execute 
my plans. . . . 

"As early as three o'clock in the morning I 
called Nancy and Judy, Jack and young Billy, 
but would not allow old Billy to be disturbed ; 
whereat the rest marvelled, seeing that I was not 
used to be more tender of him than of any of the 
other servants, but rather the less so in that he was 
my own slave that my Father had given to me 
upon my marriage. But I let them marvel, for 
truly it was no concern of theirs, and by five 
o'clock the bread was ready to be moulded, the 
hickory coals were lying in a great glowing mass 
on the oven bottom, casting a brilliant light over 
its vaulted top and sending such a heat into my 
iace when I passed by the oven mouth that it 
caused me to rhink then, as it always does, of 
Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace, seven times heated. 
Young Billy was already pounding out the clothes 
and over the fire Jack was hanging the great brass 
kettles for the wash, while Nancy and Judy had 
made ready the smoking hot piles of Johnny cake, 
the boiler of wheat coffee (which was all we could 
get in those days, and a poor substitute it was for 
good Mocha) and the big platter of ham and eggs 
and plenty of good potatoes roasted in the ashes, 
which is the best way that potatoes can be cooked, 
in my opinion." 


^. The diverse housewifely cares indicated in the 

Y foregoing extracts show but a few of the many 

which fell to the lot of all colonial women of the 
better classes. Upon the minister's wife devolved 
still other duties. She was expected to assist at all 
the births, weddings, and funerals, not only in the 
French sense, but as an active helper. It is related 
ui ! of Madam Smith that for thirty years it was into 

t) her hands that most of the new-bom babies of her 

!v I husband's parish were committed for their first rob* 

[ i ings. And there being then, in country places at 

ij' least, no undertakers, as we now understand the 

;'. term, but in their stead only cabinet-makers who 

i' made coffins as well as cradles, chairs, and tables, 

Mrs. Smith shared with other ladies the last sad 
;, offices for friends and neighbors. 

',; In times of general sickness — which were much 

■| more frequent than now, owing to the ignorance of 

I sanitary precautions and all means for controlling 

;■ contagious disease — both the pastor and his wife 

were ever at the service of the fiock. It is re- 
corded in Sedgwick's valuable history of Sharon 
,' that in the winter of 1784-85 there was "a three 

months' visitation of the town by the small-pox, 
during which seven hundred persons out of a 
population of about two thousand had the dreaded 
disease, either naturally or by inoculation," and that 
throughout this time of distress Parson Smith and 
his wife "spent their entire time in close atten- 
dance upon the sick and dying." 



The entertainment of strangers was a duty which 
perhaps devolved more frequently upon the femily 
of a country pastor than it should have been per- 
mitted to do, but there were occasions when the 
hosts felt themselves much more than repaid. 

Such an occasion came to Parson and Mrs. 
Smith in the month of June in 1770. On the 
18th of this month came the Rev. George White- 
field on his last and greatest preaching tour. He 
had passed up the Hudson River, stopping to 
preach at all towns which would give him a hear- 
ing, including Albany, whence he passed onward 
to Schenectady. Turning at this point, he had 
come southward again, visiting townships from 
twenty to thirty or more miles back from the east- 
em bank of the river, and preaching wherever al- 
lowed to do so in the churches, otherwise in the 
open air, until he reached Sharon. Here, as had 
happened in many other places, " there was," says 
Mr. Sedgwick, " considerable opposition to his 
being permitted to preach in the meeting-house," 
but Parson Smith's influence, always inclined to the 
liberal side on any question, prevailed, and the 
church doors were opened, and, "that all the 
hearers from this and the neighboring towns might 
be well accommodated with seats, extensive scaf- 
folds were erected all around the house." 

A few of the children and many of the grand- 
children of those who had heard Whitefield in 
Sharon on this occasion were living in my girl- 

hood, and marvelous indeed must have been the 
eloquence that was followed by such deep and &r- 
reaching results, and was remembered so long. 

Most marvelous must the preacher's successful 
efforts have seemed to one who, like Madam 
Smith, had spent the entire previous night by 
his bedside, burning dried stramonium-leaves diat 
he might inhale the smoke, and in various other 
ways doing her utmost to enable the sufferer to 
get his breath, under the violent attacks of asthma 
which, three months later, ended his career. 

Mrs. Smith and others had feared, all throu^ 
this anxious nig^t, that their revered patient would 
pass from earth before the morning's sun should 
rise, yet as it rose his sufferings became gradually 
less. He had two or three hours of refreshing 
sleep, followed by draughts of strong coffee, and 
before the noon came he was able to preach such a 
sermon as even he could seldom do, while his 
grand voice, " as soft as a flute and as piercing as 
a fife," carried for almost incredible distances, not 
only his text, " Marvel not that I said unto thee. 
Ye must he bom again," but all save the finer 
shadings of his message. 

The letter of thanks and farewell sent by Mr. 
Whitefield from his dying bed at Newburyport, 
Massachusetts, did not reach Parson and Mrs. 
Smith until more than a month after its writer had 
there drawn his last agonized breath; but it was 
long cherished as a token from an angel visitant. 



XJKr^imS f 

"IROM the beginning of the New- 

Fi / Englander's Sabbath, at sunset on 
W Saturday evening, the housewife 
* * must have found that portion of 
sacred time anything but a period 
of rest. The Saturday evening meal must be 
hastened, that the dishes might be washed in secu- 
lar time. Personal ablutions were held to be labor 
not unbefitting the holy day, and fi-om the earliest 
times in the New England colonies, the Saturday 
evenings were devoted, first to an hour's catechiz- 
ing, and then to the conscientious scrubbing (this 
word sounds a little harsh, but it is probably the 
correct one to describe the process) of each person 
in the family, beginning with the youngest and con- 
cluding with the oldest members of the household. 
As special rooms for bathing, with hot and cold 
water to be had with the turning of the faucet, 
were then undreamed-of luxuries, some have sup- 
posed that in the fi-equently excessive cold, and 
under the lack of all conveniences, our ancestors 
were neglectful of the grace of personal cleanliness. 
This is, in all probability, a grave mistake. Both 


tradition and written contemporary evidence go to 
prove that personal cleanliness was eqoined as a 
religious duty, and that it was a duty religiously 
fulfilled, under whatever difficulties. 

Hot water could only be procured by heating in 
great iron pots over the open fires, and the tubs 
employed for bathing were in general the same 
which were used for the clothes-washings on Mon- 
days, but not always. Some tubs were made for 
bathing purposes only, of cedar, and large enou^ 
for a tall man to lie in at full length. When the 
mother of the Rev. C. M. Smith came to l%aron 
from Suffield, Connecticut, about 1 770, she brou^t 
with her a tub of this sort. As there were no stated 
rooms for bathing, the tubs were usually left in the 
cellars through the week, that they might not be- 
come dry enough to leak. If a fire were not kept 
in the best room all the rest of the week, one would 
be lighted there on every Saturday during the cold 
season, and maintained until late on Sunday nighL 
This left free the fires in the kitchens for the ser- 
vants, and those in the living-rooms for the &mily. 
Here the carpets, if any, were protected, and the 
tubs were set, each one shielded from view on all 
sides, save that nearest the fire, by heavy woolen 
coverlets or blankets hung over clothes-horses. 
With the generous size of the fireplaces of those 
days, as many as three or even more such curtained 
cabinets might be made in front of each fire. As 
much cold water as was desired was poured into 


each tub and was then brought to the required 
temperature by the addition of boiling water from 
the great iron or brass kettles. 

The carrying out the water that had been used 
by each bather, and emptying the tubs at a little 
distance from the house, occasionally into a sub- 
surface drain, as at the parsonage, or, as in most 
cases, into shallow ditches, and of refilling the tubs, 
was severe labor, and would probably devolve 
upon the strongest of the servants or members of 
the family. 

Certainly much, and probably all, of the soap 
used in the colonies was of home manufacture, 
and was so harsh in its quality that as little of it as 
possible was used upon the persoru Those who 
were careful for their complexions rarely used any 
soap about their faces, but instead softened the 
water by a very little lye made from the ashes of 
hard woods. Rose-water of home distillation and 
various unguents were then applied to heal the 
smart In warm weather buttermilk was con- 
sidered excellent for the complexion, and in severe 
winter weather cider brandy was used by some, 
and an ointment of mutton tallow and lard by 

The house-mistress had not only to see that all 
was in readiness for this great weekly ablution, but 
that none for whom she was responsible should es- 
cape ic Nothing but a case of severe illness was 
allowed to excuse any inmate of a self-respecting 


household. This state of things lasted until within 
my mother's remembrance. She was bom in 1810, 
and one of her earliest recollections was of seeing 
old "Kongo Sally," armed with a stout switch, 
driving the young darkies, some of whom were 
her own grandchildren, in from the outbuildings in 
which they sought refuge, to undergo their weekly 
scrubbing from her merciless hands and those of 
one or two assistants. 

As dentistry was an art still in the future, de- 
cayed teeth were the rule rather than the excep- 
tion among adults until well into the present 
century ; yet persons of refined instincts never omit- 
ted cleansing the teeth. Juliana Smith, writing to 
her brother in 1782, says; "Peggy Evertson has 
showed me a present her father brought her from 
Albany. It is a brush for the teeth made of fine, 
stiff, white bristles set in a back of mother of pearl. 
It is better than the sassafras twigs which Tite 
CiEsar fringes out for us, because with the brush 
you can better cleanse the backs of the teeth. You 
wanted to know what you should bring me from 
New Haven when you come back, so I write about 
this, if so be you might find me one. Only it need 
not have so fine a back, one of wood or hom would 
please me as well." Tooth-brushes are mentioned 
in the Vemey papers, about 1650, as "elegant tri- 
fles now used by the ladies of the French Capital." 
But smoothly rounded bits of wood, sharpened at 
one end, and at the other finely splintered and then 

pounded into the semblance of a round paint- 
brush, were in use in England long before that, and 
washes for "cleanseingthe teeth and sweetningthe 
breath " are mentioned in the outht of the child- 
bride of Richard II. 

The Sharon parsonage was distinguished above 
many others of its time in that the best of water for 
all purposes was brought into the house from a dis- 
tant spring by a primitive aqueduct of cedar logs, 
bored through their length to form tubes, then 
tightly 6tted together, and laid at a depth of several 
feet beneath the surface to protect them from the 
frost, while the refiise water was discharged in a 
similar way in the opposite direction at a distance 
from any dwelling. Within a few years some of 
these logs have been dug up, still in a state of feir 
preservation, while the decaying remains of others 
lay near by. From the same spring which supplied 
the parsonage the delicious water was similarly 
conducted into the stone mansion of Dr. Simeon 
Smith. There still remains the basin which once 
received and discharged the water in this house. 
It is of smooth and finely grained limestone, about 
fourteen inches in diameter at the top, and of equal 
depth. Since the introduction of modem plumb- 
ing this basin has been used as a pot to hold 
growing plants out of doors. 

Of course the Puritan parson's wife was expected 
to attend every Sabbath service as strictly as him- 
self, and perhaps it was not always either pleasant 


or convenient for her to do so ; but it is not neces- 
sary to dwell upon that part. Quite enough has 
been said by the last generation or two of persons 
who, judging others by themselves, fency that two 
long sermons and a prayer-meeting must have 
wearied both the souls and the bodies of our an- 
cestors, as they would our own. This is not at all 
probable. They really liked the long preachments, 
the endless prayers, the unmusical singing. Nay, 
■f[ more, they loved all of them. They saw and 

heard with spiritual eyes and ears, with an inner 
uplifting which imparted light, perfume, and har- 
mony to their barren surroundings. I do not say that 
there were not many who inwardly and some who 
openly rebelled at these things, but they were in a 
minority. There is every proof that the majority 
really enjoyed what we should now consider as very 
tiresome Sundays. 

To walk, to ride on horseback, or to drive in 
springless wagons over miles of often intolerable 
roads, and then spend two hours in a fireless church 
on a winter day, and, after an hour's interval, to spend 
another two hours in the same way, does not seem 
very inviting to us; but, in addition to the strong 
religious motives to sustain them, these people 
had social motives as well. The Sunday services 
were pleasures all the more valuable because they 
were shared in common. The noon intermission 
was a season of social communion most keenly en- 
joyed, and the still later adjournment of all to the 


catechizing at the parsonage was made interesting 
by the permitted freedom of discussion, and the 
subsequent interchange of views and friendly greet- 
ings. Books were scarce; newspapers, in our 
sense, were non-existent; and of such periodicals as 
there were, but ftvf would be taken in a small 
township. Any new books or papers would first 
find their way to the parson, and every intelligent 
stranger passing through the place would call at 
the parsonage, paying for his entertainment by 
bringing as much news from the outside world as 
he had been able to collect on his journey, and re- 
ceiving as much local information as he could get 
to carry away with him and distribute as he pro- 
ceeded on his travels. The parsonage was an in- 
telligence exchange, and the parson was expected 
to give from the pulpit any new religious or politi- 
cal information that he had gained through the 
week, and, after the Sunday aftemoon catechizing, 
his family shared with him the pleasure and duty 
of imparting any bits of more personal interest that 
had come to their knowledge. 

It was fortunate for the madam that Puritan 
usage required that as little cooking as might be 
should be done on the Sabbath, for otherwise time 
and strength would both have failed her; but the 
sacred hours ended with the setting of the sun, 
and after this there was cooked and served the best 
meal of the week, which was made an occasion of 
real festivity, and enjoyed with the keen zest im- 


parted by long anticipation, by the easy assuraru 
that it had been well earned, and by the certain! 
that, though the morrow's toils were lying in wai 
they could not spoil the pleasures of this hour. 

During this privileged time after the "Sunda 
night supper," the young folks separated int 
groups, unrebuked by their elders. The childre 
played games, elderly men talked of theologies 
dogmas, politics, and crops, and women of thei 
household employments and clothes. 

Fashions, like materials, were then much mor 

durable than now. As there were no fashior 

papers, intelligence on this subject could only b 

transmitted from mouth to mouth. A new pape 

or cloth pattern was a treasure indeed. It mus 

not be supposed that these notable women talke 

only about their own clothes, and exchanged onl 

P the patterns of women's and infants' apparel, Th 

□ attire of husbands and brothers was a matter o 

; , equally practical concern to them. The parson' 

preaching-suit — black cloth knee-breeches an' 

I straight<ul coat — might be made by some itine 

r rant tailor, passing from house to house during th 

winter, as was the custom of the day, or might i 

a few instances have been bought in distant Nei 

York or New Haven ; and the sheer linen for hi 

bands was probably imported from Holland : bi 

all his other garments (and those of most of th 

men in his parish), including the long, knitted sil 

stockings (worn over woolen ones in winter), wei 

^ ^ 


necessarily of home manufacture. Besides the 
linen for the minister's bands, the silk for his stock- 
ings was imported ; but every thread of the rest of 
his apparel, from the finest linen for his handker- 
chiefs and shirts, to the woolen yam for his under- 
clothes, was grown or raised upon his own ground, 
tilled and cared for, harvested and cured if it were 
fJax, or sheared and carded if it were wool, by his 
own hands or those of his employees, at least some of 
whom must have been slaves; and their clothing also 
had to be provided for by his labor and foresight 
All New England ministers were to a certain 
extent formers as well as pastors, and where the 
parson's labors ceased those of the madam and her 
daughters and women began. Men hatcheled the 
flax, and both men and women carded wool. The 
spinning was always the work of women, while 
weaving was done principally by men. Between 
them they spun, knitted, wove, fulled and dyed, 
cut, fitted, and adomed all the textile fabrics worn. 
Carpets were seldom woven at home, and damask 
table-linen, if not imported, was usually the work 
of a professional weaver. So, too, were the blue- 
and-white or green-and-white all wool or cotton- 
and-wool coverlets of elaborate patterns of which 
so many still remain; but the yam or thread for 
them all, whether linen, cotton, or wool, was spun 
at home. Sheets, blankets, and all simply striped 
or checked table-linen and bed-hangings were 
woven as well as spun at home. 


The summers were especially busy, neither m( 
nor women, bond nor free, those in the prime c 
lite nor the aged, nor children, could idle away th 
long summer days. The great grain-fields of tt 
West were still unawakened from their ages c 
slumber. Wheat, rye, buckwheat, com, oats, mu 
all be raised here. 

With agricultural implements so imperfect thj 
no modem farmer would condescend to use then 
the labors of planting, sowing, haying, and harves 
ing were great. In these days we know the evi! 
of competition and the nervous strain from th 
perpetual unrest of our lives, but we know neithe 
the disadvantages of severe manual labor nor muc 
about the ceaseless toil necessary in summer t 
provide lor winter's daily physical needs. Thes 
labors were healthful in their nature, but pitilcE 
in their exactions. 

Winter's toils were sufficiently arduous. Pre 
viding the fuel for the indispensable and endlessl 
craving open wood fires was alone a heavy tash 
and there were many others, such as the daily car 
of the horses, sheep, swine, and fowls; yet i: 
winter it was possible to find time to read, writt 
and study, as well as to enjoy such social gathei 
ings as might combine amusement with worl 
What some of these pleasures were may be see: 
in other chapters. Here we will only glance a 
one which was peculiar to the Revolutionar 



Bullets had become very scarce. Madam Smith, 
like most well-to-do matrons of her time, possessed 
a goodly store of pewter plates, platters, cups, bowls, 
and porringers. Several of the neighboring ladles 
were equally well supplied. On a certain early 
spring evening in 1777 Madam Smith invited all 
to come and bring with them every pewter dish 
which they could spare. Before the time for 
separation came many gallons of good bullets had 
been made from the cherished pewter articles, which 
had been melted and merrily run through bullet 
molds, and a good supper had been heartily en- 
joyed. For many evenings after this one of cheer- 
ful sacrifice, there were held from house to house 
so-called " trencher bees," whereat the young men 
cut and shaped maple and poplar wood into dishes, 
which the women made smooth by scraping with 
broken glass, and polished with the clean white 
sand of powdered limestone. Madam Smith, and 
probably most of the other contributors to the bul- 
let fund, possessed a good deal of pretty Lowestoft 
and Delft, as well as Canton blue china, but the 
every-day use of such fragile dishes was not to be 
thought of, especially in war-time, when they could 
in nowise be replaced ; hence the necessity tor the 
retum to the primidve wooden dishes of the sev- 
enteenth century. 

All existing records of Madam Smith — and they 
are many — prove her to have been one of those 
noble women, a few of whom are to be found in all 


countries and in every age, who are so cheerfully 
brave that they lace suffering and danger in all 
forms, unconscious that they are doing anything 
more than any other would do, yet so lovable and 
so gracious in their strength that they arc mourned 
until the last one who knew them has himself 
passed from earthly scenes. Madam Smith died in 
1800, and for all the years after her decease until 
her husband and the latest lingerer of her children 
had departed to join her, the letters which passed 
between the survivors are filled with touching 
references to the beloved wife and revered mother. 



Flight of the Livingstons 
from Kingston and Cler- 
mont to Litchfield 
Count}-, Connecticut. 
The Young Van Rens- 
Vaughan's Raid. 
Ladies as Hostlers. 
Husking Bees. 

pURING the War of the Revolu- 

D/aS tion those manors which were 
^ situated on or near the Hudson 
River were exposed to the ravages 
of both parties in the struggle — 
some from the British forces and some from the 
Continental armies, according to the side which 
had been espoused by the respective owners of 
the manors. The De Lanceys were not techni- 
cally manor-holders, but their estates were so large 
that they were popularly reckoned as such, and 
they, with the family from the Phillipse Patent, 
sought refuge within the British lines, while the 
patriotic Van Rensselaers, Van Cortlandts, and 
Livingstons retired to regions that were so far 
from the harassed territory as to promise compara- 
tive safety. 

First, die Van Cortlandts fled from the Neutral 
Ground, carrying as many of their household pos- 
sessions as they could by sloops, and having their 
flocks and herds driven up through the country in 
patriarchal fashion, to seek refuge among Mrs. 
Van Cortlandt's relatives, the Livingstons, in Co- 



lumbia and Dutchess counties. But by the autum 
of 1777 this neighborhood had become aimost j 
full of danger as the lower counties, and all prom 
nent persons, both refugees and natives, wei 
obliged to strike their tents and seek shelter i 
happier regions. 

For many of them the new haven of refuge ej 
isted in the northwestern corner of the State of Cor 
necticut, about midway between the Hudson an 
Connecticut rivers, and from eighty to one hundrei 
miles from salt water. Here, at a safe distanc 
from water-highways, in one of the healthtiilest ani 
most placidly beautiful of highlands, the horrors 
war never penetrated, though its terrors wer 
abundantly known to those — and they were 
majority of the inhabitants — who had sent thei 
best beloved to battle for the cause which the] 
held dearer than life or estates. 

The earliest of the manor families to take ad 
vantage of this haven of rest among the hills ap 
pears to have been that of Mrs. Van Rensselaer 
widow of the sixth patroon, and mother of the deli 
cate boy who afterward became the honored Genera 
Van Rensselaer, and who, even after the new stat< 
of things had relegated such titles to the realm of 
the past, was by courtesy styled the seventh pa 
troon. The lad's mother was a daughter of Philii 
Livingston, a signer of the Declaration of Inde 
pcndcnce, and upon this grandfather the genera 
care of the promising boy's education devolve! 

until Mr. Livingston's death in June of 1778. 
Singularly enough, there appears to be no published 
reference to the sojourn of young Van Rensselaer in 
Connecticut, it being stated that he went directly 
from Kingston, New York, to Harvard College. 
Yet the proof is positive that during the summer 
of 1777 the young patroon and his mother, who 
had first retired to Philip Livingston's temporary 
residence at Kingston, finding the dangers to which 
the young heir was there exposed, retreated to Con- 
necticut in the safer recesses of the Litchfield 
County hills. Here they continued to reside dur- 
ing much, if not all, of the following year. Prob- 
ably they were led to the beautifiil village of Sharon 
by the previous friendship of Mrs. Van Rensselaer 
with the wife of the Rev. Cotton Mather Smith, 
who was pastor there. When the first of these 
ladies was Catherine Livingston of New York 
city, and the second was Temperance Worthing- 
ton of Saybrook, Connecticut, the two had some- 
where become intimate friends — possibly at school 
in New Rochelle, where there were at that time 
several rather noted private schools conducted 
by the refugee Huguenots or their immediate 

Sometime during 1775 the widowed Mrs. Van 
Rensselaer had married her second husband, the 
Rev. Eilardus Westerlo of the Refomied Dutch 
Church. In the papers at my command she is 
never called Mrs. Westerlo, but, probably from 


habit, is indifferently referred to as " Mrs. Van R." 
or as the " Mother of the young Patroon " or as 
" Catherine Livingston," though there is tittle doubt 
that Mr.Westcrlo was of the party.for I find that one 
of that name occupied Mr. Smith's pulpit twice in 
November of 1 777 ; but I find no other mention 
of him, while it is recorded that "young Van R. 
and his mother," and a little later the Rev. John 
Rodgers of the Brick Church of New York city, 
were received into the family of the Rev. C. M. 
Smith, under whose direction young Stephen Van 
Rensselaer and the " Parson's son," afterward Gov- 
ernor John Cotton Smith of Connecticut, prosecuted 
their studies for college as diligently as if such a 
thing as war was never heard of The first inten- 
tion of young Van Rensselaer's guardians had been 
that he should enter Yale College, of which his 
grandfather and the latter's four brothers had been 
graduates, but eventually Harvard was chosen as 
being safer from the raids of the enemy. 

The arrival of this litde company in advance of 
the main body of the refugees is traditionally said 
to have been due to repeated attempts on the part 
of armed bands of Tories to abduct the wealthy 
young patroon in the hope of extorting a heavy 
ransom. The later flight of the family of Philip 
Livingston and the other families that had been 
sheltered under his roof at Kingston was extremely 
hurried, but probably not quite unpremeditated; 
otherwise there could not have been so much 


household furniture and stuff brought across the 
river and over the forty or more miles of intervening 
hills and dales. 

On the day of the departure from Kingston a 
" mounted runner " had been sent ahead to secure 
in Sharon such accommodations as might be avail- 
able. The women and children were therefore im- 
mediately provided with shelter, but for several 
nights their male companions were obliged to sleep 
in haymows. Refugees from places farther down 
the Hudson River had been for days, and even 
weeks, straggling into the little village, and many 
of them were without money or goods, so that the 
resources of the hospitable inhabitants had been 
already severely taxed. 

Next door to the parsonage, where the first of 
the manor parties had been received, was a hand- 
some but not very large brick cottage, ovfrned by 
Robert G. Livingston, which, during this season of 
fear, must have been more than sufficiently filled. 
Mr. Robert G. Livingston's family was numerous 
enough to crowd it without counting servants, and 
to this number was now added the ^rnily of his 
relative Philip Livingston, and that of the latter's 
daughter Sarah and her husband, the Rev. John 
Henry Livingston. The house — which, by succes- 
sive additions, all of them fortunately in keeping 
with the architecture of the original structure, is 
now a truly beautiful as well as spacious cot- 
tage belonging to the Rev. C. C. Tiffany — then 


contained but three rooms on the ground floor ani 
three on the second, with two tolerably spaciou 
attics over all ; and, like the five loaves and two smal 
fishes, what were they among so many ? Tb 
united families probably did not consist of less thai 
twenty persons, exclusive of slaves. It is true cha 
" the boys " seem to have found lodgings in nei^ 
boring houses, though all were already crowdet 
with the patriot refugees from the Neutral Grount 
and the upper river counties — refugees of ever] 
age and rank, and in great numbers. Probably thii 
quiet little village will never again be so densclj 
populated as it was during the eventfiil month! 
of the last third of the year of Burgoyne's surrender 
In September of that year all things were looking 
dark enough for the patriot cause. Burgoyne anti 
his dreaded Indian allies were threatening from the 
north. Sir Henry Cltntun, working up toward 
Burgoyne fi'om New York, had intended to fbnn 3 
juncture with him. Sir Henry had sent up the 
Hudson a band of one thousand men under Gen- 
eral Vaughan — a name long afi:erward held in 
abhorrence from New York to Albany. This 
band did some gallant fighting in the capture of 
Forts Montgomery and Clinton, and some good 
work for their side in removing the chains and 
booms which General Putnam had caused to be 
stretched across the river to impede navigation; 
but beyond these things it "accomplished nothing 
save a good deal of safe and cautious marauding.' 


This included the homing, pillaging, and in for 
too many cases the murder of the defenseless. 

In those days war was never undertaken as a 
philanthropic enterprise, and that boats and other 
means of transportation, as well as mills and stores 
of all sorts, should be destroyed was to be expected : 
but when village after village, however small, stra- 
tegically unimportant, or utterly incapable of resis- 
tance each might be, was given up to relentless 
pillage and then burned, great was the crop of bit- 
ter feelings sown, to be reaped by the loyalists 
when the fortunes of war eventually turned against 
them, especially as it was well known that to 
many a retired ferm-house sheltering only women 
and children, as well as to more pretentious but 
still equally unprotected residences, the torch had 
been applied by the hands of neighboring Tories 
who once had been friendly to their owners. After 
the war, whenever there was found to exist the bit- 
ter spirit which cast the loyalists forth by thousands 
to take an unwilling refuge in the wilds of Nova 
Scotia and New Brunswick, it was discovered, upon 
investigation, that acts of gratuitous cruelty had 
many times been committed by them, or at least 
by those whose cause they had espoused, for in 
this case, as in all others, the innocent suffered with 
the guilty. 

On the Manor of Clermont, or the Livingston 
Lower Manor, as it was indifferently called, near 
Rhinebeck and Red Hook, on the eastern bank of 


the Hudson, stood the fine residences of the widow 
of Judge Robert R. Livingston and of her son, 
Robert R^ afterward known as the first and very 
able Chancellor Livingston of the State of New 
York. Both of these mansions had long been 
marked for destruction, and their inmates had re- 
ceived repeated warnings to that effect, even before 
the general raid of Vaughan's troops had advanced 
from the Neutral Ground in the early October of 
1777; yet the families had not left their homes 
until sure that the enemy was within a few hours' 

At this very time two British officers, a wounded 
Captain Montgomery and his surgeon, prisoners on 
parole, were being most hospitably entertained and 
cared for in the iamily of the elder Mrs. Living- 
ston. Tradition holds that this Captain Mont- 
gomery was a relative of Mrs. Livingston's late 
son-in-law. General Montgomery, who at an early 
period of the war had fallen while leading the Con- 
gressional troops to the assault of Quebec. How- 
ever this might be, both of the British officers 
begged their hostess not to forsake her home, 
promising that their presence should be a sure pro- 
tection to all under the roof that had so kindly 
sheltered them. It is stated that Mrs. Livingston 
refused to take advantage of the offer on the 
ground that she could not accept any favors shown 
to herself unless the same should be extended to 
her neighbors. But it may also have been that 



she did not have sufficient confidence in the power 
of her two friends to accomplish all that their hearts 
prompted. It would certainly seem that even if 
the owners of the house did not choose to remain 
and run the risk of personal violence, the presence 
in it of the invalid British officer and his physician 
might have protected the dwelling from fire and 
pillage. As this did not prove to be the case, the 
supposition is that their intercessions were of no 

Mrs. Livingston's flight was barely in time. 
The news of the pillagings lower down the river 
was not confirmed soon enough to enable the fugi- 
tives to make many preparations. Wagons which 
for some weeks had been held in readiness for any 
such emergency were hastily laden with pictures, 
silver, and other of the most precious possessions, 
and with the most necessary articles of furniture, 
clothing, and bedding. Of the rest, as much as 
possible was hidden in a deep ravine but a short 
distance from the rear of the house, underneath 
trees which had been felled across it some months 
before. Above the furniture in the cave thus 
formed was scattered a thick covering of hay. The 
entrance was on the lower end of the ravine and 
escaped the notice of the marauders. The books 
forming the fine library of the late Judge Livingston 
were laid in the dry basin of a large fountain in 
the front of the house, which had been allowed to 
get dry from the difficulty and expense attending 

repairs at this time. In this basin the books were 
covered first with old sloop sails, and then with 
bam-yard refuse. A number of these volumes 
were afterward found in fairly good condition, 
and some are still preserved in the families of rela- 
tives and friends to whom they were given as 

Mrs. Livingston was the daughter of Colonel 
Henry Beeckman, and her mother was either a 
daughter or a granddaughter of Robert Livingston, 
Jr., nephew of the first lord of the manor. From 
all lines she inherited a sound body and an active 
mind. Both mentally and physically she was of 
heroic mold. While not in any way foolhardy, it 
is related that she knew not fear, and she certainly 
was possessed of one of the most valuable gifts in 
the world, a keen sense of humor, which is in 
itself no small aid to courage. It is a tradition 
among all branches of the family that on the morn- 
ing of this memorable flight, just as one of the first 
wagons was leaving the door, " Mother Margaret" 
burst into a hearty laugh, which broke out again 
at intervals all during the day — the exciting cause 
being the figure made by her cook, a ponderous 
old negro woman, perched in anxious and perilous 
importance on the top of a hastily packed load 
of provisions and kitchen utensils, and pointing 
her orders to her grandson, who was the acting 
charioteer, by wild thrusts of a long-handled toast- 
ing-fork, which by good fortune rarely hit its 


mark. The situation was, of course, funny enough, 
but most of us wait until after all danger is past 
before taking a proper sense of the ludicrous. 

Mr. Charles H. Hunt, in his generally so accu- 
rate as well as interesting memoir of this Mrs. 
Livingston's youngest son, — in later years the cele- 
brated Governor Livingston of Louisiana, — states 
that the destination of the party was " Salisbury, 
in Berkshire County, Massachusetts." Salisbury 
is in Connecticut, being the northwestemmost 
comer of that little State, where the blue Berk- 
shire Hills smilingly refuse to acknowledge that 
they • ever have borne allegiance to any other 

The house in which the fugitive family was to 
take up its temporary abode stood very close to 
the boundary line of Sharon township, and was 
still capable of being made into a fine residence 
thirty-five years ago. It is melancholy to think that 
after remaining unoccupied for many years, being 
used in the meantime as a bam for hay, it has been 
neglected and despoiled until it is now but a disman- 
tled ruin. As I remember it in my girlhood, the old 
mansion was a remarkably fine specimen of the best 
sort of our colonial architecture. It was built of 
stone and brick, of two stories and an attic above a 
spacious basement, a part of which probably served 
as a cellar, and the rest for slave quarters, as was the 
case in other houses of similar construction and 
date. At the front and rear of the second story 


dormer windows were set in the sides of the pic- 
turesque hipped roof. On each side of the cen- 
ter of a wide hall, which traversed the house from 
front to rear, massive chimneys ran up above the 
peak of the roof The fireplaces did not open into 
the hall, but into the two big square rooms on the 
south side and the one long room on the north, 
which is stilt called the ball-room. The broad hall 
was beautifully wainscoted, and was adorned by a 
staircase which in its proportions was once a de- 
light to the artistic eye. The ceilings of the first 
floor were high for that day, between ten and eleven 
feet, if my "memory serves. All the rooms were 
large, finely proportioned, and admirably lighted 
by broad and deep windows. The ample fireplaces 
were surmounted by carefully finished mantel- 
pieces of wood. I think that all the principal 
rooms were wainscoted, and I am sure that the 
window- and door-casings were of finely simple 
designs. The doors themselves were well paneled, 
thick, and strong, hung by the long-reaching hinges 
of wrought-iron which add so much to picturesque 
effect. When I saw them these had all been dis- 
figured with paint, but my father has told me that 
in his youth the woodwork, of the parlor at least, 
was of some polished hard wood, he thought that 
of the cherry. 

Probably not even the house she had left, though 
that was held to be fine in its day, was either finer 
or more spacious than this mansion in which Mrs. 

26 1 

R. R. Livingston and her femily now found shel- 
ter. The house had been built by a Mr. Swift, by 
whom it had been sold to one of the Livingstons not 
very long before the opening of the war. It is not 
known precisely why Mr. Swift had abandoned the 
locality, but it is believed that he was a Royalist 
who had taken reftigc in Boston in 1 775, whence 
he had fled when the British abandoned that city, 
in company with those Tory femilies who sought 
refiige in Nova Scotia. 

Just how the house came to be unoccupied at 
this time is not quite certain. In 1777 it belonged 
to Mr. Robert Livingston, the third and, save by 
courtesy, the last lord of the Upper Manor. He 
appears to have loaned the house to the Clermont 
party at this juncture, and at a later date he occu- 
pied it himself at intervals for short periods. Some 
things lead one to suppose that he and his family 
may have been here at the same time with the 
Clermont party. It is uncertain whether or not all 
of the last-named party stayed here through the 
entire winter, though some of them are known to 
have done so. In the following spring we find that 
Mrs. R. R. Livingston, with a fine confidence in the 
bright destinies of the struggling colonies, began to 
rebuild her house at Clermont. After the beginning 
of the summer of 1778 the house in Salisbury was 
occupied, more or less steadily, until after the close 
of the war, by the &mily of Robert Cambridge 
Livingston, the son of Robert of the Upper Manor. 


I am here reminded that to readers not ^miliar 
with the subject, so many Roberts among the 
Livingstons may be confusing. Besides the five 
Robert Livingstons mentioned in this chapter, 
there were probably not less than a dozen more (of 
all ages), only to be distinguished from one another 
by their middle names, residences, and titles. The 
same was true of the Gilberts, and to nearly the 
same extent of the Johns and Henrys. 

The life led by the refugees was both sad and 
joyous. On the one hand, all of them had suffered 
from loss and grief, and were never free from anxi- 
ety in regard to the possible fate of the dear ones 
in more exposed situations than their own. On 
the other hand, the lives of all were necessarily too 
laborious to leave room for idle repinings. Save 
for boys and old men, there were few white males 
left in this peaceful region. It is on record that 
the stated business meetings of the Congregational 
Society in Sharon were adjourned all through the 
autumn of this year, "by reason yt ye great num- 
ber of men in ye service of ye Country left too few 
Members at home." Yet the daily needs of a large 
femtly, accustomed to every luxury of the time, 
were not less pressing than if there were no stress 
of war. 

It is traditionally related of Mrs. Livingston and 
her daughter, Mrs. Montgomery, that they, with 
the aid of some of the female slaves, acted as their 
own coachmen and hostlers during their stay in 



this region, in order that their men-servants might 
have more time to spend in grinding meal for daily 
use, and in keeping the fireplaces supplied with 
wood. Besides this, the Clermont party joined in 
all the patriotic labors in which the Sharon ladies 
were constantly engaged. Be it remembered that 
stockings for the army could not be purchased in 
sufficient quantities, and love must be trusted to 
supply the want. Spinning yarn and knitting 
stockings, preparing bandages and scraping lint, 
filled every patriotic woman's every moment that 
could be spared from the daily cares of her iamily — 
multitudinous cares of which we now know little. 
Yet pleasure was mingled with them all. Our 
great-grandmothers were as genial and as lovable 
as the least burdened of their granddaughters. 

Early in November, 1777, began the husking 
bees. A series of them was held in the biggest 
bam which had then been erected in Sharon or its 
vicinity. It belonged to Captain Simeon Smith, 
M.D., a physician whose military title was due to 
service in the campaign of 1776, on Long Island, 
and in the country around New York, under 
General Washington. This bam was taken down 
in my childhood, and I can just remember its wide 
threshing-floor, upon which horses had in the 
olden days been used to tread out the grain, and 
which was so long that five loaded hay-wagons, 
with horses attached, could stand in line without 


It was on this capacious threshing-floor that 
many of the husking frolics were held. As soon 
as the early November darkness had feUen, the 
huskers gathered from far and near. To-night it 
might be for Colonel Canfield's com which had 
been brought here to be husked. He was with 
the army of Gates, and his neighbors would help 
both the colonel's &mily and their country in this 
humble way. Another night it might be that of 
some other patriot who was absent in the service 
of his country. It was a rule, unwritten but inflex- 
ible, that the planting and the harvests of the ab- 
sent soldiers must take the precedence of those 
who remained at home. 

Before leaving their houses alt the huskers, 
many of whom had considerable distance to come, 
had partaken of as good a meal as their circum- 
stances would permit, and all were very warmly 
wrapped. Good fires were kept burning in the 
wide fireplaces of Dr. Smith's large stone mansion, 
and to them the huskers often resorted, each in 
turn, and the work itself was warming when briskly 
done ; but the nights were cold. The toil was 
made as pleasurable as possible by songs and story- 
telling, but the needs were too urgent to permit of 
loitering over it. Men and women, b6nd and free, 
boys and girls, " quality " and " commonalty," 
natives and refugees, all toiled together and with 
equal cheer and earnestness. 

After the evening's task was done and all had 


adjourned to the house, the different social grades 
sorted themselves apart and each " went to his own 
place." In the broad and hi^ basement were the 
slave quarters, where, in front of blazing logs in 
wide fireplaces, they roasted potatoes in the ashes, 
and partook of apples, nuts, and cider, and after- 
ward were allowed to dance until their masters 
summoned them to start for home. In the great 
kitchen, in whose fireplace an ox might have been 
roasted whole, another set enjoyed themselves in a 
similar manner; and in the generous dining-room, 
where a big fireplace piled high with logs of cord- 
wood length filled the room with fragrance, 
warmth, and cheer, still another and probably more 
sumptuous repast was served. 

After the supper, reels and contra-dances, where 
the feet beat merrily to the entrancing strains of 
the still traditionally remembered " Caius Tite's " 
fiddle, gave a sportive finish to an evening which, 
after all was done, had not been a long one, for all 
must be up and toiling again by daybreak or be- 
fore. All the manor ladies and boys, as well as 
their servants, took a part as often as possible in 
these pleasurable toils. So did the city divines 
who shared their retreat, as well as the resident 
parson, though it was thought to be etiquette for 
them to retire to the parlors immediately after the 
feast, that the dance might the more speedily be- 
gin without the restraint of their presence. 






IN 1779-81. 


The "Clio." 

Two Diaries. 

The Sharon Literary 


Canfield. Spencer. 

News of Victory. 

Tailors and Clothes. 

Chancellor KenL 

jL Noah Webster. 

JL Holmes the Historian. 

O O fl 

o c 6 

^Qo{^ Whether literary clubs were com- 
€xA *VY7 O ^^" things during our Revolu- 
1^ Q tionary War, there are small 


^ ^'j means of knowing. The 

^Cjo^^^ fact that but few traces exist 
does not prove that there may not have been at 
least one in every township, both then and for 
many years before, though the supposition would 
be against such a conclusion. So great has been 
the loss of old papers from fires, removals, and even 
wanton destruction on the part of heirs who should 
have known better, that the wonder is rather that 
we know anything of the private and social life of 
the colonial and Revolutionary periods than that 
we know so little. 

In our old garret, filling a portmanteau, and 
perhaps left just as they were hastily stuffed into 
it by a young Yale College graduate in 1 784, when 
he was quitting the college dormitory for the last 
time, was found a motley collection of letters, es- 
says, translations, notes of lectures, and accounts of 
expenditures. Most interesting of all, for our pres- 
ent purpose, are two diaries and three odd copies 



of a manuscript publication edited by the young 
collegian's sister, Juliana Smith. 

" The Clio, a Literary Miscellany," was legibly 
written in the script of different hands. The ink 
is still of an excellent black. The large, coarse- 
textured sheets of foolscap are ruled down the 
center of edch page to form two columns, and the 
several sheets are tied together by cords of braided, 
homespun, unbleached linen thread. The three 
numbers are respectively dated : "December loth, 
1 780," " January 30th, 1781," and "October, 1781." 
They contain odes, essays, proverbs, puzzles, 
sketches, and jokes — many of the latter being of a 
local coloring that has not stood the test of age. 
Most of the contents, particularly the sketches, 
would compare favorably with the larger part of 
the printed literary matter of the periodicals of the 
day. It is especially notable, considering the inter- 
est in polemics which characterized the period, 
that we find no reference to theological opinions. 

In the same package with these manuscript 
magazines were several small books of a diary kept 
by the brother in college for the benefit of the 
home circle, and a larger number of little books 
of the same sort kept by Juliana, that her "Bro- 
ther Jack " might be informed from time to time, 
as opportunity for transmission should serve, of 
the small happenings of home life. From both of 
these simple diaries I hate gleaned many most in- 
teresting details of femily and of college life, but it 

is principally from Juliana's lively pages that 
have been gathered the particulars of the literary 

Juliana seems to have had an especially strong 
love both for hearing the ancestral traditions and 
for committing them to paper. Within the last 
eight or nine years my mother has told me that 
she had often heard her husband's grand&ther — 
the " Brother Jack " of the diary — state that his 
mother and his sister Juliana were the most intel- 
lectual and the wittiest women whom he had ever 
known during a long life of social intercourse with 
the best society which our Union then afforded. 
They were considered especially good as narrators, 
and " to have coaxed either of them into telling a 
talc was to have provided the finest sort of an en- 
tertainment for a winter's evening." Of the cor- 
rectness of this filial and fraternal judgment there 
is abundant evidence in the pages of both Juli- 
ana's diary and of the " Clio." The introduction, 
" Mamma says," is rarely prefixed to anything that 
is unworthy of perusal both for its own sake and 
for the way in which it is told, and our Julian's 
signature is always something equally good. 

From the diaries we learn that the " Clio " was 
issued bimonthly with a praiseworthy regularity, 
though often the numbers could not be sent to 
New Haven until several had accumulated. A 
" post-rider " was supposed to traverse the distance 
between Poug^keepsie and Hartford one week, and 


return the next, taking in the towns of Pleasant 
Valley and Amenia in the State of New York, and 
of Sharon and Salisbury and perhaps others in Con- 
necticut on his way; but very often, for one reason 
or another, he skipped a week or two, or more. The 
deep snows of the winters do not seem to have so 
frequently interfered with his progress as did the 
heavy freshets and fathomless mud of the springs and 
autumns. Probably from Hartford to New Haven 
the highways were kept in better order, for be- 
tween these points the "Post" was much more reli- 
able. There was also a regular post from Litchfield 
to New Haven, but the former place was twenty 
miles of bleak hill riding from Sharon. For all 
these reasons advantage was always taken of every 
private means of conveying letters. In the many 
thousands of letters dated prior to 1820, which I 
have examined, there may be found almost as many 
references to the unreliability of the post and the 
superior trustworthiness of private hands. Indeed, 
important letters were retained for weeks awaiting 
the convenience of some traveling friend " rather 
than to trust the Post." 

Perhaps the disappearance of so many copies of 
the " Clio " is due to the precarious means of trans- 
portation, but, in view of the scarcity of printed 
periodicals, it is more likely that when the little 
papers were received by " brother Jack " they were 
passed from hand to hand until they were worn out 
or lost. The three surviving numbers — " One," 


"Four," and "Nineteen" — had been carefully 
mended to prevent them from falling to pieces. 

From the " Exordium " on the first page of " No. 
One " it appears that " The Sharon Literary Club 
was founded in January, 1779, the Rev. Cotton M. 
Smith being Chairman and Mr. John C. Smith 
["brother Jack"] being Secretary." The design 
of the club was " to promote a taste for the study of 
Belles Lettres and of Logick, and to gain some skill 
in the useful Freeman's Art of Debate." The 
stated meetings of the club were to be " held on 
every Monday evening through the Year, save from 
May first to October first," during which months it 
may be supposed that time for such pursuits could 
not be well spared from the pressing duties of 
an agriculture conducted without steam-plows, 
wheeled harrows, corn-planters, cultivators, mow- 
ing-machines, horse-rakes, reapers and binders, 
tedders and threshing-machines, to say nothing of 
the numberless other implements to which we are 
now so accustomed that we forget that Noah did 
not find them waiting for him when he emerged 
from the ark. 

From the first the "Sharon Literary Club" 
seems to have found favor in the little township of 
its birth, and had continued its regular meetings 
from January, 1779, to May, 1780, with so much 
advantage that by the time for their resumption, 
the first Monday in the following October, it was 
"determined to establish The Clio so that the 



talents of the Club's members mi^t be cultivated 
in writing as well as in speech." To its columns 
each club-member was " expected to make at least 
one contribution in every second or third number." 
A lawyer named Canfield (first name illegible), 
Mr. Ambrose Spencer, and Miss Juliana Smith 
were named as those " to whom all essays intended 
for insertion in these columns should be submitted 
for due consideration " ; but by the time that the 
next surviving paper was issued, Juliana's name 
appears alone, although the two others continued to 
contribute. " Mr. Spencer," at this time a lad of 
about fifteen years, afterward married a daughter of 
Judge Canfield, and became a Justice of the 
Supreme Court of the State of New York. 

Each issue of the " Miscellany " was read aloud 
at the meeting of the club next after the paper's 
date, and as "there was much lively comment on 
each article," it is probable that the contents of the 
"Clio" formed the chief topic of the evening, after 
the stated reading of selected portions fixim certain 
books which the club's members yere supposed to 
have been perusing in their own homes during the 
intervening days. It is interesting to know that 
some of these selections were translations from 
CiEsar's "Commentaries," made by Juliana's 
brother ; from Plutarch's Life of Hannibal, made 
by the parson and the schoolmaster; and from 
Fenelon's " Telcmaque," made by Mrs. Smith and 
Juliana. These translations were subject to criti- 

— • .Tia t:_- 

cism from the club's members, and on one 
occasion, when the learned Dr. Bellamy of Bethle- 
hem, Connecticut, was visiting at the parsonage, 
there would seem to have been a good-natured 
but rather lively sort of a discussion between the 
two divines and the schoolmaster concerning the 
proper rendering of certain disputed passages in 
Plutarch. At least, Juliana reports that "they 
became as heated over a Greek word as if it were 
a forge fire." 

The alternate meetings of the club were mainly 
debating societies, in which old and young men 
took part as debaters, and old and young women 
as listeners, while, in accordance with a resolution 
unanimously passed at one of the club's earliest 
meetings, " all of the women and such of the men 
as were not engaged in speaking or reading " were 
" expected to knit stockings or do some other work 
to help our brave and suffering soldiers in their 
desperate struggle to gain the Liberty of our Na- 
tive Land." Whether shoemaking formed one of 
the patriotic industries pursued during these literary 
evenings I do not know, but presume so, for, from 
another source, I have found that, beginning with 
the winter of 1777, and onward during the war, 
the men of many Connecticut villages, including 
Sharon, " had learned to make shoes so that they 
might help the soldiers in the field. The State 
fiimished the materials, and almost all the men in 
each township, from the Ministers down to the 


slaves, spent their winter evenings in making shoes 
for the Soldiers." It must be remembered that 
shoe fectories were then unknowru 

In spite of her silent tongue and busy fingers, at 
least one of the young women who were privileged 
to listen to the wisdom of the superior sex availed 
herself of her opportunities to extract abundant 
amusement fiY)m the readings and discussions, 
Which she reported for the benefit of her brother 
and his classmates, always good-naturedly, but 
sometimes keenly criticizing, and in a few instances 
even caricaturing the speakers with an untrained 
but clever pencil. 

It is a singular fact that neither in Juliana's 
diary, nor in that of her brother, nor in the surviv- 
ing numbers of the " Clio," is there much mention 
of the war then so actively progressing. Yet 
Sharon was intensely patriotic, and had furnished 
what was, proportionately, a large contingent to 
the Continental forces, while the club's president 
had been a chaplain in the Northern army until 
disabled by a camp fever, and several of the most 
active of the club's members had been officers and 
privates in the patriotic armies for longer or shorter 
terms before 1780, and after that date still others 
took their places. The chief exception to this 
ignoring of what must have been the subject of 
first interest in the hearts of all is Juliaru's exulta- 
tion, in April, 1 780, over the " sure news," which 
then had but just reached the little inland town. 


of the victory gained the preceding September 
" by Captain Paul Jones in the little Bon Homme 
Richard over the big British ship Serapis. A glo- 
rious VICTORY for which God be praised ! " Per- 
haps the reason for the silence on the most vital 
of all the topics of the time may be found in this 
very thing. With the slow means of communi- 
cation, suspense, long and harrowing, was inevi- 
table. Was it not, therefore, wise to divert the 
mind as much as might be while working, praying, 
and hoping without cessation ? 

The club's meetings were "always punctually 
opened at half-past seven o'clock in the evening 
with a short prayer for the Divine blessing," and 
they seem to have been, with equal punctuality, 
closed at nine. After this refreshments were served. 
If the meetings took place in almost any other 
house 'than the parsonage, the refreshments were 
followed by an hour of dancing. The sprightly 
Juliana several times expresses her regret that, as 
the parson's daughter, she was always obliged to 
leave before the dancing began, "tho*, as you 
know," she once naively adds, "Papa does not 
think dancing to be wrong in itself, but only that 
it may be a cause of offending to some." 

From tradition and the materials at hand we 
may paint a reasonably correct picture of one of 
the meetings of this long ago literary club. We 
will suppose that it is held at the parsonage. Here 
three rooms are opened to the company — the 


parson's study, the family living-room, and the 
kitchen. In all three great blazing logs of wood 
are sending their cheerful heat and light princi- 
pally up the broad-throated chimneys. The night 
is very cold, but the guests do not feel its chill too 
acutely, for the air of the rooms is so fresh that the 
blood is well oxygenated. The curtains, too, arc 
closely drawn, and they are not flimsy things, but 
thick and heavy, made to keep the wind out, and 
they are drawn over doors as well as windows. 
Such curtains are usually made of a mixture of 
linen and wool, homespun, home-dyed, and home- 
woven, and were sometimes lined and quilted. 
In the wealthiest families curtains of flowered red 
chintz were often hung on the roomward side of 
the heavier curtains, and sometimes, but probably 
very seldom, they were all displaced by imported 
satin-damask or damask-moreen, lined with wadded 
and quilted silk. 

Even at this late period there would not be 
enough chairs to seat all the guests, for these, in 
Juliana's reports to her brother, are often said to 
number more than one hundred; so the forms 
were brought from the schoolhouse, and were some- 
times supplemented by long planks laid from one 
stool or block of wood to another. 

As both the study and the living-room commu- 
nicated with the kitchen, which extended along 
the house at the rear of both of them, and a 
speaker or reader standing midway of the kitchen 


could easily be heard in both of the other rooms, it 
is probable that here would be the chosen position. 
There would be some finely dressed persons 
present, for at this time there were gentlemen 
and ladies of fortune and position in this retired 
spot, safe firom war's alarms, and they would be 
attired as became their station ; but the most would 
be arrayed in clothes of home manufecture, firom 
pocket-handkerchief to shoe-tie. Tailors were so 
few that well-fitting coats and breeches must have 
been rare. One unfortunate college student firom 
this neighborhood had placed the cloth for a suit 
of clothes with the local tailor in the spring, and 
by the time that potentate had seen fit to finish 
them, the garments had been so far outgrown 
that they had to be passed over to a younger 
brother; and the same thing was repeated twice, 
so that the poor student must have been agonizing 
in out-grown or out-worn clothes for the greater 
part of his college course. For this state of things 
there was no help. The tailor, having no com- 
petitor within thirty miles in any direction, was 
monarch of his customers. Storm and threaten 
they never so sternly, they were obliged to wait 
his pleasure, for they could get no better served 
even by journeying long distances. The trade of 
the tailor, however profitable, was despised in the 
colonies, and few would engage in it. Conse- 
quently, during the years preceding the war, the 
larger part of the wearing apparel of even wealthy 

'teat would have 1 
*" noticeable 

mother wer, L °" ^ 

^"■'^-lenceS " 

•'"'^kv' fir """"■' ^ 

i,;ii._ . "'^' me ;,>,„_. 


The club's meetings were held in various houses, 
from the stately " Montgomery House " on the hill 
dividing Salisbury from Sharon, which was occupied 
by one or another of the numerous branches of the 
Livingston families during nearly the entire war, 
to the brick cottage occupied by the femilies of 
Robert G. Livingston and the lately deceased Philip 
Livingston, which was on one side of the parsonage, 
and to the broadly spreading house of Judge Can- 
held on its other side. In all, seventeen dwellings 
are mentioned as having at one time or another been 
meeting-places for the club. Several of these still 
exist, but only three of them are now occupied by 
the heirs of the then owners. These three are the 
"Gay House," more than a mile above the village, 
the " King House," at the head o{ the beautiful 
village street, and the "Smith House," in whose 
garret are the papers from which we quote. All 
are m good preservation and are fine specimens of 
colonial architecture. 

Juliana evidently possessed a good degree of 
literary and editorial instinct. From the lips of 
her two grandmothers and from her mother — her- 
self too busy to spend much time in writing — 
the young lady obtained many narratives of early 
days in the colonies. To several of these she in- 
cidentally refers, and some of them she wrote at 
considerable length in her diary for Jack's benefit. 
From these narratives she sometimes made such 
extracts as she deemed suitable for the "Clio," 


though not as often as she (and we) would have 
liked, because, as she writes to Jack : " Judge Can- 
Beld seems to think that such things foster pride 
and vanity, albeit, Nota Bene^ I think I do observe 
now and then a morsel of those sinful emotions in 
himself. Dost remember him, dear Jack % " 

From her brother and his classmates Juliana was 
indefatigable in begging contributions, whether in 
prose or in verse, declaring that she " cared less ftjr 
moral reflections than for new thoughts," and that 
■* most of all " she desired " news and narratives of 
things that one has not already heard or read a 
thousand times. Of course," she adds, " Odes and 
Sonnets would be very fine if they were poetical^ 
but. Oh, my dear Jack, I fear me there is very lit- 
tle promise that any of your Friends will prove to 
be Shakespeares or Miltons." 

It must be confessed that the most of the sur- 
viving contributions of the young collegians are 
decidedly sophmoric in tone, and we cannot blame 
the editress, who does not hesitate to inform Jack, 
by way of consolation after some sharp criticisms, 
that she " hopes, nay, believes, that he will be wiser 
by-and-bye " ; and, after reading a certain halting 
" Ode " by A. H., we are ready to confirm the 
editorial opinion that " your chum " (Abiel Holmes, 
afterward author of the laborious " Annals of Amer- 
ican History," but better known as the fether of 
Oliver Wendell Holmes) " is no doubt, as you 
say, a Man of Parts, but the Pegasus he rides is a 


Sony steed that has lost his wings and is badly 
shod." Of James Kent, afterward the justly cele- 
brated Chancellor Kent of the State of New York, 
she says : " Mr. Kent does well, always well. He 
has thoughts and does not hide them under a rub- 
bish heap of words as H — s and S. B. do. . . . 
I wish that your friend Daggett " (David Daggett, 
afterward United States senator from Connecticut 
for several terms, and a judge of high standing) 
** would be so obliging as to be a more frequent 
contributor; he writes wittily and without affecta- 

One contribution in a surviving number of the 
" Clio " is signed " Noah Webster." The future 
lexicographer was then teaching a district school 
in Sharon, and ** boarding round," receiving the ex- 
travagant salary of three dollars a month. This I 
find from the private account-book of the acting 
town clerk, through whom the stipend was paid. 
The somewhat hackneyed moral lesson which Mr. 
Webster wished to convey was cast in the dream 
form which seems to have appealed so strongly 
to the fancy of the age, and is a stilted, disjointed 
sort of thing ; yet it hardly deserved the little fling 
of the young editress — herself, it will be remem- 
bered, only nineteen : 

" Mr. Webster has not the excuse of youth, (I 
think he must be fully twenty two or three), but 
his essays — don't be angry. Jack, — are as young 


as yours or brother Tommy's, while his reflections 
are as prosy as those of our horse, your namesake, 
would be if they were written out Perhaps more 
so, for I truly believe, judging from the way yaci 
Horse looks round at me sometimes, when I am on 
his back, that his thou^ts of the human race and 
their conduct towards his own, might be well 
worth reading. At least they would be all bis muti, 
and that is more than can be said of N. W.'s. . . . 
In conversation he is even duller than in writing, 
if that be possible, but he is a painstaking man 
and a hard student. Papa says he will make his 
mark ; but then, you know that our dear Papa is 
always inclined to think the best of every one's 
abilities, except his own and mine, of which last, I 
grieve to say, his opinion seems to be sadly low. 
Perhaps that is because every one says I am so 
like him ; you know he is ever repeating that self- 
praise is no credit ! I wish you were at home, dear 
Jack, so that I might get a word of flattery now 
and then. I would pay you back in your own 
coin I " 

A club-member whose contributions pleased the 
critical Juliana much better than those of the 
future lexicographer was a Mr. Beecher, who was 
in some way related to the subsequently celebrated 
Rev. Lyman Beecher. He was perhaps a brother 
of the latter's father. None of his papers appear 
in the still-existing numbers of the "Clio," and 


perhaps he did not write many, but he was always 
an active member of the club. " Mr. Beecher is," 
says Juliana, **the life of our Debates. Every 
thing he utters is to the point, forcible, pungent, 
and often so witty that we are in convulsions of 
laughter. Papa says he is one who would become 
great, an he had the opportunity. As it is, though 
he is not great, he well fills his lot in life and is 
somewhat of a power in our little community." 
In another place she writes: "Mr. Beecher was 
on what I conceive to be the wrong side of the 
question last night, but I must concede that his 
remarks were full of force, fire and persuasion. 
What a pity that he could not receive the advan- 
tages which are now being, as it seems to me, 
wasted on P. L. Jr ! I believe that Mr. B. would 
make a preacher of extraordinary eloquence." 

On at least one occasion there was present a 
young surgeon of the Continental troops, probably 
home on leave of absence. Dr. Wheeler, after- 
ward of Redhook on the Hudson, may have been 
drawn to Sharon by the charms of Elizabeth, 
Juliana's sister, whom he subsequently married, 
but where they first met does not appear. In 1 782 
we find in Juliana's diary the first mention of one 
who not long after became the controlling influence 
in her life. "This evening," she says, "our de- 
bates were enlivened by the presence of a young 
gentleman who came in with Judge Canfield and 
his daughters. He is very handsome in person and 


courtly in manners. His remarks were received 
with much fevor, even the carping P. L. being 
heard to say that Mr. Radcliffs speech ' was not 
intolerable.' I fear me he would not have con- 
ceded as much to one of ourselves. Mr. L. never 
has any faith in home born prophets." 

After this, Mr. Radcliff's name is mentioned a 
good many times, but — or at least so it seems in 
the light of future events — with an ever-increas- 
ing reticence. Whatever may have been the oc- 
casion which first drew the young gentleman to 
Sharon, there is no doubt that the reason for sub- 
sequent visits was to be found in the attractions of 
the handsome and quick-witted Juliana. Until 
after the peace the time was not propitious for 
members of the legal profession, and the betrothed 
couple had to spend two and perhaps more years 
of happy, hopeful waiting. Almost immediately 
after the peace young Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Rad- 
cliff began to live in Albany, New York, where in 
time he became one of the judges of the Supreme 
Court of Judicature. At a later period they re- 
moved to New York city, of which Mr. Radcliff 
was mayor for three terms between 1810 and 1818. 

Apparently from about 1790 the RadcIifFs had a 
summer home on the banks of the Hudson. " Chest- 
nut Hill " was not far from Poughkeepsie. At 
this home Mr. and Mrs. Radcliff entertained largely 
and handsomely, and the name of the hostess is 
often mentioned in domestic chronicles of that date 
as that of one of the most charming members of 


the notedly charming society which gathered along 
the banks of what used then to be so affectionately 
termed "the River." The "literary evenings at 
the Radcliffs of Chestnut Hill " are mentioned in 
published and in unpublished letters written by 
Chancellor Kent, Eklward Livingston, Chancellor 
Livingston, and Mrs. Janet Montgomery, as stated 
and delightful gatherings where youth and age, 
^hion and wit, met for pleasure and improvement. 
It is not too much to assume that the idea for these 
gatherings was taken from the literary club which 
had been so great a social and mental resource to 
the members of an inland country parson's parish 
at an earlier date. 

Tradition tells us that after the marriage of the 
young editress the " Clio " ceased to appear, but 
that the club continued in active operation for 
twenty or more years later. I have found no rec- 
ord of this, but in a few instances certain allusions 
in private correspondence countenance tradition. 

It has several times been affirmed that the first 
purely literary club in the United States was the one 
which was started by Mrs. Lydia H. Sigoumey in 
Hartford, Connecticut, in the early years of the 
present century. Our records prove that the one 
in Sharon was very much earlier, and it is probable 
that others had preceded it ; but until some other 
claimant shall arise we may continue to give to 
the beautiful little village of Sharon, Connecticut, 
the honor of being the mother of literary clubs in 
the United States. 




"jHE following account of a Thanks- 

T. / giving dinner in 1779 is given in 
W a letter of Juliana Smith's, copied 
\\ by her into her diary — a praise- 
^.■« I worthy practice not uncommon 
when letters were written with care and might 
easily be lost in transmission. This letter was 
addressed to its writer's "Dear Cousin Betsey." 
Who the latter may have been I do not know, 
but presume that she was a daughter of the Rev 
C. M. Smith's elder brother Dan. 

After the usual number of apologies for delay in 
writing, Juliana proceeds: 

"When Thanksgiving Day was apprdaching 
our dear Grandmother Smith \^nee Jerusha 
Mather, great-granddaughter of the Rev. Richard 
Mather of Dorchester, Massachusetts], who is 
sometimes a little desponding of Spirit as you well 
know, did her best to persuade us that it would be 
better to make it a I^y of Fasting & Prayer in 
view of the IVickedness of our Friends & the Ftleness 
of our Emmies, I am sure you can hear Grandmo- 


ther say that and see her shake her cap border. 
But indeed there was some occasion for her re- 
marks, for our resistance to an unjust Jutbority has 
cost our beautiful Coast Towns very dear the last 
year & all of us have had much to suffer. But 
my dear Father brought her to a more proper 
Irame of Mind, so that by the time the Day came 
she was ready to enjoy it almost as well as Grand- 
mother Worthington did, & she, you will remem- 
ber, always sees the bright side. In the mean 
while we had all of us been working hard to get 
all things in readiness to do honour to the Day. 

" This year it was Uncle Simeon's turn to have 
the dinner at his house, but of course we all helped 
them as they help us when it is our turn, & there 
is always enough for us all to do. All the baking 
of pies & cakes was done at our house & we had 
the big oven heated & filled twice each day for 
three days before it was all done. & everything was 
GOOD, though we did have to do without some 
things that ought to be used. Neither Love nor 
(paper) Money could buy Raisins, but our good red 
cherries dried without the pits, did almost as well 
& happily Uncle Simeon still had some spices in 
store. The tables were set in the Dining Hall and 
even that big room had no space to spare when we 
were all seated. The Servants had enough ado 
to get around the Tables & serve us all without 
over-setting things. There were our two Grand- 
mothers side by side. They are always handsome 


old Ladies, but now, many thought, they were 
handsomer than ever, & happy they were to look 
around upon so many of their descendants. Uncle 
& Aunt Simeon presided at one Table, & Father & 
Mother at the other. Besides us five boys & girls 
there were two of the Gales & three Elmers, be- 
sides James Browne & Ephraim Cowles. [Five 
of the last-named seven were orphans taught and 
in all ways provided for by Parson & Mrs. Smith.] 
We had them at our table because they could be 
best supervised there. Most of the students had 
gone to their own homes for the week, but Mr. 

Skiff & Mr. [name illegible] were too far 

away from their homes. They sat at Uncle 
Simeon's table & so did Uncle Paul & his 
family, five of them in all, & Cousins Phin 
& Poll [probably Phineas and Apollos Smith, 
sons of Dan]. Then there were six of the Liv- 
ingston family next door. They had never seen 
a Thanksgiving Dinner before, having been used 
to keep Christmas Day instead, as is the wont 
in New York Province. Then there were four 
Old Ladies who have no longer Homes or Chil- 
dren of their own & so came to us. They were 
invited by my Mother, but Uncle and Aunt 
Simeon wished it so. 

"Of course we could have no Roast Beef. 
None of us have tasted Beef this three years back 
as it all must go to the Army, & too little they 
get, poor fellows. But, Nayquittymaw's Hunters 


were able to get us a fine red Deer, so that we had 
a good haunch of Venisson on each Table. These 
were balanced by huge Chines of Roast Pork at 
the other ends of the Tables. Then there was on 
one a big Roast Turkey & on the other a Goose, 
& two big Pigeon Pasties. Then there was an 
abundance of good Vegetables of all the old Sorts 
& one which I do not believe you have yet seen. 
Uncle Simeon had imported the Seede from Eng- 
land just before the War began & only this Year 
was there enough for Table use. It is called Sel- 
lery & you eat it without cooking. It is very 
good served with meats. Next year Uncle Sim- 
eon says he will be able to raise enough to give us 
all some. It has to be taken up, roots & all & 
buried in earth in the cellar through the winter & 
only pulling up some when you want it to use. 

"Our Mince Pies were good although we had 
to use dried Cherries as I told you, & the meat 
was shoulder of Venisson, instead of Beef The 
Pumpkin Pies, Apple Tarts & big Indian Pud- 
dings lacked for nothing save Appetite by the time 
we had got round to them. 

" Of course we had no Wine. Uncle Simeon 
has still a cask or two, but it must all be saved for 
the sick, & indeed, for those who are well, good 
Cider is a sufficient Substitute. There was no 
Plumb Pudding, but a boiled Suet Pudding, 
stirred thick with dried Plumbs & Cherries, was 
called by the old Name & answered the purpose. 


All the other spice had been used in the Mince 
Pies, so for this Pudding we used a jar of West 
India preserved Ginger which chanced to be left 
of the last shipment which Uncle Simeon had from 
there, we chopped the Ginger small and stirred it 
through with the Plumbs & Cherries. It was 
extraordinary good. The Day was bitter cold & 
when we got home from Meeting, which Father 
did not keep over long by reason of the cold, we 
were glad eno' of the fire in Uncle's Dining Hall, 
but by the time the dinner was one half over 
those of us who were on the fire side of one Table 
was forced to get up & carry our plates with us 
around to the £ir side of the other Table, while those 
who bad sat there were as glad to bring their plates 
around to the fire side to get warm. All but the 
Old Ladies who had a screen put behind their 

Here it may be allowed to break in upon Juli- 
ana's narrative to explain that the hall in which 
this dinner was laid, now long used as a kitchen, 
is a room about thirty feet long from north to 
south and twenty-two feet wide. A glazed door 
and a window open upon piazzas from each 
end. On the westem side a broadly hospitable 
door opens into the staircase hall of the main 
building, while in the dining-room itself another 
flight of stairs ascended fi-om the same side to the 
wing's chambers. On the eastern side is the im- 


mense chimney, where once yawned a fireplace that 
" would comfortably hold a fiill sled load of ei^t 
foot logs." With such a fire it is no wonder that 
the guests seated near it were glad to exchange 
places with the others, who — probably half freez- 
ing — were on the other side of the room. When 
I was about seven or eight years old the heavy 
ceiling beams, darkened with age and smoke, were 
hidden away from view by a plaster ceiling. I 
pleaded in vain for the " pretty brown beams " to 
be lefr in sight, but my grandmother was inflexible, 
and no doubt, in the interest of comfort for her 
servants, she was quite right to close the drafry 
fireplace and lower the lofry ceiling. Nevertheless 
it was a pity, and I have never ceased to regret it 

" Uncle Simeon," proceeds Juliana, " was in 
his best mood, and you know how good that is ! 
He kept both Tables in a roar of laughter with his 
droll stories of the days when he was studying 
medicine in Edinborough, & afterwards he & 
Father & Uncle Paul joined in singing Hymns & 
Ballads. You know how fine their voices go 
together. Then we all sang a Hymn & after- 
wards my dear Father led us in prayer, remember- 
ing all Absent Friends before the Throne of Grace, 
& much I wished that my dear Betsey was here as 
one of us, as she has been of yore. 

" We did not rise from the Table until it was 
quite dark, & then when the dishes had been 


cleared away we all got round the fire as close as 
we could, & cracked nuts, & sang songs & told 
stories. At least some told & others listened. 
Tou knew nobody can exceed the two Grandmothers 
at telling tales of all the things they have seen 
themselves, & repeating those of the early years 
in New Ejigland, & even some in the Old Eng- 
land, which they had heard in their youth fix)m 
their Elders. My Father says it is a goodly cus- 
tom to hand down all worthy deeds & traditions 
firom Father to Son, as the Israelites were com- 
manded to do about the Passover & as the In- 
dians here have always done, because the Word 
that is spoken is remembered longer than the one 
that is written. . . • Brother Jack, who did 
not reach here until late on Wednesday though he 
had left College very early on Monday Moming 
& rode with all due diligence considering the snow, 
brought an orange to each of the Grand-Mothers, 
but, Alas! they were frozen in his saddle bags. 
We soaked the frost out in cold water, but I guess 
they was n't as good as they should have been." 





A Blizzard in 1779. 

Litchfield's Busy Days. 

Judge Tapping Reeve 
and Family. 

From Litchfield to Wood- 
bury on Snow-shoes. 

Parson Benedict. 

pROTHER JACK" has left among 
his papers a relation, written in 
1844* for the benefit of his grand- 
children, in which he refers to the 
same Thanksgiving day of which 
Juliana wrote, but dwells more particularly upon 
the return journey to New Haven, on which his 
&ther accompanied him. He writes ; 

"After the day of praise and feasting came two 
days of visiting pleasantly among our neighbors, 
all of whom made themselves very agreeable to 
me as one who had come ftom a &r country. On 
Sunday there were two services, which, I suppose 
would now be called very long, though my Father 
would never allow himself to preach as long ser- 
mons as were then customary, unless carried away 
by his feelings, which sometimes happened when 
the news fi^m the posts of danger was recent and 
exciting. There was no hesitation about preach- 
ing political sermons in those days. Ministers 
would have deemed themselves to have entirely 
fiiiled of their duty, had they not expressed their 



J ' 




views in regard to what was right and wrong on pi 
lie questions as well as on any other. My Fad 
had served one campaign as Chaplain to Coloi 
Hinman's regiment of Connecticut troops and 
turned invalided ; but perhaps he served his Cov 
try best by staying at his post He worked hs 
both in his own harvest fields and in those of 1 
parishoners to raise grain for the armies; 
cared for the families of those who were at t 
front, and he helped to keep the fires of patri^ 
ism glowing by his exhortations from the pulj 

*' Although early in the season the sleighing h 
already been good for a fortnight, and the sm 
was again falling when we set out very early 
Monday morning, my Father and I, in our I 
box sleigh, well wrapped in robes of long wool 
sheep-skins, and drawn by two old farm hors 
not the best because the best had gone to t 
army. Fine as the sleighing was in the immedi^ 
neighborhood of Sharon, we found the roads bac 
drifted long before we reached what is now El 
worth. At that point, only about five miles fix 
home, we had to leave our sleigh in the care of c 
of my Father's parishoners, while we pursued c 
journey on horseback. In those days no one tn 
elled in any sort of a vehicle without taking alo 
saddles for use in emergency. It was dark befi 
we reached Litchfield and the snow-laden wi 
was piercingly cold. 

" Judge Tapping Reeve, though much youn 


than my Father, was one of the latter's choice 
friends, and it was at his home diat by previous 
arrangement we were to pass the night. Judge 
Reeve was both a good and a great man as well as 
one of the most eloquent speakers who ever 
adorned die Bar of his own or any other State. 
Five years later than this I was one of the earliest 
students in his law-school, started in 1784, and 
since become so famous. From it have been 
graduated upwards of one hundred lawyers, among 
them being some of our most distinguished 

" It was on this delightful evening, when we 
were all sitting round the roaring fire in the broad 
fire-place of Mrs. Reeve's pleasant sitting room, 
and while we were listening to the elevating con- 
versation between Judge Reeve and my Father, 
that I made up my mind that the Law should be 
my profession. Before this time I had hesitated, 
but now I felt sure that an honest man could do 
as much good in this profession as in any other. 
My Father and the Judge fully coincided in senti- 
ment, especially in wishing to supercede by a bet- 
ter that portion of the old English Common Law 
which takes away all property rights from married 
women. Both of them had shown their faith by 
their works. Both my Mother and Mrs. Reeve 
had inherited small fortunes and had been allowed 
by dieir husbands to retain the control of dieir own 
property ; a thing almost unheard of at that time in 



cases where no ante-nuptial settlements had b« 
made. The views of both men as I heard thei 
stated at this time were afterwards clearly set fon 
by Judge Reeve in his celebrated pamphlet c 
'The Domestic Relations.' This was the fir 
voice ever publicly raised in our country, and pe 
haps in any other, in behalf of the property rig^ 
of married women, and attracted much attentic 
both ^vourable and un&vourable. Judge Ree^ 
stood almost alone on this point among the lai 
yers of his day ; but in his school he made man 

" Mrs. Reeve also took a part in this discussic 
and fully vindicated her right to do so by tl 
intellectual ability she manifested as might t 
expected from a person of her lineage. Jud^ 
Reeve was always noted as a model husband ar 
it was no wonder with such a wife as his. Mi 
Reeve was sister to Colonel Aaron Burr, and po 
sessed all the latter's great intellectual powers an 
wonderful personal attractions without one of h 
faults. She was nearly always in delicate heall 
which forced her to lead a very secluded life, bi 
she had every qualification to have placed h 
among those women who have been most note 
for goodness, grace, beauty and wit. 

" I seem to myself to see her now as she a 
peared that night. She was still but a yout 
matron and in the full flush of a beauty that w 
less of feature than of expression. I thought th< 


and I think now, that Mrs. Reeve was one of those 
women to whom it is an honour to any man to 
bow in deference. She had inherited the faculty 
of close logic which distinguished her Grandfather, 
the great Dr. Jonathan Edwards, and the persua- 
sive grace of her Fadier, the Rev. Dr. Burr, of 
Princeton. She was small and slight, with a daz- 
zling complexion, clear cut features and deep gray 
eyes that under any intellectual excitement be- 
came brilliant Her smile was irresistible. At 
least it so seemed to me on that first interview 
when I was but fourteen years of age. After- 
wards, during the years that I studied in Judge 
Reeve's office and had my home in his household, 
the impression became fixed, and I believe it 
was the same with every succeeding student who 
had the privilege of being admitted into that 
family circle. 

" During the night the storm increased in vio- 
lence and in the morning it was impossible to see 
many feet from the door on account of the whirling 
masses of a snow so hard, dry and powdery that 
it cut into die face like fine iron filings. To pro- 
ceed on our journey was clearly impossible. Nei- 
ther man nor beast could long have endured the 
intense cold and the friction of the icy snow, even 
if it had been possible for any one to keep the di- 
rection in the blinding storm. In traversing tlir 
short distance from the house to the bam to attrnd 
to the wants of our animals, over a path hardly 


more than twenty yards long and partly sheltered 
by the wood-shed, we were almost blinded and 

" All that day and fa.T into the night of Tuesday 
we piled logs upon the kitchen fire, for in that 
room alone was it possible to maintain a comforta- 
ble degree of warmth. Fortunately there was 
space enough for us all to sit without disturbing 
the labours of the servants in preparing our meals. 
As no one could be allowed to remain idle in such 
times of pressing need, my Father and I helped to 
mould bullets for the soldiers' muskets, while gen- 
tle Mrs. Reeve sat busily knitting on yam stock- 
ings for their feet. The wind blew so fiercely 
down through all the other chimneys in the house 
that it was impossible to light the fires in them. 
It is under such circumstances that characters are 
displayed without disguise, and Judge and Mrs. 
Reeve then seemed, what I afterwards proved 
them to be, genial, courteous and kind : making 
light of every difficulty, and by their hearty 
warmth of welcome and their sparkling wit mak- 
ing that day and evening among the happiest rec- 
ollections of a lifetime which has held as many 
joys and as few sorrows as may fall to the lot of 

" On Wednesday the sun rose bright and clear 
over a dazzling desert of snow. The lower win- 
dows of most of the houses were hidden beneath 
great piles of drift. In some cases even the second 


story windows were hidden, or only visible through 
openings in the drift like the hooded bastions of 
some icy fort Looking from the garret windows 
of Judge Reeve's house as £ir as the eye could 
reach we could see no trace of road or path. 
Fences and shrubs were obliterated. Trees, some 
looking like mountains of snow and some like 
naked and broken skeletons, arose here and there. 
And in the village only rising wreadis of smoke 
told that life existed in die half buried houses. 
The Meeting House spire was on one side decked 
by the icy snow with fantastic semblances of marble 
statuary over which the new long, black lightning 
rod (the first one I had ever seen) had been twisted 
by the wind until it looked like a Chinese char- 
acter. The Meeting House, where on Sunday the 
Rev. Judah Champion thundered his rousing ap- 
peals to the patriotism of his congregation; the 
great house for the reception of military stores on 
North Street, and the Army Work-Shop, where 
blacksmiths, gunsmiths and the makers of saddles 
and harness were constantly working for the troops, 
were the only buildings which were large enough 
to serve as land-marks to any but the natives of the 
place under this bewildering confusion of snow. 
The military guard which was always stationed to 
protect diese valuable buildings, on this day omit- 
ted their customary drills to take their places in 
the * Shovel Brigade * which was organized to dig 
out the beleagured inhabitants. One might sup- 


pose that we were in Lapland or Iceland, so strange 
and frozen did everything look; so vast seemed 
the desert of snow which even on a level was found 
to be several feet in depth and was everywhere 
covered with a frozen crust. 

" ' Now we shall have the pleasure of keeping 
you for a week at least,' said Judge Reeve, heartily 
clasping my Father's hand. 

" ' Yes,' said dear Mrs. Reeve, giving me a kindly 
look, ' yes, my dear boy, you will not get back to 
your classes this week.* 

" I was both enchanted and miserable. To stay 
in this beautiful home would be most delightful 
To lose the time from my classes would be almost 
unendurable. My Father settled the matter by 
asking quietly if our host could not get us each 
a pair of snow shoes. 

" At first our hosts treated this request as a pleas- 
antry, but when they perceived that my Father 
was quite in eamest their dismay was amusing. 
The general habit of using snow shoes, which at a 
very early period had been adopted from the In- 
dians, had already nearly disappeared, but down to 
a comparatively recent period there had been a 
few persons who continued to use them in places 
where there were no interruptions from fences. 
My Father, a slight but sinewy and most athletic 
man, had spent two or three years of his early life 
as teacher in a school which had been recently 
established for the instruction of Indians in Stock- 


bridge, Massachusetts, and there he had joined in 
all the athletic sports of the natives, gaining a great 
influence among them by his prowess in running, 
leaping and wrestling. (It has nothing to do with 
our present purpose, but my descendants may like 
to know that the marks reached by my Father, 
when a student at Yale, for running and standing 
leaps, were kept as the highest attained by any 
student on the college Campus. No one else had 
been able to reach the same until I did so in my 
Senior year.) 

" It was among the Indians that my Father had 
learned to use the snow shoes with great skill and 
as much grace as the unwieldy things would 
permit, but I could never see him or any 
one else on them without an inclination to laugh 
which was sometimes stronger than my filial 
reverence. But, as my Father had a strong vein 
of humour, he always rather joined in my mirth 
than rebuked me for it Fore-seeing that there 
might be some occasion on which this somewhat 
unusual accomplishment might prove of service, 
my Father had taught me also to become moder- 
ately expert in the use of snow shoes. 

" Fortunately Judge Reeve had stored away in 
his garret, more as a curiosity than for any use that 
he expected to be made of them, two pairs of 
snow shoes of the finest Indian manu&cture, so 
that we had not to spend any time in searching for 
them, and by nine o'clock on Wednesday mom- 

ing we climbed out of an upper story window upon 
the hard crust of (co2en snow and started off with 
no other burden than the light, but cumbersome 
snow shoes attached to our feet, and a small roll 
like a knapsack, fastened to each of our backs. 

" I was a boy of unusual strength for my years, 
and my Father, although a Parson, was remarkable 
for his vigor, but I can assure you that we were 
both of us thankful when at nightfeU we reached 
the little town of Bethlehem and the hospitable 
abode of my Father's very dear friend, the Rev. 
Dr. Joseph Bellamy. Although the distance ts a 
little more than ten miles as the crow flies, it had 
seemed a long journey and I had never been so 
tired before. 

" On Thursday the roads continuing impassable 
we could not abandon our snow shoes, though they 
made our ankles ache so that we could hardly 
stand upon them. The air was of a clear, still 
cold that would have been severe if we had not 
been exercising ourselves so greatly. Even as it 
was our dread-naughts [these were caped coats of 
exceedingly thick homespun cloth, belted around 
the waist and descending well below the knees] 
were none too warm. 

" Our second day's journey on the snow shoes 
was much like the first, and of about the same 
length, bringing us to Woodbury and the house 
of the Rev. Noah Benedict where we were entei^ 
tained with warm hospitality. Mr. Benedict was 


a peace making man in his congregation, and his 
gentle spirit long influenced the manners and the 
actions of the people of his flock. But in public 
matters he was as war-like as any of us. Wood- 
bury, like Litchfield, was a place for the collection 
and storage of the supplies for the patriot armies. 
Here we found the streets, running each way from 
the Meeting House, piled high on either side for 
a hundred yards or more with barrels and hogs- 
heads of pork, beef, lard and flour, besides great 
quantities of bales of blankets, tents and clothing 
for the troops. All these now made miniature 
mountains under the snow. Almost all the able 
bodied male inhabitants more than seventeen years 
of age were enrolled in the armies, and the work 
pertaining to the stores was carried on by the 
women and children under the direction of a few 
old men. Many shoes were made in this place for 
the troops. Parson Benedict had himself been 
taught to make them that he might assist in the 
work. On this evening the women of the family 
were paring apples to dry for the army use and as 
my Father and I could not assist Mr. Benedict and 
the men servants in shoemaking we took our part 
in the apple paring. And a very merry and de- 
lightful evening we all had together, for to work 
with a good will is a sure road to happiness, let our 
circumstances be as untoward as they may. 

** Friday moming found the temperature greatly 
modified, and, by the time we had accomplished 


the first five or six miles of our journey toward 
New Haven we found ourselves in an evil case, 
for the snow was beginning to get wet and soft 
and held down the four foot length of snow shoe 
so that at every step it became harder to lift our 
feet Glad enough were we when at last we 
reached an inn where the accommodations were 
poor enough, but where we could at least get a lit- 
tle refreshment for ourselves and were able to leave 
the snow shoes to await some later opportunity to 
be returned to Judge Reeve, and to hire horses to 
ride upon to New Haven. From this point the 
snow was not nearly so deep and we had but little 
trouble in making, by eight in the evening, the 
eighteen miles to the house of the Rev. Dr. 
Daggett, the venerable ex-President of Yale 
College ; which house was almost a second home 
to us. 

" Tired as I had been the day before, I found 
myself still more so to-night; but my Father 
would not allow me to complain, saying that I 
should never make a soldier who could serve his 
country, as our soldiers were now doing, if I gave 
out so easily. Never-the-less, I observed that my 
Father was himself very lame for the next few 
days and by no means in haste to depart for home 
again as he would otherwise have been. I have 
never regretted the experience, — since no harm 
save a few days of stiff joints and sore bones 
came of it, — but I think that my Mother's re- 


mark when she heard of it showed much com- 
mon sense: — 

" * A week or two more or less would not have 
spoiled our Johnny's prospects, and lung fevers 
might have destroyed both your lives. / say, 
leave Indian ways to Indian folk/ 

" * Never-the-less,' answered my Father, with a 
merry twinkle in the eye, • never-the-less, my dear, 
I observe that when you have anything to do 
you brook no delays and you shirk no labour. 
Your wisdom seems rather to be for others than 
for yourself 

•*My Mother shook her head slightly and 
walked away, turning to say over her shoulder, — 
•And would you have the Great-granddaughter 
of Captain John Gallup any more timorsome than 
her husband ? ' '' 






Mr. David Codwise Tells 

of an Evening at the 
Rhinelander Homestead. 
Candles and Candle- 
The Supper. 
The " File Dance." 
The Parting Cup. 


?O^O^^N 1796 Mr. David Codwise, my 
w O great-uncle by his marriage with 
I my paternal grandmother's sister, 
V O ^^''*'*^ Livingston, was a boy of 

^^Jo^^^ sixteen and a student in Columbia 
College. When he gave me the following story 
of an evening's frolic he was about eighty-two, in 
an "anecdotage" which rendered him very in- 
teresting to at least one of his frequent listeners. 
He was a lifelong resident of his native city, 
and knew the history of every important build- 
ing and person in it, but among all his narra- 
tives few interested me more than that of the 
"candle-dip frolic." 

Among the masses of old papers in my posses- 
sion I find no trace of the use of lamps for burn- 
ing any sort of oil previous to 1760. This, of 
course, docs not prove that they did not exist, but 
only that probably candles were the chief illuminat- 
ing power. In bills of household supplies I find 
always a certain quantity of wax candles, but the 
imported article at four English shillings the pound 
(in 1762) must obviously have been kept for fts- 


tive occasions only. It is probable that the wax 
from the combs of both the wild and the domestic 
bees was used for home-made mold candles, as in 
New England was also the wax from the green 
and fragrant bayberries ; but the main dependence 
must have been the tallow dips, and even these 
could not have been very freely used by any but 
the well-to-do. Tallow candles were not supers 
seded by wax even in the Grand Opera House of 
Paris until during the Regency, 1715-23. 

Candle-dipping was one of the employments of 
every winter, and sometimes became an enjoyment 
also. The special candle-dipping of which my 
uncle told was at the home of a certain Miss 
Rhinelander, for whom he ever retained a tender 

The scene was an immense kitchen. Between 
the heavy ceiling beams, darkened and polished 
by the years of kindly smoke, hung bunches of 
dried herbs and of ears of com for popping. A 
large portion of one side of the room was taken 
up by a fireplace so big that there was space for a 
seat at each end after piles of logs four or five feet 
in length had begun to send their blaze up the 
wide chimney throat. These seats were stone 
slabs set in the side walls of the fireplace, and — 
as seats — were only used by persons who came 
in literally dripping with rain or melting snow. 
Usually the slabs were employed as resting-places 
for things to be kept hot without burning. Ad- 


joining the fireplace was the great brick oven. 
Over the blaze swung long-armed cranes support- 
ing immense brass kettles, their outsides already 
blackening with smoke, although only a few hours 
earlier they had been scoured to a dazzling bright- 
ness. The floor, "as white as a wooden trencher," 
was sprinkled with shining sand. Mr. Codwisc 
did not remember that there was any light be- 
yond that supplied by the blazing logs. The 
whitewashed walls were decorated with evergreen 

Down the center, the longest way of the room, 
were two long ladders lying side by side, sup- 
ported at either end upon blocks of wood about 
" chair-seat high." Under each ladder, at intervals 
of a foot or so apart, stood a row of big three- 
footed iron pots and of footless brass kettles like 
those over the fire. On the floor, between the 
pots and the ketdes, were placed dripping-pans 
and other vessels, both to protect the floor from 
grease and to prevent waste of tallow. On either 
side of each recumbent ladder was a row of chairs, 
placed as closely together as possible. Before the 
merrymakers were seated — John by Molly and 
Peter by Sally — big and jolly black Castor and 
Pollux had lifted from the fire the brass kettles 
full of melted tallow, and deftly poured their con- 
tents to the depth of two or three inches more than a 
long candle's length upon the water with which the 
similar vessels on the floor were already half filled. 


As soon as the young folks were seated, black= 
Phyllis and Chloe, dressed in butternut homespui^ 
with white kerchiefs over the shoulders, and weary- 
ing red-and-yellow plaided turbans, deftly handeca 
the candle rods, four or five to each person. Fror^ 
each rod were suspended the wicks of twisted co^ 
ton yam which it had been the task of the yout^^ 
lady hostess and her friends to prepare during tt>e 
previous afternoon. 

The first dippings were rather solemn a&irs 
Much depended upon starting right. The least 
crook in the wick, if not straightened, insured a 
crooked candle; and crooked candles were 
drippy things, burning unevenly, and guttering in 
a way most vexatious to the good housennfe. 
About six wicks were upon each rod. They must 
not hang too closely together, or, like too thickly 
planted trees, they would interfere with each other 
as they grew. They must not be too fer apart, or 
there would not be room enough for all to be 
plunged evenly in the kettles. The wicks on each 
rod were dipped carefully their entire length in 
the kettle nearest to the right hand of the person 
dipping, the wicks necessarily passing through the 
melted tallow resting on top of the water, and 
acquiring with each dip a thin layer of the tallow. 
The tallow in the kettles was frequently replen- 
ished, that the wicks might never be allowed to 
touch the water, lest a spluttering candle should 
result. Candle-dipping must not be retarded, and 


it could not be hurried. Slowly the wicks were 
immersed in the tallow, and then the loaded rods 
were hung in the spaces between the kettles and 
over the empty pans to allow the growing candles 
to harden before being dipped again and again 
until the proper circumference had been attained. 

Probably two pairs of industrious hands, having 
six kettles between them, could easily have com- 
pleted as many candles in three hours as six pairs 
could have done under the merrymaking conditions; 
but then, where would have been the fun of the 
thing ? There is an old Dutch proverb to the effect 
that "life's employments are life's enjoyments," and 
there is abundant proof that our happily constituted 
Dutch ancestors made enjoyments of the most pro- 
saic employments. Certainly there was pleasure 
enough at this candle-dipping frolic, in the house 
of a wealthy citizen, and attended by the youthful 
ilite of the little city only one century ago. Their 
present-day successors can get no more at no 
matter what may be the chosen amusement of 
the hour. 

It is not probable that candle-dipping bees were 
by any means a usual festivity in or very near New 
York city as late as the latter part of the eigh- 
teenth century. Rather should it be supposed that 
the evening at the Rhinelander mansion was a 
revival of an ancient custom, just as one occasion- 
ally hears in our day of some fashionable group of 
merrymakers holding a corn-husking bee in a barn 



which may be finer than the dwellings of th( 
ancestors. Even so, it is a proof that when b 
New York was little New Amsterdam, caiid! 
dipping had been one of its recognized festiviiie; 
and it Is for this reason that it is here introduced. 

On this occasion each swain, as well as maidei 
was provided with a huge apron of checked iinei 
and had full over-sleeves of the same materia 
closed at the wrists and above the elbows by dran 
ing-strings, in order that no traces of soil migl 
afterward be found upon the silken hose and tl 
fine cloth knee-breeches of the young men, or c 
the soft hanging, somewhat scanty folds of t! 
stuff gowns of the young women, or on the lint 
ruffles and delicate laces which were worn alike 1 
both. At such industrial gatherings as this vt 
vets and silks were worn by neither sex, but lac< 
being washable, were permitted. 

Thirty-two couples took part in that eveninj 
candle-dipping ; and if my great-uncle's opinii 
was trustworthy, all the girls were beautiful ai 
graceful, and all the youths were gallant and har 
some. A portrait of Mr. Codwise when a you 
man (taken by Earle) shows him as a very bar 
some, dark-eyed youth. I used often to look 
from the dear old face under an ugly wig, regai 
ing me with such kindly eyes, to the bright-ey* 
curly-headed portrait on the wall, and could fi 
a trace of resemblance only in the lines of i 
brow and the aquiline nose with its strong si 


gestion of a terminating hook. In the eyes of 
youth there is something incredible in so great a 
change. To the dear old man, as he dwelt upon 
the pleasures and companions of his youth, all of 
them bore the same charms as in those happy 
days. Unfortunately, I did not record their names, 
but remember that there were Rutherfords, Mor- 
rises, Lawrences, Livingstons, Gracies, Stevenses, 
Stuyvesants, Schuylers, Evertsons, Beeckmans, 
Polhemuses, and Starrs among them, these names 
J>eing impressed by associations of one sort or an- 
other, while others have escaped my memory. 

Of all who were present at this particular festi- 
val, "Gitty" (Gertrude) Rhinelander, the young 
hostess, seemed to have been the sweetest and the 
prettiest; and while the old gentleman always 
smiled as he spoke of her, there was often a tear 
in his faded eye while he sighed, '* Poor Gitty ! " 
Why she was thus pitied as well as admired I ever 
wondered, but had not the courage to inquire, 
fancying always that she had met an early death, 
and that a part of my good great-uncle's loyal 
heart had been buried with her. 

An evening of this sort of combined work and 
fun began as early as six o'clock ; and even so the 
aprons and over-sleeves could not be doffed and 
the supper begin much before ten o'clock. Sub- 
stantial things were those Knickerbocker suppers ! 
Besides almost every seasonable variety of cold 
fowl and game, there were cold roasts of beef and 


spare-rib, and platters piled high with hot sausages 
and roUichies, while there was a great variety of 
pasties and boundless stores of sweetmeats and 
cake, placed all at once upon the big mahogany ) 
tables supported by many slender legs. Tea was 
never seen at late suppers, and coffee but rarely. 
Wines, principally Madeira, were plentifully 
served, though punch and egg-nog were the main 
reliance. General testimony seems to fiivor the 
tradition that while the Dutch were very generous 
providers of the wherewithal to make merry the 
hearts of the friends within their gates, neither 
they nor their guests of Dutch descent often be- 
came more than agreeably exhilarated. Mr. Cod- 
wise maintained that the same could not always be 
said of those of English, Scotch, or Irish birth or 

After the supper came the dancing. There 
was no music save the fiddles of Castor and Pol- 
lux ; but was that not enough ? Have ever feet 
tripped more merrily than to the rollicking scrape 
of some inspired old wool-thatched fiddler, sway- 
ing to his own strains, and calling out the figures 
in clear, rich tones that harmonized with his wild 
dance measure as only his could do? 

The closing dance, which always began at mid- 
night, was perhaps brought from Holland by 
the first settlers. Mr. Codwise said that it was 
thought to be very old in his time, and considered 
to be the proper termination of festivities on all 


evening occasions. I am not aware of any exist- 
ing description of it save his own, as I took it 
from his lips. It was called the " Fire Dance," 
and, if possible, was always ^^ danced around a 

In the Rhinelander house — which I imagine 
may have been the farmstead near the East River 
and the present Eighty-sixth Street and Second 
Avenue — there was then a central chimney-stack, 
which, on the ground floor, was triangular in shape. 
On one side of it the great kitchen and its pantries 
extended through the entire width of the house, 
the fireplace occupying the center of the inner 
wall. On the other side of the chimney the space 
was divided into two large connecting rooms, each 
having a fireplace across one corner. Any num- 
ber of couples, fi"om four upward, might engage 
in this dance, according to the capacity of the 
room. On this occasion there were sixteen couples 
in the kitchen and eight couples in each of the 
other rooms. The partners were arranged in rows 
opposite to each other in alternating vis-a-vis, so 
that when the gentleman of one couple faced his 
partner on the north, he of the next couple would 
face his partner on the south. The leading couple 
of each room advanced between the other dancers, 
bowing or courtesying, and swinging alternately 
each other and every other gentleman and lady in 
turn as they went on between the files of dancers, 
with many stately steps and flourishes the while. 


The clasped right hands of the swinging couples 
were held as high as possible, the gentleman's left 
arm akimbo, and the lady's left hand holding her 
petticoats a little up, that her graceful steps and 
pretty ankles might be the better seen, until they 
reached the next room, where they became the 
"foot couple." 

The dance lasted until each of the thirty-two 
couples had ted in dancing round the chimney. 

As each leading couple came opposite the fire- 
place in the room farthest fix>m that in which 
they started, they courtesied and bowed and swung 
each other, reciting in Dutch some verses which 
were a sort of invocation to the spirit of friendship 
and good cheer. By this fireplace stood a tall and 
grinning Ganymede holding a very large tray 6lled 
with glasses of spiced punch — a beverage deemed 
to be a suitable preparation for a walk or a drive 
home over the snowy highways. After the invo- 
cation each lady was expected to taste and hand 
one of the glasses to her partner, while he — with- 
out tasting — handed her a smaller glass from the 
same tray. 

All this while the steps and flourishes must not 
cease, and to succeed in draining the glasses with- 
out breaking the time-beat of the steps or spilling 
a drop of the liquor was the aim of each, a thing 
which could hardly have been achieved without 
sobriety and much previous practice. This practice 
all might easily attain, for traditions tell us that fami- 


lies of the better class among our Knickerbocker 
ancestors met at each other's houses almost every 
evening, save during the very longest days, for 
purposes of amusement, and that among amuse- 
ments dancing held the first place. Children were 
allowed to take part during the first hour or two. 
A healthy, hearty, happy people they seem to 
have been, doing as much good and as little harm 
as may be in an imperfect world, leaving to their 
fortunate descendants fine examples of family af- 
fection, productive industry, broad charity, and 
placid content. 





Medical Man and 

An Early Medical Con- 
A Captain of Volunteers. 
Advancing Money and 
A Solvent Debtor. 
Comparative Prices. 
Removal to Vermont. 

"lYING in files in the old garret, 

Lw / carefully docketed, were several 
W hundreds, perhaps more than a 
^ ^ thousand, letters, all written in the 
same rather orderly-looking but 
very deceptive script; for it certainly is the most 
illegible hand I have ever undertaken to decipher, 
and my experience has not been small. In a prize 
contest it could no doubt hold its own against the 
worst chirography of Horace Greeley, or even that 
of Napoleon Bonaparte, which is usually conceded 
to be about on a par, for legibility, with the cunei- 
fomi characters of the Ninevites, in the eyes of the 

All these hundreds of old letters, stretching over 
a period of about fourteen years, were written by 
Simeon Smith, M.D., once of Sharon, Connecti- 
cut, but at the time that these were penned resid- 
ing at Westhaven, Vermont. 

Had the word been then invented. Dr. Smith 
would certainly have been known as a " hustler," 
for he was a man of boundless energy, versatility, 
and resource. As a physician he practically mo- 

nopolizcd his immediate field, and was coDStandj- 
called in consultation throu^iout a stretch of coun- 
try ranging from the Hudson on the vest to tbe 
Connecticut on the east, and for about twenty 
miles each way north and Sfnith from Sharon. 
Besides this, he was a soldier, a wholesale and retail 
merchant, a heavy dealer in real estate, and ever 
engaged in every local enterprise demanding 
energy, courage, capital, and public spirit 

Simeon Smith was a younger brother of the Rev. 
C. M. Smith, and, like the latter, was bom in 
Suffield, Connecticut. He came to practise in 
Sharon about 1759, when he was twenty-three 
or twenty-four years old. At that period the 
colonies afforded little opportunity for gaining 
u thorough medical education, the usual way be- 
ing f<»r a young man to study with some elderly 
practitioner, whom he accompanied on his rounds, 
and for whom he ground, baked, and brewed the 
sometimes very queer decoctions which were pre- 
scribed for the unfortunate patients. How such a 
student got his degree I do not know. It is cer- 
tain that comparatively few of those who then 
practised medicine in country places, and were 
styled "doctor," appear to have been entitled to 
write the consequential M.D. after their names. 

It is probable that Dr. Smith received his medi- 
cal education abroad ; at least, his niece, our oft- 
quoted diarist Juliana, speaks of her "Uncle 
Simeon" as entertaining a Thanksgiving party 


with anecdotes of "his student days in Edin- 
borough." Writing in i8o2. Dr. Smith refers to 
a certain fomily event as having occurred when he 
" was in Edinborough in 1757," and there are traces 
extending through many years of a regular and 
for that day a frequent correspondence (that is to 
say, an exchange of letters as often as once or 
twice in two or three years) between Dr. Smith 
and two business firms, one in Edinburgh and one 
in London. From the first of these he received 
most of the new medical treatises as they appeared, 
and other books as well, for the doctor was evi- 
dently a lover of good literature ; and from the 
second came surgical instruments, drugs, and all 
imaginable articles, from firearms to pins. In the 
letters from both of these parties there are references 
which would seem to prove the existence of a per- 
sonal acquaintance, while there is no evidence to 
show that either of the foreign correspondents had 
ever been in America. 

Almost as soon as Dr. Smith arrived in Sharon 
he established there a drug store which is believed 
to have been one of the largest and best of its kind 
in the "Old Thirteen." All the more important 
drugs were imported by Dr. Smith directly from 
London and Amsterdam, and were by him sup- 
plied to smaller dealers in many places, including 
New Haven, Hartford, Albany, and Poughkeep- 
sie. The goods, of whatever sort, were first de- 
livered in the ori^nal packages at the latter place. 


and from thence were distributed by Dr. Smith's 
agent Each year preceding 1775 the number 
and variety of the country doctor's orders in- 
creased, still importing directly from London, 
Amsterdam, and various ports in the West Indies, 
until almost every salable thing that could be 
found anywhere in the colonies could be obtained 
from this quaint, old-^shioned country store, situ- 
ated at such a distance from the centers of trade. 

As a medical practitioner Dr. Smith was highly 
esteemed, though he did not prescribe as powerful 
doses as were then customary, and did not apply 
the lancet with the appalling frequency that was 
then habitual. 

A subject which occupied much of Dr. Smith's 
thought for many years, though he was unable to 
carry out his plans, was the establishment of a 
school of medicine in his native State, which 
should be the equal of any in the New World. This 
project was not forgotten even during the stress of 
the War of the Revolution. In February, 1780, 
what was proudly announced as the "First Medi- 
cal Society in The Thirteen United States of 
America since Their Independence " held a con- 
vention at Sharon by the invitation of Dr. Smith, 
the members being entertained principally at his 
house and those of his two brothers, the parson 
and " Deacon Paul." The establishment of such 
a school was a prominent topic before the conven- 
tion, but nothing could be done to forward the 


execution of the plan, either then or for many 
years later, on account of the disturbed condition 
of finances all through the country. 

In the old garret remains a copy of " An ORA- 
TION ON THE Rise and Progress of PHYSIC 
IN AMERICA, pronounced before the First 
Medical Society in the Thirteen United States 
of AMERICA, since their INDEPENDENCE, 
At their Convention held at Sharon, on the last 
Day of February, 1780." This was printed in 
Hartford, by Hudson & Goodwin, in 1781, in ac- 
cordance with a vote of the aforesaid society. 

In real estate Dr. Smith's transactions were, for 
his day, extensive, embracing large tracts in Dutch- 
ess and Columbia counties in New York, in Litch- 
field County, Connecticut, in Berkshire County, 
Massachusetts, in almost the whole line of western 
Vermont, and also in Canada. At the outbreak 
of the Revolution Dr. Smith's many pecuniary 
interests might be supposed to have rendered 
him likely to adopt the conservative side — that 
is, if there had been any truth in the allegation of 
the Tory party that the Whigs numbered in their 
ranks " only those who had nothing to lose." But 
the doctor was as active in politics as he was in 
everything else, and in 1776 he headed a company 
of Sharon men, who were with General Wash- 
ington throughout his unfortunate Long Island cam- 
paign. This company was, with the exception of 
a few men who furnished their own outfits, equipped 


at Dr. Smith's expense. In 1777 he raised and 
partly equipped another company of volunteers 
to resist the advance of Burgoyne, but breaking 
his leg by an untimely accident, he was not able 
to head his company this time as he had done the 
previous year. 

Dr. Smith never for one instant despaired of the 
ultimate success of our arms, and never hesitated 
to fill any orders for provisions, clothing, or medi- 
cal stores sent to him irom the State government, 
buying on his own personal security, which in his 
own region was more potent than that of the State, 
and taking the promissory notes of the State in 

Dr. Smith's readiness to manifest his abiding 
feith in the eventual triumph of the revolting col- 
onies had one result which, at the time and for a 
good many years afterward, caused him no little 

In the struggling colony of Connecticut five 
thousand pounds had meant a very large sum of 
money even before the war ; and during the war, 
before the Dutch loans and the French assistance 
had come to our financial aid, the value of such a 
sum was greater than ever. The State of Connec- 
ticut had voted to issue State bonds to what was 
then considered by many to be a rash amount. It 
is quite possible that the doctor had been one of 
those who had voted for this bond issue, for he 
represented his town in the Connecticut legislature 


for a good many sessions. If so, he was willing to 
give practical support to his vote, and had signi- 
fied his readiness to take five thousand pounds, pro- 
posing to pay for the bonds in neat cattle or 
in other provision suppHes for the troops. Gold 
and silver being at a premium, and Continental 
currency being at a very low valuation, this was 
but an extension of the prevailing system of 

His proposal to this effect was despatched by 
a messenger, who was expected to reach Hart- 
ford and return in about forty-eight hours, if no- 
thing went amiss. But so much usually went 
amiss in even so short a journey as thirty or forty 
miles that no surprise would have been felt had 
the time been twice as long. The surprise came 
when, early in the morning of the second day, 
not the messenger, but two other men on horse- 
back presented themselves at the wrought-iron 
gate before the big stone house, bringing a letter 
from Governor Trumbull to the effect that the 
horse of Dr. Smith's messenger having fallen lame, 
the governor had thought best to keep the man 
over for a day or two in Hartford, while, as the 
matter was urgent, he sent two confidential offi- 
cials who were empowered to negotiate the whole 
affair with his friend the doctor. 

The "confidential friends" explained that cash 
in hand — solid cash, golden guineas, or Spanish 
silver dollars — was the pressing need of the State, 


and to get this they were empowered to offer a 
considerable premium. Now, it so happened that 
the doctor had a neighbor — as neighbors were 
then counted ; this one lived about hve miles 
away — who had just inherited the accumulated 
stockingfiils of a miserly uncle. To this neigh- 
bor the doctor forthwith betook himself, and upon 
his personal note borrowed ^^3330, for which sum 
the governor's " iriends " delivered a handsomely 
executed and duly signed State bond for ;^5ooo. 

On the afternoon of the third day after his de- 
parture the doctor's own messenger returned with 
a sorry horse and a sorrier tale. To avoid the 
inconvenience of leaving this messenger without 
a designation we will call him X. 

When X had reached Hartford he proceeded 
directly to the governor's office, where he was re- 
ceived by two men, who, after closely question- 
ing him and reading the letter, as they said they 
had a right to do, being the governor's deputies, 
explained that the governor was out of town for 
a few days, but they could attend to everything 
during his absence. Meanwhile they treated X 
with a pleasing cordiality. Taking him to a cer- 
tain tavern, which they assured him was the best 
in the country, they saw that he had a good supper 
and left him there to wait. This he did very will- 
ingly, waits of three or four days being the cus- 
tomary thing in the days when an absent person 
could only be summoned by a messenger on horse- 


back. Poor X did not remember how or when 
he went to bed that night, but he was certain that 
he did not awake till a very late hour the next 
afternoon. When his head was finally clear enough 
to enable him to think about it, he went out to the 
stables, only to find that his fine horse had gone very 
lame. Taking him to a farrier was impossible, so 
the farrier was brought to the horse, and discovered 
that a long and rusty nail had been driven up into 
the horse's foot, causing a severe if not permanent 
injury. In the course of their talk X asked the 
farrier if he knew when the governor might be 
expected to return. 

It then appeared that the governor had not been 
out of town at all. The farrier knew, because he 
had seen him every day, and sometimes three or 
four times a day, as he had to pass the governor's 
house on his way to and from his own. 

Petty frauds were frequent enough in colonial 
and Revolutionary days, but frauds which might 
involve those who were nearly connected with af- 
feirs of state were not often heard of^ and to the 
bucolic mind were almost inconceivable ; yet some- 
thing flickered through the poor messenger's brain. 
The lateness of the hour, his own condition, that 
of his horse, and the obvious lie told by the two 
so friendly clerks — perhaps all these things taken 
together might mean something? If so, that mean- 
ing could bode no good to his errand, though what 
shape the evil might take he could not guess. 


Proceeding to the govemoi's house as speedily 
as he might, X found his Excellency already in 
a greatly perturbed state of mind. Two men who 
had long been employed by him in confidential 
business, and especially in business relating to the 
State bonds, had suddenly disappeared. They 
had been seen late on the previous evening, well 
mounted and carrying full saddle-bags, going west- 
ward. With them had also disappeared the entire 
issue of State bonds, lacking the governor's signa- 
ture, but otherwise quite correct. Constables had 
been sent in pursuit, but the forgers had about 
sixteen hours the start of them, and tn preclectric 
days that was usually equivalent to an escape, es- 
pecially as the constables had started on the theory 
that if the men were seen going westward they 
must have intended going in the opposite direc- 
tion, and some of the pursuers had gone down 
the Connecticut River, and some had turned 

After many a long day — not until about 17941 
in fact — one of the forgers was apprehended and 
brought back to Connecticut for trial, but what 
the result was the old letters do not inform us. 
Two other would-be supporters of the State's fi- 
nances, in addition to Dr. Smith, had been vic- 
timized before the forgeries had become known, 
but neither of the two rendered any aid to the 
doctor or the State in their persistent pursuit of 
the criminals. In the end only one was appre- 


hended. He was discovered among the refugee 
Tories in New Brunswick by Dr. Smith himself, 
while on a prospecting tour he was making, on 
the outlook for mines of coal or of iron ore. 

The forgeries were said to have been singularly 
perfect. Dr. Smith was well acquainted with the 
handwriting of Governor Trumbull, and the forged 
letter, when compared with the undoubted letters 
of the governor which Dr. Smith had received 
at various times, though' it might have excited 
the suspicions of a modem chirographic expert, 
was acknowledged by the governor to be perfect 
enough to have deceived himself For a time the 
existence of these forged bonds caused much per- 
plexity to the State government, and would have 
caused still more had intelligence concerning them 
been published through the length and breadth of 
the land, as it would now be. There were a (tw 
advantages to be derived from the slow methods 
of the time. 

In mines of every description Dr. Smith was 
always interested. When buying real estate he 
always had a clause inserted granting to his owner- 
ship all the mines thereon, "whether opened or yet 
to be discovered," and whenever he sold any land, 
let the same be much or little, all such rights were 
expressly reserved by him. His Edinburgh corre- 
spondent had standing orders always to send him 
any new book of importance concerning mines and 
their workings. Some of these, both in Latin and 


in English, still remain in the old home, and prob- 
ably there are others at his fine Vermont residence. 
But I do not know that any appreciable part of 
the two fortunes which the doctor made came from 
his mining ventures. 

By the close of the Revolutionary War, when 
he had time to think about it. Dr. Smith found 
that, to use a modernism, he had "expanded too 
much." The times were hard, very, very hard, for 
all. The Continental money had fiillen so low as 
to be practically worthless. Gold and silver had 
almost disappeared. Barter took the place of coin, 
and when a dtbt could not be paid in produce or 
in goods, then there was the debtors' prison ; and 
into that most illogical of all legal devices must the 
honestest of debtors helplessly fell if his creditors 
were pressing. 

The illiberal, unjust, and unwise system of im- 
prisonment for debt was about as disastrous in its 
results upon the creditors as upon the debtors, but 
it was an astonishing number of years before any 
appreciable number of the fomier seem to have 
perceived this fact 

To show the operation of the generally de- 
pressed state of finances, it may be well to quote 
some of the prices brought by imported articles, 
and the proportionately small rates received for ar- 
ticles of home production, as shown by Dr. Smith's 
account-books for 1785-90, the items being taken 
at random. 


Beef, by the quarter, brought one cent per 
pound; sewing-silk was sold at "six pence per 
yard" A pound of sugar was "two shillings 
thripence " ; a bushel of oats was " two shillings 
sixpence." Five hundred feet of pine boards 
brought one pound two shillings and sixpence, 
and two " Bandanna " handkerchiefs were worth as 
much. But the worst state of things is shown by 
the price, or rather the no-price, of the Continental 
currency, six hundred and sixty-nine Continental 
dollars being exchanged (in 1785) for only five 
pounds and four cents of what was known in Con- 
necticut as " York State money," which was rated 
at about half the value of the pound sterling. As 
paper money was so nearly valueless, the gold and 
silver coins of foreign nations were employed when 
barter would not suffice. This must have added 
greatly to the difficulties of business. In 1794 
the sum of one hundred and thirty pounds and 
some shillings was paid in " pistoles," " pieces jo- 
hannis," Spanish dollars, guineas, and three New 
York bank bills, the latter at a considerable dis- 
count. Each piece of the gold was weighed sepa- 
rately and no two of the same nominal value were 
rated alike. 

The demands made against Dr. Smith grew 
more and more urgent, but, full of resources as 
he was, he kept on satisfying them until at last, 
four years after the close of the war, he was obliged 
to realize that there was no relief in the near future. 


and that without putting himself beyond the juris- 
diction of his State he would eventually find him- 
self at the mercy of some narrow-minded creditor 
who could put his debtor in a place where the 
most rcsourcefiil of living men would find himself 
as helpless as the dead Julius Cxsar. 

Summoning his brother, the Rev. C. M. Smith, 
and the latter's son (the " brother Jack " of the 
diary), then a stripling lawyer of twenty-two years, 
the doctor laid his case before them, and also his 
plans to retrieve his fortunes. He made over to 
his brother the larger and more valuable parts of 
his property in and about Sharon, on the condition 
that his brother should satisfy all the most pressing 
of his debts. By realizing upon the more imme- 
diately salable portions of the doctor's property, as 
well as of his own and that of his wife, the parson, 
after a time, was able to accomplish this. As usual, 
the biggest creditors were the least pressing. The 
man who had furnished the ^3330 to buy the 
forged note, having always received his interest 
with regularity, was present at this interview of 
the brothers, and would not accept of any security 
for the amount which was still due him; but this 
was eventually paid, together with all the other 
debts, in full. 

Besides a good many farms and other odd bits 
of real estate scattered through three States, the 
doctor still possessed about twenty-five thousand 
acres of land in Vermont; and to this youngest of 


the thirteen States he and his wife wended their 
toilsome way. It is at this point that his many 
letters begin. The new State needed countless 
things, and the doctor was the man to supply 
them. In every letter there is a demand for this, 
that, or the other thing that is " absolutely neces- 
sary and must be sent forthwith." Herds of cattle, 
unnumbered yokes of oxen, — "because they can 
travel these trackless wilds better than horses," — 
wagons, cart wheels, sleds, "tools for a wheelright 
and a man to use them," a '* farrier and all the 
tools for his trade," "machinery for a sawmill of 
the biggest kind," a " linnen and a woollen loom 
and a weaver for each of them, good ones who 
understand their trade," were among the things 
sent for, while his old correspondents in Great 
Britain, Holland, and the West Indies forwarded 
to his new abode and his new store all the things 
which they had been wont to supply to his first. 

In Vermont all of the doctor's enterprises pros- 
pered, and as rapidly as possible both principal 
and interest of all the debts which he had left 
behind were repaid; and when he wrote his last 
letter to " Dear Johnny," a month or two before 
his death, in 1804, he was able to say; 

" At last I owe no man on earth a penny that 
cannot be paid at a moment's notice, and I now 
have leisure to devote to my favorite project, — 
the establishment in my native State of as fine a 


Medical CoUege and Hospital connected therewith 
as may be in any Country. 1 am not yet seventy, 
my health is good. I hope to live to see it started. 
In my time Great 'things have happened and 
greater are to come. I wish I could live a Thou- 
sand Years! I suppose your Father will shake 
his head over this, but I believe the Lord has a 
great work for this Country to do, and / want to 

In spite of this desire and his good health, the 
brave old doctor had not reached seventy yeais 
when he calmly fell asleep. All his worldly affairs 
were in good condition, and he left to his widow 
and to his favorite nephew what, for his day, was 
considered the large fortune of something over one 
hundred thousand dollars. 


Personal Characteristics. 

Small-pox in Sharon. 
"Old Jack" and "Billy 

G ." 

A Lesson in Kindliness. 

Influence with Indians. 

The Sabbath Made for 


jHE Rev. Cotton Mather Smith was 

T,^ a member of what the "Auto- 
S crat of the Breakfast Table" and 
** Richard Grant White uspd to de- 
light in calling the Brahman class 
of New England, meaning the descendants of the 
early ministers and magistrates of the Plymouth, 
Massachusetts, and Connecticut colonies. 

The ministers from whom he was descended 
were the Rev. Henry Smith of Wethersfield, and 
the Rev. Richard Mather of Dorchester, while he 
was collaterally related to all the " preaching Ma- 
thers," and to the Rev. John Cotton of Boston. 
Mr. Smith's father, grandfather, and great-grand- 
father of his own sumame all fought in the numer- 
ous colonial wars. A colonial governor and a 
major-general were numbered among his ancestors, 
besides many magistrates and officers of lesser 
rank. Hence it is not wonderful that while Mr. 
Smith was a man of peace he was also in favor of 
fighting in a good cause. 

The Rev. A. R. Robbins of Norfolk, Connecti- 
cut, who was for many years the beloved pastor of 


the Congregational church in that place, was a 
lifelong friend of Mr. Smith's, never allowing a 
year to pass without an exchange of visits, though 
this was not an easy matter with the twenty miles 
of steep hills intervening. A son of the former, 
the Rev. Thomas Robbins of Hartford, Connecti- 
cut, well remembered his father's friend, and writing 
in 1850 said: 

"The Rev. Cotton Mather Smith was min- 
ister of a parish in the immediate neighborhood 
of my father's (Norfolk, Connecticut), and was 
often a visitor at our house in my early years. 
My personal acquaintance with him was chiefly 
in that period. . . . Mr. Smith was rather 
tall . . . and united great benignity and acute 
intelligence in his expression. His manners were 
remarkably polished, so that he might have ap- 
peared to advantage even in a Court; they were a 
delightful compound of simplicity, grace and dig- 
nity; while on the other hand they were entirely 
free from hauteur or ostentation, and he could 
make the humblest man in the community feel at 
home in his company. . . , He never performed 
an act or uttered a word that was fitted needlessly 
to wound others or to lessen the influence of his 
own fine character. ... He had a good deal of 
unction in the pulpit, but his manner was simple, 
natural and graceful." 

The sermons of that time were usually written 


out in ftill, and read in a more or less pleasing 
manner; but though the outlines of Mr. Smith's 
sermons were carefully thought out in the study, 
he trusted to the inspiration of the moment for the 
dress in which he offered them to his congregation. 
Many instances of his eloquence are still tradition- 
ally related. As it is a matter of record that the 
church of the Sharon pastor was twice enlarged 
during his ministry to accommodate the increasing 
numbers of his hearers, and that persons residing 
in parishes from ten to twenty-five miles distant 
from his own were among the frequent attendants 
at his ministrations, it is probable that his confi- 
dence in the inspiration of the moment was well 

Though Mr. Smith's feme as an eloquent 
preacher was locally great, it was as a pastor that 
he was longest remembered. 

In my girlhood there were still many old per- 
sons who had known him, and the mingled feel- 
ing of reverence and affection with which they 
mentioned his name was pleasant to know. The 
anecdotes were many, showing him in many lights. 
Some persons told how, " during the awful small- 
pox winter, when the weather was as cold as was 
ever known in New England, he and his heroic 
wife banished themselves for three months from 
their own house, taking refuge in an outbuilding, 
where their indispensable wants were supplied by 
an old slave who had had the dreaded disease, that 

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-tiK IMC strj- "tt^ wm '. 

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!t a: rse serrjoe ot 23T who 

At. -r-i--jr-j:r -wz^-'z. ibcrvs ti»e par^oa^ smic « 
!.■;—>«■. o'jrr.xrj^i ■■■■th a gentle aad kiodlr dig- 
r.:TT. »*: 'r^A bv czT gTasdntbcT. who him^cll' 
K.-or.^-:v rcsen:blei hi: grandaAcr in these and 
KTirrr '"-ii>;:Vj, Asiong die orphans, several ot 
WTMjm TT^re aVaj-s ibeitercd and cared for in the 
pafsonagt. wai aie young incorrigible who, by 
way of puniihmen: ibr some bult, was one fine 
Siinda)' in June tbrbidden to attend morning ser- 
vice. Thi; might not, nowadat's, be deemed a 
severe chajtisement, but then the Sundajra gave 


the one opportunity of the week for social inter- 

While the sermon was in progress, presumably 
to the satisfaction of all present in the old meeting- 
house, there was a movement among the boys 
who filled the first gallery, and an irresistible but 
half-smothered chuckle ran around among them, 
as fire runs through stubble. The second or top- 
most gallery, where the slaves sat, was in a still 
more visible and audible commotion. Even the 
decorous tenants ot the big square pews on the 
ground floor seemed to find some difficulty in fol- 
lowing the thread of the parson's discourse. The 
parson redoubled his efforts, and at the same time 
the commotion in the auditory was increasing. 

The preacher stopped and looked around with 
some displeasure, but more wonder. Every one 
was looking in his direction, and yet no one was 
looking at him. His wife was biting her lips with 
a vexation belied by her laughing eyes. 

The old slave Jack could stand it no longer. 
Making his way behind the seats crowded by his 
brethren, whose ivories were unusually exposed, to 
the end of the topmost gallery, which was that in 
which he presided as the self-constituted main- 
tainer of discipline among his own race. Jack stepped 
forth upon the flat top of the massive sounding- 
beard, which was on a level with this gallery floor 
and hung like a threatening extinguisher above 
the pulpit. Here he was for a moment in full 


view of the congregation, but hidden from the 
parson's sight, until he reappeared returning to his 
own seat, and bearing in his arms a very happy and 
complacent blacVt-and-tan dog, which had been 
decorated by a pair of the parson's best bands, and 
then released from the durance in which he always 
had to be kept on Sunday to prevent him from fol- 
lowing his master to church. The eager Carlo had 
found that he could not get in by the doors from 
the vestibule into the body of the meeting-house, 
or even by those of the first gallery, so he had as- 
cended the stairs leading to the top gallery, and 
then had reached the sounding-board, on which he 
had been gravely seated, apparently well pleased 
with himself and his ministerial garb, and, to those 
who had perceptions of the ludicrous, seemed to 
be mocking his unconscious master in the pulpit 

As Jack reappeared bearing the unresisting dog, 
— for Carlo was a faithful friend, and cultivated no 
color prejudices, — the aggrieved old slave turned 
toward his master, breaking all meeting-house rules 
by exclaiming, with irrepressible indignation: 

" Massa, massa I Dis some mo' o' dat Bill G 's 

debiltry. He got 'o be stop' somehcnu! " 

This was too much. From the pulpit along the 
crowded seats of the two galleries even to the de- 
corous depths of the deacons' pew on the main 
floor, a laughter that was more than rippling was 
both seen and heard, clearly to the scandal of the 


frowning and belligerent Jack, and perhaps to that of 
some of the severer magnates of the pews. But what 
would you ? The pranks as well as the misfortunes 

of the mischievous Billy G were well known 

but always unexpected to the little community ; and 
the sense of humor is one which has seldom been 
denied to kindly natured folk. The parson was 
never troubled about his own dignity, probably 
feeling it too firm to need protection, so he laughed 
with the rest, while gently bidding Jack to relieve 
the dog of his offending finery and take him home. 
Then, turning to the congregation, he said that the 
little boy's jest had been made without any mali- 
cious intent, and without a sense of the disrespect it 
would be showing to the Lord's house. The child, 
he said, was too young to realize this, and "as we 
would have our own sins of either wilfulness or 
ignorance pardoned by our Heavenly Father, so 
must we pardon the offenses of children, and espe- 
cially those of the fatherless." From this he talked 
on, dwelling upon the duties of all members of 
Christ's church toward the younger and weaker of 
the flock, until, after the benediction, " his hearers 
could only greet each other silently for the tender 
emotions which filled their hearts." 

Neither public nor private admonition was given 
to the delinquent Billy (save possibly by old Jack 
in the bam), and the flow of his jokes did not 
cease, though after this they were of a less public 
character. In later years he went to South Caro- 


lina, and there became a physician of some local 
reputation, though dying before reaching the prime 
of life. Recognizing his approaching end, he left 
to Parson Smith the care of his two motherless 
children and their little inheritance — a sure proof 
of the confidence he had retained in the faithful 
kindness of the friend who had pardoned so many 
of his own boyish oflenses. 

Indeed, Mr. Smith ever possessed a certain boy- 
ishness of heart which, from his earliest years to 
his latest, gave him great influence over the young 
of all classes. While still a college student he was 
associated with Dr. Jonathan Edwards in the charge 
of a school which had been established among the 
Indians at Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Here were 
early brought into play the same powers of intel- 
lect and the generous qualities of heart which dis- 
tinguished him through life. 

His influence over his wild pupils, which was 
great, was first gained by his agility, strength, and 
skill in all athletic sports, especially in marksman- 
ship, in leaping and in running, in which things 
it is stated that he easily excelled all his white 
competitors and most Indians. The Indians could 
well appreciate the young minister's superiority in 
a line so peculiarly their own, and the influence it 
gained over them was increased and retained by the 
unfailing justice and perfect courtesy which charac- 
terized all his dealings with them. "At the same 
time," says Dr, Sprague, in his "Annals of the 
American Pulpit," "he labored for and with them 


with untiring diligence and corresponding success, 
and became a proficient in their language while im- 
parting to them his own." 

Twenty years after Mr. Smith's labors in Stock- 
bridge had ended, two of his former Indian pupils 
accompanied Colonel Hinman's regiment on its 
trying march through the wilderness to Fort Ti- 
conderoga. During the dangerous illness there of 
their former teacher and then chaplain, these In- 
dians devoted themselves to his service, and that 
of his wife after her arrival, with a touching assi- 
duity. On his return to Sharon they helped to bear 
his Utter for the journey, which consumed nearly 
two weeks, although burdens of any kind were usu- 
ally despised by their race ; and for many years 
thereafter they paid him an annual visit. They 
always spoke with great pride of their quondam 
teacher's youthful athletic accomplishments, al- 
though similar gifts were not then so unusual in 
the clerical profession as they afterward became. 

In Mr. Smith's time all country ministers were, 
by ft)rce of circumstances rather than choice, both 
fttrmers and huntsmen ; and sometimes they were 
carpenters and smiths as well, and saw nothing in- 
congruous in their diverse employments. Certainly 
their congregations must have been the gainers by 
the exercise which made their spiritual head so 
physically robust, the health of the mind depend- 
ing so much upon that of the body. 

As an army chaplain Mr. Smith seems to have 
been very successful in a more than usually difficult 


situation. General Schuyler, one of the best officers 
and most honorable men of our Revolutionary War, 
highly esteemed by General Washington and other 
officers whose good opinions were medals of honor, 
was heartily disliked by the New England troops. 
The reason for this dislike is well explained by Mrs. 
Smith in her account of her journey to join her hus- 
band at Ticonderoga. She says : 

" My Husband, as Chaplain, had used his influ- 
ence with the men to soften the bitterness of feeling 
which so many of them entertained toward the 
' Dutchman,' as they were wont somewhat con- 
temptuously to style General Schuyler. The latter 
is a man of the purest patriotism and of much 
ability, but he was then unused to the state of 
things in our Colonies of New England, whereby 
a man of the best birth and breeding may yet be a 
mechanic or a tradesman by reason of the poverty 
of the land, and the fact that so many of our fore- 
fathers had been obliged to give up all their es- 
tates when for conscience sake they left the Mother 
Country. On the contrary such of the settlers from 
Holland as were of good family were able to bring 
their worldly goods with them to the new land and 
by reason of the fertility of the soil and their advan- 
tageous trade with the Indians were never obliged 
to resort to handicrafts for a livelihood. 

"My Husband has many times told me of the 
surprise of General Schuyler to find that one of our 


Trained Band Men whom he knew to be but a 
carpenter, was at the same time a man of much 
influence and an office holder in his native town, 
being the son of a magistrate appointed by the 
Crown. He could never be brought to see that 
while we in Connecticut were all so much on a 
social equality, it was yet an equality on a high 
plane ; while on the other hand it was difficult for 
our men (so many of whom, though poor, had re- 
ceived the best education the country afforded) 
not to feel themselves superior to 'a parcel of 
stupid Dutchmen', (thus discourteously, I grieve 
to say, were they often referred to), many of whom 
spoke but imperfect English and almost none of 
whom had received a college training. My Hus- 
band had always been striving to bring about a 
better understanding between the troops of Con- 
necticut and those of New York, and had thus 
gained and still retains the active friendship of 
General Schuyler, while he was always much liked 
as well as reverenced by all the soldiers in the 

The Rev. Dr. McEwing of New London, Con- 
necticut, writing in 185 J, when there were still 
living many old people who remembered Mr. 
Smith, says: 

" The American Revolution found Mr. Smith 
in the maturity of his powers, wielding, within 


his sphere, a great influence. He had dedi- 
cated himself to the Christian ministry, but this 
did not make him too sacred to give himself 
to his country. His brethren, the Congregational 
clergymen of New England, were, at large, distin- 
guished patriots in the struggle for independence. 
None of them in the incipient movements of the 
Revolution, or in providing for the hardships and 
conflicts of the War, brought the people of their 
charges up to a higher tone of action than did the 
Pastor of Sharon. His sermons, his prayers, the 
hymns he gave to the choir, were impulsive to 
patriotism, , . . but domestic action did not satisfy 
him. Into the momentous campaign of 1775 he 
entered as chaplain to a regiment in the Northern 
Army. His influence in producing good order 
and cultivating morals in the camp, in consoling 
the sick " (and, it might be added, in taking 
care of them), "and in inspiring the army with 
firmness and intrepidity attracted the admiration 
of all." 

In Sedgwick's *' History of Sharon " it is stated : 

" Parson Smith, like the other clergymen of 
the day, was a most ardent and decided Whig, and 
his personal influence contributed not a little to 
lead the public mind in the right channel. . . , 
The intelligence of the battle of Lexington was 
brought to Sharon on the Sabbath, and Mr. Smith 


at the close of the morning exercises, announced it 
from the pulpit and made some remarks tending to 
arouse the spirit of the people to firmness and re- 
sistance. Immediately after the congregation was 
dismissed, the militia and volunteers, to the num- 
ber of one hundred men, paraded on the west 
side of the street, south of the meeting-house 
and prepared to march immediately to the scene 
of action." 

After Mr. Smith's enforced return from the 
fighting field he still continued his active work 
of inspiring the soldiers, keeping the home-stay- 
ers up to their duty as providers for those in the 
field, and comforting those who had sent, and 
sometimes those who had lost, their best be- 

In still more practical ways was manifested the 
parson's earnestness in the cause. During this war 
the only sources of food-supply were to be found 
in the unharassed portions of the thirteen States, 
and it was as essential that every possible spear of 
grain or hill of com should be raised to supply 
provisions for the army as it was to ftimtsh the men 
and ammunition. 

During the early part of one week in the sum- 
mer of 1 779 a very large quantity of wheat had 
been cut by the Sharon farmers, and bound into 
sheaves, and these, in view of threatening rain, not 
being sufficiently cured to put into the bams, had 


been piled into shocks in such a way as to shed 
the rain if it did not prove to be of too pene- 
trating a quality. But this it proved to be, and 
the hearts of all grew heavier and heavier, for 
the continued wet was a menace of " sprouted 
wheat," from which wholesome flour could not 
be made. 

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, the rain poured 
down upon the wheat-fields, of which more had 
been sown than ever before in the history of the 
township, owing to the country's pressing needs, 
and the crops per acre were greater than ever 
before, as the early part of the season had been 
favorable in that vicinity. 

On Saturday, at sunset, the rain was still steadily 
descending, but on the Sunday morning the sun 
rose brilliantly. According to the creed of the 
weather-wise, any change in the weather that could 
be depended upon to last for more than twenty- 
four hours must take place in the daytime. It 
was plain to the dullest that another rain upon 
the wheat would leave it in a hopeless condition. 

Yet, with few exceptions, the farmers all assem- 
bled at the meeting-house on the Sabbath morning, 
filled with gravest apprehensions concerning the 
fate of the precious wheat, and at the same time 
showing a grim determination to lose it, if needs 
must, rather than to do wrong. 

The people usually mustered at the church a 
good while before the stated service time, while 


the parson was always punctual at the moment. 
On this day he was descried approaching the meet- 
ing-house at an even more rapid pace than usual, 
and a full half-hour earlier, and not accompanied 
by his femily or near neighbors. 

Hastily mounting the southern flight of exterior 
steps, and standing there, the parson announced that 
there would be no sermons preached by him that 
day. The wheat was in danger, and, in the great 
struggle in which they were engaged, wheat meant 
human lives. As the Sabbath was made for man, 
it was plain that to save lives on that day was a 
proper Sabbatical labor. He then, still standing at 
the top of the steps, offered a very short prayer, 
and dismissed the congregation with a benediction, 
and an exhortation to all who had no endangered 
wheat of their own to give their services to those 
who needed them most. 

So numerous were the laborers, so well and 
rapidly did they all work, so briskly blew the dry- 
ing wind, and so hotly shone the harvest sun, that 
by the time the night dews had begun to gather 
the crop had been saved. 

In this labor the women and even the children 
had borne their share ; for they could toss up the 
wet wheat-spears by forkfuls to catch the wind and 
sun as well as could the men. Very early in the morn- 
ing the parson had sent his household into his own 
fields, and had advised all of his near-by neighbors 
of his opinion in regard to the duty of the moment. 

aur T 'jcjnrj suf I jlI -anErk^d s ard as «c could 
aE i:r». 3w: nitj in 3«r 'voezi ace = :iai: «' Uncic 
'^iciemi Bic Cso* Psil a^gr ocrs vas aii AoolT 

Sucit zi ssaso* s aucr^ jctocJLa^ bccausr ir 
^ 3y ISO ^xscs '^xir tsx r vs tbc oaiy ooc ot 
is£^ u TTara. isE bcra aid aboai the 
•ac Pirioas. Thf? certainlv 
■5ii ret iccton< oc -ac^dJes bbors or rain rccrc- 
irixs ct -if! LiXif = DtsTr bcr 1 think h will be 
y-jt-jni —-■■- TZf^-r 3tIi»;T^i i= 6ocsg whaterer was 
:ir:i«=arv Tij acnnr:: ■"< ririfemkisgs wiiich seemed 
ri^ntiKica i=. tW" "CTCs oc a=.T day o( the week. 




A Hi:t<»!nni-"7- Sermon. 




^^O^hOroM the earliest days the meet- 
^V ^^ 4^ ing-house was the place to hear, 

M and the minister was the person 
yj Tj *** announce, all poUtical news of 

O^^^^^^ importance. During the Revo- 
lutionary War there was an ever-growing anx- 
iety to hear from the distant "front," — so very 
distant it was in those days of toilsome com- 
munication ! — and on Sunday mornings, fiiUy 
an hour before service time, people would begin 
to gather around the meeting-house from every 
direction; for it was here, if anywhere, that private 
news from the army might be met. Opportunities 
for sending letters home were few ; but sometimes 
a packet might be received that had passed from 
hand to hand. A might have happened to be 
coming from the Army of the North down as far 
as Albany, and there have given the packet to B, 
who chanced to have business in Red Hook, at 
which place he found that C was going to Pough- 
keepsie, whence the latter's friend D might be 
called to go to Pleasant Valley, and there find E 

ready to convey the precious missive to the wait- 

ing friends in Sharon, who considered intelligenct 
less than a fortnight old as fresh news. 

In the autumn of 1777 it was many weeks since 
one of these rare bundles of letters from the North- 
ern army had reached Sharon. Sad to sternness were 
the faces which gathered about the high steps of the 
meeting-house on a certain bright October morning. 

For a long time everj'thing had seemed to be 
going against the revolting colonies. They had 
IcMt New York, Newport, Ticonderoga, and Phila- 
delphia, had suffered wasting defeats on Long 
Island and at Fort Washington, and been badly- 
beaten at Brandywine and Germantown. To off- 
set these losses were only the victory at Trenton 
and the partial success at Princeton. The British 
controlled the Lower Hudson, and made destructive 
raids upon southern Connecticut, marking their 
course by the ashes of defenseless towns and the 
blood of non-combatants. 

On the north the advance of Burgoyne had been 
nearly unchecked. On the west, in the State of 
New York, lay the notoriously Royalist county of 
Dutchess. Thus this part of western Connecticut 
seemed to lie between three fires, and, unprotected 
as it was left because nearly all its able-bodied men 
were in Gates's army, it had many and grave rea- 
sons for apprehension. When the eycsof one met 
those of another, there was an unuttered question 
in every glance. 

While the near-by members of the congregation 


came on foot, probably most of those from a dis- 
tance arrived on horseback. The meeting-house 
itself I can delineate from the descriptions given 
me by my father, Robett Worthington Smith, who 
remembered it well, as it was not taken down until 
1824, having been used for sixty-one years. The 
house was about eighty feet by sixty in dimensions, 
and stood about midway in the broad street, and 
nearly in front of the present edifice, upon a some- 
what steep pitch of rocks which has since been 
blasted away and filled in, so that only a gentle 
green slope remains. 

The house had three doors of entrance, each 
reached by long flights of stairs on the north, east, 
and south sides. The greatest length of the 
meeting-house was from north to south, but the 
three main aisles, one quite broad and the other 
two narrower, ran from east to west, while short 
cross-aisles connected the north and south doors 
with the main side aisles. On the west side, 
reached by a flight of steps some sixteen feet in 
height, was the lofty pulpit, overhung by the 
cumbrous extinguisher-like sounding-board. The 
square pews were divided into three groups, the 
middle group being for femilies, that on the south 
side for maidens who had no family ties and did 
not belong to the choir, and for widows ; that on 
the north side was reserved for single men who did 
not sing. The front pews of the central group 
were considered the posts of honor. 


Around three sides of the building ran high gal- 
leries, the lower one opposite the pulpit containing 
the choir. Starting from the center of the choir, 
the bass and counter-singers tapered off toward the 
north side gallery, where sat the taller boys nearest 
the choir, and after them the smaller boys nearer 
to the pulpit. Starting again from the middle of 
the choir and going south, the " air " and " second " 
singers (wearing ftinny little close, white caps in- 
stead of the big bonnets, which were supposed to, 
and probably did, break the volume of the wearers' 
voices) shaded off by soft gradations to young 
girls who held hymn-books and tried to appear 
unconscious of the fact that there were boys (with 
eyes) in the opposite gallery. Over the first ran a 
second but narrower gallery, set apart, the one side 
for the male and the other for the female slaves. 

Into the church which was built in 1824, near 
to the old one, stoves were immediately placed ; but 
in that in which Parson Smith preached no such 
comfort was known. This building was finished 
in 1 768, and though there were no fireplaces, the 
danger of setting fire to their new church by means 
of the foot-stoves began immediately to exercise 
the minds of the church-members, and a fine of 
ten shillings was exacted for each foot-stove that 
might be carelessly left within the church after the 
hours of service. 

At the last stroke of the bell, on a certain Sun- 
day of late October in 1777,3 quick, emphatic 


footfall rang on the stone step leading from the 
ground to the southern entrance, and all in the 
building rose, not so much to show their deference 
to the pastor whom they all loved as to manifest 
their reverence to the ordained servant of their 
common Master. As the preacher came down the 
aisle he gravely and graciously acknowledged the 
bows and courtesies of the people in the pews. 
After ascending the stairs to the pulpit, he paused 
a moment to bow to the front, then to the right, 
and then to the left. This was the signal that all 
might now be seated, and in the general soft rustle 
that ensued the pastor waited with bowed head. 

On this day both prayers and hymns seemed 
prophetic — at least, every person who told of it 
long after always said so. When the text was 
announced, "Watchman, what of the night? The 
watchman saith. The morning cometh," its last 
three words rang out with such a clarion tone that 
all present felt that this was to be "a field day with 
the Parson." Earnest sometimes to vehemence, 
gifted with a melodious and powerful voice, and 
glowing with natural eloquence, Mr. Smith's ser- 
mons never lacked originality and force, and on 
this day his flock thought him inspired as with 
faithful stroke he drew the picture of an oppressed 
people struggling for liberty against fearful odds. 
Tears coursed unrestrained down cheeks better 
accustomed to the touch of snow and wind, as 
the late reverses were recounted, until some of the 



older members began to wonder "what Parson 
could be thinking of, to discourage the people 
so ? " Then suddenly his tone changed. " Our 
weakness," he said, "is the Lord's opportunity. 
He has permitted our past humiliation that our 
sins might be punished and that He might show 
us that He is mighty to save. He has promised 
to succor those who look to Him for their help, 
and He is taithful who has promised." Then, 
kindling as with prophetic fire, his fece glowing, 
his lithe form dilating and quivering with feel- 
ing, he triumphantly exclaimed: 

"Behold I the morning now cometh. I see 
its beams already gilding the mountain tops. Its 
brightness is already bursting over all the land." 
He closed his Bible and stood with uplifted hand, 
while a silence, as of expectation, fell alike upon the 
preacher and his hearers. Then, during the solemn 
hush which preceded the benediction, could be dis- 
tinguished from afar the hasty clatter of a horseman 
dashing into the village from the north. Faces turn 
toward the doors, but not a whisper breaks the hush. 
All know that the sacred stillness of a New Eng- 
land Sabbath would not be thus broken without 
good reason. The eager horseman makes directly 
for the church. Hope is triumphant over fear, but 
with hope is mingled terror, and anxious eyes blaze 
out from blanched faces as the rider, springing from 
his horse, enters the church, his spurs clanking 
along the uncarpeted floor and up the pulpit stairs. 


The parson, his tare tlushin<j; with the j()\ ot 
a hojx' tulhlU'cl, read onlx the three worIs, 
" Burgoyne has surrendered," and then burst 
into honorable tears. The next moment, calmed 
and solemn, he said, " Let us thank God for this 
great mercy/' And moved by a common impulse, 
the whole congregation rose to the Puritan posture 
of prayer — the erect posture of the Ironsides, who 
prayed and fought and kept their powder dry ; and 
stern and self-contained as they were, they thought 
it no shame to shed tears of thankfulness. 

I have heard this story so often, not from those 
who had been present, of course, but from those 
whose parents had related it to them, that I can 
hardly realize that I, too, was not there to feel 
the haunting anxiety, the thrilling hope, the over- 
whelming joy of that glorious news. 

The country parson's duties in colonial days 
embraced all that a similar charge now implies, 
and some that the modern minister knows nothing 
of He was in all things expected to be the leader 
of his people. They looked to him for example 
in things political, social, and educational as well 
as in things theological, and it must in common 
justice be said that the pastor who foiled to fulfil 
these expectations to the best of his ability was 
rarely found. 

His duties were so many and so diverse that it 
was well that he had not also to contend with the 
rush, hurry, and consequent pressure of our own 


time. He had to work with hands as well as 
head, but he had not to compete with brilliant 
minds all over the continent whose Sunday uttep 
ances could be read at the Monday morning break- 
fest-tables of his deacons and elders, and compared 
with his own. Each pastor had the sick, the poor, 
the vicious, and the uncultured of his own small 
field to care for and struggle to bring to better 
circumstances and to higher ideals ; but he did not 
have to concern himself about similar conditions 
and responsibilities all over the world; and if he 
did not seem to accomplish all that the same man 
would do in these days, he perhaps left a deeper 
impression on the minds of those among whom he 
lived and labored. The very long pastorates of that 
time would be almost a physical impossibility now. 

There then existed no prejudice to long periods 
of candidacy. It was telt that the relation between 
pastor and flock should be, as it generally was, 
permanent, and should not be entered upon with- 
out due deliberation. Mr. Smith preached in 
Sharon as a candidate for more than a year, and 
was finally ordained pastor in August, 1755. In 
1805 he preached his half-century sermon from the 
text: "Now lettest thou thy servant depart in 
peace; . . . for mine eyes have seen thy salvation" 
(Luke ii. 29, 30). 

After this Mr. Smith survived but little more 
than a year, dying in November, 1806. His 
greatly lamented wife had died six years before 


while in Albany, visiting her daughter, Mrs. 

Thomas, the elder son of the Rev. and Mrs. 
Cotton Mather Smith, died at the age of nineteen. 
Elizabeth, their eldest daughter, married Dr. Lem- 
uel Wheeler, a surgeon at one time attached to 
General Washington's command, and afterward 
practising at Red Hook, now Tivoli, New York. 
Mrs. Wheeler left two daughters, one of whom 
became the wife of the Hon. John Davenport of 
New Haven, Connecticut, and the other was mar- 
ried to Mr. Hubert Van Waganen of Poughkeep- 
sie. New York. 

The youngest daughter, Mary, married the Rev. 
Daniel Smith, for many years the pastor of the 
Congregational Church of Stamford, Connecticut. 
Years after the latter's decease it was discovered 
that he also was descended from the Rev. Henry 
Smith of Wethersfield. She left a son and daugh- 
ter. The first became the Rev. Thomas Mather 
Smith, for many years the head of the Theological 
Seminary at Gambler, Ohio. He was father of 
the Rev. John Cotton Smith, D.D., for more than 
twenty years the much-loved rector of the Church 
of the Ascension in New York city, dying in 1882. 
The sister of the Rev. T. M. Smith married Milo 
L. North, M.D., an eminent physician of Hartford, 
Connecticut, and Saratoga, New York. 

Juliana, the diarist to whom we are so much in- 
debted, married, as before stated, the Hon. Jacob 

RadclifF, a member of the Supreme Court of Judi- 
cature of the State of New York, and for three 
terms mayor of New York city. Mrs. Radcliff 
died in 1823, leaving two daughters. The elder of 
these, Maria, married Mr. W. Tillman of Troy, New- 
York, while the younger, Julia, married an English 
gentleman named Spencer, who settled in Eliza- 
beth, New Jersey. 

From all of Parson Smith's three daughters 
have descended noble, strong, and sweet men and 
women. The only one of his sons who survived 
to an adult age was John Cotton Smith, who early 
entered poUtical life and left it only with the 
disruption of the Federal party, to which he was 
attached. He was the last Federal governor of 
his State, retiring in 1817 — "the most popular 
man of an unpopular party," says S. G. Goodrich, 
in his " Recollections." The correspondence be- 
tween Parson Smith and this son, extending at 
intervals from 1779 to 1806, is a beautiful record 
of paternal and filial affection. From those closely 
written foolscap sheets of coarse but excellent linen 
paper have been gleaned many of the facts relating 
to domestic life which have been inserted in these 


NOT .KEXUMf^r^.^