BLACK HALL TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES j COLLECTED BY ADELINE BARTLETT ALLYN GRANDDAUCHTER OF COL. CH.vK'.ES URISWOLD cs 1/ G-S7 CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY DATE DUE JN^PJ&m^ttY, LOAM U*4 Cornell University Library CS71.G87 A44 Black Hall traditions and reminiscences. olin 3 1924 029 842 089 Ill Cornell University y)B Library The original of this book is in the Cornell University Library. There are no known copyright restrictions in the United States on the use of the text. http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924029842089 Black Hall TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES Collected by Adeline Bartlett Allyn Granddaughter of Col. Charles Griswold AJk. HARTFORD, CONN. The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company 1908 Copyright, 1908, by Adeline Bartlett Allyn. (Co tbc Mematv of Ms ancestor*. I wish to express my sincere thanks to all my cousins for their kindness in furnishing material for these collections. A. B. A. BLACK HALL "People out of the Past. Have we caught them at last? They elude us so fast; will they answer our call?" Charles Wagner has said, " Remembrance of the Past is a great moral and social force." Surely there are few subjects of more vivid interest than the study of our ancestors. This has been ably undertaken by eminent scholars, in our own family, but we feel the need of a small familiar volume, within the means of all, easy to hold and to read, which may fill a want which large and valuable books of reference do not quite seem to supply. I make no pretensions to historic value and authenticity. I simply tell the tales as they were told to me, and hope to keep in mind the people who used to be familiar figures in my own youth, and tell the stories they told. Having access to some writings prepared by loved hands, and some tales told by dear lips, now silent, I hope to link the future with the past, and to hand down to our posterity these 6 BLACK HALL memories and traditions so precious, and once so familiar to us. Again, we cannot doubt that there are few subjects more worthy of our vivid interest than the study of the noble deeds of our ancestors; few more inspiring to ourselves to live worthily that we may transmit to those coming after us such memories and the example of the Past. Indeed there is no work of imagination which can be so full of romantic delight as the true tales of the loves and quaint romances of the lives of these same ancestors. The once familiar figures have all passed on to a better world but it is beyond the veil, and they can no longer tell us anything. But as yet there are some still with us who can remem- ber some of the traditions, and we have access to some precious writings copied from the an- cient papers; and it becomes us to seize at once all we have left, and render it as familiar and accessible as we can. Our children and grandchildren will like to know the meaning of these historic names which some of them will continue to bear, and they will say, " Who were these people? " "What did they do?" We tell them that they lived on the very spots which we all know so well; TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 7 that they were daring, true, and loving; that they laughed, loved, suffered, and dared, even as people do now. They worshiped the same God; they have left to us a precious heritage of integrity, honor and scholarly taste, more precious than any material legacy; and thus have conferred on us the obligation not to dis- grace our noble lineage, and surely while there is yet time not to allow them to pass into ob- livion. On the next page you may see the map of Black Hall; the location of the present houses which we all know so well, and the indication of the sites of those which have now passed out of existence. The very first edifice built in Black Hall was the log hut which you see on the cover. This picture is the work of the late C. C. Griswold Lane, copied from a pen and ink drawing by him, and it forms a memorial to one whom we all loved for his sweet and sunny nature, and whom we shall never cease to mourn since he was taken from us in the bloom of his beautiful youth, to leave us only to be thankful that we had known him, and that he had passed on into a better world " in all his spirit's lightness." This log hut was built by Matthew Gris- TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 9 wold, 1st, for a negro, who used to occupy it, before any white man dared to pass the night on this side of the river, for fear of the Indians. I understand that these dusky sons of the forest, while they hated and feared the " pale-faces," had no enmity toward negroes of a darker hue than themselves, and would never disturb them. This hut was called Black's Hall, and from this, Black Hall. There are several other stories to account for the name. One is as follows: According to Rees' Encyclopedia, there was a monastery of Black Friars near Kenilworth, England, and the lands were Abbey Lands. It is possible that the name Black Hall may have been suggested by Black Friars Hall. The story of the Black's Hall, though generally accepted in the family, is not entirely satisfactory. It is more natural to suppose that the name was taken from some English association, as was customary among our early settlers. Still another story is that in the parish of Sevenoaks, in the county of Kent, England, there is a place called " Black Hall Farm," and that may be the origin of the name. However, it is " Black Hall," and always has IO BLACK HALL been such, since the memory of white men in Connecticut. And has always belonged to the Griswold family, either in name or in blood. To return to the map. i. The first house was built by Matthew Griswold, ist, near the residence of Mrs. W. G. Lane, a little south of it. This is evidenced by the existence at the present time of the old well, bearing the date of 1640. This is re- corded by James Griswold from the remi- niscences of Judge Matthew Griswold. 2. From the same source we also learn that a house was built by Gov. Matthew Griswold for his son, John, when the latter married Sarah Johnson, and this is the house torn down by C. C. Griswold when (in 1842) he built the house now standing on same foundation. 3. The Leffingwell house. This house stood on the knoll north of Lef- fingwell's Pond. It was a small house, possibly only a squatter's hut. The cellar was plainly to be seen in James Griswold's day, and in the memory of some of the family now living. The writer believed that this house, what- ever it was, was built by the original Thomas Leffingwell, and I think I have proof of this. I have seen and can produce the copy of a deed TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES II conveying land on both sides of the Connecticut River from Thomas Leffingwell to Matthew Griswold; also records of the births of several children, taken from the Saybrook records, with dates — the place is not named, but if they are recorded in Saybrook, and Saybrook was then both sides of the river, may they not have been born at Black Hall? There is no veil of ob- scurity over the figure of Thomas Leffingwell. He stands in the white light of authentic his- tory. There was an Indian burying ground near the sound, south of the house built by Gov. Roger Griswold. Many of the graves could be seen previous to the September gale of 1815. By that gale, of which we give a full account later, much of the ground was washed away, and the bank caved in. There has been since no trace of the Indian graves remaining. 4. Ensign Thomas Griswold, son of Judge John, built a house on the site of Roger Gris- wold's barn. This was called the " Lee Lay house," as Lee Lay married one of the daugh- ters of Ensign Thomas. This Lee Lay and his wife lived to be very old (95) and died in 18 12 of a fever, which carried off a number of old persons very suddenly. This house was 12 BLACK HALL standing until 1822, when it was pulled down by A. H. Griswold, and some of the timber was used in repairing his barn. The original barn, as was told by Ezra M. Champion to Roger Griswold, was said to have been an old barn in 1800. We can well see that the erec- tion of the house itself must have been before 1700, but there is no tradition or record to tell this. 6. Judge John Griswold, father of Gov- ernor Matthew, built a house exactly on the site of the Judge Matthew house. The present house is said to have been built precisely on the same plan to gratify Judge Matthew's father, Governor Matthew, who remembered his fath- er's house with great affection. 6. To bring the oldest house of the Gris- wold's in Black Hall down to modern history, we will say that for two years this house was rented by Charles Griswold Bartlett, who opened there the "Black Hall School." This school has since been moved about a mile and a half farther north, and has flourished for more than thirty years in its present situation in the dis- trict known as " between the rivers." 7. There was a small house behind the burial ground of Fred Champion's family, TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 1 3 whose cellar could be seen in James Griswold's day. This was called " the Watrous house," but I can find no tradition about this. 8. The " Sears house " stood in what is still called the "Sears lot;" it was still stand- ing within the recollection of Judge Matthew, who describes it to his great nephew, James Griswold, as a large fronted house with a lean- to roof behind. 9. The Larrabee house. This was a small house standing in what was the garden of Col. Charles Griswold, now be- longing to Mrs. C. H. Griswold. When Colonel Charles built his house in 1825, the cellar was still in existence. In ploughing his garden, this cellar and all traces of the Larra- bee possession were obliterated, and near the spot a pine tree shilling was found, which may still be seen. I had thought that the veil of mystery hung over the name of Larrabee, but after much research, and many questions in dif- ferent quarters, I find something definite about him. In the Salisbury book I read that Phebe Brown married Thomas Lee, in England, of the renowned and illustrious family of Legh, in Warwickshire. They had three children. 14 BLACK HALL Thomas Lee died of smallpox on the voyage to America. After her arrival in this country, we learn that the widow, Mrs. Lee, married Greenfield Larrabee of Saybrook, whether East or West Saybrook tradition does not say. By her second marriage she had five children, i, Greenfield; 2, John; 3, Elizabeth; 4, Joseph; 5, Sarah. After the death of Larrabee, she married James Cornish of Norwich and had a son, James, who settled in Simsbury. The very oldest house now standing in the vicinity of Black Hall is the Armstrong house; this was built by John Dennison, who married one of the daughters of Matthew Griswold, 2d, Patience Griswold. The tradition about this is as follows : The Dennisons were Tories and as the Griswolds were ardent patriots, the Dennisons became so unpopular that John Dennison retired from the family circle, and built this house, at that time far distant from the Griswold community in Black Hall. I learn from the Dennison family that they have no record of the Tory proclivities of their ancestor, John Dennison, but they tell me that his son, Samuel Dennison, was such a strong Tory that his estates in South Lyme were taken from him by the government, because of TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 1 5 his disloyalty. I have no dates in regard to this transaction. The Griswold family in America. On account of the malicious conduct of Abra- ham Brownson, of which we will tell you later, all authentic records concerning our English de- scent have been lost to us. However, wishing to leave no stone unturned which may disclose a bit of information, I found in the Watkinson library in Hartford a copy of an old tomb- stone in Warwickshire, England. The monu- ment presents the supposed portraits of Thomas Griswold and his three wives, and bears the inscription as follows : " Thomas Greswalde of Solihull in the county of Warwick, gent, and of Alice, Jane and Isabel his wives. He died 1577. Had issue by Alice his first wife one sonne and seven daughters. Whom God grant a joyfull resur- rection." Still older is the monument of Richard Gris- wold, very quaint indeed. A Latin inscription, which may be translated, " Pray for the soul of Ricardi Greswold, armiger," and of his wife. Which Ricardus died (the date is obscure) ? The coat of arms is carved on this tomb, and contains the two greyhounds on the upper left 1 6 BLACK HALL hand corner, combined with some other em- blems in other quarters of the shield. In an old church in London is found a tomb with this inscription: "Near to this monument lyeth buried the Body of Dorothy Greswolde, 1610, the only daughter of Roger Greswolde, citizen and Merchant Taylor of London. Which Roger was the third son of Richerd Greswolde of Solyhull in the county of Warwick, Esqr." Thus we see a younger son of a country gentle- man took up commercial life in the capital and prospered. The deposition of George Griswold. " George Griswold, aged about 67 years, testifieth as followeth. In his youthful years he lived with his father in England, in a town called Kellingsworth or Killingsworth in War- wickshire. He did severall times here (hear) his father Edward say that the house in which they then lived and lands belonging thereto belonged to his brother Matthew Griswold aforesaid." George Griswold made oath to this in Hart- ford, May 9, 1700, before an attorney. Joseph Curtis, Clerk. Judge Lane of Ohio, in his genealogy of the TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 1 7 family, states that Matthew had brothers as follows : 1. Thomas, remained in England. 2. Edward, lived in Killingworth, Conn. 3. Francis or ff ranee Grissell, lived in Norwich. 4. George, in Simsbury and Windsor, Conn. James Griswold says : " I do not know his authority for this statement, but have supposed that the Norwich Griswold was of the second generation, a son of the Saybrook or Killing- worth Griswold. There is a family of Gris- wolds in Killingworth (now Clinton), Conn. There was an Episcopal minister, Rev. George Griswold, who used to come and hold service in the Black Hall mission." Francis Griswold was an early proprietor of land in Bride Plain, removed from there 1659- 60 to Norwich. From a record in the State Library of Con- necticut, at the Capitol in Hartford, I find a record as follows: " George Griswold of Kenilworth, England, had five sons born in England. "1. Thomas remained in England. "2. Michael b. 1597, settled in Wethers- field Conn. I 8 BLACK HALL "3. Edward b. 1607, settled in Windsor Conn. 1639. " 4. Francis, settled in Cambridge Mass. "5. Matthew b. 1620 settled in Windsor, Saybrook and Lyme Conn." This is Matthew, 1 St. The record found in the family Bible of Judge Matthew Griswold is as follows: " Matthew Griswold, the first of the name, came to America in 1636. Afterwards his three brothers came. Thomas who settled at Windsor, John at Wethersfield and George at Saybrook." From these three are descended all the Gris- wolds in this country. MATTHEW, 1ST, THE PIONEER. I. Matthew, 1st, went to Windsor, mar- ried Annah (or Hannah) Wolcott, daughter of the first Henry Wolcott. He was a lawyer by profession, though by trade a stone-cutter. He made a stone table over the grave of his father- in-law, and a note in the State Library states that Matthew Griswold thus commemorated the graves of many of the early settlers, but unfortunately there is no monument over his TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 1 9 own last resting place in the cemetery at Say- brook. Griswold was the first commissioner and jus- tice of the peace in Saybrook, from which we may be assured that he was a lawyer, though he had the trade of a stone-cutter. It was cus- tomary for the early settlers of this country to possess some handicraft of practical use in the new country. Also Burke, in his great speech on conciliation, tells the British Parliament that the Americans were well versed in the science of law. Before Major Fenwick left Saybrook to re- turn to England, he committed all his public as well as his private affairs to Matthew Gris- wold. The town of Saybrook formerly com- prised all the land now included in Lyme and East Lyme. Soon after the settlement of the affairs of Fenwick, Matthew Griswold removed to Black Hall, on the east side of the river, in the town of Lyme. Matthew Griswold, 1st, married Annah Wol- cott, and had children as follows: 1. Sarah, married George Colton of Spring- field. 2. Matthew, married Phebe Hyde. 3. John, died young. 20 BLACK HALL 4. Elizabeth, married John Rogers. 5. Martha, married Lieut. Abraham Brownson. Before leaving Matthew, 1st, and passing on to his children, of whom there are many tales to tell, I wish to tell one thing about him, which shows his advanced and liberal views in regard to women's rights in property. I have always understood that in former days a mar- ried woman could hold nothing in her own right. It was only through the agitations of the nineteenth century that these rights were secured. But our ancestor, Matthew Griswold, was quite beyond his age in this respect, for there is an ancient deed of which this is a copy : "April 23, 1663, Hannah (or Annah) Gris- wold wife of Matthew Griswold has a portion of meadow land in Windsor Great Meadows. Twelve akers more or less this comes to her as part of the portion that fell to her by the last will of her brother Christopher Wol- cott Diseased out of his estate which was to be divided among his Relations, and this parcell of meadow is allowed by her husband Matthew Griswold to be recorded and made over to TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 21 Annah his wife to remain to her and to her children and their Dispose forever." MATTHEW GRISWOLD, 2D, THE CHAMPION. II. Matthew Griswold, 2d, the champion, was born, probably at Black Hall, in 1652. He built a house of eight rooms east of his father's, which house stood until it was blown down in the gale of 18 15. He was a man of large size and of great strength, which characteristics have descended to his remote posterity. Lyme was bounded on the east by the lands of the Niantic Indians; by New London and Niantic Bay. A territory of four miles in width, which belonged to neither, lay between them. A petition was made to the legislature to have it divided squarely to each town, stating it should be two miles to each. The petition was granted, the parties met to make the divi- sion, but could not agree. Each claimed for itself three miles, and to give the other but one. After some heat they agreed to " leave it to the Lord," and put an end to the dispute. Each town should appoint two champions, 2 2 BLACK HALL and they should meet on the contested ground and fight it out in a boxing match, and to whom- soever the Lord should give the victory should divide the land, and the other should be bound to agree. New London selected Mr. Hempstead and Mr. Chapman; and Lyme, Matthew Griswold and William Ely. They met and fought, and in both cases the Lyme champions won the con- test, and the land was divided accordingly. This was indeed a truly medieval method of deciding a matter. Matthew, 2d, married Phebe Hyde, who must have been extremely pretty. I wish we had a portrait or even a description of her charm. Surely only a beauty would have dared to be so coquettish and to play fast and loose with so doughty a champion as Matthew Gris- wold. Let me tell you a story of their loves in Mat- thew's own words. There were found among the papers of Judge Matthew Griswold, the fifth of the name, some ancient papers. His affairs were arranged after his death, and that of his widow, by James Griswold, his great nephew, a rising young lawyer at the time. These TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 23 papers were carefully copied by James, who ap- preciated their value. To these I have access, and from them I make the following copy. As many words are obliterated owing to their great age, you will have to pardon the occasional blanks. The following is a letter from Mat- thew to Mr. Burchard of Norwich, the guardian of Phebe Hyde. " Mr. Burchard " Respects kindly presented to yourself and Mrs. Burchard and thankful remem- brances of all your former kindnesses these may inform you that we are in a comfort- able state of bodily health I perceive by him that the hearts and heads of all good peo- ple there, are full of trouble ;. not knowing how soon we may de deprived of our priceless liber- ties, which we have so long enjoyed and bodily injured. I inclose a letter to P. H. if you would stand my friend that I may have it is a great deal to ask if I am decided. If any other man doe interfere. Lett me playnly know it, and if the thing should go on, lett me nott afterward heare her say that if it had nott been for the persuasion of friends, or out of pity for me, she might have 24 BLACK HALL married otherwise or better. Though I have suffered much for her Sake since I saw your face, not only on account of trouble from my own Spirit, but alsoe from opposition which I mette with from some friends who wish me well notwithstanding if she can see it her way to proceed and God give her a heart to if any In her place I doubt nott that she will be well beloved by all my friends. Sir J. (Rev. John Higginson the minister) designs favorably in this so mighty a concern. If conscience and doe not bind her and encourage her to proceed with me in marriage, but that all the love which she hath hitherto showed be but fayned, lett mee know it. Sir, I speak not of any of these things to hinder the proceedings. But being I would write my minde unto yourself, as to a faithful friend nott but I the Lord give mee a heart Less to mind these things which con- cern the outward manne ; and earnestly to seek the one thing needful. " I take leave and remain ever your devoted friend and serv't. "M. G. "March 15, 1683." TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 25 Then followed a quantity of poetry, mostly illegible. Here are a few of the most nearly perfect verses : " And grant me this Token of bliss Some lynes to pen with speed That may to mee You doe me choose in very deed And if with freedom thou canst find We may proceed to marriage bonds. And bee right welcome from thy hande " And mee That I doe neglect With prayer been my defense But I have heard he said Which in a measure I find true That which the eye doth not behold The heart soe sorely doth not rue. " So art present farewell my deare Who art of my joye the Life And life's joy, Why should I feare If once you were my wedded wife." Thus we perceive that these verses, lame as they are, and incorporated in the letter to her guardian are directly to the fair maid herself. The next letter is addressed to Phebe. " Dear Heart " Tender of my most unfayned and Intyre love to you, hoping that you are in good health, 26 BLACK HALL etc. Although my present abilities of body and mind will not allow me to write largely unto you, as I should be glad to do; yet having this opportunity I am desirous to remind you of the unexpected unheard of which I have mett with; In the arrangement, the mo- tion of marriage, made by me unto yourself; soe very strange that I am att a great Loss of mind to think what the good pleasure of the Lord can be as a finall issue. " Though this I must say, if I thought you had not reall love and affection for mee I should then think it rather my duty to desist than to proceed, but as yet I am nott, nor cannot be convinced that Itt is so (or as God and thy owne conscience knows very well) when I had fully come to a conclusion in my owne minde never to give myself nor you any farder trouble in this matter yourself were pleased to tell me that unexpected (though welcome) news that you could not bear the thoughts of a finall sep- aration, and since when you were last at our side of the River you told me the same thing; beside many things which you have in dis- course told diverse of your own best freyndes, which gave them grounds to conclude that you had special Love for my person; If I had TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 27 thought that these things had been false, I must have judged of according to the which would have commanded a period to all proceedings of this nature; but constant I believed thee, and accordingly concluded that hee which had Inkindled this Love in thee would Increase it and in good time bring us to- gether in the relation of man and wife. And hereupon gave my affections full scope, conclud- ing that not only I mite, but that it was my duty to Love her intensely for whose Sake I should forsake Father and Mother. And as I told you when I last spoke with you, I shall not, at this time Release any promise (and you to me I should not suffer at this time for your own sake) which has past between us; though I cannot desyre that you should joyne yourself to mee in marriage on account of pitie ; I desire to look to God who is able to give mee to all his gracious promises, which would be a matter of comfort (for so they are) I would desyre you not forget how willing I have been according to my capacity and op- portunities: so then in kindness and in way of requital favor mee with some lynes. I shall not enlarge at present, but desiring that the good Lord would graciously guide us to that 2 8 BLACK HALL which may tend to his glory and our own ever- lasting peace I take leave and remain thine and thine only in the bonds of Intyre af- fection " M. G." Then another lot of poetics. Cannot de- cipher the first stanza. And I must say that while Matthew's letter does express sincere, manly, reverent affection; and when analysed shows him to be a man worthy the love and con- fidence of any maiden, however fair she may have been, yet surely as a poet he cannot com- mand the admiration of the fastidious critic of the twentieth century, but we must put it all in. It surely gives reality to these shadowy figures from the Past. " Deceit is loathsome, though in matters small And quite in things that are most triviale But when the case amounts to such a height To be of such concernment and such might Those that will then intentionally deceive Shall sure a curse as their reward receive My dearest dear, think nott that I Then find it true, and nott a lie He's thy best friend that speaks out playne My dear take heed And make great speed That thou give God no great offense TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 29 Then for my part A loving heart From thee shall be large recompense For why should I. Let not deceipt Cause me to wait But show thyself most intimate To him that will With all his skill Unto thy love retaliate " Matthew was right. Phebe Hyde did love him sincerely, and we have reason to believe that the marriage was a happy one. Later in life he pays tribute to her character, as he styled her a " Godly mother " of a wayward son. THE MYSTERY OF ABRAHAM BROWNSON. We have told, in enumerating the children of Matthew Griswold, 1st, and Annah Wolcott, that their youngest daughter, Martha, married Lieut. Abraham Brownson, or Bronson. Now we will relate the story of how he conferred a great and irreparable injury to the family of Griswold, and deprived us of our rights in England, and all proofs of the English con- nections and origin. We give the copy of an affidavit before Wil- liam Ely, justice of the peace, Nov. 15, 1699, by Henry Mervin, " that Bronson told him 30 BLACK HALL that he had a trunk of writings that were his father-in-law's which he said would vex his brother Matthew Griswold very much. I told him I had heard so — and I told him that I be- lieved that there were some weighty concerns in those papers for money, either in this country or in England; he answered that there were some great concerns in them, and there were some papers that Griswold never knew of, and never should." This concealment of title deeds to property was complained of to the General Court by Matthew Griswold in 1700. Had these papers been found and recorded they would undoubtedly have thrown some light on the English ancestry of the Griswolds. Matthew Griswold's loss of deeds was fatal to his claims in England. Hence, owing to the blind malice of Abraham Bronson, the English property was irretrievably lost, and with it all the family history connected with the transmis- sion. It is a mystery which has never been solved, nor can any clue be found to it. What was the character of Bronson? What angered him against his brother-in-law, his wife's eldest brother and the head of the family? How the TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 3 1 family papers came into his possession no one knows and probably no one ever will, in this world. I remember that James Griswold used to walk up from his brother's house in Black Hall to Lyme village over the " Meeting House Hills " and visit the ancient burying ground near the site of the old church. Here is situ- ated the grave of Abraham Bronson; and he (James) would sit on the grave of Bronson at midnight and try to call up his ghost to make him tell where he had hidden the chest contain- ing these priceless papers. But the old ghost never came, and James Griswold, greatly be- loved and mourned by us all, has passed on to where perhaps he has learned everything. There is hope, however, that in the later times, when psychical research is occupying so deeply the minds of scientific men, some one may find out that which we have so long sought in vain and either this generation or the next be able to consult our forbears, verifying our Eng- lish descent and claim the estates. I doubt not, however, that could this be done, our claims would be found as worthless as those of Colonel Pyncheon, hidden by the Wizard Maule behind the colonel's old portrait. 32 BLACK HALL THE TRUE AND TRAGICAL STORY OF MATTHEW GRISWOLD, 3D, AS TOLD BY HIS FATHER. Matthew, the third of the name, was a rather wild boy. He ran away to sea, underwent great hardships, and finally returned home to die under his father's roof, in the odor of sanctity. His whole story is told in the following letter written by his father to the Rev. Cotton Mather shortly after the young man's death: " Dear Sir " Though I am an utter stranger to you, yet considering that it ought to be the chief and continual care of Every man to glorify God, I thought it my Duty humbly to present to you the following narrative, desiring you to im- prove on it as God shall direct. " This last October 'tis five years since, my eldest son, having a vehement desire to go to sea, and concluding that I would not consent to it, took an opportunity to make his escape when I was attending the General Court. I used my utmost endeavors to recover him, but he got off from Piscataqua, leaving me sorrow- fully to think what the Event might prove, of a Child's wilful forsaking the Duty of his Re- TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 33 lations and the means of Grace, and ingulphing himself into the temptations of a Wicked World. And I was the more concerned because he had been but a very weakly Lad. They had not been long at sea before they were surprised by a dreadful Storm, in the height whereof the Captain ordered my Son to one of the Yard- Arms, there to Rectify something which was amiss, which whilst he was performing, he fully lost his Hold; but catching hold on a loose Rope, he was preserved. This proved a very Awakening Providence, and he looked upon the Mercy as greatly Enhanced by reason of his Disorderly Departure. Arriving at Jamaica, he was soon pressed on board a Man of War, from whence, after diverse months of Hard Service, he obtained a Release, tho with the Loss of all the Little he had. He then fell in with a Privateer on board of which he was Ex- posed into Eminent hazard of his Life in a hot Engagement, wherein many were killed and the man who stood next him was by a Chain- Shot cut all to pieces. At the time of this Fight God caused him to take up Solemn Resolutions to Reform his Life; which Resolutions he was enabled through Grace to observe. And he then Resolved to return as soon as might be to 34 BLACK HALL his Father's House. After a Skirmish or two more he was cast away. Then he was taken by the French and turned ashore at the Bay of Honduras, where he and fifteen more were taken by a party of Spanish Indians, led by a Spaniard. Having their hands now tied behind them, and Ropes around their necks, they were in that manner led to a place called Paten six hundred miles from the place where they were taken and very far within the Land, having no food but water and the cabbage which grows upon the Trees. My son had at that time the Fever and Ague very bad, so that many times every step seemed as though it have been his last. " Yet God marvellously preserved him, while Three men much more likely than himself per- ished upon the Road. Upon their Arrival to the End of their journey they were fast chained two by two ; and so continued eight months con- fined, and Languishing in Exquisite Miseries. " My son was visited with the Small Pox while he was in these Wretched circumstances. " At this time two Godly Ministers came to see my Family, and One of them then putting up a fervent Prayer with us on behalf of my Absent Child, he was directed into such Expres- TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 35 sions that I was persuaded that the Prayer was not lost, but that my Poor Son was then in some Remarkable Distress. " Noting down the time when this Prayer was made. My Son was in irons, and had the Small Pox upon him. " I observed some other Things of this Na- ture, which Modesty directs to leave unmen- tioned. " Innumerable Endeavors were used in this time by the Father Confessors to persuade them to turn Papists. Sometimes promising them Great Rewards, at other times threatening them with the Mines and with Hell. Some of these Miserable men became Roman Catholics. Hereupon the man who took them Petitioned the Viceroy for a Liberty to sell them into the Mines; which was very likely to have been granted. But there happening an Irreconcila- ble Difference between the Governor of the place and him, the Governor then wrote to the Viceroy that they were honest men taken by the French and turned ashore, having no ill will and Intention against the Spaniards. The Vice- roy then sent a special Warrant that they should all be Released and care taken to send them down to the Seaside, there to be put aboard 2,6 BLACK HALL some Spanish Ship and sent to Old Spain, there to be delivered unto the English Consul. The New Proselytes hearing of this took to their heels, met them on the Road, went with them to Old Spain, leaving their New Religion behind them, together with a wife which one of them had married; and became as Good Protestants (to a trifle if I mistake not) as they were before. They were put aboard Spanish Ships, and car- ried prisoners to Campecha, and several other places in the Spanish Indies, waiting until the Plate-fleet went home. My Son with some of his Companions were put on board one of the galleons. In the Voyage to Spain he was seized with a Dreadful Fever. The Doctor having used his best means for him a considerable time at last pronounced him past recovery. How- ever he let him Blood, and afterward the vein opened of itself and bled so long that all his Blood seemed to be gone, and he lay for Dead. The Bleeding stopped and so he Quickly Re- covered. The Captain of the Galeon told him that he had no Child, and if he would Embrace the Catholick Faith, and be baptized into it, and Partake of the Mass, he would immediately give him Three Hundred Pounds, and put him into as good a way to Live as he could wish for. TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 37 " Then the Pious Instructions of a Godly Mother long since gone to a better World were of Precious use to him. For though he was then lame (and not long after in danger of losing his leg) he was Enabled to sleight all these Temptations, and put his Trust in the Providence of God. I wish that such Experi- ances as these might stir up Parents to be more careful in catechising their children, and that you or some Powerful Person would move the Authority that, if it be possible some more Ef- fectual Course may be taken for the Instructing of Youth. My Son was Landed at Cadiz. From thence by the Good Providence of God he got a Passage to Portugal; from thence to New-foundland; from thence to Nantucket. And a Cure for his leg. Here I may not omit my Thankful Acknowledgement of the Kind- ness of some Good Peoples whose Hearts God stirred up to have Compassion on my Child in his Low Estate. There was a Gentleman from Boston who had some Lameness in his knees (whose name I have forgot) : He was in the Voyage from New-foundland to Nantucket supplied him with Money and was very kind to him. At Nantucket several were exceedingly kind to him. Entertained him at their houses 38 BLACK HALL and gave him Monies and Garments. When I revolve the Charity of these Good People, it often makes me think of what we read in Mark xiv;8o- (there is no such verse, he has made a mistake) but I have not yet had an opportunity to retaliate their Kindness. My Son coming from Rhode Island got a Passage from thence home by water. This after Four Years were near expired. I received my Son, the truest Penitent that ever my Eyes beheld! He took diverse Opportunity to discourse with me privately. Once he told me that he verily believed that he had little time to live. Said he, ' Tho' I am in perfect health I believe I have little time remaining, and Since God has been Exceedingly Merciful to me, I greatly desire to spend the rest of my Time very much to his Glory.' In farther Discourse he told me that a man whom he named had done him Great Wrong and that he had formerly often resolved to revenge himself. Said he ' I now freely for- give him.' And another man ' to whom I have not behaved respectfully, I wish to ask his pardon.' He now quickly fell sick, and he now said to me. ' My business home was to make my peace with you, and to Dy.' " His whole conversation during the eight TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 39 weeks which elapsed after his return was Ex- ceedingly Exemplary. Respectfully your ob't Serv't Matthew Griswold " CHILDREN OF MATTHEW, 2D, AND PHEBE HYDE. i. Phebe, born August 13, 1684, died aged 19. 2. Elizabeth, born Nov. 19, 1685; died, 1688. 3. Sarah, born May 19, 1687; died, single, aged 77. Her tombstone may still be seen in the ceme- tery near Duck River, bearing this inscription, " Sarah Griswold — single woman." 4. Matthew, born Sept. 15, 1688; died, single, 17 1 2 (the prodigal son). 5. John, born December, 1690; married Hannah Lee; died March, 1773. 6. George, born Aug. 13, 1692; married 1st, Hannah Lynde; 2d, Elizabeth Lee. Rev. George Griswold of Giant's Neck. 7. Mary, married Edmond Dorr. 8. Deborah, married Col. Robert Denni- son. 9. Patience, married John Denison. 10. Samuel, born 1697; died, 1727, aged 20 years. 40 BLACK HALL ii. Thomas, born 1699; died July, 1716, aged 16 years. The first and second children of Matthew, 2d, and Phebe Hyde were as we see two daugh- ters who died young. Phebe, the eldest, died at the age of nineteen years from quinsy, con- tracted from sleeping in damp sheets. Eliza- beth, the second child, died at the age of three years from sleeping in the same bed. From this we gather that our illustrious grandmother, Phebe Hyde, though probably a beauty, and un- questionably " Godly," was a careless house- keeper, as she did not air her sheets sufficiently, and thus lost two lovely daughters, one in the bloom of youth and the other in infancy, from the same cause. To continue the course of the family in the third generation. We have told all about Mat- thew, 3d, and we have seen that the fifth child was John, born in 1690. He was for a long time justice of the peace, and has always been referred to in the family as "Judge John." He married Hannah Lee and had children as follows : 1. Matthew, 4th, married Ursula Wolcott. 2. Phebe, married Rev. Jonathan Parsons. 3. Thomas, married Susannah Lynde. TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 4 1 4. Hannah, married Benaja Bushnell. 5. Lucia, married Elijah Backus. 6. Sarah, married Judge William Hill- house. 7. Clarissa, died in infancy. 8. Clarissa, married Nathan Elliot. 9. Deborah, married Nathan Jewett. 10. Lydia, married Samuel Louden. Concerning Judge John Griswold we select the following eulogy from a funeral sermon : " He was not only a gentleman of great wealth, but much esteemed by his townsmen and ac- quaintances for his superior wisdom and in- tegrity." He built a house where now stands the Judge Matthew house. This present house was built by Judge Matthew on the exact spot, and pre- cisely like his grandfather's house to gratify his own father, Governor Matthew, who had ten- der associations with his father's house. THE STORY OF MATTHEW GRISWOLD, 4TH, HIS LOVES, HIS HONORS, AND HIS SUCCESSES IN POLITICAL LIFE. Matthew Griswold, the fourth of the name, was the son of Judge John and Hannah Lee. He was born in Black Hall in 17 14. He held 4 42 BLACK HALL the offices of king's attorney, assistant judge of the Supreme Court, for thirteen years lieu- tenant governor; also for the same term chief judge of the Superior Court, and one year governor of the state. There are many stories told of this Matthew. During the Revolu- tion he was ever an ardent patriot, and the tradition is that when pursued by a band of British soldiers he had to run. He ran up "Whip-poor-will Lane," and when he reached the Marvin house (now that of Isaac Peck- ham) he found Hetty Marvin sprinkling the homespun linen spread on the grass to bleach. He hid under the linen and told the lit- tle girl not to let the soldiers know that he was there. Up came the British soldiers in their red coats. " Did you see Griswold pass this way my child?" "No," answered the brave little maid, which was strictly true, as he had not passed. So the pursuers went on and Griswold was not taken. The love affairs of this same Matthew Gris- wold form a charming romance, and as we have all so often heard the story told I have only to refer to personal reminiscences to tell it as I find it also in all the narratives. He was at first interested in a lady at Durham, Conn. She was TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 43 undecided and tradition hath it that she thought she could do better and marry a doctor, as it then seemed that Griswold was only a farmer. When he came for her final answer she hesi- tated and said: "I would like more time to consider the matter." Whereupon Matthew re- plied: " Madam you may have your lifetime." And she did, for we learn that she never mar- ried. Why this was so, whether the doctor failed to come forward, or she repented too late, tradition saith not. This unfortunate experience had the effect of making Matthew Griswold silent and backward about declaring his love a second time, we know not how, but he did not " wear the wil- low." He had a bright, pretty cousin, Ursula Wolcott of Windsor, daughter of Gov. Roger Wolcott. She appreciated the worth and dig- nity of his character, and determined, before she ever saw him, that she would marry him. She was visiting at his home in Black Hall, and, becoming convinced in her own mind of his love for her, she decided that she must take the initiative, and as she met him from time to time around the house she would say, " What did you say, Cousin Matthew? " As he at first made no definite response, she still would not give up 44 BLACK HALL the quest. At length meeting him on the steep, narrow, winding staircase, she said again brightly and encouragingly, " What did you say, Cousin Matthew?" "Oh, nothing," re- plied the bashful swain. " Well it is time you did," insisted the spirited maiden. Whereupon he spoke definitely, was accepted, and they " lived happily ever after." Just here it may not be out of place to insert something about the Wolcott family which it his been my good fortune to find. I read that the first Henry Wolcott was the son and heir of Sir John Wolcott of Golden Manor, England, which is still standing. Also a personal descrip- tion of Gov. Roger Wolcott by a South Wind- sor woman. " Several times a week he rode out on horseback, and always in full dress. He wore a suit of scarlet broadcloth. His coat was made long with wide skirts, and trimmed down the whole length with gilt buttons and broad gilt vellum buttonholes two or three inches in length. The cuffs were large and deep reaching nearly to the elbows, and were ornamented like the sides of the coat, also the pocket-lids with gilt vellum buttonholes and gilt buttons. The waist coat had skirts, and was richly embroidered. Ruffles at the bosom TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 45 and over the hands were of lace. He wore a flowing wig, and a three cornered hat with a cockade, and rode slowly and stately a large black horse." Such was the appearance of Gov. Roger Wolcott, the father of our cherished grandmother, Ursula. Gorgeous old gentle- man our ancestor! How I wish we had a por- trait of him ! The family circle of Ursula Wolcott was most distinguished. Her father, brother, and nephew were governors of the state. Also her husband, and her son, and her cousin, Governor Pitkin. Six governors in her immediate kin- dred, besides many judges in various states of the Union. From her posterity we may find others, not mentioned here. She herself is said to have been a woman of great beauty, energy, and amiability, and I have always heard it said in the family that the infusion of the Pitkin- Wolcott lineage into the Griswold integrity brought in a strain of quickness, brilliance, and spirit which combined well with the more solid, sterling qualities native to the Griswold's. We have always believed this to be true. I will quote from a sermon of the time : " His Excellency Matthew Griswold Esqr. descended from a respectable family was born at Lyme 46 BLACK HALL March 25 17 14. He was not favored with a liberal education but was gifted with fine natural abilities and great natural powers of mind. At about twenty years of age, he commenced the study of Law without an instructor and acquired such thorough acquaintance with the profession that he was admitted to the bar." He died of a cancer at his home in Black Hall, April 28, 1799. His wife, Ursula, died in 1788, in the 64th year of her age. V. The children of Matthew, 4th, and Ursula Wolcott were : 1. John, "Deacon John," married Sarah Johnson. 2. Matthew, Judge Matthew, married Lydia Ely. 3. Roger, Governor Roger, married Fanny Rogers. 4. Ursula, died in infancy. 5. Hannah, died in childhood. 6. Marian, married, 1st, Charles Church Chandler; 2d, Judge Ebenezer Lane; 3d, Jus- tin Ely. 7. Ursula, married Lynde McCurdy. TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 47 ANOTHER STORY OF GOVERNOR MATTHEW. During the war he rarely came home for the house was directly on the shore, and the British longed to take him as a hostage. He was governor of the state and one of the Com- mittee of Safety. One day he was at home — the cry went up — " The British are coming over the fields." He jumped into a meal chest and they threw the bags over him. His wife, Ursula, met the soldiers. " Search the house, gentlemen." But the meal bags were not dis- placed. THE STORY OF THE BREAD AND THE PATRIOT SOLDIERS. One of the Griswold's — I think it was Marian, daughter of Governor Matthew and Ursula. She had married three times, and at one time lived on the Post Road along which the first of our soldiers were to pass on the way to Boston. She and her servants lighted the great brick oven, made and baked bread all night, and gave the loaves to the tired and hungry men, who could not stop to eat but took them as they passed. After the death of Governor Roger, his fam- ily felt the keen pinch of poverty. One winter 48 BLACK HALL the girls had no warmer dresses than blue and white checked cotton, but three of the girls mar- ried lawyers and two went into the wilds of Ohio, where there were Indians. One of my great aunts, Mrs. Lane, used to tell me a story of sitting alone in her little house at twilight, when her husband was absent on circuit, the door opened and a tall Indian came in. He showed no violence at all. She smiled bravely up at him, and after a little stay he passed on. Deacon John Griswold was born in Lyme (or Black. Hall), April 2, 1752. He was a man of great size and immense strength. Tradition says of him that he once knocked down a horse with a single blow of his fist. Also that his weight was so tremendous that he broke the back of a horse on which he rode. He married Sarah Johnson, and thus came into the Gris- wold family the Diodati connection, which is as follows: The Diodati family in America is first represented by William Diodati, who came over about 17 17, and bought land in New Ha- ven, April 23, 17 17. He married, February 6, 172 1, Sarah Dunbar, daughter of John Dunbar. His only surviving child, Elizabeth Diodati, married Rev. Stephen Johnson. Her daughter married John Griswold, as above. TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 49 The children of Deacon John Griswold and Sarah Johnson were as follows : 1. Diodati Johnson, married Sarah Colt. 2. Ursula, married Richard McCurdy. 3. Elizabeth, married Jacob Barker Gurley. 4. Sarah, married John Lyon Gardiner, 7th Lord of the Manor of Gardiner's Island, the only entailed estate in America. 5. John, married, 1st, Mary Elizabeth Huntington; 2d, Louisa Wilson. 6. Mary Ann, married Levi H. Clark. 7. Charles Chandler, married Elizabeth Griswold of Giant's Neck. THE STORY OF GOV. ROGER GRISWOLD, THE FEDERALIST. Roger Griswold was born in Black Hall, 1762; we suppose in the house that was blown down in the gale of 18 15, but we have no knowledge of that. He entered Yale at the age of fourteen years; graduated, 1780; studied law in his father's office, and began the practice of the profession in Norwich. He married Fanny Rogers, daughter of Col. Zabdiel Rogers, and of very illustrious lineage, of which we will tell more later on. Roger Griswold 5<D BLACK HALL was elected to Congress five times, from 1795- 1805. In 1798 he had a violent personal en- counter with Matthew Lyon, the famous Ver- mont politician. Lyon was undoubtedly the ag- gressor, but an attempt to expel him from the House was unsuccessful. President Adams offered Griswold the posi- tion of secretary of war in his cabinet, but he declined the office, preferring, we may suppose, the practice of law in his native state. He was chosen a judge of the Supreme Court, and re- mained on the bench for two years. He was a presidential elector in 1809, when he voted for Pinkney and King — the Federalist candidate. In 181 1 he received the degree of LL.D. from Harvard University, and in 18 12 from Yale. Unfortunately there was no portrait ever painted of either of the Governor Griswolds, therefore, the State Library does not contain a likeness of any of our blood, except that of Gov. Oliver Wolcott. Governor Roger Griswold is thus described by a contemporary: " he was a very handsome man, with large flashing eyes, a commanding figure, and majestic mien, he seemed by his out- ward presence, born to rule." In 1 8 1 1 he was elected governor, and served TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 5 1 but a year and a half. During his administra- tion President Madison made a requisition on the state for four companies of troops for gar- rison duty, but the governor declined to furnish them on the ground that " they were not needed to repel invasion." Dying in office, his native state erected a monument to him, now standing in the little family cemetery at Black Hall. This bears the following inscription : " He was respected in the university as an elegant classical scholar. Quick discernment, sound reasoning, legal science, manly eloquence raised him to the first eminence at the bar. Dis- tinguished in the national council, among the illustrious statesmen of his age, revered for his inflexible integrity and pre-eminent talents, his political course was highly honorable — his fame and honor were the just rewards of noble action, and of a life devoted to his country — His memory is embalmed in the hearts of sur- viving relatives and of a grateful people. When this monument shall have decayed his name will be enrolled with honor among the great, the wise, and the good." 52 BLACK HALL THE STORY OF FANNY ROGERS. (Mostly from the notes of Miss L. S. W. Perkins.) I have told that Gov. Roger Griswold mar- ried Fanny Rogers, daughter of Col. Zabdiel Rogers of Norwich. Hers was a most illus- trious lineage. On her father's side she was directly descended from John Rogers, dean of the Church of England, eminent scholar, and assistant translator of the Bible with Tyndale and Miles Coverdale. First martyr to the Protestant faith in the reign of Queen Mary. Also Col. Zabdiel Rogers married Elizabeth Tracy, and her lineage runs back through va- rious illustrious Tracys, through Baldwin, Count of Flanders, to the Emperor Charle- magne; through Saxon kings to Alfred the Great and his grandfather, Egbert, king of the West Saxons. Lofty descent this, both for heaven and earth; but we must now confine our attention to Ameri- can history. Fanny Rogers was born away back in the eighteenth century, about 1769. She remembered at Norwich the dashing past of the horseman who brought the tidings of Lexington and Concord, her father was Colonel Rogers, in the thick of preparation. TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 53 She had curious and vague remembrance of going to a house, where they pulled up a trap door. This woman went down into the cellar and she saw ladies drinking something out of cups. She always supposed them to be guilty and unpatriotic persons drinking tea. Fanny Rogers was invited by her step-grandfather, Parson Snow of Providence, to " entertain the fine gentleman." This was Count Custine. In November, 1782, the officers of the French army were quartered on the principal citizens of Providence, and Count Custine fell to the share of Parson Snow as a guest. Annals of the period in a Providence paper have the fol- lowing notices : "Nov. 18. The French army commanded by his Excellency Count Rocham- beau arrived here from the westward. Nov. 23. A very splendid ball was given by his Exc. Count Rochambeau to the ladies and gentle- men of the town. Dec. 16. A public dinner was given by his Exc. the Governor and the Hon. Council to the General and Field officers of the French army, now in town, The Mar- quis de Vaudreuil and principal officers of the fleet." Count Custine seems to have been full of charm. When the day came for the army to leave town, he asked Fanny Rogers to stand 54 BLACK HALL on the stoop that he might have a last look at her. As they passed her Custine saluted her, bowing low : officers and soldiers followed suit, while pretty blushing young Fanny made cour- tesy after courtesy. She always ended this story in a sad tone, " And my dear his head was taken off in the French Revolution," raising her hand to her throat. THE STORY OF COUNT CUSTINE AS TOLD BY FANNY ROGERS. " Adam Phillippe de Custine, who had served in America with Lafayette, welcomed the Revo- lution in France. He had fought battles in its cause, and won them across the Rhine. He was arrested on account of the loss of Mayence on the 22nd July 1793, was removed on the 30th to Conciergerie and on the 17th August he was brought to trial. Condemned on the 27th, he was condemned and guillotined on the following morning. His son's wife, Louise Melanie Delphine de Sabran wrote to implore him to die as a good Catholic; he had already resolved on doing so, had received absolution from the Abbe Sothringer chaplain of the Con- ciergerie who though a ' constitutional priest ' was entitled to administer the sacraments. The TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 55 good Abbe accompanied the compte to the scaf- fold reading prayers and giving him the crucifix to kiss. The Jacobins were incensed at this pious and happy end, and arrested both the priest and the daughter-in-law. Later the priest was set free, but the daughter was imprisoned. She escaped in the dress of the jailor's daugh- ter, and being threatened by a turbulent mob, an unknown woman lent her infant as a pro- tection. After escaping the mob, Delphine handed the child back to the mother and got away. They had not exchanged a word. Her husband had been guillotined, but she lived un- til 1826." My friend and cousin, Miss Perkins, who has given me these notes, can remember a little high- heeled shoe, long since disappeared, which Fanny Rogers wore in her youth at the French balls. She said that she had to walk down hill back- wards when she had it on. The thin dresses they wore in those days in great, draughty rooms, heated only by wood fires in open fire- places, seem suicidal to us. Thin French or India muslins and a little gossamer scarf over the shoulders, no real undergarments, a linen slip and a petticoat. And thus they rode on horseback many miles often. 56 BLACK HALL There is a tradition in the family that Fanny was such a coquettish and captivating person that Governor Roger did not like to leave her behind unprotected amid the gayeties of Nor- wich, when he was in Congress. So he took, her behind him on a pillion to the old home, built the house now standing and installed her as mistress. The story is told that when dull and lonely, Governor Roger would take his violin, play a minuet, and he and Fanny would dance up and down the long kitchen. Later on the children came, and there was enough to fill their hearts and heads. I am sorry I cannot remember this bright grandmother, except as blind and very infirm. But others have been kind to recall and tell me these stories. They can remember how she used to sing old songs and ballads in a clear, high, sweet voice, and how all the family used to sing together in parts around the fire, singing catches and glees brought from England by Cap. Augustus Henry. Now I must bring my family reminiscences down to the children of Gov. Roger Griswold and Fanny Rogers. Matthew Griswold, the sixth of the name, was born in Norwich, and lived there until his TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 57 father's death. He was beginning the study of medicine, and full of interest and ambition in his studies. But the premature death of his father left his mother and the younger children without a protector; so he gave up his plans, came home to take charge of the farm and de- voted his life to duty. But it never quenched his spirit — he never knew an aged moment. I remember him well — tall, thin, active as a boy of twenty years, full of a genial wit, and a fine story teller. He had a way when making some specially delightful point of giving a light, quick stamp that gave poignancy to the joke or bright story. A brave, gallant man he was, and a noble son. He was an extensive and suc- cessful proprietor of shad fisheries in the mouth of the river, where he used to go out with his boats and nets to a pier and catch large quanti- ties of the favorite Connecticut River shad. I have been told that whenever a thousand shad were caught at one haul, they used to fire a gun from the pier to announce the fact. He married Phebe Ely of North Lyme, who survived him and lived to be over a hundred years old and died a very few years since. Be- fore her death there were living in the collateral line five generations. To paraphrase the old 5 58 BLACK HALL saying, she might have said, " Rise niece and go to thy daughter, for they daughter's daugh- ter hath got a daughter." Her niece had two great granddaughters. We consider this a very rare fact. This great aunt was of a rare spirit, remarkably strong, serene, and gentle, a poised character. She had much to endure, for in her early married life housekeeping on a farm was a strenuous calling. She carried it on with a calm, unruffled temper and great ability. She brought up a grand family of daughters, noble, dignified, and accomplished gentlewomen, who cared for her last years with entire devotion, and now live in the old home of Gov. Roger Griswold. Her one son is the Hon. Matthew Griswold of Erie, Penn., several years member of Congress from his district. But I must not omit to tell about Ensign Thomas Griswold and the " Black Hall boys, ' for these were among the amusing stories which used to be told. Ensign Thomas was one of the sons of Judge John and Hannah Lee. He married Susannah Lynde, and built a house where now stands Roger Griswold's barn, which we mentioned on the map. Ensign Thomas had six daughters, who were called the " Pleiades " on account of their TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 59 great beauty, and the " Black Hall boys " be- cause they were fond of and skilled in athletic sports. Such was the flow of their spirits that they were full of pranks. Their names were as follows: 1. Phebe, born 1743; married Col. Dyer Throop, and received from her father the " Throop lot," whether or not he built a house for her tradition saith not, but the field has always retained the name. 2. Lucy, born 1745; married Richard Waite. 3. Lois, born 1747; married Samuel Mather. 4. Sarah, born 1749; married Col. David , Fisher Sill. 5. Lovisa, born 1754; married Lee Lay. 6. Anne, born 1757; died 1760. These maidens attracted many suitors, who were not frightened away by their larks, as we see every one married except the youngest, Anne, who died in infancy. We will tell of some of their tricks. One suitor left his horse fastened near the door while he paid his court to the young beauty of his choice. Meanwhile her mischievous sisters unbuckled the saddle girths, and when the enamoured youth mounted 60 BLACK HALL his horse to return home, he found himself left sitting on the saddle on the ground while the steed careered away. Another trick was to lean from an upper window and, with a fish-hook, catch off the hat of a young man, as with a beating heart he raised the knocker to announce his arrival to his beloved. One of these girls was so capricious that after giving her promise to her lover, preparing her trousseau, the wed- ding guests were assembled, even the parson was in the house. The bride ran away and hid in the cornfield. The young man and all her family followed her into the obscurity of the corn and used all their persuasions to induce her to carry out her promise. At first she was obdurate, but at length the arguments and pleadings overcame her reluctance and she re- turned to the house, following the now delighted bridegroom, who ran on crying to the minister, "Hurry up! she says she will; she says she will." And she did, though tradition does not say which one this was. THE STORY OF DIODATE GRISWOLD. There were some unique characters in Black Hall before my day, but I heard so many stories about Diodate Griswold that I felt he TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 6 1 was one of whom I must find out his story and relate it. He was a very handsome man, who grad- uated at Yale in 1793, and had a brilliant gift in oratory and conversation, an elegant and courtly manner. His love of dress was mag- nificent beyond that of Oliver Goldsmith, of whom the story is told that he went to his bishop to apply for ordination wearing a pair of scarlet breeches. The bishop was so offended at this breech of propriety that he sent Gold- smith away to try his fortunes in another pro- fession. However, the subject of this sketch displayed his love for gorgeous costume in a more appropriate sphere. We are told that at a ball in New Haven, where he had shown himself as the gayest and most admired of the beaux, he appeared first in a black satin costume and later in the evening, after a brief absence, he again showed his elegant figure and hand- some face in one of peach color. We hear that later in life, arrested for debt by his tailor, his brothers were obliged to pay up his debts, and that by his convivial habits he so wasted his patrimony that in his latter years he was en- tirely dependent on his brothers, and ended his life in an insane asylum in Hartford. 62 BLACK HALL Sally Colt was a very beautiful girl, of a warm heart and high spirit. I have heard her story told by her friend, Fanny Leffingwell of Hartford. She gave her heart and promised her hand to a young gentleman of good family and dignity of character. Diodate Griswold was attracted to her and made ardent love to her, but she refused him and made ready for her marriage with the suitor of her choice. The wedding day was fixed; and, bidding her a tender farewell, her lover was obliged to leave her to attend to some important business in central or western New York, hoping soon to return to claim his happy bride. But he, alas, was taken suddenly ill with a fever, became de- lirious, so that he could not even tell his own name, surely not that of his fiancee, nor the fact of his immediate marriage. Meanwhile the lovely, high-spirited girl was so mortified and angered by his apparent neglect that she was beside herself with injured pride and disap- pointment. Now was the chance for the wily tongue and brilliant persuasive powers of the lover whom she had refused; and he used them all with signal ability. He fed the flame of her anger and touched her pride, telling her all manner of stories to account for the absence of TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 63 the expected and missing bridegroom; with vast tact and skill bringing her to contrast his devotion and tender worship with the desertion of the absent one, until at length she consented to marry him, and did so hastily. When too late to retract, her chosen lover returned and, after a full explanation, she learned how she hed been deceived, how misunderstanding and deceit had wrecked two lives. She soon learned that she was irrevocably bound to one whom she had never loved and found was entirely un- worthy of trust and respect. It was not long before they were separated and she went away to pass the remainder of her saddened life far from the scenes and friends of her youth. She lived long among strangers, but made many friends who learned to love and respect her; but all joy was blighted, her life was one of sadness and disappointment, begun so full of hope and promise. Judge Matthew Griswold married Lydia Ely of Lyme, Mount Archer, in the north part of the town, since divided. Matthew Griswold, the fifth of the name, re- sided in Black Hall, a large portion of which he owned and cultivated. He had excellent judgment and a thorough knowledge of the law, 64 BLACK HALL and would have been eminent in his profession but for the defect of stammering in his speech, which hindered his speaking in public. He had such a fine reputation for his legal knowledge that a number of distinguished men studied un- der his instruction, among whom I can mention Judge Ebenezer Lane of Ohio; Judge Henry M. Waite of Connecticut, father of the late chief justice of the United States; his nephews, Roger Griswold of Ashtabula, Ohio, and Charles of New London and Lyme, Conn. In order to explain fully the individuals con- cerning whom some confusion has arisen, I will specify that there were two Charles Chandler Griswolds. I do not feel sure which of these was the older, but will mention first the son of Deacon John. He went to New York and engaged in mer- cantile pursuits with great success. He married Elizabeth Griswold of the Giant's Neck branch of the family. After accumulating a handsome fortune, he retired, settled in Black Hall and, in 1842, built the new and beautiful house, now the residence of Mrs. W. G. Lane. This was built precisely on the site of the one built and occupied by his father. He lived to a good old age, and was a familiar figure in my childhood at Black Hall. TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 6$ We have said that " Cousin Charles C." mar- ried Elizabeth Griswold of Giant's Neck, the descendant of Rev. George Griswold. I wish to insert some personal recollections of this lady. She was, even in age, a handsome woman, slender, straight as an arrow, fine, well chiselled features and sparkling black eyes. And so neat! I have been in Holland, a place which is said to be the cleanest in the world; but it did not astonish me, who had passed the early years of my life next door to Cousin Elizabeth! Not only her house, but her lawn, the green in front, her barn indeed showed never a cobweb or speck of dust. Her entire place was so clean as to be truly awe-inspiring to the neighbors' children, who, conscious of the imperfection of little dusty shoes, trod " deli- cately," like Agag in the Bible, when sent to carry the mail or some message over the spot- less flag-stones. I remember a wonderful cup- board which was sometimes opened to show beautiful china, and sometimes, if I had been very good, or had brought some especially wel- come letters, or perhaps " Godey's Lady's Book " or the " New Lork Ledger," from out that cupboard would be taken an orange, or some rare and delicious candy from New York, 66 BLACK HALL and I was bidden to put it in my pocket (we had pockets in those days). Also I remember when ill with the measles or some kindred dis- order, there came over a delicate bowl, covered by an equally exquisite saucer, containing some most delicious custard or jelly for the little sick girl. Again I remember one very red-letter day when Mrs. Ethelinda Griswold of Giant's Neck, Cousin Elizabeth's mother, invited the Black Hall relatives to pass the afternoon and take tea at Giant's Neck. No one can imagine from the present appearance of that degen- erated spot how beautiful it was in my child- hood, though there are still some who can remember. The little gambrel roofed house nestling among the rocks looking out upon the bay, surrounded by lilac bushes and lovely old fashioned flowers, with the blue blue bay in front, and the little islands dotting the sea, all radiant in the June sunshine. It seemed the most beautiful and romantic spot I could ever imagine. And such a tea ! We never meet such " loaf cake " and raised biscuits, such amber and crim- son preserves;, only in Mrs. Whitney's tales are such toothsome delicacies. After tea we sat in the twilight on the fragrant porch, and I TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 6j listened to reminiscences of Cousin Elizabeth's youth. And she told me of a riding party when my mother was young, when she and my father rode out with some other young people; and, after such a tea as we had just enjoyed, riding home in the moonlight they became engaged. How pleasant it all was ! and how lovely was " Giant's Neck! " For many years I could not pass on the train without a pang of regret at seeing this charming spot turned into a manu- factory of fish fertilizers. The loathsome odor of fish pumice pervading the air once fragrant with the sweet breath of the sea and of the sweet garden flowers. I have said that there were two Charles Chandler Griswolds, and have told you about Cousin Charles C. The other one was the son of Governor Roger Griswold and my own grandfather. He died years before I was born, but my mother and grandmother have given me a full description of him, and I have read his journal and his letters, so I can tell about him. He studied law under the instruction of his uncle, Judge Matthew Griswold, and was admitted to the bar. He married Ellen Eliza- beth Perkins, youngest child of Judge Elias Perkins of New London. He at first practiced 68 BLACK HALL law in New London, but after a few years came to Black Hall and built the brick house, in 1822, now the residence of Mrs. Charles H. Griswold, and her son or his grandson, John Hubert Griswold. After these two cousins, bearing the same identical name, returned to live as near neigh- bors in the old home confusion was trouble- some; therefore, my grandfather dropped en- tirely the use of his middle name, and as he had officiated as governor's aid to his father, Gov. Roger Griswold, he was thenceforth known as " Col. Charles " Griswold. The latter was a man, as I have been told, of a tall, slender form, fine features, beautiful dark blue eyes, which have been hereditary in his family, shown in all his children and in some of his great-grandchildren. He was of a quiet, reserved temper, of scholarly tastes and acquire- ments. He went to England again and again; and his journal shows the impressions on a culti- vated mind made by the scenes and historic ob- jects in the mother land, clothed in correct and beautiful English. While in England during one of his visits he learned of the destruction by fire of the old church on the " Meeting House Hills," and he TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 69 took pains to make designs from one of the churches near London (St. Michael's, I be- lieve), made or planned by Sir Christopher Wren, and brought these to Lyme. After these designs was made the beautiful edifice which was destroyed on the night of July 3, 1907. This church has always been considered unique in its classic and beautiful proportions, and sincerely loved and treasured by us all. It is gone, but fortunately there are preserved many beautiful paintings of it done by the skillful hand of several of the gifted artists who of recent years have made their home in Lyme, attracted here by the pic- turesque scenery of the vicinity. Col. Charles Griswold also planted the avenue of elms which give such a charm to the entrance to Black Hall, and other noble trees about his house. The trees around the church were also planted by him. Only a few years since three majestic trees, the finest of all in the row behind C. H. Griswold's house, were blown down by a cyclone. It was deeply impressive to stand and mourn the loss of those old friends of my childhood, like fallen heroes. The family, aided by other friends, have searched in vain for the original plans of the church, 70 BLACK HALL for they cannot be found. There is no doubt, however, of the fact that Colonel Charles brought them, and that the church was built after these designs. It has always been spoken of in the family, and though there is now no one left who can remember the building of the church (in 18 17) , all the older people who re- member being told, by eye witnesses, know of the truth of this statement. Col. Charles Gris- wold was the first person to organize a Sunday School in Lyme. I have said that Col. Charles Griswold mar- ried Miss Ellen E. Perkins, daughter of Judge Elias Perkins of New London. She was a lady of cultured tastes, wide reading, and acute literary judgment. Of her may be quoted the rather trite saying, " to know her was a liberal education." Her influence was such as to raise the standard of thought all about her. She was a sincere Christian, though a woman of un- trammelled thought; a sincere lover of the Bible, and a conscientious observer of the sanc- tity of the Sabbath. On this day she always required a study of the " Assembly's Cate- chism," and that only " Sunday books " should be read. This was no privation, as she had a store of delightful books which were included TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 7 1 under this head. First, a large, illustrated Bible, from which the wondrous lore of the Old Testament became familiar to us as a pleasure not surpassed by the "Arabian Nights." Also the beautiful story of "Pil- grim's Progress," which great allegory was read by us as a romance second only to Ivanhoe. She always allowed for Sunday reading the works of Mrs. Sherwood. " The Lady of the Manor," delightful details of eighteenth cen- tury life in England, France, and India. I rarely see, among the floods of modern histori- cal romance, anything which equals these. On other days she used to entrance us from the stores of her wonderful memory. She knew by heart Scott's " Lady of the Lake " entire. When I was a tiny child I can remember sitting on her knee before the fire in the long room listening entranced to her recital of this delight- ful poem. My memory always recalls her voice ringing out with enthusiasm in the Bat- tle of Beal-au-Dune or melting in tenderness in the parting of Ellen and her father. One of my first memories is of standing at her knee and following her knitting needles over the words of the 125th Psalm in a large print Bible. 72 BLACK HALL There is a sweet miniature of her, in the pos- session of her first great-granddaughter, show- ing a piquant profile, bright hazel eyes, a skin so fair that the painter said that the ivory needed no tint to depict it. A little plump face, lovely fair curls drawn up from the neck behind and falling over her head and face. In age she was a tiny figure, delicate extremities, small fea- tures, the same sparkling eyes ; wearing in front of a delicate lace cap, either black or white, ac- cording to the occasion, little silvery curls. Despite her diminutive aspect she had a large and noble spirit. Family discipline was maintained in perfection and the many bereave- ments of her life were borne with strong resig- nation and lofty faith. She suffered many griefs : her husband was taken from her in the prime of life; her father, brother, and sister; her three lovely little ones in infancy; her favorite, Joseph, in youth, the sweetest gentle- man I ever knew; and, amid the strife of war, her poet, scholar, and hero, John. But her faith was strong through all, and though she taught in words the theology of Calvin, she based her life on the love of the Divine Father and was thus sustained. Among the neighbors, outside of the family TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 73 circle, she was spoken of as " Miss Ellen " or the " Widder Ellen." THE CENTENNIAL OF THE BLACK HALL DIS- TRICT SCHOOL. On the first day of December, 1806, the citizens of Black Hall decided that a school- house was needed in that vicinity, and on the 4th of July, 1906, the centennial anniversary was celebrated with great distinction. A fine paper was read by Mr. Moss, sent by the Hon. Matthew Griswold of Erie, Penn., who had re- ceived his earliest instruction at this little, old schoolhouse. This was a most enjoyable paper, full of interesting reminiscences, which he was so well qualified to give as he had entered this schoolhouse at the early age of three and a half and later had taught there. A very witty piece of poetry was also read on this occasion. The original subscription paper was produced, and of this I will here give a copy: " We, the subscribers agree to build a school- house for the eighth school district in the first Society of Lyme, of the following discription viz. to be seventeen feet in length, and fourteen feet width in the clear, and to be seven and a half feet between joints, to be covered with pine 6 74 BLACK HALL boards as high as the desks, and plastered with lime mortar above and overhead, to have three windows, and the outside door to open into an entry by the side of the chimney, and a closet on the other side of the chimney. The house to be placed on the parade where the two roads meet in the District. And we agree to defray the expense of the house in the proportion an- nexed to our names respectively. " In witness whereof we have hereunto set our names, this first day of December 1806. "Lee Lay one eighth "Matthew Griswold — one quarter " Roger Griswold — one third " Diodate J. Griswold — one eighth." And since then the old school-house has been devoted to the purpose for which it was de- signed so long ago, by those men long since passed away. And to quote the words of the Hon. Matthew Griswold, " Of the scholars of my time I can say but little, they are mostly if not all gone — There were pleasant fellows and pretty girls among them, who have lived unselfish lives and so far as I recall were good citizens. No doubt the time spent in the old school house had its influence for good, and did TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 75 its share in forming character that helped them to stand for the right." THE SEPTEMBER GALE OF 1815. We have referred to this tremendous gale before as obliterating all traces of the ancient Indian burying ground and as destroying the house of eight rooms built by Matthew Gris- wold, 2d. The following account was copied from the journal of Col. Charles Griswold, who was an eye witness : "Saturday, Sept. 23, 18 15. " This day occurred the most violent tornado and the highest Flood-tide ever known since the settlement of this State. It commenced about seven A.M. and continued until twelve M. The gale was from the S. E. The conse- quence was that the waters of the Sound were heaped up, and thrown with immense fury on the shores. Such a swell of waters, tide and surf no inhabitant had ever witnessed. It came on rolling over all our high banks and inun- dating our fields in a manner that was perfectly terrific. The salt spray was scattered all over — the country and vegetation for miles from the 76 BLACK HALL sea became salted — The tide was about five feet higher than usual. The Gale prostrated vast quantities of forest and fruit trees; the face of the country is essentially altered and denuded. Great numbers of buildings are also demolished by the fury of the wind. Pro- digious damage is sustained on the Sea Coast from New York to Portland." Tradition tells us that window panes as far as Salem, Conn., were so incrusted with salt as to be entirely obscured. We have spoken of Capt. Augustus Henry Griswold, who was for many years commander of some of the fine sailing vessels, carrying goods and passengers from New York to Eng- land and sometimes to China. He also has left journals telling of his adventures. Through the kindness of his granddaughter, Miss Lilian Griswold, I have been permitted to read a thril- ling account of a shipwreck. While he was a supercargo he suffered a shipwreck on the At- lantic Ocean. The vessel was lost ; the captain and sixteen men were crowded in an open boat, and after enduring terrible privations for many days, they were at last landed at Fayal, on the Azores Islands. There they met with hospi- TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 77 tality from the American consul, Mr. John A. Dabney, who treated them kindly, gave them food, clothes, and shelter, and at length ar- ranged for their return home. Capt. A. H. Griswold married Miss Elizabeth Lansdale, who was a very pretty English girl ; he built the picturesque stone cottage, behind the hill, look- ing towards the sea. He was much interested in the cause of temperance in the early days of temperance reform, and used to give able ad- dresses for this cause. There is still standing a cairn, erected on the top of the hill between his house and the road, and it was always called " the top of Mt. Temperance." He brought home some fine prints of Raphael's cartoons on scriptural subjects, still in the possession of his grandson and granddaughter, Edward and Lilian Griswold. The stone cottage is still stand- ing, but the grandchildren have made copious additions which have rendered the old house much more convenient and commodious. 78 BLACK HALL PAGES FROM THE NOTE-BOOK OF MISS L. S. W. PERKINS OF CONCORD, MASS. CHILDISH REMINISCENCES OF HER GRANDMOTHER, FANNY ROGERS, WIFE OF GOV. ROGER GRIS- WOLD. " The great delight of these child-days was the coming of Grandmother Griswold, one of the gayest and brightest of old ladies. " My very first remembrance is her teaching me grand manners. It was suggested that when I was old enough I was to go to Mme. Chegary's school in New York (my good fairy interfered and I went to Miss Green's). " Grandmother used to go through elaborate ceremonies in connection with my presentation to the French dame. She would sit solemnly in a chair and I would enter the room and make a courtesy and otherwise comport myself in a so- ciety manner. Then I was put in the chair, and Grandmother would come in and make the dear old world courtesy and so we would play hour after hour. Or she would sing in a high clear sweet voice old fashioned songs, Mother join- ing in with her fine contralto. Mother used to tell me that when the big family of her brothers and sisters was at home, they would sit about TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 79 the big wood fire in Black Hall and sing catches and glees and old English songs. One of the brothers, Uncle Henry, used to bring them from England, as well as new books. He brought Ivanhoe and Waverly, when all the world was reading and wondering who wrote them. Mother would ask ' anything new by the Great Unknown?' (Her mother was Marian Griswold, daughter of Gov. Roger, who mar- ried Thomas Perkins, and the great Aunt of the collectors of these memories, A. B. A.) " Grandmother was in these days about sev- enty years old. (She died in '63, aged ninety- four.) During the twenty years of her bright old age, she was full of abundant life. A bril- liant talker, full of stories of earlier times. I can quite believe what they said that as a young woman she was such a captivating person. My mother told the story of her father's funeral. He was beautiful in death. A faint color in the cheeks as in life, robbed Death of its terror to her childish mind. (We have told else- where that Gov. Roger Griswold was a very handsome man.) Miss Perkins goes on to say that one of the older generation said that Uncle Robert bore a startling likeness to him. That same uncle is in another picture. 80 BLACK HALL " I was a little girl, he came in to see Mother. He was a tall handsome courteous gentleman, dressed in the last English style, light trousers strapped to the well made boot, not quite unconscious of his own perfections. There was a tradition in the family, that Grand- father had been painted by Rembrandt Peale and that the portrait was destroyed by fire. " Grandmother was passionately fond of reading, or after she had lost her sight, of being read aloud to — Anything, Everything I She simply adored Cecilia, on which she could stand close examination. Pamela, Romance of the Forest — ' Turn Angelina ever dear ' she would recite with delight, and an old poem about a miller. In her bookcase she had Rol- lins' Ancient History, many weary pages of which I used to read to her, Russell's Modern Europe, Hume's England, Cowper's Task, which I have. But her love for the book of Job was beyond all. I would sit on a little bench at her feet, reading chapter after chap- ter, sometimes her voice murmuring an accom- paniment of well remembered verses. " Grandmother would tell of the old Meet- ing House on the Hill, unheated, save for the little foot stoves which the ladies carried with TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 8 1 them. She said the cold was bitter and the sermons long. In this connection I must tell the story of a Methodist minister, whose ser- mon was so long that when an ungodly neigh- bor planted his garden on Sunday morning and then went into church, while the sermon went on the beans sprouted, came up, and when the people came out of church, the beans showed above the ground. " Grandmother's story of one misadventure at the old meeting house was delightfully told. On a chill windy Sunday she emerged from the meeting house door, proud and gallant in a new red ' top-coat ' tightly buttoned down to the bottom of the skirt. A great gust of wind took her off her feet. She could not recover herself and rolled rapidly down the steep hill, until some one caught her floating cape, and arrested her mad progress. " I was also told of the evenings beside the big hearth during Grandfather's short visits from Washington. The eagerness of all to hear the latest news. The minister who had ambled down on his steady nag, Uncle Judge — perhaps the Doctor, all listening and discussing, and often in the chimney corner, a poor lazy Indian also with his mug of Flip." 82 BLACK HALL BLACK HALL IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, MISS L. S. W. PERKINS' REMINISCENCES. "All our enjoyments were without money, for we none of us seemed to have much. We rode the same horses that trotted discreetly on other days. "We had one good sail boat, called 'The Walk Spanish.' We would go to Saybrook, sailing down the Black Hall River, across the mouth of the broad Connecticut, buying crackers and cheese at a sort of Marine Supply shop, and washing them down with warm root beer. I wonder did ever young people have a sweeter and wholesomer time? I have never been able to recall an unkindness or ungentleness or coarse rough word. " We would sing, I playing the accompani- ment, or Jim would accompany me on the violin which he played well. He told me, once in that Caifornia experience, when he had used up all his money and was waiting for supplies from home, he played many a time for his dinner. He was among the Argonauts going immedi- ately after graduating from Yale. The love of adventure took him, not the love of gold, to which he was always consistently and curiously indifferent. TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 83 " During those summers, none could be hap- pier than we. Our ages from sixteen to twenty, life before us beckoning with every bright promise. Each house having some girl or young man visitor giving plenty of partners for the impromptu dances. We used to dance through long afternoons, Aunt Helen playing the piano, or one of the boys with a fiddle ; and one evening we danced to the music of the hum- ble Jew's harp ! We rode, drove, walked, rowed or sailed. Scoured the pastures for flowers and berries, examined the rocks with our geological hammers. " In looking back I remember one Thanks- giving, the happiest I ever knew, for I was too late for the wonderful ones at Grandfather's. This was in 1857. Mother and I took dinner at Uncle Mart's. Everything that could be was off his own land, and how good everything was with Aunt Phebe's delicate touch at the helm. I remember we younger ones, rose from the table when the pies came on and ran around the house in the fresh open air to freshen up our appetites. "Then in the evening we all went to Aunt Ellen's, talked, chattered and danced by the fire- light, making even little, old white-haired, blind 84 BLACK HALL Grandmother, foot it down the center with the rest of us. " Aunt Ellen's ghost story was a very real one to me. It seemed removed from the vision theory, as there was another witness. " Aunt was sleeping in a room alone, one of her children occupied a small one opening from hers, but with no other exit. A friend Mrs. was living in Ohio, at last accounts well and happy. Auntie had no more reason to think of her than usual. She was waked from sleep by the sight of her friend passing through her room into the one where the child slept. In a moment the child screamed ' there is some one in my room " — They knew afterward that the friend was dead, but how things corre- sponded I never knew. Things like this were not examined into in those old days. Aunt Ellen was her own Psychical Society. She was a strange compound of the old and the new. She had read and thought all her life and seemed to forget nothing. She read everything she could lay her hand on, Rees' Encyclopedia when there was nothing else. She was especially fond of the Bible. " She would sit at a window overlooking the Sea, with her large Bible on the broad window TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 85 seat, reading, reading, hour after hour, while dust fell untouched, dinner unprovided for, un- less she had a capable Bridget. I do not know whether Aunt was perplexed or questioning. She accepted modern theories (they were geo- logical then) with ease, everything fitting into her scheme of the universe. There must have been some theological free thinking, for one night very late, midnight perhaps, we were sitting alone in the long parlor, close to the fire place, for it was winter. We must have been talking of the doctrine of the Atonement from the connection, but I remember only this one thing, ' you may call it what you will, right or wrong but it was not Justice that He should suffer for our Sins.' " Those familiar visits to Black Hall, and the intimate relations with Aunt Ellen were very dear to me, and must have had an immense influence on my mental development. And morals, as well, for her standard of honor and truth was the good old Puritan one, just missing asceticism. Her house ran itself. Often, when I have gone out for a visit, she would say, ' My dear, I have had a large loaf of fruit cake made, it is in the cellar closet, whenever you are hungry, take a piece.' We would often 86 BLACK HALL talk on, forgetting that dinner was to be thought of, then Charley would fry a large dish of po- tatoes, delicious! " ' Thorndale,' she completely lost herself in. It seems strange that I cannot remember more of these talks, for they went on for years, and were on every subject, except things and peo- ple around us. No scandal and no gossip. " The house was full of books, Uncle Charles' library with solid books and old his- tory; and the modern books the boys brought home from College, Emerson, Thoreau, Lowell. " And a delightful cupboard in the attic crammed with novels. I too read through all, thick and thin, which was safe, as I suppose everything had been taken away that could hurt us young people. " Those years before the terrible strain of war times were full of blameless beauty." BLACK HALL AT THE PRESENT TIME. Still, as in the time of the settlement by the first Matthew Griswold, Black Hall sustains its ancient natural beauties. The ripple of the waves can still be heard on the beach; the soft skies hang over the charming scene; the radiant sunsets delight the eye with the marvelous after- TRADITIONS AND REMINISCENCES 87 glow, which is rarely seen further inland; the moonlight shimmers on the silvery waves as it did when the stalwart Matthew and the lovely Phebe Hyde walked, smiled, and loved there so long ago. The scene is not the same;, the unbroken forests are all gone, none of the oldest houses are here now, but in those yet remaining lingers yet the sweet spirit of hos- pitality, family affection, and a lofty standard of intelligence. May we continue to prize and remember our inheritance and may we and our remotest posterity feel the inspiration of the past, as it lingers in this beloved spot, to keep before us the ideals of all these brave, noble, and courteous gentlefolks from whom we are so fortunate as to derive our lineage. May all we undertake be done " bravely and swiftly '" like the greyhounds in our family arms. Before closing I must tender my grateful acknowledgment especially to Mrs. C. H. Gris- wold and her son, John Hubert, for their kind- ness in furnishing me with the best and oldest records which have made possible this collection. A. B. A.