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Full text of "Dolly Witter Stetson : a sketch of her life"

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DOLLY WITTER STETSON 




JAHES ALEXANDER STETSON 



Dolly Witter Stetson 



A SKETCH OF HER LIFE 



COMPILED FROM VARIOUS SOURCES BY 
HER ELDEST GRANDCHILD 



KATE DeNORMANDIE WILSON 



1907 



This Book has been edited and compiled by 

KATE DeNORMANDIE WILSON 

and is lovingly dedicated to the memory of her Grandparents 

DOLLY WITTER 

and 

JAMES ALEXANDER STETSON 

and published by their eldest son 

GEORGE RIPLEY STETSON 



2012392 



FOREWORD. 

In writing this memoir of my Grandmother I have used 
material sent by all the members of the family. My Mother 
began to take notes from Grandmother herself as she talked 
of her childhood and early days, and Aunt Mary continued to 
question her and write of other periods and events. 

All narrations which are inclosed in quotation marks are 
Grandmother's own words. 

The genealogical tables and references are as correct as I 
can make them. 

I hope my Mother and her sisters and brothers, who asked 
me to prepare this sketch for a family reunion celebrating the 
sixtieth birthday of the youngest brother, will find some 
pleasure in the result. 

Brooklyn, Connecticut, 

October twelfth. 

Nineteen hundred and seven. 



CONTENTS 



\ Page 

Dolly Witter — Childhood 1 

The Witters 9 

Brooklyn 17 

Young Womanhood and Marriage 19 

Early Married Life 24 

Community Life 30 

The Old Homestead 34 

Back to the Farm 38 

The Sharpes 43 

Farm Life 47 

Church and Society 52 

Changes 57 

The Golden Wedding 60 

Towards Sunset 65 



APPENDIX. 

Page 

Valedictory 73 

Witter Notes 75 

Deeds 75 

Sharpe Notes 76 

John Sharpe's Letter 77 

Grandfather's Letter 77 

Golden Wedding Lists 80 

Commissions 82 

Brewster-Witter Marriages 86 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Dolly Witter Stetson 
James Alexander Stetson 
Burying-Ground ) 

Little Red School-House ; 



Frontispiece 

Facing Page 

.... 14 



Meeting-House ) 

16 

The Village Home ) 

The Old Homestead 34 

w 

( Nearing the Farm 



North Door. 
2. South Door with Well-House. 



38 

Approaching the Homestead 



48 



i The Corn-Field and North Barn ^ 
( The Terraced Garden ) 

Mother's Elm in 1905 64 

Grandmother and Grandfather 66 

The Family Reunion at the Old Homestead in 1907 72 



DOLLY WITTER STETSON 



DOLLY WITTER 



Dolly Witter was the only child of Ebenezer Witter, III., 
and his wife Dorothy, or, as she was always called, Dolly 
Sharpe. She was born July 8th, 1807, into a prosperous, 
well-regulated home in Brooklyn, Windham County, Con- 
necticut. The family consisted of her father and mother, 
and her grandfather, Deacon Nathan Witter, all fine, intelli- 
gent, good people. Her Grandmother Kezia, a most ex- 
traordinary woman, died six months before little Dolly was 
bom. 

Deacon Nathan lived until she was fifteen years old, 
and she said of him: "My grandfather was very fond of 
me and often took me with him when he went neighboring. 
He would shake his cane over my head when I did wrong, 
but 1 do not think he ever struck me. He was a good man 
and I feel that my life has been influenced by him." 

In a Witter chapter other recollections are recorded, 
and it will be seen what a rare inheritance of goodness and 
piety, courage and determination, helped to make my 
grandmother the wonderful woman she was. 

One hundred years ago the home was the center of 
many industries, like spinning and weaving, which have 
passed entirely out of the most remote New England house- 
holds. Nearly every article of dress was made in the home. 
There was a tannery in the town where the hides of the 
cattle were prepared, and a shoemaker went from house to 
house with his kit of tools, to make the boots and shoes for 
the family. Tailoresses made the men's clothes, and seam- 
stresses the women's and children's. Grandmother remem- 
bered well Miss Davison, who made a yearly visit at the 
homestead, and who thought the family very generous to 
furnish two candles for her to sew by at night. 

The working day was fourteen or fifteen hours, and the 
pay twenty-five cents. 

In every well-to-do family the wife had a silk gown for 
Sunday and special occasions. The first culture of silk in 
this country was in Windham County. Dolly's mother 
raised silk worms, and spun the silk, making thread for 



knitting and sewing. My mother still has a pair of silk 
stockings knit from silk made by her grandmother. 

Dolly's mother was a strict disciplinarian and early 
instilled habits of industry in her child. When very j^oung 
she learned to sew and knit. One of the teachers when 
boarding her time out in the family sometimes took Dolly 
to school with her, and she kept for many years a piece 
of patchwork Dolly sewed before she was four years old. 

The same teacher, Miss Hinckley, was allowed to put 
a web of cloth into the loom and she would weave before 
school in the morning, and as late as she could see after 
school at night. This friendly assistance must have been 
welcome, for her pay was only fifty cents a week for teach- 
ing the district school. 

Dolly learned to read when about four. "An English- 
man called Master Abbott boarded here after he could no 
longer teach school, and he taught me my letters and how 
to read from the old Bible." The first school she went to 
was about half a mile south of the old homestead. She 
wore a lindsey-woolsey dress and a flannel petticoat made 
from wool sheared from sheep raised on the farm, which 
had been carded, spun, and woven by her mother. 

After school, when the candles were lighted, she had 
her stent of knitting, either a certain length of yarn, or a 
specified number of times around the stocking. She says: 
"Some of the happiest hours of my childhood were those 
after I had knit my stent, when I would climb up into my 
father's lap as he sat beside the open fire. He would take 
from his pockets corn or beans and play 'hull-gull, handful, 
parcel, how many,' or 'odd and even,' or 'fox and geese.' 
When I grew tired of these, he would take out his silver 
tobacco box and would set out on the wood-box near by, 
a feast, the box always representing roast turkey. I think 
my love of games 'came from him ; even now in my ninetieth 
year I enjoy a game of whist or backgammon, though there 
were years of my life when I had no leisure for such 
pastimes." By the time she was seven she spun linen on 
the pretty linen wheel, and loved to do it, but she never 
wanted to spin the tow. Her mother used to put out the 
tow to women in the neighborhood who would take pay 
for their work in pork, or corn, or some other necessity. 

Her mother taught her all the processes of spinning, 
both wool and flax, weaving, cooking, and housekeeping. 
She was brought up in all the good old ways of the good 
old days. Grandmother said: **I often think I did not 



give her the assistance and comfort I ought to, although I 
always had my allotted task." 

I do not know just when the little red schoolhouse was 
built. It is still standing in sight of the house, and was 
built on land given by Dolly's father. She was one of its 
first pupils. At that time the school was filled with chil- 
dren, often as many as forty in winter, when the big boys 
went. There were several large families, all Americans, 
now the number of children is very small, and a large pro- 
portion of foreign parentage. 

Grandmother tells of some of her school life: "I loved 
to go to school. I went to the district school every term 
there was one, which was three months in the summer and 
three in the Avinter. The summer school was kept by a 
woman, and I learned to sew. The winter term was taught 
by a man. Once when I was seven years old I had company, 
Lucy James, afterwards Mrs. Deacon Newbury, who went 
to school with me. I was called upon to repeat the rules 
in Murray's grammar. I failed and was called out on the 
floor and ferruled, right before my guest, to my great 
distress and mortification. The master's name was Artemus 
Brown, the grandfather of Nannie Scarborough. I had no 
idea what a rule in grammar meant, neither was I ever 
told, and not until I was a woman, busy with my family 
work, did I ever have any idea, then the sense of it would 
dawn on my mind." 

Notwithstanding her regular duties, and going to school, 
she had plenty of time to play and enjoy life out of doors. 
She said: "I always liked to have a stent, for when it was 
done I was at liberty to do what I pleased. I loved a free 
out of doors life. I was especially fond of the East Brook, 
which had a good many little falls. Father always had a 
boy, whom he took about fourteen years of age and would 
keep until he was eighteen, when he would go to some trade. 

"One boy who lived here, Samuel Robbins, had some 
mechanical ability, and used to make waterwheels. I helped 
him place them in the brook and run them. I always 
wanted to see things free — an imprisoned creature, or a 
pond appealed to me, and I gave them their liberty if I 
could. Sam Robbins was as fond of a cat as I was, and we 
both wanted the cat to sleep with us, so the one who went 
to bed first had the cat. "We often went to bed very early." 

I remember hearing grandmother say that she thought 
she had a good deal of mechanical taste, as she understood 



quickly even complicated machinery. She thought her sons 
got their love of mechanics from her. 

She was born with skilful fingers. Generations of 
workers before her made her deft, and quick to learn, at 
the same time she was a normal child. She admits to having 
been "a good deal of a rogue when young." "One time my 
mother had company and I was made to wait out of doors, 
so to occupy the time I began throwing wood down the 
well. At that time the well had only a curb and sweep, and, 
as the wood was always kept in front of the house, it was 
a handy thing to do. 

"Sarah Paine once came to visit me in melon time; 
father had a fine patch back of the corn barn. I plugged 
every one to find one that was ripe and so spoiled them all. 
Another time I shook every pear off a tree before they were 
ripe. My mother whipped me with a stick, so that was all 
paid for, no more need be said about it." 

Perhaps her mother was less patient than her father, 
at all events she did the whipping, and he used 'moral 
'suasion,' and, as not unusual, she said she "would rather 
have her mother whip her than have her father scold her." 
She had a very tender heart. When the pigs were killed 
she could not bear to hear them squeal and shut herself up 
in the tall clock. Her grandfather loved to hear her mother 
sing, and was particularly fond of "The Babes in the 
Woods." Dolly would listen as long as she could and then 
run out of the room to cry. 

The living was simple and wholesome, brown bread and 
milk, baked apples, berries, vegetables, meat from their 
own animals, mutton and lamb, beef and veal, pork and 
poultry. No class of people lived better than the farmers, 
literally on "the fat of the land." The custom of serving 
wine to guests or customers was universal, and the use of 
intoxicants much more common than now. Everyone put 
barrels of cider into his cellar in the autumn for the coming 
year. 

Life even so far out in the country was more varied 
than seems possible. There were visits to and from friends 
and family. Dolly often had friends to stay with her, and 
was permitted to return their visits. It is told of one of these 
visits to her Uncle George Sharpe as a very little girl that as 
some one offered to help her, or pass something to her, she 
made the significant answer: "Dolly can help herself well 
enough." 

The neighbors were always coming for help in time of 



sickness or trouble, and there were persons who regularly 
passed through this part of the country and expected to be 
given food and drink, and sometimes shelter. All these 
people were kindly treated and fed at this house, and like 
Lydia Maria Child, Dolly always "sympathized with the 
under dog." 

A remnant of the Mohegan tribe of Indians used to 
pass on their way to another tribe in Woodstock. They al- 
ways wanted a "little more drink of cider." One day one 
of the Indians came in and said to grandmother: "If you 
will bring me a mug of cider and set it on the table, I will 
call it to me." She wanted to see this wonderful trick 
and got the cider and placed it on the table. Then the 
Indian called, "Come here! Come here! Come here!" As 
it did not move he said: "Well, I come to you," and 
caught the cider and drank it. These Indians were always 
dirty, crafty and hungry, yet Dolly liked to have them come. 

There were traveling musicians, mostly negroes with 
fiddles. Dancing was very common among all classes, so 
whenever the musicians came there were impromptu dances. 

Another regular visitor was the "darned man." The 
story is that he was a gentleman who never lost his fine 
manners. He was engaged to be married and the lady died. 
He put on his wedding clothes and began to wander about 
the country. As his clothes wore out he would darn them, 
sitting by the roadside for hours darning the rips and tears 
with whatever color of thread anybody gave him. For 
many years he went bj^ going south in the spring and north 
in the fall, always calling for something to eat and often 
staying over night. He finally died by the roadside, having 
been denied shelter in a house in Canterbury. His clothes 
were covered with darns. 

Another mildly insane man was the "pin man," who 
came and looked all about the door stones for pins. The 
front of his coat was covered with pins all neatly quilted in. 

Dolly had her favorites among these picturesque people 
and was petted by them. Master Abbott, who taught her 
her letters, was always most kind to her, as was "Old 
York," another Englishman, who went about collecting 
bristles and rags. He brought in his bag the first crackers 
Dolly ever saw, and shared them with her, and she liked 
them very much, although "they came from a bag which I 
know now was not over nice," She was more fond of 
"Old York" than of ]\Iaster Abbott, because he petted her 
cat, which he always called Toosac. One more naughty 



thing little Dolly did which she told about. A tramp came 
one day and wanted something to eat. She went into the 
buttery and cut a large piece from a custard pie which her 
mother had made for company. 

One other person had a good deal to do with her early 
life, Charles Malbone. lie was born a slave and brought to 
Brooklyn by Col. Malbone. Col. Malbone came from New- 
port. He was a rich man and owned a good many slaves. 
He bought almost all of the eastern part of the town. He 
built an Episcopal church, and a glebe house, and set off 
a portion of land for the curate. 

When the state of Connecticut liberated the slaves, 
Charles drifted into this part of the town and worked a 
great deal of the time for Dolly's father. "He was fond 
of me because I used to get cider and tobacco for him. He 
came on all occasions when needed and was an efficient and 
ready servant and would do anything for me." 

He made the asparagus bed on the lowest terrace of the 
garden, which is still in the same place. Grandmother used 
to call it her diamond bed, because in the early morning the 
sunlight struck into the dewdrops, so that from the north 
door they would shine with all the colors of the rainbow, and 
she took great pleasure in watching them glisten. 

Charles continued to work for her father many years. 
When he died he was buried in the little burying ground her 
father gave to this neighborhood, who erected a stone with 
his name on it and this simple epitaph: "He was born a 
slave." 

I have repeated all these reminiscences of her child- 
hood to show how free and natural and democratic her life 
was, and that from childhood she was interested in and 
sympathized with all sorts and conditions of men. 

The Sundays were very long days, beginning Saturday 
afternoon at three o'clock and not ending until sunset Sun- 
day night. The day was spent at church, with two long 
sermons and very decorous conversation with the other 
members between services.. 

In talking of these Sundays when her Grandfather 
Deacon Nathan was alive, she said she "used to dread 
them." She had to sit still and read nothing but her Bible 
or listen to her grandfather read from the big Bible, and she 
added that she should be very sorry to have the day as 
hard and unpleasant to her grandchildren as the Sundays 
of her childhood were to her. Grandmother remembered 
many things, among others that in 1816 there was frost 

6 



every month of the year. It was so cold very little corn 
was raised, and the price rose from fifty cents to two dollars 
a bushel. Nevertheless her father said that the men who 
worked for him in haying time should receive a bushel of 
corn for a day's work as usual. 

When she was nine years old the Rev. Luther Willson 
was installed as colleague with Dr. Whitney. 

Her mother entertained some of the people who came 
to the installation, and they remarked upon the early season, 
as she had picked some currants for tea and it was June. 

One source of pleasure, common in those days, was 
riding horseback. When she was twelve years old her father 
bought her a horse, a very handsome horse, which she rode 
a great deal. This is probably the horse which he bought 
of the Morgans. Aunt Morgan, her father's sister Cynthia, 
who lived in York state, came with her son to visit at the 
farm. They had with them a pretty Kentucky saddle horse 
which her father bought and called hers, and which she rode 
at any time she wished to. "Nellie" had but one fault, a 
buffalo robe always frightened her, so that it was difficult 
to get her to pass one in a wagon or elsewhere. During 
this visit of the Morgans all the daily duties were performed 
as usual, and while she spun in the east part of the attic 
the cousin, lying on a bed near by, read aloud Pope's 
"Essay on Man," "Lady of the Lake" and other books 
which had been loaned to her by Priest White. 

She went great distances from home on horseback ; once 
to Abington to hear a woman preach. Her name was 
Clarissa Danforth, one of the "new lights." One sentence 
made a lasting impression, she was probably a Universalist, 
for she said, "Jesus Christ made a plaster as big as the 
wound." 

She went to school in the village when she was fourteen, 
riding back and forth, or staying with Aunt Tyler, her 
mother's sister Sophia. The schoolhouse then stood where 
the court house now stands. It was a long, low building 
with a fireplace in each end. 

Her most intimate friends were Sarah Paine, a second 
cousin, who lived in the neighborhood, and Emmeline 
Franklin, who lived in the village and used to come out and 
make long visits. Dolly and Sarah Paine went to school 
together, and people used to say "Sarah Paine has the 
handsome face and Dolly Witter the handsome form." 
Sarah Paine married John Gray, brother of Rev. Frederic 
Gray. 



There was music too in the home. Her mother was a 
good singer, and even to the last of her life her voice was 
clear and sweet. She sang the high part, called counter. 
She taught her daughter to read music and was so anxious 
to have her learn that she boarded a singing master and 
his horse for a whole winter that he might take her to his 
singing school. 

At one time the singing was so low in the church, in 
Dr. Whitney's time, that her mother and one other woman 
were the only singers, but "they hired a man with a violin, 
and despite all objections Squire Parrish's nephew, Moses 
Parrish, played the bass viol in meeting for many years." 

When Dolly was fifteen her cousin and mate, Sarah 
Paine, was sent to quite a famous school in Thompson. 
Sarah's grandfather, who was Dolly's uncle, Nathan 
Witter, thought Dolly ought to go too, and have the oppor- 
tunity for a better education. "He offered to take me to 
Thompson, find a boarding place and introduce me to Miss 
Dutch. Father and mother consented and I was soon left 
among strangers. I do not remember that I was homesick. 
Two other scholars were boarding at ]\Ir. Whittemore's, but 
they found another place after a dinner of injured meat, so 
I had a sleeping room and parlor to myself. Charles Sharpe, 
a relative of my mother's, lived in the town. He had a 
family of young people, whom I used to visit occasionally. 

Llr. Whittemore, with whom I boarded, had a small 
store, grocery I think. I was never in it. He had no chil- 
dren. A remark of his amused me so much at the time that 
I have quoted it often since. He said: "The Bible says 
a woman can see quickest as far as she can see, but a man 
can see the furtherest. " 

"The school was attended by a number of young ladies 
from the town, among them the Miss Larneds, and others 
from Providence and adjoining towns. I guess I was a 
pretty good scholar and behaved myself for I had the 
valedictory. (See appendix.) At the end of the year 
father came for me and was glad to have me at home again." 

During the year that Dolly was at school in Thompson, 
in October, 1822, her grandfather. Deacon Nathan Witter, 
died at the age of ninety-one. 



THE WITTERS 



Our first "Witter ancestor in this country was Ebenezer 
Witter, who, with his brother Joseph, came from Scotland 
to Hopkinton, Rhode Island, before 1693. The exact date 
is not known. Joseph remained in Hopkinton, and I know 
nothing about him or his descendants, except the tradition 
mentioned by Asa Witter Allen "that there was a traitor 
in this family and that he escaped to parts unknown." 
"Traitor" seems a harsh name to give a man because he 
was faithful in his allegiance to his king, and loyal to his 
old world traditions! Ebenezer I. settled in Preston, Con- 
necticut, and married Dorothy Morgan, a daughter of Lieu- 
tenant Joseph Morgan and his wife Dorothy Park, who 
lived in Maiden in 1666 when Dorothy was born. 

I do not know why or when the Morgans went to 
Preston, but they were living there when Dorothy and 
Ebenezer were married, whose first child was born March 
31, 1694. 

The Witters were pious, thrifty, progressive, prosperous 
men, shrewd and god-fearing, stern and stubborn, and will- 
ing to suffer for "conscience's sake." In this family the 
strictest religious discipline was maintained generation after 
generation. 

There are three Ebenzers called "Deacon" and doubt- 
less they were proud of the distinction, and worthy pillars 
of the church. 

The second Ebenezer married Elizabeth Brown and had 
fifteen children. In the "Genealogy of the Allen and Witter 
families" by Asa Witter Allen he says, "They (Ebenezer II. 
and Elizabeth) were eminent for their piety and for the 
training up of their household in the fear of God." "They 
were good singers, and the children always went to the 
preparatory lectures to be catechised in the Assemblies 
Catechism, and that is where many of the children took 
their first lessons in Theology." 

"Ebenezer II. was a strict observer of the Christian 
Sabbath, and faithful in performance of all the duties God 
requires of us as parents and children, on this Holy Day. 



Punctual in family worship, and even when confined to his 
bed with a broken thigh, he led the family in prayer morn- 
ing and evening." 

This punctiliousness in devotion continued in his chil- 
dren, and children's children. One of his grandsons says 
that his "mother began with her children before they could 
read, to say the catechism after her on Sabbath evening, 
and if we were sleepy sitting down, we had to stand up, and 
this was her course until we left the home mansion." 

Deacon Nathan Witter, Dolly's grandfather, was a son 
of Deacon Ebenezer II., and Dolly says of him, "He was a 
very religious man and read his Bible a great deal. Always 
had prayers, and said grace at table every meal, always 
standing. He had all the work stop on the place at three 
o'clock Saturday afternoon, when he shaved, blacked his 
shoes, laid out his best clothes for meeting, and then read 
his Bible. He used to say "Saturday night for preparation 
and Sunday night for meditation." 

He was Deacon of the first Ecclesiastical Society in 
Brooklyn for fifty years. 

Connecticut had particularly strict laws about the ob- 
servance of the Sabbath ; if a man did not go to church when 
he was able, he was punished. They were just about to 
whip a man in Ashford for not attending church, when a fine 
looking man on a fine looking horse rode up and asked what 
they were doing; when they had told him, he said, "Ye men 
of Ashford ye serve the Lord as if the Devil was in you," 
and rode away. 

They thought he was a spirit, and there were no more 
whippings in Ashford. 

Ebenezer III., the son of Nathan and Kezia, and my 
grandmother's father, was a most kind, gentle man whom 
she "never saw out of temper, tho' he once cuffed the boy's 
ears for making fun in prayer time. ' ' 

Another son of Deacon Nathan, also named Nathan, was 
a very scrupulous man, who denied himself the privilege of 
the Communion Service because he deemed it "wrong for 
anyone to partake of the Lord's supper who had not been 
baptized (that is immersed) and thus regularly admitted to 
the Church of Christ," and as he "had never been baptized 
according to his understanding of the ordinance," he, "one 
of the best men in the Society or the town" refrained from 
partaking. (See Life of Sam'l J. May.) 

Old Dr. Whitney, and Mr. Willson, his colleague, had 
both declined to rebaptize him, but Mr. May, against all 

10 



advice and precedent, took pity on him and immersed him 
in Blackwell's Brook. 

Let us think for a moment of the toil and hardships of 
those who came into a -wilderness, cleared the land, and 
drew from the soil maintenance for large families; fifteen 
children to Ebenezer II. and Elizabeth Brown; and thirteen 
to Nathan and Kezia. 

There were troublous times with the Indians, and that 
great struggle, the Revolutionary War. Who can estimate 
the priceless legacy of courage, fidelity, industry, and piety 
from these sturdy men? 

Now for a moment let us look at their wives and 
daughters. 

Dorothy Morgan, wife of the first Ebenezer, was the 
daughter of Lieutenant Morgan, who was a "defender of 
the peace and order of the colony." She was twenty-five 
or six when she was married. She had seven children, the 
last two twins, who were only six years old when her hus- 
band died. She saw her four daughters married and settled, 
two having been chosen by Benjamin and Joseph Brewster, 
descendants of Elder Brewster, than whom no better person 
came over in the Mayflower. 

We may safely infer that she had brought her daughters 
up in " the fear and admonition of the Lord, ' ' as well as all 
housewifely virtues. 

She married Daniel Brewster when she was sixty-one, 
having been a widow for fifteen years. She lived to be 
eighty-four years old, and I warrant she was a keen, thrifty, 
spry woman to the day of her death. 

Elizabeth Brown, wife of the second Ebenezer, was the 
mother of fifteen children ! She must have been a wonder, 
a ceaseless worker, and cheerful, amiable woman, or she 
would never have found time to sing ! 

Economy must have been reduced to a science, and 
Industry to a fine art, to keep them all fed and clothed, find 
time for prayers morning and night, and to teach the cate- 
chism to them until they were letter perfect for the "pre- 
paratory lectures" — and singing as she went. 

Kezia Branch, wife of Deacon Nathan — Dolly's grand- 
mother — has for all of us a remarkably vital personality. 
She came to the Homestead in January, 1754, a bride of 
nineteen years, full of health and high spirits, nothing 
daunted by the thought of an unbroken wilderness or the 
loneliness of the stranger in a new country. She was ready 
to pitch into the work of clearing the forest, and making 
a home, no matter how hard the conditions. 

11 



Dolly said of her: "Altho my grandmother, Kezia 
Branch Witter, died six months before I was born, I think 
an account of my life would be lacking in an interesting 
personality if some mention was not made of her. 

"She was tall and slender and must have been a very 
strong woman physically, and a very capable woman, for 
besides all the privations of pioneer life in an unbroken 
wilderness she was the mother of thirteen children, eight 
of whom lived to be married. 

"She spun and wove all the clothes they wore, and was 
such a famous weaver that she was sent for in the town, if 
a daughter was to be married, to weave the best table and 
bed linen. There are now in the house some blankets and 
coverlets that she wove, and a pair of pillow-cases marked 
K. W. to D. W. which are among my treasures. 

"She was an excellent housekeeper, and a kind, gentle 
woman, often controlling her somewhat impulsive husband 
with a gentle word. It was told of her that she rode to 
meeting on horseback, carried a child in her arms, and let 
down fourteen pairs of bars. Notwithstanding she had such 
a life of hardship and hard work, she seems to have had a 
great store of humor, and furnished herself and others much 
amusement by playing practical jokes on the family, and 
many a hearty laugh has been enjoyed over her quick wit. 
I remember some of the stories. Once she told her husband 
that she needed a new bonnet and showed him how shabby 
hers was, 'not fit to wear to meeting.' But the Deacon said, 
'I think that bonnet is good enough; I should just as lief 
wear it to meeting. ' The next Sunday she was very helpful 
in getting him ready, and deftly pinned the bonnet to his 
back. When he was riding up the hill nearest the church 
some one said, 'Why Deacon Witter, you've got your wife's 
bonnet pinned on your back.' He laughed and said, 'Well, 
well, that's one of my wife's tricks.' It may have been 
soon after this episode that he met a friend riding very 
fast. He called out, 'What's your hurry, is anybody sick?' 
'Oh no, but I have my wife's new bonnet and want to get 
it home before the fashion changes.' 

"He was very fond of her and said after her death that 
he 'was never out of patience with her,' which indicated re- 
markable Christian grace, for she played a great many jokes 
upon him. 

"Once when she had been out weaving for a neighbor, 
she came home to find old black Tony, a traveling fiddler, 
playing and her husband dancing. He was fond of dancing 
and often led the ordination or dedication balls. She seized 

12 



the broom and putting it between his feet tripped him up. 

"She did not approve of his junketing so much with 
Dr. Whitney, and one day when the Dr. rode up on his horse 
to join his Deacon on the way to Windham, to the dedication 
of a church, he said: 'Well, Deacon, don't you think some 
of Mrs. Witter 's doughnuts will taste good as we are riding 
along.' Whereupon grandmother went into the buttery and 
put up a small bundle and handed it to her husband. After 
they had ridden several miles the minister suggested eating 
the doughnuts. They opened the bundle and found — some 
cobs ! ' One of my wife 's tricks, ' said the good Deacon. 

"At one time she had a sister visiting her who looked 
very much like her. I have heard she was a twin. This 
sister met a Captain Chapman and made quite a favorable 
impression upon him. One night when it was nearly dark, 
grandmother (Kezia) was at the well rinsing the milk pail. 
Capt. Chapman rode up in all the splendor of his military 
dress, having been to the Annual Training Day, with his 
pockets full of that marvelous training gingerbread. He 
began his love-making asking her to sit down on a log at 
the woodpile and eat of the gingerbread. She laughed and 
chatted and ate until the gingerbread was gone. Grand- 
father came to the door, all ignorant of what was going on 
outside, and called 'wife, wife; I can't do anything with 
this child,' whereupon grandmother jumped up and said 'I'll 
send my sister out,' but the Captain mounted his horse and 
rode away in hot haste. 

"Grandmother was a great knitter, and as she had five 
sons and a husband who dressed in short clothes, she had a 
great many long stockings to knit. It was her custom when 
everybody else went to bed to put a pinch of tea into a little 
black teapot and set it near the fire, then she turned her 
back to the fire and sat and knitted the long stockings until 
late into the night. She usually made a cup of tea at four 
o'clock in the afternoon: as a boy my father loved tea, so. 
when he was working in the field with his father, he would 
watch for the smoke from the chimney which showed that 
the tea would soon be ready, then he would stop and shout, 
'Ma'am?' and grandfather would say, 'Run, your mother 
wants you ! ' 

"As all the fire there was in the house was in the enor- 
mous fireplace in the kitchen, which would take in a cord- 
wood stick, she often took coals in the warming-pan to warm 
her side of the bed. Grandfather, who had been sleeping for 
hours, would cry out, 'Don't burn me.' So one cold night 
she put the warming-pan out of doors and when he cried 

13 



out she rubbed it right down his leg. He jumped out of 
bed and exclaimed, 'Laekaday, you have blistered me!' 

"I think she had great influence over her husband. 
Mother tells the story that after grandmother was confined 
to her bed, mother's two brothers and a cousin passed the 
house Sunday morning to attend the meeting of a company 
of Separatists in North Canterbury; returning they stopped 
at our house to dine. 

"They were sitting in the East room talking and laugh- 
ing as only Sharpes with their wit could; this disturbed 
grandfather, and he took off his glasses, and laid down his 
Bible, and said, *I can't have such doings in this house on a 
Sabba' day" — his wife put her feeble hand on his knee and 
said, ' Sit down, it is all right, ' and so kept him from giving 
offence. 

' ' She was very fond of my mother, and thought her a 
good caretaker and housekeeper." 

Deacon Nathan held the commission of Ensign of the 
5th Company or Trainband in the 11th Regiment in this 
colony under King George the Third, Oct. 13, 1770. 

He was a large, stout man, and dressed in short breeches 
of black velvet, a satin vest, and a three-cornered hat. He 
was made Deacon when a very young man. When his wife 
Kezia heard that he had been chosen Deacon she said, "Well, 
I should think he was about fit to be a Deacon, for he has 
only had six horses in the pasture this week." He dealt in 
horses, and was a successful doctor of horses. He always 
rode on horseback and had a fine Kentucky horse. 

He used to deacon off the hymns with a loud sonorous 
voice, beginning the first line, then Deacon Davison read 
the next in a thin, high voice, which made a queer effect in 
such hymns as 

"Lord in the morning thou shalt hear 
My voice ascending high" 

He used a cane a great deal for support and emphasis, 
and used to shake it over grandmother's head. After school 
was out he did not want any loitering about the place and 
he would shake his cane at the children and shout, "Haze 
on boys, haze on." And then grandmother said, "That 
cane is now the support of my feeble limbs." 

I do not know whether Deacon Nathan went to the Avar 
as ensign or not, or whether he remained a Tory or became 
a patriot and fought with the colony. He lived to be ninety- 
one years old, and had had 154 natural descendants — 13 
children, 57 grandchildren, 82 great-grandchildren and two 

14 



great-great-grandchildren, of whom only 22 had died leav- 
ing 132 living descendants in 1822. 

Ebenezer, the third, was the tenth child and youngest 
son of Deacon Nathan and Kezia his wife. He was born in 
this house on the tenth of April, 1775, and lived here all 
his life, with the exception of a few months, which he spent 
in Preston, working for his brother Jonah. He also made 
a journey with his brother Jacob to York state to visit his 
sister Cynthia before he was married. He did not marry 
until he was thirty-one. He was like his mother, tall and 
slender, with blue eyes, a gentle manner and a quiet humor 
and ready wit. He was a happy man, fond of children, 
affectionate, but not unduly indulgent, a kind, generous 
father. He was fond of animals and treated them with 
great kindness and they loved him. 

The summer he worked for his brother Jonah he and 
the man were sent out one very hot June day to plow for 
buckwheat. It was so hot Ebenezer would not work the 
oxen and they did not accomplish much. When they came 
up to the house Jonah asked if they had finished the plow- 
ing. Ebenezer said they hadn't done much, "it was too 
hot for the oxen." "Humph," said Jonah, "too hot for 
the oxen! I guess the boys was too lazy to work!" The 
next day was just as hot, but they kept the oxen working 
right along until the plowing was done. When they drove 
them into the barnyard they were nearly dead. Three out 
of the four died and the other was never able to do any- 
thing. Jonah never said a word. 

Ebenezer stayed on the farm and took care of his mother 
and father as long as they lived. When his father, Deacon 
Nathan, died Oct. 27, 1822, after paying the legacies as pro- 
vided in the will — which amounted to a good deal — Ebenezer 
came into possession of the farm, which had doubled in size 
and to which he added a great many acres. He was a very 
exact and honest man, always paid for everything when he 
got it, even paying the doctor after each visit, so his estate 
was all settled when he died. 

Oct. 20th, 1800, he was made Orderly Sergeant of the 
Ninth Company of the Twenty-first Regiment with authority 
to collect the military taxes. He was made Lieutenant of 
the same company April 12, 1803, and Captain April 14, 
1806. This means that he had all the pleasure and excite- 
ment of the annual training days, as well as the work of 
drilling the men between times. Election days and train- 
days were the great high carnivals of the good old times. 

15 



He probably met Dorothy Sharpe, who became his wife, 
through her brother George, who taught the school in this 
district one or two winters. He gave the land on which the 
little red schoolhouse stands, and also the burying ground, 
for which the district returned thanks Sept. 2, 1839. 

It would appear that Captain Ebenezer's lines had 
fallen in pleasant places. He inherited a farm which had 
supported a family of fifteen and to which he added more 
land from time to time. His wife was a model housekeeper 
and a cheerful, intelligent companion, and sweet singer. 
They had but one child, to whom he was able to give all 
the advantages of education and society which the vicinity 
afforded, and later in her first hard time, could assist by 
putting her husband on his feet again. 

He had one hard experience endorsing a note of $500 
for Dr. Colwell, which he was obliged to pay, but I judge 
that on the whole he had a serene, comfortable, independent 
life. A little more lenient than his father, perhaps, but 
still a strictly religious, good man, a kind husband and 
father. 

See appendix for other "Witter notes. 



16 



BROOKLYN 



Brooklyn, Connecticut, is one of the most beautiful of 
the old New England towns, with its great trees arching 
the quiet, peaceful streets, and its big, old meeting-house 
in the middle of the shady, cool, green Common, and the 
pretty houses with gardens and lawns all so exquisitely 
kept. The hills and valleys in and around the town make 
varied and charming landscapes, and there is a sense of 
calm and comfort most welcome to those who are fortunate 
enough to be brought back, and to feel at home in the dear 
old place. 

In my grandmother's young days Brooklyn was very 
different from what it is now. 

It was the shire town of Windham County. The ses- 
sions of the Courts brought judges and lawyers, and so large 
a crowd of litigants that the five taverns were filled, and 
many of the townspeople let rooms to lodgers who ate at 
the taverns. 

Several lawyers settled in the town, one of the best 
being Squire John Parrish who always had young men 
studying with him. Squire Fuller not only had law students, 
but also young men who were fitting themselves to be 
teachers. 

Two newspapers were published in the town by five 
young men, and Rev. Sam'l J. May had young men preparing 
for college, and studying for the ministry. There was no 
lack of good society. The young people used to have very 
gay and happy times, the young ladies receiving a great deal 
of attention. Dancing parties, whist parties, and horseback 
rides were the order of the day. 

A good story is told about two young men, Horatio 
AVebb, a printer, and Asa Bowles, a law student, who went 
out to call on Dolly Witter. Mr. Bowles' father was a 
judge in Ashford and had come to Brooklyn for court. 
The young men borrowed his horse and chaise and drove 
out to the farm. When they were ready to go horse and 
chaise had disappeared. The first thought was that they 
had been stolen, then they concluded the horse had gone 

17 



back to the village. However, they saw nothing of it on 
the way, and it was not to be found in the town. It later 
appeared that the horse had gone home to Ashford. 

Grandmother, in talking of the old days, said: "In 
my young days Brooklyn was a busy place, very unlike its 
present stagnant condition. Besides the sessions of court 
there were the 'General Training' days, which filled the 
town with confusion, noise, and drunkenness. They fortu- 
nately are past, as are the stages which daily brought the 
excitement of arrival and departure. Two stages passed 
every day on both routes, one line from Providence to Hart- 
ford, the other between Norwich and Worcester. 

"After Mr. ]\Iay came "The Liberal Christian" was pub- 
lished in Brooklyn, making three papers for a time issued 
in this little town. 

"There was business of various kinds. Deacon Newbury 
employed several men with families in the making of 
spectacles, silver spoons, etc. His store contained nice 
goods. My grandfather bought the banjo clock of Deacon 
Newbury, and my mother has some of the Deacon's spoons. 
]\rr. Wilbur had a harness shop. jMr. Burton, a carpenter 
shop ; there was a bakery and tin shop, and cabinet making 
by Mr. Clarke." 

"In 1824 James Stetson came to town and established 
the business of chaise and harness making, which employed 
a number of journeymen and apprentices. His cousin, Mr. 
Bradburn, came the following spring, but died shortly after. 
Later another cousin of Mr. Stetson's came, James Alex- 
ander, a printer. It was quite a question among the young 
women which was the handsomer, James Stetson or James 
Alexander. 

"The coming to town of James Stetson was considered 
an acquisition to the place, and to our society, as he brought 
a letter from the Unitarian Society of Dedham, Mass., of 
which he was a member. 

"Brooklyn began to decline with the panic of 1837, 
which was severe. Manufacturers failed and business was 
terribly depressed." 

The court was transferred to Putnam and Willimantic. 
The newspapers died a natural death, the young men scat- 
tered far and wide and the gay life became only a memory. 



18 



YOUNG WOMANHOOD AND 
MARRIAGE 



Dolly was now sixteen — in July, 1823. She was a 
mature, dignified young woman, accomplished in all the 
household arts, a graduate of one of the "select schools of 
studied elegance," where she had no difficulty in leading 
them all, and carrying off the valedictory. She was free to 
enjoy all the good times, singing, dancing, riding and read- 
ing. She had a quick, ready sympathy for everything. She 
had the example of her mother, who was always prepared 
to minister to the sick and help those who needed her. All 
the virtues and graces of the Christian life were her birth- 
right, she had never known ami;hing but truth and love. 

She was gay, but it was tempered by seriousness. She 
was far older at sixteen than young people are now. She 
had the "power of doing," and there is nothing in the 
world that gives strength and repose to character like 
knowing "how to do." She knew nature and animal life, 
all the processes of sowing and reaping and gathering into 
barns, and she was mistress of herself. 

The November following her return from the school in 
Thompson she first met Rev. Samuel J. ]\Iay, the new pastor 
of the Brooklyn church. His coming added much to her 
pleasure and growth, and opened new and broad lines of 
thought and progress. 

I do not know why she wished to teach school, it cer- 
tainly was not necessary for her to ; perhaps it was to prove 
her scholarship, or because it was considered the correct 
thing for a smart young woman to teach. Whatever the 
reason, the next summer she went to be examined to teach 
the school in the little red schoolhouse, — but failed in arith- 
metic. 

She said: "I had taken a ciphering book with me and 
I was so disgusted because I did not get a certificate that I 
threw the book into Bassett's Pond." 

She must have had her misgivings to have taken that 
unlucky ciphering book with her! It would seem that the 

19 



most correct finishing schools for young ladies did not dwell 
on the most useful subjects in those days any more than 
they do now. 

Notwithstanding this defeat she taught school two sum- 
mers ; one summer in Gericho, a parish in the town of 
Pomfret, where Uncle George and Uncle Davis Sharpe lived, 
but she boarded around in the homes of the school children, 
as was the custom for many years. She was very homesick, 
and little wonder. She was an only child, and probably 
knew very little about children, and to find herself, in the 
beautiful summer time in a schoolroom, with a lot of restless 
children to control and teach, might well have made her 
homesick. Uncle George, who had been a successful and 
popular teacher, visited her school and thought it lacked 
"order." a very important requisite in those days. Uncle 
George taught at least one winter in the little red school- 
house, and it is quite possible that it was through him that 
Ebenezer Witter met his sister Dolly Sharpe, who after- 
wards became his wife and Dolly Witter 's mother. Grand- 
mother remembered that she was paid five shillings a week, 
81% cents, "which," she declared, "was all it was worth," 
and she invested the whole amount for the summer's work 
in a piece of lace. 

The next summer, 1825, she taught in Griswold and 
lived with her Uncle Fred Tyler's family. 

Women taught the summer schools only, as it required 
a man to keep the big boys, who went only to the winter 
school, in order, so Dolly could have all the good times there 
were in the winter, and there were many with a town full 
of young people. 

Grandmother told the story about one of the young men 
in Mr. IMay's family, a Spaniard named Alfaro, who was 
very gallant and a favorite with some of the young ladies. 
One Sunday after service she went home with Sarah Paine 
and remained over night. The next morning on her way 
home she went into Mr. May's as she often did when she 
had the opportunity. Everyone seemed surprised to see 
her down in the village so early, and she explained that she 
had spent the night with Sarah, and was just starting to 
walk home. She felt that they were incredulous, and after- 
wards learned that Alfaro went home very late the night 
before and when asked why had said he "had to go home 
with Miss Witter," which, as it was a distance of three miles 
or more, easily accounted for the lateness of the hour, as 
they had no suspicion of his veracity they did not know 

20 



which to believe. A minister who was there at the time, 
said: "I believe the young woman spoke the truth." It 
afterwards developed that Alfaro had been untruthful in 
many things and that he had told many disagreeable and 
false stories of the members of Mr, May's own family. 
The last grandmother ever heard of Alfaro, many years 
later, was that he was confined in a prison in New York, and 
that her friend Emmeline saw him there. 

We can well believe that grandmother had her full 
share of attention. She was a charming young woman, 
tall and straight, with a simple, direct and cordial manner, 
clever and bright in conversation, with the grace and 
dignity of unselfishness, and unconscious of her many 
attractions. 

Among them all there was one young man in whom 
her interests seemed to center. A young lawyer, Lorin P. 
Waldo, who was studying with his uncle. Squire Parrish, 
The attraction was mutual between them, but when mar- 
riage was proposed, her father was very strongly opposed 
to it, being prejudiced against the family. In the only talk 
on the subject her father said: "If you marry Mr. Waldo 
you shall receive nothing from me. I would rather see you 
married to an honest mechanic like James Stetson than to 
a man like Mr. Waldo." Grandmother replied: "Lorin 
P. Waldo will be in congress yet." Which prediction 
proved true within a few years. Then, in telling about 
this she added: "But if any preference for him continued 
in any way in my mind, the fact that he approved and sup- 
ported the infamous fugitive slave bill when in congress, 
quite disgusted me. I yielded to my father's wishes and 
married the man whose name he had mentioned, although 
up to that time we had little personal knowledge of each 
other," She had met Mr. Stetson with the young people in 
society and at church. In their early acquaintance he 
played the bass viol and she sang in the choir. 

Moses Parrish had played the bass viol for many years 
in the church, and grandfather paid him five dollars to teach 
him the art. Grandfather played for seventeen or eighteen 
years, until they moved to Northampton in 1843, 

James A. Stetson contracted for a chaise and harness 
shop to be ready in October, 1824, and moved into it the 
following December, His mother and two sisters, Mercy 
and Kate, came to keep house for him. One year later, on 
the night of the third of December, his shop was set on 
fire by a painter whom he had discharged for drunkenness 

21 



the previous October. The man vowed revenge at the time 
and was seen in the neighborhood that night, and no one 
doubted his guilt. Mr. Stetson had hard luck in that year. 
His cousin and partner, Mr. Bradburn, died very soon after 
coming to Brooklyn, which was a double disappointment, 
as he was engaged to Mercy, ' ' a handsome woman and good 
as she was handsome." The night of the fire Mercy took 
cold and died the following February of ossification of the 
heart. 

Mr. Stetson had to borrow money to pay back what Mr. 
Bradburn had put into the business, and then came the fire. 

There was great sympathy felt for his loss. The 
neighbors were standing about condoling with him, when 
Jacob Faucet said: "What are you all standing around 
here for telling him how sorry you are? Why don't you 
go home and bring him a load of lumber?" Then, suiting 
his action to his word he went home and hitched up and 
brought the first load of lumber with which to build the 
new shop before the old one had stopped burning. At the 
time of the fire James Stetson owed Daniel Robinson a note 
of $75. Mr. Robinson went to him and said: "You 
needn't worry about what you owe me;" and later, when 
Mr. Stetson took him the money to pay the note, Mr. Robin- 
son said: "Young man, I guess you need it as much as I 
do. Keep it." 

The townspeople urged him to remain in Brooklyn and 
they did all they could to keep him. The next day timber 
and materials began to come in to build a new and larger 
shop. Subscriptions were made to the amount of seven or 
eight hundred dollars, more than necessary to rebuild. Mr. 
John Williams still has a pair of wheels made soon after 
the fire. Grandmother says, "I was sorry for the young 
man and spun a pound of linen thread for him, but I never 
knew that it did him any good, as the thread for his work 
came on balls and mine was in skeins." I'm not so sure 
but the 'pound of linen thread' was the beginning of the 
tie which bound them together for so many years. 

They were married, James Alexander Stetson and Dolly 
Witter, Sunday, May 27, 1827, at eight o'clock in the even- 
ing. The groom was in his twenty-sixth year and the bride 
in her twentieth. Rev. Samuel J. May performed the cere- 
mony. James Alexander was best man and Emmeline 
Franklin bridesmaid. There were twenty-five guests, among 
them Abby May, afterwards Mrs. Bronson Alcott and mother 
of Louisa May Alcott: John Gray and Sarah Paine, who 

22 



were married later, and others whom I do not know. She 
was taken to her new home in a new chaise. Some of the 
guests had a merry drive and were upset near the ledges, 
but no harm was done. One incident connected with the 
wedding day grandmother must tell herself. "One con- 
gratulation, or rather benediction, connected with the day 
of our marriage I have never forgotten. It was from an 
old colored man, born a slave, Charles Malbone. He had 
been helping about and when his work was done he put his 
hat under his arm, extended his hand to me and said : ' ' God 
bless you forever, Miss Dolly, ma 'am, and Amen to come." 

Mr. Edwin Scarborough, then a young man, has told of 
standing with others the next Sunday by the church door 
to see the newly married pair come from their home op- 
posite, where Dr. Whitney used to live, the bass viol under 
one arm and the bride on the other. 

So ended the first twenty years of my grandmother's 
life, care-free and happy years. 

The following letter from Angell Colwell is interesting 
for the style of composition. It was probably written after 
the announcement of her engagement to Mr. Stetson, perhaps 
dashing young Colwell 's own hopes. It is written in a fine 
hand with the long s and reads : — 

"Permit me to write a few words to answer the lines 
which I received from your benevolent hand with joy and 
satisfaction, although I am unqualified to answer any compo- 
sition which comes from your magnificent hand. 

"An ancient father being asked by a sober young man 
how he should choose a wife, he answered him thus: 'When 
you see a flock of young girls together, run blind-folded 
among them and whoever you catch let her be your wife.' 
The young man told him that if he did so he might be de- 
ceived. 'So you may," cried the old gentleman, "if your 
eyes were open, for in the choice of a wife you must not trust 
your own eyes. ' A woman if her husband be passionate and 
hasty must endeavor to pacify him with mild and gentle ex- 
pressions, and if he chide, let her be silent, for the answer 
of a wise woman is silence; let her not tell her mind until 

his passion is over. No doubt but Mr. S will have a 

kind and loving wife. " 



23 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 



My dear grandmother now entered upon a new and very 
different life. Grandfather had boarded his workmen since 
having a home of his own. There were six men, his mother 
and sister Kate, himself and bride. Without doubt grand- 
mother expected to have his mother and sister remain with 
them and go on with the housekeeping, but not long after- 
wards Joseph, the older brother, came and took his mother 
away, his wife was much out of health, and the Hotel of 
which he was proprietor needed her. Kate went away not 
long after the mother's departure. She married George 
Benson, the only living son of that highly respected and 
influential family. Grandmother was left to shoulder the 
burden of this great household. Emmeline Franklin was 
teaching one of the village schools and lived with them, help- 
ing in many ways, and Olive Taylor was a young but much 
needed help. In the course of the year Mr. Daniel Robinson 
and clerk, being obliged to leave their boarding place, went 
to my grandfather's for a time, so the family numbered a 
full dozen most of the time. Mr. May had leased the Daniel 
Robinson house, the one on the northwest corner of the Com- 
mon. His family became so dissatisfied with housekeeping, 
that grandfather and grandmother decided to take the house 
off Mr. May's hands. They moved into it the first of April, 
1828, and Mr. May and his family boarded at Squire Par- 
rish 's. 

Thej^ took Mr. May's study, the southeast room down- 
stairs, for their room and on May 22nd, 1828, their first child 
was born, "a plump, fair daughter." 

The baby had so much hair that the nurse, Lucy Brown, 
said by way of announcing the arrival, "Jeems, go right 
down to Deacon Newbury's and get her some side combs." 
The baby was named Almira Backus for a dear friend, Mrs. 
Judge Backus, who died a short time before. 

Mrs. Backus was a bright young woman, a great addi- 
tion to their circle of friends. Her piano was the first one 
ever owned in Brooklyn. 

24 



Grandmother had never had the care of a child and says 
she "made hard work of earing for the baby. She was 
usually well but directly after Mrs. May's first child, Joseph, 
died of croup when he was away, our baby was attacked 
with the same disease when her father was away on business. 
James Greenwood went to Providence for him and found he 
had gone to Boston ; he followed on, and found he had gone 
from Boston to his mother's in Walpole. There were no 
railroads then and Mr. Greenwood drove all that distance. 
When husband reached home, the danger was over." 

Dear grandmother ! what a new and different life it was, 
to be sure. However much her good mother had taught her, 
she had never had any care or responsibility ; whatever she 
had done to help at home, there were at most four in the 
family, and the first year of married life had been one of 
great care, with an enormous family to plan and work for, 
and at its close a baby, another new proposition and re- 
sponsibility. It shows at once the fine metal of which she 
was made. Lucky for her that she had stored up sound 
health and strength equal to the demand, that she had had 
the training to help her take the larger task by the handle, 
and that she had inherited qualities of mind and heart which 
carried her triumphantly over all the hard places. 

I cannot conceive of my grandmother having ever been 
surprised out of her serene calm and wonderful poise. I 
never knew anyone so superior to all pettiness ; she lived in 
an atmosphere of such largeness of purpose, full of such 
vital moral and spiritual interests, that insignificant things 
did not exist for her. Mr. May said: ''She moves like a 
power. ' ' 

In a long life of great changes and trials she always 
held up her end of the work, and carried grandfather over 
the rough places with her cheerful faith and wholesome 
philosophy. 

In 1829 they moved into a larger house in order to take 
the minister and his family to board. In this house the 
second child, Mercy Turner, was born November 29, 1829. 

Since the carriage shop burned and grandfather lost 
everything he had, he had had a hard struggle. He began 
business in the new shop entirely on credit, and although 
he had made many chaises and harnesses, he felt at last 
that the burden was too heavy, and he made an assignment 
of all his property for the benefit of his creditors. It brought 
much less than its value, and left him still much in debt. 

At this time grandmother and the two children went 

25 



out to the farm and stayed until the new house over the 
shop — where the Davison house now stands — was built. 
llei father built the house part for her, and helped grand- 
father onto his feet again, and he continued the work. 

While grandmother and the children were at the farm 
grandfather walked out to see them very often. To keep 
his mind from his troubles and anxiety, he counted his 
steps, putting a bean or kernel of corn from one pocket into 
the other each hundred steps. Pier father loved the chil- 
dren, and little Mercy was a beautiful child, who endeared 
herself to him so strongly that when she died at only a 
little more than three j^ears of age, he said: "I never 
want to love another child as I loved her." 

Grandmother Witter was a great snorer, and once little 
Mercy went up to her and woke her, saying: "That isn't 
a pretty noise for a bangma to make." They may have 
stayed at the farm a year, more or less. At all events, Mary 
Sharpe, the third little daughter, was born in the new house 
over the shop December 8, 1831. 

Mr. May continued his great work of reform; beside 
the Sunday services he had a mid-week meeting at the 
different houses, when the great questions of the day were 
discussed, as well as religious topics. When the subject of 
temperance first began to interest him he gave grandmother 
a temperance tract, which she read as she was nursing the 
baby. At her side was a glass of sangaree — some liquor 
mixed with sugar and water. She picked up the glass and 
threw its contents out of the window. 

After a visit in Boston, where Mr. May heard some 
stirring temperance addresses, he announced on his return 
that he would serve no more wine or cider to guests, neither 
use it himself. The next time the meeting was at his house 
his sister Abby said as she served the refreshments, "Sam 
says you can have only cold water to drink, and if you are 
thirsty you can go to the well," 

A few evenings later they met at grandmother's and 
when it was time to serve refreshments she brought in some 
cake and a pitcher of water and said : ' ' The water in our 
well is as good as that in Mr. May's. We mean to follow 
the example of our minister!" In this as in the other re- 
forms both grandparents were in full sympathy. Every in- 
toxicant was banished from their home ; wine was not used 
in pudding sauce or in cooking, "lest the children might 
acquire a taste for it." 

26 



Grandfather from his youth up was devoted to things 
military, from being Captain of a band of boys when only 
nine years old, and trying to run away as drummer in 1812, 
he had been Corporal in the First Regiment, Second Brigade, 
and First Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, under 
command of Capt. Sam'l T. Bird, in 1820, and Sergeant in 
the Third Company of the First Regiment of Light Artillery, 
in the state of Connecticut in 1828, and was made Second 
Lieutenant of the same Company in 1831. He would have 
been made Captain if his temperance scruples had not stood 
in his way. Then everybody ''treated" and as he could not 
do that he did not get his commission ! 

The Anti-slavery Reform excited much bitter opposition, 
but my grandparents were among the first anti-slavery peo- 
ple in the country. Grandfather helped runaway slaves to 
escape by carrying them to Woodstock, the next station on 
the underground railroad. A female Anti-slavery Society 
was formed in 1832. Grandmother was one of the first 
Board of Managers, and was President of the Society for 
four years. It was given up in 1840 because many members 
had gone away and they had all become so firm in their 
belief it was not considered necessary to continue the meet- 
ings. 

In May, 1833, at the time of the excitement occasioned 
by Miss Prudence Crandall who admitted colored girls to 
her school in Canterbury, and in consequence was imprisoned 
in the jail, in a cell just occupied by a murderer, grandfather 
and grandmother spent the evening with her, and Miss Ben- 
son remained during the night. In the morning she was 
bailed out by Mr. May and Mr. Benson. Grandmother said : 
"We were never afraid or ashamed to show our colors in 
all these controversies. It is a 'happiness that we were in 
them and shared the society of such earnest, disinterested 
people." 

Their oldest son George writes: "I think that one of 
the most important of the advantages of our childhood was 
contact with the character of the men and women whom 
the reform interests of our parents drew around them and 
us. My childhood's memory may not be beyond criticism 
but, in my intercourse with men and society since, I have 
not met the same devoted, intelligent and pure-minded peo- 
ple as those who used to assemble at our house. Mention 
any of the early reformers in Anti-slavery, or liberal re- 
ligious, or temperance work, and their names and personal 
character were familiar at our family board." 

27 



In the midst of all these interests outside the home, in 
the home was a new baby, the first son Ebenezer Witter, 
born October 21, 1833. That winter the baby and little 
Mercy had scarlet fever, and the first sorrow came with the 
death of little Mercy, February 12, 1834. 

There were business troubles, too, things did not run 
smoothly, and if grandmother was like a mountain with 
strength in herself to resist all storms, grandfather was like 
a sensitive plant, and felt the coming storm while the sky 
was still clear. He was quick to foresee disaster, and failure 
was pain to him. 

Grandmother said of him: "He was a religious man and 
needed all the strength and comfort it could afford in his 
long life of many misfortunes and disappointments." It 
seems as if fate tried him more than necessary. 

He was ambitious, not for himself, but for his family. 
He was a tender, loving father, more demonstratively af- 
fectionate than grandmother. His attitude towards grand- 
mother was always loverlike and gallant. After his death, 
grandmother said: "I always had a lover." 

He struggled on with the chaise business for several 
years, at last paying off all he owed. He had to travel a 
good deal in connection with his business, and on one oc- 
casion when he was going to Philadelphia he took grand- 
mother to Brooklyn, N. Y., to visit Emmeline Ketcham. 
Myra was then ten years old and took the baby (George) 
out to the farm to wean. Aunt Jacob came out to see 
grandmother Witter and watched Myra soothing and nurs- 
ing the baby, who was very troublesome and unhappy, and 
then turning to grandmother Witter said: "She is the pa- 
tientest leetle critter I ever saw." Myra mothered and 
cared for the many children almost as much as grandmother 
did. 

There were ten children in all, Myra (Almira), Mercy 
Turner, Mary Sharpe, Ebenezer Witter, Sarah Frances, 
George Ripley, James Alexander, Jr., and Lucy Dolly -were 
born in Brooklyn, the last six in the house over the shop. 
James Ebenezer was born in Northampton, and Joseph 
Benjamin in the old Homestead. Grandmother had a fine, 
capable helper who lived with her many years named Anna 
Jack. She was of pure African stock, and had all its good 
qualities and none of its bad. She did everything ; her skill 
in refitting garments from the older to the younger child 
would be hard to excel. She was a "mammy" to the chil- 
dren, and most painstaking with their manners and morals. 
The children loved her and she loved them and made them 



visits and sent them goodies after going to Providence to 
live. She was a devout Christian and a good old soul. 

Thanks to Mr. May's untiring efforts there were good 
schools in the village, and the children had every privilege 
of education grandfather could possibly give them. 

In November, 1840, grandmother's father, Captain 
Ebenezer Witter, died. He had been a kind, affectionate 
father and it was a great grief to them all. Her mother was 
left alone on the farm, which was carried on for several 
years by farmers who rented it. 

In January, 1842, there was serious illness, again scarlet 
fever came among the children, and James Alexander, Jr., 
a little more than three years old, died on the 21st. 

About this time, through George Benson, his brother-in- 
law, grandfather became agent for the sale of silk made in 
Northampton. He had visited the community, and was 
acquainted with their large plans, and was much attracted 
by the wonderful opportunity for the education of his chil- 
dren, in the model schools already established in the com- 
munity. 

This appealed to him so strongly that he decided to take 
his family and join the Northampton Association of Edu- 
cation and Industry, which he did the next year. 



29 



COMMUNITY LIFE 



It was in the spring of 1843 that the family moved to 
"The Northampton Association of Education and Industry" 
which had been formed in 1841, and was one of the many 
attempts made about that time to make ideal conditions for 
living, and promoting the higher and nobler side of life. 
*"The projectors and leaders of the Northampton Associa- 
tion were as prominent in the activities of Anti-bellum days 
as were the transcendentalists and litterateurs of Brook 
Farm. Associated with this community as sympathetic 
friends or members were Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Wendell 
Phillips, Sam'l J. May, David L. and Lydia Maria Child, 
Prof. W. M. Adam, George W. Benson, James Boyle, Charles 
Burleigh,, Samuel L. Hill, David Mack, and others." 

The opportunity to purchase just the right place for 
such an undertaking came when Mr. Whitmarsh, who spent 
a fortune in the mulberry craze, was obliged to sell a valu- 
able property in the western part of Northampton, called 
Broughton Meadows, consisting of beautiful land on both 
sides of Mill river. There were a four-story brick silk- 
factory, two or three farmhouses, a boarding house, and 
several other buildings ready for occupancy on the estate, 
Sam'l L. Hill and George W. Benson and others bought this 
property and conceived the idea of making a community 
after the Fourier plan. 

They induced several families and some single people to 
join them, all of fine moral and intellectual character, who 
were willing to make sacrifices in order to benefit the world. 

There were reformers, idealists, liberalists and some 
cranks. Education was one great object, there were schools 
with all the newest methods, including a kindergarten, and 
the finest teachers, among them Prof. Adams, who had 
taught Oriental languages in Harvard; Prof. Larned, a 
teacher of history; Mr. and Mrs. David Mack, who had had 
a private school for girls near Boston ; Miss Sophia Fourd, 
from Dedham ; Mr. Porter, a French teacher, and the Misses 

•From article by Olive Ramsey in New England Magazine, March, 
1895. 

80 



Phoebe and Hannah Adam, teachers of music and dancing. 

It was this opportunity for the education of his children 
which decided grandfather, after due consideration, to join 
the community. I think grandmother was pleased to go; 
she was social and progressive, and expected to find kindred 
spirits there. 

My mother — Myra — who was fifteen years old at the 
time, has written the following account of the journey and 
life there: "How well I remember that journey. We spent 
the last night in Brooklyn with Mr. Philip Scarboro, who 
took us to Dayville for the train. He had a son and 
daughter-in-law in the community. There were so few trains 
that we had to wait nearly all day in Worcester, taking an 
afternoon train to Springfield. Before we reached Spring- 
field father was told that the Connecticut river was so high 
there was no way of getting to Northampton, so we left the 
train at South Wilbraham and stayed at a little tavern over 
night. Against the advice of the tavern keeper and others, 
we started the next morning in a lumber wagon with two 
horses to drive up the east side of the river to the ferry at 
the foot of Mt. Holyoke. 

"There were father and mother, six children and a 
driver. Mother and Baby Lucy sat on a board across the 
wagon, the others sat on the little trunk, or on straw in the 
bottom of the wagon. When we reached the ferry we found 
they had not dared to attempt to cross in the boat for several 
days, but after long dickering they were persuaded to try 
to go over, so we drove onto the boat, and, it seems to me, 
we went a mile up the river close to the east shore and then 
the boat was taken down by the current to the landing 
opposite the starting point. How frightened we all were 
to be on that raging river that seemed ready to swallow us 
every minute ! After we reached the other side, began what 
was really the most perilous part of our journey. The 
meadows had been covered with the flood, which had sub- 
sided, but had left pools and ponds of water in the low 
places. Two men with long poles went ahead of the team, 
and when they found a safe place for us we drove along, 
sometimes with the water up to the hubs of the wheels, 
splashing into the wagon, and sometimes we had to go 
around a pond. I watched mother's face to see if she was 
afraid. T can see now how she hugged the baby and sat 
like a statue, looking ahead. 

It was night when we got into Northampton street, and 
the driver refused to go any further, but father offered him 

31 



more money and he consented to go on. Our trials, how- 
ever, were not over. When we got to Clay Hill there was a 
fence across the road, and the sign "dangerous passing," 
so we had to go back quite a distance and drive around by 
the paper mill. It was very late when we arrived at Uncle 
George Benson's, where we remained a long time before our 
goods came and we could get to housekeeping. 

"We first lived in the boarding house with two other 
families, one of which, the Stebbins family, mother en- 
joyed. 

"The Stebbins family consisted of Mr. and Mrs, Calvin 
Stebbins and their two children. Calvin and Amelia, and his 
two nephews, Horatio and Giles, who had come to prepare 
for college with Prof. Adam. Horatio Stebbins became a 
Unitarian minister and settled in San Francisco. Calvin 
also became a Unitarian minister and Amelia was a noted 
teacher. 

"It was in the fall of this year, November 1, 1843, that 
my oldest brother, Ebenezer Witter, IV., died. He was ten 
years old and a fine boy. He was like his grandfather, for 
whom he was named, tall, blue-eyed and gentle. His death 
was a great sorrow to my mother. 

"As the plans for opening a boarding school for boys 
and girls included taking the boarding house for the pupils, 
we took the ]\Iack's rooms in the factory. There we had on 
the same floor father's sister, ]\[rs. Richardson and family, 
the Bassetts from Lynn, the Nickersons from the Cape, the 
Parkers and some others. We ate at one table and were a 
happy company. 

"We children went to school in the mornings, and 
worked afternoons. 

"The advantages of having such teachers and schools 
were very great, and although many of the methods were 
novel, they were interesting and beneficial, giving us broad 
ideas and teaching a great deal not found in text books. I 
believe that today none of the older children would ex- 
change those years for any others in his or her school life. 

"The attendance at the boarding school was so small 
that it was given up and most of the teachers went away. 
We wont back to the boarding house and had the girls who 
worked in the silk mill and several other single people 
board with us. 

"It soon became evident that the association must be 
given up. The failure of the plans for the school and for 
raising silk, and for farming, and more than all else, the 

32 



failure to get people with money to join, made it impossible 
to meet the payments on the property and keep it running. 
"Father seeing that the end was near, moved our 
family into Northampton town, where we remained one 
year, the older children attending the public schools, which 
were very good. 

"In 1847 we went back to Brooklyn, father still re- 
maining agent for the sale of silk for three or four years 
more. 

"Our experience at the community was on the whole 
pleasant. We met almost all the prominent reformers. 
The Garrisons spent a summer there, Emerson, Alcott, the 
Mays, Wendell Phillips, and many others visited us, and 
mother enjoyed it all." 

Uncle George who was six to ten years old at that 
period says : ' ' Whether the move to the Association fulfilled 
the anticipations of our parents I am not certain, but I am 
convinced that conditions surrounding the children at the 
Community were infinitely better than the environments 
which we moved from. I am under the impression that the 
First Kindergarten in America, or its principles of education, 
ivere first applied there. 

"A class of boys and girls under Miss Fourd used to be 
taken out by the river and all the natural formations of the 
earth were constructed along the river's bank. I am sure 
that I had a more definite knowledge in this line at six 
years of age than many children ever obtain." Children 
were made happy. They were required to devote certain 
hours to work, and study, and everything was made pleas- 
ant. Teachers accompanied them in walks, instructing them 
as they went along in the rudiments of botany, geology, etc. 
Life-long friendships were formed there, and there were no 
regrets for having tried the experiment. There was a charm 
in the life, the memory of which they would not have taken 
away. Grandfather said: "I have ever been thankful that 
I went, altho I returned as poor as I went, in money, the 
advantages to my family were very great in schooling, and 
in association with the best people I ever knew." 

Grandfather had, from the first, his doubts about the 
success of the business, owing to the complicated arrange- 
ments of the management, and at the end the entire property 
was in the hands of one man, Samuel L. Hill. 

Having been successful as their agent in getting the 
silk on the market, grandfather continued with them about 
four years more. 

33 



THE OLD HOMESTEAD 



Ebenezer Witter II. of Preston bought of a Mr. David- 
son 100 acres of land in that part of Pomfret called Scaddin, 
now known as Brooklyn. His son Nathan married Kezia 
Branch, November 15, 1753, and they came to live on the 
place his father bought, in January, 1754. 

From that day to this the house has been occupied by 
their descendants without any break, and for one hundred 
and fifty-three years it has been the home of four successive 
brides one overlapping the other. 

Kezia came in 1754 and died October 25, 1806. 

Dolly Sharpe was married May 11, 1806, and died De- 
cember 9, 1857. 

Dolly Witter came in April, 1847 ; died June 5, 1899. 

Mary Clarke came Nov. 26, 1868, and still reigns. 

Only four children in three generations have been born 
in this old Homestead. 

Dolly, the only child of Ebenezer Witter and Dolly 
Sharpe, 1807; Joseph, her youngest child, 1847; Kate De 
Normandie, her first grandchild, 1855, and George Allen 
Stetson, her first grandson, 1860. 

When Nathan and Kezia came in January, 1754, the 
weather was so mild that the men with the team took off 
their coats and walked in their shirt sleeves. There were 
no roads, nor cleared land, the teams came by cart-tracks, 
and blazed trees, and the young couple followed behind on 
horseback. There was a house on the place and a well of 
fine water. The well has never needed repairs, and has 
never been dry, altho sometimes in prolonged droughts it 
has been too low to give a full pail of water at night, by 
morning it has filled up with enough for another day's 
supply. 

They began to clear the land, and he built the stone 
walls all around the different lots. One cloudy day when 
clearing the woods from a piece of land he lost his reckon- 
ing. After calling aloud for a long time his wife heard him 
and answered, and guided him by her voice to the house. 
Nathan would cut down the trees during the day, and at 

34 




THE OLD MOnESTEAD 



night he and Kezia would trim them up and burn the brush. 

He made the terraced garden back of the house, the 
first one in town ; at the foot of it was a deer run, and deer 
were often seen there. 

They found many arrow-heads in ploughing. He must 
have been a prodigious worker to have wrested from the 
forest a farm large enough to support thirteen children. 

The house consisted of the west part of the present 
house, including the stairs. No one knows who built it, but it 
was a well-built house with rooms 71/^ feet high. There were 
no summer-trees in this part of the house. The walls were 
ceiled, except the living room, which was the only one plas- 
tered. There was an enormous stone chimney in the middle 
of the house with three fireplaces and two ovens. The 
stones were laid in clay. One fireplace was in the living 
room, a fireplace and small oven in the northwest room, and 
the big fireplace and bake-oven in the kitchen, with a wood- 
hole under the oven. 

I was a big girl before grandmother had a cook-stove, 
and I remember how she used the brick oven, and the kettles 
hanging on the crane. This fireplace was so large it took 
in wood six feet long. They used to hitch a horse by 
chains to a log of wood, and drive into the kitchen, leave 
the log in front of the fireplace, and then roll it in with 
skids. 

Inside the jamb on one side stood a dye tub, and on the 
other a wooden block on which the children used to sit. 

The fire very seldom went out, but in case it did the 
tinder-box on the high shelf was ready to furnish the spark. 

A high-backed settle with a box-seat, in which various 
things were kept, stood on the north side of the fireplace, 
on the other was a round table at which the mother sat to 
sew or knit, and on which was an iron candlestick and a 
tallow dip for light, or on rare occasions two. 

A pipe-box with a drawer for tobacco, and a deep box 
for pipes, and the tongs used to take coals from the fire to 
light the pipe, stood on the high shelf. The same pipe-box 
now hangs on the wall in the living room. 

The east part of the house, including parlor, bedroom 
and buttery, was built by Nathan Witter, who was grand- 
mother's grandfather. Where the entry closet now is, stood 
a high dresser, -with lockers underneath, and a broad serving 
place with shelves over it. 

There was no partition between the front door and 
kitchen in Nathan and Kczia's time, they needed all the 
room there wasj but Ebenezer with his little family made 

35 



the kitchen smaller by putting a partition the other side of 
the parlor door, which also made an entrance to the parlor 
without going through the kitchen. Out of the kitchen was 
a sink room with a wooden sink and shelves. 

The horse block, where they used to mount, has always 
been where it is, and is still as solid as a rock. 

The best pieces of furniture left by Nathan and Kezia 
were a fine mahogany desk with bookcase top, and drawers 
beneath and pigeon holes in the secretary part. The back 
was one solid piece of mahogany. There was a tall clock, 
a small table, a mirror, the historic warming-pan, and six 
fiddle-back chairs. 

All but the six chairs were in the Homestead within my 
remembrance. 

The story of the fiddle-back chairs in this: After 
Grandfather Nathan died one of his sons, Jonah, appears not 
to have wanted the chairs himself as much as he did not 
want his brother Ebenezer to have them. So one day he 
came to the house to take the chairs away. Nobody was at 
home, and he could only find five of the chairs. The sixth 
one was in the big closet off the northwest room so piled 
up with bedding that it was completely hidden. That chair 
remained in the homestead. Jonah, however, did not take 
the others to his home in Preston, but, after removing the 
seats, left them in his nephew Nathan's barn loft. 

After Grandfather Nathan's death an appraisal was 
made of the furnishings, and different members of the family 
bought some of the things at appraisal prices. Grandfather 
Ebenezer bought the desk and mirror, paying $100 for the 
desk. Grandmother inherited these things, and they have 
always been familiar to me. Other things which I have 
known all my life are two nice bureaus, a handsome table, 
the banjo clock which grandfather bought of Deacon New- 
bury, before he was first married, four ribbon-backed chairs, 
and the organ bought in 1848 or 49. 

The other buildings were put up at different times. 
Grandfather Nathan built the corn barn and piggery and 
smoke house. Grandfather Ebenezer built the woodshed and 
carriage house in 1820, and the well-house in 1838. 

My grandfather, James Stetson, built the milk room by 
the well in 1869, and moved the north barn down from the 
'upper place' and built the shed attached to it. 

In 1870 he took down the big chimney and made a good 
room in its place; used first as a kitchen, now as dining room. 

He also built the present partition between the entry 
and kitchen, and put in the closet under the stairs. He also 

36 



finished off the east chamber upstairs in 1868, and put in the 
dormer windows, and partitioned off, from the big attic, the 
little room for the man. 

Uncle Joseph, who has never left the farm, has added 
one convenience after another, and it is a comfortable, dear 
old place. 

It is a great satisfaction to me that my children came 
to the farm and knew and loved their great-grandmother. 
The old homestead is a part of myself, my birthplace, my 
wedding place, there is no place I love so much. 

This then is the homestead to which grandfather and 
grandmother returned after leaving Northampton in 1847. 

Note.— See Appendix for deeds of land belonging to the farm 
which has more than trebled the original 100 acres ; and for the present 
owners of pieces of fnrniture. 



37 



BACK TO THE FARM 



My grandparents went back to the old homestead in 
April, 1847. A combination of circumstances seemed to 
make it desirable. Grandmother Witter had been alone 
since her husband's death, she was seventy years old and 
begged them to come there. The farm had been misman- 
aged by the men who had rented it, and she offered as 
many inducements as possible. She bought four cows, a 
yoke of oxen and another horse ; and gave them the farm. 

Grandfather was away from home a great deal travel- 
ing for the silk company, there was a new baby, the tenth, 
coming, and there would be peace and quiet in the old home. 

The salary from the silk business was a great help in 
starting the farm, and caring for the family. The farm was 
all run down, and every building needed thorough repairing. 
Grandfather had never worked a day on a farm in his life. 
He was the laughing stock of the neighborhood. The first 
two years all he sold from the farm amounted to $150. He 
had to buy hay to keep the four cows, two oxen and a 
horse, — but he steadily improved the land so that he kept 
twenty head of stock, and the farm gave them a good living. 

Grandfather was never able to do the heavy work of the 
farm, but he was always busy, and little by little all the 
buildings were put in good repair, and many improvements 
made which added to the comfort and convenience of the 
household.* He made harnesses and painted carriages for 
the village livery stable, and was an expert at the business. 

He usually worked about the farm in thoughtful silence, 
but whenever he mounted his harness-stitching horse, a low, 
soft whistle marked the return of thoughts of the days and 
work of his youth. 

Uncle George was ten years old when the family went 
onto the farm, and he not only enjoyed its freedom, but was 
able to add considerable to the working force. Little James, 
who was three, very soon caught the spirit and wanted his 
" 'tirring 'tick." He was a young lad when he undertook to 
hoe his row and keep up with the man. Grandmother saw 

*See letter in Appendix. 

38 



he was getting tired and advised him to stop and rest but 
James said : "I'll finish this row or die in the furrow. " One 
of those significant remarks which grandmother thought al- 
ways indicated the character of even a little child. 

Joseph, who was born October 12, 1847, and the only- 
one of all the children born in the old homestead, soon took 
his place among the workers. One day he had been drop- 
ping com and pumpkin seeds until he was tired out, he 
came in and told his mother he knew what made lockjaw, 
"it was saying one, two, three, four, five, and a pumpkin 
seed!" 

Grandmother was much depressed before Joseph was 
bom, she was physically tired out, and regretted losing the 
close contact with the men and women who had stimulated 
and enriched her life, and whose companionship had been so 
congenial to her during the community days. However 
much she had enjoyed, it is equally true that she had borne 
her full share of the work. She seems to have been the 
cook for the entire household. 

Every new child was received with a glad welcome. 
Uncle George remembers Joseph's birth and being called in 
from work to have the youth presented with his mother's 
admonition to "lead him in the paths of righteousness." 
He remembers the pride with which his father announced 
the arrival of the new comer. 

For twenty years grandmother "had one foot on the 
cradle." So ended the second twenty years of her life, years 
of joy and sorrow, anxiety and care, change and disap- 
pointed hopes, and growth. 

She was a great reader, a clear thinker and a fluent 
talker. She always found opportunity in her busy life to 
keep abreast of the times and to know what was going on 
in the world. 

One of her nephews said of her: "To hear Aunt Dolly 
talk you would think she did nothing but read, and to see 
her work you would think she could never find time to 
read." She used the minutes when things were cooking, 
or when nursing the babies, and she could knit and read at 
the same time. On her fortieth birthday as she stood at the 
north door looking over the lovely hills and country, she 
said: "The first twenty years of my life were spent here, 
the second twenty years away. I suppose, if I live as long, 
the next twenty years will be spent here." 

She lived in the old homestead nearly fifty-two years 
longer. 

39 



MjTa did not come back with the family from North- 
ampton, but remained there and taught school during the 
summer of 1847. In the fall she went to Miss Lyon's school 
in South Hadley to finish her studies, and then taught again 
in Northampton in the summer of 1848. At the close of the 
term she went home and was very sick, so she was not able 
to go back to South Hadley as she had hoped to do. She 
taught the winter term in the little red schoolhouse, the first 
woman who ever taught the winter school. 

She brought to it many of the new ideas from the model 
schools in the community, which quite startled the conserva- 
tive members of the committee, but she conquered their 
prejudices and continued to teach. Her younger brother 
and sisters were among her pupils, and I suspect she "kept 
order." She went back to Northampton, where she taught 
until she was married, and for two or three .years Aunt 
Mary was her assistant. They came home for the summer 
vacations and Myra taught the children at home. One day 
in the summer of 1852, after the new minister was settled, 
she was having a lesson in the northwest room. When the 
children saw the minister coming to call they kindly dropped 
themselves one by one out of the window. They seemed to 
appreciate the situation, and the next year, on her twenty- 
fifth birthday. May 22, 1853, Almira B. Stetson and Court- 
land Y. De Normandie were married on Sunday in the old 
church after the morning service by Rev. Isaac Coe, minister 
in an adjoining town. It seemed very fitting that she who 
was born in a minister's study, and finished her education at 
Mary Lyon's Seminary, a school famous for furnishing wives 
for preachers and missionaries, should marry a minister, and 
a royal minister's wife she has been for fifty-five years! 

Aunt Lucy was twelve years old when ]\Iyra was mar- 
ried, and she thought her mother was proud because her 
daughter had married a minister, and felt she was rather- 
superior in consequence. 

Grandmother enjoyed the "new minister," and they 
discussed and argued all things under the sun, religious, 
political, moral and phj'sical, until Lucy said "they ought 
to have quotation marks around their mouths." While the 
new parsonage was being built the minister and his wife 
lived with grandmother, and the first grandchild was born 
there on March 13, 1855. That was a great household to 
be born into ! There were two great-grandmothers, a grand- 
father and grandmother, father and mother, and five uncles 
and aunts ! Joseph, then in his eighth year, was much 

40 



puzzled by all the relationships; after studying over it a 
long time he said: "We're all something to the baby 'cept 
Myra, she ain't nothin'." (Being only the mother.) 

I do not know how many winters the two great-grand- 
mothers, Dolly Sharpe Witter and Polly Alexander Stetson, 
spent together, but one was this one of 1855. 

It was charming to see them together with their gentle, 
old-fashioned eourteousness, and deference to each other. 
Each in her way was a remarkable woman, Great-Grand- 
mother Witter was a small, quick-motioned woman, always 
busy and anxious that others should be. Great-Grandmother 
Stetson was a large woman, although when she was married 
her husband could clasp her waist with his hands. She had 
a fine, lady-like carriage and demeanor. She had had a far 
harder life than the other. 

She had had ten children and was left a widow in 1810 
with a baby two months old, and forty dollars. She had 
been a busy, thrifty woman, and had brought up her family 
well. "They always had a best suit for Sunday and shoes 
to wear to meeting." She always had a smile and kind act 
and word for everyone. She liked to feed the cats at table, 
and would have to drive them away, saying : "Go 'way, go 
way; stop pricking me," Great Grandmother Witter always 
said: "If you didn't feed the cats they wouldn't bother 
you. They never bother me." She lived to be many years 
older than Grandmother Witter, almost ninety-six. 

They had very happy winters together and made bed 
quilts and knit stockings and chatted, and left a very lasting 
impression on the children. They were women of force and 
to be remembered with affection and respect. Perhaps it 
was about this time that the ladies were invited to a quilting 
party at the corner house. There had been great prepara- 
tions, good things to eat, and the quilt in the bars, every- 
thing ready when it began to rain. My grandmother was 
the only guest to arrive, and the poor hostess stood peering 
out of the window watching for the other guests, or a sign 
of clearing up, and every few minutes she would say, "I don' 
know, seems as if it's a leetle more kinder lighter," which 
came to be an often quoted sentence. 

So we see that grandmother still had a big family to 
look after, at least ten on an average, and dairy work, 
butter and cheese to be made as well as bread and clothes, 
and in haying and harvest time several extra men. 

There began now to be changes in the household. As 
we have seen, Myra was married in May, 1853, but she did 

41 



not permanently leave the old homestead until 1855, In 
the fall of that j'ear Uncle George went to Northampton. 
He was eighteen years old, and wanted to leave the farm 
and earn some money. He told his father if he would let 
him go he would pay half the wages of an extra man the 
next summer, and he kept his promise. For three j'ears he 
was an apprentice in a machine shop in Northampton and 
became a master mechanic. 

In June. 1856, Aunt Sarah married Nathan Allen, Jr., 
of Canterbury and went to live in Danielsonville. Aunt 
Sarah was sweet, gentle and lovable and a handsome woman, 
twenty-one when married. Grandfather called her "the 
little white pullet," and grandmother spoke of her as her 
"summer child." 

In September, 1856, my father and mother (Myra) left 
Brooklyn and went to Fairhaven, Massachusetts, where they 
remained thirteen years. 

Grandmother was a faithful letter-writer, and for years 
and years she wrote one Sunday to my mother, and my 
mother wrote the next Sunday- to her. 

In December, 1857, Grandmother Witter died of pneu- 
monia at the age of seventy-eight. The illness was brief and 
the end unexpected. Her epitaph is most fitting. 

"Life's duties done as sinks the day, 
Light from its load the spirit flies. 

While guardian angels gently say. 

How blest the righteous when she dies." 

She was a fine woman in every way and was called 
"the philosopher." Her family and ancestors were superior 
people, as the following chapter will show. 



42 



THE SHARPES 



I said that my grandmother's mother had rare blood in 
her veins, and that is certainly true, but I have not been 
able to look up the Sharpes and verify the traditions current 
in the family. Grandmother believed, and her mother must 
have told her, that the family in this country was a branch 
of the grandee Sharpes of Bradford, Yorkshire, which was 
the younger branch of the Sharpes of Little Horton, whose 
most distinguished son was Granville Sharpe, the aboli- 
tionist, of London. See appendix. 

Dorothy Sharpe, or Dolly, as she was always called, 
was the daughter of Robert Sharpe, IV., and Sarah Davis. 
Her great-great-great-grandfather came to this country from 
London in the ship Abigail in 1635, aged twenty years. He 
settled in Braintree first, then went to Muddy Brook, now 
Brookline, where he and Peter Aspinwall purchased a large 
tract of land in 1650. 

His widow, Abigail, married Nicholas Clap. 

The only son of Robert, who came over in 1635, was 
Lieutenant John Sharpe, born March 12, 1643, whose wife's 
name was Martha. He was killed in the battle of Sudbury 
in 1676. There is a letter which he wrote just before the 
battle. (See appendix.) 

His eldest son, Robert, H., born 1665, was killed by 
Indians in Canada. His second son, William, born 1673, 
sold his portion of the farm in Brookline to his brother 
Robert, April 10, 1721, and removed to Pomfret, Connecticut. 

There must have been wonderful fertility in Connecti- 
cut farms a hundred and more years ago. 

William and Abigail, his wife, had ten children, all born 
in Brookline, and he sold his Brookline land and came to 
Pomfret. He was Deputy to the General Assembly, 1722 and 
1723. John, the oldest son of William and Abigail, born 
July 14, 1703, married Dorcas Davis of Woodstock, Connecti- 
cut, September 12, 1725. They had ten children. Their son, 
Robert, HI., born May 2, 1742, married Sarah Davis, 
daughter of Daniel Davis of Thompson, Connecticut, Decem- 
ber 30, 1772, It was their daughter Dorothy, or Dolly, who 

48 



married Ebenezer Witter and was the mother of my grand- 
mother, Dolly Witter. This third Kobert was an Ensign in 
the Revolutionary War. He went from home, leaving wife 
and children with a boy to do the work. His wife (Dolly's 
grandmother) had to go with the boy into the woods to get 
fuel to keep them from freezing, and they were often short 
of provisions. She was the only woman in the vicinity who 
could write, and all the women came to her to write their 
letters, and brought the letters they received to her to read 
to them. Two sons, brothers of Grandmother Witter, George 
and Robert Davis — always called Davis, — married two 
sisters, Lucretia and Syrena Robinson. They were my grand- 
mother's dearest and most intimate uncles and aunts, al- 
though Aunt Tyler (Sophia) was very kind to her, having 
her stay with her when she went to school in BrookljTi vil- 
lage, and was always doing nice things for her. 

Uncle Davis Sharpe lived to be nearly ninety, and my 
first child made the fifth generation living: Great Uncle 
Davis, born 1790; grandmother, born 1807; mother, 1828; 
myself, 1855 ; my daughter Katharine, August 18, 1878. 

Grandmother Witter once visited her sisters living in 
Vermont, taking the long journey on horseback. Either on 
the way or while there, she took the small pox and was sent 
to the "pest house" to get over it the best she could. She 
was not even marked. 

It was a strange coincidence that when one of her nieces 
came from Vermont to visit her on the farm, she also came 
down with small pox. Of course Grandmother Witter could 
take proper care of her, as having had the disease she was 
immune. 

Uncle George Sharpe was judge of the county courts. 
He was a strong Jeffersonian. At one time some people put 
up a poster saying "George Sharpe is a man not to be 
trusted." Party spirit ran so high that at a dance when 
the musicians began to play the tune "JeJfferson and 
Liberty" everybody sat down. 

An old historian says of the English Sharpes: "They 
were people of great intelligence ; with a taste for letters 
and polite studies, well known for their writings, insomuch 
that it was said to be rare to meet so many learned authors 
so nearly allied." 

The same may be said of the American family, out of 
which have come men of distinction as patriots, preachers, 
lawyers, judges, senators and teachers, men who have been 
eminent in their various callings. 

44 



Mr. May says of Hon. George Sharpe and his wife 
Lueretia: ''I had not been preaching many weeks before 
my attention was arrested by a staid, sensible-looking gen- 
tleman and lady who came to church several Sundays, and 
whose countenances were radiant with the interest they took 
in what they heard. They were introduced as Squire Sharpe 
and wife of Abington, — a part of Pomfret, — the Hon. George 
Sharpe, lately a member of the senate of Connecticut. They 
were acknowledged of all men to be persons of very sound 
sense and elevated moral character. When they took a 
pew it was considered a great acquisition to the society. 
One day while walking I saw descending a long hill a large 
charcoal cart driven by a man whose contour and gait 
seemed to be that of my new friend, the Hon. Mr. Sharpe. 
I was a city boy and not accustomed to see gentlemen, mem- 
bers of the legislature, honorable senators, dressed in frocks, 
working like day laborers, especially as colliers. When near 
enough we saluted each other. I drew off my glove to 
shake hands. 'Oh! no!' said he with a hearty smile, 'I 
never give my hand to a friend when it is so dirt3^ My 
brother and I wish to clear up a four acre wood lot that we 
may plant it. The best way to dispose of the wood is to 
reduce it to coal, and we long since learnt the wisdom of 
Dr. Franklin's maxim, 'If you would have anything done 
well, you must do it yourself,' so we have gone into it. It 
is a dirty job, but we shall get through in three or four 
weeks and then you must come and visit us.' " 

Dorothy, the daughter of Robert Sharpe and Sarah 
Davis, was born January 30, 1779. She married Ebenezer 
Witter May 11, 1806, and was the mother of my grand- 
mother, Dolly Witter. The first green grass was seen on 
their ride to the old homestead and the first peach blossoms 
they saw were on a tree in their next door neighbor's yard. 
They came on horseback and my grandmother used the same 
saddle — it may still be in existence. 

Grandmother said of her mother: "She was a woman 
of much intelligence, fond of reading and interested in re- 
ligious questions and became a strong Unitarian. She was 
called 'the philosopher.' she was so calm and well-balanced, 
seldom having extreme joy or sorrow. She was a sort of en- 
cyclopedia for the neighbors, who often came to her with 
questions to be solved. One quaint old man said: 'Mrs. 
Witter what do they mean by forefathers? I know about 
fathers and grandfathers, but I don't know what forefathers 
are.' She was a smart woman in the best sense of the word. 

45 



A good housekeeper, neat, thrifty and industrious. She 
spun and wove most of the clothing and all the bedding used 
in the house. There are now in the old homestead cover- 
lets, blankets and sheets which she made. 

"She used to buy five-pound packages of cotton yam 
and weave cotton cloth and exchange it for more cotton 
yarn or other commodities. 

"She was nurse and often doctor for the neighbors. 
Once -when she was sent for there had been a freshet and 
she walked over the swollen brook on the stonewall which 
might have tumbled down. She had little patience or chari- 
ty for shiftlessness or laziness, but was ever ready to help 
those who tried to help themselves. 

"She was a good woman and a good mother." 

Oh ! the joy of an ancestry both able and willing to 
serve itself, its country and its God, which believed in the 
dignity of labor, was interested in the real progress of man- 
kind, which lived up to its convictions, and worked loyally 
in every good and righteous cause. 

No wonder that Dolly Witter was the beautiful blossom 
and perfect fruit of these sturdy, sound roots. She was a 
noble woman, fashioned to bear hardships, if necessary, 
without complaint, sorrow, if it should come, without bitter- 
ness, joy with a grateful heart, social distinction with a 
modesty and quietness 'to the manner born;' such was her 
personality, so strong that one felt her as soon as she entered 
a room. 



46 



FARM LIFE 



As we saw, Grandmother Witter died in December, 
1857. It was a shock and a deep sorrow, and following it 
in April, 1858, my Aunt Sarah died very suddenly. It was 
a terrible death to witness and grandmother was with her. 
It completely prostrated grandmother, who did not recover 
from it for a long time. During this time Mrs. Whitcomb 
was a dear friend and comforter; often their hands were 
clasped over each others on the rail which separated their 
pews in church. When Mrs. Whitcomb died, in 1872, grand- 
mother said she did not care to live longer. 

Uncle James was 17 when the war broke out and he 
wanted to go with Dr. Whitcomb. Grandfather would not 
allow it, he said "he did not care to have him black the 
doctor's boots and groom his horse." Uncle James was 
never reconciled to the decision ; he wanted to be a doctor 
and felt to have been with Dr. Whitcomb, who was an ex- 
cellent surgeon, would have been a great experience. 

In March, 1862, he went to join his brother George, and 
for fifteen years to a day the two brothers worked together 
and lived side by side. 

His wish to be a doctor never left him, and when he had 
laid up enough money to carry him through he entered the 
medical school in Yale College and received his diploma in 
his thirty-eighth year, a record of which I am very proud, 
particularly as his practice has proved his ability and special 
fitness as a doctor. 

So one by one all grew up and left the Home, except 
Uncle Joseph. All were married except Aunt Mary. There 
were visits to the various homes, and new ties, and new in- 
terests brought into the life of my grandparents. 

After going back to the farm there was almost never a 
time that they were without one guest or more. Grand- 
father's mother or sister Sallie lived there most of the 
time, and other of grandfather's sisters and nieces made 
frequent visits. 

Grandmother's girlhood and life-long friend Emmeline, 
with her children, the Ketchams and Ovingtons, spent some 

47 



summers at the farm. Uncle George and Uncle Davis 
Sharpe and their wives were welcomed by everybody and 
frequent visits were exchanged. Beside Mrs. Whitcomb, 
there were close and dear friends in the village and the 
church in the three families of the Scarboroughs and the 
Conants, the Searles and Davisons. and everybody and every- 
thing connected with the church was of interest to both my 
grandparents. 

It was the delight of my life to go to grandmother's — 
there was so much going on ! So many nice people to see ! 
Grandmother was a famous cook. I can taste yet her 
fricassed chicken and creamed beef, their own beef, cured 
and dried by themselves, no other ever equalled it in flavor, 
and the dip toast, the best I ever ate, and the rusk and 
doughnuts ! Was ever anything so good as the curds and 
brownbread ! It was -wonderful to see the gallons and gal- 
lons of milk poured into the great shining brass kettles, 
watch the rennet stirred in and then in the morning see the 
curd cut into such perfect little squares, and have some to 
eat! 

The cheese press was in the little room off the kitchen 
which was formerly the sink room, and there were rows of 
big golden cheeses on the shelves in the butter.y which were 
turned every day. Churning days were very exciting, it 
was such fun to listen for the splash when the butter came, 
and 1 was allowed to peep in the churn to see the yellow 
lump swimming in the buttermilk. 

The Thanksgivings were such glad times, everybody 
came home who could. There were feasts of such good 
things as only grandmothers know how to provide. One 
Thanksgiving was particularly gay, in 1859, when Uncle 
George brought his bride home for the celebration. She 
was such a pretty bride. Aunt Ellen ! She was a Miss Stall 
of Northampton, and she is still the same sweet, lovable 
woman she was the first night that she came to the old 
Homestead. 

On all these occasions Uncle Nathan, Aunt Sarah's hus- 
band, was always one of the family. He mourned her loss 
all his life, and it must have been sad as well as pleasant 
to be at all the jolly reunions. 

I am not sure whether it was that Thanksgiving or 
another later one when there were so many that there 
was a big turkey at each end of the table, the two 
carvers were my father and Uncle Nathan. My father cut 
his bird all up. Uncle Nathan cut his more sparingly, which 

48 



was quite fortunate, for the next day it was discovered that 
Uncle Nathan 's was stuffed with a dish cloth ! 

When wiping the inside of the turkey, to get it ready 
for the stuffing, grandmother had been called away ; someone 
else sewed it and put it in the oven. 

I remember sweet droning summer Sundays with the 
long lovely ride to church and the beautiful trees throwing 
flickering shadows and spots of light over and around it; 
the quiet greeting of friends as they met near the door, the 
men all standing about outside, and the women talking 
softly inside the vestibule ; and the mysterious lower room 
with the square pews, and the peace and calm of the service. 
Aunt Lucy playing the organ, and the choir full of young 
ladies lead by Mr. Jacob Kimball, who wore his glasses way 
down on the tip of his nose, which apparently made no dif- 
ference to his singing. 

The noon hour was interesting with its lunch sometimes 
from a basket taken from under the carriage seat, sometimes 
at Dr. Whitcomb's or Mrs. Davison's, who made famous 
mince pies for my father because he boarded with her when 
he first went to Brooklyn and liked her pies. 

I remember going to the Sewing Society, too, with a 
great basket full of good things, and the pleasure it was to 
all the other ladies when grandmother entered the room. 
0, she was a queen, everybody knew it ! I can see them now 
bending over the quilt, and looking up at her as she answered 
some question. She always made the coffee, and was a 
devoted worker in the Society, both of them giving out of 
all proportion to their means to support it. Her opinion 
upon all questions was eagerly sought and she was often 
consulted about parish affairs. My sister was at meeting 
once when some question came up for discussion after the 
service. The men had been talking but not getting the 
matter settled, finally Deacon Williams, the chairman, said: 
"I should like to hear what Mrs. Stetson has to say." 
Grandmother rose and very quietly and clearly presented a 
plan so simple and sensible, and entirely different from any 
other which had been suggested, that when she took her 
seat it was moved that her plan be adopted, and it was 
unanimously carried. It made my sister swell with pride 
to see such deference paid to grandmother, and to hear her 
natural, dignified, logical reply. 

There were grand rides on the loads of hay; and the 
orchard full of clothes and bees; and delicious ox-heart 
cherries on the trees at the end of the house. The hand- 

49 



somest oleander tree I ever saw stood in a tub by the front- 
door step. Milking time, too, and going for the cows as I 
sometimes did, and driving the long string of them into the 
barn was a great delight. I am sure I was meant to be a 
farmer ! 

I was not the only grandchild who loved to be at the 
farm. George Allen, also born in the old Homestead, spent 
many summers there. When he was a little boy he was 
afraid of the pigs, when he got into bed he would look at 
the portraits on the wall and say, "George Sharpe, Creshy 
Sharpe, any pigs under my bed?" 

Every grandchild loved to be there, the fowls and 
animals were great wonders to the town-bred little folks. 

One little granddaughter wrote home she was afraid of 
the big gobbler, her litle sister replied: "I ain't 'f'aid of a 
dobbler, I's 'f'aid of a file (fly)." 

With all this great family, on an average ten in number, 
with all the dairy work, and cooking, and sewing, and com- 
pany, grandmother never said she was tired in a complaining 
way. She never talked about the work or what she had to 
do next week or next month, but when the time came she 
rose to the occasion and accomplished whatever there was to 
do. Once she made a cashmere or thibet dress in one day, 
cutting it, and making it and wearing it in the evening to 
a party at Uncle Davis Sharpe 's. 

Not the least remarkable thing about her was her ability 
to carry on all this work without any fuss or hurry. She 
never did an unnecessary thing, she never hesitated or 
wondered -what to do next. She moved about the house 
with all the dignity and absolute command of the situation 
that a General would have, everything she did was well done. 
"Mrs. Stetson moves like a power," Mr. May said years 
before. 

It was her custom to lie down a few minutes after 
dinner every day and sleep if she could. She attributed her 
ability to do her work so easily and her long life of good 
health and strength, to this daily rest. She always took 
time to read good things. She read with keen delight, after 
she was seventy years old, Darwin, Huxley and Spencer, and 
was interested in every new movement for the uplifting of 
of the people. One winter she and Aunt Lucy, who was 
teaching in the red schoolhouse, belonged to a Shakespeare 
club which met once a week at the homes of its members; 
and they went together to fairs, and several social events 
in the village. Another winter was varied by bean porridge 
parties. 

50 



But the rare, never-to-be-forgotten occasions were when 
Mr. May or Mr. Garrison with all the Scarboroughs and Dr. 
and Mrs. Whitcomb came out to tea. They would tell of 
their experiences, and discuss the great issues of the day; 
at these gatherings was a veritable "feast of reason and 
flow of soul." 

One of the great interests in their lives was the church 
and Society and an account of its life and trials as told by 
grandmother is most interesting. Some of the other staunch 
supporters of the church were these same dear friends who 
were all brought closer together because they had stood 
firmly for the faith which was in them. 



51 



CHURCH AND SOCIETY 

Taken from Grandmother's Own Account. 



When Deacon Nathan Witter was a young man, Dr. 
Whitney was the minister in Brooklyn. He was a char- 
acter, wholly independent in his preaching and practice, a 
great story-teller, always illustrating his conversation with 
apt stories, but his memorj^ served him so well that he never 
repeated a story to the same person without prefacing it 
by "as I have told you before." 

Dr. Whitney and Deacon Nathan went to many a dedi- 
cation and ordination in the neighboring towns, and to settle 
church quarrels and controversies which were frequent dis- 
turbers of church-life long ago. They went so often that 
Grandmother Kezia did not approve of it. 

Dr. Whitney knew human nature pretty well and was 
a hearty, peace-loving parson. ]\Iany stories are told of 
him. Grandmother particularly liked this one about Cuff 
Woodward, a slave. When he was dying Dr. Wliitney asked 
him where he expected to go. Cuff replied, "Oh, Pomfret, 
Woodstock, just where Dr. Whitney pleases to send me," 
as if the good doctor were the arbiter of the here and the 
hereafter. 

Altho the deacon and the doctor had such good times 
together they did not always agree and Deacon Nathan 
sometimes found fault with his minister. He especially 
disliked his habit of resting his arm on the pulpit cushion 
whilst he read his sermons, following the lines with his 
fingers as he read. Grandfather considered it "lazy." 
When grandmother was nine years old, in 1816, Mr. Luther 
Willson was installed colleague with Dr. Whitney. Deacon 
Nathan said that he had never read in the Bible, or ever 
heard from the pulpit the word "trinity" until after Mr. 
Willson came. Mr. Willson came from Massachusetts just 
as the controversy between those with Unitarian and Trini- 
tarian views was opening. 

Dr. Whitney had not been in the habit of preaching 
doctrinal sermons. He separated from the "Consociation," 

52 



for what reason I do not know, and formed with a Rev. Mr. 
Lee of Lisbon, and Mr. Atkins of N. Killingly and others, 
what they called an "Association of Ministers." 

When Mr. Willson came Dr. Whitney was anxious to 
have him settled right away, but Grandfather Nathan ob- 
jected, saying he thought it would be wiser to hear the 
young man longer before doing so. Dr. Whitney replied, 
"I tell you the young man will wear well." I do not know 
just how long Mr. Willson had been here when he said: "I 
cannot say that I believe that Jesus Christ is my God," the 
sentence which precipitated the controversy which ended 
in a division in the church. Twenty of Dr. Whitney's fol- 
lowers presented Certificates of Separation at a Society 
meeting, after which they returned to their seats apparently 
expecting to take part in the subsequent proceedings as 
usual. 

Mr. John Parrish a keen lawyer, was chairman of the 
meeting, after looking at the Certificates one by one as they 
were presented he rose and said : "If those persons who have 
presented Certificates of Separation will leave the house we 
will proceed to business. I have often heard of one person 
cutting his throat but never knew before of twenty persons 
cutting their throats at the same time." 

This withdrawal from the Society left the church and 
its belongings in the hands of the Unitarians, the Orthodox 
party worshipped for a time in a Hall. There arose many 
occasions for differences, one of which was in respect to the 
Communion Service which belonged to the Society but 
which had been kept at Dr. Whitney's. When the Society 
asked for it, it was refused, but finally it was arranged to 
have an appraisal of the Service and either party by paying 
one half the amount should own it. The Orthodox Society 
paid the required sum and the Unitarians bought a new 
Service in Boston. 

Mr. Willson was a married man and had several chil- 
dren, Grandmother went to school in the village with his 
daughter Martha, and she thought there were three or four 
sons. 

I do not know how long Mr. Willson remained but the 
period was marked by excitement and long continued bad 
feeling. 

Deacon Nathan liked Mr. Willson, and disliked the way 
Dr. Whitney treated him, and grandmother's father and 
mother were in full sympathy with him, and his belief. 

After Mr. Willson left there was a time without a reg- 
ular service, during that time our people went occasionally 

53 



to the Episcopal Church five miles distant, as did other 
members of the Society. It was at this time that Priest 
White, the Episcopal clergyman, and his family interested 
themselves in grandmother and lent her books which she 
enjoyed, among them Pope's "Essay on Man" and Scott's 
"Lady of the Lake" which her cousin read aloud as she 
spun. 

Col. Putnam, the most prominent man in the Episcopal 
church, in order to secure government land in the state of 
Ohio which was appropriated for those who served in the 
War of 1812, was obliged to declare himself without prop- 
erty. As he really had much propertj^ Priest White re- 
proved him for doing so, which resulted in Priest White's 
removal from the church. 

During this time Dr. Whitney and his adherents held 
regular services in the church. The Unitarians, to whom 
the church now belonged, arranged to have a service begin 
before the regular hour. Grandmother did not know of this 
arrangement and rode down on "Nellie" at the usual time, 
and while hitching her horse at a convenient place on the 
west side of the Green, she saw Dr. Whitnej^ with some of 
his deacons and several church members leave his house, 
which was opposite the church, and go to the front doors of 
the meeting liouse, and after a moment saw them turn back 
and go into his house. She thought it was too bad if they 
had fastened Dr. Whitney out of the church. She after- 
wards learned that when he opened the door and saw that 
services had begim and that it was prayer time, he turned 
back and had the communion service in his own house. 

Dr. Whitney sued the Unitarian Society for his salary, 
as he claimed that he was settled for life. He lost his case 
on the first trial, and appealed, and gained it on the second. 
This added greatly to the burdens the young society was 
carrying. 

The pulpit was supplied by students from the Harvard 
Divinity School. Each preached four Sundays and was en- 
tertained in families connected with the society. Rev. David 
Reed, who founded and first published "The Christian Reg- 
ister," was one of them. He foimd his wife, Miss Marian 
Williams, daughter of Mr. Harold Williams, here. It was 
she who wrote the beautifid letter in the seventy-fifth 
anniversary number of "The Christian Register" when in 
her ninetieth year. Rev. Charles T. Brooks also married a 
Brooklyn lady, Miss Celia Williams, a sister of I\Ir. Herbert 
Williams. He was the one who wrote Brook's "Book of 
Prayers." 

54 



In November, 1822, Samuel J. May was installed pastor 
of our church. He came in the spring, — a young man just 
graduated from Harvard, of a prominent Boston family, with 
every advantage of voice and manner — to our country vil- 
lage, to a new and struggling church, the first Unitarian 
Society formed in the state of Connecticut, and lived and 
labored not only for his own church and people, but for the 
best and highest interests of the town and vicinity. 

Professor Norton said in his eulogy of George William 
Curtis: "Of all the blessings which can befall a community 
there is none greater than the choice of it by a good man 
for his home, for the example of such a man sets a standard 
of conduct, and his influence tends to lift those who come 
within its circle to his own level." 

This was eminently true of Mr. May, his courteous and 
friendly manner lessened the bitterness of our opponents to 
a degree, though one of Brooklyn's most intelligent and in- 
fluential ladies, Mrs. Capt. Tyler, said: "Mr. May is a 
gentleman, but he is no Christian." He interested himself 
in raising the standard of our public schools, and one after 
the other, as he became convinced of their truth, he adopted 
the reforms of the day, peace, temperance and anti-slavery. 
His advocacy of these in the pulpit and on the street, dis- 
pleased some of his own people, who "preferred to hear the 
gospel preached," who left to join the other church, where 
such heresies were not heard. 

The subject of temperance was peculiarly obnoxious, as 
the custom prevailed of serving wine to guests and patrons, 
and every grocery and hotel sold liquor in some form. I 
think I can truly say that in every family which opposed Mr. 
May's temperance principles some member became intem- 
perate. 

The anti-slavery reform excited much bitter opposition 
from some of the most prominent people of the town, and 
many offensive things were done when anti-slavery meetings 
were in progress. The advocates of the cause were virtually 
ostracized, but Mr. May's influence attracted the best and 
most active reformers to our town and we had the pleasure 
of becoming acquainted with those who were persecuted then 
but glorified now. 

Mr. Garrison's marriage to Miss Helen Benson brought 
him often among us. 

Mr. Alcott's marriage to Miss Abby May brought him 
frequently to Brooklyn. 

Mr. May's influence was felt for half a century or more 
in this county, which had a higher standard of education and 

55 



morals than prevailed elsewhere in this vicinity. It was 
life long with the young people of the Society and their de- 
scendants as well. Even an oft repeated petition in his 
prayers was long retained. Emmeline Franklin Ketcham in 
her last sickness, nearly seventy years after, was heard to 
repeat, "Make us more pure and holy, more devout and 
thankful, and more heartily disposed to every good word 
and work." 

The old church and society have meant much to our 
family for generations, from Great-great-grandfather Nathan, 
who was deacon in the first Ecclesiastical Society for 
fifty years, and the Great-great-grandmother Kezia, who 
went to meeting with a baby in her arms and let down four- 
teen pairs of bars and sang in the choir, and Great-grand- 
father Ebenezer and his wife Dorothy, who stood by the old 
church most loyally through all its troubles, great-grand- 
mother singing in the choir, sometimes the only one, and 
then dear grandfather and grandmother first met in the 
church, she singing in the choir and he playing the bass viol. 
Grandfather was deacon for many years, and both were ever 
loyal and true to its best interests, ready workers and valu- 
able members all their long lives. 

Their children have been members of the church and 
supported it through all its vicissitudes, singing in the choir, 
playing the organ, teaching in the Sunday School, and today 
Uncle Joseph is superintendent of the Sunday School and 
treasurer of the Society, and his wife is the president of the 
Alliance. 

My father's first parish was this dear old church on 
the Green, he met my mother as a teacher in the Sunday 
School, they were married at its altar, I was bom into its 
fold. 

There are too many hallowed memories connected with 
it, it has been too bound up in our lives not to have for it a 
deep, abiding love. 

Long may it live and continue to do its work. 



56 



CHANGES 



Up to the time of the Civil War no one who needed 
food, or shelter, or assistance was turned away from the 
door. People in the neighborhood who were destitute or 
sick were clothed, fed and cared for. The Fagans were 
very poor, and the Townes could always repeat a chapter 
of lamentations. The darned coat man came regularly, and 
one tramp who came begging for food had such a soldierly, 
distinguished bearing that in spite of his rags he seemed 
like a nobleman, and when he put a large piece of butter 
in his coffee there was no further doubt about it in the 
minds of the young folks. 

When the war broke out grandfather was afraid to have 
tramps remain over night. 

None of the immediate family went to the war, and 
Uncle James was the only one who begged to be allowed to 
go. Aunt Lucy expressed her patriotic zeal and interest by 
singing all the war songs. I remember her sitting at the 
organ m the fiddle-back chair and playing and singing 
"When Johnnie Comes Marching Home," "When This Cruel 
War Is Over," "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys Are March- 
ing," and "Tenting Tonight on the Old CampGroimd" and 
others. During the war all the letters from the boys who 
had gone were read aloud in the family, and when the war 
was over they gave a big supper to the fourteen men who 
returned. 

Before the close of the war Uncle George and Uncle 
James were making Winchester rifles for Uncle Sam day 
and night. 

Grandfather was in the state legislature in 1864. He 
was always proud of having voted for the amendment to the 
Constitution which freed the slaves. He visited the hos- 
pitals in New Haven, taking fruit to the soldiers. He was 
offered every kind of an office in the town, but I think he 
always declined. 

In May, 1866, Uncle James Ebenezer was married to 
Caroline Burritt in New Haven which was then and still is 
his home. 

57 



In September, 1868, Aunt Lucy married Vernett Evans 
Cleveland and went to live in Northampton where they still 
live. 

Thanksgiving Day, 1868, another bride was welcomed 
at the old Homestead, Aunt Mary Joe, who has lived there 
ever since with Uncle Joseph. 

Aunt Mary had a private school in Providence for many 
years, until her health broke down and she came home in 
1873. 

When I was a child Aunt Lucy Brown, no relative, but 
a lone old woman who had nursed grandmother with some 
of the children, lived in the family. She Avas a crotchety 
old woman, but she was not afraid of mice. One day when 
there were callers a mouse ran up under her petticoats, she 
clapped her hand quickly over the little beast and held it 
until the guests had gone. She had lived in different fam- 
ilies and worked for many people, at first getting only 75 
cents a week and never over $1.50. But she saved every 
cent and when she died she left over $20,000 — a large sum — 
out of which she left grandmother $100. The children who 
were never fond of her were thoroughly indignant that she 
gave the best friend she ever had so small an amount. I 
believe the man who had charge of her funds did give 
grandmother a more substantial recognition of her years of 
care of the old woman. 

Grandfather was always so polite and gallant, so nice 
with the little grandchildren. I remember standing on a 
stool while grandfather said : ' ' One to make ready, and two 
to prepare, three to go slambang right down there," and he 
watched with such interest my three or four-inch jmnp, and 
clapped his hands and laughed as if it were a grand feat. 

My sister Sarah had been ill and had had her hair cut 
off. She did look like a boy, and grandfather putting his 
hand over his eyes and peering into the carriage said, "Why, 
who is this? This must be little Sam," and "Sam" she has 
been ever since. 

Life went on serenely, there were yearly visits to their 
children, which made a pleasant change for them and gave 
unbounded pleasure to those they visited. It was like rest 
and peace and sunshine when they came to our house, and 
many a bit of wisdom and good advice grandmother gave to 
me, which I well remember. The only time an attempt was 
made to burglarize our house grandfather and grandmother 
were visiting us. Grandfather got up in the room over the 
burglars' heads and they were frightened away, taking only 

58 



a few things from the parlor and leaving behind many things 
which they had intended to take. 

Grandmother loved these trips. She enjoyed meeting 
the nice people, and was never the first to speak of going 
back to the farm. She used to say that when she was 
seventy she should like to give up all the care of the house 
as her mother did and have time to read and visit. 

She always looked very handsome in her nice black silk 
with the snowy folds of net in the V shaped opening, with 
her black lace head-dress and little side curls. She loved 
to have her hair fussed over, and I was as proud as Lucifer 
when I could be barber. 

In 1871, grandfather being seventy years old, the farm 
was handed over to Joseph and Mary Joe. The big chimney 
was taken down and a nice room built in its place, which 
grandmother used as her kitchen, leaving the young people 
to carry on the work of dairy and farm and the old couple 
to take care of themselves. 

In 1873, while visiting their children in Northampton 
and New Haven, they contracted chills and fever and had 
a long, severe illness. Aunt Mary came home that summer 
needing rest and care herself, but she was able to help care 
for them. Grandfather slowly regained his health and 
strength in the next spring, working in his garden, which he 
loved, and from which he supplied all the vegetables for 
his family table for many years. Grandmother continued 
to suffer at times from malarial conditions as long as she 
lived. They resumed the exchange of visits with their long- 
time friends, went to church and took up again the house- 
hold tasks. 

One of the dearest and most welcome guests was Mary 
Richardson, grandfather's niece, and Aunt Mary's particular 
friend since community days. She loved the country, and 
brought such good cheer that it was like a tonic to have her 
about. She had a standing invitation to Thanksgiving, and 
was always doing the nicest things, bringing books, sending 
magazines and adding in many ways to their comfort and 
pleasure. 

This little family of three, grandfather and grandmother 
and Aunt Mary, continued to keep house by themselves 
until 1891, or just as long as grandmother was able to 
carry her part of the work. So the hope of a release from 
care and responsibility at seventy was not realized. 



69 



THE GOLDEN WEDDING 



As the time drew near to Sunday, May 27, 1877, 
thoughts of the golden wedding began to fill the minds of 
all their children. They meant to have a celebration which 
should be a crowning tribute of affection and appreciation, 
love and honor, from friends and family. Handsome invita- 
tions were sent to acquaintances and friends far and near. 
Aunt Lucy and her little son Harry were at the farm a 
month beforehand helping to get everything in order. My 
mother and two sisters came a week before, and cake and all 
sorts of things were made. On Friday there were fourteen 
arrivals, including grandfather's oldest sister. Great Aunt 
Mary, eighty-two years old, who came with Mary Richard- 
son, Uncle George and his family with the twins, Uncle 
James and Aunt Carrie and myself. 

Saturday night the family in the old home numbered 
twenty-seven. There were many friends in the village at 
the hotel, or with friends, from Kingston, Northampton, 
New York, Boston and Nashua. p]verybody offered every- 
thing they possessed, one neigthbor offered lodgings for 
sixteen ! 

Many beautiful flowers were sent, among them a 
bouquet from Virginia from James Alexander, the "best 
man" of fifty years before, who was too infirm to take the 
journey. 

One feature of the daj^ was to be the marriage of the 
eldest grandchild, Kate De Normandie, to George H. Wilson 
of Boston, under as nearly ideal conditions as earthly things 
ever attain. 

I was born in the old homestead and I was to be married 
there, standing where ray grandmother stood when she was 
married, and on Sundaj^ too. 

It was a heavenly day. Aunt Mary dressed the golden 
bride, who wore a white skirt and lace shawl upon which 
had been transferred the embroidery from her wedding 
gown of fifty years ago, (and which every bride in the 
family has since worn) and a handsome new black silk 
dress, simply made, with skirt and polonaise, open at the 

60 



throat with a lace kerchief inside. She was a handsome 
bride and the golden bridegroom looked "just splendid" in 
his new black suit. 

I, the young bride, wore white tulle and lilies-of-the- 
valley, and came in on grandfather's arm, he was "best 
man" today, and George brought in grandmother, who was 
the "bridesmaid." 

The special guests who came for this part of the celebra- 
tion were present at one o'clock. My father married us, 
and congratulations and refreshments followed the cere- 
mony. 

The golden wedding reception began at two o 'clock. As 
soon as the dear couple were seated a little procession was 
formed, headed by the twins, eight months old, James 
Alexander Stetson, II., and Jane Witter Stetson, who were 
carried in the arms of their father and mother; each gave 
a tiny gold dollar and Uncle George made a droll little 
speech for them; the new couple came next, then the oldest 
grandson and next oldest granddaughter, — George Allen 
and Myra De Normandie, — then little Nellie and May, and 
Harry and Sarah. Each gave some present and some words 
of congratulation. After this little procession of grandchil- 
dren my sister Sarah, otherwise known as "Sam," recited 
a golden wedding poem, and the family sang "We are all 
here." Then Uncle George, the oldest son, taking a hand 
of each, made an address to grandfather and grandmother 
which was the finest thing in the day, simple, earnest, beau- 
tiful words of love and devotion, there was not a dry eye in 
the room when he finished. Uncle James said a few words 
and dropped a purse with fifty gold dollars in it in grand- 
mother's lap. Uncle Joseph was too overcome to speak. 
Then we sang a golden wedding hymn to the tune of "Old 
Hundred." 

It has just struck me as very strange that the daughters 
made no addresses. It certainly was not because they could 
not. My mother can make as fine a speech as anybody, and 
I am sure Aunt Mary and Aunt Lucy are both perfectly able 
to. Weren't women expected to do such things thirty years 
ago? 

The house was full of guests, neighbors and friends, 
who came and went all the afternoon, everybody saying 
some words of appreciation and love, and leaving some 
token of the d^y. 

Many letters were received from those who could not 
be present, a few of them were read, among them a beautiful 

61 



one from William Lloyd Garrison, another from Rev, Thomas 
T. Stone, and other dear friends. 

To close the festivities my father made an excellent 
address and offered a prayer. 

At ten o'clock, for the sake of the golden couple, the 
house was quiet and all were in bed, a tired but happy 
crowd, for long as they had anticipated the event, and as 
much as they had thought, and talked, and planned for it, 
their anticipations were more than realized. The occasion 
had been more perfect than their fondest dreams. 

Beside gold and silver money, there were many gifts, 
useful and ornamental. One deserves special mention as a 
work of art and sentiment, a decorated plate, with pictures 
representing the story of their married life, from Mr. and 
Mrs. Albert Conant of Boston. 

This is Mr. Garrison's letter: 

New York, May 22, 1877. 
Mr. and Mrs. James A. Stetson. 

Dear Friends: — Your card is received with its pleasant an- 
nouncement that the fiftieth anniversary of your marriage will 
be consummated on the 27th instant. Great is my regret that I 
shall not be able to be with you and the happy company that will 
assemble on an occasion of so much interest, and so rare in 
wedded life; but tomorrow I shall be on the great deep, on my 
way to a foreign shore; and, therefore, instead of giving you my 
presence, I can only send you my warmest congratulations, which 
come from the very core of my heart, and also my best wishes 
for your continued health and happiness even to a centennial 
period. 

Yours has been a true marriage, and, through all its vicissi- 
tudes of joy and sorrow, gain and loss, acquisition and bereave- 
ment, its ties of love have been without strain and indissoluble. 
You have had dear children given you to rise up and call you 
blessed; you have made troops of friends and acquaintances, who 
hold you in high esteem and most affectionate remembrance; you 
have set an example of conjugal oneness and fidelity delightful 
to contemplate; your lives have been uniformly marked by kind 
expressions and generous deeds to comfort the sorrowing, relieve 
the distressed and administer to the wants of those on beds of 
sickness; and you have kept pace with the spirit of progress and 
reform, whereon rests the hope of the world for its ultimate 
deliverance from the manifold evils that still infest it. 
"There was a marriage table where One sate, 
Haply, unnoticed, till they craved His aid — 
Thenceforward does it seem that He has made 
All virtuous marriage tables consecrate. 
And so, at this, where without pomp or state 
We sit, and only say, or mute, are fain 
To wish the simple words, 'God bless these twain!' " 
Yes, beloved friends, may the blessing of God rest at all 
times upon you and yours! A laurel wreath for each of your 
brows on the "Golden Wedding" anniversary. 

62 



Our acquaintance and friendship began more than forty 
years ago, first brought about by "remembering those in bonds as 
bound with them." Through the long and terrible struggle to 
deliver the oppressed you never faltered, and have lived to see 
every fetter broken. 

Your old, attached, and steadfast friend, 

WM. LLOYD GARRISON. 
Read at the golden wedding. 



Letter from Mr. Stone: 

Bolton, May 10, 1877. 
My Dear Friends: — 

If anything could induce me to leave home for so long a 
journey it would be such an invitation as we have received from 
you. An occasion so rare as that of the golden wedding is of 
itself a matter of interest wherever it is known; its occurrence 
in our own case a little more than two years ago, gives it to our 
minds an added interest; and when now it comes to friends so 
justly dear to us, we would not conceal the reluctance with which 
we give up the hope of expressing our personal sympathy with 
it, as also with the marriage so appropriately connected with it 
of the oldest grandchild. Our hearts, you may be sure, will be 
with you, and our wishes for the highest blessing both on those 
who must in the course of nature soon be severed — only we 
trust, to be reunited in a higher sphere, — and on those who are 
looking forward to the new joys of that state which they are soon 
to enter. How gladly should we greet alike the aged and the 
young, in sympathy both with the memories and the hopes of 
the day! But — as it is, my wife I suppose, would off at once and 
go; there seems to be nothing which her seventy-four years are 
unable to bear, but I am less brave. And the last winter has 
been to me rather a drawback; nor have I yet recovered all it 
has taken from me. At any rate I have not quite the courage 
to undertake the journey. 

I do not feel willing to close without another word. My 
residence in Brooklyn was to me one of the brightest states of 
my life. I can never forget the friends whom it gave to me, 
neither I nor my wife, they are equally dear to us both. And 
among those friends, I trust you will pardon me for saying, we 
cannot tell how highly we prize your family. Friends from the 
outset, friends through the whole season of the ministry so dear 
to the heart; friends still, and we hope forever. And I wish to 
add, even if I said it before, how few things in the course of a 
life now covering more than seventy-six years, have ever brought 
to me sweeter comfort than the letter of sympathy given me just 
before leaving Brooklyn; it will never pass out of my heart. But 
I cannot dwell on these remembrances, sacred as they are. We 
must on — into the future. Age is said to look back, as youth 
looks forward. But why not remain always young, and live in 
hope, not memory? Or rather let memory give fresh nutriment 
to hope? 

Besides those of the immediate family we remember of your 
kindred those who we hope, will be able to meet you, Mr. and Mrs. 
Sharpe. Assure them of our highest respect and of our best 
wishes on their behalf. 

63 



Farewell dear friends. Peace be with you In your bright 
gathering and forever. May we all meet at last in some higher 
mansion of our Father's house. 

THOMAS T. AND LAURA STONE. 
P. S. — Our love also to all friends who may be with you. 
Addressed, 

Miss Mary S. Stetson, 

Brooklyn, Conn. 
Read at the golden wedding. 



Another letter also read: 

To Mr. and Mrs. Stetson: 

Most cordial golden greetings on this anniversary of the 
50th year of their wedding day. "Abby May Alcott" feels herself 
most flattered and honored, thus to have been remembered by 
the dear Brooklyn friends not only for her own sake, but the 
dear sake of him who must be associated with her in this fond 
remembrance. "Samuel J. May" can have lived on this earth 
nowhere without leaving the sweet odor of a just good name, 
and to be associated with such a name and life is one of the 
privileges of my long continued being among the relations of this 
state of love and friendship 

Please to accept this valentine of ray continued good wishes 
and tender memories. 

Affectionately, 

ABBY MAY ALCOTT. 

Concord, May 16th, 1877. 



This letter accompanied a gift of dining table and 
chairs from members of the Society: 

"Please accept these gifts as tokens of the great love and 
respect of your friends and well-wishers. 
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Searles, Mrs. Wood, 

Mrs. Hannah Scarborough, Dr. Whitcomb, 

Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Witter, Miss Maria Spaulding, 

Mr. and Mrs. H. Kendall, Mrs. M. H. Williams, 

Mrs. Sanger, Miss Clarissa Davidson, 

Mr. and Mrs. John Hyde, Mrs. J. Davidson, 

Mr. George Kendall, Mr. C. J. Williams, 

Mr. Charles Searles, Mr. N. G. Williams, 

Mr. and Mrs. J. Kimball, Mr. H. Taylor, 

Mrs. John Palmer. 



For a detailed list of the presents on this occasion and 
the programme as carried out, and the menu of good things 
served to all who came during the day, see appendix. 



64 




nOTHER'5 ELH IN 1905 



TOWARDS SUNSET 



On the 8th of July, 1877, grandmother was seventy 
years old. She had often wished that there was an elm tree 
on the green between the house and barn, so Uncle Joseph 
and George Allen found a nice young tree and it was planted 
to celebrate this birthday. Grandmother selected the spot 
for it, and held it in place while the others shovelled the 
earth about its roots. Dr. Whitcomb and niece, Maria 
Spaulding, the IMisses Scarborough, and Mary Richardson, 
Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary Joe, and George Allen, grand- 
father, grandmother and Aunt Mary assisted at the plant- 
ing. Refreshments were served and the afternoon was most 
delightful. Grandfather watered it every night, and built 
a wooden fence around it to protect it from the cattle, and 
today, thirty years later, it is a handsome big tree, an 
ornament to the place and a living monument to grand- 
mother's memory. 

In 1882 grandmother went with Rev. Caroline James, 
the minister of the old church, and her sister, to the 
National Unitarian Conference in Saratoga. It was one of 
the greatest pleasures of her life. My mother and father 
were there, with friends whom grandmother knew, who 
increased her enjoyment by drives about the place. She 
met friends whom she had not seen for many years and 
received from each a cordial greeting and thoughtful kind 
attentions. A son and daughter of Samuel J. May were 
there, Mrs. Olive Williams, a Brooklyn woman whom she 
had not seen for years, and others. She enjoyed exceed- 
ingly the meetings, and hearing the prominent ministers of 
the denomination, with whom she was in full sympathy and 
to whom she was an attentive listener. She said: "It is a 
very different thing to be a Unitarian among hundreds of 
the faith than to stand alone in our small Society, at times 
the only Unitarian Society in the state." She returned re- 
freshed and strengthened by the experience, and said: "I 
felt as if I'd been in heaven." 

Grandmother was always a reader and a thinker. As 
I said before, she read Darwin, and Huxley and Spencer, 

65 



when she was seventy or more, so one can easily understand 
what a misfortune it would be to her to lose her eyesight. 
One evening she was very much astonished when sitting 
with her hand over her eyes to find that when she uncovered 
one eye that she could not see anything at all. She asked 
why the lamp was not lighted, and as it was lighted it was 
a surprise to all to realize that she was entirely blind in 
one eye. She was treated by a good occulist, the cataract 
was removed and she was able to read again. 

In 1882, when my sister Sarah was teaching in the 
little red schoolhouse and living at the farm, she was reading 
one day in the west room and grandmother said: "If you 
find anything interesting in your reading Sarah, I would be 
very glad to have you read aloud to me. I fear I shall never 
be able read again." 

On inquiry we found that she had strained her eyes in 
making a bright colored rug and had not been able to read 
for about a week. She had not spoken of it to any one, and 
the quiet, uncomplaining, matter-of-fact way in which she 
said she should not be able to read again impressed Sarah 
very much ; especially as the loss would have meant so much 
more to her than most people. Happily it was only a 
temporary inconvenience, and she was able to read and 
knit almost to the end of her life. 

Grandfather's deafness made it quite difficult to read to 
him, but he read aloud a great deal to grandmother as she 
knitted. When it was almost impossible for others to make 
him hear, she would sit near him with her hand on his knee 
and speaking in an ordinary tone would tell him what the 
conversation was about. 

In the summer of 1884 they took their last journey 
together, going to Northampton and New Haven, where 
everything was done for their comfort and happiness. 
Grandfathers' deafness and other infirmities unfitted him for 
travel and he was content to remain in his home the rest of 
his life, with his garden and familiar surroundings. 

It was this same summer that Aunt Mary saw a knitted 
bedspread; thinking grandmother might like to make one 
like it she asked for the directions and bought the material. 
Grandmother began one at once and was so pleased with the 
result that she continued to knit bedspreads, — thirteen in 
all, — five different and elaborate patterns, which she gave 
to her six children and grandchildren, who prize them as 
their most precious treasures. Knitting became her chief 
occupation. It seemed like second nature for her to fall into 
the way of knitting a stent each day as she used to do as 

66 




GRANDnOTHER AND GRANDFATHER 



a child. It was remarkable how easily and for how long at 
a time she could knit without fatigue. Beside the thirteen 
bedspreads she knit a pair of reins with bells attached for 
every little boy she knew in the neighborhood and Sunday 
School, and afghans of colored worsteds, and wash cloths 
for friends and church fairs, all of which were valued for 
her sake. 

As a relief from knitting, reading and various games 
interested her. For years she and grandfather played three 
games of backgammon every evening after tea. She was 
especially fond of whist and played a good game when she 
was over ninety. 

As grandfather's memory began to fail and he no longer 
read aloud nor was interested in backgammon nor solitaire, 
Joseph or Mary or the visitors played a rubber of whist 
with grandmother. 

There was always an open door and cordial welcome to 
visitors. She was a remarkable entertainer, and had the 
gift of drawing out the thoughts of others. It was an educa- 
tion to listen to the conversations on all the vital questions 
of the day, political, scientific, moral, religious, when Dr. 
and Mrs. Whitcomb, Edwin and Perrin Scarborough, the 
Conants and others were together. 

Grandmother was pretty hard on the younger people 
who were content to pass an entire evening in games, and 
very much deplored the lack of conversation among them. 
When grandmother was almost ninety a granddaughter who 
was spending the winter in Boston, went to the farm for a 
visit, she was deeply mortified to see how disappointed 
grandmother was that she had not attended a course of 
lectures given that winter in Boston by Mazoomdar. Grand- 
mother had read every word that she could find in the papers 
about him and his lectures, and was most enthusiastic in her 
admiration of him, calling him "The Star of the East." She 
had looked forward to this visit confidently expecting to 
have a full account of him from one who had seen and heard 
him. 

On May 27, 1887, the sons and daughters, with their 
wives and husbands came together again to celebrate the 
sixtieth wedding anniversary. None of the grandchildren 
were invited, as it was thought that so large a company 
would be too great a tax for the dear old people. The day 
was passed in quiet talk and the guests returned to their 
homes very soon. 

In 1889 grandmother gave everybody a great surprise, 

67 



when she arrived in New Bedford with Uncle Joseph the 
morning of September 26th, to attend the wedding of Uncle 
George's daughter Nellie to Robert L. Baylies. It was such 
a joy to every one to see her that the attention was quite 
divided between her and the bride. She was eighty-two, in 
good health physically and mentallj^ but it was her last 
journey out of town. 

In the spring of 1891 the entire family in the old home- 
stead was prostrated by grippe, followed by pneumonia. 
The lives of both grandfather and Aunt Mary were despaired 
of, and Aunt Mary Joe was nearly as desperately sick 
upstairs. Uncle Joe himself was sick, too, but he kept up 
by sheer will power. The devoted care of the doctor and 
the skilful nursing of Aunt Lucy and my mother finally pre- 
vailed and all the patients recovered. The constant kindness 
of friends who sent not only luxuries, but positive necessi- 
ties, will never be forgotten. Neither of the grandparents 
were ever quite as well as before this illness, and it was 
decided that they would no longer try to have a separate 
table, but would join with Uncle Joseph and Aunt Mary Joe. 

Grandfather failed gradually through the winter of 
1892- '93. For some time he had not known the members of 
his family, but his deeply religious nature was shown by 
frequent Scriptural quotations and repetitions of the Lord's 
prayer. One day Dr. Bennett went into his room and gave 
the Masonic signs, all of which grandfather answered cor- 
rectly. He had been a member of the order seventy-two 
years, although he had not attended a lodge meeting for 
many years. 

On the morning of March 5, 1893, those who were caring 
for him feeling that the end was near, helped grandmother 
into the east room to see him. He did not recognize her, 
but when she said, "Don't you remember Dolly Witter?" 
a beautiful light came into his face and he said: "Remem- 
ber Dolly Witter ? Of course I remember Dolly Witter, and 
I bless the Lord for the first day I ever saw her." 

Those were the last words he ever spoke to her. That 
same day his long life of ninety-one years and five months 
was ended, the trials and disappointments, as well as the 
successes were all forgotten, but he had been throughout his 
whole life that noblest work of God, an honest man. 

He lived to be older than any of his brothers or sisters. 
His children were all at the funeral services, which were 
conducted by my father. Each one remembers his unselfish 
and devoted love for and care of his family, and his intelli- 

68 



gent interest in and promotion of the best good of his 
country. He was missed in the home and grandmother often 
longed for "the lover" of sixty-five years. 

Her children never wearied in doing all that was 
possible for her comfort and welfare. Her grandson, George 
Allen, put carriage and driver at her service whenever she 
liked to ride, and she enjoyed driving to the adjoining towns 
and through the country, recalling many long past events 
and people. 

She celebrated her ninetieth birthday by a drive in the 
neighborhood ; and received many letters and loving remem- 
brances from children, grandchildren and great-grandchil- 
dren. One granddaughter, "Sam," wrote from Windemere 
of the Queen's Jubilee, which she had just seen in London, 
and of the many places of historic interest she had visited. 
These affectionate and appreciative letters were exceedingly 
gratifying to her. A poem was written for the occasion by 
Mary E. Bobbins, a friend and neighbor. 

As she looked back over her four score years and ten 
nothing outside of her family joys and sorrows afforded her 
greater satisfaction than her participation in the anti- 
slavery, temperance and peace reforms, and the personal 
knowledge and friendship of the noble persons who despite 
persecution and opposition had the courage to labor and 
suffer for the right. 



July 8, 1897. 

TO DOLLY WITTER STETSON ON HER 90TH BIRTHDAY. 

Congratulations in the air, 
Congratulations from everywhere! 
And something is said of a birthday, 
What is this great occasion pray? 

Just ninety years ago today 
A little stranger came this way, 
Helpless and hungry, naked as sin, 
Crying for someone to take her in. 

So Capt. Witter, and Dolly, his wife, 

Who had never a child to gladden their life , 

Took her into their home. They said 

She should be sheltered, and clothed and fed. 

So at this old house baby Dolly was kept; 
She ate and drank, and laughed and slept. 
And, without a doubt, she sometimes wept. 
Chattered and prattled, and bye and bye talked, 
And one day found her feet and walked. 

69 



Later came play, and work, and study. 
And Dolly grew fair and strong and ruddy. 
Before she reached the age of twenty 
I suppose that she had lovers plenty. 

For at that time one morning in May 
Her chosen sweetheart, happy and gay. 
Stood by the side of the maid he had won. 
And words were spoken that made them one. 

And the parents are left again alone. 
While Dolly went out to a home of her own. 
And children came there, fair girls and boys. 
Each one increasing the cares and joys. 

Life was business then with the constant need 
Of clothes to wear and the mouths to feed. 
Oh, such a flock for the parents' care! 
But none too many, not one to spare. 
Yet, He who gave them, with gentle hand 
Transplanted three to the better land. 

The young folks learned, as wise youth do, 
It was well to paddle their own canoe. 
And they went from under the old home roof 
To weave in life's web some worthy woof. 

Each in his chosen line of toil 
To wrest from earth's forces a share of spoil. 
And there was some courting done I trow. 
For there were wedding bells we know. 

While the beaming eyes of the daughters three 
Say, "The best man in all the world sought me!" 
Each son brings home with manly pride 
"The loveliest girl on earth" his bride. 

Since the birdlings from the nest have flown. 
Many new nests from the old have grown; 
But again there is a coffin: the sweet young wife 
Though suffering, passed to a painless life. 

The branches increase on the family tree 
Since James and Dolly, one, two, three. 
Brave off-shoots, too, who with honest heart, 
In the world's great workshop act well their part. 

Well, summers come and summers go. 
And winters come with chill and snow. 
And the couple at home are not so spry. 
As they were in the years long since gone by. 

The faces have wrinkles here and there, 
There are streaks of silver in the hair. 
But hands are ready and hearts are warm 
To render all service that love can perform. 

Four years ago the white-haired sire 
Obeyed the summons, "Come up higher." 
The mother is waiting her call to go 
To the rest above from the labors below. 

70 



And because on that long ago July morn 
This hardy baby girl was born, 
There are greetings, greetings, many and jolly, 
For nonogenarian Mother Dolly! 

May your days and nights be full of peace 

'Til the day shall come to bring release, 

And you change the knitting and throwing dice 

For some sweet employment in Paradise, 

And leave the rest in the "old arm chair" 

For a seat with the loved in the home "up there." 

MARY E. ROBBINS. 



Her last Thanksgiving Day was November 24, 1898. 
Her three sons and their wives and Aunt Mary were at 
home. There was good cheer, and the day was a happy one. 
Saturday morning she gave them her last blessing and bene- 
diction as they left for their homes. My sister was a fre- 
quent visitor at the farm, and taught in the little red 
schoolhouse, and on three or four occasions as she was going 
away grandmother said, "It is very probable that I shall 
never see you again," and added her blessing and farewell, 
but she did not say it at the parting which was really the 
last. 

The excitement of the Thanksgiving visits had been too 
much for her strength and Saturday night she had a slight 
stroke of paralj^sis. One side was so much affected that she 
could not move herself. Aunt Lucy, the great stand-by, 
who for years had come at the first call in sickness, and for 
all special occasions, whose strength and working powers 
seemed endless, was immediately sent for. A terrible snow 
delayed her arrival until Wednesday. 

Grandmother gradually improved, and even resumed 
her knitting, glad to be doing something again. Aunt Lucy 
stayed until a nurse could be found, and all the children 
thought of and did everything possible to give her every 
care and attention, every necessity, comfort and luxury as 
long as she lived. 

Uncle Joseph never did a better thing for the family 
than when he married Mary Clark. From the first she 
identified herself with all the interests of the family, the 
church and the town. She was very fond of grandfather 
and grandmother and no work was too hard and no sacrifice 

71 



too great to be made for them. She has made and kept the 
home with a wide and generous welcome for us all, and has 
always been ready to use her wonderful health and strength 
for the comfort and pleasure of the family. No daughter 
could have been more devoted, no sister more helpful. We 
all wish for her some release from her many cares and labors, 
and many happy years of enjoyment as a reward for her 
years of loving, faithful service. 

Although grandmother improved, this illness was the 
beginning of the end, which came June 5, 1899. 

My mother, Aunt Lucy, Uncle Joseph and Aunt Mary 
Joe were with her at the last. 

Dear Aunt Mary, whose care and devotion to both 
grandfather and grandmother had been constant and un- 
ceasing for twenty-five years, who had ministered to them in 
sickness and in health, was very ill in New Bedford at the 
time of grandmother's death, and she was spared the pain 
of being left alone when grandmother was taken away. 

No words of mine can be a worthy eulogy of this won- 
derful woman, whose strength of character was in every 
motion and felt by every one who came in contact with her. 
She graced every society and illuminated every place, how- 
ever humble. Every memory of her is sacred to us with a 
consecration never to be obliterated. 



72 




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APPENDIX 



VALEDICTORY ADDRESS. 
(1823.) 

This world is replete with changes, and these changes are 
admirably demonstrated by the sacred writers' trials. It is in- 
deed unreasonable to anticipate perfect happiness on earth's low 
ground. The sun of prosperity is often obscured by the clouds 
of adversity, and all who have arrived at maturity are ready to 
acknowledge that the sweetest rose is attended by its thorn, and 
that all, — all on earth is shadow. 

How great and surprising are the revelations produced by 
time — the changes in families, in towns, in "kingdoms and in 
countries, in the course of a few years or even months are al- 
most incredible. Present to a mind which can contemplate the 
present state of this, our country, and compare it with what it 
was two centuries ago, when our ancestors were engaged in 
sanguinary wars and desperate struggles with the merciless sav- 
ages. The changes will appear almost supernatural. 

We now behold America peopled with an enlightened, re- 
fined and happy race. We see seminaries of learning estab- 
lished in all our towns, where children and youth are indulged 
with opportunities for acquiring useful knowledge, and if America 
cannot boast of men of eminent erudition it is certain that in no 
other country can there be found so many of all classes who are 
favored with a comparatively good education. 

In consequence of a few enlightened and benevolent in- 
dividuals in this town, (Thompson, Conn.), a school has been 
established which promises to reward their efforts and answer 
their expectations. That they may be realized is the fervent wish 
of one who has been permitted to be one of its members and 
who is now called upon to address perhaps for the last time her 
beloved associates. 

And must we part? Must I now bid you all farewell? Is 
this the last opportunity which I shall ever have this side the 
grave to behold you who are so dear to my heart? Oh, can it 
be! Ah! Yes. No bond of friendship however strong can re- 
tard the progress of time. Many and pleasant have been the 
hours of our acquaintance, but alas! they are gone, nevermore to 
return, and oh, my dear young friends, let us ask ourselves what 
report they have borne to heaven. 

Our privileges of a religious and scientific nature have been 
great. Of this we have often spoken, but how can words portray 
the good we have shared, or speak the mercies which indulgent 

73 



heaven with liberal hand and unremitting care has given us, the 
happy daughters of Columbia! As we must now retire each to 
her respective home let us recall to mind the instruction which 
we have this summer received, let us strive to excel in every 
thing lovely and useful, let us not neglect our studies, but daily 
commit to memory some important truth. Let us take the Word 
of God for the criterion of our faith and practice and endeavor to 
become as useful, as virtuous, and as happy as our beloved 
instructress has wished and prayed we might be. Although we 
separate, we separate to love each other. My heart revolts at 
the idea of separation, but "Be still my heart, submissive lie, nor 
heave a sigh, or vent a tear." 

Farewell my beloved companions. May your journey through 
life be strewn with flowers fresh, and when the last faint flashes 
of life's expiring lamp have quivered out their little moment, 
may we meet in yon bright world of light where parting, sighs 
and farewell tears shall be sounds unknown forever. 

My beloved Instructress: How shall I find words to address 
you? Oh, that I had the eloquence of Cicero or the talents of 
Demosthenes, that I might in some degree express my feelings! 
And must we part? Must I bid you a long, perhaps a last, fare- 
well? Must I never hear the sweet accents of wisdom fall from 
your lips? Can I part with you to whom I owe so much and can 
comparatively repay so little? Permit me to tender you my 
sincere thanks for the kind instruction which I have received 
since I came under your guidance and care. Be pleased to throw 
the veil of charity over my many imperfections; attribute them 
not to any want of affection, or disrespect, for heaven knows I 
do respect and love you. You have not only instructed me in 
human science, but in wisdom, which is from above. You have 
added to your precept your example, which to follow may heaven 
assist me. And oh, may you be rewarded for your care and 
fidelity by seeing your pupils walking in your steps. May heaven 
shower down its richest blessings on your head and may your 
whole life be one continuous scene of happiness and peace. 

Kind, loved Instructress, wilt thou now receive 
My thanks and undissembled love — my hand. 

Ne'er will thy image my fond fancy leave 
Till sublinary joys and sorrows end. 

When she delights our former joys to rove. 
And with a pensive pleasure does retrace 

Past blissful scenes, 'tis then the joyous hour 
Shall welcome be when first I saw thy face. 

Adieu! Urania, joy and peace be thine; 

Discretion, prudence, zeal thy steps attend. 
Heaven's sweet approving smile around thee shine 

And guard and guide thee to thy journey's end. 
Then may our souls perfected friendship prove 

And ever, ever sing redeeming love. 

— Original Poem to Miss Urania Dutch, Beloved Instructress. 



74 



WITTER NOTES. 

Joseph and Ebenezer Witter were not the first of the name 
in the colonies. William Witter was one of the earliest settlers 
in Lynn, Mass., and "bought a tract of land comprising what is 
now Nahant and a part of Lynn of Black William for two pestle 
stones" in 1637. He died in 1659, aged 75 years. 

There are also records of business transactions in his name 
in Salem. His son, Josiah Witter, married Elizabeth Wheeler, 
daughter of Elder Wheeler. They were all living in Stonington, 
Conn., Nov. 16, 1670. Josiah married for a second wife a 
daughter of John Crandall, who was imprisoned in Boston, Aug. 
1651. John Crandall later went to Westerly, R. I., and died in 
1676. It would be interesting to know if Prudence Crandall, 
who was imprisoned for taking colored girls into her school, and 
whom grandfather and grandmother visited, was a descendant 
of John Crandall, whose daughter married Josiah Witter. 

There was also a Richard Witter, assistant justice in the 
Barbadoes in April, 1631. 

This may have been an elder branch of our ancestor's 
family, but I do not know that it was. 

I do not know where they came from in Scotland. There 
are some fine old Witters noted. There was a Daniel Witter, 
Bishop of Killaloa, 1669-1674. See Burke's General Armory. 



The deed of the first 100 acres, bought of a Mr, Davidson by 
Ebenezer Witter, II., of Preston, and given to his son Nathan 
Witter, is dated March 9, 1765. 

74 acres, £114, Oct. 11, 1759. Seth Paine to Ebenezer 
Witter, II, bought for his son Nathan. 

74 acres, £130, November 14, 1772. Thomas Arnold to 
Nathan Witter. 

12 acres, $333.33; bought of Jacob Witter (by Capt. 
Ebenezer, III). 

23 acres, 140 rods. (Also bought by Capt. Ebenezer, III). 

9% acres, 19 rods, $345.40. William Putnam to Ebenezer 
Witter, III, April 1816. 



When the man, afterwards Governor Cleveland, was survey- 
ing the "deep valley," he said: "If my conscience was as white 
as Mrs. Witter's tablecloth, I would not care whether I were 
going to the 'deep valley' or the 'dark valley.' " 

The tall clock is owned by George Allen Stetson. 

The mahogany desk, by Uncle George. 

The banjo clock, by Jane Witter Stetson, now Mrs. David 
Beaman. 

One bureau, by Sarah Y. DeNormandie, now Mrs. T. W. 
Bailey. 

The fiddle-back chair, by Aunt Lucy. 

One ribbon-back chair, by my mother. 

A case of drawers grandfather made was given my sister 
Myra many years ago. 

The other things, including mirror, little red table, warming 
pan and later things, including organ, as far as I know, remain 
in the old house. 

75 



SHARPE NOTES. 

The grandee Sharpes were of Bradford, Yorkshire. The 
first one mentioned is Thomas, who married Dorothy Weddal, and 
died in 1670. They were the younger branch of the Sharpes of 
Little Horton, near by; all records except the registry were 
burned when Bradford was taken during the Civil War. 

If our family of Sharpes is the same, it could only be proved 
in England, if at all. There was another Robert Sharpe, who 
came from London in 1635, age 21, in another ship. See Hotten's 
Lists of Emigrants, 1600-1700. 

Burke's General Armory gives 27 Sharpes bearing some six 
or seven coats of arms, so it is impossible to know definitely 
without further information about the Robert of 1635. 

I am told that the Sharpe genealogy (which I have not seen), 
has as frontispiece, the coat of arms of the Sharpes of Little 
Horton that was granted to DeJohn, Archbishop of York, 
in 1691, so it could not possibly have been borne by either 
Robert, who came in 1635, and would not belong to any 
of their lineal descendants. No references in this country give a 
coat of arms to either Sharpe or Witter, even in the Whittier 
form. 

ENGLISH LINE TO GRANVILLE SHARP. 

1. Thomas m. Dorothy Weddal, died 1670. 

2. Their son John DeJohn b. 1644, was Archbishop of 
York. His son, John, of Grafton Park. 

3. And Thomas, b. 1693, was Archbishop of Northumber- 
land. His son Granville Sharpe, b. Nov. 10, 1735; d. July 6, 1813. 

Contemporaneous with my grandmother's grandfather, 1742- 
1835. He was the great anti-slavery man, and a friend of 
America. 

John de John Sharpe, D. D., the Archbishop of York, was 
said to be "one of the most popular preachers of his time." He 
was chaplain to James II, 1685-88, and member of the House of 
Lords 22 years. He was buried in St. Mary's chapel in York 
cathedral, a sumptuous monument was erected to his memory. 

His son John, of Grafton Park, served his country and her 
majesty. Queen Anne, 1702-14. He was in several parliaments 
and the Board of Trade. 

Thomas Sharpe, b. 1693, was Archdeacon of Northumber- 
land, and was buried in the cathedral church of Durham in a 
chapel called Gallilee. 

The most noted was Granville Sharpe, son of the Archdeacon 
of Northumberland, who championed the slave, and who after 
years devoted to fighting the iniquitous slave trade, lived to see 
the abolition of slavery by an act of the British Parliament in 
1833. 

There is a mural tablet to his memory in Westminster Abbey. 

The council of London erected a bust with this inscription: 

Granville Sharpe 

to whom England owes the 

Glorious verdict of her highest Court 

"That the slave who sets his foot on British ground 

becomes that instant free." 

Born Nov. 10, 1735. 

Died July 6, 1813. 

76 



JOHN SHARPE'S LETTER TO THOMAS MUKINS. 

Address — "This for Loving Master Thomas Mukins, living at 
Hatfield, this deliver." 

"Loving and much respected Master: My love is remem- 
bered unto you and my dame, hoping you are well as I am at 
the writing hereof, blessed be God for it. My wiff desiars to be 
remembered unto you and my dame and we are yet in our 
habitation thro' God's marsi, but we are in expectation of the 
enemi everi day if God be not the more marsiful unto us. I have 
been out 7 weeks myself, and if provisions had not grown short 
we had folood the enemi into your borders, and then I would 
have given you a visit if it had been possibel; for I went out a 
volunteer under Capt. Wardsworth of Milton, but he is caled 
hom to reout about theire owne town, so I left off the desire at 
present. There is many of our friends are taken from us. Capt. 
Jonson of Roxberi was slaine at Naragansit, and Will Lincon 
died before his wound was cured. Filup Curtis was slaine at 
a wigwam about Mendham, but we have lost but one man with 
us these wars. My mother Vose is ded and my sister Swift. I 
pray remember my love to John Elis and his wiff and the rest of 
our frends, and however it is like to fare with us, God knows, and 
we desire to comit all our affairs into His hands. So having 
nothing els desiaring your praiars for us, I rest. 
"Your servant, 

"JOHN SHARPE. 

"Mudiriver, of the 1 mo., 1676." 

On a stone in Sudbury, Mass., is this inscription: "Capt. 
Samuel Wadsworth of Milton, his Lieut. Sharpe of Brookline, and 
26 other soldiers fighting of the defence of their country, were 
slain by the Indian enemy April 18th, 1676, and lye buried in 
this place." 

The son of Lieut. Sharpe was one of the petitioners to the 
General Assembly of the colony Aug. 13, 1704, for the incorpora- 
tion of Brookline as a distinct town. 



COPY OF GRANDFATHER'S LETTER ABOUT HIS BUSINESS. 

The burning of the shop where I learned my trade, together 
with the owner and his brother, who was the foreman of the 
works, both of whom died from burns received at that time (the 
20th March, 1820) by which calamity my future life was deter- 
mined, leaving me free at the age of 19 1/^ years, having served 
three years, in which I learned to be a good carriage trimmer 
and found ready employment at good wages. 

At the age of 23 years I came to Brooklyn, in August, 1824, 
contracted for a shop to be built by October and moved into it 
in December following. Now the reason for this boyish haste 
was that Mr. Bird (my master that was) found the best market 
for his chaises in the eastern towns of Windham County. There 
was no shop in the state east of Connecticut River where chaises 
were made to any amount. Besides I had a partner about my 
own age who had saved about as much as I had and joining his 

77 



money with mine we thought we had enough to begin business. 
He could not come until the Spring of 1825, but, alas! he 
was taken sick and after lingering along for a few months he 
died. What money he had advanced his friends wanted and I 
had to borrow. So I was left alone among entire strangers to 
paddle my own canoe as best I could. It is not necessary for 
me to say that his death was a very great disappointment. I was 
not discouraged, I had plenty of work at good prices and em- 
ployed six hands during the spring, summer and fall until De- 
cember, the third night my shop took fire or was set on fire by 
a painter that I had turned off for drunkenness the October be- 
fore. I had reason for believing he was in the neighborhood that 
night, very soon after I saw in a newspaper that near Middle- 
town an Englishman bearing the same name and supposed to be 
a painter, was found in the river, supposed to have committed 
suicide, that description answered to the man I turned off. 

While the fire swept everything I had to do business with 
and more, in Sept. previous I moved my mother and sister Mercy 
from Waltham to Brooklyn to keep house for me and board my 
men and apprentices. My sister was troubled with heart disease 
and staying out looking at the fire took cold and died in February 
following. She was very handsome and good as she was hand- 
some, and was engaged to be married to my partner, spoken of 
as above, who lived but a very few months after I commenced 
business. But 1 did not despair, I had my mother with me and 
she was now dependent upon me for bread and butter, and I re- 
membered that I owed her for milk she furnished me when quite 
young, and thousands of other things that I never paid her for. 
Altho our losses were terrible to her, she encouraged me to go 
on, and I shall never forget the kindness extended to me by the 
townspeople, all urging me to stay and saying they would do all 
they could to help me. The next day after the fire timber and 
material began to come in to build me a new and larger shop, 
subscriptions were made to amount of between $700 and $800, 
more tlian enough to build the shop. I wrote to those men in Bos- 
ton of whom I had my stock, stating my loss, and they wrote 
back urging me to go on, and offering to furnish me with what- 
ever I wanted in their line. 

In less than two months from the time my first shop was 
burned I was at work in the second, with new tools, and with 
stock, having lost six years' earnings and owing considerable 
besides. 

So I started again, with no means, to do business entirely 
upon credit. I have somewhere a statement of business for 1826, 
but cannot find it. I remember the result, I cleared over all 
expenses $600. I have no doubt I did better in 1827 and very 
well in 1825. New work sold readily but on time. I had no 
trouble in getting notes that I took for chaises, discounted at 
the bank, so that in 1828 I made 25 new chaises with harness, 
the average value not less than $170 each. My work that year 
amounted to nearly $9,000, but, amidst all this apparent pros- 
perity, I was like a ship at sea, with a gathering storm about her 
and on a lea shore. That year began a long depression in busi- 
ness of all kinds, culminating in the panic of 1887, the biggest 
I ever knew. All classes were involved. I was obliged to make 
an assignment in 1829-30, turning over to my creditors property 
enough, I supposed, to nearly pay them. It brought at auction 

78 



not one-third what it cost, leaving me heavily in debt again, 
which, after a struggle of ten years I very nearly wiped 
out — more than $1,500 — from two dollars up to one hundred and 
fifty to 50 persons. In 1837 I went into the weavers' harness 
business and came out minus $200. This was owing to the em- 
barrassed situation of the patentee. I could have made money 
by making the harness, but his creditors interfered. 

The next move was to Northampton in 1843, to join the com- 
munity established by S. L. Hill, George Benson and others. I 
had very little confidence of success in a business to be carried on 
by so many directors, and my doubts were fully realized, for in 
three (or four) years the whole concern was in the hands of 
S. L. Hill to settle up, and owing to losses he had to get an exten- 
sion of five years in which to pay the debts. 

So after four years I returned to Brooklyn, but I have ever 
since been thankful that I went, although I returned as poor as 
when I went in money, but the advantages to my family were 
very great in schooling and association with the best people I 
ever knew. Having acted as their agent myself to establish a 
market for their sewing silk, they continued me as such for about 
four years longer, paying me a good salary, which salary was of 
great service to me in supporting my family after coming on the 
farm, which was very much run down by having been let for 
many years. ! 

Every building needed thorough repairing. All I sold from 
the farm the first two years was $150 worth of produce. I look 
back upon my life as a farmer with satisfaction, as having been a 
success up to the time I let it and gave up control of it. All the 
buildings are now in as good condition as could be expected. All 
have been industrious and helped to make our home as comfort- 
able as need be and I have been freed from buying and selling, 
a business I came to dislike more than I can tell. 



79 



GOLDEN WEDDING. 

Golden Wedding. 
1827 — May 27tli— 1877. 



Programme : 

1 P. M. — Marriage George and Kate. 

Congratulations. 

Wedding Breakfast. 

2 P. M. — Reception to the Golden Couple. 

Procession of Grandchildren, Presenting Gifts. 

Golden Wedding Poem, recited by Sarah Y. DeNormandie. 

Song — "We Are All Here." 

Addresses by George R. Stetson and James E. Stetson. 

Golden Wedding Hymn. 

Letters Read from: 

Rev. Thos. T. Stone, Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Mrs. A. M. Alcott. 

Address and Prayer — Rev. C. Y. DeNormandie. 

Congratulations. Refreshments. 



Menu: 

All prepared in the house and served by the busy "Marthas." 
Nothing gave out, nothing failed. Everything was delicious and 
abundant. 

Cold Ham (4) Tongue (6) 

Jellied Chicken (6) Lobster Salad (18) 

Rolls 

Wedding Cake (9 loaves) Bride's Cake 

Pound Cake Silver Cake Sponge Cake 

Three Other Kinds 

Lemon Jelly Wine Jelly 

Oranges Candy 

Coffee Tea Lemonade 



LIST OF PRESENTS GIVEN AT THE GOLDEN WEDDING. 

30 Yards Black Silk — From Mary, Lucy, Nett and Courtland. 

32 Yards Matting — Mary and Lucy. 

27% Yards Carpet — Courtland. 

Table Cloth and Napkins — Mary. 

Sugar Spoon — Andrew Ingraham. 

Perfume Case — Mrs. Alcott. 

Pair Blankets — Aunt Nancy. 

Set of Silver Knives — Aunt Mary. 

Stand Cover — Anna Colby. 

Channing's Works — Miss Moore (of Kingston.) 

H. Martineau — Mr. and Mrs. Thaxter. 

Berry Spoon — C L. Richardson. 

Study Lamp — George and Kate. 

80 



Photograph — James Greenwood. 

Historic Plate— Mr. and Mrs. Conant. 

Pickle Dish — Mrs. E. Ketchens. 

Swiss Carving — Mrs. G. G. Withington. 

Candelabras — Mr. and Mrs. Ovington. 

Case Coffee Spoons — Mr. and Mrs. Beal (of Kingston.) 

Gold Pencil — Mr. Waldo Kendall. 

Tidy — Mrs. Jane Fuller. 

Sugar Spoon — Fanny Sawyer. 

Black Embroidered Shawl — Julia Ketcham. 

Bed Quilt — Grandma Stetson. 

Picture St. Jerome — Mr. and Mrs. E. Scarborough. 

3 Volumes Poetry — Dr. J. Allen. 

Lowell's Poems — Mr. and Mrs. Bolles. 

Gannett's Works — Mrs. Chase. 

Table and Chairs — Brooklyn Society. 

Two Pictures — George R. Stetson. 

Glasses. 

Album. 

Ring — George Allen Stetson. 

Gold Glasses. 

Pencil and Pen. 

A Napkin Holder Embroidered with "Grandfather" — Made 

by Sarah. 
A Rug — Made by Myra. 
50 Gold Dollars — James. 

Mr. and Mrs. Randall. 

Mr. and Mrs. Porter. 
" Mrs. Eliza A. Holmes. 

" Mr. Joseph A. Holmes. 

" Kate. 

Courtland. 

Myra. 

Minnie. 

Sarah. 
" Harry. 

Ed. Richardson. 

Nellie. 

May. 

,. ) Twins, 

-50 fifty cent pieces — Mary A. Richardson. 



20 

10 
5 
5 
5 
5 
5 

2.50 
2.50 
2.50 
2.50 
2.50 
2.50 
1.00 
1.00 

25.00- 



10.00 — Mr. and Mrs. Atkins. 
5.00 — Uncle Davis Sharpe. 
1.00 — Addie Robbins. 
1.00 — D. Robbins. 
.50 



81 



COPY OF COMMISSION AS ENSIGN TO 

NATHAN WITTER. 

1770. 

Jonathan Trumbull, Esq.: 
Captain General and Commander in Chief of His Majesty's 

Colony of Connecticut, in New England. 
To Nathan Witter, Gent. Greeting: 

You being by the General Assembly of this Colony accepted 
to be Ensign of the 5th Company or Trainband in the 11th Regi- 
ment in this Colony. Reposing special Trust and Confidence in 
your Loyalty, Courage and good Conduct, I do, by Virtue of the 
Letters Patents from the Crown of England to this Corporation, 
Me thereunto enabling, appoint and impower you to take the 
said Trainband into Your Care and Charge, as Their Ensign care- 
fully and diligently to discharge that Trust; exercising Your in- 
ferior Officers and Soldiers in the Use of their Arms, according to 
the Discipline of War: Keeping them in good Order and Govern- 
ment, and commanding Them to obey You as Their Ensign for 
His Majesty's Service. And You are to observe all such Orders 
and Directions as from Time to Time You shall receive either 
from Me, or from other Your superior Officers, pursuant to the 
Trust hereby reposed in You. Given under My Hand and the 
Seal of this Colony, in New Haven the 13th Day of October in 
the 10th Year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lord George the 
Third, King of Great Britain, &c. Annoque Domini, 1770. 
By His Honor's Command, 
George Wyllys Sec'y. 

JONATHAN TRUMBULL. 



COPY OF COMMISSION AS LIEUTENANT 

TO EBENEZER WITTER. 

1803. 

Jonathan Trumbull, Esquire, 
Captain-General and Commander in Chief in and over the 

State of Connecticut, in America. 
To Ebenezer Witter, Gent. Greeting. 

You being by the General Assembly of this State accepted 
to be Lieutenant of the 9tli Company in the 21st Regiment of 
Militia in this State to take rank from the 12th of April 1803; 
reposing special trust and confidence in your Fidelity, Courage 
and good Conduct, I do by Virtue of the Laws of this State, me 
thereunto enabling, appoint and empower you to take the said 
Company into your Care and Charge as their Lieutenant, care- 
fully and diligently to discharge that Office and Trust, exercising 
your inferior Officers and Soldiers in the Use of their Arms, ac- 
cording to the Rules and Discipline of War, ordained and estab- 

82 



lished by the Laws of this State, keeping them in good Order and 
Government, and commanding them to obey you as their Lieu- 
tenant and you are to observe all such Orders and Directions as 
from Time to Time you shall receive, either from me, or from 
other your superior Officer, pursuant to the Trust hereby reposed 
in you. 

Given under my Hand, and the public Seal of this State, at 
Hartford, the 19th Day of May A. D. 1803. 
By His Excellency's Command, 
Samuel Wyllys Secretary. 

JONATHAN TRUMBULL. 



COPY OF COMMISSION AS CAPTAIN 

TO EBENEZER WITTER. 

1806. 

Jonathan Trumbull, Esquire, 
Captain-General and Commander in Chief in and over the 

State of Connecticut, in America. 
To Ebenezer Witter, Gent. Greeting. 

You being by the General Assembly of this State accepted 
to be Captain of the ninth Company in the 21st Regiment of 
Militia in this State, to take rank from April 14th, A. D. 1806; 
reposing special Trust and Confidence in your Fidelity, Courage 
and good Conduct, I Do by virtue of the Laws of this State, me 
thereunto enabling, appoint and empower you to take the said 
Company into your Care and Charge as their Captain carefullj| 
and diligently to discharge that Office and Trust, exercising your 
inferior Officers and Soldiers in the use of their Arms according 
to the Rules and Discipline of War ordained and established by 
the Laws of this State, keeping them in good Order and Govern- 
ment, and commanding them to obey you as their Captain and 
you are to observe all such Orders and Directions as from Time 
to Time you shall receive, either from me or from other your 
superior Officer, pursuant to the Trust hereby reposed in you. 

Given under my Hand, and the Public Seal of this State, 
at Hartford the 19th Day of May A. D. 1806. 
By His Excellency's Command, 
Samuel Wyllys Secretary 

JONA TRUMBULLE. 



83 



COPY OF COMMISSION AS CORPORAL 

TO 

JAMES A. STETSON. 

1820. 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

To Mr. James A. Stetson of Walpole 

Greeting: 

You having been appointed a Corporal of a Company of 
Infantry under the command of Captain Samuel T. Bird in the 
first Regiment, second Brigade, and first Division of the Militia 
of Massachusetts: 

By virtue of the Power vested in me, I do, by these Presents, 
grant you this Warrant. You are, therefore, with vigilance and 
fidelity, to discharge the duty of Corporal, in said Company, 
according to the Rules and Regulations established by law, for 
the Government and Discipline of the Militia of this Common- 
wealth. And you are to observe and follow such orders and 
instructions, as you shall from time to time, receive from your 
superior officers. 

Given under my Hand, at Needham this second day of May 
One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty. 

CHESTER ADAMS, Colonel. 



COPY OF COMMISSION AS SERGEANT 

TO 

JAMES A. STETSON. 

1828. 

Chas. Coit Esquire, 
Colonel of the First Regiment of Lt. Artillery in the State of 

Connecticut, 
To James A. Stetson Greeting: 

Reposing especial confidence in your courage, skill, and 
good conduct, I do by these presents constitute and appoint you, 
the said James A. Stetson to be a Sergeant in the Third Company 
in the Regiment under my command. You are therefore faith- 
fully and diligently to exercise the several acts and duties of said 

office, in a strict and careful discharge of the same And 

you are to observe and obey all such orders as you may from time 
to time receive from me, or other your superior officers, and to 
instruct said company in the use of arms, and all necessary duty, 
commanding them to obey you as their Sergeant, for which this 
shall be your sufficient warrant. 

Given under my hand and seal, at Norwich, this 1st day 
of April A. D. 1828. 

CHARLES COIT, Colonel. 

84 



COPY OF COMMISSION AS SECOND LIEUTENANT TO 

JAMES A. STETSON. 

1831. 

John Samuel Peters, Esquire, 
Captain-General and Commander in Chief, in and over the 

State of Connecticut, in the United States of America. 
To James A. Stetson, Gent. Greeting. 

You being by the General Assembly of this State, accepted 
to be second Lieutenant of the 3rd Company of the 1st Regiment 
of Lt. Artillery in the Militia of this State, to take rank from the 
9th day of June A. D. 1831; reposing special trust and confidence' 
in your fidelity, courage and good conduct, I do, by virtue of the 
Laws of this State, me thereunto enabling, appoint and empower 
you to take the said Company into your care and charge, as their 
second Lieutenant, carefully and diligently to discharge that 
office and trust, exercising your inferior officers and soldiers in 
the use of their arms according to the rules and discipline of war, 
ordained and established by the Laws of this State, keeping them 
in good order and government, and commanding them to obey you 
as their second Lieutenant; and you are to observe all such orders 
and directions, as from time to time, you shall receive, either 
from me, or from other your superior Officers, pursuant to the 
trust hereby reposed in you. 

Given under my Hand, and the Public Seal of this State, at 
New-Haven, the 9th day of May, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand eight hundred and thirty-two. 

By His Excellency's command, JOHN S. PETERS. 

Thomas Day, Secretary. 



85 



BREWSTER — WITTER 
MARRIGAES. 



1. William Brewster and Mary his wife. 

d. Apr. 10, 1644. d. Apr. 17, 1627. 

2. Love Brewster and Sarah Collier. 

3. Dea. Wm. Brewster and Elizabeth Partridge. 

4. BENJAMIN BREWSTER m. ELIZABETH WITTER. 

b. 1688. Oct. 16, 1713. b. Mar. 31, 1694. 

d. Feb. 21, 1741. 
7 Children. 

1 William. 4 Elizabeth. 7. Jerusha. 

2 Grace. 5 Damaris. 

3 Asa. 6 Drusilla. 

II 

1. William Brewster and Mary his wife. 

2. Jonathan Brewster and Lucretia Oldham. 

b.Scrooby, Eng.,Aug. 12,1593. b. in Darby, 
d. Aug. 7, 1659. d. Mar. 4, 1678. 

m. Apr. 10, 1624. 

3. Benjamin Brewster and Ann Dart. 

d. Sept. 14, 1710. d. May 9, 1709. 

m. Feb. 28, 1659-60. 

4. Jonathan Brewster and Judith Stevens. 

d. Nov. 20, 1704. m. Dec. 18,1690. 

5. JOSEPH BREWSTER m. DOROTHY WITTER. 

b. Apr. 13, 1698. m. Mar. 17, 1723. 
d. Oct. 15, 1770. 
9 Children. 

1 Elijah. 2 Joseph. 3 Nathan. 4 Elizabeth. 

5 Jonathan. 6 Ezra. 7 Jacob. 8 Stephen. 9 Jabez. 

Ill 

1. William Brewster and Mary his wife. 

2. Jonathan Brewster and Lucretia Oldham. 

3. Benjamin Brewster and Ann Dart. 

4. DANIEL BREWSTER and DOROTHY MORGAN WITTER. 

d. June 14, 1756, aged 69. b. 1666 in Maiden, Mass. 

d. 1750 in Preston, Conn, 
m. Dec. 9, 1727. 



86 



on. 

jN, son of Benjamin Ste 
, in Scituate, d. in Sm 
ing a sick neighbor. 
^^ Alexander, Sept. 3, 
^ merchant of Boston 
1 when he thought the I 
I Charlestown instead, e 
i-son was a Merchant 
jt four children were b< 
I'ere born. They moved 
Ivvas born there and he d 

|794, in Boston, d. in Nc 

1796, d. in Lowell. Oct.,: 

1798, d. Oct. 10, 1889, 
Edinburgh, Oct. 27, 181 
Hotel. Boston, and of tl 

1 1799, d. July 31, 1878 
r. H. See III. 

NDER, b. Sept. 28, 1801 
er. 

Apr. 30, 1803, d. Brookb 

1804, d. Apr. 29, 1832. 

I, 180G, d. Dec. 25. 1876. i 

b. 1808, d. 1890, in Kai 
See V. 

•, 1810, in Smithfield, R. 



1st GesentioD. 



Comet Robert Stetson 2nd Geoeration. 



Joseph Stetson. 3id Generation. 



Robert Stetson. 4tli Generation. 



Anthony Stetson. 5th Generation. 



Benjamin Stetson. 6th Generation. Benjamin Stetson. 7th Generation. James Alexander Stetson. 



first Hone Company of Plymou 

Council of War for 30 yean, IM 

butinu* abilitr. a hlEhly valuable 
thou 31 Captain's HiN wiib Miles 
JOSEPH, b. June. 1<B9, d. 17&3-H 






t Jo«pTi 



I, and vias delegaled to v 



Jwti. b. 10 


07. m. Hun 


h Oldham. No> 


«. losa. 


ROBERT, 
Lou. b. Ma 


. Die. ». 10 
.107S,m.F 


l"'lVU„a,°" 


more. Jan 


tt'iltiaiH. b 


Dec., 1073-1 


ll. Aug, 14. 10« 




Bulr.. b, S 


pt, H70, m 


Richard Sylvcs 


cralSciin 


''"f'cbo"'. 


Stpt. I07S. 


r Bridec»aicr. 


cc. 17. 1707 


"i.'b. 


)=c. 1079. 


S.ta.n Line. 


,,. Apr 21 



.. June 



ANTHONY, b. Scpl. 






. June H. I 



to-O'. li- Mnr. 30. 17i». d, IMS. m. Elijali Jenkins. .Scpi. 1 

i:i. in94, m. Daniel Damon. July 37. 1731 find wife), i^.^jTiv^u^'^'^-X^.,. m e- r u i e .j .. . (BENJAMIN b. Jan. H. 1771, d. Sepi. 1810 

Jpttpi. U. I-eu, W, 1(33. m. Mary Eamu of M»n,lifield. Moved to > ind „, Marv Alenander Seot 1 I'iW 

'"""■■--" -■--" "ingHion. where he died. ^ j„,,fh \,: Ut " " .■'¥■•■•- 

inahL;,phar '""~ "^ ' ■"" " ""' " "'"" "" 



lurned Cliarlctlown ioatead. evctydilns vms lo 
1 SicUon was a Merchant Tailof. They lit 









■ CAar/w. b. Oc 



I. Ilnilisl 



: £*wwr int/er/r., b. Oct. 5 



i.''lM^'' 






Uenjamin. b. 1006, m. Grace Turner, 


n Eipetli 


'"■iTn'i^ 


008. J,me., 


Thomas, Gershom, Joshua, Caleb, Elisha, Elijah, Ebcneier. 


Capt. Jonah, b. ISBl. m. KIcrey Tume 
Bought the Wanton c<.iflte 1730. 


. nW. Jo 
Built the 


fi"rir;id''e': 


efEw.l.l72T. 



second wife w.is Mnry Haino of Itraliitree, m. July 1 



Thomas, b. Apr. 33, 17ftl, d. Feb. 
emiah Hntch, Dec. 31, uai. ^vsAAt, noU. He naa a sliip carpenter by 

m. Lyifia Pilchcr, June B, 1735. His BENJAMIN, b. July 7, 1730, married -Mercy 



IDS. m. Sarah Ryder ol I'lymou 
Lydin Cook of Kiogsion, 1763. 



itidge. Tn. £lt»beih /■"• 



Xancy, b. DcC. 31. 17!I3. d. July 31. 1878. i 

JAMES ALEXANDER, b, Sept. Sfl, ISOI. ir 

m. Dolly Wilier. 
hffTfy Turntr. b. Apr. 30, 1803. d. Brooklyn, 



>. July aO, 1806, d. Dec. 35. 1876. m. Fninds Winch ol N.wliu.i, 
fCnapfi, b. 180S, d. 1800. in Kansas Cliy. m. Ccoree licnton 



3eth TliompMnof Edinburgh, Scotland. 

d - ".-It Ha^ah*wa/a'fi« TOman! 
She became a cripple from an 
Icrfully beautiful embroidery. 


















r- 



DOROTri 



Y (as she was alwa} 
ry Davis, 
^d. Dec. 9, 1857. 
;renezer Wittei 
d. Nov. 18, 1840 
l Homestead. Th 

, |1807, d. June 5, 18 

^lA-LEXANDER StET 



ew York, was in 
3us youth, always 



Lived on a ric 

, lived in Abingtc 
away from him. 



7. 
)3. 

ISd 



ROBERT .-itlARI'E. 2d denemliao LIEDT. JOHN SHAKPE. 3d r.onoraUon. WILLIAM SHARPE, 4lh Qenorolion JOHN SIIARPE. SlIi Ronemtion. ROBERT SHARPE. Olli Ocnoralion. DOROTOT or POLLY SHARPE. 7lli Oononition. DOLLY WITTER. 

J.,»K S»««pii, «>t, o( Rob,ri Sharp, and Abigail hi. »it,, W.LUAU SiiA.,,,. m of Lie.L J„ho Sh.,j, and MarU.a hi. ,vif, Jo»» S»A«i-B. <o„ ol William Sharp.^ and Abijail Whii, I<c,i.,«t Sif a.pi.. so. of John Shaq,, aod Dorcas Ua.i,. 11ou„th 

ca from Loodon in fh. .hip b. Mar. U. l«tl. KilM la baiOt al Sodbu,,-. Apr. 18. liiTO, b, in Brooklin.. Mar. II. Ulil, d. la Pon,fr.l. Coaa.. Nov. ». KM. b. July U, 17M. d. Ma, 10. 17711. b. Ma, i, 1711. d. Jon. 30, 18JS. Livri in Vomlr.i. Sha, 

nut.. Ihcn ai Modd, Rl.or. Licoicnani in Capi. Wad.»orU.'. Compaoj. St. I.ii.r io appiodi. He »ld hi.s pan of iho land in Biookline lo bis brolh.r Kob.n. Marriad Do«ca.. Wi.itf. of Wood.lodi, S.pl. 13. 172S Married Sabai. Davis, dan. ol Daniil Uavl. of Thomp.«n, Conn. b. J. 

anirf A.ioAiL, ..hn, all.r _ , , . ,„, ,..„..,,. -^ a A..™bl, miwa. Married AhIoaIi. Wiiiti!. dan. of John ■' „ ' The, bad iine children. He .erved in Hie Revoloilonar, War. b.A 

e, had three cbildren. *«fcr/, b. lOM. Mled by Indians in Canada. While ol Waieriown, probabl, lOOSil. b. im. d. Feb. 11. 1753. /»*»■ b. Feb. B. l.!0.7. m. Lucy Warren, Dec. It. 1,W. _ _ Live 

WILLIAM, b. 1673. d. Nov. ao, 17.'.fl. in Pomfrct. m. Abigail While. They had 10 children. ^oA-r/. b. Feb. 1. 17aWI, d. Feb. 13. 1740. .l/ory. b. June 21. 1,,4. d. Nov. 27. 17,0. dqLLY 

^ ,^ "^- ^>lfl'. b. Mar. 20. 1700. d. Ma, 2. 1743. ^„^,,. ^, ^p,, „, ,„,, j. p.^, „, ,,4,. "''i'S^L't"- '""■ '■ "" "' ""' "" '''"' " ■"""■ "'"' " «" 

■ ■ • A,.r,l,.. m. Io«ob BnekinBhan, ol Brain.ree. aller.ard, bved ,n ,„„„. b. ,„,, „ ,„,, j „„ ,„ ,,,, „ p„,„, b.,,, 3,^, „ ,;.„ ^,^^^ ^ ^^^^ ^^ ^.^ ^ ^^^^.^ ,^^^,^ ^^^ ^^ ^^ _^^^ ^ ^^^ ^^ ^ ^ ^^,^^ ^^^^ ^^_ ^ _^^. ^ ^^^^^^^ 



JOHN. I 



■l/orrfii.b. Ma,7. 17011. m. John Stone of Dudle,, Ma.s., Oci. 20, 1767 h7//m»i. b. Mar. 27. 1740. m. Snrtih Terringlon. "'d. Ma, M. 1830.' "' *'""' ^^''' ' ' " " ™" 1 Adiford. 

Mffi, b. June 17. 1711, d. in Ihe service of H. B M. Sept. 10, 1700. 2nd KODEBT. b. May 8. 1742. d. June 30. 18.1S. Sofifiia. b. Jul, 28. 1783. d. Mar. 21, 1784, Dwight. m. a CI 






b. Jul, «. 1807. i June 
MarHed Jauss Ai.i!xa» 


IM*"" 


o,<.Ma,27.18.7. 


The, b.ad 10 children. 
jtlmini Bactui, b. May 22 
Ma, 22. 1853. 


1838. nt. 


...Cou.U..dV.De 








.lAiiy Slutrpi, b. Dec. 8. IW 






FMntztT WilttrlV, b. Oci 


21. 1833. 


. Nov. 1, 1*13. in N 


Sarah Franiu. b. Aug, 10. 
d. Apr. 3. 1818. la DanI 


Jionvllle. 


thin Allen. Jr.. June 
b. Canterbury. No( 


C»/jrJriJl/<,.b, Mayll.lS 


37,n,,Elle 


n Stall. Nov. 93. 1850 


Jam„At,ran'UrJr.,\).Oi 


. 21. 1839. 


d. Jan. SI, Iftia. 


Lu^ IMly, b, Dec. 20, 1841 


"■b,'ca' 


terbury. Mar. H, IW 


yaaiM EttHorr, b. Apr. M. 
b.'ct'nclnnati.Ang.lB.'l 


la, Mom 


Haven. Apr. 33, 100 




1847. m.J 


ary Clark. Nov. W. 
»tland, Corn.. May 



I 



c 



ly Witter-Stetson's Gn 



puRTLAXD Y. DkNormand: 
( 

Mar. 13, 1855. 

' m. George H. Wil.son M 
b. Lawrence, Mass.. Fe 
I d. Pittsburgh. Pa., Mar 
I Five children. 

■n, Mass., Feb. 4, 1862, d. 
athic physician. 

en, July 13, 18G4. 
W. Bailey, Apr. 20, 1902. b. 



m. Eli.en Stall, Nov. 23, 

CO, Old Homestead, 
abeth Pratt, Sept. 22, 1886. 
Vlass., Aug. 9, 1863. 2 sons 
6, 1863, in New Haven. 
.1865, Florence, Ma.ss. 
'Bridgeport. 

lies, Sept. 26, 1889. One so 
July 26, 1864, 
'872, New Haven. 
k\. Edwin L. Gardiner, July i 
b. Hopkinton, R. I., Sept. 2S 
26, 1876, New Bedford. 

26, 1876, m. David W. Beama 
b. Cincinnati, No 
'883, d. June 6, 1883. 



Vernett E. Cleveland, 5: 

869, Florence. I 

9, Danielsonville. 



, m. Caroline A. Burritt 

^ven, d. Oct. 10, 1867. 

I 



ved to be 91 years and 11 i 

1 grandfather Nathan Wittei 

anly seven were living at an 

[ily six. Uncle George and 

:4an all the others put toge' 

e first Ebenezer's born in 171 

I of Sharpes and the fifth ge 

hendants, only 20 of whom M 

"fi. 8 great-grandchildren. Il 

np Uncle Joe and Aunt Mar] 

•^p in the old homestead. 

tiilly Alexander Stetson, live( 

ants. 



1st Generation. Deacon Ebenear Witter I. 2nd Generation. Deacon Ebenezer Witter 11. 3rd Generation. Deacon Mathan Witter. 4th Generation. Capt. Ebenezer Witter III. Sth Generation. DoUy Witter-St etson 6th Generation. DoHy Witter-Stelson's Grandchildren. 7th Generation Dolly Witter-Stelson's Great a d hi 

Twol.roihere Joseph aitrt Ebeneicr Wilier, came (rom ScxHtand and l-.iii;M.zi:ii WirrKji 11. Mn ..1 Dea. El.cnww Wilier 1 ami IJorolhy N:Mu<-- WnT.H -..., ..f It ...^ W,ii.-. II ir„l hi; ,,l„.|li ll.oivn, Erii.M.^EH Wittlu 111, sgn ui Dca, Nathan and Keiia Branch his Doi.i v Wn.i^ ,-,nli ,I..!J .,| r-,,,. |. |„„, -, , \-. 

■EiUcd in Hopkinion. Rhode Island. Joseph tcmaineil In Hopkinlon. Morgan, b. in Preown. !«!«>. d. in Canierbiiry, 17no. at hlsjon Asa's I. ., t , i, ,, i, i I ,,. I u,, < .... n , jj i.-_' wife, b. in ihcold bomesitnd Apr. 10. I77B, d. Nov. 18. IWO. Sii,i-i . i. .^mi :, .i ' ii,„ , , „i |, i 

'. !; 'VJI, n i-^wn Cdnncelicut. ai a date prior io lOM. He i> houw. Marr1«l liMMnnTii Bitow«. 1727. They had 15 children. ''[• ' ' , ! "■'"""«'•■>''='' Married Dollv Smarpe. dao. of Robert Sharpe and Sarali Davis. M.^ ■ ■ -. , 



«. •.F*r. J ■ n I. I, I. <!.[>> » ■ - — >. I ,, .-\--^-"-A-' • n Square, Doalm. 

liriiw; ThVtaifn.taVl.r' " IK" " .... . ,1... I.L .,.,., „.','"„,""''■ J..p™«.H.Wlto.M.,17,TO. ": Sit" "^^^''ZT'm'' '^^mS^I^^ 

noiTYI. IiiIvS IflDT .1 liinf fi IWKI m I.m.. Al..inil.r 'iti.ium I'lottii^w...:!. ^., A .Iv,..^.. oi tl.^ u 1, Member Msie IcEUh- di Piiisbufgh". I'll.. Mar. 18. )W». ' *»*"/-'/■»•/"" »Vi(m., b. No». 23. IS70, H«rri»n Sq, 

,„., .-- . . fl/«r^ D r.ov ,■ i.o. UOLL\ .^b. ^Ju4 S, 1807. <l June G. 18M, m. James AlM.indcr StciMn, ^^^^ A M.<.«.n. .in.l ai l.-i .i f.irmcr Tuncl.iMrcn "'"*«'*"' Ff« children. -"'i'»«r./ ft". "V/w«, h. JunelO, 1881. 47 Old H.wbor Si. So. Ho.ton. 

mai)oraibTP.*.b.lnMden,Ma»..10M.d.lnl'rntt.n.j:onrL, z^. i».y.'b. Feb. 25.'l7«7.ni. Joupl. Willl.m.. "^ '' .1/"/™ «»<tiu, b. May >!, IMS, ni. R„. Contllnnd V DeNom.ndie '"'7. "ST'Sln"'- »"*""*,"'"?■■.''.'''■'•'«"■ ■!■ ''°>'". «""■• T lS"po"d''vt'^l, IbPSiim' '"°°' '" '" 'tSji'l'M '''"" 

' " .b. Apr. M178B. I.l,e<l in Pre,ion.0.en belonged 10 bin,, aim May S». 1B3. Tbree dnushier,. ■ Jan JO, »»» Hon,enp.llilc pb,.,e..an. J^M^n im„:,.h.)in.'M,V 



y*l». Sold 



Id Dnlly Ai.,ri,. II, .Sti.tsok. «. Cno.Ti.AM, V ll,N.,n.i««,nt M» 11 1«M Kaii. nnN.,i,»»>.niE. n,. r.tonm H. W„ .o« Ma, 17 1 

,et.l««) Three dnajhi,n>. A-Jm«1^.v7'H""^""''"^""'-°'-' 

b ■ rS "■ Mm ° ""' "■ ""■ " l'™" ""■S.XJ.TiOT."' ''■ '"vit»'inllIiS5,' 

d. Pitiabursh. I'a., Mar 18. !W» flatrri Marhii Wiban, b. No». 13, IS70, Harrioon Sq. 

Fin children. ^rirznre/ A'. ItV/ren, b. JunelO, 1881, 47 Old H.vbor Si. f 
^^.ea />nrrf», b. Fairhavon, Miuk., Feb. 4. ISoi, d. Bo»ion, Moia.. h' Ulal^H'pi.V.d'v'. 'l!™ ^rff'SJ-^' "*""'" '^" "t^"'''" 

Jan. 10, 1»1K1. Honieop.J,lcpby.lci.an. \(»,'jto" iS. b jiJ » 1«M Dorehe.ler M.°^ 

at friend ^^^ s/iarft, b. Dec 8, 1831. " omag . g ey, pr. . ^. ^jn(;,ion.^B». ^ d. Shield., Pa„ Mar. 0, 18W.' 






J i,r ' •- ' • ' " ' l'!."',„^*''i;i,flT.!?'?-in 5'is.w '''''''''' '^"'' '''''""' "'''""'^''''"^ iV/M^M. b. Jan. 89, 17011, d. Oct. r, 1778. Crw.fe JP/^/ej-. b. May 11, 1837, m. Ellen Sull. Noe. 1.^ 18B0. i«V//ri» 7-**^«iiw. b, Apr.\'w(i3"lnVew'Havcn.""" *>*!«//•«// .OWron. b. Apr. 34. 1808, Dorcheaicr, M.«a 

nghlcr n,. Snrlih lioilon. She .0. ii. 1.4.1, d. i»& C/n«,n, b. M.ar. 27. 1708, m. Mr. Morean. Lived in York .i.iie vi.iied b. Hodley, Ma»., Mar. 14, 1830. 7 children d. Sept.. IfM, Florenee, Ma». _^ 

[ighler m. rrae,. her brother, etc. /om«./t/<ro«*r,/r., b. Oct. 11. 1830, d. Jan. 11, 1841. iff". .V.. b. June 14 1800, Jridseport. - -^ =; 

Mil, b M.iv Hi. 17:'i d Of I 1 1. 1778 . ,. „ u .> „ ... tn. Robert L. Dayltet^ Sept. lii. l(e*i). One son „ .. „ 

/„„./, I. -.T „ -■. 177 . T 1, , ,i in Brooklyn village. H« wife called ^"^ '"''"''• "' °"- ""' '"'■ "■ b'SuL H^r i/lMo" o"^' JIf E/ ^' Tb T^'^u'wa n" '^' '"' "' " "'*' '"'"' "' "" 

' ■ I ' - -■> - ■ /«„,„ £W«r. b. Apr. «, 1»H, in North Im p.on. m. CarolinlT "^ '''*a"b. V lOof. ' r,. ^wln "Siner, July «, IdlMI. 1 dao, *•*" >»'^« ■»■»/''"''■ "««■*'>«»"."<" B«"ord. Mai 



Dorothy Sliarpe. /""'" ^ff" 

b''anc'i[l^a[i 'auTib \m d New Hiveo Anr 23 1 BOD ft ,. «,r, i-^*^" -*A««Ar b. SepL S^ 1W8, Ncn 



&. Hopkinion, R. I., ScpL »^ U 

.s^lw^ N - ■■ ■ 

n, IS7(t, m. 
1S83, d. Junr 



/ant mtftr b. Sept. 18, IS7(t, m. David W. Bcaman, June as, 1003. 
l*rt P«ri^ h M=r Hit IMH -I it.-i'iS'SS!''"'"'' "*"' "■ ""* I'irtimiit M^y GitnUntr. b. /lii 



O^;i/._U-A.g.,.,70«,dJanJ3.»09..^^ "^"'-^ ""- n^- "'.^O'" ■ . Sa«h Payne, grandmother-. K«alebum, nt. John Gray. Theirdao. '^'''''^-'^^'S: SVIClia^'SrsSn^hle. 



d ihree Mn>, JoKph, William, Jo»iali. ^^^ ^ j^gg Sittie has been an inlii 

. all coming from ihe vicinity of Brooklyn, I never saw — " 



ir and Witter tnarriage* 



too. '?il^oni'y"pairs'i 



# C^ 



WITTER. 

James A 
m. ] 

10 ( 

b. Aug. 18, 1878, Harrison Sq. 
;chanfflor, Dec. 21, 1904, St. Margaret's 
Almhn /minster, London, 
m. C 79, Bnuin, Austria. 

b. 22, 1879, Harrison Sq. 
\q 10, 1881, So. Boston. 
Lee, Sept. 15, 1906. 
Mercy 7V'^'^» Island Pond, Yt. 
i, 1883, Dorchester. 
Jan. 10, 1885, Dorchester. 
d Mar. 6, 1899, Shields, Pa. 



Mary Sh 
Ebenezct 



Sarah F 
m. 1 



1, 1889, New Bedford. 
24, 1898, Dorchester. 



George 1 



4, 1896, New Bedford. 



Descendants of JAMFS ALEXANDER STETSON and DOLLY WITTER. 



il. Mar. A, 
Dolly Wilier, Majf 27, 18'27. 
I>..lu1}>8, 1807. 



Almira Backus. U. Maj- 22, I82«. 

m. Oourtliiml yanilcy ncNormundic, Hny 'I'l. I s 
t>. Pt<li. 10.1827. ral*iiiKlon, I'li. 
.1. Kfli-aS. 1910. KinK-loD. Mil*- .'t iliiiiitlilT* 



MarySliatjf. b. P«J. 8. 1831. 
Bfinirtw Hiffrf /F'. 1j. Ocl.21. 1833. 
d. Nov. 1, 1843. 



' Itipin,. h. May II. 1837. 



Jattui Ebencser. h. Apr. 24, 18-14, NorUiaiiiptoii. 
in. Caroline A. Burrilt, Muy 1, 186G. 
b. Aug. IS, 1864, Cincinnati, 0. 

Joiepk Benjamin, li. Ool. 12, 1847, old lioiiiC(iU<u< 
m, Mary Clark. Nov. 20, 18fi8. 

b. May 23. 1842.SoolUnd. Conn. 



(I. Jan. 10. 181 
IIoincfl|i»tliic iiliydioian. 
/. YnnHr.1. b. .Inly V.i.] 



union riir^iiora. h. Apr. 16. 1803, New Haven. Oi. 
d. Sept., 1865, Flon-nw. Miifs. 

Kllrn M. 1). Jnno 24. 18159. UridRopnrl. 
in, Itobort L. Itayli>>^, Sept. 2ti. 18S1). 
b. July 26. I8U4, Nt-w Bedford, 
Jl/rtt, Klisaheth. I>. Mav U. 1872, Now Ilnvon. Cl. 
d. Aug. 28, 1901. 
m. Ifdwin Lcaudor Gardiucr, .luly 22. 189r.. 
b. Sopt. 28, 1809, Uopkinton, R. I. 
Jama AlacanSa, \ 



|b. Sept. 26, 1876. New lEedfoi 
David Wobiilor Ucoman, Juno 25, 1H02. 
b. Novoinbor 2, 1872, Cincinnali, Oliio. 



f }h,rf,j^ 



iFttdrrie. d. Ool. 10, 1867. 



W 



^ 



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