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On which public notices were displayed and about which the men gathered to discuss 
church and town affairs or the latest news from England. 

May 1913 


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Townpost, Saybrook, frontispiece 

Nathaniel Lynde's Grave in the Saybrook Cemetery 22 

Lady Fenwick's grave, Saybrook 24 

The site of the house and lot given by Nathaniel Lynde for the Colle- 
giate School of Saybrook, which became Yale University 26 

First catalogue of Yale College 27 

Gravestone of Rev. Theo. Buckingham in Saybrook Cemetery 28 

Original mill stone on the site of Saybrook's first grist mill on the 

road leading to the point 33 

The Lord House, built in 1665 37 

Whittlesey House, Saybrook Point 38 

Governor Yale's snuff box 47 

Hayden House, built in 1766 52 

A glimpse of the sail loft and the warehouse built by Abner Parker 

in 1753 • • • • ; 53 

The house built by Robert Lay in 1730, Essex 54 

A flint-lock pistol of great size, bearing the date of 1730 55 

The rock upon which Whitefield stood when he preached to a multi- 
tude in Lyme 58 

McCurdy House, Lyme 60 

Mather House, Lyme 62 

" Blackhall " the seat of the Griswolds when Miss Ursula Wolcott 
courted her shy cousin Matthew, and also the home of " The Black- 
hall Boys " 64 

Franklin mile stone, Lyme 65 

The home of Dr. Benjamin Gale, who died in 1790 68 

Rev. Jonathan Pierson's silver cider mug 69 

Stanton House 71 

Yale Monument, Clinton 73 

Old Church, East Haddam 81 

Nathan Hale Schoolhouse, East Haddam 83 

The landing, East Haddam 84 

Old Congregational Church, East Haddam 85 

Moodus 88 

Cobalt Mine, Cobalt, Ct 89 

Old South Wesleyan University, Middletown 94 

Lead Mine • 97 

The rock marking the site of the first meeting-house in Middletown.. 100 
Michael Burnham Tavern, Washington street, where St. John's Lodge, 

No. 2, F. and A. M., held its first meeting in 1854 108 

Wesleyan University, Middletown 109 

Wesleyan University, Middletown no 

Original Street, Cromwell 120 

River Road, Cromwell 121 

Stowe House, Cromwell 122 

Brooke House, Cromwell 123 

The Ranney House, Cromwell 124 

Grave of the Rev. Thomas Ranney in the Old Cemetery 125 



Giant Poplar on Joel West's Place 138 

The Rev. Joel West's House 141 

Oldest house in Portland 145 

Webb House, Wethersfield 149 

Congregational Church, Wethersfield 152 

Silas Deane House, Wethersfield 155 

Wethersfield Elm 158 

Oldest house in Wethersfield 160 

Second oldest house in Wethersfield 162 

Old Tavern, Wethersfield 164 

Gideon Wells House, Glastenbury 173 

The Holister House, built by one of the original proprietors 175 

Old Talcott House 177 

The Old Talcott House 179 

State House, Hartford 193 

Hartford, Conn 201 

Oldest Church, Hartford 210 

Home of Noah Webster, of dictionary and spelling-book fame, West 

Hartford 221 

First Webster's Dictionary 223 

Scene on Connecticut river, near Windsor 234 

Oldest Church in Windsor 238 

Location of first ship yard, Windsor 240 

The Ellsworth Mansion 242 

Windsor 243 

Old Day House, West Springfield 286 

Monument of Miles Morgan, one of the foremost of the early settlers. 293 

Chapin Monument, Springfield 300 

Old mile post on Armory hill, Springfield, Mass 305 

Site of Richard Falley's Armory, at the foot of Mt. Tekoa 311 

Smith College, Northampton 317 

A bit of Dear Old New England 3*9 

Round Hill Hotel, Northampton 321 

" Paradise " Northampton, in the rear of Smith College 324 

Jonathan Edward's Elm, Northampton 3 2 5 

In " Paradise," Smith College, Northampton 326 

Williston Seminary, Easthampton 3 2 9 

Payson Church, Easthampton 332 

Pulpit Elm, East Hampton 334 

Sword given to Capt. Smith by Burgoyne 346 

Site of Regicide House, Hadley 348 

The only remaining portion of Captain Smith's House, where Bur- 
goyne spent the night while on his way to Boston after the 

surrender 350 

Indian Trail, Hadley 352 

Colonel Eleazer Porter's house, end view 353 

Colonel Eleazer Porter's house, Hadley, built in 1713 354 

Fine specimen of Colonial door in Colonel Eleazer Porter's house, 

built in 1713 356 

Tennie Lynd Elm, Hatfield 357 

Birth place of founder of Smith College (in foreground) and house 

where she died (in background) 35° 

Mill River, Hatfield 359 

Amherst College 3®? 

Amherst College 3&4 

Amherst College (Chapel) 3™ 

Rev. Williams' House, Deerfield 3/0 

Site of Patriots' Liberty Pole 371 

Captain John Sheldon's House 373 

Captain John Sheldon's House, Deerfield 375 



Bloody Brook, South Deerfield 376 

King Philip's Seat, South Deerfield 378 

Stebbins House, Deerfield 380 

Old Morgan Homestead, Bellows Falls 400 

Old Morgan Tavern, Bellows Falls 402 

Howe House, South Vernon (on the Vermont side) 406 

South Vernon 408 

Old Mill, Brattleboro '.'. 411 

Site of Fort Dummer, Brattleboro, now Vernon 415 

Scene near Brattleboro 420 

Site of the first bridge across the Connecticut River 430 

Stevens House, Charlestown 439 

Gov. Hubbard House, Charlestown 441 

Gen. Hunt House, Charlestown 444 

At Charlestown 447 

Old Court House, Windsor 472 

The First Court House, Windsor 475 


A YEAR or two before or after 1880, at a Commencement 
banquet of the graduating class at Amherst College, 
especial attention was paid to post prandial speaking. 
Amherst had been famous for many decades, and was the envy of 
the other New England Colleges and Universities, for the graceful 
ease and forcefulness of its undergraduates as offhand speakers. 
And so, when Amherst men prepared themselves for an especial 
occasion, the speaking was well worth hearing. On this occasion 
the principal toasts and the sentiments that followed them on the 
menu were : 

"The West; the place where we raise corn". 

The student chosen to respond to this toast was the pick of the 
western men. His name cannot be recalled, but the impression 
he made is vivid. His response to the toast was a credit to him- 
self and the vast, fertile territory he represented. The other toast 

"The East; the place where we raise MEN". 

Howard Bridgman, a typical Yankee boy from that center of 
Yankeedom, Northampton, was chosen to perform the happy task 
of maintaining the supremacy of the East. He reviewed the 
glorious past of New England, and the achievements of her men 
and women, in so masterful and yet so simple a manner, that he 
captured all hearts, and enthusiasm burst all bounds. 

Of the entire territory known as the East, there is one long, 
narrow district that stands forth beyond all others as being the 
one that has produced a purer type of the Nation's MEN than 
any other. The river which has given this territory its name 
starts on its course far up in the rugged wilderness of New 
Hampshire and, flowing southward between dense forests, pre- 
cipitous cliffs, and fertile meadows of vast acreage, finally loses 
itself in the waters of the Sound between the shores of the beauti- 
ful and venerable Towns of Old Saybrook and Old Lyme. In the 
picturesque language of the Indians, it is " The Smile of God " ; 
to civilized men, it is The Connecticut Valley. 


The Connecticut Valley. 


OF all the histories that have been written on New Eng- 
land, general and local, there is one that is pre-eminent. 
It is vast, profound and yet simple. It is inspiring, 
entrancing and absorbing, for it is the history of the work of the 
Jehovah, written by His amanuensis, Nature, in the rocks and 
strata of the Connecticut Valley. 

The following is quoted from the article by W. H. C. Pynchon, 
who has told the grand story (in types, for the benefit of those 
who are unable to read the story told by Nature in the rocks) 
so vividly, finely and entertainingly in " The Geography and 
Geology of Hartford " : 

The rugged hills which compose the western, and, in lesser degree, 
the eastern areas, are formed of rocks resembling in many respects the 
group to which granite belongs — rocks which are very ancient, dating far 
back into the early history of the world. The rivers which flow among 
these hills have open valleys, showing that the portion of the land above 
the sea-level has been practically unchanged for ages. But in the central 
portion of the State these ancient highlands sink down into a broad trough 
running from Long Island Sound far up in to Massachusetts, and this 
trough is filled with rocks of much later date — whose history is one of 
the most interesting to be found in the great book of nature. 

Long ago, before man lived upon the earth, — when huge reptile forms, 
long since utterly passed away, clambered over the hills or roamed along 
the muddy shores, — the trough was filled by a great lake or arm of the 
sea. Into its quiet waters ran streams from the surrounding hills, bringing 
down into the lake mud and sand from the land over which they flowed. 
These sank to the bottom and formed there beds of sand and clay. 

Then a strange thing happened. Somewhere in this region, which is 
now so peaceful, a volcano burst forth and rolled floods of molten lava 
over the whole area. This lava turned much of the water in the lake to 
steam, and, spreading itself over the beds of land-waste at the bottom, 
there cooled and hardened into rock. Three times and more has the lake 



lain in the trough, its bottom covered by beds of clay and sand, and three 
times has the lava overflowed the region, for we find now in central 
Connecticut three great sheets of volcanic "trap" — as the rock is called, 
lying one above another, each one resting on beds of clay, sand or pebbles, 
now hardened into rocks known respectively as " shale ", " sandstone " 
and " conglomerate ". 

Now, how can we see these three layers of lava, if they lie one above 
another? How is it that we can see more than the top of one, even if we 
should find that there is no land-waste on top of that? It is in some such 
way as this : Long after the last lava had hardened, the region was greatly 
disturbed and everything was tilted, so that the sheets of lava and the 
rocks lying between them, instead of lying horizontal, sloped strongly to 
the east. Since then there has been great wearing away of the land by the 
weathering of the rocks, and the streams have carried away the land- 
waste to the sea. But the trap is much harder than the sandstone and 
shale, so that it stands up above the country in high ridges running north 
and south. At the time the rocks were tilted, they were also greatly 
broken, so that vast fragments — miles in length — have been separated 
from each other in different parts of central Connecticut. But for all this, 
the geologist finds plainly, that these fragments belong to three different 
sheets of lava, which mark three different periods of volcanic action. 

The second volcanic eruption was apparently the greatest, for it left a 
sheet of lava which is in some places 500 feet thick. It is the up-turned 
edge of this great sheet which forms the various " mountains " of central 
Connecticut. Good examples of these are Newgate Mountain, Talcott 
Mountain, Farmington Mountain, the "Hanging Hills" of Meriden; 
Lamentation Mountain, north-east of Meriden ; Durham range, including 
Higby and Beseck Mountains, and " Three Notches " ; Toket Mountain, 
in North Guilford, and Pond Rock * * * at Lake Saltonstall. East 
and West Rocks, at New Haven, cannot be reckoned among these, as their 
history seems to be somewhat different from that of any of the mountains 

But perhaps the most remarkable remains of life, those which are 
certainly the most famous, are the so called " Connecticut River Bird 
Tracks ". These are foot-marks left in the mud of the ancient shores by 
the creatures that roamed over them long ago. The mud has long since 
hardened into shale, but the foot-marks remain intact to the present time. 
They are found in various places, but probably the most famous localities 
are Turner's Falls, in Massachusetts, and the great sandstone quarries at 
Portland, Connecticut. 

On Shepherd's Island, in the Connecticut, at Northampton, a mile above 
Hockanum ferry and nearly opposite the mouth of Fort River, some 
excellent specimens of these foot-marks have been found. There was for 
many years and probably still is, a flagstone in the sidewalk, not far from 
the Mansion House, in Northampton, with a foot-mark measuring eighteen 


The tracks in many cases resemble those of turkeys, but are often as 
much as a foot in length. Careful study, however, shows that they be- 
longed, not to birds, but to huge reptile forms. Some of these appear to 
have walked almost entirely upon their hind legs, since the prints left by 
the small fore feet are only occasionally found. 

There is one special locality in the vicinity of Meriden which should not 
be left unmentioned. It is well known that in the early stages of a great 
volcanic eruption vast quantities of ashes, or, rather fine dust, are thrown 
into the air from the crator. These again to the earth, sometimes 
at great distances, but they fall thickest in the neighborhood of the 
volcano. * * * Sometimes, also, blocks of half-molten rock are cast 
into the air, falling to earth again among the ashes. The overflow of lava 
is normally one of the later phenomena of an eruption. At a place in a 
low ridge in front of Lamentation Mountain, now known far and wide as 
the Ash Bed, this whole story of an eruption may be seen written in the 
rocks. At this place is a great bed of volcanic ashes, now hardened into 
gray rock, and among them may be seen the masses of rock which were 
cast out, red-hot and smoking, by the forgotten volcano of long ago, while 
above lies the lava sheet that was spread over the whole when the first 
fury of the eruption had subsided. The weathering and the changes of 
the rocks have laid bare the whole record, and it may be read plainly in 
the low cliff which lies on the east of the New Haven turnpike, about two 
and a half miles north of Meriden. 

Thus, it almost seems as if the sublime tragedies and struggles 
through which Nature passed, to produce the exquisite beauties 
and peacefulness of the Connecticut Valley, were but forerunners 
of those tragedies and struggles through which the first settlers 
passed, in a lesser degree, to produce an almost perfect type of 
American manhood. 

After these great forces of Nature had subsided — how long 
only the most profound students of such subjects can guess — the 
tender and beautiful side of the Grand Dame began to show itself 
and, in time, one of the most beautiful valleys of the Earth re- 
sulted. While there is little doubt that the Rhine and the Hudson, 
with their immediate scenery, are far more romantic, there is 
absolutely no doubt that the Connecticut Valley, as a valley (with 
its forests and mountains in the far north ; its vast fertile 
meadows ; broken by occasional ranges and individual mountains 
of rock, with precipitous faces ; and lovely tumbled up hills in the 
midst of its length ; and at the far south, near the Sound, bits of 
dainty scenery here and there, little known, perhaps, but neverthe- 
less worth a journey to see), is much more lovely. When Nature 
produced New England she was a philanthropist for she was 


bountiful in her beneficence. When she produced the valley 
through which the Connecticut flows for three hundred and fifty 
miles, she was an artist — The Artist — and gave to man almost 
every conceivable variety of valley scenery from the salt water, 
at its southern extremity, to the sparkling sweet water of Con- 
necticut Lake, at its northern extremity. So, with all these 
beauties of scene : the great fertility of the meadows and the 
unlimited supply of fish in the river and game on its shores, it 
was eminently proper that the Indian, who lived close to Nature, 
should have chosen the most charming portion of this valley for 
his home. And when the white men came to Massachusetts the 
Indians told them of this wonderful valley, given by Kiehtan as 
a mark of his especial favor toward men. And when the white 
men saw it they loved it and made it what it is to-day, the center 
of all that is best, in men and women ; in homes ; in morals ; and 
in cultivation. And so, from the first awful birth-agony, of which 
Professor Pynchon has told, was born from Mother Nature, The 
Connecticut Valley. 


WITHOUT taking into consideration the aboriginal 
inhabitants of Maine, the most reliable authorities 
say, that when New England was first settled by 
Anglo-Saxons there were five principal, or great, Indian Nations 
there which included great numbers of minor Tribes, and that 
all of these were branches of the Algonquins, that being the 
French name for that other word describing the same peoples — 
Chippeways. The Algonquins extended from the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence down the Atlantic coast to the southern boundary 
of Virginia, thence westward to the Mississippi, thence northward 
through what are now the States of Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, 
Michigan, and Wisconsin, beyond the Great Lakes to the shores 
of Great Slave Lake. 

The names of the five Nations in New England and their 
locations were : The Pawtuckets, who possessed the sea coast of 
New Hampshire ; the Massachusetts, about Massachusetts Bay ; 
the Pokanokets at Plymouth, extending over Cape Cod ; the 
Narragansetts, occupying that portion of Rhode Island bordering 
Narragansett Bay ; and the Pequots — or Pequods — occupying 
the south-eastern quarter of Connecticut, about New London, 
Groton and Stonington. 

Directly north of the Pequots was the Mohegan Tribe, closely 
allied to, and probably a portion of, the Pequots. On the Con- 
necticut River were the Nehantic Tribe, at Lyme ; the Machi- 
moodus Tribe, in East Haddam, then called by the name of the 
tribe ; the Wongung Tribe, in Chatham ; the Mattabesett Tribe, 
at Middletown ; the Podunk Tribe, at East Hartford ; the Quinni- 
piacks extended from New Haven along the shore to Milford, 
Derby, Stratford, Norwalk, Stamford, and Greenwich. There 
were, in addition, numerous other smaller tribes located all over 
the southern portion of Connecticut, which were probably nothing 
more than a collection of a few families of one or another of the 
great Tribes, which had settled in favorable spots within the 
limits of the great Tribe's bounds. 


Of the five principal Indian Nations, the Pequots were the most 
powerful, because the most savage and cruel. There was a tradi- 
tion among the other Indians, that the Pequots came down 
from somewhere in the interior, not so very long before the arri- 
val of white men, and conquered all tribes with which they came 
in contact and finally settled upon the south-western portion of 
Connecticut. When the English arrived they found the Great 
Sachem Sassacus strongly fortified upon a hill in Groton, which 
he made his headquarters, whence he made raids upon his enemies 
— and all other Indian Tribes were his enemies except the 
Mohawks of New York — and to which he returned on such rare 
occasions as when the enemy were too numerous for him and his 
band. It is rather odd, that while the Mohawks, the dominating 
tribe of the Five Nations, or Iroquois, claimed and collected 
tribute from all tribes within four or five hundred miles of their 
principal castle in New York State, the Pequots were exempt from 
paying tribute to them. This fact causes some persons, who have 
made a study of the subject, to believe that the Pequots were 
either a branch of the Mohawks, or were closely allied to them, 
before they came into Connecticut. 

The number of Indians' in New England, at the time of the 
first white settlements, has been variously estimated at from five 
to twenty thousand (Trumbull estimated that there were, in Con- 
necticut alone, twenty thousand) but it is doubtful if there was, 
at any one time since the formation of the North American Con- 
tinent, as many as twenty thousand Indians in the territory east 
of the Hudson river. Bancroft estimated the entire Algonquin 
race at but ninety thousand. When it is remembered that the 
Algonquins extended from Maine south to Virginia and north- 
west to Great Slave Lake, it is even less probable that New 
England had as many as twenty thousand at one time. Vermont 
was without aboriginal inhabitants and so were portions of Massa- 
chusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. In fact the Indians inhab- 
ited only the sea-coast regions and the shores of the great rivers, 
not many miles from their mouths. All that vast territory east 
of the Hudson River, from the St. Lawrence down to the northern 
boundary of Connecticut, was uninhabited by natives because of 
their dread of the Mohawks. 

The politics of the New England Indians was simple and 


primitive. A hereditary sachemdom was the only authority recog- 
nized by them. The power of the sachem was absolute, but when 
a matter of more than ordinary importance arose, he consulted 
with the Pansies, who were braves chosen for their prominence in 
war, cunning and speechmaking. The real power of the sachem 
depended much upon his personal character and magnetism. 

Their religion gave them many gods but they believed in one 
great spirit, called Kiehtan, the creator of the world and the spirit 
into whose presence the souls of good Indians went after death. 
He was the spirit of the " happy hunting ground ". Hobbamock, 
their devil, was the source of all evil. As fear was more powerful 
with them than love, Hobbamock received the majority of their 
prayers and offerings. Besides these two chief gods, there were 
many of a local nature, that is, whose powers or dominion were 
local, who were known by the collective name of Manitou. The 
spirits known as Manitou controlled thought, the sentiments of 
love and hate and the different functions of the body ; they were 
spirits of the woods and fields, of the hunt. In fact, whenever 
anything took place which they could not understand they would 
say, " Manitou ", meaning it is a god. Especially fine qualities of 
character or of personal appearance in men, beasts, birds and fish 
they regarded as a god. The ships, clothing, arms, agricultural 
implements, books and writing of the first white men they called 
Manitouwock, meaning they are gods. The worship of the good- 
god, Kiehtan, was bv thanksgiving for favors received ; the 
worship of the devil, Hobbamock, was of a flattering nature in 
the hope that the evil he could do would not be done, so it was 
to him that all their prayers and sacrifices were offered. In their 
sacrifices to the god, the Indians differed strikingly from many 
Christians ; who drop a nickel into the contribution plate so that 
it will have the rattle of a silver quarter ; for they gave their most 
valued and cherished belongings and gave them cheerfully. They 
believed that when thieves, liars and murderers applied to Kiehtan 
for admission he would turn them away as there was no room 
for them and so they were obliged to wander forever in misery, 
hunger and poverty. This was the Indian's hell. 

The New England Indians placed their heaven — the abode 
of Kiehtan — in the south-west, and what could have been more 
natural? They knew that the bitter wind and the freezing cold 


came from the north ; the clamp, chilly, piercing wind from the 
east, but from the south-west came a sweet-scented, warm, life- 
giving breeze that could only originate in a blessed country. That 
there were earnest, faithful Indians as honestly devoted to the 
only religion of which they had any knowledge as were the 
Puritans to the religion of Christ, the early white settlers knew. 
Old Mamoosun, of the Mattabesetts, was a striking example of 
the just Indian. He surely deserved to journey to that fair 
country in the south-west, where all that was perfect for Indian 
happiness existed. 

As a rule the " River Indians " as they were called by the set- 
tlers, and the settlers lived in peace and neighborliness. It was 
not unusual for an Indian and a settler to hunt together, nor for 
the Indian to share his food and shelter with the white man who 
had neither. And on their part, the settlers of the Connecticut 
Valley dealt honestly with the Indians. Their lands were bought 
and paid for. If the religion of the English did not appeal to 
the Indian, the lives and example of the former had their 
influence upon him. One thing the people of the Connecticut 
Valley and in fact, all New England, can boast of is, that their 
ancestors, the early settlers, did not deliberately debase the Indians 
to a lower level than that upon which Nature placed them, by 
forcing rum upon them in trade for pelts so that the half drunken 
savage would sell his stock for more rum, at an infinitesimal 
portion of its real value, as did the Dutch of the Hudson and 
Mohawk Vallevs. 


IT is a most difficult thing now, to form any accurate judgment 
of the character of the Indians of 250 years ago. Not that 
there has been a lack of writers, who were willing to ex- 
press their opinions and fix the Indians' character by those 
opinions, but that prejudice entered so greatly into the subject, 
both for and against the Indians — chiefly against, — that a just 
estimation cannot be arrived at by the readers of the twentieth 

The first settlers, as a class, regarded the Indians as heathen ; 


barbarians, without the germ of virtue. That there were very 
many of them who were devout and faithful followers of the only 
religion of which they possessed any knowledge, did not appeal 
to the early settlers. They were not Christians and above all, they 
cared nothing for Congregationalism and would have none of it. 
Forgetting that they, themselves, had been more than thirteen 
hundred years in arriving at the somewhat primitive ideas of the 
simple principles taught by the founder of Christianity, they re- 
garded the Indians as hopeless heathen because they refused to 
give up, at command, the picturesque, symbolical religion they had 
inherited for more centuries than Christianity was centuries old. 
Their tenacity in regard to their ancient faith ; their unwillingness 
to resign it, the moment that one or another Congregational min- 
ister told them they should ; did not seem to the early settlers an 
admirable quality. 

They had left Great Britain and had come to a wilderness 
because they would not submit to being told by men how they 
should or should not worship God. They were proud of their 
courage and determination in this respect and the world is even 
more proud of them and that which they accomplished, but 
they condemned the Indians to walk for eternity through the 
streets of that hell which Jonathan Edwards paved with infants' 
skulls, because they would not submit to being told by men how 
they should or should not worship Kiehtan, " The Great Spirit ". 
So the Indian was damned by the early religious writers. 

If the early writer, who gave an opinion of the Indians, was 
a hunter and trapper, he had no use for them, for they were 
skilful rivals ; if he happened to be a military man. he had no 
use for them, because of the trouble they caused and because they 
presumed to fight for what they believed to be their rights ; for 
their hunting grounds ; their children and their wigwams. If the 
writer happened to be an official of the colony, or a man of law, 
he had no use for the Indians, because they refused to acknowl- 
edge any man-made regulation which interfered with their inher- 
ent rights. So, when the poor Indian died he found himself so 
thoroughly damned by all classes and conditions of his white 
Christian brothers, that even Kiehtan was powerless to guide his 
weary feet off from that pavement made of the smooth, polished 
skulls of his white, Christian brothers' infants. 


About two hundred years after the first settlements were 
made, a small class of champions of the Red-man came into exist- 
ence, whose mawkish sentimentality was great. Their writings 
were as far from the truth as were the unjust, general condemna- 
tion of the earlier writers. The result is, that not only has the 
Indian been robbed of his home and his very existence, by civiliza- 
tion, but of his character — good or bad — as well, by his would- 
be civilizers. 

Two examples are given. One by a writer who condemns and 
the other by one who makes a saint of the Indian. The individual 
must decide for himself whether the souls of dead Indians are 
treading for eternity on white infants' skulls, or if they are walk- 
ing through the lovely valleys and over the beautiful hills, in the 
abode of Kiehtan : that fair country in the " South- West ", where 
all that is perfect for Indian happiness exists ; where the Red 
infants, with their skulls where Kiehtan placed them, wander 
about in joyous, delightful abandon, to add to the unspeakable 
happiness of their parents and be but another evidence of the 
Great Spirit's love for man. 


A point of special interest, connected with our early annals and the 
incipient fortunes of the settlement, is the character and conduct of the 
natives of the soil. Most of the recent historical writers push us to the 
unwelcome opinion that, after all, our high notions about the New England 
Indians must be a good deal lowered and many of our admirations sacri- 
ficed. I is hard for hero worshippers to hear the blows of the iconoclast's 
hammer upon their idol, and it is hard for everybody to see an ideal vision 
of honor, courage or genius dispelled. With a pain of this sort we are 
shown too many reasons to believe that these wild children of the forest, 
instead of being magnanimous, intrepid, enterprising, intellectual, and 
reverential, were, to a miserable degree, mean, cowardly, cruel, lazy, 
filthy, and easily sunk in some disgusting forms of sensuality. Their 
braves very often turn out to have no other courage than a brutal and 
revengeful ferocity. The men tyrannized over the women, which is always 
one of the surest signs of a low nature. Their intelligence was little else 
than a small species of cunning. The propensities to thieving, treachery 
and falsehood were a continual disappointment to those who trusted 
them. Philip himself was wily and cautious rather than heroic, and was 
not often seen in bold engagements. Instances of cannibalism occurred, at 
least among the Mohawks (Mohawk means man-eater), for twenty-seven 
Frenchmen appear to have been roasted and devoured. 


This suggests the query; are the tens of thousands of white 
Christians who fill the prisons of the world, for wife-beating, theft, 
treachery, lying, perjury, cruelty and lust, really Indians? It 
would seem that they must be, or else that the Indians did not 
have a patent right on the characteristics attributed to them. 


Time has shown that the longer their residence in the vicinity of the 
white man continued, the more vicious and corrupt they became, and that 
they almost invariably were the object, or subjects of his fraud and im- 
position. From the first settlement of the whites among them, they have 
constantly been dwindling in numbers; they continue to be driven farther 
and still farther toward the setting sun, by the restless flow of emigration 
and the cupidity of white men ; their habits are unsocial and altogether 
averse to civilized life. An Indian wants no splended mansion, nor elegant 
furniture, nor bed of down ; he will not learn to manufacture a button or 
a jewsharp, or to drive a team; he wants no workshop, he can "catch no 
beaver there ". The forest is his home and his delight is in the chase and 
by the riverside. Nature has so taught him, and before he became con- 
taminated by proximity to, and dealing with the white man, he lived 
according to his dictates. * * * the besom of destruction is fast sweep- 
ing him away from the home of his youth and the grave of his fathers. 
The white man wants his land, and will have it. Our ancestors denounced 
the natives as savage barbarians. They committed no offences without 
provocation, and in the long black catalogue of crimes committed in 
Christian nations, but few, comparatively, are found to occur among this 
uncivilized race. Is ingratitude among the number of their sins? The 
most eminent and glorious examples of the opposite are upon record. Was 
an Indian ever guilty of suicide, seduction, fraud, scandal, and innumerable 
other sins? Did an Indian ever sell wooden nutmegs, cucumber seeds, 
horn and flints, or powder, under pretence that by planting it would pro- 
duce its like? While he may take your life in war or torture you as his 
victim, he would disdain to persecute you for opposing his favorite 
opinions, to take away your reputation for revenge, to defraud you of your 
property, which you might value equally with life. The civilized man will 
exert all the power over you which the law will give him, oftentimes 
more ; and if you stand in his way or incur his resentment, his tender 
mercies are often cruel compared with the tomahawk, which destroys at a 
blow and all is over. Subjected as many are to obloquy and the persecu- 
tions of society, their death is slow and lingering, while the Indian tortures 
the body only. There can be little doubt that more acts of cruelty have 
been committed on this continent by French, Spanish and English or by 
their instigation, than by the natives. In war or peace ; in the midst of 
change and revolution, near or remote, they have remained, like the Jews, 
a distinct people and it requires wiser heads than ours to see the justice 


of that policy, which, while it offers home and protection to foreigners of 
all nations, seems to pursue a system any other than protective of the 
natives, the rightful inhabitants of the soil. The weak, the defenceless 
and the poor have ever suffered from the encroachments of the strong, the 
powerful and the rich, and always will, as poverty is taken as presumptive 
evidence of want of merit; almost of actual guilt. 

The obverse was by the Rev. Dr. F. D. Huntington, professor 
at Harvard, in 1859. The reverse was by David Willard, the 
historian of Greenfield, Massachusetts, in 1838. It is as difficult 
to answer the question, which is the truer picture, as it was to 
guess, was it the lady or the tiger. 


THE Rev. Dr. A. B. Chapin gives the following interesting 
and valuable information in regard to Indian names of 
persons and places, in and near the Connecticut Valley, 
in his history of Glastenbury. 

The Indians living on the river were called Quinitikoock, or 
Qunihtitukqut, signifying those who lived on the Great or Long- 
river. The word Connecticut, is generally translated Long-river 
and is derived from Quinih, long; took, or tuk, water, and 
ut, ock, on, upon, place of. The usage of the Indians in this 
vicinity, however, seems to imply that they supposed the first 
part of the compound to be, Quiniqui, great, the name by which 
it is described in all of our early records. " Great river ", there- 
fore, is simply a translation of the Indian word Connecticut. The 
original Indian word was spelled in several different ways but 
all of them giving the same general sound. 

The Tribe of Indians called Nipmucks, were those living azvay 
from the river. Nip, meaning zvater or river, and muck, azvay 

The Mohegans were the Wolf-tribe. The Rev. Dr. Edwards, 
who spoke their language with as great fluency as he did English, 
spelled the word Muhhekaneew, and the name was also spelled, 
Mohicans and Mahingans. 

The Mohawks were Men-eaters, the proper spelling of the 
word being Mohowaug, moho meaning to eat. 

The Pequttoog, or Pequots were the Gray-fox tribe, Pequawus 


meaning Gray-fox. The name of the Indian Wopigwoot, and 
of his father, Woipeguana, as given by Uncas, in 1679, are evi- 
dently from the same root. The Woi seems to be an Indian 
prefix equivalent to the article the, and Pequana and Pigwoot, 
are simply different spellings of Pequot. So the name signifies 
The Gray Fox, or the chief who bore the Gray-fox totem. 

The Wonggum Indians, or Wonggunks, were those Indians 
who lived at the bend of the river, wonkun, meaning to bend 
and referring to the bend just below Glastenbury, in Portland. 

A very common Indian word along the Connecticut River is 
Hoccanum and a variation of it, Higganum, the latter being a 
different way of spelling the word, which means the fishing-place. 
Higganum is in the north-western corner of Haddam, and Hoc- 
canum ferry crosses the river from the foot of Mount Holyoke 
to the Northampton meadows. 

The meaning of Pyquag, the Indian name for Wethersfield, 
is uncertain, but it is supposed to mean the place where the 
Indians held their public games, or possibly the dancing-place. 
Other ways of spelling the word are found at different places. 
At Hadley it is, Paquayyag; near Hudson, Paquayag or Paquiag. 
Pauochauog, means, they are playing, or dancing. 

The Mattabesick, or Mattabesetts, or Black-hill Indians in- 
habited Middletown and neighborhood. This word, which was 
written by Roger Williams, Metewemesick, is derived from Mete- 
wis, meaning black earth. It is generally supposed that the great 
chief of the Mattabesetts was named Sowheag, but in fact, this 
was the name of the sachemdom and not of the sachem, Sow- 
heag meaning. South-country, or kingdom. This great Sachem, 
whom the white settlers feared, was named Sequasson (or 
lengthened to Sunckquasson and sometimes shortened to Sequin, 
or Sequeen) and Dr. Chapin thought this word might be a modi- 
fication of Sachem. Sequasson means, hard-stone, Sunckquas- 
son, cold-stone, from siokke, hard, and hussum, stone. Giving 
Sachem its English equivalent, the Indian's full title — Sequasson- 
Sequin-Sowheag, means, Hard-stone, King-of-the-South-country. 
Sequasson's son took the name of Manittowese, or Mantowese 
(from which Montowese, near New Haven, is probably derived) 
meaning Little-god and his totem was a large bow with arrow, 
its nock fitted to the string ready for shooting. 


According to Barber, the Indian name for Hartford was Suc- 
kiag, meaning black-earth, but Dr. Chapin gives other spelling 
and another name and meaning and says, that there is no posi- 
tive knowledge as to what the Indian name was. According to 
this other definition of Dr. Chapin's, the Siccaog Indians lived 
on a river called Siccanum, but in the absence of all history it 
is impossible to say what the meaning of the word is. Sic- 
canum may be but a variation of Higganum. Or it may have 
been made from the compound Siokke, hard, and Namas, fish, 
meaning hard-fish or clams, the word for clams being Sickissoug. 
It may have been compounded from Sequi, black, and ake, earth 
and hence Se-qui-ak, black or rich earth and so Suckiag would 
be but another way of spelling this latter word given by Dr. 

The Tunxis Indians were the Crane Indians and they lived 
on Tunxis Sepus, or Little-Crane-river ; Taunck meaning crane, 
and Sepeose, little-river. 

The Poquonnuc, Peconnuc, Pughquonnuc and Pocatonnuc, 
were those zvho lived at a battle-field and each of these names 
is seemingly derived from Pauqua, meaning to destroy, kill, 

The Podunks, were those Indians who lived at the place of 
fire, or burning; Potaw, meaning fire, and unck, place of. Hence, 
Potaunck, Potunk, or Podunk. 

The word Scantic describes a loiv, zvatery country. 

Up in the north-east corner of Portland is Mesomersic 
Mountain, sometimes called, locally, Somersic. This word is 
from Mishom, meaning great, and sesek and assek, meaning 
rattlesnake, hence, Mesomersic Mountain is a mountain that is 
the home of great numbers of rattlesnakes, as indeed it is. 

In the eastern portion of Glastenbury, near Diamond Lake, 
is a hill locally known as Skunkscut, but in early records it was 
known as Kongscut and was probably derived from Honcksit 
meaning goose-country, from Honck, meaning a goose (which 
is the word for the call the wild goose makes while in flight, 
from which is the old saying, when matters are going well, 
" everything is lovely and the goose honcks high ", not hangs 
high) and ausit or sit, place or country. 

North and west of Diamond Lake is Minnechaug Mountain, 


which means the berry-land, from Minne, berry, and uk, or awk, 

The Pool at Neipseic, as Barber calls it, or Nipsic, near the 
center of Glastenbury, sometimes locally called " Red-spring ", 
means the place of water, from Nip, zvater, and sic, place. 

The meaning of Uncas in English is Bold, and of Aramamet, 
who was a son of Uncas', is Dog's-tongue. 

The Indians did not have individual names for fixed places. 
If there were a dozen fishing-places, on as many different rivers, 
there were a dozen Hoccanums. All places, or natural features, 
that could be designated by a word or words in their descriptive 
language, were called by that word or those words. As an in- 
stance : the sites of the cities of Albany and Schenectady, New 
York, were called by the Mohawks, Schenectady. In the days 
of the Indians the sixteen miles between those cities was a vast 
pine-plain covered with pine trees. An Indian trail crossed these 
great pine-plains and the first opening at the east and west ends 
of the trail was Schenectady which meant " Beyond the Pine- 
plains ". Thus it is seen, that the Mohawks called two places, 
but sixteen miles apart, by the same name, as the one word 
described them both. 


THE first white men to visit Connecticut were Dutch. 
Adrian Block and Cornelius Hendricksen sailed from 
New Amsterdam, now New York, through the Sound 
to the mouth of the Great River, which they called Fresh 
River, in 1614, and up it as far as what is now Hartford. 
Later the Dutch East India Company sent men to the Con- 
necticut River who sailed up to the point reached by Block 
and Hendricksen, and established a trading post at Dutch 
Point, now within the bounds of the City of Hartford, and 
still called Dutch Point. But the Dutch were not settlers 
in the sense that they were there to establish homes and 
to work the soil. New Amsterdam, Fort Orange (Albany) and 
Dutch Point were not settlements in this sense of the word. 
Probably the first actual Dutch settlement on the Continent of 
North America was at Schenectady, in 1662, and it is a matter 
of historical fact that less than two-thirds of the original fifteen 
" Dutch " proprietors who settled in the Mohawk Valley, at 
Schenectady, were Dutch for some of the fifteen were of British, 
Spanish, French and Scandanavian descent. 

The two chief points of difference between the Dutch and 
British in America were, that the Dutch were traders, possessed 
of wealth, but rather commonplace, from a social and intellectual 
standpoint ; the British were settlers and home-makers, and were 
of a superior class socially and intellectually but possessed of less 
fortune. This social and mental difference was probably due to 
the fact, that the Dutch pioneer traders in America were men 
who were born to that calling and in that station of life, while 
the British settlers were people of education and gentle birth 
who were forced to leave their homes in Great Britain, because 
of their strong religious convictions. They came to found homes 
in the New World as settlers, rather than as traders, whose place 
of abode was changed for a more profitable location when trade 
diminished or the chief commodity of trade, fur-pelts, became 



scarce. The trading posts of New Amsterdam and Fort Orange 
became permanent settlements when the British superceded the 
Dutch, and the names of those posts were changed to New York 
and Albany. 

The first white settlement in the Connecticut Valley was made 
in Wethersfield in 1634, for, when Captain William Holmes, 
when he sailed up the Connecticut, past the dumb Dutch cannon at 
Hartford, to Windsor and set up his frame trading house, he did 
no more than to establish a trading post which, however, became 
a settlement later. 

The Dutch purchased their right to the land from the chiefs 
of the Pequot Indians. It was but a small area immediately 
about Dutch Point. The English purchased their right to the 
land from the Sachems of the Indians who were generally spoken 
of by the settlers as the River Indians. It was a vast territory. 
The English claimed the stronger title from the fact that they 
had purchased from the original owners of the land while the 
Dutch had purchased from a usurping nation. 

The Pequots were a powerful, savage and cruel tribe which 
had come to the Connecticut from the north-west, in the neigh- 
borhood of the Mohawks, of New York, to which tribe it is not 
improbable that they were related, or at least allied, in times 
long past. The Pequots became the terror of the southern New 
England Indians and were regarded as their conquerors. They 
drove the River Indians from their long-time homes in the valley. 

The law-loving, law-making, and law-abiding English, wishing 
to base their claim to the land upon a deed that would be sus- 
tained in law, sent with Captain William Holmes, in his little 
vessel, to Windsor the Sachems who had been driven out by 
the Pequots. The English restored the River Indians to their 
ancient birth-right and then purchased it from them. There was 
probably no wish to be just in this transaction. It was a matter 
of shrewd business on the part of the English. The superficial 
friendship of the River Indians for the English was almost as 
good business since, without the support of the irresistible wills of 
the English and their straight shooting firearms, the River Indians 
would soon again have been reduced to their former abject, 
homeless state. On the part of the settlers, their intense desire 
to save the souls of the heathen was gratified to a certain extent 


by the closeness of the Indian village to the white settlement. 
They felt, that although the Indians generally refused Christian- 
ity, some good was accomplished through the example of the 
whites. And besides this, so long as they maintained a nominal 
friendship for the settlers, the number of Indian enemies, against 
whom they must be constantly on the watch, was lessened. But 
the people were greatly annoyed by these same friendly Indians 
for they were habitual thieves and once in a while would-be 


SAYBROOK, the mother of Congregationalism in Con- 
necticut and western New England, was set apart and 
granted as a home of refuge for some of Britain's high 
nobility and gentry, whose religious convictions caused them to 
uphold the Puritan faith, and although the high nobility did 
not arrive in the New World to claim their own, Saybrook and 
the whole United States were the gainers, for an even higher 
manhood and nobility of life came to Saybrook, in the persons 
of the men and women who settled the grant and founded 
American families, whose descendants have gone broadcast over 
the territory of the Nation, taking with them the sterling prin- 
ciples of Christian citizenship that were their most precious 
inheritance from their ancestors, the first settlers. 

The Earl of Warwick, having obtained title to the lands from 
the Plymouth Company in 1631, granted the same territory, ex- 
tending from the Narragansett river to the Pacific Ocean (includ- 
ing the lower valley of the Connecticut river and consequently 
the site of Saybrook), to Lord Say-and-Sele, Lord Brooke, Lord 
Rich, Sir Richard Saltonstall, John Pym, John Hampden and 
several other men of birth and position. 

This is the generally accepted historical fact as given in the 
school histories. Professor Alexander Johnston, of Princeton, 
in his " Connecticut ", one of the American Commonwealth Series, 
questions the grant from the Plymouth Company to the Earl 
of Warwick, on the ground that Warwick never exhibited or 
referred to such grant. He regards it as nothing more than " a 
quitclaim deed which warrants nothing and does not even assert 
title to the soil transferred." The actual area of Saybrook was 
ten miles east and west and about eight north and south. 

However that may be, John W'inthrop, son of Governor Win- 
throp, of Massachusetts, was appointed Governor of the Connect- 
icut River and the harbor and places adjoining by the company 
composed of the noblemen to whom Warwick made his grant, 
on July 7, 1635. His appointment was for one year from the 
time he arrived there. On his part, Winthrop agreed to build 

















o e 





a fort and effect a settlement ; to build a fort within the bounds 
of which should be houses for " men of quality." He was 
directed to reserve 1,000 or 1,500 acres of fertile land for the 
maintenance of the fort and its garrison. 

Winthrop arrived in Boston in October, 1635, and sent a vessel 
with twenty men to the mouth of the Connecticut River, where 
they arrived on November 24, of the same year. The Dutch 
already had possession, up the river on the site of Hartford, and 
were intending to take possession of the mouth of the river, but 
the arrival of Winthrop's ship and men prevented it. The ter- 
ritory was taken possession of in the name of Lord Say-and-Sele 
and the other members of the company, to whom the Earl of 
Warwick had made the grant. John Winthrop, the Governor, 
arrived not long after the ship. That the titled proprietors 
intended their American possessions should be in keeping with 
their high estate, is shown by the employment of Lion Gardiner, 
a skilled English engineer, to take charge of the building of the 
fort and the laying out of the town. And then, later in the year, 
300 men were to go to Saybrook from the Old Country ; 200 to 
garrison the fortifications ; 50 to make the soil, produce food for 
the community ; and 50 to build houses. 

That was a bitter winter with intense cold and deep snow, and 
in the midst of it, in the first week of December, 1635, a number 
of families ; including in all seventy men, women and children ; 
arrived from up the river in the hope of finding at its mouth the 
long expected and greatly needed provisions that were to come 
for them from Boston. The provision ship did not arrive, so 
the needy families were taken on board a vessel, called " Rebecca ", 
which managed to work its way out of the ice, and carry them 
back to Boston. 

George Fenwick, an English gentleman who was one of the 
men composing the company and the agent of the company of 
noblemen to whom the Earl of Warwick granted the property, 
was the only member of the company to see Saybrook. Lion 
Gardiner's son David, born on November 6, 1636, was the first 
white child born in the territory now the State of Connecticut. 
Gardiner was discouraged with the conditions, so, in 1630, he 
moved to an island at the eastern end of Long Island — which 
he called Isle of Wight — since known as Gardiner's Island. 

The idea in the building of Saybrook seems to have been, a 



considerable area inclosed by fortifications which should contain 
the residences of the titled proprietors, and that the settlement 
should be outside of the fortifications. This plan was prob- 
ably as much to draw the line between "gentle" and " simple ", 
as for the greater safety of the proprietors. Before the twenty 
men composing the garrison of the fort had been there a year 
the Pequot war was upon them. Some of them were killed 
instantly and others were tortured to death by the Indians. The 
fort was in charge of Lieutenant Lion Gardiner. 

Fenwick, the agent of the company, had returned to England 


in the spring of 1636, but was again in Saybrook in July, 1639, 
bringing: his wife with him. Before her marriage to Fenwick, 
she had been the wife of Sir John Boteler and as his wife she 
was given the courtesy title of Lady Boteler, and this was con- 
tinued after her marriage with Mr. Fenwick. There being no 
Church at that time in Saybrook, Lady Fenwick became a mem- 
ber of the Church in Hartford. Not long after their arrival in 
Saybrook, a daughter was born and baptised Elizabeth. As the 


only resident member of the Company, Fenwick took upon him- 
self the rights and authority of governor. Saybrook remained 
alone and independent till December, 1644, when Mr. Fenwick 
sold to the Hartford Colony the fort at Saybrook, by agreement 
in December, 1644, with the General Court. Fenwick was 
elected a magistrate. Lady Fenwick died in 1646, after the birth 
of their daughter Dorothy. Fenwick became discouraged and 
disheartened in regard to the Colony and believing that assistance 
was needed from home, he sailed for England. There he was 
commissioned a colonel in the army of Parliament ; was elected 
a member of that body but was excluded, as Cromwell was not 
satisfied with him. George Fen wick's death occurred in 1657. 

The fort was destroyed by fire in 1647, ar >d the new one was 
built nearer the river. How Andross came to this fort, which 
was in command of Captain Thomas Bull, with a demand that 
it be delivered to him, and how Captain Bull prevented it, diplo- 
matically and without violence, are matters of Colonial politics 
which really have no place here. 


The late Noah Porter, president of Yale College, said in an 
address, delivered at the celebration of the 250th anniversary of 
the settlement of Saybrook : 

The founding of Yale College was not an afterthought to the original 
colonists, since it may be traced back with a certain degree of confidence 
to the leaders of the New Haven Colony, among whom John Davenport 
was conspicuous * * * .It is true in fact that a little before the be- 
ginning of the last century (before 1700) there was a movement in Con- 
necticut toward the establishment of a college, in which were conspicuous 
five clergymen whose parishes were all on the coast from New Haven to 
Stratford. These clergymen counseled freely with certain Massachusetts 
gentlemen, probably for the purpose of ascertaining what was the best 
method to secure a trustworthy act of incorporation or organization. Very 
soon after, as we know, there was a meeting of seven clergymen, as it is 
supposed, in Branford, each of whom, as the tradition goes, and we trust 
the tradition in this case, made a gift of books saying: "With these 
books I lay the foundation of a college in this colony ". By their deed of 
gift these persons invested something in the enterprise, and thereby quali- 
fied themselves to appear as petitioners for the assurance of certain 
corporate rights. In response to their petition a charter was obtained, 
sometimes called the old charter of Yale College, and on the nth of 



November, 1701, seven of the trustees who were constituted by this act a 
corporate body, met at Saybrook and the organization took place at Say- 
brook on the 22d of November, 1701. The fact cannot be questioned that 
Yale College was founded under its charter in Saybrook * * *. Now, 
why was Saybrook selected? I think it was in part accidental; and can 
be, perhaps, more or less satisfactorily explained. In the first place it may 
be supposed that possibly the pastor of the church in Saybrook may have 
had some influence in locating the college here. Perhaps it was because 
the place was thought to be very easy of access, by the river from the 
north and by the shore from the east and west. Perhaps it was owing to 
the fact that the future rector had probably been fixed on, who lived near 


this place * * *. It may be, also, that some who were active behind the 
scenes thought that it would not do to designate New Haven as the place 
lest they might awaken the somewhat sensitive feelings of the people at 
Weathersfield and Hartford. As between the claims of all these rivals, it 
is not surprising that Saybrook was selected. 

At the time of the founding the college owned no property 
and had no endowment, but Nathaniel Lynde, of Saybrook, gave 
to the institution the use of a house and land, so long as the col- 


lege remained in Saybrook. After its removal to New Haven 
the property reverted to him. The Rev. Abraham Pierson. of 
Killingworth, was chosen as the rector of the new institution. 

The first work of the new college was the granting of degrees 
and although the college had no students, the first commence- 
ment was held in 1702, and degrees were conferred upon five 
graduates of Harvard College. Thus, Yale at the beginning was 
an examining body, with right and power to confer degrees in 
very much the same way the universities of the " Old Country " 

were doing. Daniel 

Hooker, son of the 
Rev. Samuel Hooker, 
of Farmington, was the 
first tutor appointed 
and the first graduate 
was John Hart, also of 
Farmington, who be- 
came the minister of 
the Church in East 
Guilford. He entered, 
at what corresponded 
to the beginning of the 
junior year, and re- 
ceived his degree in 

Rector Pierson did 
not leave his home in 
Killingworth, but gave 
instruction to the mem- 
bers of the senior class in his parish, the other undergraduates 
being instructed by tutors in Saybrook and in other places. The 
course of instruction was about on a par with that given in the 
secondary schools of twenty-five years ago. The students recited 
in Virgil, Cicero and the Greek Testament ; were drilled in 
scholastic logic, but from the extreme youth fulness of many of 
the graduates it is not reasonable to suppose that the instruction 
was profound and at the same time there is no reason to doubt 
that it was thorough, as far as it went. 

In 1714, there were large contributions of books sent to Say- 




brook and Jeremiah Dummer, the agent of the Colony in England, 
secured 700 volumes in England from eminent writers there. 
The last commencement held in Saybrook was that of 171 6, as 
a result of a desire on the part of the trustees to move the college 
further west, to be nearer the center of the much larger popu- 
lation in that direction, which included the settlements, towns 
and cities in New York and New Jersey. The trustees voted in 


He was minister of the Saybrook Church and one of the twelve who drew and accepted the 

Saybrook Platform on Sept. 20, 1708. 

the proportion of five to two, that if the college was moved at all, 
it should be located in New Haven, but before any definite steps 
were taken the trustees decided to ascertain which of the three 
places, wishing to be the home of the college, would give the 
largest sum of money to it. New Haven raised £2,000; Say- 
brook, £1,400 and Hartford, notwithstanding its wealth, gave 
little or nothing. The trustees met in adjourned session in New 
Haven, on October 17, and argued the matter for a week. The 
arguments in favor of New Haven were, that it had promised 


the greatest sum of money ; that its location was such that it 
would attract more students and that it was nearer the more 
populous districts in the west. The final vote resulted in the 
residents of Wethersfield and Hartford voting against New 
Haven and the five other trustees voting for New Haven. 

Two years were then spent in wire-pulling by representatives 
of other places which wanted the college, but the trustees re- 
mained steadfast to their decision. The matter was finally de- 
termined by the approval of the people at large, a small appro- 
priation from the State and by the holding of a commencement 
in New Haven. The trustees then fixed the matter by proceed- 
ing to the erection of a building. 

The Hon. Elihu Yale, the patron and friend of the University 
bearing his name, was born in New Haven Colony on April 5, 
1648. He was descended from an ancient and wealthy Welsh 
family, which possessed for many generations the Manor of Plas 
Grannow and considerable other real estate near the city of 
Wrexham. His father, Thomas Yale, Esq., came to America 
with the first settlers of the New Haven Colony, in 1638. 

At the age of ten, Elihu was sent back to England to be edu- 
cated in one of the great public schools (Eaton?) and Oxford 
University. At the age of thirty he went to the East Indies, 
where he accumulated a great estate. He was appointed Gov- 
ernor of St. George and married the wealthy widow of his 
predecessor, Governor Hinmers. They had three daughters. 
Katherine married Dudley North, commonly called Lord North; 
Ann married Lord James Cavendish, uncle of the Duke of Devon- 
shire ; Ursula died a spinster. After his return to London he 
was made Governor of the powerful East India Company, when 
he began his donations to the College, or the Collegiate School, 
as it was then called. 

His particular interest in the Collegiate School was brought 
about by the son of a cousin. The paternal estate in Wales being 
entailed by the law of primo geniture, he, having only 
daughters, sent a request to his counsin John Yale, of New 
Haven, that he send one of his sons that he, Elihu, might make 
him his heir. John sent his son David to London and later, when 
David returned to New Haven, he entered Yale and was gradu- 
ated in the class of 1724. This occasioned a correspondence 


between Governor Yale, Governor Saltonstall and the Rev. James 
Pierpont, of New Haven. 

Forty of the volumes obtained in England by Mr. Dummer 
in 1 7 14 were the gift of Governor Yale. This was two years 
before the School was moved from Saybrook. Forty books do 
not seem like a very valuable gift in these days, but it must be 
remembered that in those days, books were very expensive ; that 
books were what the School was greatly in need of and had not 
the money to purchase. The next donation was of three hundred 
volumes, which, with the forty, were valued by President Clapp 
at £100 Sterling. Then followed a gift of goods valued at £200, 
and the King's picture and arms and three years later more goods 
were sent, which, with the previous lot, were sold by the College 
authorities for £400. To quote from President Clapp's history 
of Yale, published in 1766: 

On September 12, 1718, there was a splendid commencement (that im- 
portant event in undergraduate life being held in the autumn then) held 
at New Haven, where were present, besides the trustees, the Honorable 
Gurdon Saltonstall, Esq., Governor of the Colony of Connecticut, the 
Honorable William Taylor, Esq., representing Governor Yale, the Hon- 
orable Nathan Gold, Esq., Deputy Governor, sundry of the worshipful 
assistants, the Judges of the Circuit, a great number of reverend ministers, 
and a great concourse of spectators. The trustees, in commemoration of 
Governor Yale's great generosity, called the collegiate school after his 
name, Yale College ; and entered a memorial thereof upon record, which 
was as follows : 

The trustees of the Collegiate School, constituted in the splendid town 
of New Haven, in Connecticut, being enabled by the most generous dona- 
tion of the Honorable Elihu Yale, Esq., to finish the college house already 
begun and erected, gratefully considering the honor due to such and so 
great a benefactor and patron, and being desirous, in the best manner, to 
perpetuate to all ages the memory of so great a benefit, conferred chiefly 
on this colony : We, the trustees, having the honor of being entrusted 
with an affair of so great importance to the common good of the people, 
especially of this province, do with one consent agree, determine and 
ordain, that our college house shall be called by the name of its munificent 
patron, and shall be named Yale College ; that this province may keep and 
preserve a lasting monument of such a generous gentleman, who by so 
great a benevolence and generosity, has provided for their greatest good, 
and the peculiar advantage of the inhabitants, both in the present and 

(It is a matter for congratulation that this "college house", 
Yale's first building, was not standing when the twentieth cen- 


tury began for, had it been, there would have been Vandals who 
would have torn it down to make room for another architectural 
excrescence, similar to the one which deprived old Yale-men of 
one of their happiest memories, by crowding the " Fence " off 
the face of the earth.) 

It does not require an unusually vivid imagination to produce 
a mental picture of the joyousness of that famous Commencement 
Day of 187 years ago, which was the birthday of " Old Eli," nor 
of the devout thankfulness to the Giver of all Good, on the part 
of the earnest, self-sacrificing trustees and friends of the College, 
that at last their " college house " could be finished and the Col- 
lege placed upon a firm financial foundation. 

The memorial quoted above was read in Latin and then in 
English and then the procession left college hall and marched 
to the meeting-house where the public exercises of the day were 
to take place. The Rev. John Davenport delivered an oration, 
which became a panegyric, with Governor Elihu Yale as its 
subject. He was followed by Governor Saltonstall who delivered 
an oration in Latin, or, as President Clapp floridly and quaintly 
said : 

And the Honorable Governor Saltonstall was pleased to grace and 
crown the whole solemnity with an elegant Latin oration, wherein he con- 
gratulated the present happy state of the College, in being fixed at New 
Haven, and enriched with so many noble benefactions ; and particularly 
celebrated the great generosity of Governor Yale, with much respect and 

It was understood that Governor Yale had drawn a will leav- 
ing another donation of £500 to the College ; that he finally de- 
cided it would be better to give that sum rather than leave 
it by will, so he packed goods to the value of £500 to be sent 
to New Haven, but his death occurring before they were shipped 
the College was the loser. Although Governor Saltonstall tried 
all means to have the will probated he was unsuccessful. 

Elihu Yale died on July 8, 1721, and was buried in the church 
yard in Wrexham. The epitaph on his tombstone is as follows: 


Under this tomb lyes interred Elihu Yale, of Plas Gronow, Esq.: 
born 5th of April, 1648, and dyed the 8th of July, 1721, aged 73 years. 

Born in America, in Europe bred, 

In Africa travel'd, and in Asia wed, 

Where long he liv'd and thriv'd ; at London dead. 

Much good, some ill he did; so hope all even, 

And that his soul through mercy's gone to heaven. 

You that survive and read, take care 

For this most certain exit to prepare, 

For only the actions of the just 

Smell sweet and blossom in the dust. 


Up to 1708, the system of Church government in Connecticut 
was based upon the Cambridge Platform, which was adopted 
by the Churches of New England at the start, but later the Con- 
necticut Churches adopted a system of government at Saybrook, 
known as the Saybrook Platform. 

In 1668, the General Court authorized the Revs. James Fitch, 
of Norwich ; Gershom Bulkley, of Wethersfield ; Jared Eliot, of 
Guilford ; and Samuel Wakeman, of Fairfield, each of them rep- 
resenting the four counties of the Colony respectively, to meet 
in Saybrook to fix upon a general plan of church government 
and discipline for the Churches of Connecticut. In 1703, the 
Collegiate School authorities issued a circular requesting the 
Churches and their ministers to meet. They did so and gave 
consent to the Westminster and Savoy Confessions and also 
formulated rules for ecclesiastical union and discipline. 

For the third time, on September 20, 1708, a solemn meeting 
of twelve of the foremost Congregational ministers and four of 
the most prominent laymen, was held in Saybrook to take action 
in regard to Church government and other church matters. This 
meeting was held at a commencement of the Collegiate School, 
as Yale was then called, at least half of the delegates being trus- 
tees of that institution. These delegates were : 

From New Haven County — the Rev. Samuel Andrew, minister 
of the Milford Church ; the Rev. James Pierpoint, minister of the 
First Church of New Haven ; and the Rev. Samuel Russell, 
minister of the Branford Church. 

From Hartford County — the Rev. Timothy Woodbridge, min- 
ister of the First Church in Hartford ; the Rev. Noadiah Russell, 



minister of the First Church in Middletown ; the Rev. Stephen 
Mix, minister of the Wethersfield Church ; and John Haynes, 
of Hartford, messenger. 

From New London County — the Rev. James Noyes, minister 
of the Stonington Church; the Rev. Thomas Buckingham, 
minister of the Saybrook Church ; the Rev. Moses Noyes, 



As there was no water power a windmill was put up. 

minister of the First Church of Lyme; the Rev. John Woodward, 
minister of the First Church of Norwich ; Robert Chapman and 
Deacon William Parker, of Saybrook, messengers. 

From Fairfield County — the Rev. Charles Chauncey, minister 
of the Stratfield Church (now the First Church of Bridgeport) ; 
the Rev. John Davenport, minister of the Stamford Church; and 
Deacon Samuel Hart, of Stamford, messenger. 

In 1708, there were no wheeled vehicles for traveling — that 
was all done on horseback — and these men made the long journey 
from their homes to Saybrook on horseback through the wilder- 


ness, or by canoe from Hartford, Wethersfield and Middletown. 
Neither this Council, nor the Saybrook Platform, had anything 
to do with settling points of doctrine, but both had to do with 
devising a general plan of Church government and discipline. 
That, in fact, was the Saybrook Platform. There were, in 1708, 
forty-one Congregational Churches in the Colony of Connecticut, 
with but two Churches of any other denomination — a Baptist 
Church in Groton and an Episcopal Church in Stratford, both 
of which came into existence in 1707. The next denomination 
to have a Church was the Presbyterian, in 1723, and the next 
was the Methodist, in 1789, after the formation of the State. 
Therefore, the Council represented the sentiment of almost the 
entire population of the Colony of Connecticut. 

That the Congregational Church in Connecticut was in perfect 
doctrinal harmony with the reformed Churches of Great Britain 
and the Continent, was shown in the eighth article of agreement. 
This is : 

As to what appertains to soundness of judgment in matters of faith, we 
esteem it sufficient that a Church acknowledge the Scriptures to be the 
Word of God, the perfect and only rule of faith and practice, and we own 
either the doctrinal part of those commonly called the Articles of the 
Church of England, or the Confession or Catechism, shorter or larger, 
compiled by the Assembly at Westminster, or the Confession agreed on at 
Savoy, to be agreeable to this rule. 

Each of the four counties represented in the convention drew 
up a model for the articles of discipline. The model, principally 
draughted by the Rev. James Pierpoint, of New Haven, was 
amended and passed. The articles provided for one or more 
consociations of Churches in each county, which were tribunals 
with appellate and final jurisdiction. To these individual 
Churches referred matters considered to be too serious for one 
Church to decide ; also for associations in each county, composed 
of teaching elders or ministers, who had the general welfare 
of the Churches in mind; examined candidates for the ministry; 
investigated charges of scandal or heresy ; recommended ministers 
to Churches without them. The associations met at least twice 
a year. 


A General association composed of one or more delegates from 
each county association ; this was an advisory body, whose duties 
were not fixed by the Platform. 

The result of the deliberations of the Convention was reported 
to the General Court and that body made the Congregational 
Church, the Established Church of the Colony of Connecticut, 
all other denominations being considered as dissenters. It is 
a significant fact of great interest, that the first book ever printed 
in Connecticut was The Saybrook Platform. This was printed 
in 1 7 10, in New London, by Thomas Short, on a printing press 
given to the Colony by Governor Saltonstall. It was significant, 
in that it showed how closely the first literature of the Colony, 
as well as the Colonial Government, was interwoven with 

While the Government of the Colony, through its Established 
Church, did not attempt to dictate to the people of the Colony 
in what manner they should worship — the law being the same 
in the New England Colony of Connecticut, as it was in Old 
England, in regard to Dissenters, under the act of William and 
Mary in 1689 — it did require all citizens to help support the 
Established Congregational Church. There was no other punish- 
ment for not being a Congregationalist than this. In 1727, 
Episcopalians and in 1729, Baptists, were exempted from being 
taxed for the support of the Congregational Churches, provided 
they attended a Church of their own denomination. 

The way in which individuals could avoid the Established 
Church tax was accomplished by what was called, " signing off ". 

According to tradition, an influential citizen becoming some- 
what tired of paying the tax to the Church, went to the proper 
official to sign the required paper which would release him from 
further paying the Church tax, but the clerk refused to draw 
the paper on account of the prominence of the citizen and his 
value to the Church. So he drew the document himself and 
being somewhat heated by the refusal, mixed a bit of biting sar- 
casm in his declaration that : 

I hereby renounce the Christian religion that I may join the Episcopal 

But even this " signing off " was not permitted to Congrega- 


tionalists and Presbyterians. If members of those churches 
wished to withdraw and worship by themselves, they were still 
required to pay the tax for the support of the Church from which 
they withdrew. Freedom of worship for the Strict Congrega- 
tionalists, or " Separatists ", as they were also called, was a rather 
expensive luxury for they were obliged by law to continue to 
pay the Church tax and, of course, they were obliged to help 
support their own Churches. Many of the Strict Congregation- 
alists became Baptists as a result of the law. 

While the New World was settled by those who desired 
" Freedom-of- Worship ", the weakness of human nature was fre- 
quently shown in those early days, by the persecution of indi- 
viduals whose freedom of worship was outside of the Congrega- 
tional Church. A particular case illustrates this. 

Two students at Yale College, in 1744, John Cleveland and 
his brother Ebenezer Cleveland, were charged with the heinous 
offence of attending another Church than the Congregational, 
while at home in vacation time. When they returned to College 
they were suspended till they had confessed. As they refused 
to do so, they were expelled and their fellow students were for- 
bidden from associating with them, or even speaking to them, 
for fear they too should become corrupted. 

In the Revolution, Saybrook did its full share with the other 
towns of the Colony. But more than this, Saybrook will go 
down to the end of time, historically, as being the place where 
the first attempt to produce a submarine torpedo boat was made. 
Although the attempt was not an entire success, the fact still 
remains, that the Adam of the successful submarine war vessels 
of the twentieth century was the turtle-like torpedo boat invented 
by David Bushnell, of Saybrook. 

In the autumn of 1776, the ship " Oliver Cromwell " was built 
in Saybrook and successfully launched and ably commanded by 
Azariah Whittlesey. In that year Captain Seth Warner, who 
stood second in command to that other grand patriot, Ethan 
Allen, the commander of the feared Green Mountain Boys, was 
authorized to raise no men for duty on the northern lakes, and 
was provided with money and given a commission. 

In April, 1777, David Bushnell, who was born in the Parish, 



now the Town of Westbrook, informed the Governor and Coun- 
cil that he had a plan for blowing - the entire British Navy on 
the American coast, out of water. The Governor and Council 
provided every necessity for the construction and trial of the 
great invention. Building operations were begun at the " Ferry ", 
Mr. Bushnell having first proved that gun powder could be ex- 
ploded under water. 

The Connecticut coast was more or less troubled with Tories, 
who gave comfort and assistance to the British ships on Long 
Island Sound, by furnishing them with supplies. This was par- 


Occupied by descendants of the builders, Dr. Kelsey and his mother, who is a granddaughter 
of William Lord, a soldier of the Revolution who was with Washington on his retreat 
across the Delaware. 

ticularly true of the settlements and villages on the lower Con- 
necticut and especially at its mouth, where the Tories tried to 
run contraband out to the ships in the sound. But Saybrook 
slept with one eye open and the other eye on the watch. The Rev. 
John Edward Bushnell, minister of the Fairfield Congregational 
Church — but a native of Old Saybrook — gave so delightfully 



humorous an account of, " Saybrook's only sanguinary battle of 
the Revolution ", in his address at the Ouadrimillenial celebration 
of Saybrook, that it is quoted here : 

A mass of contraband articles had been taken from the Tories, and a 
young man — William Tully — was set to watch it, in the house formerly 
owned by Captain John Whittelsey, still standing at the Point. On a 
certain night, eight Tories came to the house and demanded entrance. 
Tully begged to be excused from opening the door. They broke in with- 
out further parley and rushed forward. Tully's flint was faithful to the 
trip of the hammer and struck fire. The musket ball passed through the 

In the Revolution William Tully defended this house against eight Tories. 

first man, and to Tully's surprise he still advanced, but the man directly 
back of him dropped dead. Tully then surrounded the other six men and 
would have incontinently put them all to the bayonet (and did wound one 
of them) had they not contrived to escape by the windows. The first man 
whom Tully shot finally found that the ball had passed through him, for 
he dropped dead, with one hand on the window and the other grasping a 
chest of tea. The retreating forces left a quarter of their number dead 
on the field — or floor — and a quarter of the remaining were carried 


away wounded in their friends' arms. It is, perhaps, noteworthy that the 
continental army did not lose a man. 

The Tories were at another time routed by one man, this time 
Charles Williams. He was on the watch for Tories at the Point. 
One night he heard the grating of boats on the beach and sus- 
pecting them to be filled with Tories, he ran out and in a loud 
voice, ordered the guards to turn out. The Tories, not knowing 
that the guard consisted of but one man, pushed off and escaped 
from " that wretched Rebel ". 


Of the many somewhat visionary, or entirely imaginative 
accounts of treasure possessed by Kidd, the famous, or infamous 
pirate, the following is reliable for its accuracy. It was told to 
John W. Barber, author of Connecticut Historical Collections, by 
John G. Gardiner, of Gardiner's Island, about 1837. Mr. Gar- 
diner obtained his information from a letter belonging to Mrs. 
Wetmore, who was the mother-in-law of Captain Mather, of New 
London, commander of a revenue cutter. Mrs. Wetmore says in 
her letter: 

I remember when very young, hearing my mother say that her grand- 
mother was wife to Lord Gardiner when the pirate came to Gardiner's 
Island. The Captain wanted Airs. Gardiner to roast him a pig; she being 
afraid to refuse him, cooked it very nice, and he was much pleased with 
it; he then made her a present of this silk (cloth of gold) which she gave 
to her two daughters. 

The following is an extract from an account of property belonging to 
Kidd and captured from him in 1699, by order of the Earl of Bellmont, 
captain general and governor in chief over the province of Massachusetts 

Gold dust 145 ozs. 

Gold bars 591J4 ozs. 

Gold coin \\Z/ A ozs. 

Silver, broken 173^2 ozs. 

Silver coin 124 ozs. 

Silver bars .309 ozs. 

Silver lamps and buttons, silver rings and a bag of gems. Mrs. Wet- 
more's letter continues : 

Captain William Kidd was commander of the sloop Antonio; received 
a commission to cruise as a privateer, turned pirate, was guilty of murder 
— was taken, and carried into Boston; was tried, condemned and exe- 


cuted — not as a privateer — but as a murderer. He was here with his 
accomplices a short time before he was taken ; how long he remained on 
this Island I know not. While here, he told Mr. Gardiner where he had 
deposited the iron chests, which contained the treasure above described 
and left it in his care, with the injunction, that he must answer for it with 
his head. The chests were buried in a swamp on the west side of the 
island. There has been much digging here upon this island for Kidd's 
money, all along the coast. But I think it is doubtful whether there was 
ever any buried except that which was buried here. 


UNTIL its incorporation in 1840, Westbrook was a parish 
in the Town of Saybrook. It was incorporated as a 
distinct parish in 1724. From the great quantity of 
clam and oyster shells as well as stone implements, it is 
evident that the neighborhood of the village was for cen- 
turies a permanent village of Indians. The large number 
of half finished, and fragments, of arrow and spear heads 
that are still being found, to the east of the river near what 
is locally known as Round Hill, causes the belief that it was 
an Indian village for centuries. These fragments and par- 
tially finished specimens suggest, that they were made there and 
it is thought by some authorities on Indian archaeology, that 
arrow heads were made only at permanent settlements. The 
operation was of a semi-religious nature and the arrow head 
makers were nearly equal to the medicineman in the estimation 
of the tribe. The Indians who lived on the shore at Westbrook, 
when the first settlements by the English were made, were subject 
to, or a part of the Pequot Tribe. After the extermination of 
that tribe by the settlers, in 1637, they disappeared from West- 
brook. The Indians living at Westbrook, after that place was 
settled, were a small branch of the Nehantic Tribe, from Rhode 
Island. They disappeared some time during King Philip's War, 
in 1675 or '76. The Indian names for the territory now included 
in Westbrook were Menunketeset (a word that was spelled in every 
conceivable way in the old records) and Pochoug, which are still 
retained in Patchogue River and Menunketesuck Point and 


According to Barber, Westbrook was settled in 1664. Among 
the earlier settlers of Saybrook who had received grants of land, or 
had made purchases in Westbrook, where the Chapmans, Fitches, 
Bulls, Jacksons, Duncks and Chalkers. Olin Chalker and two 
brothers built three houses on the little hill at the foot of which 
i<: a brook crossing the road, which is the dividing line between 
Saybrook and Westbrook. The oldest of three houses is on the 
south side of the road, but it has been so modernized that it has 
no appearance of age. Directly opposite, is another house that 
has been abandoned for many years, and it is in a most pic- 
turesque state of ruin. It is almost impossible to look at it with- 
out regret for it suggests " home " and happiness and hospitality, 
surrounded as it is with a wild, tangled growth of old-time flow- 
ers, shrubs and trees, and its well-sweep going to decay, while the 
other two are simply commonplace farmhouse of the present- 

In 1648, Saybrook divided the out-lying lands into quarters and 
that designated in the records as Oyster River Quarter included 
nearly all of Westbrook (and much more), so the record of this 
division of the wild lands is the first definite reference to the 
territory that is now Westbrook. 

Mr. James A. Pratt, in his history of Westbrook, says that a 
few individual pioneers settled on the flats along the shore as 
early as 1650. 

In the distribution of the land to the original proprietors, there 
were nooks and corners having no value then, because of lack of 
fertility or remoteness. That there was no particular claim to 
them, or dispute as to ownership, resulted eventually in their 
being regarded as a sort of no-man's-land. But as time passed 
and these pieces of land were occupied by outsiders, they becan 
to have a value in the estimation of their actual owners. The 
first and second school-houses, and the first church and the 
parsonage, were built upon such land. This appropriation of 
their land alarmed the proprietors. The result was, that a 
Proprietors' Committee came into existence in 1723, and the 
General Court passed an act that common or undivided land, not 
disposed of by the free consent of the original proprietors, could 
be claimed by them as a part of their estate. The same act 


authorized the proprietors to appoint a committee and clerk to 
act as their agents, with power to dispose of common or undi- 
vided land. This committee continued till 1838, when Jonathan 
Lay was the last surviving member and Jared Piatt the last clerk. 

Like the other shore and river towns, Westbrook had its active 
and prosperous ship-building days, which continued for many 
years after the industry had ceased in the river towns. 

The first grist-mill was built by Lieutenant Samuel Jones some- 
time before 1690. A few years later the Grinells put up a wind- 
mill, not far from where the Congregational Church now stands. 
It was moved to the hill behind the church, where it could get 
more wind, and it remained there till 1800. There was a saw- 
mill, in 1748, on Falls River on Samuel Wright's land. It was 
jointly owned by Wright, Benjamin Jones, Thomas Bushnell, 
and Nathaniel Chapman, who took turns in using it for their own 
sawing, three days in each year. Before 1700, there was an iron- 
works at Pond Meadow, where ore obtained in Mine Swamp was 
smelted and made into about everything necessary to the settlers, 
from anchors down to nails. 

For sixty years the earnest, noble men and women traveled on 
foot, on horseback and later, in rude carts, all the way to 
Old Saybrook to worship and hear the Divine commands and 
promises explained by their minister. In summer the journey 
was hard enough, but in winter, through deep snows, with an all- 
day service in a cold church, it was a very different matter. 

In 1724, Westbrook had a population of 225 persons divided 
among 38 families. Their number and the distance necessary to 
go to attend Church, determined them to apply for permission 
to separate themselves from the Saybrook society. A public 
meeting was held on April 13, 1724, when the people of Old 
Savbrook agreed, not to oppose the desire of the Westbrook 
portion of the society, for a separation, with a society of their 
own. It was agreed, that until the Westbrook people had a min- 
ister of their own, they should continue to pay their portion of 
the expense in maintaining a minister over the Old Saybrook 

On May 13, 1724, a petition was sent to the Legislature, in 
Hartford, asking that Westbrook be made a separate society. 


This petition was signed by Samuel Chapman, James Post, and 
William Stannard. The petition was granted, and on May 28, 
1724, the First Society of Westbrook was formed with Captain 
Samuel Chapman, as moderator. 

Immediate action was taken to secure a minister and in August, 
of the same year, the Rev. William Worthington was engaged at 
a salary of £50 and fire wood. In December, of the same year, 
the society voted to build a parsonage, but the minister was 
required to provide the glass and nails. The little community had 
already been at considerable expense, so the proposal to build a 
church seemed beyond their means. In order that money for 
this purpose might be obtained, they asked the Legislature to 
free them from paying the Colony tax for a period of three or 
four years. This was in the spring of 1725. Their request was 
refused and a similar request, made in October of that year, was 
also refused, but the Legislature granted them permission to form 
a Church and to settle an orthodox minister, with the consent of 
the neighboring Churches. On June 29, 1726, the Church was 
organized with the following members ; Captain Samuel Chap- 
man, Abraham, James and John Post ; Jared and Thomas Spen- 
cer; Margaret Chapman, Lydia Grenil, Sarah Spencer, Mary 
Lay, Mary Denison, Sarah Brooker, and Mary Waterhouse. 

Captain Chapman was a grandson of the settler, Robert Chap- 
man, and the son of Robert, Junior, who was one of the messen- 
gers from New London County to the convention which drew 
and adopted the Saybrook Platform. Abraham Post was a 
grandson of Stephen Post the settler, and Lydia (Peabody) 
Grenil was a granddaughter of John Alden and the charming 
Priscilla, whom he courted for another man and won for himself. 

In January, 1726, the people voted to build a meeting-house, 
but it was several years before the church was completed. This 
delay was, seemingly, not the result of indifference or procras- 
tination, but of lack of money. The slow progress of the steps 
taken toward the building show this. On Christmas, 1727, a 
committee was appointed to secure sleepers and underpinning; 
in May, 1728, another committee was appointed to place the 
sleepers, and still another for procuring glass and lead, and so 
on for a year or two longer. In 1730, the pulpit was built and 


the lower seats put in place ; in 1733, the pulpit was provided with 
cushions ; the plastering was finished ; steps were made and placed 
in front of the door and the doors were hung on hinges and 
provided with means of fastening. In 1738, the galleries were 
finished and nothing more, in the way of work, was done till 
1763, when one side and two ends were covered with oak clap- 
boards, which were painted a sky-blue, and window frames, with 
sashes furnished with glass, were put in. In 1794, the queer old 
square pews, with seats around the four sides, were replaced with 
straight pews. This church, begun in 1727, and standing for 
so much sacrifice, hope and determination, was taken down one 
hundred years later, in 1828, and a new church was built upon 
its site. In i860, the second church was removed and the third 
built on the same site and being burnt in 1892, a fourth church 
was built upon the same site around which were so many precious 

The great number of years in which the first two ministers 
were in charge was quite typical of early New England. The 
Rev. William Worthington was born in Colchester, was grad- 
uated from Yale in the class of 1716, and was minister of the 
Westbrook Church for thirty-two years. The Rev. John Devo- 
tion was a graduate of Yale in the class of 1754, and minister 
of the Church for forty-five years. 


East Windsor was the home of the inventor of the first steam- 
boat to actually run and carry passengers, and the fact that 
John Fitch was born there will make that town notable for all 

Westbrook was the home of the inventor of that most feared 
naval weapon of the twentieth century, the sub-marine torpedo 
boat and the fact that David Bushnell, the inventor, was born in 
Westbrook, will make that town notable for all time. 

It is an odd fact that that notorious appropriator of other men's 
ideas, Robert Fulton, who robbed John Fitch of the credit which 
he earned and deserved, also appropriated the ideas of David 


Bushnell, but did not succeed in robbing him of the credit and 
honor due him and his memory. 

David Bushnell was born in 1742, on his father's farm which 
was located away from the more thickly settled portion of West- 
brook. At the age of twenty-seven, David's father died and while 
his loss was great, the death of his father proved to be a great gain 
to the world, for David's sense of duty was such that had his 
father lived, he probably never would have left the farm where 
his services were needed, to obtain the education he so much 
craved and so, doubtless, would not have thought out sub-marine 

After his father's death, David disposed of the farm. At a time 
when boys of but fourteen were entering Yale, David, at the age 
of twenty-seven, prepared for Yale under the instruction of the 
Rev. John Devotion, the minister of Westbrook, in two years. It 
is probable that the idea of sub-marine explosions occurred to 
him while an undergraduate for, when he was graduated in 1775, 
he began his experiments. 

The first step was to prove that gunpowder would explode 
under water. This was demonstrated with a wooden receptacle 
filled with powder. The bottle-like receptacle was submerged, 
with a heavy plank on top and on the plank a hogshead filled with 
stones, till its top was just above water. The explosion threw 
stones and bits of wood into the air and demonstrated just what 
Bushnell believed that it would. He continued his experiments 
till all possibility of doubt of their success was eliminated, and 
then began to work out plans for the "American Turtle ", as 
the Adam of sub-marine torpedo boats was called by him. 

In April, 1777, Mr. Bushnell informed the Governor and 
Council that he had a plan by which the entire British navy in 
American waters could be blown out of water. Governor Trum- 
bull — Washington's " Brother Jonathan ", who is to-day de- 
picted, with a coat of stars and " pants " of stripes, as the human 
emblem of Yankee Land — and General Israel Putnam, imme- 
diately appreciated, that if Mr. Bushnell's ideas would work the 
war would soon be a matter of history. They gave him every 
necessary encouragement and assistance. The construction of 
the "American Turtle " was begun at the Ferry. The hull was 


in the form of two upper shells of a turtle, one above and the 
other below inverted. It was seven and a half feet long and 
probably about the same width and was only large enough to 
contain the courageous man who was to work it. The supply of 
air for the " crew " was sufficient to last thirty minutes. The 
greater portion of the ballast was under the keel and was so 
arranged that it could be lowered to act as an anchor. The 
motor was the man inside the boat, who worked the paddles with 
his feet. It was equipped with a compass, light and barometer, 
the latter for determining the depth below the surface. The 
kind of light to be used was a most troublesome matter to de- 
termine. With but a limited supply of air a flame could not be 
considered, for the air would soon be burnt up and the man 
would be suffocated. Mr. Bushnell's first experiment was with 
a kind of luminous wood which was satisfactory only if the 
atmospheric conditions were favorable. As a last resort he wrote 
to Benjamin Franklin for advice and for information in regard to 
the use of phosphorus. This was finally decided upon and used 
with success. In the bottom of the boat was a valve to admit 
water when it desired to descend below the surface. For return- 
ing to the surface, two brass force-pumps were provided for 
expelling the water. There were windows of heavy glass and 
ventilators with air pipes reaching to the surface of the water. 
At the stern, above the rudder, was the magazine. It consisted 
of two pieces of oak, hollowed, in which were 150 pounds of 
powder. This magazine was lighter than water so that it would 
rise against the bottom of the ship to which it was to be fixed. 
Inside the magazine was a mechanism, arranged to be set to run 
for any period of time up to twelve hours. When it stopped, a 
lock resembling a gun lock was sprung and the 150 pounds of 
powder was exploded. 

A brother of David Bushnell was to make the first experiment, 
but illness prevented, so a sergeant of one of the line regiments 
was given the hazardous honor. The " Eagle ", one of Lord 
Howe's ships, of 64 guns, was chosen for the first trial, where 
she was lying in New York harbor, and General Putnam was on 
the wharf to witness the attempt. The sergeant tried to fix the 
screw to the bottom of the ship but did not succeed, as the screw 



came in contact with some iron. The sergeant's lack of experi- 
ence was the cause of failure. When returning to land he 
thought he had been sighted by the British, so he cast off the 
magazine, which was timed to explode in an hour. The mechan- 
ism worked and the explosion filled the British with consterna- 
tion and fear and the atmosphere with flying water. In 1777, Mr. 
Bushnell, himself, tried to blow up the " Cerberus ", at anchor off 
New London. The attempt was made from a whale boat and al- 
though he did not blow up the man o'war he did destroy a 
schooner, just astern, that the British had captured. The sailors 
on the schooner seeing the line attached to the magazine, 
drew it inboard thinking it was a fishing line. When they 

... * __ 




drew on board the contrivance at the end of the line their interest 
was great, but before they could satisfy their curiosity it ex- 
ploded and killed three men besides destroying the schooner. 
It seems that Mr. Bushnell had provided for just such an occur- 
rence by placing wheels with iron points, on the outside of the 
magazine which would be revolved when the magazine was 
raised from the sea up the side to the deck of the vessel. The 
revolution of these wheels set the mechanism so that the ex- 
plosion would take place in five minutes after they began to 
revolve. Just why the " Turtle " was abandoned, after demon- 
strating that it would destroy vessels, is uncertain. It had 
accomplished a great good for the Colonies for the British were 
terrified. They feared that every object seen floating on the 
surface was one of those Yankee infernal-machines and, as a 


result, they were not so bold in their naval operations near the 

Nearly every one is familiar with the historic " Battle of the 
Kegs " on the Delaware River, and how those same kegs filled 
the hearts of the bravest Britons with dread ; dread of the 
unknown, which unmans the bravest ; dread of what those 
wretched Yankees might do next by means of Bushnell's devilish- 
inventive genius. 

The kegs were arranged with an interior mechanism similar 
to that in the magazine of the " Turtle " only, instead of explod- 
ing at the end of a fixed time, they were exploded upon coming 
in contact with a hard object. These kegs were set afloat on 
the Delaware at night, that they might float down to the British 
ships and blow them up. It so happened that they first came 
in contact with the ice floating on the river and were exploded 
with great violence and noise, blowing up the ice and one British 
schooner. The explosion sent the British, like hens seeking 
shelter from hail, wild with terror to every place of safety to 
be found. They imagined every impossible thing. One of their 
wildest ideas being that each keg was occupied by a Yankee 
and that the Rebels were attempting an aqueous version of the 
Wooden Horse of Troy. 

The British were so greatly mortified by their fright, that they 
offered a reward for David Bushnell, and they did not care 
whether he should be presented to them in the form of a man 
or a cadaver. The British did actually obtain possession of 
Mr. Bushnell without paying the reward, but the same genius 
which produced the "American Turtle ", helped him to make his 
escape. After the " Battle of the Kegs ", he joined the Patriot 
army as a private and was captured in an engagment with the 
British, and placed on board one of the British frigates, in 
Boston Harbor. Mr. Bushnell acted the part of a person of 
weak mind. He was seen, one day, hacking at the rigging with 
a hatchet and when an officer asked what he was doing, Bushnell 
replied that he always had to cut the brush and clear the land 
in the spring. When this was reported to the commander of 
the ship, he directed that " the fool " should be put ashore. 
Bushnell and the officer who had him in charge stopped at a 


tavern. While the officer had a drink, Bushnell wrote a note 
to the commander of the ship telling him who " the fool " was. 
The pitiful remnants of the " Turtle " are now in a barn on the 
Bushnell farm in Westbrook, in possession of one of his descend- 
ents. It was all there not so long ago, but parts of it have been 
stolen or lost. 


CHESTER is another child of Saybrook and it continued 
to be under the jurisdiction of that venerable town till 
it arrived at its majority so to speak, in 1836, when it 
was incorporated. In the early days it was known as Pattaquonk 
Quarter and continued to be so called, till the parish was incor- 
porated, in 1740, when it was named Chester. 

Tradition gives Jonah Dibble, of Haddam, the credit of being 
the first settler of Chester, just before 1692, then followed 
Andrew Warner, of Hadley, in 1696. In the succeeding fifty 
years families of the names of Parker, Shipman, Waterhouse, 
Webb, Willard and Southworth, from Saybrook, settled there as 
did the Canfields and Letts, from Durham. 

Chester was much concerned in the boundary dispute between 
Saybrook and Haddam, which is mentioned under the caption 
of Haddam. The Indians too, were much concerned for by the 
adjustment of the boundary their forty-acre reservation was 
found to be in Savbrook, instead of Haddam, and the inhabitants 
of Saybrook were not willing to recognize their rights. 

The first record of a transfer of property, within the present 
bounds of Chester, was a deed given by John and Elizabeth 
Cullick to John Leverett of Boston, dated 1660. Mrs. Cullick 
received the property by will from her brother, George Fenwick, 
the proprietor of Saybrook. The land disposed of by this deed 
was a part of the Twelve-mile Island Farm. Grants, or sales 
of land, including 700 acres, were recorded in 1672, to a number 
of persons, but there is no evidence that any of them settled upon 
their property. 

The gift of Cedar Swamp and its fine water-power to Governor 
Winthrop, for the benefit of the Colony, in 1663, was tne cause 


of more trouble within the bounds of Chester, for Saybrook 
denied the right of the proprietors to make the grant. John 
Chapman and John Clark represented Saybrook in the negotia- 
tions with Governor Winthrop regarding the property. The 
Governor relinquished the property to Saybrook, in 1688, with 
the stipulation, that the timber and land should be sold onlv to 
inhabitants of Saybrook. The swamp was divided into lots, 
running east and west through the swamp, that were from one 
and a half to twelve rods wide. These were disposed of by sale 
or gift to inhabitants of Saybrook. 

In 1734, the individuals who owned property about Cedar 
Swamp Pond gave a deed of a narrow strip of land, surround- 
ing the pond, for a nominal sum to Samuel Willard, in appre- 
ciation of his services as a surveyor. Mr. Willard already owned 
considerable land there, which included the outlet of the pond 
and so, of course, the valuable water-power. His son, George 
Willard, built the first saw and grist-mills of Chester, on this 
site. The property was owned by the Willard family for a great 
many years. 

Up to 1729, the inhabitants of Chester attended Church, and 
paid their portion for the support of the minister of the Church, 
near Centerbrook, in the present Town of Essex, but in October 
of that year, they obtained permission to worship at home in 
the winter months, for four years. This was known as " winter 
privilege ". Two years after the parish was incorporated, on 
September 15, 1742, the Church was organized, with a member- 
ship of twenty-two men and forty-one women and the Rev. Jared 
Harrison its first minister. The first meeting-house was built 
in 1743, but it was not finished till 1750 (although it was wor- 
shipped in) and even then, the church was never ceiled or plas- 
tered, the timbers being left exposed to view. Under the church 
was an open space where sheep congregated and made such a 
racket with their bleating that the service was frequently inter- 
rupted, till one of the men drove the woolly disturbers away. At 
different times, beginning with 1773, there was a lack of har- 
mony in the congregation because of a presence of harmony 
in the choir that was objectionable. This was a " new- 
fangled " style of singing that had been introduced by the 

ESSEX. 51 

younger members of the congregation, and was disapproved by 
the older members. This contest over the harmony of sound, 
which had caused a discord in the harmony of interests, was 
finally arranged by permitting the young people to have charge 
of the singing at one service, each Sunday, for a brief period 
of time. 

The first permanent school was started in 1755. It was under 
the control of the Church till the school-system was established. 

The building of vessels and trade with the West Indies occu- 
pied the time of many individuals profitably for a period of about 
sixty years, which began some twenty years before the Revolu- 
tion. The principal builders of boats and ships were members 
of the Leet, Colt, Buck, Stevens, Lord, and Denison families. 
In the West India trade were Gideon Leet, Jonathan Warner 
and William Mitchell, they being the merchants doing the greater 
part of the trade with those islands. 


THAT portion of Saybrook which became Essex was called 
by the Indians Potapaug. It was a very old Indian set- 
tlement that occupied the point, that juts into the Con- 
necticut just north of Thatchbed Island, and like all Indian villages 
it was delightfully situated, in the midst of charming scenery, as 
well in the midst of a district where game and other animals, 
valuable for their pelts, were plentiful and where the high nobility 
of the finny tribe — salmon and shad — could be had almost with- 
out effort. 

It was on the Potapaug Point where the first English settlers 
built their houses, and where the business of the place was trans- 
acted for many generations. As Essex grew in population the 
village crept up the steep hill, to the west of the lowland, and the 
homes that were built upon the face and top of the hill are ap- 
proached by gently sloping, terraced streets. A walk along these 
streets more than compensates for the effort, for the view is con- 
stantly changing and each new view of the river, the coves, the 
islands and the Lyme shore, to the east of the river, seems more 
charming than those just enjoyed. The natural beauties of Essex 
and neighborhood are great, and the native refinment and hos- 
pitality of the people are in keeping. 



r — iw*? ^v 









Some of the early settlers of Potapaug, between 1690, and 
1710, were John Denison, of Stonington ; John Starkey, of New 
London ; Charles Williams, of Rhode Island ; the Lay and Pratt 
families from the mouth of the river ; the Hayden family, from 
Dorchester ; and the Ayres family, which settled at Ayre's Point 
about 1 7 10. In 1702, the Rev. Thomas Buckingham settled at 
Beaver Pond. He was one of the incorporators of Yale, and 
was reputed to be a successful trapper of the valuable beaver, 
which were found in great numbers on the shores of the pond. 


a glimpse of the sail loft and the warehouse built by abner parker 

in 1753- 
" When the West India trade was the greatest, it was frequently filled from ground 
to roof with rum, sugar, molasses and tobacco." 

The growth in population of Essex was slow till just before 
the Revolution, when its ship yards and ropewalk were very busy 
as were the few merchants, whose storehouses were filled to the 
eaves. John Tucker began the ship building industry about 
1720. From this small beginning there grew up a business so 
great, that there was a time when thirty vessels of various kinds 
and tonnage were on the stocks at once in the different yards. 
One of the ship and schooner builders, who did the most busi- 
ness, was Nehemiah Hayden, in 1742. Uriah Hayden, in 1750, 



was the builder of some of the most famous ships of the Con- 
necticut River, among them being the " Oliver Cromwell ", which 
is said to be the first man o'war ever owned by the United States. 
She carried 24 guns and was launched in 1775, for the Colony 
of Connecticut, but was soon after transferred to the National 
Government. Richard Tucker and Ebenezer Hayden, also in 
1750; Samuel Williams just before the year 1800; Ashabel Pratt, 
Judea Pratt, Captain Noah Scovill, Amasa Hayden, just after 
the year 1800; Noah Starkey, Austin Starkey, and David Wil- 
liams, 1815; Charles Tiley, 1825; R. P. Williams, and David 

The house built by Robert Lay in 1730. 

Mack, 1S30; and Captain Frank West, and Nehemiah Hayden, 
1835. The last named builder launched the " Middlesex ", 1,400 
tons, in 185 1, the largest ship built at Essex. The Elizabeth 
Denison, 1,000, was launched by Noah Starkey in 1839. The 
embargo of 1812 to '14 caused a falling off in the business, but 
it increased again and was at the height of its prosperity about 
1840. About 1800, the ropewalk began operations and did a 

ESSEX. 55 

large business in making cables, and material for rigging the 
vessels built in Essex. The old warehouse, shown in the picture, 
was built by Abner Parker in 1753, but soon after was owned 
by the Haydens and is still owned by Mr. James Hayden, the 
grandson of Uriah Hayden. Trade with the West Indies began 
at about the same time as ship building and continued for more 
than a century. When the West India trade was the greatest 
this old warehouse was never empty. It was frequently filled 
from ground to roof with rum, sugar, molasses and tobacco, to 
be shipped in small boats up the river, or transported inland in 
carts. The products of the river settlements and large towns 
were stored in this building till loaded upon ships and schooners 
outward bound. Just south of this warehouse is Hayden's wharf, 
upon which stands an old sail-loft, in which smaller boats were 

"a flint-lock pistol of great size, bearing the date of 1730." 

built, rigging stretched and sails made, for many years. Just 
to the north, where the New York boat ties up, was Lay's wharf, 
built by Robert Lay, who built the house shown in the picture, 
just back from the wharf, on a bluff, in 1730. 

The Hayden residence is just behind the sail-loft. It is on a 
slightly lower part of the bluff upon which the Lay house is 
situated, and directly across the street from it. The front yard 
of the Hayden house abuts upon Hayden's wharf. This charm- 
ingly situated, old-time residence was built by Uriah Hayden 
in 1766, and is now occupied by his grandson, James Hayden. 
The interior of the house is quaint and eminently home-like 
and contains many rooms, some of them of unusual size. The 
house is filled with fine specimens of Colonial furniture, which 
have come down through succeeding generations of Haydens, 


and of many rare and costly articles that were picked up in 
Europe by the different members of the family, who not only 
built ships, but commanded them, or sailed in them for recrea- 
tion and travel. The Hayden residence was a tavern from the 
year it was built down to about 1800. The old sign, painted 
in England, bears the letters and numerals " U. and A. 1766 ", 
the U, standing for Uriah Hayden and the A, for Ann his wife. 
A very long, low room on the south side of the house has a door 
with an elaborately carved George the Third brass knocker, and 
hanging on the walls are pictures of George the Third and his 
Queen, which have hung there since 1766. Mr. James Hayden 
has a flint-lock pistol of great size, bearing the date of 1730, and 
a flint-lock musket, of 1756. Both weapons are in perfect condi- 
tion and the present Mr. Hayden has shot ducks with the musket 
many times in his youth. The musket has a barrel five feet and 
four inches long. It was originally four inches longer, and was 
bell-mouthed. This four inches was cut off many years ago, as 
the wide muzzle caused the shot to scatter too much. That the 
boat-building art has been inherited by the family is evidenced 
by a fine sloop yacht, and one or two smaller pleasure boats, that 
were built by Mr. James Hayden, in the lower portion of the old 

Other taverns in the old days were the present Griswold House, 
an excellent country hotel, that has been a hotel for more than a 
hundred years. It was first kept by Ethan Bushnell. At 
Centerbrook, a village near the center of the Town of Essex, 
was a tavern kept by Dan forth Clark, about 1800. It was on 
the site of the home where Chapman Gladding lived in 1883. 
Clark was a popular proprietor and his tavern was notable in 
its day for its hospitality and good living. 

The first saw-mill of Essex was built in 1705, by Ensign 
William Pratt and Sergeant Nathaniel Pratt, on Falls River. 
In 171 5, Charles Williams and John Clark, Jr., built a grist-mill 
on the same stream. The first machine in the United States for 
cutting the teeth of combs, was invented by Phineas Pratt and 
Abel Pratt, father and son, and the making of combs was first 


begun bv them in Essex, just before the year 1800. In 1802, 
William's ivory-comb works was started at the mouth of Falls 
River, but little business was done by them till five years later, 
in 1807, when it increased greatly and was profitable. In 1816, 
this works was united with a comb works at Deep River, in 


CHARMING old Lyme, mother of lawyers, judges, states- 
men, diplomats, and multi-millionaire-financiers ; sepa- 
rated from Saybrook only by the width of the Connecti- 
cut River, but how differently situated ! On higher and more 
fertile soil ; shut in from the storms of the north and the piercing 
winds of the east ; exposed only on the south-west ( that mysteri- 
ous quarter in which the Indians placed their " happy hunting 
grounds ", because only from heaven could come the sweet, life- 
giving south-west breeze) and settled by men and women of gen- 
tle-birth who, with their descendants, have helped to make America 
notable in the world ! Never disturbed by the noise and turmoil 
of factories, nor hampered (and prospered) by commercialism. 
Unattractive to the emigrating refuse of Europe, it remains an old- 
fashioned gem in an old-fashioned setting. 

It is, perhaps, the only river town in the State of Connecticut, 
that has remained a place of residence, where mental wealth and 
breeding are more highly regarded than dollars and cents. Its 
only occupation in the old days was the building, and sailing 
of ships to the great markets of the world. An occupation at 
once dignified and broadening. 

When Old Lyme was settled in 1664, it was known as East 
Saybrook, it being a part of that town. The original township 
covered an area of about eighty square miles. Lyme was incor- 
porated in 1667. 

Matthew Griswold was the first settler. He received a grant 
of land from George Fenwick in 1645, an d moved from Say- 
brook to Lyme, calling his place Black Hall. He was soon fol- 
lowed by the DeWolf, Champion, Noyes, Lay, Ely, Lord, and 
Lee families, who took up the greater part of the town. Up to 
1667, the place was known as East Saybrook. but in that year it 
was set off and incorporated as the town of Lyme. 



























The Rev. Moses Noyes, of Newbury, Massachusetts, a gradu- 
ate of Harvard, was the first minister. His pastorate of sixty- 
three years began in 1666, and ended in 1729. The Rev. 
Samuel Pierpoint, of New Haven, a graduate of Yale in the 
class of 1718, became assistant to Mr. Noyes in 1722. His wife 
was a daughter of the Rev. Thomas Hooker. Mr. Noyes was 
accidentally drowned in the Connecticut in 1733. The third minis- 
ter, the Rev. Jonathan Parsons, of Springfield, a graduate of Yale, 
was ordained in 1731. The fourth, was the Rev. Stephen John- 
son, of Newark, New Jersey, a graduate of Yale in the class of 
1743, who was in charge of the church for forty years. The 
fifth, was Rev. Edward Porter of Farmington. The sixth, was 
the Rev. Lathrop Rockwell, of Lebanon, a graduate of Dartmouth. 
He was pastor from 1794 to 1828. He had a successful school of 
youths. Judge Matthew Griswold had a law school that turned 
out many notable lawyers. 

John MacCurdy, a gentleman of Ireland with Scottish blood 
in his veins, purchased the residence known as the MacCurdy 
house in 1750. Instinctively opposed to the British government, 
he became a strong partisan of the Colonists in their opposition 
to British injustice. Tradition has it, that he and his friend, 
the Rev. Stephen Johnson, minister of the Lyme Church, spent 
many hours together in the MacCurdy home discussing the 
Stamp Act and other equally offensive acts, and that the first 
published article definitely suggesting resistance of the enforce- 
ment of the Stamp Act, even to actual rebellion, was written 
by Mr. Johnson in this house. The article was printed in the 
Connecticut Gazette, through the influence of Mr. MacCurdy. 
Other articles and pamphlets followed, undoubtedly from the 
same pen, but no one seemed to know their source. 

The Sons of Liberty in New York had manuscripts of a 
treasonable nature, but no one was willing, or possessed of enough 
courage to print them. John MacCurdy, of Lyme, being in 
New York heard of them and finally obtained permission to copy 
them. He took them back to New England with him where they 
were printed and sent out over the country. This was in 1765. 
Nearly every able-bodied man of Lyme joined the 500 who went 
en horseback to Wethersfield to demand the resignation of the 
much hated Ingersoll, the Stamp Commissioner. And so mat- 



ters progressed in Lyme to the beginning of the Revolution, the 
patriotism of the people keeping pace with the times always, and 
frequently running ahead of the times, through the aggressive 
patriotism of the people. In 1774, a peddler entered Lyme with 
his saddle-bags filled with the delicious and longed-for but 
obnoxious tea. It was taken from him and burnt while the 
mouths of the patriotic matrons and maids watered at the 
thought of the comforting beverage it would have made. 

The home of the Griswolds was at Black Hall where the fine 


mansion of Governor Roger Griswold was built, overlooking the 
Sound. Matthew Griswold, a son of the Governor, had two 
love experiences. In the first he showed a degree of straight- 
forward determination that was strikingly lacking in the second, 
which culminated in marriage, the proposal being brought about 
by the lady. 

Governor Matthew Griswold is described as being grave, shy 
and some what awkward. His first love affair took him to Dur- 
ham — on horseback and a long journey it was — where the young 
woman lived. She had two strings to her bow — Matthew Gris- 

OLD LYME. 6 1 

wold and a certain physician whom she preferred of the two — 
but she was unwilling to loose the first string till she was sure 
of the other. This kept Matthew busy riding the long distance 
between his home in Lyme to her home in Durham. As he had 
a suspicion that he was being kept for a " forlorne hope " he, 
one day. brought matters to a head by demanding an immediate 
reply to his oft repeated proposal, only to be again told that she 
would like a little more time, to which he replied : " Madam, 
I will give you a lifetime ". The physician did not declare the 
love she hoped he had for her, so she lived and died a spinster. 

Finally, his charming cousin, Ursula Wolcott, was a guest at 
Black Hall. Matthew was smitten with her, but his experience 
had made him shy of her sex. But Miss Wolcott had a mind 
as well as beauty. She loved Matthew and suspected that he 
loved her, although he failed to declare it. One day when they 
met on the stairs, Miss Wolcott asked : 

" What did you say, Cousin Matthew ". 

" I did not say anything ", was his reply. 

The question and reply were repeated at other meetings sev- 
eral times till, meeting on the beach, Miss Wolcott asked her 
question for the last time, for she added after his answer: 

" It is time that you did ". 

So, Miss Ursula Wolcott became Mrs. Matthew Griswold. 
Her family was notable for the number of governors it contained. 
Besides her husband who became governor, there were her 
father, Governor Roger Wolcott, her brother. Governor Oliver 
Wolcott, her nephew, the second Governor Oliver, and her son 
became the second Governor Roger Griswold. 

Black Hall was famous for its fine hospitality and other attrac- 
tions, not the least of them being, in the days of " What did you 
say, Cousin Matthew," Cousin Matthew's eight handsome sisters 
who were known as " the Black Hall Boys " because of their 
high spirits, their success in athletic sports and exercise, and 
their good fellowship with the world. New England has just 
such girls in this century, but in that century, when the people 
were rather strait-laced, such joyous, healthy, spirited girls were 
more noticeable than they are now. 

Phoebe married the Rev. Jonathan Parsons and so became the 
mother of that daring and successful Revolutionary soldier, 



General Samuel Holden Parsons. The Rev. Jonathan Parsons 
was a good man and a dandy. He had a passion for orna- 
ment, jewels and fine clothing and was very particular about 
his personal appearance. This was something of a shock 
to his parishoners, and a source of fun for his fun-loving 
wife Phcebe, who was one of " the Black Hall Boys ". One 
night, just as Mr. Parsons was starting for prayer-meeting, 
after looking in the mirror to see that his hair was right 
and his neck-cloth well arranged, Mrs. Phcebe hugged him, 


patted his face and kissed him. When he arrived at prayer- 
meeting he saw the faces of the people undergoing muscular 
contortions, which caused him to fear they were suffering with 
St. Vitus' dance, or possibly with cramps. The fact of the mat- 
ter was, that Mrs. Phcebe had blackened his face with that 
patting-hand. On another occasion, she stole a leaf from his 
sermon and sat staring up at him from the minister's pew, 
gloating over the confusion she had caused. 


About 1 67 1, there was a territorial dispute between Lyme and 
New London, of a nature similar to that between Saybrook and 
Haddam, but it was very differently settled. A strip of land 
four miles wide was in dispute, both towns claiming it. Both 
towns proposed to let the other have one mile of the strip and, of 
course, both refused. As the land was not considered to be 
of sufficient value for a long- and expensive law-suit, the people 
of the two towns decided " to leave it to the Lord ". As they 
expressed it, their pious determination was misleading, for their 
method of leaving it to the Lord was a bare-knuckle fight, be- 
tween two champions from each town. The champions of Lyme 
were William Ely and Matthew Griswold, not " What-did-you- 
say-cousin-Matthew," but a Matthew of two generations earlier 
than his day. The result was most satisfactory. The fight went 
to the Lord and the land in dispute to Lyme. 

Roger Lake, about four miles north of Lyme Milage, was a 
favorite resort for Indians and for many years they had a per- 
manent village on its shore. It is tradition, that the cave, near 
Lion Rock, was a hiding place for Kidd and other pirates and 
that they buried treasure on the shores of the lake. 

General Samuel Holden Parsons was born in Lyme. With the 
intention of becoming a lawyer, Samuel Parsons prepared for 
Harvard College, entered and was graduated from that institu- 
tion with the class of 1756. He then entered the law office of 
his uncle, the Hon. Matthew Griswold, who was Governor of 
Connecticut, and applied himself diligently to the study of his 
chosen profession. 

He began to practice for himself in Lyme and almost imme- 
diately took an active part in the affairs of the community, as 
the representative of Lyme in the Legislature, where he was 
continuously for twelve years. In 1774, he received an appoint- 
ment as King's Attorney for New London County. He attained 
an eminent place in the legal fraternity of the Colony and his law 
practice was a very profitable, but neither ambition nor wealth 
caused him to hesitate a moment when his country needed every 
patriot it could obtain. At the breaking out of the Revolution he 
resigned the King's Attorneyship. 

6 4 




In April, 1775, he was one of the few daring men who planned 
the surprise and capture of Ticonderoga. For this purpose the 
patriots took f8io from the treasury of the Colony, without the 
knowledge of the Assembly, for which they gave their personal 
notes and receipts (presumably with the agreement, that should the 
enterprise fail, they would return the money to the treasury from 
their own pockets) which were later cancelled by the Assembly. 
This affair did more toward giving the people of Connecticut the 
moral courage which they needed, in their contest with Great 


Britain, than anything else that had taken place. Soon after, he 
received a commission as colonel of a regiment with which he 
marched to Roxbury, Massachusetts, where they remained till 
the British evacuated Boston. He was in the battle of Long 
Island, in August, 1776 and was promoted to the rank of Brig- 
adier General. As such he took an active, intelligent, and 
courageous part in many important military events near New 
York City, the Hudson River, and in the western portion of 
Connecticut, under General Washington and General Putnam. 
In 1780, he was promoted to the rank of Major General and was 



one of the judges who tried that fine gentleman and brilliant 
soldier, Major Andre, whose necessary death as a British spy 
caused the great-hearted Washington such keen sorrow. General 
Parsons' brilliant and successful attack, in 1781, upon the British 
at Morrisania, caused Congress to direct Washington to express 
the thanks of that body to General Parsons. Toward the end 
of 1781, the Governor, and Council of Safety, turned the com- 
mand of the state troops and the Coast-guards over to General 
Parsons, with full power to do with them as he thought necessary 
in protecting the people of Connecticut against attack by the 

When peace was declared, General Parsons opened a law office 
in Middletown. He represented Middletown in the Legislature 
and was the life of the bill for the formation of Middlesex County, 
in 1785. That same year he went to Ohio and in January, 1786, 
he, with General George R. Clark and General Richard Butler, 
represented the Government in a treaty with the Indians, near 
the mouth of the Great Miami river, that resulted in the ceding 
of a large tract of territory by the Indians to the United States. 
General Parsons returned to his home early in 1787, and in 
October of that year, Congress appointed him Governor of the 
North West Territory, but he delayed his going so that he could 
take part in the State Convention for the endorsement and adop- 
tion of a National Constitution, in January, 1788. In 1789, he 
served with Oliver Wolcott, of Litchfield, (who was later Gover-. 
nor of Connecticut) and James Davenport, Jr., of Stamford, on 
a committee for a treaty with the Indians who claimed lands in 
Ohio. While returning to his home in Marietta, Ohio, he was 
drowned in the Rapids of Great Beaver Creek, on November 17, 
1789, in the fifty-third year of his age. 


IN OCTOBER, 1663, the Legislature at Hartford, passed an 
act for forming a plantation at Hammonassett (this being 
the Indian name for Clinton) with certain definite, manda- 
tory provisions, to the number of nine. It was but natural that one 
of the two most important should be, to quote : 

They shall settle an able, orthodox, godly minister free from scandal 
etc. etc. 

There is a suggestiveness about the last three words which 
is somewhat misleading, since it implies that ministers were fre- 
quently — not free from scandal. It is more than probable that 
the word scandal, does not refer in any way to the personal, 
private lives of those heroic priests of God, who did even more 
than their full share to make New England what it is, but to 
their faithfulness to the Congregational Church, or to the Say- 
brook platform. Too great liberality, or too little strenuousness 
in adhering to the platform, being considered scandalous. 

The other of the two prominent provisions was, that the 
plantation on the east side of the Hammonassett River, still so 
called, should consist of at least thirty families. The planta- 
tion began its existence with but twenty planters, or heads of 
families, and not long after their settlement, ten of the twenty 
left for other parts. So the plantation continued to exist with 
but ten families, till two years later, in December, 1665, when 
the required number was actually present as settlers. 

To the Yankee of 250 years ago, the same as it is to the 
Yankee of to-day, the next most important matter to the Church 
and worship was the School and education. As early as Novem- 
ber 15, 1703, the little Town voted to build a schoolhouse to be 
sixteen feet square — "with room for a chimnie " — and to be 
situated upon meeting-house hill. The school was in session for 
one half of the time in the winter and the other half in the 
summer as required by law. Atenry Crane, Sr., was chosen for 
the schoolmaster for one year, at a salary of eleven shillings 

The early history of religious worship in Clinton is meagre 




and indefinite. According to the Rev. J. D. Moore's Historical 
Sketches, John Colton preached to the people before the Church 
was organized, but where John Colton came from or where he 
went, seems not to be known. 

As was frequently the case in those very early days, the people 
were called to worship by the drum. In 1666, the Town agreed 
with Nathan Parmlee to beat the drum on Sundays for the sum 
of forty shillings a year, and he was to maintain the drum at 
his own expense. Two years later, Samuel Griswold was the 
Sunday-drummer, with a salary increased to one pound and ten 
shillings a year, and eight months later the Town voted to buy 

He expected to re-occupy it after the day of judgment. 

a new drum, the supposition being, that brother Griswold's 
strong arms had made such a purchase necessary 

The little settlement was known as Hammonassett till May, 
1667, when it was called after the famous Warwickshire town, 
Kenilworth, whence a number of the settlers came to the Colony. 
Through a lack of education, or carelessness, or both, the spell- 
ing was changed to Kenelwort and Kenelmeworth to Killing- 
worth, as a portion of the town is still called. 



The Rev. John Woodbridge, the first of that fine family to 
be born in America, was called as the first pastor of the Church, 
in his twenty-third year, in 1667. This young divine's grand- 
father, the Rev. John Woodbridge, was a distinguished dissent- 
ing minister in England, and his grandmother was the daughter 
of the Rev. Robert Parker, a writer of note on religious subjects 
and a friend of non-conformity. His father, also John Wood- 
bridge, was born in Stanton, Wiltshire in 1613. He went to 
Oxford University but when the oath of conformity was required 
of him, he refused and so had to obtain his education elsewhere. 
Being a strong and consistent dissenter, he came to the Colonies, 
with his uncle, the Rev. Thomas Parker, in 1634, and in 1641, 
he married a daughter of the Hon. Thomas Dudley. Mr. Wood- 
bridge was ordained and be- 
came the first minister of the 
Church, in Andover, Massa- 
chusetts. It was in Andover 
that the John Woodbridge 
who became the first minister 
of the Killingworth Church, 
was born, in 1644. He was 
graduated from Harvard at 
the age of twenty, in 1664, and 
spent the following three 
years in the study of theology 
and, in 1667, became the minister of the Killingworth 
Church. His home lot, of eight acres, was on Main and 
South streets. Early in the second year of his pastorate he 
was given, by vote of the Town, £60 toward the building 
of a parsonage. His salary, the usual combination salary, 
was £60 and fifty loads of fire wood. The Rev. John Wood- 
bridge's first home was near the Elias Wellman place and 
later he lived on the corner known as the " Stanton place ". 
Mr. Woodbridge resigned after twelve years of faithful service, 
much against the wishes of his parish, and went to the Church 
in Wethersfield, where he remained as minister till his death, 
in 1690, in the forty-sixth year of his age. Woodbridge, the 
charming hill town a few miles northwest of New Haven, was 
named in honor of the Rev. Benjamin Woodbridge, of the same 



,. — 






1 Iv 







family, the first minister of the Church in that place, where his 
faithful service extended over forty-three years. The Rev. 
Benjamin was a grandson of the Rev. John of Killingworth. 

After Mr. Woodbridge left Killingworth for Wethersfield, the 
Church in Killingworth was in a state of discord and disagree- 
ment for fifteen years, and no successor to Mr. Woodbridge was 
secured till 1694, when the Rev. Abraham Pierson, who will be 
famous in America for all time as being one of the original 
founding-trustees of Yale and its first Rector, was called as the 
second minister. He was a son of the Rev. Abraham and was 
born, some authorities say, in Southampton, Long Island, and 
others in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1646, and was graduated from 
Harvard in the class of 1668. Mr. Pierson succeeded in restor- 
ing the old harmony and peace that obtained under the pastorate 
of Mr. Woodbridge. 

It was at about the time Mr. Pierson became minister of the 
Killingworth Church, that the people of Connecticut recognized 
the need of a college in which the youth of the Colony could 
be educated for the Church and for public office in the Colony. 
In 1700, Mr. Pierson was one of the several ministers chosen 
by the people to found the Collegiate School at Saybrook, by 
giving a number of books with the statement : 

With these books I lay the foundation of a college in this Colony. 

Had nothing further taken place in Mr. Pierson's life than 
this act, he would still be famous among the educators of this 
country, and especially among Yale men, but a greater privilege 
was in store for him, for the people selected him for the first 
Rector of this noble institution, which began its long life of 
usefulness with a faculty of one and an undergraduate member- 
ship of one. 

The choice was well made, after careful consideration, for 
Mr. Pierson was a man of scholarly attainments and was greatly 
interested in educational matters. He had already written a 
work on Natural Philosophy, which was used as a text book in 
the School for many years. When the people in Saybrook be- 
came desirous that the School and its Rector should be removed 
to that town, Mr. Pierson's parishioners strongly objected to 
permitting their loved minister to leave them, and before the 





















matter had been finally decided, Mr. Pierson died at the age of 
61, in 1707. 

Although the good people of those early days were intensely 
earnest in their desire for schools and for the liberal education 
of their children, there is nothing which so strongly emphasizes 
the primitive simplicity of that which they considered a liberal 
education, as the Town records. There being no politics in 
those days, as we understand it, public officers were chosen for 
their prominence and ability, so it would be but natural to sup- 
pose that the Town clerk was chosen for his education, as 
well as for his prominence in the Church. The Town records 
show that the men who wrote them were often entirely unable 
to express themselves in a simple, straightforward manner. Some 
of the records, not only of Clinton, but of many other towns, 
require long and careful study before any accurate idea of the 
meaning which they wished to convey can be arrived at. 

Mr. Woodbridge's successor was the Rev. Jared Eliot, D. D., 
M. D., a combination of professions which made the man prac- 
ticing both an unusual blessing to the community. It was not 
an unusual thing for the minister, of the earliest days, to be a 
healer of sick bodies, as well as a healer of sick souls. 

Dr. Eliot was the son of the Rev. Joseph Eliot, of Guilford, 
in which place Dr. Eliot was born on November 7, 1685. His 
grandfather was that famous man known as "Apostle" Eliot. 
Dr. Eliot was one of the early graduates of Yale, his class being 
1706. He married Elizabeth Smithson, of Guilford, on October 
26, 1 7 10. The Rev. Thomas Ruggles described Dr. Eliot as 
follows : 

His person was well proportioned ; he was favored with an excellent 
bodily constitution. Idleness was his abhorrence, every moment of his 
time was filled with action ; perhaps no man slept so little, in his day, 
and did so much in so great a variety. Always active, bright and pleasant ; 
his mind was especially adapted for conversation and happily accommo- 
dated to the pleasures of social life. He abhorred narrowness and the 
mean contractedness of party spirit. As he claimed the right to think 
and act for himself, so was he more than free to accord the same privi- 
lege to others. As a physician, he was quick to determine the nature 
of the disease and to apply the proper remedy. 

The Rev. Dr. Eliot's medical reputation became so great that 
he was called to attend patients whose homes were many miles 



distant from his. That no moment of his life might be lost or 
wasted Dr. Eliot was accustomed to read on horseback, as he 
was going to the home of one or another of his people who 
needed his skill as a physician. So absorbed would he become 
in the book he was reading or studying, that his wise old horse 
would take advantage of the fact to crop the grass along the 
path, or on more than one occasion, to wander into a field for 
a more hearty meal, before the good friend on his back would 
discover that little progress was being made toward his destina- 


tion. An amusing anecdote, illustrative of his disregard for 
small matters, is to the effect, that one Sunday morning, just as 
he was setting out for the church, he discovered a rip in his 
black silk stocking. This he mended with his quill pen, by 
applying ink to the white skin which the rent exposed. The 
idea of asking his wife to mend the rip properly, with needle 
and thread, never occurring to him. 

As a scientific investigator he was notable. The Society for 
the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, of 
London, England, gave him a gold medal for discovering " that 


black sand could be made into iron." Dr. Eliot was liberal with 
the contents of his purse and with his profession, a large portion 
of his practice being given, but at the same time he possessed 
excellent business qualities and so left his family well off in this 
world's goods. He was a member of the Corporation of Yale 
for thirty-two years. His death occurred in his seventy-eighth 
year, on April 22, 1763. 

A writer who evidently regretted the change in the spelling 
of the original English name of the town from Kenilworth to 
Killingworth, has made an ingenious, if highly imaginary, attempt 
to prove that Kenilworth and Clinton are the same. He says : 

There are two interesting facts connected with the original and the 
present names of this place. One is, that Killingworth is a corruption 
of the first true name ; the other is, that Clinton is the same name slightly 
varied. When the south part of the original Killingworth was con- 
stituted into a new town, the name Clinton was chosen in honor of Gov- 
ernor DeWitt Clinton. It is unfortunate that the original name, Kenil- 
worth, had not been selected, but as it was not, the name Clinton is the 
next best that could possibly have been adopted. It is, In fact, the same 

This enthusiast then shows (?) that Clin is but a slight change 
of the first corruption of Kenilworth to Kelinworth, that is, that 
Clin and Kelin are the same. Granting that there is anyone 
with sufficient imagination to hear a similarity of sound when 
Clin and Kelin are pronounced, it is difficult to see the connec- 
tion, for he says that Kelin is a corruption of Kenil. He then 
shows that the old Saxon endings ton and worth signify an in- 
closure, so it is but reasonable to suppose that he would say 
Clinworth and Kelinton look and sound alike to him and that 
they are exactly the same words, " slightly varied." This 
enthusiastic gentleman then goes on with his proof as follows : 

Nor does the identity of the names rest only upon etymology. It is 
also proved by historic fact. Kenilworth, England, was the barony of 
Sir Goeffrey de Clinton. * * * It is most probable, therefore, that the 
name of the place was Clinton, or Kenilton, as these barons took title 
from the name of their barony. 

Just where Governor De Witt Clinton comes in requires even 
more imagination. 


THE settlement of Haddam was made in 1662, by twenty- 
eight young men who settled on the east shore of the 
Connecticut River, in the neighborhood of Walkley Hill 
and Mill Creek. Others, who came a little later, settled to the 
south of Mill Creek, in the vicinity of the present hamlet of 
Haddam. The names of the first settlers, near Walkley Hill, 
were — Nicholas Ackley, Joseph Arnold, John Bailey, James 
Bates, Daniel Brainard, Thomas Brooks, Samuel Butler, William 
Clarke, Daniel Cone, William Corbee, Abraham Dibble, Samuel 
Ganes, George Gates, John Hannison, Richard Jones, Stephen 
Luxford, John Parents, Richard Piper, Thomas Shayler, Simon 
Smith, Thomas Smith, Gerrard Spencer, Joseph Stannard, 
William Ventres, James Wells, John Spencer, John Webb, and 
John Wiat. The majority of them were married but a short 

In October, 1668, the Town was formed and given the name 
of Haddam. In those days township lines were loosely granted 
and carelessly laid out. Disputes were therefore natural and not 
infrequent. Such a dispute arose between the Town of Haddam 
and the Towns of Saybrook and Lyme. The north boundary of 
Saybrook, on the west side of the Connecticut River, was fixed 
at eight miles north from the Sound, and the north boundary of 
Lyme on the east side of the Connecticut, was six miles from 
the Sound. Sometime later, an additional grant was made to 
Saybrook and Lyme of four miles further north, and a part of 
this four miles encroached upon the land obtained by the people 
of Haddam from the Indians. A heated dispute arose, but it 
was finally settled by a proposal from Saybrook, that the four- 
mile grant should be divided into a half and two quarters ; one 
half going to Haddam and a quarter each to Lyme and Saybrook. 
This plan was approved by the General Court in 1669. In 1734, 
Haddam Township was divided into two parts, the dividing lines 
being the Connecticut and Salmon Rivers. The town on the west 
remained Haddam ; that on the east became East Haddam. 

For the first thirty years the principal settlement in this town 



was just back from the western bank of the Connecticut River, 
at the edge of the long, narrow strip of meadow land. Then, 
individual families began to move back farther from the river, 
toward the western portion of the town, among them being the 
Dickinsons, Hubbards, and Rays, who settled there in 1700, or 
soon after that year. Later, they were joined by the Lewises, 
Hazeltons, Tylers, Higginses, Thomases, Knowleses, and Burrs. 
In 1712, that portion of Haddam called Haddam Neck was settled 
by Thomas Selden, of Lyme, formerly of Hadley, Massachusetts ; 
and two families of Brainards. 

When the Indians sold the land comprising Haddam to the 
English, they reserved Thirty-mile-Island (now Haddam Island) 
and forty acres at Pattaquoenk, where they lived for many 
years, fishing and hunting where they pleased so long as 
they did not interfere with the settlers. A favorite resort of 
theirs was a deep ravine, or hollow, on Haddam Neck, in the 
north-eastern portion, which was for many years known as Indian 
Hollow, and the small stream running through it was called 
Indian Brook. The Indians had no name for the whole territory 
comprising the Town of Haddam, but different parts of the town 
were given different names. The little settlement in the center 
of the town called Ponset, by the settlers, was called Cockaponset 
bv the Indians ; Higganum, in the northern part of the town on 
the Connecticut, was Higganumpus, the fishing-place. 

As early as 1762, a granite quarry was opened by Deacon Ezera 
Brainard on Haddam Neck. This was followed by other open- 
ings in the same neighborhood and in 1794, a quarry was started 
on the west side of the river. All of the quarries did a large 
business, chiefly in curbing and flagstones. The principal market 
was New York, but Boston, Albany and Baltimore also bought 
considerable quantities. Early in 1800, wood was a profitable 
article of commerce in Haddam, three thousand cords being 
shipped in 1807, of which 2000 were shipped from Higganum 
Landing. In 1813, Haddam had a " ginnery " in which 250 
hogsheads of gin were distilled yearly. 

For the first eleven years the people worshipped in the different 
homes of the settlement. In 1673, they built a little meeting- 
house, twenty-four by twenty-eight feet on the ground, in which 
they " feared the Lord " every Sunday and all day Sunday, till 



1721, when a new and larger building was erected. As there 
are no Church records earlier than 1756, it is not possible to give 
the date of the organization of the Church, but it was probably 
in 1700. The first minister mentioned in the old records was 
the Rev. Jonathan Willaube, who was in charge of the Church 
but a short time. 

In 1668, Nicholas Noyes, ' an improved candidate ", preached 
to the people for thirteen or fourteen years, but there is reason 
to believe that he was not ordained. The Noyes family came to 
the Colonies from Wiltshire, England, and was a family of 
ministers. An uncle of Nicholas, the Rev. James Noyes, was 
the first minister of Newbury, Massachusetts ; and his cousins, 
the Revs. Moses Noyes and James Noyes were the first minis- 
ters of Lyme and Stonington, Connecticut, respectively. 

The Rev. Nicholas Noyes was a graduate of Harvard in the 
class of 1667. After he left Haddam he was ordained as the 
minister at Salem, Massachusetts, on November 16, 1683. This 
was the time of the persecutions for witchcraft, in which gentle 
pastime Mr. Noyes took an active and prominent part. He was 
honest enough later to acknowledge his error and to repent of it. 
An obituary of him was published in a Boston newspaper of 1707. 
Many people complain that the newspapers of the twentieth cen- 
tury go to unreasonable excesses in praising the dead ; that a 
twentieth century obituary is made up of adjectives, adverbs and 
superlatives, but journalism in that respect, is not different to-day 
from what it was then, as will be seen from the following quo- 
tation from that Boston newspaper of 1707. 

Salem, Dec. 13, 1707, died the very reverend and famous Mr. Nicholas 
Noyes near 70 years of age, and in the 35th of his ordained ministry at 
Salem. He was extraordinarily accomplished for the work of the ministry 
whereunto he was called, and wherein he found mercy to be faithful, and 
was made a rich, extensive and long continued blessing. Considering his 
superior genius, his pregnant wit, strong memory, solid judgment, his 
great acquaintance in human learning and knowledge ; his conversation 
among his friends, so very entertaining and profitable ; his uncommon 
attainments in the study of divinity, his eminent sanctity, gravity and 
virtue, his serious, learned and pious performances in the pulpit, his more 
than ordinary skill in the prophetical parts of scripture, his wisdom and 
usefulness in human affairs, and his constant solicitude for the public 
good ; it is no wonder that Salem, and adjacent parts of the country, as 
also the churches, university and people of New England, justly esteem 


him as a principal part of their glory. He was born at Newbury, Decem- 
ber 226, 1647 and died a bachelor. 

There may be a possible significance in the last four words, as 
the witches of Salem were nearly all women. 

Sometime between 1682, and 1690, the Rev. John James 
preached in Haddam, but just when and how long is not known. 
He was a good man and an excellent preacher, but was notable 
for his eccentricities. 

In August, 1 691, the Rev. Jeremiah Hobart became the min- 
ister, but he was never regularly installed. Later, there was a 
misunderstanding betwen him and the parish which was settled 
amicably in June, 1700, when he was formally installed as the 
minister, in the seventieth year of his age. On November 6, 171 5, 
he attended service, received the sacrament and in the inter- 
mission died in his chair. 

The next minister was the Rev. Phineas Fiske, son of Dr. John 
Fiske, of Milford. He studied at Yale, under Rector Pierson, in 
Killingworth. The year before Rector Pierson's death, Mr. Fiske 
became a tutor in the College. After his death, the senior class 
was removed to Milford, in 1707, and Mr. Fiske took charge 
of the other classes in Saybrook, till Commencement. For several 
years thereafter, Mr. Fiske and another tutor instructed all the 
classes in Saybrook. Mr. Fiske was thoughtful and scholarly 
and was regarded as a great success as an instructor. At that 
time Connecticut was looking to Yale, or the Collegiate School, 
as it was then called, for its ministers and many of the most 
notable were instructed there under the direction and personal 
attention of Mr. Fiske. As a preacher, Mr. Fiske was a man 
who appealed to the minds of his auditors rather than to their 

Then followed in the pulpit of the Haddam Church, the 
Rev. Aaron Cleveland, from 1739 to 1746. Mr. Cleveland died 
in the home of his friend Benjamin Franklin, in Philadelphia; 
the Rev. Joshua Elderkin, from 1749, to 1753; the Rev. Eleazer 
May was minister for forty-seven years, from 1756, to 1803; 
the Rev. David Dudley Field, from 1804, to 1818. 

The first record of a school in Haddam was in 1705, and for 
seventy years it was the only school in the town. 

The Rev. David Brainard, a descendant of the early settler, was 
one of Haddam 's notable sons. He was famous and greatly 


beloved in all of the British Colonies for his grand work as a 
missionary among the Indians. He began his work among them 
in 1743, at a place known as Kaunaumeek, near Kinderhook, New 
York, and from there he went to the Forks of the Delaware, not 
far from the line dividing New York and Pennsylvania. It was 
among the Crosweeksung Indians, near Freehold, New Jersey, 
that he experienced his greatest success. The hardness of his 
life and his devotion to his work so far broke his health that he 
returned to New England in the hope of recovering it. His 
health was too far gone, however, and he died in the home of 
the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 
October, 1747, at the age of thirty. An early writer described 
Mr. Brainard and his work as follows : 

If the greatness of a character is to be estimated by the object it per- 
sues, in the danger it braves, the difficulties it encounters, and the purity 
and energy of its motives, David Brainard is one of the greatest char- 
acters that ever appeared in the world. Compared with this standard of 
greatness, what little things are the Alexanders and Caesars, the conquerors 
of the whole earth? A nobler object no human * * * mind could 
ever propose to itself, than to promote the glory of the great Governor 
of the Universe, in studying and laboring to diffuse purity and happiness 
among His unholy and miserable creatures. His life among the Indians 
exhibits a perfect pattern of the qualities which should distinguish the 
instruction of the rude and barbarous tribes ; the most invincible patience 
and self denial, the profoundest humility, exquisite prudence, indefatigable 
industry, and such a devotedness to God, or rather, such an absorption of 
the whole soul in zeal for the Divine glory and the salvation of men, as 
is scarce paralleled since the age of the Apostiles. 


THE first house built in East Haddam was that of Robert 
Chapman, situated north of Creek Row. The records of 
the Colony prove that this Chapman house was standing 
in 1674, and Barber thinks that Chapman began his clearing about 

In 1685, a number of families moved across the river from 
Haddam to East Haddam and settled at Creek Row, the sup- 
position being that they joined the pioneer. Chapman, as would 
be entirely natural. Their names were, Gates, Bates, Brainard 
and Cone. 

At about this time, other settlers arrived in East Haddam and 


established themselves to the east of the Creek Row people. 
They were, the Ackleys and Spencers, from Haddam, who soon 
were joined by the Annable, Booge, Fuller and Percival families, 
from Plymouth Colony ; the Olmsteds, from Hartford ; Samuel 
Emmons, from Cambridge, Massachusetts ; John Chapman, from 
Saybrook ; James Green, Elijah Atwood, Nathaniel Goodspeed, 
and Isaac Taylor, later arrived from Plymouth ; Henry Champion 
and Matthew Smith, from Lyme; Robert Hurd, from Killing- 
worth ; John Warner, from Sunderland, and John Church, from 
Hatfield, Massachusetts. These families and individuals arrived 
at different times during a considerable period of time, reckoned 
from the first settlement made by Chapman in 1670. 

Millington, in the middle of the town near the eastern bound- 
ary, was settled by Jonathan Beebe, from New London, about 
1704. He made his pitch near the southern end of Long Pond 
(now Shaw Lake) and was soon after joined by other settlers. 
With the exception of the tiny settlement near the foot of the 
lake, there was no other in that district of East Haddam known 
as Millington, till sometime between the years 1732, and 1734, 
when a settlement was started near the river by the Arnold, 
Barnes, Brainard, Chapman, Church, Cone, Emmons, Fuller, 
Gates, Olmsted, and Spencer families, from the East Haddam 
Parish ; Harvey and Hungerford, from Hadlyme ; Graves, from 
Colchester ; and Stewart, from Voluntown ; Daniel Smith, from 
Plymouth Colony ; Lemuel Griffin, from Lyme ; and Thomas Fox, 
from Colchester, joined the families named, a little later. 

By 1740, the settlement of East Haddam was general, but the 
population of the town did not increase much, in fact there were 
migrations to Litchfield County and Berkshire County, Massachu- 
setts ; and to Vermont and New York, from it. 

Long Pond (Shaw Lake) where Beebe settled in 1704, is a 
pretty body of water about a mile and a half long and half a mile 
in the widest part. It covers the top of a hill 400 feet above the 
Sound. Its only inlet is a tiny brook, less than 1,500 feet long. 
The Lake is probably fed by underground and surface springs, 
which have their rise on the hills to the north, east and west, 
and which lie close to the hill, the top of which the pond covers, 
and are about one hundred feet higher. The outlet is from 



the south end of the pond and forms Eight-mile River, or one 
of its branches. 

Leesville (originally Lord's Mills) in the extreme north-west 
corner of East Haddam, on Salmon River, four miles from its 
mouth, was settled about the middle of the eighteenth century, 
Captain Jonathan Kilburn being one of the earliest, if not the 
first of the settlers. The tide flows up to Leesville and in the 
early days sloops of sixty tons were built and launched there. 
About 1765, the first oilmill in the State was built there. In 1814, 

there was a woolen and 
cotton factory started, 
and in 1816 it con- 
tained 500 spindles. 

In 1743, the first 
house in East Haddam 
Landing was built and 
a produce market was 
opened and a storehouse 
built. The business of 
the pretty little village is 
still at the Landing and 
back of it, on the ab- 
ruptly rising hills is the 
residential portion of 
the village. This por- 
tion of the place con- 
tains fine, home-like ap- 
pearing houses, sur- 
rounded by large yards and shaded by splendid great trees. 
Sometime before the Revolution, East Haddam Landing began 
to be famous for its ship and boat yards, which were situated 
a little to the south of the Landing, at what was then called Chap- 
man's ferry. 

The inevitable heated dispute (which grew into a quarrel) 
when it became necessary to build a new church, resulted in the 
formation of St. Stephen's Episcopal Parish. In other words, a 
portion of the people returned to the Church they had left in 
England, but it was a purified Church and free from those char- 
acteristics which had been the cause of their leaving the Old 



Country. This separation took place in April, 1791. Deacon 
Solomon Blakesley presided over the Parish till he took full 
orders, in 1793. The Rev. Solomon Blakesley was rector of this 
Parish for more than twenty years. The bell of St. Stephen's 
Church is probably unique in the United States, for its great age. 
The inscription on the bell is in Spanish. The translation is : 

' The Prior, being the most Rev. Father Miguel Villa Mueva, 
The Procurator, the most Rev. Father Jose F. Estavan-Corvalis, 
has made me. Made in the year A. D. 815." This bell formerly 
hung in a Spanish Monastery. 

East Haddam Society was made a separate society from that 
of Haddam, in 1700. In 1704, the people began to transact their 
own society business and to keep records of their proceedings. 
As there was doubt in regard to the legality of their acts, the two 
Societies of Haddam and East Haddam entered into an agree- 
ment, which was authorized by the Legislature, in 1710. Among 
other things, this agreement provided that each society could 
transact its own business and elect its own representatives to the 
Legislature. This agreement continued till May, 1734, when 
the Town of Haddam was divided and East Haddam was 

One of East Haddam's sons, who became prominent in the 
Colony and later as a soldier, was the Hon. Joseph Spencer. 
The first American ancestor of this family was Jared Spencer, 
who came to America and settled in Newtown (Cambridge), 
Massachusetts, and a few years later moved to Lynn. Still later, 
he became one of the first settlers of Haddam and was made an 
ensign there by the General Court at Hartford, in September, 1675. 
His great-grandson, the Hon. Joseph Spencer, married Martha 
Brainard, daughter of the Hon. Hezekiah Brainard, in August, 
1738. His public service began as judge of probate in 1753, and 
he filled this office till his death. In 1758, he was a major in the 
northern army against the French. In 1775, a short time before 
the signing of the Declaration of Independence, he was appointed 
a brigadier-general, and in 1776, he was made a major-general in 
the army of the United States. He served till 1778, when he 
resigned. He was in the State Council from 1766, to 1779, in 
which year he was Judge of the Hartford County Court. In 
1779, he was sent to Congress and the following year was again 



elected to the State Council and was re-elected each year till his 
death, in 1789. 

Let Edwards have the praise which his talents, piety, diligence, faith- 
fulness, and usefulness deserve; let Hopkins have the praise which is due 
to his self-denial, honesty, diligence, watchfulness, boldness, patience and 
faith ; yet who, that has had a personal acquaintance with Emmons, or 
that knows the wisdom with which he constantly taught the people knowl- 
edge, can refuse, either before God or man, to place him first in respect 
to the purity, simplicity, consistency, transparency, amiableness, humility, 


energy, dignity, and beauty of his character and the knowledge, goodness, 
and wisdom of his conduct in the constant instruction of his people. 

Such was the opinion publicly expressed by the Rev. Thomas 
Williams, of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, at the funeral of his 
life-long friend, the Rev. Nathaniel Emmons, D.D., in regard 
to his life as a minister of Christ and leader and teacher of the 
people of his parish. In a letter, Mr. Williams described the 
personal, every-day life of his friend as follows: 

As a son and brother, as a husband and father, a neighbor, a Christian 
and friend, a companion and gentleman, a scholar and author, a member 

8 4 




and ruler of a christian church, a parishioner, an attendant at public 
worship and a hearer of divine instruction, a citizen, a patriot and 
philanthropist, he was eminent and exemplary, as consistant and amiable, 
[in all these] as he was in the office of a teacher and preacher of divine 

This was not a panegyric ; a mere collection of words of praise, 
but an honest, simply expressed truth in regard to a man whose 
life was a blessing to all with whom he came in contact, and an 
honor to the Power that created it. 

The Rev. Nathaniel Emmons, D.D., was born in East Haddam, 
on May I, 1745- His 
passionate desire for 
knowledge showed it- 
self in his childhood 
and continued through 
the ninety-five years of 
his useful life. At the 
age of nineteen he en- 
tered Yale College, un- 
der the presidency of 
the Rev. Thomas Clap, 
whose influence for 
good was frequently 
referred to in after 
years by Dr. Emmons. 
As an under-graduate 
he must have taken a 
high stand for he was 
chosen by his class for 
the Cliosophic Oration, 
in 1767. This oration 
was delivered by a 

member of the senior class, about eight weeks before Commence- 
ment. The honor of being chosen for this oration was greatly 
coveted, and that Dr. Emmons was chosen for it, fixes his scholar- 
ship as being high, for among his class mates were John Tread- 
well, Samuel Wales, John Trumbull and Joseph Lyman. After 
being graduated. Dr. Emmons studied for the ministry under the 
Rev. Nathan Strong, of Coventry, and the Rev. John Smalley, 



D.D., of Berlin. Dr. Smalley was regarded as one of the great 
pulpit orators and teachers of New England. In 1769, Mr. 
Emmons made a public profession of faith in Christianity and 
joined the Church in Millington, in the Town of East Haddam, 
under the pastorate of the Rev. Diodate Johnson. 

On April 21, 1773, he was ordained as minister of the Church 
in Franklin, the ordination sermon being preached by the 
Rev. Levi Hart, D.D., of Preston. The services were held 
out-of-doors, the congregation sitting on raised seats above the 
pastor and ordaining council. This fact appealed to Dr. Emmons' 
strong sense of humor. He used to say, that he was ordained 
under his church and people instead of over them. While still 
a young man, Dr. Emmons' Christian fortitude was severely tried 
through the death of his wife and two sons, his wife's death 
occurring on June 22, 1778, and his sons' two months later. 
Dr. Emmons' congregation was not large, but it was notable. 
Each member bore the sterling-mark stamped upon his character 
by the teaching, influence and example of his pastor. While the 
Revs. Timothy and Jonathan Edwards were employing their pro- 
found intellects to elevate themselves and increase their power, 
Dr. Emmons employed his to elevate mankind and increase the 
power of good. 

As a minister and teacher Dr. Emmons had the faculty of not 
only pointing out the true path, but also of inspiring a life-long 
desire in the hearts of his parishioners to keep in that path. He 
died on September 23, 1840, in the ninety-sixth year of his age 
and the sixty-eighth of his ministry. It is interesting and most 
unusual, that he officiated at the funeral of every person who was 
a member of his parish at the time of his ordination. 


The village of Moodus takes its name from an Indian word, 
Machimoodus, meaning in English place of noises. The Indians 
occupying the territory now East Haddam, were given over to 
superstition, even more so than the majority of Indians in other 
parts of the Connecticut Valley. There was a fierce savagery in 
their superstition, resembling that of the African savage more 
than that of the New England savage, whose superstition was 
of a gentler, more poetic nature. As a result, the Moodus Indians 


were fierce, cruel and war-like. As early as 1729, the Rev. 
Stephen Hosmer wrote to a friend in Boston describing these 
strange noises, from which Moodus takes its name : 

As to earthquakes, I nave something considerable and awful to tell you. 
Earthquakes have been here, as has been observed for more than thirty 
years. I have been informed that in this place, before the English settle- 
ments, there were great numbers of Indian inhabitants, and that it was a 
place of extraordinary pawaws, or in short, that it was a place where the 
Indians drove a prodigious trade in worshipping the devil. Also I was 
informed, that many years past, an old Indian was asked the reason of 
the noises in this place, to which he replied, that "the Indians' God was 
very angry that the Englishman's God was come there." Now, whether 
there be anything diabolical in these things, I know not ; but this I know, 
that God Almighty is to be seen and trembled at. in what has been often 
heard among us. Whether it be fire or air distressed in the caverns of the 
earth, cannot be known ; for there is no eruption, no explosion perceptable, 
but by sounds and tremors, which sometimes are very fearful and dread- 
ful. I have myself, heard eight or ten sounds successively, and imitating 
small arms, in the space of five minutes. I have, I suppose, heard several 
hundred of them within twenty years ; some more, some less terrible. 
Sometimes we have heard them almost every day, and great numbers of 
them in the space of a year. Oftentimes I have observed them to be com- 
ing down from the north, imitating slow thunder, until the sound came 
near, or right under, and then there seemed to be a breaking, like the noise 
of a cannon shot, or severe thunder, which shakes the houses and all that 
is in them. They have in a manner ceased since the great earthquake. As 
I remember, there have been but two heard since that time and these but 

In the year 1831, or '32, about one hundred years after 
Mr. Hosmer 's, the following account was given by a gentleman 
who had heard the noises. 

The awful noises about which Mr. Hosmer gave an account * * * 
continue to the present time. The effects they produce are various as the 
intermediate degrees between the roar of a cannon and the noise of a 
pistol. The concussions of the earth, made at the same time, are as much 
diversified as the sounds in the air. The shock they give to a dwelling 
house, is the same as the falling of logs on the floor. * * * But when 
they are so violent as to be felt in the adjacent towns, they are called 
earthquakes. During my residence here, which has been almost thirty-six 
years, I have invariably observed that an account has been published in 
the newspapers, of a small shock of earthquake, in New London and Hart- 
ford. Nor do I believe, in all that period, there has been any account 
published of an earthquake in Connecticut, which has not been far more 
violent here than in any other place. 



On the night of May 18, 1791, about ten o'clock, there was 
an earthquake so violent that it was felt in New York and Boston. 
The first shock was followed by another in a few minutes that 
was felt at a distance of seventy miles. In Moodus and the 
neighboring places, the roaring noises and shaking of the earth 
were great. Walls were thrown down and the tops of chimneys 
were thrown to the ground. And while but two shocks were 
felt at a distance, there were in Moodus and the surrounding 
country between twenty and thirty shocks felt. It was found 
the next day that the earth was cracked in several places and 
that great boulders weighing many tons had been moved. 

There is a tradition in 
regard to a certain Dr. 
Steele and the Moodus- 
noises, which goes to 
show that the white 
settlers were (when 
their superior enlight- 
enment, education, and 
Christian faith is con- 
sidered), as superstitious 
as were the Indians. 

Dr. Steele was an 
Englishman, but where 
he came from, how he 
beard about the noises, 
or what reason he had 
for believing that he 
could remove from their 
pockets to his, the shillings and pence of the trusting and super- 
stitious white-men, by means of the art of enchantment, has not 
been recorded. 

This Dr. Steele told the people that the noises and disturbances 
were caused by a great carbuncle that was confined in a large 
rock in the bowels of the earth and that he, by his magic, could 
remove the carbuncle and so stop the noises. Dr. Steele, being 
a man of " much book-learning " the people absorbed his words 
and entered into some kind of agreement with him. The doctor 
then secured a blacksmith's shop, plugged the windows, cracks, 




holes and doorways so that no light could enter, nor the prying 
gaze of the awe-inspired people discover his secret. He worked 
at night, as all such mysterious persons do, and when the people 
saw the vast cloud of smoke, lighted by flame and thousands of 
sparks, they felt sure that Dr. Steele and Satan were raising 
Hell, and that the great carbuncle would come up with it. 

While his dread work was going on, Dr. Steele told the people, 
on the rare occasions when he consented to let himself be seen, 
that he had located the great carbuncle and that he could remove 
it and so stop the worst of the shakes and noises, but that he 


had discovered some smaller carbuncles which would, as time 
went on, cause more noises but not nearly so terrible. At last 
the cause of the trouble was removed and Dr. Steele immediately 
disappeared, never to be seen again by Moodus people. It so 
happened that the noises ceased for a time and were never again 
so violent. The people were convinced that Dr. Steele was a 
wizard, if not a close relation to his Majesty of the nether world. 
Mr. J. G. C. Brainard, editor of the Hartford Mirror, wrote a 


poem of thirteen verses (fatal number) on the subject of 
Dr. Steele and the great carbuncle, from which the following 
are quoted : 

See you upon the lonely moor, 

A crazy building rise? 
No hand dares venture to open the door — 
No footstep treads its dangerous floor — 

No eye its secret pries. 

Now why is each crevice stopped so tight? 

Say, why the bolted door? 
Why glimmers at midnight the forge's light? 
All day is the anvil at rest, but at night 

The flames of the furnace roar. 

Woe to the bark in which he flew 

From Moodus rocky shore — 
Woe to the captain and woe to the crew, 
That ever the breath of life they drew, 

When that dreadful freight they bore. 

Tell me their state who can, 
The wild waves dashed o're the sinking bow — 
Down, down to the fathomless depths they go - 

To sleep with a sinful man. 

The carbuncle lies in the deep sea, 

Beneath the mighty wave ; 
But the light shines up so gloriously 
That the sailor looks pale and forgets his glee, 

When he crosses the wizard's grave. 


THAT Middletown was not settled until a decade and a 
half after those other ancient river towns — Saybrook, 
YVethersfield, Hartford and Windsor — is due to two 
reasons. In those days, the forests were primitive and conse- 
quently dense and the individual trees great in size and the banks 
of the Connecticut River were overgrown by a thicket which 
completely hid the country back from the river. Because of 
this forest and thicket, the natural highway was the river, and 
so, when exploring parties passed up or down the river, from the 
settlements at the mouth, or from the settlements about Hartford, 
the country about the " great bend " seemed uninviting. What 
the pioneers of the Connecticut Valley desired was clear, flat 
lands for farming purposes, such as surrounded the settlements 
at Saybrook and at Hartford. Timber could be had anywhere, 
but cleared land had a value far beyond woodland at that time. 
The labor and expense of clearing the land from woods was far 
too great to be thought of by the first settlers ; if it could be 

Another, and very potent reason was, that the Great Sachem 
Sequasson, of the Mattabesett Tribe, was all-powerful over a con- 
siderable area, which included what later became Middletown. 
This Sachem was friendly to the Pequot Indians, whom the set- 
tlers and their Indian allies had exterminated, soon after the 
settlements were made. Several years before a settlement was 
made, Sequasson sold to Governor Haynes, of Connecticut, a vast 
territory which comprised nearly all of the township of Middle- 

Mattabesett was settled in 1650 by families chiefly from 
Hartford and partly from Wethersfield. The settlement was 
known by its Indian name till November, 1653, when the General 
Court changed it to Middletown. This name was given on 
account of its location, about midway from Saybrook to Hart- 
ford. The township included territory that later became the 
Towns of Middlefield, Chatham, Portland, Cromwell and a por- 
tion of Berlin. 



The families during the first decade of the settlement were 
those of, Thomas Allen, Nathaniel Bacon, William Bloomfield, 
Nathaniel Brown, John Cockran, William Cornwall, William 
Cheney, Henry Cole, Samuel Eggleston, George Graves, John 
Hall, father and son ; Richard and Samuel Hall, Thomas Hope- 
well, Giles Hamlin, Daniel and William Harris, George Hubbard, 
John Kirby, John Martin, Thomas Miller, William Markham, 
Thomas Ranney, John Savage, William Smith, Samuel Stocking, 
the Rev. Samuel Stow, Joseph Smith, Matthias Treat, Robert 
Webster, Thomas Whitmore, Nathaniel White, William Ward, 
John Wilcox, and Robert Warner. 

The public worship of the Creator was the first thought of those 
fine men who made New England famous for its fervent religious 
spirit, and tradition has it, that the first Sunday services were 
held under the shade of the wide spreading limbs of a gigantic 
elm. The settlement had not been in existence a year, when the 
people voted to build a meeting-house. The meeting at which 
this important event in the tiny community was decided upon, 
was held at the home of John Hall. The meeting-house was 
twenty feet square and was located near the great elm which 
stood near the entrance to Riverside Cemetery. The building 
was most primitive and was not long, in the building. It was 
surrounded by a stockade, so that, in case of attack by Indians, 
it could be used as a temporary refuge. There was, however, 
little annoyance from the Indians, who were well disposed toward 
the white settlers, the more so because they had been the means 
of ridding the country of the fierce and cruel Pequots. 

The records of the town for the first two years were lost or 
perhaps there were no records kept. . However that may be, 
records of the town from 1652, are complete and the first re- 
corded vote was for the meeting-house built near the great elm 
tree. The settlers were energetic and hard workers, who obtained 
their living from the soil or from their ingenuity and the skill of 
their hands in making articles necessary for the little community. 
In this respect they differed most strikingly from the Dutch set- 
tlers of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys, who lived chiefly by 
trade with the Indians. The population increased slowly, but 
steadily. In 1703, the portion of the settlement known as the 


Upper Houses (now the Town of Cromwell) was set off and 
incorporated as a separate parish. 

In time, Middletown became, not only the largest town in 
Connecticut, but also the most important port. Vessels of a high 
grade were built there and a large and profitable trade with 
foreign countries was established. The first vessel owned in 
the town was a schooner of seventy tons. In fact there were but 
two vessels owned in Connecticut in that year, the other being a 
ninety-ton schooner owned in Hartford. For half a century this 
seventy-ton schooner carried the entire trade of Middletown, with 
but very rare occasions when ships arrived from Boston. In 
1730, Middletown owned two schooners of a combined tonnage 
of 105. 

In 1680, there was but one merchant in Middletown and half 
a century later, in 1730, there were but two. One of these, 
James Brown, a Scotchman, rode on horseback all the way to 
Boston, once or twice a year, over Indian trails, the only high- 
ways, to purchase his goods. They were sent around by water 
or, more probably, brought around by one of the two schooners. 
By the time 1760 had arrived, there was a considerable trade 
with the West Indies, which increased year by year. The 
shipping finally included many home ports as well as a consider- 
able trade with ports across the Atlantic. By the time the 
actual break was made between the Colonies and the Old Country, 
that is, in 1776, seventeen families out of fifty, which resided on 
Main street, were directly connected with the sea, either as ship 
builders, owners, merchants or rope makers. The building of 
vessels began as early as 1700, in a small way. The vessels built 
in Middletown and other neighboring settlements of the river, 
were famous for their seaworthiness and speed. In 1776, the 
population of Middletown was 5,000. To us of to-day, accus- 
tomed as we are to reckon populations by the hundred thousands, 
just what so large a population meant is hard to realize. Perhaps 
a comparison will help. In 1776, New York city had 23,000 
inhabitants, so that Middletown was then a little more than one 
fifth the size of New York. In 1900, Boston was but one sixth 
as large as New York. So in 1776, Middletown bore about the 
same relation to New York that Boston does now. It was not 
only the greatest ship-building and commercial center between the 






two greatest cities of the nation, New York and Boston, but it 
was the wealthiest and most cultivated town in New England. 
The commerce built up the farming interests so that the agricul- 
turists were prosperous and could indulge in those home and 
educational luxuries that have ever been dear to the hearts of the 
Connecticut farmer. The intercourse of the merchants of the 
town with those of foreign countries had the effect of rounding 
off corners and smoothing rough places, thus making Middletown 
noted for refinement and cultivation. 

The chief of those early merchants was Richard Alsop. He 
was a son of John Alsop, of Long Island, a well known lawyer, 
who later settled and practiced his profession in Esopus, on the 
Hudson. Richard Alsop, in accord with an old English custom, 
which still obtains in the Old Country, was regularly trained for 
the occupation of merchant, in Philip Livingston's store in New 
York city. He arrived in Middletown in 1750, where he was 
attracted by the growing importance of the place, about the year 
in which Middletown's commercial supremacy began. His store 
was on the ground floor of the Town House on Main street, 
near Washington street. His business was really great, so much 
so, that he on occasions insured vessels for others. Besides his 
prominence as a merchant and man of wealth, he was prominent 
in the affairs of the Colony and was in the Legislature for several 
terms. He left a great fortune at his death. Besides his book 
accounts ; a large sum of money in safe keeping in Jamaica and 
interest in two partnerships ; he left $174,000. 

Another of the successful men of that day was Philip Mortimer, 
who manufactured rope. His house was a marvel of grandeur. 
The grounds surrounding it, on the bank of the river, were exten- 
sive and ornate. But the prosperity of Middletown, especially 
the shipping interests, was suspended while the Revolutionary 
War was being fought, to be revived later to a certain extent, if 
not fully. Some of the other merchants and traders of the 
ante-Revolutionary period were ; General Comfort Sage, Colonel 
Lemuel Stors, Elijah and Nehemiah Hubbard, George and 
Thompson Philips. 

The news of the closing of the port of Boston by General Gage, 
who arrived there in 1774, stirred up the people of Middletown 
as no other New England town was, or could be stirred, for 


besides the spirit of patriotism which they shared equally with 
all New England, there was the serious financial blow to the 
commercial interests of the principal shipping port between 
Boston and New York. This loss of trade did not reduce the 
disinterested patriotism of the people ; there was no faint-hearted 
policy shown in the hope of retaining trade at the expense of the 
community or the Colonies as a whole. On the contrary, their 
patriotism was intensified. The resolutions passed by the Legis- 
lature at Hartford condemning the " unrighteous " act of the 
British Government, was endorsed by more than five hundred of 
the citizens of Middletown, who met on June 15, 1774, for that 
purpose and to pledge their wealth and their lives for the support 
of the people at large and the defense of their rights. 

The resolutions adopted at that historical meeting of the people 
of Middletown, were typical of the spirit of New England, just 
previous to and during the Revolutionary period. They were : 

That we heartily concur in any salutary measures that may or shall 
be devised and come into, or recommended by a General Congress, from 
all or most of the Colonies, or by the Greater places of trade or com- 
merce on the continent, or by the inhabitants of this Colony for the 
preservation of the rights of the British Americans. 

That Messrs. Matthew Talcott, Richard Alsop, and Titus Hosmer be 
our committee of correspondence, whose duty it shall be to collect all 
such intelligence as may enable us to act our part presently and to good 
effect, in the system of America ; to communicate such intelligence to 
others as may be useful to them and the common cause, and in our own 
behalf to cooperate with the Committees of other towns, in concerting 
or executing any general plan of proceeding for the good of the whole. 

These two resolutions are an expression of unselfish patriotism 
which the present generation should regard as one of its most 
valued inheritances. These men even went so far as to assure 
the Massachusetts delegates, who stopped in Middletown on their 
way to the first Continental Congress, that they would support 
whatever course the Congress should decide upon, even to the 
total abolition of trade with the West Indies and Europe. And 
these were the men whose luxurious homes, whose wealth and 
position, were made possible by the foreign commerce they were 
so ready to have entirely cut off for the good of the Colonies. 

When that far sounding shot was fired at Lexington, Captain 



Return Jonathan Meigs, and Captain Comfort Sage and his 
company of light horse, both of Middletown, and Captain Silas 
Dunham, of Chatham, immediately marched to Boston, Captain 
Sage and Captain Dunham being there a little in advance of 
Captain Meigs, whose company was ununiformed and without 
equipment, except the equipment of brave spirits and determined 


Although the ore was not sent to Great Britain, it was given to hundreds of 
British soldiers from the barrels of Yankee muskets. 

Several years before this event, a company of foreigners had 
spent a great deal of money upon a lead mine that had been 
discovered in Middletown and from which many tons of ore had 
been taken by a Colonel James, of the British army, for 
exportation. The ore and the mine was taken by Connecticut 
and although the lead was not sent to Great Britain, it was 
given to hundreds of British soldiers from the barrels of Yankee 
muskets and rifles. 

Middletown's officers and privates in the Revolution were many 
and distinguished for their unwavering patriotism and for their 


skill in the profession of arms. One of them, Colonel Joseph 
Blague, who was a captain in the battle of Saratoga, was so highly 
esteemed by General Lafayette for his bravery, and skill as an 
officer, that he took occasion, when General Washington was 
present, to present Colonel Blague with a very handsome sword. 
This sword was highly esteemed by Colonel Blague's descendants 
and was for many years in the possession of the Covil family, 
Colonel Covil having married a daughter of Colonel Blague. 

The war spirit which aimed at Independence so entirely 
possessed the people of Middletown, tbat the men, whose age 
placed them beyond military duty, formed themselves into a 
company that they might drill and become proficient in the use 
of arms. Their example acted as a stimulus to those other 
patriots whose youth kept them from fighting. In case of neces- 
sity the company of old men acted as a home guard. The boys 
and youths soon followed the example of their elders and organ- 
ized a company. And the women (those glorious Yankee moth- 
ers, wives, sisters and sweethearts, whose fiery patriotism was 
such a stimulus to the men ; who worked in the homes weaving, 
making and knitting for the men and boys in the field) when 
they found the men too few at home, actually went to work in 
the fields to plant, cultivate and harvest the crops. And what 
the women of Middletown did, was done by the women of all 
New England. 

The Meigs family originated in Guilford, in that part of it 
which is now the town of Madison, but Captain Return Jonathan 
Meigs was a native of Middletown. His ready response to the 
call sent out from Lexington, has already been mentioned. As a 
major, he was with Arnold on his expedition up the Kenebeck, 
through Maine to Quebec, and he not only showed himself to be 
a soldier of the highest grade, but an author of equal merit for 
his account of the hardship, the misery and suffering of that 
undertaking is the best that was written of it. Major Meigs 
entered the walls of the city with his battalion, and was made a 
prisoner with Captain Morgan and Captain Dearborn, who later 
became general officers. Major Meigs' exchange was effected 
in 1777, and he was immediately commissioned a lieutenant- 
colonel and was authorized to raise a regiment. This he accom- 
plished in part, and was then assigned by General Parsons to 


surprise and capture Sag Harbor, near the eastern end of Long 
Island. While this successful undertaking is really outside of 
the subject of Middletown, it will be given briefly as eminently 
illustrative of the ability, dash and determination of one of 
Middletown's sons. 

Major Meigs and 230 men in thirteen whale-boats started (this 
time a very lucky number) from New Haven and hugged the 
Connecticut shore as far as Sachem's Head, in the town of 
Guilford, in order that they might more easily cross the sound, 
its width being considerably less at that point. There he took 
into his boats 170 more of his men and at one o'clock in the 
afternoon of May 23, left for Sag Harbor, where they arrived 
twelve hours later. They advanced with secrecy and in silence 
to within two hundred yards of the enemy and made their attack, 
with fixed bayonets, from five points. A 12-gun British schooner 
lying near the wharves opened fire, but so rapid were their 
movements that the place was captured before the shot from the 
guns could do any damage. Twelve British vessels were 
destroyed, together with a great quantity of provisions and 
forage ; six of the enemy were killed and ninety were taken 
prisoners. All this was accomplished, with a boat journey of 
ninety miles, in twenty-five hours from the time the start was 
made, without the loss of a single man. In recognition of this 
dashing and successful exploit, Congress presented Colonel Meigs 
with an elegant sword. 

When General Wayne captured Stony Point, in 1779, Colonel 
Meigs was in command of a regiment there and John Stone, 
a private from Middle Haddam, helped pull down the British 
standard. After the war Colonel Meigs spent a brief time at 
his home in Middletown and, in 1787, he went with the earliest 
settlers to Marietta, Ohio. The governor and judges of the 
Northwest Territory had not then arrived so the settlers were 
without law or authority. Colonel Meigs, however, drew up a 
system of regulations, which the settlers frequently consulted and 
lived under till the arrival of the government. A portion of the 
bark of a great oak was cut away and these regulations were 
nailed in the space thus made, where all could see them. 

A white man may with comparative ease win the confidence 
and regard of other white men, but when he wins the con- 




fidence, trust and affection of his red brothers he has indeed ac- 
complished something that only a true man could accomplish. In 
his old age, Colonel Meigs was appointed Indian agent to the 
Cherokees. It was not long before they discovered the kind of 
man whom the government had sent to them and, in their poeti- 
cally figurative language, wishing to give him a name that would 
express what he was to them and the trust they had in him, they 
named him " The White Path ". Colonel Meigs died in his eighty- 
third year, in 1823, still 
the faithful friend of the 
Cherokees. At his fun- 
eral, Divine Providence 
was petitioned, that his 
successors at the Chero- 
kee station might walk it) 
the " White Path " 

Colonel Meigs' three 
brothers, Giles, John and 
Josiah, were honorable 
representatives of an 
honored family. Giles 
lived and died in Middle-' 
town. He was a captain 
of militia in the Revolu- 
tion. John volunteered 
in the beginning of the 
war and served till peace 
was declared. He was 
an adjutant in Colonel Webb's regiment and served for a time 
as brigade major. He was commissioned a lieutenant and 
was later promoted to a captaincy. He died in New Hart- 
ford, in 1826, at the age of seventy-three. Josiah, after 
being graduated from Yale, remained as a tutor and later 
studied law and practiced in Bermuda. After returning to 
Connecticut he was for many years professor of mathematics and 
natural philosophy in Yale, and later president of the University 
of Georgia, at Athens in that state ; he was Surveyor General of 
the United States and finally was appointed the head of the 



Government Land Office, in Washington, where he died in his 
sixty-fifth year, in 1822. 

Nehemiah Hubbard was born in Middletown, in April, 1752. 
He was a descendant of George Hubbard, one of the earliest 
settlers. When fourteen years old, Nehemiah was " bound out " 
to Colonel Matthew Talcot, as a clerk in his store, where he 
remained till he was of age, in the meantime acquiring a 
thorough business education and a knowledge of commerce. 
Upon obtaining his majority, he went to the West Indies as 
supercargo, later as captain of the vessel and finally as merchant. 
He entered the Continental Army in 1776, before the Declaration 
of Independence had been signed, and in May of that year was 
appointed by Governor Trumbull regimental paymaster of the 
regiment commanded by Colonel Burrill. His first act under 
this appointment was to journey to Fort Schuyler (which was 
the former British Fort Stanwix) and Herkimer, on the Mohawk 
River, to pay the troops stationed at those forts. He then joined 
his regiment at Ticonderoga, where it was stationed for a con- 
siderable time. Major General Green, Quarter-master of the 
United States, appointed him his deputy for the State of Con- 
necticut, in May, 1777. Mr. Hubbard acted as deputy until the 
resignation of General Green. Colonel Pickering, Acting Quar- 
ter-master General, appointed him to the position of deputy, but 
Mr. Hubbard declined. He then associated himself with Carter 
and Wadsworth in the service, for furnishing supplies to the 
French army. On the frequent occasions when the Continental 
army was suffering for supplies, Connecticut often saved the 
soldiers from great distress by supplying the needed food 
and clothing. That this was possible, was due to the energy, 
promptness and business ability of Paymaster Hubbard. 

A striking instance of the confidence reposed in Mr. Hubbard 
by the great men of the nation, in Revolutionary days, was the 
unsuccessful effort of Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the 
Treasury, to induce Mr. Hubbard to take the management of a 
department he intended to organize, for promoting the manufac- 
turing interests of the young nation. At the close of the Revolu- 
tion he returned to Middletown, and became one of the foremost 
merchants and bankers of the place. The secret of Mr. Hub- 
bard's success was a prompt attention to the business in hand 


and of being methodical in all he undertook to do. He was an 
active, generous citizen, and was regarded as one of Middletown's 
most honorable sons. Mr. Hubbard died at the age of eighty-five 
in February, 1837. 

Titus Hosmer was one of the Committee of Correspondence 
that was appointed by Middletown at the breaking out of the 
war with Great Britain. Mr. Hosmer was one of the most liber- 
ally educated and highly cultivated men of his time, not onlv in 
Middletown, but in the Colony of Connecticut. Noah Webster, 
the American lexicographer, regarded him as one of the greatest 
men Connecticut ever produced, and placed him on one of the 
three pedestals of his " mighties ". They were: William Samuel 
Johnson, L.L.D., of Stratford ; Oliver Ellsworth, of Windsor, 
Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court ; and the 
Hon. Titus Hosmer. 

He was a graduate of Yale, in the class of 1757, and while an 
undergraduate was notable for his knowledge of science and 
languages, and for his cleverness as a writer. After leaving 
Yale, he studied law and became one of the foremost lawyers 
of the Colony. He was frequently elected to office in his town 
and was a representative from Middletown to the Legislature 
from 1773 to 1778, and assistant from the latter date to 1780. 
It was in 1777, as speaker of the House of Representatives, that 
his influence did much to urge that body to adopt vigorous 
measures against Great Britain. In 1778, besides being an 
assistant in the Legislature, he was a member of the Continental 
Congress and of the Council of Safety. So it is plainly seen, 
that besides being a writer of fine thoughts in verse and prose, 
he was also a hard and untiring worker for the cause of the 

When Congress, in 1780, found the creation of a Federal Court 
of Appeals necessary, the names of seven of the most prominent 
lawyers of the entire country were placed in nomination, from 
which number three were to be elected. Titus Hosmer was one, 
William Paca, of Maryland, and George Wythe, of Virginia, were 
the other members. Mr. Hosmer's death occurred suddenly in 
August, 1780, at the age of forty-four. 

It is rather unusual for a conspicuous father to be succeeded 
by sons who, in all respects, wear the garments of their father's 



greatness with naturalness and honor. The two sons of Titus 
Hosmer conferred additional honor upon the honored name, and 
they lived close to the high standard of their father. They were ; 
Stephen Titus, and Hezekiah Lord Hosmer. Stephen entered 
Yale and applied himself closely to his academic duties until the 
routine of college life was interrupted by the Revolution. He 
completed his collegiate course under Dr. Dwight and his name 
was enrolled as a member of the class that was graduated in 1782. 
In the choice of a profession he followed his father's footsteps 
and studied law under his guardian, the Hon. Oliver Ellsworth, 
and under the Hon. William S. Johnson, and in 1785 was ad- 
mitted to practice. His father had left little or no estate, so he 
was obliged to depend entirely upon his own ability from the 
start. Writers of his day say, that he had the largest practice 
of any lawyer in Middlesex County. He continued to practice 
his profession till he was appointed a judge of the Superior 
Court, in 1815. As a judge, he continued the study of law and 
so marvellous was his memory that it was seldom necessary for 
him to refer to the Reports when citing cases or points of law. 
He later became Chief Justice of the Superior Court and con- 
tinued in that office until his seventy-first year, the extreme age 
limit allowed by the Constitution. He died in Middletown, in 
August, 1834. 

Hezekiah Lord Hosmer was a graduate of Yale in 1785, a 
lawyer of note and a member of Congress, but as he settled in 
Hudson, New York, he passes out of this narrative. 


middletown's churches. 

As has been previously mentioned, the first public worship in 
Middletown, was under the shade of a grand old elm tree. There 
the hardy settlers held their services for about two years. In 
1652, two years after the settlement was effected, the people 
built a rude little log church, close to the great elm, which stood 
near the site of the Parochial School of St. John's Church. 

The Rev. Samuel Stow, a Harvard graduate of 1645, was tne 
leader of public worship for the first seven years, although not 
the permanently settled minister of the Church. At this time 
the people were divided in opinion in regard to what is known 


historically, as the " Half-way Covenant ". This produced a 
difference of opinion as to the wisdom of installing Mr. Stow 
as minister. The matter was of so great importance that the 
General Court took it up in 1661, and ordered that the people 
of Middletown should have entire liberty to choose their own 
minister. Eventually, Mr. Stow gave up the ministry and lived 
as a private citizen in Middletown. 

The earnest desire of the people, in regard to their spiritual 
lives was realized in 1668, when the Church had a settled pastor, 
and had made Covenant with God and with each other. On 
November 4, 1668, the Rev. Nathaniel Collins was called and 
was ordained by the Revs. Messrs. Mather and Whiting. The 
Church stood upon the Cambridge Platform. 

The Strict Congregationalists had a society and church in 
Middletown, in 1754, but there were members of that denomina- 
tion before that year. They were the outgrowth of the great 
and general revival in religious matters, in the British Colonies 
in North America, in 1741 and '42, when a few persons joined 
themselves to that faith in Middletown. 

The Rev. Ebenezer Frothingham, a native of Cambridge, 
Massachusetts, the first minister of the Strict Church of Middle- 
town, had been in charge of the Strict Church of Wethersfield. 
The Church in Middletown grew from tiny proportions to suffi- 
cient strength for two Churches, in 1788, under Mr. Frothing- 
ham's pastorate, the second being in Westfield. 

At the time of the formation of the Second Church, Mr. 
Frothingham was dismissed from the Middletown Church and 
the Rev. Stephen Parsons became minister of the Westfield 
Church. He was dismissed in 1795, as his sentiments on the 
subject and mode of baptism had undergone a change. Soon 
after 1812, the Church had dwindled greatly and was therefore 
voluntarilv dissolved, but in 1816, four men and nine women 
formed a new Church and from then on the denomination grew 
w numbers and strength. Among its later ministers were the Rev. 
William H. Beecher — a son of the famous Congregationalist 
and Christian — the Rev. Lyman Beecher — who was installed 
minister in 1833 ; and the Rev. Andrew L. Stone, a graduate of 
Yale, in the class of 1837, who was installed in 1844, and later 
became the minister of the old Park Street Church, in Boston. 


The Congregational spirit was strong in Connecticut ; even 
more, it was dominant, but it was not so intense as it was in 
eastern Massachusetts, so the establishment of a Church of the 
Anglican Communion was not unnatural at an early date, 
especially in Middletown, where the mental cultivation of the 
people and the broadening effects of their foreign commerce had, 
from the earliest times, produced a degree of catholicity that 
welcomed all sects of Christians. 

There was not an Episcopal Parish organized in Middletown 
before 1749, but that service was held in the homes of the few 
Churchmen is quite probable. The Rev. James Wetmore, a 
native of Middletown, who was the first Congregational minister 
of North Haven, had a strong inclination toward the Episcopal 
Church and finally, in 1724, he joined that body and became a 
priest. It is probable that he held service and administered the 
Sacraments at periods between 1724, and 1749. It is also quite 
probable, that the Rev. Jeremiah Learning, who was born in 
Middletown, held service previous to 1749. 

In 1749, there were sixteen Episcopal families in Middletown 
which were desirous for a building in which to worship, to which 
end Mr. Wetmore had urged them. On April 29, 1749, the 
Town of Middletown voted " that the professors of the Church 
of England have liberty to erect their church in the highway, 
between Jaffries' corner, John Foster's corner and the dwelling 
of Mr. Ephraim Doane (on the east side of South Park), and 
the selectmen, or any three of them, are hereby empowered to 
stake out the place for the said building." But the parish was 
not organized till Easter Monday, which occurred in 1750, on 
April 16. In 1752, a church was built in the site set apart by 
the town. It was fifty by thirty-six feet and had " a towering 
steeple " but it was not finished till 1754, or '55. This church 
building was used eighty years, when the congregation had in- 
creased so greatly that a larger building became a necessity. The 
second church building was erected in 1734 and was built of the 
famous Portland sandstone. It was seventy-eight by sixty feet 
and cost $14,000. The church had a bell in 1759, and in 1785, 
John Alsop, a wealthy merchant of New York and a brother of 
Richard Alsop, " the merchant-prince " of Middletown, gave the 
Church a new bell. 


The first rector was the Rev. Ichabod Camp. He was born in 
Durham and was graduated from Yale in the class of 1743. He 
served as rector of Middletown and Wallingford from 1752, to 
1760. Mr. Camp met with a tragic death in Louisburgh, 
Virginia, in 1760, at the hands of his brother-in-law. His suc- 
cessors were: The Rev. Abraham Jarvis, of Norwalk, Con- 
necticut, who was graduated from Yale in the class of 1761. 
He served as Lay-reader for two years. In 1763, there being 
no Bishop in the Colonies, Mr. Jarvis sailed for England 
to be ordained, the Church giving him £40 toward his expenses. 
Upon his return, he was given the very respectable salary of 
£90 and remained as rector of the Church till 1799. In 1801, he 
was elected Bishop of Connecticut, when he resided in Cheshire 
and later in New Haven, where he died in May, 1813, at the 
age of seventy-five. 

The succeeding rectorships were brief. The Rev. Calvin 
White, of Middletown, a graduate of Yale in the class of 1786, 
was rector from September, 1799 to July, 1800: the Rev. Joseph 
Warren, from October, 1800, to August, 1803; the Rev. Clement 
Merriam, April, 1804 to April, 1806; Mr. Samuel Birge, served 
as Lay-reader for six months, when there was a period of about 
five years in which visiting clergymen officiated. 

The Rev. John Kewley, M.D., became rector in April, 1809. 
Dr. Kewley was educated in England, at Eaton and Cambridge. 
He practiced medicine in the West Indies and later, in Pennsyl- 
vania, for several years. He was ordained in Chester, Mary- 
land, and soon after went to Middletown. His ministrations 
were highly profitable, both for the temporal as well as the 
spiritual side of the Church, but for some reason he was removed 
by the Bishop in March, 1813, when he went to St. George's 
Church, in New York. 

Deacon Birdsey Glover Noble, of New Milford, a graduate of 
Yale, in the class of 1810, officiated from 1813, to 1828; the 
Rev. Smith Payne was rector from December, 1828, to August, 
1830; the Rev. George Jones, a graduate in the class of 1823, at 
Yale, chaplain in the United States Navy and tutor in Yale, 
served for one year when Mr. Payne returned and served as 
rector from August 183 1 till August, 1836. 

The Rev. Samuel Farmer Jarvis, D.D., of Middletown, a son 


of Bishop Jarvis, and a graduate of Yale, in 1805, became rector 
in April, 1837, and the Rev. John Williams, D.D., was his assist- 
ant. Dr. Williams was called to old St. George's Church in 
Schenectady, New York (the oldest church building in Schenec- 
tady County), and served there till he was called to the Presidency 
of Trinity College, in 1849. 

It is impossible for Churchmen to think of Bishop Williams 
without having all that is best in them aroused. What the digni- 
fied Washington, the intensely human Lincoln and the lovable 
McKinley were to the Nation, John Williams was to Churchmen. 
Venerated and beloved in America ; venerated and held in pro- 
found respect in Great Britain, by Bishops, Priests and Laymen ; 
his life was complete ; a glory to the Divine Power that created 
it ; an honor to the Nation of which he was a citizen ; a blessing 
to the poor ; an inspiration to all men ; one of the finest men 
and Christians that the Anglo-Saxon race, in any century, has 

The Rev. Edson Wilson Wiltbank was rector from April, 1842, 
to February, 1844; then the Rev. Horace Hills, till August, 1845 ; 
the Rev. F. J. Goodwin, of South Berwick, Maine, a graduate of 
Bowdoin College, in the class of 1832, was rector in 1845. 

The old church building was notable from the fact that it was 
where the Rt. Rev. Samuel Seabury, the first American Bishop, 
first met the clergy, after his return from Scotland, where he 
was consecrated, and the first ordination of Deacons took 
place in it. 

This Church, like nearly every Episcopal Church in the country 
during the Revolution, suffered considerably from the fact that 
the clergy were sufficiently Quixotic to believe that a moral 
obligation bound them to continue to pray for the Royal Family. 
The patriots naturally felt that the intent was for prayers to be 
made for the government and that the President or the Congress 
should be substituted, as is now done. The majority of the rec- 
tors were stubborn in this matter and the result was temporarily 
bad for the parishes. After peace had been declared, matters 
adjusted themselves. In September, 1786, the Bishop confirmed 
127 persons in Middletown. 

The first Methodist Church was organized in 1741, but the 
Methodist had held service for two years previous to that date. 



The Rev. Jesse Lee preached the first sermon to the Methodists 
on December 7, 1739. From the founding up to 1816, the society 
was part of a circuit, but in 1S16, the society became a station, or 
separate charge. In 1816, there were 112 communicants. The 
Church continued to grow in strength and numbers and such 
growth was greatly increased by the founding of Wesleyan 
University. In 1846, when the University took a decided jump 
in the educational world, there were 515 communicants in the 
Methodist Church. 



The third Masonic Lodge chartered in the State of Connecti- 
cut, was St. John's No. 2, of Middletown, the first being Hiram 
Lodge No. i, of New Haven, and the second, a Lodge in New 
London which did not long survive. So while St. John's charter 
was the third to be granted, the ceasing of the New London 
Lodge, makes St. John's the second in age at the present time. 



The application for a charter was made on November 6, 1753, 
and the charter was granted by the Grand Lodge in Boston, 
Massachusetts, on February 4, 1754. At that time, Thomas 
Oxnard was Provincial Grand Master for North America, by 
appointment by Lord Ward, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge 
of England. As Grand Master Oxnard was in England at the 
time St. John's charter was granted, his name did not appear 
upon it. It was signed by Benjamin Hollowed, D.G.M., Charles 
Brockwell, S.G.W., James Forbes, J.G.W., and John Leverett, 

No name was given to the Lodge in the charter of 1754. nor 
was a numeral assigned. The first time the name and number, 


St. John's No. 2, appears, is in a catalogue of members in the 
record book, on February 10, 1787, and it appears in the records 
for the first time on March 7, 1810. In 1796, the numeral was 
officially fixed by order of the Grand Lodge. 

The names signed to the application were Ichabod Camp, Jno. 
Easton, Richard Alsop, Thomas Tyler, Samuel Bement, Jedh. 
Stow, and Israel Abbott. Of these, the only Master Masons 
were Starr, Alsop, Tyler and Stow, the others being Fellow- 
crafts who were made Master Masons two years and six months 



The first meeting was held in the tavern kept by Captain 
Michael Burnham, on the north side of Washington street, and 
it is a pleasant and interesting fact, that this first home of St. 
John's Lodge is still standing. The first Master of the Lodge, 
who was named in the charter, was Jehosaphat Starr, February 
4, 1754; then followed Richard Alsop, June 4, 1755; Philip 
Mortimer, December 27, 1756; George Phillips, December 27, 
1757; Ichabod Camp, December 2y, 1758; Philip Mortimer, June 
24, 1760; George Phillips, December 2y, 1764; Richard Alsop, 
December 27, 1765; Comfort Sage, December 30, 1767; George 


-, 1769; Richard Alsop, 

"> l 77 l \ John Cotton, 

Phillips, - 

December 27, 1781 ; General Samuel Holden Parsons, December 
27, 1782; General Comfort Sage, December 27, 1783; Robert 
Warner, December 27, 1784; Asher Miller, December 26, 1785; 
Lamberton Cooper, December 22, 1788; Ebenezer Sage, Decem- 
ber 15, 1790; Stephen Titus Hosmer, December 27,, 1794; Samuel 
Canfield, June 21, 1798; and William B. Hall, December 17, 1800. 
As was the case with the majority of the Lodges in the Colonies 
and the States, just before and during the Revolution, St. John's 
meetings ceased in 1772, and were not resumed till 1781, when a 
meeting was held in Mrs. Shaler's tavern. 



Had Captain Partridge not moved his Academy to Vermont, 
Wesleyan University would probably not have located in Middle- 
town. In 1824, the generosity of Middletown caused Captain 
Partridge to move his American Literary, Scientific, and Military 
Academy (what a mouthful for a foot ball cheer) from Norwich, 
Vermont, to Middletown. A charming site was provided and 
the cornerstone was laid with Masonic honors. A chapel was 
also erected and the fifth anniversary was celebrated in Septem- 
ber, 1825. The Hon. S. W. Dana delivered the address, to 
a large number of citizens, as well as to 200 cadets from nine- 
teen states and the District of Columbia. The " A. L. S. S. and 
M. A." was called the Institution locally, for brevity's sake. 
The Institution was under the exclusive control of Captain Part- 
ridge until 1828, when a board of trustees was appointed and 
the number of instructors was increased. A considerable num- 
ber of students were from southern states, the greatest number 
of students in one year being 240. The Institution flourished 
and was regarded as a first class, high-toned Academic institu- 
tion and it turned out some of the foremost military engineers 
and officers of the Mexican and Civil Wars, and George Dewey's 
name was the key-stone of the arch of notable and honored sons 
of the Institution. 

In 1829, the Institution was induced to remove to other parts 
and the buildings erected for academic purposes were left vacant, 
and being of little use for any other than school purposes, the 
owners put a bargain-counter price on them. 

Just before this time, the Methodist Episcopal Church was 
feeling the need of a college. The Church determined to estab- 
lish it in the North anyhow and in the East if possible. The 
owners of the Institution buildings and chapel offered them as a 
gift to the Methodist Church, if an endowment of $40,000 could 
be secured. Middletown's quick response was typical. It pledged 
$18,000 through public and private subscription and the Church 
at large had little difficulty in raising the $22,000. In 1830, 
Wesleyan University began its honorable and useful existence 
and received its charter the following year. The first president, 
the Rev. Dr. Fisk, although advanced in years, worked hard for 


the success of the University and he began to see the fruits of his 
labors before death cut them short. 


The newspapers of Middletown had brief and varied ex- 
istences. The first to be established was the Middlesex Gazette, 
in 1785. The publishers were William Woodward and James 
Green. A few years later, Mr. Green withdrew from the concern 
and Mr. Woodward continued to publish the paper till 1797, 
when he sold it to Tertius Dunning. He published the Gazette 
till his death in 1823, and his son, Charles Dunning, continued 
it for a year, when it was sold by the administrator of the estate 
to Epaphras and Horace Clark, in 1824. T. N. Parmelee and 
E. T. Greenfield purchased it in 1828, and a few months later 
Mr. Parmelee sold out to Mr. Greenfield who, in turn, in 1830, 
sold it back to Mr. Parmelee and he edited it till 1832. Edwin 
Hunt was the next purchaser and soon after he sold it to Joseph 
Longking, Jr., and in 1834 it ceased to be published. 

The Gazette's plant was sold to George F. Olmsted who started 
the New England Advocate. The Advocate suspended publica- 
tion in 1836. The presses were sold to Charles H. Pelton, who 
was proprietor of a book and job printing establishment. 

The Connecticut Spectator was started in January, 1814, by 
Loomis and Richards. Mr. Loomis sold to Mr. Richards, in 
1815, and in 1817 this paper expired. 

On January I, 1823, William D. Starr and William H. Niles 
started to print the American Sentinel. Mr. Niles sold to his 
partner in 1827. In 1833, the Sentinel and Witness were united. 
The Witness had been established in January of that year by 
H. W. Green. The Sentinel and Witness eventually ceased to 
be published. 

The Constitution was started by Abner Newton. Jr., in 1838, 
and in 1847, ne attempted a daily, but that expired at the end of 
twelve months. 

The first determined attempt to publish a daily was made by 
N. J. Phelps & Company, in 1850. It was sold the following 
year to B. Casey & Company and was discontinued that same 


The following were Middletown's first public officers, with the 
years they served : 

The first Recorder, later called Register and finally Town 
Clerk, was Robert Webster, 1653-1656. He was also the first 
Justice of the Peace. 

The first Mayor was the Hon. Jabez Hamlin. He was elected 
on July 13, 1784. He continued to fill the office, without the 
formality of being reelected, till he resigned in 1788. Mr. Ham- 
lin seems to have been a man of and for the people for he was 
persuaded by the people to remain in office as mayor, which He 
did till his death in April, 1791. 

The first City Clerk was Bezaleel Fisk, from July 13, 1784, to 
January, 1785. 

The first Treasurer was Nehemiah Hubbard, from 1795, to 

The first Bank of the City of Middletown was the Middletown 
Bank, incorporated in October, 1795, but it did not begin banking 
operations till the spring of 1801. Elijah Hubbard was the first 
president, from May, 1801, to May, 1808. The first cashier was 
Timothy Southmayd, from May, 1801 to December, 1821. 

Middlesex County Bank was incorporated in May, 1830. Its 
first president was Henry L. DeKoven, from September, 1830, 
to April, 1832. The first Cashier was Samuel Cooper, from 
September, 1830, till November, 1830, when he resigned. 

The Branch Bank of The United States was started in 18 17. 
Samuel W. Dana was its president till 1819, and Arthur W. 
Magill was its cashier till 1822. In 1824, the Bank was moved 
to Hartford and in 1835 it ceased to exist. 

The Middletown Savings Bank was incorporated in May, 1825, 
and began operations in June of that year. The first President 
was Nehemia Hubbard, from 1825, to 1837. The first Secretary- 
treasurer was Ebenezer G. Southmayd, from 1825 to 1832. 

The first Judge of Probate was the Hon. Jabez Hamlin, who 
served from 1752 to 1789. 

The first Post Office was established in 1775, and the first 
Postmaster was Winslow Hobby, who served from 1775, to 1807. 

The first Collector of the Port was George Phillips, who served 
from 1795 to 1797. 



Middletown and vicinity had been an Indian stronghold and 
headquarters for many centuries before the White-man had even 
heard of it. This is proven beyond doubt by the utensils, beads 
and implements of tempered copper found in graves which have 
been opened. On the road toward Newfield the first settlers 
found an Indian burying ground, that had every appearance of 
having been used for many generations, on which were found 
rough gravestones marked with devices, perhaps the Indian 
symbols for the name of the warrior buried beneath, or possibly, 
simply the emblem of the tribe of which he was a member. 

The Indians whom the white settlers found there in 1650, were 
the Mattabesett Tribe under the chieftainship of a man of strong 
character and powerful will who was possessed of far-reaching 

Sequasson — erroneously called Sowheag — in Europe would 
have been a great political leader ; in the New World he was 
a Sachem, whose will was obeyed over an extensive territory. 
As Great Sachem of the Mattabesetts, he was supreme over 
the Indians on both sides of the Connecticut River, including 
several tribes besides his own immediate tribe. From Indian 
Hill, where he lived, he was accustomed to summon the tribe by 
blowing on a famous conch shell. This was believed to 
have magical powers because its tones could be heard at so 
great a distance by the chiefs and warriors of the Mattabesett 
and subordinate tribes, whom he wished to summon for council 
or defence. Sequasson was held in profound reverence by the In- 
dians and was respected and somewhat feared by the white 
settlers for, while he was not an open enemy of the settlers, he 
was far from being friendly. They were treated by him with the 
dignified reserve and contempt of a great chief. He regarded 
them as interlopers and inferiors, who had encroached upon his 
birthright. The Indians of the tribe kept his burial place a pro- 
found secret from the settlers and when questioned by them in 
regard to the location of his grave, they showed anger and 
remained silent. To the north of Middletown, near the Sebeth 
River, was a field called after him, in which many stone arrow- 
heads and spearheads were found. 

Not far from Middletown, in what is now Glastenbury, 


was a small tribe of the Mohawks, of the Five Nations of New 
York, of whom the Indians of New England were in great 
dread, with the exception of the Pequots. How this collection of 
Mohawks happened to be settled there, so far from their own 
beautiful Mohawk Valley, may be accounted for reasonably 

The Mohawks were the most powerful and dominant tribe of 
Indians on the Continent in those early days, before the Dutch 
had demoralized them with rum and trade. It was their boast 
and an historical fact, that they demanded and received tribute 
from other tribes, not of the Five Nations, which lived hundreds 
of miles distant, to the south and east of the Hudson River. 
They delighted in the power they possessed and were never 
happier then when inspiring terror in the hearts of those distant 
tribes. They boasted that one Mohawk Sachem, or even a 
prominent warrior, could walk alone through the village of one 
of the tribute-paying tribes and receive anything he demanded. 
The journeying to the tribes east of the Hudson, and in the 
south, for the purpose of collecting tribute and asserting their 
supremacy, came to be regarded as an unnecessary trouble. To 
avoid this they stationed small tribes of the Mohawk Nation in 
central points, among the other tribes from whom tribute was 
demanded, so that the resident Mohawks could collect the tribute 
and maintain the fear, which was more highly prized than the 
tribute. That the tribute collected by the small tribes did not 
reach the Mohawk Nation mattered little, so long as it was paid 
to Mohawks, and their supremacy maintained. The Mohawks at 
Glastenbury were probably settled there to keep the New England 
Indians constantly in mind of the fact that they were subservient 
to them. It is a strange fact, that one or two painted Mohawks 
would inspire nearly as great terror among the white settlers, as 
they did among the Indians of other tribes. Eventually the 
Mohawks, of Glastenbury, annihilated the Mattabesetts. 

There is nothing that more strongly illustrates the power of 
the Mohawks and the fear in which they were held by the New 
England Indians, than a clever bit of Indian cunning successfully 
practiced by Uncas. 

Weaseapano, a Podunk Indian, killed a Sachem of the Matta- 
besetts, who lived near Middletown, in 1656. Sequasson, Great 


Sachem of the Tribe, complained to the white magistrate of 
the Colony, that the Pochmks were hiding the murderer and 
that they were protecting him from the punishment he deserved. 
Sequasson also told his troubles to Uncas and obtained a promise 
of assistance from him. Uncas then complained to the magis- 
trates that Tontonimo had protected an Indian who had mur- 
dered a Mohegan. The magistrates summoned all the parties 
concerned before them. Sequasson and Uncas demanded that 
ten of Weaseapano's friends should be delivered up to them for 
slaughter, as the murderer was a worthless Indian and the mur- 
dered man a great Sachem. Tontonimo regarded the price as 
excessive and brought in a counter claim, that the dead Sachem 
had killed Weaseapano's uncle. The Governor of the Colony, 
fearing trouble from direct interference, suggested that the de- 
mand was too great and told Uncas and his friend that the white 
men were content to punish the murderer. 

Tontonimo wanted to pay for the dead Sachem in wampum, 
but it was refused. Uncas then reduced his demand from ten to 
six men, but this in turn was refused by Tontonimo. The Gov- 
ernor urged that the murderer be delivered to Sequasson and 
Uncas, and they agreed to be satisfied with him in place of the 
six men. Tontonimo promised to do as the Governor wished and 
then secretly withdrew from the court and retired to the Podunk 
stronghold. The Governor was indignant, but he kept it to 
himself and tried to persuade the Indians not to fight it out. The 
most they would promise was, not to interfere with the white 
settlers or injure their property on either side of the Connecticut 
River. Uncas then gathered an army of Indians with which to 
avenge himself upon the Podunks. Uncas met the Podunks 
near Hockanum River, opposite Hartford, and seeing the enemy 
about equal in number to his own followers, he decided not to 

Now here comes in his craft. Uncas sent word to Tontonimo, 
that if he did not give up the murderer he would send the Mo- 
hawks to wipe the Podunks off the face of the earth. Uncas' op- 
portunity came soon after the delivery of the message. He pro- 
vided a Mohegan warrior with several Mohawk weapons (each 
nation and tribe fashioned its weapons in some peculiar manner so 


that they could be easily recognized by other Indians, as belonging 
to such or such a tribe) and sent him to the Podunk stronghold, 
with instructions to set fire to a house nearby and then to leave 
the weapons on the ground and return to camp. In the morning 
the Podunks went to the place where the fire had been, found 
the weapons and recognizing them to be of Mohawk make, they 
believed that Uncas had really won the Mohawks over to his side. 
Tontonimo immediately delivered up the murderer, Weaseapano, 
and asked Uncas to make peace with him. 

Generally speaking, the white settlers and the Mattabesetts 
lived in peace. The Indians had everything to gain from such 
conditions and nothing to lose, for the New England settlers, un- 
like the Dutch of New York, did not demoralize them with rum. 

The last of the Tribe of Mattabesett was Mamoosun, a fine, 
high-spirited old man, whose faithfulness to his tribe and its 
traditions, was inspiring. Where Mamoosun lived is not posi- 
tively known, but that he made annual visits to Middletown each 
autumn, for the purpose of paying respect to the memory and 
the greatness of his tribe, is a matter of history. He spent whole 
days in the Indian burial ground, near Newfield, mourning over 
the past glories of the dead who were buried there. 

On these annual pilgrimages the old Indian seemed to live 
more in the spirit than in the flesh, and there can be no doubt that 
his mind was in an exalted state as it dwelt on the past. During 
this period he shunned mankind and spent his nights in the 
hollow of a gigantic sycamore, of great age, that was known for 
many generations as " Mamoosun's tree ". Mamoosun's pilgrim- 
ages began before, and continued for several years after, 1720. 
The white settlers of Middletown honored and respected the 
dignified, sad old man who alone of all his tribe still lived. A 
Mr. Gilbert, who owned the farm upon which the Indian burial 
ground was situated, was most friendly and hospitable to Ma- 
moosun who, after his days of mourning and religious duties 
were finished, would go to Mr. Gilbert's home as his guest. 
Mamoosun dreaded above all things that the graves of his dead 
should be disturbed by the plow and harrow. Mr. Gilbert 
promised him, that so long as he lived the field should not be 
cultivated and the promise was faithfully kept for several years 
after the visits of the old Indian had ceased. 


SAMUEL ALLEN, Samuel Wetmore and Benjamin Mil- 
ler, from the First Society of Middletown, were the first 
settlers of Middlefield, in 1700. They were soon joined 
by other families from Middletown, Durham, Stratford, and 
Guilford, so that in 1744, when the town was incorporated, there 
were fifty families forming a vigorous settlement of 350 or 400 
individuals, probably, for the average number of persons in a 
family in those days was large. Middlefield was destined by 
nature to be vigorous and prosperous, in the days when water- 
power was the only motive power known, for the town was 
generously supplied with excellent power along the Coginchaugh 
River, and the numerous smaller streams that flow into it. A 
hundred years after the incorporation, it was a busy manufactur- 
ing community. 

Like all Yankee settlements, as soon as the people were made 
into a parish by the General Court, they built a church. A meet- 
ing-house, forty feet square, was built in 1745 and the Rev. 
Ebenezer Gould was the first minister. Although there was dis- 
satisfaction with the minister on the parts of several of the con- 
gregation, he remained there till 1756, when he was dismissed. 
As far as can be ascertained from records, the dismissal of the 
Rev. Ebenezer Gould from the Middlefield Church ended his 
ministerial career. From 1756, till 1765, the people were without 
a settled minister. They had made several attempts to settle one 
but without success, so it looks very much as if the trouble was 
caused by individuals of the parish, rather than by the minister. 
Finally, in February, 1765, the Rev. Joseph Denison, of Wind- 
ham, a graduate of Yale in the class of 1763, became the minister. 
He died in 1770, at the age of thirty-one. 

The Rev. Abner Benedict, of North Salem, New York, a 
graduate in the class of 1769, at Yale, was the next minister, he 
serving from 1771, till 1785, when he was dismissed by his own 
request that he might move to a place more favorable to the 
health of his daughter, who was an invalid. The Rev. Abner 
Benedict was an exceptional man, as a minister and as a citizen. 



While in Middlefield he convinced the people of the sin of slavery 
and that it was a crime against society, with the result, that every 
slave owned in Middlefield was freed. The Rev. Joel Benedict, 
D.D., of Lisbon and Plainfield ; and Lieutenant Peter Benedict, 
a soldier of the Revolution, were brothers of Abner, who was a 
writer of merit upon religious subjects. The late Rev. Dr. Field 
in commenting upon the sad disruption in the Church, due to 
there being as " many people of many minds ", in those early days, 
as at the present time, says : 

This dismissal was exceedingly unfavorable to the interests of religion 
in Middlefield. Had he remained there, the Church would have probably 
been greatly strengthened and the society united and prosperous. But 
after he was gone the society remained vacant more than twenty years. 
No minister of Christ was statedly in the desk on the Sabbath, enlighten- 
ing and establishing the minds of the people in the great truths of the 
gospel, and telling them on week days from house to house, words whereby 
they and their children might be saved. The old professors of religion 
died or removed, until the church was almost extinct. 

But the Lord having revived his work in the neighboring town of 
Durham, and this having spread somewhat in this place, the church was 
reorganized, or rather a new church was formed in December, 1808, and 
twenty-nine persons solemnly entered into covenant with God, and with 
one another. A few of these had been members of the old church, the 
others were those who had recently entertained hope of a saving interest 
in Christ. 

But the members of this church, and those disposed to attend worship 
with them, had no meeting-house of their own, and difficulties existed in 
the way of their occupying the old meeting-house. In this situation they 
met for a time in private dwellings, and then assembled for worship in a 
conference-house, which they erected, until they found means to build a 
sanctuary. This they raised on the site of the old meeting-house in 1841 
and dedicated it June 8, 1842. 


CROMWELL was known as Upper Houses — sometimes 
Upper Middletown — from the settlement of Middle- 
town in 1650, down to 185 1, in which year Upper 
Houses was incorporated as separate town. The Upper Houses 
were simply the houses, or little settlement, in the upper portion 
of Middletown. This designation for out-lying hamlets belong- 
ing to the larger and principal settlement or town, was customary 
in many Connecticut towns and many of the original towns gave 



the names of Upper and Lower Houses, to hamlets lying above 
or below them. 

The majority of the first settlers of Cromwell built their houses 
on Pleasant street. They were John Kirby, Nathaniel White, 
Robert Webster, Samuel Stocking, George Graves, Joseph Smith, 
Daniel Harris, John Martin, John Savage, David Sage, and 
Thomas Ranney. They were joined by several other families 
before the end of the year. Between the Upper Houses and Mid- 


dletown was Little River, which was crossed in going to and 
from the Church and stores in Middletown, by a ferry. 

Middletown granted the right to the people of Upper Houses 
to have their own school as early as 1683, and a similar grant was 
made by vote of the Town in 1690, possibly because the pro- 
visions of the first grant for a school had not been complied 
with, and no school had been started. In 1703, the General 
Court, by desire of the inhabitants of Upper Houses, incorpo- 
rated it as a parish distinct from Middletown, with the stipula- 
tion, that the people should procure a minister within a year, 



otherwise they would have to continue as a part of the Parish 
of Middletown, and would have to pay their portion toward the 
support of the Church there. At this time, 1703, the little vil- 
lage contained about 250 persons. While they governed their 
own Church and school affairs, they were, in matters relating to 
the town, under the jurisdiction of Middletown. A Church was 
not organized and a minister settled till 171 5, when the Rev. 
Joseph Smith was settled as the first minister of Cromwell. 
The great fertility of the soil made the chief occupation of the 


people its cultivation, for nearly 150 years after the settlement. 
A few years after the close of the Revolution, ship building began 
and for several decades was carried on with energy and profit. 
William Belcher, Captain Luther Smith, and Captain Abijah 
Savage had ship yards, and further back from the river was a 
rope-walk in which the cables and cordage, for the vessels built 
there, were made. At about the beginning of the nineteenth 
century there were a few small manufacturies. 

In 1 8 10, a debating society was organized that was called the 



Friendly Association. It had a small library which formed the 
nucleus for a larger collection of books several decades later. 
The first officers were : President, the Rev. J. L. Williams ; vice- 
president, Silas Sage ; secretary, William C. Redfield ; treasurer, 
Allen Butler. The association flourished for twenty years and 
then slowly died. 

One of the most distinguished men of the first half of the nine- 
teenth century, in New England, was William C. Redfield, who 
was born in Middletown, in 17S9, and spent his childhood and 


part of his youth in Cromwell. His father, who was a sailor, died 
when William was but thirteen years old, and much of William's 
early education was obtained from his mother, who was possessed 
of more than ordinary mental attainments. At the age of four- 
teen he was apprenticed to a mechanic of Cromwell. Although 
his duties occupied nearly all of his time, he still found opportu- 
nities to study and so lay the foundation of the education it was 
his ambition to obtain. William read and studied at night, after 
the work of the day was finished, by the light from the logs burn- 
ing on the andirons in the large open fireplace. In the Rev. Dr. 



Tully William had a good and wise friend, who gave the am- 
bitions youth free access to his library and suggested to him the 
best course of reading, and study. 

That William Redfield in later life became well known, as a 
scientist, original investigator and philosopher, in the Eastern 
and Western Hemispheres, was due to his untiring patience and 
great energy of body and mind. His method was to determine 
upon some particular object which he wished to attain and then 
to go at it and, overcoming all difficulties, attain it. An instance 


of his determination and great physical energy — which was even 
excelled by his mental energy — will give an idea of the youth 
who, as a man, became the co-discoverer of the rotary motion 
of storms. 

At the age of twenty-one, when his apprenticeship was finished, 
he desired to visit his mother, who had remarried and moved to 
Ohio. The distance from Cromwell to her home was 700 miles 
and the only way he could get there was to walk. He covered 
the 700 miles in twenty-seven days and as he rested four days 



he was actually on foot twenty-four days and so averaged a 
trifle more than twenty-nine miles a day. As his eyes and ears 
were ever on the alert and his ability to perceive and observe 
was profound, his 700-mile journey on foot did as much for him 
as a year in college would have done for the average young man 
of twenty-one. 

After his return to Cromwell he resumed his trade and con- 
tinued his studies. The great storm of September 3, 1821, was 
the means of Mr. Redfield's discovery of the rotary motion of 
storms. Not only was the storm severe, but it covered a great 
territory. His power of observation has been mentioned. In 


this instance, he had observed that the storm approached Middle- 
town from the south-east, and that the up-rooted and fallen trees 
lay with their tops toward the north-west. Soon after this storm, 
Mr. Redfield had occasion to go to western Massachusetts where 
he found that the storm had up-rooted trees there also, but that 
they were all lying with their tops toward the south-east, exactly 
opposite to those at Middletown. He made inquiries there and 
found that in western Connecticut and Massachusetts the storm 
had approached from the north-west, at the same time it was 
approaching from the opposite direction, seventy miles away in 



the neighborhood of Middletown. He followed the course of 
the storm and gave to what he found intense thought. He dis- 
covered that all great storms are cyclonic, or as he expressed it, 
progressive whirlwinds. For the benefit of navigators, Mr. Red- 
field immediately published " The Law of Storms ". 

It happened that General Reid, of the British Royal Engineers, 
made a similar discovery at about the same time. Commodore 
Perry — whose gentle knock upon Japan's front door caused it 

v \ \v 

■v 1 "~\ 


to be opened to America — spoke of these two scientists, in the 
report of his Japanese expedition, as follows : 

It was my good fortune to enjoy for many years the friendly acquaint- 
ance of one as remarkable for modesty and unassuming pretensions as for 
laborious observation and inquiry after knowledge. To him and to Gen- 
eral Reid, of the Royal Engineers of England (now Governor of Malta), 
are navigators mainly indebted for the discovery of a law which has 
already contributed and will contribute greatly to the safetv of vessels 
traversing the ocean. The honor of having established, on satisfactory 
evidence, the rotary and progressive character of ocean storms, and de- 


termining their modes of action or laws, is due alike to the memory of 
William C. Redfield and to our country's fame. 

Mr. Redfield was a marine engineer of note. The famous 
Connecticut River steamer, " Oliver Ellsworth ", was built by 
him in 1823. The idea of carrying freight, to and from New 
York and the upper-Hudson, on long strings of barges drawn 
by tug-boats was his. Mr. Redfield and George W. Feather- 
stonhaugh (the first Government Geologist of the United States 
wiiose mansion and country estate were in Duanesburgh, Sche- 
nectady County, Xew York), were the first to see and appreciate 
the possibilities for national wealth by connecting by railroads 
the vast fertile territory of the North-west with the great markets 
of the East. 

It may be remarked incidentally, that Mr. Featherstonhaugh 
began writing for public prints upon the subject of railroads in 
181 2, and on March 26, he and Stephen VanRensselaer, the last 
of the Patroons, incorporated the first railroad company. 

In 1829, Mr. Redfield issued a pamphlet setting forth his ideas, 
which were to connect the Mississippi and Hudson Rivers by a 
railroad over which the crops and minerals of the West could 
be brought to New York, and the West peopled with men of 
energy and enterprise from the East. The route he proposed 
was practically that of the Erie Railroad and his prophesy for 
the routes of other railroads, that would connect Indiana, Illinois 
and Michigan, with the East, was closely fulfilled. 


WILD animals were beginning to be scarce in Middle- 
sex County by the time the Revolution broke out. 
Bears, wolves, " catamounts ", deer etc. could be 
found by experienced hunters, but it was not so many years be- 
fore the Revolution that they were to be had without hunting for 

Wolves were a source of trouble and loss to the farmers till 
1770, when those that were left gradually withdrew to the 
wilder portions of northern New England. They were suffi- 
ciently rare for the killing of one in the northern part of Say- 


brook, in the winter of 181 5, to excite unusual interest and 

That moose ever roamed the meadows and forests of the 
lower Connecticut, and gorged themselves on lily-pads and river 
grass, hardly seems possible, but the time was, when they were 
not at all scarce, although not frequently seen near the settle- 
ments, because of their timidity. It is a fact, however, that in 
1770, in the Town of Saybrook, near where the wolf was killed 
in 1815, that a moose was killed. It was probably the last of its 
kind in Middlesex County. 

Deer were so numerous in very early times that they often 
proved a nuisance as crop destroyers. They were plentiful up 
to the hard winters of i76-).-'65, when great numbers died or 
were killed by hunters. 

Wild turkeys were common up to 1780, or '85, and could be 
found by skilful hunters up to 1790. 

The animals that were hunted and trapped for their valuable 
fur, disappeared many years before those that were killed for 
food, as well as for their hides. 

Ferries were established at an early date as a means of crossing 
the Connecticut. They were as follows : Saybrook Ferry, be- 
tween Saybrook and Lyme, 1662; Chapman's Ferry, between 
Haddam and East Haddam, 1694. These two were the only 
ferries crossing the Connecticut in Middlesex County for eighty- 
nine years after the first settlement. Brockway's Ferry, between 
Pautapoug (Essex) and the northern part of Lyme, 1724; Mid- 
dletown Ferry, between Middletown and Chatham, 1726; Upper- 
houses (Cromwell) Ferry, between Upper Houses and Chatham, 
1759; Higganum Ferry, between Haddam and Middle Haddam, 
1763; Warner's Ferry, between Chester and Hadlyme, 1769. 
Knowl's Landing Ferry (Chatham), between Middletown and 
Mid'dle Haddam, was granted about 1736, but it was abandoned 
and a new grant made in 1806 ; East Haddam Ferry, between 
Haddam and East Haddam, in 1741, but it was only occasionally 
used and a new grant was made in 181 1; Haddam Ferry, be- 
tween Haddam and Middle Haddam, 1814. 

Post Offices were established, in Middletown in 1775; Say- 
brook, in 1793; Killingworth, in 1794; East Haddam and Dur- 


ham, in 1800; Haddam, in 1802; Knowl's Landing, Chatham, in 
1904; Upper Houses (Cromwell), in 1809; Chester, in 1810; 
West Chester and North Killingworth, in 1817. 

Stage lines were established in 1785, and in 1794, which car- 
ried mail from Hartford to New Haven, through Middletown 
and Durham, in Middlesex County. 

The interest and wonder excited by the first carriages, kept 
solely for driving or " pleasure-carriages ", as they were called, 
has been spoken of several times. The owning of one of these 
vehicles was greater evidence of affluence in those days, than 
a $20,000 " benzine-buggy " is in the twentieth century. The 
first made its appearance in Killingworth, in 1748; then followed, 
Middletown, about 1750; Saybrook and Durham, in 1755; Chat- 
ham, in 1768; East Haddam, in 1769; and Haddam, in 1785. 

The first library in Middlesex was established in Chester, in 


The idea is so utterly ridiculous to us now, that it hardly seems 
possible that those good, narrow, heroic Christians, who settled 
New England, should have thought the names of the days of 
the week to be sinful, because they were derived from the names 
of mythological gods, but as an actual matter of fact they did 
think Sunday, Monday etc. were naughty words. The week 
began on the Sabbath, or Lord's Day ; the other days were 
known and designated by numbers. It really does not seem 
possible that such intelligent, strong-minded men, a large percent 
of whom had received liberal educations, could have believed 
that the taking out from their lives, their speech and their 
thoughts even, everything that was poetic, beautiful and romantic, 
was pleasing to the Creator, Who was the source of the very 
things they deprived themselves of. But they did, and they 
were honest and sincere in so doing. They would not tolerate 
the names of the days of the week because of their mythological 
origin. They deprived their children of all knowledge of Christ- 
mas and Easter because they were too strongly associated with 


CHATHAM was first settled by the English in 1710, when 
a family by the name of Goff made their " pitch " near 
the river, a little to the south of the landing at the vil- 
lage of Middle Haddam. The next white family to settle there, 
was that of Captain Cornelius Knowles, who built his house on 
the bank of the river and gave his name to the locality, which was 
long after known as Knowles' Landing. These two families 
were not long afterward joined by other families who took up 
land and built their homes on the slope, which rises rather abruptly 
to the height of one hundred feet and then to three hundred feet, 
a half mile back from the river. This situation was fine and the 
extensive view of the river and the high hills across it, in the 
town of Middletown, was most charming. It is a very noticable 
fact, that while Yankees always were intensely practical (and 
still are practical and always will be, with a keenness after profit, 
as the " Yorkers " claim), they were and are, more than any other 
people, lovers of Nature and her beauties, so their homes and 
little settlements were generally located in the most beautiful 
spots and where the view was fine. 

For about fifty years the settlers cleared and cultivated the land 
and hunted, trapped and fished. Fishing in those days, and for 
many decades thereafter, meant shad and salmon. It hardly 
seems possible now, that there was a time when salmon were so 
common that it was customary in one or another of the river 
towns, especially Hartford, when an apprentice was indentured, 
to demand that he should not be given salmon oftener than a 
certain specified number of times a week. Agriculture and hunt- 
ing and trapping were succeeded, as the chief occupation, by boat 
building about 1760, the first to be launched being sloops and 
small schooners. The first ship was launched from the Middle 
Haddam yards in 1763. From that time the business increased 
and flourished till about 1805, when for some reason it fell off 
and eventually ceased. 

The prosperity of Middle Haddam, while the boat building 
9 [129] 



yards were at their busiest, made it a trading center for a con- 
siderable distance to the south, east and north-east, people going 
there for their trading from as far off as the towns of Marlboro 
and Hebron. From 1805, when the business of the boat yards 
began to decline, to 1838, when it ceased, there were in vessels 
built, with a total tonnage of 27,430. The vessels launched be- 
tween those years were: 51 ships, 24 brigs, 21 schooners and 15 
sloops, which shows that the greater number were sea-going 
vessels. One of the most famous master-builders of the Con- 
necticut River was Thomas Child, who was living in 1851, at the 
great age of 89. During his long life he had charge of the con- 
struction of 237 vessels, the greater portion of them being built 
in the Middle Haddam yards. The ship building industry 
naturally stimulated the wealthier citizens of Middle Haddam to 
embark in commerce, and a few of them owned the vessels they 
commanded, or an interest in those they helped to navigate. 

For thirty years the people of Middle Haddam and vicinity 
were obliged to journey through the woods, or by boat and canoe 
on the river, to Portland, Middletown or Haddam to attend 
church. In October, 1738, they, with a few families from Haddam 
Neck, petitioned for incorporation as a parish. The petition was 
granted and the Church was organized on September 24, 1740. 
The Rev. Benjamin Bowers, of Billerica, Massachusetts, a grad- 
uate of Harvard in the class of 1733, was the first minister. In 
1744, a meeting house was built as near the center of the scattered 
homesteads as possible. 

The first Episcopal Church in Chatham was built in 1772, in 
the eastern portion of Middle Haddam, but it was not long-lived 
and the building was taken down. In 1786, another Episcopal 
Church was built in Middle Haddam, near the " Landing ", the 
Rev. Abraham Jarvis, rector of Christ Church, Middletown, 
officiating till 1791. 

There was a Methodist Church there in 1792. The meetings 
were held in the homes of the members, or in the school house, 
till 1796, when a small church was built. There were at one time 
fifty communicants, but the membership fell off and the church 
was finally closed. 

There is a hill about two miles back from the Connecticut 
River, partly in Chatham and partly in Portland, that for more 


than a century was a great mineral mystery. The town line runs 
along the ridge of Great Hill, which rises precipitously from the 
pond at its south-western front, to a height above the pond of 
400 feet and above the sea of 700 feet. For the first hundred 
years after the settlement of Middletown (which formerly in- 
cluded the Towns of Portland and Chatham), this hill was called 
" The Governor's Ring ". 

It seems, that Governor John Winthrop, of New London, was 
accustomed to go to Great Hill with a servant and remain there 
two or three weeks at a time. When the Governor returned to 
New London he always had one, and sometimes several gold 
rings, and as everybody supposed that he obtained the gold from 
the hill, it came to be known as "The Governor's Ring". On 
May 25, 1661, the people of Middletown granted to Governor 
Winthrop certain rights and privileges, and the following is a 
paraphrase of the document. 

The people of Middletown for the encouragement of our much 
honored governor, Mr. John Winthrop, in his efforts to discover 
mines and minerals, for the working of which he will set up such 
works as may be needful, do hereby grant unto our much honored 
governor, any profitable mines or minerals that he shall discover, 
upon any common land within the borders of our town, and such 
woodland as he may need, to be used in working the mines ; in 
area from 500 to 1,000 acres, which woodland shall not be within 
two miles of the settlement, but in such place as the town shall 
decide will the least interfere with the town's supply of firewood. 
The town reserves the right of commonage until the governor 
incloses the property granted. It is further provided that 
unless the governor, and such others as may be associated with 
him, set up works and begin to improve the mines within five 
years, the town reserves the right to make this grant to other 
persons, and if the governor accepts this grant, he must do so 
within two years. 

The original wording of this grant was a jumble of words 
seemingly put together for the purpose of hiding the intention 
of the document. It certainly was an easy grant to live under. 
Had there been a dispute, all the interested parties would have 
been dead by the time the document had been translated into 
understandable English. 


Nothing definite was done with the supposed mine in Great 
Hill, till one hundred years after the grant to Governor Winthrop 
was made. It is probable that he found minerals in it, of several 
kinds, but probably not in sufficient quantities to warrant the in- 
vestment of money for its working. In 1762, a German physician, 
Dr. John Sebastian Stephauney, had a small force of men make 
a horizontal opening into the hill. He gave up his operations 
after a brief time, only to renew them in 1770. This time he had 
two other Germans associated with him, John Knool and Gominus 
Erkelens. Dr. Stephauney gave up an active interest in the 
enterprise and turned over the management to his partners, re- 
serving for himself a portion of any profits there might be 
obtained. They agreed, that should metals or ore obtained from 
Great Hill be sent to England, that friends of Knool's should be 
the consignees ; if to Holland, friends of Erkelens' should receive 

The opening made by Dr. Stephauney was enlarged, or a new 
one made, and the top and sides were shored up with great tim- 
bers for the safety of the workmen. A large number of casks 
filled with ore taken from the hill were sent to Europe and pos- 
sibly to China. It was later found according to the private diary 
of President Stiles, of Yale College, that the mineral obtained was 
cobalt. Up to this time the people of Middletown and of nearby 
places, had no idea what had been found in the hill, as the work- 
men were all foreigners who did not speak English. For once 
at least, the inquisitive Yankee, with his ever present interrogation 
point, failed to obtain the information sought. 

Under the date, January 1, 1787, President Stiles' diary con- 
tains the following entry : 

Mr. Erkelens visited me full of his Cobalt mine and his China voyage. 
He some years ago bought the Governor's Ring, as it is called, or a 
mountain in the N. W. corner of East Haddam, comprehending about 800 
acres, or about a square mile area. Here he finds plenty of Cobalt, which 
he manufactures into smalt, with which is made the beautiful blue on 
China ware &c. Governor Trumbull has often told me that this was the 
place to which Governor Winthrop of N. London used to resort with his 
servant, and after spending three weeks in the woods of this mountain, in 
roasting ores and assaying metals and casting gold rings, he used to re- 
turn home to New London with plenty of gold. Hence this is called the 
Gov. Winthrop's ring to this day. Gov. Winthrop was an adept, in intimate 


correspondence with Sir Kenelm Digby, and the first chemical and philo- 
sophical characters of the last century — as may be seen in the dedication 
of 40th vol. Phil. Transactions 1740. Mr. Erkelens * * * has been 
at £2,000 sterling expense to no profit. He is going on a voyage to China, 
carrying with him 20 tons of Cobalt ore. 

Whether Erkelens really went to China or not in 1787, is not 
known. The mine was abandoned and eventually the opening 
was closed by the caving in of the sides and top. 

For thirty years the mine was not worked, nor did it " work " 
anybody till 1818, when Seth Hunt, of New Hampshire, sunk 
a shaft and $20,000. He obtained a half ton of what he supposed 
was cobalt but which an essay, made in England, where the ore 
was sent, proved to be nickel with only a trace of cobalt. 

For twenty-four years the internals of Great Hill were not 
tortured by powder, pick or shovel. In the summer of 1844, 
Professor Shepherd, who wrote "A Report on the Geological 
Survey of Connecticut ", began operations with a few men for 
a short time, probably for scientific purposes, for there is no 
record that he ever attempted to turn the results of his labors 
into commercial value. In 1850, Great Hill found other victims, 
in the persons of Edmund Brown, and a few associates. Mr. 
Brown did a great deal of excavating and lost a large sum of 
money, and at the end of a year and three months gave up the 


THE village of East Hampton, not far from the center of the 
Township, was settled in 1743. It is located near the 
charming little lake called Pocotopaugh. Its fine water 
power was the chief cause of the settlement being made near it. 
Its greatest length, north and south, is a mile and one third and its 
greatest width, east and west, is one mile, but so charmingly ir- 
regular are its shores that its shore-line is about nine miles. Twin 
Islands occupy a position near the center of the lake. They are 
about nine acres in area, and a third of a mile to the north is 
another island of about two acres. Twin Islands was a popular 
camping place and stronghold of the Indians. The lake and its 
surrounding was just such a lovely spot as the Indians prized. 
The first occupation of the early settlers was a forge, from 


which was produced the great quantities of iron required by the 
many boat yards on the Connecticut, in Middletown and its 
neighborhood. Ore was taken to East Hampton from West 
Point, and pig iron, from New York and Salisbury. The original 
forge was given up in 1812, and in 1825 a new forge was built 
upon the site of the old one, where scythes were made, but this, in 
turn, was abandoned several years later. The forges were suc- 
ceeded by several factories for the manufacture of bells, hoes, 
brass-kettles, pistols, satinet, and several saw and gristmills. 
There was a time when nearly all of the sleigh bells used in the 
United States and Canada were made in East Hampton. 

The prosperity and industrial spirit of East Hampton was very 
largely due to William Barton, who was born in Windsor in 
1762. William Barton, the father, was a captain in Colonel 
Flower's Regiment of Artillery Artificers, in the Revolution and 
his son William was with him as assistant. He learned his trade 
from his father, who was armorer in Springfield in the Revolu- 
tionary War. At the close of the war, William returned to 
Wintonbury, in Windsor, and made pistols and other arms. In 
1790, he went to New York and started the manufacture of 
articles made of brass, especially andirons. He remained there 
for eighteen years and in 1808, went to East Hampton where he 
made hand bells and sleigh bells. William Barton was a man 
of broad mind, who loved his fellow man. He was never so 
happy as when benefiting others and improving the condition 
of the community in which he lived and worked. He taught his 
trade to others and it was not long before East Hampton became 
a thriving and prosperous community. In 1826, Mr. Barton went 
to Cicero, New York, where his happy influence was strongly 
felt. In 1846, he returned to his old home in East Hampton to 
spend the remaining years of his life, surrounded by his children 
and the friends and neighbors who honored and loved him. His 
death occurred, after a long life of usefulness, in 1849. 

The first Church of East Hampton was organized in 1748, and 
its first minister was the Rev. John Norton, of Berlin, Con- 
necticut, who was graduated from Yale in 1737. Using the 
expression with profound respect, Mr. Norton was "A Fighting 
Parson ", one of those many patriotic heroes of the Congrega- 
tional ministry in New England, who went to the front in defence 


of the British flag, in Colonial days, against the French and 
later, in defence of the Stars and Stripes, in the struggle for 

As a class, the Congregational ministers of New England were 
college-bred men of strong intellects and inherited refinement, 
who would instinctively shun violence, hardship and death, but 
who possessed the New England spirit (the spirit which has made 
the Yankee the truest type of American manhood) so strongly, 
that they sacrificed everything and endured great hardships with 
cheerfulness, that they might inspire the soldiers with courage, 
through the word of God ; that they might comfort and care for 
the wounded and sick, and commit to earth the bodies of those 
who fell while performing their duty to their country. 

Of such was the Rev. John Norton. He was born in the 
Parish of Kensington, in the part of Farmington that is now 
Berlin, in 17 16. He entered Yale and was graduated in the class 
of 1737, and was ordained over a small congregation in Fall 
Town, in the town of Deerfield, now Bernardston. This was his 
first parish and he was its first minister. On November 30, 1748, 
he was settled over the Church in East Hampton where he was 
minister for thirty years, his death occurring in 1778. The 
Nortons were of Norman descent, the name being Norville till 
it became Anglicised. The Rev. John Norton's great-grand- 
father was one of the eighty-four original proprietors of Bran- 
ford, Connecticut. His father, Sergeant John Norton, lived near 
Mill River crossing, on the road from Farmington to Middletown, 
where he was a farmer who was considered well-to-do. His 
mother was Anna Thompson, whose ancestors were among the 
early settlers of Hartford and Farmington. 

Fall Town was so called from the fact, that it was a grant to 
the men who took part in the great Indian fight, of May 18, 1676, 
at the Great Falls of the Connecticut (Turner's Falls) and later, 
its name was changed to Bernardston. On account of fear of 
trouble with the Indians, the little parish of Fall Town seems to 
have been given up and Mr. Norton dismissed, whereupon he 
became chaplain of a line of forts extending from Northfield, 
just east of the Connecticut, to Hoosic (now Adams), nearly 
across the Colony of Massachusetts, and along the northern 
border. These forts were built for defense from the French and 


Indians. They were ; Northfield, Fall Town, Colerain ; Shirley, 
in the Town of Heath ; Pelham, in the Town of Rowe ; and 
Massachusetts, in the Town of Adams, the latter being where 
Mr. Norton was at the time of its capture by French and 
Indians. Besides being chaplain of these forts, Mr. Norton 
preached to soldiers stationed at three small settlements. The 
commander of this line of forts was Captain Ephraim Williams, 
the founder of Williams College, who was killed in battle, near 
Lake George, on September 8, 1755. While Chaplain Norton 
was making the rounds of the forts, his wife and three children 
lived at Fort Shirley. 

The attack, defence and final surrender of Fort Massachusetts 
to the French, and the journey through woods and over rivers and 
lakes to Canada, where he was held a prisoner for a year, was 
told by Mr. Norton in his diary. 

On August 19, 1746, 900 French and Indians, under command 
of Riguard de Vaudreuil, surrounded the fort at about eight 
o'clock in the morning. The fort was in command of Sergeant 
John Hawks (who later became a colonel) and contained 
twenty-two men, three women and five children. Eleven of the 
men were sick and of the other eleven, but few were strong 
enough to fight any length of time, much less against an army 
of 900. When the attack was made Sergeant Hawks ordered 
that no one should fire till the enemy was near enough for the 
shots to take effect. At the first volley several of the enemy fell 
and Sergeant Hawks killed the fierce chief of the St. Francis 
Indians. Upon investigation, later in the day, Sergeant Hawks 
found that the powder and bullets were nearly used up, so orders 
were given not to shoot, unless there was no doubt of reaching a 
human target. 

Toward night the enemy began to prepare a quantity of wood 
with which to burn out the defenders of the fort, so the Sergeant 
had every available vessel filled with water and placed about in 
the different rooms of the fort. Sometime in the day, John 
Aldrich and Jonathan Bridgman were wounded. As may be 
imagined, the night was filled with anxiety, and but little rest was 
obtained by those who had been fighting all day, and the sick 
were made worse by the anxiety and excitement. Although he 
does not say so, it is easy to guess from his narrative, that he 


handled a musket with the few who were able to fight. He does 
say, however, that he stood watch for a part of the night. The 
attack was renewed the following morning and Thomas Knowlton 
was killed by a shot through his head. At noon of the second 
day's fight, Vaudreuil made known his desire to parley and it 
was granted by Sergeant Hawks, to whom the Frenchman prom- 
ised the best of terms if he would surrender. Hawks said he 
would give his answer in two hours. Upon investigation Hawks 
found that there was not enough powder to last for more than a 
few minutes, should they make a strong attack, and although the 
sick men had been casting bullets and buck shot the previous day, 
they too, were about gone. 

The sentiment of those in the fort was to stand out till the last, 
Mr. Norton strongly favoring continued resistance, but on 
account of the women and sick soldiers, it was thought best to 
surrender upon the following terms: 

That they should be prisoners of the French and that not one 
person should be given over to the Indians ; that the children 
should not be separated from their parents ; and that an exchange 
should be effected at the first possible opportunity. At three 
o'clock in the afternoon of the second day, the French commander 
and his officers were admitted to the fort which, manned by 22 
men, 11 of whom were sick, had stood-off an army of 900 for 
36 hours and only surrendered then, because there was not 
enough powder and shot left to defend the women and the sick. 

Vaudreuil promised to live up to the conditions of the surren- 
der. As a promiser and a fighter he was a thorough Frenchman ; 
one of the same kind that the Dutch of the Mohawk Valley knew 
and loved so well, because of similar promises made and broken. 
The prisoners were divided between the French and their friends, 
the Indians. 

While the arrangements were being made, some of the Indians 
(they had so far been kept out) pulled away the underpinning 
and entered the fort. When they found Knowlton's body they 
took the scalp and cut off the head and arms. A young French- 
man skinned one of the arms, roasted the flesh and offered it to 
Daniel Smeed to eat ; the skin was made into a pouch for 

When the division of the prisoners with the Indians took place, 



Mr. Norton showed his spirit, and that his fighting blood was 
up, by telling de Vaudreuil, that had he supposed anything of 
the kind was to be done he would have strenuously opposed the 
surrender, for he would far rather have died fighting than to 
see any of the men killed while they had no chance to resist, 
and killed he was sure they would be if delivered to the Indians. 
Strange as it may seem, none of the prisoners were killed nor 
were they misused by the Indians. On the contrary, the pris- 
oners were treated kindly by the Indians and with kindness 

and respect by the French. 
Several of the prisoners who 
were unable to walk were 
carried on the backs of In- 
dians, and the women were 
carried by the French. The 
journey through the forest 
was hard and often heart- 
breaking, but the women 
bore it bravely and without 
complaint. In the midst of 
these hardships, on the sec- 
ond day after the surrender, 
Mrs. John Smeed gave birth 
to a daughter. The follow- 
ing day, August 22, Chap- 
lain Norton christened the 
little girl Captivity. While 
the French were unblushing 
liars in regard to the terms 
of the surrender, they were 
kind and thoughtful for the 
women. A frame of saplings, covered with bear and deer skins, 
was prepared for Mrs. Smeed and the romantically-born little 
Captivity. Upon this they were carried by the French. 

Mr. Norton's account of the journey is simply a statement 
of facts and is not interesting except as it is historical and shows 
the stuff of which our New England men and women, yes, and 
infants, were made, for with such parents and neighbors it may 
be surmised that even little Captivity took her nourishment and 
slept, with as little crying as possible, and so became to her 



fellow prisoners, Little Captivating. While Mr. Norton does not 
hint at anything of the kind in regard to himself (it is a narra- 
tive of the experiences of his loved friends ; of their captors and 
of their journey; not an account of his feelings and doings) 
it is easy to read between the short sentences of bald fact, that 
he was cheerful, helpful and courageous. It is also easy to see 
that what he calls the kindness of the French officers to himself, 
was really profound respect and admiration for the " fighting- 
parson " whose brave, courageous, cheerful Protestant Chris- 
tianity, discovered to them the God-loving side of those 
God-fearing New Englanders. From start to finish Mr. Norton 
gives no idea that he thought he was doing anything out of the 
ordinary, but he does praise his fellow prisoners for their forti- 
tude, and the French for their kindness. 

The French permitted Mr. Norton to hold service for the 
prisoners. When it was discovered that he was greatly in need 
of clothing of all kinds, some of the Jesuit Missionaries and some 
French gentlemen sent him all that he needed. A year was 
spent in captivity and on July 25, 1747, they set sail for Boston, 
arriving there on August 16, where Colonel Winslow made 
Mr. Norton his guest, so long as he remained in Boston. Not- 
withstanding the sickness, hardship and privations he had passed 
through Mr. Norton ends his narrative with : 

May I never forget the many, great and repeated mercies of God 
towards me. 

Mr. Norton's patriotic, unselfish courage was shown in the 
eighth year of his pastorate in East Hampton, in 1755, when the 
second French War was in progress, for he again joined the 
army and went as Chaplain on the expedition to Crown Point. 

The first church building in East Hampton was a long time 
in being finished and even then, it was a most primitive affair, 
There was no vestibule or entrance hall, the doors opening 
directly into the church. Between the side aisles and the walls 
were rows of box pews and between the middle aisle and the 
side aisles were two rows of box pews. These pews were square 
and had seats around the four sides so that a portion of the 
congregation sat with its back to the minister and another por- 
tion with its sides toward him. The seats were rough boards 
supported by wooden horses. 


The top of the fence-like structure inclosing the box pews 
was ornamented by open wood work something like miniature 
balusters. Some of these were not tight and when turned in 
their sockets would give out a squeaking noise, of the kind to 
delight the heart of a child. It is a tradition, that an oppor- 
tunity to turn a loose one and so relieve the monotony of the 
long drawn out and tiresome services of those strenuous religious 
days, was seldom missed by the boys. 

The pulpit was opposite the doors, on a platform long and 
narrow. Three or four steps at the western end of the platform 
led to the pulpit, which was paneled and painted white. A 
gallery was around three sides of the church and the choir occu- 
pied the front seats in that portion of the gallery opposite the 
pulpit. A pitch-pipe, used for giving the key. was the nearest 
approach to instrumental music. The two ends of the gallery 
contained the seats for the slaves. Attached to the posts sup- 
porting the gallery, which were painted blue, were sockets with 
drip-cups for holding the " tallow dips ", or candles, by which 
the church was lighted at night. When extra light was needed 
the people brought candle sticks from their homes. Attending 
church in those days in the winter was a hardship as well as a 
duty, for there was no means of heating the building. Heat in 
a church was regarded as an un-Godly luxury for many years. 
The members of the congregation sat bundled up as for a sleigh 
ride. When the first talk of " improvements " was started, it 
called forth strong opposition, for anything like progress or im- 
provements in the church savored of " Popery " or even the 
works of Satan. 

But gradually changes were made. An entrance hall was 
partitioned off ; the box pews in the middle of the church were 
removed and ordinary seats, with the sitters facing the minister, 
were substituted. And then, luxury of luxuries, two stoves were 
set up, one near the west and the other near the east door. In 
the center of the church, above the heads of the congregation, 
was a drum into which long lengths of stove pipe entered from 
the two stoves. The joints of these long pipes leaked and many 
a garment or head covering was ruined, till finally matters were 
a little improved by the placing of square pans under the leaking 
joints. Later still, a whale-oil chandelier was put in and then 



the members began to make their pews more comfortable with 
cushions on the seats and carpets on the floor. 

But it remained for the pretty, vivacious young wife of the Rev. 
Joel West to cause the sensation of East Hampton, for not only 
was she brought to her future home in a carriage, the first seen in 
East Hampton, but she had the first carpet ever seen in any 
home of the village. Tradition has it, from the memory of an 
old resident of the charming village, that when Deacon Bill had 
occasion to call at the parsonage, he walked around the edges 
of the carpet so as not to step upon so beautiful a thing. 

The ordination of the Rev. Joel West in the old church, on 
October 17, 1792, was a great event in East Hampton. The 





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Miss Betsy Brockway was greatly pleased with it and remarked in a joking way, 

" See, that is my house." 

people came from great distances, great in those days of horse- 
back and oxcart transportation, and one woman, it is said, arrived 
at the church by sunrise to be sure to get a good seat. Among 
others, were the Rev. Thomas Brockway and his charming 
daughter, who rode over from Lebanon (now Columbia) to 
attend the ordination. The house which was later bought by 


Mr. "West for his home, was much more pretentious than the 
average in the village and was delightfully situated on the shore 
of the lake. When Miss Betsey Brockway passed this house 
she was greatly pleased with it and remarked in a joking way 
to her companions : 

See, that is my house. 

She was an unconscious prophetess, for she became the girl- 
bride of the young minister on November u, 1794, and presided 
with grace, dignity and charming vivacity over the home by the 
lake, that she had so greatly admired. Tradition tells, that when 
she first appeared in church in her wedding gown, the like had 
never before been seen. Her hair was " banged " across her 
forehead and hung in a long braid down her back. She wore 
a bright-colored changeable silk dress. Over this she wore a 
cloak of red broadcloth with a hood trimmed with swansdown 
and on her pretty head was a white satin bonnet trimmed with 
swansdown. The cradle in which her twelve children were 
rocked is still in existence. 

As has been said, music was somewhat primitive in the eight- 
eenth century in New England rural churches. In the spring 
of 1760, Captain Jonathan Alvord was selected to " set the 
psalm " and Seth Alvord was chosen as chorister, as were Robert 
Shattuck, Titus Carrier, and Bryan Parmlee. The pitch-pipe 
was in the form of a book, longer than wide, with a mouth piece 
at one corner and on the sides were slides which made the dif- 
ferent keys. 

The part taken by the men of East Hampton, in the Colonial 
and Revolutionary Wars was a creditable one. As the names 
of the men who fought for their King and later their Country, 
will be of interest to their descendants, they are given here, but 
it is not a complete list : 

Stephen Ackley Marcus Cole 

Joshua Bailey Moses Freeman 

James Bailey Simeon Freeman 

James Bill Benjamin Goff 

Recompense Bailey Samuel Goff 

Josiah Caswell John Hailing 

Titus Carrier Daniel Hills 


Stephen Knowlton Elkanah Sears 

John Norton William White 

Bryan Parmlee James Webb 

Joseph Smith Simeon Young 
Michael Smith 

These were the men who fought for the King in the French 
and Indian War. Besides them, there were in Captain Savage's 
company ; John Bevm, Josiah Clark, Amos Dewey and Thomas 
Shepard. In Captain Champion's company; Lemuel Shurtleff, 
Samuel Mott, and Abner Norket. 

The Rev. John Norton's military record has already been given. 
The only reason that he was not personally active in the Con- 
tinental army, in the War for Independence, was, that advancing 
years prevented it. Among those who were in the Revolution 
were : 

Ezera Ackley Daniel Hill 

William Bevin Thomas Hill 

Elijah Bailey John Johnson 

Joshua Bailey James Johnson, Jr. 

Caleb Cook Samuel Kilbourn 

Daniel Clark Benjamin Kneeland, ensign 

Amos Clark Timothy Percival, lieut. 

Elijah Clark Daniel Mackall 

Elisha Cornwell Nathaniel Markham 

David Cornwell Stephen Olmsted 

Nehemiah Day Ithamar Pelton 

Silas Dunham, capt. Daniel Park 

Marcus Cole, ord. sgt. Ralph Smith 

Sylvanus Freeman Samuel Sexton 

Samuel Freeman W r illiam White 

Hezekiah Goff Lazarus Watrus 

Nathaniel Garnsey Ezra Purple 

Samuel Hill 

Then there is that longer list of names of the heroic women 
who, without the excitement and the glory of battle and the 
courage given by numbers, sacrificed all that was dear to them, 
and who toiled and suffered uncomplainingly that the Cause 
might be helped on. Their names have never been printed and 
never will be, but the New England States, with their rugged 


grandeur and lovely, peaceful valleys stand as a perpetual monu- 
ment to them, for with-out the New England women the Nation 
would never have been won. 


THERE is not, perhaps, a town in the State of Connecticut 
so widely known by name as Portland, the sandstone 
quarries of which have made it famous. 

Portland was settled about 1690, by John Gill and James 
Stancliffe, their houses being on the river bank near what is now 
the principal street of the village. These two were soon after 
joined by William Cornwall, who made his " pitch " back from 
the meadow. They and their families were obliged to attend 
" meeting " across the river in Middletown. In 1714 a petition 
was sent to the General Court, signed by thirty-one persons, re- 
questing that they be given parish privileges. The petition was 
granted and in 17 16. the people built a little church, forty by 
twenty-six feet, on the hill. The Church was organized in 1721, 
and the Rev. Daniel Newell, of Bristol, a graduate of Yale in the 
class of 1718, was its first minister. 

In 1789, there being fourteen Episcopal families in Portland, 
they decided to build a church. It was finished in 1790, when the 
number of families in the parish had increased to thirty-four. 
The Rev. Abraham Jarvis, rector of Christ Church, Middletown, 
was the first rector of the Portland Church, in connection with 
the one in Middletown. 

The famous sandstone of Portland was known and used soon 
after the settlement of Middletown, in 1650, for building pur- 
poses and for grave stones. At first, there was no quarrying. 
The great pieces that were broken from the cliffs by the frost 
were broken up and worked down, for a long time before regular 
and systematic quarrying was attempted. The stone was seen to 
be of a fine and superior quality and was in demand in Middle- 
town, and in neighboring hamlets. As the demand exhausted the 
surface supply the work of digging the stone out of the ground, 
where it had fallen from the cliffs to be covered by earth and 
debris, washed over it by the high water from the river, was 

The stone was regarded as common property and was taken 
by any one, from everywhere. By 1665, the people of Middletown 



(Portland was then East Middletown) began to realize, that the 
stone was valuable. They decided that no more of it should be 
removed on flatboats, or otherwise, by strangers. The Town 
voted that only inhabitants of Middletown should take the stone, 
and that even they should pay to the Town twelve pence for each 
ton taken. Eventually, the Town disposed of the ledge to private 
parties, when systematic quarrying was begun. Another quarry, 
a few rods south of the original one, was opened in 1783, and 
from that year the business increased to its present proportions. 
There was a time when Portland's boat and ship building yards 


were of much more importance and profit than its quarries, but 
the advent of railroads materially hurt the business. For a hun- 
dred years Portland built ships and schooners that had enviable 
reputations, for their staunchness and seaworthiness. The first 
vessel launched from the Portland yards was a 90-ton schooner, 
in October, 1741. Then followed a long line of merchantmen, 
men-o'war and privateers in Revolutionary days. Among them 
were; "The Trumbull", of 700 tons carrying 36 guns; "The 
Bourbon ", 900 tons, carrying 40 guns, or rather it was designed 
for that number but they were never mounted, as peace with 
Great Britain was declared before the ship was quite finished ; 


' The Connecticut ", 514 tons, 20 guns, built at Stevens' Wharf, 
in 1799. Churchill's yard began operations in 1795, and the fol- 
lowing vessels were launched ; " The Holker ", 350 tons, 18 guns, 
built in 1813. She was driven ashore by the British at Narra- 
gansett and wrecked, so another ship of the same name was built, 
in 1814, of 400 tons and 20 guns. The name seems to have been 
unlucky for she was wrecked in a storm on Long Island. " The 
Macedonian ", 400 tons and 20 guns was built in the same year ; 
" The Saranac ", 373 tons and 16 guns ; and " The Boxer ", 367 
tons and 16 guns, were built in 181 5. They were the last of the 
war ships built in Portland. The 'Trumbull", "Bourbon", 
" Connecticut ", " Saranac " and " Boxer ", were built for the 
United States Navy. 

In the decade ending with 1816, Churchill turned out vessels of 
a total tonnage of 12,500. In that year the ship building industry 
declined somewhat in the Portland yards, still, in the thirty-four 
years succeeding 1816, Elizur Abbey launched thirty-five vessels 
ranging from 75 to 300 tons, and Gildersleeve launched sixty-nine 
vessels ranging from 75 to 700 tons. It is interesting, that in 
Portland originated the line of packets which later became 
prominent as The New York and Galveston Line. Alexander 
Keith, Joseph J. and William Hendly, of Middletown ; and 
Gildersleeve, of Portland, built the schooner, William Bryan, in 
1836, which was the first regular packet to sail from New York 
to a Texan port. The Bryan was followed by five ships and two 
barks for this line, all of which were built in Portland. 

The falling off in the ship building industry on the Connecticut 
River is something to be regretted. It is possible, even probable, 
that the industries which succeeded that one are more profitable, 
if vastly less dignified. There is something particularly grand 
and inspiring in sea-going vessels and the men employed in build- 
ing them were Yankee mechanics of a high order ; men of in- 
telligence and broad minds who seemed to put some of their own 
sterling qualities into vessels they constructed. The men who are 
employed in the industries of to-day are of another class and 
almost all, of other nationalities. In this year of 1905, in the few 
villages and towns of the New England coast, where the princi- 
pal occupation is ship building, the people are of a superior class, 
broader-minded and more conversant with the affairs of the 
world, and the foreign population is, in many instances, entirely 


WHEN the people of Watertown, Massachusetts, moved 
to the Connecticut Valley they settled at a great bend 
in the river at a place called by the Indians Pyquag, 
meaning the dancing place or place for public games, which they 
named Wethersfield. This was the first permanent settlement 
in Connecticut. Here the few pioneers built their poor little log- 
cabins and passed a hard winter of cold and privation, but they 
were content in the knowledge that they were far from the irk- 
some conditions in Massachusetts which, to be rid of, they had 
taken the long, wearying journey to the Connecticut. 

Early in the following year the people left behind in Water- 
town, who were destined for the Connecticut, arrived, the major- 
ity coming by ship. It is said that they arrived several months 
earlier than the Hooker party, which made the journey through 
the forest. After the vessel which bore them to their new home 
in the west, lay moored by the bank of the river, the honor of 
being the first to set foot upon the land of hope and promise 
was hotly contested by the men of the party, each one stating 
this or that reason why he was entitled to enjoy the privilege. 
While this dispute was going on a woman, by the name of Bar- 
ber, seeing an opportunity to wrest the honor and privilege from 
the men, jumped from the vessel and reaching the shore made 
herself famous, for so long as the history of Connecticut shall 
exist, by being the first white woman to tread upon Connecticut 

The village was built upon a slight, flat elevation, above the 
rich meadows that lay along the river. Could one of those early 
settlers come back to Wethersfield now and find the streets and 
houses just as he knew them in 1635, he would still be at a loss 
to know where he was. This confusion would be caused by the 
great change in the appearance and course of the river. It 
would be difficult to describe the changes which have taken place 
in the Connecticut at Wethersfield, since 1635. The change in 
the course of the river at Wethersfield was the cause of at least 



one law suit, for land which had formerly been on the east side 
of the river was found to be on the west side. An account of 
the resulting law suit is given under the caption, Glastenbury. 

Wethersfield was so situated that it was more harried by the 
Indians, being nearer to the Pequots' headquarters, than either 
of the two other settlements, Hartford and Windsor. One of 
the most atrocious acts of that cruel and bloodthirsty tribe, the 
Pequots, committed in Wethersfield was one of the chief causes 
for the Pequot war of 1637. In April, 1637, as the men were 
going into the fields to begin the work preliminary to planting, 
they were ambushed by a band of Pequots. Three women and 
six men were killed and scalped and two girls were taken as 
prisoners; twenty cows were killed and considerable other prop- 
erty was destroyed. 

From 1673, to 1693, the Town of Wethersfield included the 
present Towns of Newington, Glastenbury, Rocky Hill, and por- 
tions of Berlin and Marlborough. In October 1693, the area 
of Wethersfield was reduced one half, by cutting off all that part 
on the east side of the Connecticut River. 

Wethersfield was the mother-town of many of the towns in 
western Connecticut. In 1638, and '39, there was an exodus to 
Quinnipiac by Lieutenant Robert Seeley and John Evans, to 
whom the old records gave the title of gentlemen ; Abraham Bell, 
John Clark, John Gibbs, Richard Gildersleve, John Livermore, 
and Richard Miles. In 1639, the Rev. Peter Pruden headed a 
considerable company that settled at Milford — then called Wepo- 
waug — in 1640, the Rev. Richard Denton and about thirty 
others, went to Stamford — then called Rippowams — and in 
1639, and '40, a small company settled Stratford — then called 
Cupheag. In 1644, and '45, Branford — then called Totoket — 
was settled by the Rev. John Sherman, Robert Abbott, Roger 
Betts, Leslie Bradfield, Robert Foot, John Norton, William 
Palmer, John Plumb, Sam Richells, Robert Rose, Charles Taintor, 
John Ward, Thomas Whit way. The Rev. Mr. Sherman went 
from Wethersfield to Milford in 1639, thence to Branford. He 
was an ancestor of General W. T. Sherman and Senator John 
Sherman. By 1660, the number in Branford had been increased 
by about sixty other settlers. In 1659, the trouble in the Hart- 
ford Church caused another and considerable exodus, this time 



to Hadley, Massachusetts, under the spiritual leadership of the 
Rev. John Russell, Jr. This was the last organized company to 
leave Wethersfield. 

Unlike the settlers of Hartford and Windsor, those of Wethers- 
field had no organized Church when they arrived in the Valley 
of the Connecticut. The Church was not organized till the spring 
of 1636. Although there were several ministers in Wethers- 
field the Church did not have a minister, till the Rev. Henry 
Smith was settled over the parish, in 1641. Mr. Smith's pas- 


torate was made unpleasant by that still-existing cause of dis- 
cord — the rich and influential member — who in this instance 
was the ruling elder, Clement Chaplin. The Rev. John Russell, 
Jr., who went to Hadley, was the second minister. Unlike the 
majority of the Connecticut towns, Wethersfield's ministers were 
constantly changing, their pastorates being brief. The Rev. John 
Cotton was minister from 1660, to 1663 ; the Rev. Joseph Haynes, 
son of Governor Haynes, succeeded Mr. Cotton for about a year; 
the Rev. Thomas Buckingham preached for one or two months, 


in 1664; in 1664 and 1665, the Rev. Jonathan Willoughby 
preached ; the Rev. Samuel Wakeman preached for a few months 
in 1666; the Rev. Samuel Stone — son of the original Samuel 
Stone of Hartford — from 1666 to 1669. The Rev. Gershom 
Bulkeley became minister in 1667, and continued as such till his 
health failed in 1676. Mr. Bulkeley was a man of broad mind 
and liberal education. He was a graduate of Harvard and was 
as well known throughout New England for his skill as a sur- 
geon and lawyer, as for his ability as a preacher. In the Indian 
war of 1675, he served in the dual capacity of chaplain and 
surgeon. His wife was a daughter of President Chauncey of 
Harvard. The Rev. Joseph Rowlandson was the minister from 
1G77, to 1678, in which year he died; the Rev. John Woodbridge, 
from 1679, till his death in 1691 ; the Rev. William Partridge 
from 1691, till his death in 1693. 

The first typical New England pastorate began in 1693, when 
the Rev. Stephen Mix became the minister. Mr. Mix's pastorate 
continued for forty-four years, ending at his death in 1738. The 
Rev. Stephen Mix was a son of Thomas Mix, of New Haven. 
He was graduated from Harvard. His wife was Mary Stoddard, 
daughter of the Rev. Solomon Stoddard, of Northampton, whom 
fie married in 1696. Mr. Mix was succeeded by the Rev. James 
Lock wood, who was minister from 1738 till his death in 1772. 
Mr. Lockwood was offered and declined the presidency of Prince- 
ton and of Yale. The Rev. Dr. John Marsh was settled in 1774. 
His pastorate continued for forty-six years and ended at his 
death in 1821. The Rev. Dr. Caleb Jewett Tenney, who was 
Dr. Marsh's assistant for the last five years of his pastorate, suc- 
ceeded Dr. Marsh as minister. Dr. Tenney was graduated from 
Dartmouth in 1801, at the head of the class of which Daniel 
Webster was a member. 

When the first meeting-house was built is uncertain, as the 
records give no information on that subject. That there was a 
meeting-house in 1646, which was probably begun in the pre- 
vious year, is certain, from the records. Authorities differ as to 
whether this was the first or second church structure. In 1685, 
a new church was built not far from the site of that of T646, 
and in 1761, the present fine specimen of Colonial church-archi- 
tecture was erected, not far from the sites of its predecessors. It 


is of the same style as the famous Old South Church, on Wash- 
ington street, in Boston. General Washington, and the elder 
Adams, attended service there. 

The first Baptist Church was organized in 1784, and the first 
church edifice was erected in 1816. Although George White- 
field preached under the great elm on Broad street, in 1740, 
Methodism cannot be said to have started till 1790, when Jesse 
Lee, of Virginia, and Freeborn Garrettson preached in Wethers- 
field, but the first Methodist church was not built till 1824. An 
attempt was made by the Rev. Samuel Johnson, of Stratford, to 
establish an Episcopal Church in Wethersfield in 1729, but no 
parish was organized in the town till 1797, in that portion that 
is now Newington. It soon ceased to exist. There were schools 
in the town for many years before 1700. The records show that 
the first school-house was in such condition that it was unfit for 
use in 1660. 

While Wethersfield of to-day is proud of the fact that it has no 
hotel nor any place where the weary and hungry traveler may 
rest and eat, it was well supplied with taverns in the old days. 
John Saddler was probably the first tavern-keeper, in 1642, on 
High street. In 1675, Richard Smith, who was the ferryman, 
kept a tavern on the New London road, at the ferry ; and John 
Belden was licensed to keep a tavern in the same year, on Broad 
street. John Devotion kept a tavern in 1713 ; Benjamin Belden, 
in 1714; Corporal John Francis in 1717. Stillman's tavern was 
the house in which Washington consulted with officers of his 
armv, in 1781. 

Wethersfield had a library just after peace was declared in 
1783. In the Revolution, Wethersfield men took an active and un- 
selfish part, as in fact they did in all the wars, from the Pequot, 
soon after the first settlement, down to the Civil War, of 1861. 
In Colonel John Chester, Colonel Samuel B. Webb, and Captain 
Ezekiel P. Belden, Wethersfield had the honor of being the home 
of three original members of the Order Cincinnati. 

Ship building was carried on in Wethersfield at a verv early 
date, but it was not of the importance in tonnage or profit that 
it was in some of the other river towns. In 1648, Thomas 
Deming built the ship " Tryall ", his yard being on that part of 
the river that is now the Cove. The " Tryall " was one of the 



first ships built in the Colony. She was in command of Captain 
Larabee, and Samuel Smith owned the largest share in the 
ship. Boats were built on the site of Deming's yard for about 
200 years. In 1672, there was another yard started, just to the 
north of the Rocky Hill landing, where a thriving business was 
carried on and a considerable number of vessels were built. The 
commerce of Wethersfield was chiefly fur-bearing pelts and pipe- 
staves ; the former were shipped to Europe and the latter to the 
West Indies. Among the more notable sea-captains were the 

following: in the Still- 
man family were, Otis 
Southmayde, George, 
Simeon, Francis, 
Charles, Allyn, and Jo- 
seph Stillman, who 
was the grandfather of 
Massachusett's fine pa- 
triot of the Revolu- 
tionary days, James 
Otis. Other men who 
were connected with 
the sea as captains or 
merchants, were Wil- 
liam Griswold, Joseph 
Webb, Justus Riley 
and Barnabas Deane. 

Some of the great- 
est industries of the 
State of Connecticut, 
either originated in Wethersfield, or were started by natives of 
that village. To begin with the most primitive manufacturing 
interests, it is probable that the dam across Mill Brook — some- 
times called Sucker Brook — built by Leonard Chester, in 1637, 
to store water for turning the wheel of his gristmill, was the 
first dam built in the Connecticut Valley. 

The great britannia works of Meriden with its present allied 
industries, was founded by Ashbel Griswold, who was born in 
that portion of Wethersfield that is now Rocky Hill. About the 
year 1785, Captain Thomas Danforth, of Rocky Hill, manufac- 



tured articles of tin and pewter. The greater portion of his 
goods were sent to the Southern States. Young Griswold, one 
of Captain Danforth's apprentices, went to Meriden in 1808, and 
began the manufacture of block-tin, out of which grew the britan- 
nia works. Griswold died in 1853, leaving a large fortune. 

Although the first broom, of broom-corn, was made in Hadley, 
in 1797, it was made by Levi Dickenson, a native of Wethers- 
field, who moved to Hadley. There is a tradition that Dickenson 
cultivated the first broom-corn in Wethersfield, before he moved 
to Hadley. 

While it is not claimed to be the first of the kind, the leghorn 
hats made by Miss Sophia Woodhouse — who married Gurdon 
Welles — in 1819, should not be passed by. Miss Woodhouse 
made the hats of red-top and spear-grass which grew about 
Wethersfield, using the upper portion of the stalks. In 1821, 
the Society of Arts, in London, awarded her a prize of twenty 
guineas for a bonnet she had made of those grasses, which was 
exhibited at the fair of the Society. She was also granted a 
patent by the United States, in the same year. The color and 
fineness of her hats was said to be superior to the best Leghorn. 

On December II, 1782, Wethersfield, and, indeed, the conntry 
for many miles around, was greatly excited and shocked by the 
murder of his entire family by one of Wethersfield's most 
prominent merchants and respected citizens, and by his suicide. 
A peculiar fact in connection with the crime is, that horrible as 
it was, it seems to have been prompted by a combination of love, 
and selfish cowardice, due to inability to bear loss of property. 
William Beadle had decided to kill himself rather than bear, what 
he thought to be, the shame of poverty. At the same time, he 
thought it would be cruel to leave his wife and children to bear 
poverty alone, so he killed them too. 

Mr. Beadle was born in the village of Essex, near London, and 
was supposed to be the natural son of an English gentleman, 
whose social position made him familiar with the court and club- 
life. He came to America in 1762, and lived for a time in Strat- 
ford, Derby and in Fairfield, where he was married. About 
x 773< ne moved to Wethersfield and was known to be possessed 
of considerable property. He started in the retail trade and had 
one of the best stocked country stores in the state. He did a 


large, and what would have been a prosperous business, had 
Continental currency not depreciated so greatly. Instead of ac- 
cepting Continental money at a discount, or charging an ad- 
vanced price for his goods, as most merchants did, he accepted 
it at its face value believing that it would in time be at par. 
Instead of investing his profits he kept the cash in his house. 
The depreciation resulted in a loss which reduced him from 
affluence to real poverty. His home had been notable for its 
hospitality and after his loss of fortune, till he destroyed his 
family and himself, he continued to entertain his friends gener- 
ously, even while he was reduced to the greatest straits in his 
private life. 

That a misguided pride caused him to be unable to bear his 
losses with courage, is shown by an extract from one of his 
manuscripts, in which he expressed the opinion : 

If a man who has once lived well, meant well and done well, falls by 
unavoidable accident into poverty, and then submits to be laughed at, 
despised and trampled on, by a set of mean wretches as far below him as 
the moon is below the sun ; I say if such a man submits, he must become 
meaner than meanness itself, and I sincerely wish he might have ten years 
added to his natural life to punish him for his folly. 

Mr. Beadle fixed upon the night of November 18, 1782, for 
the destruction of himself and his family, but circumstances pre- 
vented it. On the evening of December 10, he entertained some 
friends in his usual pleasant and hospitable manner, and was 
seemingly calm and undisturbed by the knowledge, that before 
morning he was to kill his family and himself. Just before 
dawn of the next morning he killed his wife and then called 
the house maid, who slept in the room with the children, and 
sent her on an errand to the doctor, whose house was a quarter 
of a mile distant. He then killed the four children, a son and 
three daughters, and finally himself. The people of the village 
were greatly excited by the deed and demanded that the body 
of the suicide-murderer should be buried at a cross roads, with 
a stake driven through its breast, but when the choice of loca- 
tion was considered, no place could be decided upon, as no one 
was willing to have it near his house or property. The body was 
finally buried between high and low water on the river bank, with 
the bloody knife fastened to its breast, but it was partly washed 



out later and so was again buried secretly. The place being 
found by some children it was buried a third time, secretly. Mr. 
Beadle was fifty-two and his wife thirty-two. 

It is strange, that for months Mrs. Beadle had experienced 
horrible dreams in which she saw her children lying dead from 
violence. These dreams had the effect of convincing Mr. Beadle 
that his contemplated act was proper and that his wife's dreams 
were inspired by Heaven to convince him that his and their 

Chair to right once the property of Napoleon. 

deaths were justified. Beadle believed that it was evidence of 
sublime heroism to die by one's own act and that, " The Deity 
would punish no one who was impatient to visit God and learn 
his will from his own mouth, face to face ". The remnants of 
the superstition that believed in witches and burned innocent 
persons for practicing witchcraft, was shown by the people at 
the time of this tragedy. On December 10, the day before the 
murders were committed, the weather was fine and there was a 


full moon. The following is quoted from a letter written at the 
time, by a gentleman to a friend, and shows that superstition 
existed : 

* * * neither the sun nor moon were visible from the time this 
horrid deed was done till the body of the man was laid beneath the clods, 
which redoubled the horror; when suddenly the wind blew from the 
north-west, dispelled the vapors and discovered a cloudless sky. 

Rocky Hill was set off from Wethersfield and incorporated as 
a separate town in 1843. ^ n l 7 2 °> when the inhabitants of 
Rocky Hill wished to become a separate parish, the people of 
Wethersfield changed the general order of things, when such a 
desire was made known, by voting to give the Rocky Hill people 
that which they desired, instead of opposing it. The petitioners 
were Joseph Cole, Richard Butler, Samuel Belden, Joseph Butler, 
Jonathan Curtis, Samuel Collins, Joseph Crowfoot, Elihu Dickin- 
son ; Thomas, John and Gideon Goodrich ; Thomas Williams, Sr., 
Jonathan Smith, John Stephens, William Nott, Stephen Williams, 
John Taylor ; Jonathan, Jacob and Joseph Riley ; Samuel Smith 
and Abraham Morris. 

In the spring of 1722, the General Court incorporated the 
parish and Joseph Grimes, Jonathan Curtis and Benjamin Wright 
were appointed a committee to fix upon the site for the meeting- 
house. The first name chosen for the parish was Lexington, 
after the town of that name in Massachusetts, the former home 
of Mr. Grimes, but he suggested, that it would be better not 
to have two Lexingtons, so Stepney was fixed upon as the name. 
This was the name of the parish till 1826, when the Legislature 
changed it to Rocky Hill, and if the Legislature should change 
it to the old name, or to a new one, it would be doing a good 
thing. Rocky Hill is neither pleasant to the ears, the eyes, nor 
the imagination. 

The original eastern boundary was not at the river, but in 
1759, the parish was increased in size by extending the eastern 
boundary to the Connecticut, and extensions of the western and 
northern boundaries were made. In 1794, there was a slight 
contraction of the area of the parish, by adding some of it to 
the Parish of Worthington, in the Town of Berlin. When the 
parish was first talked of in 1720, the Town granted to the pros- 


pective Church, sixty acres of farm land, and eight acres for the 
" home lot " upon which the parsonage was to be built, on the 
south side of the road from Rocky Hill to Griswoldville. It is 
supposed, that the meeting-house was begun in the same year 
the land was given. It was not finished till about 1725. The 
Rev. Daniel Russell, son of the Rev. Noadiah Russell, one of the 
founders of Yale, was settled in July, as the first minister. His 
pastorate continued for thirty-eight years, ending in 1764. 
The second minister was the Rev. Burrage Merriam, from 1765, 
to 1776; the third, was the Rev. John Lewis, from 1781, to 1792; 
the fourth, was the Rev. Dr. Calvin Chapin, from 1794, to 1851. 
Dr. Chapin was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and was 
graduated at Yale in the class of 1788. He studied for the 
ministry with the Rev. Dr. Nathan Perkins, of West Hartford. 
From 1 79 1, to '94, he was a tutor at Yale. 


It has been mentioned elsewhere, that the people who settled 
Connecticut were of a superior class, and that many of the fami- 
lies were possessed of considerable means. Of this class were 
the Notts, of Wethersfield. 

The first American ancestor of the Nott family was John 
Nott, who came to America and settled in Wethersfield, in 1640, 
just after the adoption of the famous Constitution, when the 
young Colony was becoming stronger each year. John Nott was 
born in Nottingham, England. The old records give him the 
title of sergeant, which in those days was a title of considerable 
distinction. It was probably on a par with that of captain now, 
and besides, it must be remembered, that the military and civil 
offices were given to men of note in the community, so even the 
lowest title marked the man who bore it. 

John Nott owned much land and after the year 1665, was f° r 
several years a member of the General Court. He was survived 
by one son and two daughters. The elder of the daughters, 
Elizabeth, married Robert Reeve, the ancestor of Judge Tapping 
Reeve, founder of the Litchfield Law School, and the other, 
Hannah, married John Hale and so she became the grandmother 
of Captain Nathan Hale of glorious Revolutionary memory. 
The youngest child was the son John, who was named for his 





father. It is from his large family, which included seven sons, 
that so many of America's notable ministers and educators of 
the name of Nott are descended, and although some of 
them were born in other towns, their origin in America was 

On March 28, 1683, John Nott, the son, married Patience 
Miller, a widow. They had seven sons and two daughters. The 
sons and daughters were honors to their name. Abraham, the 
youngest son, who was born on January 29, 1696, obtained a 
liberal education and entered the Congregational ministry. 

Abraham prepared for Yale College and was graduated in 
1720, just after the removal of that institution to New Havei* 
from Saybrook. He then studied for the ministry and was 
ordained minister of the Second Congregational Church of Say- 
brook, in that portion that is now Essex, on November 16, 1725. 
This, his first and only pastorate, extended over a period of 
thirty-four years and thus began a record for long pastorates 
for which the Nott family is famous. Abraham Nott was strong, 
morally, mentally and physically. In College he was a notable 
athlete and generally won against all competitors in contests 
requiring great strength and endurance. There is a tradition 
that his strength was so great that he could raise a barrel of 
cider and drink from the bung-hole. As a wrestler he was irre- 
sistible ; as a preacher he was earnest, and convincing. With 
one exception the men of the Nott family were thrifty and had 
ability to accumulate property. Even the ministers of the family 
were good business men and although their lives as ministers 
were full, with their pastoral duties, they still found time for 
looking after their property. The Rev. Abraham Nott died on 
January 24, 1759, and left a fine property to his four sons. 

One of these sons, Stephen, was the unfortunate member of 
the family. He was regarded as " a well informed man " and 
had received a good education, although he was not a college- 
man. Stephen started well in business at the age of twenty-one. 
He had a thorough knowledge of tanning and farming, but as 
he preferred commercial pursuits, he opened a store in Saybrook, 
in 1749. That same year he married the second daughter of 
Samuel Selden, of Lyme, the beautiful Deborah Selden, who was 
but seventeen at the time of her marriage, and her husband but 



twenty-one. The Seldens were among the best families at the 
southern end of the Connecticut river. The future for these two 
young persons seemed bright. Of equal social position and 
intelligence, and the husband with a good business, they little 
anticipated the misery and poverty that was to be theirs. But 
Stephen had no more than experienced his first loss of fortune 
than he discovered that he possessed a mine of unknown wealth 
in his brilliant and beautiful young wife. As year after year 
passed and their poverty became more burdensome, Deborah 
Nott's grand spirit developed. Her courage and splendid forti- 


tude would have caused her husband, had he possessed those 
qualities, to conquer adversity, but Stephen could not stand up 
under hard times and finally the gently born Deborah, accus- 
tomed in her parental home to all the refinements and luxury 
of the times, became the support of her " sick " husband and 
large family of children. It is not impossible, that what the 
young mother was experiencing while she was bearing her chil- 
dren and while they were young and easily influenced by such 
nobility as hers, was the fire that separated the pure metal from 


the dross, for two of her sons became famous ; one of them the 
greatest educator of the nineteenth century. Neither of these 
men possessed a single characteristic of their father's. Their 
Nott characteristics, of great energy, singleness of purpose, 
ability to overcome difficulties, great strength of will, mind and 
body, all came from their grandfather and his father and grand- . 
father. From the Seldens, they inherited their brilliancy, their 
elegance of manner ; and the great educator, the Rev. Eliphalet 
Nott, D.D., the eloquence which makes his eulogy of Alexander 
Hamilton as much admired to-day as it was when he uttered it. 

The first serious trouble that came into the life of Stephen 
was in 1759, when the home and all it contained was destroyed 
by fire. The fire occurred in the night and Samuel (one of the 
two famous sons), then but five years old, was rescued by his 
mother at great risk to her own life. A minister who was a 
guest of the Notts was also rescued by Mrs. Nott with great 
difficulty. Friends of Stephen Nott made it possible for him 
to build a new home, and his business prospered so greatly that 
it seemed as if he would soon recover from the loss he had sus- 
tained through the fire. Before a year had passed, the last straw 
was laid upon a seemingly weak back and from that time onward 
the fortunes of Stephen dwindled till real poverty was reached. 

Stephen Nott's business was of the kind known in those days 
as a general store. He dealt in a great variety of articles. The 
chief source of his profit was horses. These he would buy from 
the surrounding farms, giving goods from his store in payment. 
He, of course, gave the smallest price for which he could obtain 
the horses, and charged the full retail price for the goods taken 
in exchange. Here was one profit. In addition, there was a 
demand for horses in New Jersey at that time, where he drove 
them when he had a herd of sufficient size, and sold them for a 
good price. On the occasion in question, he was returning with 
his saddle-bags well filled with money, when highway-men 
knocked him senseless and took the entire proceeds of the year's 
business. For some unaccountable reason his creditors lost con- 
fidence in him, refused an extension of time and attempted to 
confine him in the debtors' prison. He successfully eluded arrest 
and, after the passage of the insolvency act, returned to his home. 

Through the assistance of a relative, Stephen was able to pur- 
1 1 

1 62 


chase a small house with a little land, in East Haddam, on credit, 
where he made use of his knowledge of the tanner's trade to 
start in that business. 

Five or six years of struggle with adversity were passed in 
East Haddam, and had Mrs. Nott been as easily discouraged as 
was her husband, the family would probably have gone to pieces. 
Besides her usual housekeeping duties Mrs. Nott had a family 
of six small children to care for, make clothes for and to teach. 
In addition, there were long periods in which her husband was 
laid up with malaria — the disease that is so apt to afflict persons 
who are without energy or spirit — in which she supported the 


family by making dresses, knitting stockings and teaching 

Deprived of the refinement and cultivation of her girlhood ; 
with no hope of reward in this life ; stimulated only by a Divinely 
inspired sense of duty and by her deep love for her husband and 
children, Mrs. Nott made a drudge of herself and, notwithstand- 
ing, kept herself joyous and cheerful for the sakes of those she 
loved and because it was her dutv. Deborah Selden Nott was 


a type of New England woman that existed then, exists now 
and always will exist, so long as New England cherishes its 
traditions and the memory of the noble men and women who 
made it what it is. The world is better for her having lived in 
it. Who can estimate the value of her quiet self-sacrificing life, 
or measure the widespread influence for good ; for education ; 
for State and National progress ; that was accomplished in the 
ninety-three years in which her son Eliphalet lived. He often 
said, that his mother's teaching and influence had made him what 
he was, and that which he had been able to accomplish was due 
to her training and example. 

It is a lamentable fact, that while historians record the noble, 
unselfish lives of New England men, the same qualities in the 
lives of the New England women — who did as much toward 
the making of the Nation as the men and sacrificed more — are 
taken for granted and remain unrecorded. The heroic men of 
the Colonial and Revolutionary periods received a certain de- 
gree of reward for what they did, or accomplished, from the 
deference paid them and honors bestowed upon them by their 
fellow men. The women expected neither recognition nor 
honors ; they accomplished, sacrificed and suffered willingly, with 
happy faces, content to be unknown, because they loved their 
country and their God. And of such was Deborah Selden Nott. 

From East Haddam, the family moved two miles east to a 
little hamlet called Foxtown, where the struggles were even 
harder and in 1772, they moved again, this time entirely out of 
the Connecticut Valley, to Ash ford, in Windham County, where 
the desolate country resembled the barren wastes of the moon. 

Of the two famous sons of Stephen and Deborah Nott, Samuel 
was born in Saybrook, on January 2^, 1754; and Eliphalet, in 
Ashford, June 25, 1773. 

The Rev. Abraham Nott left his valuable library to his grand- 
son Samuel, in the hope that he would choose the ministry for 
his life's work. The poverty of his parents would have made 
this hope of his grandfather impossible, had Samuel not pos- 
sessed those qualities which his father lacked and which were 
so striking in his ancestors. He began early in his life to ren- 
der every possible assistance to his mother. His early attend- 
ance at school were brief, intermittent periods, for the small 



wages he was able to earn were needed at home. Of good blood 
from both sides of the house, his pride was not false, so he 
buckled to whatever work he could find that would bring in a 
little money. 

On one of his book and trinket peddling trips, he stopped in a 
place where the district school was without a teacher. The Nott 
intellect was well known, so he was given the chance to fill the 
vacancy for two months, with " a steel trust " salary of four 
dollars a month. Samuel undertook the duties of teaching with 


reluctance. He feared that some of the older pupils would dis- 
cover his deficiencies. That he might do his best for his pupils, 
he studied the next day's lessons the night before and so, was 
not only able to do well for the school, but was also acquiring 
the most practical kind of education for himself. All of the 
money he received was sent to his mother, his board and lodging 
being a part of his salary. This teaching revived his dormant 
ambition for a college education. After overcoming difficulties 
and disappointments that would have laid his father up with a 
serious attack of " malaria ", he found the friend in need in the 


person of the Rev. Daniel Welsh, of Mansfield, who made it 
possible for Samuel to enter Yale College. This he did and was 
graduated with credit with the class of 1780. He then studied 
for the Church under the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, who was at 
that time minister of a New Haven Church. After acting as 
supply for the Church in Bridgehampton, Long Island, he was 
called to the Congregational Church of Franklin, Connecticut, 
and was ordained as its minister, on March 13, 1782. As was 
the case with his grandfather, Abraham Nott, his first parish 
was his only one and it continued over a period of seventy-one 
years, ending with his death, on May 26, 1852. 

Eliphalet's boyhood was hard enough, but his youth and edu- 
cation were far easier than had been his brother Samuel's. 
Samuel was nineteen years older than Eliphalet so, when the 
time came for Eliphalet to leave the poor home in Ashford, after 
the death of his inspiring mother, Samuel was well settled as the 
minister at Franklin and there, in his brother's home Eliphalet 
spent many years, and was educated. Eliphalet taught in the 
country schools and later was appointed master of the Plainfield 
Academy, where he conceived that system of school government 
and discipline that he perfected as president of Union College, 
in Schenectady, New York, of which institution he became presi- 
dent in 1804. While master of the Academy in Plainfield, he 
became intimately acquainted with the Rev. Dr. Joel Benedict 
and on July 4, 1796, he married the eldest daughter of his friend, 
Sarah Maria Benedict. In the autumn before his marriage, he 
had been given a degree of Master of Arts by Brown University. 
Immediately after his marriage, he left for New York State. 
From this time on his life was spent in Cherry Valley, Albany 
and Schenectady, so the history of it belongs to the Mohawk 
Valley, rather than to the valley of the Connecticut. The years 
of the Rev. Abraham Nott and of his two grandsons, the Rev. 
Samuel and the Rev. Dr. Eliphalet, spent in the ministry were 
34, 71, and 63, respectively, making a total for the three lives 
of 168 years. 



WHEN Newington was a part of the Town of Wethers- 
field, the inhabitants of Wethersfield voted to divide 
the unoccupied land between Wethersfield and Farm- 
ington into lots, and the portion which became Newington was 
known on the records as the East Tier. 

In the center of the Town of Newington is a pond, in the 
midst of a considerable plain which was known for many years 
as Cow Plain. This pond with its water-power, and the excellent 
grazing land and fertile valley, attracted the first settlers, who 
were five families by the name of Sled and Hunn and three 
named Andrews — according to Barber, while other writers give 
the name as Andrus — who made their pitches about 1690. They 
were from Farmington. Joseph Andrews built his house near 
the meeting-house and fortified it as a place of refuge and defence 
against possible attack by Indians, who were numerous. The 
shore of the pond was the site of an unusually large Indian vil- 
lage, but the Indians lived peaceably with the white settlers. As 
the war-like Sequasson, who hated the English, was the great 
chief over the local chief, the English thought it no more than 
prudent to provide a place of refuge, should Sequasson take it 
into his head to attack the place. 

This Joseph Andrews bought the lots known as the sawmill- 
lots in 1684, and by later purchases he became one of the greatest 
property owners. He was a son of John Andrus, one of the 
first settlers of Farmington, and was born in 1651. Joseph had 
a son. Dr. Joseph Andrus, who was prominent in the social and 
church life of Newington and the doctor's son, Joshua, was a 
deacon of the Church. Deacon Joshua lived on the property 
recently occupied by the Kappell family. The two other settlers 
of that name are supposed to have been Daniel and John Andrus, 
nephews of Joseph, one of the first settlers of that name. These 
brothers settled in the southern part of the town. Of the other 
first settlers, Samuel Hunn was prominent in the affairs of the 
town and church. He settled in the northern portion of New- 
ington ; the other, John Sled, settled a half mile from Joseph 
Andrus and not far from the site of the old Academy. 

Mr. Roger Welles, in his history of Newington says, that 
Sergeant Richard Beckley, who settled in the northern portion 


of the town, was the earliest settler and greatest property owner. 
He received a grant of 300 acres from the General Court in 
1668, the property lying on both sides of the Mattabesett River 
and the Town confirmed the grant in 1670. There is a tradition 
that Sergenat Beckley married a daughter of Chief Turramuggus 
who was next in succession to Sequasson, Sachem of the Matta- 
besetts. The records of the New Haven Colony show that Ser- 
geant Beckley lived in New Haven from 1639, to : 659, and that 
he was one of the prominent members of Davenport's Church. 
Other members of the Beckley family settled near him in New- 
ington in considerable numbers. For this reason the district 
was known as Beckley 's Quarter. 

The settlement of Newington had increased sufficiently by 
1708, for the inhabitants to petition to be set off as a sepa- 
rate Church. While the petition was not granted, permission 
was given, in 1710, for the inhabitants to meet for worship in 
Newington during the winter months, from December to March 
inclusive, instead of going to the Church in Wethersfield. 
Another attempt was made for a separate society in 1712, which 
was successful. A committee was appointed to fix upon a site 
where the meeting-house should be built. The site was fixed in 
1713, and limits of the parish were determined as being two 
miles and fifty rods east from the Farmington line, with Hart- 
ford and Middletown as the northern and southern boundaries. 
There were two settlements in the parish, called the Upper 
Houses and the Lower Houses. The former contained about 
twenty-three families and was north of the pond in the center 
of the parish ; the other consisted of eight families and was south 
of the pond. The meeting-house was built at the Upper Houses. 

The inhabitants of the Lower Houses objected to the location 
of the Church, so far from their little settlement. They peti- 
tioned to be allowed to leave the Church at the Upper Houses 
and to join that at the Great Swamp. Again quoting Mr. 
Welles : 

As an equivalent for their secession they proposed the annexation to 
the new parish of some of the proprietors' lands in Farmington, abutting 
upon Wethersfield. These settlers were nearer the chosen site of the 
meeting-house in Newington, than to that in the Great Swamp Society, 
and they were willing to make the exchange. For the encouragement of 
this exchange, the " Lower Inhabitants " executed a bond, dated May 


] 3» 1715, for the payment, to their " neighbors in the said Western 
Society ", of £50 to help build the new meeting-house, and lodged it on 
file in the office of the colonial secretary at Hartford, where it is still to 
be seen 

A petition was presented to the General Court at its session 
in May, 171 5, to legalize the exchange. The General Court 
appointed a committee to " go upon the place " and effect a 
settlement if possible; to consider the subject of the exchange; 
fix a site for the meeting-house, if necessary, and report at the 
next October session of the Assembly. The committee reported 
in favor of the exchange, and fixed the site of the meeting-house 
upon the commons " near Dr. Joseph Andrus' house ", which was 
the site previously selected by the Town Committee. The 
Assembly accepted the report, and passed an act to carry it into 
effect. Thus, Stanley Quarter, as the annexed portion of Farm- 
ington was called, became a part of the parish of Newington, 
and it so continued till 1754, when the parish of New Britain 
was incorporated. 

The work of building the Church was begun and in 1720, the 
Rev. Elisha Williams was called. In 1721, the society was 
named Newington by the Legislature ; the Church was organized 
on October 3, 1722, and Mr. Williams was ordained on the seven- 
teenth of the same month of the same year. 

Mr. Williams was a minister, an educator and a politician, 
with a decided preference for politics. He was born in Hatfield, 
in 1604, his father being the Rev. William Williams. He was 
graduated from Harvard in 1711, having entered in the Sopho- 
more class in 1708. After graduation he taught for a year in 
the Grammar School in Hadley. He moved to Wethersfield in 
1715, and married Eunice Chester, daughter of Thomas Chester, 
of Wethersfield. His political life began in October, 1717, when 
he represented Wethersfield in the General Court. He continued 
as its representative till 1721. He was Clerk of the House in 
'17, '18, and '20, and auditor of public accounts in '19. In 1716, 
he began his educational career by tutoring Yale students in 
Wethersfield, in that and the following years. In 1720, he was 
seriously ill and, according to President Stiles, of Yale, " he 
became sanctified ". On August 5, 1720, he was chosen minister 
of the Newington Church, and so began his ministerial career. 


Five years later, in 1725, he was chosen to be the Rector of Yale 
College and was installed in September, 1726, and continued as 
Rector till October, 1739, when failing health caused his 

Relief from the arduous duties of the Presidency of Yale must 
have had a beneficial effect upon his health, for seven months 
later, in May, 1740, he was again in the Legislature as Repre- 
sentative and Speaker of the House, in which capacity he served 
for several sessions. That same year, 1740, he became Judge 
of 'the Superior Court and continued in that office for several 
years. In 1745, he was chaplain of the Colonial militia and was 
present, in his official capacity, at the capture of Louisburg. In 
1746, he was again in the Legislature and was appointed by that 
body as chaplain of a regiment in the expedition against Canada. 
For some reason the regiment did not go to Canada, but the 
Rev. Elisha Williams was sent to England to negotiate for the 
expenses incurred by the regiment. Mrs. Williams died while 
he was in England, on May 31, 1750 and eight months later, 
on January 27, 1751, Mr. Williams married again, his second 
wife being the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Scott, of Norwich, 
England. She was Elizabeth Scott, the writer of hymns. Mr. 
Williams returned to Wethersfield and died there in July, 1755. 
It is rather odd that the second minister of the Church, the Rev. 
Simon Backus, of Norwich, who was ordained in 1727, was also 
chaplain at Louisburg after its capture, Mr. Williams being the 
chaplain at the time of the capture. Mr. Backus died in Louis- 
burg in 1746. His wife was a sister of the Rev. Jonathan 

The long contest over the site for the second church building 
resulted in the withdrawal of a number of families who, with 
others from Worthington and Kensington, organized Christ 
Episcopal Church, in 1797, in the south-western corner of the 
parish. During the thirteen years of its existence, its rectors 
were the Rev. Seth Hart, the Rev. James Kilbourn, and the 
Rev. Ammi Rogers. 

Public schools were not started so soon after the settlement 
as in other towns. In 1723, a school committee was appointed 
and the first mention of a school-house in the records, was in 
December, 1729. In 1757, a school-house was built in the north 


end of the parish. In 1773, there was one at the south end, and 
in 1774, a new building was erected at the center of the parish. 
On October 18, 1726, John Camp was elected captain; 
Ephraim Demming, lieutenant ; and Richard Bordman ensign of 
Newington's first militia company, which was Wethersfield's 
fourth company. In 1735, Captain Martin Kellogg was in com- 
mand. Captain Kellogg's life, from his childhood to old age, 
was spent in close relation with Indians and in serving his King 
and the Colony. It was a life that was full of excitement and 
adventure. Captain Kellogg was born in 1686. At the age 
of eighteen he was living with his parents in Deerfield, Massa- 
chusetts. On February 29, 1704, when Deerfield was attacked 
by the French and Indians, he and his father, brother Joseph, and 
sisters, Rebecca and Joanna, were captured and forced to make 
the journey on foot through the wilderness to Canada. While 
in captivity the children learned the Indian language and the 
elder sister, Joanna, liked the life lead by the Indians so well 
that she married one of the chiefs, and adopted the manners 
and customs of the tribe. Their knowledge of the Indian lan- 
guage was frequently made use of, they acting as interpreters. 
Captain Kellogg was several times captured by Indians and 
taken to Canada. His familiarity with that country and the 
Indian language was the cause of his appointment as pilot, on 
the St. Lawrence River, for the British ships in the proposed 
expedition to Canada. Captain Kellogg was possessed of great 
strength and was notable for coolness and courage in danger. In 
1749, and '50, he was employed as a teacher in the Hollis School 
for Indians, in Stockbridge, especially for the Indians of the 
Six Nations who attended that school. He was sent with 
clothing to Chief Hendrick of the Mohawks, as agent of the 
Colony, in 1751. In 1716, he married Dorothy Chester, a cousin 
of the Rev. Elisha Williams, the minister of Newington, and 
great-granddaughter of Governor Thomas Welles, who was 
Governor of Connecticut in 1655, '56, '58 and '59. He was a 
member of the committee appointed to arrange the financial part 
of the removal of Mr. Williams from Newington to New Haven, 
where he was to be the Rector of Yale. Captain Kellogg pur- 
chased the fine mansion built by the Church for Mr. Williams 
and lived in it up to the day of his death, in November, 1753. 


Another captain of the militia company was Deacon Charles 
Churchill, who built one of the largest and finest houses in that 
part of the town. This old-time residence was famous for years. 
It had a reputation for hospitality that extended for many miles 
around. There were four large ovens in the house and it was 
sometimes necessary to use them all, in order that sufficient food 
might be prepared for the great number of guests in the hospit- 
able old mansion. It is tradition, that Washington and Lafayette 
were guests of Captain Churchill. Besides the ovens, the 
house contained other features that were somewhat unusual in 
those days. There were seven of those great fireplaces, in which 
four-foot logs provided heat and light, and stimulated sociability 
and good-fellowship among the guests. Captain Churchill fur- 
nished supplies for the army and was paid for them in the 
depreciated bills of the day. One of the rooms in his house 
was papered with these almost worthless bills. 

The people of Newington in the early days seem to have lived 
a peaceful, quiet life on their fertile farms, with little or nothing 
to distract their attention from the cultivation of the soil and 
attendance at Church. The nearest approach to any happening 
of a really exciting nature, was the dispute in regard to the loca- 
tion of the second church edifice. 

In such a peaceful atmosphere lived Mr. Andrus, a man 
who was notable for his conscientious, peaceful religious life. 
He seemed to be a perfectly contented and serenely happy man. 
It is not strange, therefore, that his choice of a wife excited great 
interest and surprise, for she was reputed to be " the most 
ill-natured, troublesome woman in the neighborhood ". Being 
in Yankeeland, where people ask direct and searching questions, 
Mr. Andrus was requested to tell his neighbors the reason for 
his odd choice. Mr. Andrus gratified their inquisitiveness by 
telling them, that his life had been particularly free from trouble 
and annoyance, so much so that he feared he would become too 
much attached to this life and the good things in it. He thought, 
that if he could experience some of the afflictions of life he would 
become more weaned from the world ; for that reason he had 
married such a woman as he believed would accomplish his 

The community was small and the distractions few, so it was 


but natural that the story should finally reach the ears of the 
purveyor of his hoped for afflictions, by way of one of the human 
newspapers of those days, of the spinster variety. Mrs. Andrus's 
anger was great and she declared that she was not going to be 
made a pack-horse to carry her husband to heaven. In a spirit 
of revenge she entirely changed her life and became one of the 
most pleasant and dutiful of wives, and poor Mr. Andrus became 
more enamored of this world and its joys than ever. 


NOTABLE, as originally a part of Wethersfield, the oldest 
town on the Connecticut River, Glastenbury, is also 
notable for being the first town in Connecticut made 
by dividing one of the original towns, for it was cut off from 
Wethersfield and incorporated in 1690. 

The original territory of Glastenbury as granted by the In- 
dians, was measured by rods up and down the river and by 
miles east from it. These long, narrow lots retained their gen- 
eral shape for a great many years. As time went on and the 
property was sold, or descended to the heirs of the original 
owners, some of the lots were sub-divided. There is at least one 
instance of a sub-divided lot being sold, that was but eight rods 
wide and three miles long. 

Of the original proprietors, the more prominent families were 
the Welles, Wylis, Hale, Hollister, Kimberly, Talcott. The 
Welles estate, purchased by Thomas Welles from the great In- 
dian Sachem, Sequasson, generally known as Sowheag, was in 
the family for more than 200 years. Of this family were Samuel 
Welles, the well known banker of Paris, and General Arnold 
Welles, who married a daughter of General Warren, of Bunker 
Hill fame. The old Talcott house was used as a fort, or place 
of refuge, in case of an Indian raid. A descendant of this Tal- 
cott family was Colonel Talcott, who was superintendent of the 
United States Arsenal, at Watervliet, New York, in 1836. 

Glastenbury is noted for its varied, beautiful and extensive 
views. Back from the immediate neighborhood of the Connecti- 
cut River flats, the surface begins to rise gradually till five 
miles back, toward the east, it is a mass of high, steep, tumbled-up 



hills of nearly a thousand feet elevation. The view from Kongs- 
cut (now called Skunkscut hill) near Diamond Lake, is espe- 
cially fine and extensive, in all directions. This Indian word, 
Kongscut, means the goose-country, as the wild goose was found 
there, and on Diamond Lake, in great numbers. It is little 
wonder that the territory comprised within the bounds of Glas- 
tenbury was a favorite with the Indians and that they loved the 
hills and the valleys, through which the many streams flow into 
the Connecticut, for the Indians had a silent appreciation of 


natural beauties and, too, the forest abounded with game and 
the streams with fish. A small band of Mohawks had a perma- 
nent village of Glastenbury, probably for no other reason than 
to keep watch of the tributory Indian tribes, and to make life 
a burden to them by the fear they inspired. 

The broad plain extending along the western portion of the 
town, from Roaring Brook (which the Indians called Nayaug, 
or Noisy-water) to the Hartford line was, and still is called 
Hanabuc, or Naubuc. The Rev. Dr. Chapin gives three possible 
definitions for the Indian words used to designate this plain. 


Hanabuc means, more clear, or open, or the plain ; Naubuc, means 
blood and so conveys the idea that great battles were fought on 
the plain, probably between the River Indians and the Mohawks. 
Another possible meaning is the cast-side. The English settle- 
ments were first made on the west bank of the river and those 
portions of the towns across the Connecticut were spoken of 
as the east-side, so it is possible that the Indians compounded 
Nop, meaning cast, and uc, meaning place or side or locality, 
thus making Nopuc, or Naubuc. It is quite evident that Dr. 
Chapin himself was uncertain which definition is the correct one. 

The first purchase of land was made from Sowheag, it is 
generally stated, but as a matter of fact, that was not the name 
of the fierce chief of the Mattabesetts. His name was Sequas- 
son and the full name and title of the Sachem was Sequasson- 
Sequin-Sowheag, which in English is, Hard-Stone, King-of-the- 

The second purchase, of 1673, was from several Indians, whose 
names and their English equivalents were ; Tarramuggus, or 
Bear-catcher; Massecuppe, or Grcat-ficrccncss; Wesumpshye, or 
Great-cater; Wumpene (the old records give it as " One peny ") 
or Relt-of -wampum ; Nesaheeg, or htstrument -of -death; Seockett, 
or Wild-cat ; Pewampskin, or Fair-complexion. 

The first military organization on the east side of the river 
was in Glastenbury. On May 18, 1653, the General Court passed 
an act exempting the inhabitants on the east side of the Con- 
necticut from training with the towns on the west side, and em- 
powered William Hill to call the men of the east side together 
for training. 

Before the incorporation in 1690 the people of Glastenbury 
paid their share for the support of the Church in Wethersfield. 
After the incorporation, Glastenbury had its own Church and 
the first minister of the town was the Rev. Timothy Stevens, 
who was called on July 28, 1692. 

Mr. Stevens was a son of Timothy Stevens, of Roxbury, 
Massachusetts, and was a graduate of Harvard, in the class of 
1687. He married Eunice Chester of Wethersfield, May 17, 
1694. She died in 1694, and in 1701, Mr. Stevens married 
Alice Cook. He was minister of the Glastenbury Church from 
1693, to the time of his death, in 1726. 



At an early day in the history of Glastenbury the people 
offered inducements to thrifty, honest and otherwise desirable 
families to settle in the town, by granting a small farm from the 
Common lands, with the stipulation, that the land should be 
improved within a given time. Like many of the other river 
towns, Glastenbury made laws for the protection of the trees 
from wanton destruction. In 1700, no person was permitted to 
cut pine, or " candlewood ", as they called it, for the purpose 
of obtaining pitch, and the penalty for doing so was a fine of 
twenty shillings each load and the forfeiture of the wood. 


Glastenbury increased in population rather rapidly. In 1693, 
there were thirty-four householders; in 1714, there were sixty- 
four tax payers all of whom were probably householders as well ; 
in 1723, there were 118, and in 1757, there were 191. The 
increase was so rapid that the first meeting-house of 1693, was 
too small so, in 1706, the people voted to enlarge its seating 
capacity by building galleries, or " leantos ", as the committee 
thought better. 

In 1701, a number of persons from Wethersfield and Hartford 


went to Glastenbury and " squatted " upon public land, in the 
eastern part of the town, but they were all expelled after con- 
siderable trouble. 

The Revolutionary period was an exciting one in Glastenbury. 
The men of the town had had experience under arms, and were 
well acquainted with the hardships of war and army life in the 
old French War. They knew the hardships to be borne in a 
country covered by a wilderness, with supplies hard to obtain 
and often not to be had. In fact, the mortality in that war 
among the men from Glastenbury was so great, that after the 
first enthusiasm, due to patriotism, had died down, it was diffi- 
cult to get enlistments for the Revolutionary army. No doubt 
this also was partially due to the high prices of the necessaries 
of life. So Glastenbury, as did many other towns, provided for 
the families of the Continental soldiers of the town, in such cases 
where it was necessary, and made liberal provision in clothing 
and food for the men themselves. 

Glastenbury w T as not menaced by Tories as were some of the 
shore-towns, but still, there were two prominent citizens against 
whom charges were preferred. They were, Ralph Isaacs and 
Abiathar Camp. These men were tried and found guilty of 
being Tories and were sentenced to live in Eastbury, there to 
be in the charge of the Selectmen and to maintain themselves 
at their own expense. Isaacs was afterward moved to Dur- 
ham, because of failing health, and Camp took the oath of 
fidelity to the State and later was removed to Wallingford. 

It is not generally known, that in 1777, in the heat of the first 
days of the Revolution, that Glastenbury became the home of a 
portion of Yale College. The price of board was so high in New 
Haven, on account of the high price of all kinds of provisions, 
that the several classes were distributed over the country. The 
Freshman class was sent to Farmington and the Sophomore and 
Junior classes to Glastenbury, where they were under the charge 
of the Hon. Nehemiah Strong, the professor of mathematics. 
The students boarded in the homes of the village and made their 
headquarters at the home of William Welles, who was a gradu- 
ate and a tutor of Yale. 

In 1792, an Academy was established on the Green and later, 
an Academy was established at South Glastenbury. Both Schools 



flourished and turned out very creditable students. Two of the 
teachers were Noah Webster and Elihu Burritt, better known as 
" The Learned Blacksmith ". 

In 1 70 1, Glastenbury had a school and Robert Poog was the 
schoolmaster. He was employed to teach for three months and 
longer if he gave satisfaction. His pay consisted of his board, 
the keep of his horse and £3 for the first quarter, and £2 for 
each additional quarter. 

The Indians of Glastenbury and the white settlers lived in 

Used as a fort in times of Indian troubles. 

peace and good-will, notwithstanding that the Indians were 
numerous within the bounds of the town. The Nayaugs lived 
m a glen near the mouth of Nayaug, or Roaring-Brook, as the 
word means in English, where is now the village of South Glas- 
tenbury. Here they lived in a natural fortification which pro- 
tected them against the bitter north wind, the chill and damp of 
the east wind, and those more dangerous enemies, hostile bands 
of other Indians. They had two look-outs from which sentinels 
could easily see the approach of enemies. On the river side, was 


Reel-hill, rising abruptly from the meadows and the other was 
Chestnut-hill, giving an extensive view to the north, east and 
south. Along the shore of Roaring-Brook, at the foot of a cliff, 
the Nayaugs, it is said, dug a hole in the rock, to a depth of two 
feet and a half and two feet across the top, which they used as 
mortar for pounding Indian-corn with a great pestle, to make 
it into Nasaump, or samp as the white settlers called it. While 
there is no evidence that the Indians did not make this mortar, 
there is an equal lack of evidence that they did. It is probable 
that instead of making the hole in the solid rock, they adapted a 
pot-hole that had been made by Roaring-Brook with the help 
of a pebble. This mortar is stiU there and is, or was, covered by 
the artificial pond from which one of the mills obtained its power. 
The Nayaugs lived in harmony with the white settlers and the 
following anecdote is of the only fight known between one of the 
Nayaugs and a white man. 

John Hollister, who lived on the west side of the Connecticut, 
owned land on the east side which he cultivated. He was known 
as the most powerful and athletic of the settlers. One morning, 
as he was at work on his land on the east side, an Indian of the 
Nayaugs, who was equally noted among his people for his great 
strength and agility, challenged Mr. Hollister to a trial of 
strength. The challenge was promptly accepted. 

They fought till both were exhausted when, by agreement, they 
sat upon the same log to rest and then went at it again. They 
continued their rounds and rests till sun-down, when they agreed 
that it was a draw. The admiration of each for the other was 
great and they became fast friends and the two most notable 
men, in the opinion of the Nayaugs, in all the country. 

Although " Father " Stocking was not a native of Glastenbury, 
he was for many years a resident of that town and' was closely 
connected with the history of Methodism there. The Rev. Jere- 
miah Stocking was born in Chatham, in December, 1767, his 
" schoolin' " ending in his ninth year. His father was a sea- 
faring man and was away from home much of the time. From 
the age of nine till he was thirteen, Jeremiah lived in Haddam, 
and in his thirteenth year he joined a privateer, at about the 
close of the Revolution. When he left the ship, he went into 
trade till he was twenty-one and in 1790, he married and moved 



&'- . .llz^w,*:.. 

" How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood." 


to Glastenbury. His health failing, his physician advised that 
he turn Post-rider so that he could be out in the sun and air. In 
1799, Jeremiah began carrying newspapers between Hartford 
and Saybrook and in 1801 he carried the mail. During the 
twenty-five years he was thus employed he traveled 150,000 
miles and crossed the Connecticut River more than 8,500 times. 

While living in Glastenbury he became a " half-way Covenanter " 
and five years later was " converted " by a Methodist preacher. 
Not long after he was " converted " to Christianity he, himself, 
became a Methodist preacher and spent considerable of his time, 
at first, in tirades against other denominations, but finally a 
deeper Christianity entered his heart, and from then on he lived 
in charity and good will with all. There is a very curious fact 
in regard to seven male members of his family, all of whom 
were in the ministry, of one or another denomination. It is, that 
all of their given names began with S. They were Sophronius 
H. Stocking, Selah Stocking, Solon Stocking, Sabura S. Stock- 
ing, Septerius Stocking, and Sabin Stocking. 

" In ' old Connecticut ', the better part, 
Glastenbury is nearest to the heart. 

Hail Glastenbury, with her hundred hills ! 

Her verdent pastures and her flowing rills — 
Her flowery meadows and her rural shades — 
Her gallant yeoman and her beauteous maids." 


FARMINGTON was settled from Hartford in 1640, and in 
1645, it was incorporated as a town. The original terri- 
tory of Farmington included Southington, New Britain, 
Bristol, Berlin, Burlington and Avon. At the time of the settle- 
ment, it was inhabited by the Tunxis Indians and the river was 
known as the Tunxis, in other words, the Crane Indians who 
lived on Crane River. The people were no doubt attracted to 
Farmington by the great fertility of the meadows and so they 
braved the dangers from living in the midst of a numerous and 
fierce tribe of Indians, the Tunxis, which, according to President 
Stiles, of Yale, was the largest tribe on the Connecticut. 

New settlers either purchased from the original proprietors or 
were given land by the Town. The population grew rather 
rapidly in the early days, there being forty-six property owners 
who paid taxes on property to the value of £5,519, in 1655, an( ^ 
this same year for a comparison, the number of tax payers in 
Hartford was but four times as large and the total value of their 
property was not quite four times as great. Down to 1700, the 
population increased and the settlement contained, in that year, 
as many dwellings as were in Farmington one hundred and forty 
years later, in 1840. 

In 1672, the eighty-four proprietors divided the land, using 
Round Hill as a center from which measurements were made. A 
parallelogram was thus made, three miles to the north, five miles 
and thirty-two rods to the south, two miles and sixty-four rods 
to the east and two miles to the west. This was called the 
reserved lands. A considerable part of it had already been taken 
up. The portion that was not, was reserved for town-commons, 
home-lots, pastures and " pitches ". All the land outside of this 
parallelogram was surveyed, and divided among the eighty-four 
proprietors in proportion to the taxes they paid. The Rev. 
Samuel Hooker, their minister, received a double portion. The 
western portion of the town was divided into lots a mile east 
and west and eleven miles north and south. These lots were 



distributed so that each man owned one that was a mile long 
and of a width in proportion to the property he already owned. 
All other parts of the town were divided on the same plan. The 
survey for this work was completed in 1728, and it is upon 
this survey, that the titles to the land are based, within the towns 
that have been formed from the original territory of Farmington. 

Generally speaking, the settlers and Tunxis Indians lived in 
harmony, but in 1642, there was considerable alarm caused by 
the gathering of many Indians about Tunxis, as a plot of some 
kind was feared. The General Court took prompt and vigorous 
action and nothing came of the gathering, probably because of that 
prompt action. At other times, later, there were Indian scares. 
In 1657, John Hart and all his family, except one son, were burnt 
to death in the home which had been set on fire by Indians and 
in the same year a settler, by the name of Scott, was killed. For 
the burning of the Hart home and family the Indians were re- 
quired to pay eighty fathoms (480 feet) of wampum yearly for 
seven years. In 1668, a complaint was made, probably to the 
General Court, that the Indians had fired bullets into the settle- 
ment from their fort, or encampment, and also that they had 
extended their hospitality to strange Indians. For this, they 
were ordered to move to another place. In 1689, and 1704, the 
people feared danger from a distance, possibly the Podunks or 
the Mohawks. For better protection several houses were forti- 
fied with double doors and narrowed windows. 

Authorities differ as to the year the first Church was organized. 
Trumbull fixes the date as being October, 1652, and Noah 
Porter, Jr., sometime in the year 1645. The Rev. Roger Newton 
was the first minister. His wife was the Rev. Thomas Hooker's 
daughter Mary. In 1661, the Rev. Samuel Hooker, son of the 
great divine of Hartford, became the minister of the Church 
and his pastorate continued till his death in November, 1697. 
Mr. Hooker was a graduate of Harvard and was almost equally 
esteemed with his illustrious father. In 1662, the Rev. Samuel 
Hooker was one of the committee appointed to negotiate with 
the New Haven Colony for a union with the Colony of Con- 
necticut. He was the grandfather of that beautiful and pious 
thirteen-year old girl, Sarah Pierpont, of New Haven, with whom 


Jonathan Edwards fell in love while a tutor in Yale, and finally 

Farmington was an educational center from very early days 
down to the regretted closing of Miss Porter's school for girls, 
a few years ago. In 1682, the Town appropriated £10 toward 
maintaining a school ; the next year a similar appropriation was 
made and in addition four shillings a quarter was required to 
be paid for each child attending the school. Later, £30 was 
appropriated. This larger sum was evidently given because so 
much more was to be required of the " man-teacher ". He was 
required to teach reading, writing and grammar and also, " to 
be able to step into the pulpit to be helpful there in time of need " ; 
and a little later an ability to teach Latin was required. Dr. Noah 
Porter gives the following fine description of the natural condi- 
tions in Farmington in early days : 

During this period (the first sixty years) the inhabitants by degrees 
became more numerous, but with the exception of the colony near " the 
Seamor-fort " and two or three houses on the northern border of the 
" great plain ", they were scattered for two miles or more along the street. 
The upland near their dwellings had been slowly cleared and the forest 
still lingered in sight, along the foot of the mountain. The western woods 
were yet an unbroken wilderness, save the opening which had been made 
by the Indians, as they retreated in 1672, to their reservation across the 
meadows, and rallied around a new burying place for their dead. On the 
south was " the white oak plain ", still unsubdued, and " the great plain " 
was thickly crowded with its growth of birches and tangled shrub-oaks. 
It was not till 1695, that a highway was laid through this district of the 
town. * * * The river furnished to the English and the natives, its 
overflowing abundance of shad and salmon, and the west woods abounded 
in deer, in wolves and panthers. In the forest, up the mountain, was their 
common place of pasturage. The meeting-house lot was as yet a noble 
common of several acres. A canoe with ropes was furnished at the north 
end of the street, by which the river was crossed as it was not till 1725, 
that the first bridge was erected at this place. At the annual town meeting, 
no man might be absent who valued his twelve pence. Then were chosen 
the townsmen, the register, the fence-viewers, the chimney-viewer, so 
necessary in those days of wooden mantles, of ill constructed chimnies, 
and of their enormous fires, their tything men, and last, not least, their one 
constable, who was to them the right arm of the king himself; a function- 
ary treated with reverent awe, and obeyed with implicit deference. Who- 
soever resisted his power, resisted the ordinance of God. Two men be- 
sides Mr. Hooker bore the appellation of Mr. ; Mr. Anthony Howkin and 


Mr. John Wadsworth. Nor may we forget to name Captain William 
Lewis, Captain Stanley, Ensign Thomas Hart, and Sergeant William Judd. 

Their communication with the other towns was infrequent. Occasion- 
ally a traveler would appear by the path from Hartford, with news from 
their friends and kindred there, or with a message of alarm from his 
Excellency the Governor, and now and then someone would emerge from 
the forest by the " New Haven path " with tidings from that commercial 
emporium, or from the lands beyond the seas. The Indians were still 
here by hundreds, their canoes might be seen every day filling the little 
creek that put in from the river. 

The Sabbath was the great and central day of the week ; a day of awful 
and yet of rapturous joy. As the drum beat with its wonted and pleasant 
sound of invitation, they resorted to the house of worship with cheerful 
steps. Here they were roused and comforted by the fervent Hooker. 
Here they forgot their weekly labors in the forest, their fear of famine ; 
their terror of the natives, far and near ; the armed guard that stood be- 
fore the sanctuary, and the necessity that had planted it there. From the 
house of God they return at evening, to spend the remaining hoars of 
sacred rest upon joyful reflection upon the words there heard, doubly 
grateful for a church such as they loved, though it were in a wilderness. 
Then they instruct their children with strict and judicious care, and close 
the day by committing themselves and theirs to the care of the Almighty. 
To men situated as were they, His protection was more than a name ; for 
desolate indeed was their lot, if He cared not for them. 

So wrote Noah Porter, Jr., in 1840, who later became President 
of Yale. 

From its settlement, Farmington was a farming community. 
It was the unusual fertility of its meadow lands and the unceasing 
supply of water from the river and streams that first attracted 
settlers. It was a farming community of the highest class for 
while the fathers and sons cultivated their fields industriously, 
and to the greatest possible profit, they did not fail to cultivate 
their minds and manners as far as it was possible. They lived 
close to Nature and, therefore, close to God, and this very prox- 
imity to the Creator and His handiwork made them the highest 
type of Nature's gentle-folk. 

When not employed in their official capacities, the ministers 
and magistrates worked side by side with their sons, their hired 
men and the slaves ; always in lead, doing even more work than 
those whom they employed or owned. As one of Farmington's 
finest sons, Governor John Treadwell, has expressed it . 

They have been content to eat their bread in the sweat of their brow ; 
and it was honor enough to be esteemed the first among equals. 


The only means of transportation for individuals up to about 
1 750, was the horse, with saddle and pillion behind for the woman. 
But in that year the Rev. Timothy Pitkin brought home the 
daughter of President Clap of Yale College, as his bride. When 
it was known that they were coming in some kind of a machine on 
wheels, the greatest interest was excited among the entire com- 
munity. The older men of the community went out to meet 
their minister and his bride. When they saw the four-wheeled 
phaeton, one of the older men exclaimed in his excitement: " I see 
the cart, I see the cart ". It was Farmington's first sight of a 
pleasure carriage. 

Up to about the time the war with Great Britain began, there 
was but one store in Farmington, but after peace was declared 
a commercial spirit began to assert itself to the hurt of the simple 
society. For, with the accumulation of something like wealth by 
a few persons envy, heart-burn and dissatisfaction with the 
simple, clean life that was characteristic for so many years, began 
to show itself. In 1803, there were $125,000 invested in business 
enterprise in Farmington. There was, however, a gain through 
trade and consequent greater intercourse with the outside world 
and this gain was the broadening of the ideas of the people, in 
regard to quite proper and innocent social pleasures and amuse- 
ments. But commercialism did hurt that charming simplicity 
which was a part of Farmington's life. In 1802, Governor 
Treadwell deplored the increasing commercial spirit somewhat 
strongly as follows : 

The farmer is thrown into the shade ; he feels that riches, as the world 
goes, give pre-eminence. In homely dress and covered with sweat and 
dust, with weary steps returning from the field, he sees with pain the 
powdered beau rolling in his carriage * * * and feels himself degraded. 
The young ladies are changing their spinning-wheels for the piano forte 
and forming their manners at the dancing school, rather than in the 
school of industry. Labor is growing in disrepute. 

While this view of the change was of a somewhat low-spirited 
nature, it was at the same time quite true. The fact still remains, 
however, that the fine qualities of the early settlers have de- 
scended down through nearly two centuries and have made 
Farmington notable in New England. 

Up to 1825, Farmington had but one religious denomination 


within its bounds and that was, of course, the Congregational. 
In 1825, a Methodist society was organized and in 1834, their 
church building was erected. 

Farmington was the home of many of New England's promi- 
nent men. Perhaps the most notable were the Hon. John Tread- 
well, Governor of Connecticut, and the Rev. Dr. Noah Porter, 
who, as president of Yale College, was the personal acquaintance 
of nearly every undergraduate, and the best friend of every one 
of them. 

John Treadwell was born in Farmington, on November 23, 
1745. He prepared for Yale and was graduated in the class of 
1765, and then began to study law. The profession had no 
attractions for him so he never presented himself for the neces- 
sary examination for admission to practice. A life of public 
usefulness seemed most attractive to him, and it proved to be 
the life he was best suited for. In the autumn of 1776, he was 
elected to the General Assembly as the representative of Farm- 
ington and, with the exception of one session, was continued in 
that office till 1785. Then he was elected as one of the Assistants 
and continued in that office till 1798, when he was appointed 
Lieutenant Governor. When Governor Trumbull died in 1809, 
he was appointed by the Legislature to the office of Governor, 
and at its next session his appointment was renewed for the 
following year. Besides these high offices, Governor Treadwell 
was for twenty years, Judge of the Probate Court ; for twenty 
years, a Judge in the Supreme Court of Errors ; for nineteen 
years, a member of the Corporation of Yale College ; and for 
three years, Judge of the County Court. He was for many years 
also a member of the Prudential Committee of Yale. 

Governor Treadwell's interest in public education was great 
and it may be said with truth, that he had more to do with the 
organization of the public school system of Connecticut than any 
other individual. He was regarded by the people as being a 
man of unquestioned honor and wisdom in the affairs of the 
State, of which he possessed a more intimate knowledge than 
any other man. 

His interest and efforts for the honor, dignity and systematic 
order of the Church, were as great as was his interest in the 
State. Governor Treadwell became a member of the Farming- 

BERLIN. 187 

ton Church at the age of twenty-seven, and the parish found, on 
the two or three occasions when harmony was disturbed and seri- 
ous discord was threatening, that his advice and example were of 
the greatest value. His ecclesiastic offices were numerous as were 
his civil offices. He was the first chairman, and one of the 
original trustees, of the Missionary Society of Connecticut and 
he continued in these offices till advancing years caused him to 
refuse reappointment. He was the first president of the Ameri- 
can Board of Foreign Missions and one of the commissioners 
who drew up its constitution. He was president of the Board 
till his death. 

The Rev. Dr. Noah Porter described him in 1840, as : "A man 
not possessed of brilliant genius or extended erudition, or com- 
manding elocution ; that he had not the advantages of birth, 
patronage, personal attraction or courtly address ; that he did not 
possess the power of delighting society by the brilliancy of his 
fancy, nor of swaying public assemblies by the eloquence of his 
appeals ; that in the common sense of the term, he was not a 
popular man and yet he had a moral and intellectual greatness 
which carried him superior to all obstacles, in the path to emi- 
nence ; so that, with no advantages above what thousands enjoyed, 
he united in himself, in a perfection rarely found, the characters 
of a jurist, a civilian and a divine." 

In a less general degree, John Treadwell may be compared 
favorably with Judge James Duane of New York. What James 
Duane was to the young Nation in the Revolutionary period, 
and to the Episcopal Church ; John Treadwell was to the young 
State and Congregational Church. He died at the age of seventy- 
seven, on August 18, 1823. 


ALTHOUGH the settlement of the district now compris- 
ing the Town of Berlin is ancient, that town did not 
L come into existence till 1785; a mere infant, of one 
hundred and twenty odd years, in comparison with the surround- 
ing towns. It was originally a part of Farmington, from which 
town it was set off as the second society (church society) in 
1712, and was given the name of Kensington and the Rev. Mr. 


Burnham, the first minister, was ordained that year. Kensing- 
ton consisted of fourteen families. In all, about one hundred 
individuals, including children and infants. Before the settle- 
ment of Mr. Burnham, these people were obliged to go ten 
miles or more to the church in Farmington. They did so cheer- 
fully, many of the women carrying their infants all that weary 
distance, because they must attend worship and could not leave 
the little ones at home. Kensington was divided in 1753, when 
the society of New Britain was formed, and again, in 1772, when 
the society of Worthington was formed. In 1785, Berlin was 
incorporated as a town, portions of Wethersfield and Middle- 
town being included within the bounds of the new town. In 
1834, the Borough was formed and the bounds extended two 
miles north and south and one mile east and west. 

Tradition has it, and nothing definite in history has been found 
to the contrary, that an Irishman named Patterson (probably 
a " Blue-nose ") settled in Berlin, or Kensington as it then was, 
in 1740, and made the first tin-ware on the Continent of North 
America. Patterson — there seems to be uncertainty as whether 
his name was William or Edward — was a tinner and soon after 
he settled in Kensington he began to manufacture tin-ware and 
continued in that trade till the commencement of the Revolution, 
when it was suspended for a time, as he could not obtain the 
raw material. After the Colonies had won Independence, the 
trade was continued by the young men who had learned it from 
Patterson. In the early days, when Patterson was the only tin- 
ner in the Colonies, he would make up as much of the ware as 
he could carry in a basket and then tramp over the surrounding 
country, from hamlet to farm and from farm to hamlet, selling 
the new kind of utensils, which the women found most con- 
venient. The value of the business became known and soon 
others took it up and so it spread all over the country. But the 
demand could not be supplied by hand baskets, so larger baskets 
were carried on horseback, and then two-wheeled carts were 
used. Finally, that institution peculiar to New England, the 
red, four-wheeled, tin-peddler's wagon, came into existence and 
every tiny settlement and the intervening farmhouses, of New 
England and eastern New York, were visited by these tin- 
peddlers who, besides tin-ware, carried notions useful to the 

BERLIX. 189 

housewives. These peddlers were a welcome sight to the farmer 
and his household, as they were for many years the only source 
of news from the other parts of the country and from the out- 
side world. Speaking generally, these tin-peddlers were the 
social equals of the people whom they traded with and, also 
speaking generally, they wers of superior intelligence. The very 
fact that they " took to the road " showed a disinclination to re- 
main in the ruts and a desire to see the world, or as much of 
it as their horse and four-wheeled, red cart could cover, between 
Easter and Thanksgiving. So, being shrewd, they stored their 
memories with all the important and interesting news, and while 
they were imparting it to the news-hungry families, they made 
their bargains, gave the smallest possible price for the rags they 
took, and charged the largest possible price for the tin-ware and 
notions they gave in exchange. This was purely a matter of 
business with the peddlers; and as for their customers, they re- 
ceived full value for the excess they paid for tin, as the news 
of the outside world which they received, saved them from utter 
stagnation. It is a notable fact, that the foundations of many 
of the greatest fortunes in the East were ' laid by these same 
merchants-on-wheels. And many of the great merchants of 
New York, Boston and some of the smaller New York and New 
England cities, in the period just after the Revolution, were 
farmers' sons who had been stimulated to something better than 
their placid, turnip-like existences on the farms, by the informa- 
tion given by the tin-peddlers, in regard to the opportunities in 
the towns. The Yankee peddler was a man worth knowing ; the 
scum of Europe which has succeeded to the business, are things 
to be shunned. 

Berlin will always be notable as the home of the tin-ware 
industry, one of the most profitable businesses of the first half 
of the nineteenth century. 


THE families who settled the Hartford and New Haven 
Colonies were of a superior class socially to those of 
any other portion of New England, speaking in general 
terms, and many of them were well provided with this world's 
goods. The majority were families of gentle birth whose for- 
tunes were on the wane, because of their politics or their unwav- 
ering adherence to their religious convictions, in Old England. 
But above all other things, they were notable for being among 
the finest representatives of Anglo-Saxon blood on the face of 
the Earth. 

They were Christian families beyond doubt, but they went to 
the antithesis of what they left, and had suffered loss of fortune 
and martyrdom for, and became stern, and even unlovely in their 
Christianity. The words ; " Fear God " were more often spoken 
by them than those other words ; " Love God ", and their children 
were brought up " in the fear of the Lord ". It is doubtful, had 
they been differently constituted in their religious devotion 
and manner of life, that New England would ever have come 
into existence and, if it had, that it would have become the corner- 
stone of the United States ; and the people the personification of 
the best American manhood and citizenship. So, while the people 
of New England have become the most ardent of God-loving 
peoples, they began in the Fear of the Lord. 

One of the most notable of these God-fearing men was the 
Rev. Thomas Hooker, a learned, profound and brilliant preacher, 
of Clemsford, in Essex, England, who for non-conformity was 
subject to fines, imprisonment and persecution, by that class of 
Christians which then professed to love God rather than fear 
Him. So great was Thomas Hooker's fame that forty ministers, 
all of whom were conformists, took up his cause and petitioned 
the Bishop of London not to make it necessary for him to leave 
his native land, but without avail. 

As a preacher of the Gospel his fame was wide, for he pos- 
sessed the brilliancy that attracted the intellectual, the simplicity 



that appealed to the simple and the power that convinced 
both classes of the truth of the Gospel that he preached. Emi- 
nent persons, among them the Earl of Warwick, came from great 
distances to hear him preach and many were willing to hazard 
life in a new, strange and wild country, to continue in the benefits 
of his teaching. 

Thomas Hooker fled to Holland to escape the fines and im- 
prisonment that would have overtaken him had he remained in 
England. Soon after his people were deprived of his presence 
they began to long for a place to go, where they could live in 
freedom of worship with their beloved minister. They naturally 
thought of that new continent in the west, whither others had 
already fled and had made settlements. In 1632, a large number 
sailed for New England and settled in Cambridge — then called 
Newtown — and those who had arrived a little before them and 
had settled in Weymouth, joined those of Newtown. The Rev. 
Thomas Hooker, having been made acquainted with their 
plans and their earnest desire that he would join them as their 
minister, left Holland for Newtown. He brought with him as 
teacher of the Gospel, Samuel Stone, who was a lecturer in 
Towcester, Northamptonshire, England. He and his company 
arrived at Boston on September 4, 1633. In that company of 
200, were Cotton, Goff and Haynes, who later became Governor 
of Connecticut. Mr. Hooker immediately went to Newtown and 
was welcomed by his people. On October 11, after prayer and 
fasting, Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone were ordained as the minister 
and teacher of the community. 

The Connecticut Valley was already known to the people of 
Plymouth, Boston and Newtown, through the Indians who had 
tried to induce the English in those places to go to it for settle- 
ment, and from a few hardy pioneers, of whom John Oldham 
was the chief and most notable. So, when in 1634, Newtown 
and the neighboring settlements began to suffer from a lack of 
food and other necessities, through the steadily increasing popu- 
lation, Hooker and Stone and their people naturally looked 
toward the beautiful river where the land was so fertile, and fur- 
bearing animals so numerous. It seems strange now, that 270 
years ago those Massachusetts towns could possibly have been 
over populated. Of course there was area sufficient, but the 


difficulty was, that the people lacked the necessary knowledge 
for making the soil produce food. 

This proposed exodus aroused the Massachusetts authorities. 
Forgetting that they had left their homes in England for the 
greater freedom hoped for in the new world, the people of Massa- 
chusetts strongly opposed the inherent right of Thomas Hooker 
and his people to go whither they pleased. But finally, in 1635, 
the General Court, which had absolutely no right to interfere in 
the matter or to dictate as to the movements of individuals or 
companies, graciously granted permission for the removal to the 
Connecticut Valley. In 1636, Thomas Hooker, Samuel Stone 
and one hundred men, women and children, started through the 
wilderness, in which there was not even an Indian trail. When 
it is remembered that many of the company were persons of 
gentle birth, who were totally unacquainted with work or hard- 
ship, their sufferings may be realized. The fact that breeding 
imparts courage, fortitude and the power to accommodate oneself 
to all conditions, is emphasized by this enterprise. They drove 
before them cattle, the milk of the cows forming their chief 
sustenance. Mrs. Hooker was carried on a litter. Arriving 
at the beautiful valley they settled at Suckiaug and named their 
settlement Newtown after the place they had left behind, but in 
February, 1637, the name was changed to Hartford, in honor of 
Samuel Stone, that being his birthplace in the Old Country. Both 
Stone and Hooker were University men, they being graduates of 
Emmanuel College at Cambridge. 

The land was purchased by the original white proprietors 
from the Indian, Chief Sequasson, the original proprietor. The 
Pequots naturally resented this and, no doubt, they were 
excited to hatred of the English settlers by the Dutch traders. 
The Dutch generally got along well with Indians. They had 
no compunctions about selling them rum. If the thirsty 
Indian had a good supply of exceptionably fine pelts for 
trade, the Dutch trader often gave the rum, so that the bar- 
gain for the pelts would be much more advantageous for 
the trader, because of the muddled condition of the Indian's 

The Pequots knew very well, that unless the English were 
somehow got out of the way, the time was not far distant 


x 93 

when they would be humiliated in the sight of the hated 
River Indians, and would also be under the control and sub- 
ject to the laws of the English. An Indian chief to the 
Dutch was an Indian chief; to the English he was a heathen 
who must be converted to Christianity and taught the ways 
of civilization, and made to live as nearly in conformity with 
those ways as possible. Another cause for Pequot hatred 
of the English was, that with the English behind them the 
River Indians would refuse to pay further tribute to the 


Pequots. So Thomas Hooker and his friends found them- 
selves and their homes in daily danger from the cruel Pe- 
quots, and finally the Pequot war came upon the people. 
They met it with the same energy and determination not to 
fail, with which they met every difficulty, danger or under- 
taking. Hartford's share in it was creditable; as was that 
of other settlements which took part in war. Coming so 
soon after they had effected their settlement, and before they 
had had time to become accustomed to Indian fighting; in 


fact before they had become fully accustomed to the new 
conditions in which they were living; it is a wonder that 
the English were not annihilated. 

The danger from attack by small bands of Indians at unex- 
pected times was so great, that the General Court formed a 
guard, armed and provided with at least two rounds of am- 
munition each, which should attend public worship at the 
meeting-houses on Sundays, under the command of two 
sergeants, one of whom sat inside the church with the guard, 
near the door, while the other acted as sentinel outside the 
church. This custom obtained in nearly every settlement 
in Connecticut. 

Finally, on May I, 1637, after about thirty settlers had 
been killed by Indians, the General Court met and declared a 
war of extermination against the Pequots. As the matter 
to be considered and decided upon was of so great import- 
ance, the towns, for the first time, sent committees to the 
General Court. The men on the committee were ; The 
Messrs. Chaplin, Geffords, Hull, Mitchell, Sherman, Talcott, 
Whiting, Webster and Williams. The Magistrates of the 
Court were ; The Messrs. Ludlow, Phelps, Swain, Steel, 
Wells and Ward. Of the ninety men to be raised in Hart- 
ford, Wethersfield and Windsor for the army that was to 
exterminate the Pequots, Hartford's quota was forty-two, 
and the Rev. Samuel Stone was the chaplain. When the 
Yankee of early days awoke, ate or went to sleep he asked 
for the blessing and protection of Almighty God, and so they 
did, on this occasion. When the little army of much less than 
two hundred men started from Hartford down the river to the 
Pequot country, their faithful minister stood on the bank 
of the river surrounded by the wives, mothers and sweet- 
hearts, whose fortitude was as great as the men's courage, 
and called down upon them God's blessing and protection, 
and His strength, that they might fight to win. They fought 
and won and when they returned to their homes the pro- 
prietors of Hartford granted to them twenty-eight acres of 
land known as " Soldier's Field ", in grateful appreciation of 
their services. Some authorities claim that this was the 
first act of the kind in America. 


The success of this war made the English the masters of 
the Indians and forced them to obey certain laws that were 
passed, regulating their relations and conduct with the whites. 
Hartford, however, was by no means finished with Indian 
dangers. In 1642, it was discovered that the River Indians 
and Narragansetts had concocted a joyous little plot to kill 
all of the English, but vigorous action on the part of the 
authorities, in putting the Train Band in effective condition ; 
in communicating with the authorities of Massachusetts and 
restricting the " comings " of the Indians (they might go where 
they pleased, even to the devil) ; the plot came to naught. 

The restrictions regulating the " comings " of the Indians 
were rigid. They were not permitted to enter Hartford in 
bands, small or large, and absolutely no Indian was allowed 
in the town at night. No Indian was allowed to enter a 
house, except that of a magistrate and then, only a sachem 
and but two other Indians with him. It was against the law 
for a settler to sell a dog to the Indians or to go to their 
wigwams, in the South Meadows, to trade with them, nor 
could the whites sell arms or powder to them. Finally, the 
conditions were greatly improved, and the entire defeat of 
the Pequots removed the greatest cause for alarm, but did not 
entirely remove the danger from fanatical, revengeful Indians 
who, considering the settlers to be interlopers and land-robbers, 
thought whitemen's scalps a pleasing offering to Kiehtan, their 
" Great Spirit '•'. 

Such eminent historical writers and students as John Fiske 
and Alexander Johnston and other men of equal repute, give 
Hartford the unique and enviable reputation of being the place in 
which the first written constitution of the world, "asa permanent 
limitation on governmental power ", as Professor Johnston ex- 
presses it, was conceived and brought forth. 

Again quoting Professor Johnston : ' The common opinion 
is, that democracy came into the American system through the 
compact made in the cabin of the Mayflower, though that instru- 
ment was based upon no political principle whatever, and began 
with a formal acknowledgement of the king as the source of all 
authority. It was the power of the crown ' by virtue ' of which 
' equal laws ' were to be enacted, and the ' covenant ' was merely 


a makeshift to meet a temporary emergency : it had not a particle 
of political significance, nor was democracy an impelling force 
in it. It must be admitted that the Plymouth system was acci- 
dentally democratic, but it was from the absence of any great 
need for government or for care to preserve homogeneity in 
religion, not from political purpose, as in Connecticut. It was 
a passive, not an active system ; and it cannot be said to have 
influenced other American commonwealths. Another though less 
prevalent opinion is, that the first democratic commonwealth was 
the mother colony of Massachusetts Bay. * * * On the con- 
trary, it is not difficult to show that the settlement of Connecticut 
was itself merely a secession of the democratic element from 
Massachusetts, and that the Massachusetts freemen owed their 
final emancipation from a theocracy to the example given them 
by the eldest daughter of the old commonwealth." 

On January 14, 1639, all the free planters of Hartford, 
Wethersfield and Windsor met in Hartford to draw up and adopt 
this famous first written constitution for civil government. 


The manner of the distribution of the land to the original 
settlers, or proprietors, was to give each head of a family a 
lot in the settlement proper, or the village, of about two acres 
upon which the home was to be built, and then a piece of 
greater acreage outside of the village, for raising crops. 
These farm pieces were bounded by the settlement at one 
end and stretched out in all directions, in long, narrow strips. 
The acreage in these farm pieces was determined by the sum 
the individual had contributed to the general fund for the 
purchase, or by services rendered. Sometimes they were 
in accordance with the position in the community of the 
individual, and sometimes in accordance with his necessity. 
The rule in regard to the two-acre lots in the settlement 
was that the house should be built within a year, and in 
regard to the farm land, that it should be improved. Failure 
to comply with these rules caused the land of both kinds 
to revert to the Town. Realizing the danger from fire and 
the seriousness of loss by fire (for the houses were built 


with great labor) and the danger, should a fire start, that the 
other dwellings with their logs covered with dry, inflam- 
mable bark, would all go, the people were required to pro- 
vide a ladder, or to leave one tree sufficiently near the house 
for it to be used as a ladder. No owner was permitted to 
sell his village lot or farm, or any portion of either, without 
giving the Town the first chance to purchase, the payment 
to be for only the improvements. Property could not be 
sold by an original owner without the consent of the Town. 

This was a wise provision. It was made for the same 
purpose as was that governing the admission of new Inhabit- 
ants ; to keep undesirable outsiders from gaining citizenship. 
In 1640, this rule regulating the selling of property was 
changed, so that owners who had been Inhabitants for four 
years could sell as they chose, but a reversion to the old rule 
was made by the General Court, in 1651. 

That portion of the territory purchased from the Indians, 
that had not been assigned to original proprietors, was known 
as the Commons and belonged to the Town. When new 
settlers were admitted as Inhabitants, portions of the Com- 
mons were assigned to them. The common lands were at 
first under the charge of a committee, and later under the 
Selectmen, whose duty it was to see that there was no dam- 
age done by live stock, and that the timber should only be 
cut by those who were given licenses to do so. Grants of 
the common lands were made for public service, such as 
ditching and clearing, but the grants could be made only 
with the knowledge and consent of the entire town. The 
feudal system was unknown in Hartford. The people owned 
their property absolutely, save that they owned it under a 
superior authority, which was the People, of which superior 
authority each owner was a sovereign unit. So their land 
was not held under the superior authority of the King in 
the mother country, but under that of Themselves and their 
fellow Inhabitants. No man of Hartford ever took the oath 
of allegiance to the British King till after the Charter of 
1662 was granted. 

There were also laws governing extravagance and display 
in dress and ornament, and the prices to be paid for the 


work clone by men and cattle, and the length of the work-day. 

The wages paid for labor by the day varied from eighteen 
pence to two shillings and sixpence, the season of the year 
and the " smartness " of the man being considerations influ- 
encing the pay. The length of a work-day in summer was 
eleven hours, and in winter it was nine hours. 

The charge for the use of cattle for a day varied from four- 
teenpence to eighteenpence, also according to the season and 
working qualities of the cattle. For the use of a cart from 
threepence to sixpence a day was charged. 

Sawyers, the makers of lumber, received better pay than 
farm laborers. The pay for this work varied from four shil- 
lings and sixpence to seven shillings, and if either party gave 
or received more than the sums fixed, for the particular kind 
of work, he was fined five shillings for each offence. 

Trouble arising from an employer taking advantage of a 
man's necessity, was settled by arbitration by the Towns- 
men, who imposed fines to suit the offence. So, while some 
of these laws were arbitrary, they were made for the good 
of tbe community and if they seemed a hardship in particular 
cases it was due to ignorance, or lack of experience, rather 
than a desire on the part of the employed to do as little for 
as much as possible, or on the part of the employers, to give 
as little for as much done as possible. 

Besides all of the common grains, and beans, the settlers 
had a fair variety of vegetables. The raising of tobacco, 
hemp and flax was encouraged and regulated by law. To 
encourage the raising of tobacco, there was a penalty of five 
shillings for using any that was grown out of Connecticut, 
and the Connecticut referred to in the law was composed of 
the three towns of Hartford, Wethersfield and Windsor. 
Strict laws were passed in regard to the use of tobacco, for 
the General Court feared that the people were abusing them- 
selves with it. The Court ordered that no person under 
the age of twenty-one should use tobacco in any form, with- 
out a certificate from a physician that tobacco was good for 
him, and even then, the would-be user was required to obtain 
a license from the General Court. This requirement included 


all who had not acquired the habit, as well as those under 

After the certificate and license had been obtained, the 
possessor was forbidden to smoke, chew or snuff, on the pub- 
lic streets, the highways, or in barn yards, and on training 
days he could not indulge in any open space. This probably 
was to prevent the use of tobacco on, or about the training 
ground. The penalty for each offence was sixpence, and 
any one could be convicted by the testimony of but one 

In 1640, the General Court compelled the raising of flax 
and hemp. This law provided that each family should plant 
one spoonful of the seed, the seeds to be planted one foot 
apart. In the second year, each family keeping a team was 
to sow at least one rood of hemp or flax ; each person keeping 
cattle was to sow twenty perches ; families not owning cattle 
were obliged to sow ten perches and to provide at least a 
half pound of hemp or flax seed, or be subject to the public 
censure of the Court. As there was a scarcity of hemp seed, 
the Court ordered that any person who possessed more than 
the required spoonful and refused to sell to those who had 
none, should be obliged to plant that much more. 

Their animals were cattle, horses of a rather poor quality 
for any other purpose than heavy work, hogs, sheep and 
goats. The goat's well known capacity for mischief caused 
him to be barred from the commons and the streets of the 
settlement without a keeper. While pigs were a frequent 
article of diet in the form of pork, as pigs, they were a fre- 
quent subject of legislation by the Town. 

There is a tradition that many years later than the period 
just mentioned, about the third and fourth decades of the 
nineteenth century, there were finer specimens of " trouble- 
poultry " — as an old colored man called his fighting cocks — 
in Hartford than could be elsewhere found in New England. 
Had it not been for a hungry woman on one of the emigrant 
ships, of 1637, Hartford might have had fighting cocks with 
spurs on heads as well as heels. Tradition says that this 
woman was bringing with her from Old England to New 


England, in 1637, a pair of fowls which had spur-like horns 
growing out from their heads on either side, but she killed 
and ate them before landing. 

The earliest record of a law in regard to public education 
in Connecticut is that of 1642, when £30 was set aside for 
the Town School. Thus early did Hartford establish " The 
Little Red School-house " in which the majority of America's 
greatest men obtained their first thirst for knowledge. 

In 1650, each Town of fifty householders was required to 
maintain a school master, and each Town of one hundred house- 
holders was required to maintain a Grammar School, with a 
master who was competent to prepare pupils for the Univer- 
sity — meaning Harvard. In 1664, Governor Hopkins gave 
to this school £400, that the school might be on a firm founda- 
tion. One of the chief reasons the people were so strongly 
in favor of an education was, that more persons would be 
able to read the Scriptures in the Greek, and so avoid the 
danger of depending upon translators, who might construe 
the original to suit their own " mistaken " ideas. Another 
was, that a greater number of young men might be stimulated 
to fit themselves for the ministry. 

One of the duties of the Selectmen was to require all chil- 
dren and apprentices to attend school, and they were given 
authority to take minors of both sexes from parents or mas- 
ters who neglected their duty in sending their children or 
apprentices to school. Such children were to be placed under 
the guardianship of some person — till they were twenty-one in 
the case of boys, and eighteen in the case of girls — who would 
see to it that they were properly educated for good citizen- 
ship, industry and obedience to the laws. The Selectmen 
were also obliged to require heads of families, once a week, 
to catechize their children and servants in the principles of 
their religion, meaning the Congregational Church. The 
schools had a hard struggle for the people, however well off 
they might be, had little ready money to give to their sup- 
port. The people had a keen appreciation of the advantages 
of an education, and they showed a determination and sin- 
cerity of purpose, to do all that was possible to keep the 
" little red factory " of good citizenship at work on full time, 



with a full force. For this noble purpose many ways for 
keeping the machinery going were adopted. Wood for heat- 
ing the school-house was donated ; small sums of money were 
given for the rent of a room, when the cost of a school-house 
would be too great ; or pupils were charged a tiny tuition. 
The people voted in Town Meeting to tax themselves for 
the support of the institution that was so close to the Church, 
that it stood nearly on a level with it. Those old-time New 
Englanders were austere, rather mirthless and grim, but 
they were nation and character builders and devoted to their 
Church and School. 

In the very early days there were queer laws made for 

regulating who should be, and 
who should not be inhabitants. 
There can be no doubt that the 
laws, queer as they were, were 
necessary for the protection of 
the community in its social, po- 
litical, industrial and religious 
lives. The community was com- 
posed of families which had un- 
dertaken a great enterprise in 
leaving the comfort and, in 
many instances, the luxury of 
their homes in England and 
later, in leaving the comparative 
safety of their homes in Massa- 
chusetts for the unknown far-west. They were united in their 
purpose, in their standard of life, both public and domestic, 
and in their manner of worship and Church government, so 
they could not afford to hazard the discord that might result 
from the promiscuous influx of strangers. They were a 
house which, divided against itself, would not only have 
fallen, but would have been annihilated. They had insti- 
tuted their wonderful Town Government and it must be 
maintained, even at the expense of seeming inhospitality. 

Strangers could become inhabitants only upon proof of 
good character — . which meant honest, God-fearing industri- 



cms lives — and then, only upon an affirmative vote of a 
majority of the inhabitants. Persons who were evidently 
waifs were absolutely barred from citizenship. Families, 
which were already inhabitants, were not permitted to enter- 
tain strangers in their homes for a period of time longer 
than one month, without permission from the Town. Young 
unmarried men were not allowed to live in any family with- 
out permission from the Town, no matter how good were 
their characters; nor was a young unmarried man permitted 
to live in bachelor-quarters, unless he kept a servant or was 
a public officer. The penalty for such an offence was a fine 
of twenty shillings. This was the strangest of the laws gov- 
erning life in those early days. It was probably due to the 
fear that a man living alone would become slovenly, dirty 
and perhaps immoral and to them, the people of Connecti- 
cut, who gave to America its Town Government and to the 
World its first written Constitution, cleanliness of person 
and domicile was but little less important than cleanliness of 

Inhabitants were obliged by law to attend Town Meeting. 
Failure to do so without reasonable excuse, was punished 
by a fine of sixpence — small indeed in value, but the princi- 
ple involved by the fine was great. If there were a similar 
law now, in every State of the Union, in regard to attendance 
at primaries, the high officials in Town, County, State and 
Nation, would be men who have inherited their American 
Citizenship instead of those who have acquired it through 
the naturalization courts. 

There was one striking particular in which Connecticut, 
and therefore Hartford, was far in advance of the Colonies 
of Massachusetts and New Haven. To be a voter in Con- 
necticut it was only necessary to be an Inhabitant ; in Massa- 
chusetts and New Haven, membership in the Congre- 
gational Church was necessary. They were continuing in 
the New World that union of Church and State which they 
found so objectionable in the Old World. The people of 
Massachusetts found that the union was rather a pleasant 
condition, giving as it did, greatly augmented power to those 
persons who held office. And in New England they were the 


Church and State, while in Old England they were simply 
the puppets of the Church. It is not at all strange that they 
found the power very pleasant and tickling to their self- 


In 1642, Connecticut had provided the death penalty for 
twelve crimes, and later two more were added to the frightful 
list, and they were all based upon the Bible. 

Human beings were put to death : 

For worshipping another God than the Lord God. 

For being a witch, or consulting with a familiar spirit. 

For blaspheming the name of God the Father, Son or 
Holy Ghost * * * with presumptuous or highhanded 

For wilful murder. 

For slaying another through guile, either by poisonings or 
other such Devilish practice. 

For kidnapping. 

For false witness. 

For conspiring or attempting an invasion, insurrection or 
rebellion against the Commonwealth. 

For a child above sixteen years of age to curse, or smite 
his father or mother. 

For a son above sixteen years of age, who will not obey his 
father or mother, after he has been chastened by them. 

There is no city in New England, in which public hospi- 
tality for travelers is greater, or the accommodations more 
comfortable and elegant, than in Hartford. The city has in- 
herited this characteristic for 260 years for in 1644, the Legis- 
lature, or General Court as it was then called, ordered that 
the towns of Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield should 
each provide a house for the entertainment of strangers 
and the traveling public, in which they should be fed and 
lodged in a " comfortable " manner. The tavern-keeper was 
chosen for that employment by the people and was approved 
by two magistrates, as being the right man for the best in- 
terests of strangers and the reputation of the towns. There 
was a fine of forty shillings, to be paid by the Town failing 
to comply with this order within a month after its issuance, 


and a similar fine was imposed for each successive month 
that passed, before the order was complied with. 

The first tavern in Hartford was in 1644, an d Jeremy- 
Adams was its keeper. Tradition and history makes Jeremy 
Adams a typical landlord. Hospitable, jolly and full of 
deviltry in his youth, when he began the duties of landlord, 
in later years he settled down and became a solid, substan- 
tial and prominent citizen. One of his early improprieties 
was to urge Thomas Hosmer, against whom an execution 
had been issued, to resist the levy by the constable. For 
this the General Court censured him formally. In 1662, 
Adams was confirmed by the authorities as tavern-keeper, 
so it is evident that he was regarded as the right man for 
the place. In 1663, ne was appointed to the responsible 
office of Master of Customs. An especial enactment by the 
General Court provided that Adams' house should remain 
the tavern for the entertainment of neighbors as well as 
strangers; that if Adams failed in any particulars of his 
agreement, his license should not be forfeited, but that he 
should continue in its possession at the discretion of the 
Court and himself be subject to its censure. 

This was practically a monopoly and no doubt it was as 
profitable in those days as are the monopolies of to-day. His 
monopoly included the exclusive right to sell wines in all 
quantities under a quarter cask, and all liquors under an 
anker ; a Dutch measure of liquids used in England, contain- 
ing ten wine-gallons. So Jeremy Adams had control of 
the retail and wholesale trade of the Colony, as it is hardly 
probable that his colleagues in the other towns were doing 
enough business to be able to buy wines and liquors in 
greater quantities than a quarter cask or an anker. It would 
be unjust and partaking of the nature of a vandalism to even 
suggest that the authorities received any of the mysterious 
presents, in unadressed envelopes, which the grantors of 
monopolies of the twentieth century find in their desks or 
coat pockets. In those days, when time was still young in 
the Colonies, public officials were simple, honest men, who 
had not reached that advanced stage of civilization that 


obtains in this century. It is evident, however, that Jeremy 
had what in these days is known in politics as a " pull ". 

Jeremy Adams was in Cambridge in 1632. He was an 
original settler of Hartford and married Rebekah Greenhill, 
the widow of Samuel Greenhill. Adams came into posses- 
sion of the Greenhill estate by giving a bond to pay to the 
two minor children a stipulated sum when they became of 
age. He sold his house and lot to Thomas Catlin and moved 
to the Greenhill property, on the west side of Main street, 
just south of the bridge. In 165 1 he purchased a lot of John 
Steel on the east side of Main street, where the Travelers' 
Insurance building stands, and kept a tavern there for years. 
Becoming involved in financial difficulties he mortgaged this 
property to the Colony, which was redeemed by his grandson, 
Zachary Sanford, in 1685. 

This first tavern or inn was situated on the east side of 
Main street, on three acres of ground, and the well in front 
of the inn continued in use for more than 200 years. In 
1687, when the Charter was in jeopardy, the General Court 
met in this inn, where Captain Wadsworth blew out the 
candles, upon the arrival of Governor Andros, and, securing 
the Charter in the confusion resulting from the sudden dark- 
ness, escaped thence to hide the precious document in the 
Charter Oak. When this historic event took place, the inn 
was kept by Zachary Sanford. Sanford, a grandson of Adams, 
bought the mortgage which Adams had given the Colony and 
which the Colony had foreclosed. So it seems that notwith- 
standing his profitable monopoly, Adams got into debt more 
heavily than he could manage to get out of. Jeremy Adams died 
in 1683. 

Some time later the authorities made rules for the regulation 
of inns which were rigidlv enforced. A sign was to be placed 
where strangers entering the town could see it and, in 1679, when 
Adams neglected to so place his sign, he was fined forty shillings. 
The act of the General Court required that guests should be 
made comfortable and provided with as great a variety of nour- 
ishment, both liquid and solid, as possible. The Inn was to be 
to the traveler as his own house. Provided he had the money, 


he was to order what he liked and had the run of the kitchen 
to give directions as to how it should be cooked. The bed must 
have clean sheets, on which no one had before slept. A servant 
was to be provided to make his fire and to pull off and clean 
his boots. He had the option of eating with his host at the 
common table, or in his private room. Tbere were rules for the 
care and feeding of the traveler's horse, and if the landlord failed 
to live up to the rules he was fined by the town two shillings 
and sixpence a day, and double that sum had to be paid to the 
owner of the horse. The rules governing the landlord were, 
that he must not permit excessive drinking or intoxication in 
his house. Half a pint of wine was the limit to be served to one 
person at one time. Drinking was not to continue for more than 
a half hour at one sitting, and never at unseasonable hours. 
Liquids ceased to flow at the call of the thirsty at nine o'clock 
at night. Wine could not be sold to be taken out of the Inn, 
except upon written authority from the head of a family. Every 
person found drunk, in or about an inn, was fined ten shillings. 
The Court imposed fines for different offenses in the use of 
strong drink and wine. For drinking more than the Court 
thought to be sufficient, there was a fine of three shillings and 
fourpence ; for drinking for a longer period than a half hour, 
the fine was two shillings and sixpence ; for drinking at unsea- 
sonable times, or after the hour of nine at night, the fine was five 
shillings. For second and third offenses the fines were two and 
three times as great respectively, while for the fourth offence, 
the penalty was imprisonment. If any convicted person was 
unable to pay his fine, he was either put in the stocks or given 
ten stripes. 

Moses Butler was a famous and well liked inn-keeper in the 
old days. His place of entertainment was at the corner of Main 
and Elm streets, just south of the bridge. Besides being an 
excellent landlord, Butler was a character and a " crony ", and 
he gathered a number of other cronies about him — gentlemen 
who were past middle life — and formed the " Seven Copper 
Club ". This odd name was derived from a rule of the Club, 
that whenever two or more of the members met at Butler's — ■ 
and Butler's was the meeting place of the Club — each one was 
obliged to spend seven coppers for a half mug of flip, no more 


and no less, nor was any other drink permitted. In this Inn, 
they wonld sit about a cherry table, polished till it shone, with 
pewter flip mugs of a quart capacity, and discuss matters of 
interest. Butler was strict in his rule that the club should 
adjourn at nine o'clock and that only one half-mug of flip should 
be drunk. On such occasions — and they were probably fre- 
quent - — ■ when one or another of the members urged for " just 
one more half-mug ", or for an extension of the time for adjourn- 
ment till past the hour of nine, tradition has it, that Butler's 
invariable reply was : ' No, you sha'nt have another drop. Go 
home to your families ". No doubt this domineering spirit of 
Butler's was one of the charms of the Club, to the gentlemen 
who formed its membership, for there is nothing more pleasing 
to the man whose social and financial position is such that he 
can do just as he pleases, than to be domineered. 

first officials; their duties. 

John Steele, the first Town Clerk, served till 1651, when he was 
succeeded by William Andrews, who was the first schoolmaster. 

The Sealer of Leather was a man of importance, for all tanned 
hides must be examined by him and bear his mark of approval, 
otherwise there was trouble for the man who killed the animal 
which wore the hide, or for the tanner. Leather was much used 
for clothing as well as for foot covering, besides all of the many 
other uses to which it was put. The care taken in removing the 
hide from the animal, and in the tanning, was of great importance 
for the supply was far from being in excess of the demand. 
Hides were obtained only when an animal was slaughtered for 
food. Its flesh would provide food for a great many more per- 
sons than its hide would provide leather for shoes, boots and 
clothing, to say nothing of the various other uses to which 
leather was put, so the law was definite and strictly enforced. 
If the butcher was careless and gashed the hide while skinning 
the animal he was fined twelvepence for each gash. If the hide 
was carelessly allowed to heat, the fine was twenty pounds, or 
if the tanner spoiled it or made poor leather of it, the sealer 
refused to pass it and the tanner was out of pocket to the extent 
of the value of the tanned hide. Part of the duty of the Sealer 


of Leather was to inspect the premises of the tanner, to see that 
the curing liquors were of the best quality, and that the work 
was done with care and skill, and to mark the good hides with his 
seal, and confiscate the poor ones. For each hide under five 
inspected, the sealer received twopence ; when the number was 
greater than five, he received twelvepence for every ten hides 
inspected. The Packer's duties were to unpack hides sent in 
from the farms and other settlements and to repack them, and 
brand each barrel which he had packed with the letters C. R. 
which were supposed to stand for Connecticut River. 

The first Customs Master was Jonathan Gilbert, who began 
his duties in 1659. He was a trader and ship-master and his 
warehouse was at the Landing. Mr. Gilbert was also High 

The Brander of Horses' duties were as his title implies. His 
brand mark and the color and age of each horse exported from 
the Colony were recorded by the Town Clerk, who received six- 
pence for each entry. 

John Gunning was the Chimney Sweeper. He received his 
appointment in 1639. The danger from fire was great, should 
the thick soot from the wood fires become ignited, and it was 
his duty to see that the chimneys were free from such accumula- 
tions. In those days and with those people one man was as good 
as another. There were a few who possessed more money than 
their neighbors and others who were better educated, but there 
were only two classes — as we of this country know class distinc- 
tions — and the dividing line between them was morals and citi- 
zenship. There is no reason to believe that any man was " looked 
up to " because of his wealth. There is reason to believe that 
every man was highly respected because of his mental attain- 
ments, and there is absolutely no doubt that the good citizen 
who kept the laws and made it his business to see that others 
kept them, who lived and worked for the good of the community, 
as well as for himself, and lived in the fear of the Lord, was 
honored and came as near to being one of a superior class 
as the Colony of Connecticut had. So, while we regard the 
Chimney Sweeper as a very humble officer, it is hardly probable 
that his fellow settlers did so regard John Gunning and it is 
probable that he was as well off as the average settler. 



The first paper money issued by the Colony of Connecticut 
was when Connecticut was called upon to help in the " reduc- 
tion " of the French in Canada, in 1709. Of the 350 men under 
command of Colonel Whiting who took part in that campaign 
of disaster, ninety were killed. A special assembly of June 8, 
1709, passed a bill that paper money should be printed to the 
value of i8,ooo, the bills ranging in value from two shillings 
to five pounds. Only one half of the bills were signed and issued, 
at first, the other half being kept in the treasury till it should 
be needed. A tax was imposed for the redemption of the bills 
first issued, at the expiration of one year and for the other half 
at the expiration of the second year. The act required that these 
bills should be received for one shilling on the pound more than 
gold or silver. 

In 1713, Connecticut consisted of four counties — Hartford, 
New Haven, New London and Fairfield — and a population of 
17,000. Each county supported a regiment of militia, giving a 
total for the Colony of nearly 4,000 men. 

The only direct exports to Great Britain were, tar, pitch, tur- 
pentine and fur pelts. The principal trade of the Colony was 
with Boston and New York, to which places grain, pork, beef 
and cattle were sent ; and with the West Indies, the trade being, 
besides pork, beef and cattle, horses, hoops and staves. The 
chief articles received from the West Indies were, rum, molasses 
and cotton. 

The total annual expense of the Colonial government at this 
period was about $3,500. The Governor received equivalent to 
$800 and the Lieutenant-Governor, $200 a year. The cost of the 
Legislature was $1,600. The Legislature, or General Assembly, 
met twice a year but a session seldom continued for more than 
ten days. 

The Connecticut Gazette of May 31, 1766, gives the following 
account of the reception of the news that the Stamp Act had 
been repealed and of the shocking accident that was the result 
of the careless enthusiasm of the people : 

Last Monday evening the long expected, joyful news of the total repeal 
of the Stamp Act arrived in town ; upon which happy event, the General 
Assembly of this colony, now sitting here, appointed the Friday following 






as a day of general rejoicing. The morning was ushered in by the ringing 
of bells — the shipping in the river displayed their colors — at 12 o'clock 
twenty-one cannon were discharged, and the greatest preparations making 
for a general illumination. Joy smiled in every face, and universal glad- 
ness diffused itself through all ranks and degrees. But sudden was the 
transition from the height of joy to the extreme of sorrow! A number of 
young gentlemen were preparing fireworks for the evening, in the chamber 
of the large brick school house, under which a quantity of powder granted 
by the Assembly for the purposes of the day, was deposited. Two com- 
panies of militia had just received a pound a man, by the delivery of 
which a train was scattered from the powder cask to a distance of three 
rods from the house, where a number of boys were collected, who un- 
designedly and unnoticed, set fire to the scattered powder, which was soon 
communicated to that within doors, and in an instant reduced the building 
to a heap of rubbish, and buried the following persons in its ruins viz. 

Mr. Levi Jones, John Knowles (an apprentice to Mr. Thomas Sloan, 
blacksmith) and Richard, second son to Mr. John Hans. Lord, died of 
their wounds soon after they were taken from under the ruins of the 
building. Mr. William Gardiner, merchant, had both legs broke. Doctor 
Nathaniel Ledyard, had one of his thighs broke. Mr. Samuel Talcott, 
Jun., very much burnt in his face and arms. Mr. James Siley, goldsmith, 
had one of his shoulders dislocated and some bruises in other parts of his 

Mr. John Cook, Jun., had his back and neck much hurt. Ephraim Perry, 
slightly wounded. Thomas Forbes, wounded on his head. Daniel Butler 
(the tavern keeper's son) had one of his ankles put out of joint. Richard 
Burnham, son of Mr. Elisha Burnham, had his thigh, leg, and ankle broke. 
Eli Wadsworth (Captain Samuel's son) is much wounded and burnt in 
his face, hands, and other parts of his body. John Bunce, Jun., (an 
apprentice to Mr. Church, hatter) wounded in the head. Normond 
Morrison (a lad that lives with Captain Siley) a good deal burnt and 
bruised. Roderick Lawrence, (Captain Lawrence's son) slightly wounded. 
William Skinner (Captain Daniel's son) had both his thighs broke. 
Timothy Phelps (son of Mr. Timothy Phelps, shop joiner) had the calf 
torn off one of his legs. Valentine Vaughn (son of Mr. Vaughn, baker) 
had his skull terribly broke. Horace Seymour (Mr. Jonathan Seymour 
Jun's., son) two sons of Mr. John Goodwin, a son of Mr. John Watson, a 
son of Mr. Kellogg, hatter, were slightly wounded. Two mulatto and two 
negro boys were also wounded. 

When the new theatre was opened in Hartford, the Connecti- 
cut Courant, of August 10, 1795, gave it the following notice. 
It is evident that the press agent had been liberal with passes : 

The new Theatre in this city was opened on Monday last, with a cele- 
brated comedy, entitled, The Dramatist, preceded by a handsome and 
pertinent address by Mr. Hodgkinson. From the specimen that has been 


given of the ability of the performers, and the assurance of the managers 
that they will so conduct the Theatre, that it may be justly styled a school 
of morality; it is presumed that it will be a great source of instruction 
and amusement to those that visit it ; and we will hazard the assertion, 
notwithstanding the prejudices that some have entertained against it, that 
as an amusement it is the most innocent and, as a source of instruction it 
is the most amusing of any that we ever yet experienced. While the 
theatre is well conducted, on chaste principles — when vice is drawn in 
colors that will disgust, and virtue painted in all its alluring charms, it is 
hoped it will meet the approbation and encouragement of the citizens, and 
of the neighboring towns. 

" The handsome and pertinent address " by Mr. Hodgkinson 
included the following poem. 

Here, while fair peace spreads her protecting wing, 

Science and Art, secure from danger spring, 

Guarded by freedom — strengthened by the laws, 

Their progress must command the world's applause. 

While through all Europe horrid discord reigns, 

And the destructive sword crimsons her plains : 

O ! be it ours to shelter the opprest, 

Here let them find peace, liberty and rest ; 

Upheld by Washington, at whose dread name 

Proud Anarchy retires with fear and shame. 

Among the liberal arts, behold the Stage, 

Rise, tho' oppos'd by stern fanatic rage ! 

Prejudice shrinks, and as the cloud gives way, 

Reason and candor brighten up the day. 

No immorality now stains our page, 

No vile obscenity — in this blest age, 

Where mild Religion takes her heavenly reign, 

The Stage the purest precepts must maintain : 

If from this rule it swerv'd at any time, 

It was the people's not the stage's crime. 

Let them spurn aught that's out of virtue's rule, 

The Stage will ever be a virtuous school. 

And though 'mong players some there may be found, 

Whose conduct is not altogether sound, 

The Stage is not alone in this to blame 

Ev'ry profession will have still the same: 

A virtuous sentiment from vice may come! 

The libertine may praise a happy home; 

Your remedy is good with such a teacher ; 

Imbibe the precept, but condemn the preacher. 

In matters of every day life the people of the eighteenth cen- 
tury were not so different from those of the twentieth as one 


might suppose. The chief difference was, that what they said 
and did, was not as we would say and do it. 

For instance ; the man who wished to air his views, or to 
" knock " someone in a communication to the public press, 
existed in seventeen hundred, just as he exists in nineteen hun- 
dred. And, if one may judge from the following communica- 
tion to the New London Gazette, dated in Hartford on June 24, 
1768, these eighteenth century " knockers " were just as timid 
about signing their names as the same genus is now. The com- 
munication is as follows : 

Mr. Printer — I wish you would put this into your newspaper for the 
complainant. Sir : — I was at Hartford a little while ago, and I see folks 
running about the streets after the gentlemen that belonged to the Gen- 
eral Assembly; and I asked what it was for, and an old woman told me 
that they came a great way, matter of forty miles easterly, to find fault 
with what the Assembly was a going to do. And what I want of you is, 
to complain of it ; for it does not seem clever to have them gentlemen 
pestered so by cats-paws, when we have got them to do all our business 
for us by themselves. And you know when folks have folks talking to 
them all the while, it will pester them. I wonder people will act so ; if 
what I once read in a book is true, 

" Know, villians, when such paltry slaves presume 
To mix in treason ; if the plot succeeds, 
They're thrown neglected by." 

How entirely nineteenth-century. Crowds of people chasing 
legislators ; old women gossiping ; and a reformer writing. The 
only difference is, that while the chasing of the legislators 
"pestered " them in 1768; it helps them to lay up treasure where 
moth and rust docs corrupt, and they like it, in the nineteenth 

The early law makers of Connecticut evidently had no sus- 
picion, that in time, the Constitution of the United States would 
provide that no cruel or unusual punishments should be inflicted, 
for they certainly showed great ingenuity in devising both cruel 
and unusual forms of punishment. The Connecticut Courant, 
of January 4, 1785, thus describes the punishment of a man 
who was convicted of stealing a horse : The sentence of the 
Supreme Court was; that the criminal (or victim) "Should sit 
on a wooden horse for half an hour, receive fifteen stripes, pay 
a fine of £ 10, be confined in gaol and the workhouse for three 


months, and every Monday morning for the first month to receive 
ten stripes and sit on the wooden horse as aforesaid ". 
The Courant says in commenting upon the punishment : 

One of the rogues was sentenced to ride the wooden horse, that wonder- 
ful refinement of punishment in our modern statutes. Accordingly, on 
Thursday last that terrible machine was prepared — consisting of one 
simple stick of wood supported by four legs ; and by order of the sheriff 
placed on the State House square. Hither the prisoner was conducted, 
and being previously well booted and spurred by the officer, was mounted 
on the oaken steed. Here he continued for half an hour, laughing at his 
own fate, and making diversion for a numerous body of spectators, who 
honored him with their company. He took several starts for a race with 
several of the best horses in the city ; and it was difficult to determine 
who were most pleased with the exhibition, the criminal or the spectators. 
After this part of the sentence had been legally and faithfully executed, 
the culprit was dismounted and led to the whipping post, where the duties 
made him more serious. The whole was performed with order and 

Another man, convicted of polygamy, was sentenced by the 
same term of the Supreme Court, " to receive ten stripes, be 
branded with the letter A, and to wear a halter around his neck 
during his continuance in the State and if ever found with it off, 
to receive thirty stripes ". 

When the news of the death of General Washington reached 
Hartford, the people of that city were depressed and sorrowful. 
The following account of the services held, and the reproduction 
of the hymn written by Theodore Dwight for the occasion, are 
from the Connecticut Courant, of December 30, 1799: 

In consequence of the afflicting intelligence of the death of Genl. 
Washington, divine services were performed at the north meeting house 
in this town on Friday last. The town never exhibited a more solemn 
and interesting appearance. Notice having been given to the inhabitants 
of this and the neighboring towns, the concourse of people was greater 
than almost ever was known on any former occasion. The stores and 
shops were shut through the day — all business being suspended — the 
bells were muffled, and tolled at intervals, from nine in the morning till 
the services commenced. The meeting house was greatly crowded, and 
still a large portion of the people could not get in at the doors. The 
services were appropriate, solemn and impressive. A very eloquent and 
pathejtic sermon was delivered by the Rev. Nathan Strong, to a most 
attentive, devout, and mourning audience, from Exod. XI. 3. "And the 
man Moses was very great ", &c. The music was solemn and sublime ; 
and the whole scene exhibited in the strongest of all possible colors, the 


deep affliction of the people at a loss utterly irreparable. The floods of 
tears, the badges which were universally worn, the church was hung in 
black, a procession of many hundreds of persons, composed of men of all 
classes, and the solemn grief pictured in every countenance, made im- 
pressions on the minds of the beholders, which many years will not efface. 
We presume that the sentiments and feelings which inspired the persons 
present, pervade the whole country, on the distressing event which called 
them together. However divided into parties on political subjects, with 
respect to the character of this great man, we trust that there is but one 
opinion in the United States. As he lived, loved and admired, he has died 
truly lamented ; and his memory will be honored as long as wisdom, virtue 
and piety shall be esteemed among men. ' The beauty of Israel is slain 
upon the high places ; how are the mighty fallen ". 

The following was the hymn written by Dwight : 

What solemn sounds the ear invade ! 
What wraps the land in sorrow's shade! 

From Heaven the awful mandate flies, 

The Father of his Country dies. 

Let every heart be filled with woe, 
Let every eye with tears o'erflow, 

Fach form oppressed with deepest gloom, 

Be clad in vestments of the tomb. 

Behold that venerable band ! 
The rulers of our mourning land, 

With grief proclaim from shore to shore, 

Our guide, our Washington's no more ! 

Where shall our country turn its eye? 
What help remains beneath the sky? 

Our Friend, Protector, Strength, and Trust, 

Lies low and mouldering in the dust. 

Almighty God, to thee we fly — 
Before thy throne above the sky. 

In deep prostration humbly bow, 

And pour the penitential vow. 

Hear, O Most High ! our earnest prayer — 
Our country take beneath thy care, 

When dangers press, and foes draw near, 

May future Washingtons appear. 

There is a patriotic nobility of sentiment ; fine appreciation 
of the dead hero, patriot and soldier; and faith in, and devotion 
to, Almighty God, that is typical of a Dwight in this hymn, 
which becomes even more striking by two or three readings. 



Kendall's account of the doings on election day in Hartford, 
toward the end of the first decade of eighteen-hundred, refers 
to the reforms that were made about the time the new Con- 
stitution was adopted. Among them being, that the clergy 
were no longer dined at the expense of the public, that the elec- 
tion sermon was eliminated and that the Governor's guard was 
no longer fed at public expense. It will be noticed that leaving 
the clergy to go hungry was one step in reform and the restrain- 
ing one of their number from exhaling superheated atmosphere 
for two hours on election day, was another. An ante-reforma- 
tion election day was observed somewhat as follows, according 
to Kendall : 

The Governor had volunteer companies, both horse and foot. In the 
afternoon the horse were drawn up on the bank of the river to receive 
him and escort him to his lodgings. The mounted guard wore blue cloth 
and the Governor was dressed in black with a cockade in his hat, which 
was of somewhat ancient form (probably the three-cornered chapeau). 
In the morning the foot guards were paraded in front of the State House, 
where they afterward remained under arms, while the troop of horse 
occupied the street on the south side of the building. The clothing of 
the foot was scarlet coats, white waistcoats and white pantaloons. Their 
appearance and demeanor were military. 

The apartments and galleries in the State House were filled by the 
members of the Legislature and other notable citizens, awaiting the 
arrival of the Governor. At about n o'clock his excellency made his 
appearance and took his place at the head of the procession, which pro- 
ceeded to a meeting-house about a half mile distant. Those in the pro- 
cession were on foot and included the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, 
assistants, high sheriffs, members of the lower house of the Legislature, 
and all of the clergy of the State. It was preceded by the foot guards and 
followed by the horse guards. Arrived at the old South Meeting house 
all of the military, except a few officers, remained outside. Neither the 
Governor nor any of the other high officials, wore anything like insignia 
of office. The only women in the church were the twenty in the high 
gallery opposite the pulpit, who composed the choir. 

On the large platform behind the pulpit were four ministers ; one to 
open the ceremony with prayer ; another to preach the election sermon ; 
another to offer the closing prayer and the last, to pronounce the bene- 
diction. The sermon was on matters of government and when a'l was 
finished the procession returned to the State House, the clergy on foot, 
numbering about one hundred. 

It was in the military alone, that any suitable approach to magnificence 


was shown. The Governor was in black, the Lieutenant-Governor wore 
riding boots and the sheriffs wore their village habiliments (all of which 
were of a varied nature) and dress swords. At the State House the 
military formed on either side of the street and presented arms, as the 
Governor passed through their lines. Then a general division took place. 
The Governor, Lieutenant-Governor and the assistants going to their 
special room in the inn ; the ministers to another and the members of the 
Legislature to another where dinner was served. 

Soon after the dining was finished, the Assembly met in the council 
room to examine and count the written votes for the officers, when the 
public, official announcement was made. Then the Lieutenant-Governor 
administered the oath to the governor, who returned the courtesy and 
continued it with the other officials elected. At a few minutes past 6 
o'clock, the military fired a salute and were then dismissed. On the night 
after election there was a grand, public ball and on the Monday night 
after election there was another ball not for the people, but for the few 
select ones. 

Election day and in fact the week following that day, was a 
general holiday in Connecticut. About the only one the people 
had, for such was the odd state of mind of the Congregational 
leaders in authority, in the early days in New England, that 
nearly all that was tender and beautiful in Christ's religion was 
resigned, without the asking, to the Church of Rome. So the 
early Christians of the Congregational faith (and Christians they 
surely were) knew nothing of Christmas, Easter and Whitsun- 
tide, but rather lived " in the fear of the Lord " and election day 
was their chief holiday. Indeed, so late as 1886, in a Vermont 
city, a Congregational Church refused to place a beautiful cross, 
that had been presented by a friend, behind the pulpit on Easter, 
" because it was so much like Popery ". It was a strange religion 
that willingly robbed itself of the tenderness, and retained so much 
of the harshness of Christianity and yet this same unbeautiful 
religion was a power for good, great good, in the Colony and 
young Nation and produced many of the Nation's finest and most 
liberal men and women. 

A queer old custom that may have originated in a spirit of 
fun, was the election day of the negro population, when a negro 
governor was elected. Or perhaps the custom was established 
by the masters to keep the slaves in good humor and by placing 
the most intelligent of them over the others, they may have 
relieved themselves of many of the petty annoyances that exist 
with slavery. The custom obtained long before the Revolution, 


and continued to a few years after the second war with Great 

' Nigger election " was usually on the Saturday after the 
regular election of the Colony, or State. It was an occasion of 
unusual liberty and delight for the negroes. Much of the voting 
was done by proxy, as not all of the blacks could attend the 
election. Often the choice was largely left to the masters, who 
chose a black for governor who was able to keep his fellows in 
order by means of his superior intelligence and great muscular 
strength. Sometimes the existing black governor passed his 
office and authority on to another of his own choice, but above 
all, the whites required that the black governor should be one 
notable for his honesty. 

After the election, the governor appointed aids, military offi- 
cers, sheriffs and justices of the peace. In fact, the whole busi- 
ness was carried on with as much dignity and as nearly like an 
election by their masters, as the farcical natures of the negroes 
permitted. They had their post-election parade and, generally, 
this was followed by a feast of some kind. The governor's 
duties were never definitely defined, any more than the duties 
of a policeman's club are defined and, like the policeman's club, 
he was a sort of instrument of punishment to be held over the 
heads of wrong-doers among the people of his own color. 
Neptune, one of the negro justices of the peace, generally known 
as " Squire Nep ", was a terror to evil-doers of his own color 
for when one of them was brought before him, Squire Nep 
always inflicted the most severe punishment upon conviction. 
Nep was a barber, and was as much respected by the whites 
for his integrity, intelligence and influence among the negroes, 
as he was feared by the latter. On one occasion, a nigger thief 
had been taken before Jonathan Bull, a white magistrate. Squire 
Bull sent him to " Squire Nep " for trial. Nep found him guilty 
and sentenced him to receive thirty lashes upon his bare back, 
and to give up his gun and tobacco as a means of restitution. 
The execution of the sentence took place at night, by the light 
of a candle, upon the South Green. 



WEST Hartford was originally a portion of Hartford 
and was for many years known as West Division. 
It was owned by a large company of proprietors 
who voted to divide the district in 1672. Up to that year, nothing 
had been done toward a survey and division of the land. In fact, 
nothing was done till 1674, when a strip of land extending north 
and south for the full length of the Town of Hartford and east 
from the Farmington line for a mile and a half, was set off and 
divided into lots, in proportion to the individual interests of the 

At that time, the Farmington line was at the foot of Talcott 
Mountain. This long, narrow territory was divided into lots 
that were a mile and a half long and from ninety-one rods in 
width down to but three rods, the width being in accord with the 
individual interests of the owners. The western boundary was 
sometime later moved toward the west, by changing the Farm- 
ington line from the foot, to the top of Talcott Mountain, and 
by adding a considerable strip of land to the eastern boundary 
of West Division. The distance of the little settlement in West 
Division from the two Churches in the Village of Hartford, was 
so great that the inhabitants petitioned the General Court, in 
1710, for a separate Church Society, but the petition was not 
granted till May, 171 1, when the twenty-eight petitioners were 
formed into a separate society. The Church was organized in 
February, 1713, with the Rev. Benjamin Colton its first minister. 
It was known as the Fourth Church of Hartford. Mr. Colton 
was the minister for forty-three years. He was succeeded by 
the Rev. Nathaniel Hooker, a descendant of the Rev. Thomas 
Hooker, the Colony's first minister, and a grandson of Governor 
Talcott. The third minister was the Rev. Dr. Nathan Perkins, 
whose pastorate lasted for sixty-three years, and was only ex- 
ceeded by the pastorate of the Rev. Samuel Nott, who was minis- 
ter of the Franklin Church for seventy-one years. Dr. Perkins 
was a liberal, progressive man and a warm patriot during the 
Revolution, and in the second war with Great Britain, in 1812. 
He was one of the first and most uncompromising opponents of 
slavery. He, like many of the Congregational ministers of the 


early days, was frequently notable for his keen sense of humor, 
which was, upon the proper occasions, often dry and biting. The 
custom of paying a portion of the minister's salary in fire wood 
obtained in his day. Colonel X, one of his parishioners, called 
Mr. Perkins out, one day, to pass judgment upon a load oi 
" salary wood ". The wood was chiefly composed of the small, 
crooked, tops of trees and being so crooked it did not pack 
closely, and was far from being up to the standard load of wood. 
Dr. Perkins looked at the load from both sides and then going 
to the rear, stooped and, seemingly looking through the middle 
of the load, at the cattle in front, remarked ; " That is a remark- 
ably fine pair of steers you have on the lead, Colonel ". 

He was the originator of the Theological Institute in Hart- 
ford and the first meeting of ministers, preliminary to its found- 
ing, was held in his home, and he laid the corner-stone of the 
first building. It is somewhat remarkable, that with the excep- 
tion of a very small and short-lived Society of Quakers, the 
Congregational was the only religious organization in West 
Hartford, from the first settlement down to 1843, when St. 
James' Episcopal Church was organized. The first four-wheeled 
vehicle of West Hartford, for carrying persons from one place 
to another, was introduced by an ancestor of William Faxon, who 
was Lincoln's Assistant-Secretary of the Navy. Captain Faxon 
had purchased this " carriage " for the especial purpose of carry- 
ing his family to Church. He probably had no idea that it would 
be a cause of disturbing the peace of the " Sabbath " and of 
keeping the people away from their places in Church till after 
the service had begun. But it did, and the good people con- 
sidered it to be so wicked an instrument of Satan, that the 
Monday after the Faxon family first arrived at Church in it, a 
committee called upon Captain Faxon to inform him that such 
a wonder-exciting contrivance would not be tolerated upon the 
highway on the Sabbath. The Captain explained that he had 
purchased the carriage for the express purpose of taking all of 
his family to Church in it, so finally the committee consented to 
its use, if he would drive very slowly so that the people would 
not be too greatly excited by it, and so be late to Church. 




Noah Webster was the kind of man and citizen who belongs 
to the nation at large. Not alone for his, and his father's ser- 
vice in the Continental army in the Revolution ; nor for his high 
literary attainments and profound scholarship in the science of 
philology, which culminated in Webster's Dictionary ; but chiefly 
for his patriotic and disinterested championship of President 
George Washington. For this purpose he left his lucrative law 
practice in Hartford to go to New York City, to establish and 



edit a newspaper devoted to the support of the Washington 
administration. That Washington could need friends, or that 
he had venomous enemies, seems impossible to Americans of 
today (to such Americans as have inherited their citizenship, 
not to such as have acquired it through the naturalization courts), 
but such is a fact. President George Washington was maligned, 
lied about and ridiculed, just as Lincoln and McKinley were 
maligned, lied about and ridiculed, by the same variety of vermin, 


whose acquired American Citizenship was of that kind which 
regards dollars and cents more highly than good breeding and 

But while the Nation may claim Noah Webster, the soldier- 
author, the charming old village of West Hartford claims him 
as her son, for there he was born on October 16, 1758. New 
York, New Haven, and Amherst, also claim him as an adopted 
son, for he was a resident of those college towns for many years. 

He was descended from John Webster, one of the first Gov- 
ernors of Connecticut, and from' William Bradford of the 
Plymouth Colony, on his mother's side. His father was a farmer 
and for the first fifteen years of his life Noah lived at home 
doing the usual " chores " and light work that falls to the lot 
of a farmer's son. Just after he was fifteen, in 1773, he began 
to fit himself for College under the Rev. Nathan Perkins, 
D.D., and entered Yale, in 1774. In Ins junior year he joined 
the Revolutionary army as a volunteer, and was under the com- 
mand of his father, who was a captain in the " alarm list ", a 
body of citizens who had passed the age of forty-five, and 
were only called upon in an emergency. Notwithstanding the 
interruptions caused by his military duties, he continued his 
studies and was graduated from Yale, in 1778, with honor. 

After graduation, he taught in a Hartford school, and studied 
law and was admitted to the bar in 1781. In the summer of 
1779, while he was teaching and studying law, he lived with 
Oliver Ellsworth, who later became Chief Justice of the United 
States and whose son, Governor Ellsworth, became a son-in-law 
of Dr. Webster. Noah Webster did not practice his profession, 
as the war had so greatly impoverished the country that the pros- 
pects for a young lawyer were not bright. He chose instead, 
the occupation of teaching and took charge of a Grammar School 
in Goshen, New York. It was in Goshen that he compiled his 
famous blue-covered spelling book, in which the majority of 
Yankees for many generations learned their a-b abs. This fa- 
mous book was published in Hartford, to which city he returned 
in 1783. While in Hartford, he published a grammar and a 
reading book. 

To the twentieth century Americans, Dr. Webster is best 
known for his educational authorship, but in his day, he was 


a prolific and convincing writer on political subjects. His sup- 
port of an act of Congress, for pensions for Revolutionary 
soldiers, by means of a series of articles published in the Con- 
necticut Courant, was of such a nature, that, although the masses, 
who disapproved of the act, were on the verge of revolt, a 
majority of the members elected to the Legislature in April, 1784, 
were supporters of the Congressional act. His successful efforts 
were so highly regarded that Governor Jonathan Trumbull 
thanked Dr. Webster personally, for what he had done. 

That the Constitution of the United States was written and 
adopted may be traced to a pamphlet that he wrote in the winter 
of 1784-5, entitled ; " Sketches of American Policy " in which the 


first definite proposal for a Constitution of the United States, 
to take the place of the "Articles of Confederation", was first 
suggested in public print. To Dr. Webster may also be traced 
the copyright laws, for in 1785, he journeyed through the south- 
ern states presenting petitions to the several Legislatures for the 
passage of such laws. 

From 1784, to 1788, he was lecturing Baltimore, Philadelphia 
and in the principal Atlantic-coast cities, and teaching in Phila- 
delphia. In 1788, he published the American Magazine, in New 
York, for one year. In 1789, he married the daughter of William 
Greenleaf, of Boston, and returned to Hartford to practice law. 
In 1793, he became the champion of the Washington administra- 


tion by starting a newspaper in support of it. That paper became 
The Commercial Advertiser. From that time, his literary labors 
increased, as did his publications. They included politics, inter- 
national diplomacy, hygiene, finance and history. In 1798, he 
went to New Haven and resided there for fourteen years. In 
18 1 2, he left New Haven for Amherst, Massachusetts, and lived 
there for ten years, when he returned to New Haven. Another 
matter of national importance, in educational interests this time, 
may be traced to Dr. Webster. While living in Amherst he was 
chiefly instrumental in the founding of an Academy, which later 
became Amherst College. He received the degree of LL.D. from 
Yale in 1823. 

In 1823, he had been at work upon his greatest literary pro- 
duction for sixteen years, for it was in 1807, that he began his 
Dictionary. Dr. Webster spent several months in Paris, and 
at the University of Cambridge, in England, in 1824, and it was 
in Cambridge that the great work was finished. Writers in 
those days were more apt to appreciate the seriousness of pro- 
ducing a volume than they are now. Books were comparatively 
scarce and authors were few. This made the production of a 
book — especially such a volume as Webster's Dictionary — a 
much more notable and serious event than it would be now. 
At any rate, Dr. Webster was much affected when his great work 
was finally finished, as will be seen from the following extract 
from a letter that he wrote to Dr. Thomas Miner, in 1836: 

When I finished my copy, I was sitting at my table in Cambridge, 
England, January, 1825. When I arrived at the last word, I was seized 
with a tremor, that made it difficult to proceed. I however summoned up 
strength to finish the work, and then walking about the room, I soon 


EAST HARTFORD, originally a part of Hartford, was the 
home of the man who had as much to do with the settle- 
ment of the Connecticut Valley as any man in New Eng- 
land, probably more. This was Wahqinnacut, a leader of the 
Podunk Indians, who went to Boston and Plymouth in 1631, to 
urge the English to come to the beautiful valley, with its rich 
meadows, its fur-bearing animals and its fish, to settle. As has 


been shown elsewhere, this invitation was due to a desire on the 
part of the River Indians to secure the friendship of the English, 
whose superior intelligence and more deadly weapons would be a 
powerful help against their natural enemies. 

The Podunks had a stronghold on Fort Hill, near the main 
street and to the east of it. They lived peaceably enough with 
their white neighbors till Philip's War, when they joined that 
intelligent and warlike chief and were either killed or dispersed. 
A few individuals of the tribe lived on the Hockanum River, in 
1745, but by 1760, even they had disappeared. 

Up to its incorporation in 1783, the history of East Hartford 
was largely the history of Hartford. Joseph O. Goodwin gives 
the following list of names, as being among the more prominent 
of the early settlers, on the east side of the Connecticut. In 
that portion of East Hartford known as Hockanum — Richard 
Risley, who died in 1648; Edward Andrews, who settled near 
the mouth of the Hockanum River, about 1657 ; William Hills, 
who was wounded by Indians in 1675. Thomas Burnham, a 
lawyer who was made a freeman in 1657, settled in the district 
known as Podunk ; William Pitkin, the founder of the family 
of that name, who became prominent in the affairs of the Colony, 
settled there about 1659. John Bidwell, who ran a sawmill in 
partnership with Joseph Bull, at Burnside, settled about 1669; 
William Warren, whose house was on Main street, below the 
Hockanum River, was made a freeman in 1665 ; Sergeant Samuel 
Gaines, 1667; Lieutenant John Meakins, before 1669; Richard 
Case, who was made a freeman in 167 1 ; Thomas Trill, a soldier 
of the Narragansett War, was the first person to be buried in 
the old Center Burying Ground; Obadiah Wood, also a soldier 
of 1675; whose gravestone was the first in the same cemetery; 
William Buckland, previous to 1678 ; James Forbes, in that por- 
tion of the town known as Scotland, till 1865, when it became 
Burnside, settled there in 1688; William Roberts, about 1688 — 
he married the daughter of James Forbes; Deacon Timothy 
Cowles, whose house was on the east side of Main street, just 
south of Gilman's Brook ; Deacon Joseph Olmsted, whose house 
was on Prospect street, in 1699. 

In the spring of 1694, the people of East Hartford petitioned 
to be made a separate society and in the autumn their petition 


was granted, and Church was known as the Third Ecclesiastical 
Society of Hartford. The society, or parish, included the 
present Towns of East Hartford and Manchester. As was the 
case in nearly all new Churches, the meetings were first held 
in one or another of the homes. There seems to have been 
nothing done in regard to building a church until December 29, 
1699, when the records show that a committee was appointed 
to oversee the work being done on the meeting-house. Seats 
were put in and the interior finished in 1707, and in 1713, a 
gallery was added. The same year the meeting-house was 
started, in 1699, a house for the minister was built. The Rev. 
John Reed preached to the people for several years, but he was 
not settled over the parish, although he was asked to become 
its minister. 

On March 30, 1705, the Rev. Samuel Woodbridge was 
ordained and so became the first settled minister of the East 
Hartford Church. He was paid £60 a year and was given £25 
with which to finish the parsonage, the understanding being that 
he should remain as their minister for life. Mr. Woodbridge 
was a graduate of Harvard. He was a man of ability and was 
possessed of qualities which commanded the respect and affec- 
tion of his people. Notwithstanding this fact, for some unac- 
countable reason, when his health failed, in 1736, the people 
refused to pay his salary and only did pay it when forced to do 
so by the General Court. In 1734, Mr. Woodbridge was selected 
for the honor of preaching the election sermon. About 1740, 
the first church building was taken down and a new church built 
upon its site. Mr. Woodbridge died on June 9, 1746, at the age 
of sixty-three. 

The Rev. Eliphalet Williams was the second minister. His 
pastorate continued from 1748, to 1803. He was chosen to 
preach the election sermon of 1769, and in October of the same 
year, he preached the funeral sermon of Governor Pitkin. 
Another honor that was conferred upon him was the degree of 
Doctor of Divinity. In 1801, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Yates, of Sche- 
nectady, New York, was ordained as Dr. Williams' assistant. Dr. 
Yates was a descendant of Joseph Yates who settled in Albany in 
1664. Dr. Yates was greatly opposed to the use of alcohol as a 
beverage and although few of the ministers of his day agreed with 


him, he was never backward in stating his convictions in regard to 
its use. But at the same time, he was liberal and broad-minded, 
and although he would not drink anything containing alcohol, 
he did not condemn others who disagreed with him. A story is 
told of him in East Hartford, that on one occasion when there 
was a meeting of clergymen in his house, Dr. Yates produced the 
usual variety of liquor with the remark ; " Brethren, here is rum, 
gin, brandy and laudanum, all poison; help yourselves". Dr. 
Yates left the Church in 1814, to fill the chair of Moral and 
Mental Philosophy at Union College, Schenectady, where he 
had previously been professor of Greek and Latin. 

Up to 1817, nothing as luxurious and worldly as stoves, 
for heating the church, had been thought of in East Hart- 
ford, but in that year they were put in. As there was no 
chimney the stovepipe was run out of the windows. Many 
persons disapproved of the stoves strongly, and some went 
so far as to let their imaginations run astray. They com- 
plained that the great heat from the stoves caused their 
heads to ache and that many of the women's large back 
combs, which were then so fashionable, were warped by the 
heat. When it was discovered that the headaches and 
warped combs were caused by stoves in which no fires had 
yet been lighted, the opponents of the exhibition of world- 
liness had nothing more to say. 

In 1708, the people of East Hartford agitated the subject 
of public schools. In 1710, the Rev. Samuel Woodbridge, 
Samuel Wells and William Pitkin, were appointed to take 
charge of school matters and to hire a teacher, and a school- 
house was built. In 1718, there were two schools. One was 
south of Hockanum River and the other, to the north, was 
on Main street, just south of Prospect street. The teacher 
taught in both schools, dividing his time equally between 
them. Up to 1730, the parents who had children in school 
paid a small amount toward the support of the teacher, and 
furnished the wood for heating the school-house, but in 1730 
the whole expense of the schools was paid by the society. 
At Burnside — then called Scotland — the first school was 
organized in 1735, and the second, in 1748. 

The first mills for sawing logs and grinding grain were 


started in 1639, by John Crow and William Goodwin, to the 
north of the lower falls of the Hockanum, at Burnside. This 
place was later called Pitkin's Falls, because the mills and 
water-power were acquired by the family of that name. They 
also acquired the adjoining mill-sites, and at the lower falls 
they had a fulling mill. John Bidwell and Joseph Bull built 
a sawmill at the middle falls, in 1669, and in 1690, the Pitkins 
had a fulling mill there. About one hundred years later, in 
1784, besides the fulling done, paper was manufactured in 
the mill. This old mill site is now occupied by the East 
Hartford Manufacturing Company for the making of fine 
writing-paper. John Allyn owned a sawmill a mile to the 
east of Burnside, in 1671. He also had a grant of 100 acres 
surrounding his mill and the right to cut timber on the 
commons. In 1747, Colonel Joseph Pitkin had a forge on 
this site, but in 1750, the British Government stopped iron 
working in the Colonies. As Joseph O. Goodwin remarks, 
in his history of East Hartford, " By a grim sort of justice 
the power was turned to the manufacture of gunpowder, to 
be used against the home government, in 1775 and in 1812 ". 
An odd kind of compensation was made to William Pitkin 
for his losses in the manufacture of powder to be used in 
the Revolution. It was the exclusive right to manufacture 
snuff in Connecticut for fourteen years. Possibly it was 
thought, that as he had lost money in manufacturing one 
kind of powder that was explosive, it would only be fair to 
let him recuperate by making another kind of powder that 
would produce explosions. After the Revolution the forge 
was resumed. This historic water-power was owned by the 
Hartford Manilla Company. Corporal John Gilbert built a 
sawmill in South Manchester, on Hop Brook, in 1673. 

East Hartford's first tavern was kept by John Sadler, in 
1638, at Hockanum. Philip Smith kept a tavern in 1710, 
near the south-ferry road. Thomas Olcott had a tavern at 
Hop Brook, South Manchester, in 171 1; and Benjamin's 
Tavern, at the corner of Main and Orchard streets, was a 
popular stage house in the Revolution. 

In very early times, the militia of East Hartford was known 



as " The Rag-toes ", from the fact that members of the com- 
pany met for training in various and weird garments and 
often bare-footed. As many of the bare-foots had acquired 
" stun " bruises, splinters and cuts, they frequently appeared 
with the injured member done up in a rag, which held a 
plantain leaf against the sore place. In 1653, the General 
Court ordered that the inhabitants should meet at the call 
of William Hill for training. As time passed, the cornstalks 
and hoe handles and the mixed garments and lack of interest 
were replaced by muskets, uniforms and enthusiasm. In 1755, 
East Hartford sent a company to Crown Point, under command 
of Lieutenant-Colonel John Pitkin. In 1775, a company of 
forty-nine officers and men was organized and sent to Rox- 
burv, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel George Pitkin. Sev- 
eral of the men of the company later volunteered for longer 
service in the Continental army. Among those who served 
the Colony in the struggle for Independence on the sea, was 
Captain Gideon Olmsted, who, with three fellow prisoners 
on the British sloop "Active ", overpowered the officers and 
crew and captured the vessel and took it into port. In 1781, 
when Count Rochambeau was on his way with an army of 
15,000 men from Newport, to join Washington on the Hud- 
son, he stopped at East Hartford and was entertained in the 
Elisha Pitkin Mansion, the army camping on the field to the 
north of Silver Lane, which was so called from the " hard 
money " of the French soldiers. On his return east, in 1782, 
the Count again stopped at East Hartford. 

The Pitkin family has been one of the most prominent 
in Hartford County for 250 years. The first American an- 
cestor of that name was William Pitkin, who was born in 
Marylebone, then a suburb and now a part of London, Eng- 
land, in 1635. I n io 59, he arrived in Hartford and in 1660, 
was a school teacher there. In 1661, he purchased land on 
the " east side " and in 1664, was appointed Attorney for the 
Colony. With the exception of a few months, he was a 
member of the General Court from 1675 to 1690. His wife 
was Hannah Goodwin, daughter of Ozias Goodwin. 



PREVIOUS to 1823, Manchester was a part of Hartford. 
The territory included in the bounds of Manchester was 
originally a part of the hunting ground of Chief Joshua, 
of the Niantics. He sold it to Major Talcott as the agent of the 
Town of Hartford. The Chief died before the transfer was made, 
but his administrators, Captain James Fitch and Thomas Buck- 
ingham, deeded the property to the selectmen of Hartford in 
1682. This tract was five miles wide from east to west and 
from this fact it was known for ninety years as " Five 

The first settlement of Manchester was made near Hop 
Brook in the western portion of the town. The settlement 
was of sufficient size, or at least importance, in 171 1, for the 
appointment of Thomas Olcott as tavern keeper. This little 
settlement seems to have been on a highway to Hartford 
from the east, over which droves of cattle were driven on 
the way to Hartford. A general division of the land took 
place in 1731, and by 1753, the land was all taken up and 

The exclusive privilege of making glass was granted to 
Elisha and William Pitkin and Samuel Bishop, in 1783, for a 
period of twenty-five years. They built a glassworks, the 
picturesque ruins of which are still in existence. In 1794, 
the Hartford and Boston Turnpike was opened. This had 
the effect of increasing the general prosperity of Manchester, 
as the Boston and Providence stages passed over it on their 
way to New York. The tavern kept by Deodat Woodbridge, 
and after him by his son, Dudley Woodbridge, was famous 
in its day and a favorite house for rest and entertainment. 
It was frequently patronized by men prominent in the pro- 
fession of law and by officers of Washington's army. Wash- 
ington stopped there once and made the daughter of the pro- 
prietor an object greatly envied by her young associates, 
because of the fact that she had, in response to his request, given 
the great soldier, statesman and patriot a glass of water. 

Timothy Cheney, the somewhat famous maker of the old- 
fashioned, tall, wooden clocks — wooden as to works as well 
as case — was one of the brothers of that name to whom 


John Fitch, the inventor of the steam-boat, apprenticed him- 
self to learn the clockmaking trade and was only taught to 
tinker with brass. But however unfairly Cheney may have 
treated Fitch, his clocks were reliable and the person who 
owns one to-day possesses something of considerable value. 
" Five Miles " for some reason was from an early date a 
manufacturing and inventing center. It may have been due 
to the waterpower which attracted millwrights who, in 
turn, attracted mechanics possessed of inventive genius. Ben- 
jamin Lyman made the first cast-iron plows in Connecticut, 
thus doing away with the old-fashioned wooden plow shod 
with iron. He was the first maker of anything approaching 
a light weight pleasure carriage, and by so doing greatly re- 
duced the profits of the makers of pillions, for before his 
light-weight wagons the woman had to ride in oxcarts or on 
pillions. The second papermill in Connecticut was built at 
Union Village on the Hockanum River. Watson and Led- 
yard made the paper on which the Connecticut Courant was 
printed at the beginning of the Revolution. The first suc- 
cessful cottonmill in Connecticut was built in 1794, in Union 
Village. This business was regarded as hazardous, for very 
little was known about it on this side of the ocean. The 
machinery was made by an English mechanic, on the princi- 
ples of Sir Richard Arkwright, the inventor of the spinning- 
jenny. This mill was one of the wonders and persons came 
from considerable distances to see it work. 

In 1808, John Mather built a small powdermill and glass- 
works. The capacity of the mill was fifty pounds of powder 
dailv and when a wagonload had been made, it was sent over 
to Boston and " swapped " for cash and New England rum. 
The fact that Mr. Mather had twelve names on his pay-roll 
caused him to be regarded with profound respect and almost 
awe, simply because he could '" boss " and give orders to 
twelve men. There was a mill for the manufacture of woolen 
cloth in 1780, built by Aaron Buckland. 

The descendants of Timothy Cheney of clock fame became 
the founders of the great Cheney silkmills of the present 
day and it is because of them and the great industry that 
they built up and not because of John Fitch, the inventor of 


the steamboat, that Manchester is best known to the world. 
This proves that money makes a much louder noise in the twen- 
tieth century than does genius. Another invention that must 
be credited to Manchester, although at a much later period — 
about the middle of the nineteenth century — is the famous 
Spencer repeating rifle, 100,000 of which were used in the 
Civil War and later on the plains against tbe Indians. This 
weapon, perfect in its day, was invented by Christopher M. 
Spencer, who by thought, study and experiment produced 
the result desired ; a weapon which General Custer declared 
to be the finest known. 


WINDSOR, the venerable, the ancient, has the pecu- 
liar distinction of being the site of the first house 
built by white men in the Connecticut Valley. It 
was at Windsor, near the mouth of the Farmington River, that 
William Holmes erected the house, the frame of which had been 
made before the vessel left Plymouth, in which he and his com- 
panions sailed, to make the settlement he was ordered to make 
by his superiors. 

The attention of the English settlers at Boston and Plym- 
outh was first attracted toward the Connecticut by the Indians, 
for the same reason that the Mohawks, of New York, sought 
and welcomed the Dutch. The River Indians were greatly 
harassed by the Pequots, who were fast driving them from 
the beautiful country which had been theirs for centuries. 
The River Indians felt sure, that could they induce the Eng- 
lish to come to their river as friends (whose good will was 
to be assured by promises of corn and beaver skins), they would 
be a source of great strength against the savage Pequots. 
This was in 163 1. The Bostonians were not enthusiastic 
in regard to moving so far into the wilderness, but the 
people of Plymouth, being of a more adventurous disposition, 
were strongly impressed with his representations, so Captain 
Holmes was sent with his company of pioneers to settle above 
the Dutch, on the Connecticut. 

The claim of the Dutch, who had a small fort at the place 
where Hartford was afterward situated, was based upon deeds 
from the Pequot Indians, who had stolen the land from the 
original Indian owners. But the Plymouth people went back 
of this ownership by conquest for their authority to the land. 
Holmes took with him the Sachems who had been driven 
from their lands by the Pequots and so obtained his deed 
from the original owners. This made the English the 
friends of the River Indians. The house Holmes put up 
was situated about two miles south-east of the First Con- 
gregational Church, on the western bank of the river, near 
a point of land extending down the river, known as Plymouth 




In 1634, the Dutch sent VanCurler to purchase land from 
the Pequots on the Connecticut, but those self-willed, deter- 
mined Yankees were found to be so firmly fixed and so tough 
a proposition, that VanCurler did nothing more than to pro- 
test. A little later, a leader with seventy men under arms — 
and presumably outside of plenty of Dutch courage — made 
a military display in the hope of driving Holmes and his 
companions away. When it was found that this could not 
be accomplished without shedding blood, the Dutch returned 
to their master, VanTwiller, at Fort Amsterdam, without 

having accomplished 
anything, except to ac- 
quire a knowledge that 
the transplanted Eng- 
lishmen were there to 

In 1630, the Rev. John 
Wareham, with the Ros- 
siter, Maverick, Ludlow, 
and Wolcott families, 
among others, arrived 
by ship from England, 
at a place they named 
Dorchester, Mass. These 
families were of a su- 
perior class socially and 
intellectually and were 
possessed of more means 
than the average settlers 
of the Colonies. In 1635, 
a number of these people 
visited Connecticut and, being pleased with the prospects, they 
began their journey with their families from Dorchester to 
Windsor, on October 15, 1635. This little company of pioneer 
gentlefolk, to the number of sixty men, women and children, 
took with them their live stock, through forest and swamp, 
over mountains and rivers and arrived at their destination just 
as the winter was setting in. The people were entirely unpre- 
pared for the great cold, deep snow and bitter wind. The few 



cabins were insufficient in number and far from being a protec- 
tion from the cold. The Connecticut was covered with ice on 
November 15, 1635, and the snow was so deep that it was impos- 
sible for the people to get but a few of their cattle and sheep 
across. Many of them died of starvation and cold. The house- 
hold goods and much of their provisions had been sent around by 
ship, but did not arrive. 

In December their provisions had nearly given out, and 
what they suffered can hardly be imagined. Thirteen of their 
number attempted to reach the nearest settlement in Massa- 
chusetts. One of them was drowned by falling through the 
ice on a river that was being crossed, and had the remaining 
twelve not received food and temporary shelter from friendly 
Indians, they would probably have perished. They finally 
reached a settlement, at the end of ten days of awful hard- 
ship. Seventy persons, including adults and children, worked 
their way to Saybrook and finally reached Boston in the 
" Rebecca ", a 60-ton vessel. These were the persons who 
were mentioned in the chapter on Saybrook. 

Those who remained at Windsor to keep the settlement in 
existence suffered greatly. The cattle which were left on the 
east bank of the Connecticut suffered less, — strange as it may 
seem — than the few which were taken across to the settle- 
ment. They kept warm in the deep snow and lived by 
browsing. In the spring and summer following this dreadful 
winter, large numbers of settlers arrived at Windsor ; and at 
Hartford and Wethersfield. 

At this time the territory of Windsor was great, the length 
of the boundary lines being forty-six miles. They included 
ten small tribes of Indians, who outnumbered the white 
settlers twenty to one. For a number of years the settlers 
were troubled with fear of the Indians, not all of them being 
friendly. Fights were frequent and danger from ambuscades 
so great that the settlers carried their arms to Church and 
to the fields, which they worked in small companies for the 
safety of numbers. As an additional protection they built a 
large fort to which the people could go, should a general 
attack by the Indians take place, and where the women and 
children were sent whenever an attack bv Indians was feared. 


Their first minister, the Rev. John Wareham, was a 
thoroughly good man who was bowed down by an unfortu- 
nate bilious-temperament which was the cause of much 
misery for him, as he frequently feared that he was unworthy 
of Divine love and goodness. His doubts were so over- 
powering on occasions, that he would refrain from partaking 
of Communion while serving his people with that miraculous 
source of Divine strength and courage. There is a tradition, 
that he was the first minister in the New England Colonies 
to preach from notes. This was almost an unpardonable 
offence, in those days, in New England, but so eloquent and 
earnest were Mr. Wareham's discourses, that his people for- 
got the fault in their admiration for the man and delight in 
his sermons. Mr. Wareham died on April I, 1670, after forty 
years of service as minister ; thirty-four of which were spent 
in Windsor, the other six in Dorchester. 

In those days it was a custom for nearly all of the New 
England settlements to have a minister, and a teacher of the 
Gospel. The minister's duties consisted chiefly in exhorting 
the people; the teacher's duties were to expound and interpret 
the Scriptures and to defend the doctrines of Congregation- 
alism. Windsor's teacher was the Rev. Ephraim Huit, who 
was installed in 1639. 

In 1640, there were in Windsor the following heads of 
families according to the town records for that year. 

Matthew Allen Deacon William Gaylord 

John Bissell Nathan Gillet 

Thomas Barber Edward Griswold 

Thomas Buckland Matthew Grant 

Thomas Bascom Thomas Holcomb 

Daniel Clark William Hill 

Aaron Cook William Hosford 

Thomas Dibble William Hayden 

Thomas Dewey John Hillyer 

Nicholas Denslow William Hurlburt 

Bigot Eglestone Roger Ludlow 

Lieut. Walter Filer John Loomis 

Thomas Ford Joseph Loomis 



Deacon John Moore 
James Marshall 
Captain John Mason 
The brothers Newberry 
Richard Oldage 
William Phelps 
Humphrey Pinney 
Samuel Phelps 
George Phelps 
John Porter 
Eltwed Pomeroy 
Elias Parkman 
George Philips 
Nicholas Palmer 
Abraham Randall 

P>ray Rosseter 
Thomas Stoughton 
Henry Stiles 
Return Strong 
Isaac Shelden 
Peter Tilton 
John Taylor 
Stephen Terry 
Owen Tudor 
Thomas Thornton 
Richard Vore 
Henry Wolcott 
John Whitefield 
Robert Watson 
Roger Williams 

Roger Wolcott, who was born in Windsor on January 4, 
1679, was one Q1 the first, so called, self-made men of Con- 
necticut. He rose from the possession of nothing more than 
a healthy mind and body, a trade and a few clothes, to the 
possession of the respect and admiration of all classes of his 
fellow countrymen — from the farm laborer to the college 
professor — and finally reached the office of Governor of the 
Colony. Without a single day's attendance at school, he so 
far cultivated his mind that he was able to write poems which 
attracted attention all over the Colony. 

Roger Wolcott was born in that part of Windsor which 
was most harried by Indians, so no minister or school master 
was ever seen there during his boyhood. At the age of twelve 
years he was bound as apprentice, till his twenty-first year, 
to a mechanic and upon receiving his freedom he started in 
business for himself at his home. As he was the best in his 
trade so he was the best in the military and civil offices, which 
he filled with honor and credit to himself and the Colony. 

The apprentice boy of 1688 became Commissary of the Colony 
in 171 1, in the expedition against Canada, and in 1745, at the 
capture of Louisbourg, he was a major-general. In civil life his 
first office was that of member of Assembly, then member of the 
Council, judge of the County Court, Lieutenant-Governor, Chief 
Judge of the Supreme Court, and finally Governor of the Colony 

2 3 8 


in 1751— '54. Roger Wolcott's only inheritance was character and 
this inheritance was so carefully managed and so well invested, 
that it not only became notable all over the British Colonies in 
his generation, but has come down as the most valued pos- 
session of his descendants, in the twentieth century. When 
he finished his work in his eighty-ninth year, on May 17, 1767, 
it was simply death of his body, for his influence remained 
alive in the New England Colonies for many generations. 


Another of America's famous men was Oliver Ellsworth, 
also a son of Windsor. Ellsworth was born on April 29, 
1745. He possessed early advantages that Roger Wolcott 
lacked, but at the same time, his greatness was the result of 
his own exertions and fine qualities and not the less deserved 
and admirable, because of his advantages, than were the 
honors borne by his splendid fellow townsman. It is a fact, 


that the men of early times in the Connecticut Valley, who be- 
came famous, were so because greatness was in them, whether 
they started with nothing or with much. 

Oliver Ellsworth was graduated from New Jersey (Prince- 
ton) College in the class of 1766, and then began the study of 
law. Possessed of eloquence, elegance of manner, and great 
mental energy, he rose to the highest legal position in the 
country and the most honorable office — barring none — in 
the United States, that of Chief Justice. In 1777, he was a 
delegate to the Continental Congress; in 1784, he was Judge 
of the Superior Court of the State of Connecticut and was in 
the convention that formed the Constitution of the country 
which honored him and which he honored by his splendid 
citizenship, patriotism, wisdom and profound scholarship. 
When the Federal Government was organized in 1789, Mr. 
Ellsworth was elected to the Senate in which he continued 
till he was appointed to be Chief Justice of the United States 
Supreme Court, in 1796. Toward the end of his fourth year 
as Chief Justice, he was appointed Envoy Extraordinary to 
France, in 1799. Soon after, he resigned from the chief jus- 
tice-ship because of failing health. After his return to Con- 
necticut he was elected to the State Council and was ap- 
pointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State, but 
this office he declined as his lack of health would not permit 
of his acceptance. His death occurred on November 26, 1807. 
There was an act of Judge Ellsworth's that was not entirely 
approved by his strict fellow townsmen, who believed that 
no human necessity was sufficiently great to warrant the 
breaking of the " Sabbath ". One Sunday, soon after the 
advent of the year 1800, a military officer, said to be General 
Armstrong, was seen by the tithingman, Lemuel Welch, 
being rapidly driven through Windsor, on his way to Boston, 
where he had been ordered to report as soon as possible. Mr. 
Welch stopped the horses with the intention of arresting the 
man in the carriage, who was breaking the Commandment, 
and the State law regulating the observance of Sunday. Gen- 
eral Armstrong was indignant and ordered that the horses be 
released, but the faithful Tithingman, who believed in en- 
forcing the letter as well as the spirit of the law, refused to 



let the General go further on that day. The General, unaware 
of the strictness of the law in Connecticut, and of the 
fearlessness of the officers of the law in Windsor, threat- 
ened Mr. Welch with his pistol and ordered him to loose 
the horses. Mr. Welch told the General that he had 
seen bigger guns than that in the Revolution, and that he 
could go no further on that day. General Armstrong ap- 
pealed to Judge Ellsworth, stating the necessity that he 
should be in Boston with all possible haste, as ordered by 


his superiors, and succeeded in obtaining a pass through 
Connecticut from Judge Ellsworth, which would permit him 
to travel on Sunday. Mr. Welch was indignant and asked 
Judge Ellsworth if he was to " fish with a net that would 
catch the little fish and let the big fish run through ". Mr. 
Welch's indignation and disgust were so sincere, that he resigned 
the office of tithingman. 

This incident had the effect of causing his successors to 
become careless in their duty and finally, Sunday travel be- 


came so general, that Judge Ellsworth and a number of the 
most influential men of the town, made strenuous efforts to 
restore the old order of things in this respect, but without 
satisfactory success. 

According to the records, the first inns of Windsor were 
kept by Simon Chapman and Eliakim Marshall, who were 
appointed at a Town meeting held in December, 1715. On 
the east side of the Connecticut, the innkeepers were Grace 
Grant, widow, and Nathaniel Cook — Mrs. Grant kept the inn 
in East Windsor till 1735, when she was succeeded by her 
son, Captain Ebenezer Grant, who became the leading mer- 
chant of the east side — the other innkeepers on the east side, 
before the incorporation of the town, were Nathaniel Porter 
and Captain Joel Loomis. The latter was succeeded by his 
son, Captain Giles Loomis, who built an addition to the store 
to be used by the Masons for a lodge. 

The first American ancestor of the Grant family was 
Matthew Grant, who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts, 
in May, 1630, and settled in Windsor in 1635, where he was 
surveyor of the Colony for forty years and for many years 
Town Clerk. His eldest son, Samuel, settled on the east side 
and the property was in the family for nearly 250 years. General 
U. S. Grant was the eighth in descent from Matthew, and the 
seventh from Samuel Grant. 

Captain Ebenezer Grant's business grew to large propor- 
tions and he eventually took his son, Roswell, into partner- 
ship with him. Roswell was given a liberal education. He 
was possessed of excellent qualities and good business judg- 
ment. The Grants bought largely from the great statesman, 
John Hancock, and from Jonathan Mason, both of Boston. 
They did a large business in trade with the West Indies, 
exporting horses, tobacco, lumber, and barrel staves and im- 
porting rum and sugar. The correspondents of the Grants 
were Samuel Olcott, Samuel Welch and Jonathan Welch, of 
Barbadoes; and Thomas Elmer, of Antigua. Besides building 
several vessels at the mouth of the Scantic River, Mr. Grant 
was part owner in many other vessels. 

Ship building in the Windsors was a prosperous and busy 
industry for many years. The first launch being that of a sloop, 



in May, 1724. John Hayden, one of the famous ship builders of 
Essex, went to Windsor just before the year 1800, and opened 
a ship yard at the " Old Red House ", near the present station 
of Hayden. There was another yard at Rivulet Ferry and 
three on the east side — at Warehouse Point; the mouth of 
the Scantic and at Higley's Ferry — where vessels were 
launched till about 1820. 
There was a type of patriot in the Revolution, few in number, 



The home of Oliver Ellsworth, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court 

in 1796. 

and unselfish and heroically patriotic, which has been portrayed 
by Cooper in his finest of books, " The Spy ". To this type be- 
longed Daniel Bissell, of Windsor. But Daniel Bissel went 
further in his patriotism than did the majority of spies, for be- 
sides the great risk, and surety of death should he be discovered 
to be a spy, he cheerfully sacrificed his feelings, his self-love and 
his pride by permitting himself to be regarded as a deserter by his 
neighbors and fellow soldiers. Mr. Bissell was officially reported 
as a deserter, because Washington feared, that unless he was 



regarded as a deserter by his fellow patriots the secret would 
leak out that he was a spy, and so would reach the British. To 
be a spy required great bravery; to allow himself to be regarded 
as a deserter required a degree of courage that was magnificent. 

Daniel Bissell was born in Windsor in 1754, and was the eldest 
son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Loomis) Bissell. As a youth and 
young man he was notable for his bravery, caution, self-reliance, 
and inherited integrity. When war was declared with Great 
Britain by the Colonies, he enlisted, and served with credit to him- 
self and his town. 
As a soldier, his cool 
head and warm heart 
won the affectionate 
regard of his fellow 
soldiers and the confi- 
dence of Washington. 
Because of this con- 
fidence he was selected 
by Washington for the 
dangerous and import- 
ant work of obtaining 
information in regard 
to the British forces 
and their plans, in New 
York and on Long 
Island, in 1781. Mr. 
Bissell took part in the 
battles of White Plains, Windsor. 

Trenton and Monmouth. 

The heroism of Sergeant Daniel Bissell is not tradition but 
fact, as may be found from documents in the War Department 
in Washington. It is a humiliating fact that Mr. Bissell was not 
rewarded by Congress, either in the way of promotion or estate. 
It only adds to the wrong, that although he again and again 
petitioned Congress for reimbursement for money spent in 
clothing himself for nearly four years, and for the purchase for 
his food for thirteen months, all of which money was expended 
by him while in actual service in the Continental Army, not 
one cent did he ever get, notwithstanding the fact that Congress 
had agreed to reimburse non-commissioned officers and privates 


who provided their own clothing. Washington, however, gave 
to Mr. Bissell an autograph testimonial which compensated him 
for the indifference of Congress. The testimonial was as 
follows : 

Whereas, it hath ever been an established maxim in the American 
Service, that the road to glory was open to all, that Honorary Rewards 
and Distinctions, were the greatest Stimuli to virtuous actions, and whereas 
Sergeant Daniel Bissell of the Second Connecticut Regiment, has per- 
formed some important service, within the immediate knowledge of the 
Commander-in-Chief, in which his fidelity, perseverance and good sense, 
were not only conspicuously manifested, but his general line of conduct 
throughout a long course of service, having been not only unspotted but 
highly deserving of commendation. 

Now, therefore, know ye, that the aforesaid Sergeant Bissell, hath fully 
and truly deserved, and hath been properly invested with, the Honorary 
Badge of Military Merit, and is entitled to pass and repass all Guards and 
Military Posts, as freely and as amply as any Commissioned Officer what- 
ever ; and is further Recommended to that Notice which a Brave and 
Faithful Soldier deserves from his Countrymen. 

This was written by General Washington in the Highlands, 
on May 9, 1783. When Mr. Bissell returned from the British in 
New York to his own army, he was offered an honorable dis- 
charge and a pension. He refused the first because he had been 
in every campaign and wished to continue in the army till the 
war was ended, and he refused the pension because he believed 
his Country was too poor to be able to pay it. 

Mr. Bissell served in the Indian War of 1799, as a first lieu- 
tenant, of the 16th U. S. Infantry. Later, he moved to Vermont 
where he married Rhoda Hurlbert for his second wife, and in 
1810, he moved to Richmond, New York, where he died in 
August, 1824, at the age of seventy. 

Another of the Nation's fine heroes was Elihu Drake, a Wind- 
sor boy only eight years old. A number of Tories living in 
Windsor thought to have some amusement with the little Rebel 
by forcing him to say " God save the King ". Although they 
threatened to duck him in the river he courageously refused to 
speak the words. The Tories becoming angry, that even the 
children were possessed of so fine patriotism, actually did duck 
the little fellow. When he was pulled out of the water they 
heard his half-strangled, squeaky voice shout, " God damn the 


King " and although he was again ducked no other sentiment 
could they drown out from that heroic little patriot. Elihu was 
the son of Adjutant Augustine Drake, of Windsor, and four 
years later, when he was but twelve years old, he accompanied 
his father to the war. 


DOWN to 1835, when Bloomfield was incorporated, it was 
known as Messenger's Farms and later, the Parish of 
Wintonbury, in the Town of Windsor. Wintonbury 
was made up from the Towns of Windsor, Farmington and Sims- 
bury and it is said that the name was composed from the first 
three letters of Windsor, the last three of Farmington, and 
the last four of Simsbury, Win-ton-bury, so that each Town, 
which gave land for forming the parish, might be honored. The 
idea is sufficiently attractive for it to be well to have faith in the 

The territory included in the bounds of Bloomfield was known 
for many years after the settlement of Windsor as the Wilder- 
ness, and was so described officially in an Indian deed of 1660. 
There is not even tradition as to when the first settlement was 
made. In 1734 the inhabitants of Messenger's Farms petitioned 
for what was then called winter privileges. This meant, that 
they should not be required to labor through the deep snow, 
exposed to the bitter cold, to attend Church in Windsor, but 
should be permitted to worship in one or another of the homes 
of the settlement in the winter months. 

It seems odd that it was necessary to ask permission to wor- 
ship where they chose, when it is remembered that the settlers 
of New England had left comfortable and even luxurious homes 
in Old England to obtain entire freedom in religious matters. 
As a matter of fact, there was no freedom or liberty in religious 
matters in New England, for a great many years, except that 
all had liberty and freedom to be Congregationalists, and to live 
in strict accord with its laws, one of which was, that no one 
should refrain from attending Church no matter how great the 
distance or the hardship. So, when the twenty-six heads of 
families of Messenger's Farms became convinced that the jour- 
ney through the woods, with the snow anywhere from knee to 


waist-high was a menace to the health of their women and 
children, they did not fear the displeasure of Almighty God, if 
they remained in their little settlement and worshipped Him in 
their homes during the winter, but they were in mortal terror 
of that powerful, well organized Congregational Church. So 
they humbly asked permission of the Church to worship at home, 
instead of exposing their women and children to the hardship of 
the long journey through the snow. The petition was graciously 
granted and two years later the Parish of Wintonbury was 
formed from the three towns already named. 

The new society met in November, 1 736, and voted to build a 
church and to settle a minister. The Rev. Hezekiah Bissell was 
ordained in February, 1738, as the first minister. He was a 
supporter of the half-way covenant. A disagreement in the 
Church between Deacon Abel Gillett (or Gillette) and John 
Hubbard resulted in the withdrawal of the Gillett faction and the 
organization of a Baptist Society. 


WHEN the First Congregational Church of East Wind- 
sor was 102 years old it had had but two ministers, 
so it may be seen that the town was as prosperous 
and peaceful in Church matters as it was in temporal matters. 

In 1736, individual families began to select sites for their 
homesteads. The heads of these families were men of worth ; 
as men, pioneers, and Christians and it is notable that their first 
homes were not the usual log cabins, but frame houses, small 
to be sure, but comfortable and neat in appearance. From this 
it may be guessed that they were a little better supplied with 
this world's goods than were the average settlers, who could 
build their homes only of logs. 

The first Church society was organized about 1752, and on 
October 30, 1752, the people voted to raise £500 with which to 
build a church. There was a little delay in fixing upon a location 
that would be central. In 1754, the Rev. Thomas Potwine (Sir 
Thomas Potwine, the old records named him) was called as 
the minister of the people, but as yet no church edifice had been 
erected, so he was ordained in a new barn that had not yet been 
used. The church was not built till a vear after his ordination, 


and in the meantime service was held in the homes of one or 
another of the people. After the church had been built a small 
building was erected near it. Here, those who had come from 
a distance spent the recess between the morning and afternoon 
services, and ate the luncheons they had brought with them. It 
was during this recess that the weekly exchange of news and 
harmless neighborhood gossip took place. In the winter, they 
lefilled their footstoves with coals for the afternoon service, 
from the stove in this little building, for in those days a heated 
church was considered far too luxurious and profane. As was 
the custom all over the Colony, everybody attended church, 
generally on horseback, so it was not at all unusual for one hun- 
dred saddled horses to be seen on Sundays, all of them carrying 
from one to three persons, the father, mother and infant, or small 

When the church became somewhat dilapidated, through 
neglect caused by a serious division in the Church, some of the 
people advocated repairing the old building, which they regarded 
with affection, it being the first place of worship in the com- 
munity, while others, probably the younger element, wished to 
build a new church. In the evening of October 5, 1801, the 
church was seen to be on fire and before any thins" could be 
done to save it, the dry material of which it was built turned to 
ashes and charred embers. It was suspected that the fire was 
due to the desire of that portion of the congregation which 
wished to build a new church. Several persons were openly 
accused of being responsible for the burning of the old church. 
The families and close friends of the accused ones took sides 
and many persons withdrew from the society. The burning of 
the old church, in which he had served for fifty years, was a 
source of great grief to the venerable minister and, in connection 
with his failing health, hastened his death, which occurred a 
year after the fire. 

Up to the year of its incorporation, in 1768, East Windsor 
was a part of Windsor and was known as Windsor Farme. 

More or less confusion in regard to the Towns of East Windsor 
and South Windsor and the village of East Windsor, is unavoid- 
able. The Towns of East and South Windsor were known as 
East Windsor up to 1845, when South Windsor was incorpo- 


rated so, while South Windsor did not exist during the period 
covered by the text, it is referred to in the text in order that 
confusion in regard to the location of houses and the places where 
certain historical events took place, may be avoided. For in- 
stance ; the house in which John Fitch was born was situated on 
the boundary between East Windsor and Hartford but the same 
house is now situated on the boundary between South Windsor 
and East Hartford. Bissell's Ferry connects the Town of Wind- 
sor with the Town of South Windsor at the village of East 


THE Town of South Windsor, formerly East Windsor, 
will be notable in New England, for all time, as the 
birth-place of Jonathan Edwards, the great Congre- 
gational minister of the eighteenth century who discovered that 
"hell is paved with infants' skulls". It should be notable to the 
entire civilized world, for all cime, as the birth-place of John 
Fitch, the inventor and builder of the first steamboat of the 

The great-grandfather of John Fitch was an early settler in 
Windsor, where he purchased one-twentieth of the township. 
To his sons, Joseph, Nathaniel and Samuel, he left a considerable 
estate which they squandered. Joseph was the only son who 
married. His inheritance to his two children, Joseph and John, 
was poverty. Joseph, the father of John the inventor, was taken 
by a family of means and good position in Hartford society, and 
brought up by them, and given a good education. He married 
Sarah Shaler, of Bolton, and of their six children the fifth was 
John, the inventor. 

If it is true, as Mrs. Carey has said, that some of the most 
successful lives of the world are those of men who have died 
poor and whom the world regards as failures; successful, be- 
cause regardless of discouragements, adversity, opposition, mis- 
understanding, abuse and ridicule, they kept their faith in God, 
tnemselves and mankind, and struggled on hopefully and ener- 
getically to the end, instead of weakly giving up and sinking 
under overwhelming discouragements. If such men are suc- 
cesses, then John Fitch was the greatest success of the eighteenth 


century. In addition to possessing the qualities enumerated, he 
was patient and forbearing, although possessed of a proud spirit 
and hot temper ; he was courageous and patriotic, but he seems to 
have been born to be misunderstood, insulted and abused. His 
fine instincts were treated with ridicule and coarse contempt ; 
his first act of splendid heroism — performed when but a little 
boy — won for him a beating and villification at the hands of 
his elder brother. His repeated efforts to serve his country in 
the Revolution, in any capacity, were repulsed, and he was sub- 
jected to humiliating insult by his fellow patriots, who, as the 
world gauges men, were successful, because they had no obstacles 
such as he had, to overcome. And even after his death, his 
misfortunes continued, for Robert Fulton, the thief of other 
men's ideas — at least of John Fitch's — was and is credited by 
the world as being the father of steam navigation. Notwith- 
standing the fact that Fitch invented, built and successfully navi- 
gated a steamboat for carrying passengers, many years before 
Robert Fulton knew of the possibility of the application of steam 
as a motive power for marine purposes, and twenty years before 
he " plov/ed the Hudson ", with his misappropriated " inven- 
tion ", Fulton is generally credited with being the inventor of the 

John Fitch, the fifth child in a family of three sons and three 
daughters, was born in January, 1743, in the home which was 
situated on the boundary line between East Windsor, now South 
Windsor, and East Hartford. As the greater part of the house 
was in Windsor, Fitch claimed that town as his birthplace. He 
was sent to school at the age of four years and immediately 
showed a liking for study and books. A few months later his 
mother died and this greatest of his misfortunes was rapidly 
followed by others. His father married Miss Abigail Church of 
Hartford. When he was in Hartford, " courting ", the home 
was left in charge of the children. On one of these frequent 
visits to Hartford, John and his younger sister Chloe were in 
the house and his older brother and sister, Augustus and Sarah, 
were at the barn milking. Chloe, wishing to show John a present 
she had received, lighted a candle and accidentally set on fire two 
bundles of flax, which burnt with a fierce blaze. Young as John 
was, he saw the danger and courageously tried to move the 


burning flax to the fireplace. This he succeeded in doing, by 
resting the bundles on his knees. His hands were burnt and his 
hair blazing. He extinguished the blaze in his hair and then 
carried the other bundle, which was burning even more fiercely, 
to the fireplace and stamped the fire out. 

In the mean time, Chloe had run to the barn to call her 
brother Augustus. Notwithstanding that the little fellow's (he 
was not yet seven) feet, hands and head were burnt and that 
he was suffering greatly, Augustus, without a word or question, 
gave the little hero a beating. He complained of his brother's 
treatment to his father, upon his return from the business of 
courting, but his father treated it with indifference and coldness. 
In later life, when writing to his friend ; perhaps his only faithful 
friend ; the Rev. Nathaniel Irwin, of Bucks County, Pennsyl- 
vania, he referred to that act of barbarous cruelty and said : 
' This sir, being what I may call the first act of my life, seemed 
to forebode the future rewards I was to receive for my labors 
through life, which have generally corresponded exactly with 
that ". 

When John was about seven, his father married his spinster 
and brought her home. John attended school till he was ten, 
but was obliged to help his father with the work, and at especially 
busy times was taken out of school that he might help. His 
earnest desire for an education increased. His father was stingy, 
stern, and entirely unsympathetic. When ten years old John 
was taken from school to work on the farm, notwithstanding 
that he was so young and small, even for his age, that he had 
not the strength to do much. His father was one of those hell- 
fire-and-damnation Presbyterians who thought it a sin to pick 
up an apple from the ground and eat it on Sunday, but saw no 
sin in depriving an ambitious boy of an education, nor did he 
think it wrong to make him do work that was far beyond his 
strength. He was permitted, however, to study at home, before 
and after working hours. 

When he was eleven years old he earnestly wished to own 
Salmon's Geography. As his father refused to buy it for him, 
John asked and obtained permission to raise potatoes on a small 
patch of ground so that he could buy the book with the proceeds 
of the sale of the potatoes. He worked on holidays, at noon and 


at night, on his patch and finally sold his crop for ten shillings. 
The money was given to a neighboring merchant who was going 
to New York, and the precious book was finally his, but his 
delight was somewhat lessened by the fact that the book cost 
twelve shillings and that his father required him to return a 
quantity of seed-potatoes equal to what he had let him have. 
Good fortune enabled him to soon pay these debts and then he 
mastered his geography. 

That same year, his eleventh, John had a flattering experience 
with Governor Roger Wolcott, who was a neighbor of the Fitch 
family. John's father had taught him as much about surveying 
as he himself knew (as it cost nothing), and as he was proficient 
beyond his years at arithmetic, Governor Wolcott borrowed him 
to help make some surveys. The Governor found the boy even 
brighter than he thought him. He treated John with kindness 
and even respect, but when the work was finished, he not only 
failed to give him anything for his services, but also forgot to 
thank him. 

When he was thirteen, his father opened his heart and per- 
mitted him to again attend school, for six weeks. In that time 
he acquired as much knowledge of mathematics as the teacher was 
competent to impart. His father was gratified and again opened 
his heart by buying him a few simple surveying instruments, and 
at the end of two weeks he had also acquired all the knowledge 
on this subject that the teacher possessed. This ended his 
" schooling ". His father felt that he had performed his full 
duty by his son, from the standpoint of a hell-fire-and-damnation 
Presbyterian of those days. When he was fifteen, his father sold 
his services to Roswell Mills, who kept a general country store in 
Simsbury, for eleven shillings a month. When he was seventeen, 
he became heartily sick of the life on the farm and so decided 
to go to sea. He told his father of his determination and re- 
ceived a Presbyterian blessing and twenty shillings from him. 

The voyage to Newport and Providence lasted five weeks and 
ended his life as a sailor. His next venture was to apprentice 
himself to Benjamin Cheney a self-alleged clockmaker who knew 
little of the trade. Cheney cheated John shamefully. The little 
he knew about clocks was never imparted to John. He was never 
given enough to eat and was obliged to work on the farm instead 


of at his trade. When John insisted upon being taught to make 
and repair clocks, Cheney gave him some tinkering brass-work 
to do, which bore about as close a relation to the trade of clock- 
making as John's father's religion did to Christianity. Finally 
John refused to do any more farm work, so Cheney gave him his 
freedom, as he found he could get no more work out of him, 
and advised his going to his brother, Timothy Cheney, who was 
a " really and truly " clockmaker. He did so, but he was not 
permitted to learn anything of the trade but was kept at brass- 
work. Cheney even kept his tools locked up so John could not 
see and become familiar with them. 

At the age of twenty-one, he started in business for himself 
as a brass-worker, with debts to the sum of £20, a much greater 
sum then than it is now. But by industry and economy he paid 
his debts and had £50 over in two years, and had acquired some 
knowledge of clockmaking through his own unassisted efforts. 
John was interested in many things and always succeeded in 
accomplishing whatever he put his mind and hands to, except 
the making of money. On December 29, 1767, he married Lucy 
Roberts, of Simsbury, whose father was a man of some promi- 
nence in that place and possessed of considerable property. Lucy 
was " something of an old maid " and very much the nagger, 
scold, and all-round termigant. John was even-tempered and for- 
bearing. He warned his wife, that unless she changed he would 
have to leave her, but she, thinking he was talking for effect, did 
not mend her ways. In all other respects she was a good woman. 
Their first child, a son, named Shaler, was born on November 3, 
1768. On January 18, 1769, unable to longer stand his wife's 
scolding and nagging, he left her, taking only some clothing and 
less than eight dollars, all his other property being left for his 
wife and child. Some months after he left home his daughter 
was born. 

Then began a long series of wanderings during which Mr. 
Fitch applied his unusual mechanical genius and skill, and his 
brilliant intellect, to many occupations for providing the means 
for living. His letters to his friend, the Rev. Mr. Irwin, show 
that the necessity for separating from his wife and child — he 
knew nothing of the approaching birth of his daughter — was a 
source of sorrow and regret. More than once he was on the 


point of returning, but something always prevented it. On 
one occasion, when his wanderings had taken him to the village 
of Woodbridge, now a part of Rahway, New Jersey, he had 
determined to return to his home. He stopped at the house of 
Benjamin Alford to purchase something to eat. The front door 
was open and inside was an old man who was being given a 
tongue-lashing by an old woman, presumably his wife. The 
sound of scolding was too familiar, so he continued his wan- 

In May, 1769, he arrived in Trenton and found employment 
with Matthew Clunn making brass buttons and later, with James 
Wilson, a young and wealthy silversmith, where John lived upon 
threepence a day. In September of the same year, he started 
out peddling brass sleeve-buttons and cleaning clocks. After two 
weeks he had sold out his stock and became convinced that there 
was money in the occupation. He returned to Trenton and made 
more sleeve-buttons and thus began his only profitable business. 
Wilson getting into financial difficulties, Fitch bought him out. 
He ; was enabled to borrow the money for this purpose because 
his honesty and strict attention to business were proven. Finally, 
he employed Wilson and other workmen and built up a business 
larger than any of the kind in Philadelphia. When the Revo- 
lutionary War broke out, he had accumulated the very consider- 
able fortune of £800. 

Mr. Fitch being a Connecticut Yankee was, of course, a 
patriot. Early in the trouble with Great Britain he petitioned for 
the command of a company, in the Jersey line, and was assured 
that he would receive it. Nothing shows more strikingly Mr. 
Fitch's gentle courtesy and high sense of justice than his conduct 
after receiving his commission as first lieutenant. William 
Tucker, an old resident of Trenton, was second lieutenant. 
Fitch thought it not right that he, a comparative stranger, should 
outrank a lifelong resident, so he proposed an exchange of 
titles and was actually reduced to a second lieutenancy. 
Although John Fitch's life was largely made up of just such acts 
of generosity and justice, he was always misunderstood, insulted 
and imposed upon. His courage and patriotism were shown, 
after he was requested to become an armorer, or gunsmith, by 
refusing to take advantage of the exemption from military 


service, which exemption was offered to all gunsmiths, and con- 
tinuing with his company. Later, his fearless stand in the inter- 
ests of some poor soldiers was the cause of further trouble for 
him. A former acquaintance, Alexander Chambers, who was 
commissary, refused to provide some poor soldiers with blankets 
which thev greatly needed. Fitch stuck to his demand and 
finally, through higher authority, succeeded in obtaining them. 
Chambers became his enemy and his sneaking, venomous animos- 
ity eventuallv drove Fitch out of the Continental army and 
deprived his country of one of its best soldiers. The strangest 
part of it all is, that although his superior officers knew of the 
underhand work, they did nothing about it. It almost seems as 
if he, in some mysterious and unconscious way, acted as a South 
Pole or repelling force to other men's better natures. It is evi- 
dent that he was not sufficiently vain and self-conceited for his 
good. Had he possessed even a small portion of the pride, vain- 
glory and egotism of his famous fellow-townsmen, Timothy and 
Jonathan Edwards, the world would have treated him better. 
In twentieth century American, it is called "Front". 

Lieutenant Tucker was promoted to a captaincy and Lieutenant 
Fitch was entitled to become first lieutenant, but through Cham- 
bers he was humiliated and deprived of his rightful promotion. 
Even General Dickinson, who had knowledge of Chambers' ani- 
mosity and the power to see that justice was done, utterly failed 
in his duty in the matter. All this time Mr. Fitch was in charge 
of the armory and he and his men were providing the soldiers 
with arms. For the good of the cause and his country which 
he so dearly loved, Fitch worked from dawn till dark, including 
Sundays, so that the supply of arms could be kept up with the 
demand. Here again did his ill luck pursue him, for he was 
expelled by the Methodists from their society for " breaking the 
Sabbath day ". So far as is known, no biblical student has 
discovered just what locality in space such hypocrites will occupy 
after death. The final act of injustice, which drove him from 
the army, occurred in the autumn of 1776. A call for three com- 
panies from his battalion had been made, and Colonel Smith 
appointed Lieutenant Fitch to the command of one of them. 
Through Chambers and two men named Green and Smith, Fitch 
was again humiliated and degraded, and Ralph Jones, a subor- 


dinate officer, was given the captaincy. In this case Colonel 
Smith failed as completely in his duty as did General Dickinson. 
Had the case been reversed, Fitch .would have refused to accept 
the appointment that rightfully belonged to another. 

When the British occupied Trenton, Fitch went to Bucks 
County, Pennsylvania, where he devoted as much time as pos- 
sible to study, he having purchased a share in the library in 
Warminster. From Trenton he had taken as many of his tools, 
and most valued possessions, as could be loaded on a small 
wagon. After the battles of Trenton and Princeton, he returned 
to his home to collect his property. He found much of it gone 
or destroyed, but what was left he took back to Warminster, 
Bucks County, and resumed his trade of silversmith, in a part 
of a wheelwright's shop owned by " Cobe " (James) Scout. 
Again the approach of the British made flight necessary, after 
burying a considerable quantity of gold and silver at night on 
the Garrison place. He then supplied the army with various 
luxuries, especially with beer, from which he cleared from $6 to 
$18 in gold a week, which was, all things considered, about equal 
to from $25 to $75 now. In June, 1778, this business ceased and 
he returned to Bucks County only to find that a negro had seen 
him bury the gold and silver and had stolen it, and given nearly 
all of it to a young white man of good family, whose father 
eventually paid Fitch nearly the full value of the metal. He then 
resumed his trade with $40,000 in Continental money in hand, 
which he had made as sutler, but it was worth only $1,000 in gold 
or silver, and finally depreciated in value to but $100 in hard 
money. That he might save this money, he decided to invest it 
in land- warrants in Virginia. In the spring of 1780, he went 
to Philadelphia and obtained a letter of introduction from 
Dr. John Ewing, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, to 
Dr. James Madison, President of William and Mary College, in 
Richmond, who later became the Bishop of Virginia. With this, 
and other letters from prominent persons, he started on foot for 
Richmond, where his letters procured for him the appointment 
of deputy-surveyor. W T ith William Tucker, whom he employed 
as an assistant, he started and arrived at Wheeling Island, in the 
Ohio River, in the spring of 1780, where they found eleven boats 
ready to go down the river. On one of them he and Tucker took 


passage and after a trip full of danger and excitement, including 
a desperate fight with Indians, they arrived at Kentucky where 
the survey was to be made. On one of the boats was a Baptist 
minister by the name of Earned, between whom and Fitch a 
strong friendship was formed. Mr. Earned was poor so Fitch, 
ever on the watch to do good, offered him an interest in his land 
investments. Mr. Earned was appreciative and accepted with 
gratitude. The Rev. Mr. Earned, being an experienced woods- 
man, selected desirable tracts and Fitch and Tucker surveyed 
them. In Mr. Barned, Fitch found a man who appreciated his 
good heart and was very grateful for his generous treatment. 
. They were exploring and surveying for a year and in the spring 
of 1781, Fitch returned to Virginia to have his surveys recorded, 
leaving Mr. Barned in Kentucky with the expectation of rejoin- 
ing him the following spring, but he never saw him again. He 
heard of him, however, in 1790, and that he had prospered and 
was worth £50,000. 

In the summer of 1781, Fitch returned to Bucks County 
and disposed of his possessions for £150 in full-value money 
— gold and silver — with the intention of going down the 
Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. In the mean 
time, Mr. Barned was still in Kentucky looking after their 
mutual interests. In March, 1782, Fitch arrived at Fort Pitt, 
where he invested his money and, with four other men, 
chartered a boat for the journey. The journey was never 
finished. Through the mismanagement and cowardice of the 
captain and crew, they were captured on March 22, by In- 
dians and every dollar invested was lost, with the greater part 
of their clothing. Although they were not cruelly treated by 
their captors, they had an exciting and varied experience and 
suffered from exposure and hardship. Fitch and two of his 
companions were eventually taken from their Indian captors, 
by a trader named Saunders, and turned over to the com- 
mander of the fort at Detroit, where they were still prisoners, 
but of the British instead of Indians. Finally, on Christmas, 
1782, they arrived in New York, after nine months of cap- 
tivity by Indians and British, during which they had ad- 
ventures, excitement, and hardships enough to fill several 
volumes in the telling. 


The following letter written to his little son in 1781, who 
was then in his thirteenth year, shows that John Fitch yearned 
for his family and that his separation was still a source of 
sadness and regret : 

My darling boy — Believe me, when I took you in my arms and kissed 
you for the last time, and took my farewell, you may be assured that I 
felt every emotion that it is possible for a tender father to feel. How 
my heart dissolved into tears, and how my sinews wanted strength, I can 
better feel than express. Be assured, your father loves you, and that there 
is nothing would make him more happy than to take you under his parental 

This was written just before his capture by Indians. A 
few days after his return from captivity in Western Ohio in 
1784, he wrote as follows. 

Heaven forbid that I should endeavor to raise an irreverent thought in 
your heart against your mother. But our separation, you may be assured, 
was no trifling matter to me. There was nothing that I more ardently 
wished for, at the time, than that Heaven would call me to the world of 
spirits. You, my child, staggered every resolution and weighed more to 
me than a mountain of diamonds. Finally, I resolved, and re-resolved, 
and then resolved again, and gave you a sacrifice to the world more un- 
willingly than the patriarch of old. 

Soon after peace had been declared with Great Britain, he 
organized a land company. It was composed of his friend, 
the Rev. Nathaniel Irwin, Dr. John Ewing, W. C. Houston, 
Jonathan Dickinson, Sergeant Potts and Stacy Potts, of 
Trenton; and Colonel Joshua Anderson, of Bucks County, 
each of whom put in £20 for the expense of exploration and 
survey, in western Ohio. The company being satisfied with 
the results, another surveying trip was made the following 
spring, in 1785. Through an act of Congress this enterprise 
was a total failure. On a Sunday in April, 1785, as Mr. Fitch 
and James Ogilbee were returning from hearing the Rev. 
Mr. Irwin preach, the idea first occurred to Fitch which 
culminated in the world's first steamboat. Mr. Fitch was 
somewhat crippled by rheumatism, due to his exposure while 
a captive of Indians. A Mr. and Mrs. Sinton passed them 
rapidly, in a " chair " to which a fine horse was attached. 
The difference between his slow progress and their speed, 


suggested the idea that some force could be found that might 
be applied to vehicles and thus make traveling easy and 
rapid, without the necessity for keeping a horse. At this time 
he was entirely ignorant that a steam engine had ever been 
thought of or invented. His Yankee mind had already noted 
the expansive qualities of steam, so, when he arrived at his 
home, he began to make drawings of a steam propelled car- 
riage. At the end of a week he realized that the rough, un- 
improved roads of that period made such a vehicle impossible. 
Had American roads been fairly good, he might have been 
the father of the automobile. As it happened, the smoothness 
of water turned his thoughts to that as a highway and the 
application of steam power to a boat. 

He spent two or three weeks making drawings which he 
showed to his friend, the Rev. Mr. Irwin, who became greatly 
interested. Mr. Irwin took down from its shelf, Benjamin 
Martin's Philosophia Brittanica, published in 1747, and showed 
Fitch the description of a steam engine. It was then that Fitch 
confessed : " Although it was not to my credit, I did not know 
that there was a steam engine on earth, when I proposed to gain 
a force by steam ". 

He immediately began to construct a model with side paddle- 
wheels, similar to those now used. The machinery was made 
of brass and the completed model was tried on a small stream 
and proved an entire success. By 1788, he had obtained protec- 
tion by patent from four states and in 1791, from the United 
States, for the application of steam as a motive power for marine 

Fitch met with the same ridicule and heart-breaking opposition 
by the skeptical, as did George W. Featherstonhaugh thirty years 
later, in regard to steam railroads, in Schenectady, Albany and 
New York. Mr. Fitch did not give up the ship. He bore ridi- 
cule as best he could and met the opposition of the ignorant and 
doubtful with explanation and intelligent reasoning. He finally 
induced twenty persons to put $50 each into the enterprise, thus 
forming a company. His first boat was built in Philadelphia, 
in 1787. The boat was launched and tried over a course of a 
measured mile and its speed was found to be eight miles an hour. 
Sometime later, an all-day run was made and eighty miles were 


The success of the steamboat and the possibilities it opened, 
so greatly delighted the Governor and Council of Pennsylvania, 
that they presented Mr. Fitch with a handsome silk flag for his 
boat. At about this time Mr. Henry Vail, of Troy, the American 
Consul at L'Orient, who was also one of the company, requested 
Mr. Fitch to visit France for the purpose of introducing his 
steamboat invention to that country. The company of persons 
who had subscribed the money for making experiments and 
building the boat sent Mr. Fitch to France. France was enjoy- 
ing one of its periodical revolutions, so nothing was done about 
steamboats and Mr. Fitch returned to America, greatly dis- 
appointed. It seems, that sometime afterward, when Robert 
Fulton was in France, Consul Vail showed to Fulton, Mr. Fitch's 
papers and the drawings of his invention. This was an odd 
thing to do and it shows that Robert Fulton's steamboat was 
really John Fitch's invention. 

Fitch, like the majority of men who are a century ahead of 
their fellows, struggled against dense ignorance, but he left noth- 
ing undone, in his efforts to gain the confidence of someone, so 
that he might obtain the money required for the perfecting of 
his boat. Fitch had faith in his invention ; he knew that a little 
money would enable him to make the changes and experiments 
necessary for success ; he knew that if he could not accomplish 
it, that before long someone else would, so it must have been 
heart-breaking work for him. He tried to induce Rittenhouse, 
one of the company, to purchase his land in Kentucky so that 
the money for perfecting the steamboat could be had, but without 
the hoped for result. 

Fitch predicted that in time, the mode of crossing the Atlantic 
would be in steamboats ; and on another occasion, when con- 
versing with one of the mechanics who had worked on his boat, 
a number of other persons being present, he said : 

' Well, gentlemen, although I shall not live to see the time, 
you will, when steamboats will be preferred to all other means 
of conveyance, especially for passengers and they will be par- 
ticularly useful on the Mississippi." 

After Mr. Fitch left, one of those present remarked: 

" Poor fellow. It is a pity that he is crazy." 

An absolute knowledge that his ideas were practical and the 
disappointment and humiliation that he could not obtain the 


money to prove it, so preyed upon his mind that he sought relief 
from his thoughts in inebriation. Mr. Fitch, the man who in- 
vented the steamboat many years before Robert Fulton saw 
his — Fitch's plans — and twenty years before Fulton brought 
out his boat, drowned himself in the Alleghany river. 

John Fitch died a suicide in July, 1798, in Bardstown, Ken- 
tucky, after fifty years of struggling against the worst and most 
cruel and tireless enemies a man can have, his fellow men. From 
the time he saved the home from fire, in his sixth year, when his 
elder brother, finding him with head, hands and feet blistered by 
the flames, gave him a beating and his father refused to redress 
the act of barbarity, to the day of his death, he was subjected 
to just such injustice, misunderstanding, insult and cruelty. It 
is not possible to doubt that he was in some way lacking in 
qualities which, had he possessed them, would have made such 
treatment impossible. Had he possessed more self-esteem, van- 
ity and domineering pride, he might have avoided all the unhappy 
things that filled his life. 

His personal appearance has been described by an early writer 
as follows: 

He stood six foot two in his stocking-feet, was what was called thin 
and spare, face slim, complexion tawny, hair very black, and a dark eye, 
peculiarly piercing. His countenance was pleasing, and somewhat smiling. 
In point of morals and conduct, he was perfectly upright, sincere, and 
honorable in his dealings, and was never known to tell a wilful falsehood, 
or, indeed, to use any guile. 

For thirty years there was no settlement on the east side of 
the river, the reason no doubt being, that the passage of the 
Connecticut was laborious in summer and difficult, or impossible, 
in winter ; that the meadows on that side of the river being lower, 
were subject to floods and, too, there were the Podunk Indians to 
be considered, who occupied the land on the east side of the river. 

The Bissell family is regarded by historians as the pioneer 
family of the east side. In 1648, it was granted a monopoly of 
the ferry, still called Bissell's Ferry, between Windsor and the 
hamlet of East Windsor, in the Town of South Windsor. There 
is a tradition in regard to this grant, that is interesting, if not 
founded upon fact, as Stiles claims. This tradition is, that John 
Bissell was sent by the Colony to England, in 1636, to purchase 


and bring back a supply of cattle as the previous winter had 
been so severe that many of their cattle had died. Mr. Bissell 
returned with seventeen cows and a bull and as an equivalent 
for his services he was granted the monopoly of the ferry across 
the Connecticut. 

There was a house near Bissell's Ferry previous to 1662, for 
in a deed from John Bissell to his son Nathaniel, to property on 
the east side, near the ferry, mention is made of a house already 
standing there. Stiles says that John Bissell, Sr., probably 
moved from Windsor to the east side in 1662. Ten years later, 
there was a desire on the part of the people on the east side to 
organize a distinct and separate town. Three years later, in 
1675, King Philip's War caused the greatest consternation on 
the east side, cut off as it was from the larger settlement on the 
west side of the river in Windsor and from help, should the 
fierce Podunks make the war an excuse for an attempt to exter- 
minate the small settlement. For this reason, several families 
moved across to Windsor and a little later, all the inhabitants 
were ordered to move over with their cattle and grain and other 
possessions. The order also required that certain houses should 
be fortified and garrisoned for the safety of such persons as were 
obliged to remain. At the close of King Philip's War the people 
returned, and the settlement became fixed. 

The necessity of crossing the river to attend Church in Wind- 
sor caused the people, in 1680, to petition the Legislature for the 
formation of a separate town, so that they could settle a minister 
of their own, but nothing came of it. Eleven years fater they 
again presented a similar petition, but nothing was done till 1694, 
the delay being probably caused by the people of Windsor object- 
ing to anything of the kind, as it would take just so many per- 
sons from the Windsor Church and so increase the cost of 
supporting the minister in Windsor, for the people of that town. 

On May 10, 1694, the Rev. Timothy Edwards began preaching 
as a candidate and in March, 1695, he was ordained. Mr. Ed- 
wards prepared for college in the Grammar School in Hartford, 
then under the instruction of the Rev. Peletier Grover, of Spring- 
field. He entered Harvard College and was graduated in 1691, 
receiving the two degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts on 
the same day, an honor earned by his scholarship. There can 


be no doubt that the people respected and admired Mr. Edwards, 
but it is hardly possible to suppose that they loved him, or even 
had affection for him. He was too thoroughly the master, the 
judge, the keeper of the congregation's conscience. It was not 
till 1735, that he plainly showed, no doubt unconsciously, his 
Roman Catholic tendency in matters of Church government. In 
that year in a sermon he laid down the law, that it belonged to 
the pastor to JUDGE and determine what complaints or accusa- 
tions should be brought before the Church, and what should not, 
and that the votes of the members to convict or restore an 
offender would be of no force or validitv WITHOUT the 

The chief difference — perhaps the only difference — between 
the Church in England and the Church in America was in Church 
government. The principle of Congregationalism was the right 
possessed by each separate Church to govern itself, but Mr. 
Edwards declared that the power was in the pastor. The people 
were surprised and grieved, but the crisis did not come till 
Mr. Edwards debarred Joseph Diggins from owning his covenant 
and having his child baptized, " until he was willing to publicly 
confess himself guilty of a scandalous offence ", with which 
Mr. Edwards had charged him. The step between the con- 
demnation of the Roman Priest and the secret confession, and 
the condemnation of Mr. Edwards and the public confession, was 
not a long one. Joseph Diggins' offence was, that he married 
the girl of his choice, against the wishes of her father, William 
Stoughton. Had Mr. Edwards been a priest, and his Church 
of the Roman Communion, his decree of excommunication would 
have been quite natural : as both Edwards and his Church were 
Protestant, it savors of the busy-body and looks very much like 
an insolent interference by an outsider, in something that was a 
personal and private matter between the Diggins and Stoughton 

Diggins denied the doing of wrong and demanded a trial by 
the Church. Again did Mr. Edwards exhibit his Roman regard 
for the power of the minister, by refusing the trial and saying; 
that he had a negative on the Church, and that until he had 
changed his opinion in regard to the guilt of Diggins, the Church 
need not trouble itself. 


The sorrow of the people may be imagined. In England they 
had suffered persecution ; they had been fined, imprisoned and 
their estates had been confiscated because they dared to object 
to just such a form of Church government as Mr. Edwards was 
forcing upon them. They had spent years in thought — with 
prayers for guidance — in building up the Congregational form 
of Church government. Finally, they had abandoned their homes 
in England, to make new homes in a wilderness, so that they 
could have a Church which satisfied all their desires. After 
sacrificing everything to build up the substantial, dignified Con- 
gregational Church, on a foundation of self-government, the Rev. 
Timothy Edwards filled his lungs with warm air and puffing it 
out again, from between his lips, blew down what they had 
sacrificed so much for, and had been so many years in building, 
as a child blows down a house of cards. That is, he intended 
to do so, and he thought that he had done so, but the Church 
survived both himself and his son. 

The foundation of self-sacrifice, upon which they had built their 
Congregational system of Church government, was so solid and 
substantial, that even a much more violent tornado than passed 
from between the lips of the Rev. Timothy Edwards, in South 
Windsor, or between those of his illustrious son, the Rev. Jona- 
than Edwards, in Northampton, would not have caused a window 
to rattle. 

After Mr. Edwards had demolished Congregationalism and 
declared his infallibility — by telling the people that so long as 
he considered Diggins guilty, he was guilty, notwithstanding 
what the church thought on the subject — the case remained 
where it was till October, 1738, when a council was called which 
decided to give Diggins a trial. Sometime later, Mr. Edwards 
called a Church meeting and entered a formal protest against 
Diggins and charged him with breaking the Fifth and Eighth 

The case was tried and Diggins was acquitted. Mr. Edwards 
and two of the members dissented from this verdict, and called 
a council. It met on June 12, and 18, 1739, and while it sustained 
the decision of the Church in the Diggins case, it commended 
Mr. Edwards for his tenderness, prudence, faithfulness and 
caution, and so great was their Christian charity for the mis- 


guided, egotistical old man, that never a word was uttered of 
criticism or censure for the man who had wilfully and stubbornly 
tried to demolish the Church, that he might gratify and tickle 
his self-esteem. The council further said, that if he cannot with- 
out scruples admit Joseph Diggins, the brethren are advised not 
to press the matter, and Diggins was advised to apply to some 
other minister for Church privileges, and the baptism of his child. 
Although Diggins again applied and the deacons urged his cause, 
Mr. Edwards still refused. 

Then, the people as a Church, wrote a plain-spoken, affection- 
ately expressed letter, urging Mr. Edwards to admit Diggins and 
asserting their rights as a Congregational Church. He again 
refused, pleading conscientious scruples against countenancing 
such marriages as that of Joseph Diggins. 

The Church then authorized Diggins to seek elsewhere for 
Church rights, but he naturally objected to being driven from his 
spiritual home through the caprice of a self-willed old man, just 
as he would object to being evicted from his temporal home, by 
the same man for no better reason. 

The deacons then asked Mr. Edwards to call a Church meeting, 
but he refused, so the deacons themselves called the meeting. 
At this meeting Diggins made a formal charge of mal-adminis- 
tration against his persecutor, and finally Mr. Edwards was in- 
duced to call a council. It met on April 22, 1740, and was asked 
to give advice in regard to the following questions ; 

Concerning the power of the pastor to appoint messengers. 

Concerning his power to negative action taken by the Church. 

Concerning his power to judge and determine what complaints 
shall come before the Church. 

To determine the case of Joseph Diggins. 

Possibly the council lacked moral courage, at any rate it refused 
to advise in all but the Diggins case. This was not at all satis- 
factory. Congregationalism was endangered. Mr. Edwards was 
trying to destroy it by denying the right of the Congregation to 
govern itself, and by insisting upon the power of the priesthood. 

Mr. Edwards was still charged with mal-administration and 
for about three years the celebration of the Lord's Supper had 
not taken place. Diggins was finally induced to withdraw his 


charge. Then a letter was sent to Mr. Edwards, dated Aug. n, 
1741, which was as follows: 

It would have been a great satisfaction if you had granted our motion 
to you (the last time you called us together) to call a Congregational 
Council to advise us in our controversies respecting our church-order, 
which was offered to the council that met, which they refused to hear and 
give their opinion upon. We are still of opinion that a Congregational 
Council would have been the properest way to have led us into peace in 
that matter. But since you have declined this, and we are denied the 
benefit of such a council, we hope you will suffer us, without offence, to 
declare that we are still a Congregational Church, and that in our opinion 
it is not with our pastor to debar us from any privilege belonging to us 
as such ; but we are ready to receive any evidence from the Scriptures or 
reason, to convince us that the Congregational Church-order is unscrip- 
tural or unsound. We are further of the opinion that merely the differ- 
ent understanding between us about our church-order is not a sufficient 
cause to hinder our Communion, and Mr. Diggins having withdrawn his 
complaint, we see nothing in the way but we may set down at the Lord's 
Table together. 

This was signed by Hez. Porter and seventeen other members. 
After the receipt of this letter, Mr. Edwards administered the 
sacrament. It would seem that now Mr. Edwards had found a 
place in the controversy where he could return to his duty as a 
Christian and minister of the Church, without hurting his mag- 
nificent self-esteem, but he did nothing of the kind. On Sunday, 
November 1, 1741, he read a letter requesting that a messenger be 
sent to a council at Hartford. One of the rights he had denied 
the Church and claimed for himself, was the appointment of 
messengers, but he condescended on this occasion, " for the sake 
of peace ", to leave the election of messenger to the Church. 
He then laid himself open to a suspicion of hypocrisy by pur- 
posely refraining from being present at the meeting (which he 
was invited to attend) so that he could refuse a certificate to 
the messenger on the ground, that as he was not present at the 
meeting, he did not know who was elected. 

It is doubtful if there ever was before or has been since his 
day, a man of his profound mental attainments, in the Christian 
Protestant ministry, who was so completely self-centered and 
self-satisfied as the Rev. Timothy Edwards, unless it was his 
illustrious son, the Rev. Jonathan Edwards. This is strikingly 
shown by a manuscript record of the Rev. Timothy Edwards' 


of what he was pleased to consider especial acts of Providence 
for his personal safety. Some of them in twentieth century 
English, are as follows : 

When I was a little child I fell into a tub of water. The 
Providence of God caused somebody to see me and pull me out. 

On another occasion, in the school-boy period, he choked with 
a peach stone, which stuck in his throat when, " God by His 
power brought it out from me and saved my life." 

On another occasion he climbed a cherry tree " to show some 
mates how venturesome and bold I was and yet God brought me 
safely down again ". Was not this truly a marvel ? It was 
probably the first occasion known, from the time of Adam to that 
of Mr. Edwards, on which a boy had climbed a cherry tree and 
had come safely down again with or without the help of Provi- 

On another occasion he would have gone under the ice and 
been drowned, while skating, had someone not warned him of the 

It must be remembered that this is not the record of a little boy, 
but of a mature man (who was given two degrees at once by his 
College on account of his mental attainments) who was regarded 
as one of North America's greatest and most scholarly divines. 
It probably never occurred to Mr. Edwards that there were 
hundreds of thousands of other boys in whose safety Divine 
Providence was equally interested. 

Finally, after keeping the East Windsor Church in disorder 
for many years, the Angel of Death came to the rescue of the 
people and at the same time, probably saved the Congregational 
Church from disruption and the formation of a separate sect, 
which Mr. Edwards, in his self-love would no doubt have chris- 
tened, Edwardsites. Timothy Edwards was a man of profound 
learning and powerful intellect, who had wilfully smirched the 
religion, the Founder of which he professed to serve, that he 
might set himself above his equals, gratify his vanity and nourish 
his stubbornness. For this reason his sin was seemingly the 
greater. Whether Death gathered him into Abraham's bosom, 
or caused him to walk over that unique pavement described by 
his illustrious son, Jonathan Edwards, is not for man to judge, 
even if Timothy Edwards did establish the precedent by judging 



THE Connecticut River Company, which built the Enfield 
Falls Canal, gave Windsor Locks its name, from the 
fact that the series of locks at the southern terminus 
01 the canal were at that place. Windsor Locks was not incor- 
porated till 1854. Previous to the building of the Enfield Canal 
the territory was called Pinemeadow. 

The meadow from which it derived its name, is two miles 
south of the present village and at one time, far back in the ages, 
when the Indians possessed the art of tempering copper, this 
fertile meadow was occupied by them as has been shown by the 
graves, and stone and copper implements found in them. But 
when the English first settled on the Connecticut River, no In- 
dians lived there. 

Henry Denslow, son of Nichilas Denslow, built the first house 
in Pinemeadow in 1662 or '63, on land he had purchased from 
Thomas Ford, of Windsor. The Denslow family lived there, 
with William Hayden their nearest neighbor, two miles away. 
In 1676, just after the beginning of King Philip's War, the 
family moved to Windsor for safety. A short time afterward 
Henry Denslow returned to his home alone, contrary to the ur- 
gent entreaties of his family and friends, and was killed by 
Indians. A large boulder marking the site of his home, was in- 
scribed with an account of his death, on the two hundredth 
anniversary. Mrs. Denslow, her son aged seventeen and her 
seven daughters, returned to their home after Philip's War was 
ended and lived there alone for twelve years, with no neighbors 
nearer than two miles, and the son continued to live there till his 
death. His sons, Samuel and Joseph Denslow, built houses on 
the farm. The site of Henry Denslow's house — the first built 
in Windsor Locks — and a portion of the farm has been owned 
by his descendants for nearly 250 years. 

Nathaniel Gaylord went from Windsor to Pinemeadow in 1678, 
and settled there. His descendants, like those of the first settler, 
Denslow, owned the property for about 225 years. 

They were the only families in Pinemeadow — the Denslow 
and Gaylord — for thirty years. In 1708, Amos Dibble, the 
grandson of Thomas Dibble, moved from Windsor to Pine- 
meadow and built his house near the ravine now called Dibble 


Hollow. In 1752, the Dibbles moved to Torrington, at that time 
being settled. Other Windsor families which followed, were those 
of Ezekiel Thrall, who built on the corner of Center and Elm 
streets ; Palatiah Birge, in the same year, who built to the north and 
west of the Thralls, about a mile and a half, and a considerable 
portion of his property is still owned by members of the family; 
Seth Dexter and Jabez Haskell, who came from Rochester, Massa- 
chusetts, in 1769; and some time in the five years following, 
Ensign Samuel Wing and Samuel Coye built houses on West 
street, but they have no descendants in Windsor Locks now. 

In the summer that the Declaration of Independence was 
signed there were nine families in Windsor Locks. They were 
Dexter, Haskell, Cove, Wing, Birge, two Gaylords and two 
Denslows. Their patriotism was such, that with the exception 
of the Coye family, the heads of the other eight were serving 
in the Revolution in 1776, and Captain Martin Denslow had the 
enviable distinction of being an original member of the Order of 

The first school-house was built by Haskell and Dexter in 
1776, on land belonging to Mr. Dexter, and in 1783, a charter for 
a ferry across the Connecticut River was granted. The first saw- 
mill, was one built by the Denslows on Kettle Brook, about 1742. 
They sold it to Isaac and Daniel Hayden. In 1769, it became the 
property of Haskell and Dexter and in 1784, they built a grist- 
mill below the sawmill. They, and the descendants of the two 
families, owned and operated the mill for seventy-five years when 
it became the property of the Dexters and is still in that family. 
In 1 781, Ensign Eliakim Gaylord and Elijah Higley built a grist- 
mill on Pinemeadow Brook. 


WAREHOUSE POINT, directly across the Connecticut 
from Windsor Locks, was so called because William 
Pynchon, the great merchant and financier of his 
time, north of Hartford, built a warehouse there for storing his 
merchandise. Fur-pelts and the product of the soil were sent 
from Springfield around to Boston, in 1636, by water. Mr. 
Pynchon built his warehouse as near the foot of the falls as his 


vessels could go and then carted the merchandise from Spring- 
field, a distance of fourteen miles. 

Sailing vessels seldom went up the Connecticut above Hart- 
ford. In 1820, there were sixty flat-boats of from ten to eighteen 
tons burthen which, carried freight from Hartford to the up-river 
towns. As a twelve-ton scow was as large as it was possible to 
pole up the falls, all boats with more than twelve tons of freight 
discharged their excess at Warehouse Point. This freight was 
then carted up to Thompsonville in ox-carts and there reloaded 
upon the flat-boats. These flat-boats were poled up from Hart- 
ford, unless there was a wind from the south strong enough for 
them to slowly sail up. In going up the falls twelve men were 
required to pole the heavy boats. The canal that was built in 
1829, from Windsor Locks to a point in Suffield, nearly opposite 
Thompsonville, obviated the difficulty of the falls. 


IT would probably be difficult to enumerate the persons who, 
as children or grown-ups, have wondered how that queer 
little square piece of Massachusetts happened to extend 
down into Connecticut, without any apparent reason, purpose or 
advantage. This little projection, about two miles square, has 
been a part of Massachusetts since 1804. 

In the early days, the bounds between Springfield and Wind- 
sor were not accurately known, with the exception of the point 
at the north-west bounds of the projection. This point had been 
fixed. The western bounds of Springfield, which in those days 
included a portion of Suffield, were erroneously believed to ex- 
tend to this fixed point. The knowledge of the error was ob- 
tained through a warning from Connecticut to a Mr. Moore, 
who occupied the square of land, to be present for a militia train- 
ing. He refused to obey the summons on the ground that he 
was not a citizen of Connecticut. The matter was taken to the 
Legislature and upon examination it was found that this piece 
of land two miles square must be left to the jurisdiction of 

When John Pynchon settled Springfield he believed that he 
was included in the Connecticut plantations. In 1642, Massa- 
chusetts employed Woodward and Saffery to survey the bound- 
ary between the two Colonies. They fixed the eastern end of 
the boundary and then sailed around through the Sound and up 
the Connecticut, when they pretended to take up the line and 
continue it. Their line included a part of Windsor and was 
many miles south of the boundary claimed by Connecticut. That 
Colony was naturally dissatisfied. A proposal was made to 
Massachusetts for a mutual adjustment of the boundary, but noth- 
ing came from it. In 1694, Connecticut had the line surveyed and 
found that the survey made by Woodward and Saffery was very 
much too far south. Under these conditions, the people of Suf- 
field and Enfield, who had settled under Massachusetts jurisdic- 
tion, continued to encroach upon Windsor and Simsbury. This 



led to heated disputes and animosities, so another attempt was 
made to settle the disputed boundary, in 1700, but without re- 
sult. In 1702, the line was run by commissioners of both Col- 
onies and was placed by them far to the north of the old bound- 
ary, but Massachusetts refused to accept their report. In 1708, 
Connecticut's " dander " was up. Commissioners were appointed 
to run the boundary. They were given full power, and unless 
Massachusetts agreed to the boundary, as run by the commis- 
sioners, Connecticut decided to appeal to the Crown. Massachu- 
setts did not agree at once, but in 1713, a joint Commission came 
to an agreement on July 13. This line was so far north that En- 
field, Suffield and Woodstock were found to be in the Colony of 
Connecticut. As compensation for encroachments, Massachu- 
setts granted a tract of land, called The Equivalent Lands, in 
the western part of the Colony, to Connecticut. This was sold 
by Connecticut in 1716, for $2,274, the money being given to 
Yale College. But even then, the boundary was not fixed, for 
there was the later dispute occasioned by Mr. Moore, in 1800, 
and the final fixing did not take place till 1804. 

Suffield was purchased by John Pynchon from the Indians for 
$200. In 1670, Massachusetts granted the territory to Pynchon 
with the right to lay it out and settle it as a township, so its set- 
tlement and incorporation took place in 1670, and the township 
continued under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts till 1752, when 
it was annexed to Connecticut. It is a town of extensive and 
beautiful views and fertile soil. 

One of the most prominent citizens of Suffield was Gideon 
Granger. Mr. Granger was born in Suffield on July 19, 1767. 
He prepared for College and entered Yale, graduating at the age 
of twenty in 1787. He studied law, after graduation from Yale, 
and was admitted to practice in 1788. As a lawyer, Mr. Granger 
was notable. When but twenty-six years old, in 1793, he was 
elected to the Legislature of Connecticut, -where for a number of 
years he made himself a power by his energy, his mental attain- 
ments and his unceasing desire and willingness to serve the peo- 
ple of the State to the best of his ability and, as his ability was 
great, the service was great. Mr. Granger was a strong believer 
in the public school system and it was chiefly due to his exertions 


that the school fund, for which Connecticut early became famous, 
came into existence. 

In 1801, Mr. Granger was appointed to the office of Postmaster 
General of the United States. He continued to fill that important 
office till 1814. In that year he moved from Connecticut to 
Canandaigua, New York. The people of his adopted home soon 
recognized the fact, that the famous Yankee was of the class and 
manner of man they desired for their law manufactory in Albany, 
so he was elected to the State Senate in April, 1819. He con- 
tinued in that body till 1821, when failing health made his resig- 
nation a necessity. His death occurred in his home in Canan- 
daigua, on December 31, 1822. Mr. Granger was as prominent 
as a writer as he was a speaker and, like his public speaking, his 
writings were generally on political subjects. He wrote strongly 
in defence of the administrations of President Jefferson and Gov- 
ernor Clinton, over the pen names of "Algernon Sidney " and 
" Epaminondas ". His writings in support of the school fund 
were signed " Senectus ". 

Two other men whose lives reflected honor upon Suffield, but 
who were not natives of the town, were General Phinias Lyman 
and Oliver Phelps. General Lyman was born in Durham, in 
1 716, but he was a resident of Suffield for many years after his 
graduation from Yale College. After his College days he studied 
law and opened his first office in Suffield. General Lyman was 
one of those who took an active part in the boundary-dispute be- 
tween Connecticut and Massachusetts. For a number of years 
he was a magistrate. In 1755, in the French and Indian War, he 
was a major-general of the Provincial troops in the British Army. 
After the close of that war General Lyman went to England as 
the authorized agent of the officers of the Provincial troops, to 
curry through a claim upon the home government for them. He 
w r as opposed and delayed, as was the custom when any of the 
Colonials were asking, or demanding rights, or remuneration 
from Great Britain and was at one time obliged to return to 
America for an extension of his powers. Finally, he succeeded 
in obtaining from the Government a grant of an extensive tract 
of land on the Mississippi, not far from where Natchez now is. 
He sailed for this property, that had been granted to the Colonial 
officers, and sent one of his sons to bring the family there, but 


before they arrived, General Lyman died, in 1774. Mrs. Lyman 
died on ship and the Spaniards reclaiming the territory, the other 
members of the Lyman family left that place. 

Oliver Phelps was born in Windsor but he grew to manhood 
and received his commercial education in Suffield. He became 
one of the greatest property owners and financiers of his day. 
He moved to Granville, Massachusetts, and there became one 
of the principal traders of the time. In the Revolutionary period, 
lie was employed by Massachusetts in the Commissary Depart- 
ment of that State. In this department his transactions were im- 
mense and his own paper was accepted as a circulating medium. 
In 1789, he and the Hon. Wm. Gorham purchased from Massa- 
chusetts a tract of land in the western part of New York, known 
then as the Genesee country, comprising 2,200,000 acres. Up to 
that year it was the largest purchase of land, made by but two 
individuals, in the entire country. Another great land purchase 
was made in 1795, by Mr. Phelps, William Hart and other men, 
in Ohio, consisting of 3,300,000 acres. Mr. Phelps finally set- 
tled in Canandaigua, on his Genesee property and in 1802, he 
was sent to Congress from the western district of New York. 

Suffield was a part of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, till 
1749. As early as 1660, ten years before the purchase by Pyn- 
chon, it was known as Stony River Plantation, but in 1670, the 
name of Southfield was officially given to it. The Committee 
that was appointed to have charge of the affairs of the place, 
when it should be settled, petitioned for a change of name to 
Suffield, in June, 1674, and Suffield it has been for 231 years. 

This committee was composed of Captain John Pynchon, Cap- 
tain Eliazur Holyoke, Lieutenant Cooper, Quartermaster Colton, 
Ensign Cooley, and Rowland Thomas, of Springfield. This 
Committee was similar to the one appointed to manage the affairs 
of Fresh Water (Enfield) and the presence of any three members 
of it were sufficient to transact business. In January, 167 1, a 
system of rules for the settlement were adopted and the place 
was laid out in lots very much as was done in Enfield. The 
rules in regard to settlement and sale were about the same, but 
the size of the lots was greater, they being forty, fifty, sixty, and 
eighty acres. A lot of eighty acres was set apart of the Church, 
and about the same number of acres as a gift to the first minister 


to be settled. Forty acres were appropriated for the support of 
a school ; 500 for the Colony, and from twenty to thirty for a 
common in the center of the town. 

About one hundred families applied for grants upon which to 
settle, but the breaking out of King Philip's War, in 1675, 
stopped everything for the prospective settlers feared to leave 
the larger towns. In the spring of 1677, nearly all of the few to 
whom grants had been made returned. After the war, in 1678, 
additional grants were made and highways were opened. The 
Northampton road so frequently referred to in the old records 
was originally a trail between the Connecticut towns on the west 
side of the Connecticut River and those in Massachusetts. This 
trail passed through Westfield, Massachusetts, which was a trad- 
ing post for many years before it was settled in 1658, thence to 
Northampton. Later, it was widened and made into a cart-road 
for communication between the Massachusetts river-towns and 
Hartford. It was kept up by the towns as an important and 
necessary means of communication. 

On October 12, 1681, the General Court directed the Commit- 
tee to call a meeting of the voters, for the purpose of organizing 
the town. On January 2, 1682, the Committee met for the last 
time and granted additional lots so that there were one hundred 
proprietors in Suffield, sixty-two of the number being men with 
families and thirty-eight unmarried men. The first birth in the 
new settlement was that of Ephraim Bartlett, on June 17, 1673; 
the second was Mindwell Old, on February 4, 1674. Although 
no one, English or Indian, was ever killed in any war, nor mas- 
sacred by Indians within the bounds of Suffield, still, as early as 
1681, there was a company of militia in Suffield. The officers 
were Lieutenant Anthony Austin and Ensign George Norton. 
Norton became captain of the company in 1692. Notwithstand- 
ing the fact, that the location of the town was such that no 
fighting took place in it, in any of the many Indian wars of 
Colonial days or in the Revolution ; and that no Indian attacks 
were made or murders committed, in Suffield, that place furnished 
its full share of men, for service outside its bounds, in all of the 
Colonial wars and in the Revolution. 

In 1810, the manufacture of cigars made of imported tobacco 


was started by a dissolute inebriate of Spanish extraction ; an 
expert cigar maker who had become a tramp. Simon Viets dis- 
covered his skill as a cigar maker and, purchasing some Spanish 
tobacco, started the first manufactory of the kind in the Con- 
necticut Valley. The tramp taught the trade to some of the Suf- 
field girls and the cigars were sold to peddlers who distributed 
them over New England. 

Anthony Austin was probably the first schoolmaster, in 1696, 
and the first schoolhouse was built in 1704, on High Street 
Common. This first schoolmaster's great-great-grandson, Ste- 
phen F. Austin, was the founder of Texas. Stephen's father, 
Moses Austin, obtained from the Mexican Government a grant 
of a vast tract of land in Texas about 1820, where he intended 
to form a colony, but he died two years later without having 
accomplished his purpose. Stephen then went to Texas to take 
charge of the property. He laid out the City of Austin, which 
bore his name, and was the commander-in-chief of the Texan 
army and was the director of affairs there for some time. 

Dr. Sylvester Graham, whose name will be perpetuated so long 
as graham bread is made and eaten, was born in West Suffield 
in July, 1794; the son and grandson of clergymen, himself be- 
came a preacher and temperance advocate. He became impressed 
with the belief that the only remedy for intemperance, and the 
best method for preventing disease, was in correct living — es- 
pecially in proper diet — which he believed was a vegetable diet. 
The so called " Graham system " of diet and graham bread bear 
his name. A pamphlet which he wrote on bread making, in 1837, 
caused so much opposition among the bakers in Boston, that Dr. 
Graham, his system, and his bread, was given free advertising 
through their mobs, of a value not possible to estimate in dollars. 
Dr. Graham was an eloquent public speaker and a fine writer. 
A work which death prevented his finishing — Philosophy of 
Sacred History — was written to prove that his vegetarian theory 
was founded upon the Bible. 

The first meeting-house in Suffield was built in 1680, and its 
minister was the Rev. John Younglove, who taught the Grammar 
School in Hadley for six years previous to being settled over the 
parish in Suffield. There was but one Church in Suffield from the 


settlement down to 1740. On January 1 of that year, the second 
society was incorporated and the meeting-house was built on 
Ireland Plain. 

There was a society of New Lights, or Separates, who held 
meetings in the homes of the members, in 1742. In 1763, they 
had a Church and the Rev. Israel Holly was ordained as its 
pastor. Several years later the majority of the members became 
Baptists and the minority returned to the Congregational Church, 
Mr. Holly becoming a minister of that denomination. The Bap- 
tist Church mentioned was organized in 1769, with the Rev. 
Joseph Hastings pastor. 


ENFIELD is almost unique in at least one respect, for no 
history of Massachusetts is complete without including 
the history of Enfield for the first seventy years of its 
existence, nor would a history of Connecticut be complete that 
failed to include the entire history of Enfield. 

When William Pynchon, " the father of Springfield," Massa- 
chusetts, settled on that portion of the Connecticut, he believed 
that he was within the jurisdiction of Connecticut and so Enfield, 
which belonged to the territory settled by Pynchon and his com- 
pany of settlers, was believed to be in Connecticut. That this 
belief was general, is shown by the fact, that Mr. Pynchon, as 
a magistrate, attended a Court held in Hartford in November, 
1636. There is the further evidence, that Agawam — as Spring- 
field was first called — was assessed, in 1637, with the other towns 
of Connecticut to provide its quota of soldiers for the Pequot 
War, and to pay its portion of the expenses of that war. 

In 1642, through the carelessness or ignorance, or because of 
both carelessness and ignorance, of two surveyors who surveyed 
the boundary between Massachusetts and Connecticut, the line 
was fixed by them so far to the south that it included all of the 
Town of Enfield, which was settled in 1681 by people from 
Salem, Massachusetts, as well as other portions of Connecticut. 
From 1642 till 1752, Enfield was within the jurisdiction of Massa- 
chusetts, a period of seventy-one years, but it was not without 
vigorous opposition on the part of the inhabitants of Enfield and 
the Colony of Connecticut, an account of which is given in the 
chapter on Suffield. The reason the inhabitants of Enfield were 
anxious to be a part of Connecticut instead of Massachusetts 
was, that the Connecticut Colony was more liberal and its system 
of town government most admirable. 

No attempt was made by the people of Springfield to settle 
Enfield, the territory placed in Massachusetts by the carelessness 
of Woodward and Saffery, the surveyors, for more than thirty 
years. In the autumn of 1679, John Pynchon, Samuel Marsh- 



field, Thomas Stebbins, Sr., Jonathan Burt, and Benjamin Par- 
sons, were appointed a Committee to dispose of the land at the 
Falls and about Freshwater Brook — Thompsonville — to set- 
tlers. The proprietors were required to occupy their land and 
build houses upon it within three years from the date of the 
grant, and they were not permitted to own two home-lots nor 
to sell the land granted to them till they had lived upon the 
grants for seven years. The purpose of the grants was to settle 
the place permanently, not to encourage land speculation. Each 
grant included a home-lot and thirty, forty, fifty, or sixty acres 
of farm land. The inhabitants were required to lay out roads 
through their land when they were needed. At this early period 
ir the history of America, that systematic care of the trees, which 
makes Connecticut and Massachusetts villages and cities notable 
for the great number and the magnificence of their shade trees, 
was begun. Besides requiring building within three years, seven 
years' residence and the laying out of highways, the grants in- 
cluded that all trees standing in the highways should be left for 
shade and ornament. This was not peculiar to Enfield, but it 
happened to be one of the stated requirements of the grants, 
instead of becoming a Town law later, after the settlement had 
been organized. 

In 1680, at a meeting of the Committee held in March, it was 
decided that it would be just and right to purchase from the 
Indians their natural right to the land. The matter was placed 
in the hands of John Pynchon and £30 were appropriated for 
the purchase. He secured a deed from Totaps, the chief of the 
tribe occupying the land, for £25. This deed was for that por- 
tion of Enfield that is to the south of Freshwater Brook. A 
deed for that portion of the town to the north of that brook was 
obtained by William Pynchon in 1678. The natives were treated 
fairly and they and the white settlers lived in peace and even good- 
will. Enfield never was harrassed, or troubled in any way, by 

Sometime previous to the grants by the Committee, a few 
grants had been made to individuals. As the persons to whom 
the grants were made never occupied the land granted to them, 
no settlement was effected till the grants by the Committee, in 


The first settlers of Enfield were John Pease and his sons, 
John, Jr., and Robert, who came from Salem, Massachusetts, 
with their families and settled on their property, about a mile 
to the south from Freshwater Brook. In consideration of the 
fact that they were the first settlers, the Committee made their 
grant two or three rods wider than the other allotments. Their 
allotment was made in July, 1680, and it is probable that the two 
brothers spent the winter there, and doubtless built the log house 
to which they brought their families, in the spring or summer of 
1 681. 

The settlement grew rather rapidly, for new inhabitants ar- 
rived in considerable numbers soon after the allotments were 
made. The settlement was made on a ridge rising about 130 feet 
above, and one-half a mile to the east of the river. The main 
street was laid out on the top of this ridge, running parallel with 
the river. The land to the east of the ridge slopes very gently 
toward the east for about two miles, to the ravine through which 
the Scantic River flows, so the view was equally good in both 
directions and gave to the inhabitants an opportunity to see any 
hostile Indians who might be approaching. In 1683, less than 
three vears after John Pease and his sons arrived, the popula- 
tion of Enfield had increased so greatly, that it was thought the 
time was ripe for sending a petition to the General Court of 
Massachusetts, for incorporation as a distinct town. Springfield, 
of which Enfield was a part, endorsed the petition. The General 
Court granted the petition, and named the new town Enfield. 
Enfield did not have its own officers till the spring of 1688, the 
Committee being directed by the General Court to manage town 
affairs. The Committee was composed of broad-minded, liberal 
men who administered the government in harmony with the 
wishes of the inhabitants. The first official of Enfield was John 
Pease, Jr., who was elected to the important office of constable. 
It was a very important office in those days for the constable was 
the local representative of the King. The first election was on 
July 15, 1683, when the Committee called the inhabitants together 
for the purpose. At the expiration of the term of the constable 
he nominated three men from among the inhabitants, whom he 
regarded as being best suited to fill the office, and then the in- 
habitants voted for the man they wanted. Another instance of 


the Committee's liberal spirit was shown in February, 1684, when 
it appointed John Pease, Sr., Isaac Meacham, Jr., and Isaac 
Morgan to act as selectmen. The powers of the Committee were 
suspended from 1684, to 1689, by the revocation of the Charter 
of Massachusetts by the King. After the restoration of the Com- 
mittee to authority, it continued but three years, the last meeting 
being held in March, 1692. Before the end of the year, the two 
surviving members of the Committee turned everything over to 
the Town of Enfield. 

The population of Enfield continued to increase. In 1692 
pitches were made in the southern portion of Enfield and in 1706, 
people moved from the center to the eastern portion of the town 
and made a settlement in what is now Somers. Scitico was set- 
tled about 1 7 1 3 . In 1693, there was a boundary war between 
Enfield and Windsor, that was founded upon the careless survey 
made by Woodward and Safrery, in 1642. Windsor claimed that 
the southern boundary of Enfield was two miles too far south, 
and Enfield denied it. The matter was fought through the courts 
for twenty years, and must have been a " gold-mine " to the law- 
yers of both towns. In 1713, the dispute was settled by an har- 
monious compromise. Enfield's first representative to the Gen- 
eral Court of Massachusetts was Joseph Parsons of Springfield, 
in 1705. From that year till the town was annexed to Connecti- 
cut, Enfield's representation was intermittent. In 1734, the east- 
ern portion of the town was set off and incorporated as the Town 
of Somers. From 1716, till 1752, the inhabitants of Enfield strove 
to force Massachusetts to agree that the town was within the 
jurisdiction of and a part of Connecticut, and although Captain 
Ephraim Pease and Captain Elijah Williams took their seats in 
the Legislature of Connecticut in October, 1749, as the repre- 
sentatives of Enfield, that town was not annexed to Connecticut 
till 1752. In the Indian Wars, the Revolution, and the War of 
1812, Enfield was as liberal with its men and as active in its 
patriotism, as were all the towns of the Colony. 

In 1683, the work of building a meeting-house was begun, but 
a minister was not settled for a number of years, not till 1699, 
when the Rev. Nathaniel Collins became its first minister. A 
Baptist Church was organized in 1750, with the Rev. Joseph 
Meacham its pastor, but it soon ceased to exist and Mr. Meacham 


became one of the first American converts of the Shakers. Dis- 
cord in the Baptist Church resulted in the organization of a 
Society of Shakers in 1788. 

The first bridge across the Connecticut River, in the State of 
Connecticut, was built in 1808, from Enfield to Suffield. It 
was thirty feet wide, 1,000 feet long, and was supported by six 
mason-work piers. The bridge cost a little less than $26,000. 

In 1679, the Committee appropriated forty acres to be im- 
proved and worked for the support of a school, but the school 
was not organized till 1703. A schoolhouse was built in 1704, 
and John Richards was its first schoolmaster. The Town paid 
him £14 a year and the parents of all children of five years old 
and over were assessed a small sum which was added to his 
salary. In addition, the Town promised him twenty acres of 
land, should he continue to teach in the school for five years. 

With the exception of a small ironworks on the Scantic River, 
in the eastern part of the town, that was established in 1802, 
there was little or no manufacturing in Enfield, the people being 
employed in working their farms, until 1828. In that year Orrin 
Thompson organized the Thompsonville Manufacturing Com- 
pany, for the manufacture of carpets, the factory being in Thomp- 
sonville near the mouth of Freshwater River. 

Among the most prominent families of Enfield, in the different 
periods of its existence, were those of the name of Pease, Thomp- 
son and Dixon. John Pease, Sr., the first settler of Enfield — or 
Freshwater as it was then called — was born in England in 1630. 
He came to New England with his parents while he was still a 
child. They settled in eastern Massachusetts where the father 
died, not long after arriving in New England. John was left to 
the care of his grandmother — who came over with the family, or 
was already in Massachusetts when John and his parents arrived 

— and soon after she died. John was left by her will to the care 
of Thomas Wadeson, who brought him up and gave him what 
education he had. John Pease was married twice ; his first wife 
being Mary Goodell, of Salem, Massachusetts ; and his second, 
Ann Cummings, of Topsfield, Massachusetts. John settled in 
Salem and lived there till he moved with his sons to Freshwater 

— Enfield — in 1681, where he died on July 8, 1689. 

Of the two sons who settled Freshwater with their father, 


John, Jr., became the more prominent. He was, in fact, the most 
prominent man in the early history of Enfield. He was born 
in Salem, on May 30, 1654, and was twenty-seven when he went 
to Enfield with his father, and brother Robert. He had served 
his apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner before leaving Salem 
and besides working at his trade, he was interested in all matters 
of interest to the town, and was an active worker for its advance- 
ment and its welfare. His official life began when he was elected 
the first constable of Enfield, and it continued, in one office or 
another, for many years. He was surveyor of the town ; a mem- 
ber of the first board of selectmen, elected at the first Town meet- 
ing ; and the first captain of militia in Enfield. His wife was 
Margaret Adams, of Ipswich, Massachusetts, whom he married 
on January 1, 1677. His death occurred in Enfield, in 1734, in 
the eightieth year of his age. Elisha M. Pease, a descendant of 
the first settler, was born in 181 2. He moved to Texas when a 
young man, where he practiced law and was later elected Gov- 
ernor of the State. He was Provisional Governor, by appoint- 
ment of General Sheridan, in 1867. 

Of the Thompson family, Orrin Thompson was the most promi- 
nent in the affairs of Enfield, and may be regarded as the father 
cf Enfield's manufacturing interests. Although he was born in 
Suffield, on March 28, 1788, his family moved to Enfield while 
Orrin was still a boy of twelve years. He attended the West- 
field, Massachusetts, Academy and in 1805, went to Hartford and 
was apprenticed to a store-keeper, where he obtained a thorough 
business training. At the age of twenty-one he went to Jewett 
City, Connecticut, as a clerk in a manufacturing concern. In 
1812, he was in that portion of the army that was stationed at 
Stonington, when a British attack was expected. At the age of 
twenty-six, in 1814, Mr. Thompson returned to Enfield and 
opened a store, which he conducted with success. The possi- 
bilities of a store being somewhat limited, Mr. Thompson went 
to New York and entered the firm of David Andrews and Com- 
pany. The firm sold carpets. This business suggested the idea 
of manufacturing carpets, so Mr. Thompson organized the fa- 
mous Thompsonville Carpet Manufacturing Company, in 1828, 
and later reorganized it as the Hartford Carpet Company. His 
wife was Miss Love Lusk, of Enfield, whom he married in 181 5. 


THE mother settlement of the Valley of the Connecticut in 
Massachusetts is Springfield and the father of Spring- 
field was William Pynchon, a man of gentle-birth and 
refinement, who was a landed proprietor in Essex, England. 
Besides being one of the patentees of the charter of the Massa- 
chusetts Colony, he was appointed a magistrate and assistant, 
w hen the Governor and other officers of the Colony were ap- 
pointed in England, in 1629. He was one of Governor Win- 
throp's party which settled in Roxbury in 1630. 

After five years spent in Roxbury an uneasiness possessed the 
people of that settlement and so a petition was presented to the 
General Court for permission to go elsewhere. On May 6, 1635, 
the Court granted the petition, with reluctance, to the inhabitants 
of the several towns which were interested in the proposed 
exodus. William Pynchon and his followers receiving permission 
tu go where they liked, if their like did not take them out of the 
jurisdiction of Massachusetts, and did not encroach upon, or in- 
terfere with any other plantation, chose the Connecticut River. 

In the summer of 1635, Pynchon sent two men to the Connecti- 
cut River, at the place called Agawam by the Indians, to build 
a house so that when the other settlers arrived, a place of shelter 
would be ready for them. These men were John Cable and John 
Woodcock. It is probable, however, that Pynchon and his son- 
in-law Henry Smith, and Jehu Burr visited the Connecticut Val- 
ley, in 1634, to explore and select a site for a settlement and 
that Agawam was their choice. If this is fact, it shows that 
Pynchon had made the long journey through the forest the year 
previous to the permission granted by the General Court for the 
exodus. Cable and Woodcock built a house on the south bank 
of the Agawam and the west of the Connecticut River. The 
cost of this house, the first built in Massachusetts in the Con- 
necticut Valley, was £6 and the expense was borne by the pro- 
spective settlers. These two men lived in the house they had 
built during the summer of 1635. There is nothing to show 



whether they remained there through the following winter or if 
they returned to Roxbury in the autumn of 1635. This first 
house was the cause of the first law-suit for damages in Massa- 
chusetts west of old Middlesex County, and Woodcock was the 
plaintiff while his fellow pioneer and house-builder. Cable, was 
the defendant. This historic trial took place on November 14, 
1639, before William Pynchon. 

On April 26, 1636, the possessions of the settlers were sent by 
water in the ship belonging to Governor Winthrop called " Bless- 
ingf-of-the-Bav " and the settlers started — exactly when is not 
known — sometime just before or after April 26, for their fu- 
ture home on the Connecticut River. That they arrived before 
May 14, 1636, is certain. On that date William Pynchon and 
his company met and adopted rules relative to town government 
and the division of the land. These rules were signed by William 
Pynchon, Matthew Mitchell, Henry Smith, Jehu Burr, William 
Blake, Edmond Wood, Thomas Ufford, and John Cable. Al- 
though but eight persons signed the rules there were twelve 
heads of families in the company, the four others being Thomas 
Woodford, John Reader, Samuel Butterfield, and James Wood. 
It is an odd fact that not one of the first settlers of Springfield 
died there. They either moved to other settlements in the valley, 
returned to England, or were totally lost sight of. 

The settlers were welcomed by the Indians, who were disposed 
to be on friendly terms with the English. The Indians told the 
settlers that the place where Cable and Woodcock had built the 
house was not a favorable site for the settlement, as it was fre- 
quently flooded by the river in times of high water. Because of 
this information the west bank of the river was abandoned for 
the settlement and a site was chosen upon the east bank, where 
now is the city of Springfield. The settlement was called Aga- 
wam till 1640, when the name was changed to Springfield. The 
settlers desired to have at least forty families in the settlement 
and in the rules signed by the eight men, they agreed that it 
should not contain more than fifty families. The first Indian 
deed bears the date of July 15. 1636, and was made to Pynchon, 
Smith and Burr. The houses of the little settlement were all 
built before the cold weather of 1636 had set in, and although 
they were made of logs with straw-thatched roofs, they were 


homes, warm and comfortable in a homely way. Although very 
different from the comfort and luxury to which the majority of 
the settlers had been accustomed, in old England, they were en- 
tirely satisfactory in New England, to these men and women 
who had come here to devote themselves to the serious and 
nobler things of this life, that they might be better prepared to 
enter the Life that never ends. 

William Pynchon was an extraordinary man. Wise, broad- 
minded, just and generous as he was, his own fellow pioneer 
Christians in Boston failed to see it and appreciate him, so they 
robbed all New England of a man whose life and influence would 
have been felt to its utmost limits, could he have remained in 
the Colonies. It was the narrow bigotry of the Government and 
Church of Boston ; a bigotry that was more intense than was the 
bigotry in England which they had crossed the ocean to be rid of ; 
that drove Pynchon back to England. 

In 1637, the settlers organized the first Church of Springfield 
and settled the Rev. George Moxon as its minister, and the first 
meeting-house was finished in 1646. In 1636, William Pynchon 
was reelected as an Assistant of the Colony and while he did 
not attend the May Court of Elections, he was present in Sep- 
tember and took the oath of office as a magistrate. Roger Lud- 
low, who had been a Deputy Governor and a magistrate of Mas- 
sachusetts, and was one of the prominent men in Windsor, was 
commissioned by the General Court, with William Pynchon and 
others, to govern the new settlement, in 1636. Ludlow's com- 
mission was for one year and was renewed in 1637. In 1637, 
Massachusetts ceased to have jurisdiction over the adjoining 
towns south of Springfield in Connecticut, and Springfield re- 
mained with the Connecticut towns till 1639, William Pynchon 
actually attending the General Court in Hartford as a magis- 
trate. As has been shown in the chapters on Enfield and Suf- 
field, Connecticut, Pynchon believed that he and his settlement 
were within the jurisdiction of the Connecticut Colony. Early 
in the year 1639, Springfield was found to be within the juris- 
diction of Massachusetts when its union with the Connecticut 
towns ceased. This left Springfield without a town government 
or any one to administer justice, as the General Court of Massa- 
chusetts had sent no instructions, so the inhabitants drew up a 



form of government and elected William Pynchon as their magis- 
trate. This was to continue only till the General Court should 
send instructions. When word was received from the Court, the 
action of the inhabitants was approved and Pynchon was con- 
firmed in his office. Pynchon was chosen an Assistant of the 
Colony from 1643, t0 l6 49> inclusive. 

In 1652, Springfield sustained a great loss in the return to 
England of William Pynchon, Henry Smith, his son-in-law ; and 
the minister, the Rev. George Moxon. This calamity was due to 


a book written by Pynchon, the title of which was, " The Mer- 
itorious Price of Alan's Redemption." It was published in Eng- 
land, and contained ideas so liberal and opinions so different from 
those of the Puritans — which, being their ideas and opinions, 
were of necessity orthodox — that the General Court tried, con- 
demned and executed the book by publicly burning it in the mar- 
ket-place in Boston. The holy orgy that those narrow, misguided, 
well-meaning orthodox men of Boston had at the burning must 
have been a sight worth going many miles to witness. In look- 
ing back to that event one can imagine how their infinitesimal 


humanity must have shriveled to even smaller proportions as the 
frigid blood — warmed to somewhere near temperate heat by 
their religious ardor — became a degree or two warmer while 
forcing its way through their dessicated hearts, stimulated 
to this unusually rapid flowing by the religious exhilaration caused 
by the knowledge that they were establishing their own tiny opin- 
ions more firmly. This was doubtless called, serving God. The 
General Court suspended William Pynchon from the magistracy 
and so deprived not Springfied, nor the Colony of Massachusetts, 
but all New England, of a man whose love of God and man was 
so great, that there were not enough men in the town where his 
book was burned to surround that love. 

The Court appointed Henry Smith in 165 1, to act as magis- 
trate for Springfield for one year, or till further orders were re- 
ceived. Pynchon and his son-in-law, Henry Smith, returned to 
England in 1652 and never again were in New England. It is 
probable, however, that Smith expected to return, as he left his 
wife and two daughters in Springfield. Three or four years later 
Mrs. Smith joined her husband in England but their daughters 
remained and married men in Hartford. The cause for the re- 
turn of the Rev. George Moxon to England was not known. Some 
authorities think it was due to the fact, that he was a believer 
in Pynchon's advanced ideas ; others, that it was due to witch- 

The first case of witchcraft recorded in New England was in 
Springfield. The persons suspected, accused and tried for prac- 
ticing the arts of Satan, were Hugh Parsons and his wife. Mr. 
Moxon's daughters, Martha and Rebekah, were attacked by an 
illness which was attributed to witchcraft. Mrs. Parsons was 
afflicted by occasional attacks of insanity and her neighbors at- 
tributed her condition to a social intimacy with the devil. It 
hardly seems possible, that men and women who were capable of 
sacrificing so much for a principle as they, could have been so 
densely ignorant and superstitious, but they were. While in one 
of her fits of insanity, in March, 165 1, Mrs. Parsons killed her 
infant. This, of course, was taken as conclusive evidence that 
she was a witch. The poor demented creature confessed, that 
both she and her husband were witches, indeed, she rather boasted 
of it. She was taken to Boston and although she was so seriously 


ill that it was feared she would die in prison before the orgies 
could begin, she was brought into court and tried, first : on a 
charge of bewitching the Moxon girls and then on the charge of 
killing her infant. Mrs. Parsons pleaded " not guilty " to the first 
charge and was acquitted ; to the second she pleaded " guilty " 
and was condemned to be put to death immediately, but she was 
reprieved and as no further mention of the case is found in the 
records, she probably died. In the following year her husband 
was tried for witchcraft. The jury found him guilty, but the 
magistrates did not concur so the case was taken to the General 
Court, when the verdict was set aside and he was discharged. 

William Pynchon's characteristics were strong and his son in- 
herited them, so, while Springfield sustained a great loss in the 
removal of the father, it still had his son, John Pynchon, who 
was an honorable son of an honored and loved father. John 
Pvnchon, Elizur Holyoke and Deacon Samuel Chapin were ap- 
pointed by the General Court as commissioners, who should act 
as magistrates of Springfield. In 1658, the Court united them 
with the commissioners of Northampton and ordered that they 
hold court in each town annually. 

On May 7, 1662, Hampshire County was organized, as an 
original county, not from portions of other counties. It covered 
a great territory including the present Counties of Berkshire, 
Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and the towns in the western 
portion of Worcester County. In 1730, Worcester County was 
organized and Hampshire was reduced to the extent of the ter- 
ritory included in those towns. In 1761, Berkshire County was 
organized; in 181 1, Franklin County was set off, and in 1812, 
Hampden County was also set off from old Hampshire County. 
When Hampshire County was organized in 1662, it contained but 
the three towns of Springfield, Northampton and Hadley. 

A settled successor to the Rev. George Moxon was not obtained 
till 1661, when the son of the Hon. John Glover, of Dorchester, 
the Rev. Pealtiah Glover, became the minister of the Springfield 
Church. There had been preaching, however, by the Revs. 
Messrs. Horsford, Thompson and Hooker, for a few years, and 
in the years between 1652, and 1661, when they had no preach- 
ing, one or another of the principal men in the Church led the 
service. Mr. Glover was a man of cultivation who attracted and 


retained the affection and respect of his parishioners. His pas- 
torate ended with his death, in 1692, after thirty-one years of 
faithful service. 

In the general trouble with the Indians in 1675, which is known 
as King Philip's War, Springfield suffered greatly. The Spring- 
field Indians, as they were called, had a permanent village and 
fort on an elevation known as Long Hill. They had lived peace- 
fully as neighbors of the English for so many years, that the set- 
tlers had no fear of them, nor did they suspect them of treachery. 
Possibly they would never have proved treacherous had their 
killing, scalping and burning instincts not been aroused by the 
advent of Philip's War. 

On the night of October 3, and 4, 270 of Philip's warriors — 
according to the statement of a squaw — were quietly admitted 
to the Indian fort at Long Hill, by the Springfield Indians. The 
proposed destruction of Springfield was known by Toto, an In- 
dian who lived in the Walcott family, in Windsor, Connecticut, 
and he after much persuasion told all he knew about it. A 
messenger was immediately sent to Springfield from Windsor to 
warn the inhabitants. The people of Springfield fled to the home 
of Mr. Pynchon, which was fortified and strongly built of brick 
and stone, and to other fortified homes. No signs of any trouble 
from Indians were seen on October 4, the Springfield Indians 
going about as usual showing no evidence of excitement or 
enmity. This reassured the people, many of them returning to 
their homes. Mr. Glover, the minister, returned his books and 
other particular valuables to his home from the Pynchon house, 
where he had taken them. On the morning of October 5, it was 
determined to make an investigation. This dangerous work was 
undertaken by Lieutenant Thomas Cooper and Thomas Miller, 
both considerably past middle age. While approaching the fort 
they were fired upon and killed, but Lieutenant Cooper's great 
strength and vitality enabled him to retain his seat upon his horse 
till he reached one of the fortified houses, when he fell dead. 

The Indians immediately began their attack. Three men and 
one woman were killed and many were wounded, one so ser- 
iously that he died later. The Indians burnt thirty-three houses 
and twenty-five barns, leaving but fifteen houses standing in the 
settlement, on the east side of the river. The Indians retreated 


before they had carried out their plans to the fullest extent. The 
©Id church escaped, but the jail and all the mills, besides the 
houses and barns, were destroyed. Many of the homeless ones 
contemplated going elsewhere, but the wiser ones, thinking that 
such a move would have a bad moral effect upon the neighbor- 
ing settlements, and might cause many of them to be abandoned, 
overruled the timid ones. As there were plenty of provisions for 
all, they decided to remain. At the time of the attack, Major 
Pynchon and Captain Appleton were in Hadley, whence they 
hurriedly returned as soon as word of the attack was received 
by them. The following winter, that of 1675 and '76, was mild 
and the people were well supplied with provisions, but they were 
in constant danger from Indians and considerable property was 
destroyed by them. At Longmeadow, no one attended church 
during the entire winter and a part of the spring. They decided 
to resume their attendance at worship on the last Sunday of 
March. On that dav, at the brook called Pecowsic, thev were 
fired upon and John Keep, one of the selectmen, his wife and 
their infant were killed and several were wounded. In the sum- 
mer, two or three other murders were committed by Indians in 
different parts of the town. After the death of Captain Turner, 
in the Falls fight, which occurred at what is now Turner's Falls, 
on May 19, 1676, the command of the English forces devolved 
upon Captain Samuel Holyoke, of Springfield, who personally 
reduced the number of the enemy by six, in the Falls fight. 

The Pynchon mansion, to which many of the inhabitants fled 
on the night of October 3 and 4, was known as the Old Fort 
for generations till it was torn down in 183 1. This house was 
the most substantial and expensive of its day, in western Massa- 
chusetts. It covered a ground space of forty-two feet on the 
front and was twenty-one feet deep. It was built of brick made 
by Francis Hacklinton, of Northampton (not of brick imported 
from England or Holland as many persons used to say it was), 
50,000 in all, in the year 1659. The foundations were of the red 
stone that has been common about Springfield and the neighbor- 
ing towns, ever since the first settlements were made. Thomas 
Bascom and his son, of Windsor, were employed to get out 
these stone for the foundations, and to lay the kitchen floor, 
probably of stone, and the hearths for the fireplaces. Major 


Pynchon allowed the Bascoms seven shillings and sixpence for 
going to Springfield and returning to Windsor, and paid £17/15 
for their work. Nearly all the other work was done by Edward 
Griswold, also of Windsor. He received for laying the stone 
and brick, £40. The timber, from which the huge frame and 
the boards were made, was cut on Major Pynchon's property. 
Corporal Rowland Thomas, one of the wood-choppers, was the 
man for whom Mount Tom was named. He was a " chummy " 
sort of man well liked by his neighbors and was familiarly called 
by them Corporal Tom. Samuel Buell and Timothy Teawle, two 
other men of Windsor, did the hewing of the trees after they 
were felled, and the sawing was done in the Major's own mill. 
The shingles cost something more than a pound by the thousand. 
They were made by Thomas Miller and John Matthews, and 
were eighteen inches long and an inch thick at the base. The 
shingling was done by Samuel Grant, still another man of 

On the ground floor in the middle of the house was the hall 
from the front to the rear. On either side were two large rooms 
and a small room without windows, that was used as a store- 
room. The kitchen, pantry and a bedroom were in a wooden 
building at >the rear, which was probably the house built by, Wil- 
liam Pynchon. This building at the rear was about twenty-five 
feet square and one and a half stories high. On the upper floor 
of the brick house were two very large bedrooms, that were 
separated by a hall similar to the main hall on the ground floor. 
The walls of the lower story were two feet or more thick and of 
the second, a little more than a foot thick, so it is easily under- 
stood that the house was an impregnable fort against any 
weapons of offence possessed by Indians. 

The brick of which the house was built were small, about two- 
thirds the ordinary size. The severe plainness of the brick walls 
was broken by a rounded projection of red sandstone, running 
about three sides of the house, and two feet from the ground. 
This is what architects call a water-table. The chimneys were 
at either end of the house, thus giving a fireplace in each of the 
four rooms. The roof was as high as the main body of the 
house, that is, the line of the eaves was half the height of the 
house from the ground to the ridge-pole. It was, in fact, similar 


to the high, pitched roofs of the Dutch in the Mohawk Valley. 
This steepness of the roof — of the old Dutch houses as well as 
of Major Pynchon's — was doubtless for protection from fire 
in case of an attack by Indians. It was so steep, that an arrow 
with a flaming torch of birchbark would not remain on the roof, 
but would slide to the ground. As originally built, the house had 
a projection, or inclosed porch in front, two stories and a half 
high. It hardly seems possible that descendants of those " best 
of men " could have been guilty of tearing down the historic 
home of their ancestors, in 183 1, but such is said to be a fact. 
Springfield must have been in a state of coma when it was done, 
otherwise the people of Springfield would have rescued it from 
the hands of over-practical persons as the people of Boston saved 
the Old South Church, when it was proposed to tear it down 
thirty years ago. 

After the destruction of the jail, or prison, when Springfield 
was burned by Indians in 1675, there was no place in the county 
for the confinement of prisoners and it must be remembered that 
till 1730, Hampshire County included nearly all of western Mas- 
sachusetts. On January 10, 1677, the County Court, in session 
at Northampton, ordered a new prison and house of correction 
to be built in Springfield, at an expense as near £50 as was pos- 
sible and not more than £55. Major Pynchon selected a site on 
Main street, on the west side, where the hotel called the Union 
House was later built. It was a building of two stories, twenty- 
five by eighteen feet. One room, with several closets, occupied 
all of the first floor, and on the second floor were three rooms. 
The walls and the partitions between the rooms, were of verv 
heavy oak planks, and although such a prison would easily be 
broken by the skilled mechanics who belong to the criminal class 
of this century, it was then regarded as being entirely satisfac- 
tory and safe. For many years this was the only place of con- 
finement in the county, for the great variety of offenders Avho 
were declared to be criminals by the queer laws of those days, 
and it was the place of confinement for the southern part of the 
county for 114 years. No deed to the property was given by 
Samuel Ely or by Thomas Merrick, from whom it was purchased 
by Major Pynchon for the county, till 1683, and 1684, respec- 



tively. The house for the jail-keeper stood on the same lot with 
the jail. 

Up to 1794, the courts had met alternately in Northampton 
and Springfield, but in that year they were transferred to 
Northampton, on account of its central location, so the jail in 
Springfield was of no further use, as a new jail was built in 
Northampton. Moses Bliss, Warham Parks and Sylvester Tudd, 
were appointed by the court as a committee to sell the county's 
property in Spring-field. They sold the property to the jail- 
keeper, William Colton, for £200. Colton moved the building 
used for a jail to the rear 
of the keeper's house and 
used a part of it as a 
kitchen. About 18 16, 
the jail property was 
owned by Elam Stock- 
bridge, who lived in the 
house, and when Bliss 
street was opened the 
old jail was torn down 
and the house was 
moved to a site further 
west, on the southerly 
side of Bliss street. The 
most exciting events in 
the history of the old 
jail were the murder of 
Edward East by his fel- 
low prisoner, William 
Shaw, in 1770, and the 

rescue by a mob in 1782, of Samuel Ely, one of the instigators of 
the series of mobs which culminated in Shays' Rebellion. 

Springfield had a fire-engine at least a year before the first in- 
dependent volunteer fire company was organized, possibly more 
than a vear, but the first mention of it was in 1793, when money 
was spent by the parish for repairing it. The fact that it needed 
repairing, would make it seem that it had been in use for several 
years previous to 1793. 

The Fire Company was organized on January 17, 1794, prob- 



ably at Parsons' Tavern, with the following members ; Colonel 
Dwight, Jonathan and Thomas Dwight, George and Luke Bliss, 
Colonel Williams, Joseph Williams, William and Charles Sheldon, 
Samuel Lyman, Zebina Stebbins, Chauncey Brewer, William 
Pynchon, John Hooker, Bezaleel Howard, Zenas Parsons and 
James Byers. The company entered into an agreement, that each 
would do all in his power to save the property of the others from 
destruction by fire. They were not the only fire-fighters in the 
town but they were the only organized firemen. As a matter 
of fact, nearly every man, boy and many of the women, turned 
out to do their full share in the efforts to save their own or 
their neighbors' property. The work done by the men was that 
of passing buckets, from the nearest well or brook along the 
line to the engine, when the water was emptied into the tank of 
the engine and then laboriously pumped through the hose onto 
the fire. The part taken by the women and boys in this opera- 
tion, was the passing back of the empty buckets. The first fire 
engine had two sets of brakes, so that it was possible for twenty- 
six men to work them at the same time. The upper set were 
worked by six men, who stood upon the top of the engine. When 
they were not needed they could be folded back, where they would 
be out of the way. The first line of hose was but five feet long, 
just long enough for the nozzle-man to direct the stream, but in 
1809, there were thirty-five feet of hose. The old engine was 
taken on long trips occasionally, and several times it was present 
at fires in Longmeadow. At such times, a horse was used to 
assist the men up the grades. The engine house was a tiny 
affair, but little larger than was necessary to hold the engine. 
It was built on Market street near the corner of State street, 
on land owned by the parish. As the land was wanted for the 
Town hall, it was taken down in 1826 and a new engine house 
was built, on what later became the south-west corner of San- 
ford and Market streets. In 1792, Springfield had a population 
of but 1,800 so every body knew his neighbors and when an 
alarm of fire was rung from the church steeple the interest was 
general, as was the interest in the firemen and the engine. 

One of the most active, as a member of the company and a 
worker at fires, was Elijah Blake who joined the company in 
1809, and worked at the same position on the upper set of brakes 


for ten years. He was elected as the foreman of the company 
in 1820, and served in that capacity till 1830. In that year the 
State organized fire districts and created the office of chief engi- 
neer, to which office Mr. Blake was appointed and served in it for 
many years. George Bliss was his assistant. 

The English home of the Holyoke family was in Tamworth, 
Warwickshire, whence came Edward Holyoke to Chelsea, Massa- 
chusetts, — then called Rumney Marsh — some time in the years 
1637 or '38, and his son Elizur Holyoke, then about twenty 
years old. Edward Holyoke was a farmer, who was possessed of 
some means and more than the average natural abilities. His 
worth was recognized by his fellow settlers of Chelsea, who 
elected him to the lower branch of the General Court for several 

Elizur was attracted to Springfield, soon after arriving in New 
England, where he settled and became, with William and John 
Pynchon, Henry Smith and Deacon Samuel Chapin, one of the 
chief men of the new settlement. The Pynchon and Holyoke 
families had been intimate friends in the old home in England, 
where Elizur knew and loved Mary Pynchon, William Pynchon's 
daughter. His regard for her was not greater than hers for 
him, so the reason for his leaving Chelsea for Springfield is 
easily guessed, as they were married in 1640. 

Elizur Holyoke built his house on the lot that was between those 
of William Pynchon and Henry Smith, who had married Mary 
Pynchon's older sister, Ann. His home-lot extended from Worth- 
ington to Bridge street and from Main street back to the Connecti- 
cut River. He also owned his proper portion of farm, pasture 
and woodland outside of the village, on both sides of the river, 
and as time passed he acquired a large estate, partly by purchase 
and partly by grant from the Town for valuable services ren- 
dered. Mr. Holyoke's public life began soon after his marriage 
and while he was still a young man. In those days, when men 
were estimated for their personal qualities and intelligence and 
not by the size of their estates or the money they possessed, anv 
office was an honor. Elizur's first public duties were as juryman 
and often as foreman of that body. When the land on the west 
side of the Connecticut River was laid out, in 1642, he was one 
of a committee of six other men to perform that work, and in 


165 1, he was appointed to the office of constable, the import- 
ance of which office has been shown in a previous chapter. 

After the orthodox members of the General Court had deposed 
William Pynchon and so caused his return to England, with his 
son-in-law, Henry Smith, in 1652, they appointed John Pynchon, 
Elizur Holyoke and Deacon Samuel Chapin a commission to act 
as magistrates for the government of the town, and the trial of 
all civil and criminal cases. They were also the magistrates of 
Northampton when that town was settled. In 1665, three years 
after the organization of Hampshire County, the court was reor- 
ganized with John Pynchon as presiding judge, and with Mr. 
Holyoke one of the four associate judges, and the recorder of the 
court. Mr. Holyoke was Springfield's first representative to the 
General Court, the previous representatives being men who were 
living near, or in Boston. In 1653, he, with Pynchon and Chapin, 
were appointed by the General Court to lay out a new plantation 
at Nonotuck and the result of their work was the birth of North- 
ampton. It was probably when this survey was being made that 
Mount Holyoke was given his name. In 1670, Mr. Holyoke, with 
Thomas Cooper, George Colton, Benjamin Cooley, and Rowland 
Thomas, surveyed and laid out Suffield in Connecticut, which at 
that time was believed to be in Massachusetts. 

His military career began in 1653, when he was appointed by 
the General Court as ensign of the militia; in 1657, ne was P ro ~ 
moted to the office of lieutenant and in 1669, he was a captain, 
and he was still in that office when Springfield was burnt in 
King Philip's War, his house being one of the fifteen that was not 
destroyed by the Indians. In the years when Springfield was 
without a settled minister — 1652 to 1659 — he frequently offi- 
ciated as leader of the Sunday worship. 

In 1658, Mrs. Holyoke died and, as was the custom in those 
days, he soon married again. His second wife was Editha Steb- 
bins, the widow of Robert Day, and later of John Maynard. In 
1676, Captain Holyoke died. He was survived by his second 
wife and the four sons and two daughters of his first marriage. 
Of these four sons, John, Samuel — who was a captain in the 
Falls fight of 1676 — and Edward, died without having married. 
The youngest, Elizur, moved to Boston and married. One of 
his sons became president of Harvard College. 


A man who was a little less prominent in the early history of 
Springfield than were the Pynchons, the Holyokes, Smith and 
Chapin, was Miles Morgan. But a lack of prominence does not 
mean an indifference to the welfare of the settlement, or a lack 
of energy, effort, and deeds in its behalf. The unknown man 
often makes as much history as the man whose name is fre- 
quently spoken. The unknown man is often as much a doer of 
great things ; of benevolent acts ; a reliever of distress ; a giver of 
encouragement to the disheartened and sympathy to the afflicted ; 
and as much a man of courage as is the man whom chance, or 
demonstrative characteristics, have made prominent. 

Miles, John and James Morgan arrived in Boston in April, 
1636, on a ship which sailed from the port of Bristol, in the 
west of England. James settled in Connecticut and was the 
first Connecticut ancestor of a great number of persons bearing 
that name. John settled in Virginia, and Miles went to Spring- 
field about 1643, seven years after the settlement by William 
Pynchon and his company of pioneers. His name is first men- 
tioned in the records in March, 1645, when the birth of his first 
child, Mary, is recorded. 

On the ship in which he sailed was Prudence Gilbert, who, 
with her family settled in Beverly, Massachusetts. The long 
journey across the ocean provided the opportunity for the young 
persons to become well acquainted and finally to " fall in love ". 
There is a tradition in the family, that Miles made the journey 
from Springfield to Beverly for the purpose of making Prudence 
his wife. He had proposed marriage to her by letter and she 
had accepted the proposal in the same manner, when Miles, with 
two of his friends and an Indian for guide, set out with a pack- 
horse through the forest to Beverly. After the wedding the pack- 
horse was loaded with the bride's effects and she, her husband, 
the two friends and the Indian began the return journey on foot, 
the distance being 120 miles. It was of such girls, healthy and 
vigorous in mind, body and spirit, that New England mothers 
were made and from whom were descended the heroic men and 
women of the Indian wars, the Revolution, and Civil War. 

Miles Morgan's home-lot was south of Cypress street, then 
Ferry lane, on the west side of Main street. After the birth of 
their first child, Jonathan, David, Pelatiah, Isaac, Lydia, Hannah 


and Mercy were born with an interval of two years between birtbs. 
Mrs. Morgan died in February, 1660, and nine years later Miles 
married Elizabeth Bliss, on February 15, 1669. In the mean time, 
Miles Morgan had become Sergeant Morgan of the militia. His 
first public service was in 1645, when he served with George 
Colton as a committee to secure a blacksmith for the town. In 
1660, he was chairman of the Board of Selectmen, and in '62 was 
one of the committee to arrange with Elizur Holyoke for the 
management of the town gristmill. Miles Morgan and Elizur 
Holyoke did the greater part of the carrying for Pynchon, by 
boat on the river down to Hartford, and by cart to settlements 
back from the river. 

In the Indian attack which resulted in the burning of Spring- 
field, Sergeant Morgan fought with courage and gave repeated 
evidence of his bravery. 


Reference has been made frequently to the fact, that as a 
whole, the New England orthodox Christians were " God fearing 
people," but there were some notable public exceptions to this 
general condition of holy-fear and, no doubt, thousands of pri- 
vate exceptions. By public exceptions it is meant that the/e were 
ministers of the early Congregational Church who — no doubt 
were inspired by personal experience of it — preached God's Love 
instead of His wrath. One of these public exceptions was the 
Rev. Robert Breck who committed a sin against orthodoxy — re- 
garded as being but little lower than a sin against Jehovah — by 
saying in a sermon preached in New London : 

What will become of the heathen who never heard of the Gospel I 
do not pretend to say, but I cannot but indulge the hope that God, in His 
boundless benevolence, will find out a way whereby those heathen, who 
act up to the light they have, may be saved. 

What could possibly be more sinful, than for a man, a minister, 
a Congregational minister, to hope that the heathen — who did 
not "own a covenant" and had never heard of the Puritans — 
would be saved ! It may seem like a significant fact, that when 
Timothy and Jonathan Edwards died, they were buried and no 
one has ever heard that they walked the earth after death and 


burial. When Solomon Stoddard, Robert Breck and the few 
other " public exceptions " died, they too were buried but their 
great, loving spirits — which caused them to hope God would save 
and not damn " those heathen, who act up to the light they have " 
— penetrated every nook and corner of New England until to-day 
every minister and member of the Congregational Church not 
only hopes that God will save the just heathen, but believes that 
He will. 

This horrible sin against orthodoxy soon was known all over 
New England. The fleetest and most loquacious busybody of 
the settlement was slow and dumb in comparison with the minis- 
terial news-mongers, whose infinitesimal souls actually glowed 
with a brilliancy as great as the fire-fly's (in holy anticipation 
of the ecclesiastical orgy about to begin) as they tattled or scrib- 
bled the news, that this stripling of twenty-two had actually dared 
to believe that God is what He says He is, instead of the jealous, 
revengeful Spirit of Wrath they in their pulpits declared Him 
to be. 

The advance of civilization and of education had deprived them 
of the gentle joy of burning a neighbor's wife at the stake as a 
witch, but the gladsome occupation of proving a great-hearted, 
God-and-man-loving Christian to be un-orthodox was still theirs. 
So the Rev. Robert Breck was tried. The news of Robert Breck's 
sin was sent to Springfield by the Rev. Mr. Williams, of Mans- 
field, Connecticut, in a letter in which he mentioned, that the 
Rev. Mr. Clap and the Rev. Mr. Kirtland were willing to testify 
to Mr. Breck's unfitness for the ministry. They even dug back 
into Mr. Breck's short life and found, that when a child of thir- 
teen — while he was a student in Harvard — he had stolen some 
books and also that he had called the Rev. Mr. Clap a liar. So 
long as Mr. Breck was orthodox, these childish sins were over- 
looked and probably never would have been mentioned. As soon 
as Mr. Breck had transgressed the laws of orthodoxy, they resur- 
rected his childish transgressions of the laws of God. 

The story of the " Breck Controversy " is little known. It 
possesses great historical value because it shows that the early 
Congregationalists were not so different from the Church of Eng- 
land. If Episcopalians sometimes forgot the founder of Chris- 
tianity, in their anxiety to observe the proper form and to wear 



Deacon Samuel Chapin was one of the " mighties " of Springfield in 1675. 


the correct vestments, Congregationalists also, sometimes, for- 
got Him in their anxiety to maintain their man-made dogmas. 

When the Rev. Robert Breck came to Springfield, in 1734, he 
was regarded with suspicion by the clergy. In August of that 
year he was called by the Springfield Church, and two months 
later the objections to his settlement were presented to the Hamp- 
shire Association at Suffield. As Mr. Breck's terms were not 
satisfactory to the Church the matter was dropped. It was taken 
up again, in November, when it was known that certain persons 
of prominence had obstructed his settlement. The Church asked 
for the advice of the ministers of the county. It found that six 
of the thirteen ministers were opposed to again calling him. The 
advice was not heeded and so Air. Breck returned to Springfield. 
In April, 1735, the Church formally requested the Association to 
state its objections to Mr. Breck and to suggest a remedy. In 
reply, the Association recommended that the matter should be re- 
ferred to the Association of Windham, Connecticut, or to a com- 
mittee of Hampshire ministers. The Church rejected the recom- 
mendations, as it did not care to migrate to settle the matter, 
nor was it willing to leave it to the Hampshire ministers as one 
of them, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Williams, of Longmeadow, was 
known to be prejudiced against Mr. Breck. From all this, and 
from w T hat followed, it is plain to be seen that the people of 
Springfield liked Mr. Breck and believed in his Christianity, and 
that Mr. Breck's fellow ministers feared his catholicity. 

The Church was willing to submit the case to the Hampshire 
ministers if Mr. Williams would withdraw from the committee, 
but he refused, and the Association supported him. Thus far, 
the Church had asked advice only from the Association. The 
Church had a right to call a council to try Mr. Breck with a 
view to his ordination. The Rev. Jonathan Edwards — the in- 
ventor of that unique pavement — claimed that the Association 
was the only proper judge in the matter, but his claim was seem- 
ingly not on Congregational authority. In the hope of improv- 
ing the conditions, Mr. Breck asked that ministers from out of 
the county might sit with the Association to try the case. Many 
members of the Association objected to this request, but the 
moderator, the Rev. William Williams, of Hatfield, did not object 
openly. Mr. Williams was something of a politician. He made 


the people of the Springfield Church believe that he favored Mr. 
Breck's request in regard to ministers from out the country, 
and at the same time, he was secretly doing all he could to 
prevent it. 

A joint letter was written to the Church by Mr. Williams, 
Samuel Hopkins, Jonathan Edwards, and N. Bull, dated Au- 
gust 14, evidently in Mr. Edwards' handwriting, in which they 

We account it preposterous for the Church of Springfield to call him or 
for him to accept a call to the ministry, till the matter objected to against 
him has been duly inquired into. * * * We hardly think any number 
of ministers will be found to serve the scheme of Springfield and Mr. 

In commenting upon this joint letter, Mr. John A. Green says, 
in his paper on the controversy : 

The right of Mr. Edwards to stigmatize a regular council to try a 
minister on definite charges, a " scheme " must be doubted, as must also 
be his Congregationalism, when a few days before he had said the Asso- 
ciation was the only proper judge of the case. According to history, a 
Congregational Church has exclusive control of its own affairs, and the 
association is an organization of ministers — not of Churches — for 
mutual benefit, having the privilege of fellowship, giving of advice and 
other things of that nature. 

October 8 was fixed upon for the ordination of Mr. Breck. 
The Rev. Messrs. Cooper, Welsteed, and Mather, of Boston, and 
Cook, of Sudbury, made the journey from Boston through the 
woods to be present at the ordination. They were coldly and 
somewhat discourteously received by the Hampshire ministers. 
The council consisted of the Rev. Messrs. Chauncey, of Hadley ; 
Devotion, of Suffield ; Rand, of Sunderland ; Cooper, Welsteed 
and Mather, of Boston ; and Cook, of Sudbury. They met in 
the morning of October 7, in the parsonage, with closed doors. 
The dissatisfied brethren of the Springfield Church presented 
their charges, but they refused to give proofs of the charges, on 
the ground that the council was illegal. The hostile ministers 
brought with them some Northampton justices. They were 
visited at the tavern, where they stopped, by the dissatisfied mem- 
bers of the Springfield Church and, as a result, many rumors 
were heard. 


When the Council met, the following morning, it demanded 
proofs of the charges, but they were again refused, and the in- 
formation was volunteered that the Rev. Messrs. Clap and Kirt- 
land, of Connecticut, Mr. Breck's chief accusers, were in the 
village. A verbal and written discussion followed, between the 
Council and Messrs. Clap and Kirtland, and finally they gave a 
written statement to the Council. Mr. Clap — afterward Presi- 
dent of Yale — read the charges and when Air. Breck started to 
answer them, he was not permitted to do so. 

" This secret chamber trial ", says Green the historian, " was 
indeed a memorable scene — seven wigged judges, two accusing 
wigs from another Colony, and the broad-shouldered, high-bred, 
generous-hearted boy minister, whose large inspirations had 
charmed a village congregation and given a shock to the Con- 
necticut River Calvinism ". 

A whispered conversation was held between Mr. Clap and a 
messenger from outside, and soon after an officer appeared and 
arrested Mr. Breck. When he was taken through the streets to 
the Townhouse, the people became greatly excited and threatened 
violence. It was prevented by the advice of the council. At the 
Townhouse, were Justices Stoddard, Dwight and Pumroy. Mr. 
Breck's enemies at first intended to arrest the Boston ministers, 
who were members of the council, but it was not done. The re- 
moval of Mr. Breck to the Townhouse had taken the trial away 
from the ordaining council and placed it in the hands of the 
justices. The Council objected to this on the ground, that the 
prisoner was not being tried upon another charge, but upon the 
same for which they were trying him. Mr. Breck was confined 
till the evening, when he was released upon the assurance of mem- 
bers of the council that he would be in attendance when wanted. 
In the afternoon of October 9, Mr. Breck's confession of faith 
was read to a crowd in front of the parsonage. It was accepted 
as an honest statement of belief and caused the outrage practiced 
upon the Church to be more keenly appreciated. 

At the Townhouse, the dissatisfied members had won and the 
justices signed the warrant for the removal of Mr. Breck to New 
London. When he was brought from the Townhouse in charge 
of a constable, the people were greatly excited. They accom- 
panied Mr. Breck through the village and for a considerable dis- 


tance on the road to New London. The people not connected 
with the Church came out strongly for Mr. Breck, whose broad 
Christianity and moral courage excited their admiration and 

"Again the council was called upon to check this popular in- 
dignation ", says Mr. Green, " and the following morning, Octo- 
ber 10, the Church undertook a private conference of prayer, but 
finally the doors of the meeting-house were thrown open, and a 
characteristic scene — a public meeting of humiliation before 
God — followed. This was Friday — a ' Black Friday ' of the 
olden time, caused by an attempted ' corner ' on Calvinism — and 
we have the simple chronicle that it was a ' large and weeping 
assembly ', which listened to ' a seasonable discourse '. The next 
morning — for in those days through prayer or something or 
other, people had a way of bringing things to pass — Mr. Breck 
returned from New London acquitted, and there were great 
felicitations among the people. The council, still in session, an- 
nounced Mr. Breck to be orthodox, but the ordination was post- 
poned. The case came up before the Legislature, which voted 
that the council was a regular one; although the justices had a 
right by law to inquire into the extraordinary facts charged 
against Mr. Breck, yet they ought not, by any means, to have in- 
terrupted that church and ecclesiastical council while it was, in 
the exercise of its rights, inquiring into the same." 

"Another and successful attempt at ordination occurred in 
January, 1736, the Rev. Mr. Cooper delivering the sermon. In 
April, Mr. Breck crowned his success by leading to the altar the 
daughter of his predecessor, and his strong and simple ways, his 
rugged manner of putting the essentials of religion and forget- 
ting the rest, soon disarmed his enemies, although they were 
slow in yielding. A month later, they (his enemies) petitioned 
the justices to compel the Church to settle an orthodox minister. 
* * * but the matter was never pressed. -Mr. Breck grew in 
strength, and during the forty-nine years of good preaching the 
Church grew with him, and he now lies with his congregation in 
the Springfield cemetery, having made a generous contribution 
toward liberal Christianity. It is a curious fact that the more 
serious charges of stealing books and prevarication were left in 
the background, the ministers claiming that their printed account 






of it, as given by Mr. Clap, was ' without one reflection on that 
particular ; we never made it an article against him ', which indi- 
cates how theological speculation may be carried on at the ex- 
pense of morals ". 

The fur-trade in the Connecticut Valley was the chief business 
and farming was the chief occupation of the people in the seven- 
teenth century. It was especially important at Springfield and 
Northampton which were centres for one of the greatest traders 
of the Connecticut Valley, John Pynchon, of Springfield. In 
Massachusetts the fur-trade with the Indians was regulated and 
controlled by the General Court which, in some years, imposed a 
small tax upon each pelt bought by the traders from the Indians, 
and in other years, licenses to trade for furs with the Indians 
were issued for which an annual payment was made. 

John Pynchon paid to the Colony £20 for the trade at Spring- 
field and Northampton while in other parts of Massachusetts £2, 
£5, £8 were the annual payments demanded. The difference 
probably shows the much larger amount of business done by 
John Pynchon. The chief sources of fur in New England were 
the Connecticut and Merrimack Rivers and the smaller rivers 
and streams flowing in to them. Pynchon controlled the trade 
with the Indians and often sold the privilege to others. He also 
sold to the white traders the goods and wampum required for 
trading with the Indians. The chief of these traders under 
Pynchon were : Thomas Cooper, of Springfield ; Joseph Parsons 
and David Wilton, of Northampton ; and Dr. John Westcarr, 
of Hadley. 

The most valuable of all pelts were those of the beaver, which 
were nearly all obtained from the Indians, who probably trapped 
them in the northern waters of the Connecticut and Merrimack 
Rivers. Moose were plentiful, deer were numerous and bears 
and wolves were not at all rare. The deer, bear and wolf skins 
were usually kept for domestic use, as were some of the moose, 
and the other varieties were sent abroad, usually to London. 

The prices paid for good beaver skins by the traders were, 
eight, ten, and eleven shillings a pound, according to the quality ; 
for wullaneags, three to four shillings ; for moose skins, from 
nine pence to one shilling a pound. Otter skins brought from 
eight to ten shillings each; musquashes (muskrats), from four 


to eight pence each. The prices were not Sterling, but were 
based upon the price of wheat per bushel in Springfield. 

Some idea of the importance of the fur-trade may be had 
from Pynchon's record of his first six years, from 1652 to 1657, 
inclusive, showing the number and kinds of pelts and the price 
they brought in London. . 

Beaver skins, 9434, weighing, 13802 pounds. 

Otter skins, 320. 

Muskrat skins, 148. 

Moose skins, II. 

Mink skins, 2. 

Beaver bags, 571. 

The total value in round numbers was $27,000. The beaver 
bags contained castor. 


THE Indian name for the territory covered by the City of 
Westfield was Warronoco, Woronoco, or Woronoak, ac- 
cording to different early writers, and was in the early 
days, before its permanent settlement, a part of Springfield. It 
was incorporated as a town in 1669, and when the matter of a 
name was being considered, Streamfield was at first talked of, 
because of its situation between the two rivers which were later 
called Westfield River and Little River. As Streamfield was not 
particularly popular. Westfield was decided upon for two reasons. 
The first was, that it was almost due west from Boston, the 
Colonial seat of government, and the other, that it was the west- 
ern-most settlement of the Colony. 

The exact year of its settlement is not known, but the Rev. 
Dr. Davis gives the time as being between the years 1658, and 
1660. In 1658, the Town of Springfield granted to Thomas 
Cooper a tract of land in Woronoco, on condition that he begin 
his improvements within a year from the date of the grant, and 
that he should keep the place up for a period of five years. In 
1660, Springfield granted land to Deacon Samuel Chapin un- 
der the same conditions, and in 1661, another grant was made 
to Captain Pynchon, Robert Ashley and George Colton, their 
grant lying on the upland meadows. So the settlers of Westfield 
were families from Springfield. 

But more than twenty years before this, there were individuals 
at Woronoco for the purpose of trading and hunting fur-bearing 
animals which were plentiful there. The Colonial records show, 
that in 1641, certain persons from Connecticut had wrongfully 
set up a trading-house at "' Woronock ". In 1647, ^ ie same 
records show that the General Court had designated Woronoco 
as a part of Springfield and also that all trading houses estab- 
lished in Woronoco shall contribute to the public charges. This 
shows conclusively that there were traders and hunters in West- 
field nearly twenty years before the first permanent settlement. 

On February 7, 1664, the Town of Springfield appointed Major 
Holyoke, Captain Pynchon, George Colton, and two men named 



Ely and Cooley, a standing committee to have charge of public 
matters in Woronoco, including grants of land and the admis- 
sion of new inhabitants. 

As has been said, the land was granted on condition that im- 
provements were begun within a year and that they were con- 
tinued for five years. At the expiration of the five years, the 
grants were confirmed to all whom had lived up to the require- 
ments. When the time came to make this confinnation it was 
found that a number of grantees had forfeited their grants 
through failure to live up to the requirements. Titles were con- 
firmed to the following: George and Isaac Phelps, Captain 
Cook, Mr. Cornish, Thomas D^wey, J. Noble, David Ashley, John 
Holyoke, John Ponder, and John Iugersoll. Their land was be- 
tween the two rivers near their junction. This was the first set- 
tled portion of the present city. In 1666, Benjamin Saxton was 
born, he being the first white child born in Westfield. He lived 
till 1754, dying at the age of eighty-eight. The first meetings 
conducted by the Rev. Mr. Holyoke for public worship, were 
held in 1667. In 1668, Aaron Cook, on behalf of the Town, 
petitioned the General Court for an additional grant of six square 
miles of territory. This grant was made on condition, that the 
people settle a minister within two years. A little later a peti- 
tion for incorporation was presented to the General Court. This 
petition to the General Court for incorporation was endorsed by 
a vote of the people of Springfield. It was not unusual for a Town 
to strongly oppose the cutting off of any of its territory for the 
formation of a new town, so Springfield's ready compliance with 
the wishes of the people of Woronoco carried weight with the 
General Court. On May 28, 1669, Westfield was set off and in- 
corporated as a separate town. The town was nine by four and 
a half miles in area, and sometime later additional territory was 
added, that included a considerable portion of what is now Rus- 
sell and Montgomery. 

Being a frontier town with no settlement between it and the 
Hudson River on the west and Canada to the north, Westfield 
was strongly fortified, with a palisade two miles in circuit, and 
a fort of logs built with a deep cellar, where the women and 
children could retire while the men were taking care of the 


By 1676, many families had settled on farms — or land which 
they were making into farms by clearing — so remote from the 
little hamlet within the palisade, that it was thought best to get 
the people together for the sake of safety in case of an Indian 
attack. For this purpose a plan was adopted and approved by 
the General Court, for bringing the people into a more compact 
settlement. The plan was, for those who owned lots within the 
limits of the hamlet, to divide their lots with those who lived on 
their farms at a distance. In compensation, those in the hamlet 
received two acres of out-lying land for each acre of land in the 
hamlet that was given up. In 1674, Samuel Loomis was ap- 
pointed ensign, and in 1676, John Modesley was appointed lieu- 
tenant in the local military company. It was in this year that 
such general fear was experienced in the settlements north of 
Springfield, on account of King Philip's War. The authorities 
in Boston had ordered the smaller and the out-lying settlements 
to be abandoned, and the people to go to the larger settlements 
for mutual protection against Indians. A few of the Towns ob- 
jected strongly to abandoning their homes, especially was this 
true in Westfield. As soldiers and ammunition could not be 
spared by the Colony for the defence of the smaller towns, they 
were obliged to protect themselves. No organized attack was 
made upon Westfield, but the people were subjected to frequent 
sneaking raids by individual Indians or bands of three or four. 
They would lie in wait, watching for a chance to make a dash 
into the settlement, and in the consequent confusion they would 
kill, if the opportunity offered, and burn houses and destroy prop- 
erty. The settlers, of course, would not know whether there were 
one or one hundred Indians, so terror and confusion on their 
part greatly helped the Indians. By the time the alarm had called 
the men in from the fields, the Indians would have accomplished 
their purpose and have fled. 

A young man named Dumbleton, from Springfield, was killed 
just after leaving the mill in Westfield; two brothers named 
Brooks, also of Springfield, were killed in Westfield while look- 
ing for signs of iron ore. On the same day, the Cornish home 
and the Sackett home and barn were burnt with all they con- 
tained and one of the settlers named Granger, was wounded by 
a bullet from an Indian's musket. On Sunday morning while 


3 IT 

the people were in Church, Indians burnt Ambrose Fowler's 
house and barn and in the following week, Walter Lee's barn 
was burnt. Two men returning from working in the fields at 
Pochassic had narrow escapes from Indians ; one through his 
quick wit and the other through his quick sight. The first was 
Mr. Phelps who, when he arrived at the ford of the Westfield 
River, saw three Indians and that they saw him. Mr. Phelps 
made it appear that that he was hunting for them and, clan- 


The lower wall is the armory; the upper is the dam forming the pond from which 

the power was obtained. 

ping his hands, shouted to an imaginary force in the brush to 
come on and capture them. The other was Noah Ashley. Meet- 
ing an Indian near the Bancroft place, he leveled his gun at the 
same time the Indian did, but Mr. Ashley fired first. The In- 
dian was followed for some considerable distance by his blood 
and then the trail was suddenly lost. A daughter of Mr. Sackett's 
second wife was captured by Indians from New York and was 
taken to the western part of that state. She married one of the 
braves and became one of the tribe. It is, of course, utterly 


impossible to begin to imagine the strain all this was upon the 
men, or the agony of mind it was to the women. Battle was 
bad enough, but each man had a chance in a fight. In battle, 
death was expected and should a husband or son be brought 
home dead, the wife or mother knew that he gave a good account 
of himself before being laid low and that the precious life was 
given for the safety of the community. But this other fiendish 
work of the Indians in sneaking up behind a man while he was 
at work and murdering him, was heart-breaking and the women 
were kept on the rack all day, never knowing till the men re- 
turned from the field at night whether another loved one had been 
murdered. It was the suspense that was so hard to bear. The 
men, but especially the women, of Westfield deserve a monument 
to their splendid moral courage in refusing to abandon their 
homes when the General Court had ordered it. So many other 
settlers were obeying the order, rather hurriedly, the courage 
of the people of Westfield in remaining to protect their homes 
is the more notable. 

In the French War was Dr. Israel Ashley, who was surgeon 
of a regiment. Dr. Ashley was a son of the first settler of that 
name. He was a graduate of Yale in the class of 1731, and was 
highly esteemed as a physician and surgeon. He died in the war 
at Stillwater. Eager Xoble was also in the French War, en- 
listing while but a youth. General William Shepard, son of 
Deacon John Shepard, served as a soldier at different times 
through a period of thirty-three years and took part in two wars, 
from their beginning to their end. The Shepard family settled 
in Westfield in 1700, and William was born in 1737. At the 
beginning of the French and Indian War, when he was but 
seventeen, he enlisted as a private and three years later, he was 
a lieutenant in Abercrombie's army. At the age of twenty-two 
he was captain of a company in General Amherst's army. After 
six years of hard service, he having taken part in all of the 
principal battles, the war coming to an end. he returned to his 
farm in Westfield and gave it his most intelligent and energetic 
attention. When the war with Great Britain became a fact, 
Captain Shepard joined Washington in Roxbury and was com- 
missioned a lieutenant-colonel. His Revolutionary record was 
of the best and cleanest. In 1780, he received a commission as 


general and was assigned to the division of the army that was 
under the command of LaFayette, and he was with it till peace 
was declared. In the twenty-two battles in which he took part, 
he proved his sound judgment and earned a reputation for fine 
bravery and courage. As an officer, he was kind and sympathetic 
and so won the deep respect and admiration of the rank and file 
under him. 

General Shepard joined the army at the early age of seventeen 
and between wars worked hard on his farm, so his " schooling " 
was rather brief. Notwithstanding this handicap, he was pos- 
sessed of so great native intelligence, his intuition was so ac- 
curate and his judgment so sound, that probably no one was 
aware of his lack of education except himself. Although he 
was not a brilliant man nor an orator, still, he was continued in 
the public service of his town, county, state and country for many 
years. One of his strongest characteristics was an inherent 
honesty that made him great, and while he filled offices that had 
made other men of less scrupulousness rich, General Shepard lived 
and died a poor man. 

After the war with Great Britain he was elected a member of 
Assembly, State Senator ; a member of the State Executive Coun- 
cil ; was sent to Congress repeatedly and was a Presidential Elector 
twice. He was a Commissioner of the State and of the United 
States, in the negotiations with the Penobscott Indians, and with 
the Six Nations. In all of his public offices, military and civil, 
William Shepard was an example of simple honesty, devotion 
to duty and successful effort. While Westfield may claim him 
with pride as her most illustrious son, the Nation claims him 
as one of its finest citizens. 

After the Revolution the lack of money and consequent hard 
times was an excuse for some men, who were the opposite of 
General Shepard, to stir up riots. In 1787, these riots culminated 
in a brief rebellion that was led by Daniel Shays, of Pelham, 
who had been an officer in the Revolution. Shays' purpose was 
to capture the United States Armory in Springfield and General 
Lincoln had been ordered to march from Roxbury to oppose him. 
In the meantime, General Shepard had been ordered to take pos- 
session of the Government Post at Springfield. When Shays 
attempted to take the post he- had about 1,500 men and General 


Shepard had 1,100. General Shepard's determination routed 
Shays' rabble and his humanity saved great loss of life, for he 
refrained from shooting till he saw that further forbearance was 

Besides General Shepard, Westfield had other sons in the Revo- 
lution. When " that shot which was heard around the world " 
was fired at Lexington, Captain Warham Parks, Lieutenant John 
Shepard, Ensign Richard Falley and seventy men immediately 
started for Boston and Adjutant Russell Dewey served through- 
out the war, except for a brief period when he was ill. Captain 
Parks was promoted to a captaincy. 

There was no more ardent patriot in New England than 
Richard Falley. The family originated on the Island of Guernsey 
and the name was originally spelled Faille. The first American 
ancestor was Richard Falley who was kidnapped from his home 
in Guernsey and taken to Nova Scotia. From there he went 
to the then " District of Maine " and married Ann Lamb, and 
sometime before 1756, they moved to Westfield. Richard Falley, 
Jr.. the soldier of the Revolution, was born in George's River, 
Maine, on January 31, 1740. His courage and patriotism, for 
which he was notable, was shown early in life. When but 
sixteen years old he enlisted in the Provincial army. At the 
surrender of Fort Edward he was captured by Indians and taken 
to Montreal by a Chief, who adopted him into the Tribe. Some- 
time later, he was ransomed by a lady, the price paid being six- 
teen gallons of rum. After his ransom, Richard immediately 
returned to Westfield. 

After the battle of Lexington, he went with Captain Park's 
company to Roxbury, as ensign of that company, and in the 
Battle of Bunker Hill he commanded a company. His fourteen- 
year-old son, Frederick, was with his father at Bunker Hill in the 
capacity of drummer. The little fellow possessed his father's 
patriotic spirit and as the only thing he could do in that historic 
fight was to drum, drum he did so long as the fight lasted. The 
little drummer later became a major. In the Revolution Mr. 
Falley made guns for the Patriot army in Montgomery, Massa- 
chusetts. The site of the armory was a deep glen through which 
a small stream ran, at the foot of Mt. Tekoa. This place was 
chosen because its seclusion made it nearly impossible for the 
British to know anything about it. Mr. Falley 's house — still 


standing and occupied by Mr. J. J. La Valley, the Springfield 
artist, as a summer home — was situated on a tiny plateau jutting 
out from the foot of Mt. Tekoa. His workmen lived at Pochassic 
on the flats along the Westfield River, in the town of Westfield. 
Richard Falley died on September 3, 1808, and was buried in West- 
field. Richard Falley, Jr., was the maternal grandfather of the 
Hon. Grover Cleveland, formerly president of the United States. 

As has been mentioned, the Rev. John Holyoke, of Springfield, 
conducted the first religious services in Woronoco for a few 
months in 1767, when he gave up the ministry and was succeeded 
by the Rev. Moses Fiske, who preached as a candidate from 
1668 to 1671. 

The first settled minister of Westfield was the Rev. Edward 
Taylor, who was the minister till his death. In 1674, Mr. Taylor 
married Elizabeth Fitch, a daughter of the Rev. James Fitch 
who had trouble with the Saybrook Church, and removing with 
his adherents to the Thames River, became one of the founders 
of Norwich, Connecticut. One of the daughters of that union 
became the mother of President Stiles, of Yale College. Mr. 
Taylor died on June 24, 1728, in the eighty-seventh year of his 
age and the fiftieth of his pastorate. 

The next minister was the Rev. Nehemiah Bull, a graduate 
of Yale in the class of 1723, who was ordained in 1726, two years 
before the death of Mr. Taylor, whose health was failing. Mr. 
Bull was principal of a grammar school in Westfield. His pas- 
torate continued for fourteen years and ended with his death 
in 1740. The Rev. John Ballentine, a graduate of Harvard, suc- 
ceeded Mr. Bull in 1741, and he was succeeded by the Rev. Noah 
Atwater of Hampden, Connecticut, a graduate of Yale in the 
class of 1774. Mr. Atwater was ordained in 1781, and was the 
minister for nineteen years. He died in 1802. 

In 1796, the Westfield Academy was incorporated and in 
January, 1800, it was opened for work with General Shepard 
chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Town appropriated 
$2,000 toward its endowment and in 1797, the citizens of West- 
field subscribed about $1,000 more to be added to the Town's 
appropriation. The Legislature granted one half of a township 
in Maine to the Academy which was converted into money for 
the school. The building cost $5,000 and Peter Starr was its 
first principal. 


A PETITION to the General Court was presented in May, 
1653, for permission to settle and form a town, on land 
owned by the Indians and called by them Nonotuck. This 
petition was signed by twenty-four men and was endorsed by a 
petition from John Pynchon, Elizur Holyoke and Samuel Chapin, 
— the "three mighties " of Springfield — in which they urged 
the granting of the other petition, as the site for the proposed 
settlement was admirable and the proposed settlers well provided 
in spirit and estate for the enterprise. The equal of these three 
men has seldom if ever been found in any century or generation 
in Massachusetts, and the General Court showed that it considered 
their approval of the settlement sufficient, for the petition was 
granted a few days after it had been received, and the " three 
mighties " were appointed a commission to survey the land at 
Nonotuck, which later became Northampton. 

On September 2, 1653, the land was purchased from the Indian 
chiefs, Wawhillowa, Nenessahalant and Nassachohee, for the 
usual composite consideration of wampum, clothing and various 
articles, much valued by the Indians, which may best be described 
as knickknacks. The territory purchased included the present 
Towns of North- South- East- and Westhampton, about 100 
square miles. 

On October 3, 1653, the proprietors held their first meeting, 
in Springfield, and agreed that any proprietor who had failed to 
effect a permanent settlement with his family, by the following 
spring, should forfeit his land. This meeting was attended by 
ten of the petitioners and ten other persons who had joined them. 
Of the twenty-four petitioners, William Clark, Edward Elmore, 
Robert Bartlett, William Holton, William Janes, William Miller, 
Thomas Root and John Webb, were the only ones to settle in 

Another meeting of the proprietors was held on November 15, 
1653, when it was determined that the first twenty families to 
settle there, in the spring of 1654, should have forty acres, each 




family, of the meadow land, and that no land conld be sold or 
leased till after four years of residence, unless the Town voted 
to grant permission for such sale, or lease. Their desire was 
for a permanent settlement and the elimination of land specula- 
tion. It was also provided, that any property owner who left 
the settlement permanently before the expiration of four years, 
should forfeit his land. 

Although the actual settlement did not take place till 1654, 
tradition says, that a family built a house near and to the east 


of what is now Hawley street, in 1652, and that the family lived 
there during the winter of 1652, and '53. So Nonotuck was 
settled and Northampton incorporated in 1654. The different 
ways in which Nonotuck is spelled in old records, old letters 
and old books are confusing. Some of them are ; Nolwottoge, 
Nalwottoge, Norwottocke. The meaning is not actually known, 
but it is supposed to convey the idea, that it is a place in the midst 
of a river. Both Hadley and Northampton are so situated, for 
Hadley is bounded by the river on the north, west and south ; and 
Northampton, on the north, east and south, because of two great 


bends in the Connecticut where Hadley and Northampton are 
situated. As Nonotuck was applied to both places by the In- 
dians, this definition is at least a good one, if not the right one. 
Among the settlers whose names have been continued for the 
250 years since the settlement, were Samuel Allen, James Bridge- 
man, Robert Bartlett, Thomas Bascom, David Burt, Alexander 
Edwards, William Hannum, William Hulbert, John Lyman, 
Richard Lyman, John King, Nathaniel Phelps, Joseph Parsons, 
Thomas Root, William Miller, Samuel Wright, Isaac Sheldon, 
and John Stebbins, all of whom had made a settlement before 
1659. From 1658, to '62, Alexander Alvord, Edward Baker, 
William Clark, Aaron Cook, Jonathan Hunt, Enos Kingsley, ' 
Eleazer Mather, Medad Pomeroy, John Strong, John Searl and 
John Taylor. After 1662, Preserved Clapp, Robert Danks, 
Samuel Judd, Thomas Judd, Caleb Pomeroy, Israel Rust and 
Solomon Stoddard, settled in Northampton. 

The oldest portion of Northampton is the territory bounded 
by Market, Hawley, Pleasant and King streets. Up to 1658, all 
but six of the thirty-eight families had built their homes on those 
streets. As the number of inhabitants increased, homes were built 
in the vicinity of Main and West streets and across Mill River, 
in the vicinity of the northern end of South street, and a little 
later, a few homes were built down South street, near the clay- 

Nonotuck was rather thickly populated by Indians — up to 
the time of King Philip's War in 1675 — but they lived in peace 
with the English. Notwithstanding this fact, the inhabitants 
of Northampton felt that it was necessary for the English to 
have possession of the fertile meadow lands on both sides of the 
Connecticut River, because of their fertility, and because a settle- 
ment on both sides of the river would add greatly to the general 
safety in case of an Indian uprising. In order that this might 
be accomplished, they sold to the people of Hartford and Wethers- 
field who were in the midst of a Church war, in October, 1658, 
the meadow called Capawonk, which was the Indian name for 
Hatfield. This meadow contained nearly 1,000 acres. The money 
part of the price was merely nominal, being but £10, to be paid 
in wheat and pease ; the other part was of great value and im- 
portance to the Northampton people. It was, that the purchasers 



should effect settlements on both sides of the river and maintain 
them for seven years. The whole settlement was first called 
Newtown, but when it was incorporated in 1661, the portion of 
the settlement on the east side of the river became Hadley, and 
in 1670 that on the west side became Hatfield. 

When the war with Philip began, in 1675, Northampton es- 
tablished a small guard and in the next year it consisted of 
fifty men. In 1677, the meeting-house was fortified, and in 1690, 
the village was surrounded by palisades. In the French and 


Indian War of 1745, the log towers, called "mounds" were 
built, and the village was divided into fourteen sections in each 
of which one house was fortified as a place of safety for the 
women and children in case of attack. 

Northampton's first minister was the Rev. Eleazer Mather. He 
was a son of Richard Mather and was born in Dorchester, Massa- 
chusetts, on May 13, 1637. He was graduated at Harvard, in 
1656, and began to preach in Northampton in 1658. The meet- 
iDg-house had been built three years before, but Mr. Mather was 


not ordained till die Church was organized, on June 18, 1661. 
His wife was Esther Warham, daughter of the Rev. John War- 
ham, the first minister of Windsor, Connecticut. Mr. Mather 
died July 24, 1669, and his widow married the Rev. Solomon 
Stoddard, his successor. 


The Rev. Solomon Stoddard was possessed of so great a spirit 
aod so great a mind ; whose power of loving was so simple and 
profound; that he was one of the few ministers — or for that 
matter men — of very early times who lived in the Love of the 
Lord instead of the Fear of Him. His life, his example and 
his teaching have made Northampton famous for more than two 
centuries, for its broad-minded, catholic spirit in denominational 
matters. Not that the people of Northampton were, or are un- 
faithful to their individual Churches or Creeds, but rather, that 
they recognize the Christian Church is E pluribus unuiu. 

The Rev. Solomon Stoddard was ordained as the minister of 
the Church in Northampton, on September 11, 1672, bv the Rev. 
John Whiting, minister of the Second Church of Hartford and 
John Strong, Ruling Elder of the Northampton Church. Mr. 
Stoddard was known all over New England, and was held in high 
esteem. His power over his auditors was great and some of the 
most notable revivals of his time were the result of his strong, 
earnest preaching. No better idea of Mr. Stoddard and his liberal 
views may be had, at a time when liberality was not popular in 
New England, than from the article by the Rev. Dr. George Leon 
Walker on : " Jonathan Edwards and the Half-way Covenant ". 

On November 5, 1672, two months after Mr. Stoddard's settle- 
ment, he put on record, as was customary, the different forms of 
covenant to be used in admitting members to the different privi- 
leges of the Church. One of them was a form to be used in ad- 
mitting members into a state of education, and was known as The 
Half-way Covenant ; the other was for the admission of members 
into full communion. 

Prof. Alexander Johnston defines the Half-way Covenant as 
declaring, that baptized infants were bound to own the covenant 
and become church members, upon arriving at years of discretion 


3 2 i 

and that the Church was bound to accept them, if they were not 
of scandalous life and understood the grounds of religion; and 
that the Church was bound to baptize their children. 

The full Covenant, if it may be so called, required Godliness, 
sanctification, personal experience of religion, as qualifications for 
full membership and partaking of the Lord's Supper. 

The early Congregational Church, it seems, believed that the 
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was a sort of religious luxury 
for sanctified members of that Church, until the Half-way Cove- 


The old portion to the right was a famous school for boys kept by George Bancroft 
and John Cogswell early in eighteen hundred. 

nant was presented, when a considerable portion of the Congre- 
gational Church believed, as did Mr. Stoddard, that " The Lord's 
Supper is Instituted to be a means of Regeneration ". In other 
words, that this Sacrament was a source of spiritual courage, 
strength and help for such sinners as had repented of their sins 
and truly wished to get rid of them. 

Mr. Stoddard preached to his people on this subject : " That 
Sanctification is not a necessary qualification for the Lord's Sup- 
per " and that " the Lord's Supper is a converting ordinance ". 



Mr. Stoddard's view, of course, broke down and obliterated the 
line of distinction between those who had only " owned the 
covenant " and those who, according to the general New England 
usage and the very express rules of the Northampton Church, had 
been admitted to complete membership. 

Mr. Stoddard continued in the Northampton pastorate twenty- 
nine years after the first public proclamation of his views on this 
subject, and twenty years after his reply to Increase Mather's 
allegation of " Strange Doctrine " against him ; time enough, as 
it proved for his views on this subject of the converting char- 
acter of the Lord's Supper and the uselessness of any distinction 
between the half-way covenant and the full communion member- 
ship, to thoroughly penetrate and take possession of his con- 

As it proved also, the same view, based largely on the great authority 
of Mr. Stoddard's name, extended to some other Churches in the vicinity, 
and at the period with which we are dealing it is quite proper to speak 
of it as the Northampton peculiarity; originating with the Northampton 
pastor and extending by reason of his influence to a few Churches around. 

The successor to the Rev. Solomon Stoddard was his grandson, 
the Rev. Jonathan Edwards. He was ordained on February 22, 
1726-7. The last trembling entry in the Church record made by 
his venerable and honored grandfather, Mr. Stoddard, was in re- 
gard to his grandson's ordination. 

Jonathan Edwards continued the same policy in regard to the 
requirements for full membership in the Church, that had been 
his grandfather's for many years. 

The doubtfulness of the propriety of admitting members into the Church 
who made no pretence to real Godliness, gradually increased upon Mr. 
Edwards, till he came to the conclusion that he could not with an easy 
conscience, be active in admitting any more members in the former man- 
ner (his grandfather's) without better satisfaction. 

It is a significant token of the dead spiritual condition of things after 
what is called "the great awakening" in New England, from 1735 to 
1743, that Mr. Edwards had to wait several years, after arriving at the 
aforementioned conclusion before any one applied for membership in the 
Church, upon whom the new test could be made. In December, 1748, a 
young man applied and in February, 1749, a young woman, applied. Mr. 
Edwards stated to them both, his new views concerning the qualifications 
for communicants, i. e. a personal experience of religion. They both de- 


clined. The young man, because he could not come up to the standard ; 
the young woman, because though she was ready to testify to such religi- 
ous experience, she was afraid, by what she had heard, that there would 
be a tumult, if she came into the Church in that way. 

Her reason for not joining Mr. Edwards' Church seems to show 
that the liberal spirit of their former minister, Mr. Stoddard, had 
taken firm hold upon the people. 

The announcement of the pastor's stand, that personal piety was a neces- 
sary prerequisite to complete membership in the Church and to sacra- 
mental privileges, threw the town in an uproar. The Church and the 
minister entered upon a futile and harassing series of attempts to find a 
common standing ground. The Church voted, overwhelmingly, that it 
would not hear the minister's arguments. 

As he could not gain a hearing he tried to reach the people 
through a pamphlet, but even that the people would not have and 
Mr. Edwards complained, " that only twenty copies were brought 
to Northampton, and even those were not read ". On June 22, 
1750, after twenty-three years spent as minister of the Church, 
Jonathan Edwards was dismissed and the dismissing body warned 
him " to take proper notice of the heavy frown of Divine Provi- 
dence in suffering the church and its minister to be reduced to 
such a state as to render a separation necessary ". 

Jonathan Edwards was a great man in his day, and a profound 
thinker. His great ability was known and confessed in Great 
Britain. This meant much, for the great men of Great Britain 
were little apt to acknowledge greatness in a Colonial. But, not- 
withstanding his undoubted greatness, from an intellectual stand- 
point, the life of Mr. Edwards and the seemingly unnecessary 
religious controversy which he started, suggests the idea that he 
was conceited and self-centered, and ambitious. 

As the successor of his grandfather and minister of the North- 
ampton Church, Mr. Edwards was merely one of many brilliant 
ministers. This was hardly satisfactory to a man of his make up. 
After following in the footsteps of his fine, great-hearted grand- 
father for many years, he finally discovered his own greatness, 
but no one else seemed to be aware of it — in just the way that 
he was — so, in order that he might impress his greatness upon 
his grandfather's people, he practically stamped his grandfather 
as being an ecclesiastical ignoramus and started a new system of 

3 2 4 


salvation of his own. And if, as tradition tells us, he ever uttered 
the sentiment ; " Hell is paved with infants' skulls " ; he stamped 
himself as being the prince of egotists, for the Master whom he 
professed to serve had, centuries before, declared that ; " Of such 
is the Kingdom of Heaven ". 

This view of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards is suggested by his 
life and acts. He may have been a Christian, who was possessed 
of as great humility and earnest faithfulness as his grandfather, 
the Rev. Solomon Stoddard, but if he was, he possessed undoubted 

ability in concealing 
that fact. He was, 
however, from a purely 
intellectual standpoint, 
one of the greatest 
divines of the early 
Congregational Church. 
William Edwards was 
the first American an- 
cestor of that family. 
He was in Hartford 
for the first four or five 
years after its settlement 
and married the widow 
of William Spencer of 
that place. One child, 
Richard, was born in 
1647, an d there were 
three step-children. 

Richard Edwards be- 
came a prominent citi- 
zen of Hartford. He was twice married and was the father of 
twelve children. The first child was Timothy, who was born in 
1669. Timothy prepared for Harvard College and was graduated 
with honors, in the class of 1691. Three years later, he married 
Esther Stoddard, of Northampton, and went to East Windsor 
(then called Windsor Farms) where he was minister of the 
Church for sixty-three years. Jonathan, who became the pro- 
found thinker and ecclesiastical agitator, was born in East Wind- 



3 2 5 

sor on October 5, 1703. He, with several other boys, was fitted 
for Yale by his father. Some idea of the profound scholarship 
required in those days for a College degree may be had when it 
is known that Jonathan was graduated from Yale just before he 
was seventeen years old, so, if the course was four years, he 
passed his entrance examinations just before he was thirteen. 

Mr. Edwards remained in New Haven for two years after being 
graduated, occupying his time with several studies, some of them 
being preliminary to the ministry. When but nineteen, in 1772, 


he was asked to supply the pulpit in a Presbyterian Church in 
New York, where he remained for nine months. This congre- 
gation was composed of a portion of the First Presbyterian 
Church which was dissatisfied with the minister, and so with- 
drew to a small building on William street, between Wall and 
Liberty streets. 

While in New York, Mr. Edwards received a call from the 
Church of Bolton, Connecticut, a hill-town about fifteen miles east 
of Hartford. This was most pleasing to his parents and sisters, 
who lived in East Windsor, and seemingly so to young Edwards, 



for being so near, he could frequently see them. Air. Edwards 
accepted the call on November n, 1723, but although the Church 
kept the place open for two years, he never went there. The 
reason was, that at the time of his acceptance he was appointed as 
a tutor in Yale College. As the head of the College, Rector Tim- 
othy Cutler, and one of the tutors, had become Episcopalians, Mr. 
Edwards was persuaded that it was his duty to accept the tutor- 
ship as a sort of counter-irritant to the contagion of Episcopacy, 
which the Orthodox Church (meaning the only right Church) 

regarded with consterna- 
tion. As has already been 
said, Mr. Edwards became 
the minister of the North- 
ampton Church in 1727. 

While in Yale Mr. Ed- 
wards became acquainted 
with the girl who later be- 
came his wife, as have so 
many Yale men of later 
generations. Sarah Pier- 
pont was but thirteen years 
old when the young student 
fell in love with her. In a 
written description of her 
he says ; " She is pos- 
sessed of wonderful sweet- 
ness, calmness, and uni- 
versal benevolence of mind. 
She will sometimes go 
about from place to place singing sweetly, and seems to be always 
full of joy and pleasure, and no one knows for what. She loves 
to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have 
some one invisible always conversing with her ". 

Evidently, a precocious and somewhat uncanny young person, 
but she captured Jonathan Edwards' affections and they were 
married after he had been installed in Northampton. 

Jonathan Edwards was honestly possessed of his characteristics 
for his father, the Rev. Timothy Edwards, minister of the East 
Windsor Church, was a man of great will and stubbornness; so 



great, that he was willing to see the Church disrupted and Chris- 
tianity smirched, rather than yield his point or his self-constituted 
absolute authority. They were both, from an intellectual stand- 
point, great divines, probably the greatest of their day in America, 
with few, if any superiors in the Old Country, but both were pos- 
sessed of what may be described as intellectual vanity and pride 
of ecclesiastical power, that governed all their acts as ministers. 
Neither was content to be " the first among equals ". Had they 
been born Romanists instead of Protestants, nothing less than the 
Pontifical Chair or the Generalship of the Company of Jesus 
would have satisfied their ecclesiastical ambition. The elder Ed- 
wards showed these characteristics in the historical " Joseph Dig- 
gins' case ", in the East Windsor Church. 

The Rev. John Hooker was the fourth minister. He was a 
descendant of the great preacher, the Rev. Thomas Hooker, Hart- 
ford's first minister. He was settled in 1754. Mr. Hooker was 
born in Farmington and was a graduate of Yale, in the class of 
1 75 1. His death occurred in the twenty-third year of his pas- 
torate and the forty-eighth of his age, on February 6, 1777. 

The Rev. Solomon Williams was ordained as the fifth minister 
of Northampton on June 4, 1778, eight years after being gradu- 
ated at Yale. He died at the age of eighty-two, after fifty-six 
years as minister of the Church, on November 9, 1834. Mr. 
Williams married Mary Hooker, daughter of his predecessor, the 
Rev. John Hooker, in 1779. 


THE territory comprising the Town of Easthampton was 
purchased from the Indians by John Pynchon, of Spring- 
field, in 1653, and was a part of Northampton till its in- 
corporation in 1809. Before that year, Easthampton possessed the 
privileges of a town, except that the people were obliged to vote 
in Northampton and were not represented at the General Court, 
individually, the representative of Northampton being their rep- 

An interesting item of the purchase price paid by John Pyn- 
chon was the plowing of sixteen acres of land in Hadley. The 
Indians, no doubt, considered this the most valuable part of the 
purchase price. It may be easily understood, that the turning up 


of sixteen acres with the primitive implements possessed by the 
Indians, or, even with spades, was slow and tedious and not nearly 
so good, from a crop standpoint, as the deeper work that would 
be done with a plow. While the Indians relinquished a vast ter- 
ritory for 600 feet of wampum, ten coats and the plowing, they 
were well paid, notwithstanding the fact that there are some 
Quixotically sentimental writers who persist in stating that the 
English robbed the Indians in all real estate transactions. Be- 
sides the price paid for the land, the Indians retained the right 
to hunt and fish where they liked, and to live and cultivate, under 
certain reasonable restrictions. The right to make improvements 
and profit by those improvements in the future, was about all the 
Indians sold of their rights. The right to improve was something 
upon which they set no value ; something they would not have 
taken advantage of had they known they possessed it. 

Easthampton was a favorite locality with the Indians. The 
situation of Nashawannuck, as they called the territory, met with 
their requirements for a village. The rivers, lowlands and sur- 
rounding hills and mountains, provided all the fish and game and 
fur-bearing animals they could possibly require. So, although 
they sold the land, they did not deprive themselves of the shad 
and salmon, which were plentiful in the Manhan River, or the 
deer, bear, beaver, and other fur-bearing animals. 

The first settlement was at Pascommuck, near the foot of Mt. 
Tom, where John Webb built a log house some time before 1670, 
the year in which he died. Up to the war with King Phillip, in 
1675, the Indians had lived peaceably near the white settlers. In 
that year, they all left to join Phillip and as they never returned, 
it is probable that the majority of them were killed. The first 
building erected upon the site of the present village of East- 
hampton was a sawmill, about 1674, and in 1686, or 1687, Samuel 
Bartlett built a gristmill, on the * Manhan near the falls. There 
seems to be little or no definite information in regard to the year 
the first dwelling was built in this part of Easthampton. This 
mill and the surrounding land was given to Joseph Bartlett by his 
father Samuel, in 1705. It may be, that the reason there was no 
permanent settlement sooner was due to a fear of trouble with 
the French and their Indian friends. However that may be, the 

* The Indian word was Munhan, the island made at the "Ox Bow" of 
the Connecticut at Mt. Tom. 



people did not go there to make a settlement, for some reason, 
till about 1725. Joseph Bartlett, and Jonathan Clapp and his 
nephew, lived there in 1725, and when Bartlett died in 1755, he 
divided his property between his brothers and the Clapps, as he 
had no children. The greater part of it was given to the Clapps, 
who were relatives. This Joseph Bartlett was the principal man 
of the place, as well as the first permanent settler in that portion 
of the town that is now Easthampton village. He kept the first 
tavern, for which he was given a license in 1727, and continued to 


keep it up to his death, eighteen years later. He seems to have 
been the first person to give money toward the building of a 
church. The property which he willed to his brothers was given 
with the agreement, that they should pay £4 8s I id to the Church 
that first held public worship and administered the Sacraments. 
Up to the building of the first church, religious services were held 
in Bartlett's tavern. About 1726, there were two or three fam- 
ilies by the name of Wait, who settled in Easthampton, but later, 
they moved elsewhere. David Bartlett, a brother of Joseph, built 
a house there. In the Revolution, Colonel Horsford died from 


small pox in David's house, he having been carried there from 
Northampton. The Rev. John Hooper, who succeeded Jonathan 
Edwards in Northampton, also died of small pox in this house, 
soon after the death of Colonel Horsford. 

In 1744, Benjamin Lyman and Deacon Stephen Wright moved 
to Easthampton, Deacon Wright's house being in the limits of 
Southampton when that town was organized. Both of these men 
had sons who were in the fight near Lake George, on September 
8, I 755- Lemuel Lyman was but nineteen years old at the time. 
His bullet pouch saved his life for the bullet that struck it did 
not enter his body. This pouch is still in the possession of mem- 
bers of his family. There is a tradition, that the enemy coated 
their bullets with poison, so it was only necessary for a bullet to 
break the skin to cause death. Lieutenant Asahel Clark, of East- 
hampton, also took part in the fighting of that day, he being in the 
fort near Lake George, where the enemy was repulsed. He was 
also in the attack upon Ticonderoga three years later, when the 
British were defeated. 

Although the settlement of that portion of the town, now occu- 
pied by the village, was delayed for so many years, there was a 
small settlement in that portion known as Pascommuck, at the 
foot of Alt. Tom (Barber spells this word, Paskhomuck), where 
John Webb built the first house. In 1700, Moses Hutchinson, 
John Searl, Benoni Jones, Samuel Janes and Benjamin Janes, 
settled there with their families. On May 24, 1704, this little 
hamlet was destroyed by Indians and nearly every person being 
killed or taken captive. The Indians were on the verge of starva- 
tion, but why, does not seem clear. At any rate they had been 
over to the Merrimac River in the hope of finding game or fish^ 
but with no success. On their return westward, they expected to 
with no success. On their return westward, they expected to 
go to Westfield, but all the rivers were over their banks, the floods 
of that spring being the greatest known up to that year, so they 
could not cross the Westfield River. Several of the Indians in 
the band knew of the little settlement at Pascommuck. These 
suggested that they could probably obtain food there. The even- 
ing before the attack, all of the Indians ascended Mount Tom to 
get a view of the hamlet. They found the land almost entirely 
covered by the flood and the little hamlet so situated that no as- 


sistance could be given from Northampton because of the water. 
The inhabitants seem to have been particularly careless in regard 
to protecting themselves from attack. The only thing resembling 
a fort, or place of refuge, was the house of Benoni Jones, which 
was surrounded with a low palisade. This the Indians burnt 
down, and when Patience Webb, aroused by the noise and flames, 
looked out of the window, they shot her through the head. A 
weak attempt at defence was made and finally all were killed 
except Benjamin Janes and a few of the youths who were re- 
served to be taken to Canada. Janes escaped by running down 
to where he had a canoe hidden, in which he paddled to North- 
ampton and gave the alarm. 

Captain John Taylor and a troop of cavalry immediately started 
in pursuit. They caught up with the Indians on the way to West- 
field, not far from Mt. Tom. As soon as the Indians knew they 
were being pursued they tomahawked all the youths whom thev 
had saved for captives, except one, but were not able to scalp all 
of them as the soldiers were too near. This one exception was 
Elisha Searl, whose quick wit prompted him to grab up one of the 
Indians' packs and run with them to show that he would be no 
hindrance to them. Captain Taylor was killed by the first fire 
of the Indians. They made their escape over Pomeroy Mountain, 
where they tomahawked and scalped Mrs. Benjamin Janes, leav- 
ing her, as they supposed, dead. She was found by the pursuers 
and as there was still life, they carried her to Northampton where 
she finally recovered and lived to the age of eighty. It was her 
husband who escaped by the canoe to give the alarm. They later 
moved to Coventry, Connecticut, where he was deacon of the 
Church for many years. Mrs. John Searl survived a murderous 
blow from a tomahawk, although she was in a somewhat critical 
condition at the time. Four months later, she gave birth to a 
daughter. Mrs. Moses Hutchinson managed to escape before 
they had gone far. 

Elisha Searl, the son of Mrs. Searl who recovered from the 
tomahawking — the youth whose quick wit saved his life, had a 
somewhat romantic experience. He was taken to Canada and 
being kindly treated he became fond of die French and the free, 
unhampered life that he lived with the Indians. He was con- 
verted to the Roman faith. Manv vears later, when he returned 



to his old home for a visit, he at first refused to remain to settle 
down to the, in comparison, dull life of Pascommuck, but finally 
Captain Benjamin Wright and Thomas Stebbins persuaded him 
to remain, and as an inducement they procured for him a lieu- 
tenant's commission in the Colonial forces. There is a tradition 
that Lieutenant Searl's faith in Roman Catholicism was greatly 
shaken several years before his return to his old home, as he 

was setting forth on a 
journey. He asked the 
priest what he should do 
while away in regard to 
confession. The priest 
replied, that he could 
confess to a tree as that 
would do as well. Of 
course Searl was sur- 
prised and when he told 
his Pascommuck friends 
about it they were 
shocked, but both he 
and they utterly failed 
to understand that all 
the good Father wanted 
was a confession of sins 
and that, as the confes- 
sion was really made to 
the Creator, it made 
little difference whether 
the words were spoken 
to a tree or a priest. 
To return to the attack by the Indians ; another person to es- 
cape from the tomahawk was Samuel Janes, one of the youths 
who was knocked on the head at the time Captain Taylor and his 
cavalry appeared. Ten of the Indians who made the attack upon 
Pascommuck, went to " the lower farms ", near Smith's Ferry 
on the Connecticut River, where the only house was that of Cap- 
tain Benjamin Wright. As he and Thomas Stebbins, then a 
young man, were the only occupants of the house, the Indians 
thought to overcome them easily, but a shot from the house broke 
an arm of one of the Indians and so made them cautious. They 



then tried to set fire to the house by shooting blazing arrows onto 
the roof. As there was no water in the house, Stebbins tied a 
feather bed about himself for a protection from arrows, and then 
went out to the well and drew water to put out the fire on die 
roof. The Indians dared not make a rush, for Captain Wright's 
gun was in the hands of a man who shot straight. Finding they 
must fight to capture the men, the Indians withdrew. There are 
thousands of instances, in the history of New England, where 
the attacking Indians withdrew from an inferior number of deter- 
mined men, whom they knew they must fight to overcome. All 
of these instances prove, that while the Indians were brave they 
were entirely lacking in courage, and on the other hand the cour- 
age of the settlers was often far greater than their bravery. 

There were murders committed at different times for a number 
of years after this attack of 1704. In 1708, Samuel and Joseph 
Parsons were killed near Pascommuck and in 1724, Nathaniel 
Edwards, 2nd., of Northampton, was killed and scalped, while 
on his way home from the Easthampton meadows with a cart 
loaded with produce. There were several men with carts who 
were keeping together for mutual safety. At the fording place 
of the Manhan River, Mr. Edwards was delayed for a brief time 
while the other men had gone on. Just as he was crossing a 
brook, near the ford, he was shot. His negro farm hand, who 
was asleep on the load, woke up just in time to see his master 
scalped. The horses continued on to the top of the hill, when 
the negro unhitched one of them and rode after the other men 
and told them what had happened, but the Indians were never 

In King George's War of 1744, Joseph Bartlett's and Major 
Jonathan Clapp's houses in Easthampton were fortified, and so 
was Samuel Janes' at Pascommuck. 

It is said, facetiously no doubt, that the irregular boundary 
lines of Easthampton were caused by the desire of the different 
settlers, at the time of the organization of the town, to either be 
in the town or out of it, and that the lines were run accordingly. 

The western portion of the town, where the lines are the most 
irregular, was first settled by Eldad Pomeroy and Samuel Pome- 
roy and their sons, about 1732. Soon after, Sergeant Ebenezer 
Corse settled in the western portion, on the plain, and then fol- 



lowed Stephen Wright, Aaron and Benjamin Clapp. Corse was 
reputed to be a man of great courage and fearlessness. When 
other settlers were going to the larger settlements for safety, at 
the times Indian attacks were feared, Mr. Corse always remained 
1o defend and protect his home. In the northern portion of the 
town were the families of Joseph and Titus Wright, who went 

there in 1750, and in the southern 
portion of the town was Bildad 

In 1773, an effort was made to 
organize what is now Easthampton 
into a district. At this time the ter- 
ritory belonged to Northampton and 
Southampton. But nothing was done, 
as Southampton strongly objected, 
and, too, the Revolution was fully 
occupying the attention of the Gen- 
eral Court, and the people of the 
towns concerned. There was an- 
other attempt in 1781, and '82, but 
the district was not organized till 
1785, with about sixty families from 
Northampton and fifteen from South- 
ampton, within its bounds. On No- 
vember 17, 1785, the Church was 
organized with seventy-two members, 
in the home of Captain Joseph Clapp. The frame for a church 
had been set up in the spring of that year, but the building was 
not entirely finished till 1792. In 1786, a committee was ap- 
pointed to obtain the bequest of Joseph Bartlett of £4 8s nd 
to the first church in which worship should be held. This sum 
had grown by accumulation, to £14 is 3d, and was used for the 
purchase of a Communion service. In that year the Rev. Aaron 
Walworth preached to the people, but he did not become their 
settled minister although he was invited to do so. 

On August 13, 1789, the Rev. Payson Williston, the first min- 
ister, was ordained, in the twenty-sixth year of his age. Mr. 
Williston was born in 1763, in West Haven. Connecticut, his 
father being the Rev. Noah Williston. For several months be- 



fore 1779, he was in the Continental Army. He then entered 
Yale with the intention of entering the ministry, and was gradu- 
ated in the class of 1783. Among his classmates were the Hon. 
David Daggett, a well known and brilliant lawyer ; the Hon. J. C. 
Smith, who later became Governor of Connecticut ; and the Rev. 
Dr. Holmes and the Rev. Dr. Morse. Mr. Williston studied for 
the pulpit under the Rev. Dr. Trumbull, of North Haven. In the 
year following his settlement, he married Miss Sarah Birdsey, 
daughter of the Rev. Nathan Birdsey, of Stratford, Connecticut. 
In March, 1833, Mr. Williston resigned, because of advancing 
years, after forty-four years of faithfulness and devotion to the 
parish in which he was beloved. His death occurred in January, 
1856, at the great age of ninety-two. 

The first school in Easthampton was at Pascommuck, in 1739, 
in which year the Town of Northampton appropriated money for 
its support. The salary of the teacher was six shillings a week 
and he was to pay his board out of that sum. Obadiah Janes, 
Philip Clark and Joel Parsons were the earliest teachers of this 
school. Williston Seminary, one of the notable preparatory 
schools of the country, was founded by the Hon. Samuel Williston 
in 1840. 

The first attempt at anything like manufacturing, was a 
fuller's mill, which was run by Jonathan Clapp, in 1780, in a 
portion of the old grist-mill. Not long after that year, Captain 
Joseph Clapp built a mill in which he fulled, dyed and dressed the 
cloth that was woven in the different homes of the community. 

About 1792, Easthampton had a library association, consisting 
of thirty members who paid two dollars each to become share- 
holders. The Rev. Payson Williston was the librarian for thirty- 
five years. 

Besides the first tavern, opened by Joseph Bartlett in 1727, 
Major Jonathan Clapp, a nephew of Mr. Bartlett's, kept a tavern 
which was well known all over western New England. It was 
a place of rest for travelers to and from Vermont and Connecti- 
cut. Major Clapp was a keen business man as is shown by an 
anecdote that is told of him. In the winter of 1760, there was a 
fall of four feet of snow. This was immediately followed bv 
rain and hail to a depth of eight inches forming what was known 
as " The great crust ". Of course, all communication was cut off 


between the larger towns and the country, supposedly, and Major 
Clapp turned this supposition to profitable account. Finding that 
the crust would easily bear himself and his horse, he went to 
Hatfield, where he purchased a drove of cattle and then con- 
tinued, on the crust, to Boston. As he was the first man in 
Boston with cattle he sold them for a large price and netted a 
sum equivalent to $333, with a time outlay of less than ten days. 
The old Bartlett tavern was taken by Captain Joseph Clapp, a 
son of Major Clapp, in 1793. The Clapps were the tavern and 
hotel keepers in Easthampton for about one hundred years. 



THE history of Southampton is interesting from the fact 
that it is commonplace ; that it was not the home of " one 
of the Nation's great men ", or of even the State's great 
men ; that no event of Colonial, State or National importance ever 
took place within its bounds ; that, so far as is known, no great 
man ever spent the night there, or even passed through the town ; 
that no powder was ever burnt within its bounds in the conflict 
with George III ; that it cannot even boast, as can its sister towns 
of New England, of an Indian deed or that the land was pur- 
chased from the Indians ; that it cannot fall back upon one single 
man. incident, or occurrence, upon which to boost itself into his- 
torical prominence. And yet the history of Southampton is grand 
for it is the history of a fine, hardy community — morally, men- 
tally and physically — of men and women who, living remote 
from the epoch making centers, devoted their simple lives to their 
fields and their spinning wheels and to the grand work of build- 
ing up, in themselves and their children, a true type of New 
England manhood and womanhood. 

An old man from one of the other Hamptons, who was reputed 
to be an authority on local history, replied to a question : " No, 
there haint never been no hist'ry written of So'thampton, 's I 
know of. There warnt never anythin' happend there to write 
about ". 

So, while it is true that the men and women of Southampton 
did not make National history in Southampton, it is equally true 
that no town gave more generously and cheerfully of its loved 
sons and its substance to help make the history of the Colonies 
in the French and Indian wars, and of the Nation in the Revolu- 
tion, than this same town in which " nothin' haint ever hap- 
pened to write about ". 

The first settlers of Southampton were Judah Hutchinson and 
Thomas Porter who made their pitch in 1732, but at that time the 
territory, which became Southampton in 1753, when the town 
was incorporated, was but a precinct of Northampton. The words 
prec'nct and parish meant the same in those days. In 1733, these 
men were joined by fourteen other settlers and between this year 
and 1740, fourteen families joined the little settlement. The first 
meeting of qualified freeholders in the precinct was held in 1741, 


and on June 8, 1743, the first Church was organized with the 
Rev. Jonathan Judd as its minister, and Waitstill Strong and John 
Clark its deacons. A notable company of clergymen were present 
to ordain Mr. Judd. They were the Rev. Messrs. Edwards, of 
Northampton ; Hopkins, of West Springfield ; Woodbridge, of 
South Hadley; Parsons, of East Hadley (Amherst); Williams, 
of Hadley ; Woodbridge, of Hatfield ; and Ballentine, of West- 
field. The ordination sermon was preached by the Rev. Jonathan 

Mr. Judd was given as settlement, 200 acres of land, £100 old 
tenor, £125 old tenor to be given in work upon his house. His 
salary was £130 old tenor for the first, second and third years and 
was to be increased by £5 each successive year till the annual sum 
of £170 was reached, and later the people gave him his firewood. 
Mr. Judd was minister of the church for sixty years, death at the 
age of eighty-three, in 1803, ending his long and useful pastorate. 

Payments of salaries and settlements of ministers are frequently 
given as being a certain number of pounds, " old tenor ", and 
when it so is given, the salary always seems large for the times. 
This may be accounted for by the fact that old tenor was de- 
preciated money. About 1690, paper money was issued to defray 
the expenses of the expedition against Quebec. As these bills 
were not redeemed, except by a new issue, the bills depreciated 
till it required seven and a half pounds to equal one pound in gold 
01 silver. In 1750, they had become so worthless that a debt of 
£11 old tenor could be paid with £1 in gold or silver. 

In the year in which Mr. Judd became the minister of the 
Southampton Church the horrors of an Indian war were staring 
the people in the face. At this time, Southampton was a frontier 
settlement, for to the north-west there was not a settlement be- 
tween it and Canada to give warning of the approach of hostile 
Indians. That they might be prepared, should the Indians at- 
tempt to reach the large Connecticut River towns of North- 
ampton, Springfield and Hartford, through the unbroken wilder- 
ness to the north-west, Mr. Judd's house was turned into a fort 
or place of refuge, by surrounding it with a palisade. A watch- 
tower was built at the west end of the house, which was entered 
through one of the windows of the house, on the top of which 
sentinels were stationed to keep constant watch for the approach 


of Indians. Jonathan Bascom's house was also fortified. Al- 
though the people were in constant dread, it was necessary that 
the work in the fields should go on, otherwise a fight with starva- 
tion would be occupying the people, and a fight with starvation 
would be much more one-sided than a fight with Indians. So, 
when the men went into the fields to work, they all carried their 
arms and one or more, as the occasion required, would be placed 
on elevations to give warning should Indians appear. When the 
men were in the fields the women and children occupied the forti- 
fied houses. After a time the people regained confidence and the 
women and children remained in their own houses while the men 
were away. 

In 1745, Elias Lyman, of Southampton, was in the army, under 
the command of General Pepperell at the reduction of Cape 
Breton. Not once in that year were any Indians seen within the 
town, but in 1746, on August 25, a band of them came to the town 
and entered the deserted homes of Aaron and Elisha Clark, de- 
stroving everything they did not steal. Thinking that they had 
been discovered, the Indians fled to Pomeroy Mountain, where, 
on the west side, they killed six cattle and a horse and wounded 
several other animals. 

Two weeks later, the Indians were again in Southampton. This 
time thev tried their cunning to entrap one or more victims that 
scalps could be hung at their belts ; that they could get the found- 
ation for something to brag about in camp ; a fine fairy story that 
would grow in size and detail and in the number of the settlers 
whom thev had beaten in the fight. But the tale of Indian dar- 
ing and bravery and cunning was never told — by the Indians — 
for something got into the machinery and the exhibition did not 
come off. That something was a white man, named Samuel 

The Indians had laid their plans carefully by preparing an am- 
bush near some bars, where the cows were driven through to 
pasture, and midway between two of the settlers' homes. The 
cows were found in the pasture by the Indians and were driven 
back into the brush as far from the bars as possible, that whoever 
came for them would have to pass the bars — and the ambush — 
to look for them. The Indians were evidently not aware that 
cows have a habit of feeding toward home as the milking time 


approaches at sunset. When the cows were discovered to be 
nearing the bars, one of the Indians was sent to drive them again 
to the back of the pasture. It so happened that Danks went to 
the pasture by a shorter route, from the place where he was at 
the time, than by the bars. Not seeing the cows in their accus- 
tomed place near the bars, he started up the pasture to find them, 
with a feeling that there was something queer about it. When 
he came in sight of the cows and saw their restlessness, he was 
a? alert and vigilant as the most crafty Indian. He remained 
perfectly quiet, concealing himself, and watched. Soon he saw 
the Indian trying to keep the cows from going toward the bars, 
when he quietly slipped away and gave the alarm. The Indians 
disappeared, evidently convinced that the settlers were too watch- 
ful for it to be safe for them to attempt anything more in South- 
ampton for some time. They w r ere not again seen in the town 
for nearly a year. 

The winter of 1746 and '47 was a very hard one for the people 
of the settlement, for the crops had nearly failed. In the first 
place, the grain crop was light and on August 12, a heavy frost 
killed almost the whole crop of corn. 

In the early autumn of 1747, eleven months after the ambush 
at the pasture, the Indians began a series of murders and destruc- 
tion of property, which finally became so dreadful that the little 
settlement was totally deserted for several months. About five 
o'clock in the afternoon of August 27, 1747, Elisha Clark was sur- 
prised while threshing grain on the floor of his barn, and killed 
by Indians. How many there were of them is not known, but 
tbere must have been at least seven for when the neighbors found 
his body they saw that it had been pierced by seven bullets. 
The neighboring settlements were informed and armed men from 
all about went in search of the murderers. They found that the 
Indians had killed cattle as they fled and that they had camped in 
Easthampton, on the place wbere the home of Noah Strong was 
situated in 1840. The Indians, knowing the forest and its trails 
much better than did the settlers, escaped. 

On May 9, 1748, Noah Pixley was killed in broad daylight by 
Indians, as he was returning from pasturing his cows. The peo- 
ple in the hamlet first heard one shot, and then three, in rapid 
succession, as if they had been fired as a signal, and then other 


34 1 

shots were heard. Notwithstanding that so many shots had been 
fired, Pixley's only wound was in one of his arms. He ran from 
the Indians, but they overtook him and in their haste to scalp 
him a portion of his skull was cut away with a tomahawk. The 
inhabitants armed themselves and started in pursuit. They chased 
them as far as the home of Samuel Burt, who with his family 
were away, so the Indians did not stop there but continued their 
flight and escaped. 

However brave were the men, or willing were the women to 
share their dangers, it was more than human nature could stand. 
Besides the constant dread of unexpected attack in their homes, it 
was dangerous for the men to work in the fields, even with an 
armed guard present. The Indians' mode of attack, by making 
an unexpected dash, killing one or more and then fleeing to the 
forest where they were at home and the settlers were strangers, 
handicapped the settlers greatly, but in a fight to a finish, the 
settlers would have been on even terms with the Indians. So 
they decided to abandon their farms and homes. Many of the 
families went to Northampton ; Mr. Judd, the minister, and his 
family went to Suffield, where his wife had relatives. About 
two months later, on July 19, seven families returned to South- 
ampton to protect their own and their neighbors' homes. In 
the autumn nearly all of the people had returned, and in the 
winter the minister and his family rejoined the settlement. 

Seventeen hundred and forty-eight was a trying year for the 
people. The fields lying uncared for during the previous summer, 
after the flight, produced but little food for man or beast, so, be- 
sides the Indians they had famine to contend with, and then three 
of the foremost and most useful men of the settlement died. They 
were Ezera Strong, Noah Sheldon and Moses Wright, all origi- 
nal settlers. That winter of 1748 and '49 was a terrible one. with 
the murders by the Indians, the three deaths of valued neighbors 
and the lack of food for the people and their animals. Hav was 
brought for the live-stock from Northampton on horseback. 
The people needed all of that spirit of undaunted courage and 
bravery ; of determination to not give up, but to stay and conquer 
every hardship and adversity, that made New England " The 
place where we grow Men." Added to all this, there was a 
drought the next year, in 1749, which lasted from March into 


July with but one shower in all those weeks. At last, when the 
rains did fall, the courage of the people was repaid, for they 
gathered fine crops of all kinds and they had no further trouble 
with the Indians. 

In 1750, a new prosperity arrived. The neglected farms were 
again worked and produced full crops ; new families from other 
parts joined the settlement and new houses were built, and re- 
newed attention was given to the education of the youth of the 
community. In 1751, Waitstill Strong, Jr., Eleazer Hannum 
and Stephen Sheldon were appointed a committee to have charge 
of the building of a schoolhouse. In 1753, the Town of South- 
ampton was incorporated and the first time that name was used 
in the town records was on March K, of that year. 

In 1755, when the army was raised to take Crown Point, ten 
men of Southampton joined it and two of them, Eliakim Wright 
and Ebenezer Kingsley, Jr., never returned. When Fort William 
Henry was surrendered to the treacherous French, in 1757, upon 
the promise that they would not give the surrendered men over 
to the Indians (which was what the French did) Joel Clapp and 
Nathaniel Loomis, of Southampton, escaped, naked, from the 
Indians after a terrible run of fourteen miles through the forest. 

When the war with Great Britain began, the men of South- 
ampton were ready to fight and die, if necessary, for the rights 
of the Colonies and for independence. So many young men 
joined the Patriot army that hardly one of them was to be seen 
in Church. Those men of Southampton who were too feeble, 
or for any other reason could not join the army as fighters, joined 
the army as wagon drivers, loaders, in fact in any capacity suited 
to their strength, while still others banded themselves together 
at home to work the fields, that crops might be raised for the 
families of those who were smelling powder burnt in fierce battle, 
and that the soldiers might be supplied with food. In this small 
settlement of unselfish patriots, who lived in the town " where 
nothin' didn't ever happen to write about ", the Rev. Jonathan 
Judd stands out as an example of the unselfish patriotism which 
distinguished so manv of New England's clergymen. In 1768, 
when the first suspicion of trouble with the Old Country became 
almost a certainty, the Town records show, that Mr. Judd volun- 
teered to meet a committee from the people, for the purpose of 


reducing his salary to the lowest living point, so that the people 
could have that much more to devote to the common cause. 

Deacon Elias Lyman, who had already been a delegate to the 
Provincial Congress, which met in Concord on October n, was 
in 1775, again sent to the Congress, at Cambridge, and Jonathan 
Judd, Jr.. Samuel Burt, Elias Lyman, Aaron Clark, Jonathan 
Clark, Timothy Clark, Samuel Pomeroy, Samuel Clapp, and 
Israel Sheldon, were appointed a Committee of Correspondence 
for the Southampton district. The people voted nine days after 
the fight at Lexington, to pay two-thirds of the cost of the pro- 
visions for Captain Lemuel Pomeroy's company, and a committee 
was appointed to collect the provisions and send them by wagon 
to the army. 

The Rev. Jonathan Judd, who was for sixty years the minister 
of the Southampton Church, the son of William Judd, was born 
in Waterbury, Connecticut, on October 4, 1719. He was a great- 
great-grandson of Deacon Thomas Judd, the first America an- 
cestor of the Judd family in New England, who came from Eng- 
land in the Rev. Thomas Hooker's company, in 1633, and went 
with him to Hartford from Newtown (Cambridge) where he 
lived for a time, and then moved to Farmington and was the first 
representative of that Town to the General Court. After the 
death of his wife he moved to Northampton, and there married 
the widow of Thomas Mason. 

Mr. Judd, the first minister of the Southampton Church, was 
educated at Yale, graduating at the age of twenty-two, in the class 
of 1 741, which was one of the famous classes of Yale's youth. 
Among his ck'ssmates were William Livingston, who became 
Governor of New Jersey ; and the Rev. Drs. Samuel Hopkins, 
Samuel Buel, Richard Mansfield, and Noah Welles. Mr. Judd 
was ordained in the November after graduation and married 
Silence Sheldon, daughter of Captain Thomas Sheldon, of Suf- 
field, previously of Northampton. They had four sons and three 
daughters. Mrs. Judd died in October, 1783. Seven years later, 
in 1790, Mr. Judd married Ruth, the widow of the Rev. Adonijah 
Bidwell, of Tyringham. Mr. Judd died at the age of eighty- 
three, in the sixtieth year of his ministry in Southampton, on 
July 28, 1803, and his second wife died in her eighty-sixth year, 
in December, 181 5. 


In theology, Air. Judd was equally as liberal as was the Rev. 
Solomon Stoddard, of Northampton. He was a member of 
the council that dismissed the Rev. Jonathan Edwards from the 
Northampton Church, as the result of Air. Edwards' " infallibil- 
ity " pronouncement, which practically declared his grandfather, 
the Rev. Solomon Stoddard, whose successor he was, unorthodox, 
misguided and totally wrong. 

Mr. Judd's successor was the Rev. Vinson Gould, who became 
his assistant, on August 26, 1801, on account of Mr. Judd's fail- 
ing health. In Mr. Gould's pastorate, new interest in education 
was aroused by the opening of Sheldon Academy, which was 
largely made possible through the generosity of Silas Sheldon. 
Had this institution grown, as did the Collegiate Institute, of 
Saybrook, the name of Shelden would be as well known in the 
educational world as is that of Yale. His gifts of money were 
as; large as were Governor Yale's. All of his money was made 
on a farm, rather unproductive, by his personal labor and energy 
while Governor Yale's great fortune was partly an inheritance 
and partly his salary as Governor of the East India Company. 
The comparison is not to disparage Governor Yale's much needed 
generosity, but to emphasize Mr. Shelden's magnificent muni- 
ficence. His gift toward establishing the Academy was $2,500. 
Besides this, he gave in his life time, $1,000 to Amherst College; 
$1,000 to the Hampshire Education Society and many smaller 
gifts for other public purposes. Several young men were enabled 
to study for the ministry because of the money he loaned them 
and, having no children, he adopted several and gave them good 
educations. This interest in educational matters continued and 
increased through the generations that followed. While South- 
ampton has remained a frontier, back-woods settlement, geogra- 
phically, it is doubtful if any other town in the United States, 
similarly situated and of the same small population, has sent as 
many men to college and into the professions as has Southampton, 
where " nothin' didn't ever happen to write about ". 

The Rev. Vinson Gould, Mr. Judd's successor, was born in 
Sharon, Connecticut, in August, 1774. In 1795, he entered the 
sophomore class of Williams College and was graduated in '97. 
Then, for a year, he was in charge of the Sharon Academy, when 
he gave that up to study for the Church under the Rev. Dr. 


Backus, of Somers, Connecticut. From October, 1800, to June, 
1801, he was tutor in Williams and then went to the Church in 
Southampton as assistant to the venerable Mr. Judd. Mr. Gould 
married Mindwell, the only daughter of Dr. Sylvester Wood- 
bridge of Southampton. It became evident that Mrs. Gould 
barkened to the admonition given by her parents at her christen- 
ing — Mindwell — for she became well known all over the 
county for her extraordinary mental power and cultivation. 
Mr. Gould was dismissed from the Southampton Church, on 
January 5, 1832, and then went to South Hadley, where he taught 
school. Mrs. Gould died in 1838, and he in 1841, in his home in 

A home was a somewhat simple and primitive affair in the 
early days and for the first ten years the only home containing 
two rooms was Nathaniel Searl's. M,r. Searl had a typical 
Yankee family of nine sons and this is, no doubt, the reason why 
he indulged in the luxury of two rooms. For this reason, Mr. 
Searl's home was where the ministers stopped who preached in 
Southampton before the settlement of Mr. Judd, and where the 
council, that ordained him, was entertained. The Searl and 
Edwards families are two of the oldest Hampshire families. The 
first of the family, John Searl, was one of the settlers of Spring- 
field, where he died in January, 1642. His widow Mary (Bald- 
win) Searl married Alexander Edwards, who moved from 
Springfield to Northampton and became the founder of the North- 
ampton, Southampton and Westhampton Edwards families. Na- 
thaniel Searl, of Southampton, was the great-grandson of John 
Searl of Springfield. It is an odd fact, that nearly 250 years later, 
a descendant of Mary Searl married a descendant of Alexander 
Edwards, both of Northampton. 

The men of Southampton who were in the Continental army 
were Captain Abner Pomeroy, Sergeants Gershom Pomeroy, 
Jacob Pomeroy, and Lemuel Rust ; Corporals Stephen Clapp, 
Samuel Edwards, and Ezekiel Wood ; Ebenezer Geer, Obadiah 
Frary, Elisha Edwards, Stephen Sheldon, Roswell Strong, Darius 
Searl, Aaron Strong, Oliver Pomeroy, Joseph Bartlett, Elisha 
Bundy, Samuel Coleman, Silas Pomeroy, Gad Pomeroy, Noble 
Squires, and Phineas Searl. 


HADLEY bears about the same relation to Connecticut that 
New England bears to Old England, for it was settled 
as a place of refuge, where peace from religious troubles 
might be had. It is difficult to conceive of a more peaceful or 
charming situation for a valley settlement, than that chosen by 
Governor John Webster and the Rev. John Russell, and their 
followers, on the low, level peninsula where Hadley was founded. 
Hadley is bounded on the north, west and south by the Con- 
necticut River, which makes a great bend there, and the village 

was laid out with 
the main street 
running north and 
south across this 
peninsula, either 
end of the street 
sword given to capt. smith by burgoyne. ending at the river. 

After the surrender, Burgoyne stopped over night in Street IS a mile 

the hospitable home of Captain Smith, in Hadley, Irno- anrl tt> -foof 

on his way to Boston. lLU & tU1U 666 leel 

feet wide, or 
twenty rods as the stipulation was. A green, or common, extends 
its entire length, through the middle, with a road on either side of 
the common and double rows of magnificent trees, mostly elms, 
between the roads and the houses. 

In 1659, Governor Webster and Mr. Russell settled in Hadley. 
Governor Webster had thirty followers and the Rev. Mr. Russell 
the same number, but the settlement was made by forty-two per- 
sons, not all of the sixty going there. The majority of the settlers 
were from Hartford, the others being from Windsor and Wethers- 
field, Mr. Russell being the minister of the last named settlement. 

Professor Alexander Johnson says, in regard to the trouble 
in the Hartford Church, which was the cause of the settlement 
of Hadley : 

The first great church dispute, which rent the Hartford church, from 
1654, to 1659, has been so complicated with the names of the actors and with 
doctrinal points, that one who is not a profound theologian can hardly 


HAD LEY. 347 

make anything of it. There are indications, however, that an explanation 
may be found in the effort to accommodate the original church and state 
system to the changing conditions of the people, and that the actors, how- 
ever prominent, were merely floating on the surface of opposing currents 
whose nature even they did not understand quite clearly. Three points 
are of interest; the church establishment; the connection of church and 
state, or rather town ; and the changes in the people, with its effects. The 
first code of Connecticut, in 1650, required that all persons should be taxed 
for church as well as for state ; and the taxes for support of the minister, 
and for all other ecclesiastical purposes, were to be levied and collected 
like other taxes. So long as a trace of the establishment existed, even 
down to the adoption of the constitution of 1818, the connection with the 
civil power continued. The church society used the civil tax lists in levy- 
ing its rates ; the conditions of suffrage in society meetings were the same 
as in civil town meetings ; and the penalties for voting by unqualified per- 
sons were the same. The civil power collected the taxes for the church 
by distraint. If the church refused or neglected to support its minister, 
the general assembly settled the proper rate of maintainance and enforced 
it in the church ; and if a church remained without a minister for more 
than a year, the general assembly could name a proper amount for minis- 
terial purposes, and compel the church to raise and expend it. * * * 
Considering the churches recognized in 1650, as established, the com- 
monwealth forbade any persons to form a new church within the colony, 
without consent of the general court and the neighboring churches. The 
man, therefore, who, not being a member of one of the established 
churches, found himself within the territory of a church, was unable to 
vote in purely church matters ; but he was compelled to vote taxes and 
pay taxes for the support of a minister in whose call he had had no 
voice. From their establishment, the churches had been strict in regard 
to baptism, and their inquisitions into the personal experience of candi- 
dates for membership were searching. As the numbers increased of those 
who could not respond to such inquisitions and were thus barred from the 
church, dissatisfaction must have increased with them. It often took the 
shape of complaints that the children of such persons were refused bap- 
tism ; but it may be suspected that the natural wish to share in the con- 
trol of the church whose expenses they helped to pay, had a great deal to 
do with it. Either the right of suffrage must be restricted to church mem- 
bers, or all voters must be let into the church. * * * In 1657, the 
general court called for a council of the New England churches at Boston, 
to consider certain propositions of the general court. The object of these 
propositions was well understood to be the widening of church-member- 
ship. * * * It declared that baptized infants were bound, on arriving 
at years of discretion, to own the covenant and become formal church- 
members ; and that the church was bound to accept them, if they were 
not of scandalous life and understood the grounds of religion, and was 
bound to baptize their children, thus continuing the chain of claims to 
church-membership to all generations. * * * It was commonly known 



as the Half-way Covenant. * * * After the death of Hooker in 1647, 
Goodwin, the ruling elder, wanted Michael Wigglesworth as Hooker's 
successor ; and Stone, the surviving minister, refused to allow the proposi- 
tion to be put to vote. The Goodwin party, twenty-one in number, in- 
cluding Deputy Governor Webster, withdrew from the church ; the Stone 
party undertook to discipline them; a council of Connecticut and New Haven 
churches failed to reconcile the parties ; the general court kindly assumed 
the office of mediator, and succeeded in making both parties furious ; and 
finally a council at Boston in 1659, induced the Goodwin minority, now 
some sixty in number, to remove to Hadley, Mass. 

The Indian name for all this territory was Nonvottocke, mean- 
ing in the midst of the river. The Indian word given many dif- 


ferent spellings in the old days perhaps survives as Mt. Nonotuck. 
The Mt. Holyoke range was Petowamachu ; Mt. Toby, Kunck- 
quachu ; and Capawonk, was the Indian name of the lower Hat- 
field meadow. 

On May 28, 1659, Captain Pynchon, Lieutenant Holyoke and 
Deacon Chapin of Springfield ; William Holton and Richard 
Lyman, of Northampton, were appointed by the General Court 
to fix the boundaries of Hadley and to take charge of Town and 
Church work. The northern boundary was at Mt. Toby ; the 

HAD LEY. 349 

southern, at the head of the falls south of Mt. Holyoke. The 
eastern boundary was a line nine miles east from the Connecticut, 
but the town never extended so far east as nine miles. The west- 
ern boundary began at Mill River, in the present Town of Hat- 
field, two miles west from the Connecticut, and extended north 
to Sugar Loaf Mountain, which the Indians called Wequamps. 
This portion of Hadley to the west of the Connecticut was set- 
Ited by the Dickinson, Graves, Belding, White, Warner, Billings, 
Allis, and Meekins families, from Braintree, Massachusetts. By 
the time Hadley was purchased from the Indians, property values 
had advanced in the Colonies. The rate paid for Hadley was 
higher per acre, than had been paid to the original owners by 
any New England settlers, up to that year. The money value 
of the articles given to the Indians for the land they sold was 
£150. Five years later, in 1664, land values had increased so 
much, that 700 acres in that portion of Hadley on the west side 
of the Connecticut — Hatfield — a portion of the Bradstreet farm, 
sold for £200, or £50 more than was paid to the Indians for the 
whole vast area comprising the Hadley purchase. 

The village was laid out very nearly as it appears to-day. 
The rich, low land along the river was called meadows, instead of 
flats, and were given names, instead of numbers, as was done 
by the settlers of Schenectady in the Mohawk Valley, which was 
settled at about the same time as Hadley. They were called ; 
to the north, Forty-acre Meadow ; south-east, Fort Meadow ; 
south, Hockanum Meadow ; west, Great Meadow, including the 
peninsula bounded by the mile's length of the village street and 
the great bend of the Connecticut River. 

The few lucky fishermen who have coaxed black bass from the 
"honey pot ", near the point of the peninsula, where the river 
bends and turns toward the south-west, probably do not know 
that this deep hole, where the big black bass hide from the hot 
sun as well as from man, was named more than 200 years ago 
by the first settlers. 

Over on the west side of the Connecticut (in Hatfield) were, 
Capawonk, a meadow at the south toward Northampton ; Great 
and Little Meadows and Wequettayag, or the South Meadow, 
which included an Indian reservation called Indian Hollow. 



HADLEY. 35 * 

Wequettayag and Capawonk were divided by Mill River and were 
frequently also known as Great and Little Pansett. 

Hadley began road making as early as 1667, when a cart path 
was made to North Hadley, then called Mill Brook. Roads were 
kept in reasonable repair up and down the river, that a com- 
munication with Hartford might be maintained. There were 
Indian trails to Boston, over which a man could ride a horse, 
but there was no cart path or road. In fact, no wheeled vehicle 
made the journey between Boston and Hadley till the end of the 
seventeenth century. The produce from the rich and fertile 
meadows was conveyed to Boston, by way of the Connecticut 
River and the Sound. 

After suffering from the inconvenience and, in the winter, the 
danger of crossing the Connecticut and the meadows, to attend 
Church in Hadley village, the people in that portion of the to\yn 
lying on the west side of the river, petitioned to be set off as a 
separate town, and asked that they might have a Church of their 
own. The reasons they gave why this petition should be granted 
-*- in addition to the danger and hardships of the ferry — were, 
that the work required in getting over the ferry was a desecration 
of the Sabbath, and that, when the weather and water were rough, 
it caused the women and children to " screech and unfitted them 
for the ordinances." And besides they said, it is necessary to 
leave some of the people at home " a prey to the heathen ". All 
of which Were excellent arguments, and one house had actually 
been burnt by Indians, while the men were all gone to Church 
across the river. 

The usual opposition by the other portion of the town was 
vigorous. The setting off of a portion of the town, with a Church 
of its own, added to the cost of maintaining the minister for 
each member of the opposition party. The matter was argued 
for three years and finally, in 1670, that part of Hadley lying 
on the west side of the Connecticut was incorporated and called 
Hatfield. The Rev. Hope Atherton, of Dorchester, Massachu- 
setts, from whom the Greenfield Athertons are descended, was 
the first minister of Hatfield. His salary was £60 a year, payable 
in pork and wheat. 

Although the New Englanders were practical, hard-headed, 
unimaginative people, some of the superstition of the Old Country 



still lingered with them. On September 10, 1674, two years 
before the raid upon Hadley by Indians, when Gofr's coolness and 
military knowledge turned the day for the settlers, strange noises 
were heard, like the discharge of great cannon, and the earth 
shook so that every body was terrified. It was believed to be an 
omen of disaster. Whether it was an omen or not, the disasters 
followed, terrible and tragic. 

The worst of them was 
the attack by 700 Indians 
while King Philip's War 
was in progress, on the 
morning of June 12, 
1676, according to 
Barber. Plans for the 
attack had been made 
the previous day, by plac- 
ing a portion of the at- 
tacking party in ambush 
toward night at the 
southern end of the 
village. At dawn the 
main body of the In- 
dians began the attack 
from the north, and the 
settlers met them at the 
palisades. The Indians 
fought with unusual 
courage and succeeded 
in capturing a house 
at the north end of the 
street, and in burning a barn. They were soon driven back by the 
settlers with great loss, who fought as men do who are fighting 
for their families and their homes. 

The Indians then attacked several points at once and although 
thev were met with courage and determination, so eager were 
they to capture the place, that, instead of following their custom 
of retreating when the fight was against them, they still pressed 
the settlers with unabated fury. 

Just as matters seemed the darkest for the settlers, General 




Goff, one of the regicides, a man of commanding and venerable 
presence, and an experienced soldier, came from concealment in 
the home of the Rev. John Russell, and revived the flagging 
energy and courage of the settlers. Kis knowledge of war gained 
in Cromwell's army made it possible for him to direct and place 
the settlers in such a manner that the best results could be ob- 
tained. At about the same time that Goff took command, a 
cannon was discharged into the midst of the Indians which, com- 
bined with Goff's coolness, had the effect of causing the Indians 


to retire to a little distance. The purpose of the ambush at the 
southern end of the street, was the slaughter of the settlers when 
they should attempt to escape from the attack of the main body 
at the northern end. As the settlers fought, instead of trying 
to escape, the ambush amounted to nothing. This failure of their 
favorite mode of attack increased the discouragement of the 
Indians. The arrival of reinforcements, under Major Talcott 
from Northampton, just as the Indians withdrew, was most 
opportune. His force, joined with that of the settlers, attacked 
the Indians and drove them to the woods. 
2 3 



The men of Hadley were harassed and some were killed by 
Indians for several years after this, and houses and barns were 
burned. In 1688, while Richard Church was hunting near Mt. 
Warner, he was killed and scalped by a hunting party of Indians. 
The Indians were captured near Alt. Toby, tried by the Court, 
condemned and executed by being shot. This seems to have made 
Hadley very unpopular with the Indians, and although they mur- 
dered and burned in neighboring settlements, they gave Hadley 
little or no trouble from that time on. 


Besides the natural beauties of the village and its splendid 
street ; and that it was the secret home of Whalley and Goff" the 
regicides for many years ; Hadley is notable for being the place 
where the first Church was organized on the Connecticut River, 
north of Springfield, the Church in Northampton was not or- 
ganized till the next year ; and where broom corn was first made 
into brooms and where the first scythes were made. The Town 
voted to build a meeting house in 1661, but it was not finished till 
1670. It was built on a low elevation — long since removed — 

HAD LEY. 355 

called meeting-house hill, near the north end of the village. It 
contained 128 seats. The men were seated on the right of the 
minister and the women on the left. If this was done after the 
manner of separating the sheep from the goats, history does not 
sav. A bell was purchased for a sum equivalent to $25 and was 
paid for in wheat, at three shillings a bushel. Before the church 
was built, the people met in one of the homes of the settlement, 
for worship. In 1676, Hadley had its curfew, or nine o'clock bell, 
rung every night of the year. 

This first church was worshipped in for forty-seven years. A 
committee was appointed consisting of Samuel Porter, Lieutenant 
Nehemiah Dickinson, Sergeant Daniel Marsh, Peter Montague, 
and Samuel Bernard, in 1713, to take charge of the erection of 
a new church, in the middle of the town. Colonel Eleazer Porter 
(whose home built in 1713, is shown in the pictures) asked and 
received permission to replace the old pulpit and sounding board 
with new ones, in 1739. On the north side of the church was a 
steeple, the first in Hampshire County. The assignment of seats 
was a very important business and by it the wealth, station and 
age of the individuals were fixed, or rather confirmed. This 
business of seating, and the placing of " Mr." before a man's 
name, was the nearest approach to the various titles of the Old 
Country, that was to be found in the Colonies. 

The minister, the Rev. John Russell, was a member of the third 
class to be graduated from Harvard — 1645 — and a man of 
sound judgment, strong opinions and great moral courage. He 
did not fail to express himself as he believed duty demanded, 
because one or another of his parishoners might be offended by 
what he said. As a public speaker he was regarded with high 
esteem and in 1665, he was chosen to preach the " Election Ser- 
mon " at Hartford. He was thrifty and even a good man of 
business, for he left his children the very considerable fortune 
of £830. 

The second minister was the Rev. Isaac Chauncey, of Stamford, 
Connecticut. He was a graduate of Harvard in the class of 
1693, and a grandson of President Chauncey, the second president 
of Harvard. He was ordained about 1696. His salary was £8o 
a year and his firewood, and the parish gave him twenty acres 
of meadow, and the home lot with the buildings on it that had 



belonged to the former minister, the Rev. John Russell. Mr. 
Chauncey was possessed of a better education than his prede- 
cessor, Mr. Russell, but he was not so prominent, not so much 
a man of affairs in the town as was Mr. Russell, probably be- 
cause the times were more settled in his pastorate, less strenuous. 
Mr. Chauncey 's death occurred in 1745, in the seventy-fifth year 
of his age and the fiftieth of his ministry. 

The third minister was the Rev. Chester Williams, of Pomfret, 



Connecticut. He was a graduate of Yale in the class of 1735, 
and for two years after graduation was a tutor. His ordination 
took place in 1741. That he was a man of the finest courage 
was shown by his opposition to that ambitious, ecclesiastical auto- 
crat, the Rev. Jonathan Edwards ; that religious contractor who 
paved hell with the skulls of infants. Through his wife, the 
daughter of Colonel Eleazer Porter, Mr. Williams became 
possessed of a considerable fortune. He was a man who was 



nice, and even elegant in his dress, and was said to ride the best 
horse in Hampshire County. 

The Rev. Samuel Hopkins, a graduate of Yale, became minister 

in 1755- 

He was a nephew of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards. As was 
frequently done in those -days, when to be single was anything 
but to be blessed, Mr. Hopkins married the widow of his prede- 


cessor. His ministry continued through fifty-four years, his 
death occurring in 1809. 

It is an interesting fact that the first scythe ever made in the 
Colonies was made in Hadley. It was made by Benjamin Colt, 
the ancestor of the inventor of the famous Colt's revolver. 


THAT portion of Hadley lying on the west side of the Con- 
necticut River was the first of Hadley's offspring to ob- 
tain an independent existence by incorporation, in 1670. 
The situation of Hatfield made it easy of attack by Indians and, 



as a fact, it was a great sufferer from them. Its first experience 
was in King Philip's War when, on October 19, 1675, an army of 
nearly 800 Indians made a descent upon that settlement from 
Deerfield, where they killed and destroyed to such an extent, that 
they thought to continue their success at Hatfield. 

Several small companies of settlers, which were out scouting, 
had been cut off from the settlement by the attacking Indians. 
The Indians then hurried to the village and attacked it from 
several directions, but they were met by Captain Poole and Cap- 




tain Mosely who, with their companies, were in the village. Cap- 
tain Poole defended one end of the village and Captain Mosely 
held the center and then, just in time to turn the fight for the 
settlers, Captain Appleton arrived from Hadley with his company 
and defended the other end of the village. But the Indians were 
not repulsed with ease. The fight was terrific while it lasted, for. 
the Indians were full of confidence from their recent victory 
at Deerfield and so fought with unusual courage. When they 



realized that the clay had gone against them, they fled with such 
haste that many of them lost their arms, and their ammunition 
was ruined by the water while they were fording or swimming 
Mill River, across which they were driven by the victorious 
settlers. They succeeded in setting fire to several buildings be- 
fore they were driven from the village, and in driving off some 
cattle and sheep. As it was just before dark when they were put 
to flight the settlers did not pursue them. 

The next attack was made by 700 Indians on May 30, 1676. 

•w Across which the Indians were driven in the fight of October 19, 1675. 


This time they were more successful. While one party was at- 
tacking the fortified houses of the settlement, another burned 
a dozen or more houses and barns and a third drove off 
nearly, if not all of the cattle. The loss of life and property 
would have been much greater, had it not been for the fine courage 
of twenty-five young men of Hadley who crossed the river and, 
fighting with a savagery that awed the Indians, broke through 
them and entered the village in time to render much needed as- 


sistance. Thus, a second time Hadley had saved its first offspring 
from destruction. In the same year Hatfield men took part in the 
Falls fight — Turners Falls — and Hatfield's first minister, the 
Rev. Hope Atherton, was the chaplain in that famous fight. He 
became separated from the soldiers after the fight and soon was 
lost in the forest. After wandering about till nearly worn out, 
he started to give himself up to the Indians, but they regarding 
him as a great medicine-man retreated before him and would not 
let him approach them. They knew enough about the settlements 
to know from his clerical dress that he was the " medicine-man " 
of the settlers, and the fact that he was seeking them no doubt 
filled them with fear, as they would naturally regard such ac- 
tion as being due to his power to destroy, or in some way injure 
them, with his " bad medicine ". The poor gentleman wandered 
about for a number of days, exhausted by fatigue and hunger. 
At last he came upon the river and followed its course south to 

The people of the settlement were occupied on September 19, 
1677, w i tn a house-raising, when they were suddenly set upon 
by a band of fifty Indians who captured or killed about twenty of 
the settlers, two of the captives being Mrs. Benjamin Wait and 
Mrs. Stephen Jennings. Later in the year, a party set out for 
Canada to ransom the captives and after eight months absence 
they returned with nineteen of them. 


HADLEY East, or Hadley Third Precinct, became the 
Town of Amherst in 1759, by incorporation. The Pre- 
cinct had its first Church, and settled the Rev. David 
Parsons as its first minister, in 1739. The word precinct was an 
ecclesiastical term synonymous with parish. 

The land was divided among the proprietors of Hadley, in 
1703, by Captain Aaron Clark, Lieutenant Nehemiah Dickinson, 
and Samuel Porter, the Town Surveyors. The original highways, 
or roads, were forty rods wide — about 650 feet — but they were 
reduced in 1754, some to twenty rods and others twelve rods in 
width, and in 1788 to six rods. 

Just when the first house was built is uncertain, but in 1703, 


a man named Foote from Hatfield built a house of rough logs 
near the site of the meeting-house of the second parish. Foote 
was a hunter and trapper and he expected to make a living at 
his calling but failed to do so and finally moved away. The 
neighborhood where he built his hut was known for many years 
as Foote-folly Swamp. The Indian wars and their frequent raids, 
between wars, made it dangerous for any one to settle at any 
distance from the older settlements, so the Third Precinct, or 
Amherst, was not permanently settled till about 1727. There were 
eighteen settlers in 1731. They were, John and Jonathan Cowles, 
John Ingram, father and son ; Stephen, Aaron and Nathaniel 
Smith, Samuel Boltwood, Samuel Hawley, Nathaniel Church, 
John and Joseph Wells, Richard Chauncey, John Nash, Jr., 
Ebenezer Ingram, Ebenezer Scoville, and Ebenezer Dickinson. 
By 1760, Amherst had increased so greatly in population that it 
was larger than Hadley, and in 1790, its 1,200 inhabitants made it 
just twice the size of Hadley in population. 

In 1734, when the settlement had increased enough for the in- 
habitants to feel that they were entitled to be formed into a sepa- 
rate parish, Hadley opposed it successfully through its representa- 
tive. Captain Luke Smith, who was sent to Boston for that pur- 
pose. In the winter of that year the petition was renewed and 
granted with the understanding, that a meeting-house should be 
built and a minister settled (orthodox, of course) within three 
years. Hadley Third Precinct was seven miles long and two and 
three-quarters miles wide. In October, 1735, the people voted to 
build a meeting-house and settle a minister. The Rev. David Par- 
sons, Jr., was the choice. He began to preach as Amherst's first 
minister in 1735, and was ordained in 1739. Mr. Parsons was a 
graduate of Harvard. The first meeting-house was begun in 1738, 
and was worshipped in before it was finished, in 1753. It was 
situated on what later became the site of Amherst College, not 
far from the Observatory. 

Amherst was greatly disturbed by bitter fights connected with 
religion. Mr. Parsons, the first minister, died in 1781, and was 
succeeded by his son, the Rev. Dr. David Parsons. Captain 
Ebenezer Mattoon and his followers strongly opposed his settle- 
ment, and a year or two later the fight became so strenuous that 
they left the Church and formed the second parish, at East Street. 










AMHERST. 3 6 3- 

But this was not the first trouble, for when an attempt was made 
to fix upon a site for the first meeting-house it resulted in a 
quarrel ; nor was it the last, for when it was proposed to build 
the second meeting-house, just before the Revolution, another 
fight was started, which jarred the foundations of the Church 
organization, of society, and started feuds between neighbors that 
lasted for many years. 

As the first meeting-house was too small for the congregation 
in 1 7/ 1, it was decided to build one larger, and the attempt to 
select a site was the beginning of the trouble. The first perma- 
nent settlers had built their houses near the center of the present 
village. As all of the lots in that part of the settlement were soon 
occupied, the new inhabitants, who came along later, were 
obliged to build their houses on the outskirts of the settlement, 
toward the north and the south. It was not long before these 
settlements at the north and south contained more inhabitants 
than the center. 

The north and south-enders were keen politicians as well as 
church members. That they might benefit themselves at the ex- 
pense of the older portion of the settlement in the center, they 
proposed to divide the District in two, by a line passing through 
the center from east to west. (A District was a town in every- 
thing but the right to send representative to the Legislature. 
This was due to the King's fear of the increasing power of the 
Towns through their representatives.) Their idea was to event- 
ually form each half of the divided District into a separate Dis- 
trict or Town. In 1772, a majority voted to divide the District, 
and in 1773, it voted to build two meeting-houses remote from the 
center, but both were to be built at the expense of the whole Dis- 
trict without regard to the division. This plan would have placed 
the greater portion of the expense of building the two churches 
upon the inhabitants of the center, and would have left them fur- 
ther from the two churches than the inhabitants at the north and 
south ends of the settlement. 

Of the 120 property owners in the District a majority — 
seventy — were opposed to dividing the District and in favor of 
building the new and larger meeting-house at the center. And as 
only property owners could vote on such matters, the north and 
south-enders -would have been in a deep hole had they not been 



resourceful. In those two neighborhoods there were some twenty- 
five legal voters who were not property owners, and nearly all 
were sons of farmers. To them their fathers deeded small pieces 
of land and thus were they made eligible to vote upon the ques- 
tion at issue, and so the majority in the center became the minor- 
ity. The only resource of the people at the center was to petition 
the Legislature for a stay in the proceedings. The Legislature 
granted the petition and sent Artemus Ward, Mr. Pickering and 
Colonel Bacon as a committee to investigate and report. This 


was in February, 1774. This action of the Legislature, and the 
war with Great Britain, stopped all further action in the matter. 
A new meeting-house was built at the center in 1788. 

When the Colonies had decided upon complete independence, 
Amherst was found to be well supplied with soldiers and officers 
of experience. These men had been trained to hardship and mili- 
tary service in the Indian troubles at the beginning of the second 
half of the eighteenth century. In 1744, in King George's War, 
the following men from Amherst learned to shoot to kill, to 

AMHERST. 3 6 5 

bear hunger and cold without complaint, to know and fear 
danger and meet it with bravery and courage ; with a hero- 
ism that would have been impossible had they not known and 
feared it. They were ; Joseph Alexander, Ensign Solomon Bolt- 
wood, Sergeant Solomon Keyes, Corporal William Montague, 
Corporal Joseph Hawley, Hezekiah Belding, William Boltwood, 
Joseph Clary, Josiah Chauncey, Jonathan Dickinson, Ebenezer 
Dickinson. John and Samuel Ingram, Joseph Kellogg, Anson 
Smith, Peletiah Smith, David Nash, Eleazar Mattoon, Gideon 
Parsons, Reuben Smith, Eleazar Nash, Stephen Smith. In 1757, 
when Fort William Henry was besieged, Lieutenant Jonathan 
Dickinson and his company of sixteen men of Amherst, were 
ordered to help defend the western frontiers. In the expedition 
to Crown Point, in 1755, Sergeant Reuben Dickinson and five 
other men of Amherst were in Captain Moses Porter's company. 
They were in the " Bloody Morning Scout " of September 8, of 
that year, in Colonel Ephraim Williams' command. In this same 
expedition, Samuel Hawley and his three sons were in Captain 
Nathaniel Dwight's company. 

Amherst was full of patriots when the Revolution broke out, 
and a few of her sons were loyal to their King and so proved 
themselves to be possessed of fine moral courage, for it requires 
the finest courage, when such a revolution is brewing and is ac- 
tually being fought, to be on the unpopular side. Foremost among 
the patriots were Ebenezer Mattoon, Jr., and Nathaniel Dickin- 
son, Jr. Among the Tories were the Rev. David Parsons, the 
minister ; Squire Isaac Chauncey and Lieutenant Robert Bolt- 

Mr. Mattoon was a man of cultivation and wisdom, who became 
Amherst's most distinguished son in public life. He was gradu- 
ated from Dartmouth College in the class of 1776, and imme- 
diately devoted his intelligence, his energy and his life to the in- 
dependence of the Colonies. As Representative at the age of but 
twenty-one, and later as Senator in the Legislature ; as Member 
of Congress, Sheriff of Hampshire County, and Adjutant General 
of Massachusetts, he proved himself to be " the first among 
equals ", as Governor Treadwell of Connecticut happily described 
the social and political condition of the typical New Englander. 

Of the same fine patriotism, intellect and energy, was Nathaniel 
Dickinson. He was graduated from Harvard in 1771, and im- 

3 66 


mediately began to study law in the office of Major Hawley, in 
Northampton. At the expiration of his law studies, in 1774, at 
the age of twenty-four, he found himself in the midst of condi- 
tions that offered greater opportunities for doing and accom- 
plishing than had ever before, or have since been presented to the 
young men of America. " Nat " Dickinson's temper was as hot 
as his patriotism, and it was well for him, whose lack of patriot- 
ism aroused Nat's temper ; to suddenly remember that he had an 


appointment in an adjoining county, and to make all possible 
speed in keeping it. On one occasion, when the minister, Mr. 
Parsons, was obliged to read a proclamation issued by the newly 
created State of Massachusetts, which ended with ; " God save 
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ", Mr. Williams added : 
'But I say, God bless the King"; Mr. Dickinson sprang up in 
his pew and shouted ; " I say you are a damned rascal ". 

Mr. Dickinson was a delegate to the first Provincial Congress 
and also to the second, which met in Cambridge, in February, 
1775, and to the third, in Watertown, in the same year. He was 


a Representative in the Legislature in 1778, 1780, and 1783, but 
the Town Committees of Correspondence, of which he was a mem- 
ber, gave him the best opportunities for the display of his uncom- 
promising and fiery patriotism. In the offices of clerk, treasurer, 
assessor and selectman of the town he displayed excellent busi- 
ness ability and careful, painstaking work. In 1 781, he was gen- 
erally known as " 'Squire Nat " because of his appointment by 
Governor Hancock as a Justice of the Peace. His death occurred 
in his fifty-third year, in 1802. 

Amherst's Committee of Correspondence in 1774, was composed 
of Moses, Reuben, and Nathaniel Dickinson, Jr. ; Jacob McDaniels 
and Joseph Williams. 

There were just enough Tories in Amherst to make the patriots 
unusually suspicious and cautious. Josiah Chauncey had been 
commissioned as a captain of militia by Hutchinson, the Royal 
Governor, in 1773, and the Captain's patriot fellow citizens were 
not satisfied with his protestations of patriotism, until he had 
burned all Royal commissions, of every kind, which he had re- 
ceived. This ceremony took place under a large tree with con- 
siderable formality. 

As an educational center, Amherst has been notable for manv 
generations. Noah Webster, the famous lexicographer, taught 
in the Amherst Academy, which he had helped to organize, and 
which was the beginning of Amherst College founded in 1821. 
In addition to the Academy and College, there was a seminary 
known as Mount Pleasant Institution. 


IN 1 72 1, when a few families settled in South Hadley, having 
moved there from Hadley, the settlement was called the 
South Precinct, it being a part of the old Town of Hadley. 
For a number of years the people of the new settlement were 
obliged to travel six or seven miles, to Hadley, to attend Church. 
In 1732, the settlers had put up the frame for a church and the fol- 
lowing year they voted to partly finish the building, that it might 
be worshiped in, but it was not finished till 1737. This meeting- 
house was a tiny affair with only nine pews. The people were too 
few and too poor to have a bell, or even the customary drum for 


calling the congregation to meeting, so a conch shell was used for 
that purpose. Later, as the number of inhabitants increased, a 
little gallery was added for their accommodation, and in 175c 
the church was too small to seat all the people so it was decided 
to build a new and larger meeting-house. 

There were many church-site fights in the old New England 
towns, but it is doubtful if any of them continued for thirteen 
years as did the dispute in South Hadley and even then it was 
only settled by calling upon a number of ministers to act as peace- 
makers. After holding more than fifty meetings for the purpose 
of fixing upon a site, without success, it was finally decided to 
leave it to chance. Lots were drawn for the site and when the 
result was announced, that portion of the inhabitants which fa- 
vored another site was still dissatisfied, so a council of ministers 
was called. It was composed of the Rev. Dr. Stephen Williams, 
of Longmeadow ; the Rev. John Ballentine, of Westfield ; the Rev. 
Robert Breck, of Springfield ; and the Rev. Joseph Lathrop, of 
West Springfield. This council decided that the site chosen by 
lot must stand. The first minister of the Church was the Rev. 
Grindall Rawson, who was settled in 1733. The second minister 
was the Rev. John Woodbridge, who was in charge of the Church 
from 1742. till 1782, and so was there during the dispute over 
the site. 

The falls at South Hadley were famous for the size and great 
number of the shad caught there, and was resorted to by men 
from considerable distances. This made the business of inn keep- 
ing profitable, as the fisherman, whether he is such for sport, food 
or profit, is proverbially thirsty and hungry. 

Samuel Smith kept the first inn in 1729, on the road to Spring- 
field, north of the falls. The first inn in the district known as 
Falls Woods was kept by Elijah Alvord, in 1755. Alvord also 
had a warehouse at the mouth of Stony Brook, where he carried 
on a considerable trade. Besides these inns, there were several 
others opened and all of them did a good business on account of 
the fishing and the transportation of produce and merchandise 
around the falls. As late as 1820, the Canal Hotel, on Front 
street at the falls, frequently provided dinners for from seventy- 
five to one hundred fishermen in a day. 


WHEN the people of Dedham, Massachusetts, were at- 
tacked by an irresistible desire to move from their 
homes in the east, to that far and fertile portion of 
the Colony in the Connecticut Valley, they sent out men of ex- 
perience whom they trusted, to explore the country and find a 
place for the new settlement. These men explored carefully 
and finally chose that portion of the valley called Pocomtuck by 
the Indians, where Deerfield and Greenfield are situated. These 
explorers chose Pocomtuck because of the fertility of its soil and 
the great natural beauty of the locality, which combines meadows 
backed by uplands, and several individual, precipitous hills in 
the midst of the meadows. These hills seem like mountains be- 
cause of their isolation from other eminences, and the consider- 
able height which they attain. So, they chose their homes in the 
midst of great natural beauties, that are unsurpassed of their kind, 
and also upon a soil that has been famous for nearly three cen- 
turies for its fertility. 

In 1669, the General Court, in Governor Bellingham's adminis- 
tration, granted 8,000 acres of land at Pocomtuck, to the people 
cf Dedham. The proprietors met for the first time on March 1, 
1670, in Dedham, to make arrangements for the laying out of the 
grant and in 1673, the General Court incorporated the 8,000-acre 
grant as the Town of Deerfield which thus became the oldest town 
in Franklin County. The original territory of 8,000 acres ex- 
tended from the north bounds of Hatfield to the Pocomtuck 
River — which became the Deerfield River when the incorporation 
took place. Additional grants were later made that included the 
territory which later became the Towns of Greenfield, Conway, 
Shelburne Falls and Gill. 

A deed for a part of the original grant was given, in 1665, by 

Sachem Chauk, of the Pocomtuck Indians, to William Pynchon, 

cf Springfield. Wequonock was the witness for his tribe. This 

deed had the usual provision, that the Indians retained the right 

24 [369] 

37 ' 


i hum and fish, and to gather the natural pr 
and fiel 

The actual setl about [670, the n tree! of 

the lit • th, on the upland 

to the .\v\ immediately joining the meadows, which 1 

tend down t<> the western bank of the Connecticut River. (1 
one of the most charming vill - in the valley. The siti 

n of D It was in the 

mid an Indian countn and I 


a natural the high, \ 

itous hi!!-. fr< >m th< which tl ive 

view ttlements. Th< me hills and 

Sugar Loaf, in tin. ith 

other tribes. Deerfield was burnt ami the people killed by India 

Th' rather fast during the first four 

yea when the first Indian attack was made, fivi - after 

the settlement, then I well built vill . Philip- War 

an in 1675, and in Septen r year an attack was made 



and one of the settlers was killed, and a little later, another at- 
tack was made upon the people as they were on their way to 
meeting, hut ti« ■! >< »< !\ was killed. The all that portion 

of the valley were alarmed by these and other attacks by the 

Indians I S there were \.<*^>i husheh 

prain stored in Deerfield, th< ided to remove it to a place 

This duty was assigi i Lathi 

and about eight) •). who were stationed at I ladle\ . 

Captain Lathrop and hi> men. with a great number of carts 



drawn by oxen. ■ the fifteen miles between Eiadley and 

Deerfield in safety, and loaded the prain upon the cart-. They 
started on their return to Hadley, on September [8, 1675. The 
• three miles of the return was over level ground that was 
heavily wooded. At the southern end of Sugar Loaf Mountain 
the road passed through a swamp, which was covered 1>\ a dense 
thicket, and across Bloody Brook — now Muddj Brook. Although 
the march had been through conditions most favorable to an 


ambush b) Indians, Captain Lathrop did not take the precaution 

uts to .^i\c warning of an ambush, or the 
]>r< i Indians. As a matter of fact, 700 Indians had secreted 

themselves in the thicket at th< where the swamp road 

crossed Blood} Brook. 

The Indians permitted the soldiers to cross the brock, and when 
they halted, to allow th< itch up with them, the Indians 

le th' ir attack. They first fin llcy upon the soldi< 

iternation and confusion. Before the 
liers had time to 1 in th from their 

dismay, the Indians rushed in for a hand-to-hand ti.u'ht. The Lai 
number of the Indians them to attack the 

:i all sides, >pting 

Indian tactics, 1 I shot irefully 

and only when a human tain Lathrop 

i his men fought d< . but the greater number of the 

enemy made the result ; »m the first. Captain Lathrop 

was killed early in the fight ami when it v renty-thi 

of his soldier^ had been killed, and a the men with 

th< ' : the whole number under Captain Lathrop but 

en or eight escaped, tit oi the dis 

n Mosely and his any. who • Deer- 

field, hearing the firing, hastened to th< the fight only to 

i the Indii :lu- woui ! stripping the d< 

their - ng. Mosely and his men made 

pirate attack upon ti :ly superior number of the enemy 

and i ral hours held them off, and finally made it 

tor them that they we: 1 ed to hide in the swamp and \ 
It happened that Major Tn inecticut. was on a SCOUt 

ng the river with one hundred men !i. and 

Mohegan and I Indians. A- soon as he heard the m 

of the battle he hastened with his men and arrived in time to t 
part in the final utter defeat of the Indians, who red in all 

directions. Inci t may seem, when the great number of 

the Indians tain Mosely but two men 

and only seven or eight were wounded, while between ninety-five 
and one hundred Indians were killed. In the report of the fight 
Lieutenant Savage and Lieutenant Pickering were especially men- 
tion d for their coolness and bravery. 



Toward night, Major Treat and Captain Mosely returned with 
their men to Deerfield and camped for the night. The next morn- 
ing they returned t<> the scene of the fight t<> bury the (load. 
Later in the day after the fight, the [ndians returned t>> Deerfield 
and attempted t<> intimidate the soldiers by whoops and the dis- 
play of the bl ly scalp! and clothing of the men they had killed. 
At this time there were but twenl n men in the fortified 

house, but th< r in command made signals to make it appear 

thai a large force was but ince outside of the villaj 

. \rr UN JOHN mi 
of llic duel the French and Indians on the mornii . 

and in addition, he and his men >h<>t so straight and s< » rapidly 
that the Indians believed a much stronger force was within the 

• than was really th< they withdrew without attacking. 

\'<>t long after this the soldiers and the settlers left Deerfield 
Hadley, whereupon the Indians returned to Deerfield and 
destroyed the settlement. 

In i ' «77. the General Court ordered the return of the garrison 
and of the settlers, that the village might be rebuilt. They obeyed 


the order, but several of the settlers being kilK-< I by Indians the 
place was again abandoned and the little work of rebuilding they 

I been ua> undone by the Indians. In tin- spring of 
[682, the settlei tin returned to Deerfield and rebuilt the 
village, and for l the) wen- left in comparative 

and quiet. 
In i' ■•,-,. the 1" Indian . n and < 

tinued t:!l [704. Hie) culminated in the nt out by 

vernor \ audrieul, ol 
de Rouville, who bad 200 Frenchmen and 142 Indians. I; 

! that tlu- conditi imc as 

. hen tin- French and Indians at 
Schenectady, V rlicr, in 1 At 

tins time, th< in th< 

on tli< tis 

which in 

its watchfuli I that it would be i 

sible !'• r an atta the 

r, with tl I the :ier 
point • t' similar:' I that 
upon Deerfield in 1704, v. nch 
er in both that bad th< in- 
prepared, and bad it . the French 

II Id have be< irly 
perished fi r. As a full \ • • ic- 

and Massad n«l 

I \ ■ inia — it 1- sti that I ' 

itself - gfht in a similar t ra j > by the French. The attack 

n Schenectady took place in the nif I February 8 and 
[690; that upon Deerfield, in the early mornii February - 


When ind bis army arrived at Deerfield they found 

the garrison asleep, with r sentinels on duty. The 

iund was red with snow to a depth 

and the snow wa red with a crust str h to bear the 

weight of the attacking army. The snow t» the) \\ 

abl< asily climb the palisade-;. When they bad distribut 

themselves all over the village the attack was made upon the 


sleeping soldiers and inhabitants. The chief difference between 
this affair and the one at Schenectady was, thai they were 

awake the inhabitants of Deerfield fought for their lives and their 
hon jperately, while in Schenectady, the only inhabitant who 

fence of his home, was that 
fine specimen of a Dutchman, the hero of " 1690", Adam Vroo- 
man, who ma t for the French that they granted him an 

unconditional surrender. 

The part of the vill lure the attack was made in 1 


contained within the palisades about twenty a - me of the 

houses within the palisades were built in the form of blockhou 
with the spaces between the timbers filled with brick to make 
them bullet proof, and with loop Ik .Irs in the sidr> and through 

the floor of the overhanging second story. In addition tl 

were " mounds ". which were built of massive hewn timbers, from 
the tops of which a watch could be kept — but on tin- icasion 

was not kept — and from which a strong defence could be made. 
When the d"or of the house of the Rev. John Williams was 



forced he fired at the first Indian with his pistol, but the flint 
did not s|, ;i rk and he was immediate!) overpowered and kept 
in the intense cold, in n<> other covering than his night 
shirt. Tu>> of his children and a fema ive were killed, but 
Mrs. Williams and the five other children were permitted to dr< 
At Captain John Sheldon's house they met with a stubborn re- 

tance. The enei unable to force the door, so a hole v 

cut in it with a tomahawk through which Mrs. Sheldon was ki' 
as sin- was gettii I her bed. The ind his 

wife hoped I ape by jumping from a window, but young 

Mrs. Sheldon sprained her ankle - lly thai 

walk. Woman-like, she pers lu-r husband not to remain 

them both to be captured, li leave 

lu-r and fled through the v. Id. ^ 'Irs. Sheldon 

was taken to Canada, whence she returned to her husband after 
thirty months of captivity. 

'tain Sheldon's ! by the French as a placi 

confinement for their prisonei II they 

were about to leave. It v. m being burnt by the set- 


tiers who h;ul escaped and returned as soon as the French with- 
drew. < »ik- of the settlers who w. fined in the Sheldon house 
was a man named Bridgeman. He managed to reach the attic 
without being seen, where he hid himself under a quantity of 
bark, but he was found by the Indians. Bridgeman made 
another attempt b) following the Indiana to the cellar and secret- 
ing himself behind the cellar door, but as the last of them was 
g up t! tairs he followed, as he feared they would kill 
him should he be found in the second attempt to escape them. 
t as the French were leaving the ; ung [ndian ap- 
Bridgeman and deliberately cut off one of his fing 

But this did not end his adventures. Loitering in the rear when 
tile march began, he watched for an Opportunity and made a dash 

for the town, but he v- ily wounded as he w 

at the top of the hill near the fort. This fort, by the way. W3 

smaller one about sixt) I th of the lai tie. where 

the attack took | It probably e ipture as the enemy 

I enough I with the mam portion of the village, and by 

the time the) had subdued the larger fort, da) was dawning and 
tin ■ • t of possible reinforcements. 

tfter the French and Indians had left t! 

ment, all of the settlers who had ind .1 few who had 

arrived from 1 1. id 'her pi 1 the retreating 

French and mad ttad upon them, about a mile 

oi die vill their attack that the French 

runandi ring they would be hampered by the pris 

sent an [ndian to nil tl rd to kill them all. Tin- Indian was 

t before he reached the guard and the odds being too greal the 
attacking settlers withdrew, and th'- n< for killing the 

prisoners no longei 

The night after the march toward Canada began, the French 
and their captives camped on the bluff where the village of < ireen- 
field was later built. Sometime in the night One of the captives. 
named Alexander, escaped. In the morning the French com- 
mander instructed the Rev. Mr. Williams to tell the prison. • 
that if any more escaped all of the others would be burnt to death. 
( >n tin second <lay of the march Mrs. Williams, the wife of the 
minister, who hail hut a few weeks previously given birth to a 
child, became exhausted. In her weakened condition the Indians 



regarded her as t<><> much <>f a nuisance so slu- was murdered. 
The Rev. Mr. Williams and four of his children were eventually 
ransomed, but his daughter, Eunice, who was ten at 

the time of the capture, remained in Canada. She married an 
Indian and, what was much worse in the estimation ■■! her frien 
Roman Catholic. Although sin- visited her relath 
in New England <>n several were never able I 

induce her t" remain, ire up Romanism. One of her 

tts, and be- 
came a mi 

Februarj 29, 1704, Deerfield inhabitai 

including women and children, while the French had ht- 

men. The « »< 1» Is were irresistible and the fight was 
over, but at one of ti the few defenders held 

the cnem; vend hours till it was finalh 

the 280 inhabitants, ii- captured and \j re killed. Nine- 

n of the captured were mui ' I on Llie march to Canada and 
two, David Hoyt and lied of starvation. < >f the 9] 

survivors of that terrible journey t I anada through the snow and 


cold, <>2 were ransomed after two years and a half of captivity 

and 2') never returned. 

There is a tradition that one of the - of the attack upon 

Deerfield, with its murders and torture, was due to Roman 
' superstitution. The priest of the St. Regis Indians had 

induced them to provide sufficient furs for the purchase of a small 

bell for the mission, in which the French taught them the gentle 

art ing their souls, by murdering and torturing their fellow 

Christians of a different creed. The ship in which this hell « 

ight to Canada iptured by a British cruiser ami, 

with its freight, ild in Salem, Massachu to provide the 

e-money for tin- capt The bell was hi at auction 

and eventually reached Deerfield, whei I '.\.i^ hung in the tower 
of the little Church. That a Hoi) I bell should call th 

heretics to their mock worship of th - "r was than that 

gentle Fathi r of St. R he p d the St. 

;ts Indians t ■: their scrvt. list 

the he' • ment that th- ht thus recover the hell. The 

■ \ Father n I his hell and incidentally; no doubt, his 

children of the foi I . ed th< many of the pains of 

Purj dashing out the brains of heretic infants and by the 

murder of Mis. Williams, the wife of the prime heretic. The 
Only part of this that is not tradition is, that the hell was captured, 
that it Id and hung in the 1 1 It hurch ; that the French 

and their good friends and fellow Romanists, the Indians, burnt 

Deerfield and murdered its inhabitants; that they rescued the hell 

from the heretics and took it with them on the march as far as 

Lake Champlain, where it was hidden and removed to St. R( 
in the f< illowing spring. 

Besides the two great • of Deerfield, when the village 

was destroyed by fire and many of the inhabitants killed <>r taken 

as captives to Canada by the Indians, the people were h. 
by Indians for about ninety y< has before been said. While 

the actual number killed in the many attai small parties of 

Indians, and the number of buildings burnt, wen- not large in any 

individual instance, the total was considerable and the terror in- 
spired was great and constant. The following is a fair sample of 
the kind of warfare that was kept up by the Indians during those 
trying ninety years. 


In the last week of August, 1741 tnuel Allen and his 
daughter; two brothers named Amsdell, a soldier named Gillet, 
ruiecticut, and Eleazur Hawkes, Jr.. wire making hay 
in a field on Mr. Allen's farm, when a band »ut fort) Indi. 

attacked them and killed the five men and fright full) crushed 
the skull of Miss Allen, who v ahauked on hot 1 | her 

head. The inhahitants of the village, hearing the shooting 
hastened to the l"t and drove off the Indi 

killed and one :nded. Mi-- Allen was still a! 

II 13 13 1 II I 

111 IBM RiTb 

and was carried to th( I fully injured 

she lived, but v. id an<! much disfigun 

A curi : her injuries \\;i>. that after the 

r alwa her to faint. Miss Allen was living 

•4. The b • the Indian who had been killed v 

thrown into a pond in the hope that the find 

i;. They did, however, and removed alp. Lieutenant 

Mehuman Hinsdell, who was the first white child born in Deer- 
field, in 1673, had an exciting and varied experience as an Indian 
fighter, and was twice captured by them. ! I, or was 

ransomed, and finally died in his home, in May. 17 


NOTWITHSTANDING that the New England settlers 
prided themselvi - i their devotion to the stern un- 

utiful realities o! life and religion; that they tried 
eliminate from their lives an appreciation of all that •. 

Utiftll, in nature ami art. as an evidence of their faithfuh 
to the Church they had i and miles "t" ocean 

to build up ami maintain; the tact still remains, that the inherent 

love for, and of, the beautiful dominated the 

and minds of the men who chose tin reenfield 

for their future homes. It i> difficult t" imagine a site n 

charming for a settlement than the hlutT upon which Greenfield 
ituated, a' r, that winds through the mead 

t" empty into tin- I Id ami so with the Connecticut. Pro- 

ted from the east winds high ram :tT>. and on the 

•h ami west h\ lulN that mar!\ reach the altitude of moun- 

>. and ;-• the south the beginning of the • the situa- 

tion is nearh ideal. Men who were capabli boosing such 

a lovely spol for their homes proved, by s<> doing, that they v. 
utterly incapable of crusl it the inherent love of Jehovah's 

That their shell "t" re-erve had CI I ami was torn awa\ is 

shown by the words of the men who went out to select a place for 
Settlement, to those who had remained at home. " Providei 
led us t" that place. It is indeed far away from our plantations, 
and th< and Amalekites dwell in that valley, and if 

they have any attachment to any spot on earth, it must delight 
them to live then 

For people who worshipped God by fearing Him, this bursl of 

admiration for the natural beauties of Greenfield and the valley 

I' th( SOUth means more than all the prose and viTm- that has 

been written about it since that day, when the God- fearing Con- 
gationalists ( Ives and became God-loving human 

beings, and champions of the beautiful in Nature. 

Greenfield was originally part of the Town of Dccrfield. which 
is the oldest settlement in Franklin County. The General Court 



of Massachusetts granted to a company of men in Dedham a 
tract of 8,000 acres at Pocomtuck, and a later grant included the 
territory within the bounds of the present Town of Greenfield. 

Nathaniel Brooks was probably the first settler of Greenfield, 
in 1686, when he was granted twenty acres on the Green River, 
which the Indians called, Picomegan, meaning the boring river. 
Later in that year, grants were made to John and Edward Allyn 
and Joseph and Robert Goddard, on condition that they should 
live on the land for three years after their coming of age ; that 
they pay taxes and their proportion of the price paid in the pur- 
chase of the land from the Indians. These were the conditions 
of all the grants. In the following year, 1687, grants of twenty 
acres each were made to Jeremiah Hall, Ebenezer Wells, Samuel 
Smead, Phillip Mattoon, Nathaniel Cooke, both of the Allyns and 
both of the Goddards. 

About this time the lots on the street were owned according to 
their numbers as follows : Beginning at the west end, on the 
south side of the street, Ebenezer Wells, 1 ; David Hoyt, 2 ; 
William Brooks, 3 and 4 ; Edward Allyn, 5. On the north side, 
from the west end were ; Samuel Smead, 1 ; the Mill lot, 2 ; 
Joshua Goddard, 3 ; Robert Goddard, 4 ; John Severance, 5 ; 
Jeremiah Hall, 6 ; John Allyn, 7. There can be nothing that more 
strongly emphazises the almost entire lack of money, in the 
form of coin or bills, than the record in 1695, that the Deerfield 
Town rate was made payable in pork and corn, good and mer- 

Attention was paid to the education of the children at an earlier 
date than in some other river towns. There was no compulsory 
education in those days by Legislative enactment, but a Town 
law was passed that was about the same in effect. It was, that 
the fathers of children between the ages of six and ten were com- 
pelled to pay toward their " schooling " whether they attended 
school or not ; under six and over ten years of age, they only 
paid for actual attendance. Another interesting fact shown by 
this Town law was, that the elders believed that the youngsters 
had accumulated a sufficient education for all practical purposes 
by the time they were ten years old. This early age was no doubt 
fixed upon through necessity. The community was small and the 
work of clearing the land and cultivating crops, and of spinning 
and weaving was so great, that every available pair of hands 


was an absolute necessity. At the age of ten the boys could re- 
lieve their older brothers and their fathers of the " chores " about 
the barn and the house, and the girls were even more helpful 
in the housework and the work having to do with the spinning 
and weaving. 

In this same year, 1698, the greater value of oxen over horses 
for farm work, was shown by the taxable rate fixed upon stock 
that was in every way perfect. An ox was valued for taxing pur- 
poses at £6, a horse at £3, and a cow at £2, and inferior specimens 
of each variety were rated lower but in accordance with this ratio. 
For nearly two hundred years after that date, oxen were more 
highly prized for farm work and logging than horses, in New 
England, especially in the hill-towns. There are still portions 
of New England in which the slow, sure-footed oxen are more 
valued for heavy work than horses. For taxing purposes swine 
— not being fattened — were rated at ten shillings and less, ac- 
cording to age and quality, and sheep at five shillings and less. 

In 1699, grants were made of thirty acres to Samuel Root, 
Joseph Petty, Martin Kellogg, John Severance, Zeb Williams, 
and Michael Mitchell, on the Green River, and Mitchell was also 
granted four acres for a homelot, the homelot being in the village. 

The destruction of birds was not considered an offence in those 
days. There is little doubt, had anyone suggested that the time 
would come when men would be fined and imprisoned for killing 
birds, that his neighbors would have considered him as being 
a little queer. There was a Town law requiring every householder 
to kill twelve blackbirds in the summer of 1699, and for each bird 
less than that number, not killed, a fine was imposed. For each 
bird killed in excess of twelve, there was a small bounty paid 
by the Town. The bounty paid for dead crows was four pence. 
There are parts of New England in 1905, where a fine of five 
dollars is imposed for killing crows. Another odd law, because it 
had to do with the height of the animals about which the law 
was made was, that swine fourteen inches high, found on the 
commons, should be liable to be impounded and their owners 
fined six pence per head, and that the owners should also pay 
a certain quantity of grain toward the support of the school- 
master for that year. 

In the winter of i738-'39, the people of Green River petitioned 
the Town of Deerfield for permission to be set off as a separate 


parish, but the petition was refused. A petition was again pre- 
sented in 1743, and this time the desired permission was granted, 
but for some reason not stated in the records, the Green River 
people did nothing about it till 1753, when the Town of Greenfield 
became incorporated. At a Town meeting held on July 3, 1753, 
the following men were elected to office. 

Moderator, Benjamin Hastings ; town clerk, Benjamin Hastings ; 
selectmen and assessors, Ebenezer Smead, Samuel Hinsdell, and 
Daniel Nash ; treasurer, Eben Arms ; constable, Benjamin 
Hastings ; tithingmen, Nathaniel Brooks and Shubael Atherton ; 
fence-viewers, James Corse, Jonah Smead, and Ebenezer Wells ; 
surveyors-of-highways, Amos Allen and Ebenezer Wells ; deer- 
reeve, Aaron Denio ; hog-reeves, James Corse and Amos Allen ; 
sealer-of-weights-and-measures ; Joshua Wells ; sealer-of-leather, 
Benjamin Hastings; field-drivers, Thomas Nims and Gad Corse; 
committee on preaching, Daniel Graves, Daniel Nash, and Aaron 
Denio. These were the first officers of Greenfield. 

It is an interesting fact, that while the people in those days 
killed birds by law if they were destructive to crops, they were 
equally practical in protecting animals whose flesh and hides had 
value. That was the duty of the deer-reeve. So far as can be 
found from local histories of towns on the Connecticut River, 
south of Greenfield, this was the only town with a law regulating 
the hunting of game, as early as 1753. 

Two months after incorporation and the election of officers, 
the important duty of calling a minister was taken up. The 
people voted, that August 16, 1753, should be observed as a day of 
fasting and prayer, as a preliminary to that important event. 
After advising with the Revs. Edwards, of Stockbridge ; Hopkins, 
of Sheffield, and Williams, of Long Meadow, the committee in- 
vited the Rev. Edward Billings to come to Greenfield as the 
minister of the Church. Mr. Billings accepted in what was one 
of the shortest letters of acceptance that had been written up to 
that time. It contained less than one hundred words. Mr. Bil- 
lings was born in Sunderland, Massachusetts, and was a graduate 
of Harvard. There was slight opposition to him at first, as he was 
a follower of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards in the matter of Church 
membership, as opposed to the more liberal views on the same 
subject maintained by the Rev. Solomon Stoddard. Mr. Billings 


was something of a politician, as well as very much of a minister, 
for he saw xo it that the council was packed with ministers who 
were followers of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, and in fairness 
it must he confessed, that the other side had attempted the same 
thing, the leader of the opposition, a Mr. Ashley, of Deerfield, 
taking with him a half dozen delegates who were Stoddard men. 
The Edwards men showed their superior political acumen by 
voting in council, that the voting for and against Mr. Billings 
should be by Churches instead of by individuals, so Mr. Ashley's 
delegates had no vote in the matter and Mr. Billings was ordained. 
The opposition seems to have accepted defeat gracefully, for 
Mr. Billings remained as minister of the Church up to the time 
of his death, a few years after his ordination. The precise date 
when he died is not known, but it must have been before Decem- 
ber, 1760, for in that year, the Rev. Bulkley Olcott was called, but 
did not accept. 

In August, 1761, the Rev. Roger Newton was called and began 
his pastorate on November 18, 1761. He was born in Durham, 
Connecticut, and was a graduate of Harvard. He was a man of 
tact and wisdom, and was possessed of qualities which attracted 
the affections, as well as commanded respect. Although the parish 
was divided in respect to the Edwards and Stoddard Schools 
of Congregational doctrine, Mr. Newton's wisdom, for the fifty- 
six years of his pastorate, was such that entire harmony existed 
in the Church. Mr. Newton married Abigail Hall, daughter 
of Timothy Hall, of Middletown, Connecticut, in August, 1762. 
He died at the age of eighty, in 1816, and his wife's death occurred 
in 1805. 

Mr. Newton kept a diary, not only of his daily acts, but also 
of his thoughts. Extracts are given because of their interest 
in showing that men's thoughts and acts differ but little from one 
century to another. 

Read the Monthly Magazine for June, and several papers from the 
printer of New York. I found little in them either profitable or enter- 
taining; * * * but I think there might be a great saving to the people 
without any injury, by diminishing the number of Printers. 

This emphasizes very strongly the fact, that conditions change 
very little from one generation to another ; that the men of those 
" fine old days ", as they are now regarded, thought and did very 



much as men think and do now. In 1790, there were not as many 
publications in the entire world as are now issued in New York 
or London and yet, a typical, liberally educated man of 1790, was 
convinced that there were too many publications, just as the same 
type of liberally educated man knows it to be a fact in 1905. The 
only difference between then and now, or a thousand years ago 
and now, is one of comparison. 

One often hears very religious persons lament " the good old 
clays ", and especially the highly religious manner in which 
Thanksgiving day was observed in them, but another entry in Mr. 
Newton's diary dispels this fiction and shows that men and women 
have not changed in 115 years. 

Nov. 25, 1790. Thanksgiving Day, ***** -phe day spent 
among us as usual, in visiting and recreations. 

Mr, Newton must have been a very liberal minded minister; 
one of those who loved God instead of " fearing Him ". Indeed 
his diary shows this to be a fact. On this same Thanksgiving, 
which was spent in the usual way, a Miss R. refused to attend 
the dancing party in the evening, because she thought dancing 
wrong. In commenting upon it Mr. Newton says: 

But in my own mind I conceive of dancing being an innocent diversion 
in itself, though usually carried to excess and attended with unbecoming 

An entry of December 19, 1792, shows that spirit of helpful- 
ness ; of community of interests ; of all living for one and one for 
all, that was a striking characteristic of New England. The home 
of Eliel Gilbert was burnt to the foundations that winter and 
within a few hours voluntary subscriptions, for himself and his 
family, amounted to £100. This is but a specific instance of the 
kind of great-heartedness that obtained, from one end of the Con- 
necticut Valley to the other ; all over New England, for that mat- 
ter. When it is remembered that very few families in the smaller 
settlements had more than enough for themselves ; that they were 
generally poor in everything except the nobler qualities ; the sacri- 
fice necessary for the raising of a sum of £100 in a hamlet 
of less than sixty families and at a time when, in proportion 
to the entire population of New England, there were fewer fam- 
ilies which possessed a dollar in cash than now possess one hun- 
dred, may be appreciated. 


The change of sentiment in America in regard to Russia, since 
ninety-nine years ago, is shown by the entry of February 24, 1806. 

In the evening read the New York Herald and was glad to find that 
it confirmed that victory turned in favor of the Russians, in that great 
battle of the 2d, 3d and 4th of Dec. last. 

From the earliest days, Greenfield was in a territory that was 
harassed by hostile Indians. Many of the inhabitants were killed 
and at all times the dread of Indians was ever present. The 
women were provided with loaded muskets, and by practicing 
they acquired considerable skill with them, as more than one 
Indian found to be a fact. This frequency of trouble from Indians 
may have been caused by the fact, that the site and neighborhood 
01 Greenfield had been the resort of Indians, for a longer time 
than the Indians had traditions reaching back to. In the first 
place, Greenfield was at the northern end of the great meadows 
which extended south to Mounts Tom and Holyoke ; it was also 
at the southern end of a series of very high hills, and near the 
junction of the Green, Deerfield and Connecticut Rivers, which 
abounded in shad and salmon, while the meadows and hills were 
alive with game which furnished food and valuable fur-pelts. 
It was a sort of " Happy Hunting Ground " for the Indians before 

On account of the familiarity of the men with Indian warfare, 
they were dead-shots and fearless. Hence, when the war for In- 
dependence occurred, they were entirely ready and glad to offer 
their lives, their courage and their markmanship to the Cause. 

The response of the men of Greenfield (and the women too) 
to the call that was sent forth over the American Colonies by 
the first shot fired at Lexington, has been so quaintly and stirringly 
told by David Willard, who wrote seventy years ago, that it is 
given here. 

It was immediately proposed that Thomas Loveland, the drummer, 
should take a station on the horse-block, under an elm at the south side of 
the common, and beat the long roll for volunteers. It was accordingly 
done, and sounded far and wide among the woods and fields. The officers 
of the company, Captain E. Wells, Lieutenant Allen, and Ensign J. Sever- 
ance were there, but stood aloof, dissuading from the adventure as savoring 
of treason and rebellion against the Government. They had not made up 
their minds to join the patriot cause. (As a matter of fact there were 
hundreds of militia officers holding royal commissions, who held aloof at 
first, not because they lacked patriotism or courage, but because they feared 
by their example to urge the people into rebellion. But after the people 


had chosen a war of rebellion rather than submit to injustice and tyranny, 
many of these officers gave full sway to their suppressed patriotism and 
became rebels.) But the long roll of Thomas Loveland had done its work. 
There was an overwhelming majority for the contest. We can see their 
eager, anxious, determined countenances, and significant, animated ges- 
tures. The cautious advice of their respected and beloved officers, hitherto 
listened to with respect, and obediently followed, was now no more re- 
garded than the passing breeze, or the twittering of the swallow, or the 
crickets' nightly song. Upon the first beating of the long roll, first and 
foremost stood out, that hardy, industrious and bold yeoman, Benjamin 
Hastings, a William Wallace in intrepidity and determined bravery. Who 
so daring as to come next and risk the halter? It were difficult to say; 
the whole mass was in motion * * * * The assembled townsmen vol- 
unteered almost to a man. The long roll of Tom Loveland and the ex- 
ample of Hastings, were electric and contagious. 

We have no captain to lead us to avenge the blood of our slaughtered 
brethren. Who shall it be? Benjamin Hastings, said one; Benjamin 
Hastings, said every one. It was by such a spirit as actuated this indi- 
vidual that the most glorious revolution recorded in history was accom- 
plished. ***** Daybreak of the morning ensuing found them on 
their march to Cambridge. Stouter hearts never buckled on a knapsack 
or a broad sword, or handled a musket, or fought at Thermopylae. No 
braver men fought at Bunker Hill, at Bennington, at Yorktown. How 
could hireling Hessians expect to conquer such a people, contending for 
their homes, liberty, wives, children and friends ? They had mothers who 
sat up through the night to fry nut-cakes for the wants of their husbands 
and sons on the march, and to run bullets to be used to destroy their 
enemies ; mothers who practised firing at marks and watched the forts in 
Indian wars, with a gun on one side and a spinning-wheel on the other, 
while their men-folks were putting the sickle to the harvest. They [the 
mothers] were not of the, don't meddle with that gun Billy, stock. The 
officers who declined going to Cambridge were among the first in respect- 
ability and esteem in the town. No one thought of passing Captain Wells 
without uncovering his head in token of respect. But he and others thought 
it madness to attempt, in the then feeble state, impoverished means and 
small population of the colonies, to resist the soldiers of the mother coun- 
try. They did not, however, lose the respect and confidence of their 

When Sergeant Benjamin Hastings was chosen as the captain 
of the company, he did the same thing that John Fitch, the in- 
ventor of the steamboat, did at about the same time, down in New 
Jersey. Sergeant Hastings refused to take command of the com- 
pany because that office belonged, by right of experience and 
title, to Captain Timothy Childs, who had commanded a company 
of militia for several years. So Hastings was made lieutenant and 


Aaron Denio, ensign. Another company was a little later formed 
with Captain Agrippa Wells in command. Captain " Grip ", as 
he was called, was a hot patriot. On an occasion when he was 
asked to have a cup of the hated tea, he replied : " No, I would 
rather drink my children's heart blood ". 

The Rev. Mr. Newton was inclined to be loyal to the King, 
but his tact and wisdom prevented him from doing or saying 
anything to mar the harmony in his parish. At the same time, 
he was anxious that the people should hear something of the 
British side of the argument. That this might be accomplished 
in an undemonstrative manner, he exchanged with Mr. Ashley, 
the minister of the Deerfield Church, who was a Tory. The 
sermon was too much for his Greenfield auditors. After the morn- 
ing service the people met and appointed Benjamin Hastings, 
Samuel Hinsdale, David Smead, and Daniel Nash, a committee 
to take action in regard to Mr. Ashley's sermon. The action 
which they took was to nail up the door of the meeting-house. 

The people gathered about the church in time for the afternoon 
service. When Mr. Ashley approached to enter the church, Mr. 
Hinsdale bumped up against him. Mr. Ashley remonstrated with 
him for " rebuking an elder ". ' Elder, elder ", said Hinsdale, " if 
you had not said you were an elder I would have thought you 
were poison sumach ". 

Mr. Ashley, later, preached a sermon in his own Church, in 
Deerfield, in regard to the probable fate of the souls of those who 
fell at Lexington. Sometime in the week, two of his patriotic 
parishioners nailed up the entrance to the pulpit. Mr. Ashley re- 
quested one of the deacons, who was a blacksmith, to get his 
hammer and break it open. The deacon replied that he did not 
use his hammer on the Sabbath. Finally an ax was procured 
and the pulpit door was broken open, but the people had shown 
their patriotic spirit. 

There were a few towns in New England which suffered more 
from the expense of the Revolution than others, and Greenfield 
was one of them, probably, because it was remote from the mar- 
kets, or larger settlements. Such towns as had manufactories, or 
were near enough to the centers of trade to dispose of their cattle, 
hogs and farm products, were not so greatly depressed, financially, 
as were those situated as was Greenfield. But the patriotism of 


the people of Greenfield was not lessened by their sufferings. They 
furnished their portion of money, provisions and clothing, as 
promptly as possible and always cheerfully, so far as the Govern- 
ment or its representatives knew. In September, 1777, when 
Gates called for all possible reinforcements, without delay, (the 
ready response to which resulted in Burgoyne's surrender) the 
men of Greenfield left their ripe grain to rot where it stood ; some 
did not even delay to find the members of their families to bid 
them good bye or, in one or two instances, to be present at the 
burial of their dead. With such patriotism it seems almost laugh- 
able, that between sixty and seventy men, nearly all of whom had 
fought in the patriot armies, should, but a few years later, actually 
rebel under arms, against the government they had sacrificed so 
much to establish. This was in Shays' Rebellion of 1787, which 
was hatched in the river-towns of Massachusetts. But with the 
exception of a few ambitious, unscrupulous men who hoped to 
gain wealth or political power, the rank and file of Shays' army 
never ceased to be good, patriotic, although for a brief time mis- 
guided, citizens. The brief period in which they seemed to have 
done so was but a period of acute hysteria. Much of the agita- 
tion took place in the neighborhood of Greenfield. 

The causes which led up to the rebellion were the great expense 
of the Revolution ; the depreciation of money ; and the lack of even 
that. The expenses of the Government and of the States had to be 
met, and if the people could not pay their taxes their property had 
to be sold. It was hard, and the people would have borne the bur- 
den with nothing more than grumbling had it not been for Daniel 
Shays and a gang of lazy, ambitious leeches, who hoped to live 
without work by inflaming the discontent of the people in 1787, 
just as the walking delegates of Unions hope to accomplish the 
same end in 1905. But Shays and his lieutenants had the ad- 
vantage over the walking delegates of to-day, in that they actually 
took equal risks with the mobs they raised. Shays was an un- 
educated man, but had been a brave and patriotic officer in the 
Revolutionary army, and, strange as it may seem, Captain Agrippa 
Wells, of Greenfield, one of the finest of patriots ; the same who 
declared that he would rather drink his children's heart's blood 
than a cup of the hated tea ; commanded a company in Shays' 
rebel army. 


When General William Shepard, of Westfield, found that it was 
necessary to fire upon his former fellow soldiers of the War of 
Independence, in the grounds of the United States Armory, in 
Springfield, in order to bring them to their senses, Captain " Grip " 
Wells stood almost alone and berated the fleeing rebels for their 
cowardice. When such a man as Captain Wells, who had proved 
his courage and love of country in the old French and Indian 
War and again the Revolution, joined Shays it is easy to see that 
the people were nearly distracted ; that they were suffering from 
a virulent and contagious disease, that was instantly cured by 
General Shepard, when he turned doctor and administered the 
only antitoxine for the disease. As soon as the people were cured, 
there was no period of convalescence. They immediately arrived 
at full patriotic health. The men who were killed in Shays' Rebel- 
lion were all from the neighborhood of Greenfield. They were 
Ezekiel Root and Ariel Webster, of Greenfield ; Jabez Spencer, of 
Leyden ; and John Hunter, of Shelburne. The majority of the 
men of Greenfield, however, were not with Shays, but were under 
General Shepard, in support of the Government, and in command 
of Captain Moses Arms. 

General Lincoln, one of the commissioners appointed to offer 
pardon to such of the rebels as would take the oath of allegiance 
to the Government, went to Greenfield with 500 soldiers, where 
he made the inn kept by Reuben Wells his headquarters. It is 
a notable fact, that the two chief leaders of the rebellion, Daniel 
Shays, of Middlesex County, and Eli Parsons, of Berkshire 
County, lived and died, like that other traitor, Arnold, in poverty 
and disgrace. Parsons lived in a destitute condition in a hut in 
the woods near Bennington, Vermont, and later went to a few 
miles west of Utica, New York, where he was in somewhat better 
circumstances. Shays lived in Vermont for a while, and then 
moved to Sparta, New York. The same Congress that refused 
to reimburse that fine patriot, Daniel Bissell, " Washington's 
Spy," for money he had spent from his own pocket for the Gov- 
ernment, granted a pension to the rebel, Shays, because of his 
services in the Revolution. 

Aaron Denio, who was elected deer-reeve and a member of the 
committee to secure a minister, at the time the town was incor- 
porated, was a typical Frenchman, with his vivacity, quick temper 


and oddities, and a most excellent and respected citizen. He was 
born in Canada and came to Deerfield in his youth in the company 
of some Indians, to visit relatives by the name of Stebbins. 
Aaron's quickness of intellect and his physical activity pleased his 
relatives so much, that they persuaded him to remain. He was 
secreted and when the Indians were ready to return to Canada 
they could not find him, and were obliged to go back without 
him. It is probable that they were soundly berated, if not more 
severely punished, for leaving the boy. Tradition has it, that these 
same Indians returned to Deerfield later, and committed depreda- 
tions in revenge for being deprived of their charge. 

Denio purchased property from Joseph Allen, who moved to 
Bernardston, and built a house upon it which he kept as a tavern 
for many years. His tavern was a popular house — largely due 
to Denio's hospitality and vivacity — with strangers who were 
traveling up or down the river. It was also much patronized by 
the more " chummy " portion of the men of Deerfield, who enjoyed 
the great fire-place with its four-foot logs ; the ale and flip and 
their pipes ; as they told stories or discussed the times. They were 
a jolly crowd and enjoyed stirring up their hospitable host's pe- 
culiarities, or playing practical jokes upon different members of 
the company. 

On one occasion they had agreed among themselves that they 
would not call for anything to drink, just to bother Denio, until 
he should say something about it. They talked solemnly for a long 
time. Finally Denio began to fidget. He walked about the room, re- 
arranged the furniture, the glasses and bottles on the bar, till his 
patience gave out, when he excitedly exclaimed : "A good fire 
gentlemen, a very good fire, what will you have to drink "? The 
shouts of laughter that greeted this question showed him that the 
hospitality was on him that time. It is tradition, that the lost time 
was made up, and that several descendants of Puritans went to 
their homes in anything but a Congregational frame of mind. In 
1754, Mr. Denio was elected a selectman. 

A famous hunter and trapper of Greenfield was James Corss, 
who made the shooting and trapping of wild animals, for their 
flesh and pelts, his business. His traps were set over a vast ter- 
ritory, extending north almost to the Vermont line and for several 


miles west from the Connecticut River. He made the rounds of 
his traps twice each week, sleeping in the woods wherever night 
overtook him and on special occasions, he made more extended 
trips after larger game. He was credited with the trapping or 
shooting of 900 wolves, for which the bounty, without considering 
the money obtained for the pelts, was a fortune in those days, 
£4 being paid for a wolf's scalp. Corss' home was used as a 
fort in times of danger from Indians. He died in 1783, at the 
age of ninety, and was buried in the old cemetery where his grave 
was marked by a stone. 

Another well liked character of Greenfield was Eber Atherton, 
who was as famous for his " big stories " as Corss was for his 
wolf-killing. The Greenfield Atherton's are descendants of the 
Rev. Hope Atherton, of Hatfield, who was with the army as chap- 
lain, in the great battle with the Indians at the Falls, in 1676. 
After the fight, Mr. Atherton became separated from his friends 
and wandered about till finally, lost and nearly famished, he of- 
fered to surrender to the Indians. They regarded him as a medi- 
cine-man and when he approached them they fled. Mr. Atherton 
finally arrived at the river and following its course down, reached 
his home in an exhausted condition. 

His descendant, Eben Atherton, was possessed of a keen sense 
of humor, and his " big stories " were told for his own amuse- 
ment. In the Revolution he was in Boston for a time. One day, 
he saw a man looking at the British ships through a telescope. He 
had never seen one before so he requested permission to look 
through it. When he returned to Greenfield he told his neighbors 
about the wonderful machine he had seen in Boston which, when 
he looked through it, brought the ships so near that he could 
plainly see the soldiers and sailors and hear them swear, so long 
as he was looking at them. But his best was a fish story. In his 
day shad were so numerous that they were caught in great quanti- 
ties. They were regarded as such a common fish that the people 
were ashamed to be seen with them in their possession. They were 
found in great numbers especially at the Falls (Turners Falls) 
where Eben had gone to fish. He wished to cross to the island but 
there was no boat, so he went to Mr. Howland's house, near the 
river, and borrowed a pair of snow-shoes. After tying them on 


he walked across to the island on the backs of the shad. He also 
said that he caught one thousand and fifteen hundred shad that 

Up to the advent of Colonel William Moore about 1784, who 
was a native of Worcester County, Massachusetts, there was little 
in the way of manufacturing or of commerce in Greenfield. Col- 
onel Moore built up a great business. Besides erecting a six-story 
flour mill, he had shops for making nails, potash, for coopering, 
for preparing ginseng, a tanyard and a slaughter house — in 
which 500 cattle were salted and barreled yearly, and two stores 
in the village. Among the men who became residents of Greenfield, 
through being employed by Colonel Moore, were Captain Am- 
brose Arms, Benjamin Swan, David and William Wait, and Col- 
onel Eliel Gilbert, of Brookfield ; and Samuel Pierce, of Middle- 
town, Connecticut, who were attracted to Greenfield by the 
prosperity of the place due to Colonel Moore's extensive business. 
S. Hunt & Co. occupied the top story of Moore's mill for manu- 
facturing cotton, during the second war with Great Britain, in 
1812. They were succeeded by Joel Parker, also in the manu- 
facture of cotton. 

Among the many fine families who were early settlers of Green- 
field were the Newtons, of Durham, Connecticut. Captain Isaac 
Newton, a nephew of the Rev. Roger Newton, the minister of 
the Greenfield Church, went to that place from Durham, at the 
age of twenty-one. As a young man he was frank and sincere, 
generous and energetic. These qualities increased with advanc- 
ing years, and added to them were benevolence and untiring ef- 
forts for the relief of those in adversity and grief. 

Captain Newton was the adviser of his neighbors in most of 
the matters in dispute between them, for his wisdom and sense 
of justice were held in great respect. Captain Newton's early 
education was limited to the little his mother had the time at her 
disposal to impart, and to two weeks under the Rev. Dr. Good- 
rich, of Durham. In later life it was obtained from Nature ; in 
the woods, the fields and the rivers ; and by going through life 
with his eyes and his ears open. He served his country in the 
Revolution and received his commission as captain on July I, 
1781. In civil life he held office for twenty-one years, as assessor, 
selectman, overseer of the poor and member of the Legislature. 
His death occurred in December, 1824, at the age of seventy-five. 

GILL. 395 

Rejoice Newton, a son of Captain Newton, became a man of 
prominence. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College, in 1807, 
and studied for the bar with Judge Newcomb and E. H. Mills. 
After being admitted to practice, in 1810, he moved to Worcester 
and began to practice with Mr. F. Blake. He was attorney for 
the County for several years and for four years was in the Legis- 
lature as Representative and Senator. 


IN that portion of the Town of Deerfield which became Gill, 
by incorporation in 1793, occurred the greatest Indian fight 
of Colonial days in New England ; a fight in which the 
English turned the Indians' style of fighting upon themselves by 
surprising them and destroying hundreds before they had recov- 
ered from their fright. This was the famous " Falls Fight " on 
the Connecticut River, at what was for many years known as 
Millers Falls, but sometime in the first quarter of the nineteenth 
century the name was changed to Turners Falls, in honor of 
Captain Turner the hero of the fight. 

Turners Falls was a favorite resort of the Indians, for the 
river was alive with shad below the falls and with salmon both 
below and above, at certain seasons of the year, while in the woods 
were to be found game and fur-bearing animals in great numbers. 
It was at Turners Falls where Eber Atherton, Greenfield's humor- 
ist of the old days, said that he walked on snow-shoes across the 
backs of the shad from the bank to the island. 

The surprise and attack upon the Indians was deliberately 
planned, and was due to information given by two boys, named 
Stebbins and Gilbert, who had been captured by a small party 
of the great band of Indians then at the Falls fishing, and had 
succeeded in making their escape. It seems that on account of 
their own number and the smallness of the settlements in the 
vicinity of Hadley, the Indians had become careless and did not 
have sentinels on duty at night. As soon as the conditions became 
known, the settlers determined upon a surprise. One hundred 
and sixty mounted men, under command of Captain Turner, with 
Captain Holyoke, of Springfield, and Ensign Lyman, of North- 
ampton, assembled at Hatfield, and on the evening of May 17, 


1676, led by two experienced hunters, the little army set out for 
the Falls. 

Deerfield had already been destroyed by the Indians, and when 
the soldiers passed by the ruins of that settlement and arrived at 
the place called Cheapside, they were heard by a few Indians 
who were in camp there. They made an investigation, but they 
felt so secure that they were careless and thinking the noise was 
caused by moose or deer, returned to their lodge. At a point half 
a mile from the Indian camp Turner dismounted his men and 
made a careful investigation. He found that several hundred 
of the Indians were on an elevation on the right bank of the river 
and that smaller encampments were on the left bank and on 
Smeads Island, a mile below the Falls. 

Just before dawn, Captain Turner and his men entered the 
largest encampment and found the Indians asleep, but a volley 
aroused all who were not killed and they, not believing the small 
number of English at the settlements would dare to attack them, 
thought the Mohawks were upon them. As they ran toward the 
river they shouted, " Mohawks ! Mohawks " ! The English shot 
straight and fast. One hundred Indians were killed on the spot 
and 140, who tried to escape in canoes or by swimming the river, 
were either shot or carried over the falls to death. Only one of 
those who went over the falls escaped drowning. Others were 
shot so that the total loss to the Indians was about 300, while 
only one of the English had been killed. 

The Indians of the two smaller encampments now joined in 
the fight and were met by Captain Holyoke who kept them back. 
One of the captured Indians told the English that King Philip 
was approaching with 1,000 Indians. This caused a panic, the 
command broke up into several small bands and retreated in 
disorder. Two of the bands were cut off by the Indians, and the 
members of one of them were all burnt to death. The most 
disastrous part of the disorderly retreat was through what later 
became Greenfield. Captain Turner was killed in Greenfield 
meadow near the brook that flows through it, and the command 
devolved upon Captain Holyoke, who, after fierce fighting on 
both sides, arrived at Hatfield, the Indians giving up the pursuit 
at the southern end of Deerfield Meadow. The English lost 
thirty-eight men and the Indians about three hundred. 


NORTHFIELD is one of the oldest towns in Franklin 
County, only Deerfield being older. John Pynchon, 
of Springfield, and a company of men obtained a 
grant from the General Court of Massachusetts in 1672, for a 
township at Squakheag, as the Indians called the country which 
became Northfield. The town was about six by twelve miles in 
area and was on both sides of the Connecticut River. It extended 
northward several miles into Vermont and New Hampshire, it was 
found when the boundary between those Provinces and Massachu- 
setts was finally fixed, but at the time of the grant it was believed 
that the whole town was in Massachusetts. The deed from the 
Indians was obtained in August, 1687, by the agents of the pro- 
prietors, William Clark and John King, of Northampton. The 
price paid was 1,200 feet (200 fathoms) of wampum and goods 
of value to Indians, worth £57. 

In 1673, the settlement was begun by families from North- 
ampton, Hatfield and Hadley who built small thatched-roof cabins, 
a building for public worship and a fort with a stockade. This 
settlement was greatly afflicted by the Indians, especially in King 
Philip's War, in 1675. Early in September of that year, nine or 
ten persons were killed by Indians in the woods, not far from 
the settlement, and the few who escaped the Indians fled to the 
fort, which was garrisoned by a small company of soldiers. 

The day following these murders in Northfield, Captain Beers, 
with thirty-six mounted soldiers, started from Hadley for North- 
field with provisions for the garrison, the news of the murders of 
the day before not then being known in Hadley. Captain Beers 
and his men had a journey through dense woods and swamps, 
over little more than a trail and a part of the way not even that. 
Many places favorable for an ambush were passed in safetv. At 
Millers River they left the horses, and continued on foot with the 
provisions to a point in a marshy ravine, about two miles from the 
fort in Northfield. The Indians, becoming aware of the approach 
of Beers, lay in ambush in this ravine and when the soldiers had 
entered it, they fired and killed a large part of the little command. 



This demoralized the soldiers who broke in disorder and retreated 
to a level spot, later known as Beers' Plain, with the Indians in 
hot pursuit. The attack being too strong for them, Beers and 
the survivors retreated to a low, steep hill, called since that day 
Beers' Mountain, about a mile to the south where a stand was 
made, the few men who were left fighting with desperation against 
a greatly superior force. Captain Beers was shot and the men 
being without a commander fled to the woods, only sixteen of the 
company of thirty-six reaching Hadley. The Indians tortured 
the living, murdered the wounded and mutilated the bodies of all. 
Many of the bodies had been decapitated and one body was found 
suspended by the chin from an iron hook at the end of a chain, 
that was fastened to the limb of a tree. Two days after this 
horror, Major Treat with ioo men arrived in Northfield from 
Hadley, and took the garrison and settlers back to Hadley with 
him. The Indians burned the abandoned settlement and fort and 
stole or destroyed everything of value. 

Northfield was again occupied by settlers and a few soldiers 
many years after the abandonment, but in King William's War, 
in 1690, the settlement was again abandoned and again destroyed 
by Indians. In 1713, after the war was over, the settlers returned 
and built new homes and a rude church. In 1718, they settled 
the Rev. Benjamin Doolittle, of Wallingford, Connecticut, as the 
first minister. At this time, Northfield contained about thirty 
families — probably about 200 inhabitants. Mr. Doolittle was the 
doctor, as well as the minister of the settlement. His death oc- 
curred in the fifty-fourth year of his age and the thirtieth of his 
pastorate, in 1748. Two years before his death, Northfield was 
again harassed by Indians, in King George's War of 1744, and 
many persons were killed. The Rev. John Hubbard was minister 
in 1750; the Rev. Samuel C. Allen, in 1795 ; and the Rev. Thomas 
Mason, in 1799. 


THE settlement of the Valley of the Connecticut in Ver- 
mont and New Hampshire, was nearly 125 years later 
than in Connecticut and Massachusetts. This was chiefly 
due to the fact that the greater proximity to Canada made the 
danger from the French and Indians very much greater and 
besides, it was through the valley that the French might be ex- 
pected to pass on their way to the settlements further down the 
river. The several routes by which the French and their Indian 
allies reached the Connecticut River were as follows. 

One was by St. Francis River and Lake Memphremagog, 
thence by portage to the Passumsic River to its mouth at the 
Connecticut River, near Barnet, Vermont, and from that point 
down the Connecticut to the settlements. 

Another was by way of Lake Champlain to Whitehall, New 
York, thence up Pawlet River to its source, and then over the 
Green Mountains at Dorset and East Dorset, to West River, at 
South Londonderry, thence down that river to the Connecticut 
at Brattleboro. 

The third, and most used route was down Lake Champlain to 
the mouth of Otter Creek — where Fort Cassin was built in the 
Revolution — and up the creek to the neighborhood of South 
Wallingford, Vermont, and across the hills to Ludlow on the Black 
River, and down that river to the Connecticut nearly opposite 
Charlestown, New Hampshire. 

In 1724, the General Court of Massachusetts built Fort Dum- 
mer in the southeast corner of what later became the Town of 
Brattleboro, and although there may have been a very few bold, 
pioneer hunters and trappers who had built log cabins to the 
west of the Connecticut River, Fort Dummer has always been 
regarded as the first white settlement in the State of Vermont. At 
the time the fort was built, for the protection of the western set- 
tlements of Massachusetts, all the territory was then within the 
northern limits of the Colony of Massachusetts. To the north and 
west of Fort Dummer was a vast territory that was covered by a 




primitive wilderness ; grand and wild, with an interminable forest 
of gigantic trees, full streams and rivers and lovely lakes. 

Deer and moose and caribou roamed the forest in even greater 
number than are the domestic cattle of the present time. Their 
only enemies were their natural enemies ; bear, wolves, " cata- 
mounts " and Indians. So long as they had but these to contend 
with their number increased rather than diminished. Their wild 
fellow " four-foots " only killed for food, and the Indian only for 
food and clothing. The craft and speed of the deer and their 


brothers, the moose and caribou, made tbe hunting of them by 
their natural enemies a sport, as exciting for the hunted as for 
the hunters, for the chances were equal and only he who dis- 
played the greater cunning and skill was the winner. There was 
nothing in this natural warfare to frighten the timid deer and 
their brothers away. 

But with the advent of civilized. Christianized white men, all 
the natural conditions were upset. It is a pitful axiom that God's 
people have ever been the chief instrument for the destruction of 
His natural beauties and grandeur. The covetousness of the white 
settlers caused them to slaughter wild animal life for profit, and 


to destroy the noble forests for gain. The same conditions exist 
to-day, only, the unnecessary slaughter of wild animals not desired 
for food, is called sport, and the destruction of the remnants of 
the forest, is called good business. 

In 1728, four years after the building of Fort Dummer, there 
was but one Governor for Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but 
each Colony had a Lieutenant Governor and its own Assembly. 
These facts no doubt hastened and may have been the chief cause 
of the independence of New Hampshire and its separation from 
Massachusetts. The long absence of Governor Shute was the 
direct cause of the trouble which resulted in the separation of 
New Hampshire and Massachusetts, for it was uncertain whether 
Governor Shute would return and resume the executive chair, or 
if Jonathan Belcher would be appointed Governor. The reason 
this uncertainty brought about trouble was, that Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor Wentworth, of New Hampshire, liked public office and of- 
ficial life and as he did not know which of the two men would be 
Governor, he wrote letters of a flattering nature to both, in the 
hope, that the pleasure he believed each would derive from his 
letters would cause them to regard him with favor. 

It so happened, that while on a brief visit to New Hampshire, 
Lieutenant Governor Belcher discovered what he regarded as 
Wentworth's dishonorable conduct. This so far aroused his anger 
that he snubbed and insulted Wentworth. He refused to dine with 
Wentworth while he was in Portsmouth, dismissed all of Went- 
worth's friends and relatives from office, and cutoff the perquisites 
of his office. After the death of Lieutenant Governor Wentworth, 
which occurred soon after this trouble started, his son, Benning 
Wentworth, determined to punish Belcher. Wentworth and Theo- 
dore Atkinson, his brother-in-law, with a number of influential 
friends, organized a strong opposition party. They succeeded in 
depriving Governor Belcher of that portion of his territory com- 
prised in the bounds of New Hampshire and succeeded in bringing 
about the appointment of a separate Governor for New Hampshire. 
This appointment was given to Benning Wentworth in 1741, and 
his brother-in-law, Theodore Atkinson, was appointed to the of- 
fice of Secretary. 

But in the mean time, the quarrel between Wentworth and 
Belcher increased to such an extent that it passed out of the per- 
sonal and became general, and involved the boundary between 



Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The Wentworth party sup- 
ported John Tomlinson in his successful effort to obtain, by royal 
authority, a board of commissioners to settle the boundary dispute. 
This commission was composed of Councilors of the Provinces 
and was given full power to settle the location of the boundary. 
The commissioners met in August, 1737, at Hampton, New 
Hampshire, near the coast, and in a few days the Legislature of 
New Hampshire met at Hampton Falls, not far from the meeting 


place of the Commission, and the Legislature of Massachusetts 
met at Salisbury. The session was long and the remarks and 
speeches sulphurous, but finally, the eastern boundary of New 
Hampshire was fixed as it is to-day. But the boundary between 
the Colony of Massachusetts and the Province of New Hampshire 
was a different matter and it was found necessary to submit the 
question to the King. 

As a consequence, a royal commission was appointed to run the 
line between the two governments, in 1738. The Commission be- 
gan the line at the coast, three miles to the north of the mouth 


of the Merrimac River. The line followed a curve to Pawtucket 
Falls and from that place it was continued due west to New York. 
In this, Wentworth was again successful and Belcher disappointed, 
for the area was greater than it was expected it would be. This 
line occasioned considerable discontent as Governor Belcher, of 
Massachusetts, had made a great many grants on both sides of 
the Connecticut River as far north as Charlestown, New Hamp- 
shire. The titles to them being worthless, the persons to whom 
the grants had been made tried to have the territory in which 
they lived re-annexed to Massachusetts, but without success. 

In 1735, three years before the boundary between New Hamp- 
shire and Massachusetts had been fixed, Governor Belcher induced 
the Legislature of Massachusetts to permit him to lay out two 
1,000-acre plots of the unoccupied lands. The Governor based 
his request upon the services of his brother, Andrew Belcher, in 
the troubles with Canada in 1690. The Legislature granted the 
desired permission and two plots of 1,000 acres each were laid 
out ; one at Cold River in New Hampshire, nearly opposite Bel- 
lows Falls, and the other across the Connecticut in Vermont. This 
1,000-acre town in Vermont was first called Great Falls, later 
Bellowston, and finally Bellows Falls. In the following year, 
1736, Walpole and Charlestown, New Hampshire, and Rocking- 
ham, and Westminster, Vermont, were surveyed and laid out as 
towns on the banks of the Connecticut River. Hinsdale was 
originally settled in 1683, Chesterfield, in 1736, Keen, in 1739, 
Charlestown, in 1740, and Westmoreland, in 1741. From these 
dates it is seen that the south-western Connecticut River towns 
of New Hampshire were settled earlier than were the river towns 
in the south-eastern portion of Vermont, with the exception of 
Fort Dummer. 

The patriotism of the men of Vermont and New Hampshire 
during the Revolution was peculiar, characteristic and, in many 
instances, sublime. In the southern tier of towns the conditions 
were not so very different from the conditions in the more thickly 
settled portions of New England, in Massachusetts and Connecti- 
cut. But there was a vast territory, in both states, where there 
were no villages, such as were common in the two states to the 
south. There were hamlets of five or six homes, with isolated 
clearings between them. Further in the wilderness were to be 
found the even more isolated, but not lonely, homes of hardy, 


fearless pioneer hunters and trappers, of whom Roland Robinson 
has written poems in prose. These men were not lonely for they 
loved Nature and lived in its midst. The peculiar and sublime 
characteristics of these Northern Yankees' patriotism was shown 
in the way they responded to the call of their country, unde- 
livered by human lips. 

The people of the southern tier of towns, and of the more 
populous towns of Massachusetts and Connecticut had the stirring 
sound of rattling drums and shrill fife ; of patriotic speeches ; and 
the contagion of numbers, to stimulate them to immediate action, 
and when red-hot proclamations were read in public places, call- 
ing upon them to rally around the leaders, they responded in com- 
panies. But the Northern Yankees heard nothing of this, nor 
were they aroused by the sight of flashing eyes and brilliantly uni- 
formed officers. The news of the Battle of Lexington reached 
those tiny hamlets of three or four homes, the scattered clearings 
and the remote log cabins of the hunters slowly, and the only call 
to the defence of their country which they heard, was the silent 
call of conscience to duty. 

To this call they responded, not in companies, but in twos or 
threes and singly. Scores, yes hundreds, of these Northern Noble- 
men — and the Courts of Europe never produced finer — deliber- 
ately went to work to cast bullets, fill powderhorns and desert 
their homes, to tramp alone, 300 miles through a trackless forest 
the greater part of the way, that they might give their lives to the 
Cause of the United Colonies. Is sublime too strong a word for 
such patriotism ; is there cause for wonder that Washington's of- 
ficers were anxious to have at least one company of these North- 
ern Yankees in their commands, whose patriotism was so fine and 
whose markmanship was so perfect that they considered it a 
disgrace to shoot a squirrel in any other part of the body than 
the head, at 100 yards? 


THE history of Hinsdale, New Hampshire, and Vernon, 
Vermont, is practically the same from the settlement in 
1736, to the incorporation of Vernon, in 1753. Under the 
caption of Northfield, it was mentioned, that when the General 
Court of Massachusetts granted the territory called by the Indians 
Squakheag to John Pynchon, of Springfield, Massachusetts, and 
his associates, in 1672, a considerable portion of the grant — which 
became the Town of Northfield, Massachusetts — extended into 
that portion of New England, that became parts of Vermont and 
New Hampshire after the northern boundary of Massachusetts 
had been fixed by King George. This territory lying to the north 
of Massachusetts, on both sides of the Connecticut River, became 
Hinsdale in 1753, and in 1802, the portion of that town lying on 
the west side of the river became Vernon, Vermont. 

The combinations of boundary disputes having to do with 
Squakheag, even when read about at this late day, are sufficiently 
mixed up to give the reader an acute attack of strabismus. The 
particular disease from which the inhabitants of the district im- 
mediately concerned in the several boundary disputes suffered 
may only be guessed at. 

That portion of Squakheag lying to the north of the northern 
line of Massachusetts was called Northfield from 1672 till 1741. 
That portion of Northfield lying to the west of the Connecticut 
River was called Bridgeman's Fort from 1741, to 1753, and the 
eastern portion was called Northfield from 1672 till 1753. 

In 1753, Squakheag-Northfield-Bridgeman's Fort, and Squak- 
heag-Northfield, became Hinsdale. In other words, the two parts 
of the original township that was granted to John Pynchon in 
1672, were united and given the name of Hinsdale, in 1753. 

In 1802, Hinsdale was divided and Squakheag-Northfield- 
Bridgeman's Fort-Hinsdale, became Vernon, Vermont ; and 
Squakheag-Northfield-Hinsdale, retained the last part of its 
hyphenated name and is still known as Hinsdale, New Hamp- 
shire. Thus, the western portion of Northfield became Vernon. 
Vermont, and the eastern portion became Hinsdale, New Hamp- 




But Vernon has had a much more varied and complex career, 
than even that in which Hinsdale was mixed up, for, by reason 
of the many boundary disputes, the full Post Office addresses of 
the residents of Vernon were, at different times between the years 
1672, and 1802 : 

Northfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. 

Hinsdale, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. 

Hinsdale, Cumberland County, New York. 


Hinsdale, Windham County, Vermont. 

Vernon, Windham County, Vermont. 

From this it may be seen that Vernon has been at different 
times in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. 
The result is, that the people of Vernon of the present generation 
must have grave doubts, whether they are descended from a New 
York family or from families of one of the three New England 

The first settlement in the present Town of Hinsdale was made 
by Daniel Shattuck, in 1736. He built his house of massive hewn 
timber, on the brook bearing his name. Sometime later, probably 


just before King George's War of 1744, he added to the house 
and made a fort of it. The addition was built on the other side 
of Shattucks Brook from the original house. The two parts were 
connected and the whole was surrounded by palisades. This fort 
was situated on the farm that was known in 1885, as the Sterns 
farm. Robert Cooper built his house in 1737, near the site of the 
old meeting-house and in 1738, Josiah Sartwell, of Northfield, 
obtained a grant from the General Court of 100 acres, in that 
portion of Hinsdale on the west side of the Connecticut River. 
Sartwell built a house-fort on his farm, in 1740, and in 1742, Or- 
lando Bridgeman built the historical blockhouse known as Bridge- 
man's Fort, about a half mile south of Sartwell's Fort. In 1741, 
John Evans built his house to the south of Ashuelot River on 
his farm, that many years later was known as the Stebbins-farm. 

The Rev. Ebenezer Hinsdell, who had been appointed chaplain 
of Fort Dummer, on the western side of the Connecticut River, 
was induced by the settlers in 1742, to build a blockhouse upon his 
property bordering Ash-swamp Brook, and a gristmill on the little 
brook not far from the blockhouse. The gristmill was patronized 
by the settlers and in it the grain was ground for the garrison at 
Fort Dummer. 

Hinsdale had its share of Indian troubles. On June 24, 1746, 
twenty Indians killed William Robbins and James Barker, and 
captured Daniel How and John Beeman, while they were at work 
in the meadows. In 1747, Bridgeman's Fort was burned, several 
persons were killed, and others were taken as captives to Canada. 
On July 3, of that year, an attack was made upon the gristmill 
but the Indians were driven off by Colonel Willard by word of 
mouth — his loudly repeated orders to attack the Indians caused 
them to flee. Jonathan Sawtell was captured in the following Oc- 
tober, and on June 16, 1748, John Frost, Nathan French and 
Joseph Richardson were killed while crossing the Connecticut to 
Fort Dummer, and seven other men were captured. 

On September 3, 1753, the charter of Hinsdale was granted to 
Ebenezer Alexander and his ninety-four associates, and on Sep- 
tember 26, of the same year, the charter was altered, and the ter- 
ritory included in the original charter was made into two towns, 
both called Hinsdale, the dividing line being the Connecticut 
River. Among the first officers of Hinsdale, New Hampshire, 
were Daniel Shattuck, John Evans and Benoni Wright, selectmen ; 



Ebenezer Hinsdell, Esq., town clerk; Sergeant Caleb How, con- 
stable ; and Peter Evans, tithingman. In 1755, two years after the 
charter was granted, John Hardiclay and John Alexander were 
killed and Jonathan Colby was captured by Indians. 

The first Church of Hinsdale was Congregational. It was or- 
ganized in 1763, but the meeting-house was built in 1760. The 
Rev. Bunker Gay was the first minister and for forty-seven 
years he was the faithful pastor of the people. The parish in- 
cluded the portions of the town on both sides of the Connecticut 

(Massachusetts and Vermont on line.) 

River, so Mr. Gay was the first minister of Vernon as well as of 
Hinsdale. When the State of Vermont was created, the portion 
of the town that is now Vernon was cut off from the parish. This 
left the Hinsdale parish in a somewhat weakened condition, in re- 
gard to members and finances. Mr. Gay died in 181 5, at the age 
of eighty. 

The first meeting-house built in Vernon was in 1802. It was 
situated on the hill between the two Salmon Brooks — Upper and 
Lower — and was used by the Congregationalists and the Baptists, 
each congregation having charge of the service in alternate 


Vernon was for many years notable as a sort of Yankee Gretna 
Green, where runaway couples resorted to have themselves mar- 
ried in defiance of parental, or other opposition, by the genial Dr. 
Cyrus Washburn, who was a Justice of the Peace in Vernon for 
fifty-six years. Dr. Washburn performed the marriage ceremony 
for 853 couples. He used many different forms for performing 
this ceremony, all of them being his own invention. They were 
generally long, for they included verse as well as the usual ques- 
tions put to the bride and groom as to their willingness to love, 
honor and obey. One of his forms began with the following lines : 

Parties and relatives, being agreed, 

To solemn joyous rites we will proceed. 

Worthy and much respected Groom and Bride, 

That you by nuptial ties may be allied, 

In preparation for the endearing bands, 

In token of united hearts, join hands. 


NOT quite thirty years after the building of Fort Dummer, 
the Charter of Brattleboro was granted in 1753, by 
George the Second, to Samuel Allen, William Brattle, 
Isaac Bradish, Ebenezer Bradish, William Bowls, William Bar- 
rett, Thomas Blanchard, Thomas Blanchard, Jr., Oliver and 
Jeremiah Coleman, Daniel Emerton ; Sampson, Joseph, Samuel, 
and Benjamin French; William Fessenden, Jacob Fletcher, William 
Gammage, John Hicks, Abner Hasey, Thomas Hastings, Ben- 
jamin Lynde, William and Abel Laurence, William Lee, Mather 
Livermore, William Manning, Edward Marrett, Jr., Andrew 
Oliver, Jr., Stephen Palmer, Stephen Palmer, Jr., Daniel and 
Caleb Prentice, Peter and Stephen Powers, James Read, Ebenezer 
Smith. Thomas Sherren, Jonathan Sprague, Ebenezer Steadman, 
Samuel Searl, Corelius Woodbury ; William, Sampson and Oliver 
Willard ; Moses Wright, Jacob Wendell, Owen and John Warland 
and James Whitemore. 

An extensive tract of land was reserved for Governor Benning 
Wentworth and land was set aside for The Society for the Propo- 
gation of the Gospel, for the first settled minister, for the minister 
of the Established Church of England, and a tract of fifty rods 
square about Fort Dummer was set off as fort land. 

But this was not the first white ownership of the territory 
included in Brattleboro. About sixty-five years before the grant- 
ing of the charter, in 1687, the Northfield, Massachusetts, settlers 
purchased a large tract of land from the Squakheag Indians, 
who gave a deed of the land. This purchase extended from the 
Northfield line to West River — Wantastiquet the Indians called 
it — and included about three-fifths of the present Town of Brat- 
tleboro. Again, about 1713, a portion of the territory later com- 
prising Brattleboro was disposed of, this time by grant of the 
Massachusetts General Court. 

An account of the error in fixing the boundary between Massa- 
chusetts and Connecticut has been given under the captions of 
Suffield and Enfield, Connecticut. As compensation for the land 
taken by Massachusetts, that Colony gave to Connecticut territory 




that was called " Equivalent Lands ". This territory was on the 
west side of the Connecticut River and was partly bounded by 
the north line of Putney, and the south line of Brattleboro, Ver- 
mont. Connecticut sold the " Equivalent " in 1716, to a company 
of sixteen men for a sum equal to $2,274, which was given to Yale 
College. By a division and allotment that was made by the six- 
teen proprietors, in 1718, a portion of the " Equivalent" became 
the property of William Dummer, for whom Fort Dummer was 


named ; and another portion went to Colonel William Brattle, 
of Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose name is perpetuated in 
Brattleboro. Colonel Brattle had the courage to be on the un- 
popular side just before the Revolution, and as Tories were even 
less tolerated in Vermont than elsewhere, he fled to Nova Scotia 
when the war began. Afterward, his heirs attempted to recover 
his confiscated estate, but it is hardly necessary to say, without 

Fort Dummer was garrisoned by forty men, a part of that 
number being English and the others what were called Western 
Indians, possibly the Housatonic Indians who were always 


friendly to the English. It was the duty of these skilled woods- 
men to go on scouting trips as far north as West River, north- 
west to Otter Creek, and east as far as Mount Monadnunk. The 
enemy they were on the watch for and hoped never to find, were 
the French and their good friends and co-religionists, the 
Canadian Indians, a part of whom were renegades from the Mo- 
hawk Tribe of the Five Nations. 

Sufficient fertile land was set apart and plowed for the support 
of the Western Indians and their families. Colonel John Stod- 
dard, of Northampton, Massachusetts, had general charge of the 
work at Fort Dummer, and Lieutenant Timothy Dwight, also of 
Northampton, was assigned to oversee the work of building the 

Colonel John Stoddard was the most expert military engineer, 
of the first half of the eighteenth century, in New England ; he 
was one of the most prominent lawyers and judges of Massa- 
chusetts ; and one of the wealthiest men of New England. Col- 
onel Stoddard was born on February 17, 1682. He entered Har- 
vard and was graduated in 1701, and then studied law in North- 
ampton. His military and civil offices and honors were numerous. 
He was Colonel of a regiment and Superintendent of Defences; 
Judge of Probate, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas 
and a member of the Governor's Council. His death occurred 
while in attendance at the General Court in Boston on June 19, 
1748. He left a fortune — expressed in dollars — of $180,000, 
a vast sum in those days. His gold watch, the first one owned 
in Northampton, was appraised in settling his estate, at about 

The builders of the fort were four carpenters and twelve 
soldiers who had two ox-teams for hauling the felled trees 
to the site of the blockhouse. Northampton was again drawn 
upon for a man (which was quite proper for it is in "The 
East, where we raise men " and Northampton is rather near to 
the center of the East) to take charge of another portion of the 
work at Fort Dummer. This time a chaplain was desired and the 
matter of selecting a man for the chaplaincy was referred to a 
committee of ministers and the committee chose the Rev. Daniel 
Dwight, of Northampton, who also acted as missionary to the 
Indians. Mr. Dwight was succeeded by the Rev. Ebenezer Hins- 


dell as chaplain, in 1730. Early in the seventies of seventeen hun- 
dred, the fort was abandoned and became the property of its last 
commander, Captain Willard. 

Governor Benning Wentworth gave Brattleboro its charter in the 
name of George the Second, in 1753, but no permanent settlement 
was made till after the French War was over, in 1760, except the 
few log houses built close to Fort Dummer. When all fear of 
the French ended with the capture of Quebec, settlements were 
rather quickly populated, for the land along the river was fertile 
and the waterpower of the many brooks and streams were 
numerous in those days, before the forest had been cut off in 
the way of " good business ". 

Benjamin Moore was the first settler, in 1757. He built where 
the " Summer Retreat " for women was later built. The year after 
he settled he was killed by Indians and his wife and children 
were taken as captives to Canada, where they remained till 1760, 
when Colonel Peter Schuyler ransomed them. In 1762, Colonel 
John Sergeant built his house to the north of West River on the 
road to Dummerston. In that year, 1762, Major John Arms and 
Colonel Samuel Wells, both of Deerfield, settled in Brattleboro. 
Major Arms built and kept a tavern that became very popular, 
on the site of the " Summer Retreat " and Colonel Wells built his 
house to the west of the Major's. They were followed by Eben- 
ezer Fisher and Dr. Henry Wells. Dr. Wells was the first physi- 
cian in Brattleboro and its first town clerk. He came from New 
York in 1767, and built his house upon a farm of 1,000 acres, 
south-east of Meeting-house Hill. The house, which was large 
and comfortable, was torn down in 1875. Another who was an 
early settler was John Alexander. At the time Mr. Moore, the 
first settler, was killed and his family made captives by the Indians 
— when they burnt Bridgeman's Fort in what is now Vernon — 
Alexander was a boy of about ten. He was hunting for the cows 
belonging to the fort and so escaped being captured. Alexander 
was notable, even as a boy, for his bravery and great strength. 
The year after the burning of Bridgeman's Fort, when he was 
but eleven, he found a she-bear and two cubs not far from his 
home. They were prizes too good to be lost as they would furnish 
meat and valuable skins. As his father was away from home 
John took down the old gun and going to where he had seen 


the bears, he shot the old one and caught the two cubs, with the 
help of a companion. At the age of seventeen, he was in the 
army in the French War, under General Amherst. When Ti- 
conderoga was captured he was present with his company, and 
later he was in the Patriot army at the surrender of Burgoyne. 
Mr. Alexander's strength and endurance was shown one day, 
in later life, when going to the woods to make maple sugar. He 
carried his camp-kit, provisions for four days, knapsack, a huge 
iron kettle for boiling the sap, and two sap-buckets, for more than 
three miles, over the snow on snowshoes. He lived to the age of 
ninety, his death occurring in 1828. 

In 1771, Stephen Greenleaf moved from Boston, where he had 
kept a store, to Brattleboro. He continued the occupation of 
merchant in Brattleboro, his store being situated in Main street. 
It was the first store of that village. He bought Judge Wells' 
farm of 800 acres and built the second sawmill of the town in 
what is now Centerville, in 1772. Mr. Greenleaf 's son Stephen 
was a youth of thirteen when the father left Boston for Brattle- 
boro, so he may be considered a son of that town. Stephen, 
the son, became a man of prominence and was possessed of un- 
tiring energy and determination. These characteristics were 
shown in his youth by the manner in which he obtained his educa- 
tion. His school was the broad hearthstone in front of the open 
fireplace ; his teacher was himself. It was said of him in later 
life, that whatever he attempted he accomplished, and with credit 
to himself. Major Greenleaf was clerk of the town from 1799, 
to 1844, and his records were in writing that was as easy to read 
as print. He died at the age of ninety-two, in 1850. 

Another of Brattleboro's adopted sons was the Hon. John 
Noyes. Mr. Noyes was born in Atkinson, New Hampshire, in 
April, 1764, and at the age of thirty-four he moved to Brattleboro. 
Mr. Noves was of the fifth generation from Nicholas Noyes, 
one of the first settlers of Massachusetts. Mr. Noyes was gradu- 
ated at Dartmouth College and remained there as a tutor while 
Daniel Webster was an undergraduate. Several years later, when 
Webster was attending a reception at Dartmouth, John H. Noyes,- 
a son of Mr. Noyes the tutor, who was then an undergraduate, 
was introduced to Webster, who showed the high regard he had 
for the father by saying to the son ; " I wish I could do as much 



good for you as your father did for me ". The Noyes family was 
notable in the early days for the number of ministers in it so it 
was but natural that John should inherit the inclination. While 
tutoring at Dartmouth he studied for the ministry, but, as his health 
was such that he was unsuited for that profession, he was obliged 
to give up the idea of becoming a minister. He continued to teach 
and was for several years in charge of the Chesterfield Academy, 
in New Hampshire. In 1800, he went to Brattleboro and in 
partnership with General Mann opened a general store in West 

^.-A'..«..Ji-. _ .-... „ J -... i „.....^ . 


Brattleboro. General Mann's daughter married General R. B. 
Marcy, and his granddaughter married General George B. Mc- 
Clellan. The Hon. Austin Birchard, of Fayetteville, Vermont, 
was, in his youth, a clerk in their store. The business of the 
firm grew to great proportions and branches were established in 
Whitingham and Wilmington, under the firm name of Noyes, 
Mann & Hayes. In 1804, Mr. Noyes married Miss Polly Hayes, 
the eldest daughter of Rutherford Hayes, Sr. Mr. Noyes was 
in the Legislature for two terms and in 181 5, was in Congress 


as the representative of the southern district of Vermont. In 
1817, he removed to Dummerston and lived there till 1821, when 
he retired from business and purchased a farm in Putney. Mr. 
Noyes' eldest daughter married Larkin G. Mead, the father of the 
sculptor. His death occurred in October, 1841. The son, John 
H. Noyes, to whom Webster spoke so highly of his father, was 
the founder of the Oneida Community in New York. 

Rutherford Hayes was the first, or one of the first blacksmiths 
of Brattleboro. He arrived in that town from New Haven, Con- 
necticut, in 1778, at the age of twenty-one. The little settlement 
was most anxious for a man of his trade and in order that he 
might begin work as soon as possible, they organized that Yankee 
institution of neighborliness a " bee ". The ground was cleared of 
the deep snow ; timber was felled ; logs hewn and the shop built, 
and smoke was rolling from the chimney in less than four weeks 
after his arrival. The first American ancestor of the name was 
George Hayes who came from Scotland and was a settler in 
Windsor, Connecticut, in 1682. On his mother's side, Rutherford 
Hayes was descended from the Rev. John Russell, the first 
minister of Hadley, Massachusetts. Rutherford was born in 
Branford, Connecticut, in July, 1756, and in 1773, he removed to 
New Haven with his father, Ezekiel Hayes. He was a good work- 
man, energetic and conscientious in his youth, and in later life 
was described by one of his neighbors as a jolly, honest, kindly, 
religious man who might well be regarded as a model by his 
descendants. When he had lived to the allotted age of man he 
became a teetotaler. It was probably from him that his descendant 
who became President of the United States, inherited his tee- 
totalism, which an antagonistic press attributed to parsimony. 
Rutherford Hayes' wife, Chloe Smith, was born in Hadley, Mas- 
sachusetts, in November, 1762, whence her parents moved to 
Brattleboro where she was married to Rutherford in her seven- 
teenth year, in 1779. This girl developed a noble character and 
was possessed of great energy and strength of will. They had 
three sons and six daughters, all of whom were honored and 
useful members in the community in which they lived. Besides 
the occupation of blacksmith, Mr. Hayes was a farmer and tavern 
keeper. The eldest son, Deacon Russell Hayes, lived on the farm 
and devoted himself to his parents, and the interests of the Church 


and Academy of his native town. The second son, Rutherford, 
Jr., was a successful business man. He moved to Ohio, in 181 7, 
where his son Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United 
States, was born after his father's death. The youngest son, 
William R. Hayes, was graduated from Yale with honors and 
studied law with Judge Dagget, of New Haven. It was the eldest 
daughter of Rutherford Hayes who married the Hon. John Noyes. 

The first settled minister of Brattleboro was the Rev. Abner 
Reeve, of Hadley, Massachusetts. Mr. Reeve was a descendant 
of Sergeant John Nott who settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut, 
in 1640, through the eldest daughter of Sergeant Nott who mar- 
ried Robert Reeve. Tapping Reeve, a son of Brattleboro's first 
minister, became a judge and a founder of the famous Law School 
of Litchfield. 

However delightful the native of the Green Mountain State 
may be socially, or how great his cultivation and refinement may 
be, when he is occupied with a trade, or any affair in which money 
is concerned, his whole being undergoes a change for the time ; 
the very expression of countenance changes and until he " comes 
to ", and casts off his artificial and resumes his natural being 
he is not a pleasant companion. In the agreement with the Rev. 
Abner Reeve in regard to his settlement and salary, this trade-and- 
dicker side was strikingly shown by the members of the Brattle- 
boro Church. 

It will be remembered that the Charter of the Town set aside 
a certain portion of land for the first settled minister of the place. 
On September 23, 1774, the Town voted, among other things; 
" that the said Mr. Reeve by virtue thereof be not entitled to any 
land in this town given by public authority to the first settled 
minister ". 

Quoting Henry Burnam, the historian of Brattleboro, he says ; 
" The next vote states the amount of salary, and how it shall be 
paid, in barter, &c, all showing sharp practice, and a disposi- 
tion, on the part of the town, to obtain the gospel with the least 
possible expense." 

Mr. Reeve replied, that he accepted their proposition if it was 

not their intention to destroy his claim and right to the land 

granted to the first settler minister. The Town replied that it did 

not intend to destroy his claim to the land, but, in the final struggle 



to shake off the trade-and-dicker character and return to their 
natural condition, the people of the town added, that it was not 
their intention to add any strength to his right to the land. 

Again quoting Mr. Burham ; " It is an old saying, and became 
an adage, ' Corporations have no souls '. In dealing with another 
pastor in this town, some years later, we see another proof of the 
truthfulness of this old adage. With a package of bills paid 
to the pastor, by the proper officer of the society, were two coun- 
terfeit bills. The society refused to make the matter right, because 
the pastor was paid with the veritable money obtained from 
subscribers for his support, and the collector could not tell 
from whom the bad bills came. * * * All knew the poor 
minister would pocket the loss rather than appeal to the law ". 
Trouble in the Church caused the resignation of Mr. Reeve in 
1792. His death occurred at the age of ninety, in 1798. 

The strenuous times in Vermont over the claim of New York 
to the New Hampshire grants has been most delightfully told in 
' The Green Mountain Boys ", and by Roland Robinson in some 
of his short stories of the times when Ethan Allen and Seth 
Warner applied their famous " birch seals " to the backs of the 
hated ' Yorkers ". The Rev. Louis Grout has described the 
stirring times of the " New Hampshire Grants " days, and the 
part taken in them by Brattleboro, as follows : 

* * * by reason of the indefinite, ambiguous, and even conflicting 
boundaries of territories claimed variously by New Hampshire, Massachu- 
setts and New York, the seeds of much bitter controversy had been sown 
by an indiscriminate granting of lands to various parties in all this region — 
some by the Dutch at Albany, some by the French, and some by the sev- 
eral Colonies of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York. As early 
as 1763, Benning Wentworth, acting under a royal commission as Governor 
of New Hampshire, (he had been told by the King, that the Province of 
New Hampshire extended westward till it met his other governments, 
that is, to a line extending from Lake Champlain south to the western 
line of Massachusetts), in the king's name had granted 138 townships 
west of the Connecticut River which were now generally known as the 
"New Hampshire grants". This being more than New York could brook, 
Lieutenant-Governor Tryon, of that Province, referred the settlement of 
the boundary question to George III., who, in Council of July 20, 1764, 
decided that the western bank of the Connecticut River should thereafter 
be regarded as the boundary line between the Province of New Hampshire 
and that of New York. At this decision the colonists were much surprised 


and displeased ; but supposing it meant nothing more than a change of 
jurisdiction, yielded at first a peaceful submission. But soon finding them- 
selves much mistaken, in that the Governor of New York was ignoring 
their rights and claims, making grants of their land to others, or de- 
manding enormous patent fees for confirming the grants they held, they 
stoutly demurred ; indeed, many of the towns soon entered upon a state 
of open rebellion. Attempts to eject farmers from lands they had paid 
for and from improvements they had made led to many a scene of per- 
sonal violence. Some were kidnapped and carried to jail for attempting 
to protect and defend the farms they had paid for and the homes they 
had made. 

For a time, however, not a few, especially of the later settlers, who 
had their grants from New York, or had paid the fees required for con- 
firmation of grants already acquired, took sides witn that state [New 
York]. When the boundary line was fixed at the Connecticut River, in 
1764, what is now Vermont became a part of Albany County (New York). 
Then, in 1768, what are now Windsor and Windham Counties, were made 
into one and called Cumberland ; and * * * * Brattleboro was organ- 
ized; John Arms, Esq., being chosen moderator, Dr. Henry Wells, clerk, 
and other citizens appointed to other offices such as were required by the 
Province of New York. As yet the proclivities of Brattleboro were toward 
New York. When Lieutenant Leonard Spaulding, who had been con- 
fined in Westminster jail, on the charge of having uttered treasonable 
words against the king, was released, in November, 1774, by a committee 
assisted by a concourse of freeborn neighbors and friends from Dummers- 
ton, Putney and other towns * * * Brattleboro was not in it. * * * * 
in March, 1775, the high sheriff of the county, coming to Brattleboro for 
men to " assist him in keeping the peace and suppressing the rioters " 
[the rioters being the farmers who would not be ejected from their prop- 
erty by the New York authorities] readily found no less than thirty-five 
men ready to go back with him to the court house. Nor was it long 
before one William French, a freeborn citizen of Brattleboro, who, with 
others, had come there to tell their grievances, was shot dead. And yet 
again we see what were the proclivities of Brattleboro, on this question in 
those days, in that she had no delegates in either of the two meetings, of 
the general convention of the delegates of the state, one, of fifty-one dele- 
gates, on July 24, 1776, at Dorset, and another, an adjourned meeting, on 
January 15, 1777, at Westminster, where it was " voted unanimously, that 
the district of land, commonly called ' New Hampshire Grants,' be a new 
and separate state, and for the future conduct themselves as such." Nor 
yet again, when this meeting adjourned to meet in Windsor, * * * 
recommended to the people of the new state to assemble in their respective 
towns and choose representatives to meet at Windsor on July 2, to form 
a constitution and elect delegates to congress, did Brattleboro take any 
part, but rather, on June 16, in full town meeting, voted not to accept or 
approve the proceedings of the late convention, July 2, at Windsor. And 











in August, when an attempt was made to take the sense of the voters as 
to the new state, the report from Brattleboro was, that out of a vote of 
166, all but one expressed a dissent from the pretended state of Vermont. 

So great wac the opposition of Brattleboro and two or three other towns, 
that Brigadier General Ethan Allen came over from the west side of the 
mountains with a goodly number of Green Mountain Boys, all armed and 
equipped to aid the civil officers of this region in their efforts to enforce 
the authority of the state of Vermont. They arrested all but one of the 
military officers of Brattleboro, together with some in Putney and some 
in Westminster, took them as prisoners to the court, then in session at 
Westminster, where they were tried, found guilty, and fined each from two 
to forty pounds sterling and costs, for their opposition to the state of 

The general sentiment of the town [Brattleboro] now began to turn 
from New York and to set in favor of Vermont, though it was not till 
1781, that she sent delegates or representatives to the Vermont Assembly. 
* * * But although jurisdiction had now passed from New York to 
Vermont, some of the people still adhered so stoutly to the former state 
as to make it necessary to give the Governor power to raise men to assist 
the sheriffs in their efforts to enforce the authority of the state. By his 
direction General Ethan Allen came over from the other side of the moun- 
tain with 250 men to Marlboro, September 9, 1782, where he was rein- 
forced by nearly as many more from several of the neigboring towns. The 
next morning detachments of men were sent to Brattleboro, Halifax, and 
Guilford, to arrest such Yorkites as were leading the rebellion, and take 
them to headquarters. Allen, himself, with the larger part of his force, 
went to Guilford, the stronghold of the offenders, where, towards the 
close of day the detachments came in with the prisoners. In the evening, 
Allen, with his troops and prisoners, started for Brattleboro, hoping to 
arrive there that night, but he had not gone far when he was fired upon by 
a company of forty-six Guilfordites, who had stationed themselves in a 
hiding place by the side of the road, over which the Vermonters would 
have to pass. Upon this, Allen returned to Guilford and made proclama- 
tion to the people that he would give no quarter to any man, woman or 
child who should oppose him ; and unless the inhabitants of Guilford 
should peacefully submit to the authority of Vermont, he would lay their 
town as desolate as Sodom and Gomorrah ; after which he was suffered 
to go on his way to Brattleboro without further molestation. Starting the 
next day with twenty or more prisoners from Brattleboro for Westminster, 
he gave orders to kill, without quarter, any one who should fire upon his 
men. Arriving at the court in Westminster, several of the prisoners, being 
tried by the jury for treason, were condemned and sentenced to be im- 
prisoned until the fourth of the next October, in the county jail and then 
banished from the state, not to return on penalty of death ; and that all 
their goods, chattels and estate should be seized and sold as forfeited to 
the use of the state. 


WESTMORELAND was one of the earliest settlements 
on the Connecticut River, in New Hampshire. Some- 
time previous to the year 1741, Daniel How had be- 
come familiar with the desirability of that portion of the Con- 
necticut Valley, which later became Westmoreland, as a place for 
settlement — because of the fertility of the extensive meadows 
there — he having been a member of a surveying party. 

In 1 74 1, Daniel and Nehemiah How, Jeremiah Phips, Jethro 
Wheeler and their families left Northfield, Massachusetts, in 
canoes for the Great Meadows, by way of the Connecticut River. 
They made their pitches and built their log homes upon land 
that was known as the Parker farm something more than one 
hundred years later. They arrived in the spring, and Daniel How 
immediately began the erection of a small fort or blockhouse, 
in which he and the other settlers could take refuge in case of 
attack by Indians or the French. These first settlers were 
joined by other families as time went on, but the increase in 
population was very slow for several years, on account of King 
George's War in 1744. When hostilities ceased, about 1760, the 
settlement increased in population rapidly, and by 1767, it con- 
tained nearly 400 inhabitants. 

While the settlers were in constant dread of Indians for many 
years, and were several times attacked by them, still, they were 
not harassed by them to so great an extent as were the settle- 
ments to the north and south and across the Connecticut in Ver- 
mont. Just why this was so is not easily understood, for the 
Great Meadows was a favorite resort with the Indians while on 
their way to kill and burn, in the Massachusetts settlements, and 
on the return journey with scalps and prisoners. 

Westmoreland was originally granted, as Township No. 2, by 
the General Court of Massachusetts, and was incorporated as 
Westmoreland, in 1752. by Governor Wentworth. The first select- 
men of Westmoreland were Heber Miller, Archelaus Temple and 
Waitstill Scott ; Job Chamberlain and Daniel Carlisle were the 



first constables ; Abial Eddy and Lieutenant Isaac Stone were the 
first tithingmen ; and Heber Miller was the first town clerk. 

The meeting-house was built in 1762, on the north-east corner 
of the North Cemetery ; the society was organized on November 
7, 1764, and the Rev. William Goddard was ordained as the 
first minister of the Church. The eight inhabitants composing 
the society were Amos Davis, Abner How, Joshua Hyde, Jona- 
than Houghton, Samuel Minot, Joseph Pierce, Joshua Warren 
and Daniel Warren. The meeting-house was moved to Parkhill, 
in the autumn of 1779. 

The settlers were greatly excited and horrified to find, in 1784, 
that there was a Quaker in their midst. They regarded his pres- 
ence as being so great a menace to the moral and spiritual safety of 
the community that the Town appointed a committee, consisting 
of fifteen persons, on July 7, 1784, to see to it that the " Shaking 
Quaker " was sent out of town. 


WALPOLE was incorporated by charter of George II, 
through Governor Benning Wentworth, in February, 
1752. The proprietors were Colonel Benjamin Bel- 
lows, Theodore Atkinson, Colonel Josiah Blanchard and sixty- 
seven other men. The charter required, that, within five years 
from its date — 1752 — each proprietor should have cultivated five 
cf every fifty acres of land he owned, and that he should continue 
to improve and cultivate his land. Failure to do so meant the loss 
of his property. No one was permitted to cut pine trees that were 
fit for ship's masts for the British Navy, without a special permit 
to do so. For a violation of this provision there was a punish- 
ment inflicted. But the conditions of the charter were not fulfilled 
for nine years on account of the danger to life and property in 
that part of the Connecticut Valley, due to the frequent depreda- 
tions of the Indians, whom the French paid liberally for prisoners, 
and for scalps. The first actual English settler was John Kil- 
burne, in 1749. 

Colonel Benjamin Bellows built his house in 1752, and moved 
his family to Walpole in 1753. The house which was used as fort 
was in the form of the letter L, with the combined frontage of 
the two branches about one hundred feet in length. The width of 
the fort was twenty feet. It was strongly built of hewn logs 
banked with earth, and was surrounded by palisades. The first 
meeting of the Town of Walpole was held toward the last of 
March, 1752, with Colonel Bellows moderator. At this meeting 
Theodore Atkinson, Joseph Blanchard and Benjamin Bellows 
were chosen as the first selectmen of Walpole, and at the next 
meeting, in 1753, they were again chosen as selectmen. At the 
meeting of 1754, Sam Johnson acted as moderator and Benjamin 
Bellows, Sam Johnson and Robert Powker were chosen as select- 
men ; Colonel Willard as town clerk ; Enoch Cook, constable and 
surveyor of highways. Colonel Bellows was strong in all those 
characteristics, which combined, made him one of the most desir- 
able and prominent men among the pioneers of New Hampshire. 



But he was weak in his " book larnin '," as may be seen from his 
entrv in the Town records, that they chose " Enoch Cook Servayer 
of hie Ways ". The Colonel's son Benjamin Bellows, Jr., evi- 
dently had received a liberal education. Benjamin Jr., was town 
clerk when he was but nineteen years old and continued in that 
office for more than thirty years, with but two breaks of a year 
each — 1778 and 1782. There was no gristmill in Walpole for 
several years after the first settlers built their homes. Colonel 
Bellows — ;who seems to have been the only purveyor of necessities 
in the tiny community, as well as the temporal head of it — used 
to take his grain to Northampton in boats to have it ground. 
While there, he bought all kinds of provisions needful in his own 
and his neighbors' families. But as soon as he could obtain men 
who were competent to build a mill, he had one put up on Blan- 
chard's Brook, at the falls on that stream. This mill did the 
grinding for the settlers for ten or twelve miles away, and must 
have been a source of great profit to the Bellows family. It seems 
that the members of the Bellows family were, for many years, 
not only the grinders of grist, but that they dominated society, 
Church, politics and finance, in Walpole and the surrounding 
towns. While there is reason to believe that the yoke of the 
Bellows family was light and pleasant to bear, it was worn, 
seemingly, without any idea on the part of those who wore it that 
they could cast it off. 

It is tradition, that up to the end of the wars with France in the 
Colonies, about 1760, there was not a family in the settlements 
bordering the Connecticut River, in Vermont and New Hamp- 
shire, of which one or more members had not been killed by 
Indians. Sometime in the summer of 1755, two men, named 
Twitchel and Flynt, were killed by Indians while out in the woods. 
The Indians scalped one of the men and cut out the heart of the 

On August 17, 1775, a most desperate and courageous defence 
of a home took place, when John Kilburn and his son John, 
William Peak and his son, Kilburn's wife and daughter Hetty, 
successfully defended their home again nearly 400 Indians. The 
four men were returning at noon from work in the fields, or 
woods, for their dinner, when they discovered a large company of 
Indians in hiding. The men ran for the house and made all pos- 


sible preparations for a siege. The. Indians did not make their 
attack upon the Kilbnrn home then. They knew that Colonel 
Benjamin Bellows and several of his men were busy at the grist- 
mill, about a mile distant on Blanchard's Brook, and they thought 
it better to kill the men at the mill first so they could not give 
assistance, or obtain reinforcements, when they heard the firing 
at Kilburn's house. The Indians felt sure of the Kilburn family, 
for it was bottled up in the house. Soon after Kilburn and his 
companions had barricaded the house, they saw the Indians 
cautiously emerge from the thicket and proceed towards the grist- 
mill. They counted them and found there were 197, and it became 
known later, that about as many more were in ambush near 
Cold River. At the same time that the Indians were going 
toward the mill, Colonel Bellows and some thirty of his men, 
were returning toward the little settlement with some dogs be- 
longing to the Colonel, which gave warning that all was not 
right. The Colonel was notable for his coolness and presence 
of mind in times of danger. He ordered his men to drop the 
sacks of meal they were all carrying, to crawl up a slight hill 
and upon signal, to suddenly rise, yell, and drop to the ground 
out of sight. This program was carried out to the letter. As 
soon as the settlers yelled the Indians came from their hiding 
places and then the settlers poured in a volley that sent them on 
a run for the tall timber, without having fired a gun. Colonel 
Bellows and his men then hastened to the Colonel's fortified 

The Indians, knowing that a well fortified house manned by 
thirty resolute men under command of such a man as was Colonel 
Benjamin Bellows, was impossible to take, turned their attention 
to the Kilburn home. Philip, the leader of the Indians, who had 
received kindness and hospitality from Kilburn the previous 
summer, called upon him to surrender, promising if he would do 
so, " good quarter ". But John Kilburn was not the kind of man 
who accepted quarter when his fighting blood was aroused, es- 
pecially from Indians. After a brief consultation the attack was 
begun by the majority of the Indians and those who were not 
occupied in it killed the cattle and destroyed whatever property 
they could find. Every one inside the house was cool and de- 
termined, none more so than Mrs. Kilburn and her daughter 


Hetty. The men had several guns and had poured their powder 
from their horns into hats, so that they could load more rapidly, 
and the women helped to load the guns. As the supply of powder 
and bullets was not great, the men shot only when they were 
sure of killing. If a " dead Indian is a good Indian ", Kilburn 
and his son and Peak and his son manufactured a great many 
good Indians for Kiehtan's beautiful country in the " South- 
west ", that day. Some idea of the fearful odds against which 
those four men and two women had to contend, may be had 
from the fact, that when the bullets began to give out, the women 
hung blankets from the rafters under the roof to catch the bullets 
which penetrated the roof, that were fired by the Indians. These 
they gathered, melted and made into new bullets. The attack 
lasted for six hours. By the time the sun had disappeared the 
last of the Indians was on his way to Canada. Walpole was 
never again troubled by Indians. Peak was wounded in his hip 
and died five days later from blood poisoning. John Kilburn 
died in the eighty-fifth year of his age, in 1789. John, Jr., re- 
moved to Shrewsbury, Vermont, where he died in 1822. 

It is odd, and certainly most interesting, that the story of this 
splendid defence of a home, was confirmed many years afterward 
by an old Indian who had been in the attacking party. A descend- 
ant of the Blanchards of Walpole who was living in New York 
State, became acquainted with this old Indian, Joshark, who was 
but nineteen years old when the fight took place. Joshark re- 
lated the incidents of the fight and told where and how their 
leader, Chief Philip, was buried. Many years later, when the 
Cheshire Railroad was built, an Indian grave was dug up which 
corresponded in every particular with the description given by 
Joshark, even to the finding of a large flat stone over a skeleton 
of great size, and Philip was notable for his gigantic stature. 

Walpole had its tithingmen, whose duty it was to break the 
strict New England " Sabbath ", while seeing to it that no one 
else broke it. Walpole also had its deer-reeve, whose duty it was 
to see that no deer were killed out of season. Deer were plenti- 
ful, but as they were the chief source of fresh meat, the people 
thus early had the good sense to prevent their unnecessary slaugh- 
ter. In 1762, the first road in Walpole was laid out from the 
southern line of Charleston to the northern line of Westmoreland. 


Walpole, like its sister towns of the lower Connecticut Valley, 
protected its religious, social and financial interests by voting, in 
1772, " That the constable warn out of town, every person that 
comes in, that has no estate in town ". 

The part taken by the men of Walpole in the Revolution was 
most creditable and at least two of them — General Benjamin Bel- 
lows and Colonel Christopher Webber — gained military distinc- 
tion. The day after receiving the news of the Battle of Lexington, 
General Benjamin Bellows, Colonel John Bellows, his brother, 
Thomas Sparhawk and thirty-two other men of the town, started 
for Roxbury. This is but a sample of the spirit shown by the 
men of Walpole during the war. But the men at the front were 
not the only patriots, for those who were obliged to remain at 
home deliberately voted to tax themselves that money might be 
appropriated for the families of the men who were in the army. 

General Bellows was chiefly useful to the Colonies as a raiser 
and organizer of troops for the regular army. At the same time, 
when he was in the field, he showed himself to be an excellent 
officer. That there were no Tories in Walpole emphasizes the 
general spirit of patriotism in that town. 

Benjamin Bellows' estate included seven or eight thousand acres 
of land in Walpole and several other towns, besides property in 
several villages. His great house, known as the Fort, was the 
scene of almost constant hospitality. The number of his imme- 
diate household was large, a whole beef being consumed weekly, 
in fact his manner of life and his establishment was more like 
that of a baron and a baronial hall of feudal days than a fortified 
house in a back-woods settlement of New England. The farm- 
hands and servants ate in a room below stairs, while the family 
and the guests were above in the dining room. This was unusual 
in those days even in the larger villages. As he produced on this 
property everything required for food and clothing, he needed to 
be the man of affairs that he was. Among other necessaries, he 
made 400 barrels of cider and pickled twenty barrels of pork each 
year. The great number of salmon to be found in the lower Con- 
necticut River has been mentioned in several places and they were 
equally abundant at the falls by Walpole. Salmon were so com- 
mon that the Colonel's hired men refused to have that delicious 
fish oftener than three times a week. 


Just previous to 1785, the subject of building a bridge across 
the Connecticut River was broached. No settlement is too tiny 
and no city too far advanced in civilization, not to contain those 
wise-fools who cry impossible and scoff at every form of progress 
that is beyond their horizon, and as their horizon is the tip of 
their noses and their overhanging eyebrows, everything is beyond 
it, save their own conceit. So, when it was proposed to bridge 
the Connecticut the idea was laughed at and seemingly the laugh- 
ter of the settlement's wise men was regarded by the men of Wal- 
pole as proof that it could not be done, for the bridge was built 
by a man from Rindge. Colonel Enoch Hale moved from Rindge 
to Walpole in 1784. He obtained a charter from the Legislature 
for building and maintaining a tollbridge. Colonel Hale then 
built his bridge just below the principal fall at Bellows Falls, and 
tradition says that it was the first bridge across the Connecticut 
River. The bridge was fifty feet above the river and 360 feet 
between abutments. From 1785, to 1796, it was the only bridge 
crossing the Connecticut between New Hampshire and Vermont. 

The New Hampshire Journal and Farmers' Museum was 
started in 1793, by Isaiah Thomas and David Carlisle as its pub- 
lishers. Joseph Dennie was its editor two years later. The 
Museum as it was generally called, was the origin of one of the 
most famous literary-bohemian clubs of the time. Among its 
contributors were Chief Justice Royal Tyler, of Brattleboro ; Isaac 
Story, David Everett, and Thomas G. Fessenden. These men, 
with Dennie the editor, Samuel Hunt, Roger Vose and Samuel 
West, the latter of Keen, formed the club. This was a brilliant, 
clever crowd which congregated in the tavern in Walpole, kept by 
Major Asa Bullard. Other notables who, although not members 
of the literary club, often joined the jolly crowd, were Drs. 
Spaulding and Heillman, Alpheus Moore, Jeremiah Mason and, 
not the least important, because he provided the feast for the 
body as well as helped in providing the feast for the mind, was 
the landlord, Major Bullard. And what a time they had with 
wine, and cards and song and biting wit. While this century 
has men of equal cleverness and brilliancy, this century does not 
know anything of those literary clubs that met in taverns, nor 
does it possess anything like them. Those liberally educated men 
of gentle birth who composed the literary clubs of Walpole and 



W ALP OLE. 431 

other New England towns had no distractions as do the same 
kind of men of to-day, who dissipate their brilliancy in a dozen 
places during the week to scores of delighted companions, while 
those fellows of old-days concentrated themselves among them- 
selves, for men of their stamp were few and so each was de- 
pendent upon his fellows for companionship. Money was a ne- 
cessity in those days, not a luxury, so an excess of it did not 
produce heartburn for those who lacked it, as a lack of it so often 
does in this century. But mental attainments were a luxury in 
1790, and those literary clubs were but striking illustrations of 
the old saw, that birds of a color chum in bunches. 

Royal Tyler was born in Boston, in 1757, and inherited wealth 
and refinement as well as an unusually brilliant intellect. He 
entered Harvard at the age of fifteen and was graduated in 1776. 
The year after his graduation, when he was twenty, he called, 
one day, at the home of Airs. Joseph Pierce Palmer in Boston. 
Mrs. Palmer was holding her infant daughter, Mary, in her arms 
and Tyler, taking the child, declared that she would one day be 
his wife, and such she became. Soon after being graduated, both 
Harvard and Yale conferred the degree of A.B. upon him. In 
1779, he was admitted to the bar. He was a brilliant lawyer, a 
fine soldier and a notable literatus. His chief production was a 
play called " The Contrast ". It was put upon the stage of the 
Park Theatre in New York in 1789, and proved to be a great 
success, having a run of several weeks. In the summer of 1790, 
Colonel Tyler went to Windsor, Vermont, while the Supreme 
Court was in session and remained there till January of the fol- 
lowing year, when he settled permanently in Guilford — at that 
time the largest village in Vermont — to the south of Brattleboro 
and originally a part of that town. It was while he was living 
in Guilford that he married the grown-up infant, Mary Palmer, 
who was about twenty, the wedding taking place in Framingham, 

Joseph Dennie, editor of The Museum, was also a Bostonian, 
a graduate of Harvard and a lawyer. He was born in August, 
1768, and was graduated in 1790. The law possessed no attrac- 
tions for him, so he soon gave up practicing it and devoted him- 
self to literature. He first wrote for newspapers and then 
was on the staff of The Tablet, a weekly published in Boston. 


In 1795, he went to Walpole, at the age of twenty-seven, and 
became editor of The Museum. His essays were elegant in 
style and notable for their keen and refined humor. They were 
copied in publications all over the country. The publishers of 
The Museum failed in 1798, and Dennie, finding himself out 
of employment, tried politics for a living by running for Con- 
gress, but was defeated. In 1801, he was editor and part owner 
of the Portfolio, a monthly literary magazine published in 
Philadelphia. He was its editor till his death in 1812. 

Roger Vose, another member of the literary club, came very 
near to being a Bostonian for he was born in Milton, Massa- 
chusetts, in 1763. He too was a graduate of Harvard — in the 
class with Dennie, 1790 — and a lawyer. In 1793, he went to 
Walpole to live and married Rebecca Bellows, a daughter of 
Colonel John Bellows, in 1801. He was Judge of Probate in 
Cheshire County for many years and was the first member of 
Congress from Walpole. Mr. Yose was not particularly notable 
as a lawyer or writer, but his keen sense of humor and quick wit 
made him famous, at home and in Congress. 

The first Church of Walpole was organized in 1757, but the 
first minister, the Rev. Jonathan Leavitt, was not ordained till 
June, 1 761. His pastorate was short, ending in 1764 when he 
was dismissed by the Church. The cause of his dismissal is 
not given in the records, except one fact and that is, that a mem- 
ber of his Church saw him, one day, astride of his horse with 
one end of a rope tied to the pommel of his saddle, and the other 
end about the neck of a female slave who had run away. 

After Mr. Leavitt was dismissed, the Rev. Jonathan Moore 
preached for two or three years, but was not settled over the 
Church. In January, 1767, the Rev. Thomas Fessenden was 
ordained and was the minister for thirty-eight years. 


TOWNSHIP No. i, as Westminster was first called, was 
granted by the General Court of Massachusetts, in 1736, 
to proprietors from Taunton and Norton, Massachu- 
setts; and from Ashford and Killingly, Connecticut; Joseph Tis- 
dale, of Taunton, heading the list of grantees. In the early days, 
the town was as often called Taunton, as No. 1. On November 9, 
1752, it was incorporated as Westminster by the Province of New 

Richard Ellis built a house and cultivated several acres of land, 
in 1739, and soon he was followed by a few other settlers, but the 
breaking out of King George's War caused them to abandon the 
place. Another attempt to settle the town was made in 1751, but 
the Indian attack on Charlestown, New Hampshire, caused it to 
be again abandoned, some time in 1754 or '55. In 1761, a per- 
manent settlement was effected and ten years later, in 1771, West- 
minster was the largest town in eastern Vermont, so far as popu- 
lation was concerned. The early history of Westminster was not 
materially different from the other neighboring towns, until the 
beginning of the period immediately preceding the Revolution. 
On March 13, 1775, Westminster was the scene of one of the 
most exciting incidents of that distressing and frenzied period, 
and the murder of William French by Tories was the first life 
sacrificed in Vermont, in defence of the principles which culmi- 
nated on July 4, 1776, in the Declaration of Independence. 

The Courts at this time were still officered by " King's men " 
and justice was administered ( ?) by Tory judges, in Vermont — 
as the territory concerned became later — but the people felt that 
they could not longer trust their interests and themselves to the 
kind of justice dealt out by the enemies of the Colonies. Ver- 
mont at this time was under the jurisdiction of New York. 

The County Court was to convene on March 14, 1775, in West- 
minster. The Patriots were so greatly excited that trouble was 
feared should the court convene with a King's Judge on the 
bench. Sometime before March 14, forty Patriots, of Rockingham, 

28 [433] 


went to Chester, the home of Judge Thomas Chandler, to urge him 
not to attend the court. Judge Chandler agreed with the Patriots 
but said, as there was a murder case it would be necessary to 
hear that, but no other business should be transacted. One of 
the Patriots told Judge Chandler it had been rumored that Sheriff 
William Paterson would be present with an armed posse and that 
blood would be shed. The Judge promised that no arms should 
be carried by the Sheriff or his men. The associate judges and 
the court officers were anxious that the King's dignity should 
be maintained by holding the Court the same as usual. 

The Patriots were determined that there should be no court. 
Hearing that the Court House was to be taken possession of and 
guards placed at the doors, the Patriots, or Whigs, of Rocking- 
ham arrived in Westminster on the morning of March 13 — the 
day before Court was to convene — and decided that they would 
take possession of the Court House. The forty Whigs from 
Rockingham were joined by about sixty other Whigs, all of whom 
were armed with clubs from Captain Azariah Wright's wood- 
pile. At four o'clock in the afternoon of March 13, 1775, this 
company of 100 Patriots entered, and took possession of the Court 
House. Not long after four o'clock, Sheriff Paterson with an 
armed posse — thirty-five of whom were Brattleboro Tories — 
arrived before the Court House and ordered the " rioters " to dis- 
perse. Not a sound came from the Court House so he ordered 
the King's proclamation to be read, and threatened " to blow a 
lane through them " if they had not dispersed within fifteen 

To this the Whigs replied, that the Sheriff and his men might 
enter the Court House if they would leave their arms outside. 
One of the Whigs declared that they desired peace and asked 
if the Sheriff and his men had come for war. The Tory clerk 
of the court, Samuel Gale, flourished his pistol and declared he 
would hold no parley with them save with that. The Tories with- 
drew and three of the Whigs went out to them in the hope of 
settling matters so that a conflict might be avoided, but without 

At seven o'clock in the evening Colonel Chandler — the Chief 
Judge of the Court, with whom the Rockingham Whigs had held 
an interview — arrived and was admitted to the Court, and the 


conditions were explained to him. Judge Chandler said, that 
the Sheriff and his men were not armed with his consent ; that 
he would disarm them; that the Whigs should occupy the Court 
House till the morning, when the Court would be convened with- 
out arms and he would hear all they had to say. The Whigs then 
left a guard at the Court House and the others returned to their 
homes, or to those of some of their neighbors. 

Sheriff Paterson added to his posse all the Tories in the neigh- 
borhood, and went to the Court House just before midnight, on 
March 13, 1775, and demanded admittance, stating that he would 
enter quietly if possible, by force if he must. The small guard 
of Whigs repulsed the Sheriff's men twice, when he gave the 
order to fire. The first volley was high ; the second filled that 
passionate, fiery young patriot, William French, full of bullets, 
one of which passed through his head and caused his death the 
next day. The fight in the Court House was fierce for a brief 
time, but as the Whigs only had clubs to defend themselves, 
against the swords and firearms of the Tories, it was soon over. 

The prisoners were cruelly treated, but the Tories reserved their 
most savage, barbaric, devilish cruelty for young William French, 
who lay dying, with one bullet through his brain and four other 
bullets in different parts of his body. They dragged him over 
the ground to the jail and as he lay gasping and writhing in his 
death agony, the Tories laughed at and mocked him, and cracked 
jokes over the contortions and twitching of his dying body. 

It will be shown in the chapter on Claremont that the Tory, 
Colonel Peters and that other Tory, the Rev. Ranna Crositt, both 
of Claremont, New Hampshire, wrote letters in which they told 
of the cruelty and insults they and their fellow Tories had re- 
ceived, at the hands of the Rebels in Vermont and New Hamp- 
shire. But the letters of these two Tories were written in 
1778 and 1779, four years after the Tories had taught the Rebels 
how to act the part of savage barbarians at Westminster Court 
House, when they harried and tortured the Patriot, William 
French, in his dying moments. 

The news of the fight, and the murder of William French, 
spread so rapidly that by noon of the following day — March 14, 
1775 — 400 Patriots had assembled in Westminster, many of them 
being from New Hampshire ; among them being Captain Ben- 
jamin Bellows and his company from Walpole. The Patriots 


were nearly mad with excitement and sorrow at the cruelty of 
the Tories, and demanded that the murderers of French should 
be killed and the Court House burnt, but Captain Bellows proved 
his reputation for wisdom, calmness and presence of mind in a 
trying emergency, by persuading the Patriots to wait, and let 
lawful vengeance punish the murderers. 

Judge Thomas Chandler, and Bildad Easton, deputy sheriff ; 
Captain Benjamin Burt, Thomas Sergeant, Oliver Wells, Joseph 
Willard and John Morse, Tories, who had all been confined in jail, 
were admitted to bail on March 17. Sheriff William Paterson and 
his deputy Benjamin Gorton ; Samuel Gale, Judge Noah Sabin, 
Judge Benjamin Butterfield, Richard Hill and William Williams, 
were all sent to the jail in Northampton to await trial. After two 
weeks, they were taken to New York, and the Revolution being 
at its hottest, the case seems to have been dropped. 


THE grant of Township No. 4 — by which numeral Charles- 
town was known for many years — was made by Massa- 
chusetts in which Colony it was then supposed to be, 
about five years before the first settlement was made in 1740, by 
the brothers Samuel, David and Stephen Farnsworth, who came 
from Lunenburg — Fitchburg — Massachusetts, and were born in 
Groton, Massachusetts. They were joined soon after they had 
made their pitch, by Moses Willard, one of their Lunenburg 
neighbors ; Obadiah Sartwell, Isaac Parker and his sons, of 
Groton ; John Hastings, of Hatfield, Massachusetts, and Phineas 
Stevens, of Rutland, Massachusetts. This Township No. 4 was 
the only Connecticut River settlement in 1740, with the exception 
of Fort Dummer, which was on the other side of the river in the 
southern portion of Vermont. There was no settlement of any 
kind between Township No. 4 and Canada. So, not only was it 
exposed to attack by Indians from Canada, but it was especially 
exposed, as the route chiefly used by the French and Indians be- 
tween Canada and the Connecticut River settlements — Lake 
Champlain, Otter Creek and Black River — ended just above 
Charlestown, at the mouth of Black River, where it enters the 
Connecticut River. 

Of the original proprietors, the only ones who became set- 
tlers were Stephen Farnsworth, Captain Phineas Stevens, and 
Lieutenant Ephraim Wetherbe, the other proprietors having sold 
nearly all of their property, which they had obtained by grant, 
in Township No. 4, or Charlestown, as it was called later. The 
danger from Indians made the growth of Charlestown very slow 
and four years after the first settlement, in 1744, there were but 
ten families there. 

An act of George II, in 1738, had fixed the boundary between 
Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and when the line was run 
in 1 741, Charlestown, Walpole, Westmoreland and Chesterfield, 
were found to be in New Hampshire, and the settlers of Charles- 
town found themselves in a predicament. The Province of New 



Hampshire absolutely refused to do anything towards the de- 
fence of the settlement against the French and Indians. The 
General Court claimed that it was so remote from the thickly 
populated portion of the Province on the sea coast, that it was not 
much matter what became of the settlement, and that the people 
cculd not be further burdened by the expense of sending soldiers 
and supplies to No. 4, in addition to the already heavy burden 
of taxation. The New Hampshire authorities intimated, that, 
as the Connecticut River was the highway between Canada and 
Massachusetts, it was the duty of Massachusetts to garrison the 
river settlements, even if they were in New Hampshire. Charles- 
town was therefore obliged to struggle on alone, far in the north 
and exposed to possible annihilation at any moment. And they 
struggled on alone for the men who settled Charlestown were 
among the founders of that breed of men, in New Hampshire 
and Vermont, who, in the Revolution, tramped alone, 300 miles 
through an unknown forest to offer their services in the war for 

Realizing that the time was not far distant when there would 
be war between Great Britain and France, they began prepara- 
tions for their defence the third year after the settlement of the 
Farnsworth brothers. On November 24, 1743, a meeting was 
held in the home of John Spafford, Jr., with David Farnsworth, 
Moses Willard, Captain Phineas Stevens, Isaac Parker, Jr., Oba- 
diah Sartwell, John Avery and Charles Holden present. They de- 
cided upon the building of a fort, and they were obliged to build 
it at their own expense, and such an undertaking, in a settlement 
of but ten families, was great. New Hampshire, their own Prov- 
ince, had refused all help for the selfish reason, that being so 
far from the seat of government and the chief settlements in the 
eastern portion of the Province, it made little difference whether 
the people of Charlestown were murdered or not ; and Massachu- 
setts did not feel called upon to spend its public money for the 
good of another government. But later, when Massachusetts 
found how necessary it was for the protection of its own river 
towns, that Colony gave much needed assistance by garrisoning 
the fort in Charlestown, and other forts to the north of the Mas- 
sachusetts line. 

As was usual, when any work of the nature of a fort was to 



be taken in hand, the advice of Colonel John Stoddard, of North- 
ampton, was obtained the same as it had been twenty years earlier, 
when Fort Dnmmer was built near the Massachusetts line in the 
Town of Brattleboro. The exterior walls of the fort inclosed 
an area of three-quarters of an acre. The walls were massive and 
were made of large, square-hewn timbers laid horizontally. The 
fort was so constructed, that even should Indians or French suc- 
ceed in entering the inclosed square, those in the fort would still 
be as safe as when thev were on the outside. In the area in- 


closed by the fort were the houses of Captain John Spafford, 
Captain Phineas Stevens, Lieutenant Moses Willard, Lieutenant 
Ephraim Wetherbe and John Hastings. All of these houses had 
been purchased by the Town. They were moved up to the inner 
wall of the fort, and a new house added to the number, that 
was built in the north-west corner against the inner walls of the 
fort. On the north, the side of probable attack, a strong stockade 
was put up of logs a foot in diameter and twelve feet above the 
ground. The houses purchased from the men named were called 


Province Houses. Being against the inner wall of the fort ac- 
cess to and from them was had, and they were provided with 
all known means of barricading and defence against an enemy 
that should succeed in forcing an entrance to the inclosure. The 
fort had been finished but a few weeks when the news reached 
Boston, and later Charlestown, that Great Britain had declared 
war upon France. 

The inhabitants of Charlestown were not visited by Indians or 
the French till April 19, 1746, when forty French and Indians, 
finding Captain John Spafford, Lieutenant Isaac Parker and 
Stephen Farnsworth returning to the settlement from the saw- 
mill with a load of lumber, captured them. These three men were 
taken to Canada and later were exchanged or ransomed and sent 
to Boston. Two weeks later Seth Putnam was killed by Indians 
and two of the Indians were killed by the small guard of soldiers 
stationed at the fort, under command of Major Josiah Willard. 
Massachusetts had already discovered the importance of Charles- 
town as a frontier, fortified settlement and had sent soldiers to 
garrison the place. A few weeks after the murder of Seth Put- 
nam, Captain Daniel Paine and a troop of mounted men arrived 
at the Charlestown fort. Curiosity led them to visit the scene of 
the killing of Putnam, accompanied by some of the settlers, 
about twenty men in all. On the way they ran into an ambush 
of Indians and not having arms for their defence with them, 
Ensign Obadiah Sartwell, of Charlestown, was captured; Samuel 
Farnsworth, of Charlestown, was killed and Elijah Allen, Peter 
Perin, Aaron Lyon and Joseph Massey, of Captain Paine's com- 
mand were killed. More men would undoubtedly have been killed 
or captured had not Captain Stevens, who was in command of 
the men in the fort, rushed to the rescue. Farnsworth was not 
killed by an Indian, but by one of the soldiers who accidentally 
shot him instead of the Indian with whom Farnsworth was having 
a hand-to-hand struggle. Ensign Sartwell returned to Charles- 
town, in August, 1747. A few days after this fight the garrison 
was strengthened by the arrival of Captain Ephraim Brown with 
his company from Sudbury, Massachusetts. 

The inhabitants of Charlestown were left in peace till June 
19, 1746, when Captain Stevens and Captain Brown with fifty 
men, were ambushed by Indians while they were in the woods 



looking' for the company-horses. The English soldiers and set- 
tlers were the victors in this fight. Besides having the advan- 
tage of firing the first volley, they fought with so great fierce- 
ness that many of the Indians were killed and the remainder, 
utterly routed, notwithstanding the fact that the Indians were 
about three to each one of the English. The flight of the Indians 
was so hurried that they left a quantity of arms, ammunition and 
blankets, all of which were sold for £40, old tenor. Jedediah 
Winchell was the only one of the soldiers to be killed. This 


fight took place about a mile out from the fort, on the old meadow 
road and has long been known as Ambush Hill, the hill being 
but a low elevation above the general level of the meadow. There 
was another period of several weeks during which no Indians 
were seen, and in the meantime, Captain Joseph How arrived 
from Marlboro, with thirty-eight men to relieve Captain Brown. 
On August 3, 1746, the peculiar actions of the dogs of the set- 
tlement — which were only to be seen when they scented In- 
dians — gave the inhabitants and garrison warning that the enemy 
was near. A few men were sent to investigate and if possible 


locate the enemy. The Indians saved them trouble by shooting 
Ebenezer Philips, just as he passed beyond the gate of the fort. 
The other men succeeded in re-entering the fort. The Indians 
surrounded the fort for two days, trying in every way to gain 
possession of it, but the settlers had built so well and so strongly 
that they at last gave up the attempt to take it, and went away. 

The time for reaping the grain having arrived, Captain 
Stevens and sixty men went to the Great Meadow to act as guard 
to the reapers, on August 5, 1746, and when they returned to 
the fort, on August 8, they found that Indians had taken ad- 
vantage of their absence to kill nearly all of the cattle, hogs and 
horses of the settlers, and sixteen horses belonging to the soldiers. 
The Indians had also burnt the mills, and all but one of the houses 
outside of the fort. The next day, a company arrived for the 
relief of the one under command of Captain Brown, and a little 
later reinforcements arrived with provisions for the garrison, un- 
der command of Captain Winchester. This ended Indian attacks 
upon Charlestown for the year 1746. 

Late in the autumn, Massachusetts withdrew the soldiers who 
had been stationed in the fort and, as the greater number of their 
cattle had been killed and but little opportunity to raise crops had 
been given, the settlers buried their valuables and abandoned their 
homes and went to Groton, Leominster and Lunenburg, Massa- 
chusetts, leaving six men to guard the fort till the winter set in. 
Fortunately, the winter of 1746 and '47 was so cold that the aban- 
doned settlement was not visited by the enemy. 

Captain Phineas Stevens — one of the earliest settlers of 
Charlestown — and a number of gentlemen of Massachusetts, fully 
appreciating the great importance of maintaining strong frontier 
forts, especially to the north, finally succeeded in convincing the 
Massachusetts Legislature that it must furnish money and men 
for the frontier forts. Captain Stevens, of Charlestown, an ex- 
perienced soldier and Indian fighter, strongly advised that the 
more important of the frontier forts — among them being Charles- 
town — should be garrisoned by a large number of men, that an 
aggressive war against the French and Indians might be begun, 
instead of being simply on the defensive, as in the past. His 
idea was to send strong scouting parties to a considerable dis- 
tance up the several routes used by the French and their Indian 


friends to reach the Connecticut River settlements. Captain 
Stevens' advice was not fully carried out, but Governor Shirley 
did assign Captain Stevens and thirty soldiers to the fort at 
Charlestown. He arrived there on March 27, 1747, and found 
the abandoned settlement and fort just as the six men, who had 
remained there till the winter had set in, left them. There is an 
interesting item in his report in regard to the condition of the 
fort, which is at the same time most aggravating, for it is in- 
complete. It is, that he found a spaniel and a cat within the 
fort, but he did not say anything about how they kept alive 
during all those months in which the fort was without human 

The little garrison had but just made itself comfortable, and 
the houses within the fort-yard homelike, when the dogs showed 
by their actions that Indians were near. The gate was barred 
and guarded and everything put in readiness for an attack. One 
of the men who chafed at waiting, went outside of the fort with 
one of the dogs to find if there were really Indians about. He 
had gone but a short way from the fort when he was shot at, 
and immediately a large force of French and Indians surrounded 
the fort, the soldier in the meantime returning to the fort slightly 

A defence against a greatly superior number then began, which 
was worthy to go down into history side by side with the de-. 
fence of Fort Massachusetts by Sergeant Hawks in the same 
war, an account of which is given in the chapter on Chatham, 
Connecticut. Both of these defences were of a character to make 
the Charge of the Light Brigade dwindle to the importance and 
heroism of a golf match. The Light Brigade had nothing worse 
to dread than capture by a civilized nation or sudden death, while 
the defenders of Fort Massachusetts and the Fort at Charlestown 
had the most horrible torture, — or a debased and horrible exist- 
ence should their lives be spared — staring them in the face should 
the enemy capture them. The Light Brigade was made up of 
ignorant, illiterate fighting-machines who were lacking in the finer 
feelings of persons of native refinement, and so were brave to 
the degree of recklessness. The defenders of the two forts were 
Christians, many of them possessed of refinement and college 
educations, whose bravery — for these very reasons — would be 



less than that of the veterans of the Brigade, but whose courage 
was sublime. In the case of Fort Massachusetts, the majority 
of the defenders were men too ill to stand and a few heroic 
women. In this respect the defenders of Charlestown had the 
advantage, for they were all men in perfect physical and spiritual 
health. In Caesar's day, he would have written pages about the 
fights ; in the days of the Danish marauders, or in those of the 
border warfare in Scotland, poems yards long would have been 
written about them. 

The French set fire to the dry grass and fences and a log 


house outside the fort, in the hope that the fort would catch fire. 
There was a strong wind and it was not long before the fort was 
entirely surrounded with flames and dense smoke. 

To protect the fort from fire Captain Stevens showed himself 
to be the equal of Colonel Stoddard, of Northampton, as a mili- 
tary engineer. He had eleven trenches dug, to a depth consider- 
ably in excess of a man's height, from inside under the walls of 
the fort to the outside. In these trenches, outside of the walls, 
his men could stand and throw water upon the walls in case of 


fire. At night the trenches were manned and the exterior walls 
well soaked with water, to prevent the possibility of fire from 
flying sparks or from the arrows, to the heads of which flaming 
torches of birch bark were fastened. The attack was so constant 
that the thirty defenders of the fort had not time for eating or 
sleep till finally, Debeline, the French commander, asked that 
the fighting be discontinued till morning, when they would hold 
a parley. Captain Stevens agreed and he and his men obtained 
some much needed food and rest. 

In the morning, General Debeline and sixty men approached 
with a flag of truce. He sent an officer and two men to the 
fort, and three men went from the fort to hear what the General 
had to propose. The General's proposal was most delightfully 
French in every way. It was, that thirty resolute men in a 
stronglv built, well provisioned fort, should walk out of the fort 
with all their clothing, and enough provisions done up in their 
blankets to last them on the long tramp to Canada, and surrender 
to the white soldiers of His Catholic Majesty of France and to 
the Red Imps of His Satanic Majesty of Hell; for the honor 
and glory of him of France, and the entertainment of the Imps 
of the other place. One can easily imagine the great French 
soldier drawing in lungfuls of the pure sharp spring air from the 
White Hills of New Hampshire and the Green Hills of Vermont, 
and then puffing it out at a high temperature, as he told the 
Protestant heretics of all the frightful things his greatly superior 
force, and his co-religionists of the redskins, would do to them 
should they refuse his liberal terms of surrender. 

Captain Stevens and his men were as dull and stubborn as 
only New England Protestants could be. They actually failed 
to see why they should add to the glory and honor of His Catholic 
Majesty, or why it should be a joyous thing for them to voluntarily 
furnish entertainment at the stake, or under the scalping knife, 
lor the noble allies of The Beautiful France. They were actually 
so dull and stupid that they decided to defend the fort — till the 
last man of them fell dead. When this. decision became known, 
the French and Indians spent the night in firing off their guns and 
their mouths at the fort or, as Captain Stevens expressed it in his 
report ; " Upon which they gave a great shout, and then fired, 


and so continued firing and shouting till daylight the next 

At noon of that day the French actually made a liberal pro- 
posal. It was, that if Captain Stevens would sell them provisions 
they would cease fighting and leave the place. To this the Cap- 
tain replied, that it was contrary to the law of nations to sell 
them food, but if they would deliver up one of their number 
for each five bushels of corn he would supply them. A few shots 
were fired at the fort and the soldiers of His Most Catholic 
Majesty retired, perhaps to confess and do penance for failing to 
kill heretics, or, possibly to purchase indulgences in prospective 
of the joys to be had in Montreal or Quebec. This was the last 
of the French and Indians in Charlestown in the year 1747. 
Captain Stevens, however, was most active against the enemy 
in other parts of New Hampshire and in Vermont till death 
ended his useful life. 

From the time of the first settlement by the Farnsworth broth- 
ers in 1740, down to 1753, Charlestown had no other name than 
Township No. 4. When the news of the defence of the fort at 
No. 4 reached Boston, Commodore Sir Charles Knowles, who 
was at Boston with his ship, wished to express his appreciation 
of Captain Stevens' skill, and admiration for his courage, so he 
sent him a handsome sword. This act gave No. 4 its present 
name. When the petition for incorporation presented by Cap- 
tain Phineas Stevens, was granted by the Legislature, Township 
No. 4 was called Charlestown, in honor of Sir Charles Knowles. 

The war, which practically ended in 1760, had been the means 
of making hundreds of soldiers and scouts acquainted with the 
desirability of Charlestown, and its unsettled neighborhood, as 
places for making new homes, so a new and very prosperous 
life began for Charlestown. The demand for farms in the town 
and home-lots in the village was so great, that prices of real estate 
rose to fictitious values, and for this reason many desirable set- 
tlers who had intelligence, muscle and honesty, were forced to 
go further into the neighboring wilderness to make their pitches. 
There were two other causes for Charlestown's prosperity ; it was 
on the great water-highway of New England, the Connecticut 
River, and it was near the great land-highway, through Vermont 
from the Connecticut River to Lake Champlain, known as the 



Crown Point Road. For these reasons there was a constantly 
increasing number of persons passing and repassing through 
Charlestown, from the east to Vermont and New York ; and from 
the large towns down the river to those smaller ones higher up, 
in New Hampshire and Vermont. After 1760, Captain John 
Spafford's gristmill was for several years the only mill where 
grain could be ground. Settlers went to Charlestown for this pur- 
pose from great distances. Captain David Page, the pioneer of 
Lancaster, New Hampshire, came down the river 125 miles once 


.uinta FROM THE HIL 






' AND 


■ A NO' OF Ttft "■'■■■. 





OEDICATED AUGUST/ 30; 1904 •" 


a year to have his grain ground into meal. Charlestown was also 
the trading center for all this great territory. 

Charlestown became an important military center in the Revo- 
lution. So far as furnishing men for the Continental Army is 
concerned, at the beginning of the war the town was reasonably 
patriotic, but not up to the average of the towns on the river in 
Massachusetts and Connecticut. In 1775, but twenty-two men 
cut of 116 between the ages of sixteen and fifty, were in the 
armv from Charlestown. In one Connecticut town — Windsor 


Locks — the heads of every family but one in the town were in 
the Continental Army at the same time. The men who composed 
Charlestown's Committee of Safety were Samuel Hunt, William 
Hey wood, Abel Walker, Samuel Ste-ens and Elijah Grout. As a 
military center, the town was a State depository for military 
stores, with Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Hunt custodian and 
Elijah Grout distributing commissary. It was also a recruiting 
station. Later on, so many of Charlestown's men were taking 
part in the war that it was difficult to obtain men to do work of 
any kind. 

Charlestown did not have a settled minister till fourteen years 
after the settlement in 1740, but there was occasional preaching. 
This was probably due to the unsettled conditions caused by the 
French and Indian War, rather than to indifference in the matter 
of worship on the part of the inhabitants. The first minister was 
the Rev. John Dennis, of Ipswich, Massachusetts, a graduate 
of Harvard, in 1730. He was ordained on December 4, 1754. 
From 1737, to 1749, he had served as chaplain in the army. 
After a few months more than a year, Mr. Dennis was dismissed 
for cause. 

The second minister was the Rev. Bulkley Olcott, a descend- 
ent of Thomas Olcott, one of the early settlers of Hartford, Con- 
necticut. Mr. Olcott was a graduate of Yale, in the class of 
1758, and was ordained over the Charlestown Church in May, 
1761. He was not only a studious, well educated minister, and 
an agreeable companion in society, but he was also one of the 
strongest champions of Charlestown's temporal prosperity. His 
wife was Martha Pomeroy, a daughter of Colonel Seth Pomeroy, 
of Northampton. His death occurred in June, 1793. The Rev. 
Dan Foster, who had settled in Charlestown and had opened a 
school there, was the principal supply of the Church from 1796, 
till 1809. 


THE first settler of Springfield was John Nott, in 1752, on 
the meadows, where he built a log house. It is possible 
and even probable that this John Nott was a descendant 
of Sergeant John Nott, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, the first 
American ancestor of that family. 

In the following year he was joined by Daniel, Jacob and Oliver 
Sartwell ; Combs House, Oliver Farnsworth, Joseph and Samuel 
Douglass ; Noah Porter, Nathaniel, Simon, Sr., and Simon, Jr., 
Powers. It is believed that they made their pitches on the ridge 
near the Stoddard Tower. As settlers, they were such in the 
primitive meaning of the word for they had no title to the land 
by purchase or grant, but were what was later called squatters. 
They, however, made an effort to obtain a title from Governor 
Wentworth, of New Hampshire, and later, after the New Hamp- 
shire grants had been turned over to the jurisdiction of New 
York by the King, they petitioned the New York authorities for 
titles, but nothing was done for them in either instance. But they 
were not easily driven away from the land they had reclaimed 
from the wilderness, and made valuable by their energy and labor, 
on the contrary, they defended their homes and nearly all of them 
later became permanent settlers. 

The first charter of Springfield as a town was given by Gov- 
ernor Wentworth on August 20, 1761, to a company of pro- 
prietors, nearly all of whom were residents of Northampton, 
Massachusetts. The territory granted was six miles square, on 
the west bank of the Connecticut River. Joseph Little was the 
only one of the original proprietors who settled in Springfield. 
The meetings o£ the proprietors were held, and all business of 
the town transacted, in Northampton for the first three years. 
The records are complete from 1761, to September 3, 1764, when 
they cease till August, 1771. This last meeting, of August, 1771, 
was held in Springfield, with the proprietors — Simon Stevens, 
John Barrett, and Abner Bisbee — present to transact business for 
29 [449] 


themselves and the other proprietors. The town was divided 
among the proprietors by lot. 

In 1762, they elected Gideon Lyman, of Northampton, to act 
for them in ejecting any person not a proprietor whom he found 
occupying and improving land in the township. Encouragement 
for those who should make improvements was offered in 1763, 
by a vote to give to any person who should build a sawmill, 
twenty acres of the undivided land, but the building of the mill 
and its site had to be in accordance with the approval of a com- 
mittee appointed for that purpose. The individual was required 
to keep the mill in good repair, to retain his ownership ; and he 
was loaned a " set of mill irons " for fifteen years, on condition 
that they should be kept in repair and be returned to the Town 
at the expiration of fifteen years. 

The records of the meetings of May, 1763, and March, 1764, 
are not pleasant reading, for it was voted to raise money for the 
ejectment of John Nott — the original settler — and Nathaniel 
Powers, at the first meeting and at the second, it was voted to 
allow Gideon Lyman four shillings a day for thirty-nine days, 
for ejecting the two settlers named. Judging by the number of 
days required for their ejectment, they must have put up a stiff 

There was as little sentiment in those days as there is now, 
when money, or its equivalent, was to be considered ; but it really 
seems a pity that the man who first opened the territory was not 
permitted to retain possession of the little land he required for his 
home. By 1771, the inhabitants of the town had organized a 
town government and were managing their affairs with success 
and wisdom. 

On July 20, 1764. the King and Council fixed upon the western 
bank of the Connecticut River as the boundary between New 
York and New Hampshire, and by so doing mixed matters 
greatly. The governor of New Hampshire had made many grants 
of land, to the west of the river, but after the fixing of the 
boundary by the King, the Governor of New York not only 
claimed jurisdiction over the territory, because of the King's 
act, but he also claimed that the western bank of the Connecticut 
had always been the boundary between the two Colonies and so, 
of course, the grants made by the Governor of New Hampshire 


were worthless, from the point of view of the Governor of New 
York. But the people of the New Hampshire Grants had views 
of their own on this subject. 

The Northampton proprietors of Springfield, petitioned to 
have their titles confirmed and Sir Henry Moore, the Governor 
of New York, seemed disposed to grant their request, but be- 
fore he did anything in the matter, he was succeeded by William 
Tryon who granted the land to Richard Morris and Colonel John 
Barrett, who had presented a similar petition after Gideon Par- 
sons the representative of the Northampton proprietors, had pre- 
sented his. 

The first Church and first school of Springfield came into 
existence in the same year, 1773, and in the same building, the 
home of Joseph Little, but it is probable that religious meetings 
were held before that year. It appears that the Church did not 
have a minister in 1773, for Hezekiah Holmes read sermons, 
probably written by some one else. Because of his sermon reading 
Mr. Holmes was called by his neighbors " Bishop ". 

The early records seem to be lacking or very vague for, while 
£56 due the minister was appropriated in 1779, no mention of 
his name is made. At the same meeting at which this appropria- 
tion was made, the people voted to settle the Rev. James Tread- 
way. He was born in Colchester, Connecticut, and was gradu- 
ated from Yale in the class of 1759, and preached in Alstead, 
New Hampshire, from 1773, to 1777. In 1777, Mr. Treadway 
went to Vermont and probably to Springfield, but there is no 
record of his pastorate. There seems to be no doubt that he 
ceased preaching in Springfield in 1780, for in May, 1781, the 
people voted to raise money for preaching and to secure a minis- 
ter. A vote was also taken to fix upon a site for a meeting-house. 
In July of the same year, the people voted to give the Rev. John 
Foster a call and to pay him a salary of £45 a year for two years, 
and to increase the salary by £5 a year till the sum of £65 was 
reached. The Churches of Claremont, Charlestown, Lebanon, and 
Rockingham, were called as a council to organize the Spring- 
field Church. The Revs. Bulkley Olcott, of Charlestown, and 
Augustine Hubbard, of Claremont, with their delegates, formed 
the council which met on October 3, 1781. The Rev. Mr. Olcott 
drew up the Covenant and the Church was organized with a 


membership of eight men and eight women. They were, Lemuel 
and Thankful Whitney; Newcomb and Abigail Bourne, Simon 
Stevens, Samuel and Ann Cobb, Abigail Barnard, Sarah Draper, 
Lucretia Burge, Simon Spencer, John Barrett, Asher Evans, 
Hannah Walker, Isaac Smith and Betsey Tower. Mr. Foster did 
not remain long after that important event. 

The war with Great Britain, and another war between the 
people in regard to the location of the proposed meeting house, 
were so greatly disturbing to the little community that there is 
little information in regard to preaching and ministers till after 

The Rev. Abishai Colton preached in 1788 and '89. Mr. Colton 
was born in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, in 1761, and was gradu- 
ated from Yale in the class of 1783. His death occurred on Jan- 
uary 12, 1823. Mr. Colton was given a call to be the settled 
minister but refused it. From 1789, till 1792, the Rev. Thomas 
Russell and the Rev. Benjamin Stone officiated. Mr. Stone was 
followed by Elder J. Watkins, a Baptist minister. Then followed 
the Rev. Joseph Prince, and the Rev. Stephen Williams, in 1796; 
then the Rev. Nicholas B. Whitney, who was invited to become 
the settled minister, but his terms were not satisfactory ; and the 
Revs. Messrs. Stoddard and Remington, in 1799. This makes 
it seem that the Church was in a very disrupted condition. 

At this time the salary of the minister was raised, by tax on 
the grand list, from £45 to £100 a year. In 1800, the Rev. Robin- 
son Smiley preached as a candidate and the next year he became 
the settled minister of the Church, his ordination taking place 
on September 23, 1801. Mr. Smiley was born in Jaffrey, New 
Hampshire, on April 19, 1771, and was graduated from Dart- 
mouth College, in 1798. " Father " Smiley, as he was called by 
his people, was a man who saw the bright and beautiful side of 
life, before and after death. He was sociable, refined and pos- 
sessed of a keen wit which he used, upon occasions, to silence his 
adversaries. It was his custom to bow smilingly to the congrega- 
tion as he entered the church, and after the benediction the con- 
gregation would remain standing, while Father Smiley passed out, 
bowing with the same courtly manner. One prayer of the service 
was usually a half hour long, and the people were required to 
stand while this long petition was being made. An example of 


his ready wit and appreciation of humor was strikingly shown one 
Sunday after meeting. He had preached a powerful sermon upon 
' Worldliness ", which seemed to fit one of the parishioners so 
closely that he was much stirred up about it, so he determined to 
give the minister a dig. As they passed out of the church he said 
to " Father " Smiley : 

You preached a very excellent sermon to-day Mr. Smiley, and I am 
obliged to you for it, but wouldn't you better take a little of it for 

Oh, most of it, most of it, but what little I do not take, I hope you will 
make good use of. 

" Father " Smiley was as fond of the good things of this life 
as was any one of his parishioners, for he believed they were 
Divine blessings, but he strongly disapproved of the abuse of these 
blessings. It is rather odd that, although the Church had been 
organized for twenty years, " Father " Smiley was its first regu- 
lar minister. 

The second minister was the Rev. Eldad W. Goodman, who 
was born in South Hadley, and was graduated from Union Col- 
lege, in the class of 1820; and the third was the Rev. Oliver 
Morton. Mr. Morton was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts, and 
was a graduate of Middlebury College in the class of 1812. In 
Mr. Morton's pastorate the new meeting-house was built and 290 
persons joined the Church. Mr. Morton was the father of Hon. 
Levi P. Morton, former Governor of New York, and Vice-Presi- 
dent of the United States. 

In 1795, there was a Universalist Church; and a society of 
Freewill Baptists in 1787; in 1801, the Methodist Episcopal 
Church was organized ; in 1803, there was a Baptist Church in 
North Springfield. 

Springfield's first school was in 1773, in the home of Hezekiah 
Holmes, in which the first Church meetings were held, and Miss 
Sarah Stevens was its teacher. The second school was in Eureka. 
It was built in 1794, and Mr. Coffin was its teacher in 1795. This 
schoolhouse was situated on the corner opposite the present school 

While there is reason to believe that there were societies formed 
soon after 1800, for the purchase of books, for entertainment 
and instruction, there is no record of anything of the kind before 


1819. Such persons as were interested in the institution of a 
library met in the home of Colonel Moses Fairbanks, in 1819, 
for the purpose of organizing a library association, under the act 
of the Legislature of November 6, 1800. On January 12, the 
society adopted the name of the Springfield Central Library and 
on January 18, the by-laws were adopted and the officers were 

Vermont Lodge, No. 17, F. and A. M. of Springfield, received 
its charter from St. Andrew's Grand Lodge, of Massachusetts on 
November 10, 1781. This was the first lodge in the State of 
Vermont. The first meetings of this lodge were held in Charles- 
town, in New Hampshire. This was no doubt due to the fact 
that thirty-five New Hampshire towns on the east side of the 
Connecticut river in New Hampshire were admitted into the 
State of Vermont, in 1781. This union was dissolved seven 
years later and Vermont Lodge was moved to Springfield and 
became No. 1. Colonel John Barrett, who held the office for 
several years, was elected the first master of Vermont Lodge, on 
December 18, 1781. In 1795, the lodge was moved to Windsor 
and when the anti-masonic feeling was strong, in 1831, it was 
suspended. In 1850 the lodge was revived and was given No. 18 
instead of No. 1. Roger and James Bates and James Martin were 
among the prominent members before 1788. 

Jesse Sanderson was the proprietor of Springfield's first store, 
which he kept at the Ferry, in 1788. The chief source of profit 
was obtained from the sale of liquor. There was a store in Eu- 
reka, in 1790, kept by Ashabel Wells, who was succeeded by Jo- 
seph Selden. This store was on the road from Boston to northern 
Vermont and a large business was done in it. In the same build- 
ing with the store was the tavern, jail and court. Other early 
stores were those kept by Michael Lincoln on the Common, in 
1800; Goodwin & Lynde, on the Common, in 1803; Daniel Lock- 
wood, on " Ginnery" Hill, in 1804. 

The first doctors were ; Dr. Samuel Cobb, whose home was in 
Eureka, in 1781, where he practised till his death in 1806; Dr. 
Samuel Brown, also of Eureka, lived on the Streeter farm in 
1789. In 1806, he built a house in Springfield and moved from 
Eureka to it. 

The Hon. Jonathan H. Hubbard was the first lawyer, in 1790. 


He moved to Windsor and became justice of the Supreme Court. 
The Windsor County Court was organized in 1782, with Judge 
Joseph Marsh presiding and Lewis R. Morris clerk. 

The Record of the Times was Springfield's first newspaper. It 
was started in 1834, and was published by Horatio W. Houghton. 
At the same time, his brother Horace Houghton published a 
paper in Castleton, Vermont. One side of this paper was printed 
by Horace and then sent to Horatio who printed the other side. 
The brothers Houghton were the originators of the " patent in- 
sides " with which every country paper, and many small city 
papers, are to-day supplied. 

Springfield's first Post Office was established in 181 7, with the 
Hon. S. W. Porter, its postmaster. He was postmaster from 
November of that year to July, 1828, and his remuneration for 
those ten years was the munificent sum of $847.03. 

The historical military road known as the " Old Crown Point 
Road ", connecting the Connecticut River, at Springfield, with 
Lake Champlain, by way of Otter Creek, was begun in 1759. The 
making of this road was a great undertaking but it paid well 
for it opened interior, western and northern Vermont to settle- 
ment, as well as provided a means for troops to rapidly reach 
Lake Champlain, the great water-highway to Canada. 


ALTHOUGH differing in orthography, Weathersfield in 
Vermont was named for Wethersfield in Connecticut, 
the early settlers of that part of the Connecticut River 
Valley in Vermont being from Wethersfield and neighborhood. 
The situation of the Vermont town is fine and the surrounding 
scenery is a mixture of the beautiful and grand, and that the first 
settlers chose it for the little village is but another of very many 
instances, that the Yankee settlers had an appreciation of natural 
beauties as well as for fertile and easily worked soil. In the 
vicinity are the Connecticut River and rich meadows. To the 
north is Mount Ascutney, rising abruptly to a height of more than 
3,000 feet and just west of it is its diminutive offspring — Little 
Ascutney — a partially isolated peak of 1,200 feet elevation. To 
the west are the lower heights of Pond Hill and Black Hill, and 
Black Mountain. 

The grant of the township was made by Governor Benning 
Wentworth, on August 20, 1761. The usual Wentworth reserva- 
tions were included, such as a large tract of land for himself, 
and other tracts for the Church of England, the first minister, 
etc., and the provisions of the charter were similar to those of 
other towns. When the town had a population of fifty families 
there were to be one or two public market-days in each week, 
and fairs could be held ; proprietors were required to cultivate 
five acres of each fifty they owned before the expiration of five 
years from the date of the grant, and for each successive five 
years ; all of the gigantic pines which were plentiful in the forests, 
were reserved for masts for the Royal Navy. For cutting them 
without a special license, there was a heavy penalty. Near the 
center of the town, land was reserved for the village which was 
bid out in town lots, or home-lots, as they were generally called. 
The tax for the first ten years was one ear of corn. After ten 
years, every land owner was required to pay a tax of one shilling 
for each hundred acres owned. 

Many of the proprietors were from New Haven, Connecticut, 



and Northampton, Massachusetts. Among them being Enos, 
Benjamin and Stephen Ailing; Thomas and Joseph Trowbridge; 
John Mix, Silvanus Bishop, John Pierpoint, Joseph Wooster. 
Of the Bradleys there were, John, Jr., Phineas, Josiah ; of the 
Lymans, Gideon. Daniel, Sr., and Jr., Phineas, Elijah, Phineas 
(of Hadley), Naomi, John, Jr., George, Elias; of the Wrights, 
Silas, Reuben, Elnathan, Ephraim, Jr., and Bildad ; of the Thomp- 
sons, Abraham, Jacob and Joseph ; Wiseman Claggett, and Ben- 
jamin Sheldon. 

The proprietors held their first meeting in the home of Daniel 
Lyman, in New Haven, on September 16, 1761. At this meeting 
Samuel Bishop, Jr., was elected clerk and treasurer. Phineas 
Bradley, Abraham and Joseph Thompson, of New Haven ; 
Phineas Lyman, of Hadley; and Silas Wright, of Northampton, 
were appointed a committee to view the property and lay out the 

Benjamin Ailing spent some time in Weathersfield, in 1764, 
for the purpose of making roads. He made three miles of roads 
there, but he did not make a settlement at that time. There was 
no actual, permanent settlement effected in the town till 1769, 
when this same Benjamin Ailing with Moses Ailing, Aaron 
Blakslee, William Rexford, and Gershon Tuttle settled in the 
southern and the eastern portions of the town. From the time of 
this first settlement till after the Revolution, the growth in popu- 
lation was very slow. In 1772, Joseph Douglass, Timothy Park- 
hurst, William Richardson, Eliphalet Spafford, Dan Tuttle, 
Benoni Tuttle, Asa Upham and Captain William Upham become 
inhabitants. In 1773, they were joined by Christopher Brockett, 
Israel Burlingame, Edward Grannis, Hezekiah Grout, Tucker 
Hart, Oliver Kidder, John Marsh and Amos Richardson. Grout 
settled in the western portion of the town where his wife was cap- 
tured by Indians and taken to Montreal and after three years of 
captivity was ransomed. Grout, Burlingame and Kidder became 
two of the most prominent men in the welfare and prosperity of 
the town. In 1774, William Dean settled near the foot of Ascut- 
ney. He was from one of the Connecticut settlements. Either 
through ignorance of, or in defiance of the law, he cut down some 
of the great pines reserved for masts for the ships of the Royal 
Navy, and was arrested and taken to Albany, New York, where 


hit case was disposed of. In the years from 1775 to 1780, there 
were but five new inhabitants. They were Asaph Butler, Abra- 
ham Downer, Samuel Lewis, Levi Stevens and John White. 
Butler and Stevens were on the first board of selectmen. 

Between the years 1780, and 1784, the increase in population 
was, in comparison, rapid. Among those who took a more promi- 
nent part in the public life of the town and the state were Waters 
Chilson, Ambrose Cushman, John Bennett, Edward Goodwin, 
Oliver Chamberlain, Thomas Dunphy, Thomas Hutchins, Josiah 
Hatch, Joseph Hubbard, Oliver Diggins, Daniel and Josiah Dartt, 
Abijah White, Nathaniel Stoughton, Stephen Steel; Clark, David, 
Henry and John Tolles ; Samuel Newton, Joseph Mason, Daniel 
Graves, Colonel Elijah Robinson, Thomas Prentice, Gershom 
Clark, Captain John Williams, Joseph Joslin, Gideon Lyman, 
Daniel Babcock, Asa Field, Samuel Cummings, David Polk, John 
Hill, Elijah Cady, Amos Boynton, Gideon Chapin, David Paulk, 
Benjamin Warner, Samuel Sherman, Jonathan Nye, Colonel John 
Boynton, and Levi Field. 

Chilson and Joseph Hubbard were Weathersfield's first Justices 
of the Peace. In 1781, Goodwin owned and operated the only 
gristmill in the town. Dorcas, daughter of Eliphalet Spafford, 
one of the settlers of 1772, was the first white child born in 
Weathersfield. The first Town Meeting was held in the home of 
Garshom Tuttle, on May 11, 1772. 'Squire Stevens who issued 
the warrant for this meeting wrote the date — " nth May Ana- 
do miny, iyj2 , \ 

When George III decided that the New Hampshire Grants 
(Vermont) were within the jurisdiction of New York, Weathers- 
field was more fortunate than some other towns for the Governor 
of New York, because of petition from the inhabitants of 
Weathersfield, granted the territory to them. This was practi- 
cally a confirmation of the original grant from Wentworth and 
saved the inhabitants of Weathersfield from the land grabbing 
habit acquired by the 'Yorkers". While the surveyors and 
agents of the " Yorkers " were dispossessing some and trying to 
dispossess all of the original proprietors, settlers and inhabitants, 
Weathersfield settlers were not troubled because of the New York 
grant they had received. It was but natural therefore, that when 
the people of the vast territory (which the ignorance and partial- 


ity of Great Britain's German King, George III, had given to 
New York) known as the New Hampshire Grants proposed in 
1777, to organize the Grants into a new and independent State, 
the people of Weathersfield voted to remain within the jurisdic- 
tion of New York, until the proper authority had annulled the 
authority and jurisdiction of New York. 

Weathersfield's greatest population was in the decade beginning 
with 1820, when it was 2,301, but before 1830, there was a de- 
crease which slowly continued to the present time. 

From the year of the settlement down to 1785, the people of 
Weathersfield, who wished to attend Church, were obliged to 
cross the Connecticut River to Claremont, New Hampshire, with 
the few exceptions on which the Rev. James Treadwell preached 
in Weathersfield, from 1779, to 1783. In 1785, the Rev. Dan 
Foster became the first settled minister in Weathersfield. His 
salary was £45 yearly, to be paid, one-third in cash and two- 
thirds in beef, pork and wheat. His salary was to be increased 
£5 yearly till it amounted to £75, and it included his firewood or, 
if he preferred, £5 extra yearly in place of the wood. The Town 
placed a penalty of £100 upon itself in case it did not live up to 
its agreement with Mr. Foster. A parsonage was built in that 
year at an expense of £60, but there was no meeting-house till 
several years later when the first one was built at Weathersfield 
Center. Mr. Foster was minister till 1799, and on February 10, 
1802, the Rev. James Converse was ordained. 

The Converse family originated in Navarre where the name 
was spelled Coigniers. The first member of the family to go to 
England was Roger de Coigniers, toward the end of the reign 
of William the Conqueror, as is shown by the records in Battle 
Abbey which was built by William. The Rev. James Converse 
was of the twenty-second generation from Roger, who was ap- 
pointed Constable of Durham Castle by William. The name was 
Anglicized in spelling to Conyers and finally to Convers and 
Converse. In the troublous times between the Romanists and 
Protestants, the Coigniers family were Huguenots. At the 
massacre on St. Bartholomew's day, 1572, Pierre Coigniers, see- 
ing his kinsman, the famous Protesant, Admiral Coligny mur- 
dered, fled to England and settled in Essex. 

The first American ancestor of the family was Deacon Edward 


Converse who was born in Wakerly, England, in January, 1590. 
He came to America in one of the ships of Winthrop's fleet, in 
1630, and settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He died in 
Woburn, Massachusetts, in August, 1663. The General Court of 
Massachusetts, granted to Deacon Converse a monopoly of the 
first ferry between Boston and Charlestown. Deacon Converse 
was a selectmen of Charlestown from 1635 to 1640. He was a 
member of the Commission appointed to settle Woburn, Massa- 
chusetts, in which town he settled and was a selectman, from 1644 
to 1663, the year of his death. He was one of the founders of 
the Congregational Church of Woburn and one of its deacons. 

Deacon Edward Converse's son, Ensign James Converse, was 
prominent in the military affairs of Massachusetts ; his grandson 
was Joshua ; his great-grandson was Joseph — whose daughter 
married Levi Mead and so became the grandmother of Larkin G. 
Mead ; and his great-great-grandson was the Rev. James Con- 
verse, minister of the Weathersfield Church. 

The Rev. James Converse was born in Bedford, Massachusetts, 
on July 26, 1772. He was a graduate of Harvard in the class of 
1799, and studied for the ministry in Rindge, New Hampshire, 
under the Rev. Dr. Seth Payson. He was ordained as minister 
of the Weathersfield Congregational Church, on February 10, 
1802, and continued as minister of the parish till his death, on 
January 14, 1839. Mr. Converse was married twice. His first 
wife was Mehitable Cogswell, daughter of William Cogswell, of 
Marlboro, Massachusetts, whom he married on June 17, 1802. 
Mrs. Converse died on April 10, 1810. His second wife was 
Charlotte White, whom he married on January 18, 181 3. Mr. 
Converse was a Representative in the Vermont Legislature in 
181 9, and he served as State Chaplain for one term. 

A sawmill was built in the hamlet called Amsden, on Mill Creek, 
in 1782, by Levi Sterns; and a few years later, a saw- and grist- 
mill was built by a man named Culver and improved later by 
Joseph Spafford. In Weathersfield village, Captain John Wil- 
liams built a gristmill, in 1798, which he sold to his son, J. R. 
Williams, and Nahum Duncan, in 1805. 

From about 1800, down to 1825, Weathersfield Center, where 
the first Church was organized, was a busy, prosperous little vil- 
lage, but as time went on, the railroads and the better oppor- 


tunities elsewhere for making money depopulated the Center — 
just as similar causes depopulated many charming and prosperous 
Yankee villages — till now it is hardly a hamlet. 

In 1789, the Legislature granted permission to John Hubbard 
to manage a lottery, that he might raise thereby the sum of £150 
for the erection of a brewery. In 1791, a similar act permitted 
Hubbard and Abraham Downer to have a lottery to raise £200 
more for the brewery. 


ABOUT ten years before the settlement of Claremont, a 
hunter and trapper of fame in his line, named Eastman, 
left the Town of Killingworth for a long journey up the 
Connecticut River in search of fur-bearing animals. At Sugar 
River and its tiny tributaries, in Claremont, he found beavers 
and otters in great numbers. Eastman extended his trapping 
as far as what is now Newport, and returned to Connecticut with 
a large number of valuable skins. He gave a glowing description 
of the country and of the rich harvest of pelts that could be ob- 
tained there, to his fellow townsmen and after disposing of his 
pelts returned to the same locality for more trapping, but he was 
never heard of or seen again. His skeleton was found near Mink 
Brook, however, by some of his Killingworth neighbors who had 
gone to Newport to settle. It was believed that he had been 
killed by Indians who were jealous of his success as a trapper. 

The first settlement was made in 1762, two years before the 
charter was granted, by David Lynde and Moses SpafTord, and 
at different times in the following five years a few other home- 
makers joined them and cleared land and built very primitive 
cabins of logs in the warm months, and returned to their homes 
when the cold weather set in. The greater number of these clear- 
ings were made in the western portion of the town, along Sugar 
River, which was so called from the great number of sugar 
maples upon its banks. 

Claremont was granted by Governor Benning Wentworth to 
Josiah Willard, Samuel Ashley and sixty-eight other men, in 
1764, and like the other grants made by Wentworth, there were 
reservations of land for himself; for the Society for the Propaga- 
tion of the Gospel in Foreign Parts ; for the Church of England ; 
for the first minister to be settled, and for education. 

Nearly all of the proprietors were non-residents. Of the 
seventy to whom the land was granted only Samuel Ashley, his 
son Samuel, and Oliver Ashley became inhabitants. The pro- 
prietors offered inducements to settlers in 1767, and as a result 



some families came to Claremont from several Connecticut towns, 
chiefly from Farmington, Hebron and Colchester. 

By 1769, the first settlers, and those who followed them and 
had made clearings and built rude cabins, did not return to their 
homes for the winter months. They had so far progressed with 
their clearings and the building of substantial loghouses, that 
they sent for their families. The first wedding in Claremont was 
that of Barnabas Ellis and Elizabeth Spencer. The minister, the 
Rev. Bulkley Olcott, came from Charlestown — which was settled 
twenty-two years before Claremont — and as there was no road 
between the two settlements, the bride's brother acted as the 
minister's guide and also as the bearer of some new rum for the 
occasion. Being the first wedding, it was an event of great im- 
portance in the lives of the settlers. The marriage took place in 
the largest of the log houses — a pretentious affair for those days 
as it included three rooms and a chamber under the roof — with 
the entire population present. Major Otis Waite in his admirable, 
exhaustive and very entertaining history of Claremont, gives the 
following description of this first wedding: 

The guests were seated upon benches, stools, and blocks of wood. In 
front of the happy pair was a stand upon which a Bible, hymn book, and a 
full tumbler of the beverage provided. The parties being in order the 
minister approached the stand, and with becoming dignity took up the 
tumbler — of rum — and after a generous sip of its contents, said : " I 
wish you joy, my friends, on this occasion." A chapter from the Bible was 
read, a hymn was sung, — the minister reading a line and those present 
singing each line as read. The marriage knot was then solemnly and 
duly tied, a long prayer offered and the ceremony was complete. Then 
followed toasts, jokes, and merriment, interspersed with black-strap. 

Barnabas Ellis became one of the most prominent men of his 
day. In civil life he filled, with credit to himself and satisfaction 
to his fellow townsmen, several offices. In the Revolution he 
was a lieutenant and was with Ethan Allen at Ticonderoga and 
Crown Point, in 1775, and took part in the Battle of Bennington, 
in August, 1777. His farm was on Town Hill and is still owned 
by one of his descendants. 

One of the settlers who came from Farmington, Connecticut, 
as a result of the inducements offered by the proprietors in 1767, 
was Benjamin Tyler, a typical Connecticut Yankee, whose in- 


genuity was unlimited. He could do, and did do, nearly every- 
thing from his share of populating New England to mending a 
broken gun, building and running a mill and serving as a town 
official. Being a millwright, the proprietors gave him the water- 
power on Sugar River and two acres of land for a mill yard, on 
condition that he build a mill and maintain it for ten years. 

Benjamin Tyler was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, in Feb- 
ruary, 1732, where he married Mahitabel Andrews, and later 
moved to Farmington, where his seven children were born. In 
the spring of 1767, he came to Claremont and in the summer fol- 
lowing he built a dam on the river at West Claremont, which 
later became the site of the Jarvis dam. This was the first mill 
dam in the town. In the spring of 1768, having returned to 
Farmington, he started on an ox-sled over the snow and the ice 
on the Connecticut River, with his family and household goods 
for Claremont. While on the way to Claremont he was honored 
by his future fellow townsmen by being elected as one of the 
selectmen. The Tylers were snow-bound for several days at 
Montague, Massachusetts, and that fact demonstrated his ingenu- 
ity referred to, as he paid for the board and lodging of himself 
and his family at the tavern in Montague, by making a pair of 
cartwheels for the landlord. In the summer of 1768, Mr. Tyler 
built a gristmill and a sawmill on the north bank of Sugar River, 
and then began to grind grain for the settlers in Claremont and 
for many miles about, the grists being brought to his mill on the 
backs of the farmers. He also sawed lumber and built, or super- 
intended the building of, many of the first framed houses and 
barns in the town. The house he built for himself was the 
largest in town at that time. 

The early settlers were about equally divided in their religious 
beliefs, half of them being Churchmen and the other half Con- 
gregationalists, but as the population increased the Congrega- 
tionalists were soon in the majority. This was no doubt due to 
the fact that so many of the inhabitants came from Connecticut, 
where the people did not confess their creed to be, in one Catholic 
and Apostolic Church, but in one Orthodox and Congregational 

On April 28, 1769, the Churchmen of Claremont wrote to the 
Clergy and Missionaries of the Society for the Propagation of 


the Gospel in Foreign Parts, who were to meet in New Milford, 
Connecticut, stating their great need of a teacher. " We believe ", 
they said, " that a good school lays the foundation for a sober, 
godly and righteous life ; and since Samuel Cole, Esq., has been 
employed in keeping school and is an inhabitant and proprietor 
among us (whose character and qualifications some of you know 
well) we humbly desire you would be pleased to represent our 
state to the venerable Society, and endeavor that he may be ap- 
pointed Catechist and Schoolmaster among us a few years till we 
have got over the first difficulties and hardships of a wild, unculti- 
vated country." 

The first rector to officiate at a service of the Episcopal Church 
in Claremont was the Rev. Samuel Peters, of Hebron, Connecti- 
cut, a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. 

The Rev. Mr. Peters was evidently one of that variety of rec- 
tors of the Church of England, not scarce in those days, who 
lacked in sympathy, was fond of his stomach and body as well as 
his soul, and was incapable of distinguishing a diamond till the 
lapidary had removed its rough exterior. This was shown in 
his account of his journey through the river towns of Vermont 
and New Hampshire in 1770. He said of them: 

Yet in both are several thousand souls, who live without the means of 
grace, destitute of knowledge, laden down with ignorance and covered 
with poverty. 

Under similar conditions, a Jesuit missionary or a minister 
of the Congregational Church would have seen the diamonds and 
would have been thankful that he had been given the opportunity 
to cut and polish the gems. In those days, the Rector, the Priest 
and the Minister were, undoubtedly, equally good Christians, but 
one of them had the knack of concealing it. 

Although Mr. Peters did not mention the fact in his narrative — 
possibly he was not proud of organizing a Church with such 
ignorant poverty covered parishioners — he did organize a Church 
in Claremont in 1771. The Episcopal Church in Claremont — 
and doubtless in other northern New England towns — had a very 
great struggle with adversity. It was not the Church of the 
people. It was the Church that the people had forsaken their 
homes in Great Britain to be rid of, so it is not difficult to imag- 
ine how great a struggle the Churchmen of Claremont had to 


keep their parish alive. That it did survive, is an evidence of the 
sincerity and noble courage of the parishioners. 

The Rev. Ranna Crositt, the opposite of Mr. Peters, became 
rector, about 1773, or a little earlier. He must have lived upon 
faith and good works. Certainly his salary would not purchase 
an existence for himself alone, with enough left over to bury 
his family after it had died from starvation. His salary at the 
start was £30 paid by the Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel. In 1777, the people of the parish agreed to pay him 
an additional £30, but in 1778, they were obliged to reduce it to 
£15. The inability of the Church to support the rector may be the 
better understood, when it is known, that the people were obliged 
to pay their rate towards the support of the Orthodox, the True, 
the Congregational minister. So it is easily seen that their re- 
ligion was a great and expensive luxury and that while their 
rector was barely existing, the Congregational minister was 

The clergy and laity of the Established Church of England in 
New Hampshire and Vermont were inclined to be Tories. Many 
were self-avowed Tories, and they paid a heavy penalty for their 
loyalty to the King. While it seems strange that their short- 
sightedness prevented them from seeing that the spirit of the 
British colonists in America, especially in New England, was ir- 
resistible and would be satisfied with nothing less than Inde- 
pendence once the war was begun, their faithfulness to their prin- 
ciple and their King was as admirable as the patriotism of the 
Rebels. Letters from Colonel John Peters to his brother the 
Rev. Samuel Peters, the organizer of the Episcopal Church of 
Claremont, and from the rector of that Church, the Rev. Ranna 
Crositt, to the Society give information that shows how dearly 
they paid for their loyalty. Colonel Peters says in his letter of 
July 20, 1778; 

Rev. Dr. Wheelock l President of Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, 
in conjunction with Deacon Bayley. Mr. Morey, and Mr. Hurd, all justices 
of the peace, put an end to the Church of England in this State, so early 
as 1775. They seized me, Captain Peters and all the judges of Cumber- 
land, Gloucester, the Rev. Mr. Crositt and Mr. Cole, and all the Church 
people for 200 miles up the river, and confined us in close gaols, after beat- 
ing and drawing us through water and mud. Here we lay sometime and 
were to continue in prison until we abjured the king and signed the 
league and covenant. Many died ; one was Captain Peters' son. We were 


removed from the gaol and confined in private houses at our own expense. 
Captain Peters and myself were guarded by twelve rebel soldiers, while 
sick in bed, and we paid dearly for the honor; and others fared in like 
manner. * * * Captain Peters has been tried by court-martial and or- 
dered to be shot for refusing to lead his company against the King's 
troops. He was afterward reprieved, but still in gaol, and was ruined both 
in health and property; * * * Crositt and Cole * * * had more 
insults than any of the loyalists, because they had been servants of the 
Society, which, under pretense (as the rebels say) of propagating religion, 
had propagated loyalty, in opposition to the liberties of America. 

The Rev. Mr. Crositt's letter was written in New York, on 
June 6, 1779. 

I arrived in this city last Sunday, by permission, with a flag, and am to 
return in a few days * * * I have been by the committee confined as 
a prisoner, in the town of Claremont, ever since the 12th of April, 1775; 
yet God has preserved me from the people. * * * The numbers of my 
parishioners and communicants in Claremont are increased, but I have been 
cruelly distressed with fines for refusing entirely to fight against the King. 
In sundry places where I used to officiate, the church people are all 
dwindled away. Some have fled to the King's army for protection, some 
were banished j and many died. 

Mr. Crositt left the Church in 1785, and was appointed as 
chaplain at Sidney, Cape Breton Island, where he died in 181 5. 
After Mr. Crositt left, in 1785, the Church had no rector for 
several years, but the services were continued by Ebenezer Rice, 
a lay reader, who also kept the records of the parish. In 1785, 
the Church had a pewter Communion service which was in use 
till 1822. 

In 1787, the Rev. Abraham Towlinson officiated for seven 
months, and in 1788, the Rev. Solomon Blakeslee became rector, 
with a salary of £52, the use of the parish land, or glebe, and the 
back rents due on that property. Mr. Blakeslee must have been 
an unusually eloquent and persuasive preacher for the member- 
ship of the Church was greatly increased and on one occasion, 
thirty Congregational families became Churchmen, or, as a promi- 
nent inhabitant of Old Saybrook, who was weary of paying taxes 
for the support of the Congregational minister and wished to 
avoid it by " signing off ", expressed it ; "I hereby renounce the 
Christian religion that I may join the Episcopal Church ". 

In 1794, the Church was incorporated as Union Church, by 
the Legislature. On May 13 of that year, a most extraordinary 


proposal was made by the Congregationalists to the Episcopalians. 
It was that a Congregational minister, named Whiting, should be 
employed by both denominations as a minister-rector. While the 
Congregationalists and Episcopalians were of one mind in regard 
to creed and church doctrines, they were widely separated in 
Church government form of service. How the Rev. Mr. Whiting 
could serve two such masters, without a prick of conscience, is a 
mystery. As there had been a great many families who had 
proselyted from the meeting-house to the Church, this proposal 
may have been a clever bit of ecclesiastical politics ; an attempt 
to win them back, but if it was, it did not succeed. The com- 
mittee appointed, or chosen, from the Church to confer with a 
committee from the Meeting-house, was composed of, Bill Barnes, 
Ebenezer Rice, Ambrose Crositt, David Dodge, Sanford Kings- 
bury, John W. Russell and Captain George Hubbard. This com- 
mittee agreed to the proposal with the stipulations, that the Rev. 
Mr. White, having been ordained according to the rites of the 
Congregational Church, should also receive Episcopal ordination, 
and that he should officiate alternately at the church and the 
meeting-house. The Congregationalists refused to accept the 
terms. As the stipulations were entirely fair; as they were just, 
and even less than could be expected ; as nothing was said in 
regard to the Sacraments and Church government ; the refusal 
of the Congregationalists makes it seem as if their proposal was 
entirely due to shrewd ecclesiastical politics. In 1795, the Rev. 
Daniel Barber became rector of the Church. Mr. Barber was a 
proselyte, or a convert, or was in some other way induced to give 
up Congregationalism for Episcopacy. In 1818 Mr. Barber was 
dismissed from Union Parish because he had again discovered 
the error of his ways and faith and this time had been proselyted, 
or converted or in some other way wheedled into the Roman 
Catholic Church. The Rev. Daniel Barber, minister-rector-priest 
died in 1834, but just what his religious belief was after that, is, 
of course, only to be guessed at. 

Soon after the settlement of the town, in 1762, the Con- 
gregationalists held public worship in one or another of the 
homes, and in 1767, Samuel Cole, a graduate of Yale, was ap- 
pointed their reader by the settlers. In 1771, Thomas Gustin 
took steps to interest the people in the settlement of a minister 
and in February, 1772, the Rev. George Wheaton was settled 


as the first minister, but the records do not show that there was 
an organized Church at that time. There is much that is humor- 
ous in the Rev. Mr. Wheaton's brief acceptance of his call to the 
pastorate of the Claremont Congregational Church, but of course, 
the good young man was entirely ignorant of it. His acceptance 
is addressed to " The Church of Christ and other Inhabitants of 
the town of Claremont". The "Other Inhabitants" doubtless 
being Indians, Episcopalians and Baptists. 

He then tells the people that he had been " at the Throne of 
Divine Grace for direction of Almighty God, in so weighty and 
important a matter ", and then he adds ; " / have also taken advice 
of my friends and Eathers in the Gospel Ministry ", thus it would 
seem that his first adviser did not respond, or that the advice was 
not given in strict accord with the Cambridge Platform. 

The ordination took place in the South Schoolhouse and the 
Rev. Abiel Leonard, of Woodstock, preached the ordination ser- 
mon. Mr. Wheaton's health was failing at the time of his ordina- 
tion. In April, 1773, he was obliged to give up his ministerial 
duties and go to his father's home in Norton, Massachusetts, 
where he died in June, 1774, at the age of twenty-two. 

The second minister was the Rev. Augustine Hibbard. He 
was settled in October, 1774, and dismissed in December, 1785. 
Mr. Hibbard was a graduate of Dartmouth College in the class 
of 1772. He was inconsistent, eccentric and a disturbing element 
in the congregation and little good resulted from his pastorate. 
The Church was without a minister from 1785, till 1796, when 
the Rev. John Tappan was ordained. He was dismissed in 1802, 
and was expelled from the Communion of the Congregational de- 
nomination in 1803. Mr. Tappan was born in East Kingston, 
Massachusetts, and was graduated from Harvard in 1790. After 
his expulsion from the Church, he remained in Claremont and 
kept a store. 

In 1785. the Town voted to relieve all Baptists from being 
taxed toward the support of the Congregational minister. 

In the Revolution, Claremont had a larger proportion of Tories 
than were to be found in many other towns. That Claremont 
might not be a haven of rest for these Tories, the Atkins brothers, 
and several other young men of great stature, strength and patrio- 
tism, formed a band for their extermination if need be, and elimi- 
nation any how. They solemnly agreed to try to capture all 


Tories and if capture were not possible, to shoot them. A famous 
resort of these king's-men was a place called in later times, " Tory 
Hole ". It is situated between the Rich farm and Red Water 
Brook. It is surrounded by a swamp on three sides that was 
then filled by a dense thicket. On the fourth side is a steep rise 
of thirty feet, that is precipitous o^ the side towards the " Hole ". 
Access to the " Hole " was through a ravine in the precipice, and 
also by a path winding along the foot of the precipice which en- 
tered the " Hole " near the Rich farm. The surface of the 
" Hole " is slightly elevated and so, dry and a very snug 
hiding place. Such Tories as were passing through Claremont 
with information, or in search of it, for the British army, stopped 
at the " Hole " and their friends in the village took them food, 
while a fine spring in the " Hole " provided them with water. 

The inhabitants were suspicious of every stranger till he had 
given a satisfactory account of himself, and this fact led to the 
discovery of "Tory Hole". In the autumn of 1780, a stranger 
with a large pack upon his back was seen passing along near the 
Rich farm towards night. The watchful ones followed him till 
he suddenly disappeared from sight. Word was sent to the vil- 
lage and soon a large number of men were on the spot. A search 
was made and finally the path leading to the " Hole " was dis- 
covered. It being too dark to see anyone in the " Hole ", a guard 
was placed on the path with instructions to capture or kill any- 
one trying to pass. Just before sunrise the men reassembled and 
began to search the " Hole ", when two men suddenly started up 
and ran toward the ravine, rapidly pursued by the patriots. The 
pursuers frequently lost and regained the trail, and finally arrived 
at the Connecticut River where they found that the two men 
had swam across. Slinging their guns across their backs the 
Patriots followed across the river. They had been following the 
two men since dawn and had traced them to Ascutney Mountain, 
at the foot of which the pursuers camped for the night. The 
ascent was begun early the following morning, from several dif- 
ferent places, and at the top of the mountain the men were found 
asleep. They were held as prisoners of war, since, being armed, 
they could not be regarded as spies, and were taken to Charles- 
town, New Hampshire, and from there sent to Boston and were 
later exchanged. 


THE charter of Windsor was granted in 1761, but the set- 
tlement did not take place till 1764. There is a diversity 
of opinion in regard to who the first settler, or settlers, 
were. The editors of the History of Windsor County dismiss 
this very interesting and important fact — important in the history 
of every town — with " * * * nor is it a matter of any con- 
siderable importance ". 

There seems to be no dispute that Solomon Emmons and his 
wife had put up a very primitive little cabin in Windsor some- 
time before 1764 — perhaps several years before — but as they 
had made no attempt at clearing or cultivating the land they 
cannot be regarded as settlers. It is quite probable that Mr. Em- 
mons was one of those hardy Connecticut hunters and trappers 
who went into the far north, up the Connecticut Valley, to trap 
and shoot animals for their valuable pelts. Another reason why 
Emmons and his wife should not be regarded as the first settlers 
or as settlers of any kind is, that they had purchased no land 
and were simply living there by the same right that the Indians 
would have lived there, the matter of ownership not being con- 
sidered till after the King began to give away land that he had 
never seen and could show no title to. 

Captain Steel Smith, of Farmington, Connecticut, is generally 
acknowledged to be the first permanent settler of Windsor. When 
he and his family arrived in August, 1764, they found Mr. 
and Mrs. Emmons there before them. Some authorities say, 
that Joab Hoisington was there with the Smiths but whether this 
is so has not been finally determined. In 1765, the Smiths were 
joined by several persons, among them being Major Elisha 
Hawley, Captain Israel Curtis, Deacon Hezekiah Thompson, and 
Deacon Thomas Cooper. This was a collection of military and 
Church dignitaries that must have impressed the actual possessors 
of the place whom the settlers shot for their flesh and their valu- 
able pelts. 

One of the first cases of a hunter who " thought it was a bear " 
happened in Windsor. This same Joab Hoisington was hunt- 




ing, with a companion named Bartlett, for bear. The men sepa- 
rated in the woods and when Hoisington heard a rustling and 
saw something move, without taking the trouble to investigate, 
he shot his friend. It is evident that the same kind of criminal 
who commits the same kind of crime in the twentieth century 
cannot boast of originality. 

When the troubles arose over the act of the King which gave 
the New Hampshire Grants (Vermont) to New York, Windsor 


was a strong partisan of the settlers against the unlawful claim 
of the " Yorkers " to the improved lands and homes of the set- 
tlers. In this Windsor differed from Weathersfield, Brattleboro 
and some other places. At the same time Windsor was remote 
from the scenes of the conflicts of the Green Mountain Boys — 
under Ethan Allen and Seth Warner — with the " Yorkers " and 
so was not able to render or receive assistance from that small 
but terrific army of determined men. The people of Windsor had 
made valuable improvements to the land they possessed by grant, 
or by purchase from the original proprietors, and they were natu- 


rally loath to give it up, without compensation, to the favorites 
of the Governor of New York, to whom he had given and was 
giving, the improved farms and the homes of the Green Moun- 
tain Yankees. 

There is a tradition, that when a Vermont Yankee is born he 
is possessed of a small receptacle that is packed full of resources 
of many kinds and, in later life, when he cannot obtain his rights 
by his daring, his muscle or his bravery, he resorts to this little 
receptacle — which anatomists call the head — to obtain his rights. 
The people of Windsor used some of the resources that were 
stored away, to retain their rights. On October 29, 1765, the 
property owners presented a petition to the Governor of New 
York in which they explained how they came into possession of 
the land ; that they had made valuable improvements at the ex- 
pense of a great deal of time and some money, and were very 
desirous that the Governor of New York would grant this land 
to them. But the Governor of New York did nothing about it. 
The petition of October 29, 1765, failed. 

The inhabitants of Windsor then tried a perfectly legitimate 
scheme — it was better than legitimate for the Windsor people 
were dealing with New York land grabbers who regarded neither 
justice nor honesty — which worked to perfection. 

The property owners of Windsor deeded their land to Nathan 
Stone. It was understood between themselves and Stone, that he 
was to act as their trustee and that, when he had obtained the 
grant from the Governor of New York, he was to deed back 
to each inhabitant his land. Nathan Stone then induced a number 
of men who lived in New York City, to join him in a petition to 
the Governor of New York for a grant of a township in that 
portion of New York, which was formerly known as the New 
Hampshire Grants — which was, of course, the Town of Wind- 
sor — and the Governor, seeing the names of good and loyal 
citizens of New York signed to the petition, granted it on March 
28, 1772. 

On March 31, 1772, Nathan Stone's New York City friends 
deeded their interest, under the grant from the Governor of New 
York, to him, and Stone paid each of them ten shillings for the 
use of his name on the petition. In November, 1772, Nathan 
Stone deeded back to each of the inhabitants of Windsor the 
land which he had deeded to Stone while he was acting as the 


agent of the property owners in obtaining the grant from the 
Governor of New York. So Yankee " cuteness " was more than 
a match for " Our Royal Governor of Our Royal Province of 
New York with its Royal Institutions ". 

In order that they might keep their own, upon which they had 
spent so much care and labor in improving, the people of Wind- 
sor even let their neighbors in the surrounding towns look upon 
them as traitors who favored the authority of New York, and so 
were against the interests of every settler of the New Hampshire 
Grants. But when the time came for the organization of the 
Grants into a separate and independent State, the people of Wind- 
sor were among the most earnest supporters of that movement. 
Windsor was loyal to the interests of the towns of the New 
Hampshire Grants in the controversy with New York, and it was 
even more loyal to the interests of the United Colonies in the 
controversy with Great Britain's German King, George III. The 
first Constitution of the State of Vermont was adopted at the con- 
vention held in Windsor on July 2, 1777. 

The new State came very near to being called New Connecti- 
cut. A good name and one that would have been highly re- 
spectable, although entirely lacking in individuality. But Ver- 
mont ! there is a word that has brought joy and happy remem- 
brance to many a son of the Green Mountain State in foreign 
lands ; a word which ; borne aloft on the banners of Allen and 
Warner in '76 and on the banners of the " Boys in Blue ", in '61 ; 
caused terror and dismay to enter the hearts of the enemies of 
the United Colonies and meant defeat to those misguided brothers 
who hoped to disrupt the Union. It is only necessary to hear a 
real son of the soil pronounce the word — V'rmornt — to know 
that it tastes good in his mouth. This change of name was de- 
cided on at a previous convention held in Windsor on June 4, 

Between the western and eastern portions of the Town of Wind- 
sor is a range of high hills running, in a general direction, north 
and south. The hardship of having to cross these hills to attend 
Church in Windsor village, resulted in the formation of two 
Church societies by the Legislature, in 1785. After many at- 
tempts had been made to divide the town for the same reason ; 
and also because the inhabitants on the west side of the sepa- 
rating hills felt that they were not receiving their share of rep- 



reservation among the town officers ; this was accomplished by 
act of the Legislature in 1814. As soon as they had been granted 
the divorce they so much wanted, they again became dissatisfied, 
and in 181 5, the Towns of Windsor and West Windsor were 
reunited. In 1848, they were again separated and have remained 
independent since that year. 

The Old South Church was organized in 1768. and is the first 
Congregational Church of Windsor. It was called the Church 


of Cornish and Windsor at the time of the organization — Cornish 
being across the Connecticut River in New Hampshire. The 
Covenant was adopted in Windsor on September 21, 1768, and 
in the following week its adoption took place in Cornish, and at 
the same time, the Rev. James Welhnan was installed as the first 
minister of the twin Church. His salary was £40, New Hamp- 
shire currency, of which sum the people of Windsor paid one- 
third. A provision of the agreement — for the fulfillment of 
which the people gave a bond — was that this salary could be paid 
in cash, or in grain, beef, pork, or labor by the day. No doubt 
the labor as an equivalent of cash had its value then, but it is 


somewhat difficult to appreciate its value now, for labor was 
neither food, raiment nor heat. Air. Wellman was engaged for 
five years. He received as a settlement 200 acres of land. He 
preached a third of the time in Windsor, and two-thirds in 

The membership in the Windsor portion of the parish had in- 
creased sufficiently by 1774, for eleven members to separate them- 
selves, by letters of dismission, that they might organize a Church 
in Windsor. The year in which the first meeting-house was built 
is not known, but it was before 1779. The " Old South Church " 
was built in 1798, at the then great cost of $5,000. 

The first Baptist Church of Windsor was organized in 1785, 
b}' eleven persons who had been members of the Woodstock Bap- 
tist Association. The Rev. Roswell Smith was the first pastor, 
but there was no church building till 1802. The Church mem- 
bership increased sufficiently for it to be possible for the society 
to build a new brick church in 181 5. The Rev. Leland Howard 
became its pastor in 1816. 

Although there was no Church edifice in Windsor till about 
1822, there were Churchmen and an Episcopal Parish as early 
as 1785. In that year the Rev. Ranna Crositt — the Tory rector 
of the Claremont Church — appointed Alexander Parmlee warden 
of the Parish of Windsor and Reading, adjoining towns. Ser- 
vice was no doubt held in the homes of the Churchmen in Wind- 
sor until they were able to build a church, in 1822. In 18 16, the 
Biennial Convention of the Eastern Diocese was held in Windsor. 
The business of the Diocese was transacted in the home of Judge 
Hubbard and the services were held in the Baptist Church. This 
convention had a stimulating effect upon the desire of the Epis- 
copalians for a rector. Thomas Thomas wrote to the Rev. James 
Morss, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, urging him to come to 
Windsor to organize a Church and become its rector. Mr. Morss 
accepted a part of the invitation, by spending the last Sunday 
in November and the first in December, 1816, in Windsor. He 
organized St. Paul's Parish, celebrated Holy Communion and ad- 
ministered the Sacrament of Baptism to thirty persons. He did 
not, however, remain as rector of the Church, but left Colonel 
Alexander Dunham to conduct the services as lay-reader. There 
was a large congregation for the times and services were held in 
the Courthouse, on Common Hill. After his return to his home, 


Mr. Morss was repeatedly urged by letter to accept the rector- 
ship of St. Paul's Church, but although he did not accept, he 
did spend two more Sundays in Windsor, in August, 1817. In 
the winter of i8i7-'i8, the Rev. G. Leonard came to Windsor. 
In that winter the church was built and was consecrated by 
Bishop Griswold in November, 1822, and Mr. Leonard was or- 
dained the day after the consecration of the church as its rector. 
The military organizations of Windsor were Jefferson Artil- 
lery, organized in 1810, with Captain Tileston and Lieutenant 
Cutting its officers. In 1820, there were two uniformed com- 
panies, and two ununiformed which were called in derision, 
" The Floodwood ". Of the first two companies, one was an 
artillery company and the other light infantry. 




Abbott, Israel 108 

Abbott, Robert 148 

Ackley, Ezera 142 

Ackley, Nicholas 75 

Ackley, Stephen 142 

Adams, Margaret 282 

Alexander, John 408, 413 

Alexander, Joseph 365 

Alden, John 44 

Allen, Amos 384 

Allen, Elijah 440 

Allen, Ethan. .36, 418, 463, 472, 474 

Allen, Joseph 392 

Allen, Lieut 387 

Allen, Matthew 236 

Allen, Rev. S. C 398 

Allen, Samuel 118, 380, 410 

Allen, Samuel 318 

Allen, Thomas 92 

Ailing, Benjamin 457 

Ailing, Enos 457 

Ailing, Moses 457 

Ailing, Stephen 457 

Allyn, Edward 382 

Allyn, John 228, 382 

Alsop, John 95 

Alsop, Richard 95, 96, 108, 109 

Alvord, Alexander 318 

Alvord, Benjamin 253 

Alvord, Captain Jonathan 142 

Alvord, Elijah 368 

Alvord, Seth 142 

Amherst 360 

Amherst College 360 

Andre, Major 66 

Andrew, Rev. Samuel 7,2 

Andrews, Daniel 166 

Andrews, Edward 225 

Andrews, Gov 205 

Andrews, Jeremy 204, 205 

Andrews, John 166 

Andrews, Joseph 166 

Andrews, Joshua 166 

Andrews, Mahitable 464 

Arms, Ambrose 394 

Arms, Eben 384 

Arms, Major John 413 

Arnold, Joseph 75 

Ashley, David 309 

Ashley, Israel 312 

Ashley, Oliver 462 

Ashley, Robert 308 

Ashley, Samuel 462 

Atherton, Eben 393 

Atherton, Rev. Hope 351, 360 

Atherton, Shubael 384 

Atkins, Brothers 469 

Atkinson, Theodore 401, 424 

Atwater, Rev. Noah 315 

Atwood, Elijah 80 

Austin, Lieut. Anthony. .. .274, 275 

Austin, Moses 275 

Austin, Stephen F 275 


Babcock, Daniel 458 

Bacon, Nathaniel 92 

Backus, Rev. Simon 169 

Bailey, Elijah 143 

Bailey, John 75 

Bailey, Recompense 142 

Baker, Edward 318 

Baldwin, Mary 345 

Ballentine, Rev. John 315 

Barber, Rev. Daniel 468 

Barber, Thomas 236 

Barker, James 407 

Barnard, Abigail 452 

Barnes, Bill 468 

Barrett, Col. John 451 

Barrett, John 449, 452, 454 

Barrett, William 410 

Bartlett, David 329 

Bartlett, Ephraim 274 

Bartlett, Joseph 328, 329, 333 

335, 345 

Bartlett, Robert 316, 318 

Bartlett, Samuel 328 

Barton, William 134 

Bascom, Jonathan 339 

Bascom, Thomas 236, 290, 291 


Bates, James 75, 454 

Bates, Roger 454 

Bayley, Deacon 466 





Beadle, William. .. 153, 154, 155, 156 

Beebe, Jonathan 80 

Beecher, Rev. Wm 104 

Beeman, John 407 

Beckley, Sgt. Richard . . . 166, 167 

Beers, Captain 397 

Belcher, Andrew 403 

Belcher, Jonathan 401 

Belcher, William 121 

Belden, Benjamin 151 

Belden, Captain E. P 151 

Belden, John 151 

Belding, Hezekiah 365 

Bell, Abraham 148 

Bellows, Benjamin . .424, 425, 428 


Bellows, Falls 401 

Bellows, John 428, 432 

Bellows, Rebecca 432 

Bement, Samuel 108 

Benedict, Lieut. Peter 119 

Benedict, Rev. Joel 119, 165 

Benedict, Rev. Abner 118 

Benedict, Sarah M 165 

Bennett, John 458 

Berlin 187 

Bernard, Samuel 355 

Betts, Roger 148 

Bevin, John 143 

Bevin, William 142 

Bidwell, John 225 

Bidwell, Ruth 343 

Bill, James 142 

Billings, Rev. Edward 384 

Birge, Palatiah 268 

Bisbee, Abner 449 

Bishop, Samuel 230 

Bishop, Samuel, Jr 457 

Bishop, Sylvanus 457 

Bissell, Daniel 242, 243, 244, 391 

Bissell, Elizabeth (Loomis)... 243 

Bissell Family 260 

Bissell's Ferry 260, 261 

Bissell, Rev. Hezekiah 246 

Bissell, John 236 

Bissell, John, Sr 261 

Blackball 57. 60 

" Blackhall Boys " 61 

Blacksmith, Learned 177 

Blague, Col. Joseph 97 

Blake, Elijah 294 

Blake, William 284 

Blakslee, Aaron 457 

Blakslee, Rev. Solomon 467 

Blaksley, Deacon Solomon 82 

Blanchard, Col. Josiah 424 

Blanchard, Thomas 410 


Blanchard, Thomas, Jr 410 

Bliss, Elizabeth 298 

Bliss, George 295 

Bliss, Luke 294 

Bliss, Moses 293 

Bloomheld 245 

Bloomfield, William 92 

Boltwood, Ensign Solomon.... 365 

Boltwood, Lieut. Robert 365 

Boltwood, Samuel 361 

Boltwood, William 365 

Bordman, Richard 170 

Boston Bigots 285 

Boston's Holy Orgy 286 

Bourne, Abigail 452 

Bourne, Newcomb 452 

Bowers, Rev. Benjamin .... 130 

Bowls, William 410 

Boynton, Amos 458 

Boynton, Col. John 458 

Bradfield, Leslie 148 

Bradish, Ebenezer 410 

Bradish, Isaac 410 

Brainard, Daniel 75 

Brainard, Deacon Ezera 76 

Brainard, Hon. Hezekiah 82 

Brainard, Martha 82 

Brainard, Rev. David 78, 79 

Bradley, John, Jr 457 

Bradley, Phineas 457 

Bradly, Josiah 457 

Brattle, Wm. Col ill, 410 

Brattleboro 410 

Breck, Controversy. . . .298, 301, 302 

303. 304 

Breck, Rev. Robert. .. .298, 299, 301 

302, 303. 306 

Brewer, Chauncey 294 

Bridgeman, James 318 

Bridgeman, Orlando 407 

Brockett, Christopher 457 

Brockway, Miss Betsey .... 141 

Brockway, Rev. Thomas 14 1 

Brooker, Sarah 44 

Brooks, Nathaniel 382, 384 

Brooks, Thomas 75 

Brown, Captain .... 440, 441," 442 

Brown, Dr. Samuel 454 

Brown, Edmund T 33 

Brown, Nathaniel 92 

Buckingham, Thomas 230 

Buckingham, Rev. Thomas.. 33 

53. 149 

Buckland, Thomas 236 

Buck-land, William 225 

Buckeley, Rev. Nathan 335 

Buel, Rev. Dr. Samuel 343 




Buell Samuel 291 

Bulkeley, Rev. Gershom 150 

Bullard, Major Asa 429 

Bull, Joseph 225 

Bull, Nehemiah 302, 315 

Bundy, Elisha 345 

Burge, Lucretia 452 

Burlingame, Israel 457 

Burnham, Captain Michael . . 109 

Burnham, Thomas 22s 

Burnham, Rev. Mr 188 

Burr, Jehu 284 

Burrill, Col 100 

Burt, Capt. Benjamin 436 

Burt, David 318 

Burt, Jonathan 278 

Burt, Samuel 341, 343 

Bushnell's " American Turtle," 

43 to 49 

Bushnell, David 36, 38 

Bushnell, Ethan 56 

Bushnell, Rev. John E 38 

Butler, Asaph 458 

Butler, Allen 122 

Butler, Gen. Richard 66 

Butler, Samuel 75 

Butler's " Seven Copper Club," 

206, 207 

Butterfield, Judge 436 

Butterfield, Samuel 284 

Byers, James 294 


Cable, John 283, .-384 

Cady, Elijah 458 

Camp, Rev. Ichabod 105, 108 

Camp, John 170 

Canfield, Samuel 109 

Carlisle, Daniel 422 

Carlisle, David 429 

Carrier, Titus 142 

Case, Richard 225 

Caswell, Josiah 142 

Catlin, Thomas 205 

Chamberlain, Job 422 

Chamberlain, Oliver 458 

Chambers, Alexander 254 

Champion, Captain 143 

Champion, Henry 80 

Chandler, Judge Thomas 434 

435. 436 
Chapin, Deacon Samuel . . . 288, 295 

296, 308, 316 

Chapin Gideon 458 

Chapin. Rev. Dr. Calvin 157 

Chaplin, Clement 149 



Chapman, Capt. Samuel .... 43 

Chapman, John 50, 80 

Chapman, Margaret 44 

Chapman, Nathaniel 43 

Chapman, Robert 44, 79 

Chapman Simon 241 

Charleston 437 

Chatham 129 

Chauncey, Isaac 365 

Chauncey, Josiah 365, 367 

Chauncey, Rev. Isaac 355 

Chauncey, Richard 361 

Cheney, Benjamin 251, 252 

Cheney, Timothy 230, 231, 252 

Cheney, William 92 

Chester 49 

Chester, Col. John 151 

Chester, Dorothy 170 

Chester, Eunice 168 

Chester, Leonard 152 

Chester, Thomas 168 

Child, Thomas 130 

Childs, Capt. Timothy 388 

Chilson, Waters 458 

Church, Abigail 249 

Church, John 80 

Church, Nathaniel 361 

Church, Richard 354 

Churchill, Capt. Chas 171 

Claggett, Wiseman 457 

Clap, Rev. Thomas 85 

Clapp, Aaron 334 

Clapp, Benjamin 334 

Clapp, Capt. Joseph 335 

Clapp, Corp. Stephen 345 

Clapp, Joel 342 

Clapp, Jonathan 329, 333, 336 

Clapp, Preserved 318 

Clapp, Samuel 343 

Claremont 462 

Clark, Aaron 339, 343 

Clark, Amos 143 

Clark, Captain Aaron 360 

Clark, Danforth 56 

Clark, Daniel 143, 236 

Clark, David 458 

Clark Elijah 143 

Clark, Elisha 339, 340 

Clark, Epaphras in 

Clark, Gen. G. R 66 

Clark, Gershom 458 

Clark, Henry 458 

Clark, Horace in 

Clark, John 50, 148, 338 

Clark, John, Jr 56 

Clark, John Tolles ,. . . 458 

Clark, Jonathan 343 



Clark, Josiah 143 

Clark, Lieut. Asahel 330 

Clark, Timothy 343 

Clark, William 75, 316, 318 

Clary, Joseph 365 

Cleveland, Hon. Grover 315 

Cleveland, Rev. Aaron 78 

Cleveland, John 36 

Cleveland, Ebenezer 36 

Clinton 67 

Clunn Matthew 253 

Cobb, Ann 452 

Cobb, Samuel 452 

Cobb, Dr. Samuel 454 

Cockran, John 92 

Cogswell, Mehitable 460 

Cogswell, William 460 

Coigniers, Roger de 459 

Coigniers, Pierre 459 

Cole, Henry 92 

Colby, Jonathan 408 

Cole, Joseph 156 

Cole, Marcus 142 

Cole, Samuel 465, 468 

Cole, Sergeant Marcus 143 

Coleman, Jeremiah 410 

Coleman, Oliver 410 

Coligny, Admiral 459 

Collins, Rev. Nathaniel . . 103, 280 

Collins, Samuel 156 

Colton, Abishai Rev 452 

Colton, George .... 296, 298, 308 

Colton, Rev. Benjamin 219 

Colton, Rev. John 68, 149 

Colton, William 293 

Cone, Daniel 75 

Converse, Deacon Edward.... 460 

Converse, Ensign James 460 

Converse, Rev. James 459, 460 

Cooke, Nathaniel 382 

Cook, Aaron 236, 309, 318 

Cook, Alice 174 

Cook, Caleb 143 

Cook, Captain 309 

Cook, Enoch -424, 425 

Cook, Nathaniel 241 

Cooley, Benjamin 296, 309 

Cooley, Ensign 273 

Cooper, Deacon Thomas 471 

Cooper, Lieut. Thomas.. 273, 289 

296, 306, 308 

Cooper, Robert 407 

Corbee, William 75 

Cornwall, William 92 

Cornwell, David 143 

Corse, James 384, 392, 393 

Corse, Sergeant Ebenezer 333 


Corss, Gad 384 

Covil, Col 97 

Cowles, Deacon Timothy 225 

Cowles, John 361 

Cowles, Jonathan 361 

Coye, Samuel 268 

Cromwell 119 

Crositt, Ambrose 468 

Crositt, Rev. Raima 435, 466 

467, 476 

Crow, John 228 

Crow, Joseph 156 

Cr.llick, John 50 

Cullick, Mrs. Elizabeth 50 

Cummings, Ann 281 

Curtis, Captain Israel 471 

Curtis, Jonathan 156 

Cushman, Ambrose 458 

Cutting, Lieut 477 


Dagget, Judge 417 

Daggett, Hon. David 335 

Dana, Hon. S. W no 

Danforth, Capt. Thomas. .. 152, 153 

Danks, Robert 318 

Danks, Samuel 339 

Dartt, Daniel 458 

Dartt, Josiah 458 

Davenport, James, Jr 66 

Davenport, Rev. John 32 

Davis, Amos 423 

Day, Nehemiah 143 

Dean, William 457 

Deane, Barnabas 152 

Dearborn, Captain 98 

Debeline, General 445 

Deerfield 369 

Deming, Ephraim 170 

Deming, Thomas I5 1 

Denio, Aaron 384 

Denio, Ensign Aaron.. 389, 391, 392 

Denison, Mary 44 

Denison, Rev. Joseph 118 

Dennie, Joseph 429, 431 

Dennis, Rev. John 448 

Denslow, Henry 267 

Denslow, Joseph 267 

Denslow, Nicholas 236, 267 

Denslow, Samuel 267 

Denton, Rev. Richard 148 

Devotion, John 15 x 

Devotion, Rev. John 45 

Dewey, Adjt. Russell 314 

Dewey, George Ill 

Dewey, Thomas 236, 309 




Dexter, Seth 268 

Dibble, Abraham 75 

Dibble, Amos 267 

Dibble, Jonah 49 

Dibble, Thomas 236, 267, 268 

Dickenson, Levi 153 

Dickinson, Ebenezer . . . 361, 365 

Dickinson, Elihu ....._ 156 

Dickinson, General 254 

Dickinson, Jonathan 365 

Dickinson, Nehemiah 355, 360 

Dickinson, Nathaniel . . . 365, 367 

Dickinson, Nathaniel, Jr 365 

Dickinson, Reuben 367 

Dickinson, Sergeant Reuben... 365 

Doane, Ephraim 105 

Dodge, David 468 

Doolittle, Rev. Benj 398 

Douglas, Samuel 449 

Douglass, Joseph 449, 457 

Downer, Abraham 458 

Drake, Adjt. Augustine 245 

Drake, "Boy Patriot" ....244, 245 

Drake, Elihu 244 

Draper, Sarah 452 

Dudley, Hon. Thomas 69 

Dummer, Jeremiah 28 

Duncan, N 460 

Dunham, Captain Silas 97, 143 

Dunning, Charles Ill 

Dunning, Tertius in 

Dunphy, Thomas 458 

Dwight, Jonathan 294 

Dvvight, Lieut. Timothy 412 

Dwight, Nathaniel 365 

Dwight, Rev. Daniel 412 

Dwight, Theodore 214 

Dwight, Thomas 294 


East, Edward 293 

East Haddam 79 

East Hampton 133 

East Hartford 224 

Easthampton 327 

Easton, John 108 

Eddy, Abial 423 

Edwards, Rev. Jonathan. .. .79, 86 

165, 169, 183, 248, 254, 298, 301 

320, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 330 

Edwards, Rev. Timothy. .. .86, 254 

261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 298, 324 

Edwards, Alexander .... 318, 345 

Edwards, Corp. Samuel 345 

Edwards, Elisha 345 

Edwards, Nathaniel, 2nd 323 


Edwards, Richard 324 

Edwards, William 324 

Eggleston, Samuel 92 

Eglestone, Bigot 236 

Elderkin, Rev. Joshua 78 

Eliot, Rev. Jared 72, 73 

Ellis, Barnabas 463 

Ellis, Richard 433 

Ellsworth, Oliver 101, 102, 238 

239, 240, 24 1 

Elmer, Thomas 241 

Ely, Samuel 292, 293 

Emerton, Daniel 410 

Emmons, Rev. Nathaniel ... 83 

85, 86 

Emmons, Mrs. Solomon 471 

Emmons, Samuel 80 

Emmons, Solomon 471 

Enfield 277 

Erkelens, Gominus 132 

Essex 51 

Evans, Asher 452 

Evans, John 407 

Evans. Peter 408 

Everett, David 429 


Fairbanks, Col. Moses 454 

Falley's Armory 314 

Falley, Ensign Richard ...314, 315 

Falley, Frederick 314 

Farmington 181 

Farnsworth, David 437, 438 

Farnsworth, Oliver 449 

Farnsworth, Samuel 437, 440 

Farnsworth, Stephen .... 437, 440 

Faxon, William 220 

Featherstonhaugh, G. W 126 

Fenwick, George 23, 24, 57 

Fenwick, Lady 24 

Fessenden, Rev. Thomas 432 

Fessenden, T. G 429 

Fessenden, William 410 

Field, Asa 458 

Filer, Lieut. Walter 236 

Fisher, Ebenezer 413 

Fiske, Dr. John 78 

Fiske, Rev. Moses 315 

Fiske, Rev. Phineas 78 

Fitch, Chloe 249 

Fitch, Capt. James 230 

Fitch, Elizabeth 315 

Fitch, John 231 

Fitch, Joseph 248 

Fitch, Nathaniel 248 




Fitch, Rev. James 3 T 5 

Fitch, Sarah 249, 250 

Fletcher, Jacob 4 10 

Forbes, James 108, 225 

Foote, Robert 148 

Ford, Thomas . . .' 236 

Foster, Rev. Dan 448, 459 

Foster, Rev. John 451 

Fowler, Ambrose 311 

Fox, Charles 80 

Franklin, Benjamin 46, 78 

Frary, Obadiah 345 

Freeman, Moses 142 

Freeman, Samuel 143 

Freeman, Simeon 142 

Freeman, Sylvanus 143 

French, Benjamin 410 

French, Joseph 4 x o 

French, Nathan 407 

French, Sampson 410 

French, Samuel 410 

French, William 433, 435 

Frost, John 407 

Frothingham, Rev. Ebenezer. . 103 

Fulton, Robert 249, 259 


Gaines, Sergt. Samuel 225 

Gale, Samuel 436 

Gammage, William 410 

Ganes, Samuel 75 

Gardiner, Lion 23 

Garnsey, Nathaniel 143 

Gates, George 75 

Gay, Rev. Bunker 408 

Gaylord, Deacon Wm 236 

Gaylord, Nathaniel 267 

Geer, Ebenezer 345 

Gibbs, John 148 

Gilbert, Corp. John 228 

Gilbert, Eliel 386, 394 

Gilbert, Jonathan 208 

Gilbert, Prudence 297 

Gildersleve, Richard 148 

Gill 395 

Gillet, Nathan 236 

Gillett, Deacon Abel 246 

Glastenbury 172 

Glover, Hon. John 288 

Glover, Rev. P 288 

Goddard, Joseph 382 

Goddard, Rev. William 423 

Goddard, Robert 382 

Goff, Benjamin 142 

Goff, Hezekiah 143 


Goff, Regicide 353 

Goff, Samuel 142 

Goodell, Mary 281 

Goodman, Rev. Elad W.... 453 

Goodrich, Gideon 156 

Goodrich, John 156 

Goodrich, Thomas 156 

Goodspeed, Nathaniel 80 

Goodwin. Edward 458 

Goodwin, Hannah 229 

Goodwin, Ozias 229 

Goodwin, Rev. F. J 106 

Goodwin, William 228 

Gorham, Hon. William 273 

Gorton, Benjamin 436 

Gould, Ebenezer 118 

Gould, Rev. Vinson 344 

Granger, Gideon 271,272 

Graham, Dr. Sylvester 275 

Grannis, Edward 457 

Grant, Capt. Ebenezer 241 

Grant, Gen. U. S 241 

Grant, Matthew 236 

Grant, Mrs. Grace 241 

Grant, Roswell 241 

Grant, Samuel 241, 291 

Graves, Daniel 384, 458 

Graves, George 92, 120 

Green, Gen 100 

Green, James 80, 111 

Greenfield 381 

Greenfield, E. T Ill 

Greenhill, Rebekah 205 

Greenleaf, Stephen 414 

Grenil, Lydia (Peabody) .... 44 

Griffin, Lemuel 80 

Grimes, Joseph 156 

Griswold, Edward 236 

Griswold, Gov. Matthew.. 57, 63 
Griswold, Judge Matthew ... 59 

Griswold, Phoebe 61 

Griswold, Samuel 68 

Griswold, William 152 

Grout, Elijah 448 

Grout, Hezekiah 457 

Grover, Rev. Peletier 261 

Gunning, John 208 

Gustin, Thomas 468 


Hacklinton, Francis 290 

Haddam 75 

Hadley 346 

Hailing, John 142 

Hale, Enoch 429 

Hale, John 157 




Hale, Nathan 157 

Hall, Jeremiah 382 

Hall, John 92 

Hall, Richard 92 

Hall, Samuel 92 

Hall, W. B 109 

Hamilton, Alexander 101 

Hamlin, Giles 92 

Hannison, John 75 

Hardiclay, John 408 

Harris, Daniel 92, 120 

Harris, William 92 

Harrison, Rev. Jared 51 

Hart, Deacon Samuel $3 

Hart, Ensign Thomas 184 

Hart, John 182 

Hart, Rev. Dr. Levi 86 

Hart, Rev. Seth 169 

Hart, Tucker 457 

Hart, William 27s 

Hartford 190 

Hasey, Abner 410 

Haskell, Jabez 268 

Hastings, Benjamin 384, 388 

T . 389 

Hastings, Rev. Joseph 276 

Hastings, John 437, 439 

Hastings, Thomas 410 

Hatfield 357 

Hawkes, Eleazur 380 

Hawks, Sergeant 443 

Hawks, Sergeant John. .. 136, 137 

Hawley, Major Elisha 471 

Hawley, Samuel 361, 365 

Hayden, Amasa 54 

Hayden, Ebenezer 54 

Hayden, John 242 

Hayden, James 55 

Hayden, Nehemiah 54 

Hayden, Uriah 54, 55 

Hayden, William 236, 267 

Hayes, Deacon Russell 416 

Hayes, Ezekiel 416 

Hayes, George 416 

Hayes, Polly 415 

Hayes, Rutherford, Jr 417 

Hayes, Rutherford 416 

Hayes. Rutherford, Sr 415 

Hayes, William R 417 

Haynes, Gov 91 

" Hell paved " by Edwards 324 

Heywood, William 448 

Hibbard, Rev. Augustine 469 

Hicks, John 410 

Hill, Daniel 143 

Hill, John 458 

Hill. Richard 436 


Hill, Samuel 143 

Hill, Thomas 143 

Hill, William 174, 229, 236 

Hills, Rev. Horace 106 

Hills, William 225 

Hillyer, John 236 

Hinsdale 405 

Hinsdale, Samuel 389 

Hinsdell, Rev. Ebenezer. . .407, 408 


Hinsdell, Samuel 384 

Hix, Jacob 378 

Hobart, Rev. Jeremiah 78 

Holcomb, Thomas 236 

Holden, Charles 438 

Hollister, John 178 

Hollowell, Benjamin 108 

Holmes, Capt. William 19 

Holmes, Hezekiah 453 

Holly, Rev. Israel 276 

Holton, William 316, 348 

Holyoke, Capt. Samuel 290 

Holyoke, Edward 295 

Holyoke, Eliazur... 273, 288, 295 
296, 297, 308, 316 

Holyoke John 309 

Holyoke, Rev. John 315 

Hooker, John 294 

Hooker, Mary 182, 327 

Hooker, Rev. John 327 

Hooker, Rev. Nathaniel 219 

Hooker, Rev. Thomas,.. 59, 190, 

191, 192, 219 

Hooker, Rev. Samuel 181 

Hooper, Rev. John 330 

Hopewell, Thomas 92 

Hopkins, Rev. Samuel .... 343, 357 

Hopkins, Samuel 302 

Hosford, William 236 

Hosmer, Hezekiah Lord, 102, 103 

Hosmer, Rev. Stephen 87 

Hosmer, Stephen Titus . . 102, 109 

Hosmer, Thomas 204 

Hosmer, Titus 101, 102 

Houghton, Horace 455 

Houghton, H. W 455 

Houghton, Jonathan 423 

House, Combs 449 

How, Abner 423 

How, Daniel 407, 422 

How, Nehemiah 422 

How, Sergeant Caleb 408 

Howard, Bezaleel 294 

Howard, Rev. Leland 476 

Howe, Capt. Joseph 441 

Howkin, Anthony 183 

Hoyt, David 378 




Hubbard, Augustine 45 1 

Hubbard, Capt. George 468 

Hubbard, Elijah 95 

Hubbard, George 9 2 

Hubbard, Hon. Jonathan 454 

.Hubbard, John 246, 461 

Hubbard, Judge 476 

Hubbard, Nehemiah... 95, 100, 101 

Hubbard, Rev. John 39$ 

Huit, Rev. Ephraim 236 

Hunt, Edwin m 

Hunt, Jonathan 3 J 8 

Hunt, Samuel 429, 44§ 

Hunt, Seth 133 

Hunter, John 39 1 

Hurd, Robert 80 

Hurd, William 466 

Hurlbert, Rhoda 244 

Hurlburt, William 236, 318 

Hutchinson, Judah 337 

Hutchinson, Moses 330 


Indians, New England 7 

Ingersoll, John 59- 309 

Ingram, John 361, 365 

Ingram, Samuel 365 

Irwin, Rev. Nathaniel 250 


James, Rev. John 78 

Janes, Benjamin 330, 331 

Janes, Mrs. Benjamin 331 

Janes, Samuel 330, 332, 333 

Janes, William 316 

Jarvis, Bishop 106 

Jarvis, Rev. Abraham, 105, 130, 144 

Jarvis, Rev. Dr. Samuel F 106 

Jennings, Mrs. Stephen 360 

Jones, Rev. George 106 

Johnson, John 143 

Johnson, James, Jr 143 

Johnson, Rev. Stephen 59 

Johnson, W. S., L.L.D. . . 101, 102 

Jones, Benoni 330 

Jones, Richard 75 

Joshark, Indian 4 2 7 

Joslin, Joseph 45$ 

Judd, Jonathan, Jr 343 

Judd, Rev. Jonathan 338, 341, 343 

Judd, Samuel 318 

Judd, Sergeant Wm 184 

Judd, Sylvester 293 

Judd, Thomas 3 J 8 


Keep, John 290 

Kellogg, Capt. Martin 170 

Kellogg, Joanna 170 

Kellogg, Joseph 170, 365 

Kellogg, Martin 383 

Kellogg, Rebecca 170 

Kewley, Rev. John, M. D.. .105, 106 

Keyes, Sergeant Solomon .... 365 

Kidder, Oliver 457 

Kilbourn, Rev. James 169 

Kilbourn, Samuel 143 

Kilburn, Capt. Jonathan 81 

Kilburn, John 425, 426, 427 

King, John 318 

Kingsley, Enos 318 

Kingsbury, Sanford 468 

Kirby, John 92, 120 

Kneeland, Benjamin 143 

Knool, John 132 

Knowles, Capt. Cornelius .... 129 

Knowles, Sir Charles . 446 

Knowlton, Stephen 143 

Knowlton, Thomas 137 


Larabee, Capt 152 

Laurence, Abel 410 

Laurence, William 410 

La Valley, J. J 315 

Lay, Mary 44 

Lay, Robert 55 

Learning, Rev. Jeremiah 104 

Leavitt, Rev. Jonathan 432 

Lee, Walter 311 

Lee, William 410 

Leet, Gideon 51 

Leonard, Rev. Abiel 469 

Leonard, Rev. G 477 

Leverett, John 50, 108 

Lewis, Capt. William 184 

Lewis, Rev. John 157 

Lewis, Samuel 458 

Livermore, John 148 

Little, Joseph 449, 45 1 

Livermore, Mather 410 

Lincoln, Michael 454 

Livingston, Philip 95 

Lockwood, Daniel 454 

Lockwood, Rev. James 150 

Longking, Joseph, Jr in 

Loomis, Capt. Giles 241 

Loomis, Capt. Joel 241 

Loomis, Ensign Samuel 310 

Loomis, John 236 

Loomis, Joseph 236 

Loomis, Nathaniel 342 




Loveland, Thomas 387. 388 

Ludlow, Roger 236, 285 

Luxford, Stephen 75 

Lyman, Benjamin 231, 330 

Lyman, Daniel 457 

Lyman, Elias 339- 343 

Lyman, Gen. Phineas 272. 457 

Lyman, Gideon 450, 458 

Lyman, John 3 X 8 

Lyman, Lemuel 330 

Lyman, Mrs. Phineas 273 

Lyman, Richard 318,348 

Lyman, Samuel 294 

Lyme 57 

Lynde, Benjamin 410 

Lynde, David 462 

Lynde, Nathaniel 26 

Lyon, Aaron 440 


MacCurdy, John 59 

Mackall, Daniel 143 

Mamoosun, last of tribe 117 

Manchester 230 

Mann, General 4 X 5 

Manning, William 4 10 

Mansfield, Rev. Dr. Richard. . 343 

Marcy, Gen. R. B 415 

Marion, Clement 105 

Markham, Nathaniel M3 

Markham, William 9 2 

Marrett, Edward, Jr 4 ! o 

Marsh, Daniel 355 

Marsh, John 457 

Marsh, Judge, Joseph 455 

Marsh, Rev. Dr. John 150 

Marshall, Eliakim 241 

Marshall, James 237 

Marshfield, Samuel 277 

Martin, James 454 

Martin, John 9 2 - I2 ° 

Mason, Capt. John 237 

Mason, Jeremiah 4 2 9 

Mason, Joseph 458 

Mason, Rev. Thomas 398 

Massey, Joseph 44° 

Mather, Eleazer 318, 319 

Mather, John 231 

Mather, Rev. Increase 322 

Mather, Richard 3*9 

Matthews, John 291 

Mattoon, Capt. Ebenezer 361 

Mattoon, Ebenezer, Jr 365 

Mattoon, Eleazer 365 

Mattoon, Philip 382 

May, Rev. Eleazer 78 


Maynard, John 296 

McClellan, Gen. G. B 415 

McDaniels, Jacob 367 

Mead, Larkin 416. 460 

Mead, Levi 460 

Meakins, Lieut. John 225 

Meecham, Isaac, Jr 280 

Meecham, Rev. Joseph 280 

Meigs, Giles 100 

Meigs, John 100 

Meigs, Josiah 100 

Meigs, Return J.... 97, 98, 99. 100 

Merriam, Burrage 157 

Merriam, Rev. Clement 105 

Merrick, Thomas 292 

Middletown 91 

Middlefield 118 

Middlesex County 126 

Miles, Richard 148 

Mills, E. H 395 

Mills, Roswell 251 

Miller, Asher 109 

Miller, Benjamin 118 

Miller, Heber 422, 423 

Miller, Mrs. Patience 159 

Miller, Thomas 289, 291 

Miller, William 316, 318 

Minot, Samuel 423 

Mitchell, Michael 383 

Mitchell, William 51 

Mix, John 457 

Mix, Rev. Stephen 33, 150 

Modesley, John 310 

Montague, Peter 355 

Montague, Corp. Wm 365 

Moodus 86 

Moore, Alpheus 429 

Moore, Benjamin 413 

Moore, Col. William 394 

Moore, Deacon, John 237 

Moore, Rev. Jonathan 432 

Moore, Sir Henry 451 

Morgan, Capt 98 

Morgan, David 297 

Morgan, Hannah 297 

Morgan, Isaac 280, 297 

Morgan, James 297 

Morgan, John 297 

Morgan, Jonathan 297 

Morgan, Lydia 297 

Morgan, Mercy 298 

Morgan, Miles 297 

Morgan, Pelatiah 297 

Morris, Abraham 156 

Morris, Lewis R 455 

Morris, Richard 451 

Morse, John 436 




Morss, Rev. James 476 

Mortimer, Philip 95, 109 

Morton, Levi P 453 

Mosely, Captain 358 

Moxon, Rev. Geo 286, 287 


Nash, Daniel 389 

Nash, David 365 

Nash, Eleazer 365 

Nash, John, Jr 361 

New Hampshire 399 

Newington 166 

Newton, Capt. Isaac 394 

Newton, Rejoice 395 

Newell, Rev. Daniel 144 

Newton, Rev. Roger, 182, 385, 389 


Newton, Samuel 458 

Nims, Thomas 384 

Noble, Deacon, Birdsey, Glover, 106 

Noble, Eager 312 

Noble, J 309 

Northampton 316 

Northfield 397 

Norton, Ensign Geo 274 

Norton, Rev. John. . . 134-139, 143 
Norton, Sergeant John... 135, 148 

Nott, Abraham 159, 163, 165 

Nott, Deborah 160, 163 

Nott, Elizabeth 157 

Nott, Hannah 157 

Nott, John 157. 449, 450 

Nott, Rev. Dr. Eliphalet, 161, 163 


Nott, Samuel, 161, 163, 164 165 219 
Nott, Sergeant, John .... 417, 449 

Nott, Stephen 159, 163 

Nott, William 156, 157-165 

Noyes, Hon. John. . 414, 415, 417 

Noyes, J. H 416 

Noyes, Rev. James 33, 77 

Noyes, Rev. Moses ... S3< 59, 77 

Noyes, Rev. Nicholas 77 

Nye, Jonathan 458 


Olcott, Rev. Buckley, 448, 451, 463 

Olcott, Thomas 230, 448 

Old, Mindwell 274 

Oldage, Richard 237 

Oldham, John 191 

Oliver, Andrew, Jr 410 

Olmsted Joseph 225 

Olmsted, Capt. Gideon 229 

Olmsted, G. F in 

Olmsted, Stephen 143 

Otis, James 152 


Page, Capt. David 447 

Paine, Capt. Daniel 440 

Palmer, Mary 431 

Palmer, Mrs. Joseph Pierce . . 431 

Palmer, Stephen 410 

Palmer, William 148 

Parents, John 75 

Park, Daniel 143 

Parker, Abner 55 

Parker, Deacon William 33 

Parker, Isaac 437, 438, 440 

Parker, Joel 394 

Parker, Rev. Robert 69 

Parker, Rev. Thomas 69 

Parks, Warham 293, 314 

Parkhurst, Timothy 457 

Parkman, Elias 237 

Parmlee, Alexander 476 

Parmlee, Bryan 142 

Parmlee, Nathan 68 

Parmlee, T. N in 

Parsons, Benjamin 278 

Parsons, Eli 391 

Parsons, Gen. Samuel Holden, 62 
63, 65, 66, 98, 109 

Parsons, Gen. S. H 109 

Parsons, Gideon 365, 451 

Parsons, Hugh 287 

Parsons, Joseph, 280, 306, 318, 333 
Parsons, Mrs., "The Witch".. 287 

Parsons Mrs. Phoebe (Gris- 

wold) 62 

Parsons, Rev. David, Jr 361 

Parsons, Rev. Jonathan, 59, 61, 62 

Parsons, Samuel 333 

Parsons, Zenas 294 

Partridge, Captain no 

Partridge, Rev. William 150 

Paterson, Sheriff Wm 434, 435 

Patterson, Edward 188 

Patterson, William 188 

Paulk, David 458 

Payson, Rev. Dr. Seth 460 

Peak, William 425 

Pease, Capt. Ephraim 280 

Pease, E. M 282 

Pease, John, Jr 278, 282 

Pease, John 279, 280, 281 

Pease, Robert 279, 282 

Pelton, C. H 112 




Pelton, Ithamar 143 

Percival, Lieut. Timothy 143 

Perin, Peter 44° 

Perkins, Rev. Dr. Nathan, 157, 219 

Perry, Commodore 125 

Petty, Joseph 383 

Peters, Col 435 

Peters, Col. John 466, 467 

Peters, Rev. Samuel 465, 466 

Phelps, Isaac 309 

Phelps, Nathaniel 318 

Phelps, Oliver 272, 273 

Phelps, Samuel 237 

Philips, Ebenezer 442 

Philips, Thompson 95 

Phillips, Geo 95- 109. 237 

Pickering, Col 100 

Pierce, Joseph 4 2 3 

Pierce, Samuel 394 

Pierpoint, John 457 

Pierpoint, Rev. Samuel 59 

Pierpont, Sarah 182 

Pierson, Rev. Abraham. . .70, 78 

Piper, Richard 75 

Pitkin, Col. Joseph 228 

Pitkin, Elisha 229, 230 

Pitkin, Lieut. Col. Geo 229 

Pitkin, Rev. Timothy 185 

Pitkin, William, 225, 226, 227, 228 


Pixley, Noah 34° 

Plumb, John 148 

Polk, David 458 

Pomeroy, Abner ■ • • 345 

Pomeroy, Caleb 318 

Pomeroy, Capt. Lemuel 343 

Pomeroy, Col. Seth 448 

Pomeroy, Eldad 333 

Pomeroy, Eltwed 237 

Pomeroy, Gad 345 

Pomeroy, Jacob 345 

Pomeroy, Martha 448 

Pomeroy, Medad 318 

Pomeroy, Oliver 345 

Pomeroy, Samuel 333< 343 

Pomeroy, Sergeant Gershom.. 345 

Pomeroy, Silas 345 

Ponder, John 309 

Poog, Robert 177 

Poole, Captain 358 

Potwine, Rev. Thomas 246 

Porter, Capt. Moses 365 

Porter, Eleazer 355 

Porter, Hezekiah 265 

Porter, Hon. S. W 455 

Porter, John 237 

Porter, Nathaniel 241 


Porter, Noah ....25, 182, 187, 449 

Porter, Rev. Edward 59 

Porter, Samuel 355, 360 

Porter, Thomas 337 

Portland 144 

Post, Alexander 44 

Post, James 44 

Post, John 44 

Post, Stephen 44 

Powers, Nathaniel 449, 450 

Powers, Peter 410 

Powers, Simon, Jr 449 

Powers, Simon, Sr 449 

Powers, Stephen 410 

Powker, Robert 424 

Pratt, Abel 56 

Pratt, Ashabel 54 

Pratt, Ensign Wm 56 

Pratt, Judea 54 

Pratt, Phineas 56 

Pratt, Sergeant Nathaniel .... 56 

Prentice, Caleb 410 

Prentice, Daniel 410 

Prentice, Thomas 458 

Prince, Rev. Joseph 452 

Pruden, Rev. Peter 148 

Putnam, Israel 46, 47, 65 

Putnam, Seth 440 

Purple, Ezra 143 

Pynchon, John, 270, 271, 273, 278 

288, 295, 296, (306) 308, 316, 397 
Pynchon, Mansion . . . 290, 291, 292 

Pynchon, Marv 295 

Pynchon, William. .. .268, 269,277 

278, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288 
294, 295, 296, 297 


Randall, Abraham 237 

Ranney, Thomas 92, 120 

Rawson, Rev. Grindall 368 

Read, James 410 

Reader, John 284 

Redfield, "700 Mile Walk".. 123 
Redfield, "Law of Storms"... 124 

Redfield, Wm. C 122-126 

Reed, Rev. John 226 

Reeve, Judge Tapping 157 

Reeve, Rev. Abner 417 

Reeve, Robert 417 

Rexford, William 457 

Rice. Ebenezer 467, 468 

Richards, John 281 

Richardson, Amos 457 

Richardson, Joseph 407 



Richardson, William 457 

Riley, Joseph 156 

Risley, Richard 225 

Robbins, William 407 

Robinson, Col. Elijah 458 

Robinson, Roland 418 

Roberts, Lucy 252 

Roberts, William 225 

Rockwell, Rev. Lathrop 59 

Rogers, Rev. Ammi 169 

Root, Ezekiel 391 

Root, Samuel 383 

Root, Thomas 316, 318 

Rose, Robert 148 

Rosseter, Bray 237 

Rowlandson, Rev. Joseph 150 

Ruggles, Rev. Thomas 72 

Russell, John W 468 

Russell, Noadiah 32, 157 

Russell, Rev. Daniel 157 

Russell, Rev. John, Jr 149 

Russell, Rev. John . . 346, 355, 416 

Russell, Rev. Samuel 32 

Russell, Rev. Thomas 452 

Rust, Israel 318 

Rust, Lemuel 345 

Sabin, Judge Noah 436 

Saddler, John 151 

Saffrey 270, 277 

Sage, David 120 

Sage, Ebenezer 109 

Sage, Gen. Comfort 97, 109 

Sage, Silas 122 

Saltonstall, Gov 30, 35 

Sanderson, Jesse 454 

Sanford, Zachary 205 

Sergeant, Col. John 413 

Sartwell, Josiah 407 

Sartwell, Obadiah . . 437, 438, 440 

Sartwell, Oliver 449 

Savage, Abijah 121 

Savage, Captain 143 

Savage, John 92, 120 

Sartwell, Daniel 449 

Sartwell, Jacob 449 

Sawtell, Jonathan 407 

Saxton, Benjamin 309 

Saybrook 21 

Schuyler, Col. Peter 413 

Scott, Waitstill 422 

Scovill, Noah 54 

Scoville, Ebenezer 361 

Searl, Darius 345 

Searl, Elisha 331 


Searl, John 318, 330, 345 

Searl, Mrs. John 331 

Searl, Nathaniel 345 

Searl, Phineas 345 

Searl, Samuel 410 

Sears, Elkanah 143 

Seeley, Lieut. Robert 148 

Selden, Thomas 76 

Sequasson, Sachem, 91, 113, 114, 115 

166, 172, 192 

Sergeant, Thomas 436 

Settlement, Before 3 

Settlement, After 18 

Severance, Ensign J 387 

Severance, John 383 

Sexton, Samuel 143 

Shaler, Sarah 248 

Shaler's Tavern 109 

Shattuck, Daniel 407 

Shattuck, Robert 142 

Shaw, William 293 

Shayler, Thomas 75 

Shays, Daniel 313 

Shelden, Isaac 237 

Sheldon, Benjamin 457 

Sheldon, Captain John 376 

Sheldon, Captain Thomas ... 343 

Sheldon, Charles 294 

Sheldon, Isaac 318 

Sheldon, Israel 343 

Sheldon, Joseph 454 

Sheldon, Noah 341 

Sheldon, Silas . , 344 

Sheldon, Silence 343 

Sheldon, Stephen 342, 345 

Sheldon, William 294 

Shepard, Deacon John 312 

Shepard, Gen. William .. 312, 391