HISTORY OF PAXTON,
BY LEDYARD BILL,
AuTHOK OF "A Winter in Florida," " Climates
FOR Invalids," and a Work on " Genealogy."
Published by Putnam, Davis & Co.
Entered according to Act of Congress in 1SS9,
By LEDYARD BILL,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress in Washington.
This volume is the outcome of an engagement
with the publishers of the History of this County, to
furnish a sketch of Paxton for that work. Having
finished the undertaking with them, and believing
that the citizens of the town would kindly welcome
any effort on the part of any one to rescue from ob-
livion interesting data, whether skillfully set forth or
otherwise, we concluded to prepare for publication in
a separate volume the material supplied for the work
above named, together with such additions as seemed
essential to greater completeness.
Of course, a much larger volume than this might
easily have been made, more easily than otherwise,
in fact, and perhaps all in all proved more satisfactory.
We have, however, endeavored to embrace within
these pages the essential facts, and any enlargement
would have involved, not only a greater labor of love,
but an increased cost, which, in view of all the circum-
stances would not be justified.
It is to be regretted that a volume of this charac-
ter had not been undertaken at an earlier period, and
by other hands, and thereby much of special interest
that is now lost to us might have been preserved,
since within the past few years several aged people
who had treasured up a great store of anecdote and
incident, have passed away. Had we even dreamed
of this task falling to our lot, we should have eagerly
garnered much of the now lost material.
Finally, this brief volume is submitted with its
many imperfections to the people of whom it treats*
believing they will excuse all errors and omissions,
and exercise that charity which is demanded in the
premises and which much of historical statement
seems to require.
In the mention of families, we have for the most
part confined ourselves to such as were long resident
here, or have had some prominence, and thus con-
nected themselves with the history of the town.
Paxton, Mass., Feb. 14, 1889.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
If lines were drawn diagonally across the Com-
monwealth, from and to each of its four corners, the
point of crossing would be within, or nearly so, the
borders of the little town of Paxton ; hence it might
be truly said, speaking geographically, that this town
is the " axis " of the State, and that the high point of
land known as Asnebumskit Mountain is the " hub "
itself; thus may the least of towns aspire to rival, in
some senses, the greatest !
This town lies about fifty-five miles west of Boston,
and some seven miles from the city of Worcester, and
is bounded and described as follows, namely: On the
north by Eutland, on the east by Holden and Worces-
ter, on the south by Leicester, and on the west by
Spencer and Oakham. The town is situated upon
high and rugged lands, and belongs to that class of
towns known as the " hill towns " of the State. The
general elevation above tide-water would not be very
far from eleven hundred feet ; indeed, the village
" common " is, to be tolerably exact, eleven hundred
and thirty -five feet above the sea, while the southern-
moat spur of the White Mountain range, Asnebum-
skit, is about fourteen hundred feet above water level,
4 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
and is, with the exception of Mount Wachusett, the
highest land lying east of the Connecticut River.
The land surface is not so broken and irregular as
might be inferred from its considerable elevation, but
is rather a succession of rounded hills on which are
situated some of the best of farming lands and farms,
and again the valleys stretch away, here and there,
into level tracts both fertile and pleasant, and between
the hills and valleys of this town are found many
thrifty homes and a comparatively contented popula-
This town does not rank among the ancient corpo-
rations, but yet it has passed its first century, and
may be said to have seen "generations come and go."
The reasons which moved the early settlers to ask to
be incorporated were various, but chief among those
they gave in their petition was " the great difficulties
they labored under in attending public worship, in
consequence of the great distance they were from its
places in the towns to which they belong." The fore-
going petition was presented to the Legislature in
1761, and was unsuccessful, as nearly every petition
of this nature is apt to be on its first presentation.
The people thus petitioning for a separate munici-
pality were citizens of Leicester and Rutland, and the
tract of land desired by the petitioners was that por-
tion of the two towns lying contiguous, viz. : the
southern part of Rutland and the northern portion of
Leicester, making a tract of about four miles square.
They complained in their first petition and subsequent
appeals to the General Court that the distance to
places of worship was great, and doubtless the same
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 5
reason held good when it came to the transaction of
the business of the two towns, since the centre of each
of these towns was full five miles distant, and we can
well imagine the condition of the highways in those
early days, when the best were but very indifferent
roads, while the side-ways were mere bridle-paths,
making it quite a task in the inclement season to
perform those public duties incumbent upon them.
The inhabitants, however, had the merit of per-
sistency, and the following year they again petitioned
and were again rejected; but nothing daunted, they
still worked for the accomplishment of their final pur-
pose ; so in 1763, feeling, doubtless, the inconvenience
of their position more and more, they again renewed
their importunities and received some support from
one of the towns, but the other (Rutland) opposing,
the case was still deferred.
The following petition was presented to the authori-
ties of Leicester by the undersigned, and this town,
at a town meeting held on May 16, 1763, voted
affirmatively on the petition, which was the first
favorable action looking towards the establishment of
the new town :
To the Selecthien of the town of LeiceHer, and the other inhabitants of the
The petition and desire of the subscribers hereof humbly showeth, —
That whereas, in tlie government of Divine Providence, our inhabitants
are at a great distance from the place of public worship in this town,
which, together with the snow and moisture of the land, it is exceed-
ingly difficult, a great part of the year, to attend on the public worship
of God in this town ; We look upon it as our bounden duty to endeavor
to 8t4 up the Gospel among us, by which we, with our families, might
more constantly enjoy its means of grace.
In order to accomplish the good end of setting up the Go?pel, we pro-
6 THE HLSTORY OF PAXTON.
pose, if possible to obtain leave so to do, to erect a town or district be-
tween the towns of Leicester and Rutland, by taking two miles off each
town to make up the contents of four square miles. Wherefore your
petitioners humbly and earnestly desire that, for the good end above
proposed, you would now sett off, by a vote of this town, two miles at
the north end of this town, the lands with the inhabitance thereon, to
be laid out and connected with the south part of Rutland that is adjoin-
ing the same, to be erected into a town or district by order of the Great
and General Court of this province, as soon as may be, that we may set up
a Congregational Church and settle a gospel minister, according to the
constitution of the churches in the land ; which we judge will be for the
advancement of religion and our comfort if it be obtained in the way
of peace. So wishing your health and jjeace, as in duty bound, we sub-
scribe your petitioners :
Leicester, May 13, 1763.
Oliver Witt, James Thompson,
Timothy Barrett, William Thompson, Jr.,
Abraham Smith, Abijah Bemis,
Abner Morse, Daniel Snow, Jr.,
William Thompson, James Nichol,
Jason Livermore, Isaac Bellows,
Nathan Livermore, Daniel Steward.
Finally a fourth attempt was made by these people,
and the petition this time headed by one Oliver Witt,
followed by many others, was duly presented to the
Legislature, and this time with better results, for it was
ordered " that Jedediah Foster, of Brookfield, and
Col. Williams, on the part of the House, and Benjamin
Lincoln, of the Council, be a committee in the recess
of this court to repair to the place petitioned for to
be erected into a parish, at the charge of the
petitioners, and that they hear all parties interested
for and against said corporation, and report at the
next session whether the prayer thereof should be
This committee held several meetings, at which
there were hearings of all the parties interested, and
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 7
at the succeeding session of the General Court re-
ported, on June 23, 1765, a bill entitled, " An Act for
Incorporating the Southerly part of Rutland and the
Northerly part of Leicester, in the county of Wor-
cester, into a District by the name of Paxton.'' This
bill, after brief reference to the appropriate com-
mittee, was reported back to the full house and
speedily passed both branches of the General Court,
and received Governor Francis Bernard's signature
on the 12th of February, Anno Domini 1765. Thus
was the frail bark of Paxton duly launched, possessing
all the rights, privileges and immunities of any other
town, except the right to send a representative on its
sole account, but gave the right to "join with the
town of Leicester and the precinct of Spencer " in
choosing a representative to the Legislature.
It is proper to make some reference to the name
given the town by the act of incorporation, and per-
haps no better account can be given than the follow-
ing, which has come under our observation, viz. :
"When the bill for incorporating this town passed
the House of Representatives no name was inserted ;
the blank was filled in the Council by the word
Paxton, in honor of Charles Paxton, who at that
time was marshal of the Admiralty Court and a friend
and favorite of Francis Bernard, the Governor, and
of Thomas Hutchison, the Deputy-Governor. It is
said that Paxton promised the town a church-bell if
it was named for him; this promise was never ful-
filled. Charles Paxton, although polished in manners
and of pleasing addrens, was an intriguing politician
and a despicable sycophant ; ' every man's humble
8 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
servant, but no man's friend,' as his paper figure was
labeled, when, on Pope's day, as the anniversary of
the gunpowder plot was called, it was paraded
through the streets of Boston standing between the
effigies of the Pope and the devil. He was the tool
of Charles Townsend, the Chancellor of the English
Exchequer, and with him devised the scheme of
raising a revenue from the colonies by a tax on
glass, paper, painter's colors and tea. The passage of
this bill by the Parliament of England was greatly
aided by Paxtou, and returning to Boston, he was
put at the head of this internal tax system, and
made himself especially obnoxious to the people by
reason of his issuing search-warrants to discover sup-
posed smuggled goods, and his course was so insolent
and tyrannical that he became an object of public
hatred, was even hung in effigy upon Liberty Tree,
and was subsequently, by the wrath of the people,
driven into Castle William, and finally, at the evacu-
ation, he departed with the British troops and went
to England, where he died in 1788."
The course of this man, who had christened the
town with his own name, was such that the bad
odor of it reached the inhabitants of the newly-
fledged district and they were intensely disgusted,
and among the earlier public acts of the citizens was
to petition for a change of name, and why the Legis-
lature did not grant this reasonable request is a mar-
vel. It should be attempted even at this late day,
and there is no good reason why a new name would
not be readily granted.
There have been several additions at sundry times
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 9
to the territory of Pjixton. At one time, on the peti-
tion of John Davis, Ebenezer Boynton, Nathan Har-
rington, Samuel Harrington, Micah Harrington and
Ephraim Harrington, of Holden, their estates were
set off from Holden on February 13, 1804, and attached
to the town of Paxton, and, by this act, the town line
was extended so as to border on Worcester. Still
another addition from Holden was made in April,
1839. Again, in 1851, a small strip was added from
the same source, and there is still room for improv-
ing the present zig-zag boundary line between Holden
and Paxton. The total acreage is now about eight
thousand five hundred acres. The population of Pax-
ton at the time of incorporation is not known, but it
is presumed to "have been some hundreds," says an
unknown writer in the Worcester Magazine, pub-
lished a half-century or more ago. It is quite likely
that the settlement of this portion of the country was
well under way the latter part of the first. century after
the landing of the Pilgrims. It was, indeed, about
1720 that Rutland was incorporated and Leicester
settled, and all this region of country taken up grad-
ually by natural gravitation of the population west-
ward, this section being at that period of time the
" great west," and had its border-wars and conflicts
with the aborigines and their allies. Doubtless there
were wise men in those days who were wont to say
to the wayward and the self-aspiring in the crowded
centres of population along the seaboard: "Go westi
young man, go west." And so, in the lapse of time,
these hill-towns, with those in the valleys, have filled
up and the great army of emigrants has continued
lo THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
from that day to this to flow westward, founding new
States, enlarging the boundaries of civilization and
establishing both law and liberty, on firm foundations,
over a vast territory.
Thus these hill-towns, so despised in the eyes of some
ephemeral writers who draw distressing pictures of
"abandoned farms, dwindling villages, decayed meet-
ing-houses, diminished schools and poor highways,"
have contributed largely to the public weal.
The marvelous strides this country has made in the
last century are chiefly by reason of the inexhaustible
supply of men and women drawn from the hills and
valleys of New England, where they have been trained
in the schools of industry and frugality. These have
given direction and force to the upbuilding of the
great region of the West. Thus, while it is true that
the populations of the hill-towns, with some of those
even in the valleys here in New England, have dim-
inished, the cause is not permanently disturbing —
since the era of cheap lands is about closing and the
reflex tide cannot be far distant when New England
will be filled to overflowing, and then this assumed
prophecy of a premature decay will have been forgot-
ten. The country is to be taken as a whole and not
judged by any of its minor members.
The statement that there " were some hundreds "
of people in the district of Paxton at the time of
incorporation could hardly. have meant more than
two or three hundred at the most, for in 1790 the
number was but 658; in 1820 it rose to 013 and in
1850 to 870, while in 1880 it had fallen to 592, and
in 1885 the State census gave the town only 561.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. ii
The population in 1870 was, we believe, well
towards nine hundred, but, in part owing to the
destruction of one of the chief industries by fire,
which, unfortunately, was never re-established, it
has gradually follen to a point in numbers to about
what it was one hundred years ago.
The town is at the present time purely agricul-
tural, there being no manufacturing of any descrip-
tion carried on here.
In former years the boot and shoe industry was
the principal business, or, at least, monopolized a
very great share of the attention of the people ; and
the product of the shops was equal, if it did not
greatly exceed in value the products of all the farms
In 1820 John Partridge established the boot
business in Paxton, and continued in the same line
to the time of his decease, which occurred some
fifteen years since, having been in business over
half a century. The next notable firm to follow in
the same line of industry was that of Messrs.
Lakin & Bigelow, and they were .'■ucceeded by E.. E.
Bigelow & Son. All of these parties accumulated
quite large fortunes, but none of their descendants
reside within the town at the present time.
The town of Paxton is so situated, and has such
natural beauty of landscape, and from its summits
such extended and charming views of the surround-
ing country, that its ultimate destiny is by no means
uncertain. Already many scores of visitors rest
here during the summer months, and annually
come back to "view the landscape o'er" and
12 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
breathe again the wholesome and health invigorat-
ing air of these primeval hills and valleys. From
the top of Asnebumskit, on a clear day, a score of
towns may be seen, and from its summit a fine bird's-
eye view of the city of Worcester can be obtained,
which alone well repays the tourist for all his labors.
There is still another eminence, known as Crocker
Hill; this swell of land lies a few rods east of the
village, and from the top there is a fine view of
Wachusett, also of Monadnock and the Hoosac
Mountains. This point is a charming spot to all
who have any taste for the beautiful in nature. The
wonder is, that some capitalist does not secure it,
pitch his tent on the same and invite the world to
dine with him and si:)end all of the " midsummer
nights " at this breezy and delightful place. On
"Christian Hill," west of the village church, is an--
other landscape to the northward which is unsurpassed
for quiet loveliness. Some day an artist will discover
it, and it will then be famous for its exceeding beauty.
It may be thought unusual for elevated lands to
hold many ponds or lakes ; but, however that may be,
Paxton has a goodly supply, inasmuch as there are
some half a dozen artificial or natural ponds within
the town's boundaries.
Of these, Lake Asnebumskit is by far the most
interesting. This is located at the northern slope of
the mountain whose name it bears, and covers, per-
haps, sixty acres, " more or less," as the legal phrase
is. It is elliptical in form and has an avAage depth
of perhaps seven feet. AH the sources of supply for
this attractive sheet of water come from the springs
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 13
in and around it. These springs are uniformly cold
and clear ; especially is this true of one at the south-
ern shore, near the present carriage-way to the
lake. The outlet is at the extreme northern end, and
the flow is considerable. It supplies the Haggett Pond,
and in its rapid descent furnishes power for Harring-
ton's grist-mill, planing-mill and saw-mill, and then
turns abruptly eastward, flowing through Holden,
and on to the Quinepoxet and Nashua Rivers, and
thus to the sea.
This lake has been famed for its fine pickerel and
perch, and for many years aflbrded most excellent
fishing for many people far and near. Latterly
however, its supply diminished, and some dozen years
ago a few citizens formed a club and, securing a lease
from the Commonwealth, stocked it with black-bass,
and these were left for several years to increase, but
when fishing was recommenced it was discovered that
the bass had destroyed the most of the native fish,
and, as many of the bass made their escape through
the lake's outlet, little headway was made in stocking
the pond. The club subsequently relinquished to
the town all their rights, whereupon the town took
out a lease, and all have the old-time privilege
restored, but the fish are not plentiful in the lake at
Bottomly Pond is the largest body of water in the
town. It is about one mile in length, has irregular
shores, and is of varying width, while its depth must
average ten feet or more. It is for the most part an
artificial pond, and is used as a storage-pond for the
mills below, of which there are quite a number.
14 THE HIvSTORY OF PAXTON.
This pond lies just south of the village and west of the
Worcester and Paxton county road, but only the
southern end is in view from the highway mentioned.
It is there that the joke concerning the " Paxton
Navy-Yard " was perpetrated, which is so frequently
mentioned even to this day. It was some years ago,
and in the late autumn, as the stage-coach with its com-
plement of passengers reached this place in the high-
way (Arnold's Mill), where there was afforded a toler-
able view of the lake. A sailor passenger, who had at
least " three sheets in the wind," on gazing out and see-
ing the forest trees at the left, with their bare trunks and
tranches in close proximity to the water, recalled his
wandering senses sufficiently to exclaim " Is — hie — this
— hie — the navy-yard ?" The solemn quiet which had
prevailed with the passengers in the coach np to this
time was suddenly broken. The ludicrous remark,
and the very absurdity of the whole subject, as
applied to a section of country twelve hundred feet
above tide-water and fifty miles inland, and coming,
tOD, from a furloughed sailor just off ship, was too much,
and all, as it were, "tumbled "to the same, and the
joke seems ever fresh in the mouths of men inclined
to poke a little fun.
Turkey Hill Pond is a natural body of water near
the Barre county road, about two miles north of the
centre of the town. It is perhaps a fourth of a mile
in width. Its waters are dark and the fishing is fair,
though not nearly as good as in former years. The
outlet is at the southern extremity, and forms what
was once known as Jennison's Brook, crossing the
highway near what is now known as the "town-farm,"
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 15
and empties into Corains' mill-pond, formerly Jen-
nison's mill-pond, and thence southwesterly through
Spencer and the Brookfields to the Chicopee River.
Formerly there was at the outlet of this pond a fulling-
mill and carding-factory.
There are several small streams flowing into this
Jennison Brook within the limits of the town. One
of these rises in the southwesterly part of Rutland,
passes into Paxton, and unites with the brook above
named in the meadow below Comins's mill. Another
rises about five hundred yards southeast of the meet-
ing house, on lauds owned by the late John Partridge,
and flows southerly across the village farm of the
writer into Lakin's meadow and thence northwesterly
to Howe's meadow, where it unites with the brook
above named. The third takes its rise in the south-
westerly portion of the town, and joins the above
brook juat over the Spencer line. These three forks
are the head-waters of the Chicopee River, that rising
on the Partridge land being the most easterly, and,
perhaps, is the true head of the Chicopee.
The head-waters of the Blackstone River are found
on the old Col. Snow Farm, and near the road leading
from Paxton to Holden. The spring is on land now
owned by Peter Daw. There are numerous other
springs lower down the brook which is known as Ar-
nold's Brook. The stream was given the last name of
Oliver Arnold, who lived in the present old red house,
adjoining the highway at the junction of the Worcester
and Leicester roads ; he kept a saw- and grist-mill
there, and had an artificial reservoir, which has since
been enlarged and repaired, and, like the brook flow-
i6 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
ing into it, was and is called Arnold's Pond. The old
saw-mill site is still visible, a few rods west of the
county road. Mr. Arnold had a son Elisha, who is
living in this town at the present time. The pond
last named is used as a storage reservoir for the mills
below, and its waters flow into Bottomly Pond, pre-
There is another small stream, which has its source
in a spring on the southeast face of Asnebumskit
Mountain, and flows across the county road souther-
ly, and is the head-water of Lynde Brook which forms
a source of supply for the city of Worcester.
While speaking of these brooks, we are reminded
of a house in this town, owned and occupied by Tyler
S. Penniman, situated about a mile east of the villa<Te.
This house stands on a slight rise of ground, in such
a way that rain falling upon the roof flows away into
the waters of the Blackstone Kiver on the one side,
while upon the other the water goes to the Chicopee.
There is, too, a well-known spring, famed for its cool,
sweet water, which bubbles up near the trunk of a
large tree just west of the Rutland highway, and less
than a mile from the centre, where the water flows a
short distance into a marshy tract, out of which two
streams come, one going northerly into the Quine-
poxet, while the other goes southerly to the Chicopee.
The original growth of forest trees here must have
been quite large and very general. At the present
time pine and hemlock predominate, though there are
samples of about every other sort of timber found in
New England. As an illustration of the size of some
of the earlier timber, it may be interesting to note
THE PIISTORY OF TAXTON. 17
that this sketch is penned on a table made of a single
pine board, three and a half feet in width, manufac-
tured from a tree cut in this town some fifty years ago.
The older growth of wood disappeared long since,
and at the present time the second growth has about
all been removed, and yet it would be difficult to say
whether there is, or is not, as much land given up to
the growth of forest trees as at any time within the
past hundred or more yeax's.
Among the early settlers in what is now Paxton,
the names of Josiah Livermore and his brother, Jason
Livermore, appear. This was about 1748. They
came from the town of Weston, and settled in what
is now the southwestern part of this town, on
lands considerably improved. About the same time
came Abijah Bemis, and from the same town,
or Waltham. There were also living near the
Livermores : William Thompson, James Thompson,
James Bemis, William Wicker, Jacob Wicker, John
Wicker, Isaac and Ezekiel Bellows.
Captain Ralph Eai'le, an early settler, owned and
lived on the farm which once belonged to the late Joseph
Penniman ; and his was one of the first fifty families
which settled in Leicester, and he was one of the
grantees named in the deed of the proprietors of Lei-
cester, and was assigned to Lot No. 47. On the other
hand, in the Rutland portion of the new town, Seth
Metcalf made an early settlement, as did Phineas
Moore, who lived on the Rutland road, a mile or so
north of the present meeting-house, and, by the way,
it is proper to say that the line dividing the towns of
Leicester and Rutland ran east and west, by the
i8 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
present north side of the meeting-house as it now
stands. Others of the early settlers were : John Snow,
David Davis, Benjamin Sweetser, Samuel Moore,
Jonathan Witt and Oliver Witt.
We have seen that the act of incorporation of the
" District of Paxton" transpired on the 12th of Feb-
ruary, 1765. Very speedily "a warrant," dated the
25th of February, 1765, was issued by John Murray,
of Rutland, a justice of the peace, the same being
addressed to Phineas Moore, " one of the principal
inhabitants " residing within the new district, re-
quiring him to warn a meeting of the inhabitants for
the choice of ofBcers. We append a copy of the first
warrant calling the first district meeting :
Worcester ss. To Mr. Phineas Moore of Paxton in tlie count}' of
Worcester and one of the principal Inhabitants of Said District. Greet-
ing — Wliereas I the subscriber am Impowered by an act of this Province
to call a meeting of the Inhabitants of the District of Paxton to Choose
Town OfBcers &c.
[Se.\l] These are therefore on his Jlajestys name to Require .vou
forthwith to Warn and Notify the Said Inhabitants of Paxton Qualified
to Vote in Town Affairs to meet at the House of Mr. Jn". Snows Inn-
holder in Said Paxton on Monday the Eleventh Day of March Next at
nine of the Clock in the forenoon then and there to Choose a Moderater,
District Clerk, Selectmen, assessor, warden, Constables, Surveyors of
highways, Tythingmen, Fenceviewers, Sealers of Leather, Sealers of
weights and measures, Sealers of Boards, and Shingles, and all other
ordinary Town Officers as Towns Choose in the mouth of March annually ;
hereof Fail not and make Due Return hereof with your Doings hereon
unto me at or before the Said meeting. Given under my hand and Seal
at Rutland in Said County this 25th Day of Feb. 1765 and in the fifth
year of his Majesty's Reign.
Jno. Mueray, Jus. of the Peace.
This first town-meeting was at the house of one
John Snow, who kept a tavern or hotel, and who
lived just east of the present village, on the Holden
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 19
road, on the place known to the present inhabitants
of Paxton as the old Colonel Snow or Bellows place.
This place has now no farm buildings upon it, they
having been destroyed by an incendiary fire about ten
The meeting was held on March 11, 1765. Captain
Samuel Brown was chosen moderator, and Ephraim
Moore district clerk, and the following district officers
elected, namely: Selectmen, Oliver Witt, Ephraim
Moore, Samuel Brown, Timothy Barrett, Abraham
Smith ; Clerk, Ephraim Moore ; Treasurer, Ephraim
Moore ; Wardens, William Thompson, Jr., Jonathan
Knight ; Assessors, Oliver Witt, Ephraim Moore, Aa-
ron Hunt ; Constable, John Livermore ; Surveyors of
Highways, Abner Moore, Ebenezer Hunt, Jr., Elijah
Howe, Thomas Cutler; Sealer of Weights, etc..
Captain Samuel Brown ; Tything-men, Samuel Man,
Ralph Earle ; Hog-reeves, Jonathan Morse, William
Martin; .Deer-reeves, James Ames, William Whita-
ker ; Pound-keeper, Jonathan Knight ; together
with other officers, such as measurers of boards and
They probably had a jollification at the close of
this meeting. Remembering that in those early days
the inhabitants had no town halls, either old or new,
in which to meet, their next best place was at some
public house, or tavern, as they were then called, and
we have seen that they first gathered at an inn. In
those they found good cheer, even if the accommoda-
tions were circumscribed. Here, too, the old-time
flip-mug, or glass, served for the whole company, and
was frequently replenished, as everybody in those
20 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
days indulged, more or less, in the " flowing bowl."
It is sometimes asserted in these days that temper-
ance has not made any progress, but in these century
mile-stones we can note a world of advancement.
Why, a hundred years ago the clergy, as well as the
people, partook of the ardent, even at the laying of
the corner-stones and dedication of church edifices,
and also after the Sabbath sermon all would repair to
the nearest tavern for " refreshment." Now, in New
England these things have all passed away, so far as
the public eye or public approval is concerned.
Strange to say, however, the people did not lack for
piety in those sturdy days, for among the very first
things done, of note, by this district of Paxton was
to provide by vote for the building of a " meeting-
At the next district meeting, held on April 1, 1765,
" it was put to vote to see if the district will Build a
Meeting House in said Paxton and of what dimen-
sions they will Build it, also to see if the district will
agree upon some place for to Sett Said meeting House
on." It was also voted " to build a house of worship
fifty feet in length and forty in width with twenty two
foot posts and to set the house at the Gate behind
John Snow's farm in Mr. Maynard's pasture." ^ In
the following autumn a grant was made of £13 65. 8c?.
for the support of the gospel during the winter. In
1 During the year a good deal of dissatisfaction was manifested about
the location, and several efforts were made, at subsequent meetings, to
change the decision, and we believe it was finally located on land of Seth
Sngw, who subsequently gave the town the land around it for a town
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 21
the following spring (March 3, 1766), the sum of
£250 was voted " for a meeting house and a meeting
house place." When the building had advanced to the
point of raising the frame there was a general turn-
out of the citizens interested, and the records say a
supper was provided for the occasion. The building
was so far completed by the end of the year that its
use commenced. Its appearance has been described
by Mr. Livermore,^ in his Centennial address, as " a
plain, square structui-e, standing in the middle of the
Common in primitive simplicity, without dome or
spire, destitute of external ornament and internal
embellishments, its prominent sounding-board above,
and its deacon seat and its semi-circular communion
table at the base of the pulpit ; its uncarpeted aisles
and pen-like pews, with their uncushioned and hinged
seats, to be turned up and let down at the rising and
sitting of their occupants, with a clatter suflQcient to
have awakened a Rip Van Winkle ; its negro seats
in the rear of the front gallery and the old people's in
front of the pulpit, for the use of the deaf; its two
corner pews perched aloft over the gallery stairs.
" ' Through which, and tho scuttles above, were the ways
To the attic, the arsoual of those early days.' "
Thus did the inhabitants of this new district of
Paxton keep faith with the General Court. They
had asked to be set up in housekeeping, and gave as
a reason that it was burdensome and extremely in-
convenient for them to go so many miles to attend
1 George W. Livermore, of Cambridge, a native of Paxton, delivered
the Centennial address in iser).
22 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
upon church service, and it caunot be denied that
they were sincere and honest in their request. They
had, indeed, other and important reasons for separa-
tion, but the foregoing was the chief one given.
One writer says that there was an attempt to form
at first an Episcopal Church, but it failed, and had
the effect to put off the formation of any other till
September 3, 1767, when the present Congregational
Church was organized, and the meeting-house com-
pleted during this year.
Regular preaching heretofore had not been estab-
lished, but yet services had been held by the Rev.
Henry Carver and by Rev. Mr. Steward, who also
taught school here at this early date in the history of
The names of those subscribing to the covenant at
the time of organization were Phineas Moore, John
Snow, Jason Livermore, David Davis, Benjamin
Sweetser, Silas Bigelow, Samuel Man, Oliver Witt,
Stephen Barrett and Samuel Brown.
In the early part of 1767 a committee was ap-
pointed to secure a permanent pastor, and they sub-
sequently reported in favor of the Rev. Silas Bige-
low. On May 14, 1767, the district voted him the
sum of £133 65. 8c?., as a settlement grant, and also
voted a yearly salary of £53 6s. 8d. for the first four
years, and £66 13s. 4c7. as long as he shall continue
his relations as a minister.
In response to the call of the parish and district of
Paxton to become their settled pastor, the Rev. Silas
Bigelow returned the following answer, viz. :
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 23
To lie IiihahiUiHls of ije District of Paxlon, ClirislUtu Friends and Breth-
I have taken very serious Notice of ye Sovereign Hand of Divine
Providence in Conducting me to you, and would in some suitable and
Grateful manner attend to ye kind acceptance my labours have met
with among you ; and ye Regard which you have manifested to me
(how unworthy so ever) in Electing me to be your Pastor. I observe ye
Degree of unanimity and undeserved Affection with whicii you have
Done this, and I can't but be apprehensive of Harmony and unaniniily
afford some of ye Best encouragements to hope for success, and yt ye
Great End of ye Gospel ministry may be obtained in the Conversion of
Souls to God and ye edifying of Saints in Faith and Comfort to Salva-
tion. Nor would I fail to take Due Notice also of ye Provision which
you Have made for my Settlement and Svpj>ort among you ; and it is Fit
you should give Praise to God who both enabled you to maintain ye gos-
pel and ye ordinences thereof, and so far inclined your hearts thereto ;
At ye same time I am abliged to appraise you (not, I hope. From any
avoricious Disposition, nor Because I would rather seek yours than you,
but because I would fain Promote your real Benefit and highest welfare)
that after Taking ye Best Advice I can get, not merely From those in
Ministerial life, but From others in Civil Character, I fear I shall not
be able (from The Support you have offered) to answer your expectations
from me in ye office I must Bear, nor to sustain the Dignity and Dis-
charge the duties thereof. But having sought earnestly to ye God of
all Wisdom and Grace for Direction in the most weighty and important
affair ; Consulted such as are esteemed P.espectable for their Capacity
and Integrity, and Deliberately considered everything as well as I
could within myself, I accept of your Call, Determining by the Grace
of God to Devote myself to ye work of ye Gospel Ministry among
you ; not Doubting your Readiness to Do what you can to free me from
ye unnecessary cares and Incumbrances of Life ; yt so I may more fully
give up myself to this Great and arduous work. Concluding with
Rom. 15 : 30 and 32. Now I Beseech you, Brethren ; for ye Lord Jesus'
sake and for ye love of ye spirit yt ye strive together with me in your
prayers to God for me ; That I may come unto you with Joy by ye will
of God, and may with you be refreshed. So Prays your Friend and
Servant in the Gospel of Christ.
Paxton, June 25, 17<J7. Silas Bigelow.
Mr. Bigelow was ordained on October 21, 1767.
His pastoral labors were comparatively of brief
24 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
duration, since his decease occurred on November
16, 1769, at the age of thirty years. He was buried
in the public cemetery, near the southeast corner
and but a few paces from the present meeting-
house. All accounts agree that this first pastor
was a devoted minister of the Gospel; a man of
unusual intellectual endowments, coupled with great
dignity of manner, and he was also a man much
esteemed for his high Christian character and greatly
beloved by all of the parish over which he had so
Under his ministry the kindliest of feeling had
sprung up among all the members of the society,
and had his valuable life been spared to this people,
much greater good must have been accomplished.
The Eev. Mr. Bigelow was from the vicinity of
Concord, it is believed; of his early education we
have no present data. He was of a family, how-
ever, quite celebrated for their learning and prom-
inence in public aflFairs.
He lived on the western slope of Asnebumskit,
on what is now known, and has been these many
1 The undersigned met on Nov. 9, 1767, and made choice of pews in
the completed church. The prices they were to pay ranged from four-
teen to twenty-two dollars. Th« district voted to give them the prefer-
ence as to choice, since they were the heaviest tax-payers on real estate.
The district also voted to give them deeds of the pews.
Capt. Oliver Witt, Timothy Barrett, Abraham Smith, Capt. Ephraim
Moore, Hezekiah Newton, Capt. Samuel Brown, .Jonathan Smith, Elijah
How, Jeremiah Newton, Jonathan Knight, Samuel Man, Ebenezer
Hunt, Jr., James McKennen, Capt. Ralpli Earle, Paul How, Phineas
Moore, Jacob Sweeter, Ebenezer Hunt, Abijah Bemis, Peter Moore,
Abner Morse, David Davis, William Whitaker, William Thompson, Seth
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 25
years, as the "old Bigelow place." His first wife
was from Lexington. There is one memento of
this family still preserved. It is an antique clock,
one of the well-known " grandfather's clocks," so-
called, reaching from floor to ceiling. It was a
bridal present from her parents in Lexington, where
the clock was made, as indicated on its face. It
remained in the family several generations and on
the farm more than one hundred years, and is
now in the possession of the wife of the writer (a
descendant), and is doing duty as faithfully as when
first set in motion by the hand of the bride, a century
and more since. His second wife was a Mrs. Sarah
Hall, of Sutton ; intentions of the marriage were pub-
lished September 22, 1769, as shown by the records.
On November 28, 1770, the Rev. Alexander Thayer'
was ordained as the successor of Rev. Silas Bigelow.
His pastorate continued for nearly twelve years. He
was dismissed on August 14, 1782. His relations with
the church during the last half of his ministry were
anything but agreeable. He was suspected of being
a loyalist. " This suspicion (says one writer), whether
well or ill-founded, was sufficient to create a degree of
coldness, and, in some instances, a fixed dislike, espe-
cially among those, who, from other causes, had be-
come disaflfected." It is reported that his salary was
another cause of trouble, he complaining that the
currency had much depreciated, and that he was
justly entitled to a grant to make it equivalent to
what it was when first settled, and it is not un-
1 He married Miss Abigal Goiildiiig, <^ Holliston, in 1773.
26 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
likely, from a review of the whole matter, there
was really just ground for complaint upon both
aides, and entire condemnation of either party would
be very unjust.
The Rev. John Foster ' followed Mr. Thayer. He
found the church divided and inharmonious. He en-
deavored to reconcile them, but was unfortunate in
being a positive man, and in expressions was perhaps
At all events the old troubles were not healed, but
broke out afresh, when it was proposed to settle him.
The first council refused to grant a settlement, but a
short time afterwards a new council, composed of
different members from the first, voted to ordain and
settle him, which was accordingly done on September
8, 1785, He was dismissed in 1789. During his pas-
torate there was a secession of about twenty, who
formed a new church, and so continued till 1793,
when a reunion occurred.
Mr. Livermore relates several anecdotes of Mr.
Foster, one of which will interest the general reader.
" In those days, when capital punishment was to be in-
flicted it was the law that public religious exercises
should be held, and the criminal had the privilege of
selecting the preacher. Mr. Foster was selected, and
at the appointed hour the house was crowded, and in
the audience were many clergymen. Mr. Foster being
selected only to preach, asked the first minister he
saw to offer prayer. The invitation was declined, and
1 He was married in September, 1785, to Mrs. Eunice Stearns, of Hol-
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 27
several others were similarly invited and all declined,
whereupon Mr. Foster stepped to his pl.ice, with the
remark in an undertone, though loud enough in the
general hush of the occasion to be heard by all,
'Thank God, I can pray as well as preach.' It is
reported that his prayer was so soul-stirring and sin-
cere that all were moved to tears, and many wept
Mr. Foster is reported to have been a man of bril-
liant attainments, and a very eloquent preacher, but
possessed some other qualities that neutralized greatly
these gifts. The Rev. Daniel Grosvenor was installed
on the 5th November, 1794, as the successor of Mr.
Foster. He came to this people from a church in
Grafton, where he had been pastor. There was, for a
season, quiet and considerable religious interest mani-
fested under this affable and able pastor. But the
old trouble would not wholly down, but, ghost-like,
came to the surface.
Mr. Grosvenor's health was poor at best, and he
felt unequal to the task of reconciling the factions,
and finally asked to be dismissed, which was granted
on November 17, 1802.
One proof that the old troubles were the causes of
the unhappy condition of things at the time, and
prior to the retirement of Mr. Grosvenor, is that they
continued to be a disturbed church for several years
after he left, and some years came and went before a
pastor was again settled over them.
Mr. Grosvenor lived a half mile northeast of the
church on the Holden road, where Peter Daw now
28 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
In 1808, February 17tli, the Rev. Gaius Couant was
ordained, and he remained with the society for many
years. He lived and died in the square-roofed house
now occupied by Deacon Levi Smith, situated about
half a mile due east from the church. He was dis-
missed September 21, 1831, and the same council
ordained the Rev. Moses Winch. It was in 1830 that
the Congregational Society was organized separately
from the town. Mr. Winch's ministry must have
been a very quiet one, and without any very disturb-
ing circumstances, since very little is said respecting
his stay here. He was discharged in 1834, August
The Rev. James D. Farnsworth succeeded Mr.
Winch and was ordained on the 30th of April, 1835,
and continued his labors till May 7, a.d. 1840. He
was succeeded by the Rev. William Phipps, A.M.,
who was ordained November 11, A. d. 1840. Some-
thing more than a passing notice should be given
this eminently gifted divine. He was for more than
twenty-eight years connected with the history of the
Congregational Church in this town. He was born
in Franklin, this State, on October 31, 1812. He was
the son of William and Fannie (Moulton) Phipps,
with a line of ancestry traceable back to old England;
to the father of Sir William Phipps, one of the early
Governors of Massachusetts Colony. He was a quiet,
gentle man, and true, yet did not lack force or brav-
ery. He was resolute for worthy ends, and brave in
self-denial. He early learned the trad>e of a cabinet-
maker in his father's shop, which trade, in those days,
meant quite as much an ability to manufacture a vio-
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 29
lin as a bureau, and as an illustration of his mechani-
cal genius in this direction, it is told that he made in
the days of his apprenticeship a fine bass-viol, with
five strings, on which he was wont to play as an
accompaniment to his vocal songs. He was a great
lover of music and possessed a fine, rich, bass-tone
voice, and always sang with an enthusiasm never to
be forgotten by sympathetic hearers. He found his
trade especially useful to a " country minister " in a
small place, and on a small salary, since many of
the things he needed he either had to make or go
without. His inventive faculty was by no means in-
considerable. He constructed models of an improved
school-room, a turret wind-mill, a drawing globe, a
seed-sower, an uj^right piano and other useful and
fancy things. He was a natural student, ever fond of
the companionship of good books, and was diligent
in everything. He attended Day's Academy in
Wrentham; from there he entered Amherst, and grad-
uated in the class of 1837. On leaving college he
taught, as principal, in the academy at Edgartown,
for one year. He married, in 1837, Miss Mary C.
Partridge, of Franklin, who still survives at the age
of eighty-eight. They had seven children, of whom
five are living — two sons and three daughters. The
sons, George G. and William H., have taken up the
profession of their father. The former is settled at
Newton Highlands, while the latter is preaching in
Prospect,Conn. Mr.Phipps was first settled in this town.
He was an earnest preacher and profoundly interested
in all good works. He served for very many years
as the head of the School Committee, and his school
30 THE HLSTORY OF PAXTON.
reports are good reading to-day, and display
much thought, earnestly and gracefully expressed.
He was wont to do anything he had in hand with
" all his might," whether tuning a piano, or raising
the finest vegetable in town. Those, whether in the
church or out who became intimate, were not the ones
to turn from him, for they best realized his largeness
of heart and generosity of spirit.
But few of his sermons were ever published, barring
a few Thankgiving discourses, fugitive pieces in var-
ious newspapers and a number of musical composi-
Of the latter, it was as easy for him to write the
poetical stanzas as the melodies that floated them.
Had he been more favorably situated, as to leisure
and means, he might readily have made his mark as
an inventor or author, but he preferred to remain
where he felt an all-wise Providence had placed him.
His mark was, however, made honestly and deeply on
the generation of youth that grew up under his long
and faithful ministry here.
In 1869 he accepted a call to Plainfield, Conn., and
was there installed June 9th. He died on June 18,
The Eev. Thomas L. Ellis succeeded Mr. Phipps,
and was installed November 26, 1871. He died, after
a brief pastorate, on November 12, 1873. He was
followed by the Rev. Francis J. Fairbanks. He was
hired in the early part of 1874, and continued his
labors here till October, 1877. He was a well-educated
man, and devoted in his work.' The Rev. Otis Cole, a
Methodist divine, was next hired by this society, and
THE HLSTORY OF PAXTON. 31
commenced his labors ou January 1, 1878, and con-
tinued for two years, when he removed to New Hamp-
shire. He was a man of great simplicity, and yet of
very great power as a preacher and much beloved by
all, both by those in and out of the church. The
following summer the society engaged Mr. John E.
Dodge, who was licensed to preach. He filled the
pulpit for several years and was then ordained and
settled, continuing his labors a couple of years there-
after. In June, 1887, he asked for a dismissal, having
been called to the church in Sterling. Both Mr. and
Mrs. Dodge were earnest in their labors in behalf of
the church and community.
The Rev. Alpha Morton succeeded to the pastorate.
He wag engaged in June, 1887, and still continues his
active labors with this people. He is an able man
and of the highest character.
The old church edifice erected by the district of
Paxton in 17G7, paid for by a general tax, was used
for all town-meetings after its erection, and the
"deacon's seat" was the place occupied by the
moderator of the town-meetings. In 1835 it Avas
voted to remove the building to its present site and
both enlarge and repair it, the town putting in a
basement story for a town-hall, and it is now a very
dignified edifice of the usual village style. Subse-
quently the church, feeling the need of a room for
vestry purposes, entered into an agreement with the
town, offering to light and warm and care for the said
town hall for all town purposes on condition of its
use l)y them as a vestry. In 1888 the town, stimulated
by the gift of one Simon Allen, erected a new town
32 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
hall, concerning which additional particulars are given
further on in our history.
Leaving the history of the church and taking up
that of the town, it will be remembered that the
" District of Paxton " was chartered in 1765, Feb.
12th, and was "to join Leicester and the precinct of
Spencer" in electing a Representative to the Legis-
lature. This restriction was removed by an act bear-
ing date July, 1775, viz. : " Whereas there are divers
acts or laws heretofore made and passed by former
General Courts or Assemblies of this Colony for the
incorporation of towns and districts, which, against
common right and in derogation of the rights granted
to the inhabitants of this Colony by the charter, con-
tain an exception of the right and privilege of choos-
ing and sending a representative to the Great and
General Court or Assembly. Be it therefore enacted and
declared by the Council and House of Representatives
in General^Court assembled, and by the authority of the
same, that henceforth every such exception contained
in any act or law heretofore made and passed by any
General Court or Assembly of this Colony for erecting
or incorporating any town or district, shall be held
and taken to be altogether null and void, and that
every town and district in this Colony consisting of
thirty or more freeholders and other inhabitants
qualified by charter to vote in the election of a repre-
sentative, shall henceforth be held and taken to have
full right, power and privilege to elect and depute
one or more persons being freeholders and resident in
^uch town or district, to serve for and represent them
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 33
in any Great and General Court or Assembly hereafter
to be held and kept for this Colony according to the
limitations in an act or law of the General Assembly,
entitled an act for ascertaining the number and regu-
lating the House of Representatives, any exceptions
of that right and privilege contained or expressed in
the respective acts or laws for the incorporation of
such town or district notwithstanding."
On August 22, 1774, the following committee was
chosen to consult and report on the state of public
affairs, viz. : Capt. Ralph Earle, Lieut. Willard
Moore, Dea. Oliver Witt, Phineas Moore and Abel
Brown. They also voted to purchase a barrel of
powder in addition to the stock (some two barrels)
then on hand. All the able-bodied men of all ages,
capable of bearing arms, were formed into two
military companies, one of which was called the
" Standing,'' and the other the " Minute Company.'"
On the 17th of January, 1775, thirty-three men
were ordered by the town to be drafted as minute-
men. They chose Willard Moore to be their captain.
He went with his command on April 19, 1775, to
Cambridge, on receiving intelligence of the begin-
ning of hostilities at Lexington and Concord.
The following is a copy of the agreement of the
minute-men at Snow's in 1775 :
We the Subscribers, Do engage for to Joyn the Minute Men of this
District and to March with them Against our Common Enemys When
we are called for, if so be that the Minute Compauys are kept up as
1 A Committee of Safety was chosen on March 20, 1775, consisting of
Willard Moore, Phineas Moore, Abraham Smith, Ralph Earle and David
34 THE HIvSTORY OF PAXTON.
witness our hands : Marmaduke Earle, Jonah Newton, David Goodenow,
Jr., Abijah Brown, Joseph Kuight, Clark Earle, Nathan Swan, Jonah
Howe, Ithamer Bigelow, John Davis, John Pike, Phineas Moore, John
Flint, Ebenezer Hunt, Thomas Lamb, Oliver Earle, Jonathan AVhite,
Hezekiah Newton, Stephen Barrett, Samuel , Daniel Steward, Joseph
The duties of the committee named above were
various ; among other matters, to observe and report
to the people the action of Congress, and also the
acts of the colonists and the doings of the home
government, and last, but perhaps not least, to keep
watch of certain suspected Tories in the district, of
whom there were a number.
Captain Willard Moore, with a number of his men,
soon enlisted in the Continental Army. He was
promoted to the rank of major and took part with
his men in the battle of Bunker Hill, where he was
killed, together with several of his men. The
" standing company,'' already named, was commanded
by Captain Ralph Earle, ^ with John Snow as lieu-
tenant, and Abel Brown as ensign. They were
chosen as officers at the district-meeting on January
17, 1775, and did valiant service, and bore their share
of the hardships of the long campaigns for liberty and
At the town-meeting held April 6, 1775, Lieutenant
"Willard Moore was chosen delegate to the Provincial
Congress, held in Concord, Mass., and was instructed
to " use his influence in Congress that government be
assumed in case that it shall prove certain that
1 Capt. Ralph Earle married the widow Naomi Kinulcutt, of Provi-
dence, in 1775.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 35
Great Britain intends to enforce the late acts of Par-
liament by the sword."
The town, at various times during the Revolutionary-
period, appropriated about ten thousand pounds as
bounties, besides paying heavy taxes to the Provin-
cial government amounting to many hundreds of
pounds. Then, too, there were frequent purchases of
beef for the use of the army, sending as high as nine
thousand pounds at one time as their quota of the
supplies needed by the government " at the front.*'
In addition to the regular companies named, there
were, the records say, many volunteers going forward
on their own responsibility and their own patriotic
impulse to defend their imperiled country.
In the following year (1776) the records show a
warrant directed to the " Constable of the Town of
There is a warrant dated May 13, 1776, calling a
meeting on the 23d of that month, for the purpose of
choosing " a person to represent them in the Great
and General Court " that year, agreeably to a pre-
cept directed " to the town " for that purpose.
On May 23, 1776, the town made choice of
Abraham Smith as its first representative to the
General Court, and the record shows the clerk of the
meeting to have signed himself as the toion clerk, all rec-
ords prior thereto having been signed by the district
In June, 1779, there was a special call for repre-
sentatives to meet in Cambridge, for the purpose of
framing a State Constitution, and under this call, on
August 10, 1779, Adam Maynard was chosen as the
36 ■ THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
delegate. This very year it would seem by the rec-
ords that Abraham Smith continued as the represen-
tative to the General Court, while Phineas Moore
was the delegate to the convention held in Concord.
These were stirring times with the colonists, and
besides the care of founding States was the added
one of taking up arms to maintain them and estab-
lish liberty. In all of these serious affairs the new
town of Paxton discharged all of her obligations
with highest credit. In the earlier contests between
the French and Indians this town furnished, in
1756, five men as her quota in a call for one thousand
men from Worcester and Hampshire Counties.
Their names were : Ezekiel Bellows, Jacob Wicker,
Jason Livermore, David Wicker and John Wicker.
These men were in the command of Gen. Ruggles,
and saw service at Crown Point, Fort Edward and
This town is proved by all the ancient records to
have been eminently patriotic in the time of the
Revolution. All of the demands for men and means
were met, though doubtless their efforts at times were
very great. The prolongation of the war, saying
nothing of the cost incurred in getting ready for the
contest, was a very serious matter, but through all
these trials the true patriots never flinched.
Among their first acts was an attempt on their
part to rid themselves of the name of Paxton, now
odious by reason of his loyalty to and influence with
the enemy of the colony. They failed in their
patriotic endeavor to secure a change of name, as we
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 37
The Hon. George W. Livermore, of Cambridge, a
native of Paxton, relates the following incident
which happened here : Jason Livermore and his
three sons were plowing in the field when informed
by a messenger of the incursion of the " regulars'* to
Lexington and Concord, and that the company of
which they were members would march forthwith.
The father said : " Boys, unyoke the cattle and let us
be off." No sooner said than done; and they at once
made ready and marched, with the household pewter
dishes melted into bullets, to Cambridge, and there
joined the Continental army, and on June 17,
1775, they bore a part in the great battle of Bunker
Hill. The wife and mother, Mrs. Jason Livermore,
was left with a lad but twelve years of age, to culti-
vate the farm and care for the stock. This was suc-
cessfully done, and it is further stated that she made
a hundred pounds of saltpetre for the army, during
the summer, in addition to her other duties." Mrs.
Livermore died at the extreme age of ninety-nine
years and ten months. Li the following year this
same Jason Livermore, together with one Samuel
Brewer, of Sutton, raised a company and proceeded
to Charlestown, and from there were ordered to Ticon-
deroga and Mount Hope, where they were stationed
for some time. It is fully believed that the town of
Paxton must have sent more than a hundred men
into the ranks of the patriot soldiers of the Revolu-
tionary army ; and history declares that few, if any,
towns contributed, proportionately, more for the
achievement of our independence, according to their
means, than this. It is also reported that towards the
38 THE HIvSTORY OF PAXTON.
close of the war '• their individual and public suffer-
ing was extreme, and at times almost intolerable ; "
yet at no time did their courage flag or the fires of
patriotism grow dim.
The qualification for voting in 1770 was the pos-
session of sixty pounds' worth of property or an
annual income of three pounds sterling. At the first
State election there were twenty-four votes cast for
John Hancock for Governor. The amount assessed
at this time in the town on both polls and real estate
was £29,400. The State tax in 1780 was as high as
£5,120, old tenor.i
J Among the names found in the early records it is interesting to note
the following, viz. : — Dr. Saml. Stearns, who married in 1773 Sarah
Witt. This Dr. Stearns was the practicing physician in this town at
and before the Revolution. Then there appear the names of Samuel
Gould, Capt. llalph Earle, Ephraim Moore, JIarmaduke Earle, Willard
Moore, Paul How, Rev. Silas Bigelow, Ithamar Bigelow, who had sons
Timothy, Silas, Lewis and Ithamar ; Samuel Brown, Wm. Thompson,
who had sons William and James ; Daiil. Upham, Hezekiah Newton,
John Newhall, James Earle, Oliver Earl, Wm. Liverraore, John Liver-
more, Braddyl Livermore, Wm. Martin, Thos. Lamb, Silas, Ezekiel and
Joseph Bellows, Jacob Sweetser, Saml. Sweetser and Stephen Sweetser,
David Davis, Ephm. Davis, Aaron Hunt, Jonathan Ames, Seth S«an,
Jabez Newliall, John Warren, Daniel Steward, M. B. Williams, .\dam
Maynard, Moses Maynard, David Goodenow, John Knight, Wm. Whita-
ker, David Wicker, Abel Brown, Danl. Knight, John Flint, Clark Earl,
Nathan Sergeant, Danl. Bemis, Benj. Cutting, Dexter Earl, David
Peirce, who had sons David, Gad, Aaron and Job ; James Washburn,
Joseph Penniman, Hezekiah Ward, Phiny Moore, Phineas Moore,
Samuel Brigham, Seth Metcalf, Benj. Wilson, Dr. Thad. Brown, Dr.
Saml. Forrest, Dr. Caleb Shattuck, — these were all residents and prac-
ticing physicians, between 17G5 and 1800, in this town — Samuel and
Ebenezer Wait, Jude Jones, Timothy Bigelow, married Anna Earl in
1797 ; Ithamar Bigelow, Jr., married Sophie Earle in 1801 ; Daniel Ab-
bott, D. H. Grosvenor and Jonathan P. Grosvenor, Levi Boynton Dr.
Absalom Russel, Dr. Loami Harrington, was married to Delia Newton
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 39
Provision for the education of the young was made
as early as 1769 in the new district. On January 9,
1769, a warrant was issued calling a meeting to con-
sider, among other things, the division of the town
into "squadrons" or school plots, as per the recom-
mendation of a previously-appointed committee Avho
had reported favorably. This committee (chosen in
October, 1768) consisted of Captain Oliver Witt,
William Whitaker, AVilliam Thom]»son, Willard
Moore and Jonathan Knight.
There were (in 1769) five districts established, and
the committee for each " school plot " were as follows :
For the Northeast, Phineas Moore, Hezekiah NcAvton
and Stephen Barrett; for the Southeast, Daniel Stew-
art, James Glover and Francis Eager ; for the South-
west, Abner Moore, James Thompson and Jason
Livermore; for the Northwest, Abraham Smith, Wil-
liam Whitaker and Jonah Newton ; for the Middle
in I8OG by Nathaniel Crocker, Esq. ; Taylor Gotldard, Frederick Flint,
Joseph Knight, Benj. Wilsofl, Thomas Wbittemore, Wm. Howard,
Henry Slade and his sons Anthony, John and Henry ; Winthrop Earle,
Braddyl Livermore, Amos Ware, Elisha Ward, Ebenezer Bointon, had
children, Ebenezer, Jr., born in T770, Silas, Jeremiah, Alpheus, Phebe,
Levi, Hannah, Asa and David ; Samuel Jennison, Ebenezer Estabrook,
William Earle, Robert Crocker, Emory Earle, Seth Metcalf, Jr., John
Pike, Francis Pike and Clark Pike, Thomas Read, Jacob Earle, Kufus
Earle, Artemas Earle, Nathan Cass, Moses Gill Grosveuor, son of Kev.
Daniel Grosvenor, Geo. W. Livermore, son of Braddyl Livermore, born
Oct. 15, ITS'! ; Thaddeus Estabrook, Ephraim Carruth, John Brigham,
Joseph Day, Nathaniel Lakin, Samuel Partridge, John Partridge, EI-
bridge Geriy Howe, son of Jonah Howe, born Aug. 14, 1799 ; John
Bowe, Jonathan Chase and son,*Honier Chase ; Ralph Earle Bigelow, son
of Ithamar Bigelow, Jr. ; Oliver Arnold, Aniasa Earle, Silas D. Harring-
ton, Daniel Lakin, John Bellows, Sam'l Wait, Daniel Estabrook, son of
Jonah Estabrook, born in 1807 ; Jacob Earle, Dr. Edward M. Wheeler.
40 THE HIvSTORY OF PAXTON.
plot, Captain Paul How, John Snow and Ralph
The following names of the heads of families living
in the several school plots or divisions, together with
the number given the said divisions, must be of
general interest even at this date, viz. :
Northeast School Plot, No. 1. — William Allen, Oapt. Saml. Brown, En.
Stephen Barrett, Aaron Bennet, Samuel Estabrook, Jno. Fersenden,
ZacU? Gates, Aaron Hunt, Ebenezer Hunt, Samuel Man, Phineas Man,
Elijah Man, Peter Moore, Ephraim Moore, Willard Moore, Hezikiah
Maynard, Hezikiah Newton, Silas Newton, Benj. Pierce, Jacob Sweetser,
Jacob Sweetser, Jr., Benj. Sweetser, Ebenezer Wait, Antipas How,
Southeast School Plot, No. 2. — Capt. Jesse Brigham, Joel Brigham, En.
Timothy Barrett, Thomas Denny, AVm. Earle, Jr., Antipas Earl, Francis
Eager, Newhall Earl, James Glover, Zach. Gates, Wm. Howard, Jabez
Newhall, Daniel Steward, Danl. Snow, Asa Stowe, Joseph Sprague, Danl.
Upham, Capt. Oliver Witt, Elijah Dix,Jedediah Newton, Ebenezer Boy-
ington, Jon't. Wheeler, Jr., Jeremiah Fay.
Southwest School Plot, No. 3. — Ezekiel Bellows, Joseph Bellows, Abijah
Bemis, Jont. Brigham, .Jacob Briant, John Livermore, Abuer Morse,
James Nicol, Seth Swan, Wm. Thompson, W^m. Thompson, Jr., Wm.
Wicker, David Wicker, Samuel Wicker, Jacob Wicker, David Newton,
Jonathan Knight, Jr., James Pike, Solomon Newton.
Northwest School Plot, No. i (now West School District). — Joel Brigham,
Jonathan Clemmer, David Goodenow, Ebenezer Hunt, .'r., James Mc-
Kennon, Seth Jletcalf, Jaasaniah Newton, Jonah Newton, Nahum
Newton, John Smith, Abraham Smith, Jonas Smith, Wm. Whitaker,
Wm. Whitaker, Jr.
The Middle School Plot, A'o. 5.' (now the Centre School). —Abel Brown.
Col. Gardner Chandler, Capt. Thos. Davis, David Davis, Wm. Earle,
Capt. Ralph Earle, Samuel Gould. Wid. Damarius How, Wm. Martin,
Shadariah Newel, Ebenezer Prescott, David Pierce, Jonathan Knight,
Daniel Knight, Jno. Snow, Seth Snow, Adam Maynard, Elijah Dem-
mon, Capt. Paul How, Jonah How, Saml. Brewer, Eleazer Ward, James
Logan, Andrew Martin.
The Northwest (or West, as it is now known) School-
iThe number of districts now is the same as in 1769.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 41
house was located, in these early daj's, just west of the
road leading from " Hows Hill/' now " Davis's Hill,"
to Jennison's Mills (Comins' Mills), a few rods south-
ward of the pond and across the highway. About
1820 the present brick school-house was erected just
west of the mill-dam. Some fifty years ago or more
Homer Chase taught this school, and lived at the
house near by. It will be recollected by the older
citizens that years ago the seats were arranged in two
rows, which brought the scholars in two lines, one
directly back of the other.
A class in reading was up, and a notably dull
scholar was proceeding, and, as usual, was being
prompted by his neighbor behind him, who could
overlook his book. It was the habit of this dull reader
to use his finger to keep his place, and as he was being
coached, his finger prevented the party prompting
from seeing the words ahead, so he whispered to this
dull reader, " Skip it;" the reader supposed they were
the next words in order for him to repeat, and he
drawled out, "S-k-i-p i-t," which had the result to
" bring down the house,'' as modern people speak.
At the Southwest School, forty years ago, there were
as many as sixty scholars in attendance, and this was
true of most of the other schools in town, whereas, at
the present time, they would not average a dozen
pupils to a school-house, outside of the Centre District ;
and what is true of this town is nearly true of all the
back towns in New England. The Centre School
building used to stand north of its present location,
near where Hiram P. Bemis now lives, on the Rut-
land road. It was a square-built house, and when
42 THE HIvSTORY OF PAXTON.
abandoned, it was used to erect the house now owned
by H. C. Eames, on the Barre road. Mr. D. Gates
Davis remembers when more than sixty scholars at-
tended at this school.
We herewith append a list of prices established in
1777 by the authorities of Paxton :
Agreeably to late act of the Great and General Court of Massachu-
setts Bay To Prevent Monopoly antl oppresion ; The Selectmen and
Committee of correspondence for the Town of Paxton have Agreed upon
and affixed the Prices hereafter set down to the Following Articles in
the Town of Paxton, Viz. : —
Men's Labour at Farming Work in the months of July and August,
3 shill. per day ; The months of May, June and September, 2«. 3d. per
day ; The months of April and October, Is. Qd. per day ; The months of
November, December, Jan., February and March, Is. 4d. per day ;
Wheat, 6s. per Bushel ; Rye, 4s. 3d. per Bushel ; Indian Corn, 3s. ;
Oats, Is. Sd. per Bushel ; Barley, 3s. Gd. per Bushel ; Spanish Potatoes,
Is. per Bushel in the fall of the year and not to exceed Is. id. at any
other season ; Beans, Gs. per bushel ; Peas, 7s. per bushel ; Sheeps Wool,
2s. per lb. ; Fresh Pork, well fatted, 3 pence 3 farth. per lb. ; Good
Grass-fed Beef, 2 pence 3 farth. per lb. ; Stall-fed Beef, 3 pence 3 far-
thing per lb. ; Eaw Hides, 3 pence per lb. ; Green Calf Skins, 6 pence
per lb. ; Imported Salt, 13 shillings per bushel; Salt manufactured of
Sea water, 15s. per bushel ; West India Rum, 8s, 2d. per Gallon ; New
England Rum, 5s. per Gall. ; Beet Moscorado Sugar, £3 6s. Sd. per
Hundred Wt. and 8 pence 3 farthings by the single pound; Molasses,
4s. Sri. per Gallon ; Chocolate, Is. 9d. per lb. ; Best new milk Cheese, 5
pence 1 farthing per lb. ; Butter, 9 pence per lb. ; Tan^ Leather, Is. 3d.
per lb. ; Curried leather, in Proportion ; Homespun yard-wide Cotton
. . . ; Cloth, 3s. Gd. per yard; Mutton, Lamb and Veal, 3 pence per
lb. ; wheat Flour, 18s. per hundred Wt. ; Best English Hay, 2s. 8d. per
Hundred Wt. ; Teaming work, Is. 6d. per mile for a Ton ; Turkies,
Dunghill Fowls and ducks, 4 pence per lb. ; Geese, 3 pence per lb. ;
Milk, 1 penny 3 farthing per quart ; Good Merchantable white pine
Barn boards, 2s. 8d. per hundred feet ; Men"s best yarn Stockings 5s. 4<i.
per pair ; Men's best Shoes made of neat Leather, 8s. per pair ; Wo-
men's best Calf Skin shoes, (is. Sd. per pair ; Making Men's Shoes, 28.
8d. ; Making Women's leather shoes, 2s. Sd. ; Good Salt Pork, 8 pence
THE HISTORY OF PAXTOX. 43
per lb. ; Cotton, 3s. Sd. per lb. ; Good well-dressed mercliautable Flax,
1 shilling per lb. ; Coffee, Is. 5d. per lb. ; Yard wide tow Cloth, 2 shill-
ings per yard; Good yard-wide Stripped Flannel, 3s. per yard ; Fried
Tallow, 7 pence per lb. ; Kough Tallow, 4 pence 2 farth. per lb. ; Men's
board, os. per week ; Women's board, 2s. Sd. per week — .Taverners ;
Oats, 2 pence 2 farthings for 2 Quarts ; A mug of Flip made with half
a pint of West India Rum, Is. Id. ; a mng of Flip made with half a pint
of New England Rum, 9 pence ; a Common meal of Vituals, 9 pence ;
lodging a person a night, 4 pence ; Keeping a horse a night or 24
hours on English Hay, 1 shilling ; Keeping a yoke of oxen a night or
24 hours on English Hay, 1 shilling ; Charcoal, 3 pence per bushel at
the pit ; Shoeing a horse round and Steeling toe aud heel, 6s. 3d. ;
Weaving Plain Towel Cloth yard-wide, not to exceed 3 pence 2 farthings
per yard; sawing White pine boards, Is. Id. per Hun* feet; Tanner's
Bark Oak — Delivered at the Yard, 12s. per Coid — price for tanning, 1
penny 3 farthings per lb. ; horse hire, 2 pence per mile ; Cyder not to
exceed 6s. at the press in time of the Greatest Scarcity ; Carpenter's
work, 3 shilling per day ; Price of Taylor's work to be advanced one-
eighth part above what was usual when Labour at farming work in the
Summer Season was 2s. Sd. per day ; Best Homespun Woolen Cloth of a
Good Colour fulN and Press* not to exceed 8s. per yard, and all other
articles not her enumerated are to bear a price in a just Proportion to
the Particularly Mentioned, According to former Customs and usages.
Dated at Paxton, Feby. 7, 1777. Agreed to by the Selectmen and Com-
mittee of Correspondence of Paxton. Attest,
On September 14, 1791, Seth Snow, of Paxton, gave
by deed to the town, one and a half acres and fifteen
rods, " whereon the nieeting-hou.se stands," the whole
forming nearly a square tract for " the use and benefit
of the town." The bounds are given in Book 115,
page 134, as certified to by Artemas Ward, register of
deeds, Worcester, and are as follows, viz. :
A certain tract or parcel of common land lying in Paxton aforesaid,
whereon the meeting-house stands, for the use and benefit of the said
town, and is bounded as follows, viz. : beginning at a stake and stones
on the south lino of the burying-yard, thence East 3° S. nine rods and
nine-tenths to a stake and stone, being the Northwest cornel of Frederick
Hunt's land ; thence South 13° 40' W. eighteen rods and eight-tenths of
44 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
a rod to a heap of stones on the West side of said Hunt's barn, said line
strikes the Northwest corner of said barn ; thence South 29"^ East ten
rods and seven-tenths to a stake and stones ; thence West 12° 30" N. four
rods to a stake and stones by the Southeast corner of Deacon Timothy
Barretfs horse-shed ; thence N. 32° West seven rods to a stake and stones
near the Northeast corner of the store ; thence W. 8° 45' N. eiglit rods
and six-tenths to a stalce and stones by the Northwest corner of my
dwelling-house ; thence S. 45° 30' W. six rods to a stake and stones; thence
W. 10° N. two rods and five-tenths to a stake and stones ; thence East 42°
N. nine rods to a stake and stones near the Southeast corner of Abner
Morse's horse-stable ; thence N. 8° E. running on the West side of the
horse-stables eighteen rods to the first-mentioned corner; said tract con-
tains one acre and a half and fifteen rods by measure.
The town, after about 1800, moved along the even
tenor of its way, without alarming incidents, until
1812, when, at a special meeting of the town, held
August 10th, of that year, it was voted to choose a
committee to attend a county convention called to
consider the state of the country, and Nathaniel
Crocker and Braddyl Livermore were appointed as the
delegates. There was also a petition or memorial or-
dered at this meeting to be sent to the President, and
the following persons were appointed to prepare the
same, viz. : — Nathan Swan, Nathaniel Lakin, David
Davis, Jr., Braddyl Livermore and Jonathan P. Gros-
venor. The war was of short duration, terminating
in a successful issue for the government.
Of Indian history little is known. Paxton was for
many years a part of other towns, and their history
would in part be its history, but long before the sur-
rounding towns were incorporated there were conflicts
with the aborigines in this vicinity, though yet not
much that can be localized as having happened with-
in the present territory of the town. Yet there was
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 45
one Indian resident of this town who made it hia
home during the greater portion of his life, and his
name was Aaron Occum.^ He was the last remnant
and representative of his race. He lived about one
hundred years ago, and had his home near the south-
west point of Turkey Hill Pond. He lived in peace
and quiet with his white neighbors, who learned to
like him, and were, at times, much interested in him :
"He was a tall, well-formed man, very lithe and
strong, and in feats of running, jumping, wrestling
or lifting, no white man in the town could approach
him. He clung to his ancient arms, and always was
seen with bow and arrows, and with these, primitive
weapons his aim was unerring and fatal. He was a
temperate and peaceful man and came to be respected
and was a frequent visitor during the long winter
evenings, at the dwellings of his neighbors, whom, in
broken English, he would entertain by his wonderful
stories of his ancestors and their exploits. Close by
his cabin was a large flat rock, on which he pursued
his occupation of beating brooms and making baskets,
in which arts he was a master, and his wares found
ready sale in the vicinity. Thus he lived till one
eventful winter night, when he went to visit at the
old red house on the hill, a half-mile or so west
of his cabin, now the home of Oris Howe. It was
an icy time, bitter cold having followed a storm of
sleet. The face of the country was glass, with ice.
Occum finally departed, and with a bound he started
forward down the hill, but he never reached his cabin
1 Related to us by George Maynard of Worcester.
46 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
home alive. The next morning he was found dead at
the foot of a sharp declivity, with a gash in the back
of his head caused by a sudden fall on a sharp stone
above the ice. He, in the darkness, had, doubtless,
miscalculated his footing and thus came to his sudden
death. He was buried in the public cemetery of the
Of Indian relics there are few ; still, some are found
of course, but not in numbers that would lead us to
think any tribe made its permanent home on these
hills. There is, however, just west of the Barre road,
beyond the causeway, adjacent to the house of the
late Benjamin Maynard, "a low, hollow rock," which
tradition says was an Indian " Mortar," used by them
for grinding corn. The story of the " Indian Graves "
was related by John Metcalf, who lived to be ninety
years old and had a clear memory up to the close of
his long life. He died about 1884. His statement
was that southwest of said Turkey Hill Pond, on a
long ridge, is the spot where a party of Indians
killed a number of white men, as described in a book
giving an account of the Indian Wars. Here seven
white men were killed and were buried under a large
oak tree. The mound may still be seen surrounded
(or was) by flat stones, not far from the stump of a
large oak tree. The original account stated " that a
party of white men were attacked on a hill at the
southwest corner of a pond with a large hill on the
east side of it, about ten miles from Quinsigamond
(Worcester) and on the road from Quabog (Brook-
field) to Wachusett, and were buried under a large
oak tree." Mr. Metcalf showed this account to one
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 47
Artemas Howe, of this town, and together they iden-
tified this place as the spot referred to.
George Maynard states that at one time he sank a
shaft into this mound and below yellow earth he came
to a black mou^, such as might appear in any very
Of murders there have been several within the
present limits of the town since its first settlement.
The first great crime of this character occurred on
what is known as the old " Carruth Road," which
formerly led from just below "Comins Mill" (once
" Jennison's Mill ") to the north into the Barre
Road and on to West Rutland. Less than a half-
mile from the mills named lived Daniel Campbell, a
Scotchman, who was killed March 8, 1744, by one
Edward Fitzpatrick, an Irishman who was in the em-
ploy of Campbell. Fitzpatrick disposed of the body
in the wood-pile, the whole covered over with a few
rails. There was a general rally of the neighbors to
search for the missing man. It was agreed that should
the body be found the horn (conch-shell) should be
blown to give notice. At the sound of the horn Fitz-
patrick, who was standing in the doorway of the house,
exclaimed, " My God ! it is all up with me," or words
to that effect. Fitzpatrick was tried the following
September, found guilty and sentenced to be hanged
on the 18th of October following. Campbell was
buried in the old cemetery at Rutland Centre, and on
his tombstone is the following inscription, viz. :
"Here lies buried y'^ body of Mr. Daniel Campbell,
born in Scotland, who came into New England A. D.
48 THE HISTORY OF FAXTON.
1716, and was murdered on his own farm in 1774,
aged 48 years. . . . Man knoweth not his time."
This Carruth Road was much used in the days of
which we write, it affording a short route to Barre and
that section, to people in the vicinity of Jennison's
Mills ; besides, many came over this road to trade at
One Aaron Coggswell lived on the right as you go
up this road. He is the ancestor of the present
Coggswells of Leicester. Beyond Mr. Coggswell
lived Ephraim Carruth and further on Daniel Camp-
bell and others. This Mr. Carruth, for whom the
road was named, came from Marlboro' along with the
Hows. After the murder of his neighbor, Campbell,
his family, which was quite large, became discon-
tented and he returned to Marlboro. He was a sur-
veyor and once surveyed the farm of David Davis,
who lived at C, A. Streeter's. Mr. Carruth was not
in favor with Jonah How, who lived on what is now
called " Davis' Hill." This How had a pasture up
on the Carruth Road where he kept his sheep in sum-
mer, and each year he lost a good lamb. At the close
of the season, finding a lamb gone as usual, and hap-
pening to meet Carruth, said to him that he had got a
new name for his pasture and now called it Pilfer-
shire. After that no lambs were missed. The local-
ity still goes by the new name among the old people
of the neighborhood.
Some twenty-five years ago, at the time of grading
the Great Road, as the Barre Road was then called,
many men were employed, among whom was one
Doyle, an Irishman. He boarded at the first house
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 49
beyond the brook on what is now called the West
Road (New Braintree Eoad), a quarter of a mile or
less west of the Common. In the evening of May 11,
1862, one Henry Watson, an Englishman, was going
by to his home, known as the Stillman Smith place,
beyond Pudding Corner. As he came opposite the
house some conversation occurred with this Doyle,
who demanded some rum of Watson, which he refused,
whereupon Doyle became angry, and stepping to the
woodpile, took up a hemlock stick and chased Watson,
who ran to the next house, where Samuel Peirce
lived, and as he passed on to the veranda at the west
side of the building he was struck and killed. Doyle
at once fled to Worcester, where he was arrested, tried
and sentenced to a long term of imprisonment at hard
There was, some years ago, a human skeleton
found in the front yard of a small farm-house, now
occupied by H. Sweetser, on the road leading to Pine
Hill, in the northerly part of the town. This
brought to mind the fact that a peddler by the name
of Livermore, who staid over-night in this neighbor-
hood, some years prior, was sudilenly missed from
the community, and was thought to have been foully
dealt with, as a quarrel was believed to have occurred
at Widow Samuel Sweetser's that night. An inquest
was held, but nothing was established, though Ben-
jamin Maynard, who was present, stated that some of
the parties living there were much disturbed and
seemed guilty. At all events, the principals soon
after left, and have never returned.
A man by the name of Charles Conners, in Feb-
50 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
ruary, 1862, was frozen to death in bis sleigh at the
foot of the hill near Pudding Corner, on the New
Braintree road, east of the school-house. He had
been to Worcester, and, addicted to drink, had pro-
cured a bottle of liquor, and, over-indulging, had be-
come insensible from two causes, — the liquor and the
cold. The day had been somewhat mild and fairly
pleasant, but in the early afternoon the wind rose and
it grew cold rapidly, and before sunset the wind had
risen to a blizzard, and the thermometer dropped
during the night to 30° below zero. He was found
in the morning, sitting nearly upright, with his hat
off and an empty bottle beside him. The reins had
become tangled, and had turned the horse to the side
of the road, where he stopped, and was yet alive.
The man lived at North Spencer, and the team be-
longed to Samuel Cunningham, of that place. The
day he was found the thermometer at noon stood at
28° below, the coldest day for three-quarters of a cen-
tury in this locality.
At one time in the spring of the year, as a com-
pany of workmen were engaged repairing the road
near the present town-farm. Captain B was hold-
ing the plow when a skeleton was turned up. " All
were horror-stricken, and the captain left and went
to work elsewhere, being iinable to witness the scene.
It was told by him that it must be the body of a
Mrs. Hunt, who had lived on the cross-road near by,
and who, having died of the small-pox, was hur-
riedly buried there. But this was not credited by
the citizens. The other theory was that a young
man, who, a year before, was working for the captain,
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 51
had suddenly disappeared without any very good ex-
planations, and it was believed the body was his,
especially as an investigation showed the remains to
be those of a male person.
Among the notable people who were born or lived
in Paxton was the Livermore family. Jason Liver-
more was one of the early settlers, and lived in the
southerly part of the town, near Pudding Corner, and
had several children.
He was in the engagement at Bunker Hill, as has
already been shown, and was a man of high courage
and great patriotism. He was for many years a
prominent citizen here. His son Braddyl also be-
came prominent, and was well known for his capacity
to transact business, and stood high among his towns-
men. His son, George W. Livermore, a graduate of
Harvard, and now of Cambridge, became a distin-
guished citizen of that place, and returned on June
14, 1865, and delivered the historical address at the
centennial celebration, and to him, as well as to other
writers, are we much indebted for many of the facts
Few men in our early history were as distinguished
as Doctor Samuel Stearns. He was a somewhat cele-
brated man in his day, as well as prominent as a
practicing physician. He traveled much between
1778 and '85, and he made the journey from Southern
Georgia to Ma.*sachusetts on horseback. He relates
leaving Georgia in February, with the trees bloom-
ing, and he so timed his journey as to reach Massa-
chusetts in early June, having a succession of bios-
52 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
soms for a thousand miles. He married Sarah Witt
of Paxton March 7, 1773.
In 1782 he was in Europe, and continued his trav-
els there for several years. He published a volume
of his letters from England and the Continent writ-
ten in 1784.^ He speaks of meeting Minister John
Adams at the Hague, and spending some time with
him in driving about the country. Doctor Stearns
was very fond of art, and greatly admired the paint-
ing of Rubens, as well he might. He visited the
Hague in the summer of 1784 and was a guest of John
Adams, the American minister, of whom he speaks in
the highest praise. In speaking of the ambassador he
says hU livery is the same as the American uniform.
He also says that in popularity and influence at that
court Mr. Adams bore the palm of the diplomatic
body. He adds that Mr. Adams talks but little, but
what he says is direct and forceful; that America
stands indebted to him principally for three important
acquisitions — the defeat of Sir Joseph Yorke and se-
curing the patronage of Holland in a critical moment,
the extension of our limits and the security ot our
fisheries. The headquarters of the embassy was the
Grand Hotel, which Mr. Adams had purchased for
the permanent quarters of United States ministers.
Dr. Stearns relates an incident which, but for him,
the life of Mr. Adams might have been in great jeo-
pardy, viz. : — They were driving along the banks of a
canal in Delft when a child was discovered struggling
1 This volume was published by Isaiah Thomas of Worcester, in 1790,
entitled, "A Tour in Holland," with a preface by John Trumbull, the
celebrated author of "McFingal."
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 53
for life in the waters of the canal. Mr. Adams drew '
off his overcoat and was about ready to leap into the
water when the Doctor interfered. At this juncture,
a workman close by had made the plunge and saved
the drowning child.
The Earles were numerous and prominent in the
town's early history and for many years afterward.
Marmaduke Earle came from Leicester and settled
where Nathaniel Parkhurst now lives, about a mile
west of the centre, on the Barre road. He had four-
Capt. Ralph Earle, of Leicester, was the best-known
of any of the Earle family. He took a part in the
Revolutionary War and performed other and valuable
service. One of his sons, R. E. W. Earle, became
famous as an artist. He made a painting of Niagara
Falls which attracted much attention, and subse-
quently he resided in the South, where he became an
inmate of the family of General Jackson, at the
"Hermitage." He painted several portraits of the
general and his family. He died there in 1837, and
was buried in the garden, beside the graves of Jackson
and his wife. Captain Ralph was a member of im-
portant committees raised by the town at sundry
times during the Revolution ; was for a time chairman
of the selectmen, and occasionally served as modera-
tor. He was also captain of the Standing Company
in the Revolution.
Philip Earle ^ was a public man and was engaged in
the manufacture of scythes, below Jennison's Mills,
1 This Philip was a sou of Marniiiduke Earle and succeeded to the
bwsiness of one Joel Crossnian.
54 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
just west of the highway. Here he had a trip-ham-
mer and carried on quite a business. The mills above
named were first owned by one Silas Newton ; he lived
on Brigham Hill, where one Brigham subsequently
lived. Newton had a fulling mill, besides a saw and
grist-mill and shingle-mill. He sold to Samuel Jen-
nison, who is reputed to be a rough sort of a man.
He kept a ivet grocery store in the basement of his
house, and it used to be a much-frequented resort.
He sold to Homer Chase, his son-in-law, who con-
tinued the store business. Homer was a son of Jona-
than Chase, who lived where Horace Daniels now
The Davis family was likewise conspicuous, and the
first Simon Davis came from Concord to Rutland,
where he had a son David, who settled in Paxton?
where Charles A. Streeter now lives. He had a son
David, Jr., who lived at the foot of the hill, just west
of his father's place. There was a tan-yard just back
of this last-named house, where considerable business
was done annually. At this time there was another
tan-yard near Pudding Corner, on the Bellows place,
where an equal amount of tanning was done. This
Davis family are the ancestors of Mr. D. Gates Davis,
who, until lately, lived where Jonah Howe formerly
The Peirce family came here from New Hampshire,
but of all the members perhaps John D. Peirce is the
most conspicuous. His father was Gad Peirce, and
his grandfather David Peirce. The subject of this
brief sketch came to live at the Peirce homestead, in
the easterly part of the town, on the farm now owned
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 55
and occupied by Horace Peirce. He lived with Job
Peirce, an uncle. He, at the age of sixteen, decided
to secure a liberal education, and, with the assistance
of the Rev. Mr. Conant, a near neighbor, he went to
Leicester Academy. He joined the church at that
place. He fitted for college, entered Brown Uni-
versity and graduated with Elbridge Gerry Howe, of
this i^lace. He married in Sangerfield, New York,
studied for the ministry and settled in York State aa
a Congregational minister. He subsequently went to
Michigan and preached for a time at Marshall, and at
same time kept the post-office (in a cigar-box). When
Michigan was admitted into the Union he was ap-
pointed State Superintendent of Instruction. He took
an active part thereafter in all educational affairs and
advised a liberal policy for the State, which was
adopted, and has left its impress on that great Com-
monwealth to this day. He was at one time promi-
nently named for United States Senator, but being a
Whig and they in the minority, he decided to ch.ange
his politics, and soon after the party he espoused be-
came the minority and so he died a disappointed man
in some respects. But his life was made valuable to
his fellow-men in the founding of a new State.
Of the Harringtons, first came Nathan Harrington
from Weston and settled on the farm just north and
under the shadow of Pine Hill. He had children —
Nathan, Lemuel and Samuel. The first son settled
in Barre, A^'t., the second lived and died in Hardwick,
Mass., while Samuel remained at home and had
children — Lucy B., Elizabeth F., Samuel D., Lemuel,
David, Simon G., Abigail and Lucinda. Samuel D.
56 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
had children— Samuel, who lives in Boston ; Nathan,
living in Toledo, Ohio ; and Eliza, who married Rev.
Charles Morris and lives in Gloucester.
David Harrington, last above named, married Miss
Olive Holmes in October, 1830. He lived and died
on his farm in Paxton. He celebrated the fiftieth
anniversary of his marriage on October 29, 1880.
There was a large company of relatives and friends
from far and near present on that occasion. Mr.
Simon G. Harrington is still living at the advanced
age of eighty years and upwards, at his farm on the
Rutland Road. He represented the town some years
since in the Legislature and is one of the brightest
and ablest men in this vicinity.
Silas D., son of Dr. Loami Harrington, was a very
prominent man in the public affairs of this town. On
November 17, 1877, he celebrated his fiftieth wed-
ding anniversary. He died suddenly soon after,
while on a visit to Millbury. He was for many years
one of the selectmen and much respected. His por-
trait can be seen in the new town hall.
The Howe family is a numerous one in Paxton,
and the first settler here was one John How, who
came from Marlboro*, Mass., in 1742, and pur-
chased lands of an agent of the Crown, and the old
deed, now in possession of Dr. A. J. Howe, bears
the seal of the colonial government. The place
purchased by John Howe is now owned by Deacon
Keep, and is situated about a mile west from the
centre. This John Howe deeded the place to his son
Paul Howe, and he to his son John, and he to
Samuel H. Howe, the father of the present Dr. An-
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 57
drew Jackson Howe, of Cincinnati. Of the Howe
family born in Paxton, Dr. Howe ia the most dis-
tinguished. His father moved to the edge of Lei-
cester, where Mr. Watts now lives. At the age of
twenty, Andrew bought his time of his father, agree-
ing to pay one hundred dollars for his " freedom,"
a transaction not unknown in those days. Young
Howe worked in a saw-mill and thereby kept his
engagement with his father as to the payment of the
" time " or freedom money. He then went to Graf-
ton, where he worked for an uncle in a shoe-factory.
While thus engaged he made the acquaintance of
Dr. Calvin Newton, who, being interested in him,
consented to take Andrew as a student on condition
that he acquire the education requisite to enter
college. The young man, nothing daunted, subse-
quently entered the Leicester Academy, where he at-
tended two years, taking high rank as a student,
From there he went to Cambridge and was admitted,
and during the four years there he helcTa reputable
place in his class, that of 1853. While fitting for college
he was obliged, out of study hours and during vaca-
tions, to labor at whatever his hands could find to do ;
sometimes he was busy with wood-chopping and
threshing and boat-building. After graduation at
Harvard he prepared his way as best he could pe-
cuniarily for entering upon a course of medical lec-
tures at Jefferson College, in Philadelphia. The
next year he attended hospital instructions in New
York. The year following he took temporary charge
of Dr. Walter Burnham's piactice in Lowell, Mass.
In 1855 he was appointed to the professorship of
58 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
surgery in the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincin-
nati, Ohio, a position he has held ever since.
He is the author of a treatise on General Surgery,
and also of works on special branches of surgical
science. He has, during his residence in Cincinnati,
performed all the great operations of a surgical char-
acter and he is favored with a wide range of patron-
age. In 1886 Dr. Howe made a tour of Europe,
visiting the famous hospitals of the Continent, and
became acquainted with the distinguished men of his
profession. As a recreative indulgence. Dr. Howe
has cultivated a taste for biological investigations,
and has acquired some distinction, as an anatomist.
For many years he was one of the curators in the
Cincinnati Society of Natural History. Dr. Howe
married, in 1858, Georgiana, the oldest daughter of
George Lakin, of this place.
The familiar faces of Dr. and Mrs. Howe are occa-
sionally seen in town revisiting the places familiar in
their childhood, and renewing old acquaintances, by
whom they are ever cordially welcomed.
Jonah How lived on Davis Hill, and died there
aged eighty-four years. Artemas How was also
prominent in public affairs.
Eev. Elbridge Gerry Howe, son of Jonah Howe, was
a graduate of Brown University, and went West on
missionary work and established the first Congrega-
tional Church at Waukegan, 111. He was four times
married. He leaves two sons, E. G. Howe, Jr., and
Ira Howe. Rev. Mr. Howe was one of those men who
left the world better by having lived in it. He was
pre-eminently adapted to missionary labors, in which
THE HIvSTORY OF PAXTOxNT. 59
he had great success. He was always an earnest
speaker and always found on the side of right on every
public question. He was an honest man and of exalted
The Grosvenor family were among the notable
people during their residence in this town. A brief
sketch has already been given of the Rev. Daniel
Grosvenor. Jonathan P. Grosvenor was a prominent
man, occupying offices of trust and honor for many
years. He was a justice of the peace, and lived on
the farm now owned by Peter Daw. Here met some
of the most cultivated people in town. His daughter,
Lucy Grosvenor,. married David Manning, Sr., of this
place, and subsequently they removed to Worcester,
where they at present reside.
Capt, Tyler Goddard, who lived just north of the
meeting-house at the junction of the Rutland and
Holden roads, was the first postmaster in Paxton.
The office was established December 10, 1816, and
he held the place till 1841. He kept a small grocery
store just across the road west of his house, in what is
now the new burying-ground. Au anecdote is related
of him that one time, in order to cure David Sweetser
of the bad habit of borrowing jugs, filled one for him
in which oil had been kept. This }ug came back and
with it the lost jugs, and a pretty free expression of
miscellaneous statements on the part of Sweetser, to
the great amusement of Capt. Goddard. Luther God-
dard, of Worcester, is a son of Tyler, and was for
some years the town clerk of Paxton. The next post-
master was S. D. Harrington, followed by Otis Pierce,
and in 1861 Nathaniel Clark was appointed and still
6o THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
holds the office. Of town clerks Ephraim Moore was
first and William H. Clark, the present incumbent,
the last chosen.
The Bigelows have ever been prominent in town
since the advent of the Eev. Silas Bigelow. He had
a brother, Ithamar Bigelow, who also lived on Asney-
bumskeit and he had sons Silas and Ithamar, Jr.
Silas Bigelow had children: John Flavel, George Nor-
man, Artemas E. and Adaline E. Ithamar Bigelow,
Jr. had children : Ralph Earle, Walter R. and Lewis.
Ralph Earle Bigelow had children : Caroline, Eme-
line and John C. Lewis Bigelow had children : Henry^
Charles, Edward, George, Phoebe and Eliza.
In the late Civil War this town contributed seventy-
four men, and of this number fifteen lost their lives
while in the service. The records show that on the
26th July, 1862, a bounty of one hundred and ten dol-
lars was voted. On August 9th the amount was
raised eighty-five dollars. On December 8th the town
offered one hundred and ten dollars for nine months'
men, and one hundred and sixty dollars for those en-
listing for three years. These offers were in addition
to any bounties or gratuities proffered by the State or
United States governments. There was an additional
bounty offered in June, 1864, of one hundred and
twenty-five dollars. In the year 1871 a granite
monument was erected on the " Common " in mem-
ory of those losing their lives during the four years'
contest with the Southern States. An iron railing
surrounds this shaft, and within the inclosure there
are four cannon donated by Congress. On this shaft
are the names of twenty-one of our soldiers who died
by reason of the Rebellion.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 6i
On June 14, 1865, the town celebrated the centen-
nial of its incorporation. There was a large assem-
blage of the sons and daughters of the town on that
occasion. There was a public meeting in the church,
at which Hon. George W. Livermore, of Cambridge,
Eev. John F. Bigelow, D.D., of Brooklyn, Prof. George
N. Bigelow, also of Brooklyn, and Rev. George G.
Phipps, now of Newton Highlands, delivered
addresses. They were all natives of this town. A
public dinner was served on the " Common," opposite
the church, of which many hundreds partook. It was
a grand gala occasion, and the reunions were many
and most cordial, and the memory of them is as a sweet
savor to all participating.
In 1888 the town erected a new town hall, in part
out of the proceeds of the estate of the late Simon
Allen, who left by will his entire property in trust to
the town, which was to be used in the building of a
town hall, the same to be called Allen Hall. The
amount of his estate was twenty-two hundred dollars,
but the prolonged illness of his widow reduced this
amount to fifteen hundred dollars. During the life-
time of his widow the property could not be used for
the purpose designated by the testator, but on her
decease, which occurred in 1887, the Allen fund was
turned over to the town treasurer, and at the annual
meeting of the town in March, 1888, it was voted to
add a thousand dollars to the Allen fund and go for-
ward with the building, the town appointing the fol-
lowing persons as a building committee, viz. : L. Bill,
William Brown, A. S. Graton, E. P. Keep and H. H.
62 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
The land for the location was given by the writer,
and in the following July the contractor began his
work, and by the 20th of the following October the
building was completed, and was formally dedicated
on November 1, 1888. The dedication address was
delivered by Col. William B. Harding, of Worcester,
the poem by George Maynard, also of Worcester, with
remarks by Rev. George H. Gould, D.D., and Scrip-
ture reading and dedicatory prayer by Rev. Alpha
The chairman of the selectmen,^ Ledyard Bill, re-
ceived the keys from H. H. Pike on behaflf of the
building committee. The church choir, under the
leadership of Oliver Goodnow, who for over fifty years
has been connected with church music here, gave
choice selections ; the exercises in the main hall clos-
ing with America, in singing which, all joined. A
public dinner was served in the lower hall by the
Ladies' Union, of which Mrs. Nathaniel Clark is
president. The building stands on the west side of the
Barre Road, opposite the '' Common." It is a plain
appearing structure, but inside it is all that will be
required for years to come. The total cost will not
be far from forty-five hundred dollars. Simon Allen
was born in 1806, in Holden, in the house near the foot
of the big hill, on the Paxton and Holden Road,
on the south side of the highway, and east of Mr.
Metcalf s. He attended the Northeast School in
1 The first board of selectmen chosen in 1765 was Oliver Witt, Ephraim
Moore and Samuel Brown, while the last board chosen in 1888 was Led-
yard Bill, A. S. Graton and L. T. Kirby.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 63
Paxton a portion of his youth. He moved to Shrews-
bury, where he married Miss Fannie Norcross. He
was a boot and shoemaker, and followed that trade
while in Shrewsbury. He moved to Paxton in 1840,
and bought a farm of the elder John Slade, on the
Rutland road, where George A. Brown now lives.
He was a plain, unassuming, honest man, and re-
spected by all who knew him. He died December
29, 1880, and was buried by the side of his first wife,
near the west entrance to the Public Cemetery. He
was twice married, but left no children.
In the year 1865, there was an agreement entered
into between the town and the parish, respecting the
town hall which was built by the town under the
church, forming a basement story to the same. The
church was removed from the "Common " to its pres-
ent location in October, 1834, and repairs all com-
pleted February, 1836, and re-dedicated Feb. 24, 1836.
The pews were sold by auction, and fifty-four of them
brought the sum of 14,094.75. The agreement above
referred to was made in 1865. It was the outgrowth
of a discussion relating to the repairs which had be-
come necessary at the time. It has always been
known as the Town Hall from the commencement,
and was so called both in the records of the town and
parish. The repairs amounted to eleven hundred
dollars. The town had previously invested six hun-
dred dollars in this basement story to the church for
a town hall, and at a meeting held March 6, 1865, un-
der Article 16 of the Warrant, it was voted to ap-
point a committee of five to meet a like committee
from the first parish, and, if possible, unite upon some
understanding concerning the tcse of the hall and re-
64 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
port to the town at an adjourned meeting. This they
did on April i, 1S65. The committee on the part of
the town, consisted of Phineas M. Howe, Otis Pierce,
William Mulligan, Dwight Estabrook, and Hammond
W. Hubbard. This committee submitted and recom-
mended the following action on the part of the town,
and it was —
" Voted to pay the eleven hundred dollars towards
defraying the expenses recently incurred in repairing
and furnishing the Town Hall, provided that in addi-
tion to the right already possessed by the town, viz :
to have the right to occupy said hall for all necessary
town purposes ; the town shall have the right to use
said hall and the rooms adjoining for all purposes al-
lowed by the Selectmen, but in no case shall an ap-
pointment made by the Selectmen supersede an
appointment made by the Parish Committee, and all
moneys received for the use of said hall shall be paid
to the Parish towards lighting and warming the same,
provided the Parish shall have said hall insured to
the amount of three-fourths of the above named
eleven hundred dollars and make over the policy
to the town and keep the same constantly insured.
The town to be to the expense of reinsuring or
renewing of said policy."
This was adopted by a vote of 32 to 10.
The above agreement was never very strictly en-
forced, and in the lapse of time some small discus-
sions arose as to who possessed the right to rent the
hall, and the insurance policies even run, occasionally
to the Parish, and finally the Parish set up its author-
ity to rent the hall, fix the rental, and received the
funds direct from the janitor, which of course was in
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 65
plain contravention of the written contract as both
expressed and implied. Thus the meaning of the
agreement or its interpretation frequently differed
according to the prejudices of the parties in in-
terest, and this state of affairs continued up to the
time of the town's decision to go forward with the
erection of a new hall under the will of Simon Allen.
We would not wish to convey the impression that
any serious breach was imminent, and yet it was a
source of frequent irritation and probably helped
somewhat in the determination of the town to accept
Mr. Allen's gift and erect a separate building for its
exclusive use, which was for the best interests of all
concerned, except that the cost involved was much
greater than was at first contemplated, or than was
needful for so small a community.*
The old hall was damp and cold, and at most all
times was quite unsuited for the town's use in many
ways. In the new hall are quarters for the Public
Library. This library was established in the spring
of 1877 on the urgent representation of the writer, ac-
companied by a gift for its foundation, and now, after
a period of more than ten years of active operation,
it has proved to be an increasing educational force,
and justified its establishment by the town. The
present Secretary of the Trustees in control, Mr. F.
Sumner Howe, in his report to the town in 1888,
says : —
" From the time it was first opened till the present,
* The building committee received contributions to be applied
to the erection of the hall from William Mulligan , Josiah Keep,
C.Eugene Peirce, J. Chester Peirce, S.D. Simonds, and Ch arles G.
66 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
it has been constantly patronized by those who have
sought instruction or amusement, and we beHeve
their desires have been abundantly satisfied ; not only
the youth in the school room, but all ages may find
in the library something to give them a greater diver-
sity of knowledge upon a given subject, and we be-
lieve that a fair share of the intelligence and enlight-
enment of our people is due the library." More
than thirteen hundred volumes were issued last year
to its patrons.
The public schools of the town while nominally
the same as a liundred years ago in point of num-
ber of districts, have in fact been reduced to four for
the past few years, owing to the small number of pu-
pils in town. The West and North-east schools are
the ones which have been closed. Where fifty or
sixty pupils used to attend a single school, as was the
case in all of them forty years ago, there are now
scarcely a baker's dozen, or eveji half dozen, to be
found. In old times the boys and girls nearly all
went to school till they were "of age," and a win-
ter school in these rural districts was not a thing for a
feminine hand to manage. It took a master and a
pretty smart one too sometimes, to guide the helm
and steer clear of rocks and shoals. Then the winter
schools were crowded, and the small boy had to take
his chances of getting a seat wherever one could be
improvised. The school programme was not very
extensive or much varied ; the common English
branches were thought good enough and the pupils
had to be content.
Then each separate district was an independent
realm in which the district committee held unlimited
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 67
sway, and generally arranged to put the little king-
dom of the school room, in charge of some impecuni-
ous and incompetent friend or relative, who, if he
could do little else, could at least "thresh " well.
There was long, determined opposition to any change,
and much small talk about the invasion of the " peo-
ple's rights," but tiie fiat of enlightened sentiment
had decreed a new order ol things in this regard, and
the old system
" Had to fold its tent like the Arab,
And silently steal away."
Under the new order of tilings the annual appro-
priation by the town is usually about one thousand
dollars for the support of schools. Their character
here is above the average in country towns. Stu-
dents have been able to enter Normal and Technical
Schools and Academies from our public schools with-
out extra training, and quite a number of fairly
equipped teachers have graduated from them. Of
the teachers employed years ago, two attained some
celebrity, viz : Increase S. Smith and William A.
Wilde — they taught at the South-west school.
Of college graduates, the following is as complete
a list as it has been possible to make, viz :
Rev. Moses G. Grosvenor, Dartmouth, 1822
Rev. C. Pitt Grosvenor. " 1818
John F. Livermore, Dartmouth, . . . 1810
Prof. Increases. S.mith, Brown University, 1821
Rev. Elbridge G. Howe, A. M., " 1821
Rev. John D. Peirce, D. D., " 1822
Hon. Geo. W. Livermore, LL. D. Har-
vard University, .... 1823
Aaron Snow, Yale, 1835
68 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Cyrus W. Conant, Union College, . 1824
Charles Livermore, Harvard University, 1825
Rev. John F. Bigelow, D. D., Brown Univ. 18 —
Prof. Geo. N. Bigelow, Univ. at Berlin, 18 —
Dr. Andrew J. Howe, Harvard University, 1853
Dr. Lemuel Grosvenor.
Dr. Edward R. Wheeler, Amherst, . i860
Prof. Samuel Harrington, " . 1862
Rev. Geo. G. Phipps, . " . 1862
Rev. William H. Phipps, " . 1862
Judge Nathan Harrington, " . 1864
Prof. Josiah Keep, . " . 1874
Dr. William P. Davis, Phil. Med.
Elias W. Davis, Yale College, . . 1880
Herbert B. Howard, Harvard University, 18 —
Lewellyn Harrington, Burlington Med., 1879
Wesley E. Brown, " " 1878
Edward Minturn Woodward, Amherst, 1885
Elbridge Gerry Howe, Wor. Polytechnic, 1884
Henry A. Streeter, " " 1887
Wallace Snow, Harvard, . . . 1891
He is a son of Dr. Windsor N. Snow, and a great
grandson of Col. Willard Snow.
Little is known of Mr. Snow, who is reported a
graduate of Yale College. Prof Increase S. Smith
taught a notable school in this town at Pudding Cor-
ner some fifty years ago. He was present at the Cen-
tennial in 1865. He has been principal of Hingham
Academy and Dorchester High School.
The Rev. Elbridge G. Howe, we have already men-
tioned. He was born on Howe's Hill, Aug. 19, 1799.
He was son of Jonah Howe, jr., and Lydia Warren.
He graduated from the Andover Theological School
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 69
in 1824. He was ordained a Congregational clergy-
man in 1824. He was settled for a time at Halifax
and Marshfield in this State.
For particulars of Rev. John D. Peirce, see page 54
of this volume. We may add that in appreciation of
his distinguished services to the State of Michigan,
a full length portrait was secured by that common-
wealth and placed, we believe, in the capitol.
The Hon. Geo. W. Livermore was a distinguished
lawyer in Cambridge, and delivered the historical ad-
dress at the Centennial here in 1865. His father was
Esquire Braddyll Livermore, sr., son of Lieut. Jason
Livermore of revolutionary fame. His ancestors
were notable men and women.
The Rev. John F. Bigelow, son of Silas Bigelow,
was born at the Bigelow homestead where the Henrys
now live. He was a Baptist clergyman, and attained
eminence as a scholar. He was settled for a time in
Bristol, R. L, Middleboro', Mass., St. Albans, Vt.,
and in Keeseville, N. Y. He was for a few years be-
fore his decease associated with his brother at the
Atheneum Seminary in Brooklyn, N. Y. He died in
the latter city, June 20, 1884.
Prof George N. Bigelow, a brother of the above,
became well-known as an educator. He was for a time
principal of the State Normal School at Framingham,
and was principal of Atheneum Seminary above re-
ferred to. He was a ripe scholar, and in his leisure
contributed various articles for educational maga-
zines. He presided at the exercises of the Centen-
nial Celebration here in 1865, and added much by his
genial and ready wit to the success of that occasion.
He was a man of fine presence, tall and portly,
yo THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
which was characteristic of the Bigelows of this vi-
cinity, as we learn, for many generations.
Of Dr. Andrew J. Howe, we would refer the reader
to page 56 for a biographical sketch.
Prof. Samuel and Judge Nathan Harrington are
sons of Dea. Samuel D. Harrington who lived under
the brow of Pine Hill in the northerly part of the
town. Samuel is a teacher of the highest rank, and
was at one time the head, we believe, of the Boston
Latin School. Nathan is a lawyer, and lives at Toledo,
Ohio, where he has acted as judge of the city court.
The Harringtons were a numerous family and oc-
cupied at one time a large section of land on the
north side. At the present time only one, Dea. Wil-
liam H. Harrington, son of David Harrington, con-
tinues in that vicinity. He lives on his father's home-
stead, and also carries on a saw and bo.x mill. These
mills, we believe, were built by Dea. Morse and his
son, Lewis Morse. They lived in a small one-story
house a little south-west of the saw mill, which was
then on the stream at the location of the present box
mill. This box mill has, since we commenced this
sketch, been changed to a saw mill, as in the days of
the Morses. The old grist mill built by Dea. Samuel
Harrington has likewise just been transformed to a
box mill. The saw mill at the foot of the hill on the
left of the highway is abandoned. Lewis Morse built
the two-story house where Anson W. Putnam now
lives, which is situated but a few rods east of the box-
saw mill. The Morses sold the mills to Samuel But-
trick, who run them for at ime, when he sold to David
Harrington. A short time prior to this Howard &
Damon offered to lease the mills, which offer being
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 7I
refused, they erected the saw mill at the foot of the
hill previously mentioned. They used the house of
Stephen Sweetser towards the erection of the mill.
This house was but a short distance away and had
been abandoned by the Sweetser family.
Resuming our list of college graduates, we come to
the Messrs. George G. and William H. Phipps, sons
of Rev. William Phipps, a former pastor. They are
both ordained Congregational clergymen and have
settled pastorates, the former at Newton Highlands^
while William H. is at Prospect, Ct. George G. is a
scholarly man, of sparkling wit, and has something
of the poet's genius.
Dr. Edward R. Wheeler, son of Dr. Edward M.
Wheeler, is settled in Spencer, and succeeded to the
large practice of his father. The senior Dr. Wheeler
was for many years a resident and practising physi-
cian in Paxton. He married for his second wife, Miss
Caroline Duncan, the sister of T. Mason Duncan.
The Duncans lived where Wm. M. Warren now lives,
just west of Comins's mills, now Eames's mills. The
Duncans were widely known and highly respected in
Prof Josiah Keep, son of Dea. j. O. Keep, married
a Miss Holman of Leicester, and settled in Califor-
nia, where he is engaged in teaching.
Dr. William P. Davis, son of D. Gates Davis, is a
practising physician in Reading.
Elias W. Davis is engaged, at his father's home-
stead, in farming.
Dr. Wesley E. Brown, son of Dea. William, is
living in Gilbertville.
72 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Prof. Edward Minton Woodward, son of Albert E.
and grandson of Harvey Woodward, is teaching in
Elbridge G. Howe, son of Rev. E. G. Howe, is
located in the West as a civil engineer.
Henry S. Streeter, son of Charles A. Streeter, is
is engaged in teaching in this State.
The following persons have represented the town
in the Legislature, viz : — Adam Smith, i776-'84-5-7 ;
Phineas Moore, 1780 ; Adam Maynard, 1781-2 ; Heze-
kiah Ward, 1786; Nathaniel Crocker, 1806-8-9, 'i3"
'16 ; M. B. Livermore, 1810 ; Ebenezer Estabrook,
181 1 ; David Davis, jr., 1814 ; Samuel Harrington,
1821 ; Tyler Goddard, 1829, '30-1-2-3-4-5-7-9 ; Arte-
mas Howe, 1838 ; David Harrington, 1840 ; Gains
Conant, 1841-2-3 ; Samuel D. Harrington, i849-'5o ;
Simon G. Harrington, 1854 ; David G. Davis, 1856 ;
Ralph E. Bigelow, 1858 ; William Mulligan, i86i-'7o ;
John C. Bigelow, 1866 ; Lewis Bigelow, 1879.
The latest addition to the territory of Paxton was
the northwest corner whereby the farm of Hammond
Hubbard was included, also a portion of the Brown-
ing farm, thereby straightening the line and bringing
within the town a fine tract of land. While the town
has occasionally increased its area, the taxable valu-
ation has for many years decreased. This has been
owing to a variety of causes, chief of which has been
the abandonment of boot manufacturing, and another
important factor is that of fires, incendiary or other-
wise. There is a neighborhood in the south-westerly
side, where ten dwellings have burned down within
about as many years, and all within the radius of a
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 73
mile. Some of these were among the largest and best
in town. Of course other parts of the town have not
wholly escaped the fiery element within the time spe-
cified. The destruction of the Bigelow boot factory
was a great calamity. This was situated at the south
end of the village, and the firm employed many hands
both in and out of the shop. The loss of the fine
hotel at the centre was also greatly deplored. It was
a three-story structure, and was every way a great
addition to the town as well as a great convenience
to the public, and was comparatively a new building.
The large farm house, barn, and outbuildings on the
Col. Willard Snow place, also disappeared in a few
brief hours by fire. The place at the time was own-
ed and occupied by the Bellows brothers. There are
all over town many half filled cellars where former
dwellings stood, and they equal in point of numbers
the buildings now standing outside of the village
There is still another cause operating yearly to-
wards the reduction of the grand list in this place,
and that is, the increasing blows of the many axe-men
during the inclement season of the year. Many hun-
dred acres within the last decade, have been swept of
wood and timber, till but few acres of old growth re-
main; perhaps it would not be stating it too strongly,
if we were to say that within this period, a full hun-
dred thousand dollars worth of this kind of property
has been disposed of in this time.
On the Rutland road just above where Simon G.
Harrington now lives, settled one Samuel Brown who
came from Sudbury. He had a son, Abel Brown,
who was for many years the Town Clerk, who held
74 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
that office longer than has any person before or since.
Of course the personal liistory of this town officer is
obscure at this late day, but we have the right to as-
sume that he must have been a man of superior fit-
ness for the important post which he held so many
years. He married a Miss Howe, sister of John
Howe. He had children — Samuel, 2nd, Augustus
and Paul. The second son removed to New Hamp-
shire, while the third went to Cincinnati, where, it is
supposed, he perished during the yellow fever
scourge which soon after prevailed in that city. Sam-
uel, 2d, remained in town and married Lucretia Earle,
daughter of Marmaduke Earle, and had children, viz:
John Barnes, Sally. Betsey. Patty, Aurelia, and Matil-
da. John Barnes Brown married Eliza Chittenden.
Elijah Brown, who came from Westboro, was of
another family, he had children— Nathaniel, Sylvester,
Elijah, Abi, Mary, Hattie and Fannie. Of these, Syl-
vester remained with his father, and was never mar-
ried. They were men of some means, and for many
years they owned and kept the '" old tavern " at the
corner of the Barre and New Braintree roads. This
old tavern has witnessed many changes and many a
strange event in its day, and a detailed history of it
and of those townspeople who frequented it, would
make a volume of vivid interest, whether profitable
or not. Austin Flagg for many years held forth here
as "mine host," and in the days even when the new
Barre road had been opened up, and Genery Twitch-
ell held the ribbons of the fast stage line between
Brattleboro and Worcester, this old hotel was histor-
ic, and yet its glory had not departed, since it was
still the place of general rendezvous for all the coun-
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 75
try round. The amount of ancient flip dispensed
here would likely, if let loose at one time, make
as great a "washout" as did the great flood of
Aug. 19, 1887, when all the highways were terribly
In the last quarter of a century it has gone to grad-
ual decay and as a hotel abandoned, though it has
served as a shoemaker's shop and in the old ell a
store was continued for a period. Here Thos. A. Prouty
and Aaron Snow did business and were among the
last of the thrifty tenants of this house of "ye olden
David Manning carried on boot manufacturing here
quite extensively up to about 1850. His shop was in
what is now the Holmes' house. He lived opposite.
Thomas A. Prouty came here about 1850, from
Spencer, and opened a store in the house now owned
and occupied by John Holmes, with a boot shop in
the upper story. His brother, I. Lothrop Prouty, was
a partner. They continued business at this place for
several years, and then bought out the Harrington
store and continued till they sold to Nathaniel and
William H. Clark. Theodore C. and John Prouty
also came here and engaged in trade and manufac-
tured boots. They all married their wives here,
Thos. A. Prouty married Miss Ellen Pike, Isaac L.
Prouty married Miss Mary Skinner, John Prouty mar-
ried Miss Sarah Jane Bullard, and Theodore C. Prouty
married Miss Hannah Peirce. The Prouty brothers
remained ten years or so and then returned to Spen-
cer and entered the boot and shoe business, where
they have all accumulated fortunes. They were men
of unusual shrewdness and great natural ability.
76 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
George Rowell was engaged in boot manufacturing
at one time, as was also Bigelow, Mulligan & Co.
These firms were not long engaged before abandon-
ing the business.
At the present time there are two stores in town,
kept by Nathaniel Clark & Co. and Elisha Arnold.
The post-office is at Clark's store. The predecessors
of the Clarks were, first, the Prouty Brothers, then
the Harringtons, a Mr. Brewer and Harvey Wilson.
The building itself was erected by Sylvester Brown.
As many as five different stores have been established
at different times, viz : that of the Browns at the old
tavern, Tyler Goddard's, opposite his house on the
west side of the road, that of Samuel Jennison's at his
mills, also Ods Peirce's, where W. I. Preston now
lives, ^nd Thomas A. Prouiy's, before mentioned.
In those brisk and changeful days, the trade and
travel through this town was considerable. Railroads
had not been invented 35 or 40 years ago, or had not
superseded the common roads. There was ere long
another tavern, known as the "Summit House," kept
and owned for many years by Wm. W. Dodd, a large
three story building, put up to accommodate the pub-
lic, and there was need of it. It was no uncommon
thing for a dozen four and six horse teams, carrying
goods inland from Worcester and Boston to Barre
and Brattleboro and all intermediate points, stopping
for the night here. Then four and six horse coaches
passed and repassed daily, carrying crowds of passen-
gers with the government mails, making it merry as
they bowled along over what was then one of the
great inland arteries of trade and travel. The advent
of the iron horse has changed all this, and now but
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 77
a single two horse coach goes up and down once a
day connecting with the world outside.
There is still an opportunity for the town to make
some development in the future in the direction of
furnishing accommodations for summer visitors. Al-
ready quite a large number frequent the place during
the warm season, and when we consider the elevation,
good air and reasonable charges, we may confidently
hope for some prosperity in this direction.
The elevation above the sea at the " Common " is
about eleven hundred and thirty-five feet, Asnebum-
skit Pond eleven hundred and eight feet, Arnold's
Pond eleven hundred and twenty-two feet.
The State has granted a charter giving the right to
take Arnold's or Kettle brook to supply a portion of
Leicester with water. Surveys have been made the
past year looking towards that purpose, but whether
any thing is likely to result we are not sufficiently in-
formed to determine. The elevation of Leicester
Hill above the sea is given us as one thousand and
one foot, thus indicating that it is a feasible project to
take the water.
The salubrity of the climate here is pretty well es-
tablished, and many people have attained to a great
age here. Among these we recall the case of Mrs.
Jason Livermore, who was one hundred years old at
her decease, Mrs. Joseph Penniman and John P. Met-
calf were old people ; Mrs. Elizabeth Harrington,
mother of Deacon Samuel Harrington, died June 27,
1835, at the age of one hundred years and eight months.
The Rev. James D. Farnsworth preached at her house
on the 31st October, 1834, the day she was one hun-
dred years old, from the text found in Gen. 47 : 9.
78 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
There have been more golden weddings celebrated
in this town within about ten years, we apprehend,
than in any other community of like population in the
same period in New England. Among those who
have thus celebrated we recall the following : Mr. and
Mrs. Silas D. Harrington, Mr. and Mrs. Tyler S. Pen-
niman, Mr. and Mrs. David Harrington, Mr. and Mrs.
J. O. Keep, Mr. and Mrs. William B. Rogers, and Mr.
and Mrs. John Holmes, two others have passed the
fiftieth mile stone but did not celebrate, viz : Mr. and
Mrs. J. Barnes Brown, and Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Good-
In 1840 there was great political excitement all over
the country, and especially here in New England, and
the old log cabin campaign of Harrison so engrossed
public attention as to claim much of the time of the
country in the way of attending the rallies and listen-
ing to addresses that were taking place everywhere.
Worcester was to have a great demonstration beyond
anything before undertaken, and Daniel Webster was
to give an address and the country towns were ablaze
with excitement. Several of the back towns, as Barre
and Petersham, sent many of their people, who went
in marching order, and in this column Paxton joined,
and they turned out, as report has it, in great
number on foot, in carriages, and very many on
horseback — the whole procession being more than
a mile in length, and thus reinforced the great column,
proceeded to Worcester under the command of Cap-
tain Freeman Ellis of Paxton, a prominent citizen,
who was the chief marshal of the procession. This
Captain Ellis has a son, Wm. F. Ellis, living in this
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 79
A few items of interest, connected with some of the
earher inhabitants, is herewith appended.
In 1S43, Capt. Freeman ElHs was living on Crocker
Hill, in the old Bigelow mansion. Captain Ellis was
largely engaged in butchering -and handling of cattle,
and was known to have considerable funds at times
about his person on returning from the city. He was
returning home one evening, and when in the vicinity
of Wilson's woods, he was suddenly accosted by a man
who, failing to catch the bridle reins, demanded a ride,
but Capt. Ellis put the whip to his horses and got
away ; the man fired and put a ball through the rear
end of the wagon. The highwayman proved after-
wards to be, on his own confession, the noted Earned,
a member of a gang of bank robbers.
The Crocker house above named, built by the Rev.
Silas Bigelow in 1768-9 and in which he died, also
where Esquire Nathaniel Crocker used to live and
which Rev. Jos. D. Fansworth occupied, was burned
in 1844, on the day the " Millerites " set for the world
to be destroyed, and concerning which much excite-
ment was afoot.
On page 56, we have spoken of the Howes ; Paul
Howe, son of John, had three sons, viz : John, Jonah
and Jonathan. Jonah Howe, sr. settled on Howe's
Hill, now Davis's Hill. There was nothing but a bridle
path leading over it to the mills of Newton at
the time and for many years afterwards. John
lived at his father's, while Jonathan lived at the old
Brewery place. Jonah, sr., had sons, Jonah jr.
and Artemas. The latter became quite a public
man, and had a conspicuous place in town affairs
and held various town offices. An anecdote is
8o THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
related of him that one Sunday, during a presiden-
tial canvas, the minister preached a sort of political
sermon, at the close of which Mr. Howe rose and ad-
dressing the preacher, said that "you may vote for
whom you are a mind to, I shall vote for Cass if I am
alive." He married Miss Roxa Moore, daughter of
Pliny Moore, and lived at the Moore homestead,
on the Rutland road, just beyond Francis Keep's.
This place was subsequently owned by the town as a
town farm, till the old Dwight Estabrook farm, on
the Barre road was purchased, which latter is the
present town farm. The Moore place above named
was the home of Capt. Phineas Moore and of Major
Willard Moore, who fell at Bunker Hill. It is not
known that he was ever married. He had not attained
middle life at the time of his death. The Moores
have left a reputation equalled by few of the earlier
settlers in this town.
Not many years since, while celebrating the fourth
of July, a premature discharge of a cannon blew off
the arm of one Henry Skinner, which speedily ter-
minated the festivities. On another similar occasion,
of recent date, two men very narrowly escaped with
In ye olden times it was customary to indulge in
turkey shooting whenever any considerable company
of men assembled. This amusement was usually
located not far from some hostelry, and this place had
its quota of fun in this direction. The locality where
the targets were set up was back of the blacksmith
shop of one Samuel Chickering. After 1828 William
Stockwell was the blacksmith, and later on Luke
Stratton and then Charles Muzzy kept it. This shop
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 8l
was near the place where Luke Stratton now
lives. It was in the low lands behind this shop that
the crack shots assembled, and this amusement ter-
minated with an accident which we need not relate.
Whether the sport of rifle shooting or the taste of old
Elijah Brown's popular flip was the most attractive, it
is not our duty to say, but one thing is certain, the
ancient business of rifle practice never flourished out-
side of the range of an old time country inn.
Several distressing accidents have occured in the
past which perhaps should be related. A man who
lived in Spencer attempted one winter to cross As-
nebumskit Pond on horseback, but the ice proved too
thin, both horse and rider were drowned. Soon after,
Ithamar Bigelow was passing that way, and observing
a hat on the ice, made an investigation and found
them and recovered the body of the man. The un-
fortunate man's name has not been given us.
On August 3, 1865, Albert Browning, son of Richard-
son Browning, was drowned in the same pond, and
William Earle recovered the body by diving.
In 1850, on the fifth of July, Edward Howe, son of
Phineas M. Howe, was drowned in Bottomly Pond.
Later a young lad was drowned in this pond under
circumstances somewhat suspicious, but the inquest
did not result in the authorities taking any action in
Mr. Samuel Slade, who lived at the Slade place, on
Dodd's hill, was out drawing wood to the house, and
the way being uneven and the load not well balanced,
it overturned and Mr. Slade was killed. It was a very
82 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
There have been several notable storms in this
vicinity within the past few j^ears, which deserve
mention, because of their severity. In 1871, June 11,
a whirlwind or great cyclone appeared, and was so
violent as to twist trees from their base and crush
others to kindling wood, leveled barns and buildings
in its track and roared as it went onward so as to be
heard miles away. Its track, a few rods in width only,
was across the northerly side of the town and was
In 1887, August 19, it begun to rain early in the fore-
noon. The clouds were dark and threatening. There
was no wind accompanying, nor was there thunder or
lightning preceding or during the storm, which was
of short duration — lasting from 8 A. M. to i P. M.
But the water that fell in that brief period was towards
three inches. It seemed to come in sheets by times,
and must have equalled the tropical rain falls expe-
rienced by Du Challu in Africa. The empty streams
and brooks sprang to surging torrents and dashed
wildly towards the valleys and the sea. The highways
were practically wrecked for a time and travel over
them was well nigh suspended. It took many days'
labor to repair damages. The country road to Wor-
cester was impassable for ten days thereafter. The
worst place being just this side of Tatnuck, on what
is known as " watering-trough hill."
The last great storm was the "blizzard" in March,
1888. The wind settled into the north-east, snowing
and blowing briskly from the start and constantly in-
creasing in force till eighty miles an hour was reached
in some localities. By the middle of the afternoon
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 83
the roads were substantially blocked and travel sus-
pended. It was then evident that it was getting peril-
ous to be out even a short distance from home. The
next morning fences were invisible, the highways level
full, and no mails came or went for three days, and
the only sure method of reaching your neighbor was
on snow shoes, which were used by some who pos-
sessed them. The thermometer kept at about 30°
above zero fortunately, and but for this many lives
would have been lost in this region.
Of clubs or societies in town there have been sever-
al, but of them all, only one continues, and even that
has nearly ceased be on several occasions, but easily
recuperates and lives on, and this is the Lyceum. It
was started about twenty-five years ago and is now in
a flourishing condition. It aims to meet fortnightly
during the season of long evenings. The temporary
organization was effected on February 20, 1864, by
choice of Solon C. Howe as Chairman and J. C.
Bigelow as Secretary. Subsequently a permanent
organization was completed by the choice of William
Mulligan, a very active and able man, as President,
and J. C. Bigelow as Secretary. No date is given to
this meeting. There had been originally about twenty-
five names appended to a paper looking to the estab-
lishment of a lyceum — this paper was dated February
15, 1864. But the first question up for discussion was
at a meeting on March 2, 1864. This and the previous
two meetings, to complete the organization, were held
in the store of Otis Peirce, who lived and kept store
where W. I. Preston now lives, being the first house
south of M. B. Olmstead's blacksmith shop. Such a
84 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
society is a very useful appendage in all communities
when well conducted and its mission of instruction
and amusement strictly adhered to. Of those prom-
inent in starting the Lyceum was William Mulligan,
who was a bright, stirring man and who held many
offices of trust and honor in the town. Messrs. Ed-
ward S. Burnette, Oliver Goodnow, Simon G. Har-
rington, John Holmes, Henry Allen, and others were
In this connection it is proper not to overlook an-
other society, which was a forerunner of the Lyceum
and which indeed may be said to have been its pro-
genitor. This was the "Band of Hope, " organized
July 21, i860, with Oliver Qoodnowas Superintendent.
There were more than a hundred members including
honoraries, and they met in the central school house.
It was at first intended for very young people, and
was a semi-religious society, with declamations and
singing. In March, 1863, the society changed its name
to one more in accord with its work, viz : "The Pa.x-
ton Speaking and Singing Club," with Willard A.
Earle as President and Clara P. Conant as Secretary.
This society held meetings as the Lyceum now does,
during the season of long evenings. Finally, about
Jan. I, 1864, its name was changed to the "Literary
Encampment." At last the older folks, who had
become interested in these exercises and in which they
had borne a part, decided to establish a Lyceum, as
we have seen, which was done within sixty days after
the date last above given.
The Ladies Social Union is likewise an important
factor in all church affairs here, and should be men-
tioned. Mrs. Mary A. Boynton was, we believe, the
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 85
first president, while Mrs. Nathaniel Clark is the pre-
sent head. Of its secretaries. Miss Ella Rowell, now
deceased, is deserving of much credit for the unselfish
interest she brought to bear, not only with the Union,
but with every worthy movement in town. She was
especially devoted to the cause of temperance, and
usually took an active part in the gospel temperance
meetings. Mr. Edward S. Burnette, who has more
constantly and for a longer period than any other per-
son, attended these meetings, says of her, that she
was one of the pillars, not only of the temperance
cause, but of the church as well.
Another institution of our town flourished about
1840, it was the " Paxton Brass Band," with Thomas
Ward as leader. The other members as far as they
can now be recalled, were J. Buckley Grosvenor,
Oliver Goodnow, Buckley Abbott, George W, Dodd,
Horace Peirce, Edward Peirce, Daniel Peirce, Nelson
Wood, Samuel Grosvenor, J. B. Brown, Joseph Al-
len, Willard Abbott, D. Estabrook, Spaulding,
Phillips, and others. This band continued for
ten years or more, and became well-known through-
out the county. It played in Worcester on invitation
of the authorities, one Fourth of July, and was high-
ly spoken of by all who heard them. Again at Fitch-
burg during the great muster there, they won golden
opinions and took the palm over all the other bands
in competition, and there were quite a number from
other places in the county.
"The Grand Army of the Republic" is a society
of comparatively recent organization, and while there
is no established Post in this town, its principal officers
86 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
reside here, and we should fail in our duty if we neg-
lected to chronicle something concerning it. The
place of meeting is at Rutland, and three towns are
embraced by Post 136, viz: Oakham, Paxton, and
Rutland. Its members are composed of Union sol-
diers residing in these towns. Of its officers at the
present time, residing in this town, are George A.
Brown, Commander; Wm. M. Warren, Surgeoti; F.
T. Merriam, O. G.
A descendant of old Dr. John Snow says : "It is
the people that make a town, and Paxton has been a
grand old town. Have you any idea how many men
who have made a mark in the world were born in
Paxton ? They are to be found all over the country,
and though Paxton is small, yet it is these same coun-
try towns that are furnishing the brains for our cities."
Thus speaks Dr. Windsor N. Snow, and what he
states is true to a greater extent than most people
believe. His statement reminds us of the high char-
acter and great business ability of his ancestor, Col.
Willard Snow who built the house where the writer
now lives, and likewise many others in town. Of
these strong, brainy men of the early days, Maj.
Willard Moore was a good example. He promptly
left for the seat of war and was promoted for his
great gallantry, and finally fell with Warren on the
field of Bunker Hill. His brothers, Capt. Ephraim
Moore and Lieut. Pliney Moore, were influential men.
Then there was Capt. Ralph Earle, who lived where
Tyler S. Penniman now lives. The struggle for lib-
erty was about to begin, had in fact already begun,
and the royalist party with Gov. Hutchinson at their
head in civil power, made every effort to strengthen
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 87
the hands of the government in these provinces, and
to this Ralph Earle he tendered a captain's commis-
sion, who spurned the proffered honor. His love
of liberty was too deeply seated to be purchased by
imperial power, all of his sympathies were with the
people in their desire for separation. Gen. Washing-
ton, learning of the facts, sent Capt. Earle, who, up
to this time, had been only a captain of the militia, a
commission as captain in the Continental Army, and
from that time on till near the close of the war, he
performed active and important service.
Then there were the Davises, Lieut. Simon Davis
and Col. John Davis, an uncle, we believe, of " Hon-
est John Davis," who represented Massachusetts in
the U. S. Senate with great ability and distinction.
Col. John Davis lived where Charles D. Boynton now
lives, in the easterly part of the town.
We have already spoken of Revs. .Silas Bigelow
and Daniel Grosvenor, Dr. Samuel Stearns and Dr.
A. J. Howe, Hon. George W. Livermore, and of his
noted patriot grandfather, Jason Livermore, also, of
Rev. and Hon. John D. Peirce and Rev. Elbridge G.
Howe. > ,
Esquire Buddyll Livermore was a well-known and
influential man, as was his son, Buddyll Livermore,
jr.; and then we recall James Day, Esq., college bred,
a careful, painstaking man, perhaps plain spoken, but
a man of mark here, and would have been anywhere.
Then we should mention Drs. Thaddeus Brown, Sam-
uel Forrest, Caleb Shattuck who practiced medicine
here the last part of the eighteenth century; Esquire
Jonathan P. Grosvenor, Dr. Absalom Russell, Dr.
Thaddeus Amidon, and Dr. Loami Harrington who is
88 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
reputed as a very skillful physician ; Esquire Nathan-
iel Crocker was also highly prominent and tied more
nuptial knots in this town than any civil magistrate be-
fore or since. His granddaughter, Reliance Crocker,
daughter of Solomon Crocker, married Dea. Edward
Kendall of Paxton, now living in Cambridge, and is
an eminent man in that place and a warm friend of
the church and people here. Tyler Goddard we
have mentioned in another place. He represented
this town nine consecutive terms in the Legislature.
Then there was Thomas Bancroft, brother of Hon.
George Bancroft lived here, and was a celebrity. He
was a learned man and very genial and always court-
ly. He will be long remembered.
William Stockwell, who kept a blacksmith shop at
one time was a very expert mechanic. He devoted
much of his time to making rifles, and had he given
strict attention to business he might have become
famous perhaps, but he was prone to wander and
went away to Canada.
Capt. John Partridge was a singularly able man, and
possessed of a great memory and sound common
sense. For many years he held some responsible
town office, and while an active partisan, he was re-
spected by all classes.
Ralph Earle Bigelow, of the firm of Lakin & Bige-
low, was the most eminent of the local business men
the town has ever had. He attained to great wealth,
and built up a large business. His death was a sad
one. He was drowned in Bottomly Pond on July 4,
George S. Lakin, of the firm of Lakin & Bigelow,
sold out and removed to Holden, where he died.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 89
Col. John Brigham was an energetic and forceful man,
but he was subsequently environed by some troubles
and it is not known where he died. Lawson Ball, as
will be remembered, was an eccentric character in his
day. He deposited the first ballot in the cause of
abolition in this town. Dr. John Frink, jr.. was the
son of Dr. John Frink of Rutland, and grandson of
the Rev. Thomas Frink also of Rutland, where he
was ordained in 1S27; they were all reputed to be
very learned men. Then too there were Capt. Brown-
ing Hubbard, father of Hammond W. Hubbard, Dea.
Oliver Witt, David, Moses, and Nathaniel Waite,
Clark Earle, Stephen and Aaron Coggswell, John and
Francis Washburne, John Warren, Abijah Burnap,
Jonathan and Dana Frost, Alpheus and Joel Stratton.
It was Joel Stratton's influence and timely word that
was the cause of John B. Gough's reformation. He
lived where Frank /|. Peirce now lives. There were
also these of equal or even greater prominence in the
early and later times — Dea. Silas and Windsor New-
ton, Moses Parkhurst, Marmaduke Earle, who was a
a real patriarch among men, Deacons Samuel and
Samuel D. Harrington, Oliver Wilson, Ezra and
David Boynton, Abram Livermore, William Duncan,
Jude Jones, Stephen Streeter, Hezekiah Newton,
Frederick Flint, Alpheus Bemis, William Stockwell,
J. Dickerman Newton, who lived on the old Newton
farm where David Harrington lived and died, Thad-
deus Estabrook, Austin Flagg, Nathaniel Lakin, Jo-
seph Penniman, Daniel Estabrook, Jotham Parker,
Simon G. Harrington, William Comins, T. M. Dun-
can, David Manning, who married Lucy B. Grosven-
or, the granddaughter of Rev. Daniel Grosvenor,
go THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Silas D. Harrington, and D wight Estabrook, sr., all
stirring and able men.
We would not forget the skilled physicians, who at
various times in later days, have been residents here,
and who were skillful in the practice of their profes-
sion, viz : Drs. Bellows, Earle, and Addison Knights
who built the house where L. T. Kirby lives. Dr. Ed-
ward M. Wheeler, Dr. John N. Murdock, Dr. Am-
brose Eames, and Dr. George O. Warner. The lat-
ter was the last physician who lived in this place. He
was a native of Sturbridge, and settled here till after
a few years he removed to Leicester, but practiced
here up to the time of his decease. He died quite
suddenly in Leicester of diphtheria, in i8S6, beloved
beyond most men in this community. Many of the
foregoing are worthy of more extended biographical
In the notice of the Church on page 22, the name
of Hezekiah Newton is omitted from the list of the
earliest church members. It is singular that all of the
names given in that list should be males ; three days
after the organization the wives of most of them
joined. Sixteen others joined the first year and thir-
teen the second and last year of Rev. Mr. Bigelow's
ministry. Mr. Bigelow, leaving the farm house of his
brother, Ithamar, set about erecting a parsonage on
the height of land then known as Bigelow Hill, now
Crocker. The house was a square structure, of the
style and size of the Goddard house now standing.
Mr. Bigelow took a severe cold on Oct. 21, 1769,
while superintending the completion of his new home,
and died Nov. 16, following. This place was subse-
quently owned and occupied by Nathaniel Crocker,
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. QI
Esq. At the time the house was burned it was occn-
pied by Capt. Freeman Ellis.
The following persons have held the office of Dea-
con in the Church, viz : Oliver Witt, Ephraim Moore.
Timothy Barrett, David Davis, Jonah Howe, sr., Abel
Brown, Nathan Swan, Samuel Harrington, David
Davis, jr., Samuel D. Harrington, Silas N. Grosvenor,
John Conant, William Conaiit, John B. Moore, Josiah
O. Keep, William B. Rogers, William Brown, Wm.
H. Harrington, and Levi Smith.
Up to 1830-3, there were less than a dozen dwell-
ings in what is now known as the village proper.
These houses were the the old Lakin house, the old
yellow house, the Crow Hill house, and the house
nearly opposite, now occupied by Luke Stratton,
Capt. John Partridge's, now used as a hotel and kept
by M. B. Olmstead, the house of the late Silas
D. Harrington, now occupied by D. C. Stratton,
Brown's Hotel, the Goddard and Bigelow (Crocker)
mansions. At the present time, there are forty-six
in the village, and yet the population of the town is
less than at the date last mentioned.
On May i, 1888, the number of polls assessed was
145. The value of personal estate owned was I35,-
375.00 ; value of buildings, 199,050.00 ; lands were
valued at 1148,008.00. Rate of taxation was ^12.60
per thousand. The number of horses 121, cows 288,
other neat stock 167, sheep 24, swine 43, number of
dwelling houses 138, acres of land 8,643.
92 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
List of persons who enlisted for longer or shorter
terms of time during the war. Some of the number
re-enlisted, thus counting twice on the town's quota,
and two were drafted.
Henry A. Allen, served two enlistments,
Simon C. Abbott,
Edward D. Bigelow,
Henry G. Bigelow,*
George R. Browning, re-enlisted,
Henry A. Browning, died of wounds,
Charles A. Bemis,*
Charles S. Butler,
James D. Butler,* died June, 1865,
Charles G. Bigelow, served two enlistments,
William F. Browning, " " "
Isaac J. Bowen,
Henry A. W. Blackburn,
George W. Brown,* died in 1864,
George P. Browning,
George F. Cheney,*
Daniel Cummings, died April 28, 1862,
John A. Cummings,
Everett W. Conant,
Wallace S. Chase,
William P. Davis,
Otis Damon, re-enlisted,
George W. Dodd, Commissioned as Lieut.
Alanson H. Dodge,
Orwell J. Goodnow,
Alwin S. Graton,
Charles E. Graton,*
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 93
Nathan A. Munroe, died in Tenn., Aug. 8,
Solomon R. Maynard, died at Newport
News, March 2, 1S63.
Edward E. Munroe, died while a prisoner,
Frank W. Mulligan,
John S. Mills, died at Washington, April 15,
Alvin S. Nichols, died in Tenn.
Samuel A. Newton,
Nahum S. Newton,
Erastus W. Newton,
Charles H. Newton,
Cyprus Osland, died May 4, 1862.
Edward F. Pratt,
David W. Pratt, died at Andersonville, 1864,
John S. Pratt, " " "
George O. Peirce, died at Harrison Land-
ing, Va., July, 1862.
John D. Peirce, killed at Petersburg, Va.
HoLLis H. Howe, died at Yorktown in 1862.
Charles A. Harrington, died at Annapolis,
Jan. 8, 1862.
George M. Harris,
John Holmes, Jr.
George R. Hubbard, killed in the trenches
94 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
William E. Keep, served two enlistments.
William F. Pike,
Hiram N. Parkhurst, died at Newbern,
Charles H. Parker,
Walter Shaw, died at Washington in 1862.
Samuel Stratton,* died Sept. 6, 1864.
Isaac R. Savage,
John W. Smith,
Henry C. Ward,
William M. Warren,
Benjamin F. Ware,*
John K. Davis, ^ ■, r ■,
William Gibson, (colored,) /^''^fted men.
Henry Evans, substitute.
Barney Hastings, and one other enlisted by
the State were credited on our quota.
Of this number 25 are reported as born in Paxton.
Those marked thus * enlisted elsewhere.
List of Names upon the Soldiers' Monument.
Henry A. Browning, Hiram N. Parkhurst,
Daniel Cummings, John S. Pratt,
Solomon R. Maynard, David W. Pratt,
John S. Mills, Nathan A. Munroe,
Alvin S. Nichols, Samuel G. Osland,
Edward E. Munroe, George O. Peirce,
James D. Butler, John D. Peirce,
George R. Hubbard, Hollis H. Howe,
Samuel W. Stratton, Charles A. Harrington,
George W. Brown, Walter Shaw,
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 95
This monument is a plain granite shaft, situated
near the centre of the " Common." It was erected
about eighteen years ago at a cost of eight hundred
dollars. Of this sum the town granted five hundred,
and the other three hundred dollars was by private
subscription. The Ladies' Social Union caused the
iron fence to be placed around the mound and shaft.
This was done at an expense of about three hundred
dollars. The four large cannon were procured from
the general government through the assistance of
Hon. W. W. Rice, on the petition of the writer and
others. The whole effect of this simple shaft is in
keeping with its surroundings, and is a fitting memo-
rial of those who fell in the conflict of 1861.
Here we bring this brief history to a close, trusting
that it may at least serve as a foundation for a more
extended work in the future.
The genealogy of some of the first settlers of the
town and their descendants is given here. Other fam-
ilies would have been published had we had time to
have gathered the necessary data or had it been fur-
nished to us.
The genealogies of the Harrington, Peirce and
Brown families are largely given in the preceding
Abijah Abbott, b. April 14, 1756, d. April 10, 1810.
Rachel his wife, b. Dec. 18, 1759. They had children :
Aaron, b. Sept. 20, 1780, d. Jan. 1832.
Patty, m. Charles Lamb.
Susie, m. Mr. MacLane.
Aaron Abbott, m. Betsey Howe, she was born
Nov. 28, 1785, d. Aug. 13, 1865. They had children:
Betsey Sophia, b. April 13, 1807.
Charles Addison, b. July 4, 1809, d. July 31,
Charles Buckley, b. Sept. 22, 181 1.
Lucy Hubbard, b. Nov. 13, 1813.
Samuel Jennings, b. Dec. 23, 1816, d. Sept. 29,
98 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Abigail Marietta, b. Dec. 27, 1818.
Clarisa Howe, b. Oct. 24, 1820.
Nancy Clark, b. Sept. 29, 1822.
Simon Cheney, b. Feb. 28, 1825,
Ebenezer Boynton, b. 1742, came from Sudbury,
married Persis Fay of Holden. He died July 26,
1815. She died Dec. 4, 1817. They had children :
Persis, b. Feb. 21, 1769.
Ebenezer, Jr., b. Nov. 10, 1770.
' Silas, b. May 17, 1772.
Jeremiah, b. June 22, 1774.
Alpheus, b. Dec. 17, 1775.
Phebe, b. Sept. 15, 1778.
Levi, b. Oct. 18, 1779.
Hannah, b. Nov. 20, 1781.
Asa, b. April 20, 1783.
David, b. Dec. 11, 1784.
Ezra, b. Oct. 18, 1786.
William, b. June 18, 1789.
Reuben, b. July 4, 1791.
Samuel, b. Feb. 15, 1793.
Ezra Boynton, b. , m. Phebe Davis, the
daughter of Col. John Davis and Phebe Steams, They
had children :
Charles Davis, b. July 25, 1812.
Hannah Gates, b. Jan. 31, 1819.
Phebe Stearns, b. June 20, 1822,
Persis Fay, b. Nov. 16, 1828.
David Boynton, b. m. Lucy B. Johnson of
Worcester. They had a large family, viz :
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 99
Lucy P., b. March 14, 1814.
Mary Ann, b. March 3, 1816.
Darwin Russell, b. March 4, 1818.
Alonzo, b. May 2, 1822.
Alona, b. Jan. 13, 1824.
David, b. Dec. 14, 1825.
Nathan S., b. Sept. 20, 1827.
George D., b. Oct. i, 1829.
Lewis J., b. Dec. 28, 1831.
Edwin Nelson, b. Dec. 8, 1833.
Clarissa M., b. Feb. 6, 1836.
Austin, b. Jan. 27, 1838.
Ellen J., b. Jan. 28, 1841.
Charles Davis Boynton, m. Mary A. Towne of
Charlton, on Dec. 22, 1841. They have no children.
Hannah Gates Boynton, m. Tyler S. Penniman,
and have children :
Persis Fay Boynton, m. 1st, Sumner Lincoln,
2nd, Tyler Clough of Brookfield.
Darwin R. Boynton, m. ist, Nancy Stowe,
April, 1846 ; m. 2nd, Mary Ann Gould. No chidren.
THE BIGELOW family.
Rev. Silas Bigelow, b. 1739, ^"d came from Con-
cord and Shrewsbury, it is supposed, and was or-
dained in Paxton, Oct. 21, 1767. He died Nov. 16,
1769, aged thirty years. His wife was Mrs. Sarah
Hall of Sutton. Intentions of marriage were published
Sept. 22, 1769.
lOO THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Ithamar Bigelow, b. 1746, m. Persis Barrett,
daughter of Dea. Timothy Barrett. He was a
brother of the Rev. Silas Bigelow. Died March 16,
1807. He lived on Asnebumskit. Had children :
Timothy, b. Oct. 4. 1770, m. Anna Earle 1797.
Silas, b. , d. April 2, 1783.
Silas, b. Jan. 24, 1772, d. April 10, 1829.
Ithamar, Jr., b. Nov. 21, 1773.
Persis, b. Nov. 15, 1775, m. Joel Smith in 1796.
Lucy, b. April 25, 1778.
Lewis, b. Sept. i, 1780, d. Sept. 28, 1807.
Ithamar Bigelow, Jr., m. Sophia Earle, daughter
of Clark Earle, May 31, t8oi. The Rev. Daniel Gros-
venor, their pastor, officiating. He died March 27,
1861. She was born June 15, 1777, d. March 20, 1848.
They had children :
Walter Raleigh, b. April 30, 1802, d.
Ralph Earle, b. June 14, i^ — d. July 4, 1873.
Lewis, b. Aug. 31, 1808, d.
Walter R. Bigelow, b. April 30, 1802, m. Eliza
Mowar, (b. Dec. 25, 1808, d. May 22, 1869.) They had
George Curtis, b. April 9. 1830, d. May 12, 1859.
He married ist, June 16, 1853, Mary W. Whitte-
more. Had children : Mary Eliza, b. July 22,
1854, d. Aug. 6, 1855, m. 2nd, Ellen M. Clifford,
Nov. 10, 1857.
Samuel Thomas, b. May 10, 1834, d. June 29,
1879. He married May 20, 1861, Mrs. Ellen M_
C. Bigelow. Had children : George Clif-
ford, b. Dec. 18, 1862, d. Dec. 31, 1881. Grace
Mowar, b. July 7, 1871. Alice Murdock, b.
March 14, 1877.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. Id
Ralph Earle Bigelow, b. June 14, 1804, d. July 4,
1S73, m. ist, Tryphena Lakin, 2nd, Malona Chaffin.
Had children :
Henry, b. Oct. 27, 1829.
Caroline H., b. Jan. 17, 1831, m. George W.
April 3, 1850.
Emeline E., b. April 9, 1833, m. Henry C.Ward.
John C, b. Sept. 15, 1838. Children by Malona
Chaffin. She died Aug. 12, 1869.
John C. Bigelow, m. Sarah M. Parker, Nov. 14,
1861. Had children :
Fred. Andrew, b. Jan. 31, 1868.
Bertha Lee, b. Dec. n, 1871.
Lewis Bigelow, m. on April i, 1833, ist, Phebe T.
Davis, daughter of David Davis, Jr., 2nd, Mrs.
Hannah Howard. Had children :
Edward D., b. Nov. 16, 1835.
Charles G., b. Aug. 18, 1839.
Henry G., b, Oct. 22, 1842.
George Lewis, b. July 11, 1844.
Elmina Sophia, one year old, d. Feb. 9, 1848.
Phebe M., b. Feb. 24, 1850.
Eliza M„ b. June 14, 1852.
Silas Bigelow, b. in Paxton Feb. 6, 1786, son of
Ithamar and Persis (Barrett) Bigelow, m. ist, Sophia
Lamb, June 19, 1816. He died April 10, 1829. Had
children by first wife (Sophia Lamb) :
John Flavel, b. April 25, 1818.
Artemas Edwin, b. Sept. 3, 1819, unmarried.
Adeline Eulalia, b. April 27, 1821.
George Norman, b. Jan. 14, 1S23, m Nov. 25,
1856, ist, Frances Louisa Babcock, 2nd, Dec.
6, 1866, Fannie Whitcomb.
I02 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON,
Nancy JuDSON, b. Oct. ii, 1824, d. Aug. 25, 187&,
He married for his second wife Adeline Buxton,
June II, 1826. They had no children.
John Flavel Bigelow, m. Sophronia Nye Lovell,
Aug. 17, 1847. He died June 20, 1884. Had children :
Mary Eliza, b Dec. 14, 1856, d. Sept. 7, 1859.
Derwent, b. March 29, 1864, m. Mary Platte,
and lives in Brooklyn, N. Y.
Adeline Eulalia Bigelow, m. Ralph Earle, May
I5i 1839. Had children :
Sophia Rogers, b. April 12, 1842.
Sophronia Adeline, b. June 5, 1845.
George Norman Bigelow, m. ist, Frances Louisa
Babcock, Nov. 25, 1856. They had children :
Eulalia Frances, b. Nov. 20, 1857, d. Aug. 17,
George Norman, Jr., b. Aug. 5, 1861, d. Aug.
Frances Eulalia, b. May 21, 1863.
He married 2nd, Fannie Whitcomb of Keene, N.
H., Dec. 6, 1866. He died Aug. 28, 1887.
THE EARLE FAMILY,
Ralph " Earle came from England, lived for a time
at Newport, but died at Portsmouth, R. L, in 1678.
He married Joan . Had children :
Ralph, m. Dorcas Sprague.
William, m. ist, Mary Walker, 2nd, Prudence
Mary, m. William Corey.
Martha, m. William Wood.
Sarah, m. Thomas Cornell.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 103
William ^ Earle, b. , m. ist, Mary Walker,
2nd, Prudence . He died June 15, 1715. He lived
in Portsmouth and Dartmouth. His will was executed
Nov. 13, 1713. By this will he gave away several
slaves to his children. He was a Quaker, as was his
father and descendants to a comparatively late date.
His children were :
Mary, b. 1655, m. John Borden.
William, m. Elizabeth .
Ralph, b. 1660, m. Mary Hicks.
Thomas, m. Mary Taber.
Caleb, m. Mary .
Prudence, m. Benjamin Durfee.
Ralph ^ Earle, son of William ^ m. Mrs. Mary
Hicks, daughter of Robert Carr of Newport, R. I.
He died 1757, in Leicester, to which place he moved
from Dartmouth. He was obliged to use an Indian
guide a part of the way, there being no direct path.
He bought the tract known as Mulbury Grove, in
Leicester. He was a devout Quaker, and once visited
Wm. Penn, who became attached to him. He made
his will and gave freedom papers to a slave called
"Sharp," and gave him thirty acres of land on the
South-East face of Asnebumskit. Had children :
William, b. Nov. 12, 1690, m. Anna Howard.
John, b. April 24, 1692, m. Mrs. Sarah Borden.
Mary, b. Oct. 24, 1693.
Elizabeth, b. Dec. 24, 1696, m. Robert Lawton.
Sarah, b. Jan. 18, 1698, m. Stephen Manchester.
Martha, b. Dec. 21, 1700.
Patience, b. Nov. 24, 1703, m. Benjamin Richard-
Ralph, b. March 14, 1704.
I04 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Robert, b. March 2, 1706, ni. ist, Mary Newhall,
2nd, Hepzibah Johnson.
Mary, b. March 13, 1708, m. Jotham Rice.
Benjamin, b. March 14, 171 1, m. ist, Abigail New-
hall, 2nd, Mrs. Deborah Slade.
Robert * Earle, son of Ralph, ^ who was the son
of William, ^ who was the son of Ralph. ^ Robert
had children :
Martha, b. Nov. 3, 1726.
Nathan, b. May 12, 1728.
Mary, b. Aug. 10, 1730.
Elizabeth, b. Oct. 18, 1732.
George, b. March 3, 1735.
Thomas, b. Aug. 27, 1737, m. Hannah Wait.
EzEK, b. Feb. 10, 1741.
Robert, b. Oct. 10, 1743.
Lydia, b. Aug. 15, 1746.
Marmaduke, b. March 8, 1749, m. Elizabeth New-
Phebe, b. Dec. 22, 1756.
Timothy, b. March 13, 1759. He died in U. S.
Army, Nov. 3, 1777.
Marmaduke^ Earle, b. in Leicester, March 8,
1749, m. Elizabeth Newton Aug. 14, 1772, daughter of
Jonas Newton of Paxton. He died May 29, 1839. He
was a Quaker. Was buried in Leicester. Had chil-
LucRETiA, b. Feb. 25, 1773, m. Samuel Brown,
Catherine, b. March 3, 1775, m. Francis Wash-
Winthrop, b. May 5, 1777, d. Jan. 15, 1836.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. IO5
Deliverance, b. Nov. 10, 1779, m. Jonathan Cun-
Samuel, b. Dec. 26, 1781, d. June 21, 1787.
Amasa, b. March 11, 1784, m. Lucy Howe.
Philip, b. April 11, 1786, m. Patty Barton.
Rebecca, b. July 21, 1788, m. James Thompson.
Emory, b. Sept. 10, 1790, m. Eunice Smith.
Candace, b. Nov. 3, 1792, m. William Boynton.
Persis, b. Nov. 18, I794, m. Wm. H. Scott.
Phebe, b. June 22, I797, m. Moses Parkhurst.
Elmer, b. Jan. 6, I800, m. Sally Bellows.
Homer, b. May 6, I802, d. Aug. 30, I804.
Philip ® Darl, (son of Marmaduke,) b. April 10,
1786, in Paxton, m. June 18, I807, Patty U. Barton of
Leicester. He died in Paxton Jan. 7, I869. He was
a scythe maker. Had children :
Eliza J., b. April 18, I808, (m. Samuel Peirce,
who died Nov. 8, I876). She died Oct. 4, I863.
They had Hannah, b. March 30, I833, who m.
T. C. Prouty of Spencer. — Hannah died Feb. 4,
I875 or '6.
William Barton, b. Aug. 28, I8I0, m. 1st, Han-
nah Humes, 2nd, Nancy A. Horton.
Sarah G., b. Sept. 27, I8I7, m. D. Gates Davis.
William * Earle, b. Nov. 12, 1690, m. Anna How-
ard of R. L He built a grist mill in Leicester and
was one of the earliest members of the Quaker So-
ciety in the place. Had children :
William, Jr., b. April 27, 1714, m. Mary Cutting.
Elizabeth, b. May 12, 1716, m. John Potter.
Mary, b. Feb. 28, 1719, m. James Lawton, Jr.
David, b. Aug. 16, 1721, m. Martha Earle.
Judith, b. Aug. 11, 1723, m. George Cutting.
106 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Ralph, b. Nov. 13, 1726, m. ist, Phebe Whitte-
more, July 19 , 1750, 2nd, Mrs. Naomi Kinni-
John, b. March i, 1729.
Ralph ^ Earle, son of William, * b. Nov. 13, 1726,
m. 1st, Phebe Whittemore, July 19, 1750, 2nd, Mrs.
Naomie Kinnicutt of R. I. He owned the place where
Tyler S. Penniman now lives. He died about 1808.
He was a very prominent man, and Gov. Hutchinson
commissioned him as Captain in the British army in
1776. He declined to accept and was subsequently
conmiissioned by General Washington, as Captain,
this he accepted and took an active part in the Revo-
lutionary War. Had children :
Ralph b. May 14, 1751, m. Sarah Gates.
Clark, b. April 17, 1753, m.
Artemas, b. Nov. 28, 1754, d. March 19, 1755.
James, b. May 1, 1761, m. Mrs. C Smith.
Dexter, b. Dec. 10; 1776, in Paxton.
Clark ^ Earle, son of Ralph ^ and Phebe (Whit-
temore) Earle, m. ist, Hepzibah Howard, 2nd, Mrs.
Matilda Whittemore Chace, in 1800. They had chil-
Sophia, b- June 15, 1777. ^
Betsey, b. Dec. 4, 1780.
Ralph, b. Jan. 11, 1783.
Dexter, b. Nov. 7, 1786.
Betsey Hepzibah, b. Dec. 4, 1801.
Dexter ^ Earle, b. Nov. 7, 1786, d. Nov. 9, 1855,
m. Susanna Eaton and had children :
Ralph, b. Nov. 13, 1811.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. I07
Sophia B. E., b. Oct. 11, 1813, m. Dea. William
Lavinnia, b. Sept. 8, 1816, d. .
Mary S., b. May 8, 1818.
George, d. Jan. 14, 1864.
Lewis Bigelow, b. April 1830, d. Aug. 16, i860.
Ralph ^ Earle, b. Nov. 13, 1811, m. Adeline Eu-
lalia Bigelow, (b. April 27, 1821,) daughter of Silas
Bigelow, May 15, 1839. Had children :
Sophia Rogers, b. April 12, 1842.
Sophronia Adeline, b. June 5, 1845.
Sophie R. Earle, m. at No. — President Street,
Brooklyn, N. Y., Ledyard Bill, son of Gurdon and
Lucy (Yerrington) Bill, of Ledyard, Conn., June 12,
1872. They have children :
Frederic Ledyard, b. June 13, 1873.
Bertha Earle, b. June 5, 1875.
Lucy Sophie, b. Oct. 28, 1882.
THE DAVIS FAMILY.
Lieut. Simon Davis came from Concord with his
wife Dorothy, to Rutland, as early as 1720, the re-
cords say. They had children :
Joseph, Israel, Eleazar, Simon, Martha, Oliver,
Mary and Azubah. He died in Holden at the house
of his son Eleazar.
Simon Davis, Jr., settled in that part of Rutland,
now Paxton, where C. A. Streeter lives. He married
Hannah Gates, of Rutland, Sept. 10, 1733. They
had children :
I08 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Elizabeth, b. Jan. — 1735 ; Hannah, b. March, 1736 ;
Miram, b. June, 1738 ; David, b. June, 1739 ; Elizabeth,
b. June, 1742 ; Simon, b. April, 1744 ; Mercy, b. June,
1745; Simon, b. Aug., 1747; Isaac, b. Feb., 1749;
Samuel, b. June, 1751 ; John, b. Sept., 1752.
He died April 9, 1754, in Holden.
Isaac Davis, son of Simon Davis, Jr., married a
Miss — Brigham, and had John Davis. Isaac Davis
died April 27, 1826, in Northboro, where he lived.
John Davis, son of Simon, Jr., m. Relief Howe.
Had children :
Clarissa, Sophronia, Horatio Gates.
David Davis, b. in 1739. Died Feb. 11, 1824,
married ist, Lucy Buckman, 2d, Abigal Brown. He
lived near Streeters. Had children :
Simon, b. Sept. 2, 1765 ; Phebe, b. Feb. 2, 1768 ;
Samuel, b. March 18, 1776 ; Martha, b. Feb. 10, 1771 ;
David, Jr., b. Sept. 17, 1773 ; Elias, b. ; Abigal,
b. April I, 1781.
David Davis, Jr., married Patty Howe, Nov. 18,
1795. He died Aug. 5, 1852. Had children : (list
Abigal Brown, b. April 24, 1799 ; Lucy Buckman,
b. Aug. — , 1801 : Sarah Newton, b. May 29, 1804, d.
Dec. 23, I806 ; David Gates, b. Feb. 21, 1815.
David Gates Davis, married Sarah G. Earle,
June II, 1839. She was b. Sept. 27, 1817, daughter
of Philip Earle. Had children :
William Philip, b. Jan. 6, 1844, m. M. Jennett Stott,
March 30, 1865 ; Eliza Abigal, b. Dec. 21, 1846 ; David
Davis, b. July 24, 1852 ; Elias Wyman, b. Aug. 23,
1854 ; Gilbert Gates, b. Jan. 27, 1859.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. IO9
Jonah Estabrook, came from , and settled in
Rutland, where he died in . He had children :
Daniel Estabrook, b. — m. — and had children:
George D., b.
George D. Estabrook, married Dec. 12, 1861,
Fannie E. Stratton.
Thaddeus Estabrook, b. in 1747, d. in 1818. He
married . Had children :
John, Tyler and Dwight.
DwiGHT Estabrook, b. Jan. 9, 1803, d. Sept. 1842.
He married Oct. 5, 1824, Abi Brown, daughter of
Elijah Brown. She was born Nov. 2, 1802. They
had children :
Dwight, Jr., b. July 6, 1825 ; Marie Antoinette, b. —
she married Luther Goddard and lives in Worcester ;
Fannie Brown, b. — m. George Brown of Leicester,
and now reside in Philadelphia ; Daniel Franklin, b. —
m. — ; Dennis Francis, b. — m. —
Dwight Estabrook, Jr., m. Miss Mary B.Rog-
ers, daughter of Nathan Rogers of Holden, on Aug.
13,1846. They had children :
Alphonso D., b. Jan. 13, 1847 ; Arthur F., b. May
6, 1848 ; Sylvester Brown, b. Nov. i, 1849 '> Edison F.,
b. Nov. 7, 1851 ; Nathan W., b. Aug. 3, 1853, d.
March 5, 1854 ; Abbie Smith, b. Jan. 5, 1857.
John Flint, m. Phebe Smith of Paxton, and had
son, Frederick, born in Oakham,
no THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Frederick Flint, b. May 24,1782, m.by Nathaniel
Crocker, Esq., to Polly Smith, sister of Mrs. John
Howe, Jr., March 10, 1806. He died Dec. i, i860.
Had children :
Phebe, b. April 3, 1807, m. M. R. Williams, March
15, 1843, d. Feb. 24, 1873 ; Mary Ann, b. Sept. 24,
1812, m. Levi Jotham, Dec. i, 1840, d. Nov. 16, 1846 ;
Sarah Jane, b. Nov. 20, 1823, d. March 26, 1845 ; Aus-
tin, b. Aug. 12, 1826, d. March 9, 1858 ; Charles S., b.
Oct. 10. 1817, m. — d. Feb. 19, 1884.
Austin Flint, m. Hattie Garfield. Had children :
Emma L., Fred. A.
Charles S. Flint, m. Mary M. Williams, Oct. 7,
1845. Had children :
Mary Jane, b. June 22, 1849, d. May 22, 1855 ; Chas.
F., b. April 18, 1857, m. Susie E. Wakeford, Jan. 9,
Rev. Daniel Grosvenor, (the grandson of John
Grosvenor, who came to Roxbury at an early date),
was born in Pomfret, Conn., about 1751. He married
Deborah Hall, daughter of Dr. David Hall of Sutton.
They had children :
Daniel Buckley, b. about 1777 ; David Hall, b. Nov.
31, 1779 ; Jonathan Prescott, b. Nov. 31, 1779— twins ;
Deborah Newton, b. about 1781 ; Ebenezer Oliver, b.
about 1783 ; Lucy WiUiston, b. about 1785 ; Ira Rufus,
b.— died young ; Elizabeth Sophia, b. 1789 ; Cyrus
Pitt, b, 1790 ; Moses Gill, b. 1792.
Jonathan Prescott Grosvenor, m. Bethia Avery
in 1804. She was daughter of Rev. Joseph Avery of
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. Ill
Holden, and a grand-neice of Gov. Samuel Adams of
Boston. He died Sept. II, 1854. They had children :
Daniel Prescott, b. June 23, 1805 ; Mary Avery, b.
June, 1806 ; Joseph Avery, b. Aug. — 1808 ; Lucy
Bethia, b. March 10, 1810 ; Samuel Avery, b. Dec. —
1815, d. in 1850; Harriet Newell, b. May 5, 1818 ;
Elizabeth Hall, b. June 1820 ; Jonathan Buckley, b.
April — 1822 ; Sarah Thaxter, b. Dec. — 1824 ; Chas.
William, b. Feb. 14, 1827.
Daniel Prescott Grosvenor, m. Harriet Peirce
of Paxton, daughter of Job Peirce. They had chil-
Martha Peirce, b. in 1829 ; Edward Peirce, b. — ;
Harriet Elizabeth, b. — ; Daniel Prescott, Jr., b. — .
Cyrus Pitt Grosvenor, graduated from Dart-
mouth about 1815. He married Mrs. Sarah Warner
of New York. They had children :
Sarah Caroline ; Emma, d. young ; Cyrus Pitt, Jr.,
He was a distinguished clergyman and preached in
Utica, N. Y., and in Georgetown, S. C, then in Bos-
ton and Salem. In his house in Salem was formed the
first Anti-Slavery Society in New England. He was
sent as delegate to London in 1840, to attend a great
convention there in favor of' universal freedom.
Moses Gill Grosvenor, m. Sophia Groutof Peters-
ham. Had no children. He was a Congregational
minister and preached in Haverhill, and in Keene, N.
H. He died in Worcester.
Lucy Bethia Grosvenor, m. David Manning, a
boot manufacturer in Paxton, on May 17, 1838. They
reside in Worcester at this time. They had children :
Bertha Grosvenor, b. Aug. 16, 1840, m. Col. Jos. A.
112 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Titus ; George Gilman, b. Oct. — 1842 ; Theodore, b.
Oct. I844 ; David, Jr. b. Aug. 29, 1846, m. Miss — Bige-
low; Charles Walter, b. Aug. 1848 ; Joseph Avery, b.
Feb. 1 85 1.
Charles W. Grosvenor, m. Nancy Clapp of Hol-
den. He resides in Leicester. They had children :
Samuel Avery, Jonathan Prescott, Clarence Willie,
David Clapp, Ella Elizabeth, Addie Maria.
Jonathan Buckley Grosvenor, m. Sarah Jane
Lattimer of Hartford, Conn. They had children :
Mary Avery, Grace G.
Elizabeth Grosvenor, b. — , m. Isaac D. White
and live in Brookline. Had children :
Isaac D., Jr., Carrie, Grace, Frances, Mary Avery.
Samuel Avery Grosvenor, b.— , m. — . Had
Harriet Nem^ell Grosvenor, m. Daniel W,
Kent of Leicester. Had children :
Lucy, Ruth A., Prescott Grosvenor, Hattie E.,
Carrie E. and Daniel.
THE HOWE FAMILY.
John Howe, b. Sept. 16, 1682, d. May 19, 1754.
He came from Marlboro to Paxton. He had son.
Paul Howe, b. June 18, 1715. He m. Elizabeth
Howe of Marlboro and died in 1765. She died Feb.
5, 1807, aged 87. Had children :
John Howe, m. — ; Jonah Howe, b. 1746, m. Sarah
Newton and d. Nov. 10, 1832 ; Jonathan, b.— , never
married and lived at the " Old Brewery " place. He
d. Feb. 27, 1835.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. II3
John Howe, 2nd, son of Paul, m. Lucy . Had
Paul, 2nd, b. — ; Charles, b. — ; Samuel Hubbard,
b. — ; Lucy, b. Dec. 16, 1782, m. Amasa Earle in 1804 ;
John, Jr., b. Feb. 16, 1784 ; Betsey, b. .Nov. 28, 1785,
m. Aaron Abbott in 1806, Nov. 15 ; Delia, b. June 16,
1788 ; Dulcina, b. Aug. 10, 1800 ; Salibity, b. — ; Hollis
H., b. Oct. 19, 1802 ; Nancy, b. — ; Solon C, b. Nov.
9, 1804 ; George Buckley, b. Aug. 4, 1806.
John Howe, Jr., b. Feb. i(5, 1784, m. Lucy Smith,
Jan. r, 1807, and settled on Brigham Hill. They had
J. Orris, b. — ; Abram ; Jarvis, b. — ; Lucy ; Augusta
Maria, b. Sept. 15, 1807 ; Aaron, Lucy, Maria, Solon C.
Jonah Howe, son of Paul, ist, b. 1746, d. Nov. 10,
1832, m. Sarah Newton, daughter of Silas Newton, and
lived on Howe's Hill. Had children :
Rufus, b. Jan. 4, 1772 ; Jonah, Jr., b. April 22, 1774 ;
Patty, b. March 16, 1776, m. David Davis, Jr. ; Alice,
b. March 21, 1779 ; Sally, b. May 12, 1781 ; Artemas,
b. Sept. 20, 1783 ; Richardson, b. — ; Relief, b. July
21, 1789 ; Lavinnia, b. June 7, 1791, m. Abram Liver-
more ; Clarissa, b. May 16, 1794 ; Catherine, b.
Artemas Howe, above, m. Roxa Moore, b. April
7, 1785, daughter of Pliny Moore. He d. Oct. 12,
1854. They lived on the Rutland road at the Moore
Homestead, afterwards the town farm, near Francis
Keep's place. They had children :
Phineas Moore, b. June 8, 1808, d. May 30, 1881 ;
Jonah, b. Dec. 24, 1810 ; Pliny K., b. April 12, 1813 ;
Artemas, Jr., b. Oct. 12, 1815 ; Hannah D., b. Jan. 27,
1819; Roxa M., b. Oct. 13, 1S21 ; Z. Swift Moore, b.
June 6, 1824.
114 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Jonah Howe, Jr., b. April 22, 1774, m. Lydia War-
ren Sept. — , 1796, and lived a few rods west of his fa-
ther. They had children :
Benjamin F., b. Sept. 21, 1797 ; Elbridge Gerry, b.
Aug. 14, 1799 ; Willard, b. Oct. 6, 1801 ; Rachel W.,
b. Oct. 24, 1803 ; Tirza, b. April 30, 1805 ; Porter, b.
April 30, 1807, d. June 12, 1807.
Elbridge Gerry Howe, son of Jonah, Jr., tn.
for his 2nd wife, Mary Soule Sturtevant. He died
about 1883, at Waukegan, 111. They had children :
Elbridge Gerry, b. Aug. 22, 1863 ; Ira Sturtevant, b.
Jan. 31, 1866.
J. Orris Howe, son of John Jr., b. Jan. 17, 1810, m.
Maria Elizabeth Maynard, b. Dec. 23, 1825, of Marl-
boro, and lives on Brigham Hill. Had children :
Ellen M., b. Aug. 22, 1852 ; Louisa J., b. Aug. 23,
1856, d. June 30, 1885 ; Caroline E., b. Dec. 19, 1858 ;
Fannie B., b. Sept. 7, i860; John R., b. May 6, 1862 ;
F. Sumner, b. Oct. 27, 1863.
Solon C Howe, son of John Howe, Sr., m. Matil-
da Chase. He died Jan. 9, 1885. Children :
One son who died young ; Marcia M., m. NahumS.
Newton ; Lucy A., m. Wm. H. Harrington.
HoLLis Hall Howe, b. Oct. 19, 1802, brother of
Solon C. above, m. Nov. 29, 1827, Fannie Brown,
daughter of Elijah Brown. Had children :
Harriet B., b. Nov. 3, 1832 ; Ellen F., b. July 26,
I838, m. William H. Clark.
George Buckley Howe, a brother of Hollis H.,
m. Had a son :
George C, who lived and died at Oakdale, leaving
a widow and daughters, but no son.
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. II5
Samuel Hubbard Howe, b. — , m. Dec. 30, 1819,
Elizabeth H. Moore, d. — . Had son :
Andrew Jackson Howe, b. April 14, 1825.
Andrew Jackson Howe, m, Georgiana Lakin,
Feb. 2, 1858. Have no children. They reside in Cin-
THE MAYNARDS AND PARKHURSTS.
Adam Maynard, who died here in 1786, and William,
who died in 1787, are supposed to be sons of Hezekiah
Maynard of Marlboro, who was the grandson of the
original John Maynard of Sudbury, who came over in
Moses Maynard, b. 1782-3, m. Sarah Maynard,
Dec. 2, 1802. He died Feb. 12, 1857. She d. June 2,
1846. They had children :
Benjamin, b. Nov. 18, 1803 ; Mary, b. Aug. 20, 1805 ;
Dolly, b. Oct. 6, 1807 ; Dorinda, b. June 15, 1809 ; Su-
san, b. Dec. 6, 1812.
Benjamin Maynard, m. Oct. 30, 1834, Ruth Rice,
b. July 5, 1809. He died Dec. 19, 1879. She died
Aug. 23, 1878. They had children :
Moses, b. Aug. 25, 1835 ; Solomon Rice, b. Dec. 15,
1837, d. Newport News, March 2, 1863 ; Ruth, b. March
16, I846, d. May 9, I848 ; Benjamin, b. Nov. 18, I847,
d. May 9, 1851 ; George, b. June 16, I850, unmarried.
Moses Maynard, m. Martha A. Stearns April
2, I857. She died Oct. 2, I876. They had chil-
Benjamin L., b. Feb. 20, 1858 ; Charles Whitman,
b. Sept. 13, I859 ; William Edwin, b. Nov. 14, I860 ;
Joseph Henry, b. Dec. 25, 1861 ; Sarah Adaline, b.
Il6 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
Aug. 17, I863; Ruth Rice, b. May 20, 1866; Clara
Ella, b. Feb. 10, 1869 ; Arthur Clyde, b. June 9, I876,
Benjamin L. Maynard, m. Aug. 20, 1880, Susie P.
Parkhurst, and had one child, Alice Adelle, b. Sept.
20, 1882. Mrs. Maynard is the daughter of Nathan-
iel L. Parkhurst, who was the son of Moses Park-
hurst, who came from Petersham and m. Phebe
Earle, April 7, 1819, daughter of Marmaduke Earle,
and settled at the home of his father-in-law. Moses
Parkhurst had children :
Nathaniel L., Varonus P., Mary E., Caroline Earle,
Hiram N., and Moses B.
Benjamin L. Maynard lives in Nebraska, and has
one child, Alice Adelle.
Ebenezer Metcalf came from Wrentham and
lived in Rutland, (now Paxton). He had son :
Seth Metcalf, who married Hannah , and
lived where Merriam now lives. He died aged 92.
He had children :
Amos, b. Feb. 14, 1785 ; Hannah, b. May 9. 1787, d.
Nov. 24, 1795 : Seth, Jr., b. April 21, 1789, d. Dec. 10,
1795 ; Timothy, b. — , d. Nov. 21, 1795 ; Amos, b. — ,
d. Nov. 29, 1795 ; John P., b. April 21, 1791, d. — ,
John P. Metcalf, m. Lydia Spring of Holden,
about 1825. Had children :
Hannah B., b. March 31, 1827, m. William Brown ;
Seth, b. Nov. 28, 1828, d. young ; John R., b. Jan—,
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. II7
Hannah Bancroft Metcalf, m. William Brown,
Nov. 24, 1852. Had son, Wesley E.
Timothy Partridge, m. — Lived in Medway.
Had son :
Samuel, b. March 18, 1756.
Samuel Partridge, settled at the place now
owned by Morris Kane. He married Elizabeth Mac-
Intire. She was born Oct. it, 1759. He died March,
29, 1832. She died Jan. 12, 1830. They had chil-
Nabby, b. Nov. 14, 1782 ; Silence, b. Oct. 2, 1784 ;
Zillah, b. March 27, 1786; Polly, b. May 11, 1789;
Betsey, b. Nov. 11, 1791 ; David, b. March 30, 1795 ;
John, b. June i, 1797 ; Sally, b. Jan. 9, 1801.
John Partridge, m. — Peirce, daughter of Job
Peirce of Paxton. They had children :
George W., and several daughters.
THE MOORE FAMILY.
Mary Moore, mother of Captain Phineas Moore,
d. May 9, 1786, aged 89.
Capt. Phineas Moore, b. March — , 1729, m.
Anna Rice, June 14, 1753, and died Dec. 15, 1807. His
wife d. Jan. 12, 1814. The children of Phineas and
Anna Moore were :
Beulah, b. May 17, 1755, d. Sept. 17, 1756 ; Relief,
b. March 20, 1757 ; d. May 12, 1830 ; Pliny, b. July 15,
1759 ; Beulah, b. July 29, 1761, d. June 14, 1781 ;
Adonijah, b. Oct. 13, 1763, d. July 27, 1815 ; Persis, b.
Aug. 29, 1766, d. Sept. 4, 1827 ; Hannah, b. Aug. 6,
Il8 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
1768, d. April 4, 1810 ; Peter, b. June 15, 1770, d. Aug.
6, 1773 ; Lucinda, b. July 12, 1772 ; Peter and
Phineas, b. May 3, 1775, Peter d. June 6, 1775, Phineas
d. June 17, 1775.
Captain Pliny Moore, b. about 1760, d. April
26, I823. He married Hannah Knight, 1781. She
died Nov. 9, 1809, aged 48.
Maj. Willard Moore, b. April 1743, m. March 18,
1762, to Elizabeth Hubbard ; he was killed at the
battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1776.
THE SLADE FAMILY.
Henry Slade, m. Naomi — , came from Somerset
to Paxton, and had children :
John, b. Dec. 23, 1782 ; Anthony, b. Oct. 18, 1779 ;
Ruth, b. March 17, 1790 ; Mary, b. April 2, 1792 ;
Henry, Jr., b. July 31, 1786; Samuel, b. Aug. 28,
1794. The latter settled on what is now known as
Dodd's Hill, formerly Slade's Hill, a half mile this
side of the Worcest<r town line. He had children:
Mercy, and others.
John Slade, son of Henry, m. Lucretia , set-
tled in the northerly portion of the town near the
Rutland road and had children, Henry and John.
The former lives near his father's place, and m. ist,
Anna Howard, May 30, 1849, and 2d, m. to Mrs.
Caroline Earle Woodbury, Jan. 16, 1889, a native of
this town and the daughter of Moses Parkhurst, who
came from Petersham and settled in Paxton on the
old Marmaduke Earle place on the Barre road. He
married Phebe Earle, daughter of Marmaduke Earle.
They had children :
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. lig
Nathaniel L., Varonus P., Moses B., Hiram N. and
John Slade, Jr., b. Feb. 3, 1827, m. Jane E.
Wheeler, of Royalston, Nov. 28, 1856, and has two
Edgar P. Slade, b. Dec. 9, 1857, m. Mary J.
Brown, Nov.— 1886 ; Ada Idelle, b. June — , 1860.
THE SNOW FAMILY.
John Snow, b. — m. Sybil Mathews. He d . March 6,
1801, aged 72. She d. June 20, 1802, aged 69. Had
Daniel, m. Annie Tierney, March 31, 1787 ; James,
m. Persis Warren, May 17, 1785 ; Nathan, m. Betsey
Dyer, Sept. 23, 1802 ; Willard, b. ; John, b. April
27, 1772 ; Lemuel — .
Col. Willard Snow, b. — , d. July 13, 1846, m. 1st,
Polly Harrington, daughter of Dea. Samuel Harring-
ton, m. 2d, Sarah Davis, sister of " Honest John
Davis." Children by 1st wife were :
Polly ; Lucy, b. March 23, 1805 ; Sophronia, b. Jan.
7. 1808 ; Sybil, b. May 13, 1818 ; Carlo Homer, b. Nov.
11, ; d. about 1830 ; John, b. Oct. 30, 1801, d.
Jan. 15, 1828 ; Willard, b. — ; Henry, by 2d wife. He
lives near Newton.
Carlo Homer Snow, m. Delia Newton, daughter
of Windsor Newton. Had children :
Windsor Newton, b. March 24, 1824 ; Carlo Homer,
b. — .
Dr. Windsor N. Snow, m. Julia F. Wright of
Grafton, May 10, 1854. He resides in Worcester and
has children :
Ida, Florence, Homer, Wallace. Miss Florence is
I20 THE HISTORY OF PAXTON.
a graduate of Smith's College, and Wallace is at Har-
Carlo Homer Snow, m. Lucretia Eddy. They
had Nelson H., who is living at Mineral Point, Wis.
WiLLARD Snow, 2d, m. Mary Peirce, Oct. 28, 1818.
The Snow family were among the most prominent
of the early settlers. They were men of fine pres-
ence, tall and portly. Col. Willard Snow was over
six feet in height, and towards the last of his life,
weighed over three hundred pounds. He built 28
houses in Paxton. All of his male descendants are
distinguished looking men. His mother was sitting in
the doorway one morning when suddenly a bear and
two cubs passed through the yard and into the woods.
THE WARREN FAMILY.
John Warren, ^ came to Watertown in 1630, at
the age of 45. He d. Dec. 13. 1667. Had one son, viz :
John Warren, Jr., 2 b. 1622, and died in 1703.
John Warren, ^ 3d., b. May 21, 1678, d. 1726 at
Weston. Had son.
John Warren, * b. April 3, 1701, settled in Marl,
boro ; d. Dec. 27, 1783. Had son.
John Warren, * h. June 19, 1739. He d. May 1,
1812, aged 73, m. Rachel — . She died Feb. 23, 1709,
aged 69. He died aged 94 years and 8 months. Had
Anna, b. Dec. 15, 1766 ; Rachel, b. Jan. 27, 1 772 ;
Lydia, b. March 15, 1774 ; Lavinia, b. Sept. 4, 1778.
William Warren, ^ b. in Marlboro, May 13,
1769, m. Amey Eddy, 1791, d. Jan. 13, 1864. Had
THE HISTORY OF PAXTON. 121
Abigail, b. July 12, 1792 ; Phebe, b. May 14, 1794 ;
John, b. March 18, 1797.
John Warren, * b. March 18, 1797, m. March 24,
1824, Lucretia Mirick, b. Jan. 25, 1803. Had chil-
Mary Ann Condy, b. July 30, 1825, m. Sept. 12,
1843, Jonathan Hapgood ; Sewell Mirick, b. Nov. 28,
1826, d. Nov. 21, 1828 ; Anna Eddy, b. Dec. 12, 1828 ;
William Mirick, b. Sept. 17, 1832 ; Persis Graves, b.
Dec. 10, 1834 ; Bezaleel Mirick, b. Dec. 28, 1836, d.
Feb. 19, 1837 ; Phebe Elizabeth, b. Nov. 30,
1837 ; George Harrison, b. March 28, 1840 ; Ellen Lu-
cretia, b. April 4, 1842 ; Harriet Maria, b. Dec. 24,
1844, d. Oct. 1, 1844.
Anna E. Warren, '' m. John S. Chase, Oct. 9,
1845, They had children :
Wallace S., b. June 28, 1847 ; Charles E., b. Nov.
14, 1849, d. Aug. 26, 1870 ; Emmons W., b. Feb. 17,
1854 ; Carrie E., b. Aug. 25, 1856 ; Emma, b. Oct.
18, 1859, d. Feb. 9, 1877 ; George Harrison, b. Aug.
2, 1865, d. March 21, 1866.
William M. Warren,^ son of John Warren
above, m. 1st, Mary Hale Bowen, June 11, 1856. Had
Anna Lucretia, b. Aug. 29, I860, d. Sept. 4, I864 ;
Anna Maria, b. April 18, 1865, d. March 17, 1884 ;
Arthur Luther, b. June 27, 1866, d. Sept. 15, 1867.
Mrs. Mary H. Warren, d. April 18, 1874.
He married 2d, Susan Catharine Woodbury, Feb.
9, 1876. Had :
John Lovell, b. Jan. 19, 1882, d. March 28, 1886.
- ■ ■■"'